Working Man’s Best Friends, Summer 2012


Working Man's Best Friend, Summer 2012


Today’s Readings, June 23, 2013

Psalms 63(62):2.3-4.5-6.8-9.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
For you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
Like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.

Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
To see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
My lips shall glorify you.

Thus will I bless you while I live;
Lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
And with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.

That you indeed are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.


It’s TIP (short for This Is Personal — so may not work for you)  time.  I go through the readings before or after I hear Mass.  Before, if I have the time (like right now, while writing this and drinking my coffee).  After, if I was too distracted during the ceremony and my way of saying “Sorry, Lord” — was thinking of this and that.

I usually dwell on the responsorial psalms, which uses “I”, “me” and “myself” so it is helpful for reflection.  The first 3 lines describe what I feel at times, when I am amiss with my daily prayers or have not spoken to the Lord regarding my intentions for the day.

So, there.  You may wish to try it.  Works for me.

Today’s intention among others is for a happy birthday for my kid sister, Joanna.

And … thanksgiving for the great weekend I am having.  Thanks for yesterday’s message, Lord.

Have a Blessed Sunday, Ground.


Good Morning … What’s your name again?

ikabodNonoy Marcelo

I was having coffee (before 8am today;  time is an important element here:  the earlier it is, the more muddled my thoughts are) when I decided to greet myself good morning. Just a quiet greeting, not the loud kind that can compete with “I’m the King of the World“.   It is a very old greeting I used in the good “young” days (when my age did not merit a ‘po’ or ‘ho’) —- but the problem is I could not SPELL the last word of the greeting.  In my head is a mouse (whose name I cannot also recall) saying :  Good morning, Miawok!   The greeting was from the old comics strip, Nonoy Marcelo’s Tisoy.

Thanks to Google, my old mind said.  Go research for the mouse (even get an image!) and the missing name.  Unfortunately,  I went only so far to short references for  Nonoy Marcelo, Tisoy and Icabod Bubwit  (there you go, I now have a mouse, no relation to my Logitech).

Unfortunately, (o siya medyo tinamad ako),  I only went so far as Wikipedia can bring me (did not expand or go to too many links —- too early in the morning) and saw pictures of Nonoy Marcelo, who is the brother of my high school teacher.  I smiled when I saw his picture (which I will reproduce here and I shall acknowledge all who ones the pictures) —- feeling close, because we are within less than 6 degrees of separation type of relationship).  Ako – si Ma’am – si Sir Nonoy.  O di ba?  (Maybe, later in life, I can tell you about a similar thing with a former US president).

It reminded me of all the Tisoy comics strips I’ve enjoyed in the 80s … but couldn’t find any reference to the bully cat to whom the greeting was addressed a gazillion times before. It was in the mid-80s that I used this line “Good morning, Miyawok? Miawok?” (definitely not Mhiawhok … or Miawokh) to greet my boss. No matter what mood he was in (mostly dark to very dark), I’d say the same thing.  It accorded me a semblance of good communication between supervisor and slave at that time,  a momentary assurance that the day would go well (no matter what).  Eventually, in the corporate world,  I also learned that there are good days, then there are not so good days.  Just learn to forget the really, really bad ones.

My boss and I have parted ways for about more than 10 years already … and we parted as friends and to this day, continue to comfort each other during our low points with an exchange of jokes (his are mostly green, I wonder why) or memories of such happy, happy times when he was Miyawok? Miawok? and I was his Ikabod.
BTW, he never called me Ikabod —- to this day, his endearment is Grasshopper, in reference to Kung Fu’s David Carradine and to his Bald Master (feeling lang?) role in my life.  So knowing what you know about me,  pray tell me, if I am more of a rodent or an insect.

Such happy, happy mornings. Despite his occasional dark moods. Even on his very dark days. Even on my looney ones.

So now tell me … how is it spelled? Miyawok? Miawok?

An old, forgetful one, I have become. Too happy though to check out Google. This early in the morning.
Maybe later in life.

Happy weekend, everyone.

Photo credits: (L-R) Ikabod Komiks, PhP5 fun in Dagalandia,  salamat kay;  that’s the genius Mr.  Nonoy, brother of my former adviser and teacher Mrs. Emiliana Pascual, salamat sa

This Evening called FRIDAY

Friday. Friday. Thank God, it’s Friday.

Did you just sing that line?  I know you did. 

W.E.E.K.E.N.D … the problem with it is its shortness.  However, if it becomes a never-ending one, it may lose its novelty.

Gone will be the planning on what to do as soon as work is done and chores end.

Gone will be the thinking of options of places to go to and of fun things to do.

What to drink what to drink what to drink …. (weekends put this on repeat mode). 

Then there is also the downside.  Like tonight, I put out too much for the weekdays, am so tired to even do anything.  We had to have dance music on (80s so you have to imagine how bad it has gone …) just to keep me awake. To. write. this.

Funky Town.  When was the last time were you there?

Macarena —- do you have the right moves?  Too many arms moving ….

Best of my Love …. enough.  Sweet dreams now ….

