Saturday, January 26, 2008

Reconnecting with Friends... In Progress...

I got a very pleasant surprise yesterday!! I got an email from a high school classmate. I was so excited to see it. It's really an answered prayer!!!

If you have been following my blog, I stated that one of the things that I want to do this year is to reconnect with old friends. I don't mean "old" literally although in some cases this might be true. Anyway, I have decided to put in an extra effort this year to find people that I haven't really stayed in touch with.

I have been thinking of ways to get this "new year resolution" going. I don't have any problems staying in touch with my college buddies because we have a yahoo group where I get to read what's going on with everybody and tell them what's going on with me. These friends of mine are all over the world like Singapore, New Zealand, US, Hongkong to name a few. And I also finally started contacting my friends in Canada.

But, I am having difficulty finding people that I know before my college days. So you can imagine how excited I got when I received this email. It was FANTASTIC!! I am a member of a networking group for professional called Linkedin. And this is where my high school friend managed to find me. She requested to be connected to me and that was it.

I was so happy that I started talking to my wife about things that went on during that stage in my life. My mind was instantly flooded with memories, both good and bad. At least I can say, I still have a good memory. One thing I struggle with though is trying to connect names with faces. It has been a long time since I last saw my high school friends and I have to admit that I can't remember their faces anymore. And they would probably look a lot different now after 23 years. Man!! TWENTY-THREE years!!! That is a LOOOONG TIME!! So I hope you can understand why this is such a big deal for me.

Anyway, I accepted her request and I asked her if she has contact information of our other friends. I am really hoping that she has stayed in touch with some of them if not all because that would be really great. I can't wait for her reply.

Oh ... just some info in case somebody from my past accidentally stumbles on this blog.
  • Graduated college batch '92 - UST in Manila, Philippines - BS Mathematics, major in Computer Science
  • Graduated high school batch '85 - FEU in Manila, Philippines
  • Graduated elementary batch '81 - FEU in Manila, Philippines

Friday, January 25, 2008

Back Home

It's great to be back home!! I cut my trip short by 1 day and I didn't tell my family about it. So they were very surprised when I rang the door bell. And my kids just went crazy. And...I finally managed to get a good night's sleep. I have trouble sleeping at night when I am on business trips. I miss having somebody beside me in bed and the sleeping rituals that I do with my 2 little angels.

Speaking of sleeping rituals for kids... experts say that one way of training kids to go to bed and sleep on their own is to perform a series of activities that will prepare them for bed. This routine has to be consistent and the thought behind it is that it sets the expectation for the kids and provides structure in their sleeping habits. This method has worked wonderfully for us so we don't really struggle with putting our kids to bed.

I just realized that I benefit from this routine as well. It has now become a part of my adult nightly routine which helps set the tone for my mind and body to slow down and prepare for bed. And not doing this nightly routines when I am on business trips probably contributes to my sleep problems.

So, here's what I am planning to do. I will try to do this nightly rituals as best as I can over the phone with my family and see if it will help me sleep better next time I am away from home.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Away from Home

This is my first day being away from my family and I am already missing them so much. I'm currently on a business trip and will be away from them for 3 days.

It's not that I haven't been away before. I have traveled quite a bit last year. But it gets harder and harder to be away from them as time goes by. The saying "It will get easier over time" definitely doesn't apply in this situation. Call me sentimental but I just love spending what little time I have after work with my kids and my wife no matter how we spend it together. Whether we get along or snap at each other, I love it all...the good and the bad. I feel so lost without them when I go out. There have been several times when I get a panick attack when I am at a store and I couldn't find my kids by my side. Only to realize that they were not with me in the first place.

The good news is, I won't be traveling any time soon after this trip. It's a blessing really. I have been told that we need to cut down on travel expense for my project and I was so happy to hear this.

On a different note, I tried a mahi-mahi burrito today for lunch and it was surprisingly good. I went out with a couple of Directors that I work with in my project and we went to this place called Rubio's near the office. It took quite some time to prepare what I ordered and they joked about ordering fish in the middle of the desert is probably not a good idea. But my order eventually came and I liked it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Birthday Girl

Here's some pictures of the birthday girl Abby having fun at the gym and enjoying the cake that her loving and thoughtful sister made for her.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm So Happy!!

First off, the sun came out over the weekend so my weather blues are gone and I have a dose of natural Vitamin D so that really helped lift my spirits a lot!!

