Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ninety-Nine Peso Finds

I love going to Book Sale and most other second-hand book stores. I especially love the stores where you get crisp hardbound copies at cheap prices. It doesn't matter that the books are just strewn in a box and you literally have to dive in to read the titles. Nothing like the triumphant feeling of emerging, literary find, in hand.

Found these books at National Book Store (CP Mall), for P99.00 each:

1) God is Dead by Ron Currie, Jr. - I've never heard of the book nor the author, but the title intrigued me. I read a few pages and I couldn't put it back. In the story, God disguises Himself as a Dinka woman in Darfur. He meets Colin Powell. Will tell you where this interesting premise leads as soon as I'm done.

2) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - still set in Afhganistan, by the author of The Kite Runner, which I loved.

3) Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman - I have yet to read a Neil Gaiman novel, but I've enjoyed the short stories in Smoke and Mirrors, another collection of shorts.

4) Play Dirty by Sandra Brown - I don't know about you, but sometimes, I have to buy a book just because of its author. I've been reading Sandra Brown books since college and though I've outgrown most of her plots, I still have to buy her books. Heck, for less than a hundred, who cares?

I reserved the following books. I didn't get them yet because I wanted to check the reviews.

1) The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold - I coudn't put her other book The Lovely Bones down, and I don't want to be disappointed, so I thought I'd check first.

2) Saturday by Ian McEwan - again, I was hooked on Atonement, so I'm not sure if this book would be an affirmation of McEwan's greatness or a letdown.

I don't know about you, but I think I'm ready for the lazy days of summer - just reading a good book when the KiDS are taking their afternoon naps.

Note: Photo above are books currently on my bedside table. I have yet to read them. I think there's more under the bed including The Birth of Venus. LOL. Saving all my books for a rainy day...or sunny day, if you will.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scrapping Where I Can

Arrggghhh...March is almost over, I can smell summer in the air (my skin practically sizzles in the heat), and yet, the KiDS still have classes! Most of my friends' children have been off on vacay since two weeks ago and yet here we are, still reviewing for final exams next week. Kinda feels like those last few days on your ninth month of pregnancy. Can we have it over and done with already?

I'm looking forward to lazy days at home when I don't have to get up at 5 in the morning and just enjoy time with the kids. Most especially, I look forward to scrapping in my own space, in my own time.

I am a work-on-one-project-at-a-time scrapper. Sure. I'm great at multi-tasking, but with scrapbooking, it has to be a linear thing. Print picture, select papers and embellishments, scrap, and don't go to bed until done. I hate having the sun rise on unfinished layouts.

But the last few weeks, I had to be a bit flexible if I wanted to scrap at all. Since we were spending most of the weeknights at the studio, I had to be creative. I had to learn to scrap in bed. I had to be content with knowing that I will not be able to finish a layout to my satisfaction, not when most of my stuff are back home. I had to learn to work on several layouts at a time.

And that's just what I did. The upside is, I've started on at least eight layouts. The downside, I haven't finished one. Maybe when summer officially starts in April, when we're just home, I can finally finish them.

In the meantime, DH has been more productive than I am. His first short film will be shown this Saturday, March 28, 2009 at the MDAFI in Antipolo City. Thirteen other short films by his cohorts will be shown. Doesn't his poster look great? I swear this guy can do anything he sets his mind to.

Watch out for this batch of talented filmmakers. They will be the best in the industry. Yabang ba? Hehehe. Seriously, many of them are already making names for themselves in television and the movies. DH, who is undoubtedly a freshman, sure is in good company.

Not to be outdone, I've been productive, too. In the kitchen. Well, all of us have to have our own creative outlets. DH's is movies, mine is food. The world needs both. Will share the goodies with you at my food blog.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's Barbie's Birthday

And in honor of her 50th year, I am sharing with you an essay I wrote for Good Housekeeping. It was published (in a shorter and much expurgated form) last September 2008. This is the unedited version. The airport incident was cutoff from the published article. I knew it would be but I just couldn't resist adding it because 1) it's a true story, and 2) it was really hilarious.

Bringing Up Barbie

While we were pregnant with our first child, my husband and I agreed that if it will be a girl, we will never buy her a Barbie doll. We believed that Barbie is not really an appropriate toy for little girls. For one, she is not cuddly and we thought, would hardly raise caring feelings from our little girl. Two, we wouldn’t want to be inadvertently raising a fashionista with the Barbie clothes and accessories. Three, Barbie, we believed is a more appropriate toy for older kids who would enjoy dressing and undressing her with all those pretty clothes.

We also believed all the psycho-babble that Barbie will bring out inadequate feelings in our daughter, seeing how she (Barbie) is so perfect. Blonde hair, blue eyes, big breasts, small waist, wide hips, long curvy legs. (Really! Who looks like that? I never looked that way even pre-partum.) Our daughter was still in vitro and already we were worrying about her self-esteem. Plus, Barbie is a big commitment. You buy even the simplest Barbie doll and pretty soon you will have to buy into the whole package – clothes, accessories, play sets, cars and houses for little Miss Barbie.

