Sunday, December 30, 2007

our CHRISTmas merriment

the past holiday was filled with all sorts of revelry from left to right. the 24th December was action-packed - yours truly was busy keeping the apartment clutter-free, while our kitchen brimmed with enthusiastic cooks. bessie Beth made her famous pork ribs recipe, while hubby tinkered with the oven to create a delightful and tasty carrot cake for our dessert later that evening. this was our Christmas menu, which we served to our friends who came over:

Entrées:
Potato Marbles with home-made Garlic Dip
Garlic Butter Shrimps
Buttered mixed vegetables
Lumpiang Shanghai (courtesy of Ryan’s “ates” at work)

Main Course:
Rib eye steak
Baked Carbonara
Pork ribs ala Beth

Dessert:
Carrot cake

we also served some sparkling juice and flavored wine to go with our meal. our friends didn’t seem to mind the food we dished up ‘coz they couldn’t stop complimenting the steak and the freshly baked carrot cake that hubby prepared. they said the pasta was excellent, too, and that totally made all the efforts i did pay off (ehem…thank you!). after our meal, we handed out presents to our guests and had a few photo ops. thereafter, we watched “Stardust” till 3:00 am with a bag of chips at hand along with a big bottle of cola.

it was a lovely Christmas eve dinner with friends in our modest home. we commemorated Jesus Christ’s birthday in our own little way, and despite being away from our families, we got by through seeing friends and offering a place to celebrate. we didn’t have a grand feast, but it was a memorable Christmas eve for Ryan & i…our very first Christmas as hubby and wife in our own home. not only was it memorable, it was also filled with surprises. during the preparations, i think around 5:00-ish, delivery guys from Al Futtaim came to our doorstep to hand over our new automatic washing machine. our “kuya”, who’s away on holiday in Manila, arranged to send our present on the day of the Christmas eve. remember i have long wanted a new one, but couldn’t because i have to get rid of the old one first? well, there it was…installed a few hours before midnight. yippee!

come 25th December, we woke up to a bright Christmas morning and excitedly opened our presents. hubby got me a dandy pair of diamond earrings while i gifted him with an Omega Speedmaster chrono watch. what great gifts we got from one another! sweet!













Ryan & his time keeper









Gracie & her new sparklers


a little after 10:00 am, we eagerly prepared for the day’s schedule. we dropped off Beth to work and went to see our friend Hazel at her parents’ house. we distributed the gifts to her and her little toddler Klyde, and afterwards, went to meet Ryan’s colleagues at the Christmas lunch held at their boss’s place in Um Suqeim. it was an opportunity for me to meet his co-workers who were all surprised to see him with the “wife”. since we arrived, hubby was teased incessantly! :D

the atmosphere of the villa was very welcoming. everyone was just coolly sitting in the yard, each with a glass of wine on hand, chatting away and cheerfully greeting newcomers as they turn up. i love their place primarily because of the spacious area they have where their dogs could just run around and play. i think they have 5 pet dogs who were all so cute and endearing. while having lunch, they were coyly watching us, and at one point, i could not resist feeding them with ham. (tsk, tsk…bad girl!)

we left the gathering just before dusk in time to see my cousins down in Sheikh Zayed Road. all of us Diolazo cousins were not able to make it home this Christmas, so we decided to get together to celebrate. unfortunately, Arnie couldn’t join us that night. in any case, all 3 of us – Vox, Sarj, and myself, plus our respective hubbies Mark & Ryan, and our dear friend Beth – proceeded with our Christmas dinner plans and had the traditional exchange gift-giving ritual. it was a riot while we were trying to draw the lucky names of our recipients…and to think there were only 6 of us present!

Sarj’s pad was filled with rowdy noise as we rolled with laughter from our antics, and gleefully posed for pictures next to the Christmas tree. just a few weeks before Christmas, i was feeling miserable for not celebrating this festive season with our families back home. now that i realize how wonderful it can still be even in the absence of the familiar sights and smell of the Pinoy pasko. i guess as long as the true meaning of Christmas is in your heart, you’ll never feel lonely. and as long as you are Filipino by heart, you will know and cherish what Christmas is all about even if you’re thousands of miles away from home.

note: for more pictures, please visit here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

a year after

today marks our first church wedding anniversary. we count this date as the official anniversary as this was the time we were bound as husband and wife in the eyes of God witnessed by our families and friends.

many people wonder how we ended up together when we were actually from the opposite poles of the globe. we don’t have much things in common, but we’ve managed to hit it off. honestly speaking, i sometimes marvel, too. the only reason i could think of is that we love each other so much that we couldn’t get enough of each other…being together makes us happy despite our differences.

in honor of this important milestone in our life, i am sharing with you 27 reasons why i love being married to Ryan – the man in my life and my partner in everything.

27. he wakes me up from my sleep in a very cute way. i love the puppy look on his face whenever he says “good morning” to me.
26. his smile is like a li’l kid’s…totally makes my day!
25. he is a tactful person…knows when to start talking and when to stop.
24. he adores kids. and kids adore him back. babies love being carried by him, and toddlers enjoy his company. i believe he’ll make a good dad someday.
23. he makes me laugh. i get massive tummy aches whenever i laugh with him, and i love it! he seems serious all the time, but he can really be funny. his wit and sense of humor de-stress me.
22. he teases me relentlessly. i’m “pikon” but never with him. i secretly like him teasing me :D
21. we make a good tandem if there’s a competition for food tasting. we enjoy eating out and discovering new restos and cafés together. in short: we love to EAT.
20. he has a relatively good fashion sense. he is quite conscious of what he wears. he is a minimalist person and would only choose something simple but classy to wear. he’d never be caught dead wearing anything with a big logo or brand name. scared of being called jologs! hahaha!
19. he’s a dog lover like me. a few weeks before i left Manila for Dubai, i got him a black labrador retriever as a Christmas gift. he’s been wanting to have one for the longest time, and since i didn’t want him to spend too much time outside the house to divert his attention while missing me, i decided to get him another “girl” to keep him busy. when he came to Dubai to join me last year, he was so sad leaving Alexis behind and even cried a tear because he missed her so much.
18. he shares my passion in travelling. exploring new places glues us together.
17. i am married to a great cook and an excellent baker. he makes me proud with his skill in the kitchen. he really owns that part of the house.
16. hubby is very smart. he knows a lot of stuff, and it amazes me sometimes. he could join any trivia contests, and i could bet all my bags he would win ;-)
15. he’s not very sweet, but whenever he shows affection, i know that it’s sincere and heartfelt. he shows his warmth not through words but through actions, which is more meaningful and sweet for me.
14. he accompanies me whenever i shop. i know that he minds my way of shopping because i tend to stay in one shop for too long and he complains about it. but he still keeps tagging along with me nonetheless.
13. he tolerates my kakikayan and from time to time supports me with my kaartehan in life. of course he also tries to mellow me down a bit when he finds it too much already...hehe!
12. i love the way he calls me “baby”...it’s music to my ears.
11. waking up next to him everyday is a dream come true.
10. he drives for me wherever i want to go. he brings me to work and picks me up daily, and tries not to complain when i’m late.
9. i can hug and kiss him anytime i want…forever.
8. he knows how to compromise and he deals quite well with my stubbornness.
7. he loves my family – from my parents down to my cousins. he respects my parents and treats my siblings like they are his own.
6. for him, family comes first…ALWAYS. and that’s one trait that is important for me.
5. in this union, i am truly the pampered one. enough said.
4. he appreciates what i do for him. he doesn’t expect or ask too much. he accepts me for who i am and loves the “me” that i love.
3. he is God-fearing. he is patient, kind and generous, and most importantly, he is not judgmental. he has faith in people, and keeps it by reminding himself that there’s always a good side in every man.
2. he is my source of inspiration. never a day he fails to remind me to become a better person and make a good deed.
1. he loves me unconditionally. for him, i am his princess and his one and only.

hubbybear, happy birthday to us. i am happy celebrating this special day with you. thank you for plucking me out of the vast sky to be your wife…i am honored to be your lifetime partner and your very bestfriend. i love you so much! mwaaaahhhhh!!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

the weekend before Christmas

phew! that was some kind of weekend!

last week, we celebrated the Eid Al Adha holiday and luckily got 3 days off adjacent to the weekend. the 5 straight, bum out days were very much welcomed in anticipation of the Christmas celebration happening in less than 24 hours. we had a chance to grab some last minute items for the Noche Buena preparations, did a li’l bit of last-minute shopping, and sought some additional containers for the home-baked goodies my Ryan prepared as gifts.

