Monday, July 12, 2010

Time Slots

Even though I've worked the equivalent of 2 work-weeks this past week, it's still my desire to make time for other things. Like a garden, every plant or flower must be tended to in a different way. This will determine how each will flourish or wilt.

With the few free hours that I had outside of work this weekend, I had dinner with Leo at one of our favorite spots, Shabuway in Mountain View. I watched a movie with my dad. I was able to catch up on resting and watched a few DVDs. On Saturday and Sunday, I worked both days, but I managed to get up extra early for 10k Jungle Run in Los Gatos with a friend. I was so happy to be outside with nature and in the sun. I saw geese, squirrels, and plenty of Goldens during the 10k walk.

No matter how busy or tired I feel sometimes, I have the need to diversify my time. Time is a limited resource. I don't want to invest all of my time in one place. Others find fulfillment in just their careers, but I find the most fulfillment with my relationships with people and my dog (of course). I find fulfillment in my hobbies.

I've always admired anyone who maintained an artistic outlet. It could be in photography, writing, music, painting, hair and make-up, and so on. I used to admire art because a person is able to create something from nothing. I don't think anything can be created from nothing, at least, not in our earthly realm. Even with writing, the tools are words, life experiences, spell check, and the works of other writers. And of course, the most important tool is the muse or the inspiration. With that spark of inspiration and followed up with passion, art is born from something.

I noticed that whenever I feel overwhelmed by school, work, or life that I tend to cook. It's the process of starting from raw materials such as the meat, vegetables, salt, and other seasonings to a finished product. Cooking is just very therapeutic. Cooking takes attention, so it's also a mini-vacation from other distractions. I cooked my favorite Filipino dish, Sinigang. It's a hot stew with meat, vegetables, and with a sour tamarind taste. I needed the comfort food to help me deal with the on-going stress at this time. I describe it as my favorite home cooked meal + nostalgia.

I made time to enter a word in Urban Dictionary and it got approved! The term is "slc" and it stands for silently laughing and crying. I saw a funny video of a man in awe of double rainbows and my reaction was "slc." It's one step closer to being a published writer. ;)

I just discovered that Dr. Seuss lived from 1904 to 1991. He wrote one of my favorite books Oh, the Places You'll Go in 1990. To know that he wrote this one year before his death, makes it even more inspiring to me. I have writing ideas, but no idea on the story. Authors like J.K Rowling and Stephanie Meyer pretty much knew in advance what their whole series would be like from start to finish.

How I've been applying my time is as varied as tonight's post. It's important to diversify our time, limit wasted time, and share our time with the important people in our lives. Jobs will never love us back or help us change a flat tire. However, at any given job, it deserves our time and attention to it as well. It may not be #1, #2, or #3 in our lives, but it's up there. Having a job adds to the meaning in our lives. It's like a seasoning in dish that you barely taste, but provides that extra umphf to make it better.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Friendship: Perception is sometimes a reflection of ourselves.

Words and labels sometimes get in the way of a friendship. Work Friend. High School Friend. College Friend. Best Friend. Childhood Friend. Gay Friend. Church Friend.

Granted some friendships are more meaningful than others, I've tried to eliminate the labels as much as possible. The core and heart of the relationship is that we've exchanged our thoughts, feelings, joys, and fears. We share a bond through life experience, common interests, and that ever-so-mysterious chemistry. Time and distance never really defines a real friendship, but that shared love of the other person's well-being and happiness. Less selfish and more selfless.

To be a good friend is to give time generously. Quality time feeds the soul of a friendship. An email. A Facebook post. A text message. Lunch. Dinner. Vacation. A birthday party. A phone call. It's only hard to manage a friendship when there is an obvious imbalance in the giving and the taking. Both sides must have a genuine interest in the friendship. Also, as much as we give, the expectation to receive should be significantly less, if at that, none. All the while, we don't tally or count.

Truthfulness also keeps a friendship healthy. If something is bothering you, let it out. But it's important to maintain the mutual respect and courtesy. Lies and deceit can easily be detected, so be forthcoming from the start.

Similar to people, friendships will also change over time. With marriage, children, careers, and other significant changes, this will also happen in relationships. Be patient and wait it out. If the friendship is that important, friendships will stand the test of time and the test of change.

Forgiveness may take moments or years. It's not healthy to carry a grudge. The cause of the grudge can be a complete misunderstanding. Sometimes forgiveness may not come in the form of forgiving the offender, but no longer holding the offender and the situation important. Over time, the wrongs should just be left in the past. There is no need to carry the burden any more. Life moves on.

I'm fortunate to maintain lifelong friends and create newer friendships along the way. Though it may come across as "work"to some, I don't consider friendships work at all. Friendships make for a more meaningful life because no matter what, at least two people are always better from it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Collection of Happy Moments in Napa

Trees lined both sides of the road as pairs of branches from opposite trees clasped like two hands. Rays of light still managed to discover pockets of open spaces through the canopy of leaves and branches. The drive through this little piece of road and trees lasted only a few moments. From those few moments, I finally felt the seed of an inspired idea had been freshly planted. I have been patiently waiting for that spark, so I can finally write a story.

(Going off on a tangent, I went to have a pedicure on Friday after work. I picked up a few magazines to get some tips on hair and look for outfit ideas. I ended up reading an article about Lauren Conrad. Yes, LC of the Laguna Beach and The Hills reality television shows. I didn't realize that she already had 2 books published and the books are also doing really well. In one sentence, she mentioned the importance of an overview of the entire book and a chapter outline. I went looking for hair ideas in the magazine, instead I find tips on writing. Score for me! I've also started researching for writing workshops. Baby steps to a dream!)

