Friday, January 28, 2005


Why do they say "green with envy?" Does anyone know where that expression came from? Anyhow, if you know, please share because I've been curious but have been too lazy to research it myself.

SO, who here will admit to being a jealous person? I didn't think I was of the envious kind until the last few years. Man was I in denial! But I realize that I am. I'm all kinds of jealous; jealous of what others have (or sometimes DON'T have), jealous about other people's relationships with each other, always wondering how I stand compared to someone else - the list goes on!

I discovered that jealousy is counter-productive for one's ego. How can one effectively maintain their self-importance, their pride, when they're constantly waiting for other people to contribute to it? It negates the whole SELF part, doesn't it? This turns into a self-esteem issue now.

We often don't accomplish what we want when jealousy comes into play, because then we start questioning the motives behind our actions and words, making the best of intentions carry out in vain. Are you saying or doing something because you WANT to? Or because you're trying to show someone up? Envy - not one of the seven deadly sins for nothing.

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own. ~Harold Coffin

The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.
~William Penn, Some Fruits of Solitude, 1693

Love looks through a telescope; envy, through a microscope.
~Josh Billings

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Getting to know...

DAPHNE MAY TAM aka Pumpkin/Dumpling/DAFFEE
Vitals: Met our freshman year at Immaculate Heart High School – 2nd period World Civ I = 13 years and counting
Role In My Life: Not So Serious Smarty – Daphne, our favorite Stanford University alum, is one smart girl. I’m not exaggerating when I say that her SAT scores can match anyone out there who thinks they’re a genius. When she got her acceptance into what’s considered the Ivy League institution of the West, she withdrew her applications to, get this, Yale and Harvard. Now she’s at UCLA getting her law degree. Talking to her, you’d never think she’d rival any one of those overachieving clowns on the Apprentice because she doesn’t flaunt her resume at you. All of us know she could take any one of them. I have the best time with this girl because she’s as silly and playful as she is clever and determined and I’m so happy to know her.
Good Times: Daphne was one of my afterschool buddies. If I didn’t have cheerleading practice, we’d do our homework in the library and then just hang around campus talking until our dads came to pick us up. There was a bench under a tree where we always used to hang out and leave our stuff whenever we had to, and one day after school, we left our backpacks there, along with my favorite v-neck pullover too. As we made our way down the stairs from the auditorium, we saw a squirrel on the same bench chewing on something – CHEWING ON MY FAVORITE V-NECK SWEATER! I was horrified and Daphne was standing there with me just cracking up! Thanks Daffee!
In her own words: “Oh little babushka!"

Monday, January 24, 2005


When I hear "cocktail party" I picture the following scene: walking through the fancy double doors of a mansion, greeted by a long curvy staircase, handing my coat over to be hung in a closet so I could show off my new black cocktail length dress, being served hors devours and champagne by men and women dressed in black and white uniforms, chit-chatting quietly as we mingle through the crowd whilst a string quartet plays the classical soundtrack of the evening. But in Riann's famous words, "that's boring." That's not how Leia, Gabby, Fantone and I wanted to celebrate our birthdays. We 25 and over folk don't do cocktail parties that way.

We still strive to look good in our get-up though, ladies in fancy tops and dresses and gentlemen in button-down shirts and slacks. Let me tell you, my friends looked GOOD Saturday night! (Mostly because I don't HAVE any ugly friends really, but we'll save THAT for another entry) So all dressed up, we commenced to carry out the good time we never fail to create in each other's company. The dining room table was adorned with delectable party favorites. No caviar or plain ole' cheese and crackers here. We feasted on egg rolls, Swedish meatballs, chicken strips, dips of all kinds, mini quiches, pizza bits, bruschetta, sandwiches and more - all to our tummies' content.

The kitchen was the IT-ROOM of the evening, as it was the source of an endless variety of libatory concoctions that I can't even begin to discuss. The garage was a-buzz with shuffling mahjong tiles and decks of cards for blackjack and Texas Hold'em (which Edwin was playing forever) and the family room was left open for memorable magic mic moments (like Riann and Fernand slow dancing to Ira's beautiful rendition of "All at Once" and Joemama's attempts at singing in Tagalog and singing both parts of duets). The backyard and living room, alive with candles and white Christmas lights, provided for lounging and conversation comfort (and a hilarious game of spin-the-bottle. Everyone playing was SO into it that all of us watching couldn't help but be excited by it either).

