September 9, 2006

The General September 2006 Archive

THE REAL FINAL DAY
September 30, 2006

Today is September 30, and this is my last day at the office.

Well.

I’ll miss this place. I’ll miss everybody.

Sigh.

I’ll be gone for some time, too, before the next entry — unless I get a really cool laptop and Dreamweaver to go along with it.

I also have to blog Taming of the Light, so watch out for that!

***

I was supposed to post this a long, LONG time ago, but I’ll put it here anyway.

I was playing Miss Divination with our box of Baci, and I decided to pick one that would determine how my love life would soon fare. This is the “love fortune” I got, which nearly led to me spewing the chocolate out through my nose.

“Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.”

-George Sand

Hahahahaha!

Oh dear.

SIGNAL NUMBER 3
September 29, 2006

It seems the Philippines was ill-prepared for Milenyo. It’s been a decade since the last great typhoon, and if we were waiting for a disaster, well then, here it is.

Or here it was. Everyone was at home yesterday, braving the howling wind and rain, and watching as things either flew or smashed to the ground. Here in Los Banos, plastic cups were reportedly flying around Grove, and deep-rooted trees, like acacias, were uprooted on the UPLB campus. Many towns are now literally underwater. In Makati, part of Glorietta’s glass roof broke. Electricity is out, and many parts of Luzon are out of water.

Ironic, isn’t it? All that rain and flooding, and not a drop to drink.

Here are a few snippets from today and yesterday:

We weren’t able to ration food over at the boarding house, so roomate Vanny and I walked through a muddy highway, in the hope of finding meat, rice, and vegetables for lunch. The only shops open were the buko pie sellers. We had buko pie for lunch.
And dinner.

I DON’T WANT TO SEE BUKO PIE EVER AGAIN!

IRRI was damaged — not beyond repair, but surprisingly damaged.

Pili drive was unpassable, as trees and electric wires blocked it. Even the major highways are unpassable. How shall I go home, I wonder?

I arrived at work this morning, expecting to see my desk soaked. Well, part of it was: right in front of the computer, where my Post-Its, calendars, and reminders were. Everything was dripping, so I had to hang up a few notes to get the water out. Everything was dripping — EXCEPT for my research notebook for NaNoWriMo 2006. It was right smack in the middle of all my paper, but it strangely repelled the water. Not a bit of it was damaged, and all my notes are still intact.

Counting blessings. Have flu. Sniff.

THE FOLLOW-UP TO THE LAST ONE
September 29, 2006

The last post in this journal, courtesy of the very kind Ms. Landa, illustrates a variety of points, save one. It does not aim to tell the reader that a woman must be demanding. It simply serves to say that a woman must know herself completely before she enters any relationship.

I believe that every woman goes through a relationship simply because she has to — she has to grow with each one, know herself better through each one, and value herself better no matter what the circumstances.

Now why did I post the last entry in the first place? I believe we all have our own insecurities. For instance, at one point or another, I think that I am the silliest, stupidest woman on the planet. Sometimes, I think that I am the ugliest little beastie ever brought onto earth. At other times, I no longer believe in my capabilities, and I shirk responsibilities simply because I don’t think I can see them to their glorious ends.

In other words, we all lose sight of our goodness and beauty at one time or another, but we should never let those insecurities get in the way of our lives.

So what was the last article about? It was an exhortation for all women to know their worth.

Let me illustrate my point by looking at the extreme side of this equation. Either a woman knows her worth and is confident; or she is extremely insecure and thinks that she is worthless. The latter case is the one I’m interested in.

Let’s say this extremely insecure woman is cast into a relationship with a man. Either that man is very supportive and will help her get out of her insecurity by restoring her confidence in herself; or he is very unsupportive and will leave her to stand on her own two feet; or he is severely insecure himself. How will the woman fare?

The very first case is what fairy tales are made of. A man will take a woman out of the mire. He will tell her that she is the most beautiful, most intelligent, kindest, greatest woman who has ever lived. She will, hopefully, rise out of her insecurity and become better. But is this true confidence? In all likelihood, the said woman will rely on the man for guidance; if he balks but a little, jokes but a little, wavers but a little from his original course of complete and utter encouragement, would she not sway herself and thus lose all her confidence once again?

