Friday, December 31, 2010

Enduring

I love that word - the way it rolls off your tongue, the tinkling sound it makes. I love using it to describe all these wonderful friendships Ches and I have managed to keep all these years. Enduring friendships - there’s just so much love and history attached to those two words, and also a lot of strength and acceptance thrown in.

In Lost and Found, Rica Bolipata-Santos writes that friendships also follow the Darwinian theory of evolution - the survival of the fittest. She surmises that it’s only the best kinds of friendships that thrive thru years and years – the lesser ones die a natural death and often for good reason. I so agree.

I have three favorite parts of Christmas. First is the gift giving. It freaks me out and drives me all crazy preparing gifts for (i) my family and friends and their kids, (ii) my bosses and officemates, (iii) the photocopy Manong, 8 security guards, 4 janitors, and 10 canteen staff in the office, (iv) Yoshi’s 8 teachers and school administrator (this year I just refused to buy gifts for his 18 classmates already), (v) Chester’s friends and their kids, (vi) his bosses and officemates and (vii) his 60 million relatives. But I LOVE IT.

My second favorite part is spending time with family. There was Mom’s 60th birthday, the annual reunion at Ches’ place in Tarlac (big and loud and crazy and we wouldn’t have it any other way), our visit to my dear Lola Donnie which also included a trip to see her sister, my Lola Cording who makes The Best Halo-Halo in the Whole Wide Universe.





My third favorite part is meeting up with friends. It’s part of the inexplicable Christmas magic that we get to go out with more friends in the 24 days leading up to Christmas than the whole 11 months before December.

These are the enduring friends we saw this Christmas:



Brunch with QT friends at Chateau 1771



Snacks with Babette and Regie at Cibo (where I love the pesto and cheese dip)



My boss’s lunch treat at Circles (easily the most awaited event by us Legal girls since November and we were not disappointed with the sushi bar and piles upon piles of steaks and endless yummy desserts. Anji and Thina even had their pix taken with Bong Revilla. I didn't want to bcoz I'm with Team Hayden Kho. Haha.)



Baby shower and wedding anniv of Tanya and Mon



Dinner with Thom, Paula, and Liz at Pino



Lunch with Beavis and family at home




Lunch with SM friends at Spiral and catching up with my beloved former secretary Lani at McDo in E-Com



Anji’s birthday lunch at home





Dinner with PMS friends at Pino




Wedding of Jervin and Bubbles (I love going to weddings where I know the love story of the couple and I see the wedding as the grand climax of that story. Jerv is one of Ches’ best buddies from PMS and is Bootsie’s ninong. Ches has given me the blow by blow since way back when Jerv was still courting Bubbles. They both have big families where they are both so well loved, and what makes their wedding stand out for me is the way their two families seem to have gotten so close that it was like a union not only of two people but of two entire clans. The dresses and flowers were so lovely, the paella and lechon and wine so yummy, the program so beautiful in its simplicity and emotion [especially since the couple is moving to the US]. It was perfect in every way.)

We also saw Phoebe and Chebu and Nico and Lei (tho I forgot to take pix). We’re also seeing Gay soon, and Randy, too, of course. Phoebe has been my friend since high school, and Nico, Gay, and Randy have been my and Ches' friends since Pol Sci. Clearly, no word better describes our friendship than ‘enduring’.

Looking forward to Christmas 2011 =)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Irresistible




I have found that there are some things I just can’t resist. Here are some:

1. Mango dresses. I’m supposed to be on a shopping moratorium bcoz I have way too many clothes already and the state of affairs inside my closets has gotten truly obscene. I’ve stuck to my resolve for the most part – but all of that flies out of the window when I see a Mango dress. There was one whole week in December when I wore dresses everyday to work, and Rosa wondered what the occasion was. I told her these were my Mango dresses from the June sale and here it was almost time for the December sale again and I haven’t even used them. Groan. (Oh well, at least I got only three this time …)



2. Wedges/flowers. Ate specifically told me not to buy shoes from Payless bcoz there’s a branch near her place and it was always on sale so she would just get for me. It’s a fairly simple instruction to follow – but then I saw these wedges in a deep lilac shade and with little flowers too and I JUST HAD TO buy them. It had all these things going for it, things I could never walk away from: (i) wedges; (ii) flowers; and (iii) shades of pink and purple. I could never win.

