Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I-M-E-L-D-I-F-I-C!!! (Santa Imelda de Manolo, Saint Imelda of Manolo, Ste-Imelde de Manolo)

I've touched a bit on shoes with my dad's "shoe malfunction" story there in my first part of the "pursuit of beauty" post, and I honestly don't know where I am going with this! But I thought I'd blog tonight about how I feel about my fellow Filipina, Imelda Marcos, who is notorious for her sizable shoe collection. I don't think she's someone to be proud of, I just find her collection of over 3,000 shoes (hate her!) to be ostentatious - tangible, eye-candy of an evidence of her frivolous self-indulgence. Well, she defends herself by claiming that they were given to her as gifts. Painfully faultless samples (sob!) given to her by shoemakers in Marikina - say what??? M-A-R-I-K-I-N-A - it's a city in the Philippines also known as the country's Shoe Capital and apparently by extension, of Asia as well, owing to it's notable shoe industry. I guess, it could be true that she accumulated that many shoesies that way, after all her husband did serve as president/dicator for an overly draaaawwwwnnnn-outttt (reminiscent of the very recent epic John Isner-Nicolas Mahut Wimbledon match) twenty somewhat years. Shall we do the math? Let's just say, that exactly a dozen shoemakers gave her one sample each, every single month for twenty years - that would come up to 2,880 pairs of shoes, just a little over a hundred shy of 3,000!!!! I just wonder whether they were offered up to her nestled on red satin pillows out of the goodness of their hearts, or simply in sucking up leech-style, or perhaps with an ulterior motive of getting a tax break (no, corruption doesn't exist in the Philippines, naahh!!), or maybe in an attempt to appease her wrath after she had threatened to have her hubby Ferdi, annihilate them all if they didn't deliver!!! And yet, how come I don't believe it for two seconds when she says that her entire collection consists solely of gifts. If anything, I believe that receiving those samples in the beginning may have whet her appetite for shoes which later developed into a voracious and insatiable hankering for shoes, shoes and more SHOES over time! Don't tell me she doesn't own any sexy patent-leather Prada pumps (drooling), some funky playful Louboutin platforms, a couple of magnificent diamond (not rhinestone!) encrusted strappy Blahnik stilletos (I can't take it!!!) or a few dainty gaily-bowed Choo kitten heel :) numbers that she had personally purchased with her infamously ill-gotten millions, that's impossible, that just can't be! She's gotta have a few of those - some few dozens of them - and I bet you they are exactly what make up the rest of the 3,000 and more! Apparently, Imelda's shoes are now on display or maybe I should say, enshrined at the Shoe Museum of Marikina...now that I've got to see. I promise to plan to set off on a pilgrimage to this shoe Mecca with Maya the very next time I go home, or maybe I'll just plotthe heist of the century.... hmmm,
we'll see...Oh, did I say that out loud???!!! (Candice, care to join me? Stella and Maya can totally act as decoys!!!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

BP Sucks!!!

The following is the content of an e-mail, "A Comment from An Engineer" that a friend had forwarded to me. It appears to be an excerpt of a person's call-in to a radio talk show discussing the BP oil disaster. The e-mail does not reveal the identity of this engineer and he/she probably chose to remain anonymous anyways to protect himself, so I have no way of verifying his/her credibility as a source, nor the accuracy of some of his/her calculations. But what I can say is, is that his/her comment is definitely SOBERING:

"Heard you mention the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico this morning, and you (and most everyone else except maybe US talk show host George Noory) are totally missing the boat on how big and bad a disaster this is.

First fact, the original estimate was about 5,000 gallons of oil a day spilling into the ocean. Now they're saying 200,000 gallons a day. That's over a million gallons of crude oil a week!

I'm an engineer with 25 years of experience. I've worked on some big projects with big machines. Maybe that's why this mess is so clear to me.

First, the BP platform was drilling for what they call deep oil. They go out where the ocean is about 5,000 feet deep and drill another 30,000 feet into the crust of the earth. This it right on the edge of what human technology can do. Well, this time they hit a pocket of oil at such high pressure that it burst all of their safety valves all the way up to the drilling rig and then caused the rig to explode and sink. Take a moment to grasp the import of that. The pressure behind this oil is so high that it destroyed the maximum effort of human science to contain it.

When the rig sank it flipped over and landed on top of the drill hole some 5,000 feet under the ocean.

Now they've got a hole in the ocean floor, 5,000 feet down with a wrecked oil drilling rig sitting on top of is spewing 200,000 barrels of oil a day into the ocean. Take a moment and consider that, will you!

First they have to get the oil rig off the hole to get at it in order to try to cap it. Do you know the level of effort it will take to move that wrecked oil rig, sitting under 5,000 feet of water? That operation alone would take years and hundreds of millions to accomplish. Then, how do you cap that hole in the muddy ocean floor? There just is no way. No way.

On the longer-term side of things, there are signs that this largest oil drilling catastrophe could also become the worst natural gas and climate disaster. The explosion has released tremendous amounts of methane from deep in the ocean, and research shows that methane, when mixed with air, is the most powerful (read: terrible) greenhouse gas — 26 times worse than carbon-dioxide. Our warming planet just got a lot hotter.

The only piece of human technology that might address this is a nuclear bomb. I'm not kidding. If they put a nuke down there in the right spot it might seal up the hole. Nothing short of that will work.

If we can't cap that hole that oil is going to destroy the oceans of the world. It only takes one quart of motor oil to make 250,000 gallons of ocean water toxic to wildlife. Are you starting to get the magnitude of this?

We're so used to our politicians creating false crises to forward their criminal agendas that we aren't recognizing that we're staring straight into possibly the greatest disaster mankind will ever see. Imagine what happens if that oil keeps flowing until it destroys all life in the oceans of this planet. Who knows how big of a reservoir of oil is down there.

Not to mention that the oceans are critical to maintaining the proper oxygen level in the atmosphere for human life.

Unless God steps in and fixes this. No human can. You can be sure of that!"

You see, the problem with BP is that they've exhausted all of their knowledge building the massive oil rig in order to continue to not just tap but exploit the earth's resources and reach their ultimate selfish and greedy goal of amassing more and more wealth. What they failed to do is come up with a contingency plan or at least one, that is, that could address and contain an emergency of the same magnitude as of the one that is frighteningly happening as I write! They have irresponsibly overlooked that part, but worst of all, they and the politicians have been conspiringly glossing over the gravity of the situation. No, things are not OK as they are trying to lead us to believe!

In his conclusion, the engineer humbly acknowledged that it is way beyond human capability to fix this problem, and that God needs to intervene and soon! This in turn, brought to my mind the reassurance given to mankind in the Bible book of Revelation 11:18 that God will "...bring to ruin those ruining the earth." So guys, take heart!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Erratum: My take on the Pursuit of Beauty!!!

I profusely apologize for the little slip up on my last post. Apparently I just made mummified Queen Nefertiti as well as King Tut, respectively roll over in their tombs...or wherever it is, that is, they currently rest!!! As it turns out the eye kohl used in Ancient Egypt although being primarily derived from lead, posed no known threat to one's eyesight. As a matter of fact, it was actually beneficial, in that it had antibacterial properties, preventing infections and it would also "ward off flies and the "evil eye" that they staunchly believed in." The eye kohl was used by both men and women and the practice or what I like to call art, of lining their eyes to achieve that feline look (think Angelina Jolie) was their way of paying homage to the cat, an animal they obviously very much revered - just refer to their hieroglyphics! At any rate, I'm still glad for my make-up bag essential, hypoallergenic MAC "smolder" eye kohl which as far as I know, is not supposed to contain even a smidgen of lead and I would never trade in my latest acquisition/baby, Inglot matte eyeliner gel, which I'm still learning to apply properly with my MAC #266 angle brush (meow!) for the original lead-laden concoction from the land of the Nile!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My take on the Pursuit of Beauty!!!

