Saturday, December 31, 2005

new year's eve and i'm home alone.

Patrick is working from 7 pm tonight until 7 a.m. tomorrow. So I'm sitting at the computer desk, picking at doctored fruitcake while tapping out a blog entry.

The fruitcake started out nonalcoholic: Jeannette in the bakery offered to bake Luz a fruitcake, which Luz requested be made sans the usual spirits, because she wanted her sons to try it as well. Apple juice was substituted and the result was exceedingly hard and dry; the brandy or rum is what keeps fruitcake moist.

We polished off half the cake anyway, and I took the leftovers home. Microwaving individual servings helped soften the cake, but not by much. These past few days I've been tending to the fruitcake with my favorite Asti (since i don't have any liquor). The fruitcake should ideally be wrapped in a cheesecloth soaked in rum or brandy, with daily refills. I've used up two-thirds of a single-serve bottle on a chunk that fits in a cappuccino mug. The results are pleasing enough, disregarding the sad little dried fruits which were beyond my healing skills.

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

FMPs, by Givenchy

in navy,

and black.
reduced at, from $499.99 to $349.99

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

i don't know how to sleep over

luz was surprised that i asked patrick to pick me up at 8, on his way from work this morning. On the way home, Patrick also said that he'd expected me to spend the day -- or at least, the morning -- at luz's.

nakitulog lang talaga 'ko. lol. malay ko ba -- it was my very first sleepover, 'no?

Blanca made beans and salsa, and brought red and green party chips, leftover birthday cake plus fajitas from El Torito. Since she had work yesterday and today, and had cooked besides, she fell asleep halfway through the movie. Luz started snoring shortly after the opening credits. Apparently she'd only gotten three hours of sleep; it's hard for most of us to get some shuteye in daylight.

Tinulugan ako ng mga kasama 'ko. Syet.

The movie, "Calendar Girls", was sweet and remarkable in that it was based on a true story and all the characters are credibly portrayed. No one is purely spiteful or simply evil; each has his/her own motivations and just when you think someone might veer towards a cliche, he/she corrects him/herself.

Surprisingly, Patrick has agreed to watch "In Her Shoes" with me. I don't know what it's about but I am hoping against hope that there will actually be some fab designer shoes featured in the movie at some point. Or we may not go after all. I'm getting sleepy. And dangerously addicted to chocolate-covered cherries, even tho Patrick has likened the flavor experience to biting into a scented candle.

I've been dying for some really good fruitcake. It's all YOUR fault, fruitcake.


i also want this shoe. It is the Christian Louboutin Helmoon (a dressed-up Helmut), pictured here in hard-to-find navy blue (only 10 units in stock!!!). Lovely, lovely satin pump studded with crystals in such a way as to inspire one to sing ~Vincent~: "Starry, starry night..."

Buying info

in black, from Foot Candy Shoes. Limited sizes.
every so often from eBay.

in black, from Foot Candy Shoes. Limited sizes.
every so often from eBay.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

They say that life is what happens while you're busy planning something else.

And so it is that in my 27th year I have found a life of my own.

It's been a rough month. December is always the worst time of year for me: i age a year, work is hellish, and depression is inevitable.

It hasn't helped that I've had to accept that I do not know how to judge people. I just don't. I've been stumbling around for over a quarter of a century, trying people on for size. And trying to make poor fits work, when I really shouldn't.

If you are lucky, you will wake up and realize that through all this bumbling, your true friends and family, the ones you love and who love you, are looking on, smiling and selfless. I am such an idiot. And I am so very fortunate, to be loved like this.

I love my husband, Patrick. He is eternally patient and considerate, understanding and forgiving. With me, anyway. He makes me laugh, shares whimsical observations, and hides nothing. For the most part. And no matter how crazy I get, he loves me still.

I love my friends, Blanca and Luz. I realized this yesterday as we traded inexpensive gifts, shared fruitcake and fudge, and laughed giddily for half an hour till our sides ached. For the first time, I have girlfriends who know me inside out, who I never need to explain myself to, who cheer me on and really, truly believe I am capable of anything, though i hardly believe it of myself.

I love my family, though I haven't seen them in years. We think fondly of one another, over distance and the years. Disappointment and grief have given way to a open curiosity and friendly helpfulness and occasional, unexpected kindnesses, because "we are family, after all".


Merry Christmas to all -- whether you spend it with loving friends and family, or blissfully solitary.

Christmas fudge

I made a quadruple batch of fudge (half plain, half rocky road) on Christmas Eve. A quarter went to Blanca, another quarter to Luz. We shared another fourth during our last break, remainder of which I gave to Lida when I learned that it was her birthday.

Of what was left, half was gifted to the in-laws, and the rest we kept. I wish I'd taken pictures.


Christmas has been postponed for us until the 27th. I worked yesterday, Patrick worked last night, and we'll both be working overnight tonight.

Knowing that she'd have to work this weekend, Luz insisted that her family go to Disney World without her. Just because she wasn't free to travel didn't mean that they had to stay. Her hubby and two sons left for Orlando today, and will be back by the end of the week. Before leaving, Kevin, the younger boy, advised her, "Mom, while we're gone, have fun! This whole house is yours, and you're free to do whatever you want: stay up late, have sleepovers...anything you want to do."

We agree that Kevin should never be allowed free reign of the house.

We do like the sleepover suggestion, though. Since Patrick will be working overnight on Monday, and Luz and I are off on Tuesday, Luz, Blanca and I have decided to have a little slumber party Monday night. It's kinda funny: three grown, married women having the pajama party they never experienced growing up. I think all we'll be doing is eating Domino's Pizza and watching "Calendar Girls".


My new Filipina coworker, who never speaks to me, asked if I want to hang out sometime. "Sorry, I don't drive." It's always been a convenient fallback. "It's okay; I do." Apparently she lives about ten minutes away and has Filipino friends. Kung seloso ba daw asawa ko.

Patrick got a visit from Death on Christmas Eve

Near midnight, a drunk stumbled into the lobby of Patrick's hotel. "Can I help you, sir?" Patrick asked. No reply. "If you'd like to check in I'll have to see some I.D."

The man reaches for the right back pocket of his jeans, pulls his wallet out, thinks twice, and stuffs the wallet back in his pocket. "My name's Death."

"Okayyy...Mister 'Death', I'll still need to see some I.D. Are you registered to a room here?"

"I'm registered to the lobby." He stands around for a bit, and Patrick waits. If the man sits down, then he is trespassing, and Patrick is free to call the cops.

"I don't know where my car is." A pause. "Do you think the keys are outside?" He wanders out onto the parking lot, and nothing more is heard of him.


According to a recent survey, infidelity is no longer a question of "if", but "when"? This is according to Patrick's favorite morning radio talk show.

Patrick thinks it will be me; I think it will be him. We have both agreed that if it hasn't happened before Patrick turns 40, he will definitely undergo a midlife crisis by then, buy a Porsche 911 Turbo, and find a barely-legal busty blonde named Stephanie.

Patrick has an online (guy) friend who is single, available and becoming more and more attracted to a coworker who happens to have a boyfriend. Said friend has put up pics of the prospect for the guys' approval, and they all agree that she is a hottie.

The question of course is whether or not he should have sex with her. She seems willing enough. The consensus is that as long as he can think of this as merely play, then go for it. It can't become a serious relationship, because another guy just like him is bound to come along.

Patrick woke up grumpy the other day. Apparently he'd dreamt that we were no longer together but still supported each other financially. In his dream, he'd remarried unhappily, and his wife was ugly. The end.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

what your favorite "Hello Kitty" aficionado needed for Christmas this year

It's only $3250 at Neiman's. No, I didn't forget a decimal.

They have other ridiculously-overpriced (though comparatively affordable) Hello Kitty trinkets.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

glimmers of hope

Jim Brickman's ~The Gift~

~Fallin'~, from the musical "They're Playing Our Song"

~Once Upon a December~, from the animated movie "Anastasia"

fuck tolerance and political correctness,

you protest too much.
please, don't say it again
"i don't mean to be ~, but..."
News flash. You do. Absolutely you do.
Go ahead, try it on for size."I mean to be..."
Rude. Judgmental. Sexist. Racist. Go on.
Revel in it.
You needlessly tiptoe down the path.
Hop skip jump fly free!
Speed your way to your true self.
Hate. Hate hate hatehatehate
Hitler had the right idea after all, didn't he?
Savor this. Self-knowledge is a beautiful thing.

i have a new favorite site for geek chic

Sunday, December 18, 2005

musical hodgepodge

The Corrs' ~Breathless~
The classic ~At Last~

These two are originals. Song fragments, really.

