Monday, November 21, 2005

Jazzmamma mia!



married to:

mother to:

RYAN & PAOLO (he he he)

Jazz vocalist by profession, writer by inclination, homemaker by obligation, multi-tasker by....... self-infliction.

Accomplishments include:

...a 16-yr marriage that has been joyfull & blissful, for the most part (hey, most marriages these days don't even make it past the 'please-remember-to- put-the-toilet-seat-down-and-cap-the-toothpaste -back-when- you're-done- dear' stage!)
...a respectable career as a jazz vocalist (okay, so i ain't been labelled a diva but at least i sing real jazz... wraaawr!);
...performing, producing & co-directing musical projects with husband, David and some others...; least one album credit to date;

...dabbling in a little bit of theatre with the infamous indian cafe theatre company (down to 2 indians at the last count; 3 if you include susie);
...keeping a fairly decent bod in spite of bearing 5 kids;
...staying out of any major trouble in the last 45 years (phew!)

Other things I'd still like to accomplish:

...early retirement so i can spend more quality time with my children :-);

...produce & release more albums & more shows; with my children when i retire :-];

...maybe write a book, write more songs for more albums;

....did i mention early retirement for my children's sake??

...write at least one musical... for children? :-/

ok... when i finally retire... i'd really like to visit places like, Jerusalem, the Himalayas, Angkor Wat, Sistine Chapel... Taj Mahal... Kuala Terengganu... and all those places that I've read about... or heard of... or ever only seen in pictures!

but only if my children haven't committed me to an old folks' home by then :-0

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Of New Years, fireworks & pigs

Hmm... Edwin read my post from yesterday and was shocked, at first, cos he thought the pig had just been slaughtered. But when he realized that it was already roasted, he felt hunger pangs! Can't say I blame him for getting shocked! I myself reacted negatively when I first saw it. What with the 20kg label dangling from its snout some more. Makes me feel like turning vegetarian. Almost, until my memory bank starts reminding me of how beautiful it tastes.

Many years ago, two of my brothers came to spend Christmas & New Year with us here in Malaysia. We were then living in Section 5 in Kelana Jaya. My husband, David, having had the privilege of tasting this Filipino speciality at one Philippine Embassy do, decided that it'd be great if his two brothers-in-law could try and cook it for our New Year's Eve party. And Filipinos being the accommodating creatures that they are, my brothers said, "sure, no problem!"

So it was one morning that we trekked to the wet market near SS1 somewhere and placed our order for a whole pig. It was to be delivered to our home on the 31st of Dec. My brothers then went around with David, in his old Volvo, driving around the streets of Medan Damansara looking for a nice thick bamboo trunk that they could cut to use to skewer the pig for cooking "rotisserie" style in an open pit. Exactly like the way its done back home. Having found the right trunk, they headed home to get it cleaned up and ready for the piggy.

On the morning of December 31st, a van drives up to our gate and announces the arrival of our main-dish-to-be. It was huge. The brothers Delfino lose no time in getting it prepped and ready for cooking. After thorough cleaning they stuffed it with lemongrass and Lord knows what else until they decided the pig was perfect for the roasting. Lest you all wonder where I was all this while, I was in charge of getting the house all spruced up and cleaned for the night. Either that or I must've been breastfeeding one of the kids. I was always breastfeeding then. But that's another story...

My two brothers are named Abet (Albert, Jr) and Gerry. Abet was in charge of cooking the special liver sauce that the "lechon" is served with and Gerry (a pyromaniac since he was small) was given the penultimate task of getting the fire ready. This is where the fun begins...

He decided that, because it was drizzling, he'd start the charcoal going in our driveway. This was a little after noon. He laid about 5 kilos of charcoal on the driveway and, for good measure, sprinkled a bit of kerosene on 'em to hasten the firing process. Some 45 minutes later, there was this mother-of-all-explosions that boomed right outside our front door! Abet, my mother-in-law & I all make a dash to the front door to see what happened and there was Gerry, smoke billowing up from his thick head of hair, surrounded by embers in every which way. My mother-in-law screams, "his hair! his hair's on fire!!!" Without thinking, I dash out barefoot (I was cleaning, mah!) like a hero, rushing to his aid, and ending up like a really bad apprentice firewalker. There was a big gaping hole where our car porch used to be. I had major blisters on my feet from running all over them embers. It was so stupid, it was hilarious!!! We couldn't stop laughing.

