Friday, November 27, 2009

How to Display Your Paperclip Collection

Option A: Fail. (It fell down a few hours later!)

Option B: Success! (They're still up!)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Yellow Paperclip Goes to Chicago

It was great to spend a few days with Cricket, a dear friend and bright purple spot; the same friend who drove me to Adarna House on the day of the PBBY-Salanga Prize deadline so I could submit The Yellow Paperclip with Bright Purple Spots story on time. (I'm forever grateful, Crickety!)

Here we are at the Erikson Insitute in downtown Chicago:

There were lots of yellows and purples:

And, as always, paperclips follow me wherever I travel...

A green paperclip along the sidewalk...

...and a blue one at the O'Hare Airport on my way back to Singapore.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Purple/Yellow Pittsburgh

I spent three weeks in Pittsburgh for work and without fail, I saw some interesting purple/yellow sights:

Glass Sculptures by Hans Godo Frabel at the Phipps Conservatory

Flowers lining the entrance of the Phipps

And of course, a paperclip in downtown Pittsburgh!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

She Was All Yellow... and Coldplayed Out

By the time I found out that Coldplay was coming, all the tickets were sold out. I was devastated, and once again re-realized that I was a workaholic and living under a rock. Yet the Universe conspired for the dreamer in me and a friend of a friend decided to sell his ticket a few days before the big day. (On hindsight, I wish I dreamed up a date for the concert too!)

For someone who has never watched a movie in the cinema alone, it was a huge leap for me to watch the concert on my own. I was right smack in the middle of 12,000 people in the Indoor Stadium and I loved it.

Chris Martin was more amazing than I had imagined and I was blown away when he sang Yellow (complete with giant yellow balloons floating around everywhere!), and again with their encore rendition of The Scientist. Swoon.

PS. I wish I got one of the yellow balloons though!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

More Yellow Than You Think

Question: What is this?
a. Yellow Yarn
b. Cheese Curls
c. Clones of Yellow, the Catterpillar?

Answer: None of the above. It's my latest impulse buy - a fun, fuzzy, bright yellow bath mat! Actually, I got two of them on a Buy 1, Take 1 offer at Barang Barang.

And yes, they did remind me of yarn, Cheese Curls, and Yellow from Hope for the Flowers. Hee-hee.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Soft (Yellow) Spot for Airports

"Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes," my dad once told me. That hits a soft spot. My life has been a colorful storybook of starts and ends, of happy hellos and reluctant, sometimes tearful and painful, goodbyes. But I have no regrets - and that's the most important thing. I would say hello (or hejsan or salut) and goodbye (or babay or sampai jumpa) all over again.
If I could make a picture book, I'd include these two snapshots.

Leaving Manila this time was a little more difficult because I didn't know when I'd fly back. A round-trip ticket from somewhere else still needs getting used to.
Could I actually get myself to say "Welcome home, Nikki!" when I saw this at Changi? Hmmm. Maybe in another six months.

"Don't be dismayed at goodbyes," writes Richard Bach in his book Illusions. "Farewells are necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends."

I look forward to meeting again, dear friends. And yes, even if it's just a quick hello-goodbye at the airport.

Monday, February 09, 2009

In Purple and Full Bloom at 90

I want to keep reading and writing until I turn 90... just like my grandmother, my Lola. Here's a recent photo of us in our favorite colors.

Reading and writing have always been a huge part of my life. My dad would read us bedtime stories. My mom signed us up for Speed Reading and Creative Writing summer classes. Ate Kim and I would write love notes to my parents. I made mini-magazines and scrapbooks as gifts to grade school classmates. A friend and I attempted to write a mini-novel the summer before I left Manila. I read endlessly and tirelessly in middle and high school, and wrote snailmail several days a week. I wrote 10-page essays for Fr. David in Ateneo. I have written three children's books. I've signed up for writing workshops. I wrote a chapter and edited a book on Filipino leaders. I write my life's To-Do Lists. I enjoy reading blogs. I'm currently reading an amazing book. I've started keeping a journal again.

So I'll say it again: I want to keep reading and writing until I turn 90... and beyond.

We encouraged my grandma to start writing her memoirs to share her rich and meaningful life to family and friends. We also said it could make for a great Readers' Digest story; she liked this idea very much, considering she is hardly ever without a copy of RD. I gave her a nice notebook, a writing pad, and pens. Just write, Lols, I said. I can help you type. In her small, deliberate cursive, she created a beautiful story about her mother and the memories and life-lessons she holds close to her heart. I had the honor of typing it out, playing pseudo-editor with some suggestions, and sending it to Papa for him to review (we're a family of editors; I love it) and submit to RD online.
Helping her with her writing brought me back to a wonderful childhood memory of how she had helped me with mine. I had a writing assignment for my Creative Writing class, and I had to come up with a story using characters based on brand names. My 9-year-0ld self was at a loss, but Lols came to the rescue with super suggestions such as Aunt Jemimah and Mr. Clean. She was an English teacher so I had the best coach and editor (see? I told you it runs in the family!). I felt like I had a winning story.

When Papa told me the news that RD would print her story, I had one of those this-was-meant-to-be moments, punctuated with a pregnant pause, and followed by a prayer of thanks. It was a moment I celebrated for Lola, and I guess a little selfishly, for myself. What a milestone a month before she turned 90! I was really so proud of her and I was happy that I pushed her to write.
She was in full bloom on her 90th birthday, radiant in lavender (her favorite color!), glowing and giggly ("I feel like I'm 19," she gushed), and obviously thrilled to see her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids lining up to get her autograph on multiple copies of the January 2009 issue of Readers' Digest. I couldn't help but project myself 60 years into the future. If I were signing books as a great-grandma, I'd be just as ecstatic!
Now I've always admired my grandmother, but seeing her that night reeled me in much closer than before. She has always been our family's tower of grace and strength, and now she also enjoyed the spotlight as a rightful celebrity writer (though she said it wasn't a joke to be like a beauty queen, with all that paparazzi, flowers, and attention!). I love how I can proudly say that I'm a writer - just like Lola.
I had the perfect end to a beautiful evening when I turned to page 11 of my own RD copy. In her beautiful cursive, she had written: Nikki - you inspired me to write this. Love, Lola.
I love you, Lols! You inspired me to write once before, and you continue to do so today... and until I turn 90.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Two Silver Paperclips

I saw two runaway silver paperclips on two separate days. But both of them were still silver. I'm starting to really worry. I have seen the most colorful and unique paperclips in stationary stores around Singapore, but I think no one uses them except me.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Antonio's Yellow and Purple Flowers

I felt a sweet and strong sense of "home" on my first visit to Antonio's in Tagaytay.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Coming Home to Yellow

It's great to be home, even if only for two weeks. And I loved having giant yellow parols to welcome me home - one at the new NAIA Terminal 3, and another along Commerce Avenue.
Who needs yellow ribbons?