Sunday, November 06, 2011

series [seer-eez]

a set of successive volumes or issues of a periodical published in like form with similarity of subject or purpose.

Synonyms include: continuity, progression, sequence

When I was younger, I remember being asked what I liked to do in my spare time. What were my hobbies? What did I do when I wasn't doing school work, etc. I played volleyball in elementary school, cheerleading in high school, but I wouldn't consider either endeavor to be "spare time" activities. I was certainly no athlete. And though I was (and still am) fortunate to have had a social life, what I really enjoy doing, as nerdy as it was to admit in my "younger" days, was read. And what I really love to read are series.

When I was in the fifth grade, I discovered the Anne of Green Gables series. At 11 years old, I took to Anne like an imaginary friend whose adventures in life and love I so wished I was part of. I wished I had her sassiness, her focus, her smarts and, of course, I wished (and sometimes still do) for Gilbert Blythe's devotion.

The longest series I've read is Harry Potter. I consider myself a Janey-come-lately of sorts, and J.K. Rowling's masterpiece is the perfect example of it. You can tell by looking at the series of books I own, at which point I finally caught on. The first four HP books are paperback (which I prefer) and books 5-7 are, well, hardcover. When the last three books were released, I devoured them; read them each moment I had a few minutes to spare. Harry Potter came out when I was in college. I worked at the bookstore on campus and shelved these classics-in-the-making over and over again, oblivious to their magic (pun tooootally intended). I think J.K. Rowling might have even visited the bookstore across the street when I was at UCI. But when did I start on Sorcerer's Stone? About two years after I graduated.

The Lord of the Rings series is one I feel a little guilty about. It's a classic, for sobbing out loud, but I discovered it, how else, through film of course. I watched "Lord of Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" because I was curious about it, and you know what? The orcs totally and utterly freaked me out and I have to be honest and say, I didn't really understand any of I read the book. When in doubt, right? After I read that, I read Two Towers...then Return of the King, all before the last two films came out. J.R.R. Tolkien, to have created a language like Elvish, not to mention a whole world made up of so many different races and creatures - it's just so incredibly...INCREDIBLE.

...And then came Twilight. I was chatting with a friend of mine online a few years ago, and she asked if I was reading Twilight too. What the hell is Twilight?, I asked. She responded with an all-caps, no-doubt shouting, WHAT?! Janey-come-lately, remember? So a couple of years ago, before a planned girls-night-in, someone suggested we rent New Moon. I hadn't seen the first Twilight movie so I rented it on my own before that thinking, obviously, how am I going to understand New Moon if I hadn't seen Twilight? For whatever reason, we ended up not watching New Moon but after watching that sorry excuse for a first movie in a series, Twilight, I got curious and just decided to read the book, so I borrowed it...and then it swallowed me whole. WHOLE. I started reading in mid-March in 2010 and finished the whole series by the end of April. I read late at night before bed, while I brushed my teeth in the morning, at work during lunch, in time-outs during Laker games - it was beyond ridiculous how quickly I finished those four really long books but I had to know, as quickly as I could, what Edward and Bella's future held. Lucky for me, by the time I discovered the Twilight Saga, the entire series had already been published. Being "late to the party" suddenly became an advantage - I didn't have to wait anxiously for the next book in the series to be released.
About four and half hours ago, I finished reading the last book in The Hunger Games series. Katniss and Peeta kept me inside the house during this rainy weekend and I'm thankful they did. I started The Hunger Games last Monday. Jovi handed me her copy of Catching Fire on Thursday at work, just in case I finished the first book during the weekend, she said. Yeah, I started Catching Fire on Friday night and finished Saturday night, at which point I dove right into the last book because, two chapters from finishing the second, I went to Target and bought Mockingjay. I fell asleep last night with the book in my hand and woke up this morning to an extra hour and read about 160 pages before breakfast. I literally couldn't get myself to put the books down because I HAD to know what happened next, and I had to read (and hear in my head), Peeta speak to Katniss the way he did. It was like Edward Cullen all over again. No one writes a romantic hero like women can (Go Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins!).
Except for The Hunger Games, merely because I literally JUST finished the last book today, I've read all the books above at least twice, and why shouldn't I? Whether it's a simple but meaningful life on Prince Edward Island, a magical world at Hogwarts, a fantastical existence on Middle Earth, Vampire and Werewolf-inhabited Washington State or the authoritarian nation of Panem; taking yourself somewhere beyond the rudimentary life that pound at us each day is refreshing. And sometimes, you just need to read something inspiring, encouraging, or just nice...

