The ghosts of November

I've been having telco troubles lately, so I decided to get prepaid SIMs from other networks. I didn't want to buy a new phone, so I dug up the old ones I had. Happily, despite my frustration with my telco, revisiting my old phones was a somewhat delightful trip down memory lane.

I found some old photos of my nieces and other family members. I saw some old texts I had forgotten I'd saved, like the text my brother sent me to inform me that Tutay, our dearly loved and clingy Sharpei, had died. I also found some texts from someone I used to be in love with.

There were old photos from trips with friends I used to travel with and a friend I will mostly probably no longer travel with.

Has it really been so long ago now?

I also found the photo above of the last two dogs we had, Basha and Boris. Basha was the only offspring of Sasha, our beloved German Shepherd and Lab Mix that my mom bought off a newspaper ad.

Sasha was sweet to us, but a Jekkyl and Hyde to others, especially cats. She was a big dog and needed to run, and since our garden didn't give her a lot of space, whenever someone opened the gate, she'd barrel past that poor someone and run out into the great wide open.

When she had Basha, the younger dog would follow her mother out. They'd run so far out that we'd often give up chasing them and just wait until they got back home by themselves. I was always worried, but they were good dogs and they never got into trouble and never got lost.

This was before our village became strict with dogs roaming the streets.

When Sasha passed away, Basha never went out again. How she got pregnant, we don't know for sure, but we suspect a small dog snuck in and knocked her up.

She had six puppies, and we kept the one that looked like Sasha. That puppy was Boris. He was a big bully to his siblings, and so they all ganged up on him and he eventually became the bullied one.

The smaller dog in the picture above is Basha; Boris is only a puppy in that picture. He grew to be more or less Sasha's size.

We've had so many dogs in my lifetime, and I loved them all, but it was Boris' death that, I think, ended my desire to care for another dog. Long story short, we had a flea infestation. I was able to nurse Boris back to health a couple of times, but that last time, it was too late.

When he was sick again, he climbed up the garden chair next to the door and nudged my hand. Maybe he was saying goodbye to me. Or maybe he was asking for help again. I wish I had brought him to the vet right away. I really thought I had some time.

That is one of my regrets and why I hesitate to have new pets. Boris died this year, so maybe the pain is still fresh, but I really don't see myself having any dogs of my own again.

One of my versions of heaven is filled with all the dogs and other pets I've had that I failed to love one hundred percent, and they'd still love me and tell me that I was the perfect human to them.

One of my versions of hell is the same, except that I am racked with guilt and unable to forgive myself.

Here's to Peachy, Keenie, Chewy, Duchess, Duke, Mako, Misha, Tutay, Diwata, Sasha, Midnight, Basha, Boris, and all the other dogs, birds, chickens, ducks, rabbits, fish, and hamsters who shared our home.

I loved you, but most importantly: you loved me. Thank you.

Because there is beauty in the concrete

Once, late at night, while wishing me like to one more rich in hope, I hailed an MGE taxi, just wanting to go home, forget everything, and crash.

As I entered the cab, the driver greeted me with a cheerful, "Good evening, ma'am!" He was a big man, probably in his late fifties, wearing thick plastic-rimmed glasses. He smiled at me in the rear-view mirror and asked me how my day had gone.

"It was okay," I said. He was pleasant, but I was tired and a little upset, so I didn't feel like making small talk.

He got my address and turned on the radio. We drove in silence to whatever music was playing, and, still brooding, I watched the buildings grow smaller as we left Eastwood City and crossed the flyover to Bonny Serrano to Project 4.

As we turned right on 20th Avenue, an old seventies song started playing. I hadn't heard it in years, so I didn't recognize it right away, but my heart remembered something because the first line started pulling me home:

It's not sulking when you're in love: a short love story

I'm having dinner alone at a pizza restaurant and across me is a couple. The girl's Filipina; the guy sounds French. When I arrive, the guy is lecturing her a little too strongly about something she needs to fill out. He sounds exasperated. Eventually, she gets annoyed as well.

So she shows him she's ... tampo. For fifteen minutes. In that length of time, she doesn't talk to him. Doesn't show she's angry, but taps away on her tablet silently. A little coldly.

The guy fidgets. Looks around the restaurant, at other tables, and for a split second, at me, awkwardly. He digs into his bag, takes out a bottle of water and drinks. He sighs silently. The girl puts down her tablet, but she turns away and stares out the window.

The guy's annoyance melts; he slumps back in his seat, suddenly defeated. He watches her, trying to read her silence. He looks almost afraid. But she gives him nothing and makes him wait.

He is in love with her, I can tell. And she? I think sh…

After 30 days of doing my Morning Pages

I posted here earlier that I'd started doing Morning Pages. It's been over 30 days now -- 36, to be exact -- and I'm still at it. If I am not able to write my three pages in the morning, I write before I sleep. I've almost filled up my notebook, which I don't think I've done since grade school.

Before I started doing my Morning Pages, I'd seen a lotof blog postsclaiming howthe habitchanged their writers' lives. I don't think it has changed mine in a big way yet, but I'm already noticing small differences.

I believe I've already mentioned here that I've been dealing with some anxiety. It's not debilitating and I don't get panic attacks or anything like that, but the level of anxiety I experience at times takes a lot of my energy and hinders creativity.

I worry about big things, too, like the Great Pacific garbage patch or Taal Volcano's next eruption or where this country is headed with our current leaders, and if I'm not…

How to stop thinking about things you want to stop thinking about

The other day at dinner, I asked my eleven-year-old niece what her earliest memory was. She mentioned going to Bohol and watching Dora the Explorer. I asked her what she remembered specifically, but she couldn't say.

I remember the connection between Bohol and Dora the Explorer. We were at Bohol Bee Farm, and we had gone down the cliff to the little hut on their wooden dock. Keona was probably two years old then, and she was just learning to speak. She knelt on the hut's floor, held on to the balustrade as if she were in prison, and cried out to the sea, "Ayudame!"

This was the time she'd speak snippets of Spanish, picked up from Dora and Diego. It was a funny period -- whenever she couldn't find anything, she'd tell her mommy to "Get the map!"

When we told her about this the other night, Keona said, "I don't even know what that means anymore." She's into manga now, and she's trying to learn some Japanese words.

While I kn…