Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Search for Happiness

I was told that we search for our own happiness..

I have always known this. And I always thought I knew where my happiness lies. It had always been my family. No matter how tough life has gotten the last few years, as long as we're together, I was ok. But I guess that concept would need some revision now.

Why couldn't it have been this gradual thing --- this loss? Why do they have to go like packaged peas in a pod? One goes and the other follows... Would it have been such a difficult life if Mummy remained? Or why is it that since Mummy was the one who was prepared to leave, why didn't she go first? At least, there would be that consolation that she is peaceful in heaven. I know it's childish thinking, but would it have been too much to ask to still have at least one of them with us? Would it have altered the universe so much to still have one parent to love us?

A lot of things are telling me Daddy is still not in peace. His presence at home although diminished is still felt. I don't think I'm making this up because there's nothing in this world I want more than for his soul to be at rest. But I can sense he has a difficulty leaving us, I think he is aware of what happened. That the wife he left behind has gone ahead to heaven even before he did. But he's not leaving because Ella and I are still on the rocks.

It would've been less complicated if my moving on was just for the sake of helping those still living. But what if my inability to move on also complicates the soul of those who cannot let go? Hindi naman sobrang pressure yun diba?

I need to find happiness soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I miss you guys. Every night I dread going home because I am lonely inside that big house. Sure, the others are always with me... but you two aren't.

Sometimes, it also hurts to reread the stuff I've written on my blog. Because it reminds me of everything we had as a family and everything that is forever beyond my reach now. Like your arms. Like the warmth of your palms when you're smoothing my hair, trying to make all the aches and pains of the world disappear with your comforting.

Like the kisses you've always given like free tickets to hope.

I'll never have those back now. And I am miserable.

I try so hard to be happy, for the sake of moving on. But I find that the past keeps pulling at me. And me, I would rather be stuck, I suppose. Than face a world where I wouldn't have the two of you behind me.

I weep everyday and I hurt everyday and I am tired everyday. My instincts want me to tear out my heart so that it would be this separate thing from me. It seems inhumane to keep on living. I can't do this. I can't do this.

Help me, because I can't.


Reminiscing:
Senescence
Flicker as We Go

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Two Towers

Yes, inside my room stands two towers ...

Two montezuma-sized towers of new books which I have barely touched the last 2 months. It's no secret that when it comes to books, I'm an impulsive buyer. If a title I was looking for catches my eye, or I was grabbed by the blurb of another one, I rarely hesitate to procure it. And nowadayas, I am barely human to resist temptation. I think I'm trying to keep myself distracted with this little errands I keep making up so that I won't have to spend time at home. So I could forget.

I really think I am crippled in my thinking and feeling lately. I keep asking myself what it could probably be.

Kanina sa simbahan, I was crying talaga, and I felt the impulse to call Gilda or Raffi. I wanted to ask them who I should approach to talk about my increasing anxiety.

It has stopped feeling nice, this compulsive book-buying. Life has stopped feeling nice, this last few months, actually. So I suppose it just figures. :(

Anyway, my reading list for Holy Week includes:

1. Hogfather - Terry Pratchett
2. Th 13th Tale - Diane Setterfield
3. Jigs and Reels by Joanne Harris
4. The Faery Reel - compilation of fantasy short stories (Datlow / Windling)
5. Emma - Jane Austen
6. Myth Busters - Christopher Golden
7. Serenity Falls - James Moore
8. Gormenghast - Mervyn Peake
9. Titus Alone - Mervyn Peake
10. Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Fforde
11. Well of Lost Plots - Jasper Fforde
12. Something Rotten - Jasper Fforde
13. Down the Rabbit Hole - Peter Abrahams
14. Smaller and Smaller Circles - FH Batacan
15. The Body Artist - Don Delilio
16. Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay- Michael Chabon
17. Art of Fiction
18. Handbook on Short Story Writing - Writers Digest
19. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
20. The Decameron - Giovanni Bocaccio
21. Waters Luminous and Deep - Meredith Ann Pierce

Amazed, yet? And I'm still targetting to buy Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things and Banana Yoshimoto's Hard-boiled and Hard luck...

