Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Life At The Bar (A Trying Experience Part Two)

As you may recall from an earlier post, a few months ago I was cited for walking Lenny in the park without a leash. I decided to fight the ticket. Well, last week I finally received the letter scheduling my hearing date before the Environmental Control Board. The hearing was scheduled for today at 9AM. GAME TIME!

As usual, I arrived 15 minutes before the hearing time and ended up waiting half an hour before the clerk judge called me and the office who cited me.

I was a bit disappointed that it was a clerk judge and not a real judge, but I really wasn't all that surprise. However, I was happy that it was female clerk judge who I hope would have sympathy on me.

At 9:35AM, clerk judge Stein called us to her office. She had us both swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth (so help us god) and started asking questions. She began with Officer Perez who issued the ticket (actually might be a good looking man under different circumstances.)

CJ: Officer Perez, what do you recall on that day you issue the ticket?

OP: Yes, ma'am. That morning, we were doing our normal checks around the park and I saw her; the respondent with an unleashed dog. I approached her and told her that there is zero tolerance policy on unleashed dog. The commissioner and the mayor are very serious about this policy because they receive a lot of complaints about unleashed dog (editor's note: yeah right, I just saw a couple of dogs today running around in the middle of the park without leashes. Maybe the mayor and the commissioner should check our park once in a while). There are may sign posted all over the park (yeah the ones that have been vandalized?)

CJ: Do you remember what kind of dog she has?

OP: (looking at the paper - which clearly shows that he doesn't remember) Ah yes, it was white dog.

CJ: Ms. T, do you have any questions for Officer Perez?

JT: No your honor.

CJ: Very well Ms. T, what is your defense?

JT: (putting on my most sympathy garnering face) At the time, my newly adopted dog was with us for only about two months. He was rescued from a very abusive puppy mill, which kept him in a cage for the first 5 years for his life. So when we adopted him, he didn't know how to react to anything around him. However, while walking him that day, I noticed that his tail was up. Normally, when I walk him, his tail is tucked in and he is scared of everything around him. As soon as I saw that his tail was up, I took a picture of him to show to my husband. I temporarily removed his leash and took a picture. As soon as I got up to put the leash back on, the officer was behind me in his car and asked me to come closer to him.

I put my dogs leash on right away and walked toward his car. He told me that my dog is unleash. I asked him if he can give me a warning but he refused and told me that there is a zero tolerance policy in the park. I remained quite.

As soon as I left I noticed that he cited on the ticket that I was walking with an unleashed and uncontrolled dog - and that was not true. I was not walking with my dog unleashed and he is not an uncontrolled dog. I removed it for few minutes just to take picture. That's it!

CJ: I understand you are upset (no shit) but did you explain to the office about this?

JT: I tried to, your honor, but I was very nervous. It's my first time getting a ticket and he already told me about the zero tolerance police.

OP: If you'd just told me about taking a picture, I probably would not have given you a ticket.

CJ: Next time Ms. T, you need to explain the officer.

JT: I wish I had a chance, your honor. I'm aware of the dog leash policy but, like I said, I was just taking a picture of my dog. I never walked him unleashed and he is not an uncontrolled dog. He is shy little dog.

CJ: Officer Perez, do you remember if she was walking the dog and for how long?

OP: When I approached her she was standing with her dog for about approximately 2-5 minutes.

JT: That's because I was just taking a picture.

CJ: Do you have a picture?

JT: Yes (going to my bag, got my iPhone and show her the picture)

CJ: He is very cute and he was off leash (I just realized I may be fucked....they can use that as evidence....I have to say something....shit)

JT: I'm not denying he is not on a leash, your honor. But like I said, I removed it to take a picture and as soon as I got up, the officer was behind me. I was not walking him without his leash and he is not an uncontrolled dog as stated on the ticket.

CJ: Do you have any questions?

JT & OP: No

CJ: Very well. I will not make any decision right now. I will review the report as well as the take and make a decision in the next few days. I will send you the result by mail. If you don't agree with the decision, you can file an appeal and the same thing with you Officer Perez.

Enjoy your day everyone!


Dammit! I have to wait again! Now I'm hoping I got her sympathy and she will lower my fine. I can't wait for this thing to be over but to be honest, I kind of like going to the court. Hmmm, perharps I can join my husband's career.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I'm sure he dare not to open anyone's bag and play with her lipstick

Monday, May 11, 2009

Forever Young

Yesterday, we celebrated my twin nephews' birthdays. Hard to believe that, 3 years ago, my husband and I were carrying these 2 fragile baby boys. Helping my sister in-law change their diapers, feed them, burp them and put them to bed. I remember the first time they called my name. Instead of Joan, they called me Goan. I remember the first time I saw them walk, fell, cry and ate. I remember them looking for me (while I was in the bathroom) and asking "Nana, where is Goan?" and most of all I remember the first kisses and how they say "I love you Goan"

J&J at 3 months

Now, they are 3 years old. They can finally say my name correctly. They are now becoming little men. They are growing fast right before my eyes.

