Monday, September 25, 2006

A really late Friday 13 : Tagged by the Bookworm

A good friend of mine tagged me with the Bookworm and I thought it was a great idea for a Friday 13. You’re only supposed to choose one book but being a true bookworm, I couldn’t make up my mind so I cheated. It’s pretty late for a Friday 13 but I thought this one needed a lot of thought.

1. Book/s that changed my life

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery -- I read this book when I was young and was totally blown away. I love the way it is so full of insight and how, every time I read it, I get hit again and again by the truth it reveals about human nature. One of my favorite quotes: “You risk tears if you let yourself be tamed…”

Animal Farm by George Orwell – I will forever be thankful that I had the brilliance to take an English Lit class as one of my electives in UP. This book was a reading assignment and to put it simply, it really bothered me. The premise was simple and yet the imagery and the message, was so powerful.

2. Book you’ve read more than once – Gosh, this one was so difficult because if I listed it all, there would be more than a hundred of them.

Mythology by Edith Hamilton – There was an old worn out copy in our house and in a fit of boredom (I was 10), I picked it up. That started my fascination with Greek Mythology. I read this book over and over and over that I almost memorized it. I wasn’t surprised when I aced the Greek Mythology part in my fourth year high school English class.

The Arabian Nights – This book was a really thick Reader’s Digest children’s version that I borrowed (and never returned) from my aunt. I still have the super dog eared copy in a bookshelf, saving it for when the kids are old enough to enjoy it.

Doctors by Erich Segal – I read this when I was in UP. I was curious about Love Story (didn’t see the movie) and after reading it (too mushy), thought I’d try another one. I would read this every time I was in between books and read it cover to cover without getting a bit bored. It offers a fascinating insight into the lives of four Harvard Med school students. It was like reading Gross Anatomy (movie with Matthew Modine) only ten times more riveting.

3. Book you’d want on a desert island – Well, if I can’t have the complete set in the Buffy series (yeah, I’m a fan and wipe that smirk off your face because you don’t know what you’re missing!!!!!), then it would be any one of the books in #2.

4. Book that made you laugh

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella – She had me at the first page. Every girl has a Becky Bloomwood inside, just roaring to be let out. Shhhh, I keep my inner Becky in tranquilizers.

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding – This one doesn’t need any explanation. I never anticipated a movie version more than this one (except perhaps Harry Potter) and I wasn’t disappointed. The movie was as funny as the book.

5. Book that made you cry

Baby ER by Edward Humes– Perhaps because of Joshua’s premature birth (see blog post My Happy Ending), this book really ripped my heart out. Almost every chapter reduced me to tears. It’s a documentation of the heroic efforts made by a medical staff in a hospital in the U.S. that works in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (a place where the really sick babies are kept). Each case was poignant and heartbreaking and includes several chapters that discuss the history of treatment of preemies. It was particularly heartbreaking to read that doctors in the past often performed surgery on premature babies without anesthesia in the assumption that their nerves were so underdeveloped that they couldn’t feel pain. It was only years later that studies showed that preemies could feel ten times more pain – for most early preemies, just the brush of a parent’s finger on the skin would cause extreme pain. (Ok, I’m getting emotional again. Have…to….stop….)

What Remains by Carole Radziwill – I read an excerpt of this book from Oprah’s magazine and haunted Powerbooks until I had it. The author, who was the wife of JFK Jr’s. cousin, wrote about her and her husband’s very close relationship with John and Carolyn Bessette and how she dealt with the tragic accident that caused the Kennedy’s’ s death and losing her husband to cancer a few weeks later. Reading about her husband’s last moments in the hospital made me cry. I remember Ernest Hemingway said that all love stories end in tragedy because someone always dies.

6. Book that you wish you had written

Necroscope by Brian Lumley – I’ve always admired writers of good fantasy books because of the imagination required to create a world that captured a reader’s attention. This book is part of a horror/sci-fi/fantasy series made up of 10 (I think) books (and I have every one of them). It’s about vampires in an alternate world and a British intelligence agency (like the CIA) that’s made up of “gifted” agents. Fantastic series and really gory.

