Wednesday, September 21, 2005

general things...

Joel Jan's room looks like a toy store. I remember the days when I used to cut out doll furniture from discarded boxes. I think that Joel Jan has tons of lego. This is all my fault, I know. A result of those years when I succumbed to shopalcholism and lego was my trip. Tomorrow I will have to buy an organizer for his collection of train magazines.

That boy is a month shy of six years old and he is already an avid collector. I bought him this tin wind-up car at a collector's show, it still stands on his bedside stand and no one is allowed to touch it. He has his own shelf for his special things which no one is allowed to touch except himself. On that shelf, he has several spider man things, and small boats to remind himself that he is saving up for a real boat someday.

Sometimes, I shake my head in wonder.

Note this, he and his father built a space station together. It's been standing there for months. The only thing he does is open the gates in the morning and make the little lego people walk in and out of the gates. Sometimes, when the spirit moves him, he frees the rocket from its locks and lets it fly about a bit. In many ways, it's pretty much like a real rocket station .

Books. That boy has books. It's all my fault, I know. I cannot resist buying books and he knows it. If we go to a bookstore, he knows that if he asks me to buy him a new book, I will say yes. Mainly because we have read through all the books on his bookcase. I should really sort them. I would send them off to the Philippines if not for the fact that no one would be able to read them.

Sports. Gymnastics, swimming, biking and now he wants to try tennis. We visited the tennis club last week. At six, he can start mini lessons.


Then there's me. I've taken up badminton as a sport. I wanted to do table tennis, but it seems that the majority of those playing table tennis over here are youngsters. So, goodbye to the days of spins and palo. Yesterday, I forgot that I was playing badminton and kept on using my backhand. The trainer reminded me that badminton is best played by backing up and hitting the shuttle with forehand. Okay, okay.

I do like badminton, so I've decided to sign up for one year. I bought myself really professional looking badminton racket. Not bad. It's one that the sporting goods store will re-string for me if the strings should break.

I am one kilo lighter than I was the last time I wrote on this blog. No, I am not telling how heavy I am. My end goal is 60 kilos. That seems like a reasonable weight goal to me.


I seem to have a secret gene of competitiveness. Darn it, I just hate being the one who lets the shuttle fall. I also am intent on doing whatever it takes to lose all that extra weight.

This is just like language school all over again. How come I was never like this when I was back home? Why oh why did I never want to be the best at something back then? Is it because I didn't have to be the best or is it because life was just so easy?

Over here, I am learning what struggle means.

catching up on things...

Surely my mailbox is about to reach explosion point. I have never had so many unread mails before. It's the list of course. The one where everyone discusses except me, because I seem to never have the right words on the spur of the moment.
So, I muddle through the list and find the people whom I really need to write to.

My interview with Barbara Jane Reyes has finally made it to the top of the queue at The Sword Review. Clicking on this highlighted link will lead you there.

I haven't been able to write much these past week. We are just too busy with the floor and where everyone else goes into Spring cleaning frenzy during the Springtime, I go into a cleaning frenzy during the fall. That's just like me. The neighbours must be wondering what all the thumping and scratching sounds mean.

Finally got time to have a good sit down and peruse Eileen Tabios's latest e-book. It makes quite an interesting read. It made me think of something James Stevens Arce was talking about one time. Found poetry. To be honest, my education is more musical than literary. Basically, I was brought up in a home parented by booklovers who in turn gifted all of us, their children, with a love for books and the written word. So, I can't give a literary blow by blow account of this work. I'll just say what my impressions were.

There is something about the way these words are written that pushes them beyond the page. From "Welcome to the Luxury Hybrid" to "Yukon Denali's Denial" there is a vibrant power that surges through the lines, reminding of conversations that I must have recorded in my subconscious. "Luxury Hybrid" awakened memories of overheard conversations: boys comparing the merits of one car over the other, dreaming aloud of the kind of car they would like to own one day - in the Philippines, it mostly remains a daydream.

Yes, there is food for thought in the carefully selected verses/commercials listed in part one of this e-book.

In the letters written in response to Eileen's questions about the balixbayan box, I found it quite interesting to discover that eventually this question gave rise to the question of colonialism in a box. Perhaps I was sleeping when that question was put to the list because I don't recall reading that one, but then, my appearance on the net ( in my mailbox )is quite sporadic. Eileen notes that the discussion ended on that question which somehow never got answered. She then goes on to wonder if the right questions were asked.

I really liked this ending to the work. It made me look at the entire book in a whole new light. I found myself analyzing things and wondering too about what these lists say about us, and what the implications are. In any case, leaving it open like that invites much thought on the part of this reader. So, I'm going to read it again and think about those questions.

