belated happy birthday Marilyn Chingbingyong !


Marilyn, hubby and sons. Still pretty after all these years! ūüôā

belated happy birthday (10th May) to Ms Marilyn Chingbingyong – Villanueva !

For all the corny jokes laughed at, all the unfunny antics that won you over,

All the puns that you went along with, and the boring stories you pretended to like,

All the smiles that inspired and melted a lot of SJCS hearts,

All those e-mails and hellos exchanged, and the high school years that flew past,

All the birthdays remembered and missed, and the future reunions,

thanks for being our batchmate, Marilyn, so sorry for the late greeting, regards to your family, and many happy returns!

YLB Noel

( PS. Thanks Marianne for the lovely pic ! )

belated happy birthday Rosemarie So – Cheng !


Our lovely birthday celebrant Rosemarie (left) with equally lovely kabatch Rowena Ong Siong – Co

Belated happy birthday (9th May) to one of the nicest SJCS 82 batchmates we’ll ever know, Ms Rosemarie So – Cheng !

We’ve been classmates with Rose only twice in St Jude if memory serves, once in pre-school and the next time almost 10 years later in high school.

Both times were memorable.  She was the sis we never had, woke us up to the reality of having pretty seatmates that you could both admire and be friends with, copy notes from and share baon (bagged lunches) with.

Years later, we are so happy to see her as a wonderful wife to classmate Ricky and awesome mom to their beautiful children.  Rose and Ricky have gone through good and bad times, and all of these experiences have strengthened their love for each other.

But you don’t have to take our word for it, you only have to look at them to know for sure, which we hope to see on our 30th anniversary reunion! ūüôā

So sorry for the belated greeting Rose, hope you had a wonderful birthday, regards to Ricky and your family, and many happy returns!

YLB Noel

 

the muscle memory of post-tobacco addiction


A smoking room at the airport in Perth, Australia. Do you think this idea is something Pinoys will like?

WOULD YOU like an explanation of the title before I go any further?¬† Here it is.¬† Muscle memory by popular definition is the “second nature” acquired by your muscles from movements and activities you perform regularly, over long periods of time.¬† Examples are your leg muscles acclimatizing themselves to the long grind of distance running, your biceps, triceps and latissimus dorsi muscles getting used to your lifting deadweights, etc.¬† Sometimes the use of the term muscle memory is extended to both athletic and non-athletic activities, because so much of our daily lives is governed by routine.Despite the fact that I’ve given up tobacco smoking for almost five years now, it’s mildly unnerving to know that just the sight of people smoking triggers an almost primal urge in me to light up myself, even though I live with the conviction that I’ve conquered said addiction albeit after almost a quarter of a century.¬† I won’t mislead you and say it was a breeze, for I’ve hurdled and stumbled on quite a few bumps in the road on the way to freedom from cancer sticks, but on the other hand I won’t squash even the faintest hopes for addiction recovery, and tell you it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.¬† It wasn’t, and if you can get through the first week, you’re probably three-fourths of the way home.

But I digress.¬† Today I just want to focus on the little slivers and morsels that remind me of the Way of Life that is tobacco smoking, and how indirectly they might help you to find out who’s a smoker, or is still smoking even when he or she says the smoking’s stopped :

These are the nice ways of showing that you are aware that someone has been smoking ūüôā

Aroma, odor and scent.¬† Trust me, no one can smell out a smoker better than someone who no longer smokes.¬† This is first because the ex-smoker has developed an aversion to the aroma of tobacco smoke, which unfortunately stays behind on the personal effects, clothing and dwellings of the ex-smoker’s friends who still smoke.¬† Secondly, the olfactory skills of ex-smokers, which for so long have been desensitized to the daily exposure to tobacoo smoke, have slowly but surely begun to return.¬† The rejuvenation and restoration of nose power awakens the challenge in the ex-smoker to sniff out whatever sensory challenge is out there, and among the edgiest challenges is to find out who’s been smoking the most among wretched still-smoking friends.¬† I’ll never forget the words of a confirmed quitter : passive smoke never sticks enough to your shirt, car, and especially not on your breath to stay with you the rest of the day.¬† When an ex-smoker says he/she smells of passive smoke, odds are it’s smoker’s smoke, duh.

Smoking, like misery, loves company, so this cat will have to do.

