Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year Ender : The Climb

I would like to recall the year 2010-  the Tiger year  -  My year through a song.

“There’s always gonna be another mountain. I’m always gonna want to make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes you’re gonna have to lose. Ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.”

Year 2010 is filled with events, which at the time, seemed just like another ordinary day really. Little did I know that life was weaving strings of memories that is going to be a part of a folio of people, places and events in the patchwork of the journey.

• Metamorphosis was reborn in January 2010 via my blog site. In the internet age, I finally decided to be done with my usual journals and start something for world wide web to see. It continue to be an extension of my earliest passion for writing and deep down, I was hoping to be able to touch lives through stories from my children, in this web page.

• My Birthday celebration. Looking back I realized it was the last one I will be celebrating in the Plant. It was actually a working day due to the AM Step 6 Workshop so I celebrated t with the Laundry LT at King Bee’s a week later. The folks also bought Mango Bravo cake at Conti’s as a surprise. Not to be outdone, Loves also took a (surprise) VL that day and they came over in the afternoon to bring a bouquet of flowers and cake and gift from Body Shop waiting at home, after celebrating over dinner at Nuvali's.

• Kevin’s Graduation. A big step from last year’s graduation day, Kevin is now more comfortable wearing his toga and gown and walked alone without tantrums for his graduation march. He also came up alone on stage to get his multiple intelligence award and we met him on stage halfway. Parents also applauded for him and we are happy that he now feels a sense of belonging with the rest of the school kids. In their Christmas Outreach program, Kevin was one of the kids awarded as Most Generous for his donation to the drive.

• Our travels. This year we started carving out more time to travel as a family. We love going to beaches which Kevin and Kyla also love. This year we went to Canyon Cove, Caylabne and Bohol Island. The kids loved their first plane ride and were on their best behavior throughout the flight. I started creating a list of new places to visit and explore.

• Kyla’s Self Discovery. Kyla did not make it for the honor roll in pre-school and while as a parent, I will miss the bragging right, I reminded myself that this is not about me. And so I assured her that we have confidence in her capabilities and not make a big deal out of not making it. But Kyla is full of surprises… We decided to enroll Kyla in St. Scholastica’s College Westgrove for grade school. Coming from a private school myself, I wanted her to experience growing up in a big school and be prepared to face life at large. I am proud to look back and see how Kyla has grown so much in the last five month… she joined the Center for Pop Music singing workshop and in her final recital, she sang “This is Me” with great voice and stage projection. She easily made new friends in SSCW and also joined the Dance Club where she got to also perform. She was a finalist for the Science Quiz Bee and top 3 finalist for Grade 1 Declamation contest. Kyla was also awarded the TOP Book Borrower for Grade 1 level and won new books as her prize. Kyla was also twice awarded the Academic Excellence award and a great way to say goodbye to her school. Most of all Kyla is most endeared and praised not for these achievements… but for her emerging strength of character. Kyla loves her brother very much. They share a special bond and people around them see it and are inspired, seeing Kyla merrily bouncing around her Kuya Kevin and showing her support and caring in every way possible. They are our true blessings!

• ITW plant was engulfed by fire and this changed the course of Alvin’s career in ITW. He was assigned to do a short term trip in China which is his first ever international travel and for the first time, celebrated his birthday away from home. We continued to have the usual cake and birthday dishes at home even though he can only join us in Skype. For the first time, I’ve seen Kevin cry over the absence of a family member.

• My Career (edited version from the original musings). So much has happened this year career-wise and little did I knew that it will be a prelude of things to come.  In a whirlwind of events, next thing we knew I accepted an assignment at the Singapore GO and the entire family will have to relocate by January. We had to live as split family for three months and had to wrap up our lives in Manila, pave the way to new destination, new country and a new assignment.

• Kyla’s 10th Birthday. Kyla celebrated her 7th birthday in a Camp Rock/Pop Star theme at the Paseo Premiere Hotel. We had over 150 guests and more than half of her classmates past and present, teachers and Kevins' teachers and therapists came to celebrate with her which is a testimony of the people and friends she has made. She also rendered a solo song number which makes for a memorable birthday.

• My farewell. I’ve always wondered how my life at the Plant will end and where to go next. I’ve always thought it would not be soon. But it’s not to be. And so last October 1, the farewells were in order. I feel humbled and honored from the touching messages from so many friends, colleagues, direct reports and people I have worked with in the Plant. I will always keep their messages with me as inspiration and source of joy during the difficult times.

And so as I bid farewell to 2010, I also welcome and embrace a new life waiting. Life is full of surprises. Life is beautiful!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Notebook of Dreams

I loooove notebooks.

I used to own probably 4-5 notebooks at any given time. For work. For personal to do list. For my literary scribblings and a few more that were given ro me as gifts. When I am in a bookstore and I see a nice, elegant looking notebook, I could not resist buying one. Even with the onset of Palm Pilot (which died), Smart Phone and now, the Ipad (and the Ipad look-alikes), there is something elemental about notebooks versus a digital rendition of scribbled musings.

Before I left Manila, I gave away a lot of my old "new" (unused) notebooks to my office mates. I realized have a lot kept in my locker and at home. I had to finally "let go" of my really old notebooks from my R&D Process days. I had to throw a couple that caused a great deal of stress.

Two years ago I started this tradition of writing down my "To Do List for the Year". I received a Papemelroti notebook-the one with brown paper-having been made from recycled paper and I decided to put it to good use by listing down the things I want to accomplish for the next 2-3 years. It included both personal pursuits as well as those that extend to my family.

Last September, I decided to leave the notebook behind as a "something old" memento to a friend from work. I had to tear off about 2 pages where I have written my life's pursuits. Looking at my hand written notes for the last time, I realized that each and every one of in the list had this red "check mark" beside them, -- even when I thought at the time I wrote it that it seemed impossible or outrageous. I have actually realized all those things I have set out to do and accomplish. And I had to say, most of them were not accomplished by my lone self. It also took great partnership with my better half.

I was handing down not just an ordinary notebook-- it was a notebook where dreams are made. And where dreams, coupled with faith, perseverance and tenacity -- do come true.

... Which reminds me, its time to have a new notebook. For my new "To Do" list. It will be quite a long list.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Acts of Kindness

Kindness is like a candle in the dark. Giving hope.

Being a stranger in a new country, a new workplace, a new city/community and a new function is more than enough recipe for disaster. And dont even get me started about being alone. I heard this before but somehow it escaped me in that hour of reckoning.

