Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Happy List




(I was trying to figure out what I could possibly write in my Moleskine from Robby. It can’t be any old thing – it had to be something special. And then I read this article in Readers’ Digest about this guy who blogged about one awesome thing every day. So I thought, why not list down all the happy things that happen to me? Thus, the Moleskine Happy List was born. It’s only been a month since I started and I have 60 million things in that list already. Either my cup truly overflows, or I’m just an exceptionally shallow person. Haha.)

1. Waking up at 11 AM on New Years’ Day
2. Yoshi’s wish for 2011: that Vada would sleep over every weekend
3. Family pictures around the Christmas tree
4. Finding the last piece of pink Momoberry Hello Kitty bag for Ate at Sanrio-Megamall
5. Pine picture frames from Papemelroti
6. Shell Crazy and Stone Crazy picture books from Booksale
7. Mom’s food for the gods and buco pandan (She never used to cook when we were kids but has since transformed herself into this great baker and chef)
8. The Station Agent (as perfect an indie movie as you can get)
9. Cleaning up at home
10. Cashews from Thina’s El Nido holiday
11. Lunch with my favorite boss
12. Slugging it out with the big, powerful pharma MNCs
13. Sending out a controversial report and being unapologetically fierce with even the top guns in the office
14. The CEO apologizing for a snide remark about one of my staff
15. Scoring a dress, skirt, and several pairs of jeans from Kamiseta at 70% off
16. Gigay’s blog about our block A4 in PolSci
17. Umasal Lamang Nang Ayon sa Ganda (this super hilarious email that Ches sends to me and the PMS kids. Leave it to Regie to know it was written by Lourd de Veyra, apparently the frontman of Radioactive Sago Project. Babette emails links to his crazy stuff in YouTube. He’s a find.)
18. The office 2011 kick-off party (I love working in a manufacturing firm where there’s no more work after Christmas and you start the year off with a wild party)
19. Cheap, yummy, big steaks at Snackaroo
20. Eycee and Aizza liking my new haircut
21. Harassing the PMS kids by giving them TMI about my sex life (I told them, I love harassing you kids bcoz you are all so young and unmarried. Hahaha.)
22. Grilling Robby about his love life – and he gamely answers
23. Beauteous, glittering, flowery hairband from MWC IT friends
24. MWC calendar, Korean ice cream, and MP3s from Thom
25. Yoshi’s brand new, even, white front teeth
26. Freeway Ang Kiukok shirts at 50%
27. Original, non-pirated CDs of Pinoy indies
28. Babette’s pagma-maldita about Rhoel’s selling his iPad
29. Bootsie’s lines just before we went to bed: Mommy, you’re so beautiful. And: I’m sorry for being selfish. Priceless.
30. Yoshi mimicking me, complete with eyeball-rolling: hay, Ethan, all these questions … (hahaha)
31. Ches disappearing to get me Doritos from 7-11 when I look for junk food to eat while watching Holy Rollers
32. Yoshi memorizing My Rabbit Family with about 10 lines in less than 10 minutes (Sometimes I’m convinced we’re harboring a genius in our household.)
33. Pigging out on the big can of Poppycock from Ate with my boys
34. Ches’ random I-love-yous and I-miss-yous (It’s always sweet hearing this from him, but I like it more when I’m not expecting it. Like when we’re just walking in a mall somewhere, or a text in the middle of lunch, or in a party with a lot of people and he leans over and whispers. Cheesy as usual, I know. We have got to be The Most Annoying Couple Ever.)
35. Picking the flavor I want (pineapple) from Rosa’s box of Loumar’s tarts (I hate it when I pick the cherry-flavored ones from a box of chocolates. I never liked cherry. Chester’s hot babe crush in college was named Cherry.)
36. Legal’s Biggest Loser
37. Organic veggies from LAC Farm on sale in the canteen
38. Sleeping with dinosaurs (Boots is in his dino stage. He has several dino CDs, books, and toys, whom he brings to bed. He’s even interested to know their nosebleed names like diplodocus and pterodactyl. He’s watched The Land Before Time 60 million times and bursts into ‘If we hold on together …’ any time of the day.)
39. Meetings where I’m not just Best in Smile and actually contribute something bcoz I manage to cram reading the law 15 minutes before the meeting starts (haha. It’s so law school all over again.)
40. My boss essentially telling me I can indict even him in this report that I came up with
41. Escaping whole day marathon hearings to have lunch with Didoy and his girls and MWC friends
42. Conti’s baked salmon
43. One Day by David Nicholls
44. Rosa coming to work in mismatched shoes (I took her to Designers’ Boulevard and she fell in love with these Steve Madden slingbacks that she just had to get both bronze and pewter pairs. The next week she came to work in one bronze and one pewter shoe. Haha. I know I shouldn’t get my kicks out of other people’s misfortune, but this is just too funny.)
45. A long, affirming email from a company owner abroad (I forward the email to Rosa and Ches and tell them I can sum up my reply in two words: salary increase. Haha.)
46. Texting and emailing Ches thru-out the day (and I love it that we both read the papers everyday so I know exactly what he’s talking about when he calls me ‘menopausal bitch’. I could never have married anyone who didn’t know his current events.)
47. Keebler’s original soft batch cookies from Rosa
48. Kiss The Girl (the little mermaid!) by Colbie Caillat and Trouble Is A Friend by Lenka
49. The cold post-Christmas weather (hence, I’ve been late since the start of the year, but I’m happy bcoz it gives me a reason to wear all my Mango turtlenecks. Haha.)
50. Boots and Yosh asleep and snuggling in bed in the morning (You’d never catch them being close like that when they’re awake. Haha.)
51. Daboy’s Special Backfat Chicharon from the GSIS canteen (where every piece has laman and is perfectly salty and spicy. Yum. Backfat. Heart attack.)
52. An old executive in the office I’m not even particularly nice to lawyering for my salary increase (Ok, now I’ll be nice. Haha.)
53. Lourd de Veyra’s Word of the Lourd videos (especially those dissing the Arroyos and Kris Aquino. Brilliant.)
54. Holding hands with Ches here, there, and everywhere
55. Unexpectedly positive feedback in this survey we send out to everyone on Legal’s services (It must be my Best in Smile and/or Lady Gaga cheap stunt. Haha.)
56. The water heater works! (We bought it brand new when we moved to the renovated house. It was pricey, too. It has broken down so many times tho, long after its warranty ran out. Ches has gotten tired having it fixed, and I’m sick of complaining about it, so we just make a joke of it as usual. We greet each other ‘good luck with the heater!’ before a shower and after a shower we have long, profound conversations about whether or not it worked. Haha.)
