Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas!!!!

Pre-Christmas checklist:

1. Wrap remaining gifts and place in bags organized by family. CHECK
2. Trip to grocery store and deli for Christmas Eve food. CHECK
3. Quick trip to the mall for five more gifts. CHECK
4. Lovely black crocheted bolero type sweater for self that screamed "Buy ME! CHECK.
5. Phone call to cousins to confirm that since they are unavailable to go to the mall today and tomorrow morning, it is perfectly ok for them to receive a post Christmas gift. CHECK.

Just another night and it's Christmas Eve. The presents have been wrapped and tagged and bagged. Apart from some mild sniffles from Joshua, it looks like we are through with the bug this Christmas (fingers crossed!).

I was expecting today to be a very stressful one but to my surprise (and delight!) it wasn't. Even an afternoon trip to the mall and the grocery didn't bother me in the slightest. I came home to see my dad preparing an outdoor dinner and we spent most of the evening talking outside while listening to Christmas songs. What a perfect, perfect way to officially herald the Christmas celebration.

I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful, wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. To my blogger friends, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to have "met" you. You guys have made this year extra special for me. Here's to more celebrations at Blogworld Road!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Four Things Meme

I've been tagged by Maysha for this. Whew! This week has been all about tags. But I like it -- it eases the stress of the workday and preparing for the holidays.

Four jobs I've had:

Well, I've only ever done HR work so here are the HR positions I've held:
- Career Management Assistant (my first job out of college) in a bank
- Human Resource Consultant (where I met some of the most fabulous people with whom I am still good friends with. And yes, this was with Maria! And we had so much fun!)
- Organization Development Consultant
- Compensation and Benefits Manager

Four Places I've Lived:

Again, I've only ever lived in two places in the Philippines, both in the city. I'm a city girl through and through. Oh! I forgot I also live in Blogworld Road!

Four Favorite Foods:

- Prime Rib (I'm a carnivore)
- Pasta (And I love carbs so I am doomed!)
- Chocolate
- My mom's Pavlova -- It's made out of egg white meringue topped with cream and lots of Philippine mangoes. It is out of this world!

Four movies I could watch over and over: Oh, this was hard!

- Indiana Jones (any of the three)
- Ever After
- Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - I loved the battle scene in this movie. It conveyed a sense of hopelessness that was lacking in the third installment.
- Pretty Woman

Four TV Shows I enjoy:

- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Sex in the City
- The Amazing Race
- House

Four Places I've Travelled:

- Costa Rica
- Shanghai, China
- Bangalore, India
- Phuket, Thailand (my honeymoon)

Four Places I'd like to visit:

- Tuscany
- Paris
- Greece
- Jerusalem

Four Websites I go to Daily:

- my blog and blogroll
- Pink is the new blog - great celebrity website
- Amazon -- not daily but fairly regularly
- Oprah website

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

As easy as 1-2-3

Maria tagged me to do this meme and it's easy as 1-2-3!

All you have to do is:

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123 and go down to the fifth sentence.
3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog.
4. Name the book and the author.
5. Tag three people.

I smiled from ear to ear, as i jumped into her arms and held her tightly. As she ran her hand through my hair, I began to cry. Mother cried too, and I began to feel that my bad times were finished.

From "A Child called It" by Dave Pelzer

No tags, just do it if you want to. :D

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Take a Break

Someone sent me this bunch of cartoons over email. Thought I'd share it.

"Damn contemporary bullshit architecture!"

Five Things for Christmas

I've been tagged by the adorable Samson and his mommy Juliet. A very very Christmassy tag! So to take away the building stress of not having enough time to complete the mile long (well, not really but it feels like it) list of things I haven't done before Christmas, here's my list.

Five things I would like this Christmas:

1. I would like to officially stop shopping for Christmas presents on the morning of the 23rd. That is absolutely the last day -- I have to take my cousins shopping for what they want for Christmas. Because they're picky. Nah, just kidding. They're home from the US visiting after 10 years and I have no idea what to give them that they don't already have. So I am taking them around and buying them presents. I'm killing two birds with one stone. That's two things off my list.

2. I would like my kids to enjoy the holidays and share their toys.

3. I'd like some free time to myself to read a book for a while.

4. To eat carbs and chocolates on Christmas day.

5. A massage and at least 8 hours of sleep.

Five things I would really prefer not to contend with this Christmas:

1. Anyone in the family to get sick. (Please, please, please, please.....)

2. After Christmas clean up.

3. Traffic.

4. Traffic.

5. Traffic.

I'm tagging: Irene, Maysha, Steve

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just a quick one

Tomorrow is my son's Christmas program in school and I am keeping my fingers crossed. I am hoping that this time, he will actually do something more than just stand on stage and stare at the crowd. Oh I don't berate him or anything. I know it can be quite overwhelming for a child to stand and face an audience of beaming parents. But tomorrow, I am really hopeful. He's got a lot of roles to play. They have a short skit which is like the night before Christmas (and he has lines!). Then a song and dance number. And then another class is borrowing him to play Joseph in their skit. And tonight he seems relaxed about everything. So hope with me, ok?

