I was drawn to this red table setting at Greenbelt. The ruby-red candle holders would produce a dramatic glow. The centerpiece of glittered red "vine" and evergreens dictate the casually festive feel of this table setting. The vase is made from natural capiz shells. A great idea for New Year's dinner party!
My first Weekend Snapshots were taken last night at Greenbelt 3 while having coffee at Seattle's Best. It was a busy Sunday night at Greenbelt---people going to dinner after attending mass, patrons of Cafe Havana filled the al fresco dining area, the nearby restaurants were full, Starbucks across the piazza was crowded as usual. The night was getting interesting as my friend S and I enjoyed our hot lattes. We were having fun planning ways and means to cut costs in 2009...so that was probably my last latte in 2008, and the things and people who made us happy this year. I believe positive thinking brings joy and lightness to the heart and mind. So despite the challenges that added lines to my wrinkles this year, I'd like to remember the times I laughed my heart out and the people who made it happen.
My OB-Gyn. Her first question every time I enter her clinic is, "So, have you already found a boyfriend?" The mischievous light in her eyes when she asks the question never fail to amuse me. I swear, she talks and laughs like Kris Aquino! And I get to be creative with my answer every time. I would tell her, "The taho vendor thinks I eat too much so he dumped me!" Or "The guy wanted to marry me until he met my mother!" She would crack up and we would talk about how great single life is, how she misses hanging out in a bar, or going away on a weekend with friends. Her parting words are usually---don't give up, your would-be donor might be just around the corner (haha)! I always leave her clinic feeling better than when I came in.
Sunday driving. The sight of an empty Kalayaan flyover on a Sunday afternoon always makes me smile. It feels like God is smiling down and rewarding me with an open road. Yesterday afternoon, as I accelerated to a pleasantly empty flyover, an old favorite by Crosby, Stills and Nash was playing on the radio...just a song before I go, to whom it may concern, traveling twice the speed of sound, it's easy to get burned...and I thought, what a perfect moment!
Tom, my office mate. This guy doesn't miss a beat at everything you throw at him but his simple view of life often makes me grin. His artless ways are refreshing, no pretenses. He insisted on staying at an inexpensive pension in Cebu even when he is allowed to stay in a hotel because he feels at home there. I once convinced him to stay in a hotel and he was very excited to tell me how he enjoyed his first bath tub experience, room service and the free toiletries. He's never embarrassed of his humble upbringing.
Eric, parking attendant/security guard. He taught me how to park properly. He is tireless in giving me directions---left or right, right or left, until I'm parked perfectly. His encouragements make me do my best even when I'm spatially-challenged. His dedication and patience make me appreciate the work he does.
Sales clerks at the vegetable section of SM-Pasig. They never run out of jokes---about me, the government, even about their vegetables. I was choosing veggies when the clerk with a microphone approached me with, "Ma'am, constipated po ba kayo? Ang hawak n'yong broccoli ay nagpapalambot ng alam nyo na...di na kayo iiri kailan man!" (Ma'am, are you constipated? The broccoli you're holding softens the you-know-what...you won't push ever again!) I stood there holding a bunch of broccoli, laughing like crazy. Other shoppers were in stitches as well, and we went on with our shopping with a grin.
Lyka, my 4-year old neighbor. Her quips and questions are often priceless. On Mother's Day, she greeted my mother with "happy mother's day, lola!" Then turned to me and said, "Happy mother's day, Tita Lun, kasi mommy ka ni Fritz." (Happy mother's day, Tita Lun, just because you're Fritz' mom.) She paused then wondered, "Pa'no mo naging anak si Fritz?" (How did you become Fritz' mother?) We call her "Lucring" because of her tantrums. I was still asleep on Christmas morning when she demanded to see me so she could show off her new pink dress and matching sandals.
Fritz, my doggie. I know the cliche about how we come home from work exhausted but how our pet's excitement upon seeing us brings us a renewed surge of energy. Honestly, before Fritz came, I didn't look forward to going home after work. I was out until late most of the time, and I seldom stayed home on weekends. Nowadays, seeing Fritz waiting for me at the foot of the stairs each morning, wagging his tail, is enough to make me smile. His quirks make me laugh...and yes, I'd rather spend the weekend playing with him than go to the mall.
Ike. This is a guy who never runs out of funny jokes to share. In the middle of a stressful day, I would receive a text message from him that always makes me grin like a Cheshire cat. I love his wit, and his belly laugh is contagious---I call it his psycho laugh.