I still remember one girl's horror story that my dad witnessed at his senior prom, which he would tell and retell again over the years. Apparently, the three-inch heel of one of the girl's shoes snapped off in the middle of an energetic boogie number. Unfortunately, I don't recall what my dad said happened to her afterwards, I just can't remember which of the following three scenarios most likely took place: a.) She immediately produced a back-up pair of pumps out of her purse and chucked the defective shoes into file 13 (thattagirl!) b.) She opted to quietly fade into obscurity after the painfully embarrasing mishap (uncool!) or still c.) She was suddenly struck by genius after popping a mint into her mouth and heroically snapped off the heel of her other shoe and carried on fox-trotting (way to go!), just like in the old Mentos commercial - does anyone remember that one? Gosh, I am soooo giving away my age!!!

But while that "shoe malfunction" (a variant of the new term coined by Janet Jackson) story never failed to elicit a hearty guffaw from my father as he would recount the horrific details, deep inside I felt for that nameless once young woman. How could he relate anyway? After all, only a fellow gal could understand the lengths we'd go to in the name of beauty, in her case, braving possible humiliation or worse yet, a broken neck or a concussion, just for the illusion of mile-long legs and a lifted rear??? Why else would the ancient Egyptians risk their eyesight with lead-tainted eye kohl for the desirable, what we now call, smokey-eye??? Or why do the Burmese women of the Padaung tribe endure the discomfort of wearing those cumbersome, and not to mention heavy, rings around their necks in order to elongate them, making Tyra Banks proud, but if not for the tireless pursuit of beauty?

And while we have smartened up somewhat and abandoned altogether (well at least in these parts) some of the archaic and barbaric beauty practices like toying with the risk of setting one's whole head aflame and some resulting nasty third degree burns from singeing one's hair??? Some of them still prevail, but the methods and devices now presently used have been tweaked to perfection over the decades with more regard paid to safety and common sense. Take for example the serious business of hair-straightening. Just like a lot of things, the flattening iron has come a long way from it's cruder predecessors. Does anyone remember the multi-purpose hairstyler that Conair, I believe, used to make back in the day? It had all these different attachments that could be snapped onto the tong-shaped device, enabling one to heat-emboss different shapes like hearts or stars onto their hair (hey, my four-year-old daughter Maya, would have loved that, too bad it's been phased out since!!!) It even had crimpers, and of course, regular flat plates for plain straightening - the product of sheer feminine ingenuity at it's best, one might have considered it to be at the time. But the only downside to the gadget was that they hadn't discovered the equally genius use of ceramic as a coating material yet at the time either, which allows the new currently used versions to just effortlessly glide through the hair offering a virtually seamless, snag-free straightening experience. The bare metal plates of the old styler also did not heat up evenly, causing "hotspots" that would literally burn hair to a crisp (on second thought, I take it back, I wouldn't want that for Maya now!) I've been very pleased with the performance of my sleek, compact and streamlined babyliss ceramic flattening iron that I had purchased back in 2006, but apparently, they have since begun to use tourmaline to coat these devices, which is in fact superior to ceramic, and is now the gold standard in hair-flattening. Personally, I prefer to use my handy-dandy round brush for my everyday hair-straightening needs. I like the more natural-looking end-product of using the brush compared to the edgy straight effect from the iron, which I reserve for when I'm going for a more trendy look every now and then. The barrel of my round brush is of course again, ceramic-coated and the bristles are synthetic. You might find it interesting to know that, originally the bristles of brushes used to be made out of boars' hair (which are basically wild pigs) Ewwwww!!! some might say, but personally, I think this is pretty neat, the practice being totally in keeping with sustainable development which is all the rage these days, SHAME ON YOU BP!!! I mean not a single part of the animal is wasted, from the hocks, down to the very hairs!!! The handle of my brush is ergonomically designed too and is filled with some kind of gelly substance for comfort, good thing, too, for the last thing I need is to develop an RSI from using it so much! I actually bless the day I mastered and learned to wield in a quasi expert fashion, my round brush on one hand simultaneously with my hair dryer on the other, because for the longest time I thought I was doomed to a sad lifetime plagued with frizzy-hair woes! Needless to say, I ♥♥♥ my hair brush and unlike my AMEX which I sometimes forget tucked away somewhere "chez nous," I never ever leave home, especially overnight, without my beloved (limited edition) professional Goody ceramic round brush with it's cool plasmium gel-filled ergonomic handle!!!

to be continued.....

Wild Horses-I Want To Run With You...

Wild Horses

I don't just indiscriminately open every single link my friends share on Facebook - but I took my beautiful friend Jen's word for it when she said this was beautiful...beautiful indeed, Jen! Thank you for sharing! In turn, I would like to share this song with everyone. Apparently the song is part of the soundtrack of the movie Flicka, which is about, you've guessed it right, horses! Here are the lyrics, and my next post is an actual (unofficial) video off youtube...enjoy!

"Wild Horses"
(Natasha Bedingfield)

I feel these four walls closing in
My face up against the glass
I'm looking out...
Is this my life I'm wondering
It happened so fast
How do I turn this thing around
Is this the bed I chose to make
It's greener pastures I'm thinking about
Wide open spaces far away

All I want is the wind in my hair
To face the fear but, not feel scared

Wild horses I wanna be like you
Throwing caution to the wind
I'll run free too
Wish I could recklessly love, like I'm longing to
Run with the wild horses, run with the wild horses!

I see the girl I wanna be
Riding bare back, care free along the shore
If only that someone was me
Jumping head first headlong without a thought
To act and damn the consequence
How I wish it could be that easy
But fear surrounds me like a fence
I wanna break free

All I want is the wind in my hair
To face the fear but, not feel scared

Wild horses I wanna be like you
Throwing caution to the wind
I'll run free too
Wish I could recklessly love, like I'm longing to
I wanna run with the wild horses, run with the wild horses!

I wanna run too...

Recklessly abandoning myself before you
I wanna open up my heart tell him how I feel

Wild horses I wanna be like you
Throwing caution to the wind
I'll run free too
Wish I could recklessly love, like I'm longing to
I wanna run with the wild horses, run with the wild horses!

I wanna run with the wild horses....

Friday, June 25, 2010

The (Moonlighting) Metalsmith

Here's my lame attempt to wax poetic:

She fashioned out of scrap, a branding iron bearing her name, took it to a smoldering fire and ruthlessly seared his heart aflame.

He doused the hot metal with a thousand tears, cowering in shame, releasing the acrid stench of a burning soul that had almost gone insane.

When she withdrew the smoking implement, a raw and excruciating wound remain, in the exact likeness of, the mirror-image of her name!

The wound had healed over a million moons, but the unfeeling imprint still appears like a stain, distinct and indelible, a reminder of his once agonizing pain...