* * *
"There's a book of revelations in everyone's life." ~ Anne Shirley, Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

"Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it." ~ Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling

"It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something...That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for." ~ Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night, very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn't see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason for anything." ~ Edward Cullen, New Moon, Stephenie Meyer

"I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now, and live in it forever." Peeta to Katniss, Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

Monday, October 17, 2011

hospitality [hos-pi-tal-i-tee]

the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers; the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guestsand strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way
Synonyms include: amiability, heartiness, warmth

It's impossible not to feel welcome when you enter a house and see this sitting atop the coffee table:
...yet that is what greeted me tonight when I invaded the Lontok household for dinner. To say this evening was the highlight of my day would be an understatement. After a not-so-awesome 8 hours prior, I spent the next 2 1/2 eating a home cooked meal and enjoying the company of two people who I feel so fortunate to know. And after a few brief encounters through mutual friends, and one dinner date at BJ's, I feel even more blessed to call them friends.
Tam and Greg (and this is going to sound so cornball but there's no other way to say it) have this aura about them, and it radiates so warmly that I can't imagine anyone not being charmed by their sheer genuineness. There are no two people who best define the term "salt of the earth" than these two.
"Bless Anna," Greg said during grace, and in that moment, whatever upset me earlier today was shoved out their front door, forbidden to cause me anymore least until tomorrow.
Our appetizer plates were yummy (darn it - forgot to get pictures of the crackers!) and the main course was even yummier! I love salmon and asparagus!
All I could contribute today was some ice cream from Baskin Robbins. It wasn't much, and I wish I could've brought something more worthy of the two courses that came before it, but we enjoyed the sweet treat nonetheless.
Thank you so much, Tam and Greg (and Hachi), for having me over for a delicious meal, for the great tour of your home, for listening to me yammer on, for laughing your infectious laughs and for being such lovely friends to be around! Next time, it's my treat! =)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

innovate [in-uh-veyt]

to introduce something new; make changes in anything established; to introduce (something new) for or as if for the first time
Synonyms include: found, invent, pioneer

It absolutely never fails. Death, or possibly a closer than imminent encounter with it, will always force you to re-evaluate your life. Have I made the right choices? Have I chosen the right career? The right friends? Have I been a good daughter? A good sister? A good Catholic? If I die tomorrow, or if I don't make it through the night, will I be able to look back from the afterlife and be proud of what I did in my earthly life?

A great number of us trudge through the day after we awaken with dread because this life, simply, isn't what we planned. We are not as successful as we dreamed, as beautiful as we wished, or as happy as we always figured we would be...eventually. Everything we need seems scarce and everything we try to avoid seems to multiply, clinging to us so tightly at times that it becomes difficult to believe that we'll every find a way out of it.

At 33 years old, I think often to myself. I thought I would've done more with my life, yet I sit in my cubicle staring at a computer screen for 8 hours (sometimes more) each day, filing, sending emails, etc. all the while trying to remember if maybe THIS LIFE is what I actually dreamt of having and maybe I just, well, didn't know it. I attempt some sensible convincing, of course, because what, exactly, is wrong with this part of my life? The job is stable, the people are great, I'm capable of doing the work, it pays well, etc. Nothing wrong with anything, really.

And then it hits me every time - Is what I do each day making a difference in this world? And, essentially, is it making a difference in me?

One of the most intelligent, most innovative and surely one of the most creative thinkers of the modern world died today. At 56 years old, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away, and in his passing, we not only remember the gadgets he created or the changes he made to how we do everything, from listening to music to communicating across a great distance; we will remember the philosophy he so often preached regarding the reasons for his success and hope that for our own good, we will become or continue to be active participants in our own pursuit.

* * *

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

upgrade [uhp-greyd]

an incline going up in the direction of movement; an increase or improvement; a new version, improved model, etc.

