Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Mama is "One of Those," Part One

This is very much a work in progress, but here is the first installment...

I met this Filipina woman once, when I was working in DC at the tail-end of the Clinton administration. When I told her how my parents met, she replied, "Oh, she's one of those." Never before or since has anyone implicated my mother in such a way right to my face, but the comment sticks with me.

I am spending the next month on Baloy Beach, which is just at the northwest edge of Olongapo. The whole beach is about a mile long and portions have been sold to Westerners, primarily Australians, Germans, and Swedes, all of whom (Filipinos included) earn income from tourism. Altogether, it's a chaotic jumble of relatively schwanky joints, shanties, and stuff in between, which is just as easily said about the entire country. Where I am staying is literally the in-between: next door is an eight story hotel, the Wild Orchid, and the neighboring property is occupied by my uncle Pitong’s in-laws. Baloy Beach is mostly owned by descendants of Old Man Baloy (my mom couldn’t remember his name). My great-grandmother on my mom’s dad’s side was Martina Baloy, and this is how we came to posess our portion of the beachfront.

Olongapo sits just outside the perimeter of a former US Naval Base (now Subic Bay Freeport Zone), where my mom waitressed in her early 20s (I was born at the end of the Vietnam War, and now you get the basic plot of my parents’ story). So I suspect, in that woman’s eyes, my mom is one of those Filipinas who married an American and moved on up, Jeffersons-style, to the US. I can’t argue too much with that, except that the woman leveling the accusation was what my mom would call a “showy” Filipino – lots of jewelry, heavily made up, expensive-looking clothing, and the type of Filipina whose family in the PI would probably have a houseboy or maid. Think Imelda Marcos knock-off. In my eyes, she was “one of those.”

By contrast, my mom and her family were of a class likely to be hired as houseboys and maids. But she married her American sailor and moved to the States. She came back in the late nineties, built several rooms to rent on the beach property allotted to her, and hired a series of caretakers over the years (Rony is the current one) to help with the business.

When we arrived, she made him clean my room – scrub the shower, kitchenette, mop – things I felt guilty for having him do when I could easily have done them myself. To me, the space isn’t a hotel room but my home, for the next month anyway. Despite being relatively moneyed in the Philippines, in the US we were still the kind of family who would have been hired as maids. My dad was a mechanic, and my mom worked a series of service jobs when I was growing up. When my mom’s siblings stayed with us as they immigrated to the US, there was a time in high school when I had at least one relative working in every McDonald's in town.

Since Rony didn’t seem to have much else to do anyway, I quit objecting and Mama and I sat in two plastic chairs on her porch while he cleaned my room.

“Hey, that’s what I’m paying him for – he needs to do something to earn it,” my mom told me. “You know, when I was younger, we wanted to do our job – these people just want to get paid.” She grew more agitated. “Because we were hungry. We would go to our aunts and uncles and say, ‘Auntie, let me do that for you, and you give us fruit’ or candy or whatever. Oh, sometimes she had the Baby Ruth. You know this Baby Ruth?” Her fingers indicated what looked to me to be the fun size. “Anyway, not this ‘gimme gimme gimme.’ Oh, like Krissy!” and she slapped my arm with her fan and cackled with laughter. I admit, I could see the comparison coming. “Yeah, sometimes we would steal fruit from the fields, we were so hungry…”

Mama grew up in a small barangay called Pamatawan, about three miles from Baloy Beach. They did their laundry in a nearby river, and were told never to leave their panties drying on the line overnight “because that’s how you get pregnant.” When I visited in 1982, they were still pumping their drinking and cooking water from a well. The second of ten children, my mom was responsible for contributing to the household income when she was old enough to work, and helping to care for her younger siblings long before – and after – that.

“In Pamatawan, we had one bedroom, two living rooms, and one kitchen. All open; no privacy. We sleep on woven straw mats on the floor. All of us. Until we’re old enough to go to work ... I started waitressing on base when I was 17, and all my money went to my family. Then I thought, ‘how long do I have to keep doing this? I give them all my money and there’s nothing left for me!’ So yeah, I was looking for a husband.”

The first world feminist in me – the one who had been told by this very woman not to depend on a man for anything – cringed. She had been one of those.

She abruptly changed topics. “I think I might fire Rony and bring back Beth.” I was aghast at how casually she pondered it. “Well he doesn’t do anything!”

