Sunday, September 24, 2006

weekend dining

Let's Do The Twist

our toddler class had its first parent dinner last saturday at twist, eastwood. i was pretty excited because it was my first time to actually set foot in the restaurant. the interior was relaxing and subdued, with a Zen feel to it. i loved their chairs with the tall backs (although if you're short like moi no one can tell you're there from behind. hehe).

the class has 9 students but only 6 pairs of parents made it to the dinner. despite that, we still had a lot of fun. since they're used to seeing the teachers in school, looking harassed and sweaty, the dinner was a breath of fresh air for them - and much more for us. the initial topics revolved predictably around their kids but with the relaxed atmosphere, eventually everybody loosen up and talk about other things that weren't school-related.

i found out that one of the dads is the older brother of a former officemate, ryan bonilla (remember him, star??) and he was also a college classmate of mike lectura! i almost sang "it's a small world after all."

the food was great, btw. i ordered a pasta dish while the rest ordered buffet. and after about 3 hours of sharing laughter and exchanging stories, we called it a night.

no, i'm NOT pregnant! darn those gartered midriff tops!

In Da Club(house)

gelli's turning 18 on november 29! and she's having a party on dec 2. of course, since i'm such a great sister, i volunteered to be her party planner.

last sunday, my mom, gelli, and i dropped by the Mayfield clubhouse. the 2nd floor, where the party will be held, can house 100 guests (with the tables included). the place was just right for gelli's guest list (about 80 people) but the downside was the time. because the clubhouse was inside the townhomes area, they have a rule that parties can only be until 9:00 pm. and we all know that for a teenager, the real party begins after 10:00 pm...well, that was during my time. i'm pretty sure the time changed as years passed by so it might just be midnight for the young 'uns. (i feel so old!)

but we already thought of the other possible places and this is the only one that gelli likes. guess she and her friends have to deal with the fact that they have to rock the house from 4 to 9 pm. hahaha!

gelli was a bit pissed by it but she had no choice. in the meantime, mama was busy talking to the people from catering. our timing was perfect because when we got there, the staff was already packing away the stuff from an earlier party so we were able to get the contact number of the caterer.

after our occular at the clubhouse, we headed for our dinner at a nearby village. my lolo's sister, charing, just celebrated her 93rd birthday! i haven't really seen her for a loooooooooong time because she stayed in the US most of her life. but since most of our relatives are here, she decided to celebrate her special day with all of us.

it was a simple dinner. good food. good people. and the cake! my cousins couldn't help but to get into the action.

happy birthday, lola charing! (i'm tempted to say her first name again just to be funny but i'm keeping my mouth shut :D)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

our weekend Hyatt-us

free for all!

my family and i spent the weekend at the Hyatt Hotel - for free!!

last year, a family friend gave us a Club Hyatt booklet, with 2 vouchers of free overnight stays and food freebies (lunch buffets and dinner). the booklet also comes with a membership cum discount card. whoopee! :D

so, we tossed our domestic problems out the window and, for two glorious days, basked in The Hyatt experience.

i was actually looking forward to check in after lunch but we had to wait because the people in room 430 haven't checked out yet. grrrr. it was a good thing they gave us welcome drinks because we waited for an hour. a glass of fresh calamansi juice and a blueberry muffin later, we were finally ushered in our room.

room 430 is the second to the last room at the end of the lengthy 4th floor corridor. the room is simple, understated, and, according to my parents (who are architects), needs improvement in the interior design. my papa couldn't help but comment on the huge mirror and bulky lamp on the cabinet in front of the beds. instead of placing the mirror on the dresser where we could actually use it, the mirror was used as an aesthetic piece. it annoyed my dad to no end. he complained about it at least 3 times, i'm sure. everytime we had to brush our hair while watching tv, we had to stand on the bed just to see ourselves in the mirror. they had a full-length mirror actually but we still wanted a dresser mirror so we could primp while watching tv (we're a multi-tasking bunch). so, if you know Hyatt's interior designer, please tell him that we appreciate his/her efforts, but we want cash. ay, labo! haha!

the other areas in the hotel weren't that bad. the lobby was elegant and cozy. i liked their use of the dark wood and neutral colors. it made the accents, like the lamps and centerpieces, pop. the design extended to the Calesa Bar, which was right next to the lobby. i also loved their huge windows! when i took a quick tour saturday morning, the windows were glazed with frost from the centralized aircon. it made a beautiful backdrop to the furniture and created the perfect touch as you gaze at the garden.

anyways, enough of the design. let's talk about the food. ooh, the food!! i'm drooling just remembering our dinner and lunch at
Cafe Al Fresco, where we used our 50% discount (dinner) and free lunch buffet. i just wished i could bring home all the wonderful dishes in their buffet tables. i was so caught up in my gastronomic experience that i forgot to take photos. hm, that's been happening to me recently. i'm beginning to think i'm getting old.

