Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays!

I don't think I will be able to post again until after Christmas, so I would like to take this opportunity to greet all of you. Dear readers, Merry Christmas! I send you and your families my love and warm wishes for the Yuletide. I love you all! God bless. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

His Dark Materials

Warning: spoiler spoiler spoiler

Very, very early yesterday morning I finally came to the conclusion of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. I am stunned, sad, and haunted. I have already given several of my comments on book one: The Golden Compass. My favorite part of the series is book two: The Subtle Knife. The Subtle Knife took the story to greater heights by putting it on an epic scale and showing just how delightfully complex the story is. It was also a disconcerting novel because the anti-organized religion theme was much more apparent. The novel did not just explore the corruption and hypocrisy in the Christian religion - it also posed doubts about the nature and origin of God. As a Christian I squirmed at some parts of The Subtle Knife. But I believe in mutual respect and tolerance. I expect other people to respect my spiritual beliefs - and I respect other people's spiritual beliefs. There was a point where I couldn't help laughing inside at all the fuss over His Dark Materials because many people label it "atheism for kids." If your faith - whatever it may be - is strong, it will not be shaken by a book or a movie. I truly believe that only a real-lfe experience opens the possibility of shaking a strong faith. But then again, His Dark Materials is supposed to be for young readers, and young readers are very impressionable... Here's the bottomline for me: I am a Christian, and I think His Dark Materials is a good series. These are good books for many reasons, but I do not love them. And yes, if I were a mother - and I would be a Christian mother - I would allow my children to read these books, but I would make sure to discuss the ideas in the book with my children. The series definitely raises questions about the universe, the meaning of life, and the afterlife, and makes one ponder about God, angels, and good and evil.

The Subtle Knife is my favorite in the series because it is the book that makes the story so rich. It is also my favorite because it gave us Will. Did I say in an earlier post that Lyra is magnetic? I take that back. Lyra is great. I love her because she has so much spunk. I love how she does what she wants and doesn't really care what other people think. I love how she always questions authority. But Will is the magnetic one. He is young, but already so strong and even powerful. He is so good to his mother and such a good boy overall, but not a goody-goody. He is interesting, reliable/dependable, and responsible. Will is my favorite male character out of all the books I have ever read. (As many of you already know, Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia is my favorite female character out of all the books I have ever read.)

I can see myself happily re-reading the great adventure that is The Golden Compass (it is one action scene after another) and happily re-reading The Subtle Knife. But I found I had to force myself to finish my first reading of The Amber Spyglass. I didn't find it as exciting as The Golden Compass and I didn't find it as compelling as The Subtle Knife - those two books really pulled me in and I was always resentful whenever I had to put them down to do other things like sleep or work.

I do like the parts in The Amber Spyglass about Dr. Mary Malone and the mulefa. The mulefa seemed like such kind, gracious, and sweet people. Their world and their lives seemed so simple and beautiful. I especially like how the mulefa would groom each other out of pure sociability. Mary would clean her friend Atal's claws and wheels while Atal would massage Mary's scalp and play with Mary's hair. I always secretly wish that someone would play with my hair out of pure sociability. :D

I was astonished by the turn around of Mrs. Coulter. She really is one of the most complicated and dynamic characters in fiction. I was truly taken aback and pleased (even touched) when Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter stopped being so selfish and sacrificed their lives to make sure their daughter Lyra would be safe and live a long and full life.

The ideas behind the Magisterium, the Kingdon, the Authority, Dust, the many universes, and the Republic of Heaven were so grand. And because the story and its themes are so grand several important things in The Amber Spyglass seemed weak: the worlds decaying because Dust was leaking out of the windows made by the subtle knife; a Specter being born every time the knife makes a window; less Dust flowing out of the mulefa's world just because Will and Lyra fell in love. Lame lame lame! I am not satisfied with the tying up of loose ends, and I feel some questions were left unanswered.

I cried when Will and Lyra had to separate so soon after they realized they were in love. :( (They realized it towards the end of The Amber Spyglass, but readers can already perceive that love in the middle of The Subtle Knife.) They decide to be on the same bench in Oxford's Botanic Garden, noon, on Midsummer Day every year - Lyra in her world and Will in his. That is the closest they can be with each other. :( Reading Lyra's cry to do that "as long as I live, as long as I live" really tore at my heart. :(

His Dark Materials is a stunning narrative with a melancholy finale and a beautiful story of young love that haunts me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Chronicles of Narnia

Aaahhh! I just saw the trailer for the film adaptation of Prince Caspian. Aaahhh! I love Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media. Aaahhh! The Chronicles of Narnia are my favorite books and the trailer for Prince Caspian gave me goosebumps!


The best parts of the movie were the scenes with Nicole Kidman. She was amazing as Mrs. Coulter. :o)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A second look at the Golden Compass movie

Sunday afternoon I watched the Golden Compass again. The second viewing simply confirmed my initial opinion of the movie. The production design and special effects were great. Though the action scenes were not exciting enough. The casting and acting were inspired. However, there were problems with plot development. The parallel universes, intercision, and Dust were supposed to be revelations. (Well, they were in the book.) The characters and audience learning about the parallel universes, intercision, and Dust shouldn't have been rushed through forced and corny dialogue. The narrative flow was discordant. Viewers who have not read the book will find the story confusing. Wah, all that wasted potential! :o(

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Golden Compass

Of course the book is better than the movie.

The book: I enjoyed reading Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass (book one of His Dark Materials). It's a compelling fantasy adventure. The action scenes in the novel held me rapt. The characters were so likeable - especially the fierce and magnetic Lyra. (How much do I like Lyra? I want to name one of my future daughters "Lyra"!) And I love love love the dear relationship between a human and his/her daemon. (I want a daemon of my own!!!)

The movie: It's always a treat to see a book come alive on the big screen. And we can always count on New Line Cinema to offer a visual feast. The casting was brilliant. Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter, Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel, Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra, Eva Green as Serafina Pekkala, Sam Elliott as Lee Scoresby, Ian McKellen as the voice of Iorek Byrnison, and Kathy Bates as the voice of Hester = WOW. But the bottom line is, I am disappointed by the film adaptation of The Golden Compass. I guess it's just impossible to cram the richness and complexity of the story into a short movie. They tried to. But they failed miserably. The unfolding of the plot in the movie was so awkward and uninspiring. I don't think viewers who haven't read the novel will appreciate the genius of the story. Also, with daemons being so important in the universe of His Dark Materials, daemons and their wonderful relationships with their humans should have had more "screen time."

