Tuesday, November 15
to compensate for the weightlessness, and an obviously tepid blogging moment, here are photos i took of sophia last weekend. did this mosaic via bighugelabs. everyone seemed to stay indoors to watch a boxing bout that day, but my daughter and i got out to catch the waning sun, and savor the quiet of the afternoon. the streets were deserted and as sophia was swirling around and walking away into the urban sunset, i felt desolation and a strange sense of peace, both at the same time. she's in her absolutely super purple-y outfit and grey boots, and we picked a beautiful yellow flower from the sidewalk for effects.
Tuesday, August 2
Much as I love the monsoon rain and how it seems to envelop me in a kind of invisible protective veil, muffling the cries of a rather dissonant world outside my bubble---- of late it appears to have exactly the opposite effect. Suddenly, I wake up in the middle of a street finding everything around me soaked in the rain. I tread ever so gingerly to avoid muddy potholes, yet I lose footing and get myself drenched. The car horns blast at me, cussing me at my inability to make sense of the danger that lies ahead. Just as I turn to the direction of safety, a vehicle sweeps past and almost collides with me. And then, I wake up. From the dream within my dream. From the more unsympathetic reality. That for the nth time, I had overslept and was going to be late for work. As they say--when it rains, it pours.
This post is not exactly about my bizarre déjà vus, or my millionth attempt to go into raptures over rains. They are in fact quite becoming a nuisance now, considering how many days my kids will miss school and therefore miss learning, of how our laundry system has gone haywire because nothing can dry up quickly enough, and how it seems people (aka my kids) just feel more famished in the cold, or rather wet, weather that we are compelled to buy everything by the double. And, most frustrating of all, of how my runners are easily gathering dust because I cannot run outside.
This is about my kids’ health. Gabby's, in particular. Last year, I had my bouts of ill health and was confined in the hospital twice. And so did my son, once. He passed out at a doctor’s clinic, and had to be hospitalized for a week due to a very bad case of respiratory infection. Although we were one happy family camping inside his room, and Sophia was allowed some nights to sleep over, for my husband and me, it was something that we hoped would never happen again. Gabby at the onset, has tested positive in G6PD during his newborn screening test. I wouldn’t want to assume that because of this, and despite his diligent attitude towards eating the right foods, he still gets sick. Because when he gets sick, boy does he ever.
G6PD has been relatively unknown until the recent past, when hospitals and birth clinics require all newborns to undergo such test. Wikipedia describes Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency as a “hereditary disease, linked to abnormally low levels of G6PD or G6PDH, a metabolic enzyme involved in the pentose phosphate pathway, especially important in red blood cell metabolism. G6PD deficiency is the most common human enzyme defect. Individuals with the disease may exhibit non-immune haemolytic anemia in response to a number of causes, most commonly infection or exposure to certain medications or chemicals.Abnormal red blood cell breakdown (hemolysis) in G6PD deficiency can manifest in a number of ways:
Prolonged neonatal jaundice, possibly leading to kernicterus (arguably the most serious complication of G6PD deficiency)
Hemolytic crises in response to:
Illness (especially infections)
Certain foods, most notably broad beans (favism)
In other words, there is no sure-fire way to tell which food or scenarios would give Gabby a trigger. We are left to grope in the dark, and have to learn the hard way, as we go along. One of the instances that we recognized how worrying it can get is when he puffed up over an allergy with Taro pie, courtesy of Mc Donald’s. In spite of the anti-histamines, it took almost a week for the bloating to completely go away and get him back to his normal appearance. Poor kid almost couldn’t eat because of his swollen tongue. What is strange about it is that his illnesses are all asymptomatic of G6PD, that it’s almost silly to blame it on his deficiency. I mean others are on worse boats, and yet something tells me the culprit is exactly that. Do I contradict myself?
Lately, his struggle is with constipation. We had brought him twice at the ER paediatrics in the middle of the night because of complaints of stomach pains. After a battery of tests (abdominal xray, urine, blood), we always come home with the same verdict----that he only needs to "pass", to be relieved of the pains. Hilarious and off-putting, if you come to think of it, but really! As a parent nothing of that just casually comes to your mind and not worry about the underlying cause of such a discomfiting situation.
His constipation has probably nothing to do at all with his G6PD, and yet we cannot help but think that something must be done at the root of it. As of the present, we have decided to modify his diet—and that includes the whole family in the process. We buy more fruits, and bring in more fiber on the table. I took out my blender the other night and made some mean pineapple smoothies as alternative to our dessert, when in the past we always had iced tea or colas. This is a sacrifice that has to be made. Again as they say, sacrifice one thing for the good of the others. But as it is, I’d sacrifice many other things for the good of one. The one that is my precious boy.
