New York trip: Saturday

On Saturday, I spent most of the sunny day in Brooklyn with Ceddy and his friends.

After navigating subway delays, I finally made it to Brooklyn. Ceddy and his friends were having brunch at a restaurant called Station, which is right by the Bedford Avenue subway stop. Ceddy ordered lox on toast, poached eggs, and potatoes for me (which I sadly didn’t get a photo of, because I was too hungry).

Bedford Avenue. Brooklyn, New York. 07.27.13.

Bedford Avenue. Brooklyn, New York. 07.27.13.

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New York trip: Friday

Last weekend, I went to New York with my boyfriend. We had awesome adventures and I took a ton of photos, so I’m going to make three posts about the trip (one per day we were in New York). I’ve also done this because I wanted to schedule some posts while I’ll be on the dreaded family vacation of doom at Disney World until Saturday. -_-

Ceddy and I arrived at LaGuardia on Friday morning around 9AM. We took the MTA bus into the city, then took the subway uptown.

First, we stopped at the Nespresso café on 5th Avenue. We sampled the caramel espresso, while Ceddy shopped for other flavors.

Nespresso cafe. Manhattan, New York. 07.26.13.

Nespresso cafe. Manhattan, New York. 07.26.13.

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Yesterday would have been my grandparents’ 70th anniversary.

Lola & Lolo's wedding photo.

Lola & Lolo’s wedding photo.

Yesterday would have been my grandparents’ 70th anniversary. (They were always excited to share the day with their youngest grandchild’s birthday.)

Lola and Lolo were together for 64 years before Lolo died. They met in the Philippines during World War II; Lola was a nurse for the U.S. army and Lolo was a mining engineer. It was love at first sight. Three months later, they married. They had my three uncles two to four years apart and my mom a decade later. Their life wasn’t perfect (no one’s is), but they did everything together as a team.

Lola was a chronic worrier, so Lolo always made her laugh. When he became diabetic in middle age, she managed his medication and administered his insulin shots. He doted on her, picking up her favorite flowers or jewelry just because. They called each other “my dearest darling” and were still sweetly affectionate even as octogenarians. As Lolo was dying, he told Lola not to fret. For the five years after his death, she was inconsolable. Life was unbearable with her other half missing. When she died last December, she was finally at peace because she knew she would see him again.

My grandparents were one of the few couples who I consider to be role models for a healthy and happy partnership. My mother disregarded the epic love she witnessed while growing up. The only similarity between my parents’ and my grandparents’ marriages is that my parents got married after dating for five months, while my grandparents did after three. Lola and Lolo were in constant communication, but they didn’t fill the silence with meaningless chatter. They didn’t avoid their issues by buying each other expensive cars or watches. They didn’t use their children as pawns in fights. When things got hard, they leaned on each other. They were each other’s best friend. All of us grandchildren aspire to have a relationship as long-lasting and fulfilling as theirs.

Lola gave me one piece of advice about men, which I’m sure she would be happy to know that I followed:

“Find the man who you will be happy to wake up next to — not just because he’s handsome, but also because he’s a good man.”

My baby sister Brie turned twenty-two today.

My baby sister Brie turned twenty-two today.

This past year was her last in high school. In Georgia, special education students can stay in high school until the day after they turn twenty-one. Her program focused on preparing kids to function within the “mainstream” community. She had job sites like Shane’s Rib Shack, where she and her classmates would prepare tables and roll silverware before the restaurant opened. She went on field trips to Target to practice grocery shopping. She took public transit without having a crowd-induced anxiety attacks. School was her constant.

Change doesn’t come easily to Brie. As an autistic girl who has severe OCD, she needs all the stability she can get. This transition has been made easier because she’s currently in a summer camp that’s similar to her high school’s community-based program. While she’s not the typical twenty-two-year-old college graduate, she’s finding her way in “the real world” in her life after school, as well.

It’s the little things that make Brie happy. There are times when our mother will mourn the loss of the life that my baby sister could have had. Our mother has yet to realize that this is the only life my sister knows and she’s unaware of what she’s missing. Brie’s life is made up of routines in which she takes solace; she savors good food, explores the community with her camp friends, and runs on the treadmill or on the trail by our mother’s house. Brie loves people without hesitation or prejudice. She senses when you’re upset or angry and will hug you tightly until you smile.

Tonight, we’ll have Thai & Chinese takeout for dinner with our brother Raf and our mother. On your birthday, you’re supposed to eat long noodles for a long life, so Brie will order her favorites — pad Thai and lo mein. I let her open my present last weekend (Despicable Me on Bluray), but she’ll open her presents from the rest of the family this evening. She’s probably getting more puzzles and UNO card sets to add to her extensive collections.

Before blowing out the candles on her Dairy Queen ice cream cake, Brie will steal bites of frosting and sing to herself while clapping,

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to Brie!

The law of Mondays

According to the law of Mondays,
a headache persists even after
popping too many Advil tablets.
During lunch, hot sauce drips
onto my lavender blouse
but I have no Tide pen to clean it.
After leaving work,
thunderclouds loom,
while my umbrella hangs
uselessly on my office door.
The loophole in
the law of Mondays is that
no matter what goes wrong,
I come home to you
and can’t help but smile
after you kiss me hello.