Friday, February 27, 2004

DANCIN’ DIRTY

Is it dumb that I wanna watch DIRTY DANCING: HAVANA NIGHTS? At first I thought, geez what a corny ass idea. But I caught the tail-end of the MTV special on it this morning and I was like, oooh dope soundtrack and excellent dancing! I love watching movies that have all this dancing in it (i.e. CENTER STAGE, SAVE THE LAST DANCE, DIRTY DANCING, heck! BRING IT ON! etc). And doesn’t Diego Luna (I think that’s his name) look like the geek in CAN’T HARDLY WAIT? My cousin brought it up and man! He totally looks like the guy in the movie who was out to get Mike Dexter but ended up drunk himself. Ha ha ha…I’m laughing just thinking about it. Anyhow, I don’t know who’d wanna watch this with me. I’m thinking maybe Leia or Riann or Ate…Fantone? Anyone? My sister will probably be like, “Naaah.”

Anyhoo, every time I watch movies like this I always want go out and do something related to it. After CENTER STAGE I was determined to see a ballet. I discovered, however, that ballets aren’t that prevalent much around here. I would’ve settled for the NUTCRACKER because I’ve actually been wanting to watch that, but as usual, funds are scarce during the holiday season so that plan was a negatory. After SAVE THE LAST DANCE, I SO wanted to go clubbin’! After I watched BRING IT ON, I broke out with our old cheerleading video. Yes sir, if you didn’t know already, I was a cheerleader in high school (one of the co-captains during my senior year, thank you very much!).

Anyhoo, DIRTY DANCING – HAVANA NIGHTS…any takers?

Monday, February 23, 2004

Defeating the Purpose

I was so proud of myself today. I didn't eat any rice (preparing myself for the Lenten season) AND I spent an hour at the gym. I sweat...sweated (is this even a word?) on the nordic thingy AND I walked/jogged 3/4 of a mile on the treadmill AND i worked out my arms AND managed to do some abwork right after. Fernand came to work out with me and he had quite an evening as well. After we left the gym, Fernand mentioned he hadn't eaten dinner yet and wanted to "eat something sensible."...So we ate at Del Taco!

Thanks for dinner, Fernand! You're an excellent work-our homie!
RETURN OF THE K...ELSOE

That's right, my cousin, his wifey and their little boy, my nephew Kelsoe, flew in tonight from Union City. I gave my aunt and uncle directions to the Long Beach Airport (courtesy of mapquest and yahoo maps) cuz they had to fly JetBlue! Anyhoo, my poor aunt and uncle circled Lakewood Blvd for like 90 minutes looking for any sign of the airport, calling me a few times and I KNOW what you people are thinking, "Dammit Anna, you got some people lost AGAIN?" I just read to them what the stupid mapquest gave me so don't even think it!

Anyhoo, I'm excited to see Kelsoe so badly!!! He's like 9 months now! We haven't seen him since Thanksgiving and we missed his very first Christimas so I'm on pins and needles with excitement. I have to wait until tomorrow though, after class (Iya and I start managerial accounting tomorrow...eeks!)...boo...but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait. I can't tell you how much I miss this baby and his parents! It's been too long!

Ok, I've got some cd's to burn so until next time...I have some new pictures to the right for you to peruse...
Getting to know...

LEIA BETH GERALI aka LEIA ("That's LEE-yah.")
Vitals: Met our sophomore year at UCI. I was a tinikling tapper and she was the big bad tinikling queen = 7 years and counting
Role in My Life: Miss Down-to-do-Whateva - Leia is that friend who you can always call to hang out and do...sometimes nothing but talk or watch tv with. If I don't call her, she calls me and no matter how unplanned our day begins, we always end up relaxed and fully vented at the end of it. But not only is she an excellent person to hang out with, she's one of the greatest listeners and secretkeepers I know.
Good Times: ANNA-LEIA DAYS - These are literally all-day quality times we have doing the same things (as I've noticed recently): Eating, watching a dvd or two, watching tv. riding in the car and talking smack about everything we thought was smack-talk worthy (But hey, THAT'S WHAT WE DO, right joemama?)
In her own words: “For the life of God, can we please sit down and rest!?” (Leia whining in DC after a whole afternoon at the Natural History Museum) I think she meant "For the LOVE of God."

