Saturday, November 26, 2011

Competition, consumption, progress

Black Friday Sale. It's crazy. And it doesn't make sense. People are jam packed at the malls and every other store looking for that "big sale" of the year. Isn't that wild? just the day before, we bowed our heads to thank the good Lord of how grateful we are for what we have, then the very next day we march to the store with the rest of the herd to buy more things that we don't need and can't afford, to be thankful for next year?

Yesterday, I passed by Walmart and not one parking space was available. Walmart is another source of tummy ache for me. I admit, Walmart's prices are very reasonable and the choices of products more varied. In the short term, that's good, but in the long term? Very dangerous. When Walmart started building in the city where I used to live, I have seen them close down 3 grocery chain of stores. Food Lion, Sack and Save and Albertson's could not compete with Walmart so they closed down. When competition is eliminated, what do you think will happen? I have experienced it first hand in my birth country of Philippines. When there was only 1 commercial airline and 1 telephone company, only a handful of people can afford to fly; the politicians and the very rich businessmen(and their mistresses) and you waited at least 5 years to get a phone service unless you know someone at the phone company to bribe. Now that the airlines are privatized, everyone flies--even the ones who hasn't seen an airplane and would hesitate boarding, afraid that they're riding inside a metal bumblebee. And with so many phone service carrier now, it's not unusual to see a cigarette street vendor carrying a Blackberry or an Iphone (that he probably stole from the daughter or son of the customs collector or from a politicians illigitimate kid).

So what's my point? It's not that simple to explain, because it's about "consumerism". Of course I benefited from progress, but I also know that progress has its cost. When I am in Cebu I see the river next to my childhood home that used to be clear and clean and now blocked with waste and sewage. And the beach where my dad and I used to go to dig for clams is now slimy, black and toxic because of the progressive industy around it. The river and the beaches --- my childhood memories started and concluded there. Not to mention the abundant trees that are being cut down to sacrifice in the altar of progress. Progress.....I get a tummy ache and I feel helpless because I know someone somewhere is over-consuming and I am probably one of them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

It's 10 minutes to midnight and I am sitting here eating a left-over turkey leg, rice crispies, jalapeno pepper, papaya and sour patch candy. Yeah, I know. You furrowed your brow and twirled your index finger next to your temple and say: that woman is one french fry short of a happy meal. But that's me--when I can't sleep, I eat.

Well, today is turkey day and as usual when I am in the US on Thanksgiving day, I go to a friends house. They're the closest friends I have, they're almost like family. In fact, Chat refers to them as her aunt and uncle whenever she introduce them to her friends. With all the food they prepared, I didn't need to bring this pork, but why not? Well, looking at this plus all that junk I just stuffed my face with, I feel drunk and nauseated, I better find the bed and attempt to sleep. Happy Thanksgiving ya'll.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


My days are winding down to where I would yet again bear the over 20 hours of travelling time back to my island of Cebu. Suddenly my days are full; getting last minute items I need to take or to ship to Cebu, meeting different sets of friends for coffee, lunch or dinner. Yesterday, I was with my writer friends for coffee then I had to rush after, to take my other friend out to lunch for her 88th birthday. She is such an anchor for me because she is a praying woman. I am blessed that way. Nothing more comforting than knowing that there's people out there petitioning God for me, wherever I am. In fact, last Sunday night I had my other set of friends who came to break bread and pop the Pinot cork, as we read bible verses and before they left, each one prayed for me.

I could have asked Mrs. B (I like to call her that) to blow out a few candles but I forgot to bring some. She could very well blow all 88 of them because her lung capacity and mental acuity far exceeds mine. Really, she beats me in just about everything---imagine 6 years ago, she remarried at 82.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cold and Gloomy...and...

I am happy. Normal people would feel gloomy on gloomy days, but not me. I don't know what it is, but when the sun stares brightly and the earth is embraced with its creme brulee, mangoe-persimmons hue, something inside me feels cocooned in a web of darkness and longing I could not explain. But then again, there are so many things I could not explain anyway.

