September 29, 2010

Just Stuff

A couple of months ago the house where my parents keep tons and tons of stuff was broken into. Bakal-bote boys must have been eyeing the house for the longest time. It was, after all, unpeopled and most often unattended.

Why my parents need a whole house for things that have long outlived their purpose has always been the subject of debate. All this hoarding could very well be a projection of their war mentality: they don't like the idea of throwing anything away. And so the stuff kept piling up: furniture from five houses ago, wedding presents (oh yes, those dreaded punchbowls) that none of us wanted, clothes that have gone out of--and back in and out again of--fashion, books, long-playing albums, videotapes and things that I forgot we had.

Oh well, most of the stuff are gone now. I don't exactly mourn for the lost things, but I cringe at the thought of other people invading and breaking into our turf. I haven't checked in on the house since the burglary, knowing that I would feel a degree of violation. The thought of strangers rifling through things that are supposed to be private can be very unsettling, although by now I should be used to people poking their noses into other peoples' lives.

The stuff are just stuff. They have been forgotten for so long, and the universe has found a way of getting them out of our lives. I just wish, though, that the loss didn't come with this sense of invasion. 

September 20, 2010

The Official Name Game

This I have to say: the e-census service of the National Statistics Office is really efficient. Three days after completing my online transaction, I got a copy of my official birth certificate. I didn't have to do the requisite table hopping that is the norm in most government offices, I didn't have to wait in line and I certainly didn't have to wait out the lunch break in the virtual company of Tito, Vic and Joey.

Having said that, I still believe that we put too much faith in the hands of mere mortals who are supposed to safeguard the records of our lives. My birth certificate--the data on which are hand-written (which in effect pegs my era as pre-Olympia and pre-Microsoft)--had the generic "Baby" before what I thought to be my real first name. And to think I used to laugh at my two aunts--the two "Babys"--who are now senior citizens!

It will take a court hearing and subsequent publications--and the corresponding fees, of course--to get rid of the offending "Baby." Clerical error, they call it, which doesn't exactly say much about our clerks.

So now I join the ranks of those with horrific stories about their vital records. A friend who is obviously female had to go through a sex change on paper: she was registered as a "he." Another friend married a girl who was born in Taiwan. On the marriage certificate, he became the "Taiwanese."

And then there's Sister Number Four, whose baptismal records showed that our Dad is not her father. This, of course, did not sit well with my Mom, who was this short of hieing off to a nunnery in her younger years. When she checked the church logs, it turned out that the record keeper skipped an entry, and all the children on that page had the "wrong" fathers. :p

September 13, 2010

The Great Tights Chase

I am a certified last-minute shopper. Stores--especially the part where the clothes are--sting my eyes and I end up all red-eyed and puffy. So I usually wait, and wait, and wait, for that now-or-never moment to venture into a clothing store.

Last week had me weaving in and out of places that I haven't been to in a long, long time. The daughter needed tights for a school program, and I guess I gave the department stores hereabouts way too much credit. I figured I'd have a pair in 15 minutes--with enough time to spare.

Alas, things were not meant to be. As the minutes wore on, and as the stores I went to became more and more of the stores of my childhood (think Sampaguita, Hollywood, D'Best and Goodwill Bazaar!), I began invoking the saints and the muses of dance. To no avail, of course.

An hour later, I gave up and begged Teacher to allow my daughter to dance in leggings. Of course I could have made the hour-long trip to Legaspi but the husband doesn't like spur-of-the-moment drives and the two of us are not exactly Amazing Race material. :p

On the day of the performance, more than half of the girls were IN leggings.

What do you know? I am not the only last-minute shopper in Sorsogon!

September 11, 2010

Yeto's Beef Caldereta

In memory of Sir Yeto--he who lived, loved and laughed well. And left us with memories of high school, a dreamy kitchen and growing up in a small town.

Sir Yeto generously shared this in a feature in Food: The Magazine of Good Cooking.

2 kilos stewing beef, cut into pieces
10-12 cups water
1 kilo pork liver
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
salt to taste
2 cups sliced pimientos morones or fresh baguio pepper
2 cups pitted green olives
1/4 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup sliced onion
1 small can or two long pieces chorizo de Bilbao, cut crosswise into 1/2" slices
salt and pepper to taste

Put beef in a large casserole and pour enough water to cover. Cover casserole and bring water to a boil then lower heat immediately to simmer. Let simmer about one hour.

Meanwhile, broil pork liver until medium rare. Grind or chop liver finely.

Combine liver with cheese, tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt, pimientos morones and green olives. Stir until smooth. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute garlic, onions and chorizo de Bilbao. Stir in liver mixture and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until mixture turns lighter in color.

Pour liver mixture into the beef in the casserole and simmer for 15 minutes or until mixture thickens and beef is completely tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

September 5, 2010

Dully Right

Still giddy, perhaps, from the Miss U high, the talent scouts in my neck of the woods are all agog about the "Search for the Little Kasanggayahan Princess." The event is trying to market itself as a beauty-and-brains-and-talent thingy, but I am not keeping my hopes up.

Not after my nowhere near perfect vision zoomed in on the poster, which requires the little misses to "be able to understand, converse and right in English."

And to submit a "dully filled-up application form."