3. Tuyo. I cherish every minute of sleep and will never be a morning person; hence, I usually rush my breakfast or just bring it to the office altogether. Not when breakfast is tuyo tho. If it’s tuyo I use my bare hands to debone the things and bring out our sukang Iloco and dip away and take my sweet time relishing every bite. I don’t care if I’m running late for work or if I have 10 unread work emails in my Blackberry or I’m the only one not yet in the office for an early morning meeting – I will not be disturbed from enjoying my tuyo.

4. Desserts. I don’t even have to be writing this, really. Me and my sweet tooth - it’s common knowledge. I could be eating for hours already or finishing plate after plate at a buffet or wherever – but I will always have room for dessert. For me, no meal is ever complete without something sweet to cap it off. I do realize all this sugar is bad for me and is making me fat already and will give me diabetes and a slow, painful death someday – but whaddahell.

5. Anita Shreve. I read a lot of books that are definitely more substantial than those of Anita Shreve and there are several authors whose work I love more than hers, but there’s just something about her stories that are hard to put down. I think it’s the whole drama and suspense of it that are so gripping and they haunt you and make you want to see as soon as possible how it would all end. Hence, when I read her books, I forget about sleep altogether and just stay up way into the night.




6. Country home decors. One other beauty of having your own themed house is that it disciplines you from accumulating stuff that, no matter how lovely, don’t go with the theme, or stuff that, even if they go with the theme, just won’t have space anymore at home. That is, in an ideal world of non-compulsive shoppers. Haha. Me, I could never resist buying country home decors. I can say no to the carpets and bedspreads that Randy has been telling me should be next on our list to complete our home project, but I can never walk away from country home decors, even if our little house is already overflowing with them. I just beg Randy to design more shelves for me. Haha.



7. Picture books. I remember the year when we were renovating the house and all our money went to the project and I had to scrimp even on books. There was the annual Powerbooks sale tho and Powerbooks has always had the loveliest picture books and so I just had to get some. The small ones are now in a ledge in our little powder room. It was my idea to put them up like that and I’m happy that for once Randy approved =)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pretend Lawyers



(This is from Babette's blog. She's my friend bcoz, as Rhoel says, we are both maldita. Haha. Rhoel was also from UP Law, but it was in QT that we got super close. He's one of the funniest human beings I know. I made him Yoshi's ninong. Regie, on the other hand, is Bootsie's ninong. He's one of those good guys with no mean bone in their system. His wife Dindin agrees that Reg can be too nice sometimes, and it's up to me and Babs to teach him a little evilness 'at work'. Haha. May qualifier?! He's also our resident repository of Pinoy showbiz trivia. Reg, Rhoel and Babs are pretty cool - considering they're all Ateneans. Hahaha! Peace =)

These guys are my friends for quite sometime now - R since college when he looked geekier! Ha ha and Kitty for five years now maybe. Like Rhoel, they are pretend lawyers and I never take them seriously! Ha ha

When R joined my company then to be part of the legal team, I told him all about the things he needed to know. I told him to pad his package knowing how this company would make sure that his plate was always full. His last interview was with our president and naturally, I warned him about questions that may be asked. The last interview was ministerial and I was certain that R was going to be hired. I asked R to update me when the offer was made. When R did call me, he cried “Parang hindi ako abogado?!” And I asked, “Why?” And R said, “Hindi ko nadepensahan package ko!” Ha ha And I really wanted to strangle him. “Ay nako, after all those tips….wala din!” But I was happy that R made it and there were more intelligent people in that company whose employees’ average age was 50!

In 2005 maybe, Rhoel advised me that Kitty, his friend from his law school was also joining to do Corporate Governance. I am not sure if Kitty remembers this but it was in the ladies’ room when we got introduced to each other. I was brushing my teeth when she made conversation and told me that she was Kitty and that we had a common friend, Rhoel. And we talked some more. And because I have foot in mouth disease, I uttered, “buti nga wala na sila nung girlfriend nya eh!” And Kitty said, “Ah.. si _____, kaibigan ko din yun!” Waaah! And I quickly excused myself! Rhoel was hysterical of course when I told him about what happened. He said, “tinatanong ka ba?!” Ha ha

Kitty and I developed a friendship even after that first incident in the ladies' room. Rhoel understood why. “Eh magkapareho kayo nun eh! Pareho kayong maldita!” Ha ha I will never forget how Kitty bid the highest for the runt’s violin when we were raising funds. And how she gave me her eldest son’s piggybank. And how she asked for money from her other friends when we were desperately trying to save the runt. She often tells me how strong I am and I just tell her I really don’t have much choice. I think we became even closer when we left that company because we made an effort to stay in touch.

