Friday, February 24, 2006

I want to be MADE

For as long as I can remember, I've always had the passion for singing. I loved to perform, feeding from the nervousness that always seemed to prelude to singing in front of any crowd. Then it became such an anomalous high that throughout my childhood (and even up to now), I somehow manage to muster up the confidence to join almost every talent contest imaginable to mankind. Some, I've boastfully won with flying colors... while others left me feeling defeated in second place, or no place at all.

As a child, I once lost a town anniversary's singing contest to a preacher's daughter, and I remember telling her that God was just being nice to her that day so He let her win. In college, I performed at an open mic night but sucked so bad I spent the rest of the night blaming it on the single tequila shot I took for some "liquid courage" before taking the stage. And even when I was deployed in Bosnia, I lost a mock up of American Idol to a lieutenant who admitted his strategy was to try to be funny to cover up his lack of talent.....

And while my odds of being the next American Idol are about as slim to none as me winning the lottery, I admit I often fantasize of what it would be like if I was really good enough to score a recording deal.

So today, I'm feeling a little ambitious and thought I'dd bravely add another bold aspiration to my list of Things To Do.....

101. Go on an Americal Idol Audition.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Nice day for a drive

... but I'm not rolling my windows down ...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I feel human again

Still feeling a little lost, I try not to count the days of bouncing back to my pre-baby figure, attitude, work schedule, and sex life... Instead, I welcome the sobering reality of hope: that life will be chaotic for a while, but a new type of normalcy will eventually descend..... probably around the same time I start getting some sleep again.

Things instantly change when a woman gives birth.... I was taught to expect that. But how things change took me completely by surprise: the intensity of emotions, unexpected strains in my marriage, a new connection with in-laws, the unintended disconnect from friends without children, the undenying pressure to refrain from things that might be deemed irresponsible...... the list goes on.

Though I must admit, for at least a couple of hours this weekend... after being convinced to strap myself on a 5-foot piece of fiber glass and throw myself down a mountain of snow..... I felt human again.

I realized that life doesn't stop here... nor does it go downhill from here. It's just the beginning of a new phase.... one where Mike and I can enjoy the rewards of parenthood without necessarily having to give up things we used to enjoy.

Friday, February 17, 2006

They SURE don't come with instructions

Despite all the anticipatory parenting done during pregnancy, despite weeks of feeling movement within and fantasizing about my baby, despite months of having strange dreams, worrisome thoughts, and musings about what kind of parent I was going to be, the first time I held Ethan in my arms and was called mommy... an awareness (up to this day) floods over me that life will never be the same again. Another human being is now dependent on me for survival... and guidance. And more than anything else, I want to be the best parent I can possibly be. That's a big responsibility.

I guess in a way, it's a bit similar to when my parents decided to teach me responsibility by giving me a dog -- except with cocker spaniels, you don't have to worry a couple of years down the line about midnight phone calls from the precinct or a gold-digging whore they might call a girlfriend. But I digress...

The past 4 weeks have been an experience beyond words. I never thought I could worry so much about miniscule skin imperfections, or whether 4 hours of inconsolable crying warrants a call to the pediatrician. It's like being in a maze, completely oblivious to where I should go and when I'm going to get there. Getting out of the house takes all day (no matter how much planning gets done beforehand) and some days I don't even achieve that. Part of the problem is sleep deprivation which makes every chore twice as hard. Night feeds mean having been up two or three times, possibly up to two hours at a stretch to 'settle' Ethan back to sleep. I wish sometimes Mike would make the extra effort to get up at least once during the night to change him, but I guess they're not programmed quite the same (That's something we'll have to seriously work on when I get back to work). And I have yet to master the obvious advise to pass out whenever he does during the day... especially when that is the only time I find I can use to get anything done around the house... including finding time to fix myself something to eat. Many times, I have to resort to TV dinners since I can at least handle holding Ethan on one arm while maneuvering the microwave on the other.