Drunk Iya AND Drunk J0emama were there! The presence of ONE of them would've been enough to keep us entertained for the evening, but the two of them together was so much more than one could hope for at a party. I think poor Chris is a little traumatized by his new girlfriend's alter ego (Chris, you hanging in there buddy? No worries, we'll always be there to help you out! ha ha ha!)

So after a full evening of catching up, laughing, eating, drinking, gambling, singing, and hearing "she's so hot" every 2 minutes, we embraced each other farewell until our next meeting, which oftentimes doesn't occur for months at a time. It was a great time had by us all, young adults who've been in the real world for 5 or more years, either testing the waters for different job opportunities, back in school treading through new knowledge or neck deep into our careers. It's comforting to have friends to come back to, even for just a few hours, when we're drowning in the quagmire of our busy lives.

Friday, January 21, 2005


will everyone please pray for my grandfather when you can. he's in the hospital again and i don't know what to do exactly. everything is so vague and i'm so scared. don't know what's going on. my heart's beating so heavily i can't even think straight. so please keep us all in your prayers...thanks...

Thursday, January 20, 2005


What makes a songwriter take a combination of words and music to create a heartfelt melody of love or woe? What causes a composer to hear a tune in their head and turn it into the musical score that commands the emotion of a film? What exactly is it that enters the mind of a novelist, journalist or poet that causes them to write epic tales, poignant real life stories or poetry that may one day be analyzed by scholars? What allows the mind of an artist to take photos, paint images and sculpt figures that will someday be displayed in a museum, a living room or coffee table book?

No creative mind is without their muse, their source of inspiration. The simplest things can compel the mind to create wondrous works (like the stacks of hay that inspired one of Monet’s most popular paintings) just as much as the most discouraging and painful experiences can (the Vietnam War-inspired musical Miss Saigon).

I’m amazed at the level of reverie that hearing a sad song can bring, even if you can’t relate to it. Por ejemplo, there’s a song that’s played during the holidays called, “Christmas Shoes” about a boy, rich only in his love and concern, trying to buy a pair of shoes for his fatally sick mother before she goes to “meet Jesus.” He doesn’t have enough money to purchase them and he's standing in the store trying to figure out what to do. Every single time my sister and I hear that song we’re like, “Give him the damn shoes!!!!” It brings tears to my eyes every single time I hear that song and I always wonder if the songwriter really experienced this situation.

I love being inspired! It's always so much more helpful when one isn't trying to force imagination! I always carry a notebook with me in case I have to write something down at a random time (like during jury duty, when I’m sitting in church or eating at a restaurant; sometimes even when I’m half asleep in bed). Inspiration has no sense of time I guess. When you feel it, you’re like a runaway train; and you have to try to keep up with it (picture me typing or writing like a maniac) before it’s gone. I have the worst short-term memory so sometimes I get scared I’m gonna forget it. But when I can get everything down, it’s the most awesome feeling!

I hope your days are filled with as many muses as mine have been blessed with, especially lately. Inspiration is a gift! Pay attention or it might pass you by.

My 7th grade teacher, Mrs. V, always used to tell us that there is no greater source of inspiration than the Holy Spirit. She gave us this prayer and asked us to pray it before every moment of doubt or fear (like a test). Try it sometime...

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your spirit and they shall be created, and they shall renew the face of the earth. Oh God, who does instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us by the same Holy Spirit a love that is right and just and a constant enjoyment of these comforts through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Getting to know...Special Double Feature

Vitals: Met when I was a baby! She's my dad's 2nd to youngest sibling = 26 years and counting
Role In My Life: Fairy Godmother - In all seriousness, Ninang is not only MY source of guidance for a few areas in my life, but she’s Miss Helpful to the great number of people who surround her. I can’t tell you enough about her giving heart, as it would take me years to express the gratitude she brings out of all those whose lives she’s touched with her kindness. She’s such a model of generosity and love that practically half of us cousins call her our “Ninang;” and she responds in kind at every birthday and holiday season with gifts galore.
Good Times: Ninang and I spent the weekend in Arizona to support Tita Cile at the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. For the most part, she and I were left alone to fend for ourselves while Tita Cile tended to her activities. On Saturday night, we had to find a drug store because she forgot her toothbrush and hairspray so we drove this looooooooong road in search of anything and…nothing. That whole area of Scottsdale was nothing but sand and cacti. So we drove the other way, about 5 miles, until we finally reached this fancy shmancy grocery store. All that for a loaf of bread, bottled water, hairspray and a toothbrush.
In her own words: “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl…” - My ninang’s been a huge Fanilow since her younger days and if she’s not singing Church songs (She’s part of the charismatic group at church), she’s sure to be humming a Barry tune.

