Saturday, December 09, 2006

gurfinkel xmas party 06

two of my good friends

after the food is gone...

I got a... facial thingy... and Kyla's got a big grin on her face.

Kyla and Willie (are we a fan now?)

Wowowee babes...

Milagring, Kyla & Luningning

Monday, December 04, 2006

leandro & kyla

Picture taken during our Christmas party held at Giggles in Glendale, CA

Saturday, December 02, 2006

snowy bubble...

Christmas at The Grove

It comes complete with "snow".

Went to The Grove in Los Angeles to witness their so called snow. Obviously, since we're in LA, snow comes in all shapes and sizes... and kind (?) It was a bubbly snow event, made more interesting by the water fountain dance and the ride on the tram. What evening can pass without a stop to... where else? food!!! After that, it got too cold even with hot choco and coffee so we decided to head on home. Next stop... the mountains for some real snow :)

Monday, November 27, 2006

birth month

Your Birth Month is January

You are a natural leader who is able to stand up when no one else can.
Strong and powerful, you tend to overshadow those around you.

Your soul reflects: deep love, fascination with life, and a distinctive persona

Your gemstone: Garnet

Your flower: Snowdrop

Your colors: Black, dark red, and dark blue

Thursday, November 09, 2006

moving on, going back...

It's been a month... sure doesn't feel like it. We've been going through the motions of day-to-day living... work, eat, go out, etc. Most of the time we're okay (at least on the surface), but last night wasn't one of the good days.

I took everybody to a birthday party. They have ballroom dancing so I thought it's a good break for all of us. It started out okay for everyone... food was good, everyone was having a great time dancing... we were having a great time looking at everyone dancing, some good, some making fools of themselves... in all it was your typical birthday party. But then, in the middle of it all, my Mom started crying. Pain of losing my Dad, her husband of almost 50 years is plainly written all over her face. His birthday and their 50th anniversary would have been this coming Tuesday, November 14.

We all tried to take her mind off my Dad, and I know she tried to appear okay for our sakes... but some pain you just can't take away.

We miss you...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Goodluck on your new adventure...

My Tatay, Dr. Eduardo H. Bedia, passed away last October 9, 2006. He died due to a massive stroke. Our only consolation was that he did not suffer for too long. He had the attack early in the morning of Oct. 9 and passed away late that afternoon.

To all family and friends who helped us one way or the other, thank you. The rest of our family would not have survived this tragedy if not for your overwhelming support. I'm sure my Dad thanks you too wherever he may be.

Monday, October 02, 2006

man! is he for real?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

'Librarians 'suffer most stress'

I saw this on a fellow librarian's site... 'Librarians 'suffer most stress' read it and tell me what you think.

I think that if you don't like your job, then quit it and find something else to do. I like being a librarian and I like working in a library. Librarians who complain that their skills are not being used are probably the ones who are too lazy to do their jobs anyway.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cameraman Jiangning

He's got some very interesting pics...

Cameraman Jiangning

Thursday, August 24, 2006

back to normal...?

I have neglected my blog. It's because I've been busy. Really! I do work 7 days a week, you know? But I guess I'm used to that. I'm also attempting to finish a counted cross-stitch pattern, something complicated with lots of different colored threads. Then I am trying to clean the apartment because we are planning to move. Yes, move... well, not far, in fact it's the same apartment complex, but were moving to one that has 2 bedrooms. Why? Because my kids will be finally coming over and I doubt it that we are going to fit in a teeny tiny 1 bedroom dig. I do know that more often than not, they'll be in the Philippines, but hey, I need the space for all my junk anyway ;-p

And for the past 2 weeks, I've been going to UCLA to get lab tests done on me. The first friday, they took a ton of blood and did an ECG. They had me fasting for those blood test. I was almost at the end of my wits, what with not having my usual cup of coffee right when I woke up. Then they had to do a CT scan, they put an IV on me so I can get injected with dye. I did that log roll which was awkward because I had to do it on a very narrow bed. Suddenly I felt really hot, bloated and ready to explode. That was a very queer feeling. Good thing I didn't have an allergic reaction. It felt like I lost my head after. It took me 3 cups of coffee to finally feel my head on my shoulders. That was very weird. Imagine driving on the freeway and all the time I keep trying to figure out where my head was so I had to keep leaning forward to determine if I am still driving straight. Man, I felt so tired after that. And I thought that was the end of it... I was wrong.

