Sunday, February 8, 2015


(Or, The Day That Road Rage Won)

Everything started out fine.  I woke up, went to Yoga, had a nice early lunch, took a quick nap and then felt motivated enough to hoof it to the grocery store.  Things started going down hill from there....

I should have known not to go to the grocery store that is in the middle of a busy shopping area at 3 pm on a Sunday but what can I say?  My good sense escaped me.

I should have known they'd be out of things they normally have like ....onions??

I should have known that when I products I wanted were stocked, they'd have just a tinge of mold.  Enough that I couldn't scrape it off and feel good about myself.  

I should have known that turning left, from the left lane, onto a one way street on the way home was a bad idea and I would clearly be in the wrong.  (insert record scratching sound.....) Wait, what?!?

What ensued after I made a LEGAL turn amounted to some of the worst road rage I have experienced.  Not just in the Philippines but ever.  I won't go into all the deets but suffice it to say, instead of admitting he was wrong, this particular driver decided honking and flashing his lights and following me home....was the proper way to behave.  

I have calmed down considerably since but it got me to thinking, how SHOULD we deal with road rage, our own and others'?  So, down the Internet rabbit hole I go....

Things to remember while you're in the grips of road rage:

1. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” - Buddha
Here's a great little article from
Dealing with other people's road rage 

2. Try to imagine the other person as a human being who goes through the range of emotions and issues throughout their day.  What if the other driver had considered the frustrations that I'd already dealt with today?  What if I had known he had a sick child or dog or had been up all night?  There is no excuse for being a turdbucket but remembering that other people are ... people...can sometimes help. 

3. Laugh it off.  Because really - it's silly.  I mean, there was absolutely no reason for either of us to have gotten so angry.  What a couple of jackrabbits we must have looked like.  His honking and aggressively tailgating and my colorful language -- all pretty foolish. 

4 . Never underestimate the other driver's capacity for mayhem.  Picked up that advice from 
     I've already admitted (sorta) that I exchanged some words with this gentleman.  In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have.  Turns out he's the kinda guy who not only doesn't follow road laws but also takes GREAT offense to being reminded of the laws by a woman.  When I not only turned out to be a woman but also a woman who felt like defending herself, I think things turned a corner (pun intended).  Maybe it was subconscious but I think he was embarrassed at my nerve and that embarrassment quickly turned into increased aggression.  I underestimated what would come next and his capacity for being a true jerk. 

5. If you don't have tinted windows and have no insight into number 4, maybe don't flip the other guy off.  That needs no attribution.  Consider it a free piece of advice from yours truly. 

And I guess, when all else fails, you could try this: 

Or this - although, it might go against the spirit of this post.  Still funny though..

And if that seemed inappropriate, maybe you should stop reading now.  Because let's be honest, no matter how much deep breathing I try to do or how many motivational podcasts I listen to, I will still probably wake up tomorrow and adhere more to the following than anything I have said so far.  Que sera sera.

I will try really really hard not to shake my fist or give anyone the middle finger though.  REALLY REALLY REALLY I WILL.  Until I get some tint on my windows and then it's ON! <wink>

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I didn't make a resolution this year.  Well, I guess that's a lie.  In the middle of a yoga class on 31 December 2014, the instructor suggested (if we were so inclined) that we could set our intention for the year and I did just that.  So in a way, I guess that was me making a resolution.  

It's not that I don't think the idea of making resolutions is a good thing, I just believe that our resolutions for ourselves should constantly be in a state of tweaking, you know?  The intentions that I set for 2015?  Well, I think I will hold on to them for now.  They, like me, are a work in progress and actually I am really really trying to follow through so I don't want to jinx myself by sharing them with the Intersphere. 

I will share a resolution of the day though.  It's one that constantly rears its head in my personal and professional life and I'm sure that I am not unique in wanting to have more of this in my back pocket.  And what is it that I want more of out of myself on a daily basis???



But not at all simple. 

