Saturday, 30 July 2011

countdown 22: multi-tasking and forgetfulness

Forgetfulness is one of my flaws. Just tonight, I misplaced my husband's umbrella. I will have to replace that bit-expensive piece of an umbrella. Yesterday, I also had a memory lapse and forgot to retrieve my ID from the building concierge. I will have to go back for it tomorrow. Very inconvenient. My most painful memory yet of forgetfulness is misplacing my iPhone in Singapore last year.

I blame the anesthesia from giving birth and my recent odontectomy, but even before I had those surgeries, I was already forgetful. Or could it be just inattentiveness on my part?

I have tried to address my forgetfulness by jotting to do's and important events in my calendar and it worked. But I still fail in simple things such as remembering where I put the umbrella or the keys. There is this one pointer I read which I think would be helpful - try to be more attentive and say what you're about to do out loud, "I'm putting down the keys here". This allows our brain to pay attention and encode the data in our memory. Hopefully next time, I won't forget the umbrella or maybe I'll just buy a cheap one.

They say that multi-tasking, distractions, stress and lack of sleep may contribute to memory lapses. I'm easily distracted. Sometimes, I would go up to our room for something I'll surely forget by the time I get there. I then have to go back down in order for me to remember what I set out to do in the first place. It can get frustrating sometimes but I do benefit from the exercise.

Another one of my flaws related to forgetfulness is impatience. I can barely concentrate on one task at a time. If the oracle (system) takes too much time to run, I try to do other things such as read an email or open my tax worksheet until I completely forget what I was supposed to do.

We leave in such a distraction-full world that it feels almost sinful to have a lull moment. We feel that we have to keep moving or keep our hands full. I see people crossing the street, listening on their Ipod and texting on their phones. Multi-tasking at its best.

I've read from a magazine article that multi-tasking doesn't actually involve doing multiple things simultaneously. Rather, it involves rapidly switching between tasks. This process requires us to constantly refocus our attention and saps brain energy. This explains why at times I'd get stress-induced headaches from trying to accomplish a number of tasks all at the same time.

What I've learned from my long commutes is that it is beneficial to allow myself to space out, to keep my mind blank and stare into oblivion, even if briefly. The reprieve rejuvenates my brain and allows my creative juices to flow. In fact, I have conjured a lot of blogging ideas and have had aha moments en route to and from work. I'll surely miss the interesting daily commute.

The challenge in this multi-tasking crazed times is how to ignore distractions and place our full focus on a certain task, one at a time. Of course, there are things that can really be done simultaneously like listening to the radio while driving. But for safety, health and sanity reasons, better not bring the iPad while using the loo.

I hope I'll be able to keep reminding myself to be attentive and to stay focused. No more lost umbrellas from this day onwards.

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countdown 24/23: reality and realizations

I missed a day!

Day 24 was just too full for me so I wasn't able to post a blog, but let me play catch-up.

Saturday is almost over. Our family spent most of the day lounging in bed and catching up on sleep. The toddler is still keeping us up at night. I wouldn't say the day is wasted because it's good to be rejuvenated but I wish I could make the day last longer. I'm sure my son would make it possible by sleeping again past midnight tonight. It has now become a vicious cycle of intermittent sleeps on weekdays and sleeping in on weekends. Not good. We're definitely going to the pediatrician tomorrow to put an end to this. Hoping for the best!

I'm hopeful (and realistic) of the decision I'm about to make over this weekend. It's a choice between treading unfamiliar territory or going back to an old turf. I've been doing some calculations, both qualitative and quantitative but at the end of the day, I know my choice would be made by heart. It does not always get me to the ideal situation but it does lead me to learning experiences, which to me is the beauty of living. So let me give a toast to myself:


Here's to staying young at heart, renewed career fulfillment, goal-setting and making more dreams come true. Cheers!






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I have had a number of realizations this week. For one, I've grown from that idealistic guilt-stricken new mom of more than a year ago to a grounded and realistic mom of a soon-to-be two-year old toddler that I have become today. My mama was a working woman and I think I grew up just fine.

My past mistakes and failures made me feel jaded but I don't dwell. I have learned to pick myself up with the help of my family and friends. That's why it is important to keep ourselves surrounded with people who loves us unconditionally.

I have also realized the wisdom in being mindful, of being present in the here and now. Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily routines that we forget what is important and what our goals and priorities are. And then we realize, time has passed us by so fleetingly. That's why I started this blog and hope to sustain it. I try to be as honest as possible even though, as my husband puts it, some of my posts contemplate despair and he doesn't like it. I don't really care. The idea of the blog is for me to understand myself better, not to please or appease other people or project a perfect life.