In his defense, I didn’t see that there was all that much to be done. She had no guests besides me, and save the few odd jobs that crop up here and there, there doesn’t appear to be a steady stream of daily activity, so I'm not sure what her actual beef is with this guy. Plus, wasn’t he counting on this as income? And she was just going fire him willy nilly?

“Besides, they hate Beth.” She motioned toward the shanty that stands about twenty feet from her porch.

“Who are they again?”

“They’re your Uncle Pitong’s in-laws. They built that after his wife went to rehab. But she was crazy before that.”

“What’s she in rehab for?”

“Drugs. And then she went crazy over the drugs.”

“What was she addicted to?”

“Oh I don’t know. Cocaine? Or something…”

By the look of that shanty, I couldn’t imagine that she could afford to even try coke, much less support a full-fledged addiction.

“Was it meth?”

“No, I don’t think so…” she said, tentatively.

“Crack? Heroine? Opium?” My mother’s face fell a little as I rattled off a stream of addictive drugs.

“I watch a lot of Intervention,” I assured her.

She called Rony over and asked him in Tagalog about hardcore drugs.

“Ah, shabu. Tama.” She turned back to me, “Shabu is the Tagalog word for it, but I don’t know what it is.”

Hop, skip, and a Google later: meth.

“There’s no way I could have found that out by myself,” I tell her. "People would think I was looking to get some."

Just then, it began to downpour – we are transitioning into monsoon season, after all. Though Mama has a covered porch, summer rains are hard enough to produce spray that wets everything under the eaves, so we went inside and started dinner.

Tune in tomorrow for more on the microeconomy of the beach, my Mama the Capitalist, the fate of Rony's employment, and my evolving first-world guilt perspective on the whole shebang.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Blame it on This Guy...

I got this little Boogie Man on my lunch break yesterday. My friend says he's like my Jiminy Cricket. I say if this guy is supposed to function as my conscience, then I am going to get into a LOT of trouble.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Paper-Writing Season

Can't I just turn this in for my final project?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Some New Leaves

From my front yard. I love Iowa.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Break Like the What?

I can't say for certain, but I think this might be the first song anyone ever dedicated to me. Unfortunately, I'm equally uncertain as to whether or not he's making fun of me.

Thanks, Mike.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Holy Crap, I Can't Believe This Exists

Chocolatey goodness AND fat-free?!
And a serving is TWO bars?!

I'm freaking out!
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 bars (101g)
Servings Per Container 6
Amount Per Serving

Calories 70 Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Values**

Total Fat 0.5g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol less than 0mg 0%
Sodium 90mg 4%
Potassium 210mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 7g
Sorbitol 2g
Protein 4g 8%

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I've Got a Can Opener...

Easy Soysage Omelet with Black Bean and Corn Salsa

...and I'm not afraid to use it.

No foolin'.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Three-Season Smoothies

I think my one-serving blender might be one of the best purchases I've ever made. For some reason, though, I only like to make these from spring to fall.

And it's that time again! Hooray!

Easiest Banana Berry Smoothie in the Land

1 banana
1 1/2 cup mixed berries
~1 cup cran-raspberry juice

1. Put all ingredients in blender.
2. Blend.
3. Drink.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

If I Have to be Awake at 4am

...I might as well have these two singing in my ear while I sip my tea.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Felicity Part Three

In case there were any lingering doubts about colors and places to be, take a look at this cookie jar I painted circa 1998 at the beginning of my blue and yellow phase.

It is one of very few possessions that made it through the last 12 moves. I love this cookie jar. And it's never even held cookies! Only tea and recipe cards! I love it because it is so calming and blissful. Light, airy spaces -- that's all I want in life.

Right now it sits on the counter in my yellow (!) kitchen next to a window that looks out on a bed of wildflowers in the summer.

Does it look familiar? It should.

Here is my favorite picture of myself, taken by the side of the road somewhere in Oregon in 1997. It doesn't really point to a special time in my life, but I think it captures the best of my spirit -- who I would like to be, without the mania that sometimes accompanies orange.

But you know what takes the cake? This picture I took on a bike ride a couple weeks after I moved to Iowa. Oh, and for the record, I did not get off my bike or stop pedaling to take this picture. What can I say? You can take the girl out of orange, but you can't take orange out of the girl...

"Is this heaven?"
"No. It's Iowa."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Found the Phone!

