Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why Am I Not Surprised?

I always get sick in the middle of May, every year. I always come down with something days before my birthday. Sometimes, this happens after my birthday. Half the time, it's on my actual birthday. This year, I thought I'd be scot free but nooooooo...

I had a stress-induced asthma attack last Monday. I had to stay home from work. Right now, I have colds and a cough. My friend, Rosey, is stressed too, that hives are breaking out on her hands.

One thing's for sure. I can't wait for the weekend.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Birthday Surprises

my cake from the husband

my own copy of Koushun Takami's Battle Royale, also from the husband

I love my birthdays. This one is no exception!

Friday, May 18, 2012

No Less

On my birthday, my awesome friends gave me a Nobel Prize winner.

Thank you for my copy of Yasunari Kawabata's The Old Capital. I'm very happy.

The husband also gave me a book for my birthday: George RR Martin's A Dance With Dragons.

I'm a lucky girl.


I turned 30 yesterday. It wasn't as bad as I thought. There wasn't any fanfare nor any pricey gifts involved, but I felt very happy. Most importantly, I felt at peace.

I guess I just beat myself up too much sometimes.  I chose this lifestyle - that of a wife and mom with a corporate career. Add homeowner and soon-to-be student (again, because I'm going back to school to take up Diploma in Teaching SpEd) to the list, and I've got myself a very full plate. I'm the kind of person who really takes accountability for my choices so I also have to take what comes with all of those roles that I have to fill.

At work, I am required to be driven and I feel that I should always be in pursuit of excellence so clearly, it can get pretty stressful. Unfortunately, this spills over to other aspects of my life. There's nothing wrong with aiming for perfection and striving for being the best but, to keep my sanity, I have to take a step back and breathe. I aim to do this not just in my profession and the work that I do, but most especially in my personal life.

As a wife, I will be loving and supportive. I will continue to be the heart of this home.
As a mom, I will be there for my daughter, even if I am tired. I will drop everything in a heartbeat for her, because she is my all.
In my career, I will continue to learn. I will be humble and I will help. I will do things excellently because my gifts are meant to be used.
As a daughter, sister and friend, I will be a source of positivity and fun.

I will laugh. I will laugh long and hard. I will not take things too seriously.
I will reflect. I will think. I will continue to explore my self and my potential. I will pray.
I will continue to be grateful. I will not take people for granted.
I will take risks, I will care. I will give a damn, because my daughter deserves to live and grow in a world that will make her flourish.
I will read more. I will sing, even if I sing off-key. I will write. I will travel more. I will learn.
I will make more money. I will grow it. I will invest.
I will make mistakes, but I will try again. I will be humble enough to ask for help.
Lastly, I will love. I will love fiercely and I will forgive.

Happy birthday to me!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kiss, Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

Yesterday was awful just like Katy Perry's blue hair on the Adidas ad on TV. I think of myself as someone resilient and brave and with chutzpah that's larger than life. Nothing really shakes me easily, but like I said, I've been down in the dumps lately so it kind of felt like I was getting one blow after another.

I hate being sad and whiny. It makes me feel like crap because I've always equated being sad to being weak. And weakness makes me belch. It's not my style. Like wedge heels and low rise jeans.

Other people are going through tougher things, through very tragic things that have turned their worlds upside down, and here I am whining  and complaining. It's shameful, really.

My issues are really petty and trivial. I'm embarrassed by how I'm making these things such a big deal. No more.

Kiss, that's enough.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It Can't Rain All The Time

Things have been really tough for me work-wise lately, truth be told. Only a few people know the whole story - people like my mom, the husband and my good friend, A. My other friends might know snippets of it but they really have no idea. Worse, others might have conjured up wild theories about what I'm going through based on measly tweets and spur-of-the-moment Facebook rants. Seriously, what you read doesn't really paint a complete picture, believe me. It's funny how those who know so little have so much to say. (I'm okay if people speculate about what's going on because that's part of human nature, I guess, but some can be just so malicious when they do it, it's maddening!)

