04 February 2017


Among my favorite pieces of poetry, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, is the most meaningful for me. I consider it a sort of concise instructional manual on how to live.  Interestingly, I first began to fully appreciate it when I spent a summer at my Aunt's house in L.A. before I began high school because it was posted in her bathroom. Yes, bathroom...so that when you sit on the toilet, it's right in front of you. I kid you not. While I have linked Desiderata above, I would like to share my favorite sections:

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence...

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story...

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans...

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time...
...everywhere life is full of heroism...

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither by cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass...

Take kindly the counsel of the years...
...do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness...

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here...

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be...

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world..."

I am grateful to be here.

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25 January 2017

fascinating sophistication


I have been enjoying looking at images of old Hollywood style and watching vintage lifestyle videos such as those by Lilly Jarlsson. Apart from the superficial, I think what I find appealing about the early to late 1900s is the culture of propriety and unwritten social protocols. Going back to the superficial, I particularly like the fashion. Especially in the 40s and 50s when there was an over-all air of neatness and attention to detail.  

I still see the essence of vintage glamour in contemporary designers. Being Filipino, I'd like to laud Monique Lhuillier, Amina Aranaz, and my former high school classmate Rosanna Ocampo for creating sophisticated pieces which are timeless. Monique, Amina, and Rosanna have no idea I've posted about them--hah. 

Of course, my day-to-day life requires a sort of utilitarian dress sense. I'm sure many would agree that reading fashion magazines is mostly for entertainment--or maybe getting ideas here and there--whatever fits one's lifestyle.  We do not need to wear clothes that are impractical or expensive. I remember my late mother who was always lauded about her fashion sense. She was a very pragmatic woman and is very thrifty especially since she wasn't from a wealthy upbringing. I suppose it was the way she carried herself--plus the fact that she was just plain beautiful (inside and out). 

So style is both external plus a certain kind of bearing. A grace that would be difficult to manufacture--somewhat borne out of one's experiences. Like my mother who was the proverbial calm duck on the surface but paddled like a beast.   

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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.