~~ AND ~~

Vitals: Met when I was a baby too! SHE’S the one who wanted to name me “Wilhemina!” She's my dad's youngest sibling = 26 years and counting
Role In My Life: Hip and Happenin' Aunt - Tita Cile and I are 12 years apart in age but I talk to her like I talk to my friends. We can sit and talk forever about anything – family, fashion, love, career, all I can think of. And while being the friend that I can vent to, she remains the aunt who I look to for advice and encouragement as well. She’s another wonderful example of generosity, helping so many less fortunate souls find peace and comfort as an active member of St. Vincent de Paul. Well-traveled, successful in her career as an architect and loved by all who meet her, I can’t ask for a better example to follow.
Good Times: I never had formal piano lessons, but what I could learn Tita Cile and Ninang were happy to teach me. I remember one time when I was still in elementary school, I happened to be practicing one of the pieces I was learning while Tita Cile was vacuming about 40 feet away from me. When I finished playing the piece, the vacume turned off from the other room and I just heard Tita Cile yell “DO IT AGAIN!!!”
In her own words: "“I loooooove pasta…I looooooove coffee…I loooooooove popcorn…I looooooove sushi…” Tita Cile is ALWAYS loving something!

Monday, January 17, 2005


“I’m a baller…” I don’t know all the lyrics but I can hear the tune in my head. You know what song I’m talking about right? By Chingy? Anyhow, every time I hear that song I always think of my sister. I’m sure you’ve all heard me talk about her baller skills. The frosh/soph team she’s part of this year is soooo money! I love watching them play and this weekend was certainly no exception. The Providence Pioneers played their cross-town rivals, Bell-Jeff. Cross-town literally cuz they’re both from Burbank. Ha ha ha…

Anyhow, my sister’s been talking about this game since she got on the team in October. Her eyes get all squinty at the very mention of Bell-Jeff (she almost attended that school too). It always reminds me of how much we hated OUR rivals, Marlborough High School. I think it’s so funny how long rivalries carry themselves out.

Anyhow, they played so excellently and it was Tin’s best game. Early in the 3rd quarter she swished a 3-pointer which extended their lead to 39-26. Tin is reminiscent of Robert Horry. She doesn’t play the maximum minutes and she’s not the team scorer, but when she does get on the court, she’s all about it! Givin’ some D over here, chasing down the opposition like crazy over there, and then every so often hitting some key shots. I’m all proud and excited when I’m sitting on the bleachers watching her. Maybe because I never experienced that kind of pride before, being part of a great team. I mean, I loved cheerleading but people didn’t come to the basketball and volleyball games to watch the cheerleaders cheer (unless we were the Rancho Carne Toros of course, but no, we were IHHS Pandas), but we didn’t compete much and that’s what I think I missed out on. So watching Tin kinda fills in that feeling for me. Talk about living vicariously through your little sister!


I attended a writer’s panel at the Barnes & Noble in Westside Pavilion on Friday night. Needless to say, it was an act long overdue. Cile told me last week that I should surround myself with writers, if only to be encouraged or inspired somehow. She was right! The panel of writers that evening talked about their beginnings and how to survive as a writer. One of them said that if a writer’s only purpose for writing is to get published and get rich, then they’re in the wrong business.

The authors reiterated how writing is about more than just putting a story together with hopes that other people will care to read what and how you think about something. Writing is, more than anything, for the one doing the writing. When you’re writing to catch a deadline or score a deal and that’s it, where’s the inspiration, where’s the truth,, where’s the purpose? When you write for yourself, when what you’re typing or scribbling is for you, then THAT’S genuine. They advised that some of writers’ best work is never seen and that really got to me somehow.

I was reminded of Betty Smith’s classic “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.” (Iya’s favorite book!) In the story, the heroine, Frannie Nolan, is an aspiring writer very early in her youth and her english teacher tells her that writing is a way for people to sort of "right the wrongs" in their lives; that if a situation isn’t carrying through the way we wish it would, then we could just as easily write out what we think SHOULD or SHOULD HAVE happened. Can you imagine the possibilities there? Right all the wrongs in our lives on paper? I COULD FREAKIN’ WRITE FOREVER! Ha ha ha…Anyhow, so much to learn…

Friday, January 14, 2005


There are two cd’s that I’ve been listening to interchangeably, almost non-stop for the last month: Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. and Kelly Clarkson’s BREAKAWAY. I freakin’ love these cd’s! I don’t know what it is that makes me want to bump to Gwen and Kelly all the time. Is it the danceable beats in “Rich Girl” that unknowingly makes me want to move? Or is it the simple but powerful lyrics of “Breakaway” that inspire adventure and taking chances? Maybe it’s fast-paced, fun-times “Bubble Pop Electric” that invokes laughter. Or the cleverly composed and performed “Addicted” that provokes the clearest images of infatuation turned obsession. Who knows! Whatever the reasons, just can’t get it enough! Happy Friday everyone!

