Friday, September 28, 2007
My cousin, Janice, and my college friend, Grace, recently got married and I am so happy for them. They recently posted their pictures in friendster and even though I missed both weddings I'm glad to see that they look positively radiant in their photos.
I pray that both couples find happiness and a lifetime of cherished memories! Congratulations to you both!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Last week CNN featured the 17-year-old behind whateverlife.com, who earns millions from her site advertising by offering free designs for MySpace users. With an average traffic of 250,000 per day, she has bought her own home and has proceeded to take her company to new heights. She has been featured in several magazines and TV shows all over the US.
Now wouldn't you like to earn your first million at 17? Our department at work has been inspired by her story to think of clever things we can do online to follow in this young millionaire's footsteps.
Part of what I do is looking out for emerging web technologies and sites like webware.com and geeksugar.com have bombarded my brain with most of what's new in the industry. So what else is there to build? Should I go and find a new project to build or improve on the projects I've already had experience with? I could do both.
I actually have an idea I am planning to push forward, at this point, only my husband knows what the application is. I will build a beta version first before I say anything, but we are both excited to get it done. Is it a million-dollar idea? Only time will tell, but if you never try, you'll never know. It's like wanting to win the lottery without buying a ticket!
So be inspired and get out there and do it!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
My husband said that he felt that our home is lucky, that we manage to go through all our problems and are very blessed in it.
Is there really such a thing as a lucky place? Can your home be unlucky? I have heard a few people say that their homes are unlucky (or malas in Filipino).
What makes a place unlucky? Filipinos have a lot of superstitions about homes. A lot of us with Chinese ancestral roots follow the feng shui religiously, your front door should face east, it is unlucky if you are in a cul de sac and you shouldn't have doors that face other doors. These are only a few of traditional don'ts when considering a home for your family.
I have nothing against traditions and superstitions, but I think you make your home lucky. Make it comfortable. Fill it with the luxuries you and your family enjoy. Make it a place you love being in and it will be lucky. It's not just a place to sleep, it should feel like home. It should make you feel that you belong - and that is what I made for my husband and I - a home. I think him saying that he feels that we are very blessed there is confirmation that I have succeeded in making it our own sweet haven.
They say home is where the heart is, fill your home with love and for sure you will be blessed!
Monday, September 24, 2007
This morning I got a presale notification for an Andrea Bocelli concert at the Honda Center. I love his voice, I love his music and I found ticket prices I can live with - so my husband and I will go see him in December. Could I have just put the money in the bank? I could have. But then I would have missed seeing Andrea Bocelli perform while he still can. Remembering that his fellow tenor Luciano Pavarotti just died - that's a missed opportunity there - I will never be able to watch Luciano Pavarotti, but I will be watching Andrea Bocelli.
Do you have something you really really really wanted to do and never got around to doing? Why haven't you gotten around to doing it? What's holding you back?
Growing up, I had so many things listed down it felt so frustrating. My mom was always the think about your future type - she made a lot of great decisions in her life that enabled us to go to good schools and graduate from college - and have a home over our heads.
I think my mom is a bit frustrated with me, because I've been in the US for four years now and I have yet to buy my first home. But I've done a lot of things I've wanted to do all my life like start my own business, be an event planner, write a book (send it to a publisher, ok I'm still working on getting this published but I finished writing at least 2 novels!) and experience events that I've watched on TV since I was a child like the Miss Universe pageant, big concerts and wonderful musicals on stage.
I'm going to save up for a European vacation next - well, after we go home maybe. I want to see all those countries I've read about and dreamed of visiting for so long and I've seen many tour packages that are quite affordable to be honest.
Sometimes we worry too much about tomorrow, what the future holds that we forget to live in the present. I want to live! I want to experience all those things I wanted to experience in the Philippines but decided to not go to for so many reasons. Because only God knows if there will still be a tomorrow and I trust that He will provide for us all.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Yesterday I thought to myself, I'm tired and I want to do something else before doing my side project at home. I had thought about going to a nail salon, but my husband had other plans.
He was helping our friend organize his new studio. My husband asked me if I would be willing to help out as well. I said ok and off we went.
It was a nice little office space with about half the size of the studio they had before. When I arrived they had assembled 2 plastic shelves, 1 metal shelf and all the boxes were piled in the middle of the back part of the studio.