To J&J, happy birthday my loves! I'm sure you are going to out grow me really soon, but you will forever be my little nephews. I love you both!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

You Can Always Go Home Again (sort of)

On April 12, I received the green light to go on vacation back to my homeland with my mom. Without hesitation, I booked the same flight as her. Even though I would be returning on a different day as my mom and the flight would be very long in cramped seats, that didn't stop my excitement about going home - especially since I haven't been home in 8 years.

Having a newly adopted dog that has become very attached to and dependant on me, I was worried about leaving him alone with my husband. As I have mentioned before, Lenny (my dog) is a little afraid of my husband. I knew that Lenny would be very sad when I left. As a matter of fact, the night before I left, while packing, Lenny could sense that I was leaving. He followed me around and started chewing the luggage. But the most painful part was when he went inside the luggage while I was organizing my clothes. Two things came to mind as what would happen - either Lenny would get closer to and bond with my husband or he would fall into a deep depression, stop eating and get sick. With my husband's assurance that everything would be ok, on April 19, I left home and headed to the Philippines.

On April 21 (local date), we arrived in Manila after a 23 hour long flight. We stayed in the city for two days to take care of some errands, but that was not to be our main destination. On April 25th, after 45 minutes flight from Manila, we arrived in Tacloban City. In 8 years the city had changed a lot. There were a lot more people that I remember. There were also lot more stores to shop in and roads that used to be packed with bicycles were now packed with different kinds of motorized vehicles. Eight years ago, if you looked for hamburger, it would take you hours to find. Now, the city has many different kinds of fast food joints to choose from. Before, they used to have 1 shopping mall - Gaisano, now there is a second, even bigger Gaisano, as well as the Robinson Mall to compete with them. But Gaisano is still my favorite shopping mall in Tacloban. I have visited that mall so many times in my life, that I still remembered the ins and outs of the mall.

(top) San Juanico Bridge (below) Gen. McArthur Park - "I Shall Return"

Chowking is my favorite fast food in Tacloban city because of the Halo-Halo they sell. After going there for the third time (they always run out of ice) we finally got to enjoy this delicious concoction.

However, not everything changed in Tacloban -- the constant nose picking, spitting, men walking half naked, smoking inside the jeepneys, the honking of cars trying to turn one way roads into two way, the smell of diesel motor-vehicles and the unbelievably pungent smell of the supermarket. These are the things I could NEVER get used to. But, I love the hospitality of Tacloban city -- the friendly people, their (missing teeth) smiles and most importantly the respectfulness of the workers. I love the way they call me "ma'am" even in McDonalds.

Balangiga was our next stop. This historic town in Eastern Samar is mom's birthplace. Visiting this place was the main reason that I decided to go home. Most of my family still lives here and I missed them very much. After my mom and I settled in, we were served a very familiar dish of grilled blue marlin, commonly known as Sulusugi. My cousin also brought us caimito (star-apple) in exchange for a real apple.

While enjoying our feast, a combination of mosquitoes and flies were enjoying my body. The dining table was always full of fun and laughter. I love the way my uncle teased my aunt and my aunt responded back annoyed and irritated. I love the way my cousin would say something stupid and everyone would laugh at him. I also enjoy listening to them gossiping about other people or complaining about family members. It's the typical family drama - something I missed very much.

Speaking of family drama, I was surprised to find out that most of my cousins now have their own babies. Either they impregnated someone or they got pregnant. Some were forced to marry someone because they impregnated someone. It's sad story but it's also reality. Being the very first one in the family who actually got married without getting knocked up, I became the hot topic of the subject. I got constant questions about "when are you having babies" or comments that "you should have a baby now because you're getting old". I tried to answer them politely or have a laugh at it but the questioning never seemed to stop. One time, I got so fed of that I bluntly answered them: "I don't want to be a statistic of one of the irresponsible parents who have the nerve to make babies, knowing that they can't afford them. I don't want to have a baby and still rely on parent's help". That answer shut them up for sure.

Overall my stay in Balangiga ang Tacloban was fun especially with the help of my favorite cousin Nildz, who took me to different places. He really made my trip more memorable. I will surely come back soon and stay a lot longer.

