It Comes and Goes, Don’t Trust It

imageMy fuse has been shorter than usual lately. I don’t deny that there are times when my anger management reflects poorly on my personality and I’ve atoned for them many times over. Lately, I can only blame hormones for it.

Someone asked me recently if I don’t get tired being angry. I guess I didn’t comprehend the question that much for I answered no — I took it in the context of letting the anger linger which I don’t do. If you know me long enough, you may have witnessed how I flare up in one big burst and then it dies down immediately. What the questioner probably meant was with the frequency, does it ever take a toll on me. Now that my moods are very erratic, I should have answered yes, I do. Because it does get very tiring and more so when you cannot do anything about it.

I am suffering from PCOS and most literature points to hormonal imbalance as one of its effects. My acne breakout of epic proportions early this year was a red waving flag. I still refuse to get medication though because, and this may seem very misguided, I don’t want medications to supposedly fix my reproductive system. I just don’t want to mess it up by introducing drugs. Very misguided, I know. Let us discuss that later.

The outlet that social media provides is healthy. There’s the TMI vs. form of release schools of thought on this, but if you are one to get relief, no matter how momentary, from spilling it out in lieu of an actual person to vent to, then I am totally for it.

For every Twitter meltdown I did, guilt came right after. And the embarrassment of how bipolar I may appear to some because after the end of whiny posts, I will RT or QT something totally upbeat and silly. Hormones, I guess?  Yeah, hormones.

Right now I am thankful to have friends tolerating my cyclical rants. They can be my personal psychologists, too, but with the underlying acceptance that at the end of the day, I will do my own thing anyway.

They say that happiness is an attitude. I find it hard to pivot my feelings to that direction lately. One of my bestfriends said I wasn’t like this for months now — distraction was key, perhaps. I know I can always do other things and distract myself from my routine. It really does work, you know. My struggle now is that I cannot find the will to make that one crucial step towards fighting it. I am not sure why and why for, but I do get pissed very easily lately. And the worse part is, now, I’m not even sorry.

Let me check back on this again in the next few weeks. I hope I have not made many enemies and burned bridges by then.

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?

books not mine pt2

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?

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???

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?

Re-loving Magazines

I might start reading magazines again to spice up my reading life.

I stopped my regular magazine fare considerably after I severed my 5-year ties with Vanity Fair when they started screwing my deliveries four years ago.  I was such a cheapskate that I also gave up my other subscriptions since I haven’t even opened an issue and next thing I know, another issue was in my mailbox.  It was such an overwhelming time.

Lately, I’ve been treated to online articles shared to me, and for full columns unavailable online, it pays to have a physical issue within reach.  It also made me miss my office library because I used to borrow scholarly and reportage/commentary/critique magazines from them.  I’m happy that the library is moving back to the office compound in April.  In the meantime, I am happy I can get issues of The Point and The New Yorker from someone.

Many fellow readers know I have a thematic reading plan which I kept on rewriting since December 31.  Look at me now, just when I decided to settle on a schedule, I’m deciding to throw magazines in the mix.  Someone told me doing my kind of reading plan isn’t necessarily related to reading and I just have to read whatever floats my boat.  To some extent, I agree, but a part of me likes to have a plan I can refer to from time to time.  It’s such a hearty discussion where I got someone to be on my side, and one adamantly countered it because “you can still be neurotic without being thorough”.   Well, I’ll let you know which sentiment prevailed later.

In the meantime, it’s hooray for more reading materials.  You can never really get enough.

 

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.]

Growing Up and Growing Old

One of my best friends lost her mother yesterday.  Everyone of us in the group ushered into our thirties yet it still feels surreal when we have to go through things like this.  Indeed, we’re growing old and, most importantly, growing up together.

Tita B’s death leaves a scarring effect to most of us not only because of her age.  She was a main extension of someone whom we deeply love since we barely fit in our starter bras; a news like that is a different league of its own.  This comes more painfully to those who never left town; who were neighbors, who were there when they had to pick up and bring home M from coffee dates and barkada dinners and other shenanigans.

When M saw us earlier and she broke down, N and I both didn’t know what to do nor say.  I guess the hug said enough.  I don’t know what to say in times like that and maybe, it is best not to say anything.  I just wanted my friend to mourn and cry whenever and wherever she wants to.

