Saccharine Irony

This site is a compilation of fluid thoughts, a collection of poetry, random glimpses of humor and tragedy, spontaneous notions of an extremely sensitive mind.

marshmallow lines September 26, 2007

Filed under: Movies — Aimee @ 6:11 am
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Since I was not able to finish watching the film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice many months ago, just as I was barely able to finish the novel itself, I watched it again last night until well past midnight. Although I cannot list the movie as one of my favorites, there have been a few memorable lines that turned my insides into gooey marshmallow. First, it was when, against a backdrop of blinding sunrise and subdued green fields, Mr. Darcy declared to Elizabeth Bennet, My feelings have not changed. You have bewitched me heart and soul, and I love, love, love you.

And then, when Elizabeth spoke privately with her father on how she loves Mr. Darcy, and how her prejudices about him have been all mistaken, Mr. Bennet, teary-eyed and smiling, replied, I cannot believe that anyone can deserve you. But it seems I am overruled. So I heartily give my consent. I could not have parted with you, my Lizzie, to anyone less worthy.

Remind me to read the novel again.

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Trees September 24, 2007

Filed under: Faves,Saccharine thoughts — Aimee @ 12:58 pm
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i love trees

 

Last Friday, I traveled home with my officemates in a white pick-up, right after working hours were over. I was hoping for fine weather after having gone through an awful episode one evening when, traveling from Cagayan de Oro to Bukidnon, a landslide had us stranded inside an immobile bus for four hours. Mercifully, the weather turned out to be beautiful on that afternoon; no rain showers or capricious winds whatsoever. For two hours or so we were offered a delightful view of the green countryside – wide, expansive skies, the sporadic sights of small, wooden houses by the highway, and soft cumulus clouds playing hide-and-seek with distant mountain ranges of beautiful Kitanglad.

But for some reason, I found myself staring at the trees for most of the journey. Interestingly, the trees take on interestingly peculiar shapes as I reclined farther back in my car seat. There were trees that looked like lollipops and emerald cotton candies, and there were those that looked like pointed arrows and twisted spoons. There were trees shaped like giant bonsai-like figures and there was a tree in particular that, to me, looked like upright animal bones because this one, powdery-white in color, did not have any leaf or more than five, stick-like branches.

There were trees resembling an open umbrella, and a few that looked like open fingers. And there was one that I specifically liked, jutting out of the side of a bridge, because it looked like one of those lovely trees found in photos of African savannas, the name of which now escapes me.

In time, my eyes grew tired from all the tree-watching and I started to doze off; my drowsiness amplified by the deepening twilight. When I opened them again, we were steering down to the place of my childhood, and from where I sat the city lights were clearly visible, orange and lovely, against the balmy evening.

 

 

Eerie Enchantment September 23, 2007

Filed under: Career Chronicles — Aimee @ 8:20 am
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A few years back, I once lived alone for ten months  in a house of seven bedrooms. It was the time when I just got transferred to a nascent, sleepy city in the heart of the Bukidnon mountains for work. I barely knew anyone in this small city, except for my boss, work mates, and the office janitor. A few months after my new assignment I was looking for a house to share with young professionals like myself when someone suggested a cozy, cabin-like dorm house which was up for rent in a really quiet part of the city. The owner lived in another split-level house a few feet away from the cottage, but because the property was relatively wide, and was surrounded by fruit trees and bamboos, the cabin had an isolated, almost surreptitious appeal to it.

http://www.picture-book.com

There were not too many neighbors, facing the property was an empty lot lined with cacao plants, and farther away one could see the tips of the mountain forests, hidden now and then by the transitory fog. Public transportation was rather a short walk away so that honking cars, whirring motorcycles, and the like were a welcome rarity. I found the cottage charming at once; its façade was constructed to look like it was a log cabin, although the material used for the exterior walls was no less ordinary than simple red cement. The little wood and cement house had a pretty wrought-iron gate, and potted ferns hung carelessly from under the little windows. Because the house was bordered on two sides by trees and shrubbery, brown leaves would often carpet the pavement during breezy days, and the chorus of the crickets and the sound of bamboo leaves brushing against the wind would often greet me at sundown.

