Brake to Break

I came from one full week of vacation leave from work and it was a good one. Someone even commented at work earlier that I look rested. Partida pa yan, I look like a strawberry 🍓 after my skin tags electrocautery. LOL!

I forgot about this week-long leave if not for our amazing admin who reminded me that there was an approved form signed back in September. Sure, I had errands planned and my dad’s death anniversary fell on the same period, but I even thought of going back to the office for a day or two because “I had no plans”. Well, turns out, “no plan” is a good plan. I had time to simply rest, stare at the ceiling, and think about anything. I didn’t even sleep longer; if anything, I was confident staying up so late, but I guess it’s the overall feeling of not going to your routine when the sun rises that made the difference.

I once opened up to my supervisor about what I feel sometimes, and it didn’t take long for us to reconcile that it’s a classic sign of burnout. In order not to go to that dark place, or have your energies completely sucked out of you, it’s always best to step back and rest. Sure, one week of break with daily errands won’t be enough, but pulling back is a good way to recharge.

I am back to my regular work routine and will be amongst the taong-bahay this month. I think I’m all set. I cannot wait for this year to be over. To me it has been a mash up of worst and best events in my life but I’ll save the histrionics and lengthy introspection for my yearend post.

Go, Grow, Glow

I applied for a higher position at work and I didn’t get it. To say I was more relieved than disappointed won’t be a lie.

The interview was something that felt like a staff meeting. I knew it then that nah, I’m not going to get it. I didn’t prepare for it as I initially intended – the night before was the showing of Justice League, and you know how I hyped myself up for that movie, hehe – but I think I did okay. Not “Hire her!” worthy but I did fine. There was one question where the moment I said my response, I kind of rewired and thought, “Crap, wrong answer.” But I let it slide. What’s done is done.

The timing of the opening was not good for me also. This year I made judgment errors and am still working my way to re-learn and reform, and basically grounding myself again. It’s years of complacency and burnout that merited out of character actions. It was over and done, and I believe things happen for a reason so let us leave it at that.

I was more touched by the reactions of people who thought I was going to get it. I’m sure they were equally happy for the one who did get it — I am, and no offense to other competent colleagues who vied for the position, I believe the management chose the best one among the roster of candidates. Her experience and macro familiarity of the section will help her well. And I also told her that this time, she will have strong people below her who will be allies. That surely counts for something.

The reactions were probably brought by the impression that I was kinda a shoo-in; but see, I wasn’t. More importantly, and this is something people close to me have recognized early on — was it something that I really wanted? Well, the money, sure. That even was my first reason for applying, who are we kidding. Anyway, I feel I don’t have a natural knack for operations – I even said it before:

Operational changes are also in full swing at work and even though I still struggle to get them all in my (literally) big head, it’s exciting to be a part of something like it. Operations management is not my strong suit; I’ve always been the correspondence and social media person, so getting out of this small comfort zone is exhilarating if you’re called in to participate at the right moment.

The night before the interview one of my bestfriends commented that the slightest hint that I was not really into it will definitely show in any form during the interview. So his reminder was, just make sure I really wanted it. I guess I didn’t.

Maybe I thought I can do it because was banking on job familiarity and the people (I’ve said time and again, people pull me through). Then again, if not really equipped, baka doon ako magkalat. That is more embarrassing.

Speaking of people, this only means I will be staying at a place where I believe I really belong anyway. I forgot if I articulated it the same way in the interview, but I always describe our team integration as something that wasn’t easy in the beginning, but it has evolved into something very interesting. Little successes made acceptance faster and now I am seeing the promise and — if I may use the term — awesomeness of what we are doing and will do in the future. It’s still shaky in some areas but overall, really, creating something amazing from scratch — who would not want to be a part of that?

Right now, all is good and peachy. I hope! I am stable enough and I am happy about it. Bloom where you are planted, as the saying goes. Been doing little steps to bloom again.

Lastly, I got this message (after a video call) which was sent during my interview.

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Teehee, ano, labaaan? Okay na muna ‘to! Kebs na kung di umangat, matagal na akong napromote. Ito na lang, hahaha!

Chillax

The second half of the year is shaping up pretty well. It’s a validation of sorts that people stop me now to talk about the date and immediately after that comes tiny twitches of regret that I wrote about it and was it even worth it. And then I sleep and eat fries and meh, it’s okay, I guess.

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I often joke that whenever great things happen at work, each one takes away twice the potential in my romantic life. That’s absurd, of course, and God does not take one to give one — it’s possible to have both at the same time. Not all the time but…you get the drift.

That said, one possible training is in the offing again although nothing is set in stone yet. There’s a competitive nomination process, for one. If and when I’ll be lucky to get a spot, that scraps my Penang plans in November — unless there’s a possibility of squeezing it on a three-day weekend which I know isn’t possible. If not, then back to the almost-made Penang drawing board which my friend RG helped me with given that he went last year and took amazing photos.

Operational changes are also in full swing at work and even though I still struggle to get them all in my (literally) big head, it’s exciting to be a part of something like it. Operations management is not my strong suit; I’ve always been the correspondence and social media person, so getting out of this small comfort zone is exhilarating if you’re called in to participate at the right moment.

As much as I contemplate working on my romantic life again, I cannot put sufficient energy to do it yet. I’m still reeling, you know. My very concerned friends had a lot to say but they also know I ultimately do not listen to them anyway. I never did. Buhay ko naman ito, walang pakialamanan. LOL

It’s not that I felt bad because maybe I did, parang noong ilang beses ako nag-apply sa (insert agency) and was turned down thrice (pero nakamove on na ako doon, I swear, lalo na when I see they’re more physically tired than us, hahaha). But there’s more “ok lang” than the heavy feeling. Either I have matured or sadyang makapal lang talaga ang aking mukha.

I guess I’m just this big spark douser that when I opened my mouth and showed my personality, whatever tiny possibility there was was prematurely put off. Wala naman pinagkaiba yan, reversely, when there were guys before who’d show me affection and I was, eeehh, sorry, but I still like to be your friend! Yung isa nga doon ‘sis’ na ako kung tawagin ngayon, o di ba? Nagevolve na kami. 🙂

I am at that umay myself to pieces phase, taking everything I have related to it, and inuumay ko yung sarili ko by looking at it, thinking about it, for when it’s at its peak, the next morning, hopefully, the feelings will be gone. It has not happened yet. I’m not a fan of forcing myself to forget because they never work. Plasticada ng taon ang peg tapos at the end of the day, gusto pa rin naman pala. Gaga lang. So yes, just let it flow, ride the wave, until it subsides. After all, there are far too many things to do. Yung tinatawag na ADULTING ng mga bagets at hipster.

More importantly, there are more relevant things happening in the world, may it be here in the home front or overseas. The world just cannot catch a break. Humanity just cannot catch a break. We may not be in the position of power but as simple as praying for the world may help. And then educate ourselves and if possible, critically engage. If not up to it, it’s okay, too. Wala naman masama mag-chillax lang.

My 30-Hour-a-Week Lover

I wrote this 2 years ago. I don’t think my preference has significantly changed.

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Halata ba na gumamit ako ng Canva?

I meant to share this crazy computation since I conceived it one humid commute along Quirino Avenue. This was borne out of an impression that a man may think I would be clingy and may demand most of his time when we get into a relationship. I know I do not need to break it down like this but, just for fun, let me show you how easy it is to be with me. Well, THAT IS if you hate clinginess (is this even a word), Saran wrappiness (maybe not a legit word), and all that jazz. If you are the kind of man who is into tethering your girlfriend 24/7 to your man-shirt and man-pants, then it is a different story, and more importantly, I do not want to be with you.