The conspiracy of silence surrounding these first few weeks have left me feeling like I was ALL ALONE in facing a minefield of identity crisis, confusion, out-of-control emotions, exhaustion, lasting physical pain, and sometimes mourning for my former life. Until I realized that I got a bout of what they nonchalantly call the baby blues, around a week after giving birth... not too long after my mom went back home and Mike permanently back at work. But let's just look at the facts: crying baby (seemingly for no reason at times), no sleep, hormones all over the place, sore breasts, and going back to sanitary wear not seen since the age of 13. Is it any wonder I was in tears? Mike sneered everytime I showed the slightest evidence of a mood swing, but I didn't care. Eventually, I just told him I was sad, and he understood that was his cue to try to be the understanding one. I'll take all the sympathy I get.....

Monday, February 13, 2006

'tis the season

So tomorrow is Valentines day... which means 'tis the season for lots of bitching about how this day is just an invention of Hallmark Conspiracy that coerces people to show their loved ones how much they care even though they're supposed to be doing that all year anyway... yada yada yada...

I agree that it's over commercialized. But so is Christmas, and Halloween, and every other holiday on the calendar. That doesn't mean it's not fun to celebrate them. We shouldn't look at it as a "put-upon" to make an extra effort to be nice to our significant other... we should see it as just another opportunity to show them how we love them, right?

Lucky for me, I married a simple man. He's the greatest.... but he's simple, much like me. We're not expectant of grand gestures (although those are nice to run into every once in a while). We're more like homecooked-meal-and-cuddling people. Simple.

Personally, I like all that mushy stuff. I like asking him to be my valentine, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that he thoughtfully brushed off the inch of snow off my car today in 20 degree weather (something I had been dreading to do). AND in light of his greeting card holiday conspiracy theories, he gave me a February 13th gift today of a gift certifiate for a much needed hour of postnatal massage therapy and an hour of hot stone therapy... after coming home unxpectedly for lunch with my favorite meal from the mexican restaurant. That my friends, is far better than getting a cliche of 2 dozen long stemmed red roses which probably would cost just as much.

I, on the other hand, just got him this Valentines song (which I thought, if you listened beyond the cheesy karaoke feel, was really cute -- ), and I wrote him a love letter that he'll find nesting in one of his uniform pockets tomorrow.. something I definitely haven't done in quite a while. And I'm hoping he'll accept my proposal to go out and do something nice this weekend, as I'm sure grandma won't mind being the default babysitter...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Winter wonderland

in our front yard... my car's down there somewhere..

I guess it's time to squeeze into my pre-pregnancy winter coats..... hOoray.....

I can taste the sarcasm on that one.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My Word Cloud

You type in the URL and name of your blog and it creates a word collage based on what's found at your site. It's pretty cool.
Here's mine:

I feed the papparazi

Celebrity lifestyles are annoyingly addicting. Why do we care so much about what they do beyond the stage or the television anyway? Truth of the matter is, it's human nature to be curious.. but the astonishing unnumbered curious people, I admit, are probably the very reason why these vultures continue to harass those who might be (at the very least) subjects of interest.

Her damage control reps are all over this one, and who wouldn't be? In her defense, I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt in that her maternal instincts warranted for her to drive away without putting the baby in the carseat first. Then again, how long did she drive like this for? Speaking as a new mom, I worry that if someone else were to do something reckless, she has put herself in danger too. And personally, I would rather have some papparazi in my face for a couple of minutes while I strap Ethan in his carseat (which is no joke, probably a harder chore than changing a diaper) before I run those photographers over.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Lists are the elixir of life

I'm a closet list maker. To-do Lists. To-don'ts. Grocery lists. Packing lists. Activity lists.

I always say I hate planning ahead, but that's a bold-face lie too. If you were smart enough to evade my company during the wedding planning months, I commend you... because I was at the ABSOLUTE brink of going postal from keeping a list for all my lists.