Wanna read Eileen's book? Here's the link click on Post Bling Bling to download a pdf copy. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Lists, listahan, lijsten...whatever I do, I seem to keep on making them and I seem to keep on falling behind on my resolutions to keep up with my lists of things to do, things to see, things to write, people to visit, places to go and things to buy.
My email box is a list filled with more than 1200 unread mails, that I resolve to plow my way through. I tell myself that there are gems of such interest in the mails that flow in from the listserve at OWW that I should really take the time to read them thoughtfully and formulate my own thoughts and opinions on subjects that my fellow workshoppers are talking about. I still haven't been able to give those mails more than a cursory glance. Life just happens, and time seems to keep on rolling so fast it's pretty hard to catch up. I find myself gasping like a beached whale, waiting for my breath to catch up on me so that I can move on to the next exercise of living my life with a smooth expression on my face.

I am making yet another list to myself. Aside from the list that permanently says, work on your novel today, I've now expanded to include doing some major rewrites on stories that I've written in draft and still haven't gotten around to rewriting. Why is it that there seems to be a clock ticking away in the back of my head? It goes tick, tick, tick. Seconds and minutes fly by and I find myself wondering why I ever imagined that I could write a novel. But I'm just that stubborn, I suppose I'll stick to it even if it isn't as good as I imagined it would be. Characters never behave the way you want them to behave. Nothing is predictable about a novel. I admire people who have the strength of will to complete their novels, down to the part where they say the end.

Eileen Tabios has another collection of poetry out. POST BLING BLING is a collection of poetry, found under e-books, that you can download for free from I've downloaded the book and am looking forward to making time to peruse it in quiet. Let those words resonate inside my brain, so that I can see what lies beyond the obvious. When I was a child trying to write poems, I remember this violinist friend of my mother saying to me that poets and writers are people who see beyond what is. That you see beyond the leaf to what lies beyond. I'd like to see more than the leaf, to be transformed somehow by the magic of words. Because words are magic and words are power. I swallowed that truth, took it as my own, and have led the life of a scribbler ever since.

E-bay is buying Skype. Has the deal gone through I wonder. 45% of Skype users are located in Europe, that should expand e-bay's market.

Why is it that when I order a book from Amazon that costs 2,99 cents, I end up paying 12,00 for the entire thing? A couple of months ago, I ordered two books at 2,99 each and found out that I was being billed 22,00 euros for the entire package. Why oh why do I have to live in a country where english books are so hard to come by?

I still have a list of people to visit. Why is it so much harder to visit people when you're in another country? In the Philippines, I saw my friends every week...sometimes almost every day. Here, I have to make an effort to break out of my tendency towards monkishness. The other week, my husband complained about us turning into hermits. I woke up at 8 on a Saturday morning, sat down at the computer, started writing and forgot to open the drapes. When he came down at 10.30 the house was wrapped in shadow.

"We're turning into hermits," he said.


I kept on typing. I registered that comment, but I was in the middle of a scene that I would end up scrapping entirely anyway. So, why do I do this? Why do I spend hours and hours typing words only to scrap them the next day?

Joel Jan is color blind. I was afraid of that.

"He almost had a perfect score when he took the CITO test." His Kindergarten teacher told us last year. "He kept mixing up green and brown, which is not a crime because those were his only mistakes and it could mean that he either has a problem with colors or he is color blind."

All during the summer vacation, we practiced. Count the green trucks, count the red ones, count the brown ones.

"He still can't tell the difference," says his teacher. "Shall I ask the school physician to give him a test?"

So, it's official. He is a bit color blind. Did you know that it is something that happens mostly to boys? There are more color blind boys than there are color blind girls in the world.

Did you know that the gene is passed on from the mother to the son? So, I see colors normally, but I carried a color blind gene that I passed on to my son. Because according to what I've read, it's a gene my father may have which was passed on to me, and which I in turn passed on to a son. It means that if my son gets married and has a daughter, she probably won't be colorblind, but if she has a son, he will probably be color blind. Is that such a disaster?

Maybe it's not, but I did a google search and found a site called which allows normal color seeing people to see how color blind people see the world.

I still have to digest this information properly, and in some way, my head is a bit askew with all the thoughts that keep on running through it. Like the knowledge that he'll probably have to decide whether it's better for him to drive a car or to just stick to public transport. Can he still be a train engineer?

Why does it hurt somewhere inside, even though I know that he won't notice the difference between the colors that he sees and the colors that I see?

Ate Conching and Kuya Gary are in the Philippines. They survived Katrina.

I lost five kilos since I started my diet two weeks ago.

This is just another list.