See, we have 168 hours in one week. I am gainfully employed, with average social interactions outside of work, and so into television shows and books. So, in a week, I devote:

  • 49 hours   – Sleeping. I am not young in that I can no longer stay up until 3 am and go to work the next day. I have to get 6-7 hours of sleep per night if I don’t want to get sick on the 4th or 5th day of the week. I treasure weekends when I can sleep in longer.
  • 45 hours   – Working. Which includes my lunch break. I may stay beyond that but I don’t count them as work, being that I am only paid for 8 hours a day.
  • 12 hours   – Commuting. This is an average of the total time I spend five days a week going to and from work and my regular weekend plans, which means no out of towns.
  • 12 hours   – Reading. This is a conservative average. It could go higher but I try not to get too invested in faeries, necromancers, political spies, horny billionaires, and demon slayers, so let’s keep it at that.
  • 7 hours   – Watching TV or movies. Again, a conservative average.
  • 5 hours   – Socials. I have to have time with my friends and not always with you, my lover.
  • 8 hours   – Personal time. This includes actual grooming time and other lady quirks. But it’s only roughly one point something hours a day. I do not wear makeup other than lipstick which always gets smudged off when I eat my cheese bread in the morning so I don’t need much time beyond taking a bath and other personal, TMI activities.

If we add them up, that’s 138 hours in a week. That leaves me 30 hours to be with you.

Just 30 hours. You are free to suggest whatever we can do during this time.  I could make adjustments and include you in other activities like commuting, watching movies, socials, and sleeping (that is 49 hours I am willing to devote not purely to sleeping, wink wink). At best, this is what I can offer.

Kidding aside (well, who says I am kidding in the first place?), it only means there are forms of freedom I can no longer give up. And I think it is healthy to have something like that. Some may say I am actually busy with all these things going on in my life. But if you focus on that 30 hours, that is still a void.

Just putting it out there because even with all these fun times, sometimes it can still get pretty boring and sad. Now don’t tell me be careful what you wish for because you just might get it (just might get it); don’t ruin it yet. It’s only 30 hours I’m trying to fill.

However, if you want to be with me longer, we can talk about it. Madali naman ako kausap.

Standardized

Things happened and they were many. Of them all, one stood out to me recently.

It was a very random afternoon at work, and I don’t know what led us (I mean me, one of my teammates and our acting admin assistant) to talk about relationships and starting a family. My lack of it prompted one to tell me:

Para kasing ang taas ng standard mo.

Kung binaba mo na dito (motions to the level of the table)

Ibaba mo pa dito (motions lower, almost floor-level).

Panigurado, may makikita ka na.

~ * ~

I long stopped explaining how and why I believe standards don’t exist because romantic feelings come as if a switch was powered on.

And as much as I am grateful that people see me as someone who must be lived up to, I still cannot see how it works in my favor.

~ * ~

I smiled and turned away from the conversation. I needed to pee.

Rerun

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My race bib and bracelet markers. I made it, teehee.

I ran 10K again earlier today. My last 10k was two years ago when my former boss requested us to join him for his farewell run in Manila. This time I, along with some people in the office, ran in support of ScholaRun, an American Chamber of Commerce charity event. I initially thought it was a mistake registering for 10k seeing that I haven’t trained in a very long time. Up until the gun start, I told myself if I finish the 1st loop and feel that I can’t do another loop, I’m going to stop. But hey, I didn’t. I’m limping a bit now and have to take the stairs one step at a time but overall, I’m feeling okay.

One of the things why I gave up on fun runs/races is having to wake up so early. I picked up R at 4:30 am and I was still really sleepy. But nothing could wake me up faster than realizing I left my phone at the cab! Good thing the light turned red after we were dropped off so I managed to get it back. Whew. So yeah, that was around 4:50 am, and it woke me up for real.

Like all my runs, the first five minutes, despite the warm up, were still the waking-up-my-limbs phase. I was happy when I was still running when I passed the 1st kilometer mark. That’s a first for me, sustaining it like that. Looks promising, Judie, I said to myself.

wp_ss_20140511_0001I made in haste a playlist to keep me moving. Judge away but those songs are legit choices. I set it on shuffle and should last me 50 minutes before it repeats. When I passed the first station handing out bracelet markers, The Ting Tings were happily singing in my ear.

A little past the Home Depot area, or around the 2k block, I felt like walking. But then Beyonce started blaring and when she sings to you, “We run this motha (yeah)…we run this motha…!” you have TO RUN. So I did.

A combination of long run, semi-long walk brought me back to 34th Street which was almost near the Start line. Oooo, I was almost done with 5k. It was a no-brainer after that, Imma go for another loop!

When I crossed the 6th kilometer mark I started questioning my choice. Hahaha! By this time, it’s so hot already. So I alternated walking at shaded areas and running when the sun’s directly hitting my face and arms. I guess it worked plus when Kenny Loggins enthusiastically sings Footloose, you have to look and act alive.

My beat-perfect song has always been Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars (try it, you’ll get moving with each beat), so on the 7th kilometer near Burgos Circle, I was keen on just walking when it played. I really mumbled, “Come on now!” because I knew I had to run to it. I did, albeit slowly.

I wasn’t really “I’m dying” tired but I was walking more than running so I felt happy when I saw this:

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Almost there! Eight minutes later, as the cast of Hairspray led by Motormouth Maybelle was singing in my ear, I crossed the finish line. I also heard my office friends cheering and shouting my name (I was the last in our group who finished, hehe). Yay! Made it and it took me an hour and 28 minutes — which is, if I may brag, 20 minutes early than my previous PRs! Sweeeeet. 🙂

Lootbag, photo ops, and mingling after, I treated myself to this:

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Burger! Burger! Burger!

It’s a really good way to start my Sunday.

I am not going back to joining runs, that I’m sure. I just did this one because it’s for charity and my office is somehow supporting it. However, I’m sure I’m going to keep training and running on my own. I trained for this only a week in advance, and I liked the feeling. There’s something about sweating that makes me feel good. I think it’s the afterglow that I like. Hmm. 🙂

Anyway, I enjoyed my run today.

March Demarche

The first quarter of 2014 is over, you guys. However, unlike previous first quarters, this one, at least for me, felt full and the pace was just right.

Everything’s peachy on the work front, save for small moments of whoopsies and wake up calls which were remedied by getting Foreign Affairs Manual refreshers (nothing too complicated though), and of course, the three letter word which entails an amount with a f*****g lot of f*****g zeroes (inevitable, next to death). Most of my mornings were spent checking what happened to the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing, until I got bored. So yeah, same old, same old.

I am happy with my reading pace. My book-buying rate is relatively the same, although times are harder so when I say I have to choose between food and books, now it’s true — back then, when I was more liquid, it’s books versus letting go of second lunches or third cups of coffee for the day; now it’s buy this or have dinner. It’s worse because I discovered the awesomeness of graphic novels, which are relatively more expensive tomes, darnit. Oh well, someday, I’m going to look back at this part of my life and simply laugh while sitting on my golden throne surrounded by my beloved books.

As for my couch potato self, it’s time to re-focus on each of my regularly-watched TV shows because the season is wrapping up, which means reflect on surprise!deaths! and possible season finale plots before the Spring and Summer shows begin. I learned to drop shows (Bitten, The 100, Agents of Shield, Rake) and limit my comfort zone. I figured I could always go back to whatever I missed.

My heart was a little broken a few days ago and I brushed it off and charged it to experience, because that’s what Liz Lemon would do.