I'm watching the movie again though - for the exciting action scene at the end and for the great acting. And there is always hope: the second and third movies (for The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) will probably be much better. :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ugh. Right after the season of thanksgiving I started feeling depressed. I think I have my annual holiday blues. :( I know there are so many things to be grateful for, but so many things have been depressing me lately. So that's my update: I'm depressed. I'm worried about some things at work. I'm disappointed that I probably won't get to visit my mom's hometown (General Santos City) over the holidays. (I was so looking forward to spending Christmas with my grandmother, older brothers, and cousins! I was looking forward to being far away from Metro Manila.) And lately I haven't been getting enough time for FUN.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The top things I am grateful to God for:

1. My family: I am grateful for my very caring, very beautiful, and supportive mother. I am grateful for my loving father (he has a huge and tender heart). I am grateful for my interesting, sweet, and dependable brothers and cousins. I am grateful for my generous and affectionate grandmother. I am grateful for my helpful uncles and aunts.

2. My friends: New and old, near and far, at work, at school, in the blogosphere - I learn from them. They make life fun and they comfort me.

3. Great narratives: Whether anime series, novels, films, or songs - They amuse, entertain, inform, educate, challenge, rebuke, encourage, motivate, and inspire me.

4. My job: It's challenging work - with people I respect and admire - that is helping me grow professionally and personally, and allows me to have a life outside of the office! :)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. What are you thankful for? :)

P.S. I think I lead two lives. I live in all the stories I read, watch, or listen to. And I live in the relationships with my God, my family, and my friends.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Book review: The Boy with Two Belly Buttons

Solomon has two belly buttons. So he sets off to find out if there is something wrong with him and to find other people with two belly buttons. Solomon soon realizes that he is the only boy in the world with two belly buttons. And we all know that is a recipe for ridicule. But Solomon also meets someone who appreciates that he is different.

The Boy with Two Belly Buttons is a funny and pretty straightforward story written by Freakonomics's Stephen J. Dubner, with great illustrations by Christoph Niemann . This picture book is perfect for children ages 4-6. (I fit right in there since my psychological age is oh, 5. :D) If you like stories about accepting yourself and celebrating what makes you different - or if your children simply want an amusing and touching story with delightful and adorable illustrations, I highly recommend The Boy with Two Belly Buttons. :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Book review: Christine Kringle

Carols are already playing in the malls and train stations. Decorations are coming up. Stores are starting to sell Christmas merchandise. Soon Starbucks will offer their special Christmas drinks. The Christmas season has begun - my favorite time of the year! Since Christmas is my favorite holiday I celebrate it as fully as possible and for as long as possible. The beginning of November isn't too early to start, right? ;)

I officially began the holiday season by reading Lynn Brittney's Christine Kringle. I always wondered how Santa Claus delivered all those presents in one night. (Please, no killjoys leaving comments for this post saying Santa Claus is a myth. Who else gave me all those Barbies when I was a little girl? :D) I have been enlightened. Each country has its own Gift Bringer/s! There's Pere Noel and Tante Arie for France, Grandfather Frost and Babushka for Russia, Santa Claus for the Philippines, Babbo Natale and La Befana for Italy, and so on and so forth. In Christine Kringle, all the Gift Bringers of the world are part of one family - The Yule Dynasty. And each Gift Bringer is responsible for delivering holiday gifts to the children in his or her country. Kriss Kringle has a problem though. He has no male heir. But he has a very likeable fourteen-year-old daughter: Christine. Will the Yule clan allow Christine Kringle to be the United States' Gift Bringer when Pa Kringle retires 100 years from now?

The Yule Dynasty has an even bigger problem this year though. The Town Council of Plinkbury in England has formally BANNED Christmas. Nick, the son of the United Kingdom's Father Christmas, has come up with a secret plan that will save Christmas in Plinkbury and convince the dynasty to allow Christine to become the United States' Gift Bringer. Christine and Nick head to Plinkbury with their friend Little K, the son of Japan's Santa Kurohsu, who is on a mission to promote his Living Lights invention - fantastic Christmas lights that need no electricity because they run on reindeer DNA. To help the three teenagers are Nick's mother Zazu - a beautiful, glamorous, and kind "tall elf," and Nick's uncle Egan - a handsome and clever "tall elf" businessman.

I enjoyed reading Christine Kringle because it stirred up Christmas memories (making presents, decorating the tree as a family, visiting relatives, opening gifts on Christmas morning!) and it stirred up excitement for Christmas this year. (I can't wait!!! I'm so excited about seeing all the lights up in Metro Manila, drinking Starbucks' toffee nut latte, listening to Christmas music, shopping for presents in Greenhills, getting dressed up and attending parties, and eating Christmassy goodies like gingerbread, mince pies, and chocolate. :D) Christine Kringle is a story full of good cheer, interesting tidbits about how Christmas is celebrated around the world, and Christmas spirit. If you are looking for a way to kick off the season, I suggest reading Christine Kringle with your family. :) It's a fun Christmas adventure - complete with interesting shopkeepers, mulled wine, a Christmas bazaar, Christmas nuts like myself, and a female Scrooge! It's the first book in a proposed series and I'm curious about the future adventures of Christine and her friends. I can see Christine Kringle being turned into a feel-good family movie. :) Also check out Don't forget to play the addicting Ferrari Game on the site. Through the site you can also ask Christine Kringle questions and email Santa. Hmmm, what should I ask for this year??? I've been nice...

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm back! Did you guys miss me? :P I wasn't able to post last week because I was busy cramming, er, writing two academic essays. Both were on A.S. Byatt's Possession: A Romance - a Booker Prize winner and a best-seller. The first essay I entitled "Hall of Mirrors: The function of paratext in A.S. Byatt's Possession: A Romance."

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Bookish Meme

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why?

Either. Whether or not I buy the hardcover or paperback depends on how much cash I have on hand. If I have the money to buy the hardcover, I will buy the hardcover. (I usually don't have the money to buy the hardcover.)

2. If I were to own a book shop I would call it…

Into the Wardrobe! Books take us to different worlds the way the wardrobe took Lucy to Narnia. :)

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…

Oh my, I don’t really have a favorite quote from a book. But one quote I love is this one from Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?”

I think that quote applies to literature in general. Writers use “lies” to tell the truth. Literature proves that there are some things truer than fact.

4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…

C.S. Lewis! I want him to know how much The Chronicles of Narnia means to me. I want to ask him some pointers on university teaching. I want to know about his experiences with writing. I know I would learn a lot from him!

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the Bible, it would be…

The Lord of the Rings. No, this is not cheating. J.R.R. Tolkien meant the narrative to be published as one novel, and there are editions with all three parts of the series in one book.

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…

That will give proper reading light anytime, anywhere – without needing electricity or batteries.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…

Other books. More books. :) The smell of old books brings back childhood reading memories and all the warm, fuzzy feelings connected to all my reading experiences. :)

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be…

I would be Lucy in The Chronicles of Narnia! I want to go on all those adventures in Narnia. I want to spend all that time with Aslan! (Are you guys getting a clearer idea of why I chose Narnia as the theme for my blog? Hahaha.)

9. The most overestimated book of all time is…

Hm, I don’t know. Many times whenever a book is getting a lot of hype I purposely do not read it (reverse snobbery). Everyone is reading chick lit? Then I won’t. Everyone is into The Da Vinci Code? Count me out. And of course I cannot judge these books without reading them first.