R, his wife D, together with Rhoel and other college friends, organized a fundraising for the runt. R was the first one I called from the hospital on the morning of Oct 29, 2007 to say that the runt finally left us and if he could help us look for available chapels in the Quezon City area. R passed the message to everyone and by the first evening of the runt’s wake, R made sure that there were friends to comfort us and that there was a priest, Fr. Jonjee, to say mass. Because R is a really kind person who does not say no, I have the habit of abusing his kindness by making him draft legal documents for the family. I am not sure if R remembers that he had a phone conversation with the runt. Sometime in early 2007 or was it late 2006, he called the house looking for me and the runt picked up. He found it really funny because the runt engaged him in conversation and mentioned something like, "Maganda siya ngayon kasi nagpagupit lang siya sa David's!" ha ha What a blabbermouth! Just last week, I reminded R to return Rica’s first book and he sent a text message, “Ok. Na-touch ako dun!” ha ha What a softie! R is all mush and D is lucky to have him. They are lucky to have each other.

Lunches with the pretend lawyers are always bitin.

Blogging



(Found this on the Internet. By someone named Hugh. Couldn't make out a proper attribution, but can't resist dedicating it to my blogger friends Babette, Gay, Rosa, and Chepie =) No wonder there's so few of us! Haha.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Meant To Be

One of the great things about working in my office is that it’s so near Trinoma. (Hello again, Ayala malls. I’m so back in your arms. Haha.) We usually go malling on our lunch break. And of course I always go and say hello to my friends Ate Josie and Julie over at the Sanrio shop and they gladly fill me in on what’s new and what’s on sale.

In one of our Trinoma lunch trips leading up to Christmas, I was ecstatic to find rare Kitty items by Momoberry (it’s this high-end European Kitty maker). I promptly got myself a zebra print purse and a pink floral bag. They are too perfect. I also got the red Kitty lunch box that Ate Josie said was part of the anniversary special. I thought twice before buying it (I’m supposed to be on a shopping moratorium and besides, I already have a fuschia and black polka dot Kitty lunch box). I couldn’t resist it tho boz it was too cute – Kitty wears red glasses and even the sides of the box are decorated.






I just had to buy these things for my Ate, too, but then Ate Josie said these are limited stock and each store carries only one stock per item. She promised to order for me from other stores tho, and asked me to come back the following week.

So I go back with Yoshi, and Julie produces the red lunch box that she scouted and reserved for me. She even wrapped it in a especially made Kitty Christmas gift wrapper. It was too pretty. Yoshi was excited for Tita Jen to see it and wanted us to mail it to her right away. Haha.



Yoshi and I mostly just ambled along (Boots was napping soundly at home). We stopped by all my favorite stores, and who should we bump into in Team Manila but Raymund Marasigan. It turns out the store made special Eheads Christmas shirts and Raymund was around to promote the thing thru a mini-concert. Yoshi was so happy to be treated to a live show of Eheads songs, performed by an Eheads member in the flesh and up close. We both felt bad tho that Bootsie wasn’t with us. He would’ve enjoyed it, too.



And then we passed by my favorite shop of designer shoes (Designers’ Boulevard, I think it’s called) - and I found the red Enzo Angiolini pair that I saw in Nine West in Gateway a couple of months back. It was love at first sight, but I hesitated from buying it bcoz this was just a matter of weeks after I bought three pairs of Enzos in one crazy hoarding spree. I did go back for it the following day, but it was gone. And now here it was again, and in my size, too. I texted Rosa right away. I had told her how heartbroken I was over my loss at Gateway. She said, you and the shoes are meant to be.





The red Enzos, the red Kitty lunch box, and Raymund Marasigan – they were all meant to be. It was a happy, happy day. I told Yosh, you are my baby lucky charm forever.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bad Romance







The problem with switching jobs all the time is – you have to dance in a lot of Christmas parties. It’s required of every newbie (or at least every newbie worth requiring to dance haha). We had to do it all the time in QT bcoz we were among the youngest batch of associates and hence easy target for the non-legal staff to force to do the deed. I did it too in MWC, mainly bcoz my boss the CFO was so into it and if somebody like her was dancing, who am I in the grand scheme of things to refuse? (And we won the grand prize woohoo!) I had to dance again in SM bcoz I was new again. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what I had to do yet again this year in my new office. Groan.

