Saturday, October 29, 2005

It CAN Be Done!

Seriously, if you're determined and desperate enough to want something, you can have it! Determination and desperation were surely present last night. I sat at a table in Barnes & Noble trying to ready myself for the Writing Assessment section of the GREs, and I had Iya sitting on my right with her engineering books cracked open, Carlo on my left brooding over an anatomy text and Riann across from me making respiratory diagrams on napkins and guess what: WE ACTUALLY STUDIED for a solid (mas o menos with visits from Matt, Bobbers and Joe) 3 hours!

After such a feat we walked two blocks to the nearest IHOP and feasted! We WALKED! Ha ha ha! We STUDIED AND WE WALKED? There's like ten things wrong with that sentence. But what can I say? In this case, ten wrongs made a right.

Uh-oh...time for another date with Kaplan. A good weekend to you all!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I'm on New Line Cinema's email list and I got these a few days ago. Ha ha ha...Legolas and Gandalf costumes for kids. It just cracked me up!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


She can hardly work the dvd player,
but knowing how to watch Oprah on the DVR is a piece of cake.
She doesn't know how to reply to an email on AOL or surf the internet,
but she can make any stain on your clothes disappear
and what she irons never seems to wrinkle.
She has her license and refuses to drive,
but can find her way (and our way) out no matter where we are.
She can't figure out how to use her camera phone, or take her cell out of speakerphone mode, but she can cook ANYTHING to meticulous perfection.
She thought "norkeling" was an actual activity,
yet she can identify practically any flower she sees
and her roses, orchids and sampaguita fluorish abundantly in their respective seasons.
She'll never miss a chance to tell me that I did something wrong,
but she'll be the first person to rescue me when I have.
She's Mom, generous and thoughtful, stern but loving.
She's my heroine.
Happy Birthday Mom!
Happy Birthday to my cousin, Christian!

Monday, October 24, 2005

MY GRANDFATHER... the eldest, just like me
...taught me how to forge signatures
...showed me how to tie a necktie
...taught me how fry an egg
...showed me I could play the piano just by listening to the music known as "the Godfather" in my family
...never gives up on keeping me on that pedestal, even when I feel like a failure an excellent cook
...can find humor in anything always the life of the party a survivor of 3 heart attacks a devoted fan of God an age-defying example of how 79 is definitely the new 40.


Sunday, October 23, 2005


Ate celebrated her 29th birthday this weekend. I know we “young ‘uns” give our older homies grief for being old (ahem Annie, Fernie, Ate Cyn, Gary…hee hee) when we see them, but as they’ve proven (without having to so), you’re only as old as you feel and age is definitely just a number. Friday night proved just that when six 20-somethings (2/3 almost 30-somethings…hahaha, just kidding!) spent an evening at California Adventure for Mickey’s Halloween Treat.

Not meant for the Knotts Scary Farm enthusiast, Halloween in the Magic Kingdom’s strictly-enforced, kid-friendly atmosphere called for more princesses, princes, cutesy bears and tiggers (and one baby Yoda) than vampires, ghouls and monsters. We took mental note and came in kid-friendly as ever, in our improvised Halloween costumes: dressed in white from neck to ankle, topped with my silver halo, I was an angel; Annie in her dad’s plaid polo, overalls and Blossom straw hat was a farmer; Will in his Bob Marley shirt wore his beanie with attached dreads proudly (which is an understatement. He grew rather attached to that thing and hopes to wear it as often as he can); Jeff & Fernie came dressed in their camouflaged best; and our birthday celebrant, Ate Tin-Tin came in her homemade lady bug costume! It was 3 hours of time well-spent in the company of such great friends (even though I had to pee before Hollywood Tower of Terror and Ate made me HOLD IT!). We scaredy cats who declined Knotts Scary Farm this year should opt for a wussy, but Disney kind of Halloween next year.

On Saturday we had Ate’s birthday lunch at C & O Trattoria in Venice. MMMMMMMM linguini de mare and awesome garlic rolls! I swear we pop those in our mouths like popcorn or potato chips! The meal was superb as always, the conversations I either partook in or listened to were amusing, and having buzzed Ate Tin-Tin (with her natural eye shadow and blush caused by alcohol intake), calling our waiter Donald (his name is Donan) was hilaire at best. After watching “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” with my girls Gwen, Fantone and Leia (oh, and Joemama – don’t pretend you were reading a magazine) and scheming a European invasion in 2007, I swung by my aunts’ housewarming back in Glendale to grub and concluded the evening in front of the computer formulating yet another paper which is due today (I finished last night, thanks very much!).

