Tuesday, December 28, 2004


I've been telling people these last few weeks that I haven't been as excited about the holiday season as I usually am. Maybe it's because I had school taking priority earlier this month when I would usually be sending out Christmas cards and making lists of holiday things-to-do. Maybe it's because I don't have sufficient funds to spend on presents for everyone like I was able to before. Or maybe it's because this quarter-life crisis theory has truly penetrated its way into my psyche and Christmas just isn't what I remembered it to be: a day of opening beautifully-wrapped boxes of new toys we couldn't wait to play with, or receiving envelopes that were filled with more money than we'd ever know as a child, or getting a new outfit to wear next day. That's what I remember.

But this year is different. I wasn't so much tearing open wrapped packages as I was wrapping them. I don't receive envelopes anymore because, well, I'm a working woman now I suppose (Funny how this is still doesn't solve any money issues for me but anyhow). My point is, I realized that now, more than ever, I feel contentment in watching other people enjoy Christmas, especially children. (Just look at Kelsoe in his Santa hat! Who can resist smiling at this vision?) It's been such a long time coming. Not until this year did I experience Christmas as a grown up, giving more than I receive and being just fine with it. It's an amazing feeling actually, one that I never understood until recently. It's the whole getting older business I think.

I was standing in the family room at my aunt and uncle's house in Palmdale on Christmas day, watching the Laker-Heat game with my cousins and uncles (a game which they could've won danggit!) when Matt turned to me and said, "When the hell did these kids (our younger cousins) grow up?" And we just kind of laughed about it. But that whole day I couldn't help but think back to what it used to be. Matt and I used to be the only two children our family had here in the states. We were the kids who got a ton of presents every year, and the ones everyone fussed over all the time. But now Matt and I are the older ones (THE eldest cousins here to be exact but whatever – HUSH!) and we're the ones fussing over and trying to catch up with the kids around US. We joke around that getting on in years sucks, but I think deep inside we think it's kinda cool (right Matt?). Things are different now and I welcome the change.

Christmas this year was filled with more answers to prayers and more evidence of faith than I could ever hope for. It was more about sharing a love and appreciation of togetherness as a family than it was sharing a love for materialism and wealth. This Christmas was more about re-forging and rediscovering the bonds of friendships than it was holding on to bitterness and pride. This Christmas was just MORE and I couldn't be thankful enough.

Kelsoe in his Santa hat
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When did they Grow Up?
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Holiday Homies 2004
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Christmas Eve 2004
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Christmas Partay 12-26-04
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Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas from the Gonda family!

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Thursday, December 23, 2004


I had such a fun weekend! FUN FUN FUN!!! (Aside from the whole spare tire stealing incident of course). Lots of exploration, discovery and realizing that being broke during the holidays is utterly confining, but not the worst thing in the world when you’re surrounded by good fortune and countless blessings.

Making the best of it…

My weekend began on Friday. We had our office holiday lunch at one of our client’s properties, a restaurant at this golf course in North Hollywood. We were all expecting this somewhat respectable establishment, complete with the Mexican buffet luncheon we were advised would be on the menu. Suffice it to say, when we got there, disappointment set in. The place looked like an IHOP, a Denny’s, with windows so dusty and dirty it looked like it was foggy outside on that sunny Friday afternoon. Our table hadn’t been prepared (we had a 3 pm reservation), it was a pretty unpleasant place. AND THEN they tell us that there’s no Mexican buffet because they were short-handed that day and had to cater to a large party that same afternoon so they settled for a simpler buffet menu (the sliced turkey – what was left of it, lookin’ nice and dry under the heatlamp; the mashed potatoes – lumpy and runny if you can imagine that; and the green beans – which were no more enticing than the turkey and mashed potatoes). We called our client, the one who owned the restaurant, to complain jokingly that we’d been had, so the head of their office drove up to treat us to some drinks as consolation.

After we’d been filled with our late lunch, the mood had lightened and suddenly it didn’t matter where we were. Laughter and immense gratitude had overtaken the disappointment from 30 minutes before. The important thing was that all of us were gathered together during this holiday season to recount the year’s high points and wohs, and thank each other for a job that would be unbearable if not for our concerted efforts to reach success. I got my LORD OF THE RINGS: Trilogy edition desk daily calendar!!! SUCH A GEEK I KNOW!!!

Getting jacked for the holidays…

Saturday morning was hilarious! My cousin, Ben, was supposed to arrive at LAX at 10:30 am from Charlotte, NC. His flight was 8 am EST. I get a call at 7:54 am from Ben (almost 11 am over there) and he tells me that he overslept and missed his flight! Thankfully, our party that evening was in Culver City at Andrew and Larnie’s house so his arrival that evening would be no problem since they live so close to the airport.

That evening we had our annual holiday homie gift exchange. Our ploy this year was to make a collage of pictures from magazines, etc that represented our holiday homie. Some people truly outdid themselves, from the most clever presentations (My sister did my Fantone collage, 3D, moveable!…Jean’s storybook poem about Will, Cile’s unbelievable drawing for Ate Cyn, etc.) to the most hilarious and makeshift (Larnie couldn’t find any glue 1 HOUR BEFORE THE PARTY so she used rice to stick the pictures to the paper, Joemama forgot to do one so he used a catalog of PAINT SAMPLES he found at the house to represent Larnie! Ha ha ha…).

Then we played white elephant where I LITERALLY owned BRIEFLY 5 or 6 different gifts because I kept getting jacked of the ones I was opening or taking from other people! I opened up a poker pocket game – which Joemama stole, a laundry bag – which Gary took, a lint shaver – which Leia stole, a folding chair – which Jean took and the Disney puzzle I stole from Fernie – FREAKIN’ ISA TOOK AWAY! I hate this game! In the end I ended up with a box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts and a shell necklace/bracelet/anklet that Jason had just brought back from Hawaii. Mmmmmm…We all got what we asked for. I got my Lord of the Rings monopoly (GEEK!!!) and Father of the Bride 1 & 2 dvds (Thanks Joe!!!). But I got more out of that evening than a bag of wonderful presents and cards. I got to spend another evening in the company of the some of the most wonderful people I have the pleasure of calling my friends and now we all have a bunch of new inside jokes to recall. Thanks for allowing me to finally feel the holidays guys! Can’t wait for next year!

Monday, December 20, 2004


I can't wait to tell you all about my funfilled weekend, but before I do that, let me just tell you what happened to me last night. I get back to my car after an evening of dinner and drinks in Santa Monica and I'm staring at it because something seems to be missing...SOMEONE F*CKIN' STOLE MY SPARE TIRE COVER!!!!...in addition to 2 of the screws! I'm not angry, but all I gotta say is that whoever took it better have taken it cuz they're hungry and they need money to buy food. If not, I hope they fall into a hole!

Monday, December 13, 2004


This weekend was…how do I say this? HELLISH is a good word! That dang payroll accounting class kinda kicked me in the bootie this semester. But it’s all over now and I’m SOOOOO freakin’ happy that I couldn’t even begin to describe it to you all.

Every moment since I handed in my final, however, has been a welcome relief. I called Riann after I got into my car because she called me after HER final this afternoon and for some reason we were just all about laughter! I picked her up and we had dinner at Islands. I love this girl. Yes, there are times when we can get really serious about something, speaking in our most concerned and loving voices. But when we’re in the mood to be spastic and downright obnoxious, it’s just PURE, UNADULTERATED OBSCENE COMEDY! Every tiny circumstance made us crack up today, literally; like the “Up” and “Down” arrows by the elevator. They were placed incorrectly, pointing left and right so someone wrote out, in permanent marker, “Up” next to the arrow facing right, and “Down” next to the arrow facing left. I wish I had a camera so I could’ve taken a picture and shown you guys. It’s the silliest thing! And then dinner…oh man, it’s bad enough when you’re with me OR Riann cuz we’re both so talkative. But can you imagine the two of US together? Ha ha ha! Great conversations about our lives, our crazy friends, weirdo kids, etc. Loved it! Thanks Babygirl!

And then I came home and had the funniest ass conversation with Joemom! Ha ha ha…Homie, you freakin’ crack me up! Oh man, I’m still laughing dammit! It's ok though!!! =D

Nice…an evening full of laughter and great talks...After that stupid project and dumb final, I think it’s just what I needed. Now I get to worry about sending out Christmas cards, buying presents, wrapping presents, etc. Yay! I’m feeling the holiday cheer - FINALLY!!!

I just "finished" working on this DUMB, FREAKIN' USELESS AND CONFUSING payroll accounting project and I can confidently say that I have never cared less for an assignment. The subject matter on the first day of the quarter was actually pretty interesting to me...and then came the following week. Then it just became unbearable.

This payroll project that I just finished is the the most hilarious thing I will ever hand in. I have no clue if some of the figures even match and I haven't the faintest idea which report goes where. All I know is that I have a final to study for still and I just realized that this one disc doesn't have the capacity to hold this back-up. Ha ha ha...I'm freakin' laughing to myself right now cuz I'M SO ANNOYED!

Well, at least I have all day tomorrow to study for this final. I took a personal day off to prepare for this dumb exam and my level of concern is at a -4 right now. I kind of don't care how I do on this project. The final I can handle I think, but this project is WOW...can't even find the words to describe to you all the hell I've been through this week trying to finish this thing.