There are few places that I've visited where I feel like I've been transported to another place and time. One of those places is Napa Valley in California. The Napa region has a bit of Mother Nature and magic in the air. Season after season, the land produces a bountiful harvest for the vineyards. When I stared out into the horizon, the land is endlessly lush with green trees, grass, and hills. It's almost like the rain and sunshine made a special blend just for this area, so that all plants may grow and thrive in the soil.

I visited Napa today with a few friends. Almost every place we visited was a photo opportunity including the wineries, the restaurant, and even the grocery store. Everything about Napa is quaint and picturesque. As we traveled up and down Napa, I couldn't help, but think of the romanticism that is A Walk in the Clouds starring Keanu Reeves. From a single plant, the family in the movie was able to grow that single plant into a full fledge vineyard. Similar to an idea, an idea cannot come into fruition until it is firmly planted and nourished.

Today was such a beautiful day in Napa, California. It was also a beautiful day because it was filled with good company, tasty food, pretty pictures, and lovely memories.

Taken at Castello di Amarosa on June 26, 2010 - Mimicing Three's Company - Everybody sing, "Come and knock on our door, someone's waiting for you..."

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Promise of Summer

This summer, I've decided to document and photograph as many moments as possible. New friendships, revisited friendships, & strengthened friendships seem to be springing up like wildflowers. The comfort of a fellow soul is just as warm as a summer night. The feeling is just right.

There are other reasons why the summer has a special meaning to me. The season symbolizes the start of my relationship with Leo. It is also the season that I lost my mom to breast cancer. Ten years after her death, I have finally learned that death ends a life, but it does not end my relationship with her. For years, I've always viewed her as being in an unreachable place, but I realize now that she will always be all around me. I feel it.

Experiencing the loss of such an important figure, I made a promise to myself to live life meaningfully. Loved ones, friends, family, and my dog bring meaning to my life. Traveling, reading, and writing bring meaning to my life. I've limited the negativity and the drama as much as possible. It's important to be genuinely kind, giving, and forgiving. However, I also have my moments of bitterness and regression; these are all parts of the human experience. In every story, the good will always win out.

As an aspiring writer, I must continue to jot down my thoughts until the GREAT inspiration hits. The kind of inspiration that flows uncontrollably. Inspiration that is mixed with goodness, innocence, selflessness, love, and as always, the kind of inspiration that carries a message of hope.

I admit that this post is nostalgic and corny. So here's a little update on Eddie, my Golden. For Eddie, the summer represents sleeping on the cool, tiled, kitchen floor. It also represents 4th of July when he'll run into the bathroom and hide in the bathtub from the evil fireworks. It means lingering doggy farts. It also means more trips to the dog park to hang out with his fellow canine friends.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Introducing Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam was the start of my love affair with rock music. 1993 was the year rock music entered my life. This is all thanks to my older brother who introduced Pearl Jam (and flannel shirts) to me. (Thanks, Kuya!)

The lead singer of Pearl Jam is Eddie Vedder. I love his lyrics, his voice, and the range of emotions in his performances. (I mean, look at his performance face on Time Magazine.) Of the Pearl Jam songs, I consider Black, Man of the Hour, Corduroy, Yellowledbetter, Alive, and Just Breathe among my many, many favorites.

Eddie & Me: My now 3-year old golden retriever is named after Eddie Vedder. One weekend, I rented the Marley and Me DVD. (If you haven't watched it yet, there is a spoiler ahead.) It's the end of the movie, when it's time to say goodbye to Marley. I am really, really crying. As I sit on the couch, Eddie is laying on the floor in front of me. As he hears me sob and gasp for air, he gets up and lays his paw on my leg to console me. He even tilts his head to look at me with his thoughtful eyes.

I remember smiling through my tears. He pulled me out of my sadness momentarily. I never thought I'd be one of those crazy-for-my-dog-people. I am a dog person through and through and my baby-dog, Eddie, has enriched my life.

(Side note: As I write this, I realize that my love and appreciation for dogs were also influenced by my brother. Thanks, again, Big Bro!)

P.s. Here's a link to the real Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam in action, you're welcome!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I still dream like I am 6 years old!

Between now until not too far from now, I'd like to write a short story in children's book or young adult format. I am still inspired by the fact the the writer of The Outsiders was written when she was still a young teenager. Jane Austen was a young, single woman introducing us to the world of Elizabeth and Darcy. And in recent times, J.K. Rowling created the Harry Potter world. But my first inspirations were The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and Oh! The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss. I wonder if I can somehow marry the magical worlds of Jane Austen, J.K Rowling, Dr. Seuss, and Shel Silverstein. It's good to aim REALLY high!

Also, I used to think that I was a pretty decent artist as a 6 year old. I may need help in the drawing area. I don't know if Heartman and Starman will cut it with today's artistic sophistication.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Inspired by a Fashion Blog - Day 1

Today is the first day I decided to start a blog.

The picture is from March 2009. My dream is to travel around the world. This is my first European visit to Malaga, Spain. I had a friend work abroad, thus, giving me the opportunity to start a dream. In case you didn't know, it's the birthplace of Antonio "Too Sexy" Banderas.

I've always considered myself on the earthy side of fashion tastes. I bought the dress from a local boutique, Therapy, in Mountain View, CA. The belt is from Macy's. The flip flops were a desperate purchase at a San Francisco Old Navy, when my heels were literally killing my feet. Sunglasses are from Banana Republic Men's to cover my wider than usual face.

I am a big fan of cottony, soft, and lush fabrics. To sum up my fashion loves: dresses, belts, and sunglasses. I've never been too concerned with brands, but making sure that the whole look flatters my shape and personality. Isn't that what personal style is all about?