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. :)


Night Before Run For Home

Running 10K tomorrow at Globe's Run For Home.

I'm soooo excited I can't fall asleep. I have butterflies in my tummy.

We've prepared our gear, from attaching the race bib to our singlets to lacing up the microchip to our shoes. Soooo exciting! Rain or shine!

Funnies #1

Grabbed from my friend's Facebook album. Hamen eggen chz for me, plez. :)


Rainy Day Friday

Raining nonstop since last night. Just staying home today to work on designs.

I bought fabric yesterday. I'm happy to say I didn't get anything for myself. Although last night while waiting to fall asleep, I was still thinking of this white brocade that I want to make into a coat. Ack.

Sharing with you this video of Nat King Cole singing Stardust. I think it's a nice song to listen to on cool, rainy days like this. Not if you're stuck in traffic though. Haha.


Christmas in July

This morning felt like a December morning. Like Christmas day, when all's quiet (everyone's puyat) and the air's nippy. I could also hear roosters crowing in the distance. Going out of the room I was met by Ginger and Scout, all fluffy from sleep. It really felt like Christmas day! And having a relaxed breakfast of danggit and fried egg and really smooth, freshly brewed coffee... what more could a harried girl ask for? :)

It has been a busy few days for me. Making some clothes for a new clothing store, new clients for made-to-order dresses, and attending to online orders. Phew. It can get overwhelming and I'm thankful for slow mornings like today when I can recharge and just breathe. I have a tendency to worry about things that haven't happened yet. Don't we all?

Tomorrow I'm going fabric shopping and I have to remind myself not to buy fabric I don't need right now. If I had free reign of everything (money, storage space), I'd probably have a treasure trove of fabric in the house. Maybe a room to hold all the fabric I like. A room to visit when I want to feel giddy. I'm just so fabric-crazy!!!

I hope your week's great too!


Tonight's Lullaby

I don't have their latest album so when I heard the intro to this song tonight on the radio, I didn't know what it was and who it was by. But I loved the song right away.

This is my lullaby tonight.

C knows that if I had not married him, I'd have found a way to marry Edge. Hehe.


Running Log: LSD @UP; 12 July

A week before Run For Home. C and I decided to do 10K in UP to prepare a bit for next Sunday's run. I know I need my mind to feel what 10K is like again so I won't chicken out on race day. My last 10K race was Condura. Too long ago. The mind forgets.

We passed by Hector of Secondwind Running Store to check the 10K route that won't limit us to just going round and round the Acad Oval.

We started off at 6:55pm from Oblation and went on an interesting and hilly route, that's still within campus but away from vehicular traffic.

It felt like a trail run of sorts because it was dark and we had to pay attention to cracks, holes, and bumps. Even in the most uphill portions, we didn't notice the difficulty as much because our minds were focused on not tripping or falling into a hole. Hahaha.

It was a really good run! I feel giddy even just writing about it now. There were long stretches of quiet and almost complete darkness where we could hear frogs, cicadas and other "jungle" sounds. Moomoo na pala yung naririnig eh no... Hahaha.

We were worried on some of the deserted streets. Too dark. I wish UP could afford more lights. It's really a beautiful campus and a great running place.

We were quite surprised to finish at 55mins, with much energy to spare. And we were worried that the route was short of 10K. Too worried we drove through the route to measure the distance on the speedometer. Yep, it was 10K alright.

Maybe it was the new route or the cool weather (it was just starting to rain when we finished). Or that we hadn't had a long run in a long time. Or that we ran together. Or that we were too scared going through the dark streets that we unconsciously speeded up. Haha. It was definitely an easy and happy run.

My theory is that it's more difficult to finish 10K on the Acad Oval and moreso on the ULTRA track because you're just going round and round. I need a destination when I run. Same as in life. It's more tiring and discouraging to just be going around in circles. You've got to know your journey's headed somewhere. It also helps when you run/journey with a friend.


Easing Into The Weekend

Went to Salcedo Market with C. Got organic veggies and homemade bread from Gng. Bukid. Discovered their coffee blend and it was sooo smooth I had a second cup. Black. That's how I try coffee... black first so I'll know if it's good. If I can enjoy it black, it's definitely something I'll have again.