...four days later. In the couch cushions. I don't know why I'm surprised.

Keeps Getting Better

As if this day couldn't get any better (it was 78 today!!), I was greeted by this in the checkout line:

And Then Mary Nailed It

Just go here.

It's everything I've needed to say and needed to hear.

Versions of Me...In Living Color

Note: I didn't plan this post for St. Patty's Day, but it sorta worked out, no?

February was a strange month. It started with a batch of clean laundry and the choice between putting on my orange or green turtleneck. Orange had long been my defining color. At one point, there was so much orange in my wardrobe that it constituted an entire load of laundry on its own. But the green...I had never really liked green at all before, but somehow, that green sweater was calling me. Twice before this I had chosen the green over the orange, but that day the choice bothered me. Was I no longer the kinda gal who draped herself in orange? And why all of a sudden was I being drawn to green?

Later that week, I attempted to do some spring cleaning. The fatal error was beginning in the room that houses my trunk-o-stuffs. You know, the one with yearbooks, old letters, track ribbons, PHOTOS. "Sidetracked" doesn't even begin to describe what happened.

It was one thing to look over all these different versions of myself, at different times in my life, through pictures and letters and journals. Then around mid-month, there was an odd e-mail exchange wherein I was confronted by yet another version of myself, this time through another's eyes. It was very idealized, and I was left wondering what happened that version of myself, and whether she ever really existed in the first place. On top of that, my advisor shared a letter of recommendation she wrote for me. Seriously, I don't know who she was writing about. I mean, there were parts that felt vaguely familiar, but other parts that left me feeling like an inadequate fraud. (She assures me it was the truth...*shrug*)

All of that leads me back to the colors. Some people have the same favorite color their whole lives, but mine has changed a bit over the past ten years. (Oh man, has it really been that long?!) In some ways, I can see people treating me like an orange-yellow person even though, on the inside, I feel like I'm growing into someone else. So I decided to look up what my favorite colors might reveal about me, and I think it accounts for the different periods of my life better than anything I might have put in my trunk.

1997-2001 Yellow. These are the years I was finishing college, moving to DC for grad school, then Seattle, then back to New Mexico for another master's degree.

Yellow is the color of happiness, wisdom and imagination, Yellow is chosen by the mentally adventurous, searching for novelty and self-fulfillment. Yellow usually goes with a sunny and shrewd personality, with a good business head and a strong sense of humor. It is the color of intellectuality and all things to do with the mind. Yellow folks are usually clear and precise thinkers who have a good opinion of their own mental capacities and who have lofty ideals. They may at times tend to shun responsibility, preferring freedom of thought and action.

2001-2007 Enter orange.
To quote a Faith Hill tune, I'd say these years could easily be characterized as "living and loving and learning the hard way." Also: "full speed ahead," and "taking big fat juicy bites out of life" would cover it too. Yellow was still very much a part of it, but in more of a supporting role until the orange overshadowed it completely around 2003-4. I love orange for it's brashness and impracticality. I mean, it's RIDICULOUS! Love it! Plus, not many people like orange or have the guts to wear it. In your early-mid twenties, that's all fine and good. But late 20s into your 30s...well, I'll say that I still like orange and yellow but have less need for an all-encompassing orange lifestyle.

Orange: This color of luxury and pleasure appeals to the flamboyant and fun-loving person who likes a lively social round. Orange people may be inclined to dramatize a bit, and people notice them, but they are generally good-natured and popular. They can be a little fickle and vacillating, but on the whole they try hard to be agreeable. Orange is the color of youth, strength, fearlessness, curiosity and restlessness.
2009 Green. I guess my trend toward green has been two or three years in the making. I've really been wanting to move toward a life of balance and peace so I can thrive. Hence, the latest blog makeover.

The color of harmony and balance, green symbolizes hope, renewal and peace, and is usually liked by the gentle and sincere. Greens are generally frank, community-minded people, fairly sociable but preferring peace at any price. Green people can be too self-effacing, modest and patient, so they may get exploited by others. They are usually refined, civilized and reputable.

In reality, I'm not sure if I'm really going all the way to green as the star, but it is definitely part of an ensemble cast. When I look back, blue has always been in the mix as a supporting player, accented by white. Given their descriptions, I see how they fit into the background as minor, but present, parts of myself. Not surprisingly, when orange took over, the blue dropped out entirely.

