Sunday, April 30, 2006

April 30, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

The stroller and car seat are finally out of their boxes, and they look beautiful!  Unfortunately the owner's manuals are in Japanese, but thankfully the manufacturer had the foresight to include plenty of detailed illustrations.  I remember assembling a model car many years ago, with only the drawings to guide my hand.  My brother seemed happy; he won a few RC car races with it.

If you wish to see the stroller and car seat, visit or  I love the carseat especially, because of how many years of use Nicole will get out of it.  Thanks to our wedding godparents for gifting us with them!

April 30, 2006 - A gem from Oprah

One late night while my husband was away, I found myself watching the Oprah show.  Her guest was Uma Thurman (side note: I LOVED Kill Bill 1) who was quite open and candid about the goings-on in her personal life.  Oprah probed, but not too deeply, and Uma answered only what she felt comfortable with.  In the course of their on-the-couch conversation, as the subject turned to Uma's "coulda shoulda woulda's" regarding her marriage, Oprah uttered a true gem of a quote that she attributes to another guest from a previous episode: FORGIVENESS IS GIVING UP THE HOPE THAT THE PAST COULD'VE BEEN ANY DIFFERENT.  Her follow-up: if you knew better, you could've done better, but you didn't. 

I guess there's no point in holding on to the "coulda shoulda woulda's" in life. 

Forgiveness of others is difficult enough, but forgiving oneself can be even tougher.  In relationships (personal or professional)... in situations... heck, even driving in rush hour traffic... letting go of the past can be a trying task.  "Oh, I knew I should've taken that right turn at Albaquerque."

I don't really know what it is that makes the task so strangely tough.  Perhaps once something happens in your life that turns it upside down, the mind and the heart become riddled with those said questions, with additional "what if's".  "What if I had done something different... what if I had taken another path... what if I had waited... what if I hadn't... what if... what if... what if..."  We can't live our lives that way though; it would invalidate whatever resulted from the first decisions we made.

Everything that happens in life happens for a reason.  Sometimes the reasons are very obvious... and at other times, the reasons don't appear until much, much later.  Each road block, each clear path, each little signboard that pops up is there for us, when it's supposed to be.  We just have to figure out what to do when they appear, and pray for the best.

Friday, April 28, 2006

April 28, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

Yes, I'm feeling much better now.

Now the nesting instinct has gotten a bit more pronounced.  I took the playpen out of the box and put it together today, after an overwhelming desire to do so.  The box was calling out to me, so I heeded the call and went for it.  Thankfully it wasn't at all difficult to set up, and the great part is, it's portable!  I can bring it to Abu's house (Abu is the Grandma namesake my mother has chosen to name herself, short for Abuelita) when we come visit and the baby needs to nap.  Ideally though, she should have one at her house.  I have a feeling she'll take care of that on her own.

Nothing much going on over here...

The baby blanket is nearly 3/4 done.  This is probably the largest knitted piece I've ever made, and one made with a lot of love for this little being.  I'm also planning to knit another for one of Rob's cousins who just found out that she's pregnant, due in September.  However, if I find that I will have no free time once this baby arrives, I might not be able to.  I'll play this one by ear.

Nearly time to settle in... I think I'll knit again, whilst listening to Paul Anka's album "Rock Swings".  Excellent, excellent!!!  He's coming to Manila in May... sadly I won't be able to see the show, lest I risk my water breaking in mid-song.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Not much longer... as in!

It's April 27. In two days, Nicole will be officially at full term. Great!

It means that there's a light at the end of this 9-month long tunnel, and an end to my discomfort. I know, it isn't going to get easier for me, but at the very least I'll get my body (hence my mobility) back. I'll be able to walk around with more ease.

However I also realize that the end to my freedom as I know it will end. But, as all my friends tell me, it'll all be worth it. I was once told that I won't know love until I first see my baby, and I have a feeling that person's right.

April 27, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

I am not having a good night.

My day went quite well... had a nice, relatively healthy lunch with Rob and was at his office for most of the afternoon (I sang for the composer of Les Miz and Miss Saigon today, in the hope that I'll get cast in the Broadway revival of Les Miz which starts its run late this year... I'm keeping fingers and toes crossed), after which we went to dinner at the friend's home in Magallanes to celebrate his birthday.  It was a wonderful dinner where we saw old friends and played a round of Texas Hold'em.

Here's where my night went bad.  And it's going to sound monumentally silly.

I left something at his house.

