Halloween Weekend

Halloween has not been a big event for my family. November 1 or All Saints Day is. My siblings and I decided to go out, given that Halloween this year falls on a Friday. Instead of watching scary, gory movies, we saw High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Can you imagine my brother watching a teeny bopper musical? We were hilarious inside the movie house.

Dinner was Dio's treat. They wanted to try Flapjacks at the Theatre Mall. I had been to the Flapjacks in Greenbelt, but the Greenhills one is self-service type which is more affordable! The three of us enjoy breakfast food.

I was raised a Catholic, and my family/relatives are all Roman Catholics. It's no surprise All Saints Day is a big event. After eight years, my brother found a way to build a mausoleum for my father.

We even have a rooftop which I find very cool. My mother served lunch for our relatives.

The best thing about the mausoleum is our own toilet. We don't have to be at the mercy of our kind neighbors when we need to go use the toilet. My mother loves the color blue and since we forbade her to use this color in the construction of the mausoleum, she put accents of blue in the toilet, with the tables and chairs, and most of what she brought with her that day.

Here is my sister and our cousin Gina sitting on the bench.

My mother wanted the mausoleum to be blessed so she asked our neighbor priest to do the blessing.

Friendship Through the Eyes of My Cosmic Sister

In her October 29th LJ entry, my dearest Cheryl wrote on her thoughts about FRIENDSHIP. We call each other "cosmic sisters"as most of the time we understand each others thoughts and feelings without ever needing to explain or defend (defend? Bakit may kaso?) ourselves There would be times when we just think/do/say the exact same thing at the exact same time. We're a couple of freaks.

Anyway, here are excerpts of her blog entry--
it's easy to get lost in a maze of 10 million different people you come across with, especially as you get more mature, as you move around, but as long as you know what's real and what's true, there's no way you can hide that. even when you've decided to shut yourself out of people, afraid of getting hurt or disappointed, you'll be surprised at how friendships grow. people reveal themselves at the most unexpected situations. for example, i admire those who prove their integrity and sincerity even when everything else around them is just wrong. isn't that what integrity is all about? doing what's right EVEN when (especially WHEN) no one's watching. or for instance those who share their time, what they know, or themselves in the midst of a demanding work environment.
I have met most of my very good friends through unexpected and most surprising ways. There was no need to exert any effort nor pretend to be someone better. The friendship simply grows. I especially am endeared to those take the time, out of their very busy schedule to be available for me, or just simply be thoughtful.
thinking about the friendships i've made, i am totally pleased and content. there are more people i am only getting to know, and maybe it'll end there or maybe we'll grow to be better, closer friends. but what's important is that they are around me because they've seen through me at some point. and they liked what they see. no pretentions, no hidden agenda. that's how relationships transcend into friendships. perhaps this is one of the reasons why i'm not the friendliest person on earth...to me kasi i make a conscious effort to take care of the friendships i make. i give it my time, eh i have so little of it na nga!
I have shared with my husband and with Cheryl how happy I am with the friends I have now that even if I don't find new friends in Cebu, I would be okay. I don't want to say I do not need new friends as that comes across as a very snotty remark. What I mean is I am contented with the friends I have now, that there's no reason for me to look for new ones.

I laughed aloud when I read about making a conscious effort to keep a friendship. It should come out naturally. One's busy schedule should not be a hindrance to stop spending time together. One makes time for those they love, right?
so think about it...are you too concerned about yourself, so focused on your own problems that everything is about you? how much of your time do you give to the people you'd wanna run to in times of need? get real, in that you cannot expect to receive from others what you cannot give of yourself.
Her words are exactly what I want to say. See, she put my thoughts into words.

A friendship is a two-way street. If only one person makes all the effort, it's not going to work nor will it last.

Just recently, I feel sad about a colleague who died yesterday. We worked on several work events in the past. And I enjoy every minute working with him. I grew very fond of him. He's someone I would run the extra mile for. Even if my stupid feet was killing me at the Food & Hotel show in Singapore, I walked over to the USDA hall when I learned he also flew for the event. I adjusted my schedule to visit him in the ICU, and found ways to get to his wake, to pay my last respect.

