Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy, Happy Birthday
Big Sis & Will!!!
And congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Dadia!!!!
(thanks to Ate Nette for this awesome picture!!!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm so not done blogging about Chi-town but I couldn't wait to send out my happy wishes after a SLEW of great news came my way!

Hooray for the babies on their way...

Baby Ballon will be one organized child with a fetish for Nikes,
just like Ise & Nick!!

Baby Palos will have a supersweet and smart mom in Ann, a caring and responsible dad in Ryan and an awesome big brother in Trae!!!
Ate Cyn and Gary's baby will grow up to be a jokester with a lot of stories to tell...

And another ENGAGEMENT!!!

Rachey and Mark yay! Sucks for you, JT. You waited too damn long and now she's taken!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Stacy!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

lodging [loj-ing]
accommodation in a house, esp. in rooms for rent; a temporary place to stay; temporary quarters
Synonyms include: abode, residence, dwelling

Aside from all the Westin Hotels I’ve ever stayed in, this is by far, one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever checked into. Like Andrew said, “It’s Swiss…anything Swiss is gonna be nice,” and he couldn’t be more right.

The hotel (shaped like a triangle, though you can't tell from this picture) is located in downtown Chicago, right next to the Hyatt Regency Hotel where the conference is being held. I don’t have to take a cab, rent a car and drive or take a subway. I just have to walk across the street!

So the swissotel…modern, sleek and minimal. The lobby is nothing fancy, and my room isn’t laden with walls of gold. When it comes to hotel stays, it’s never about how grand everything appears, but about how grand I feel while I’m there and let me tell you, the swissotel didn’t disappoint.

From the accommodating staff (doormen, front desk, housekeeping – all of them!), to the marble-laden bathroom, to the flatscreen tv, to the clock/radio/iPod speaker, to my beautiful view of boats on Lake Michigan seen between skyscrapers of offices and condos, and of course to my comfortable, dreamlike sleep inducing bed – swissotel is one quality hotel!

Happy, Happy Birthday

Riann, you should have as much Panera and as many tostadas and potato balls as you want today!

Happy Birthday, Jamie!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

visitor [viz-i-ter]
a person who visits, as for reasons of friendship, business, duty, travel, or the like
Synonyms include: sightseer, tourist, vacationer

Chicago – Day 2
I had to drag myself out of an enchanting unconsciousness this morning. I was so woven into the warmth of every thread in that bed that I felt like a big fat abandoner ripping away from the seams. But the thought of seeing the city in the morning proved too convincing for even the groggy. Besides, I had something important to do this morning.
I made an appointment with the administrative director of the MFA Writing Program at the School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). I figured that since I was already here, why not take advantage and kill the proverbial second bird. The SAIC “campus” is made up of 5-6 buildings around downtown Chicago and the MFAW office is in a building on Wabash Avenue. I could’ve walked there, but I ran late so I took a cab.

I entered the building with a slew of students who scanned their ID’s while two watchful security guards made sure the scanners beeped each time. When I got my visitor’s pass, I went up to the 7th floor, waited rather nervously in the hallway for the office to open up, and sooner than later, Amber (the admin director) had arrived. She hadn’t even settled in before she invited me into her office to talk. I’ve been to info sessions before, and I have a stack of graduate program brochures sitting in my room, but actually making an appointment to talk to someone one-on-one is the most proactive thing I’ve done about my still uncertain future in grad school. It’s not the easiest program to get into (what grad program is?), but it’s the most unique I’ve encountered and Amber brought me more comfort than intimidation. Still, I have a lot to do. I walked back to the hotel after the meeting. It’s less than a mile away so I bought some iced latte, turned on my iPod and walked through the city as if it was my own. “Miss Independent” by Ne-yo happened to be the first song on the playlist. I felt like a music video…

