A Retelling of Life

Archive for June, 2012

The Mozart Effect

A week ago, a colleague of mine remarked: “Val, you should start listening to classical music now.”  I’ve always been fond of classical music, a fondness developed because of years of piano lessons.

My dad dreamt of his little girls (my other sister and brother weren’t born yet) becoming pianists, so, while other kids danced ballet and had art lessons, we walked  to the SOJ Music Studio every Saturday afternoon.  It was a scenic 5 min walk away from our house where we would skip with glee seeing horses grazing on the empty lots in our subdivision. My younger sister and I walked on unaccompanied and unhurried by the concerns and fears of adults.   (On a sidenote, I don’t think our kids will enjoy the freedoms we had as children.  That walk from our house to the piano studio of Mrs. Javellana in the  neighboring subdivision wouldn’t be considered safe, these days.)

I started at age 6 and quit at age 13.  I say quit because if it were up to my dad, I’d have continued on til just before college.  I wasn’t in love with playing the piano.  While my sister had a passion for it, I just played because I had to.

We were blessed with a wonderful teacher in Mrs. Javellana.  Her love for the art transcended her teaching and through her I learned to read musical notes.  She even gave us random quizzes to test our learning.

I wasn’t a very dutiful student though.  I memorized pieces so that I wouldn’t need to read the notes every time.  I didn’t do much practicing at home and played the piano only when Daddy requested us to.  I’m sure there were a lot of times she got frustrated with me but she remained gentle and patient with me.  She employed old school methods to improve my playing style.  For example, she used to hold a sharpened pencil under my wrists while I played to remind me to keep it up.  (I had another piano teacher before her and had developed a bad habit of keeping my wrists down while playing).

My piano playing life lasted until I was in second year high school.  One day, Mrs. J, getting a little exasperated at her student who after years of lessons didn’t seem to improve much, said: “Do you think your parents just pick up the money for your piano lessons on the street?.  That marked my last day as a piano student.

While there are days when I wish I had taken my piano lessons seriously, I feel that they were meant to teach me a lesson life.   Those early piano lessons taught me that practice makes perfect, that nothing in life worth anything come easy as success requires hard work.  Mrs. J’s love for her craft showed me the importance of finding one’s passion, the joy of doing what you love every day of your life.

My dad tried to get to go back for organ lessons but I lasted only a mere month.  I had yet to find my passion.  I was a lost soul and would be for a number more years.  It wasn’t until law school that I found myself.  High school was a period of learning.  College was all about belonging.  I had a magical time with Kausap (my school org) finding out the person I was meant to be.  It was a time where I tested my boundaries, found out what worked and what didn’t.  I realized in college that I wouldn’t be content until I was able to live a life with purpose, to make some  difference in someone’s life.  And law school, and lawyering, well, it has allowed me to do just that.  I  guess my passion is that–to live life to the fullest, to have a life that matters.  I am blessed to finally be in a position to make a difference.  There’s so much more I need to learn and I am taking it one day at a time.

I listen to a stream of Mozart’s concertos hoping that my baby will grow up with an appreciation of the beauty of life. Once again, I say a quick prayer to our Lord to keep him or her safe and normal. A happy Saturday morning to us all.


Adventures of a Non Cook

A week ago, I made Dad a pineapple ice box cake for Father’s Day.  =) I aced it.  Who wouldn’t? After all, it was a no bake, no cook recipe. Four hours after chilling, my family was already feasting on it.

This week, I’m working on making different kinds of spread.  It seems I haven’t been gaining weight and I am also anemic, a combination that won’t bode well for the baby in the long run.  So, necessity being the mother of invention, I am forced to become more creative.  Since I seem to have developed a kid’s appetite these days (the kind of “pida” kid I was, I was a picky eater.), I have to dupe myself into eating more.  I search for “food for picky eaters” and decide that sandwiches will do the trick.

I loved to eat cheese pimiento sandwiches.  All through out the day, I would visit the ref in between games, take out the jar where mom stored our homemade cheese pimiento spread and make myself sandwiches.  It’s funny how having a baby has brought back my old eating habits.  I am only able to eat half of every serving.  I’m even tempted to just swallow everything with a gulp of water as I used to do.

Side story: To get me and my sister to eat, mom and dad and our yaya made a contest of eating.  The first to finish her food would be the winner.  I knew I could never win against my sister, the voracious eater, so I had to adapt my own tactics.  Day after day, I won by downing all the food with water.  Eventually, I had to give up my position as top eater when I had to be rushed to the hospital for extreme indigestion.  Suffice it to say, that I will never try that strategy again. =)

I am left with having to plan my meals.  This is even more stressful than planning for hearings. Haha. =) Someday, I will learn to cook to my heart’s desires..someday..

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

On this cold Saturday evening, I am on a date with myself.  The renovation of mom’s ancestral home is done and the rents are off to Bais for the blessing of the house.  I volunteered to accompany them but apparently the road trip to Bais won’t be good for me in my current condition.  Meanwhile, hubby has ER duty so he’s mandated that I stay home for the weekend.  Which reminds me, I’ll be needing a medical certificate to get on the fast craft next time.  Airlines and shipping companies are oh so careful these days.

I like the stillness of these moments.  I welcome the introspection that accompanies the silence, it’s like I’m a bystander in my own life, seeing it through the eyes of a stranger.  In my rush to meet deadlines, I  haven’t had much time to feel thankful..to be thankful.  I thank you Lord for helping me get through everyday.  I get a little exasperated at the clients at  times.  There are times when I don’t want to care, so I don’t have to try harder.  But I want to do good by them Lord and I thank you for giving me the strength to carry on.  I don’t know how I’m able to manage it all when all I seem to want to do at 6pm is sleep, when I’m always so exhausted..but somehow things are working out.  I know I owe it to You Lord.  Thank you for being there for me all day, all the time.

There’s so much I still have to do Lord, so much to learn.  “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” (Prayer of Jabez)  Thank you for a beautiful life Lord. Amen.