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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Christmas in October

We took Auntie Julie and Uncle Raniel out for lunch today and spent the afternoon browsing the mall. While at Marshalls, I found a really beautiful pair of candle lamps – made from white porcelain and trimmed with gold. The lamps that were about a foot and a half tall, had a simple pattern of red and green holly both on the lamp base and around the lamp shade. I found it so elegantly jolly that I just had to get the pair! I could not believe what a bargain they were too ($45.00 for the pair - and they were Lennox pieces too!).

When we got home, I was so excited with our find that I looked around to see where the lamps would look best. I decided that they looked festive flanking a tray of white and red candles. The set was perfect as our dining table centerpiece. As I admired our dining table, I found that I had been bitten by the “Xmas Spirit bug” and decided that today was as good a day as any to start with the Christmas decorating! I cajoled Jojo into climbing the rafters in our garage to retrieve the boxes that hold the rest of our Xmas trinkets. We dusted off the boxes and retrieved our treasures (mostly wrapped in tissue and bubblewrap), opened the windows to air the room, while turning the lights down low to get into the "decorating spirit". While my aunt and uncle ran errands, my hubby and I worked on decorating our home.

We got a lot done this afternoon (of course everything is out yet … that would certainly take more than a couple of hours!). But it was a nice surprise for Auntie Julie and Uncle Raniel when they walked in the door to find the holiday spirit liberally spread across our living room. Never mind that Halloween is in two days and that the Thanksgiving holidays are just around the corner. In our home, we’ve skipped ahead and are almost ready for the Yuletide season!

Let me be the first to wish everyone "HAPPY HOLIDAYS!".

Saturday, October 27, 2007

October

It’ s been so long since I last blogged. I think this is probably the longest I have gone without updating my site. I do hope I still have one or two straggling readers that will still find the time to check my blog out. If not, then I am writing this for the sake of posterity … so I will remember that October was a busy month. So busy that inspite of much news to share, I’ve had no time to put my thoughts to paper.

Let me give a rundown of some things that have been happening:

  • The BIG project for work (the one that’s kept me working LONG hours and put me under a great deal of pressure … was finally due on the 22nd. I can breathe a great big sigh of relief … well, maybe a little sigh of relief cause I now have another BIG project due in December. So far the jury is out as to whether the BIG project due in October has turned out well. Fingers remained crossed …
  • I finally got my work permit. I can now work without the need for sponsorship. So long anticipated! Ironically, even if I’ve been promising myself I would find a “better” job once I got it … I’m still where I am and strangely so, things here seem to be working out better. Life is strange that way. But it does relieve a lot of pressure and it does make things much easier. So although I have not quite taken advantage of it … I am immensely thankful.
  • My brother, Jules, moved to a new job – a much bigger company with a much better position (and great pay too). I’m so happy for him since he’s been on the lookout for quite some time. And it is a testament to how good my bro is to have landed this job especially since these days, the job market has been not so hot. Of course the first few months are always trying and I hope things work out well for him. Incidentally, he’s also moved to a new apartment (today was moving day!) that’s much closer to work (and still about an hour from where we live). I’m so glad he has not moved too far away since I really enjoy having my brother close by!
  • So many things to look forward to. My parents are coming on Friday. It’s been almost a year and a half since I last saw them. I can’t wait to see my mom and dad. I am sooo thrilled they are staying a whole month (it’s still too short a visit, if you ask me, but I’ll take four weeks over three!). Also looking forward to our vacation in Seattle. Everyone thinks we’re insane for visiting the Emerald City in November – but even if the weather will be cold and rainy, I am sure my family will find fun things to do and cool places to explore. And then just as my parents leave for Manila (which will make me SAD), in a week’s time, my sisters will be here! And so my sadness won’t last too long. I am sooo excited that both Atsi and Joy will be spending the holidays here. It’s going to be awesome to have my sisters (who also happen to be my bestest friends) here for Xmas AND New Year’s. Of course, their special friends … Mark and Marc will be here too.
  • My Auntie Julie and Uncle Raniel are here with us this weekend. We feel a little guilty that they arrived last night and today was my brother’s move to he new apartment. So rather than taking my aunt and uncle out, they spent their first day in LA helping with the move. They are such good sports about it though and were really tons of help. We couldn’t have gotten everything done without them. Treating them to lunch was the least Jules could do :)
  • This Tuesday is my brother-in-law, Lee’s, birthday. We celebrated tonight with dinner at Golden Pheasant with the whole family. I love family dinners because it’s a chance for everyone to catch up and for me to spend time with my nieces and nephews too.
  • The month has not been all good things … I lost a really good friend at work (she moved to another company). It’s strange to go to work and see an empty cubicle across mine. And then there are the problems we’ve been having with our water softener unit (it’s been working and not working, then working, then not working … today, it’s not working!). Our GPS system has been on the fritz too. What’s up with technology??? Oh and this month … there have been those terrible Southern California wildfires. I’m so saddened by all the loss and destruction … I really feel for those families whose homes have been destroyed. Not to mention the landscapes that have been ravaged. The sky has been a smoggy shade of gray these days (almost overcast) even if the temperatures have been warm and we’ve had little flecks of ash fall on our cars. And of course, the air quality is quite horrible. But I really can’t complain after so many have been through so much worse conditions. My thoughts and prayers are with them all.