As for Lenny, it turns out that he was ok. According to my husband and our dog walker Roz, the first 2 days was a bit difficult. He didn't ear or drink and he hid under the bed. After that, he started to warm up to my husband. As a matter of fact, he has now stopped barking at my husband. Two nights ago, when my husband got home and sat down on the couch, I gave him a kiss and Lenny came near him, looked at him, jumped on his belly and slept there. Although he doesn't wiggle his tail when my husband gets home, Lenny now greets my husband on the door. I guess good things happened while I was away. Perhaps I should go away alone often. :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Trying Experience

As you may recall, I was ticketed by park police for allegedly walking Lenny without his leash. As unanimously suggested by you guys, I went to the court and fight it. I was scheduled for an 8:30AM hearing (or so I thought). Now, I am not a morning person but to prove that I am not guilty (and to save $100), I dragged my ass out of bed and went to court earlier than scheduled.

As usual, most government bureaucracies are slow to move, I sat there waiting patiently for more than an hour until they called my name. Finally at 9:35 AM the administrative clerk judge called me. We sat in his office and he turned on his recorder and started writing jibberish (it looked like my hubby's writing)

Now, this is not really my first time at this sort of hearing. I once complained about a taxi not driving me home because I live in different borough (it's a typical stereotype that if you live outside of Manhattan, you pretty much live in the ghetto - little they know, we live in prime Parkslope) and btought the driver to a hearing. I knew I was going to win my case based on the law in NYC that no taxi can refuse a fare because the destination is in the different borough. Also, they stupid taxi driver brought his meter record which actually proved my case. Long story short, I won and the driver got penalized.

Having watched my favorite show Judge Judy thousands of times, I pretty much knew how to act in with the clerk judge: Never say anything until you are asked a question. Answer only Yes or No questions and bring proof/evidence.

So finally the clerk judge spoke;

CJ: Do you want this case to be adjourned and for me to give you a lower fine or do you want a hearing?

JB: I would like my ticket fine to be lowered if possible.

CJ: I can't do that; you need to pay $100.

JB: I guess your honor; I have no choice but to do a hearing.

CJ: Do you want the officer to be present during the hearing?

JB: (If I'm wasting my time here I think it's fair if the officer should waste his time too) Yes, your honor.

CJ: Are you going to have a lawyer represent you?

JB: (I think my husband can represent me but I don't want to look cocky in the eye of the "real" judge and end up losing the case and his sympathy) No, your honor. I will represent myself

CJ: Very well, we will send you a letter for your next hearing. You can go now.

That's it? I wasted 1 1/2 hours just to answer this stupid questions? They should have just send me the questionnaire and I would have mailed it back to them via Fed-ex!

I will be waitng for the next hearing. Hopefully it doesn't come anytime soon while I'm half a world away for the next 2 weeks.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Maligayang Kaarawan Nanay

Today is my mom's 61st birthday. Because her birthday fell on Good Friday this year, we celebrated with the family last week. Believe me, it is not always an easy feat scheduling a get together with all of my family, which includes my uncle, Ivan (my uncles BFF) and my two brothers. My older brother often works weekends and my younger brother's schedule is just ever unpredictable because he is in the army. In fact, last weekend was the last weekend he was around before going out of state for three weeks for training. We all had an intimate dinner at Mulino Ristorante (formerly Trattoria Mulino - they moved up in the world!), one of our favorite restuarants in the neighborhood. Afterwards we went back to my house for ice crean and this ridiculously cheezy Filipino movie called "Dubai."

On her actual birthday, I met my mom for lunch. Since she was in a hurry to get bact to church, we net and had a wonderful pizza lunch at Sbarro in mid-town, (truth to be told, Sbarro's is a tourist trap - most New Yorkers wouldn't be caught dead there.) As usual, my mom was a bit slow to order so the guy thought that she was a tourist also. He started screaming at her that there is a long line and if she is not sure what to order, she needs to get off the line (ah that New York hospitality!) I thought it was pretty funny that my mom has lived in New York for a quarter of century and she still hasn't adopted the New York life.

On the left is a picture of my mom eating a slice of pizza along her favorite drink - cranberry juice.

To my mom, happy birthday! Without you I'd never have gotten to experience the New York life. And although our mother/daughter relationship went through some though times the past few years, I'm happy that we were able to start over. On your 61st birthday, I wish you a wonderful year, good health and many more birthdays for us to celebrate together. I also hope I can join you on your vacation back home next week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that time will permit me.

