30 June 2012

Old Friends

Mitzie and I used to spend a lot of time at Pages.  It was this little bookstore on Katipunan at a third floor of one of the buildings that are now dwarfed by Xanland.  I remember I used to park in front of that building, walk to the back, climb six mini-flights of stairs and onto a small non-descript door.  We loved going to that place, where they served cappuccinos in ginormous cups (think ramen bowl), and vanilla almond cookies.  All they ask is that we buy coffee and sugary treats to keep them in business.  It was such a novelty for us to peruse their shelves, sink in their overstuffed armchairs and couch, and read their selections.   A wonderful novelty at that time when the only decent bookstore was National Bookstore and they seal up their books in plastic and chase you down with the cash register if they discover you reading any of their books. 

I loved that place.  Mitzie and I would be there on days when we didn't have work.  And we used to treat ourselves to books every payday.  That and two double cappuccinos.   To say that we were heartbroken when it closed is putting it mildly.  We missed it to pieces, and no matter how many bookstores we discovered after that, it was never the same.

When I went to my parents' two nights ago to bake a last minute order for brownies, I found myself staring at stacks of my books that I have yet to pack and bring home with me.  Most of them were from Pages.

Someone recommended this to me. I can't remember who though.  The story takes place in Old Manila.  And I enjoyed how the author describes the place.
Definitely one of my favorite poets.  She has a thing for death and grief and lost love.  I am still looking for a book of hers with artwork from her brother.   Those Rosettis.  So talented.

I have a lot of other books, mostly poetry, from Pages.  I'll have to take them out of their boxes one of these days and read them once more.

28 June 2012

Tuwing Umuulan

A couple of years ago, after a nasty break up, a gaggle of friends headed by Gang brought me to a videoke place near Eastwood.  She called it my "freedom concert."  The theme for the night was songs for a broken heart.  The schmaltzier, the cheesier, the better.  Alcohol was served, the mic passed from one set of hands to the other, and the screen flashed lyrics of the most ridiculous, nauseatingly emotional songs of heart ache and unrequited love with video clips of couples, buildings and beaches.  I still remember Joey singing a Sharon Cuneta song with his signature choreography. 

Gang wanted this "freedom concert" to be cathartic for me.  And through the alcohol haze and heady wanton singing, an issue was challenge: for someone to pick a song that really hits me squarely on the nerves and succeeds in making me cry.

And brilliant Mr. Climaco picked the right song, singing with gusto.  Holy cow, and he was monkeying around again by enacting the song.  My eyes started to smart, and I didn't even notice my tears streaming down because I was laughing so hard at the same time.  It hurt sure, but it also lifted a great weight on my shoulder somehow.

It was cathartic.   That part was true.  And I appreciate my friends who cheered me on during a difficult time.   I am grateful for what they have done for me.  One of which is that now, every time I hear this song, it's no longer about a relationship in the past that didn't work out; but of a drunken night with loony friends belting out the lyrics to sentimental songs in their combined effort to cheer me up.  

Today, on this rainy day, Genius included it in the playlist.  What great timing!  Definitely added a bit of sunshine to my gray day.

27 June 2012


It's embarrassing, but I am one of those people who still have clothes from high school and college.  And who still wears them.  To say that I'm attached to them is an understatement. 

Maybe it's hereditary, but my Mom kept a lot of the clothes she sewed back in the late 60s/early 70s.  They were impeccably made and she used beautiful, beautiful fabrics.  There were a number of colorful floor length batik dresses with capped sleeves and some with puffed sleeves, and matching tops and skirts.   I'm thankful she saved them, because when I started working, it was all I wore.  Saved me a considerable bundle of cash.  It made a statement in my place of work, which I didn't mind.  I was proud to be wearing clothes my Mom made and she herself wore to work.   She took courses in pattern making and sewing while she was in college, and her clothes could rival the quality of well-known labels.  (Which is probably why, whenever she takes us clothes shopping, she's difficult to please because she's always tsk-tsk-ing at the shoddy workmanship she sees hanging on the racks.)

But as usual, I'm digressing.

This is about the clothes I currently have in my closet, some of which date back to the late 80s.  I still have the class shirt from second year high school (II-Biyaya).  I also have the red striped shirt from my college days that my Mom got me from a trip to LA.  Also a handful of classic Giordano shirts in pretty pastel colors that my Dad bought for me from HK.  I still wear all of them.  In spite of the pitiful (and this is a mild description) condition of some of them, I refuse to throw them away.

And so the warfare between my myself (and my shirts), and my family began.  They are ganging up on me.  My Dad always tuts his disapproval when he sees me in my beloved tatters.   My Mom does the passive aggressive route, and showers me with new shirts.  My sister surreptitiously aggravates the holes in my shirts (particularly my red striped shirt!) so I'll be forced to throw them out. And my husband begs me to let go and move on.

But I'm sticking to my guns (and shirts).  Especially my red striped shirt that accompanied me to my first day in college.  

Nards did the laundry last week.  While he was folding them away, he came upon my beloved red striped shirt.  He had a weird look.  And I panicked. 

I threw a hissy fit.

"No! No!  Don't throw it away!!  That shirt was with me in Kas 1, Hum 1, Soc Sci 1, Nat Sci 1 and Math 11!  It attended the freshman orientation with me!  And Mom gave it to me!"

"I was only trying to figure out how to fold it."  A beat.