I no longer feel as nervous in interviews as I used to. I'm more confident, which I think stems from knowing myself better. It helped that I have gone through a tough interview process in one dream job more than a year ago. I did not get the job but I got off with bits of wisdom and yet another learning experience. That's what failures are for. Hopefully, I will find time to write and share those learnings.

I have learned to ask questions and to negotiate. I used to just accept what is offered and try to make things easy. I guess, with age and experience, we learn to fight for what we think we deserve.

It feels really good to have choices and to be reaffirmed of my value as a person. The events of last week have sparked a fire in me to be better in what I do, to have goals and to dream big dreams again, without thinking one bit of winning in the lottery.

Maybe I've changed. Maybe, I'm done overindulging myself . I'm gearing (again) for some excitement, and I know for sure, troubles. The only difference is I now have the benefit of hindsight. In the coming days, you'll surely hear some rants and hopefully, optimistically, some dreams coming true.


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Thursday, 28 July 2011

countdown 25: disappointments and dreams

25 days to go before my 30th and i'm in a bit of blog drought.

I'm disappointed that the Azkals did not win. I never got this involved in sports in a while, except of course for Manny Pacquiao's bouts.

I have had my share of disappointments - more than enough to keep me grounded and realistic, and at times cynical. I've got to admit that disappointments really get to me sometimes. I allow the big WHY? to momentarily haunt me. I embrace the pain, taste the bitterness and cry a bucket of tears. Nobody said life is fair. It is so unfair!

Hang-ups? Insecurities? Worries? I do have them all. I am not perfect. I have no plans to be.

What I want to do in my 30s is to get to know myself better, discover and rediscover what makes me happy and excited, and tap into my innate talents and skills so that I may maximize my human potential. I'll try my darnest to shake away my inhibitions, conquer my fears and be a better version of myself in my multiple roles. Ambitious but are we not taught to reach for the moon and the stars?!? Plus, it's my birthday anyway. I'm allowed to dream BIG.



A (wo)man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
- John Barrymore

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

countdown 26: leaps of faith

Let's just say that the events of today will lead to a turning point in my life soon.

I am fond of second chances and new beginnings. If I look back at my previous blogs, I would note a number of posts on new chapters and "i'm-back moments".

It's true, I have made mistakes. I have had my share of failures and disappointments. I am not the best decision maker because I am not rational, I go by my emotions. But my leaps of faith, no matter how risky or foolish, have led me to where I am now and I have no regrets.

God is good all the time. We just got to believe and listen to our hearts.

Go, go on and jump!



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"It's yours, take it
Leap like a lunatic
Over the chasm below
Erupting as you go
Your true self awaits you
Now, you will know."

- The great leap of faith by Jane Evershed

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

countdown 27: gratitude in parenthood

I am not feeling well today. My body is crumbling from the past sleep-deprived nights and I can feel my emotions near breaking point. Being a working parent is indeed not an easy role to fill. I'm grateful I have my husband to share the responsibility of child-rearing with.

I remember when I was in high school and my parents would complain of how rambunctious I and my siblings were. Me and my big-mouth countered, in my knowing way, that if they wanted to have a quiet life, they should not have conceived seven kids. Witty and so shrewd! Now I understand more than ever that caring for a houseful of active kids is no bed of roses.

Growing up, I have had my moments of rebellion to and resentment towards my parents and our situation. As a teenager, I couldn't fully comprehend then why I couldn't always have my way or the things I wanted. I remember moments where I would lock myself in my room, wallow in self-pity and swear at my parents quietly. There were times we argued and I hurled hurtful words at my mama and papa. Indeed, I was not Ms. Goody two-shoes.

Then I grew up (finally) and realized how much my parents love me. They have spent a big part of their life giving all they could to provide for me and my siblings, without expecting anything in return. Even if I disappointed them along the way, their affection for me never wavered.

I am indeed one very lucky and blessed individual to be the daughter of my parents - two people who unconditionally gave me life, nourished me and continues to support me. When all else fails, they never fail to give me comfort and security. Even though I rarely go home or call them, I hope my mama and papa knows how much I love them and how grateful I am to them for all that I am, now and forever. I wish and pray that I too would become the best parent that I could be to my son.



They don't know that I go running home when I fall down,
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around,
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
'cause deep inside this armor, this warrior is a child

Monday, 25 July 2011

countdown 28: living my life

"Life would be so great if I could just win the lotto! "

I think I wasted too much energy of late from wishing I would suddenly become a millionaire. This wishful thinking made me realize that I am getting a little desperate and that contrary to what I should be doing, I am not taking complete rein over the destiny of my life.

