Archive for December, 2004

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! Damn. The year certainly went b…

31 December 2004

HAPPY NEW YEAR!



Damn. The year certainly went by fast. Well, parts of it did, and parts of it just crawled on by. Nonetheless, I was surprised when Christmas hit. It didn’t even feel like Christmas at all even though I actively “prepared” for it by buying presents, decorating the tree, throwing a Christmas party, etc. (Actually, it was more like being swept up by the momentum of it all). To me, it just seemed like “Oh, it’s Christmas?”

Anyway, this year is done. This is the time of year when people make their “resolutions” for the coming year and cite off the things they vow to do better such as “eat healthier;” “exercise more”; yadda, yadda, yadda. Yup. I’m one of them. Making resolutions for the new year is almost obligatory, but then do people really follow up? Nah. Take the gym for example. Mine becomes super-packed in the beginning of the year (January to March). Then the stampede slowly dies down by late March and we’re back to the usual number of folks at the gym. Bottom line is that the advent of the new year propels us to re-assess our life and see what we can change. But I do that on a regular basis anyway. I mean I’m constantly evaluating my life and seeing what I can change about things I don’t like or am not satisfied with. I’m pretty content with mine. Oh yeah, I sure complain about things here and there and come off sounding like a spoiled brat. But those who know me know that I’m generally happy. Let’s face it. We all have problems/concerns/issues and we all have to deal with them, right?

So this new year, of course I’d like to work on a few things (not in any particular order):

  • Have a better relationship with mom and dad.

How: Let go of all bitterness and just deal with them. They are the world’s most generous parents but for some reason, I get annoyed easily with them. I’m trying. Otherwise, we have a close relationship and we talk a lot, but I feel like they don’t know me. I try to tell them about my issues with them but all they do is act insulted and then get mad. I gotta work on this one. I’ll have to do this one one day at a time.

  • Eat more vegetables.

How: I have to eat a salad for lunch at least 4 times a week. It’s not that I don’t even like them. In fact I love broccoli, kale, spinach, etc. It’s just that I eat crummy take-out a lot and that shit doesn’t include vegetables most of the time.

  • Cook dinner at least 4 times a week. Oh, this is going to be hard.

How: Cook at least 2 different entrees on Sunday, that way I just re-heat during the week. Also, I won’t be too tired when I rush home from the gym.

  • Practice on the guitar.

How: Set an hour or so 3 times a week to do scales, finger exercises, learn new chords, etc. No fail.

  • Work on novel.

How: Set an hour or so 2 times a week to write whatever (whether it be the actual story, free association, random thoughts, etc.). Also, be sure to go to library to write.

  • Stop buying books!

How: Go to library and borrow anything I want to read. Or bum off friends.

  • Go to the gym at least 3 times a week.

How: Well, there’s really no way around this one. I’m just happy I’ve actually been keeping up with it and going at least 3 times a week. I just have to keep it up. But I have to do more cardio.

  • Tackling my credit card debt once and for all. No new charges.

How: Stop using it for frivolous things like buying clothes. (So I have until today to shop! Hahaha…) Well I told myself I’m not going to shop until July. I’m going to give myself 6 months. I’ll allow myself to buy clothes, books, etc with cash only if need be, but I’m going to lay off the plastic. I’m just happy that this is my only form of debt (other than our mortgage, of course).

Okay, those are my top priorities for the year. I think I’m set. But I’ll leave you off with one tip (that I got from a TV show of all things, but also learned from family of course):

In the show ER a few seasons ago, Dr. Greene tells his daughter (before he dies) that she should be generous of herself. These 2 words ‘be generous’ are great words to live by. This incorporates all sorts of things and not just money. This means being generous with your time, being charitable, being less self-centered, etc.

So on that note, here’s a plug for my favorite non-profit organization and charity: UNICEF

Donate today in support of the South Asia Tsunami Relief or make a general donation.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock! The…

28 December 2004

Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock!

