Staringoutthewindow's Blog

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My share of lemons

Tam is my new buddy. A gift from my sister who talks and walks and drinks and thinks Photography. She upgraded to the hefty pro level DSLR Nikon D300 so she gave her dummy-who-wishes-to-be-pro-level D40 as a Christmas gift.  Tam is my first camera. That means  I have zero aperture IQ. Google says it is  the most easy-to-use  DSLR. Great! 

My excitement turned to frustration when I went beyond Auto and  tried shooting in different modes. It felt like solving the simplest algebra problem. I am that bad at math.

Tam stayed inside his comfy case  for a couple of days wondering if  he could earn a better living as the most expensive paperweight.  Finally, yesterday I was able  to set aside my frustration and decided to know him more. There. I like to assume that Tam is a male. Just in case a stalker would point out in public, “Are you alone?” With eyeballs rolling, I would briefly quip, “No I’m not. I’m with him.” 😀

Tadaaa…meet Frankie my model. You’d better be careful in raising your opinions about this photo. It took me more than 12 hours to figure out how to make decent photos in Aperture mode. It almost drained my patience I was ready to run amok in the dead of night hahaha.

This is the part where you start to wonder what this has to do with lemons. This cliched grandmother’s wisdom is worth saying over and over again: When life gives you lemons ask for salt and tequila and send  life a thank you note. Ok I am just  kiddin’. For heaven’s sake make the best lemonade.

I never asked for Nikon D40. I love looking at great photos but I never thought about owning one  and learning how to use it -for FREE and 0% interest!! How cool is that? I am blessed.  If I desire to show gratefulness, then I must give myself a chance to find the passion to make the  best out of it.

By the way, if you own one and you want to know what is the best camera in the world, the answer is  “the one that’s with you”.

Here’s to my “first 10,000 worst photographs*”! CHEERS! 😀 😀 😀

*By Henri Cartier-Bresson

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February 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Bummer buns, lazy bones

I have been sitting on my buns the whole day I can almost feel some deformities. I have watched 3 episodes of Dr. House, consumed 3 mugs of coffee, read a book, viewed pictures of my glory days ( yeah, I mean my vacation which technically ended a week ago), googled where to buy some chicken feet in Riyadh (seriously) and yet cannot figure out my today’s default mood: bored or bored to death.

I like doing nothing. I love doing nothing.
I am supposed to feel good.

Room buddies

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Pants no more

Just a few hours ago I had a great time making a card for someone. I am not really good at sketching or some artsy stuff but I have a knack for recycling trash. Without any idea on how to do the card I rummaged through every nook and cranny of my room (including my closet) for magazines, shopping guide (funny but I keep them hahaha!), cardboard, good pen, any colored sheet and stray buttons (they look good on a card you know). 

Mmm.. look what I have unearthed!

Fortunately not my size!

Got this pants a year ago at a flea market. Stained and slightly worn out I bought it anyway. The embroidered flowers  and torn-stitched up portions are cute.

Gray and pink!

 Whoever designed this is a genius.

Armed with scissors and a glue, this is what I came up with.

Stitched up!

 Not bad when framed. Hehehe. Do  you think he’ll like this?

And the pants? It is back in the closet. ‘Till next junk art session. 🙂 

 

May 12, 2010 Posted by | Junk art & doodles, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another boring test

I took an online personality test. It was fun and embarassing to know that in some areas a 5yr old can be a lot smarter than me. So common sense is not really “common”. Whahaha. Come on, I was never asked to put a giraffe inside a ref! Ha!Ha!

IQ test.  Here’s my evaluation:

Like a meticulous collector, you’ve fed your brain a unique set of facts and figures over the years. Words, numbers, you’ve got it all. That’s what makes you a Facts Curator.

Whether or not you intend to absorb every piece of information that comes your way, your mind has certain steel-trap qualities to it. You are a knowledge sponge. You have almost enough words in your head to fill a dictionary, and you’re equally adept when it comes to manipulating numbers. You can also detect important patterns in number sequences, and probably remember the mnemonic devices you were taught in grade school. You may feel comfortable in classroom settings where absorbing details is critical. You’re also able to learn from example and piece together all the little facts in life to get to the big picture. That’s why you never stop accumulating information as you walk through life.

My score falls under moderately gifted – which in my opinion only means: I seem to have brains; because I failed on the giraffe thing. And the elephant. And the crocs. Aarrggghhh.

Go check yours at www.personalityquiz.net 🙂

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Inang

(This one is for my grandmother Felomina for her love, my mother for sharing her to me and my aunt who was there through it all.)

                                                               

The greatest thing my grandmother has done to me was to raise me twice.

***

 Three years ago, Inang met Bryann for the first time at our church dormitory where I was staying. Inang smiled a lot and savored that moment of meeting her new acquaintance. She let out a chuckle and tapped his knee. ‘NaIu-meg ka’ (You’re fat), she said smiling.  I cannot recall the entire story but I am sure she must have also asked him, ‘Baro ka pay?’ (Are you still single?). Yes, that was my granny in her late 80’s. That was how she welcomed men who try to snatch us from our father.  They chatted for a while before Inang dozed the afternoon off.