The little house had seven rooms as I had mentioned: three on the first floor and four above the small, steep stairway. It had two spacious bathrooms, and a corner sink. My room on the first floor was the largest and I was happy to have grabbed it first, before anyone else came to live with me at the house. The middle-aged landlady, perhaps a looker during her salad days, was friendly enough but always kept a certain distance from her tenants. She promised me that soon, I would have housemates; mostly young and single nurses working at the public hospital near her place. The summer season merely delayed their arrival, and that come June, the cottage rooms would all be rented out.

Except that the nurses never came. Or anyone else, for that matter. The weeks dragged into months. The landlady became noncommittal, and soon I grew tired of the solitude I once found so charming. I soon dreaded coming home to an empty house of seven bedrooms; the isolation was slowly eating away at me. I would take my dinners at fast foods or little cafes, and play all my CDs upon getting home until the wee hours of the morning. The darkness, the songs of the crickets, and even the bamboo stalks all developed an eerie feel to them that I slept every night with the lights open. I could not stay late outside because by then, the streets would have been pitch black, and if not for the light of the fat, sinister-looking moon, I would surely find myself groping like an idiot on my way home. During the course of the ten months, I did find myself a roommate, but she traveled frequently that she was almost never home at all. My landlady was quite particular with her choices, and so was I, so no one else came to live with me at the cabin.

On the third month, I had a sweaty nightmare, I didn’t sleep until morning. On the sixth month, a number of transients lived at the house for a week, disrupting my sleep even more, and stealing my toothpaste and soap, but the night they finally left, I wished they never did; and I would have gladly given them a gallon of toothpaste if their lives depended on it. On the eighth month, one of my best friends from home spent a night with me, and told me she’d never understand why I would live in such a lonely part in this side of the world. She was right.

On the tenth month, I finally left. And couldn’t be any happier.

 

Not For Sale September 21, 2007

Filed under: Sarcasm,Women — Aimee @ 9:55 am
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(This is my article that the Philippine Daily Inquirer published in their Young Blood column on June 19, 2003. I hope I don’t sound too feminist here because really, I am not in that extreme. I’m just exasperated with women who view themselves as mere extensions of the men in their lives, nothing more)

 

 

It occurred to me only recently that a good number of people honestly believe all women in this age are out to “sell” themselves to men. But I think these people make little sense.

For starters, there is the popular idea that women dress well and strive to look good for the sake of men. It is believed unthinkingly that the only reason a woman would prefer to look at least half-decent is simply to put herself on “sale” in the “market” of men. I have even heard one guy declare that women dress up because it serves one purpose: flirting. It is like saying that in choosing which dress to put on, a woman’s uppermost concern is how the male specie would react to it, regardless of whether she personally likes it or not. It is the same as saying that without the “approval” of the opposite sex, a woman is a total failure. It is as if women go through their daily routines with a sign on their backs reading: “Heck, buy me and take me home. I am for sale.”

Why is it that even some women say they are here to “sell” themselves? Perhaps it is because they are convinced everyone is in a chase, and the game ends once a man finally takes notice, starts a courtship, and in due course gets to “buy” her. Then once the game is done, women can stop taking care of themselves and be content being baduy and losyang.

Does having a relationship with a man mean that the woman can opt to be pabaya since she is no longer in the “market”? Any broad-minded would disagree. For why can’t a woman do something for herself and herself alone?

I know women do not live to “sell” themselves or whatever “goods” they might have. Rather, they are here to prove themselves, to explore their strengths and thereby improve gracefully over time.

A woman should do something not because some other entity impels her to do it but because her heart is set on doing it. For instance, a ballerina performs on stage not to elicit appreciation and applause from the men but to show everyone in the audience, both female and male, that she is more than flesh and bone but above all else, an artist. A female athlete strives to win not to impress the opposite sex but because as a woman, she gets a deep sense of fulfillment from her efforts. In the same way, a woman who dresses well, walks with poise and speaks with quality should do so not because she wants to sell herself to the eager customers but because she wants to prove that in a male-dominated society she can be their equal or even better.

Of course, there is a big gap between how a woman should be and how some of them actually are. Some of us actually give women a bad name by deliberately behaving indecently. There are those who quite literally put themselves on sale, believing that doing so is their solitary function in life. I have seen some women go to the extent of trading their respectability for the pleasure of having male company. There are females who choose to wear black thongs with flimsy white pants, while traipsing the walkways of universities or even hearing Sunday Mass, strutting their stuff before a wide eyed world. Isn’t this a vulgar invitation to the males?