Cheers Nanay!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why Wasn't I So Cleaver In School

My friend Tes shared this to me. I thought its really funny so I'm sharing this with you :-D

1. James Bond

2. Expand

3. Boss' Wife

4. Elephant

5. God Made it That Way

6. X

Saturday, March 14, 2009

You Always Remember Your First Time

As I'm sure you guys already know, about two months ago we adopted little Lenny the bichon. He's starting to come along really well at this point. He seems pretty well house trained, he is starting to get more and more playful, and he has really gotten so close to me that we've nicknamed him The White Shadow because, wherever I go, he goes (and my husband has a thing for cheesy 70s tv show reference, half of which I never get.) TWS follows me around so consistently that I don't even really need to keep him on a leash. Note I said "don't need to" not "don't have to" -- two different things, as I have learned.

Yesterday, I took Lenny out for late morning walk in the park. The weather was not so bad -- a little chilly but sunny -- so it felt nice to go for a nice long walk in the loveliest park in the city. As I said, I am confident that Lenny will follow me, so I don't need to keep his leash on him. However, for this walk, I did have his leash on.

It must have been the glint in his eys or the way he cocked his head or maybe the way the sunlight tinged his curly hair, but Lenny just looked adorable and I knew I had to take a picture of him. Now when taking a picture of God's most adorable creatures, it simple will not do to have him tethered to an ugly old leash in the photo. So I took it off. Just for the picture. I wasn't planning on walking him off-leash. I was going to take the picture and put the leash back on. Honest....

Well, I click the photo (or whatever sound it is that the iPhone makes when taking a picture), and all of a sudden I hear a police siren. (Parks department police, but whatever.) I turned around, and Park cop was looking right at me. I was caught red-handed and unleashed. As he was writing the citation, he told me the whole shpiel about dogs not being allowed off-leash anywhere in the park except during certain off-leash hours. The best I could think was to ask if I could be let off with just warning. He looked at me, my ring finger, and my address and told me, "We have a zero tolerance policy! We want eveyone to be safe and to make sure that the park is clean." Whatever! I see poop all over the place, so much for cleanliness. And safety? Does my 16 pounds ball of white fluff look viscious? Heck, he tucks his tail in and runs away whenever he sees another dog on the horizon! Who is he going to hurt? You wrote me a $100 ticket because you profiled me as a well-to-do (possible a domestic servant of a well-to-do :-) ). What am I stupid? But, he was a cop (sort of) so I remained quite.

So here it very first ticket! (Lucky I wasn't in a costruction zone, I guess. They double the fines.) I should frame this!

I showed the ticket to my husband and he notices that the police got my information incorrect. I hyphenate my maiden name with his, but the officer only put my maiden name as last name. He put the second part of my last name as my first name (along with my real first name, which is just plain odd.) My husband said it's technical defect, but it's a defect nonetheless and I could probably fight the ticket in court (I wonder if its Judge Wapne's Animal Court.)

So what do you thing? Do you think I should try to fight the ticket or should not bother going to court and just pay the 100 bucks?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not Economically Viable

I was cleaning my mailbox and saw an I email I sent to my coworkers when I quit a previous job (7 years ago). Oh I wish I could send this again but given the economic situation, we are forced to hold tight to jobs that keep us miserable

Goodbye Everyone

Now's the time to say goodbye
I bet you know the reason why
It's best for me to be moving on,
So, I'll pack my desk and say "so long"

Yes, I'm resigning, I just hate this place
I can't stay here anymore; I need a change of pace
But, to be honest it's not really the job that I hate
It's the boss that bitches for being five minutes late

So many people have left before me
You know I'm not alone, and there'll be more just you see
And with all the unspeakable anger and innumerable tears
I still can't fathom why I stayed for two years

So, now is the time to gladly say goodbye
But I'll thank some of you for many good times
It wasn't all bad, there was certainly some fun
But I still hope it'll be better at the new one

Monday, February 16, 2009

(A) Typical Night

On a typical night my husband and I fall asleep on the couch and sometimes around 1 or 2 AM, we wake up and move to the bedroom. Last night was no different, except there were 3 of us sleeping on the couch - my husband, me and Lenny the bichon. Well 3 of us sleeping for a while at least. I was woken up but someone sniffing and licking my back. Ready to yell at my husband, I turned around and, of course, it was Lenny. Maybe he learned the pattern and he was telling us to move to the bedroom. At 2 AM, all 3 of us went to bathroom to brush our teeth (Lenny is very talented) and head to the bedroom. As usual, Lenny positioned himself at the top of of the bed right next to our pillows.

