summer peak musings

Uneventful week except for the presidential election and my continuing online search for my end-of-the-year vacation destination. My sister is flying to NY this May and in October. Lucky rich she. But what I’m actually eyeing and excited about is Iceland. Yet she keeps discouraging me, for it’s way located at the end of the globe. Not to mention way chilly (we reckon). She encourages my second choice which is Eastern Europe and expressed willingness to go with me. Although looking at google images of EE’s tourist attractions, they can’t compete with the excitement of possible Aurora Borealis sightings and splendid views of glacier mountains, waterfalls, geyser springs, and other beautiful Icelandic sites. Hard choice it is.

While reviewing my previous posts from years back in the process of transferring a few to a new site, I keep shuddering in shame at all those darned amateurish soppy entries I had audaciously published. To think that I had befriended some of the best minds and most talented bloggers in my more than five years of residency in this realm. No wonder they mysteriously dropped off the face of blogearth. My writings must have distressingly driven them all far far away to another galaxy.

The current atrocious heat of summer has been intolerable. The other day I decided to have Coke to leisurely gulp down with my lunch so I grabbed an 8-ounce empty bottle and went down to proceed to a merchandise store. I’d been swinging my arms during my stroll when the mini-sized bottle somehow slipped from my grasp and away it flew at the back — a tiny sound of glass crashing followed. I turned around and walked toward the spot of disaster where glass pieces were scattered on the ground — scratching my head, a mix of unbelief and confusion on what to do next stunned me for a few seconds. Then my eyes caught sight of a street scavenger couple, a man and a woman taking a rest by the sidewalk, who’d been watching me. Surprisingly, the man was giggling.

My thought: “What’s so funny, sir? Can’t you see I’m in pain here? How can I buy my Coke without my bottle now? I’ve exactly only 9pesos on hand and my residence is on the 5th floor of that building over there. Though if you have 3pesos to spare for the required bottle deposit, I’ll forget you ever laughed at me. Everything will be forgiven.” The man was still giggling.

I began taking steps to head back to my apartment. Yup, I ate my lunch minus any delicious beverage to chug.

(This is another entry I’ll wince at years from today. See, why do I sometimes fancy I can be entertaining.)

my photocokeIce baby + Coke – Win win!

Indifference versus Devotion to Politics

Who are you going to vote this May?” they ask me. “I’m not” is my curt answer. “Oops, we forgot. Geena is voting for POTUS!” Ha ha you faddy hoots. Now leave me alone.

The problem is I didn’t register. I was extremely busy months ago and wouldn’t want to waste a particular Saturday waiting in line for hours to be able to renew my privilege in selecting the next leaders who won’t be able to save our country anyway. The nation has for numerous generations been in deep shit and there’s scarcely light at the end of the tunnel especially for the grass roots. No, it’s not all the government’s fault; the people are to blame, too. Filipinos have been marked by certain character flaws which work to our very detriment: inside our territory we basically do not like being disciplined. Plus we can be too stubborn and dramatic.

In addition, the complications of lack of education or enlightenment have led to our unmanageable population growth and, for the lord of Batman, I don’t get why we go on electing and reelecting bird-brained movie/TV stars, useless over-the-hill politicians and keep building and supporting their political dynasties. Corruption rules to boot. Yes, we’re that lost and beyond hope.

Although if I had my pick, I’d want the tough willful Duterte guy to become the next president; The Philippines desperately needs an ultimate strong-arm chief executive right now.

In the other half of the globe, the recent update on Trump being ganged up (again) by Ted the puppet and Kasich the ick bugs me. And still, after all this time, I’m perplexed by the posture of many who go like “Oh I belong to the class of the intellectual elites, therefore, I must be anti-Trump.” The hypocrisy.

No matter what they say, I adore the man and am loyal to him. It pains me knowing they’re never allowing my favorite candidate that seat in the White House. I’ve no doubt he’s sincere in his mission to make America great again. If you’re a member of the “Never Trump” movement, we’d better not talk about it. I’ve already discussed enough my stand during my countless defense of the frontrunner on several sites. My ties with a long-time co-blogger and a new one had already been severed for that reason. If I had to make a choice, you know the billionaire would always win hands down.

