Monthly Archives: December 2008

The dreams we dream

When I was a little girl up until when I was around 10 years old, I wanted to be a doctor.  Then my mother had a tonsilectomy and they put the tonsils in a plastic bag with some clear liquid, and I touched the tissue inside the plastic bag and I felt something tug at my stomach.  So that was that. In addition, in the years to come, I realized the sciences were not my strength.  I did have a gift for words and I learned to love reading — thus started my love affair with words.

From the start it was clear to me I wanted more than just a four year college degree.  So since the medical profession didn’t seem to agree with me, I set my sights on law school.  I have always told people that I went to college only to get to law school.  And I did. 

Starting a family and moving forward as I got older was done more or less along the same lines.  I had always known I would settle down (eventually), and that I would have children.  You know how some would say having children was not for them?  Or that they would rather stay single forever and enjoy life without the commitment.. I knew what I wanted and I had that picture in my mind, although I didn’t know who would be standing next to me. 

When I was blessed with Alan coming into my life, it wasn’t exactly an easy choice but it was an obvious one.  It meant leaving everything I had built through the years, and the biggest sacrifice was leaving my family behind.  Eight years after we said I do, and now that our little tyke is four and a half years old, I am holding fast to my dream and raising the family I had dreamt of.  From the start, I knew in my heart I was here to start a family.. I had done practically everything I had set my sights on doing before I made the jump across the other side of the globe — except, that is, to have a family of my own.  I was able to pursue the course I wanted, I became a lawyer and did not practice but ended up doing something I was passionate about — Corporate Communications.  I had done the things I had wanted to do, meeting a slew of people along the way who in one or another touched my life.  Some have come and gone, some are still here.. like my dream.

People sometimes ask us what Angelo wants to be.  At 4 1/2 years old, I haven’t heard him say anything specific, and I’m not rushing him.  My own dream for him is simple — that he turns out to be a good person who thinks of others beyond himself.  If he has a good heart, I know that even when I’m not around, he will do well in whatever he chooses to do. I hope I can ignite the fire in his heart to nurture a dream and to believe in it. I have accomplished what little I have because of the ambition my parents had instilled in me at an early age. I was raised to believe that I could achieve anything I put my heart into with enough hard work and perseverance.

as a dear friend had once told me in jest, “Libre namang mangarap”. (It doesn’t cost anything to dare to dream.). And I have had my fair share of dreams — from the simple to the absurd. Some have come true, some have disappeared and have been buried even if not forgotten.

To my mind, dreaming is an exercise of the heart more than the mind. Beyond the thought process, there is the passion and the act of believing. It’s what gives meaning to those dreams we dream and keep tucked somewhere in our hearts.
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Starbuck additions

New Orleans Skyline New York 2008 Holiday mug Vienna Global City Mug New York City Skyline England Global City mug Los Angeles Skyline

I haven’t been too good with updating my Starbucks mug collection online but I’ve been picking up a few here and there and receiving one or two from friends who remember that Alan and I collect Starbucks mugs.  I tried to update today but I’m missing the latest New York City mug (not the holiday mug pictured above) which, I hope, is tucked away in my office.  (Where else could it be when it’s not among my mugs in paperbags here at home?)

Each mug has a story which I’ve been meaning to write about as well, but I’m getting there.  For now, I’m trying to keep up with the cataloguing so I can finally get everything on my flickr photostream.  (Clicking on any of the thumbnails above will take you to the photo set housed in my Flickr account.) 

There was quite a number of holiday designs that came out this season which I’m looking forward to getting once they are put up on sale, and in the meantime, I made sure to grab the city holiday mug before they ran out.

Alan went to New Orleans for a conference early December and searched for a city mug high and low, finally finding one just before he headed home.  He had picked up the Los Angeles Skyline mug a while back, but I had left it wrapped in the Starbucks tissue and completely forgot about it in a corner in my kitchen until today.  The New York City Holiday mug had come out a couple of weeks ago and I picked up the last two at a nearby Starbucks when I bought some holiday presents from there.  (Why two?  I’m “investing” in the second… more on that later.)  My Vienna and England mugs were unexpected presents from friends, one from Alan’s colleague Thibault and the other from our friend Danielle.  Both were not requested and were spontaneous purchases by friends who knew we collected the mugs.

