Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Yippee! (sort of)
Got a new corporate client yesterday, which is terrific, because aside from more money, it means I get to think about something new in my work. I've been toiling pretty much non-stop on behalf of a particular client for the past several months, and I feel like I've been beating my brain to death on the same ol', same ol'. A fresh perspective is a welcome change.

I also found out, watching the new client's video presentation, that I have now worked for three of the top three ranked corporations in the country. So yay, me! Only, if I'm so damned cool, why do I never seem to have enough money??

Yippee! (for real)
The package I've been expecting from my mom in Florida finally arrived. Tons of goodies, including a kiddie laptop for Sage, clothes and cosmetic gunk for me (Sometimes I'm such a chick!), and boatloads of chocolate for Dean, who is a confirmed chocoholic.

One of the goodies I got is this perfume I've been wanting called 'Angel'. It smells kind of chocolatey-orangey-liqoury, like a Grand Marnier truffle.

Being both a girly-girl and one of the boys (like it says in my subtitle, duh!), I like to smell yummy, but I detest smelling flowery. So I buy things like (currently) almond milk body wash, honey lotion, red currant lip balm, and vanilla cologne. All this time, I've been thinking that I smell alluring, only to have my husband complain one night that I just make him hungry!

Sigh. He's supposed to be craving for me, not for almond jelly with lychees...
Nikki bit in at 1:58 PM :: ::
Monday, November 24, 2003

satch boogie
A long, long time ago, I worked as a newscaster in a radio station. (I've also worked as a flight attendant, a bank manager, and an administration officer. This was all before I discovered that people were actually willing to pay me to write!) During that time, some of my pals informed me one day that I needed to "get some culture", and put a tape into the player. Now, these guys had been working their fingers to the bone practicing Vivaldi on their guitars, so I thought I was going to listen to something classical.

Instead, I got Satriani.

Joe Satriani is considered one of the three or so gods of electric guitar. The particular album I listened to on that fateful day was Surfing with the Alien, which I instantly adored, and which of course particularly appealed to me, comic book fangirl that I've always been. Imagine my delight at being able to explain to my friends that the song 'Always with Me, Always with You' probably had something to do with Silver Surfer Norrin Radd having to bid farewell to his love, Shalla Bal, as he left her forever in order to serve as intergalactic herald for Galactus, eater of worlds!

Such is the intermarriage of comics and gee-tar. Talk about culture, huh?

animal behavior
Meanwhile, Andrew (who is the first of my friends in a long time who also gets Satriani...) has kindly lent me his collection of Animal Man, which I've never actually read. (So gimme a break, I didn't have much of a comics budget in 1988!) It's the first U.S. comics title written by the now-renowned Grant Morrison, who, it seems, was a trippy guy from the start.

Naturally, it being more than ten years down the line after Animal Man was published, I already know a lot of the 'big surprises' in the storyline, but it's still a cool read. It even manages to push an environmental agenda without being too preachy or maudlin. And I never would have thought you could do so much with a guy that basically just mimics animal attributes! That Grant, whatta guy...
Nikki bit in at 2:58 PM :: ::
Thursday, November 20, 2003

I've been complaining to my friend Vinnie that I have nothing to read, but this is not precisely true. I actually have some quite good reading material sitting around untouched, but it's all serious and lit'ry, and I'm in the mood for shitlit right now.

People who've heard me use the term think that shitlit means really crappy material, but that's not exactly the case. It's more like, if books are food for the brain, then shitlit is like mental potato chips-- no substantial nutritional value, but it tastes good, and sometimes you just get that craving, even though you know it only makes you fat.

That said, however, to paraphrase someone I can't remember, when it comes to reading, "I'll eat chips and I'll eat meat, but there is some crap I will not eat." Sidney Sheldon and Robert Jordan spring to mind.

Meanwhile, one of my close friends has actually stated that he has read approximately just ten works of fiction in his entire 29-year lifetime. And this is a brilliant guy with a brain like a well-oiled clock, mind you. Ten, can you imagine? It boggles the mind.