This is us on typical night - in a living room

On those same typical nights I also get awoken numerous times by my husband's snoring (sometimes he even wakes himself up!) Well, on this Saturday, as I was about to fall asleep, I was once again woken up by loud snoring. But this time the snoring was stereo! Not only my husband is snoring, but so too was Lenny! And their snores were synchronized and seemed to be getting louder and louder. I couldn't help but laught out loud which woke my husband who thought I was dreaming.

He fell back asleep and I moved towards the edge of the bed to escape the cacophony. Suddenly, as I was drifting closer towards sleep, I was woken up once again but a funcky burst of air. What's this? Someone farted. Not necessarily an unusual occurence in our household, but could this be? was Lenny! The worst part is was, his butt was basically aimed directly at my face. Ugh! What an awful night!

Eventually the smell dissipated, as did my consiousness. Around 8AM Lenny started making noises again. This is his was of telling us that it is business time (his business time, not the Flight of the Conchord's business time.) I asked my husband to get up and walk him so I could be alone and catch up some sleep. When they got back around 10 AM, I was surprised to find Lenny carrying a rose. My husband followed with a bouquet of daises. How sweet...After keeping me up, the 2 men in my life vindicated themselves.

Two sweet men of my life

As you can see, I was still wearing my robe when they got home :-)

Friday, February 13, 2009

25 Random Things About Joanie

I've been tagged in Facebook to write 25 random things about myself So here they are...

  1. I can't write! Thats right. I have always had great ideas to write but I have very low confidence with my writing skills. The reason for that is....
  2. I skipped English 101 when I studied here in US. I begged my college dean of admissions to accepts my English credits from the Philippines because I had no money to pay for my tuition fee. I wanted to graduate so bad so I could start working.
  3. I can't drive. Yes you read it right. But you can't blame me; I've lived in the city my whole life (except for when I lived in a rural community in the Philippines)! And besides, parking in the city is a bitch!
  4. I have terrible sense of direction. I guess it's a good thing I can't drive
  5. I love to drink wine, but don't ask me to recommend anything....I have no idea what to tell you
  6. My mom convinced me to study nursing so I did. But I quit in half a day of my internship. I couldn't stand the smell from the nursing home
  7. I study Hotel and Restaurant Management in the Philippines (PWU) for 1 semester but when I came in the US I couldn't find a school close to home that offered that degree. Frustrated, I looked at the school list of courses and saw A for Accounting
  8. I love coffee and is my life support and hazelnut is my flavor
  9. I was teased in high school for being really fat and quite. I was fat but don't think I was REALLY that fat :-D and quite....little they did know
  10. I like my husband's cooking but I hate it when he cooks. He makes a huge mess in the kitchen and even all the way to the dining room. He uses every utensil around. And since he cooks, I have to clean. I hate cleaning!
  11. I have 2 brothers and one of them is a US Soldier. I'm very proud of him
  12. I love Judge Judy. I like it when she says "You are not a good witness. Because a good witness answers a Judge's question directly, and my question to you was a very simple one. A SIX YEAR OLD COULD ANSWER IT!!"
  13. I do not get football. I've tried to figure it out and my husband and his friends have both tried to teach me, but I guess I'm just not into it
  14. One of my close friends is Haitian and she is a sweet, smart & strong woman! I love her even though we don't see each other ofter....but hey that's why we have Facebook right?
  15. I re-connected with my childhood crush, thanks to the wonderful world wide web. Unfortunately, he turned out to be jerk and pretty creepy. Glad he was just a crush
  16. When I was young, I had a huge crush on Joey McIntyre of NKOTB, Hugh Grant, Bret Michael of Poison and John Cusack (because JC reminds me of ex bf)
  17. One of my bridesmaids was a guy. I've known him for 12 plus years. He is a vegan (a.k.a. pain in the ass) and I call him my brother from another mother because his b-day is the same as my older bro and his mom and my mom has the same name and b-day too
  18. I love shoes, handbags, the spas and the beach, but I can only afford one at the time
  19. I love to read books but if I don't like the first 10 pages, I drop it like a hot potato
  20. I seldon go to church/attend mass because I'm tired of some priest bashing other religions during homily, especially since...
  21. My husband is a different religion from me. But it's never gotten in the wa of our relationship.
  22. I’m not a big fan of one of my friend’s husband because he likes to talk big like he know this person and that person…I’m thinking “dude, if you really know the owner here, why the heck are we getting up to get our drink? Can’t that person you know hook you up for a 5 star service?I guess talking big compensate for something he is….short of. ;-)
  23. I hate it when someone only calls me because they need to vent. But as soon as everything is lovey-dovey, they have no time for you
  24. Like my friend Mimi says - I really, really hate talking on the phone. If I don't call you - please don't take it personal. It's definetely the phone, not you! Text or IM me instead ;-)
  25. Sometimes I want to kill my dog because my dog doesn't go to the bathroom when I'm around (or when walking him). He will hold it for 2 days or until my husband walk him. I know that he is just a dog, and he had really hard life for 5 years. I need to have more patience, but it can get frustrating.

