Friday, January 30, 2009

What I did Today (2)

My orchids and succulent when they were healthy.

I am tired of hauling my citrus in and out to protect them from the cold. They're still green but may not be for long if we keep having ice one day and 70 degrees the next day, like today.

I brought up old clothes in my garage to sort it out for the Philippines and Salvation Army.
My desktop is back from being repaired so I have to put this clumps of wires back where they belong.

What I did Today

I woke up at 730 this morning and didn't feel like making my coffee and also I was craving for pumpkin scones at Starbucks so I went there and read the paper. Then I came home and felt like cooking. Today is one of those rare days when I cooked and baked. Chat called wanting to take me to lunch but I already ate so we just went to Market Street for coffee and chocolate cake, her favorite.
I love hot and spicy dishes, so I always use this Shan spice mix if and when I cook - not on the bread though. I made curried pumpkin and pumpkin bread- my brain must be thinking pumpkin today. Chat hates pumpkin anything.

Monday, January 26, 2009

To Date or Not To Date

Today, this new hire at work asked me if I am "presently dating." I gave him the long version. Within a year after my husband died, I had 3 men who offered to take care of me, but one was killed and the other one died. How rude. I would have been widowed twice in that year. And the 3rd one, well, he didn't really care about me, marriage was just some bright idea that came to his head when he was evicted from his apartment - he was jobless and homeless, I wasn't.

Dating is hard work, I told him. You have to take a shower everyday and brush your teeth 3 times a day. Thank God, I am not Caucasian or I would have to shave my legs on top of that too.
You see, men at the beginning would take you out to eat and go to a movie and wash your car for you, even when it's clean. In return, you try to look good for them and act nice. I just don't have the energy to stay nice that long.

Why can't we just be ourselves right from the start? Like, men when you come to visit me, be yourself; plop yourself in my couch, prop up your feet on my coffee table and don't move at all. Except to reach out for the remote and the popcorn. And I should not worry about me in my oversize, mismatched jammies at 2 in the afternoon. And in the restaurant, I don't want to act demure and order a salad, I want to hog down on pork chops and 3 plates of rice, is that ok?

I just don't know anymore. I hear so many horror stories of my girlfriends relationships, I am weary about dating again. Last year, when some guy showed interest in me, I asked him teasingly if he was only interested in my US citizenship. He got offended and I didn't hear from him for a while, then last month he started calling again and really wanted to see me, I was beginning to believe that he's more serious than I thought. Maybe he wants to steal my kidney.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

US Airways Flight 1549

"My husband is an exemplary pilot but to me he is just a man who makes my cup of tea every morning." Controlling tears, Mrs. Sullenberger said of her husband, Capt. Sully Sullenberger, the man every one wants to claim as their hero. A lot of women wants to claim him too, he is not only a "pilots pilot", he is also every woman's dream boat. At least, I think so. Sully Sullenberger rightfully deserves the 4 bars on his jacket and I honorably salute the whole crew of flight 1549 but ultimately I give the 5 star to the One who controlled the whole thing with absolute precision - God.

I am sure people who flies a lot don't listen to the announcements on board the airplane anymore. We know them by heart already, right? Except when you hear something like this:

On a Philippine Airlines international flight bound for Manila, the flight attendant's announcement:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now on our final descent to the Manila International airport, before you leave the plane, please make sure to check your seats for your personal belongings. And remember, the life vest under your seat, the blankets and the tv set remains on the plane - they are not free."

On an American Airlines flight, the captain speaking fromthe cockpit: "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now cruising at 32,000 feet, so please sit back and relax, you can use the reading light but the cabin lights will be dimmed to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

Captain Sullenberger, to those of you who missed the news, is the pilot of flight 1549 who ditched the plane on January 15 on the Hudson river. He made a last minute decision to land on the water instead of at Teterboro airport in New Jersey. All 155 people on board flight 1549 were safe, because as everyone described the captain, "he remained calm and in control throughout the whole ordeal." Here's Joe Amato's version of Captain Sullenbergers cockpit announcement.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Men Should Pause

Men should pause to try to understand why a woman acts like a bat out of hell sometimes. And I say sometimes because it's not always that we want to kill you, (or ourselves.) In fact, the feeling only lasts a few days (but every month) and we're back to our jolly-old- lovable self again, well, maybe not quiet that lovable but you know what I mean.

