A Truly Happy Christmas To You

May the truest meaning of Christmas dwell oh so sweetly in your hearts always!

Praise the Lord forever and ever!


Weight Gain Dressing and Anniversary

I dress a little bit this way lately. A tad more feminine but all loose this way. Not because I'm hip or anything but because I've gained weight from the pregnancy and nothing fits. Haha.

I think it's a good silhouette. And the nice thing about gaining weight is gaining some boobs too. Hahaha. Plus I guess the pregnancy hormones made my set a bit fuller. Yahoo. But only till the hormones subside.

I have a friend who I think just had a boob job and wow, she's got some knockers now. I don't think I'd ever go for that though. I find bigger boobs a bit heavy. It feels funny when they're bouncy. Hahaha. Sorry! Also I'm digressing.

It's our 10th wedding anniversary today and I woke up to a really touching long letter from C. Can't believe it's been 10 years.

It's been a really happy, laughter-filled 10 years! Happy anniversary, C! Here's to more adventures and funny moments. It's so good to be married to you. Yech, mush. Haha.


Crazy Mix

I love dressing up. It's one of the expense-free activities I cherish. Even when I just have to run errands, I try to have a little adventure in what I wear.

Here's a crazy mix I had on recently. A lilac metallic taffeta skirt (black reverse side used as a band on the hem), textured purple tights and leopard print ballet flats. Only a basic black tee for my top. Anything more than that would've driven C up the wall. Hahaha. With this outfit, I looked like Alice In Wonderland in a safari mood. Hahahahaha.

Note pair of black flats beside my feet. I always bring a "safety net", like shoes or jeans, in case I chicken out and decide to transform the outfit into something safe. Usually I don't touch the safety net. But it's good to know I have an option. :)


Wuxiang: A Resto Review

This little restaurant on Ibanez corner J. Abad Santos (near where Little Store is) in San Juan came highly recommended.

One late afternoon in between errands in Quezon City and Makati, we decided to have really late lunch at Wuxiang.

It's a little apartment with a very spartan setup. Nothing fancy here and if you're really picky, you might label the place tacky. Haha.

We came expecting just to be fed hot, good food.

We ordered their specialty: fried chicken. The food server suggested pairing it with plain rice (although we wanted to get fried rice) so we did. We also got black almond and white almond drinks.


Dining Area

I haven't seen a tissue holder like this since grade school!

Christmas Kitsch

You know you're safe when they put your spoons and forks in hot water. Teehee.

Fried Chicken!!!

White and Black Almond on a date

Half order of fried chicken (8 pieces) was overwhelming to look at but we finished it off. Slices are small and it tastes like something your grandma would cook at home. Generous on the batter and spices but I wish they had marinated the chicken longer.

Verdict: Yummy, especially when you are sooo hungry and want something familiar and comforting. Nothing life-changing but for the price (I think less than P300 for our meal, including drinks), not bad. Service is good and waitstaff is friendly. Dining area is clean and reminds me of our grade school cafeteria. :) We didn't try the washroom though.

Would I crave this next week? I doubt. Maybe next month. And maybe next time we'll pair the chicken with fried rice or their noodles. There are other stuff on the menu worth trying.


Shabu-shabu Christmas Party

It was so good to be out with friends. And I just LOVE shabu-shabu!

These are my friends from when I still joined bazaars.

Our spread:

Dessert afterwards (crepes and coffee!!!)


Night Out!

Haven't been on a night out without C for a loooong time!

Tonight is shabu-shabu night with friends. I'm so excited!!!

Still waiting for m/c to complete but the worst is over. I think. I hope. Praying the doc clears me this weekend. I wrote about it but decided it was too gruesome to publish. Let's just say it's the kind of pain that brings out your imaginary talons. Oh dear. Haha.

For now, I am thankful for the chance to go out, eat hot and yummy food and be with friends. Thank You, Lord for simple pleasures.

I am wearing a feathered headband to add to the celebration. :D

I Believe In Father Christmas

Despite all the commercial trappings, we can dig deep and see the most basic, and most touching meaning of Christmas.

This song feels to me like the first glass of cool water in the morning. You know how that feels. Enjoy and have a very meaningful CHRISTmas!


Status Update

Facebook status and Twitter tweet: MISCARRIAGE ROCKS!

hahahaha. yes, i love sarcasm. :)


Edge of Desire

A friend shared this link on Facebook and I'm sharing it with you. I think it's a beautiful song. And a nice Christmas treat. :)

Watercress Pesto

So we tried making watercress pesto last night. It was good, I must say. Milder than basil pesto. Sorry no pictures. We were so hungry and just completely forgot to document the experiment.

Here's the quick and easy recipe, if you'd like to try it:

Puree in the blender the following:

2 cups watercress (remove the thicker stalks)
Half cup pine nuts (I throw in some walnuts too)
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Slowly add around 6 Tbsp olive oil (add more if sauce is too thick) to the puree.

Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in grated parmesan (I use maybe a cup and a half as we are cheese people).

Will try to put the pesto on baguette slices next time. Yum!


Veg Out Weekend

Not that kind of vegging out though. Just got our order of organic vegetables last night and now I need to figure out how to cook them right away (in our experience, organic veggies wilt faster than regular, store-bought stuff... methinks it's the non-use of traditional pesticides and preservatives... yes!!!) and preserve them.

I'm making watercress pesto later. We'll just probably blanch the spinach for later use.

I'm excited about the watercress pesto. First time to use watercress for that. It's usually basil that we use. Next time I'll try spinach pesto. Can't wait!

Happy Sunday!


80s vs 70s

Finally. According to this post on Jak & Jill, fashion is returning to a softer, prettier mood.