Along the way, there were people who like rays of sunlight, brings warmth to an otherwise cold and dreary long day. We probably do not take these things to heart and take those for granted until finally, you are in a situation where you feel vulnerable.

In my first two months in a new destination, I feel so grateful to the random every day people for their acts of kindness... the "Good Morning Armie" from new office mates.. Kanitha who reminded me of my "Mommy Joyce" who led me to the Healthway Clinic during that deathly day when I was about to fade in the face of Singapore.. the genuine query from folks about "my life so far"... Kevin's new Angel for the words of wisdom... the lad who offered me a shelter under his umbrella during that rainy evening while crossing Orchard road... the planners who helped me onboard... my new team who took the load off... my informal lunchmates for listening to my run-down of my days-so far... the cheerful taxi drivers (who negated the grumpy ones)... old Cabuyao friends who visited in SG for the joy of their company... the Cabuyao friends who continue to tag me in all facebook pictures of Plant Life and WPI Pillar (yes, the thought counts)... folks at work who provide data/information without waiting for the end of the world...and so many others.

These acts of kindness  make a heavy heart, a wee-bit lighter during those days when it mattered.  With these thoughts I also realized that someone, somewhere-could also be in the same situation I had... and I promised to pass on a little dose of sunshine too.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Farewell to Angels

Kevin spent his last few days bidding goodbye to teachers, friends and sea of familiar faces in this world for the last 10 years. On December 28, we all finally move to Singapore. The goodbye is of course a symbolic rather than a matter-of-fact affair for him because I reckon that at this point, he doesn’t really fully well know that those moments will be the last.

Apart from the secure shell of our home, his school and therapy centers have been his “second home” all these years. We were blessed to have been surrounded by people who genuinely cared for him during those times when we were away to fulfill the needful duties for living. They opened their doors for Kevin, and have him belong and become a part of something great and worthwhile. They have been part of Kevin's small steps and little triumphs over the years. We will always be grateful to them. They will always be Kevin’s Angels on Earth.

Thank you so much—

To Teacher Weng Ynion of Trails Center. To Teachers Len, Donna, Ai and Aimee. Thank you for holding hands with us in the last seven years and through the challenges that Kevin faced, for sharing with his life's milestones. Congratulations on your new pre-school—we couldn’t have been happier knowing that more and more special kids need Angels like you in our country!

To Teacher Mon Mendez of Partners for Child Development and Progress. To Teachers Kang, Elaine, Mai, Soleil, Meng and all his former therapists. For being our partners and enabling Kevin in his ADL and for not giving up on Kevin. Thank you for the very memorable farewell dine-out you gave him... He always look at the pictures he had with you and although he cannot express it in words, I know that he is very happy and will always remember that day.

To Teachers Grace, Gerry, Edison and Lovelyn of Kindertech of Uno Cevita- for opening your doors for Kevin and other special kids who needed a chance. Thank you for giving him a place to belong and a little community where I know he is happy and loved.

I tried to be brief as I know words are not enough. We hope to see you all once again… somewhere, some time. I trust that somewhere along the road, there will be new Angels for Kevin too.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just Got Lucky

When I first came in the Red Dot four years ago, I heard about this quaint mall along the posh Orchard Road where Filipinos gravitate, called Lucky Plaza. They actually called it a Jologs mall. The low rise mall will remind you of small town neighborhood malls back in the country. I never had a chance to go inside and check it out.

Until lately.

Sissy told me that Lucky Plaza is bustling with Filipinos on any busy weekday, but most especially during weekends. This is where many OFWs go for forex, remittance to home country (at a lower charge), buy authentic Pinoy groceries (Boy Bawang, Pancit Canton, Likas Papaya, etc) at Singaporean prices. At the food court you will find a stall serving Pinoy dishes. One serving rice and your choice of two dishes will cost SGD5.

One rainy Sunday afternoon, onwards to my second week at Sing, I was struck with flu and was literally sick and tired. I didn't have food at the service apartment then and was near starvation so I decided to brave the rainy weather and headed to Lucky Plaza to get a late lunch of rice and Pinoy food. I was also quite deppressed then that each step felt so heavy. The rainy weather did not help either and added to the gloom of it all. It was that kind of a week, really.

I knew I was close to Lucky Plaza when I saw throngs of fellow Filipinos at the rainy pavement. Chatting. Waiting. Laughing. Inside the mall, it was elbows to elbows with Pinoys. The remittance centers were the busiest lot.

I went to the basement food court and found the Pinoy stall and ordered my lunch. The tables were full so I had to squeeze in amongs the Pinays eating and chatting in one table for four. They smiled at me and let me take the vacant spot. I can hear their conversation as we were seated so close. I think they work as domestic caregivers, based on their exchange of stories. I listened to their stories as I ate my lunch. Before I left, I went to the Pinoy store and bought some noodles and canned tuna.

When you are in a country that is not your own, alone and sick as I was that day and longing for the comfort of your family, the company of fellow kababayans is as close as you can get to give you a sense of belongingness. Even if it was just a quaint mall sorely misplaced in the middle of the posh Orchard Road.

And who really knows? Probably during those weekend afternoons, the communion of Pinoys might have been sharing the same thoughts I had. We are all not very different at all. We were all just strangers in a country that is not our own. Working. Missing our loved ones. I will go through it for three months, but most of them probably had it for years and years. And there we were. Bounded by our solace.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The End of a Friend

And so my loyal and strong friend met its end.

I have sworn to run (well, walk really) it to the ground. So I did. After 4 years, my loyal Naturalizer Wedge Sandals called it quits. The red strap gave way. Actually if I yank the horizontal strap off, it will still be good as new. So I am seriously contemplating to do just that.

I bought this in Bangkok 4 years ago (!) together with a fellow WPI Pillar leader Wang Ping when we attended the 1st ever Regional Std Work training. Come to think of it, Wang Ping had left and came back to China already after years of sojourn in Europe, and this pair is still my favorite every day shoes, and is still good. Wang Ping also bought one but a lighter color with Lime straps. I wonder if it's still alive.

My good old wedgie have been companions everywhere-Bohol, Batangas, Subic and Central Luzon, all of South Luzon, Bangkok, Shanghai, Beijing, Vietnam, Japan and Singapore. I always bring this pair of shoes in all my travels, in all the 53x4x2 days of weekends of my life. Can match any outfit in the wardrobe, casual or formal. If you are a keen observer, one would assume this is the only pair of shoes I have.

I love it most of all because it is just so comfortable! You can walk all day long and not feel fatigued. Almost as if a premonition, I was browsing for a similar pair at Naturalizer last week. But not a chance.