57. Massage from the boys (They love to join in when Ches is giving me back rubs. They dip their fat little hands into the organic oil that Ches bought for this particular purpose and pummel my back with their fists and feet. It ends up feeling more like a street brawl than a massage, but I love it.)
58. One of my close friends in SM finally finding a way out of there
59. Winner sales in Hi-Top (including healthy schmealthy stuff like muesli and bran that Ches favors, cereals and cheesy biscuits for the boys, and all my favorite junk food like Tostitos, Cheetos, Cheese Balls, Sun Chips and new finds like Red Rock potato chips)
60. KFC’s double down (Bacon and cheese between two chicken breasts in original recipe. It’s a piece of heaven for less than P200.)
61. Funky accessories from Promod
62. Shakey’s birthday song for Rain
63. Rain’s chocolate ice cream cake from Conti’s
64. Exchanging emails with Ate anytime in my Blackberry
65. Never Let Me Go which I asked Ches to download for me. Based on a book by Kazuo Izhiguro who also wrote the haunting Remains of the Day. The whole story feels like a long, exquisite, achingly sad elegy.
66. Yoshi being so easy to tutor in CL, English, Filipino and Science
67. Our resident fashionista Bootsie insisting on wearing a complete attire - jeans, sneakers, and sunglasses – for a regular Sunday dinner with my in-laws
68. Fixing the boys’ big toy cabinet under the stairs (something I love and hate in equal measure. I love getting their stuff in order but I hate having to do it all the time bcoz they can never do it by themselves. Grrr.)
69. A director/owner thanking me for my ‘invaluable candor’ (translation: I talk too much and think too little. haha.)
70. The succulent salmon fillet in Red Makati Shang (where my boss takes me and some others for a late, late dinner)
71. Ches going on leave to take care of Yosh who has a bad cough and is having his exams besides while I’m stuck in a board meeting till night
72. Yoshi taking me to work and greeting me before I get off the car: good luck on your two board presentations
73. The resident diva director/owner getting pissed as usual bcoz the staff she’s been calling several times does not hear her – bcoz she kept calling her Fe when her name was Letty. (Hahaha. I’m so shallow, I know.)
74. Winner sale in Accessorize and La Senza
75. Bootsie at dawn after a coughing fit and I give him meds: I love you, Mommy. (It’s moments like this that make motherhood so worth it.)
76. Yoshi’s nails growing back and all healthy-looking and clean
77. Bootsie mimicking all these lines from Land Before Time
78. Bootsie mimicking Tito Aaron’s tummy dance
79. Wineglasses and sauce dishes from Gourdo’s (I’ve loved Gourdo’s since QT when Mailz and I used to walk from Net One to The Fort to buy stuff from the place.)
80. Pho Hoa’s pho and pomelo salad
81. Kuya MG’s pancit with lechon (that is part of every birthday treat in the office and it’s so good I always go back for seconds)
82. Clinique lilac blush from Rosa
83. Robby’s constant I-love-yous in his texts
84. Ate Ann’s despedida party
85. The Last Summer of You and Me by Ann Brashares
86. My Blackberry going back to normal after a whole day of malfunctioning (Teh’s old advice of delicately cleaning it up with baby oil seems to really work.)
87. Pork spareribs, camaron rebosado, hototay, and fried rice from Luck Garden (which Sherry recommended to me a long time ago but which we got to try out with the boys only recently)
88. Discs from Quiapo (I’ve already seen Black Swan, Blue Valentine, and Rabbit Hole, and they’re all good.)
89. Jon scoring flights and accommodations for the seven of us who will do a grand Singapore-Siem Reap-Ho Chi Minh adventure last week of Feb. (As usual, I’m all excited but also dreading leaving the boys.)
90. Bootsie: “Actually, I’m sad”, and “I guess so …” (Ches shakes his head and laments how the boys talk like me. I flutter my eyelashes all innocently and ask him, what’s wrong with the way I talk? Haha.)
91. Making the Legal girls laugh with my usual obscene jokes
92. M&S all butter chocolate chunk cookies (I’ll buy a pack every week to make me happy all the time)
93. Hello Kitty fleece blanket
94. Nestle Baby Ruth ice cream (Baby Ruth is not one of my favorite chocolates, but it’s really good as an ice cream.)
95. Robby’s long, rambling phone calls where we don't really talk about anything in particular but end up laughing and laughing just the same
96. This executive I truly look up to for her independence and fearlessness comforting me when I finally break down in the office from all the stresses of the admin hearing work (and checking up on me, too, the following day)
97. Isaac Mizrahi red shoes from Rosa day after The Breakdown (I guess I need to show the crybaby side of me like that in the office more often, to score more of these fabulous shoes. Haha. I love you, Rosa =)
98. Tribute to our CEO for his 60th birthday (which includes this amazing AVP made by his showbiz rockstar son, and makes me decide that I will do AVPs like those someday.)
99. Praising Rosa and Ann via email cc our boss who appreciates everyone’s hard work and tells me to treat them out and charge the bill to him
100. Banapple’s super caramel fudge cake (my favorite)
101. Aizza joining our Friday dinners and hence, making me only The Second Slowest Person in the Group (haha. I love you, Aiz =)
102. The super spicy jalapenos in The Burger Project (so good and yet so hot and Robert laughed when I expressed this sentiment: why do you have to pay for something that hurts you so badly?)
103. Being friends with useful people like Dr. Jennifer who I ask about root canals bcoz I feel Rosa is being ripped off by her dentist, and Dr. Kim my gay and fabulous derma in MoA who says I look too soft to be a lawyer and taught me the joys of tolerating TG (tiis ganda) derma procedures
104. Oreo- and Snickers- and Kitkat-flavored Krispy Kremes
105. There’s No Place Like Here by Cecelia Ahern (I refused to read her for the longest time even if her books were always in the bestsellers table in Fully Booked. Just out of principle, bcoz she was young and beautiful and the daughter of the Irish prime minister or something, and I thought my buying her book would add to her already too perfect life. I'm crazy, I know. But then I read this book, finally, and have to grudgingly like her now. Haha.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Legal's Biggest Loser


It all started in one of those grand lunches sponsored by my boss, who, on top of everything, is also a fitness buff. He runs marathons all over the world, has boxing and arnis coaches, and plays in badminton tournaments. He had a weight loss challenge with his wife – whoever loses 20 pounds in 60 days gets an iPad. And he says, why don’t we do it with Legal? Instead of an iPad tho, the winner gets an iPod, since everyone was envious of the one I won at the Christmas party raffle (haha).