My final starts at 6:30 pm and I am literally giving myself an hour and a half to finish it; and when I get out of that God forsaken computer lab, I think I'm gonna do a little dance in the hallway and then call everyone I know to express my excitement and relief. In the meantime, I DO ask for your prayers. No I don't wanna fail this class...I JUST WANT IT TO BE OVER ALREADY!!!! AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!...'kay bye! Thanks guys!

Saturday, December 11, 2004


I thought about you today while I was in church. I suddenly heard you talking to me. You may have realized I’d heard you when I wiped the tears from my face. A year ago on this very day you left us here to live your real life in heaven and I can’t imagine the paradise that it must be, but we sure miss you down here.

Everything’s okay as far as I can tell. I don’t doubt you’ve got access to the world you knew so well before. I know Mamang misses you a lot. I think about her as much as I think about you, wishing I could be there to take walks with her and talk to her like you did. But here I am an ocean away, only able to show my love through prayers, thoughts and the occasional greeting cards and random phonecalls. I know you always said that this was more than enough, but I always though I could do so much more. The only comfort I found was knowing that you knew I loved you, no matter how far away I was. Thanks so much for understanding.

So do you really hear me up there? I talk to you all the time, asking for help, guidance and protection, and you’ve never failed to come through. Even when you’re in heaven I’m asking for stuff! How spoiled am I? But that’s the grandparent curse I suppose, succumbing to the grandchild’s every wish no matter what form you’re in? Are you getting enough help up there? We’re a demanding bunch down here aren’t we? You probably have lots of people helping you out because I can’t believe how blessed I’ve been, especially lately.

I’ve been a little confused about life this past year, ‘Pang, trying so hard to figure out so many things at one time. But I try my hardest to hold the dearest of my faith close, a faith which has guided me through so many seemingly inconceivable dilemmas that I couldn’t even try to explain. I know you don’t worry though because you know how much faith I’ve got that no matter what happens to me, I’ll be able to handle it. There are just times, I guess, when I need a little reminder of that faith. Faith maintenance sure takes a lot of work. But knowing that you’re all up there watching over me is more protection and guidance than I could ever ask of my faith and I thank you.

So a few of my friends’ loved ones just arrived recently, right? And a few others got there before you? I’m sure you’ve all met, telling stories of your lives before heaven. I know they can hear me too, but thank them for watching over all of us too.

Okay, I better get going. This accounting class is a real pain! I'm sure you've heard me complaining about it? Can I get some help on this project and this final please? Thank you! Anyhow, Happy Christmas! Must be quite an event up there this time of year, huh? Celebrating Jesus' birthday? I can't wait to see what it's like myself. Until then...

Loving and thinking of you always, your granddaughter,

Friday, December 10, 2004


I encountered some rather interesting ideas today about “girls and their fragile hearts” and I’m compelled to talk about it myself. No, I’m not an expert on relationships or dating and I don’t hold a PhD in the Mars vs Venus phenomenon, but I’m a lady who knows my way around (and back) when it comes to heartache and the sometimes incessant desire to long for another who doesn’t share your same magnitude of emotion. I agree with a lot of what my friend has to say. Yes, sometimes when a person (not just girls, my friend) is interested in someone, the level of uncertainty is pretty prominent. Uncertainty about how the other person feels about you, the ambiguity of their actions and words, the questionable intensity of each side’s emotions, etc. I think this uncertainty is why people pull back in the beginning of things. They’ve entered into this situation that makes their stomach turn at the mere thought of this girl or guy; a situation that gives them chills at the slightest physical contact. I think they pull back if only to see things from a more objective point of view after having been heaved into this emotional vacuum, more often than not, hoping to gain more perspective before they dive in at full speed. I think they’re just trying to find SOME assurance in the unsure.

And yes, heartache is temporary, but that’s the individual heart’s choice. If a heart wants to heal, there is no doubt that it will. But if it wants to be broken, it has to be allowed to be so for as long as it needs to realize that all its pieces still work when it’s put back together. I’m not gonna defend people who wish to marinate in their self-pity (which is the residue that heartache often produces). I used to be one of those people and I hated myself for the time I thought I wasted. But the proverb about time is true. Sometimes that’s all you can depend on to heal the wound. And how else are you gonna learn if not to make mistakes such as this, no matter how monumental it is. The bigger the mistake, the bigger the lesson.

Excellent reminder on the regret thing. I agree with you about that 100%. It CAN lasts forever if you let it, and Lord knows the millions of “what’ifs” that can surely torture you thereafter. But not everyone is equipped to get screwed over fifty times and still be able to go out and fight the same way. Regret is an emotion. Although abstract, it’s still as damaging to the soul as it is can be to the heart. But you can’t tweak emotion like you can a machine. What you can do is tweak how you act when you experience it. Not having to live with regret doesn’t just mean taking chances on every opportunity that comes to you. It also means taking the regretful situation, learning from it and then using it to create more opportunities. Easier said than done, I know, but at least you can’t say you didn’t try to rid the regret right? Making lemonade out of lemons?

And the advice for girls who don’t seem to realize that a guy isn’t interested in them after they haven’t called back? Instead of avoiding phonecalls, emails, textes, etc, why don’t guys just tell girls TO THEIR FACES that they don’t like them? Is honesty really too much to ask for? Most of the time, that’s all we need to hear to get us going down another road – away from whoever isn’t interested in us. Girls’ hearts aren’t as “fragile” as many seem to think. I think you mean sensitive. Fragile and sensitive aren’t interchangeable. Sensitivity reflects awareness of what’s happening around you. Fragile indicates ease in destruction in the face of disaster and the inability to be rebuilt. Sensitivity indicates an ability to be responsive to what’s occurring around you. Fragile to me sounds like a difficulty to stand firm when we’re being knocked from all sides. Sensitivity is a keenness in judgment, ability to make choices based on your surroundings. Fragile channels feebleness or frailty. There’s nothing fragile about a woman’s heart. We’ve been criticized for being too fat, not pretty enough, not smart enough, too smart, naïve, etc. We’ve had our hearts broken by dishonest men who didn’t have balls to speak truth to our faces. And still here we are, having taken chances on the men in our lives (brothers, boyfriends, friends, husbands, etc) who have the courage to love us enough to be truthful.

Who do you guys claim you turn to when you need to talk about feelings of love or need comfort from the rain anyhow? You go to your homies to help you talk about how you’re feeling? You go to your girlfriends and galpals to aid you through the emotional load and we’re always happy to do it! Just please don’t ever use the word fragile to describe us ever again.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Every holiday season I go through the same things; I drive around parking lots hoping to find that ONE car that’ll give me a chance to get my shopping done, I walk through crowded malls clutching my packages closely, hurrying to spend dollar upon dollar of my hard-earned money and credit to buy gifts for those I hold dear. I take these bags and boxes of goodies home, wrap them lovingly and then place them under the tree with the greatest of care and anticipation. “I can’t wait to see their faces when I give it to them!” is what I always find myself thinking. All the while the holiday soundtrack plays in the background; sounds of silver bells in the silent night never fail to make me smile.

But this year is so different. I haven’t been able to drag myself to the mall (IT’S ACROSS THE STREET FOR CRYING OUT LOUD), haven’t wrapped one gift and they started playing Christmas songs so early that I’m practically all Jingle Belled out and it’s barely December 9! I think it’s because I don’t really have the means like I used to to buy the gifts I want to give. I always wonder why, but remember unfortunately when I have to sit down and write checks to the Department of Education, Union 76, Citi Cards, Bank of America (for my car)…the list goes on. I know this shouldn’t dampen my Christmas spirit, but it IS spitting on it just a little bit.

I guess tickets to a basketball game for my parents are gonna have to wait. And my sister’s gonna have to seek alternative gifts from her Ate (how about my unlimited chauffeur services…oh wait – SHE’S ALREADY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THAT!). Oh well, I suppose this year will give me a chance to utilize my other talents (aside from my excellent spending abilities) to account for Christmas gifts with “Love Anna” tags attached to them. I feel myself getting schooled on the true meaning of Christmas already. Here’s to a blessed and inexpensive Noel. Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


So I noticed that every single time there is a new person around us, we always end up telling high school stories; probably because we feel the need to give this person background on how we all met. That’s when the take-me-back-to-1992,1993,1994,1995,1996-stories begin to resurface. Tales of high school mischief are always #1 on the intro list! Just ask the boys about the Valentine gram they messed up for someone at their school, or the corrupt ASB officers who laundered dance money, or the nun who felt compelled to curse her students to burn in the fires of Gehena, or the blind religion teacher they loved to screw over - RELENTLESS I TELL YOU! Our seemingly neverending web of puppy love and infatuation are also fun to recount. Joe’s still waiting for this one girl to pay him back the $47.50 he paid for the dozen roses he bought for her on Valentine’s day in 1996 dammit! And have Cile tell you about the guy who got dressed at the mall and then took her to his prom. And yes, Iya was indeed still the mac that she is now back then.

