Saturday, June 18, 2005

Moving thoughts

Spent the past weekend moving to the new house. Nothing much to move since we lost everything we owned last year. As luck would have it, my new credit card was approved just the week before and we put it to good use. It was swiftly maxed as we bought things for the house: pots and pans, basins, eating utensils, a dining room set. From a garage sale we managed to find a bed, a refrigerator, and other stuff. Im still thinking of getting that microwave oven from the garage sale but they said they'd reserve it for me for a few days. For the first three days we ate on boxes on the floor; the dining room set woud be delivered later. It was like having a picnic.

We dont have cable TV yet. And without it, the kids were playing outside, they were reading, they were drawing, they were talking and exchanging ideas. When we had cable, all they did was veg out in front of the TV and I had to beg them to please go outside and play.

I nearly killed myself climbing the avocado tree. I was trying to reach a huge avocado and I climbed the neighbor's wall with the panungkit and the piece of wood I was stepping on gave and I was left hanging by my fingertips on the crags between the hollow blocks on wall. Needless to say, the kids were impressed. Then later I was back on the wall and I pulled another avocado from the tree and lost my balance. Good thing I still had the panungkit. I used it to prop myself up for a few precious seconds before I fell. Time enough to choose my landing spot. I managed to avoid the rocks and landed on a soft spot... on my feet, none the worse for wear. The kids were in awe. They havent seen anybody's dad climb a tree before. And they probably havent seen one make a perfect landing.

The previous owner, I dont know.. he either was a slob or he absolutely loved vegetation. The yard was crawling with weeds and grass. We spent three days cutting the grass and on the fourth day, I gave up and hired someone. The first night we were there, Isabel saw a snake while she was watering the plants. She screamed, "Snaaa-a-aake!" I thought it was cool that we had snakes. They'll keep out the rats and mice. Every morning, after doing some yard work, I take the kids out to try and look for the snake. We'd pull up a rock and hoped the snake was there. No luck so far. The grass has been cut and it didnt have a lot of hiding places anymore. I hope it didnt decide to leave. What we did find were lots of mealy worms and slugs. In Bangkok I tried the deep-fried mealy worms they sell on the street and they tasted like kornik. I wondered what the mealy worms in our yard would taste like. I seriously thought of frying a few up, but they were brown. Not the pale ones I ate. Maybe next time. We also found a lot of slugs. The thought of frying and eating the slugs never crossed my mind. But come to think of it, I do eat snails so why not slugs, which are just snails without the shells?

Moving wasnt traumatic for me. It wasnt for my kids either. If it was, they werent letting on. No complaints from them. They were their usual spirited selves. I dont know about their mom though. Their mom just flew in from Masbate and on the first day, theyve already driven her to tears of frustration when they made a mess of the bedroom. She's the kind of person who lets things get to her. My kids are like me--we take things in stride. When they used to make a mess in the house, I let them tire themselves out with what theyre doing before I tell them to fix things up. Less stress for me and them. But the move was the reason I havent been blogging. It took a huge chunk off my savings and I cant think of anything else. Not because it took a huge chunk off my savings, but because I didnt think I had enough to start from square one again what with payments for school and all. I have a very cavalier attitude towards money. I think I dont give it enough respect. When we lost everything last year, It didnt affect me at all. I just shrugged and said, Those are the breaks. My wife and relatives were more affected than I was. I dont know, maybe it's because I dont think I'll ever get old. I always think I'll have time. Maybe I should change that attitude and start thinking that I'm getting old and soon I'll die. But thinking that would stress me out and would kill me faster. So no thanks.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Justine Henin-Hardenne is back.

At a time when women's tennis was dominated by the Williams sisters, a frail-looking Belgian teenager burst onto the scene with grit, pluck, and the sweetest backhand in professional tennis. And Im talking about both the men';s and women's tours. She's the single reason why I switched from a two-handed backhand to a one-handed backhand. After Henin-Hardenne showed me how it's done, I now think two-handed backhands are sissy. I never liked the Williams sisters style of play. It was all power, all athleticism, and not enough elegance. Looking at Henin-Hardenne, you wouldnt give her a chance against the big, strong players like Venus and Serena, Or Davenport, or Mauresmo. But then she started consistently beating Venus and Serena, and I started becoming interested in women's tennis again. Maria Sharapova helped too of course, for reasons that had very little to do with tennis. In 2004, Henin-Hardenne saddled by various injuries, Sharapova made women's tennis a bit interesting, mainly because of the media hype about her supermodel looks.

Henin-Hardenne won't be a multi-media superstar. She isnt photogenic. But put a racket in her hand and watch her weave her magic.