Did I allow myself to get so absorbed in my career that I got burnt out beyond recognition? Did I overindulge myself that I turned from being a workaholic to a lazy and challenge-averse adult? Did I allow failures and disappointments to disenchant me from living a charmed life?

What I know for sure is that I need to focus on the things that make me feel excited, fulfilled, empowered and just a bit scared. Because isn't that what life should be about?



Your mission in life is not to be without problems. Your mission is to get excited.




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Lately, I found myself dreaming again and making plans - not those will-o'-the-wisp kind but tangible dreams and goals that can come true with hard work and determination. 30 should be a good time to start making a lot more dreams come true.

I found a helpful article aptly titled Words to the Wise by Martha Beck in the January 2011 edition of O, The Oprah Magazine. It is all about goal-setting but with a twist. If you want to give it a try, here are the simple steps:

1. Pick a goal, any goal. Fess up to your real desires then pick the biggest and most ambitious one.

I will become a millionaire.

2. Gaze into the future. Imagine what your life would be like if you realized your dream or goal.

I will be able to buy our dream house and travel with my son and hubby to any destination we want to go. I can go on shopping sprees. Etc, etc.

3. Generate adjectives. List the adjectives that describe how you feel in your dream-come-true scenario. Don't stop until you have at least 3 words to describe those lovely feelings.

Happy
Fulfilled
Secure


4. Focus on anything that can be described with your adjectives. These words bring your goal into sharper focus. Put your attention on the aspects of your life that give you these feelings. Focusing on such things will make you happier right now and help you create future situations that will fulfill your true desires.

Playtime with my son and hubby makes me happy and gives me a sense of fulfillment and security.


I think the whole point of the exercise is to make one realize that those wonderful feelings you thought you'd only get when your particular dream comes true, can already be found in the here and now if we would just focus and give those things more attention and time.

To quote from the article:



The situational elements people crave - money, social status, possessions - don't reliably lead to an experience of well-being. By contrast, learning to find joy in the present moment (a.k.a. focusing on experiences you truly want in your life) increase life satisfaction, improves health and allows us to live longer, more fulfilling lives.





So each time I'd find myself in wishful thinking mode, I'd go fishing for adjectives then use them to identify the aspects of my life that are already drawing me towards my heart's desires. Sometimes, it could be as simple as cooking or reading a good book or writing down and sharing my thoughts.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

countdown 29: my fears

The countdown to my 30th birthday continues.

Day 29 - my fears

I spent less than an hour today with my toddler in the mall playground for kids. He was so excited to try everything, from the slide to the hanging tube. He was a bit cautious when walking through the hanging bridge but he marched on. He took some time before crossing the tube but he crawled on. Mommy had no choice but to follow suit. And to be honest, I was afraid of crawling through the hanging tube (what if it gives out under my weight?) and trying the kiddie slide (what if I fumble and fall face down). Silly but the fears were real. Most of all, I was afraid my son would get hurt as the zealous kids pushed everything and everyone out of their way. Those kids were fearless (almost) and I envied them.

I have a lot of fears.

Fear of water

I fear any body of water that is taller than my shoulders. I can not swim and have had two almost-drowning experiences as a kid.



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I remember trying the banana boat ride years ago in Puerto Galera with friends. When we got thrown off, I honestly thought I was going to drown even though I had a life jacket on. I will never do a banana boat ride again.

Another scary water experience for me is my trip to Balicasag Island in Bohol with two of my best girl friends. The wading from the shore to where the small boat was anchored alone brought fear to my heart. Then we were speeding through high waves, salt water stinging our eyes and I never prayed so hard for safety. It is one adventure I will never forget and regret.

Fear of open space heights

I remember when we were kids, my siblings, cousins and I would climb this tall tower in the capitol of our province. We would race up the winding stairs until we reach the top. The view was spectacular but I was almost always the last one to reach the top because my knees turn to jelly whenever I look down. I am still afraid of open space heights like the long escalators in Ocean Park and a mall in Hongkong where my husband and I went to during our first wedding anniversary. I clung on to him tightly for dear life and begged him that we take the elevator going down instead. I did manage to go up with him in the Singapore flyer which is the tallest ferris wheel in the world at 42 stories high. Maybe the glass confines made all the difference.

Fear of the dark

I used to sleep with the lights on because I was afraid of the dark. In fact, I am afraid to sleep alone in my room. This fear probably stemmed from a gruesome incident I witnessed when I was a child. There was an accident near our home and we were intrigued so we went to take a look. We saw lots of blood, spilled brains and amputated body parts. For weeks I had nightmares of dead bodies and nurses. I slept with my parents in their room for a while.