I watch Ted Talks and listen to girl power blogs (shout out to Call Your Girlfriend; the podcast for long distance besties everywhere).  I try to equip myself with the right motivation so that, in a time of crisis or opposition, I will steel myself but mostly I cave in.  Unless I have the opportunity to spout my opinion in an email and then I deliberate and deliberate and edit and "save as draft" for weeks before I send the damn thing.  By the time I've remembered that I never sent it, the point is beyond moot.  

So why do we do this?  And in particular why, as women, do we do this?  What will it take to lock in the courage that we deserve.  For me, I can plot the life circumstances that led/lead to me having ample courage and other occasions where that same courage was destroyed as if it had never existed in the first place.  I am deeply affected by people's opinion of me.  Sad but true.  I am (ahem...overly) sensitive and quick to apologize, fix, worry, ruminate, stew, rehash, sort out, fret, rinse, soap, wash, repeat -- at the sign of a disagreement. It takes years for me to build up the courage that I believe I deserve yet seconds to watch it all come crumbling down at the hands of a short sighted moron. 

What a hypocrite I am.  I am always trying to enable my female colleagues and friends to put their opinions out there.  I want them not to be afraid to have lives and thoughts and passions of their own, regardless of their circumstances.  I think that I have inspired a few people along the way.  I hope that I have anyway.  So why, when faced with someone who disagrees with me do I so badly want to make them feel comfortable that I almost change my original opinion.  Hold the phone.  Let me clarify something, I don't actually change my fundamental beliefs or opinions (unless they need changin') but I make people believe that I see logic in their argument when there are definitely occasions I see none.  In some ways, this isn't a bad way to operate.  The best way to get an audience with someone (with the strategic plan to change their mind) is to make them believe that you actually put some credence in their opinion.  That is only sometimes the conscious tact I'm taking though.  

Why the deliberation?  Why the soft peddling in delivering a message?  Why do we (particularly the women "we") try to package our opinions so that they are digestible for everyone?  This CAN'T be necessary.  There has to be a better way and I believe that way has something to do with courage. 

People won't like it when you tell them they're wrong.  You, by the way, will sometimes BE WRONG.  But to really live with the satisfaction that you're being honest with yourself requires the courage to constantly publicize your VERY WORTHY opinions.

I wrote an email today.  I haven't sent it yet but I will tomorrow.  It needs sending.  It craves to be shared with the audience that needs to read it.  They will not like it.  They might ignore it.  They might get mad about it but there's something we forget when we're scared -- we're not the only ones.  What if your audience is equally scared of you?  What if they need courage to talk to you about issues, complaints, personal dilemmas?  In the long run, wouldn't we all be better off by being courageous enough to show some vulnerability.  Sticking up for something you believe in strongly is hard because you're showing someone your hand.  You have given them power because they now know how you truly feel.  On the other hand, you have taken back your voice -- and that, holds all the power in the world.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stuff I've Learned

Lest you think I have resting on my laurels for the last six months, I thought I'd provide a list of things I've learned since my last blog post to prove that this time off was not for....naught.  So, without further ado, stuff I've learned since disappearing from the blogger world (most of which, has absolutely nothing to do with blogging): 

1. Never over trust a fart. 

     a. Sub rule: You should work really hard to only fart once in yoga class. 

 --If the sub rule seems unnecessary, you have clearly not been in a recent yoga class at the studio I have been going to.  I am a firm believer that happen and once in a while, especially in those standing separate leg stretches, you just feel relaxed.  It's inevitable that things will slip out.  What I don't understand is the multi-farter.  Were it me, I'd tamp that shit down after the first whoof.  If they are loud, multiple and Buddha forbid, stinky -- I think perhaps it's time to call it quits.

2. A motorized bicycle is a perfectly suitable method to transport balloons.  It does not in any way impede the traffic flow or cause hazards to you or other drivers.  Nope - does not....will not. 

 3. If you own a bus in Manila, you are required to pee on the front tire.  In the middle of the day.  In traffic. 

     a. Sub rule:  You may also be required to urinate in the car wash stall of a private condo garage because, duh, the actuall WC you could use is at least three floors away and the chances of you making it there before you piddle all means, don't risk it.  Pee three feet away from my parking spot.  Why not?!
     --I will never understand the lack of pee pee control here.  I can't help but think of the countless times my parents uttered the words, "You should have gone before we left."  Does that never occur to these folks?  I mean, I get it...traffic here can be horrendous and you drive for a living but surely SURELY there's some way to plan effectively enough where you are not forced to pee in full view of motorists at the corner of Makati Ave and Ayala. 