So many things to eat at Salcedo Market! There's authentic Thai, Indian, French and of course the lola-style Filipino dishes. Yummo! And the desserts... oh the desserts! So difficult to choose just one. I finally decided to try Dave's frozen yogurt. Macadamia flavor. Hay naku... Masarap! At mahal din! P75 for a small cup. But it was good yogurt, grainy and flavorful. Sorry no pictures. I was kinda embarrassed already when C was taking pictures of me at the veggies stand.

I made the skirt I'm wearing in the pic! :) I didn't sew it but I designed it. It's simple, I know. But I believe good design doesn't have to be complicated. And it felt nice to be wearing something not store-bought. :) Yun lang... Haha.

Happy it was sunny this morning at the market. Happy it's raining cats and dogs now that we're indoors. Nice time for a nap!

Happy weekend, my dears!


Blast From The Past

I was in first year high school when they shot this. Our school (UPIS) was part of the cast. This was shot somewhere in the University of Life (now ULTRA) compound. We had to wear the same clothes two days in a row. As if you'd notice, right?

I wonder where Lilet is. And the other kids in this ad!


Dressing Up

One of the things I miss most about going to a regular office job is dressing up.

One of the things that gets me up in the morning is the thrill of deciding what to wear. Sometimes, when I'm just starting to wake up and my mind's just stirring and my eyes are still closed, I'd ask myself: what shall I wear today? In my mind I'm rummaging through my cabinet, thinking what item I'd like to start on. I believe in anchoring an outfit on one piece, be it shoes, a skirt, a belt, and deciding from there what else goes well with it.

The other night I couldn't sleep. I had MJ overload. So in bed with my eyes closed, I examined my closet and thought of a nice outfit for the next day. This led me to a little inventory of what I have.

I realized I have more skirts and dresses than pants and shorts. I have more bottoms than tops. I have more shoes than I can fit on the shoe rack, in the closet and under the bed. I realized I have many pieces that are more than 10 years old. It's easy to track because I date them by pre-wedding and post-wedding purchase. I bought more expensive stuff pre-wedding. Haha.

I have a coat that C gave me when we were still dating. I don't wear it anymore as it's a bit too, erm, beige, but I keep it. I don't think I'll ever get rid of it.

I have a pair of cream leather loafers that I bought pre-wedding. They are scuffed in all the right places and they are like the bosses of my shoe closet. Each new pair should get along with the cream loafers.

I have a pair of suede heels. They're my only Kate Spade pair and just looking at them makes me giddy.

I also realized that I don't have "sad clothes". Going to my aunt's funeral, I brought white stuff. A white dress and a white and beige shift. I had nothing black in my closet except tees and a band jacket that would've sent people screaming (too hot!!! too weird!!!). So imagine my panic when my mom told me I had to be in black. Ack! So amidst errands and the last day of the wake, I had probably less than an hour to go from store to store in SM to find a decent black dress that wouldn't break the bank. After all, I was just going to wear it once.

So yes, I don't have "sad clothes". Which made me a bit happy, knowing that even my closet reflects the kind of personality I have: sunny and ill-prepared for traditional funerals. Hahaha.

Why am I sharing you this today? I don't know. I suddenly had the urge to wear heels and a slim satin skirt. But I have nowhere to go. So I thought writing about it would be the next best thing.

The photo at the top is borrowed from thesartorialist.com.

Rock With You

I'm still on MJ memorial mode. This song was on my mind the whole day.

I remember being mesmerized by the video. I was just six when they released this song. I remember being in awe of the lights and the thin, black dude dancing in a 'disco ball' outfit. MJ and Charlie's Angels were my first idea of what sexy is. Hahahaha!

I guess I never thought of MJ growing old. His sudden passing (and my aunt's too) is significant to me in that suddenly the years that passed me by unnoticed, have just fast-forwarded in my mind and heart. I don't know if you'd understand, but suddenly, I feel the weight of my age.


Michael Jackson

Stayed up till the wee hours of the morning to watch the Michael Jackson Memorial Service. This is one of my favorite performances:

My favorite eulogy:

MJ singing Gone Too Soon at the Clinton Inaugural:


Running Log: 7 July 2009; Nike Running Clinic@ULTRA

Welcome back to speed training.

I didn't run at all last week. So today, Coach Jo Ar decided I should take it easy. Sure.

5 x 400m warm-up. Check.
Stretching. Check.
Main run: 7.5 x 400m done this way -- jog 100m curve; sprint 100m straight; jog 100m curve, sprint 100m straight. You get it right? In case you haven't seen one, the track oval has two straight sides of 100m each. The two curves on both ends of the track are also 100m each. I'm sure you get the picture.