Fear of getting lost

I don't have a sense of direction. That's why I don't drive. I get lost walking. I would surely get lost (or a lot of tickets) driving.

I still feel embarrassed that I got lost one day on my way home in the small city of Dublin. I took a detour from my usual route because I was craving for fried chicken that day. After buying my fill, I confidently went on my way only to wonder minutes later why the area doesn't seem familiar to me anymore. I got lost, walking! Thank God for unlimited calls, my best friend helped me get home. I swear I almost cried from the sheer stupidity.

Fear of public speaking

This is a fear that stemmed from a humiliating experience and my small voice. I managed to get high grades while dodging recitations. My heart would beat so hard and the butterflies in my stomach would wreak havoc at the thought of talking in front of a group of people. Even teleconferences alone can make my heart go a-thumping. So most of the time, I just stay silent and unnoticeable. This is a fear that's keeping me from reaching and showing my maximum potential. I have not completely addressed this but I swear that I am going to face this fear head on from this day forward.

I believe we should not be limited by our fears and the other life sentences we have branded ourselves with. The one thing I love about turning 30 is that I now care less about what other people has to say. My life is no longer about what people would think but what would make me happy and fulfilled. I feel liberated.



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Saturday, 23 July 2011

mom me: sleepless nights

I've known it all along but i'm only gonna admit it out loud now - i'm an incompetent mom. I'm not saying it in an i'm-in-self-pity mode but as-a-matter-of-fact so that in admitting the problem, I may be empowered to address it.

I had a very good yaya the first year of my baby's life. She was a veteran in taking care of babies and she took very good care of my son. Somehow, that lessened the pressure on me to do good in child-rearing. But she had to go and I had to step it up as a mom. I never caught up. My husband is more conscious as a parent than I am. He would note and research on things such as weaning from the bottle, etc. I, on the other hand, have relied mostly on my rough instincts as a woman.

My son is less than a month shy from turning two and is already exhibiting streaks of rebellion. Instead of heeding my 'No', he would repeat them himself, "No-no-no-no mommy!" He has become assertive and protests - a lot!

Lately, he's been sleeping very late at night (again!) and would wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning. For a week, both hubby and I were in a foul mood. We then decided to be on duty alternately, that way we can catch up on sleep every other night. It lessened the stress but never solved the problem. My son stays up at night playing or watching you tube on my ipad. I think it was my fault for always resorting to the ipad to keep him preoccupied or company at times that I cannot attend to him.

In the mornings, he is addicted to watching DVDs of Barney, Pocoyo and Disney cars. To eventually solve the problem, hubby and I decided to do something about his addiction. Starting today, I locked away the DVDs and kept the ipad away from him. Still, I couldn't bear not to allow him to play on his itouch at least.




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And alas, it worked...NOT! He was already fast asleep at 9 pm then woke up at 11 pm and wouldn't go back to sleep again. Deep sigh. Oh well, he would just keep me company as I wait for the Azkals game tonight. I hope we would have better luck tomorrow. I guess the itouch has to go too.

countdown 30: New 7 Wonders of the World

I'm turning thirty only once, so let the countdown begin! No, I won't be doing anything grand or expensive. I will celebrate my birthday with my parents and siblings at home in the province. Planning is simple - I texted my mama and well, she'll take care of everything else as she always does. Thank God for mothers.

For the days leading to my birthday, I will celebrate the little things and grand things that make my life worth-living.

Today is day 30 - me as a Filipino citizen

I was going through flipboard on my ipad, when I stumbled upon an article from inquirer asking for more votes for Puerto Princesa underground river (PPUR).



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There is an ongoing global movement to vote for the New 7 Wonders of the World and the Puerto Princesa underground river has been selected as one of the 28 finalists.

Since I have not done much as a Filipino these past days, I decided to go on and vote. Voting via text is easy, just send PPUR or PPUR7 or PPUR15 to 2861 for all networks. I think the cost is P2.50, P20 and P30 for each keyword, respectively. Shortly after I voted, I received an SMS:

Thanks for voting in the New 7 Wonders of Nature Polling Service! Ur PPUR wallpaper will be sent soon! P20/10votes

Bumoto pa at patunayang ang Puerto Princesa Underground River ng Pilipinas ang dapat na makasama sa Wonders of Nature sa buong mundo!

Text N7W to 2861 for help and list of keywords P2.50/txt

C www.puerto-undergroundriver.com 4 info.


For more info on text rates, you may refer to this blog entry by mindoropost. Voting via text will end on September 25.

I also voted online through the New 7 Wonders website. Here, I had to register and each email address is entitled to vote once.



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It is also important that the confirmation link sent to your email account be clicked to ensure that your vote will be counted.



