jazz it up!


It seems that everywhere I go these days, I am reminded of the same message. Sort of like an omen, but in a good way, although I don't necessarily believe in omens. All the things that I see, hear, read, and experience is telling me one thing. And this message has never been as loud and as clear as it was yesterday, when I saw a mini-concert presented at one of my schools by some members of the famous San Francisco Symphony.

The 30-minute performance was all about jazz, the instruments used, nursery-rhymes-turned-jazz songs (think Mary Had A Little Lamb), singing along, clapping your hands and clicking your heels, and just having fun with the music. Naturally, since it was jazz, there was a lot of improvisation. And this, I think, was the best part of the show, especially when they taught us about scat singing, which simply means making up words or nonsensical syllables as you go along.

For example, the lead singer came up with words like schkenlele, schkenlala, to which our kids replied with some other variations of the words starting with schken, schkon, or schkan. I can't even remember the words that they came up with, some really silly and very original ones, but the most important thing was that we all had so much fun.

And just like that, in the middle of us singing our impromptu and random string of words and syllables, I realized that this is what life should be all about - spontaneity, being free, listening to that little voice inside that's telling you to just go for it, because really there's no right or wrong words, there's no right or wrong answers, and everyone will always have something to say about you or how you should live your life, but ultimately, in the end, its really all about you and no one else.

I guess this realization came because lately I have been thinking about my supposedly lack of plans and priorities for the next 5 years or so. When you're single and over 25, everyone expects you to follow the same late-twenty-something or early 30's ideal. That is, getting engaged or married, starting a family, buying a house "because renting an apartment is such a waste of money", saving up for retirement, etc. And if you're not doing any of the above or have an entirely different life perspective, some people would assume that you need "a little help", which really means giving you a day-long discussion on the merits of having a retirement plan, a lecture about marriage straight out of an e-harmony advertisement, or God forbid, setting you up on a date, or worse, giving out your phone number (let's not even go there!).

Now I really don't care about societal expectations and I've always done whatever it is that I've wanted to do anyways, but when its the people who are closest to you that's doing all this questioning and matchmaking, don't you think that's a little too much? Yeah, I understand that their intentions are good and they are only looking out for me, but can't they see that not everyone dreams of being a soccer mom and living in a house with a white picket fence?

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against anyone who wants to get married and have children and live the American dream, its just that in my heart of hearts, that's not want I want. Not yet anyway. Maybe this will change someday, but for now, I still dream of wandering, to unknown places, amongst unknown people, learning, writing, taking it all in, and finding myself and my place in this world. I don't know how or when, but I know it will happen because I will make it happen.

So I'm saying a big yes to all those omens and messages. To jazz and improvisation, to doing things differently, and to being utterly comfortable with my voice and my choices, even if, most of the time, I am fumbling with the words and making it up as I go along, and even if they don't really make sense to anyone else but me.

lysol(d)

It's official, I am now a convert of the Lysol She-Kids Brigade, founded by my equally crazy friends Dae and Mai, who both swore to the happiness that this ordinary disinfectant has brought to their lives.

I don't even know how it started, I was just shopping at my neighborhood grocery store and the next thing I know I was loading my cart with Clorox, Windex, lemon-scented shower scrubs, those instant toilet bowl cleaners that turns the water blue with every flush, and of course Lysol, gleefully anticipating hours of scrubbing, brushing, and killing germs (both real and imaginary, according to Mai :P). Three hours (and an aching, scoliotic back) later, I surveyed my sparkly clean bathroom and kitchen and I felt...happy. There's no other word for it, I just felt so refreshed, like I scrubbed away all my existential and winter melancholia along with those real and imaginary germs (can't help but write these words again, hehe).

So yes the rumor is true, Lysol is the new Prozac. Maybe you should try it one of these days.

yay for instant upgrades!

Just recently my cell phone's LCD screen went blank on me and so I've been walking around with a list of phone numbers written on a scrap of paper, dialing in the most primitive way, which was a bit of a pain. Even more annoying is that I had no choice but to answer every single phone call since I could not screen my calls. And believe me, I almost wished that my phone didn't work at all for not only did I have to deal with telemarketers, I also had to answer a not-so-welcomed caller in the middle of the night. Tsk, tsk.

Thankfully, the nice folks over at Asurion (Verizon's insurance provider) promptly responded to my claim. They even upgraded my Razr to the one with an integrated MP3 player and an expansion memory card slot, which means that I can now transfer songs from my computer to my phone and playback music from my iTunes. Pretty cool, huh? I have to figure out how this works still, but what the heck, its free!