I don't think I bought any clothes this year. Really. Well, I also have the benefit of having a sewer who can make me what I want. But that, and recession saving aside, I had absolutely no love for the clothes that were in stores this year.

Black, skinny, edgy, spikey. 80s bad girl.

I am sooooo glad that we're going back to pretty, soft and curvy. Yes!


The Lord's Plans

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

How many times have I heard that? It's an oft-quoted verse, in church, in bible studies, in greeting cards, on t-shirt prints...

It's easy to say one believes in that verse, but to believe in it wholeheartedly even when the plan is quite unclear (or not going according to how you think it should go) is a different and very difficult matter.

I've been quiet lately. With blogging and even Facebooking.

Usually when I'm quiet for a long stretch, it only means one of two things: I'm extremely busy or I'm extremely sad.

For a while, I was extremely busy. Then I became extremely sad.

I'm happy to say I'm still busy (thank You, Lord) but no longer extremely sad.

Right now, I am waiting to miscarry for the second time.

Yup, I got pregnant again. This time planned and much anticipated.

Our first home pregnancy test was positive right away. Early morning of October 7. I was due to have my period October 6. That is how regular my period is. A big blessing, when you want to get pregnant.

We were sooo happy. I couldn't go back to sleep after doing the hpt. I was already worrying about things I should eat, things I should stop doing, etc.

I had stopped running (first major sacrifice for me) the week I was due to ovulate. Didn't want to "shake up" the embryo. Hahaha.

When we confirmed the pregnancy, I started eating. A lot. A whole lot! I wanted to make sure I was providing enough nutrients to the baby.

I would talk to the baby (in my mind) when I'd take a shower, introducing it to warm water and cold water.

I slowed down considerably with driving. I became more patient and less prone to pushing the gas pedal too much.

We had to wait two weeks before we could go for ultrasound. Useless to have one too early.

It was a looong wait and we were filled with excitement and also fear. We were hoping this wouldn't turn out blighted like the first one. We felt it wouldn't be. For us, it was impossible to have another blighted ovum. The first one was too painful to bear already. Surely this one would have to be healthy.

The day for the ultrasound finally came and we were just beside ourselves with excitement. While the sonologist was preparing, I was already imagining the nurse calling in C so he could look at our little one on the ultrasound screen.

Then it happened again. Empty. Numerous previous ultrasounds have made me aware of what to look for on the screen. I knew right away. An empty gestational sac. It felt like I was sinking into a black hole. It felt horrible in a way that the word horrible can't ever begin to describe. In my mind I was tearing up the hospital sheets and pushing equipment violently to the floor. Funny now but horrible when I had all those strong emotions.

What followed was a few more weeks of waiting. A seesaw of hoping and getting disappointed.

I was depressed and didn't want to go out of the house. I didn't want to talk to anyone who knew about the pregnancy. I just couldn't deal with it. All I knew was that I had to just take it a day at a time. That there was surely going to be a day when the pain in my heart would fade.

Our OB finally told us that we should see an immunologist. She said it's a blessing that we get pregnant when we try. And it's just that my body seems to be treating the embryo as a foreign object and is rejecting it. Sometimes I think the years I've spent trying not to get pregnant has made my body so defensive, literally.

The doctor went on to say that the chances of having a healthy pregnancy are high.

That knowledge encouraged me. I was nearing wanting to slap (I'm sorry if that is so angry but that is really how I felt. I was so frustrated and terribly sad at losing another baby!) anyone who would say "oh just try again and let's see".

I poured my grief into online research. If what I suspect is right, what I have might be antiphospholipid antibody syndrome or APAS. Seems like when the body detects the embryo, the blood thickens and supply of nutrients to the placenta is blocked. This condition doesn't allow the pregnancy to continue.

Right now I'm still bleeding and will most likely miscarry in a few days (based on the timeline of my first miscarriage).

The immunologist will be back in two weeks and we'll see her and get tested. From what I've read, if I test positive for APAS, when I get pregnant again, I will have to be given low-dose aspirin, and maybe heparin injections, everyday, for the duration of the pregnancy. The goal is to thin the blood, to allow passage of nutrients into the placenta.

In an Oxford Journal online research paper, I read that women who were given the combination of aspirin and heparin stood a better chance at completing a healthy pregnancy. 76% compared to 64% for women given only aspirin or heparin and 46% for those given only aspirin.

It feels good to get into something with some knowledge about what can happen. It's also good to know that whatever happens, if it pleases the Lord to make us parents, or if it is not part of His plan for us, God plans for what is good and best for us.

I pray for grace to accept whatever that plan is.

Oh... for those of you curious to know... I also asked what causes APAS. It's not hereditary. It's actually quite common in this generation and they suspect that it's caused by stress, the environment and the food we eat. Toxins in the air and in what we put in the plants and animals we consume.

Abangan. Or in English, keep posted. I'll certainly share this exciting new journey.


Shoes, yoga and hair

Take a look at these Cesare Paciotti shoes:

photo borrowed from jakandjil.com

I've been seeing a lot of these studded heels lately but nothing has really made my heart skip a beat till this pair. I know when I absolutely love something (or someone) I feel nauseated just looking. If I had this pair, I'd wear them everyday. I don't think they're that hard to wear. Its sole has a slight wedge to it. I wish, I wish. :)

Haven't been running for more than a month now. Heeded C's request. Part of the baby-making preparations. Have gone back to swimming and last night, to yoga too. Woke up this morning much later than usual, the muscles all over my body sore and feeling great. Back muscles, arms, obliques, thighs, butt, everything's sore. Haha. Forgot what a deadly workout yoga is.