The hubs and I spent Christmas Eve with his family in Demarest, NJ. We went to church, had dinner, then opened our gifts. After that, we trekked over to Queens, NY to spend a couple of hours with my family (even though we were going to Queens anyway on Christmas day along w/ the hubs’ family).

Pics with the Demarest Clan (the battery died right afterwards! Phooey!)

Christmas in Queens (got new batteries)







On Christmas Day itself, we went back to Queens to have lunch. My mom invited my parents-in-law to come over. As usual, my mom ordered enough food for an army, even though there was only 12 of us eating.

The Parental Units

All the kids

The hubs and I

Yuki and I (Yuki is my lil bro’s friend who lives 2 houses down)

Later that evening, we went out to a late dinner with our friends. We ate at Vatan, this all you can eat Indian-Vegetarian restaurant in Murray Hill. It’s my second time going there and I enjoyed the food just like last time. So good!

Afterwards, we went over to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. I haven’t been there in ages and I forgot how crowded it was! We got there at about midnight or so but there were still tons of people around. We took some pics as we shivered in the cold.

The tree all lit up!

By the tree…

Saks Fifth Avenue! (the snowflakes light up in tune to a song in the background)

G. and K

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Christmas Remembered Christmas is a holiday tha…

21 December 2004

Christmas Remembered

Christmas is a holiday that I cherish. I have many memories of Christmas Eve when I was a little girl growing up in the Philippines. For me, I’ll always remember Christmas at my lolo’s house in Antipolo and spending time with my cousins, aunts, and uncles. It was a time for family reunions. Everyone would get together, pile gifts under our pine-cone Christmas tree, and enjoy the food and drinks. My mom had 5 older sisters and 2 younger brothers. Between them, I had 30+ cousins and we were all very close despite the age differences. One by one the family would arrive at the home. The cousins would get together and we’d play, light up sparklers, and do little skits for the family. Then we would all pile in my uncle’s jeep and go to Midnight Mass. After the mass, we’d come back home for Noche Buena and then distribute the gifts. My lolo would sit by the tree and hand out the presents one by one. My cousins and I would wait until our gifts piled up and then see who had the most presents. Then we’d open them all up together.

What I remember the most was that there was always laughter everywhere. My aunts and uncles would sit, laugh, and gossip. There were neighbors popping by to greet my lolo and lola. The neighborhood kids would come by caroling, shaking their homemade bottle-cap tamborines. And us kids would make so much noise just playing in and out of the house. We would play out in the streets and my lola’s garden enjoying the brisk night air. Then we’d fall asleep, exhausted from the night’s festivities. We’d wake up on Christmas day with the smell of longanisa and tuyo frying, and more laughter everywhere because all the adults would already be up talking.

My last childhood Christmas in the Philippines was in 1988. All the Christmases after that would pale in comparison. My family moved to California around May 1989. My first Christmas in America was quite reserved, more formal, and far from being the joyous, noisy occasion that I have come to expect. It was only my immediate family then –mom, dad, me, and my younger brother (my youngest brother wasn’t born until 1990), and a few other family members who immigrated with us. I don’t even remember having a tree that first year. I remember that we were living in a small one-bedroom apartment at the time, it was cold out, and I tried to be happy with the fake Barbie doll that my aunt had just given me. But I remember that it wasn’t about the doll. I was upset that we weren’t home, and that I wasn’t spending Christmas with my whole family. Of course I knew my parents shared my sentiments. All they could do was talk about my lolo, lola, and our family back home. I remember my parents calling home and passing the phone around. When it was my turn, I remember talking to my Tita Trixie and getting jealous because I could hear my cousins’ laughing in the background.

Time has passed and you can’t go back to the way things were. Even when I went back to the Philippines in the early 90’s, I felt it wasn’t the same. My grandparents have since passed away, some of my aunts and uncles don’t fly back home anymore, and my cousins and I don’t run around playing hide-and-seek at 10 pm. I have realized that Christmas is what you make of it each year.