I looked at the boxes piled high and started shelving them where they would fit. Before long we had most of the boxes set aside. My husband and our friend built another metal shelf and we put most of the remaining boxes then, created a pile of boxes neatly stacked beside it and were able to clear the center of the room.
We helped our friend set up his different tables and workstations. When we left for the day it looked like an almost finished office space, at least our friend wasn't in panic mode anymore. He set up his needed workstations for his projects and he looked relieved.
He was very grateful for our help and I told him that what friends are for. I hope their office becomes successful, they're a good team. I learn a lot of photography tips and techniques from him as well. I'm glad we were able to help out, but I am definitely going to the nail salon today.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Ladies and gentlemen, the Philippine National Anthem.
Perlas ng silanganan
Alab ng puso sa dibdib mo'y buhay
Lupang Hinirang, duyan ka ng magiting
Sa manlulupig, di ka pasisiil
Sa dagat at bundok na simoy
At sa langit mong bughaw
May dilag ng watawat mo'y
Tagumpay na nagnininging
Ang bituin at araw niyan
Kailan pa ma'y di magdidilim
Lupa ng araw ng luwalhati't pagsinta
Buhay ay langit sa piling mo
Aming ligaya nang pag may mang-aapi
Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo
When you sing it, the song seems so long, but there are only a few lines. A young Filipino singer has been getting a lot of heat for forgetting the lines, "Buhay ay langit sa piling mo, Aming ligaya nang pag may mang-aapi, " and going straight to "Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo." At least he remembered the most important part - Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo - to die for you.
Will you really die for the Philippines? Will you go to war for the Philippines? When I was young I would have probably say yes right away - ohh to be young and idealistic.
They call overseas filipino workers the new heroes of our country, considering they contribute around 30% to our economy just in remittances alone, they probably earn that title. Maybe remitting money home, buying homes in the Philippines or investing in the Philippines even if they are based abroad is enough to become a hero nowadays.
If you think of all the hardship filipinos abroad go through just to provide a better life for their family, it is truly admirable.
But will these new heroes die for their country? My first question will be for which country? Do they even remember the lyrics to our national anthem? How many would not have noticed that Christian skipped a few lines of the song? How many would still be able to sing the national anthem without any accompaniment? So maybe it is a good time to read these lyrics again - and ask yourself, what do these lyrics mean to you as a Filipino?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
My husband asked me this question last night when he saw me praying the rosary. I told him I was praying for him and he asked me why. I teased him saying that I prayed that he would get pregnant and have a baby for me.
It is silly, I know. I've listed my wishlist here a couple of weeks ago, but my constant prayer was not on my wish list. I find myself praying that I could be of more help to my family and friends more than praying for a home of our own or even a baby.
I'm happy as I am now, even if we rent and even if we don't have a baby. The only thing I find myself wishing for more often than not is to have the means to be of more help to our family and friends.
We have a few friends who are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. We have friends and family that are going through hard times with other family members. My family needs financial support, especially because of my mom's illness. My sisters need emotional support and encouragement as they find lucrative career paths and maybe some guidance in their love lives. I want to help them and that's what I pray for all the time...
Monday, September 17, 2007
My husband and I bring snacks for the LA Chapter to share after the weekly games of volleyball and basketball during the sports festival in church. The officers of the LA Chapter have labeled these weekend gatherings as opportunities for bonding the chapter together. This weekend we brought halo-halo.
I thought it went over quite well, people who didn't used to come to the gatherings came because of the treat. We had kids asking for snow cones and teens wandering over on their own. All in all, it was worth the jar openings, ice crushing and the many ingredients we had to bring over.
And to top it all off, both LA Chapter basketball teams (seniors and open) won their games! Go LA!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I have a knack of creating situations in my mind that relate to Murphy's Law - a few people have commented that I should use this tendency to write horror stories.
One such situation is in this row of parking spaces in front of my bank, the parking space has a small curb and then rolls down a steep incline of grass where the only thing that will stop your fall into the sidewalk below is a small retaining wall that is only three bricks high. My husband likes parking backwards into this spot and every time he does I feel nervous that our truck that can go over that small curb so easily will just roll down the embankment and into the sidewalk and street below because I don't think three rows of bricks can stop a truck.