I guess this is it.  Except for one vehicular accident when we were in college — and that time we’re still tender creatures who rely on our parents, so what does it matter — everything else we had to go through together seemed nothing a serious talk, a long trip, nor a simple get-together can’t fix: philandering (ex)boyfriends, pesky co-worker, secret crushes, career path confusion.  Nothing like this big.

At any rate, I am continuously inspired by my friend even during moments when she didn’t know what to do.  She has had cryptic messages on Facebook yet she never once sought help apart from prayers.  M and I share many things in common, most of which are coincidental [born at the same hospital (which we discovered 14 years later), same parental setup, a bachelor uncle living with us, etc.] but the main difference is this:  she’s always been stronger than me.  She took risks, miscalculated a few steps, rose up, did it all over again.  She’s guts personified.  So when you see someone like that break down, you will really question the stuff you’re made of.

At this point, we can only promise to always be there for her.  The year of the “firsts” will always be the hardest.  The pain will never go away, but through time, she will learn to manage it.  This is, after all, part and parcel of growing old and growing up together.

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

For this week, we have to list down our top ten bookish confessions.  It’s a perfect way to kick off my TTT participation!  Here are my confessions, in my simplest best:

1.  I do not like deckle-edge pages.  In my entire collection, I only have two, and I bought them because I thought I couldn’t get them for that cheap a price (yep, you got a cheapskate here) – The Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra and Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff.  In total, I got them for $4, so I really chose money over preference there.  Times are hard! 🙂

2.  I do not own any Harry Potter book.  I have read six books though.  I borrowed ‘Deathly Hallows’ from a friend years ago and it’s still in my TBR pile.
 2.1   I do not own any book in the Hunger Games series but I have read them.
2.2   I have three books out of four in the Twilight series. I liked it the least among the three serials, so I don’t know why I have them and not the other two.

3.  Covering books with plastic is a therapeutic activity for me. I could also say I’m hella good at it. I put importance in cutting the plastic cover to sizes fit for certain books, and balancing tightness versus “breathability” so that the cover won’t be damaged in time. Don’t get me started on my various rolls of tape! I know, I know. 🙂

4.  Most times, I time myself when I read. Weird, I know. Like, I time myself for 15 minutes then count the number of pages I have read. Each time, I’m trying to outdo myself. Depending on the reading material and distractions, I usually don’t outdo my reading performance.  But I get by.

(Please, do not stay away from me.)

5.  I label my books this way: Name, Date of Purchase/Acquisition then at the bottom part of the inner back page, where I got it from. Before, I have simple custom-made Avery labels which says “From the Library of_____” until I saw an old copy of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote in one of those obscure book stalls from graduate school. The cover page says “(name of previous owner), May 1969”.  I was inspired so directly under it I put “my name, October 2007”.  I’ve labeled my books that way ever since.

6.  I love reading but I love it so much that sticking to one book at a time is such a challenge.  I’m not understating.  It mainly has to do with my attention-deficit disorder so, yeah.  Ever wonder why my extensive bookmark collection is serving its purpose well? 🙂

7.  Creased book spines make me sad.  Sometimes, when people return my books and the spine is creased — which it wasn’t when I handed it over — I really feel bad. 😦

8.  I get carried away by books with colorful covers.  Lately, I learned how to let go of pretty covers with stories I don’t dig.

9.  I have a completist tendency.  I buy books of an author even if I haven’t even read a single one of his/her works, or a book in a series. There are some whose books I have read, so that’s fine.  I collected books by James Clavell, Jan Karon, Martin Cruz Smith, Ken Follett, Janet Evanovich, Lee Child, Stephen King, Judith McNaught, Sharyn McCrumb, John Le Carre, Jasper Fforde, Paul Torday, Jodi Picoult,  just to name a few.

10.  I hoard books.  This is nothing new nor interesting to know but I just had to say it.  Friends have equated my book addiction with crack addiction.  I just have to haul one or ten a week.  My TBR pile is insanely huge.  I’m not rich though; my purchasing power could only afford mostly bargain books (another thing, I seem to have a gift, a natural nose, for inexpensive finds!) so I have been able to buy more.

Factor in real-life distractions (work, family, friends, soccer, TV — I watch a LOT of shows) and my very slow reading pace, then that’s why my ratio of books owned:books read is simply mediocre.  I haven’t finished my book list (sorted by year acquired!) but a ballpark estimate would be books owned: 1,100 / books read from that pile: 300.  I also tend to borrow books from friends so I barely touch my own pile.

