First a response to my dear mother and then to the Muppet news flash:
From: paula auclair
Date: Mon, 18 Jul 2005 06:53:19 -0700 (PDT)
So just let us know if she's well, black and blue?
She is well, and, as usual, she's wearing something with pink and white hues.
Are you and Diane recovering?
Yes, I think we're on our 1st step of the 12 step program ("there are things over which we have no control" -- basically translates to "Hey, you can't do anything about it, so why bother?" -- and they call this "recovery"?).
Sounds like the phils is quite the adventure.
Yes: an adventure for me, and an adventure for Diane. The adventure for me is the constant throng of screaming fans trying to rip off my shirt. The adventure for Diane is handling, with proper elan, my very rich imaginary life.
Also, let us know what phone number to call if we want to talk to y'all.
Ha! Like you're going to stay up to 7 pm to give me a morning call here? You do know it's long distance, don't you? 011-xxx-xxx-xxxx. Now, remember, if you get Manang, she ONLY speaks Tagalog, so any message you try to leave will be translated to: "Your mother called, she's dying, and I don't have a call back number for her." It's the same message even you happen not to be my mother, so good luck with that.
Don't suppose want is the right word.
Um, yeah, see above.
Much much love from me and beki's computer. uggh momma
Okay, so now for the Muppet news flash; dateline Sebastian residence, 3 green street, MM, Marikina Philippines (note to all, if you email is not working, that snail-mail address works just fine. hint-hint-hint).
So, we're back from Taal vista hotel (Taal: a lake inside a volcano inside a lake inside a volcano inside a lake -- it's very pretty). At day two we're doing wonderfully, thanks largely to Tata Omar ("Elena Marie, please don't hit Tata Omar; he doesn't like that") who appears to have inexhaustible patience and creativity, and the complete exhaustion the children experience at 7:30 pm (yeah, Isabel only wakes up, screaming that armor-piercing scream of hers (ya know, the one that busts eardrums and curdles blood in 0.3 seconds flat -- we've got her career lined up for her: the girl found in all those horror flicks that looks slightly off camera and gives that two-hands clenching cheeks Open-mouthed scream-to-end-all-screams screams) 4 times each night. Ah, well.
So, it's survival by schedule:
- 6:30 am: "we" wake up (Diane and the children have been up and about for some time by now, so when I write "'we' wake up", I really mean, "all of us are all finally awake". Got it? Good!)
- "6:45 am": we walk to Starbucks (Now, see, "6:45 am" is in quotes because it means "after I finish shaving" which actually means, "sometime after 7 am, but never, ever, '6:45 am'" (Now, "'6:45 am'" was in quotes in the enclosing parenthetical expression because I was referring to item header, and not actually an instantiated time, per se (and '"'6:45 am'"' is quoted ... blah-blah-blah))). It's a 20 minute walk, according to Papa. I get my double espresso, and we get stamps that count toward earning a "free" starbucks backpack (I often wonder, bemused, where advertisers get the gumption to promote something as "free" when you are required to buy a bunch of other stuff to earn this "free" item. That is not "free", that is a "by-product", or, to be logically correct, "accidental" ... well, at any rate, it's a really nice backpack).
- Apres sbux visit: cold-cold shower for Doug ... AHHHHHHH! (side note: after my visits to the Philippines, I think it should be mandatory for everyone from the U.S.A. to visit a third-world country. I think it would permanently color one's perspective; perhaps giving one a better appreciation for the many gifts that one has, like drinking water, like hot water, like running water, like elbow room, like a roof over one's head, like shoes, like food, like infrastructure and gas less than $10 a gallon ... ya know, simple stuff like that. I listen to some coworkers complaining about the state of the country on this point or on that point, and some of the stuff they say is just plain silly, given an exposure to some strident global issues).
- Lunch: meal-replacement bar (that has exactly 35% of everything in the RDA in it ... how do they DO that!) and fruit-vegie bar (that has about 35 fruits and vegies in it; reading the ingredients label is like reading the inventory of Whole Foods organic isle).
- That long period between lunch and supper ... uh-oh! what to do now? TATA OMAR TO DA RESCUE! And, also, sumo on cable is a very good soothing agent I've found (for me, not for the kids). Elena Marie did find bubbles, and great fun was had by all as she learnt how to blow just right and as Isabel made various attempts at learning the same ("No, Isabel, don't eat the soap!").
- Supper: cranky-sleepy kids that barely manage a few bites before dissolving into tears before being bathed and then lulled to sleep (not hard to do (the lulling) when they are asleep in 5 minutes).
So that's been the last two days so far. For lunch today, we're mixing it up and going to the mall (they have this awesome dim-sum place that I 'kinda' like. Reminds me of a story. We stopped at a rest stop with McDonald's and a Filipino restaurant. Diane: "Okay, do you want McDo or kani at ulam?" (literally: "rice and viande" -- meaning filipino food). Me: "..." Diane: "Okay, it's McDo". Me: "... but did you like it that I didn't answer right away?" -- point of the story: I 'kinda' like McDo. Another story. We stopped at a Bee farm (very nice excursion) and Diane asked, "Where else shall we go?" Me, right away, "What, you mean, besides Starbucks?" Everyone laughed.)
Okay, stopping short; gotta go.