And if I happen to find Mr.Quickie at Lucky Plaza, I am sure I can have it repaired! So I am not throwing it away for now!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Gift of Generosity

Eversince Kyla started owning coin purses, mostly as a gift or souvenir pasalubong from someone, she always made it a point to fill them up with coins. She is so resourceful that her pink piggy purse or her tarsier purse from Bohol would always be brimming with coins.

When I travelled home this month and we had quite a time together, it was then that I saw for the first time what she has been up to.

When we heard our Sunday Mass, Kyla would no longer ask me for money during the Offertory. She turned to her own coin purse and brought out coins for the offering. She even gave some coins to her Kuya Kevin. This made me smile. I am proud of my little girl!

Later thay day while going around the mall and shopping for home stuff, whenever we will stop by at the cashier, Kyla took out coins from her purse and drop a peso or two to the tin can coin banks beside the cashier. She did this for at least 3 outlets we visited. Kyla knows that these coin banks go to charity work, usually for Red Cross or Bantay Bata, she once asked me what they are for. This also made the cashiers and sales ladies smile.

By mid-day, her once heavy coin purse is empty.

And so whenever I have change of coins after paying the cashier, she would ask for them. I think she also collects the coins from our garage sale at home. She never rans out of coins to be sure. I believe generous people-- despite giving away what they have-- they never really lose anything. They gain back more vs. what they have given away and most of all, they gain back more blessings and reap good karma points.

It is so refreshing and heartwarming how a child develops the gift of generosity amidst her world where the young are surrounded by crass materialism and me-first attitude.

I am proud of you, my little one!

And as I waved my goodbye to her this morning, though I leave Manila today with a heavy heart, I know that she will be alright. In more ways than one. 

(Musings from NAIA, thanks to the reliable wi-fi, it worked this time)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A House and a Home

Been busy house hunting for the past three weeks or so.

Exciting, interesting, riveting and of course tiring. It helped that I have been trained on Options Analysis, Success Criteria and Key Drivers. It made a big difference when it boiled down to the Final Two choices.

As I was looked forward previewing the so-called future home towering above me, I could not help but also think about our home in Sta. Rosa, Laguna that will be the soon-to-be-ex-house with poignant memories. Come to think of it, two years ago my husband and I made the big leap to finally build our home/house and it ended to be everything we both dreamed of and a place where the kids would be warm and secured. It was in a way a symbolic commitment on our end that it was a place where we would now be settling down for the many years to come. We even thought of selling the land and moving on the side of Sta. Rosa where new neighborhoods and villages are bustling. But we also believed that it wasnt just the prestige of those new places that mattered -- really, it was our community of friends in La Joya and their warm treatment of Kevin that held us back. That home also brought about many blessings and good karma to our family. Alvin and I both felt good we stayed in La Joya. The thought of having to relinquish ties with the old home seemed unnerving. I thought of every stick and stone that carried priceless memories.

In the Settling-In tour that Alvin and I had during his visit to Singapore, a nice Swiss lady was assigned as our settling in consultant. She has been married for more than 16 years and lived all those years in SG. Over a nice lunch at Lee Soy Chicken Rice (I hope I remembered it right...) along the SG backstreets, she shared something that her husband told her once when they were deliberating to sell their house in Switzerland ... "A house is just a house."

I had to tell myself again. A house is just a house. I had to bow to the wisdom behind these words.

A house is just a house. But HOME is where the HEART is.

A house is just a house. We can have so many houses in a lifetime. We actually did. But there can only be one home.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Little Big Girl - Kyla's 7th Birthday

Birthday Girl renders a Song Number from "Camp Rock"

When I asked Kyla if she wanted a Birthday Party or a Disneyland Trip for her 7th birthday, she immediately answered without batting an eyelash "Birthday party, so that I can invite my friends!"  I thought it was a good choice because these are childhood memories that she can tuck for a lifetime. Of course, it was only a matter of five minutes when she returned to me and muttered, "sa summer na lang yung Disneyland..." !

True to her love for upbeat music, the theme had to be Camp Rock. We actually picked Hannah Montana theme as first choice but I thought of the poor boys who would likely cringe over a too-girly-theme so Camp Rock is a logical bet. Besides, Kyla and Kevin love Camp Rock and their music so I am sure this is something they will both enjoy. We picked a rock princess costume for Kyla after scouring the mall for hours!

For fun, we also chosed to set up a Kiddie Salon for the girls (and boys too!). Bigshot4Events' photo booth was a hit among the young and old! I'm glad that most kids were game to come in their best rock star/pop star outfits- it was so competitive I had to at least pick 5-6 Best Costume Winners for the girls and boys' category. Even Kuya Kevin gamely agreed to don his pop star outfit with matching color spray do! We are so proud of him and this earned him one of the Best Costume awards too! There were about 40 kids and more than half of her classmates attended the party, which is a testimony of the friends she has made.

Of course a party will not be complete without a Magic show, the Ventriloquist and the usual loads of games for all. Our surprise for Kyla was the AVR presentation of Kyla's Growing Up years which she love! Kyla also gave a suprise number from her favorite song "This is Me" from Camp Rock!

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Our special thanks to our family/relatives, our friends and colleagues, Kyla's classmates past and present, Kyla and Kevin's teachers- who made her birthday an affair to remember!

My gratitude to our partners and suppliers who helped me and Alvin made this a less-stressful event:
Paseo Premiere Hotel for their great party package, BigShots4Events, Set You a Party, Ninang Ninnie for the Themed Cake and Cupcakes, Kyla's 7+1 Well-Wishers: Teacher Edison, Teacher Weng, Ninang Ninnie, Ella, Arwen, Chami and Andree.

In her first seven years, there is nothing more that I can ask for from a daughter-- Kyla grew up to be a brave and strong girl, wise for her years, loving the simple joys of life, intelligent and witty, and unconditional in her love especially to her Kuya Kevin. We love you Kyla!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Singapore Haze

It’s my fourth week at the Red Dot.  All over the news is the Singapore haze covering the skyline.

I knew that the time will come when I will start asking myself “Why am I doing this?” My friend and mentor reminded me that when these moments come to haunt me, I should look back at the reasons that propelled me to move forward. And while I knew she was right, while I knew that those reasons were rooted down to Faith, I fought very hard not to lose my own faith to the forces that brought me here.

I blamed it to the many late nights of sleep I had even before I landed in SG.
I blamed it to the sudden loss of appetite way into my second week which left me seven pounds lighter.
I blamed it to the flu and sore throat that weighed me down for weeks that doesn’t seem to end.
I blamed it to the apparent lack of work-life balance that will be looming over me for the next three years.
And the rest of it is simply homesickness.