Nonetheless, let me say, there are bazillions of wittier ways to deflect a joke, but what I got was a painful zing that boomeranged in my face very fast. Open mics are fun yet dangerous traps, and reactions could go either way, but dude, plenty of classy, funny ways to deflect. I only said a name then went right on to a very boring invite to a basketball game intended for everyone in the room. I tried hard to discredit my pride because I’m almost always too narcissistic but as the day progressed, and even the day after, people were commenting on the uncoolness of it, so I realized, OH SHIT. So yeah, that hurt because it came from someone I really really like. If it’s just a random person I would have just punched him/her in the face IN MY HEAD-repeat-IN MY HEAD – then move on. But no.  Anyway, Milky Way….

Suffice to say, I had fun with the last three months; overall, it’s a cool one. Not perfect because nothing is. For now, I’m looking forward to more laughter-filled days, ways to learn how to save, eat less (yeah right, Judie, you’re funny), and walk more, and not die in this heat. I still live in the same apartment where the summer sun’s ray of death is aimed at my room, directly at my airconditioning unit, from 10 am to 3 pm. So yeah, goodbye daytime coolness. I hope with proper hydration, I’d actually lose weight from sweating and I would just be standing in place. That’s the hope.

I wish you rainbows and cold summer nights, my friends. Hugs and more hugs.

p.s. I actually do not have a point in using demarche on the title. I just needed something to rhyme with March. Yo boi.

March is for books that are not mine!

EDITED!!! — Well hello there, March. February was a good month for me, reading-wise, even with my flurry of activities.

I said when the year started I won’t dabble into reading challenges but may do customized ones to spice it up a bit. For this month, I thought of cleaning my borrowed books pile. One reason why my TBR pile is too high is because I love borrowing books (taking dibs, convincing people to lend me, however you want to put it!) from friends.

A grainy shot of books generously entrusted to me by fellow booklovers. Which one should I read first?

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Two more! And yes, that’s my hand making a cameo 😉

Some of these books I borrowed months and months ago. And while I have not heard any of them tell me to return a book or two, it might be high time for me to finally dabble into them. What are these books, you ask?

I have my book club friend Gabi’s copy of The Portable Dorothy Parker for a year and a half now. I started it right then but wasn’t able to pull through. This is the kind of book where you have to be in the mood for, and I have yet to nail that mood again. 🙂 This month though, let’s, let’s!

I also have The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana & Alexander which Gabi also lent me July of last year. I started Bronze two weeks ago but stopped at around page 40. I haven’t gone to the blossoming of the lovestory yet!

The Angelmaker is from my friend at the office, Luke. This will be my first Harkaway read, if ever. I have an e-book of The Gone Away World and many said while they are not connected at all, it’s always best to start Harkaway with Angelmaker. Let’s see. Luke will leave the country in a few months so what better time to read this book than now so I could return it before he packs his things.

From last month’s book session, I took dibs on The Patmans of Sweet Valley from Nerry. It’s my favorite Sweet Valley saga edition (where I never forgot that Alice and Hank were canon!). It made me think of the entire Sweet Valley franchise and how good we all had it back then with the tons of installments of Sweet Valley Twins and High (my two favorites in the series). I wish we can still find old editions. Reprints, though few, are never the same.

And oh, The Love Slave. It’s been a long-running gag in my book club that all kinds of guilty pleasure books be categorized under the The Love Slave umbrella. This book is an Ex Libris Philippines symbolic tome, mind you! 😉 Since our theme of sorts last month was about love in any of its forms, Tata had to whip it out of her bag straight to my lap. Of the pile, I may really pick this one first.

When the movie version of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas hit Philippine cinemas, I wanted to read it but was not keen on buying a copy. My friend Celina brought her copy during one of many football matches we watch live and said I could read it first. That was September 2012. I remember trying reading the first page and giving up right then. The last time I saw Celina I said the book is still with me and she encouraged me keeping it because she’s not ready to read it yet either. 😉

Main Battle Tank and No Country For Old Men are from another friend at work, Diego. I want to believe he gave them to me already because he’s done reading, but I’ll double-check. I don’t think he gave them to me because I might be interested; for all I know he sees me as a human bin where books can be dropped off when you’re done reading. Well, it works for me! I have no keen interest in military warfare at all, although finally owning Code Name Verity and Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy might spin me toward this direction. Might, because these are YA fiction books and Main Battle Tank is non-fiction! At any rate, let’s see. No Country is something I started but had to put off because of a zombie novel [which I also haven’t finished — are we close to defining mediocre reading now?]. If I don’t finish it this month, I may next month because of another loosely planned reading theme.

In addition: D.C. Noir is from my friend Shei (the same person whose HP and the Deathly Hallows I’m still keeping somewhere here in the house!) which she smugly told me she found in Booksale for 5-repeat-5 pesos! An Akashic noir book for five pesos!!! I borrowed it right before I went to DC for training last year but forgot it in the office. Boo, me!

The Natural History of the Senses is something my friend Thess has been telling me about since that lull in a meeting of our employee association four years ago. At an employee gathering last month, she handed it to me. It looks so new I wonder how crazy careful she must be when reading a book. I must take care of it really well. 😉

So there. I will not be able to wipe them off clean from my to-read pile but finishing a few will be awesome.

What’s on your reading plate this month?

February Has Folded

Two months down, ten to go.

February was a busy month for me and I loved it. Most of our work-related efforts culminated in the America in 3D expo that our office did last weekend. I was part of a small group that shot an instructional video, and I worked on information materials in between. I planned to steer clear of any work-related duties (meaning about visas) during the expo but duty called, so I found myself working for two days. I didn’t have to give up my non-visa duties, so that’s cool. I just had to divide my time between working on my posts (both on-stage and off) and going to the Nido Discovery Center for the Reading Corner. I can really say those two days were a blast.

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A colleague and yours truly. For two days, we spent an hour demystifying myths about what we do. This photo was snapped by my friend Kaye C. from the second floor of MOA.

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That’s not me but (Teacher) Princess, my main POC for the Reading Corner project. These adorable kids, who came in batches of 100, were regaled with different stories and activities. I read “How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?” to a group and assisted in (parent) crowd control and other fun activities for the kids. I rarely say and feel this but during this activity, I was so in love with the children!

My work days also have been changed, in a good way mostly, since my friend moved back to the section. We brought back our lunch routine which made me appreciate more the view we get when eating at the office cafeteria. I was so used to it that it hardly appealed to me. I know people who would pay to have a view of Manila Bay and a busy stretch of Roxas Boulevard while eating overpriced lunch; it’s great that it’s always been there for me to enjoy.

Part of my extra-curriculars at work is being a docent for visitors of the office. Touring people inside our compound is always fun, especially for young students who seem to be so in awe of our huge paintings and portraits. Last week, I had the most interesting set of teens to date. They are from different parts of Mindanao and were former child combatants. They had interesting questions and were very cheerful and hopeful. They proudly told me their beaches in Mindanao – the rarely-explored, non-commercialized ones — are great (haven’t been there but from pictures alone, I agree), better than many popular beaches we have, and I am always welcome to visit. They are a curious bunch but definitely not impressionable. I was showing them an old photo of Manila Bay pre-WWII with trading ships and blue waters; many commented what happened to it, but in the same vein assured me that there’s still hope. When my tour ended, they all told me they wish we could see each other again – either they return to Manila or I go to Mindanao. I was really floored. These are simple things that make me more thankful about this job: the opportunity to come across these interesting people.

Another interesting offsite work encounter came in form of a visit to a training ship managed by the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seafarers’ Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) by Manila Bay. When you drive along Roxas Boulevard, it’s hard to miss that ship floating in the bay. We were shown different parts of the ship which made us understand more the job functions of seafarers applying for seafaring visas. I also became aware of the strict admission procedures and class regimen in Marine Academy of Asia and the Pacific. A week before the ship visit, my nephew came to Manila all the way from Ilocos Sur for medical exams because he’s one of the lucky few who got in the academy. I didn’t know it was that rigid to get in. If only for that, I’m proud of him. My brother is a bit hesitant because of rumors of rampant hazing, but I told him to let my nephew take this chance, and just trust him not to be associated with the wayward ones.