Synonyms include: advancement, betterment, growth

For years now, I've been lusting after the MacBook Pro. If I couldn't afford the $2,600 camera (oy, Canon 5D, Mark ii), I told myself that I'd at least "settle" for a hot new laptop.

"So when are you getting your Pro, fool?" Jaja Tecson would constantly ask.

"Yay tax refund! Go get your MacBook Pro now, Anna!" Jaja's sister, Cecile, chimed in.

Alas, no matter how much money I'd saved the past few years to buy this darn thing, there would always be something else more important to spend the money on, and that $1,700 laptop may as well have cost $2,600 because, in short, I could afford neither.

Never one to be discouraged or disillusioned too easily, I reasoned with myself, knowing deep inside that the best I could do was to MAKE the best of what I already had; and I had a perfectly competent HP desktop with the large flat screen monitor that ran Microsoft Word, Excel, Lightroom and Photoshop round-the-clock...until about a month ago. A month ago, that competent monitor went black and I was stuck - stuck with three photoshoots to edit through and no computer to edit with. Thankfully, I did manage to save, and with little to no emergency expenditures in sight, I bit the bullet, or, well, the Apple.

I never even gave purchasing an iMac over a MacBook Pro a second thought, assuming the laptop would cost less. Showed how unsavvy I was, right? The iMac was significantly less (like a third), so I went down to the neighborhood Apple Store (a badass new store with high ceilings at the Americana) and bought this gorgeous 21.5 inch iMac that I don't know how I ever managed without. I even bought a new desk to match the awesomeness =)

...and then I went to the Container Store and bought this desk drawer organizer to maximize my desk space. It keeps all my pens, pencils, markers, scissors, hole punchers and other Laker office supplies - yes, those are Laker glue sticks (Thanks, Iya & Chris! =D) - neatly placed in sections. O...C...Damn look how organized that is!

I'm like a little kid with a new toy, I know. But mostly I'm just a grateful adult. As corny as it sounds to say it, I feel really blessed to even have the means to buy such things. It's not like I was suffering from technological abuse (there are literally three other computers in this house, not counting my broken, but fixable, desktop). A purchase this major, though, just reminded me of what my parents have taught and showed me all my life - how and why to appreciate what I have.

I don't live in a mansion with a dozen servants, but live in a modest townhouse with, yes, my family who lets me live rent-free and I share a room with my 21-year old sister who schools me on Photoshop (and who, by the way, also bought an iMac so our room looks like an office with beds). I don't drive a fancy car, but a very well-maintained 2002 Rav4 that's got 175,000 miles on it still manages my 400 mile/week commute. I don't shop on Rodeo Drive, but the occasional visit to H&M, Anthropologie or The GAP always seems to keep the shopping bug satisfied. I don't own that top of the line camera yet, but what my Canon 40D has produced sure is a reflection of how much I've learned about photography.

And now I have this awesome new computer that is, by far, the nicest thing I've ever owned, and I don't know if I could appreciate what it means as much as I do now, if I hadn't known how to appreciate what I had before it.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Monday, September 05, 2011

background [bak-ground]

the ground or parts, as of a scene, situated in the rear ( opposed to foreground);
the part of a painted or carved surface against which represented objects and forms are perceived or depicted: a portrait against a purple background; the part of an image represented as being at maximum distance from the frontal plane.

Synonyms include: accomplishments, experience, backdrop

The girl was crying, saying how all through school, all through her childhood, and now in her young adult life, she'd always just almost get the part, almost get the spotlight, but never quite got to be that one - the chosen one. She's a young dancer on Laurieann Gibson's reality show, Born to Dance, and to her seemingly hopeless, tearfilled face, Laurieann said, "You dance like the girl who doesn't get picked." There sure is a whole lotta wisdom under all that boomkack, because it hit me - I'm her, the girl who doesn't get picked, and for once I'm starting to realize that maybe that's my fault.