After a Sunday spent praying (2000 Hail Marys in the church auditorium – I prayed for a few hundred), eating or keeping Kelsoe amused (which is a worthwhile, but tiring task), the weekend finally caught up with me. In any case, I can’t complain. Now if only I could’ve squeezed in a couple hours of GRE studying…THAT task remained to go unseen this past week.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Thursday, October 20, 2005


It's unfair to call it that, really, since we often don't do any studying. For the most part the occasional meetings turn into much-needed therapy sessions, and that's what makes them so great. I think we just use "studying" as an excuse to set aside time to talk. No one ever really calls anyone to just "talk" anymore. Conversations that last from sunset to sunrise (in person, over the phone or the internet) are a rarity these days, at least they have been for me.

It's easy to accept that relationships between people are bound to change, but sometimes they change so abruptly that you don't know when or why it happened. One day you're exchanging heartaches and dreams, and in the next moment you're fighting for 5 minutes of chitchat that sometimes mere effort can no longer support. Or sometimes the change occurs so slowly that you don't realize it. Now you can't remember the last conversation you had with someone. The whens and whys can become obsessively harsh; so hurtful sometimes that you can't function without wondering if perhaps you've done something wrong or haven't done enough; or maybe you've just lost interest in someone's life or they've lost interest in yours.

The brush fires of anxiety are cunning. It's difficult to extinguish an inferno when you're feeding it a combustion of fear, doubt and bitterness. When the waters of patience, acceptance and forgiveness flow weakly, sometimes the only way to keep yourself safe (and sane) is to step away from the flame completely, and hope that beneath the stonecold charred remains, there breathes a glowing ember strong enough to provide warmth and guidance in desolate times, yet gentle enough to prevent further explosions. Playing with fire never proved so dangerous, and so emotionally draining.

Thanks, babygirl, for yet another eye-opening session of pure, unadulterated, obscene honesty. I can't get enough of those.

Monday, October 17, 2005


When I decided that I wanted to pursue this "writing thing," Pat and Cile gave me my first words of wisdom. Their pearls of such went something like this: "You're an artist now and people are going to criticize your work. Some people are going to like it and some won't. You have to be ready - get thick-skinned - for the people who won't."

I don't think I've taken such warning to heart until recently. No, my work hasn't been brutally attacked in class (though, trust me, there have been many opportunities). But, having paid attention to"Elizabethtown" reviews as much as I have, and subscribing to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY and PREMIER magazines where everything from movies, to tv shows to cds, to books are critiqued, it's hard to ignore the obvious: EVERYONE has an opinion about EVERYTHING.

I've got a built-in insecurity meter in my system when it comes to my work. It's very hard not to be self-deprecating when there are others who may be more experienced or more talented. At the same time, though, I can't help but be protective of something I've inserted so much of myself into. Art, in every form, is so subjective. The age-old saying goes, "Beauty is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder." I can't help but wonder, what if he or she who beholds, sees or hears no beauty in what I have to show? What's to become of me then?

All forms of art can be so very personal, and this is what I often find difficult to cope with. For every author who writes their life story for the world to know, is a person who finds opportunity for judgment; for every painter who introduces their innovative pieces, is a person who says it's all bullshit; for every musician whose song is played on the radio, is a so-called expert who says they don't come close to this so-and-so legend. How can someone who has put so much of their heart and soul into something handle that chance of being told it's not enough, it's nothing new, it's nothing special? Pharell Williams was on the radio this morning and he said it's one of the most difficult things about an artform like music. You create something, with every drop of sweat and tear you have, and you love it for everything you've put into it. Then you have to hand it over to someone else, share it with others...and you can't account for what they'll do to it then.

Cameron Crowe, one of many talented directors whose visions are reflected on the big screen and then later engraved in our psyches, had this to say about his latest work, "This movie chose me. And if it works out that I get slaughtered for a movie that came from my heart, I can live with myself." Spoken like a true artist, thick-skinned and all.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Just got back from watching "Elizabethtown." Screw writing - I'M GONNA BE A FLIGHT ATTENDANT!

Friday, October 14, 2005

It comes out today! Hooray!

Thursday, October 13, 2005


These last couple of weeks I’ve been around a lot of kids. This is rarely the case so I took advantage of such presence and, not intending to, found a simple joy that I feel is so easily misplaced these days.

The funniest things come out of kids’ mouths. Last week at my grandmother’s birthday dinner at the house, our neighbor, Nicole who’s 6 years old, was over and I helped her with her 1st grade homework. My cousins, Tin and I were occupied with eating and talking that I guess Nicole got sad and I found her sitting at the bottom of our staircase crying. So I asked her what was wrong and here’s how our conversation went:

NICOLE: No one wants to play with me. I told my mom I want a baby brother or sister, but she said ‘no!’ (Nicole’s parents are divorced). I’m all alone!!!”
ME: But you just told me that you had a lot of best friends at school.
(She pauses, still crying)
NICOLE: But I have no one to play with at home.
ME: Well, you have a lot of books and toys at home. You can play by yourself when you’re not in school with your friends. I used to play by myself all the time.
(And then she looks at me, huge tear-filled eyes)

So she goes home and then comes back with her mom, all smiles like she didn’t just have a drama fest on the stairway.

