Sunday, December 11, 2011

Kick up Those Heels

When Dominic and I told Aunt Dee we were moving to New York City she was thrilled. One of the first things she told us to do was see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. We made that happen tonight Aunt Dee. The ladies did not disappoint!

Talk about holiday cheer, this was quite the show! With high kicks and precision, dressed up as reindeer and Santas, the whole production was delightful. There was a live nativity including parading camels and donkeys (does everyone know about this but me?). Radio City was stunning.

Not one to miss out on commercial Christmas opportunities, Dominic even treated me to a bag of chestnuts roasting on an open fire before the show. I thought of you Aunt Theresa - they were delicious.

We're crossing NYC to-dos off our bucket list one at a time this year. Next up - New Year's Eve in Times Square?! Are we up for it...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Forget Santa, Rachel's Comin' To Town!

You all have one; she's that friend that'll do anything for you. That friend who could care less about distance, time zones or poor correspondence - she's there for you no matter what. For me, that gal is Rachel. Twice. Twice! Rachel has flown to NYC to spend a long weekend with Dominic and I. She's just the best.

Rachel came to town this weekend and enjoyed the Winter Merienda and the big city life at Christmastime. I spent some quality girl time enjoying shopping in the upper West side, the holiday windows along 5th Avenue and Rockefeller Center's bright tree. Thankfully, Rachel will do two things very few guests will tolerate: excessive walking and obnoxious crowds. What a friend!

We had some quality time to catch up. After several people-watching train rides, meals and skinny mochas at Starbucks we knew just about everything happening in each other's lives again. Isn't it nice when you can pick up right where you left off and pretend like you live next door again?

Window displays on 5th. Lady Liberty's wrap (above) is made out of Jelly Belly jellybeans!

I hope we showed you a good time Rach. Thank you again for making the trip!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Fordham's Winter Marienda

Each year, Fordham recognizes the graduating class of International Political Economy and Development students at a December merienda. As far as I can tell, in the Philippines a brunch or mid-morning snack is called a merienda. Here at Fordham, the rules are changed a bit and the professors, students and the dean of the graduate school gather for a formal dinner and awards ceremony.

Be prepared readers, as our dear friend Elizabeth commented after the event, "Dominic won IPED!"

Dominic was inducted into Sigma Iota Rho, the Honor Society for International Studies. He was also inducted into the Ancient Order of the Silver Kalabaw for his studies in the Philippines last January. What was most impressive, however, is Dominic also received the Maria Carmella Dela Rosa Oliveros Award for earning a high pass on all four of his comprehensive exams and the Matteo Ricci Award for Academic Excellence! Way to go Dominic!

Here are three things I didn't know about Matteo Ricci before the Merienda:
  1. Ricci was a missionary in China in the 1500s: He wrote The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven arguing that Confucianism and Christianity are similar in many ways. He used this idea as a missionary to convert Chinese men who were educated in Confucianism and the Chinese classics.
  2. Ricci was an intelligent man: He was one of the first Western scholars to master Chinese script and Classical Chinese. He was a skilled mathematician and cartographer.
  3. His current title is Servant of God. In the Catholic Church, this title designates someone who is being investigated by the Church for possibly being recognized as a saint.
The night is also a time for students to award their peers with superlatives. These fun certificates are meant to bring out the personality and lighthearted humor among the classmates. Dominic's superlative - a testimony to his leadership and charisma I'm sure - was:
Dominic: Most likely to serenade the crowd with a Katy Perry song when he's inaugurated as the 45th President of the U.S.

Now... where to hang that plaque?

The Millennium Network

I have a great friend from the Peace Corps who works for the Clinton Foundation. She generously invited me to be her date to this year's Millennium Network fundraiser. I wasn't sure how I'd be holding up after the red-eye back from Seattle, but who passes up the opportunity to spend time downtown with a great friend and former U.S. president?

Between the free drinks, movie star, rock band, Chelsea and Bill I didn't know what to do with myself. It was quite the event and a neat chance to meet some fascinating people like the Talk to Me Guy Bill who happens to be my friend's boss. He sure had some stories to tell!