A woman is not only expected to cook, she's also expected to be the walking oven for nine months - baking or whatever is going on inside our stomach until we deliver Jr.
Not that we're complaining.
Then we have postpartum depression, premenstrual cramps and ten years of life-sucking peri-menopause hell before we're officially called a prune. All because we're a woman. Please don't think that we got the name "woman" - in short for "woe to man". That's simply not true. We are here to be your helpmate, to walk alongside you and be the wind beneath your wings. On a good day, I mean.

All we ask in return is that in times like these below, you simply try to understand us and remember to say the 3 magic words : "You're right dear."

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I really miss it not being able to go to the sauna after I cancelled my membership at the gym. But last week, the Korean lady that owns the cafe at my office building told me about this place that has a "different rooms of sauna." I asked her what she meant by different rooms, but because her English is limited she said "just come with me but it's very expensive." I asked how expensive and she said 18 dollars. I thought she meant 80 dollars. So we went and wow!!!

There's nothing like this in Dallas, this is the first and it just opened in October. It's called King Spa and Sauna. It's not located in the prominent area of Dallas but positioned for the convenience of the Koreans who are concentrated in that part of town. It's quiet a drive for me but it was all worth it. I was there twice last week already. For 18 dollars you have the free use of the facility all day, you only pay extra for the massages if you want one. There's a very nice restaurant inside that serves of course, Korean dishes only.
Of the nine different types of sauna rooms, I really enjoy the salt, the pyramid and the base rock bath room. I love laying there, relaxing and detoxing by sweating then I go to the ice room to refresh. Then I go to the restaurant and drink sikhae - a fermented rice drink with crushed ice. Then I go back again to the 3 different rooms for 20 minutes each, then order lunch. I was there 4 hours but you can really stay there all day because there's a computer room and karaoke room and a movie theater - if you understand Korean movies of course. All these comes free with the entrance fee.
There's one service that you can indulge in, if you can call it an indulgence, it's called "wormwood steam hip bath". For 30 dollars, you sit for 45 minutes on this chair with a hole in the middle with a steaming pot of medicinal herbs under the chair, while you're covered in a cape. Yes, the steam fumigates your genitals. It must really be good because women were lining up for it. But I have to pass on that one.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vegetables Again?

I grew up eating vegetables, and I don't mean once or twice a week but 3 times a day, every day of the week. It was just green vegetables, boiled and seasoned with salt and nothing else. Except on prosperous days, it came flavored with a fish head. It also came with a warning: Mom told us not to eat the head so she can reuse it - as a decoration, she says. I hated it that I can't eat the decoration. So I made a vow to myself that once I make my own money, I will never eat vegetables ever again.

I bought this bossam at Incheon airport on my layover last November.

So when I became an adult, I avoided vegetables like a plague. Except for Kimchi. And for my 2009 lifestyle change, I will now try to venture into the vegetable section of the grocery. Maybe eating vegetables after all, will help my brain - like, know why I even blog about vegetables?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Living It Or Imagining It

I have this fantasy that I still nurture. I have not given up on it because this is what keeps me going when I feel that the walls are closing in on me: To get lost from everybody who knows me; not tell anyone where I'm at, incommunicado - maybe just for a year or two. With only my purse and my passport, I want to walk into an airport, browse through different airline counters and their scheduled foreign destination at the moment, then buy a ticket for the destination that catch my fancy. Why would I want to do that to my friends? Beats me if I know.