God, I'm such a geek.

useless knowledge (or is it?)
To cure a cough, superstition says, there is a remedy surer than any mucolytic: take a hair from the coughing person's head, put it between two slices of buttered bread, feed this to a dog, and say:

"Eat well, you hound.
May you be sick and I be sound."

If it works, this could be a very useful thing to know, albeit not very pleasant for the dog.

poem: for Sage at almost two

someday you’ll have
adult-sized feet—
long or petite,
wide or narrow—

and you’ll
bestride, perhaps, like
a colossus;
or pirouette, a dancer;
or prowl before you
cunning jungle cat.

but i
will always remember
you, tiny-toed and tromping,
teetering yet
in your father’s too-large boots.
Nikki bit in at 1:07 PM :: ::
Monday, November 17, 2003

Ah, ferget it!
Fine. My blog refuses to have a tagboard that does not prohibit scrolling down, in spite of the efforts of Dean (devoted husband) and Jason (tech buddy extraordinaire). It's not them, it's me. I am simply anathemical to certain forms of technology, that's all there is to it.

Did I mention that I also drain the batteries from flashlights? Really, you put a fresh flash in my hand, four hours later, it's toast. Guaranteed.

So, no tagboard. And I might as well go back to the template I really wanted in the first place, before I tried to accommodate a tagboard. Feh!

useless knowledge
CLEM is not just the little-known second name of a well-known artist friend of mine (Hi there, you Clem, you!), it's also an acronym that stands for Conjugate Lateral Eye Movement. This is an involuntary autonomic response in most humans, usually triggered when we are asked a question or otherwise thinking deeply. The eyes move sideways to the right (indicating symbolic or associative thinking) or to the left (indicating visual or creative thinking). Most experts believe that the direction of your CLEM indicates your general thinking habits (i.e., whether you're more logical or intuitive), but some think that rightward eye movements mean you're accessing old information or memories, while leftward movements mean you're assimilating or fabricating information.

You're gonna start observing all your friends now, aren'tcha? You paranoiac, you...
Nikki bit in at 10:54 AM :: ::
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Waiter, there's a rubber in my soup!
I swear to y'all, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. A California woman named Laila Sultan was having clam chowder at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant when she bit into something rubbery. "Of course," her dining companion said. "You're chewing on a clam." But when Sultan spit the object out, it turned out to be an unwrapped, rolled-up condom. She spent the next 15 minutes vomiting in the restroom, and is now undergoing psychiatric treatment as well as suing the restaurant for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Perhaps it was meant to be a special treat, like the fortune in a fortune cookie? Or maybe the chef just has a really unique way of stirring the soup...

Meanwhile, these diners aren't complaining...
Over in Seattle, a restaurant called Bonzai offers 'naked sushi' every Saturday night this fall. A chef prepares salmon, ahi tuna, eel, and California rolls, and arrays the tidbits on the torso of one of seven 'sushi models', bare except for a layer of plastic wrap and some strategically distributed flower petals. For the price of a drink and a $5 cover charge, patrons (both male and female, by the way) can then line up, and enjoy the food and the view. The restaurant's promoter calls this "performance art", but a local group of female activists (headed, interestingly, by one Cherry Cayabyab) calls it "the exploitation of women and the prostitution of sushi".

One of the sushi models called the activist group's protests "ridiculous", saying she found the experience relaxing, sensual, meditative, and not oppressive at all. The sushi, it must be assumed, declined to comment.
Nikki bit in at 4:00 PM :: ::
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

useless knowledge
Probably because of its vaguely heart-ish shape, the apple is strongly related to marriage in superstition. For example, it's said that if you can peel an apple all in one long single strip, you can then throw it behind you under the light of the full moon, and the discarded peel will spell out the name of the person you are destined to marry. In the words of fantasy writer Terry Pratchett, however, this does not really work too well, unless your destined love is actually named something like 'Scscss'.

Possibly more fruitful is the following method: while twisting the stem of an apple, recite the names of five or six people of the appropriate gender. (I woulda said 'of the opposite sex', but why shouldn't superstitions be equal opportunity?) The name you speak as the stem comes off is the name of the person you're meant to marry. (If the stem comes off between names, presumably you're meant to be either single or polygamous.)