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I have not been to Puerto Princesa Palawan (what a shame!) but I have heard of its splendor and will include it in my must-visit bucket list. It is reputed to be the longest navigable underground river in the world.



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Of the 28 finalists, I have only been to Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, which I can vouch to have such a breathtaking view (really amazing!). It is a testament that we do have a very brilliant and wonderful Creator. I included it in my top 7.



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(with my good friends karen and vanessa at cliffs of moher, ireland. i'm glad i got to visit this place before leaving dublin)

I want to mark the 30th day before my 30th birthday as the day I voted for the New 7 Wonders of the World. As the n7w movement would put it,

I participated in this momentous global movement, creating seven symbols of heritage and nature, and becoming part of global memory - forever!


I hope you do too.

Friday, 22 July 2011

A Berry Good Day

There is nothing better than picking fresh berries for breakfast or clipping fresh spinach and lettuce in the evening for dinner. They are plump full of vitamins and you burn calories in harvesting your bounty. Growing fruits and vegetables in your yard, on your patio or on a window ledge is good for the environment, good for your health and good for your pocket book. Challenge yourself to eat local and in season. Try adding one fruit or vegetable to every flowerbed. A cucumber trellis is great fun for the patio. Love sweet potatoes vines climbing on the fence. Each hill can stay stored in the ground into the fall - harvesting it when you are ready to indulge. It’s not too late to plan the summer’s second season plantings or purchase the fruit trees on sale for next year’s harvest

A great blog to check out is Eden Makers Blog. Likewise, a nice book on edible estates is Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn.

For your video viewing pleasure: 
Bon Appetite!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

why worry? (question no. 3)

Question no. 3 in Martha Beck's Yours for the Asking article is:

Why worry?

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I worry.

I worry every now and then. Especially when it comes to my son. I worried and cried and prayed so hard for each time he fell off the bed or bumped his head or he was sick and brought to the hospital. I worry that I am not a good mom and that my shortcomings will affect his growth and maturity. I worry that my husband and I will not be able to provide for him well.

I worry about my health and my husband's and my parents'. I worry that I might come down with a disease that will handicap me and that will make me a burden to my husband.

I used to worry about client complaints and quality of work. I used to have sleepless nights wondering how i'll resolve a conflict or issue at work. I'm glad I have rid myself of the job and consequently, the sometimes unfounded worries.

Of course, I can not apply the same solution to the other aspects of my life. I most certainly cannot get rid of my son so I can stop worrying about his welfare. I can't wish myself dead or my parents or my husband just so I won't worry about their health.

Worrying is a waste of energy. I used to have disturbing Sunday night anxieties which led to restless sleep and bad Mondays... and bad week. It was a vicious cycle.

I'm grateful I don't worry as much now. I have turned to prayers and writing and playing with my son. He is an abundant source of joy and hope and faith.

Sunday night anxieties were replaced with wonderful routines such as menu planning for the week, cooking, magazine reading and organizing my to do's and work schedule. I feel that I have a lot more control of my life now.

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Past experiences have taught me that things almost always work out for the best, so why worry? We stumble, we fall, we pick up scars along the way but we live and move on, so why worry? If you worry and your worry doesn't happen, you worried in vain. If you worry and it happened, you worry twice. There's no winning with worry.

Easier said than done, but it certainly is good to remember to ask - Why worry?!?




I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. - Mark Twain

Time or Money?

I drafted this post about a month ago but never got to finish it until today.


Something came up last week that left me wondering which is more important, time or money.

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Keen to find a good answer to my dilemma, I turned to my laptop and googled "which is more important, time or money?" and was led to a number of blogs discussing the topic. Not surprisingly, most answered that time is more important because as my practical husband puts it, time is money.

I am not fully convinced though by the general answers and points that were raised to give time the upper hand.

I remember an argument I had with a cousin when I was in grade school. We were waiting for the jeepney and I asked my father for extra allowance. He said money was tight and had nothing more to give me. In my disappointment, I said half-jokingly,"Bakit hinde ka na lang kasi mag-abroad?!?"
My cousin who overheard me countered that I shouldn't utter such nonsense and be glad instead that I am enjoying my papa's company everyday of my life. Her mom worked abroad and her father passed away when she was young.

I did not take her interference lightly and almost told her to keep her mouth shut. Easy for her to say because she had all the toys and new clothes she wanted. I felt she had no right to lecture me. I did not for a moment try to put myself in her shoe. I was brewing the whole day and thought that life was unfair because I didn't and couldn't get what I wanted.