Some people are just worth the extra mile.

In last night's small group, our topic was Overcoming Offense. As I learned more about the cause and effect of offenses, I felt a sharp object pricked my heart. I realized how I get offended easily. And when the offense is caused by people I most care for, I sadly hold grudges. Worst case would be for me to think the person does not exist. My rationale is if we no longer have the same interests or share the same views then our friendship might as well fall apart. I hate when I need to explain myself a lot when I know I do not need to. Yes, I may not share your current views but I am allowed to have my own opinion and beliefs. Yes, I may have changed my perspective about life but it does not mean that we need to grow apart.

That is when I realized that there are friendships worth keeping. I need to give myself time to heal a little and then I will do what I can to save the friendship. If that does not work, and my effort cannot enough to save the friendship then I am happy to have tried my best.

Pet Peeve

The definition of pet peeve according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary --
Main Entry: pet peeve
Function: noun
Date: circa 1919
: a frequent subject of complaint

So who and what irks me?

  • Dishonest people: No explanation needed for this.
  • Mess: I absolutely cannot stand a messy house.
  • Junk: I do not keep anything I don’t intend to use.
  • Crowded places: I hate packed malls. Mall wide sales never lure me. Except maybe when Zara goes on sale.
  • People constantly borrowing money: If a person keeps on borrowing money then something is very wrong with how he manages his finances. It’s not how much one makes that matters, it’s how much a person saves.
  • People who live beyond their means: They are very pretentious to me. There is nothing wrong with living simply.
  • Chatty people: Please please please stop talking to me, especially in the morning. I love my peace and quiet.
  • Dependent people: The world’s not going to end if you try to do something on your own.
  • Inconsiderate people: Please respect other people's time, energy and money.
  • People who demand and think highly of themselves: They are not God. To me, these people are insecure. Secure people are content and unassuming.

And my list ends here.

October 18th Weekend

Last weekend was hectic but so much fun. Lots of good food and excellent company.

It started with dinner with my family in Abe in Trinoma. Abe made it to my list of favorite restaurants. I looked forward to this evening all week, when I'd be sharing a sumptuous Filipino meal with my family. A hands-down favorite is the Crispy Pork Adobo.

Saturday was the opening of Pink Kitchen at the Rockwell Tent. A lover of good food should not miss this event, organized and for the benefit of the I Can Serve Foundation. I gave my family no choice and they found themselves being stamped at the entrance of the Pink Kitchen. I feel very strongly about the cause as my own mother was struck with breast cancer twice. By God's grace and mercy, she is currently in remission.

The venue was packed. Yes, we endured the crowd. The food stalls featuring the best dishes and desserts were worth the 200 pesos entrance. Now don't ask how much we spent on food. It's for a worthy cause, right?

Everyone's full thus the smiles on our faces.

with Nanay
Before leaving the Powerplant Mall, my sister and I passed by Adidas, and we found the Ateneo and La Salle jackets. I just had to buy it for the two of us. It's my belated birthday and advanced Christmas gift for her, as the jacket is expensive.

Blue goes to Via, and I take the green one.
When I stay at my family's house in Bulacan, I get to see my sister's dog, Kenken. He's one-fourth dalmatian, and three-fourths beagle. But his dalmatian blood is more dominant thus the spots, etc. I am terrified of dogs, or any pet for that matter. However, this dog is very hard to resist. Especially when he looks at me with those puppy eyes.Well, I touch and look at him from a distance. I wish he'll remain this small.


I headed back to Trinoma on Sunday evening to meet my two highschool friends for dinner. Aileen was my bestfriend in high school. We were roommates in college for a year, I think. Aileen's getting married on November 9. The dinner was supposed to be her shower but unfortunately people couldn't make it so we ended up with an intimate dinner with Cathy at Bubba Gump.

Irma, Cathy and Aileen

And that ends my busy weekend. Next weekend will be as busy as I'm off to Cebu to spend quality time with my dearest husband.

A Proposal

My sister e-mailed me a You Tube link of the video of her batch mate's proposal.