Misery loves company, smoker’s haunts, and endless breaks.¬† No value judgment here, but in the name of satisfying a nicotine fit, you’d be surprised to what lengths a smoker will go.¬† After smoking has caught you in its tender embrace, it becomes your Number One Priority to light up every time you feel like it, every half hour of the day, every day of the week, and every week of the year.¬† Because of this, productivity, work ethic, and finally common sense all bow to the mighty ciggy.¬† So that after the mid-morning break, there’s the pre-lunch cigaret break, then lunchbreak gets extended by a quarter-hour for a post-meal smoke, 3.00 merienda is quickly followed by a post-merienda trip to the sidewalk vendor, and just before bundy time, why not break for a yosi among friends?

And smokers enjoy a conspiratorial fraternity that keeps everyone else out and swears each of its members to cooperation and secrecy.¬† When one smoker smokes, chances are he or she will ask a co-smoker or two to tag along.¬† And if there are deserted, rarely-visited areas of a building, even if that entire building is supposed to be a no-smoking area, those half-hidden places will evolve into smokers’ haunts forever.¬† This is why, outside all-night call centers on Emerald Ave on Ortigas Center, you see groups of smokers everyday of the workweek, inside and outside the building.¬† Each building is like one giant chimney that never stops spewing smoke, it would be hilariously funny if it weren’t so dangerous to the health.

There’s always an excuse to smoke.¬† When I was a smoker, I smoked after a heavy meal, when I needed some heavy-duty thinking, when I was happy, when I was depressed, when I just finished doing the nasty, or just about every waking activity between getting up and going to bed.¬† Pretty soon, you don’t need an excuse anymore, because it’s part of your daily routine, and before long, it becomes part of your system.¬† You can’t conceive of a life without smoking, and it takes a life-changing event to consider quitting, like a near-hit with terminal illness or death.

I didn’t have a near-hit, but I saw enough close calls to say, enough is enough.¬† I still get the urges and never finish a day of my life without once thinking of smoking, but I know where I would’ve ended up if I hadn’t quit when I did.¬† It’s never too late to stop smoking, and now is as good a time as any.¬† As the TelstraClear ad says, now’s good.

Thanks for reading !

ate Shawie Stone, her yaya/nanny, & the basic instinct about Pinoy stereotypes


Yayas, nannies and maids. Also known as our modern OFW heroines. Thanks and acknowledgment to kerrycollison.blogspot.com !

[ Note : congratulations to Kinoy Wellingtonian Julianne Alvarez for her nomination as finalist for Emerging Sportswoman of the Year at the Wellington Sports Awards ! Woohoo! ]

IF STEREOTYPES are to be believed, then the typical Pinay-Pinoy is a perfect nurse / caregiver / nanny, is also an above-average seaman /¬†IT¬†engineer / call center agent, speaks understandable English, is good enough to be an American Idol finalist, is a Nike endorser-level athlete, is¬†God-fearing, can work anywhere in the world and gets along with a rainbow of races, and never forgets to return the bag containing personal effects you¬†misplace, whether it’s yesterday’s¬†leftovers or US$250,000 cash.

But these are only the sunny side of stereotypes, the side we love hearing about and showing off to our non-Pinoy friends, hey look this is my countryman / countrywoman, but what we’re really saying is hey look this is me, ain’t it cool?¬†

The flip side of the stereotype, the one so prominently displayed in a recent article I read about an imminent legal confrontation between a former A-lister Sharon Stone and her former nanny, is the one we would rather not hear about.

For now, the stereotype I prefer focusing on his the one/s that refer to nannies, who we affectionately call our yayas (and which term I’ll use, if you don’t mind)¬†till the end of this page).¬† And as it turns out, the stereotype my memories are summoning are not really stereotypes, but things the Pinoy yayas are actually known for.

When my yaya took care of me, she bathed me, dressed me, wiped my bottom, brought me to school, took me home, read to me, put me to sleep, went to sleep herself, and did the whole routine again until I could do these things myself.  I think it speaks for itself how important she was to me.