My cousin played with barbie dolls. I played with paper doll cut-offs from used folders and illustrated by my artistically-inclined papa. A treat of pizza or ice cream had to be equally divided among a brood of seven. Other kids played super mario, we played patintero, sungka and bingo.

I used to imagine I was adopted and my real parents were filthy rich. One day, I fantasized, they would come and 'rescue' me and provide me all the toys, clothes and money that I yearned for. Of course it never happened but it did not hurt to dream.

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My materialistic fantasies were reinforced in my teenage years when I watched the film 'Clueless' with my barkada and I was so enamored of Alicia Silverstone's walk-in closet. Everyday, she would choose her outfit with the help of a computer. She would don her chosen clothes, model them and take a picture of herself. She would then choose the best outfit. Wow!

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Back then and into my working years, I put more value in money and what it can buy. I guess it's not until you get a taste and feel of money in your hands that you realize it is not the ultimate source of happiness. It does help to have money though.

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When you're single and young, you have a lot of energy and enthusiasm to put in your job. Having had a career that required long hours of work, I also know the value of time. I complained, a lot, but stayed on for years. The high I got from stress and deadlines and unbeatable camaraderie with colleagues were addictive. It was not until I had a son that I had a paradigm shift. I started putting more value in time, spending a good part of it with my husband and son.

The importance of time and/or money is therefore relative. It depends on one's past experiences, current situation and preferences, and future goals or objectives. What I have learned is that I cannot live happily and meaningfully with just one, I need a healthy balance of both.

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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

giving birth, my way

My baby just turned 23 months old! It's unbelievable how a newborn weighing only 2.7 kg (with length of 49 cm) can grow into a 13 kg toddler in nearly 2 years.



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I had a lot of fears in giving birth which prompted me to choose to have it in the province, with my mother holding my hand during labor. She gave birth to 7 pesky kids so I must say she's weathered and wise and knows the stuff giving births are made of. She did try her best to be by my side as I shouted and cursed and begged Ma, ayoko na!!!! Please. Please. Please!!!!

Then she couldn't take it anymore... and left me, during my last moments before actually giving birth, to my sister, a certified nurse who held my hand as I writhed in pain, praying more than ever that I get through it as quickly as possible.

I began spotting before midnight of August 10th. I called my ob-gyne and she said that it is normal and I should wait until my contractions come at near-intervals before going to the hospital. I woke up at dawn feeling a sudden pain course through my body. My mama decided to bring me to the hospital then and there, deaf to my protests that the doctor said otherwise.

So there I was lying in the hospital admission bed at 5 am, having had no chance to take a bath first as I planned. I was induced at 1 pm and was finally wheeled to the operating room shortly thereafter.

The real (mis)adventure happened in the operating room. The anesthesiologist was missing in action. Apparently he was taking a nap and no one notified him I was ready. I was near-cursing everyone then. After what I felt was an eternity, embarrassingly-lying-in-bed-with-legs-wide-open-waiting-for-the-darn-anesthesiologist, he finally arrived! He curled me into a ball and I cried and shouted more than ever because my pregnant stomach was being crushed and water was sipping out of me.

He was about to inject the needle into my lower back when the worst thing happened - everything went pitch black, literally! No, I did not faint. Apparently, there was a brownout and the emergency light, well, did not give light on such an emergency. That was beyond anything bad at all that could happen on my labor day. Thankfully, after 10 seconds (maybe, it felt a lot longer), the lights and the 'party' went on. I pushed and pushed with a vengeance and they had to remind me to slow down. I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. ASAP!

Finally, thank God and all the angels and saints, I gave birth to an adorable baby boy!

It was 2:37 in the afternoon of August 11, 2009 when I was 'officially declared' a new mom.


I sighed a good deep sigh. I relished the feeling of relief and satisfaction. I was utterly exhausted but so proud of myself. I could hear phantom clapping in the background. I heard my baby cry and I couldn't help but smile. I did it! My baby and I made it! More phantom clapping. It was all so whimsically strange and extraordinary.



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...Then suddenly my robe was yanked and my baby was laid down on my chest so he could latch on my breast. It was done so callously, my post-card moment was over so soon. But I did smile, a slightly arrogant smile, for the camera and for posterity. I earned bragging rights and a baby after all.




"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." - Rajneesh

Sunday, 10 July 2011

another uneventful visit to the doctors

Let me say it out loud and with much conviction - I hate going to the doctors!



Most importantly, I should be more mindful of my health - the food I eat, lifestyle in general and fitness regimen - to avoid visits to the doctor other than for mandatory annual physical exams.




I've just spent precious 4 hours on a Sunday waiting for and having a consultation with the doctors. Apparently, both of them had a change in their schedules on short notice.