well, at least i remembered to use my underwater camera when gelli and i swam in their pool. finally, i can have the film developed! yes, it's the same camera i brought with me when we went to
puerto galera last summer. i'll post the photos as soon as i have the negatives scanned. i hope the previous shots are still clear!

but, of course, the underwater cam wasn't the only camera we used. hehe.

i suddenly recalled my previous post about my narcissistic nature. weeeeelll, it definitely runs in the family. :D

gelli and i were so excited to swim because we were the only ones there! well, save for the hotel staff, that is. but we really didn't care. we certainly made the most out of our morning break. :)

wait, before anyone thinks that all we did was take photos, i just want to make it clear that this pictorial happened after we swam for an hour. from all the photos we have, i have a feeling our pictorial took an hour, too. these are just some of the photos. konti lang, ano?

tonet, my other sister, wasn't able to join us because she slept til noon! tsk, tsk, least now she knows how we spent our morning - we used her digicam as well. when she opened her camera's gallery, she was immediately bombarded with photos of gelli and me.

that woke her up in an instant. hahaha!

not to be outdone, tonet also insisted to be included in our Hyatt photos. there you go, sis.

oh, we included the parents, too. hehe.

Mall of Asia, revisited

after checking out, our parents had to go to their own appointments. papa went to the dentist while mama had a full-body massage (lucky her!). tonet had her own gimmick with her high school friends and just dropped us (gelli and i) at the
mall of asia where we killed time until our parents came back.

unfortunately for gelli, she had to study for her college entrance exams next week. so while she was reviewing in starbucks, i decided to take a stroll around the mall. now, a normal stroll usually involves casually walking around and taking in the sights with a sense of relaxation and calm. shopping at the mall of asia is most definitely NOT a leisurely stroll! that place is HUGE! even if the buildings (i think the mall has four separate buildings) are just two-storeys high, they cover a wide expanse of space that you can easily get lost while shopping. not that i got lost. or went shopping.

from what i know, the mall of asia is SM's second mall that offers al fresco shopping. i've already been to the baguio branch but unlike baguio's completely aircondition-free buildings, mall of asia only has several strategic locations facing manila bay that are open to welcome the fresh and salty breeze. but they do have something that the mall in the summer capital of the philippine's does not - two viewing decks that stretch over the street and onto the bayside. so if you want to take a romantic stroll along the bay, you just have to pass the bridge and you're there before you can say HHWWPSSP.

oh, did i mention the skating rink? much bigger than the one in megamall, mall of asia's skating rink is set against a beautiful winter backdrop. the snow-capped mountains are a perfect reminder of the philippine's recent Mt. Everest conquest, a definite confidence boost for the amateur skaters. even if reaching the top of Mt. Everest and learning how to skate are two different things, they both involve a lot of ice, perseverance, and courage (especially if half of the mall's population is watching you make a fool of yourself in the skating rink).

after i went back to starbucks to check if gelli drowned in her green tea frap, we got a text message from our parents that they're already in the Shrine of Jesus for the anticipated mass. oh, ok. at least we can rest tomorrow.

the mass ended just in time for us to find a spot along the staircase facing the bay for the weekend pyro show. i just want to commend the SM management for this brilliant idea. i mean, what can be more perfect than ending your shopping spree with a spectacular fireworks display? it will surely take your mind off the money that you just spent. at least for 15 minutes. :)

a free hotel stay, free food, and free fireworks. the best things in life are so free!

Monday, September 04, 2006

out of the closet

The OC

"OC ka, ano?"

my friend asked me that one time when she saw me adjusting our table, which had a slight gap against the wall, while we were having dinner in Pizza Hut.

"hindi, no!"

me, Obsessive Compulsive? of course not! i thought to myself as i checked the table for crumbs.

she then proceeded to give me a quick personality test that she learned that day. turned out i'm the analyzer/organizer. ah, big surprise there.

ever since As Good As It Gets came out, the term, OC, has been used so liberally. in fact, i hear it as often as nerd, weird, and jerk (well ok, it was probably because they were usually used in reference to me - except the last one). but really, just because a person is organized, doesn't automatically make him/her Obsessive Compulsive.

anyways, what exactly is OCD? to be diagnosed as OC, one must have obsessions and/or compulsions (as the term suggests).

Obsessions are defined by:
Recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress.
The thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems.
The person attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, impulses, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action.
The person recognizes that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of his or her own mind.

