Sunday, October 31, 2004

Lessons from the Bo-Sox

Not since 1918 has the Boston Red Sox ever tasted the glory of a World Series win. Not since the Boston Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919. (read more on The Curse of the Bambino).

I am more of a Jeter fan than a Yankee fan. I did not sit to watch any of the Yankees game until the player they call Mr. Good Guy joined the team in 1995. Since then, I have rooted and cheered for the New York team and have seen them through several World Series championships. I have also seen some of the better players traded off to other teams in exchange for newer players. I have seen this enterprise grow in terms of salaries and egos. Regardless, the Yankees have stayed a force to contend with in the American baseball league.

This short essay, however, is not about the Yankees. It is about that other team whose numbers in terms of budget for player salaries is almost as bloated as that of the Yankees but who has hurdled time and time again to grasping that much elusive championship. Until World Series 2004.

It is so much easier to make a winner out of one who has the motivation to win. The players admit that it is the desperation in the faces of the fans that had pushed them to play their very best, and win. Victory is sweeter to the one who had gambled and risked limb and life for the title. The image of Curt Shilling's bleeding ankle while he is on the mound hs been flashed on TV over and over, emphasizing the long and difficult road that their battle has taken to the win.

I have seen many people who failed in their endeavors simply because they believed they will. Those who have had the will to believe that they will win often prevailed, a case of mind over matter.

This is the way my mom had taught us - Francis, Gigi and I about life, about making our dreams come true and of huddling the challenges life hurls our way. This is the mantra I hope I had passed on to Nicole - as the tennis player, the honor student, the gold medalist orator, the writer for the school paper, the certified nerd and the daughter who makes me proud to be her mom.

Hard work and determination have always been the key to success. Just as the faith that you can overcome fate and that destiny can be turned to your favor. And a lunar eclipse just before the final inning doesn't hurt as well.

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, from the New York Yankee fan.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Como se dice?

How do you say 'happy birthday' to a dear friend who makes you laugh in the mornings when he is in a good mood? How do you express gratitude to someone who trusts you with his dreams and who gives you the motivation to pursue perfection in an endeavor that not many believed in? How do you tell someone that friendship survives despite distance - through email, chat, phone call or SMS because he gives you the faith that it is worth every effort?

Simply HAPPY BIRTHDAY, I guess, to my favorite Italian.

from New York to Skopje to New York...

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Making Strides for Breast Cancer

It is Sunday and 45 degrees outside (and windy!) so who wants to get out of a nice warm bed surrounded by 6 pillows and a nice fluffy feather blanket? Me, of course, with the resolve to join the ACS Breast Cancer Walk!

The registration area at East 97th Street

I met up with my team at about 930AM and then we took the 5 mile walk from the starting line at the East Meadow on East 97th Street, went down to 79th street at Central Park West then uptown to 110th Street and then crosstown to the finish line which was where we started.

Along the route were cheerers who shouted the walkers on and rooted for the many teams that joined the walk. Some handed out bottles of water though what we really needed was hot cups of tea/coffee because it was cold!

It was a short 5 mile because you had so many people to chat with. The friends who had gone with me the previous years weren't able to join but there were more to meet. We walked behind, in front and beside the blue flag of the team which changed hands about 10 times during the course.

Towards the last quarter of the final mile more people lined the side of the route and the cheers were louder. A sign brought laughter to everyone: FREE FOOT MASSAGE AHEAD (just kidding!).

One male teenager had the most memorable cheer of course as he shouted it out with much enthusiasm: God bless women's breast!

Heading Home

Ludette sent me this link last week. Let me tell you this is probably one of the more effective marketing promotion for Philippines tourism. I saw the clip and immediately felt the excitement of my travel home in time for the holidays. The beat of the music is not at all 'imported', it actually reminds me of the music of Mindanao.

Click on the ink below. It'll open your windows media player. It might take a while to upload but I will tell you it is worth it. Makita-kita na ba tayo sa Manila sa Disyembre?

And then these are pics from my visit in 2003:

Mt. Pinatubo

Greenbelt in Makati

Fruit Stand along Highway in Tagaytay

Houses on Stilts

Taal Volcano and Lake

Friday, October 15, 2004

Friday Night at Home

It's been a while since I stayed home on a Friday. When my parents were here I quit social life temporarily, opting to mingle and mix only with relatives who were visiting to see them or friends at work and even that, confined it to a 9 to 5 thing. Either see me at lunch or postpone it til after they have left.

Tonight is a Friday. I am home. I have chosen to be home, alone and planned on sulking. I did my laundry (AARRGGHH!!!!!!!!) earlier and I now have clean clothes neatly stacked and hung in my closet. A friend dropped by to finish the menudo my mom cooked and the pan de sal leftover from the breakfast I brought to work yesterday for Renee and Wally. He helped me move my furniture around some more (because he couldn't see the TV from the sofa) and then went home because I told him I wanted to be alone to sulk more effectively. On the way out he warned me I only had until the end of the weekend to sulk and then he wasn't allowing it anymore. I hate it when friends care too much. It gets way too mushy when I'm vulnerable.