Friday afternoon we parked the same way and as he stepped on the break, I was looking at his side and literally felt our truck rolling continuously back. I held on to my hand hold and asked him to stop the car and he was looking at me as though he was starting to panic too. And then I saw the car beside us pull all the way out of the parking space and realized why I thought we were still moving.
My husband got a little angry at me because he knew I would always think that we would roll down the embankment that was why I got so scared when I thought the truck wasn't stopping. After I got over my initial scare, I felt silly and thought it was a little funny. Lesson of the day, do not ever underestimate the power of your mind!
Friday, September 14, 2007
I have a very long list this year as I have gotten to know new people and found a new group of friends. Of course, there is all my inaanaks in the Philippines who are probably all grown now - too old for all the cute toys I love to play with before sending out - I think I'll have to be more creative for them this year. The good news is I've been really fond of a few babies at our church group this year so if I find myself in a baby store, I still have an excuse to check out the new toys this year. I also want to give the people at our church group and my vigil adoration group gifts, they have been my family here in California and I do want to show my appreciation. Of course there's also my coworkers (having started the gift-giving tradition in our office), I have a few creative thoughts on what to give them.
And last, but not the least, there is my family - a rather large family at that. There's my mom and dad, my two sisters, my aunt, uncle and cousin, my mother-in-law, my stepdaughter and 2 neices in NZ, my 3 sisters-in-law, my neice and nephew in the Phils, my stepson and stepdaughter in the Phils. and of course my husband.
Hmmm, maybe I should just bake a big batch of cookies and give them a cookie each? hehehe. It pays to be prepared! I'm glad I thought about this earlier. Now I'm all excited! Are you on my list?
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I watched as they impeached him. I watched as a new regime took over. I watched his day-to-day battle from prison to house arrest to a guilty of plunder ruling.
The funny thing is during the six years that he was imprisoned, I grew to admire Erap (as he is fondly called by his constituents) as a person. I watched how the masses, his followers, supported him all throughout his trial. I watched testimony after testimony of underprivileged people proclaiming that he had helped them.
I admired him the most when he chose not to go into exile. A lot of presidents have done it, even the genius who ran the Philippines for decades had resorted to fleeing the country. But Erap stayed, he had wanted to prove his innocence.
A lot of his friends ratted him out, washing their hands of him and going out in public declaring that they are better men - but their actions to me speak louder than their words. You know the quality I liked most about the former president was that he never muddied anybody else's name. He did not point the finger. He never said it was somebody else's fault.
As he said in a July interview for Kababayan LA, "I'm not perfect. I know I have made mistakes in my governance of the country, but I fulfilled my sworn duty to my country."
The guilty verdict made me sad. It's not because I do not want those who are guilty of plunder to be punished - it just feels wrong. That here is someone who served only 3 and 1/2 years, maybe he did get money when he was president - because he was president, but we had a dictator who had gained a lot more because he ruled for over 20 years and he was not given a guilty ruling and punished. We had a president who cleaned out the treasury during his regime, not one word was said about plunder. The current president's husband has been tried numerous times on graft and corruption charges and had always escaped unscathed. But here is a man, maybe not as educated as some of our other presidents, who came from show business and rose from being mayor of his home town to being the President of the Philippines because the masses loved him - and what did we do? The first chance we get, we make him the scapegoat, the one who had to take the fall to show the world that we can prosecute even those who ruled our country. Why him? Because he was not perfect? I think that is very sad.
Monday, September 10, 2007
I'm sitting here in front of my computer in our unit's balcony, staring out at the Lake in the Sky.
This was the foremost reasons I booked this place, granted that it could have been updated a bit more, it had this million dollar view right outside my bedroom doors. The utter blueness of the lake competing aggressively with the clear skies. The cool mountain air unpolluted and fresh, tempting you to inhale deeply every chance you get.
I woke up early this morning and watched the sunrise while laying on the lounge chair on my balcony. I want to go on a morning swim, but the pool opens at 9 AM so I will have to wait.
