Sunday, June 26, 2011

Again....the future (fill in the blank)

That's why I love cats because the relationship is straightforward---you don't entertain any hope that you can train them. They train you.

With kids, it's different. You silently believe that you can bend them and mold them. Into becoming writers. Best selling authors even. Or just do what I tell them to do. But....this one here, all her writings are about going to school and brushing her teeth when the sun rises. But she goes to school only once every full moon or when her brother beats her up all the way to the school house.

Then there's this one. She insists on being a screenwriter. I keep telling her: Narrative, narrative. And she keeps writing a dialogue....with her dog or with her dead father.
This one, for the life of me I can't make her stand up to read her story.
Then here's the oldest of them. She insists that her story is in her head and no need to write it. "I want to tell it orally." She says. I said: This is a writing class. And she says no, she wants to tell it orally. With pictures even.
And this one? Of all of them he has the best ideas for a story, if only I could make him write more than a teaser 5 lines. (Or make him stop smoking. Or at least wait if he lives past the age of 11) I tell him he would make a good journalist or an author but he said he wants to be a doctor, not a writer. I encouraged him and told him that his chances are great of becoming a doctor, especially since only he can read his own handwriting.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's food nonetheless

Before 6 a.m. this morning I was already out of my apartment to get some fresh air in the country and visit my buddy Ken, down south. I needed more caffeine drip but Ken wanted to go to his favorite restaurant because "they have huevos rancheros", the Mexican omelette he really likes. I thought, yeah, I want to see this place he's been so excited about. Well, here we are.

You see that crispy fried fish head? That's not mine.
After we ate, we walked towards the town square and passed by this. Crispy, crunchy "adidas"...chicken fingers.
We then took a bus and headed farther south and strolled around the market and found more

Why bother with modern ovens?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Future....(fill in the blank)

Meet the future authors. That's what I'd want them to be, but I don't know what the future holds for these kids. It was not out of the goodness of my heart that I started teaching them, but I miss my writing group in Dallas and it's so expensive to buy books here in Cebu. So I thought I'd invest in notebooks and pens and beat these kids into submission and make them writers.
These kids come with their own unique story: One of them has a mother who is very sick but when she is able to get up, she drinks herself to death and the girl on the front right would have to pull her out of the ditch or from along the road and drag her home. She doesn't know who or where her father is. The oldest in the group doesn't know her mother or father because her mother left her at the place where she worked and told her co-worker, the woman who now takes care of this girl that she can have her. The mother has 4 kids and all have been given away. Except for one, all of them are not living with their parents.

And after only 3 meetings, they've all encouraged me with their progress. They're all stepping up to the plate and coming up with interesting thoughts and ideas. One of them even produced a short but interesting narrative. And the youngest one who is 9 years old wrote a dialogue and when I asked her how she came up with it, she said it's what she created in her mind. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the future Pulitzer awardee.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The world according to...

I believed you when you said you would come back after the storm.

I meant what I said until the cute fireman showed up.

You argue like cats and dogs, while we have a bigger problem.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Speaking of Children

Here's a report issued by the Chief of Police in Houston, Texas back in the late 60's. It was entitled: 12 Rules for Raising Delinquent Children.
( These twelve rules were originally created by Dr. Paul Cates and published in Strictly for Parents )

1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way, he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.

2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he's cute. It will also encourage him to pick "cuter' phrases that will blow off the top of your head later.

3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait til he's 21 and then let him "decide for himself."

4. Avoid use of word "wrong". It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.

5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around --books, shoes and clothing. Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility onto others.

6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that drinking glasses and the silver ware are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.

7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. This way they will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later.

8. Give a child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?

9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.

10. Take his side against neighbors, teachers, and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.

11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, " I never could do anything with him."

12. Prepare for a life of grief. You will be apt to have it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stuffed chicken

I am very consistent. I am always behind on modern gadgets, so naturally I am 30 years behind on this turbo oven. And boy, do I love it!

I was experimenting on stuffing the chicken with glutinous rice with sweet Chinese sausage. I love the contrast of the sweet and salty taste of the meat. Soak overnite or 3-4 hours if you don't have time, then blanch it or cook it till the last 5 minutes of it being done. Brining the chicken overnite makes it real juicy and I find that it's really necessary when using the turbo.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A properly punctuated life

When my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and soon died, it spinned me 360 degrees 5 times over, and it was the turning point in my life. But unlike the English writer Lynne Truss after her sister died, I didn't publish a book bemoaning the problem of poor punctuation in today's world. Eats, Shoots & Leaves is the title of her book and she illustrates it by telling a story of a panda who enters a cafe, orders a sandwich, eats it then pulls out a gun and starts shooting. When a waiter asks the panda to explain his action, he hands him a poorly punctuated wildlife guide and asks him to look up the description of a panda. It reads: "Panda. Large, black and white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

You see why proper punctuation can mean life or death? When I was young(er) I used to thrive on deadlines and I was constantly operating on an exclamation point, never knowing when to pause or stop. I know God meant for us to use every punctuation ever invented; every dot or tittle in any sentence or in real life is meant to have a purpose. But getting older with my now tired bones, I tend to apply the period sometimes too much..... in other words, I have become too lazy. Too lazy that I often have difficulty re-punctuating, especially a sentence like this: "Not getting any better. Come at once."

Friday, June 10, 2011

The other white meat

Do you know why in the US they promote pork as "the other white meat"? I figured it's because if you look at a piece of bacon, you see more white than red. When people cringe after I tell them that I love pork fat, I have to point out the fact that we all have our addictions; some to caffeine and some to gossiping, while I'm simply addicted to grease the same way Joan Rivers is addicted to plastic surgery. But I found a way to lessen your horror. I drain down the fat into lard, then use the lard to make pastries and I eat pork belly with zero guilt. All day long.

By the way don't let this UFO like contraption scare you. It's a convection oven and can make a pig crackle into gorgeous pork in less than an hour.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Indulge me

You know how it is when someone talks about their grandkids constantly and you can't relate to it because you don't like kids? They'd talk about how cute and funny it was, whatever the kid said or did and you're like, "shut up, I don't share your excitement fool." Well, I know that's what you'd say about me and my ramblings about "my cat". But indulge me anyway, at least I'm not posting copies of the jihadist Osama's porn collection.

This is how we hang most days. He never stay far from me.

I don't let him inside the house because he loves to roll in the dirt, the same way I love to roll around in a 600 count sheets. But the other day, he pussyfooted into my bathroom.
He's not a designer cat but I feed him designer foods and he's always begging for more...not necessarily because he's hungry but because he loves the taste of Whiskas.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Paint instead

I grew up around alcoholics; my dad and all my brothers were, but back then we didn't use that fancy word --my sister and I simply called them drunks. I didn't complain about dad's drinking except on days when it took a long time for him to pass out, because that meant I had to hide longer in the corn field. And I never heard my mom complain either, because she was too busy having her anxiety attacks.
It's not fun living with an alcoholic, I know, but if you're in that situation right now and divorce is too costly, just stock up on colored pentel pens and invite your artistic friends over. Or even the neighborhood kids.

Then send him to pick up some milk the next morning. And make sure he doesn't pass by a mirror on his way out.

Photo source:, People of Walmart

Saturday, June 04, 2011


Today is the third Saturday since my friends and I started teaching the neighborhood kids about Jesus. I round them up and bring them to my yard, and here they come, helping with the chairs to earn their keep of the "lugaw" or porridge. .
One of the kids asked me yesterday if I am going to give them some "surprise toys". When I get rich, I'll do that, I said. Anyway, I got them this and they told me they didn't need the pencil, I should have just bought more bubble gum.