24 January 2017


In the Philippines, utang ng loob is obligatory.  When one receives a gift or favor from someone else, the beneficiary is obliged to either return the favor or be subservient to the benefactor. As in the case of a homeless person being given shelter by another.  In many circumstances, many people take advantage of this debt of gratitude by using it as a means of exploitation.  Examples include Cinderella, Sarah the Little Princess, or when someone owes someone else.  But I suppose the worst case would be child labor or any form of slavery.  Especially when it isn't the debtor who actually pays, but someone else in place of. 

I'm hoping to find rainbows-unicorns-we-all-live-in-a-yellow-submarine inspiration to erase all this melancholia. Darn it hormones.

How about we change the topic and appreciate the resemblance between Justin Trudeau and Prince Eric? Where's Sebastian the crab and his back up singers?

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21 January 2017

happy to entertain (haiku)

External jubilation
Caused by one's demise
Schadenfreude, oh schadenfreude 

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20 January 2017

check yourself

And because I just posted the saying above--considering my past posts about humility--it goes to show how I completely lack this virtue. So now, how to achieve humility...do what needs to be done and disregard any thought or desire to be above any situation. That's hard, friends. Very hard.


13 January 2017

To be untethered

I chanced upon a late night TV documentary about Norwegian history and the narrator discussed The Scream.  While this painting has been parodied as a symbol of horror, the artist was inspired to create it after a mundane walk with some friends. Edvard Munch witnessed a red sunset and he was filled with melancholy like a deafening scream from nature while his companions continued on their way. It seems as if he became disconnected from reality.  I understand that predicament in a sense that I can be consumed by angst especially when at a low point.  I'm sure everyone experiences the same situation, except that not everyone bothers to recognize that okay, I'm angst-filled right now or I am filled with melancholy. A normal person would be prompted to mask or bury that feeling by deliberately distracting him/herself--work, entertainment, social media, retail therapy...

I realized that I just removed myself from the normal category. Abnormal? Less ordinary? Philosopher-wannabe? Over-thinker? Self-centered? Crazy? Odd? 

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07 January 2017

the joys of domestic life and alternative careers

The scene above is from the movie Julie and Julia where Meryll Streep played Julia child (from this 2009 Time article http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1914995,00.html#).  A few posts ago, I've dreamt of being a sort of Nigella Lawson or maybe a super Martha Stewart...maybe even a humble mother from Sub-Saharan Africa. I know--why would one ever dream that. My train of thought is focused on the complex nature of 24/7 lifetime employment, that is, a housewife.  In at least 1/3 of my pregnancies, the strings of the universe have whispered that I may be destined for something noble and challenging. It's a truly altruistic profession, isn't it? Your target market and source of fulfillment are the same people, while outsiders (even kin) consider you lowly, unintelligible, and incapable of greater things. I am not a housewife, but I can relate to the prejudice that housewives experience. Perhaps, it's a woman thing. A woman can't drive, a woman isn't physically strong enough, a woman can't be as good as a man in politics, science, technology, math, engineering...etc etc. 

And you as a woman can only sigh a thousand sighs after exhausting all the vindictive scenarios you can come up with in your allegedly less intelligent mind. 

*** Out-of-time rice to be paired with anything (my husband's recipe--he is the exception to my hasty generalization that most men are misogynists): On day old rice, put an appropraite amount of your preferred butter/margarine (we like Becel's margarine with olive oil), a dash of garlic powder, some ground black pepper (a little salt too if you like but we don't do that for this recipe). Microwave for about a minute or so. Serve with any leftover meat or fish with vegetables. ***


06 January 2017

can't wake up from the oppression

...and another writes the play and controls the stage...and all we can do is weep in hopelessness. Of course, there is the option of a restart and repetitive rewind of the earlier better times and better climes.

John Donne is my current muse. 


17 December 2016

I'm the Anti-Scrooge

Most of my December posts are odes to how much I love the holidays. That still remains to be a fact. It may be the positive version of a psychosomatic thing...an anti-psychosomatic-but-within-the-realm-of-mind-and-body-connection situation. Spread the happy energy.  As an ending to this exhortation, I will semi-quote a sermon by a Rev. Fr. Ed last week:

We might consider putting on our Christmas list the following--
To your enemy, forgiveness;
To your opponent, tolerance;
To a friend, your heart;
To a child, a good example;
To yourself--respect. 

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11 December 2016

universal language

My husband and I had the rare opportunity to be kids-free for a day to do Christmas errands. We didn't realize that we weren't on our Christmas list and so I brought up if we should get ourselves anything. Truth be told, we both don't care much about getting presents. We care more about having the luxury of time to do what we'd like to do. 

While on the way north where my in-laws reside (kids were there), I listened to my iShuffle and suddenly missed our 90s band phase. It was 'Drive' by Incubus that made me remove an earbud which I shoved onto my husband's ear and told him 'gusto ko kapain ito' (I'd like to figure out how to play this). Wouldn't it be nice to have an electric guitar, electric bass, and amplifiers to jam with? My husband said that he misses tinkering with electronics more than jamming. Oh well.

We were both part of bands in high school. My husband's pseudo-metal band was called Spagnum Core, which was inspired by a sanitary napkin commercial back then--disconcerting name. It was his motorcycling rocker-but-an-altar-boy phase. I was in a band called The Culprits and we were mostly grungy/alternative. I remember borrowing my brother-in-law's black electric guitar and my husband's electric bass (and their jacks) for my junior high variety show where my band played 'Be with You' by The Cranberries and 'As Long As It Matters' by the Gin Blossoms. [Fun fact: my husband, his brother, and I met at a youth group]

A huge part of my teenage life involved playing music. While I was classically trained in piano, the guitar will always have a special place in that part of my brain in charge of 'feel good' sensations. Like that poem that Tom Hiddleston read--'if music be the food of love'...it probably is. 

Well, music is art and as Ayn Rand stated in her book The Romantic Manifesto (linked on my recommended books on the right side of this blog), 'the goal of art is art itself.' It's not just about communicating one's reality, but simply concretizing it. 

We'll have to settle with our acoustic guitar for now. Maybe I should get a capo or a few picks--we'll see--it's not urgent. 


09 December 2016


Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. That Mary was conceived as full of grace by her mother Anne. I had the fortunate opportunity to participate in a Redemptorist service today where 10 priests presided. The designated choreographer as well as the main presider complimented me on my name. The parish priest's mother, who had just passed, was named Anna. Anna means full of grace. I wish I were full of grace. 

I'm sure at least another person has hoped to have grace--whether grace in terms of sophistication or in the spiritual sense. Is purity of mind, body, and soul even attainable? Of course, we want to separate that kind of purity to the ignorance-is-bliss sort. Pure but not naive, I always say. It's a delicate balance.   



08 December 2016

Resolve to avoid idle speculation

"...we are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. The difficulty is to detach the framework of fact -- of absolute undeniable fact -- from the embellishments of theorists and reporters." Sherlock Holmes (Silver Blaze)

I have posted about idle speculation in the past. My father introduced me to that concept (to steer clear of it) as a teen so that I could maintain a state of clarity amidst the fogginess of circumstances or when there is some semblance of human machination going on. I still succumb to it--it's almost instinctual. But the conscious effort of "early prevention and prompt treatment" seems to help. How? By allowing speculations to appear in the head followed by a mental picture of a giant eraser that abruptly and vigorously obliterates those speculations. Then a jaded state. Disengagement. Dusting off one's hands. Mission accomplished.