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Suddenly have so much time on my hands. And since I can't sleep ... tweaked with Photoshop. A self-portrait. From an original photo.

Who wants one? Send me your picture. That is if your in no hurry to get it. Sometimes I'm frantic. Sometimes I'm bored. Either way, it takes time to do this and I hate to be hurried. Email me at ilongga70@gmail.com if you want one. Yes, it's free.

An extraordinary freak in nature

Once upon a time there was a witch who was in need to gab, and by some extraordinary freak of nature, landed on a Viking ship with her broomstick. In that ship was a Viking Captain who had the skill of running away from women with marriage contracts. He believes that everything is an illusion and nothing in the world can convince him otherwise. The witch on the other hand was out to prove that true magic exist but can only be recognized by the pure in heart.

Anyway, they strike a friendship, this witch and Viking and managed to find a common ground to talk about despite their differences. He was wise – this elder Viking. She was twisted – this, um, young witch. He was an atheist … with doubts – this stubborn Viking. She was a strong believer of magic – as all witches are. They got along, this witch and Viking. He taught her the trick of running away from marriage certificates by showing her what shoes to wear, where to go, when to run. She showed him the antidote for love potions in case he was fooled to drinking one. He told her about his ship and the tiny island where he lived. She described to him the marvels of her broomstick and how useful it is when dealing with cobwebs and dirt.

They talked day and night and soon, by some extraordinary freak of nature, found themselves surrounded by an unexplainable fog. Having sailed vast seas in his long years, the Viking recognized it immediately as magic because he had seen one of them before, a long time ago, and because he was pure in heart. The witch, having learned from too many quick mistakes and seen too much trickery, failed to recognize it – her heart clouded by the shadow of doubt and false pretenses.

They reacted differently. The Viking saw fear, and got his running shoes ready. The witch saw hope but was quite skeptical about everything. The haze grew thicker until all they could see was each other and nothing else. It was only then that they recognized true magic.

The witch cried, “Quick! Run!” for she understood his fear. The Viking dropped his shoes and stayed because he understood her hope.

As this magic grew thicker, by some extraordinary freak of nature, a storm was brewing right over the horizon. It was stronger than Katrina or Rita. It was so tough and fierce that they called it … Marissa (LOL, private joke!). This proved to make life difficult for the Viking Captain. With the storm was news about resolutions banning witches away from Viking ships because of the former’s ability to enchant ships with charms and curses.

Meanwhile, the witch had her own problems. The storm brought news about raised prices on broomsticks and oil for flying vacuum cleaners. So she concentrated her energy on saving her last broomstick and tried to mend together the straws falling off.

The storm got worse. Not only were witches banned from Viking ships, they were burned at the stake which is kind of harsh, even for Vikings. The broomstick got a bad case of broom lupus and its straw started to fall out.

It was not long before the storm surrounded them, darkened the magic haze that enveloped the weird couple. It rocked the ship and finally threw the witch overboard. The witch turned on her magic and made the broomstick float – without really understanding that it was magic that kept her from drowning in the dark sea. The Viking grabbed the ship’s wheel and tried to turn the ship around, and used up all his magic till he no longer had the strength to steer it. He finally dropped down and looked up at the disappearing figure of the witch in her broomstick.

The Viking finally believed that not everything is illusion. "True magic is real", he says, "but fetches too big a price, even for a Viking". He resolved never to touch magic again, and put on his running shoes and made a mad dash back to his island.

The witch stopped her quest to prove the existence of true magic and went back home to fix her worn-out broomstick. "True magic doesn't exist.", she says. "Everything was just as the he said, an illusion."

An extraordinary freak in writing. Hehe. The best way to handle magic is to write about it.



Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season
-Robert Frost

I've been talking to a lot of broken hearts this week. One girlfriend is off to Zamboangga to prove a point and to end a relationship. Another girlfriend has started dating a doctor just to scorn a known womanizer. Both know they need to let go. Yet they hesitate.

I'm that too. I don't know what I'm waiting for nor what I'm hoping for. I just know I'm nearing my 5th stage - acceptance. I've been getting so used to the numbness that I can barely feel anything.