If my family were here, it would have been bearable. I would draw energy from their laughter. I would take shelter in the warmth of their embraces. But for now, their electronic memories and virtual chats are my only comfort.
Some office folks were kind enough to ask how I am doing. How is my family and are they coming anytime soon? There will always be a lump at my throat and I had to fight back the tears. I am not embarrassed by the tears but I have to stop them or else there might be no end to it.

My husband has been very loving and supportive, giving me something to hold on to even while we are apart. He brings to me the cheerful smiles of our kids, the loving words from Kyla and keeping them focused and secure in my absence.

My sister has been very helpful, keeping me company during my sick days and keeping me sane during those times when I needed someone to talk to.

It was great to have seen some old friends. Even for a while, I was back to my old self.

But at the end of the day, there was still this haze. Like a dark cloud enveloping my heart.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Endings and Beginnings

“All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time…”  - From Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven

A new chapter of my life – and my entire family’s life is about to begin.

The last 10 years in Cabuyao has truly been an exciting ride. I would like to thank all the great friends, colleagues and acquaintances that had been a part of my memories of Cabuyao…
To my Cabuyao leaders:  Fanny and Sam, THANK YOU for putting your trust and belief in me. Thank you for your boundless support, for inspiring me to see what I can become and for holding my hand along the way. You have taught me what leadership is all about.

To my first mentor ever, Jas:  Thank you for all your words of wisdom, the advices through the years, for your moral support to me and to my family ever since the start of our journey, I will never forget those.

To my previous managers in Cabuyao PS: Rohan, Butch B., Boss Danny V., Jazz, Jas, Mike and Nilo, thank you for the wisdom and learnings that you have passed on to me along the way. I have always believed that we learn different things from different leaders and I’ve strived to be the reflection of the best in all of you while not lose my own identity.

To the CLT past and present: Thank you for sharing 6 great years! Cabuyao will continue to be great organization because of you.

To Adi for always sharing all sorts of advices in career and in life, the lessons on political savvy and for reading my blogs J

To all my Cabuyao direct reports from the start: Knel, Vernon, Jojo S., Dylan, Dan, Schellie, Garry, Pong, Henry, Ric, Greg, Louie, Andrew, Mike E., Jhawe, Franz, Roncap, Kenneth, Ramil, Mike P. and the DLP LT from 2008-2010. I have become a better leader through all of you amidst the better and the tougher times. Thank you for standing alongside with me for making our vision a reality!

To the MPO and the DLP Supply System:  It is through all of you that I have learned to dream – Making possible what was previously unimaginable – was forged because of you!

To the WPI Pillar Team through the Years: There is no better time for WPI than today! It’s not the monthly reviews, the board updates, the LE Tracking review, the measures (and training materials) that keep on changing or the Blitz events that I shall miss most—I will miss the camaraderie and bonding we created. I will continue to cheer for you from a thousand miles away!
To my women network friends: Jas, Ninnie, MJ, Zarah, Bevs, Maty:  Thank you for laughing and crying with me, for celebrating with me and being part of my milestones, for putting up with me during the days when I was weird, whiny or just plain annoying you in your work pods when I’m tired.

Thanks to “Mommy Joyce” for everything that I cannot possibly enumerate in this email!

To my mentees, this is not goodbye. I am just a call away and will be there for you. Drop by when you happen to be in SG!

To the guys who made me laugh: Sean, Pong, Garry, Robbot, Ron, Pol, Virg, Dennis M., KC, Greg, Tito, Mike E. : being serious as I am, it’s quite a feat! I will probably miss you the most J

To my laundry and liquids days partner in crime (metaphor) Dwight:  Will miss all the chit-chats and coffee break discussions over life, work, career, your hobbies that we talk about for one week and latest finds and our talks about the oh-no-were-doomed-days (this is probably IT). I am with you in wishing for better days are up ahead for Laundry (volume-wise). The kingdom -- and our shared printer, cabinet, in/out tray, pentel pens, glue, paper, the shared kwh with the disputable split, the blowers that used to break down J the electric fan that always breaks down, etc --  are now all yours!

To my BFF Ninnie: we used to wonder how it will end. Well, here we are now. Our lives are parallel as always. Thank you for your enduring friendship, for giving that needed pat/hug/cheers all these years when we thought we couldn’t go on, for listening to all my musings (and my non-sense).

To the DLP LT and WPI team, for Ramil and MJ who led  for an unforgettable farewell parties, I am simply humbled and grateful.

To all the other countless names I couldn’t possibly enumerate anymore, thank you for touching my life one way or another. I hoped that I have made a difference in yours too.

Wherever my destiny takes me next, I shall always look back at my time in Cabuyao as one of the best times in my P&G life!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Uniquely Me (My Love Story with Books and Literature, at random order)

• I look up words in the dictionary just to see if they indeed exist or how Webster actually defined it. These are really weird or otherwise, unspeakable words. I still do it for fun esp. with the Gen Y and Gen Z terminologies today. Can’t wait to see jejemon in Webster.

• I’ve read the Funk and Wagnall’s encyclopedia from Volume 1 to 25. Of course I didn’t read one page after another though but I chose among the interesting topics per volume. Most of which are on history, famous people, science and geography. Astronomy also fascinated me but the books were way too archaic and this was pre-internet age. I wish though I had a sharper memory.

• Speaking of history, the Philippine History textbook by Gregorio Zaide rank as of my favorite books in high school. I was so affected when I realized the book was given away later as a hand-me-down. I like reading history books only if the author is a great story teller. Otherwise? I’d fall asleep faster than you can say “boo!” too.

• Come to think of it, I’ve read every volume of our entire encyclopedia at home (Science Library and Charlie Brown encyclopedia included). Looking back, I was actually thinking someone has to put them to use. Only my dad and I really liked reading for a hobby.

• I finished reading Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo on the summer before the actual school year started. You can imagine how bored I was at the Filipino class throughout Junior and Senior years. In fact, I was so bored I had to read another book, carefully camouflaged inside the Noli textbook. I was seated at the second to the last row so the teacher hardly noticed. Besides, I had this goody-two-shoes reputation so they never suspected.

• I was not taught how to read. I learned to read before my actual preschool education. I did not go through the phonetic reading stuff and technicalities. The tagalog comic books and songbooks lying around at home (owned by my yayas) came in handy.

• Having said that, you can imagine how hard it was for me when it was time to teach my children how to read.