The guy, Boyet, was their batch's valedictorian and student council president. I'm not surprised he came up with this type of proposal. My hats off to him for his creativity, organization, and LOTS of courage.

While I found it a bit OA (but of course as Jed's proposal is the perfect one even if that was at my family's garage in Bulacan), I was so surprised to be shedding tears. I cannot believe I cried while watching the video.

I'm such a hopeless romantic.

Busy Bee

My assumption was I would have more free time now that Jed has moved to Cebu.

Was I very very wrong with this assumption!!

There's a saying in Filipino which goes, "Marami ang namamatay sa maling akala." The saying may sound morbid, but there's truth to it.

I have never felt this busy after the wedding. There are too many tasks I need to do that my time management skill is failing me. When I hit the bed at midnight, I am always exhausted. It even dawned on me that I should have moved my resignation date earlier so I would have more for my personal affairs. I have not even started packing our things for shipping to Cebu. Eeeek!

So what's keeping me busy?

I go to work Mondays to Fridays. I come in to work early because it is easier to find vacant taxis before 7 o'clock. Plus I do not want the added stress of heavy traffic. But, I don't head to the office right away. I pass by Starbucks first and sit while I read a chapter or two of a book I'm currently reading. At 10 minutes before 8, I proceed to the office, and work as I am expected. When lunch break comes, I try to squeeze in working out at the gym. I go back to work after until I need to go home at 4:30.

On days that I do not have dinners with friends or small group meetings, I go straight home to supposedly work on household chores. When I am not in the mood for house chores and I put it off for a later time (Very bad!), I would easily get sidetracked by surfing the net. I multitask a lot. I watch my favorite TV shows while cleaning the house or cooking or doing whatever. I realize multitasking could be the source of my exhaustion. Too many things happening at the same time.

I allot one night a week for my manicure and pedicure at home. I look forward to that evening when I am forced to sit down and not do anything else.

My week passes by very fast, and the weekend arrives. Weekends are more chaotic. I alternate going home to Bulacan to spend time with my family with spending the weekend with Jed in Cebu. Friday afternoons for me would either be killing time in Trinoma waiting for my siblings (I'd get to do all my shopping errands then) or waiting in NAIA 3 to board my flight to Cebu. I never appreciated the Embassy's shortened Fridays more than before.

With my current set-up, I do not have quiet weekends. I love spending quality time with Jed and my family, but it can be physically draining. I am grateful that God is giving me the energy to keep me up on my toes. I load up on vitamins so I do not end up sick.

Maybe I should move around my schedule so I could get some breather. I am a proponent that it's alright to say NO. But in my desire to spend quality time my family and friends that I'll be leaving behind, I tend to push myself a bit more.

I am no superwoman.

And I was reminded about this in Church two weeks ago.

I should just stick with what I have to do, and leave the rest with God.

Tina Fey Rocks!

Comedienne Tina Fey was hilarious in Saturday Night Live's spoof of the interview of Gov. Sarah Palin by Katie Couric.

Another Proud Filipino Moment (Part 2)

And this is the video of the duet between Charice Pempengco and Celine Dion. They sang Because You Love Me.

Another Proud Filipino Moment (Part 1)

Charice Pempengco guests in Celine Dion's show at the Madison Square Garden.

While Charice's singing voice is not my particular choice of voice or music -- I am a rocker at heart -- Filipinos could not help but be very proud of this girl. With Oprah dedicating an entire show to her, what's not to be proud of?

Here's the video of Celine Dion introducing Charice.

The Quest for the Perfect Nails

My current obsession is maintaining beautiful nails. Well-manicured hands look very clean, fresh and neat. I may not have model-perfect hands but I'm satisfied with what God has given me. I don't go for long nails. I keep mine short and square.

When I was still staying with my family in Bulacan, I would religiously do my own nails complete with polish every Sunday evening. But when I got married, I realized I didn't have the luxury of time on a Sunday evening - or any evening whatsoever - to do my nail ritual.

And that began my quest for the perfect mani/pedi place. I came up my own criteria, which are: (1) accessibility of salon, (2) technicians with gentle touch, (3) nail products and polish, and of course (4) price. I usually find the time for a mani/pedi appointment when I would wait for Jed. My preferred nail salons would have to be near our offices.