4. There is absolutely no way to explain to someone who doesn't live in Manila why it is so frustrating.  

     --We have tried to narrow the explanation down in to one or two little pithy phrases, "It's the land of not quite right," or "It's the little city that could...but didn't".  I have learned that we are in a privileged and exclusive club.  You're probably not in the club and that's ok -- keep never know.  There is nothing quite so fulfilling as complaining about Manila with someone else who lives in Manila. To become a member of this club, several things must occur in your life.  You must spend 3+ consecutive days in traffic for no less than two hours each way.  You must have gotten in at least two wrecks where the vehicles involved were not going over 3 miles per hour.  The thought must have occurred to you that, with half a tank of gas and 3 miles to travel, you probably should have gotten gas.  Why?  (see traffic requirement above)  And that's just life in your car.  There are approximately 725 additional pre-requisites for membership.  We are really really selective. 
5.  If you aren't an anti-social person, you might become one in Manila.  

     --I gotta say, if you don't live in my building, it's gonna be real real hard for us to be friends because it'll be a trash free day in Burgos before I leave the comfort of my apartment to get back out on the streets just to have drinks with a friend or see a movie.  If you have been lucky enough to score my time outside of the general Salcedo area, dear....have broken through.  Congratulations!  And if you're the one who has left your neighborhood to come visit me, well...I am truly honored. 

6.  One working elevator in a building with 36 floors and 4 condos on each floor is probably not going to go well.  

     --Don't even get me started on what would happen if there were a true emergency on the 32nd floor.

7.  Paris fixes everything. 

     --Frustrated by the complete lack of selection and general frustration brought on by shopping in Manila?  Just apply one super sweet husband and the city of lights and, magically, you're cured.  Christmas in Paris 2014 -- best.idea.ever. 

8.  The beach (and other Philippines getaways) acts as the same sort of mental health medicine. 

     --It is true what they say, you will like the Philippines much more if you don't allow Manila to be your only window to its soul.  We are making dedicated efforts to get out of town these days.  Failing that, I also enjoy staycations in my apartment -- putzing around in my art room, playing with Cassie, going to Yoga etc.  The point is, wherever you are, you must pretend as if you're NOT in Manila.  And...go...

9.  Yoga is my new best friend.  Shout out to Yoga+ Makati!!  

     --They are not preachy or bitchy or snobby.  Their classes range from relaxing to really challenging and they are less than a block from my front door.  Sold!  'Me time' is almost never better spent than at this Yoga studio.  
Yoga+ Philippines

10.  Salcedo Saturday Market is STILL the best thing about living here. 

     --Returning from Paris meant I was back in the mood to cook which could have also meant that I was mere seconds away from a deep depression.  The grocery shopping has gotten better here but you still can't find everything you need.  This weekend though, I was able to find fresh sage, rosemary, ground cloves, and....the creme de la creme???  Fresh Fennel!  Last night I made Italian Wedding Soup.  Tonight, sweet potato and cauliflower fritters.  Thank you Salcedo Saturday Market...thank you!
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens; Photo credit from
11. BONUS:  Life is an adventure and no matter what happens, you just gotta keep living it.  Be grateful for what you have.  Rant about the things that bother you to the people who will forgive your ranting.  Find joy in the little things.  Adapt.  Overcome.  Thank the stardust super being, yourself, or whatever you believe in that you are still on this side of the top soil.  It's all one big circus and I don't know about you but I'm happy to be one of its acrobats/clowns/ring leaders/monkeys.  :) 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Don' me babe!" Pamela Anderson - the feminist activist???

I have recently started listening to one of the greatest podcasts ever --How did this get made --which is essentially a review/summary of HORRIBLE movies discussed on air between 3 cohosts (who are also comedians) and usually at least one guest.  Some of my favorite reviews include Sleepaway Camp (which you can watch in its entirety on YouTube), Roadhouse, and Over the Top.  Seriously, they are hilarious.  Go check them out.  I would recommend watching said horrible movie before you listen to the podcast for full effect but it's not necessary.  

