Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31: Sunday = Family Day

Mom got to hang with Daj and Matt today. Completely coincidental that they were wearing the same hat. My mom loves that it's like they were never apart, like she isn't really a stranger at all to him and Daj. Don't really know what it is about my moms, but being with her makes you feel like you're home...

Day 30: massive backblog later...

My mommy's in town! But shhhhhh don't tell her mom! hahahaha It was kind of a last minute trip where my mom decided on Thursday that she wanted to come over on Friday and she was here by Saturday. Which is nice because she got to go with me to my company post-holiday party and hang with me, my awesome coworkers, and a bunch of my friends as we drank open bar and busted some awesomely lame dance moves.

Also awesome: everyone I work with telling my mom how awesome I am. hahahahah YAYER!!!! :)

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 29: It's technically after midnight but the night is far from over...

** So I had to write this waaay after the fact, because I was really not in the position to be blogging from a bar. Plus it was very difficult to take pictures of strangers with my cell phone when it's dark.

Meet Stranger #4 AKA Josh. Josh tried to hit on me twice at Union Pool without realizing I was the same girl the second time around. He cut in front of the girls behind me in the bathroom line so that he could talk to me, and wanted to buy me a drink after I finished using the bathroom, but I finished my business before he did and was advised by the girls he cut in front of too cut and run! So I did, and met up with Rosa again (who was waiting for me at a table) and then he found me again! But he didn't realize I was the girl who ditched him the first time around and sat down to talk. Turns out Josh is an artist and likes to draw. Mostly aliens, if you can see the book he's holding up. We did that together. Nice guy, but far far faaaar too drunk.

BTW, I totally met and took pictures of like, 4 strangers... At some point, I'm gonna post them up as part of the stranger project, maybe...
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28: Self portrait day!

My mom calls me up this afternoon to tell me she wants to come to NYC so tonight, instead of going out looking for strangers, it's self portrait day because I have to stay home and clean! No time for being insane and creepy and looking for people to talk to... will do tomorrow with Rosa, hopefully...

For now, I give you my stressed/contemplative-where-to-start look...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27: Just another day in NYC

Today felt like one of those "happy-to-be-in-NYC" days. Kind of sucked to be leaving for work at 645 in the morning, but it paid off when I got to leave at 5ish and was back in Brooklyn by before six. Soooo nice!

I slowly made my way to Union Square, and it was nice to see the farmer's market in the park, and to go to Barnes and Noble to meet Seph and Val and sit there for a little bit and talk and watch all different kinds of people hang out in the cafe area. I may go back tomorrow just to meet a stranger since tomorrow IS stranger day...

We went to Pete's Tavern for dinner, and I just loved the outside lights...

Having lived in the mountains in Japan has mellowed me out a lot. I find that I liked a quiet life a lot more than I expected... but New York City has been slowing growing back on me...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26: Caught orange handed

I used to never want to be tan when I was younger and had the sun at my fingertips... It wasn't until I stopped having that privilege did I start wanting my "sunkissed" look. Or rather, I just didn't want to keep looking like I was jaundiced or something. The Asian version of pasty, I guess.

A few years back, I discovered that lotion that gradually builds a nice little glow to your skin while moisturizing it... I rediscovered it at the Duane Reade a few weeks back and yesterday, decided to try it again. Dove Energy Glow. So I put some on my legs, and then some on my arms, and then one more time on my legs because my skin was super dry... Well... I didn't realize how much self tanner was in there, and kind of forgot to wash my hands afterwards, and now the palms of my hands are orange. It's kind of embarrassing, but also kind of funny. I told one guy at work today of my little mishap, and he kept waving to me every time we passed at work, and I am generally a really friendly person who waves to everyone, except I forgot that my palms were super orange and so gave him orange palmed waves all day, to which he kept cracking up about.

Glad I could make someone smile today...

Not sure you can see it so well in the picture, and I did scrub my hands pretty hard...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25: from Mom, with love

My moms is an easily distracted woman. She can forget the things you say to her (several times, really) even a minute or two after having told her; she sometimes calls in the middle of a conversation with another person because she thought of something to ask, but then she'll get distracted with the person in front of her while she's on the phone with the other person; she sometimes tells the same story or joke over and over again but can't remember who she's told already so you get a repeat... She just gets caught up in so many things because there is just so much going on...

I won't lie: sometimes, I feel as though I get lost in the mix of the chaos. Between taking care of her husband (my daddy!) and her mom (my grandma!) and having two children who have five of her grandkids between them, I sometimes feel a little bit like she can forget about me *snap* just like that...

