Friday, January 25, 2008

stream of empathy

since hearing of heath ledger's death, i can't seem to get his former fiance (and the mother of their child, matilda), michelle williams, out of my mind... i really don't know a thing about her - the first and last time i saw her was when she played his young wife on brokeback mountain.

i think i know what it's like getting that kind of news. i can still remember sitting on the floor of my drafty garden apartment, getting the phone call that informed me that my best friend and her sister had died in a fatal car accident. i'll never forget how the world stopped revolving for a moment... how in the middle of a clear, blue september day. it felt frigid and sounded dead as any midwestern day in february.

i can't even imagine how she'll explain his death to their daughter. or how she and matilda will fill such a vast hole in their lives.

i heard that michelle williams was flying to new york from sweden where she's working on a film and i was curious so i headed to to seek more info and i found that she's working on a lukas moodysson film called mammoth:

"While on a trip to Thailand, a successful American businessman tries to radically change his life. Back in New York, his wife and daughter find their relationship with their live-in Filipino maid changing around them. At the same time, in the Philippines, the maid's family struggles to deal with her absence"

one of my fave actors, gael garcia bernal, plays the american businessman and michelle williams plays his wife. of course, i was very interested to hear more about this film with filipino actors (marife necesitos and martin de los santos) and the philippines in the storyline. i read somewhere that soon after shooting in sweden, the film crew would be shooting in thailand and the philippines.

and immediately, i remembered a vacation in cebu when i was a teenager... when i met a bunch of australian men on a surfing/diving vacation... who i mistakenly assumed and wrote off as "ugly" americans. after i got over my initial prejudices, they turned out to be very friendly, outgoing, vibrant and funny. and i thought to myself that i should really be less of an ugly american myself and elongate a future trip to the philippines to include a jaunt to australia...

and so i began to wonder if heath ledger had ever been to the philippines, since according to the australian surfers i met, aussies do like to visit the philippines... and i wonder if he had ever visited, if he liked it...

i wondered if the character that michelle williams plays will have to travel to the philipines. i hope she does as there's so much to experience, see and do there... and what if, heath had actually talked about someplace or something in the philippines that might have actually affected him or his perceptions...

which made me think of grace lin, one of my favorite children's book authors, who is sort of live-blogging a trip she's on, travelling thru china. last august, her husband passed away and she mentions her loss and her grief in a recent thoughtful, heartbreaking post on her new blog:

"And it is only from this vantage point, from way above, that I see what Robert had told me about Shanghai. He had called it a modern architect's dream, a city without any rules--allowing an architect to design his/her dream. Shanghai is an enormous hodgepodge of buildings, seemingly built upon eachother. And perhaps because I know how much Robert would have loved to have seen this, it is here that I see how much my life has changed. Faster than I had anticipated, I have created a new life for myself with a future that looks different than expected.

So, strangely, the pangs of grief I suddenly feel are not for myself but for him. It is for all the dreams he had that will not come true, all the plans he made that will not happen and all the things he wanted to see but never will.

I am glad, at least, I will see some of them for him. "

it's been over a decade and i still don't think i'm "fully recovered" from the sudden loss of my dearest friend. i don't think anyone ever really does. sometimes, i feel that her presence follows me around - she's bored out of her mind but still she follows. :) sometimes, days pass and i actually feel a little guilty that i haven't thought about her, when in the early days, she was never out of my mind... not. one. second.

i empathize with grace lin's thoughts and feelings in so many ways.... while i live this "unexpected future" - in all its brilliance and mystery. sometimes, i feel especially guilty that this present even exists for someone like me - who was not as bright, gifted and/or promising as my friend. sometimes, when i'm feeling especially pensive i ask myself what she would have done given a particular situation and find myself actually cracking a smile and supressing a laugh...

i sincerely hope and pray that as they grieve, heath ledger's family and friends will feel some comfort knowing that they are not alone in grieving and that they too will eventually recognize their "unexpected future" as the present and feel at peace.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

the legend of snowy hollow

overnight, it snowed here. a LOT.

before i went to sleep last night, i looked out the window and tried to imagine what today would be like. i don't know if i do this to psyche myself up or out.

i prayed that one of my generous neighbors/fellow preschool parents would offer to drive the paloma to and from school. because as most of you know i don't drive. at all. i walk. which for the most part is fine with me... when i'm by myself. and as 8:25 am rolled around (10 minutes past our normal departure time), i knew we would have to brave the elements.

as you know from experience (or can imagine), walking anywhere with a 4yr old and a 2yr old is difficult. add frigid temperatures, general morning crankiness and layer after layer of acrylic puffiness and/or gender neutral embroidered fleece (more than enough to choke a whale shark) and you could have the making of a perfect tantrum storm - times two - one fully mobile and one strapped to a jogging stroller that i'm struggling to push thru 2" of fresh unshoveled snow...

and then my kids surprise me. as they always do.

a sigh turns into a laugh while i'm being pelted in the head w/ poorly formed snowballs by a laughing paloma. despair turns into pleasure as the porkchop coos and points excitedly at the snowplows and salt trucks grumbling by.

the sun is shining and the sky is clear and blue and my faith in that silver lining bullsh*t is restored.

i present to you our headless snow angel...

