Friday, December 31, 2010

Snow storm at Jersey City

At Mom's place in Jersey City, NJ, November '09...

Fast forward to a few days ago. *borrowed from Mom's album

Another 2009 photo of J. Bond and Dad2 by the front of the house.

Here's what the snow storm left behind on that same spot...

Thank God, the fam is safe and sound.  Hope you are too.  Stay safe everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teeth, Numbers and Beads

Who would have thought that after so many years of building our lives apart and marking that niche in this vast world,  that semblance of a High School girl we once knew and shared all together still does exist. 

Christmas 2010.  Coffee-date at Mary Grace.

Not only did we spend our high school days together, we were once in our lives carpool-mates,  coffee-mates, seat-mates, apartment-mates. Name it, we've got it.  Except for the part when I and my-now-dentist friend (in white and green stripes) were requested to quit the pep squad from too much giggling, then headed by the friend in blue, we stuck it out as great friends.  No hard feelings.

Heartwarming menu cover of Mary Grace.

Contracts were back then drafted that stipulated the conditions of having reached the most number of boyfriends first.  The last in line, if my memory serves me right, reaps the grand prize.  I was never part of the deal and instead took on the the role of the witness. Better to play safe but I know I could have won. Lol!   Years after, the contract has long been forgotten (or deliberately ignored).  We have taken on different paths, but a path I believe that sort of intertwines most especially when needed ...

December 24 brunch.

...The husband of my dentist friend spearheaded the dental mission held at the Pharmacy summer of this year. He, by the way, is the dean of Emilio Aguinaldo's College of Dentistry and specializes in dental surgery.  Someone to rely on when the time comes.

There's the dean, as seen on the mirror.  Hahaha!

My pep squad friend, on the other hand, lives and breathes numbers.  An industry I abhor, but fell on my lap for 6 years of my career life.  But, I did survive...and eventually retired early and began living :)

Ergo, the story of the Pharmacy and my beads happened, which actually both involves a bit of financials and an on-the-side dental mission.  I admire both my friends for having chosen their respective fields, in which I am definitely not cut for. Neither "teeth" nor "numbers".  I'd rather be the jack-of-all-trades, with beading taking on the lead role.  And speaking of beads, my friends took a crack at it for the first time while at Mary Grace ...

Their expression is a giveaway, and we're just talking about how to knot here.  Obviously, another "knotting" session is needed. 

Despite the science, math and arts and crafts classes we took in high school together, it is absolutely a case of "to each his own".  We may excel in different fields, but it is the friendship we share that gives each of us a chance to immerse and diversify beyond what we are accustomed to.  Even just for a short while.

Maybe, I'll look into dentistry one of these days.  For now, I'll stick to beading.  Hahaha!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sell beads to shop in Mango

I almost fell asleep while at Christmas Mass ...

 ... exhausted from the rush, lunches, dinners, coffee dates, reunions, parties, and beading!  Two weeks had past since the last bazaar, but the beading ain't over yet.  Mother's Heart necklaces have been in-demand and I'm trying  hard to squeeze in the production amidst the festivities.

Five necklaces (3 Our Lady of Guadalupe and 2 Our Lady of Mediatrix) are due for delivery tomorrow to a client,  the rest were committed for delivery towards the end of this week and a few others-1st week of January 2011.  I never expected such reaction, considering the limited clientele this arrangement may appeal to. 

I'm not complaining though.  In fact, I am motivated to sell MORE.  I now have bucks to spend in Mango's ongoing sale.  Hahaha!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wish granted

I've been on the track for a neck for quite some time now.  I do my own modelling, but there is still a need for  necks to display more bead works in bazaars.  So, I've been snooping around and these necks I came across at St. James the Great Bazaar are the best so far ...

Here's the thing. I'd rather not spend for a neck.  Explains why I haven't bought one yet.   But I really did wish for one.

Wishes apparently do come true (haha).  Mine happened on the night of the cookout.  Thanks to B-rave dude friend.  I now have my very own neck made from pages of an old telephone directory.  He wants it painted, but I'd rather have it looking raw.  Extraordinary.

I requested for more. In different sizes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A slice of my favorite place

Last Sunday was all about celebrating the holidays with the pharmacy staff. Store closed.  Uniforms tucked away.  A day meant for eating,  having fun and sharing a slice of one of my favorite places on earth...Tagaytay. 

Taal Volcano behind the fog.

Months ago, the team travelled to Tagaytay for charity work at Little Angels Orphanage.  Everyone had a meaningful time despite the toll it took on us.  Haha! Looking after 32 kids for a day was an absolute test of stamina and patience.  We capped the day tired yet feeling fulfilled and touched by the kids' genuine affection. 

But last Sunday was different. We chilled out ...

First stop, lunch at Viewsite Seafood Inihaw Restaurant.

The model wannabes.

Lunch with a serenade at Viewsite.

Gift giving.