So why bring this up now? Because I spent the evening watching my sister’s high school basketball team play that’s why. I love watching these young kids (Oh God, cuz I’m not one of them anymore) and remembering what it felt like to be that age, undergoing those experiences you can only fully understand so much later in life. I see the confidence in their strut and the school pride on their faces as they walk around with their friends, scoping the scene with their most discerning eyes. I remember how good it felt to cheer your basketball, volleyball or soccer team to victory because you have the pleasure of sharing the same colors as they. I remember the anticipation before those school dances, getting primped for an evening with friends and the possibility of meeting new people. I remember the music - Pharcyde, Hi-Five, Shai, Mary J. I remember getting to school in the morning, getting through my classes, cheerleading practice - I remember how all that felt! I just can’t believe how long it’s been…
(“Getting to know…” series to be resumed soon. Can’t believe I haven’t done it in a month!)


No, not Christmas elves. Well, really just the ONE elf…LEGOLAS!! Anyhooters, I’m freakin’ excited because one week from today the extended version of Return of the King is gonna be released on dvd!!! 50 extra freakin’ minutes! Can I get a WOW? I know the theatrical version was already kinda long (3 hours 20 minutes), but man! I can’t wait to see all the parts that I couldn’t wait to see on film when I was reading the book but weren’t included in the movie. WOO HOO!!! Sooooo, who’s down for a Lord of The Rings extended versions marathon? Anyone?…Hello?…Bueller?…This thing on?

Hee hee hee…haven’t used my Best Buy credit card in a while cuz I’m saving it for this! CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 06, 2004


Have you ever worried yourself about something and then suddenly get over it? Hmmm...it's interesting. Iya always tells me how it's good to cry over something because it helps you get through it. People really only cry sad tears for one reason right? Because they feel pain, hurt? Physical or emotional.

Well, there was a time when I thought I’d done enough crying to last me lifetimes so I decided to try to control that somehow, not show such weakness. I thought crying only made the already hurt feelings hurt even more. But when you suppress anything, say tears for example which represent sorrow or fear, only one thing can happen right? Boom! Implosion. Unfortunately, the hurt you were trying to suppress seems to hurt even more then.

But I’ve been trying to deal with things differently lately, and allowing myself to cry about something is one of the items on my HOW DO DEAL list. I’ve cried a few times these last couple of weeks (I’m ok, no one worry please) and, honestly? It felt good. There were lots of things I realized after I let my eyes rip it. A great number of thoughts I would probably not have acknowledged suddenly manifested and I feel much better about my position on things. Think of tears as Windex for your senses. You won’t be able to think clearly enough if you don’t wash away the residue that is worry and hurt every once in a while.

Crying really can be cleansing when you realize it’s at your disposal and you can use it whenever you feel like you have to. What a strange concept to think of crying as a form of therapy. And here I used to think crying was for the weak, when actually, it's the strong who know how to cry and then move on.

Saturday, December 04, 2004


I'd be downstairs playing with the Magic Mic. I'm always in the mood to break out into song after I've seen a musical. Accompanied by Cile, James, Riann, Joe, Marnelli, Rachele, Mark, Eric, Randy, Fantone, JaJa & Bev, I saw Les Miserables last night for the 3rd time. I love the actors singing their dialogue. Can you imagine singing everything you said? HOW FUN IS THAT! My favorite parts of the musical were Cile's sporadic outbursts of laughter during really dramatic scenes and everyone's anticipation at hearing the one song they knew from the musical, "On My Own" cuz Joey Potter sang it on Dawson's Creek! HILARIOUS!

We had a late dinner at Full House in Chinatown right after. This was followed by 30-45 minutes at this bar called Hop Louie. It seriously looks like someone's basemet cuz it was so dark, there were Christmas lights along the walls, and these two rather elderly Chinese bartenders were just kickin' it, watching Conan. Cile said that it was a famous place way back when. By the way, I don't know how we always do this but we ALWAYS somehow find a way to tell and retell high school stories. (Joe, Ja & Randy, I think you guys should work on a Murphy Stories blog. That would be MONEY!!!) Thanks again guys for a fun evening!

Anyhow, I'd rather be doing anything BUT what I'm doing right now. I wanted to drop this class like 3-4 weeks into the quarter, but I couldn't return the $85 book I bought so I said to myself, in Isa's famous words, suck it up!

Ok for real, I better get going. This accounting project isn't gonna finish itself...can it? (ha ha ha, I feel like I just wrote a letter cuz I'm all saying "Bye!")....OK OK FOR REAL BYE!

Friday, December 03, 2004


My favorite sound in the whole wide world is THE SOUND OF LAUGHTER! I just realized it recently when I was in a room full of people, in a bit of a daze and I snapped out of it because I heard laughing in the next room. I can’t remember what I was so mystified by and I didn’t know what was causing all the merriment, but for some reason it brought me out of my spell with the nicest feeling inside; a welcoming feeling that could only be brought by the familiarity of your life’s voices. Laughter is one of the most comforting sounds when you’re stuck in a bind and a good friend has brought you some comic relief. It’s the best feeling to laugh so hard you start crying. I love sharing an inside joke with a friend in the corner of a crowded room full of strangers. I love it when you’re trying hard NOT to laugh and you end up laughing so much harder! I love hearing someone’s laugh from another room and knowing exactly who it is.

That’s what Thursday night was filled with – LOTS AND LOTS OF LAUGHTER! From Joemama’s tale of suspicion, to the round table discussion of Iya & Isa’s feline-like fierceness, to the 45-min long live documentary on a man’s love for his Nikes, last night wrote in a few more events into our lifelong book of memories.

Joe’s SUPPLIES (Ok we’re SO gonna wear this expression out and I KNOW that SOMEONE is gonna realize what’s behind it and be offended, but for now we’ll milk it!) was a success because the birthday boy was muy happy! (At least he seemed like it. Dude were you just playing along like you were about the surprise?!) So we all tried to keep our mouths shut for a whole week, until the 11th hour, playing dumb every time we were chatting or talking to Joe, and probably almost slipping a few times. Theda says that her big bro is much too smart for his own good though because he figured there was something weird going on before he got there. Dude why you gotta be suspicious all the time man! Nevertheless, he was (sort of) surprised, he got to spend time with his friends on his birthday and he laughed away so much of his happiness that he ended up crying a little (Are you gonna turn into a crier like Iya, Joe? Is this what getting older comes down to? ha ha ha…jk!).

You can’t get much more out of one day than the satisfaction of surrounding yourself with the laughter of loved ones. THIS laughter is what I live for.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Belated Happy Birthday to my Tita Cecile!!
She turned...yesterday November 30th. Just realized I can't tell you how old she is cuz I might get my booty kicked!!
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Super Belated Happy Birthday Chris! She turned 26 on November 21st. I'm SO tardy!
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Monday, November 29, 2004

Ninong Joey, Kelsoe and Ninong Marc


I had an excellent day of thanks, filled with family bonding and the anticipated beginnings of the holiday weight game. So far I'm winning by the way. After a whole day affair of eating, catching up with my aunts and uncles, eating, watching my cousins toss the football around in the street, eating, playing mahjong, eating, running around following Kelsoe…and did I mention eating, my sister, my cousins and I went to go see NATIONAL TREASURE. Tin, Marc and I really liked! I'm into that Indiana Jones/Goonies treasure hunt kinda things. I love clever movies like that.

And then, like every Friday after Thanksgiving, we put up our holiday decorations. I love our house during the holidays. It's always so festive with the tree and all the holly, greeting cards and snowflakes. My mom was being all anal and mean about the decor though, so we left her for a few hours to decorate the living room herself. Geez mom calm down! You know that tagalog expression "killjoy?" All morning my sister was like, "Mom, murderjoy." Ha ha ha…She simmered down after awhile and the house looks super cheery! You guys should come visit one day! =)
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My Favorite Highlight - Life With Dad

What happened on Saturday, though, would have to take this weekend's award for most notable highlight. My ninong, ninang and cousins from San Francisco just bought a house in Rancho Cucamonga and Saturday was their housewarming party. The directions on the invitation clearly read:

If I were the one driving, I would've followed these directions just as they were given to us because I'm going to an unfamiliar place. But my dad, bless his sometimes lacking common sense, was determined to take the 134 to the 210 freeway because he knows that it now connects directly to the 15. So, my mom and I, not wanting to argue with the male necessity to figure out alternate "better" routes, didn't say a word. So we're driving down the 210 East for about an hour when my mom started to get suspicious, so I called Joe (Thanks Joe!) and he verified that it does connect to the 15. So we finally get to the 15 - but do we go North or South? My dad's like, "Well, sabi ng directions 15 North so 15 North na tayo." With a bad feeling in my stomach I said, "But we're not coming from the 10, dad, we're coming from the 210. What if it's not the same?" But it was too late cuz we were on the 15 North before I could say much more.So we're driving through the foggy traffic and we come upon those signs that list: VICTORVILLE, BARSTOW, LAS VEGAS and the # of miles left to get there. And my dad was like, "hmm…I wonder where Rancho Cucamonga is." I can tell that my mom is about to start yelling so I call my ninong's house and everyone in the background is like, "Where are you guys!" And then my ninong said it, "Oh, if you're coming from the 210 East you need to go on the 15 SOUTH." Ha ha ha…TURN BACK DAD! So we're looking out for an exit and of course we drive for miles and miles through the misty mountains (LOTR tribute) before we finally come upon the Oak Hill off-ramp. Last sign we saw, "Victorville 9 mi."We left our house at 11:40 am and we finally arrive in Rancho Cucamonga at…2:30 pm. I mapquested it and this is 45 miles away from Glendale. We drove 3 hours for a place 45 miles away from our point of origin!!

