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Showing posts from February, 2019

A happy Valentine's Day!

I wasn't planning on going out yesterday, not at all. Traffic is terrible; restaurants are crowded; romance, if not manufactured, is contrived. But I'm not entirely anti-Valentine's Day; I'm just a practical romantic. And single. Anyway, Valentine's Day had a surprise twist, and we ended up celebrating the day in a manner closer to the life of St. Valentine: It was a little bloody. I was babysitting Kiara for the day, because on Thursdays, her yaya Ate Lucy, a member of Iglesia ni Kristo, goes to worship. My mother was at a meeting in San Juan, so it was just me and my four-year-old nice. We'd had a quiet day, and I'd just finally convinced her to take a nap by telling her my version of Goldilocks with a lot of "She was very, very sleepy" thrown in. Then I got a call from her mother. Keona, who had just arrived from school, had cut herself on the gate, she said. She didn't have all the details yet, but the wounds were very deep and they

I take pleasure in your company

The other day, I read this article, "Loitering is Delightful" by Ross Gay, on the Paris Review, where he explores the notion of loitering and writes: The Webster’s definition of loiter reads thus: “to stand or wait around idly without apparent purpose,” and “to travel indolently with frequent pauses.” Among the synonyms for this behavior are linger, loaf, laze, lounge, lollygag, dawdle, amble, saunter, meander, putter, dillydally, and mosey . Any one of these words, in the wrong frame of mind, might be considered a critique or, when nouned, an epithet (“Lollygagger!” or “Loafer!”). ... All of these words to me imply having a nice day. They imply having the best day. I was immediately reminded of college. I was part of a group that called ourselves "the Loafers Club," a variation of the "the Losers Club" from the Stephen King horror novel IT. We'd watched the 1986 movie adaptation together after school, after discovering that we all enjoyed King

A throwback Thursday

Last Thursday, I got a message from a former workmate. We used to teach English in an office in Alabang, where I spent a little over two years before transferring to the content development team in Eastwood. I would spend six more years developing blended learning content for the company before leaving in 2015. The work entailed creating lessons, quizzes, tests, and courses for the company's learning management system (LMS). I mention this because my former workmate was asking me about phonetics, somehow thinking me to be some sort of "expert." I'm hardly an expert. Phonetics is a subject I had encountered only briefly in Linguistics 101, the only linguistics class I took. And I was only forced to learn a little more about it because I used an old paperback dictionary when I was a newspaper writer. Online dictionaries weren't a big thing yet back then. Besides, I had to share one dial-up internet capable desktop computer with everyone else in our department.

"Maybe she just wasn't meant for us"

Last week, our stay-out helper's story, told over a span of days, was about a five-month-old baby in her neighborhood who had died because of "tigdas itim." I didn't know it then, but she was referring to German measles. The parents already had eight (father side) and four (mother side) children before they had this one, she said, and for hours each day, they had needed to leave their new baby at a relative's house so they could do whatever they did to make a living. Unfortunately for the baby, our helper said, the house stood beside a tree that was home to an elemental. It may have been annoyed by the baby's non-stop crying. The parents were warned by a hilot not to bring the baby back there, but they refused to listen. Besides, they needed to work. One day, the baby got sick, black spots appearing all over her body. Our helper explained that it was different from the usual measles because the spots were blackish instead of red. The baby also had high

Something about the future

A few years ago, I was in the supermarket wanting to buy some chocolates. For some reason, the Choc Nut was on the top shelf--too high for five-foot (and three-fourths inch) me to reach. I stood on tiptoe and tried to get a pack, just in time for my arm to hit someone else's. The arm belonged to a man, now faceless in my memory, but I remember noticing he was attractive and well-dressed and a full head taller. He got his Choc Nut with no trouble, while I abruptly suspended all efforts to grab mine. Instead, I simply stood in front of the chocolate shelf and waited for him to leave. I was thinking that I might need to jump a little, with what little grace I had, and I didn't want anyone witnessing that. But I wasn't as invisible as I was hoping to be, because he turned to me and handed me a pack of Choc Nut with an amused chuckle. I felt the blood rush to my face, and I managed to say, "Oh, wow." He chuckled again. I thanked him and, with growing embarrassment,