Let’s eat cake

 

It’s been 3 days already since I’ve been eating the chocolate roll that we had for noche Buena. My diet since then has been on leftovers and thankfully, it looks like this day will be the last – unless our refrigerator reveals another Tupperware with foods still waiting to be consumed.

Did I mention that theres puto, too?

Did I mention that there's puto, too?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least the good thing about having a wife good at cooking is that the leftovers get to have some twist during every other meal. Like yesterday, the embutido meet up with the excess spaghetti sauce and presto, instant new spicy recipe that went well with rice for lunch. The dessert though, was still the enduring chocolate cake. Actually, it was coupled with a peach-sago salad. Not bad.

I’m not sure yet, if what’s happening right now inside my body as the last time I had an intense activity – outside our house – was when I joined a badminton dual-meet 2 weeks ago. After that whole day of flexing, jumping and smashing, I was on all out calorie collection as if some polar bear stacking some body fats for hibernation. Now, I’m trying to avoid stepping on the weighing scale. I’m now convincing myself to remember the saying, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you.” And I might as well add another inspiring line, “round is a shape.” Ti abi.

Oh calories, my calories. How can I resist the sexy shrimps.

Oh calories, my calories. How can I resist the sexy shrimps.

Frankly, I don’t know if I can fit some real cardiovascular activities among some other plans I have during this vacation period. The nearest I can get some sweat out is by doing household chores – involving lots and still lots of clean up to be done, detailing the car (which I already did from 7-12 noon yesterday), and a couple of house fixes that are already on my to-do list.

Some fitness gurus say that what matters most with each person’s well being is that you look good and feel good about yourself. Well, I think I’d prefer for now feeling good about myself. Let’s worry about the looking good part next year while I compete with those running the treadmill at the gym. Hahaha.

Let me leave this blog with the following quotes:

Eat well, not many.” – crisn (that’s me)

People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.” – unknown.

Once again, we come to the holiday season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.” – Dave Barry

 

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Advertisements

Is it still Christmas?

 

Make every day of the year Christmas. Christmas is in our hearts. These are just a couple of famous lines I’d always remember about Christmas. Even then, bringing back the same feeling of how it was celebrated during my childhood years seems to be getting more impossible with each passing year. It must have something to do with age or whatever excuses. But nowadays, I yearn for innocence and simple joys that this season brings.

Back when I was a kid, I remember my excitement the moment I’d hear Christmas carols being played over the radio – usually when the “ber” months begin. There’s always anticipation that “Joy to the world” or “Ang pasko ay sumapit” will once again be heard right after the last week of August. This is just how it was then. This is just how we Filipinos have been known as having the longest Christmas season. Most tourists and other people from other countries are fascinated by the fact that even on September Christmas decors are starting to be seen already in some homes here in the Philippines.

I actually didn’t care for years already. Besides, I’ve come to accept that times have indeed changed. Since I reached my adolescence and the more after I started working I’ve surrendered to the unavoidable – that sometimes Christmas will be spent at work. I’ve likewise accepted of course that Santa never did exist; that some ninongs and ninangs do intentionally hide from their godchildren; that as we grow old, the chances of getting toys as gifts are fading; and that Christmas after all is just for kids. A few more years and maybe I’d soon find myself as one green creature – the Grinch.

So why am I starting to fret about wanting to feel Christmassy once again? That’s because I want our baby boy to experience it just like we did when we were kids. It’s funny but looking at his wide innocent eyes peering out of the window and being awed by the twinkling of the multi-colored lights makes me mushy and brings me back in time about three decades ago. It looks like those clear baby eyes are silently questioning why is everyone is in a hurry, why are there fake pine trees everywhere and all of which are clad in various decorations, why is there a group of kids outside singing jolly carols and why is there Christmas in the first place.

Our sons first gift exchange.

Our son's first gift exchange.

Today, on our way to Batangas, instead of playing his usual Barney CDs I tried scanning the radio stations in search for Christmas songs. To my dismay, none of my preset stations played any of the tunes. All I got were every genre but no Christmas carols. And to think that it’s December 25th worsen my disappointment. The spirit of the season isn’t on air already – not until the radio’s auto-tune stopped at 100.3 FM (RJ FM). They’re playing 48 hours of Christmas music and that one cheered me up in an instant. And although I can’t confirm that our baby boy did appreciate it as well, I’m just so glad that at least one station still dedicated 2 days of nothing but Christmas music. I know the memories of hearing these will embed in the mind of our baby for his first Christmas ever.