We agreed we would have weekly weigh-ins, too, and whoever loses at least two pounds a week gets a prize. I’ve already donated an SM GC as well as a lipstick and make-up set (from the SLA sales of yore), both of which Anji won on the first two Fridays. The rest of the weekly prizes would be courtesy of our boss, as usual =)

The contestants are Rosa, Anji, and Thina, since, of the five of us in Legal, they are –let’s just say – the more voluptuous ones. Hahaha. Rosa drafted the guidelines for the contest. It has provisions like, contestants can remove articles of clothing for the weigh-in but should remain decent so as not to offend the sensibilities of Atty. Jewel. Hahaha! And these guidelines were approved by our boss! Ok, we have officially crossed the professional line. Haha.

I admire their tenacity and seriousness in going at it. I could never do it. If it were me, I’d be like, gaining weight is a perfectly good excuse to go out and buy an entire new wardrobe. Haha. Rosa traded rice for vegetable salads for lunch and did away with her usual day-long grazing of junk food. Anji also halved her rice intake and would snack only on fruits and is so committed to doing sit-ups and taebo, walking, playing badminton. Thina gave up Coke and junk food and took to walking around her neighborhood. She wasn’t all that serious at first, and I had to keep reminding her the contest is for papayatan and not patabaan. Haha.

Our boss was so happy with the turn-out that he took us out to lunch again in any resto of our choice as long as it was not buffet (in keeping with the whole healthy concept). He was glad we settled on Pho Hoa, which was a healthy choice. He asked each of them in turn how they felt now that they were several pounds lighter and he got answers like: Sir, I’m hungry. Or, I’m sad. Or, I feel deprived. Hahaha! I told him, Anji is even more feisty now than how she used to be before the game. And whereas before Thina was always smiling and laughing everything away, she is now perennially in a bad mood. And Rosa used to finish five contracts a day but now she’s down to just three. Hahaha.

People would pass by our table in the canteen and say stuff like, you guys are looking good, or conversely, kawawa naman kayo. Haha. The general sentiment in the office is that they want to be in our department bcoz we have this cool game where you get good prizes in the process of getting thin, plus our boss is always taking us out to lunch. Haha.

I gave Rosa an added incentive, actually. I told her if she gets to be my size by the end of the year, she can raid my closet and get anything she likes. So now she looks me up everyday and decides whether to include my outfit in her List of Things to Get from Jewel’s Closet. Haha. I actually got scared when she started losing pound after pound. I told her, oh no, my closet is in danger! Hahaha.

And then Thina comes up with a brilliant idea. If Rosa doesn’t get to be my size by the end of the year, I should get a prize. And I said, I should get a pick of any of her bags. Yes!!! You lovely pink Coach from Rosa’s ninong last Christmas – here I come!!! Hahaha.

The best part was when Rosa was bragging to our resident gay character to take a look at her full figure now bcoz it will soon disappear from the face of the office. His reply was something like: Baket, magre-resign ka, te? Hahaha.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

For Ate Ann


I have three special Anns in my life. There’s Ate Ann, our yaya since Yoshi was a year old. She’s a big hit with the two boys, even buys them pasalubong on her days off. We’ve taken her with us thru countless Christmases in Tarlac, to holidays in Baguio, Clark, Tagaytay, Antipolo, everywhere. All my close friends know her. She accomplishes things at home before I even think to remind her. I would ask her in my usual ditzy way, “Ate, saan yung ano ko, yung may ganyan?” And she would know exactly what I’m talking about. I have fantasies that involve her taking care of my grandkids. I dread the day she decides to get married and leaves us. My boys will be devastated.

There’s also Ann, our youngest - tho probably the most mature - lawyer in the office (haha). She’s one of those people who have this quiet dignity about them, and others respect them without having to be told bcoz they are just so righteous and good. When I asked her who I am expected to give Christmas gifts to in the office, her answer simply was: me, I just give to the people I really feel like giving to. (Hence, there went half my office Christmas gift list. Haha.) She begged off from reviewing a contract involving her former boss, even if it was our boss himself who asked her advice. She’s silently fierce that way. Not like me and Rosa, who are forever loud and fighting with everyone at the top of our lungs. (Haha.) When she was new, Rosa asked me, is Ann also crushing on MIB? I said no. Rosa goes, why not when he’s so hot? My reply: Kase hindi sha malandi kagaya natin. Hahaha.

And then there’s Ate Ann, who was my assistant in my little compliance and corporate governance section in MWC before we both moved to Legal. She’s a CPA and with an MBA from Ateneo, but she always acted like she was my little secretary and did all these menial stuff for me like making calls or following up on my reimbursements. It was embarrassing, really, and I would always tell her that she’s a manager and should stop acting like she was my slave or something. But I realize it’s all part of her over-all goodness, to be giving and helpful like that.

She was assigned to help me with the SEC and PSE reports somewhere in my first year, I think, so we worked together for close to three years. We had stressful moments (especially when we were working on the annual stockholders’ meeting or with corp sec stuff for Mon) and I remember being meaner than my usual to her when I was pregnant with Bootsie. I’m not proud of it, and I’ve apologized to her for it several times. Despite all that, she remained fiercely loyal to me to the day I resigned, and continues to be my good friend to this day.

We sat beside each other in our little cubicle and I would bombard her with all my inane stories about home and my friends or whatever thru-out the day, and she always gamely listened. She consistently covered for me when I was late as usual and the President or CFO or both looked for me in the early mornings. She feared for my life when I talked back to the bosses (haha). Until now, her daughter, Therese, looks for pasalubong from me when she knows Ate Ann went out with me. Sometimes, she even manages to beat Thom in giving me all the latest scoop over in Balara. Thom would be all excited calling me up and giving me a blow-by-blow, only for me to interrupt and tell him I already know from Ate Ann. Haha.

I cried when she told me last year that her application to go to Canada with her family was approved. I cried again when we hugged at the end of our despedida party last Friday. I’m happy bcoz she wished for this even when I was still in MWC. And for all her kindness, she deserves this shot at a greener pasture for herself and her family. But I was also sad bcoz she was leaving and it’s just not the same anymore with her being so far away.