Yes, it reads as trivial and insignificant, but not to me.  For my whole pregnancy I've experienced episodes of temporary stupidity... extreme absentmindedness... pregnancy-induced Alzheimer's.  For the last 8 months or so, my brain has decided to hiccup and sputter, and I hate it when that happens.  When I got home, I lay on the bed and cried.  My husband did tell me that there wasn't any use to crying and getting myself worked up over this, but HE'S NOT PREGNANT, HE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND!

I can take the physical discomfort and have actually gotten used to it; I don't like it when my brain decides to go on vacation without notifying me.  I hate it when I feel like I have no control over my brain, like I'm about to lose my mind.  It's extremely frustrating, and I hate feeling stupid.  For the first time in my life, I actually feel like an complete idiot.

This baby needs to be born soon, so that I can get my brain back.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

April 23, 2006 - Online Baby Pool!!!

Believe it or not, I found a baby pool site!!!

Go to to venture a guess on Nicole's birth weight, birth date and time.  Who knows?  Oh, the name of the game is NicoleChien, and the lucky winner will get a prize.  Enjoy!

April 23, 2006 - Can someone clue me in?

Allow me to say that I'm only too, too glad that I am able to control who gets to read my blog, and who doesn't.  I know of one person who was a victim of "blog stalking," so hopefully she's found a safer haven here.

ANYWAY... on to my occasional ranting.

As you may know I'm spending the weekend at my mother's house, sleeping in my old bedroom (on a brand new pillowtop mattress!!!  Ohhhhh yeaaaaaaah, baby!!!).  Last night after saying good night to Rob, I fell asleep and woke up to a beautiful day.  Had a great meal of deep fried red snapper with black bean sauce and hot rice, and a generous helping of canteloupe to cap things off.  I then went into the den and settled on the recliner, continued my knitting and watched a great helping of anime as well as a debunk the Da Vinci Code DVD, to test my mom's new player.  Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

Then I thought to switch the channel to one of the Sunday celebrity gossip shows.  What a bright idea.  NOT!  I go to one program... there's a supposed fight between two female hosts... I then switch to another channel... two lovers: an undying love or an affair going bad?  I then go straight to the Crime/Suspense channel, and am instantly calmed by the sight of an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

The thing that incenses me is just how far these shows will go to dredge up the dirty laundry of these celebrities.  The poor celebrity, already under fire, has to then either lie about or deny the allegations posed by the hosts (if said allegations are indeed true). 

Why?  Why is there this need to dig so deep?  Is this a demand from the television audiences at home?  Is this a ploy by the TV networks to boost ratings?  Do they really think all this drivel is interesting?

Perhaps to some other TV viewer, but not to me.  Playing dirty isn't my idea of good TV.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy celebrity television... seeing a red carpet parade and who's wearing whom... a glamorous premiere or another illustrious function... celebrity sports shows and other fun stuff.  However, I don't really care to know who's sleeping with whom, who's in rehab (again), which best friends are fighting and who's made up, the contents of divorce papers or emancipation transcripts.

Maybe because I get a great view from both sides is why my opinion is such.  I know what it's like to watch and be watched... to observe and be observed.  Perhaps I don't like watching someone else's dirty laundry aired out for the sake of ratings is because I wouldn't want that happening to me.  I married a very private man and we live a relatively private life, and we'd like to keep it that way. 


Perhaps there will be that one day when a celebrity show over here won't have to resort to the tactics of the cheap and low.  Then again, would that be asking for the moon?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

April 22, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

I'm sitting in my bedroom alone (hubby's in LA to surprise his cousin who's having his 30th birthday party... it's going on as I write) after having had a breakfast of oatmeal topped with a crunchy oat cereal (yum!), and a glass of cold milk.  I'll be taking a shower in a little bit and then getting ready to spend the next couple of days at my mom's house.  My new yaya is there with her now, so I'll get to meet her today.  How splendid!

I'm now 36 weeks pregnant, which means that by Friday of next week, I'll be at full term and ready to pop this little one out.  I'm looking on the bright side of things: the sciatica-like pain that shoots down the back of my thigh will disappear, as will my digestive discomforts and round ligament pain.  Doesn't help that as I describe my symptoms and maladies to my mother, she comes back with, "I don't remember having that when I was pregnant."  Thanks.

Thankfully I've still been able to walk around (not shuffle, not waddle... WALK) to do errands and what not.  The baby is still in a comfortable enough position for me to do so, and I'm thankful for that.  According to my doctor, she's still quite high up, which means she won't be making an appearance while my husband's away.  Good.  I've also been able to have a few lunch/coffee dates here and there... I won't be able to see my friends much after the baby's born.