Now I need a haircut. My hair's past the bra line and that's not good. I need to convince my stylist to cut it shorter this time. Last time I went to him, he was so enamored with the length and the remaining curls that he just fixed up the layers and didn't touch the length. I'm getting bored with this style. Need to go a bit shorter and need to color soon. Red! :)

What are you up to today?


Lazy Sunday

We decided to stay home today because of my bum tummy. From pigging out the whole week.

Had late brunch and just read papers on the sofa while sipping tea.

Our lazy Sunday scenes:

Scout by the main door

Mint tea and Pinacolada tea

Ginger begging for a cookie

C reading the paper

Ginger and Scout napping


Money Matters Tuesday

Started the made-to-order stuff in July. It just started when my friend's mom asked me to make her a cocktail dress for a wedding she was going to attend. Then my friend had some dresses made.

At first I had to job out the production part as I didn't have a sewing machine yet and had no full-time sewer.

The sewing machine and sewer came in early August. Jobs have been continuous since then.

Today I sat down and started an Excel on jobs done by the sewer as well as payments I've made. Need to do that as I am not known for my math skills. Haha.

I hate "counting beans" but it's something any serious entrepreneur needs to do constantly. Otherwise you're going through your business days blindly. Accurate financial information helps you make informed choices and hopefully assures you that you are making some money. Haha.

On the homefront, I am currently fixating on asparagus and scouring online food mags for pasta recipes using asparagus. This after I had my week of arugula addiction.


Early Start on Christmas

There's a slight breeze as I'm writing this from our dining table. The window shade in the living area lifts ever so softly and settles back softly again. It's quiet in the compound today. Many of our neighbors are in the provinces for All Souls Day. I miss the sound of kids playing.

Been a long time since I wrote here. Was soooo busy with made-to-order stuff. Clients for dresses and tops have been steady since we started sometime July (thank You Lord!) and October was even busier because of a lot of weddings on the 25th. It was an auspicious date for the Chinese and we worked on a couple of gowns and cocktail dresses for people attending weddings on that day.

Was offered a job as editor for a fashion and lifestyle online mag. It's wonderful to be considered and for a few hours I seriously thought of trying out for the job. But after sleeping on it, I'm kinda inclined to decline. Tempting yes but I need to focus on my little sewing shop or else it will forever be a little sewing shop. :) But yes, it felt good to be considered.

I'm going to clean out our little storage space today and attempt to put up our Christmas decor. Christmas comes very early in the Philippines. Hahaha.

Hope you are well and happy.


Blue Skies by Noah and The Whale

Favorite song this week. Seems apt for after the storm.

Been away from blogging for a while. Been very busy and also got caught up in typhoon affairs.

Saturday evening I was fretting about leaks in our kitchen. The rest of the house was dry.

Sunday when we saw what had become of places in Pasig, Cainta, Marikina, Rizal and other places, I forgot about our kitchen leaks.

Here's hoping you are alright.

Blue skies today. Chime happy in the slight wind. Praying and hoping the weather will stay this way for a while.


Red Lipstick by Skint and Demoralised

Favorite song this week. Hope you'll like it. Kinda reminds me of the simple rhythms of the New Wave music I grew up on.

Training Log: 15 Sept. Interval Training at ULTRA

Been BUSY!!! Ack! And the rain hasn't been much help either, in terms of training.

But finally, the weather cleared up last Tuesday.

Went to ULTRA early because we had dinner with friends that night. Trained alone, with some help from Coach Sarge. Torture but very fulfilling.

2K warm-up
stretching and drills

Main event: 3(3x400m)
2 min rest after every 400m and one lap walk after every set.

I don't have a stopwatch so it was Coach Sarge who timed me.

For the first set I ran alone so I don't have the times for those.

For the 2nd set, it was 1:50, 1:49, 1:51

For the 3rd set, it was 1:51, 1:52, 1:44

C registered me for 10K for Power Run next Sunday. I asked Coach Joar if I'm okay to do 10K next Sunday, despite having been on break for three weeks. He said stick to 5K but alas I've been registered. So he said, just run to finish. I said, Coach, that's what I always do... just run to finish. Hahaha.

Excited but dreading next Sunday too.


Septembrrrr Night

I just lighted candles in our little veranda. The typhoon has passed and it's not so windy anymore. The windchime is silent but there's a brisk air about.

I love candles and I love lighting a couple in the veranda. These are my top two favorite candle holders:

A see-through jar that seems from the 70s:

And two jam jars that hang from the ceiling:

Sit with me and let's listen to Billie, Ella, Marvin, and Nina. Throw in a bit of The Hollies and Tower of Power.


One night when the drapes in our veranda were still new, I lit candles and heard the neighbor's kids talking from the veranda across. They couldn't see me, just the light of the candles through the flimsy drapes.

I guess they were wondering what was behind the drapes and what the candles were for because their elder brother (about 12 years old) said: Ewan ko, baka may bathtub.



Sound Trip #11

Been listening to this over and over. Heard it on the radio last night and I just loved it instantly.

The real video can't be embedded but please do check it out here.

I love that they're a little cuckoo. :) We all need a bit of cuckoo.

I hope you are having a great week.



Two close friends are pregnant. One of them just found out yesterday.

I am so excited for them. Was so eager even to suggest some preggy-friendly toiletries I discovered that time I was pregnant.

I remember how C and I had been soooo very careful we wouldn't get pregnant. We felt we weren't ready. We felt we liked our present setup and didn't want to change things just yet. Then we got pregnant. It took a while to get used to the idea and to like it. Eventually liking led to loving it.

Then we lost it. It just wasn't meant to be and it was a good way for us to know we were ready for a change.