I hear the night was a success (based on the mailing list I ended up on the next day). "More than 1,000 young professionals and philanthropists coming together at Terminal 5 to support the life-changing work of the Clinton Foundation."

It was neat to learn from Clinton himself how he and the foundation have encouraged world leaders to make Commitments to Action to improve schools, agriculture, energy efficiency, health and small business development around the world. It was endearing to hear Chelsea talk so lovingly of the father she admires. He might have looked older, but he sure is busy these days.

After they finished speaking the Fray got up to perform.

You might have heard their song on the radio before:

Thank you for the invitation Jenny! You're too kind.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

T & P Turkey Trot 2011

Not to be outdone by the Run To Feed the Hungry or the Turkey Trail Trot, our family decided to establish the first annual T & P Turkey Trot this year. We take our Thanksgiving Day runs just about as seriously as we take eating Thanksgiving dinner - or giving thanks for that matter:

Preparing to gallop with gratitude through the streets of Woodland:

T (Tom) and P (Peg) themselves oversaw the inaugural event. Marilyn, our race commissioner, took her responsibilities seriously:
Even our race cheerleaders were enthusiastic despite the early, wet morning:

As we jogged, Nate, Lina and Dominic showed Katie, Mark and I how great it is to grow up in Woodland. From the courts where Dominic learned his jumpshot past the school where Lina practiced gymnastics, we peeked through the fense of the family's first house and came down the lane in front of Josh's house for a water break.

We returned to T & P's for quick showers, Katie's homemade apple muffins and packing. We had to get two babies, eight pumpkin pies, two pecan pies, a chocolate pudding pie and enough alcohol for 70 into the caravan to San Francisco. Thanksgiving was hosted at Goat Hill Pizza thanks to Aunt Karen and Uncle Mike this year.

We arrived just in time to catch cousin Elyse putting the finishing touches on the biggest pot of stuffing I've ever seen. Will 42 celery stalks and 15 onions make a big enough batch for the whole clan?

It did!

It was a real blessing to look around a full resturant and realize the entire crowd was family and friends:

Here are my pies in all their glory:

We enjoyed a post-dinner walk up Petrero Hill to burn off all that delicious stuffing. One of Erika's triplets, baby Declan, and I became fast friends.

Would you imagine that despite the crowd there was enough food left over for people to stock up their own refrigerators? John made out pretty well:

Our cups runneth over. Thank you for the hospitality family!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Duty Calls

When I returned from my most recent trip to Seattle on November 4, I said goodbye to my co-workers, wrapped my employee's Thanksgiving presents, and called it a pretty great year. The only trip I had planned back to the West Coast was for a mighty Monley Thanksgiving in SF. As it turns out, I was very wrong.

One email last Monday and two days of flight swapping was all it took for me to turn right back around for some serious 'on-the-ground' client engagement. It couldn't have been worse timing - what with Dominic's comprehensive exams, tickets to see the Rockettes, Saturday reading program responsibilities, a new hospitality table volunteer commitment at church, and Turkey Trot planning to do. Sometimes though, duty calls.

It looks like I'll be living out of a suitcase for several weeks. Nothing like a lonely hotel room to remind you what you're thankful for and are blessed to have. Tonight, as I pull a white hair out of my head and reflect on a frustrating and exhausting week, I give thanks for my job though. I am honored for this work I've been charged to do and grateful that I can give glory to God through my interactions with others.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Tip-to-Tip Time Change Fun Run

I am as stubborn as a mule. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to run from the top of Manhattan to the bottom, but I was busy and then the weather was cold. I couldn't get the goal out of my mind though, so this morning I woke up and said: "today's the day".

