Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bowling for Soup

"Gareth and I went to Bowling for Soup on Sunday," I told my cousin, Joseph.

"...Bowling for...?"

"Soup. You know. 1985. High School Never Ends.....oh-oh..oh-oh-oh-oh..."

"Oh! I thought you guys did a charity know. Bowling to feed the hungry."

I thought back to the audience Gareth and I mixed in on Sunday (the 21st) and thought, well....most of the kids did look hungry. And in need of showers. But no, Bowling for Soup is a really unique band. Gareth's a big fan because their lyrics are pretty creative, and that seems be a major criteria for Gareth to like a band or singer. The concert was held at El Corazon, an interesting dive of a place. Mostly a rock venue, though from the flyers posted everywhere, it caters to punk, indie rock, metal and emo. Their website even touts math rock. Wha..? Anyway...

So those who know me, know this isn't really my scene. I thought jeans and a henley would be appropriate. No need to really dress up, right? Not that I roll in anything more than casual, anyway. In fact, the jeans I picked had ragged ends from my lettin em drag, since they're just a bit long even in boots, so I thought, these'll work. Well, I made a mistake wearing heeled boots...and a leather jacket. If I went for sneakers and a hoodie, I'd have fit right in. And oh...funky hair, lots of eye liner, shiny lipgloss and fruity, bubble gum perfume. That would've completed the outfit.

But I wasn't there to fit in. I like Bowling for Soups songs. Silly, catchy and fun. So I was looking forward to it. The tickets said 6:30, but we found out there were three opening bands, so the headliner wouldn't even get on stage til 915p. So Gareth and I took a 15 min stroll to the Cheesecake Factory and had dinner at the bar to beat the line of people waiting for a table. We watched the end of the Patriots & Colts playoff and rooted for Joseph's team. Alas, it wasn't meant to be for New England this year. Gareth has vowed not to watch the Superbowl since he doesn't like the Bears or the Colts. We'll see.

Anyway, we headed back to El Corazon just in time to run into the band as they exited their tour bus. While I like their music, I have to admit I never studied them or learned who was who. I just knew there was a drummer, a lead singer, a fat guitarist and a bass player. Well, I learned eventually they were (respectively) Gary, Jaret, Chris & Erik. We arrived at El Corazon as Erik (the bassist) stepped off the bus with a huge belch. Lovely. Chris, the big bald one, actually has a sweet face for a hulking, tattoo-ridden figure. Jaret, the lead singer was busy signing autographs as he walked, but when we got in each other's way, he very politely said, "Pardon me, ma'am." :: sigh :: I don't like being called "Ma'am." But it was very nice of him to get out of my way.

Check out Bowling for Soup's cover of Fergie's "London Bridge" and you'll get an idea of how a BfS concert goes. When they played, they rocked! But they're cut-ups and were always interrupting themselves to make fun of each other or get the eager-to-scream-about-anything audience (note I'm not including myself in this hyper mass of humanity) to cheer for pizza pockets and water.

Uh, yeah.

Their banter and apparent camaraderie was amusing but concert-goers young and (not so) old go to hear music, and when it's fun punk rock, people wanna get their rock on. It sucks to get totally in the music, jump, flail & bob your head furiously and then have it all come to a screeching halt because the band would rather crack jokes . One teenager actually voiced what I was thinking and yelled, "Shut the fuck up & play some music!" and Jaret told her, "Hey, we'll do the show how we want to, you just listen!" and she got summarily hissed at by her more idolizing peers.

And Bowling for Soup did do the show the way they wanted. They managed to fill an hour and a half with about 6 or 7 songs and a lot of inane chatter. Somewhat disappointing, yeah, but still quite an interesting experience.

Bowling for Soup: (L-R) Eric, Gary, Chris & Jaret.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Walkin in a Winter Wonderland

I'm lying. I don't walk in snow. I don't drive in snow. I just love looking at it...through a window. Snow and I don't get along. For one, it's cold, and I don't do well in cold. For another, it turns to ice and makes things slippery. Things like stairs and sidewalks and roads. Things I don't like slipping or falling on. For one who never got the hang of rollerskating, much less ice skating, I don't like that feeling of my feet leaving the ground. I absolutely don't like the feeling of my body hitting the ground, either, snow covered or not. Plus, I wear glasses, and much like rain, snow on my glasses gets irritating after a while.

"So take your glasses off!" one unfortunate listener of my whining once suggested.

