Jacqui, Mom and Berry, who doesn’t like to get her picture taken

Yesterday (well, less than 45 minutes ago) was my baby sister Jacqui’s 34th birthday. We celebrated with a party for relatives last Monday (it was a national, non-working holiday here for Eid Il Fit’r), and a smaller party for just us (parents, sister and me) today, both at home. For the Monday party, Mom made a spread of turkey, inihaw na baboy (grilled pork ribs), spaghetti with 2 sauces – Mamia’s chorizo and Mom’s bacon and mushroom, and eggplant parmigiana, with 2 kinds of fruit salad (fresh and in cream) and rum cake.

Mom wasn’t going to bake the cake, except my goddaughter Berry asked where the birthday cake was so Mom had baked it on the spot, with Berry helping (child labor!!!). The 3-year old was so proud that she “helped Lola bake the cake” that she almost died when the cake came out all dark brown on the sides. Mom left it in the oven a little too long, but not enough to dry it out; still, Berry went running to her Mom, exclaiming, “We burned the cake!” My mom found that hilarious as she didn’t tell Berry that the cake was burned, it was her own deduction. My godchild is the smartest 3-year old ever.

As the cake had rum in it, she was only allowed to taste it. So when she wanted more and was denied it, she would put on this sad face and declare, “But I’m hungry.” After a while, we would kid, “Hala, lasing na yan.” (“Uh-oh, she’s drunk already.“)

It was a very long weekend, so most of our intended guests had gone out of town and weren’t able to make it to the party. From my dad’s side, my 2nd cousin Trixie was home from the US with her daughter Juliana, and we had a nice time catching up over dinner. I haven’t seen her in forever, and had actually thought that we weren’t close anyway, but after talking with her a while, I started to realize just how close we were back in the day. Memory is a funny thing.

From mom’s side, it was only our grandmother, Mamia, who came, and our aunt, Tita Timi, my Tito Dicky’s wife. Mom told Berry, “You know how I’m the Mommy of your Daddy? Well, this is my Mommy, and your Daddy’s lola!” In response, Berry looked at Mamia suspiciously.

Berry discovered Skype that night. Lucas had just installed Skype in his new Samsung Galaxy S3 and was testing it out with me (mine is on my iPad) and with Jacqui (on her Macbook Air). Berry has free rein of my iPad, so when she saw we were testing the Skype with it, she was fascinated. I was inside the house greeting my sister in the backyard a happy birthday. Jacqui started to wave at Berry, who was all, “Tata! Where are you?” (Tata is Berry’s word for Tita). She waved back and laughed, then ran away, into the garden and I heard her say, “Tata, come! You have to look!”

Tonight (well, yesterday night), our other brother Quincy went online to greet Jacqui a happy birthday. He and Mom still do YM video chat, which isn’t as clear as Skype, and I of course said, please download Skype because everyone has it. Over Skype tonight, I bonded with Quincy’s daughters, Violet (almost 3 years old) and Isabella (Izzy, only 1). Violet put on her Snow White costume and danced for me. Meanwhile, Izzy and I hoo-hoo’ed at each other like idiots.

Violet, aka Snow White, putting on a show in Quincy’s living room

I was planning to get a lot of non-work work done this long weekend, but I didn’t manage the “a lot” part. Still, I don’t regret it. My dance scholarship can wait a week or two.

Tonight, our dinner was smoked salmon, some salad greens, and leftover chorizo spaghetti (brunch was leftover eggplant parmigiana and fried turkey). As we ate with reverence and bliss, Dad announced that he has decided that this is how a birthday should be celebrated, just close family. This is funny because it was his idea to have a party.

I think my sister had a good birthday, even though she had to work through some of it. At the very least, she looks happy.

Happy birthday, Jacqui!


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