happy long weekend!

Shades of orange and blue, taken in Santa Cruz, CA

found: a small poem

I get really excited when I find poems that I've written months ago, especially since I've already forgotten writing them in the first place.

(winter scents)

The smell of a new book
reminds her of those long
December nights
when, cold and broken,
she pressed her nose
against a page

and didn't feel
so alone anymore.

just because

Its the first day of school today and ask anyone who works at the schools and they will tell you its absolute craziness. And I'm already having a headache just thinking about getting my caseload organized.

So here's my little note to self (and perhaps to you too), on this hectic Monday, to take it easy. Put on your best outfit. And smile. Just like this girl in the picture.

P.S. This one is my absolute fave photo from The Sartorialist so far. You know me, I love to take a peek at what people are wearing in other parts of the world. His current series on the streets of Stockholm is all kinds of lovely! So um, can I move there now? *silly grin*

this afternoon

Sometimes, I still can't believe that I live here. So much beauty.

five things

Wow, I can't believe its Friday already. Can you? The week flew by really fast, especially if you're someone like me who just went back to work. Yes, work started this week for me and now I have to get used to waking up early again. Phew.

Nevertheless, I did manage to squeeze in some "me" time, doing those things that I love. And since I believe in sharing, here are some of those little things that made me happy this week:

~ Exercising again. I stopped going to my exercise class because it was getting too expensive and just did some Pilates at home. Well, as you might have guessed, its really not the same. I wasn't that motivated to do them on my own. But now that work is back and I'm getting a paycheck, off I go to take my favorite class of them all. I was so sore today but I felt absolutely wonderful. No rocket science here, just some good ol' endorphins.

~ Bookstore browsing. I'm very lucky to have a local bookstore two blocks away from me. I go there all the time, especially during early evenings (they close at 11), and browse to my heart's content. There's something very magical about being inside a bookstore when its cold and foggy outside.

~ Fall catalogs. They're killing me because I can't afford them but I love looking at them anyway. My favorites are those from Toast (see above photo) and Wiksten by Jenny Gordy. Pssst, I've been dreaming of this outfit eversince Jenny posted pictures of the collection in her blog:

~ Finding old poems and essays that I wrote while cleaning up my files. I have a hard time throwing stuff away but this week I finally decided to go through all my binders and papers (read: clutter) and got rid of those that I don't really need. In the process, I found some old stuff that I've written years ago, and end up sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor laughing and tearing up at the same time. Yup, I'm crazy. But I did write some funny, funny things.

~ This movie. If you love musicals and French cinema, then this one's for you. And if not, Louis Garrel should be enough reason to watch it. Loved him in Dans Paris, but he is even better here. And he sings too! Here's a clip (sorry I can't find one with English subtitles):

How about you, how was your week? What made you happy lately?

when i sit down to write

When I sit down to write
the clock starts pointing
its stick-arrow fingers at me
as if to say, “hurry up,
there’s things to be done”
and I remember the laundry,
the tower of dishes in the sink,
those voices on the phone
demanding I call back,
the pile of letters that seem
to grow in numbers everyday.

When I sit down to write
the old ghost of doubt
quietly makes an entrance
and like a thief
through the window,
unwinds every thread
from my gossamer house
of words.

(p.s. I'm tempted to cut
the first stanza altogether,
what do you guys think?)

confession tuesday


This is the Olympics version of Confession Tuesday, because quiet honestly, I am obsessed. I've been sleeping way past midnight for more than a week now just to watch the coverage. Tsk, tsk.

* * *
While watching the women's gymnastics all-around finals, I almost called my mom to ask her why she hadn't allowed me to take gymnastics lessons when I was little. I know the answer of course, it was too expensive and she would have to take me to the city (3 hours each way, by bus) just so I could take the classes. But still, watching Nastia Liukin perform her perfect routine on the uneven bars makes me want to be just like her "when I grow up."

* * *
Speaking of lessons, I don't know how to swim. For someone who grew up in an island, this is rather embarassing. I love the water and all, I didn't have any left-over fears from the movie Jaws (like my sister did), I just don't know how to swim correctly. MUST.TAKE. SWIMMING LESSONS.ASAP.

* * *
Right after college, when we first heard that the Olympics is going to be held in Beijing in '08, my friends and I made a pact that we were gonna go and watch it. We figured we that it was close to the Philippines and if we had to watch one Olympics in our lifetime, then this would be it. But none of us went this summer. The night of the opening ceremony, I got a text from two of my friends that said, "We should have been there." They both live in New Jersey now. Funny how our life's journeys took us to another direction altogether.

