Dear Ma, (or what I did throughout the last few months of 2011)(Prepare yourselves, good people. This one's a doozy.)
First off, Happy holidays to you and Tito Tom!
November and December have been pretty hectic, dizzying and even exhausting. The last two weeks have seen me juggling fourteen to fifteen mentally- and endurance-challenging lessons all-day everyday non-stop. I'm just glad most of my learners have decided to take a break for the holidays themselves and concentrate on relaxing so I can relax too! It makes me very thankful that I have a happy place I can come home to at the end of every shift.
So, on to a few happy points for sharing.
First, I've become very intrigued in trying different recipes for duck. Thank you very much for your curry cookooks, Ma! They are well-taken care of, and they have served me well every other week. I first found a simple yet slow-paced recipe for Duck Curry, and I just had to try it. It took a total of 8 hours to prep and cook the entire thing, and now James and some of my colleagues are raving over it. It didn't exactly taste like curry, actually. It tasted more like duck adobo -- and I followed the recipe to the letter! -- but it still received lots of praises. I'm keeping the leftover duck oil for future use -- my French learners say french fries cooked in duck oil are divine. Diet-killing, but divine.
The end of October had a Halloween party in store for us, and my friend PJ proposed we go as a pair, dressed up as gender-flipped versions of Aziraphale and Crowley in the book Good Omens. (Remember her, Ma? She and Rosa slept over at our place for my eighteenth birthday, and her eyes popped when I offered her a third serving of pancakes.) So, that's me down there -- I always knew I was a natural blonde.
After wig and costume. Justin so lovingly said I looked like I was trying so hard not to cut the cheese.
The costume was not as labor-intensive as last year's -- I made the skirt and the bowtie, did my own makeup, everything else was either shopped for or taken from my own closet -- but we nonetheless wowed everyone. I did PJ's makeup, and she loved the geisha-eye and simple glossy lip I gave her. Even her fiance loved it! I on my part feel like a gorgeous drag queen with my lashes. Those lashes are killer, and have become something of my signature around the office.
I won the costume contest as a runner-up. We all got handy bags containing: a folding umbrella, a towelette, a bottle of Gatorade, some biscuits, and a carton fan, all sponsored by St. Peter Funerary Park and Plans, Inc. (I was wondering if they'd thrown in a free funeral plan, but oh well.)
Some fierce dolls here!
December 10 marked our corporate Christmas party, and the theme that won the vote was Las Vegas. Quite naturally, I made my own dress. Wow, my first evening dress, I still can't believe I did it!
The design went through a number of revisions, and making the dress and going through the entire process felt like riding a roller coaster. First a straight skirt, then a pencil skirt, then re-do and give it a nice A-line and a pretty, sparkly tulle overlay, keep the wide V-neck, make sheer tulle sleeves, lose the sleeves, reduce the armscye, save the silhouette. I learned so much from the whole process. Previous ideas about the shape of my body got debunked in a mind-blowingly joyous way, and I do think I did a good job in the end. (In two weeks! With a full-time day job! ) what do you think? I included a close-up shot of the tulle over-skirt to show you the confetti stones attached to the material. I thought it was very Las Vegas in the 50's, and my fashion photographer buddy Mezarc said it was a gorgeous fabric choice.
Le close-up shot of tulle over-skirt, confetti beads and all.
(Please ignore the comfy flats. The picture was taken at the end of the party, and though my heels gave me great posture and height, they can be hell to get along with after a long day.)
Friends were wowed by the dress, asked me to stand up, and turn around to fully appreciate it. Even the drag queens the party committee hired loved it! they loved it so much Miss Tina Turner (up there in the picture) asked me to be her doo-wop girl in her rendition of "Proud Mary". I had no idea what was going on, but I just did my thing behind the mic, and the crowd went wild! I was just very happy it was such a great performance, and that our energies blended together so well. James was the proudest person in that big hall that night.
I was also nominated for the goFY awards. The Gofies are a series of fun awards given to folks people 'round the office think are pretty neat, and are decided by vote. I was nominated for the Talented Bastard award, and was bested by a colleague from the IT department. Cros won for two reasons: he was an excellent photographer, and he could sing a Mariah Carey or Adele number really well. My friends cheered and hollered my name that night to be called, but that's okay. They loved what I had done with the dress, James is proud of me, I'm proud of me, and that's what matters.
The very next day, James and I went off to UP to meet up with another colleague. Pets had invited us to dance badly with "some guy named Matt", who has done the same silly dance in over 300 cities all over the world.
Here he is, dancing badly all over the world.
We did a few dances he suggested for different takes of the video, then Matt asked for suggestions for Filipino dance moves. James made a simple choreography to follow of an Ifugao dance, and I did likewise for itik-itik. (in the video, you might hear me singing the wrong melody for the wrong dance, -- Matt asked for it! -- but everyone was having too much fun to care.) Everyone followed, got sweaty, wet, and cold from the rain -- yes, we danced in the pouring rain, in a field behind and on top of some jeepneys-- , but we had fun! At the end, Matt and his small team thanked us, sold us a few american-sized shirts to help support this project of theirs, we shook his hand and thanked him too.
Alas, we still have no Internet. I write this letter form my office workstation, and I'm thankful my boss isn't kicking me out just yet for over-staying. (On the other hand, he does have this way of reminding me intermittently that my shift is over ever so politely, haha. ) I hope that my stories have entertained and brought good cheer, and I do hope your holidays will be spent with gratitude, happiness and love.
Thinking of you, and wishing all the best. Love you!