One of our to do's this year is to reconnect with family and friends. I finally realized that it's worth spending time and effort nurturing relationships that we truly value. I have been a procrastinator and I have to admit that staying in touch with friends and even with my family back home in the Philippines has been a problem with me. It's one of my major character flaws. And I know that it would seem that I don't really value these relationships but the truth of the matter is I do. I don't have any excuse for not staying in touch and I have made a commitment to work on this issue starting this year. So yesterday, I sent a note to my dear friend Pastor Doug who I consider my spiritual father.

I was so happy to hear from our dear friend Doug. He is the pastor of the church we attended in Canada where I served in the worship ministry as a drummer. I love hanging out with him, his adorable wife Laurel and their kids. His family reminds me of my family back home. He and Laurel have 10 children (I hope I got that right). I came from a big family myself. I have 4 brothers and 3 sisters. I will always admire how he and Laurel manage to keep their sanity intact and their house in order. The love and respect that flows and emanates in and from their household is just amazing.

To hear the wonderful things that have happened to their family is really heartwarming. They became grandparents last year and they are expecting another this year. I am so happy for them and knowing Laurel, she must be beaming with pride with the new additions to their family.

I miss them so much. I remember the special occasions that we get to spend with their family when we were in Canada. They treated us like their own family and that really meant a lot to me because we didn't have any relatives at all in Canada. It really feels great to be in touch with them again after all these years.

Back here in California, it was a fun night for the Salgado household. Tomorrow is Abby's birthday. Weiwei and Cheryl were so busy preparing and baking the cake. Abby tries to help but you can imagine how that went... I suggested just buying a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake but Cheryl insisted on making one.


If you have read the book "Five Languages of Love", Cheryl's love language is Gifts. She loves giving gifts to people and she prefers giving something that she has created on her own. If you haven't read this book, I suggest you do so.

Here's a picture of the cake that Cheryl baked with her mom. She said that she's going to decorate it tomorrow when she comes home from school. Don't you think she's so sweet?

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Night to Remember

Tonight was a very interesting night. You see...I haven't gone out on a date for a long time. Hmmmm..that's not entirely true because I went out on a date last month. But when you don't do it regularly, the gap between those dates feels like ages. You know the feeling? Like, you're starting to grow roots while standing in line waiting for your turn to hop on a ride in Disneyland's Finding Nemo attraction.

Anyway, I managed to arrange a dinner date with this wonderful lady. But as it turned out, I ended up going out with someone that I have not seen for a very long time. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised and really delighted to say the least.

Ok, do I have your full attention now? Then sit back, relax and I will take you along on my journey...(music starts...music slowly fades)

4:30pm-5:10pm
I kept looking at the clock on my computer in the office. My date is going to pick me up at around 5-5:15pm and I was eagerly awaiting for my phone to ring. I tried so hard to focus on finishing up what I'm doing but it was really difficult...my eyes keep darting back and forth between the clock and the phone...so long...must press on......then the phone rings!!!!

It's her..I know it's her because I can see the incoming number on my phone display. Oh no!!! What should I do??? Should I answer immediately or let it ring a few times?? If I answer immediately, she might think I'm too excited...If I let it ring for a while, she might think I'm not that excited....tough call to make. I decided to let it ring twice and then gingerly picked up the phone and tried to answer in a matter of fact voice..."Safeway IT, this is Norman". She answered and asked me if I am ready and I said, "I am still trying to wrap things up here but I can be ready if you are.". Actually, I am pretty much done but I didn't want her to know that. She said that she'll be leaving the house soon but she can't use her cellphone. I told her, "Oh don't worry about it. I will just meet you at the parking lot."

5:25pm
After waiting out in the cold for about 15 minutes, I saw her car finally coming. The car stopped and she got out of the car to greet me. It was at that moment that I came to realize that I am going out on a date with someone I have not seen for a long time. She looked so stunning and very chic in a combination of sweater top, black skirt and high boots!! I mean..wow..I was absolutely smitten and my heart was racing!! I tried hard not to stare because my momma told me that it's not polite to stare.

Then, she asked me..."How do I look? Do you like it?"...I was about to say something stupid like "hamanama"..like the sound that comes out of your mouth when you try to talk after a dentist has injected your gums with a numbing shot and your mouth can't feel a thing. But, I managed to recover my composure and answered.."You look wonderful tonight..". But I'm not entirely sure if I said it right because the music was playing in my mind and I think I said it with a tune.