Someone's really trying to keep herself occupied this Holy Week. Perhaps to avoid introspection? To avoid listening to herself? Avoid hating herself for still being sad?

Don't look at me that way. What do I know about it?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

off sick

Book in Hand: still Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
Song in Mind: Somewhere Only We Know by Keane


Not feeling well today so I stayed at home.

Is the world really expecting I'm all okay now? That after a month of the latest death, I can get back on the rocketship and zoom off to heights above and away?

I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin. Again.


Burglar, Burglar

Our backyard was burglarized the other day. They took away a rake, the grill, and a CD player. Why do we have a CD player in the garden, you ask? Well, because Daddy put it there. He wanted the house surrounded by music. It's not unusual in our house to have a radio in every room. Really. Minsan, even the bathroom.

So after the break in, I went out and bought security floodlights, sensors and alarms. This Thursday, I'll even have the barbed wire super electrified. Anybody else who tries to climb in at night would have to die. And I'm not calling the paramedics. Sorry.


Sympathy, where have you gone

It was easy to move on the first few weeks because people were ever so concerned and keeps calling. The thing is, now that a month has passed, their belief that we're okay now is not aligned with the way we feel. Ella and I feels, more than ever, the need to talk about our parents. We need to tell them stories which we want to hold on to, things we cannot let go of. But a lot of people fidget now, and/or cannot grasp why we're still talking about it. So we're left to just whispering to each other at night before we go to sleep. Our parents, present now, only in the darkest of the night.

"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December..." - Sir John Barrie


I Need Someone to Rely On

If there's such a thing as girl on the rebound, then I am it.

Sure, I didn't break up with anyone, since I'm a certified N.B.S.B. (no boyfriend since birth), but I guess I feel like I've lost so much more. And I just keep seeing the way my parents seemed to have weathered all storms because they were together. I keep thinking I need that too to weather this storm. I keep thinking I need a staff to lean on, a shoulder to cradle my head when I cry. I can't over-rely on my sister, because I know her emotions are fragile and explosive even before my parents' death. Having friends around is also different from that quality of intimacy and equal capacity I am looking for.

Luckily, I'm not the kind of girl who attract guys at all, or I would be stuck in a dead-end relationship for all the wrong reasons right now. Unluckily, that depresses me even more, that I do not even have the chance to choose how to ruin my life... Handicapped thinking, I tell you.

I refuse to be weak about this. I will try to think clearly the next few weeks. Infatuations would hav to be handled, segmented and clarified. I'm aware of the weakness now. At least, I can be careful.

Monday, March 19, 2007

montage

life in mini-pics

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five months ago, when I was still in the luzon operations unit


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five months ago, when she was still strong


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five months ago, when he was in the hospital and Ella can't get enough of the flimsy camphone


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this is where Mummy and Daddy are resting now


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Gabe makes me smile


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now you know why... :)


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a new addition to my fave kids collection, CJ -- my nephew from Kuya Chito

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Gabe and CJ making life bearable (taken during the aglipay reunion)


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japanese doll in Mr. JanB Banson's office


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la mesa eco park, pang-mtv!

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boating area in la mesa, can't believe this is still fairview...


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ella during the int'l social science honor society induction ceremony


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tertz and me during the dlsu workshop in estancia resort, tagaytay


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when friends from work and i went to tagaytay, I made it a point to visit the franciscan missionaries church which we often visited as a family


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dito ako ikakasal, if ever... Caleruega


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also visited Pink Sisters of the Divine Mercy


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road trip, passenger seat navigator


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ian: designated driver and photographer

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damae and me / the elephant hugs the tarsier... :)

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ian and me / the elephant stands behind the tree... :D


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ella's first bday without parents -- i tried my best...


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just the two of us now

Losing to Heaven

I have called the angels from the sky
And waited long for the saints’ replies
Held on tight to a shaky faith
Placed every thing I have and know at stake

Did everything I can to make you stay
No matter how much my soul has strayed
But you were ready to leave
Nothing I can do can help relieve your pain

Chorus:
So my prayers have come to this
A single tear and a broken wish
A dream that must come to an end
For my strength just can’t contend
With the will that controls all our Fate
I asked for too much far too late
Knew it was coming, just didn’t know when
I’d be losing you to heaven.