Blue: Soft, soothing, compassionate and caring, blue is the color of deliberation and introspection, conservatism and duty. Patient, persevering, conscientious, sensitive and self-controlled, Blues like to be admired for their steady character and wisdom. They are faithful, but are often worriers with somewhat inflexible beliefs and can be too cautious, and suspicious of flamboyant behavior.
White: Symbolic of purity, innocence and naivete, white has strong connotations of youth and purity. If you are an older person, your preference for white could indicate a desire for perfection and impossible ideals, maybe an attempt to recapture lost youth and freshness. It may also symbolize a desire for simplicity or the simple life.
That scene above is how I think I will always remember Iowa. Blue skies, puffy white clouds, and green rolling hills.

But green. I think I'm going to feature green for a little while...for all the reasons Kermit thinks it's not easy, and for all the reasons it's what he wants to be.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Felicity Part Two

Sprouts in my front yard. They emerged after harsh times, and so can I.

So the "Four Things" meme is going around on Facebook at the moment, and one of the items is "List four places you'd rather be right now."

And for all my bitching and moaning as of late...there isn't another place I'd rather be.

So I left it blank. All four slots.

I have a feeling this PhD will turn out like my first Ironman: long and painful, but I was happy to be there and smiled almost the entire time.

Felicity, indeed.

Da Boy!

Rocky stalks neighborhood children.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Felicity (n.):

  1. the state of being happy, esp. in a high degree; bliss: marital felicity.
  2. an instance of this.
  3. a source of happiness.
  4. a skillful faculty: felicity of expression.
  5. an instance or display of this: the many felicities of the poem.
  6. Archaic. good fortune

This is actually the third version of this post. The two previous versions somehow veered off into two separate and distinct tirades about the various ways I do not enjoy some of the people and circumstances of my doctoral program. A choice (but abbreviated) excerpt:

"If you want a life-enriching educational experience, where there is joy in learning new things for their own sake, then get yourself a Master's degree. If, however, you would like a daily assault on your self-worth and to be surrounded by people so consumed with status that they can't stop posturing for even one second to realize that the most necessary first step in real learning is to admit you don't know, then consider pursuing a PhD."

And that's not even the worst of it. Yikes.

Here is what I really want to say:

Last week I embarked on a journey through all four seasons of Felicity. If you aren't familiar with this show, it's basically the story of a curly-headed girl finding herself through her college years/early adulthood. There is a scene in one of the first season episodes where Felicity is watching Ben (!) run. She ponders the fact that he is good at something he really loves. That is what the PhD business was supposed to be for me. Triathlon, too.

Long story short: I'm am extracting myself from all the falderol to concentrate on my own stuff, my own joy, my own reasons for being in the program and in the world. When I'm focused and committed (read: not distracted by nonsense), I am good at this school thing and I love it. I've been wasting a lot of my time spinning my wheels and concerning myself with other people's garbage and shooting myself in the foot in my attempts to resist. I have found some great people here who energize me both intellectually and emotionally, and they are the ones I will let into my life and on whom I will expend my emotional energy.

So I'm putting the "break" in "spring break." This post marks the break I am making with the bad habits and negative energy. I'll use the week off from school to gain some momentum so I won't be easily derailed once classes begin again.

That's it.




Sunday, February 8, 2009

'K' is for Knife

One day when I was a senior in high school (I think I was 16, but when you read what follows, you'll see it makes no difference if I was 16 or 17), I came home to an empty house. I don't remember why my mom wasn't there, but she left me a note:

There's a pork chop in the fridge. Heat it up in the microwave, but not too hot so you don't get burned. Cut it in small pieces and chew carefully so you don't choke.

It's a good thing she added that last sentence because I had other plans for that pork chop.

On first glance, it would seem that if she were that worried about me chewing carefully, she maybe shouldn't have left me unsupervised with knives. But she's savvy, my mama. Despite many successful dinners in which I cut and chewed my own meat without incident, she must have known I had been secretly biding my time...waiting to be left home alone with meat and cutlery.

My natural inclination is to swallow slabs of meat whole, just to see what happens. To be perfectly frank, I sometimes daydream what it would be like to be one of those snakes that can unhinge its jaws to eat its prey whole. But in this case, my burning desire not to chew my meat carefully (much less at all) was outweighed by my desire to heed my mama's warnings. I mean, how much trouble would I have been in if she came home and I was passed out on the kitchen floor with half a pork chop lodged in my gullet? Though tempting, it wouldn't be worth a week of phone restriction. Yes, it was a good thing she wrote that last sentence.