But then I get days like today, where I get a random package in the mail from her, and suddenly I feel not at all like I've been forgotten.... and they sure are random! That may be my fault, really, as she'll call me a week before she's sending them out to ask me what I want, and I won't be able to think of a thing, and so she's gotta think it up herself and she'll just put whatever in there that she thinks I may be able to use or something that I need. I actually quite like it like that. Even better, she usually doesn't use bubble wrap. Instead, she'll use ziploc bags or drawer liners so that I can even use those! So smart! I love when she uses the ziploc bags! It means I don't have to buy them!

My mom is amazing. She's got a lot going on right now that she has to worry about, and I should be the furthest thing from her mind... and yet, today proves that even with all the problems and worries and issues she has to take care of in such a short span of time, I'm definitely not that far away from her mind and heart...

This is just one reason, how I know, with my heart's ass kicking and all, that I am still so lucky to live the life that I have...

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24: Sleepytime Matty

That's Matty. He's one of my (many) godsons. He and his mom (my cousin Jenny) just moved to the New York/New Jersey area just the other day (husband to follow in a month or two), and it was our first venture out of the condo (to drop me home just in time for my pin up school re-shoots, which I WOULD have posted pics of, but thought this was much cuter). Matt fell asleep holding his muffin. Guess the falling-asleep-while-eating-or-drinking thing runs in the family, as Daj did the very same thing just yesterday with his bottle (their mothers are sisters).

Welcome to NY, buddy!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23

I have three minutes to post!

Stayed in today and thought it was hilarious that Daj passed out with his bottle in his mouth and when his mom took it out, he didn't move a muscle...

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22 -- Stranger #3: Dave

Meet Dave.

Dave works at my cousin's condo building's valet service. I don't know if it's kind of cheating to ask the valet guys to talk to me, since they work at my cousin's building, but I did make sure to pick someone who had never seen or talked to me.

It was kind of tough to ask Dave to talk to me; he was a little reluctant; probably because it IS kind of a weird request to ask someone to talk to you just for a little bit. But he was nice enough to oblige.

From Union City but of Ecuadorian descent, Dave is a nice guy who works this job part time. You know, just a little extra moneys on the side. He's thinking of quitting sometime soon though so he has more down time to dance salsa and stuff. He works his regular job as a truck driver for the sanitation department. Cool stuff, I'd never met a truck driver before... He says he's not too fond of smiling for pictures, but thankfully, he let me take one...

I've noticed that I have an easier time asking guys to come talk to me... I wonder if that's because I don't know how to approach a girl without her thinking I'm weird. hahah Maybe it's something to work up to... For now, I'm just going to stick it out with whoever I end up getting the courage to talk to and be happy with that... If they're going to be all guys though, maybe I should at least fix my face...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21: "Hoy! Drink WATAR!"

**author's note: Today was supposed to be stranger day, but today is my g-ma's birthday, so I am switching this week's self portrait (usually taken on Fridays) with stranger day (usually Thursdays). So tomorrow will be stranger day! My blog, my rules! Barry (Stranger #2) DID tell me I should cut myself a break every now and then anyway!

Happy birthday, Grandma-mom!!

Today is my grandma(mom's mom)'s 89th birthday (though if you saw her, you would never be able to tell her age, she looks probably 70 at most!). "Mom" (as all us grandkids have been calling her for forever, which got a little confusing when everyone was together) is TINY. I'm probably a head taller than her, which is always fun for pictures. I think I have one from when I was fifteen and getting confirmed and she's just staring up at me.... Wonder where that picture is...

It's so hard to find the right words... I've started thinking about something I wrote about her a while ago, and thought I would repost it now as I don't think I could say it as eloquently now as I did then:

For as long as I remember, my grandfather was always the person I considered to be my first best friend in the whole wide world. He was there to kiss my tears away when I got hit first in dodgeball after just five seconds of being in the game, and he was there to drive me to the nearest grocery store (Bunny Market or Chamorro Mart, I could take my pick) to buy candy to bribe the other kids to be my friends again, and he was there to bring me sandwiches and an ironed uniform for me early in the morning. He was there even at the end, to smile at me through his pain, and let me know that even though he couldn't remember his name, let alone mine, he could never forget how much he loved me. He could refuse to shower, refuse to eat, refuse to sleep, but he could never refuse to see me, and only me. He could turn away everyone else who tried to help him, turn away from his wife, and his kids, but he could not turn away my hand when it was held out to him. He was the best and truest epitome of "friend til the end."