Thursday, February 19, 2004

SINGLE AWARENESS DAY

…that’s code name for Valentine’s Day to us single folks, and this past Saturday, February 14, 2004, we celebrated our 3rd annual celebration of this cursed holiday…I mean blessed – Blessed Holiday. =) Anyhow, this started in 2002 with just 5 “members”: Me, Randy, Iya, Leia and Tin-Tin (my then 11 year old sister, now 13, who I don’t think is even single. She says she is but I beg to differ). Anyhow, we just decided to have dinner at revolving sushi that night. Then last year, we decided to do it again, extending our membership to Ryan, Fantone, and Gwennie. We saw DAREDEVIL at a theater down the street from Revolving that night and just had a great time in each other’s company. Dinner and a movie? Sounds grrret right?

Well, that’s exactly what we planned on this past weekend to follow tradition. Joemama Carlos pimped it with Gwennie, Leia, Iya, Fantone and me as dates on Valentine’s Day. Wasn’t he the lucky dog? Dinner at Revolving Sushi was, of course, pleasing to the stomach while the company was pleasing to the spirit. And following this with 50 FIRST DATES was sheer perfection. Talk about appropo for the holiday! I couldn’t help but fall in love with Adam Sandler’s character, Henry, in this movie. The things he did for Drew Barrymore’s Lucy was nothing short of self-sacrificing and pure and simple loving. It was really touching.

After the movie, it was Coffee Bean for me, Joe, Iya and Fantone. We hung out for awhile for some fun conversation, which is all you really can do at coffee places.

This was truly one of the nicest Valentine’s days I’ve ever had. Granted I was Valentine-less in the formally-accepted sense of the word, I wouldn’t have had it any other way (unless of course Orlando Bloom happened to call and say how Kate Bosworth is nothing compared to ME!…but I live here in the real world where stuff like that happens NEVER). Anyhow, it was definitely the company that made the difference here. For the last three years, Valentine’s Day has become a day I actually look forward to because I had something to do and people to do it with. I spent Saturday evening with 5 friends who I LOVE LOVE LOVE being around. Never short of comical moments or the capacity for insightful conversation, it’s a real wonder why the 6 of us are still single! WE’RE SO AWESOME! Ha ha ha…no but seriously, I love my single brothers and sisters (Randy, Fernand, Marnelli, Fernie, Ryan, Andrew, Larnie, Jason – did I miss anyone? – Jhoette and Cahlo – we missed you all!) and my wish is that we all find love by next Valentine’s day, making our membership to the Single Awareness league zero!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

OH BOO!

It's freakin' gloomy and rainy outside so where should we all be right now? AT HOME SNUGGLED UP IN BED!!!
LONG LIVE AQUARIANS!!

HAPPY 26TH BIRTHDAY PATRICK BALLESTEROS!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 16, 2004

BIRTHDAY WISHES COME TRUE

I was telling Iya last night how I got all teary-eyed during mass last friday, my birthday. This birthday has been a God-send, not because of presents or celebrations, but because it's been a reminder of how lucky I am. I think I expressed this earlier but I can't stress it enough, especially because I've been feeling so down since last year ended and this year began. I was thanking God so much for keeping me alive so long, for letting me have people such as yourselves calling, texting and e-mailing birthday greetings. Just when I think I've had it with this life, I'm always handed something so precious and so neglected by me, like these people I love being around.

Jhoette gets the prize for greeting me the earliest. He called on Thursday night. "Happy birthday Anna! I know it's not 'til tomorrow, but it's tomorrow here already!" And that made me so happy! That began this blessed weekend for me.

On Friday afternoon, Iya brought chinese food to the office and we had lunch in the breakroom. We had shrimp fried rice, beef broccoli, mongolian beef and chow mein. Mmmmmmm I love chinese food! It was so fun hanging out with someone during my lunch! Thanks again Iya!!

After mass with the parentals and my sister that evening, we went to my aunt's house. She bought Thai BBQ and we feasted!! (EAT! That's all I did this weekend!). And then we played LORD OF THE RINGS MONOPOLY! HOW FUN IS THAT GAME!! I'm SO gonna buy it and I'm SO gonna invite you all to play with me! I love hanging out with my family, especially my cousins and my sister! We're so stupid when we're together!

