Wednesday, August 29, 2007


The music has been in my head for the past three weeks now - in an endless loop. The words are very simple, the music very upbeat.

".... I hope you know that this has nothing to do with you. It's personal - myself and I, we've got some straightening out to do.... It's time to be a big girl now and big girls don't cry... don't cry, don't cry..."

Without meaning to be overly dramatic.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Disco Fever

Move over John Travolta.... ladies and gentlemen, presenting the new Disco Dancing King and Queen for this century: my favorite niece Gabrielle and my favorite nephew Liam.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fire + Water

One weekend in July, the boyfriend and his friends decided to head back to their alma mater for a 'grand reunion'. Some of the 'gang of 12' flew in from as far as Costa Rica and Hong Kong, while most of the others swooped in from the continental US, mostly from around the Northeast. And we all converged into the picturesque city of Providence, Rhode Island at an opportune time - the festival of luminaria lanterns was on - called the Waterfire Festival.

It had threatened to be a stormy weekend and thus not too many outdoor pictures came out too well. The sky was constantly overcast and eventually, late on Saturday evening, we had torrential rainfall that continued through the next day which made the drive back to the city quite adventurous.

While the 'gang of 12' regressed back to their old juvenile-personalities, the 'girlfriends club' spent the evening touring the romantic waterfire festival on our own. Well, we had to give the night to the boys - they have not had the chance for a get-together since they graduated almost 14 years ago.

The Waterfire Festival started in 1994 and is held annually along the banks of the three rivers that surround Providence, Rhode Island. These torches comprise the sculpture of the artist Barnaby Evans. It starts with a procession of the torches and then are set on pedestals that sit just above the water and the bonfires are kept lit until the early morning of the next day, just after midnight.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

One Fine Day

We found us on a lazy Sunday in the city and planned to have the usual run around the Resevoir. But on the way out, I decided to bring the camera and that was enough to have us find new routes to discover. We ended up taking the runner's route southward from the 97th Street entrance. From there we passed by the 70 foot high Obelisk behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Then we turned west toward the Turtle Pond, also known as the Belvedere Lake, now covered with green (moss? algae? but sure, it looked good). On the way up to the castle, we also passed by the Delacorte Theatre which was highlighting "Free Love in New York" and a long line of people waited for their turn to enter. A Swedish cottage comes into view, also known as the Marionette Theatre and behind it is a dreamy garden tucked away from the rest of the world. The Shakespeare Garden, it is called overflows with colorful flowers, butterflies, dragonflies and definitely a slice of heaven in the middle of urbanity.

We went around the lake, found ourselves in the refreshing oases of the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain and the lake behind it. And further east, we found ourselves in what I have always called the Boat Pond actually the Conservatory Lake but because it is always where remote control boats seem to find themselves, it is appropriately named so. Around the pond, statues of uber storyteller Hans Chritian Andersen flanks the west side and Alice in Wonderland on the north end. Saturday mornings from June to September, children gather near the statue of Andersen for a free reading of his works.

Two hours later, we exit on the east side of the park on 72nd Street.
I've lived in the city for the past 5 years, always making the park a stop during the weekends. No matter how often I come and visit, however, seems there is always something new in it, something that makes it personally mine, as it is to the million other Manhattanites who feel they own a piece of it. It is our backyard, our park, our own little refuge. All 843 acres of its land, hills, lakes and flora and fauna.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Baby Rafa

My friend Renee gave birth to her first-born today at 12:25PM. It was a surprise to everyone who just saw her yesterday when she came to visit us at work and poked her head in offices, joking with everyone that she was 'still very pregnant', a week after she had started on her maternity leave. The office requires that mommies be out of the office on leave two weeks before the delivery due date.

So today after work, friends and I hopped on the 6 train and came to see her at Mt. Sinai, right across from Central Park and met for the first time baby Rafael Alfonso. He was such a well-behaved gorgeous bundle of joy!

Congratulations to the new and very happy parents, Renee and OJ. Like we always say: welcome to a new life where you will never sleep the same way again! (Or at least not until he is 35...?)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Wedding Weekend

We traveled to Boston this weekend and found ourselves basking in the first August weekend of the year in Beacon Hill. The weather had not been different from how we left it in Manhattan but on Sunday, the heat and humidity had dissipated and paved the way for a perfect garden wedding.

The nuptials was a union of a tres charmant French bride and a charming Italian-American groom. The end result was more than 15 cases of wine for general consumption. And that didn't include the champagne that flowed starting at breakfast with the mimosas.

It was one of the best weddings I have attended for a while. The food was sumptious - simple but freshly prepared starting with breakfast that quickly segued to lunch after a one-hour intermission when waiters walked around peddling exquisite French and Belgian chocolates (truffles!!!), cheese and fruits. And then voila, the spread for lunch was ready. More food! More drinks! More wine!

By the time the rabbi arrived and the wedding took place, everyone was joking that the couple already had a legitimate cause for a divorce - they were too drunk to know what they were doing.

The ceremony was unscripted and joyfully simple. The guests were limited to very close friends and family. The food was a mix of the penultimate in French and Italian cuisine made mostly from only the freshest ingredients and drawing exquisite flavours. Sitting in the middle of New England, it felt more like we were in another continent surrounded by trellis of fresh flowers and the chirping of birds. There was a single violin that provided the tune for the dreamy wedding march. For the rest of the day, the bride's brother who is a DJ managed the music including the processional which was a remix of the dance tune "It's a Beautiful Life". PARTY!!!!

This wedding would rank as one of the best I have attended in my lifetime. It was about everyone having fun and celebrating the special occassion. By the time we were ready to drive back to New York, everyone have had a bit too much alcohol and the party was literally just getting started.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My Frat Boys

Four days later away from my 'frat boys' and missing them badly.

My 'frat boys' - a term of endearment to the 10 engineers and architects I have worked with for three years prior to this pending promotion to a new post. I can only describe them as a bunch of surrogate brothers who have relentlessly doted and spoiled me. In the same way, they would often gang up on me - teasing, roughening me up and just give me a hard time one minute and then totally sweet and kind the next. Yes, we are a skit of oddities if you were a fly on the office wall. Yet I miss the simplicity and straight-forwardness of dealing with mostly male co-workers. Females tend to get jealous of each other and there is always an element of cattiness and competition regardless how long you'd already established a relationship with each other.

Today they sweetly teased me over our communal lunch that they were 'proud of me' for not getting the new post get to my head. I am, afterall, now a very 'powerful' female staff in our office (allow me few minutes while I burst into laughter...).

Sometimes, the sincerity of such statements can be misconstrued especially when you factor in the fact that these boys are all poker faced jokers. But at the end of the day, just as he was leaving the office, I ran into one of the architects and more seriously, he told me again that indeed it was the general sentiment amongst my 'frat boys'. Having worked with him the longest, he said it was similar to watching their child grow up and accomplish something significant.

"You make us really proud of you" he emphasized in that tone that made me tear up.

Throbbing headache from the work I had to finish today and the protocol and politics that I now have to deal with daily, I feel somehow justified that for all that I have given up, it has been worth it.

Still, I miss my boys.