While my grandfather was my friend, it was my grandmother who was the caretaker. She was the one who never seemed to play favorites among all fifteen of her grandchildren. With her generous and caring spirit, she was the one who blew our noses, made sure our backs were dry, and gave us water every single hour. She was the one who cooked our meals, making sure every single one of us had enough to eat even though her abilities in the kitchen were a bit limited to 1) egg and rice mixed with ketchup, 2) spam and rice mixed with ketchup, 3) vienna sausage and rice mixed with ketchup, 4) ichiban ramen and rice (not mixed with ketchup), and 5) fried chicken and rice with ketchup (not mixed, this was a special treat). She also made some really good fried rice with just oil and garlic. She was the one who had a hand in raising all of us, while her children were at work.

Her youngest charge is now sixteen years old (well, he's actually 20 now) and no longer needs to be watched over, and she is now about 84 years old (89 years old now!), but my grandmother is still doing her part to make sure her family is being taken care of. She will spend almost all day praying for her loved ones, because there are so many people who exist in this world because of her. She makes sure she speaks to all of her children every day, and checks to make sure everyone is okay. She will give when you ask, and even when you won't. She is the strongest woman I know. Not only because she has endured the death of her husband, and at least two children, as well as every sister she has, but because even after 84 years (89!), she still has the strength to care about more than just herself; she has the strength to forgive when she is at an age that doesn't require for it anymore; and she still has the strength to love, smile, and laugh, even when things aren't going her way.

My grandma is about 4'9, which means she can probably qualify for half priced meals in Vegas and a handicapped parking space as a midget in New Jersey. I have several pictures of me towering over her as she looks up at me, and it isn't even just me. Everyone in our family over the age of sixteen is at least a head taller than she is. She is a tiny, tiny, lady. But she is our family's heart. She is where we learned to be generous, compassionate, and patient. She always told us to drink water and use the bathroom, but what she really taught us was to love and forgive.

She is the thread that's woven our family together; the very reason so many of us are here. It was her home we grew up in; where we played, laughed, cried, lived. She is one of the strongest people I know--in mind, body, and heart...

I wonder if I can ever be that strong... I can only hope!

Happy birthday, Mom! I miss you so! Drink water, and be good! I'll be having several glasses of water myself! :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20: Early morning musings on the J train

I had a hard time picking today's picture. Not because I took a lot, I really only took about five shots today, and they were all taken within seconds of each other... But I just couldn't decide. I think I settled on this one because when I look at it, it makes me feel like I was holding the camera and the world popped out; like I was holding all of that in and sharing it once I pushed down on the shutter; like I had all that possibility... Tired as I was at 645 in the morning riding the train into work because I didn't have a ride today and missed meeting Brandon and the earlier train by a minute, it was incredible to see that kind of beauty just rushing past me on the J train. I love that time in between where the night ends and the morning begins... it's peaceful, and reminds me that the day is new and filled with possibility; that every day is like that. We rush everyday; going through the motions of work and our day to day routines makes it so easy to take for granted that each day we wake up is another gift; a new chance at life...

"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"
-Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19: "how do you wake up lady gaga? face"

Played poker tonight, and was doing quite well until I got stupid and practically gave away my chips. I guess I do not "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em." At least not fully yet. Hah

But it WAS fun...

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18: My sister, the creamer addict

I love how my sister always (either intuitively or just incidentally) picks the best times ever to call me. And I say this with absolutely no sense of sarcasm or wiseassery at all. I heard some news today that, while not at all surprising, still hit me as hard as if I had never seen it coming at all. Kind of like expecting a punch in the face only to be punched in the stomach or something...

Anyway. I was at the pathmark with my cousins (two of the best ones ever!) buying more ice cream than I am even capable of eating, wallowing a little bit, when my sister called.

Grace lives in Korea now with her family, and is suffering withdrawal from Italian creme creamer. Hahahah "All they have is vanilla and hazelnut, I'm being tortured out here with crappy coffee!!" My sister has done a lot of awesome things for me over the years, but nothing compares to the comfort and support she's given me this past year. It is something she does freely, without fail, and a lot of times, without even realizing that she is saving me. For this, against the protests of her husband, I have willingly decided to be her coffee creamer dealer. I'm such an enabler.

Anything for the sister I adore.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17: "just put it in your mouth and enjoy."

Skipped the rest of that conference so we could go to Founding Farmers restaurant today. Best decision ever! Pictured is the tray of bacon lollis. They were perfect. Followed it up with much deliciousness (sirloin chili, three cheese ravioli, a cheeseburger, velvet cake, a brownie sundae, and fruit crisp)... It's been a long time since I savored so much food...

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16: Rock Concert?

Almost, but not quite. I'm at the 2010 Amway Global Crowe Winter Conference and there are moments where you kind of feel like you are at a rock concert. Or something. There is a lot of glaring lights flashing and there was even a band playing and most of all, there is a LOT of standing up to clap and lots of yelling and cheering.

