Birthday Painting

paintingLast night, my NYC homegirls and my loving husband, Brian, surprised me BIG TIME .  For my birthday, they treated me to dinner and drinks at Pastis!!! (chosen for the French cuisine, the French fries, and the fact that it was the location for one of Brian’s “Sex and the City” episodes!)  Plus, Cyn was in town from Haiti!  IE: I was surrounded by my VIPeeps on my birthday!  The biggest surprise of all was the beautiful painting collaboration that they created for me.  Of course, it made me bawl my eyeballs out.  I was so touched.  I love my girls!  Here’s the museum-ready description that they put together to accompany it:

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Cynthia Casasola, Liz Casasola, Cori Kaylor, Anne Tamayo
“A Girl Named Ardith” (June 2009)
Acrylic on canvas
16×20 in.

Four friends of Ardith created this piece to celebrate her birthday.  They each drew something that symbolizes Ardith.  The circles represent eternity and the infinite gratitude and connection those feel for her.  The circles also represent halos for her angel-like qualities.  The heart represents Ardith’s big, open heart, her generosity of spirit, and the abundance of love she has to share.  The gem represents a rare find, as is her friendship to many.  The flowers represent Ardith’s beauty inside and out.  She sees and brings out the beauty in everyone and that makes her beautiful.  The two flowers represent Ardith and her sister, Arlene.  Arlene is an important part of Ardith’s life so the two flowers represent how close they are to each other.  The sun represents her sunny and radiant personality, as well as hailing from California.  It also represents a part of the Philippine flag, because she is a proud Filipino.  The ocean waves represent Ardith’s love of the islands and her dream of living there one day with her family and friends.

The tree that joins all the elements together represent Ardith’s roots — she represents stability, strength, and wiseness to her friends and family.  The tree also represents Ardith’s alma mater — Stanford.  It is also reminiscent of the Japanese culture, which she has embraced in her life.  The multitude of colors in the background represent Ardith’s many layers as a person as well as her depth.

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Awwwww!  Thanks for a birthday that I’ll never forget!

Me, Cyn, Cori, Anne, Liz

Me, Cyn, Cori, Anne, Liz

Pru also hung out with us to make the birthday celebration complete!

Pru also hung out with us to make the birthday celebration complete!

Last but not least, here I am with my boo, Brian.  I must've done something really good to have him in my life!

Last but not least, here I am with my boo, Brian. I must've done something really good to have him in my life!

2009 Philippine Independence Day Parade – NYC

Cori, Anne, Cory Aquino (aka Liz Casasola), & Ardith @ NYC Filipino Day 2009

Cori, Anne, Cory Aquino (aka Liz Casasola), & Ardith (Photo courtesy of Cori Kaylor)

Today was absolute chaos at the Philippine Independence Day Parade and Festival here in NYC!  Chaotic in both good and bad ways… It’s always an amazing feeling to be surrounded by THOUSANDS of Filipinos who are out celebrating their Pinoy Pride.  But it was SO packed that it was almost impossible to get food!  The one booth we chose even ran out of rice!  Needless to say, the crowd was appalled!  “Can you ee-MAHHHhh-jeen!?!”  Oh well…  It was still well worth the 45-minute wait for our 2 skewers of BBQ pork and the high price of my hair stinking like sweat and smokey, barbecued meat.

While I may be proud to be Filipino, I had no intention of showing up at the festival until the very end… Only our homegirl, Liz Casasola, could drag us out of bed before noon on a weekend!  She was scheduled to walk with fellow cast members for “Imelda – The Musical” which will open in NYC in September 2009.  She’ll play the role of Cory Aquino!…  She wisely gave us a 12:15pm time to show up at the parade.  So, Brian and I ran up to Madison Park by 12:30pm which meant we were in time for the REAL appearance of Liz in the parade at 2:15pm.  (I should’ve known she was gonna use the Filipino Time trick on us!)  Of course, we love Liz and we’re so proud of her!  You should all buy your Imelda tickets today!

All in all, it was a fun, sunny day in NYC hanging with the girls and bumping into old friends in the crowd.  Before we left, someone stopped and pointed to the stage and asked me, “What’s going on here?”  Being the big Filipino dork that I am, I shouted, “IT’S FILIPINO DAY!”  One day, I hope no one will have to wonder.  People will just KNOW that it’s Filipino Day.  Watch out!