Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Monday, October 29, 2007

Stacy & Edweeeeeen!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

persevere [pur-suh-veer]
to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly
Synonyms include: endure, stand firm, pursue, carry on

Fr. Joe should get an award for his timing - honestly. He never fails to have the right things to say at the right time. This past Sunday he spoke for 15 minutes about one word...persevere. We often hear it in stories where victory or relief is achieved despite the adversity. "Through it all, they persevered" is how the stories usually end. But this sermon had a slight twist. It wasn't just about perseverance through hardship; it was perseverance through prayer.

He said that people often confuse prayer for magic; that we sometimes make a request through a few prayers and expect results instantaneously. Not that seemingly unanswered prayers are said in vain. It's just that, the result or the granted wish is not the point of praying. It's the experience we undergo during the action; the turning to God and the strengthening of our faith, the hope that whatever happens will be for the best. P.U.S.H. Fr. Joe said.

Pray Until Something Happens

So we don't always get the results that we hope for. So we don't get what we think we want or need. I read somewhere that:

Not getting what you want is God's way of telling you that He has something better planned.

God has a plan - got it!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Happy Birthday
to my Grandfather,
who makes 81 look like 61!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Saturday, October 20, 2007

wanderlust [won-der-luhst]
a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about
Synonyms include: love of journeys

I figured, what heck, it hasn't been a year since our trip and I only have 2 more cities to blog about so why not? So here we are...where did we leave off? Oh yeah...
Mission #10 - Brave the Italian Open Road...again
Point of Origin - Florence, Italy
Destination - Siena, Italy
It's very hard not to think of running away from the sometimes mundane lives that we lead when we can think of a hundred places we'd so rather be. Since the ability to teleport from one location to another in a matter of seconds is not available to all, I often rely on something else to help me escape boredom, repression and sadness - memory.
If there were a place like Siena a few hours away from Glendale, I'm sure you'd find me driving through a lush countryside to get there (maybe in a Peugot much like the one Pat and Seong maneuvered above)...
Maybe sitting in the middle of a square (or in Siena's case - a shell), writing vigorously about the little boy kicking the soccer ball back and forth with his father or the nuns walking through with rosaries hanging from their belts...
Possibly watching a group of friends taking silly pictures in front of every interesting landmark they came upon...
Or uselessly trying to protect my head from a swarm of pigeons flying through yet somehow not caring because the cup of gelato in my hand causes the greatest distraction.
Siena is just that kind of place that draws you in to its distinct architecture, layout and aura. The fact that every single building is brownstone and every street is narrow enough that you question its functionality until you see pedestrians nonchalantly step aside when a Mini Cooper or vespa comes whizzing by; it's just surreal for visitors such as ourselves to ingest.
What I miss most about Italy is the reverence you feel you owe to the food being served to you at every meal. Plates aren't jaded with too much garnish (if any at all) and fistfuls of food so massive you feel your heart tighten just by looking at it. Food there is placed in front of you with the greatest of pride by waiters dressed in suits, and your glass of wine sits nearby, waiting to make sure every morsel you eat is an experience you will probably never forget.
One of the funniest recurrences on this trip was Cile's dealings with zippers...especially her bag's and jacket's zippers. She seemed to make this face every time she wanted to zip up and though it made me smile every time I saw it, it made helping her zip up even more worthwhile.
It is truly another world over there. Looking at this picture, you'd never know it was taken in 2006. The preservation of cities such as this is nothing less than extraordinary.
We were eager travellers, knowing when to stop to appreciate a local musing and knowing when keep walking to stay on schedule, though our timetable, truth be told, was barely ever pushed to its limit.
Yes, driving in Italy was quite the task...and so was being a passenger. The fact that lanes are not always defined, and no one seems to know who has the right of way was an entertaining, albeit frightening experience. Listening to music in the car was hilarious as well. We often found ourselves either trying to decipher the Italian language, listening to the same English songs over and over again (John Legend and Usher, you guys are popular over there), there was also the mp3 player option. Unfortunately, finding a station was tricky....unless you're resourceful of course. You freakin' jerks, find your own damn antenna!
Like we did everyday, we started, continued and ended the daily excursions with food and wine. Is there, really, a more appropriate way?

Friday, October 19, 2007

oh's 2:45 am and we're still talking....HAHAHA!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

confidante [kon-fi-dahnt]
a woman to whom secrets are confided or with whom private matters and problems are discussed; woman character in a drama or fiction, such as a trusted friend or servant, who serves as a device for revealing the inner thoughts or intentions of a main character
Synonyms include: advisor, bosom buddy, companion

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." Though stupidity is relative (though not too relative as Forrest Gump reminds us, "stupid is as stupid does"), friendship remains to be a blessing; a savior when foolishness seems to surround you like a dark, unforgiving aura.

People keep asking me this week how I'm doing. I'd almost forgotten how terrible I felt the two weeks before this one came around; how often I avoided human contact (in all forms) because I knew speaking about everything that was bothering me only made me want to cry that much more. I think the reason why this low point felt like the lowest I've ever felt, is because I know I brought myself down here, I did this, it's my fault. Maybe I wanted to punish myself or maybe I just needed a moment to accept responsibility for something I didn't want to.

No one is responsible for my circumstances except me. I want to engrave that into my psyche, push my face down on it and taunt myself into a hard lesson learned. But along always comes an angel to drive away the inner bullies, help me up to stand, dust me off, fill my gas tank, treat me to dinner, go with me to see a random movie, email me at work all day, chat with me until 2 am on a worknight, ask me if I'm okay, text me to say it'll be okay, invite me over for some no frills bonding time, hug me like they hadn't seen me in years, remind me of what I'm capable of, tell me I deserve good things. Being independent is a great thing, but allowing yourself to depend on the angels you have here on earth is an even greater feeling.