Years and years later, at the swanky retirement village in our suburb (which isn’t really swanky cause old people are abandoned there by children who can afford a slightly better retirement home than normal), Pinoy caregivers bathe their patients, dress them, wipe their bottoms, bring them to the park, take them home, read to them, put them to sleep, go to sleep themselves, and repeat the whole thing the next day.¬† They do this lovingly as if the patients were parents of their own, without complaint, go far beyond the requirements of fifteen dollars an hour, and by far are the most requested nationality when it comes to choice of caregivers, and I suspect this is true in many many places in New Zealand.

The difference between my yaya of 1970s and the retirement village yayas of 2012?  Besides the temporal gap of 40 years, absolutely nothing.

Tita Shawie, for all her linguistic, intellectual and non-sectarian requirements, could’ve gotten a British governess, French chef and an expert on political correctness to take care of her children for her, and with due respect, the level of care provided by her Pinay yaya would not have been possible.

Two caveats here : the facts as alleged by her former yaya may or may not be accurate, as most lawyerly allegations should be taken with a grain of salt.¬† Secondly, as mentioned, Pinoy stereotypes are always two-faced like a coin.¬† We love the positives but hate the negatives.¬† We speak great English but not without our unmistakeable twang, whether we admit it or not.¬† We love our indigenous home-grown Pinoy wisdom, but can’t deny the naivete and ethnocentricism it resonates with.¬† We take pride in our Pinoy traits of industriousness, religiosity and loyalty, but gloss over our love of gossip, parochialism, and crab mentality.¬† We can’t have our puto and kutsinta, and eat it too !

They’ve all put their foot in their mouth before.¬† Liam Neeson and bound Pinays.¬† Claire Danes and her cockroach phobia, and now Sharon Stone and why she inexplicably stood by her Pinoy yaya despite the latter’s imperfections.¬† They are all unfair, generalized and race-insensitive comments.¬† But they all contain all contain a kernel of truth in them, or at least a morsel of commentary about Philippine reality.

Each time we bathe in the glow of a positive Pinoy stereotype, it would do well for us to remember that there is most likely an equal and opposite negative stereotype lurking in the shadows ready to strike.  Forewarned is forearmed.

Thanks for reading!

before boy meets (First) world / a sleepover at Papa’s cave


not nearly grown-up, but ready to go :)

I can’t cuddle him anymore, but I can still pose with him…

[ Note : I think I’ve exceeded my quota for senti (sentimental) blogs.¬† Hope you’ve got patience for one more, thanks again to all who wished Your Loyal kabayan a happy birthday! ]

SOONER OR later, we all surrender to the conceit that our children are miniatures, replicas, or worse, clones of ourselves.  With due respect, this is not true.  To an uncanny extent, they may resemble us, but each child we help bring into this world is the sum of unique features, feelings and experiences that the world has never seen before and will surely never see again.  The sooner we disabuse ourselves of this sometimes restricting belief, the better. 

Having said that, I still gawked, beholding him,¬†at how Bunso reminded me of a three-dimensional photograph of myself 30 years ago.¬† Even his height was nearly identical with mine, and his voice, strangely, was even deeper than my own.¬† I kept telling myself as he and Ganda prepared for an almost-surreal sleepover with me and esposa hermosa¬†that I hadn’t seen him for more than two years, during which the features that would define him for the rest of his life, were carved into his youthful countenance.¬† But in between jokes and woohoos, I had to do a double- and triple- take just to make sure it was really him.

At least on the surface, he never lost the warmth and engaging manner that so won me over when I raised him with his mother.  Even in all his baby and toddler pictures you would almost never see him frown or cry, he was bubbly, bouncing, grinning, all the things you identify with an ideal infant.  Perhaps he had the comparative advantage of having his bro and sis to always make him laugh, and I like to delude myself witht the thought that all the perceived mistakes his mom and I committed with his kuya and ate, were at least noted and undertaken not to be repeated, with Bunso.

[ Before I say anything else, I thank and acknowledge his mom (who I hope will come across this one day) who not only was and is an exemplary mother to him and his siblings but also moved heaven and earth (with her husband’s invaluable help and support) to bring them to NZ asap as soon as she was apprised of impending complications in the migration and documentation process. Kudos! ]

*** *** *** *** ***

But maybe I wasn’t being realistic. He didn’t ask the hard questions I expected, like why didn’t you and Mom work harder at staying together, if only for our sakes (I actually thought he would ask this unanswerable question sometime during the weekend); why did I see so little of you the last five years (understandable because I was away, but I knew that he was thinking of video chat and later Skype), and why did it have to be Mom to bring us here (she had the permanent resident status, and if it helps any, I would always be there for backup and support). He asked none of these questions and the hypothetical answers remained hypothetical.

