Who am I?

S vintage star
S filipina now living in california
S obsessive-compulsive... make that compulsive-obsessive... no, obsessive-compulsive
S cold all the time (literally)

current terror alert level
Terror Alert Level

Why is Life Cold?

i actually have a very happy life. i just saw this graphic one day and got an inspiration for another blog. why not write about the stuff that makes life cold? from the huge, catastrophic, life-altering events to the seemingly trivial, little incidents that rub you the wrong way. it doesn't have to be a personal experience, it can be something observed.

on writing these down, my intent is to learn to appreciate life more and have a better handle on things when life throws you a curve ball. i want whoever will read this to contemplate, not get depressed. hopefully, you'll share with me your experiences as well so we can learn from each other.

p.s. it doesn't always have to be cold

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Where I Go When I Feel Life Getting Cold

S Memento
S Jo's Forum
S Shai Coggins
S pinayexpat
S joyceline
S piehole (a very funny girl)
S Din's World
S pinayhekmi chronicles
S Linnor
S Tin
S kwentong tambay
S deja brew
S denden
S mushings
S Junkville (never fails)


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Rock My World

I felt the earth, move, under my skin. The sky didn't tumble down (thank goodness). I was replying to a customer email yesterday when I suddenly felt everything circling clockwise, including me. I quickly recognized it - we were having a true-blue Norcal earthquake! I was actually enjoying the freaky motion and just when I started getting panicky thoughts of "will this get bigger and stronger?", it stopped.

Just another day in the Bay Area.

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 9.29.2004 7:31 PM. |

Gone for the Gold

Last Saturday, hubby and I attended an aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. There was a mass, a sumptuous lunch and yes, karaoke. Which actually wasn't that bad because there were two great singers (one of them a professional from the Philippines) who thankfully performed a lion's share of the songs.

I had a great time, seeing the cousins I grew up with in Manila who are now based in Phoenix, Atlanta and Australia. We all used to live in the ancestral home that was three storeys high - they were on the third floor, our family lived on the second floor, and two other families occupied the first floor. Since there were six siblings in their family, there was never a dull moment in that house. My brother and I loved hanging out upstairs, only coming down to eat or sleep. I'm especially fond of my cousin from Australia since she's closest to my age and was my idol growing up. You know the little kid who follows you around and does whatever you do? That was me with her. I would copy the way she she wrote, the way she drew, the way she spoke, the way she dressed, the way she baked Pineapple Upside-down Cake. It was unfortunate that she has moved away when I finally perfected my version of the Pineapple Upside-down Cake.

I also caught up with my cousins who live in the Bay Area but I seldom see. It's funny I feel so close to them, since I read their blogs regularly, but when I see them in person I get all clammy and don't know what to talk about, that I end up bringing up the most inane topics (like calling my dog stupid when I knew they were dog-lovers). [If you're reading this, this is my way of apologizing for being a blubbering idiot last Saturday. Believe it or not, I'm shy around you guys.] Oh well, I've got a lot of time to make that up.

When some cousins started to sing the YMCA, I left the room to go out to the patio and joined my husband and an uncle. They were talking about golf and I tuned out. I suddenly felt gloomy. My mom will never celebrate a golden wedding anniversary. My brother and I won't get to tell the world the valuable lessons we learned from our parents growing up. Family and friends won't have the chance to sing cheesy love songs as tribute to our parents. My future child will not get spoiled by Lolo Junior.

I snapped out of it and went back in to join the party. I let Billy Ray Cyrus blaring from the speakers drown out my sorrow. Nothing like watching good 'ol line dancing to get your mind off your achy breaky heart.

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 9.27.2004 8:45 PM. |

And Now, a Word From our Blogger

To those of you who posted comments on I Never Did Like Coconuts, first of all, thank you, and second, I have replied to you. I have to write to tell you because I'm not good at responding timely. I love getting comments (don't we all?), but I'm still getting used to blogging, so forgive me?

To the rest, where's the love?

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 9.22.2004 7:16 PM. |

A Study in Contrast

This past weekend was a study in contrast. Saturday was chock-ful of activity, while Sunday was marked with lethargy. Saturday started with a 9:00 soccer game. My s-son's team, the Bulldogs, beat the Jaguars, 3-2, in a very exciting game. S-son's mom and I sat together and caught up with each other's goings on. In a strange (or maybe not-so-strange) twist of fate, her family and mine have a lot in common, aside for the obvious. This is probably why we get along well, better than the usual ex- and current relationship.

After lunch, hubby, s-son and I headed to his baseball game. While I enjoy watching soccer, baseball is too drudging for me. Maybe because it takes 2 hours longer than the hour of soccer? At the game, I brought long-overdue pictures of the flower girl at my wedding that her mom, who's the wife of s-son's baseball coach, has been asking for. I thought I'd show her our wedding album as well, so I brought the pocketbook version of it.