It helps that you can drown out any sign of weakness with the help of a CD. My friends and I once decided to make a CD called "Play in case of emergency". It is made up of songs for the broken hearted. Mine starts with Michael Johnson's "Bluer than blue" and denial songs like James Taylor's "If I keep My heart out of sight". Then it progresses to something more maddening like Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" and Vanessa Carlton's "Breathe". Then it goes to other stages of depression like the Bridget Jone's most popular "All By Myself" and "I'll Never Fall In love again". Then you go numb and start singing with Annie Lennox in "No More I Love You's". If you reach the song "I'll be Okay" by Amanda Marshall, then you're good. If you start belting out "I Will Survive" then you're definitely out of the woods.

Had a short talk with writer-friend. He hadn't had any sleep because he had been working all through the night. So his answers were pretty criptic and floaty. But he did say that only the first 100 years of life is the most difficult. The rest would be easy. For some reason, that made me feel better. LOL. I know I will never reach my next 100 years. That reality is somehow insanely comforting because you know this is going to be as good as it gets. And you will have to make the best of it or you die.

Heard that ex-bf is getting married next year; with the best friend of one of my best friends. I would be lying if I say I'm immune to news like that. But I really can't find a word to describe what I feel. I'm sure I feel a certain happiness for him. I hope he's marrying for the right reasons this time. I worry that he's not. Do I regret breaking up with him? The answer is a definite No. I didn't love him, that is very clear. I guess my regret is more that he gets to marry someone else first. And that I'm still alone.

Define irony. That should be my title.

My ewwwww list

I'm not very fond of memes. But this was a challenge so I'm taking it. From Outburst blog.

I think men are more squemish about the thought of sleeping with the same sex. I had no trouble picking up the women. All these are after all, theoretical. I still don't think I can stand kissing a woman though. I guess that makes me totally straight.

"Your mission if you choose to accept it: You have to sleep with 10 celebrities, 5 male and 5 female, I don't know why, maybe your life depends on it, maybe you just enjoy swinging both ways. Fact is you do. Pick them and tell me who and why."

1. Pierce Brosnan,Because all his roles portray him as a gentleman. And because he's sexy. And because he makes every move look graceful. He's 52 years old by the way. =)

2. Sting - He's one of the few British I know who doesn't have big teeth. He's spiritual, strange, brilliant as an artist - and the voice - Erase everything. I think the voice is reason enough.

3. Richard Gere - I don't know. Maybe because he can play the piano, sing and dance very well - very rare for a guy who's not gay. And he's buddhist. :) I like a guy who believes in something bigger than himself. Maybe it's the white hair. LOL. It was a close fight between him, Sean Connery and Robert Redford. He won because he was the youngest. Hehehe.

4. Edward Burns - 37 yrs. old. One reason. Because he looks safe. The boy next-door-type. Also the serial killer ordinary looking guy type. Hehehe. I think this is what makes him so dangerous.

5. Aga Muhlach - Filipino actor. Hehehe. I was in-love with him when I was 14. He's VERRRRYYYY cute. He's still is. He's about ... 38 years old now I think.

1. Keira Knightly - I don't really like her movies and I don't like her name either but I think she's breathtakingly beautiful.

2. Shu Qi - I saw her in the movie "So Close". Hers is the ultimate pouty lips. She should be a Bond girl.

3. Julianne Moore - I think for some reason, she's disturbing. Makes you want to delve deeper and seek what lies beneath that cool exterior. For some reason, I don't think she's so sure of herself. I don't know. Maybe I like the conflict.

4. Natalie Portman - If I have to be a lesbian, it will have to be because of her.

5. Thandie Newton - She's exotic. Almost wild. Lol. I think she will be good in bed. Ewwwwwww.

I observed that boobs were not a factor in my choice in women. And for the men, although they are all drop dead hunkylicious - they all have to be a gentleman ... and older ... hmmmm.

There are three things 30ish women would consider in a man at first sight. This is based from previous talks with girlfriends. (1) the face - not how good-looking you are, but how clean you are. Even if you don't shave but you look like you smell good - that earns pogi points. (2) how you walk - confidence. if you act like you know what you're doing, she will know what she wants. (3) the butt - i can't explain it. But girls like men with a good ass. Come to think of it, so do gay men.