10. I hate it when a book…

I hate it when a book is calling to me in a bookstore but I cannot buy it because I do not have enough cash on hand. I hate it when a book calls to me in a library but I cannot borrow it because I have already borrowed the maximum number of books. I hate it when a book calls to me in my room but I cannot read it because I have work to do. :(

Choose some questions and answer them in the comments section! Don’t leave me blogging all by myself. :P

Monday, October 01, 2007

Tita Baby

Gloria Frances A. Sabido
September 17, 1947 - September 5, 2007

As you can see from the picture above, Tita Baby was beautiful!!! Not only was she the best tita, she was gorgeous!!! It wasn't just the fine clothes, jewelry, and accessories. Yes, she wore designer clothes, like clothes from Ralph Lauren. Yes, she wore expensive jewelry - gold, diamonds, pearls, sapphires. Yes, she carried bags from Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Christian Dior. Yes, she used goods from Hermes and other luxury houses. But she was effortlessly elegant because of her natural beauty, because of her grace, because of how she carried herself and all those fine items. You can see from the more recent picture below that Tita Baby didn't really age. (She's on our left. She's the woman with longer hair. The other woman, with shorter hair, is her sister, my Tita Susan.) Tita Baby was glamorous to the very end. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The highlights of last week were my birthday and the third anniversary party of the company I work for. I thought of the company party as my birthday party. Hahaha. Here are some pictures from the party. The solo picture of me is meant to give you guys a good laugh. :P

Friday, September 21, 2007

Birthday post!

Today is my birthday. :D In honor of... myself, I will post some random facts about myself. Heeheehee.

1. During the sixth and seventh grade, I would bake cakes/cupcakes (not chocolate) and would put tuna sandwich spread (canned tuna chunks, mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and chopped onions) on as "icing." I swear they tasted good! Ok, ok, I admit I was the only one who ever ate those things, but that's because I thought they tasted good! I would crave for them.

2. I'm sorry, but I don't like cats. I am a dog person. I love, love, love dogs!!!

3. I do not own a dog right now because I live in a place not big enough for the kind of dog I want: a golden retriever I want to name Sam (whether or not it is a boy or girl).

4. I looove coffee. I take my coffee strong (the stronger, the better), black, and with a little brown sugar. I do not drink instant coffee because I do not think instant coffee is real coffee. I admit to sometimes being a coffee snob: I sometimes roll my eyes at people who drink instant coffee. I sometimes think that people who put cream in their coffee "don't know how to drink coffee." But putting milk in coffee is ok. :P

5. I graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a bachelor of arts degree in English studies (major: language).

6. I used to teach academic writing in De La Salle University - Taft.

7. I used to teach academic writing and literature in Ateneo de Manila University.

8. I once drank eight shots of espresso in a row. The baristas in Starbucks started worrying about me. They were asking if I was experiencing any heart palpitations from all the caffeine. I put all their concerns to rest when I promptly fell asleep at my table.

9. I used to teach English as a foreign language in the Ateneo Language Learning Center.

10. I don't like bananas. Bananas do not taste good. They are too soft for something so sweet, and too sweet for something so soft. Ew.

11. I do not like my nose. It is not a pretty nose. If I could change one thing about my body, it would be my nose. Some people are probably wondering at this point: Don't you want to lose weight? Yes. But I would like a prettier nose first!

12. But no, I will never have cosmetic surgery. I'm too scared of going under the knife, side effects, accidents, looking fake, etc. The nose thing is just if I could be granted a wish or something. :D

13. I am a very loving and caring person. But not very forgiving. :( I know, I know, that's bad for the offender AND offendee. :( I hold grudges. *sigh*

14. I am a very sweet and affectionate person. I love/am always hugging and kissing the people I care about.

15. As a little girl I played with fire with my younger brother JP. (Don't all kids do this?)

16. When I was younger I made at least two prank calls to 911.

17. I wear contact lenses during the day, and glasses at night. I wear my glasses during the day only if I stay at home the whole day.

18. I do not own a TV. The computer at home does not work properly and we do not have Internet access at home. These facts help explain how I have so much time for reading. :D

19. I have a crush on someone really nice, funny, sweet, tall, and cute. No, I will not give his name because he might read this. Anyway, the more I get to know him, the more I like him. :D

20. I love biology and environmental science. I hate chemistry and physics. I hate math, but I like geometry.

21. English and history have ALWAYS been my favorite school subjects.

22. I was the seventh grade representative to the student council in Becker Middle School. I wasn't elected though. Hahaha. No one ran for that post but they needed a seventh grade representative, so all the seventh grade teachers chose/appointed me.

23. I was the news editor for my high school newspaper (it was more like a news magazine).

24. I have a tender heart. I cry easily - tears of sadness, tears of joy, all kinds of tears.

25. My current favorite songs are Alicia Keys' "No One" and +NobodyKnows' "Heroes Come Back" (the opening song for Naruto Shippuden - my favorite anime series).

26. I have always been an honor student. I plan to get a PhD (maybe two) and even do formal post PhD studies. I love studying because I love learning. To not excel in academics is a horrible, horrible thought to me. :(

27. My stomach is a regular black hole.

28. If you think I turned 27 or 28 today because of the length of this list, you are wrong. :P

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Staying connected

Into the Wardrobe now has an AIM account. Send your instant messages to T7arie. ;) You can also send me instant messages through YM: tarie_sabido.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Birthday week

It is Tita Baby's birthday. She would have turned 60 today.

I spent the weekend with my mom and dad, sharing memories about Tita Baby. It was our first time to talk together about Tita Baby after her death. I found out some pleasantly surprising things. Like how Tita Baby had been planning to take me, JP, Brian, and my mom on a trip to Hong Kong. Tita Baby had been planning on giving me her car. I also found out some painful things. Like how Tita Baby knew she had cancer and did not tell anyone and did not seek treatment. My mom also has regrets about not talking with Tita Baby more often. My dad still cannot sleep at night. Brian was the last person to see Tita Baby (last month). We were asking him how she looked and were all horrified to find out that the cancer growth in her throat had grown so big that he could no longer distinguish between her throat and her shoulder. She was bedridden at the time. But see how kind Tita Baby was? Even in that state she drove to meet Brian and gave him money so he could pay his rent.

My dad told me how much my Tita Baby loved me. How she had very high standards and that I had passed those standards with flying colors (Dad's words) and how she would talk about me with Tita Cecile. I am glad, but I am also sad because I do not know if she realized how much I loved her. I am ashamed of myself because I know I could have expressed my love more!

It's still painful. I am learning more and more about Tita Baby through my mom and dad. All the new knowledge about her is making me love her more and miss her more. Dad is also learning new things about Tita Baby from me. He didn't know that she had been so generous with us. Tita Baby did not brag about her generousity. She never told my dad about all the help and all the gifts she gave me, Mom, and my brothers.