I have one less good friend and Ate in the Philippines.

(Thank you, Ate Ann. We’ll miss you. Good luck!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Team Zacchaeus

I don’t normally take work seriously. For me, work is just something to earn money from, somewhere to have a lot of friends in, and a venue for engaging in intellectually stimulating/pretentious discussions with bosses. I’m usually too lazy or preoccupied with more important things (e.g., being a mommy/blogger/prolific shopper) to summon the energy or passion for work-related stuff.

Once in a while tho, a project comes along that actually manages to excite me. In this category belong all my environmental law work in the law office, the Maynilad bid, the Cebu classroom project, the whistleblower reports. And now we have this big fight against an all-powerful MNC. Suffice it to say that it’s an intellectual property dispute. The beauty of it is, it has the potential to be precedent-setting for other small, homegrown companies like ours. And it can go either way. It’s not a black and white case where we’re sure to win it. How boring would that be? It would be no fun at all.

This same MNC slugged it out with a local conglomerate only recently. That was a classic David and Goliath fight. I told Ches, we’re even smaller than David. We’re Zacchaeus or some other lesser known Biblical character. Ha ha. (That sounds about right. I've always liked the story of the little tree-climber.)

In any case, it always makes me happy to be on the side of the underdogs. (Not like my old office, the giant conglomerate, which has a bad rep in the business circle for being The Bully. Gosh, I'm so glad I don't have to pretend to be loyal to it anymore and defend it to people I speak with.) Working for the underdog, for one, gives me the perfect excuse if we lose. I can just tell everyone, oh well, we never really stood a chance, we were just too puny in the grand scheme of things. Haha. I just hope my bonus is not affected if that happens. (Sheesh!)

My boss, ever cool and unflappable, says he’s looking forward to a good show. So am I.

Go, Zacchaeus! I'm so going to work hard to score a win for you =)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lunch with Dids


I was in the middle of another whole-day marathon admin hearing, and it was my deadline to send out this major controversial report, besides. But Didoy was in town and was free to meet up for lunch at Conti’s, and with a promise to bring Honey and Ione, too. I never even considered not going. Friends trump work all the time.

Dids has been in London for close to three years now. We left MWC around the same time. I moved to SM while he went abroad to study in LSE. That didn’t pan out tho bcoz he found a job in this famous global bank and he’s happy there and even got promoted already.

He also became a daddy along the way. Ione looks so like him. I remember when she was born Dids felt compelled to dig up his own baby pix just to prove that Ione also got some of his features. She was all Honey then. She’s two now and is having a Hello Kitty themed birthday party. (For that alone, I know that she so has a bright future ahead of her. Hahaha.)

Dids, Honey, and Ione are hands down the best-looking family I know. Honey is one of those girls I avoid being next to in pictures bcoz she’s a goddess and her nearness tends to highlight how plain mortal I am. Hahaha. I like to tell Ches about all these pretty girls, if I had a face like that, I won’t even bother talking to anyone. I will just pout there and wallow in my utter beauty. And he says: hence, God did not give you that face. Hahaha.

I love Honey, tho. She’s so warm and chatty and with no airs at all. She’s from UP (that really makes all the difference =) and is a licensed interior designer from the same hotshot school as Randy’s. She’s a competitive mom, too, and gently scolded Dids for putting down this guy we love to diss. Ha ha. She still remembers that I love sweets. Looking at the two of them, I remember the line from Eat Love Pray: beauty begets beauty. And also Randy’s note in his wedding gift to us: you deserve the one you love. I so agree.

Even the Ates in Finance went to the lunch, which just proves how well-loved Didoy is in MWC. (The Ates would usually just eat their baon in the meeting room or go to the canteen. It was the younger lot of us – Reg, Liz, Pau, Thom, Dids and me – who were always going out to Manang's in Ateneo, Rodics and Beach House in UP, Ken Afford, SR Thai, and all the usual restos in Katips.) Didoy was our resident celebrity who was just so nice to everyone and made us all laugh, too. He had this giant Sunsilk billboard in Guadalupe when he joined us. He also earned something higher than my SM monthly salary for a mere day’s work on a Chowking commercial, and took us all out to lunch when he got his talent fee. He was pining after Maricar Reyes then, with whom he shot a commercial and who - he likes to brag about this - rode with him from Alabang to Makati. He let us ransack his house for anything we wanted before he moved abroad. I still have his Williams-Sonoma chocolate can on display in my kitchen cabinet and his pine tissue holder with the big duck (so country) and this naughty sex coupon booklet thing and even some of his hangers. (Hahaha. We were so PG, I swear. We so wiped the place out.)

He was my partner in our Cebu project and we took all those flights together, all those dinners in Ayala Center, and check-ins in Marriott. We worked together to launch our classroom project in two schools in Carmen. And all of these when I was pregnant with Bootsie, so he was always carrying my Hello Kitty luggages for me and giving me the whole special treatment. He gave me The Coolest Gift Ever when I gave birth: Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of the Smashing Pumpkins! (yes, with all those exclamation points! haha). He laughed and laughed about my Yoshi tales. He gave me a CD of Jack Johnson. His Dad sent me Hunter all the way from Davao and Dids has a long-standing offer to give me another Lab from his Dad’s brood of 18 (gasp!) any time I want. He has kept in touch via email after all this time.

Babette is good friends with a younger lawyer in her office. She said her relationship with him is probably like my relationship with Thom and Didoy – they’re my little brothers. She is so right.

I realize we’re only into the second week, but I already know this would be one of the best lunches of 2011.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lucky

(by Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz. This was playing on my mind while I was reading One Day. It's the perfect soundtrack to the story. This is for my best friend Ches, of course =)

Do you hear me,
I’m talking to you
Across the water across the deep blue ocean
Under the open sky, oh my, baby I’m trying

Boy I hear you in my dreams
I feel your whisper across the sea
I keep you with me in my heart
You make it easier when life gets hard

I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Ooohh, ooooh, oooh, oooh,
Oooh ooh ooh ooh

They don’t know how long it takes
Waiting for a love like this
Every time we say goodbye
I wish we had one more kiss
I’ll wait for you I promise you, I will

I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Lucky we’re in love every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday

And so I’m sailing through the sea
To an island where we’ll meet
You’ll hear the music fill the air
I’ll put a flower in your hair

Though the breezes through trees
Move so pretty you’re all I see
As the world keeps spinning round
You hold me right here right now

I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
I’m lucky we’re in love every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One Day

You can live your whole life not realizing that what you’re looking for is right in front of you.