All I can say is it's insulting to be bypassed and overlooked. It hurts because you know you're capable and efficient albeit wanting in terms of concrete direction and inspiring leadership. It's a real test of humility, that's for sure. I've been snappy and a little mean-spirited to some of those I work with, to say the least. I'm not proud of it because it's really just a coping mechanism for all the things that have been dished my way as of late. I've asked myself a lot of questions because soul-searching is inevitably part and parcel of going through a miserable funk.

Do I deserve this?
What should I have done?
How did it get to this?
Is it still worth it?
Should I just walk away?

I don't have the answers up to now, sad to say. One thing's for sure, I'm going to soldier on. I love this job and I believe that when you love something, you don't pick only the parts that are pleasant.

The world may be unfair, but it likes balance, so here's to hoping things will be so much better soon.

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Mom's Pearls

I've long succumbed to the fact that I don't look good in pearls. Plus, some of my superstitious Chinese friends have always told me pearls should never be worn during weddings. Pearls, they say, represent tears, and since weddings should be happy occasions, they're a no-no. My mom wears pearls, and she doesn't believe in those superstitions. She has a beautiful Mikimoto pearl strand. My dad gave it to her.

Weeks ago, I gave most of my jewelry to my mom for 'cleaning'. Like bags and shoes, they have to be regularly maintained, and their upkeep makes them last longer and look more beautiful. I've always liked jewelry. We're not wealthy but my maternal grandmother buys and sells jewelry. She has a good eye and I think my mom inherited that. I think that's how I got interested in them, as well.

My very first piece was a gold necklace with an anchor chain. I still remember it. I remember choosing it because my dad worked, for many, many years, as an OFW seafarer. I felt that it symbolized him so that's why I really liked it. I don't know where it is now, though. I must have lost it but I had it when I was my daughter's age.

Like I said, I never really cared for pearls that much. I thought only much older women wore them. I prefer yellow gold pieces. I like white gold and rose gold jewelry too. I like stones, too. Diamonds are very pretty. Even if they're small, they're breathtaking. I love diamond solitaire stud earrings. Those are to-die-for. I wish to someday, be able to afford them. I also had emerald earrings before from my grandmother because they're my birthstone. They were very pretty. I think my favorite pieces right now are my rings. I wear three, most of the time. I have two wedding rings: a white gold band from my civil wedding seven years ago and my eternity ring from my church wedding in 2009. I also wear my engagement ring. I wear it between my two wedding rings.

That's Russell, my friends' dog, by the way, and my left hand where I wear my rings.

The eternity ring is the husband's favorite piece on me. It's delicate and very pretty. My mom has a yellow gold omega necklace that I love to borrow. I get nervous when I wear it because I might lose it and my mom would never let me hear the end of it, I'm sure.

That's me with the husband and I'm wearing the omega necklace and my silver nameplate necklace. 
And yes, go ahead, I say mix your metals!

I think jewelry is a very girly thing. It's part and parcel of being female. Oh, this entry is about the pearls from my mom. Here they are. Would you wear them?

awful photo taken by my phone

I wore them to my grade school reunion and got some compliments. I think I'll wear them more often now.

To Be 12 Again

Last Saturday, I attended my grade school reunion. I went to Saint Joseph's Academy in Mandaue City for elementary before I transferred to Saint Theresa's College for high school. I spent seven years there because I was there from Prep to sixth grade.

I reconnected with my grade school classmates - most of whom I haven't seen in over 15 years! We held it in the school function hall/auditorium. What made this reunion special was that our classmates from different parts of the world came to attend it. I don't know if our organizers purposely scheduled the reunion in May. You see, Mandaue City's fiesta falls on May 8th. My classmates from the US, Australia, Singapore and the UAE were able to file their leaves in advance and attend both the fiesta and the reunion. I hope that made their trips worth it.

The reunion was organized mostly on and through Facebook. We had very hardworking organizers. I'm glad everyone came together because of their diligence and perseverance. They were gung-ho for this event to happen and it did, because their dedication was unbelievable. My only contribution was helping them come up with a theme and ultimately, we decided that "Feeling 12 in 2012" was the right amount of silly, kitschy, cheeky and fun.