~Toxic boxes~
I was listening to way too much Alanis and Tori at the time. End of discussion.

~How Will the Night Be~
I am told this sounds more like an introduction to a song number in a musical, rather than a stand-alone piece. Too bad I don't have a piano, otherwise I'd play the simple accompaniment I came up with as well.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Let's call them "Ugh"s

If a giant rainbow-colored cat hurled a hairball, it would probably look like this:

Gotta have 'em? Then get thee to, where apparently, you are not alone.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jose Marie Chan

The last thing I heard about him was that he had changed his name from Jose Mari to Jose Marie... supposedly more auspicious numerologically. In the sixth grade I was crazy about his "Constant Change" album, which my (older younger) brother had saved up his allowance to buy at the local music shop. Visit Wikipedia's article fragment on him here -- or better yet, add to the stub.


~No Rewind, No Replay~
~Sing Me a Song Again, Daddy~

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

~lookin' for love in all the wrong places~

i woke up after two hours' sleep with that line playing in my head. And then i stumbled across this story:

The End of Summer


I woke up angrily, having left so many chores and bedtime rituals undone because i was sooo exhausted at the end of another long week. For an obsessive-compulsive, this is of course a prescription for an irritable awakening.

I don't doubt that seeing Sophie again added to my weariness. Odd how a person can be standing so close and seem so far away. We are separated by years and the golden ticket i let slip: the college diploma. She seems happy enough: finished with Walmart, even as a manager, and now an MBA-holder and VP of some sort with a shipping company.

There are thoughts I think, that make me feel guilty and evil and sad for myself. To state the heart of it simply, and without comparing myself to any one person:
IQ percentile rank: 99.997
household income percentile rank: 57 (estimated)

The two don't correlate, of course. And yet I castigate myself with thoughts such as these at 1 a.m., when I am tired and sad and vulnerable and really should be wa(l)king the dog, washing the dishes or maybe even thinking my way out of this mess.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

money books

i'm currently rereading "Smart Women Finish Rich". Another catchy book title has caught my eye: "The money book for the young, fabulous & broke". I'm on currently #3 in the hold queue for this title at the local library.

Friday, December 09, 2005

how can you not love italy?

Pavarotti, Bocelli, Bartoli. Rome, Milan, Venice. Pizza. Pasta. Beef carpaccio. Da Vinci, Donatello, Michelangelo. Armani. Cavalli. Dolce & Gabbana. Gucci. Prada. Versace. Lamborghini, Ferrari, Alfa-Romeo. Tiramisu, gelato, granite. Roberto Benigni, Sophia Loren, Isabella Rossellini. Espresso, cappuccino, and the biscotti to go with them.

And today, Perugina panettone.

I am told by Maria, a coworker from Peru, that it is a tradition in her country to eat panettone (Perugina brand preferred) to mark the start of the Christmas season. And so today she brought a little bit of Peruvian Christmas to share.

Bette Midler's ~He was too good to me/Since you stayed here~

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

tomorrow's forecast:

a high of 32 degrees, a low of 11.

i need thick socks.


Got a nice pair of metallic peep toes from Ross, and these canvas slip-ons half-price at DSW:
They are much paler pink than the picture, closer to shell than cotton candy.

lunch with the ladies has been postponed for thursday

blanca called in today and luz is swamped with work.

Which means a quiet birthday here at home: just me, patrick, and the tiramisu =)


My Favorite Metallics:

Scoop NYC's bronze ballet flats

Stuart Weitzman Peep-toe Slingbacks

Kate Spade Helen Metallic Sandals

Kate Spade Glimpse Snake Print Slingback

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

it hasn't been easy being me lately

but there are things i am thankful for:

my wonderful husband;

my distant but still much-beloved family;

my sweet chocolate lab, an endless source of amusement;

my fabulous friends, who are hosting a lunch for me tomorrow.

The usual things: health, intelligence, not-ugliness, multiple talents.

There are so many things I envy about others' lives, but most would preclude the type of blissful evening I spent tonight: quietly making tiramisu from scratch -- my contribution to tomorrow's potluck gathering. I even had time to whip heavy cream the old-fashioned way: with a whisk, because I (thought i did but apparently i) don't know where my electric hand mixer is.

Time is a luxury most people don't seem to have anymore. It is a gift I guard jealously, and for which I am most grateful.

Monday, December 05, 2005

new recordings

~The Jewel Song~ ("Ah! Je ris, de mi voir si belle en ce miroir"), from Faust
~The Words Get in the Way~ by Gloria Estefan
~Handog~ yeah, yeah, ate shawie's signature song

Sunday, December 04, 2005

bumping off the junk food pix

just to see how the new template really looks.


why oh why must this sexy red clutch cost over 5 grand? I'm not even gonna talk about the waitlist.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

re: the question of blue eyes

not blogging has been strange, very strange. Though I was neither prolific nor consistent as a blogger, once I'd stopped I found I had steady stream of blog-readying thoughts with no outlet. I'd catch myself making mental notes and taking verbal snapshots of things I'd seen, quirky comments I'd overheard, musings on the meaning of it all.

And somehow it seemed that the most sensible way to keep all these random thoughts in check was to crowd them out with others' words. Plus, I suddenly had so much more free time and had really missed reading literarily so I hit the library.

I'm currently reading "Memoirs of a Geisha" for the first time, and I absolutely love the lyrical phrasing. I am reminded of Filipino short stories in English, and of lazy high school afternoons spent reading them whilst peeling dalanghita.

I would be excited about the upcoming movie , but it's from Sony pictures, none of the female leads are Japanese, the star is Zhang Ziyi, and her eyes are blue. Why are her eyes blue? In the book, Chiyo/Sayuri's eyes are described as translucent gray, just like her mother's: "the same peculiar eyes of a sort you almost never see in Japan".

Thursday, December 01, 2005

these flats are kinda cute

in black, not pink. Or i could just be blinded by the cute price tag: only $19.50!

Old Navy's Velvet Mary Janes

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

don't mess with texas

Texas sues Sony under anti-spyware law

oh, and do your part. Boycott Sony.

~Home~ from "Beauty and the Beast", the musical
~Mou Ichido~ Macross II

Saturday, November 26, 2005

i'm not a pucci sort of gal

but i do like these rain boots. And these ballerina flats: red velvet, with a grosgrain ribbon, pointed toe and satin-covered heel!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

There's a free screening of "rent" this evening

musical favorites:

~Seasons of Love~ from "rent"
~Meadowlark~ from "The Baker's Wife

Friday, November 11, 2005

i don't feel like blogging anymore

all the words to say have been said. I need to spend more time living. This place will still be here. Maybe it will become a glorified photo album-cum-audio file organizer.

Hit the ground running, don't look back.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

we have a lot of sweets here at home

and i had plenty of time on my hands today, so i thought i'd share.

We have

Mexican sweets

..ojarascas (crumbly Mexican cinnamon cookies) and peanut brittle

baked goods

...marble cake and cream cheese-topped brownie bites

native snacks

...espasol, polvoron, and turrones de kasuy

single servings

... of Jello (strawberry and peach), applesauce, and yogurt. Have you noticed that Martini and Rossi's Asti now comes in individual-size bottles? It's 10.84 for a 4-pack.

frozen goodies creamsicle, grape popsicle, fudgesicle and vanilla ice cream

and of course, the post-Halloween candy bowl

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

seeing red

In Western cartoons, characters turn red with anger, occasionally venting steam through their ears or maybe even imagining how best to kill or maim the object of anger.

The Japanese, creative people, have developed a most wondrous concept in animation: the battle aura. It is a visual device that helps to denote either a fighter's skill level or emotional intensity, and is illustrated as a nimbus or shape either enveloping or hovering over the character.

It is usually just an amorphous cloud radiating from the warrior, but can be in the form of a flame, angel wings or an animal shape. Battle auras have varying colors and opacities.
Sometimes a particularly formidable opponent can be introduced as a dragon or large creature, which upon approach will dissolve to reveal the fighter generating so much chi.

Lately I have been simmering with barely-tempered anger, unmitigated with the passing of time. I can feel it like a storm brewing around my head, and I imagine that if i generated my own battle aura, my hair would spread out in all directions, not a pretty smooth pelt, but an ominous, living mass in the shape of a giant black dove. It would be twisted and angry and writhing, as if constantly battling itself, perpetually trying to break free.

Or maybe I'd have living hair, like Marvel's Medusa (remember her?). She was my second favorite superhero, after Wonder Woman. Yeah, I think red suits the angry hair bit.