Anyway, we got in the chariot.., I mean the car and off we went to a restaurant called Vic Stewart in Walnut Creek, CA for our dinner reservation.

5:45pm-7:35pm
We arrived at the restaurant and I felt so wonderful and proud to be walking around the restaurant with this gorgeous lady holding on to my arm. People's heads were turning and gazes were following us as the receptionist ushered us to our table (give me a break ok...that's how it played out in my mind). We sat down, ordered a couple of appetizers, red wine, and steaks. We talked about so many things while waiting for our orders and drinking our wine. The food came and it was great!!. We had a lot of laughs and interesting conversations throughout the dinner.

At the end of the dinner service, I looked at her and said "Honey, I think it's time to go home. We don't want to be late because we need to take the babysitter home.".

And once again it ends...my once a month date with my beautiful bride of 9 years. We made a commitment to go out on a date once a month and we started about 3 months ago. We just decided that we must make time for us as a couple. Otherwise, we will just spend all our time taking care of the kids and neglecting our relationship with each other.

Now, the reason I said at the start of my story that I ended up going out with another woman is just to illustrate the point that she looked different from the way she usually dress up during our previous dates. I didn't expect her to get all dressed up and that's what made tonight special and different from previous 3 dates that we have had. My wife made a conscious effort of making it special by dressing up for the occasion. I have told her several times that I miss seeing her all dressed up in fancy clothes.

Don't get me wrong...she is beautiful..no matter what she wears. But I would love to see her in something other than jeans and sweat pants every now and then. And for her to get all dressed up for our date tonight meant a lot.

I have to confess, that what I wrote in the blow by blow recap of the dinner date is probably not entirely accurate as far as how the evening unfolded. I had to throw in some things in there for dramatic effects. Just like what we see at the start of some movies, "This story is based on real events".

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I MISS THE SUN!!!

It has been several days already of gloomy weather and I am starting to get depressed!!! I know...I know...I shouldn't be complaining because we need the rain to avoid any drought. But I just can't help it. I guess it's human nature to complain and focus on negativity. I feel that I really have to make an effort to look at the positive side but looking at the negative side just comes so easily. But then again, it's probably just me.

This kind of weather brings back memories of Vancouver and Coquitlam Canada. We had the wonderful opportunity to live in Coquitlam for more than a year. I had to move out of the US and work in Vancouver on a short term assignment. We got a place in Coquitlam which is further inland because we just find the price of rental properties in Vancouver and nearby cities too much. We managed to rent a gorgeous 3 level townhouse which has 4 bedrooms on the top floor, a formal living and dining on the main level and a finished basement. The place is huge and my oldest daughter loved it becaue she had so much spaces to run around and play. And we were expecting our second child at that time too so can't complain about the huge space. And the best part is that it costs a lot less than what I have to fork out for a small 2 bedroom apartment in the Vancouver area.

The downside though is that I had to commute by train everyday. Well I thought of it as a downside at that time. But now when I look back, it was really a good thing and it was just again my nature to focus on negative instead of the positive. I really have to work on it. Anyway...the reason I say it's a good thing is the perks associated with commuting by train. I didn't have to deal with anything related to driving a car to work anymore like traffic jams, road rage, inconsiderate drivers, road hazards which just add unnecessary stress in my life. I have a valid excuse to leave the office at a certain time otherwise I am going to miss my train. I managed to take a nap on the train heading home and this gave me an energy boost to spend quality time with my kids and wife before retiring for the day.

Vancouver is a wonderful place. It's just that if you're not used to gloomy weather that goes on and on and on....you will have a tough time adjusting. I know this because my wife and I went through it. We were born and raised in Asia where the sun is out practically all year round. So it was tough on me but moreso with my wife because she couldn't do much with the kids in that kind of weather. At least that's how we felt about it. But if we stayed there longer, we probably would have adjusted in the long run. We made lots of friends there. My oldest daughter celebrated her 5th birthday day and I couldn't believe how many friends she has already in less than a year. Same with me and my wife. So we really enjoyed our stay there.

I saw my good buddy James today at the office. Too bad, we didn't get to spend time to talk because he has to catch a flight back to Phoenix, AZ. But I will be seeing him in about 2 weeks because I will be going there on business. He's actually my boss.