Not everyone attended, unfortunately, but we had two teachers present during the event and they said that they've attended other batches' reunions and ours had better turnout. There was a mini sports fest to kick things off to an exciting start, then a Holy Mass (it's a Catholic school, after all) officiated by one of our own who is now an ordained priest, then dinner with games and entertainment. We even had one of Cebu's awesome reggae bands, Burning Culture.

I wanted to dress up for the event because I didn't want to be too casual and dress like I was just going to buy yogurt from the supermarket. The organizers didn't prescribe a dress code and that honestly made things tricky for me. I didn't want to stick out like a sore thumb.

This isn't a fashion blog, but if you know me well enough, you'll know that I love clothes and that I get a fair share of compliments on my style sense. Here's a photo of what I ended up wearing and some photos I took during the reunion.

blue and white dress: H&M | black heels with brown
 ankle straps: Charles and Keith | Pearls: from Mom

(photo above posted with permission from: Jay-Ar Atentar)

The rest of the photos below are mine.

Grade Six Section C reprazent!

Everyone! :)

Needless to say, the evening was a blast and it was great to see everyone so grown up! 'Til the next reunion!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Short Entry For Things That Make Me Tall

My patent black office pumps from Urge gave up on me two days ago. I loved those shoes. They were in shiny patent material with a flat felt bow and nicely-shaped heels. I love details like that. Sadly, I had to throw them away because they really just fell apart. It's okay. I've had them for three years, anyway. The husband gave me permission to buy new ones, so off to Charles and Keith I went.

Meet my early Mother's Day gift from the husband.

They're three and a half inches tall with very cute details. They're comfortable and they look great with black tights. Wheee! Thanks, husband! You know how to make a girl happy. ♥


I just got a big scare today. My daughter's nanny (yaya) called me at work and then I heard screaming in the background. My daughter was crying with tortured anguish and calling for me. My throat became tight and the yaya told me what was wrong. She said my daughter was having a headache. No one with just a headache screams like that. I asked to speak to my six-year-old immediately, and in between hysterics, she told me her head felt like it was spinning. I asked if she hit her head or if she fell. She said no. I asked when it started and she said it just did, while eating lunch.

I just grabbed my bag and left. Good thing I wasn't training a class and I was pretty much done with what I had to do for the day. I hailed a cab and told the driver to hurry. I dialed my daughter's mobile phone (yes, she has one because we don't have a land line) and told her, "Okay, let's talk while the cab mama's in takes me there, okay? Stay on the line." I soothed her and told her to not cry. I told her to describe to me the pain in her head. I couldn't understand what she was saying because she was still crying so I had her go to her room and turn the AC on. I then asked to talk to the yaya and I gave her instructions to give my daughter paracetamol.

Our house is a good 30-45 minutes away from my office and I was on the phone for almost half the time. When I got home, I found my daughter asleep, albeit a little pale. I took her temperature and waited for her to wake up. It was 230 pm. The husband was at band practice because they have a gig tomorrow night. I read a few pages of my book and minutes later, I conked out too.

We were both up by 5 pm. I gently asked her if her head still hurt. She said yes. I asked her what she'd had for breakfast and lunch. She said she had pancakes for breakfast and she had fried fish for lunch. She also said she drank her milk and a Yakult. When her dad arrived at 6 pm, we had dinner together, and she didn't have an appetite. I knew things were not 100 % okay.

Then she said her tummy felt bad and she wanted to throw up. Well, she did and then she broke out in cold sweat. She didn't cry, though. She just looked relieved. I cleaned her up, she brushed her teeth. I gave her paracetamol again for the headache and Gatorade for the fluids she lost. She said she felt so much better.

Grrr... It must've been the heat, I swear. It's been sweltering lately. I get headaches and dizzy spells myself and I'm 29. Well, I guess the worst is over because I had just tucked her into bed with her dad beside her. She whispered, "My head doesn't hurt anymore, mama. Thank you. But because I miss you when you're at the office, my heart hurts."