Disc Jocks. They are my companions to and from work every day. Their antics on air keep me entertained and awake on the road. One rainy morning, a male disc jock was talking about a weird custom in Cuba where male prostitutes are hired to deflower virgin brides before the wedding. The female disc jock declared that her partner is now seriously thinking of leaving his radio gig and migrating to Cuba. The male DJ was raving about how hot and beautiful Cuban women are and that he'd be willing to do the job for free. Then somebody called up the radio station to tell the DJs that the weird custom is not in Cuba but in Papua New Guinea. The male DJ was stunned speechless while the female DJ and I were laughing uncontrollably that passengers in an FX in front of me started to stare.
Migo. It's not his real name but I call him that---Migo in Ilonggo means friend. Migo is a huge guy in his mid-30's and mentally handicapped. He comes to our gate every Sunday afternoon to sing. Rain or shine, he sings his heart out---his mother gives him an umbrella when it's raining. He invents the lyrics and melody of his songs so each song is different and always surprising. I admire his creativity and his fearless determination to express himself.
I'm sure there are many nameless people who have crossed our paths everyday who make us grin. To welcome the New Year on a positive note, let’s go out of our way to make them smile as well.
Can you feel your cholesterol levels rise by just looking at these photos? As my friend would say, you make it hard, babe! He meant his arteries...
No, these were not on my noche buena table. I took these gruesome photos in one of the Christmas parties I attended last week. Lechon, or suckling pig, is the centerpiece of Filipino parties, a symbol of our love for celebrations. And during the holiday season, lechon completes the noche buena feast.
My mother's family loves lechon and my grandmother had a small piggery so my uncles could roast a pig anytime. Anything was celebrated...an uncle spelled "lineage" correctly, Lola had a pig roasted; there was lechon on the table after an aunt got her driver's license. My little brother choked on chocolates, he survived---my uncle roasted a pig as thanksgiving. You get the picture.:D Grandfather, by the way, died from coronary thrombosis, Lola succumbed to cardiac arrest. The rest of the family has high blood pressure.
Words from our sponsor: Cholesterol is found only in animal products. Foods from plants do not contain cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol can lead to heart disease. If you binged on lechon and other fat-rich foods during the holidays, please don't forget to have your cholesterol levels checked soon. Don't wait for symptoms.
Fritz loves his squeaky toy and he's very possessive about it. He has demolished most of his toys but not this one. It's rough, tough and bouncy and the loud squeak inspires Fritz to play with it.
Fritz is a nervous wreck these days. Sounds of fireworks and firecrackers make him nervous and jumpy. His favorite place right now is the darkest corner under the dining table or right beside me (he follows me around the house). His toys, at least, give him a distraction. I plan to put a head-set on him on New Year's eve. Poor baby!
Here are some healthy options after the cholesterol-rich noche buena feast---my favorite crunchy, juicy and vibrantly-colored Pomelo Salad (with shrimp, chicken and fresh herbs) and Fresh Spring Rolls with peanut sauce. Enjoy these at Zao Vietnamese Bistro at Serendra, Global City.
I can listen to this song all night long, over and over again. My mother thinks I'm hopelessly crazy. The neighbors think I've become a religious fanatic. Only my dog understands that I simply love Leonard Cohen. Hallelujah is a song originally written and composed by Leonard Cohen over the course of a year, and released in 1984. Over the years, Hallelujah has been performed by various artists and was included in TV and movie soundtracks, including Shrek, House, ER, Without a Trace, Cold Case, The West Wing among others. There are biblical references in the lyrics and the melody conjures up religious feelings, but Hallelujah is not a religious song. I find the lyrics a bit sexual and funny. Only Leonard Cohen could come up with something like this.
This festive scene greets shoppers of Market, Market!, a mall in Global City, Taguig. The larger than life toy soldier, gifts, snowmen, Christmas trees with candy cane ornaments and colorful lights amaze children of all ages.
Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days, that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, that can transport the sailor and the traveler, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!
This is my favorite place nowadays...a small piazza overlooking the field where my friend S and I walk-jog-walk on weekends. I love to listen to the sound of the fountain and bask in the cool, grass-scented breezes from the nearby golf course. I found a quiet place here beneath the noise of my own thoughts.
My first Food Friday---smoky pork spareribs slathered with barbecue sauce, served with mashed potato and peaches (cooked in whiskey). Perfect for holiday dinner. Shared this whole slab with my friend S at Claw Daddy after our 5-kilometer brisk walk on Sunday night (we rewarded ourselves after all that sweat!).
Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.