Now let us say that the man is unsupportive. Two options remain: he will either be indifferent, or he will take advantage of the woman’s insecurity. In the first case, he will ignore the woman’s plea for attention; he will hurt her with his pride, wound her by his arrogance, and bring tears to both her eyes and heart, simply because her life, he declares, is none of his business.

In the second case, the man can abuse the woman, both physically and emotionally. Sadly, it is into this case that many women now fall. They think so little of themselves, that they believe they are nothing without their men, and thus suffer the blows because they think they can go nowhere. What is the cure to such an illness? Everything and nothing: the cure begins by teaching the woman that she is worth more than she thinks herself to be; but no cure exists for a woman who will forever refuse to believe so.

In the last case, the man can be as insecure as the woman — he knows nothing of his worth, thinks himself useless, and no longer moves a muscle to make himself or his life better. What would such a relationship be like? Man and woman would feed off each other’s emotions, suck at each other’s angst, and live their lives thinking that they are perfect for each other because they have the same weaknesses.

A relationship, however — a true relationship ensures that each person grows in goodness. A relationship between two people who know nothing about themselves is as good as a childhood game: one that is played to while away an afternoon, and one that is concluded by evening, when darkness falls, and all things are dark and invisible.

So this was what the last entry was about. It is a call to people everywhere, actually, to know themselves before they enter a relationship. A relationship, after all, is a partnership. It is not unity in order to find one’s missing half. It is a coming together of two separate souls that have the same dream, the same goals, and the same principles at heart.

An adage, though oft used, best illustrates my point: You can love others only if you love yourself first.

That is, and in the context of the last entry, a woman can love a man truly and completely onlyif she knows herself, and loves herself in the same way.

So what does a woman truly demand? She asks for a man who is as strong, or stronger than she is, so that when he and she are one, they can weather all the winds and storms — and emerge, still standing.

FOR A DEAR FRIEND
September 9, 2006

To one of my bestest friends, who lost her baby this weekend,

I was one of those who first learned about your pregnancy. I was flattered, you know, that you chose to confide in me again: your best friend in high school, with whom you had renewed ties just before your wedding last May (which, by the way, I had not been able to attend). I was so excited: I had offered to be your baby’s godmother, after all, and I remembered how we, as giddy high school sophomores, once talked about having babies one day.

Do you remember how we used to write about weddings and children? They were naïve treatises on imaginary men, those stories: silly thoughts about imaginary families we would have, little dreams that made our afternoons in school all the more exciting, because we felt important. We were thinking about the future.

Do you remember the novels we planned? You were to be married to Brad Pitt, while I would be wedded to either a) A Highlander, preferably Duncan McLeod of the Clan of McLeod; b) A Poet, in the guise of Keanu Reeves (I cringe at this thought now); or c) Robin Hood, as played by Kevin Costner.

Before I continue, allow me to laugh my head off, because what happened last Saturday saddened me almost as greatly as it did you. I think you and I are both in need of a lot of humor, good will, and happiness now.

I was not quite prepared to digest the message, to tell the truth. I had just awakened from a deep afternoon nap, and I was groggy, disoriented, and still sleepy. I was not at all ready to find out that my best friend, for whom I had prayed, and with whom I had prayed, had miscarried her first child.

I was out of bed immediately, fumbling in the darkness for slippers, stumbling through a headache as I made my way out of my bedroom and into our living room, where the phone was. Sadly, you did not wish to talk to me; but my dear girl, I understood.

I know nothing of what it is like to lose a child you have never held, known, nor touched. But I wish God to bless you with this angel, because, setting aside all the dark lectures on Limbo and unbaptized infants, I believe you have a Guardian who can watch over you now.

I will pray for you always, and I wish you all the healing, and happiness in the world. I may not have your privileges one day. I might not be able to cradle a baby, or have my own child, or watch it grow up. If this therapy thing doesn’t work, I won’t even have the chance to bear children.