I voice these things over here; it’s my blog. Comprende? 🙂

 

She Should Have Slept Around

My elder sister and I with the whole family are having lunch in a restaurant. She’s narrating her recent trip to Germany where she underwent stem cell treatment — something she goes through every year (partly as an aftermath of her choco addiction) with my brother-in-law, her husband. While the conversation progresses, he stands up and goes out to take a phone call. My sister turns to me.

She (with eagerness): My German doctor. He’s cute and I think he likes me.

Me: He is? He does?

She: He’s been sweet and extremely attentive to me. And I believe I’m the only female patient he kissed on both cheeks when we said our goodbyes.

Me: Ooh… (nodding). Inner Me: Of course he’s that nice. You’re a customer! No, I can’t say that to her; I won’t dare refute the giddiest hunch of someone who allows me to live in one of their apartments nearly rent-free.

Me: Aren’t you happily married? I teasingly remind her. Because she unmistakably is.

She: Yes, very much, but I watched the movie “Same Time Next Year.” Interesting to be in that two-timing couple’s situation, I imagine. My sister’s smiling.

My eyes secretly widen in bewilderment; I need a drink quick as I search for any server passing by. “Uh, Waiter, a can of Coke Zero please!”

Is he single?” I proceed to ask her.

She: Well, no. But blah blah blah…

Inner Me: Excuse me, sis. If he’s married, there’s no but. There can never be a but. (Sorry, though, to confess I previously broke that rule twice in my life. Don’t worry, Karma already made sure I paid the heaviest price.) I go on listening to my sis and keep nodding dumbly while she rattles on how maybe her doctor is gonna welcome some sort of fling with her regardless of both their connubial status.

She: The part where he injected (the goat, I mean sheep cells) bulged a bit so that became an excuse for me to email him. I had to ask about the swell…

Me: What did he say?

She: Well, he didn’t reply at first. So I had to email him again. He responded then. I think he’s just being cool and cautious because Joey (my sister’s husband) is his patient, too. But I can sense my doctor does like me as much as I like him.

Now I’m resisting the urge to dip my fingers in my glass of cold H20 and sprinkle some on her face.

Dear dear sister of mine, you’re telling me he has seen your 50-year-old butt (the needle went there, btw) and now he helplessly finds himself having a crush on you. Listen, a good-looking well-moneyed medical practitioner like that will get carnal only with the best-looking female  WHO’S HALF HIS AGE. Get real!” Again, no, I couldn’t tell her that. She’s paying for the whole meal.

My sister, in sudden mild reflection, continues: In our earlier years, Joey fooled around. Those were very stressful periods for me. Maybe he doesn’t anymore but I’m not quite certain. Now I realize I should have “hanged around” with other guys in the past.

I understand. I look at my sister keenly and start pondering as well. This is what happens when a woman has bedded only one man her entire life. I’ve gathered she’s just had the same discussion with our mother; how she feels sorry for herself for lacking “substantial experience” with men. I remember when she and I were in our earliest teens, our parents would lecture us till midnight not only about prioritizing our studies but more on the value of preserving our “innocence.” Our mother went so far as to insist our first boyfriend should end up as our husband, too, and should be the only male we’ll ever sleep with. Sister took it to heart (She and our mom have always been soulmates). Me? Inside I was like “Yuck!” The rebel in me at the time had already been emerging so my stance was “One dude in a whole lifespan? Not on your life.”

Anyway, my zany brother who’s been partially listening to our sisterly chat strongly butts in: Ho ho, jumping to conclusions! Too much chocolate again in your system, sister. The three of us laugh. My brother-in-law walks back to our table.

What is the moral of this blog piece? Sister should have slept around and all women should do so during their unwedded era. Unequivocally. And it matters little whether the men were fucking dickheads or not.

Wait, did I just say that? Give me two weeks of good night sleep to take it back.

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++my brother, bro-in-law, sister and me in that most recent outing++

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Yep, another old favorite love song (ad nauseum, I know) from way way back. This Dionne W’s deeper gentle version I surprisingly unearthed on YT as it was rarely played on the radio.