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Taken when we left the AMOSUP training ship a little past 5 pm. Beautiful Manila.

Many questions were raised during our group tour (if they watched Captain Phillips included) and of their responses, our tour guide’s quip got to me. We were discussing the state of the different baysides and bodies of water in Manila and neighboring provinces. He said he learned in the 70s that the bay in Tokyo and Manila Bay were the same. Tokyo worked hard to fix theirs, so he believes it is doable to fix Manila Bay. He added that it’s part of his bucket list to spearhead the movement to finally clean up the bay. He acknowledged it as a very daunting dream but he wants to do it. People like him inspires me. And this love for Manila? Amazing.

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Buildings along Roxas Boulevard. And that’s not even the side where you could see the magnificent, world-class sunset.

So that’s what I was up to in the past month. I will tell you more about my interesting activities off work, new restaurants I tried, and a steady, interesting update about my reading progress next time.

January Wrap Up

One month down, eleven to go!

The first month of the year swished just like that. It was fun though. And fast.

Let’s see, what was I up to last month?

January holds a soft spot for me mainly because of my birthday. Cash-strapped but adventurous, I managed to enjoy my 32nd birthday up at a mountain in Benguet. The first two weeks of January were actually spent scrimping and buying [yes, that’s possible], and mostly preparing for the Mt. Pulag trip. Not so much, physically…to the detriment of my legs. But I survived. My separate blog update is still in the works so I will link it up when it’s done [hopefully, within this century].

One hour into the trek, we saw this. This does not do the place justice. It's majestic, magnificent, and when we went, insanely cold.

One hour into the trek, we saw this. This photo does not do the place justice. It’s majestic, magnificent, and when we went, insanely cold.

I started the year on staycation because of forfeitable leave credits from last year. I cut it short by two days, much to our office timekeeper’s cute annoyance, because I got bored. Yes. I got bored. Plus it was crazy hot that week. Had it been this semi-chilly, I would not even think about the office.

My book haul is at a modest six — five bought, one received as a gift. I think it was conservatively countered by my Kindle. I don’t want to speak prematurely though. As I said, we have eleven months to go.

Four out of six books hauled in January. I picked up MIDWIVES to add to my Chris Bohjalian pile, WEAVEWORLD to add to my Clive Barker I-will-see-you-in-my-horror-reading-month pile, FAR NORTH by Marcel Theroux because it's dystopian that's less mainstream, and WICKETT'S REMEDY because I need something to pair with Midwives to avail the Buy One, Take One sale. Not in photo are JOYLAND by Stephen King [gift] and THE ANTHOLOGIST by Nicholson Baker.

Four out of six books hauled in January. I picked up MIDWIVES to add to my Chris Bohjalian pile, WEAVEWORLD to add to my Clive Barker I-will-see-you-in-my-horror-reading-month pile, FAR NORTH by Marcel Theroux because it’s dystopian that’s less mainstream, and WICKETT’S REMEDY because I need something to pair with Midwives to avail the Buy One, Take One sale. Not in photo are JOYLAND by Stephen King [gift] and THE ANTHOLOGIST by Nicholson Baker.

As for books read last month, I book-ended it with 7 books. That’s just right for my 75-book challenge this year. I try to keep a sane balance between e-books [a swooning post about S. Eloise, my Paperwhite, is in the works, too] and printed books so as not to start a jealous fit. Yes, my thick, thin, page-foxing books have feelings!

One highlight of the last month was the first book session of my book club at The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros. I loved it! I also cannot forget the yumminess of 9 Spoons’ tokwa’t bagnet. It’s a take on tokwa’t baboy but they substituted, obviously, bagnet, but more than that, the vinegary spice made a huge difference. The flavor seeps through the bagnet strips and tokwa cubes. Oh man, I’m drooling just typing about it. Will definitely come back. You can actually order off the 9 Spoons menu even when you are at the SkyDeck. It made the experience more interesting. Hint to my future date! Although it probably wouldn’t be wise to ravage tokwa’t bagnet on a first date. 🙂

Taken from the Skydeck of The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros. I love my city!

Taken from the Skydeck of The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros. I love my city!

On the work front, I marked my 11th year in the office. There are days when I think it’s time to move on, move forward. I don’t know; it comes and goes. I’ll see. As always, I will actively seek and wait for the chance to present itself. I also welcomed a new staff so if only for this new addition, this change, there’s something fresh to look forward to. Plus yummy friend is going back to the building in a two weeks! My lunchmate will be back.

Speaking of people, someone makes me smile everyday, more often lately.  Meh, I’m just going to enjoy it. And of course if I’m doing anything else about it, I will not tell you. Well, that is, assuming you are interested.

So, how have you been?

Thank you, 2013.

Happy New Year! When I did a rundown of the first half of my 2013, it was quite eventful and hopeful. The last half of the year was pretty much the same. Of course, there’s still the “Another year has passed, what now?” vibe  by December 31.

ON TRAVELS

tigger-picnic-03October saw me, and friends Rach and Carms in Bacolod for Rach’s birthday. The Peace Cup was also the same time so a live football game of the Azkals was a bonus. We went there for a gastronomic fix – Manokan Country, Calea, Pendy’s, Felicia’s – we tried them all. And they’re all good. Plus even when we were only three, the thrill of surprising a birthday celebrant when the clock strikes 12 will always be fun for me.

December brought me to Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. It was a sudden training opportunity which gave me the chance to meet colleagues from the East Asia Pacific bureau, catch up with friends, and be with family. Cramped, short, but very fun. Walking around downtown San Francisco (well, the stretch of Market Street and its environs, at least) is the most memorable for me.

ON READING

I gave my reading report for the year and I tried to forget all about it. All I can say is I’m going to do better this year. Itaga mo yan sa matigas na bato. 😉

ON FINANCES

Turbulent and messy! The income tax spectacle started this. I also do not know what happened except that I spent a lot. And just when I thought I’m the only one, I hear people who are in the same boat, and frankly, it makes me feel a little bit better. Hahaha! I told my friend it’s a problem I brought to myself anyway. I could blame the government, I could blame the economy, but ultimately, I’m to blame. During the last quarter, my ledger’s a mess. It’s not attractive for a thirty-something to ask money from her mother yet I have done it last year many times. In one of my holiday dinners, I asked one of my best friends to pay for half of my dinner. That’s how terrible it was…is. Though really, it is annoying to complain about having very little money [compared to past Christmases, at least] when many people do not have anything left at all, right? But selfishly speaking, it’s really a tough time, and if you are a relative or a godchild from a distance, you would have felt it. 2014 will be spent restructuring my finances, or whatever’s there to salvage.  It’s just in the way you look at it, Judie.

ON ATTEMPTS TO BE A PRODUCTIVE MEMBER OF SOCIETY

tigger-alphablock-03I opened my year with a reading day at a public school, courtesy of my bestfriend, on my birthday. I also dabbled into a teaching session with kids living in Manila North Cemetery with the help of the people from ATD Fourth World (thanks, Laine, for this). Of course, everyone has heard of the terrible Yolanda/Haiyan devastation and at least for two sweaty days I got to assist in repacking goods for the casualties within the week after it happened. I also worked with organizations in collecting monetary donations for the victims. It’s an ongoing project and with that is the desire to be there until everything slowly rebuilds.