Carrefour was jampacked with people, and every single soul inside was scurrying from all directions. it was horrific to find almost every shelf for basic commodities empty. the Middle East is currently facing a wave of scarcity of eggs due to a bird flu outbreak in KSA, so at some point during the weekend, Ryan & i combed all groceries we could find to search for fresh brown eggs. well, hubby cannot bake without eggs, right? :)

the long weekend was also an opportune time to bond with close friends. we hit the stores together and triple dated to catch the Bee Movie at Cinestar in Deira City Centre, which, i must say, was one clean fun activity for kids at heart like us. it was a hilarious film and we just looooove it! not surprised that it got into the roster of the Dubai International Film Festival featured films. wait, we were sponsors for the DIFF…why haven’t i thought of getting us gala tickets then? sayang!

last Saturday, hubby spent morning, noon and night baking chocolate crinkles, butterscotch and oatmeal raisin cookies. i tried to help by greasing the baking pans, washing the utensils (pathetic!) and chopping raisins and walnuts. but i am proud to say that i was the one who arranged the stuff in the container. packaging and quality control were done by no less than me, of course with a few nibbling on the side (mmmmm, yummy!). this was the outcome of every pack:



some snaps of the baked goodies:

sinful chocolate crinkles

butterscotch....yum!

all-time favorite oatmeal raisin cookies


i guess we did pretty well. do you think we should start doing some consignment business? yesterday morning, i dropped off the gifts for my colleagues to the office. they said they were divine! as i was leaving, i even saw a few people already on their 3rd cookie, complimenting on how good they really were. well, that’s another errand crossed out from my list, and now the only thing left to do is make the apartment spic and span for tonight’s celebration.

oh yeah, that and a lot of cooking! gotta go now…

to everyone, have a very merry Christmas! i hope you spend it with your family and loved ones. let us keep in our hearts the real reason for the season...God bless you all.

Monday, December 17, 2007

a heart’s tragedy

a person’s heart can only hold so much pain. if the pain is already too much to bear, the only thing left to do is to move on and let go. easy to say, but quite difficult to do. but there are certain things that we must do in order to get on with our lives. when one carries excess baggage, he/she may never experience the beauty of new things that may come across his/her path.

heartbreaks are necessary for people to realize how fragile they are - how vulnerable they can be no matter how successful they are in life. but sometimes, pain from heartbreak can also do you good. it brings out the willingness in you to rise above the ocean of devastation and improve yourself. you can be a better individual after having gone through the ordeal of physical and emotional pain. all you need to have is the determination to get past it through the help of your family and friends. it always works – keeping them around is a fool proof plan.

i would have to say that treachery from a person you have loved so dearly is the highest form of insult. his/her deceit is clearly a manifestation of the lack of respect. and if there is no respect, then there is no love. it really makes me wonder how one person can claim that he/she loves his/her significant other when he/she betrays his/her trust? it just doesn’t make any sense!

i have friends who have suffered severely from loving too much…from giving too much of themselves…and for loving unconditionally despite all the odds. it was unbearable to see them go through such hurtful stage in their lives, but i knew within me that they would get by, and they did eventually. they exerted their best to surpass the dark chapter in their lives, and i am happy for them that they've prevailed. although some of them are still struggling till now, i know that they are slowly getting there. i understand because at some point, i was like one of them. but with a lot of support and prayers, i did manage, too - and i am blessed to have kissed the right frog this time. he turned out to be my prince.

p.s. to my dear soul sister – hang in there, baby… the sun will shine after the storm. i’m here for you.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

sister act

i miss my sisters…terribly! yep, unbelievably true, but i really do miss them. Marian posted a comment on my Friendster account, and just out of the blue, she started reminiscing about the bullying i used to do to her when i was still around. (that’s a perk when you are the eldest…hehehe!) :D

on the other hand, my youngest sister Bernadette sent me a message in Friendster, too, saying that she misses me a lot at home. no screaming Gracie in the morning to shove her out of the bed so that she won’t be late for school, and no Gracie to delegate household tasks to her during weekends. she also misses having me as her designated driver in the morning to drop her off to St. Paul QC on my way to work, and pick her up on certain occasions where she had to stay late for a school project or activity.

they were both were very vocal in telling me how much they’ll miss having me around the house during this year’s Christmas dinner and New Year’s eve celebration. well, maybe that’s because i always organize these special happenings for the family, and they have gotten so used to that. in any case, i’m sure they will survive the celebrations without me. it may be painful for all of us to be apart, but they have no choice but to face the fact that their big sister won’t be home for Christmas. GRAMARBER ain’t complete for the 2007 holidays, but by next year, i’ll make sure we’ll celebrate it with a blast!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

swamped, with a bump

ever had one of those days when you feel like it’s the crappiest day in your life at work...moments when you feel like you needed to vent out your frustrations soon, otherwise you’ll explode, or worse, get a heart attack? i just had one yesterday, and to make matters worse, i had to experience a minor accident while I was doing my job. take note: i work in an office, not in a manufacturing building or factory, so encountering an accident is a remote possibility. but unfortunately, i did. how unlucky of me!

i will not go into details about what exactly happened, but i just wanted to share with you what i’ve learned from yesterday’s experience. lesson number 1: when God created the world, He had to make people different from one another. that is to give color and variety to this world, and at the same time, to make people understand the difference of what is good and what is bad. one can never understand good when there is no presence of the bad. that is to give balance in this universe, and now i do get His point. lesson number 2: let’s face it, there are people who are afraid of responsibility, and i pity them. because when you don’t take accountability for anything, you will never feel the satisfaction of achieving something. lesson number 3: no matter how glittering a masterpiece is, if it is not done with due diligence and passion, it’s spark will eventually fade, if not sooner, then later. and when you scratch beneath the surface, you will realize that underneath all the glamour and over-all beauty of the piece is just plain rubbish. and finally, lesson number 4: after all that’s said and done, you’ll come to a point where you’ll realize “it’s all in a day’s work.” you’ll stop sweating the small stuff and will keep doing your job. you refrain from thinking of negative thoughts and you aim to achieve something fruitful despite the hurdles ahead of you. because at the end of the day, when everything falls into place, you will understand that whatever it is that you’ve said or done, it is your dignity that’s always at stake.

just my two cents worth.

by the way, i’m physically fine now. a big bump is on my leg and it’s badly bruised i have to say, but other than that, i’m all good. a Kinder Happy Hippo helped cheer me up.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

holiday rush

Christmas is just a few days away and i can now almost breathe a sigh of relief because i’m more than half way through with my preparations. as of time of this writing, i am only short of 5 more gifts for friends, exclusive of the ones for our teaboys and security personnel at work. i’m leaning towards giving mind enriching gifts this year, so for my recipients, don’t expect the usual apparel and accessories gifts :)

for my friends at work, including my team mates who are not Christians, i’ve decided to give them my hubby’s home baked cookies and carrot cake. he had agreed to make them for me since i’d like to give something special that’s not bought from any store in the UAE. besides, whenever i come to work with some goodies to share, they’re always bitin with the stuff and end up asking for more, and most of them even offer to pay. a lot of people have encouraged us to start up a small business with hubby’s baking prowess, but there isn’t just time to do it. we have archived that idea for the time being, and will probably revisit it when we’re ready.

