Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Verdict on The Notebook

I watched "The Notebook" awhile ago. I've heard so much about it through media and my friends. A friend's sister commented that it was sappy and cheesy. Two priests, however, recommended the movie for its lessons on love. Once I've set my mind on watching a movie, conflicting reviews like these only ignite the desire in me to watch it myself and form my own opinion thereafter.

The verdict: it's just a movie. I doubt if it could ever happen in real life; at least not in the world I live and breathe in. Maybe I just could not relate with the female lead that's why it didn't affect me as much as other movies did.

The movie's not all that bad. It had its share of lines, such as "Your mother is my home", and moments, like the rain-soaked kiss. I would have to agree with one favorable review I encountered, that the movie teaches us that Love is a Decision. I would have to hand it to Allie because she decided to love, and did not simply give in to her emotions.

The movie resorted to several formulas, though. The supportive, ordinary, she's-not-the-one woman in Noah's life; and this other guy I can't tell you about unless you've seen the movie --> their martyrdom and heroism are straight out of Sleepless in Seattle (think Bill Pullman) and You've Got Mail (Greg Kinnear being sooo relieved that Meg Ryan wasn't in-love with him anymore), but of course with some evident bitterness. Rich girl-poor guy/ disapproving parents, hmm I can think of several Romnick/Sheryl movies along these lines. This is formula love story with great cinematography, a few good lines, and some intense moments.

I wouldn't go as far as agreeing, however, that it's one great love story. I've heard better stories. I've seen better movies. They may not have come true for me either, but they left me with a happier feeling in the end.

As far as my little world is concerned, then, this is the verdict. Perhaps I just watched with gray-colored spectacles. Or maybe I need to pray in order to believe in miracles.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

God Will Wipe Away Every Tear

I claim this not only as God's word for my new brothers and sisters in Lingkod QC after their CLP, but for me as well!

Revelation (NAB)
Chapter 7

After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches 6 in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation comes from 7 our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb."
All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God,
and exclaimed: "Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen."
Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, "Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?"
I said to him, "My lord, you are the one who knows." He said to me, "These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; 8 they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
"For this reason they stand before God's throne and worship him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.
They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, 9 and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Sunday, September 26, 2004

If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

Read by Madonna at the soundtrack from Il Postino

I want you to know one thing
You know how this is

If I look at the crystal moon
At the red branch of the slow autumn at my window
If I touch near the fire the impalpable ash

Or the wrinkled body of the log
Everything carries me to you
As if everything that exists - aromas, light, metals
Were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me

Well, now
If little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you
Little by little
If suddenly you forget me
Do not look for me
For I shall already have forgotten you

If you think it long and mad the wind of banners that passes through my life
And you decide to leave me at the shore of the heart where I have roots
That on that day, at that hour, I shall lift my arms
And my roots will set off to seek another land

But, if each day, each hour, you feel that you are destined for me
With implacable sweetness
If each day a flower climbs up to your lips to seek me
Ahh my love, ahh my own, in me all that fire is repeated
In me nothing is extinguished or forgotten
My love feeds on your love, beloved
And as long as you live, it will be in your arms without leaving mine

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Lazy Saturday

Finally, I downloaded Hello. Unfortunately the shots from my Nokia 6600 do not come out clear when resized. Will see what I can do. Perhaps I'll resurrect our first digital camera, the one which does not have a preview screen. Or perhaps I'll keep posting shots taken by other people. :)

It's a hot Saturday afternoon. I'm at home yet there's nothing good on cable. I've slept away the morning and I'm now faced with a gargantuan To Do List, most of the items of which are overdue. The more I stare at it, the lazier I feel.

It's as if I'm waiting for something to happen. Something unexpected. Something exciting. Something which I neither planned nor executed. Something that would make me feel good.

If it doesn't come, I'll get out of bed.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Scent of a Woman

I have never been a fan of supernatural stories. In fact, I don't listen to ghost stories which are a favorite at overnight parties and even weekend retreats. This was because I was easily scared as a child. Once, I even got sick with fever after my uncle scared me with his Halloween mask. Since then, I have tried to avoid horror movies, as my creative imagination only added to my misery. I also learned in my campus Catholic community that I should indeed avoid movies that glorified evil.

Last night, I learned that the mother of my college friend passed away. I went to the wake, together with a common friend. I was not able to meet her when she was alive, but this lawyer looked like she lived a full life. Pictures of her colorful life filled the room, along with beautifully-arranged flowers from her family and friends. Talking to the family she left behind, I could feel that she was at peace. They were proud of her because of the many people she helped with her pro bono work.

On our way home, however, we smelled flowers in the car. The last time I bought sampaguita for the car was about two weeks ago. We then prayed, for we knew there was something going on though we could not see what it was; neither could we understand why it was happening to us. Based on the peace that we felt after our prayer, we had the courage to drive into the night. Maybe Tita Josie just wanted to thank us for visiting her and for praying for her. When we reached my friend's house, the scent of flowers was gone. It was a strange experience, but I was not as scared as I thought I would be.