"Then I can't see! Hello?" I'm not blind, but I might as well be. Things get blurry beyond 5 inches from my eyes, so I'm useless without my glasses. Contacts aren't an easy option for me because I don't produce enough tears, so they get bothersome after a few hours. So unless I one day become perpetually weepy-eyed, I'm stuck with glasses.

I have this tendency of falling asleep with my glasses on, too, because I fall asleep usually while watching TV or reading a book. So Gareth will often take them off me, and in the morning, since he leaves for work before I wake up, you'll find me scrambling for my glasses, peering so closely at the nightstand I might as well kiss it or even crawling on the floor feeling for them or flinging the comforter around hoping I can hear my glasses crash against the wall so I can follow the sound.

Pathetic, I know.

So right now, I'm gazing out the window (and typing), watching the wind blow the 5 or so inches of snow off the trees and our backyard fence. It's a sunny beautiful day, and I'm enjoying the blanket of snow that's quieted the neighborhood. But as peaceful and serene the winter landscape looks, I'm hoping it melts soon. I told you, snow and I don't get along. I feel like I'm admiring my enemy. Sorry, Mother Nature. Give me her weaker sister, Rain. I have no beef with her. Unless she overstays her welcome again like she did last week. I like it best when she visits only for an hour or so, and I don't mind when she brings Thunder and Lightning with her. I find them fascinating.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

You Know Your Filipino When

You Know You're Filipino When....

Your middle name is your mother's maiden name (until you get married. Then your maiden name becomes your middle name. Make sense?)

Your parents call each other "Mommy" and "Daddy." Or "Mama" and "Papa" or derivatives of. There's also "Mahal" and "'Ling" (short for Darling...or their name is actually Ling Ling. You just never know).

You have uncles and aunts named "Boy," "Girlie," or "Baby."

You have relatives whose nicknames consist of repeated syllables like "Jun-Jun," "Ling-Ling," and "Mon-Mon." Mine by the way was "Geng-Geng."

You call the parents of your friends and your own parents' friends "Tito" and "Tita."

You have four or five names. (Gen, Geng, Em, Embib, Henebeba...::sigh:::...yup, I'm Filipino.)

You greet your elders by touching their hands to your forehead.

You always kiss your relatives on the cheek whenever you enter or leave the house.

You follow your parents' house rules even if you are over 18.

You live with your parents until and at times even after you're married.

You decorate your dining room wall with a picture of the "Last Supper." (Now this one I can't claim. Because I haven't bought one or been gifted one. Yet.)

You keep your furniture wrapped in plastic or covered with blankets. (Blankets. Guilty.)

You have a Sto. Nino shrine in your living room. (If you're Catholic, if not, a bible will do.)

You have a piano that no one plays. (Hee... at my parents' I was supposed to play it.)

You keep a tabo in your bathroom. (My favorite was a purple plastic cup from Taco Del Mar. LoL...Gareth wanted to know why I was perverting his favorite cup.)

You use Vicks Vapor rub as an insect repellant. (Ya know ~ I didn't know this. As my mom would say, "Does it works?")

You eat with your hands. (Ya know it!)

You eat more than three times a day. (Ya gotta fit in "merienda" somewhere. Like the hobbits. 2nd breakfast.)

You think a meal is not a meal without rice. (That's why South Beach & Atkins will NEVER work for me).

You think sandwiches are snacks, not meals. (See above.)

Your dining table has a merry-go-round (lazy Susan) in the middle. (Left it with the first husband. As a half-Asian, he needed it more than Gareth. But putting a new one on the "To Buy" list).

You bring baon to work everyday. (Baon = bag lunch, 'cept what we bring doesn't fit in a paper bag. True Filipinos go plastic. Stylish ones buy an actual bag.)

Your pantry is never without Spam, Vienna sausage, corned beef, and sardines. (Sigh...sadly, my pantry is. That's why I love going to my parents & my grandmother's ~ there's always good stuff there. Maybe I'll set up a secret pantry that Gareth won't ever know about).

You love to eat daing or tuyo. (Hey, Johanna: What did the bangus say when he fell in the vinegar? "I'm da-ing!!!")

You prop up one knee while eating. (One of my favorite people in the world was famous for this. May Auntie Zenaida R.I.P.)

You eat your meals with patis, toyo, suka, banana catsup, or bagoong. (Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes. At my grandmother's)

Your tablecloths are stained with toyo circles. (Soy sauce circles? I thought it was coffee...)

You love sticky desserts and salty snacks. (Notice how almost ALL our desserts are made with some form of rice? We're so awesome).

