Early Riser this Saturday Morning

Weather forecasts in this part of the world have a higher sense of accuracy than what we had gotten used to back in Manila, although I am sure that with advances in technology, they have gotten better at it.  The forecast for New York this weekend is pretty glum with a promise of rain the horizon, and grey skies and a rather shy sun at almost 9am seems to confirm this.

I’ve been up since just before 6am. Blame it on the jet lag (haven’t quite completely gotten over that just yet) — plus the fact that I slept early last night (just before 10pm) as the tyke asked that Mommy sleep with him.  Although I had intended to just put him to sleep and then get up later, I ended up dozing off into the night.  My body just couldn’t shake off the need for sleep after fighting it away all day.

Alan’s been real considerate, agreeing to take out food if not a dinner out like last night to spare  me the chore of preparing dinner.  (And he’s still off in la-la land at this hour.  I usually indulge him during the weekends which are the only days when he can really sleep til noon if he wanted to.)

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to get on with my Saturday chores while still wading through the things I brought home from Manila.  All the bags have been unpacked and we’re doing some laundry this weekend.  After that, all the suitcases will be tucked away in their corner in the attic, awaiting our next trip.  There are scrapbooks to be made (again), and albums I need to send home.  I actually took my portable printer home complete with paper and spare ink cartridges and printed out a good almost 200 pictures for friends and family.  (The paper and ink had gone with the balikbayan boxes, so the only thing I lugged in my bags was the portable printer.  That was one good idea I intend to do again for our next trips home.) 

The big guy’s up and so it’s time for me to prepare breakfast.  I finally ground one of the coffee bean packs given to us by the Pantaleon’s.  More on that later..

Going down my list (Reminders to Self for the just concluded trip to Manila)

Sixteen days before we left for Manila, I wrote the list below and here’s a point for point follow up on each one:

1. Soap dishes/pH Strips for GP – procured them and actually managed to meet up with Gina twice.  Discussed some business possibilities and while the soap and VCO distribution shows promise, we’ve agreed to focus elsewhere which isn’t a problem for me either.

2. Special tea for Ms. L – Turns out the tea I wanted to get was not available in Target where I last saw it available.  What’s more, Ms. L and Ms. I were two people I didn’t get to see (part of a long list of friends who I had hoped to find the time for but didn’t get to say hello to… more on this later.)  There is always a next time, I say.

3. Gimmick shirt for R – Managed to meet up with Reggie although a Disney shirt for him to use at home was the best I could do.

4. Fridge magnet alphabet for Art – We received a LeapFrog Fridge Phonics® Magnetic Set from a friend for Angelo for his first Christmas and we’ve found it a very valuable tool in introducing him to his alphabet so I vowed I would get this for my almost three year old nephew, Art.  Got it and he is really enjoying working with this very educational tool.

5. Burn Scrapbook CDs for V -  I knew seeing my former batchmates beyond Gina would be a tall order but I failed to even burn the scrapbook CDs for V, although I think I’ll do this in the coming weeks and have Gina give it to her.

6. Get 2G memory card for self – never quite got down to doing this, but there is time.

7. PSP + games for Nikky – I did get Nikky’s bundle but the Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai game was out of stock.

8. Dual voltage hair dryer – Found one and used it while there then left it with Dad.

9. Salt & Pepper pack for hotel – Done

10. Pack away USB keys – Packed away 2 cute ones from the company but didn’t get to meet up with Jher and Jerome (again).  =(  I am missing quite a bunch of them but managed to give one to Abril.

11. Get usual meds: Aleve, Sudafed, etc. – Brought my stash though didn’t really have a need for them, and picked up my own stocks from good old Mercury Drug to bring to New York.  (More on this later).

12. SPF 45 Sun tan lotion – Picked up a generic bottle from the neighborhood Rite Aid store and was quite happy with my pick because it truly protected me from the sun when we were in Laiya.

13. Umbrella for Mom (her choice of brand) – This was out of stock before we left but I’m hoping to pick it up in the coming weeks.