 

A Woman After Her Own Heart

A day for tinted roses, soft words, thoughtful prose, and tender songs. Most of them I still find either lovely or silly cute.

From across a window with glows of tiny moonbeams infusing my home, an air of sweetness has honored one faint white line.

I fancy the language of gentleness within my own heart — that my blog has, in sooth, become a true love of mine.

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Most Favorite Love Song When I Was A Young Girl

An apathetic fraction of me asserts romance novels and songs like this must be held accountable for womenkind’s desolation from then till now. But it’s Valentine’s day and, as always, this memoir must hold true to my every remembrance.

I recall quite a sunshine across a vibrant sky whenever I hear this song. Oh so so young I was – around eleven years of age – and dreamy… singing while unbelievably convinced by forevers and of undying love. 🙂

– geena, feb2016

 

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a beautiful lake in Jungfrau, Switzerland; photo taken by me in 2014

So the weary traveler, tired of passing through,

Stops to get his bearings, and stays on to wait for you,

When the moon disappears forever

and the sun shines electric blue

And the mountains and trees tumble into the sea

to rest there for eternity

No matter what you do, I will still love you.

 

I am a bundle of…what?

There exists an unforgettable dear blogging buddy from my past. Why unforgettable, you might ask? He had gone reading and commenting over many of my oldest posts and subsequently dropped this bomb of an observation, in a friendly manner…maybe: 

geena, you’re a bundle of contradictions.”

Hmm.

My preliminary internal reaction was like “oh okay.” But after a day or two of deep cogitation, it was: “wait, I am a … whaaat?”

Listen, bundle sounds like bungle. So how can this turn good.

It was the first time somebody made such an assessment of me – considering my more than 40 long years of existence on our planet. He’s introspective and a blogging icon so his every input had been meaningful for me. I wanted to knock-knock on his blog and politely question him as to what he meant exactly by his remark. Of course I chickened out because he’d be then quite convinced how lacking I am in comprehension. I couldn’t risk losing the camaraderie.

I tried googling it. Not much luck. The precise meaning of “a bundle of contradictions” and its aptness to my essence as a living entity remains nebulous. Diaphonous. Amorphous.

It’s been three years. The ex-buddy had since dropped off from the face of blogearth when he found a job and got busier. Yet I’m still wondering and scratching my head as to how many or which of my posts led him to believe I’m a “wad of mismatch and variance” (Darn, I really should stop using this lousy thesaurus of mine).

To be continued……. (don’t ask me when)

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We’re Happy People They Say

I was buying food at 7-11 the other night when I glanced down on a newspaper carrying an article about a recent international survey that says Filipinos rank fifth as being the happiest people on this planet. The findings made me smile — hardly surprising me at all.

Why? Here are the facts:

For us, having no money is not much of a problem. Really. As long as loved ones are around, we feel A-okay. Most of the time, mere togetherness is enough. Starving together can even be a deep, bonding experience.

You must already be aware of our supreme fondness for parties or small gatherings, and of our intense romance with the videoke. Horrific belting out for several barangays to hear could turn into volatile situations once in a while. In the spirit of fun, however, off-key singing is generally acceptable.

In spite of our country’s economic afflictions, each year there seems to be a mall sprouting, like a mushroom, at some corner of a city; Something which fosters more groupings and better camaraderie. Not to mention we probably manufacture the greatest number of cheap, most delicious assorted chips and crackers in the whole world. Oh, that last one doesn’t count, does it?

We might boast of a low suicide rate, too. The motive for taking one’s life could just be a ramification of a liaison turned dreadfully sour – which manifests of our over-the-top passionate nature as well.

Pensive, quiet gals like me are looked upon as different, or odd. Yeah yeah you’re right, I am weird. You’d feel out of place and sometimes be ridiculed (as I have been all my life) if you aren’t the boisterous, big talker type. At faculty meetings – with all of us female teachers clustered in a room – the propensity of my colleagues to endlessly babble all at the same time never ceases to amaze me. I often imagine myself grabbing something, anything around me that I could stuff into one or two of my co-teacher’s mouth, just to lessen the din.