But I will always pray for you, because you, my dear best friend, deserve happiness in all its shapes and forms. You deserve that family we once dreamed, spoke, and wrote of.

Love always,
Inez

JOB VACANCY: INSPIRATION FOR NEXT NOVEL
September 6, 2006

Inez Ponce de Leon is a novelist who is again embarking on the annual National Novel Writing Month writing experience. She has been writing since she was 7; she has been a novelist for the last 16 years.

To complete her novels, she casts all main roles with both popular actors and actresses, as well as with people she has met and known. To make the task easier, she has also served as model for leading lady in her more recent novels. To make the transition from thought to paper easier, she needs a Man to both inspire her and star in her next novel. The inspiration, in itself, will determine the plot and the outcome of the story.

Job Description

Inez Ponce de Leon is in need of An Inspiring Man, who will:

* Serve as the basis of her leading man in her coming novel

* Serve as her inspiration for the plot

* Not interfere with the plot should he be informed of the arrangement; although suggestions for changes are welcome

Minimum Qualifications and Experience

* Must be able — not necessarily willing — to act opposite author as her love interest in coming National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel

* No minimum educational level

* Need not be a Hollywood star

* Age: preferably older than 27 (author’s age) although May-December stories may be crafted depending on applicant’s qualifications. 19 is barest minimum.

* Must be a good sport, as author can sometimes be cruel to her characters (e.g. Leonidas at the end of Sanctuary, Jonathan ridiculed/ humiliated/ embarrassed by Rachel in The Romantic, etc.)

Terms of Appointment

Must be willing to be in entire novel, unless author decides to kill off character in end.

Application

Interested applicants should send a photo and brief description to author AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. For more information, see this list of previous job holders:

Name: Orlando Bloom
Role: Leonidas Xenos
Novel: Sanctuary
Term: November 2004

Name: Jesse Spencer
Role: Jonathan Robert the Third of Locksley
Novel: The Romantic
Term: November 2005

PURITY RING!
September 6, 2006

I now have a purity ring. Yay.

Got it for 300 bucks last weekend, and had it engraved for free (if you can’t find a proper purity ring, make one!). On the outside: Purity. On the inside: True Love Waits.

I was raring to write this entry, until recent events have pushed me down into the realm of Worry and Fear. I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all! I swore this would never happen again, and now, I’m back in the mire!

TO WAR WE ALL GO
September 1, 2006

I got this from my RomanCatholics Mailing List:

“The central point in the matter of internal warfare lies in the following: go down attentively into your heart. Stand there before the Lord and do not permit anything sinful to enter in. In this lies the fullness of interior warfare.”

St. Theophan the Recluse
Wow. And that’s all I can say. Wow. I want to take this statement apart before putting my thoughts back together. I want to go into internal warfare. Not really — and not literally, I mean.

What is internal warfare, anyhow? Not to sound like a carelessly written dictionary, but internal warfare is simply the War Within, of Two Worlds of Opposites, Two Universes, Two Polarities. It is a war between good and evil, where the Spirit battles Flesh, where one Angel calls for goodness and self-sacrifice, and another makes an every impatient bid for goodness of another sort, of happiness that is known to be temporal only after it is felt and wasted.

Internal warfare has been going on for centuries, and happens throughout our entire lifetime. It can be as simple as choosing between engorging on a rich dessert or taking a few bites in moderation. It can graduate to choosing between accepting a bribe to add yet another vote to elect someone to public office or walking away. It can go even higher, as one chooses whether to commit an indiscretion, an infidelity, or to sacrifice one’s needs and deny the flesh its wants.

So, according to St. Theophan, what is the “central point” in this unending war? It is knowing one’s heart and defending it from all temptation.

More precisely, it is descending from the humdrum and stress of life, and into the silence of one’s heart — there to build one’s strength and assemble one’s spiritual arsenal, as it were, by prayer and companionship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Does this sound like a really bad homily? I wish I could put all my thoughts together better, the way I thought I could, back when I was young and I thought that anyone could enter the priesthood. I wanted to, just so I could deliver homilies, because I thought it was “fun.”

I write and think like crap, don’t I?

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