I must not be good at explaining. Because I could not make some of my friends understand that I am perfectly fine eating alone, shopping alone, vacationing alone and that I could stay in a cave (minus the bats) and only come out when Jesus comes. Some of them believes they're doing me a favor by taking me out of my digitally wired crib. The other day, this lady I have known for a few years now (but still don't know me) again, hounds me to go eat out with her. I enjoy eating out with other people, but just not with her, because not only does she act mean to the servers, she hardly leaves a tip, and when she does, it's a dollar in change including pennies. And talks about Jesus with a passion---but does things Jesus won't do. Once a year I would indulge her and go with her and struggle through a meal, listening to her obnoxious rhetoric,and the remaining 364 days I spend hiding from her.

But tomorrow is that 1 day of the year I succumbed to her. I told her we're going to a buffet. This way, I could keep getting up to refill my plate everytime she says something nauseating. Tomorrow I will eat every dish (even vegetables) and not exhale, until someone calls 911 and strong-husky-underwear-model-looking paramedics will rush in to take me away from her. Oh, friendships.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs biography is a very engaging book. I am reading it slowly because it's the kind of read where I find it necessary to put the book down, then I ruminate with that hint of a smile in my eyes as I try to reflect, because for some unexplainable reason, I find there's some resonance. And you ask: Like what? Well, I'm talking about missed opportunities.

When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple, there were a lot of people who would be millionaires now had they taken Jobs seriously when he went around asking for a loan so he could package and market Apple II and in return he offered a stake in his newly hatched company. Though Nolan Bushnell was already rich, (being the founder of Atari) he still remembers the missed opportunity when he didn't give Jobs the 50k he wanted to borrow, with a promise to give Bushnell a third of the company. With humor Bushnell says: "I was so smart, I said no. It's kind of fun to think about that, when I'm not crying."

Well, who would take Steve Jobs seriously when he was always walking barefoot and smelled foul? They literally had to put him out the door and tell him to take a shower. Mike Markkula, the 3rd man in the company and the number 1 investor, was averse to confrontation, so he brought in a president whose main duty was to reign in Jobs hygiene and attitude problem. But Jobs was focused, he knew what he wanted and most of all, he had the foresight to give us something we didn't know we need.

I can't wait to get to the part about his wife. And I can't wait to find out if Steve learned to shower after all. But let me tell you, I don't think I'd mind bathing Steve Jobs.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Detoxed? Not quiet

Ok, so I live to tell my story. Yeah right, for 1 day? Well, you don't begin with, I don't do vegetables and I eat pretty much as often as I take in air. So to do the whole day of just vegetable juice was such an accomplishment to me, though, I doubt that it accomplished much to my goal of detoxing. Here's how my day went yesterday:

I get up around 5 or 6 everyday, and I go straight to make coffee and sip it with bread. But yesterday, I made jasmine tea instead and by 8 I had the juice. I felt ok, no hunger, but by 10 a.m. I was feeling sad and lonely thinking that I would have to go all day without real food.
And the feeling of isolation and hopelessness continued; not that I was really hungry, I wasn't. It was the thought of being deprived. By 1 p.m. I was tempted to break my goal so I ate an apple instead of juicing it with the carrots. The solid helped, but I still had difficulty thinking of having to go all afternoon without..... chicken and rice? Bread? Or anything solid. By 2pm, the picture of a juicy and thick rib eye kept flashing in my minds eye, and by now, I was really hungry. I ate a handful of grapes. As the clock ticked on to 5, I started to feel better knowing that I would soon be going to bed and the day will be over. I took another glass of tomatoe, cucumber and papaya at 6 pm and by now I was feeling triumphant. I know I make it sound like I was having a major surgery, but to me it was.