Hope this is better than HA HA HA.  Aint a very good joke teller.

OK …. parting shot >>> For the Pinoys out there:

Q:  Ah, mukha ba akong pumayat?

             A:  Ah, mukha ba akong timbangan?

Sabi ko naman kasi tigilan na.  Nighty-night.




I am still enjoying dancing to the Best of My Love, hahaha!

Now its Fantasy!  Waaaah, 80s talaga!

Enough, enough.  Almost midnight. Have to head home.  I turn into a pumpkin at midnight. Hahaha.

It was a tough week for me too.  But this Friday evening more than made up for it.  What more can I ask for? Chocnut cake. 80s music.  More importantly, the company of my friend Home in their new heaven.

Salamat Home for adopting me this evening.  Muah!







Scene 10. The Treasure.

She was all of 5 years, but she seemed to have the wisdom of the old.

She thought that her favorite mug Muggy “died”, for it had lost its handle and could no longer be safe for use, or so said Mommy. She felt very sad — partly because it was Mommy’s fault. If only Mommy had taken good care of her mug, it would still be here today.

So she thought of burying it in their garden. It was after all broken, like some of the people whose wakes she had gone to with her mother. They were like dolls, you couldn’t play with anymore.

So off she went to their garden to find a nice spot for her mug and using her little plastic shovel, she started to dig a hole. Would Muggy like to be placed in a box or join Mother Earth as dust, she wondered? She decided that Muggy deserved a proper burial so she placed it in her old shoe box.

She decided that it was going to be a private ceremony, so she would have to play the role of the priest and the bereaved. No point in inviting Mommy to join as she wasn’t close to her mug.

Her eulogy went: If only Mommy had taken good care of you, Muggy … but I forgive her. I love you, Muggy. May you be taken to the Heaven along with all the other mugs Mommy and the rest of the mommies broke. If I broke you, you would know it was an accident. I will never ever, ever, ever forget you.

Three days later, Mommy got her a new mug. Muggy was forgotten. Forever.

Death Scene Solo Again

Scene 9.  The Reunion.

The Invitation.

I traced the single C embossed on the flap of the cream linen envelope. Inside was an invitation for a dinner party she is hosting at a quiet little place, with a promise to be among very close friends and family.  It even had a hand-written note:  “Please do come, my birdie (she still calls me that after all these years)!  You have always been my very best friend. – C”

The Memories.

It’s been 20 years since we’ve seen each other.  I have been busy: I left the country without saying goodbye to her and have been away for so long, without replying to the many letters she sent when she got my address from my mother.  Mama said C called her from time to time even if I was an absentee friend.  I never replied to her long missives,  stories about her work, getting married, being sad that she had no kids.  Not even a single postcard from me — I sighed.   I am surprised that she still considers me her “very best friend”.

I smiled remembering our good old days in high school — doing homework together, promising to get better grades (well, I did get better grades, she laughed at “the promise” — as if it was just a joke to get me to study harder), falling in and out of love.  It has been a long, long time.

Busy?  Well, I will have to find time, after all it’s been a long, long time since our graduation.

Need to buy me a nice evening dress —- it is after all our reunion of sorts.

The Party.

I came in red,  a color she has always loved.  Everyone else seems to have decided to wear neutrals —  shades of white, gray and cream.  I felt a bit uneasy about my dress,  more so, when I did not see anyone I know in the crowd.  I looked for my name plate and smiled to everyone in my table with the number 2 (Could it be that she remembered my favorite number?), near the small stage they had in the center of the room.

Shortly after,  a young lady came up to the stage to say that C could not make it to her own party but that she had prepared a video for such an eventuality.  Everyone went “oh” and “awww” and someone from our table said:  “She must be feeling weak again.”

I hesitated to ask the other guests, but one started to say, “I can almost imagine C saying, “Sorry to be the party pooper, guys.  Just can’t make it — too weak,  am dying, so don’t waste the food … have a good time.”

And another, “We’ve been praying together for her recovery but she said that she wasn’t counting on it.”  She smiled at me and then added, “Oh, you didn’t know?  Well, you see, ….”  but her voice trailed off since the video has started.

The Talk.

And there she was on the screen,  propped on a hospital bed,  a frail version of my friend, speaking with a raspy but happy tone:  “Hi, guys!  Sorry about this — didn’t know I couldn’t make it.  I hope you are all enjoying yourselves.  Hey, Birdie!  Don’t disappoint me now — are you in red at table 2?  Everyone, please … a round of applause for my dearest friend since high school.” 

I was so embarrassed with the introduction, but smiled to those who looked my way.  (Oh, C!  How could you?  Why did you not tell me —- or mama?)

Anyway, really sorry for this boo-boo.  Kree, my secretary, did warn me that it may be a tad too late for this party …. but anyway, I’m still here, I think” —–”  She paused for a smile directly to the camera.  “Was dinner any good?  I tried to get everyone’s favorite dish in the menu.  Hope you appreciate the effort ....”.