And then this weekend, we surprised my lola for her 74th birthday and I got to spend some more time in kiddy chaos (See pics link on the side). My nieces, April (7) and Alyssa (5) were there so Tin and I really had our hands full. They’re slowly getting over playing the shadow game (THANK GOODNESS!), and now are just talkative and silly as ever. With them attached to us all day, in addition to their little brother Anthony (3 or 4), 2-year old nephew Brandon, 1-year old cousin Lilly, her 5-year old brother Justin, my cousins Ruel (14) and PJ (21 or 22 I think), Tin and I felt like we were being entertained more than we were looking after the little ones. At one point all the kiddies were drawing (Lilly included, trying to get that pen grip just right in her tiny little hand), when a scuffle occurred between the siblings over some pork rinds:

Picture Anthony holding a cup of chicharon in his hand, and every few seconds Alyssa is sneaking chicaron in her mouth while she’s drawing:

ANTHONY: Don’t eat it all!
ALYSSA: I’M JUST SHARING!! (she grabs some more)
ANTHONY: Stop it!
APRIL (the big sister): There’s more downstairs!

I miss being a kid, not knowing or owning half the things I do now but being so content with what I DID know and have. Back then I probably didn’t know what the word “content” meant, but I never had to wonder about it and that’s what I miss the most. I suppose it’s easy to stay relatively happy as a kid when you don’t have so much to be UNhappy about; no responsibilities, no complicated relationships, not very many worries. Hmmm, what I’d give to re-visit such an age for at least 15 minutes everyday. That’d be nice.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I realized today that I have an amazing gift. Without very much effort, and without anyone's help, I find more and more innovative ways to SCREW MYSELF!

I had one of those days today: a paper due at 6:30 pm...still typing at 6:25 pm. I got the assignment 2 weeks ago and didn't sit to think of and then plan out the subject matter until 5 days before the due date. When I finally decided what to write about, I wrote haphazzardly like I was blogging, waiting until 2 days before the assignment is due to email the instructor for help, which brought upon an opportunity for him to advise me to interview people on the subject. Interview? Really? But the paper's due in two days. TOUGH COOKIES, ANNA, SHOULD'VE THOUGHT OF THAT BEFORE YOU WAITED UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO WORK ON THIS THING!

So I did brief interviews (thanks Ate, Annie and Ate Cyn!) and then set to solidify my angle, my piece. The time was then 1:45 am Tuesday morning – today. With eyes ready to hit the ground, and a body aching from 8 hours of senseless stress, I couldn't fight the fatigue and opted to email the paper to my work address so I could work on it while I, well, "worked." I should've known what kind of day this would be, having failed to blow-dry my hair in the morning because of course I woke up too late to do anything to it.

When I got to work this morning I checked my office email to start tweaking my paper and discovered in complete horror that the Microsoft Works file doesn’t covert to Word easily and instead of the 900+ words I had labored on the night before, I was staring at squares and other geometric characters that seemed to be laughing back at me. Oh, it had been a long morning. So what else could I do but cry? I cried (via email) to Cheryl, Iya and Chris for help. Thanks guys! I ended up rushing home during my lunch (thank good ness I only live 4 miles/10 min away) re-emailing it, then working on it, then working on it some more before Fernand came to pick me up, then working on it some more when we got to campus.

Our next project asks us to write a HOW-TO article. I think my headline’s gonna read: HOW TO BE YOUR OWN VICTIM. It’s due in two weeks. For research purposes I SHOULD procrastinate again, but for sanity’s sake, I think I’ll start it today.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I almost started a fire in my house today - actually I DID start a fire in my house today, but it was contained just in time. I lit a candle this afternoon, one of those gel candles I got as a souvenir from my friend's wedding (Toni, it was the candle your mom made!). My mom always tell me to be careful about gel candles because for whatever reason, they burn differently from the typical wax candles. It's always an accident waiting to happen when you put something as fragile as fire in my hands. As if the world were not dangerous enough. But I love the smell this candle creates and I've BEEN careful about it...until today I guess. Out of the 3 candles sitting above the toilet, I've used this one the most; which you can tell because there's only a third left of the sweet-smelling gel in the clear glass holder. This measure I should've taken into account before I let the candle burn so long.

