Thursday, July 27, 2006

Grateful

I chanced upon the blog of my former work batchmate. I didn't really get to talk to her, then, and I feel that it was a missed opportunity. From her blog, I see that she's a wonderful person. Really strong and full of life and love.

Reading her entries, you'd know that she's dealing with a lot. She's ill, she can't work because of her illness, one of her children has autism, and her husband's a jerk.

Just seeing the list would make your head ache, and she has to deal with it. A lot, really. But, her blog, inspite of its seriousness, has an underlying message of hope and fortitude. She's shouldering on and she's doing it in a way that makes you see that unfortunate things do happen, reality sucks sometimes, but you should never let it suck you up.

I admire her. And, I thank her for making me realize how grateful I am for all that He has given me and my loved ones: love, life, and health. That problems are just that, problems. They come and they go but you're still the same you. Rather than being the sad and negative you, it's better to be the happy and optimistic you.

We all have mountains to surmount and I'm just glad that blogs serve as medium with which we can share our trials and triumphs. It just works as a red flag sometimes, reading someone else's struggles and continuing hope and perseverance, for us to always work hard in being happy and grateful not inspite of, but, because of Life.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

To Preen or Not to Preen

Just had my 15 minutes of fame.

My company testimonial with my half-body picture on it was featured on the classifieds section of the Manila Bulletin last July 2. It is their hope that I encourage more applicants to my rarefied company through the ad.

It felt weird to see myself on the newspaper. But, I definitely liked seeing my written piece on print. It felt like I'm a certified writer already (my ardent wish) even though it's just a small piece.

Anyway, my family went crazy over the paper. I felt happy that they were proud of it. Such loyal supporters. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I just had to keep a copy for myself. It's not everyday that I get to see myself on print. Pride's a sin, but, I just had to be excused this one time =)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

To Each His/Her Own

Let me take the liberty of taking this out of context. I'll be using it to refer to couples or two people in a relationship and there's an extra (terrestrial) someone wanting to butt in (literally).

Now, it need not be said that the act or even the intention of taking someone or something that is not yours is, well, just plain b_ll s _ _t. Not that we look on our partners as possesions but we'd appreciate it if others would respect the "Hands Off, Taken" sign we all but put in for all the world to see.

Of course, it takes two to tango. So, we can't disregard the fact that our partners ultimately have the say in things.

But, you know how a person instinctively feels when someone is making a play on your partner? Especially with women? No offense to the male species but they can be pretty dense about this. Or it doesn't matter that much to them. That, even if they do know it, they just feel flattered and think that they can handle it.

But, it's different with women. We know that proximity breeds temptation. And, that even if a guy says that it doesn't matter, it does matter. A lot. To us, and our peace of mind about our relationship.

For most of us women, avoidance is still the best answer to a definite threat to a relationship. We don't say it to our partners, but, if we could, without being accused of being possesive and jealous, we'd say to avoid that officemate who seem to be always around him in meetings and hovering during breaks and downtime in the office. Or to lessen the get-togethers with that female classmate or a friend who seem to have an awful lot of time just to ask how he's doing. Or to make pasama somewhere.

Gosh, the ploys are sometimes so obvious you can just puke. Like, duh, are you that desperate you'd have to make a play for another's boyfriend or worse, husband?

There are lots of available guys and gals out there. You don't have to make a play for someone just to feel that you're attractive and that you're irresistable. Respect the relationship that two people have made. I assure you that they've both put a lot of effort into it. It's an unspoken and sacred rule that, unless a person is totally free; mind, heart and legality, you must NEVER try your charms on that person. Not only are you risking your eyes being scratched out (for women), or getting beaten up (for men), but putting shame on that age-old adage of what's Jane is Jane's as Tarzan is.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mystery Slave

I have always had a fascination with mysteries: novels, games, movies. I love the thrill of the intellectual hide-and-seek with the climactic expose. Whodunits are a sure grab for me. No surprise that among my favorites are Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys books. I loved Cluedo (I just don't like playing it anymore because of my uncle co-player who has a decided tendency to cheat rather wily). I also am a fan of all CSI movies (although I boycotted CSI Miami at first feeling that they're usurping the original CSI team).

Surprisingly though, my couch detective tendencies never extended to anything more than that. No great inclination to pursue actual detective work. It was a good thing really since that line of work is not popular and therefore unrewarding here in the Philippines. I don't think I'm cut out for police or NBI or intelligence work, either (low pay and all the running around for clues using circa 1800 tools and methodologies? No thanks!).

But, then, I admire those people who are in these kind of work especially in the Philippines. I believe that aside from hard work, it takes a lot of guts to do actual investigation.

In my previous work, I was at one time, assigned to handle files pertaining to work financial claims. There were death certificates and autopsy reports and it bothered me after some time. Possesed of a fertile imagination, I can't quite keep myself from thinking about the bodies of the persons on those papers. Once, I even had to steel myself to take the papers personally from a mourning widow! I found I can't be clinical about it all and decided to resign from there.