Now I can't remember wanting anything as bad.

But I'm learning to wait and hoping it'll just sneak up on us one sunny day.


Our Dining Area/Sewing Area

The house is messier than ever. Hahaha. These are Manang Linda (grey-haired) and Shiela. Manang is the sewer and Shiela is our helper who is trying to learn how to sew too. Shiela is eager to learn because according to her, ang sewer: "naka-upo lang, may pera na". I wanted to throw a ball of fabric at her. Hahaha!

Cardboard Bunnies

C's boss sent these to me yesterday.

I am sooo glad the boxes aren't edible. I get to keep them forevahhhh!!!

Notice they even have a pop-out tail! How cute is that?!

I love small thingies. I have a lot of little animals, seashells, a miniature double-decker bus (one of only 2,000 made!), ribbons, small notes, small boxes, buttons and a Zidane action figure! You know what to get me for Christmas! :)


Training Log: 28 and 31 August

28 Aug

They canceled the run clinic last Friday due to rains. And as always, the moment they canceled it, the rain canceled itself too. Haha. On Coach Joar's advice, I ran 6K on my own. Would've wanted to run more but Kim was waiting for me.

31 Aug

C and I had planned to run on Sunday morning, to make it a regular thing. But we had stayed up late on Saturday and thought it best to just rest on Sunday.

Monday, no one was mentioning anything about running. Haha. Lazybones.

But Coach Joar texted me in the afternoon about raising funds for the differently-abled athletes and he was excited to talk about his plans. Excited enough to invite us for an evening jog in UP.

No escape.

We just did 8.8K around the Acad Oval. Coach timed it and said we clocked 45min. I couldn't believe it. That's 5.11min per Km. To think we were talking the entire time. I guess we got really caught up in the discussion. The differently-abled athletes are a big inspiration.


Training Log: 27 Aug (swim)

Sun was out this morning and it was sooo warm. Perfect time to hit the pool and that's just what I did.

Met up with my bestfriend and did laps in a 25meter pool. I lost count but I must've done maybe 2K.

First few laps, my arms were complaining. Obviously, these parts are so not used to exercise. Haha. But after a few more laps, everything seemed better. The body truly remembers.

I had so many deep thoughts on swimming but now it's so late and my arms and back are sore. Saying hello to muscles I didn't know I had. Haha.

All I can say is that it's easier to swim than to run. And swimming complements running and vise versa.

I think I have to also thank yoga for teaching me how to breathe efficiently. I think the more relaxed your breathing is, the better your body performs. So even when we're doing intervals, I really try to slow my breath down. Deliberate breathing works for me.

I hope to really be able to mix swimming in my routine. But it's so weather-dependent. Ah well.

Just happy I was able to swim today and happy to have tan lines again. :)


Client Fitting

Just came from client fitting. Just the satin lining of her gown for a wedding she's attending in September.

I'm so happy it fit her perfectly! I was so surprised! I had expected to at least have to take in even half an inch on the sides. Woohoo! Just need to lower the neckline a bit and shorten the hem. Manang will be very happy!

One of the things I loved most in my previous job was when we'd fit the samples of designs executed by suppliers. I loved trying on the clothes and equally loved being the one to pin areas that needed taking in.

These days I really look forward to client fittings. I have a small pouch that contains a tape measure, small scissors, a pencil and a small tin of headed pins. The multi-colored ones with little balls on the head.

When I have to pin a part of a dress, I bite one pin and hold another with my fingers. Saves some time than if I hold one pin at a time. I don't know why but biting that one pin and holding the other makes me feel I'm serious with what I'm doing. Hahaha! Crazy, I know. Just little quirks.

And I am really serious with what I'm doing. I'm not good with small talk and I'm usually just quiet when assessing how the client looks in the dress she's fitting. I really want her to look good and feel good with what she's wearing. I wish I could say this to every person I make a dress for. But I might get weepy and embarrass myself if I even start explaining. Hopefully, they'll just see by how their dress is made, that it is made with a lot of passion and love.

Running Log: 25 Aug (interval training)

I decided to resume my running log here. Need to keep track if I'm going to train for my first half. Still far from that though. Need to transition to 15K first and see what that's like.

Last night I ran with the girls and that was quite a relief.

2K warm-up.

Main run: 2x3x200m.

Coach Sarge was our pacer and these are our times:

1st Set: 0:54; 047; 041
2nd Set: 0:45; 0:40; 0:40

3K cool down. I usually don't do this but Coach Joar insisted so I did it. My legs were so tired already from the sprints and I didn't expect I would be able to finish the cool down. Pwede pala. The battle is really in the mind.

Core strengthening and stretching.

Good training night. Not easy but we made it. :)


Kitchen Experiments

I just made a jar of pesto and chicken tocino.

Went to weekend market on Sunday and got some gorgeous, sweet-smelling basil leaves from the organic stall.

Today we chopped up a cup of basil leaves (leave out the stalks), combined it with half a cup of olive oil, half a cup of grated parmesan, fresh ground pepper and my experimental 3/4 of a siling labuyo. Long ago they used to make pesto by grinding everything on a mortar and pestle. Now we just drop everything in a blender and voila. I love the color and scent of freshly made pesto. Tasted it a bit and love that one can just hint at the siling labuyo. Too bad I ran out of pine nuts. That would've really made it special. Can't wait to have pesto pasta for dinner.

For the chicken tocino, I just got six skinless breast of chicken fillets, sliced them into thin strips and put them in a freezer bag of 4 tbsp salt and 8 tbsp brown sugar. That's it! This is marinating now in the fridge. After three days, we can portion it out into fry-ready packs and place them in the freezer. Friday tocino breakfast!!!

