Sunday, March 29, 2009

me in RAW form

i hate to see that i've only posted once since 2009 began so here's my attempt to amend that. i warn you now, this entry will probably have just a bunch of random thoughts strewn all over it.

spring officially started last week but yet winter had to revisit us again this weekend. so along with the blah weather, i'm feeling blahs myself. funny how i only want to write when i'm feeling blah. so i guess you can surmise from my lack of blog posts that life overall has been fairly good. 

recently i've made a few realizations. 

-i will never have another spring break, christmas break, or winter break ever again in my life. 
-my weekly schedule is now owned by corporate america
-i am my mother's daughter in more ways than i'm proud of
-i'm demanding, impatient, and sometimes stubborn
-however my early awareness of the above is hope that i can improve for the better
-i'm easily influenced
-i'm afraid i'm in over my head
-i'm way more inexperienced than i thought
-i have a strong hunger for real, honest companionship and i'm afraid it's going to scare people away.
-i get easily distracted from my goals and need to refocus. the GRE has been indefinitely put on the backburner.
-i sometimes don't know why i do what i do. *shrug*
-i focus too much on the details and not the big picture. working on this
-i often stick my foot in my mouth...i.e. this week i said the stupidest thing i could possibly come up with: "how many quarters are there in a year?" of course i knew the answer, i just had an urge to say it in question form!
-i can be such a Girl i annoy myself. 

-i sin. every single day. yet God keeps giving me chances. 

as you see...i'm not perfect. in fact this is just a sampling of how far from perfect i really am. so thank you for still taking and accepting me just as I am. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

my life as shaped by 2008

sorry folks, it's been a while since i've last been in touch with my laptop here. It's not like me to delay so long on my reflections on the past year and foresights for the new year however I have good reason (as i always do). my cousin Toots arrived from the philippines shortly before Christmas to temporarily live with my family and since she's not working, the majority of her time is spent on my laptop--every day. i'm not casting blame on her for my lack of writing because of course all i have to do to get it back is ask. so my second reason is due to some great news and development in my professional life. i mentioned in some of my past entries that i began working for Apple retail in October. i took advantage of the few hours i was scheduled each week to highlight my work ethic, exemplary customer service skills and enthusiasm ; ) ...nonetheless my hard work paid off because amidst the din and chaos of holiday shopping, my managers reviewed my month-to-month progress, general attitude and effort and offered me the honor of a full-time position. i was ecstatic and considering that i did not receive word from any of the other organizations i applied to, i readily accepted. this certainly is not the economic environment in which one should be picky especially if it comes wrapped with a great team and benefits. it's been a full month since THE offer and i'm definitely happy and excited to see where the road of 2009 will lead me. so far, the customer experiences i've encountered have enriched my life and provided me reason to wake up every morning. i will have to expand on some of those encounters in a future post. 

today really is just meant for catching up. 

2008 has come and gone. in retrospect, i would consider it to have been a very climactic year in my short life. my plans changed from month to month, some decisions which seemed trivial then turned out to be quite significant in shaping the path for future plans and decisions to follow. i didn't write about it then, but last spring i had in my mind that i would spend 6 months after graduation living abroad in london off the little cash i had saved up, the surplus student loans i had in my account, and peddling for a part-time job wherever i could get one. after much debate with friends + mentors and months of hesitation, i eventually saw reason in staying in the U.S. while beginning the steps to stabilize my life. in the short run, i have no regrets in staying here for now because had i not, i probably would not have gotten this job at Apple and this time for me to refocus my thoughts and goals for at least this year. i've decided that trying to plan ahead the next five years is just non-sensical. each minor decision made each month or year in the long run is really not that minor considering how it may affect future decisions.

i refrain from listing resolutions or personal goals such as losing weight, blogging weekly, etc. for 2009 because i haven't really followed through with them in the past and i really haven't created one since high school. there are a couple of things i'd like to accomplish this year that i'm determined to tackle, however i may need some encouragement and motivation to get started on the first: study and take the GRE. yes, that's first on the list. while it seems minor, it's important. i don't know what grad program i want to get into yet, but getting the test done and out of the way is step 1. we'll worry about choosing a program [and school] when it's time to cross that bridge. second is: finish paying off my current debts and start a new one(s), which leads to the third goal: move out of my parents house and get an apartment. as much as i love them and appreciate the free rent, it's really time for me to live my own life. i'm more than happy to come over whenever necessary to help them with technical problems, troubleshooting, and occasionally food, but i need my own space. 

