Saturday, July 31, 2004

QUALITY TIME...WITH ANNA

On Thursday afternoon at approximately 2:30 pm I was finally dismissed from jury duty after 3 days of service. I had to go back Wednesday at 1:30 pm because the lawyers and the judge were unable to finish questioning the first 18 prospective jurors on the stand. At 4:25 later that day, when the 12 jurors had finally been chosen, the judge advised us that they needed two altnernate jurors. Hence, therefore, thus, we were asked to come back Thursday morning at 10:30 am. We all got there that day and waited in the hallway until 11:55 am only to be told by the court clerk that we were being sent to lunch until 1:45 pm! At 2:00 pm we get in the courtroom, they question 5 more prospective alternate jurors and pick 2. I wasn't even sent to the panel for questioning. At 2:30 pm 5 of us were dismissed.

So I had a whole afternoon to myself after completing my jury service for the year. I really didn't mind all the waiting that this process involved. I basically read for 3 days, had lunch with Tita Cecile in Japantown and learned a plethora of information I probably wouldn't have learned had I not sat in that courtroom for 3 days. FYI, I have a new respect for lawyers. Can't even begin to imagine the amount of information they have to know and the weight of their jobs.

After I left the courthouse, I decided that the afternoon was much too precious to waste sitting at home napping or watching tv, so I walked a block down to see the Cathedral because in the year or so since it's been built, I never found the time to visit. I went to the gift shop first then headed to the church. WOW PRETTY!! I have to admit that at first glance, I wasn't really feeling the atmosphere there. Everything just seemed so streamlined and modern that it didn't feel like a place for worship and prayer. When I think of church I think of pillars adorned with gothic sculptures of angels or shrines of saints lined up against the wall. But the cathedral did something I think is absolutely beautiful. If you haven't been there yet, on either side of the cathedral, there is a tapestry mural of saints and random people lined up for something. I found out later that the mural is called the COMMUNION OF SAINTS and they're all walking towards the altar. It's absolutely breathtaking.


I stayed there for about an hour, prayed the rosary and just took some time for myself. I can't remember the last time I had any silent reflection time. That afternoon I went to confession. We're advised to go at least once a month and I haven't gone since September 2003! I stayed for mass after that. I had lots of quality time with God that day too, didn't I? It was a good day to say the least. I feel like everything happened the way it was supposed to. I hope that if you're like me, caught in the whirl of obligations to everyone but myself, caught in more than a few issues you can't seem to find resolutions for, you'll find a day like I did to rediscover the peace we always seem to be looking for.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Getting to know...
JOELLEE MAE VELASCO aka JOELS
 
Vitals: Met some time in high school through mutual friends circa 1994 or 1995, but got more acquainted in college because she was in Irvine visiting her boyfriend all the time! ~ 10 years and counting 
Role in My Life: 1st Client Ever – Joellee and her boyfriend Zandro are getting married next May 2005 and they asked me to be their wedding helper. I’m so flattered (and rather terrified at the same time) that they trust me that much to ask, considering wedding planning is still only an aspiration and not my expertise.
Good Times: I went with Joellee to a bridal expo at the LA Convention Center and we were so overwhelmed with the 50 photographers, 40 florists, 30 bakeries, 20 invitation-makers, etc that when we got out, we both just kinda looked at each, glazed eyes and then she said, “ok, no more wedding talk for the rest of this day.” 
In her own words: “It’s like, when Trista was trying to choose between Charlie and Ryan. Even though she was having fun with Charlie, she was thinking of Ryan the whole time. That’s how I feel about these two dresses. I’m wearing this right now, but how come I’m thinking of the other one?”…Joellee debating between 2 wedding dresses.


WE THE JURY...

