Monday, 29 August 2011


I can't believe I'm quoting Russell Brand here. I'm not exactly a fan but his words in the Elle Magazine interview are quite wise, to quote:

...You eventually know your place - if not in the universe, on the planet - is kind of irrelevant. So you are left with the choices. It's your smallest interactions that are very important - the way you treat the people that are around you.


...I can be quite selfish. But I feel that there are higher things; I feel there is a God, and I feel that there is a great purpose and great value in altruism and most simply, I suppose, in love.


Sunday, 28 August 2011

toddler's sleeping problem solved

I've been having a good night's sleep since I got home from the hospital after my surgery. I can't say the same thing about hubby since he is temporarily fully in charge of our toddler while I am recuperating. Our dilemma over our son's sleeping problem stretched for almost two months.


Thankfully, our toddler has begun to sleep early and soundly since the night of my 30th birthday. What a gift! He now sleeps by 9 pm, rarely wakes up in the night for a feeding, and gets up at 5 or 6 am. Hopefully, he will stick to this routine for good. Husband on the other hand is having a hard time adjusting to the change in sleeping pattern. He's been so used to having intermittent sleep that he involuntarily wakes up in the middle of the night or early dawn. Kawawa.

Our son's pediatrician prescribed a vitamin called Mosegor Vita Syrup to supposedly help our child fall asleep. It's an Orexigenic Agent with Vitamin B Complex and it contains hydrogen maleate, thiamine, riboflavin phosphate, pyridoxine and nicotinamide. I must say it did help my son fall asleep but then he wakes up after two hours for a feeding and gets too agitated that he wouldn't go back to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. The medicine merely induced his appetite. We're thinking of changing his pediatrician as he has the tendency to prescribe medicines all the time instead of giving some practical tips or advice that really works. We need a doctor who is also a parent.

Advice from friends, google results and some common sense helped us address our son's sleeping issues.

Our mistake is that we allowed our son to get too addicted to Pocoyo videos on You tube on his itouch and on my iPad. He would spend hours watching videos and we let him keep the gadget in bed. Hubby and I are also guilty of bringing our gadgets to bed engrossed in twitter, facebook or blogging, setting a very bad example to our son. I am specially adamant of bringing my iPad to bed, reasoning that it is the only time I get to surf the net, read magazines, or blog.


For weeks, we did everything possible to make our toddler stay sound asleep. We banned his DVDs, limited his daytime naps (no late afternoon naps), dutifully gave him his vitamins before bed, and prohibited gadgets in bed (that was the hardest part for all of us).

Nanay has been telling us to forbid the use of the itouch or iPad before bedtime. From what I read, technology engages our toddler's brains, keeping them alert and therefore wide awake. It is advisable to ban it out of the bedroom an hour before bedtime, which should be a quiet time. We have less monkeying around in bed to prevent toddler from getting agitated. We also follow a bedtime routine - bath time by 8 pm, some quiet activities in bed such as reading a book (an actual one) or doodling, hushed voice, and a massage. We also encouraged our son's yaya to engage him in physical activities during the day such as running around in the neighborhood or kicking ball in the house, anything that will exhaust him of his high energy level.

This baby sleep profiler from Johnson's baby helped us assess our child's sleeping pattern and yes, we're using their bedtime baby wash, baby powder and baby lotion.

We had the best intentions when we introduced the gadgets to our toddler as a means to entertain and educate him. It backfired because we did not set a limit on its use.


What I've learned is that there are no black and white guidelines in parenting. Each child is unique and we have to learn to adapt our way of parenting to our son's individual needs and quirks. We just hope that even if we are not experts and we commit mistakes as parents, we'd still be able to raise our son the best way we know how, with the help of family, friends, books and google.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

home decor ideas for the future

As I've said, this blog will serve as a repository of great ideas, wonderful discoveries, bits of wisdom and what-not that I stumble upon in my everyday life.

One of our goals is to have (or rather, mortgage) our small dream house someday (hopefully, within three to five years) so i'm now collecting great home decor ideas, just in case. Dreams do come true! :-)

Magnetic chalkboard wall

I was browsing wordpress when I stumbled upon a post by cottage life living on chalk board wall. It seems like a good idea for a home (hubby is also fond of magnets). This is much like the chalkboard in Starbucks where they scribble the special of the day or something like that. But as a bonus, it is also magnetic so you can stick on anything attractive on it such as frames, fridge magnets or pictures with magnetic tape. It can also serve as a vandal board for the family.

eHow has instructions on how to do it.


Other ideas, which I got from deal grocer are:

Contemporary FLOS can can pendant lamp


The lamp is created by FLOS, a famed italian brand (which explains the original price of Php22,000). It flaunts a sleek, stylish dome finished in glossy refinement plus a festive filigree design as a surprise underneath.


Inspired by minimalist lines and clean silhouettes, this lamp is a hot accessory! It will surely add drama and sophistication to my dream kitchen. Dream on!

It is distributed by Steltz International, C218 2nd Floor Serendra Fort Bonifacio (459-0088).

Customizable decorative mirror with photo frames by Grassroots


This is a mirror with quirky photo frames. Since i'm fond of pictures, this will be a cool, fun and standout way of showcasing a number of them. It's a bit pricey at P24,999 but there could be small shops out there that can also make the same product at a lower price.

Grassroots has a store at 3rd Floor in Glorietta 5. Contact no. 501 3980.

When I was in high school, I used to dream of becoming an interior designer or fashion designer. I ended up being a CPA, like my parents. Just saying.

Friday, 26 August 2011

a powerful prayer

I'm not a devout catholic and therefore, I am not a prayerful person (in its strict form). I do pray, but of the free-form kind, mostly in a conversational form with God. But there is one prayer a friend of mine taught me (about 4 years ago) that I would like to recall to mind.

This prayer is special to me because praying it helped get me through a crossroad and a challenging phase in my life. The problem with me is that I have a bad memory and can no longer remember it, so I had to resort to google. This 'forgetfulness' reminds me to pray constantly and regularly, not only for selfish motives, but most importantly, to maintain a gratifying relationship with my creator.

The prayer I'm looking for is the Novena Prayer to St. Therese. The prayer is widely used by Catholics to ask favors from her. I especially liked it for its simplicity and power. After all, it helped me to successfully get to Dublin.

The prayer is done as follows:

1. Make the sign of the cross. Think of or ask for the favor you'd like St. Therese to grant, as well as a request for a rose.

