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.

The Year That Was December 22, 2010

Years from now, if I had to look back on a particular year in my life I will definitely find 2010 to be one of the most remarkable. Not because I’ve spent this year traveling (which I really intend to do very soon) or that I’ve finally come home to my soul mate (a.k.a fallen in love, for good :p) or that I’ve finally found my one place under the sun.

Let’s just say that for this year alone, I’ve learned everything I should have and could have ever learned in the past 27 years or so.  Not everything of course; I know the lessons will never stop coming, but for this year, I know that I have gained more than I have lost. And I believe with my whole heart that I will gain back everything that I may have lost in the past.

First, let me tell you about my control issues. I’m a planner, the most fastidious you may have ever seen. I’m fond of lists too, and in my mind I used to have my future all planned out. Grocery lists, things-to-do lists, things-to-shop-for lists,  marriage plans, vacation lists, list, list, list, list. I plan not merely for the sake of organizing, but more on being able to retain my control. No planner is ever without a list and I’m the planner queen of all planner queens.

I demand control in almost anything and if I don’t get it, well you HAD TO give it to me. Many people who love me know this. And this is why they spend half their time loving me and half their time hating me. Me and my affinity for control and everything that comes with it.

But then I realize that control is selfishness. I was a fool to realize that I control anything or anyone. Yes, I can plan, I can list, I can look forward to a future that isn’t here yet, but I cannot control anything. If it comes, it comes. If not, then why should I lose sleep over it? Why should we sleep over things that are not meant to be? I’ve been juvenile and I’ve been selfish and this year I decided to grow up or at least try to.

I don’t know whether I have gotten rid of all my control issues, but what I’m sure of is that I’ve stopped asking questions. And I’ve stopped demanding the answers right here and right now. I’ve stopped wondering why there are so many questions, or why some things are and some things aren’t.

I’ve finally learned what faith is all about.

I look back on my life and now see all the blessings I’d been given and up until now I get teary-eyed thinking about how ungrateful I had been. No, not teary-eyed, I bawl my eyes out. Seriously. The very reason for my unhappiness had been my ungratefulness. And pride. And for this year, I’ve finally decided to throw them into the shredder and let go.

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Immediately after celebrating the New Year festivities in January of this year, I went on a hiking trip with my brother and his male friend, after having visited about seven or eight churches within the city. My brother then had a special petition for the heavens, but I joined them for a completely different reason. I wanted to pray for a meaningful year, I wanted to offer my thank-yous, and I wanted inner peace. The hiking trip had been the last of our sojourn, and to get to a hilly chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe, we had to traverse a long stream about eighteen times or nine times back and forth. So it was a short hike for a few minutes and then a battle with the currents for longer minutes. We were wet thigh-high, and we had to carry wooden sticks to keep our balance. The small chapel was located on a hilly area, and at the distance you can make out the mountains and some horses and the thick forest. It was a quiet place for meditation and prayer and I remember lighting a few candles as I whispered my gratitude and contrition, my pain and my hopes.

At that time, I wanted to do something to mark out the new year, I wanted to greet another year by doing something concrete about my spirituality. And now that the year is about to draw to a close, I could not have picked a better way to embrace 2010, and for the coming year, I expect to mark out its beginning by doing the same thing. Visit churches, pray, hike, traverse rivers, light candles, and pray.

Because really, we are not here to control anything, or to ask questions, or to demand the answers. We only do the best that we can, nothing more. We can only offer thanks to a Master and a Creator who has designed this universe, this world so beautifully and skillfully that even the brightest minds find themselves perplexed and asking even more questions.

And yes, we are here to love. To love and love and love. To love everyone without exception, to love without ceasing, to love without pride, and to love without shame.

After all, we get what we give. And if only everyone gave out love, all the world would have love.

🙂

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

 

Currently Reading… September 20, 2010

Filed under: books — Aimee @ 12:59 am
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… Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. Picked this up a few months ago but it’s taking me forever to finish. Not that I don’t like the book, (I actually love it), but reading this book makes me wonder what the heck am I doing with my life. Frances Mayes is a writer, a gourmet cook, a travel writer, and at the time of the writing of this book, chronicling her love for Tuscany, Italy and the restoration of an old 3-story stone house, works for a prestigious American University. This girl has everything I love!

So I’m savoring each page, sometimes days at a time, certain in my heart that one day I’ll be traveling the hills of Tuscany and basking in its glorious sun. Or if that is just wishful thinking, at least I will have to pursue my love for writing, spend more time in the kitchen (I still need to learn how to make a 2-layer cake with chocolate frosting), find some old house to restore, at some lonely, dreamy part of the country, cultivate my own garden, and cook pasta from scratch.