In the end though, I don't think is has anything to do with looks. It all ends in the heart. But don't take my word for it.

For the women, hmmmm ... I think women generally knows how to appreciate beauty. Except when they're jealous. Or especially when they're jealous.


Heroes and Harry

Remember the days when we read Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and the Bobbsey Twins? Remember how weird it was that we we're all getting older and Nancy and Ned remained in college? And they were suppose to be the smart over-achiever kind? Just like Barbie, they've all been frozen in time and plastic. Aren't we glad Harry Potter gets to celebrate his birthday every year and actually go through the stages of puberty and awkwardness?

Spent the weekend reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Halfway through it, I got it - the ending - hehehe - Promise I won't reveal anything that will result to me getting violent emails or a flip-flop on the head. I'm quite contented on how it ended. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Man must realize that there are things he just can't control. The sooner the person realizes this, the easier his life becomes. Of course, being a difficult person that I am, I am not one of these people who had that epiphany. It's going to take me years to get there.

Like all heroes, Harry must face his greatest adversity. Superman meets kryptonite. Batman meets his demons. The Highlander must accept the curse of immortality or off with his head. Frodo comes face to face with his greed. Luke Skywalker must fight with his father (like every average son gets to do at least once in their lifetime). Wasn't it Spiderman who said, "With great power comes great responsibility?".

Makes me think I should cry like Tina Turner: I need a hero! One who not only regards me as his greatest adversary, but his greatest prize. Hehehe. I'm not only dreaming, I'm probably hallucinating as well. And giving myself too much credit. That's why all heroes are fiction. None of these crap exist. So, I remain a cat lady. It's not so bad. My dying wish would be to find out if I could be worth fighting for. Be worth the greatest adversity. By the looks of things, I will not find this out until I reach my death bed.

Note to self: Must warn Viking of witches with love potions. And FYI, there are no witches in my country. Only tikbalangs Manananggal (hahaha, thanks V! Goes to show, I know nothing about ghosts). They are women who cut their bodies in half, grow wings and fly to take newly born babies from their mothers. Hmmmm. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


10 Supporting Graces

Had a very busy week. Since last weekend I've been working on flowchart banners - several of them. The problem was, not everybody involved knew how to make flowcharts on Powerpoint so I ended up re-doing most of what they have done. Since each office had 3 or more, I ended up losing sleep because if I changed just one word from what they gave me, it's my ass on the line and I probably won't hear the end of it.

So I went to work. Sometimes as much as 13 straight hours. Sometimes I sleep early, wake up at midnight and work till morning until I have to go to the office. My body was racked with cough and asthma but that didn't stop me. I was assisted by my remarkable, ever supportive female co-worker who would (1) reassure me everytime I become my own worst critic. Finished the first group on Wednesday, another group by Thursday then had everything ready by Friday - all ready for Monday's event. Our work will be displayed all over the building. I have more work coming too but at least, the difficult part is over. I lost weight. I do declare that not getting enough sleep is the fastest way to lose weight - but of course, NOT the healthiest.

I also finally got my loan and so I paid every possible bill cluttering the refrigirator door. What relief! No more cutting of phone lines. No more power interruptions. And TV as much as I want. (2) Brother-priest also came to visit to check how we are. So you see, it's usually the little things that counts. I skipped a meeting just to have a chance to chat with my brother. It's always important not to lose sight of what's vital, don't you think?

I thought of rewarding myself for all the stress and worries I had these past few months. So I did what every normal girl would do - I went shopping - and bought myself:

(3) an optical mouse (because I soooooo wanted one),
(4) a flourescent lamp (since I've been living in the darkness of my bedroom for a month with only a desklamp) and
(5) a roll of film.

Hahaha. The Viking insists I buy something for myself. So I did and I bought (6) a nebulizer. I don't think that was what he had in mind. Maybe he was hoping for new clothes, a movie treat, a spa massage. I was suppose to pay him for a loan I didn't ask for, and he wouldn't take the money back. Finally told him I'd give the money to charity. Hehehe. Told him I knew someone in need of a nebulizer. So I got a nebulizer from the Viking. Hahaha. So that makes me an official indigent and him, an atheist philanthrophist. Hehehe.