Monday, June 21, 2010

On Moms Working Outside of the Home

We have it pretty good in Canada because we get a year's paid maternity leave. Well, you actually have the choice between an extended leave at a lower benefit rate, or a shorter leave at a higher rate. I opted for the former where I received 70% of my full-time pay for the first 18 weeks and 55% for the following 25 weeks. But either way your job is protected up to a year and I'm quite sure that this applies to everyone with a little variation depending on the nature of the work you do and obviously it's a whole different ballgame if you're self-employed. For example, when a teacher at Maya's daycare got pregnant, she was able to take off early from work (before she even began to show), just because of the risk of exposure to germs which is inevitable and comes with the territory, of course, of working around kids. The same holds true for all healthcare workers and anyone holding any other type of occupation that could possibly endanger both mom and unborn child. Obviously they must receive some compensation from the time they stop working and their jobs are protected up to a year after the baby's born. In my case, mine is your regular 9-5 job in a beautiful office that looks more like a day spa than anything else with every detail so well thought out and aesthetically conscious from the custom-built white melamine paneled cubicles, the most comfy lounges furnished with flat screen TV's and leather couches, the kitchenettes on each wing, to the marble washrooms (I work for an Italian-owned General Contractor, go figure!) so even if I tried to argue that the electromagnetic waves that my computer monitor, calculator and phone emit were detrimental to my pregnancies at the time, I'm sure it would have fallen upon deaf ears - well, that would be pushing it anyways, they'd probably laugh and tell me to just suck it up and do my job (lol). So I never bothered pleading my case and so far Maya & Jaden turned out ok, whew!!! With both pregnancies I worked until about two weeks before my respective due dates. And each time I was so paranoid that my waters would break and that I'd deliver at the office and then everybody's lunch would be ruined! Could you imagine?! Thank God that never happened, but I did work for as long as I could before the baby so that I could have more time off to spend with the baby after.

Well, it's always hard to come back, and actually I spent the whole two weeks leading up to the day I started (that is June 21st, last Monday which just happens to coincide with the official start of summer, booo!!!) awash in mixed emotions, with this huge wearisome debate transpiring internally as I tried to weigh out the pros and cons of working outside of the home. But then I reminded myself that I should be thankful for the paid year off that I had enjoyed and that we're pretty fortunate here compared to the States where, what? they get 24 weeks tops mat leave??? I'm not even sure of how many of those are paid for. So I really can't complain but at the same time I can't be smug about my lot, I have family who live there...I just think it's sad and appalling, I mean we're talking about the US here! Look at France where new mom's can be assured that their jobs are protected up to a total of 318 weeks and are compensated the equivalent of 22 weeks of full-time pay according to a study on Parental Leave Policies in 21 countries by Rebecca Ray, Janet C. Gornick and John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. It doesn't surprise me because this is the same country where all business establishments close down on Sundays. I remember talking to a girl at a make-up store a few weeks back. She was speaking to me in an unmistakably thick Parisian accent which was conjuring up images in my head of her riding her bicyclette in the Plateau with a loaf of baguette tucked underarm, all of that to the strains of accordion music! To make the long story short, we got talking about what had brought her here and about her job as a make-up artist and what her schedule was like and then she told me that she only works from Thursday to Saturday and that she'll work Sundays on occasion only because she said while "you could take her out of France, you can't take France out of her." Or take Spain as another example where it's common knowledge that practically all activity halts to a standstill when it's siesta time. According to the same study, parental leave laws there support new parents by offering them job-protected leave up to 312 weeks and compensation the equivalent of 18 weeks full-time pay that they can arrange to receive spread out over so many weeks, their choice. Where am I going with this? Well, it's plain to see that in these countries, people know how to live a little it's not all about career and money, money, money only and their respective governments recognize the importance of family which truly is the basic unit of society. They realize that establishing a bond with your child from the get-go during early infancy is critical and makes for sound families which in turn contribute to the integrity of a society. In my humble opinion, six months is hardly enough time for a mom to recover physically, let alone foster that precious bond....when will the US get the drift? I don't get it, I just don't get it! But I must say that Germany has got to be the best place to get pregnant and be a mom (in this respect at least!) because check this out: Although their jobs might not be protected for as long as France or Spain, it still isn't bad as compared to Canada even. Over there, a new mom's job is safe for 170 weeks and they receive financial support up to the equivalent of 47 full-time paid weeks, isn't that awesome???

But it's still hard going back after being away for so long. Personally, what kills me is the thought of having somebody else take care of my kids which goes contrary to what nature intended. But I must admit that on the upside, the past three days have been such a welcome respite from the weighty responsibility of kid rearing which can get to be so overwhelming at times. In this day & age it's not always feasible to live off one salary only. If I were to rely entirely on Kumar financially, I think the remaining viable hair follicles on his head that I've spoken about before would die off altogether - not good. So at the end of the day, I guess you just do what you have to do taking care that the most important things like family do not get relegated to the back burner in the process.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stamps and Friendship

I've already spoken at length about Kumar with my whole eight-series part devoted to him...and yet I find myself looking to him again for something worthwhile to blog about, Kumar is proving to be like a self-replenishing well that I can keep drawing ideas from...good thing, too, for just what would I do without him???

So as the great multitude of followers of this blog already know, Kumar has quite an enviable tie collection. And now that we're off the subject of metrosexuality, I'd like to turn my attention to his stamp collection. Granted, it's hardly as exciting as his ties, nevertheless it does merit an honorable mention, for it is impressive including some really noteworthy stamps that he had accumulated over his childhood, two albums full in fact. I have no idea how much they're worth, but he says it would be interesting to get them appraised just for the fun of it and to actually find out their dollar value.

Now apart from Kumar's two albums of his own personal collection of stamps acquired through trading or buying with saved up lunch money, he also has a third album which he received as a going-away present from his bestfriend in grade school. It had to be his bestfriend's most treasured possesion but he still gave it to Kumar. Now that's what I call a true friend. And what I found utterly cute is the little note his bestfriend wrote to him in the back of the album in his fifth-grade scribble, it reads:

To my best friend,

Some love one,
some love two,
but I love one,
that is you!!!

There is a big ship,
there is a small ship,
but I like one ship,
that is friendship!!!

Awwwwww.... Kumar says it's cheesy but I say it's sweet. I don't think expressions of love and friendship get any more sincere than that. Especially, coming from the uncorrupted heart of a 10-year-old. Kumar says he wonders sometimes whatever became of his bestfriend. I say it's funny how he hasn't found him on Facebook yet. Because have I ever found out what became of certain ones that I used to wonder about owing to my endless Facebook Adventures and after all Facebook transcends all racial barriers, and it's patronage is definitely not confined to only persons making up a certain demograph, everyone's on it, I guess it's just a matter of time 'till he turns up....

Friday, June 18, 2010

We tight

At fifteen months, Jaden seems to have reached or so I hope he has, the pinnacle of his struggle with seperation anxiety. I really hope this is the worst that it will ever get and that it should start getting better because these days, even my being within his plain view won't suffice, and if he had his way, he'd have me drop everything I'm doing to carry him all day long. My friend, Candice says her son Kingston is like velcro and I compare my Jaden to crazy glue. Unfortunately, playing piggyback is fine for only so long, and my forearms, not my abs are getting ripped, appearing incongruous to the rest of me. Also, eating is not something overrated but quite imperative in fact, and creating a semblance of clean that Kumar buys is not just optional, but a must in this house. So I can only hope that Jaden doesn't take it as I sign that I don't love him when I put him down and let him cry it out. And although I feel so terrible because it seems too early to have to bring home to him the harsh reality that life is not one leisurely walk in the park with just roses to smell along the way, I know he needs to grow some backbone and suck it up sometimes!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A vacation waaayyyy overdue...