I've been saved...again....

Saturday, October 13, 2007

modus operandi [moh-duhs op-uh-ran-dee]
mode of operating or working; The way someone does something; a characteristic method
Synonyms include: M.O., approach, process, technique

I heard (or rather finally took notice of) the phrase, "That's your M.O."watching Sister Act 2. Whoopi Goldberg said it to a pre-Fugees Lauryn Hill. Thereafter I heard it everywhere - on tv, in more movies, etc. I tried to glean meaning from the context and the more I heard it, the more clued in I got into what it meant. It's the way you handle situations, the way you work, your unique system of operating.

Each of us has an M.O. - our own way of handling and reacting to life's moments of joy and daily nuisances. Our M.O.'s are often our saving grace (read: excuse), as in, "She can't help it. This is how she is." Ironically, it's also frequently the one thing we'd like to change about ourselves but are too afraid to for fear we will suffer consequences of self-destruction if we choose to be other than who we're so used to being. Oh if only the human condition came with an instruction manual so we wouldn't have to figure it out for ourselves.

These past few weeks for me could've done with some written instructions, not to mention a few cautionary bulletpoints to match. My M.O. was in fragmented disaray, as ableness was crushed by the hands of uncertainty, hope fell at the feet of despair, and community sought only seclusion. My M.O. in the face of challenge was a desire to shut down, shut out, and cave in.

Whether it has been financial difficulty, seemingly-continuous car problems, or just plain heartache, I realize how often and how quickly I am forced to choose a mode of continuance - a plan. My mistake this time around was fearing it was too late to have one.

Maybe my new M.O. should be to suck it up and just get on with it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Be at Peace

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life; rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, Whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His Arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father Who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
~ Saint Francis de Sales ~

Monday, October 08, 2007

quietude [kwahy-i-tood]
the state of being quiet; tranquillity; calmness; stillness; a state of peace and quiet
Synonyms include: calmness, tranquility, peace

Last weekend we threw my grandmother a surprise 80th birthday party with a barrio fiesta theme complete with banderitas hanging around the perimeter of the dancefloor, folk dances, music sung in tagalog and the laughter of family and friends everywhere. All this for my sweet Nanay.
Finally we can stop sneaking around, speaking in whispers and making up stories. It was a truly great day to celebrate the milestone birthday of the most kindhearted lady I know. Everyone present was there probably because she had somehow touched a part of their lives. Speaking as someone who has been partly raised by her, it has made all the difference to have someone like Nanay so nearby all my life.
The minute that I arrived here from the Philippines at age 4, Nanay’s genuineness, her loving care, her innate ability to be the nicest, sweetest woman in the room was obvious to me. You will rarely, if ever at all, see her angry or feel unwelcome when you’re around her. She greets you with a laugh and smile that tells you how much you mean to her. She also probably babysat half of the guests there that day. Matt and I used to be her #1 customers when we were little.
After school time was filled with not just homework, but with a bowl of wonton soup or hot cocoa on a cold day, or fried egg and pan de sal for a snack. Whether it’s during a party or an unexpected visit to say hello, she is always armed with some kind of food to offer you – maybe she just cooked adobo, or maybe some Chinese food from lunch earlier, or donuts! Hahaha! Whether you’re one of her children, one of her grandchildren, isa sa mga pamangkin o pinsan niya, kaibigan o kapitbahay, nothing gives her greater joy than making you feel special, no matter where you are or what time of the day it is.
In my 29 years of life, one memory of Nanay sticks out to me. She used to ring the doorbell or call my sister and me on the phone at 7 am during school breaks when we cherish sleeping in late, inviting (quite persistently!) us to come over and eat breakfast. But in most cases, she’ll just leave a plate of spam and a big bowl of fried rice on our kitchen counter, ready for us when we finally woke up. Actually, now that I think about it, things like this didn't just happen for breakfast. They occured for lunch, merienda and dinner too! haha!
So aside from knowing that I WILL NEVER GO HUNGRY as long as she is here, it’s this simple gesture that reminds me constantly of Nanay’s kind heart and her example of generosity and obvious love for God and everything and everyone that she has been blessed with. This is what makes everyone want to celebrate her life.
This celebration was long overdue, for this lady who gives so much more than she receives. Often found sitting contently in the kitchen, or watching TFC in her room, or hanging laundry on the clothesline in the patio, Nanay speaks so little (unless she's insisting that you eat), yet you can always tell how she's feeling just by looking at her. She's not outspoken at all, but everything she says either makes us laugh or makes us just want to give her a hug. How lucky are we? Probably luckier than we will ever realize.

Friday, October 05, 2007

kindhearted [kahynd-hahr-tid]
having or proceeding from a kind heart; having or proceeding from an innately kind disposition
Synonyms include: generous, considerate, kind

There is no word more perfect to describe my grandmother...

What Is a Grandma?
A grandma is warm hugs and sweet memories. She remembers all of your accomplishments and forgets all of your mistakes. She is someone you can tell your secrets and worries to, and she hopes and prays that all your dreams come true. She always loves you, no matter what. She can see past temper tantrums and bad moods, and makes it clear that they don't affect how precious you are to her. She is an encouraging word and a tender touch. She is full of proud smiles. She is the one person in the world who loves you with all her heart, who remembers the child you were and cherishes the person you've become.
~Barbara Cage~
Happy 80th Birthday
to my wonderful grandmother!!
Yay Nanay!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Happy 18th Birthday,
Mary Anne!!!

Happy Birthday,

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's been a difficult couple of weeks for me, and this weekend was more than I thought I could handle. Fortunately, I had friends who were kind enough to provide me with a source of comic relief which I took advantage of over and over again...

Oh man...