Since then, I have gotten accustomed to the Christmases here in the U.S. We’ve made our own Christmas traditions and customs. It’s certainly different yet special in their own way. We always have various visitors since we open our home to people who can’t be with their own families. We have our own Noche Buena, but now go to Mass at an earlier time. We enjoy our time together and reflect on the year that passed and the year to come. As long as I’m with the people I love, I realize Christmas will always be something I cherish.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone out there! Best wishes to you and your families!

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First Annual Holiday Soiree I’ve thrown a Chris…

20 December 2004

First Annual Holiday Soiree

I’ve thrown a Christmas dinner party for a few friends in our old apartment for the past couple of years. I didn’t throw one last year. This past Saturday, I threw our first holiday party in our new house. We’ve lived in our new house since August 2003, but haven’t really invited anyone over. In fact, we haven’t even had a housewarming yet because we’re still doing a lot of home improvements.

However, since I’m a big fan of Christmas and dinner parties, we decided to have a holiday party this year even though our house is still under construction. I invited a small group of people over (I wanted it to be small since we didn’t have a lot of room). We had a great turn-out and folks had a lot of fun. We had about 20+ people attend (a lot more people came than I thought!) and that’s a lot considering our home is on the small side. We had the food going (I ran out of food); the drinks flowing (we went through 3 bottles of Grey Goose Vodka); and a cut-throat game of Texas Hold ‘Em. My friend Julie won the $80 pot. I didn’t even get to play because I was too busy being the hostess and making sure everyone was comfy. Nonetheless, I thought the party was a blast. Clean-up is another story. Someone threw up in our sink (in our still “under-construction” bathroom that we opened up just for the party) and clogged it up! Jeez, and I thought we were all past that kind of crap. We are in our late 20’s after all, not in college! But it’s all good!

I can’t wait to throw a housewarming BBQ when the warm weather returns. That way, I can invite more folks because people can actually go outside and chill in the backyard.

Here are some party pics. I would’ve taken tons more but I got a bit buzzed as the night progessed and forgot to take more…

Our Christmas tree (trust me, it looks better in person)

My Pumpkin-Gingerbread Trifle (I made it for my family this past Thanksgiving and it was a hit. But not so much at this party…boo!)

The first people to arrive…

Chilling by the steps

Special guests…

And more guests…

Lawclerk Reunion! (We all met while doing our judicial clerkships 2002-2003)

Cuties

The Five Locas Reunited (It’s a rare occasion when the 5 of us are actually present in one room. We usually resort to cutting-n-pasting each other’s heads to our pics if one is missing!)

Gail and Brian

Ola and Priya

Me, Jill, and Chris

I’m definitely throwing another Christmas party next year. It’ll be a lot smoother since I’ll know what to expect. I was worried that it would be too crowded in our living room, and I should’ve ordered more lumpia!

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Best Gig Ever (or Tales from a Rock Groupie) Who …

14 December 2004

Best Gig Ever (or Tales from a Rock Groupie)

Who knew at the age of 28, that I’d be hanging out with members of a rock band like some teenage groupie? Last Thursday, Dec. 9th, I saw Moving Units, this L.A.-based, retro-80’s, new-wave band with dancey beats. They played at the Bowery Ballroom on a rainy evening. I went there with my 2 band mates, Jes and Jess. We got there at about 9:45 pm and Moving Units were rescheduled to go on at 10:30 pm. To our surprise, there was a massive line outside the door, even if you already had tickets. So we waited in the rain along with other folks for a good 20 minutes until we actually got in.

Despite some technical difficulties with the show (e.g., we couldn’t hear the singer because the mike went out; and then the sound died after the first song), it was the BEST GIG EVER! Why? Because we got to hang out with the band!! Plus, I had a great time chilling with my band-mates outside of practice! When we finally entered the joint, we immediately saw the Moving Units sitting by the bar and posing for pictures for a magazine. So I got Jes to take their picture:

Moving Units (Johan Boegli-Bass; Chris Hathaway-Drums/Vocals; Blake Miller-Vocals/Guitar)

Then we got a great spot right by the stage (and right by where the bassist stood). We were within spitting distance from them (and right next to the speakers which is probably not good for the ears =). The place was packed! Who knew they would be so popular? In any case, they played a great show. The front man was super-lively and had great presence, and the drummer was hysterical. The drummer even did this “gig” after one song and danced around with his butt-crack showing.