You must love your job an awful lot (or maybe a little) to want to pass up an opportunity to sit on your fanny all day to read, write or just think. Or actually, in my case, I HATE my job so I'd kill for an opportunity to sit on my bum in a room full of strangers to read, write and think I'm probably the only person in this nation who leaps at the chance to have jury duty (at least while I'm at this job). I would rather do nothing all day in that jury room than sit in my office and listen to people yell at me over the phone. Besides, you can have lots of great quality time with yourself as you wait and see if your name will be called. In 7-8 hours today, I finished the last 120 pages of CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC, started a new book, wrote a poem, decided to pursue writing and accounting, had lunch with my Tita Cecile who works for the district courts across the street AND re-evaluated my life for the 7th time this year. Why do people hate jury duty?

The last time I had jury duty, we were dismissed at 3:30 pm. My name didn't get called for a panel at all. So today they tell us that we would get dismissed between 4:00 and 5:00 pm. 3:30 pm comes along and I'm actually looking forward to going home when they make that announcement that they're going to set up another panel for jury selection. 'Lo and behold, my names gets called, along with 35 other people and we head up to the courtroom. They only got through questioning 5 prospective jurors so we have to go back tomorrow. No work again for me tomorrow?...OKAY! I don't even have to be there until 1:30 pm so I get to sleep in! As Riann and Joe might say, "HOORAY!!!" If I don't get picked I'll let you all know everything!                                                              

Friday, July 23, 2004

THE WOMEN IN MY LIFE

Last Friday was no ordinary day. I spent 8 hours complaining in my head about how much I'd rather be somewhere else. I just wanted that day to end because I  knew the coming evening would be eventful. Cile and I flew to San Jose that night to spend the weekend with the girls: Annie, Ate Tin-Tin, Fantone, Gwen, Terry, Isa, Leia and Larnie. We all stayed in Terry & Chary's castle of a house in Fremont. It's HUGE! Cile basically rounded out the whole weekend for us (read her blog for details cuz I’m too lazy to do a play-by-play. Thanks!)

But this weekend wasn’t just about sightseeing, shopping and having drinks with friends, it was about rebirth. It’s the rebirth you feel when you spend time with people you no longer have the privilege of interacting with everyday. It’s reliving all the wonderful moments you shared together for 5 years in 3 days. It’s not having to establish new levels of camaraderie because the old ones never wavered. That’s how I felt this past weekend with these girls. They’re such the reminders of how wonderful it is to have other women in your life.

I know there are a lot of women out there who aren’t as lucky when it comes to having other women friends. Maybe some are just too insecure or too competitive around other women to develop any type of friendship and I think that’s a real shame. I’ve got so many awesome chick friends! Some I’ve known forever and couldn’t bear to imagine my life without. Some I’ve known for a decade or so and can’t imagine the person I might’ve become had it not been for them. Some I’ve barely met but feel like I’ve known all my life. And then there are the women in my family who have not only been my role models, but my peers in life as well. My aunt sent me the following forward about girlfriends and it’s so on-point! Have a read:

When I was little, I used to believe in the concept of one best friend, and then I started to become a woman. And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up, God will show you the best in many friends. One friend's best is needed when you're going through things with your man. Another friend's best is needed when you're going through things with your momma.  Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be. One friend will say let's pray together, another let's cry together, another let's fight together, another let's walk away together. One friend will meet your spiritual need, another your shoe fetish, another your love for movies, another will be with you in your season of confusion, another will be your clarifier, another the wind beneath your wings. But whatever their assignment in your life, on whatever the occasion, on whatever the day, or where ever you need them to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself. Those are your best friends. 

It may all be wrapped up in one woman, but for many it's wrapped up in several:  One from 7th grade, one from high school, several from the college years, a couple from old jobs, several from church, on some days your mother, on others your sisters, and on some days it's the one that you needed just for that day or week that you needed a fresh perspective, or the one who didn't know all your baggage, or the one who would just listen without judging. Those are good girlfriends/best friends. 