14. Garbage, Ziploc bags – Got the ziplocs but not the bags

15. Mother-in-law’s decaf instant coffee – CHECK

16. MiracleGro for Mom – brought it but left it on the kitchen counter.  (Wise, I know.)

Coffee talk in Manila

Okay, before the coffee afficionados out there go up in arms against me, I deeply regret not having picked up my usual stock of Figaro Barako coffee as I usually do.  Totally my fault.  Hoping to get the freshest batch, I postponed getting my coffee beans just before we left, and the only branch we found ourselves in didn’t have any in stock, promising a fresh delivery the following day when I just completely lost myself in last minute things to do.

I did manage to grab some Kape Vinta from Starbucks during my last breakfast with Gina in Greenbelt 1, along with two other coffee blends, Muan Jai (from Thailand) and Arabian Mocha Java.  I haven’t quite tried the two other blends which were P100 and P200 more than the local favorite, but they show much promise.  It might be a while until I can brew a cup, though, because one of Alan’s friends had given me quite a huge stash of coffee beans from Kalinga (presumably Apayao) and Baguio.  Since the latter were not commercially packed, I want to start grinding them first when my present stock is depleted.

I was also overjoyed to find that there was a new Starbucks Manila mug.  (It’s about time!)  Another special addition to my collection, I picked up one of the generic mugs on the shelf to add to my “babies”.

This is a priced addition, and I’m glad that this edition doesn’t fall short of the usual size nor quality of the regualr Starbucks city mugs collection.  Sadly, I can’t say the same for the original issue of the Cebu Starbucks mug.  I’m happy.  Over and above any new city mug, a mug from “back home” will always have a special place in my treasure trove of Starbuck mugs.serveware.

The barrista asked me how many I already have.. that got me stumped.  I haven’t quite gotten beyond trying to catalogue my collection as I keep adding mugs every few weeks or so.  I really should do this before summer’s over and try to figure out a way for me to display all of them on the top shelf of my kitchen shelves where only around 2/3rds of the whole collection sit.  My guess is it’s in the area of 50-75 mugs.

With the diet in mind and knowing I had my bibingkas and puto bumbong to indulge in, I decided to stay away from the ensaymada this time.  My mug more than made up for all the other goodies I missed at Starbucks in Manila.

Back home in New York

It’s 3:21AM and I’m wide awake, finally typing away here after spending the last 36 hours drifting through the day, deeply jetlagged.  I’m currently trying to upload pictures to my Friendster account while trying make a DVD copy of the video coverage of Angelo’s 4th Birthday party in Manila.

I’m hoping I can catch enough sleep tonight to make it to work tomorrow.  If worse comes to worst, I can always work from home, but I’d really like to try and get back to the normal swing of things.

What’s “normal” at this point is really just getting back to my usual body clock.  It continues to be a challenge but I’m trying.  I’ll have to wait and save the “kwento” about the homecoming for later.

Hotels in Paris?

I received a query about hotel recommendations in Paris which was “unsigned” (hence, will remain unpublished), and I just wanted to say I have stayed in hotels which are part of the corporate perks of Alan’s job. Although these hotels are well-appointed being located in the Opera and Champs Elysees areas, they are pretty pricey and I’m not too sure we would’ve stayed there if they weren’t free because they are very expensive.

Although I cannot make recommendations, I believe a good guideline would be that the hotel be centrally-located so you can access the sites you want to visit. Good luck!

Feedback on Feedback: Paging Mr. Lagman

I have arrived in Manila and have been caught up in a flurry of visits, reunions, trips, and all the good stuff associated with a trip home.  I was also momentarily “offline” as my blackberry server went bonkers on me which necessitated my caling our helpdesk back in New York. My phone was running, but my data was dead.  It was news to me of course that Globe wasn’t delivering.  I switched to Smart and voila!  I’m back online.

Add to that that I was still severely jetlagged (and still am) so I haven’t really had the chance to blog.  But here I am.

I opened my dashboard and found a comment from Ed Lagman who unfortunately did not leave a working e-mail nor a URL, so I cannot publish his comment.

Small world, though, he wrote me he knew Hot Rodney of whom I wrote about  in early 2007.  If I had Ed’s e-mail address, I would have asked him to just send Rodney B a link to the post and tell him Dinna sends him her regards.  Of course there is a very good chance that he will not remember me anymore… it was, after all, decades and decades ago.

It’s just heartwarming to know that the category I had begun then, “The people in my life” produced one of the results I had hoped for — which was to reconnect with people I used to know.  So I hear Rodney is in Southern California.  I figure he’s doing okay.   Be well, Hot Rodney..