As in the case of Barb Wire.  I have never seen nor will I ever see that movie but I did listen to the How Did This Get Made podcast where they discussed this trainwreck and it was...memorable.  The woman comedian on the podcast, June Diane Raphael, is not only hysterical but she also lends a sympathetic tone to the podcast...usually acting as the lone defender of some of the most awful movies in history.  That's not to say she likes the movies.  It's more that she's trying to find the one redeeming quality where redeeming qualities are in short supply.

"Fans of gratuitous side boob, you're in luck!"  -- that's how the podcast for Barb Wire starts and it should give you a good idea of where the conversation is headed. That is, until June decides to find the elusive redeeming quality of the movie which is apparently Barb Wire's role as....a feminist?!?!?  Listening to June attempt to defend this hypothesis is priceless.  Do yourself a favor and download this podcast. 

The kickoff of June's defense of Barb Wire as a feminist (and the reason the conversation took this turn) was based on the visceral response Pam Anderson aka "Barb" has any time someone calls her "BABE": 

On the flip side (and perhaps the more honest version of events), one of the other cohosts, Jason Mantzoukas, calls Pam Anderson a, "stone cold dumb dumb," -- a phrase he uses frequently but which is most appropriate within the parameters of this movie.  

Whatever your stance, take a listen.  If you're really brave, watch the movie too....and let me know how it is. 

I don't know whether it's the copious breasticles, the big hair, or the satin gloves but this TOTALLY screams feminism to me!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Leave me alone!

....or, why every store in the Philippines is like walking into a Havertys.

First of all, I feel like I should apologize.  I made a commitment to publish one blog every month and I have obviously failed.  And to add insult to injury, I don't even have anything nice to say.  

Here's what I do have to say, "Why can't they just leave me alone??!!?"

You know that sinking feeling you get when you know you need to go shopping for a new couch or La-Z-Boy but you would rather get a shoddy root canal than enter a furniture store?  Well, multiply that by a BAJILLION, and you'll have some idea what it's like shopping in the Philippines.  

I'm sorry.  Ok, you know what?  I'm NOT sorry.  I recently made up my mind to minimize the qualifying statements I make and just stick to my guns.  So, here goes.  I am NOT sorry and this sh*t is ridiculous.  

Perhaps a more specific comparison is in order?  Imagine, if you will, walking into your favorite Target on a sleepy Saturday morning.  No one has really gotten out and about yet so it's pretty much just you and the people in line at the Starbucks in the front of the store.  You have no particular agenda though you do want to remember to get hairspray and deodorant.   Or wait...let's go with slightly more embarrassing....tampons and dandruff shampoo.  You grab a cart not a basket because you just want to stroll.  You don't need the weight of a basket on your arm...keeping you from browsing with reckless and relaxing abandon. With your gingerbread latte in hand and the world of Target in front of you, off you go!
Yes. More than anything in the whole wide world.

{Scene setter for below:  Please don't delude yourself...this did not happen at an open air market or a low-end mall/store.  I'd expect this type of behavior at a market or bizarre.  Easiest way to imagine the following is to pretend it happened in a hybrid Nordstrom/Target.  And go......}

Suddenly, your dream turns into a nightmare.  Before you've even picked up your (sad joke of a) basket, a security "guard" tells you to put your newly purchased hot coffee in the trash -- "No drinks" he says.  Apparently, this does not apply to the rich local lady with her brood of children and helpers and any number of assorted sippy cups and McDonalds fountain drinks.  You glare at him but throw your coffee away anyway.  Two steps in, you're accosted by salesmen with perfume.  Five of them.  Immediately in your face.  In your workout clothes with sweat still drying, perhaps you look like a solid mark...this lady NEEDS perfume.  On the other hand, YOU ARE IN YOUR WORKOUT CLOTHES!  WHO THE HELL NEEDS PERFUME IN THEIR WORKOUT CLOTHES?!?!? This is where you begin to rely heavily on the cover of your iPod.  It's not even that loud but you pretend you can't hear anyone.  Wish it worked the same with eye contact. 