I had fever the next 2 days, all my joints hurt, my back was killing me, I couldn't eat right, both my arms got big bruises where they stuck the needle and it hurts everytime I tried to move my arms. To top that I had to go to work. It took me nearly a week to get over those lab tests. Whew!

Too soon, it was Friday again. I had to go back, this time to meet with the Nephrologist and my favorite of all.... a Psychiatrist! he he... Well, it seems we got good news. It looks like I can donate one of my kidneys to my sister (I got two! my sister and I have been joking that I might only have one), but they still have to do an ultrasound. It seems I got a very teeny tiny scar on one of the kidneys (origin unknown, at least to me, since I have never been hospitalized for anything traumatic... except giving birth). Even asked my sister where I could have gotten it from, but she said she doesn't know either. But the doctor said, everything looks great, it doesn't seem to be causing any problems as to function, but of course they wanted to be certain before giving a go signal. And now for the psychiatric test.... my sister and I have been teasing each other about this... what if they discovered that I am crazy? would they still give my kidney to my sister? will she turn crazy too? (she's deluding herself into believing that she's sane :p) But alas! I guess I must be sane after all... (or maybe he's insane?) it didn't take the psychiatrist long to examine me. I think it took me longer to find his office... So when I called my sister she was saying that how can he see how crazy I am if he didn't take long in interviewing me? So I said, well, maybe that's all he needed to figure out that I am way above his capabilities and he'd probably need back-up if he wanted to diagnose my mental state, ha ha ha!

And so it ends there.... and I have to wait for my ultrasound schedule. Meanwhile, I go back to my work, my cross-stitch, my regular coffee time, and my blog.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy 13th Birthday Axel !!!

Happy Happy 13th Birthday to my handsome baby! I love you, baby! Hope you had fun this time around since your exams are done.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Happy 16th Brithday, Kyla !!!

Kyla's turned 16 ! I think time's going too fast on this one, I can barely keep up. Sorry I can't be there to celebrate it with you. Always remember that Mama loves you.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


what do you think?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Budj's globe project

for the rest of the story, see link.

Gives me a nice feeling that people I know are really doing great. Way to go Budj!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

over the weekend

Didn't have a long weekend like some did. Had to work Saturday, Sunday and Monday. But I did get the 4th of July off (thank God for small mercies). Made chicken macaroni salad Monday night (my contribution for the BBQ the following day).

July 4th, picked up my sister to go to San Manuel Casino (she said she hasn't been there, so we went). Had to fall in line to get the club card (their computer was down and the computer guy wasn't doing a very good job at getting it back online). Finally managed to get our freebie $10 credit for slot play. Walked around a bit looking for the slot machine to play. Didn't find my favorite 1 penny slot machine, all they have was the nickel ones. I tried one, but lost my first $10 in under 15 minutes. Went to lunch after that (eat all you can), stayed longer than 1 hour because they have chocolate covered strawberries and of course coffee. We zeroed in on two slot machines which seem to be giving away money and my sister played it. After getting a little over $60, she cashed it in and let me play. Typical me, after seeing my winnings go up to $50+, I cashed it in too. No sense in losing when I got back what I lost earlier and won some too... :)

In all, we came out smelling like roses (well, more like cigarette smoke). With what we won, the casino payed for our entire trip including food and gas. Not bad for a 4 hours stay in a casino. We're not exactly the high roller type so both me and my sister were very happy with our little escapade.

Drove home, passed by the market to get ingridients for pansit and some seafoods. Started cooking as soon as we got home and presto! We had our BBQ in her backyard. In all, we had a great July 4th.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Twelve Sharp

My officemate has the book already so I was able to read it right away. It was a light read, less than 2 1/2 hours, but I did spent most of my time laughing silently (would have laughed loudly except I was in the library).

