Best of 2008: It’s Time

The worst thing that happened in 2008, self can’t even talk about it, regular readers of this blog know what that was . . .

For now, self’s trying to keep upbeat, to focus on the positive.

Best thing(s) that happened to self in 2008:

  • Visiting Tel Aviv for the first time, seeing her
  • Penny’s visit (and eating cebiche together at La Mer)
  • Brother-in-law’s visit
  • Hearing Zack read at Stanford (and dinner afterward at Shiok)
  • Teaching freshmen (ID1A, NDNU)
  • Attending the reading of Edward P. Jones at Stanford (and getting to tell him — in person — of self’s undying admiration)
  • Teaching Jones’ The Known World (twice)
  • Getting to know The Kite Runner
  • Watching Ed Norton in “Pride and Glory”
  • Watching “W”
  • Watching “Elegy”
  • Watching James Franco and Seth Rogen in “The Pineapple Express”
  • Reading A Mighty Heart
  • Reading 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive In the Twin Towers
  • Reading Jonathan Ames’ Wake Up, Sir!
  • Reading The Coming of the Third Reich
  • Reading Eichmann in Jerusalem
  • Adding 13 pages of writing to self-doesn’t-know-yet-what
  • Buying a Food Saver vacuum sealer (yet to arrive)
  • Getting to follow in son’s footsteps as he traipsed through Spain, France, and Italy this summer
  • Ordering Wave Daffodils and Galactic Star Daffodils from Dutch Gardens
  • Eating with Dearest Mum in Rumi in San Carlos
  • Eating with brother-in-law in Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay
  • Having “Menchit” staged, and meeting the Almario women. Also: Tatiana, Greg, Al, Allan, Josef, Benjie
  • Watching Gayle Romasanta’s fab musical, “Love in the Time of Breast Cancer”
  • Watching Daniel Craig in previews for the new James Bond movie, “Quantum of Solace” (Be still, self’s beating heart!)
  • Writing a review (of three great short story collections) for the Women’s Review of Books — Watch for it in the Jan/Feb issue, dear blog readers.
  • Helping Gillian get an internship at Calyx
  • Seeing Obama win

2nd Call to Dearest Mum, and a Planned Trip to San Luis Obispo

Dearest Mum has been extremely desirous to see son.

She never showed any interest when he was in grade school or high school. Wherefore this sudden interest?

Anyhoo, she’s been asking self to arrange a trip to San Luis Obispo. Self’s mentioned it to son a few times, but each time she can sense his reluctance to see his grandmother. They were never close. Self understands. After all, it must have been pretty hard for son, during his visits home to Manila, to have to watch his grandmother lavish all her care and attention on the three cousins from New York, while he got the leftovers or whatever. They got to sleep in her room, son had to sleep downstairs in the bedroom next to the front door. They got first pick of all the toys, son would get a toy that none of the other three wanted. And so forth and so on.

Self has tried asking son if he can’t be even just a little more patient with his grandmother, but he shakes his head and says, calmly, “She made her decision a long time ago, Mom.”

Self, obtuse as ever, has to ask, “What decision is that?”

“The decision about which grandchildren are her favorites, obviously,” son replies.

But, this time, such is Dearest Mum’s persistence that self is beginning to break down. After all, she herself wants to see son, and if she drives Dearest Mum, perhaps Dearest Mum can pay for the hotel room! Even the Best Westerns in San Luis Obispo are not cheap: the better ones start at $130.

Today, self had some time on her hands, so she looked up hotel rates for Friday, a week from today, and actually made a reservation. Then she called son and asked him if he were free Thursday night of the 13th. No, he said. He had a take-home test due Friday morning. Self said she understood; she’d try to distract Dearest Mum with another destination, perhaps Napa.

But, after a few hours, self found herself again trying son. He picked up again, which was something of a surprise. This time, self asked about Friday night. Was he free then? And son very reluctantly said yes. So, self went into her whole spiel: about how she’d never seen Dearest Mum so determined to see him, never in her whole life. And Dearest Mum is getting old (Aaach, sorry Dearest Mum! Sorry to have to bring up your age!), perhaps son can spare just one night to have dinner with us?

And — eureka!! The boy said YES!!

Self immediately dialed Dearest Mum in Las Vegas. Then, for the second night in a row, she had to wait while Tito went to call her, and in the background self could hear some very furious piano playing. Perhaps Rachmaninoff.

Self had to wait five minutes. Finally, the piano stopped. And, lo and behold, here is Dearest Mum, panting a little from the strength of her exertions on the keyboard.

Self delivers the good news that we are now going to be able to see son, Friday night the 14th. Sorry, all she could manage was a Best Western, but it was the cheapest place she could find. Even then the rate is $150/ night, but self didn’t think Dearest Mum would want the $99 dollar rooms . . .

“That’s OK, we can stay in Tita I’s time share,” Dearest Mum pipes up.

“Tita I has a time-share?” self responds. This is absolutely astonishing, dear blog readers. Tita I, who lives barely five miles away from self, knows that self’s son is in Cal Poly/ San Luis Obispo. And she has never, ever offered up the information that she has a time-share there. But now, now she has been induced to cough up the information — such is the power of Dearest Mum!

And suddenly self has the most awful premonition, that if Dearest Mum goes to San Luis Obispo, it will not just be her and self. Oh, no. There must be at least a whole train of Titas. And their husbands. And possibly their friends. And Dearest Mum’s other friends. And the relatives who live in LA. How about the relatives who live in San Diego? Everyone will need to pile into the time-share. This is such a disturbing premonition that self has half a mind to call Dear Son back, right now, to inform him to be ready in case Dearest Mum shows up — without self.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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