Now, this morning, I was a little bit of a grumpy poo and did not feel like playing along, but... It's kind of fun to yell!!! Soooo cathartic. :)

But the night is winding down and as much fun as it's been, Tom (back view pictured here) grew tired of my cheering and I had to stop. I think he was kind of flinching by this picture since I had cheered and "woooooooooo!!!!"-ed my little heart out every time previously. Poor guy.

It was fun while it lasted.

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Day 15: Poopoo iPhone and my stupidity!!!! Grrrr

So I tried many many times today to post for day fifteen and it saddens me to say I didn't make it before midnight... But I did try, so I think it counts!! A recap of my attempts:

**first try was an epic fail. It didn't even post.**

**second try--see below:

I'm so mad, my phone app won't let me post my picture!! :(

More later!

***third try--see below:

Gah just figured it out!!!!

And now... Fourth and final attempt!!! Yeahhhhhh!!!! I can finally tell you about the stuff I tried to post the first time. Yayyyy!

Ok. So I'm in DC right now (as in right now and not, I said that when I tried to post the first time since I was on the train then) and finally in bed but wanted to explain my picture before passing out. I was on the train for three and a half hours and I had meant to sleep the whole way but instead I made a new friend (her name is Jocelyn and she was very nice-- first she asked if I needed a pen to sign my ticket, then she asked if I wanted the window seat, and then she asked if I wanted some of her orange. I said no to all three, but still so nice of her to ask!), I talked on the phone with a bunch of people, I did my make up, charged my iPod and curled my hair...

That's right, I curled my hair! My seat had electrical outlets by it, and my hair was nasty, and my new friend got off in Philly, and I had time, so I figured why not? Plus, I thought it would make an interesting picture for self portrait day.

Man this post was way more interesting four hours ago...

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14: The Trials and Tribulations of the Stranger Stipulation

So it turns out that finding a stranger to talk to and take a picture of every week is a lot harder than I anticipated. I thought for sure that after getting over the initial stranger and meeting Vasili, it would just be easy peasy. Wrong. Obviously, I have much deeper seated stranger approaching anxiety than I thought. Or I just overthink things to the point of panic.

All day today, I was fretting about where and when I would find a stranger to talk to. Initially, I was thinking maybe I could ask the UPS dude who comes into our office all the time but who I never really talk to (though once I chased him down the street and he played a trick on me) or the cleaning dude I always say hi to but whose name I don't even know. But the UPS guy (whose name, I later found out, is Moe and now he's technically not a stranger anymore) was in and out today right quick without stopping to chat, and I didn't even see the cleaning dude. First fail of the day.

Then I thought I would ask the guy who works in the garage where my friend Rich parks his car, or maybe Rich's doorman Nelson, but again, technically not strangers either. *sigh* So I went to McDonald's with Brandon and had to put my needing to talk to a stranger aside as Brandon did NOT want to be a part of my weirdness. hahahha He DID suggest ways to approach people though. Some of his suggestions include:

1) Using a pick up line to break the ice. "If your left leg was Thanksgiving and your right leg was Christmas, can I meet you between the holidays? Hi, my name is Joyce, can I take your picture?" (I revised it to, "If your left leg was Martin Luther King Day and your right leg was President's Day..." which we found amusing.)
2) Throwing ketchup packets to get a person's attention and then asking to take a picture.
3) Just being really really weird.

After McDonald's, I thought for sure I could find someone at the train station, but I kept getting more and more nervous about approaching anyone. The hard part, I realize, is that it is tough to pick someone you think will talk to you and not be creepy. And to find someone who didn't look creepy themselves. And to find someone ALONE because it's weird to go to three people and just pick one person and be like, "hi, of your friends, I want to talk to YOU." Anyway, I didn't find anyone at the station I thought I could approach, and no one on the train either. *Note to self: I really should wear make up on Stranger Day so that maybe I look less weird, or at least, it will be harder to say no to a prettier girl or something.*

So I'm on my block thinking I will find someone on my way home, and if all else fails, maybe I can ask the guy who works at the shady deli. But no such luck! Everyone on my way home was in twos or threes or on their phone or listening to music, and at the shady deli, there were THREE guys! I bought a bottle of water for nothing! Gahhhhh

I am a determined person, so I refused to go home until I found someone... but it was exasperating walking around my block three or four times, panicking with each round because I couldn't find anyone I felt I could approach! The guys who work in the barber shop down the street probably thought I was insane because I passed by so many times; there was a lady in her car doing her make up that I considered asking, but thought that would be too creepy; I was too slow for this one man running down the street; and all the old people walking alone were Asian and I worried they didn't speak any English... My block was so bad for me trying to meet people! On the bright side, it's great for if you're on a diet as it's kind of like forced exercise.