As for my "nesting instinct", it's starting to kick in.  It hasn't kicked in to the point that I want to vacuum the inside of my car or mop the kitchen floor to a sparkling shine, but it's definitely there.  I've been making more and more visits to Make Room (for you guys in the States, it's like The Container Store), Baby & Co., Mercury Drug and True Value Hardware.  I've pretty much ignored the clothing, shoes and accessories stores (except for Joyce Oreña), and my mind is filled with "how can I store this, put this away, neaten this up" thoughts.  Yeah.  My OC/anal retentive friends would be very proud of me.  The impulse has been triggered.

The baby blanket is going okay as well... I seem to have made a few errors though, which means I may have to redo a few rows.  It's not such a bad deal at this point, since the mistake isn't so huge anyway, and I have an idea how to fix it.  It won't be the perfect blanket that I wanted for the little one, but it's one made out of love and care.  (I have to also keep in mind the Lebanese carpet makers who intentionally weave an error in their wares.  It's encouraging.)

Okay, I think it's time for me to begin my weekend.  Hope you all have a great one!  Be it buzzing with activity or spent lounging on the couch, traipsing on Boracay sands or ogling the ladies poolside, chasing butterflies or chasing dreams, enjoy!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

April 19, 2006 - Place Your Bets!

This is something I've been meaning to do...

Kind of similar to a football pool, this is a baby birth pool, where we make bets on the baby's date and time of birth, and birth weight.  Whoever is closest to the actual date and weight wins the money in the pot.

Has anyone here done this?  If so, kindly email me a mock-up of the chart you used.  If nothing else, it'll be fun.  Thanks!

April 19, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

Okay, I think my pregnancy inventory is officially complete.  I couldn't help myself, today I headed to one of my favorite baby stores, and got the following: a baby monitor, a bottle warmer and some disposable nursing pads.  There were also a few freebies that were offered with a couple of the items, so it was worth it for me to get.  The purchases were easy enough to justify: I can use these same items when we have more children!  (In a few years, I think I'll be once again hearing the phrase, "Pass the baby!  Pass the baby!")

It's funny, but many years ago when my mother was taking care of me and my brother as babies, she didn't have many of the material trappings that I now have sitting in another room: the mountain of disposable diapers (she's a believer in cloth, while I like the convenience of throwing the poop away... far, far away), the bottle sterilizer, the newborn set, the diaper disposal system, etc., etc.  But what she did possess was an incredible love for us, and she made do with whatever was available to her.  There wasn't the disposal system, or the bottle sterilizer, or the diapers that have Sesame Street characters on the waist bands.  But we turned out okay.  I have a feeling our baby will turn out good, too.

At the end of the day, what will matter will be the lessons we impart on our children... how we influence  them, shape and mold them, and teach them to be good, God-fearing, generous and kind people.  It is those moral values that can't be taught by any of these really cool baby gadgets... at the end of the day, as in every generation before ours, it's the parents that bear the responsibility of raising their children. 

Many years from now, further improvements will be made to the stock of baby technology that currently exists, but one thing will remain constant: how our kids turn out will be up to us, and we don't get a second chance with each child.  We get one shot, better make it good.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

April 17, 2006 - Forgiveness

Today wasn't such an easy day.  I had to be interviewed by a man that I once swore I would never forgive.

It was around May of 2003.  My brother had just left for Manila after a series of gigs in the US with Lani Misalucha, and after visiting me in Mission Viejo (Rob and I were living in a small apartment here to be closer to his mother who was at the time undergoing medical treatment).  He was on the same flight as a journalist that had come from a junket in LA, and the conversation in flight turned to Rob's mother's condition.  Under the supposed veil of discretion, my brother disclosed the details of what's been going on.  Not long after, in the papers, those very same details were revealed at a time when neither Rob nor I could take any more emotional strain on our collective plate.  We were both, needless to say, very very angry.  I wrote a letter to the editor of the said paper expressing my distaste for what this writer wrote. 

Three years... three years I refused to invite him to my press conferences and concerts... three years I didn't want to appear in any write-up to be written by him.  My skin would literally crawl when I'd hear his name or see his face, as any mention, breath or memory of him would just remind me of what we went through before her passing... it would remind me of the river of tears the family cried... the many sleepless nights in the hospital... hearing bad news get worse.  I hardened my heart to this man, and swore to never have anything to do with him.  Forgiveness was the last thing on my mind.  Until a few weeks ago.

Through another person, a request came in... this writer wanted to do an interview.  When I saw the text that contained the query I felt all those emotions rise up inside me, as if it all happened yesterday.  It took a great deal of thinking and consultation before I agreed to do it.  I also asked a journalist friend to let him know exactly what I was feeling (I don't know how the conversation went).  Finally, I agreed, and we met up for lunch today.  I did ask for some moral support though, so my mom and a couple of recording company exec friends went along with me.  I appreciated that.

