Wednesday, December 31, 2003

What 2003 Has Meant To Me...

By the time I finish this entry there will be about 6 hours left before the new year, 2004. Geez, every time I've attempted to finish a complete thought and type up an entry about the year I get distracted somehow (by fatigue or laziness, familial duties, or friends who call to ask what the big deal is about Lord of the the way Cheryl, it's GANDALF, not RANDOLF...ha ha ha...THAT KILLS ME!!). Anyhow, before the rest of my family starts pouring in to ring in the new year, I've managed to steal a few moments to myself to do some pondering.

What did I get out of 2003? I'll tell you what I DIDN'T get...more money. I tell you, as much as I deny it, I can be an awful spender. In fact, my new year's resolution for 2004 is not to lose weight (it's a losing battle i need to figure out a more effective strategy to), but to take heed of my excessive spending. I'm reminded sporadically by mom and dad that Tin's high school tuition will not be met by only them, but by me as well. Hence, therefore, thus, my new digital video cam will have to wait. I'm DETERMINED to pay off at least one of my major credit cards this year. Small steps...

So what did I LEARN from 2003? I think the most significant lesson I've been taught this year is letting go. From January to especially this month, I've had to learn to let go of people, bad experiences, feelings and weaknesses. I know I've set a lot of limits on myself, especially the amount of emotion I choose to reveal. A retreat I attended at the beginning of the year helped me realize how much I had been holding in and how important it was that I let go. It's still a hardship I carry but I've learned to deal with it better, although there is much to work on.

I've learned a lot about letting go from people around me. Break-ups have been prevalent these last couple of years. And when they occur between friends, it's not only hard on the people who have undergone the break-up, but also difficult for the friends who have come to witness and become accustomed to that relationship. It's hard to see those close to you suffer so mercilessly at their loss. You sit there and listen to them cry and talk for hours over how it went wrong. You feel helpless and wish it had never happened. But then you see or talk to them after awhile, and you suddenly look at them differently. Perhaps they're not the same person they were and maybe they're still feeling sad or confused inside. But you realize that as hard as it is for them to let go, they will eventually and completely loosen their grip on that one part of their lives in order to hold on to another venture no matter who or what it is. Letting go of one thing only allows you to embrace another.

Letting go of people...Jhoette came here to visit for 3 months after having been gone a year. We cherished every minute we got to spend with him. He came in March and in a blink of an eye, it was May and he had to head back to the Philippines. A week later, Carlo followed him. One can only be so lucky to find such friends as Jhoette and Carlo. To say good-bye is the worst thing to have to say, even if it's not forever (at least we hope). We cry not only because we hate to see them go, but we worry for their safety and livelihood. In the end, we know they've departed to follow a dream or to escape a reality and I can only sing words of praise for their courage to do so...My beloved nephew and his parents have moved about 6-7 hours away. Their departure, although well-intended, has brought many of us to bitter sadness and longing. We missed the baby's first Christmas and first entrance into the new year and I can hardly decribe the emptiness that hangs like fog over this family because of this. But I know there are reasons beyond my help and understanding of why this is happening. I just pray that no matter what, my nephew's best interest is at hand always...My grandfather, Papang, who would've celebrated his 80th birthday today, has passed on and the only light I'm forced to see in these few weeks of darkness is that he is no longer suffering. He has been the hardest thing for me to let go of because he's really gone. When I visit the Philippines next he won't be there and it's something I have yet to accept.

Weaknesses....GET BEHIND ME SATAN! Unhealthy being that I've managed to become this year, giving up on things I love must be put under control or I'll kill myself. This year I resolve to take control of my life by putting the unhealthiest of aspects at bay. Healthy eating and regular excercise is a must so as to attain my rightful shape (inside and out). Most important goal this year? Cut back on superfluous spending. If not, my ulcer will surely burst everytime I sit down to do bills.

So that's me in 2003. I wish everyone a wonderful New Year's Eve and pray that 2004 will treat you better if this year didn't. If 2003 was excellent to you, then I hope 2004 is just as kind if not kinder. GOD BLESS!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2003


Hey I thought that since I post albums on shutterfly I could share them with ya'll. So click on the HALLOWEEN link to the right and see if it works. Thanks kids!