That experience made me all the more amazed of the people who make a lifetime's work out of it. Sure, the CSI phenomenon makes it seem like a glamorous job but I believe its all hard work. There is also the painstaking lab work and the emotional strain that ties with it.

So, I'd go on enjoying my safe and comfortable mystery-solving in books and fiction. It's all fun to think about them in the realm of unreality. To just enjoy putting the pieces of the puzzle together and come up with the answer. With me, its a vice really.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Recognition Day

My CSR kindergarten daughter, Chantelle, had their Recognition Day last March 28. Good thing it was my rest day. My husband, though, had to take a leave off work so he and I can both attend.

The kinder students wore a costume of the profession/work they want to be in someday. My daughter told her adviser that she wanted to be a nun (and, this coming from a 5 year old who, most of the time, squabbles noisily with her friends and classmates!). But, nun it is and so we went to Quiapo to have her costume tailored.

Pricey costumes and all, my daughter and her classmates looked really adorable in their little workers outfits. Aside from Chantelle the Nun, there was Lloyd the Marine Officer (complete with gold shoulder bars), Kristine the Nurse (with the cap), Ashford the Dentist, JB the Motorcross Racer, Christine the Teacher, Kim the Police, a funky streetdancer, and others.

There was a short program where the kids showed off their dancing and singing prowess. They were really cute, small arguments, uncoordinated movements, little pushing between them and all.

Watching my daughter up on the stage, I felt both proud and happy. My little girl is growing up so fast I hardly have time to take it all in. A year from now, she'll be in grade school. Soon, it will be high school and then college. But, I'm getting way ahead of myself and I really do want my daughter to enjoy each and every minute of her life.

Children really are a joy. There are hardships, sure, with the complex juggle of family, work and finances, but it doesn't really weigh at all. At the end of the day, when you're surrounded by the people you hold most dear, happy and content, you can only thank Him for the many blessings, hard work included because you're able to provide for them.

When our family went up on stage to receive Chantelle's gold medal for being the Most Friendly in her Kindergarten class, I see her life journey unfolding. We, her parents, promise to be there with her every step of the way.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Of Life's Ties

When I delivered that happy and hopeful speech in my senior year in High School about our journey just beginning and that we're all excited about the coming changes and how we'll still keep in touch, I really meant it. I didn't think for one moment that it would be the last time our batch will be together. I had this naive and quite foolish notion that, life, family, and careers notwithstanding, we can still get together.

It's been more than a decade now. After trying unsuccessfully, it seems, to get even my five closest High School friends together; I realized that that dream is doomed. Life, it seems, has a way of making people form bonds that either lasts or lets up.

It is sad. Even when you know that a friend is doing really well in a foreign country, successfully busy in a chosen career, or is even happily attached to someone, the distance and the virtual non-communication dampens the happiness and pride that you feel for him/ her.

That's why in every uttered word of "That's great!" or "I'm very proud of you" over a friend's ebullient news of work or personal commitment, underneath it lies a regretful acceptance that things will be taking a sad change. The bonding time such as coffee, movie, or dinner get-togethers will dwindle if not disappear entirely. Add to that, the consequent significant moments (birthdays, anniversaries, birth, etc) in your and your friend's life that will be missed. There will be changes that, sometimes, you'll feel like you're losing friends.

But, that's how it is. We meet people; we form bonds, lose touch and then meet new ones. I guess one just has to get used to it. Anyway, people that really matters to you, you'll find ways on how to treasure, distance notwithstanding. Also, communication nowadays is very much aided with technology with planes that turned weeklong travels into hours, cell phones (text and calls), computers (emails and chats), that surely it won't be too much of an effort to get in touch with friends.

Although, nothing beats physical presence, those commiserating hugs, the hearty laughs, the high-fives, the pat of the hand, we make do with what we have. Hmm, technology can sometimes be cold but it definitely has its use. So, why don't you go send an email, text a message or even call your friend? I assure you, it won't go unnoticed.

And, those emoticons? They do come in handy.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Abstract

For a while now, I've been trying to get promoted as a trainer. You would not believe how many times I have submitted an application that I honestly think the HR officer knows me already (she may even be praying that I get promoted just so I stop sending her those application papers!).

But, zilch, nada. No promotion yet. After the nth time and hoping against hope that just this time (haven't they had enough of my application papers, already?), I'd bag it, I still get the monumental, unceremonious, slap-resounding, NO! (with the oh-so-polite, thank you for the interest, note at the end).

So tragic, it's almost funny. What about those golden proverbs of good things come to those who wait? Or, practice makes perfect? Or even, try and try until you succeed?

Well, I hate to be sarcastic here but the one who worded these may have had his or her head buried in the sand. The rat race is, to put it bluntly, way harsher. And, it's definitely not the meek and the humble who inherits the fruits of the earth (not in this world, anyway).