Yesterday, we had lunch at Gordon Biersch, window-shopped around Pasadena, had some ice cream, talked at Coffee Bean, and then had dinner at Noodle World. I love walking around Pasadena on a Sunday afternoon, and to do it with such a fun group of people made the day even better. And for once it didn't rain on my birthday weekend!

I cherished every minute of this past week, especially this weekend. (Valentine's day was fun too, but more on that later). And can I just say how thoughtful everyone has been? I wish I could tell you about all the wonderful gifts I got for this birthday but it would take hours for me to give the thanks due. From mail order gifts (this was very big for people this year) to heartfelt greetings to having a meal or two to celebrate my special day, I am so thankful!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU everyone for making my 26th birthday so wonderful! I am blessed!
Getting to know...

JHOETTE ARCHEIN M. DUMLAO aka JHOETTE
Vitals: Met in the 7th grade way back in 1990, on the first day of school, me in my plaid skirt and white blouse and Jhoette in his PE UNIFORM!!! Did no one tell this boy he was only allowed to wear that on PE DAYS? = 14 years and counting
Role in My Life: Apprehensive Healer - Jhoette used to tell me, "If you ever need someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on...ask Iya, cuz I'm not good at that stuff." Jhoette says he feels helpless when we come crying to him because a boy broke our heart or we're feeling down about life. He underestimates his abilities as a comforter of the down and out. Sometimes he really didn't know what to say. But when I think of all the times he's made me or anyone feel better, it's never his fumbling words I remember, it's him holding my hand and letting the tears flow freely.
Good Times: During our sophomore year at UCI, Jhoette pledged for a fraternity and, to make a long story short, some of us (ok fine, me and Iya) felt neglected and sore about having to deal with his absence in our lives. He crossed over after the fall quarter. On the eve of my 20th birthday, while I was studying for an econ midterm, Reyna ran up to our room and told me to hurry downstairs because someone came to greet me Happy Birthday. When I got to the living room, all up in my pajamas, Jhoette had brought 3 or 4 of his pledges to serenade me.
In his own words: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Thursday, February 12, 2004

All Up In My Birthday Suit!

Naked you say? No I'm not naked, but I am 26 today (in a few minutes)...Why do I cringe when I say that? I don't understand. Everyone around me (except of course you all who are undergoing the same life-altering changes), keeps saying things like, "oh you're still such a baby!" or "26? You've got such a long life ahead of you still!" I guess I'm just a little bit, how shall I say this? In denial. When am I never in denial of something right? But still, age has always been something I welcomed. In fact, when I was younger, like a teenager (EEKS I HAVEN'T BEEN A TEENAGER IN 7 YEARS!), I couldn't wait to be 22! I thought that at 22, I will have graduated from college, I'd have this great career, and I'd be engaged. Let's see, bachelor's degree? CHECK! Great career? WILL GET THERE...Engaged? BIG FAT NEGATORY...Hey look, a poem about this very subject. It's called:

...Or Lack Thereof...

If I could tell you
What I do
Right to the very minute
You'd yawn yourself
To the very death
With the lack of life that's in it
I wake up every morning
With a chance
To follow through
With plans and dreams
And hopes that seem
Too big to come true
I trudge right through
The weary day
Dragging step by step
With tensions mounting
In my head
For this life I can't accept
I can't accept
That this is all
My destiny has to give
What happened to
The great career
And the life I dreamt to live
What happend to
The fantasy
Of the man they said would come
The one who'd sweep me
Off my feet --
Is that dream just for some
What happened to
The beautiful house
I planned to sit and dwell
Did someone come
And tear it down
Why, I just can't tell
Please tell me
That I'm dreaming
That I have a fighting chance
To have that home
That great career
And meet some sweet romance
Tell me that
This isn't all
My future has in store
Tell me this
Is temporary
Tell me this...or nothing more.