She does give a very graphic image of her characters. If you can imagine Lula in her outrageous costumes, try imagining Grandma Mazur in the same oufit as Lula. I tell you it is not a pretty sight. I would discuss the shopping scene, but my kids read this blog and I don't want them to get ideas, he he...

As for Stephanie... she really should do something about Ranger. As for Morelli, something must be causing her not to commit... and I doubt if it's just because of her attraction to Ranger.

In all it was very enjoyable.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A True Miracle

My Boss read this story as part of his speech in our little dedication ceremony at the Library. It's such a nice story that I had to look it up so I can post it here.

It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt seven farmers before it was through.

Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn`t see some rain soon we would lose everything.

It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes.

I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn`t walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort...trying to be as still as possible.

Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods. This activity went on for an hour: walk carefully to the woods, run back to the house.

Finally I couldn`t take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be he was obviously doing important work and didn`t need his Mommy checking up on him).

He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked; being very careful not to spill the water he held in them...maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose.

As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him...he didn`t even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy`s hand.

When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree. I followed him back to the house; to a spigot that we had shut off the water to. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip drip slowly fill up his makeshift `cup`, as the sun beat down on his little back. And it came clear to me. The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn`t ask me to help him. It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands.

When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears. "I`m not wasting", was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him... with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life.

As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops...and more drops...and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride. Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. That miracles don`t really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can`t argue with that...I`m not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm...just like that actions of one little boy saved another.

I don`t know if anyone will read this...but I had to send it out. To honor the memory of my beautiful Billy, who was taken from me much too soon.... But not before showing me the true face of Love, in a little sunburned body.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Aha! Finally had time to do this... Found this nice looking image, very cool and relaxed, like me (I wish!). Also learned how to host the image too, thanks to my friend. Very productive weekend, indeed.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Love Takes Time

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evolution of dance...

Saw this on a friends blog... thought it was funny :)

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Watched the movie (finally) and wondered where all the controversies came from. Like the book, it's has great entertainment value. I guess the Catholic Church is getting nervous that people might actually believe that the movie is true. Why? Because it rings true? Truer than what the Church preach? Really! They should just stop telling people what to believe and let the people decide what they want to believe. Don't they always say we have free will? So let the people exercise that will.

Would it really be so bad if Jesus were married, to Mary Magdalene, no less? Do I sense some discrimination here? Is it because Jesus is not allowed to have human feelings? Or is it the fact that Mary Magdalene was said to be a prostitute and not fit to be Jesus wife(companion)? Would it lessen Jesus' holiness if he actually had a wife and a bloodline? Afterall, he was born to a human took on human form, so I am assuming that he can perform human acts ;)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Awaiting passengers...

The interview is over but still we wait. Hope everything is really done and my children can finally come here...

Tagaytay Highlands

My kids went to Tagaytay Highlands (a promised trip from Tita Ralline for their graduation). Wish I was there... Thanks to Ralline, Mary Ann and Ella for making it possible. Thank you also to Ralline's Dad and Mom for everything.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

"Bida si Mama" Feature Writing Contest Winners

Update on the feature writing contest that my daughter Kyla joined. She got the 3rd prize!!! Congratulations baby! I told you it'll be a great experience to join and here you are winning a prize... Of course I'm not sure, but it looks like she's the only one who joined from the Philippines. Hmm... I wonder what the prizes are :)

Angelica Rossana B. Tolentino (Kyla)
3rd Prize Winner

Mom gave me the best graduation gift - her presence.

We have heroes we look up to and respect and they have their own Heroes' Day, but what we sometimes fail to realize is that there's more than a hero who's just beside us: our mother. So as we celebrate the Mothers' Day, let's remember their simple heroic deeds.