Harry Potter – no explanation needed.

7. Book that you wish you had never been written – For the life of me, I can’t think of a single one. There are a lot of books that I wish I didn’t buy or read but I think they were so forgettable that I just can’t remember the titles. Except for the book in number 11. That would probably be it.

8. Book you are reading at the moment -- Just finished “The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory. A brilliant historical fiction book based on the Boleyn sisters (Mary and Anne) and how they seduced King Henry VIII to gain power for their family.

9. Book you’ve been meaning to read

One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- I have the copy, I’ve always been curious about it, just haven’t gotten around to reading it.

10. Book you read in one sitting

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – I first found out about Harry Potter when I read a short blurb about it in Time Magazine (it wasn’t a sensation yet) and I thought, hmmm…children’s book. Am I glad I decided to give in to my curiosity and got a copy.

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud -- Again, I stumbled on this one while browsing through Amazon and the comments made me interested. It’s a three part series (Bartimaeus Trilogy) that is guaranteed to cure your waiting for the next Harry Potter itch. It has the same elements that the Potter series has but with a totally different (and fresh) angle on magic. The “hero” is a djinn with a smart mouth reminiscent of Robin Williams’ genie in the animated Disney film, “Aladdin”. His comments are documented in footnotes and are laugh out loud funny.

11. Book you didn’t quite “get”

By the River Piedra I sat down and wept by Paulo Coelho – Ok, sorry to all the fans out there. I’ve been hearing all praises for this book and finally got down to reading it. I am so glad I just borrowed this book and didn’t buy it. I thought it was weird and creepy and trying hard to be deep in an existentialist and religious kind of way.

12. Three authors whose books you will always buy or read, no questions asked

Sophie Kinsella, J.K. Rowling, Sherrilyn Kenyon -- These are the only ones whose books, in my opinion, have never missed. Sadly, a lot of the authors whose books I read and (used to) patronize, are hit and miss. I loved Tom Clancy and Erich Seagal but their recent books have been a disappointment.

13. Forget the book and just watch the movie

Lord of the Rings – Yes I know it’s supposed to be a classic and I really tried to get into it but it bored me to tears.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday 13: Utterly Random

1. I was surprised to find out that although it is the Virgin Mary’s birthday today, it is not a holy day of obligation. The church was packed anyway which I think was cool.

2. Found out I have to start taking antibiotics (yup, am still sick). Bummer.

3. Taught the kids to say, “Yeah, baby!” with a gruff voice. Too funny!

4. There is a light at the end of the trying-to-lose-weight-but-failing-dismally tunnel. The treadmill my hubby bought arrived yesterday.

5. There is no way in hell I will ever be able to stop eating carbs. It’s impossible to cut out a whole food group and I don’t care what the freaking diet books say.

6. Jennifer Crusie’s “Bet Me” is my new favorite comfort book. Oh, I loved, loved, loved the book. All men should be like Cal. *sigh*

7. I only have two more weeks before I start a new job.

8. Am halfway done with the Christmas shopping for all the godchildren, nephews and nieces.

9. The new McDonald’s honey mustard sauce for chicken nuggets taste really good.

10. I just realized I can understand more than half of what comes out of my daughter Faith’s mouth. Imagine that. She’s growing up.

11. My hubby’s on his way to pick me up from work to go to the concert. How I can muster up enough energy for tonight is still a mystery. We’ll see if Gary V can get a scream out of me tonight.

12. I haven’t watched any episode of House for a month now. I miss him.

13. It’s hard to write when you’re sick.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Midweek Blahs

This week’s been the pits. I’ve had the flu since last Thursday – the works (cold, cough, achy muscles and joints). Of course, since my kids are an extension of my body (literally!), they caught it too (and this despite my going around over the weekend with a mask covering my nose and mouth).