April, Me and Alyssa = shadow masters!

It was a nice gathering though. My sister and I got to bond with our nieces, April (6 years old) and Alyssa (4 years old). Never played shadow for 2 hours before, but that I did with these girls. THEY WORE ME AND TIN OUT!And then dad got faded with my uncles so I had to drive back home. He was non-stop in the car, asking EVERY 5 minutes if we were “on the right track.” I had to tell him to shush it a few times. Oh man…But we got home in 50 minutes, thanks very much! Men & directions I swear!
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Oh my goodness...I missed ONE class and here I am so screwed already! I just sat through the first 1 hour and 40 min of class and I just now realized how far behind I've gotten. I have 2 accounting projects to do still PLUS a final to study for. What the heck have I been doing!!

I know! I've been doing everything BUT work on schoolwork. Eeeeeks...I think I should hibernate for a couple of weeks. What have I gotten myself into?!

Saturday, November 27, 2004


Every year around Thanksgiving Day, we are constantly barraged by this question: What are you thankful for? And I bet I can speak for more than myself when I say that, when caught unprepared, we’re quick to form the most generic answers known to man. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t express gratitude for our families, friends and our health. Those are, and will always be gifts that we are grateful for. We should be thankful for that EVERYDAY. But if you really sat down and thought about it, what else are you truly thankful for? I was thinking about this today and I came up with 3 of the most significant blessings in my life:
Ø I’m thankful for the gift of POTENTIAL – Have you all heard that saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade?” Well, I used to think that I was a big fan of this attitude towards life – UNTIL I felt like I was getting handed lemons faster than I could produce the darn lemonade. You whine a little, talk about how sick you are of making and drinking this juice that you’ve suddenly formed an aversion to. But then after a while you realize that maybe there’s more to lemons than just lemonade. Maybe you could add it to iced tea or make some pie – SOMETHING! If there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that seeing the potential in everything and everyone around us can be a saving grace in times when it seems like we can’t catch a break. It’s true that situations can become so heartbreaking or disappointing sometimes that you can’t possibly see how it could get better for you. But if you try just hard enough, and believe even just a little bit, you might realize something about the ordeal that could be important to you. And in the interim, you might realize some potential in yourself too.
Ø I’m also thankful for the gift of POSSIBILITY – In the last few years, one lesson has been imbedded into our minds time and again. That is that nothing is ever for sure – NOTHING. I think I’ve undergone and witnessed enough ordeals to know that not every situation or circumstance has JUST a right or wrong or JUST a black or white side. The more complicated the situation, the more shades of gray there are to consider. But often what happens is that we become so consumed by what SHOULD be that we tend to ignore what COULD be. When we ignore the COULD-BE’s in life, we’re ruling out hundreds of options that may help us out of our most challenging, and often perplexing dilemmas. No matter how confined we can feel, I’m starting to believe there’s a lot of truth being suggested when people say that, “The possibilities are endless!”
Ø And lastly, I’m ever so grateful for 2ND CHANCES (and often 3rd or 4th): This has meant so much more to me lately because I’m such a stickler for getting things right the first time – with practically everything. But I’ve looked at the decisions I’ve made and the ones I’m starting to make now and I’m so thankful that there’s this thing called “changing your mind” which works hand-in-hand with “learning from your mistakes.” I’m so terrified of making decisions because I don’t want to be wrong. I’ve forgotten that the only way to learn how to do something right is often to get it wrong first.

So there’s 3 things I’m thankful for. How about you guys?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

HOW MUCH YOU UP? HOW MUCH YOU DOWN? (and I don’t just mean gambling – you shop-a-holics know who you are!)

I’ve been meaning to blog about Vegas for the last 5 days but the entry kept getting longer and longer so I kept putting it off. But I’m done now. Have a sit – this may take you awhile to get through. I love that I talk so much, don’t you? You’ve probably read through J0emama and Rach’s blogs but here’s another POV for ya’ll!

This weekend was…let’s see, how do I put this? DUDE I WENT TO VEGAS WITH MY FRIENDS IT WAS FREAKIN’ AWESOME! I had such an excellent time this weekend that I warned Riann that the blog entry about it would probably take up like 10 screens! But I’ll try to be brief (and coherent because I’m feeling pretty crappy right now and my mind is a little compromised).


Friday morning was quite relaxing for the Town & Country bunch. The GET-YOUR-SHOP-ON kids aka NC-17 got an earlier start. Sorry kids (Joe, Koy, Randy, Rachele, Riann & Cile) for asking you to load up some of our stuff. We weren’t prepared to get the roomy van that we did. Next time screw it! 15 passenger van all the way! It was a quiet couple hours for the most part, with Matt taking the first driving shift and Eric sitting shotgun to keep him entertained. First cd of the trip? Snoop-Drop-It-Like-It’s-Hot Doggy Dogg. He has a duet with Justin on his new cd and I think we listened to it like 5 times before we let the rest of the cd play. The soundtrack of our time in the van was as random as you could get. We went from Snoop to Barry Manilow (with Matt going, “Dude, where’s Mandy!”), some Tagalog tunes, monster ballads, top 40 and late ‘80s & ‘90s slow jams. Eclectic I think.

After a couple hours at Primm where we finally met up with the NC-17 peeps, we headed to Sahara to check in. And upon our arrival, not wanting to waste any kind of time I guess, Matt & Joemama started rocking the shots. Shot after shot after shot…after shot before everyone else had arrived. When the other van got there, madness ensued! Our “rest-time” for the next couple hours consisted of various activities in addition to the minute by minute alcohol intake: pusoy dos in the corner, cigars on the balcony, cameras flashing by the second and the anticipated harassment of the poor and unfortunate few. But then the real party began…

Our Bar...
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Getting Our Party On…

Club Risque at Paris! We thought that with some passes Riann racked up from the concierge that us chicks were free before midnight and the guys would only have to pay a $15 cover. We were first in line behind the velvet ropes where we soon discovered an alternative to this option. The bouncer man (who, I swear, looked like he could be The Rock’s younger brother) talked to Cile and Riann and there we began it: bottle service baby! Upon entry, with a glass of champagne in hands, we were led to a U-shaped sectional and table with a “reserved” sign on it (which, by the way Randy smuggled! Freakin’ clepto!) right by the dance floor. We had a lady and gentleman bartenders mixing drinks for us, refilling the ice bucket every time it came halfway and checking on us every 20 minutes. Talk about VIP treatment! The best part of this evening? Everyone was SO down to party. We even got Rochelle to down 3 drinks! That was a feat in and of itself!

I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun at a club! It was hip-hop night, thankfully, so it didn’t take much for us to take over the dance floor. You know how we are when we go out. We swear we own the place! And this evening was certainly no exception. I loved that the dance floor wasn’t so crowded that the sweat of the person dancing next to you was all up in our faces. I loved seeing my friends so excited at the first beat of a familiar song like BBD’s Poison, Black Sheep’s The Choice is Yours or Tribe & LOTNS’s Scenario. Us old fogies still love our old skool! I loved Joemama’s nerve to request Rachele’s most hated song and then witnessing the contempt in Rachele’s face and absolute refusal to dance to it even after we sandwiched her in the middle of the dance floor! I loved that the dj played, of all songs on HIP HOP NIGHT, Sweet Home Alabama! But you know what I loved even more? That my friends started the line dancing to it! Oh man! Koy and I were busting up on the couch watching! I laugh every single time I remember the madness of that evening. But I smile even more because I remember how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. Very lucky indeed.
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Our 2nd day in Vegas wasn’t as hectic. The gamblers continued to gamble and the freaks with the shoe fetish continued to entertain their obsession. At one point in the afternoon, as we stood in the middle of an aisle at the Nike outlet, Joe and Randy are frantic about finding a “left shoe.” “HURRY HELP ME FIND A LEFT SHOE!” Oh my goodness, they must’ve searched through 10 boxes of the same style looking for a flawless left shoe to go with a flawless right one. Insane? Just a little. I found a pair of Nikes there courtesy of Riann and Cile’s keen eyes for my taste. $14.99 = $16.11 with tax! HELLO! WHAT A DEAL!