The screen went blank and then there she was again, looking so much better than the first few scenes,  giving instructions to her secretary:  “OK, Kree, The whole idea is to have all of my dear ones at this party. Have dinner, maybe listen to some music and then have this talk —- I will tell them that they need to change one thing about themselves.”

She looked briefly at her secretary as if she had said something offensive:  “No, no, no!  Don’t give me that look.   I’m not being mean here.  I am giving each of them a gift — call it feedback —- or the truth about each of them.  They still have time … I don’t so I am giving them a chance.  Well, don’t worry.  Some aren’t all that bad —- remember, the one who came here the other day — the one who brought her daughter.  Yeah — yeah!  You should know —- I’ll tell her about her halitosis.  Well, lucky her … I just couldn’t stand her bad breath.   One of them owes me money and he had not paid me yet.   I am going to tell everyone about him. ”  She chuckled.

The younger one said, “You know them better, some may feel hurt.”

It’s the truth, Kree.  Some will be hurt,  but I am being a friend … I am just being me.  They should know that about me by now.  They are my friends.”

The lights went on again and Kree took the microphone and spoke:  “Good evening, everyone.  Sorry but she couldn’t make it.  I will hand each everyone a goodbye note from her before you leave.  She said that she does not expect a reply —- please do whatever it is that she has suggested in her letter.  Thank you all for coming.”

The Note.

There it was again,  the C on the cream linen envelope.  I dreaded opening the note as she may have hurtful words for me —- all those long, lost years.

It was in her handwriting and it read:  I miss you, Birdie. I was just asking for your time.


Welcome back, Ground!

Back to Death Scenes (?)

Waking up early is not something I like, but the buzzing of my mobile was relentless. OK, ok it is time.

And so there I was – sitting snugly in one corner of the grey Innova, quietly eating the Toblerone I found in my purse – triangle by triangle. No breakfast, so this should do until we get to that place in the mountain.

For someone who does not like waking up early, I love the early morning sun light. Its gentle rays bring a peaceful feeling. My sun light. I sigh. This is going to be a good day.

I find myself lazily watching stretches of green – mountain, valley, trees — all green, made even more green by the light of the early morning sun. Yes, this is going to be a good day. I smile.

Soon enough we are going up a driveway – finally, the house on top of the mountain. It is an old house. Wooden staircase, wooden empty antique cabinets lining the second floor wall that do not seem to match the concrete veranda the hallway leads up to. More trees, more greens, more alive, more vibrant now in the light of the mid-morning sun.

And so there I was, once more, sitting with the rest in a wood panelled room, going through the rest of the day talking about big hairy audacious goals. Yes, this is going to be one wild roller coaster ride with everyone committing to buckle up to ride the loops and the dips.

I look at my watch. I smile. Our work for the day is done. I sigh. I stand up and look out, it is starting to get dark.

I check my mobile phone. Missed calls – a lot of them. My heart beating fast. I return the calls. My calls are not being picked up. I keep calling. No reply. My heart now racing. There is a feeling of dread as the night totally blacked out any trace left of my sun light.

Finally a voice on the other end of the line, “. . . have been trying to call you . . . seizure, stroke . . . unconscious . . . ambulance” I can barely hear the words over the ringing in my ears. I look around and there is nothing to see – what used to be green and vibrant is now black and heavy and lifeless. I blink my eyes and there are no tears.

I climbed the grey Innova confused. I look around and it is still black. After sometime, I look up with a pleading in my heart and I saw twinkling lights – stars, they seem so near. I have not looked at stars in a long time. I never imagined that the twinkling stars in the dark sky can calm my heart.

And then more glaring lights as we drove on, man-made ones that brought a familiar everyday feeling.

I am talking to my angel . . . “Babe, please watch over her, please . . .”

And so there I was, again, the sterile smell of the hospital overwhelms me. I know it is late. I find myself in the elevator repeating a number in my head over and over again because my mind refuses to think of anything else. The number is where I will find her.

But she is not there. She is in this room that has three letters – ICU. I dread these letters. These letters took away whatever little strength I kept in the drive from the house on the top of the mountain to this room.

I heard a voice, “ . . . she is sleeping, stable now”. I will not get to see her tonight.

The next days were touch and go – heartbeat suddenly dropping, assisted breathing . . .

I find myself talking to my angel more, I retreat to this space where only I can go. I cannot feel anything. I am present and yet not present where I need to be. I cannot find my sun light. There is no soft light that warms.

We are in this small charming chapel of roses for mass in a language and tradition that is forgotten by many. This has become a place of peace for me. I pray for strength here. I talk to my angel here. “Please continue to watch over her . . .”

And so there I was, finally, slowly opening the door stamped with this number I kept in my head. I see her half lying down and half sitting. She has a smile on her face, a smile that widened when she saw me. Trying to fight back tears, I go to her and kiss her and sigh a prayer of thanksgiving as I hold her hand.

As I sit down, I feel the light of my sun returning. “No, do not buy flowers”, she tells me. “I need disposable diapers . . .” And I know it is going to be OK.

Like you Home, I am also here to write. Only, this piece is not a creative exercise.

I am back.