2. Pray the Glory Be.

3. Say the following short prayer: "St. Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us."

4. Repeat the Glory Be and step 3 for 23 more times (total of 24 recitations). This is in honor of the 24 years that St. Therese lived. Make the sign of the cross again to finish the prayer.

5. Repeat the prayer on the following eight consecutive days, for a total of nine days.


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Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Buffett Bailout

For those who haven't seen it already, Berkshire Hathaway agreed to invest $5 billion in Bank of America this morning. The pop in stocks lasted all of 30 minutes.

But I wanted to discuss the last Buffett Bailout - of Goldman and what it may portend. My operating thesis is that WB has morphed into a completely political creature and will only make big, publicized investments for propaganda purposes. That certainly was the case with GS in 2008.

But like any actor, he has to receive something in return for the use of his name and image. That something is a political guarantee for his "investment" and the history of 2008 supports this. Buffett's deal with Goldman was announced before the US market opened on September 23, 2008. But behind the scenes a lot of political moves were being made that he obviously knew about but few others did at the time.

The Fed of course was involved. Over the next few days (through 9/29) they established or increased swaplines with a large number of foreign central banks. In effect they lent out $360 billion to foreign banks. The FDIC closed Wachovia and WaMu - pushing them to merge into the already bloated and insolvent Citibank and JP Morgan respectively. Wells ultimately outbid Citi for Wachovia. The Treasury moved to guarantee all money market funds and the TARP bailout was cooked up as a bill and submitted to the House over the weekend prior to initial rejection on the 29th.

The Bottom Line

My point is this. Last time Buffett was part of a full-court press designed to fool people into investing their earned money right along side his borrowed bank credit. Every lever was pulled by Wall Street and the Government in order to "restore confidence" and as the price of his participation, Buffett was given the privilege of front running virtually every central bank and government policy change.

I expect this time will be no different. The Fed is likely to announce something desperate and stupid tomorrow morning. It will likely be accompanied by something out of the Treasury and/or FDIC shortly thereafter if the Fed move proves insufficient to pump asset prices higher and bail out Warren after he stuck his neck out financially for favorable propaganda effect.

Of course the bad news if you're a bull is that it didn't work in 2008 despite truly extreme measures. Stocks, after a short sharp bounce continued to fall for another 6 months and housing prices merely rebounded slightly before resuming their decline. In 2008, stocks had already been falling for a year and had nearly been cut in half before they got that desperate. This time, we are 3.5 months past the rebound high and six weeks from the secondary peak. We are also only 15% off those highs - not 45% like in 2008.

There is probably a trading opportunity on the long side for the next week or two but I'm not going to get greedy or stupid. History indicates that Buffett is likely front-running SOMETHING here. But it sure as hell isn't fundamentals.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

and finally - the big 3-0!

And finally (drum rolls please)... the most-awaited day arrives! Today is my 30th birthday. Yey!

The past thirty days of self-reflection, leading to my birthday, was enriching and engaging for me. In a way, by the means of my blog posts, God has prepared me for the trouble that was to come halfway through my countdown. I would not have looked at my surgery in a positive light if I had not already started to view life through rose-colored glasses. In appreciating and dwelling on the good, I have learned to embrace the bad.

I must give credit to my doctor for saying that a birthday is just a day for it dawned on me that it has a ring of truth to it. We mustn't put our hopes and expectations of happiness and magic on a single day. The best way to look at a birthday is to take the product of the year that was and the sum of the other 365 1/4 days to come. It makes a birthday more special and lasting, rather than just being a 24-hour thing that fades when the calendar turns another day.

Today, 23rd of August is just another day. But my husband made it a point to make this day a memorable one for me.

Hubby managed to pull off a surprise birthday dinner for me last night with my current circle of girl friends at one my favorite restaurants. I am blessed to have a husband who goes beyond his inherent tendencies (albeit sometimes reluctantly. Haha!) to fulfill the whims of his wife. Life is full of pleasant surprises!

I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for the sweet gesture and for being able to spend a few hours of the night with my good friends, who brought a yummy chocolate cake with them. I am not exactly a sociable and likeable person but I still manage to keep myself surrounded with the most dependable, pretty and cool friends. Life is sweet and delightful!
Thanks to those group buying sites that are the fad these days, hubby got us a discounted overnight stay in a hotel in Makati. His review - the elevator was slow, the breakfast lacks variety and wi-fi sucks. The room was okay though for the rate. Life is a gamble, sometimes we get the sh** end of the stick. Sometimes, we get lucky!

I thoroughly enjoyed the sinful pleasure of having a big tv screen while lounging in bed and the hot shower in the morning - life's simple pleasures!

I woke up on the day of my birthday a little under the weather because of my colds. Life is sometimes made of sniffles and sour moods!

And it didn't help that the girl from Sweet Bella said they forgot the happy birthday sign for my birthday cake. We had to fetch it ourselves from the home branch and when husband handed it to me, it read - Happy 13th birthday "Lianne". I had to laugh despite of my bad mood. Hahaha! Life is full of mishaps!


After a delightful lunch at Focaccia, the rest of the day was spent taking a nap, playing with my son, delighting in the hearty greetings from family, friends and acquaintances and writing this blog post.

I am grateful to and for each and every person who have crossed paths with me in this journey called life - 29 wonderful years so far. Bits and pieces of you are interwoven with my life story, making it unique and worthwhile.

I am now thirty. Not surprisingly, no fairy godmother came and gave me a makeover or magical secrets to having a fine and dandy life at thirty. I still believe though that i'm living a charmed life.

Monday, 22 August 2011

countdown 1: i'm 29 until further notice!

Finally got the surgical pathology results on my dermoid cyst today. I've waited with bated breath for this and at last, the doctor says its BENIGN. I got my birthday wish a day before my birthday. Sweet!

Two specimens were taken from my ovary. The smaller tissue (4.5 x 2 x 0.8 cm) appears to be brain-like material. Even my cyst has brains! Hahaha! The larger tissue fragment (9 x 5 x 1.5 cm) has attached tufts of hair. Sana sa ulo na lang tumubo!

The doctor who removed my ovarian cyst on her birthday told us araw lang yan. But to me, it's much more than just a day. It is a special day, a day meant only for me.

Just for fun, I googled "what's in a birthday?" and the search results were quite interesting. I decided to give some of the entries a try.