home is now filled with Christmas sounds with Ray Conniff songs resonating in the air these days, plus hues from all the décors i’ve added to the Christmas tree. we got a red and gold wreath hung in our main door, and more importantly, a small nativity set that is placed in the middle of the hall. after all, the birth of Jesus Christ is the real reason for all this excitement so might as well put a symbol in the heart of our home to remind us of that. i’m currently on the look out for Christmas stockings which i’d like to hang in our doors at home and hopefully i’ll be successful with my search this weekend. and guess what i did end up buying, too? a santa hat for hubby and a reindeer headband for me during one of our many trips to the mall…LOL! :D


also, i’ve already come up with my Christmas menu, and i did some sort of a dry run while i was on holiday. my critic (named Ryan) says the dishes i prepared taste good, so i guess i'm pretty much done on that part. i’ve also bought some Christmas themed napkins, linens and candles for the dinner, too, and by the start of the upcoming
Eid Al Adha holiday next week, i’m gonna start bringing out the glassware and cutlery i’ve kept reserved for special occasions. i’ve also made a mental note to take a trip to the supermarket for the non-perishable goods we need for the preparations for the Noche Buena.

we will be toiling in the kitchen during the holidays, but we don’t mind. we are pretty excited, in fact. notice that i have used we instead of i? i think by now i have successfully injected in Ryan the Christmas spirit and i’m quite pleased about it.

so, 15 days left before Christmas and at this point, i guess we’re all good and right on schedule. yey!
:D

Thursday, December 6, 2007

of home & Christmas traditions

at long last, after managing to squeeze in some time to reorganize our flat, i was able to finally put up our Christmas tree. it looked this bare when i started:


and after toiling on it for two weeknights, it emerged as something looking like this:



i proudly present to you the first Christmas Tree of the de Gracia household :D

to give our home a livelier, Christmas-y ambience, we chose the red and gold theme, with some touches of cherubs in their musical instruments. now here’s a bit of a trivia: this tree was passed on to me by my dear friend Yvonne, who inherited the same tree from their neighbor 3 years ago. since we weren’t here for the holidays last year, i lent this to my cousin Sarj as i hated the idea of this tree being put away and not serve it’s purpose during the year’s much-awaited celebration. so yep, it’s been tossed to so many homes already, and i’ve gotta admit that this tree’s still quite nice looking and sturdier compared to those i’ve seen in Carrefour and Ace. it’s only 4.5 feet tall and accommodated approximately 600 clear rice lights. for me, it’s just about the perfect size.

to be honest, hubby wasn’t too keen about putting up a Christmas tree at home. he thinks it’s gonna eat up space in our little hall, even if we had already evicted our favorite item from Ikea in place of a more compact TV rack to hold our entertainment system. but i stood my ground and persisted till his ears bled. i calmly argued that we needed to feel the spirit of Christmas and pretend like we’re really HOME (as in Pinas home). you see, it’s both our first time to spend Christmas away from our families and i personally think we are not coping too well on this decision (more on this in a minute). i think i was able to convince him with my urging, and good thing i did. when i was feeling frantic about finding the right Christmas lights to go with the tree, he was ironically the one who found these nice, pocket friendly-priced sets for our dear tree. in fact, he didn’t mind coming back to the store the following day when i realized we needed more. good job honey!

now it didn’t occur to me that putting up a Christmas Tree can be emotional for someone who’s rather feeling homesick. when i finished with the last piece of ornament, i took a step back to admire what i’ve done (given the truth that i did not get any help at all from start to finish). suddenly out of nowhere, i found myself half consciously nostalgic. i couldn’t help but feel tears well up in my eyes. i blinked and instantly felt hot tears roll down my cheeks. the crybaby in me just whimpered like a kitten. i quietly sobbed and sobbed in a little corner as my mind waded through waves of memories of Christmases with my family…these were exactly the things i would miss this December. last year wasn’t really a special Christmas for hubby and i as newlyweds since we were busy planning for the church wedding happening in two days after the 25th, but that was a different scenario. our families were there, and we had the chance to greet them personally and share the happy spirit of the holidays in between all the wedding preps.

oh well, at least for sure we know that next year, we will be home again. we will definitely not miss spending our favorite holiday of all with people whom we love and care about. if it’s any consolation, time flies fast anyway, so in a matter of a months, we will be home for Christmas, although for 2008. for now, we will focus on beginning with our own Christmas tradition in our 2nd home.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

ready for the battle

i’m officially off for the entire week. oops, not really. i forgot that i need to be at work on Wednesday for a meeting. then i’ll just take a day in lieu next week, which is wise to do since we’ll have two days off for the UAE National Day. woohoo, more holidays for me!!

so, what’s the plan? i’ve been thinking a lot last week on what i really NEEDED to do. just considering those on top of my head had already made me feel slightly in the brink of stress. but no, i’m not gonna easily give in to a panic attack. i’ve resolved to being a good home maker while on holiday. it wouldn’t hurt to play humorous and be OC at home ala Joanna of The Stepford Wives :) well, that is if i can stand the part. hah, we’ll see.

below are my list of things to do during my break, inclusive of weekends. i officially commenced brawling with the list last Friday, and hopefully by Monday next week, everything’s 100% done. let the 10-day typical housewife mêlée with chores begin:

1) do a general cleaning of the apartment. every nook and cranny must be spic and span. God help me.
2) reorganize the wardrobe closet. precious bags, where shall i put you? dilemma, dilemma.
3) empty the hamper. wash a week’s mountain of laundry.
4) sell the old washing machine so we could get a new one. either souk.com or Abu Shagara…hehe!
5) get some Christmas cards for family & friends. mail them by the 28th November tops.
6) wrap the Christmas presents & put them under the Christmas tree.
7) er, put up the Christmas tree :D
8) do some serious ironing (a month’s worth of clothes…haaaayyyy!!)
9) prepare dinner & baon for hubby every night.
10) schedule the AC’s maintenance.
11) change the busted lamps...by myself :)
12) choose wedding pictures for posting. this is soooo long overdue and i’ve been given an ultimatum by honey na. hala.
13) print our favorite wedding & travel pictures then find a reliable framing company.
14) put together a nice Christmas menu. we’ll be having some close friends over so i need to do some research on new recipes. gotta claim back my zeal for cooking.
15) lastly, go to the salon for a little prettifying. well, this i already did last Friday in time for the DIFC Anniversary celebration. gotten a new hairstyle with a hot oil treatment on the side, plus pedicure & footspa & eyebrow threading. it took 2 hours of my time, but was worth the trouble. got home in the wee hours of the morning with my hubby telling me how gorgeous i looked. *BIG GRIN*

hun, i’m especially doing all of these for you so better get me a nice Christmas gift ha! LOL.

from time to time, i will be updating this post to highlight those to-do things that i’ve already completed. well, gotta head back to finishing those that are yet to be done. wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the welcoming cold

we woke up to a nippy morning a couple of hours ago. by the time we got out of the apartment, traffic was already starting to build up. reason - this morning's quite hazy all over the place. Ryan had to be extremely careful behind the wheel because there was almost no visibility on the roads. we can only see within 10 meters from our car and traffic lights were a blur. yes, it is officially winter.

i got to the office at exactly 7:00 am. pretty early today as hubby needs to get to work earlier than usual. as i got to the lift, i noticed that only the peak of the
Jumeirah Emirates Towers can be seen. it was picturesque! as if the premier landmark was sitting beautifully on top of the clouds.

now sitting at my desk and sipping my cappuccino, i couldn’t help but feel like i’m in another place and time. staring at the window, there’s nothing at all to see except the thick, white fog staring back at me…and i am savoring this moment. the office is still almost empty as traffic’s really bad today, so i’m having some peace and quiet in my little corner and enjoying my company before the crazy day gets started.

if the weather remains this way, then i can’t wait for my holidays to begin next week. the bed weather has come, and i’ll be savoring it at home curled up in the sofa to watch series marathons with a warm cup of coffee. hmmm, nice!