All stories and songs must someday fade
And the memories the world has made
But I’ll take my chance to write you this
To let you know you’re truly missed

And we will move on as we should live
The love you’ve given and love received
Will keep you in our hearts far longer than
This earth granted time in each others arms…

(Chorus)

I’ve lost you to heaven
But I will see you again
I’ve lost you to heaven
And it’s a much better place…

(Chorus to fade...)

I used to write songs when I was younger. Back when I can write poems five-a-minute. Nowadays, poems (and words in general) eke out slower out of me. This song is for my mother.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

regression or progression?


#1 : At the risk of sounding like a twelve-year-old I announce to the world that --- I CLEANED MY ROOM! :)

Regular readers of this blog will get what this signifies. After months of not being able to enter my room without frowning or hurting myself, I blaggered (an invented word, sorry) it all up and now it's spic and span! Sure, I did not make it through without the dramatic moments. At one point I was hitting the window screen with a broom in the pretense of dusting it off. But I guess my screaming "Ang daya daya daya niyo!!! Bakit kayo nang-iwan!##%!!" gave my real feelings away. I came across my parents' photos and memorabilias I didn't want to see and true enough, it hurt, but --- I have filed, separated, segmented, categorized everything there. Now, I believe I can say that I've cleaned up my act and I'm ready to move on.

#2 : At the risk of sounding like a fourteen-year-old, I also announce that ---- I DID MY LAUNDRY!!!

I love doing the laundry anyhow. It's that proximity to water which makes it enjoyable for me. I don't care if I get soaked, because at least, the water's cool. The nice thing about doing laundry today is that, I washed my new clothes and I'm excited about wearing them. I read somewhere that a good start to moving on is to make yourself feel happy. And if you feel pretty, you feel happy. (Well, we can be temporary narcissists during the coping period, right?) I might have taken that advice to heart a bit too well. I'm grieving, but I don't need to dress up in ashes, right? Mummy and Daddy would have wanted us to show our strong face to the world. And yes, our pretty faces as well. How will people remember them happily through us, if they can hardly bear to look at us without feeling a pang of remorse and pity? I'm even enrolling in a gym class so I can finally achieve their dream of seeing me slimmer. Para naman may mapagyabang sila sa langit, diba?

#3: And finally, at the risk of sounding like a sixteen-year-old, I declare, although hesitantly, that maybe I CAN STILL FALL IN LOVE.

Yes, I have been a world-class fool before, and I still redden with humiliation every time I remember my antics before, but what if we give ourselves some time, give ourselves some space, give ourselves a chance to change our minds? But, I suppose, the best thing about it is that I am finding the courage to ask again: What if?

Friday, March 16, 2007

smiley people

taken in batangas during the artificial reef deployment. can't say I never smile anymore....

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Jack's Lane

She sat there, wringing her hands.

I sat in front of her and was transfixed by her hair. It was white blond, almost platinum. Her face was painfully young, even at sixteen. I cannot believe her to be a day over twelve. She had a pinched look about her, an elfin prettiness that was emphasized by her unusual hair. I found myself checking her ears and I was almost disappointed they weren't pointed.

"Is today a good day for you, Tania?" I asked her. She looked at me straightforwardly and shrugged. The movement caused the neck of her hospital gown to slide down her left shoulder, revealing scratch marks. She pulled it up again, and the pink tag on her wrist briefly flashed then was gone again.

"I see you have been taking your medicines." I wanted her to talk. She's been unwilling to tell me what happened. It's been fifteen days. "Every day, religiously?" A smile fluttered on my lips. I saw her study my face and then she nodded.

"'Cept the night cocktails." her voice was a croak. Unused for so long.

I tried to hide my surprise. She's talking today then. "You never really told me why."

She sighed, a hint of exasperation apparent. "You won't believe me if I tell." She suddenly made an angry face and then sobbed. Her eyes looked up at me, and I saw a brief spark of hope in there but it soon vanished into a green steeliness. Five seconds later, she was composed again and sat still as a statue. "You and your clipboard. You and your coifed hair. You and your impractical shoes."