As for me, my mother is a 36- year old cheerful and very outgoing woman. Her name is Ma. Rachelle Bedia. She's beautiful licensed to join beauty pageants and of course win some of them. She's has a very strong personality, which I really admire. Behind her tough attitude, she really has a good heart for her family and friends. She finished a degree in Library Science which really suits her. She loves book fairs and is a voracious reader. She has two children: myself and my younger brother, Axel.

She had been a librarian in international schools in the Philippines but before I stepped on the 6th grade, she left for the United States. There she is currently working as a librarian in a Law school. She always comes back here in the Philippines for a short period of time at least once a year. But she wasn't able to come for my grade school graduation and that made me very sad. And when I passed third year with first honors, which was unexpected because I came from behind, she told me she couldn't come because of work. And I felt sad once again.

At the Recognition Day, my name was called. As I started to make my way for my medals, my fellow honor student cried, "Kyla, your Mom!!!" I looked at her with disbelief. She repeated it and pointed to the side of the hall. I followed her motion and there I saw my mom, walking fast toward the stage to catch up with me and my father. At that instant, I cried, in front of the audience, and even they were touched by my mother's unannounced and timely appearance.

What made her timing great was that her flight was delayed, plus the fact that our school was an hours drive from the airport. It's funny: if she came even a minute late, she could've missed that moment. She stayed only for a week but that's fine, I know about her work.

As I stepped in the fourth year in high school, it became a great mystery for me if she will come for my graduation or not. If she didn't, she will have already missed two graduations. Before last Christmas, she told me to choose when I want her to come: Christmas or Graduation. Of course, I chose the latter. Then she told me her conditions: she can't promise me that for she has just began her second job. What she was sure of coming is for Christmas, which means she will not come for my graduation. So we spent Christmas together. Then March came, and as graduation day neared, the awaited honor roll was announced. I was not expecting to beclass valedictorian but when the announcement confirmed tha I was, I was really happy and sad at the same time for my mama couldn't come.

March 25, 2006 is our graduation day. The night before, as I prepared for bed, I nursed the hope that my mama would surprise me again like she did before. Then at past 1am, I woke up to see my mama in front of me. As I saw her though unclearly, I hugged her and uttered, "Mama," and slept again. After some time, I woke up completely and me and my brother were eager to see our pasalubong and to hear mama's story of surprising us. So in my graduation day, my mama was there though she stayed for only five days. I got the best gift from my mama on my graduation: her PRESENCE!!!

These are the stories I will never forget. Because even at times I thought that my brother is her favorite and I’m not that important, now I realize that I am really loved... =)

Sandrine Santiago Lipana
12 of Arcadia
2nd Prize

'My Mom is my best friend'

MY MOTHER, Bernardine Lipana, is the greatest mom any kid could ask for. She's beautiful, kind, caring, lovable, funny, intelligent, talented, and has so much faith in God. My mom is my best friend. We do everything together: get our nails and hair done, watch a movie or just have fun talking about everything.

My mother is also my number one fan. In 2004, there was a competition for Little Miss Philippines Universe. My brother Lawrence, who was valedictorian of his class, joined the Outstanding Students contest and invited me to compete in the pageant since it was sponsored by the same company. At first, I didn't want to join and told him to ask Mimi (that's what I call my mom). My mom advised me to join; she even promised me she would cheer me on. On the competition, my mom was sitting in the front row, screaming my name and shouting, "anak ko yan! [that's my daughter!]" I felt so special. The last theme of the competition was the evening gowns, where we would be accompanied by any person, friend or family. Mimi went with me on stage, still cheering for me. In the end, I won the competition.

Mimi is very hard working. Everyday she comes home exhausted from her full-time job, but she still cooks, washes the dishes, cleans the house and even help us with our homework. Because of all her help in our studies, both my elder brothers were valedictorians of their class (in 2004 and 2006). She really is the "Super Mom." Even though I am already 12 years old, my mom and I still enjoy reading together. We read Chicken Soup for the Mother and Daughter Soul. In one story titled, "The Magic Jar," a mother and daughter have a jar. In this jar, they will write each other letters about their day, problems that might have occured that are too embarassing to discuss, and other things. Each then puts her letter in her jar and lets the other read it. After reading this book, we were inspired, and we decided to make our own "Magic Jar." Like the ones in the story, Mimi and I would write what happened at school and she would write what happened at work. It was enjoyable, but this didn't stop us from having real conversations. It was just a way to write down our feelings. She is certainly the greatest mom ever.