I refuse to analyze what happened because it is beyond the realm of my understanding anyway.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Is It Dessert Yet?

I wonder if I'm being like a child who hides the vegetables under her plate so she could skip to the dessert. In the book What Color is Your Parachute?, at least the version that I borrowed from a friend's friend, the author says that there are two kinds of job-hunters: the patient ones and the impatient ones.

It has already been established that Patience is not one of Ella's natural virtues. By God's grace I have been granted patience in some areas of my life in the past. This time I'm being called to seek the Holy Spirit's help once more, for I might stray off course again if I listen to the voice inside me that tempts me to flunk the marshmallow test.

It's just that I've grown impatient chewing on the main course when others seem to enjoy sweet chocolatey dessert all the time. I have been an obedient child all my life anyway. I brushed my teeth and flossed regularly. I took my vitamins. I ate my vegetables, actually, except for bitter ampalaya. I picked the right friends. I drank socially, but stayed away from all substances that would abuse my body. I read classical books, not just science fantasy or love stories. I practiced the piano. I cleaned my room.

Now that I've realized that God is not just a strict parent making a list and checking it twice, I wonder. I wonder if it's time for me to skip to the dessert.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Interview

I asked for a sign during the interview, and a sign came. I don't understand what the sign means yet, I just know that there was a messenger of God's love in the vicinity when I was being interviewed. How did I recognize the messenger? He was wearing a pin symbolizing his vocation.

Sometimes, God expresses His love for us by blessing us beyond our eyes can see!

Sorry no details yet. Interview process ongoing. Negotiations have not even begun. I just feel strongly guided by God's hand now. This morning, when I woke up, He said, "Stand tall. This day belongs to Me." That word allowed me to finish a deadline at work. It allowed me to relate well to the people around me. It brought me through a significant job interview. And it gave me a chance to enjoy the company of a very good friend and mentor.

Now this is beginning to sound like a diary.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Crossing Another Crossroads

Why are some decisions so hard to make? I thought I had only two options - status quo and master of laws. Now a third road-less-traveled-by-lawyers has come my way. A headhunter is after my head! She's dangling a position that seems tailor-fit for me. A multinational company is looking for a lawyer with managerial, writing, and editing skills. She must be a self-starter; able to carry herself well; confident in dealing with Caucasians as she would be the Filipino Production Manager handling US law firms as clients. I don't know about this. I really don't.

When I started this career discernment process, I was happy and excited. I felt I had the leeway to dream big dreams. My imagination went full blast imagining sceneries of love, peace, and joy, with me in the starring role. I daydreamed about freedom to do research work and to write without worrying where to get my next paycheck. I saw myself traveling on a budget, but traveling nonetheless. Alas! My excitement was short-lived. When I started surfing for possible schools, courses, scholarships, and countries, I faced ghosts from my past and fears for my future. I could not decide on a thesis topic and so the rest of the decisions that I had to make were put on hold. I learned about tough competition in scholarships and came across so many deadlines.

Deadlines. I hate deadlines. I've killed myself over them in the past, at school and at work, that's why I've been longing to remove all external pressure from this discernment. I want to go about this in full faith and confidence in God's perfect plan and timing. So what if I missed the Chevening and Fulbright scholarships already? I'm not cut out for them anyway. Still, deadlines are a reality in this path that if I wish to take it, I should brace myself for more. Looking for funding for graduate studies, I found out, is not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for the impatient. So what am I doing exploring this option?

I don't know. Well, I do. I heard God asking me to consider this. I asked Him to be more specific. He just assured me that He would send an angel to guide me and that He would instruct me. With so many doors opening before me, I need the patience of Job (is this right? Was Job patient?) to get through this and reach my promised land.

I could write better if my mind wasn't so cluttered. Something tells me that all shall be well and that this shall have a happy ending. I just pray that I take the right steps towards the right decision.

This is a belated quarter-life crisis. What do I want to do with my life? At 30, I thought that the answer to the child's questions in Que Sera Sera would be clear to me. Well what do you know, I am at another crossroads. Lead me to the ancient paths, Lord!

Wanted: Patron Saint for the Accident-Prone

I pose a question to the world (at least in the web) - is there a patron saint for the accident prone? Is there a special prayer I should pray to keep myself, and my father's car, from harm?

I was sitting in World Topps Katipunan waiting for my friends when one of them called me up on my cellphone. She asked me to go to the parking lot because my car figured in an accident. What she was saying did not register on me, I told her that I parked my car already and that I was inside the restaurant. She calmly said that the poor innocent car got hit by someone's pickup truck as they were trying to park in that tiny parking lot.

That was my fourth car accident in a little over a year. The first was not my fault. A reckless driver hit the back of an owner-type jeep, causing it to topple over and land on the hood of my car, at the opposite lane of the flyover. Since it was raining and I was driving at 60kph while ascending the flyover, my car cushioned the flight of the owner jeep. Several brothers and my blood brother came to my rescue. In the end, I made that reckless driver pay me and the driver of the jeep in cold cash for all the damages sustained. Afterwards, I asked my father confessor to bless the car and to bless my driving. My car troubles did not end there.