That’s what the blurb says. Nick Hornby also says it’s ‘big, absorbing, smart, fantastically readable’. I’m a big Nick Hornby fan. I have three of his books and have read three others.

How can I ever resist? I had to buy it the minute I saw it in Fully Booked.

One Day is the story of Em and Dex, who meet on the night of their college graduation. The book takes you thru what happens to them exactly one year after that. And then the next year. And another. For a grand total of twenty years. Such narrative style is so ingenious. But that’s actually the least of its charms.

The most of its charms consists of its two characters, who are both so funny and crazy and passionate and loyal and endearing. They’re the kind of characters you wish were alive and you could be friends with bcoz you know they will so enrich your dull, colorless life. They argue and fight to no end but you also know they are immensely in love with each other, and not just as friends, too, and that great, big love is simmering just right below the surface and all good to burst any given moment.

The chapters set in Greece and Paris and the one where they get lost in a maze are some of the most kilig moments I’ve ever read. To begin with, I’m a big sucker for stories where friends fall passionately albeit secretly in love with each other. I like to pretend art imitates life and these are the stories of Ches and me, since our own love story started with a friendship. Hahaha.

The story is at turns laugh out loud hilarious and also unbearably sad. I finished all 400+ pages of it in two nights. I couldn't wait to see whether and how they would end up together. It’s perfect in every way. Which is why I’m majorly disturbed about one review which says the feel-good movie must be just around the corner. It breaks my heart when movies mess with books and turn them into something so … commercial.

With a story as perfect as this one, I wanna say: back off, Hollywood.

(So this is my first book of 2011. And my first movie is The Station Agent, this indie about a lonely midget who is obsessed with trains. It’s perfect in the way only indies can ever be truly perfect. I’m so off to a good start =)

Monday, January 10, 2011

MIB

I’ve liked him since the very first time I met him. I’ve had three job interviews (and the one in SM was even a panel interview), but it was he who asked me The Toughest Job Interview Questions Ever. Stuff like, how do you differentiate the role of external counsel from that of an in-house lawyer? And, what do you think the Ayala group can learn from the SM group, and vice versa? Duh. Best In Smile moment. I sent him this thought balloon: can you just ask me the usual how-do-you-see-yourself-5-years-from-now kinds of questions bcoz these are what I rehearsed for? Hahaha.

We all love him bcoz he never acted the way you would expect a big boss and not to mention an owner of the company would act. He is constantly kind and warm and you know he’s not faking it when he shows concern and interest in our otherwise unglamorous, dreary existence. He works hard even when he’s in a position where he doesn’t even have to lift a finger, really. He even writes well. I like his choice of words. Some bosses you can charm your way thru and wing it by talking in straight English a mile a minute, which is usually enough to convince them that you actually know what you’re talking about or have any idea what’s going on. He is NOT one of those bosses. (Bad news for slacker/pretentious old me, actually. Haha.)

He buys Krispy Kremes for our meetings and takes us out to lunch on a regular basis. He took us to Circles. He gave us gifts made by his own girls. He’s sponsoring a weight loss game in our department where the grand prize is an iPod. He’s funny, too, and self-deprecating. I can talk to him about anything when he takes me out to lunch. (Well, almost anything. Haha.) Not a week goes by that he doesn’t ask me how I’m doing and in the middle of my drama last December I replied that I was ‘toxic’. He liked that word, so now it has become like a running joke between us, how toxic I am. Haha.

He’s hands-on with his kids and super in love with his wife. They have one of the sweetest, real-life love stories I’ve heard: he went to a party at a friend’s house and saw these books on the shelf that really interested him, and it turns out she owned the books, so they got introduced and talked on the same spot for four straight hours. It’s so romantic. It’s so Before Sunrise/Before Sunset kind of thing.

Last week I sent out this controversial report, and he emailed that he wanted to talk to me about it. My initial reaction was, it’s supposed to be an independent report, leave it alone. (Not that he ever tried to influence it or anything. That’s just how I am – my default reaction is always feisty. Haha.) So then he talks to me about it, and it turns out what he had to say was that I should not hesitate to include him in my report if I had anything to say against him, that he was ‘fair game’ and not above reproach. I so underestimated him, I was ashamed of myself.

I’ve worked with him for only seven months, so I could still change my mind. But for now - I think he has officially dethroned M as My Favorite Boss of All Time. So long, M =)

Friday, January 07, 2011

What I Didn’t Know When I Passed the UPCAT

(This is from Gay's blog. I told her, I thought I was the girl with the I'm-pretty-but-I-don't-know-it aura whom all the guys fell in love with? And she goes, hahaha, pwede rin ikaw yun. Hahaha! The bit she wrote about me and Ches is so touching. It's always a bit baffling when people say nice things about you - it's like you don't recognize yourself there. Haha! It's like when we went to Yoshi's parent-teacher conference and Teacher Ging told us how behaved and responsible and mature he is in school, and Ches and I were like, are you sure you're talking about our son Yoshi? Haha. The post got me all nostalgic, too. I have always maintained that my happiest years were those I spent in UP. I love love love UP. It's where I met my best friends ever like Gay, together with Randy, Kai, Nico, Jon, Donemark, Rhoel. And I miss my old UP friends Hannah, Bambi, Joyleen, Ron, Don, Monch, Almira, Amor and Mina, too. UP is where I met and married the love of my life. Am I ever so lucky I passed the UPCAT. Thank you, Lord =)

The UPCAT results came out last night. By now, at least thousands of high school seniors in the country must be exercising their bragging rights for making it to the finest university in the Philippines. I remember when my UPCAT results came out. I was at a birthday party of my grade school friend when her sister who was already studying in UP called to congratulate her for passing the UPCAT. We didn’t finish her party anymore. Instead, we all rushed to Diliman to check our names. This was before the era of cellphones and texts so imagine the suspense we felt going there, not knowing whether we were about to hear some good news or not. I remember getting down at PHAN and saying a prayer before looking for my name. I remember thinking how miserable I’d feel in case I don’t see my name on the list. I remember wondering if I should have chosen a non-quota course instead so that my chances of getting in would be higher. But then there it was: my full name, my college, and my course. I think the first thought that came to my mind then was, “Ah, so matalino din pala ako.” Haha. I guess I needed to pass the UPCAT to convince myself of that.