This is going to be a quick one, I wanted to write about something else but I got distracted by what I read in one of the blogs I consider a favorite. Plus, I stayed up till midnight last night wrapping gifts and was up by 5am for a 7am meeting, AND I STILL HAVE A COUGH. Aaargggh!

And oh, in case you're interested, head on over to the Book Bitches blog (just click on their link on the right) and see the new Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie trailer. It is awesome!

Hokay, gotta go. My two year old daughter is playing with a certain part of my anatomy while I am typing. I gotta nip this in the bud.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bookworm Tag...Again

I was reading Caroline's post about The Adoption by Dave Hill and got interested in the book. Which led me to thinking it would be nice to pick up some books to read from other people's favorite list. So I am resurrecting this book tag and I am tagging the residents of Blogworld road: Maria, Ces, Kj, Leo and Maysha, Caroline, Marie and Cherrypie.

No took me a lot of time to think about my answers. I am so looking forward to your choices!

1. Book/s that changed my life

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery -- I read this book when I was young and was totally blown away. I love the way it is so full of insight and how, every time I read it, I get hit again and again by the truth it reveals about human nature.

Animal Farm by George Orwell – I will forever be thankful that I had the brilliance to take an English Lit class as one of my electives in UP. This book was a reading assignment and to put it simply, it really bothered me. The premise was simple and yet the imagery and the message, was so powerful.

2. Book you’ve read more than once – Since it is a habit of mine to reread books when I get bored, this one was so difficult because if I listed it all, there would be more than a hundred of them.

Mythology by Edith Hamilton – There was an old worn out copy in our house and in a fit of boredom (I was 10), I picked it up. That started my fascination with Greek Mythology. I read this book over and over and over that I almost memorized it. I wasn’t surprised when I aced the Greek Mythology part in my fourth year high school English class.

The Arabian Nights – This book was a really thick Reader’s Digest children’s version that I borrowed (and never returned) from my aunt. I still have the super dog eared copy in a bookshelf, saving it for when the kids are old enough to enjoy it.

Doctors by Erich Segal – I read this when I was in UP. I was curious about Love Story (didn’t see the movie) and after reading it (too mushy), thought I’d try another one. I would read this every time I was in between books and read it cover to cover without getting a bit bored. It offers a fascinating insight into the lives of four Harvard Med school students. It was like reading Gross Anatomy (movie with Matthew Modine) only ten times more riveting.

3. Book you’d want on a desert island – That would be any one of the books in #2.

4. Book that made you laugh

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella – She had me at the first page. Every girl has a Becky Bloomwood inside, just roaring to be let out. Shhhh, I keep my inner Becky in tranquilizers.

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding – This one doesn’t need any explanation. I never anticipated a movie version more than this one (except perhaps Harry Potter) and I wasn’t disappointed. The movie was as funny as the book.

5. Book that made you cry

Baby ER by Edward Humes– Perhaps because of Joshua’s premature birth (see blog post My Happy Ending), this book really ripped my heart out. Almost every chapter reduced me to tears. It’s a documentation of the heroic efforts made by a medical staff in a hospital in the U.S. that works in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (a place where the really sick babies are kept). Each case was poignant and heartbreaking and includes several chapters that discuss the history of treatment of preemies. It was particularly heartbreaking to read that doctors in the past often performed surgery on premature babies without anesthesia in the assumption that their nerves were so underdeveloped that they couldn’t feel pain. It was only years later that studies showed that preemies could feel ten times more pain – for most early preemies, just the brush of a parent’s finger on the skin would cause extreme pain. (Ok, I’m getting emotional again. Have…to….stop…now.)

What Remains by Carole Radziwill – I read an excerpt of this book from Oprah’s magazine and haunted Powerbooks until I had it. The author, who was the wife of JFK Jr’s. cousin, wrote about her and her husband’s very close relationship with John and Carolyn Bessette and how she dealt with the tragic accident that caused their deaths and then losing her husband to cancer a few weeks later. Reading about her husband’s last moments in the hospital made me cry. I remember Ernest Hemingway said that all love stories end in tragedy because someone always dies. *sniff*

6. Book that you wish you had written

Necroscope by Brian Lumley – I’ve always admired writers of good fantasy books because of the imagination required to create a world that captured a reader’s attention. This book is part of a horror/sci-fi/fantasy series made up of 10 (I think) books (and I have every one of them). It’s about vampires in an alternate world and a British intelligence agency (like the CIA) that’s made up of “gifted” agents. Fantastic series and really gory.