First up was a quiz: What does your birth date mean? The answer has some ring of truth to it.


Did you know that apparently, there is a bible verse specific to your birthday? Here's mine:


There's also some science called Birthday numerology where you can find your lucky number. Mine is 5!


I also found out what my birthday color is - it's RED!


Finally, let me end this post with an excerpt from my favorite "birthday" song - Forever Young by Bob Dylan:

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

I'm 29 until further notice!

(photo taken on my 29th birthday)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Freezing Sweet Corn is Sweet Work!

This week a wind storm blew down three rows of our neighbor’s sweet corn. Luckily, the corn was ready to be picked. Now to be perfectly honest, picking sweet corn is hot work, especially in Iowa when the temps are in the 90’s and the humidity is in the 70’s. But here is what we have found to make the harvest enjoyable:
Do it with friends: Many hands make light work – as well as good conversation while doing the work.
Share a meal: We picked the corn at the farm, and then had a nice meal with FRESH (picked off the stalk less than an hour before eating) corn, with a home raised chicken, warm bread, great cheese and wine. And oh yes, a good desert before we started the shucking, cleaning, blanching, cooling, cutting and bagging of the corn.
Divide and conquer: It is just the way it works, but while the guys are shucking, the girls are cleaning, blanching and cooling the corn. By the time the guys get done shucking, it is time to start cutting the corn off the cob. When is it all cut, we bag it up for the freezer, teaming together, getting it done.
Share the profits: Now we didn’t make money by freezing corn, but we all saved money by having corn in our freezer to eat later. We shared what we harvested with those that helped and with our family and friend.
Make it festive: Making an evening event around the activity, such as sharing a meal and drink, adds to the camaraderie. Productive activity with others makes the “work” fun and leaves you feeling well and good.

countdown 2: what's in a name?

No post for day three because i'm not feeling well. I'm down with colds and sore throat, which I hate much more than my surgical wounds. Let it remain a gap in my countdown to remind me that 30 days before my birthday, I had one really bad day.

I must admit, when I started the countdown, I was an energizer bunny. I was sooo looking forward to my 30th birthday celebration. I'm supposed to be in a picnic now with my family and high school barkada, celebrating the big 3-0 together with a cousin whose birthday is only three days earlier than mine. But i'm at home, nursing my colds, feeling old.

I remained optimistic even after the surgery but there are times that I feel like crying, especially now that i'm also suffering from headache and runny nose. I try so hard not to sneeze because my wounds hurt so bad every time I do. Ouch!

Enough with my rants. On with my countdown.

I remember when I was a kid, I found a little notebook my father kept to note details about me before and when I was born. I loved that notebook dearly but somehow I lost it growing up. Sad. I also hope I made my son a similar (maybe online) one.

It is from that notebook that I first learned I was born on a sunny Sunday and my zodiac sign is Virgo. I was supposed to be named Lea Cecilia, after my parents' names. But my cousin, who was born 3 days ahead of me was named Lea so my parents had to change it.

They named me,instead, Mary Lianne.

Mary, in honor of the blessed Virgin. I remember there were a number of virtues written on the notebook about Mary, some (or maybe, most) of which I have not lived up to. That's why I don't fancy being called Mary, I don't think I deserve to be.

Lianne was supposed to be a play of the words Leopoldo and Cecilia, but really it was from the name of a sari-sari store near the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) and my parents' Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Board Exams Review School. Maybe this means i'm really meant to be a CPA after all.

I have already forgotten most of what was written in that small notebook but

I will forever hold in my heart its symbolism, what it meant to me growing up - that I'm deeply loved and cherished by my parents and that I am a precious GIFT from God to them. That alone makes my life worth living.

Friday, 19 August 2011

countdown 4: same old me

I'm going over my previous blogs and notes and is quite amused with myself. Here are two of my previous posts:

August 8, 2010, 11:21 am

2 years ago I thought I was having a quarter life crisis. I think I still am. I think I always will be. The truth is, I'm crazy and disorganized and no amount of dreams coming true or milestones happening will ever change that. I am me, quirks and all. Well-thought decisions or rash actions. Mommy or not. Jobless or a raving workaholic. Single or married. Some old quirks just stay the same. I just must continue to love the fool in me. =)

September 6, 2007 1:32 pm

When so many good things are happening at the same time, I can't help but wonder what bad thing could be brewing for me, fearing that the fair wheel of fate will soon catch up and I'll find myself at the bottom again. The fear of the unknown and the uncertain sometimes keep me awake at night and make me think back to those nights I was bawling over in pain over a heartbreak or was crying over a disappointment at work. I can still vaguely remember the heartache and the feeling of despair. But I don't feel any remorse or regret nor do I wish that I have not been through the experience. Because I realize that all the good and the bad things that happened to me in the past helped me become the stronger & more confident person that I am now. I have learned a number of lessons that will guide me as I go on to live a fuller life. ..And it dawned on me, I should have nothing more to fear. All I have to do is lay down my worries to Him & He'll take care of them for me as He always does.Ü

countdown 5: circle of friends through the years

My most enduring relationship (aside from my family) is my friendship with my high school barkada. Even though I rarely keep in touch with them (blame it to my anti-social tendencies), they are omnipresent in my life especially during the moments that matter.

Oh, we used to have a lot of conflicts and a good share of teenage girl dramas - misunderstandings, taking sides, crying in the school stairways, puppy love, family problems, insecurities... akin to the then very popular teenage flick TGIS! But we did share a lot of fabulous memories together and we helped each other survive the awkward teenage phase and all its emotional baggage.

We parted ways after high school graduation, going to different schools in the country for our college courses. Here's an excerpt from a letter I wrote shortly after our graduation:

...With us, there's no need for any friendship pact because there's an invisible bond that bridges the gap and makes us realize that someone is always there for us. It's true, life has been a lot more meaningful because we have each other to cling on to. Is there something sweeter than a friendship that has withstood the test of time? There is nothing.

In our hearts, though we're far apart, is a friendship assuring us that no matter what happens we'll always be there for each other. No distance could ever keep us apart, for we are friends, the best of friends. And we're willing to make it stay that way far longer than forever knows.

Back then, forever was one of my favorite words.