I guess the month of October has gone by so fast. So many things (mostly good) have happened. I can’t wait to see what November holds in store. And I promise, to do my best, to blog a little more regularly in the future!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pushing Daisies

These days because of my hectic work schedule and the many other things I have to do, my TV viewing is limited to watching a few choice shows. I rarely watch a show from start to finish and my TV-viewing habit usually finds me constantly channel surfing or switching back and forth between two (or more) shows in one sitting. There are very few TV programs that I will actually watch without switching the channel in-between or without doing other activities (like talk on the phone, surf the net, eat, read, work on bills, etc.).

Last night, as I previewed some of primetime TV's new line-up of Fall pilots, I came across a show called Pushing Daisies on ABC. The show was good, the premise intriguing, the plot quite novel, and the actors really well casted. It was interesting enough to hold my attention (and my hubby's too!) from beginning till end (okay, okay, we did switch channels during commercials ). But good enough for me to actually look forward to watching it again.

Here is the show's plot summary from Wikipedia:

Pushing Daisies
is a "forensic fairy tale" that focuses on Ned, a piemaker with a mysterious ability to make the dead live again. The gift is not without its complications, however — if he touches this being a second time, they'll be dead permanently. If they live for more than 60 seconds, somebody else nearby will die. ("It's a random proximity thing") It's a gift that he puts to good use to help a private investigator friend, Emerson Cod and his childhood sweetheart, the once-dead Charlotte "Chuck" Charles.

I love the description "a forensic fairy-tale" - because it is exactly that - it's told in fairy-tale format (contemporary times, of course) and it does have to do with using "forensics" to solve mysteries. Such a unique concept - surprising in this age where most TV programs seem to be a spin-off of something we've seen or watched before.

What's more, I love how Pushing Daisies is the kind of show you can watch with a friend, your spouse, your mother-in-law, a next door neighbor, a stranger off the street, and your kids all in the same room. It's certainly family-friendly but with quirky twists - supernatural powers, solving crimes, dramatic comedy, a little bit of romance - to keep every one interested. Touted as "the Fall show with the most Spring buzz", I hope the show lives up to the promise of it's publicity buzz and the positive praise over it's pilot, (and my rave reviews too). I hope so since it's been awhile since I've been excited over something on TV.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekend 9/29-9/30

Last week Jojo caught the flu and had to miss work to get over a really bad cold. I did my best to take care of him but at the same time was taking extra precautions to immunize myself from catching the flu. Between Jojo and me, I’m the one with a weaker immune system and have never been able to avoid getting sick right after he does. This time, with extra doses of Airbone, eating healthier meals, and trying to get more rest, I actually was on my way to avoiding catching the virus. Last Friday night, as I was talking to my mom, I was pre-maturely congratulating myself. As always, it was a classic case of speaking too soon. I woke up Saturday morning with sore throat, a runny nose and aching joints. I couldn’t believe it. Apparently my “taking extra precautions” spared me from catching the cold for two whole days … but beyond that … well, I still caught it.

Getting sick during the weekend is both a good and bad thing. Good, because, you don’t miss work and are able to relax with your hubby there to take care of you. But bad, because, you are stuck at home on a perfectly good weekend where you could be out doing so many other things! As was the case, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday sleeping, resting, and trying to get rid of my cold.

Since we don’t have a t.v. it our room (something that our fung shui-approved-room-layout discouraged), I would lie in bed and alternate between states of being asleep and awake. During my awake times, I indulged in catching up on my reading. I finally got to read the two books I bought last week. The first book “The Jane Austen Book Club” by Karen Joy Fowler was enjoyable. Based on the lives of 6 individuals who gather together to read and discuss Austen’s works … they find their lives parallel that of the fictional characters they discuss. It is a light, summer-reading type of book. Nothing too intriguing and is the type of book you would read just to while away the time. Perfect book to read in between naps.

The second book I read was “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini which was the exact opposite (of the Jane Austen Book Club). It was extremely powerful, rich, intriguing and really an eye-opener. It is an incredible book. Hard to put down (which is why I read the whole novel all Sunday without stopping to do anything else!). The book is the first Afghan novel written in English it tells the tale of two very different men as they come of age during the years of Afghanistan’s political turmoil. The story tells us of how their lives changed from being carefree boys to men who have to go their separate ways to follow their destiny only to be reunited in the most unexpected way in the end. Throughout the story, the backdrop showcases the societal, political, and economic struggles the Afghan people went through and are still enduring. This was the author’s first published novel but despite that Mr. Hosseini’s writing style and storyline kept me captivated with every page. And even beyond reading the book, I found myself so drawn to the plight of Amir and Hassan that I would spend much time thinking of their story. It is truly one of the best books I have ever read.

I remember an article I read a couple of weeks ago where the author was talking about how Americans do not read enough books. There are many who have not read a book (outside school and work) in years. And of those that do read, the average number of books read is 1 or 2 (a year!). This is a sad, sad state to be in. There are so many fascinating and wonderful stories out there … and I think we should all make an effort to turn off the t.v., shut down the computer, put away the Playstations/Wii/X-Box, and pick up a book again. And for those who are trying to decide what book to start with … I would really strongly recommend The Kite Runner.