Everyone dances here regardless of religious affiliation, political persuasion, or the contents of their refrigerator. A shrinking violet that I am, I have thought of all the number of hours I reluctantly spent practising with my siblings to prepare for our performance at every relative’s party in my pre-teen and early teenage years. Hours that could have been spent reading English classics and mastering the art of penning mushy-mushy yet wonderful tales. I swear I could have ended up giving Jane Austen a run for her money. But then, it’s also a blessing my parents instilled in their children love of dancing; even though they’ve got this one daughter who’s been marked for bashfulness all her life.

Well, it’s gratifying to broadcast now that I can finally dance sans any morsel of shyness. In front of an audience. I mean in front of my favorite and sole audience. My cat.

Indeed, we’re a bunch of happy happy people.

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In view of my penchant for strong dance beat, choreographed dancing, and fun videos, I include an old favorite of mine from 1989: Dino singing and bopping to his hit “I Like It”: one of those trip the light fantastic tunes that make me get up and dance to this day.

One Proud Mom, Although…

It’s of utmost pleasure on my part to reveal here my son placed 2nd overall in the recent Board Exam for Electronics and Communications Engineers. People around have congratulated me. They said I must have done something right as his only parent. That made me smile.

His success in the national exam was actually the outcome of several months of his commitment to diligent studying. In addition, he has always felt passionate about his field. His father was into the technical profession, too, by the way. Like father, like son.

Before starting his college studies I had expressed my wish that he took up Music instead. My son is also a talented pianist and guitarist. I made sure he had the proper lessons with those two musical instruments in his childhood and teenage years. Isn’t it that Science and Maths are the tools for living, but Music and the rest of the Arts are the reasons for living? He was adamant, though, in his selection in preparing himself to become a full-fledged engineer someday. I backed down.

Six years later, here we are. I am beaming with pride. I’m happy with the results, too, of course. My son seems to have made the correct choice.

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from left: me, my son, my sis, my nephew

But I am here not just to tell you how proud I am of my son. It isn’t my style sugarcoating my reality. A spirit in pain is also hiding behind my smiles in our photos. For he and I are currently undergoing a difficult period in our lives. I am hoping it’s gonna be an evanescent phase for both of us.

There’s a downside to having a child who’s endowed with way academic strength than his or her progenitor. Suddenly, nothing I say seems to matter anymore. Suddenly,
there’s nothing left for me to do but take a backseat. It’s as if any contribution or
suggestion from my side is necessary no more. Oh yes – I must keep on reminding myself – he already turned 22 this April.

Yet I ruminate on the following parental guidelines that have echoed in my mind for so Image (2)long: Do your best for your child. Show him unconditional love. Make sure that he knows how much he matters to you, etc. I did my damnedest to follow them all. Now I realized all those loads of advice…are actually crap. Nothing in life is guaranteed. No relationship maxim, even between mother and child, from any sphere on this planet is a sure thing.

You might think I must have done something not right that brought about this predicament. Alright, I do own up to not being the perfect parent and to having committed some mistakes along the way. But God knows how hard I tried. How hard I really tried. And only God knows how much I love my only child; The love which made me swear to all the angels in heaven two decades ago I’d be a much better parent to my son in raising him than my own parents combined in rearing me. I subsequently thought I was succeeding through all the years that my son was growing up. He appeared to be turning out finer and finer each passing day – which made me cling to the credence that the bond cementing us together would be stronger than steel.

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Nowadays, however, I keep on questioning my prior performance as a mother and asking myself what went wrong.

Or perhaps, I deserve this because I hadn’t exactly been an ideal daughter to my parents either. On the whole – and I say this in supreme truthfulness – my son is a thousand times better individual and human being compared to me.

Still, how poignant it is to discern I have failed in everything. Motherhood, I had promised myself, would be my redemption. The one thing, I thought, I might do well in life. How could I have been so mistaken.

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After the oathtaking ceremony, my family members and I went to a restaurant for a quiet celebration. During dinner, while my son was occupied shooting the breeze with his cousins, my mother and siblings took time to ponder and talk about our situation.

“It’s hard having an only child, I guess.” I conveyed with somberness to them.

My sister responded, “No. You just had it hard being the only parent.”

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Inside a coffee shop during the celebration with my mother, my brother, my sister, my nephews, and my son.