In my working years, I was lucky to find the same tight bond with a smaller circle of girl friends. Nothing can match the closeness forged by stress at work and deadlines. And as is the sad reality of life, we had to part ways as well. During one of those times I missed them badly, I wrote this:

...these are the moments my tears fall not because I'm hurt or sad but because when I skim through the pages of memories, I see the faces of dear friends I'm no longer with - each of us living our separate lives now, pursuing our own dreams.

...these are the times change is bittersweet and precious moments spent together are nostalgic.

...these are the days one can vividly recall someone's corny jokes or boisterous laughter or out-of-tune voice singing to her heart's content, arguments and petty misunderstandings, bonding over food and crying over coffee, bingeing on Mindoro sling and tequila shots in Tagaytay...

...these are the memories that will eventually fade with time but will be reminisced over and over again until new memories are made...

...these are the moments that remind me of how fully I have lived my life so far, of how far I've come, of how lucky I am to have met the dearest of friends who have deeply touched my life...

I'm looking forward to being with them again

and we'll catch up over a cup of coffee ...

... in the Eiffel tower on 10 October of 2010*.

Meeting in the Eiffel Tower on October 10, 2010 was a farfetched dream that has not come true. But back then, it felt great to cook up such a fantasy.

Most of my friends and I live separate lives now but thanks to social media, we still manage to keep in touch and have a good laugh (or cry) every now and then.

I'm also grateful that I have another special circle of friends in the present that I meet up with regularly - to reminisce the past, to cherish, nurture, indulge in and sometimes forsake the now, and to aspire with for a wonderful future.

Good friends are like desserts, they are life's sweet indulgence. I'm truly blessed and loved.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

countdown 7: some drama after surgery

It's been a day after my laparoscopy and I'm now experiencing bouts of pain and moments of sadness. The doctor switched me to oral pain medication after discharging me from the hospital. But I couldn't complain, the pain is more tolerable than I expected. God is indeed good all the time.

My doctor said it would be two weeks before I can fully recover. The downside so far has only been that I could not play, cuddle and be with my son. His cries of mommy tear at my heart.

The upside is that I'm being spoiled by my mother. She's been cooking for me and serving my meals. I know this won't last long since she has work to go back to so I'm cherishing it as much as I can.

I'm not yet fully up to writing but it's better than moping and feeling the pain in my stomach for every small movement that I make.

I'm also keeping myself pre-occupied by reading the book Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto and I'm liking it so far. It brings back good memories of my brief sojourn in Europe. It has a refreshingly different approach to storytelling which is keeping me hooked. My mama has caught me sniffling twice over its pages. What can I say, I'm a cry-baby and I got carried away.

countdown 8: the day I had my surgery

It was a warm day and I was running carefree on the grass. I came across a clear stream and dipped both of my feet in the shallow water. I was about to touch the water when I felt someone tugging on my shoulders.

"Wake up Lianne, we're done. The cyst has been removed. You're okay."

She also said something about suctioning and my lips being wounded but I couldn't fully comprehend what was happening. All I knew was I was rudely awakened from a nice-bizarre dream.

I remember greeting my doctor happy birthday then I was wheeled out of the delivery room. I was asked to wave hello to my husband and I did even though everything still seemed hazy.

I continued sleeping in the recovery room. I dreamt of palabok and shrimps and was shamelessly munching on them until I awakened and caught myself chewing on air. It's good the nurse assigned to me was busy with paper works and didn't notice me. Although I had a perfect excuse for being extremely hungry: I was put through a cleansing enema at 9 pm the night before and a fleet enema at 5 am on the day of my surgery. My intestines were literally empty!

I didn't know what time it was. They wheeled me into the delivery room at about 8 am and I've been comfortably asleep since then. I did not feel anything because I was on general anesthesia all throughout the procedure.

I took stock of my body and did not feel any extreme pain or discomfort. I just felt groggy. I have learned later on that my operation took more than 4 hours and my ovarian cyst was successfully removed via laparoscopic surgery. I felt a huge relief. I did not want to undergo laparotomy.

I stayed for more than 2 hours in the recovery room before I was finally wheeled back to my room at around 3 pm on August 15th. I was greeted by my husband, my mother and my husband's family. I did not dare talk much since the nurses warned me of gas pain if I open my mouth a lot.

I was amazed at how the surgery had gone so smoothly and of how little pain I felt (I was on pain medications). God held my hands all throughout.

The doctor said I could go home the next day as long as I could successfully pee and fart. I did my best.

countdown 9: day 1 in the hospital

Day 1 in the Hospital

August 14, 2011

Before 6 pm today, I got admitted at St. Luke's Hospital for my laparoscopy tomorrow. It felt more like going to a hotel for a vacation rather than a hospital. I did not feel nervous at all. I believe I can tolerate anything that is less painful than a facial pricking. And maybe, giving birth two years ago gave me a courage I never had. Plus, after only one session with the doctor, I somehow knew that she will do a good job. She seemed a very competent doctor with a pleasing genuine personality (not the superficial joviality typical of someone who is selling something). I can not say the same of my regular obi-gynecologist.

Let me share the things I've learned in the course of the week since I found out that I had a dermoid cyst in my right ovary. The procedure that they will perform on me is called: laparascopic oophorocystectomy with possible laparotomy. We were given a choice by the doctor between laparoscopy and laparotomy. We chose the former because it's minimally invasive surgery and the recovery is faster although it is pricey. Laparotomy is akin to giving birth via caesarean section.

A dermoid cyst or ovarian teratoma is a bizarre tumor that contains a diversity of tissues including hair, teeth, bone, thyroid, etc. It develops from a primary oocyte that is retained in the ovary. There is no logical explanation why or how it develops into a cyst which has recognizable structures such as hair, bone, sebaceous material, natural tissue and teeth. Mine has balls of hair and sebum.

The prime of detection of such condition is during the childbearing years with average age of 30. The doctor said I have a 10 to 25% chance of developing the same ovarian cyst in my left ovary. For early detection, the doctor ordered me to have a transvaginal ultrasound at least once a year.

I really had no choice but to have the cyst removed via surgery because it could rupture and cause internal poisoning or twist my ovary (torsion).

I was not aware I had an ovarian cyst until I had an ultrasound of the whole abdomen which detected an ovarian mass. I was then asked by my ob to go for transvaginal ultrasound, which confirmed I had a dermoid cyst. That was Sunday, August 7th.

On August 9th, I went to my ob to discuss the result of my ultrasound and she advised a laparotomy. Fortunately, she was not an accredited doctor under my HMO cards so we had to look for another doctor, preferably from St. Luke's which is near our home. My husband did find one and on August 10th, early in the morning, we went to consult with the doctor. She was late for more than an hour but I'm glad we persisted.