I love how easy to make these two dishes are and how they're such a treat to the senses. Love the colors and the textures when making them. Can't wait for the aroma of pesto pasta and the comforting scent of tocino frying. I don't know about you but it's really beginning to smell a lot like Christmas. Haha.


Hi, I'm L__ And I'm An Introvert

Read this tonight and found myself nodding and smiling at what it says.

For a long time I thought I was an extrovert. As a kid I talked nonstop and often got into trouble because of that. Noon naman basta madaldal, extrovert na.

A few years ago I took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and got INFJ (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judging). This is how the different types are described, in a nutshell:

Extraversion -- preference to focus on the outer world of people and things
Introversion -- preference to focus on the inner world of ideas and impressions

Sensing -- tendency to focus on the present and on concrete information gained from your senses
Intuition -- tendency to focus on the future, with a view towards patterns and possibilities

Thinking -- tendency to base your decisions primarily on logic and on objective analysis of cause and effect
Feeling -- tendency to base your decisions primarily on values and on subjective evaluation of person-centered concerns

Judging -- you like a planned and organized approach to life and prefer to have things settled
Perceiving -- you like a flexible and spontaneous approach to life and prefer to keep your options open

On Facebook, I took the test again and got INFP. A close college friend commented that she never thought of me as introverted. And I said maybe because I have a "game or work face". It was just my little theory and the essay on introversion confirms it.

I've made presentations to big groups, I love selling my stuff in bazaars, I post like crazy on Facebook and comment like there's no tomorrow too. But one-on-one conversations with people (close friends and family included) are something I dread. In fact, when I'm going to a party or family gathering, C knows that I have to be given time to prepare. To psych myself up, to imagine who will be there and to practice in my mind what I'm going to say to people I'll meet.

Long ago, C had to get me iced latte before each visit to his family. Hahaha.

In Facebook, sometimes I feel I've overdosed and I'd be quiet for weeks.

Now I understand why, at parties, I start out cheery, chatty and really hyper sometimes. But give me an hour or two of that and I suddenly turn into a zombie, just staring at people (or more often, wall hangings!), and carefully making sure I nod and laugh at appropriate times.

I live in a compound of townhouses and I need to walk past some neighbors' homes to get to the car. Believe me, if I could make sure the street was clear before I ventured out, I would. My body tenses up each time someone even says good morning!

I'm such an introvert that I don't have a public listing of this blog (except on my twitter account which no one knows about anyway). I posted the blog address on Facebook and took it out a few days after.

Why even blog, right? Well, I love writing and I'd like to keep a record of things for when I'm old and gray and I can't even remember who I am. Haha. It's a safe place to be myself. And I like interacting with the very few (two? three? haha) people who read this blog. It's easy and yet still meaningful.

A lot of times I feel bad because people might mistake the silence and the preference to being alone as a sign of aloofness or uncaring.

It's not that. Sometimes it's just difficult to put across what I want to say. There's no time to edit, unlike when I'm writing.

I think I speak for most introverts when I say that it's not that we don't like being with people. Because we do. It's just that our socializing battery empties out fast and needs recharging more frequently than others.

I feel liberated having read Jonathan Rauch's essay. He hit it right on the nail.


Morning Sounds

Good morning!

What do you usually hear in the morning when you wake up?

For us, the sounds of birds chirping. I feel blessed that we still have a lot of birds in Quezon City. Their morning songs are one of the first stirrings of the day for us.

Roosters crowing far away. I think that's still a lovely sound, no matter how cliche and how many times you've heard it.

Then come the bleeps of car alarms being disabled, car doors being opened.

Then voices. Still low and slow.

Then if I listen closely, I hear food sauteeing. That'll soon be followed by children crying, being awoken for school.

It's all mayhem from there. Haha.

Good morning to you! It's a holiday today and we're off for a long, easy run.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Back from a relaxed 10K in UP. The sun was up as we ran a route just outside the Academic Oval.

Our first 1K, another runner passed us and said good morning. I think that's something really heartwarming. I should learn to do that too. As well as cheer on runners at the finish line.

After our run we got taho and sat on one of the benches at the Acad Oval. Watched an elderly man doing tai-chi. Very beautiful, especially with sunlight streaming through the trees. Must bring cam next time.

While we people watched we got treated to the sounds of the newly restored Carillon. First, just a church bell-like count of the hours (8am) then a rendition of The Way We Were. Awww... Perfect for an old fogey like UP.

Time to have breakfast now! It'll be buttered honey wheat toast for us and coffee. :) Good morning!!!


Running With The Bulls, este Boys

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. 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. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

–– from the movie Coach Carter

C shared this with me last night as I was telling him about last night's run clinic.

We did two sets of 3x400m. And I got lumped with the boys, together with another girl who's quite new to the clinic.

I find it difficult to run with a group because I always feel pressured to keep pace with everyone. Human nature not to want to be the last!

I think having that cup of Nissin Yakisoba an hour and a half before the run helped a lot because I had energy to keep up with the boys. Not just keep up but beat them in one lap. There I said it.

At the end of each lap, the guys and the coaches would often tease me that I was fast. Nilalampaso ang boys.

The new girl also kept asking how I could run so fast.

I would cringe at each compliment. I'm not comfortable with praise. Because honestly, I run for myself. I push myself because I like challenging myself. It's not to impress or get praised. Honest.

Being praised feels good of course. But it really makes me uncomfortable. What to say? "Thank you"? Ang yabang naman. So I end up saying: "hindi naman... ", sabay tungo and pretend to flick away some lint.

I feel proud of course to have earned the right to run with the boys (usually the clinic is divided into two or three groups, sometimes four, based on skill level). Heck I feel so damn proud.