Call me old-fashioned, but I think I have better things to do than to bare a lot of skin. Well, these women can always offer excuses but whether the male audience is buying them remains a big question. Any ordinary male perception would simply conclude that the female is showcasing herself in a way that invites some unseemly reactions.

But this type of women, who go beyond the bounds of propriety, are a tiny minority. So it is unfair to regard women as objects of trade. They are more than cost-effective merchandise. Men cannot buy them and consequently own them. Anything that is for sale eventually leads to ownership by the buyer. If this were the case with women, then they are no better than the next Playboy issue or some fancy sports car that any man would love to own and brag about.

There are times when women are better off listening to themselves than listening to everything that men have to say. An overprotective boyfriend is not worth keeping if he destroys his girlfriend’s individuality. A possessive husband is worth leaving when he wants to turn his wife into a miserable marionette. In such cases, women are better off living out their own dreams. In fact, they would be better off trying to please themselves first. It may be a cliché, but it is true that a woman should not need a man to complete her; rather a woman needs a man to complement her.

Still, there is some truth to the supposition that women try to look good to attract men. It would be hypocrisy for women to say that they don’t welcome male attention. The way a woman carries herself reflects her personality. In our society and age, a personable appearance is a necessity. But women should do something not just because they want to draw the attention of men. A woman should do something because she wants it for herself, because it’s her way of gaining authentic self-esteem and completion.

A woman should know her strengths, and selling herself is not one of them.

 

 

Happiness in Calories September 19, 2007

Filed under: Food — Aimee @ 5:41 am
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photo courtesy of womansday.com

I am saddened by the truth that nowadays, I can’t even say pointblank what my favorite food is. It has always been my belief that food plays a huge role in altering the human mood, as when a piece of good chocolate can almost instantly make me smile, after an episode of frenzied emotion. So it gives me great misery, however that it is a willful misery, depriving myself of my favorite foodstuffs, on account of all these info overload on healthy-eating, the big C, antioxidants, free radicals, blah blah. BLAH.

Why is it that I am always told ( yes, I care to listen) that eating too much of my favorite grain chips will give me kidney problems in the future, no matter that the packet is labeled “whole grain”, because the chips owe their kicking flavor to MSG? Since high school I have been drinking coffee, and have subsequently been loving it, but I have limited myself to not more than two cups per day, ever since that ridiculous afternoon when I complained of hyperventilation, sweaty palms, and gastric pains. I adore chocolate, especially the dark variety (for me, the darker, the better), but my Mom is adamant in reminding me that it was diabetes that took my father’s life six years ago, and that chocolates sold anywhere has enough sugar in it, otherwise they wouldn’t be marketable or categorized as a dessert. Frozen delights are second on my list after chocolate, but because of the perennial weight issue (pants that get too tight, tops that barely skim the waist, and bras that wouldn’t close properly), I simply cannot have more than the frustrating single serving.

Having gone to the grocery this week past, I was tempted to try out some yogurt instead, but for some funny reason, I was suddenly attacked by guilt. How in the world can I betray ice cream, unhealthy calories and all, when it had comforted me during my tumultuous college days, and had kept me sane throughout all those hellish summer afternoons?

Mayonnaise and Thousand Island have always been my favorite dressings, but after realizing that a big dollop heaps about 110 calories, I had been meaning to try out mustard instead. While pasta is my preferred comfort food next to any rice dish, I have to watch myself whenever I take a second helping of lasagna or my mushroom penne rigate, because, with the 400 calories that a slice of lasagna harbors secretly, that would mean giving up that gooey good-old brownie for dessert.

Doughnuts, choco-chip cookies, wafers, and all the baked goodies in the world – all these are plumped up with trans fats. And according to studies, frequent consumption of these trans fats increases one’s risks for coronary heart disease, cancer, obesity, liver dysfunction, and even fertility in women! So, so if I want babies in the future, I should think twice about making my sweet taste buds happy. :s

Oh, the complications of healthy eating! What rhapsodies a chocolate can elicit from the depressed! Indeed, the road to obesity is paved with very good intentions.