Everyone looked so much like they didn't want to be bothered and I've found I have this irrational fear of being rejected. Not irrational as in, I couldn't possibly be rejected, but irrational because there really is nothing to be afraid of. This is a lesson I learned today. I learn this lesson a lot, but apparently, I also forget this lesson a lot.

Enter Barry.

Barry works at the Educational Alliance Center near me, and I spied him alone at the front desk after my fourth round of walking around the neighborhood. He seemed like a nice guy who would probably help me out of my dilemma of not being able to go home because I hadn't accomplished my goal to talk to someone new today...and I was right (which was a good thing because it was cold outside and I had been needing the bathroom for quite a while)! He's an avid reader (The Last Battle of Icemark, which is the third book in the Icemark Chronicles, is pictured here) and he seems to have a great outlook on life from our conversation. In our short conversation, he taught me a few good life lessons, I hope I can remember them all:

1) It's never a bad thing to want to talk to new people and it's not weird at all since there are so many people out here in NYC. It's tough, but it's good to push yourself to try new things.
2) Having goals is great because they push you to grow as a person, but try to leave a little room for yourself to be flexible with them and try not to be too rigid about it.
3) No matter how busy you are, you should take the time to do something for yourself.
4) You can learn the most interesting things about people just by listening.
5) Don't be too hard on yourself.

I think I may be passing by the Educational Alliance Center from time to time (in between the hours of 3-10) to say hi to my new friend. Meeting new people is harder than I thought, but the payoff can be pretty freaking sweet.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sidebar 1: Ramblings of a girl on a journey

This blog is called Road to Joy and though initially, I thought it would be a photoblog, I realize that part of this year and this blog is to find things out about myself and start finding joy in my life... So... I've been doing a lot of thinking and have all these things running through my head and I've decided to try and write some of this stuff down as it comes... so here goes. The first sidebar; my first diversion from the photos...

Without delving too much into the details, the last few months have been a little rough. My heart basically got an ass kicking that I never expected. At twenty five years old, I’ve never had the crap kicked out of me before (physically or emotionally), and I was at a loss. I didn’t know what to do with that uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach coupled with the tightness in my chest. The things that used to come so easy to me during times of stress, frustration, or upset – eating, sleeping, shopping, and cleaning – were suddenly extremely difficult to do…. While I was strong/stubborn enough to not shrivel up in a corner, I felt completely disabled…

For a long while after, I wondered when I would feel “normal” again. When would I stop wanting to curl up in bed so I could fearlessly and happily face the rest of the world? When would I smile the way I used to? When would I eat, shop, sleep the way that I used to? I didn’t know how to be that version of myself anymore…And yet, life doesn’t stop just because your world has been shaken; so I kept moving because I had to.

But I found that as much as the pain can incapacitate a person, it can also educate. And boy, did I get a schooling. Hah

I feel like… the lessons I’ve learned from my heart’s obliteration almost makes up for the obliteration itself and the aftermath that resulted… I’ve discovered more about myself (like my capabilities, my strength, my resilience, my dreams, my character) these past few months than I have in the span of several years, and after so many years of never knowing where or how I fit in anywhere, I know now that it’s not about fitting in with anyone or anywhere else in the world; it’s about knowing who I am and being as true to myself as I can: no matter where, when or who with (with whom?).

I also know that for the first time, my heart experienced true pain because it also experienced true joy, and though I can’t imagine going through it again and am terrified of even putting myself anywhere near that kind of position from now on (I suppose that is a reasonable side effect from all this), I know the joy was worth all the pain and maybe someday, when (if) I'm ready, I'll feel that kind of joy again (and hopefully be cautious yet unafraid of the possible pain)...

Something to note: Amazingly, through all this, I am quite glad my sense of humor has remained relatively unscathed. I don’t know what I would have done if I couldn’t laugh at all about the situation I found myself in. Laughter had a lot to do with my survival. It was a short vacation; the temporary relief from the hurt. It healed me as much as (if not more than) the tears I cried and continues to do so.

Something else that resonates in me more every day is how lucky I am. I’ve been blessed with a great sense of humor, but also people to laugh with. I read somewhere once that the Bible says, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.” If that weren’t true, I wouldn’t have had people to hug me, to listen, to cry with, to just be with, and most of all, to laugh with in all my times of need. I'm being provided for. I don’t know how I got to be so lucky to have such silly family and friends that can make me laugh no matter the distance; even through tears and the pain; even after so much time apart…

A friend of a friend has said before that though it's a new year, the world is still the same. The problems are still there, nothing has really changed… but as he also pointed out, worlds change when people change, and Lord knows I’ve changed. I don’t know if it’s the new year or not… and I’ve said this before, but keep finding more and more that it rings true: it does feel different… maybe because I woke up one day and found that I was different. And somehow seemingly suddenly, the world is full of hope and promise again.