And on that red note, i present my favorite shoes.

Alanis' ~Forgiven~
TFATDOC ~Pasko Na, Sinta Ko~

Sunday, November 06, 2005

an alarming awakening

I woke up this morning to a shrill alarm. At first I thought it was the smoke detector, but the green light was shining cheerily. It was definitely coming from the bedroom, because closing the door muted it. I finally figured out that it was coming from a speaker in the wall.

When I went downstairs the neighbors were outside. Apparently it's a building fire alarm. The streetlamps and warning lights on each side of the building were flashing. I called 911 and the dispatcher reassured me that the fire department was already on the way.

It's been almost an hour and the damn thing is still beeping --- no, shrieking intermittently. False alarm, but they can't seem to keep it off. The fireman asked if there had been a power fluctuation, and the guy who lives two doors down said that he'd noticed that power fluctuates often in this building. Because I haven't, I think what it really means is that he's got faulty wiring or something that caused us all to wake up at 6 am on a Sunday morning.

This is the sound that greeted me: (recorded from the next room)
My morning wakeup call


Xmas Song du jour
~The Christmas Song~

Saturday, November 05, 2005

i woke up angry this morning

i haven't been getting enough sleep, and right now i really hate my job because the workload is increasing, the managers are getting more demanding, and there is no end in sight. The apartment's still a mess and I am soooo frustrated with all of it.

Happy holidays to you too.


In other news I still haven't ordered flowers or a gift basket for my mom's birthday, even though the day itself was this past Wednesday. Last night Patrick went out for Guys' Night Out II: Cheesecake Factory (Dallas) and Saw II. He came home at 3 a.m., with a slice of seasonally-available pumpkin pecan cheesecake to share. We ate it for dessert this evening.

The Chicago Sun-Times has the movie listed as "Saw It" in their box office sales table. I have three words for "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit": cute. little. bunnies. Waving happily. (!!!) Do see it.

The latest cheesecake offering sounds good: white chocolate caramel latte cheesecake. The tuxedo cheesecake reminds me: why do people insist on pronouncing it "maRscarpone"?

Today was Jessica in Jewelry's second baby shower. Second because it's her second pregnancy, a girl this time. I thought it was at 5 but apparently it was 2 pm, and over by 3:45, when I got there. My dental hygienist is 8 months pregnant. Gloria, Jen, Jessica plus her make 4.

Thought of the day:
Shit is fertilizer, anger is fuel. Use them.

Sound bites:
Alanis' ~Right Through You~
Jewel's ~Painters~
Carol a Day: ~O Holy Night~

Friday, November 04, 2005

i really ought to be more careful what I blog about

search terms that have led people to my blog:

panties hamper
"Rosanna Roces"
shoes with sequins

The Forty and Twelve Days of Christmas

Ongoing project. One new Christmas song recording every day until Christmas.

11/04 ~Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas~
11/05 ~O Holy Night~
11/o6 ~The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)~
11/07 ~O Little Town of Bethlehem~
11/08 ~Pasko Na, Sinta Ko~

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

you cannot fully know me

I am sorry, I have tried, but it simply cannot be helped.

Were I chained to the computer, and entirely truthful and forthcoming about every single thought that occurred to me, maybe then you would really know me. But I have a life, such as it is, and every day there are at least five things I want to write about, and only one or two can be accommodated.

Our doorbell did not ring on All Hallow's Eve. Not once. I wanted to reflect on this, and be sad for the breakdown of the American community, but we are off to run errands and catch a movie afterwards. I have one more free pair of Fandango tickets left, we've been yearning for a fun animated movie, and Wallace and Gromit (!!!) is playing.


Sound bites
~Ili Ili~, an Ilonggo lullaby
~Danny Boy~, an Irish folk song

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

a little catty

A word of advice: if you ever decide to dress up for Halloween, go all-out and make yourself readily identifiable. It'll take people less time to go from "What is she?" to "Did she do it well?" to "What do I say?"

I dressed up as a cat, sans makeup. Though the majority of people got it right, two people mistook me for a wolf, and one person each thought I was a raccoon, a dog, and a mouse.

Texans being Texans, they are never at a loss for words. The one phrase I used to love but now dread the most was uttered but once by a lady who didn't know what to make of my getup. She said, "Well, aren't you just precious?"

If you don't understand what the problem is, see Sophia Dembling's instructive "Yankee Chick's Survival Guide to Texas".


It's rather unfortunate that my two best friends at work also happen to be the only two people in the building with ailurophobia. That's right. Fear of cats.

I knew Blanca disliked cats, but I didn't know Luz would literally be paralyzed by fear when asked to touch my tail. Happily, they both got over it well enough to say my costume suited me. I look sweet as a cat daw. That was a compliment, right?

Oh, and people are really odd about fluffy, realistic tails. Either they want to tug it till it hurts (which it won't, duh) or they are extremely uncomfortable holding it, doing so perfunctorily with that ok-i-did-what-you-asked-can-i-go-now look on their faces.


Site-find of the evening:
It's like my department at work, only a lot nicer. And isn't the name just fabulous?

Ok, so you're probably not the type to shell out $110 for a Roberto Cavalli bra. Still, i think it's amazing to find a lingerie retail site that sells bras from size 28AA to 56FF and everything in-between. They've got all the great brands, too: Aubade, La Perla, Natori. The only name missing is Marlies Dekkers. For once in my life I wish I were a smaller bra size -- just so I could fit into this cute little $15 number from Miss Lepel.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

it's a sad day when...

you get a wicked, dime-sized scrape just below your wrist, your beloved dog is too busy checking out another dog, and the one person who could kiss it all better is fast asleep and must not be woken for the next two hours.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Singing Spanish badly

I promised Luz I'd record something in Spanish this weekend. Which is why I am now hoarse and short 2.5 hours of my life. Yes, this shameless self-recording artist is now taking requests.
~Corazon Prohibido~


No one ever told me that my gray Nikes made me a better worker. For the record, I am damn good at what I do. Since I became department manager, inventory is down, sales are up and the department is as neat as can be: every item arranged by size and color. When I was first promoted, I consistently topped the district honor roll for sales increases by percent.

So it really really annoys me that every other comment on Thursday was either "How are you going to work in those shoes?" or, more presumptuously, "Looks like Farah's not going to get any work done today." And today when I came in it was "Oh good, you've got your work shoes on today."

My job is customer service and hanging up bras and panties. Now, how exactly do 2-inch heels hamper those tasks?

just an update

the fabulous Fortasha has resigned as apparel assistant manager to become a probation officer.

they forgot how to write Elena for Zorro 2. How disappointing. I think I want to watch "Shopgirl". It seems a quiet, wistful sort of movie.

We got a washer and dryer (finally!)

David in Housewares will be undergoing a heart procedure next week and it has put the fear of God in him. Please pray for him.

I am encountering discrimination at work. Because of my shoes. Un-effing-believable.

more later,

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

it's almost midnight

and i didn't want my bedtime thoughts to be about Rosanna Roces' 15-year-old daughter's pregnancy.

so here are movie subtitles so stupid, they're funny.

Episode III
...and more

Batman Begins

You can thank Jessica Zafra for starting all this.

Monday, October 24, 2005

the God I believe in

Among my religious friends I am something of a heathen. Among the godless I am perhaps a bit pious. Where is the balance?

I consider myself a spiritual, non-religious person. I would be religious, were I to find a religion aligned with my own beliefs. But I don't seem to need religion to find God.

I have felt God in churches, yes. In ornate cathedrals peopled by cherubic stone angels and majestic sculptures. But so too have I found Presence in small chapels with plain pews of burnished wood, a strong tenor's voice filling the room and rising on sunbeams towards God.

I have never seen God. But I know when I am close. I would walk past quaint little houses, down a quiet street and over a guardrail to be with God, to sit on a craggy rock overlooking the Puget Sound, seagulls overhead, blue sea lapping at pebbled shore, reclaiming stranded starfish. The place is awash in light, and kissed by God.

Once in the midst of a writing contest, I tapped into something. I had been cramming all week, studying technique, expounding on various themes. The clock began to tick at the start of the event and I began writing furiously. In the midst of the first draft time seemed to slow, and it was as if a light had opened up and was pouring over me. My pen seemed lighter and I was writing (riding) on a higher plane. I could not tell you what I wrote; it was as if I was no longer writing, but being written through. The beacon of light was fixed on me and on this light was my direct dial, high-speed connection to God.