She explained everything to us, from the diagnosis to the procedure to the risks and price involved. After hearing the options from her, we decided to go for a laparoscopy.

We agreed to have the surgery on August 15th which happened to be the assumption of Mama Mary and the birthday of the doctor. I took that as a good omen that things will go just fine.

countdown 6: life's sweet surprises

Life is full of pleasant surprises!

Today, my husband successfully passed his oral comprehensive examination (OCE) for his masters in business administration. He was apprehensive about it especially because I was scheduled for surgery in the week of his OCE. He had to bring his laptop to the hospital to finish and polish his presentation. But he did it nonetheless, as I knew he would.

A few minutes ago, I received an email with the subject: Congratulations Good Housekeeping Survey Winner! Apparently, I won some nice prize in their Reader Survey. I honestly did not believe that I'd win something from answering the survey. I somehow did and this makes me believe in sheer luck again.


Yesterday in the hospital, we anxiously waited for the final statement of account, keeping our fingers crossed that our meager savings will be enough to cover for any medical expense in excess of my HMO card limit. To our surprise, despite of the doctor's estimate, we didn't have to shell out any cash. I had my surgery in a premiere hospital under a very competent doctor using the latest technology and with quality service from the nurses and aides - for free! Life couldn't get any better. Thank you Lord and thank you to my husband's employer for my hmo coverage.

Most of all, I'm experiencing pain and discomfort a lot less than I expected. The surgery went successfully. And even though we're still awaiting the result of the pathology on the cyst, I've got a lot of reasons to hope for the best and to relish the gladness of the present.


Thank you to our friends and family for the love and support. You help make life's challenges easier to hurdle.

That Seventies Show

There is a serious situation brewing that few people are talking about. This absolutely required a blog update.

One of the most dramatic features of the economic landscape during the 1970s was the disruption of the Oil Shock. Today, people are misled to believe that this was THE cause of inflation in that disastrous decade but that is a long way from the truth. In reality, it was more of a reaction to inflation. LBJ's creation of the modern welfare state combined with his escalation in Vietnam put the US on the path of permanent debt.

Accelerating inflation rapidly ensued for nearly a decade had already resulted in cumulative dollar inflation of over 50% before the Arab Oil Embargo and overnight tripling of prices. OPEC was using their market power and leverage to compensate for the falling value of the dollar and to get ahead of the galloping inflation our government and central bank had created. They noticed that they were being robbed via currency debasement and were in a position to do something about it because they controlled a large chunk of the oil export trade.

Unfortunately, we may be about to see history rhyme if not repeat in the near future. The effects could be extremely serious, with social consequences much greater than in 1974. And it could all be triggered by one medium-sized Southeast Asian nation that few people focus on when looking at economics. That nation is Thailand and the critical commodity that will be impacted is rice.

The likely result arises from the politics of inflation. Thailand's exports are priced in dollars and the severe erosion in value of the dollars earned has created pressure to increase income to revive living standards damaged by inflation. Because Thailand is the largest rice exporter by far in a tight market, they are in a position to demand higher prices - just as OPEC was in 1973-74. The current ruling party in Thailand is committed to increasing the income of farmers and is pursuing policies to control the rice supply and push up prices. From Bloomberg:

Yingluck has said the government will buy unmilled grain from farmers at 15,000 baht ($502) a ton at harvest in November, above current market rates of 9,900 baht. With Thailand the world’s biggest exporter, that may raise rice prices across a region that accounts for 87 percent of global consumption. The leader presented her economic policies to Cabinet yesterday and is scheduled to announce them publicly by Aug. 24.


Food makes up more than 30 percent of inflation indexes on average in Asia, according to Rabobank Groep NV. The weighting of rice in consumer-price indexes varies from 9.4 percent in the Philippines, 4.7 percent in Indonesia and 2.9 percent in Thailand, according to Bank of America.

Collateral Damage

The sad irony is that the people most affected by this will be innocent bystanders. The western central banks most responsible for currency debasement will hardly even notice. Few people in the West will be impacted at all. The people who will feel the pain will be Asian city dwellers. Middle and lower class urbanites will be especially hard hit. There will be a partial offsetting benefit in rising incomes for rice farmers but the disruption from shifting so much money from urban consumers is sure to trigger political unrest and likely a great deal of violence as well.

The numbers suggest a 50% increase in rice prices if the official Thai government pricing dictates to the world export market. This seems likely to us since they account for over a third of all rice exports nearly every year. With rice in short supply already, it is doubtful that importers will be able to refuse to buy at the higher price for very long. Because of rice consumption patterns, the effect will be overwhelmingly confined to Asia (85% of world consumption) and North Africa. As if those areas needed more economic pressure place upon them.

Once the Asian nations understand the full consequences of this move, the drive to move their economies away from the dollar should accelerate. With the dollar as the global reserve currency, the Fed is able to inflict widespread damage with its irresponsible policies. It appears the casualties in this round will be overwhelmingly Asian. That will increase the urgency to find alternatives to a dollar that is being sabotaged at the whim of Ben Bernanke.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

some love and much happiness

I'm having lunch at Sbarro, enjoying my favorite baked ziti. I'm being more mindful now of the little things that bring me gladness. I love that there's free wi-fi and I was able to post my countdown blog for the day.

I am glad that we can afford (with the help of my and husband's hmo cards) to go to a very nice clinic and seek the help of qualified doctors. I can't believe I've been to 6 doctors this week alone - 3 ob-gynecologists for my ovarian cyst, 1 dentist for prophylaxis and pasta, 1 general medicine doctor for my pre-employment and 1 ENT doctor for my ears and tongue.

I am happy that we have a yaya we can count on to take care of our son and I can enjoy some guilt-free me-time even if it involves going to the doctor and not to the salon.

I am fortunate to have pinkpad with me always so that i can capture my thoughts and share them instantly.

I am grateful for the prospect of my mother and my husband's family arriving tomorrow to lend support and take care of our toddler while mommy undergoes surgery.

I am enthralled of Johnoy Danao's voice and is looking forward to his podcast's company as I commute to our office today for some last-minute things before I go on leave.

I am fortunate to have the MRT as a dependable and convenient means of transportation to and from work. I'm also proud to say that I have less carbon footprint because I commute and not drive to work.