Mimi has so much faith in God. Every time we go to Lake Avenue Chruch, I wish I could be as spiritual as her. She turns to God for thanksgiving, praising, repenting, yielding, and sometimes when she has any questions. She knows so much about God, Jesus and all the other people in the Bible. I want to know as much as she does when I grow up. She also teaches me a lot about God and how He works in the lives of everyone. Mimi is very smart and intelligent and that inspires me to be like her.

The finest mom in the world is really my mom. She is very kind and caring. Whenever relatives or friends ever need a helping hand, my mom will always be there for me. One time, I got wounded in the knee because some kid hurt me. She was at school, 10 minutes later, helping me. She got so worried and she would do anything for me to get better.

Mimi, you really are the best mom anyone could ask for. You will always be my best friend and you will always be the greatest mother out there. You have characteristics no other mom could have. You have shown me unfading love and you care for all three of your kids like no other. Mimi, I love you so much and I hope you have the best Mother's Day ever!


Michelle Aguba
1st Prize

She believes in me, would fight for me.

AS I write this, I can't help stop my tears from falling remembering Mama on the day I left the Philippines>. Last October was the saddest day of my life; watching Mama with tears all over her face, hugging me so tight as if it was the last days of our lives. I was seven months pregnant then when I left her. I know she was afraid for me because I am all alone and by myself traveling to a new land, not knowing what's in store for me. But she doesn't know that I am more afraid, because there will be no Mama who would assure me that everything will be fine when things go wrong. A woman who believes and would fight for me, SHE IS MY MAMA.

I came from a poor family in Zamboanga del Norte but amidst our tough life, mama raised us well. She even made sure we would finish college. She used to sell kakanin in a nearby school for our baon and she also used to sell ice candy and banana cue during Saturdays and Sundays to pay for our school projects. Mama taught us to value every centavo we have. She taught us to be God-fearing and to always thank Him for the simple gifts He gives us. At the same time, she taught us to be kind, patient and humble. And if there was nothing left for us, she'd rather not eat just to have some for her children.

Mama has so much faith in God. We hear Mass every Sunday. She reads the Bible to us and teaches us to understand the meaning of His words. I remember one time, as a child, I asked her, why didn't God make us rich? Why is it that I can't have a nice pair of shoes and a beautiful dress? She always has good answers and reasons. She had inculcated in my mind that everything I wish through prayers will be granted but I must be patient. And through her, I came to realize that being poor doesn't necessarily separate us from others. She had always have answers when I am confused.

She's there when I'm down. She was the first person who comforted me on first heartbreak. Her warm embrace calmed me while her sweet smile promised a new hope. The look in her eyes had given me strength to go on. Without saying a word, Mama gave me back my confidence to face the world again and excel in everything I do from then on. For me, she is the best mother in the whole world. She is my best friend and my shield. I am what I am today because of her unconditional love for me.

For now, I am counting the days before I see her again and feel her embrace. Distance would not and cannot break the bond between us. Mama is in my heart always. I am living my days with her words and love, and now that I already have a daughter, I will see to it that I would take care of her and raise her just the way Mama did to me.

Mama, everyday is Mother's Day for me. You deserve all the happiness this world could offer and I am so proud to tell the world that I have you. No one could replace you in my heart. Thank you for being the strength beneath my wings. I LOVE YOU MAMA! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Monday, May 01, 2006

"Bida si Mama" a feature writing contest

Here is my daughter's entry...

We have heroes we look up to and respect and they have their own Heroes' Day, but what we sometimes fail to realize is that there's more than a hero who's just beside us: our mother. So as we celebrate the Mothers' Day, let's remember their simple heroic deeds.