Shoes up the yin yang...
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We went to Sunday Vigil mass at the Church of the Holy Redeemer and then stood in line for the Bellagio buffet. It was about 7:00 pm by the time we sat down to eat and my last meal before that was 11:00 am – an egg mcmuffin! 8 hours I didn’t eat! How the hell did I do that! On the way back to the hotel, we stopped for gas where we realized that Matt can be a bad joke-teller. Please don’t ask him to tell you the one about the pirate. More jokes were told later on…mean jokes that I’m not even gonna get into. Matt, Joemama and Chris, you guys are terrible! Too bad we were all laughing! Ha ha ha

Get your buffet on!
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Later that evening, the NC-17 crew got all dolled to play games at Midway, while the rest of us decided to either gamble at Sahara (After a riveting lesson in craps by Edwin) or rest up at the hotel. Eric, Rea, Matt, Rochelle, Edwin, Stacy and I chose the latter. (Nap party in action!) Which was, for all intensive purposes, the right thing to do because of the sleepless night ahead.
After meeting up with NC-17 at Zuri, a bar/lounge at MGM, Edwin, Bobbers, Stacy, Matt, Joemama, Iya, Chris and I headed to Orleans for a late dinner and a seemingly endless night of gambling. Funny thing is, I was there with all of them for almost 4 hours and didn’t gamble one cent. Thankfully, the coffee I had earlier that evening kept me awake enough to walk back and forth between Chris sitting at one Pai Gow table, Bobbers, Iya & Stacy sitting at the Pai Gow table next to him, and Joemama and Edwin standing at the craps table across the way. Matt stayed in the van and slept all night. We didn’t get back to the hotel until about 7:15 the next morning.
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Snow Day…

Edwin and Stacy left a little before 8 am. After about an hour or so on the road, we get a text from them: IT’S SNOWING. What the heck! We look out on the balcony at the mountains in the distance and there was no mistaking it…snow! In November! In Las Vegas! After a buffet breakfast at Sahara and Joemama’s failed attempt to cash out (he sat down at the last second before we left. Geez!) we headed for home.

Snoooooooooooow! We couldn’t believe it! We weren’t expecting the mountainsides to be COVERED! And we certainly weren’t expecting for it to SNOW while we were on the road! 34 degree weather. US CALIFORNIANS ARE SOOOOO WEAKSAUCE IN THE COLD! Ha ha ha…just running from the van to the gas station to take a whizz was a task for us warm-blooded things, shivering galore!

Snow up in here!!!
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The weekend ended with a satisfying dinner at Thai BBQ on 3rd Street. And now here we are…back to reality. Here’s to our next visit to Sin City!!!

Good Times...
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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

First Light

I remember Cile telling me one day how I used to hate guys. No I didn’t, I told her. But then I stepped back and began to hear all these things I used to say and see these things I used to do that sure proved her right. Loving and caring for someone has, at times (actually most of the time) ended rather unfortunately for me (if I haven’t already broadcasted that enough). And oh it’s so easy to play the victim after the proverbial organ in my body has been shattered to molecules. Woh is me! No one loves me! It was a mighty horrid time in my life…and my poor friends’ lives who were attacked daily by my self-inflicted anguish (Thanks guys, you’re the best!).

For a long time I used these heartbreaking instances as hard-earned lessons of what can occur when you care about someone who doesn’t care about you in the same way. I reminded myself everyday of that horrible feeling and vowed NEVER EVER to let that happen to me again. In effect I made myself over-cautious and hyper-afraid of everything around me that posed the slightest threat to my newfound view on love. I turned my head away from every possibility that I used to pray for, hating everything that had to do with this emotion that seemed so easily accessible to everyone but me. I had become what I never imagined I could ever become: a cynic, a pessimist – A NONBELIEVER.

I molded myself into this new role with the greatest of ease. I became uncomfortable around everyone whose eyes had been shaped into hearts and whose personas had turned towards this bright light of love whose rays never shone on me. I used jealousy and contempt to shun the greatest of emotions, more often than once unintentionally hurting those close to me because of it.

But what a joke this was! Because while I spoke and acted the part of the pessimist, inside I was secretly hoping that this really wasn’t me. I was irony incarnated, deliberately uttering words and carrying out actions which defied their actual meanings. I really did believe in love and that it could happen one day; that the happy endings in movies weren’t just images on the big screen, but events that actually happened in real life. I was just using this façade as protection from that which I was so afraid of: not ever being loved back. I was lying to everyone, most especially myself, and everyone could see that except me…until now.

I’ve realized lately that cynics can be converted too and that the one thing I was lacking in life wasn’t love, it was trust – self-trust. I couldn’t trust myself to be OPEN to the possibility of feeling for someone again, and that, my friends, was the source of my downfall. I was too afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle hurt or pain of that magnitude if it happened again. I was so scared that it would feel a hundred times worse than before if I got fooled into being optimistic.

I’m not gonna lie and say that everything is okay now and that I don’t feel fear anymore because I’m scared more than ever. But I’m willing to see the courage I’ve got to face this fear that I often create myself. I’m not gonna let on that I’ve forgotten everything that caused me to hurt so much before because you don’t ever forget that kind of pain. But I’m willing to test my tenacity to feel this pain again, cry because of it but not be consumed by it. I’m not gonna say that the walls around my heart have been torn down and that I’m ready to jump the first opportunity that comes along. Those walls were quick and easy to build, although much harder to penetrate and destroy. But I’m willing to open the doors and windows if only to let the air of possibility back in.
Uncertainty can be scary, I know, but I heard somewhere that “Not knowing is the sweetest mystery in loving another person. And how much you can love is the greatest discovery you can have of yourself.” Discovery meeting mystery, there's a match made in heaven!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

EEEEEECCCCCCCKKK!...I just came from another funfilled weekend in Vegas and I'm feeling so sick! My voice is all hoarse from laughing all Friday night and I'm just tired. I shall blog about it soon and show you the 82 pictures I took. Dude, I can't freakin' believe I even took that many pictures! I told you my digicam's like my best friend! I love it! Ok, I gotta go get SOME rest. I was planning to call in sick to work, but I can't because we're taking our holiday cards picture and I can't be missing. That would be sad! PLUS it's Monday. It doesn't help that I have class after work either! Monday is going to be a looooooooooooooong ass day! I hope all ya'll recovering from this weekend's insanity will find this week much more pleasing to deal with since it's only 3 days long. Yay Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


You know what's incredible? The number of times in one day I had to drive in and out of my garage. I got up at 8:00 am on Saturday morning (after having just gotten off the phone with Cile 3 hours before. That's right, we got off the phone at 5 am cuz we both talk so much! I love it!) because I had to drive my sister to the orthodontist in Carson. We got home at about 11:00 am, sat for about half an hour before I had to leave again to take Tin to basketball practice at 12:00 noon. THEN, at about 1:15 pm, Rochelle called because she and Matt were kinda stranded at the Mitsubishi dealership getting her car fixed. So I picked them up and took them to Matt's house. About 5 minutes after I got home, 1:45, I left to PICK UP Tin from practice. When we got home I plopped on my bed and slept for a good hour or 2 before I had to get ready to go to my Tita Cecile's house for a dinner. She and her roommate invite a few friends and family over every year and this year I got invited. I helped them get everything ready, cooked a little bit and I stayed there until about 9:40 pm. I went home, got dressed and then Tin and I headed out to Burbank to watch THE INCREDIBLES at 10:45 with the gang. FUN MOVIE! The funniest part of the evening though occurred before we even got inside the movie theater.

On my way to AMC, Rochelle called and asked me how far I was from the theater and I told her about 5 minutes, why? She advised that they had to save 12 seats and there were only 3 of them in line to get inside (her, Matt and Stacy). So I parked as quickly as I could and as we walked from the parking lot, I called Cile,

Me: "Cile, where are you? Rochelle needs help saving seats."
Cile: "Where are YOU? Who're you with?"
Me: "I'm walking to the movie theater right now I just parked the car. I'm with my sister."
Cile: "Ok hurry!"

So at this point I'm thinking oh crap, maybe they're getting seated already and Cile's outside waiting to give me my ticket. I get to the top of the escalator and there standing by the front door is Cile, Fantone, Kay, Patrick and Randy.

Me: "Why don't YOU guys go in already?!"
Cile: "Rochelle has mine and Randy's tickets and Gwen has Fantone's,Pat's and Kay. Gwennie's still parking. Where're YOUR tickets!"

We all start busting up laughing because we're all stranded in front. So we call Matt.

Matt: "Where are you guys! Hurry up there's only 3 of us in here saving 12 seats!"
Me: "Dude you have our tickets!"

So we're all like, what're we gonna do? Gwennie finally arrived but she still had to get the tickets from the machine because she ordered them online. 'Lo and behold, Mark and Christine get to the top of the escalators and no, we didn't greet them with warm hellos. Instead...

All of us, frazzled and talking at the same time: "HURRY UP GET IN THERE AND GET OUR TICKETS SO WE CAN ALL SIT DOWN ALREADY!!!"

Oh man, why we always gotta roll so deep!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Friday night marked one of 5 birthday celebrations for Iya. SorRY popular! We began the evening with a most delectable dinner at Macaroni Grill, complete with an operatic birthday ode to our celebrant. Bread dipped in oil and vinegar MMMMMMMM... Eeeks that’s so dang good! Too bad our waitress dropped Joe’s leftover plate on Rochelle’s head. Oh Bobbers, are you ok? Poor thing!

After dinner, we did the typical asian thing and took bunches of pictures in front of the new AMC theaters in Burbank. So tempted were we to take prom-like photos on the big staircase, but we settled for some goofy pictures instead. And then I dropped Edween’s leftovers on the floor.
=( Kasi naman! I was holding my leftovers, Cile’s leftovers PLUS Edwin’s leftovers. Hold your own damn food people! Ha ha ha…jk! He had like calamari and pork chops I think. Ops! Sorry Edwin. I owe you a drink in Vegas!

