Wednesday, August 31, 2005



Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Monday, August 29, 2005

(I THINK that means "friend" in Japanese)

Saturday, August 27, 2005


I had 3 wisdom teeth extracted yesterday. After my consultation last week, the dental assistant handed me a tiny envelope. “That’s valium, “she advised. “Take it one hour before your surgery. It’s just a sedative, just to kinda calm you down.” Hmmm, it’s just my wisdom teeth. I need to be calmed down? The only thing I’d known of valium is that River Phoenix, rest his soul, overdosed which resulted in his death. So I called Bobbers, my favorite pharmacist, for more info. “Bobbers, what’s valium?” And she answered, “Banana, that’s a narcotic!” COOL! DRUGS! He he…

So I took my valium yesterday morning at 9:50 am, got to my dentist’s office at 10:45 am, took 4 amoxicillin capsules and then got underway. All the dental assistants were really nice, very smart gals who assisted Dr. Stamper. They rolled the blood pressure thingy on my arm, placed suction cups on various parts of my chest and tummy, and after a mask was placed over my nose and mouth, the last words I heard were, “Ok Anna, you’re gonna get kinda sleepy now.”

Maybe half an hour later or so, I heard Dr. Stamper’s voice, “Okee dokee, that’s it!” One of the dental techs helped me up and lay me in the recovery room. I swear, I never knew dental offices had recovery rooms. That’s so funny to me. Anyhow, Ate Tin-Tin came in, and she was talking to me but next thing I know, I’m waking up. She’s all, “Dude, I was talking to you about Harry Potter and next thing I know you’re snoring!”

Ate was literally a 24-hour nurse to me. She took me to Islands on Thursday night for a "last dinner", then after taking me home after my surgery, she went to the pharmacy to get my Vicodin, Zithromax and this medicated mouthwash that I apparently need to kill bacteria. And then she stayed with me all day, as I changed the bloody gauze from my mouth every half hour, spitting constantly, downing a painkiller which knocked me our for a few hours and then when my parents got home, she hung out with me for a while longer before she went on her way. THANKS SO MUCH ATE! Happy hour at ISLANDS is on me the next few times. LOVE YOU BIG SISTER!

So now I’m trapped here at home, on a liquid/soft food diet which, in the last 12 hours, has consisted of mango or chocolate sorbet, soup (which I have to wait to get lukewarm or cold because I can’t drink or eat anything hot until probably Monday) and mashed potatoes that I take forever to eat because I can’t open my mouth very wide. I’ve got an icepack attached to my left cheek 24/7 because, as the doctor warned, the bottom left tooth would be most “tender” (that’s SO another word of painful) because it sits right above a nerve. I’m missing more partying this weekend and I’m so bummed! Dumb wisdom teeth!

Ok, I better get going. "May cause drowsiness" says the label on the Vicodin bottle. No kidding...

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Not even 10 seasons or ER, 5 seasons of CSI and 2 seasons of HOUSE, M.D. could help me comprehend a fraction of the medical jargon I've been barraged with these last couple of days. Trying to achieve clarity through a fog of terms like congenital, myoma, resection and others I couldn't even begin to ponder the spelling of, has been a trivial consequence I've taken to heart as I attempt to assuage the true repercussions of my Tita Cecile's stay in the hospital: worry and panic.

What started as a routine surgery for acute appendicitis, turned into a procedure of chance. The doctor opened her up, planning to fix her appendix, but instead was forced to extract a large mass previously diagnosed as harmless. It had swollen up, pushed against her stomach and intestines, causing her unbelievable pain. No appendicitis; just a benign tumor sitting in the wrong place.

It’s so weird to see Tita Cecile so unable to do things. Next to mom and my grandmothers, she’s superwoman to me; with a successful career, a nice home, a nice car, the most amiable disposition you’d ever encounter and a timeless knack for loving everyone around her, family, friends and strangers alike. Now she’s in bed, unable to walk effortlessly due to post surgery pain; unable to eat solid foods in order to allow the stitches on her stomach to heal, strapped with an IV for sustenance. It scares me to see her this way. People are always scared of what they’re unfamiliar with, and seeing her in this state is more unfamiliar to me than anything! But I have faith that she’ll be ok.

So, please keep her in your prayers. I know it would help her recovery.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

(Let's work on teamwork this year, shall we?)

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Weddings that is. Since February, I’ve attended 5 weddings with 2 more to go this year…SO FAR. By the way, not that anyone will care, but I'm retiring this wedding outfit shown below because it's the 3rd wedding I've worn it to, differing only with the white sweater that goes on top (Thanks for letting me borrow your shrug, Chris!).