Once in a chess game in which I was plainly overmatched, I gained that same instant, preternatural clarity. My opponent was girl my own age naturally gifted at the game. I'd been studying for the past month, challenging anyone who knew how to play, reading any books I could find until chess notation began to scroll on the backs of my eyelids as I slept.

But when the game began my sight opened up, and on each piece I could see paths and possibilities extending several moves in advance: attacks, defenses, counters. The game ended in a draw, and I lost the match. Still, it was the most exhilarating chess I've played to date.

I guess you could say I believe in the Creator, in God as a creative force that forms, shapes and moves us and through us. He (She? It?) is an artist's God, who delights in quirky things like sunlight playing on the waves, "Shave and a Haircut, two bits", zebra stripes and rainbows.

There is an old monastic adage "Qui bene cantat bis orat": The one who sings well, prays twice. In a way, we've always known that the act of creating --whether by song, dance, food or birth -- is how we best serve and celebrate the Creator. Art is its own prayer, and creative work the most earnest worship.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

noblesse oblige

Previously, I've incorrectly attributed the following to Nelson Mandela:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

~Our Deepest Fear, by Marianne Williamson
from "A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles"


I was clinging to the bins at work in a less-than-worksafe way trying to get to items that were just out of reach. And then he said it. "Don't fall, Farah. Some of us here admire you."

It's not the first time he's said it, or something similar. But it is the first time it occurred to me that he just might mean it. Something like this is usually a flag that it's time for me to go.
I am surprised and ashamed. Why me? I have done nothing to deserve admiration. In the world of me, where the hallmark of achievement is maximization of one's potential, I wear mediocrity the way a pretty girl wears extra pounds or unflattering clothes and no makeup: to keep herself out of the running.

I tell myself my greatest fear is of being judged and found wanting. But the times I've run away have been because I'd been judged and found worthy. Worthy of emulation.

I am no role model. Nor do I have one. It would be a lot easier if I did. No, don't look at me -- watch him. Or her.

I like to sing when I think no one's listening. Can no one watch so I can just live? I probably would have continued on to earn my silver badge. "A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them. And all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire." (LOTR)

I stayed but a year in nursing school, the school of my mother and uncle and multiple aunts. I would have been there three years and graduated, but one classmate, torn between staying and leaving said "Well, if this school's good enough for Farah..."

Paul Tillich has said, "Everyone has a calling. Everyone is called to fulfill a purpose. Man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become to fulfill his destiny." But the older I get I find that choice is illusory, and there really is just the one task. Life is too short not to do the things we are meant to do.


I just realized that if I feel old it is becauze I am really 26 going on 46. The number to beat is still 172.

Friday, October 21, 2005

disquiet, distractions and the done deal

The day was just the way they like it around here: sunny but cool. The sky was a beautiful bright blue with barely a cloud, and it felt just right under the sunshine but if you stood in the shade you'd feel the autumn chill.

The carpet at work has been replaced with wood flooring, and now my area feels like a dance studio. It is brighter but colder somehow too. Also, there's been a policy change. No more PA's. There goes my chance of being accidentally discovered by a voice talent scout while paging for assistance at the jewelry counter.

I do not like this rollercoaster i've been on. I do not know what to ask for. To be let off, to figure things out for myself? Or to stay at the bottom, so i know it can't possibly get any worse?

Anger, resentment, fear, despair. Boredom, longing, disappointment. Useless. Inutile. Funny how it's the same in Tagalog. Inutil.

Too much to process. I could just be tired and sad and overworked and underused. It's possible too that i'm in mourning, since I've finally finished "Sex and the City". I'm gonna miss those fabulous, funny, sassy, vulnerable girls.

Patrick's been so very happy and excited about the new(-to-us) car. Check it out:

Luz brought some really good crispy (!) peanut brittle today.

Currently I am Sam & Libby, Nine West, Naturalizer and Rampage with rubber or rubberized plastic soles. Someday I hope to be Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Bottega Veneta with leather soles.

This made us laugh today, Patrick and I.
Dear God,

If it looks like a slim gray column, please hover over it until a square with an orange square and blue arrows appears. Click on said square to expand the pic.

Dear God, can I please win the lottery jackpot tonight? I've been betting for the past 12 years now and haven't won yet. I promise if i win, i will sing even though I am scared, and offer it all up to You. Even if I don't ever sing gospel or Christian music.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

art or advertising?

Prada Marfa opened (or, shall i say "was installed") in a West Texas town this October. Tell me what you think.

Official Site

Reactions have been rather it really about art then, or personal perspectives on and frustrations with money (or the lack thereof)?

It was robbed the next day and has since been restored.


i need sleep.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Apparently I spoke too soon

I forgot all about this little thing known in retail as "Black Friday" i.e., the day after Thanksgiving. A.k.a. the official start of the holiday shopping season, and the day that stores that may not have been profitable thus far finally get to note the bottom line figures in black as opposed to red (hence the black in "Black Friday").

No chance of a long weekend until after the 3rd of January.

So it looks like we won't be seeing Atlanta anytime soon. Neither will we be moving for at least a year, unless they waive the tech degree requirement for the position patrick's aspiring to.

Ah well. It was fun to think about travel for a while. Since it looks like I won't be going anywhere for a while, y'all come to Texas, y' heah?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Voiceover work is unexpectedly tricky.

It would be interesting to explore this avenue further. But as always, stage fright and lack of a driver's license stand between me and the dreams i might pursue.

Voice acting is still acting. And though I love romancing the mic, i am not at all comfortable with acting. Never took a lesson, and all those skits we had to do in high school always left my hands cold and shaking with stage fright.

They said they were looking for a voice with personality enough to pull off the protean role of Carrie. And yet she's a 38-year-old smoker, so one can't sound too young and perky. Plus, the script given was a rather troubled and contemplative one: her struggle with the secret burden of an affair with the married Mr. Big. All this in a 30-second TV spot.

My hopeful contest entry, as promised.
Sex and the City Voiceover
I don't know why it skips upon first play, but runs fine when you restart the piece.

If I never hear from them, I can always tell myself it was the wrong bit rate and I simply didn't have the time to get it right. Still, "ihopeiwinihopeiwinihopeiwin..."

Monday, October 17, 2005

Happiness is... a favorite meal for your favorite person.

...entering a voiceover contest for a TV series you absolutely love, love, love.

Sex and the City Voice-Over Contest

Too bad I only found out about it tonight, the one night in months I've had to work the graveyard shift. Rushed it, and am not too hopeful. I'm not even sure it's recorded at the proper bit rate. It would be nice to win, tho. The grand prize is the opportunity to voice Carrie in an animated something (version? TV plug? ) of the series. I'll post my own entry tomorrow when the contest closes. You never know.

The second great part about the prize is that it entails a free trip to Atlanta for the recording. One of Patrick's best friends from high school and said friend's newly-expectant wife (kaway jen, kaway!!!) live there. Coincidentally, the two hubbies were chatting last night and Patrick and I were invited over for Thanksgiving weekend.

Why oh why did I stop entering contests? Why did I have to find out about this tonight? And why hasn't the smell of chili woken Patrick yet?

You were right, h. Lots of little questions.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

the bottom line

(Because I need reminding. If I repeat this to myself enough, i just might believe it.)

Have you read Guy de Maupassant's short story "The Necklace"? Well, I feel like we've wasted five years of our lives paying for someone else's necklace. We didn't even dance with it.

We are 26 years old, live paycheck-to-paycheck, and have $15,000 in unsecured debt. We have been married for almost five years. We have no savings, other than my 401(k) plan, and it is hard not to feel envious of others.

I seem to forget, probably because I do not want to remember, that we were used for years, to the tune of $30,000 in money we didn't have. That we emerged with only $15k in debt and a car that is fully paid for, is something to be proud of. I guess.

It was hard, and it was humiliating, living under the in-laws' roof, all their friends (and people in general) under the assumption that we're living off of *them* (HA!) and the in-laws of course not correcting that assumption. It's ironic that our rent payment every month is exactly the same as the check we used to issue to them: $830 a month.

The ugliest part of "helping out" someone else financially whilst living under the same roof, is trying to ignore their spending habits. The Kirby vacuum -- who the fuck needs a $2000 vacuum? The new $800 sofa "because that room looks so empty, and anyway there are no payments until 2006". The weekend shopping sprees. ("Alam mo ba sale ngayon?") Why do they need a Wolfgang puck dinnerware set or Henckels cutlery? She doesn't even like to cook. She cooks maybe once or twice a week. And of course there was the big white elephant staring us in the face: the necessary expense of a $385,000 house (5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 3 car garage) with plenty of extra rooms for out-of-town guests to stay in as they admire the beautiful house.