• My love for reading did not necessarily translate to perfect scores in reading and language/spelling class during my grade school years. GS years were mostly memorization, which I hate. But I got my payback during high school and college days. The perfect scores came during high school English and Literature where you need more analysis of the reading material and essays than mere memorizaton. I also get exempted in my English finals in college. This asserts my hypothesis: It’s always just a matter of time. Hah!

• I can remember the first story book I ever owned. It was a birthday present from the school directress during my preschool day – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Little Mermaid. For a fairy tale, the Little Mermaid was bit too much for a five-year old to handle.

• I never liked reading Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys. Never liked reading any science fiction and futuristic stuff either. I love reality, thank you very much.

• However, ironically, I love Mythology. I still have my dilapidated book on Edith Hamilton’s Mythology which was a required reading from high school. Funny because they are quite fictitious but they have a hauntingly mysterious air. I also thought these are the fairy tale stuff of the early civilization.

• I got hooked reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy long, long, long before Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling made a box office killing by making witches and vampires appear to be these wholesome, cuddly guys/gals next-door superstars. I am biased but Anne Rice’s vampires and witches have these truly gothic, blood curdling and dark mysterious streak. In a more obtuse comparison, Rice is classic; Meyer, Rowling et al (and the growing breed of Meyer, Rowling et al wannabees) are the “Wakasan” version from my childhood komiks memory. And yes, I am NOT part of the Twilight bandwagon. Tried reading it but I found out it is effective only if I wanted to sleep early. Or need a good laugh. Which I might need soon. No apologies.

• I first wore eyeglasses at age six. Those really made me look like a true-blue geek. I had this misguided sense of pride that made me think people think I looked like a geek. Get it?

• My astigmatism was corrected at 2nd Grade. I wore glasses again one year after working in P&G 

• I have to thank my high school friends/classmates (esp. Veronica, Carla and Hya) who loaned me the books that I read. I cannot afford to buy any books then. And so, when I started working, I started buying all the books I missed out reading. Mostly the classic literature. And Anne Rice’s. I also still borrow a lot too.

• My all time favorites: Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone with the Wind (life before Civil war, NOT the star-crossed love story, okay?)

• For mental exercise, I read more of the thin volumes of contemporary paperbacks. And write in my blog.

• The height of unwisdom as an effect of my bookworm tendencies was when my mom caught me reading this book (Sweet Valley High, purely wholesome teen novel mind you) using flashlight while covered by a blanket (so she wouldn’t know I was still awake). Needless to say, she took the book and slammed it onto my head (out of sheer anger, I do understand her-it was exam week) and she took the book (which I only borrowed from a classmate). She forgot to take the flashlight though. I had another back-up book, hehehe.

• To relieve stress during the chemical engineering board exam week, I read cheesy novels every night just before the exam day rather than continuing to cram my brain. I passed.

• Call me old fashioned but despite the onset of e-books that you can download in PCs or your handheld device (which I’ve tried when I still had my Palm Pilot), there is no substitute to the reading experience using real books. Also, I cannot resist skimming the ‘ending’ no matter what. And this is tedious to do in e-books.

• I had this subscription of the Pambata magazine in grade school. In my 2nd grade, I read about the different kinds of scientists. I read about the Chemist and said to myself “that’s what I want to be when I grow up,” having spent summers mixing soil, shaving cream and Old Spice perfume. I was waiting for an explosion. The only explosion I got was my parents’ fuming in anger asking where on earth that foul smell came from!

• During junior HS year, I read about careers in chemistry from my Chemistry textbook. I thought that the engineer working in a plant fitted me better so I changed my mind and went for chemical engineering instead. Who would have thought books could influence my life so much?

• Home is not a home without bookshelves.

• Aside from “home,” my second homes will include the UST Main Library. I probably spent half of my college life there. I also prowled at the U.P. College of Science Library in my early R&D days when we didn’t have internet access at the office and I need a research on magnesium soaps.

• On business trips, I bring books to save me from boredom. Just in case.

• I still love reading encyclopedias until this very day. We bought a complete volume of Time Life books to get Kyla to love reading. Turned out I ended being the one reading them. My daughter has a calling of her own and I had to live with the fact that she is becoming the person she will be.

• A year later when I stopped hoping, Kyla was the St. Scholastica’s Learning Resource Center’s Top Book Borrower for July 2010.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Break the Bank

It is never too early to teach kids the value of money. Kyla and Kevin have their own coin banks for nearly a year now. They earn coins (P10, P5, P1) after doing some light chores at home or whenever they get "stars" (or for Kevin, the Happy Stamps) from school.

We thought of teaching the kids to help doing light household chores rather than just sit around waiting for Yaya to do everything. 

For Kyla, this is watering the plants and the lawn (which she loved doing since she was 2 anyway), fixing the bed, looking after Kevin, feeding Kimby and helping Daddy wash the car during Sundays.

Kevin also have his share! He is in charge of setting the table for dinner. After eating, Kevin knows how to wipe the table and sweep the crumbs off the floor using the 'walis'. After every meal, he brings the utensils to the kitchen sink. He also learned to feed Kimby. After playing with his cars and train, he is sure to "pack away" his toys back to their boxes or cabinet.

Last Sunday we broke Kyla's coin bank which was too heavy to carry by now. Kyla bought more than a dozen books from her earnings and even bought some activity and coloring books for her Kuya Kevin. Next Sunday it will be Kevin's turn and we'll buy him a stuff toy of his choice to add to his collections.

And they have new coin banks in tow!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Night Before the Garage Sale Part 1

September 8, 2010. 1030 am. Life was never the same again.
Destination: Singapore. Yep, it's a great time to be in Asia.

And so now I start gathering up the remnants from a soon-to-be-past-life into one mass of stuff that goes to the so-called garage sale.

No matter how I religously do my 5S at home, we still end up with a hill-ful of collectible this-and-that which no doubt, has to go now.

... and so, if you will excuse me now, I have some sorting and labelling to do!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Date with Kevin

This is actually a subset from Kevin's 10th Birthday.
To make his day special, we had a lunch date at the Mall while they prepare the balloons and gifts for Kevin's birthday dinner later. Kyla obliged to have this as a "Mommy and Kevin day" so she stayed home (it was still a summer vacation) and made us promise to buy her a pasalubong.

We had lunch at his favorite pizza restaurant and bought new toys and clothes. He enjoyed browsing over the cars before selecting one and played with the vinyl balls.

As usual, we had to commute going home but what was fun was that we waited to ride a jeep where we can sit at the front row.
Kevin loved it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kyla's Metamorphosis

The great author Anna Quindlen once wrote her thoughts about parenting and raising young adults- I forgot the verbatim statement but it all boils down to something like...