Now I still wonder, is it still Christmas? Or did Christmas fade after some of us completed the 9-day misa de gallo; after all the noche Buena have been eaten; and after all the gifts have been opened? Hopefully, it’s still Christmas…

Effect of Christmas music - sleepy backseat passengers.

Effect of Christmas music - sleepy backseat passengers.

 

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Christmas on all perspectives

 

Just as Christmas brings a lot of emotions , activities, gifts, spiritual enlightenment and almost all other sort of things that the past eleven months failed to have, I realized that it would be a pity if one just looks at one aspect of this yuletide season. Of course, when you look at everything there’s always the chance to see both the good and bad side of it, that’s whether we like it or not.

The lyrics from the song Santa Claus is coming to town, “He sees you when you’re sleepin’, he knows when your awake, he knows if you been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake…” is a good reminder that December is the perfect time to check if we’ve been good or bad alright. Sadly, while some of us are reflecting if we have been good or bad, the latter still continues to be just around during this time of the year; and sadder than that, it may even occur in the midst of our holiday preparations despite our good intentions.

Like some doctors say, “I have a bad news and a good news…which one would you like to hear first?” I’d say, give me the bad news first.

Bad news

Road traffic. Everyone has experienced this I’m sure. Whether you’re in a public transport or in the comfort of your air-conditioned car this scenario is inescapable – unless you’re one of those shameless politicians (you know what I mean). It’s during this traffic jams that each driver’s (and some passengers) temperament and courtesy is tested. Often times this is when all yuletide cheers seem to just vanish into thin air. And more alarming lately are the incidents related to drunk driving. These drivers for sure won’t get any more Jack Daniels from Santa; not even flying reindeers – that is, if they’ll survive those car crashes. Ouch.

Long queues. As if after driving from a long tiring trip to the mall isn’t enough, there are more jams waiting inside the shopping areas. Once again, this is when and where temperaments, courtesies and patience are put to the test. Observing any long queue, one will most likely chance upon someone with Christmas gifts seen smiling at the end of the line but ends up like grinches (for whatever reasons) when they reach the cashier.

Trashes. I was so glad when I read from the Philippine Star about a reminder coming from Greenpeace (if I’m not mistaken) for everyone to put the environment in mind when planning for their respective Christmas parties. Always remember to reuse and recycle. It also won’t hurt to use some common sense when disposing your garbage properly. Let’s not piss Santa Claus so much that we’ll soon find our own trashes stuffed inside our yuletide socks instead of gifts.

Recession season. As the rest of the people are anticipating a merry Christmas and a happy new year, others are bracing for the impact of the economic slump which has affected the U.S. Its effect has rippled through the rest of the world already and one of the unavoidable outcomes is the number of layoffs by corporations from all industries. One of the giant employers affected by such is Intel and as a matter of fact several of my colleagues and friends will be jobless by next year (I myself almost lost my own but thankfully I made a U-turn after I applied and got hired for a vacant position). There’s nothing more I can do now but hope that their transition and recovery will be quick.

Whew! The list can go on. Does this mean Santa will have lots of checking to do and will have lesser recipients this year? Anyway, I’m not wasting more precious time…so this time let me tell the good news.

Time to give. This is I guess is the key to enjoy the Christmas season. Actually it’s the main reason why there’s Christmas to be celebrated after all. Remember the bible verse, “For God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son”? And do you still remember the three kings who had to endure a long and dangerous trip to pay baby Jesus a visit in the manger? These all show that the essence of this season is all about giving. It’s all about sharing. No more no less.

On my part, especially for this year’s holiday season, the presence of our baby boy must have an effect on how I give gifts. My long standing plan to go green by reusing what I have at home and to put some creativity to good use finally came true. Last year, I started saving the comic sections of the dailies as I see it as a good alternative for Christmas wrappers. I also pay extra attention to tips (on TV, newspapers, magazines) that may put some personal touch to the way we give. And so this year, I have already given a couple that I’m quietly so proud of.

The first one was when I was cramming for gift ideas for my father’s 75th birthday. After combing SM Bacolod, back and forth, I bought a small cheap plastic tool box (Ace Hardware), a silver ribbon and then a birthday card (National Bookstore). At home, I wrote in the card and placed some “Ninoy” bills inside the tool box and sealed it off with a lovely ribbon – with the help of my wife – presto, a unique gift indeed. Goodbye boring red envelope.

The second one was when I was preparing a gift for a colleague for our team’s Christmas party. Wondering how I’d hide any hint that it is a book, I arrived at the idea of putting it inside an empty 6-liter PET bottle. Then I stuffed shredded newspapers and wrapped the clear bottle with another newspaper. In the end it appeared more like a bomb than a harmless gift. Well, at least she got what she put in her wish list.