Friday, November 16, 2007

brand tag

got tagged by a fellow w@wie & FBG bride, pheng :)

1) what's the brand of your wristwatch?
Cartier Tank Francaise

2) what's the brand of your bracelet?
Charriol – birthday gift from hubby 3 years ago

3) what's the brand of your cell phone?
Nokia

4) what's the brand of your computer?
Mac named Amanda, and LG named Lucy. My laptop at work is an IBM Thinkpad that I didn’t bother to name…it’s gonna crash anytime soon so what’s the use!

5) what's the brand of your bags?
my addiction!!! mostly LVs, a piece each of Fendi, Marc Jacobs & Ralph Lauren, and a few pieces from Nine West, Mango, Lacoste & Esprit

6) what's the brand of your undies?
Victoria's Secret, Women’s Secret & La Senza

7) what's the brand of your flip-flops?
Havaianas & Lacoste

8) what's the brand of your shoes?
mostly Nine West & Zara for work / Nike & Lacoste sneakers / Celine, Charles & Keith & Janylin for casual wear

9) what's the brand of your wallet?
Liz Claiborne & Marc Jacobs

10) what's the brand of your shirts?
Lacoste & XYDE from Pull & Bear

11) what's the brand of your tv?
Samsung & JVC

12) what's the brand of your cars?
solid Mitsubishi

13) what's the brand of your mp3 player?
Apple ipod

14) what's the brand of your make up?
Dior, Maybelline & L’Oreal

15) what's the brand of your shampoo and conditioner?
shampoo – Head & Shoulders
conditioner – Creamsilk forever!

16) what's the brand of your jeans?
Levi's, MNG & Zara

17) what's the brand of your laundry soap?
Touch & Tide

ok, done. now i’m tagging shiela & dionne :D

Thursday, November 15, 2007

dreamy over McDreamy

People Magazine had just released their list of this year’s 100 sexiest men alive. who’s on top of that list? i don’t give a damn. all i care about is Patrick Dempsey, who came in number 2. popularly known these days as Dr. Derek Shepherd, or McDreamy in Seattle Grace Hospital, he’s beyond doubt a shoo in!

i’ve had this thrilling little crush on Patrick Dempsey since i saw him on Sweet Home Alabama opposite Reese Witherspoon. he portrayed a character who was difficult not to choose –good looks, good family background (well, except for his wacko Mom), and good taste (Tiffany’s, remember?) on top of his great personality. and now that he’s frequently seen on TV with the hit series Grey’s Anatomy, i couldn’t help but indulge by closely following the episodes.

oh those expressive eyes! they can really melt your heart away…


personally, i believe he should’ve landed on the top spot. but what can i do? he didn’t have George Clooney and Brad Pitt to campaign for him.

anyhoo, to find out more about People Magazine’s list, click
here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

extremely gratified

hubby and i went to St. Mary’s Church last Sunday to hear mass, and i must admit it has been a while since we’ve last been to the church together. ours is a mixed marriage - him being a Protestant, and i, a Catholic, so our joint visits to the Catholic church is not exactly a common practice. nevertheless, whenever we go hand in hand, it never feels like we’re much too different from the other couples in the flock. he respects my belief as much as i respect his. and at the end of the day, we’re both Christians. we believe in one God - that’s what’s matters to us.

while talking to God in His home, i could not help but feel emotional with all the things that are happening around me. i have so many reasons to be thankful for…so many blessings that i know i should count. i could not even put into words how happy i am at this stage in my life. life’s not perfect, but it’s awesome! how can i complain when i’ve got:

…a wonderful husband who loves me unconditionally despite my faults, who’s very supportive of me, and who accepts my good and bad sides wholeheartedly. he cooks and bakes well, too, so that’s an added bonus :) his steadfast love keeps me going, and i am enormously thankful that God gave him to me to be my lifetime partner.


…great parents who brought me up the non-interventionist way, turning me into a person of individualism. despite being liberal parents, they have instilled proper values in me and made sure i’d grow up with great fear of the Lord.

…two lovely sisters who can be quite
a handful at times, but are the sweetest and the most fun to be with even in the most ordinary situations. they add spice to my madcap life, and if given the Twilight Zone chance to choose my siblings, i’d still pick them without any qualms.

…well-meaning relatives who assure me and my family that we have trusted people to run to when problems arise.

…five bestfriends who know me inside out, who support me when needed, and who tell things straight to my face with no reservations. i may not be connected to these people by blood, but we are definitely linked by soul. i really do think they were cherry-picked by God to walk down my path.

…old, faithful friends who grew up with me and nurtured me into a person worth calling a “friend”. despite the distance, we know that our friendship will never dwindle. i trust that we would find it quite easy to pick up where we left off. having met them and keeping what we have intact after all these years is something i am incredibly proud of.

…all three human basic needs available within reach. not exactly luxurious but enough for us to live in comfort.

…a satisfying career that continuously provides challenge to my capabilities. my industry doesn’t touch lives in a direct way, but it gets credit after the unforeseen happens. it deals with the aftermath of accidents and catastrophes, and takes on practically every risk imaginable, making it the back bone of the financial services industry.

…sunny weather all-year-round. i wake up everyday to a beautiful clear, blue sky. temperature shoots up during summer, but it’s part of the deal. nothing beats the feeling of seeing the rays of sunshine on a crappy day.

…Saidur, our office tea boy, who makes superb coffee in the morning. my day at work officially begins when he puts down my steaming cup 5 minutes before 8:00 o’clock. i get my dose before everyone else does (yup, i beat my MD for that!). he definitely tolerates my addiction to coffee that’s why i love him!

…Kumar, our security personnel, who never fails to greet me every morning with a smiling nod. i know that when something horrible happens in the office, at least someone will care to look for me to make sure i’m alright. i’ve proven that when we experienced earthquake two years ago. he combed the entire floor looking for me when i wasn’t at the assembly point and silly me got a good scolding when he found me later on dilly dallying in the lobby to evacuate.

… an affordable but dependable dry-cleaners that keeps my suits clean and crisp. i’m a sucker for well-pressed clothing and they definitely have a content customer in me.

…good available technology that gets me connected to my loved ones. and when i say good, it’s equivalent to fast, reliable connection.