I make lists when I am stressed out, tired, lonely, bored, busy, frantic, happy, anxious. My lists consist of, but definitely not confined to: things to remember, personal projects to complete, names of people I should call, doctor's appointments, places I want to visit, concepts and principles to incorporate into my daily life, quotes that I think are memorable, things about myself I want to change, things about my life that are good, groceries to pick up the next time I'm out, stuff to get at Walmart.... Blah Blah Blah. Sometimes I make lists of things I have already completed just so I can draw a thick line through them and feel very accomplished. It's like self-therapy...

Today.. I'm feeling a little bummed. So I decided to re-vamp my old list.... THE List. The one that is supposed to take me through life with frantic abandon. Some people say that these lists are useless because they keep you from appreciating what you've done by creating a false sense of reality... but I completely disagree. I'm not even sure how long I have had this list or what got it started.. but I guess it's what they call.. a living document. Some of the things, I've already done. Others, I probably would think twice about doing.. and yet, it seems like I have so much more to add -- and hopefully, just as much (and more) to accomplish.

So without further a due, here is MY LIST.

1. Write a novel, and have it published.

2. Find a job I love.

3. Learn to surf.

4. Visit Rome. a

5. Take a road trip across the United States. a

6. Skydive.

7. Write a song.

8. Explore the New York Public Library. a

9. Swim with a dolphin.

10. Look into a Hawaiian volcano.

11. March in a protest rally. a

12. Go camping on a beach.

13. Drive on Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible with the top down.

14. Learn how to play the guitar.

15. Walk the Great Wall of China.

16. Scuba Dive.

17. Go to the United Nations. a

18. Get a tattoo or a piercing.

19. Let go of an old grudge. a

20. Ride the tallest roller coaster in the world. a

21. Volunteer. a

22. Take a gondola ride in Venice with the love of my life.

23. Eat an authentic Thai meal in Thailand.

24. Leave my mark by carving my name to a tree bark, and revisiting it.

25. Go to Disney World.

26. Participate in a tradition outside my culture. a

27. Stay at a Five Star Hotel, guilt-free.

28. Learn how salsa, in heels.

29. Take a cruise.

30. Spend New Year’s Eve in some exotic location.

31. Attend the Carnivale in Venice, Italy. a

32. Become a member of the Mile High Club.

33. Run a marathon.

34. Learn a third language, and put it to use.

35. Work with a non-profit organization.

36. Change my own tire. a

37. Go to the top of the Empire State Building. a

38. Start a collection and stick with it.

39. See a tornado or hurricane and live to tell my grandkids.

40. Be in a mosh pit. a

41. Visit the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC.

42. Try a pilates class.

43. Go white water rafting.

44. Vote for something I feel strongly about.

45. Talk with a Buddhist monk.

46. Raise a family.

47. Be someone’s mentor.

48. Write a journal of stories from my childhood and pass it on to my children.

49. Release my own recording album.

50. Tour a vineyard and sample a good bottle of wine. a

51. Photograph the sphinx and the pyramids in Egypt.

52. Do something crazy in Las Vegas. a

53. Research my family tree.

54. Contemplate on the one person I idolize and let them know how much I admire them.

55. Spend a birthday in Paris.

56. Fall asleep to the sound of the waves of the ocean.

57. Start my own company.

58. Attend a fashion show in Milan.

59. Finish my degree.

60. Visit all seven continents.

61. Get interviewed and published by a newspaper or magazine. a

62. Fall in love. a

63. Get married on the beach. a

64. Get a piece of my art work into an exhibit.

65. Re-kindle an old friendship.

66. Attend the mardi gras in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

67. Buy a piece of jewelry that I can pass on to my daughter.

68. Organize a big event. a

69. Watch the changing of the guard in Buckingham Palace.

70. Have my portrait painted.

71. Reflect on my greatest weakness, and realize how it is my greatest strength.

72. Spend a whole day reading a great novel on the beach sipping cocktail.

73. Drive the autobahn.

74. Take a photograph someone can hang proudly on their wall.

75. Get a poem published. a

76. Attend at least one major sporting event: the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or World Series.