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities. ~Jean Houston

Laughing has never felt so good.

Day 13

Happy Birthday, Lola! My dad's mom is 80... something today... I know she was something like, six years younger than my grandpa, but I'm not so sure how old my grandpa would have been. I'm going to say she's about 85 today.

You'll find out more about my mother's mother in about a week, but I'd like to say that both my grandmas have been great examples of strength.

Not that my other grandma isn't but, this grandma is BEAST. Maybe five or so years ago, she got a walker because she said she was too fragile and needed support walking. She also moved in with her kids because she didn't think she could take care of herself in the day to day. This same grandma traveled the 10 or so hours to the Philippines and Guam around the same time. She survived WWII (where she married my grandpa to avoid being a "comfort woman"), learned sewing on her own (and was amazing at it!), and uprooted her life to move to Australia with her grown kids. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007 and they told her she had a few months to live, and though she's in the hospital right now, she's definitely a fighter.

She reminds me that no matter the circumstances, strength of mind will help you to prevail.

I haven't seen her since the summer of 2007, but when I did, she told me that out of all her grandchildren, I reminded her the most of herself. She looked so proud, beaming at me when she said that... I only hope I can live up to her expectations for me...

So... why the picture... The last time I saw her, she gave me some money. I thought this was funny because I gave her money also. But I took it and vowed I would use those exact bills to buy something for myself that I could say I technically got from my grandma. I settled on this Agatha bracelet. I was going to see if I could find a hot stranger and maybe get him to take a picture with his six pack (because apparently, my grandma likes the good looking muscle men...), but alas, I could not find one, so the bracelet had to do.

Happy Birthday, Lola! Missing you and praying for your safe recovery!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12

Was too exhausted/lazy to make much effort since I got out of work at 7 and didn't even make it to the nail salon on time. Sucky too, since I was going to make friends with either the person sitting next to me or my manicurist and make that person my stranger for the week. Maybe tomorrow.

Instead, I came home and had a hot pocket (for the first time in ages! so dericious!), a juice pouch (finally found Pacific Cooler!!!), and some gummi bears. Pathmark was having a sale on Christmas candy. Green and red are the best flavors, so that was nice. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11

It was freezing cold today, but I found myself on 42nd street after running errands and on my way to the F stop on 42nd street I thought I'd take take in the beauty of Bryant Park. One of the best things about New York is that even in this vast city with buildings, you can find nature and it's still so amazing. More so because it's in an urban setting... Makes me love New York even more...

Even though I moved here when I was seventeen and went to school here for four years, I feel like I didn't really get to know New York City all too well until I got out of my NYU bubble and moved back here from Japan... There were so many places I left unexplored because I was too busy working my part time job and trying to make sure I graduated. I think as much as I said I loved the city, I think I loved it blindly-- not knowing what I was in love with, but only for the idea of it.

I'm trying now to get to know it better so that I can love it with my eyes open...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10

Happy Birthday Lolo!

Today is my mother's father's birthday.

I wished that I had stopped by Burger King today and had a whopper jr. meal with a diet coke today for him, but I don't think my stomach could have handled it. Instead, I thought I would take a picture of this wooden chest.

My parents are in the middle of selling their house in Vegas right now, and I had to go back last month and go through all my stuff. In the middle of strolling through memory lane, I found this wooden chest. When I was a kid, it belonged to my grandpa. He would spend the entire year filling it up with coins and then, on my birthday, he would give it to me with a few extra bills. My mom would empty it out and put it into savings, and then give it back to him for the following year. I stopped receiving it maybe by the time I was 11 or 12 or something, but I think aside from my brother (who stopped getting it once I was born), I was the only grandchild of his to have it.

When my grandpa died, my grandma found this in his room and gave it to me. It still has a few coins in it from him. (Mostly nickels, I think. No quarters, since I used it up in high school for days when I was desperate and broke.) I kept it at my parents' place for safe keeping but since they won't be in the country for a little bit, this time, I decided to bring it home with me. Inside, I also kept a card I got from him maybe from when I was one or two. It says, "Princess Joyce Alvarez." I never even knew he called me that. It's one of the only cards I'd ever seen him write to me as all the ones later were written in my grandma's handwriting telling me to clean my room and drink water all the time and to be good. haha

I think he would have been 91 today... It's strange to think that he died eleven years ago when I was 15, as it hasn't occurred to me that time has gone by that quickly. And strange to think that for all the occasions after he passed, he wasn't in any of the pictures with his pimpin' off white fedora, smiling up at the camera. For some reason, I feel like I can look back and imagine him there in all the pictures...