I've always thought that my children became who they were because of what I did for them. But I realized much later, that they grew up to become their true selves because they taught me a thousand times to back off and let them BE.

I was a young mother when I first read this. 10 years later the fiction became my reality...

I learned to read much earlier than going to pre-school and this started my love for reading. The first book I ever owned was The Little Mermaid (which I thought now was a bit too much for a children's fairy tale...).

I tried to get Kyla to also develop the reading habit but clearly she had other interests in mind (like singing, soccer, bike, scooter and roller skates) which rather supported her Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligent-self. I remembered Anna Quindlen so I decided not to force the issue. Which meant her grades in Reading are off than the rest. So be it.

But I was in for a surprise early this school year. They have this DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read) at school and she started to bring books at school. I also noticed she regularly borrow books from their library to take home for reading. Kyla now spends time to read books at home. One time she even read a book for her Kuya Kevin while they were hanging out together at the garden :-) Last time we went to the bookstore she asked me to buy 2 books. And another 2 for her brother.

But the biggest surprise was when we went to her school for the Parents-Teacher meeting. Posted at the door of the Learning Resource Center was the list of Top Borrowers for the Month by section... Kyla was their #1 avid book reader! No wonder I saw a different book every day in her stash!

I remembered Anna again... yep, she was right. And you can bet her Reading grades are now far better, but that's a moot point really. Reading is all about expanding your mind, seeking and finding that inspiration. At the end of the day, seeing Kyla now develop that genuine love for reading is such a great gift!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another Daddy-less Weekend

We have a very established Saturday afternoon routine that involve (1) Kevin's Speech Class, (2) Choice of early dinner-merienda, (3) Trip to the Supermarket and Mall for errands, (4) Kids and Daddy's Weekend Campout at the Movie Room.

But not today. Alvin is still in his biztrip. He called last friday evening to break the news that he needs to extend for three more days or so. With some crying bouts from the little girl on the side.

And so back at home on an early Saturday evening with nothing much to do (cant do the campout thing, not a video buff, unless its the old classics), I decided to get that much needed massage.

So I called Dial Zen for a good two hours of massage. I asked the masseuse to allot the last 40 minutes for the kids so that they can have light massage too!

They loved it! Kevin was a bit ticklish at first but got the hang of it. Besides, massage is really good for his blood circulation and helps him relax if he is hyperactive.

We'll do it again sometime!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Daddy-less Weekend

It’s a Sunday and it is usually our family day lunch out. But since Daddy had to spend the weekend in China, we had to plan something on our own. I got a notice that Meralco will be doing their maintenance work in the village which meant no electricity and water for 5 hours. So we decided to spend the day at the Mall rather than roast at home.

Earlier that day though, I woke up later than usual and the kids took a bath already. The yayas were preparing to leave for their Sunday day-off so I told them to go ahead and we’ll manage. As I prepared for the usual morning rituals, Kyla laid out small plastic chairs in front of the garden and that’s where she and Kevin sat while I was eating my late breakfast. She brought out a fan (electricity was already cut-off) and her new book called Super Dad. I heard her reading the book for her Kuya Kevin while he eagerly looks onto the book.

When it was time to take the morning shower, I told Kyla to pack their stuff and stay at the 2nd floor balcony instead where it was cooler and so that we can lock up the rest of the doors downstairs while I was out of sight. Kyla promptly obeyed and then I saw her hauling another set of low chairs and table to the balcony. She even placed another set of chairs as foot stools while she continued reading the book for Kevin. It was quite a sight to see them serenely enjoying time together and it makes me happy.

Then it was time to prepare for the mall. After helping them get dressed, I talked to the kids to let them know the events for the day. We also made sure Kimby has enough water supply and promised to bring her a pasalubong.

Since tricycles will take forever, I told the kids we will have to walk from the house to the main road to get a jeepney ride. We brought a folding umbrella since it was warm already and in case it rained later.

Walking was fun. I like walking. I can walk for hours to no end like I used to when I was younger and had to get SSS IDs, NBI clearance, etc etc and had to endure hours of walking when my money isn’t enough to get me from one point to the next building miles away. To make it fun, I told Kyla that she will be the “walking leader”. There was a short cut we can take and knows how to lead the way. Even though the sun was beating down, it was fun for all of us.

Then we had to ride a jeepney to SM City Sta. Rosa. Having been born with a family car in tow, the kids love the novelty of riding public transports from time to time. Of course, it was hot and dusty and some jeepney drivers run as if there is no tomorrow so we had to hang on to the rail for dear life, but the kids were happy. Kyla liked being the one to give the bayad to the driver, and calling out a loud “paraaaaa….” when we reached the destination. Kevin liked looking past the rows and rows of scenery passing by and having the dusty breeze against his face. It was probably a curious experience for him.

We had lunch at their favorite Pizza and Pasta joint as soon as we landed the Mall. We requested for a take home pack so that we can bring some for Kimby. I was hoping to watch a movie but nothing was worth the effort so we detoured to the bookstore instead. The bookstore is my safe haven. If nothing else works, buy a good book.

Kyla also started to like books. At first I gave up and tried not to force the issue but since they started the DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read) in school, she developed a real interest for books. So we ended up buying books and activity sets for Kyla (Camp Rock 2 and coloring book), Kevin (activity and writing Books) and a paperback novel for myself -- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which by the way, I started reading until page 41 before the lightbulb moment drove me to write this blog! The book was about an autistic teen age boy playing detective over their neighbor's pooddle who died.

We passed by the Toy Store but firmly told the kids that they can look at the stuff but we are not going to buy any that day because I just got them new toys from my Singapore trip and that Daddy will likely buy some more. I am proud of Kyla’s maturity for such things. I knew she was eyeing the yoyo and the toy microwave. Unlike kids who would bawl for not having their wishes granted, she never forces her will and obeys without fanfare. Until now, we are not buying her PSP or Game Boy (is that still how it’s called?) even if everyone in her school has one but she never complains of being so “not in”. Later that day, before going to sleep I told her how proud I am of her.

We made some trips around the Mall and finished a few errands here and there. I noticed from the mall entrance that dark clouds are building up so we decided to head home. Back at home, we had enough time that afternoon for some snooze, snack and have Kevin play basketball while Kyla volunteered to water the plants and have Kimby guard them at the lanai area. Yayas won’t be back until dinner time so I cooked chicken casserole for an early dinner with the kids who must be missing rice by then.