It's been over a decade since I went home to the Philippines. I think Kumar is actually secretly scared to take me there because he knows me all too well. I have this thing for always wanting to move wherever we end up going on vacation to, I always seem to think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But you see the difference between Kumar and I, is that while he likes to engage in some what I think is tantamount to self-torture by recounting the most minute day to day details of a sun destination trip after coming home to a raging blizzard going, "Huns, at this very moment last week we were beach bumming on hammocks sipping on ice cold pina coladas, hey, remember the gentle and rhythmic sound of the waves lapping on the powdery white sandy shore and the idyllic sound of rustling palm leaves overhead that would lull us to sleep??? I, on the other hand, don't just long for the past. I envision and devise ways to return and stay there permanently although I haven't proven to be successful yet! Like the last time we went to the States. I had my mind set on relocating there. I spent about a month afterwards engrossed in my research on finding out how one might obtain the much-coveted green card. Did you know there exists what's called the "green-card lottery" which is exactly as what it's name denotes? A lottery where a person's name is entered for a chance to be drawn, the grand prize being, a green card?? I was so close to giving in our names, but then, my conscience spoke, in it's usual dull monotone: "Aimee, there might be some moral and ethical implications to this....could this possibly constitute gambling"??? To which I responded, "Awww, forget it then"...and then forgot about it. And then there was that time after coming back from Mexico, when I conducted a whole feasibility study on selling T-shirts on the beach, to see whether it might be a viable way to eke out a living there. Needless to say, that didn't fly with Kumar even after presenting him with a report replete with facts and figures and my subsequent longish dissertation. Fine, laugh at me, but in my defense, they both seemed like excellent if not genius ideas at the time (lol)... So I guess Kumar must think he has valid reason to be apprehensive that if we were to vacation in the Philippines, I'd probably come up with a hundred and one reasons why we should stay and settle down there and would probably have to hear about it for whole month thereafter - something he's just not prepared nor willing to put up with anymore. My only hope of convincing him to take me, I guess, is if I were to promise him no more quests into legal requirements, no more business plans nor checking out local job listings and neither a peep out of me even remotely insinuating the idea while there or upon return from there?? Maybe on that condition, just maybe!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My take on TV and kids

The thing about Maya is that she won't just sit with her eyes glued to the television screen for hours on end. She will eventually get up and move on to doing other activities like flipping through her books or playing with Barbie, but the tv still stays on as some kind of back-up in the background...so much so that the Dora, Yo Gabba Gabba and The Backyardigans themes seem to have become the unofficial soundtrack of my stay-at-home-mom life which I've been leading for some time now...Do-Do-Dora, Do-Do-Dora....sigh...Of course I've been feeling pretty guilty lately for planting Maya in front of the tv while I would get things done around the house, so much in fact, that when the latest e-letter to which I subscribe and receive periodically from this excellent one-stop parenting guide site called The BabyCenter was on kids and television-watching, I thought, "Man, I've got to be a masochist to want to read this!!!" because I knew for sure that it was going to chastise us parents for this practice and leave me feeling sick to the stomach, but surprisingly (when I was finally able to bring myself to read the article!), it didn't. And neither did it condone parents for resorting to the habit leading one to believe that it's a matter that can be taken lightly. Rather, it acknowledged how many parents have a hard time following the American Academy of Pediatric's (which some might consider to be the authority in childcare and rearing) recommendation that kids 2 and older watch no more than one to two hours daily and that kids under 2 watch no television at all. And then the article went on to offer some practical television-watching guidelines. Fair enough. One tip was to "Watch TV with your children whenever possible." It said to try not to use the tv set as a babysitter and that just being there basically says to your child, "What you do is important to me." Now I knew that! So I immediately took this piece of advice to heart and took time out from the sink full of dirty dishes that I was washing to watch Handy Manny with Maya. It's amazing what one can learn from children's programs these days. For example, I learned that the actual term for the cool art of trimming live shrubs into decorative shapes, as of animals, etc...is T-O-P-I-A-R-Y...cool! (Again, I knew that!!!) Now that could be something to add to my bucket list, you know, try my hand at some horticulture before I die....Hey, if Edward Scissorhands was good at it then why can't I be?? Really, his sole advantage over me is that he only had scissors for hands! The only problem is that I don't own a garden with some shrubs...Oh, I know, maybe I could do the city a favor and choose a random hedge at my local park to snip away at??? Hmmm, earth to Aimee!!! The lesson in all of this? Is that while television can spark a person's imagination (as it certainly moved mine!), it can only do so if one already has a vast bank of existing knowledge to draw from, of course, knowledge gained from engaging in activities besides television-watching such as reading, romping around the backyard, etc. So I made some resolutions to take Maya to the park an extra day a week and to read her that extra story every night and just make the extra effort to turn the everyday and mundane into learning opportunites and throw in some trips to the library or zoo every now and then. Sure it might not be as convenient as tuning in to Nick Jr. for some Diego or Wonderpets nor as easy as plugging Finding Nemo or Wall-E (from which Maya can directly quote) into the DVD player especially since I'm returning to full-time work next week after a little over a year's maternity leave (I know, I've gotta be crazy!) but I know for certain that although it might involve a little sacrifice on my part, Maya, and not to forget Jaden, will both reap benefits a hundredfold in the end, it's guaranteed. Bottomline: Parents, assume your rightful position as the boss and promise to curtail the time your kids spend watching tv and try your best to make good on it!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

An Italian Barbecue

We see it depicted on televison and print all the time - the Italian family gathered together, laughing & enjoying one another's company over good food & wine...so much so that the word "Italian" has become synonymous with food, particularly pasta and pizza (good stuff!) And we credit them for and associate them, of course, with the other finer things too in life like the Ferrari (lol) and the high-end clothing (ohhh, Valentino!!!).

Kumar, myself and the kids had the wonderful privilege of experiencing all of this first-hand with a last minute invite last night by one of our very good couple-friends to their grandparent's cottage somewhere off Cornwall in Eastern Ontario. It might have been a scaled-down version of the typical dinner in the sense that it was "just a BBQ" (whatever that's supposed to mean!) and that only eleven people were present, including our couple-friend, his uncle, his parents, his maternal grandparents and us. (I can just imagine the full-house it must be when the entire clan gets together!) Nevertheless, it had all the elements and trappings of the traditional Italian supper with Uncle Joe (real name Giuseppe) slaving over the grill and the ladies busy in the kitchen prepping the salad and setting the table. Once seated before an abundant assortment of skewered meat, chicken pieces, sausages and hotdogs, salad tossed with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, ciabatta bread & homemade vino, we enjoyed listening to Nonno as he related both funny and interesting experiences living as a first-generation Canadian-Italian. What I found utterly cute and endearing was how Nonna got up in the middle of the meal, barely even have touched her plate to heat up some pizza for Jaden. She was worried that the little guy hadn't eaten enough even after he, in fact, had already polished two good-sized chicken drumsticks, a couple of cherry tomatoes and a slice of bread. Although, we all tried to convince her that it was completely unneccessary and that the possibility of my fifteen-month old baby starving was so remote, she insisted, and there was just no dissuading her. And as if the pizza wasn't enough, she went ahead and made some pasta with her homemade meatballs and then thinking she had somehow undermined Maya's appetite as well, went on yet again to make another batch for her whom she called the "big baby." I saw her watch anxiously to see whether the babies would have some and one should have seen how her face just lit up with pride and satisfaction when they both took a few mouthfuls. Then my friend began to cajole me into eating the rest of the pasta by telling me that Nonna would be upset and disappointed if I didn't...how relieved I was to know that this turned out to be a joke! I simply had no room for more food! I'm sure they must have thought, too, that Kumar and I had completely lost our minds when we declined the espresso served after. We were fully aware of the repercussions of imbibing the potent black syrup after a certain hour from past experience. We have since set our personal cut-off time to around two-o'clock in the p.m as being the absolute latest we can have espresso by, without it interfering with our sleep. But of course we eagerly munched on the fresh fruit and pannetonni and Kumar even helped himself to a few pieces of horse's milk cheese which you slice off the whole hunk as you go. A classic Italian movie was plugged in where a barbershop scene in the old country was being played out (rather animatedly by the actors!) and more conversation ensued, with Kumar and our friend exchanging bespoke tailoring notes over some more of Nonno's wine....