You eat fried Spam and hot dogs with rice. (Mama makes the best Spam in the world ~ dredged in sugar then fried. My goodness. I need to go buy Spam.)

You eat mangoes with rice--with great GUSTO! (Has to be hilaw (unripened)mango...with bagoong, tomatoes & green onions. Yum!)

You love "dirty" ice cream. (I honestly don't know what that means. Anyone?)

You love to eat, yet often manage to stay slim. (Ha!)

You put hot dogs in your spaghetti. (Hee!)

Everything you eat is sauted in garlic, onion, and tomatoes. (That's the base of most Filipino food).

You order a "soft drink" instead of soda. (I remember Auntie Gay asking Christian when he was 6 or 7 if he wanted a "soft drink." He said, "What's that?" LoL)

You hang a rosary on your car's rear view mirror. (If you're Catholic...well heck, even if you're not.)

You get together with family at a cemetery on All Saint's Day to eat, drink, and tell stories by your loved ones' graves. (So I've been told. Our family plot in the Philippines is in the far corner of the cemetery. Imagine climbing and hopping from tomb to tomb with a cooler and bags of food? And a rice cooker?)

You play cards or mahjong and drink beer at funeral wakes. (Or 31).

You think Christmas season begins in October and ends in January. (That's cause there's no Thanksgiving in the Philippines.)

Your second piece of luggage is a balikbayan box. (Tied with rope so it has a handle.)

You've mastered the art of packing a suitcase to double capacity. (As long as it closes, it fits).

You collect items from airlines, hotels, and restaurants as "souvenirs." (Ahem.)

You feel obligated to give pasalubong (souvenires/gifts) to all your friends and relatives each time you return from a trip. (Yee-ahh...)

You use paper foot outlines when buying shoes for friends and relatives. (LoL. Never, personally. But I believe it's been done.)

You're a fashion victim. (Maybe when I was fresh of the boat. Weren't we all?)

You can convey 30 messages with your facial expression. (It's a gift).

You hold your palms together in front of you and say "excuse, excuse" when you pass in between people or in front of the TV. (It's only polite, don't you think?)

You ask for the bill at a restaurant by making a rectangle in the air. (That's why we're good at charades).

You cover your mouth when you laugh. (Again, it's only polite, don't you think?)

You respond to a "Hoy!" or a "Pssst!" in a crowd.

You'll answer "Malapit lang!" ("Just nearby")--no matter the distance--when asked how far away a place is located.

Goldilocks is more than a fairy tale character to you. (True, but Red Ribbon is fair competition).

You refer to power interruptions as "brownouts." (Because they happen during the day in the P.I. right?)

You love to use the following acronyms: CR for comfort room, DI for dance instructor, DOM for dirty old man, TNT for tago nang tago, KJ for kill joy, KSP for kulang sa pansin, OA for over-acting, TL for true love, BF for boyfriend and GF for girlfriend. ( But okay.)

You say "rubber shoes" instead of sneakers, "ball pen" instead of pen, "stockings" instead of pantyhose, "pampers" instead of diapers, "ref" or "prijider" instead of refrigerator, "Colgate" instead of toothpaste, "canteen" instead of cafeteria, and "open" or "close" instead of turn on or turn off (as in the lights).

You use an umbrella for shade on hot summer days. (In WA? We don't even use umbrella when it rains.)

You like everything imported or "state-side."

You love ballroom dancing, bowling, pusoy, mah jong, billiards, and karaoke. (Maybe, okay, change that to 31, some times, not really, and...guilty).

You have a relative who is a nurse. (Uhh...make that relativeS..)

When you're in a restaurant, you wipe your plate and utensils before using them. (Ya know, I didn't until I saw my cousins do it in the Philippines).

You can squeeze 15 passengers into your five seater car without a second thought. (Kinda like luggage. As long as it closes, we fit).

You wave a pom-pom on a stick around the food to keep the flies away. (Are we ingenious or what?)

You always ring a doorbell twice, assuming that the first ring was not heard. (3 times if you're family).

You let the phone ring twice before answering, lest you appear overly eager. (Secret: If you want me to answer at home, let it ring twice. Hang up. Then call again.)

You use a rock to scrub yourself in the bath or shower. (Ya know, I thought my aunt was weird for having one but American's have caught on with the pumice stone. Biters!)

You're proud to be Filipino - and you pass these jokes on to all your Filipino friends! (Here ya go!)