As for me, my mother is a 36- year old cheerful and very outgoing woman. She's indeed beautiful for she had joined in many beauty pageants and won some of them. She's has a very strong personality which I really admire though I can't be as tough as her. Behind her tough attitude, she really has a good heart for her family and friends. She finished a degree in Library Science which really suits her. She is fond of going to book fairs and she is extremely fast in reading books. She has two children and I'm the eldest. The other is a boy.

She had been a librarian in international schools in the Philippines but before I stepped on the 6th grade, she left for the United States. There she is currently working as a librarian in a Law school. She always comes back here in the Philippines for a short period of time at least once a year. But she wasn't able to come for my grade school graduation and that made me very sad. And when I passed third year with first honors, which is unexpected for I came from behind, she told me she couldn't come because of work. And I felt sad once again. As the day of the Recognition came, and my name was called for my medals, my fellow honor student said, "Kyla, your Mom!!!", and I looked at her unbelievably. She repeated it and pointed out to the side of the hall, and when I looked at that part, there I saw my mom, walking fast towards the stage to catch up with me and my father to receive the medals. At that instant, I cried, in front of the audience and even they were touched about my mother's surprise. The story behind the great timing is that her flight was delayed and it took long before she left the airport, and our school is at least an hour's travel. It's funny to think that if ever she came even a minute late, she could've missed that moment. She stayed only for a week but that's understandable because of her work.

As I stepped in the fourth year it has been a great mystery for me if she will come for my graduation for if she can't, she will have already missed two graduations. Before Christmas, she told me to choose when I want her to come: Christmas or Graduation. Of course, I chose the latter one. Then she told me her conditions: she can't promise me that for she has just begun her second work. What is sure is that she can come for Christmas which means she will not come for my graduation. So we spent Christmas together. Then March came and so is the awaited announcement of the graduating class' honor roll. I was not expecting that I will be the Valedictorian, but when it's confirmed I was really happy but sad at the same time for my mama couldn't come. March 25, 2006 is our graduation day. As I slept the night before, I hoped that my mama would surprise me as what she did before. But on that most awaited day, at past 1 in the morning, I woke up to see my mama in front of me. As I saw her though unclearly, I hugged her and uttered; "Mama..." and slept again. After some time, I woke up completely and me and my brother were eager to see our pasalubong and to hear mama's story of surprising us. So in my graduation day, my mama was there though she stayed for only 5 days. I got the best gift from my mama on my graduation: her PRESENCE!!!

These were the stories I will never forget. Because even at times I thought that my brother is her favorite and I’m not that important, now I realize that I am really love... =)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

at the airport... again

graduation snapshots

Thursday, March 30, 2006

homeward bound...again

As I read my daughter's Thanksgiving Speech, I can't help but feel sad and happy at the same time. Sad, because in doing what I felt was right years ago, I have robbed her and her brother the right to a normal family life. Happy, that in spite of everything that transpired, she grew up well-adjusted, able to express her feelings, and immensely bright.

It was because of these feelings that I finally decided I should go back to attend her graduation. I had already told her last Christmas that I won't be able to make it because traveling from the US to the Philippines cost a lot of money. Not to mention I just started on a new job. But being a Mom, I can't deny her of her special day just because I'm worried of finances. So I went back.

Got home after midnight. My Dad picked me up from the airport. Nobody told my kids that I'll be making the trip home simply because I don't want to disappoint them in case I really cannot make it. Both of them were fast asleep when I got there. When I went inside the room where my son slept, I really think he "smelled" me(mind you I refused to admit I smell anything but I've been in a plane so who knows), because he just opened his eyes as if expecting that I'd be there. It's a great feeling that he just smiled and opened up his arms to embrace and kiss me. Then Axel and I conspired to jump in Kyla's bed so she'll be surprised when she wakes up. But, plan failed, she woke up right after I got into bed, put her arms around me and simply said "Mama".

I was only there for 5 1/2 days, and it was so tiring especially with the heat. Right after I got back I had to work my 6pm-12mn shift at the library. Now I'm so sleepy, got a cold and slight fever. But it was well worth it, and I am so fortunate to have two wonderful kids.