Finally, if you cut an apple in half and count the number of seeds inside, that's supposed to indicate the number of children you are going to have. Now, personally, I've never seen an apple with one or less seeds, so to me, this idea is very, very scary. I may never eat another apple again!

Post-Partum Digression: part 11 (at last!) of an 11-part essay

The Year 2002 A.D. (After Delivery)

I was out of the hospital in two days, which is pretty quick compared to most C-section patients. But I could practically feel the money draining out of my husband’s and my collective wallet with every hour that passed, plus I was heartily sick of lying around in a pool of my own blood (I wish I was kidding!), not to mention having a catheter stuck up my unmentionables.

So we went home, along with Sage, the cutest, sweetest, smartest baby in all of Creation. Okay, okay, I know all parents think that, but personally, I am convinced that God gave me an extra-terrific child to make up for all of those prayers that He willfully ignored (i.e., “Please don’t let me be pregnant” and “Please don’t let me have a Caesarian delivery”).

All in all, though, it turns out that this God person really knows what He’s doing. (Probably this is what Noah thought too… you know, once he got over the prospect of having to live for more than a month on a boat full of animal shit.) Oh, I went through the obligatory postpartum depression—one day it just hit me, and the next thing I knew, the baby was crying because she was hungry, I was crying for no real reason I could explain, and Dean was crying because everyone else was. But such incidences aside, we’re doing okay. We’re even beginning to enjoy being parents. I still have the occasional bout of quiet hysteria (e.g., “Whatever happened to my social life?”, “Is this how it’s going to be for the next twenty years?”, and “Will I ever be able to wear a bikini again?”), but these are becoming fewer and further between, and my arm no longer feels like it’s going to fall off from trying to rock Sage back to sleep. Of course, it helps that my baby inexplicably smells like leche flan, and apparently thinks that her parents are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Unconditional adoration is always comforting…

It’s hard to remember why we didn’t initially want to have a child, although all the same reasons that made so much sense before remain: money is tight, I feel like I’ll never be the Supermom my own mother is, and I’m still so selfish that every now and then I try to explain to my little girl that Mommy has to put her down just long enough to have a cigarette, okay? I have the sneaking suspicion that if Sage weren’t the good, patient baby that she is, I might have chucked her over the balcony a while back and tried to pass it off as the work of Spider-Man’s evil twin. Fortunately, she is as wonderful as she is, and I wouldn’t trade being her mother for anything. Of course, I’ve started smoking again, so that could just be the nicotine talking…

Still and all, things look pretty good. I have my perfect husband, our perfect baby, and a near-perfect life, except that I never quite seem to possess enough hands or Pampers.

Of course, perfection is in the eye of the beholder: “Can I be a ninong when you have a boy?” my brother-in-law wanted to know at Sage’s christening.

As in, what, another baby?! Honestly, there’s just no pleasing some people…
Nikki bit in at 5:49 PM :: ::
Monday, November 10, 2003

We do the dance of joy!
Because finally, finally, finally I have a tagboard, which for some mysterious reason I couldn't have before, because the page kept freezing once it loaded. Now it works, thanks to the kind efforts of my friend Jason. Yehey! (pun totally intended) Jason is the total tech god!

Better still...
I have a new cell phone! Thanks to my favorite copywriting clients at Kestrel IMC, who give me many headaches, but also money to go with them. Of course, I now have no more money, but I have the most adorable little gadget that is smaller than my baby daughter's foot, and has color display and polyphonic ring tones and all sorts of yet-unexplored neatnesses. I just discovered that it has a loudspeaker function that will allow me to embarrass the hell out of all my friends when they think they're talking to me in private, while actually I'm broadcasting their voices to all and sundry.

Except they're probably all reading this entry, so I'll just have to catch them off-guard...

All I have to do now is get it hooked up for MMS and all that interconnectivity jazz, and I'm set. Well, aside from buying a new casing, because the phone's supposed to be red, yet appears disturbingly PINK in certain lights. Honestly, there's a limit to how cutesy I can stand to be...