I have tried several nail places, from the posh nail salons to your neighborhood parlor. My conclusion is one needs to shed out a few hundreds for the best service.

I am particular when it comes to nail care. I take note of what products the technicians use to clean my nails; I cringe when those pink cuticle remover or orange merthiolate would be used. Cuticles should only be pushed, not cut. Several manicurists are not gentle that I end up with cuts, and a bruised cuticle area. I never go back to a salon or parlor when that happens.

My favorites are the Nail Spa (any branch) and Dashing Diva. For me, these salons are the best in the metro. But the services in both nail salons are very expensive. It puts a dent in my pocket. It's money that I could have put to better use.

One day, as I was searching the net for reviews of nail salons, I chanced upon this home-service mani/pedi called Nails at Home. The idea of a nail spa service at home is too good for me to resist. I picked up the phone and booked myself an appointment the next day.

My assigned technician, Zeny, came with a huge plastic box of all the things you could possibly need for a decent mani/pedi. It's complete with a foot soak machine. Nails at Home also offers foot spa.

I was just pleased to be having my manicure & pedicure in the comforts of our home, while watching TV, and in a schedule most convenient for me.

Zeny was very thorough and gentle. She "repaired" the mistake my past nail technicians did to my nails. They absolutely murdered my toes. Well, they're all okay now. Thanks to Zeny. One other thing I like with Nails at Home is their choice of nail polish. The variety of nail polish includes Essie and OPI. At several nail salons, there is an extra charge for these brands of nail polish. Of course, I picked an Essie polish as it lasts long.

Side note: I'm beginning to buy a few bottles of Essie and OPI polish in preparation for the move to Cebu. I figured it may take me a while to find a good technician there and they may not have the colors I want. These brands may be expensive, but it's worth it as it doesn't chip that easy. I've tried and tested it and it lasted after handwashing my clothes, scrubbing my flipflops and washing the dishes and cooking pans.

I was so pleased with the service that I booked Zeny for the following week. I am excited to try their foot spa.

What's also good with Nails at Home are the prices. It's fairly affordable compared with Nail Spa and Dashing Diva services without comprimising the quality. Those salons do have ambience and comfy couches with fluffed pillows. Well, my home has that, too, and more.

A Leap of Faith

I have drafted an entry a few weeks back about the subject, but did not finish it. I ended up deleting the draft, which I shouldn’t have.

Jed and I have big news. We are taking a leap of faith; we are moving to Cebu! Talk about change, eh?

He started his job at the Shangri-la's Mactan Resort & Spa last September 1st. We said yes on the second offer. The first offer was made six months ago, and that was not promising. So what happened in six months?

Let’s just say that the Lord was working in the background in those six months. He was preparing us for this big change. We both felt that He was leading us to this direction.

I am now ready to leave my job - my one and only after college graduation. I live and breathe this job. It’s the only thing I know how to do.

Am I ready to leave my family and dearest friends? I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to be away from them.

However, my priorities changed the minute I exchanged wedding vows with my dearest Jed.

And I will go wherever he goes.

I am his wife.

As it says in Ephesians 5:22-33:
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
And now begins our journey to the place we will soon call “home.”

We're feeling mixed emotions - happy, excited, sad, scared, etc. But we welcome this new chapter in our lives. It maybe time to start a family. Cebu is the perfect place. As my boss described the city, "Cebu is like Manila, but better."

I am so proud of my husband with his new job. And who doesn't know about Shangri-la Mactan, right?

On the day of our 5th anniversary as a couple, we headed to Cebu with five huge boxes, one big and small luggage - these are all Jed's personal effects - and my tiny overnight bag.

We arrived on a weekend and that gave us time to enjoy the facilities. I know that the resort will lose its appeal once Jed starts working there.

I took a photo of Jed on his first day at work. His new work clothes are more relaxed than when he was still with Makati Shangri-la.

The hotel also took his photo for their press release.