My daughter's speech

Angelica Rossana B. Tolentino
Class 2006, Sta.Catalina College
Graduation Day, March 25, 2006

Our beloved School Head, Sr. Elizabeth O. Castino, O.P.; the Dominican Sisters; dear teachers and non-teaching personnel; our dear parents, guests, fellow graduates, ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant evening.

It is my singular honor and privilege / to speak in behalf of my fellow graduates / as we, the members of Class 2006, / take our last bow / as students of this great learning institution, / our dear Sta. Catalina College. As graduates,/ we are undoubtedly experiencing mixed emotions today / as we begin to think of parting ways / and of bidding goodbye to each other. Allow me to recite a short stanza / that I wrote for this moment…
"Goodbye is hard to say
But we know we can't stay,
Memories shared together
We will cherish... forever..."

What I just recited to you / mirrors the truth that we should all accept, / though painful it may seem. Fellow graduates, / goodbye may signify now an end / to the four years we shared together in high school, / and for some of us, ten or so years since kinder, / but, / the good news is, / it likewise means that we will soon see each other again.../ hopefully, after we have sailed through our respective personal voyages / and come back together again sometime in the future.../ by which time, / we would already be more learned, / mature / and a lot wiser.

When our parents first brought us to this great learning institution for our education, / we were like seeds / that have just been planted. Year after year,/ through proper nurturing and guidance from our mentors, / we slowly evolved into young trees / until we've grown roots strong enough to sustain ourselves. We began to grow branches / and started to bloom. We were molded to understand the truth / and to discover the unknown. As our second home for several years,/ our school acted as our protective shield from negative elements, / very much like that of a bigger and older tree / giving shade to little trees like us.

Also, / here, / we developed friendships and camaraderie / that will surely last for long, / and imbibed in us / a sense of unity even in the midst of strong competition, / both in academics and co-and extra-curricular activities. And being a Catholic school, / our Alma Mater never failed / to instill in us moral values and virtues / that enriched us spiritually / and molded our good character.

Fellow graduates, / the long time we shared together / has allowed each one of us to do a task or two, / play this role or that, / work on certain projects, / join contests, / and many other activities and endeavors / that bonded us together and tested our character. Who can ever forget the unity of our batch when it comes to activities and competitions / like Speech Choir, / Dance Interpretation, / and Cheering? Remember the exhausting practices that lasted until late in the evening? ... the joys and the cries whenever we win or lose? ... the all-out support we gave to our competing classmates? ... and the tough examinations we all had to hurdle? Yes, / these are all wonderful moments / that will soon become part of our good memories after this day.

High school, they say, / is the happiest part of one's school life. It may be saddening that this happiest part of our school life / is now coming to an end. But,/ at the same time, / we are excited because / we know that our high school graduation / will open for us new doors and windows of enormous and numerous opportunities / as we go on through our own respective journeys in life / and claim our own personal victories. Our Graduation Day, therefore, / marks not the end / but the start of a more challenging experience.

As we graduate today, / it is but proper and fitting to extend our deepest gratitude / to those behind our great success.

To our dear Alma Mater, for sheltering us not only with good school facilities that are conducive for learning / but more so / for imbuing with us a great pride of being a Catherinean.

To the School Administration, for steering the course for us towards achieving our purpose in this institution, / and for all its support in every activity and endeavor.

To our dear teachers, for selflessly sharing with us your invaluable time, / precious knowledge / and priceless efforts / if only to nurture our minds / and prepare us for greater heights / at the same time ensuring our development as children of God.

To my classmates and fellow graduates, for the time and moments we all shared together, / for our treasured friendship, / and for our collective efforts in making our batch / one of the best that Sta. Catalina College has ever produced. Fellow graduates, you are the best / and I'm very proud / and feel honored to be part of this batch!

Of course, to our ever-supportive parents and guardians, who incessantly gave us love, support and guidance every step of the way. A million thanks also for your sacrifices and hardships / if only to provide us quality education.

