Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 31, 2006 - It's Just Another New Year's Eve

We've been here in Honolulu for 5 days, since December 26, amidst Rob's family. Nicole was able to meet many new cousins (two of them born this year as well), aunties and uncles. And us adults were able to indulge in a lot of good food. It's the holidays... the best excuse to eat!

Nic's yaya is on break, so it's up to Rob and me to take care of her. No, we haven't yet gone insane, and it's been really nice having her all to ourselves. Yes we do have our moments of "what the f*** do we do when she's having a meltdown?!?!?!?!?!?!?" but otherwise it's been really nice. The grandmas, aunts and uncles have taken turns carrying her and amusing her. It's fun watching them try to make her laugh. We do hope that there will be many opportunities for her to spend lots of time with the other members of her generation. Imagine the mayhem when they go out together when they're older!

All that said, it'll be nice to get back to familiar territory where it's comfy and cozy... my own unique place to rest my head and nestle... the place that, once I step inside, is home.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

December 30, 2006 - Reflections on 2006

The year is nearly over... I have to say it went by very quickly! There have been years that have taken forever to pass, but 2006 went by in almost a blur. I'm almost sad that it went by the way it did, but perhaps it went by that quickly because it was full of baby days.

- I took a break from performing in order to prepare for the coming of Nicole. It had been a while since I imposed a hiatus from work, but it was absolutely necessary. My body wasn't as strong as I was used to it being, and I needed to take some time off to get ready for her arrival.

- May 16, 2006, I gave birth! This is definitely the biggest milestone to mark my year. She's now over 7 months old, and growing stronger and prettier by the day. She's going to be a heartbreaker! Right now she's starting to babble... she can pronounce M's and B's quite well. I'll give her some time before she can string together a cohesive sentence. Right now I'm just thrilled at the peek-a-boo games and variations thereof that we play together. It sends her into a fit of delicious laughter!

- My new album was finished a couple of weeks ago. More details will be announced when I can announce them, but let's just say that it's a collection of beautifully orchestrated songs. Gerard is a genius. I can't say that enough.

And that was the year the was. On paper it doesn't seem like much, but I guess with everyday being baby day, my time was full and well spent (with some time off to re-energize). Next year is supposed to be MY year (the year of the boar), so here's to hoping that things come up roses!

Monday, December 25, 2006

December 25, 2006 - Overfed and Happy

As usual, Christmas Eve meant overstuffing myself with the amazing food laid out for Noche Buena: ham, turkey (with stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce), mashed sweet potatoes, bread pudding, fruit salad, hot chocolate, hotdogs (filled with cheese, wrapped with bacon and baked in tomato sauce), and baked macaroni. Opening presents was therefore a bit more difficult, what with all of us feeling lethargic and sluggish (ah, the tryptophan kick, thanks to the turkey). Our presents this year were really nice! Nicole, of course, had the biggest haul of all. It is her first Christmas after all.

I guess the rushing and the stressing and the malling was worth it... the gifts we gave one another brought out the hugest smiles (the biggest smiles came from the fact that my brother actually tagged the gifts he gave, chicken scratch handwriting and all!!!) and warmed all of our hearts. Love filled the yuletide air.

I realized last night that yes, all of us are truly blessed with the families and friends we have... loving, warm, generous people that make us laugh, hold our hands when we cry, celebrate our triumphs and console us when we fail. They gift us year-round with themselves, and I am thankful for them.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

December 23, 2006 - Finally!!!

Only 2 more days till Christmas, and my shopping is DONE, DONE, DONE!!!

We were able to complete our Christmas list, so all is well in my world. I can put my feet up for a minute and enjoy the peace. Of course, give me 5 minutes and I'll remember another person that hasn't been bought for yet. Oh goodness, it just never ends, does it?

Last night the traffic from Makati back to Alabang was absolutely horrendous. I could not believe that it took 2 hours on the South Luzon Expressway to get home. It was a slow crawl all the way to Bicutan, but thankfully things cleared up after that. What's so special about Bicutan anyway that had all these cars exiting there? Anyone care to enlighten me?

In any case, it's nice to be home. It's now time to get some rest. Tomorrow I have pictures of Nicole to look at (she had her first studio pictorial yesterday), and a gig to prepare for, plus a baby boy to get a gift for. Good night, everyone!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

December 20, 2006 - The Christmas Wives

It's official: I hate Christmas.

No, not the sentiment, not the season, not the feelings of warmth and compassion brought forth by the example of Jesus.

I hate the rush... the crowded malls... having to buy 20 jars of cookies... being unable to figure out what to get for loved ones... the feeling that my feet will detach from my ankles from walking... that, in spite of buying gifts, I still have the feeling I'm missing someone.