Yes, I've had my share of the spotlight. In general though, my M.O. is to stay in the background, work behind the scenes, manage the details that no one really notices. I always said I'd never be a good boss, preferring to report to a higher power than be that power myself. I'd rather work in supportive, less glamourous and less prominent positions, like assistants, logistical coordinators, wedding planners or second shooters. Even being student council president in the 8th grade meant a lot of dirty work that often went unnoticed. But I never minded. The work got done and I knew I had a part in it and, truly, how could that not be enough for me? There is absolutely no shame in playing these roles, and frankly I don't just NOT mind it - I rather enjoy it. The trouble comes, however, when I need more for and from myself and sitting and working in the background where no one sees me can be a problem...a big one.

How did I expect to make a living as a writer if I refuse to show people work I've spent a lot of time and careful thought writing because I'm afraid I'll be told how awful I am instead of being hungry for the guidance I so wish I had? How does someone like me, who has never taken a photography class, call herself an aspiring photographer when I see another photographer's images and mentally punish myself for not being that good instead of getting out there and searching for help?

Though I've been on the receiving end of generous accolades, I've also been the one who often thinks she doesn't deserve it. In the process of growing up in a humble household, I've mistaken humility for self-deprecation and they are, in fact, not even close to being the same thing.

I'm not cutthroat at anything, I tell myself. I'm not a vicious social climber who'd sell her soul to the devil to be the best at something. Live like the nice girl, I remind myself. Live life straight, no shortcuts, no over the top gimmicks, etc. And while that seems to be a good plan, I also don't want the fate of the "nice girl." If at all possible, I'd rather not finish last.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

(haha! ok, that's not Joe but couldn't Enzo be a baby picture of his dad?!)

Monday, July 11, 2011



I don't have a current picture of Chary but she pretty much looks like Terry =)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

My Baby Sister, No Longer

I've raised you like a third parent - tossing around some discipline when Mom and Dad can't bring themselves to yell at their sweet baby girl; driving you around like a New York taxicab; taking you shopping for clothes, books or school supplies; provided a weekly allowance before you got your first job; buying you countless chicken nugget/del classic chicken burrito/western bacon cheeseburger/sushi meals....and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

21+ years ago, I prayed that God would bless me with a baby sibling and when He gave my sister to me, I promised I would give her whatever she needed. I simply can't imagine how incomplete my life would have been had she not been born.

I am so unbelievably proud of the young lady she has grown up to be - so focused on her goals, so confident in her abilities, and so pleasant (sometimes =D) a person to be around.

Love you lots, Tin!

You're awez!

Stay intense, my sister!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Monday, July 04, 2011

Friday, July 01, 2011

We miss you and hope you're doing ok up there Yakima, WA =)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

chemistry ['ke-m&-strE]

The science of the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter; a strong mutual attraction, attachment
Synonyms include: allure, allurement, appeal, attractiveness, bait, captivation, charm

There are four kinds of chemistry
Physical chemistry creates desire
Emotional chemistry creates affection
Mental chemistry creates interest
Spiritual chemistry creates love
A soul mate has all four.
– Mishelle Bradford-Jones

What causes “chemical reactions?” Which elements, when combined, will create bonds and which others will refuse to blend into a homogenous concoction? What will act as a catalyst for precipitation, and what will cause evaporation? Before I run out of the few chemical engineering terms I remember, I say this: Human beings are like the elements on the periodic table. Each of us is composed differently; we contain personal properties that have certain similarities as well as differences, and we have a sometimes inexplicable affinity to specific qualities in others. It’s the mystery of attraction we often experience, but most times are unable to validate with explanation.

What “reels you in?” Is it a look that that you get from someone’s eyes across the proverbial crowded room? Is it something commonplace, but significant, like intelligence, personality or a sense of humor that you seek? Or is there a certain quirkiness that catches your attention? (i.e. a gentle, lingering blink of her eyes, a pair of glasses upon his face, an endearing imperfection in her smile, a mischievous look about him, etc). Everyone’s got their own lists, whether you’d like to admit it or not. But, lest we be accused of being “too picky,” no list is permanently engraved on any plate of gold for complete adherence. Besides, that list could be a mile long, and we can search all we want. We may even find ourselves checking off the items on that makeshift manifest, but there are just some factors in attainment that you can’t itemize, like chemistry; that undeniable gravitation to and reaction between two people. We often refer to this occurrence as “clicking,” like two puzzle pieces among a mound of thousands, forming a perfect fit.