But he did have pointed queries on how much of an impact I was prepared to make on his immediate future. He left behind an unfinished freshman year at the Blue Eagle school (made possible by generous relatives), would not for the interim be able to prove his aptitude for converting academic prowess into real-world smarts, and for that there would always be a modicum of regret. Left unsaid in that discussion was the overridiing consideration of obtaining residence in New Zealand, a gigantic and unquantifiable asset in their lives for decades to come. All that he needed to know was whether I would be there to continue extending to him the assist and support he would need to improve his lot in life in a helpful adopted country. How could I refuse him?

Because of all the catching up we did (and with Ganda and Panganay as well), the sentences we completed for each other, and the memories we couldn’t help but revive (mostly on their toddlerhoods but a little of mine as well, courtesy of stories shared by their Nana), Saturday and Sunday zoomed past like a blur.

I do owe you some highlights : he ran around the suburb with me both mornings he was here, patiently answered the back story questions as we watched Avengers (he had seen it in the Philippines), and lo and behold, asked to borrow, if I had any, books on political histories and biographies to stem the growing tide of his boredom. Both genres, after S.King and J.Grisham, were among my favorites. How could I not like this young man?

Without my telling him, he shared my reading interests, he was unfailingly polite, and he was prepared to forgive me for my many shortcomings. And assuming we would have him again, he expressed a great interest in coming back to our humble home, with his unflappable sister.

Not a bad first sleepover with Bunso, don’t you think?¬† And a great way to welcome him to Middle Earth, Pinoy-style!

Thanks for reading !

Thanks for reading!

Talent, persistence, my friend Dennis, and his July 20th Music Museum gig


Everyone has a purpose in life…a unique gift or special talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals. Deepak Chopra

TALENT AND PERSISTENCE are a lethal combination.  According to a wise man, former US President Calvin Coolidge, the world is full of talented failures.  On the other hand, persistence takes you miles further than if you simply had talent.  Says one of my favorite authors Mr Stephen King, what separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.  How could you disagree with either of them?

My friend Dennis Sy, whom I have known since we were snot-nosed and in shorts, is blessed to have the first, but is destined to have a lifelong supply of the second.  He has always been gifted with The Voice, but he has cultivated it, shared it, and is not afraid to continue improving it like good wine.

He works well solo, supported by a band, or blending in with a chorus of equally beautiful voices, like his crew Chapter 2.¬† They have been acclaimed musicians in the Tri-State area on the US East Coast, have been honored by the L.A. Music Awards, and have been recognized by the Asian and Filipino communities of New Jersey and New York.¬† If you need further proof that they’re good, Dennis and Chapter 2 were the first Filipino band to perform at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall,¬† New York. ūüôā

May I add a third ingredient to talent and persistence, when searching for success and happiness?  I humbly propose that when you push the limit of your persistence and talent for the objective of helping the less fortunate in life, then you can do no wrong.  Success and happiness are almost an afterthought, but it comes naturally.

And this is exactly what Dennis is doing, for the street children of Cainta Rizal through the New Hope to Asia Foundation.  His concert at the Music Museum on July 20th is for one night only, but the benefits and good vibes will be paid forward for days and days to come.

Speaking for my grade school friend, I daresay that he would love for you and yours to come.

Thanks for reading!

Noel

PS. Starting 25th May, tickets will be available online on ticketworld.  Woohoo!

belated happy birthday Mary Ann Ong – Carranceja !


Hope you don’t mind Mary Ann our using your Grade V pic with Noemi Bolanos and Marilyn Uy Lee! advance thanks !

belated happy birthday (6th May) to a ultra-nice kabatch, Ms Mary Ann Ong – Carranceja!

We don’t easily forget people like Mary Ann.¬† She took great¬† notes, never lost her composure when called on for recitation by the teacher, and was always ready for a laugh or too, even with the rowdiest bunch in class, be it the boys, girls or both!

Years and years later, her smiles and happy online one-liners always make your day, and you thank God for a batchmate like her.

