Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Mom is Diagnosed with Cancer of the Parotid Gland

Si Nanay - ang pinakamagandang babae sa lahat. Nang bata pa ako number 1 fan ako ni Nanay. Feeling ko kamukha niya si Amalia Fuentes. Maski na tinutukso ako ng aking mga kaibigang putik at classmates na napulot lang ako sa basura dahil hindi ko kasingganda ang Nanay at mga kapatid ko, wala akong naramdaman na resentment or inggit.. Sabi nga nila, a thing of beauty is joy forever. Makita ko lang ang Nanay at mga kapatid kong magaganda tuwing magising ako sa umaga, buo na araw ko.

Mahilig siyang magluto noong bata pa kami. Hindi nya tinantanan ang aming portable oven hanggang hindi niya na perfect ang chiffon cake (or angel cake ba yun?). Champion siyang gumawa ng native puto at kutsinta from scratch, mula sa pag giling ng bigas or galapong, pag gawa ng lye hanggang serving with matching kinayod na niyog. Nanalo pa nga siya ng 3rd place sa isang recipe-writing contest.

Magaling siyang mag decorate ng aming maliit na dampa. Ang gaganda ng kanyang mga orchids, makukulay at matataba ang kanyang mga halamanan. Sunod sa uso ang mga damit naming magkakapatid, magaling ang kanyang fashion sense, although hindi siya tunay na kikay mag ayos sa kanyang sarili - baby powder at lipstick lang beauty na siya.

Marami kaming di pagkakaunawaan noong naging teenager na ako hanggang nagkaasawa na ako. Pero habang tumatanda ako, naunawaan ko ang Nanay. Naging magkaibigan na kami.

Si Nanay, ang pinakamagandang Nanay, pinaka kalog na Nanay, tao lang , hindi perfect...kaya noong matanda na ako, saka ko nadama at na appreciate nang husto ang pagmamahal niya.

'Nay, sana hindi na magtagal ang pains mo....magkakasama din kayo ni Tatay sa langit. Mahal kita 'Nay.

Please pray for my 86-year-old mom who is diagnosed with parotid gland cancer after she was hospitalized from swollen throat. Turned out she also had a mild stroke. Because of her age, the doctors advised against chemotherapy or physical therapy. She was brought home today at my sis' house. Please pray too for my sis' strength in taking care of Nanay.

The Girls Who Had Fun

What do you do on a Sunday morning, with  typhoon Ofel banging at your windows, making your ceiling drip with brownish water and you decide to watch TV or go check your email and f****g  sh*t, there's no cable TV, nor internet connection.  Whom do you call?  Not ghost busters, silly.  Friends, that's what friends are for.
So I sent text messages to my BFFs, Nory and Lory and zoom, we went to the base, or what's remained of it after the American soldiers left 20+ years ago.  Of course, business is thriving again.  We've recovered after you, American soldiers left us, abandoned us......okay, okay..I won't be emotional.  I was not here too, I left to work in Saudi Arabia too.  But that's beside the point.  So we still call it The Base, any complaints?

We went to Ralli's Grill and Bar, probably the most overrated place in the base.  The food was outstandingly ordinary but the prices are spectacularly high.  Congratulations Ralli's, you have good marketing people.  We are so sophisticated as regards music so we were contented with the elevator jazz music.  Just lower the volume, please...it disturbs my ear wax...excuse my French, dear gentle reader.

I like the company, Three's Company too, you know.  Yeah, yeah, I'm old.  You young reader, you may not remember that TV show, but who cares.  I said I love the company.  We're all average-looking, not flashy, not seductive, not alluring, we are just girls out to have fun!  It's a relief to be in the company of  friends you could just relax and have fun with, and not be concerned whether you look like a boxer with your sleeveless blouse, whether your fingernails are painted and pointy, and who cares about the weight.  My hubby thinks I look like a race horse, and that's good enough.