...a personality that can be easily pleased with simple pleasures in life. i get childishly excited over little things, and i can’t be bothered with what people think. oh, the joy i get over receiving a mail by post, hearing people say “thank you”, or seeing old couples still holding hands!

see, God is tremendously good. He provides, He listens, He bestows blessings. sometimes, even if you don’t ask, He just gives generously. you just have to be appreciative and know how to value His gifts. in life, what truly matters is how you live acknowledging the fact that everything that surrounds you is nothing but temporary. it should always be His love that would count as the greatest blessing of all. agree? agree.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

scratched the itch

although the Christmas holiday is not widely celebrated here in the UAE, the much awaited season of all’s spirit had finally hit me. i’ve started on my Christmas gifts list, and this list i blame for my urge to go shopping last weekend.

thanks to
Chalhoub Group's Year-end sale last Friday and Saturday at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, we managed to grab some really cool stuff at more than half their original prices. hubby got himself some shirts from Polo Ralph Lauren and a couple of pairs of casual shoes from Geox. and guess what i got? yes, another bag…my first Fendi. i got it on Sale and i don’t care. so long as it’s original and bears the nice little logo, i’m happy.

needing to break-in Yumi, hubby & i, along with our buddies B & K, went to the
Dubai Outlet Mall down the Highway 66. even if there are still a few stores that have not opened, i’d say the trip was worth it, especially since the stocks that most of the stores have are still ok, and the items are tagged reasonably (note: reasonably here means 50% off). we invaded The Grand Store and snatched a classic vertical shoulder bag and keychain from Lacoste. checked out from Mango if i could find some nice pieces there, but couldn’t get any in my size. and no shoes to fit me in Kenneth Cole either (bummer!). guess i’d just have to come back some other time.

now what have i got for gifts? hmmm, i really can’t share with you ‘coz it’s gonna ruin the surprise for the recipients. for all i know, they may be lurking at this blog for clues. i haven’t ticked much from my list yet, but i’m getting there. for our families in Manila, i’ve done the shopping ahead of time and in fact, the box is ready for pick up by the cargo company. i just hope the package arrives in time for Christmas.

so yep, i had the itch last weekend to shop…and yes, i scratched the itch. it depleted some of our reserves, but it doesn’t matter. hubby was with me, and i got his nod on every purchase made. besides, we totally had fun! it was one of the rare shopping sprees where Ryan was exceptionally participative. he didn’t mind all the walking, the queues, car parking difficulties and even the big crowd. it made “shopping” more of a husband and wife activity for us both, and it was a nice feeling. hitting the mall has never been better!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

the cop visits a crook

it was a refreshing feeling that someone from the Philippines came to visit me here in Dubai, albeit his trip being principally more of business related than leisure.

Aris, my dear HS friend, arrived in Dubai last 27th October and stayed here for six days. he was pretty thrilled about the fact that he’s in a completely different place and finally seeing right before his very eyes the things that he used to read on papers and hear about from his business partners.

during his first day in Dubai, we managed to tour him around the metro and thereafter brought him to a desert safari tour. it was the de gracias’ first time to go for this tour, too, and blame it on me for being too scared of getting onboard the feisty 4x4s. the experience was definitely not for the faint-hearted – one can literally feel motion sickness while aboard, or worse, suffer from a heart attack from the thrill you're bound to get.

it was already almost sun-down when we pulled over to the Bedouin campsite. parked around the area were dozens of Land Cruisers and a station of dune buggies for the more adventure-seeking souls. bessie Beth and i queued for the camel ride, while the boys took our snaps and stood by till we finished. afterwards, all five of us tried on the traditional costume of the UAE nationals and posed for our souvenir photos. we all looked silly, but what the heck!



while waiting for dinner, we checked out the apple flavored Hubbllee Bubblee or more commonly called “shisha”. it was a good chance for us to technically try smoking minus the bad taste of tobacco & the unpleasant niff of smoke. after getting bored with all the huffing & puffing, Beth & i lined up next for some henna tattoo. funny how some male tourists queued, too…they didn’t know that henna tattoo in the UAE is exclusive for ladies only!




of course, we didn’t let Aris miss the most exciting part of the night – the bellydancer’s show. he didn’t bat an eyelash during Valentina’s dance number… either he was mesmerized by her beauty and gyrating talent or he was jetlagged and slept with his eyes wide open! *rolling with laughter*



the adventure-packed day ended with our droopy guest dragging himself to the lobby of his hotel. we were not sure if he took mental note of the plans we made for the rest of his stay, but we hope he had fun as we absolutely did!

*****************

come Monday night, hubby & i met up again with Aris to have dinner at The Noodle House in Burjuman, and soon after went on see the majestic

Burj Al Arab. i had to attend a client’s cocktail reception then, and my invite became our ticket for all of us to enter the elite hotel’s gates without any fee. it’s a shame though that we forgot to bring our cam so we just made do with our mobile phones’ built-in cameras to take a few keepsake photos.

the lavish lobby, with extra huge aquariums to its left and right which were filled with varieties of fish and other underwater creatures, complete with corals and seawater plants, was such a wonderful sight for the two men who escorted me to the hotel. although they only stayed in the lobby to roam around, i sure bet they had a grand time people watching. a lot of rich and good looking people were going in and out of the over rated hotel, and their eyes feasted on them. well, sorry for these two guys because i didn’t stay long in the reception and we left the hotel in an hour’s time.

*******************

the icing on the cake of Aris’ trip, so to speak, was his last night in Dubai.

since he finished early with his meetings, he did an early check-in at the airport and then went to my office to meet me. Ryan fetched us and we proceeded to
Mercato to meet our other companions and find some birthday gifts for our friend Sam. meanwhile, Aris picked up a nice pair of earrings from Damas for his wife who is also celebrating her birthday. *sweet!*


next stop was the Madinat Jumeirah complex. his brief visit to the Souk Madinat was an eye opener for him to the kind of lifestyle the people of Dubai have on a Thursday evening, which is equivalent to the “TGIF” gimmick night in all other parts of the world. he’d seen all corners of the Souk brimming with people of various cultures – either having dinner, sipping coffee or simply hanging out to start their weekend. a lot are in their party outfits ready for clubbing after having their meals in one of the fab restos in the famous complex.

it was a busy evening (payday Thursday). we found our way skimming through the crowd towards the hip Japanese resto called Japengo. we were extremely lucky to find a table inside, although it would’ve been lovely to dine al fresco with the cooler winds embracing us as we overlooked the waterways leading to the hotel side of the Madinat Jumeirah.


i guess between all the places Aris has been to the entire week, this was his personal favorite. he couldn’t stop himself from vocally admiring the place. i couldn’t blame him though. among all the properties of Jumeirah International, this is my preference, too.

after having our meal, we walked through the maze-like halls of the souk and helped Aris find some handy souvenirs. we were about to hit one of the bars in town, but i guess Aris was feeling run down already and couldn’t wait to go home, so before 1:00 am, we dropped him to the airport and bid goodbye.



******************

i’d say the few days that Aris was in town were very enjoyable. for a change, weeknights were spent with a long-time ka-barkada. it felt good to see a familiar face in person and hear a recognizable voice while we talked about married life in general and how our friends back home are doing. sure made me miss Manila even more, and somehow, the regret of not coming home this year has started to seep in.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

another blessing to be thankful for

when i got sick last September, hubby and i realized that it was high time we get a vehicle of our own for mobility purposes, especially in cases of emergency. thankfully, Ryan had just passed his driving licensure practical exam with the Roads & Transport Authority, so that made us officially eligible to own a vehicle in this country.

our main requirement for our first ride is that it must be of substantial size enough to fit a small family. it should be able to seat people comfortably at the second row with ample shoulder and leg room, and must have a big space accessible at the back/trunk for bulky items such as luggage, a week’s stock of grocery items, and even a baby’s stroller in the future. but it should also be compact so that i can manage to drive it easily and not have any trouble parking it – that is, if i ever get around to getting my own license…LOL!

of course, since this is a desert country, we also considered the functionality of the vehicle. these are a few of its must-haves:
  • 2 wheel and 4 wheel drive option
  • fog lamps, which are crucial when it suddenly becomes hazy or foggy depending on the weather change
  • cruise control for long drives
  • dependable braking system
  • exceptional safety features

originally, we were pining for the Toyota RAV 4. it fits almost all of our requirements (except for the fog lamps). it was pricey for a 2.4 litre, 4 cylinder engine compared to its contemporaries, but we were so convinced that we were ready to buy one. or so we thought.