Monday, February 9, 2009

24 Days Gone

I can't believe it is the second week of February already. It's been 24 days since my last visit to the Blogosphere. I'm sorry I haven't been able to update my blog lately or check out what is going on in everyone else's world. However, I have been very busy these last few weeks and haven't even had a chance to think about updating. To catch up, here are the four major things happened that I'd like to share with you

1.) Not Another Goodbye
Some of you may remember our aborted attempt to adopt Henri the bichon frise a few months back. Well, hope springs eternal and we tried again:

Meet Lenny, a 5 years old male bichon frise that we adopted about 3 weeks ago. He was rescued from a "breeder situation" (aka puppy mill) in Pennsylvania. After our experience with Henri, I was reluctant to blog about Lenny until we were certain he was going to stay.

Well, the vet check-up revealed his medicals were fine, with the exception of slight anemia, which the vet said was most likely due to a poor diet. It's been a tough road to be sure....after living in a cage or 5 years, Lenny wasn't properly socialized or trained. He came to us knowing next to nothing except how to live in a cage. We even had to teach him how to walk on a leash!

There were some hiccups to be sure: He is very picky about when and where he goes to the bathroom. He does ok walking with my husband, but with me he just refuses to go - very frustrating when I was walking him in the below freesing weather of the few weeks. He would sniff every tree, hydrant, and plant around, but nothing! However, we got some wee-wee pads, and he is doing terrific with them.

In addition, he is afraid of other dogs and men, including my husband. He is warming up to my husband, but he still sometimes runs and hides (in his crate or under the bed) when he comes home. However, just this weekend, he started jumping up on the couch next to my husband (mostly because we had to blocked all other access to the couch, but still, he stayed there for a while.)

After 3 weeks, he is starting to warm up and get more comfortable in his forever home, and we are confident that over the next few months he will continue to improve more and more. Today he even flashed that trademark bichon smile:

if that doesn't make you happy, then I don't know what will

2.) She Finally Opened Up
When we found out that my mom's big c had seemingly come back, my mom didn't want to talk about it.....she just shut down to us, her family. The worst thing about it was that she was able to talk about her situation with her friends, but not to her family.

Perhaps my mom doesn't want us to worry, but she needs to understand that it makes us worry more not knowing anything. Thankfully my friends whose mom my mom had spoken with was kind enough to share me some info that my mom had told her. This gave me strength to confront her. It was hard to approach her but, with the help of my husband, we spoke about everything. And just the act of talking about it make things a bit easier.

I'm not going to lie and say it ended all neat and tidy like an episode of Growing Pains. There were some tears and struggles, but we said what we needed to say. I hope she understand that no matter what happen, we are her family and we support whatever decision she makes. So far according to her she is big c free. I pray she remains like that.

3.) Meeting Duncan Sheik In Person
On a much happier note, we met musician Duncan Sheik in person! Yeah, how awesome is that huh?

Joan with Duncan (photo taken from her phone, hence, its a bit blurry)

Duncan may be best known for his hit back in 1996 called "Barely Breathing" or for the musical "Spring Awakening" for which he wrote the music. However, he has done much more that that. My husband has been a big fan of his ever sinc e 1996. My husband introduced Duncan's music to me, and I became a fan just like him. On Jan 26, 2009, we saw Duncan Sheik perform on a new small club in out neighborhood called The Bell House (cool place by the way.) The band was mostly the same as the Town Hall show we saw in November which I blogged about. This was the official record release party for his new album/soon to-be musical Whisper House. After a second hearing of the new songs, I can say that I really like them!

My husband bought the cd at the show and, afterwards, we went to backstage door in hopes of getting his autograph on the cd. The person standing gaurd at the door told us that he would be coming out to sign autographs afterwards. When he began shutting the door, I quickly told him that we've been long time fans. The guard took the cd and handed it back to Duncan who signed it, saying it was, apparently the first copy of cd he had signed!

Even better, a little while later, Duncan did come out to sign autographs. We already had ours, but my husband spoke with him for a minute or two. Duncan was very friendly and way cool! Now, how do we set about becoming friends with him?

