Monthly Archives: December 2007

I’m back and wishing everyone a happy new year!

I’m back in New York and dying to post a thousand and one things here.. let me start off with a happy new year to everyone!
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Another Light Show – Grand Place, Brussels

I am trying to upload the raw clips of another light show I caught here at the Grand Place tonight as Alan and I walked around trying to find an Italian restaurant that was recommended by his boss who stays in their main hotel here in Belgium for weeks on end.  It was difficult to keep shooting with a hungry 3 1/2 year old tyke tugging at your coat, and with my battery running out of juice.  I have promised myself I will take a longer and better clip taken from a nicer vantage point before we leave Belgium on Sunday… meanwhile, here’s a preview.  The wonders of technology mixing with the old to come up with a breathtaking display which is truly a feast for the eyes!

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Notes while en route to Brussels

We are 2 hours into our non-stop flight to Brussels and dinner has been served. I whipped out my blackberry and turned off the wireless service as required by the airline. I want to catch a few moments to begin my chronicles of this holiday trip to Belgium.

Maybe I’m just tired of reading through the travel book I have and I’m not too keen about whipping out the “magazines” I had downloaded from some Belgian tourism websites. I’m also looking to catch a nap shortly when Angel quiets down and sleeps again.

His second plane ride is turning out to be a litany of firsts. Although his first plane ride was actually just before he turned 2 in late April of 2006 when I braved going on a flight without Alan, knowing I was travelling with a baby I was still breastfeeding. He didn’t really have an appreciation for planes just yet and he thought we were on a long bus ride.

This time around, he is excited by the prospect of flying although he “conked out” on us even before take off. (Blame it on the fact that he had missed his afternoon nap in the excitement of our departure.). The flight meal was a challenge first, because I had to wake him up. The second debacle was the fact that the meal choice was chicken or lasagna. Although the lasagna was a choice I didn’t even have to think about, it became a challenge because the boy wanted his pasta which meant elbow macaroni, penne or his favorite “ghetti”. He eventually accepted Mom’s explanation that it was actually flat pasta after much whining and resistance. Then we had to find our way around the ricotta cheese although in the end, he ate it all. He refused my offer to spoon feed him, insisting instead that he negotiate the separation of the pasta and the cheese himself. I kept telling him Mommy only wanted to help, and I couldn’t help but admire his fierce determination to eat his meal on his own.  (That’s my boy growing up..)

At three and a half, sometimes I find myself constantly being caught off guard by his “growing up” moments.
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Good news, Bad news

I whizzed through Manhattan this morning grabbing a gift card for the Assistant to the Assistant in the office at Macy’s, then I got my visa from the Belgian Consulate. (Finally!). I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the Consulate had given me a multiple entry visa good for 6 months. Wow…I’ve been to France twice and although they had issued me multiple entry visas both times, the visas were good for, at most, 30 days only.

Then I walked to the next block to grab my Clinique supplies at Lord & Taylor where it was gift time. I got a little carried away because I saw their face palette kits being marketed under the name of the department store and I took just one each of the 2 bigger sets. (Perfect pasalubongs! And the make up addict in me saw that they were good value for money because of the sensible colors in the palette.)

I walked back to the subway station and was hoping to catch a Starbucks branch where I could pick up some gift items, but the Starbucks branch on the corner of Sixth Avenue (a.k.a. Avenue of the Americas) and 42nd street was too tiny that all they had was space for coffee and the counter so there were no gift packs.=(

I barely spent 2 hours in the office and off I went to the doctor’s office to meet Angel and Alan. His fever was still off and on after four days, and although we thought he was well enough to go back to daycare by Thursday, we got a call from school asking us to pick him up. Even before I got there, I had made an appointment with our pediatrician to see Angelo the next day.

It turns out his condition was worse than just an ordinary fever. The pediatrician prescribed antibiotics which we promptly picked up. The prognosis gave us pause to think about our forthcoming trip, so Alan and I are now seriously re-evaluating our upcoming trip to Brussels. (That’s the bad news…)

For the first time in 5 years, I missed Alan’s company Christmas party. They are always allowed a guest and I had always gone. This time though, Motherhood prevailed.

The medicine seems to be working its magic. I’m just grateful Angel’s fever is under control.

One of the two lions “guarding” the
New York Public Library
all decked out

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Countdown to Christmas Day

I’ve been home all day because Angel’s fever went in all directions last night.  I pretty much got the fever under control but now he’s coughing violently again.  I know I just need to ride it out and help him get through it.  It’s toughest watching him through it because besides making sure his comfortable, it’s really not something that I can control.

I would’ve loved to have had him up and running tomorrow because they’re supposed to have Santa visiting at daycare.  If he doesn’t get a fever spike tonight, Alan can take him to school tomorrow, then I can pick him up later at night.  Otherwise, he’s staying home — Alan had promised to stay and I know I can get home earlier.