Really, who am I to gripe? Truth is, I've been blessed with a small but very easy, non-stressful, totally laid-back account. It's actually very cool. When I compare myself to my batchmates who've been assigned to other accounts and have resigned because of the stress, I can only count myself lucky. After all, I get to sit here, do practically nothing, just answer a few calls, make a few sale, put in the specified 8-hour shift and it's a clinch. I get to draw a fair paycheck bi-monthly. No sweat.

Though, human nature being what it is, I still long for more at work. More challenge (an inherent masochist?), bigger paycheck (understandable, this), and a higher position (still reasonable, I believe). So, I keep on trying and will continue to do so until I get promoted or resigned to my fate, whichever comes first, and hie off to the nearest competitor and try my luck there.

However, I've been noticing that some of my friends, who have been promoted already, are having second thoughts. Actually, deep, dark thoughts about their promotions that most, if not all, are just waiting to hand in their resignations.

I was like, what??? Here I am, all but jumping in my seat and waving the red flag to get promoted and you're resigning? What the...?

In retrospect, it's not so crazy. These people are smart (no matter how you may think, otherwise) and they're good at their job. They're trainable and their practical. They have differing reasons for wanting to go but the fact is, they have lost heart. It may be politics, it may be the people that they're working with, it may be because of one or a combination of all the other things.

I am not at that stage yet, I still like it here, after all, but I do see and understand. When I think about it, maybe it's not yet time for me to be promoted. I do believe in the Grand Design. In the concept that everything has its place and time. He knows all this and I put my trust in Him.

I just hope that my wallet understands this also.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Potential

In my student days, I took up enough subjects in the Physical and Social Sciences to know that there are people who, for one reason or another, get afflicted with mental and social illnesses.

Like most people, I heard it but didn't really think about it. I mean, sure, I sometimes see a grubby man or woman wandering about aimlessly. There are gory news, at times, of some deranged man having gone off a fit and doing something horrible (which may or may not entirely be true due to the veracity of the source tabloid or magazine).

So, I go on thinking that, yes it happens, but chances are a million to one, right? People get sick mentally or socially but it only happens sometimes, right?

That's a happy and comforting thought and I would have preferred to go on thinking that way if not for a news I heard yesterday.

My daughter and I were waiting for her schoolbus when I heard someone call me. It was the mother of my high school friend. I greeted her and asked about my friend with whom I lost touch after graduation.

She didn't answer at first and instead asked me about my daughter. She seemed happy for me but I noticed that there seemed to be tears in her eyes. I was waiting for her to give me the same happy news about her daughter, my friend. I was expecting that if she's not married, then surely she's holding a good position in a big company somewhere.

See, that friend of mine was really smart and a go-getter in elementary and high school. She was a consistent honors student and was a very responsible member of the Student Body. She was quite well known in school and went on to a premier Philippine University in college.

Then, with wavering voice, my friend's mother told me about her daughter's condition. It seemed that the straight A student, the once school leader, my high school friend, developed a mental and psychological problem. That she has become quarrelsome and violent. That she refuses to work and just moves in their place picking fights with everyone. Her parents, helped as they did their daughter, could not do anything anymore. She was deeply angry with them and have refused professional help. Now, all they could do is to provide her her needs, try to keep peace with their family and placate their angry neighbors.

It was all so sad. She has so much potential. And, though I felt guilty for not trying to see her sooner, her mother informed me that she believes it won't do much good since she has refused to see any of her former friends. That even when some of them insists to speak or see her, she just gets angry with them and with her mother, too.

I really didn't know what to say. Her mother stood there telling me all this and I could see that she, too, is trying desperately to understand what happened to her daughter. In the end, I just hugged her and told her that I pray everthing will come out alright for her daughter, my friend.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Where the Heart is

tel and papa



Meet two of the most cherished people in my life: my husband, Jonas, and my daughter, Chantelle.

It is said that we are blessed by the people in our lives and enriched by them. I could not agree more. My loved ones have always made me want to be a better person. More loving, more patient and persevering.

Take for example, my 5 year old daughter, who seemed to have made a pact with herself to hold off sleep for as long as she possibly can. This results to her active and very much awake self playing (tirelessly it would seem) and asking every possible (and at times impossible) questions. Of course, it would require patience (which in my maiden days, I didn't have much of), energy (significantly less after a full day's work) and enthusiasm (she can't understand why I'm not as excited by Dora the explorer's adventures, as she is) as I can possibly muster.

My husband, too, has given me invaluable lessons on patience (just have to watch tonight's game, hon. Two more minutes and then you can watch CSI), perseverance (your third attempt in cooking this bacon omelette is great, hon), and creativity (how did this shirt you washed get to be in this color?)

Truly, the people in our lives enrich us in countless ways. We would not want to be anywhere else. As long as they're happy and well, we are okay with the world. Financial and work problems be damned. Happiness is truly where the heart is.