Thursday, January 22, 2009

birthday surprises, wishes, and appreciation

No rest for the weary... birthday or not I had to work. Couldn't very well take another vacation seeing as I had only come back from one ;p But, I am not complaining. In fact, I think this must have been my best birthday to date.

Sliding into my parking space at 12:30am of Jan. 21 (my bday, having had to work my usual midnight shift), I felt a little tired but surprisingly okay. Checked our mailbox, got on the elevator, opened the door... hmmm, why is it dark? and... three people jumped out from under the sheets and started singing happy birthday! It turned out that Kyla, Axel and my Mom labored hours before to come up with an impromptu birthday dinner... and I even got another cat necklace for my gift. Best surprise ever!

But the surprise did not end there... On the afternoon of the same day, Axel sent me a text msg saying somebody sent me flowers but he doesn't know who it was from. I told him maybe its from Lola, saying jokingly that why would she give me flowers when I'm not dead yet. I say this because my Mom would always buy flowers for my Dad and my sister for their special days (and they're on the other side of life). Axel finally figured out who the flowers were from... Ralline! And I got something to look forward to (again) going home from work ;D

2008 has been a humbling year for me. Loss... always a hard thing to bear but made doubly so because of how dear it was to me. I lost a part of me I could never recover. The pain... was nothing compared to the void that settled within me. I would have preferred the pain than this void I could never fill.

My children, the main reason why I exist. To my daughter... I am glad to finally see you breaking out of your self imposed shell. You will never know how much it pains me to see you so unsure of yourself, so affected by what others think of you. We may not be going through the same things, but believe me when I say, I know. I know how hard it is to really believe in yourself and be happy. Things happen for a reason, but it is what we do with the things that happened that matters. To my son... always so patient and protective of me, I'm happy to see you finding yourself and enjoying life. It's okay to be a teenager. I love you both.

To my Mom... I know at times I'm short of patience, but that does not mean I don't love and appreciate you. I can only keep trying and I promise to always be here.

To my nephews... I know how hard its been for the both of you and I am so proud with the way both of you have handled what is probably the most difficult year of your lives. Keep looking after each other and remember that we are all here for you.

My dearest friends, as always, saying thank you will never be enough.

Dibbs, at times you know me better than I know myself. I've been a heavy cross to bear, yet you never wavered. During those times that I start to crumble, you patched me up, reinforcing my will, willing me not to give up.

Ralline, I have been continuously blessed having you and your family looking after me and my family. More than the gifts you never forget to shower us with, I always look forward to spending time with you... adventures seem to follow us around when we're together.;p Time and distance are but trivialities we have to deal with.

Mary Ann and Ella, I know our schedules get in the way, but thank you for being there when I needed all the help I can get.

Pet, Bong, Opet and even Roger... know that I am here for you guys as much as I know you are all there for me.

Zyrel and Jo deserve a special mention... for pushing me to go back to school. For believing and making me believe that I can still do it ;p

JanJan and Camille, for friendships beyond ;p ... I'm a cupcake fan forever!

Andre, a pleasant surprise to hear from you. I'm always just a message away.

Beloved, hmmm... you are a special person and it takes a special person to really understand and appreciate you. Your daughter adores you, but more than that she loves you and I know she'd like nothing better that to see you happy, really and truly happy. I may not have seen you for 20 years, but I still remember how your eyes light up when you're happy. I wonder if I'll ever see it again. I'm sorry.

Al, rare for me as it is, my prayers are with you. We're all here for you.

As for my birthday wish... I have none. I have given it away to the one person who needs it more than I do. And my birthday wishes are nothing to laugh about... they've always come true. So, wish away, you know who you are. This is the only gift I can give that is worth more than anything money can buy.

Birthdays give one a chance to look back, to see everything that's happened, to remember and appreciate every single event that led to the present. Life is never easy. It is the journey through it and the people that walk with you along the way that counts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I haven't had time to come up with my own birthday post so I'm borrowing Ralline's bday post for me, he he he. I could never thank you enough. ;p

Pancakes. Electronics. Phad Thai. Phantom. Entertainment. Rachelle.

Today is Rachelle’s 39th birthday. Much as we want to have a Sistahud gathering to celebrate her birthday, we simply cannot. She lives thousand miles away from the rest of the girls and not to mention, it would cost us lots just see physically her smiling face.Yet, even before she turned 39, I already surprised her with several birthday presents when she visited us in Las Vegas during the holidays. I was really happy to see her again even for just 25 hours. It is time (and money!) well spent with one of my dearest friends. Lucky us!After driving for almost four hours from Alhambra to the City of Lights, we shared breakfast at I.H.O.P. wherein they are known for famous American breakfast foods such as pancakes, waffles and omelettes. We shared a hearty meal with my sister and brother. Filling up our tummies with coffee and good food, we started our day in Las Vegas.