I had lunch with a couple of married and coupled friends over the last couple of days. Some of us are wives... one without children yet, the rest with kids of differing ages, but we all have that same vacant, harassed, tired, frustrated expression on our faces of women trying to keep up with the season without losing our minds. It's not always easy, mind you... I'm almost there.

I guess every year it's the same thing, and every year we try our darndest best. We just hope our respectives appreciate our efforts and shower us with love.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

December 19, 2006 - Amid the Christmas rush...

... find a comfy place to put your feet up... lean your head on something comfortable, and let your heartbeat slow... close your eyes and transport yourself to a happy, peaceful place... be amongst people that make you smile and laugh... for a moment, let time stand still... and remember that this season is one of hope and, most of all, love.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

December 17, 2006 - Home at last...

Ahhhhhhhhh... it's good to be home.

We arrived late last night from Doha, and it was nice to see the serene and peaceful face of my little girl after not having seen her for 3 days. I can't wait to take her to Honolulu to meet more cousins, aunties and uncles, and maybe get some sand between her toes. Sunscreen... must bring sunscreen...

I have only two more months left here before it's time to fly off on yet another adventure in the good ol' US of A. Without giving away too much, I'll just say thank goodness I have work waiting for me! God has been generous and kind to my family and to me, so I give thanks to the Man up above and head off to wherever it is I need to be. As with a lot of the work I do especially when I'm not home, it's all a matter of national pride. I carry the name of my country on my shoulders everywhere I go, and do my darndest to set a good example to everyone. Perhaps I have an astute awareness (or borderline paranoia) that I'm watched at all times, and that any negative action would reflect on my people. So I know how to behave when I'm in public (and save my baddest self for when I'm in private, with my inner circle comprised of a few kindred souls).

'Tis the life of this gypsy. Thank goodness I have a family that understands and supports what I do, and encourages me to grab these opportunities by the short-and-curlies and run with it. And run I will, like the wind.

Buuuuuuut... until then I have 2 more beautiful months here, in the arms of those I love and will leave behind... and will come back to again and again.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

December 14-15, 2006 - The Games of Your Life

I'm blogging from the car on the way back to the hotel from Khalifa Stadium, where I'll be performing at the closing ceremony of the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. To be honest, the facilities are very impressive, what with all the moolah pumped into the construction, paid for the Emir of Qatar himself. Bongga.

I'll continue this later from a proper computer... I left my laptop at home so I'll have to borrow Rob's or head to the hotel business center at some point. Or finish it when I get back home. Bahala na si Batman.


I'm back... it's nearly 2 am and I've just returned from my final dress tech at the stadium.  I'd like to think that I've developed an inordinate amount of patience, just from the practice of being in theatre, where a lot of the time during a technical rehearsal period, it's "hurry up and wait".  Such is life.

Anyway, when it came time for my turn to rehearse, I was brought down to a basement called "The Chamber" where my own little stage was to be set up, and me situated upon it.  Of course I'm being totally facetious when I say "little"... in fact my stage is quite sizable, as well as very tall.  Tall!  I sing on a platform that, when fully raised, is a few storeys above the stadium floor.  The platform itself is about 3 meters in diameter, so I do have ample room to move, and there are handrails on its perimeter.  I dare not go anywhere near those handrails however... it would mean looking straight down at the floor below.  Sorry, no can do.  I stand in the center of the circle, and stay there, making sure my legs are prepared to handle the rise and descent of the platform.  Hopefully it comes out on TV, so you'll better understand what I'm trying (and failing) to describe.  Oh, showbusiness... how I laaaaaaav thee.

I'm not usually afraid of heights, but I guess the absence of an actual surrounding building gives me the willies when I stand up on my stage, but it's something to consider a challenge perhaps.  How to maintain poise and elegance while standing 3 storeys up on a circular platform 3 meters across... and oh yeah, sing the closing theme song of what is now the 2nd largest sports event in the world.  Easy enough, isn't it?

Yes, I will be just fine, rest assured.  But please say a prayer that the entire night goes smoothly from start to finish.  Add a special petition for the weather... there has been more rain in Doha in the last two weeks than there has been in years.  Clear skies please.

I will be home on Saturday night...

God, I miss Nicole... I know that she's in great hands and that there's no need to worry.  But I miss her terribly.  *sigh*

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pinoy Dream Academy

After much email going back and forth between myself, Jim Paredes (Headmaster) and Laurenti Dyogi (Director of PDA), I made a visit to Pinoy Dream Academy. However, I wanted to be briefed thoroughly on what Jim wanted me to cover for my lecture. I didn't really want to cover any onstage stuff, as their instructors and teachers are doing a great job already. So, Jim suggested work in the US and London... professionalism... discipline... commitment. I asked him to prompt me whenever the need arose.