I had to make the decision to forgive him... I wouldn't have been able to do that interview otherwise.

To forgive someone is not an easy thing to do.  This particular instance was especially difficult, in that a woman who was unable to defend or speak up for herself was being written about in an unflattering, unsavory light.  She was, as far as I was concerned, a member of my family... she did not deserve to be treated this way.

However, to forgive someone is to reach a certain state of grace... it is to ascend to a height that isn't of a human plane.  It's to find it in one's heart to feel the pain once again but make the decision to move forward from it, and absolve the person responsible for causing the strife.  I never ever received an apology for this, but I choose to forgive anyway.  To hold on to the hurt is not worth the effort.  Not anymore.  It takes up way too much energy now to be angry.

Rob's mother was one of the most beautiful, generous, and kind people I ever had the good fortune to meet, and I'm sure she would have let this go far sooner than I did.  She was a lady that exuded class and grace, and did everything in life with a smile.  She lived her life to the fullest, with no regrets, no looking back.  Her life is a legacy that we shall pass down to our daughter who will carry her name, and hopefully carry some of that grace too.

Monday, April 17, 2006

April 16, 2006 - Childhood


The above photo is probably one of my favorites... Voltes V was definitely my favorite cartoon growing up, and like many other children in the mid 1970s, was incensed... outraged even... when GMA7 pulled the show (and the other robot anime series that were airing at the time) off the air.  There were quite a few conspiracy theories that were whispered, the loudest one being that the Marcos government was behind it.  Supposedly, Voltes V's theme of the common tao rising up against an imperialist power was enough... that the government thought it would incite an actual uprising by the people against the ruling regime. 

If you think about it, the people who rose up against Marcos during the EDSA revolution were the kids of Voltes V.

I'm still an avid cartoon viewer, but nothing I've seen since has rivalled the impact of Voltes V on me.  The dramatics of the storyline... the dialogue... and sometimes, even the voice acting (Joonee Gamboa is AWESOME).  I watched two episodes today, and found myself in tears.

It's great that there's this time machine of sorts that can bring me back to a more innocent, playful time of my life, one where there were no complications, no problems.  Just a comfy seat at 6 pm on Friday.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

April 15, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

I am now at the stage of my pregnancy where I am my most sensitive and emotionally raw... where nothing in my maternity closet seems to fit... where I look at myself in the mirror and don't see anything pretty (I am amply reassured though that I still look the same)...

Today for example, I got angry at my husband for not having given away boxes of chocolate that we bought months ago for his co-workers.  I held on to that resentment the whole day.


Okay, it's nearly time for this child to exit my womb and enter the world.

She shifts... she kicks... she hiccups... she kicks some more.  It's definitely becoming more uncomfortable for me having her in there.  I know she needs to stay housed in me a little longer (the better to get healthy and strong), and I'm only too glad to accommodate, but yeah.  I require assistance getting out of bed in the morning (once I'm up, I'm fine)... I can't reach my feet when I shower, as bending down is something I can't do anymore... I turn sideways towards the mirror, and my silhouette resembles that of Alfred Hitchcock.  With breasts.

My doctor tells me things will only get worse, but that there is a reprieve on the horizon prior to my delivery date.  When she descends into my pelvis, then I can get a bit more room to breathe.  Sweet relief.  But that'll also be my sign that she's arriving soon, and that means a deadline to get her stuff in order and ready... it means I'll have to pack soon for the trip to the hospital.

Two more weeks at least.  It's nearly time.

35 weeks and counting...

35 weeks... I've been pregnant for 35 weeks. She could appear anytime between 37 and 40, which really isn't that far away from now. We really should get our asses in gear and get ready.

I honestly don't know that we'll ever be totally and completely ready... if we'll have the patience for the round-the-clock feedings... to train her to sleep through the night... toilet training... school homework... shuttling to and from activities (dance class, piano lessons, sports, etc.)... boyfriends...

Parental patience. That's something we'll have to figure out, I guess.

Thank goodness I have friends who have been at the parenting game for a long time, far longer than we certainly have. We've seen examples of wonderful parenting, after which we'd like to pattern our own style.

Perhaps no soon-to-be parent is truly prepared for what's to arrive... I only have to trust God at this point, that He enabled us to be parents for a reason. I just only hope and pray that we don't disappoint Him, and that the mission He has set forth for this little one will come to fruition.