I am blessed to have another day to spend in this wonderful world. Hope to catch my husband later for some loving. He's kind of into something important these days and I pray that God bless and guide him more than ever. He actually needs support and prayers as much as I do.

Spread some love and much happiness today!

countdown 10: mindfulness

For a while, after giving birth to my son, I felt a sudden loss of my penchant for drama, a noticeable sense of emotional stability. In other words, I was steady and contented. And I often wondered what was wrong with me. Maybe I was so used to the roller coaster of emotions when the center of my world was just me that it felt weird to suddenly feel grounded. It used to be normal for me to complicate things, to inject drama to every aspect of my life, to be so conscious of what others will think or say about me. It could be that age and motherhood helped me become more matured and overcome such instability. Just some musings from a soon-to-be 30.

While waiting for my turn to the Ears, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor, I was reading an article in the August issue of Women's Health regarding Mindfulness being the new Happiness. A foreigner happened to sit beside me and noticed the iPad and what I was reading. He struck a conversation regarding happiness. He says there's this guy who wrote the book, the Power of Now which advocates becoming deeply conscious of the present moment, connectedness with self and other beings, and acceptance of life as it is. Our conversation turned to how happy we Filipinos are as compared to them US citizens, despite of them having a better life and a higher standard of living...which leads back to the whole point of the article in the magazine.

Sometimes we are too blinded by our pursuit of happiness that we do not give ourselves opportunity to embrace the other emotions that we humans do normally go through - pain, fear, disappointments, misery, grief. It is healthy to feel lonely and sad at times because one can never know the true meaning of happiness without experiencing loneliness. We can never live a truly meaningful life without going through the full range of emotions we humans are capable of.

There is good in the bad. For myself, I know that I write better when I'm melancholic. I've written poems when I was in my teenage years, a confused point in my life. Loneliness brings out something in us that happiness can not. I think I built an extraordinary bond with my girl friends in Dublin even though we've only been together for a short time because we shared a common sentiment - missing our loved ones. At my previous job (where I'm going back to), we felt close and had an unusual camaraderie because of the stress and demands of work. One cannot practice authentic empathy without going through the same pain and situation.

The next time you feel sad, embrace the emotion and take at it as a sign that maybe you're yearning for change, that it's about time you engage in something healthy or different. Be mindful. Be aware. Do not be a prisoner of your emotions, instead think out of the box, of the bigger picture. Breathe.

If it's any consolation, it's not normal to feel happy all the time. The key to a full life is living in the moment and relishing the now. Let us all find something to be thankful about in the present.

Without sadness, we would never know what happiness is. - Hugh Mackay, Psychologist

Friday, 12 August 2011

countdown 11: family = comfort and security

I'm looking at the bright points in my current ordeal. One of the best part is being with my mama, who has taken a leave from work next week to be with me. There is something very comforting about having my mother near. Yey!

Ever since I started working, spending an extended period of time with my parents and siblings has been few and far between and is therefore a rare treat. I'm looking forward to bonding time with my mother.

I'm not a typical first-born. I rarely meddle in the affairs of my 2 brothers and 4 sisters. What I regret though is not being close to them, not knowing a lot of things about them, what they're currently going through, what their hopes are. I didn't wish to be corny and showy, we weren't really raised that way but I think I kept too much distance from them, which is quite sad. The good thing is the connection I have with my siblings is never lost no matter how long we are apart. It is something that is not forced. They are always there for me for the times that mattered and they know that I'll always be here for them when they need me. I guess we all have unique ways of showing our love to the people who mean the world to us.

There's nothing like the comfort and security we get from our family. I love mine dearly.

Where to Invest in Turbulent Times

The Dow Jones industrials dropped 634 points Monday. Gold is at a record high. Farm land prices are high. There is uncertainty in the housing markets, stock markets, bond markets, international government debt, and the world-wide economy. The big question--where to invest? When the markets are so volatile, let it ride out and instead turn to make investments in what you can control: your time.

Now is the time to invest in yourself and time with your family and friends. It is time to reassess your skills, abilities, and how you spend your time. It is time to become more self-sufficient. Some ideas of self-investing in turbulent times:

• Grow a garden or visit farmer markets; can or freeze fresh vegetables for the winter months. Nothing tastes better than corn chowder or lasagna on a winter day made with fresh frozen sweet corn or tomatoes that you grew.

• Cut firewood. If you have a wood burning fireplace or wood stove, cut and stock up on wood for the winter. This can be a family event and as they say, the wood will heat you when you cut it, split it, stack it, and finally burn it! This can also cut down on your winter heating bills and provide hours of family time watching the fire burn.

• Take a class to improve your skills or learn a trade. The more you know the further you will go. Maybe you want to learn about auto repairs, plumbing or other trade. This can help you save money by doing your own repairs. Perhaps you need to improve your computer skills, cooking skills, or writing skills, take a class at your local college or community center. This can make you more marketable and you may unleash one of your passions.

• Invest in your family and relationships. Nothing has a higher return and lasting benefit than great relationships. Invite family or friends to join you on the above adventures. Turn off the television, computer, and phones and have a night of playing cards or board games. Join or start a book club. Engage in conversation, really get to know other people, and build lasting relationships.

The markets will go up and down. Money will come and go. Your true happiness will be determined by the friends and relationship you have and the difference you make in the lives of those around you. So in these turbulent times, invest in you, your community, and in family and friends.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

countdown 12: 90-second rule

I'm loving my magazine subscriptions on my iPad. They keep me company during waiting times such as this morning when I had my pre-employment examination. They give me new ideas and bits of wisdom and some common sense.

Of all my subscriptions, i love O, The Oprah Magazine best. Martha Beck's column in the September issue is very applicable to what I'm going through these days. It's all about adopting stubborn gladness despite of life being hard and scary.

What I would like to share is this approach to emotional suffering using the 90-second rule by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD. It advocates that it takes only 90 seconds of feeling the emotion caused by negative event before the body finishes processing its stress hormones and returns to its baseline settings.

Any stress beyond one minute and a half is already the result of us (our minds) holding on to the negative emotion and willing ourselves to rethink and restimulate the stress and distress. This means we really have control over our reactions to the things happening to us.

Martha Becks suggests

The next time you feel overwhelmed by a terrible situation, check your watch and dive in for 90 seconds. Don't think, just feel. Cry. Rant. Scream into a pillow. Let go and be non-resistant. If you don't hold the sadness in your mind with obsessive thinking, it will be over very soon - at which point, you can focus again on bright points.