But I also don't want to be seen as conceited or one of those people who push to excel so they'd be noticed and praised. I think I'd push myself as much even when no one's looking.

I've become close to two boys in the clinic: Noel and Winsley. We're pretty much regular attendees in the clinics and we seem to agree that we're in this for the long haul.

Last night, they kept on teasing me about my speed. And I told them, there are some points in the lap when I can see dots already. Really! Sabi ko nga, there are times I'm just following the sound in front of me kasi wala na akong makita. Hahaha! Talk about blacking out from the effort.

And that I guess is what I honestly want to say when someone asks how I do it. I push myself. I push till I'm almost blacking out. Bahala na, bubuhatin naman siguro ako pag nahimatay ako. It's not something that comes easily. I really give it my all each time. Because it's a good feeling to do that! That plain and simple.

But how to accept praise with grace is difficult. Because when I say "hindi naman", I'm not being truthful, right? Because the fact is, I was fast. I wish I could follow Coach Carter's advice and just be comfortable with praise. To own it. If it means freeing other people (like that new girl) to do better, to be the best they can be. (That sounds so cheesy, I know.) But how to do it is something I still need to learn.

For now, I'm just happy I can tell C (and you, reader) when I've done a good job.

My legs are shaking today. And that makes me smile. :)


La Mer

Sharing one of my favorite songs from the soundtrack of French Kiss. It's such a nice soundtrack. A classic, if you ask me.

I miss blogging. Just been busy and have nothing really fancy to write about.

Hope to write about something or nothing soon. Have a great week!


When Life Gives You Lemons (or in my case, when you choose to get the lemons)...

Interesting docu. A good friend sent me the link. He's a graphic artist and is now back to working in an ad agency. This is what his email said:

This reminds me a lot about our conversation years ago. One that left me unemployed (but at peace) for almost a year, and you into the fashion industry. A piece of me is missing that feeling and I wonder when the next wave will hit and give me the courage to let go again and just follow what my gut tells me.

Three years after I quit UNICEF... It feels so much longer than that. I think I've learned more about work, life, myself, my marriage, family, friends and country in the last three years than in the many years before that.

Lemons aren't that bad. They make the best lemonades! :)


President Cory, Salamat

Woke up early Saturday morning, the 1st of August. Mang Nado the patternmaker was coming to the house and I had to get ready. I got a slice of pineapple to eat in front of the TV while waiting for Mang Nado to arrive.

Turned TV on and forgot about the pineapple.

President Corazon C. Aquino had passed on at 3:18 am.

I woke C up. Usually that's a dangerous thing to do on a weekend morning. But he was up in a second and didn't growl nor show fangs. This was news we've been covering for a while.

I remember telling C that President Cory was "on schedule". I was referring to how her illness was progressing. The loss of appetite, the difficulty in breathing, the need for a breathing apparatus, the "stable" condition. My aunt had just recently passed away after over a year of battling with stomach cancer. Cory's 'progress' was awfully familiar.

I guess we all expected to hear of Cory's passing. But maybe we were also anticipating a miracle. After all, many miracles happened in Cory's time.

I was weepy the entire weekend. Even at a clothes fitting at the house of a friend, I couldn't help but sigh and weep as we watched on TV the coverage of the transfer of the remains from Heritage Park to La Salle Greenhills. It didn't help that when they took the casket out of the hearse, it was raining. Something about the solemnity of military honors done in the rain. Like a scene from a war movie.

I think a lot of people agree that President Cory wasn't perfect. She made some poor decisions too. But one thing we all have to agree on is that she loved this country deeply and did everything she could to serve it well, even after her presidency.

She was decent. She was humble. She sacrificed much.

On Saturday morning, I felt that the world was older and more tired.

I guess part of my youth had died with Cory. She came to power in a time when I was too young to know cynicism. My parents brought me to EDSA to witness history unfolding.

There was so much hope during that time. Hope that drove out fear. And it was a frail woman in yellow who inspired such hope.

Now that she is gone, what hope do we cling on to?

Perhaps the deep sadness we all feel now will lead to a renewed collective strength to hope again. This time in ourselves and what we can do individually and collectively.

We shouldn't wait for another Cory. There will never be one.

P.S. In a TV feature on Cory, a former presidential staff talked about how decent President Cory was, even in the small things. Her grandchildren would be playing in Malacanan and they'd ask: "Lola, is this candy ours or the government's?" The presidential staff went on to say that the grand kids knew that they couldn't use/get government property, not even a piece of candy.

If only most, if not all, public servants had even a fraction of this kind of decency and respect for the country they served.


Meeting with Manang

Having just had lunch, I'm wondering if the hot spanish sardines I just had is the cause of the butterflies in my tummy.

I am having an after-the-fact panic attack.

I just interviewed a prospective full time, work-in-my-home sewer. Manang. I can't even remember her name. She's probably in her 50s, a bit plump, with salt and pepper hair and a pleasant face. She loves iced tea. She had two glasses of them. One of them hers, the other the untouched glass of Ate Talen who introduced and brought her to me.

She asked to see the stuff I've had made. I showed her an assortment of skirts, dresses and a few sketches of new projects.

"Maganda," she remarks, lifting to see underneath a skirt, examining the lining.

"Maganda," she says again as she checks out my sketches.

I am worried she's just being polite.

"Kailangan po ba natin ng edging machine?" I ask her. We'll be shopping for equipment this weekend.

"Hindi na... I-valencia nalang natin."

I keep silent, praying my silence will mask the fact that I have no idea what she just said.

Ate Talen scrutinizes the lining again. "Kailangan ng edging machine ito. Hindi pwedeng zigzag lang."

