Sunday, July 31, 2005

The First One who Broke my Heart

The Shaun Cassidy of my youth

Fridays at 7:30 PM. I remember so well when the ‘Hardy Boys’ series was on TV, starring Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson. Everyone in my family will attest to my crazed obsession with Shaun Cassidy. When my sister visited my aunt in New York before I lived here, they had a chance to watch him on the Broadway play Blood Brothers and giggled through the whole show remembering.

I collected his records – in vinyl, nonetheless and they’re still at home at my parent’s house with the life-sized poster that came with the first album. It used to hang in my bedroom among many other fan paraphernalia I had collected – Tigerbeat magazines included. In 1979 he got married to Playboy playmate Ann Pennington and I cried for a week. Thereafter, that embarrassing chapter of my youth I hoped I had closed and moved on.

On Friday, at dinner with my girlfriends we started exchanging stories about our first heartbreak. Always the one who will shift the discussion from sad and dramatic reminiscence, I had to share ‘my life’ with Shaun Cassidy. I volunteered and divulged stories from that significantly psychotic period of my life. We were laughing so hard I am sure we were a tad away from being kicked out of the restaurant.

And after they thought they’d heard enough, as we were walking home I remembered something. I took out my ipod and played a song that I shared with everyone. It was Da Doo Ron Ron Ron by Shaun Cassidy. Six women then resumed a laughing marathon at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 79th Street at 1AM.

Three times married, twice divorced; this is Shaun Cassidy now.

One tiny note: In November 25, 1981 Shaun’s daughter Caitlin Ann was born. Three years later on the same date I had Nicole. I only found out about it today as I was searching the internet for Shaun Cassidy’s pictures.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Love Story

Once upon a time, around the 1960’s, a young woman working in New York met the man of her dreams. He was dashing, educated in Princeton, and was madly in love with her. She is a petite sweet intelligent lady and together they lived in the city of their dreams, away from their own country that was at war.

They had two children – a daughter who is so much like her mother and a son who is just like his father. They probably went through the usual ups and downs of families – especially of raising kids in the city but anyone who had met them will guarantee that these were well-bred children who were level headed, respectful, loving and smart.

And the couple continued to grow in love. She stayed in New York for work while he often traveled and stayed away for work-related assignments. Absences rarely caused bumps in their relationship. And she has assured the cynic that distance is only physical; true love defies miles.

Early last year, the mother was overwhelmed with the arrangements for her daughter’s wedding. And like a regular mom, she returned to work with many pictures to share to everyone. The son followed suit and was married this year. She continues to talk about them with so much pride and her husband, with much love and always giddy, like a teenager. The children were the rewards of a life they had struggled through - to keep in Ivy League universities and to instill the values of their culture.

The husband was now relaxed. The responsibilities with the children were done, there is money in the bank, they have retirement waiting to be claimed soon. He dreamed about taking his wife back to their country now in the infant stages of democracy and maybe travel the world in leisure.

This was suppose to be a story of ‘happily ever after’ but it isn’t.

On the 4th of July weekend the husband suffered his first heart attack. His wife and the children, who kept their homes a few blocks away from their parents, rushed him to hospital. He survived, was brought home and for a while he was doing well. Until last week when he had another attack, this time fatal. He was just 55.

She is broken. The funeral was held on Friday and she was inconsolable. The friends she and her husband had collected through the years were grief stricken just to see her. She held on tightly to the hands of her daughter who will bear them their first grandchild next month. She had lost the sparkle in her eyes and she had not spoken to anyone. Her children were worried, she had been refusing life as well since he had been untimely taken away from them. And there seem to be no words to ease the pain.

They have lived their lives as a piece of each other. How do you find a way to step back into a life as you had known it alone?

To my dear Saeeda, I do not have the answers but I know that you will find life again. In spirit he will urge you on. And you will realize that love never ends. His love will make you smile again – in the vignettes of memories that you had shared, in the future that he may have missed but with you he will continue to live.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tagged Twice

The rule is: what are the things you enjoy, even when no one around you wants to go out and play. What lowers your stress/blood pressure/anxiety level? Make a list, post it to your journal… and then tag 5 friends and ask them to post it to theirs.

I've been tagged many times before but is guilty of not keeping the ball on the court. Often because I've not had the time or something else was due for blogging. This weekend Ms. Hannah tagged me and backed it up with the sweetest private email. How could anyone refuse?

So here are five things I enjoy doing with someone special but if the limitation would be unavailability of company, I can happily go solo.

1. Go to the park and watch children play. I can sit myself on a bench for hours just listening to the shrieks of laughter. This makes me forget the troubles of my own weary soul and get engulfed in each child’s play world. Then I get reacquainted with the richness of life and regain a level of optimism for the great possibilities that lie ahead.

2. Walk. It started as a motivation to get back into shape after my metabolism started to slow down and extra padding appeared everywhere. Now I enjoy the walks through Central Park, the FDR’s promenade along the East River and during the weekends, around the Reservoir which is a few blocks from my apartment.