Harry Potter – no explanation needed.

7. Book that you wish you had never been written – For the life of me, I can’t think of a single one. There are a lot of books that I wish I didn’t buy or read but I think they were so forgettable that I just can’t remember the titles. Except for the book in number 11. That would probably be it.

8. Book you are reading at the moment -- Just finished “The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory. A brilliant historical fiction book based on the Boleyn sisters (Mary and Anne) and how they seduced King Henry VIII to gain power for their family. This is now being made into a film starring Natalie Portman as Anne and Eric Bana as Henry VIII. Scarlett Johannsen plays Mary.

9. Book you’ve been meaning to read

One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- I have the copy, I’ve always been curious about it, just haven’t gotten around to reading it.

10. Book you read in one sitting -- In my heyday, I could finish 2-3 books in one day. Now it takes me about a week.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – I first found out about Harry Potter when I read a short blurb about it in Time Magazine (it wasn’t a sensation yet) and I thought, hmmm…children’s book. Am I glad I decided to give in to my curiosity and got a copy. I should also add that when I read this, I didn't have kids yet so I had the luxury of sitting down and not getting up for two hours.

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud -- Again, I stumbled on this one while browsing through Amazon and the comments made me interested. It’s a three part series (Bartimaeus Trilogy) that is guaranteed to cure your waiting for the next Harry Potter itch. It has the same elements that the Potter series has but with a totally different (and fresh) angle on magic. The “hero” is a djinn with a smart mouth reminiscent of Robin Williams’ genie in the animated Disney film, “Aladdin”. His comments are documented in footnotes and are laugh out loud funny. Read this while the kids were taking a nap -- not really in one sitting but finished it within the day.

11. Book you didn’t quite “get”

By the River Piedra I sat down and wept by Paulo Coelho – Ok, sorry to all the fans out there. I’ve been hearing all praises for this book and finally got down to reading it. I am so glad I just borrowed this book and didn’t buy it. I thought it was weird and creepy.

12. Three authors whose books you will always buy or read, no questions asked

Sophie Kinsella, J.K. Rowling, Jane Green -- Chick Lit and Children's book authors. These are the only ones whose books, in my opinion, have never missed. Sadly, a lot of the authors whose books I read and (used to) patronize, are hit and miss. For instance, I loved the Tom Clancy series about Jack Ryan but his recent books have been a disappointment.

13. Forget the book and just watch the movie

Lord of the Rings – Yes I know it’s supposed to be a classic and I really tried to get into it but it bored me to tears.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Weekend blues

I didn't win the trip to Australia at the Christmas party. In fact, I didn't win anything which should not come as a surprise because I never win at these things. But I'm still wickedly disappointed. On the other hand, the presentation went really well so I have to be thankful for that.

The kids are both sick with a runny nose and a bit of a cough. I hate, hate, hate it when the kids are sick.

Now I've got a doozer of a sore throat. It hurts to talk, it hurts to eat.

Oh I am so much fun to be with today.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Five Fave Christmas Songs

Oooh! I've been tagged by Ces! How fun!

So here are my Five Fave Christmas Songs:

1. The Christmas Waltz -- versions by the Carpenters and Frank Sinatra. As a teenager, I've always daydreamed about attending a fancy dress ball and dancing the waltz to this song with the snow falling outside.

2. O Come All Ye Faithful -- any choir version. It just sounds better to me if it's sung by a choir.

3. Hark the Herald Angels Sing -- again, any choir version. I love it when this song and number 2 are sung by the choir during midnight mass.

4. Sleigh Ride -- best version by the Carpenters. She sings it in such an upbeat way that I love singing along.

5. The Christmas Song -- Nat King Cole. Absolutely nothing beats this.

No tags, just do this if you feel like it.

Postscript to Checking in

I finally got my picture up. And I think I've figured out why I can't post comments on some blogs. Since I transferred to the beta version, I am having problems posting comments to blogs that have not transferred to the blogger beta version. Sigh! To the others who are on blogger beta, am I right in my assumption??

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Checking In

I can't post comments. I keep getting an error message.

There's something wrong with my picture -- it doesn't show on my profile.

I can't post pictures.

Doesn't work in Firefox either.

On the bright side, I am so, so, so happy! My books arrived in the mail!!!!!! All twelve of them!!!!! I am in book heaven. I don't know where to start.

And the complete season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been crossed off my list (Yay!). Yes, I am a fan. Now go snicker somewhere else. Where I cannot see you.

I will be performing at the company Christmas party on Friday together with all the new hire suckers. Wish me luck.