"Hindi... I-va-valencia ko nalang yan. Malinis naman eh."

Me: silence. If it were night time, I would cue cricket sounds.

I know I am not skilled in the technical aspects of this craft. But I do know I have decent taste and know how things should look and feel, from the lining, the stitching and how a piece falls on someone and how they move in it.

I resist the urge to grab pen and paper (and further reveal what a novice I am) as Manang rattles off needle numbers I need to buy for our start-up operation. I memorize the numbers: 9, 11 and 14. As well as the thread brand: Moon and the size (yung one thousand meters).

Next week will be Manang's trial period. She lives nearby and has committed to come in after breakfast. I am excited and really praying things will work out.

For now, I need to calm down and accept the fact that I have much to learn. And be thankful for the chance to learn some more.


Afternoon Nostalgia

I was looking for the love letter text that's read in The Love Letter movie starring Ellen DeGeneres and Kate Capshaw and came upon the opening credits of The Love Boat. Hahaha!

I miss that tv show.

So sharing with you some clips from 70s and 80s tv shows I used to watch:

The Love Boat

Benson (I loved Ingga!!!)

Greatest American Hero

Moonlighting (I wanted to be Maddie Hayes)

Remington Steele (I was in love with Pierce Brosnan)

Cosby Show (this version is so funny)

and of course...

Charlie's Angels (I even had a board game)


Rainy Tuesday

Been raining on-off since this morning.

There's run clinic tonight but all I want to do is stay home and sketch. Or get dressed, wear heels, put on eyeliner and check out books. In short, tinatamad. Murakami writes about being not in the mood to run, in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. It happened to him after a really tough race.

The last race wasn't so tough but maybe it's the pressure I felt afterwards from my runmates. Everyone's cajoling me into joining 21K or 15K in the next race. And I've been chastised for only training twice a week.

But that's the run sched that fits my work sched. I'm not going to kill myself training. I don't want running to be a chore. And I am not just about running. I have work, reading to do, kitchen experiments, etc. Ah well.

I don't know if I'm just making excuses or if I'm listening to my body (and soul) correctly.



One of my text mates is Mang Nado, the patternmaker. On weekday mornings, I usually wake up to some texts from him. Fabric running out, deadline he can't meet (argh!), samples that are done, request for advance payment, etc.

The work I do is small and quiet. And it's something I appreciate and love deeply.

There are days of course when it's lonely sitting alone in my room, forcing a design to appear on paper, or making cost computations.

On most days too, like today, I feel so grateful that I get to do what I love.

Last night a friend from the US emailed me to say she needs a Filipiniana dress for an oath-taking ceremony in a Fil-Am organization in her city.

She sent this picture as reference:

She wants this feel but with a modern take.

I wish I were an excellent writer and I can describe well to you the joy I felt when I read my friend's email brief and when I saw this photo. I immediately saw myself going through rolls of beautiful jusi or pina. I could imagine the feel of the fabric in my hands, examining the smooth to rough textures, scanning the habi with my fingers. I could feel the thrill of asking the shop girl for several yards of precious fabric (oftentimes I just have to content myself with looking and feeling). I could hear the scissors cutting through the weave, the crunch-crunch of each cut. Wow. I could picture my friend (she's tall and slender) wearing a pristine dress with exaggerated bell sleeves and a short hem. It's so yummy, just thinking about it.

It's a silent joy that I wish I can explain better. This love for fabric and deep love too for the ardous task of shaping it into a piece that one will love for a long time.


Globe Run For Home Post-race Report (Part 2) and the Accidental First-time Drunk

The results are out! My friend Arnie sent out an email blast yesterday morning to our little running group. I was so excited to check the results because the race organizers promised a whole lot of info, tracked by the disposable microchip we put on our shoes. I was a bit peeved when I saw that they classified me as male and unknown.

They had run out of 10K race bibs and gave me a 21K race bib. I knew it was an info mishap waiting to happen.

The nice thing is they remedied the mistake right away. Sent in an email with my info and when I checked again in the evening, my info was right.

Here it is!

This is definitely one of the nicest races I've been in. Must be challenging for race organizers to keep on coming up with new things to spice up the next race. Tough to keep people happy.

But I'm really happy with the race. Not a lot of bells and whistles (I loved the musicians during the Happy Run), save for the microchip, but overall it was well-organized and for a good cause too.

I have been meaning to write about what happened that Sunday after the race. Just been very busy. I've some spare time now so I think I'll start writing about it.

The Accidental First-time Drunk.

After the race, C and I looked for a breakfast place. Pancake House was full (both branches inside Fort) and I wasn't in the mood for fastfood, so we ended up in Max's Tiendesitas. Nothing like good old fashioned Pinoy breakfast to cap a tiring morning.

After breakfast, we went to church (yes, without even showering!). We figured we'd go anyway, despite not having showered. We'd be too lazy to leave the house once we got there.

After church, we had to drop by the birthday party of the eldest son of my younger cousin. Patrick is 14. My younger cousin has a 14 year old and I haven't even started having kids yet! Haha.

We got home around 23opm. It was a warm day and I thought I'd make an ice cold pineapple rhum cocktail. It was the perfect time to have a cocktail: to celebrate a good race day and I had no run the next day.

I don't drink a lot. Growing up, my parents didn't forbid alcohol in the house. We drank beer or wine with our meals and I distinctly remember having a bottoms-up beer contest with my parents when I was in grade school. Yes, grade school.

This early exposure to alcohol must've made me less prone to abusing it.

But I do like cocktails a lot and also love being tipsy. I usually just giggle a lot and divulge other people's secrets. Haha.