For illustrative purposes: my mom is a nurse, my dad is a realtor and receives a pension from the Navy. My father-in-law has not held a job in over a decade, the mother-in-law makes a third what my mom does. And yet on one-sixth the income, with no money down, the in-laws purchased a house that costs four times what my parents paid for their home. Guess who picks up the slack? The kids, of course, because "we're all in this together".

And so we would nod sympathetically when asked to loan $20 gas money now and then, or buy rice or groceries because it isn't quite payday yet and of course, farah works in a store.

We do not shop, we do not travel, we do not party. We love Japanese food, sashimi in particular. We eat out once every three months, always during lunchtime on weekdays, when the buffet is half-price. $33 after tax, once every three months.

We do not have a land-based phone or cable/satellite TV. The last time we went to the movies was last month, and only because i'd won free tickets from Normally we wait until a movie comes out on DVD, and just rent it from Netflix. The Netflix subscription? Won in a contest. Same goes for the portable DVD player, iPod photo, and monthly fruit box from Harry and David.

We used to share a prepaid phone, which we'd recharge with a $25 card every 2 months. I won the phone in a contest too. When we moved into this apartment, our usage went up considerably, and so we decided that it was cheaper and less restrictive to share a wireless family plan ($60 a month) versus a landline ($45 a month, i think) plus prepaid at $25 a month.

Our big splurge was the cable internet connection: $53 a month. Digerati that we are, a fast internet connection is essential. Our primary entertainment is playing "Guild Wars". We spent $130 on the two games: his regular price at $50, mine $80 for the collector's edition. We have been playing for months, at an average of 3 hours a day each. Ninety days at 3 hours times two people...24 cents per hour of entertainment and counting. We didn't even have to drive to a theater and stand in line for tickets.

We have been living on next to nothing for years. After "rent", credit card payments and the ridiculously large ($685) car payments that the in-laws "helped" us get in their name, so Patrick could pay off their Montero for one year, there was hardly ever anything left over. It's gotten old. We despair of ever having money, of ever getting out of debt, of ever being free of payments, of seeing beyond the current pay period.

Numbers, however, do not lie.

By my calculations, our net worth over the past few years our net worth has increased by an average of $5k every year:
2002: -14,983.54
2003: - 9,724.48
2004: - 6,362.80
2005: - 1,000.00

This time next year, we will be debt-free (with the exception of the new car loan); our net worth will be positive for the first time in our married life; I will be back in school; and there will be $3,000 in my retirement account.

Friday, October 14, 2005

intimate details

among the dubious privileges of managing the Intimates section is being privy to the vital statistics and lingerie-related problems and preferences of one's co-workers.

Consequently i now know that one of my workmates has only one bra which she washes nightly. I'm also well-aware that several of my coworkers are double-Ds who complain oh-so-loudly that they can't shop in my section because the department "doesn't have my size". Which is odd because I have 36DDs all the way up to 50 DDDs. Oh, and let's not forget the skinny-minnie in size 0 pants who, when asked if she had as much trouble finding bras in her size, looked at me blankly "No, we carry 36Bs; what size are you?"

The truth is, I look to eBay for my underwire-reinforced, padded or liquid-filled AAs from Frederick's of Hollywood or Victoria's Secret.

I have also learned that guys find it kinky that a girl should spend forty hours a week rearranging lingerie. WTH? It's Wal-Mart - we sell Hanes white cotton undies and granny panties. Tips for the gals: yes, guys really do like to see us in thongs and black lace and thigh highs with garters.

And then there are the prank callers. Guys who have me repeat the instructions on getting a woman's bra size over and over. For the girlfriend, sister,'s always someone different each time. Oh, and then the perv gets really breathy. Ugh. I eventually wised up and learned to say point-blank that (1) Wal-Mart doesn't do bra fittings, but fine department stores do; (2) i don't know how to measure for bra sizes; and (3) fits vary among manufacturers, and that's why ladies use fitting rooms.

I need a different job.


The State Fair is in town. Let's go sometime.

~Take Me to the Fair~ (from Camelot)

~Wishing you were somehow here again~ (from Phantom of the Opera)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

i had it right the first time

life is hard. everything is as it should be.


Envy, frustration, depression, regret...this seems to be my emotional cocktail for the season.

~I don't like Mondays.~

Guild Wars pictorial

The cast of characters (left to right)
Cherish Clarity Mo/R20: the responsible firstborn daughter
Crystal Masque Me/Mo15: the middle child
Drendeth Doomskull: Dean's character
Jansport Backpack W/Mo1: the pack mule

Cherish Clarity
A day at the beach: sitting at the water's edge at Sanctum Cay
Look Ma, glowing hands!: Dancing on the water at Bergen Hot Springs
What's this, an ancient weapon you say?: discovery of a large but otherwise useless flashlight in the Crystal Desert
Out, out of the picture, damn cat: Cheering just outside the Ice Caves of Sorrow

Crystal Masque
Malayo ang tingin: Looking out towards the desert from Amnoon Oasis
This one's for you, cupcake!: First (and only) sighting of a sweet doppelganger at Serenity Temple. Medyo malabo, but her name is "I Am Your Cupcake".

Monday, October 10, 2005

gone up in smoke

the whole cigarette plan, that is. Patrick vetoed the idea this morning, with no chance for appeal.
tomorrow's my saturday and i've been asked to come to work. Two hours earlier than usual.

I am tired and discouraged and worried and sad but my red shoes, silly things, are happy. I wore them to work today with a long black skirt that showed them off quite nicely. The shoes got male attention today: from "Nice shoes" (which i think is guyspeak for "Those heels are fabulous!") to "Pointy red shoes!" to "How in the hell do you walk around in those?"

I hurt my shoes today. They have since forgotten and are still basking in the memory of the day's outing, but when I look at them and remember I am sad. I stumbled backwards earlier and caught the back of one heel against a metal edge. The patent leather is peeled back just a bit, the size of this O, revealing white plastic. It's only been the third day I've worn them.

A male coworker who's probably my age asked me today what color teal is. Why don't guys know shades besides say, puke green and gunmetal gray?


Currently crazy about:
getting people to vote on the proposed texas constitutional amendments, which reminds me...


Nov 8th is the November 2005 Constitutional Amendments Election. If you're registered to vote in the state of Texas, or know someone who is, do make sure that you do your part. Of particular importance is HJR 6, which would "provide that marriage in Texas is solely the union of a man and woman, and that the state and its political subdivisions could not create or recognize any legal status identical to or similar to marriage, including such legal status relationships created outside of Texas".

Nov 8, get out and vote!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Going sane

I think I will explore a different tone in my blogging. I've given myself license to write a little crazily. The way I see it, it beats keeping it all inside and one day going stark raving loony, picking up the PA system at work and singing something like "I don't like Mondays" or "Jeremy" or maybe even simply enumerating everyone's faults and revealing their secrets until they rip the phone out of my hand. The again, I feel so off-balance right now, who's to say I'm not going sane?


For the past two weeks I've been craving a cigarette. It's odd because I haven't smoked in years and even when I did it wasn't a habit; I simply smoked socially. The only thing to which I can attribute this sudden yen is the coffee at work, which they recently switched to a strong decaf that leaves my mouth tasting of cigarettes. Patrick caught me off-guard the other day. "Funnyun, " he asked "how would you feel if I started smoking again?" Apparently it wasn't the coffee, and it's not just me.

All media imagery aside, smoking is a nasty, dirty, smelly, disgusting habit. Because I smoked secretly, I made it a point to erase any evidence of my smoking. That meant scrupulously brushing my teeth, flossing and gargling with Listerine twice a day; scrubbing my right index and middle finger to rid myself of the nasty yellow nicotine stain; wearing a lot of perfume; and changing clothes frequently.

I suppose I'm lucky that the tingi system of retail isn't popular here. Thus, I am forced to fork over $3 for a pack of cigarettes if I do decide to give in to this craving. The alternative being to mooch a stick off a smoking non-friend, consequently (1) alienating nonsmoking friends and (2) opening the door for future invitations from the smoker clique.

I'm thinking of maybe burning through a whole pack, to be done with the whole craving mess once and for all. I know exactly what I want: Capri Menthol Lights Superslims and a Shiner Bock, which is already chilling in the fridge. Tomorrow's my Friday, and I'm seriously thinking about spending Monday evening smoking, drinking and maybe even cussing a little.


Stray thought of the day:
When your too-ready smile falters ever-so-slightly, it is with surprise and relief that you realize -- there is still a real you, beneath it all.