Post-Partum Digression: part 10 of an 11-part essay

The Ninth Month

922 pages into Stephen King’s It later (I’d read it before, but was saving my new novel for the hospital stay), I was lying on my doctor’s examination table for my regular check-up. By this time, I’d become accustomed to having medical professionals peering at my privates, so I was chatting comfortably with the doc as she poked and prodded.

“Have you been having any contractions?” she wanted to know.

“Nope,” I said breezily. “Well, a couple, now and then, nothing regular enough to pay attention to. Maybe one every hour or so.”

“I don’t believe you,” the doc said sharply, “because you’re already four cm. dilated, don’t you realize that?”

Eep! I was almost halfway to childbirth, and I didn’t realize it! Only six centimeters more, and I’d be officially ready to spurt. So off I went to the labor room, where they hooked me up to some contraption that would time the frequency of my contractions.

As it turned out, I was contracting only every nine to eighteen minutes, when what we were looking for were regular contractions five minutes or less apart. Therefore they decided to let me go home after all, with the admonition that I should do some walking to help with the labor, which was expected to begin in earnest by the end of the week.

So walk Dean and I did, from Cardinal Santos to the corner of Ortigas and Wilson, where we stopped to buy flowers for my mother, who was arriving from New York that evening. Then we decided to stroll on over to Greenhills Shopping Center and have a pre-Valentine’s dinner at Gloria Maris. Then we figured we might as well walk the few blocks remaining to our apartment on Eisenhower Street.

We arrived home and kicked off our shoes. Dean sat down to do some work on the computer, and I went to use the bathroom, where I was somewhat surprised by how badly I’d apparently needed to go, because the liquid just kept flowing and flowing and flowing…

I finally realized what was going on, zipped up and went out to surprise my husband at the computer yet again. “I think we need to go back to the hospital,” I told him. “Either my water’s broken or I had way too much Hong Kong milk tea.”

Back in the labor room, I said hello to my new friends the interns, and suited up in one of those ridiculous hospital gowns that leave your butt hanging out in the wind. They hooked me back up to the machine and turned its screen toward me, which enabled me to watch as it monitored my contractions (every three to five minutes now), as well as my baby’s heartbeat.

Which got really, really boring after a couple of hours! To make matters worse, the labor room TV was turned to Game Ka Na Ba?, which was celebrating the birthday of possibly my most hated Filipino celebrity, Kris Aquino. It wasn’t too long before I was longing for the delivery to start, being less afraid of the pain of childbirth than the possibility of going Kris-krazy before the night was out.

But my cervix was not cooperating. Having expanded readily to an opening size of six cm., it flatly refused to dilate further, leaving me, my doctor, and several interns groping desperately for new topics of small talk, having already exhausted current movies and TV shows.

Finally, we decided I should have a Caesarian section, since the baby’s heartbeat had started fluctuating every time I had a contraction (not just because we ran out of topics). The doctor explained that her head (the baby’s, not the doctor’s) was being pressed against my cervix, but was still too big to get out. Dean and I did not want to have a Conehead child, so we gave the go-ahead, and I was wheeled into the delivery room.

They proceeded to strap me down in a horizontal Christ-on-the-cross position, which I thought was considerate—just in case things went wrong, I’d be in an appropriate position to meet my Maker. This was not a thought I shared with my husband, who was most emphatically looking at my face, and not at the actual site of the operation. I could tell he was more scared than I was, even though he appeared not to be, asking the friendly interns if he could please keep his scrubs as a souvenir afterwards. In fact, he was kidding around nervously the whole time! Fortunately, I had come to trust my gynecologist over the course of the last several months, so the idea that she was giggling while presumably handling my spleen didn’t worry me overmuch.

Just as Dean and the anesthesiologist finished exchanging business cards (I am not kidding!), there was this little mewing sound—and there she was! My little girl, looking… well, mostly red and kind of wrinkly. She appeared to have four limbs, one head and one torso, however, so that was okay. Once that was established, she was quickly whisked away for her first bath by the pediatrician, while my gyne proceeded to wash my internal organs (and, probably, unknot my intestines) before putting them all back in where they belonged.