Drummer and Bassist:

The crowd:

Me, Jes, and Jess:

Afterwards, we yelled at the bassist from where we were standing. He was like “What?!” and actually came round from the stage to meet with us. We were actually yelling “What year is your bass?!?!” like some deranged lunatics at the top of our lungs. We asked him about his bass because Jess (our bassist) was actually about to buy the same Fender Bass. Then we took a picture with him:

Then we went down to the bar for more drinks and just chilled. Eventually, the drummer came down and said hello to us and chatted with a group of folks. Then the singer came down and we said hello to him as well and he talked with him for a good 5 minutes or so. We commented on the fact that we couldn’t hear him that well from where we stood and he was like, “oh let me tell our soiund guy next time.” He was very cool.

Our pic with the singer:

Then the bassist came down again and we talked to him for a long time. We told him about our band. Heck, if we had a demo handy, we would’ve so given it to him! He even signed a poster for me.

They were extremely nice and down-to-earth. I hope they become more successful! Cheers!

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Postcards from Los Angeles: A recap of my short ho…

11 December 2004

Postcards from Los Angeles: A recap of my short holiday in LA-LA Land

Day 1: 4 December

  • My plane landed at about 12 midnight. I got my bags relativelyquickly, and then headed to the car rental shuttle area. After 20 minutes of waiting, the Dollar Rent-A-Car shuttle finally arrived and took me to car rental joint.
  • Had drama with the car people. Basically, I rented an economy car and they only had minivans available. I felt like I was in Seinfeld…”You can take the reservation, but you can’t keep the reservation…” After a lot of talking, I ended up with a convertible (a Chrysler Sebring). I got it for the same price as the economy!
  • Drove to my friend Karen’s house and slept. Can I just say, it was freezing in Los Angeles that night! As in 30 degrees in the living room! Colder than in NYC (but the weather got better the next day). I woke up at 8:30 am PST.
  • Had lunch with my friends Steven and Brian from high school. We chilled over dim-sum (amazing dim-sum!) and talked shit about other peepz we went to school with. Hee-hee.

Brian, Me, and Steven

  • Went out to dinner at Buca di Peppo with Karen, Babs, Eric (Karen’s cousin who I went to junior high with as well), and her friends Pam and Richard.

Group dinner pic

  • Went out to Lounge 217 in Santa Monica. Had an excellent time. Incidentally, bars/lounges in L.A. close at about 2 am!

Chilling at the Club

Day 2: 5 December

  • Woke up early and got ready to go. Had a coffee “date” with my old high school teacher Mr. Carnovsky and his wife at their home.
  • Showed up at 10:30 am and stayed for about an hour or so. I forgot to bring my camera! So I didn’t have any pictures of my reunion with my old teacher. He was the best! I haven’t seen him since my highschool graduation in June 1995. He, his wife, and I chatted about life, books, travel, etc. They had a menagerie of pets as well: 2 cats and 4 dogs. They had an amazing house with a beautiful garden. Too bad it was raining because they would’ve served coffee outside. All in all, it was great to catch-up with Mr. C.
  • Went to lunch with Karen, her mom, her sis, and her sis’ boyfriend.
  • Watched ‘National Treasure’ with Karen.
  • Got home, stayed with Bubbles (their dog) while Karen and Babs went to a wake.

Bubbles

  • Went out to dinner and had the best damn pho ever.