I was mad at myself for not letting this unnecessary objective go. I set out on the D train, transfered to the A and transfered again to the 1 - putting myself down the whole way. I haven't done any training, what if I get an injury... I need to be on the 4 by 10 a.m. to get back in time for church at 11, what if I run too slow and am late... why not wait until spring? I got off the 1 train at 215th and was even more bitter as I realized that train goes all the way up to 242 - is that where the river cuts through? Was I going to have to run 30 blocks up just to get to my starting place?

All of a sudden I saw a bridge (the 1 train track into the Bronx)! I walked a little further and saw Spuyten Duyvil Creek and immediately a wave of inspiration came over me. I felt great, the sun was out (thank you fall back time change) and my 2011 Tip to Tip starting line was in sight.

Starting line smile:
The 1 train track above the Creek:
I began running and immediately saw Broadway. I was On Broadway for almost the entire run. Broadway is the oldest north-south (i.e. Uptown-Downtown) thoroughfare in the city. It was originally a Native American trail.

Passing by the Cloisters park:

Doesn't this train station look Soviet?

American Geographic Society:

I had so much energy - I think it was the perfect weather...

Sunday mornings are quiet in Manhattan, but people were friendly. I had two girls shout "You Go!" from their car window and one man tell me "Good morning beautiful" as I passed by. I liked pretending they were marathon fans cheering me on.

There are so many fun sculptures throughout the city:

How many people do you think live in this apartment building? What is their income?

The middle of this picture shows how close I ran to Fort Tryon Park. The water was just a few blocks away:

Barnard College - just down the street from Columbia:

I started missing the banana I forgot on the kitchen counter on my way out:

A little street art underfoot:

What can I say? It's who I am:

Our trees are starting to change:

I just kept jogging along, feeling great and thinking well La Di Da, this is a beautiful morning!

Every once in awhile I would see something that reminded me of those I love.
Although they might be ostrich statues, they looked like flamingos to me. Hi Mom!

There I was, about 6 miles in and enjoying the beauty of the Upper West side:

I do love NYC:

Around 80th Street I realized I was making great time - I was confident I would make it back in time for church:

How many people do you think live here? What is their income?

There it was! 72nd Street and my beloved Trader Joe's!

There's so many fun sculptures around these parts:

An NYPD officer getting his morning paper and coffee:

So much to see:

I couldn't help but think he was inviting me to sit (which sounded nice), but I had places to be:

Here in Columbus Circle everyone was getting ready for the ING New York City Marathon. What an event!

I was livin' the dream:

In a word, I felt divine as I entered Times Square!

Remembering Aunt Carol:

Feeling fine in front of the New Year's Eve ball:

Here it is:

With an empire state of mind I headed to Herald Square:

The Macy's holiday decorations are going up now:

I head down into Chelsea and the city gets funky again:

The buildings are a more reasonable height.
By the way, 16 Handles is the best frozen yogurt out there. I would have made a stop if it weren't so early...

This is it! The playground of the Americas:

I made a note to come back to David Burke Kitchen sometime. SOHO has some of the tastiest restaurants:

A quiet morning on Canal Street:

And on to Tribeca. I have to admit I got turned around a bit in this part of town (adding miles, and time to the overall Tip to Tip trip). I was missing the Uptown grid organization of streets:

I knew when I saw the new World Trade Center building I was on the right track (and close!):

So many people - so little space:

I had to get going. We had a church service to get to!

It's hard to get around the financial district these days - what with construction and...


The sign I read on my jog by said: "Don't be That Guy":

And then all of a sudden I looked up and saw the address of the building on my right: 61 Broadway! I started somewhere in the 5000s!

When I saw this familiar WTC wreckage memorial I knew I was only steps away:

And then there I was. The Statue of Liberty ferry building...

And that beautiful blue water!

14.04 miles. | 116 photos | 2 hours 24 Minutes

I told Freddy Harrington, a talented ukulele player originally from Trinidad and Tobago, about my island run after he asked me if I was on my way to the marathon and he serenaded me with a song about health, beautiful weather and the city.

Here's a clip of his work from YouTube:

Then he took a picture of Dominic and I:

Dominic (the best husband in the world) and I boarded the subway for home:

And we even made it in time for church!