Monday, July 31, 2006


We just celebrated our seventh year as a couple. That's eighty-four months of togetherness, two thousand five hundred-fifty five days of bliss. And we've been married for nineteen months and thirteen days (out of those seven years). I like to remember (and count) the days that David and I are together. I am an avid counter (hehe). People we know are amused when they ask me how long had we been dating before we got married, and I tell them- five years and five months. They say, I still remember now. But after a few years I would abandon the counting and just let the days pass by. I hope not!

I have plenty of fond memories of those seven years. On our first three years, we used to go out (all spiffy and dressed up) for dinner at the end of each month to celebrate our "birthday", complete with flowers (from him), and love letters (mostly from me). When he was away for a while in late 2002, we would email each other and call each other a lot. But it wasn't until the second time that he left in middle 2003 that I promised to write him everyday. And I did write him emails (note that it's in a plural form, hehe)everyday, rain or shine, come hell or high water.

And I also send him cards each month, (meticulously calculated so that he would receive it on the 30th, which is our birthday). I must have bought all the mushy Hallmark cards out there. Well, maybe except for those icky Tagalog-themed "Para sa Aking Minamahal" cards, hehee. And aside from those, we would send each other text messages day and night, and chat every Saturday afternoon, and talk on the phone on Sundays (and whenever he can). It was tough. A long-distance relationship is way tougher than any other obstacle. But I'm very proud we managed to get through it. It's one great feat.

The first time he went away, we were apart for six months, then he left again for five months. After that, we got engaged and then we were apart for a year. So basically, we planned our whole wedding through emails. And then barely two weeks after we got wed, he left and we weren't together again until five months later.

But now, we're practically glued to the hip for one year and two months. These are the greatest times of our lives, yet! Now we're seven. Hurray for seven years! I love DNG!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

a pipe dream

Everyone has a favorite fantasy. And this is mine: one day embark on a year-long trip with the hubby and the kids in an exotic/historic place (top choices are Patagonia region in south Argentina, Salzkammergut in Austria, and the Karakoram in Pakistan), taking millions of photographs, explore the culture, study the people and write all about it à la National Geographic article.

I was so impressed with the two families I read about in my old National Geographic magazine- photographer husbands and writer wives and their kids leaving their home and setting out to a strange foreign place. One family joined a salt caravan in the Hindu Kush mountain range in Pakistan/Afghanistan with their 5 year-old son, and the other went to a really remote Gimi village in Papua New Guinea with their 5 year-old daughter and lived there for a year. They studied the culture and had the greatest adventure of their lives!

I was so enticed by it I have this long-time fervent dream to undertake a trip in the same manner. Travel into a notable but not a tourist-exploited place, traverse though a remarkable route not taken by a regular tourist, meet the people, eat the food, explore and experience the culture, and write a detailed, entertaining account of the whole adventure.

Fantastic. This is my everlasting fantasy. However, I'm not sure if we're cut out for such a rugged, bold and spirited adventure. For one thing, I'd lug a million things and I need a proper bathroom. While my hubby can be game with just his camera and an anti-insect spray, he would probably despise me for ALL the things I NEED to bring along. And probably we wouldn't last- we'd miss our bed by the second night :)

As fantastic but vain hope as this can be, I'm holding on to it. It is much too marvelous to be ever abandoned. I guess I am still hoping one day we could venture out something as impressive as my fantasy. But I believe we could start with something manageable at this time. Like going on a lighthouse hunt in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

For weeks we've been thinking about it and finally decided to go. And after being threatened by an impending storm heading towards the Carolinas yesterday, we've breathed easy today knowing the storm veered towards another direction. We wouldn't want to go to on our trip drenched in a storm.

We plan to drop by the first lighthouse in Corolla and hopefully we could go down to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton. Exploring the Outer Banks would be a wonderful adventure for us. It's historic, close to nature and a great opportunity to explore new things. So many photographs to take, so many fascinating stories to write.

We're so excited about it. Maybe after this trip, we can step up to something more energetic and elaborate. And who knows? Maybe one day, we could really go on my fantasy trip. It would be one spectacular tale to share..........

Monday, July 17, 2006

the window

The tall, narrow glass window at the far end of our bedroom is a wellspring of so many reverie and latenight ponderings. The old window is covered with flimsy cream curtains, because I am a curtain woman. It was one of the major decisions when we first moved in- my husband would have preferred blinds, but I chose curtains. During the day, I open the curtains a little and floods of light come in, washing the whole room with bright sunshine. And then at night, it reflects the lights from outside, giving it a tranquil, by oneself mood.