I returned to Manila alone. It would've been ideal to move to Cebu together but one of us needs to be in Manila to take care of shipping our things to Cebu and the list of errands go on. But before that, Jed needs to find a place for us to live. I would also need to finish a few important events at work. Now depending on my accumulated vacation leaves, I am aiming to follow him end of November, and the latest would be first week of December.

We both are not built for long distance relationship. It's going to be very difficult for me to be away from him. Thanks to Cebu Pacific low fares I booked flights every other weekend so I could spend time with my husband.

The "meantime" months will be a test of our characters. We pray for patience, understanding, grace and strength. We will miss each other's company. We're actually feeling that right now.

As one of my good friend reminded me, "It's going to be tough, but we're tougher as we have God with us." Amen to that!

Please click on the the following links to view photos of Jed's despedida dinner and our big leap trip to Cebu.

Two Movies and a Play

Last weekend, I watched two movies and a play. I couldn't have spent my weekend any better.

Remember the bonding time I promised my sister, well, we watched the matinee of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Via purchased our tickets months ago. We were seated at Balcony I, which at 1,000 pesos was not so bad.

On our way to CCP, I repeatedly prayed that we get to watch Lea Salonga play Cinderella. I read in her Multiply that as long as she's not sick, she will be playing Cinderella. So I kept on praying that she is well. And our prayers were answered. Although, from where we were seated, we realized it was Lea after she delivered her first line. We were so far high that we should've bought binoculars. But I was too cheap to pay for those. So we ended up sitting uprightly and squinting most of the time.

Despite that, the experience was delightful. I am biased as Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale classic.

I am big fan of movies. I make it a point to watch a movie in a moviehouse every week. It doesn't matter if I watch alone or with someone. Of course, my favorite movie companion is is my husband Jed.

My family had been urging me to watch John Lloyd's movie with Sarah Geronimo, called A Very Special Love. I rarely watch Tagalog movies unless a credible person (a family member or close friend) point out to me how good the story is.
Now this movie's trailer caught my attention as I laughed when I saw it on TV. Together with my family's encouragement, I was very intrigued which led to my decision of watching it on the big screen. So last weekend, I was in front of Glorietta 4 Cinema chatting with my best friend while we wait for another dear friend and we were off to see John Lloyd's movie. My friends shall remain nameless.

It wasn't hard to convince our other friend to watch the movie, as I learned, she also has a crush on the lead actor -- just like me! The story was hilariously funny. The characters of John Lloyd and Sarah were someone everyone would relate with. And the issues the movie focused on were something the audience felt at one point in the life. I love how simple the plot is. It's such a light movie that as a movie goer, I am only expected to laugh and feel good about each scene.

After watching Cinderella, I went straight to meet Jed and his sisters to watch The X-Files: I Want to Believe. There are a number of reasons why I did not enjoy this movie:

  1. I had never been a follower of the TV show X-Files. I ended up very confused while watching the movie version.
  2. I do not believe in aliens or supernatural forces. I only believe in the power of God.
  3. I hate gory movies.

No matter how terrible the film was, the important thing is I spent time with my husband and sisters-in-law.

That weekend was full of great bonding moments with my husband, sister, sisters-in-law, and dearest girlfriends -- and all because of two movies and a play.

Too Much

If I have the money, I'd go and buy myself a MacBook Air. Keep on wishing, Irma. Dreams do come true, you know...

I had been a fan of Apple products, and I am impressed with their state-of-the-arts products and its unique features. While my budget cannot afford me a MacBook Air, the only Apple product I own is an iPod Classic while I love and use all the time.

And then comes the iPhone 3G....

I wanted to own one. Then the news came that Globe Telecoms is bringing iPhone 3G to the Philippines. Together with my co-worker, we happily filled-out a reservation form online. And we both waited for Globe to contact us.
The more I learn about Globe's priority in their distribution of iPhone units, I was disheartened. Being an existing Globe postpaid subscriber for years has become a disadvantage. The better packages are offered to switchers and new subscribers. Apparently for a loyal Globe subscriber like me under the G-Flex 800 plan, the only way Globe would let me own an iPhone is if I purchase the handset for Php 41,899. You have to be kidding me!?!