She made a litany of all the things that I am. Me and my diploma on the wall. Me and my lounge chair. Me and my black glasses. Me and my very sanitary self.

"You and your theories. you and all the other shrinks who just never had a clue." It was disconcerting how flat her voice sounded, how completely devoid of emotion her recitation was. And yet she was mocking me, hating me for not being able to help her.

"Yes, I'm all that. And I am all I have. And right now, I am all you've got." I answered, unable to keep the steel from my voice. I leaned forward and caught her eye. "Will you talk to me, Tania? Will you tell me how to help you?"

She started sobbing again. "I am not safe here." She started shaking her head wildly. "They can get to me, even inside the padded cells. Look!" With a violent movement, she tore her gown down her shoulders showing me the marks I saw there earlier. "They hurt me like this here. And Jack -- Oh, he's there."

"Jack, your brother?" I said, not meaning it to come out as a question. Of course, Jack. I knew him. That's why I took on Tania's case in the first place. "Nobody can find Jack, Tania. Do you know where he is?"

"Yes and no." Tania started to weep.

I could not get another word out of her. Ten minutes later, I had to call in the nurse to lead her back to her room. She did not resist being removed from the office, but before she stepped out into the hallway, she whipped her head back to look at me. Her pale hair flashed in the slanting afternoon light.

"Another night it is." she said and then the door closed.

*** ***** **** ******

The next day, the burly male nurse acknowledged my presence as I stood outside Tania's room.

"Another try, Doctor?" he asked.

"Yes, another try until we get there." I did not mean to sound so tired, but it was how I felt.

I did not go immediately into her room. I stood there for half a minute gathering my wits and, my courage too, I suppose. Outside, the sun was hidden by the clouds and I saw it was nice and cool outside. Inspiration hit me.

"Travis,"I said to the nurse. "I will meet with Tania outside."

"Beg your pardon?"

"Bring her to that elm tree over there, I will be waiting. " I said. I turned my back so as not to be questioned again.

"If she resists?" he asked.

I did not stop walking. I shook my head and forced out a laugh. "She will not."


To be continued...


God, I started writing this February last year... Now I can't remember what I wanted to write. I need to find this story thread...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

how to make a life

I had been running around like a chicken without a head trying to find a good digicam. That’s the problem with grieving --- you can make anything sound logical inside your head. But the truth is, we’ve survived fairly well without a digicam and if we need one, we can always borrow our uncle’s camera. We have a small budget for the digicam and it won’t buy us quality. So if push comes to shove, I can buy a decent film cam and use the savings for our planned trips instead.

I do have quite an itinerary for the rest of the year. I congratulate myself for mustering up the guts to rock our world this way. Ella and I, we need a bit of shaking up. If we wallow, we’ll go sallow.

So we are pushing through with that Sagada trip we’ve been telling Mummy and Daddy when they were still around. We burned their ears back then telling them how much it would expand our world. We’ll go through with it as a tribute to them. We will move on and we would be the strong adults they’ve dreamt of us becoming.

ELLA’S GRADUATING

My sister is graduating this April. She’s going to graduate with honors as we’ve always expected. But instead of being celebratory, she’s finding it a bit harsh. I think she’s seeing it as a little pointless without our parents to take pride in her achievements. I keep telling her that Mummy and Daddy just changed their address, but the souls that would have been proud of her had they been here is still the same souls which would be proud of her in heaven.

But I guess those are just words, easily said. I feel for her pain, but again, as I am slowly realizing, I cannot help her except to stand by her.


A PROMISE KEPT

When Mummy was still confined in the hospital, I motivated her to get well by promising we’ll go to Tagaytay. And since Daddy was already gone, I enlisted the help of my good friends from work to accompany us instead: Gilda, to keep Mummy amused with her incessant chatter, and Ian, to drive us and tour us there. She always smiled when I said that. She nodded her head and smiled. Once, she even wrote: “Gilda’s a good friend” and “ I like Ian.”

When Mummy died, it felt like a million plans had been derailed, to say the least. But Gilda and Ian offered to keep the promise. Last Saturday, with Tertz in tow, we went up to Tagaytay with nothing practical in our itinerary save for fulfilling a vow.