So let's not hold on to bitterness, sadness, misery and other negative emotions. After 90 seconds of crying our hearts out, let us move on. Let each of us be a walking ray of light in this sometimes bleak world.

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain. - Vivian Greene

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

countdown 13: no matter what

Today is one of those days I would have rather spent 1) crying for a minute in the bathroom; 2) snuggling with my husband; and 3) playing with my son. When life deals you a bad hand, that's when you tend to refocus on the basics - faith, family and relationships.

I had to keep myself from breaking down a number of times today. The doctor was pretty good as she explained everything about the surgery but the gravity of it has not fully dawned on me until I parted ways with hubby. I don't wish to elicit sympathy. There are a lot worse things happening to other people. But I am just human and I feel bad for my body, for hubby who will bear the stress and pressure from all this and for little toddler who is too young to understand that mommy cannot play with him for a while.

I am scared and sad. But I am allowing myself to feel miserable only until tonight. There's really no point dwelling on the bad, it won't make things any better.

Tomorrow is a special day - the second year since I have been declared a mommy to my adorable son, God's best gift to me, second only to my extraordinarily great husband. I love my life, no matter what.

P.s. 13 is my lucky number.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

countdown 14: early birthday surprise

My obi-gynecologist said that I should have the surgery the soonest possible time and all I could think of was 'hey wait, i've got to finish the monthly tax returns at work and turnover notes first'. Insane!

I responded quite positively to the doctor's order. Immediately after she dismissed me, I went to the salon for eyebrow threading, pedicure and manicure. I would have asked for foot spa and hair spa too if not for my 6 o'clock appointment with the dentist. I want to look great on the operating table.

And I called hubby and asked him to do the dirty work aka call the HMO, find an accredited doctor and hospital.

This 7.7 x 8.9 x 6.2 cm dermoid cyst in my right ovary is proving to be a killjoy, spoiling my plan to have a grand 30th birthday bash (as if). It's good that we had an advance birthday celebration this weekend in Tagaytay, before I finally found time to go for a transvaginal ultrasound last Sunday and heard the grim news.

But I am definitely not letting this cyst ruin my son's second birthday this Thursday! I talked to it and ordered it to wait until maybe Saturday and to pretty please not rupture or twist my ovary until then.

It should be able to wait until Saturday. I certainly hope so. Because we still have to find an HMO-accredited doctor and hospital. After all, the operation is a bit pricey, equivalent to the cost of a caesarean. It's like giving birth again. Only this time, to a dermoid cyst which apparently has balls of hair. Eewww!

Please pray for me and with me that this be over soon and that I recuperate fast. Because being stuck in bed certainly isn't the best way to celebrate a 30th birthday. Just 14 more days to go!

Monday, 8 August 2011

countdown 15: faith in Him who knows best

Yesterday, I received a not so good news and I felt that suddenly my life was at a standstill. I must admit I was a bit frightened but the emotion that prevailed was an urge to keep going, to get it over with as quickly as possible so that I can continue living my life.

I don't know what's going to happen yet but I have faith that things will turn out okay. Today, a number of things I fretted about yesterday was settled quite well. In fact, today is a happy and hopeful day for me. I got what I asked for, and more. And I thank God for continuing to shower me with blessings, despite of my fickle-mindedness and weaknesses.

These past days since I started my countdown to my 30th were quite eventful. August is indeed my special month. Our family had a memorable bonding in Tagaytay last weekend. I will celebrate my second year as a mom to my toddler this Thursday. I'm going to have my last day in my current job soon.

Last night, I did not pray that I be spared from troubles and worries. I did not ask 'why' because I know there's no logical explanation. Instead, I prayed that God grant me courage and strength. I surrendered my fears and my future to him, He who knows best.

P.s. If this post appears a bit heavy, please bear in mind that I am a drama queen

Sunday, 7 August 2011

countdown 17/16: like/ unlike (question no. 4)

I'm at Starbucks right now enjoying free coffee care of hubby's HSBC credit card receipt. Some good things in life are still free.

He's out there running while I'm here reading and writing.

Why do I like reading and writing more than I like running?

I don't force myself to run because I have learned from Martha Beck's Yours for the Asking article in O, The Oprah Magazine, that it is not good to try to like the things you don't (really) like.


I did give running a chance and I did like it for a while but I couldn't truly capture and sustain a passion for it. I realize though that I have to pick some form of exercise to keep healthy. But maybe running is not for me, not even after the good things about it I've said in a previous post. Or maybe it's merely a phase and I'll eventually take up running again. What I know for sure is it is not gainful to force it on me right now.

One more thing that I didn't really like is reading books on becoming rich like Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Ecker. I do not question their credibility. I think they are great minds. I did read a few chapters but I do not subscribe to their ways in attaining a goal. They are too practical for me. I long for a different approach, I want some drama and emotions mixed with the goal of financial freedom. I'm more of the emotional kind - longing for meaning, living from the heart, touching lives. Drama. Drama. Drama. Maybe, I won't get rich then but maybe hubby will, so....

I know that not because I don't conform, it means I'm wrong and others are right. I also do not believe others are wrong and I am right. For example, husband and I have different approaches to things but it doesn't mean one is better than the other. We take turns in imposing our personal preferences. At times, we have "I told you so" moments (bulging eyes, raised eyebrows) but I know that eventually, we will find a win-win balance in most areas. Open-mindedness and respect are key.

We are all unique and we have different reasons, circumstances, personalities, beliefs and values for our preferences. The good thing is, we are given free rein to live our best lives.

Friday, 5 August 2011

countdown 18: a love affair

Sometimes the city gets too crowded, polluted and noisy for me that I crave for the more serene rural life.

I can't believe I've been living here in the city for almost 10 years already. When I was a kid, my parents or an aunt would occasionally bring me here. I used to be amazed of the big malls but I hated the smoke-belching buses and the noise and pollution. I never dreamt of working in the city. My simple dream in college was to graduate, take the board exams, work in a bank (just like my papa did), get married, have kids and live happily ever after.

But God had other plans for me. I went to Manila to review for the board exams. On the night of the release of the results, I and my parents received one of the biggest surprises in our lives - I did not just pass the board exams, I also placed 13th!