Then I was wheeled away to the recovery room, where I was bored, bored, bored again! It was this darkened room where I was all alone, except for this nurse telling me that I needed to sleep, when what I really wanted to do was get up, look at my baby, and make chika with my friends and family, who I knew were waiting in my hospital room. (Dean had texted everyone in his phone directory, including, quite possibly, Avis Taxi and the good folks at Ayala Corporation.) My mother and my mother-in-law came in to ask how I was (all the while telling me not to talk) and make jokes (while telling me not to laugh, as this would give me painful gas). I sent them away, though later I was sorry I hadn’t asked them to bring me my damned book.
Nikki bit in at 10:33 PM :: ::
Friday, November 07, 2003

And now my comment script has disappeared...
First I couldn't put in a tagboard, now this. Clearly, technology hates me. As does my favorite copywriting client, who, for the third time this week, asked me to do rush ad copy in the space of a working day. When I could have been doing important things, like playing Temple of Elemental Evil, or giving myself a pedicure, or blogging.

Perhaps because I neglected it for so long, my blog is now taking revenge?

Post-Partum Digression: part 9 of an 11-part essay

The Eighth Month

One last ultrasound later, I was panicking, having abruptly come to the belated realization that this child had just one actual exit path from my body, and it was not a large one. I squinted over and over again at the ultrasound printout, trying in vain to understand the blatantly non-Euclidean geometry of it all: big, roundish uterus; long, narrow vaginal passage. No wonder I had failed Math 1 in college, because it sure looked impossible to me.

What’s more, I was worried because I had yet to enroll in Mommy School. This was where I figured all mothers had to study before giving birth, thus explaining the universality of Mommy Sayings. You know, those immortal yet not exactly logical gems all mothers seem to spout in common, such as: “Kung ahas lang ‘yan, kinagat ka na”, “If your friend told you to jump in a lake, would you do it?”, and my personal favorite, “Kung ang asong hindi umuuwi hinahanap, ikaw pa kaya!?” I worried that my lack of a proper education in such motherly wisdom would be bad for our daughter.

Oh, yes, the ultrasound showed that our child was going to be a girl. “This is your baby’s labia,” the technician told my husband.

Embarrassed to be discussing his daughter’s genitalia, Dean quickly muttered, “Yes, yes, thank you.”

Undeterred, the tech continued relentlessly, “The labia, sir, is the opening of—“

“Iknowwhatalabiais!” Dean yelped hurriedly. (Strictly speaking, of course, he should have said, “I know what labia are”, but my otherwise grammatical husband was stressed, so let’s cut him some slack.)

Anyway, what with all my concern about my baby’s future and my own bodily limitations, it was a comfort to at least be able to envision my little kiddo, adorably arrayed in pigtails and pastels—looking, in fact, very much like a wedding cake. Good thing she’d be too young to mind!

Of course, even amid my estrogen-fueled maternal imaginings, it did not escape my notice that, since the baby turned out not to be a boy, the implication of everyone’s earlier impolite comments was that I was now just plain pangit, with a swollen nose, bad skin, and not even a convenient excuse for it anymore. As if it wasn’t bad enough that my own labia would soon be stretched beyond belief, and would probably end up as weird and frilly-looking as those of some girls I’d seen in porn magazines!

Would finally getting to see my very own bundle of joy make up for having a nose like Karl Malden and genitalia like a Dendrobium orchid? I searched my limited fund of Mommy Sayings for enlightenment, but “Eat your food, there are children starving in China” hardly made for a satisfactory answer.
Nikki bit in at 5:27 PM :: ::
Thursday, November 06, 2003

back in the smut biz
My old PornMeister called me up out of the blue and asked if I wanted to start writing porn again. Since I will take nearly any writing gig for enough money (except what a friend of mine once did-- speechwriting for Erap. Now, THAT'S shameful!), I gleefully said yes.