Friday, January 18, 2008


needless to say, all of my sewing has piqued the interest of the paloma who asked me, a few days ago, if i could sew up a monster.

this monster (that she drew):

whose name is "oafeelya" :)

i really didn't think i could do it and yet:

i think i did....

IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

symphony in slang

days and days later and i'm still thinking and giggling over juno... especially how utterly idiotic i felt when i couldn't figure out what she and her bff were saying during a phonecall...

it reminded me of one of my favorite tex avery cartoons, "symphony in slang". i can't believe i actually found it! i had to share the goodness...

Silly Symphony 'Symphony In Slang' - Watch more amazing videos here

years ago, i actually owned a copy of this and other tex avery gems...

...on laserdisc.




Wednesday, January 16, 2008

say hello, loopita.

"hello loopita." she says.

yesserday... while i was finishing sewing up loopita's tail... the paloma looks at me (see HUGE blinking lightbulb over her head) and says, "MOM! when you grown up YOU could be a TOYMAKER! JUST. LIKE. *insert pregnant pause* SANTA!"

to which i should have responded, "child, who do you think taught santa how to shimmy down the chimney?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

can't sleep...

i went to bed around 10:30 and around 12:30 i gave up trying to sleep and figured i could try to get a post out...

i've noticed that my mind wanders most (and creatively so) around this time at night but after a full indoor day with the kids i have little energy or spirit to act upon any stimulus. so, i can't promise this will be interesting or thought provoking - apologies in advance...

some backstory - the thin man and i were treated to a mostly kid free weekend (tan-Q, mom!) saturday night, we got to double date with some friends of ours (whose daughter attends the same preschool as the paloma). i spend a lot of spare (ha!) day time with my fellow mom so it was fun to get dolled up and strut out on the town with our respective huzs' at our favorite restaurant, frontera grill. it was SO good that i think my tastebuds and stomach are processing the fives stages of grief.

then, my gal pal and i were ready to go dancing - she's a former salsa dancer and i'm a former lindyhopper.... however, our boyfriends just wanted to go home and watch football. which they did. we, in turn, found ourselves in a suburb, catching the last evening screening of juno. which was FAN-TAS-TIQUE! i don't remember another time when i wholeheartedly enjoyed 92 whole minutes of something. some random thoughts about the film:

1) i am SO old... that in the first few minutes of the film... i secretly wished that there were subtitles. i don't know twentysomething slang for sh*t.

2) there were actually cool (albeit quirky) asian high schoolers in the movie! su-chin, the pro-lifer buttinsky (played by valerie tian) and vijay, the gossip mongerer who vows to stop wearing underpants (played by aman johal) . thankfully, there was no foreign accent affected english spoken.

3) i was curious about the writer, diablo cody, and found that she hails from our fair metropolis, chi-town!

4) i could listen to the juno soundtrack over and over and over again... it's a shame that i've just learned about the moldy peaches - now disbanded. thankfully, the bandmembers are still making great music though...

5) i absolutely love how the dad explains how unconditional love can happen between two people without explaining how unconditional love can happen between two people. :')

anyhoo, on sunday... i also got to do a teeny tiny bit of thrifting... i miss it so much... and i scored a great vintage crafting book about making dolls and toys. i made the easiest toy - a snake (see above) - and it turned out kinda cute. so, i started to cut out a monkey and a mouse. i was thinking that i should name the snake and give it to the paloma. and i was also thinking, what should i name the monkey and the mouse? and then, i remembered that as a child i kept a mouse in a shoebox for a few days.

i often say that our tenants/roomates in our brick three flat were the roaches and the mice. i didn't mind the mice nearly as much as i minded the roaches. my mom would bait the little mousetraps with archway oatmeal raisin cookies. (i know - i can't tell you how nightmarish that was...)

mind you, we NEVER bought cookies to EAT. the cookies were specifically bought to TRAP MICE. yeah, my kids have it REAL good... ;)

by some strange happenstance, a trap caught a mouse by the tail. and by some even stranger happenstance, my mom said it was ok for me to put it in a shoebox as a pet, in the pantry. i dunno - maybe there was some guilt... over the mouse holocaust... or denying me cookies...

and for a few days, it was ok. i fed it oatmeal raisin cookies. i sang it lullabies. it let me pet it gently. it never bit me . and then, a morning or so later, i found that it was dead. :(

i hope you're well, mouse friend, wherever you are. you were very dear to me. i hope you forgive my childhood selfishness. when i make this new little mouse friend, i'll name him "shoebox" to remind me always of you.

ok, it's 2 a.m. now... i should try to get some sleep. if you read this far, thanks. :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

please pass the salonpas....

just an fyi - i have a new post up at filipina moms blog - please pass the salonpas...

i started writing the little ditty around 1:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon. i had to stop writing when the porkchop tossed his cookies around 2 pm. changed him, his bedding and started laundry... the day came and went. writing did not resume.

i went to bed around 10 pm and then, broke out in hives around 2 am this morning... so, i took some benadryl, snuck down to the keyboard and re-started writing the post.

then, around 4 am the paloma tossed her cookies. bedding/clothing change and laundry started again.

now? now, it's 5:17 am. i'm going to go upstairs to pretend i'm sleeping....


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