Sunday, November 30, 2008

Art and Inspiration

When we speak of art, often what comes to mind are the standard forms: paintings, sculptures and the like.

Furniture as art rarely comes into mind.

That's usually the case with me. Until I went to Benjie Reyes' house, saw his furniture and got to speak with him at length over the span of a day.

Benjie is my mother-in-law's cousin. Mom and Dad (John's folks) have been to his house in Antipolo quite a few times, but John and I have never had the opportunity to go with them.

Today Mom invited me to go up to Antipolo with them, since she was going to "inaugurate" Benjie's new kitchen by teaching him and his daughter how to bake bread and make aligue pasta. 

I jumped at the opportunity to see the house that my in laws always spoke about with such glowing terms.

When we arrived in Antipolo we pulled up to an unassuming gate with a lovely fence made of old weathered wood. We walked up a stone path with these great old railroad ties embedded in them, into the glass enclosed foyer/living room of his house which was also where his new pieces were on display.

And my mouth fell open.

First of all --- the house. It was all weathered wood, tegula tiles and big wide windows and glass. It was the house John and I always talked about building when a)we won the lotto, b) he became president of a major Philippine bank, or c) sold all our major organs.

And the furniture. The furniture. Beautiful chairs and tables. All wood. No nails (he uses dowels). All sinuous curves with interesting details. I was busy trying to figure out how to smuggle them to the van without anyone noticing until I realized that they weighed a ton! (he uses recycled hardwood)

Some of his sculptures were also on display (I have to confess --- I tripped over one of them --- oh the shame --- if I broke it I would have to give them my first born child).

He and his wife Caring were gracious enough to give me a tour of their home and I just spent most of the day following them around with my mouth open.

Their home was beautiful, breezy, calming and open --- much like Benjie and his wife who were really warm, wonderful people.

I wish I could post photos. But I was a little embarrassed to act like a tourist in their home, especially since we were "family".

But I promised to help work on their website so hopefully I can post a link of that soon so that you all can appreciate the beauty of his work.

What made the experience so much more meaningful is that Benjie and Caring actually walked me through most of the pieces around their home (they're having a retrospective of his work so they had a lot of them around the house today) and explained to me the history of each piece, his methodology, his inspiration and the science that goes into his craft. 

Yes, the science. 

You see, his pieces aren't just lovely to look at, they are super comfortable and ergonomic. That's saying a lot since his medium is wood and there are no cushions or other batting material. Just wood.

So a lot of thought goes into figuring out how to make pieces that are beautiful, sturdy and comfortable.

I felt so lucky to have the privilege of actually having the artist explain his pieces to me, firsthand. 

I am so looking forward to working on their website. I feel inspired.

Who knows? May be they'll give me an employee discount? :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No More Question Marks

It's hard to be part of the fertility treatment roulette. The very thing that sends you to seek treatment, now puts you in control of your own fertility schedule.

There was never any question about wanting to try again after Ines. Of course at the start, the mere thought of trying again would actually cause physical pain in my chest. But then as the months passed, it wasn't so hard to imagine being pregnant again.

John's been very supportive. At the same time, quite pesky about getting me preggers again (as if he would have to do anything with it this time around --- hahaha). His biggest concern is keeping Eeny, Meeny, Minny and Moe under cryostasis too long. They've been in the freezer for over 9 months at this point.

But I've been prevaricating. Its not an easy decision for me to make -- when to get pregnant again. In fact, I haven't been sleeping well the past couple of weeks just thinking about it.

So I prayed. I've been praying every night. For God to give me the strength and the courage to take the necessary steps in trying to get pregnant again. For Him to let me know, in some way, that this is the right decision --- for all of us. And that He will be there with me, to see me through whatever happens next.

This week, I at least got the guts to go to Greg and talk about what needs to get done, and get a prescription for the stuff that helps me get my period. I suffer from extreme amenorrhea and I only get my period twice a year (max). Lucky me eh?

I was supposed to drink the stuff yesterday. But I "forgot". I was supposed to take one this morning. But I "forgot" again. I figured, with our anniversary this Sunday I might as well just take the damned thing on Monday so there's no hindrance to our "sexy weekend" plans. :-)

I guess, God must be tired of all our long, late night conversations (and my irritating indecisiveness). Because today, despite the fact that I haven't taken my meds --- there is no question about whether I should spin the fertility roulette wheel again. 

I got my period.

God: "Any more questions? "

Tanya: (smiles sheepishly)

God: "I thought so. See you in 2 to 4 weeks."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sciutto and Ines

After being born premature and weighing only 540 grams... and spending 5 months and 6 days in the hospital -- Scuitto is finally home.

I have never met Sciutto and his father Manu. Manu is a friend of my sister Wiway at Deutsche Bank where they worked together. 

When I gave birth to Ines prematurely last July, one of the first people to touch base with us (albeit indirectly) was Manu, through my sister. Sciutto had been born just that June, a little more than 3 weeks older than Ines (who was born at 22 weeks and 6 days).

Manu sent us words of encouragement and advice. He reached out to us by letting us know the specialists they had worked with, where they sourced their medicines, and whole slew of other information he felt we should be armed with given the challenge of having a micro-preemie. He asked people he knew to pray for her.

And we had never even met him.

When Ines passed away 3 days later, he sent us heartfelt regrets and more prayers.

I asked my sister to give me constant updates on Sciutto. I read these updates, looked at his pictures and videos even though it broke my heart to do so. He was a sight to behold. So tiny, yet so brave. So much like my Ines.

I prayed for him when I could. All the hopes that I had for Ines, I passed on to him.

I also prayed for Manu and his wife Dawn. What they went through, what they are still going through, and what they will be going through for some time to come cannot be easy. But Sciutto is very lucky with the parents that he has.

Manu, through his emails, was (is) an inspiration. That we could all strive to be a parent like him. Brave, strong, filled with faith and love. 

It made me cry when I found out he finally went home this weekend.

Tears of joy for Manu, Dawn, Danielino (their oldest son).

Tears of pride for little Sciutto (not so little now at 3 kgs.)

And tears of sadness for me. And Ines.

I just realized now that if I had been able to carry her to term, I would be giving birth to her this week.

So strange. One parent's gain, another's loss.

Still I find it comforting that I can be happy for the Sciutto and his family. Their tale gives me hope that life does go on, in different ways for each of us.

Perhaps its time for me to move on.