"Oh, okay.   Here give it to me."   Even I couldn't figure out to fold it with all the holes in the back and the rips on the hem.  It doesn't matter.  I'm not giving it up.

25 June 2012

Maroon 5 Woot!

After being subjected to two hellish malls, about 17kms worth of gas, an hour of inching through Monday morning traffic, and 45 minutes of waiting in line behind a guy who couldn't make up his mind about the seats he wanted to purchase, I was able to buy them.

We're all excited to see them perform. :)

Especially since we've had this song on LSS for the past couple of weeks:

23 June 2012

Cabin Pressure

I believe a day spent laughing is a day well spent.

I recently discovered Cabin Pressure, a funny radio program from BBC 4.

Cabin Pressure is a sitcom about the wing and a prayer world of a tiny, one plane, charter airline; staffed by two pilots: one on his way down, and one who was never up to start with. Whether they’re flying squaddies to Hamburg, metal sheets to Mozambique, or an oil exec’s cat to Abu Dhabi, no job is too small, but many, many jobs are too difficult.  
It’s written by John Finnemore, writer for The News Quiz, The Now Show, and Mitchell & Webb; and stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Atonement, Starter for Ten), Roger Allam (The Thick of It, A Cock and Bull Story) and Stephanie Cole (Doc Martin, Housewife 49). Written by John Finnemore Produced & directed by David Tyler A Pozzitive production for the BBC (text and photo from the BBC website)
It's so funny, that Nards and I are always convulsed with laughter every time we listen to an episode.  I am literally rolling and laughing so hard that tears are streaming down my face.  It has three seasons so far, and I just read from the creator's blog that they got a green light to produce season four this year.  Whee!!

Here's a youtube link to the first episode.

They got me at the bing-bong. :)

18 June 2012

Wild Grapes

It's not a piece of literary genius but it's rife with Brit humor.  I love love love this book. It's a permanent fixture on my headboard.  I read it at least twice a year and it never fails to make me laugh. Mitzie gave this to as a present way back in 1998.  She picked it up from Powerbooks in Megamall and decided to give it to me because it says "hilarious" on the blurb at the back.

She knows me well.

Thanks Mitzie!! It's my go-to reading material when I need a break.  And I would be bawling my eyes out if I ever lose it.

12 June 2012

Macaron Wedding Favors

We were commissioned by a bride to make 200 macaron wedding favors for her.   It was nerve-wracking, but we were able to finish everything in 4 days.

Two mixers, because I was so afraid of overworking the machines and winding up with no mixer at all.  The red one is mine and the white one is my Mom's.

Stiff peaks.  Nards thought it was butter, but it's a mixture of egg whites and sugar.

Beng, piped all the batter.  For two straight days, she piped more than 1,300 shells.  Thank you Beng!  I was in charge of mixing and the macaronage.

I love watching them develop their frilly feet.  They rise gradually after about five minutes in the oven.

It was an orchid themed wedding.  We decided to make yellow macarons and in keeping with the theme, I made white chocolate ganache flavored with vanilla bourbon.   It tasted good (to me, anyway, I hope her guests also find it good).

This is how the favor looked like.  Nards printed and cut the little tags.  I punctured it with my star puncher so that Beng can thread it through a nice purple ribbon.  I piped the filling and made all the sandwiches, and three of us pitched in, packing them in the little boxes and tying the ribbon.

We're still a little bit shell-shocked by the volume we produced the past four days, but we're quite pleased that we were able to do it at all.  We're thankful for the work, and it made us assess our capacity for mass producing the macarons.  It's a good learning experience.

Our next wedding is still a couple of months away, and we're looking forward to it.

02 June 2012


Currently, my absolute favorite show.  I cannot wait for Season 3.

01 June 2012


Hello, internet!  I'm back.

It's been twenty days since I went online.   Though I missed some of the things I do online, I found it utterly refreshing not to be online.  The only thing I allowed myself during this "vacation," was to check and write emails on my iPod and check in on GetGlue. 

Surprisingly, I find myself not keen on keeping up my old online habits.  At present, it's a tedious task for me to even type in facebook on my browser.  I'd rather keep my online presence on blogger, twitter, tumblr, YM and pinterest.  I'm this close to deleting my FB account, but we have business pages there so I'm held hostage by that.  That and the scores of possible clients who are hooked on FB.  (Much as I want to let go, our business relies heavily on our online presence and activity.)

Social networks have claimed a huge chunk of my day, and I'm pleased that I have reduced that hold to about an hour or so in a day.  I've been able to read more, finish books I've been putting off.  I now have more focus because I'm no longer distracted by notifications and pings on my computer.  (Except the alerts from WhatsApp on my phone, but those are live friends!)

One thing I missed, that I used to have a lot of time for before the advent of  FB et al, was listening to audiobooks.  I used to have audiobooks of Walt Whitman's, Yeats and Emily Dickinson's poetry in the car (proven and fantastic method of curtailing road rage, trust me).   I have amassed a lot of unheard audiobooks, and the first few ones I loaded on my iPod was Casanova and Sherlock Holmes Rail Way Mysteries, both read by Benedict Cumberbatch.   (He and Martin Freeman are my current celebrity obsessions and deserve a blog entry all by themselves.)  I couldn't really concentrate when I played them on my computer because I'd inevitably get distracted by social networks.

Now, I can blissfully listen to them while keeping my hands occupied with something else.

I strongly recommend unplugging for a spell.


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