Compulsions are defined by:
Repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.
The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive.

as i was poring through the checklist, i realized how serious this disorder is. have you seen As Good As..? Jack Nicholson's character was a genuine OC. he brings his plastic utensils to restaurants (probably because he's afraid the in-house utensils are dirty). he likes his order served in a particular way and arranged on the table to his specific liking. when i saw the scene where he was avoiding cracks (or patterns) on the pavement, i got a little scared. i was reminded of my childhood self avoiding the dark spots on our wooden steps as i ran down the stairs. i'm not kidding. it was only in high school when i caught myself in mid-step. i didn't know why i avoided those spots. i just didn't like stepping on them. but i knew it wasn't a normal thing to do so after that, i consciously climbed up and down our stairs without avoiding those "problem areas". and my trip up and down our staircase has been OC-free since then. i'm weird, i know.

after that whole OCD term came out, it became a convenient label for us. well, it's definitely easier to say than organized. anal, or neat freak, right?

wanting to have things in order is just a part of a person's personality. it doesn't necessarily scream OC but when you actually obsess over those habits of yours and do them over and over and over, well, you need to see a shrink! seriously. it's the same case as alcoholics. just because you drink, doesn't mean you're an alcoholic. but when you drink excessively, then that's a different story.

being organized is not just something you acquire when you're old and mature. one of my students in my first toddler class is a perfect example. just 2 years old then, this boy always made sure our toys were arranged by a specific characteristic (color, size, etc.). he didn't like getting his hands and feet dirty. it took a while for him to take off his socks while we were playing in the Mat Area. he made sure to eat all of his snacks, even if his other friends were already doing something else.

my partner and i were joking that he's OC. until we met his parents. that's when i believed that this personality trait can really be genetic. his mom is the single most organized and meticulous woman i know in my entire life. making weekly journals of her son was pretty challenging because she keeps a daily log of his progress, complete with the actual quotation (what he said at that precise moment), the time, and date. it put our narratives to shame, i tell you. but it kept us on our toes. and as for his dad? one of their relatives (the boy's aunt) told me that his dad is just as particular. so combine two very orgnanized, anal people and what do you get? an extremely organized toddler. :)

last year, i had another student who wasn't as organized as my former student but she was still particular about certain things.

this is a shot of the toys she arranged. notice that the horses are lined up by color? nobody told her to do that. thankfully, i had my camera with me and i was able to capture her work (which we placed in her portfolio at the end of the schoolyear).

are they OC? nah. they're organized, that's for sure.

as for me? i admit i probably had OCD tendencies when i was younger. but i overcame it. well, some of my habits, that is. by the time i was in college, i didn't care if my things were all over the place, my closet wasn't arranged, and that it took me a while to look for something in my bag. of course, living with 11 other girls in one room for four years probably did the trick (diba, rica? :D).

lately, i find myself getting more organized. is it because i'm a teacher? probably. i think my change of careers catapulted me back to my OC-esque years. alas, my clothes are already arranged by color in my cabinet (haha!). before you say i'm hopeless, just realize how practical it is to have your shirts arranged this way. it's so much easier to look for something to wear when you're in a hurry.

so that's my excuse now. i'm just being practical. :)

Vanity, the name is...

admit it. when you look at a group photo, the first person you check out is yourself. and then you look at your friends.

huuu, don't deny it!

you know what? i believe that we all have a shred of vanity in us. some may have more shreds (mountains, to be exact) than others but there is always that narcissistic urge to be beautiful (i'm talking about men, too).

why do you think millions of women buy a lot of make-up, clothes, shoes, and accessories? and why do think men love to collect perfumes, shoes, caps, and shirts?

even if it takes me about three minutes to get ready (no joke) after taking a bath, i admit i still have a hint of vanity in my blood.

case in point.

yesterday was our annual family day. with the 80's theme in full swing, the event was an instant hit! we had the theme down pat, from the backdrop, to the decor, to the games, and our outfits. now, i didn't want to spend a single centavo on my attire so i ended up borrowing from my sisters (thanks, tonet and gelli!). i suddenly regretted giving away all my old clothes. who knew i'd need them after 20 years???

of course, i brought my camera with me. but...and i mean, BUT, we (the teachers) were so busy decorating, arranging, and organizing the whole event that i forgot to take photos. not that i had the time to. when i realized that my camera was still lying in the car, it was too late. the place was cleaned, the decor was packed away, and the people were gone! it was a sunday so nobody really wanted to hang around after the event.

i had a camera with nothing and no one to take pictures of. hmm, not quite, actually...

rica, alam kong lagi mong nirereklamo yung mga candid shots mo na kinuha ko so...this one's for you! hahaha! pero rica, kahit gusto kong ma-picturan, ikaw pa rin favorite model ko. :p

it was my unofficial coming-out party. and i had myself to celebrate it with. how very narcissistic indeed.

fine, make fun of me. i don't care.

admit it. you're vain, too! :D