So in the last 4 weeks, we’ve had 2 engagements announced. WHAT’S GOING ON! Hahaha! After the last engagement we got word of, Riann was like, “What is this, like the flu? It’s like an epidemic!” But at this age, mid-late 20's, marriage is no less than commonplace, is it? I think what’s affected me most are the people getting married.

My friend from high school, Cheryl, got married yesterday. From the day she told us she was engaged, to every moment we’ve spent planning her wedding, to the last time I talked to her on the phone (this morning), I can’t stop thinking of this friend I used to know; the one in Mrs. Rizzo’s religion class who thought I was Japanese, this bballer we used to cheer for from the bleachers, the same girl who fell off the roof just days before the prom, one of the many kind souls who chauffeured me around before I got my license. She’s a married woman now.

I’ve never seen her look more beautiful, especially holding the hand of her new husband Alan, who’s been everything to her these last 6 years.Their very first date was the day I left for England in 1999. They saw us off at the airport and then had dinner. Now they'll be addressed as Mr. & Mrs. Zee.

The day itself was not without its share of worries. Warning to everyone who plans a wedding: MAKE SURE THERE IS A FIRM UNDERSTANDING, ON PAPER, BETWEEN YOU AND ALL YOUR VENDORS because miscommunication and misunderstanding seemed to be the underlying theme last night. I swear when I was filling out the comment sheet for Alan and Cheryl at the hotel, I was wishing they'd given me more than 4 lines on that survey to speak my mind. Having the reception start an hour after the time we were told was inexcusable. But then I realized that you can't always battle with circumstances and win. You can either deal with each one accordingly or complain about it all night. I vote for the former, more active solution. Besides, when the reception program started, and people were eating and Alan & Cheryl looked to be calm, happy and excited, the rest of the evening ran itself, no wedding coordinator necessary.

I think I'm retiring my wedding planner hat for a little bit...until someone asks that is, in which case I'd jump at the chance to make timelines, calendars and put together guestlists again. Call me! We'll do lunch!

In the meantime, I'll just say CONGRATULATIONS TO ALAN AND CHERYL! A most happy life I wish on you two!


Thursday, August 18, 2005


Fantone emailed me at work today:

>>> "Fantone, Christine" 08/18/05 08:58AM >>>

Hi Anna,

I think it's just me but I can't get into the Kaplan book. I started on the verbal chapter. Too bad I don't know any of the words. Maybe I'll start with the math section.


She signed HER email with MY name! I think studying for the GRE's is getting to you already girlfriend! Hahaha!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I, who live by words, am wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words and then
Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn apart
In this strange patterned time of contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me,
And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended.
I leave, returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all words are ended.
I, who live by words, am wordless when
I turn me to the Word to pray. Amen.

- Madeleine L'Engle

The mantra of our retreat this past weekend was “Coming Home to Days,” and an appropriate theme it was, as Dayzers from batches past, present and future gathered to re-live a unique experience that we can never truly leave behind.

This is the third retreat I’ve attended, and for whatever reason, every single time I’ve been given the opportunity to go, I feel an inconceivable apprehension. I always WANT to go but somehow always find reasons that would prevent my participation. Whether it’s doubt, fear, prior engagements, etc, I always seem to find obstacles looming in my conscience and I end up deliberating a great deal before I finally decide to go. I’m sure people go (or don’t go) for different reasons. I discovered that I’ve often been unsure because I know that the retreat will enable me reflect on things in life which I find so easy to ignore when I’m enraptured in my cloister of obligations; “duties” I’ve come to categorize as distractions sometimes.

But the Lord always has a way, doesn’t He, to remind us of faith we forget to turn to in time of need? Because although the 57-mile trip from Glendale to Norco on Friday evening was spent thinking of the two birthday celebrations I’d be missing, I was reminded, rather quickly upon my arrival, what a gift the weekend was going to be. It won’t be easy, I heard inside. But it will be worth it, I was promised. God’s word, announced in the most fearsome thunder or whispered silently in the breeze, is a guarantee I question shamefully more than I should.

This weekend was indeed a gift, for I was consoled with a familiar serenity found in the company of kind faces and comforting voices; discovered in the stories we told and listened fervently to; and enlightened by quiet prayers of the heart. I don’t get the chance to talk to these newfound blessings on a regular basis, but when I do, it’s always like coming home. I never feel like a stranger, even if I haven’t spoken to these newfound friends in months, or spoken to them AT ALL. Having shared the unique experience that we did, it’s another genuine friendship that is truly blessed by God.