* * *
This Olympics is particularly special to me because a couple of years ago, I was in China for an international diplomatic convention (I was the secretary for a youth organization then) and I met this guy and immediately fell in love with him. He was so smart, we talked for hours about everything and I wasn't bored by our conversations (which happened a lot with the boys back home) and he was very passionate about what he was doing. In retrospect, I think it was also the excitement of being a part of this huge event with so many people from different parts of the world that added to the romance of it all. By the end of the trip, we promised to keep in touch and meet again in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. We exhanged emails for a couple of months and somehow lost touch. I've forgotten about all this until recently. Now the memory of how giddy and "in love" I was still makes me smile.

(USA gymnastics team photo from Vogue magazine)


sitting on rooftop
city lights twinkle
in place of stars.

* * *
lawn sprinklers
slowly turn in circles --
frogs take a shower.

* * *
community pool
tanned bodies lounge
under midday sun.

in the moment for readwritepoem

a beautiful morning

sunrise at 6:25 am. sheets of fog. houses on a hill. a cup of vanilla latte. toasted bagel and cream cheese. sound of breaking waves. birds' songs. walking along an empty boardwalk. a moment for oneself. being here.

have a happy, happy weekend!

five things

Are you happy? January asked this question two days ago. I had to pause and think for awhile. This summer is certainly not what I had expected. But for the most part, yes I am happy. Not in a grand, floating-in-the-air way, but more of the quiet kind. The one that comes with a string of small pleasures. The subtle kind. That said, here are 5 things that made me happy lately:

~ Waking up one morning and randomly deciding to drive all the way to Sonoma (2.5 hours from SF). It was great. I got lost a couple of times and ventured off to unknown places. Chocolate and wine tasting, authentic Mexican food, breathtaking colors of sunset over rows and rows of vineyards - definitely magical.

~"Talking" to my niece on the phone. She is now almost 10 months old and is starting to cruise around while holding on to furnitures. They told me that she had the biggest smile on her face while I was talking to her.

~ for the love of light: a tribute to the art of polaroid. Last February, I wrote about how Polaroid is closing its doors on instant film. This book, with contributions from 25 photographers around the world, is a great collection of dreamy Polaroid images and stories. My favorite is the one with those red balloons (pictured above).

~ Reading this piece of wonderful news (thanks Dae!). I didn't know I could love Johnny Depp more, but now I really do. What a touching gesture for Heath Ledger's 2 year-old daughter Matilda.

~ This amazing video (watch from beginning to end, its totally worth it)

I have to admit that I teared up a bit at the part where he was dancing with kids in the Philippines. (Thanks Jo for sharing this in your blog!)

How about you, what made you happy lately?


“The air was so soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great I thought I was in a dream.” --Jack Keroauc

I was standing in the middle of this little alley in North Beach, named after Jack Kerouac, reading these words that were inscribed on a stone and metal plaque on the street. There were other plaques around me, all of them etched with beautiful poetry, but I was drawn to this one. Partly because Keroauc is one of my favorite authors and also because growing up I've always loved the idea of cobblestone streets.

Something about those cobblestones speaks to me, even as a little girl, when my only experience of them were limited to foreign movies and books. In the Philippines, we have dirt roads and asphalt or concrete-covered pavements, but oh how I wondered about those cobbled streets and the secrets they hold. I thought that maybe if I close my eyes and listen closely, they will tell me stories of old villages and warm summer nights, of sounds from carriage wheels and horses' hooves, of whispers from lovers walking hand in hand, of hushed footfalls from children playing hide-and-seek.

Back in the alley, all is quiet and the only sound I heard was the clicking of my digital camera as I took pictures of colorful murals on the walls of the buildings standing on both sides of it, a bookstore and a café. There were two other people present there: a guy probably in his twenties, wearing skinny jeans, and sitting in a corner and writing on his notebook and a middle-aged guy who was obviously just walking through the alley. I watched as he slowly disappeared around the corner until all I saw was the black sweater tied around his thick waist.

I was surprised to see the murals and the decorative lamps in the alley for the first time I came there, as a tourist, the wall on the bookstore's side was bare, the street dark and neglected and I only took one picture: that of the sign that reads “Jack Kerouac”, right above the other ones that said “No Stopping Tow-Away” and “No Parking” on certain days and times.

The tourist in me was annoyed at the thought of having these parking signs in my picture but now that I live here I understood that this daily parking drama is as much part of San Francisco as the famed red-orange bridge or those lovely Victorian houses that everyone likes to call "The Painted Ladies". Finding street parking in this city, especially on certain hours, is very much like winning a lottery ticket, or better yet, meeting a guy who is neither gay nor married who can actually carry a meaningful and intelligent conversation beyond how much money they make or what kind of car they drive.