Nevertheless, I was still a little insulted by this note.

Did she *really* have to tell me not to make the pork chop too hot in the microwave? I'm pretty sure my survival instinct would have kept me from continuing to eat blazing hot meat after singeing my taste buds. In fact, while in a rush to get to class last week, I poured boiling water into my to-go cup with a tea bag. And when I burned myself trying to drink it too soon, I spit it right out. Right out. And I didn't try to drink it again for another hour.

So what was she worried about? I mean, the time I melted craft sponges in her food processor trying to make stuffing for a pillow was still 3 or 4 years away. And the time I cut half the fur off the tip of our dog's tail was easily 4 years behind us. Really, what did she think would happen leaving me home alone with a new pair of foldy scissors and a sleeping basset hound? How she thought my dad managed it while pushing her shopping cart, as I told her, I'll never know.

Anyway, I don't know why she left this note.

Still, I love my mama.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Creature of Habit

On Tuesday, Rocky went nuts-O as I pulled on my jeans to go to class. Kinda cute at first, and then I had a moment of unfortunate self-discovery: I have managed to classically condition my dog to recognize that pants = leaving; no pants = home.

Of course, this wasn't much of a surprise. I have known for a long time that as soon as I come through the door, I shed clothes with the intensity of a Husky's fur in June, with shoes and belt being the first to go. (When I worked in DC, it was pantyhose.) This is not to say that these items would be left by the front door. On the contrary, many mornings, then and now, have been spent trying to track down said items because the night before, I would come home, get caught up doing something, realize I'd be much more comfortable without the belt/pantyhose/socks/pants, remove the offending item(s) and leave them right where I took them off. Of course, when I needed to put them on again (usually as I was running late for work or school the next day), I could never remember where I left them and would spend a few frantic minutes scrambling around the house trying to locate them.

Last week, I reached a new low of losing my favorite bra for a couple days. It turned up in my workout room (which says a lot about how much time I spend in there). My scanner is in that room, and I took the thing off while I was scanning a chapter to post online for a class I teach. (Really, nothing sucks the joy out of scanning documents like a harness of female oppression.)

Further evidence of my mindlessness in the home was the time I lost the TV remote in the refrigerator for a day. I went to the fridge with the remote in one hand and opened the door with the other. Needing a free hand to grab the grub, I simply put the remote down on the shelf rather than letting go of the door.


Anyway, sometime between last fall and this month, my chronic belt-losing (usual suspect/locations: kitchen table, end table, computer room, master bathroom) evolved into pants-losing (usual locations: guest bathroom, under the coffee table). Since school started up again, my pants tend to be under the coffee table most.

Socks never used to present the same kind of problem because (a) I have lots of them, and (b) I tend to leave them in the exact same place: under my computer desk. When I run out of socks, I go fish them out from among the cords and wires and throw them in the wash. This, too has changed. I've begun finding them smashed between/under the couch cushions. Why? Because I sleep on the couch most nights and kick my socks off while snuggled under my blankie.

As if being a whirling dervish of clothes shedding weren't bad enough, Rocky's response to my putting on of pants alerted me to the concentration of shed clothing in and around the couch. This, coupled with the multi-day abandonment of my bra in the workout room is just a little too much for me to accept.

In my defense, in lieu of exercise and online activity, I have been super gung-ho about school for the first time since, well, undergrad (this is a HUGE deal).

Read: There is still a chance that I'm not a total loser, right? RIGHT?!?!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oh Hip Hop Abs

I've been MIA because I was taking a class over winter session -- it was so awesome, I often stayed up until 4 and 5 in the morning because I didn't want to put the work down. I know! I know! This is good news because it renews my desire to be here and reminds me what this whole academic endeavor can and should be: liberating and life-enriching.

AM Yoga -- Standing poses.
Time: 20:00

I've decided to start my weekdays with yoga to wake up and get energized. I like it. Also, it was a little easier to sit with my knees folded today.