But this isn’t about UP pride. I’ll probably write about that some other time when I start to feel good about myself again and I can somehow connect that feeling to my UP degree. Haha. Good luck with that. Instead, this is about the wonderful friends I met in UP, who, when I passed the UPCAT years ago, were just names on the same list on the same bulletin board where I found mine.

Our block was randomly given the name A4. Seeing how we all jelled together, however, I think there was nothing so random about how we were all grouped in one class. To our block belonged the following people: Hannah who was smart, beautiful, and, apart from being one of the few who understood Math ( a rarity for Polsci people), also excelled in our fencing class, thereby proving that there’s no justice in the world; Joyleen our childlike and sweet blockmate who attended our first Pol Sci class with her yaya (I swear, only in UP!); Mara who must have been born speaking Spanish because she aced all our Spanish tests from day one; Pie who made every guy in AS fall in love with her because she had this I’m-pretty-but-I- don’t- know-it aura; Amor who was easily one of the smartest and most privileged kids in our block, and one of the humblest ones also; Sienna who designated herself– and with good reasons— as the block’s Ate Sienna; and, as in all blocks, all the nerds who shall not be named here because they surely know who they are.

But among these people I simply used to call blockmates, several became really good friends.

The first person I met in college was Kai. I was early for my 7:00 a.m. Comm I class and there she was, striking a conversation with me as if we’ve been friends all our lives. Years later, I would realize that that was classic Kai. You feel at home with her right away. When I visited her office when we were already lawyers and after years of not seeing each other, she wasted no time telling me about this office mate she had just started to see who later on became her husband. She told me about their story without any hesitation, as if we were just talking about it over the phone the night before. With Kai, the phrase “you pick up from where you left off” squarely applies. (I hate it when I use phrases like this. But there. )

There’s also Myke who used to wait for me after my classes even when we were no longer blockmates because she loved hanging out with me. It’s probably because we both enjoyed staying in the main library so that I could read all the back issues of the lifestyle magazines at the Filipiniana section while she finished our Polsci readings. And our Nat Sci readings. Or Econ readings. And even our STS readings. I swear, she read everything!

I also became good friends with Luke who made me sleep and watch TV in her dorm while waiting for our next class. Before she got married, Luke and I lived in one apartment for a few months. Even then, I always counted on her to cook for me and do stuff for me every time I was too lazy to fend for myself.

And of course, there’s Jo and Ches, who remain as my favorite couple up to now. They have become my good friends through years and years of tambay hours, exchanging cards and letters, surprise birthday parties at the Sunken garden, bad recitations in law school, cramming for exams, swooning over our favorite celebrities (Hugh Grant for Jo and Brad Pitt for me), attending OLA hearings, and bashing people we don’t like. Yes, we still do the latter. Haha. When Papa got sick, Jo and Ches were the first ones to respond to our request for blood donations. I guess you couldn’t get any more committed as a friend than that. They were also there during the wake, and Jo even managed to make me smile when she mentioned the name of a law school crush. Haha. My mom loves Jo because, in her words, she seems “honest and sincere and she doesn’t look like she’s just feigning interest.” I told mom that feigning anything was never Jo’s thing. Maybe that’s why she has remained a good friend.

Finally, there’s Kat. Where do I begin describing my friendship with Kat? She is, hands down, and without qualification, the one person who gets me the most. She’s also probably one of the most brilliant people I know, so I often tell her that she makes me look good just by association. Haha. In her law school grad pic which she gave me, she wrote: “Soon enough, Gay, these will be the good old days.” I think I’ll point out to her one of these days that while she was right, what she didn’t know was that those good old days were bound to be replaced by better ones, as the past ten years of my friendship with her would show.

I remembered all these people when I heard that the UPCAT results came out last night. I was reminded that more than the education I got from UP, my grand take-away and biggest blessing from that university are the people I met there and the friendships I now have with them. I guess, when God answered my prayer to pass the UPCAT, I thought it was only so that I could get a good education and a degree I can be proud of. Turns out, I got something more lasting and valuable. I love it when God does that.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Best of 2010




2010 was the year Yoshi enrolled in Grade 1 and started getting numerical grades and had his PvZ 7th birthday party. It was the year we finished our home renovations by building the garage and the closets of the boys’ bedrooms (although the curtains and pillows and stuff will always be a work in progress for me and Randy). Ches had his operation. I moved to my fourth job (after so much exaggerated, self-centered drama). Vada started school and sleeping over with us on a regular basis. Rain was born. Bootsie became a formidable force in the household. Robert and Eycee became our regular Friday night double dates. Thom celebrated the anniversary of his engagement with Joy (as I like to tease him haha). Jon was elected director of PMAP. Ate went to New York.

It has been a great, great year. Thank you, Lord.

1. Favorite movies. I loved the Oscar movies – The Blind Side, Up In the Air, Precious. I also found quirky indie types that I thoroughly enjoyed – The Darjeeling Limited, Once (amazing soundtrack), Brothers, Beautiful Kate, The Squid and The Whale, Flannel Pajamas (with much love and thanks to my hubby for patiently downloading all these indies that he knows I’m a sucker for). Date Night and Youth in Revolt were super funny. (Tina Fey is my girl crush.) Everybody's Fine was quietly moving. I recently saw The Social Network and I’m inspired to go to Harvard if only to acquire the acerbic humor and dry sarcasm of Mark Zuckerberg (it’s what I admire him for, not his creation of FB, which I’m not into). 2010, however, belongs to Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. I think Jason Segel’s a genius. I love Aldus Snow. Did I already say that in an entire blog? Well, just so there’s no confusion about it - I love Aldus Snow.

2. Favorite books. I started reading Chuck Palahniuk last year, and accumulated more of his books this year. He’s crazy. I love him. Pamhinta is the year’s funniest read. Have A Little Faith made me cry and cry. Smoke and Mirrors is all vintage Gaiman. As usual, I couldn’t put down Anita Shreve’s A Wedding In December and Testimony. I’ve loved her since I read The Pilot’s Wife at my honeymoon. Testimony is one of those books that just break your heart by the sheer tragedy of it. Josie and Jack also stands out in my memory - it’s disturbing and lovely at the same time, the way it makes you wait with bated breath for the two siblings to do something bad together, like you just know they would. Kafka on the Shore was well worth the long and complicated read. I also tried to level up my literary taste by reading Malcolm Gladwell and Martin Amis. ‘Tried’ is the operative word, bcoz I didn’t really enjoy them. Haha. Too profound for a ditzy girl. Eat Pray Love was also entertaining, but I got bored with the Pray part (I’m sorry, I’m just being honest as usual), and I couldn’t wait for her to get over David already (I so don’t have any patience for dysfunctional love relationships). Next on my list is Veronica Decides to Die, which comes in highly recommended by both Robby and Aizza. (It’s supposed to prove the theory that when you deprive someone of something, then that is exactly the thing he craves for. Hmm.)