Yay! WAY TO BE OPTIMISTIC ON YOUR BIRTHDAY ANNA! But seriously, my point is that, I may complain about hating my job, or not having a boyfriend and not living like a rap star, but I am very grateful for having who and what I DO have in my life. At least I HAVE a job to support my needs and non-needs (a new j.crew hooded cardigan? bring it on!). I have a loving loving family who harbors nothing but pride and exemplary support for me. I have friends who I share immense amounts of grief and joy with. Amidst the complaining, in all the moments of great frustration and longing, the bottom line is, I am greatly blessed.

A good friend once told me, "Welcome everything that comes to you, but do not long for anything else." I think I may try to make that my mantra this year. Then by the time 27 comes around, maybe I'll be writing poems about trees and flowers instead of dilapidated aspirations. Anyhow, 10 minutes to midnight -- 26 here I come!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

WHEN I SAY SAKE, YOU SAY BOMB!

This weekend I went to Tokyo Delves to celebrate mine and Fantone’s birthdays…Fantone’s and my birthdays…Is there a correct way to say this? Anyhow, we got faded! So 18 of us met up at this place called Tokyo Delves. It’s a sushi bar…PLUS MORE! We had some sushi, danced a little, sake bombed to our hearts’ content and just had a grand ole’ time. And half a strawberry martini and 2 sake bombs into the evening, I even managed to do the BYE BYE BYE routine with the waiters (and the cute bartender who gave me a pretty Rated PG-13 lapdance). Actually I was doing all kinds of routines that night. Drunk Anna only comes out once in a blue moon so I had lots of fun.

After Tokyo Delves, Fantone and I opened presents outside (like on the sidewalk) and took pictures (why do Asians love taking pictures?). The gals got me the soundtracks to all the LORD OF RINGS movies, the Harry Potter films, Pirates of the Caribbean and the 1st season dvds of ER!!! I LOVE IT THANKS SO MUCH!! I also got a gift card to Best Buy from Annie and Will and a gift card to Borders from Jean & our little boy, Hayden (I spent some of it on some magazines already!). Fantone got a new dvd player and a shadow box-like frame for all her marathon medals (Girlfriend has run like 2 or 3 AND she’s doing the LA Marathon next March!) Then we headed to City Walk, met up with Jean and Paul and hung out at Saddle Ranch. Paul bought me a lemon drop shot (WHEEE DOGGIES) and Iya bought me my favorite drink ever, a Malibu and coke. After that I was like, okay, let’s drink some water! I was okay after a glass of water and 2 trips to the restroom so I watched Paul ride that bronco like a champ! And I had fun watching Cile drool over the “ring-master” who was running the WHO-CAN-RIDE-THIS-MECHANICAL-BULL-AFTER-CHUGGING-8 BEERS contest. She was literally following him around the “bullpen.” Iya and I were beside ourselves with laughter cuz she was being so silly. I haven’t seen her that smitten since…Lar…Tommy. I haven’t seen her that smitten since Tommy…ha ha ha…I’m just playing Cile and Tommy!

Anyhow, we headed to coffee bean for a few minutes after Saddle Ranch so the drunkards could sober up a bit before the drive home. THANKS FERNIE, JASON & IYA (and Jeff who drove and was KINDA sober) FOR BEING THE DESIGNATED DRIVERS! Especially Iya, who wasn’t the faded one for a change =). She followed me everywhere that night to make sure I didn’t do something dumb like talk to strange guys or hurl in the bushes (hee hee hee…drunk IYA is the BEST!). Until next time…I’ve got a story to tell ya’ll about the stupid nurse who came to do the yearly blood tests for our office for the wellness program crap. Ooowee!

Monday, February 09, 2004

Getting to know...