What about you, what are your bookish confessions?

To read what other TTT participants shared, please click here.

Filipino Friday (4): Books and Friends

One more week until the second Filipino Reader Conference!  Have you pre-registered?  Have you seen the activities on that day?

Anyway, here’s the fourth Filipino Friday to get to know more fellow booklovers!  Here are the questions this week revolving around books and friends.

Are you a part of a book club? If yes, what made you join one? What’s your favorite activity that you have with them?

Yes, I am a part of Ex Libris Philippines since February 2007.  We are a nonstock, nonprofit organization for book lovers. Aside from meeting monthly to discuss books, books, and books, we also hold fundraisers for the organization’s Scholarship Project to help send deserving but financially-challenged UP students to school.  At the moment, we have provided scholarships for 16 students (5 of whom were chosen just last May after our last fundraiser).

I long wanted to join a book club but I have not found the right fit for me until five years ago.  I was randomly browsing the bulletin boards at the Faculty Center in UP Diliman when I saw a poster for a special screening of Frank Miller’s 300.  I wanted to watch the movie and help a scholar as what it said on the poster, so I contacted someone named Tata to get my tickets. One afternoon while waiting for my class, I met Tata and Gabi, the founders of a book club called Ex Libris Philippines, which was also offering the 300 special screening. They’re identical twins!  They’re such an adorable pair.  I wasn’t able to talk to them at length after that, even after the 300 screening two weeks later, until I attended my first book session with the group.  Fast forward to five years later, here I am, still a proud Ex Libris Philippines member!  If you are watching The Newsroom, it’s what Charlie Skinner might call “a story of how sometimes things fall right into your lap.” 😉


My Ex Libris Philippines family

I have different sets of friends and being with people who share the same love for books, those who would understand why staying inside a five-story bookstore is a field trip, is a gift.

The setup of our monthly book sessions isn’t like other book clubs; we do not have a book or two that we all have read and will discuss during a meeting.  We show up for lunch or dinner then whip out book(s) to share and “sell” to the group.  I don’t remember if we ever had planned a “theme”.  Even with that, I only remember one instance in five years when two people brought the same book.  We’re so diverse that we almost always bring different books each time.  A cool part of it is you can take dibs if you wanna borrow a book that appealed to you!  Now that’s one of many reasons why my own TBR pile is very high. 🙂

What also makes it very interesting for me is that I get exposed to books I normally wouldn’t read.  I have to admit that sci-fi/fantasy isn’t on my top five genres but with my book club, I get introduced to these amazing literary worlds.  I now know who Orson Scott Card is, along with Michael Moorcock.  I am also inching my way to reading the Middle Earth books.

Another awesome thing about my book club, which I believe is shared by all book clubs, is that we welcome all kinds of literary works.  Put it out there, share, and let’s discuss.  From esoteric stuff to “The Love Slave” stories, name it, let’s talk about it. 🙂

Most of our book sessions are done over lunch or dinner.  We all love to eat!  If time permits, we also go out of town.  We had a beach trip in Batangas and spooked ourselves silly with a book session at night.  We went up to Baguio last year and scoured Session Road and nearby places for books.  We also raided a bookshop warehouse once.  Oh man, that’s one of the best.  We also go to book fairs together and get all smug (in a fun, harmless way) about our buys.  We support each other whether it’s for a book trivia championship or a musical recital.

Of course, we also get to work once a year to raise funds for prospective scholars.  So far, I’ve been part of  three successful fundraisers which were such insightful experiences.  We staged an opera, a concert participated in by UP College of Music stalwarts, and most recently, a blocked screening of The Avengers!  We still have projects in the pipeline which we will work on in the future in order to send more students to school.

Apart from reading and fund raising, we’re interacting as friends on a personal level.  We also dabble into other interests — like, XP is first a book club friend but we also hangout as football followers.  In addition, one thing about most members of the group is their musicality (it doesn’t include me but, well, I dance!).  It has not happened but it won’t be weird at all if in the middle of our book session we would burst into a musical number ala-Glee (again, they sing and play, I dance, LOL).  Sometimes, we also talk about our love lives *blushes*, our families, our respective day jobs, or just about anything, even if it’s not book-related.  It’s like having an extended family that you get to see at least once a month. 🙂

It’s fun being part of a book club.  If you aren’t part of one yet, I highly encourage that you find and join one. 🙂