and i guess there is one more goal for this year that doesn't really belong in the above category of "life" changes...#4 is schedule a week+ in the off-peak season to traverse to Spain with my best friend. i bought the lonely planet book last week, i have the money stashed in a CD. i just need to make sure i don't waste away my few vacation days before we actually agree on a departure date. that's currently our only obstacle, agreeing on a date. she's pretty much set on going in the summer whereas it's more convenient for me to go in the spring or fall. i'll have to keep you posted on the progress of all the above.

brief recap. i'm not creating 2009 resolutions, i'm establishing concrete goals that i'm determined to accomplish.
1. study & take GRE (alloting 3-4 months while working 40 hrs/week)
2. finish paying off current debts (3+months)
3. get own apartment by no later than sept. 25
4. agree on a date to travel to Spain

we'll see where i'm at with these by spring. i'll make sure to revisit this list often. my advice to you faithful readers is, if you've got personal goals that you'd like to attain, set specific timeframes in which to achieve them. without a timeframe and specific steps with which to reach them, they just seem like unconquerable Goliaths or unreachable Mt. Everests. it's always been helpful for me to break down those large goals into mini-goals that can be achieved one week at a time. try it and let me know how it goes for you. best wishes as we all embark on our LIFE JOURNEY's of 2009!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

personal challenge

so much for attempting to post something at least once a week. while a lot has been going on, i just haven't had the desire to write or share about anything. also, the abundant time i used to spend online was increasingly replaced by more hours at work, which is a good thing and very grateful for it. aside from growing and developing amazing relationships with customers and team members at Apple, i've also been just going through some personal stuff that i wish would just stop re-surfacing. i'm putting all my effort into focusing on other things right now. 

for weeks, i've been meaning to blog about my thoughts on the holidays and my friend ansley's missions in Chad...

as time allows, i try my best to catch up with Ansley's stories and experiences in Chad ( when i reflect on the timeframe between when I was in Peru to now, I've come to the realization of how easy it's been for me to quickly forget the needs of the world. I'm saddened by how easily I've allowed myself to become wrapped up in what I want, in my goals and ambitions rather than thinking about what I can do for others with my [current] talents and resources. I thank and admire Ansley for her courage and dedication during this year-long mission because she reminds me of what's truly important -- especially during this commercially driven holiday season. 

I wish I did not have to be reminded this lesson so often, unfortunately that's the reality of the human mind and time. Time is unforgiving and sometimes selective with our memories. If we don't strive to exercise/live our convictions daily, time will do it's natural course and will slowly become just merely memories. 

so, this is more a challenge for myself but i encourage you also to find a small way that you can make a difference in someone else's life this season. it can be as simple as being a listening ear, offering someone a ride who's walking through a snowstorm, or reminding the people in your lives that you appreciate and love them. this Christmas let's dig deeper beyond the checking accounts and credit cards.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

a New America

as the sun sets on Nov 4, 2008, the city of Chicago, the American nation and the world await the results of this historic election to see who will next lead this nation we call great.

pushing through crowds just to stand elbow to elbow and watch CNN from a giant jumbotron with thousands of people was exactly how i preferred to spend tuesday night November 4, 2008.


i'm so lucky to live in Chicago and be a part of this historic event! imagine people actually flew in from all over the country to be at this rally--i met a couple from Curitiba Brazil and a girl named Jamie Barnes from Atlanta, GA (whom we adopted for the rest of the evening). Jamie flew in after she got off work, arrived in Chicago at 6:00pm, partied with us, and flew back to Atlanta at 6:00am to go back to work. she was a ton of fun and we're glad we were able to share this memory with her. 

shortly after Ohio's electoral votes went to Obama and surpassed the needed 270, the crowds erupted in cheer as CNN announced the breaking news--America, we have a new President-Elect, Barack Obama!!

we jumped, we screamed, and jumped some more and everyone was hugging everybody...i've never hugged so many random people but it was great because we all shared the joy of the moment.

it was invigorating, exhilirating, exciting, energizing to be amongst sooo many people sharing similar values and hopes for a new America. i'm sure all of you felt an array of emotions on this day so i will just post a few pictures and let you view the rest on my Flickr!


now that the election is finally over, it is our duty as an American people to come together regardless of partisan membership and work together to unite this country. it is not enough or morally correct for us to depend on one man to do all the work and mendings that loom ahead--we each have a civic duty to our communities and country to do our part to bring the CHANGE that we seek. just because Obama won doesn't mean the work is done, rather the journey is just beginning. each individual living in this country has a responsibility to him/herself to do their part and not sit back and wait for CHANGE to happen. any CHANGE begins with you, with me, with each their homes, in their communities, in their state, in the nation and as they interact with the world.

so, i hope you take this challenge seriously. do your part and the CHANGE we are all seeking will come in time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Salmon & Spawning--Campaigning in TV shows

I couldn't resist. I have to blog this one--

I enjoy watching my shows on Monday nights..the final of my Monday line-up is Boston Legal. As we all know, tonight is the eve of a great historic election, thus it is only natural and patriotic of every single TV network to find ways to subtly slip in political messages to encourage viewers to vote.

the episode begins with Denny and Alan out on the balcony enjoying their regular cigar. for those who don't regularly keep up with this show, they are two of the several lawyers in the firm and are sexists, chauvinistic men. 