Onward you are determined.  Perfume boys be damned!  Two feet later at a small display, you are greeted by someone who clearly cannot see the lines of personal space surrounding you and though she's practically IN your ear, she ignores the iPod and says hello anyway.  Oddly, there's no offer to help.  She just stands there....waiting.  "I'm good,"  you say, "I don't need any help right now."  She smiles but doesn't leave.  So you do.  

But you are not leaving this store yet. You are so tired of being forced to buy things online.  You will succeed in this mission.....for hairspray...and nail polish remover.  Whatever the cost, you WILL succeed.  

The real shit thing here is, they have some good products at this place.  You want to browse and somewhere deep inside, you need to browse.  So you try.  You wander over to the haircare area, excited to see the beach hair spray that you've been buying on line all this time.  Who knew?!  But then, she's back.  And you don't know if it's a new she or an old she though, given the one to one shelf/salesperson ratio, you suspect it's a new she.  She's behind you.  You feel her there.  You initially try to ignore her...hoping she'll go away...for her own good.  The frustration is starting to bubble now and you're honestly afraid of what you might say to this poor unsuspecting saleslady.  But why the hell does she follow you??!  "Hi," you say, "I don't need any help. You can go back to what you were doing." She smiles but doesn't leave.  You keep walking.  She stays right behind you.  "Stop following me," you mutter under your breath but definitely at a volume she can hear.  She takes one step back, stops following you but doesn't actually leave.  Now she is pretending not to watch you but you can feel her eyes on you.  At this point, you think you might be going a little crazy. 

What started as a stroll with no agenda is morphing into something you can't escape fast enough.  Dreams of casual shopping are dashed and you begin to hasten through what would have been...should have been....a relaxing experience.  You rush to nail polish aisle, doing your best to stave off more aggressively friendly and ever-present salespeople.  You pick out two colors that, let's face it, will look hideous on you.  Then it happens, you see your very favorite brand of makeup and it seems as if, for the moment at least, NO ONE is around.  You shuffle over, keeping your head low and your podcast level high.  You have time to touch one.damn.eyebrow.pencil and she's on you.  "Hi ma'am!"...smiles, awkward smiles.  "Hi," deep sigh, "I don't need anything.  I'd let you know if I did.  You can go." SHE MOTHERGRUBBING STAYS!  You practically yell, "Fine! I'd have bought something if you would have left me alone!" You don't stay to watch her smile wither into well...a less awkward smile.  They never stop smiling; it's off putting. 

You just remembered you still need tampons and  shampoo but you can't imagine the hovering that would ensue so you bury that dream deep....real deep.  As you sprint to the cash register, just wanting it all to be over, you can't help but glance over to several missed aisles.  You are tempted to keep looking around and then you see them, lurking behind the aisle of your favorite B.B. Cream and you think to yourself, "I am gonna buy the shit out of Amazon when I get home."

The end.

P.S. As a result of above, I am determined to come up with some funny ways to handle salespeople here.  I don't want to be mean.  It sucks to be mean and I'm really no good at it but sometimes I do get frustrated..especially when I try to be nice at first but people don't listen.  They are not going to change.  For whatever reason, this is the way they do business so I have to figure out new ways to handle it.  I can't just let them follow me's too much to bear.  Any ideas?!  

Found this little illustration at -- what do you think? 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Did I mention it's the LITTLE things that make life so wonderful?

Of COURSE I did.  It's what this blog is all about after all.  Simple pleasures.  Life's little gifts.  Things that make me/you/us smile, laugh, snicker, ponder, wonder, cry, shout, question and just generally appreciate the seemingly diminutive moments and things that make every day worth living. 

So the subject of today's little thing?  Arugula.  

You heard  me right Arugula is the source of my joy today.  Wanna know why?  (Here's another thing that's great about blogs.  You can answer the question above any way you see fit but no matter what you say or think, I'm gonna keep right on typing.  So it's a win/win.  Navigate away or keep reading....we all get what we want.)  

Oh lord - I can tell digression is going to be central to this posting.  It's been WAAAAY to long.  So here's why Arugula keeps making me grin.....