Sunday, July 17
The rains had finally let up. Many an afternoon, I looked outside of my office window, longing for a dry pavement that I could jog on---but no such luck. I only had one opportune day last week to go down and run. Even then I could feel that I have missed out on my regimen and noticed how laboriously I had to heave my legs off the ground. I was careful not to get my knee injured, so three turns at the oval was all I could muster. I must get my act together and make a purposeful start next week. As the kids' exam week also lurks just around the corner, I welcomed anything to relax us before then. Sophia and I hopped on the jeepney to Sunken Garden yesterday. Armed with my camera and my only prime glass, a bottle of ice cold water and some biscuits, we were off for a few snaps. I am quite happy with how it turned out. The sun and its warm, magnanimous self was smiling down on us. And dear Sophie? She loved the grass on her feet....
Thursday, July 14
So here I go, finding myself in a state of gridlock again, perpetually doing things that keep my hands busy and my brain half done-in, while poor Wanderlust has to endure this tiny bit of misfortune as a consequence, begging to know whether her existence is a bane to her owner after all, and that she’s been nothing but dead weight these past seven years. But owner reassures her---No, it’s not you. It’s me. I created you, therefore it is only right that I nurture you and let you grow. But well you see at some point, I feel that you have got to be on your own. You know, go out to the world and find whether you’ll carry on just as you are, without me. Just then, owner is left feeling flustered at her cruel thoughts, and in a counterbalance, gets into a panic and feverishly thinks of ways to make up for the damage. She combs her hard drive for photographs that might be natty enough to please Wanderlust and recoup her losses, photos which of course she would need to have something to say about. Mind, the words have to be as clever as she can manage them to be or else she’d be tormented no end with such inadequacies. Only then will she be able to sit back and breathe deeply, pleased with herself and her exploit, and reassured that she had the month of July 2011 covered. And that, People, is how agonizing one single pointless blog entry can be. Drives you stark raving mad.
Today, blog owner is thankful for colors. She feels that when she is not being some kind of an imp marauding as a mother and a law-abiding citizen with a day job—she is a child who revels in cheap thrills. Like crayons.And fairy tale books. And whimsical characters. And frog princes. And tiny cars. And all things awash in the beautiful colors of the rainbow.
Tuesday, May 10
Sometimes luck has a way of falling on your lap without warning, just like that. The knee jerk reaction would be to involuntarily jerk a knee of course, open your mouth in disbelief, and then slowly curl it up into a smile, a really big smile. A few days ago, I did just that. I had recently expressed my thoughts on starting to run, for the sake of my health. I am not a sporty person, and had never once taken an interest in signing up for any gym or exercise club. But after my close brush with the grim reaper late last year, I've decided to take control of my life and turn it around to something more physically beneficial.
Then there is the slight angle of vanity, which any self-respecting woman would probably understand, especially if nothing she owns seems to look or feel right on her anymore. She either must surrender to the higher powers of obesity and resign to wearing baggy clothes, or just darn do something about it.
So, like manna from heaven, my husband gifted me with these beautiful running shoes on Mother's Day. I know that Oliver has got the proverbial good provider quality down pat. Yet I've got to acknowledge the fact that we are not the kind to splurge on things that seem to be beyond our means. Simply put, we are misers. That's because we believe that a stuffed cupboard is better than empty stomachs in expensive garbs. Or something like that--I know how shite my metaphors can get. But that's my idea of a good provider anyway. So imagine my surprise when I got these. If I hadn't had blisters on my feet, I would have broken in on them at once and made a mad dash to the door and sprinted my way to a trail nearby. And then the rain decided to be a drama queen, too. So I had to wait for a few more days.
I would like to shout out a big thank you to my husband who believes in my capabilities as a woman, who goes the extra mile, who opens up avenues for me, in big or small ways, so that I can enjoy the many aspects of my life---as a mother, blogger, photography enthusiast, and now a social runner--or better put, a health advocate.
Today, I am starting a new chapter in life. I am getting outside!
Wednesday, May 4
Celebrating birthdays every year is gradually turning out to be an oxymoron. How I’d reflect on my 40th birthday, in a nutshell --is bittersweet. Bitter as I get to concede with the fact that some things are inevitable—our ostensible photo aging, the aggravation of illnesses that seem to plague our bodies at an age when it is touted to be just the beginning of life, my significantly diminished value in the workforce, let alone in the social front. Life can be fair and square, eh?
And yet, it progressively becomes sweet--- to realize that in every birthday, indeed there is a life---breathing, moving, talking life, where one gets to be the phoenix that burns and rises out from the ashes to start anew. It may not be that obvious to others who consciously try to curb their fascination in foolish things--- but for this day alone, I will gladly suffer the fool that I am.
|photo by Gab|
At forty, I’d like to learn many things---to play the guitar and channel my inner Mitchell, which my son will probably scoff at, seeing that I am a little late in the game. But why the heck not? I’d like to finally take that driving thing off my shoulder and get my driver’s license. At forty, I know. And because a friend was aghast that I’ve never had a facial in my life, I’d most possibly consider that one, too. Then I need to get my pair of runners, and scamper off to better health if I had to. Wax a record, or maybe just get a youtube account and sing my heart out. Cook my very own cabbage rolls. Learn to use makeup. Get a Lasik. Dress better. Laugh more. Love more…..