We're not ready. Then again, maybe we're more ready than we'll ever be.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

April 13, 2006 - Transplanted Blog Entry

No, not one of mine, but one of my friend Cay (who's a 2nd grade teacher in Dublin, CA... I'm ninang to her second daughter, Nina... and I'm proud to say that I introduced her and her husband to one another, back in the days when chatting online was new):

ON LOVE AND MARRIAGE I will never forget what I learned in Theology of Marriage back in college: There will always be somebody out there who will be more handsome, more successful, more humorous and more dashing than the person you're with. But the most important thing to remember is this: You CHOSE to love this one person. Emotions will come and go, but the power of your will and the perseverance to stick with your choice should help you see your marriage through.

But years later, I realized this after hearing stories from friends - that if your spouse is dragging you down unto a dark psychological and spiritual abyss, eroding on your self-esteem and bringing out the worst of the worst in you, then you chose the wrong person to love. One has only one life to live and should choose to live a life that one deserves - happily and at peace with oneself. If that means unchoosing your spouse, then one has to let go.

These two paragraphs struck me, hence I felt compelled to share them with you.

It is true... in a commitment between two people (be it as friends, lovers, business partners, or as man and wife), a lot of will, perseverance and love is what it takes to remain true to your partner. HOWEVER... and I now refer to paragraph 2... to be dragged into that dark place where you're not supposed to be is a sign that this person you chose is wrong for you. I've seen enough unions go by the wayside because one partner was clearly wrong for the other, and it then becomes understandable that the union must be broken.  Everyone at some point in their lifetimes has such a partner; it takes sinew of steel to gather up the courage to get out.

I'd like to think that the person God chose for you brings out the best in you, even in the worst of times.  It's the person who brings peace in a torrent, calm in a storm, and the feeling of wholeness to you. It's the person you can't live without... the one that holds you together... the one you need because you love them. It's a love that transcends the sexual, the earthly, the human... it's a love that can only be described as divine.

It is that person that when you take one look at them, you see a glimpse of heaven... there IS a God after all.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

April 12, 2006 - Calm to Angry Waters

Before I continue, allow me to make the claim that I hardly ever... ever... get angry or upset.  Sure my pregnancy has been sending me on a few hormonal emotional roller coasters, but that was to be expected.  Normally very little riles me up or puts me in a place that would make me want to destroy property, bash anyone's face in, or ram my car into a bus.  But... don't let it be said that I don't ever find myself in this emotional state.

From time to time, for whatever reason, something comes my way to expose that darker side of me, be it the coming out of a well-hidden ugly truth, the utterance of an extremely hypocritical statement, the exposition of an underhanded scheme, or an attack -- verbal or physical -- against a member of my family or one of my friends.  Any one of these things can really, reeeeeeeeeally, send me to the heights of outrage, and I pity the unfortunate soul that happens to be around when it happens.  That person then has the responsibility and task of calming me down, bringing me back to my happy place.  And because it's rare that I do get angry or upset, that task can take a long, long while.

Now I wonder whose temper my daughter will inherit.  Then again, both Rob and I rarely ever lose our cool, but when we do it ain't pretty.  Hopefully the little one will be one cool customer... but woe be to whoever's around when the shit hits the fan.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

April 11, 2006 - Peeved No More

My kitchen appliances have arrived.  Now all we need to do is hook said appliances up, and we're all set!  The fridge looks beautiful, as do the washer and dryer, the stove and everything else that came through the door.

Okay... I'm fawning over large household appliances.  I must really be getting old.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

April 09, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

I am now without a doubt, gloriously pregnant.  More like gargantually pre-birth... gigantically pre-natal.  In other words, I look like a whale, but only in my abdominal area.  The rest of me looks the same.  Which is a bit of a conundrum to me.  I was expecting to grow EVERYWHERE, and instead, I grew in only one general area.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you, I'm grateful that it turned out this way.  It also helped that my doctor told me to not gain more than 20 lbs (I was actually 10-15 lbs overweight when I got pregnant, so it's as if I gained 30-35 lbs).  It's all good.

We've only now just started putting together the baby's things.  Last night we assembled the crib.  We intend to have her sleep in the room with us, to make the frequent nursings easier for all of us.  But -- being the idiots that we are -- we put the crib together in another room, and were unable to wheel it out to our bedroom.  We had to disassemble the thing, and then reassemble it once in the correct room.  A bit of a hassle, but nothing that tried our patience.  The rest of her stuff should be easy to put together: the standalone plastic tub, the playpen, and the bassinet.  I think we'll be fine.