ON MY LOVE FOR TV SHOWS

What kept me glued: The Newsroom Season 2, big Sherlock re-watch before season 3, Scandal, The Blacklist (aha, my daddy issues — Lizzie IS Raymond Reddington’s daughter, dagnabbit), The Goldbergs, regained love for Mike & Molly. Plenty more kept me entertained. If you noticed, Homeland is conveniently missing. It was pushed back in my to-watch list until season 3 ended without me noticing. This year I plan to go back to it. Save money, watch TV! LOL.

ON ROMANCE

tigger-sleephearts-01Hahaha! Anong meron? 2013 actually started off fun then it became not fun and I admit it’s my fault and I was genuinely sorry. See, when there’s someone you think is available, then it turns out he’s no longer available, the next logical course is to stop. I did not. I had fun provoking and posting stuff because I know the girl was reading until it became a bit messy. Was it right? No. Was it fun? Yes, to an extent, THAT TIME. The “it’s never gonna happen” part was clear to me so I wasn’t provoking because of that; it’s that if you know me, at times I do not like the appearance of losing, or in this case, being caught off-guard and embarrassed like that. [What a vindictive bitch.] I did not regret what happened afterwards between the guy and me even if it’s just a bibliophile kind of friendship because we like very different things. Oh well, I just laugh at it now. I’m not doing it again though. I promise. Life is short to be spent doing things like that.

I may be shallow (and vindictive) at times but really, I also get pleased very easily and gets satisfied with small amounts of affection. That’s why simply acknowledging I was always there, as small a gesture as “favoriting” my tweets, always appreciating anything I do, it warms my heart. But it’s not meant to flourish anyway and there was never any indication it will. He’s back in Sweden and if he thinks it’s for the best, I believe it.

Right now, it’s simple but promising (and a tad funny in a giggling fit kind of way), this romantic landscape. I said it before and it’s still the same. I’m happy with whatever is there. I do not take myself seriously the way I did in my twenties; too much insecurity back then because of my weight and overall appearance, too much apprehension because of my supposed image — all deserves a “WTF was that?” right this moment and a shower of yucks.  If nothing’s going to happen, well, I have ways to make myself happy, hehe (I have my books and pirated TV shows, ano ba, get your mind off the gutter). 🙂 Plus I have my own problems to sort and maybe a man will just be a distraction this year (see plan of action in ON FINANCES, above). Let’s see. All I want to do this year is to have fun in everything I do. Nakakapangit ang stress.

ON WORK AND MY CAREER IN GENERAL

I tried applying for another job early in the year but was turned down. I took it as a sign to stay put and possibly do something more to polish my brand. I don’t know if it worked. Hahaha! I was sent for training so even if there’s nothing in print about having to stay, I still feel the need to be more productive to be worthy of the training I got, no matter how short it was. Ten years, man. I may feel lacking and ignorant and clueless at times but I also cannot deny my institutional knowledge and how useful I am in my organization. A decade. Wow. Of course, if a better opportunity comes along, I will definitely consider. “Better” is strictly relative and even when I’m in dire need, taking a job with a higher pay but is obviously not a good fit for me or it’s in a bit of a messy environment, I will pass. Happiness is more important. Yay, where did that come from? 🙂

ONWARD, UPWARD, FORWARD

tigger-confetti-01I plan to work harder (emphasis on -er, LOL) and just be happy each day. I will be out of the calendar, as a popular Pinoy joke goes, in a few days, and frankly, I do not feel any different. If anything, I feel more confident and secure than when I turned, say, 22 — that was the age when I said I’ll take my life more seriously — be it in my romances and hooking up, school activities, work plans — and look where it got me. Only the “work” part paid itself nicely. Gah. 🙂

2013, overall, you were good. Emotional, freaky, fun. Thank you.

On to a new year with hopefully better prospects, more hugs, more books, and more bacon. And French fries. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

HALFTIME REPORT

Half of the year is over.  If you think it went too fast, I say it’s just about right.  It’s been an eventful ride.

Bouncing TiggerHighlights?

You may have read about THE pox.  The rollercoaster of emotions involving my one true love: reading books.  I also climbed Mt. Batulao.  Helped in a bay cleanup in celebration of Earth Day.  Went to Hongkong with friends.  Watched  a live improv show which stirred my theater performer tendencies.  I also passively took part in a monthly office project which enforced the Mackenzie McHale in me [I love the adrenaline rush – I’m that easy].  AND PLENTY MORE INTERESTING, HEARTWARMING, DEPRESSING, SHOCKING, MOSTLY FUNNY EVENTS:

If there’s one thing I want to leave, it’s the growing rumor especially in my family that I am not single anymore.  I guess it’s because of some Facebook photos, and hunches — which when passed on to others became varying versions of the “truth”.  While I appreciate people looking out for me, or curious about what’s happening to me, I just laugh at them instead of defensively parrying questions one by one.  Some people imply it, some are blunt enough to drop names, and very recently, one was opinionated enough to let me know there’s something uncomfortable in “going out with someone prettier than me”.  Wow. Gah. I understand where said person was coming from [uhm, I tried].  See, the guy in question is your usual dapper and dandy type, and yeah, I probably look like a taong grasa beside him. LOL.  Anyway, there’s nothing to it.  We were in several pictures together in and out of the office, we always talk, and maybe to a degree, I like being with him because he’s filling the gap left by someone who was with me for a while [still not a romantic partner, mind you].  There were also other men I decently posed with in several events, and I said, parrying the matchmaking attempts is futile.  I bet if I posed beside a giant balete tree, they will still start speculations.  In some twisted way, I appreciate their endless support to see me be happy with someone.  This, not knowing that serious, major romantic developments unfold in my life without people knowing.  It’s not that I’m not proud of it, it’s just that my innate introversion comes alive because I take my relationships seriously. [Take that LOLWHUT face out, please.]

Speaking of major developments, one of the best parts of the first half of the year is seeing one of my bestfriends N get married.  It was a very intimate event where all of us had roles.  I haven’t cried in a wedding before that event.  It’s a very significant milestone for all of us.  No one’s going to follow suit soon, that I’m sure.

StarStarStar

One of my bestfriends M [we’re six in the group, okay, haha] paved the way for me to fulfill one of my dreams: read to schoolkids and share my love for books [and learning in general].  We did it on my birthday which made it doubly special.  M, during her spare time, organizes reading programs targeting far flung public schools in our hometown of Imus [with the help of our other bestfriend L as photographer].  It’s not big in magnitude but what makes me so proud about doing it with her is that we did everything ourselves, sans huge tarpaulins, VIP speakers, commercial donations.  We may not have given a lot, but I know we made a difference even just for a day.  I promised I will do it with her again soon.

One of my college friends T also gave me a chance to speak in front of university students [her students, pursuing the same major as ours] and speak about my life after graduation.  It made me look back and assess where I am now.  Not bad, I thought.  Not bad.  More importantly, after that visit to our mother college, it made me realize it’s important to give back.

One of the ways I gave back is by helping once again my book club to mount a fundraiser so we can assist UP students in need.  With our busy schedules, a movie screening is our tested project to generate scholarship funds.  Planning started a bit late for us so we took IRON MAN 3 off the table.  We were left with STAR TREK and FAST & FURIOUS 6; “sellability” and planning time considered, we chose the latter.  Long story short, we were able to assist six students this semester.  We’re looking at CATCHING FIRE this November to carry them through the next semester.  Let’s see. Most of you, my readers, are my ticket buyers, too.  Yes, I know!  And I’m forever grateful. Winking smile

StarStarStar

My job is still the same but I can say I’m happier now after the workspace reorganization.  Live action and constant chatter and activity did good to me.  I tried venturing out once more but was again turned down.  It’s cool, it’s fine.  I didn’t lose anything.