We got lost several times but we did reach our destination and we even saw the Welcome to Las Vegas Signage. We just could not resist so we took pictures. Then we went around the shopping district of WalMart, Office Depot, Ross, Best Buy, Circuit City and the like. Wow in 3 hours that is like a year’s worth of salary! He! He! He! It was fun updating each other with tons of stories and laughing out loud while waiting in line in the retail stores.After shopping for the much needed stuff, we got tired and hungry. Finding a good place to eat, Rachelle saw one of my “memorable” restaurants in Las Vegas. I won’t tell the whole story about the said restaurant because I keep on laughing just remembering our faces. We had Thai food for late lunch and Rachelle got her dose of Thai Iced Tea and we had Phad Thai, Chicken and Pork BBQ, Tom Yum Goong and of course a big bowl of Steamed White Rice. Yum!!

Unfortunately, time is upon us and we had to get ready for our ultimate entertainment experience for the night. We treated Rachelle for an evening of music and opera, Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. It is one of my absolute favorites ever and really anticipating this event the whole time. Rachelle loved the show and the state of the art technology and effects, even the custom-built theater made us feel that we were in the Opera Garnier in Paris. To complete the Phantom experience, Chloe and Reyboy bought her a Phantom souvenir coffee mug while I got the famous music box. Fantastic!

No trip to The Venetian would be complete without dining to one of its fine dining restaurants. Where else?! We made reservations prior to our Vegas trip at Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante. It features Batali and his partner, Joseph Bastianich’s acclaimed blend of exquisite Italian food. We enjoyed our selection of appetizers and main courses and though Rachelle didn’t order dessert, I shared with her my chocolate gelato. Pure heaven! I can still remember the taste and am craving for more right now. That gelato is worth the trip and the wait!

Before heading back to our hotel after the late dinner, we strolled around the Venetian, had a picture taken with Humpty Dumpty, played a few slots and eventually drove throughout the Strip to see the lights.

It was already morning when we head back to the hotel but we had fun and enjoyed the trip! Then Rachelle gave me a Christmas present that was so cute. Thanks a lot my friend! I had sleep before heading back to Alhambra while I pack some stuff for her to bring home. I have gifts as well for dearest Nanay Charing, the uber tall Axel and of course, Kikay Kyla. Hope they enjoyed them!Although it was just 25 hours, the time spent with Rachelle will certainly last for several months. I asked her prior to her leaving as I was hugging her if she enjoyed the day, she said she did and was so happy with all of her presents.One thing that she just mentioned as she was pulling off the hotel driveway, “come back soon and stay longer”! Well, we certainly will now!Rachelle, happy 39th birthday! Hope your day is filled with surprises and dreams come true.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New York Vacation 2009

Here are some of the highlights of my New York trip. Obviously being a shutterbug (not necessarily a good one) I ended up with more than a thousand photos. Needless to say, I enjoyed my vacation and I still love New York although it did fail me on producing snow while I was there. I've been told that some flights were delayed a long time after our plane to LA took off, guess why? Due to snow... I don't know what's up with that, but its the second time I've taken a vacation to see snow and ended up empty handed. Makes me wonder what that means if it happens again the third time. I'd like to thank my host and friend, our Beloved for having me and to JanJan for the very delicious, fun-filled and stomach satisfying adventure of my life.

My first view of the waters surrounding New York
View while circling around for the landing
This was the most snow I'd see in my entire stay...

Waking up to a nice day in New York
Taking the train to the City for the first time...
Grand Central Station, NY
Empire State Building at the background
Statue of Liberty
St. Patrick's Cathedral, NY
Gee! That's heavy! ;p
Christmas Tree @ the Rockefeller Center

I think this is Liberty Park

New York City, New Jersey view
Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal
Cobbled stones, near Central Railroad of New Jersey

Everything sweet @ Ferrara Cafe, NY

My only photo of Chinatown :)

Alexander Hamilton Custom House
Gotta pose for this...
Not sure what they're doing... some weird stunt/dance show
Ellis Island

One of the most delicious and expensive steak house, so I've been told.
Only female buddha
Hmmm... there sure are a lot of these around NY
I'll post some more later... am still recovering from flu...

Monday, January 12, 2009

back to normal...

Just got back from my New York vacation. It was a fun-filled, food overflowing, miles of walking, literally more than a thousand photos, cold, friends generating and eye opening vacation. In short, I enjoyed myself... and I still love NY (although as usual, snow was missing from the scene, it did start to snow just before I left, hu hu hu).

Now it's back to work for me, I'm sick and feeling whoozy from the meds I have to take to get better, but I'm glad to be back. I missed my kids, my pillows and my unlimited access to the internet, he he he. The kids are happy with their souvenirs, cupcakes (courtesy of JanJan), but most of all, I think they're just happy to have me back :)

Will post the pictures when I recover a little from this flu...