It is my birthday on Friday (Sept. 21). I think in a future post I will share some random things about myself. Over the past year, especially over the past month, I have learned just how much my family means to me. How much I love them. And I realized that as long as you truly mean it every time you say it, there is no such thing as saying "I love you" too often.

Thank you so much to all who are checking in on me, listening to me, praying for me and my family, and sending support!!! I love you all!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Life is sad. Life is funny (and here I mean black humor/dark comedy). There are people who are insensitive, even flippant and/or cold. People who don't understand or don't care. Some of these people are supposed to be friends. Some of these people are supposed to be family. But there are also people who ARE sensitive. People who care and understand. People who are being wonderful by being patient, supportive, sympathetic, and empathetic. People who are trying their best to comfort and/or cheer. :)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

All of this ranting over the past few days has been therapeutic. Reading my favorite blogs has also been therapeutic. See those blogs listed on the lower right side? Reading them is helping me feel better.

After the funeral

The funeral felt so surreal. I am still shocked that Tita Baby is dead. I miss her. To be honest, I find it offensive, an obscene assault on the senses how life does move on. At least for other people, for the world around me. Time is still standing still for me because my life included her. I actually find it repulsive how a few people who knew her can smile or laugh at a time like this. Don't worry, I do know that Tita Baby would not want me to feel this way. She would want me to smile and be happy. I also know that people deal with their grief in so many different ways. This is my way of mourning. I will be in a foul, foul mood for some time. Letting out all these negative emotions is cathartic for me. Like an exorcism actually... I need to go through this pain in this way. I know that if I don't - if I keep all of this bitterness hidden or if I try to suppress it, I will never fully recover.

I'm worried about my dad. He seems to have shrunk. Is he eating? He's broken-hearted, I know. In great shock and in great pain. (Broken seems to be the best word to describe the family right now.) Of course he was the one who spoke for the family during the funeral. He and Tita Baby were not only siblings, they were the best of friends. He always said that he, Tita Baby, and Tita Cecile were the "Three Muskateers." What everyone else said during the funeral confirmed how great a person Tita Baby was. So selfless. A loving and caring and helpful person who made everyone feel special. My cousin said Tita Baby made her feel like a princess. How true! She made me feel like a princess too! And knowing how my cousin and I shared Tita Baby made me love my cousin even more.

Already I see a little light on the horizon. I'm starting to feel a little better while writing this. Tita Baby's death is bringing my family closer together. This is bringing us closer to God. This is reminding me to truly cherish my loved ones. This is reminding me not to hesitate in expressing love, because life is short and what if - what if this all happens again and I lose someone again without saying everything that I needed and wanted to say? :(

My mom and my friends, especially my friends in the blogosphere, are being a real comfort to me. Thank you all so much for your care and concern! I truly need your support and prayers. I know I cannot survive this without all of you!

Friday, September 07, 2007

I can't stop crying.

Words mean nothing to the dead. So what do I do with all the "I love you"s inside me? What do I do with: "Where would we be without you?" "What would we do without you?" "Thank you so much." "This means so much to us." "You are truly a blessing." "We need you." "I want to be like you." "You're my favorite aunt." "You have such fine taste." "I admire you." "You're beautiful." The words aren't just bottled up. They rot and choke me with their poison. They fester. And it is all my fault because I should have said them in the first place.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

They say there is hope after loss. But my hopes involved her. Hopes for celebrating Daddy's birthday (Sept. 5) together. Hopes of celebrating her birthday (Sept. 17) together. Hopes of celebrating my birthday (Sept. 21) together. Hopes of seeing her healthier and happier - restored to her former beauty. (She was so pretty before the cancer disfigured her - and we did not even know until it was too late that it was cancer.) Hopes of a vacation together in General Santos City - introducing her to Mommy's side of the family and taking her to the farm. Hopes of shopping together again. Hopes of celebrating Christmas together. Hopes of telling her how much she meant to us, how much I admired her, how much I loved her. Hopes of celebrating weddings together. Hopes of making her feel appreciated. Hopes of making her happy. Hopes of smiling at each other.

There is no hope after loss. There is only bitterness and guilt.
Sleep is good. Sleep is the cure for almost all things. If you are feeling lonely, sleep it away. If you are feeling hungry, you can sleep that away too. If you are sick, sleep will help your body heal. You don't feel or even remember the pain when you are asleep. The cool bed sheets are comforting. The bed can even make you feel pampered.

But then you wake up. Sometimes the truth jolts you as soon as you wake up. I was startled awake this morning by my cellphone ringing. I saw that it was my Tita Baby calling. But no, it couldn't be Tita Baby, because Tita Baby died yesterday at 3:26 a.m., from thyroid cancer. It's Tita Cecile using Tita Baby's cellphone - crying and letting me know about the funeral arrangements.

I went back to the blissful oblivion of sleep. Sometimes the truth creeps up on you. I woke up and thought, something is not right - something is different - something is wrong. My eyes focused and I registered all the bags scattered in my room. All those bags were presents from Tita Baby. I reached for my cellphone because I wanted to talk to my mommy. It's the cellphone Tita Baby gave me. Then of course it dawns on me. She's no longer just a text message away. And I wasn't able to hug her one last time. I wasn't able to kiss her one last time. I wasn't able to say "I love you" one last time. My God, I can't even remember the last time I told her I loved her. That means it was too long ago! I miss her and I wish I could hug her.

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Taste Test*

How delicious is Tarie? Mmm, very delicious. How delicious are you?

1. What was the last thing you ate?
Oh this is sad. Toasted pandesal with strawberry jam. It was good, but I wish “the last thing I ate” was something more exciting.

2. or red?
Red… Black licorice tastes…nasty.

3. Red...Twizzlers or Red Vines?
Twizzlers! Red Vines taste like…licorice. Haha.

4. Your idea of the perfect dinner out is:
Any dinner with someone who loves food as much as I do. And this dinner must be accompanied by really good conversation.

5. You picked the perfect dinner. Now how are we getting there?

6. How much do you tip?
If the service was really good, 10% - even after paying the 10% service charge included in the bill. With or without a service fee in the bill, if the service was really bad = no tip. With or without a service fee in the bill, if the service was ok = 20 pesos or so.

7. How often are we eating out?
For every single meal. *sigh* I don’t cook. (This is different from not knowing how to!)

8. List three things in your refrigerator right now.
Jars of guava jelly from General Santos City (made by relatives :) ). One frozen tuna sausage (should be thrown away by now). Black olives (should be thrown away by now).

9. What are you cooking for dinner?

10. Breakfast...savory or sweet, and give an example, in graphic detail, because I’m hungry.
I haven’t had breakfast in more than a month. :( *cries* I would like: a Belgian waffle with lots of butter and maple syrup, fresh strawberries and blueberries, bacon, scrambled eggs, and freshly brewed coffee. Mmmmmm.