We ended the evening at Gitana’s doing what we LA peeps do best: have coffee, tea, and hookahs as we catch up on each other’s lives. Love it! Poor Edwin had to pay freakin' $30 cuz he knocked over a hookah by accident but when the servers cleaned it up, they didn't mention that it broke. Only after they gave us the bill did they mention that they tacked on $30 to have the hookah repaired. Geez! Anyhow, check out the pictures on the link on the left!


Monday, November 15, 2004


I took a personal day off of work today because I need to study for my payroll accounting midterm. Although, if you spent any kind of time with me this weekend, you'd swear the exam was in 4 months instead of 4 hours from now! But I'm studying as we speak (Geez, could've fooled your readers since you're BLOGGING ANNA! It's called "study break." It's a vast improvement from UCI days when our study breaks consisted of going to the beach, staying up until 4 am watching MTV and talking during finals week. It's a real blessing in disguise I'm not friends with anyone in this class). So ummm...why didn't anyone tell me I wanted to be a writer before this semester started? Then I'd be busy writing stories instead of learning how to fill out W-2 forms! Ha ha ha...it's ok. It's not totally useless information.

Anyhow, I must go back to my Form 941's, Earned Income Credit and the wonders of a 401K. Happy Monday everyone!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite bed messer-upper ATE CYN!!!
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Friday, November 12, 2004


Why the heck did this week, these 7 days, feel like 7 years!!! Have a great weekend everyone! Be safe!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Happy 6th Year Anniversary Riann & Joe!!!
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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
- Anais Nin

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“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into. “
~Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

I remember when I was 3 years old, my mom was teaching me the difference between what had life and what didn’t. She showed me flash cards of rocks, animals, children, etc and I would tell her whether I thought these things were alive or not. And I distinctly remember her showing me a picture of a daisy and I quickly responded, “No.” And mom, with that surprised look that adults give toddlers when they’ve done or said something perplexing said, “No? Yes of course it is! Flowers are alive because they grow…like YOU!” And the image has never been clearer.

Flowers are very much alive. Without all the anatomical complexities of creatures such as you and me, they too can channel emotion…or at least help US channel emotion. If there’s one thing that can express a hundred different sentiments, it’s flowers. Flowers say “I love you” to a special someone on Valentine’s Day, “I thank God you were born” on birthdays, “Congratulations“ for your new baby or your new career, "Good-bye” at funerals or the ever-popular “I’m sorry” on those rare moments of discontent between couples. Flowers can convey just about any feeling.

I love flowers! I love white roses that are barely open, so fragile and so pure. I love the simplicity of carnations, which have no visible centers but whose petals lie gently staggered on the stem. I love the flawless curves of plumeria and the open arm-like petals of hisbiscus, which will always remind me of beautiful Hawaii. What miracles!

Iya in the morning...
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Iya contemplating at Pearl Harbor: "Really? Am I really almost 30?"
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This is Iya trying to blend in with the wall at L & L
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Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Gosh I've been wanting to blog about like a hundred things but I haven't had the time! Soon though. I've got all these entries in my word files at work (probably soon to be read by someone in the office. That would NOT be cool!).

Anyhow, I hope you're all having a good week so far. Mine's been pretty good actually. I think maybe it's because I'm not Little Miss Whiney & Grumpy lately. Enjoy it while it lasts guys! Hee hee hee hee...ByeByeBye for now (My little *NSYNC tribute. I miss those guys!)!!!

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Our house is finally livable again! Today marks the last day I’m going to be cleaning up because of the darn remodelling and I can’t tell you how happy I am! I’M FREAKIN’ ECSTATIC RIGHT NOW! All the furniture is where they’re supposed to be. All the boxes of extraneous clutter have either been put away, given away or thrown away. Our closets seem fuller, yes, but much neater. And the floors and new paint look really nice. My next project is to figure out how I’m going to display pictures, posters and diplomas. It shouldn’t take too long, although I realized last night how I can be OCD at times. Yeah yeah yeah…I know I CAN be. It’s not bad to be organized right? So I like 90-degree angles and symmetry! So what? Too bad that as neat of a person as I am, there are times when I just can’t find ANTHING in this room!

Anyhow, after the morning/afternoon we spent cleaning, I went to mass and then headed off for yet another great evening spent in the company of great friends, delicious food and wonderful entertainment. After a gratifying meal at the Argentinian restaurant, Lala’s, a bunch of us went to go see a show by the Groundlings. It’s set in this small theater on Melrose, surrounded by restaurants and shops (with Pink’s Hot Dogs around the corner). The show tonight was one hilarious sketch comedy on top of another. This place not only host shows for ticket sales, but as a teaching tool as well. This comedy club/school boasts some popular comedians you’ve probably seen in film and tv, including freakin’ Pat Morita (yes, Mr. Miyagi), Jon Lovitz, Kathy Griffin PLUS SNL’s own Phil Hartman, Will Ferrell, Cheri Oteri, Chris Parnell, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gastyer, Julia Sweeney and Seth Meyer. I think they’re so amazing! It’s not easy to make people laugh. Actually, I’ve heard a lot of actors say that it’s much easier to make someone cry than it is to make them cackle. And cackle they did make the audience do tonight.

After Groundlings, we walked 4 blocks back to our car from Stir Crazy, this coffee place we got a chance to sit, talk and analyze each other’s goings-on. On the way, a police car whizzes by, a helicopter is literally circling the area, and this guy walking with us across the street from Bungalow club is holding a t-shirt to his left ear and neck because was bleeding. So…the nosey people that we are, the 10 of us stood there across the street where the cops apprehended this other guy and sirened their way out. And then when I got to my car I discovered that I had gotten a $40 parking ticket. Oh well, what can I do? That’s what I get for not reading signs more carefully. Anyhow, it was a fun evening! Thanks everyone! Tomorrow, Sunday I tackle some accounting homework and an accounting project. Gee, I can’t wait…

Friday, November 05, 2004



Before all this crazy election week happened, I had a funfilled weekend! On Friday night we had to pick up my aunt, uncle and cousin at the airport. They arrived here from New York to stopover before they had to head back to the Philippines the next evening. We got to hang out for less than 24 hours, but every little minute we were doing something together so it was ok. My mom and I took them to the DSW at Paseo Colorado to go shoe shopping. I’m not much of a shoe person, but dude! When you’re there you wanna like try on everything you think would look good on you! actually there are these adidas sneakers I saw in a store up north like 2 months ago and I’ve been looking for them ALL OVER THE PLACE! No luck though…

Mexican Food & Bowling

That Saturday night, we celebrated Ate Tin-Tin’s birthday at a Mexican restaurant in Orange called “Moreno’s.” My sister and I shared a tamale/cheese enchilada combo, complete with Spanish rice and beans…mmmmmm, heart attack on a plate! Loved it! The atmosphere was truly authentic. No sign of wannabe Mexican flavor a la Chevy’s here. There was a mariachi band walking around the restaurant (from the patio to the inside) playing everything from traditional mariachi sounds to, get this, “It’s A Small World,” much to the pleasure of a buzzed Ate Tin-Tin, who, by the end of the dinner had on the natural eye shadow that appears when she’s had too much alcohol.

With our stomachs filled and our moods uplifted with each other’s mere company, we headed to Concourse Lanes for some bowling. Cile, Joe and I were filled with nostalgia! Us “LA Peeps” went through a bit of a bowling phase back in college (Gee, THAT doesn’t sound too great!). We used to be at Hollywood Lanes at least 2-3 times a week! And it used to be open 24/7 so we’d be bowling at like 1 in the morning! Anyhow, I digress. Saturday’s bowling was just as fun! The best I did was a spare in the 7th frame of the 2nd game! HALLO!!!! I averaged about 7-8 pins per frame and pretty much romalioed the rest (FYI: “ROMALIO!” is a term we yell for people who bowl gutters). Anyhow, at 10:30 the alley turned off most of the lights and played some music, so we bowled AND shook our booties to Christina Aguilera, Blackeyed Peas and some other hip hoppin’ sounds. HOW FUN IS THAT! Everyone was getting all crazy! Jason (aka Lusty) and Jean seriously thought they were at a club dancing and drinking on the side; Isa and I were doing cheers and Kay was doing one of her famous dances. By the way, Kay and Pat? M.F.E.O. (That’s from Sleepless in Seattle. Look it up if you don’t know what it means) Anyhow, please ask her to dance for you when you see her. Ha ha ha…I’m laughing just thinking about it right now! Anyhow, the evening ended with Ate opening up her gifts galore, which included a yoga mat, coffee maker, Pepperdine sweatshirt and license plate frame, coffee, the Mulan dvd and a gift certificate to BJ’s. Hooray! (Click to see pictures on the side!)

Halloween on Santa Monica Blvd

I’ve never really been the celebrate-and-get-all-crazy-on-Halloween kind of gal. Actually, we’ve only just barely started participating in Halloween festivities these last few years. But I don’t think you can say you’ve celebrated All Hallows Eve until you’ve spent it in LA. We began the evening at Cile’s house giving out candy to the dozens upon dozens of kids trick-or-treating around her neighborhood. We saw all kinds of costumes and the excited look on all the children’s faces (the ones that weren’t covered with masks that is) really brought me the holiday spirit that I had forgotten about for so long. Everyone and their dog was there! There were like 2-3 sets of Fanta "girls," like 10 Britney Spears, 50 sailors and more I can't even begin to tell you about. (Click to see the pictures on the side!) Happy weekend everyone!!