My little one can be a drama queen sometimes. I wish I were a stay-at-home mom, but I think I'm too young to quit the dynamic, competitive, crazy corporate scene. Maybe in the future, I can stay home full-time and still keep our lifestyle, but that's another blog entry altogether.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother Is A Verb And Not A Noun

My mom and I didn't really see eye to eye while I was growing up. I guess I had the typical middle child syndrome. I was the poster kid for the middle child. I was aloof, the middle child who just wanted to be left alone and didn't want to be fussed over. I was also the biggest drama queen in the house, being the eldest daughter. I yearned for independence very early on and I wasn't affectionate. I was content to be alone and I was very moody.

I was also raised by a nanny who acted like my second mom. She started taking care of me when I was only a week old and she stayed with us until I was pregnant with my daughter. (That's a total of 22 years, by the way, if you really want to do the math) She was my Nanay and she was - still is - part of our family. She has long since retired and has gone back to the town in Iloilo where I was born. She's now in her late 60s and plagued with eyesight problems and arthritis. She was afflicted with polio when she was little girl so one leg is smaller and shorter than the other. She walks with a limp. I now only see her when we go and visit my grandparents in Iloilo.

Indeed, there were times when I felt closer to my Nanay than to my Mommy. Oh, my mom's story isn't one about a career-driven woman who was a negligent and emotionally detached mom. Hers isn't also a tale about an OFW mother who left her kids with relatives and caregivers. My mom isn't like that. She was very hands-on (she was a stay-at-home mom), but up to now, I honestly do not know why we really weren't close.

I learned to fully appreciate my mommy when I became a mom myself. What they say is really true. When I gave birth to my very healthy infant daughter, my mom was there. She was one of the first people who saw her. She even saw her first before the husband did because he had to be woken up and told, "Your wife gave birth! The baby's out!" Yes, he was sleeping while I was in labor. Tsk, tsk.

Since our little one was thankfully very healthy when she came out, she was 'roomed in' with me less than 24 hours after my harrowing experience of popping a teeny human being out. The nurses brought her in, swaddled in white and looking like an angel. The husband and I were breathless with joy. There were breastfeeding instructions from the supportive 'lactation expert'. Yes, there is such a thing. I'm not making it up. Then off they went. We fawned over our newborn daughter and dutifully marveled at how perfect she was. However, in the middle of a loving debate over who she looked like, she started to cry. Wait, not cry. Scratch that. She wailed. She howled. She was a tiny bawling Sisa searching for Crispin and Basilio. We were helpless. We felt like utter failures. Less than 48 hours out of the womb, she had reduced two grownups into hapless, clueless underdogs.We were parents for only a few hours and we couldn't soothe her. I kid you not when I say she cried for three hours. We tried everything, too. Tearfully and emotionally, I called my mom. She arrived after 30 minutes.

When she calmly entered the room, she just washed her hands and took the baby in her arms. And just like that, our daughter gave a whimper and promptly fell asleep. It took less than five minutes, I swear. You might say the baby was just plain exhausted after crying her little lungs out for hours. Whatever. You can say whatever you want, but I seriously think that my daughter just felt it. She felt cocooned. She just felt safe. It was magic.

I knew from thereon that my mom will be indispensable. She will always just be there, whether I need her or not. That's what moms are for. If I can be just half the mom my mom is, I'll be really happy and proud.

I'm lucky to have my mom. I'm lucky to have my Nanay, too. I'm lucky and blessed to have so much love. It's Mother's Day on Sunday and my daughter and I are finishing up our Mother's Day cards for my mom and Nanay.

Cheers to the our moms (biological or otherwise) - the strong and loving women who say they don't really care for pie anyway, when there are five slices of it and five hungry children.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Primer On Taking Public Transportation

I live in Lapu-Lapu City and go to work in Cebu City. I commute publicly to and from work 90% of the time. I don't drive. Heck, I can't even ride a bike. Therefore, I take public transportation.

I plan to take driving lessons later this year so I will enroll in driving school sometime in the last quarter. I will not take lessons from the husband who's a fantastic driver (even if he very graciously offered) as I want him to live longer and not get a coronary. I also want our marriage to not end up in annulment over the fights we will surely have. That is another story altogether, though.

Since my office is in Cebu City, I take one tricycle ride and three jeepney rides to get there. That's a total of four rides, and the whole thing takes approximately an hour. I don't mind. I've always used public transport to get around. In college, when I studied in Manila at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, I commuted using public transport. I took the tricycle, the jeepney, the FX, the cab, the bus and the MRT to get aound. What I'm trying to say is, I'm used to it.