I sat next to s-son's mom again, and we picked up where we left off. Next to her is another baseball mom friend of ours, Angie. When s-son's mom asked what was in the package, I told her it's Shayna's pictures from our wedding. She lit up and asked if she could see them. She loved the pictures, and I tentatively asked if she would like to see the wedding album. She said "of course!" and she and Angie snatched the book I took out from my purse. They both loved the pictures! Then Angie said, "You know, we've been to many weddings over the years, I must say, yours was the best we've ever been to by far." I felt myself blushing and thanked her, but got too awkward that I told s-son's mom, "you know I really wanted to invite you, we just felt in the end we didn't want you or anyone else to feel uncomfortable." She said "I wouldn't have! I would love it, but I understand." So, disconcerting moment passes. They ask me more about the wedding, like where I got my dress, where I found the magician for the kids, and who did the beautiful album, etc. S-son's mom asks me "so, what's your wedding song?". I said "Oops, I Did it Again." She burst out laughing. "Good one!" That's because hubby has been married thrice before me.

So baseball time flies by with the three of us chatting, to be joined later by Rosemary, the flower girl's mom. We talk about anything and everything, from the boys' teacher to our vacations, from Survivor to Rescue Me. After the game ends, with our Baltimore Orioles shutting the opposing Red Sox out, we rush to a BBQ to the soccer coach's house, sort of a 'beginning of the season' party. I got to another round of socializing, with soccer moms this time, and at 9 pm I said goodbye to our hostess because I had a lot of housework to do. I leave hubby and s-son at the party and walk home, which was 2 blocks away) and start cleaning the china cabinet we just purchased. Although I ran out of Pledge, I'm happy with the results.

Hubby and s-son didn't get home until midnight, and by then I have bought velvet flatware storage and yards of flannel lining for the china over the internet and was just watching recorded shows from ReplayTV. Hubby told me about the rest of the party, and we watched several Reno 911's and Chappelle Shows before retiring at 2 am.

Sunday was veg day. Yup, a study in contrast. Hubby and s-son played Halo most of the day, and I just lounged around and saw more ReplayTV shows (I watched about 10 hours of TV, without the commercials of course). I justified this indolence with the cramps I was suffering due to my period. Around 3 pm I felt guilty and decided to clean my room. I got rid of a trash bag full of clothes and the same amount of paper (why am I subscribed to all these magazines?) At 6:30 pm hubby rounds us all up and we eat a not-so-healthy dinner at Dairy Queen.

Later that evening, when I found myself alone again, I couldn't concentrate on the book I was trying to read. My thoughts kept coming back to my husband's ex-wife, envisioning how it would have been if she was at the wedding. I imagined what it would be like to watch the man who vowed to love you 'til death do you part make the same promise to another woman, who is having the happiest day of her life.

I would've died inside.

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 9.21.2004 9:45 PM. |

I Never Did Like Coconuts

A Filipina co-worker of mine hurriedly entered my cube the other day. I can tell from her agitated state that she had something big to share.

"Have you seen that Filipina-looking chick who's helping Finance audit for Sarbanes Oxley?" she whispered.

I shook my head.

"Well, I ran into her in the cafeteria and asked her if she was Filipino. Know what she said? 'I was born there but I'm not Filipino'. Then she turned and walked away."

My jaw dropped and then we both started laughing. I told her next time she sees this girl, trip her and we'll she if she cusses in Tagalog (the Filipino language).

There is nothing I hate more than Filipinos who are ashamed of their nationality. Okay, that's not entirely true. I hate war, Bush, serial killers and some other things more. But it really makes me sad when I see Filipinos deny their "being Filipino." I don't mean those who were born in the United States of Filipino parents - although, I must admit, they used to irk me too. When I just moved here in the States and excitedly asked a Filipina-looking co-worker where in the Philippines she's from, she replied with "Oh, I'm not Filipino, I'm Hawaiian." When I met her husband a few years later, he introduced himself as Filipino, and claimed that his wife was too, but she grew up in Hawaii. Over the years, I've come to understand that Filipinos who were born here or spent most of their life here do consider themselves American, with no disrespect meant to their Filipino roots. That's just fine with me.

But going back to the girl who was born in the Philippines but is not Filipino, now that's the breed I take issue with. I am as mentally-colonized as the next brown being, embracing anything Western, but I have never and will never deny that I am Filipino. [The timing of that bold statement is ironic because I just sent my application for American citizenship to the US INS this morning.] Despite my dying my hair brown, trying to get rid of my accent, and applying for US citizenship (which is honestly just to avoid the hassle of those immigration lines whenever I travel), I am a Filipino in my heart, soul, bituka and balun-balunan. And this makes Filipinos who don't consider themselves as such not my friends.

I once had a co-worker (again!) who, although she introduced herself to me as Filipino, followed it up with "I'm a coconut - brown outside but white inside." Oh heavens! I've heard that connotation before but I never thought I'd actually hear it from someone! Later on, I heard that this lady owned an apartment complex, and she didn't rent out to Filipinos because "they tend to have a lot of family over". Oh hell! She has every right but please, don't let me meet any more people like these!

The Philippines is the world's second largest producer of coconuts*. I've never given that statement any thought until now.

*Socio Economic Research Portal

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 9.16.2004 10:18 PM. |

Same Indifference

My blog is piling up with drafts that will never see the light of publishing day. My Laborious Weekend post was actually cut short because of a last-minute shopping trip with my mom to Target, and on the way there she got the very sad news that her mother died that morning. Since my grandma is in a province in the Philippines, she got the news via a text message on her cellphone. I don't know if that's worse than when I found out about my dad's passing away from messages in my answering machine, but I'm sure it's no less devastating. We turned the car around and headed to our church to pray, but it was closed due to the Labor Day holiday. So we just went home and she started making the dreadful calls.

Another event that made the whole world cold and prompted me to begin another draft was the tragedy in the Russian school seized by a group of terrorists who held hundreds of children and some parents hostage. The footage of the day-to-day events of this crisis was chilling, the newspaper accounts horrifying.

Yet another draft I started was about the anniversary of September 11, surely a cold day in our nation's history. I found myself deleting more words than I wrote, that I finally gave up any hope of an articulate output from these attempts.

Why can't I finish these posts? Because I am a cold, insensitive being. I did get sad for all these events, but they did not touch me as I think they should have. I felt bad that my mom went back home to the Philippines without seeing me shed a single tear for my grandma, whom I knew but wasn't close to. But I didn't want to fake it.

I remember when I was younger and wanted to cry, either to elicit sympathy from adults or because it was expected of me somehow, I would shut my eyes hard and think of the saddest thing that could ever happen to me. Most of the time, I morbidly thought of my mom dying, and that almost always did the trick. This time, I didn't dare use that trick to make myself sad for grandma's passing, it is just too scary to imagine.

As for the Russian crisis, I was detached from it the whole time. I did watch the news, read the papers and felt so sorry for the kids, but it was just another unfortunate event in the other side of the world for me. It didn't affect me as much as September 11, 2001. Three years ago I cried at every news story, prayed all the time, held my loved ones closer, thought a lot about my own mortality.

I was a warm, sensitive soul back then.

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 9.13.2004 9:01 PM. |

Laborious Weekend

I am so tired. From all the running around and packing this long weekend. I have always thought it paradoxical that worker bees take the day off on Labor Day, but hey, I'm not complaining. I definitely needed this time to accomplish a lot of to do's.

This weekend is extra busy for me because I have my mom and my brother staying with me. We started Saturday with brunch at the Harbor Cafe, one of hubby and my favorite haunts down in Santa Cruz. We proceeded to my in-laws' deserted house at Pebble Beach to pick up entrance passes to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We ended up staying longer than we expected because they're having problems with the ReplayTV we gave them for Christmas and we didn't leave until we fixed it. Then we headed out to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is always a good touristy place to take visitors to. I took some pictures of the fish, especially the sharks and some humongous yellow-fin tuna, but I was disappointed the sea otters were asleep. My brother, s-son and I were banging on the glass to wake them up, but they just rolled over and didn't even open one eye.

On the way home, I got hooked on my s-son's Bop It Extreme 2 game. His high score is 230 and I got up to 124, then he wouldn't let me play with it again, lest I beat his record. He, my brother and I played Pass It and we all had a blast (I could tell my hubby was getting jealous because he always tried to mess me up when it's my turn). Even my mom couldn't resist and tried her hand at it when we all got pooped. I always thought it was a kid's game and now I plan to buy my own (shhh, I'll try to beat 230).

Sunday we went to mass after having breakfast at home [I made sure the whole family went to a morning mass this time]. Then I took my brother and mother shopping at his favorite store whenever he comes to visit - TJ Maxx. My credit card got hammered again after buying clothes and toys for my dear nieces and nephew, plus of course a few things for poor 'ole me [hee hee]. I swear, one of this days, my credit card will jump out of my wallet and run away. I've been using it like it's free these past days.

Sson, who's so averse to shopping, was so cute. After mass, when he found out I was going to go shopping, he asks if my brother really has to go. They've gotten so close and he loves playing Halo on Xbox with him. I said my brother's the one who actually wanted to go shopping. He says that can't be right - boys hate shopping.

We then picked up hubby and sson had a very late lunch at Dairy Queen, after we found the Vietnamese and Japanese places we went to closed (it was only 3 pm!). That turned out a welcome treat, because it was one-hundred-four-freakin-degrees in San Jo, so the blizzards were lopped up fast.

We then dropped by the SJ airport to confirm my brother's reservation to Mexico, and found out that his secretary (I think they still call them that in the Philippines), failed to move his flight, so he was scheduled to leave the following day at 6 am! We were all bummed, especially sson. We all thought he had another full day with us.

When we got home, my mom, hubby and I finally started packing my hubby's ex-wife's china. I've been meaning to do this for years because my own china is still in their boxes and serve as an eyesore lined up on our kitchen wall. My mom told me I wouldn't get around to it without her, so I caved in and rolled up my sleeves (figuratively, because wearing sleeves in this weather would be idiotic). We wrapped each piece in bubble wrap and were very, very careful. Her china was very beautiful, it even matched the kitchen walls. One moving moment was when sson bounded into the kitchen and asked what we were doing. When I told him, and he asked why, hubby said "to make room for Vangie's china, because she is the mother of the house now, and we should've done this a while back." I was worried how he would take it, but he just shrugged and proceeded to help us, because he wanted his dad to play Halo with him. I was relieved, hugged him and then shooed him away because I cannot risk having a single piece from this exquisite china broken. In the end we had 4 huge boxes of delicate china on our kitchen floor. It's up to hubby to transport them to the ex-wife.

Monday morning we all took my bro to the airport. It was 4:30 am so we were in our jammies, and sson insisted on coming even though he couldn't even open his eyes. We saw him off, went home, and went back to sleep. Didn't wake up until 11:00 am.

To be continued...

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 9.06.2004 3:38 PM. |

Foot in Mouth Disease

My brother arrived this morning from the Philippines (yay!). We're just a Labor Day weekend stop before he heads off to Mexico to setup a branch of his office there.

He has brought goodies for the whole family. As for the stories from home, two in particular struck me. First of all, a distant cousin of ours who has licked breast cancer suddenly had a heart attack and passed away. I didn't really know Ate Annabelle. I just remember her from when I was small and we'd visit them and she would be assigned to babysitting us kids because she's the youngest in their family. But a death in the family is always a big blow. She was in her early forties, pretty young for all that tragedy. May you rest in peace, Ate Annabelle.

The second story is a little lighter, although it disturbed me too. When my brother and sister-in-law attended my cousin's wake, an uncle they don't see often asked how many kids they have.

"Three," my brother replied.

"Oh, and I see you've got another one in the way."

That comment would've been fine except for one problem - my sister-in-law isn't pregnant. My brother chuckled at telling this story, saying that as expected, his wife went on a diet the next day.

I chuckled too, but then I tried to fathom how my sister-in-law would've felt by imagining that someone said that to me. Not good. I feel even worse because I have made the same mistake. At a party several years ago, I gleefully congratulated this lady I just met for her pregnancy. In my defense, her midsection was unusually large, akin to a 7-month-pregnant woman. Plus I've overheard two other guests discussing their surprise that this lady was "on the way." Since I'm not good at small talk, I went for the obvious. Except this time, the obvious wasn't true. I was so humiliated but probably not as much as she was. I swore I'll never presume anything of that sensitive nature again.

I need to go text my sister-in-law some cheer.

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 9.03.2004 6:57 PM. |

Lobster Lust

The other night I saw the Red Lobster commercial on TV and I suddenly got a hankering for lobster. Since I don't know of any decent lobster places around here and hubby and I don't like going to the city, I dragged him and my mom to Red Lobster for dinner tonight.

They both suspect my craving is due to the fact that I'm infanticipating, but I really was just enticed by the commercial. And from Philippine folklore, I thought preggy craving meant for something weird like salty bananas or blue mangoes. I told them it's too early for that, and then slipped my husband a look that said "we better get going with that baby-making business soon".

Since I haven't been to Red Lobster in about five years, I was surprised by two things. First, that sucker was expensive! I thought it would be in the Olive Garden or Applebee's range, but their entrees were $20 and higher. And of course I had to get The Ultimate Feast, because I had to have me lobster! Second, the food was actually good. Red Lobster has been getting a lot of flak for their "fresh" food. I know it's one of Jay Leno's favorite monologue victims. So I was pleasantly surprised with the quality. The shrimp were so-so, but the lobster and crab me liked.

My meal was served with a ladle of drawn butter, so when we got home I made a beeline for the bathroom. Nope, I didn't get cold tonight, but sick instead. My tummy's still scowling at me as I type this. Hmmm, maybe Red Lobster does deserve the flak. Oh well, I had a good experience, so I'll definitely be back.

In about five years.

Vangie Fuhrman got cold on 9.02.2004 10:29 PM. |