So sorry for the late greeting MAO, hope your birthday was lovely and memorable, as each birthday should be, blessings always to your loved ones and family, and many happy returns!

YLB Noel

myPinoy view : the eternal enigma of the complex conquistador chinese character


Philippine flag planted on Scarborough Shoal

Philippine flag planted on Scarborough Shoal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SURPRISE QUIZ QUESTION :  What do (1) an Asian migrant, (2) the Philippine government, (3) the Chinese government, and (4) the Scarborough Shoal have in common?

Answer : absolutely nothing, other than the fact that (1) is a loyal subject of (2), had grandparents that came from (3), and is in a few moments going to tell whoever has the time to listen what he feels about (4) and the potential for a big airport-scuffle-like confrontation that is right now festering.

Before I connect subject to predicate, please let me first explain.¬† Like many labors of love, blogging is one enterprise that will never make me rich, no matter if I squeeze blood out of the keyboard for your precious readership. There are fringe benefits, though.¬† I don’t need to do any of the following : research except the barest Googling; no such thing as a blogger’s code of ethics (although commonsense is encouraged), diplomacy or even the need to make perfect sense.¬† Half the time I just need to make an opinion, think out loud and see if you agree with me.¬† If you do that’s great, if not, well the comments section always has room for one more. ūüôā

Which is just a roundabout way for me to try to make some sense out of PROC‘s behavior on that very small islet west of Zambales, on literally a piece of rock that has no value whatsover save for the fact that it may be sitting on trillions and trillions of buckets of fossil fuel and/or natural gas deposits, quite a lot of Santacruzan procession generators or Chinese lantern batteries that would light up, don’t you think?

I was born a Pinoy, will very likely die a Pinoy, but at least two out of my four grandparents were very Chinese, and so my salakot and cheongsam, while not a fashion statement, go very well with my mestizo psyche.  I grew up straddling two cultures, loving one and appreciating the other, and understand (and remain befuddled by) a bit of both.  The occasion calls for shedding a little penlight on the seemingly uncivil and bullying behavior of our Chinese cousins, and here it is :

the Great Wall mentality.¬† Anytime you can claim to have the eighth man made wonder of the world, boast of a former empire that stretched across multiple continents, and be a recent over-the-top host of the modern Olympics, you have a right to hold your head high in the international community of nations, trust me.¬† And this is exactly what China is doing, and hoping that because¬†of its stature as a once and future superpower, everyone takes notice in a positive way.¬† Any map will show you that at least three countries (the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan ) enjoy at least an equal right to the Scarborough Shoal with that of the Already Awakened Giant but, in the latter’s version of distorted reality, it doesn’t matter.¬† Centuries before, everything on the Indochinese peninsula and all archipelagoes eastward were what we now call satellite states that regularly paid tribute to the current Son of Heaven, the sitting Emperor.

Trite as it may sound, but it wasn’t called the South China Sea (as it is now) for nothing.¬† Centuries later, owing to its military and economic might, China¬†is at home in its Conquest of Empire mode¬†as it is with spring rolls and chive dumplings, laying claim to everything it beholds and beyond, including the Spratleys, Scarborough Shoal and the neighborhood takeaway that’s sold out of noodles every¬†Friday night.

Persecution complex.¬† If you can believe it, while China views itself as both an ancient and modern empire wielding power and influence far beyond its borders, it also views itself incredibly¬†as a whipping boy / punching bag by other global empires, superpowers and pretenders to the throne.¬† There is some historical basis for this.¬† After the Opium War forced China to sign the first of what it called the Unequal Treaties, China’s coastal cities were carved up between the power players of the day, as part of the price it paid for daring to stand up to¬†the that era’s Coalition of the Willing.¬† At odd times in the 20th century, China has sided with despots of genocidal regimes, totalitarian dynasties and even extremist Islamic governments all because it perceives itself to be a long-suffering victim of Western opportunism and capitalist oppression, self-serving jargon barely tolerated by only the most desperate fringe groups outside China.¬† All this, despite the latter being one of the greatest beneficiaries of so-called Western decadence (Chinese manufacturing serves the First World, first and foremost) and again, despite the latter holding perhaps the largest reserves of US dollar-denominated Treasury¬†bonds on Earth.¬†

How does this link up to Scarborough Shoal?¬† Simply put, despite the odious perception of itself as a regional bully, China simply justifies its actions as payback for all the bullying it received in the past, not the least from the Philippines’ most powerful patron on the other side of the pond.¬† Not all the joint war games, saber rattling and diplomatic tongue-lashing will deter PROC from its divine directive to secure East Asian hegemony as the emergent Beast of the East.