A thick message in a bottle - tranformation from book to crap.

A thick message in a bottle - tranformation from book to crap.

Tonight, we’ll have our own simple exchange gift giving at home. It will be just my wife, our 8-month old boy and myself. I don’t know if they’ll like what I did, but then again as the cliché goes, “it’s the thought that counts”. Hahaha. Looks like a good excuse for having crappy gifts and wraps.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

 

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Trying to be Merry on Christmas

 

I’m now officially one of the Grinch. After 13 years of landing a job, last night was the first time I reported to work on a Christmas Eve. Normally during this time of the year, I’d either be in my hometown – Bacolod, or in Batangas celebrating Christmas with my wife and our family.

But then everything changes. And this year that change came to my career and left me no choice but to stand by it and be at work – technically, to role model. Ahem.

So yesterday afternoon I was actually feeling some mixed emotions as my time to go to work nears.  I was feeling excited for this first time event in my profession; and at the same time I was feeling uneasy and sad that I’d be celebrating my Christmas eve  without my wife or family with me. I’d be with my peers and people instead.

By the time I arrived at our plant, I can feel that the mood is surprisingly festive. The sight of employees with bags of gifts added to the holiday atmosphere.  The smiles and greetings are unwavering and infectious. Well at least whatever the reasons for the jolly characters, I know I’m surrounded by good aura for the rest of the graveyard shift.

Everything went the usual way just like any ordinary day when work kicked in. I was actually thinking, “Well, not bad. I can actually be a nurse, a pilot, a fireman, a security guard or a doctor on call…”or any other personnel who is expected to work even during the holidays. I felt like I’m not missing a big event or a love one. Well, not yet.

Break time came and a special dinner for all the manufacturing employees was served. The special meal was accented even more by a special dinner table setting. We’d be eating with candlelight. So by this time I was becoming even more convinced that working that night will be no big feat. I’m even starting to enjoy it. The sight of the lechon worked like a charm.

Right after dinner, I was back on my desk doing some routine tasks when I heard someone mentioned, “Sir Christmas na po (Sir it’s Christmas already)”. That’s when I glanced at the wall clock to see that it has struck midnight. The greetings around the production line competed with the humming equipment and audible alarms. I returned the merry wishes but caught myself faking a smile. I suddenly felt sad. I felt a lump in my throat.  I tried to contain myself.  And as if by a snap of a finger, I missed everyone whom I used to be with.

Probably this experience will stay with me until the next year. The feeling of having to choose between work and being with my love ones is a perfect dilemma.  Something’s got to give. And whoever said before that “Work is just a slice of life, it’s not the whole pizza” is mostly someone who can afford to sacrifice that slice. Unfortunately I don’t have the pleasure of doing so. When that day comes I’ll be the happiest.

I (Still) Don’t Get It

“An empty mind is a devil’s workshop”

Frankly speaking, having without a car made me a bit uneasy especially now that the Christmas season is coming in, and fast! I missed a lot without it.

I missed going to the malls with my wife on our own time and not worrying if we’re going to squeeze our butts in just to get seated in the jeepney for being the last two to get in. I missed the gift buying activity we’ve been regularly doing and not wondering how and where we’d be able to place all the shopping bags. I missed going home late coming from a good (esp. scary) movie. I missed getting stuck in traffic with me on the wheel and not having to think if my nose has clogged due to smog, smoke & dust – whichever comes first or all of it combined.  I missed waking up a bit late and not worrying that I’ll miss the bus to work. I just missed the freedom it gave me.

To shake off this feeling of self pity, I tried keeping my mind busy while being a passenger in one of the buses, jeepneys or cars of friends. And that did me good somehow. My thoughts wandered more (no defensive driving to worry about). I became observant of other things I can’t see or think of while driving. I became keen with what is outside the vehicle’s window.

And those wild brainstorming got me into things that until now make me say, “I don’t get it”.

I don’t get it why charity parties intended to benefit the hungry street children are in lavish settings with abundant overpriced food and attended normally by “botoxed” personalities. Can’t these people just give right away to charity? Or they really need the TV and photo coverage for that?

I don’t get it why a billboard at a sidewalk going to Tagaytay says, “Inteligent Auto Paint Shop”. Hopefully the owner has a good explanation for this, or else, better they forget having customers in there.