Ed, thanks for the note.  Now if you can only do me the favor of forwarding the URL of the post about Rodney to Rodney — not for anything else but just so he sees how I appreciated his friendship not just back then, but even now as I look back rememberiung.

On my way

So we’re all buckled up and getting ready for take off. I can’t wait for us to be airborne so I can get some much-needed shut eye. I had barely four hours of sleep and my adrenalin is ebbing. My body is finally succumbing to fatigue, and I don’t want to fight it so I arrive in Manila not quite as jetlagged as I would normally be.

I gave the duty free shop one sweep but I lingered at the Hudson News outlet nearest our boarding gate. I wanted to pick up a book and a magazine or two.

I ended up getting Vanity Fair and People. Choosing the book was more difficult. After 2 sweeps, I ended up in the “Classics” shelf and I initially picked up Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and was thinking of finally grabbing a copy and reading it seriously, until my eyes landed on a paperback copy of Geoffrey Chaucer’s THE CANTERBURY TALES and that sealed the deal.

My favorite aunt, Tita Lydia, had given me a children’s version and I had taken to reading most of the stories, but not in chronological order. Hopefully, by the end of this trip I would’ve finished the book. So this book is special to me beyond just giving me some intellectual food for this journey. It’s another way I’m taking a journey home.

Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock!

Today was my last day at work before my much-awaited trip home. I feel like I have a hundred and one unfinished tasks, but I felt good about how I had prepared for my leave from work. Although I feel confident I had anticipated everything, there’s always that nagging feeling about having missed something in the excitement. (Murphy’s Law?). At this point, I’m done.

Although we’re not really leaving until Friday, tomorrow is a day special enough for me to have taken an additional day off because my little guy turns 4. Even Alan is working from home. The goodie bags have been assembled, and we only need the party hats, the balloons, the juice and the birthday cake. As per the celebrant’s request, it’ll be a LIGHTNING McQUEEN themed birthday.

All the excitement has me smiling from ear-to-ear. I can’t wait to see my family, most specially Dad whom I last saw 2 years ago. I have carefully chosen the friends and relatives I am planning to see — it’s a special time to reunite and renew friendships and family ties.  Yes, I’m coming home…

Work Zone Blues

I’m usually all psyched to go to work at the start of the wek, but that’s usually not the case when I am greeted with an e-mail indicative of the boss waking up on the wrong side of the bed like this morning. So I took a deep breath and said my morning prayers, where one decade of the Rosary is actually dedicated to work and my day in general.

I got a bullet list of calendar items with why’s, where’s, and other comments I was starting to reply to when I realized I was shooting from the hip, since not all my resources were in front of me. So instead, I deleted my draft response and sat down calmly for the rest of the ride to the subway.

One thing I have learned is that anger or any sense of irritation or dismay is best managed and not met head on — more so when there are external factors aggravating the boss and everything else is just “collateral damage”.

Then again, I have to balance the option of “keeping quiet and keeping my head down low” and responding in a timely fashion. (That’s what the blackberry is for.). I’m not worried. Can you believe I’ve been in the job a year now? And the boss isn’t looking for a replacement so this is a feat. I must be doing something right.

Postscript: something must’ve happened on the way to work because the boss was a totally different person by the time she stepped into the office, or she probably flipped an internal switch in her brain.

4… 3… 2… 1… Take off!!

I can’t believe I’m almost halfway done packing… and looking back on a recent post around 10 days ago, here’s what I have accomplished and what I have left:

1. Soap dishes/pH Strips for GP – done
2. Special tea for Ms. L
3. Gimmick shirt for R – done
4. Fridge magnet alphabet for Art – done
5. Burn Scrapbook CDs for V
6. Get 2G memory card for self
7. PSP + games for Nikky – Picking up this week at BestBuy
8. Dual voltage hair dryer – done
9. Salt & Pepper pack for hotel – done
10. Pack away USB keys – done
11. Get usual meds: Aleve, Sudafed, etc.
12. SPF 45 Sun tan lotion
13. Umbrella for Mom (her choice of brand) – out of stock =(
14. Garbage, Ziploc bags – Ziplocs done
15. Mother-in-law’s decaf instant coffee – (will get this in the grocery later)
16. MiracleGro for Mom – done