So I made pineapple rhum cocktails. Two parts pineapple juice, one part rhum. Two tall glasses. But C didn't want any so I ended up almost finishing the two tall glasses. Almost, because after the first glass, I was giggly and 3/4 of the way through the second glass, the world was spinning.

We were watching The Man In The Moon on TV and I was munching on Kettle Chips Salt and Pepper.

Looking back, I think my downfall was not eating anything after the Max's breakfast. Potato chips don't hold alcohol well. I had to find out the hard way.

So we were watching a young Reese Witherspoon in the throes of young love and I realized I couldn't understand what I was watching. It was like the characters were talking in slow motion and I was zooming in and out on the screen. You get the picture.

C walked me to our room and left me there to sleep. I thought that was it. That I'd doze off and wake up a few hours after. Not quite. I was far from tipsy, I realized. I was in a drunken black hole.

The whole world was dark and spinning. Like scenes from Fight Club (grainy, scratchy and dark), done Blair Witch Project-style.

I tried closing my eyes but things just got worse. It was like I was being sucked into a dark, freeze-frame hole only to be spit out and sucked in again. Over and over. It was horrible.

Then I started feeling queasy. Afraid of messing up the sheets, I stumbled to the bathroom and slumped on the floor, my head on the bathroom mat outside and my body inside. I remember thinking: this mat smells like Scout (our Beagle). I was sleeping on a smelly mat and I didn't care. That was how HORRIBLE I felt.

I was thinking I had to get the alcohol out. Finally I threw up into the toilet bowl. Twice. Long ago, in my ditzy little world, I thought that people in movies who threw up into the toilet bowl were cute and having a blast. It definitely wasn't cute for me.

Looking back, it wasn't as gross as I thought it would be. Remember, my head was in total darkness. My senses were shot and I think I couldn't see nor smell anything. I just knew it was not a pretty sight to have my face in the toilet bowl.

After throwing up, I slumped to the floor and the smelly mat again. This time though, my heart was beating so fast that I got scared something would happen and no one was there to help me. I kept calling out to C but he couldn't hear me. Scenes from old ER episodes came flashing through my blurry mind. Yes, I know... I was overreacting. It was my first time to get drunk so I panicked.

I mustered enough strength (and balance) to leave the bedroom and walk to the spare room where C was watching TV. The day after when we talked about what happened, C said I looked so pale and soooo very drunk he had to stifle a laugh. I was really out of it.

He managed to let me drink some water but for the life of me, I didn't have the urge to pee. I just slumped again on the spare bed and fell asleep.

I woke up six hours after. C had had dinner on his own. He said I was so out of it and was snoring so loud, it was hilarious.

It was such a horrible experience that I don't think I'll be touching rhum any time soon. Well, maybe rhum cake isn't such a bad idea.

Thinking (and laughing) about it now, I'm kinda grateful I got to experience that. I still get to have a lot of first-times, even at 36. See, Gina... turning 30 is just the beginning. :)


Globe Run For Home: Post-race Report

I was waiting for C near the finish line (he did 21K and I did 10K so our batch finished ahead) and I noticed this man who was clapping and cheering on the runners who were about to cross the finish.

He was behind me and at first I thought he had some teammates and he was cheering them on. But he kept at it for a long time and I realized he was cheering on everyone... strangers who were speeding or hobbling to the finish. I just had to get him on tape, erm video. My age is so obvious! Sorry for the dizzying part. I panned too quickly.

It was a good run for me. My second time on that route (first was Condura in March) and it felt good to know what to expect. Didn't make it any easier though. I swear the Kalayaan-Buendia flyover is a killer, especially the way back. Just when you're tired and excited to finish, the steep incline going back really hits you hard.

There were so many people doing the 10K that day. 1800 plus, according to the program hosts. When they fired the gun, there was a mad dash as usual. I have learned not to give in to the temptation of running after the pack. It can be discouraging though to see the huge throng of people speeding by you and getting further in the distance.

But I just knew from experience that going at that speed was crazy. And true enough, keeping at my pace of maybe 6 minutes per kilometer, I slowly passed so many people, many of whom were already huffing and puffing at just the 1K mark. Kawawa.

Speaking of pacing. At the start, I saw this guy with 6min/K pentel penned on his calf. I wanted to keep to his pace but realized early on that he wasn't keeping that pace. He was way too fast. I know how 6min/K feels like and he was going faster than that. I never saw him again during the run.

After the 5K u-turn though, I was beginning to wonder how I was doing (I didn't have a watch on) and I was happy to see the guy who had 7min/K marking on his calf. I moved closer to him.

"Excuse me, are you still keeping to your assigned pace?"

"Yes I am", he says and then checks his watch.

"I see. Thanks!" I say to him as I trotted on ahead with a smile.

I don't think I'll get a new PR on this run. I crossed the finish as the timer turned 1:00:00. I'm just happy to have finished without feeling like collapsing after. Haha.

It was nice to see a lot of the Nike Clinic coaches all throughout the route. Felt good to be cheered on.

Which brings me back to the guy who was cheering on anonymous finishers. I think that's how it should be. I should do that on my next run.

Some pre and post-race pictures with friends:

Fort Bonifacio dawn sky:

Almost at the finish line:

Charlie, who did 10K too:

Jason from the Nike Clinic:

C, hobbling valiantly to the finish. He had leg cramps thrice.

Francis, easy breezy with 21K:

Francis and Charlie:

Francis's famous last words post-race: Ayoko na! Last ko na to!

With Samboy Lim! He did 3K. I told him: "yun lang? ano ka ba!" Hahaha.

The boys:

The girls:

Post-race breakfast at Max's:

There's a part two to this race day story. :)