11. Do you drink the milk at the bottom of the cereal bowl?
Of course! You don’t?!

12. What food has made you cry? And if food has never made you cry, let me take you to Table8 for a grilled cheese sandwich and some deep-fried chorizo-stuffed olives.
Food has never made me cry. :( Please take me to Table8!

If you read this please answer at least one of the questions in the comments section! Don't leave me blogging all alone. :)

*This taste test was brought to me by Sarah of The Delicious Life, where she serves opinions like sushi - always raw. I love how Sarah keeps it real. :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Play with your food before eating it.

Here are some pictures of Joseph, Joselyn, and Rey in General Santos City. I've posted these pictures so that everyone can see part of our clan's awesome farms! And I've posted these pictures in the hopes of making my friend Natalie smile (she loves chickens). :)

I should be concentrating on re-reading A.S. Byatt's Possession for class, but I've been spending more time reading Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Book I) for leisure. *giggle* The movie adaptation of The Golden Compass is coming out this December. I visited the official website of the movie and found out what my soul would be like outside my body...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I must have some kind of sickness. Why can't I just walk past the bookseller? Or why can't I just enjoy browsing, then go home empty handed? Why do I always have to buy a new book, even though I already have many books to read for class and for leisure. I can never have enough books. I want so many books. Do any of you have this sickness too?

Friday, August 17, 2007

What I Learned From Freedom Writers

I finally watched Freedom Writers (based on the true story). My friend Nice lent me her dvd. The movie reminded me of several important things. Actually, how could I have forgotten?

1. Teaching is not "just a job."

2. You have to really care about your students to be a good teacher.

3. A good teacher and/or a good class does make a difference in the lives of young people.

4. The "problem students," the ones who give us the most trouble, are the students who need us the most.

5. Reading/literature can touch and change lives.

6. Journaling is therapeutic (and improves communication skills).

Here it is... After seven months away from students, I am starting to miss teaching.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

There was a duck in the house last night! A duck!!!

I am happiest when

... I am with my brothers and cousins. JP, Brian, and I were really happy when we were with Joseph, Joselyn, and Rey. We had so much fun with them (and we hope they had fun with us too) that whenever we weren't with them (they visited other relatives and places too of course) we were so bored.

These pictures are from a Friday night together in Eastwood City (a mixed-use development area in Quezon City - also a "party area"). Brian wasn't with us. He was on a date. *rolls eyes* (This is my protective, possessive, pouty older sister side coming out.)

But when we got home Brian soon joined us and we all stayed up late talking so it was all good. :)

Our cousin Kate lives in Bahrain and works as a flight stewardess (I forgot the name of the airline). She was finally assigned to a flight to Manila so she was here Sunday and Monday. JP, Brian, and I spent Sunday afternoon and night with her and her family (her parents flew in from General Santos City just to see her!). So I was at my happiest again. :) We stuffed ourselves with doughnuts and coffee in Krispy Kreme (we were in SM Megamall). Literally five minutes after our Krispy Kreme binge we had dinner at Dad's (the buffet restaurant). We all ate (Japanese food, Spanish food, Filipino food, American food) until it was hard to breathe, then we rolled ourselves home. We're looking forward to when Kate visits again in October. :) We all miss her so much!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Here we are. :) I promised more pictures and I keep my promises. :P Where were we?

Ah yes, my family had yummy seafood without me. But that's ok. I'm really happy they had a great time.

They went to a place called Dampa. It must be near Manila Bay. You choose the seafood in the market and they cook it up for you!

Oysters! :D That's Rey in the checkered shirt and Joselyn in the blue shirt, by the way.

Here's the gang eating what they picked from the market. This is currently my desktop background at work. Looking at this makes me happy. Brothers, cousins, and delicious food all in one picture!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Do you like seafood?

My cousin Joseph sent the pictures he took here in the Philippines.

Joseph, (and my other cousins) Joselyn, Rey, Kuya Bon, and my brothers JP and Brian went to a "wet market" to buy amazing seafood and have it cooked.

I wasn't with them. :( I was at work.

They said the seafood was delicious. I know they all had fun.

Can you believe the size of that thing?! ...There are more pictures to come!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Aaahhh. :)

I had a great Saturday. :) It was a struggle for me to get up at 9:30 on a Saturday morning. I usually get up around noon on Saturdays LOL. But it was worth it. I had to meet my friend April 10:30 a.m. at the mall (SM North). Traffic was bad because there was a sale - lots of people wanted to take advantage of those bargains! So I was late meeting April. I had a quick breakfast from Bread Talk: a chicken teriyaki bun (the bun was good, the chicken teriyaki part so-so). Then April and I headed to the gym (Fitness First). Yes, you read right. Lazy bum Tarie actually went to the gym on Saturday LOL. But only because I was a (free) guest of April's (she's a member). I thoroughly enjoyed using the Cinefit room of Fitness First. It's like a small theater, only instead of seats there are treadmills and stationary bikes. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was on the big screen, so one hour of brisk walking on the treadmill did not bore me the way work outs usually do. :D Then I spent a heavenly 10 minutes in the sauna before taking a refreshing shower. I felt so happy while getting dressed afterwards. :)

We had lunch in Kimono Ken. Oyakudon (a bowl of Japanese rice topped with chicken, egg, and sweet sauce) for April and ebi tempura udon (prawn and vegetable tempura on fat noodles with a sweet soy-based soup) for me. Then it was off to get facials! I won several gift certificates for facials (from Aesthetic White Beauty Center) in a raffle. Yay! :) I shared one of the gift certificates with April and we both got wonderful facials on Saturday. I have enough gift certificates left to get a facial every month for several months. Yay! :)

After facials we continued pampering ourselves by getting green tea milkshakes from Bubble Tea (a "Tokyo milk tea place"). Our milk shakes had big and small yummy tapioca pearls so we drank through fat straws. We went our separate ways after that. Before going home I went grocery shopping for the pasta I was planning to cook on Sunday. Life is good. :) Tell me how your weekends went!

P.S. I am still amazed and almost speechless about the scope and depth of the recently concluded Harry Potter series. There are so many important themes to analyze, so many things to debate. There are issues to discuss. There is the fact that if we read the series all over again in light of how it ended, we will see the patterns, threads, connections, and clues that were there from the beginning. The entire series is one great narrative where every detail matters and plays an important part in the story. Here is my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows quote for the day:

"The thing is, it helps when people stand up to them, it gives everyone hope. I used to notice that when you did it, Harry."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"Bless the children, give them triumph now."

Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers (quoted in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I tried to take my sweet time (I'm sad about the series coming to an end), but I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows early this morning. I don't know how to articulate how I feel. I liked it. I loved it. It's all I've been thinking about for the past two weeks. It's all I'll be thinking about for two more weeks (at the very least). I'm obsessed. I'm a Harry Potter fanatic. HP7 is one of my favorite books in the series (the others being books 3 and 1). It was exciting, a real page turner (like all the other Harry Potter books, except for the second one - the one I like the least). I love how everything came full circle. I love how everything in the series fits. I think JK Rowling is a genius when it comes to plot. And it's amazing how HP7 is a satisfying end to the series and how it gives readers wonderful closure. I feel speechless, really.