We finally regained our composure and Gerry (he escaped unscathed, save for some burnt-hair smell) decided to dig a small hole in our garden under the roof to turn into his roasting pit. He even decorated the front with some huge palm leaves to obscure the view of the piggy roasting. We lived opposite the Section 3 mosque. Nuff said.

All told, we had a marvelous New Year's Eve party. Everyone enjoyed that Filipino labour of love and this story is told & re-told each and everytime Christmas comes around. I'm sure it'll carry on for generations to come. I can just see my kids 20 years or so from now telling their own versions of the "lechon" story...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

This little piggy should've stayed home

Okay folks! This is an introduction to who I am, where I'm from and why I have a picture of a roasted pig in my first post.

Me name's Junji. The name originates from Japan and is mostly given to male offspring. I was born in the Philippines, the youngest female child in a brood of five! Apparently, Daddy met someone named Junji long before I was even conceived, I think, and took a liking to its sound and decided that the next child he & my mom had would be named Junji, regardless of its sex. That was me.

I like my name. A lot of other people I meet do too. But I especially love it when I'm introduced to Japanese people because the minute they hear my name their eyes widen, finger pointed at me, they go "Junji-san?!?" Then they let out a string of Japanese words while they shake their heads for a good few minutes until they learn to live with it.

Now for the piggy part... I did mention I'm Filipino so... I don't really have to say any more, do I? Ha ha! Well, you see... this little piggy was on its way to market until my relatives decided to have a reunion in Manila last October and took it wee wee wee wee wee wee all the way home instead! I couldn't make the trip back cos of work so they sent tons of photos. By the way, if you ever make a trip to Manila and would like to try this roast pig, it's called "lechon". A roast by any other name just isn't the same... Sigh...

Well, the reason I decided to start this blog today is because, for one, I had the pc to myself. My eldest son's out at work. Secondly, a friend of mine was asking me for songs which have references to home in them for the launch of, yet another, housing development. A task I did which has a direct impact on this move, you'll read why a little further down. Thirdly, I was at the supermarket earlier and heard the first strains of Christmas carols. And then it hit me! I miss Christmas in the Peens!! I miss home. My home.

I guess having lived the first half of my life there, I was so accustomed to that festive air that I somehow took it for granted. It was a given. You didn't have to go searching high & low for it. You walked out of your house and there'd be Christmas lanterns of all shapes and sizes adorning neighbours' windows. Christmas tree lights blink through every household in the entire street. Main thoroughfares are decorated with every imaginable Christmas colour & designs. Shopping mall windows are dressed up with every conceivable Christmas vista. Even the wind changes at this time of the year. It gets chilly from around November right through February. But you never think about it when you're there. Cos its just so much a part of your life. I'm thinking about it now...

Before I go, here's the lyrics to that song I sent to my friend. It's from the Broadway musical, The Wiz as sung by Dorothy.

when i think of home, i think of a place where there's love overflowing

i wish i was home, i wish i was back there with the things i've been knowing

wind that makes the tall trees bend into leaning

suddenly the raindrops that fall have a meaning

sprinkling the scene... makes it all clean...

maybe there's a chance for me to go back now that i have some direction

it would sure be nice to be back home where there's love & affection

then just maybe i can convince time to slow up

giving me enough time in my life to grow up

time be my friend... let me start again...

suddenly my world's gone and changed its face but i still know where i'm going

i have had my mind spun around in space and yet i've watched it growing

and if you're listening God... please don't make it hard for me to know

if we should believe the things that we see

tell us should we run away or should we try and stay

or would it be better just to let things be

living here in this great big world might be a fantasy

but it taught me to love so it's real, it's real, so real to me

and i've learned that we must look inside our hearts to find

a world full love... like yours, like mine.... like home!

See ya 'round...