***               ***               ***               ***               ***

Years and years ago in primary school, our classrooms were often divided into pro-Taiwan, pro-Communist China, and the neutral camps.¬† The first group came from families of those loyal to President Chiang Kai-Shek and the Taiwanese republic he founded, which swore to reclaim the Chinese mainland but never did.¬† The second group came from families who believed that China’s destiny as a future superpower would not come about unless it walked the Communist path or righteousness.¬† And of course there were students like us who neither knew nor cared how things were actually gonna turn out.

The only common ground all three groups shared that at some not-too-distant point in the future, we somehow knew that China would evolve into a force to contend with, and its potential to do anything it wanted as a monolithic force of nature was limitless.  None of us realized how accurate this foreknowledge was going to be.

And if you will forgive a terribly simplistic view of why China recklessly throws its weight around, we are reminded of a classmate who¬†asked us if we knew why a dog licked its private parts?¬† Answer : Because it can.¬† Replace dog with the Middle Kingdom and lick its private parts (actually balls is the operative word) with take what it wants and it’s a cool nugget of wisdom, actually.

Thanks for reading !

squeezing two years & four months into 48 hours


after two years, the ladies of our life get together ūüôā

[ Note  : Notorious as I am for hardly making sense, you will indulge me I hope, as it is my 47th today.  I am overwhelmed by the birthday greetings on Yahoo! Facebook and elsewhere, I will thank you all soon! ]

I STARTED the eve of this ADHD / dyslexia enamored blogger’s birthday quite oddly, experiencing something unfelt the last five years.

For the first time since forever, all three of our progeny were in one site, two in our¬† very own household, and we had just taken in two years’ worth of stories in roughly 60 minutes from the female of this brood.¬† Before that, we had just viewed a Johnny Depp movie that’s always a joy to watch, and before that, a coffee-donut snack.¬† Everything preceded by a Thai fastfood lunch that was spicy and full of light laughter.

I admit that all these were rare treats we occasionally indulged in, but in fairness to everyone concerned, it was a felicitous occasion.  Even Panganay, who had his issues with his siblings in the past, allowed himself his Sunday best behavior and shy smiles for his own sister. 

The honest truth is, I wanted to take a break not just from my peripatetic blogging, but also running, my infantile toy collecting, and picking up all sorts of reading materials in garage sales, second hand shops and the like. 

I had wanted to prepare for an exam that would help me towards certification in my job, but the opportunity to meet even just one out of two sorely missed children was too good to miss.

And because I had such a nice time this last weekend with Ganda, Esposa hermosa and even Panganay, I wanted to share such with you, even if it was only in a few short words.

A last reminder :  I am truly astounded by the number of well-wishers and people who remembered my happy day, from all over the global Pinoy village.  I will definitely thank each and every one of you, individually and in this site, but for now let me express humble thanks and acknowledgment for honoring Your Loyal Blogger Noel  last 14th, wohoo!

Next week, hopefully, we meet and bond with Bunso.  Another woohoo!

belated happy birthday Evelyn Go – Sy !


Evelyn, on extreme left, with other beauties of SJCS Batch 82 : Eunice Cobankiat-Pascual, Arlene Ayuste, and Annette Sy. ūüôā

Belated happy birthday (1st May) to Ms Evelyn Go – Sy!

Even when we were in high school, Evelyn was always the soft-spoken reserved sort.

She wasn’t the talkative, gregarious type, but when she did have something to say, it was usually insightful, and often left you pondering on the impact of those few words.

She hasn’t changed much, but still chooses her words carefully.¬† When she takes you aside and you end up discussing life and how good it has been to you, you end up wondering how much you missed not listening to her more.

The great thing is after all these years, Evelyn is still your friend and batchmate, as she is to every member of the batch.

Thanks for the years of friendship, Evelyn, so sorry for the late greeting, and hope you had every wish granted on your birthday!

YLB Noel