I never thought myself to be a girly-girl. I would have gone for nice clothes too if I thought I really needed it. Don't get me wrong. I do like to look good. But when it comes to spending money, I become dangerously practical. So practical in fact that it has become a sickness. But I'm not entirely hopeless folks. I've set aside some money for (7) a trip to the beauty parlor. I need to have my hair done because it's grown so long, I'm starting to look like Sisa. But that will have to wait because it's Saturday and I don't want to think about work or anything remotely related to appearances. I don't care how anything looks. I've had enough of that for a week. I care about how everything is. Not the what. But the BE. So I took my bath, had my ice cold Coke and pizza, relaxed. After posting this, I'm going to curl in my bed and read a book.

As I said, I've officially become an indigent. For some reason, people keep giving me things I don't ask for. My lawyer-friend keeps dropping by the office in the guise of a visit; when she actually just needs to talk about matters of the heart. And every time, she keeps bringing me (8) breakfast, like I will be starving if she doesn't. Then writer friend's gift, delayed for several months, arrived out of the blue. It was a (9) heavy book about Photography. I was jumping from sheer joy. I love it when someone believes in me in times when I find my possibilities clouded-over. He has seen my pictures too. He's either blind or thinks I can learn much. Lastly, my Canadian-friend arrived, with my (10) Harry Potter Book 6, hardbound. Glee! She was the one who introduced me to Harry when nobody knew Harry then. We shared a liking for the classics and the love for Anne of Green Gables and Jane Eyre. I think I'll go buy her chicharon to take home to her sons and her giant-husband.

Who needs new D&C high heels, or expensive outfits? I really have everything I need. It would have been perfect if he was here ... but, well, a girl can't have everything.

Support. Sometimes a little of it goes a long way.




Just when you needed it. A funny text message from Cagayan De Oro. Thank God for girlfriends!:

Kis-a ang gugma indi maintindihan
Nakita mo na, nadula pa!
Nagpakahangag ka na, ginbale wala ka pa!
Palanggaon mo todo, Bay-an ka man!
DIPUGA nga gugma!
Naguso pa!

I am therefore I do

I slept all morning Sunday to regain all the energy I lost running around Guimbal in the rain. But I took good pictures there! When I woke up, I had a sore throat and the makings of an asthma attack. Gargled salt water and took asthma meds. Then I started working at 3pm on a Sunday. It started very slow because a throbbing headache had decided to implant itself inside my brain. I skipped dinner, had coffee with bread at 11 pm and worked till 5 in the morning.

Good thing there’s a jeepney strike today. I had an excuse not to go to work. So I slept till 9 am and then started working again. Finished 10 flowchart banners in pdf form ready to be taken to the printers as soon as I get back to the office. I don’t know why I’m pushing myself too hard. I did promise to deliver and I’m going to. Will try to finish another 10 today – 15 if I don’t collapse from exhaustion.
I told my office partner that I’m afraid people would have complaints about my work so I'm trying to make everything flawless. She reminded me that I can’t please everyone and warned me to expect criticisms among ingrates who don’t understand the complexity of the work. This extra work is not bringing in extra income but since it’s going to be displayed all over the building, I want it to be good. Something I can be proud of. I don’t want to disappoint. Me most of all.

Disappointment. I’ve been hearing about that a lot lately. I hate it when people judge me without really knowing what’s going on inside. Sometimes I makes me want to burst and fade into oblivion. But I plod on. I’m too proud and stubborn. And I don't like that I have to censor my blog because people tend to worry about the things I write here. These are my thoughts. This is my blog. This is the reason why I created it. So I can speak without anyone interrupting me. It's selfish but it keeps me grounded.

I sometimes wonder if I’m a difficult person to get along. I know I have moods that could turn anything into fire or ice. Everyone has days like that. But I generally think that people can get along with me.