Alan and Denny are chatting and smoking  and Alan asks Denny if he's going to vote tomorrow. Denny says he's never missed an election, so Alan inquires whom he's going to vote for. Denny admits that he's going to vote the same way he's always voted in the past. Alan's curiosity continues to escalate and pushes him further. Denny says that his side has won 8 of the past 11 elections confirming that his vote is going towards John McCain. Alan is on the verge of making a discussion of this, but Denny quickly tries to avoid any confrontation. Before agreeing to shut up, Alan requests two reasons why Denny wants to vote for McCain. 

Denny states that he votes according to his values. 1st reason: Because of the salmon. McCain isn't directly going to do anything about the salmon, but if he gets elected, people will migrate to Canada and indirectly improve the spawning of the salmon. 2nd reason: women. (Denny is infamous for being a womanizer) He believes that when a Republican is in power, women tend to be more vulnerable and are easier! When a Democrat is in power, women feel more empowered to take leadership roles and feminism is higher. He admitted the [popular] Republican view of women is that their role is mainly to be at home. 

This episode (along with a host of other shows and talk shows) is basically a very clever and strategic way to integrate political messages that are very much relevant to today--literally TODAY! Denny and Alan go head to head with the government when the USDA prohibits a cattle rancher to test every one of her cows for Mad Cow Disease.

The episode was set to be the actual election day and half way through the day they were supposed to go and vote. Alan continues his attempts to change Denny's mind regarding his vote until they break out in a little "gun" fight involving paint bullets in the office and embarrassing themselves in front of all their colleagues. 

either the writer or producer for Boston Legal is a huge Obama proponent or the Obama campaign paid ABC huge, it doesn't matter. the entire message of the episode was fairly accurate in all the facts that were presented regarding the cases that were fought and reflect views that Alan and Denny represent in the general population. In tonight's episode, Denny represented an American who appeared to have his mind made up but in reality was still susceptible to persuasion.* 

it is these Americans that every media channel is working overtime for in the next 20+ hours.
if YOU are that American and you have not yet voted...please, you have less than 20 hours to make history. BE a part of History! Go out and VOTE!

"Tomorrow (24 hours from now) we're going to wake up with a NEW America."

*to find out which candidate Denny Crane ended up voting for at the end of the day, watch Boston Legal on

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

politics entertaining?

I'm watching the Late Show with Jay Leno and he starts his show with short responses from children regarding the current presidential election...

Here's a couple of the funnier ones that stood out to me:

8 yr. old girl--
Q: what will the new president do first day on the job?
A: "Lie, lie and lie some more!"

10 yr. old boy--
Q: what's the difference between Democrats & Republicans?
A: "Republicans are elephants because they stomp all over Americans. Democrats are donkeys because they carry everyone on their backs."

Let me tell you, I really got a kick out of it. As the Nov. 4 Election day comes closer, every network is talking about McCain, Palin, Obama, & Joe the'll even catch snide remarks in Boston Legal! And SNL with their weekly updates...well, if you've been keeping up, you know what I'm talking about...
NBC has really found a way to make politics a little more entertaining.

Here's Sarah Silverman's Great Schlep for Florida:

Anyways, regardless all the angles the media gives us, I encourage you to do YOUR own research on the issues that matter most to you. I know it's only 6 days left until the OFFICIAL LAST DAY TO VOTE, but you still have a chance to make a difference.

Yesterday, I went with my parents to our local village hall and voted for the very first time ever in my life (I forgot to register during the last election). Unfortunately my parents and I don't share the same political views, but let me tell you, it felt great!! I really feel like my one vote counts for something. Also, take time to learn a little about your local Senate and Congress candidates. They are the ones that directly impact your community. Get to know who they are and what they represent. is a really easy site to navigate to learn about all the candidates for each state. It provides you a complete list including their websites.

What you choose in this election may not only affect the next four years of your life, but who knows may directly influence the rest of your life. Make an educated decision and choose wisely.