Was it important where we went? We visited the Franciscan Missionaries, Caleruega, Pink Sisters and a dozen restaurants. Ian also brought us to a private road near his friend’s house which was completely isolated and would have been the perfect place to scream aloud. But --- I didn’t feel like screaming then because I was with good people and it’s hard to feel miserable around them.

At the end of the day, I knew we didn’t accomplish anything tangible, but my heart sure felt lighter. The memory of the trip can keep me going for the next few weeks. And hopefully, Mummy was also with us, feeding the cool wind that was touching us, arranging things so it’ll go smoothly.
I miss Mummy so badly. But my friends are making the process a little easier, a little less heavier than it should be. I’m a lucky, lucky girl. :>

Monday, March 12, 2007

What if, there are people who are meant to fall in love but never be loved back? I’m beginning to prepare myself for the worst… that I will remain unloved for the rest of my life. Of course, agape and common friendships do not count.

What if, I was born without the other half? That would technically mean I was born whole, and I’m probably all I’m ever going to need. It sounds so girl-power-ish. But it also sounds so lonely.

It can’t be so bad to be held by somebody right? Nowadays, I’ve been needing hugs so badly. What is left of my family turn to me for strength, but aside from God, I do not feel I can turn to flesh-and-bone people anymore. There are friends who comfort me, but to somebody who has shared their heart and soul with their loved one, they would know it’s such a far cry. I need to connect with somebody else so deeply --- someone who can breathe with me, share the burden of being alive, fan the dying embers of the "fight" within me.

Where will I find a man strong enough?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

R U N N I N G 2 N O W H E R E


Book: Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
Song: I Get Around by the Beach Boys


I held the plane ticket like it was an alien thing. It's the first time I impulsively bought a plane ticket to anywhere. First time to go to a booking office, first time to wait in the devilish line. I spent four hours agonizing on whether I should still pursue the whole thing. In the end, my desire to run away won over and I waited until the blasted tickets were at hand.

Paying for the tickets made me doubt if I was still the same Olivia a few months ago. Am I going insane like Britney Spears? Breaking out of the mold the moment my parents up and died? Or is this, as I think it is, a reaction to the realization that life conjures unexpected tricks and I must as well live it to the hilt?

I'm accumulating travel plans the way I used to accumulate stones. A Tagaytay trip this weekend, a spritual retreat during the Holy Week, Sagada after Ella's graduation, now Palawan in June.

It's as if I want to be in constant motion, get lost in places unfamiliar, because it will keep me away from the house where it even hurts to breathe. I'm starting to feel guilty about spending money we got from the funeral. We're lucky to have a little extra because of the shower of sympathy from different people. Yes, we are orphans after all. And someday, money will be hard up. I know this, I know it full well. The grown up decision should be to conserve, nitpick, scroogify.

But tell that to my heart that is just looking for a place to scream. I want to be nobody. I want to be lost. Maybe then I'll find my steps back into being found.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

odd factor

Odd and disturbing:

I keep dreaming of the old house we lived in, but instead of an apartment, I now dream it is an unfinished four-storey house standing by the sea.. and... it's got a department store inside. I also keep dreaming of a mall that is familiar and yet I know did not exist. It may be the same structure.

Odd and frustrating:

I can't find my flow at work. Work keeps piling up and I am such a genius in ignoring it. I can't concentrate and I find myself trying to think of other things to occupy my mind with. Grieving's fine, but spacing out is potentially dangerous to my career.

Odd and irritating:

Ella acting prissy all the time now. I know she's dealing with the same things I am. I'm giving her allowances for her attitude because she's younger. But --- as a sister who loves her --- I still can say she can be a real b**ch sometimes. I'm running out of patience, treading on unruly waters, and really, really near insane. Thing is, I'm not Mummy and Daddy -- and there were two of them to handle her, for crying out loud.

Odd and amusing and useful:

Norman giving me advice on how to flirt with guys... no kidding. I did solicit it, for that matter. BUT --- his replies were far out funny and, get this, actually makes sense (well, that's Norman right?). He sounded like a writer for Cosmo. (Peace, Chi!) I quote:

"Maybe the direct approach isn't best. Smile warmly and look into his eyes when he holds your hand, let your touches linger, etc... don't blush or giggle! I recommend flattery. Tell him he's cute."

