27 October 2011

Time for Time

I'm flying home this Saturday to spend the long weekend somewhere quiet, green, and familiar.

Maybe it's just my brain flipping out over the clean oxygen, but something magical always happens to me whenever I go home after a long time away. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing my family, my oldest friends, my favorite neighborhood haunts, and the dog. But I'm also looking forward to taking a long walk alone around the place, just to reacquaint myself with myself.

This is usually done by any combination of the following: looking for the kinds of leaves and seeds and rocks I played with as a kid, crossing the gully bridge to the high school campus, visiting the abandoned pond behind the Grade Two classrooms, standing under any tree in the ballpark, taking the pine-needle-covered path to the Clubhouse, and/or sitting on a half-buried boulder in the backyard of an empty house, just on the edge of the eight fairway.

At some point in the middle of all this, I can expect to be blindsided (every time) by the general feeling that all is well, my life has a purpose, and even if it doesn't, all shall still be well. If I'm feeling particularly low at that moment, some crying may be involved. If I'm especially lucky, it happens at that odd hour in late-mid-afternoon when the sun hangs an golden veil over everything, and walking feels like a swimmy dream, or a Florence + the Machine song.

Possibly this one (thanks for the share, Meg).

It's like Adam Young having one last perfect summer day in Lower Tadfield, or perhaps Ruth Belville going to Greenwich just to set her watch.

I can already feel it in my ribcage; this is going to be the best time.

24 October 2011


Think of Chantico, She Who Dwells in the House, as you return again to the dim little room you now share with no one.

Think of her tending the fires, hearing the warriors' prayers said to dying flames, and giving them the hope of returning to their own hearths, as you sweep up more ashes every day.

Think of her poisonous cactus crown and her tongue of fire, scourging those who would take her treasures, as the truth dims the luster of your dearest pearls.

Think of her eating paprika in spite of Tonacatecuhtli, and receiving his wrath for the sake of a flavorful fish, as you agree to two weeks of tears for one morning of laughter.

Think of her bearing her punishment, becoming a dog, pet of the sun and of the dead, as you draw closer to your last candle, and scratch an orphaned puppy behind the ears.


Also Ref.

20 October 2011

Bike Notes 6 - Nice Neighborhood

Tuesday was only the second time I got to bike to and from work. The last time didn't really count because I didn't make it home without the left crank arm falling off, and I was apprehensive about another attempt even after the repairs. I wasn't 100% sure of my ankle, either, but on Tuesday morning, I figured it was now or never.

I left a little earlier this time to try a different route, crossing EDSA via New York Ave. It was a little longer yet a much quieter ride than if I'd taken Aurora; the streets were narrower and wound a bit, but it was early in the morning for what passes as suburbs in Cubao, so there was room enough for a small bike (and biker) among the tricycles and the four-wheelers taking a shortcut.

As I approached EDSA, though, my hunch about something I'd seen on Google Maps proved correct—you can't cross on streets that don't have that suggestive-looking pokey bit.

So, I made a left on Annapolis St. and went past the condo building where I would have lived if I'd been able to afford it at the time, and past a schoolkid who cried out, "Ang ganda ng bike!" (What a nice bike!), before rejoining westbound traffic on Aurora Blvd. As I turned the corner, another cyclist, this one in full Lycra regalia, passed me and also remarked how nice my bike was, and I smiled for the millionth time that morning.

Made it to work, washed up and changed my shirt, got through the day. I felt my heart beating harder as the end of my workday approached, though. Was my bike in one piece? I'd locked the wheel before leaving the garage, but that wasn't really going to stop something else from breaking or falling off. And if it was all okay, was I going to get home in one piece?

The last and only time I'd been able to bike home from work, I'd taken Aurora and gotten caught in the congestion between Stanford St. and 20th Ave., a good near-ten blocks packed with grouchy jeepney drivers, irate car owners, and tons of carbon monoxide.