Men are wonderful, husbands are excellent, boyfriends are awesome, male friends are priceless but if you've ever had a real good girlfriend, then you know there's nothing like her! I thank God for girlfriends, those who honor intimacy, those who hold trust, and those who just get your back when you feel like life is just too heavy!  Then there are those girlfriends who have the insight to know when you just need a swift kick in the butt and a firm, "Get over it!" Gotta love 'em. I thank God for girlfriends and the special bond we share that's unique to us. Whether it's words we've shared, prayers we've sent up, laughs, tears, phone calls, emails, shopping, movies, lunches, dinners, late night talks, afternoon talks, weekend talks, all the talking, talking, talking and the listening, listening, listening...whatever we have shared has created this bond.




Thursday, July 22, 2004

MY STAR
 
Last night I went to Culver City to hug our dearest baby, Larnie farewell. She’s on her way to Mesa, Arizona as we speak because she’s been accepted into the master’s program at the Arizona University of Health Sciences. We tease Larnie a lot, about how messy, absent-minded and na├»ve she is, but I can’t talk enough about her focus and tenacity when it comes to something she’s truly passionate about (like her career in sports medicine and we can’t forget volleyball!). She may not be able to put make-up on properly to save her life, or fix her bed in the morning, but she can sure tend to the muscle aches and pains of a football team in the locker room with the greatest of ease.
 
That’s Larnie, “My Star,” who not only fills the room with her 100-watt smile, but remains one of my brightest sources of inspiration. Good Luck, Larnie! Study hard and CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!
 
LATE BIRTHDAY GREETINGS… 

Belated Happy Birthday to Teresita “Terry” Castaneda, Joe “Beetch” De Los Reyes, and JOSH HARTNETT! Josh Hartnett turned 26 yesterday, July 21st. I wonder how he’s doing. I miss him! I think he feels neglected cuz I've been paying so much attention to Orlando. What do you think? (Wake up, Anna, wake up!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Getting to know...

KELSOE MAURIUS MADARANG GONDA
aka KELSITO, BEAN or just plain KELSOE
Vitals: Been my nephew since he was a twinkle in his mommy and daddy's eyes, but met when he was only 12 hours old = 1 year, 2 months and cnounting
Role In My Life: My Favorite Baby - I have bunches of nieces and nephews because I have a load of cousins. But they all live so far away from me that I don't get to spend much time with them or watch them grow up. But then, my cousin, Christian and his wife Tristin (who both live close by) had Kelsoe (who's my inaanak/godson) and let's just say the spoiling began. I love this baby so much! We all do! Just thinking about him makes me smile and seeing him brings the greatest joy to my world.
Good Times: Kelsoe's a funny baby, with gags up the whazoo! When he hears music, any kind of music, he starts to dance, either bobbing up and down with hands at his side or rocking back and forth to "Toxic." He loves playing with anything that has buttons: the computer keyboard, the piano, remote controls, the doorbell (his personal favorite I think), cellphones. In fact, he was playing with my sister's cell phone today and managed to punch in a random code that locked her keypad for 8 hours. ha ha ha...
In his own words: Picture us saying, "Kelsoe no! No touch, don't touch!"...Kelsoe's response: "Touch touch touch..."

Friday, July 16, 2004

BITTERSWEET HELLO….BITTERSWEET GOOD-BYE
 
I love that term, “bittersweet.” It’s like feeling pleasure and pain at the same time. This Kobe-Shaq thing has been the perfect example of this feeling for me. I know the last month or so has annoyed a lot of people no doubt, even/especially Laker fans. Iya asked me how I felt about the whole thing a few days before ESPN and Fox Sports were barraged with newsflashes and press conferences regarding deals made with the NBA’s free agents. But as big a basketball and Laker fan as I am, I couldn’t seem to form an adamant opinion about the situation. Am I glad Shaq’s gone? Hell no! I’m gonna miss the big man, the player no coach or peer had an answer for (except maybe this year, Larry Brown). But at least he’s got his castle of a house in Orlando, not too far from Miami so I’m thinking he’s not doing THAT bad.
 