The second accident was my fault. I wrote about it somewhere in this blog, archived on April 2004. My attitude upon getting out of the car was immediately to apologize to the family whose car I accidentally bumped into while I was reading a text message containing bad news. I admitted outright that I was driving while texting. Maybe I did that because my father confessor and Lingkod brothers and sisters were my passengers at that time. Or maybe I had gotten the hang of accident rules - how the guilty party should behave, how the aggrieved party should demand.

After these twin accidents, my friends from all over started calling me whenever they or their wives or boyfriends met car accidents. I became the authority on car insurance, police reports, affidavits, etc. Around this time my love story with the MMDA started too, but that's another sharing altogether. They loved to accost me and charge me with various offenses. Up to now I still can't recover from the series of encounters I had with their kind.

The third accident happened while I was riding my friend's car. As she was panicking, I calmly wrote down a statement which I made the other driver sign, admitting all liability on his part. I used my camera phone to take the necessary pictures. This was something I did not want to be an expert on, believe me, but I found myself knowing what to do and not needing help anymore, but being the one to extend help.

The latest accident which occurred a few hours ago irritated me because the kid (and I say this with the implied admission that teenagers now call me Ma'am and sometimes, like in this case, I think they should) who was driving a large pickup truck did not know how to respond to the situation. I heard no apology. He was trying to deny that he hit my car when I had around ten (10!) Lingkod brothers and sisters who witnessed the accident. They said to each other, "Patay ka, si Ella nabangga mo, sanay iyan."

The kid told me to move my car so we could see the damage. I told him to say "please". We inspected the damage. The kid, his friend, me, and the 10 Lingkod brothers and sisters. It was dark and my flashlight was running out of battery. I could not believe what was happening, so I told him I would get in touch with him the next morning after I inspect the damage further. Before leaving, however, I gave him a piece of my mind about his attitude. I told him that a driver who is at fault should take full responsibility. I told him he did not need to raise his voice at me. I told him that his demeanor so far showed no way to treat a lady. I sounded like a grandmother! But I so wanted to teach him a lesson. He looked like he could afford to pay the damages, if any. I did not want him to just pay and forget about it. In the end, he apologized profusely. Then we both entered World Topps.

Although I know that each accident brings lessons to all parties concerned, still I wish that my lessons would not damage the poor car. I cannot afford to buy a new car. I think the right front tire may have been misaligned. The bumper and side were scratched. What would my insurance agent say? That I'm accident-prone?

They say you are how you drive. I admit to having literally tripped and fallen all my life, but this applies only if I were driving. Now if the car was just parked there, innocently waiting for me to come back, why does it have to get hurt?

I know I need to pray about this. As my spiritual directress would ask, "What is the Lord telling you in this situation, Ella?" I have the answer, as always! And the answer is, "I have no idea".

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

New Old Stuff

I am constantly updating my blog by adding articles and reflections that I have previously written. If you would visit again, please check the archives for "new" articles. I use the actual date and time that I sent them as e-mail to my friends, which is usually sometime prior to my having setup this page. My sister thinks I'm weird since my posts are dated earlier than when I actually started blogging. Well everybody's weird and I'd rather have this kind of weirdness. :)

Furthermore, please excuse the proliferation of words typedone afteranother, like so, in my posts. I used cut and paste and somehow this didn't work to my advantage. I'm trying to edit all of the posts so that I would not strain your eyes, especially the born editors among you. I hope it doesn't show too much here that I'm html-illiterate. That's why I became a blogger in the first place....

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Searching My Soul

I grew up sharing my bedroom with my younger sister. I love her and would always treasure those days we spent together, especially now that she's living in Arizona and I'm still in the Philippines, but when I was a little girl I thought that more than anything else, I wanted my own room where I could freely dream, cry, and write.

Knowing that we could not afford a bigger house, I decided to keep a journal where I could let out all my thoughts and emotions. The same younger sister, Jeb, told me that there is a theory that people who keep a diary in reality do so for others to read it, either secretly while they are still alive, or publicly when they achieve fame posthumously. I much preferred the latter reason, of course. I gave her full permission, then, to look for all my journals the day after I die and to read each page, and even to publish them if she feels inclined to do so. :)

A couple of decades, dozens of journals, and hundreds of emails later, my sister wrote to me that there is a new creature called a Blog that would do justice to my desire to share my little world to my friends and family. For several months now, Jeb has been insisting that since I love to send emails about everything, from the silly to the profound things that I find interest in, I would find it simpler to just update everyone with one post of a blog. I'm trying it now and it is indeed neat!

I am at another crossroads in life and many lessons are again coming my way. I therefore mark this day, September 8, 2004, as a new beginning, thankful that it is Mama Mary's birthday. Perhaps her obedience, faithfulness and humility would influence me as I make a significant decision within the coming months.

I have been searching my soul, and what have I found? The answers to my questions, yes, but also more doors that lead to more questions. It makes my life more meaningful that way.