29 August 2009
Mr. B. bought me a cap, pretty much like a Russian ushanka, only it has a panda top. As soon as he came home, he put the cap on my head. It was heavy. I couldn't see anything because the furry cap covered my vision and rested on my nose.
"There you go! No one will recognize you now!" he said proudly.
"Why should anyone recognize me?" I said.
"Well, your blog is becoming so popular now, people might spot you when you walk around the streets." he answered.
"But I don't walk around the streets!!" I protested.
"Just in case. You can never be sure. I want you to be safe from your fans. Who knows you might have millions of them!"
"So you want me to pretend to be a panda?" I replied.
"Exactly! Great idea, isn't it?"
I shook my head. "I have a better idea."
"Why don't YOU wear this lazy animal cap to work?" I suggested.
"And why would I do that?" he questioned.
"So the people in the funny farm will not recognize you. They will all shake their heads and recall how you were once a cheerful person, and how those energy-suckers of various shapes and sizes turned you into an unrecognisable black and white animal!" I explained.
"You got a very good point. Now hold still. I want to take your photo." Mr. B. said.
27 August 2009
Every Thursday morning, while Mr. B. is at work, Lily comes to clean the house. She vacuums and mops the floor, calls for laundry pick up and delivery, scrubs the bathroom, changes the sheets, waters the plants and makes everything in the house squeaky clean. I am assigned to give her wages and money for laundry as well as cleaning equipments. That is why Thursday is one of Mr. B.'s favorite days of the week. He comes home with the house all clean and tidy and we bears are all sitting in a row.
Lily has been cleaning Mr. B.'s house for 11 years. During this period, Mr. B. saw her gone through a bout of cancer and Bell's palsy, son's graduation from university, death of ex-husband, separation from second. Through it all, she was always cheerful, positive and said that she is leaving it all up to God.
Aside from cleaning the house, Lily is also the unofficial custodian of Mr. B.'s personal items. Misplaced passport, ID, keys, ring, money - anything Mr. B. lost, Lily knows where to find them.
A month ago, Lily bought a rock salt lamp as a gift to Mr. B. "Keep the light on while you sleep. It cleans the air, energizes your body and very calming to the nerves." Lily said. Today, the lamp is sitting in Mr. B.'s bedside table.
"I cannot imagine this home without her." Mr. B. declared.
"I know. You need her because the vacuum cleaner is too heavy for me to carry." I said.
26 August 2009
D. surprised all of us tonight by bringing a cake. I was very happy to see the nice cake with the lighted candle and to have D. make a surprise visit.
"Today is Chinese Lovers Day." Mr. B. announced.
"Is that why we have a cake to eat?" I asked D.
Mr. B. said I can't keep staring at the cake because the candle is melting. So we all blew the candle, cut the cake and have a portion each.
"I wish everyday is Lovers Day." I said
"As long as you have love in your heart, everyday IS Lovers Day." Mr. B. replied.
This thing called Love must be strangely exclusive to humans. A lot had been said, written and sang about it. Some humans are afraid to love because they said it might not work out. But what if it does?
For now, I shall enjoy my tiramisu cake. Today is a rose-colored day.
23 August 2009
Today was a good day for Mr. B. He and D. went to a nice foot spa that involved scrubbing and massaging. It is supposed to be a comforting activity for humans. In the evening, they went to dinner with a group of firends. Mr. B. took his house guest with him. It was a fun evening of mediocre food but great company. Later activity involved going to a place where humans drink and chat, mostly about other people.
Mr. B. always said he enjoys the company of good friends - dining, drinking (Coke or tea) and just chatting about anything at all. Later in the evening, the group decided to go to a dance club but Mr. B. declined.
"I only dance to 80's music." was his excuse.
The truth was that he was not interested to go, he told me. Gone are the days when he would dance until wee hours in the morning. Now he just want to end a great evening sipping tea with D. and talking.
"Am I becoming anti-social?" he asked me.
"No, you're just getting old." I replied.
"Ha! And I don't see you going out and having fun!" he retorted.
"Bears don't socialize." I answered.
"I'll take you out to meet my friends next time." he said as he prepares to go to bed.
18 August 2009
Mr. B. recently bought a book on soap-making and announced that he wanted to start a new hobby. He thought that the chemistry of this fabulous hobby must be quite similar to that of candle making which he was familar with - mix, melt, boil, pour, mold, cure and voila. He spent the next few days reading all about the difference between cold-process and pour-and-mold types of soap-making. Included in the book are processes in making bath fizzes, creams and scrubs.