When I got back to my hotel, I gathered some stuff and walked across the street to the Hyatt Regency to set up our booth for the conference. The exhibit starts tomorrow so I had to get everything ready. It only took me 2 ½ hours thanks to Jovi and Lisa who always have everything ready when we rip open all the freakin’ boxes! I went back to my room soon after, typed a bit, and then spent the afternoon with Reyna. She picked me up, gave me an unintentional tour of the city after the TWO sushi places she was planning to take me to were 1) Closed for business and 2) Closed for the afternoon. We ended up at Grand Luxe on Michigan Avenue, where we stuffed ourselves…again.
After lunch, we walked a couple of blocks up and down the Magnificent mile; with a quick stop at the GAP. Reyna dropped me off at the hotel, I took a quick nap, and then my Kuya Dan and nephew, Daniel, picked me up for dinner.
I love having family all over the place! A cluster of cousins live here in Chicago so I wasted no time emailing them that I’d be visiting. Ate Jenny invited us over to her place for dinner and I had so much fun just hanging out. I recently just saw her, Ate Jonalyn, Kuya Dan, Daniel and Dana (my niece) in July, but I never tire of being around them because they’re fun to be around! We watched tv, played cards (I learned a new game – James Bond. Haha!), and it was, for me, a sneak peek of what I could have if, by some miracle, I got into SAIC and moved here.
I can’t say enough of how homey I feel being here. It’s only my second visit to this city, but already there is a comfort and familiarity that I haven’t felt with a city since, well, my beloved DC. New York was awesome, but Chicago, despite being on this side of the country, feels more like LA than NYC does. I realize this is a bold observation, but the streets, the atmosphere – they all scream BIG CITY WITH ROOM TO MANEUVER! And wow, this is one of the cleanest downtowns I’ve EVER seen!

Anyhoo, I have to read through some literature before the conference tomorrow morning….oh who am I kidding? I just wanna lay in this comfortable ass bed!
reunite [ree-yoo-nahyt]
to unite again, as after separation
Synonyms include: rejoin, reconvene

Chicago – Day 1
I arrived in Chicago yesterday afternoon after a quick 3 hour and 40 minute flight on American Airlines. May I just say that AA has the tiniest seating area I’ve ever encountered? The guy sitting in the next seat might as well have been resting his head on my shoulder! If he was hot I probably wouldn’t have minded but that’s not the point.
Thank goodness for the first familiar face I saw when I arrived…Reyna (an old roommate of mine, Cile and Ter’s), is doing her residency here in Chi-town so she offered to chauffeur me around. I haven’t spoken to her in a few months, and our contact is reduced to occasional emails, phone calls, annual Christmas cards and her infrequent visits home to LA. But there really is much to be said when this lack of interaction has not threatened our bond…even a smidge.
I got to hang out at her house and, after checking into my hotel, was able to spend some time talking to her. We had dinner at a Brazilian restaurant called Fogo de Chao, where every type of meat (chicken, beef, pork – all of it!) is available for consumption. Suffice it to say, I could barely breathe after I was SOOO FULL! This nice meal would’ve been had through the kindness of SAGE, but instead it was enjoyed through the kindness of Reyna (thanks, Renaleen!).

After dinner, Reyna and I planned to walk around the city to find some dessert, have some coffee and just catch up. Instead, we ended up talking all evening in my room at swissotel (details of THAT later). We even ordered coffee through room service, only to realize in the middle of our “coffee talk” that there was a coffee maker, ready for brew ground coffee, and two mugs sitting on the desk next to the tv. Oops! Losers.

After Reyna left, I finished unpacking, washed up for bed, and talked to Riann on the phone for a bit. Then I turned off the lights and dozed off quicker than you can say goose down pillow…

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Off to Chicago for a conference...a super random one, as usual. It's sponsored by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. hahaha! I'll be back on Friday, surely with more knowledge of hand surgery than I did before this week...

Monday, September 15, 2008


Dude, I totally called it! The first time I saw Sarah Palin I was like...dude, she looks like Tina Fey!

Friday, September 12, 2008

wicked [wik-id]
evil or morally bad in principle or practice; sinful; iniquitous; having a bad disposition; ill-natured
Synonyms include: unrighteous, ungodly, godless, impious, profane, blasphemous; immoral, profligate, corrupt, depraved, dissolute; heinous; infamous, villainous

We finally saw it! I swear, Leia, Bev, Ja and I felt like we were the only people in the world who hadn't seen this musical yet. Along with Larnie and Gweeenie, we did see it last night at the Pantages Theater and I'd totally watch it again!