The only downside of this weekend is that I never know when I’ll see these faces or hear these voices again. So until then, take care and God Bless: Noreenie, Mina, Dorothy, Dee, Jilly, Flo, Angie, Tricia, Chris, Cristina, Reg, Kay, Seashelle, Dana, Shelby, Francia, Marites, Leo, Jay, Derek, Arlene, Dexie, Pia, Jerome, Emely, Kuya G, Kathy, Ray, Gian, Mel, Jei, Sonny, Jason, Chinky, Pampy, Norman, Brian, Analyn and Lovette! Welcome Cicely, Joyce, Toni, Gemmie and Rica!

If I missed anyone, my short-term memory sucks but know you’re in my thoughts. Hahaha…did I just do a shout-out? THAT’S SO HIGH SCHOOL!


Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Saturday, August 13, 2005

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Happy Birthday Chris!
(You look like a badass here dude, especially with Joe's freakin' middle finger there!)

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Happy Birthday Rachey!
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Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Between the first time I set foot into the magical kingdom when I was 4 years old, to the most recent trip at 27, the Disney mantra remains: When you wish upon a star your dreams come true. The images of a blighted maiden finding her loving prince in the midst of loss, evil or just plain bad luck; the picture of a peasant finding an enchanted lamp with a genie who not only gives him three wishes, but gives him the strength to discover his worth; the vision of a lonely peddler creating a puppet who turns into a real boy; the scenes of a fawn learning to recover from the premature loss of his mother – all are live examples of Walt Disney’s faith in BELIEVING.

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A way of believing that goes beyond making a wish on a shooting star and leaving it to chance to decide its fate. The signature song goes, "when your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme." What’s a prayer with no faith? What’s a hope with no longing? What’s a wish with no HEART?

Tin, Ate and Me
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It’s easy to push wishes and prayers aside when they don’t come into our lives the way we envision them to arrive. It’s easy to feel angry and resentful when a wishful dream seems to take a lifetime to come true. But “fate is kind. She brings to those who love, the sweet fulfillment of their secret longing.”

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Mr. Disney got it right when he opened the gates to the happiest place on earth 50 years ago. In a cynical world such as ours today, where senseless hatred, hopelessness and ignorance seem to overtake the genuine goodness and love that’s inherent to human beings, heartfelt wishes and dreams could be put to some use.

Annie, Ate and Me
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Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Who says that all girls are catty? In all honesty, I admit that we women all have the potential to be. I’ve learned in recent years that the reason behind a lot of women’s inherent feline behavior is competition; the underlying desire to be prettier, smarter, wittier than their fellow gendermates. The unconscious pageantry of ego can be fierce, when ladies of all shapes and sizes, levels of humor, intelligence and abilities inhabit the same area at the same time, vying for the attention of the same audience. There are moments when such circumstances make for amusing conversational whispers. But there are other moments when a group of girls can sit in the same room and be who they are intended to be: really good friends. Our weekend up north proved this much to me.

In an effort to remain in touch with each other’s busy lives, a Circle Of Friends I know get together for one weekend each year to remember old times, re-connect with each other’s souls, re-forge their fragmented life stories and re-assess their futures. It only takes one warm embrace of fondness and a single shrill of laughter to bring it all back.

This year our circle spent the weekend in Northern California. A day in beautiful Napa Valley, wine-tasting, eating, driving and shopping couldn’t have been a more appropriate backdrop for the ladies who, since 2000, are no longer the roxy t-shirt-wearing, backpack-toting, boy-band-loving, all-night-clubbing group they once were. Thankfully, other than these former idiosyncratic tendencies from the collegiate and post-collegiate years, not much else has changed; for although the words “career, marriage and family” penetrated our weekend conversations, so too did brand new inside jokes and old memories…

Memories such as our effort to keep track of each other’s presence in Vegas 3 years ago. We “count off” from, you guessed it, eldest to youngest.

Here we are, a lovely group. But now it's time for --

#1 Annie "gotta look for arrows or I'll miss another exit" Valdez
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#2 Tin-Tin "the sun's my enemy" Llamas
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#3 Christine "Master Yoga" Fantone
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#4 Anna "always caught in the ambiguous mist of love" Gonda
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#6 Gwen "Clueless" Antonio
#5 Cile "A date? I don't know, maybe later" Tecson
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#7 Terry "Queen of Mean" Castaneda
#8 Melissa "Second in Command to the Queen" Dawa
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#9 Leia "3rd in command of the mean fleet" Gerali
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#10 - Larnie "I take yo' picha 3 feet from yo' face" Boquiren
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So happy together...
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