I have tried to be reasonable in picking up mugs to add to the collection.  Although it is the first thing we look for when visiting a place outside of New York, I don’t go out of my way to purchase rare and in demand mugs.  I was surprised to get an offer for $250 for my 2006 NYC Holiday Mug featuring the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, I didn’t immediately grab the offer thinking it was tempting, but I didn’t feel quite right about selling at that price.  When I got back to the serious collector two days after the offer was made to me via e-mail, he said he had managed to acquire one for just over $230.  I could put up the mug I had on auction — but do I really want to go through that and rob my collection of what appears to be a most sought after piece?  I think not.  Well, not yet.

So this year, I picked up two of the holiday mugs.  Who knows?  This time next year, someone might make an offer, or better yet, I might decide to sell it on auction.  

I get offers to sell me this or that mug — but I try not to buy anything online.  I have two or three New York mugs I’m missing which I want to get eventually, but I’m too lazy to go and bid and compete in an auction for these pieces.  In time..

Meanwhile, Alan is set to go back to Paris this January, and I have already instructed him to pick up a Paris Eiffel mug.  We have one of the Arc D’ Triomphe.  And if he ever heads to Brussels (which is very likely), I’m hoping to grab one from there as well.  Their first ever Starbucks didn’t open until after our visit there this time last year.

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My Christmas week so far

My Christmas week (from the eve to New Year’s Eve on the 31st) is actually hitting its midpoint today.  It’s been a different and yet just as heartwarming Christmas as those that I remember from the past.  We’ve spent it both intimately and in bigger groups with friends.  There was the usual holiday rush and the Christmas meal which was a little simpler than before, but more meaningful because it was just the immediate family sitting down on our own dining table instead of the bigger family in another house.

Our Christmas decoration is more festive than previous years although it’s the tree and two window sills.  I repaired my years old christmas wreath now missing a few pine cones by patching it up with two huge poinsettia flowers.  My Christmas card was handcrafted and sent away almost on time.  I am thinking I will do this even earlier next year to be able to send out more.

I made my leche flan, we had our rib roast, potatoes au gratin as a side and some vegetables.  New Year’s eve will be just a little grander — and of course we’ll have our bubbly.  Alan and I will probably watch the ball drop from our living room like previous years.  I’m hoping to get my quezo de bola in the coming days from the Filipino store. 

I have gotten together with friends, even managing a short rendezvous from good friend Gedd from my UP Manila days. =)  It is always heartwarming to go back to those days and to see someone who was like a younger brother to me — now seemingly all grown up.  (At 40 he should be! LOL) 

Christmas has always been all about family to me.  I grew up in a house where Christmas was a big to do even during those years when the business wasn’t doing too well.  Christmas day itself meant reuniting with all the inaanaks (godchildren) — and since I have approximately three dozen already, with around a third or less showing up on Christmas day — between my siblings and I and my Mom’s nephews, nieces and grandchildren, it was a very festive atmosphere up until lunch.  The flow of visitors would somehow abate by late afternoon, and we took the time to catch up.

I miss Mom’s noche buenas.  I miss my family.  But we had a good Christmas here in New York.. and we’re doing good with the rest of our Christmas week.  Now that Angelo is more involved, it feels more like a family affair indeed. 

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Another Christmas is here..

The Rock's Christmas TreeIt’s minutes to 5am and I just woke up after falling asleep on the couch — I was really meaning to just take a short nap, but I dozed on and on and on.  I had meant to call Dad before noon time in Manila, so I called just now.  It was good to hear his voice. 