If anything, I even learned a lot by not moving out.  The past months had me digesting legalese after legalese, I swear I could work for the international tax division when there’s a chance.  I love the “senior” roles thrown my way, too.  So far, so good.

I also started going out with some of my foreigner-colleagues for lunch and some night-time activities.  It’s been fun.  I hope they feel the same, though I haven’t felt anything at all to make me feel otherwise.  I don’t know why I, or many of us local employees, haven’t done – or stopped doing – this.  I am learning a lot.  Sometimes I may look creepy just listening in but I like it more.  I speak when I want to.  WE’RE BUILDING BRIDGES!  [There’s a not-so private joke about this in the office complete with a funky dance move.]

StarStarStar

Tigger with open armsI started football training for my workout.  I  don’t know yet if I’m going to continue but the Saturdays when I played, I really felt energized.  Oddly, two of my vampyre disease attacks occurred during outdoor football events [February and May].  Maybe I’m made for indoor football.  Should I start learning futsal instead?

Oh, many more things happened from January to June.  That’s how fruitful it was.  They all made me very excited for the second half of the year.

What about you, what happened to you in the past six months???

What the Pox

poxAdults contract chicken pox, too.  It was hard for me to believe it until it happened to me.  I’m on the 11th day of living with the varicella virus, and I hope to part with it in the next seven days.  What started as an annoying bout of on and off fever on a less busy Wednesday at work turned to this after 12 hours.  My immune system was severely compromised. It was just a matter of time.  My succession of mostly sleep-deprived nights and one life concern that bothered me extremely [not about my lovelife, ha-ha] caused this.  No surprises.

Anyway, I called in sick on what I will now call Day 1, and consulted a doctor because five spots appeared in different parts of my body and they were not pimples.  Long story short, herpes zoster/shingles.  Then the let’s-get-you-out-of-here fast talk: paracetamol for fever, loratadine for itchiness, ascorbic acid.  It’s a virus so since they’re out, might as well let them all out.  Then I was out the door. I knew there’s something vital missing there but I can be stupid and unassertive like that sometimes. Plus I found her very encouraging [not].

Fever Pitch. Day 2 was when fever recurred more frequently and the spots multiplied.  I didn’t argue when my mother said it’s chicken pox because I’ve never had it [complete with the usual, You were never sickly until you threw your life away when you started working blah blah blah.] Day 3 was met with the mother of the nastiest of fevers in the history of my life.  I was delirious and fever was not lower than 40 degrees for about 7 hours.  I realized I needed my mother more than ever because I’m (was!) a sheltered, irresponsible human being.

Constellation of Welts.  Use your imagination…and there goes your meal.  I don’t blame you.  It’s the most disgusting day.  It’s Day 4, when we went to my Mom’s doctor a few streets down and was prescribed Zovirax to supposedly temper the eruptions.  I got in the medication game too late, apparently, so Zovirax was useful only to dry up the spots easily and relieve itchiness.  It may be too late but I think they worked wonders.  Why wouldn’t they: for 150 pesos a pop, 4x a day, they should.  If our HMO won’t reimburse my 7-day Zovirax intake, I will really throw a fit.  Not kidding.

Cilantro seeds. One homeopathic remedy that also worked wonders was bathing in water with boiled cilantro seeds.  I was unable to bathe completely for the first 4 days but I applied wet towel soaked in water with cilantro seeds every 4 hours. Just be careful not to puncture the welts.  The ones that unfortunately did dried up easily because of these magic seeds.  They also said it will prevent deep scars after.  It smells odd at first but you’ll get used to it.

tigger-easychair-01Comfort Zone.  If it was uncomfortable physically, it also was emotionally.  I’m a drama queen when I want it, so there.  I did not even read a book until the 4th day — it was that horrible a time.  I watched and watched TV shows but since I was also napping most of the time, it was pretty unentertaining.  They say this chunk of time not working is a good time to re-assess your life.  But darnit, I’m feeling uglier than my usual and I am spotted.  It’s hard to get the good vibes going, so I survived with the familiar.  And by that I meant rewatching the entire season 1 of The Newsroom [I can challenge anyone to a game of “What’s the next line…”; try me.] and the back to back episodes of Friends and TMZ twice a day.  Some friends with plenty of time on their hands tried to entice me with The Men Who Built America episodes but nooooo…Khloe and Lamar were more interesting! 

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over.  Fast forward to Day 9.  I was feeling very normal except when I look at myself in the mirror.  But then again, new maturity levels when I turned thirty, right?  So yeah, they don’t matter as much.  They will disappear, maybe leave some scar or two as souvenir.  The downside — it’s more contagious than the first 8 days combined!  Coincidentally, I had urges to go back to the office.  It was selfish, I know.  So I didn’t.  I’ve been away for 21 days at most and this is the only time I missed being in the office so bad.    I went to a new doctor on Day 10 and as expected, I was not cleared to go back to work, not even to expose my spotty self to the public [especially pregnant women and children, she stressed].  I must have looked eager and bubbly for she repeated “Don’t go to work tomorrow!” four-repeat-four times during our 15 minute consultation.  She also said if it’s up to her, she will indicate two more weeks in my new medical certificate, but she told me to come back in seven days and see what happens.  I’m pretty confident everything would have dried up and plenty of scars would have disappeared, with great thanks to cilantro seeds, Contractubex [which is also insansely expensive for a 10 mg- tube, what the holy frock] and more rest.

So hopefully, it’s just one week to go until everything in my life goes back to normal.  These times are best spent resting and revamping my immune system.  I don’t regret not having accomplished much, except maybe think about a tiny bit about the future of my career, what with a new friend pimping me highly to their international organization.  Other than that, it’s just rest, rest, and rest.  Pox happens.  I may have missed much but there’s a reason why I did and I’m going to leave it at that.  See you in a few days, mortals. 

Ms. Bean, March 2013 edition

This is my first edition for 2013 of “Hi, I’m Ms. Bean and I’m such a pro at embarrassing myself”.  Fresh from a very recent facepalm moment with a jeepney driver, I tried to remember things I said and did as of late.  I’m sure there are lots more stuff I said and did which I failed to recognize as such.

Exhibit A: Tuesday night at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.  Turkmenistan players warming up. Told C I like the way they look: so fierce, but a little on the pale side. What are they, Eastern Europeans? Or western?  I’m confused.  C was like, “Uhhh… no…they’re Asian.”  And she looked at me as if to say, “SEE, THEY ARE COMPETING IN THE ASIAN CHALLENGE CUP.” C was too nice not to rub it in.  Hahaha.

Exhibit B: Walking to ArmyNavy. I was telling L about internal organs I can sell so I can raise funds to go to the Maldives. I blurted I will sell a pinch of my lung because it grows back anyway.  L said, “You mean liver, right?” OF COURSE, I DID.  Well, they both start with the letter L.  Ah, whatever.

Exhibit C: Japanese restaurant in P. Ocampo.  I caught up with P and J in the middle of a conversation about a Will Smith movie.  I heard the terms “lots of running”, “post-apocalypse”, and “futuristic” so I immediately butted in and gave my opinion on I am Legend.  They had blank stares afterwards as they were actually talking about Hancock.  To be fair to me, would you consider Hancock post-apocalyptic?  And creepy vampiric (non-sparkling) creatures can be considered futuristic.  What if they do exist in the future?!

By the way, J, we go way back with this. He was the one who asked me what does Yo No Se in the Luis Enrique song mean. I said “I don’t know.”  He told me, “I thought you’re learning Spanish.  How come you don’t know?”  Took us 2 more rounds of that before I finally got it across that yo no se means I don’t know.