The theme was Glee and my group was assigned the episode on – gasp – Lady Gaga. At first I treated the whole thing the way I would a pimple - I just ignored it in the hope that it would die a natural death. So when the group had meetings and emails and rehearsals, what I did was: ignore. But they were persistent and Anji said Legal always joins these things and always wins (talk about putting on the pressure). I also figured, if I’m going to make a fool of myself, might as well do it this year when I’m still new and unknown to a lot of people. So I said, let’s go, Rosa!

(Of course I changed my mind again when I missed all these rehearsals bcoz of this work that has got me all emotional. I tried to buy my way out of the dance altogether. I told the kids, what about I buy you pizza and don’t dance anymore. I was miscast, anyway. I was the only one in that group over 30 and married with kids. They were all young and gorgeous and graceful – and not one of them fell for the pizza. Groan.)

Our song was Bad Romance (which always reminds me of Stardust, this girlie bar that Ches found thru the Internet, and where we went to with the PMS kids just for kicks, just so the boys can have free lap dances. Haha.). I was assigned the role of Rachel Berry, the star of the show, but which in this case meant only that I had to wear a dress filled with stuffed toys and walk like a drunk in the fashion show part (well, at least that drunk part I could easily pull off).

There were people in the team assigned to do the costumes but in the end I decided to do my own. I thought that a lot depended on this dress. After all, when you think Lady Gaga, you think crazy costumes before you even think music. Also, I figured if I forget the steps or fall flat on my face or anything, a fabulous outfit can be my one saving grace. (My motto has always been: even if you don’t do good, at least you look good. Haha.) So, despite my undomestic goddess skills, I took on the task of making The Dress. I didn’t wanna trust anyone else with it. What you have to understand about me is, I could wade in mud or eat bugs like they do in Survivor, but I WILL NOT WEAR AN UGLY OUTFIT.

And The Dress turned out quite nicely, I think. You can find Winnie the Pooh and his entire gang in there, at least three Barneys (one of which even sings), a Powerpuff girl, a Care Bear, Minnie Mouse, Frosty, four puppet animals (Tito Nico’s gift for Boots last Christmas) and, of course, two Hello Kitties in the middle of it all (from my Kitty Christmas tree). I even made a headband with little Maura in it. (Maura is part of the Kelly Club of the Barbie group, for those of you uninformed in the doll world. She was a recent gift from Randy. She's a little ballerina and even comes with a barre.) Everyone at the party was like, wow, your dolls and stuffed toys look so new, did you buy them just for the dress? I could've told them, they look new bcoz I still buy these things - not just for the dress but for myself - and my friends still gift me with toys. Yes, at the ripe old age of 35. Haha.

Everyone at the party loved The Dress. People had their pictures taken with me and everything. They all said: so cute!

(I had such grand plans when I was just starting out in this office. I said I was going to be really quiet about my appetite and not wear my Hello Kitties to work anymore. I was even going to use my one dress watch, a formal Guess thing with a lovely pearl bracelet from Ate. But then we would go to Trinoma at lunch and I’d be hoarding all these Kitty stuff from Gift Gate. And before long Thina was making reservations for me for the hotel breakfast buffets in KL before she even makes the reservations for transpo to get me to the hotel in the first place. And despite my grand plans of being all respectable and lawyerly, I ended up being cute. As in Lady Gaga cute. Obviously, something in my plans went very wrong. Groan.)

Anyway, we won the grand prize, so all’s well that ends well. Anji and the gang were proud of me and Rosa. At least we were able to carry the torch for Legal. Haha. And as in my other offices after a dance like this, people would approach me and say, ‘Atty., ang galeng mo pala sumayaw’. I know a lot of them are just being nice and lying thru their teeth, and it also always makes me think, I probably look so clumsy everyday that it’s such a big surprise that I can dance. Haha.

The other good thing is, I won an iPod! I felt like this lucky night was payback for all the drama of the past week. I told the Legal girls, it’s the first time I’ve won a major prize in a Christmas raffle in the ten years I’ve been working. Ann says it’s a sign of good things to come for me in this office.

I could’ve told her, I’m more than happy already with the good thing I’ve got going here, Lady Gaga notwithstanding =)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sob Stories

I am admittedly a crybaby and this past week has been particularly challenging for my overly sensitive tear ducts.