After dinner, Kyla also made a birthday card for his Dad. She drew Alvin as Superdad and then she had smaller drawings around it why she called her dad a Superdad.

As I have predicted, the kids retired early so likely no Skype Video call with Daddy that night but we did have one last game of feeding and putting Kyla’s baby doll to sleep (Kevin helped) and prayed together. Kevin continued fiddling with this towel so I gave him a choice of play or sleep. He chosed sleep.

But before sleeping, I kissed them goodnight and told them how proud I was for being such good and helpful kids. I told them that although Daddy isn’t here, he will be happy to know how they behaved at their best and helped Mommy cope while he wasn’t around.

They must be so used to us being away, either at work for > 8 hours daily or the business trips and the weekends are all we have for quality time and bonding. Whether it was me or Alvin who isn’t around, we try to make it a happy time for the kids so that they won’t be sad about missing one or the other. Make the most of each moment, make it count and give them memories that they can tuck away as part of a happy childhood. Today is one such day!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gluttons Bay Escapade at Esplanade

It sounds sinful.

In one of my trips, I read about the popular Hawkers district in Singapore and made a mental note that it will definitely enter my to-do list in my next trip. My sister Cindy lives there so I make it a point to meet with her for dinner, together with my work friends every opportunity I have.

And that was how we ended up at Makansuntra at the Gluttons Bay near the Esplanade. Quite a fitting name dont you think? Makan sounds like our Ilocanos' mangan which means eat (or to eat).

Hawkers is definitely for the adventurous lot, gastronomically speaking. Surprise yourself and your taste buds with the variety of authentic Asian fare it has to offer! If you are the snobby-choosy-sosi or pa-sosi type who wouldn't be caught alive eating al fresco and au naturelle' then you can stop reading this now. Hawkers isn't for you. It also reminds me of our local carinderia, the Al Fresco booths at Market-Market or the Tiendesitas Food market. The latter are of course the middle class version.

We went to Makasuntra on a mid-week for dinner and it was alive and bustling by 8 pm.

The going practice at Hawkers is you 'save' a table (you can buy wet tissues for SGD 0.30 and use it to reserve your tables), then make a quick tour among the food booths to find what you like. You can mix and match foodies from different booths.

After checking the food stalls dotting the place, we decided to line up at a stall named Boon Tat Street. We ordered their specialties: the grilled spicy Sting Ray and the Deep Fried Baby Squid. Add a bit of Yang Cheow fried rice for good measure.

We also decided to check out another booth and ordered Chicken Satay (another version of our own BBQ) and at the far end was another best seller Hokkien Prawn Mee (fried spciy noodles with monggo sprouts and generous dash of shrimps). There was a separate booth for local drinks and the canned variety and I went for sugarcane juice with lemonade. All these for unbelievably low price! I was looking for an Indian Curried Samosas but was disappointed when Cindy told me it cant be found at Makansuntra. There were also the famous cereal prawns and black pepper crab, chili crab and all sorts of crabby delights but we decided to pass.

Having used to Dada's spicy sisig and kilawin, the spiciness didn't bother me at all. The fried baby squid was the night's favorite and despite complaining that we seemed to have ordered a lot, all the dishes were swiped clean anyhow!
For me, the fun about Hawkers is that despite Singapore being a cosmopolitan world city, Hawkers bring a glimpse of the true local vibe beneath the glamour. It is all about Asian food in its most genuine self, night out with friends, fresh air and chit chats less the glossied ambience.

It is truly Asia!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy Stamps

Kevin is elated lately for his Good Job stamps. When we arrived home from work, Kyla proudly announced that her Kuya got Good Job stamps. The stamps usually come in various shapes and pictures. Since Kyla came from the same school last year, she knows that you are given Good Job stamps for having done a great work in school.

His teachers also recognized his improvement in Values Education as he can now understand the situations and emotions being described in his work book (Good Christian, Caring, Sharing, My Talents, etc).

Kevin has been regularly getting Good Job stamps and this makes him very happy whenever we praise and acknowledge his achievements. This motivates him to do more drills at home to reinforce what was done in school.

We are proud of you Vin!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Newest Baby

Rory is my newest baby. My new Acer Aspire One mini laptop was named after Lorelie "Rory" Gilmore II of the Gilmore Girls.

Brainy. Smart. Vibrant. Chatty. Chic and glitzy. But most of all, a talkathon.

Rory comes with an Intel Atom N475 Processor with 1.83Ghz and 2GB DDR3 Memory and all the niceties you need for mobile connectivity and blogging. Comes with the standard wifi and bluetooth, webcam, 10.1 LED and ultrathin self. Which I was told is a good find for its price. I'm not really a techie so you can dispute me on this one.

I had been eyeing to snag a mini laptop since the blog bug bit me. I was actually hoping to find a 15T (cheapskate!) mini but hubby says its probably the speed of tortoise so he convinced me to invest on this one instead and so we can install Skype in case we need to chat if he's travelling. I told hubby if I were single (ie, no bills to worry about) I'd go for Mac.

Truth to tell, I can write a blog from my Samsung Omnia II phone because it has everything you need for mobile publishing. But it does not work if you think faster than you type. Which such small keys, I ended up with calluses after the first paragraph.

Working with Rory enables me to create my blog from just about anywhere. Which is my ultimate objective because it is so frustrating to have all these crazy, beautiful, indulgent thoughts flitting about and not being able to write about them esp. when you were just waiting anyway.

Its so light and handy you can carry it anywhere and I can write my blog while waiting for Kevin (during Saturday afternoons) or while everyone else is sleeping and my caffeine side effect kicks in. If I am out, I can use my plug-in internet for uploading the blog and have my Omnia to take pictures (which I can send to Rory via bluetooth).

Yep, its a good time to feel techie. Ain't mobile life a blast?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Ups and Downs of UPS

Nope, not the courier.

Its the Unified Problem Solving tool-- the IN thing when it comes to solving chronic process instability issues. From the sound of it, seems that UPS is your modern day hero that will put an end to issues that has been haunting you since time immemorial.

For our group's UPS workshop week, we dared to brave one of our so-called 'since time immemorial' problems. We were quite doubtful if we can solve it in 2.5 days given that we have been working on it for about 3 years now with various degree of success.

So, what did we learn?

1. What is essential may be invisible to the eyes.
Had to agree with Antoine de Exupery on this one. UPS and its twin, SWP, train the eyes to see the issue and not guess the root cause. Cool. But what if the issue you are working on is not accessible for scrutiny? Well, you still need to observe the phenomenon but you have to be open minded to catch meaningful connections between what you see, see where it leads you to further observe and condense what the invisible connections mean. Thus, UPS does not just train the eyes to really see. It is also mental exercise, after all.