Monday, December 29, 2003

As the Jingle Bells Fade...

Here we are, no more than 2 days before the end of another year. We can use up all the colloquialisms we can think of related to the passage of time ("Oh how times flies...Like sands through the hour glass" know what I mean), but I don't think we can ever really explain time's expedience. Where DOES all that time go? For a second I was a 5 year old child being pulled on a wagon by my classmate; then a new big sister at 12 years old; all of a sudden I'm a college graduate and NOW, all my friends and cousins are getting engaged or getting married! aaaaaahhh...are we there?...

...random...cheryl and i are on the phone right now talking about dvd's and our fetish for them. we both agree that it has reached an out of control level. When you're holding a dvd in your hand at Best Buy and you can't figure out if you've already bought it, then you know you've made it to the point of no return. ha ha ha...i'm tired, time for bed...
Getting to know...
Vitals: I met Isa in Terry's dorm our freshman year at UCI. But it wasn't until we had to share the physical and emotional load of PCN coordinatorships that we realized our compatibility = 7 years and counting
Role in my Life: Sympathetic Confidante - For some reason, Isa always seems to know exactly how I'm feeling and why before I can utter one word or channel any inkling of emotion. Some people search endlessly for the right words to say to those who need assurance. Fortunately for me and anyone who knows her, giving comfort is Isa's forte.
Good Times: Isa used to walk into our apartment, pillow and blanket under her right arm, backpack hanging from her left shoulder, talking on her cellphone for about 10-15 minutes. When she's done, THEN she says HELLO. Oh yeah, she didn't live with us, but she might as well have. She slept at our place at least 3-4 times a week.
In her own words: “I don't really like her." (Who Ise?) "Jessica SAMPSON."

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Playing Catch Up...

That's what I'm gonna do right now. I seriously haven't checked my e-mail since the afternoon of December 24! Suffice it to say, I've been occupied even moreso since then, driving to and from places, greeting people, blah blah blah...So here is my meager attempt...

When Reality Strikes, It Strikes Hard...

My mom came home from the Philippines on tuesday night, December 23rd armed with the typical balikbayan box filled with goodies for everyone. For a split second I forgot what she went back there for in the first place cuz she brought so much stuff with her; underwear (SO-EN baby!), polvoron, bags, bracelets and necklaces from my uncles, aunts, cousins and lolas. I was more than overwhelmed and extremely grateful. My aunts, uncles and cousins found the time and money to send us christmas gifts at such a fragile time and I was just so touched. One of my cousins wrote me a heartfelt letter saying he wishes my sister and I were there with them, and after looking through the pictures my mom came home with, I was indeed filled with tears at the realization that my grandfather had died and I wasn't there to bury him with the rest of my family. A pang of guilt still resides within and it's something I'm afraid I will carry with me for a very long time.

It was about a week after my mom had left when it really dawned on me what had happened. In the midst of trying to get everything done, in the middle of doing what my mom was supposed to do, I lost myself. The news of my grandfather's death had come so suddenly and we had to act to quickly to get my mom home that I didn't give myself anytime to mourn. It had been a week since we found out. I was sitting at my desk with phones ringing left and right, people asking me to do things and me trying to keep up when I caught myself in a state of vertigo...I just got dizzy. So I ran to the bathroom and cried for 20 minutes. It had finally hit me; your grandfather's gone, Anna, and you're sitting in your office trying to enter 80 financial contracts into the computer. It made me hate everything and everyone around me and I was so ready to walk into my boss's office, yell I QUIT and storm out.

I hadn't felt so angry and so overwhelmed and so alone in so long. I just wanted to scream TO HELL WITH EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING! But you all know me, I'd never do that. So for the rest of the day I sulked. The crying, although cleansing, didn't feel thorough enough, so I figured I had to wait until the next breakdown to feel better. But then came Monday...

Kind Words...

Monday, December 22, I read an e-mail from a good friend who sounded like she needed someone to talk to so I called her right after work. We talked about her dilemma for awhile and then she asked, "Anna, how are YOU?" And for some reason I felt better, maybe because it sounded like she really meant it, like she really didn't mind taking time from her day to see if I was okay. She listened to me intently for half an hour and it was then that something inside felt better. I told her everything I was feeling and she didn't just grunt blank "uh huh's." I knew she cared and after that I actually began to take some time to deal with things happening around me. Thanks Isa!