After my rigatoni al bruto and a Coke Light at Cibo, across the street we went. I got my hair done and make up put on in one of the dressing rooms... during my beautifying session I met PDA host Nikki Gil (whose voice I think is really sweet and clear). She had me sign the back of her iPod before she headed out, presumably back to the ABS studios. They were rehearsing for the Christmas special while I was at the PDA House.

Hair and make-up done... my microphone is now affixed on my person. I have a bottle of water handy, and it's off I go to the living room where Jim and the scholars are having a talk. The kids have no idea that I'm about to pay them a visit, so this should be fun. Lauren leads me to the door, and says, "just walk in." So... "Hi!"

The talk is covered in its entirety on youtube, so I needn't really write down what happened.

I think all in all, the talk went very well. I most certainly had a wonderful time with these scholars. They do work hard and are quite talented, so I wish them only the best of luck once they graduate. How they do outside the academy will be a true test of their resolve, work ethic, talent, discipline, professionalism, drive, and love for what they do. Let's see how they do in the next few years. I have a feeling they'll all be just fine.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

December 10, 2006 - Bazaar Time!

I had no idea I would be in for such a shopping treat!  My friend Steffi invited me to shop at the NBC Tent Bazaar this morning.  The words she used were tantalizing: "Export overruns cheap".  I was so there.

My eyes were aglow at the sight of rows upon rows of merchandise... Ralph Lauren... Abercrombie & Fitch... Old Navy... The Gap... Ann Taylor... as well as local food vendors and exporters.  I came away with quite a killing: trousers (just need to get them hemmed), lots of t-shirts to give away, cute outfits for Nicole for when she's a bit older, a cute jacket, a tracksuit.  After a few hours though, I started to feel tired as well as cold (it didn't help that the rain made the NBC tent colder than it normally is). 

Once we had gone through the maze of the bazaar, we headed to Krispy Kreme (yes, it's finally here in Manila).  Thankfully the line wasn't very long (due to the rain, I imagine), so our wait for that melt-in-your-mouth delight didn't take forever.  I bought two dozen original glazed donuts, as did Steffi, and then it was off to lunch.  We ate mongolian barbecue at Polo, and decided to eat outside... the air conditioned restaurants were freezing!

I then dropped Steffi back at her house, and sorted whose bags were whose.  Headed home after that.

Now, I'm here in my bedroom resting... I feel like I'm going to get sick, so on the advice of a friend I took some Biogesic and am chilling out.  As difficult as it'll be (I'm still breastfeeding, which means that sleep is a luxury I can't always afford), I shall try and sleep a lot this week.  I still have some traveling to do. 

Thursday, December 7, 2006

New Nic Pics - as of Dec. 7, 2006

These are her newest pictures. She's growing like a weed! Very heavy to carry and long as well, but she's kept her cuteness. If anything, she's getting even cuter. Enjoy!

December 06, 2006 - Unwell

I have a sore throat.  I took Rob to the doctor since he'd been sick for a few days, and thought to get myself checked while I was at it.  Now I too am on antibiotics, so we're on the road to recovery.  There must be something in the air... I've had friends suffering from other throat-related ailments not too long ago.  (Note to self: get yearly flu shot.)

Thank goodness for video game consoles and high definition TVs!

Okay, it's midnight, so I'd better try and get some rest.  I'm sure Nicole will also wake up for a nursing and a cuddle, so I'd better be prepared.

Monday, December 4, 2006

December 04, 2006 - Only 21 Days Till Christmas

That merry time of year is upon us once again... the decorations are up, trees are trimmed, the bazaars have opened, and the malls are full of shoppers trying to find that perfect present for the ones they love.  At my house, so far the only thing signaling the arrival of Christmas is the trimmed tree, boxes of cards and rolls of wrapping paper.  Besides that, nothing.

I haven't yet begun my shopping, the yearly "what do I get for whom" game I play, as I try to find the gifts that fit my loved ones perfectly.  I attempt to steer clear from the generic and plain... instead I wrack my brain thinking of what would be right.  Gusto ko, pinag-isipan talaga, kahit papaano, kahit gaano kamura or kaliit ang magiging regalo ko.

However, this year I won't have as much time.  I have lots of work this month... ASEAN Summit from Dec. 10-13 in Cebu, and the Asian Games Closing Ceremonies in Doha, Qatar from Dec. 14-16 (all dates include travel days to and from each city).  After that, on Dec. 26 we head to Honolulu for New Year's.

By hook or by crook I'll fit my Christmas shopping in.  All I need is 1-2 days in a good mall to find everything I need.  I'd better make my list soon.  Haaaaaaaaaaay............