one morning during Ramadan when my Filipino colleagues and i were having our coffee at the pantry, Raquel mentioned to us in passing about the new 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander that she and her husband were considering to purchase. we weren’t aware that Mitsubishi had already released a newer version of their slightly smaller SUV, so as soon as i got back to my desk, i straight away shared this with hubby over the phone. now you must know that Ryan is a huge fan of Mitsubishi motors. he loves Ralliart and has always dreamed of owning at least one Evolution in his lifetime. just imagine him hearing this piece of news…i tell you, he was instantaneously excited about it! later that evening, i found him busy googling and checking out reviews of his latest discovery.


apparently, compared to its predecessor, the new Outlander has the 3.0 litre, 6 cylinder option with the latest MIVEC engine, and multi-select 4-WD mode. not only that – it has a paddle shift, and boasts of a Rockford Fosgate audio system with 9 speakers. eagerness had struck Ryan big time, so that very same weekend, he dragged me to the nearest dealer to see the actual piece in the showroom. when we took our first glance at it, we were instantly dazed by its classiness and bang for the buck features. it was a case of love at first sight!


after two days, we came back to submit our requirements for financing and placed our order. since it was newly launched, no units were on stock, and the local dealer had to order it straight from Japan. we got a bit disappointed when we were told to wait for 3 more weeks to a month for the 1st shipment to pull in, but settled on the idea of waiting since we already fell in love with it.


from then on, hubby started counting the days till “Yumi” arrived. (yep, he already thought of a name for his new babe! Yumi is a Japanese word translated as “beauty”) and i’ll even let you in on a little secret: every night, he would browse at the catalogue as if it’s his favorite fairy tale book. i wasn’t surprised at all that that he had memorized all of its features in less than 3 days! :D


until finally, Monday of last week, our much-awaited ride arrived to the shores of Dubai. we’re so delighted that the unit was worth all the delay. she’s a total black beauty inside and out, and more importantly, she’s a practical choice for a starting family. with all the add-ons that aren’t available in other compact SUVs in the market, plus with the price tag that goes with it, it was a sure-fire winner. you bet Ryan was over the moon when he drove it home. he was too excited that the following morning on our way to work, he exceeded the maximum speed limit and got a ticket for it. (sheesh, what is it with boys and the fast lane...seriously?)





anyhow, we are now the proud owners of one of the first 2008 Outlander units here in the UAE. we had her blessed at St. Mary’s Church last Saturday before meeting Aris for his Dubai tour, and this coming weekend, she’s already due for her 1,000 km check-up.



we gladly welcome “Yumi” to our family, and cheers to the many memories our family will share with you!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

8 random facts about myself

the rules:
1. list eight (8) random facts about yourself.
2. tag eight people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
3. let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving them a comment on their blogs.

i was tagged by baby Shiela to complete this. tough to scour for answers, but this exercise is quite fun, i must say. well, here goes my not-so-extraordinary list…

1.) my mood gets nasty when i am hungry. and when i’m not fed within the first half hour of my hunger pangs, i get crazy headaches that could last till end of the day.

2.) i can be a bitch when the situation calls for me to be one. but when i know that i am at fault, it’s fairly easy for me to admit my mistake and say “sorry” sincerely.

3.) i am one of the boys. i do enjoy their company, and i personally think it’s way much easier dealing with them than with girls. boys are pretty easy to please, have hardly a few hang ups in life, and they don’t make a big fuss over small things. they’re straightforward and honest, too (well, to their friends at least! with pun intended…hahaha!). hey, i love my girl friends, and i’m not complaining! it’s just that there are times boys react and speak more reasonably, which make them a lot less complicated than their female counterparts. (peace sisters!)

4.) i am Sleepy in real life. i sooo hate being deprived of slumber! it is a silly daily habit of mine to count the number of hours i’ve slept before leaping out of the bed in the morning. freaky, huh! and since i am a sleepyhead by heart, i cannot commence work in the morning without a cup of coffee. i feel like my brain cells require a dose of caffeine to jumpstart them, so i always indulge on coffee first to wake them up and my nerves.

5.) i am a victim of retail therapy. i seldom experience the outbursts of stress from work, so i rarely fall for this. but when i do, i tend to splurge on my “comfort buys”. that’s why i try to save up for stuff that i really, really like, and then just buy them when immense work pressure hits me so my ruthless spending would sound well-deserved and justified. tacky tactic! LOL!

6.) i used to have the talent to draw. used to because i don’t draw anymore. i remember one summer in HS, i think that was before sophomore year, i spent all my afternoons just drawing – i copied people’s faces from their pictures, made sketches of my dream house, drew cars and trucks and cartoon characters, and other landscapes from my mind. lately, i realized i miss scribbling, but just couldn’t find the time to sit and sketch away.

7.) i have a low threshold for physical pain. i’m like a baby when i’m hurt or sick. on the contrary, i am emotionally strong and could withstand a few stabs in the heart. but with the other parts of my body, that’s a different story. (yeah, i know i’m pathetic!)

8.) it took me a loads of practices to come up with a unique signature. the first stroke of my official proof of identity is the infinity symbol. i finally decided to stick to a signature shaped like that of a ribbon (or others say butterfly) when i joined the workforce. 8 out of 10 instances i get a feedback that it’s indeed one of a kind. my mark’s pretty girly but quite difficult to forge, and i love it!

i’m tagging
emtee, lei, rem, majeigh, jacq, lucyl, suzzy and roxi. holler back with your answers girls! :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

bye tiger...hello leopard


two days after its official launch, we finally got hold of the new MAC OS X. we got our new MAC Amanda the newest MAC addition to the growing Apple family.

all i can say is that it’s so cool! you have to see the guided tour to appreciate it. for a quick exploration, click
here.

me gotta start tinkering on our little piece of machine this weekend. have to check out the hundreds of new features OS X has. i heard the Time Machine is really awesome, and for someone who’s so OC about back-ups, this is THE ultimate OS for you. fancy, ain’t it?

geez, i’m really excited!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

newsprint daily top stories

basically, my work entails me to be updated with the current events so that i’d be able to keep up with the conversations in meetings and networking with our clients. so far, the only way i’m able to do this is by reading the news rather than watching them because i honestly do not have time to sit in front of the telly (well, except when i have to see the latest episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, House & Heroes during ironing nights…hehehe!). i am trying to make it a habit to pick up the front page and business section of the local broadsheet after doing my cardio workout in the morning, and i swear, the strain i feel with the articles i read is more intense compared to the strain i get from an hour in the treadmill, bike and transport!

whenever i see a piece of devastating news, i get emotionally shattered for a full minute or two. being in a Middle East country where there is a mix of all sorts of nationalities, you can expect a lot of write ups from the leading newspaper on news from all nations who have expats here. one can get reports, both good and bad, from the Far East Asia all the way to the West coast of the U.S. sadly, most of the articles are dreadful reports, especially from war-stricken countries with political unrest and rampant terrorism. i’d have to say that there are times when i just couldn’t help but heave a heavy sigh and mutter a faint sound of frustration under my breath. i often wonder why there are certain people who refuse to learn from history and instead decide to create their own, with harsher, damaging effects to everyone’s future. it appalls me that many leaders fail to do their jobs capably and transparently, when they are under oath to serve their countries and ensure that their people’s welfare is put into priority. i find it disturbing that despite the efforts of other benevolent beings that walk this earth, our world is still in chaos. i question the reasons of poverty’s existence, the injustices that prevail even in the so-called democratic countries, the in-humane treatment of people who lose their dignities without a battle, the pressures of creating a war, and many others. i could keep going on and on about all my questions and qualms about the way of life we have in this century, but it would take me a long time to finish off my list.

this morning, i had quietly resolved to myself that i will refuse to be affected by the news that i read. i will only peruse in a passive mode, grasp as much information as i can, take note of important milestones in the emerging markets, and continue believing that my industry will take charge of whatever risks that are going to be involved in the not-so-good happenings in our crazy world - including both man-made and natural catastrophes that may strike us when we least expect them. that is if i could successfully convince myself to stop caring, give up, and lose all hopes that someday, life will get better in general for everyone in this world. but i don’t see myself doing that. i know that i would still keep waking up every morning wondering what kind of news will greet me when i put my hands on the paper. i’d most probably still cling to my belief that the heavens will hear the pleas and prayers of the souls that still trust in the existence of the word “peace”…that in this era that we live in, order is still possible…that people will learn to respect one another and value life as much as we value our religion and our culture…that all of us will learn to co-exist and live together in harmony.