Even though in reality 1 day of juicing doesn't have a significant effect on the body because you won't really see it til after 3 days, I feel better just knowing that I can after all, do 1 day of depriving myself. For sure I will do this again. Maybe in 2016.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Other than my flaw of starting(anything) but unable to follow through, I am perfect. Today, I am doing the "juice detox". Why am I doing this? So I can remove the goats, the cows and the pigs in my stomach. In my 55 years, I have not done any fasting---not even when I was broke and could not afford food. Jesus is an advocate of fasting so are a lot of other people, but I just can't see myself not eating. But it has come to a point where I need to help myself, (even just a little) in the hope that I would regain some semblance of my memory back in my twenties and hopefully get a reboot on my energy level too. I don't know if I would last the whole day, but am trying.

After Chat took me to a big dinner last night, I decided to go ahead and face my challenge. I did this before I went to bed. A slice of ginger to aid in digestion and a squeeze of lemon for taste. And considering I don't do vegetables? Kale and cukes.
For breakfast this morning. Yikes. But really, it's not that bad. Kale and tomato.

I will let you know tomorrow how I did, assuming I'd still be alive.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

What plan?

I was talking to a friend last night and she asked me what I normally do during the day and what's my next plan. Well, not much. And as far as "plans" are concerned, I am never one to plan. I envy people who can plan a year ahead and has a vivid and definitive goal---because I just can't do that. Two months is the farthest I can plan ahead, and even that makes me anxious. The bible says that people without vision, perish so I am grateful to God for accomodating my failings in regards to planning.

I've always worked to make my own money and pay my own way since I could learn to walk, so now that I am not working and earning a daily paycheck, I feel like I'm a bum. I am trying to get out from feeling that I am defined by how much I earn--financially. (I realize this feeling is so not cool.) At the end of the month I am going back to Cebu and continue my work with the street kids. Long term plan with them? None. I will continue to do what I've started--just one day at a time. I feed them, hang out with them and teach them values with the biblical perspective. Before I left, I had the opportunity to buy this small piece of land in the island of Camotes, so I think I will take some of them there and we'll camp out and maybe raise goats and chickens. Is that a plan? It's not making me anxious, so I think it is.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

You could not mean that...

Ever wondered why those Hindu women have a dot on their foreheads? (After all the dog-eating-Filipino jokes, I feel justified to tell a racial joke). Most of us have naively thought this was connected with marriage or religion, but the Indian Embassy in Washington , DC has recently revealed the true story…
When a Hindu woman gets married, she brings a dowry into the union. On her wedding night, the husband scratches off the dot to see whether he has won a convenience store, a gas station, a donut shop or a motel in the United States . If nothing is there, he must take a job in India answering telephones giving technical advice. (So there's your answer.)

I have mentioned on my previous blog why I stopped taking Lexapro (too costly) then someone told me to order online, and it's true it was almost half the cost. I ordered it through an online pharmacy in Canada, or so it said. My order arrived, and it was the generic brand! And worst yet, it came from India. If not taking the meds make me bipolar, this made me homicidal. I called their customer support number and there it was--- fast talking, barely comprehensible Ahmad/ahmed. I asked him why I got a generic and why did it come from India, and all I could pick out from his answer was that "it's the same". His answer made my cheese slip off the cracker; I told him to "refund my money right away, I don't want any of your deceptive, fraudulent arse selling me anything." He said "ok." I asked for a confirmation number of our conversation, I think he said "not necessary". I asked for his name; "Bertrand Russell" he said. Bertrand Russell? Yeah right. And I am Virginia Woolf. I hang up the phone fuming and wishing I am Lorena Bobbitt.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The weekend synopsis

For their flag, Israel has the star of David, for the United States she has 50 stars. And Canada has leaves? What's up with that? But that's ok, their Prime Minister is cute and does not mince his words. Anyway, so I got to Banff, Canada but didn't get to do flyfishing after all; the closest I got was pose for pictures by the river.

And holed up in my hotel room watching the naked chef.

And walked around the strip with the snow capped mountain as the backdrop, which was cool because Texas is so flat-- the only elevation you see are the school zone bumps.

And then ate shepherd's pie for lunch, went back to my hotel room and watched more cooking shows of the cheeky kid----Jamie Oliver.