Kinda early for a Christmas party, huh?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Scenes from a Weekend

I am supposed to be sleeping but I CAN'T SLEEP. So here I am hunched over my laptop inside the bathroom, not caring that I have an 8am meeting tomorrow and will have to be up by 5:30am to make it through the rush hour traffic.

Some highlights of the three day weekend I just had:

1. First off, The Dora the Explorer Sing along fiesta at the mall! Woohoo! You can see the kids look positively thrilled here. No, really, they loved the show but refused to smile for the camera. Rats! I didn't see much of the show...I was too busy watching my daughter watch the show and say..."Swiper no swiping!!!".

2. While driving home from the mall Sunday night, my mom, husband and I were talking quietly when Faith (who I thought was busy guzzling her milk) kept saying "Yikes!", or so I thought. After about the nth time she said it, I turned to her and asked, "why do say yikes, sweetie?". She just smiled at me and said it again. I realized after passing a brightly decorated house and she said "oooh, yikes!" again that she was really saying "Lights!"

3. This is why I think my daughter will never be a wallflower. I just saw these pictures and was so amused by them. This was taken during the big school assessment (which they both passed!!!! Yippee!). Faith nonchalantly sat a little distance from a group of older girls in uniform. Five minutes after and she was the center of attention. Wish I made friends this easily when I was a kid.

4. A recent conversation with Faith while she was doing number 2. She kept saying "yuck!" and "gwoss!!!" I couldn't stop smiling. It was the most enjoyable 10 minutes I ever spent inside the toilet.

5. Bedtime conversation with Joshua while Faith was busy trying to make me smell her toes and winking.

- Mommy, who will I marry?
- Um, who do you want to marry?
- Nope, you can't marry your mommy.
- How about tita (auntie)?
- You can't marry her either. You can't marry someone who's related to you.
- So who will I marry when I grow up?
- Well, what kind of girl do you want to marry?
- (Thinks hard) How about you choose for me, mommy?
- What?!!
- When I grow up, you choose the girl I'm going to marry.
- OK!!!!

I can't believe he gave me permission. Years from now I'm going to let him read my blog entries and remind him that he gave me carte blanche. HA HA HA!!!

On a side note, what in the world is wrong with Internet explorer???!!!! If I open blogger, I can't post pictures and can't see a preview!! Grrrr....

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday 13

It's been a peaceful day so far. I am thankful that the typhoon passed over the place I live. It's very windy outside but the weather's cool and the kids and I just woke up from a very long afternoon nap which I will probably regret later tonight. It's a long weekend for us which I hope will mean the Christmas gifts will get wrapped and the kids' old toys and clothes organized to give away. The hubby is spending the entire three days working which means I will try very hard not to distract him (I promise not to make faces while you're working, cross my heart!). So while the two of us are on the couch, typing away, here's my thirteen list.

13 Things I look forward to every Christmas season

1. Making my Christmas list. It's in excel and has my lists since 2002. It has everybody's names on it classified by immediate family, relatives, friends (college, grad school, office, etc), gift ideas, budget for each. Then I fill in the actual gift I bought and how much it costs. It is probably major OC for me but it helps me prepare myself during the holidays. (And the hubby's list is also included).

2. Buying gifts. I especially love thinking about what to give to very close friends and family. I like looking at people as they open their presents and knowing that the gift made them happy.

3. Wrapping gifts. There's something relaxing about doing something mindless and repetitive every once in a while.

4. Cool weather. December - January is about the only time during the year when we get moderately cool weather without the rain. Although, now there's a typhoon.

5. Christmas carols.

6. Spending time with close family. This year, my aunt and cousins who live in the US are coming over. The last time they went for a visit was 10 years ago. I visited them last year in San Francisco on my way to Arizona and realized how much I missed them (my cousins were still little kids when they left). I can't wait for them to arrive and spend some time giving them the tour.

7. Midnight mass. Every year, we gather at our aunt's house (my dad's sisters and brother), have dinner and then wait for midnight mass where we all troop to church.

8. Noche Buena. After mass, this is the traditional Filipino midnight feast. We gorge on ham, cheese, and whatever it is my aunt serves while everyone distributes the gifts. As a kid, this was the part I liked best.

9. This is now my favorite part. We go home then it's our turn to give the gifts. It's just us, my parents, sisters and brother, the kids and Jun and I. When the presents are everything you said you wanted, and then we talk and laugh until 3 am, or until the kids are so exhausted they fall asleep amidst the Christmas wrappers.

10. Reading my husband's Christmas card.

11. When the kids are safely in bed and Jun and I just talk quietly, going over the year and the funny highlights of the night.

12. Getting up really late on Christmas morning and having a lazy, lazy breakfast while the kids are preoccupied with their new toys.

13. New Year's Eve. Just me and my siblings at home, playing really loud chillout music and dancing till midnight. A little wine and a lot of food.