Monday, November 19, 2007

Teaching My Husband Tagalog

The fun of teaching my husband Tagalog.

I'm not going out of my way to teach him Tagalog but he picks up a lot from me. It's just funny to hear him pretend he's speaking it and if I didn't know better some of the "sentences" he says sound just like it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tale of the Red Balloon

Creepy incident with a red balloon in our brand new house.

This is a creepy tale, as part of Halloween week...

When I was 15 my parents finally decided to buy a home. My parents threw a housewarming party in tandem with our birthday party, since they coincided. It was the largest party my parents had ever thrown. The house was so full it was hard to move around. While I mingled and said 'hello' to the titas and titos I noticed an older man, whom I had never seen before. He was Caucasian and wearing an old, brown suit. He did not seem to be speaking to anyone, just standing alone amongst the people. He saw me and winked. I smiled back politely and resumed my greetings, assuming that he was one of the many doctor friends that my parents had invited.

After the party I asked my mom who he was. I described him but she didn't recognize the description, so she asked my dad but he didn't know either. We shrugged it off and decided to finish cleaning after the party. While my parents were in the living room, I tackled the family room, and began to collect the napkins and plates, when in the corner of my eye I saw a red shape floating up from the basement. It was a balloon. I paused what I was doing and watched it. When it got to my landing it turned the corner and went up the stairs to the kitchen, then turned it again and went up the hallway to my parents room! I followed and saw it slowly, lightly duck into my parents room, and make its way into their bathroom. Following, I watched as it paused in the semi-darkness of the bathroom and bob up and down, in front of the mirror. From the light a shadow was cast on its surface and in the mirror it looked as if a face was reflected back.

I fled the room and told mom, who laughed.

A few days later, while tidying the books in the family room that the previous owner had left, a photo stumbled out. I looked at it and saw the old man in the brown suit, smiling back up at me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Shining Moment

Recalling the scariness of the Shining

When I was a kid October was the month where my local t.v. station played a horror movie every night, all leading up to Halloween. The first time I saw "The Shining" I couldn't sleep for weeks. The scene that kept playing in my head was where Danny would roam around the empty hotel on his Big Wheel tricycle and the sound that his wheel made as it alternated between hard wood and carpet, the rrrr and shhh was scary enough but when he rounded that corner and came upon the twin girls, in their pretty blue outfits just made it the stuff of my nightmares.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Aswang vs Grandpa

Coolly, my grandfather handles a pain in the neck by offering sympathy.

This is a legend in my family. It's the story of how my grandfather outwitted the local 'aswang'...

At one point, my grandfather worked late shifts as a policeman, often returning home at 2 or 3 in the morning, walking along the lonely country paths. One night, after a long shift, he headed home accompanied only by the sounds of the crickets, the soft wind rustling in the high grass and the full moon. As he rounded the bend that led him home, he saw a silhouette standing before him. It was a figure of a woman but her hair was standing up, as if electrified. He drew closer and saw that it was a female vampire, her eyes were blood red and fangs hung below her lips.

She was about to descend upon him.

What saved him was his quick thinking. He realized that it was a nearby neighbor (neighbors often were a few miles apart), and so he hailed her. "Maria! Ano ng yari! (What happened?) Why are you out this late? Are you sick? Your eyes are red and you need to comb your hair! With those magic words, vanity took hold and she sheepishly smiled, apologized and headed home.

I love that story.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Witchy Woman

Year after year of wearing the same witch costume for Halloween.

I love Halloween. Every year I begged my mom to buy me a costume. She insisted that I already had a great costume, as a witch. I wore that witch's costume every year of my life, until I was too old to go trick-or-treating. I didn't even go trick-or-treating because I lived in the Bronx, in an apartment, and my parents thought it was unsafe, so I just wore it to school. The fake hair smelled like sweaty armpits.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Man Meets Mermaid

Man finds mermaid, then finds out that something's a little fishy about her...

Mom told us this story when we were kids...

In her village, long before she was born, a fisherman caught a mermaid in his net. The mermaid begged to be freed but the man thought that she would make him rich! And so, for a price, he placed her on display for the whole village to see. But each day a fishy smell would pervade the entire village until no one could stand it anymore and no one would go near the display. Finally, when the fisherman realized that she wouldn't bring in a profit he released her back into the ocean, and decided to go back making a living by fishing.

No one knows what happened to the fisherman because the day the mermaid was released his boat was found, floating offshore, but the fisherman was never seen again.

Another version of this story says that the mermaid cried and cried but the town refused to free her, and so she told them that her father, the great king of the sea, would bring forth a typhoon and floods that would devastate the village. They didn't heed her and overnight the sea boiled up, flooding the roads and pulling houses, women, men, children, and livestock into its depths. Those who survived freed the mermaid, promising never to imprison her kind again.