Also the home of several girlie bars, a porn theater, a few hardware stores, some abandoned buildings, an interior design studio, and an evangelical church.

I didn't really want to go through that again, so I thought I'd try an alternate route home, too. I took Tomas Morato Ave., sailed (I really like this word for my bike notes; it's what it feels like) past all the cars lined up at the bottleneck, and turned right at Kamuning.

It was paradise in comparison.

I was immediately and pleasantly surprised by how few vehicles there were on that street, at that hour. On the one hand, it does cut through a "suburb" (I passed a small, nice-looking building for if I ever want to live in the area.), but on the other, it's in a generally high-traffic area and has its own jeepney route. Crossing EDSA wasn't scary, either, and Kamias, the street on the other side, was even quieter than Kamuning and much better lit than Aurora.

The only trouble I had was with the alternating uphill and downhill blocks; stoplights were often at the bottoms of slopes, so I'd have no bwelo for starting uphill once it got safe to cross.

Anyhow, I don't know whether it was before or after I crossed EDSA that this evening cool peace settled over everything. It was just so nice to travel without any machine trouble, without any fear that a bigger vehicle was going to hit me, and without anyone rudely honking, shouting, hissing, or whistling at me on the road. Everyone else just seemed absorbed in getting home without any trouble to themselves or other commuters. On top of that, the weather was good, I wasn't inhaling as much smoke, the lighting was kind of sweet, and the neighborhood took on its own sleepy charm. On two wheels, I felt as balanced as I was ever going to get, and happy.

12 October 2011

Life Update: Tattoos, Haircuts, Bike Notes 5

This blog post has been divided into sections, so you can skip ahead to whichever rambling you're most interested in.

05 October 2011



I'm not sure what I'm doing in church. I started going again, tagging along with my brother, a few weeks ago, but half the time, I'm not sure why I'm there.

I used to blog quite a bit about my faith. I stopped when I stopped going to church and quit my old job because I'd stopped going to the church where I worked. I just had and still have all these questions that, at all the churches I'd been to, would only have been met with judgment instead of consideration. I couldn't find anyone with a satisfying answer to my own personal Mark 9:24.

To explain everything I do or don't believe today would take another post, but in a nutshell, I call myself an agnostic theist. Somehow, despite all my doubt, I believe there is a God. The big however is, I don't believe that humans and human religions have the last word on who God is and what he does.

So, for the longest time, I couldn't stomach being in church, because everything anyone said from the pulpit was met in my head with, "Well, how do you know?" or, "That doesn't sound like something God would really do."

So, no one's more surprised than me at the fact of me sitting in the pews next to my brother these past several Sundays, hanging on to the pastors' words, and feeling my heart welling up in song.

The skeptic in me says that old habits die hard. She also says I'm vulnerable right now and looking for something to hang on to—that it's the only reason I've started going again.

But, the believer in me knows that my faith's been creeping slowly back for months, beginning with counter-doubts for all my doubts. Somehow, despite everything, inexplicably, I just believe.

It helps that the church my brother's chosen, though still conservative in doctrine, is quite open, and openly open. There's a sense that its leaders actually see individual human beings with myriad needs and concerns, not just sheep to herd and count. And so far, they've spoken less about how to avoid going to hell and more about how to treat your fellows, how to help one another, and how to be good in an often bad world.

The most telling thing for me was when the pastor spoke before Communion last Sunday and said that the table was open for everyone regardless of denomination, and, "not just for those who believe, but those who want to believe." And I could tell from the way he spoke and stood that his invitation was not some memorized spiel but a sincere invitation to taste what God and church had to offer. So, I took the bread, drank the wine, and was thankful.


After church, Martin and I met in the area to talk things over some more. I'm not going to reproduce his exact words, but even if I didn't hear what I wanted to hear, I know I heard everything I needed. I've sworn to myself to remember this every time I feel my own bitterness returning. I do believe everything will be fine.