On quiet early summer evenings, I sit on the edge of the bed and I could see top of the trees and the clear blue skies through the old window. And when in bare feet, leaning close to the window, sometimes pressing the side of my head against the window pane, I see the street below, with cars scurrying in hushed urgency. From our fifteenth-floor spot, I could see the world below, and heavens above from that tiny cranny of this old window.

Each night, before I close my eyes into deep sleep, the window somehow illuminates my thoughts and take me somewhere remote and whimsical. The lights seem to dance and the sound from the outside world barely audible. Lying in bed on my back, if I lift my feet it obscures the light and my feet seemed to fit the whole frame. I welcome the unopposed solitude the window unveils.

I have witnessed the seasons change through the window. It was late summer when we moved in. The trees I saw were still green and abundant. Then it changed to bright orange and then to brown. It was such a wonderful, flaming sight. And then, it fell one by one until it was bare. Each wintry day I woke up, and I gazed through the window, I always hoped the trees will be flourishing green again... The warmth and eagerness of spring were arresting as seen through the window . Now it's summer again.

When I step into the bedroom at night, with the soft curtains drawn and aglow with the lamplight, the window seem unassuming. Forlorn. Unimportant. But most of it are untrue. The window, with its simplicity, is a threshold of wonder, hope, joy and boundless freedom.

Monday, July 10, 2006

birthday girls

Last weekend, I shared birthdays with Alexandria, the city. Mine was on Friday and hers was on Saturday, and she was about 228 years older than me ;) It was a happy, eventful birthday for me. It was a sunny day (after two weeks of storms and rains), had an unconventional pineapple upside-down birthday cake, my favorite girl friends wishing me a blissful year, and many surprise greetings from old friends. Plus of course, an affectionate hubby waking up earlier than usual to let me make a wish on my cake, and happy greetings from my mom (and dog) whom I miss so much.

I'm 29- happy, hopeful, better, loved and grateful for the wonderful opportunities.

My goal still is: to make this year better than the past year. I realized, not too long ago, that to have strict rules and pushing your limits as to consummating your ambitions can sometimes bring disillusionment. Which is why I finally made peace with myself. Now I hope for the best, and strive to be happy no matter what.

What made it a wonderful birthday weekend? The company and the simple things cherished with the ones you love.... On Saturday afternoon, David and I strolled and enjoyed the street scenes in Old Town with our mango-passion fruit smoothie and iced latte, spotted a bride and a groom having their photographs taken at the park, felt the damp, newly-cut grass in the park and later joined a multitude of people at the Oronoco Bay park to celebrate Miss Alexandria's birthday.

I'm sure Alexandria had a great birthday, too. A lot of people came to celebrate her big day. There was a symphony orchestra concert in her honor, a huge birthday cake, and the best of them all- a spectacular fireworks display and a thundering cannon overture. What a wonderful way to celebrate two hundred and fifty-seven years of greatness!

Here's to us, looking forward to many more splendid birthday celebrations!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

one day more!

Here are morsels of my birthday memories (as far back as 1998; beyond that, those were simply forgotten memories, hehe) I’m not a big party birthday girl, and I am not fond of entertaining and I’d rather celebrate with closest friends and family. Now, isang tulog na lang! I’m a boithday girl again.

1998- went out to dinner at the defunct Pecan Tree café with Farrah and Lilian. Farrah delivered the news that she was pregnant

1999- had a birthday dinner at Bigby’s with friends. Got a huge rag doll present from Lilian
2000- went to dinner with David at Lemon Tree
2001- went to Drew’s first birthday party at the beach. Lilian made me a really sinful, sweet chocolate pie. Later that night, David treated me to dinner at Bigby’s
2002- went to Joaquin’s birthday party at Jollibee. Later David and I hung out at Taza
2003- David left two days before. It was a rainy, rainy day. Got a huge rectangular birthday cake from David’s mom
2004- Had a Spiderman-inspired cake! David’s mom threw me a birthday lunch at their house
2005- Had an Italian birthday dinner. The waiter asked for our IDs when we ordered wine :)

I’m turning 29 tomorrow! Here are parts of the song I love, One Day More from my all-time favorite, Les Miserables:
One day to a new beginning
There's a new world for the winning
There's a new world to be won