CHRISTINE FANTONE aka FANTONE!!!
Vitals: Met our sophomore year at UCI during PCN Choir practice (Yes, the PCN that lasted FOREVER but we had fun singing right?). We were both in the alto section = 6 years and counting
Role in My Life: My Partner in Life’s Cesspool of Bitterness = Fantone and I can talk for hours an hours about everything (and everyone) we want but don’t have. We’re the literal equivalent to misery loving company. But at the end of every one of our conversations, we can’t help laughing at ourselves. Suddenly we don’t feel so bitter anymore.
Good Times: When we had our 11-day east coast excursion back in December 2000, 6 of us took a train to Penn Station in New York City from DC. Fantone would be meeting us there after having taken a train from Buffalo, NY. The 6 of us got there at about 12:30 or 1 in the afternoon. We dropped off our stuff at the hostel then headed back to the train station to meet Fantone. We spoke with her aunt and uncle in Buffalo and they said that she had taken a different train because the station was snowed in for a while. So Cile, Ate Tin, Leia, Andrew, Ryan and I scoured Penn Station for the next 3-4 hours. We didn’t know what city or station she would be coming from, when she was scheduled to arrive, which platform she would be exiting from and to top it all off, Ryan’s cell phone battery (our ONLY cell phone during the trip) was dying so we couldn’t make any more calls to her aunt and uncle. We literally stationed ourselves at every platform exit, stairway, etc. If you’ve never been to New York City, they’re not big on benches or seats there so we sat on the floor by this newsstand like bums. Eventually she got there and the look on her face was of pure relief.
In her own words: “Peace, Love and Tony Lucca.”


Friday, February 06, 2004

WHY MUST IT COME TO THIS?

Yesterday I found out that my friend’s father passed away. He’d been suffering from cancer (prostate and then bone I believe) for a few years now and, again, although he’s no longer in pain, it’s sad to think that he had to die to attain such relief. I heard of his death at about 8:45 yesterday morning and it has been all I can think about until now. This is the 4th time since August I’ve heard about someone’s passing and I realize it’s not an announcement you can ever get used to hearing. First you think logically to yourself; someone has died, they’re no longer breathing, they’ve left their physical shells, etc. And then something hits home. That person was someone’s son or daughter, someone’s mother, grandfather, someone’s father, and as far as their life on earth goes, their run is basically done and there isn’t much we can do about keeping them from that finish line.

I’m not much of a crier (unlike Iya, who can LITERALLY cry at the drop of hat), but there are certain things my mind can merely glance at that would bring me to tears. Thinking about death is one of those things. As much as I’d like to say that it’s not the WHEN I’m afraid of, but the HOW, it depresses me to think about not being here to exchange gifts with my family or have coffee with my friends. Worse yet, not having a loved one here for me to spend time with. You think to yourself, how can the Lord be so unfair as to give a life only to take it back? Instead of receiving healing from an illness, why does someone have to die because of it?

I guess there are no easy answers when it comes to questions about dying and death. But I’ve heard a lot of people give solutions easily when it comes to living life. You’ve heard most of them I’m sure: LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST, CARPE DIEM, SEIZE THE DAY, LIFE IS TOO SHORT, etc…Yes they’ve all become clich├ęs, things you say in a speech to a newly-graduated class to inspire or worse yet, the theme of your high school yearbook. They’ve become overstated and tired. But in times such is these, they seem to mean a lot more than we’ve made them out to be. Because when someone has died, whether it’s someone close to us or someone we hear about on tv, you suddenly begin to think about all the issues you have pending in your life: the book you’ve been meaning to read but have never found time for, the boxes of pictures you started scrapbooking 3 years ago but are always too tired to finish, the dress you’ve been saving for a special occasion, the vacation with your family you’ve been meaning to plan, and the fight with a friend you’ve been lulling over so long you can’t remember why you made each other so angry. You think about these things for awhile hoping and planning on finally doing something about it, until you’re distracted by another one of life’s worries. Before you know it, another 5 years have passed and you still haven’t read that book, those pictures are still in those boxes, you’ve outgrown the dress, your family’s disbanded and your strained relationship with that friend has surpassed all hope of resolution. Life IS too short not to do the things you want, not to love the people who love you and I wish I could remind myself daily that tomorrow may not be mine to plan on.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

BLOWN AWAY

I just stepped out on the terrace here at the office (we’re on the 4th floor looking over Glenoaks Blvd in Burbank and we have a balcony furnished with a plastic dining set; 1 table and 4 chairs) and I noticed how windy it is right now. Oh I wish you guys could see the mountains just ahead. The sky is SO clear and SO blue that it looks like God pasted the mountain onto the sky, the lines are so distinct! This is why I love windy days, no smog looming over us.