I don’t get it why the employees of “Coolmaster Airconditioing Expert” (in front of the car I’m in while on our way to a Christmas party) are out in the open at the back of a wobbly pick-up truck enduring the noontime heat.

I don’t get it why a municipal vehicle with the words “Responsableng Taong Bayan (Responsible people of the community)” is illegally park on one side of Muntinlupa’s road.

I don’t get it why when a majority is anticipating to travel by air during this Christmas season is also the time when Discovery Channel and National Geographic shows programs such as Air Crash Investigation, Air Disasters, etc. Either someone from those shows hate Christmas travel or owns a stock in the shipping industry. And by the way, out of curiosity I tried to search in Wikipedia and I’m glad with the result – December is not the highest among the statistics. At least not among the top three and that’s a relief, well, sort of.

aircraft incidents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*extracted these data and tabulated using excel’s countif formula.
*sorted from lowest (April) to highest (November).

 

 

Lastly, I don’t get it why the brandy I’ve been drinking (since I bought it) kept me awake instead of falling asleep. I guess it’s about time I check the fine print on its label. I’d be damned if it contains caffeine. But then again my subconscious must be working on something else (and wants me to stay up late). Something I might be thinking about more with Christmas day only 3 days to go. Whatever that is, let it come by…I’d love to write about it soon.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone…especially to you wifey. I really miss you!!

 

(I just noticed the most frequent word I mentioned in my blogs are either wife, beer or liquor. I think it’s about time i change my blog name.hehehe)

  

 

Tis The Season to be Jolly

“Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself” – Enigma. Return to Innocence

The ‘ber’ months must have some effect on everyone if not to the Filipinos alone. Once the very 1st day of September sets it everything seems to intensify or gets exaggerated. As if some switch gets turned on right after the midnight of August 31.

Different ages react differently to this transition. For most adult this is the start of expenses pouring in. Everything seems gets listed in the “needs” section of the budget list. The “wants” list more often becomes empty – blame it on consumerism? For most children however, this is the season to be Jolly, period.

I can still remember my excitement – when l was kid – every time when the calendar reaches September. As if the calendar page between August and September is a musical card that plays a song when opened, “…Santa Claus is coming to town…” And unknown to me then, this Santa Claus are those adult that gets weary and anxious when these ‘ber’ months sets it. They are either our parents or our “unlucky” ninongs and ninangs (godparents). After 20 years, I’m now one of them.

It was as if just a couple days ago when someone reminded me to start buying gifts to avoid the shopping rush. In fact that was months ago. Just like any broken vinyl record this irritatingly skips and repeats. Sadly the holiday rush doesn’t skip. It just repeats. The farthest I can remember panicking at this level is since I started having my own pay check. (Now I’m confused if having a paycheck should either get celebrated or cursed.) My wife and I normally kid each other usually around every January to start buying Christmas trees and gifts by this time. But before I know it, the ‘ber’ months are in, again. Now I’m behind 2 months already. It’s now November.

The mall sales now get more frequent than before. The bonuses are coming in (or shall I say passing through). The yuletide songs are as common as jeepney noise. The dreaded traffic gets worst. The horrifying thought of the inaanaks (godchildren) knocking at the front door getting realized as December nears. It’s funny but when someone says now “Christmas is just around the corner”, this is now like a windtalker’s code that someone is out to get you.

Hey, did I just realize I’m now a Grinch? During this season most adults are, I guess. Well it must be the cycle of life I guess. Some call it karma. The act gets repeated but the recipients change. If before I was thankfully receiving crisp bills, now I’m…I’m not giving one. Beside, the crisp bills now are of less value. Now that’s justified (miser smile).

Every time I’m in this situation I think of an old Filipino song (by Asin) with the following lyrics:

Itanong mo sa mga bata (Ask the children)
Ano ang kanilang nakikita (What they see)
Sa buhay na hawak nila (At the life they have)
Masdan mo ang mga bata (Observe the children)
Sila ang tunay na pinagpala (They are the lucky ones)
Kaya dapat nating pahalagahan (We should appreciate them)
Dapat din kayang kainggitan? (Shouldn’t we envy them)

Although this is not a Christmas song, this clearly describes and shows how having the innocence just like the small ones becomes a very big deal. More often, taking the simple meaning of an event or season is what matters most. Children love summer for the vacation. Children love Christmas for Santa Claus. If they love it for Christ’s birth, the better of course. But that’s where our adult explanation comes into play (and it’s another long story or blog).

So if only most adults, including me, can see this significance just as it is (even just during December), then I think this is when we can wholeheartedly join the children in saying, “Tis the season to be jolly”.