Am I glad Kobe’s staying? I’m a Kobe fan, of course I’m happy! I know he’s got a lot to work on, especially when it comes to his image (oh man, why the infidelity, Kobes?). But I’ve got faith in people I’m a fan of. Call it unconditional fanaticism! I’m disappointed in his choices, but people forget he’s a 25-year old young man, with the world on his shoulders and the greatest abilities to make mistakes he will no doubt regret his whole life long. Yes I miss those Adidas commercials which showed Kobe writing in his journal or exercising his Italian; and of course those McDonald’s commercials with the little kids who asked him to be part of their team for the championship game. I miss THAT Kobe and I wish he hadn't gone to Colorado last summer. But I believe him when he says he feels guilty (cuz he SHOULD feel bad!) and I know he knows that he’s going to spend a great part of his lifetime trying to convince people he’s a better man than that. Here’s hoping his choices this year bring him more fortune (Aside from the disgusting $130+ million for the next 7 years) than disaster.
 
And then there’s GP, who’s decided to stay and attempt to get that ring he’s so hungry for. All I gotta say is, “Fine Gary, you can stay…but make your presence felt, know what I mean?”

Ok kids, I’m off to Northern Cali with the Annie, Ate Tin-Tin, Fantone, Cile, Gwen, Isa, Leia and Larnie to for some bonding before Miss Maria Larnie Alcala Boquiren heads to Arizona for grad school. Have a safe weekend everyone! If you’re partying, make sure you’ve got a DD!


Monday, July 12, 2004

Getting to know...

MELISSA ANN G. BAUTISTA aka MEL
Vitals: Been cousins since she was born, December 1978, but became more acquainted when I spent the week at her house in Ohio = 25 years and counting (Chrissy’s younger sister)
Role In My Life: Bright & Smiley Cousin – When you meet this girl, the first thing you’ll notice about her is that she’s smiling. In the few occasions that Mel and I have gotten a chance to hang out, all we do is laugh - at other people, at our family…at ourselves. Her smile is what I remember most often when I think of her. Even when we talk on the phone I can tell she's smiling.
Good Times: One day when I was in Ohio, Mel, Chrissy and I took their dog, Orson (who looks like a big yorkshire terrier), God rest his soul =), and Buck (this huge brown doggie who is bigger than me I think), their friend’s pet, to the park for a walk. Chrissy drove, I sat shotgun and Mel rode in the back with Orson and Buck. Suffice it to say, the 15 minute drive to the park was nothing short of comedic. Mel sat between the two dogs, trying her hardest to control their excitement. Buck spent practically the entire ride fussy and gung-ho, licking Mel’s face constantly. When we finally got to the park, (mind you I have practically zero encounters with animals, rare or domestic) Mel and Chrissy handed ME Buck’s leash. This dog took ME for a walk!
In her own words: “Leng, you're so small you could fit in my pocket!…Hurry get in!”

Friday, July 09, 2004

BIRTHDAY WISHES!

Belated Happy Birthday to: Jhoette, Mars, Gweeeeen, Alan, Stephanie, Andrew, Kay & Dr. Ann!!!

and...

HAPPY 14TH BIRTHDAY TO MY "LITTLE" SISTER TIN!!! Eeeeeeks gosh darnit that makes US pretty up there in age huh? Yikes! Don't even wanna think about it! (Shut up Tin!)
BAUTISTA BONANZA 2004

That's what we called this past weekend's events in Charlotte, North Carolina. Since 1993, my Bautista side has hosted a family reunion like clockwork. We began in Burbank in December of 1993, then San Francisco in 1996, Maumee/Toledo, Ohio in 1998, Long Beach in 2000, Chicago in 2002 and then this year in "the South." We have it every 2 years and it's something that I look forward to during the odd numbered years.