It had been about an hour since I lit the wick and, as I was washing my hands (my sink is outside of the actual bathroom) I heard a crackling noise. When I looked into my bathroom, I saw that the whole candle holder was filled with a flame the size of my fist and, as an impulse, I BLEW ON IT! Quickly I realized that it wasn't a freakin' birthday candle when, upon my breath, a small flame shot up onto the towel hanging above the candle so I grabbed that and patted it down on the floor. In my inconceivable panic, I took a half cup of water and poured it over the flame WHICH MADE IT BIGGER, so I filled the cup again - this time all the way to the brim, and dumped it quickly onto the flame, causing the gelly-waxy stuff to splash onto whatever was within a 1-foot radius, like the toilet seat, the wall, the floor, the trashcan, etc. But it's okay because I managed to extinguish it.

This whole fiasco probably lasted about 3 minutes, and I was by myself so the panic was magnified about 50 times! That was a close one! At least now I can say that that accident I feared was going to happen, DID. I'll be careful next time...

Saturday, October 08, 2005


It's almost 2 am and I'm freakin' blogging! Why? Because in addition to 2 glasses of iced tea at dinner, I also chugged a venti iced cafe latte! I can stay up to watch the sun rise if I so wish to do so. I'm wide awake. My body is physically exhausted but my eyelids beg to differ, as they haven't slid even for a second to indicate a single wink of slumber.

I guess I'll try to finish my reading for class until I get sleepy, or brush up on some more Latin root words, maybe organize my closet? Categorize my pictures? Finish up a scrapbook? Pray the rosary? Write in my journal? Browse through Ooooh, that last one could be dangerous. I think I'll just read, and then...zzzzzzzzzzz...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What Grandmothers Give...
With every 7:30 am breakfast call-time during summer vacation,
you never letting us go hungry.
With every $10 you slipped into our hands - just because,
you never let us miss out on any fun.
With every dress you wear from a time long before most of us were born,
you teach us how to take care of precious belongings.
With every moment we're rushing you to hurry up and get ready,
you teach us the value of time.
With every instance of comic relief,
you teach us that laughter knows no age.
With every day that passes,
you give us more reasons to say how much we love you!
Birthday Greetings, Nanay!

Monday, October 03, 2005


Every single time I'm feeling any sort of uncertainty about life, or any loneliness and fear, there's always one person who seems to have the greatest timing - Riann. We could not talk to or see each other for weeks, sometimes even months. So when we do, we do it in bulk! "All day, all night..."

I spent last Friday night bonding with my Tita Cecile and Tita Arlene. We had dinner at Zono's (Mmmmm crab meat cheesepuffs!) and then watched "Just Like Heaven" (Cute movie!). I refused to spend another Friday evening pounding my brain with formulas and Latin root words so this was truly a welcome relief. The next morning I woke up knowing I'd be paying for that study break the night before and I got even lazier, lying there in bed, trying to figure out what I was going to do first: Read 3 chapters for class, start an assignment or open up my Kaplan book to study for the GRE's.

I spent the first 30 minutes of wakefulness pondering this "dilemma" when Riann texts: "Do u want 2 do hop hop aerobics @ 12?" And there began "Ate Lengy/Riann catch up day." Yes, we sure hip-hopped that afternoon, trying to learn five 8-counts of an easy routine that my 2 year old nephew could have learned. But why was I so slow and so off! It was so much fun though! The ride home was no less than amusing as Riann added another homeless story to her collection. Oh man...

After mass, having offered to drive my sister to the movies, I decided to spend Saturday night at Coffee Bean to make up the some study time. I was there for about 3 1/2 hours, slowly sipping on my large iced cafe vanilla with soy. Riann came to keep me company so she could study too. We both got a lot done...after our little catch-up/social analysis/pep talks in the beginning. Oh please, who were we kidding?! Hahaha...

After hanging out at my house for a little bit, I took Babygirl home. Time spent with her was just what I needed: someone to tell me not to panic about the test because it's do-able, to provide me with some companionship and comic relief (damn those homeless stories should be published!), someone who is as good at listening as she is at talking. Thanks Rianu!
Birthday greetings to my wonderful cousins,
Mary Anne and Ben!

Saturday, October 01, 2005


From our balcony at work, in Burbank, CA, this is what we saw. Across the street, through a few residential blocks, a fire ignited late Thursday afternoon and well into Friday right before we left for the day. It doesn't compare to the brush fire that ravaged the Ventura area, where my boss and his family packed up the car just in case the flames came closer to their home. I watched people on tv rushing into their packed cars, carrying everything they think is too important to leave behind for the imminent tragedy that nature had in store. It makes me wonder what I would take with me.

It's so strange, all these disasters, with different magnitudes, hitting one after the other. If it's not a tsunami, it's an earthquake, or a hurricane or a brush fire. I think I've seen enough images of loss this year to last me a lifetime. One can only hope and pray for safety and recovery so long. Danger seems to lie everywhere you turn...