"I give up!" he declared tonight. "It takes too long to make a bar of soap!"
Indeed, it sometimes would take up to several hours for the boiling concoction to reach "trace" (which is basically the start of the hardening stage) depending on the oil used, and Mr. B. was never a role model for patience.
I remember a few years ago when he took candle-making as a hobby. The first thing he did was create a fire (yes, a literal fire) the size of a dinner plate at the center of his dining table. Then he presented two large candles to a very dear friend as Christmas gift which collapse around 15 minutes after his friend lighted them. He also created an artistic blue candle that started sweating dye (yes, blue) all around within minutes after lighting.
Of course he had his successes too. They are sitting all around the house but never lighted (in case he would start another fire which would then collapse his ego).
He has since given all his candle-making equipments to his sister, including the pure beewax he bought at a high price. Suffice to say his candles has never seen the light of the day, or night. And now, this soap-making thing.
"Where can I get coconut oil, palm oil and vegetable oil?" he asked aloud.
"There's vegetable oil in the kitchen cupboard." I said.
"But that's olive oil I use for cooking!"
"You can use palm and olive combination," I replied. "But that wouldn't be original."
12 August 2009
"A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog." - Jack London, American author.
The past few days had been chaotic in the small island of Taiwan. Typhoon Morakot brought disaster in an epic proportion never before seen in the island's history- millions in damage in property, thousands left homeless, hundreds of death and still counting.
Thus started the telethons, the charity concerts, the hotline for donations across several media. Big conglomorates donated money by the millions. Celebrities manned phones on fundraising broadcasts. Politicians solicited money and goods from private companies. Companies willingly and happily obliged in the hope to receive some sort of public acknowledgment and publicity. If that is not enough, corporates also ran heartrending advertising campaigns to tell the public "We are here! We care about you!".
Humans are truly strange. They are easily touched by a moment's drama then forgets as quickly. If one really looks hard enough, one can see many human tragedies happening around everyday. There are many opportunities to do good to others, war-torn countries and starving children, but humans choose to turn a blind eye. Until it hits home. And when they finally decided they want to extend a helping hand, they do it with a purpose, a hidden agenda, an ulterior motive.
"I have decided I will make Becker-clones this Christmas and sell them to rich people for charity!" I proclaim to Mr. B. "I will manufacture 10 thousand of them and spread joy to orphans this holiday season!"
"What an honorable act." Mr. B. said dryly.
"Yup! They will be wearing t-shirts with my blog address printed on them!" I said proudly. "What do you think?"
Photo credit : Pitikbulag
08 August 2009
I never knew my father. My mother, whom I grew up and stayed with for about 4 years never told me about him. No special reason. That was just it in the bear's world.
Mr. B. told me today is Father's Day, a day to honor fathers and traditionally celebrated in the third Sunday of June each year. Where we are, Father's Day is celebrated today. This is the time of the year when children would save up and buy things like electric razors or ties as gifts. Adults would take the easier route and just give red packets with money in them. Most often, the whole family would go out to eat and very likely, the father will have to pay. Anyway, this is the day when families find an excuse to gather and eat.
Mr. B. said his father is a very special person. Having had to start working at a very young age, Papa B. was more of a street-smart person with lots of stories and adventures to tell. He could be very strict and stubborn at times but always very kind at heart. Mr. B. showed me photos of them together when Mr. B. was still a toddler. I could see that Papa B. was very proud of his son.
"Do you think he is proud of me now?" Mr. B. asked. "Do you think I disappointed him as a son?"
"I think you have done a good job. I honestly think so." I replied.
"I only wish for his health and happiness. Every day of my life." said Mr. B.
"I know that." I said. "Mr. B.?"
"Can we also take a photo like what you have? You and me?" I requested.
I never knew my own father. But when Mr. B. adopted me, he became my father. He became the father of all the other bears at home. I may not have done a lot now. But one day, I want Mr. B. to also be proud of me, the way Papa B. is proud of his first born.
07 August 2009
Mr. B. always talks about The Eighties. No specific adjectives like Roaring 20's or Swinging 60's, just THE Eighties. My research on history indicates that humans had gone through a lot decades before the 1980's - wars (40's), economic depression (50's), libertine attitude (60's), hippie culture (70's). Indeed the 80's may have been some sort of renaissance for humans as they probably were sick of war, poverty and drugs.
"What's so special about The Eighties?" I asked Mr. B.
"Everything!" he said excitingly. "That was my era, my heydays so to speak."
