Hot stuff

50 years ago three guys courted me at Lopez Jaena Church where I preached. Oni, second wife, Epi all grey. Adan passed away. A relative said, “If Adan married you, he would have lived!”

Nanay has lots of old flames in the Philippines. She’s hot stuff. Even for an “old lady.”

Texted Sunday, November 25, 2007 4:20 p.m.

Nanay Alpha Sorensen and car, 1970s
Nanay as a young lady. I think this was taken in the 70s.

Daig na posit

At USA customs, a Pinoy didn’t know what’s daig na posit in English so he declared it as ‘dried pussy.’ The customs officer said ‘Oh! Smells like one. All right go!’

This is only hilarious if you know that diag na posit is dried squid. And yes, it stinks – really, really badly. I LOVE it. It’s one of my favorite Filipino treats. And the one time I brought it to school, it labeled me a FREAK FOREVER. I had underestimated how badly it smells to white people. (Well, all-white people, not half-whites like me.)

Texted Friday, October 5, 2007 8:01 p.m.

Image taken from
Image taken from

De Guzman

Congratulate him! Inquire his relation to ‘Nong Tony and Norma De Guzman, L.A. accountant family friends. And famous actor De Guzman, heartthrob of my youth!

 This is Nanay’s response to my text about the new Senior Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California, René de Guzman. I was very excited to have a Filipino as a senior staff member. You see, in museums, Filipinos are usually security guards. I’m not even joking. – So I thought I’d share some ethnic pride with Nanay. She was super excited.

Texted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 7:10 p.m.


No puede cortar

Wow! Must be a big home! Hire a Central American, arrange an amount to clean the weeds. Be sure to instruct ‘NO PUEDE CORTAR’ if you want to preserve plants. God day.

I texted Nanay to tell her that we bought a house in July and finished moving in. The much-neglected yard held many surprises: multi-colored roses, calla lilies, plum trees, and even a little guava tree. Here, she’s responding to my inquiry about how to tend to these over-grown plants and weeds. I know that texts force you to simplify language, but I’m still a little surprised by the subtle tinge of racism in this message.

On another note: Nanay has always loved gardening, and roses are her clear favorite. In fact, she’s pretty much obsessed with them. She’ll save little scraps of paper, product packaging, cloth scraps, and old magazines, just because there’s a rose on it!

Texted Tuesday, September 4, 2007 5:35 p.m.

08 flowers from the garden
bouquet of flowers from our overgrown garden

Wildlife at CPU

CPU, great natural museum setting: 5’ snake in strike mode with cat 2’ from our door, cat-size rats eat soap at night, dogs, cats romp with humanus erectus. Buy spider?

CPU stands for Central Philippine University, Nanay’s alma mater, where she’s volunteering. Technically, I think she’s supposed to be tutoring the kids and helping professors. But, according to her texts, I think she’s really a jack of all trades: carpenter, counselor, exterminator…

Also, if the rats are eating the soap, I wonder what’s in the soap!

Texted Thursday, August 2, 2007 3:36 p.m.

Philippine beggar kitty
Philippine beggar kitty

On Giving

Interesting thoughts on GIVING?? Rivers do not drink water they carry?? Trees do not eat fruit they bear?? Clouds do not bathe in the rain. Alpha did, is sick!

I love this one. This is a classic Nanay text. Short, pithy, with a little humorous twist. And always ready to laugh at her own folly. Also, I don’t think she’s exaggerating when she says she bathed in the rain. Unlike other parents, she would dance and laugh in the rain alongside me rather than scold for me to come in. A free spirit.

Nanay mango tree Philippines
Nanay climbing a mango tree in the Philippines to pick green mangoes. Her brother-in-law looks on from below with a look of concern.

Texted Monday, July 30, 2007 3:20 p.m.

Ubo ubo

Such fun rain-singing, no umbrella! Once I did it, did not cost me: no cold pill, no syrup. Now, ubo, ubo! Pray I need not mortgage desk for med. Have no pig 2 sell!

Ubo ubo is soup. Universal cure.

We traveled together to Bali and the Philippines in March 2007, to see the sights before dropping Nanay off at Cenral Philippine University. She got walking pneumonia, and in BOTH countries, every person we told about it asked if we were feeding her chicken soup. So I guess it’s NOT just the Jewish mom cure after all…

Sick Nanay reserves energy, sleeps on the floor.
Sick Nanay reserves energy, sleeps on the floor.

Texted Monday, July 30, 2007 12:18 a.m.