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.

Officially an Aunt… Almost January 14, 2011

Filed under: Life,Love — Aimee @ 2:50 pm
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adorable booties from dreamstime.com

~~~~~

Anytime now, I’ll officially be an Auntie. In a few hours Rigaux/Rigo Matteo (I vote for Rigo, though my brother is all for the more complicated, French Rigaux), my younger brother’s firstborn will be greeting this world all pink-faced and slimy. Not that I’ll be around during the delivery, but you know how new born babies are when they gasp for air for the very first time: faces all crunched up, fists closed tightly, their toothless mouths a gaping hole. At least that’s how I see them on TV and in pictures and on YouTube.

But I bet Matteo is going to be really, really, handsome. And smart. And charming. And a future heart breaker. (See, I’m taking this “Auntie” role very, very seriously.) I can’t wait to read stories to him, show him his first constellation, or give him my first lecture on how to treat girls properly. And how to break their hearts ever so gently, smartly, so that they end up thanking him in the end.

For Matteo, my love, I have these wishes for you:

1. That you will be blessed with excellent health and grow up to be a smart, precocious little boy.

2. That you will choose a sport and strive to be good at it.

3. That you will be excellent both in Math and in English.

4. That you will love books.

5. That you will follow your heart and your dreams and your happiness.

6. That you will respect and love your Mom and Dad at all times.

7. That you will be a responsible, loving sibling, son, friend, boyfriend, husband, citizen, colleague, team player.

8. That you will allow your Auntie Ai and Auntie Tics to spoil you, without making you rotten.

9. That you will know God and understand your faith and discover that in the end, only love and kindness really matter.

I love you, Matteo. I hope WordPress will still be around 18 or 20 years from now so you can read this post, written on the eve of your birthday.

🙂

Happy birthday, sweetie.

~~~~~

Update:

My brother has decided on Rigaux. Oh, well. The parent always gets to have the last say. :-p

 

Freak Accident on a Friday January 9, 2011

Filed under: confessions,Life,Women — Aimee @ 3:19 am
Tags: , , , , ,

AndroidHeel from Testfreaks.com

Freak accidents are the scariest. Especially one that had you stepping into the dull end of a bamboo skewer so that the sharp, deadly end pierces into your right foot as you take an unknowing step forward. Then a sharp, shooting pain runs from your foot to your knee and you get a sudden headache in all of five seconds, you just want to crumple on the ground and cry.

So that’s what happened to me on a Friday, two days ago, as I was rushing for first Friday Mass from the park to the cathedral. And the foolish me had been to confident to presume that bamboo sticks are just bamboo sticks, and well, I didn’t pierce myself with some rusty metal, did I? So all I did was to clean the mess with some tissue I found in my purse until only a small puncture wound was visible. Some minutes later I washed the outer areas of the wound with ethyl alcohol and proceeded to visit a friend, who’s just undergone surgery at the hospital and laughed with other visiting friends, as if I’ve not a single care in the world.

As I was already heading home though, the pain in my foot got more excruciating by the second. So much so that I could barely walk from the block leading to our house. And when I got home and Mom found out I had not taken myself to the hospital (I did go to the hospital, stupid me!) for first aid, I finally understood the gravity of the situation. I almost passed out from the pain and begged to be taken to the ER not five minutes after having arrived home.

So that’s the story of my freak accident and my stupidity. Some of the most delicious food on the planet are cooked or served on bamboo skewers – kebabs, barbecues, grilled chicken, grilled plantains with butter and sugar, fried sweet potatoes, juicy hot dogs! I even used to play with these seemingly harmless things in my childhood! And then I step into one and hurt myself so bad, I can’t imagine eating spicy barbecue ever again.

So this serves as a word of caution to everyone. If you get pierced by a bamboo stick anywhere, especially one that’s filthy and all, go to the ER immediately for antibiotics and anti-tetanus shots, if you haven’t had any. Don’t be stupid or presumptuous. The pain is almost unbearable and for my women folks, even worse than your worst day of dysmenorrhea (I hope that paints a clear enough picture).

I hope and pray my foot gets better. I look forward to wearing my favorite platforms and sneakers and high heels again.

🙂

 

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.

~~~~~

~~~~~

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!