I also discovered something. It is a myth that ALL New Yorkers go out on a Friday. I can audibly confirm that my neighbor upstairs is home. I can hear her very heavy footsteps pacing the floor all night. As I was finishing my chore in the laundry room in my basement, another lady has just started to do her own load. I know her by face, and know she lives on the 4th floor. But we know each other only as much as we are familiar with the rest of the residents of the building. The couple a few doors from me are cooking something delicious and the aroma of the tomatoes cooking fills the corridors and their muffled voice can be heard when you pass their door.

It is 1030PM and I really have nothing planned for the night. I think I will sit around and browse the internet until it is time for Dave Letterman. Maybe tonight he will spoof again Bush's bulge on his back. What do you think the boxy bulge is?

I will probably attempt to finally catch up on my unread emails (98 in my yahoo mailbox and if I didn't reply to you yet then maybe yours is still unread). Maybe I will send a note to some friends to catch up. My friend Allen is in San Francisco and she called last night for a chit chat. I still owe her another call for a longer chismisan.

Friday night at home in my silk jammies and munching on grapes. Not as bad as I thought it would be. I even have more clean clothes in my closet. Not bad at all.


On Sunday I will join the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Walk at Central Park. This is the 3rd year I will be doing this and I think I have made this my personal crusade. I encourage you to join any breast cancer walks in your city or if you can't, to send a check to the ACS. Any amount, big or small will benefit the research for the disease. It just might benefit someone you know - a mom, a sister, a child, an aunt, friend or neighbor.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Alone Again, Naturally

Prior to their arrival, I agonized about how my parents could possibly enjoy staying with me in my Manhattan apartment. I worried so much I had stress related acne and weight gain (yeah, blame it on stress). I have a walk-up and my mom has knee problems. And I was also afraid this would tire her so much that her blood pressure might shoot up. I have a studio that is smaller than their bedroom, a bathroom about the size of their closet and I do not own a car that they have gotten so used to in going around. This is Manhattan where people either take the subway, the bus or the cab or walk. I worry that they might get tired that they won't enjoy their vacation. There was no space for my dad to smoke as I live in a smoke free building.

I have learned that things always work out. And it did. My mom did get tired the first few days she had to climb or descend the stairs. Towards the end of their visit she was still slow coming down but didn't get tired as easily. She had built up her stamina so much that by the final weekend when we went to Woodbury Outlets in time for Columbus Day sales, she was running around to get pasalubongs for her grandkids with so much energy.

Initially my dad smoked near my window with my fan acting as an exhaust. Then he discovered that he could step out into the fire escape and enjoy the view and eventually that was what he enjoyed most, watching the city pass by from my third floor 'mini-balcony'. When the mercury started to go down toward their last days in the city, he had also decided to minimize his smoking as he had run out of the packs he had brought in from Manila. The price of a pack of cigarettes here, he complains, at $7 is the cost of 2 reams of cigarettes at home! So it was a good excuse to minimize his nicotine intake.

My mom cooked a lot while she was what I'd prefer, their New York home. She made my aunt very happy with the daily feasts she created of the finest adobo, menudo, pochero, sinigang and tinola. She even played around with the ingredients that were readily available that were cheaper here than at home. She baked salmon that my dad and I literally gulped down with gusto.

It was great to go home and find them at home and then to leave in the mornings for work with the usual ritual of saying goodbye to them. Call me a baby but that was the rituals of my life that I have never outgrown. So coming home today (they left last night) to a dark and quiet apartment was so depressing I just had to move the furniture around and give the apartment a new look.

My parents have traveled to New York many times before prior to my eventual decision to work and live here. They have gone and done all the touristy stuff in the city. On this visit they literally just walked around and met up with relatives and friends. In the weekends we rented a vehicle and drove outside of the city. And it was fun and much as I do not feel the monthly cost of paying for a car, renting I realized, wasn't so bad either! You can have a different car for your every need and it is readily available to you when you need it. I had a van the first week and a medium sized car the next two weekends. I had also reserved an SUV for the last Sunday but we just decided to stay in the city and take it easy.

I haven't had the chance to blog as much while they were here. There was no need to as the major updating that was required for the moment was too close at hand there was no need to go online. This was about setting my priority and I think I stood by which was more important - be with my parents. And I had no time to neither- it was all about family.

My friends at work are not surprised with my closeness to my family. Filipinos outnumber any nationality in our organization and there is a familiarity about the clannishness of our people. I think Andrea had put it most clearly when she said, "You're lucky that you do not come from some dysfunctional family". I know.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Sweet Baby Love

I became an aunt the second time around on Saturday, 2 October at 10:05 PM Manila time. Little Lim Nathaniel came into the world two weeks early weighing 7.2 pounds and 49 cm long. A crop of dark black hair and bright red lips, he was such a cute bundle and whose pictures I received barely 12 hours after he was born. Thanks, of course to the excitement and enthusiasm of daddy Francis.

Liam Nathaniel at 3 days

The next day, Sunday I received a call from my cousin Audrey who surprised me by passing the phone to a cousin who was visiting fom Manila with his wife and 5 month old Sofia. Would I want to meet up with them, he asked. A baby? Of course! And so we met up for coffee at the Cipriani Dolci at Grand Central Station for a quick family reunion and an introduction to little Sofia.

Sofia Adriana at 5 months with mom

Too many baby pictures and too many babies lately. Another cutie, but I have no picture to show is Leah Daisy, Patricia and Troy's first baby.

My favorite of course being the best of them all who makes motherhood a great rewarding adventure: my own, Nicole Anne.