The iPhone Standard Pricing package do not apply to me. Ideally, for my plan of G-Flex 800, the handset would only cost me Php 24,000. Now that's a Php 17,899 difference.

To save money, my options are:
  1. Terminate my existing subscription and just apply for a new subscription. However, it is a hassle to change numbers.
  2. Buy the unit abroad, and have it unlocked to work here. Unlocking is illegal.
  3. Purchase the unit from Greenhills. Now that is questionable.
You know what, forget it. I'm no longer interested.

Then I learned that actual reservations fell short of Globe's expectations which prompted them to lower the handset unit from Php 41,899 to Php 37,599. Ha! But when I looked at the new plan for G-Flex 800, the handset unit had been increased to Php 25,000. What the freak is going on!?!

My conclusion: An iPhone from Globe is not worth it. I am very disappointed at how Globe take care of their subscribers. It honestly made me think of switching to a different (maybe better) network.

Better wait a few months and when the hype has died down, I know that prices will drop. Then I would rethink buying an iPhone.

Poster Family for the United Nations or United Colors of Benetton

All photos from PEOPLE.com.

I was supposed to share the link of PEOPLE.com's album of the family's photos but its suddenly nowhere to be found. Toink!

One Great Thursday

Today was a very good day.

I looked forward to my evening bonding with my two best girls, Neyza and Ding. Neyza had been away for five months, and having my best friend thousands of miles away from me had been very challenging. But she's back and is here to stay. Ding went on vacation and I haven't had the chance to see her since she got back. I was very excited to see both of them and catch up.

The day started out good. I had time to prepare baon for Jed and myself. Doing that simple thing for my husband put me in a good mood.

Oh, and today is our 8th month together. Four more months and we will be celebrating our first anniversary.

Time at the office was enjoyable. I was surprisingly productive and inspired. Let me say that the atmosphere at work had gotten much better now that the new boss is here.

I found time for my cardio workout by attending Body Attack class at Fitness First. I also squeezed in a manicure and pedicure appointment at Nail Spa in Gamboa. I am currently addicted at how good Nail Spa's staff do their job.

And then the rained poured down when I was supposed to go meet my girlfriends for dinner at the newly-opened Mom & Tina's in Perea. The rained poured hard, and I was stranded in Nail Spa. I couldn't brave the heavy rain for fear that my newly-pedicured feet will be ruined. How vain of me! Well, it ain't cheap so I prefer taking good care of my nails. Then Ding came to the rescue, she picked me up from the salon, and we headed to Mom & Tina's.

Mom & Tina's in Perea is exactly the same as their main branch along C5. I immediately felt at home. Jed & I loved Mom & Tina's as we got our wedding favors from them. They customized their oatmeal cookies for us and all our guests loved them.

Neyza finally showed up, and the next couple of hours were spent eating the delicious dishes and catching up on lost time. Boy, do we multitask well!! Both Ding and Neyza gave me pasalubong. I was so thrilled.

I am very happy Neyza is back, and that she has some great news about herself. Ding and I will get to bond with her more before the new adventure in my life begins. We may even spend so much time together in the coming months. Ding is the solution to one of my problems. I am forever grateful with how generous she is.

Girlfriends are an important part of my life. And I'm happy the Lord had blessed me with a handful of really good girlfriends, and these two are on the top of my list.

PJ & Maries' Wedding

On the 8th day of the 8th month of year 2008, Jed & I attended a wedding. It was the wedding of PJ & Maries.

PJ is the eldest son of my boss, Butch. Butch and I have been working since 1997. So you can imagine how close I have gotten with his family. They treat like me I am part of their family. And this was the reason why Butch made it to the top of our principal sponsors list for our wedding.

Back to PJ, we're the same age. We graduated from the same college. Animo La Salle! And the time I started work at the Embassy, PJ was currently looking for a job. I'd remember him sitting quietly in Butch's office in between job interviews. What I could not forget was when I called his father, "Sir..," he laughed hard. Then I called Butch by his first name after that incident.

PJ and Maries exchanged vows in St. Andrews Church. I became the impromptu offeror when the designated person failed to show up.

