The Monday Blues

I have learned to dislike Mondays because it means being away from Angel again.  We got into a little emotional tug of war this morning because he had wanted to continue nursing when we both stirred at around 6AM.  I could not indulge him anymore because I needed to get ready for work.  It took some cajoling to get him to stop crying, but we eventually left the room together all set for another day.  He was smiling by the time I put him down on his playpen in the living room.

In the meantime I got ready for work knowing in just 48 hours, Mom will be getting ready to go home to Manila.  As we had told my neice, Audrey, on the phone, “Dalawang tulog na lang.”  (Two nights of sleep to go..)  I asked Mom to make me some Adobo tonight.. I just wanted her homecooking a last time, because tomorrow, I intend to order food as a “send off” of sorts.  I miss my mom already.  Sometimes thinking about it makes me want to cry.  Alan was trying to comfort me last night saying I need not worry because Mom’s coming back, and I now have a blood relative with me here, 10,000 miles away from everybody else — who else but Angel.

Meanwhile we’re gearing up for the lull between Mom’s departure and Nikky’s arrival.  That’s one hurdle Alan says we’ll be able to work around of.  My missing my mom is a different thing, though.


Division of Labor

In our house, I do the cooking, Alan does the laundry and the cleaning.. except the bathroom which is my turf.  My laundry is now neatly folded on the bed, waiting for me to sort through them so I can put them away.  If I were in Manila, we’d probably have a maid/s ready to do that for us, but we’re in New York, so we have to do it ourselves.


I do not really begrudge my life here in New York City for the lack of domestic help — I never really did domestic chores in Manila, so learning how to do them here primed me for the new responsibilities I had to face.  It helps that my husband has his own share of work. 

We are trying to pull in the stepson to do more, but having someone who has been so accustomed to being “served” instead of helping out take on household chores can be a challenge with a 15 year old.  As it is, with the limited household chores on his plate, he already thinks he’s doing a lot for us.  I find it hard to believe sometimes considering unlike his Dad and me, he was never accustomed to having others wait on him for his every need.  In fact he had shattered my Mom’s long held view that children raised in the US were more responsible because of the absence of maids, because she witnessed firsthand how ill-equipped my stepson was in helping out in our small home.

As we would say, “nasa pagpapalaki yan..”  (it is in the upbringing..)  I wish our young people in Manila would realize how fortunate they are to have their yayas and maids.  And how, despite that, they can take pride in learning to do chores even if they don’t have to do them, because it would serve them well here on this side of the world.  I was a virtual princess back then, but when I got here, I knew how to set the table right, wash the plates to make sure there was no residue on the surface (that is why I insist on washing plates without gloves), and clean the bathroom and make sure the bathtub was sparkling clean so much so that I could lie down stripped to the skin in a luxurious bath on the bathtub floor.

I am already trying to teach Angel to put his toys away, although at 1year old, he isn’t exactly absorbing much.  Then again, you can never start them early enough.


Packing Mom's Balikbayan Box

I just finished weighing the other half of mom’s 140 lb baggage allowance for her trip home.  I know how she feels — wishing she could take more than what the airline will allow her.  I wish I could send everything that she wanted to take home with her.

I’m counting hours til she goes.  I wish I had another week to spend with her.  Yet I know she’s very anxious to make it home.  She’s really raring to board that plane and get home. 

Today we spoke about her returning.  She is noncommittal as to when, but she is certain she will come back if only because of Angelo.  Angel and I miss her already.  I miss her a whole lot and she is still here.

The balikbayan box is the all important luggage accessory.  Not the Samsonites or the knock off Louis Vuitton.. it’s that pre-measured box that can load one’s aspirations, hopes and life’s savings.. most people would take advantage and take two.. I would send two boxes home with mom is if only I didn’t have to worry about her carrying them.  Maybe the second box can go with Nikky when he returns — granting he makes it here.

It’s another round of goodbyes.. I feel like I’m being left alone again like I have been for the longest time before Angelo was born, and save for my sister’s visit in 2001.  The 10,000 miles suddenly feel much farther now that mom’s leaving me. 

Mocha Icing Recipe

I have come to discover that people are actually stumbling into my weblog somehow, and one or two have written me directly at the e-mail indicated here and also as direct comments on this site.  Here’s the requested Mocha Icing Recipe, Jean:


3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3 Tbsps creme de cacao
1 1/2 tbsps instant coffee
3/4 cup butter

Beat egg yolks slightly.  Blend sugar and milk.  Cook ove rlow fire, stirring constantly till mixture coats the spoon.  Cool.  Cream butter and add cooled egg yolk mixture gradually.  Blend in creme de cacao and instant coffee.

Hope this helps.. let me know how you liked it, Jean..

If I Won the Lotto…

There was a time years ago when the sweepstakes pot (when the lotto wasn’t in the Philippines yet) had been set at an astronomical amount that we in the family bought our full sets and had started plotting what we would do with the money if we won.

These days in New York, Alan and I try to bet in the lotto when the pot is healthy, and this coming week is one of the bigger pots, estimated to reach over $160Million for the MegaLotto.  Mom already has her usual numbers — I’m going to do both a quick pick and some personal picks.  Who knows?  The worst that can happen is I lose $20 or so…

What would I do with the money if I win?  Alan’s and my answer to that question is qualified by how much we actually win.  If I won the grand prize, after paying in full for our Co-op and getting a house in our dream community in Manhasset then bailing out my Mom from her financial worries, I would stop working and do one of two things:  (1) put up a day care center for children in Bayside where we live — purchasing a house we can convert into a state of the art second home for children, or (2) put up a store in the Village where I can sell fashion goods from the established and up and coming designers in Manila.  I envision something like Sari-sari, but under a name that will appeal to the very diverse ethnic mix of New York and the millions of tourists who flock to this city year in and year out.  So even if I will be selling wares from my home country, the name will definitely be American.