Looking back at past relationships, I wonder if I had been difficult. Was it the cause for the break-ups? But I’ve realized that all my break-ups ended with the men (as if ang dami no? hehe) – still in love with me. The reasons for the break-ups were due to more insoluble obstacles – a God, a wife, an inability to provide, a racist government. Or maybe they were not really insurmountable. Maybe I was just not enough.

It’s really my fault. I choose men with too much high ideals. Ideals that even they can’t meet. Or maybe it’s just that I’m too complicated. Too contradictory. And they all say I think too much.

I don’t know where me and the Viking stands. It’s becoming difficult he says. I have no energy to argue or defend myself anymore. I’m leaving everything to fate. I’ve lost sight of faith but I know God is there. I just refuse to see Him because I'm living in my own world.

I just need to love. And be loved. Why is that so complicated? At the beginning of this year, I’ve finally convinced myself I’ll be fine alone. The Viking changed that. I pictured babies with blue eyes. I even dreamt my cooking – hahaha - as if that would be possible!. Poof! As fast as they come, as fast as they go. Looks like I have to re-learn everything all over again. “The world is a circle without a beginning and nobody knows where it really ends” (Lost Horizon movie, Diana Lee and Bobby Van).

Last week was a battle of emotions. I was flailing. I don’t believe I have to pretend that I’m strong all the time. I don’t have to pretend that I have everything together. And I don’t like it that I have to censor my blogs because everyone else seems to worry about me. I’m glad that I have tempers and tears and can be mean when I want to. That makes me all the more human. And I can be more honest to myself that way.

I still believe love is the greatest emotion for all eternity. Pain is just a minor setback. I will look back at this and think that it will be all worth it. For now, I plod on.



A friend's sister died recently. Her name was Melinda. Nobody in her family knew she had breast cancer. She was brought to the hospital because she was feverish and was in pain. While there, she finally confessed she had cancer and after a few minutes, died in the emergency room. Her family had to find out about her "unexpected" death from her sister, the only person home that time to bring her to the hospital.

Only then did the family shed some light to mysterious things happening in the house. Why they would suddenly find bloody cotton balls in the trash. Why their mother takes so long to use the bathroom. Why whe would always automatically seem to cover her chest when she bumps into something. It was her decision not to seek treatment for her cancer. Maybe because she knew, they wouldn't be able to afford it. In a way it was a death sentence. One she gave to herself.

Q: Is not seeking treatment for a fatal disease a form of suicide? Is surrendering to one's mortality a death sentence?


All in a week's time

Stress is ...

  • paying seven pesos for a jeepney fare while you listen to the radio news about increasing oil prices

  • waiting for a loan applied and approved 2 months ago with check pending because someone else from your building failed to pay their loans

  • receiving a notice of disconnection from the phone company

  • attending meetings here and there while your In Tray creaks with self-pity

  • attending a training 20 meters away from where you thought it would be

  • listening to a Korean explain something to you while you smile and pretend you understand his English

  • PMS on your busiest week ever

  • losing your cool with the one you love while trying to control hyperacidity and he decides not to talk to you because you're mean

  • taking added work because you know you're damn good at it but not getting extra pay for your labors

  • the maid calling you to tell you that the electric company pulled the plug for not paying your bills and you will not be having TV tonight

  • a favorite nephew celebrating his 15th birthday and you just can't NOT have a gift because he is the favorite

  • seeing vegetable prices increase by as much as 40 pesos per kilo while worrying how to make food last till the end of the week

... all that in a week's time. So I really don't care about Hurricane Katrina right now.

Peace is ...
Finding it in yourself to laugh at the hilarity of all these. It's either that or I've lost all my senses.

Update: I've managed to raise money to pay half of the electric bill and got the electricity reconnected. My sister volunteered to do the marketing for next week. Was told that my loan will be released next week after two months of waiting for it. I'm working tomorrow but I was also asked to be Godmother to a new baby boy. In my depression, I haven't attended Sunday mass for about a month.

Still God provides. And although I'm not overwhelmingly happy, I feel relieved. I have just been through my worst week. I'm still alive. That calls for a celebration. Care to join me for fishballs?