Currently crazy about:
Boston creme cake
Recording my voice

Friday, October 07, 2005

they've broken in nicely, thank you very much

apparently i had no cause for concern. The new shoes are quite comfortable now. I've discovered the solution to the clenching problem: arch support. It seems that grade school ballet lessons gifted me with high arches in addition to above-average flexibility.


An elegant lady gushed over my shoes. (I just love them!) These kicks were worth every penny.

One of my coworkers told me I didn't need a ride home (?) "Really, Farah. All you gotta do is click your heels together three times..."

Now I want red sequined heels too. Or maybe a Christian Louboutin shoe collection, so I can flash red no matter what color the uppers are.


I felt like singing today.

= Dahil Sa Iyo (composed by Mike Velarde)

I have an inchoate* vision of myself playing the role of a glamorous lounge singer in a big-budget Filipino movie (HA!). It's a cameo role of course, since I'm already a famous singer in the dream. Maybe it's a grand hotel ballroom on New Year's Eve, and I'm being accompanied by a big band. In any case, I serenade the well-dressed crowd with this song while the hero and heroine dance and fall in love. Lakas mangarap, 'no?

= I Just Fall In Love Again (The Carpenters)
I've been told I could find work as a Karen Carpenter voice impersonator.

= It's Her or Me/Now That I've Seen Her (from Miss Saigon)
Though Kim is my dream role, I have a yet-unexplained affinity for the cold, unyielding American wife.

= In My Life (from Les Miserables)
...I thought this was pretty funny. I sang all four parts: Cosette, Marius, Eponine and Valjean. They sound alike.

* sorry, it was Word of the Day earlier this week

Thursday, October 06, 2005

red dread

I daresay D'Orsays are my favorite shoe style.

I love shoes and hate my feet. I know, I know. The poor, hardworking things that support me and get me from place to place despite being overworked and underappreciated. Not to mention crammed into pointy spaces that correspond little if at all to the feet's natural shape. I don't like to see them. Particularly toes and heels -- ugh! D'Orsays keep them out of sight, where they belong.

The day I broke in my new shoes I decided I was going to look more professional at work from now on, and that I would wear heels at least twice a week.

A week has past and I am dreading slipping The Red Shoes back on. The balls of my feet are slightly callused, and there is an odd clenching in my feet that a week's trudging in Nikes has not relieved. The shoes themselves fit wonderfully. It's just been a really long time since I've worn heels.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

the surprise

Over the weekend I called up my younger sister, who tells me that our parents' marriage seems to have caught a second wind. They might even (dare I say it?) love each other, after almost 30 years of marriage. It's very "Fiddler on the Roof", I know, and I am glad to hear of it.

The last time I moved back in with my parents, I was fleeing a relationship that was already over, though neither of us admitted it. Stupidly, I didn't want to be there to see it happen, so I left. To "sort things out".

My parents' own relationship wasn't faring much better. All the world was falling out of love, it seemed, reluctantly admitting that it's not working.

Even now, marriages are falling apart all around me, and my own relationship is changing. I have been so happy, things have been working out for us so far, and I am fearful of what these changes might mean. But knowing that Mommy and Daddy (yes, that's what I still call them) are falling back in love gives me hope.

Monday, October 03, 2005


It should not have happened. But it did. Or maybe it didn't. In the conventional sense, nothing really happened. A few months ago, if someone had asked me if I'd gotten involved with someone who was already in a relationship, i would have answered no. Funny, the things we block out of our past.

I was 15 years old, a college freshman, a provincial girl in the big bad city. He had money, a car, and was three years older. He was from the city, and he could sing.

We would talk between classes, and sometimes during. One time a teacher didn't show up and we ducked out. He treated me to maruya at Mang Gerry's. I had never had a boyfriend, but he had a girlfriend and I figured he knew what he was doing.

He sat crosslegged on the floor outside the DAC, eyes closed, earphones in his ears, head leaned against the wall, smiling slightly to himself. Opening his eyes, he saw me, and motioned me over. "This is my girlfriend's singing" he said, offering an earphone to share. She was a music major, and her voice was heavenly.

We began to hold hands, if that's what you'd call it. I don't know how it happened. Perhaps his hand came to rest on mine one day, or our fingers brushed against each other, or something. We began, our hands teasing, stroking, caressing during class. We could not look at each other. Running through ,my mind "Is this foreplay?" We could not talk about it. "Your touch is so...intimate," he said, and that was it. We were so young; we didn't know what the hell we were doing.

We were in the chorale together, and some nights he would walk me home down Padre Faura, the streets still slick with rain. "~Pagmasdan ang ulan, unti-unting pumapatak~". We were singing it long before the Eheads or Regine V brought it back.

I met his girlfriend once. She was beautiful and gracious and expensive, and everything I was not. He was introducing her to our classmates when I arrived, fashionably late as usual. "Oh, and this is Farah," he said meaningfully. I got the feeling she knew more about me than I did about her. "Does she know??" I wondered.

It ended on a star-filled night on a grassy bank in the lee of a waterfall. It was a class hiking trip and late at night. Everyone was tired but too wakeful for sleep. We all sat in a circle, trading stories and jokes. He sat beside me on a log, with me half-leaning against him. He put his arm around me and I straightened up stiffly, allowing his arm to drop. "Yakap,"he pleaded. "May girlfriend ka e," sabi ko.

We stayed in the chorale and ran for the student council together, but drifted apart. He grew close to another classmate. I don't know if he and his girlfriend stayed together. But somewhere in my college belongings is a recording he'd made, his favorite songs from our "Big Three" -- musicals we both liked: Miss Saigon, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera.

Paolo, that was very sweet of you. Thanks for everything.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Red Shoes

Wasn't that THE most horrifying "fairytale" you ever read when you were little? No? Alright, maybe it's a toss-up between that and Bluebeard.

Yesterday I bought a pair of red and black Rampage patent leather pumps in a size 7. They are the first pair of sexy shoes I've bought in ages, and the heels are still low enough for me to wear to work.

Quotes of the Day:

"I noticed your shoes before I noticed you" (this from my manager-slash-girlfriend, who admired the heels and then the haircut)

"You're shoes are so cute -- my toes hurt just looking at them."

My feet are tired but happy. I heart wicked sexy shiny red heels.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

new hair, new phones

hair: an asymmetrical layered cut with front fringe. I'm starting to miss the long straightness

Prior to the new 'do the shortest layers reached my shoulders and the longest just past my armpits.

phones: T-Mobile basic family plan plus instant messaging, using the samsung 495 unit. The "stormtrooper white" matches my iPod.

if you saw a man drowning you'd save him, wouldn't you?

And if that man were the one you'd promised to spend the rest of your life with, to love and support always, then it should go without saying, right?

Well, I've been doing the exact opposite. For the stupidest reason.

When we got married, money was tight. And I promised myself I would never let money dictate my feelings. Money or no, I would be happy or sad independent of it.

But as time went by, I began making more money and taking less control of the finances. Because I know more about money, because I'm older and smarter, I am "The Boss". I refused the job and delegated all the financial matters to him. I didn't want to deal with it. Even though mine was the bigger paycheck, I wanted to be taken care of. Because it made me feel more feminine.

He is struggling. I looked away because it was "his job" to sort it all out when in reality it's our life and our future at stake here. He blames himself 100%. He feels he should have known better, should have planned more carefully, should have managed brilliantly somehow without a smidgen of study or training even though the parents who should have taught him still haven't learned those lessons themselves.

I am going to make this all up to him somehow. I want to do right by him. Patrick deserves better.

the changing seasons

We used to wish we could go back in time, Patrick and I, to meet under different circumstances and perhaps have saved each other grief, started our life together earlier, established a more solid financial footing. But we found that we could not think of a different way of finding one another, and that the excitement of finding each other all over again would not be worth the risk of losing each other entirely. Because to change things would mean to be different people from who we were when we met and fell in love.

Though I still have regrets, I've come to conclude that things could not have happened any differently. And to extend that I would have to say that things now also are as they should be. But things are changing and I wish they wouldn't I wish they would stand still I wish I could freeze it all just for now because I don't know what's going to happen and I'm afraid that i've been so happy, things can only go downhill. There's no helping it, tho. What's going to happen is going to happen, with or without me.

My religious friends, of which I have many for some reason, pray for me and offer me biblical wisdom (thanks again for the bible, luz) but on days when i know there's a god and try to pray, only one prayer feels real: "Lord, Thy will be done."

Monday, September 26, 2005

i was feeling really, really lousy today i blow-dried my hair straight and wore strappy pink heels to work.