The reception was at the Manila Polo Club. Jed followed me at the reception. I was kept company by my dearest officemate Lynn, and her husband Bob.

Enjoying cocktails with Butch, Mariel, Bob and Lynn.

Lynn and I amongst the de la Cruz women.

My gym partner, the ever-elegant Lynn

The power couple, Lynn & Bob

We're hoping to be a power couple one day.

Finally, a group photo with the bride, Maries, and groom, PJ.

Jed and I stayed until after the reception was over. We had a great time talking with our Ninong and his buddies. I had bonding moments with Ninang Coy and her daughter Mariel. Mariel is tying the knot January next year, and I was delighted to learn we are invited to her wedding.

Dealing with Nosy People

I am a private person. I need personal space -- A LOT! And I hate having to deal with too many nosy people. Unfortunately, I am surrounded by too many of them - at work, my own relatives, just about everywhere.

As much as I'd like to answer these people's nosy questions with "It's none of your darn business!!" Such action will earn me: (1) more enemies, and (2) a free enrollment to an anger management class.

I try to be really witty but there are times when I'd simply lose it. Now there goes my grace going down the drain.

In finding ways to stop me from becoming the Incredible Hulk, I stumbled upon the Real Simple site. Real Simple came out with a solution to How to Deal with Nosy Questions?, which I am sharing here.

Here are examples of nosy questions, how to answer such questions, and how to ask them without sounding "nosy."
Nosy Question #1: How Much Do You Weigh?

How to Respond: "Enough" or "I don't know — whenever I step on the scale, it says, 'Perfect,'" suggests Claudia Michelle Wallace, a comedian with Chicago's Second City. Or try responding in a cleverly vague way: "The British would say I weigh nine stone" or "One and a half Mary Kate Olsens."

How to Ask: Don't. The only people who have a legitimate reason for asking this question are doctors, your personal trainer, and the amusement-park carny who runs the Guess Your Weight game (but even he shouldn't ask, since he’s supposed to be guessing).

Nosy Question #2: How Old Are You?

How to Respond: "I'm old enough to know better." You can also claim a ridiculous age, or say, "I'm aging rapidly just thinking about it," says Amy Dickinson, author of the Chicago Tribune advice column Ask Amy. "Or try Dustin Hoffman's response in Tootsie," says Dickinson. "'Age means nothing to me — I'm a character actress!'"

How to Ask: Flattery will get you everywhere: "You're so accomplished for your age! What are you — 25? You look like it." Or casually mention your last high school reunion, or where you were when some major historical event occurred. The person may chime in with a story that will help you do the math.

Nosy Question #3: What's Your Salary?

How to Respond: Be deliberately vague. You can say, "I do OK" or "I'd like to make more." If the person presses on, let your parents take the fall: Say, "My mother told me to never discuss money," and stop there. "Don't explain your response — simply change the subject," says advice columnist Amy Dickinson.

How to Ask: If you're trying to find out how much a particular job or industry pays, phrase it in this manner: "What could I expect to make as an account executive?"

Nosy Question #4: What Did You Do On Your Date Last Night?

How to Respond: "The usual — dinner, dancing, hot-air-balloon ride." Most of the time, you don't have to answer someone's nosy question directly. You can creatively answer around it. The person asking is probably trying to find out whether you had a good time. So tell him if you did (or didn't) and leave it at that.

How to Ask: Don't ask specifics. (Do you need to know where they had dinner, how long the date lasted, etc.?) Simply ask if they had fun. They'll cough up details if they want to.

Nosy Question #5: How Much Is Your Rent/Mortgage?

How to Respond: "Rents in this building go for…" Or say, "I have a great Realtor you should try." This gives your friend information without compromising your privacy. Asking about someone's mortgage is more invasive. Simply say, "That's between me and my bank" or "My credo is to not discuss anything about money."

How to Ask: Wait for the right moment, such as a dinner with a group of friends who are all in the throes of house hunting. Still, don't ask for specifics. Instead, make it general: "How much do houses go for around this neighborhood?”" If your friends are comfortable talking about it, they may offer up their price, but don't expect it.