 

Ra-ra-ra-ra-Raj! August 24, 2010

Filed under: Women — Aimee @ 9:06 am
Tags: , , ,

the glorious Venus Raj

~~~~~~~~~~

Hooray for Miss Venus Raj, the Philippines’ bet, who nailed the 4th spot for this year’s Miss Universe pageant, held at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.

After the heartbreaking episode on August 23, 2010, just one day before, when a tourist bus carrying HK nationals was held hostage while traversing the Quirino grandstand in Manila by a deranged former policeman, this surprising turn of events on the Miss Universe stage has somehow balanced things a bit.

Of course, everyone in this country is still recuperating after the hostage-taking drama and everyone is agitated thinking how the Philippine tourism is going to take care of itself after such a horrifying scare, but Venus Raj almost taking home the Miss Universe crown offered some sort of respite.

Fourth place is not bad you know, especially after beating 79 other contestants. Raj certainly has come a long way from her humble home in Bicol province, and her taking home the fourth place among a bevy of statuesque and highly-cultured gorgeous women is already a feat in itself.

And yeah, we should all get off our high horse. Her final answer for certain did not blow the judges away, and may very well have cost her the crown, but I’d like to think she did the best she could.  Aren’t we, Filipinas, all like that? Doing our best under any circumstance. Resilience, flexibility, strength.

So, yay for Venus Raj! Another Filipina on the universe stage, and well, there is always a next time for that much coveted diamond and ruby encrusted crown! 🙂

 

A Plea from My Heart to Yours October 2, 2009

Filed under: Events,Mortality stuff,Weather — Aimee @ 3:58 am
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heartbroken-clouds-rain-image

There has been nothing worth writing these days. I haven’t written in this blog for weeks. Caught up in the haste of trying to make a living and trying to live a life, I had no time left for creative pursuits. But now I have a reason to write and perhaps even to make a simple plea.

After typhoon Ketsana pummeled Manila, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, and Rizal and left thousands of families homeless, penniless, starving, and lost, it’s difficult putting up an indifferent countenance, pretending as if nothing is wrong with this country.  And now, typhoon Parma is already heading toward the same ravaged cities and municipalities, just when many of the homes are still submerged in murky flood waters. It’s disheartening, yes, but with the number of Filipinos helping each other out, it’s easy to be hopeful despite all the loss.

If you are reading this post, and if you are a kababayan, please don’t forget to offer your prayers, and maybe a bit of the contents of your wallet too. You can donate in cash or in kind– bottled water, powdered milk, noodles, dried beans, rice, and even extra clothes.  I have heard that SM is willing to ship grocery donations to Manila, so if you are in the provinces, you can shop for groceries and ask for SM to transport your donated goods. Aboitiz and Negros Navigation offices are also willing to accept donations.

If you are somewhere near Manila and its neighboring cities, and you have some time to kill, don’t hesitate to volunteer at relief centers and do what little you can to help. No, we don’t need to do great things, we are only asked to do small things with great love.

And if you have some extra cash to spare, please feel free to make cash donations and pledges. If you can put off buying that pair of shoes for another payday and give the money as a donation, may you be blessed a thousandfold. The collective sum can be used to feed more people should this recent typhoon intensify and should relief goods begin to run out. And if there is anything left, the cash donations will be used for the rehabilitation of villages and the reconstruction of homes and buildings ravaged by the catastrophe.

The environment needs your help, too. Accordingly, clogged waterways and garbage-ridden river ways have contributed to the heavy flooding and may very well be the reason why some of the villages in Pasig and Rizal have remained submerged in water, more than six days after last Saturday’s typhoon. If you have the time, do some research about proper waste segregation, garbage disposal, and environment conservation. It is never too late to start our awareness on the environment. The time is NOW.

Lastly, please don’t forget to pray. Pray even during odd times, and ask that the people who suffer be given enough strength to endure everything — loss of lives, loss of loves, loss of living. Go to Church and light a candle for those who are hungry, cold, disoriented, and those who have started to give up. If you are a practising Catholic, please pray the rosary for the whole month of October.  And to the rest who are free spirits, ask your God, whoever you conceive him to be, to heal this land and its people.

We can always help. 🙂

 

Little Bandits October 23, 2007

Filed under: Faves,Fleeting childhood stories — Aimee @ 7:43 am
Tags: ,

The Days of the Cloth Diaper :p

I can’t say I had a perfect childhood, but mine was a happy one. As far as I recall, my siblings and I traveled to more expansive spaces using our imagination, even when we were never allowed to venture out of our house without adult supervision. Our favorite activities therefore took place nowhere else but inside our property; but we were permitted to play house, tear up leaves and stems from Mom’s garden for make-believe “culinary” sessions, fashion mud and sand cakes, skip rope and play piko, place newborn kittens in a wicker basket and pretend we were selling them, dig a hole in one corner of our lawn to make room for a shallow “swimming pool” for barbie dolls, and mess the kitchen to make chocolate ice cubes out of frozen Ovaltine and milk.