Hip Hop Abs -- Ab Sculpt 2
Time: 35:00

Okay, so I found this on the cheap online (5 bones, including shipping). I found it moved a little too slow for me, the music was lame, and I found Shawn T the instructor man neither motivating nor entertaining -- all of which is remedied with a touch of the mute button and my own tunes. It meant I wasn't totally in sync (*NSync?!) with the video, but I got to go at my own pace (faster), so I ultimately got a better workout. I primarily used the video for structure, though the floorwork did burn a little, and I did feel this in my upper back and thighs. I'd say this is probably a beginner-plus/intermediate level workout, and definitely not worth paying full price (I'm even a little annoyed at the couple bucks I paid for it.) Also, if you are at all funkily inclined you'll find this choreography not all that funky, not much of a challenge, and in some places awkwardly put together with transitions that do not necessarily flow. On the plus side, you don't have to waste a lot of time trying to learn the moves.

Distance: 2.4 miles
Time: 45:00

I've decided that my home treadmill will only be used for walking. I'll give running a try on the treadmill at the rec center tomorrow morning, and if that doesn't work (read: my knee puts up a fuss), I will hang up the running shoes in favor of non-impact activities like swimming and biking through the winter.

And now...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Treadmill: 2; Endorphin Machine: 0

Mini Workout -- Running
Time: 7:00

Was in a time-crunch before class, but still wanted to get something in. (Note to self: staying up past 3am is not a good way to get a lot done in the morning.) On the plus side: my knee feels a *little* better.

8-Week Treadmill Plan: Day 2
Time: 30:00
Distance: 1.81 mi

Okay, this time it wasn't my will, but my knees. Eff this. I will try this at the rec center (I've been using my treadmill at home). First, I'll try the intervals, then straight running (but slower), and if it's still a crapfest, I'll just walk through the winter. So that's in limbo for now.

Endorphin Machine vs. Treadmill, Episode 1


AM Yoga -- Standing poses.
Time: 20:00

Might need to see a doc about my knee. It hurts to sit with it folded completely, both underneath me and indian-style. On the plus side, it worked wonders on my been-sleeping-on-the-couch-too-long back. I felt energized and ready to face my day! But not the treadmill (see below).

8 Weeks to 8:30-miles: Day One
Walk easy 30:00

I seriously need to find a way to change my attitude about the damn treadmill. I was supposed to do run/walk intervals yesterday and walk easy today. It pains my soul to run on the treadmill, even for a minute at a time! So I switched them.

Of course, this means I will have to face it today. With a vengeance or something. Oy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ako Ay Pinay! Sige!

I've been struggling with my New Year's post and playlist for almost a week. This is also the second take on a post that went up then down again an hour later this morning. Both the mix and the post were turning into a jumble of random stuff I wanted to take on this year, so instead of trying to force them into a coherent whole, I will deal with them in separate posts this week.

My Big Deal Thing in 2009 is the ITU Subic Bay International Triathlon in the Philippines in May. I haven't been to the Philippines since winter 2003-2004, so it's time I go back. Even though my dad was here for much of the fall, it's been almost two years since I've seen my mama. And a triathlon (or two) in the mix? Super bonus!

This ramp gets you in/out of transition.

This first video is for my Mamar and my fellow Pinay-girl, Sunny. I have to admit, the mom at the beginning of this video is pretty close to my mom and aunties, yelling-wise. My mom never tried to feed my friends -- but my aunties and my grandma had that covered. Something tells me my mom would like "Pergie" too.

Of course, this also means it's time to freshen up the old iPod. As I was trying to put together a mix, I realized I was trying to address a few different tasks: finding mostly new (to me) tracks to get me charged up about training, racing in the PI, the ongoing peacetalks with my body (its ever-changing shape and abilities), and the year ahead.

For better or worse, I got my body from my mama. Seriously, some of my friends think our faces look alike, but she and I are shaped like the exact same pear. So these additions to the iPod are sort of an embrace of my mama, my body, and my "motherland." The last track is not supposed to turn a blind eye to the colonial history between the US and the PI, or even a suggestion that I might dominate anything when I race there -- just a nod to racing abroad and taking a tall, quenching drink of my heritage. Though it is probably a good cautionary reminder, nonetheless.

I admit, on that trip I will probably also be looking for a way to include a chapter in my dissertation about the women in the triathlon community in Southern Luzon in the Philippines. You know, so I can spend my dissertation year there. ;^)

English translation of the chorus from Bebot:
You're a Filipino, shout! C'mon!
If you're beautiful, shout! C'mon!
If your life is important, shout! C'mon!
Thanks for your support!

Isn't that a perfect way to end this first post for 2009?