Then, a quick stopover at Sonya's Garden to drop off Christmas Cookies for the "Sonya's Angels" - Girlie, Ms. Lourdes, Nanay Inday and Divine ...

The path in between the Country Store (where my bead necklaces are displayed) and the Spa.

Roaming around the grounds of Sonya's Garden, while I distributed cookies.

A butterfly that crossed my path :)

My favorite flower in bloom!!!  If by chance you visit Sonya's Garden soon, take a whiff.  It smells like butter. Muchos gracias, Sonya's Angels, for the "butter" flower :)

Last stop, Ilog Maria for honey and soaps ...

Picture spot, with bees.

J. Bond in-waiting while we roamed and shopped.

Ceramic wind chimes :)

The boys ready to head home.

How about you?  How are your Holiday festivities coming along?  Hope you are having a blast.  But don't forget to indulge yourself with your "faves" as well :)  Cheers!

P.S.  Thanks Ms. Rowena for the apple tarts.  We loved it!  See you again ... in S&R.
Apple Tarts from Rowena's Tarts (Tagaytay)

Monday, December 20, 2010


I therefore conclude that J. Bond and B-rave Dude friend shared an overkill of"togetherness" during last week's bazaar.  Lol!

On top of their participation in multiple bazaar activities, they did a lot of chit-chatting too. Including  my obvious weight gain.  Darn!  Mind your own business, dudes!  Anyway, they did bond for 3 days while I was hooked on selling beads.  A week after, they continued on with the togetherness by materializing THEIR plan on the day I have long declared as my day-off from cooking.  In other words, EAT OUT SATURDAYS.

Yeah baby! The plan apparently was to cook Clam Chowder served in a bread bowl. So from shopping to food prep and to cooking, the two dudes did ALL the work. I, on the other hand, did my ever-supportive share by staying away from the work area (haha!) and  deliberately denying myself of any involvement.  This rare bubble-moment is absolutely not meant for bursting anyway.  But then again, my stock of favorite butter was wiped off in an instant.  That night, I stayed awake for fear of a no-butter breakfast.  Lol!

The recipe by the way was googled.  Each aka-chef had his own version.  But being the authentic Master Chef that he truly is, B-rave Dude friend took the lead while J. Bond helped with the chopping...and beer drinking!

Bread bowl bought from French Baker.  The scraped middle part was really good and soft. 

The finished product made from scratch. Definitely, no canned goods involved.

Ready to serve. Hot soup, topped with bacon bits, on a rainy day...heaven!

Having  two 6-footer men gorge on meals and snacks every minute of the day (one of whom I am married to),  I thought soup was not enough.  So I did work too by pushing on the dial buttons of my favorite delivery number...
Haha!  Nothing beats delivery (at MY doorstep). Don Arturo or Taco Pizza of Di Marks has never failed to satisfy the palate.  This time though, I thought wrong. The soup was way too heavy to accommodate even a bite. To this day, there's still too much pizza lying around. 

And when I thought dinner was over, the two dudes continued on...

Another goof golf planning session with a 1970s golf book by Jack Nicklaus used as guide...and toothpick which they held on to for dear life.  Eek!

And, they capped the night off with a guitar session.

So far, no plans of cooking up another together session yet.  But if they do have, I cross my fingers that it be on an EAT OUT SATURDAY again.  I don't mind eating home on a Saturday as long as they do all the work!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Real Winners Don't Give Up

How strange that a forwarded email landed on my inbox on the day I was planning a long overdue visit to an Orthopedic Surgeon.  My hands, especially the right,  have been a bug lately.  Two lumps had made its appearance after having beaded quite a number of Flora and Mother's Heart necklaces.  As usual, there's been a delay on the visit for  fear that I be advised to immediately stop the beading.  NOT just yet.  But yes, I will have my hands (and all the way up to my shoulders) checked soon. 

For now, I am  inspired by this story.

Real Winners Don't Give Up
A True Story That Will Touch You Deeply
by Bo Sanchez

I’m going to tell you a true story of a young woman who went through a most gruesome fire. When you read her story, you’ll realize that your trials are absolutely nothing compared to what this young girl went through. It was September 25, 2000. Maricel Apatan was an 11-year old girl in Zamboanga. On that day, this little girl went with her uncle to fetch water from the river. Along the way, four men met them. They were carrying long knives. They grabbed her uncle to face down on the ground. And they hacked him on the neck and killed him. Maricel was in total shock. Especially that the men were their neighbors. She tried to escape, but the men ran after her. She cried, “Kuya, ‘wag po, ‘wag n’yo akong tagain! Maawa po kayo sa akin!” (“Don’t kill me! Have mercy on me!”) But they weren’t listening. With a long knife, a man slashed her on the neck too. Maricel fell to the ground and lost consciousness. When she woke up, she saw a lot of blood. She also saw the feet of the men around her, but she pretended to be dead. When they walked away, Maricel ran back home.