Exhibit D:  Holy Wednesday.  I was the only one left inside the jeep and le driver talked to me via the rearview mirror, mumbled something about changing the drop off point.  See, I always nod because it’s almost always “I won’t turn right to Dagonoy anymore”, which I don’t mind because my short walk home from the drop off point is the same whichever way.  So I just nodded.  He stopped in front of 7-Eleven Onyx which I ignored because I thought he’s waiting for passengers. I even put back my earphones on.  Probably two songs after, I looked at the driver’s seat and le driver was gone!  Then bam, he was right there with me inside the jeepney.  I panicked inside.  OMG what’s he going to do to me?  Should I scream for help?  I took off my earphones and I heard him say, “Ma’am sabi ko po kanina hanggang dito lang ako sa 7-Eleven so kung ok lang po, baba na kayo para makagarahe na ako. (Ma’am, I said earlier, my last stop was 7-Eleven.  So if it’s ok with you, please go down so I can park my jeep.)”

*MissJisverysmart.jpg*   *bethankfulnoonewasthere.gif*

I was so mortified I cannot say anything!  I immediately went down and said sorry but without looking back.  It reminded me of my grace-less exit at the supermarket last year.

0 — 0 — 0

I should start jotting these moments down again.  It could make for some pretty funny script for a sitcom, which what my life is like after all.  I know this is one of the reasons not a few have said I look youthful.  A key is to laugh at yourself when you get the chance.  Don’t take life seriously.  I mean, not too seriously.  Stress causes clogged arteries and with the state of our existing HMO coverage, might as well not risk it. 😉

Weekend Bender

No matter how short, I always look forward to weekends.  Lately, I no longer spend all my time hunched in my chair, pausing only to relieve myself.  Lately, I go out, do things, meet people — you know, normal human stuff.  For the past three weeks, my Saturday routine was defined by soccer training provided by the amazing people behind Dream Big Pilipinas, lunch in Salcedo Community Market, and other errands in the afternoon.  My naturally lethargic self realized you really can do a lot in one day.  Long ago, daytime translates to 10-12 episodes of an hour-long TV show.

My weekend started early because of the basketball championship game in the office on Friday.  Not only because my agency was playing in the finals, I like it when we get to mingle and fraternize with co-employees.  If not for this activity, I can only count the general assembly of the cooperative and the organization-wide holiday party as our chances to bump into each other.

So, our home team.  We lost.  We were in 2nd place again.  I still consider it part of our growing pains.  Five long years ago, we started fielding people only to take home the Best in Uniform award at the opening ceremony and the journey ended there.  Now we’re advancing to the finals. I say let us bask in that feat for maybe one more year?  It wasn’t just the right time.  Our players played all heart and energy the entire season and that’s something to be very proud of.

A personal highlight was getting sloshed after 3.5 bottles of cheap vodka and beer.  I surprised myself there.  I used to down pitchers of strong cocktails while my friends were ranting about their lives.  Aging, I guess?  Anyway, a colleague was gracious enough to open his house to us and serve strong coffee (for me) and tea (for them).  I know I wasn’t completely myself (oh but I was, what I meant was my “Judie for public consumption” self) but the experience was a good start.  See, as foreign and local employees who work together every day, I really wanted for us to try and do things together outside of work.  Gone are the days when it’s normal to hang out.  That’s why I appreciate it when there are foreign staff like them who take time to get to know us.

Personal matters were discussed during that impromptu house raid and what I fancied more importantly were: a huge framed diagram of the characters of DFW’s Infinite Jest and Ward Shelley’s History of Science Fiction.  The latter made my heart skip twenty beats.  I wanted to steal it (Kidding, L).  The host also has books lying around everywhere and his playlist is cool.  This is a man who actually exists, you guys.  And he is very tall.

I also got excited over prospects of us girls hanging out, with even a possibility of themed parties. Wonderful women after my own heart.

Let’s jump to Saturday after lunch when we tried to go around Art in the Park in Salcedo.  I did not see two friends who were exhibitors because I was an aimlessly wandering idiot after lunch.  A day later I realized it’s because I wasn’t wearing my glasses and in fact I lost them. That’s how I roll, for your information.

Dinner was courtesy of two friends celebrating their birthdays this month at a Filipino restaurant two cities away.  Horrendous traffic, but for people I care about, it’s always worth it.  We ate like starving gladiators, briefly discussed work (“Is your employer really that poor?”), sealed an island trip after summer, and graciously ignored each other until 1 am in favor of Candy Crush and 4Pics 1Word. That’s genuine friendship, ladies and germs.  By the way, I’m still stuck in Level 23 on Candy Crush.  For 22 days.  Sure, I don’t play very regularly, but I cannot find it in my heart to quit just yet.

After the I-lost-my-glasses-after-all realization, I had new ones fitted.  Life became high def again.  During mass I was praying harder over something I asked an apology for.  I felt wronged — and mildly cyber harassed too — but hey, I said stuff as well. I was also mean, yes. I was contemplating it until Father Perry, very timely, said Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.  I felt much better afterwards.

It was reading time the rest of the night, much to my delight.  Save for purchases I still could have avoided, all else constitutes an awesome weekend.  Definitely my kind of thing.

How was your weekend?

Back to Work!

back to work

Today’s my first workday of the year.  If it’s a glimpse of  the year ahead, then it’s going to be an exercise in flexibility and time management.

As soon as I arrived, my Filipino boss approached me and said I need to catch up on our way to the contractor’s office which is down at the next city.  I knew before the year ended they had plans of letting me tag along this visit but I figured since I was out the entire last week, they either kicked me off the list or replaced me with another staff.  Well, they didn’t so I printed relevant stuff, grabbed my bag and my notebook, and off we went.

It was a good FGD and after a quick lunch we headed back to the office.  We weren’t done marveling at how Quezon Avenue traffic was so light after lunch when we hit Mabuhay Rotonda.  There were processions leading to the Quiapo Church and it also rained, so Espana wasn’t travel-friendly anymore.  I napped, tried to read from my tablet — which I forgot to charge, ugh — and exchanged anecdotes with my bosses, until we got to Morayta, where all vehicles were directed as roads to Quezon Boulevard were already closed.

We got to the office at 3:00 pm, an hour and half to go before official close of business.  Sure, there were items accomplished, but it really was a momentum-killer.  I managed to sift through and respond to a few of my unread emails and tick off items from my to-do list from the contractor’s visit. I decided to leave early and promised to start fresh tomorrow.

window shoppingRach and Gracie waited for me in Rob to look for clothes for upcoming events we’re going to in the next few weeks.  I really fell in love with a black peplum dress and a flattering black and white party dress in Cotton On which are both on sale.  I would have bought them if the peplum dress had a medium, and the party dress didn’t have a little mark that marred the white front.  I have to give points to the Cotton On staff for honesty — he told me he believes it’s a stain from unpacking the clothes and it may not come off.  Anyway, heading to the Cotton On branch in BHS to get the same ones soon.  I am really excited to wear dresses very soon.

After several domestic errands (I’m really liking this new role now, hahaha), I read a few chapters from The Spindlers for my Bout of Books 6.0 participation.  Won’t overwork my eyes tonight.  As I said, tomorrow, I will start fresh to get more work done. 🙂

Judayski’s Best of 2012 (And A Few Unfortunate Events)

The year is about to end so what better way to bookend it than a list of great, wonderful things I experienced this year.  I may have had setbacks which I took really seriously but overall, it’s a very blessed year for yours truly.

best of lifeBest Event: Turning 30.  It’s just a number, yes, but it’s a big one for me.  I threw the  imaginary blueprint I formed in my twenties and created a new one in my head.  It didn’t feel much differently, save for new emotional depths I now have (I swear, hahaha).