It's funny... one frequent question asked of us is, "Is the nursery ready?"  Honestly, we don't have a nursery prepared for her, per se.  There isn't a separate room painted in pastel colors, with colorful animated character borders, a white rocking chair in a corner and a mobile hanging over the crib.  Right now, we have a crib.  The mattress is still wrapped in plastic, the playpen, stroller and car carrier are still in their original boxes, the clothes have not yet been washed and folded, toys not organized. 

Yeah, we don't have Type A personalities.

Maybe it's better like this, that we aren't in such a huge rush to get everything together, and that we're laid back in a lot of ways in preparation for the baby's arrival.  I don't want to be all frantic and crazy when she is here; the rest of our lives are going to be that way.  Perhaps it's good that we're taking more of a relaxed attitude towards everything... the baby will be a reflection of that.  I hope.

In any case, we know and are aware that we'll have to get everything ready soon, and everything will be.  Rest assured that when this little angel arrives, everything she needs will be within arms' length.

April 08, 2006 - Peeved

Last night, I was peeved.  Monumentally pissed off, incredibly irritated.  Rob had to keep rubbing my back to calm me down and cool my head, but for the most part I was muttering under my breath at the events of the day.

My brother didn't give me any reasonable advanced notice that he was going to move today.  Saturday.  Rob found out at 5 pm yesterday, Friday, and even then he said that he wasn't totally sure... until I went downstairs and saw boxes being assembled and packed (and my brother sitting on the La-Z-Boy watching The Masters).  I had myself a snack, hiked back up the stairs and began to seethe.  The reason why I was seething?  I wasn't given enough time to buy new appliances that would replace the ones that were moving to his new house: a fridge, stove, toaster, microwave, a washer and dryer, and hot/cold water dispenser.  WHY DIDN'T I GET ENOUGH ADVANCED NOTICE?  He said that he told me about it; he didn't.  I would have remembered something like that.  So there I was, in bed, trying my darndest to get comfortable (I'm having enough trouble sleeping as it is... I didn't need any added stress).  I brought out my knitting to try and relax me; didn't work.  I tried getting into a sleep position... I ended up waking Rob, who then asked me what was wrong.  I then began my litany of under-the-breath mutterings, and he was rubbing my back through it all.  I had a feeling that I wouldn't be smiling when I woke up the next day.

So the next day came, which is today.  I went down to my favorite breakfast of Spam, eggs and rice... had a tall glass of cranberry juice with lots of ice... and we headed to the mall.  We first dropped off a FedEx package, and then went to the appliance store.  Thankfully everything we needed was right there: the fridge, the stove, the toaster, microwave and washer dryer.  We even found a water dispenser that had a sterilizer at the bottom.  Cooooooool!  After we paid for everything (and arranged for a convenient delivery day -- Tuesday), we headed to Babyland to check out a changing table (after which we deemed it unnecessary) and headed to a nearby Japanese restaurant for lunch.  By this time I had a smile on my face, knowing that all went well this morning, and my day began right.

At the end of the day, I really didn't have a reason to seethe... everything turned out okay, and we'll have a fantastic kitchen once everything is delivered.  Life is good.

I guess I sweated small stuff when I didn't need to... I just had to take a step back and realize that this was but a minor snafu.  A lot of the time, we let little things get under our skin when they don't have to.  Yeah, I'll have my days of steam coming out of my ears, but there will be this little voice inside me saying that all of it will pass, and that everything will be all right.

Friday, April 7, 2006

April 07, 2006 - Probation

My husband just got his probationary visa from the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (thanks to a staff that was incredibly attentive and helpful).  In other words, he has a probationary period of 1 year, after which he has to re-apply (going through most of the same motions we just went through).  Once that's done, his status changes to Permanent Resident.  Hmmm, I wonder if many of our performers that are American Citizens had to go through this same process.

And now, my rambling begins.

Friendships are a strange thing... it's all about opening up oneself to another human being, in love and companionship.  There is a risk involved certainly, as neither person knows what the other's getting.  So, I put everyone I meet on a sort of "probationary period" where certain things are determined before I make the choice to go further: compatibility, chemistry, respect, character, trust.  And even with that primary defense, I find myself getting burned by so-called friends that, I later on discover, I shouldn't have gotten too close to in the first place.  And yeah, I have no qualms about dropping people out of my life when I lose my respect for them, and when I doubt their character or intentions.  Sure, there will be the "hi" and "hello" at a party or a gathering, but I won't go out of my way for them.  Once burned... hanggang diyan ka na lang.

I don't know that it's in my nature to be forgiving to the point of martyrdom, where I can forgive and forgive over and over again, even after having witnessed and being stung by this other person's character (or lack thereof), or seen how they treat other people.  I'm no saint myself either, but for me there can be no true love without a measure of respect for this other person, just as a person.  In my business, it's difficult enough figuring out who my friends are: who are the sycophants... who are true... who will be in my corner always... etc., etc.