I'm always a bit concerned when I hear people's opinions of something like musicals, especially if their reviews are glaringly positive. But honestly, it was awesome! I listened to the soundtrack as soon as I got home and I'm probably going to listen to it until I've got it memorized. Bev said last night how it made her wish she could sing. Haha! I hear you, girl. Every time I watch or even listen to a musical, that secret desire of being part of one always comes out of me. Uh-oh, it's time to belt out off-key but full-out in my car and the shower again. =) And cool trivia, the girl who played Elphaba last night is a UC Irvine Theater Arts Major graduate! Woo hoo!! Zot Zot!!!

It's funny, because I've had a copy of the soundtrack since 2005 when Fernand and I still had writing class together and he had watched it a dozen times already! haha! I thought I would've watched it back then but just never got around to it.

Anyway, how clever, Gary Maguire! He wrote the book that the musical is based on and I absolutely can't wait to read it. If you haven't seen Wicked yet, please do. I think your perspective on things may change...maybe for good.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
~Mother Teresa

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

**If this song doesn't make you bawl your eyes out or at least well up, you're made of stone. hahaha! Seriously though, it's a beautiful song.

Footprints In The Sand
Leona Lewis

You walked with me
Footprints in the sand
And helped me understand
Where I'm going

You walked with me
When I was all alone
With so much unknown
Along the way
Then I heard you say

I promise you
I'm always there
When your heart is filled with sorrow
And despair
I'll carry you
When you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand

I see my life flash across the sky
So many times have I been so afraid
And just when I, I thought I lost my way
You gave me strength to carry on
That's when you say

I promise you
I'm always there
When your heart is filled
With sorrow and despair
Oh, I'll carry you
When you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand

When I'm with you
Well I know you've been there
And I can feel you when you say
I promise you
I'm always there

When your heart is filled
With sadness and despair
I'll carry you when you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand

When your heart is filled with
Sadness and despair
I'll carry you when you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Monday, September 08, 2008

holy shit...i need to freakin' GET IT TOGETHER!
Happy 1-year Anniversary,
Iya & Chris!
Wow! Was your wedding day really that long ago?!!! That's crazy!
Love you guys!!!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

samurai [sam-oo-rahy]
a member of the hereditary warrior class in feudal Japan

Oh my goodness, I just watched the entire 6-hour long series, Samurai Girl. Hahaha! It’s an ABC Family series so it was kinda corny, but I was way into it! The lead was played by Jamie Chung (from REAL WORLD: San Diego – RANDOM! I didn’t know she wanted to act. Then again, who on that show DOESN’T want post-show airtime?). She cries really well but the acting needs a bit more work. Brendan Fehr, who I didn’t recognize because of his foxy new shaved haircut, was in it too. I believe he was on that show Roswell…I think. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Dude, what a hottie!

Anyhoo, that was my Sunday afternoon…well, that and ironing a dozen shirts for work while listening to The Alchemist on my awesome new iTouch =)

Friday, September 05, 2008

role [rohl]
Sociology. the rights, obligations, and expected behavior patterns associated with a particular social status
Synonyms include: character, job, duty
This is my high school ring (great pic, Tinsters! Thanks!). It’s a mighty original-looking piece of jewelry, and I’m reminded of this each time a stranger recognizes it, which has happened quite a few times. I wore it every single day since we were “ringed” in high school, and even after graduation, I wear it every so often still.

Yes, at a private, Catholic, all-girl high school, complete with uniform dress, and sometimes uniform ideals, we sure were shown the way of the world through an interesting, quite specific, set of eyes – that of a woman’s. At my lovely alma mater, we were taught that as an educated woman in this world, not only would we ABLE to do what we want, we’d be ENTITLED to it. Call it “girl power,” like the Spice Girls did, or consider it awareness of our “woman’s worth,” like Alicia Keys did, but we were raised to be women first, human beings second, and my class ring is a constant reminder of that.