I'm a grown woman; almost twice the age I was when he passed away... but sometimes, I still wish for him and wish for when I was five and we were best friends driving to Bunny Market and walking out hand in hand with a plastic bag filled with candy and Pullman's white bread and chocolate ice cream (to make ice cream sandwiches)... I guess you are never too old to miss your grandpa...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9

I'm finding that while I have started keeping an eye out for good pictures to take, I have days where I am more concerned with just being consistent with my posting than anything else. I figure if I can just get to a point where I have made a habit of this, I can start worrying more about the quality of pictures I take. I feel a little uninspired today.

Blogging from my cousin's apartment doesn't make things easier. I don't know what I will do when I have to go to DC next week... gahhh

My aunt and uncle are leaving to go back to Guam tomorrow. So sad. I love having family nearby... Today I took their Christmas themed pictures. I thought it was kind of nice that the Christmas tree is still up. I don't think it smells like anything anymore, but I always get sad when the trees get taken down. Just means all the excitement is really over... Anyway. Don't know if you can tell, but I think the tree is pretty dead. hahaha

Off for some last minute quality time with my fambam!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8

Day 8, people! I don't know about you, but this first week of the year was really quite fast! I think January is going to go by quickly since I seem to have plans every weekend of the month... Yay! A semblance of a life! Wahoooooooo

I almost forgot to post since I am going over to Jersey with my cousins and aunt and uncle, but thankfully remembered when I decided to stop by my apartment to pick up a few things. Also a good thing that today can be self portrait day since I really didn't find time today to whip out the camera so I took a quick shot of me from Photobooth. My cousin Cheru is in the back lying on the bed. hahaha It was either this or a picture where she is making a really ugly face. I thought I'd save her the embarrassment. hahaha

Gotta go! Aunt and Uncle coming up and I threw everything in the closet!!! Gahhhhh Maybe I SHOULD have made the resolution to be neater! :S

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7

I have the privilege of working with two of my best friends. It's pretty awesome, because we all live fairly close to each other so we can roll into (and out of) work almost every day together. We also get to have lunch together. It's quite nice.

On one particular day going home, Brandon found Jobu in the parking lot. Jobu is this wooden African looking figure that we call Jobu because she kind of reminds us of the voodoo doll that (pre-24 President Palmer) Dennis Haysbert's character worshipped in Major League. You know, Jobu! As in, "Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come." or "I stick up for you Jobu. You no help me now...I say f*** you Jobu. I do it myself."

Anyway, Jobu had been sitting at Brandon's desk in front of me since he was filling in for a lady on maternity leave. She came back on Monday and threw Jobu in a box and then found herself in a shitstorm. Never piss off Jobu.

Today, Brandon got his own desk on the other side of the office. For the transition though, Jobu sat at my desk for safe keeping. Yes, I'm Catholic, and I do love Jesus, but today, Jobu felt like such a good luck charm, since I got through most of the crap I needed to do AND was able to finish on time to leave early! So yay! Tankyouuuu Jobu! :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6

You probably didn't know this (I don't think any one outside my immediate family does), but all my grandparents celebrate(d) their birthdays in January. First the men, then the women. Today marks the start of that with my g-pa on my dad's side. Lolo Gaspar.

My dad's family (with the exception of my dad) all relocated to Australia from the Philippines about twenty some years ago. Don't ask me how they picked Melbourne, Australia, since I won't know the answer, but they've lived there for quite some time and that means that compared to my mother's side of the family who I grew up with, I didn't see them all that often aside from a handful of trips here and there. Suffice it to say, I didn't know my Lolo Gaspar all too well while he was alive. What I remember the most are random things; like how he used to flex his arms like a muscle man; and how his eyes shined almost gray through his very thick coke bottle glasses when he smiled; and most of all, how he loved Hershey's bars with Almonds.

If I could turn back time, I'd wish for days I could spend with him; for days I could spend with all my grandparents, all together. As a kid, you don't realize that the days you have with the people you love can't be taken for granted because you will wake up one day and find that you won't get to hug that person anymore; or see them smile; or hear them laugh... it takes a while to understand that... but life keeps moving, whether you learn that lesson or not and whether you learn it in time or much too late...

I can't turn back the clock; nor can I bring him back... but today, for him, I had a Hershey bar with Almonds. And it was delicious.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5

So as the first week of the new year has been coming to a close, I had been getting increasingly nervous... I was hitting day 5 today and my resolve to approach strangers was weakening. Wouldn't they think I was weird? Where should I approach them? What should I say? I was very very worried that I wouldn't be able to keep one of my self-imposed rules...

But today! Today, I met my first stranger!