Maybe I can use “P-Mix”.. P for Pinoy.  Or simply Mix… (is there a store with the name in existence already?)  I’d sell accessories and one of a kind or limited edition pieces from trendy casual wear to formal gowns.  (Imagine a store with one-of-a-kind pieces from Inno Sotto, Rajo Laurel and the likes.. truly a dream!)  As Jonathan had said, “libre namang mangarap.”  (It doesn’t cost a thing to dream..How true..)

While tonight I failed to bet my dollar in the night’s lotto, I’ll definitely be betting for the draw on Tuesday, that’s for sure.

Watching a Mother's Suffering

Mom’s rather depressed because the business in Manila has not been doing well.  We even had to send financial assistance to tide it through.  Times like this make me wish I could win the lotto and make her worries disappear. 

My mom is a strong woman but you can see when her pain gets the better of her.  I am asking her to go to bed but I have a feeling she will lay awake tonight, sleep eluding her.  I pray the angels bring her to slumberland soon and give her peace of mind. 

I hate seeing my Mom this way.  It’s not the first time this has happened since she arrived to spend the past year with me.  Each time, I can only sit and watch and try to comfort her. 

When she says she wishes God allow her to win the lotto, I don’t encourage her but neither do I rebuff her.  She is, after all, entitled to hang on to all the hope she can muster in this trying time.  I just tell her if it’s our time to win, we will win.  I know God will always have an answer — even if it isn’t the one she wants to hear.

Pinoy Drama : Hiram

I have always tried to keep abreast of the latest shows back home through the tapes that my siblings would send me.  I also discovered some clips uploaded by the major networks online.  And last year, ABS-CBN 2 started offering a new service called ABS-CBN Now which enabled subscribers to download or watch their programs straight from their website.  With mom here, I picked up a subscription.  Although she had time and again told me her loyalty was with the other network, GMA 7, I had no choice because they had no similar offering here in the US.

So every week, I downloaded programs onto my laptop which we watched during the weekend.  We saw the beginning and the week after week development of the soap opera Hiram.  (Translated: borrowed).  I was downloading this week’s slew of episodes when I suddenly felt wistful about the fact that next week, I don’t have to download it religiously as I had always done because Mom is flying home to Manila on Wednesday.

Then she can catch Hiram from home.. (the thought literally made me stop typing).  I am trying to be cheerful about it, reminding myself my brother will be here soon.. but Mommy is Mommy.. and it has been a great year of getting to know each other again which I hope to continue as soon as she returns.


Slow Dancing to Rod Stewart Crooning the Classics

When Volume 1 of Rod Stewart’s Great American Classics came out, I couldn’t believe how he got away with his raspy voice singing these immortal classics.  He’s done another two times and Alan and I always delight listening to him taking us to a time we only know from decades after.

I find myself imagining us slow dancing to these songs, but Alan is not one to slow dance.  I wish he would because he is such a great dancer.  I love to just rock back and forth taking it all in and having him hold me.  He does indulge me like that one time we danced to Michelle Branch and Santana’s “The Game of Love”when the band played it at Hard Rock in Manila the last time we were there in 2002.  People were just moving side to side but he took me and held me close and danced with me with so much love and passion.  I still remember that from time to time and how that was just so special.

Well we do have all of Rod Stewart’s CDs.. so we have a lot to dance to.. and Angel will probably want to join in, like he pokes his head in whenever he sees me and Alan hugging and cuddling..


The Challenge of Chronicling My Day

I am shocked to see that I wasn’t able to post anything yesterday, and neither was I able to scribble anything down for posting later.

I actually had a window open and I attempted to start something but never quite down to writing anything that made much sense.  I’m in the thick of getting the boss ready for a two week trip out to Asia (Yahoo! — or as we pinoys say, Yehey!!!!).. The next couple of days will be hectic. Time just flew by and before I knew it, it was time to go home!

I feel a sadness creeping into my heart as I think about the passing of the days because in less than a week, Mom is leaving for Manila.  (sniff, sniff..)

I can’t really extend her any longer because the INS will have my neck for that and she might not be allowed to return.. and I know she needs to say hello to her doctors who she has terribly missed in the year she’s been in  New York.  My hypochondriac of a Mom not seeing her string of Doctors?  That was a feat!  Of course she managed to make a new friend here — a kindly Korean-American doctor who would sarcastically yet gently tell her to lay off the medicines.

The only thing that makes thinking of her leaving Angel and I a little easier to bear with is the thought that Nikky (hopefully) will make it here this summer.. (Keeping our fingers crossed he gets his visa..) 


Craft Report: More than a foot long now

I have continued to knit intermittently and believe it or not, I have made progress.  I took some pictures of the scarf’s color weave and I will post that here after the weekend perhaps, but at least, I’m getting there.  I’m also looking at beginning another project, after I go up to the attic tonight to bring down Mom’s suitcase.  (Her departure next week really makes me very sad..)  I’ve already knitted through the part of the yarn I had earlier crochetted and unfurled to knit, and I’m going to connect the work in progress to the ball of yarn I have.  It’s actually more than a foot long now!

I’ve postponed doing the clapotis for now.  I will stick to finishing this and maybe doing the next one soon after.  I have so far been successful in resisting the urge to get some new yarn because I am still fully stocked actually.  Let’s see how far I get with what I have stashed away.