Monday, December 22, 2003


I have so much stuff to write about but seriously I've been suffocating just a tad. I can't wait to sit and type though cuz hey, there's no outlet for emotion like writing. I saw Return of the King this weekend, my cousin just proposed to his girlfriend, etc. Maybe l'll find some time later...
Getting to know...

Vitals: Cousins since he was born in 1979, but we met December 1993 = 24 years and counting (Ben’s older brother)
Role in my Life: Model of Pure Contentment – Alan is seriously the “chillest” person I know and I’ve never (knock on wood) seen him overreact about ANYTHING. He always seems to see the brighter side of life’s inconsistencies and I wish someday soon I can be the same.
Good Times: Driving to and from Charlotte, NC to UNC Chapel Hill in the middle of a snowstorm talking about anything and everything.
In his own words: “Everyone keeps asking me if I’m nervous about proposing. I guess I would be…if I just didn’t love her so much.” (on his new fiancĂ© Stephanie)

Monday, December 15, 2003

Getting to know...

Vitals: Cousins since he was born in 1980, but we met December 1993 = 23 years and counting
Role in my Life: Calm and Collected Supporter - One of the most intelligent and intuitive people I know, soft-spoken high school counselor-to-be Ben knows what to say, when to say it, and when to just listen.
Good Times: Back in 2000, we went to Vegas with the family but Ben wasn't 21 yet. So we greased the 21 & over wristband his older brother was wearing so HE could wear it, just so we could walk around the casino and play slots until 3 am.
In his own words: (To be spoken in a female, Filipino tone of voice like his mom's. I ALWAYS fall for this when he calls!) "Hello Leng! Kamusta ka na. Dis is Auntie Grace."

Sunday, December 14, 2003


I just want to thank everyone who has sent their condolences to me and my family. I can't tell you how much all of your comforting words and prayers have meant to us, especially me. My mom left for the Philippines the very same evening we found out about my grandfather's death and I've spoken to her a few times already. She sounds a little out of sorts still but I know she's dealing with it the best way that she can.

Thank you so much all of you! Our loss would have been far more difficult to deal with if not for your support. God Bless you all!

Thursday, December 11, 2003

This Christmas...

It's 10:45 am right now and I'm at home, not sick...not ditching...just mourning. My grandfather in the Philippines passed away today. It's only been 2 hours since I found out and it's felt like 2 days. I got a text from my uncle as we were getting ready to head for the office: "Leng, Iniwan na tayo ni Papang"..."Papang has left us." I haven't been put in this position in a while and crying, you would think, would be the first thing I'd want to do, but I just went numb. After telling my mom to call the Philippines all the fear I had been anticipating since we last saw my grandfather had come crashing through. He was gone.

The last time I saw Papang was in August of 2001 when my family and I went home to the Philippines for 2 weeks. I hadn't seen him since I was four so our meeting, suffice it to say, was daunting. He looked so different since I left him 19 years ago, thinner, older, weaker. It was hard to imagine the airforce colonel I left in 1982. When I was a little girl I used to love when he came home from being away on duty. I vaguely remember him in his khaki uniform coming up the stairs after months in Davao or Tawi-Tawi, ready to talk to his then only granddaughter. And then I left for the states and suddenly he became someone we would call every so often to greet HAPPY BIRTHDAY or MERRY CHRISTMAS. And as the years went on, so did his health.

Eversince we got back here from our vacation there I've been dreading every phonecall from back home. Knowing that in his condition, his departure from our lives was forthcoming. And now it's happened and more than ever I just want to sit and talk to him, tell him that as far away as we had moved, and as long as we had been gone, I had never forgotten him. The only comfort I'm finding in all this sadness is that Papang is no longer suffering. As cliche was it sounds, I know in my heart he's much stronger, much better and in a more glorious place than anywhere his earthly life had ever taken him. I just wish I could have said Good-Bye and I love you...