And then it was time to go. We profusely thanked our hosts who had outdone themselves for their warm hospitality to which they responded with bear hugs and enthusiastic air kisses or baci's on both cheeks and then we bade them goodbye. On our way home in the car, we recounted the amazing time we had. And then I offered up a silent prayer, thanking God for the gift of genuine friends and for the five senses we possess that enable one to enjoy the diversity and variety in all things - also from Him - which truly is, the spice of life.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Family Bed

Well of course Kumar and I meant to have our first child, Maya, sleep in her crib from the moment we took her home from the hospital, duh. But after 72 hours of her incessant crying, we frustratingly gave in and let her into our bed. Needless to say, she took to it like a fish to water. I guess for her it must have been the second best place to lounge around next to my womb. She immediately abandoned her nocturnal ways and settled into a more circadian rhythm, and we didn't have to do our nightly vigils anymore.

The only problem is that she didn't stay as that cuddly, little squishy thing. All too soon she sprouted these long arms and legs, legs which she learned to sprawl even before she learned to do the walking motion with. And when I became pregnant for the second time, I had to sleep with my back against her so as to shield my belly from her constant elbow jabbing. We felt that the time was ripe to get her to sleep on her own and so we tried and tried. But that didn't work even after much coaxing and bribery. And from being so overworked and sleep-deprived, we just didn't have the energy to follow through.

Along came Jaden, and we of course vowed not to make the same mistake with him as we had made with Maya, and so we trained him to sleep in his crib from day one. Things seemed to be going well because from about one month of age, he did his nights in his crib. We were ecstatic, to say the least, and thought it might be ok to rest on our laurels. But just as he turned exactly six months, it almost seemed like a light bulb got switched on in his brain and all of a sudden he became so alert and aware of his surroundings. Then one night, shortly after this phenomenon, looking like a prisoner behind the slats of his crib, he just screamed and screamed. We were stumped as to why but then we finally realized that he was feeling left out seeing the rest of his family comfy on the bed. And after a few encore performances of this irritating behavior and unable to stand our ground any longer, we let him in our bed, too. Well, at the time we seemed to manage, Kumar and I both assuming a mummy-like position all night at either end of the bed, sandwiching
the two. But neither did Jaden remain the cute little squishy lump that he was and before we knew it, he also sprouted long limbs which he has since learned to sprawl, and by now I have been bumped out of the bed and have taken up residence on our couch every night.

The idea of co-sleeping is generally frowned upon in North American society. There is a long-held belief that the practice produces insecure, lacking in self-confidence and overly dependant offspring. But I'm not being partial when I say that, honestly, 99 percent of the friends I grew up with in the Philippines are all pretty well-adjusted individuals. Of course they had all co-slept with their parents as children. To me they
serve as living testament that co-sleeping might not be all that evil as it's opponents claim and that their fears are simply exaggerated if not unfounded. My friends abandoned the family bed by right around the time they hit puberty. Puberty? Now that could be a reasonable deadline Kumar and I can aim to have our kids out of our bed by??? That could be attainable...hmmm, what do you think??

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kumar: My favorite Metrosexual - Eighth Installment and Conclusion

10. Despite being flattered (even proud) that gay guys hit on you, you still find the thought of actually getting intimate with another man truly repulsive.

I do suppose that being the object of admiration by a member of the same sex might be a plausible confirmation of one's attractiveness, but being simply the real man that he is, Kumar asked me to emphasize and re-emphasize and emphasize some more the latter part of that statement. He says that he finds the thought just revolting. I repeat revolting...period.

Kumar gets his fair share of hit-ons from the ladies, sometimes even by some so unabashedly in my presence. I just take it as a compliment. If anything, it just indicates that my hubby is still perhpas hot commodity?? Well the thing about Kumar is that he is self-confident to a healthy degree and is so unassuming that he doesn't come across as obnoxious but rather as quite charming and likeable. So some mornings when he's all dressed up for work, he'll admiringly give his reflection in the mirror a once-over and will jokingly blurt out: "Man, you are one lucky Filipina to have such a good-looking hubby and such beautiful kids." And although I'll never understand what my racial background has to do with anything or how it's possibly relevant, I'll just smile good-naturedly and pulling my best Kumar impersonation, roll my eyes and reply: "OK, there!"

**In conclusion, I believe there's no doubt that Kumar is indeed metrosexual. And as his wife, I'm proud of this fact. After all, how many women have husbands who dress better than they do (lol)? I'm resigned to this fact and I think that it's a great thing, it's actually an incentive for me to doll myself up on the days that I would rather show up at the office with sweats and sneakers, hair in a ponytail and without a trace of make-up. I like how Kumar's attention to detail when it comes to image and appearance has rubbed off on me, it's been such a positive catalyst.

I also hope that I was able to dispel some common misconceptions about metrosexuality. After all, as the Urban Dictionary also defines it, all it is really is "a new name for something quite old and that have always existed - men with taste & style who know about fashion, art, and culture." Think Frank Sinatra, Sean Connery, Clive Owen, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, etc...you know the type (funny how all mentioned except for Frankie Blue Eyes and Sean are British?? Sean of course is Scottish, which is close enough, some say...thanks, Rach!). I find them to be a breath of fresh air in an age & society where most men think that it's ok to be sloppy, unkempt and disheveled. Refreshing just as Michael Bublé is as a singer. Wouldn't you agree how nice it is sometimes to hear him suavely croon actual coherent lyrics as opposed to the bloodcurdling wailing and grunting of unintelligible words by his rockstar counterparts?

My wish is that more men would actually embrace metrosexuality and shun "slobbiness." But more importantly, I wish men would stop equating masculinity with drunken brawling, womanizing and ridiculously lame acts of bravado (rotfl) . I believe that the true mark of a real man, lies in his upholding of principles & morals, his integrity and depth of character and his possesion of rare qualities such as humility and self-control and if he is able to embody all of this and pull off a pink polo shirt while he's at it...then my hat definitely goes off to him...may his tribe ever increase!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kumar: My favorite Metrosexual - Seventh Installment

9. You'd rather drink wine than beer... but you'll find out what estate and vintage first.

To be honest, I don't have many funny anecdotes about Kumar concerning wine. Although it is an established fact that he does prefer wine any day over beer or hard liquor especially those crude indigenous varieties such as Tequila, rum, or ouzo, etc. - the stuff infamous for inducing an instantaneous stupor and subsequent hangover from _____ and back. No he doesn't care for those. He likes wine. You see, there is culture in wine.

As we've all probably learned in grade school, the human sense of taste has four components: sweetness, saltiness, acidity and bitterness. According to wine experts, when we drink wine, our taste buds are stimulated in a "unique" way. But really, doesn't this so-called phenomenon take place every time we put just about anything into our mouths to taste... after all, isn't all food & drink unique?? So whenever those snooty connoisseurs talk about detecting "floral notes" or "fruity nuances" in wine, I feel like laughing out loud or even rolling on the floor laughing in fact! Just who do they think they're kidding? I've always wondered whether all of this is real or just imagined. Are they just flattering themselves when their wine-tasting proteges obligingly agree to tasting raspberry at the top of their palates? But that's just the ever skeptical me, of course. I guess I'm just not as sophisticated as Kumar is, after all, I do come from this little-known-of tiny town in the Philippines called Buhi....

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a good glass of wine every now and then. But I only like it for both it's calming & euphoric (woohoo!!) effect on my brain. However, don't give me too much because that just wreaks havoc on me...lol...I won't elaborate further...

So here's a little list of some of Kumar's present favorite reasonably-priced (within the $15.00-$18.00 Cnd range) wines which I will categorize by "world" either old (e.g. France, Italy, Spain, etc.) or new (e.g. California, Australia, Chile, etc.) and grape varietal, either red or white (e.g. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc, etc.) May he suggest:

  • Cabernet-Sauvignon Jacob's Creek South Eastern Autralia 2008

  • Shiraz Jacob's Creek Reserve South Australia 2007

  • Campolieti Valpolicella Superiore Classico 2008 (Veneto, Italy) (it's a still red wine - still as distinguished from sparkling the latter containing carbon dioxide which make it effervescent and me ridiculously giddy silly :P)

  • Shiraz Yellow Tail The Reserve South Eastern Australia 2007

Kumar and I are not too particular when it comes to pairing wine with food. When we're entertaining guests we just follow the general rule of thumb that, red goes with red meats and that white or rosé goes with poultry, fish and other seafood. And we'll of course offer a nice selection of both when we occasionally throw a wine and cheese party. Apparently, there are some exceptions to these rules...but we don't crack our heads over these details, and all of this pairing business gets thrown to the wind when it comes to the everyday, although wine remains Kumar's beverage of choice. We could be having pizza or even hotdogs and he will still wash it down with a Shiraz! Again, those snooty connoisseurs might insist that the vessel out of which wine is drunk is almost just as important as the wine itself, but I honestly will drink wine out of my four year old daughter Maya's plastic Dora tumbler without a moment's hesitation when Kumar's special Riedel glassware are all dirty in the sink. Hey, I'll even drink it out of a paper Dixie cup if I have to...but of course for Kumar - Mr. Metrosexual - this would be absolutely unacceptable...unthinkable...even sacrilegious!

*Here's a little factoid that I've learned while writing this post: although one might think that cork is a superior material to cap wine bottles, apparently the opposite holds true, for the porosity of the cork allows some of the wine's good qualities (including those nutty, fruity, floral or whatever notes that, I swear, continue to elude me!) to evaporate.... so it turns out that those metal screw-on caps are actually better as they provide a tighter seal and therefore one actually doesn't have to feel so bad after all for bringing bottles from gas station convenience stores to those last minute invites when you don't want to arrive empty-handed but at the same time the liquor store is unfortunately already closed. Just for your info, guys! ♥♥♥

* I am also seriously considering putting my Biology undergrad degree to good use and cross-breed and develop ala Gregor Mendel, a new variety of grape that can withstand the extreme heat and monsoon rains of the tropical climate of the Philippines after which I will try to convince Kumar maybe with some crafty subliminal persuasion if need be to retire in Buhi, where we will plant our own vineyard and make our own wine...just watch Buhi become the next wine-producing capital of the world...move over Chile, move over New Zealand!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Kumar: My favorite Metrosexual - Sixth Installment

8. You can't imagine a day without hair styling products.

Shortly after Kumar and I got married and had settled into our first tiny appartment, a curious good-sized bottle containing liquid having the same consistency, color and smell of brake fluid mysteriously appeared on my dresser. When I asked Kumar what it was he just mumbled non-commitally that it was "something for the hair." So I left it at that. When spring arrived and my de-cluttering instincts got the better of me, I went ahead and chucked the bottle into file 13. The thing is, it was just collecting dust and Kumar had never even touched the stuff, anyway. When my mother-in-law discovered what I had done, she was livid and for good reason - it turned out that this weird stuff was liquid gold - a hair tonic blended from special herbs that she had specifically ordered and had the makers send from all the way from the old country! I know she must still hold this against me and I feel terrible and I've been trying to redeem myself eversince. Well, Kumar never used the tonic because this was back in the day when hair loss was the least of his concerns. Now many many moons later, Kumar's crowning glory is still glorious as compared to his average male contemporary, but perhaps not as luxuriant as it used to be. We were at a close couple friends' place once when the husband remarked, voicing out Kumar's greatest fear, "Hey Kums, it seems like you're thinning"...Kumar's face just blanched...."you do know" as if to add insult to injury, our friend continued, "that it will be over for you if you lost all of your hair!" And this is what launched us on an all-out mission to preserve Kumar's existing hair and still viable follicles...I immersed myself in research, looking for products online that might help. I learned that massaging the scalp with certain essential oils is beneficial. Armed with this knowledge, I went to the nearest health food store and bought lavender essential oil, this being a better choice as it also has sedative properties as opposed to the more stimulating options - perfect for when I would massage his scalp religiously every night. I also bought him what's called Chia seeds, you know, one of those so-called panaceas, to up his protein intake because hair, of course, is made out of the protein, keratin, now everybody knows that! These seeds when ground look and taste like sawdust or plain sand....the ideal way to take them is by sprinkling them in cereal or yogourt where it is less discernable, but on the days we forget, I give it to him straight by the spoonful to wash down after with a glass of water. Kumar has actually been quite willing to take these preventive measures and at the same time relinquish all gels, pomades & "texturizers" - all metrosexual staples not to do without- at least for the short-term, in view of the foreseeable future...Hence, I was not surprised when another bottle of that special concoction fresh from Sri Lanka showed up on our dresser again the other day and this time I promised that I would never ever throw it away.....

Friday, June 4, 2010

Kumar: My favorite Metrosexual - Fifth Installment

7. You would never, ever own a pickup truck.

Kumar doesn't necessarily abhor pickup trucks...he just firmly believes that the only appropriate place to drive around in one is in the country. I couldn't agree more. But then, Kumar is also equally adamant that he would never never ever live in the country. What business does a city-slickin' urbanite metrosexual have doing in the boondocks anyways? Absolutely zilch. So do you follow the Aristotelian logic?

Premise: "Pickup trucks are for country" and "Kumar hates country"

Conclusion: "Kumar is metrosexual"

Kumar and I share a 2001 Honda Civic which frankly speaking, has seen better days. A few winters back when it was something like -20 degrees Celsius below zero out, Kumar unintentionally (well I would hope so!) drove the car into a snowbank/glacier if you will. Honestly, the fender merely grazed/"kissed" the snowbank, but because of the extreme cold, the fender was so frozen brittle that the impact caused it to just crack like an eggshell. Yes, we've been meaning to replace the damaged fender and had gotten quotes from both the dealer and from various bodyshops, but it just hasn't been a priority. Every year we would promise, "Ok, when we get our income tax return!" But somehow, we've never made good on it.

Personally, I find it annoying to drive around in it because I find people tend to pass judgment on me. Well, you know the stereotype: "Asians can't drive" to which of course there is a measure of truth. Heck, even I get incensed at them for making us collectively look really, really bad. I think it's debatable whether some of them should even be driving!!! But what's funny is that when I'm stationary at a red light, someone to either my left or right will invariably shoot wee little Asian girl me a worried glance, then shift their gaze to my broken fender, smirk and then immediately speed off once the light turns green in a desperate attempt, I suppose, to lose me...truly, do I really seem to pose such a threat??? Hello!! I am gaining on you!!!

The only reason why we keep our car is that by now, it's been fully paid. It's really really nice to have a breather from month after month after tiring month of car payments. The car has also been very reliable up until two months ago. That time we embarked on road trip to Toronto. Our itinerary of course included visits to every single reputable retail establishment we knew of: Yorkdale, Sherway Gardens, Vaughan Mills, Hartland, Square One, the Eaton Center and Bloor Street. Unfortunately, two days into our shopping expedition, our car stalled as if by fluke right in front of a transmission repair shop, as we were actually on our way to the Sherway Gardens. Incidentally, the owner of the shop was Filipino. Doesn't Kumar whisper into my ear and tell me to butter up to my fellow countryman or as we call "kababayan." Some nerve my hubby had to, only after seven years of marriage, pimp me out in exchange for a transmission job discount??? Oh, did I ever make him dearly suffer the consequences! He spent an entire month in the doghouse....

The truth is we are quickly outgrowing our little compact sedan. But neither will Kumar nor myself be caught dead driving a minivan (lol). Someone told me that you actually know you're getting old, when you find that station wagons look nice. I honestly don't mind them at all. Station wagons after all, have come a looong way from their hearse-like predecessors. I certainly would have no qualms whatsoever to play chauffeur all day to the hubby and kids, if I could drive around in style in a Volvo V70 or Audi A6 Avant or even a Toyota Venza (which I believe is actually a crossover) at the very least...no, I actually even find the hatchback style of the Matrix quite nifty when it comes to loading and unloading those clunky contraptions called baby strollers. Oh, but I must say that my ultimate indulgence would be an Infiniti FX35 the one like what my neighbour owns, the one I sooo sorely covet, the one that unbeknownst to them, I spend five minutes every night poring over, standing as close as I can in order to take in all of it's snazzy lines and curves and even smells without setting off it's alarm...

But I've veered off-tangent once again, haven't I? This post is supposed to be about Kumar. Yes, the marred appearance of our car really cramps Kumar's style. I actually see Kumar in only two European cars: either the Audi A4 or a beemer. Montreal streets just teem with three-series BMW's drivers. Every other car is one. But the metrosexual must stand out of course and ooze with style and class. So for Kumar it would have to be a five-series BMW at the bare minimum. I list only those two Europeans because really, I see Kumar more in American cars - there's just this classic, luxurious, appeal about them with their wood trim and leather interiors and simply elegant exterior styling. I see Kumar, in either a Cadillac CTS or an Escalade truck. But I really can't peg it down as to why...I just see him, you know, donning aviator glasses, monogrammed cuff n' one of his five pairs of signature Tateosian links peaking out of his made to measure suit, understated alligator-strapped watch around one wrist, dark hands clutching the steering wheel, Italian hand-crafted shoes clad feet flooring the gas...I just see him, don't you???

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kumar: My favorite Metrosexual - Fourth Installment

5. You only wear Calvin Klein boxer-briefs.

Kumar claims he's too good for Calvin Kleins. According to him, "It's Hugo Boss or nothing." Nothing as in "al fresco"...hahahahahahahahahaha. Probably not a good idea when he's sporting those pristine white pants which he tops off with his navy gold-buttoned double-breasted sports jacket. One of his most over the top get-ups which he somehow pulls off so well that it looks like second skin. On those days, I bade Kumar goodbye with more than just the usual peck on the cheek and "I Love You." I send him off with a solemn and fervent wish that he does not get stricken all of a sudden with loose bowel movement!!!

6. You shave more than just your face. You also exfoliate and moisturize.

Trivia question for you: Does Kumar have a unibrow or not? Aha, stumped you there, didn't I?! Kumar actually does have one, but then had I not divulged this sensitive information you would never have known. That's because, Kumar faithfully grooms himself, keeping those stray little bugger inter-occular hairs in check before his dirty little secret is made manifest. Being of South Asian descent, Kumar is by default, let's just say "tufty," that's a given. Personally, I don't find body hair on men repulsive nor revolting as some women may. So Kumar will limit his shaving to yes, just his face. It's only when the occasion calls for it that he'll have his back waxed like when we vacation on the Carribean. The remaining 355 days of the year, he allows nature to run the show.

Kumar's facial care regimen includes steaming his face at least twice a week with a hot washcloth followed by a dousing of cold water to, as
he is perfectly aware, close his pores. We also share a tube of St-Ives apricot scrub. Man, he puts me to shame! My nightly ritual, gosh, I can't even call it that! My nightly, uhmm, habit, involves washing my face with plain soap and water followed by a dollop of my drugstore bought hypoallergenic moisturizer which I just slap on and smother all over my face after which I'm good to go! I remember watching a girlfriend of mine during one visit to the spa in complete amazement as she carefully dotted her face with her pricey department store brand moisturizer and smoothed it ever so thoroughly over her entire face and neck....Oh my, I just had a revelation! in recounting this story, I just realized that explains why she's been awkward around me from that day onward. In retrospect, I think she must have totally miscontrued my transfixion as some lesbian inclination?? Oh God, please noooooo!....ooops!!! At any rate, going back to Kumar, yes, he also frequents the spa....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kumar: My favorite Metrosexual - Third Installment

4.You can make her lamb shanks and risotto for dinner and Eggs Benedict for breakfast... all from scratch.

Kumar can't cook to save his life. In the Philippines, everyone knows how to cook a pot of rice, it's a basic survival skill passed down from generation to generation. When Kumar first told me that he couldn't even do that, I got worried, I thought well won't he starve to death without me?? But then I quickly realized that in the North American setting, this would be very unlikely considering all of the prepackaged, overly refined, microwaveable alternatives available (yuck).

Kumar can't cook, to him this is something he would rather delegate, and leave up to the experts to compensate for his lack of culinary skills. And although he has no reservations about wolfing down a Big Mac on occasion, his taste buds are also quite refined, of course, he's metrosexual. His favorite cuisine is Thai. He'll eat at Thai Express at the foodcourt downstairs of Harry Rosen at least twice a week. But that's fast food Thai. He took me once to an authentique Thai place located along the Main, called Red Thai - you know the bill's going to be steep when the seating hostess looks like a supermodel, the menu's don't show the price, and you get both a hot towel and a "trou Normand" between the entree and the main course! But more memorably, for our first year anniversary he took me to this awesome Thai haunt nestled in the hub of the Soho District of New York City. I think I'll spend a bit of time enumerating the cozy, trendy ( I like the word swanky!) places he's taken me every July 27th for the next six years thereafter:

2nd year: Ferreira

3rd year: Cavalli

4th year: Garcon: unfortunately, this wonderful French restaurant had closed since. Located on Sherbrook, across the Sofitel, the owner of which, Norman Earvy being Kumar's client. When we went, Norman insisted that our meal was on the house which we of course, reluctantly yet happily accepted. Oh, weren't we in for a gastronomical experience! He had his chef whip up a miniature sampling of his entire menu which ranged from, seared bison to foie gras topped off with the most delicious creme brulee I've ever tasted hands down!! But now that it is sadly closed, I must embark on another mission in search of a creme brulee runner-up :(

5th year: Karma

6th year: Le Pois Penche

7th year: Trinity; another gorgeous restaurant that had closed down since. It was owned by restaurant mogul Peter Morentzos who also happens to own Queue de Cheval among others. Trinity, was an upscale Greek place, where the minute you walk in you'd be instantly transported to Santorini or one of the other Greek Isles that the restaurant evokes with its crisp white interior and high-vaulted ceilings and scrumptious scrumptious seafood menu.