This is one of those days when I am so thankful for the flexibility of my new job.  I wrote the boss a note that Angel was sick and that I had to stay home.  Still, I managed to work although it is always a challenge trying to keep up with the e-mails and then taking care of Angel.

In the meantime, preparations for Christmas had to come to a halt.  I brought down our gold wreath from the attic which I had hoped to retouch with some red poinsettias my mother-in-law had bought, but I haven’t had the chance to take a breather until now — and only because it’s after office hours and Angel is napping.  Soon..
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Christmas Notes

I’ve been trying to write a post here for the last three days, but a sick 3 1/2 year old boy had me tied down. I worked from home yesterday and had started a post early evening which never got saved. So here I am starting fresh via blackberry.

I’ve managed to send some of my Christmas cards and I have gotten some of my gifts. (The word of note here is “some”.). I’m hoping to stop by the Belgian Consulate tomorrow to finally pick up my visa (which I cannot NOT do because that means I wouldn’t be able to make it to Brussels on Christmas day.). I already have some of my supplies for the trip, and I’m picking up the rest this weekend. (Note to self: find out if there is and where the Starbucks in Brussels and Bruge is.)

As you can see, I’m all caught up in the holiday frenzy. My mother-in-law and I haven’t even made up our minds about what we’re contributing to the holiday table for Christmas. The good news is we’ve decided we’re getting a quarter of a lechon for New Year’s Eve.

I can’t help but think of Christmas back home. It’s still a thought in the back of my head to one day spend Christmas in Manila sometime in the future. Maybe in 2009 when Alan’s batch at DLSZ celebrate their silver jubilee…meanwhile, there’s this Christmas to worry about.

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A lights spectacular: the Grand Central Kaleidoscope of Lights Show

Here is the full clip of the 2007 show currently running every half hour from 11am to 9pm at the Main Concourse of the Grand Central Terminal, continuing a tradition of sharing holiday cheer to the commuters and tourists who visit this major tourist attraction in New York.

I purposely took my perch by the Vanderbilt wing of the main concourse after a day’s work and took this footage.  Enjoy!
alt : http://www.youtube.com/v/944q4Ycv_wc&rel=1
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A literal calm before the storm

The skies are a gloomy grey but that’s typical of a fall day. The sun usually takes its time to stretch and fully awaken and from time to time, we get a sunny middle part of the day. We know today’s not going too be one of them, though.

The faces on the bus are glum and people are generally dressed appropriately. I’m wearing my brown snowboots even if I’m wearing a blue suit. (I have a pair of black pumps in my tote.). And I took out my white knee length puff jacket with a hood (fresh from the cleaners), ready to battle the elements on the way home. It wasn’t difficult to come to a decision to just have Angel stay home. Of course, convincing the boy was another thing. (Alan did manage to do that, but not after a lot of tears were shed.)

Unlike in Manila where SIGNAL NUMBER 3 automatically meant no work for all, here in New York, sending workers home is purely discretionary on the employers’ part. Luckily, my new job gives me the flexibility of working from home should things get really bad, and on a day like today, I will probably be on my way home by 3pm. My boss is generous enough to allow me that flexibility — and on days preceding long weekends when the nicer bosses let off their assistants at 3pm, she let’s me go by noon.

I’m doing a mental checklist about what’s in my freezer and my pantry. This is the first of four days of snow. That only means that we probably won’t be going out too much.

Bracing for a weekend of rain and snow.

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Snow on the way

They’re forecasting snow tomorrow and it had to be on a day I had to be in Manhattan. I was actually looking forward to being in the city to. Take some pictures and grab some Clinique supplies at Lord & Taylor on 39th and Fifth Avenue where it’s gift time, but I doubt I will be able to do that. It would’ve been nice to take pictures of the “tiangge” over at Bryant Park (behind the New York Public Library by 6th Avenue a.k.a. Avenue of the Americas). I have to do that before the holidays, otherwise, I’m going to miss it all.

I’m just hoping it’s not as bad as people are thinking it might be.

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Gagala-gala sa Grand Central

I spent the day at our Grand Central office and I made it a point to pack my camera when I stowed my laptop and other gear into my backpack. It was indeed my intention to click away and have some fresh material to post here.

Forget that I’m coughing again as my body tries to cope with the congestion that had set in after the weekend bout with the cold. I took my camera out and caught the tail end of the Grand Central Kaleidoscope of Lights Show at the Main Concourse. (I will be back on Thursday and I will try to capture the lights’ show in its entirety.) In the end, the walls and pillars of Grand Central were awash with a breathtaking curtain of light and color that made the Grand Central even grander.
 


The Grand Central with a “curtain of light” in red and gold

They also have the Holiday Gift Fair which I took pictures of on the sly — no pictures, I was warned. After a few shots (with permission), I walked away. More to come with the few pics I managed to get.   It’s one of a handful of holiday tiangges that sprout around the city during this season of gift giving.

The Holiday Fair in Grand Central
by the Vanderbilt Hall off of the Main Concourse

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