My sister and I (and any number of other family members who shall remain nameless) were recently thrust into a very emotionally tumultuous event.  While tugging on each other's bootstraps in the midst of a number of melt downs and frustrating moments, my sister and I shared not one...but several moments of bliss centered around a humble little edible plant -- arugula -- also known as eruca sativa, rocket plant, rucola, and  rocquette. 

Let me back up just a bit so that I can confess a total lack of knowledge regarding the vast variety of leafy bits that make up our salads.  I eat A LOT of salads and generally speaking, before now, I could really only point out a couple them by name: iceberg, romaine, cabbage, etc.  Every Saturday I go to the market across the street from our condo.  One particular Saturday not too long ago, I picked up some very large leafed (is that even a word?) arugula.  I felt confident I had arugula prior and it looked innocent enough -- but really, who puts a taste value on leaves?  I mean, don't we all judge a good salad by the OTHER things on the salad?  Nuts, chicken, dressing, raisins, eggs, etc?  Well, no more my friends!  Because now I know the greatness of arugula and have started what seems to be a cult....of two.  

I enjoyed my salads so much the week after I picked up the arugula at the market (oh, btw, try arugula in a rice wrap....AH-MAZING!), that when my sister and I were shopping for some groceries for our mom, we bought a HUGE case of baby arugula.  That afternoon, my God-fearing sister became a worshiper of a new God....the God of lettuce everywhere.....ERUCA SATIVA (or to us simpletons...arugula).  Yes, I've gone off the deep end and no, I don't mind if you come with or visit occasionally.   I tell you what though -- I think my sister was way ahead of me in the "gone off the reservation department"....talking about eating it by itself as a snack...and how fabulously nutty it is.  I think she told her poor daughter no less than 17 times how great arugula is and how central to her life it had become in just a few short days.  Preach on sister! My niece? NOT impressed with our new found devotion to the leaf.  We will have to work on specific initiation rituals before she is allowed into our cult.  Perhaps arugula-laced banana shakes???

For my sis' benefit and anyone else who gives a whooey, here are some wunnerful qualities of arugula.  One point of contention though, the below article describes the taste as peppery but I'm with sis on this one....nutty...through and through.

Health Benefits of Arugula

And if you really want to annoy people with your expansive eruca sativa knowledge, take a looky loo at this: 

the language chef - arugula

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wanna feel something? dirty minded children, not literally.  I meant, do you want to feel something in your heart? 

Because if you have a couple hours to spare and don't mind letting go of some of your belief systems....just for a little bit..... have I got a movie for you!

The Broken Circle Breakdown

Seen it? No?  Well, get out there and watch it.  I KNOW that it will not be for everybody but it should's that beautiful.   Then again, maybe it's just me.  Maybe it's my bipolar, ADD, belief system and life experiences that made this such a moving experience...but I doubt it.  I think it fits a lot of our least, a lot of the people I've known over the years. 

There is nothing to compare it to though perhaps it's a Steel Magnolias meets Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Meet Joe Black meets O' Brother Where Art Thou.  That was too many "meets" I know - so sue me.  It's a Belgian film so be ready for subtitles but the music?  You don't need subtitles for that - the music is unbelievable.  Describing it as strictly bluegrass does NOT give it justice.  Please for the love of all things holy (no pun intended) do NOT let the words "bluegrass" and "gospel" keep you from watching this movie or listening to the soundtrack. When they do "If I needed you" together on's almost too much for a heart to bear.  

I don't want to spoil the movie...or the soundtrack by giving away too much.  I do want to say that a lot of the music and some of the emotions remind me of the people I love and of my childhood.  It would take too long and is perhaps to personal (even for me) to go into the context behind that.  Just take my word for it.  I will warn you that, no matter what you feel about religion or politics (there's a smattering of both in here), this movie will stir those emotions in you.  I *think* it's best viewed with an open heart and a willingness to understand that everyone approaches tragedy and loss differently....and that we should let them.  But that's just little ol' me....

It's not a perfect movie.  It tends to be a little disjointed and some might find it preachy (though not in the typical sense) but it's worth your time.