This semi-windy day, however, doesn’t compare to a tumultuous one we had last week. I believe it was Monday or Tuesday evening when I was listening to all the potted plants outside getting knocked over as I tried to fall asleep. I said to myself, “Man, the streets are gonna be full of palm leaves and crap tomorrow!” So I get to work in the morning and I happened to look out the glass door that led to the terrace. And I said, “hmmm, something looks weird.” But I dispelled this suspicion and headed back to my desk for another fun-filled day of carpel tunnel-inducing data entry. At about 3 pm, I started getting sleepy (as usual) so I went outside to the balcony to get some air and then I realized…OH MY GOSH THE TABLE’S GONE! The chairs, which were stacked together, were knocked over but the table was gone! I looked over to the island divider on the street down below and I saw bits and pieces of white plastic scattered alongside its curb. The wind must’ve blown the table off the balcony and it must’ve crashed into something and shattered! At first all of us were like, “Oh man, what if it caused an accident?” We felt bad for a quick second and busted up laughing. OUR PLASTIC TABLE GOT BLOWN AWAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT! What is this, the WIZARD OF OZ? El fin…

Monday, February 02, 2004

Proud

Last friday I spent the evening catching up with some great friends. Some I talk to, if not everyday, every other day, and others I haven't seen in months or years. It's times such as these when you witness the embodiment of true friendship. Except for Cile, who is our honorary, I spent practically everyday with these girls; talking about boys, "suffering" through espanol, world civ, US history or experiencing god! And of course we discussed, in length, about our futures. I look at them now and I am so proud to see who they've become.

There is Daphne, who, I think is the most naturally intelligent person I know. Lawyer to be at the UCLA School of Law, she will kick ass in the courtroom one day and I can't wait to watch her. Rochelle, who's graduating from Pharmacy school THIS YEAR, is the most fervent student I know. You don't know true dedication and sacrifice for career and school until you've met her. Iya, who just got a new job working for LA county, and who you will constantly hear me raving about is finally getting a chance to show off her skills. YOU GO GET 'EM GIRL! Cheryl, nurse and wife-to-be, I don't know who's happier, me or her. Vanessa works for an investment firm and she said she loves where she works. Loving where you work and who you work for is success to me. Jessica, a graduate of FIDM, is a design consultant for Bebe. She's as stylish, but not over the top, as they come and I know one day she'll have a fashion show of her designs on E!'s Style Network. Riza, whose fatigue from working the night before still showed during dinner, is one of my MANY nurse buddies who I can't say enough admirable things about. She just bought a new Toyota Solara Sport! Her sister Kristine, who's always been artistic, has a fetish for sneakers and, I just know, will be discovered for her talent someday soon. And then there's Cile, who's lack of doubt in life has helped her name earn recognition in PAYCHECK's end credits. We tease her about leaving her children at the grocery store one day, or losing her wallet everyday, but the truth is, I never fear for this girl because she always lands on her feet regardless of what's thrown her way.

I can't find the words to decribe the admiration and awe I feel for these friends of mine, who have not only grown up to be successful and ambitious career women, but have managed to stay true to themselves in the process. None of them have been disillusioned by adversity or even success and I am proud to know them.
Getting to know...

CHRISTINE JOANNE BAUTISTA GONDA aka TIN-TIN
History: Born 12 years and 5 months after me, she is my "little" sister = 13 1/2 years and counting...
Role in my life: The Calm Sister (think Daria, but not as dark) - We may look alike and we dress basically the same way (Sisters are all about sharing clothes!), and although neither of us are/were troublemakers (well, she's only 13. It might be too soon to tell), Tin and I are still as different as night and day when it comes to personality and attitude. Where I like to overreact and wallow in self-pity and frustration when given ample opportunity, Tin likes to say, "oh well...moving on." I'm 12 years her senior, but sometimes when you're around us, you wonder who the mature one really is.
Good Times: Having the randomest FRIENDS dvd viewings...right after dinner, in the middle of eating breakfast, while we're sitting in the living room watching a movie...With me and Tin, anytime is always a good time to watch an episode or 2 of FRIENDS.
In her own words: "Ate, what the heck does that man anyway?"...what Tin?..."Word to your mother?"