HAAAYYYYY!!! there goes another big sigh…. and the UPian side of me is let loose!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

the 5 best nights of my life

while randomly bloghopping during lunch break, i saw a post from one of my friend’s blog which caught my fancy. it was an open tag post, and since i badly need a break from all the stress here at work, might as well type away with my five memorable nights and consider myself tagged.

1.) February 1995 (i can’t remember the exact date!) - it was one of the wackiest nights i had with my highschool friends. we giddily trooped to SM Mega Mall like a bunch of excited kiddos for the “Megabi Ng Lagim”. we had such a blast, and our pictures proved how much fun we had. i will always fondly remember that night!

2.) 22 June 1996 – my coming out party. my family, friends and closest relatives were there to wish me happiness as i officially reached the legal age. it was a night of tears and laughter, and the perfect time to rediscover myself and realize how much i am loved.

3.) 27th August 1997 – it was the date when Ryan & i took our friendship to the next level…a dreamy night where i made one of the most meaningful decisions in my life, and decided to finally open my heart to a new love that was worth all the wait.

4.) 5th January 2006 – our honeymoon night after our civil wedding ceremony a day earlier. we went to our most favorite place in the world, Tagaytay City and spent an afternoon just cruising through the tranquil roads leading to Batangas, with a pit stop at Bag of Beans, Caleruega and a hearty meal at Leslie’s before checking in to spend the night at the quaint
Discovery Country Suites. hubby & i had an awesome time there! we played a few rounds of Scrabble and watched our all-time favorite old, mushy movie, an “An Affair To Remember”. the turn-down treat from the hotel was just romantic…perfect for honeymooners on a chilly night in Tagaytay.

5.) 27th December 2006 – our church wedding reception. it was truly a memorable evening, one that i will never ever forget. people whom Ryan & i consider close to our hearts were there to shower us with their love and support, and that was what made the evening something that we will cherish forever. i loved the fact that the evening was filled with happy faces – we were surrounded then with our loved ones’ warmth, and it was a remarkable feeling!

i’m tagging my pretty blogger friends
fritzie, weng, jowe, drea & krista!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

starting over

two weeks ago, my cousin Arnie happily turned another year older and invited a few people to join him celebrate his natal day. known for being quite a spontaneous person, he often arranges last-minute gatherings, and this occasion was clearly not his first attempt at stressing people with his late notice.

he phoned me hours before the unplanned party to invite me and hubby, and to make one request - he wanted a specific gift, and he wanted me to say yes to it. it would’ve been a lot easier had the gift been something inanimate, but what he had asked was one of the most unexpected things i’d hear him say…he had asked me to patch up with my estranged buddy C during his party.


as soon as the line went dead, my palms started to sweat and my mind raced in lightning speed with dozens of questions and thoughts. i literally didn’t know what to say or do since it’ll be the first time in 2 years that i’d be meeting her face-to-face. the thought of that long period of time sans contact kept playing on and on in my mind. but my pride got the better of me so i decided not to plan anything since i still didn’t wanna make the first move. i left everything in fate’s hands and trooped to my cousin’s flat with a tinge of trepidation, and at the same time utter curiosity as to how the evening will progress.


on my way to the party, memories of how my friendship with C fell apart began to subconsciously flash in my mind. what happened 2 years ago was like a nightmare that i’ve always wished i’d never have to recall. we had a solid 10 years of friendship before our relationship faltered...and just because we had bottled up feelings and frustrations over each other in the past, we allowed our friendship to go down the drain in just a snap of a finger, without the slightest thought of talking things through.

i lucidly remember how we were inseparable during college and how we kept the closeness rolling even after graduation. in all the years that we were in the best of terms, we patiently listened to one another’s worries & fears, mutually provided support in every career move we made, witnessed every heart break we faced, engrossed ourselves with meaningful conversations over coffee, and even excitedly giggled together like little kids as we boarded the plane bound to Dubai. yes, we were there for each other during those times, and weird as it may seem, the very moment i stepped inside the building where the party was being held, i unashamedly admitted to myself that i did miss her and her company.

she was the first person i saw when i entered the hall, but i acted as if i didn’t see her and headed straight to where my hubby and friends were. i could sense that everyone in the room was feeling tensed, and i could almost hear what their minds were thinking. it was one of the most awkward situations i’ve been into, and it sucked!

time ticked away while both of us pretended that tension wasn't building up inside the room. bessie Beth, bless her, took matters into her own hands and initiated the talk. she took my hand and led me to the fire escape where C and i used to have our daily talks. it was the very place where we laughed and cried and vented out all our rants and shared unabashedly how scared we were of the uncertain future when we first came here to Dubai.


as soon as the door was shut, i bravely confronted her with an encouraging look on my face. following my instincts to do the right thing, i gave her a warm, welcoming hug. i was tongue-tied when she apologized, and all i could say then was that i was sincerely glad the saga was finally over. my long lost friend was there, right in front of me, and you can just imagine what kind of relief it was when we stood there smiling as if nothing happened. for me, it was the perfect way to rekindle our friendship. in no less than an hour, we were chatting away like the way we used to, and shared the regret of missing out on a lot of things in the last couple of years that we weren't on speaking terms.

looking back, i realized how much time we’ve wasted when we stupidly allowed our selfishness to tear us apart. but i’ve always believed that things happen for a reason. we've grown and matured while we were apart, and realized the kind of mistakes we've done to hurt each other. yes, we got bumped and bruised, but thankfully we weren’t damaged enough not to believe in starting over and having faith that our friendship can still be restored.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

ahoy mates! the captain’s turned one

a few weeks ago, we attended the 1st birthday bash of Klyde Hendrix Joachim – Hazel’s adorable son. the party was themed “Pirates & Hidden Treasures” and the kiddo was in his cute costume, complete with a pirate hat and sword. although the beautifully decorated ballroom was huge, the place was filled with guests - young and old alike. apart from the usual guest tables, there were some colorful small tables and chairs, as well, a bouncy castle to entertain the little tykes, a face painting corner and a cotton candy machine which bought smiles and sugar to the guests’ lips.

there were only a handful of children who attended, but the party turned out to be fun as the hall was filled with adults who were kids at heart. the games prepared were amusing, and the crowd cheered when it was time for the not-so-young couples to play in one of the games. during dinner, a heart-warming slideshow presentation from Klyde's Dad & Mom was played, which left the viewers in awe.

sissy Hazel, a very hands-on working mom, prepared months in advance for this celebration, and twisted my arm to be the emcee for the party. it was my first time to host a kiddie shindig in a huge pack, and i must admit that despite feeling a bit nervous then, hosting it was such a delight. the program went smoothly – thanks to the ever organized Mommy of the birthday boy who painstakingly put everything together.



being a witness to the preparations that Hazel had done made me realize how much a parent can actually go for to make their child happy. it was like preparing for one’s own, but double the effort to make it extra special and memorable. i guess nothing beats the feeling of fulfilment for something done out of love, especially for your own child. i just hope someday, when it’s my turn to become a Mommy, my instincts will tell me what to do.