I heard the pitter patter of rain as I prepared the coffee brewer to start making cofee in around an hour… it looks like it will be a rainy Christmas eve.  I sure hope not with all the ice still lining the streets…

I miss home terribly and am celebrating my 9th Christmas away from home.  That thought gave me cause to pause a moment.  Wow, it’s been that long.  Embarking on my own journey into raising my own family has been a literal separation from the family I grew up with.  It is something I will never be fully adjusted to, but what I have built for myself with Alan here makes it all worthwhile.

I’m looking forward to spending time with the boys and some friends throughout the weekend.  Beyond my own family, they are the closest thing to the rest who are 10,000 miles away.  In the past 9 years I’ve spent Christmas on two sides of the world, I’ve learned that distance is not always that much of a factor when you know where your heart is.  It doens’t have to be confined to where you are — so while I am here celebrating with my own family, part of me will always be celebrating with the family I left behind in Manila.

Happy holidays from my home to yours…wherever that may be…
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Trying to stay warm

I’m supposed to be in the warm comfort of my home and yet I’m cold.  It’s still comfortable enough for me to be in a loose t-shirt and pjs, but my nose is feeling chilly. 

Tomorrow is going to be a challenge as all the weather experts on TV are forecasting the big freeze.  It’s Angelo’s Christmas party — on the penultimate day before Christmas break begins on the 24th so not going to school is not an option.  As if it couldn’t get any worse, Alan can’t attend the party with me and I am winging it alone (again) tomorrow.  Even before I heard of the big drop in temperatures tomorrow, I was already planning to bring Angelo home early once the party wrapped up because I was afraid to have Mommy walking on the icy sidewalks.  I guess I’ll just call for car service tomorrow on the way home.  (No, I don’t drive..)

There are just days that are beyond negotiation.  Besides, we were assigned to bring Christmas cookies which I had picked up from the grocery this evening.  More importantly, I know it’s an event Angelo is looking forward to attending.  So we’ll bundle up — me and my boy.  I’ll call the car service and make arrangements, and yes, we’re going to his Christmas party tomorrow.
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Snowy NYC

We got ample warning so we came to work prepared.  Alan and I were unanimous that it was best that Angelo stayed home.  I would actually have worked from home had it not been that the boss’s holiday luncheon was scheduled for today.  Miss any party BUT that!  (Try disappearing when it’s a party of 10 and you happen to be the Executive Assistant to the host.)  But an hour before when the snow was falling full force, she asked me to poll the other people joining us because she was afraid to impose on anyone when people might’ve preferred to head home.  The decision was to cancel.

After wrapping up at work, I picked up a small cup of soup to have on the bus ride home.  I didn’t want to waste any time eating lunch when I could be heading to my part of Bayside.  The snow was falling heavily and I didn’t want to get caught stuck on the bus crawling through the highways.   I couldn’t resist walking up to snap some pictures of my beloved Bryant Park.  Walking back to line up for my bus, I couldn’t help but think about what an adventure it would be to photograph Central Park in the middle of the storm.

The way the wind and the snow changes the landscape in big bold strokes during a storm, playing up light and shadow as it coats the things that stand in its way can be mesmerizing.  More so when you’re used to viewing the landscape a certain way, and you see it differently when it’s coated in white.

I stood under my umbrella, parying the strong winds and the heavy snowfall.  I was bundled up and my pants were tucked inside my boots but it still felt cold.   The usual one hour trip just took a little under an hour and a half, as the bus was understandably cautious in the slippery mush on the roads. 

I like freshly fallen snow.  Virginal, some would say — when your feet are the first making footprints in that smooth carpet of white.  It’s nice to look at, but walking on snow can be difficult when it’s thick enough to affect your depth perception.  Imagine yourself walking in floodwaters guessing where the sidewalk begins and ends.  I finally got home and have been keeping warm indoors.  It’s just the start of a stormy weekend.  I spent the afternoon just enjoying Angelo.  I worked part of the afternoon in return for the consideration extended by the boss, letting us off early when most of the company stayed for the rest of the workday. 