77. Ride a horse on the beach. a

78. Shower in a waterfall.

79. Jump from the top of a waterfall.

80. Make love in the rain.

81. Memorize a poem and pass it on.

82. Visit all 50 states.

83. Send my mom to a well-deserved vacation somewhere.

84. Dance in a foreign night club. a

85. Ride in a hot air balloon.

86. Watch the running of the bulls in person in Spain.

87. Live somewhere other than California. a

88. Go back to the Philippines for a class reunion.

89. Visit the Borough market in London.

90. Own my dream house, preferably close to the water.

91. Capture someone else’s wedding or special occasion on film.

92. Plant a garden.

93. Conquer my fear of riding a motorcycle (as a passenger, not drive one).

94. Watch the sunset on a beach. a

95. Fly somewhere First Class.

96. Take a cooking class.

97. Take my sister somewhere nice when she graduates college.

98. Take my brother to a professional football game.

99. Look into my child’s eyes, see myself, and smile. a

100. Pay off all my debts.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


What I wouldn't give to be in this weather,

instead of this.....

The snow isn't that bad, but the windchill is what will drive a tropical native off the wall. It's a shame Mike's not here to scrape all that snow off my windshield.... I guess this California girl will have to do it herself.

Friday, February 03, 2006

TV is NOT evil

These days, I have relentlessly found refuge in the technological innovation called the television. I admit, I have never been a firm believer in the singular capacity of the telly to totally ruin people's concentrational lives. They say it's evil because it takes away from actual functional and constructive activities such as reading, or exercising. Yet in this society, it is not only perceptible that literary books are being turned into movies, you will also HARDLY find a gym that is without numerous televisions secured on their walls.

Nevermind the bunch of mindless drivel on it, there's also stuff I enjoy for its entertainment, news, educational value.

The funny thing is... I don't even "follow" any particular show. In fact, I consider myself more of a re-run junkie. I can never get enough of the neverending song-and-dance of Ross and Rachel (even though I currently own the first six seasons on DVD already), or the scientific explorations of Crime Scene Investigation (it's gotten to a point where I can watch the first 10 minutes of the show and tell you who the killer is...). Despite the lack of suspense, I still find repeat episodes of Everyone Loves Raymond entertaining -- something about the old man's vulgar yet funny attitude that makes me fancy what Mike would be like 50 years from now. Then there's the useless crap, like the irritatingly addicting onslaught of reality tv shows on MTV... what's more entertaining than watching an ex-boyband member throwing a yard sale to have enough money for the rent?

I watch the morning local news in the morning. I'm a firm believer of getting 20 minutes of extra sleep than waking up early to read the newspaper (besides... we're already paying 100 something dollars for cable anyway, why pay extra couple of bucks for a newspaper subscription?) - Before I took the time off for mommy duties, I would have it tuned faintly in the background while get ready for work. Sometimes, in the middle of blowdrying my hair, I would sneak a peak to watch the little scroller at the bottom of the screen for the headlines, but mostly to try to catch a glimpse on the day's weather prediction.

And when Mike's home, you can almost guarantee that he has the remote control and that he's watching some kind of sports channel. That's where educational kicks in for me. Believe it or not, i can actually sit through an entire football game now and not be totally clueless. I can even tell you who the Heisman Trophy nominees were this year and who is likely to be this year's first draft pick...

Do I watch too much TV? Lately.. I'm probably guilty. Next to taking care of my son, doing laundry, reading a new book called "Your Purpose in Life" (generously picked by a favorite Uncle of mine) and checking my email, there really isn't much else to do. Bite me...

I'll probably be glued to the television more by next week when the Olympics start...... nothing better than watching agony of dreams destroyed by a better competitor!!

This isn't my kid, but I thought it was funny


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