Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Local Humor

The thing that I love most about my family is our collective sense of humor. We're typically Pinoy that way, I suppose. When things get a little too painful, we don't want to talk about it. We prefer to laugh.

An example of how it goes with us happened a few months ago, when my diabetic mom had a health crisis. They discovered elevated protein levels in her urine, which usually means that the patient's kidneys are failing. The news immediately brought family members living near rushing to her house. My sweet nephew Sam arrived, saw his dear Mama in the garden, ran to embrace her, and soon after began to cry.

My mom tried to make light of it. "Why are you crying, Sam? I don't have a contract to send you to university, only your sister, so if I go it won't make a difference in your life. You shouldn't cry."

That joke admittedly was a little lame. Stepping in to save the moment was my second-eldest sister Bel, who really has the wickedest sense of humor I have ever had the pleasure of encountering.

"Okay, okay," she gathered the children around my mom. Then she delivered her punchline. "Let's all give Mama a hug while she's still a little bit warm."

In Tagalog, it's a thousand times funnier: "Halika, mga bata, yakapin natin si Mama," she said. "Yakapin natin habang mainit-init pa!"

Up to now, when I remember the story it gets me giggling. I'm looking forward to seeing them all very soon.

P.S. No worrries, the protein level descended and the Mama is okay.


It's funny that when I am sewing all the fun stuff that goes into my online shop, most times the music I listen to are the heartwrenching songs of Edith Piaf. I love her, and this song is my anthem.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It Snowed, I Took No Pictures

This is my third December in the South of France, and the first time I've seen it snow where I live. It isn't much, merely a light dusting on the ground, just enough for my friend's two kids to get their mittens sopping wet while making a snowball each, but it is enough to merit my friend and I free glasses of champagne after lunch at the restaurant run by a dark Frenchman who tells us that where he used to live in Norway, they always toasted the year's first snow with some bubbly. Well this is probably the decade's first snow in the region, I pipe up, we should be breaking open a crate of Dom PĂ©rignon!

When all I can talk about in my blog is about it snowing and about finishing a four-hour long lunch with a toast, it means that I have really nothing very interesting to say.

I am right now, for several months now, living a rare period of peace and quiet. There is nothing happening; just watching flakes of white melt and disappear into dark patches on the sandy earth.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Christmas Story

"What is Christmas like in the South of France?"

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Nah, I didn't think so. Still, if you're just a little bit curious, you may want to read a story I wrote for The Storque, the e-zine of Etsy. I've always loved local arts and crafts, so it was predictable that I become infatuated with the santons of the South. Read my story here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Eating Local

My husband and I are not very good at organized action. It's just not in our nature to march down streets yelling our lungs off and waving placards. But we do believe in the power of the individual, that the choices he makes, good or bad, has an impact on the rest of society. We're not just riding on the environmental bandwagon (although even if that were the case, it would be a good thing); we have always tried to be conscientious about our choices as consumers. Some of the things we do include recycling, not buying things we don't really need (yes, that means I try to limit my clothes shopping--argh!), and eating local food.

I was talking to my friend's boyfriend the other day. Marcos is a scientist (I seem to be surrounded by them at the moment) from Ecuador, working on the transformation of water melted from icebergs into potable H20. Given his occupation, of course he is very concerned about the earth drying up because of man misbehaving. After discussing his work, we had an interesting talk about, of all things, tomatoes.

"You go to the market, see a tomato from France and then a tomato from Morocco," went one of Marcos's quotable quotes. "Automatically, you get the one from Morocco because it is cheap, not pausing to think that the environmental cost of that Moroccan tomato is really a lot higher than the French one because of all the petrol used to transport that vegetable here." (Yes, I hear you, smartypants: The tomato is a fruit. Read on, please.)

I am not very good at proselytizing, so I will let a farmer I saw on television the other day explain why exactly I'm telling you the tomato story: "As consumers, we should realize that our decisions should not just be based on the price per kilo. That thing that you are eating, ask yourself, how did it get there, on your table? And what exactly is in there? What are you putting into your mouth?"

All that said, in our household we're going to move forward in our effort to be conscientious consumers and try out Associations pour le Maintien d'une Agriculture Paysanne or AMAP. Essentially, how it works is you pay a local farmer ahead of time to produce vegetables during the season (list of vegetables approved beforehand by everybody involved in the project), and then you come every week with your basket to pick your share of the harvest. Sounds cool, doesn't it? We'll not only be eating fresh and organic, we'll also be helping local industry.

The website is in French, but the idea came from the States. Click here for US residents, and here if you live in the UK.

Not a funny post, I know. I told you I'll do that one next week.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thought Running Through My Head This Minute:

"I so want to update this blog, pero gosh ang dami ko pang tahiin!"

Wholesale and custom orders, folks. The career-driven city girl has transformed into sewing-machine-pedal-pushing country wife. Just call me the writing sastre.

Next week, I promise: I'll write something funny.