So I stayed home from work last Monday and exiled Joshua and myself to our room. I banished Faith to my mom and her yaya in an effort to contain it. I should’ve known it was useless when Faith’s nose started dripping yesterday morning. Oh well. Meanwhile, Josh and I had a wonderful time during our quarantine. We were spooning on the couch in front of the TV – Josh occupied with the Disney channel and me alternating between napping and reading a book. We left the room to have lunch and went back for Joshua’s afternoon nap. I’d forgotten how I liked being in that space between sick and really sick – when it’s so easy for me to fall asleep (after taking my best friend – ibuprofen). I like to think of my annual flu as my body’s response to the daily grind and lack of sleep I subject it to.

Not completely well yet but am back at work. Woozy and with a sore nose but getting there. I have my birthday and the Gary V concert to look forward to this week. Woohoo!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday 13: Anywhere But Here

Sometimes, when I get really, really bored, I think of a place I’d rather be. Some would be places and times that are memorable, others are places I promised myself I’d visit in the future.

1. Back in UP Diliman. Entering the UP campus always leaves me feeling awed. The drive lined with the majestic acacia trees that for some reason, mutes the noise made by the constant stream of traffic on a busy school day. I’d remember the lazy, sunny afternoons after class, eating the best fishballs in the AS parking lot before going home.

2. Beach in Phuket on my honeymoon. ‘Nuff said. :D

3. A sidewalk café in Paris, reading a book.

4. A sun drenched villa in Tuscany.

5. Sunset in Boracay with Jun, sipping the best fresh strawberry or mocha shake in front of Jona’s, feet buried in the cool, white, perfect sand. Throw in a hot choriburger (grilled longganisa in a grilled bun with their special sauce) and I’m in heaven.

6. On a cliff viewing the Twelve Apostles in Melbourne. Now that was breathtaking.

7. Back on our rooftop with my sisters.

8. In bed with the kids and Jun, all tangled up in each other, laughing like crazy in our own little world.

9. Anywhere I can sit down and read a book uninterrupted. Even a bathroom will do.

10. Sydney Opera House with the fantastic view of the harbor.

11. San Francisco – one of my favorite cities.

12. A bookstore.

13. Anyplace, really. As long as Jun’s with me.

A taste of something else

Today I was on leave because Joshua's teacher was coming over to discuss his first semester evaluation. I had asked her to include him in the mock interviews in preparation for the big schools. I had also been feeling under the weather which I think is my annual flu -- I only get sick once a year, usually when my birthday's coming up. Weird, huh?

Nevertheless, I felt ok enough to bring Josh to school and do the groceries before picking him up. I decided to do the non-working mom thingy today and brought Faith with me without the yaya. So, dropped Josh at school and by 9am, Faith and I were happily cruising the aisles at the supermarket. Since Joshua wouldn't be off till 11:45 and we finished grocery shopping at 10, we hung out at Starbucks, me settling with my frapuccino and Faith sucking on a lollipop.

I loved it. I realized this is what my life will be like if I were a housewife (albeit with more chores, I know). I could tell the kids loved it too. Joshua was so happy I was bringing him to school and proudly announced to his teacher that his mommy was here! I loved cruising leisurely in the supermarket with Faith perched on the cart, mindlessly talking to each other about whether she wanted the chocolate milk with the cow or if she could open the package of cookies and eat it. It was a far cry from my usual mad dash through the market, anxious to finish the shopping in 30 minutes. In Starbucks, she just sat on my lap, licking her lolly, telling me that the guard outside looked sad. By 11:15, we were back in Joshua's school and Faith joined her kuya's class while they were doing art. I chatted with a dad who, like me, was waiting for his daughter Jiana (Josh's classmate). Only, unlike me, he seemed to be a familiar fixture in the school.

So I'm sure you can tell what I'm wishing for right now. I'm tired of getting up in the morning to get dressed for work. Tired of arriving home at 9pm, with only an hour with the kids before bedtime. This is why, I treasure the weekends so much, forgoing the chores that I feel need to be done so I can just play with the kids and do normal everyday stuff with them.

Yeah, really feeling the guilt here.

Joshua's doing well and teacher feels he's ready to try for the big school! Yippee!