This time it's prose. I used to do porn comics, which I suspect was easier because the pretty pictures enabled me to get away with just "ooh, ooh, aah, aah" dialogue most of the time, and concentrate on what, for want of a better word, we'll laughingly call the plot. Still, apparently people liked it; if you type my name on any search engine, mostly you'll find folks from all over searching for the creator of As Snow, As Blood (my first porn storyline, based very loosely on the Snow White folktale).

Anyhow, since I do have a kinda-sorta following, I figure I'll go with a similar theme and mess around this time with the story of the poor Goose Girl (who some of you may remember as that princess who went around talking to her decapitated horse, Falada). I'll probably start with the fateful scene where the princess and her treacherous maidservant stop mid-journey to get a drink of water at a nearby stream. (And you know that's not all that's going to happen, don't you?)

This will end up online somewhere, and I'll post the link here once it's up. But squeamish readers must never, ever click it! You've been warned!

little girl get well, step one!
My daughter Sage has recovered from her recent bout with fever (which kept her from trick-or-treating last week, poor thing!), and has begun ramping up her budding vocabulary with astonishing speed. Just this morning, she told me she was eating "betfust", wanted to "priss" the elevator buttons on our floor, and persistently attempted to monopolize all phone conversations ("Hllo! Hllo!"), regardless of who was calling for whom.

Let me tell you, it is a surreal experience discussing pornographic themes with your PornMeister while your not-quite-two-year-old is acrobatically trying her best to grab the phone.

Post-Partum Digression: part 8 of an 11-part essay

The Seventh Month

Several dozen Auntie Ann’s pretzels later (fortunately, all my cravings were commercially available), I was out in Malate, after having attended a friend’s wedding. Not for the first time, I tried to figure out exactly how one managed to have fun at such get-togethers without being able to drink or smoke or even eat sushi.

Unjustly, I was convinced that all the cool conversations were going on at the other end of the table, while I was forced to sit with the nonsmokers and teetotalers, who no doubt sensed my status as an unwilling stranger in their strange and healthy land. Nevertheless, they were kind enough to try and make small talk:

“So, how’s the baby?” they asked.

“Fine,” I replied.

“And how are you?” they inquired.

“Fine,” I answered.

“You’re just dying for a smoke, aren’t you?” Faintly accusing.

“YESSS!!” I exclaimed.

Okay, so maybe the non-scintillating conversation was mostly my fault. Then again, they were gobbling boquirones and guzzling Coca-Cola at the time, so I felt that a touch of hostility was not unwarranted. It was just so unfair that all the good things in life (including, in about a month or so more, sex!) were Bad for the Baby. I sipped morosely at my lemonade and fantasized about the champagne, sashimi, coffee, and Marlboros that I would consume (possibly simultaneously) on my hospital bed immediately after delivery.

Not that the state of pregnancy was completely without its perks, mind you, especially in the Philippines. Shoppers went out of their way in crowded malls not to bump or jostle me. Compassionate people would occasionally let me slip in ahead of them at the ATM line. Folks I knew (and even some I didn’t know!) went around offering me food, transportation, a place to sit, a helping hand to carry even the most inconsequential burdens. Total strangers would spot me from across the street and smile benevolently.

The downside was that all these kindly individuals seemed to feel justified in going around rubbing my by-then-tumescent tummy and making rude personal comments. These were along the lines of, “Your nose is swollen, it must be a boy,” “Ang pangit-pangit mo na, siguro lalaki ‘yan,” and “What the hell has happened to your skin?!” It was just lucky that my feet hurt too much from supporting my extra weight, thus preventing me from insulting them back and giving them a good, hard kick to get them out of my personal space.

Instead, I had a drink to cool off. But a girl can only take so much damned lemonade…
Nikki bit in at 3:48 PM :: ::
Wednesday, November 05, 2003

online at last, at last online
Finally, my darling husband has set me up with a connection that works, albeit slooowly. Previously, I would have complained, but having been incommunicado for over a month now, hey, any dream will do.

I'll be continuing my 11-part essay where I left off, but not, alas, my so-called novel, because the deadline I was chasing (to complete at least three chapters) has been and gone while I was offline. Yeah, I know I should have been working on the damn thing anyway, but what can I say? My self-discipline is weak when there's no money involved.

