Archive for the 'Manila Musings' Category

Thwarted Nerdhood, or, I Need a Life

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

Being a tad melancholy after I left Trog at the train station, I attempted to walk off my mood and aimlessly wandered through the city in search of diversion. I saw very little of interest in Oslo this Sunday morning; shops and cafes were closed, there were very few people, and the sunshine deprived me of even the moderate entertainment value of shivering against the cold.

As I am a creature of habit my feet turned of their own accord and I soon found myself strolling toward Place of Employment.

Pop in for five minutes? I thought. It’s a Sunday morning, I have nothing better to do, and I may as well get a head start on the week’s tasks. There’s a binder of documents sitting prettily on my desk that I wouldn’t mind leafing through right about now. Why not?

Here’s why not:


For the Pinoys

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Some light reading: Judge Floro’s baa-aaack!

Today’s Cute Outfit: Thursday, 11 January

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Inspired by Mara in Hanoi’s complete description of her cute outfit (cf. Marks & Sparks reference), I’ve decided to add yet another tidbit to the growing mythology surrounding the Monster:


I have a large collection of dippy underwear.

The dress code at The Establishment where I was previously employed was a lot more rigid than that at current Place of Employment. Over here, in the words of someone who’s been here forever, “it’s acceptable to dress like a ho as long as you don’t dress like a skanky ho”. At The Establishment, although we’d sometimes forego jackets, wearing jeans (even black ones, even on Fridays) was the ultimate act of defiance. Part of The Establishment’s standard training program was an infamous seminar called “Dress for Success to Avoid Redress”, and in their book women “dressing for success” wore a black, grey or navy suit (with skirt, not pants), a white or cream shirt (French cuffs encouraged), pantyhose, black pumps with no more than a two-inch heel, and the obligatory pearls.


Obligatory Muni-Muni Start-of-Year Post

Monday, January 1st, 2007

The move to Bilaan in 1987 marked the end of a nomadic era. Prior to then, by my count, the K clan had moved over a dozen times in my lifetime alone (one of the pitfalls of being in the real estate business): from Dunedin to Arguilla and back again, then to Molave and Lauan and Bunga and whatnot, sometimes spending less than a year in a single house. Then Ats entered college, the rest of us were soon due, and a permanent move to a house near our target universities made eminent sense.


Today’s Uninspired Outfit: Tuesday, 28 November

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

To curl or not to curl, that is the question.

The woman who gave me Friday’s overpriced haircut (the “Liar“) went into rhapsodies over my hair. “So beautiful!” she said. “So healthy! We must embrace the curl!” Then she gave me short feathery layers, scrunched some curl enhancer into my mop, stuck in a hairpin or two, proclaimed the result a-ma-zing, and sent me (the “Sucker“) on my merry way, toting a bottle and tube or two of overpriced product. Trog was whelmed by the results. “You got a haircut?” he asked. “It’s… different. It’s… nice.”

You must understand that my relationship with my hair has been a lifelong battle. In Manila, the land of shampoo commercial models, my hair used to frizz at the first dark cloud in the sky. In college I conceded defeat, grew it to below my waist and never brushed; the mane went with my actress/philosopher persona; then I discovered lawyerin’, chopped my artistic locks to two inches long, and re-joined the fight in earnest. I used to apply massive amounts of hair tamer, tie it back to within an inch of its life (hence my progressively larger forehead), get professional blowouts, get it relaxed, straightened, cellophaned, rebonded, all with minimum return on investment. These days, with the discovery and judicious application of a ceramic hair iron, the war has been reduced to a series of minor skirmishes. Which I still occasionally lose. Like yesterday.

It’s a quarter to eight in the morning and the Sucker is sitting at the dining table with wet hair, deciding whether or not to believe the Liar.

And what with worrying about my hair and waking the kids and getting them ready for school (am babysitting for K and M; will write about that at the end of the week), I haven’t had a chance to put together a cute look. So today’s uninspired outfit is:

  • Hair - undecided
  • South Sea pearl earrings
  • Tight chocolate brown turtleneck from H&M
  • Woven brown belt, stolen from Trog
  • Brown tweed pants from Mango
  • Either brown boots or gold ballet flats

Going for comfort today. And a chance to show off my a-ma-zing hair.

Updates on the Kakuriputan Diet

Friday, November 24th, 2006

In my country of birth smoked salmon is an exquisite delicacy, only available in the finest hotels and delis. It is definitely a special occasion food; each salty morsel is therefore lovingly savored. When you grow up in a large household your fair portion never seems enough, and I used to wistfully wish for just one more bite. One of my first purchases with my baby lawyer paycheck was an entire tray of the stuff, which I consumed in one sitting, all the while marveling that my incipient adulthood meant I didn’t have to share.

In my adopted home smoked salmon is about as common as tuyo, and viewed with just slightly less disdain. It forms the backbone of the daily lunches served in Place of Employment’s cafeteria. In the beginning I heaped my plate high, merrily gorging myself on this quasi-gourmet food even on ordinary workdays. After five weeks of this diet, however, I hereby unequivocally proclaim that no possible enticement could coerce me into eating another bite of smoked salmon. I can’t even imagine the foolishness that induced me to consume an entire slab alone. Apparently adulthood also means loss of wonder: my special food has become meh, commonplace, blech.

My Dirty Secret

Monday, November 20th, 2006

The achievement I’m proudest of is my Best Dressed Teacher award, won when I was handling one Ethics section at an ungodly end-of-the-day hour. I used the Makati-QC car trip to reapply my make-up, and thanks to Eskinol usually managed to look fresh despite the stresses of my regular day job at The Establishment. Some teachers prepared for class by spending hours in the library; I spent my Sundays planning my wardrobe, and was gratified that at least one kikay student noticed that I never, ever repeated an outfit. (Seriously. Hence the daily logs on this blog. Puwedeng umulit ng article of clothing, pero hindi puwedeng umulit ng entire outfit.) My pride lies in that my single class must have spread the word to the entire graduating batch, which selected me over the notoriously well-dressed (and beautiful) History and English and Theology teachers (whose privacy I shall not violate here).

That’s not my dirty secret.

I just spent the early part of the evening ironing tomorrow’s clothes. And, even if I horrify J from South Africa, here’s my secret: when ironing shirts, I ignore the parts that no-one will see. Which means pretty much all of the shirt, except the collar and cuffs.

So here I am. I still spend my Sundays planning the week’s wardrobe, and I still enjoy a reputation for being well-dressed. The visible parts of my wardobe are still impeccable; just don’t look too closely underneath the sweater. I never thought I’d say this, but thank goodness Oslo has a long winter. Wool winter pants steam out when I’m taking a shower, and knit sweaters are hassle-free. Although I’ll welcome warmth, I’m not looking forward to being forced to iron an entire outfit.

I Miss Antonio

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

The family hired Antonio when I was a law school sophomore. From the very beginning he was my driver, the only one with enough stamina to keep pace with my punishing schedule. Antonio saw me through the law journal, buying us nourishment while we proofread overtime, fetching and delivering printer proofs while the journal staffers were in class. He knew the location of every one of my theatres and rehearsal venues, and the addresses of all my drunken friends. He was friends with the security guards of every place I frequented, and usually managed to charm them into giving him prime parking. He kept the same sleep-deprived schedule as my moot court teams, was always waiting in the parking lot when we emerged from futile argument, and maneuvered us all home before dawn.