His name is Vasili and he was playing the cello at the Broadway-Lafayette stop on my way home today. While I love watching street entertainers, lately, I have been so tired and was about to pass him by, but this woman asked him to play a song. I know the tune well, but didn't know the title until today. Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major: Prelude. I love this song, and watching Vasili play it almost made me cry; it was so beautiful! I only wish I had talent like that. It was amazing.

He's really a good cello player. He's been playing for forty years and hails from Moscow, I think. He's been in New York for about two years because his son and his son's family live here. He plays in Central Park in the summer and this past summer, a professional photographer took some really good shots of him with a ballet dancer. He showed me on his computer. They were really nice. That reminds me; I really need to take the time to take better pictures...

In any case, I hope he finds me on the internet and sees how happy I am to have met him. One of the reasons I decided to make 52 strangers part of my project was because New York has a lot of interesting people with all kinds of stories and I would love to sit and listen...

Will be listening to Bach as I fall asleep tonight...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4

I've got approximately 11 minutes to post!!! Gahhhhhh

I'm really going to have to upload some sort of blogging app on my phone so that my life will not be dominated by making it to a computer by midnight. Such a pain to do that though! Well, I guess it's also a pain to come home to post... but I am determined to stick it out! After all, it's only day 4!!!

I've noticed though that I keep looking out for shots to take. I thought I wouldn't find one today (aside from a shot of the kintama--golden balls-- I have hanging off my computer) because I was at work the whole day and thought I was going straight home, but instead I went to dinner with a couple of friends and snapped this on my way home... I thought it might be interesting to see what the ambulance light would look like if I tried to take a picture...and so yeah. It's just a random sidewalk a block or two away from my apartment, and nothing all that special really, but I did like the way the lights showed up in the picture. :)

Woohoo, six minutes to spare!

Happy first Monday of the year! :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3

Just call me the Baby Whisperer. Once again, my cousin left me with her son Daj and all I did was take him in my arms, point to the tv and say, "OooOOooh, fire!!!" and then he calmed down and passed out on my shoulder.

Here he is sleeping...he refused to be put down, so I held him for most of the time and took pictures... that's a Christmas ornament by his face... I took one of the two of us with our reflection in the ornament, but thought it looked stupid so I went for this one...

He's a great cheerer upper and doesn't even know it...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 2

Today was mostly wildly unproductive... well, I wouldn't actually say that, since I did make it out of the building AND I happened to do two loads of laundry, thus freeing up some of my floor space. :)

I'm in New Jersey now and it was a little bit of a challenge figuring out how I would be able to post if I wasn't at home... but I'm here! Yay! Day 2, and I haven't broken my resolution just yet.

My nephew Daj is asleep in the next room while his mom and dad are at their company holiday party in the city. I thought for sure I would have a tough time after they left since he is incredibly attached to them, but after I pried him away from his dad and he yelled for a minute or so, I held him and bounced him a little bit, tried to distract him with the scene from Miss Congeniality where Miss Rhode Island was twirling her fire batons by saying, "OoOOOooo look! Fire!" (that worked a bit) and then he promptly peaced out (by simply falling asleep on my shoulder). Guess he didn't really want to have to hang out with his Auntie Joyce. hah


Today's picture was taken right outside my apartment building. I guess it's supposed to snow this weekend so the super threw out some salt as a precaution... It's not exactly as pretty as snow, but it looks like candy on the sidewalk to me...and who doesn't like candy? Thought a shot like this would help me appreciate artsy fartsy-ness in random things. Especially for a day as quiet as today...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 1

It's the beginning of the new year, and thus the start of my Project 365... I got home early this morning from ringing in the new year with some really good friends, and am just spending the rest of today laying low so the year's first picture is coming from the wee early hours of the day...

I decided I want to start (and subsequently end) the year with myself, so I took a crap load of self portraits when I got home early this morning, and have only just looked them over now...

It turns out that choosing one picture to represent your day is a lot harder than it looks. On one hand, I wanted to post one where I'm smiling to signify my hopefulness... but ultimately decided on this one (mostly because I closed my eyes and pointed, at the suggestion of a friend, but also) to remind me that while it's okay to look back, I don't have to let the past rule my life... Plus, it makes me feel like I'm giving 2009 the stink eye. hahah

This might sound stupid now that I've gone and typed it, but I woke up this morning and felt like 2010 was different. Last year was only several hours ago, so it really couldn't possibly be all that different, but it felt like it. It feels like it. Maybe it's a state of mind and completely retarded and maybe it won't last forever, but it really does feel like a whole new year; a clean slate that is full of promise.

I don't know who will start reading this, if there will be anyone, but just in case...

Happy New Year!

Here is to new beginnings, living life, and seeing the beauty in everything.

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are stronger at the broken places."
-Ernest Hemingway