It's 1:15 am and I was SO ready to hop into bed 45 minutes ago, but I saw Jhoette online and I just had to talk to him for a little bit. It was hardly a conversation to measure up to any of our famous all-nighters, but when a good friend is thousands of miles across the ocean, getting a 5-10 minute exchange of words means a whole lot. I miss having friends like Jhoette and Carlo around.

Friendships are very, how shall I put this...complex, as I've witnessed over and over again. There are times in a person's livelihood when friends are merely the social actors in one's theater of life; the role players designated for extracurricular activities outside of family. But as the years progress, as the production gets older, one starts to realize the value of key thespians in the play who do no less than give your story substance. Sooner or later the social role players not only exist to provide company in the face of frolic, but to offer support and strength in the face of criticism.

When you have found ONE dependable actor in your own productions of life, you couldn't be more blessed. I've been lucky to find quite a few and am saddened to also have lost a few. Finding friends is easy. It's keeping them that's the hard part.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Getting to know...

Vitals: Met December 1994 at the Daniel Murphy Winter Formal, roommates for 4 years @ UCIrvine = 9 years and counting
Role in my Life: Motivator – “Anna just do it…Anna just go…Anna just tell him” Whenever I’m in a bind, this is the answer I get from this girl and sometimes it’s exactly what I need to hear.
Good Times: Sitting on a ski lift 25 ft above snow, I’m gripping the chair cuz I’m terrified of falling and Cile wants to have a moment!
In her own words: "ANNA...REVOLVING...TONIGHT...MY TREAT!" (Cile's voicemail to me one evening)

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Have Faith

If you've spoken to me at all this week, you probably got to witness the dormant outrage that lives within me. I think I'm a relatively patient person, and as much as I can, I will stand back and let my fellow humans be the erroneous beings that they are (not that I'm excluding MYSELF from falibility) and say nothing. But hurt me or something close to me and it's SO over!

Everyone knows that my camera and I are like a couple. I LOVE MY CAMERA!! But I had to bring it in to Best Buy to get fixed because the shutter wasn't opening all the way. Glad that I had bought a warranty for free repairs and maintenance, I set out to the electronic superstore the week before thanksgiving, November 20 to make use of my $60. The invoice they gave me read: "SCHEDULED COMPLETION DATE: November 26. Too busy during thanksgiving weekend to pick it up, I decided to wait until Monday, December 1 to call in and let them know I was coming to pick up my camera. 1:15 pm, I call Best Buy and the customer service guy says that he can't find in the computer that the camera had arrived. Knowing that there might be delays, I say OK, and decided to call again the next day. "I'm sorry ma'am," the girl says, "But I don't see that your camera has been returned to us yet." A little upset, I tell her how long ago I dropped it off and that it was scheduled to be ready on November 26. She apologized, yada yada yada, and knowing that she has no control over this, I let it slide until Wednesday. I speak with another young lady who says that my camera may have been dropped off on november 20th, but it wasn't physically sent to the vendor until NOVEMBER 24TH!!! So here I am, ticked off as hell that they would send the camera to be fixed 2 days before the completion date they typed onto the invoice AND THEN she had the nerve to say, "well ma'am, the date is really just an estimate. It won't always be ready by then." THEN PUT ESTIMATED COMPLETION DATE DUMBASSES NOT SCHEDULED! And then she goes on to say that there is a UPS tracking # in the computer but she doesn't know if that's for an incoming or outgoing package. I reprimand her for a few minutes and midway into her, "Thank you for calling Best--" I banged the receiver onto the phone rest. I was too busy on thursday to deal with it so on Friday afternoon, I decided to go to Best Buy MYSELF and complain in person. The tech guy looks my invoice up in the computer, heads to the cabinets to look for my camera, talks to ANOTHER tech guy to help him understand what the computer is saying (TECH GUYS? really?) and then says, again, that the UPS tracking # doesn't indicate incoming or outgoing so he suggested I use their phone to call the customer service line. The guy puts me on hold for 10 minutes, then asked to talk to the tech guy, then advised that he would call the vendor the camera was sent to and by this time i am 5 minutes past my lunch and I still have to drive back to the office. So I give the guy on the phone my number at work and storm out of Best Buy ready to slap the first person I see wearing a royal blue shirt and khakis. I get to work and I have a voicemail message from the customer service guy I spoke with 10 minutes earlier and he says that the vendor is already closed so maybe I should call them on Monday to check the status of my camera. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!! For the rest of my workday that afternoon I was speechless and spent.