I’m in the middle of this project that involves grilling a lot of employees and practically all of them ended up crying in the process. It was difficult enough writing to them; but meeting them in the flesh, with their family problems and illnesses and shaking hands and breaking voices, and me being told over and over that it’s the signature and presence of a lawyer in the whole proceedings that scares them most – it makes me wanna walk away from the legal profession for only the nth time.

It’s all I could do not to be falling apart along with them when they break down, I swear. Or when I talk to my boss, for that matter. (Gosh, that would be really humiliating. Not to mention downright unprofessional. Ches is so proud of me that, thru this whole thing, I’ve been able to hold my tears in till I get home. Normally I just make puddles all over the office floor.) I tell my boss, I know it’s nothing personal, and I’ve had to handle more difficult situations and more vicious attacks in my career, but it still gets to you, anyway. He is his characteristic kind and wise self and tells me to go to the spa and lets me go on leave after the office party. Even his mom calls from abroad to reassure me. (This is in the middle of my dinner with Thom, Liz and Paula, and her number doesn’t register in my mobile so I ask Thom to answer. He answers in his gaylord voice and panics when he realizes the person on the other line is one of the owners of my company. Hahaha.)

Another surprise came from a guy I have unceremoniously unfriended a couple of months back. I wasn’t expecting to even hear from him again, much less to be getting any Christmas gift from him. But there it was. I didn’t know what to make of it. It was a pleasant surprise, certainly, and I think it showed a level of humility I should aspire to have. But the sight of it also drove me to tears. Sob. Letting go is always a sad business.

And then the Legal girls gave me their gifts and I was so touched bcoz they even brought stuff for my two boys. In her note, Rosa thanked me for teaching her ‘sooo much’ and said I was ‘a blessing’. Owww. I’ve been called a lot of things, but ‘blessing’ has definitely not been one of them. (Haha.)

Anji ‘s note also made me cry. (She’s one of the people I truly admire in the office bcoz she’s brutally frank and so secure about herself – she’s not the type to think she’s ‘just’ a secretary and hence obliged to kiss everyone’s ass. Instead, she’ll like you only if she really likes you, she doesn’t care whether you’re the CEO or whatever.) She wrote that she prayed for a new boss whom the Legal staff can easily get along with, and God has been so good bcoz He sent me to them and I was ‘so much more’ than what she prayed for. Owww. So many people have said so many nice things to me in this office, but I think this is my favorite in recent memory.

It’s been a weepy week before Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How To Save A Life

by The Fray

Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it's just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
You begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Let him know that you know best
Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you've told him all along
And pray to God he hears you
And pray to God he hears you

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you've followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he'll say he's just not the same
And you'll begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

(This is my soundtrack for the day. It's too beautiful not to be in my blog.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Country Dreams

(For Randy, who indulges my passion for all things country.)

Tanya invited us to her baby shower and wedding anniv. It seemed like we were the only friends in attendance and all the rest were family. I told Ches, oww, Tanya really loves you. They worked in PMS together. She’s one of those na├»ve girls who are also very sweet and yet are also high maintenance. (Haha.) I remember Ches’ funny stories about her, from growing bulanglang in her backyard, to requiring her boyfriend (now hubby) to get her expensive Mango stuff. (Hahaha. Sounds familiar.) I kept all her sweet notes to Ches after all these years. When they visited us last year to bring their wedding invite, she told us she was hands-on all the way in the wedding preparations bcoz she wanted it to be ‘my way or no way’. (Haha.) And it did turn out to be one of the most heartwarming weddings we’ve gone to (of course it always helps that the Makati Shang buffet spread is consistently yummy and with a lot of salmon dishes =).

The party was at Mom and Tina’s. (I told Yosh, the correct name is Mom’s and Tina’s. Haha. Grammar Nazi attack.) Didoy introduced me to this place a couple of years ago. His favorites were the frozen tortes. My favorites are everything! The breakfast meals and all the desserts, the chintz sofas and floral wallpaper, the whole country feel to it. We’ve been bringing the boys there since Bootsie was a baby. Yoshi loves the multicolored iced teas.

It’s the first time I’ve seen it during the holidays tho. And I love love love how they made the place up. The wreaths, ceramic houses all lit up, the acorns and plaids. It’s exactly how I envision a country Christmas to be. It’s my idea of heaven in a little function room. Sigh. Someday, when we’ve saved up enough for our kids’ needs, we’ll dress up our country home just like this.