Duncan's signed (new) album "Whisper House"

4.) John Legend's Concert
On February 5, 2009, my husband and I saw John Legend's concert at the Radiocity Music Hall. All I can say was an awesome concert. John Legend is truly a great entertainer/performer and I love him (sorry hubby)

Ok...I promise not to be away so long next time. But Lenny really does take up a lot of my time...I forgot how owning a dog was so much work!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Give me Blog-erty or Give Death

One of my normal routines in the morning before I do anything else is to read the newspaper online. I start with the NY Times and ends with Filipino News from Inquirer or Manila Bulletin. Today, I was reading about high school students who were suspended because they blogged about their principal.

What? Suspended because they blogged about their principal? Now, I don't know what they blogged about exactly, but in my opinion, what is wrong with blogging about another person? I think everyone has a right to practice their freedon of speech. Unless those kids threatened the principal, which I have not seen evidence that they did, then I don't think they should be reprimanded for stating their opinion.

As an avid blogger, I, myself, was criticized by a friend for blogging about my mother - they scolded me about my writing things about my family and posting them for the public to read. My answer to that is....why not? How is my blog affecting your life at all? And if I mentioned something about someone, that's my opinion. And besides, I can write better than you :-D

For that principal in the Philippines...grow up! I think you should be proud of your student that they have learned how to express their opinions. It's just a blog, so who cares -- unless what they wrote hits a little too close to home. If the president of the United States can take all the insults and jest that he gets everyday, you should be able to take that as well. But again, maybe, just maybe, you have a reason to be upset?

I wish I know about blogging when I was in high school. Here are the following things I would have blogged about:
  1. I would blogged about my teacher (Ms. Vivo) who caught me chewing gum and asked me to spit it out and put the gum on my forehead. When I refused, she told everyone that she would not come to the Christmas party. I was devastated given my fragile age. I blamed myself (maybe others too) for having the only class that didn't have a teacher at our Christmas Party. But when I think of it now, I realized how immature my teacher was to use me as an excuse for not showing up to our Christmas party. Very Immature!
  2. I would have blogged about our principal who in her tenure did not allow us to have Junior and Senior Prom. That was just MEAN. Junior and Senior prom are high school traditions. It's a time that, when you are all grown up, you look back and say "I had the best high school life ever!" (Well, in theory that's what you would say.)
  3. I would have blogged about fellow high school student who would only talk to you when you were eating chips. As soon as they finished them (like vultures), they all split and acted like they never knew you at all...that is until they saw you eating chips again. Talk about USERS!
  4. I would have blogged about fellow high school student who questioned me about my US vacations and asked me for proof and pictures. Why so INSECURE?
  5. And last but not lease, I would have blogged about my wonderful high school friends -- Cynthia, Dorothy and Emily. Although, I lost contact with then when I move here to America, I still treasure their friendship and will always remember their kindness. I MISS THEM and hope we will meet again someday.
So HOW ABOUT IT? Are you guys out there un the blogosphere?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

If I Ever Lose My Faith

I grew up believing in God. Believing that someone is watching over you and taking care of you. I grew up believing that God would never give you any challenges that you can't handle, as long as you keep that faith, and thus, that no matter how much difficult the challenge put in front of you, God believes you can overcome them. Having grown up believing that, having had those beliefs constantly ingrained into me, can it really be that how I can find myself starting to lose the faith?

Last night after I hang up the phone I felt that heaven and earth was collapsing in front of me and there was nothing I could do about it. It was my mom on the other line informing me that her big C had showed up again and she needs another treatment. This was too much for me to take. Two year ago, on my birthday, just as I was about to go out for dinner, she called me to let me know she had been diagnose with big C. It was my worst birthday ever - not because she told me on my birthday but simply because I knew what she had. We kept positive outlook, and after treatments and an operation, the doctors diagnosed her as big C free. She remained that way for over a year.

But last night was a different story.

What the fuck is this? Why her? If God is really is watching us, then why would He let this happen to her, a good, faithful person, and not to the worst person on earth? Why are criminals and molesters and perverts priest and terrorist and murderers and the financial criminal who have ruined so many lives with the current economy allowed to go on with their lives? I cried the entire night asking this questions. I am worried for her. And I am scared of losing her.

I hate to lose my faith in Him but I'm really scared. I may be the best daughter, we may not have the best mother/daughter relationship and there may have been many strains between us, but I love my mother and I don't want to lose her. I hope that she will defeat this again, just like she did two years ago. I HOPE. But can I pray?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year - New Cooking

As we start the New Year, we plan to start eating healthy, cooking at home more to save money and maybe (just maybe) start exercising. Every night before hubby comes home, I ask him what he wants for dinner. Last night he sent me a link to a great recipe of Snapper Vera Cruz. To my surprise, the recipe was courtesy of the chef at Sailfish Marina Restaurant on Singer Island - a favorite restaurant of ours that we dine at every time we visit Florida. The Sailfish Marina is a quintessential "Floridian" restaurant, featuring great fish and seafood in a very casual, unpretentious, marina-front setting.