So I head to the 5:30 mass at Holy Family Church and Father Maurice's homily was all about having faith; having faith that bad things will happen, having faith that they happen for a reason, and having faith that they will be resolved in due time if we just let it go and let what's supposed to happen, happen without getting so upset at everything that comes to us thereafter. After I got home that evening from a rockin' JC Chasez concert at the House of Blues (more details to come), I went to bed and laid everything that happened this week to rest. My camera was somewhere and worst case scenario, they lost it and will replace it. I personally couldn't do anything about the situation but complain and be upset and I was so sick of being that way that I decided to let it be and have faith that it would be okay in the end. All I was sad about was the fact that I wouldn't have it for a christmas party saturday night. Oh well, I said. It's cool.

I was eating breakfast the next morning, Saturday and my grandfather comes in and hands me this thing wrapped in foam paper and bubble packaging. "Here, this was put into our mailbox by mistake yesterday." It was my camera. My first reaction was, "HELLO! Does Best Buy really not know the procedures involved with situations like this?" Then I realized I had my dear digicam in my hand and I shut my mouth. It didn't matter anymore.

Moral of the story: Overreacting will get you nothing but unnecessary anxiety and agitation, which never helps in any situation. Sometimes you just have to have faith that things will be okay in the end. Life is so much calmer when I'm not angry and annoyed. Faith; I'd forgotten all about it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

"But hey, that's what we do."

This is something that someone I know will say to me every single time he'd like to make a comment and not be chastised for it. Joe-freakin'-Carlos, this one's for you. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I tried to get Hillary Duff to do a special performance for when Joe got home from work today, but apparently she's on tour. Next year we'll try again...

Monday, December 01, 2003

Getting to know...

Vitals: Met in 1982 when I was in kindergarten and she was a 2nd grader at St. Francis; went to the same high school and same college, roommate for 1year = 20 years and counting
Role in my Life: Big Sister I Never Had – Ate knows me inside out. We can practically read each other's minds and she’s probably my #1 supporter. But when it's time to set me straight, she makes it known in the gentlest way possible.
Good Times: Ditching class and driving to Big Bear at 5:30 am at an attempt to see *NSYNC at MTV’s Snowed-In. She got some airtime but, sadly, the boys weren’t scheduled to appear until the next day.
In her own words: “My tears are crying" (drunk Tin-Tin)

If Procrastination Were a Major...

I'd graduate Magna Cum Laude. This whole weekend, from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to Sunday night, I've been occupied in the head thinking of all the things I know I have to get done. I have to finish my accounting homework, I have to study for my quiz on Tuesday night, I have to finish my accounting project, etc. So with all these things in mind, I came home last night, ready to get to business, picturing the joy and relief I will feel when I finish that project days before it's due. So after a wholeday affair of family bonding, I walk upstairs...and cleaned the bathroom, then proceeded to organize my giftwrapping bin. Oh, I finished my like 11:35 pm! I came home at 8! Terrible! And I was all reprimanding my sister last night for lagging on her high school application to my dear alma mater! I should be one to talk. Well, I just don't want her to end up like me that's all. =)

So after work today, I PROMISED myself that I was going to do everything I planned. But 'lo and behold, what awaited me on the coffee table? A box from the Disney catalog and what was inside? The PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN dvd!!!!!!!!! It isn't even released until tomorrow but Ate (featured in this week's GETTING TO KNOW YOU series) pre-ordered it for me as a Christmas gift! YOU'RE AWESOME ATE THANKS!!! So you can imagine how the wheels in my head began to turn in another direction as my plans to study begin to vaporize...again. Well, I haven't done any studying yet, but it's because my nephew was here for an hour to visit so I had a good excuse.

However, I refuse to give in to the procrastination any longer so I'll go and work on that project and study for that quiz. Besides, I have to get up early tomorrow because I'm making up time for a 90 minute lunch to go to my sister's parent-teacher conference. My dad can't get out of work and my mom, well, she can't drive so they've asked me to go. Interesting...we'll see what happens. Until next time....