Dinner tonight is adobo.  Plain for my mother-in-law and spicy adobo flakes for Alan.  Tonight, I’m finishing my Christmas cards.  (That’s another blogpost altogether.)  Stay warm…


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Gingerbread houses and motherhood

I am waiting for the express bus to Manhattan after spending the morning getting busy with Angelo and the other Moms in his Pre-K class decorating gingerbread houses. My grumbling stomach is reminding me I only had a mug of coffee for breakfast, and now lunch is at least an hour away. (Do I still have some canned soup stashed away?)

I am slowly beginning to see the demands of parent participation in school activities like today, and although I didn’t have difficulty swinging the morning off, I am wondering about next Monday when it’s the class holiday party.

I tried to wiggle out of today’s activity just to see if Angelo would let me, but he was almost close to tears begging me to promise I would be there. And while not all the moms were there, I didn’t want to have to feel guilty later, knowing how the other kids made do with “substitute” moms because theirs couldn’t make it. As someone who always had Mom and Dad watching every performance and attending every parent activity in school back then, I felt it was my turn to be on the parent side now that I had a boy of my own. It would’ve been nice to have had Alan there, too, but the truth of the matter is, he would’ve stuck out like a sore thumb in that all-Mom crowd. They will have their own father-and-son days. (Maybe I’ll manage to get him to attend the Christmas party, too, next Monday.)

It was just a little funny how Angelo was egging me on to leave for work when we started cleaning up — as if to tell me “Mom, I don’t need you anymore…”

(The bus finally arrived!!)

It was one of those days I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.. and I’m glad I didn’t.
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Driving to Rochester

We’re driving to Rochester tonight and have around another 3 hours more to go. Alan and three other batchmates from De la Salle Zobel Batch ’84 are having a mini-reunion in the house of one of them who happens to be in this part of New York.

We have never been this far deep into New York state, and it’s been an interesting drive so far even if the sun had set more than 2 hours ago. The full moon above us is illuminating the snow-dusted mountainside, and Alan has been saying he imagines how breathtaking the view must be during the daytime. We’ll see for ourselves come Sunday when we drive home.

I’m seated in the back with Angelo who is napping away. Alan keeps grumbling that our GPS needs replacing because it has frozen at least three times since we left the house just before 3pm. I’ve backed up the directions on my blackberry for good measure.

We’re now in the Finger Lakes Region. The landscape hypnotizes as the full moon renders the snow half luminous. Many of the houses are gaily decorated with christmas lights, and it’s a sight to see the houses perched atop the mountains or out in the middle of what looks like farmland.

25 degrees fahrenheit outside. The snow seemns to be intent to linger in these parts.  It’s just another road trip but I always enjoy the journey with my boys.  I’m fully armed with baon — I have my roll of paper towels and sanitizer handy.  I have ample wipes.  That’s the mommy going on the road.
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Blogging through a headache

I’ve had this headache since yesterday and I went to sleep wishing it away.  Alas, wish was not granted.  The 2 painkillers I popped this morning eased it but did not get rid of it.  (Reminder to self: drink more!!)  It has been a hectic morning (which is normal), and things didn’t exactly go as planned (which is normal again.)  I am savoring what appears to be a lull and I hope that it holds.  Meanwhile, I thought I’d take the time to write and maybe flex my mental muscles into relaxing somehow.  It’s been a tough day.

I’m trying to find the discipline to start reading again.  I have at least 3 books I want to sink my teeth into, and I’d like to actually start reading before I proclaim it to the whole world. I have a new block of books that greet me each morning here on top of my desk — and I’m hoping to get that moving soon.  The grand plan was to step out and read a book outside in the park, but with winter almost here, that’s not such a good idea given the cold.

Right now my biggest project is getting my Christmas cards together, and it’s taking a bit of effort to pull that off. I feel bad that the cards have started to come — some from Manila even! (Thanks, Ms. Intet!)

Time to go back to the real world again.
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Did someone say COLD?


The Fountain at Bryant Park
Taken early this morning
BBBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR….!

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