Anyways, there's my speil...GO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND VOTE TODAY or NOVEMBER 4!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

lessons from tank

this lovable, black haired, labrador/australian shepherd mix joined our family three summers ago when we went to Monterey Bay, CA to help my brother settle in to his senior year of high school. 

as children, my brother and i always begged for a puppy but never got one. you can say tank accidentally worked his way into our home because getting a dog was never really part of the plan. we accompanied my brother to his new boarding school (Monterey Bay Academy) facing the beach and surrounded by strawberry fields. it's a beautiful place and he's very lucky he had the opportunity to go there even for just a year. anyways, we spent a couple days getting supplies for his dorm room, unpacked his stuff, painted the walls, etc. 


on our last day there, the day before my parents and i were supposed to head back to Chicago, the dorm dean (strategically) placed six beautiful black puppies on the front lawn of the dorm. if you know me at all, i'm instantly drawn to animals, specifically dogs and i couldn't resist. i had to go and play with them. he was busy bumping around his smaller sisters with his giant swaying butt, he barely noticed me picking him up. the moment i picked him up, my heart melted. i called for my mom to come and see the little guy (he was actually the biggest of the litter) and apparently he had the same impact on her because well...she changed her flight to accommodate a puppy, we went to a vet to get his shots on that same day, and he now lives with us and keeps us company every day. 

 (there he is playing with some boy in the dorm before we took him away)

i'm sure the dean didn't intend to lure parents into taking home a puppy that day. no actually they were probably hoping that as parents were leaving their children behind for a year to four years, they'd feel lonely and empty at home so the thought of adopting a dog would probably be more effective on Dorm Move-in day than any other day of the year. since the puppies were being given for free, they each were brought home by different sets of families that day. most stayed in california while one went on an airplane to live in the suburbs of Chicago where he is currently being pampered and probably spoiled beyond belief ;) 

my parents (especially my mom) have been truly grateful for tank's company in the past three years because he essentially became their only child left at home. she would buy him sweaters and toys and oh my goodness the list goes on. but what makes life different since tank entered our home and joined our family is the constant love and joy he provides us. 


there's nothing like coming home and being greeted with a wagging tail and excited sway in his body. tank seems to know when we're not feeling so good, when we're sad or angry. i've read that labrador retrievers are especially more sensitive to human emotion than other breeds but having experienced so many things with tank in the past three years, i know that now for sure. two months ago i was extremely upset and crying about something and he just instantly came to my side. i was laying on the couch and he just did his best to console me by licking up my tears and resting his head on my shoulder. what a dog! 

anyways, something happened the other day. if we're not careful to throw them away, tank has this habit of stealing paper towels from the kitchen counter. so he snatched one that probably had the smell or leftover taste of food on it and was chewing it underneath the living room coffee table. he know it's not good for him because it always gives him a hard time when he's trying to relieve himself outside, but he eats them anyway. i was trying to prevent this from happening so i got down on my knees on the opposite side of the coffee table and scolded him to drop the paper towel. he got so caught up in the moment that he growled at me and probably didn't intend to bite me but my hand was too close to his mouth. one of his teeth punctured a gash into my left ring finger and i instantly pulled back and squeezed my throbbing finger. it began bleeding and my mom came to the room to see what had happened. tank immediately knew what he'd done and came to me as if apologizing for allowing himself to get out of hand. but in my anger and pain, i refused to forgive him and yelled at him instead. i was so angry and bitter at him! since i've moved home, he and i have been constant companions every day. i make sure he doesn't miss a meal or a walk every morning and evening. and this is how he repays me?! i told him i would not speak to him for the next whole day and he really seemed to understand me. he just sat quietly on the floor and would steal a few glances at me every now and then as if to say, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you." 

later that night, rather than jumping on my bed like he normally does, he just looked at me kinda hesitantly from the hallway and just had this mournful look in his eyes. he was trying to melt me with his eyes, but i wasn't going to budge. i went to bed with my finger still throbbing. the next morning when i woke up, he didn't greet me with a good morning lick, rather the mourning eyes and hesitant body language continued. he was waiting for my approval but i had to hurry and get ready for work. when i came home from work really late last night, he came to door and was waiting for me to pet him. i got down and gave him a long rub and told him that i forgave him and reminded him to never do that again and to obey when we tell him to do something. 

friends again, i sat on the couch with my laptop and he curled up next to me. it's amazing how we humans can hold on to feelings of anger, hurt, sadness, etc, but dogs are easily let it go. when they make a mistake and you make it known to them, they acknowledge their wrong and try to instantly fix it or beg for forgiveness. they just want to be friends again. humans (us) on the other hand, we can stew and begrudge for months and months on end before we realize we have a part to play in bringing relationships whole again. 

sometimes i think labs (or dogs) are more sensitive to humans than humans are to humans. we are so afraid of how our response or emotions are perceived by other humans that we're afraid to be 100% transparent with everyone around us--more often than not with those that are closest to us. i think we have a lot to learn from animals, in this illustration black labrador retrievers. they can teach us how to love unconditionally and forgive when wronged. 

how can i apply this lesson that tank has indirectly taught me to my human relationships?