Nosy Question #6: How Much Did You Pay for Those Shoes?

How to Respond: Simply say, "I don't remember — I have no idea," "They weren't much," or "They were a treat for myself." Most of the time, this is a harmless, innocent question — the person is admiring your shoes and thinking about them for herself, not probing into how much importance you place on material objects or how much money you have.

How to Ask: Instead of asking the price, ask where she got the shoes or what the brand is, then go find out how much they cost.

Nosy Question #7: What Was Your Doctor's Appointment For?

How to Respond: "You don't want to know" (said with a smile) or "I'm just fine — thanks for asking." You don't have to go into any detail. A vague answer will satisfy most people. They will understand you don't want to answer and back away.

How to Ask: Don't ask specifics — just express your concern. "Is everything OK? Can I help you with anything?" That shows you care without invading privacy.

Nosy Question #8: Why Are You All Dressed Up? Did You Have a Job Interview?

How to Respond: "I just wanted to dress up" or "Isn't every day a job interview?" This is often just a comment, not a real question, "so it doesn't necessarily require a response," says Marjorie Brody, an executive coach and the author of Professional Impressions (Career Skills Press, $15)
How to Ask: Try the "butter up" method: "What a gorgeous outfit! What's the occasion?" You've tossed out the bait. If she wants to pick it up, she will. Otherwise, let it slide.

Nosy Question #9: Why Did You Call in Sick?

How to Respond: "I wasn’t feeling well." Then stop right there. No one needs to know about your gastrointestinal distress.

How to Ask: Make sure it's clear you're asking because you are genuinely concerned about the person, not because you're the work-attendance police. Deliver this question lightly and with concern, not in an accusatory manner.

Nosy Question #10: What Was That You Were Talking About?

How to Respond: "The price of tea in China." "Nothing exciting enough to share." This question is often used as an entrance into a conversation. If the question comes from someone who overheard a phone conversation, apologize for talking so loud.

How to Ask: It's all about the context. If you walk by a group of friends and they're laughing, you may be able to break in and say, "Did I miss something fun?" But don't presume that your need to know is greater than their need to continue the conversation.
Now if only Real Simple has an answer to what I believe is the nosiest, most annoying question of all,
"Are you pregnant?"

Yes, I get asked about this a lot! If I collect money from those who ask me, I'd probably have enough money to buy myself a nice pair of Viktor jeans. Believe me, they're that many.

Who's Playing at the Beijing Olympics?

My fondest memory of the Summer Olympic games was watching it on TV with my father. We bonded while watching it together and talking about the games. It had been his dream to watch it live in person. He could've gone to the Seoul Olympics in 1988 as that was the closest one to the Philippines. But that dream did not happen. Although, I think, with where he is now, he could go to any place he wants to be. I know my brother wants to watch one Olympic game live. I have this very good feeling he will fulfill our father's dream.

Watching the Olympics became a habit for me, and I had been an avid fan since the Seoul games. I remembered waking up at an ungodly hour to watch the opening ceremonies of the Barcelona Olympics. I get this thrill from watching the best athletes compete and break world records in every possible sport -- swimming, diving, gymnastics, etc. During my teenybopper years, I'd be spotting for the most handsome player/athlete. Later on, I'd be taking down names of athletes which sounded distinct to me thinking I could name my future kids after them.

Last Sunday, the Pastor's sermon talked about the Olympics and he shared that Time magazine came out with an issue about this Olympic's 100 Olympic Athetes to Watch. Then I realized that the Beijing Olympics will begin this Friday, and I had no idea who the players are. And so my research began.

Let me share Time's top 10 who made it to the 100 Olympic Athletes to Watch list.

United States
Age: 23

United States
Age: 41

United States
Age: 23

Age: 25

Age: 27

United States
Age: 22

United States
Age: 16

Czech Republic
Age: 33

Age: 26

United States
Age: 25

I know a bit of who will compete. The next two weeks will be busy watching the games. Our TV at home will be tuned in to whichever channel is covering the Olympics live. Will the Philippines bag its first-ever gold medal? Let's keep praying fellow Filipinos!
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