Most days now, my diet consists of fish, sautéed gulay, and even the occasional beef and pork. As for fruits, I love mangosteen, strawberries, and ripe mangoes. I still eat chocolate, but have given up stacking my little glass containers with those devilishly addictive brown stuff. I still drink coffee, and sometimes buy myself a small pack of those multi-grain chips at the nearby sari-sari store. I still have my pasta and taco takeouts but I know I can’t have it more than once per week. I have not been gaining weight; thank heavens, as I have been wont to think too much before eating anything.

However, I can’t say I am happier now than those days of many years ago, when I could devour mounds and mounds of mocha ice cream topped with thick chocolate shavings, gulp a tall glass of soda, and never count calories, never be guilt-stricken, never gain a pound.

 

The Haunted Dreamer September 18, 2007

Filed under: Saccharine thoughts — Aimee @ 5:09 am
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I am currently loving Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. I don’t really know, but the song just speaks to me. It’s actually a harsh retelling of what I should be doing with my life right now, but because of it’s nice, kind-of-positive tune, it doesn’t sound as harsh as I have personally deemed it to be. I should know because I’m always staring at a blank page, and actually my bedroom windows are kinda dirty (don’t tell my mom), I just seem to have too many inhibitions for comfort, and really, as much as I love the sound of the rain, and the romantic, subdued atmosphere it brings, I hate getting caught up in it without an umbrella ( ask my SO; read: significant other)!

So, so. the song is simply, albeit pointedly, telling me, to “Start conquering the world right this very second, because for all its breadth and height, you’ll need more than a few lifetimes to actually get to do it!!!!!” But then again, I go back to reassuring my ego, and that yes, little baby steps will do for now, little baby steps that shall soon grow into monumental adult steps, very very soon. I know time is running fast, and honestly, I can’t convince myself that I love my job in this boring insurance agency, and probably never will unless they give me a marketing and/ or writing assignment, plus a hefty paycheck.

But, after hibernating for so long, I’m afraid I no longer realize what I’m actually good at. I love the English language, and I love reading (though work constraints don’t always allow me to do it very often), and I love observing people, but I don’t fancy myself a good writer. I have not even written anything substantial in the past six months, and am easily distracted by so many things at once: a ringing cellphone, office clients, curious apprentices, my indispensable S.O., late night TV shows, Youtube, eeetceeteeerrra. I love to cook, I love to bake, I love staying in the kitchen, but I still don’t know if I will ever make a career out of it, unless I take a decent culinary course, or have enough money to put up my own business. I am fond of little kids; learning their language is amazingly easy for me, and have been toying around with the alternative of teaching preschool as a profession. But. But because I am a management graduate, I have to take up several units of Education courses and pass the LET exams before I can teach in a primary school.

Which then brings us back to my day job as an office clerk/ desk officer/ remittance poster/ appprentice trainer/ documents filer in a small office I share with obnoxiously loud males. While I don’t plan this to be my lifetime gumption, I have come to love Bukidnon and its picturesque valleys and mountains, and the gentle, easy ways of its people. I can even imagine a life here — a nice white picket fence house, me typing on a laptop in my room (writing, I imagine), a hubby whipping me up my fave pasta, opening a quaint cafe, and weekly travels to the city, monthly travels over the country and yearly or bi-yearly travels around the globe.

There is yet too much in my life, however that’s unwritten, as Ms. Bedingfield goes, and if I don’t discover how to blot ink on these immaculate pages, I shall forever be haunted by the lost possibilty of conquering this world, breadth by breadth, height by height.

 

The Saddest Lullaby September 15, 2007

Filed under: Poetry — Aimee @ 5:21 pm
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The Saddest Lullaby

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What would it be like to die?

I stared at the bottled fetus
And spoke silently
To the shadows cowering
Behind dusty shelves
Of dry animal bones.

I peered closer and saw
The wrinkled mass of skin
That bound together
A lifeless mass of flesh.

It looked as if it had survived
A century, only to die without
Ever growing an inch.

What would it feel like to die
Without having been born
And to float aimlessly
In such a cramped space?

I could almost hear an answer
In a voice stifled in regret,
Whispering as in a lullaby

A low, far-away, sad song.

I moved closer and realized
The voice was my own.