Gifts of the Season (2009 Edition)

A few days ago, self received in the mail a package from Stella Kalaw: As a Christmas present, Stella had sent self a set of postcards made up of the photographs Stella had taken of self’s humble abode, a few years ago. As self perused the photographs, she saw again: the orange tree, the one that died this year. And there, in a photograph of the backyard deck, were even a few fallen oranges. There were also pictures of her beagles, and self was so grateful, remembering that she nearly lost one of them this year.

That was the greatest Christmas present. Thank you, Stella!

Then, yesterday, the mailman delivered a box from Dear Cuz in Virginia. Now, what could that be? Self calls Dear Cuz every week without fail, and during one of her last calls, Dear Cuz had mentioned that she was preparing a batch of Food for the Gods. Now, this is a crazy-delicious Filipino version of fruitcake. Last year, self got Dear Cuz to mail over a batch. This time, self kept silent, too embarrassed to beg. But when she saw that box, and saw who it was from: OMG! Self practically tore off the brown paper wrapping. The box was filled to the brim with small individually wrapped squares of Food for the Gods, about two dozen pieces. Thank you, oh Dearest Cuz, thank you! Self had to exercise supreme self-control to put off actually eating one until just a few minutes ago. And, OMG! You would have to taste one of Dear Cuz’s Food for the Gods to know why the mere thought makes self drool!

Then, today, self went to visit a friend of Dearest Mum’s who was laid up in Sequoia Hospital. She brought with her a present for the friend to bring back to Dearest Mum: an Estee Lauder battery-powered vibrating mascara wand. Also, a copy of “The Secret” for Dearest Mum’s friend. When she got to the hospital (it took her sooo long to find a parking space! But self was determined to take her time, as that’s all she needs right now: a parking ticket!), Dearest Mum’s friend had fallen asleep. Her dear grand-daughter was standing watch, so self handed her the mascara and the book, and the grand-daughter handed self four copies of The Lost Language (precious, precious copies!) and OMG — a box of pastillas de leche.

As soon as self got home, she opened the box. Oh, what’s this? The pastillas were wrapped in different colors of shiny paper! Some were orange, some were gold, some were a deep violet. Self picked an orange one and tasted — OMG! A langka-flavored pastillas de leche! Next, self tried one of the purple ones. OMG! An ube-flavored pastillas de leche!

And, at this point, self knew that she was in Heaven.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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