PS: What I got for my birthday:
|a little serenade from my son|
|love notes from gab and sophia|
|from true blue artzooka fans, these recycled cards are worth millions for me.|
Thursday, April 28
The trip with my family to my hometown in Bacolod last week can be best described in three words--short but sweet. Very short in fact, that we only had two whole days to frantically go around and somehow trace back the remnants of my Ilonggo roots, something which I had longed for my husband to savor and experience. Until this trip, he only heard about it in my oft-repeated stories, and it was vague to him at best. Never mind my kids as they are too young to understand all this, and Sophia thought we were actually going to another swimming foray. Well, swimming there was none. I'm sure she and Gab felt a little disappointed as suddenly it got impossibly hot in Manila and the prospect of flying over to a much cooler place and soaking in a glorious body of water would have been really nice. But Bacolod was all about seeing Angustia again, and my home folks, and understandably being sober for the occasion, so I felt that except for the kids, we had kept our expectations to a minimum.
For someone like me who has seen things in a bigger scale, Bacolod to my eyes now has become rather feeble and sleepier than it seemed back then. Maybe owing to the fact that we came here at the deadest season of the entire year, Oliver remarked that the streets were practically deserted of people. The roads from Silay to Bacolod impressed upon him because of the lush and verdant trees, and I found myself pleasantly surprised as well. However, when we reached downtown where our hotel was, there was the undeniable stench. It crossed my mind that this part of the city is on the verge of decay---that people who have had centrifugal tendencies to stray away and live in other parts of the country, or the world, would someday go back and realize how small and poor and half-forgotten this place had been, that this very truth could be seen in everything---the toothless old people, the homeless who sleep on the plaza benches, the dirty kids who mill around with blank stares on their faces, the dilapidated shops that are now swarmed with flies and not with people, the San Sebastian Church which used to be very huge and was considered the bastion of all the grandiose that symbolized the sugar plantation capital of the country. But the thud on the road shook me up and made me realize we were now cruising along the Bredco port and probably the stench that threw me off-kilter came from all the talaba (oyster) and sisi. And then as we drove nearer to the heart of the city, I could see not far beyond that SM and more modern shops had risen from where the Reclamation Area used to be. Bacolod life, in my absence, has indeed happened, however snail-paced it did. It has become a mixture of the old and the new, and I was rather torn.
But the moment I went to Sum-ag it was totally another story. I was transported to the days of yore when I was just a little kid climbing up the sarisa tree to spend an idle afternoon with my cousins, while the folks would take their places on the mahjong table, and asked to be served their cafe, or send us out for some loose change. There was warmth in all the smiles and hugs and the lilted accent accompanied with such animated hand movements, that the hot sun, for all its worth, did not seem to bother me for a moment. Oh Sum-ag, I love you the most for my childhood days, for the bad times and good times, for the titas and titos, for the cousins and grandparents, for abundance and hunger, for the tears and the laughter, for making me touch the ground again and say---I was here.
As for the photos, I have really often struggled with landscapes, and going to Don Salvador Benedicto on the third day of the trip would have been a wonderful chance, but more often than not, you get carried away in the moment, of touching base with everyone again. A simple bisou-bisou would not do, it's the only time to catch up with people who have forever been close to your heart but don't get to hear from, in more than a decade--that photographing has to take a backseat for a bit. However, I had to look for that small window of opportunity, and I'm glad I was able to take a few shots of my nieces, cousins, aunts, and of course, Sophia, my wanderlust muse.
|San Sebastian Cathedral|
|for a taste of authentic ilonggo--manokan country and batchoy|
|preparing the Angus at a workshed|
|nieces from Davao|
|cousins of varying degrees|
Procession of Saints--Sum-ag Parish Church
|Sum-ag Parish Church where I attended Sunday mass as a kid. Across the street is my old elementary school.|
|titas and cousins again|
|taking part in the two-hour procession|
|paying a quick visit to my second cuz and bestfriend Lorena|
|Don Salvador Benedicto- hidden paradise|
Photos taken at Don Salvador Benedicto, a municipality in the more remote parts of Negros. The first ever appointed mayor is Tito Nene, mother's cousin. He owns a very beautiful home here and oversees the place as a Board Member, while his son serves as the incumbent Mayor. Had we the privelege of another night's stay, we could have trekked the mountains and enjoyed the waterfalls, but as it was, we only took mementos of that charming and seemingly unbridled agricultural life back there through several photos.
|with Tito Nene (in blue shirt)|
|flying back to Manila|
|Sophia going back home|