I have put together a list of tips for surviving your daily public commute. I'll share them to you as I'm feeling particularly generous today. I hope you'll find them useful.

1. Wear comfortable shoes

I'm a worker bee in the corporate scene. I've been one for almost nine years now. In my office, from Mondays through Thursdays, the prescribed attire is business casual. That said, I'm always in high heels. However, running after a jeepney during rush hour in them is a royal pain. This is where comfortable footwear comes in. You can wear oxfords or flat sandals. You can wear flipflops but your feet can get dusty, or if it's raining, caked in mud. I've contemplated wearing sneakers but they don't look great paired with opaque tights.

My choice, though, is my trusty pair of black ballet flats. I bought mine for less than 500 pesos. I'll wear them out in less than a year, I'm sure of that, but because I wear them practically every day, I'll say that's money well spent.

2. Bring an umbrella or a rain coat

Living in the tropics means the weather has multiple personalities. It's best to be prepared for sudden downpours. I always bring my flowered umbrella with me. It's foldable, lightweight and sturdy enough for garden variety storms. It's cute and girly, too. However, take note, no umbrella can survive monsoon type weather that makes sea levels rise to alarming heights. If it's raining that hard and the winds feel like they can sweep you off your feet - and of course, I mean that in a non-fairy tale romance kind of way -, then stay put and wait it out.

I had considered rain coats, but no one in her right mind and over ten looks good wearing them. I would really push for umbrellas over rain coats because you can use the former when it's high noon and sweltering hot. Yes, I sometimes use the umbrella on sunny days. Uh-huh, I'm Pinoy like that.  Hot days in the tropics are really hot, after all. If you want to use an umbrella and wear something that will protect you from the rain  and the cold, then toss in a jacket too. I like my blue and white letterman jacket that bears my company's name. It just sucks that 4276 other people have the same one. It fits neatly in my bag and not heavy to lug around when not in use.

If you're concerned about getting drenched but you really have an aversion to umbrellas (like the husband who will walk in the rain to get from the car parked in the farthest corner of the lot to the store), then just pack a lightweight jacket with a hoody in water resistant fabric.

3. A fan is a lifesaver

When you take public transportation, get ready to be shoved, crammed and squeezed into teeny tiny spaces.  This means it will get humid. This means you will sweat buckets. A foldable fan will be your best friend. Trust me.

4. Keep loose change

Nothing irks a cab/tricycle/bus/jeepney driver more than you handing him a 100-peso bill at six in the morning. Nuff said.

5. Be on the lookout for other essentials you might want to include in your commuting arsenal.

These include, but are not limited to, wet wipes, sunnies and antibacterial gel.


There you have it. Now you can brave public transportation without looking and feeling like a Ceres bus bound for Argao ran you over.

See you on the 04L!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday. Duh.

Mondays and I agree with each other like oil and water. That means, we don't mesh at all. It's sad, really. Truth be told, I'm usually good at jump starting endeavors and going at to-do lists. I'm just not good at it after weekends.

This Monday was no exception. It took all my energy to get up and take a shower. Work was okay, thankfully. I thought it was going to start with a bit of drama but I just really put my game face on. I managed to get a lot of work done.

The husband came to work a little before noon to catch up on some of his deliverables and we came home together. We were with the little girl by 4 pm.

I wish we were all at the Siargao Surfing Cup, instead. Maybe next year.

Hopefully, we can go on a Monday. That way, Mondays will equate to fun, awesome stuff, too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Aphrodite Tonight

There's a supermoon out. Today's my husband's 34th birthday. I'm in desperate need of a shower as the air is humid and makes me feel as sticky as my precocious six-year-old's hands after eating ice cream. All is right in the world.

I've blogged on Livejournal and Multiply, but I'd stopped because I just wasn't in a good place half the time that time. I was negative and catty and just plain angry. I'm not, anymore, for the most part, and that's a great reason to start chronicling my everyday (mis)adventures again. Don't you think?

Will you join me for the ride?