Because children are famous for their weird imaginations, I’d usually pretend I was some successful professional living in her luxurious apartment each time a play-house session was in order, and my sister would fancy herself a store cashier, using our broken piano as her cash register. My brother meanwhile would either be a bus driver (the living room sofa was the bus), a debt collector, an annoying messenger from the electric company, or anyone annoying, period.

Pops and Mom were often away because of work, so whenever school was out, the three of us would be locked inside the house and forbidden to play outside until Madame mother would return home between four and five in the afternoon. We were always instructed to take naps after lunch, wake up at three, and watch cartoons while having our merienda. We weren’t allowed to leave the house and play with the neighbors’ kids until after Madame mother gets home. But we were too much of a restless bunch to think that a nap would do us any good. By the time we had the house to ourselves (Mom would leave soon after we’d feigned sleep), we were already plotting the roles we wanted to play that day. If I remember correctly, some days I would be a schoolteacher, and other days I would be some sort of Muslim princess, draped in a malong and wearing long strands of plastic pearls. On really boring days I would pretend to be sick or even dying, in a hospital perhaps, where I am immobile and almost out of breath from the makeshift oxygen tubes stuck into my nostrils (little beverage straws that I’ve managed to breathe into), and “dextrose” needles that keep pricking me  (a plastic bottle ingeniously turned upside down and hung just beside the window jamb, taped with a pair of long threads at the end of which two needles were attached and taped again onto my wrist). My younger sister would play nurse, wear  a white shirt and white jogging pants, carry a clipboard and shiny ball pen salvaged from my father’s old office stuff, and deliver me a small cup filled with white candies for my medication. My younger brother at that point would either be a family visitor, or someone who did not care at all if anyone in the house was dying because he was busy with some other little schemes all by himself.

Sometimes, if we were feeling more adventurous, we would plead with Madame mother to allow us out of the house after our naps. And some days she would be generous and permit us out, but only with the condition that we’d remain as fresh-smelling as the time she’d left us.  We’d troop straight away to the empty lot facing our house, and where the rest of the neighbors’ kids busy themselves with their usual tricks. One of those summers I finally learned to ride a bicycle. For quite some time I have even mastered bicycle-riding with only one hand, until I hurt myself so grotesquely that I could not stand straight naked in front of my mother for weeks.

We also participated in pointless fights with the other kids, fights that usually involve nothing more than name calling, territorial disputes, and nonsensical kiddie gossip. Being the cry baby that I was, I would go home crying sometimes, but that would not deter me from my resentful machinations. One time, a little kid from the other group did not allow me access on their part of the street while I was on my bike, and when she remained undaunted by my threats of squashing her with my “wheels”, I delivered on my threat without any further ceremony – I ran her over with my bicycle, and left her bawling and lying on her pathetic side on the ground. I immediately regretted what I had done, but she dared me, hasn’t she? She dared me; I took it, and that was it.

We would often look for signs of Mom up the street while we were playing and the moment we spotted her walking toward the house, the three of us would scamper home, prudishly sit on the sofa all sweaty and grimy, and give our poor mother an apologizing look. She would reproach us for being dirty and reeking of earth, but we would simply look at each other with foolish smiles, and start finger pointing. This was how the day would usually end: we would take our afternoon baths, wait until Pops got home from the office, and eavesdrop a bit on his conversations with Mom, the topics we couldn’t care less about. All we ever cared about were play houses, bicycles, street fights, endless running and playing catch; and we dreamed of all these too, perhaps in the darkest, deepest parts of our sleep.

I was unlucky to get my first period after a few summers, and soon I was no longer allowed to participate in these childish games; behave like a proper lady I must. Where was the justice in my young life, when I was no more than eleven then? How I resented my mother for all her rebukes, and how I yearned to skip rope and ride a bicycle as I used to. Truthfully, I never wanted my childhood to end, never appreciated my budding adolescence. I was miserable for a long time, praying for that day when my mother would assure me that my menstruation had stopped for good and that I can finally go back to my sweet, carefree, messy, tomboyish ways.

Fast forward to fifteen or so years later and the three of us will have finally earned our university degrees on time, gotten ourselves jobs, and lived our lives as any independent-earning twenty-something would. Amusingly, my sister is now living out one of  her favorite childhood roles; she works as one of the tellers in a big private bank, handling money as she had done many summers ago on her make-believe cash register. My brother works in a private bank as an accounting assistant and I am just thankful he did not turn out to be the bus driver or annoying collector of our play-house afternoons, although I have nothing against bus drivers or collectors, really.

Well, I’m still far from the successful professional who lives in a luxurious apartment, but I do have plans of getting there very, very soon :p.   I know I can’t be crowned a Muslim princess in one of the far-off islands of my native Mindanao unless I marry a Muslim blue-blood, but thank heavens my health is doing fine, which means I am not about to die (knock on wood) in a freaking hospital, or freaking anywhere, either.

 

Eerie Enchantment September 23, 2007

Filed under: Career Chronicles — Aimee @ 8:20 am
Tags: ,

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.