One trait that I do have is that when I do give in to a friendship, it's at 100%.  Once you have me, you have me for life, and that's a commitment I keep.  You will have my loyalty, my defense, my trust.  An acquaintance will have but a part of me; a friend gets everything.  Doesn't matter if there are long periods of time where we don't see each other... the friendship remains true and strong.  I'll always be here.

My circle of friends is very small, and I like it that way... the people I'll go out of my way for to see and spend time with... be it in deep conversation over a cup of coffee or a meal... a good laugh over an item on the menu... in tears over the phone or in person... pining over lost romances and celebrating new ones... or in silence, saying absolutely nothing but speaking volumes.

To my friends... thank you for your gift of friendship to me.  It's something not ever taken for granted... it's always cared for and protected.  I love you very much, and always will.

April 07, 2006 - Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

That's the title of the Act II opener of one of my favorite musicals currently running on Broadway, "Spamalot".  I never saw the movie on which the show is based, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," but if the movie is anything like the show, I'll be in for one heck of a laugh trip.  Spamalot had me crying from laughing so much.  It's a show I would eventually love to do, if only to work with the wonderfully talented people who are part of it.

I've always been one to try and see the positive side of things.  It keeps me sane, it keeps me peaceful.  I see no point in swimming in a sea of negativity, and try to keep my distance from those who block out the sun.  There are people that do suck the life out of a room, be it on purpose or not, people who make my vision go black when I'm around them.  It isn't always easy to keep the atmosphere pleasant in the presence of such individuals, and when I sense that the fresh air is about to go stale, I bolt.

These people are not to be confused with those who have honest-to-goodness angst to grind.  I speak only of those who seem to derive pleasure by putting others down, making others look weak in an attempt to make themselves look good.  What's the point in that?  I mean, really?

Especially now that I'm about to give birth, I make it a point to surround myself with energy that is light, positive and generally happy.  My friends are wonderful people that are able to rise above the occasional sadness of life and emerge even stronger.  It's great to be around them.  It's a positive influence on me, and hopefully I'm able to be a positive influence as well, to bring even a small amount of light into their world.

My daughter is going to be the light of my life... while she's baking, mommy will be around her favorite shiny, happy people.  I want my little one to smile a lot, and to have many reasons to.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Entry for April 06, 2006

It's official.  I am now 140 lbs.  Shit.

My lower body is now bearing the brutish brunt of the girth.  My feet's arches are falling even flatter, which is making walking a bit more uncomfortable.  I'm thankful though that I still am able to get around, albeit somewhat more slowly than I'm used to.  A friend of mine advised me to hit the mall and walk around; the exercise is supposed to make my delivery an easier one.  So yesterday I went window shopping, book browsing, shoe trying (this one was the most frustrating).  I now avoid the clothing stores (pointless) as well as fast food outlets and just walk.  Hopefully the effort helps.

Today though I was just so tired... my entire body was exhausted.  I had a good night's sleep, but needed a 3 hour nap in the middle of the day anyway.  I had intended to do a few things today here at home, but that all had to wait.  The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.  I couldn't believe that I was knocked out for that long. 

I have a feeling my body is going to be like this for the next few weeks until I give birth, but oh yeah, I'll be out and about.  My flesh needs to move in preparation for what's to come. 

April 05, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

I had a wonderful day. 

It started out with a hearty breakfast of spam, a fried egg and garlic rice.  Oh man, that kind of comfort meal makes me very happy, and gets my day going on a high note.  I then printed out a speech that I had to deliver earlier tonight for the Entrepreneurs Organization, and head out to do a few errands.  I was in the Rockwell area for much of my day, and took care of a few things: sent out a "thank you" box of goodies, headed to Baby & Co. to check my registry and see what else I could take home (there were a few things I did buy), and just walked around to get my walking in (it was welcome physical activity).  Later on I met up with a couple of friends who were at the mall (I got hungry after browsing through healthy cookbooks at Fully Booked), and then went to the salon to get ready for my speaking engagement.  All in all, it was a great day and a great night.

It's now past midnight, time to get some sleep.  I am one tired woman.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

April 02, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog 2

Yup, the waddling has officially begun. Image

Rob and I did our grocery shopping today, and my arches were falling flat in my flip-flops.  I shuffled through the store instead of walked, and used the cart the way a toddler would negotiate a walker.  Ay caramba!  My feet felt totally fine when I walked in the store, but were totalled by the time we left.  I try to see the good side of all this, that I got myself some exercise and did my weekend errands.  Thank goodness it wasn't that hot a day.  Man, I need a foot massage... I want one... right now...