Be safe, but BE FUN this weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2005


So I left Burbank on a rainy Saturday morning and landed in beautiful and sunny Phoenix, AZ in the afternoon. I got to drive around Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix with two of my favorite aunts and got to roam around with some of my favorite galpals (and their boyfriends) in the world. I watched the Rock ‘n Roll marathon from the sidelines, marveling at literally each and every marathoner who passed me by, amazed at their resilience (Hooray for Fantone & my Tita Cecile!!!). It was a wonderful weekend cut much too short.

Sunday night’s return was not so cheerful, with the water, again, bashing everything that came in its way, spreading worry and stress to everyone who came in its paths. It’s hard to ignore such calamity when it’s standing right there in front of you and you often wonder why and how it happens, or sometimes you just hope it goes away. Rain will do that to you.

But now the sun is finally shining and for how long, no one really cares right? As long as we’ve been reminded that it comes eventually no matter how dark and gloomy the skies are, no matter hard the rain falls and no matter how hopeless it all gets, dark days don’t last forever.

This weather has sure paralleled my life lately, in more aspects than one; showers of uncertainty fell gently upon my face and were quickly followed by the harshness of doubt and paranoia. But then those clouds of shadowy fear part eventually, and I’m left with glowing rays of assurance and the promise of better days ahead. We always hope that the sunny days far outlast the gloomy ones. But seeing dark clouds can always bring the comfort of knowing what follows thereafter: a windy day, sweeping out the sky's impurities into oblivion and we’re left with nothing but blue.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Happy Birthday Khahloh!
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Friday, January 07, 2005


I just watched a 20/20 special report headlined “The Obesity Olympics” and I feel empowered somehow. Two families whose members were diagnosed clinically obese underwent an 8-week guided weight-loss regimen resulting in no less than tearful results. I was a little teary-eyed myself as I looked on. So what was so different with THIS “life-altering” case? No one got nipped or tucked; no one was deprived of those evil carbohydrates; no one lost an unimaginable amount of weight in little time; and every person’s “after” image was still as recognizable as their “before.” The difference here was that each member of those two families lost weight because they made a decision to undergo a whole new lifestyle and they began it with realistic goals.

I’ went to the gym two days in a row this week (which is quite an accomplishment considering I haven’t gone in almost 2 months) and for the first time, I felt like I actually WANTED to be there. And for SOME reason, I’ve ceased to gorge on every bit of food I see, more consciously trying to eat what I should. Don’t even think I’m close to making any kind of promises about weight-loss because I’m SO not. I KNOW what happens the second I do. But I’m hoping to take the lead of those two families on 20/20 who depended only on themselves for a change of heart, mind AND body. All I really pray for is the patience to persevere because my health isn’t something I’m willing to compromise much longer. I know it's not going to be easy, but I also know I’m not alone and that’s what makes me feel all the more energized! Round 23 turbo-kickboxing anyone?

Thursday, January 06, 2005


According to Ross Gellar, that’s Japanese for “a total sense of awareness.” That’s what I’ve been trying to practice lately – this total sense of awareness of everything and everyone around me. I’ve somehow managed to magnify my awareness of people’s words and their actions, as well as awareness of my OWN words and actions. And on top of that, I just feel more in sync with the nature of things around me. It’s a strange feeling, really and truly SEEING things for what seems like the first time, but I love it.

Case in point: When I lived in DC, I took picture upon picture of trees. My co-workers were so amused by my fascination. “What’s the big deal?” they used to ask me. And I told them how lucky they were to be able to see their surroundings change with the seasons. I used to complain that all we had here in California, aside from the palm trees, were other trees that stayed green all year long; trees whose foliage never shown their autumn hues, and whose leaves never went bare in the winter time. But then a couple of months ago I was driving down Glenoaks Blvd in Burbank when I realized something: The line of island dividers on the street suddenly caught my eye. The trees that adorned these center dividers all the way down this long boulevard were bright with yellow, orange, red and brown leaves. Picture me distracted, almost getting into a few accidents because I’m staring at trees. I was slightly hypnotized I suppose. And now those same trees are naked branches, heavy with morning dew (actually, lately they’ve been heavy with a lot more than just dew haven’t they?). I find myself observing them on my drive back home, anxious for the first green to appear in the spring.