I don't like to be in the company of fully made-up young girls who think that sophistication means smoking cigarette and holding it in a vertical way, blowing smoke your way while checking out if guys find her attractive enough.  Go home, and sleep young girl.  You need your brains to grow.

I don't like middle-aged women  dressed like their teenaged daughters, leaving nothing for imagination.  I am tired looking at the cellulite on the thighs, displayed  in full glory with the very short shorts or the micro mini skirt.  And I get chilled in a negative way looking at the plunging neckline where I don't see any cleavage at all but bones sticking out.  Grow up, eat protein, grow old already. 

Those two kinds of company, I don't like to go with.  Because with that kind of mind frame and self-image, one look at me and  they smile with condescension - at my love handles, at my unbuffed  fingernails,  my rubber shoes, etc.
So we BFFs, had a round of drinks after the average food with spectacular price and decided we've  had enough and we look for a better hangout.  Who cares if there's almost zero visibility with the rain pouring hard  and strong winds blowing our umbrellas away.  Lory, a great lady, our good friend,  kept driving despite the floods.

Next destination:  Gerry's Grill.  San Mig light for Lory, screwdriver for me and pineapple shake for Nory.  The grilled squid was divine. Okay, we had two orders of those.  We would  be bursting if we eat more.

Next and last destination:  Pier 1.  Vodka Cran was ok, Halo-halo (mixed sweets with crushed ice and milk) was good for Nory and Lory.  Okay, Banana Margarita for all of us too......Cheers!

Okay ladies, time to go home.  I have to watch The Buzz (local showbiz talk show). Hopefully there's cable TV now

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Sweet Tita Cinder

She had the sweetest smile, reminding me of delicious pineapples she served after lunch. She always treated me as a VIP, whether I was a young girl , a rebel student, young housewife, hardworking single mom. My parents spoke to her in Tagalog, when actually her dialect is Bicolano; Tatay spoke Ilonggo and Nanay spoke Tagalog. She spoke to my baby cousins then, Maritess and Josefina (Little, they nicknamed her) in English, Tagalog and Ilonggo. She was a sweet person, with soft melodic voice and gentle ways. I wonder if ever she screamed or raised her voice when she taught in class, as she was also a teacher.

 The earliest memory I have of her was when we visited them at La Granja. She served us juice and pop corn for our snack. I thought she was pretty cool. I think she served us adobo for our lunch. I was maybe 3 1/2 years old. We took pictures afterwards - that's why I remember some details of the visit. Maritess, Little and I played with dolls. She always encouraged us to have our summer vacation in their house. She also allowed her children to have their vacation with us in our house in Isabela. Our childhood mischiefs and stupidities elicited only laughs and good-natured anecdotes to be told to our parents later.

She had eight children over the years. Tragedy in her family started when Little became a victim of hit-and-run, and died just after she graduated from college. The whole family, the whole clan grieved with her. Years later, Uncle Memong, her husband died. Shortly after, her eldest daughter, Maritess, died when the ship she was aboard sunk. Maritess was found very near an island, meaning she was able to swim quite a distance to the direction of the island. After this third tragedy, Tita Cinder had a stroke, was half paralyzed and was not able to talk. Through physical therapy, she was able to make sounds but her speech did not return to normal.

Patsy and I, her 3rd and only daughter now that the older two had died, bonded like sisters. Her sons Boboy and Sonny had been generous to me and my daughters. Second to my own family, they are my closest relatives. The usual family competition that is a trademark of some relatives did not happen between our families. I attribute that to my sweet Tita Cinder who always showed by example that cousins are looked after, not competed against. Yesterday, Tita Cinder transitioned to the other world, to be with our Creator, to be with Uncle Memong, Maritess and Little. No more pain and suffering for her.

Tita Cinder, or Estela Escobedo Palis to many, your gentleness and generosity of spirit is unparalleled. I will miss your sweet smiles and soft-spoken words, but surely you're happier now where you are. Hugs and kisses to our loved ones there in heaven.