Not bad.

🙂

 

How to be Alone by Tanya Davis August 12, 2010

Filed under: Saccharine thoughts,Women — Aimee @ 3:04 am
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If you are at first lonely, be patient.

If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find its fine to be alone once you’re embracing it.

We can start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library, where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books, you’re not supposed to talk much anyway,  so its safe there.

There is also the gym, if you’re shy, you can hang out with yourself and mirrors, you can put headphones in.

Then there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.

And there’s prayer and meditation, no one will think less if you’re hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple. Things you may have previously avoided based on your avoid being alone principles.

The lunch counter, where you will be surrounded by “chow downers”, employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town, and they, like you, will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with “eat lunch and run”, take yourself out for dinner; a restaurant with linen and silver ware. You’re no less an intriguing a person when you are eating solo desert and cleaning the whip cream from the dish with your finger. In fact, some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies. Where it’s dark and soothing, alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.

And then take yourself out dancing, to a club where no one knows you, stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching because they’re probably not. And if they are, assume it is with best human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats, is after-all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating. And beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things. Down your back, like a book of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you. Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, they are always statues to talk to, and benches made for sitting gives strangers a shared existence if only for a minute, and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversation you get in by sitting alone on benches  might have never happened had you not been there by yourself.

Society is afraid of alone though. Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements. Like people must have problems if after awhile nobody is dating them.

But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it.

You can stand swaffed by groups and mobs or hands with your partner, look both further and farther in the endless quest for company.

But no one is in your head. And by the time you translate your thoughts an essence of them maybe lost or perhaps it is just kept. Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those sappy slogans from pre-school over to high school groaning, we’re tokens for holding the lonely at bay.

Cause if you’re happy in your head, then solitude is blessed, and alone is okay.

It’s okay if no one believes like you, all experiences are unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you, for this be relieved, keeps things interesting, life’s magic brings much, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t connected, and the community is not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it.

Take silence and respect it.

If you have an art that needs practice, stop neglecting it, if your family doesn’t get you or a religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it.

You could be in an instant surrounded if you need it.

If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it.

There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

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Can You Give Me The Rosette Nebula? February 10, 2010

Filed under: Faves,Travel — Aimee @ 12:31 pm
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The Rosette Nebula. Just breathtaking.

This is the lovely Rosette nebula, a cluster of large stars forming near the tip of a gigantic molecular cloud found in the Milky Way Galaxy. The distance of this cluster or nebula from the Earth is 5,200 light years (with one light year equivalent to a little less than 10 trillion kilometres), and its diameter is about 130 light years.

The emission of the nebula is perpetuated by the radiation coming from the young stars in the cluster, which in turn stimulate the atoms found in the nebula. This is what causes the strange but beautiful Rosette nebula, often seen clearly through binoculars and telescopes.

I could not stop staring at this photo of the Rosette nebula for about three minutes. One day I hope to witness it in all its breathtaking glory, whenever or wherever that maybe. So for this Valentine’s season, I’m dreaming of nebulas and star emissions, and far-away gaalxies, where everything is complex but beautiful.

And yes, I still have to watch Avatar for the second time and enter the lush universe of Pandora. Can’t wait to be blown away, again.

 

Why I Love A Frozen Strawberry Margarita October 7, 2009

Filed under: confessions,Food — Aimee @ 2:26 pm
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happiness in a pitcher

happiness in a pitcher

There are many reasons why I love a strawberry margarita.

One.  It has a lovely color. I love pink, but not the cheesy-schmaltzy shade of pink you see on baduy curtains and school uniforms. See that lovely coral pink concoction above? That’s the strawberry margarita from Macumba Cafe. I almost did not want to touch it! How divine.

Two. I love strawberries. I like how they look like small human hearts (not that I want to devour human hearts, no), I love how they smell (gosh, that smell! I can bathe in it!), I love how they taste sweet, tart, juicy, and crunchy (the seeds!) all at the same time.

Three. It has tequila in it. It’s margarita, so of course!

Four. It reminds me of my favorite drink way back in high school, the strawberry Fruittislush. Ah, high school! Why didn’t I flirt as much as I wanted to?

Five. The blended ice is a real thirst quencher. I always forget that I’m drinking alcohol, until I’d realize that my knees almost feel like nothing and then I’d suddenly crave for my bed.

