Woke up with—not one, but two!—burning, itchy, and teary eyes. I have been nursing a rebellious Right Eye the past few days and was actually hoping things would start looking up today. But Left Eye just couldn’t be left out of the “fun” and insisted on joining the pity party. So now I feel discomfort in both eyes. I still can’t wear my contact lenses. My nose bridge (it’s there, really, take a closer look) now has reddish dents, heroic marks from bearing the weight of nerdy-thick eye glasses.

I was hoping to get to the early morning service today, and later in the afternoon kiddie-party with Daphne’s family as we celebrate the fourth birthday of little Bastian (whose smile and twinkly eyes make you feel like a superhero). In between, I hoped to do some word-wrestling on a writing project because yesterday was blah and my word count has not risen significantly while my writer’s morale took a nosedive. Plus I got hit by a plastic bottle of lotion falling from the sky. But that’s another story.

From the looks of it, I’ll be spending this Sunday quarantined in my little corner of Mandaluyong. The Gurlpwend called to check on the “red-eyed mister” and listen to him whine, whine, whine—in a very, very manly way, of course. I’ve fixed myself coffee and toasted pandesal, trying to make peace with my lot.  Although I didn’t make it to church, today can still be a day of worship. And I pray to God to not just heal my sorry eyes, but to open my spiritual eyes to get a fresh glimpse of His bigness today.

morning ache

The first thing I said this morning was, “Awwtch!” The cold nights had finally taken their toll on my arthritic joints and achy lower back. Instead of rushing through my morning rituals, I had to take a deep breath and slowly, very slowly, cajole my lethargic joints to move, one small motion at a time. I decided to take the morning off after popping a few pain relievers.

All these body issues are premature, I know–I’m turning thirty, not sixty! But ever since twelve years old, I’ve had to live with arthritic pain. There are many ways to deal with the pain and inconvenience of arthritis. For me today, relief (and consolation) came in the form of chocolate ice cream that I got on my way to work around noon.

And, just so we’re clear, I didn’t use it as cold compress on my joints.


Meet Bogart.

The entity that has somehow attached himself to my midsection in recent years. The flab that shrouds my six-pack abs. Thanks to Nalani’s sister, my unflattering tummy will not go the way of nameless, unsung fat. It has been christened with a name, and quite a manly one too: Bogart.

In the beginning though, there was no Bogart. I was reed-thin for the longest time, my bones making their presence obvious wherever they could. Fearing my malnourishment, my mother saw to it that I got my daily dose of appetite-inducers, from Nutroplex to Flinstones chewables, to whatever the pediatrician recommended or the concerned mother on TV ads gave her underweight child. Once my father imposed that I first gain ten pounds before he’d let me go to summer camp. In college I wore loose shirts to hide my bony elbows and pronounced collar bones.

That was light years ago.

Today, I play host to Bogart. I wouldn’t have minded growing a belly with a nickname if not for (well-)mean(ing) friends who make sure I know they notice the rotund protrusion. And the media’s ubiquitous images of guys with flat, washboard abs aren’t helping me feel chummy with my tummy either.

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tooth to tell

“Ouch, ouch! You’re biting on my finger!”

I had absentmindedly closed my mouth while my dentist’s left forefinger was still inside. “Oh-wee,” I apologized, mouth half-open. I felt my face getting warm. Great, I’m blushing!

“Do you have low tolerance for pain?” the pretty dentist asked. She has been peering down my gaping mouth preparing to extract a molar gone ugly. On the side table, her tools of trade—pointed and metallic (they should really try to make them look friendlier)—were lined up awaiting utility.

“I don’t know. I’ve never compared with other people,” I mumbled, starting to feel the anesthesia’s effect inside my mouth. “But, generally, men have a lower pain threshold than women, right?”

She nodded. “You should feel the numbness on your right jaw and tip of your tongue soon.”

But I wasn’t feeling it after a few minutes and told her so. She grabbed one of the screw-driver-looking implements and nudged my tooth with it, testing if my nerves had gone to sleep yet.

“Awww!” I jerked in pain, a bit embarrassed that I might have provided yet another empirical proof that men are cry-babies. Maybe she was just avenging her bitten finger?

“That hurt?” she asked—rhetorically, I decided. She injected more anesthesia, and I began to fear memory loss. After a few minutes, I was starting to feel numb where she said I should. Her gloved hands set to work with decisive swiftness.

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