I got very pissed off with the nurses for not putting my form in queue at the internal medicine doctor's room, wasting another 30 minutes of my time. This prompted me 1) to write a formal complaint in their suggestion box and 2) berate the nurse at the nurse's station for such mishap. I am normally a tolerant person but I've long learned that in this city you have to demand respect and customer service in order to get them. Otherwise, you will just be ignored, an unheard voice. I felt a bit bad afterwards because the wrong person was at the receiving end of my ire, as the nurse who was liable for erring already ended her shift.

I spent no more than 10 minutes with the doctor (imagine!), only to note that most of my test results are satisfactory (good news!) except for my anemia (old news!) and apparently a very high total and direct bilirubin in my liver which prompted the doctor to order a stomach ultrasound and another blood test in 3 months. Apparently and to my dismay, my visit to the clinic is far from over. I was so looking forward to taking a rest from visiting doctors for a while.

After which, I lined up at the ob-gynecologists room for the interpretation of my pap smear result and for my cervical cancer vaccine. I'll talk about the vaccine in a separate post.
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There are a number of things I learned from today:

1) Unless I am filthy rich and have a personal doctor at my beck and call, I should not expect to be seen by the doctor on time;
2) I must not make other plans within 4 to 5 hours of my scheduled visit to the doctor;
3) I should call a day ahead to confirm the doctor's schedule, just in case; and
4) Most importantly, I should be more mindful of my health - the food I eat, lifestyle in general and fitness regimen - to avoid visits to the doctor other than for mandatory annual physical exams.

And yeah, I have to double check that I have my HMO card with me before I leave the house. Sorry hubby and thank you for wasting your time accompanying me to the doctors, second week in a row.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

i'm posting every week for the second half of 2011!

I'm reaching a big milestone in my life this August - I'm turning 30! - and I've decided I want to blog more. I'm starting right now. I will be posting on this blog at least once a week for the rest of 2011.

I know it won't be easy and I might come up with a million excuses, but it will be fun, inspiring, awesome and simply wonderful if I could just do it. Therefore i'm promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you'll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.


Signed,

merryli

20 questions a woman should ask herself - question no. 2

It's been more than a week since I posted question no. 1. Now, we're off to question no. 2 from Martha Beck's Yours for the Asking article in the February 2011 edition of O, The Oprah Magazine.

Is this what I want to be doing?

Time is precious because it is limited to 24 hours a day. This second question aims to foster mindfulness of the here and now. Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily routine that we just let time pass us by and we forget about the things that matter.




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I personally find this question helpful as I try to schedule and maximize my weekends. I try my very best not to work on Saturdays and Sundays unless absolutely necessary. I also surf facebook less than I used to. I have long let go of my plants and zombies. I read somewhere that 'poor' people spend on entertainment while 'rich' people invest in themselves. Point taken so I try to squeeze in more time for reading and self-help, learning to cook, menu planning, finding ways to be a better mom. I rarely oversleep anymore.

The big thing that bothers me though is that I sometimes feel I'm in the wrong career. After completing the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) course I took last May, I don't feel motivated to finish the case paper and take the exam. I also have long abandoned reading and keeping myself abreast in latest developments in the profession. I'm not certain if it's just a phase or something that I should take very seriously and soul-search upon. I'm sure I have been very passionate once about being a Certified Public Accountant and auditor.

While still mulling over that predicament consciously and subconsciously, I have decided to focus on things that interest me such as writing, hoping that in the process, i'd find myself and what I truly want to be and do in my 30's. It's never too late for new beginnings.




Finding the answers starts with posing the right questions...

Friday, 8 July 2011

this lousy week in my extraordinary life

My toddler is becoming clingy to mommy. Ever since he learned to utter the words 'mommy', he's been using it to his advantage. Just yesterday, I woke up earlier than I intended because I can hear him crying and shouting mommy. Apparently, he wanted to climb the stairs and wake mommy up. Yaya was trying her best to distract him but he only wailed and shouted a little louder.

This has been a long and tiring week for me and I had to cut back a little on time spent with my baby. We were both crying and frustrated the other day - baby because he wanted to play with mommy, and mommy because she just couldn't play with baby. I had a pressing thing at work to do. Sometimes working from home has its downside.

I went home yesterday with a terrible headache. I worked 24 hours last Tuesday and wasn't able to catch up on sleep until last night. I almost cried at work at the thought that the job that kept me up for two nights was not done just yet. I'm guessing my tear ducts are aggravated by my impending monthly period. I had a first day false alarm yesterday.

No, i'm not writing this to rant about a lousy week at work. I'm writing this to remind me of the emotions I went through this week, in the hope of understanding myself better and as reference for whatever in the future. Experience has taught me that one's memory is unreliable and that one has tendency to repeat mistakes because of sub-conscious conditioning as a result of our past. I want to be more enlightened and in the know.

It doesn't help that my week started off with going to the doctor last Sunday, getting prescriptions for meds and a list of laboratory tests to undergo, not to mention having a pap smear. There's just something about visiting a doctor that makes me a little uneasy. I had blood taken last Monday, a urine test and an ECG (an embarrassing experience, next to the pap smear). Today, i'm going to have a 2DED. Whatever that is, i'll learn after today. I'm going back to the Internal medicine doctor and my obe-gyne this Sunday for diagnosis based on lab results and cervical cancer vaccine. It's a full week indeed!

Oh of course, it was not "all-hell" this week, there was a piece of good news I received last Tuesday. Good Housekeeping editor emailed me to say that Yes, they're going to publish my essay in the Blessings section of their September 2011 issue. Yey! That's a dream come true for me. I remember tweeting that if I get money from writing, I'll buy hubby an ipad. Well... I guess I have to write more. A lot more. Hahaha!

Happy Friday everyone. Life is never boring, enjoy!

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Sunday, 3 July 2011

health is wealth

I am getting old and close to advocating that health is wealth. I've also become more appreciative of my and hubby's company medical benefits.

When I first heard on the MRT in-house entertainment that a left-handed woman can be divorced in Japan because they are prone to diseases and die young, I thought it was funny and unbelievable. But maybe there's a grain of truth to it as recently, I've been sickly and losing weight.

Today, I had a checkup with the General Medicine Doctor, the Ophthalmologist and my Obi-Gynecologist - for free! Thanks to hubby's corporate HMO. Because of my almost-blacking out spell last Tuesday, i'm scheduled to take fasting blood test and other laboratory tests early tomorrow, also for free. I have EDED/ Echo(?) scheduled on Friday.

Thank God the Ophthalmologist cleared me of any eye disorder even though I've been seeing this tiny gray specks called floaters, but not after dilating my eyes and having me cry a good deal of tears from those intense lights.

What I couldn't get over with though is the Pap smear with my Obi-gyne. It's my second time but it still ain't something I feel comfortable going through. It's a necessary precaution though, I suppose, especially because my aunt had died of complications from ovarian cancer. I've also decided to use up the rest of my medical allowance for cervical cancer vaccine. I'll be having my first shot this Sunday after I get the results of the pap smear. Prevention is better than cure. Cliche but true.



I feel like I've wasted a good sunday morning going to the clinic but sometimes an apple a day just does not fit the bill, a 'quick' visit to the doctor does. Hoping for the best. Keep fit everyone!

Saving $$$ on Gas

Summer is officially here and you feel the itch to hit the road and explore. What a relief to see gas prices take a dip at the height of summer vacation time! Other effective ways to save at the pump:
  • Check online sites like gaspricewatch.com, gasprices.mapquest.com or gasbuddy.com for the most competitive prices.
  • Watch your tire pressure. Underinflated tires of just 3 PSI (pounds per square inch) can degrade your miles per gallon by 1%.
  • Keep your car engine will maintained. A properly maintained vehicle will run more efficiently and give you better mileage, which saves you money in gas.
  • Get rid of unnecessary weight in your car. The heavier the vehicle, the more energy it takes to move it on the road.
  • Park in the shade. Gasoline evaporates out of your tank and it does so faster when parked directly in the sun - winter or summer.
  • Drive conservatively and at a steady speed. The greater your speed, the less miles per gallon you will average. Better yet, bike it. :)  

Friday, 1 July 2011

impulse buying

I don’t have self-discipline. I’ve been telling myself to cut back on my personal expenses but the other day, a sudden urge to eat ice cream had me speeding down to 7 eleven in no time. I came back loaded with junk food. Later that day, while hubby was buying Gatorade after his run, I bought myself the latest issue of Smart Parenting Magazine. I tried to hold off buying the mag as long as I can but I couldn’t help myself. I’m into magazine these days. And to think that I just spent 500 bucks eating in Pancake House instead of joining hubby in his run (I was feeling a little fatigued). It’s those little expenses that are keeping me bankrupt.

Since I did not win the lotto the other night, I must do something desperately. My technique is to put only P200 in my wallet each day. I’ve got some emergency money stashed somewhere but I vow never to touch it unless absolutely necessary, as in a matter of life and death situation. I have my lunch baon anyway (most days, at least).

I’m an Ilokana but I have no spend-thriftiness in my bones. It’s hard, so hard to keep myself from buying things. I really hope I would become more discerning in my purchases. So help me God. Please.


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