Her Hands Were Hacked Too
But along the way, she saw that both her hands were falling off. Because the men hacked them too. She cried but she kept running. Sometimes, she’d faint and fall to the ground. But she’d regain consciousness and run again. When she was near her home, Maricel called her mother. Upon seeing her daughter, her mother screamed in terror. She wrapped her bloodied child in a blanket and carried her to the hospital. Here was the problem: From her house to the highway, it was a 12-kilometer walk. It took them 4 hours just to reach the highway. When they arrived in the hospital, the doctors thought Maricel was going to die. But for 5 hours, they operated on her. It took 25 stitches to stitch together the long knife wound in her neck and back. Maricel barely survived. And she lost both of her hands. Ironically, the next day was Maricel’s birthday. She was 12 years old. But alas, tragedy didn’t end there.

Angels To The Rescue
When they went home, they saw their home was gone. It was ransacked and burned down by the goons. Being very poor, Maricel’s family also didn’t have P50,000 for their hospital bills. But God sent many angels along the way to help them. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, a distant relative, paid for hospital bills and helped them bring the criminals to court. They were sentenced to prison. Tahanan Ng Walang Hagdan helped her finish her studies. Today, she’s staying with the nuns at Regina Rosario with Sr. Eppie Brasil, O.P. But this, I believe, is the incredible miracle. Instead of staying down, Maricel kept running. Instead of cursing God why she had no hands, she now uses her wrists in incredible ways that will boggle your mind. Maricel was cited as the most industrious, best in computer, and most courteous in the School for Crippled Children. In 2008, she graduated from a course in Hotel and Restaurant Management. She even received a Gold medal for Arts and Crafts. Today, at 21 years old, Maricel is studying to be a Chef. Yes, a Chef without hands. Nothing can stop this young lady from reaching her dream.

Real Winners Don’t Give Up!
Oh, it was a real gift. Because last Sunday, I invited Maricel to the Feast. We saw Maricel in front of us. And her joy, her smile, her radiance was amazing! In lovely white Chef’s attire, I asked her to stand in front of the crowd. We cheered wildly. And then I led her to a table with lots of vegetables on it. I asked her to make a salad for me. Using only her wrists, she cut the vegetables and prepared a delicious salad. I couldn’t help but cry. I looked around me and saw many crying too.

Because we were in front of an incredible winner.

Monday, December 13, 2010

All by myself ...

... well, not really.  I actually had these two lugging behind.
Mwahaha!!! B=RAVE Dude friend and J. Bond enjoying their sweet moment over a small bag of nuts.

But for last weekend's Alabang Hills Village Toys and Gifts bazaar, I have taken the "all by myself" route, leaving my usual bazaar sales troop out of the picture. A deliberate move for interaction purposes, to get to know the market in a much deeper sense and hear from them how they see my designs.  (straight from the eyes of the beholder).  Today, i still hear the "wow" and "nice" words I gathered. A source of inspiration and motivation to get going with the design plan for 2011. Muchos Gracias!

And Thank You by the way to cookbook lady and little bead-kiddo who permanently stationed themselves at my booth and proudly modeled my bead works during the 3-day stint...

So, with me selling...

 ...and interacting,

these ghosts guys were apparently having a grand time...
The pot, a picture with Santa.  Haha.  Not the statue Santa.
More like this Santa...
Santa at my booth and a Photo op with kids.

The pizzas that were delivered "out-of-the-box" for the Pizza Eating Contest.
Literally on top of a "small" delivery box.  Lol!

The hungry pizza-eaters. Guess who joined?

Looking really busog ...

But these three looked as if gorging on a 30-inch pizza is their day-to-day thing.  Pwedeng-pwedeng  pizza endorsers.  Hahaha!

Is that you, water heater? The guilty stare said it all.  Anything for free coffee.

Then, I replied with a "HA?!" when I was told by the Crocs team of  J. Bond's participation in their sponsored Crocs Walk Relay.
Hay naku! May pa-stretch stretch pa before the relay.  To think that this was just a parlor game? ...with kids as his team-mates.  Hahaha!
The "giant" kid in action.
And, their team won!  I bagged the prize. Yay! May pa-High 5 High 5 pa!

My moment with the gigantic Crocs.  One shoe fits two!

I nagged the two to join the donut eating contest too. They claimed that they were already full.  Finally!

But of course, they did not let go of Sunday's bingo socials.

Before the bingo happened, the security team of Alabang Hills Village rendered a macho dance number.  Bravo!!! Haha!

The bingo that started in the afternoon ...

Worked its way til night ...
and, ended in darkness.
The power tripped out on us for an hour.  But thank you to my yearly same neighbor who shared her light :)

How it looked when power was restored.  Pretty!

The Alabang Hills Village Bazaar strongly stays on top of my bazaar list for these reasons: good finds, relaxing shopping ambiance and most especially its strong sense of camaraderie and community. I am missing it right this moment and hoping that next year's run will be much longer.  Maybe a week? 

For now, the time has finally arrived to celebrate CHRISTMAS!

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