Saturday, January 29, 2011

swapping strategies

One of the greatest things about being married is that you get to learn a lot from each other.

For example, I dislike taking crap from anyone. I prefer to respond to insults with insults -- preferably with smart ones that feel insulting but that the other would have to look up to understand why. I dig my heels in by default. And, in the heat of the moment, I am perfectly willing to burn bridges.

My husband, on the other hand, is a cool character. When caught in a possible confrontation, he takes the time to think. He prefers to prove you wrong, not by debating with you, but by letting his actions and their results do the talking. He weighs consequences, compares scenarios, and quite often concludes that silence is the better part of valour.

I still maintain that, on the whole, you will never really regret fighting for what you believe in, even if it means you have to go down fighting. However, I've seen the results of my husband's actions-not-words strategy, and, I have to say, it's a bigger slap in the face than I could ever have produced with my verbal sparring. And it leaves room for detractors to do an about-face and suddenly make nice, which in turn gives you an infinitely satisfying chance to silently say, "Hah! Losers."

Not a bad game plan.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

adik sa yo

(Reuters) - Burglars snorted the cremated remains of a man and two dogs in the mistaken belief that they had stolen illegal drugs, Florida sheriff's deputies said on Wednesday.

The ashes were taken from a woman's home in the central Florida town of Silver Springs Shores on December 15. The thieves took an urn containing the ashes of her father and another container with the ashes of her two Great Danes, along with electronic equipment and jewelry, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.


As we say, "Dah! Usab pa mo?"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

rainy days and mothers

During cold, rainy days like today, there is a particular rainy-day memory that always warms my heart.

When I was still in high school, even moderately strong rains would turn the street below our house into a river of floodwater. Those who didn't have cars to safely take them to drier ground had no choice but to wade through it. Back then, it almost seemed useless opening your umbrella as you alight from the jeepney: the more frightening water was not the one pouring from above.

During one such rainy day, I was coming home from school and eyeing the flood with dread when I saw my mother waiting for me at the jeepney stop. She was scanning the jeepneys that were slowing down in front of her. She saw me as I was about to go down the jeepney I was in, and she hurriedly sloshed through the water in her shorts and rubber slippers. When she got to the jeepney entrance, she turned her back to me, bent down, and motioned for me to climb on to her back. She then carried me all the way to floodless ground.

A mother's love truly has no limits. That memory of my mother wading through the flood so I wouldn't have to -- that is just one of the many reasons why my mother is my hero in so many ways. Even now my heart swells with the love that she has for me, my sister and my father, and I hope that someday I will become as selfless and as unconditionally loving as she is.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

when being one with nature becomes one too much

Ours is the most biodiverse house I know. Aside from two humans and a dog, there are one or two species of lizard, at least two species of spider, a couple of cute rats that drop in from time to time, caterpillar-like creatures in various stages of metamorphosis, a snail, some mosquitoes, moths, and the occasional stray cat. No, they're not pets.

This accidental ecosystem is in large part due to our kitchen, bathroom and store room being semi-open air. That is, some of the walls are made of cement up to head level, then extended upwards to the roof by wooden slabs spaced several inches apart. Our house is surrounded by trees and shrubs, and I actually like the way the house communicates with the outdoors. The downside is that smaller animals can get in quite easily if they want to. And, boy, do they want to.

Since we moved in, I have had to deal with the fright of seeing large spiders in the bathroom. I have learned the trick of keeping an eye open while I wash my face, in case those eight long legs start making their way towards my direction. I have watched with morbid amusement the way the rats frantically try to bridge the distance from the sink floor to the faucet in one acrobatic jump when they see me approaching. I have actually tried to make a deal with the rats -- they don't mess with our food, and I don't set fly-paper traps for them.

I don't want to have these uninvited creatures killed because, to my way of thinking, they are all just trying to get through their lives the best way they know how. You the rest of us. I'm no Francis of Assisi, and I certainly don't want all sorts of wild animals in my house, but it seems unkind to punish them for trying to find food and shelter where they can.

Last night, however, a tree frog -- yes, an actual tree frog, the kind that leaps and stretches for miles and miles -- was in my kitchen. A snail was in the ceiling, and a rat had chewed the label off our cooking oil bottle, but it was the frog that got to me. I. Don't. Want. Frogs. Jumping. On. Me.

So the screens went up today, courtesy of my smart husband, who was less afraid of the frog than of the screaming that would ensue if it somehow jumped on me.

Sorry, Brother Creatures. I'm all for biodiversity, but my sanity has its limits. In case some of you get really desperate, though, there's still the small space under the door.

Monday, January 10, 2011

one good year coming up

It was a cool January night, and Aivan offered to make us both a cup of hot chocolate. As we sipped contentedly, sharing soft conspiratorial laughs and quiet conversation, I thought: life is good.

Now is actually a time of major upheaval in the department where I work. Ownership of our biggest client has just switched, and the new management wants to cut back on people. A lot of our jobs are in jeopardy, and I am worried that by summer, or even by next month, our tight-knit group will be several employees less.

Still, I'm not sure that the changes are necessarily a bad thing. Unrest, for all its destructiveness, has the effect of making one step back and reevaluate one's life. It forces one to think about George Clooney's haunting question in Up In The Air: "How much did they pay you to give up on your dreams?" And one begins to think, as one should: is this what I should be doing anyway? For me, and for some of my friends from work, it may be time to heed that still, small voice in our heads that has all along been whispering mutinously, "There is more, out there."

Life is good for a number of reasons.

I have found something related to my profession that I am actually interested in pursuing. I'm not sure if there's money in it, but I actually like it. I have a feeling it won't bore me to bits. It won't take up all my time, so I will get to chase after other dreams.

One of those dreams is starting to become a reality. I am actually on the pre-pre-starting phase, but I'm feeling good about it. I am just bursting with ideas. I won't get paid, but if I do it right, and things go well, I could be on my way to doing what I love and providing people with opportunities to earn extra income.

There are a lot of things that I have been putting off, but by fortuitous timing, now is actually a good time to start working on them.

It would be a tough search for one's place in the world if one did not have supportive family and friends. I do.

This year, a few things might go wrong, but there are so, so many other things that could go right. Indeed, there's no reason to think that the glass is half-empty, because it is more than four-fifths full, and the tiny space at the top is there so I won't spill it.