3. The year of the good shoes. I accumulated a lot of good shoes in 2010. My favorites are the blue Nine West platforms, the red Enzos, the zebra print Mossimos from Rosa. A purple pair from Alberto is also special (together with the stuffed toy dress, Maura headband and Kate Torralba Leg Love stockings, it completed my Bad Romance costume). My best buy is this pair of brown wedges from Zara. So comfy and yet so tall and fabulous. I love love love this pair. I’m looking forward to spending years and years and growing old with it. I have some friends that I would gladly exchange for an extra pair of these shoes. I’m serious. Haha.



4. Newest obsession. I got hooked on belts (pun intended) in 2010. Ate was baffled that all I was looking for in our shopping trips in Singapore was a wide brown belt. Haha. (I found what I wanted in a Taiwan brand store in Plaza Singapura.) My favorite buy is a multi-colored braided leather from Esprit. It was obscenely priced but I think it’s so worth it. I can wear any old thing in my closet but it will look good if I accessorize it with this belt. I can wear the thing everyday and be known as The Girl In The Fabulous Belt. Ha ha.



5. Thomisms. 2010 was the year Thom almost single-handedly carried out my and Paula’s grand plans for Yoshi’s PvZ party. It was also the year he told me he and Joy might migrate after the wedding. (Sob. The boys caught me crying and asked why. I said it was bcoz Tito Enteng might leave us na. Yoshi said, ‘Don’t worry, Mom. We’ll ask him to stay’. Owww.) On the bright side, Thom had a lot of classic moments this year. Like when he texted me something like: Aanhin mo pa ang malaking bahay kung masama naman ang ugali ng nakatira. Mabuti pa yung maliit na bahay na mabait ang nakatira. Hahaha! You don’t get any more self-explanatory than that. And I thought these sayings were supposed to be all sage and cryptic. He's so crazy. And there was also the time when someone from MWC lost her baby, and I wanted to go to the wake but it didn’t start until the next day when I was tied up already. Thom offered to ask the grieving couple if they could hold the wake a day early for me. Wtf?! I love love love Thom. (He’s definitely not one of those friends I will trade for the Zara wedges. Haha.)

6. The year’s best buy. Speaking of Thom, he is responsible for giving me the best buy of 2010: hands down, my Lumix. Now I understand what he meant when he kept bugging me to graduate from my Cybershot and get a good camera (sayang ang moments’, he said). I was quite happy with my Cybershot (it was so pink and so light and given by my Ate – what more can a girl ask for?), but I also wanted something to remember my SM last pay by. I’m glad Thom all but forced me to get the Lumix. It inspires awe and admiration everywhere I take it. (I should start a habit of bringing it with me all the time so I’ll be known as The Girl With the Pink Lumix.) Robert is ticked off by it bcoz it has a mind of its own that knows exactly where to focus. Haha. Eycee says everything looks beautiful as seen thru my Lumix. I so agree. Is it any wonder my blog is looking more and more like a photo album these days? Haha.

7. Food trips. When I was still with SM, Ches and I would usually have our dates in MoA, or one of those places we’d pass by in Roxas or E. Rod or Morato. Since I moved back to QC, we mostly had our dates here, too. He had a lot of good finds from the Internet – we love Charlie Chicken, the burritos in Cocina Juan, the baked oysters in Delish, the bagnet kare-kare in Pino, everything cheap and wonderful in Mexican Express. For our anniv, he took me to Bagoong Republic, which serves the best binagoongan baboy (my favorite pork dish to begin with) and dulce de leche cheesecake (which consistently figures in the list of Metro Manila’s yummiest desserts, and yes, I do keep track of these lists, glutton that I am haha). Thom referred us to Gayuma ni Maria, (where I love the mushroom soup, eggplant moussaka and all the desserts), and Don-Day, an eat-all-you-can Korean buffet (which is no great shakes but good enough at only P169 per head). The Italian CafĂ© beside Spaholic also makes good pizza and pasta. My office friends introduced me to Jay-j’s Inasal and JT’s Inasal. Both are good, but I prefer the latter even if it mostly offers only chicken inasal, bcoz my kids love it, which is a big thing considering it’s not fried chicken (groan). Eycee and I love the inasal na atay and pwet here. In turn, I introduced my office friends to Omakase and Banapple, both near the office so we can easily have our lunch there. Our boss treated us to Circles in Makati Shang for Christmas, and a few weeks after I went out with my SM friends to Spiral in Sofitel. Maybe bcoz it was free, or maybe I’m just so in love with my office now - somehow I like Circles more. Kopitiam in Singapore deserves a special mention, too. (This is a long, long list. We eat a lot, I know …)




8. Most fun gimmicks.
We had a lot of good times with friends in 2010. At the start of the year Joy had this brilliant idea to bring Thom’s friends together for a Guesstures party. It was such a riot and even Yoshi enjoyed it so much that I ended up buying our own Guesstures. I also had immense fun with the PMS kids when we went around the academic oval looking for the marker for Robby’s family’s donation to UP. It was one of those totally aimless things that you even think of doing only when you’re with true friends. And then there was my little reunion with my high school friends Phoebe and Nini and our 6 kids among us. Ches' own little reunion with his grade school friends (I so enjoyed listening about their antics as kids). The Legal Clinic. When my QT friends (UP chapter) took me out in the middle of my SM drama. Our boss’s Circles treat with the Legal girls. All the Kanin Club pig-outs with my MWC friends. The Gateway and Katips dates with Babette and Regie. All the other Christmas dates which merited an entire blog altogether. And who could forget Robby’s birthday party with the mobile bar? Ches and I are truly blessed to have all these great friends.