Have you guys ever heard of stud finders? No, they’re not devices that help you find guys! They’re these handheld things that you guide along a wall in search of “studs” aka wooden planks. This is just in case you want to hang something on the wall but want to assure that you’re not hammering a nail onto drywall. Anyhow, since we had to paint the rooms in my house, we had to take down everything we had hanging on the walls. We borrowed a stud finder from my co-worker, Tony, so we could re-hang all our picture frames and coat racks properly. It’s a pretty nifty device and when Tony handed it to my mom yesterday, she was so fascinated by it. Just how fascinated? When I got downstairs this morning I saw my mom running the stud finder along the wall of the staircase and I was like, “Ummmm, mom? What’re you doing?” And she jolted like she got caught doing something dumb (which she was), so she was like, “Oh, I’m just practicing.” Oh man…

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Hey everyone! In MTV’s famous words, don’t forget to “ROCK THE VOTE!” It doesn’t matter who or what you vote for, just vote! It’s one of our most unique privileges as Americans! I’m kind of excited and scared at the same time. I SHOULD have been able to vote in the last presidential election in 2000. I was in Washington, DC for crying out loud! How awesome would that have been? But my absentee ballot never came =(. It was fun watching everyone else around me be all crazy though. Ha ha ha… I’m just a little concerned because I still need to read up on the issues to make an informed decision tonight. Here’s hoping…

*Another funny Cile moment: So Cile, James and I were on 3-way last night and we were talking about the candidates and the propositions on the ballot. James is Canadian (as he will proudly tell you) so Cile asked him very innocently: “Hey James, in Canada, do you have a president like we do? Or do you have like kings and stuff?” hee hee hee…LOVE YOU CILE!

Getting to know...

Vitals: Met when I was a wee little baby in the Philippines. He’s my daddy’s daddy – 26 years and counting
Role In My Life: Stateside Grandfather – I’m one of the lucky individuals who have been blessed with the presence of both sets of grandparents for a good 25 years of my life. I’m so very grateful for this opportunity and Tatay is one of the four reasons why. I got to L.A. in April of 1982 when I was 4 years old and, aside from my dad who I hadn’t seen in 3 years, my grandfather’s face was a most welcoming source of familiarity in this strange new place that was to be my new home. For as long as we’ve been here, Tatay has been our daily pick-up from school, our source of laughter, our encouraging (although sometimes manipulating) voice and the head of our whole immediate and extended family. My aunts and uncles call him the “Godfather" because every time there’s an issue to deal with, everyone looks to him for guidance. He’s also an EXCELLENT cook and wonderful pianist.
Good Times: Tatay used to be the night auditor for the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown so he would sleep ALL DAY and then leave for work at about 9:00 pm. I distinctly remember seeing him on the recliner like 24/7 and I guess it didn’t click to me until later on why. Anyhow, I learned how to tie a necktie because of Tatay. I used to “help” him with it before he went to work every night. He always used to ask me which suit he should wear with what shirt and tie and I chose ever so carefully with the greatest of pride.
In his own words: “Just try and try and in the long of run, you will success.”

Monday, November 01, 2004


I'm in class...Earned Income Credit...Wage-Bracket Method...blah blah blah...Hi guys! How were your weekends? Did anyone else have to work besides poor Joemama who might as well have not gone home Friday? Or Miss Rachele Mac who had to do report cards? Did you all dress up for Halloween? Ok, I guess I'll go pay attention now...=P Chat with you all after!



Friday, October 29, 2004


Have you ever gone through an ordeal that was less than pleasant? An ordeal, in fact, which took up so much of your energy that at the end of it you can’t figure out how you came OUT of it with sanity and emotions still in tact? Then you hope and pray that it doesn’t EVER happen again, at least not in the same hurtful way…and then you let it happen a few more times? When does the vicious cycle end?

I’ve been analyzing and re-analyzing my theories lately. I haven’t done a thing but look back on various times in my life when the seemingly purest of joy and discovery often turned into poisonous despair and regret. I’ve been saying, for about a month now, how I am the creator of my own destiny, and that there isn’t one thing that’s happened to me that I didn’t help bring upon myself. So I vowed to make a change, and so excited was I when I made this decision. Armed with self-trust and new hope, I set out on this figurative journey of change, ready to salvage and capitalize on whatever was left inside of me . I was ready to take charge of my life.

But I felt my first tinge of doubt yesterday and then again today. What happens when you seem to be reverting back to your old ways? What if you can’t decipher your thoughts and actions quick enough and you’re right back where you started from – nowhere. Heaven help us!

I’m just grateful I can have 2 hour 20 min conversations with a good friend to help me deal. I’ve been feeling pretty “bleh” these last two days and I think it’s because I’ve accumulated enough bottled up emotion to fill a football field. But there’s a remedy for that, talking...and crying. I’m barely learning how to utilize my sources now. It's funny the clarity that comes with experience.

Anyhow, Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


So it was hailing like 3 hours ago and now the sun is out...schizo weather we're having huh? I'm being dumb I know. I'm just intrigued that's all. And I'm just happy it's cold. I LOVE WINTER TIME!...I was truly born in the proper season! I can't wait to wear my scarves and gloves! LOVE IT! Us Californians swear it's like 2 degrees outside huh? All bundled up, when people in the east coast consider this 60 degree weather springtime!? ha ha ha ha...

If you guys could live ANYWHERE in the United States, except for California, where would you like to live? You already know my answer. What would YOUR alternate home cities be, all things considered (weather, city or suburbs, atmosphere, etc)?

Oh my gosh, is it hailing!!!???

Monday, October 25, 2004


Getting to know...

Vitals: Met when I was a mere twinkle in her eye – 26 years and counting
Role In My Life: Most Influential Female Role Model – My mom can cook practically anything, sew up any split seams, hem any skirt or pair of pants, repair any stained shirts and sweaters, make everything sparkling clean AND keep dad and us girls in line. After a long day at the office, she still manages to come home and cook dinner for us and we all love her because we know that if she weren’t who she is, we’d all be lost. Aside from this, my mom is also one of the most spiritual people I know. I not only learned WHY religion is so important in my life, but I also realized HOW it’s so significant just by knowing her. My mom’s a true example of how sowing sacrifice and devotion can reap good fortune and endless gratitude. If I’m lucky, I’ll be half the woman she is now.
Good Times: After my dad left for the states when I was only a year old, my mom and I did what we could to get on without him for the next 4 years. I know 4 years seems like a long time to be apart, but my wonderful parents were up to the challenge. One thing that stands out in my mind is how my dad (who lived with my aunt, uncle, grandparents and cousins in New Jersey) used to send me clothes that my Ate Cheryl had outgrown and I would have a fashion show for my mom, my grandparents and my aunts and uncles. And then there were times when I would cry when my mom would leave for work. So she’d come home everyday with pasalubong for me; not just candy or useless knick-knacks. One time she brought me a hamster, and then another day she brought me home a bird!
In her own words: The following is a conversation I had with my mom over the phone when I was in Hawaii last year:
ME: Hello?
MOM: Hi Leng!
ME: Hi mom!
MOM: Kamusta na? Are you having fun there?
ME: Yeah!
MOM: Anong gagawin ninyo ngayon? (What’re you guys gonna do today?)
ME: We’re gonna go snorkeling!
MOM: You’re gonna go swimming?
ME: No mom, snorkeling.
MOM: Surfing? Oh that’s good.

MOM: Aaaaaaaaaahh…norkeling.



I’m freakin’ pooped man. On Friday night, my parents and I continued to help the remodelling thing along. We put some of the furniture back into the bedrooms, but couldn’t do a full-on clean up because on Saturday morning we painted mine and Tin’s room, plus the walls by the staircase, PLUS the hallway upstairs (which is really more like a landing than a hallway). Today Tin and I went to IKEA to buy these two cabinets for our room. I’m pretty gosh-darn handy with the tools man cuz I put one cabinet together (complete with glass doors) all by myself, thanks very much! And then here’s the dumb part…I begin to assemble the second cabinet and realize that they put two of the same side panels in the box and there's only holes on one side of the panel so I couldn't finish putting it together. So I have to head to IKEA on Tuesday and see if they can replace it because our room, as relatively put-together as it is, still needs to be cleared of all the crap I need to put in that cabinet.

Both bedrooms, living room and kitchen are still in a shambled mess, but we did get to lighten up their load just tad this evening. We brought up about 65% of our boxes up here to our room and I’ve BEGUN to organize. There’s a lot of stuff all over the place, but that’s ok because I know exactly where everything goes…I just have to put them in their respective places that’s all.