Whether you believe in opposites attracting, or like attracting like, it basically boils down to this chemistry thing. Every relationship - romantic, platonic, professional, familial, etc. - works because the formula for that bond has just the right "mix" of, well, whatever it takes to make it work. There's also the other side of that concept - the combustible kind; an improper mix of personalities that clash more than they blend.

I've learned that, no matter how much I think I know or how much practice I think I've had in my relationships, there's no one perfect formula for everyone. Like there is no rule book for life, there is also no potions manual for building bonds with people. Sometimes it's better to just let nature and science take its course.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ninang/Tita loves you so much!! =)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

spasm [spaz'-uhm]

a sudden, abnormal, involuntary muscular contraction, consisting of a continued muscular contraction (tonic spasm) or of a series of alternating muscular contractions and relaxations; any sudden, brief spell of great energy, activity, feeling

Synonyms include: contraction, agitation, annoyance

Is it an age thing? Stress? Too much sitting at my desk? Too much sitting in my car? Too much getting up suddenly in frustration when Pau Gasol isn't rebounding? I have no idea, but I've heard and considered every reason. I've had a pain in my rear (back, that is) for almost two weeks and right now am refraining from too much ibuprofen and too much time on the heating pad.

I woke up a couple of weeks ago and felt this piercing pain on my lower back. I already know I have a questionable right ankle (despite the multiple procedures) and my head and shoulder area seem to be filled with tension every so often. But back pain - I'm not used to them.

It's funny what you take for granted, as far as your body's abilities go, when all the parts are working. For the last week or so, however, bending down to pick up the laundry basket is a chore; hell, turning around to look over my shoulder so I can change lanes is a pain. A fine line separates powering through the wincing and damaging something by accident so, I'm just watching myself.

I know I've said, "I feel old" a million times, and at 33, it's hard to imagine feeling so. But here I am, bad back and all. Time to find new ways to combat Mother Nature.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Geez, I could seriously make a whole album of just pictures of Bev sleeping! LOVE YOU!! =)

Friday, April 08, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


any position or situation in which no action can be taken or progress made; deadlock
Synonyms include: Catch-22, delay, draw, gridlock, impasse, pause, standoff, standstill, tie

Well, there goes my 2011 resolution to write one non-Laker blog post once a week! What can I say? I'm a rebel =) All joking aside, however, I haven't been blogging much on this end because I haven't felt like I had anything remotely interesting to share. Then I thought about it for a bit and realized - when have I ever CARED that I didn't have anything remotely interesting to share? Almost NEVER.

In 2005, I posted 248 entries on this blog. Last year, 2010? 77. Oy. I haven't written in my journal much either. My writing habits lately have been reduced to the 3-4 times a week I get to write a Lakers post-game report, which I can't really complain about because, hell, I love doing it. But I miss just spewing the random inner workings in my I'm doing right now. I miss this.

Sometimes I feel like I've hit a wall, or reached the valley, or whatever metaphor relates to feeling stagnant in life. I know that's not the case, because I've been busy with a lot of stuff. I guess I just feel like I have a lot of progressing to do; and not just with one aspect of my life - with EVERY aspect of my life.

I'm not unhappy or bitter. I don't walk around with a chip on my shoulder. And I'm not super overjoyed either, wanting to hug everyone I see and shout to the world how perfect life is. I'm just hanging around for the time being, re-evaluating the 33 years behind me and trying to look ahead at the same time. Is there such a thing as the 1/3-life crisis? If there is, I think I'm there. haha!

Monday, March 07, 2011


a mental impression retained; the reputation of a person or thing; a person, thing, event, fact, etc., remembered.
Synonyms include: cognizance, flashback, remembrance

He always looked so happy to see you. He had a great big hug to match the great big smile every time we met. His youthful antics at family gatherings never failed to make dad (and their little posse) feel young, even for just a few hours. He loved his wife, Auntie Evelyn. He loved his daughters, Erica and Erin. He loved all of us.

Thank you, Uncle Eric, for filling our lives with so much laughter and love. We'll miss you more than any of us could ever begin to describe.