P.S. My dears, I still need your phone numbers, please e-mail, txt or call me.

winter is just not my favorite

It must be the season. I'm feeling sort of down and unsettled yet again, missing the sun (although its unusually bright and sunny today but still freezing cold outside), and mulling over issues like where do I go (again?!) after the end of this school year, should I stay in the city or move somewhere in the Bay area suburbs, or really MOVE all the way down to San Diego where its nice and sunny all year long and I can finally learn how to swim and oh, maybe I'll run into a certain dork at Java Joe's (that is, if he still goes there) and tell him that his beautiful random musings has inspired me in a way that reading Proust or Foucault hasn't. Okay, Proust might be a bit too much of a comparison, for I haven't read more than 20 pages of Swann's Way, but still, you get my drift.

So, San Diego?

Even as I'm typing this, I know that moving all the way south is out of question, though a very tempting idea. Should my company have an opening at a school district there, this is still too much moving for me, even with my nomadic aspirations, I don't think I can handle that many changes in one year. And besides, I still love San Francisco right? Its funny because when I was in NYC, and my cousin's New Yorker friends asked me if I've fallen in love with the city yet, I felt hesitant to say yes, I thought for a split second that it would mean betraying my love for SF. But the truth is, I love both. Just don't ask me which one I love more.

And so I'm back at the crossroads. I never realized it would come this soon, wasn't it just yesterday when I was still wondering if I'll move to San Francisco? The thing about choices, or in my case, having too much of it, is that it pulls you and lures you in a thousand equally satisfying directions that the process of choosing is really as exhausting, if not more, as the act of moving itself. I knew that coming in to my job I would go through this at the end of each school year and I even told myself that I should just plan my life 11 months at a time (including summer school :P), which given my wanderlust seemed like a very good idea at that time, but I didn't count on it to be this confusing. Or maybe its just me, I love to confuse myself sometimes.

But then again, maybe its just the season. Come spring, maybe I'll feel more settled then.

my incubus experience


'Twas one of the most exciting nights of my life. Heart beating widly, singing, screaming, grinning like an idiot, Incubus performing right before me. Incubus!

To think that I almost decided against watching this concert because I was very sick the entire week and even had to go to the hospital last Thursday. But the thought of selling my ticket, which I already bought the week after their Light Grenades album came out in November, really broke my heart and I just couldn't make myself to do it. I love them too much. In the end, I willed myself to get well and went to the concert - sniffles, cough and all.

And boy am I glad that I did. Incubus is so much better live and it must have been my lucky night too because they sang almost all of my favorites, old songs like Wish You Were Here and Anti-gravity, new ones like Anna Molly, Earth to Bella and Paper Shoes, and surprise, surprise, an acoustic version of Pardon Me, which nearly brought me to tears. It was that good. So good that I'm still feeling giddy and lighthearted just thinking about it.

All my love to the boys: Brandon, Mike, Jose, Chris, and Ben, for making this a truly unforgettable night. And oh yeah, that Brandon is smokin' hot! (",)

~ Many thanks to locopinoy for these gorgeous pics ~

missing

I’m back, though my muse is not. Where could she be, I wonder. Did she leave me somewhere between those two crazy weeks when I hopped from one home to another, never staying for more than two nights at a time, with hardly any sleep, while I ate, drank, talked, played, danced, sang, cried, walked, froze, got sick, and even sicker? Or did I leave her, when I decided that it was time for me to grow up and start this new year without dreams of aimless wandering to places unknown because the truth is I have more responsibilities and more realities to deal with than I would care to admit?

And so here I am, words swimming in my head, nary a lucid thought or inspiration. I’ve been staying at home for three days now, per doctor’s order, dutifully taking my meds every 6 hours or so and having my much-needed rest. Every once in a while I would pick up a book, only to put it down again after reading a paragraph or two. Even Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist, an all-time favorite, seemed like a blur. My new moleskine notebook, which I bought in an attempt to capture those “in the moment” thoughts as they come and while I move from place to place (perhaps to follow Chatwin and Hemingway’s tradition), is surprisingly empty, except for those few pages of disorganized musings when I was stranded at the airport and praying to God that the lady behind the American Airlines counter would call my name from her ever-growing list of standby passengers on a New Year’s day flight to the West Coast. She did call my name and before I knew it I was back on the sunny side, taking in that sweet-smelling air that is uniquely San Francisco.

But alas, even the sight of the bay and its beautiful hills could not move me. The sound of an old cable car, once music to my ears, went unnoticed as I dragged my heavy suitcase and my aching limbs up the flight of stairs to an empty apartment. For the first time since I moved to this city, I felt something akin to loneliness. It came unexpectedly, as I was looking forward to a moment of solitude after being surrounded by people and constant activity for the past couple of days. I kept thinking: is it just me, have I changed? Is this what I really want? Or am I just thinking too much again? Maybe my mind, just like my body, is also in need of rest. Maybe a cup of tea, a bowl of chicken noodle soup, and lots of uninterrupted sleep is all I need and my muse will come to me again. Maybe she will come quietly, just like she used to, and I would be amazed at the beauty of the ordinary little things again. Maybe.