I know it sounds dumb to be affected so out of the blue by trees! But it wasn’t JUST the trees that made me take notice. It’s what they stand for. These trees stand for situations in my life that I often choose to be blind to. They’re fears that cause me to keel over and hide, terrified of consequences that I don’t think I can handle. These trees stand for abilities I seem to have lost the desire to use because I don’t think they’re remotely comparable to what they were before. These trees are the parts of me that I’ve been praying I would be able to redeem somehow, someday. I never fully realized that it was up to ME to do the redeeming!

I guess practicing “unagi” is just the beginning of this whole redemption process. This total sense of awareness isn’t a real chore, I discovered, when I’m not trying so hard to attain it. Just…let yourself be...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


January 2, 2005 marked my parents’ 28th wedding anniversary. Having known them for 26 (almost 27 eeeks!) of those years, I’ve realize what a testament they are to the dynamic of true love and marriage. My mom and dad are your typical married couple, having raised 2 daughters and have been working since I can remember in order to maintain our comfortable, yet modest lives. We’re not a wealthy family who dwell in a Cribs-worthy mansion in Bel-Aire, with our loaded Mercedes M-class and Lexus parked in the garage. We live in a 2-bedroom townhome in Glendale across the street from the mall; my dad drives a Toyota Sienna and I drive a Rav-4 (whose spare-tire cover has been replaced, thanks very much).

No we’re not wealthy with material things. But I feel very blessed to be rich in so many other aspects that cost more than any million dollars could ever buy. Mom & Dad are two of those blessings. In this day in age, for any two people to be married as long as they have is a real feat and I’m happy to be a firsthand witness to the real life that develops the day AFTER the wedding. I hope one day we can be as fortunate as my mom and dad, to find a light one day, and make it shine their whole lives through.
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Belated Happy Birthday Leia!! She turned 26 on January 2nd!
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Do you ever have one of those days when you feel like you’re being punished for something? Like somewhere out there, someone or something is voodooing you with the greatest of their wrath? Like the sharp pins of their revenge and blade-thick needles of their despise are piercing slowly and agonizingly into what’s left of your patience and your pride? Yeah…I love that. It’s a real character builder I hear…TOO BAD IT TENDS TO SUCK OUT THE GOODNESS INSIDE OF YOU BEFORE YOU REALIZE THE LESSON IT’S SUPPOSED TO PROVIDE!

Can you tell I’m in the middle of a bad moment in my life? It’ll pass, I’m sure. I just had to let that out into the universe.

Saturday, January 01, 2005


This year, to me, has been about one thing: self-(re)discovery. It’s been about regaining inner strength when you’re at your weakest point. It’s been about searching your soul for answers that were never hidden to begin with. It’s been about realizing your potential to do what’s right for you and not caring what others might say. And it’s been about the hope that resides in even the most hopeless of situations. This year has been about believing.

Who here can deny me the fact that the last 12 months can only be described by 1 word?…CRAZY! 2004 was so…eventful. Emotional hills and valleys were the thing this past year, and it wasn’t all about just one cause. All of us, at one time or another, felt a need to release some type of negative energy into the world, whether it be over a broken heart, a fractured dream or a complete state of confusion. We’ve all experienced some kind of hurt this year…but we’re all still here, at the beginning of a new 12 months, ready and willing to leave the past in the past and look forward to tomorrow. I guess whoever coined that expression, “If it doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger” wasn’t totally lying.

I can probably recall, with much tearful longing, every single moment in 2004 when I witnessed loss. I don’t think I could ever relive the pain and anguish that I saw in others, and myself, upon each time we had to let go of something or someone we might’ve hoped would be there forever. But I can also recall with more fondness every single moment after THAT when my eyes were opened to perseverance, faith and hope so strong I couldn’t believe I never noticed it.

“When the Lord closes a door, some way He opens a window.” That’s my favorite line from my favorite movie and I can’t believe how much truth it holds. There will be a shortage on empty promises this year and certainly no ultra-ambitious resolutions are going to be made. Doing that is a thing of the past. 2005 is going to be a year when we stop trying to open the closed doors in our lives. They were closed for a reason. This year is about finally seeing what was there all along. We’re hopping out those open windows no matter how high up we may be. I have faith that someone or something will be standing there, waiting anxiously to break our fall.

Here's to 2005, everyone! I wish you all the greatest of hope!