And so we agreed. No Barbies for our would-be girls.

Our first child turned out to be a son. I am bothered that my husband and I never had a discussion about G.I. Joes. But that’s another story.

Anyway, it wasn’t too long before we had a second baby and this time it turned out to be a she. We bought the usual pink stuff for her, and thankfully, no Barbie. Success! All went well in her plastic doll-free world until she started pre-school. All the other girls in her class had Barbie bags, Barbie shoes and Barbie lunchboxes. They even had Barbie books in the school library. Much as we tried to shelter our child, she had to grow up one day and face peer pressure. That most misunderstood of all creatures – Barbie.

We never thought much of it as first. We thought Sarah was one happy child. She never asked us to buy her a Barbie doll. Until one day, we had a visitor in the house, and she told our guest, “You know what? I have a Barbie.” Our guest pretending to be interested in what a 4-year old has to say asked, “Really? What’s her name? (Yes, she really asked that.) Sarah just looked at her with a painful confused look on her face trying to deal with this disturbing fact that it seems not everyone knew Barbie.

Now we were more concerned that our child was playing with an imaginary Barbie than we were of the evils that actually owning a Barbie doll might bring. But still, we didn’t want to go all the way to actually buying into the whole enterprise. These dolls don’t come cheap as you know. So my husband came home one day, with a blonde blue-eyed Barbie knockoff. Except for the unusually big head, it had the same big hair, big breasts and big hips as the real thing. But never underestimate a child. Sarah took one look at her and promptly proclaimed, “That’s not Barbie.” “Oh, but this isn’t Barbie”, we tell her. “This is her cousin, Barba.” She looked at us with suspicion but she was more curious over the toy than figuring out her crazy parents. And then she was quite content to play with her doll.

Barely 24 hours later, Barba’s big head was nowhere to be found. Her breasts have been squeezed into her chest. And our little girl was bawling her heart out. It seems that in our pursuit to save money, we were actually going to be shelling out more. We had to get the real deal, which is more expensive but undoubtedly prettier and presumably more durable. My husband and I again had a discussion - what good are we as parents if we were to give in to something we swore would never be in our daughter’s toy box?

But then again, I saw how my daughter played with Barba. She certainly didn’t think of her as a fashion icon. She played role playing games with her. Barba was an older sister to her other dolls. She had Barba going to work as a teacher and doing mundane things as washing the dishes and doing laundry. Certainly at her age, she wasn’t thinking of being blonde, blue-eyed and sexy. She just played with the doll as she did any of her other dolls.

And so we gave in. We took Sarah to the toy store, and the awe and glee in her eyes were well worth the P500 Barbie. When our friends heard that we were fine with Barbie they started giving her Barbies for birthdays and Christmas. And soon, we had more Barbies than we could handle. It wasn’t as painful as we expected. But oh, do watch out for those little Barbie heels. So small and yet so painful if you stepped on them with bare feet.

When my sister in the U.S. learned that I no longer cringed from buying Barbies, she asked me to buy her the Manilena and regional Barbie dolls. She’s an avid Barbie collector and I even got her the more-expensive Patis Tesoro ones. I went to the US with a balikbayan boxful of local Barbies. I took pains putting different gift tags on the dolls just in case U.S. Customs questioned me about them. But the Patis Tesoro doll, I hand carried, as I didn’t want the box to be squished during transit.

At the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where they ask you to turn on your cell phones and laptops, and search every nook and cranny of your hand carried items, the security lady took a lot of interest in my Barbie doll. She opened the box (oh, no! it’s no longer mint in box!), pulled Barbie out, removed her shoes, looked under her skirt, copped her breasts. My horror turned into amusement as I realized that even Barbie couldn’t escape the prerequisite body search.

Ah…the joy of playing with a Barbie doll. Sarah has a coterie of Barbies, paired up with Kens, and sister Kelly. She even has a grandmother. But the funny thing is, for all my worries, she plays with her dolls like she would a regular toy. The interest also easily wears off, and soon the Barbies are back in their boxes again minus those nasty heels which always seem to end up under my poor feet.

I still have to be persuaded to let her wear Barbie fashion though.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Or trying to be. Sharing some layouts I made last month. I feel like I'm back in first grade.

Book Lover

This is Diego in one of his favorite places in the world (Fully Boooked Serendra). That's why the journaling reads, "You'd live in a bookstore if we let you." I had him list books he's read, his favorites, and books he wants to read in the note cards and inserted them in a filing envelope.

Getaway Cruise

Just used one DCWV patterned paper here and the Argosy Cruises brochure. I think they were more than enough. This is the prerequisite souvenir photo before boarding the ship. I tired to simulate waves with the blue ric rac tipped with silver glitter. Pa-effect. Hehehe.

Thanks for looking. I wish I could scrap more soon.