3. Hop in the car and drive with no specific itinerary or destination.

When I it shouldn’t have to be really outside:

4. Watch DVD’s

5. Experiment in the kitchen, or what is sometimes called cooking (if it is edible).

All these are guaranteed to lower my stress level. My therapy is in shutting the rest of the chaos of the world out and then having time to think, away from the maddening crowd. When things get really crazy I go for quiet time alone and it always works. A time for silence so I can hear myself think and to clear my mind.

This came out in my MSN Space:

Three names you go by:
1. Mavic
2. Victoria
3. Mavs

Three screen names you have had:
1. m-princess
2. riverdalegurl
3. harmony

Three physical things you like about yourself:
1. color
2. my hands
3. my 'behind'

Three physical things you don't like about yourself:
1. my feet
2. my feet
3. can't think of anything else

Three parts of your heritage:
1. Malay
2. Cavitena
3. still to be determined - mwahahaha!

Three things that scare you:
1. error in judgement that would affect loved ones
2. to grow old alone
3. to lose my cool

Three of your everyday essentials:
1. camera
2. cellphone
3. lipgloss

Three of your favorite musical artists:
1. Najee
2. Buble
3. Groban

Three of your favorite songs:
1. 'The Gift' by Brickman
2. 'Mi Mancherai' by Groban
3. 'Feels so Good' by Mangione

Three things you want in a relationship:
1. humor
2. acceptance
3. comfort, calm

Three lies and truths in no particular order:
1. You're not good enough.
2. Everything in my life will be perfect if only....(fill in the blank)
3. I never lie.
1. We each determine our destiny.
2. We are a bit of everyone who we hold close to our hearts - parents, children, spouse or friends.
3. We all NEED to love and to know that we are loved (i know its mushy...)

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to you:
1. tall
2. articulate (fine...its not physical!)
3. neat
PS - there is more to a man than what is physical. Most important for me is strength, intelligence, responsibility, tenderness and the maturity to understand that you are two separate individuals with different traits.

Three of your favorite hobbies:
1. My Blog
2. Travel
3. Photography

Three things you want to do really badly now:
1. go to the beach and just sit on the sand
2. go take my masters
3. hug my daughter

Three careers you're considering/you've considered:
1. Psychologist/counselor
2. Journalist (though was briefly, in college)
3. Go work for a humanitarian mission

Three places you want to go on vacation:
1. anywhere in Italy
2. Madrid, Spain
3. Havana, Cuba

Three kid's names you like:
2. Andre
3. Tristan
4. Patricia
PS - 1. would have been Nicole but I have her already; I'll work on the 3 soon

Three things you want to do before you die:
1. Work and live abroad (doing that)
2. Fall in love and grow old with a friend
3. Write a book

Three ways that you are stereotypically female:
1. I love clothes and shoes and shopping.
2. I flirt (ALWAYS).
3. I like adventure.
4. I refuse to be a stereotypical female.

Three people I admire:
1. my dad
2. Kofi Annan
3. the late Katherine Graham (Washington Post)'re it!

Now I tag Bu, Olivia, Zarah, Vanj and Renee and ask them to post the answers to their blogs. I’d tag Jong also kaso di naman yun papa-tag eh.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Googling Earth

Francis and I were on yahoo chat on Saturday night and discovered Google Earth. You can go to the site and download the software then you are on your way to jumping from city to city anywhere in the world in the comfort of your computer chair next to the popcorn bowl (ew, greasy fingers on the keyboard...kadiri ah!).

We discovered that you could zoom in close enough to Cavite City to see the roof of my parent's house and the car parked outside our gate. And talk about details... at Francis' house, the water tank was clearly visible among the trees. The new technology was so fascinating and at the same time, freaky. I mean, if you placed your 'hand' on top of the roof of my parent's house you'd be able to identify its exact longtitude/latitude location!

Cavite City with the runway of Sangley Point Airbase clearly visible.

I ended up staying up until 2AM (so, I need a life - hahaha!) jumping from city to city in the Philippines in a nostalgic frenzy. I remembered Davao and Iligan City and the many weekends I had spent there working for the old company. And then there was Cebu City (I zoomed into Plantation Bay and Shangri-La Mactan hoping I'd see me there). And then there was Mamburao Bay in Mindoro Island where we have our farm and I reminisce past summers when we spent whole days on the beach or just bingeing on the fish and lobster freshly speared from the deep by local fishermen.

Mamburao Bay in Mindoro

Google Earth can zoom in so clearly that you can see the cars in the parking lot of the Coronado Hotel in San Diego.