Day 3: 6 December

  • While Karen and Babs went to work, I went to visit my old high school, Pilgrim. Pilgrim School is a non-denominational college prep school from Kindergarten to 12th grade. It is very small; my graduating class in 1995 was only 19 students. I graduated 7th out of 19. Needless to say, I was not in the top 10! Hahaha…

Entrance of Pilgrim School

Pilgrim in all it’s glory

  • I went to my old art classroom and chatted with my old art teacher, Ms. Porter. She was the coolest teacher ever. In high school, she’d let me do my own projects and often gave us free reign over the art supplies. When I was a senior, she’d even let me and the other art kids (like my friends Steven and Alex) leave early. She spoke her mind, was anti-establishment, and gave us a lot of freedom. Ms. Porter looks exactly the same as she did when I was in high school (sans the long, flowy hair).

Ms. Porter and my art room

Ms. P and Me

  • I also had a brief chat with Dr. Moon, formerly my AP English teacher who is now the headmaster of the school. He looks the same as well.
  • Afterwards, I went to the Beverly Center for a little shopping. Beverly Center is near Beverly Hills. My first job ever was at Eddie Bauer in the Beverly Center while I was a senior. I have not been to this mall since 1995 either. It looks the same but with different stores. The Eddie Bauer there has since closed.
  • On my way to the Beverly Center, I passed by my old street. We used to live on Hobart off Third Street. Looks the same!

Third and Hobart

  • I also hit Melrose Avenue, a shopping area I used to chill at back in the day. The area used to feature cool, cutting-edge stores and tons of thrift-shops. They still have similar stores but it’s no longer cutting-edge. Here’s a store that survived from my high school days:

Retail Slut

  • Got home, had dinner at a Filipino joint with Karen and Babs. Had chicharron bulaklak –ye gods, my arteries!
  • Then we got ready to see a show at the Knitting Factory.
  • Saw a bunch of bands at the Knitting Factory and walked around Hollywood Blvd.

David Bowie’s Star on Hollywood Blvd.

  • Afterwards, we had dessert at IHOP.

Day 4: 7 December

  • Time to go home! I landed in JFK at 7 pm. Home sweet home.

Thanks Karen and Babs for letting me crash with you!

Karen and Bubbles

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Tales from a One-Time TV Star –UPDATED! So I w…

4 December 2004

Tales from a One-Time TV Star —UPDATED!

So I was on TV this past Thursday morning! (Yes I know it’s really not a big deal, but fun to write about nonetheless). Fox Network (Channel 5 in NYC and Northern NJ) went over to my parents’ house in Queens to do a special holiday broadcast. I think for a few weeks or so they go to various homes and decorate their houses (courtesy of various stores like Gracious Home; Lowes; etc.). The weather guy Mike Woods does his broadcast from your home. His segment is about every 10-15 minutes so they pan to your house and do little interviews with you every now and then.

The crew got to my house at 5 am. I slept over my parents house and was woken up by the flood of light that entered my room –it was the camera crew. I got ready and went downstairs and met up with the crew. There were 2 cameramen, 1 tech guy, 1 producer, and the weather man. It was cool to see the live feeds and sound cues and all. My mom asked a few neighbors over, including the family of my brother’s best friend. My brother’s best friend Eric O. is a Marine and was just deployed to Iraq about 3 months ago. So his family got to say hi to him. Everyone was very nice. The guy from Gracious Home were great too. Nice decor (except they forgot the actually decor for the tree so we had to use ours; they brought over the donated decor later on). Overall, it was a very interesting experience. My mom loved it! I didn’t really tell a lot of folks but apparently, a few friends saw me on TV!

I’ll be posting pics of my TV adventure in my next entry.

Right now, I’m actually on a short holiday. I’m currently posting this blog from not-so-sunny Los Angeles. I arrived at 12:10 am Dec. 4th and realized that it’s just as cold here as it is in NYC. I was freezing my ass off last night! And I had such drama renting a car…but I’ll tell all when I get back. Have a great weekend.

UPDATE: Here are a few pictures from my stint as a “TV Star

Mike Woods (the weather man) and Moi

Behind the Scenes Footage

The Family, Mike Woods, and Tom the Producer