Here we go again

I need to puke. It's the only way to get rid of hyperacidity. That and anti-acids plus a cup of warm water. My mom used to remedy this with freshly squeezed kalamansi juice - about 9 of them. And you have to drink it raw without water or anything to lessen the bitter taste. My teeth couldn't stand them. It's like nails scratching the blackboard. But it worked though.

Been going back and forth the toilet waiting to puke. But looks like it's going to pull me an all-nighter, this one.

I did 50 sit-ups yesterday. Was so proud of myself even if I ended up with painful protests from my abdomen all day. And I was thinking that I could duplicate that feat today. Then this happens. You see, this is why I need a husband. I have absolutely no idea how to take care of myself. On the other hand, does this mean I have absolutely no clue on how to take care of a husband? Sigh. And I can hear them chant: Cat Lady! Cat Lady! I'm still hoping I'd turn into Cat Woman. Prrrrrr.

Gilmore Girls is back. Suki said it's good that Lorelie found Luke. That means that when she dies, someone will find the body and call the police.

Prrrrr. Prrrrr. Prrrrrr.


Photo Friday: Order

For some reason, they remind me of hospital beds.


What is love?

What is love? Have you ever been in love? Do you believe in long engagement? :)

If you were born in the 70's and lived somewhere within the Pearl of the Orient, I'm sure those questions are familiar to you. The 80's autograph book. I think now, they call it the Slam Book. Nevertheless, we painfully answered those questions and read the answers of others. We laugh in amusement or giggled in glee. But to tell you the truth, I don't think we knew what we were all talking about. Until now, we still have no clue. What we do have are just pieces of enlightenment, an aha-moment now and then. Sometimes, we just avoid any explanation and live in denial or surrender, whichever suits us best. But we still continue to live in love's mystery and so remain confused.

I know I've been quoting a lot of things these past few days. But I've been into a dark mood lately that I'm avoiding my own thoughts. I've been writing a lot of things. Those things I will blog soon. Today they remain in my notebook. Because I'm still contemplating on them.

Anyway, I was attending this seminar for a investment thing (me poor, need money). It was held, of all places, in a public library - just about twenty people there. While waiting for the seminar to begin, I mah-vel-lously found this treasure of a book. It was a compilation of short stories written by Filipino writers between 1929-1940. Pre-war stories. Anyway, took the time to read the first one by Paz Marquez Benitez. This one is worthy enough to share. So here. The story was called 'Dead Stars':

"Love. He seemed to have missed it.
Or was it love, that others told about,
a mere fabrication of perfervid imagination,
an exageration of the common place,
a glorification of insipid monotonies such as made up his love life?
Was love a combination of circumstances
or sheer native capacity of the soul?
In those days love was, for him, still the eternal puzzle;
for love, as he knew it, was a stranger to me
as he divined it might be."

Ahhhh ... poetic isn't she?

So to you dear blogger? What IS love?


What do I do with you?

I saw my mom in a dream last night. She came out of the dark, in her pink duster, sliding her slippers on the floor like she always did. She had this amused look on her face; an amused smile that would say, “Hay! What am I going to do with you?” You know - the resigned smile of a mother who can’t do anything with a stubborn child.

She was also carrying a stack of papers. When I first saw her, I said, “Nay!” surprised and somewhat pleased to see her. Then I thought to myself, “but you’re dead” - which kind of spooked me. She handed me the stack of papers but I didn’t look at them because I was still trying to get over the shock of seeing her. I don’t believe in ghosts but I can easily be afraid of them. When my mother died, I prayed that she won't show up anywhere to surprise me because it would scare me. So when I started feeling the fear, I lost her in the dark but still I could feel her fingers against mine. I felt her sit next to me, then pulling me to sit on her lap like she did when I was little. Then she gave me a hug from the back, and sort of jiggled her arms a bit. She does that when she comforts me. My family was never very affectionate in a show-offy kind of way. But this was my mother’s way of telling me that everything will be fine. I could almost hear her sigh, “Ay sus ah!”, resigned to the fact that she can never change her kids but would love them anyway.

I woke up and cried.

If there ever was a way for the dead to communicate with the living, this works fine for me.