having said that, i congratulate Hazel for a job well done...and of course, a toast to the good looking, future heartthrob birthday boy!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

the cutest documentary ever

i’ve been meaning to write about this documentary for weeks. but as usual, i got sidetracked, and completely forgot to finish writing about this film i’ve seen on DVD a few weeks ago. my life has been so full of happenings recently so it was a bit difficult for me to stay focused on one task while i juggle my time as a corporate slave by day and a full-time wife and home maker by night.

well, enough about my not-so-interesting life. let me get to the real story that i wanted to share with you. this is about an uber cool documentary of an ordinary guy from New Jersey named Brian Herzlinger, an aspiring movie maker who’s got this huge crush on Hollywood’s prettiest angel, Drew Barrymore, since 2nd Grade (that’s after watching E.T.) it all started when he won $1,100 on a game show, where ironically, the answer to the winning question was “Drew Barrymore”. he thought it must be fate, so he decided to pursue one date with her – not expecting anything romantic out of it.

a guy who’s jobless, broke, and only armed with $1,100 in his pocket, Brian chased this lifelong dream. with full determination and with the help of his trusted friends, they formed the ‘Drew Crew’ and embarked on a once in a lifetime 30-day journey. why 30 days you ask? Circuit City then had a 30-day return policy so that gave Brian an uninsured digital video camera he needed to make his docu film, which is his only ticket to get Drew’s attention - thanks of course to the dependable credit card of his buddy. the docu film, along with guts, will power, and prayer, will be sent to Drew using the force of the “6 degrees of separation”.


i thought it would be the usual boring documentary i’m used to, but it’s totally not! it was hilarious and rather entertaining. and it’s also an emotional film that captured the raw emotions of the people involved in completing it. the following are the highlights of the film that you should watch out for:

  • Brian coaxing the ex-assistant of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Kerry David, who ended up being the Producer of the film. when she finally jumped onto the car, passion just fuelled her and drove her to use all her connections just to make the project a success.
  • Brian trying to shape up in order to be physically appealing when he finally meets his all-time biggest crush (i swear, this guy is sooo motivated!!)
  • Brian convincing his Mom that what he’s doing is simply just fulfilling his two dreams: becoming a filmmaker and having a simple dinner with someone in the Hollywood industry who's so down-to-earth and normal as any other person in this world.
  • Brian showing off his membership to the Drew Barrymore club when he was in Gradeschool (aaawww…you’ve gotta see the pink envelope and the autographed picture!)
  • Brian going into a number of arguments with his ex-girlfriend who flew into a jealous rage at the thought of Brian trying to have a relationship with Drew Barrymore (sounds like someone’s still hung up on our lead star! LOL!)
  • Brian successfully gate crashing to the Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle party after its Premier and briefly meeting Drew for the first time. take note of this: he was accompanied by the wives of his friends. talk about full support and encouragement!
  • Brian returning the videocam to Circuit City (this scene may require you to hold on to your tissues)

actually, the comedy is packed with more highlights, but these were just my personal favorites. there’s one more, but it’s like giving away the full story so i’ll just keep it to myself for now.

two things i’ve learned from this film:

1.) never let go of your dreams. some people may brush you off and tell you it ain’t gonna happen sweetheart, but who the hell cares?? they’re your dreams and it’s your right to reach for them. do not settle for anything less if you know you can do something about fulfilling those aspirations that mean to you. the choice is always yours, and at the end of the day, you’re most likely to be the one who will feel the satisfaction upon achieving them. so do not stop believing...do not stop aiming for something. the day we stop growing is the day we stop dreaming.

2.) treasure your friends and have faith in them. those who are true to you will stick with you no matter what happens. true friends’ support could bring out the best in you because most of the time, your happiness and success mirror theirs. it’s always this way when what you have is solid and sincere.

i highly suggest you go watch this movie and be inspired. it's not only a funny movie, but it's also creatively done, which made them earn 4 awards in various film festivals. and before you share this with anybody, be sure to keep these words of Drew Barrymore in mind, "if you don't take risks, you'll have a wasted soul."

very well said.

p.s. thanks to sweet Cherry Dimples for sharing this flick with me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

parking prob

early this morning, two idiots double-parked and blocked our car. it’s so annoying that we had to struggle to get out and fit Sphinx between a small car and a pick up at 6:00 am. as in the space was like only 5 inches on each side, not counting the side mirrors! it only proves our premise right that this country badly needs some good training on ethics and courtesy.

grrrr…what a way to start our day!

Monday, October 8, 2007

fantastic week ender

i’m such a huge fan of reunions and get-togethers. i enjoy organizing gimmicks, out of town trips, house parties or simple gatherings over coffee or dinner. it gives me an adrenaline rush whenever i am involved in the logistics…i get this amazing feeling when things fall into place, especially when the scheduled meeting goes as planned. and even if it doesn’t, the mere thought of being part of it brings me joy.

being a self-confessed OC, people have this notion of me that i am an extremely organized person. yes, i admit that i enjoy being too organized - it gives me a sense of control over things. and since i hate unpleasant surprises, i am the type of person who will always look before i leap and do my best to be armed at all costs. although that’s not always the case everyday, i try as much as i can to work my way around things, making sure that everything is in proper order. and even if there’s so much on my plate to finish, i take time to engage myself in other activities to keep my mind off the pressure from work. i guess that’s why i always land on the part of being the official “organizer” in a group, be it with my barkada, with my family or at work. with my former employer, i was involved in organizing the company outings and Christmas parties. for the DIFC Authority, i am the most involved when it comes to the DIFCA Filipino Community.

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speaking of gatherings, last Thursday, i arranged a small party for our Pinoy Community: the Bed and Bath-themed bridal shower of Jen, and the farewell party of Claudette. Jen's getting married in a week’s time in Sydney, Australia with her Portuguese fiancé. we opted to do her shower party a week before their flight. meanwhile, it was also Claudette's last day at work, and her bye-bye party was our token of appreciation for all the help she had extended to each one of us (she was from Human Capital's Employee Services so you can just imagine how much we bombarded her with our inquiries), and our way of wishing her luck as she moves to greater challenges. the celebration was done at Nikolai’s nook, and almost every Pinoy expat in the organization attended.

the evening turned out great! food was promptly delivered by Chin-Chin, the ever-reliable Chinese Food Take-Away/Delivery shop. and with Hazel's camcorder, we were able to capture the awkward moments of everyone on cam while belting out songs on the karaoke, as well as our well-wishes to both Jen & Claudette. a common gift and a bouquet of flowers were given to each of them from the entire gang. for Jen, we got her and Pedro GCs from the funky home furnishing store, The One, and for Claudette, a passport holder from Louis Vuitton (guess who's idea was that? ;-D ). apart from our wedding gift, Jen managed to take home lots of kinky gifts from us girls - ranging from undies to teddies to Chocolate Body Paint. it was a hilarious night as she modeled her nighties (with clothes on, of course!) and felt like like a spoilt kid with all her loot. we didn't get the chance to play some naughty games, but we sure had tons of fun singing Donna Summer songs altogether and painted the town red.

i must say the evening was a discovery of the many talents in our bunch. most could carry a tune, while the others were simply witty with their shared anecdotes and antics. it was definitely one of the best gatherings we had in months! not that i'm gloating (and patronizing myself, too) because i organized it, but i think it was quite successful merely because Pinoys in DIFCA know how to have fun. it was an awesome way to end a stressful week at work: clean fun over yummy food, a few glasses of booze and some karaoke to rock the night away...
what more could you ask for?

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to Jen & Pedro - congratulations & best wishes! as written on our card:

"May your joys be as bright as the morning,
your years of happiness
as numerous as the stars in the heavens,
and your troubles but shadows
that fade in the sunlight of love."

for Claudette - many thanks for all the help and support you've given us. we wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors. you're one helluva wonderful person whom we'll surely miss!