I can still vividly recall my mama shouting at the top of her lungs. I think I really made my parents proud that night. And as my mother whirled me in her arms, I couldn't help but be amazed at the marvelous way God works wonders. That moment was one of the happiest and proudest in my life. I did not expect it at all. I merely wanted to pass and be a Certified Public Accountant.

Back then I thought that being a CPA is the end all be all, that it equated success and guaranteed a nice life. Forgive me for my naivety.

My mama really love me, no doubt. She accompanied me to my first job interview. She patiently waited for me in the lobby of the first auditing firm I was invited to. Don't laugh just yet. In my second job interview, both of my parents accompanied me and met with the Human Resource staff. Hahaha! Very embarrassing.

I was a typical probinsyana who just stepped into the city streets - shy, naive and feeling a bit inferior.

I would shed tears almost every night for the flimsiest of reasons - the bus was too crowded, having lunch alone, and very rude clients treating me like a lost child and not an auditor.

I was one sheltered lad unexpectedly released into the jungle called real life and I felt out-of-place and vulnerable. I tried so hard to put on a brave face. I feared each time I go to a new client that I might get lost. My knees would turn to jelly at the prospect of interviewing the Finance Director or the President. It was a painful phase for me but it forced me to find courage, grow up and not be too thin-skinned.

I wouldn't have made it if not for the people who took me in so kindly - the taxi driver who would bring me to the client even if I didn't know the way; a client who would treat me nicely even if I asked stupid questions; a colleague who would go out of her way to give me tips and techniques; friends who took interest in me and fought for me and with me in my battles.

I owe as much to the people who did not treat me quite as well - colleagues that pointed out my weaknesses and rubbed me sore, clients that bullied me, strangers that tried to take advantage. We do need criticisms, challenges and not-so-nice experiences to make us better and stronger people.

My learning experiences have made me grounded and grateful for the support strangers have accorded me. I try to pay it forward by practicing empathy and never forgetting that I was once a naive and timid girl who was very frightened of the hazards posed by working in this city I now call home.

countdown 19: taking responsibility

Please be responsible for the energy you bring into this room.

These words from the latest O, The Oprah Magazine I’ve read struck me and were ringing in my head since yesterday. I’m not sure if it was Oprah who said it but nonetheless, it is a mantra worth emulating.

Complaining a lot – GUILTY!
Heartily joining in lunchtime gripes and grumbles – GUILTY!

I am guilty of creating and harboring bad energy in this world.

It’s not easy not to complain. It has become a way of life for me - rooted from the stressful world of public practice in audit and accounting and carried over to my personal life and subsequent endeavours. And most of the people I’ve met and dealt with are no different. We merely fuel each other’s hang-ups.

I want these words tattooed in a conspicuous place like my hands maybe, so that each time I harbor negative thoughts or open my mouth to complain, I will be reminded that I am responsible for the energy I bring into this world.

Where I am going, I would definitely need a constant reminder of this mantra. I’m actually thinking of printing on paper, “Please be responsible for the energy you bring into this cube.”

And I might just see the same words on my husband’s big white board – “Please be responsible for the energy you bring into our home.”

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

countdown 20 (again): a lesson learned

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank was hands-down hilarious! I did not know what to expect from an indie film but I did not leave the cinema disappointed. Husband and I almost doubled over laughing. But I actually left with a heavy heart and unshed tears. Sounds melodramatic but true.

The movie depicted the life of a widow with seven children living in the slums. The approach of the movie was unique but it brought to light the sad plight of the children of poor families in our country (At least, for me). Being a new mom myself, it broke my heart that Mila (Eugene's character in the movie) had to prostitute her son to a pedophile. And it is poignant to think that this happens in real life.

The movie tugged at the wall of indifference I've subconsciously built around myself through the years. I am aware that we have impoverished fellow Filipinos living in the slums but I have learned to relegate them to a different world removed from mine. Maybe, it was partly because I felt there was nothing I could do about their situation anyway and I was busy living my life.

But as I come to think about it, I feel that there must be something I can do to help, even if it is just in a small way.

The movie is an eye-opener. I hope that when I wake up tomorrow, I won't forget that tonight I realized more than ever how blessed I am and how grateful I should be for everything that I have. May I always keep that lesson in mind, especially during those times when I'm feeling materialistic. May I also remember to care and share, no matter how small.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

countdown 20: food cravings

I was off from work early so I decided to meet up with my husband. I was famished and was craving for something sweet and something salty. We happened to pass by (more of walk by since we were on foot) Fort Strip in Bonifacio Global City. Hubby said he's heard of a burgerhouse somewhere in the area that serves awesome burger.

We did find Burger Avenue in a cozy corner. And it comes with free wi-fi! Me and hubby are internet-addicts. Sort of.

I ordered their regular crispy bacon melt burger and strawberry milkshake. I added some french fries for the not-hungry hubby. A bit pricey at almost p400 but when i took a bite - YUM! - well worth it. I've always been a fan of crispy bacon and this one's a real treat.

crispy bacon melt burger + strawberry milkshake + hubby = bliss!

And because I forgot to ask hubby to take a picture of me biting into the deliciousness, I had to go for a second serving, this time the junior version, and with hubby finishing it off.

No nuggets of wisdom today, just burger bingeing. Blame it on hormones! The countdown says it's only 20 days before my 30th. I'm beginning to doubt its accuracy.


Monday, 1 August 2011

countdown 21: some ambitious goals

I have the tendency to skim through things that's why through the years I have become a jack of all trades, master of none. I am competent with many skills but I am not necessarily an expert in any particular one.

As I turn 30, one of my goals is to specialize and be outstanding in at least one thing. I'll try to lessen instances of merely trying to get by which sometimes make me feel like a fraud.

Easier said than done. I know this is one goal that would require time, hard work and constant practice.

Let this post be a reminder to myself that on this day, 1st of August 2011, I have decided to become outstanding in 3 things: my career as a CPA, parenting and writing.

May I strive to be an expert in my field, able to share and contribute to the development of others.

As a parent, I don't intend to be an expert by the standards of societal norms but only in the eyes of my son. May I become to him the best mom in the whole world.

May I continue to kindle my passion for writing and that though ambitious, may I touch the lives of others through my written thoughts and reflections.

May these goals contribute to my well-being as a person so that my husband will always be happy. As he aptly puts it, happy wife = happy life!

That's me, reaching for the moon, with the indispensable support of my husband