Last but not least, you know you're a Filipino if you enjoy this video:

Becoming one of my favorite websites: Check out "Mixed Nuts" ~ for all my ka-sins & kababayan, this girl is hella funny. So funny, she made me use "hella."

Get Your Own "You Know You're" Meme Here

More cool things for your blog at

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy Birthday, Pete

January 3. It's my ex-husband's birthday, and what would've been our 8th anniversary. We were married for ... March 2004 minus Jan 1998... almost 6 years. Wow. Seemed longer. Well we lived together for about a year before we got married. That's what must've made it feel longer. Okay, no. It felt longer because it was a mistake. Red flags all over the place that I totally ignored or believed would take care of themselves.

But it's in the past. He and I are actually okay friends now. I learned a lot about myself and for the most part, it wasn't a totally bad relationship. It's just neither one of us had a clue what the other needed or wanted from a marriage. Individually, we knew what we wanted, but trying to communicate that to the other person and work together was an exercise in futility.

I filed for divorce in November of 2003. It was finalized in March of 2004. I don't remember the exact date, and I don't know why I needed a ride from him, but I remember, he had to drop me off at the courthouse for the final dissolution hearing. He didn't contest the divorce, so he didn't need to be present, and my appearing before the judge was just a formality. She asked me a couple of questions and then declared the marriage dissolved. I remember walking out the courthouse relieved, I remember it was a bright, brisk day and I remember gazing in wonder at the sunny clarity of the day and feeling like a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt lighter. I felt free.

I also remember my older brother picking me up from the courthouse and taking me to his house because I didn't want to go home to my parents house just yet. I remember crying, how the tears just flowed freely as soon as I got in the car. I remember my nephew, Jaylen, barely four, saw me crying in his room and gave me a hug and a kiss and patted my shoulder while I sobbed like a baby. Even though I was free of a marriage that was never right, I still felt pain. It was like someone died. I was told it's normal to grieve for the loss of a marriage, so I grieved. I grieved for the loss of my idealism. My niavete. My innocence. Never again would I look at marriage through rose-colored glasses. I had wanted someone who would dream with me, set goals with me, succeed with me. Be my lover and partner and best friend. Someone who would cherish me, and celebrate me. I wanted someone I could respect, honor and adore. Someone I could count on and be there for in return. Someone to love with every fiber of my being without losing my own identity. I guess I was asking too much. That day, I learned to temper my needs and to believe what I wanted didn't exist.

While I harbor no ill will towards my ex-husband, I do feel like I wasted a lot of time trying to fix something that wasn't fixable. When I got divorced, I promised myself that I wouldn't waste more time than necessary, should I find myself again in a relationship that's not quite right. Some might call that a quitter's mentality. I don't know. I just know that having gone through what I did, I have a better idea of what works and what doesn't and life's too short to settle for what's not working for you.

In that regard, I feel bad for Gareth because he met me at my most jaded and cynical. I met him shortly before my divorce was final, I had no desire at the time to be serious with anyone let alone try marriage again, so we hung out. We became good friends. He was patient with me. Persistent, too. He knew I wasn't ready and he was well aware of my priorities, which, at the time, included taking care of my grandmother 5 nights a week. His persistence paid off because later that year, I began to see him in a different light.

He's aware of my personal philosophy about not wasting time on what doesn't work. I know it scares him. I honestly feel terrible about that. He fears I will find something wrong with our marriage that I won't be willing to work on for longer than I deem necessary. I don't know how to assuage his fears, because I honestly don't know if I can change how I feel. Some might say that's very selfish of me, while I believe it's simply self-preservation. Some might say it's a lack of trust & belief in marriage. I may be inclined to agree, since my personal experience and what I grew up observing haven't exactly instilled much confidence in the institute of marriage. Again, I feel bad that Gareth got me at my most jaded & cynical. But it's your own life experiences that mold you and so far this is the me I know and accept. But a girl can always hope,and that's all I can really promise.

Jaded as I am, I still believe in the joy of lasting love. However, while I'm not a vocal advocate, if I'm asked my opinion, I encourage women to wait til their 30s before making the ultimate commitment. I don't believe women truly know themselves until they're in their 30s. Hell, I'm 35 this year and I'm still defining myself. That's not to say you can't find love before your 30s. Far from it. But love & acceptance of yourself first is paramount to making any relationship work, be it friendship or marriage. So when you find that person you can respect, honor and adore, who not only accepts you for who you are but celebrates & cherishes you, then don't let anything or anyone stop you from grabbing hold and never letting go.