On Saturday night, I got a break from all the madness because we had dinner at Tita Cecile’s house for my grandfather and mom’s birthdays. Lots of food! It’s so shameful when I realize I how much I’m eating when I’m eating. But I can’t help it when I’m hungry. Terrible! And then later on that night, I got talked into “watching” THE GRUDGE. I’ve been resisting EVERYONE who’s tried to get me to watch this, but last night after a couple more hours of coaxing, I finally gave in. I have a really active imagination, folks. It’s awful what one scary scene can do to me at bedtime. I literally had my head under my peacoat for about 95% of the movie. I only fully watched (meaning with both eyes open and uncovered) daytime scenes which bit me in the ass anyhow because of this one scene that made me jump cuz I was so not expecting it. On the way home and then today, my sister and I were talking about the movie (because she and my 2
cousins came too) and I was so puzzled because I seriously didn’t see anything important to the plot. Ha ha ha…I just kept asking my sister questions and she was like, “Geez Ate, did you see anything at all?” ha ha ha…well, it was fun screaming with everyone. I love watching movies with a big audience. So fun!

Thanks for the clean-up break guys. I really needed it.

Friday, October 22, 2004


I just realized that I sat on the couch last night for 3 straight hours. From 8-8:30 I watched JOEY, then followed that with WILL & GRACE until THE APPRENTICE & CSI at 9:00. Then I watched ER from 10:00-11:00. Daaaaaaaaaang! Could I have BEEN more unproductive on a Thursday night? I attempted to start cleaning out some stuff from our room but can’t seem to do it because I don’t know where anything goes anymore. I’m planning to buy these two cabinet/shelf thingies from Ikea, but I don’t wanna buy it until after we paint the bedroom…Oh the dilemma huh?…

And then the Lakers lost last night. I was flipping channels in between commercials to catch bits and pieces of the game, and when I saw D-Fish in that Golden State uniform can I just say that MY HEART SANK! I think the Purple & Gold are up for an expansion season this year, don’t you think? I hardly recognize anyone on the team! Spending like, what, a third of the payroll on 1 player? Oh Mitch and Dr. Buss…must reap what you sow I guess. I’m no fair-weather fan so I’m just gonna be supportive. We’ll have to wait and see I suppose…

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Happy Birthday Ate! (this is Ate Tin-Tin in my sister's uniform trying to reclaim her youth)
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


My house is a freakin’ frackin’ talagang crazy mess right now! Really, it’s a zoo, complete with dust bunnies and critters disguised as scraps of paper scuttling through every single crevice in the house! Where did all that paper come from anyhow? We’re having the carpeted floor upstairs plus the staircase changed to hardwood and for the last 3 days, my parents, my sister and I have been hauling our crap up and down the stairs causing the living room and dining room to be just - Aaaaaaarrrrggggghhh!!! I’m a bit of a neat freak so ya’ll know this is killing me! (Ate Cyn you’d love to see me all nuts right now, wouldn’t you?) The only thing getting us through this is looking forward to what the rooms will look like when the floors are done, the walls are painted and the proper furniture is in the proper places.

We’ve really been cleaning out the house of stuff that should’ve been tossed or donated long ago. Anyone here admit to being a sentimental packrat? I DO! I mean there are certain things I probably will NEVER get rid of; old papers (can’t be a writer if I can’t look back on my progress right?), figurines and mementos from loved ones, PCN and theater programs, ticket stubs and invitations that I SWORE I would put in a scrapbook but (5 years later) still have not…aaaaaaahhhh!!! And I was looking into being one of those professional organizers! You know they actually have an organization for that? NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers!) Anyhow, now is as good a time as any to begin cleanup I guess. Oh help…

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


I love rain. I love how they forecast rain so we can prepare ourselves, but I love it even more when there isn’t a cloud in the sky one minute and next thing you know, the windows are covered in raindrops.I love it on days when my car is filthy and a quick run to the grocery store gets me a free rinse. I love when an impromptu downpour causes two people to seek refuge under one jacket, knowing they’re still gonna get wet. I love that rain forces people to feel lazy just for even a few hours on a Sunday so they’re not stressing over work or chores. I love rain during bedtime, when I don’t care to listen to soft music to help me fall asleep because the rhythmic pitter-patter outside is lullaby enough. I love how the rain makes me ponder some of my most wonderful dreams as well as my most awful fears.

I love the symbols that rain provides. Sometimes it stands for the (un)timeliness of hardship – “When it rains it pours.” And other times it stands for rebirth, renewal and growth. Overpowering rain cause hurricanes and typhoons, while the gentlest showers provide relief for thirsty flowers and plants.

Rain is a funny thing. Sometimes I can’t tell whether it comes at the very moment I feel an ounce of sadness or whether I feel all melancholic BECAUSE it’s raining. I just happened to chance upon this, “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?” kind of question this past weekend. Iya’s grandfather, may God rest his soul, passed away on Friday night. We attended his viewing on Sunday afternoon in the midst of the rainy weather and for some reason I became more aware of everything happening and feeling around me; as if the rain became this mirror which reflected the things I hadn’t taken note of before; like the peace, not the anger, that death can provide; the strength you see in those around you and the purity of their intentions when you yearn for a glimmer of thoughtfulness.

Rain can do all this? I learned that it can…when you let it. Take a moment this week while the heavens are crying and see what you discover. Reflection is a powerful thing...

Monday, October 18, 2004

Getting to know…


Vitals: Met the summer of 2001 when she came to work at PFS = 3 years and counting
Role In My Life: Source of (In)Sanity at the Workplace – You’ve all heard me b*tch and complain about my job; the customers, the pay, the boredom, etc. Ate Belle, however, is one of the few factors that have made my 40 hours a week more bearable. You’ll often catch us venting to each other during our lunch (which we usually have together), gossiping when we’re stuffing envelopes, or having a quick catch-up session by the fax machines. Can’t be too unhappy when you’re working with someone as fun as Ate Belle!
Good Times: Random Del Taco runs! The closest fast-food place we have is Del Taco, and on days when we’re feeling just plain crappy and blah, Ate Belle and I will either email each other (as if she isn’t on the other side of my cubicle!) or look at each other and just be like, “Del Taco?”
In her own words: “Ate! (Ate Belle’s older than me, but she calls me “Ate” too. Weirdo!) Kinikilig ako!” (Kilig kinda means “giddy” in tagalong). Ate Belle and I are 24/7 giddy about SOMETHING all the time; either with something that happened to ourselves or something that happened to someone else.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Whenever I'm down, I think of this little boy...This is Kelsoe doing the phone thing...
Posted by Hello

Hey everyone, will you all please keep Iya and her family in your prayers? The last time we spoke, her grandfather wasn't doing too well. I'm sure she'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

(sort of, cuz now I'm all hyper. Pat, get me at a 5 please cuz right now I'm coasting at a 9!)

Ha ha ha...I'm ok now. Not gonna let that jerk get me down. Besides, I had the most encouraging, wonderful conversation with Cile last night so it kinda cancelled out the one I had with that dumb jackass. I think God noticed how calm I've been lately and decided to give me a quick and painless kick in the rear to see if I was still breathing. Ha ha ha...

I feel like I have so much do, everyone! I'm SO not gonna waste my time stressing over that guy or ANY thing for that matter that tries to ruin my day. I feel, for once, that I'm excited, not scared, to see what I can do with myself. I used to say how having so many opportunities and choices was a bad thing. How wrong am I! That's the BEST part of everything: having all these choices to pick from and seeing which one is right for you. I hope that if any of you guys are still confused about your purpose in this world (as am I), that you'll realize that it's okay to be unsure. In fact, I'm learning to embrace this whole uncertainty business. I'm slowly learning that I don't have to understand everything that's happening (or not happening) around me. I believe that I will find something I love to do and I'm going to do it. And I believe that for every single one of you guys who can't seem to place yourself anywhere either...right now. IT'S OKAY! We're going to find something together! C'mon let's go!

Okay Anna, aren't you blogging on the clock?...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

BLOOD IS BOILING (Please beware of the profanity to come...)

I just had the most heated phone conversation with one of our insureds right now and I am TICKED THE HELL OFF! Every other word out of his mouth was "f*ck." "F*ck this and F*ck that! You f*cking people don't know shit! You're all f*cking retarded...blah blah blah..." And usually I'm very calm, "Please sir, I can't help you if you're talking to me like that. Why don't I -- " But he woudn't even let me finish talking. "F*cking put someone on the phone who knows what they're f*cking talking about because you obviously don't. Let me f*cking talk to a supervisor!" After he said that I felt my whole body snap, "YOU KNOW WHAT SIR, I'M TRYING TO HELP YOU AND I CAN'T DO THAT IF YOU'RE YELLING AT ME! I DON'T APPRECIATE YOUR TONE OF VOICE AND I DON'T APPRECIATE YOUR PROFANITY!" It was 4:55 pm! So I put him on hold and just let out a shrieking AAAAAAARRGGGHH! Ate Belle (my co-worker) was like, "Transfer him to me."

So she talked to him in the calmest voice and he continued to yell and curse her. She told him everything that I did and he STILL asked for a supervisor because he said he didn't know if she was really one. My guess is that he was waiting to speak with a man. YOU SEXIST RUDE ASSHOLE I HOPE YOU FALL INTO A HOLE!!!


...and we're counting backwards...100...99...98...97...96...95....okay I'm calm now. I just haven't been riled up in so long. Kinda felt good actually. But people like that make me soooooooooo angry!! I'll just pray for him I guess...PRAY HE FALLS INTO A HOLE!