I know it seems like a silly thing to wear your high school ring at my age, and I may be accused of hanging on to a long gone adolescence. But there is something mystical about this ring, a kind of blessed power and, at times, a sort of protection that I feel each time I wear it. It’s not just a 10K scrap of precious metal, but an heirloom that carries the might and minds of every woman who’s ever worn one. What an honor…

So what’s with all the feminist hoo ha, you might be asking. Well, it’s this year’s elections. I’m not a political fanatic at any level (gee, that international studies major sure didn’t go past the aisles of SSLH – Social Science Lecture Hall for the non-Anteaters). As much as I hate to admit it (especially being in a position to vote for our own country’s government!), I’m only ever on election watch just enough to make a relatively informed decision. But THIS entire presidential election, from Hill Clinton gunning for a presidential nomination earlier, and now Sarah Palin as a possible USA VP – I can’t help but rally my female cry and be reminded of all the women in this world who made a difference because they could. Here’s to great, fearless, loving women!

Shout outs to some women who’ve affected my life; many who have always been there, and others who are inspirations: Mom, Mamang, Nanay, Tin, my aunts and lolas and all my sister-homies, Sr. Jane, Sr. Angelica, Mrs. A, Mrs. V, Alice Cotti, Miss Weber, Miss Knudsen, Mrs. Hellinger, Senorita Mullins, Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Sterling, Miss Conklin, Alice Sebold, Mother Teresa, Elizabeth Blackwell, Betty Freidan, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Gilbert.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

reparation [rep-uh-rey-shuhn]
restoration to good condition; the making of amends for wrong or injury done
Synonyms include: amends, atonement, recompense

I've been portraying another person these past 4 days; one who is impatient, ill-tempered, insensitive, confounded and damn near apathetic. I've allowed myself to become bothered and doubtful and, in short, everything I know inside that I'm not. Though I expect monthly "malfunctions" to my system, there are those rare times when periodic mini purges just won't do. For these occasional breakdowns, a complete system overhaul is the only fix.

I hate doing that. First of all, it takes too long. Second of all, it's way more labor intensive and often takes more brain power than I'd prefer to expend. Me? An attitude adjustment? Judging by the amount of steam I've released these past few days, I honestly can't think of a better candidate for one. I just wish I could distinguish what parts of myself are in mint condition, which parts are just in need of cleaning and adjusting, and which parts are completely defective or overused and therefore need replacement. Aaaah, the next road to self-discovery is upon me and I've still got my head under the hood!

No matter, because I don't know where I'm going and how I'm getting there anyway. For once, I'm allowing myself to feel lost, enjoy staring blankly at the map filled with lines of every color and pointed in every direction. Right now it doesn't matter where I go and how I get there. Right now it just matters to me that I get somewhere, which I know I will because I deserve that.

*Mark, hope this makes up for your days of lost vocabulary! hahaha!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Cile & Anna's Poetry Corner
(or What Cile & I Did At Work Today)

furry petals
by: Cecile Marie

an audience of dandelions
swims together
light and fluffy waves
left to right
left to right
syncrhonized tornado swirling jet winds
the dandelions burst up and white furry petals explode
claustrophobic dandelion bombs
do not inhale
do not inhale
as the house in the distance walks further away
oh no
oh no
just blow the air. spin. and play. and now you're on the porch.
and your audience goes home.


Little Lela
by: Anna

Little Lela saw a bird
That chirped and chirped
A song
That cried, none heard
A sassy tune
That helped it fly along
A strip of sky
So very grey, she flew
So very high
And little Lela
Waved good bye and sat
To have a cry.
Surprise delivery of bundtlet cakes at the office...
Thank you, Mom & Dad! You have no idea how much this cheered me up today. Love you!
From Elizabeth Gilbert (Author of Eat, Pray, Love):

"It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection."

"There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in."

"Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions."

"You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be."

I've never met this woman, but I feel like she knows me better than I know myself...