The Eighties brought a lot of things to the world. Indiana Jones, E.T., Luke Skywalker, Freddie Krugger, Michael Myer, Madonna, Whitney Houston, to name a few, became global names somewhere within the decade and are still enjoying their popularities today.
"So what were you like then, Mr. B.?" I asked curiously.
"Do you know what my biggest problem was every day when I woke up in the morning?" he said. "How I would comb my hair that day!"
"That was it?"
"Oh yeah, that could be a daunting task!" he said with a grin on his face. "I got gel, I got trimmer, I shaved one side, I combed to the other, I let it stand, I let it lay flat, I parted it on the left, then parted it on the right."
"Did you ever shaved it all off?"
"That was in the Millenium. Another era."
Today is a typhoon holiday so Mr. B. said we should watch The Breakfast Club in memory of John Hughes (the director who passed away yesterday). He said the spirit and the angst of The Eighties is encapsulated in that film.
The Eighties is almost 30 years ago. Then I thought, decades from now, this era Mr. B. loved so much will just be like the 20's to people today - remote, almost forgotten and barely relevant. But perhaps modern technology will preserve a lot of the bits and pieces of history from that time so humans of the future will always remember The Eighties.
06 August 2009
My Way is a very popular human song. The lyrics tell the story of a man, perhaps dying (hence "And now, the end is near..."), reflecting on the life he lived telling how he had very few regrets. He did it all and he did it HIS way.
Many humans associate the song with the great Frank Sinatra. My extensive research revealed that My Way actually started life as a French song originally sung by one Claude Francois in 1967. Paul Anka acquired the rights, rewrote the lyrics to English and gave it to Frank to sing. It became so popular that the song has been sang and recorded by a lot of other humans from Elvis Presley to The Rock and has been translated into many human languages from Chinese to Russian. My Way is also one of the most popular song sung in funerals, sports events and in karaoke bars all over the world.
"Not only is it popular in funerals," Mr. B. said. "It is also responsible for many deaths."
"Really?" I wondered.
I found out that in the Philippines for example, My Way elicited arguments, fights and violence in karaoke bars. Someone would sang it so bad that another patron (most likely drunk) would shot him, or one would be ridiculed for doing a very poor imitation of Frank Sinatra and would start a big fight that would lead to a mass rumble. I guess one has to take the song very seriously. Eventually, a lot of karaoke bars removed My Way from their playlist. It is safer to sing this song at home.
I told you humans are strange.
04 August 2009
"My salad days, when I was green in judgement, cold in blood..."
I was reading my Shakespeare (yes, I do read too, Lisa W.) when I came across this phrase as spoken by the heroine in Antony and Cleopatra. I look up to see Mr. B. chopping romaine lettuce, red and yellow bell pepper and grilled chicken (very, very lean and pan-grilled with not one drop of oil) in preparation for tomorrow's brown bag.
"Are you having your salad days, Mr. B.?" I asked him.
"By the looks of it, it will have to be a salad year." he answered dryly.
I realized that by "salad days", Shakespeare was referring to a youthful time, accompanied by the inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, or indiscretion that one associates with a young person, hence the terms "green" and "cold" (which incidentally are also the characteristics of Mr. B.'s salad). It also refers to a person's heyday when somebody was at the peak of his abilities.
If "salad days" is to be applied to Mr. B., it certainly wouldn't be now. In his youth, he dreamt of many things, he played guitar and sing after dinner, he studied piano and watercolor painting, he sang with a band on weekends. Even when he started working, he found time to go clubbing on Saturday evenings and dine with friends. Best of all, he was much, much thinner those days. Those days must be his prime, definitely not now.
"I think your salad days are over." I said without lifting my head.
"Shut up." was the reply I got as he stuff a piece of grilled chicken in his mouth.
01 August 2009
Last night, Mr. B. and I watched a Filipino film called Silent Passage. It is a bittersweet a love story between a 47-year old widowed judge and a 23-year-old uneducated cab driver. Their initial fondness of each other grew into a relationship that faced tremendous pressure from their families, their friends and the society in general. In the end, the young man was accidentally killed in a taxi hold-up leaving the judge pregnant at the age of 47, alone to face the world.
While the movie ended on a sad note, I learned a very important leasson about humans - about the triumph of human spirit in particular. Sometimes, one needs to go against norms, to fight every single soul, in order to find happiness. When one finds it, it will be worth it.
I know that Mr. B. reflected on his own life after seeing this movie. I can't tell how much similar experiences he share with the film's main character. But I do know that he was touched by the courage and determination of the 2 humans who fought the world to defend their love.