 Bryann, the keen one told after that meeting that I am a lot like Inang in many ways. Well, uhh physically, one doesn’t have to look twice. I have her genes. He said that I would grow old and gray looking like Inang. Slow but twinkly.

***

I was born 10 months apart from Antot. We practically grew up together. Inang was there when we were born. She was there probably running like mad after our many first dangerous steps. Of course my parents were there all along but they had to go to work and we were left to her care most of the time to run amok and sing Ilocano songs.  She was there until we had to go to nursery school and started to act like adults.

 She pinned my Second Honor ribbon during my nursery recognition day and visited us some summers after that for the yearly ribbon or medal.  She would tell me, ‘Nalaing ka nga ubing’ (You’re a smart kid). Of course I never took it seriously because I knew then all kiddos are smart. We all have received citations in kindergarten, haven’t we?

 She was with us for a few years. Then she moved back to live in the city with my aunt. I only got to see her on summer vacations. I had a chance to live there with her again when I went to college. She woke up earlier than I did, took a bath (independently) longer than I did and ate more Ampalaya (Bittergourd) more than I can remember.  She was in her 80’s then. I would pester and ask her how longer she would still live. She would shove  me with her spoon, laugh and say, ‘Hmm mabayag-ak pay. Matay-akon to no diyak nga kayat-en ti parya,’ (Hmm I’d still be around longer. You’ll know I’m close to dying when I no longer want to eat Ampalaya.)

 I have yet to meet a person who is makes reading the Bible a full-time career. She was like that. I would leave for school, get back home and see her reading still if not sleeping. She spent long hours every day in her small white kiddie chair, reading her Bible in her corner by the door, carefully poring on each line with her index finger, page after page, after page. I never saw her wear reading glasses. God must have blessed her with excellent eyesight to be able to read the Bible until old age.

Her version of blogging.

 She spent many a year writing the story of her life and how God has been so good through it all. It was revised every time she recalls something to add. It was written in steady cursive strokes in a dilapidated yellow paper ready to be read before the older folks in family events. I never really paid much attention. I didn’t care. I was just a kid. She kept those many decaying ‘editions’ in her purse with her constantly present 100 peso bill.  Yes, that 100- peso, a few smaller bills, loose coins and old family pictures including that of my grandfather’s. She kept those valuables like they were her only treasure. She would perkily try to hand me money like she had lots of it or fold and set aside a few bills to give to the church for Sunday to come.

 Oh, Sundays. She loved Sundays. Church people loved her too. She was in every Women’s Conference and was constantly recognized as the oldest member of the church. Definitely she got it yearly. I mean, no kidding. Who else could have dethroned her? It is not something others can bet their necks on to win, is it?

  Going back to her story, she tried to read it before me when I was around 10 years old. I refused. I told her it was her will or something like it and she is not dying.  Now, after 18years I regret that I did not allow her to personally read it TO ME. It should have been the best of memories I have with her. I should have listened to what she was supposed to say in those notes. She was a good writer. A good story teller.

 Yesterday, I found a picture of my grandmother’s weather-beaten notes posted on my aunt’s Friendster account. She is still going through the saddest in her life being the youngest and the one who spent her whole life being with Inang. My aunt has seen the best and worst of growing old and back. She was there battling with the sleepless nights with Inang in her fits of night visions. She was there making sure Inang gets to the urinal in the nick of time. She was there hearing Inang breathe when she can no longer get out of bed. I browsed more of her pictures pondering on the events I haven’t witnessed. The wake. The burial.  The people who were touched by her life. I cried. Like a kid again. I cried the tears I haven’t shed when I first received the news. I was saddened when I was told she was gone but it took nine freaking months for the truth to sink in and finally now it has kicked me in the butt.

The truth is real. Like a toothache.  She has been gone.

 I left in July 2008 and bid her goodbye but she was no longer coherent. She wasn’t even looking when I was stepping back waving goodbye. I bet she never even understood why I was leaving. Nine months after that I was told she did not want to eat anymore. She died of old age and I was not there.

 Just like that.  

 I                w  a  s                    n  o   t                   t  h  e  r  e  .

I hate these ‘should have beens’ because no matter how hard I cry, the past cannot be changed anymore.  I had so much of her extraordinary affectionate attention some of which I failed to recognize. She was there to wake me up for breakfast and to scratch my head when I was deep in my books and more. I never had the chance to thank her for the devotion and love. Even if I’ll say it a hundred times and over she is no longer around to hear the words I have left unsaid.

 She loved us all. She loved me through my obliviousness. She loved me more than I deserved.

 Yesterday, nine months after she died, I was born a second time.

February 25, 2010 Posted by | Family, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment