Nikki’s vibrating bouncer is here!

Cathy’s Aunt Melba arrived last week, along with her son Joemel and her ex-husband Joe. She brought this totally adorable vibrating Fisher-Price pink bouncer for Nikki, and I am all excited again!

Nathan had a Fisher-Price baby bouncer too. Mom bought it from a garage sale in New Jersey for around US$2, and it was the most useful gadget ever. During certain days when he was really fussy and nothing else seemed to work, we’d pop him in the bouncer and he’d be out like a light in a few minutes.

Nikki’s new chair has the cutest pink fabric, hanging flowers and butterflies, a soft pillow, and a great vibrating engine. It even plays music! Nikki can stay on it until she’s 25 lbs.

According to the box, it promotes comfort and security, encourages developing motor skills, stimulates her senses, and is better for Mom to hold and wash (or in this case, Dad, hehe).

While I’m dreaming about a car, I’d like a pony, please

Lately, Cathy and I have been seeing regular car advertisements in the local dailies. I pointed this out to Cathy earlier today, and she attributed it to the mid-year scramble to meet quotas.

Lately, I’ve been itching to unload our five year Toyota Revo. This absolutely lovely car was a gift to us from my parents-in-law (Cathy’s folks), and apparently, in the Chinese culture, it’s in bad taste to sell a gift, regardless of whether it’s a car or a shirt. I completely respect that, so I’ve tried to let it go.

In the back of my mind, though, I ask: how long should a family hold onto its car? Five years and 83,000 kilometers later, our Revo’s in stunning good shape, albeit for the chassis nicks that will come with long-distance traveling. (Boy, indigent kids can be mean when you don’t give them alms.) Nevertheless, isn’t five years long enough time to upgrade to a newer car before the current one starts going all sickly on you (at eight years, maybe)?

Well, since I’m daydreaming anyway, what would be good for a family of four?

Smaller cars are good ideas because the distance we travel on a daily basis makes a small car’s fuel economy a very good idea. Maybe a small car? A Kia Picanto, gorgeous and mobile at P498,000? A Hyundai Getz, smart and savvy at P460,000? A Suzuki Alto, practical, environmentally friendly, and compact at P359,000? Maybe a medium car, which will seat us comfortably and protect us from speed demons on the road? A Toyota Avanza, large and economical? Maybe a Vios?

My gosh. Buying a car will set us back hundreds of thousands of pesos. With a family of four and two live-in nannies, we don’t necessarily have the space in a small car, and a medium car is so pricey. Maybe our Revo is really the best car for us after all. Imagine that! LOL God is good – He allows us to have what is best for us, at the time that is best for us! Praise God!

Meanwhile, I could just pray that I can someday buy a used classic Volkswagen Beetle. Or if any of you out there have one and would like to lend it to me just for a couple of days so I can fulfill a dream of driving a Beetle. Hahaha! I know, when the time comes, I’ll have a Beetle of my own. Meanwhile, Nate and Nikki’s college education first. :D

A brief prayer

Lord, You are majestic and great, a refuge, a tower, a source of strength when there is none left to give. I praise You in times in plenty and praise you in times of famine, I run to You when hope is lost and run to You when hope springs as eternal as Your glory, Your Name, Your love. I give thanks for Your providence, that out of nowhere come blessings when least expected. Thank you, Lord!

Father, I pray for the families and friends of all affected by the tragedy at Virginia Tech. 33 lives will not be forgotten. I pray for healing, for reconciliation, for love to spring forth, refreshing all who are touched.

Father, I claim emotional healing for the family and friends of Julia Campbell. I pray for their forgiveness of us on behalf of our nation. I pray the love Julia showed the people of Donsol motivates them to find her killers and bring them to justice.

I pray for complete physical healing for Jody McBrayer, a man I hold in highest regard. I claim healing for his heart condition in the name of Jesus. I claim a long life for him with Stephanie and his family, and a renewed faith and vigor in him as thousands throughout the world join me for his swift and safe recovery. Miracles, Lord, in the name of Jesus. MIRACLES!

Finally, I pray for Cathy and Nikki, that the rest of my wife’s pregnancy will be relatively free of Braxton-Hicks, in Jesus’ name, and that Nikki will join us safely and soundly in Your time, Lord.

In the name of the Christ, whose name Jesus opens doors and possibilities previously closed, Amen.

New technologies, old shoes, new lifestyle, old blues

New technologies. The office assigned me a new laptop, upgrading me from my desktop computer to a sleek Compaq Presario V3000. The computer, while incredibly sexy, is terribly inefficient, thanks, I’m told, to its turtle-slow Windows Vista OS. I therefore bask in the sexiness of its ultrahot Altec Lansing speakers and shiny black exteriors while waiting five minutes for it to boot, ten minutes to launch Windows Media Player, and fifteen minutes for the OpenOffice Writer to start up.

To go with the laptop, I upgraded the hot pink (U)Nano – the 1GB Chinese-made Nano imitation mp4 player I bought for Cathy – to a 2GB one made by CD-R King. With twice the memory and its sleek black exteriors, it’s certainly an improvement. Matching these two new tech toys with my black CD-R King headphones, my black Nokia 6020, even my black 64-oz. drinking bottle (for the 8 8-oz glasses of water diet requirement!), all color has literally disappeared from my life.