It was a beautiful drive up yesterday up the beautiful Sierra Nevada. It has always been my secret wish to see the Sierra Nevada, ever since I read about it in one of my pocket books. And it is as awe-inspiring as I imagined. We passed this creek bed that reminded me so much of Mt. Banahaw in the Philippines, that part of the drive I was trying so hard not to cry. I missed the mountains so much!
There was a forest fire here a couple of months ago and we saw some of the burned trees on our way to our resort. From where we drove up, we could not fully see the extent of the damage, but we did see burnt trees laying on the ground as well as blackened trunks in still standing trees.
After a long hot shower, buying groceries, unpacking and settling in, my husband and I brought out our favorite electric grill and grilled some short ribs that we had marinated the night before. We sat out here eating and exchanging stories of days spent in resorts in the Philippines until it got too cold.
The cold drove us into our bedroom, ending our first night at gorgeous Lake Tahoe. Oh did I mention I found a new friend? There is a chipmunk that visits the tree right beside our balcony.
The sun is high up in the sky now, it's time for me to make coffee and head to the pool.
September 4, 2007 7:38 AM
We got through the Labor Day Weekend here at the lake. It was very crowded Sunday as people gathered around Lake Tahoe for the fireworks display. We were very lucky to find the perfect resort we had a first class view of the fireworks across the bay. It lasted about twenty minutes or so, the people at the balcony beside us went crazy over the smiley faces – I guess they do not frequent Disneyland.
I have a visitor this morning, a chipmunk is taking in the view from my balcony as well. He probably took my taking pictures of him by the pine tree as an invitation to come over. There are so many birds flying over the beach today, it is beautiful to watch.
We visited Harrah's Casino Saturday, my husband and his mom tried their luck on the slot machines. My husband was almost done with his twenty dollars when he asked me to play while he went to the restroom – on my second bet, the seven dollars became $22.75! I should have quit while I was ahead and played in the wheel of fortune they had, but we had to watch over his mom who was having a great time in the Hot, hot penny game so we stayed and went through my winnings within an hour or so.
We also took a walk around the shops at Heavenly. We went to see the gondolas I had wanted to ride in, but changed my mind about when I saw the negative reviews about there being nothing to see in the viewing deck. I snapped a few pictures just the same.
We went to the Nugget Rib Cook-off Sunday, a very popular event as it turned out.
Temperatures were sky-high when we got to the place, people were sampling ribs and walking through the vendors' little shops in the fairgrounds. It was held in the Victorian Square, a quaint old town whose buildings were restored in their original Victorian architecture.
We met up with my husband's fraternity brother and his family. They were both very pleasant and easy to talk to. They brought their daughter who was very beautiful, if a little shy. I could tell that they had a great time reminiscing over their college days. Both were a little surprised to find that I was only 31 years old, they probably didn't think my husband would be able to marry someone so young. All in all we had a good time.
Yesterday was a treat, we went on a cruise in the Tahoe Queen around the lake and into Emerald Bay where we saw the famous Vikingsholm Castle and Fannette island with Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight's tea house. Emerald Bay was magnificent, getting it's name from the changing color of the lake from dark blue to green as you come upon its shores. I found the captain's narration very informative as he told us about Lake Tahoe. Although the ghost of Mark Twain was supposed to be our host, not a lot of people paid attention to him when he spoke. They were too busy with their tequila sunrise or their pina colada, both specials on our particular cruise.
The tequila sunrise was quite refreshing, although it took a bit of maneuvering to sip while snapping pictures of the gorgeous views. It was a truly relaxing trip, if a bit windy, all three of us enjoyed it.
I still have no internet, which is bad because I need to do work for biblesbythecase.com. I probably will need to go to a local starbucks to work today, I hope they have wifi here somewhere or fix the resort's internet connection.
September 6, 2007
It was an amazing last day. We rode the cable car up to Squaw Valley to visit the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. The 8-minute ride up was breathtaking as we passed the rugged mountain terrain to high camp. We had a really funny operator who moved here from Boston, MA – working to get free ski passes during the winter season.
The Olympic Museum was a simple exhibit of stories about the 1960 Olympics. It enumerated the winners including a male speed skater named William Disney, not sure if he was related to Walt, but since I am based in the OC.
I recommend spending time there whenever you find yourself in Lake Tahoe. It's sad that we will be leaving here soon, but I know we will be back.
See you soon, Lake in the Sky...