Thanks to alla youse who kept checking faithfully and living with disappointment... I promise to put up a tagboard once I've figured out how to do it without freezing the rest of the page.

hellish holidays
I'm trying to get my Christmas shopping done before the usual seasonal mall madness ensues, but am hampered by the fact that (a) most of my friends are men, and (b) men are bloody hard to shop for! They claim they have simple desires, but what that really means is that they just want things that can be plugged in, cost at least a four-figure sum, or can only be rented, not bought (i.e., chicks... or dicks!).

Then there's Dean, who, every year, claims that all he wants are socks and underwear. What kind of present is that, I ask you?! It's the kind of thing you get from your doddering old maiden aunt, and then you have to pretend you're all delighted, when really, you're inwardly rolling your eyes, not to mention embarrassed as hell. Hardly the kind of thing you should be receiving from your sexy-wexy wife. (Unless it's thong underwear, now there's a thought...)

Post-Partum Digression: part 7 of an 11-part essay

The Sixth Month

A couple of million internal kicks, punches, and what felt like either gymnastic moves or wrestling holds later, I was trying to recall just what I had been so damned delighted about. I was fairly certain that my insides had now been irreparably rearranged; probably my intestines resembled one of those friendship bands my girl friends and I had woven so obsessively in grade school.

To the contrary, though, “Everything is just fine,” the doctor told me, examining the results of my second (and thankfully abdominal) ultrasound. “Do you know,” she continued, “that your baby is now capable of urinating inside of you?”

As a matter of fact, I had not known. Was not entirely sure it was something I particularly wanted to know. But at least it kind of explained why I now seemed to be living half of my life inside the bathroom. I was not only eating for two, I was pissing for two as well.

By that time, though, I had pretty much accepted that my brain—which for the past twenty-eight years had been almost exclusively in charge of my existence—had unceremoniously been shoved out of the driver’s seat by my body, which, apparently, had secretly been in training for this all along. After all, not only had it (with the help of my husband) conceived a child, it was able to go ahead and make a placenta and everything with no input whatsoever from me. Presumably my body was the source of the Insidious Voice that had spoken to me earlier, but it had since remained silent. Perhaps it was too busy trying to get all those tiny fingers and toes right.

Or maybe it had simply sensed that I was finally, truly coming around. With all the activity going on inside my belly, I was realizing at last that what was inside me was not just an unexpected incentive to give up smoking; it was an actual, real, live person. I had gotten to see it this time on the ultrasound, and it had a head and arms and feet… and a kind of creepy-looking spine… But the point was that it was a living human being, created either by chance or by destiny during an extremely happy hour in Hong Kong. It was a part of me, and a part of my husband, and yet also a being completely its own, with its own body and (eventually) its own thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc.

Actually, it seemed to have opinions already, as demonstrated by its tendency to drum a tattoo on my liver whenever I attempted to sleep on my right side. Maybe I was leaning on his/her head in that position. Or maybe he/she was an ardent leftist. It felt kind of good to be bringing someone with such strongly-held convictions into the world.

Of course, intellectually I knew that all the action in my stomach was probably not the result of any kind of political standpoint or even physical complaint. Still, it served as an effective reminder that, once these last few months of pregnant purgatory were over, the eventual payoff was potentially phenomenal. Maybe I’d give birth to the next Nadia Comaneci. Even the next Stone Cold Steve Austin would be, if not exactly heavenly, kind of cool just the same.
Nikki bit in at 2:58 PM :: ::
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creative commons

Contrary to what the disclaimer says, you can ask me to design or revamp your blog, but there is a small associated fee.

This site is prettiest if you set your monitor resolution to 1024 by 768... but I won't hold it against you if you don't. Honest.


illustration by El

Nikki Alfar is really not as sexy as El's illustration would have you believe... but she doesn't mind if you think of her that way.
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Location: Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

class act/guttersnipe. tomboy/girly-girl. serious writer/comics hack. wife & mom/tart & tease. obssessive-compulsive/laid-back. sweetheart/bitch. all that.

shelf life

books, beauty, buzz

weather nixie


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