Old shoes. Ironically, as I start to look the part of a hot new lead for the hot new phase of the company, I sport a pair of ancient Reebok tennis shoes whose seams above the laces have literally torn open. I therefore spoke to my brother-in-law to lend me a pair of shoes so I could retire my geriatric footwear, and today is now Day Two of my ancient K-Swiss rubber shoes. Strangely, these are probably the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I wonder how a brand-new pair would feel.

New lifestyle, old blues. It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been to the gym, and I feel my old weight and lifestyle starting to creep up on me. Today alone, I wolfed down a siopao, two candy bars, a can of diet soda, and two packs of nuts. And that was outside of lunch. I NEED TO GO BACK TO THE GYM ,STAT.

Tuesday Throwback: Stay by Eternal

In 1993, an English girl group named Eternal burst onto the UK charts with its debut single, Stay. It launched a career that spanned more than 14 consecutive Top 15 singles for the group, making it one of the most successful girl groups of all time. Sisters Easther and Vernie Bennett and school friends Kéllé Bryan and Louise Nurding (also known as Louise and Louise Redknapp), made up the group.

Stay peaked at #19 on the US charts, and was one of my favorite songs of 1993.

[audio:EternalStay.mp3]

Lyrics to Eternal’s Stay, as well as ways to take a trip down Memory Lane and make a request for Tuesday Throwback, after the jump. Continue reading “Tuesday Throwback: Stay by Eternal”

On tags, sexuality, and coming out

I visited a friend’s blog today, and he mentioned me in it. (The post was written more than four months ago; some friend I am, checking his blog three times a year.) This friend was a good friend of mine back in college for around three years, I think. We met up in my freshman year, he in his sophomore year, making our acquaintances in the college’s ROTC marching band. That was pretty much the extent of our relationship – we’d see each other every Saturday while playing marching tunes under the heat of the sun, and occasionally at school basketball games, where we would play inane cheer medleys. We weren’t close, but I considered it a friendship.

Now, his post talked about how he visited his old college haunt, which brought back a slew of mostly bittersweet memories for him. Near the end of the post, he wrote about the last time he and his friends were together, which was at the senior party. I was there, despite my being a junior, because the band I was a member of at the time performed that night. He had a few beers, got a bit wasted, and approached me. We chatted for a while, I think I thanked him for his friendship and tutelage (he and I were members of the cheering squad’s horn section), and wished him well. After a few more minutes, he came out to me, after which, he literally ran away.

I remember standing there, stunned. My own friends later on told me that it was no secret, and I guess that pretty much told me my gaydar was shot to hell. I didn’t speak to him for some time, partly because we weren’t that close and had no opportunities to really talk, and partly because I tried to deal with his revelation in my own way. The end result was “AC-DC,” a three-act play I wrote for a master’s class, staged twice. Writing that play was therapeutic in many ways, best of which was it allowed me to come to terms with accepting that this friend was my first friend to actually tell me to to my face that he was gay. Later on in life, I would eventually learn of many friends coming out, all well and good, but my friend Tyler was the first.

Why did Tyler’s coming out hit me so hard, anyway? I realize now that his coming out made me realize I, too, had to deal with my own concepts and struggles with sexuality. It wasn’t easy. Ever since I was a kid, a lot of people thought I was gay, and looking back, I guess I can’t blame them for thinking that. Society today isn’t as closed-minded as it was back in the 80s and 90s (imagine even further back!), and my mannerisms in high school and college didn’t exactly scream “jock.” Back in high school, for the first two years, I hung out with guys who were pretty much in the same mold, so I think that contributed to people thinking what they thought. Some of my students – whether at DLSU, Saint Scho, even PROSEC – thought I was gay. It bothers me because people were attaching a tag onto me that was not true. It makes no difference what the tag is. When someone labels you with something that’s not true, it can hurt.

I guess it bothered me because all my life, I always defined myself as “funny.” The nonstop talker, the entertainer, the sarcastic wit. I never included “gay” in how I saw myself, so it came (and still comes) as a surprise to me when people add that definition, because I never entertained the thought of having any kind of sexual contact with another man. Actually having the gay kiss in “AC-DC” made me realize that there really isn’t anything in being gay for me.

I actually see myself as Chandler Bing – the funny guy on Friends. It was always “funny,” “witty,” “entertaining.” Chandler, too, was also thought by some to be gay. Like Chandler, I was never gay, but people thought I was. Like Chandler, it bothered me that people thought I was. Like Chandler, I just learned to deal with it.

Other than my family, my high school buddies, and true college friends – Release and the LHC – the only one who really saw me for me – Chandler and all – was Cathy. When Cathy and I started dating, she looked beyond the corny jokes and the decidedly unmacho persona and saw potential. We could talk for hours, we were never bored, and she liked me for me. We had so much in common, and she didn’t care if I shrieked – that’s right, shrieked – at the sight of a cockroach or did a really good impression of Miriam Defensor Santiago.She is my woman, and I am her man. She made me want to be, not just a man, but the best man I could be. Now that God lent me a son, it is my responsibility to raise him to become the best he can be – and true to himself, whatever he may be or wants to be. I owe it to my wife and I owe it to my God, who made me who I am today, a person I can be proud of, regardless of what other people think about me.