Six. I want to name my future daughter, or my granddaughter, or my neice, Margarita. Margarita Manuelle for my future daughter, if that guy takes me into his life again and whisks me into marriage. Ah, daydreams.

Seven. It’s girly. Daintily sipping on a margarita  sounds more feminine than say, gulping down beer, don’t you think?

So how would you like some strawberry blended margarita for tonight?

 

The Pastry Chef Wannabe August 15, 2009

Filed under: confessions,Saccharine thoughts — Aimee @ 6:36 am
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Patissier_web

I wanted to be a pastry chef so much I used to make mud cakes and sand muffins on late afternoon summers  in my childhood. My mom had a garden filled with a few flowering plants and orchids, white pebbles scattered everywhere, and lots of dark loam soil. I used to tear the leaves and flowers off plants so I can chop them and pretend I was tossing a salad, but nothing excited me more than  scooping soft earth with my bare hands and placing them in little molding containers like Coca Cola bottle caps and discarded, old Tupperwares.

If I had my way, I will enroll myself at the Center for Culinary Arts, take up a diploma culinary course in New York, and learn everything about the world’s finest cuisines, from exotic Creole food to the sophisticated Italian delicacies. Nonetheless, I think my weekend baking classes is a small step in the right direction. While the classes are not really CCA-esque and the facilities are not exactly first-rate, these will suffice for now. Today we made delicious pineapple and cashew boat tarts, after the orange chiffon cake and icing of last week. Next week will be sweet dough rolls or ensaymada, topped with generous pats of butter and lots of shredded cheese.

Which got to me to thinking that perhaps pastry chefs are among the happiest folks this side of the cosmos. 🙂

 

Me Time August 14, 2009

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A week ago today, on a Friday, I treated myself to some ME time. Of course, I get to have a lot of alone time when working, especially since research and writing is basically a solitary profession. I also love my home and my bedroom, and I spend a lot of time during the evenings tinkering on anything I fancy- from a new novel to an old charm bracelet that needs a bit of polish. For anyone, these little things take up enough solitary time, devoted primarily to the fancies of the self.

But I realize, it had been quite a long time, years maybe, since I gave myself some alone time out of the house. I was constantly with friends, the boyfriend, and family every time I would sample a new resto or cafe, or when I’m out hunting for sales and bargains at malls and flea markets, or during my trips out of the city. Lately, I was always out with a bunch of people: grade school friends, bubbly girlfriends, my noisy family, etcetera, etcetera. The busy-ness of late has left me with very few indulgences, especially those which I get to do alone. I am a social creature, and I do crave the company of good friends almost all the time, but there are times when I just want to get away from everything and to witness life through my own lens.

Suddenly I found myself missing the slow days and chilly nights in Malaybalay, where I would read for hours in a quiet cafe or order my usual beef teriyaki dinner at some roadside restaurant during 8 o’clock evenings. I suddenly missed the heady, giddy thoughts of meeting that special someone at the bus stop after a few hours, and get to walk the silent streets at night while holding hands.Those have been the sweetest of times. 🙂

Pushing those romantic memories aside though, what I missed the most was my independence and anonymity. In that small provincial city, I knew only a few people. It was kind of lonely yes, but those were the most indulgent times of my life. And now that I’m back for more than a year in the city where I grew up in, I found myself missing being alone, if only for a while.

So. It was last Friday when I ventured out of the house at past 3 in the afternoon, and settled  into some neat cafe downtown, bringing along two books, one a short story compilation and the other, a cheesy, schmaltzy romantic novel. I ordered a tall glass of blended lemon iced tea and linguine pesto with lots of olive oil. I ate without hurry, read my books slowly, and paused every now and then to look at the busy streets outside the cafe glass walls. I also allowed myself  a few thoughts and daydreams every now and then, and to smile occasionally at the people who would walk in and out of the cafe.

It was already dusk when my phone rang. It was Carla, asking for directions. She was heading to my dentist’s clinic, where she had a late afternoon appointment. After answering her call, I left the cafe, walked a bit,  and did some shopping at the nearest mall. Then my phone rang again. I told Carla I was at the mall, and would she like to join me? She was happy to; my brother who is her boyfriend had some exclusive all-boys party to attend to. So we spent the rest of the hours hunting for bargains, eating fastfood, and chatting.

That ME time really did me good, and although my good friend soon joined me after a few hours, it did not really matter. There are still so many late afternoons to look forward to. Whenever I feel the sudden need to just be by myself, I can always pack with me some new books, get holed up in a fragrant cafe, and pretend for a while that I’m visiting some far off city where I don’t know anyone.