9. Most loyal friends. Robert and Eycee deserve a special mention bcoz Ches and I spent easily half our Fridays this year with them. Whether we want to watch Eclipse or pig out at Max’s eat-all-you-can chicken fest or try Cento’s shooters-all-you-can, they are always game to join us. When Ches and I go to the spa, they’re there outside waiting to have dinner with us. When we can’t go out bcoz one of our nannies is in the province, they eat whatever’s available at our house or order pizza. The four of us were together the Friday before Robert’s dad passed away and again the Friday after his burial. Ches and I feel flattered and touched that they spend all this time with us, when we are easily a decade older than them (we are, in fact, only 5 years younger than Robert’s mom) and they could very well choose to hang out with cool people their age. They are one of our favorite couples – both super smart, funny, unfairly good-looking (Robert, after all, is a cousin of John Lloyd haha), and really sweet with our two boys. We love love love them. Eycee is the little sister I never had (just like Paula). Robert is the kind of guy Ches and I want our boys to turn into – so conscientious and responsible (and so brave, too, at the funeral). He’s stricter than even our own parents. Haha. I die laughing from his acerbic comments every time. He keeps teasing me about my shoes and appetite and shopping and flirting and everything, but I know he loves me bcoz he texted me this: ‘he had you at your best, you had him at his worst, so don’t feel guilty’.

10. The big move. It was one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make, but it’s turning out to be one of my best ones so far. MIB is brilliant and kind (and so hot! haha) and the Legal girls are all so cool to work with. I especially love Rosa bcoz we’re both new and UP girls and bloggers and shopaholics and we talk about anything and everything. The office is only a 10-minute-and-55-peso cab ride away. Nobody bugs me outside of the regular working hours. I feel trusted and relied on and truly useful to the organization like in MWC (not like in that other office where I was just for show). The canteen food is cheap and yummy. We have free dance classes from Fitness First every Friday. We have regular Powerbooks book fairs. It’s the kind of office where the Chairman sits next to me in the canteen at lunch, and I chat him up about – of all things - this guy he also knows who happens to be my crush from law school (hahaha). And where I’m friends enough with even the big bosses that when they come to me with a particularly difficult legal dilemma, I just ask them what their favorite ulam is and promise to bring this to them in prison. Haha. And when I go on leave bcoz my kids are sick, then when I go back to work everybody asks about Boots' dengue scare or Yoshi's nail infection. Owww. Like I told Ches about MWC, it’s the kind of office I can grow old in.

11. The winner sale. I was very bad as usual this year and could never rein in the shopaholic in me. I kept buying stuff from Bayo and Kamiseta that were not even on sale (what’s wrong with me?!). I hoarded dresses from Plaints and Prints, bags from Mango, and export overrun Marc Jacobs from Greenhills. I discovered Accesorize which sells all these exquisite trinkets from the UK. The winner sale was Forever 21’s year-end sale, which had the marked down items going for buy one, take one. You don’t get a better deal than that. They were practically giving away all those funky clothes for free. I bought two pairs of jeans, one skirt, one dress and four tops, and all of these cost me less than the three dresses I got from Mango. A sale like this momentarily makes me forget my SM gripes and grateful to it for bringing Forever 21 in the country. Haha.







12. My favorite gifts. The pink DVD player, the Get Him to the Greek soundtrack, Eheads set and Hello Kitty mat from Ches. The ballerina shirt, the Kitty jewelry, bag and undies, Harajuku perfume and make-up from Ate. (The great thing about sisters is, you never even have to tell them what you want. They just know.) The Kitty pillow from Thom. Lost and Found and an oh-so-country cheese knife from Babette. (She gave me a super cute yellow Dancing Zombie shirt too but Yoshi has appropriated it for himself.) The Best Ever Butterscotch from Robert and Eycee when they traveled to Bacolod. The big box of pastries from Nico and Lei which they ordered all the way from Pampanga and turned out to be the same brand as the yummy butterscotch that Ches used to get for me from the CEU canteen. A whole set of M&S toiletries from Beavis. (Thanks thanks, Beavis! I love M&S. The undies, sheer stockings, cookies, chocolates, everything. My love affair with M&S started when I was a little girl whose favorite panty was a white and blue cotton thing with yellow embroidered houses. It was a gift from a ninong who probably worked in the UK.) The Little Black Book of Style from Teh (taking off from Secrets of the Gorgeous, her gift last Christmas). The Dulcelin goodies from the Legal girls. The Moleskine from Robby. He said he chose it for me bcoz of my blog. Oww. (He ended up buying the thing for Eycee and Ches, too. Haha.) Ches does not understand why it’s so expensive when it looks like any other notebook. I tell him it’s bcoz the likes of Ernest Hemingway used it. He’ s still not convinced, so I tell him the paper is magical such that when you put a pen to it, the words write themselves. Haha. I wish. I wouldn’t buy it myself (I’d rather spend my money in Forever 21 haha) but I’m so happy Robby got it for me so I can go around lugging the thing the whole 2011 and pretend to be all classy and intelligent. It’ll be my little ticket to be snooty to everyone. Haha.




13. Favorite songs. My boys have taken over even my taste in music. At any given day I’d be humming stuff like Club Can’t Handle Me and Waka Waka and Telephone and Pyramid and Solo and Nothin' on You and Lady Gaga songs bcoz it’s my boys’ music. Yoshi’s favorites are The Only Exception and Billionaire and Bootsie’s are Insomnia and Down (bcoz at his birthday dinner in Shakey’s the staff sang this to him to the tune of happy birthday, complete with cymbals and everything). We three agree on Paramore and Rihanna (I’ve liked her since Unfaithful. I’m so glad she’s back with Rude Boy and Love The Way You Lie after the mauling by that boyfriend). Thom gave me a CD which had all these cool stuff from Coldplay, Lifehouse, and The Script. I miss Rino’s music. I used to love everything that he played in the house. On New Year’s Eve he played Red House Painters, Daughtry, and Taylor Swift (Vada’s favorite). I like Two Is Better Than One and Empire State of Mind (even if it has become one of those ubiquitous songs that are played everywhere. It's still a good song. You can never go wrong with Alicia Keys). I love love love Infant Sorrow.

14. The grandest adventure. Villa Escudero and Ate’s Ocean Park treat and our free stay at the Diamond Hotel suite courtesy of Ches’ boss were all fun. Tarlac and Clark are always exciting for the boys. I also enjoyed my me time in KL. Singapore, of course, is the grandest of them all. I got skin asthma from staying in the sun all day at Univ Studios and Sentosa, but it was all worth it bcoz my boys had so much fun and Ate got to travel with us and we all loved Kopitiam and Ches wrote me cheesy messages on our hotel mirror (haha).