Some spoilers caught up with me before I finished the book :( :( :( , but thank God most of the plot twists remained revelations to me :) . What do I do now that it's over? :( I can't believe this is really goodbye. :( I can't wait to watch the sixth and seventh Harry Potter movies. I hope JK Rowling writes more books. I think next I will read the His Dark Materials fantasy series in time for the movie coming out Christmas season...

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Monday, July 30, 2007

It's Monday already? :( I would much rather be at home - the rain beating down and comforting me, making me happy, washing away all that is negative - reading Harry Potter (that's right, I haven't finished it yet - I am taking my sweet time) and drinking a steaming cup of English breakfast tea.
JP and Brian each won two gold medals and one silver medal during the national taekwondo poomse (forms) competition. In the individual category, Brian got the gold, while JP got the silver. In the pairs category JP and his partner got gold and Brian and his partner got silver. JP and Brian and one other teammate bagged the gold for the team division. :D

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Guess who was one of the first to get their hands on Harry Potter book 7?

Last night, I ate in a Japanese restaurant (Omakase in Eastwood City) with my friends (from work) Jonah and April (and April's friend). Then we watched the fifth Harry Potter movie. I know a lot of people who don't like this latest cinematic adaptation of Harry Potter, but I loved it! Am I too easy to please? Maybe. But I thought the Harry Potter 5 movie was awesome. :) It was very entertaining and I believe it captured the spirit of the Harry Potter series and the spirit of the fifth Harry Potter book. That part with the Death Eaters fighting with the Order of the Phoenix - swirls of black and white mist intertwining and fighting... That was an awesome visualization of the classic good versus evil theme! And when Harry says to Voldemort, "You're the weak one. You will never know love or friendship. And I feel sorry for you." Woohoo! That is IT right there! For me, that is the best part of the movie. That is the number one thing that made the movie worth watching. :) There was only one disappointing thing about the movie: it did not portray Harry's anguish after losing his godfather. At the end of Harry Potter book 5 I could feel Harry's pain from losing Sirus Black. Hardly any mourning was expressed in the movie. I mean, come on, the main character loses the only family he has left to the forces of evil and the effects are not shown? That was an important part of book 5, maybe the most important part.

This morning my friend (from work) Grace called a little before 6:30 to wake me up. The bookstores opened 7 a.m. just for Harry Potter book 7. (People were also able to reserve their copies by paying part of the price ahead of time. I reserved my copy two weeks ago.) I know the bookstores open midnight in the US and UK for the book but I am in a time zone several hours ahead so woohoo! I got to the Katipunan branch (I live a 5 minute walk away) of National Bookstore a little before 7:30 and there was a very long line for Harry Potter book 7. (Grace told me through a text message that she was there 6:35 and the line was already long. People do not line up like this for other books. Hahaha.) While waiting for my turn I chatted with the other Potter fanatics in line. Complete strangers connected by Potter mania. :) We felt united. We were excited and emotional. :) (Will the world ever experience this kind of publishing phenomenon again? We are studying the publishing industry in my MA class and really, in the history of publishing the Harry Potter series really stands out.) When it was my turn, when they put my copy in my hands and I felt its weight and saw its cover, my heart fluttered. Literally my heart was flying around in my chest. What a wonderful feeling! And now I'm off to watch the Harry Potter 5 movie again. Oh happy day! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wow, so I'm supposed to accept them the way they are (and I do, with all my heart) but they don't accept me the way I am? They like it like that because they get the good part of the deal. It's supposed to be okay that it's one sided? WOW.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wow, I didn't know I would get this depressed. My cousins Joseph and Joselyn (and their cousin Rey) were here for around a month (visiting from the US). My brothers and I grew up with Joseph and Joselyn. But then we moved to the Philippines and they stayed in the US. We didn't see each other for more than ten years!!! So you can probably imagine what our reunion was like. (As soon as I can I will post pictures of Joseph and Joselyn.) This morning we took Joseph and Joselyn to the airport. It was time for them to go home... You know that hollow/empty feeling when you miss someone you love and your eyes get teary-eyed? That's me right now... I miss them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Here's the recommended reading list for the graduate course I am taking this semester:

Ulysses by James Joyce

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

By the way, I like my classmates. :) One is a university lecturer and Anglo-American literature major. Two are creative writing majors - one is focusing on fiction (she's already a published author!) and the other is focusing on poetry. The poetry major is also a book buyer for a major bookstore chain. How cool is that? I want her job! Two of my classmates are high school English teachers and education majors. (It's a small class.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

It was a wild night of and eating. Ok, so it wasn't a wild night, but it sure was fun! :) Last Friday, we (the resources department at work) had "team building." We checked into a nice hotel around 2 p.m., spent the night, and went home around noon the next day. I like to think of it as a 24 hour party. ;) We were hanging out, watching TV, relaxing, taking a much needed break, rewarding ourselves for the completion of a project at work.

We cooked and pigged out on good food.

We played parlor games. We played Cranium. (My team won!) It was my first time to play Cranium. I love it! It's now my favorite board game.

The team building was a success. We all had a good time and we are a closer, more united team now. We're ready for the next project!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This semester the graduate class I am taking is on the British novel. It's a course that will explore the development of the British novel during the late 20th century (1960-2000). We will study some of the period's important works of fiction as literary texts and as commercial products. Here is the required reading list for the course:

Chapter one of The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance by Northrop Frye

"Realism and the Novel Form" from The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding by Ian Watt

"Book publishers: from family houses to international media corporations" from Inside Book Publishing by Giles Clark

"The Age of the Novel" from A History of British Publishing by John Feather

"Commissioning and Editing Modern Fiction" from On Modern British Fiction by Dan Franklin

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles

The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch

Midnight's Children by Sir Salman Rushdie

Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes

Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

My professor has a Master of Arts degree from Boston College and a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Another student died yesterday morning (car accident). This can't be happening, right? RIGHT? RIGHT?!