Thus, on a day when I felt particularly tired and haggard:

Five people complimented me on the hair; it's been months since i've worn it straight.

Three of my workmates admired the sandals.

And the resident babe told me she thought we were the same age: 19.

~* ~* ~*

I just got off the phone with a stylist from "toni & guy". Patrick and I have hair appointments for tomorrow...for free!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

it's not funny anymore

I'm seriously addicted to Guild Wars.

My mind wanders off to lush forests and icy peaks and scorching desert. In my dreams I calculate the fastest way to make more gold for my 15 plat armor, and wonder if I should simply complete the missions and ascend.

I am irritable, evasive about my use of time, and lack sleep. The dog, the hubby and chores about the house are beginning to show signs of neglect. I notice it all fall apart between quests. And then turn once again to the welcoming glow of the computer monitor, and immerse myself in a world of others' creation.

On the upside, I have been to droknar's forge and acquired the highest-level armor; reached level 20 (unascended, but a minor detail) and my pet will soon follow; and am testing various configurations of my monk build for coop play as well as solo farming.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

sequins, slippers and scaffolded shoes

In 2003 it was Uggs. Last year, legwarmers came back. This year it's all about sequined bags, beaded slippers and... and... PLATFORM SHOES (*stomp*stomp*stomp* no no no NO!!!)

The sequins and beads seemed like a good idea. What could be prettier than glittery detail? But then they began to take over: shapeless bags with oversize dangling sequins that remind one of capiz lamps.

And the slippers! My god, frumpy beaded round-toed slippers with flat corkboard soles that would shame your grandmother's shoe rack are being worn TO GO SHOPPING. One would hope they were a last-ditch ferry ride to get you from the last pair to the one about to be rung up but no, they are a fashion statement.

And then there are the platforms. Are they back again? Didn't they just leave? Whenever it was, it wasn't soon enough, and their comeback is far too quick for my taste. Am I the only one who thinks of orthopedic shoes when I see them? What's next -- couture crutches and wheelchairs?

Oh, and can celebrities *please* stop sporting rosaries as jewelry? Even Catholics don't wear them; we wear crucifixes.

i have been awake almost 24 hours

and spent 5/6 of that time playing Guild Wars. I'm exhausted.


my shameless self-recording career continueth:

Let Me Be Your Wings (Sun reprise)

still falling a little flat and certainly could use voice lessons to clear up that rasp. It's kind of annoying that i've gone mezzo again.

still, is there a hint of voice acting potential in this clip?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I made a guy at work smile today

He asked how the anime convention went and I said it wasn't as interesting as i thought it would be but we did manage to score some goodies. I went on to say that I planned to dress up for Halloween, wearing my cat ears, bell and fluffy tail and that's about it.

"That's it?" he asked, a smile creeping across his face. "Yeah, that's it." I said cluelessly. Two seconds later it dawned on me why he was grinning so broadly, I shrieked and walked off, red as a beet.

I wish I thought better on my feet.


"Overheard" in Guild Wars:

Player A: wts (want to sell) minor rune of soul-raping

and again,
Player A: wts minor rune of soul-raping

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


i ran out of advice today. At first, i thought something was wrong. I lost my earth-goddess mojo. Maybe I haven't been reading enough self-help books, I worried. Maybe i haven't been tapping into the spiritual well, or restocking it, or something.

Things have been chipping away at me, chipping away, just chipping. A workmate's husband left her. A friend is expecting a new granddaughter. Someone died, someone's husband left her, a business is being run into the ground and people are taking new jobs and leaving old ones and moving to new states and finally going back home and someone hates me and someone is so glad to see me again and someone is feeling neglected, overlooked, unappreciated and each new thing a drop in the bucket, a nail in my coffin it seems until it all became too much, just way too much and i stood apart from it all, a maelstrom with me at the center, stillness in the eye of the storm, sunlight pouring over me as the world spins crazily still.

And I realized, everything is happening all at once, all the time. You cannot comprehend it all, you cannot control it, and in reality, there are no answers. A workmate surprised me today, launching into a long pent-up tirade of her husband's faults and money troubles which i'd coaxed out of her and at the end of it all asking for my advice.

I had none to give. What a wondrous, jarring revelation.

In truth, I don't know anything about anything and god looking down, probably smiled to see me speak so knowingly for so long about things i know nothing about. Hubris. Ignorance and arrogance, born of my own assumption that a happy marriage = relationship success = being qualified to advise others on the subject.

I am well-aware that this new-found clarity will not last -- it is by nature ephemeral and too broad in scope for one small mind to embrace. We tend to get bogged down by the mundane. But for now, i am at peace and life is brilliant, exciting, and beautiful beyond words.

Monday, September 19, 2005

strangely vivid dreams

we've been keeping irregular sleep hours, patrick and i, as evidenced by this 4 a.m. blogging. The end result has been weird dreams so tangible and pointless they seem oddly symbolic.

The night before last, I dreamt we visited the in-laws and Nic was sitting on the floor of her bedroom watching TV. When asked why her sleigh bed was absent she replied "Oh, dad helped me move it into Chris's (her boyfriend's) apartment."

Patrick dreamt he was watching a diapered kid running around playing and then stop, half-squat for a few seconds, and then run off. To the kid: "Uh, did you need to poop?" To adults in the area, one of whom might be the parent: "I think that kid needs to be changed." To himself, upon waking: "I can't believe i had a dream about a kid taking a shit in his pants."

Last night I dreamt that my former store manager was my college teacher, and he told me to sit up before I fell asleep. I was slumped in my chair, head leaned far back against the back of the seat, and I could not move. Three of my classmates helped me right myself. He was picking on me because my iPod was on my desk, and I ended up having to change tampons.

Patrick dreamt he ate a shoe.


Patrick's best friend has snagged what he terms a "dream job". Patrick asked me to explain, probably since i've worked as a telemarketer before -- PLEASE DON"T HATE ME! It was in the Philippines, it was part-time work, and all i was selling was hotel club memberships during office hours. i was NOT calling people in the middle of dinner to answer surveys on personal care products. Anyway. I got to dress up nicely, romance the phone for a few hours, and eat lunch at the Hyatt for free. I was overpaid, but I still wouldn't call it a dream job.

Now I'm wondering what I would term a dream job. Besides the fictitious one that everyone hopes for, where you don't have to do anything and a paycheck deposit shows up in your checking account every two weeks. Although come to think of it, I know of a few people who do just that...

To anyone who asks, I'd say it's a job you'd do for free. For it to be meaningful, it should be aligned with your core values, with what you feel is important to you.

Things I do for free: Answer phones, dispense advice, sing, write, cook, google.

But in the back of my mind is a quiet wish. Days filled with children and pets, a home of laughter and sunshine. An appointed hour every day, devoted to me and the perfection of my craft. And at the end of the week, a dark hall, hushed silence, an empty stage. I step into the light and begin to sing. And my voice is carried onto the wind, lifted up beyond my own promise, soaring towards God.

When the music ends, the audience erupts in applause, showers of roses, whistles and cheers. "Brava!" And the faces of my husband and children are right there amongst them, faces beaming with love and pride.

The dream is so real I cannot help but keep it. And yet it is so far removed from the life i live, I cannot help but grieve.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

the mouse

I got home and there were papers, mostly Patrick's, on the kitchen counter. Passport, social security card, some recipes (mine). Some had tattered corners.

"Did mice get to these?" I asked him. I knew they'd been in one of the moving boxes in the garage.

"YES. One really BIG brown one." Cocoa?!? "I can only hope Garfield's ears are fine but you know what? I don't even want to know." Garfield is a stuffed toy of the popular character, and a birthday present for Patrick almost 15 years ago.

Friday, September 16, 2005

things have been difficult lately.

For the past six weeks we've been kiting checks, watching the checking account bump its limit, skating by till the next payday. It's gotten old.

Poor planning and poor time management made the two weeks allocated for our move too brief. And now we're neither here nor there, not quite moved in, not quite moved out. Though the situation is manageable and "under control", both at work and at home i feel ill-at-ease, playing catchup and fretting about the things i should be doing elsewhere, no matter where i am.

I keep (kept) my department fastidiously neat. It is how I keep sane through my workweek. I have been back for over a week and it is still nowhere near as clean as when i left it, and it is driving me up the wall.

At home too i cannot get a grip. I think of something to do and something else needs to be bought, something else needs to be found or put away or replaced and I cannot think i cannot move i cannot get it together. I wish i had more time. I dream of being a homemaker, of using the same time and care i devote thanklessly at work to create a healing place for patrick and myself, a safe haven from which we venture out to explore the world.