The recipe was featured on one of Bobby Flay's shows on the Food Network. Now, I'm not really a big fan of Bobby Flay's TV personality. I find him to be more than a little cocky (especially when he disrespected Kitchen Stadium in the original Iron Chef when jumped on the cooking/cutting tables.) However, I have to give it him a credit that he is a great cook. I remember dining out at Mesa Grill, one of his restaurant in NYC, and I truly enjoyed his food and couldn't wait to go back there again. So if it is good enough for Bobby Flay, I'm sure its good enough for me. (Although, in the interest of full disclosure, hubby had had fish prepared "vera cruz" style at other Florida restaurants.)

Here is my version of the Sailfish Marina's Snapper Vera Cruz with Couscous. Please note that my version excludes certain ingredients such as brandy, cheese, butter and coriander. But, it turned out great and delicious! And even better, the dish was perfectly paired with 1999 Riesling Auslese (which surprisingly enough, had not gone off despite our less than ideal storage conditions). Bon Appetit!

Even Santa Likes the Beach

Happy New Year Everyone!

I'm sorry I haven't logged in for a long time. My husband and I went away for the holidays, somewhere far from the chaotic work and miserable cold and gray in New York City - to sunny South Florida. Although, I promised myself I would not open my laptop while on vacation, I must admit to checking my personal emails periodically to read some of my friends greeting, status reports, etc. What can I say...even in paradise there is a wifi.

But before heading down to the warmth, first we made a stop in not so sunny North Jersey. As I previously mentioned, I am grateful I don't need to worry which family I go to because we go to both. We started with Christmas at my brother's house in Jersey. My mom was busy cooking all day preparing variety of Filipino foods. I was planning to help her but my husband and I got a terrible stomach virus on December 23rd and we almost didn't make it to my brother's house at all. Luckily, we were feeling a bit better by Christmas Eve and both of my brothers and my mom convinced us not to worry about spreading the bug. So we went and had a wonderful dinner followed by coffee and a variety of desserts.

We moved to the living room to starts the fun that we had all been waiting for - the secret santa gift exchange. (well, it was supposed to be secret santa, but everyone ended up giving everyone else a gift, so there went that idea.) As usual my hi-tech brothers gave me new gadgets. My younger bro gave me a portable hard drive which I have no idea how to use it. But it is 400 gigs and usb powered, so my husband thinks its pretty cool. My older bro gave me a new Ipod Nano. (although I already have 3 Ipods, this is the first new one I ever had - all of the rest were hand-me-downs from my bros). Just like every Christmas, my older bro loves to wraps his gifts in anusual and surprising ways. This year he wrapped the ipod in a plastic kitchen bag, which he cleverly tied the handles to make into a bow. The boy should work at Bloomingdale's.

I remember a couple of years ago, he gave me a huge box. When I opened it, I found another box inside followed by another until I finally reached the box of watch that I really wanted. Excited, I opened the box to find...nothing...just the box. He the gave me the watch separately. He had just wanted to see how I would react. I was disappointed at seeing the empty box, but thought it was funny afterward.

As for my loving husband, I guess he was reading my blog (imagine that) because I got one of my wishes. He gave me a gift card from Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas, as well as a gorgeous dress from Max Azria BCBG. Who khew he had such a good taste in clothes?

As for me, I gave everyone else a gifts as well. -- Gift cards for my brothers so they can buy more hi-tech stuff that I haven't heard of yet and for husband a tennis racquet. Well I was told it was a tennis racquet by the guy at Paragon, but we found out that it was actually a squash racquet. I thought it looked weird for a tennis racquet, but the guy at the Paragon insisted that it was the new style for beginners. Looks like I will be returning the racquet for a proper tennis racquet (possibly ratting out a salesperson in process.)

We ended the celebration with my mom and me going to mid-night mass (thanks hubby for driving)

New Year
The next day, my husband and I left my brother's house to go home and pack for our holiday trip to Florida. We sepnt the whole time at the beach (
the trip, not the next day). Although the weather got cooler at night, it was still much warmer than cold, snowy NYC.

The year 2008 went so fast and I am thankful for all the wonderful things that happened as well as all the blessings that my family and I received. And hopefully, I will not make the same mistakes in 2009 that I did this year (although lets be honest...there's bound to be some repeats). I am grateful to have two wonderful families who loves me unconditionally and all my friends who care for me.

Happy New Year to All!!