As if on cue, I heard someone come into the alley, interrupting the silence when he shrieked “Oh my God I can't believe you're here!” or something like that. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw a very handsome guy walk towards the younger one who was writing on his notebook. The younger guy immediately stood up and they gave each other a tight and enthusiastic hug, as if they won't let each other go.

Smiling, I started moving to the other end of the alley, feeling like a kid who had snuck up on something that I wasn't supposed to see. But not before I turned around one last time, and saw them, hands entwined, walking towards the opposite direction.

***Cleaning up my files and I found this one, written a year ago.

28 things

sonoma 031

Some things that you might want to know about me:
1. I was named after the city in Ukraine.
2. And I grew up in the Philippines.
3. In the beautiful island of Cebu.
4. I came to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies in 2003.
5. After grad school, I decided to stay here for awhile.
6. The rest of my family are in the Philippines and I miss them terribly.
7. Growing up, I've always wanted to be a doctor.
8. And I dreamed of working for UNICEF.
9. Somewhere along the way, I became an occupational therapist.
10. Now I work/play with children for a living.
11. It's a lot of fun. But it is also a lot of hard work.
12. When I'm not working (read: playing) with kids, I enjoy taking pictures, walking around, and writing things down.
13. I've kept a journal since I was 14.
14. And I write about everything.
15. Mostly, I write poetry. And prose.
16. I memorize lines from my favorite poems and think about them when I'm stressed.
17. I am inspired by the ocean, summers and sunny skies, and spontaneous travels.
18. I like to think of myself as a would-be vagabond.
19. And I dream of living in faraway places.
20. Eventhough I already feel very much at home here in San Francisco.
21. I love watching independent films.
22. And foreign movies with subtitles.
23. I read a lot.
24. And I love the smell of books, old and new.
25. I would like to live inside a bookstore for a day.
26. I am not a morning person and I probably never will be.
27. I love, love, love all kinds of seafood. Paired with rice, of course.
28. Just give me coffee and I'll be a happy camper.

Welcome and I hope you enjoy my little site!

freefalling 2.0

Hi all,
As you can see, this blog just had a major makeover. A big thank you to the super talented Alyson who designed my new blog header. I will make some more changes on the sidebar tommorrow and then it should be good to go. Maybe I'll have a little party next week, what do you think?

Have a happy, happy weekend!

confession tuesday

Late for the confessional, but here are some things that I want to share:

I just spent the last 2 hours watching a Chinese movie called
Perhaps Love on this site. My friend Mai told me about it and I'm pretty stoked. It's all free! Nevermind that I was squinting on my computer screen to read the subtitles. And I must admit, the main reason why I watched this movie was Takeshi Kaneshiro. Hee. That man is just beautiful. Ever watched The House of Flying Daggers? If not, let me remind you of what he looks like here. But more than his good looks, I think he's such a great actor. In fact, the media often refers to him as Asia's Johnny Depp, and that really says a lot right there.

* * *
I think being around tourists (and there's tons of them in San Francisco at this time of the year) is rather bittersweet. Walking along Union Square today, I saw a group of young girls taking pictures of each other in front of a cable car and I was reminded of my first visit here and how I fell in love with the city. At the same time, I also couldn't help but feel sorry for myself that I'm not travelling anywhere for my summer break. I keep telling myself that I shouldn't be, I live in this gorgeous city, I have all the time in the world to walk around and write but I still felt sad anyway.

* * *
My aunt's love for thrift-shopping is rubbing off of me. Now I go all the time and I love it! I found a complete set of Anne of Green Gables series for $1, new pair of ballet shoes for $1.50, a lovely plaid dress that fits me perfectly for $3, and so much more. But I think the best thing about going to thrift shops is the joy of searching. Its so much fun looking through racks of clothing, browsing books, etc. without having to worry about your budget. Of course, that moment when you find something that you really like is just precious. Here's my favorite find so far:

A vintage Kate Spade for $1.50. I just love, love the pattern.

hello, sun in my face

Its sunny in my favorite city and it feels like summer is finally here. Thank God. I have exactly 20 days before work starts again and I'm determined to make the most of this break. No more of those weather blues or I'm-so-bummed-I'm-not-traveling-anywhere mood. As one of my friends used to say, "it's time to rock n' roll bay-beh..."

I'll keep you guys posted with my day-to-day adventures, although I can't promise that I'll be posting daily. Also, there's some changes coming up for this blog and I'm really excited to see how it will turn out. That's all I can say for now as I don't want to jinx it.

Have a happy, happy weekend everyone! I'll leave you with this lovely photo from
The Sartorialist. For who doesn't dream of cruisin' around Paris in a vespa? I love her hair and her gorgeous plaid dress too!