Best Work-Related Event: More stability within my team, compounded by the addition of a new member.  I suffered a great loss toward the end of 2011 but five months later, I knew I made the right choice, considering all aspects surrounding  the dynamics of my immediate workplace.  Ah, basta.

Most Wasted Opportunity: I wasn’t able to sustain my social media volunteer work with Visayan Forum Foundation.  I thought it’s going to be breezy and handy but it didn’t come easy.  Maybe it’s the subject matter; maybe I chose an advocacy that while very timely and worthy, isn’t necessarily my cup of tea.  Sayang.  But now I know, and I can cross it off my list.

Best Azkals/Local Football Moments:  (1) Advancing to the semi-finals of the Suzuki Cup  (2) Global FC’s UFL championship game vs. Loyola Meralco Sparks last June — oh, my emotions that night, (3)  winning the Peace Cup.

Terrible Football Moments: (1) Loss to Singapore in the semi-finals stage of Suzuki Cup.  If we were trampled early on, it would have been easier to accept.  But I know everyone did everything they can.  (2) The sexual harassment case against Angel Guirado and Lexton Moy.  Come on, I’m a woman who will fight you to the death if you offend me, but I can also see what’s overreaction when I see one.  Enough said., (3) Global FC’s loss to Stallion FC in the United Football Cup championship.

Best Outcome of Football Fangirling: My football core group.  We dearly call ourselves Fandesals, the meaning of which will be kept to ourselves. 🙂 I love the friendship we formed that transcended football (o, Rach, transcend!).  I love all the games we watched together but the better part of it is our “debriefing” sessions.  I love you all, guys.

best of futbolBest TV show discovery:  The Newsroom.  Consider this: Aaron Sorkin.  News.  I don’t need to say more.  Runners up : Suits, seasons 1 and 2.  The Walking Dead season 3, after a crapfest called season 2.

Best (and Worst!) Physical Activity I Participated In:  Merrell Trail Run on June 2, 2012.  I thought my Corregidor experience was it but no!  For this one, we braved 10 kilometers of extremely muddy, mountainous trail in  Timberland Heights.  For four freakin’ hours.  It’s like a military bootcamp.  Immediately after that, I can barely feel my lower extremities.  When I got home after the event, I slept for 14 hours straight.  But the best part? The experience with my friends.  I will do it again, if the chance presents itself.  Seriously.

Best Out of Town Trip: Bacolod, last June.  Sure, it was for football, but it was also a chance to explore that interesting city.  We had an amazing host who brought us to most of the worthy spots.  The best part was the food trip.  I think I gained the size of a toddler after that trip.  Runner Up : Baguio in March with my Mom.  We stayed inside the Embassy compound.  The fact that Baguio is my second favorite city in the Philippines is why it’s great to begin with.  No ghosts, contrary to rumors, so it’s cool.

Best It’s-Long-Overdue Action:  I had glasses fitted.  I no longer squint just to read all my correspondence!

Best Charity Work Out of Just Using My Big Mouth: Sending five scholars to UP from the proceeds of our The Avengers screening.  I just sold tickets to a movie people wanted to watch anyway.  I’m so proud of my book club, Ex Libris Philippines, for staging this project.  Next year ulit!

Best Achievement:  Successfully going through a six-month book-buying ban.  I’m so proud of myself.  I didn’t die!  However…

Tiny Bibliophile-Related Setback:  I was allowed to buy books on July 1 so between that time and this writing, I amassed 77 books already.  That number excludes the books generously given to me by my former boss, I won on giveaways, and given by friends as gifts.  I don’t know what to say.  This is my eternal love, in case you just met me today.

Worst Losses: Deaths of an uncle and an aunt who loved me dearly.  My familial setup is not your boring and conventional kind so growing up, having people who care for you genuinely is one of the best coping mechanisms. One of my bestfriends also lost her mother and as I said, this kind of loss for us is a different league of its own.  My mentor’s husband, with whom I shared the same birthday and never failed to make me remember it, also passed on.  A consolation in my heart is that I know, they are with my father now in heaven.  They can swap stories up there.

Worst Abandonment Experience: Denoy leaving for a new job over at the other compound — five kilometers away.  I know, abandonment is over the top, but what do you want me to use?  I was left behind?  Okay, that will do.  Seriously, when he left in July, I thought it’s going to be easy.  My friend got a job he actually wanted to do!  But hey, it wasn’t easy.  Imagine losing the most constant, everyday fixture in your life for five years.  It helped that I avoided going to the 2nd floor since he moved.  For a time I was at a loss, even if I know he’s just a phone call away.  It sounds corny, but even if we annoy each other most of the time, he’s like a gum under my shoe that just won’t go away.  I still miss him especially when there’s something — serious or shallow — I want to tell, a guy problem I want his opinion on…and then I’ll realize he’s not there anymore, available by 11:30 a.m.  I have other male friends but they can never replace him.  Anyway, lately, I think I have accepted it fully.

Best Full-Size Aortic Pump Moment: I have moved on from SG.  After a year.  He’s not coming back and even if he does, it’s better this way.  I never regretted the last seven years (especially since not every single day of those seven years was just about him — I had diversions, LOL).  But seriously, it’s fine now.  I know that the lines will always be open, and he constantly proved that to me, so I take comfort in that and I’m ready to face the other direction.  Time to find a new one.  Pwede na. Bigyan nyo na ako ng listahan ng pagpipilian.🙂 I have short-listed names.  Hahaha.

Super Duper Bestest Part of 2012:  I’M STILL ALIVE.  Healthy, employed, loved.  Nothing can beat that.

So, how’s your 2012?

Emotional Rollercoaster

December is such a busy and eventful month for me.  Every single year.  In just 20 days, I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, most of which are very favorable.  The kind of feelings that you want over and over.

Let’s see: our performance won in the agency-wide talent competition, then a week after we bagged the coveted Ambassador’s Cup and bested 4 other agencies.  I was made to change roles for the Cup performance because a colleague went on leave.  I got fake-proposed to and well, I think it’s a better role.  Hahaha.  Anyway, triumphs, triumphs.

Speaking of recognition, we got a meritorious honor award for our workload during the past summer.  Even after all these years, it still feels great to be recognized for your hardwork.

My calendar also started filling up with dinner dates and holiday parties.  I said it before — being with people almost always tires me out at the end of the day but I am thankful for the gift of friends, from different sets of interests.  This season is really a great time to catch up.  The only thing that bums me out is the horrendous traffic.

As for downsides, I can only think of the tough loss of the national football team in the Suzuki Cup semi-finals as the hardest one to take.  We waited for this for two years.  I know we faced a tough competition but we have beaten this team twice very recently, in both away and home games, so it really sucks that we had to lose at such a very close deficit.  There are plenty of consolations and tournaments in the offing but the loss is really hard to accept immediately.

One more thing I’m anxious about — my reading pace.  Sluggish.  Very sluggish.  As of this time, I haven’t closed one book since the month started.  I am 6 books away from my self-imposed 80 books read for 2012, and I don’t know if I can still make it with 11 days left.  Let’s see.

Going back to other nice things — I once wrote it in my journal, about one day looking at someone and it’s like a switch was turned on and you’re looking at that person differently.  I am prepared to shrug it off knowing how gossip in the workplace goes around, but why, why do I have to know he loves to read and he’s journaling?  Universe, what a tease.  Ewan ko sa’yo.

At any rate, blessings are flowing and I cannot be more thankful.  This has been an emotional rollercoaster of a year actually.  I am a little scared but very excited for 2013.  I’ll get back to you on Saturday; you know, just in case the world doesn’t end yet.

p.s.  One of my bestfriend’s blog is in the process of its dramatic closing, and I guest-posted.  Read my post here.  [In case the idea of “Yummy Friend” is still lost on you, here he is.]