But in the meantime, I will probably be joining my kids when they sing the Barney song..."Oh mister sun, sun, mister golden sun, please shine down on me...". At least until the weather improves.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back to School Day


Today is back to school day for our oldest daughter Cheryl. She was so excited to go back to school and meet her friends again. She always say that she likes going to school but doesn't like being away from her younger sister Abby. She loves to play with Abby and it is such a joy to watch the two get along well. Of course, there's occasional bickering specially now that our youngest daughter's favorite word is MINE. But they generally get along well and I have to give Cheryl credit for that. We can see that she puts in the effort to make things work.


Abby misses her sister. She got so used to her older sister being around for the past 2 weeks and suddenly she's alone at home with her mom. She was so happy when school ended and she finally gets to spend time with Cheryl.


Thank you Lord for my sweet little angels. They certainly make life worth living.

My First Day in School after Christmas...

Today is the first day of school. I'm having lots of fun! And I'm glad to see my friends again. But I dont want to go back to school because I will not get to spend time with mommy daddy and Abby. Today I finished 10 jobs. And at lunch I sat with Lulu Sarah Marry Eva Sandy and Gezelin.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fruitful Day

Today was a good day. It's a tiring day but a fruitful day. I managed to accomplish quite a bit at work.

One of my close friends in the office is leaving the company to spend time with her family. Her name is Wendy. She's close to me and my wife. We go way back to the Y2K days. I am going to miss her. But I am so happy for her and I am a bit envious because she gets to spend a lot of time with her loved ones. How cool is that!!! I wish I could do the same but somebody's gotta work to pay the bills. But I am looking forward to be able to do the same thing in the near future. And I will make it a point to stay in touch with her. Wendy if you are reading this, I promise. Weiwei's right beside me and she says the same thing.

My daughters had a play date today with Andrew who is such a wonderful and very outspoken boy. Jessica brought him over to our place. Well, he's really my youngest daughters play pal. My oldest daughter kinda watches over them like a true loving big sister she is. I am just so thankful to be blessed with such a loving daughter who has really took it upon herself to make sure that her younger sister is taken care of.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

My Drum Lessons DVD has arrived

I am so excited because I got the drum lessons DVD that I have ordered. I felt like I have plateaued (hope I got that right) with my drum skills and I have been wanting to go for advance face-to-face lessons. I have looked around but unfortunately, lessons cost quite a lot. It's funny because when we look for music instrument lessons for Cheryl, the first thing that we focus on is the quality of the lessons then the cost. But for us oldies, we immediately focus on the cost before the quality. I wonder why is that? I'm thinking maybe because the old adage "You can't teach old dogs new tricks" plays in my subliminal mind so I immediately think it's a waste of money. But with my kids, I know that they are at the stage where they can really get the full benefit from lessons because they are still young and my thinking is more of an investment for their future. Right or wrong, I just think at my age, it's not worth investing anymore.....

Anyway, I cannot wait to plug that drums lessons dvd in and start working on my chops. I think this option is better since I have full control on when to practice and it's a one shot payment. Plus the fact that if I'm not happy with the product, I can always return it without any questions asked.

One more thing, I have made a commitment to start working out again. As in, really stick to it. I did it before and I know I can do it again. And hopefully this time around it'll be for good. I managed to stay fit for almost 4 years. But when my youngest arrived, I just found it harder and harder to stick to my exercise routine until I finally went back to my old ways.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

It's the start of 2008 and I reflect on the past just like what I usually do at the start of every year. And as always, I marveled at the plentiful blessings that we have received in 2007. I am just humbled at what the Lord has provided to our family.

We lost 2 loved ones in 2007. I lost my dad in June and my mother-in-law in November. Two losses that we expected to happen in 2007. But in spite of the preparations for it, it wasn't easy. I had a really hard time dealing with my loss since I wasn't able to go back to the Philippines and spend time with my dad in his dying moments. Until now, there is a lingering sense of non-closure but it's getting better. My wife managed to go back home to Singapore and spend time with her mom in the hospital before she later on slipped into a coma and finally passed away. We both miss my dad and my mother-in-law so much specially during this past Christmas season. Christmas is my dad's favorite time of the year because in the Philippines, this is the time when our family gets to see each other in one gathering.

So what do I think of 2008?
1. It will be a time of healing for me and my wife.
2. It will be a time of rejoicing for we know that wonderful blessings are just around the corner
3. It will be a time of reconnecting with old friends and connecting with new ones
4. It will be a time of change

To anybody reading this post, I wish you a Blessed New Year!!!