So I did that alone. The rest of the guys did 6 x 400m.

First 400m during the warm-up, I was telling my legs: this is what we call running, in case you've forgotten in the one week we didn't do this.

My legs: ah... we see... it's kinda strange. The left heel feels a bit sore. Hmmm...

Into the main run, my legs: we remember, we remember! Wee! Fun! No more pain in the left heel. But check with your lungs. We think they're not too happy.

Lungs: must. breathe. must. try. to. breathe. slowly. slowly. calm. down. how. many. more. laps?

It didn't rain during the run. I was wishing for rain. It's always better when it rains. Cooler, quieter. The people on the track also thin out so there's more space to run on. Sometimes the track is so full it's like running an obstacle course, weaving in and out of groups of people.

I liked tonight's run. Looking forward to Friday's run. And hopefully Run For Home on the 19th. My first race since Condura which was way back in March!


Monday Blahs

We just came back from Bacolod. We attended my aunt's funeral service. Got in late last night. Dropped by C's family to bring pasalubong and for a quick dinner. Had to go to a wake right after. Our college friend's mom passed away Thursday. Lung cancer. The Big C strikes again.

C was on leave today, thank God. We caught up on sleep and had time to do some errands and just basically slacked off.

I have so much to do this week but I couldn't really focus today so I just made a list of the things I had to do and organized designs and set appointments.

I basically felt yech the whole day. And I couldn't figure out why. Maybe it's still sadness from my aunt's passing, the emotional weight of the funeral... I don't know. The only bright spots today were sweet and salty sampaloc candies and catching John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo's You Changed My Life on Cinema One. Hahahaha! And another hahahaha!

I did like the movie though. It was funny and kilig. Nothing life-changing, but perfect for times when you just don't want to think. And that's good too, sometimes.

I feel much better tonight. Maybe because we're closing up on Monday in a bit and moving into Tuesday. Lots of things to do tomorrow and it's my run night too.

I always think that the best antidote to a sad or bad mood is to move. To move away from that moment, whether just in your mind or by literally moving. I'll be able to do both tomorrow.

Have a great week!

P.S. We took a cab several times in Bacolod. It was nice that the cab drivers would often always say good morning or good afternoon when we'd get in the cab. That's such a nice touch.

P.P.S. I also learned that it's important to pack both white and black when attending a funeral in another town. I was so sure white would be acceptable, only to find out the night before the funeral that we all had to be in black. I had less than an hour to find something decent and well-priced. It was so stressful! And pack makeup! I'm not a huge fan of makeup. I didn't pack any, not even lip gloss. I had forgotten how my family really dress up for things. So it was a blessing that C found one of my lipsticks in the pocket of our suitcase. I must've put it there on a previous trip and forgot about it. Good thing!

P.P.P.S. So sorry this entry is really just a dear diary entry. I just wanted to write something really. Hopefully I'll have a nice story to share soon. Have a great week!


Sound Trip #10

Will be away for the weekend to attend my aunt's funeral service.

Leaving you with two songs from Louis Armstrong: A Kiss To Build A Dream On and Blueberry Hill.

Mr. Armstrong never fails to make me smile. No matter how gray the skies are.

Have a happy weekend!

Running Slow

I recently read and LOVED Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Geoff Dyer's New York Times review says the book is "part training diary, part reruns of escapades undertaken at the behest of magazines."

Murakami, now 60, has been running since 1982 (he was 33) and has been in 20 marathons. He's also a serious triathlete.

Instead of inspiring me to run more races, his book has made me shy away from them. I'm focusing more on enjoying each run. Being in the run wholely and not focusing on my time so much. I've learned to slow down.

I still get competitive with myself and I can't resist pushing myself a bit more when I'm being timed. That's why nowadays I prefer running alone, untimed.

I focus more now on slowing down my breathing, relaxing into the run and not rushing. It's one of the most delicious things in the world... running without thinking about how fast you're going or how long you're supposed to run.

Lately we've been blessed with rain in our runs and I think it's wonderful to run in the rain. No overheating and the sound of rain beats any iPod playlist I've got.

I have never been more in love with running than I am now.