Hmmmm, well, I don't know about you but I'm feeling hungry all of a sudden...I know Kumar has something up his sleeve again this year...Oh la la, I can't wait!!:)

Kumar: My favorite Metrosexual - 2nd Installment

3.You see a stylist instead of a barber, because barbers don't do highlights.

Not too sure what is meant here by a stylist, would it be the same as a hairdresser? Are the two terms interchangeable? Anyways, when I first met Kumar, he used to go to this place that really lived up to it's name, Funky Toque...sure it was fancy, but at 50 dollars each visit it was getting to be expensive, so he set off on a mission to find a good barber, actually. Finally, after years of trial and error, he found one, an older Lebanese gentleman named Nadim. How is Nadim different from the rest? Hey, this man is from the old school, very thorough...enough to please any metrosexual. How so? Not only will he cut your hair and shave your nape but he will go as far as to wax your nostrils. Yes you read it right, he will wax your nostrils. I kid you not, I've witnessed it with my very own eyes how it is done once. How does he do it? Well he would take two pieces of cloth twist them up tight into little wads, resembling the little paper pellets little boys would place into their straw blowguns to use as ammunition, dip them into wax heated up to as warm as one can tolerate without risk of scalding, stick them into either nostril, allow them to sit for a few seconds and do their magic, and then quickly yank them out one at a time, so as to inflict the least pain but at the same time effectively pull out as many hairs as possible. Why does Kumar subject himself to this excruciating feels-like-an-eternity-but-in-reality-lasts-for-but-a-fleeting millisecond procedure or should anyone for that matter, uhm, should? Speaking for Kumar at least, it is all in the name of vanity of course. Kumar will use scissors to snip off any protruding hairs every other day or as needed, but according to him, there's nothing like a good waxing in that region every now and then...now, if that is not metrosexuality, then I don't know what is and oh! by the way, Nadim also waxes superfluous ear hair...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kumar: My favorite Metrosexual Part 1

Please do not get me wrong when I call him metrosexual, I'm definitely not putting his masculinity into question nor am I poking fun at his manhood and again, in saying manhood, I mean his state of being a man, you know maleness, as distinguished from femaleness...not the hardware...lol. I am in no way diminishing this quality, trust me, lol, last time I checked, my husband is very much, uhmm, man...but of course, we won't go there, no adult content in this blog!

What does it mean to be metrosexual? Well, this is what the Urban Dictionary has to say:

You might be "metrosexual" if: 1. You just can't walk past a Banana Republic store without making a purchase. 2. You own 20 pairs of shoes, half a dozen pairs of sunglasses, just as many watches and you carry a man-purse. 3. You see a stylist instead of a barber, because barbers don't do highlights. 4. You can make her lamb shanks and risotto for dinner and Eggs Benedict for breakfast... all from scratch. 5. You only wear Calvin Klein boxer-briefs. 6. You shave more than just your face. You also exfoliate and moisturize. 7. You would never, ever own a pickup truck. 8. You can't imagine a day without hair styling products. 9. You'd rather drink wine than beer... but you'll find out what estate and vintage first. 10. Despite being flattered (even proud) that gay guys hit on you, you still find the thought of actually getting intimate with another man truly repulsive.

Now going back to the subject at hand, what do you think? Does Kumar fit the bill? Does he fit the profile? Again, for those who know Kumar well enough, I can almost hear their resounding YES, YES, YES!!! But I do not want to alienate members of the general public you know, my super huge following (lol) who lack the good fortune and do not know him from Adam! So let me elaborate a little, let's consider each idiosyncrasy which as per UD, characterizes the metrosexual and see whether they apply to my rare gem of a husband, Kumar.

1. Not only does Kumar like to shop, he works in retail, so he pretty much lives and breathes it. He actually has a college degree in Electronics, but he quickly abandoned his old boring job of fixing cellphones when the opportunity to work at Harry Rosen presented itself (Harry Rosen is Canada's leading high end men's wear retailer). Fashion is his vocation. He thinks out what he's going to wear the night before, almost too well, that once, a client at the store, from her peripheral view, had Kumar, who was quietly standing perfectly still at one corner, mistaken for a mannequin! The poor woman, almost had a heart attack when he finally moved! Sounds like something straight out of a Just for Laughs prank, doesn't it?! Kumar once told me that apparently, whenever he runs his hands over the silky signature Burberry tartan ties, knubby tweed Brioni suits, buttery smooth Andrew Marc leather jackets or luxurious cashmere Brunello Cuccinelli overcoats, his problems just go poof and they're gone...just when I thought that only I had that effect on him...I guess not, if anything, I think I actually compound his problems (lol).

2. Yes he has a goodly number of Hugo Boss and Cole Haan shoes and an assortment of watches (he has a penchant for bigfaced, hang-on-the-wall-sized ones) and yes, pocket squares and cufflinks. But I'd rather focus on his ties. As responsible parents, we have been going over the details of our last will and testament for sometime now. I recall how our notary of choice told us that she would not require info concerning real estate or our other assets and liabilities and the usual things like that because the bank would have all of that anyways. What she really needed to know in order to draft up our will, was if there were any items, knicks knacks, anything at all in particular that we would want to bequeath to certain persons and while I was stumped, not owning anything of significant value, sentimental or otherwise, Kumar immediately gasped "Oh, my tie collection"!!! If I'm not mistaken the last time he counted them, they numbered over a hundred!!! Standard size ones, skinny ones, in an infinite array of colors, textures and patterns - paisley, polka dots, geometric, floral, striped - some vertical others horizontal and even diagonal??! Flashy fuschia and lime green ("very Etro or Versace" says Kumar!), metallic gold, bronze and silver, conservative burgundy, muted tones of brown and grey, every shade of blue, and what's this?...a solid black silk brocade Armani fit for a groom, ooohhh! All being 100% silk except for one woolen plaid one which is reserved for when he is going for the preppy-look...Valentino, Armani, Hugo Boss, Ted Baker, Zegna, Robert Graham...Thankfully with the birth of our little guy Jaden Alexander,14 mos, there is now a rightful heir. The only question there is, though, is will he grow up to be dapper and metrosexual like his father? Hopefully yes, with Kumar's careful coaching, that is, as how disappointing it would be (especially for Kumar!) should he one day begin to fancy wearing his pant's crotch down to his knees, Oh, God forbid! Because if that were to be the case and if we would no longer happen to be around at that time for one reason or another, even then, in a lifeless supine state, I know Kumar would turn over in his grave (lol). Will Jaden take after his father? That, only time will tell....

Must get back to my vacuuming....to be continued.....