On a personal level, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my Papa,/ who never stopped believing in what I can do / especially at times when / even I doubted myself. To my Mama, / who, / even if she is miles away, / never failed to look after my welfare / as if she is just here beside me. Papa and Mama, whatever happened to the both of you,/ I am still thankful because / in your individual ways,/ you have strengthened me with your unconditional love,/ support / and guidance. To my only brother,/ thank you for being my pillar and my friend. To my Lolo and Lola,/ I know that thank you is not enough / to express my heartfelt gratitude for all your unparalleled sacrifices, love, patience, understanding and mentoring. To Papang and Mamang, / for taking care of me everytime I spend my memorable summer vacations in Ilocos. To my stepmom, for being kind and a true friend. And to my special inspiration, for your unending support, thank you.

At this juncture, / my fellow graduates and friends,/ with your kind indulgence,/ please allow me to share / an important piece of my life. My life is not a typical one. I am a product of a broken family. My brother and I live with my maternal grandparents,/ per arrangement between my parents. In their separate ways,/ my parents did all their best / to make me feel the least impact of their failed marriage,/ as they never ceased to provide love,/ care / and support to me and my brother. Although nothing compares / to having both your parents beside you everyday, I / nevertheless / never dwelled on what is lacking in my life. Instead, / I took it as a challenge / that triggered me to focus on the positive / and to aim higher and strive further in school. I never ceased to make my parents proud of me / by being good in class. Now, I'd like to believe / that I haven't failed them.

My fellow honor graduates,/ my sincerest thanks to you all. It has been a pleasant experience being in your company / as we engaged in fierce yet friendly competitions. These friendly competitions,/ though sometimes test the limit of our friendships,/ made me understood better / the value of achievement. Reaching what I have reached today / is even made more wonderful by the fact that / it was fought out with equally talented fellow students like you. Notwithstanding, / it is my hope / that our friendship that we’ve cultivated over the years / would prevail in our midst.

Lastly but certainly not the least,/ a big THANK YOU to the Omnipotent God,/ who continuously serves as our Light / on our path towards success / and who’ll never forsake us / as we continue in our struggles in life.

My fellow graduates,/ today may be the last day we can be together as "one". But as we part ways / and go on with our lives,/ "Batch Astig",/ as we fondly call ourselves,/ will stay in our hearts / and in this institution / forever.Congratulations and good luck to us all. I will definitely miss you all. May God bless us in all our endeavors. Again, thank you and good evening.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tagged! Hay...

Did you know...

Four Jobs I've Had In My Life
1. Library Consultant
2. Head Librarian
3. Activities Director
4. Circulation Assistant

Four Movies I Could Watch Over And Over
1. Pretty Woman
2. Bridges of Madison County
3. First Knight
4. Any James Bond Movie

Four Places I've Lived
1. Binan, Laguna
2. Los Banos, Laguna
3. Quezon City
4. Los Angeles, CA

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch
1. Law & Order
2. ER
3. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Las Vegas, Miami, New York)
4. Numbers

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1. Yahoo!
2. Friendster
3. My Friends' Blogs
4. Southwestern University School of Law

Four of My Favorite Foods
1. Kare-Kare (w/o eggplant, got a bad allergic reaction to it)
2. B-B-Q
3. Shrimps (Yum Yum!....amen!)
4. Sinigang

Four Places I've Been On Vacation (fave vacation places na lang)
1. Boracay
2. Big Bear
3. San Francisco
4. Mindoro

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now
1. Home with my kids
2. San Francisco
3. Italy
4. Florida

Four People I Wanna Tag
1. Kyla
2. Igor
3. Abie
4. Maria

Monday, March 13, 2006

Proud Mama !!!

You did it!
Congratulations to my "beautiful" (sige na nga, payag muna ako) daughter for graduating top of her class (Valedictorian). I knew you can do it. I love you baby!

And not to forget my handsome son who's in first year high school. He made it to the top ten! Love you baby!!!