It does bring a smile to my face when my belly starts to move, and I realize that this effort is worthwhile.  I also realize that there are moms out there who have it worse off than I do, so I shouldn't complain.  Life is, on the whole, very very good, and I for one am not going to begrudge this gift.

My due date is May 19... let's see if she comes out early or right on time.

April 02, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

I thought this was just too funny... I guess she got tired of being photographed. 

It does make me wonder what kind of child she's going to turn out to be: outgoing, shy, bossy, playful, serious, thoughtful, pushy, independent, emotional, sensitive... who knows?

All I want for her is to carve her own path in this world.  The most I can do is prepare her for what's out there, and let her go, all the while letting her know that she can always come back home for a little rest and hot chocolate before heading back out there.  I know she'll make us proud, whatever she does.

My beautiful, beautiful baby... we can't wait to meet you.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

April 01, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog 2

Everyone... meet Nicole.  You'll meet her in person soon enough.  Image

April 01, 2006 - Pregnancy Blog

My doctor just called... I still need to up my iron intake, as my hemoglobin levels aren't where she'd like them to be (mine are at 11.5, she wants at least 12).  She's putting me on another pill (oh, it had better not be another hard-to-swallow one) to raise my levels.  Yeah, I'm slightly anemic, even after an iron supplement and eating beef like no one's business. 


Yesterday I was swimming in a sea of pink.  I decided to take an inventory of all the things we have for the baby thus far.  Oh boy... as far as clothes are concerned, this little one has onesies, pants, shorts, shirts, and outfits to spare.  It's confirmed, she's going to be a princess.  Mommy and Daddy are going to have to exercise control.  I pray she doesn't outgrow everything too quickly, but that's okay.  There's always another family member that's going to need it, if a baby girl's also on the way.

So... here's what she has (not including toys and books):

CLOTHES (0-3 months)
  1. Side-tie shirts (sleeveless) - 8
  2. Side-tie shirts (short sleeved) - 8
  3. Side-tie shirts (long sleeved) - 3
  4. Newborn gowns - 7
  5. Onesies (short) - 12
  6. Onesies (long) - 3
  7. Onesies (long with feet) - 4
  8. Baptismal gowns - 2 (one of them is the one used by me, Gerard and Shiela)
  9. Bonnets - 4
  10. Shorts - 6
  11. Pants - 5 (note: pants and shorts can be used until the baby's 6 months old)
  12. Socks - 14 pairs
  13. Booties - 4 pairs
  14. Mittens - 7 pairs
CLOTHES (3-6 months)
  1. Onesies - 21
  2. T-shirts - 8
  3. Outfits - 8
  4. Hats - 2
  5. Shoes - 4
  6. Boot slippers - 1
  1. Washcloths - 42
  2. Terry robes - 2
  3. Quilt - 1
  4. Receiving blankets - 7
  5. Burp cloths - 15
  6. Square cotton cloths - 3
  7. Rattles - 3
  8. Pacifiers - 4
  9. Teething ring - 1
  10. Towels - 7
  11. Bibs - 22
  12. Disposable diapers - 39
  13. Cloth diapers - 24
  14. Changing pad cover - 2
  15. Nursery organizer - 1
  16. Crib sheet - 1
  17. Baby Bjorn carrier - 1
  18. Change n Go - 1
  19. Swaddler - 1
  20. Diaper bag - 1
  21. Breast milk containers - 5
  22. Bottles (125 ml) - 3
  23. Bottles (260 ml) - 3
  24. Bottle sterilizer - 1 (good for 6 bottles)
  25. Medela double breast pump - 1
  26. Bathtub - 1
  27. Nursing pillow - 2
  28. Nursing bib - 2
  29. Sippy cups - 2
  30. Formula container - 1 stack of 4
  31. Crib and mattress - 1
  32. Playpen - 1
  33. Stroller (on its way) - 1
  34. Car carrier - 1
  1. Fitted sheets - 4
  2. Flat sheet - 1
  3. Crib bumper - 2
  4. Bolsters - 2
  5. Pillows - 2
  6. Pillowcase - 1
  7. Bolster cases - 2
  8. Head 'n' back pillow - 1
  9. Comforters - 2
  10. Blankets (cotton) - 4
  11. Blankets (flannel) - 5
So there you have it!

TO THE PARENTS WHO ARE HERE!!!  Kindly check my list and let me know if there's anything I should add or have enough of.  Either leave a comment or email me directly.  Thanks for your help!