My Neighborhood

Zooming into New York City, if I made the software locate and pinpoint all the restaurants then the whole island just got buried in the knife and fork icon. Oh, silly me to forget that eateries, delis and restaurants almost sit side by side in the city! And that picture above is my neighborhood, the Upper East Side. For reasons of sanity, let's not pinpoint my apartment building but if you're single and you think you might be my type you can email me your picture and vital stats and maybe I can send you my exact address - hahaha! Yup, I am 4 blocks away from Central Park. And that huge mass of water there is the Reservoir where I do two full laps every morning during the weekend to keep in shape (give me my yabang points).

New York to Italy across the Atlantic - so close and yet so far

Then I tried to figure out a way to connect the dots between New York and Italy, hoping if I flew back and forth enough times on the computer I'd actually be tele-transported and find myself in Milan where hopefully someone waits for me. Until I realized he'd be on his way to another part of the world by that time...which means even Google Earth won't be able to pinpoint him because he just moves so much around.

Ah....fancy the internet and the wonders of GPS and googling everything - from myself, my blog, to everything on earth...literally!

Friday, July 08, 2005

London 7/07

On Thursday morning as I slipped out of bed I automatically clicked on the remote control for the morning news on TV. It is routine as I drag myself out of dream-mode and into day-mode, not necessarily to gear up for a work day. I froze as I stared at the images on the screen – panic on the streets of London, bloodied people emerging from the London Underground and those words uttered over and over again: terrorist bombings. Apparently, not just in one location but reminiscent of my own experience in Manila on December 2000, several bombs within the span of an hour was detonated in three subway carriages and a double-decker bus. It was meant to be carnage and nothing less.

As I listened to the monotoned narrations of correspondents clutching microphones and staring blankly onto the cameras, I got on the phone with a friend and we talked about how this would have the same fingerprints as those who had slammed two planes into the World Trade Center towers on a fine September day almost 4 years ago. But still, we talked about it like two people detached from events that was unfolding about 3,500 miles away.

At work, our international representation is predominantly European with majority coming from the UK. Although there are 8 Americans 3 are second generation Italians, Irish or of British descent; two are Scottish, three are British, one is German. Then there are the three girls including myself who are all Filipinas and then one Indian, one from Belize.

I asked around if they had family and friends accounted for in London. Generally, the reply had been yes but I forgot to ask someone. Eventually I learned towards the middle of the afternoon that he had been calling up hospitals in London in search for his brother who had boarded the train just a few minutes before the blast. And then he was never heard of again.

No one at work knew of his dilemma and he didn’t really want to make a big deal of it. He sat through his scheduled meetings bravely and when he had his breaks, dialed London from his office to continue on his search.

This morning when I arrived, I asked about our friend and realized that he had indeed been able to confirm that his brother was one of the victims of the bombing of the train at King’s Cross station. He had contacted a hospital in London at 1030 PM and was informed of his critical condition. My friend immediately traveled to JFK airport and boarded the next plane to London, leaving behind his wife whose passport has expired.

From London he called up apologizing that he won’t be able to attend some meetings he had scheduled or submit reports that were pending. Needless to say, anyone in the office would have volunteered to cover for him if not that his boss cancelled his scheduled vacation for the whole of next week to take on his duties. It was a way to try to console him and remind him that we understood that there were more pressing matters on hand that demanded his attention.

He shared that his brother had been brought in for another round of surgery to save his legs although both had already been damaged by the bombings. He was almost dead when he was found by the medics and his condition is still very fragile.

This is a young man who went into the subways with no extreme political agenda. He is just another person going through the chores that makes for a regular day to a regular person. He is special to his family and friends and a girlfriend who had seen him walk out of a room to finish some errands not expecting that he would be walking into the trappings of a mad person’s evil doings. In the same way that he is no one special, just a regular person on the street trying to live his life.

Why is this war waged on people like him? What message do these extremists need to send to the world by killing innocent people on their way to work just trying to make a living? Students just trying to get through school to live promising lives, tourists who just want to go away to see a beautiful city all become targets. What rights have they to bring the young or old or joyful lives to a halt to publicize their political agenda? What religion had empowered them to yield death’s sickle?

For the meantime my daughter worries about me endlessly. She emails me to be careful and to stay clear of the subways. Sadly, to travel from my apartment to work, both ways require boarding public transport – either the bus or the subways. I try not to worry her by hopping on the bus instead and hoping no crazed man on this day will plan to blow up my ride into pieces to validate a political or religious statement.

Friday, July 01, 2005

POETRY: distance

how do you measure distance
is it with the span of a bridge
to link one solitary land to another
or is it in the length of time
to travel from your space to mine?

is distance defined between two hearts in love
that neither wait for time
nor measures the miles?
knowing that each star from my horizon
will shine later in your night.

measure distance between two hearts if you must
by the depth of each breath
and a leap in the skipping of my heart
as your voice echoes in my mind.

in reminiscing the past
and to look forward to the next chance
when i can touch you and hold you again.

distance is soon overcome
bridged in a span
of two hearts, beating as one.

Note: I wrote this in March, 1999. Attempts at poetry....