One thing that I am blessed with is that Chat is very supportive of my lunacy but the only thing she warns me not to do is to be totally out of her radar. And that's the only reason why I have not done this fantasy of mine. (Besides money, of course.) But also because, if I execute this plan, then I am left with nothing else to fantasize about. Didn't someone say that life imagined is more exciting than life lived?

Well, 2008 is now lived or imagined. I find that what we regret most are the things we didn't do, than on the things we did. Last year brought a lot of rahrah moments for me; I have no regrets for last year because I am slowly learning that I don't have to fit anyone's mold but Gods.
I know these are well intentioned friends when they tell me -"Now that you're single, you should..( fill in the blanks) and I'd say, "Yeah, I should." Then you try to live up to their expectations. And even without our friends expectations, we have this unspoken rule that we subconsciously impose on ourselves anyway. We have to be careful with this should have and could have bit- it is distressing at best and a prison wall at worst. Of course, I'm not advocating a world without rules, I'm just saying we have to be more discerning - just because it's popular, does not mean it's right.

So for 2009, let's take the journey with less baggage. In the Old Testament there was the Law summarized into The Ten Commandments, which the Jews have broken down into 613 imperatives - what to do when and how. I am too bipolar and mercurial for that. Jesus way is simpler, "If your heart condemns you not, then you have peace with God." No wonder I love Jesus.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Do You Know Who I Am?

I read a story about a woman who was married to a very wealthy man. They were at a party with equally wealthy people and for some reason this woman was not served promptly when the waiters were going around with the drinks. She turned to the waiter, grabbed her drink and screamed : Do you know who I am married to? Later at the kitchen, the waiter told another server about what the woman said. "It is so sad, she's not even drunk yet and she already forgot who she's married to." The other server answered, "Yes, I pity the rich."

This story reminds me of the latest scandal in the Philippines with the Pangandaman's and the Dela Paz's in Antipolo. According to the old Dela Paz, the old Pangandaman shook his fist at him and asked, "Don't you know who I am?" (Hindi mo ba ako kilala?) When I read this part of the story, I need not read the rest of the account anymore. I've experienced enough of that arrogance in my own life in the Philippines.

Golf is not for everybody because it's not a cheap sport to play. So I assume that the Dela Paz's are not PoRC (people of reduced circumstances). Imagine what the Pangandaman's would have done if they were inconvenienced by someone lowly; like the caddy or the course gardener.
But you know, the notion that the rich are mean is just as wrong as the notion that the poor is meek. Bonhoeffer said it well: We must learn to regard people less in light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”

So when Nasser Pangandaman asked, Don't you know who I am? maybe because he suffers from dementia? Or a bloated head induced by political power? Or is it just a simple case of arrogance? I don't know, all I can say is that I have been rich and I have been poor. Rich is definitely better.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The bottom Line

With the global economy steadily shaking our collective boots, most everyone is worried about their bottom line. While some of us simply worries about our bottoms. The start of a new year seems to bring out in people this energy that prods: I have to do something. Some wants to start exercising to better their present relationship, others starts exercising so they can dump the present relationship. Me, I'm simply exercising my back and be a couch potato.

This year I am feeling radical so I cancelled my gym membership, (I only go there to use the steam room anyway) and my Massage Envy membership. And it felt good to be released from a contract that I started to consider cancelling my cell phone service too. But as I started imagining the liberating and exhilarating feeling of not having a monthly bill, I realized that it's not really the bill that bothered me. It's the fact that I have signed my name to an agreement that says I have to keep my end of the bargain for a duration of time. OR....

Contracts bothers me. It makes me feel suffocated, obligated and imprisoned that when another energy company offered me 2cents less per kwh if I sign up with them for a year, I refused. Yes, I'm crazy for refusing the savings, but I told myself I can make up for the lost savings if I just cut down on lemon pepper wings at Wingstop. Like, cut down to 4 times a week instead of 5?

But don't get me wrong, there's one contract that doesn't bother me and would gladly sign - the kind where it says, "the two becomes one, for richer or for poorer" (and hopefully not the latter) but only if he signs on the dotted line that he will now be paying all my bills.