Monday, June 18, 2007

I think I know now why all of a sudden I started thinking about Sharky and Xavier... I missed them so I talked to another student of mine (he was Sharky's classmate and Xavier's friend). And he had news for me... Another student of mine died two days ago. Jeric. :( Why??? ****ing WHY??? Why do I have three dead students?! WHY??????? I'm screaming and crying here. How do I transcribe that into a blog post? I would type expletives here if I could. But even that does not express enough how I feel...
Does anyone remember the date of Sharky's (Sharleen May Tan) birthday? I seem to recall it being sometime May-July... I can't breathe. I'm holding back tears. For some reason, today I am remembering and missing (more than usual) Sharky, my student who died in the tsunami in 2004. Sharky was only 19, a biology major. And she was on the varsity swim team (I don't know if her nickname was connected to her being a swimmer). If I didn't love God so much, I would think He had a sick sense of humor (I'm sorry). That last time I talked to her... I was on my way to my next class (the class with Charo, Krista, Danie, Erika, Ford, Jam, Kate, et al.). I really wanted to talk to her. Something was telling me to talk to her longer. But I didn't want to be late for class. I SHOULD HAVE BEEN LATE FOR CLASS. And I can't help think of Xavier Yu too, my other student who died a month after Sharky. Believe it or not, he fell off a building to the top of the next building... Memories of Sharky and Xavier are choking me today. I feel sick, but writing this is making me feel a bit better. I remember that the last time I talked to Xavier was on the steps in front of the library, less than a week before he died. Right now I really want to talk to someone who knew Sharky and/or Xavier too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

After Dark by Haruki Murakami is on many American summer reading lists - from Vogue, to the New York Times, to Boldtype. Of course I just had to get my own copy. I wish I had read it in one night, to get the full experience of the short novel. For the setting is one night, from 11:56 p.m. to 6:52 a.m., in Tokyo. Alas, I got sleepy so I read After Dark on and off over two weeks. :)

After Dark is about the obvious and not-so-obvious connections between 19-year-old Mari Asai (the main character) and her older sister Eri, a jazz trombonist, the manager of a “love hotel” and her staff, and a Chinese prostitute and the man who beat her. After Dark is about the beauty of the late hours. And I say that the time from night to dawn is parallel to Mari’s “journey” to finding herself and to finding friends and possibly even love. More importantly, that time from night to dawn is symbolic of Mari’s “journey” closer to her sister Eri.

It’s true that Murakami’s story threads (such as the one in After Dark) aren't “resolved." But who says narratives have to be conclusive? Literature reflects life and we usually don't have neat, tight little endings for the real "stories" of our lives...

I think the triumph of After Dark, in terms of writing technique, is its point of view (as in point of view, the element of fiction). Murakami uses a point of view so palpable that it can be considered a character in the novel. The omniscient voice is so effective that it is like we are witnessing everything while holding hands with the narrator. Such precise details are given that the main characters’ actions are very vivid.

After Dark is not one of Murakami’s best works. It's good, but in a very quiet way. I just have to add that the critics are right: Murakami makes poetry out of contemporary life. (I think he is able to do this through the tone and atmosphere of his fiction). After Dark and his other works remind me that life is beautiful.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Every once in a while I hear Brian on the phone, saying different variations of "I'll think about it" or "No, thank you." This is Brian turning down job offers from different design firms. The call he received Tuesday piqued his interest though, because it was about a project, not about joining a firm. (Artists, such free spirits - they don't like being tied down.) Brian also needs the money. Hahaha. He was nervous. He's only 22. It will be his first major project. He didn't even know what to wear for the visit to the firm. Hahaha. "Tarie, can I wear this?" "NO, Brian. You cannot wear just a t-shirt and your ratty jeans to a meeting." "What about this? Is this ok?" "No, don't wear pink to the meeting. You'll look like a pansy." So yesterday Brian had the meeting with a small design firm and they asked him to be the landscape architect for their project with a BIG Filipino company: a high-end residential area with a clubhouse. Brian made sure to tell them about his shortcomings. (He's a fresh grad. He still has a lot to learn.) He didn't want to embarrass himself halfway through the project. But all the head designer said was, "Oh, really? See you on Tuesday." :) One of Brian's roles in the project will be Conceptualizer. Which is a role normally for a senior designer. That's really Brian's forte: his design ideas. And his clean drawing and drafting. Other designers'/architects' plates look like children's drawings compared to Brian's plates. Can you guys tell I'm basking in a Proud Older Sister moment right now? :D

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I've placed my orders. :)

I've decided what to get with the Amazon gift certificate I won during the blogiversary celebration of Chickenblog. :) I chose two children's books that, for some reason, are not available here in the Philippines and one food/travel memoir that is available here but was on sale on Amazon. :)

I have wanted to read Lois Lowry's Gossamer ever since I read a fantastic review of it on A Fuse #8 Production. I like Lois Lowry. I read her Newbery Medal winner The Giver and it was mind-blowing. A couple of years ago I took a graduate class on individualism in American literature and I decided to focus on individualism in American children's literature for a paper. For my paper I analyzed The Giver and another Newbery Medal winner, Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia. The other children's book I ordered was Jennifer Holm's Penny From Heaven, a 2007 Newbery Honor Book.

Last, but not least, I decided on Two for the Road: Our Love Affair with American Food by Jane and Micheal Stern. I love reading about gastronomy and reading food memoirs and travel memoirs. And how could I resist when I read the first sentence of Two for the Road:

"Our first date was over a white clam pizza at Pepe's Pizzeria on Wooster Square in New Haven, Connecticut, and it was instantly apparent as we gazed into each other's eyes across the thin-crusted Neapolitan pie, speckled with tiny, tender clams and frosted with olive oil, that we shared a passion for garlic."

I'll write detailed reviews of the books after I read them. :D The plots of Gossamer and Penny from Heaven are too rich to summarize in a post like this.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I like memes. :)

This one I got from Janece. :)

1. Your real name: Roberta Marie Sabido

2. Your gangsta name: (first 3 letters of real name plus izzle) Robizzle

3. Your detective name: (fave color and fave animal) Pink Dog

4. Your soap opera name: (middle name and current street) Marie Xavierville

5. Your Star Wars name: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 3 letters of mom’s maiden name) Sabroloz

6. Your superhero name: (2nd fave color and fave drink) Black Coffee (hahahaha!)

7. Your witness protection name: (mother’s middle name and father’s middle name) My mom and dad have no middle names! How’s that for going into hiding? I won’t even have a name!

8. Your goth name: (black and the name of one your pets) Black Spike

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Blogiversary Chickenblog!

May 24 was the fifth blogiversary of Chickenblog. Happy Blogiversary Chickenblog! :) To celebrate, Natalie had a raffle and guess who just won a gift certificate for Amazon? Me! Woohoo!!! What should I get??? I have to really think about it. :D Thank you so much, Natalie!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Sneak Peek Into Tarie's Moleskine Notebook

My Moleskine notebook is my journal, reading and learning log, sketchbook, inspiration board, and idea book. It is very private, but I still decided to give everyone a tiny peek inside. :) What are a few of the things in my Moleskine notebook? Cute and/or interesting postcards and beautiful origami paper for inspiration. Doodles and other evidence of my playing with shapes and colors...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

More pictures of my querencia!