I was torn between rolling on the floor laughing or thinking in amazement : Since when did he become the love guru?

Seriously though, he makes sh*tload of sense. When I called myself baduy, he replied:

"It's not baduy. We all want someone to love us. If we're afraid to make it happen, it's not going to. Granted, it's a risk, but if you do it right, the worst that could happen is he'll pretend to be obtuse. Don't make it easy for him! The absolutely crucial thing is to appear, and be, confident."

And since he is aware of my hopelessly defective gaydar, complete in the knowledge that I fell for him before he came out as well, he even checked: "He doesn't have player tendencies does he? It's surprising how many guys are heartbreakers when given the chance. More importantly, he's straight, right???"

Don't tell me, I know I'm hopeless. When my gay best friend needs to tell me how to snag guys, I better reconsider entering the convent na lang. Thanks anyway, Chi. I know you're trying your best to be supportive. I promise I'll be there on your wedding day. Most probably, still single.


Odd and weird:

Why are you being nice to me? Be careful. Or better yet, I better be careful.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

if i fall

if i fall
i'd rather

f
a
l
l



from a great height
rather than a safe distance
where i won't break my bones
but neither will i feel

the passion in it

i have been so wrong before.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


i need this right now:

your hand to hold
your wit to amuse
your calming stability
your stubborness to irritate me
make me angry
make me feel alive.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Hmmm...

This is a story I'd like to read. What the f*** could it be about?
Found it while surfing the net...


trip to central market

I took a half-day off today. I went to Central Market with Ella so that we could buy her a Filipiniana get-up for her induction to the Int'l Soc Sci Honor Society and her graduation. I guess that's a parently duty done and over with.

Really hard to be playing both mother and father to her now. I never noticed before how sensitive parents should be of their children. It's not just about giving them what they want, but also what would be best for them. I realize now how boxed up I was in my own little world, I never noticed the struggle my parens deal with everyday.

Anyway, back to the commentary. Central Market is under renovation and it looked a lot f****d-up right now. There aren't as many shops as before, but there was a goodly number of stalls to make a good choice. We ended up buying her a blouse and skirt ensemble with matching "alampay." The whole package cost Php 1,800 --- that's a deal!! In SM City, we searched and searched and couldn't find anything halfway decent below Php 3,000.


Remember, peeps, if you need Filipiniana attire and aren't picky if it's pinya organza and not real jusi, go to Central Market! That's where you'll get the look of Imelda Marcos for far less money.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Music and Lyrics

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I really am an escapist, you know. I think I should about swallow that kernel of truth by now. When extremely stressed or anxious, I need to change my surroundings. I need to escape if only by watching a movie.

I watched Music and Lyrics with my sister and cousin the other night. It was exactly what the doctor prescribed for my affliction -- a dose of laughter and no-brainer plots. It felt good to have another belly laugh after what felt like ages. It makes me feel a little guilty for forgetting even for a second that I have lost the two most important people in my life, but... and this is a big BUT... it also reminded me that love as harmonious as music and lyrics put together can actually exist.

Oh, Hugh Grant is such a dream muffin! And oh, I can't believe I'm actually using that word!!He's not actually handsome -- he's slightly nincompoopish, dandified and floppish. But he's adorable. He made me believe that he had been an 80's pop music has-been, and I was actually surprised he can actually sing.

Drew Barrymore, on the other hand, had always been one of my favorite actresses, because she often stars in the kind of movies I like watching. She's just sweet. Like her to bits.

The plot does leave somthing to be desired, although you really can't expect cerebral substance in a romantic comedy film. All it needed to be was to be believable, and personally, I bought the whole has-been singer and a writer with undiscovered talent for lyrics falling for each other over the course of writing one song.

It also inspired me to go back to my old poems notebook and dig up the songs I wrote before. If Music and Lyrics is any indicator, cheesy and mushy can still make a comeback and my lyrics can actually be in vogue soon. :p Teehee... let's just wait and see.