Tomorrow we'll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

a drizzly day

The weather has gone from toasty to drizzly to rainy. This is the summer of storms and I am wondering when the bad weather's gonna go away. Yesterday, the 4th of July fireworks were threatened by the impending storm. But fortunately, it didn't turn ugly and at around 9:00pm, in time for the fireworks, the sky had cleared up a bit, just enough to see the spectacular displays and away from the torment of looking like a turkey gaping up at the sky choking down on the rainshower! :)

It was a stifling 4th of July- muggy and rainy compared to the previous year. But at least, there was no real storm and it turned out to be not bad at all. Last year, we were at the Capitol watching the concert and waiting for the fireworks spectacle. So this year, since I've been there once, and once is enough, we spent the 4th of July elsewhere- at Darko's place. We went up to their building rooftop at 9:00pm to watch the fireworks in distant DC. And then much later, we lighted up their firecrackers at the park behind their building.

The firecrackers were two bit compared to the shameless, devilish, finger-shattering firecrackers back home, of course (hehe). I'm a little afraid of firecrackers, but seeing how tame it was last night, I managed to hang loose around a bit. The firecrackers back home can well be explosives. Too dangerous.

Darko's adorable nephew, Stefan, was the cutest thing ever. Imagine how thrilled I was when he clung to me while he ignored everyone else. He looked so precious on his oversized onesie. When we were about to leave, I carried him in my arms and asked him if he wants to come home with us. He nodded yes right away! I teased them I wanna take the little boy home, and Darko told me, "good! Bring him back when he's 18!" He never complained when were at the door and heading towards the elevator, he really wanted to come with us home!

Today is a drizzly, then rainy day. I could see the heavy rain pelting down on my window earlier this afternoon. There's a hushed harmony on rainy days. My distinct images on rainy days are warm blankets, the smell of coffee brewing, a muted TV, paper boats racing through a stream of water, wet fallen leaves, the sounds of birds against the quietude after a heavy rain, the trees seemingly standing burdened and still....

But then, I wish there won't be any more rain....

Sunday, July 02, 2006

David's surprise birthday

David recently had his birthday, but our friends Darko and Janet hosted a post-birthday suprise party for him last Saturday. Also the night before, we went out for our much-delayed birthday dinner. The reason for these delayed celebrations was the abominable weather the previous week. It had been raining incessantly, and it was too agonizing to even go out in that undesirable weather. So it was wise to move all the gaiety that weekend. David and I went to McCormick & Schmick's, a real swanky seafood restaurant. We haven't really been to a seafood restaurant in a long time, so it was a good decision. We had the greatest time! I had the grilled halibut and he had the seafood platter. It was marvelous.

I only knew about Darko's plan for the surprise party last Thursday. It was so exciting because knowing me, I couldn't contain a secret, so it would be a real test of self-restraint. I did a great job in keeping the secret from him! He absolutely had no idea and he never suspected anything. Earlier that day, we attended a baby shower for an officemate. And since the party wrapped up at 5pm, and the surprise party wasn't happening until 8.30pm, I managed to convince him to go to the mall. Darko's alibi to him was just to watch a movie at their place. I successly got him to linger a little more at the mall before we headed out to the party.

The mall stopover proved to be beneficial for me, too, since he indulged me with a couple of fragrances plus a couple of body lotion. And not to mention an additional red tube top. :) I love my hubby!

And so going up to Darko's place in the elevator, I tried so hard to keep myself from bursting out the exciting secret about to happen. I was worried I looked so smug, and he'd suddenly act suspicious. And so ever-nochalantly, I pushed the doorbell button a thousand times (like we always do, for fun!) and there was Darko, welcoming us (thanks Heavens, he did not make a silly comment like, "look there's nobody here!" like he did to Janet's surprise birthday last year).

And then six friends jumped out from hiding and screamed "surprise" to an obviously surprised David! His first ever suprise party was a hit! It was seconds after that he realized the surprise party was for his birthday, he told me he thought they were just playing a surprise joke with him :)

Darko elaborately prepared the party for him. The whole enchilada- balloons, champagne and beer, grilled chicken, lasagna, gyros and french fries. And there was even an ice cream cake for him! And he got a belated birthday present, a camera tripod from our friend Derek. I guess he was totally taken by surprise by the whole treat.

The night was spent watching Shakira videos, chatting and - babbling about our least-liked officemates, enjoying the food and toasting to David. It was a great, great night spent with friends. And I'm grateful to Darko (the eternal party guy) for taking an extra mile to celebrate David's birthday.

Later we hung out at their balcony eating more gyros and sharing stories about anything. It was a great Saturday night. Happy birthday hubby!