2. Looking at a different vantage point.
Funny how for most of the teams, the issue seemed to have disappeared altogether come observation time! Our team was on floor for at least 3 hours and we were bracing ourselves for a breathless morning. But zilch! Nada. Zero. We left the video cam, all strapped and secured at the chosen vantage point so we can move around to the other lines and observe. The battery ran for two hours. As soon as the battery died, the culprit appeared and we were having our lunch break then! This recurred for the rest of the day until we decided to change our tactic (from lesson 1 above). We still worked on the same issue but decided to investigate from a different perspective. I'll spare you the sordid details. But needless to say, we made progress from there.

We often label our problems X or Y and we try and search somewhere where we think we can find X or Y. But sometimes, you just need to look for an entirely different point that's all!

3. Real problems, real solutions.
The best part about UPS is that it eliminates our obsession for theories and hypothesis. Unlike the old Cause and Effect where we include "what ifs", UPS requires that you only work into the Cause and Effect chart those phenomenon you have observed and that there is logical and observable explanation. That way, we can save our effort by working only on real problems. Of course, we had to remind ourselves from time to time to ditch the cow (bawal ang baka)!

So did we solve the problem? We found that there are three phenomena in our issue. We found the two and have solutions for those. The third phenomenon is still somewhere in the Twilight zone.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Adhesive Episode 1

Thanks to my three-year packaging stint, I have sincere respect for adhesives. No species can be as fickle-minded and highly misunderstood as the adhesives.

I inherited an entire empire of training materials on all sorts of packaging. Flexibles, rigids/bottles, caps, labels, printing technology, CMYK, inks and pigments – but the common denominator of most packaging when assembled together is the adhesive. Without it, there will be delamination. Cartons will have open flaps and bottles will have peeling labels (or worse, no labels). Being the most obscure and less popular, there is little training material on adhesives. Most are only the basic stuff.

While we were working on a supposedly big project, we encountered a packaging problem that was linked to adhesives. It could be the equipment; it could the bottle; and it could be the atmospheric condition as labels are temperature-sensitive. But the root-cause pointed to the adhesive.

Adhesives are temperature-sensitive. In my thirteen-year career so far, I have worked on at least two products and four raw/pack mats that are temperature-sensitive. By temperature-sensitive, we mean it cannot be stored below 30-35C or more (depending on the degree of testing done by its manufacturers researchers, or the lack of it come to think about that). Which means air-conditioned shipping and storage or else, blah blah blah blah will happen. I recall our Ops team sharing an office space with such a raw material, during those early days when insisting on AC-storage meant shutting down a project, and not sharing the office space with the raw material in tow would mean a violation of the RMS.

I, a human being survived working in a 32C/88%RH warehouse, spending one shift or more for several months collecting samples and doing my weekly testing in the same area, survived. But apparently these materials can’t. We have a material now for whom we cleared a hefty amount of warehouse space (while others slumber on floor space, which gave rise to the On-Floor Location to make it technically correct and acceptable), just so it can sit under 26C temperature. Air-conditioned, of-course. We even joked that it is so comfy we can probably put a work pod next to it, or hold meetings in the same space during diabolical seasons. Assuming HS&E will allow, of course. And assuming humans won't contaminate the atmosphere.

Back to the adhesives…

I was victim of lousy shoe adhesives at least twice. The first one can be ruled out as unfortunate but the second one was downright embarrassing and shot up my BP to dangerous levels.

Both circumstances involve travelling at high altitude and low temperature. And both involved shoes that come with soles that are held together by adhesives. Which formed my hypothesis that shoe adhesives fail when exposed to sudden low temp and high altitude. Which means you end up with broken shoes. Note that it is plural because in my experience, it happens not only to one but to both!

The first incident involved a pair of sneakers. A new pair bought by my husband in his futile attempt to get me to do some exercise. I decided to wear it to this teambuilding event somewhere in foggy Tagaytay where sports attire is a must. Few minutes after landing to our venue, the soles gave way. Given that it is new and that it is a reputable brand, I found it weird. I probably look ridiculous with my sneakers’ wayward sole flapping noisily everytime I had to walk but there was nothing I can do. But to add to the horror, the other pair started to give way too! Pair of soleless sneakers flapping about makes me want to laugh hysterically for looking like an idiot without even trying! I won't be caught looking like one so I had to think fast.

And then in a perfect Mentos-moment, I summoned enough force to tear-off the blasted soles from the sneakers and in a jiffy, I was walking back normally and you can’t tell the difference. I was 0.5 inch shorter but the sneaker looked just fine.

Talk about Adhesive Episode Two, it requires a separate column space altogether so I'll end it here for now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stormy Days Are Here Again

This time I meant literally. It's about time we get some rain, but storms are entirely a different matter.

We received news about tropical storm Basyang around late Tuesday afternoon. Google says its gonna be Signal #2 in Laguna where we live (and work). In our country, being visited by Storm Signal #2 is like having mid-morning coffee. We were so used to it we even have Storm Preparation Checklist.

But never underestimate storms. Even those that come with the same signal/strength, storms are not created equal.

I was determined to sleep early that night, having been up in the plant by 4:30 am that day(!). I kept the transistor radio on beside me for some latebreaking news about Basyang. I noticed it was quite calm outside and there was no mention in the late night news.

I was roused around 12 midnight and I heard the wind howling eerily and mercilessly gnashing against the windows. Didn't seem like a #2. More of #3.

Despite the neurotic nature of sliding windows during rainy seasons (ask my officemate Pong, et al), our windows were cooperating and my next worry is the DLP High Rise. True enough, power was out and water intrusions were everywhere. I managed to send a few SMS despite being drowsy and realized that power in our household was also out. Which means water is dead. The kids were too sleepy to make a fuss out of a stuffy AC-less sleep. Alvin was also up by then, managed to find the flashlight, brought in a few lighted candles and checked the window panes from time to time. Later he would joke about how I slept the entire episode while everyone else was up and about.

By sunrise, it was calm and quiet but traces of Basyang's wrath is evident. The streets were paved with branches and leaves, our Palm trees were a out of axis and electricity and water are still a no-show. I had to go to the Plant a little early than usual to get a decent bath :-) My phone also kept on getting SMS here and there about various road conditions in the south and folks who were either stuck in heavy traffic, stuck at home or stuck clearing off water.

And so, I thought while ruminating all these, the Stormy Days had just begun.