Barring that, because of financial constraints, time pressures and the limitations of apartment living, I find myself obsessing over shoes.

the vale of tears

I wrote this post last night, Sept. 15, at 8:10 PM. It's a loaded entry not open for comment. All you need know is that things have changed for the better since then, and I am fine now. This entry remains for archival purposes, so I can answer the question this journal is meant to meet, namely: "What was I thinking?"


There are things one shouldn't have to go through in her lifetime. Abortion. Rape. Domestic abuse.

Having survived, you feel mangled, flawed somehow. Less than. Less than normal. And yet in a way you are also a little proud of yourself for having lived through it, knowing you see the world through different eyes.

Aliens broke into our apartment yesterday and took my husband. They left in his stead someone else. Someone who looked and sounded like Patrick, but I knew better. The quick temper, the explosive impatience, the aggressive driving....I recognized him right away.

Since then I found myself curling up in the corner and quietly crying, snatching moments here and there. I thought I was stronger than that. Where did that hellcat go, so proud to hold her own against him? What of the fight-or-flight instinct? I feared it was beaten out of me a long time ago.

He didn't realize I'd been crying until late this morning, when I thought he'd left and he found me sobbing on the floor. Reflexively, I dried my eyes and stood up, averting my eyes "Nothing, it's nothing."

Because I knew that crying only makes him angrier, Mr. Intolerant-of-stupid-helpless-pathetic-people. That's why I learned to cry quickly and quietly.

Patrick is back now. He is sleeping quietly in the bedroom. I know now why I could not move. He would never hit me, I know. Still, this man is capable of hurting me a thousand times more, without lifting a finger against me. Even when I mistook him for someone else, in my heart I knew who remained underneath it all, one who has more power over me than that man ever did. Because this man i love.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


i have a texan accent, y'all.

i know, i know. Thar's nuthin' more off-puttin' than a non-Texan tryin' t' pass 'erself off as bein' from this here great state o' Texas.

And I'm not trying to. Really. In fact, i've been working hard to keep my diction very "International Standard English", or my concept of it. The problem lies in my knack for accents, coupled with the tendency to mirror whoever I'm speaking with in order to facilitate interaction and help everyone feel at ease. When I whine about it, people (from here, naturally) say i don't have a Texan accent. Patrick says he hasn't noticed it. But I have. And some guy from California asked about it too when I told him I'm from Seattle.

And so here i am. An Asian girl in Texas who drawls with the rest of them. sht.


i have been so silly. I will claim extreme duress and extraordinary circumstances, of course. But the heart of it is that I have so much on my plate as it is and i really shouldn't be poking at what someone else has.

luz, i love you for simply smiling knowingly as i rant on and rail against the world for its inconsistencies. We both know it's just me. You wait patiently as i stumble upon the same realizations I know but somehow always manage to forget.

You're welcome to gently remind me that in the world of "your-business/my-business/God's-business". the only one I need tend to is my own.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

what's old is new again

i think college is coming back to haunt me.

first Alanis comes out with an acoustic re-recording of Jagged Little Pill, and now Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are together in a Zorro sequel, "The Legend of Zorro".

i CANNOT wait.



i woke up this morning wanting to sing in japanese. And record myself. The results were...enlightening.

I realized that:
1. It's not a good idea to //sing first thing in the morning// in a language you don't speak// without vocalizing first,// and then record the result//and post it on the web. Naturally, that's what I did, and I stand behind my decision. About 50 yards behind.
2. My voice is weaker , raspier and more nasal than i thought.
3. I could pay closer attention to my diction. Too many unnecessary h's and z's.
4. I am so far away from ever having a singing career it's not even funny.
5. Speeding up a recording 100% fixes everything.

I sound like a Japanese chipmunk.

Ok fine i guess I should post the original as well. For comparative purposes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

hubris and humble pie

Once upon a time i was part of a creative writing circle. We would meet at the The Chocolate Kiss (How is it that a campus cafe in the Philippines happens to have a URL?), sip iced tea sweetened with syrup, and tweak each other's work.

I remember brilliantly and constructively critiquing one aspiring writer's offering, the first installment of a dark comedy novel. I recently learned that he is now the managing editor of a national computing magazine back home. At least he gave my edit an enthusiastic review. I could even venture that my contribution inspired him to continue his literary pursuits. But now I can't help but wonder what happened to all those others whose oeuvres i deigned to annotate, sharpened pencil busily and almost disdainfully scribbling directions and admonitions across pages.

Who was that overconfident stranger? She seems a lifetime away. If people who knew me when were to find this awkward blog, i'd wish to dissolve, like syrup swirled in iced tea.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

the bomb i spoke of

luz's inadvertent revelation

She sees herself in me. In my happy marriage, in my world of him-and-me, she sees herself and her husband as they were years ago. She sees in me her youthful naive self, so completely wrapped up in her wonderful, adoring, absolutely perfect man. Their life was a solitary bubble, iridescent and blissful, floating high above a harsh gray landscape. Until the day he left, he was her whole world.

It is shameful to admit it but i was wary of befriending her. I was afraid to associate with someone whose husband had left her for another woman. How wicked, stupid, and despicable of me. As if I'm so pure and good, that to touch a life undeservedly wronged is to be defiled, tainted somehow.

He cheated on her, tricked her into signing away her marriage, and left. Her marriage dissolved, just like that. Abandoned and vulnerable on unfamiliar ground, she survived somehow. Eventually she found in God a chance to reclaim herself. Through God she found the love to forgive him. And later, to take him back.

She is my future, and I am her past. This is how we feel. There are too many similarities between her and myself, so many parallels in her marriage and in mine, so many uncanny coincidences in how our spouses treat us, that we cannot help but see each other as mirrors.

Things are not working out. She carefully keeps this from me. For her not to tell me this is, i feel, her way of keeping the bubble from bursting. Sometimes I clench my fists as we're talking, afraid that in the midst of our everyday banter I will react to that which I should not know, that I will reach across the table and throttle her: what were you thinking? why are you doing this to yourself? Why can't you just let go?!

She has been waiting. Two years after she took him back, she waits still, hoping for him to find God, or for God to find him. She prays for God to help him love her so much more than he ever did before. She is waiting for him to love her enough to stay this time.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

it's fashion week in New York,

money's tight, and I wasn't feeling well this morning. What's a girl to do?

Spend the morning window-shopping "Windows-shopping" for $500 shoes. Because if you're gonna dream, it's best to dream so big that the shoes are beautiful beyond avarice.

If you like the look of ballet slippers, Delmans are your best bet.
If you drooled over the fashion style of "Sex and the City", click on over to the HBO site for fashion credits from most episodes. Or check out these Manolos at

My personal picks are:
* Delman champagne sandal with a satin bow (i know, i know, the encrusted swarovskis are a bit much)
* Bottega Veneta snakeskin pump - Sorry, no direct link here. Click on skip> collection > shoes > 5 > lower right picture, middle shoe.
* I also like the Delman Highlander plaid pump (fourth column, second row) but I can't seem to find it on the site. I wish it didn't have the crystal embellishment. You'd figure Burberry would have something similar but apparently not. I want them to wear on Christmas Eve...
* Manolo Blahnik patent leather mule

Can I wear this to my wedding, or does it look too busy?
* Dior romantic pump
The model is wearing it (and a white trench coat!) here.

Neiman Marcus has an online clearance sale! Wahhh...I kinda like these too, but i could just be blinded by the $200 discount. This is why i shop with Patrick.
* Cole Haan pearlized pump
* Delman woven pump with bow

Or it could just be that i'm in a pink mood today. I even thought this was cute.
* pink floral rifle

I know. I'm despicable.

Friday, September 09, 2005

my first day back at work

Much has been said in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. All i know is that when i came in today, my department was completely wiped out of basics: Hanes value-packaged panties and socks in all sizes were completely sold out. In my two years as department manager, that has never happened.

Alright, so I was on vacation. But still.

In the little province where I was born, when store shelves were empty after a storm, it was because hoarders had taken all they could and were stockpiling supplies to resell at ludicrous prices. Or because some local government officials had decided that funds earmarked for relief could be diverted just a bit, to stamp "Donated by (corrupt politico)" on canned goods and rice and sugar.

Americans are often derided for being decadent and consumerist. Some days, walking through the seemingly-endless aisles of a warehouse club, my eyes begin to sting at such excess. But today, as I scanned and reordered peg upon empty peg of underwear, purchased by my neighbors to clothe strangers they will probably never meet, the tears began to flow.