Ginger and Scout

C brought home office work. We're downstairs using the dining table as office table. I'm empathizing by doing nonsense stuff on the computer while he works. On the floor beside us are Ginger and Scout. Ginger is sailing away in dreamland while Scout is on guard duty (quite unusual, I might say, as she is almost always fast asleep most of the day) by the door.

Ginger's mouth is twitching; her tummy rising and falling slowly, rhythmically. Scout is restless, often getting up and rushing to the window, sniffing an unknown assailant (usually a cat passing by or a lizard scurrying after insects).

This is a most unusual scene. First of all, after dinner, we're usually in the spare room watching TV. Ginger would usually be beside us, lying on her side but alert. Scout would be fast asleep and snoring oh so loudly, we're hoping the neighbors won't hear.

Tonight the tables are turned. Ginger's having such a good sleep, she's even licking her lips in enjoyment. Scout's the alert one, dutifully pacing the floor and snapping her head up at any sound or movement outside.

Ginger and Scout -- profiles of professional house dogs:

Ginger -- yellow Labrador Retriever, turning nine in October; aka Nurse Ginger (because she seems to know which parts of our bodies are painful or itchy), Ginj or Gingee

Favorites: Yakult, bananas, behind-the-ears scratching, chest-rubbing and long baths

Dislikes: the smell of rubbing alcohol, the beach, stepping on puddles, cracks on the pavements, birds and most of all, thunder

Skills/strengths: pinpointing ache-y or itchy parts; tricks such as "sit", "down", "stay", "search", "fetch", "catch", "kiss" and distinguishing between a tennis ball and a Kong (doggie toy); climbing the stairs slowly, deliberately, one-paw-per-step at a time; empathy to the point of OA (heehee)

Scout -- Beagle, turning five in November; aka Scoutie or Sweetheart

Favorites: sleeping, licking Ginger all over, cheese, Yakult, people watching, sleeping, staying in the kitchen when someone's cooking, sleeping, and sleeping some more

Dislikes: being awoken from sleep, cats, nail clipping time, baths, loud noises and voices and being awoken from sleep

Skills/strengths: sleeping through all sorts of activity and noise; tricks such as "sit", "sit-up", "down", "roll-over" and "crawl"; sleeping; possesses big round eyes that hypnotize you into obeying her commands; being cute in a "wala po akong magawa, cute talaga ako"-way; sleeping na parang wala nang bukas

Zit Attack

So much sad news this week. My friend's mom passed away today. Also after a long bout with cancer.

Although I feel a deep sadness, I also feel a deep joy that they're free from pain and they are in a much, much, much (!!!) better place.

I thought I'd share something light today. And what better way than to poke fun at myself.

I have been struggling with zits lately. It's very frustrating because I am 36 and I shouldn't be getting zit attacks at my age! It's a hormonal imbalance, says my derma. From stress, lack of sleep, etc.

When I happened to glance at myself in the mirror this morning, I was startled again at seeing the zits on my forehead and left-hand side of my face. I still am not used to seeing my face under attack. Argh.

My first thought was, oh no, I'm meeting a prospective client tomorrow! I might be producing clothes for her soon-to-be-launched brand. We've met before but that was probably two years ago when I was youngER and zit-free.

My first impulse is to apologize when I see her. Hi, V! So sorry about the zits... I don't usually have these but it's just been a crazy week/month/year and my derma said it's hormonal, nothing to do at all with my hygiene or choice of skincare... must be the food I eat too as I have a penchant to snack uncontrollably on potato chips and choco pretzels... so sorry.

Or: Hi, V! So sorry you had to see me like this. I hope you won't lose your appetite now that you've seen the Zit State. If you were a bit on the heavy side and needed an appetite suppressant, I'd be glad to make regular appearances at your meals... but as I see that you aren't in need of any more weight loss, I feel bad... so sorry.

Or: Hi,V! Zits? What zits? Oh... these? (Cue Elvira Manahan-esque sosyal laughter) They're not zits, mah dear. They're warts. I've just had them laaazzzerrrred (if you've seen Austin Powers, you know how that sounds) that's why they're all raw and like that naman. Ahahahaha!

Ah well. What to do? Tsk tsk.

I used to wish I could cover up a PMS zit with Band-Aid. Not the plain ones but the funky checkered or Hello Kitty ones. But if I did that now, I'd have on a masquerade ball mask (the ones where only your mouth is visible). Woe is me and my zit-attacked face. Hay. Hehe.