When I got home from Hawaii 2 weeks ago, all I could think of was how much I missed being there and, oh crap, I have to fly to Charlotte this weekend and I still have to do laundry and pack...AGAIN! I was so dead tired after Hawaii that getting excited for the family reunion was something I practically missed out on. It wasn't until I saw my cousin, Ben, at the airport Friday morning that I realized how hard it was gonna be to leave when the weekend was over.

Charlotte, NC is a beautiful city! I spent the week of Thanksgiving there in 2000 after my internship in DC was done and I was nothing short of amazed at how clean and fresh it is there. No overpasses for freeways! In fact, there were times when I didn't even KNOW we were on a highway because the area is just surrounded by trees! The city's practically brand new, with all the new homes being built.

Anyhow, I digress. I'm not supposed to be blogging about Charlotte. I'm supposed to be blogging about my family. If only I could find the right words to describe how much I love everyone! It amazes me that every 2 or so years, we have this family reunion where my relatives from all over the US (and sometimes the Philippines) travel long distances to spend a couple days, sometimes just a day, together and then go back home. To spend $200-$400 for a plane ticket to a place you're only gonna be for 2 days is priceless to me. But that's how we are, how all families are, dedicated and loyal to the maintenance of our camaraderie and legacy, and I love it.

I love how my mom and my aunts and uncles reminisce about their childhood in the randomest of moments. I love how my aunts and uncles can joke around with the younger folk without causing any misunderstandings. I love the family gossip that people think only THEY know but really, the whole family knows. I love having so many nieces and nephews (kisses Jeremiah & Rosalyn!!). I love how my cousins and I don't see each other for 2 years, hanging by only a few phonecalls and e-mails in between meetings, yet still manage to uphold one of the strongest bonds I know: a friendship.

Aside from the humidity and rain this past weekend, everything, to me, was perfect. We got to meet my cousin's fiance who was nothing but sweet and charming. Alan & Stephanie are getting married in February! We had a fine dinner at my Auntie Nini's house on Friday night. On Saturday afternoon, we had an indoor "picnic" at a community center, which was followed by an evening of more eating, talking and magic mic'ing in the adjoining suites at the Double Tree Hotel. On Sunday we went to mass at St. Vincent de Paul (There was a hilarious announcement article in the bulletin that I will share with y'all after this entry - oh geez, did I just say Y'all?!). A bunch of us went shopping at the mall across the street, and then went back to the hotel rooms to get changed for the banquet that evening. The banquet was excellent. Lots of performances (YOU GO G4!), food and picture-taking! My cousins, aunts and uncles from up north had a flight leaving at 6 am the next morning, so my cousins, my sister and I decided not to sleep until they had to get ready at 3:40 am!

Monday, the 5th was Alan & Stephanie's birthday brunch at Tin-Tin restaurant. Mmmmmmmm...too bad I was too busy chit-chatting to go for a second round.

I had the best time ever, wishing our reunion could've lasted a whole month! But I bet the time would've gone by just as fast. Isn't that always the case when you're having fun? I'm looking forward to the next reunion of the Big, bad Bautista Clan. Vallejo 2006, here we come! In the meantime, I'll be here, missing everyone. Thanks family! To quote Ben, "I love being a Bautista!" Check out some photos!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

BUSY BUSY BUSY...

I'm so excited to tell you guys everything and to show you all pictures, but I've been so busy! I've been yearning to blog since I got to Charlotte last Friday! Let's just say I love being a Bautista as much as I love being a Gonda. You never realize how much you miss family who's far away until you see them again and then have to say good-bye. I HATE THAT! I'm just grateful for instant messaging, e-mail and snailmail! Great sources of communication across the miles...oh yeah, free minutes too! ha ha ha...

Ok, until next time...

Thursday, July 01, 2004

TARHEEL NATION

Hey everyone! My parents, my sister and I are leaving for Charlotte, NC tonight for a family reunion (my Bautista side). I can't wait to see all my relatives who I don't get the pleasure of seeing or talking to often because we live states away from each other. Tell you all about it when I get back!

Happy 4th everyone! Be safe!!!