O-nii-chan with family friend Julie. In the background you can see JP and Julie's sister Joan. On Mothers' Day Julie hung out with us (me, O-nii-chan, JP, Brian, Mom). We had lunch out. Went window shopping. Got our cereal snack fix in Cerealicious. Yes, we love our Cerealicious. =9

Here's another picture of JP. It was taken in the little room (JP and Brian's bedroom) we all cram into to hang out together. Just last night we watched Epic Movie on JP's laptop computer. It's a spoof of several movies (The Da Vinci Code, X-Men, etc.) from the same creators of the Scary Movie franchise. It's one of those stupid movies that make you laugh but afterwards you think, "Ok, I just wasted two hours of my life. I should have done something else." But hey, at least I was watching a movie with my brothers and a couple of friends. =)

JP and Brian have second dan black belts in taekwondo. I have a red belt, and my older brothers and my mom also trained in taekwondo. This is a picture of JP goofing off, shouting, and in "fighting stance."

O-nii-chan in a library. All I have to say about this picture is: Hahaha. =D

Saturday, May 12, 2007

How was your week, Tarie?

Hmmm. Work is a challenge (as it should be). For the next two months or so we have to design syllabi, lesson plans, etc. for a special project. This week I was working on materials for teaching "talking about work" and the past tense to ESL/EFL students in the elementary level. (To clarify: the learners are adults - French, Italian, German, Russian, Japanese, Brazilian, Chinese, etc. - but are not fluent in English.) Teaching beginners is not my forte so I asked to start designing the lesson plans for the intermediate level next week.

I haven't been able to draw/paint this week. =( Hopefully next week I can continue a colored pencil drawing that I am proud of (so far - tee hee). I'm still savoring every event in Haruki Murakami's Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I'm still watching anime with my younger brothers: Naruto, Bleach, and Death Note. And guess who's here! O-nii-chan is in town for a week or two. Yay! Mom is going back to General Santos City on Monday. (She stayed with us for around three months.) On that note, advanced Happy Mothers' Day!!! =)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Some important things:

1. I'm starting to like Franz Ferdinand. Sheesh. It's because in the SM North branch of Fully Booked I discovered Sound Bites: Eating on Tour With Franz Ferdinand written by the band's singer and guitarist Alex Kapranos. It seems like an interesting book for foodies and music lovers like me. I want to read it! I checked out the band's music online and I like it!

2. I watched Spider-man 3 with my mom, JP, and Brian. I like how it's a movie about forgiveness and redemption. =) The Spider-man movie trilogy is truly the chronicle of a hero. The first movie is about the hero's coming of age/initiation. The gaining of powers and responsibilities. The second movie is about truly accepting those responsibilities and the sacrifices, pain, and loneliness that comes with being a hero. Then the third movie is about not letting all that power get to your head. Good stuff! =)

3. Have you guys tried Cerealicious? =D There are several branches throughout the Metro Manila area. I go to the SM North branch for my cereal snack fix. =D Last Sunday I had "The Gummi Returns" cereal bowl: Honey Stars cereal with icy and foamy milk (it's their special blend/secret ingredient - the cereal doesn't get soggy!!!!!!), gummi bears, marshmallows, and vanilla ice cream. Today I had Coco Pops cereal with their special milk, choco pebbles, marshmallows, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate syrup. I think next Sunday I will try Cap'n Crunch cereal with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! =9

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My Querencia

It's such a relief to come home to find JP and Brian listening to music and talking, perhaps deciding what to eat. I feel joy when they immediately greet me with news of their day, updates on their lives, and questions only their older sister can answer. Happiness is watching anime together and then discussing plots, themes, and characterization. Happiness is hanging out with JP and Brian. Home and comfort is when we all crowd into their small room: me reading a novel, Brian playing video games (Play Station 2), and JP napping or surfing the Internet.
I just spent the whole afternoon in my friendly neighborhood Starbucks, drawing in my Moleskine notebook with colored pencils. (I had a venti espresso frappuccino and a cinnamon swirl bun. =9) I'm trying to get back in touch with my creative side, my artistic side - the "seer" in me. I'm trying to develop my spatial intelligence. I want to create something that I can show other people. =)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Why did it take me this long to discover John Coltrane???

Friday, April 27, 2007

Announcement from a proud sister:

My brother Brian is graduating from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a degree in Landscape Architecture. He won this year's Best Thesis Award! =D Here is an abstract of Brian's thesis:

The Athletic Playground recognizes that a child’s medium for learning is play. Since play touches all the domains of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, social, and emotional; lets children relax their mind and body; and gives them the ability to focus, it should be incorporated into the training of child athletes. Incorporating play in athletic training for kids calls for a specially designed training facility. The Athletic Playground is an outdoor athletic training facility that carries a playground-like atmosphere conducive for PE activities and athletic training that incorporate play for children. It is composed of three areas: the Mindset Area featuring the Nature Walk and Lecture Hall where the children are trained mentally; the Movement Area featuring the Coordination Field, Multipurpose Court, Climbing Zone, Tag Arena, 50-Meter Sprint Track, Stair Sprint Course, Ascending Descending Sprint Course, and the Balance Obstacle Course where the children train physically; and lastly the Nutrition and Recovery Area featuring various sitting areas where children learn the importance of recuperation.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Natalie has requested I post more about my brothers and I am happy to oblige. =)

I call Martin "O-nii-chan" because that is the affectionate term in Japanese for "older brother." "Chan" is a term of endearment in Japan. "Older brother" without the affectionate term would be "O-nii-san" or "Nii-san" and other forms of "Nii." I'm no expert on Japanese but I am really into the Japanese culture (I guess it's pretty obvious in this blog).

I'm not sure how to explain JP's nickname. O-nii-chan used to call JP "Jepoy." Then that morphed into "Shmipoy," then finally became "Pipoy." (Sometimes, I call him "JP-chan" or "Pipoy-chan.") Only Nii-chan and I can call JP "Pipoy." Yes, that's a rule. I can't really explain it except by saying that I can be possessive of my brothers. Especially with my younger brothers (JP and Brian). It's an Asian older sister thing. Or can it be like that in other cultures as well???
As for my Pop-Tart/Brian-chan/Pop-Tart-chan: There was a time I was thinking about food nicknames in general. Like "Cupcake," Sweet Pea," etc. Then I started thinking about other food nicknames that people haven't used yet. And one day I just started calling Brian "Pop-Tart" even though I hadn't been thinking of nicknames specifically for him!

My real name is actually Roberta Marie. Tarie/Tarie-chan is my nickname. roberTA maRIE. Get it? Heeheehee. =) And it has something to do with the Atari too. Remember that game console? It was really popular in the Philippines when I was born. My dad was playing that when my mom was in labor with me.

My brothers and I are really, really close. They are my best friends. (Excluding God,) There is nobody and nothing more important to me than my brothers. I'll post more on my brothers soon! =) I am very proud of them after all. =D

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This is my older brother Martin (a.k.a. O-nii-chan):

This is my younger brother JP (a.k.a Pipoy):

This is my younger brother Brian (a.k.a Pop-Tart):

Here's Pipoy and Pop-Tart going wild: