"It’s hard to imagine the Golden Record being made now. I wish Carl Sagan were here to say, ‘You know what? A thousand billion years is a really long time. Nobody can know what will happen. Why not try? Why not reach for something amazing?’ There is no way to forestall what can’t be fathomed, no way to guess what hurts we’re trying to protect ourselves from. We have to know in order to love, we have to risk everything, we have to open ourselves up to contact — even with the possibility of disaster." (BrainPickings)

And I love these words from Penny Lane, creator of Voyagers, which, as BrainPickings sums up, is a short film about how Carl Sagan fell in love (“A thousand billion years of love, or what the vastness of space has to do with eternal mixtapes.”). Click on the above link to watch a preview.  


Dear Journal-Keeper:

Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.
- Joan Didion


Tita-santa for Christmas

My nephew gets the gift he's been yapping about for weeks. His reaction? Priceless (yep, that credit card company definitely did their market research). 


What do you want?

Magic. That intangible, illogical thing; that desire to make each other's lives more fun, happier, a little bit more wonderful.

A safe place. Knowing that when you communicate it is without judgment, that you can just say anything, be your nice/ naughty/ evil/ bright/ dumb/ witty, all your different selves, with this person because you're in a safe place, just as he/she is. 

Fascination. Nervousness.

Stories- of getting lost & figuring out the way, of remembering what you nearly forgot, and of finding things you didn't even know you were looking for.

Integrity, most of all with the self.


If this is reaching for the stars, I don't care. We'll get there in time.

Getting the Pun

Someone once told me:

"Sometimes, fate plays a silly joke on you and there's nothing you can do about it. Your reaction has already been pre-programmed: there's no room for complaints. The only thing fate wants to hear from you, at that moment, is laughter."




What we were up to last 12.03.2011. 

"Make You Feel My Love," Adele

Remembering Lola Opets

The first time I met Lola Opets, I thought she was a boy. Her cropped hair, her standard button down shirts, her usual black pants, and the sneakers- these were different from the more feminine shirt/ pants/ short hair look another aunt sported. For one, Auntie Pesa looked mighty flat-chested and moved quite briskly. Really, to my 4-year-old brain, she was more like my Uncle This-and-That rather than the two aunts who were my early pegs of what women are supposed to be like. It's not as if she could talk and explain her womanity to me- she doesn't talk, period. She uses the American Sign Language (ASL) to speak. Auntie Pets was my first exposure to androgyny (fashion-wise) and to a life with a definition of "normalcy" different from  you and me.

Instead of being pitiful, my aunt's life had been fascinating. She did not go traveling off to distant exotic places, but she's been to different nooks and crannies of Metro Manila. One would rarely find her home: she's usually at a friend's house or at a relative's ("She ate dinner at Uncle Ben's because they were having crabs tonight") and though this could be a cause for worry for her sometimes overprotective siblings ("Fairview? She's in Fairview?!" I remember hearing from my Auntie Claire one stormy night who was frantic because they had no clue where she was), all the worrying was just something my Auntie Pets dodged or flat out ignored.

I was a kid around the time that Auntie Pets was working at the restaurant that employed deaf-mutes in Luneta. And as my Dad loved taking me there, it felt like we had a special access pass because we knew a Luneta insider, yo. Her friends would take me to the playground and would give the most expressive smiles. Being a spectator to their world was quite fascinating for a child- all those people who communicated using frantic hand gestures and movements, chattering, complaining, gossiping without sound, just like birds.

When she retired from waitressing, she had a Christian phase where she was very active at a deaf-mute church. This was simultaneous with her caretaker phase, the period she stayed home the most voluntarily because she was the one in charge of a nephew, taking him to and from school, in charge of his needs- and take care of him she would, she won't let a raindrop touch his head if it were up to her.

Lola Pesa, taken March 2006

Auntie Pets had her vices-- food that can spike the blood pressure (crabs, anything ginataan), regular bets on the lotto & ending (a very able taya-ero, she keeps several lotto and ending permutations that she religiously bets on and from time to time wins from), kept a few quirks (she likes caps, things that light up and shine like flashlights, giveaway bags with banks' or businesses' names emblazoned on them) and insisted on sometimes irrational habits (cropped hair with bangs, always with bangs, meticulously cut fingernails, except for the nail on her left thumb which she kept long, refusing to throw away mementos- she has a lot of Guy and Pip fan art). My Aunt, because of the liberties her being deaf-and-mute afforded her, was an adult but stayed child-like most of her life. She was a refuge when things got too heavy.

Auntie Pets was also a reminder: though her "handicap" had always been present, it was never a limitation. She kept a lot of friends who are still around to this day. And if the rumor is true that once upon a time she also fell in love, I wouldn't be surprised- she's just the kind of person who won't say no to life, despite the incapacity to speak verbally and the conservative Tsinoy household she moved in, who, if it were up to them, would rather that she stays at home. The fact that she didn't, that she insisted on being out and about, has always quietly inspired me.

When she moved in with us because of stroke, it was saddening to see she can no longer walk or move without assistance. It was heartbreaking when she can't use the ASL anymore because her signing hand had been paralyzed. Slowly, we see her forgetting how to communicate. But the lesson really is to refuse to be engulfed by pity. Because of what she can't do, her quirks intensified (insisting on keeping a few precious objects by her side & throwing a little fit when she can't reach for them) and so did her silent little rebellions to stay in control (giving money to her caretakers even when she was told not to, refusing to eat bland food). Alongside these, the appreciation she would give back when you give her a few moments of your time to sit and run through numbers with her (she loved to count), to do silly salutes, to show her photos, was precious. She gave the most love-filled smiles, the most forlorn look when she realizes she no longer remembers certain things, and the funniest grin of approval whenever I'd bring around friends or a boyfriend.

Among us Filipinos, our usual attitude towards handicaps is one of wishing that they have a supportive family, that a "supportive family" is the blessing, as if they're burdens. Auntie Pets is one example that we have it wrong. We're looking at it backwards, really, because it was her presence that had been the gift. It was she who was the blessing.


Lola Pesa

This weekend, a tattoo, a long overdue article, a meetup with a friend- all in the hopes of pushing back what I don't want to face just yet: a goodbye.

And then this morning, a plea- to please buy clothing the aunt will wear for the last time, forever. A request like that just crumbles whatever fortification one has set in place.

She was the bright light in this household. Death is coming for her any moment now; we watch as her blood pressure slowly drops. We're just waiting, really.

Yet, no matter how matter-of-factly I can say that, there's still this sadness and the knowing that I will just  really miss her.


A Milestone

Today, got my first tattoo. Will upload a photo of the tat soon. =)