Monday, December 21, 2009

The BEST Christmas Dinner EVER

Ah... Christmas is around the corner. Funny how it felt like just yesterday, I had Christmas dinner celebrations with my group of friends, exchanged gifts and due to our busy schedules, had one of the shortest Christmas dinners in history.

Yesterday, we had an early Christmas dinner with friends from our cell group - a newly created cell group for young couples, and a unique one at that. We had the dinner at Aprilla & Yosi's house - Yosi, an amazing comedian and Aprilla, an amazing party organizer who created a spectacular dinner for us.

Pictures were taken, the delicious dinner was served (at a table set like it was set for royalty!), and fun games were played. It was guys against the girls, and we couldn't have been more competitive. Us girls even threatened the guys with sleeping on the couch that night if we lost (jokingly, of course!) but we ended up scoring a tie between the teams and learned a lot about each other... For example, all guys apparently watched Hawaii-Five-O and James Bond movies, while girls know the contents of TV Guide by heart - we knew all the TV shows! One valuable lesson learned as well: never EVER bid for less than 4 seconds to guess something. You won't even finish your first clue by the end of the 3rd second. (Note to my dear husband Michael a.k.a. mancing69 on twitter: the show is called "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader", and NOT "Who Wants To Be A Fifth Grader?").

At the end of the night, after exchanging gifts, I didn't want the night to end - but it had to. All the way home, my husband and I couldn't stop talking about how much fun we had, and how happy and blessed we felt to be a part of such a dynamic, loving, fun, exciting, humble and generous crowd.

Someone wise once said "Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future" -- with these friends, I'm looking at an amazing and spectacular future ahead!

This special post is dedicated to our very special friends Shelvia, Doni, Aprilla, Yosi, Maya, Budhi, Awie, Fen, and special guests of the evening Sidney & Etha.

Sweating the Small Stuff

You know that book, "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff"? I first saw that book on the shelf of my then-boyfriend (now husband). When I saw it, I thought to my self, hmph. Not sweating the small stuff seemed highly unlikely for someone like me. I am a freak for details and order, how could I ever not sweat the small stuff?!

This is the kind of person I am: when someone gives me a printed out excel sheet and a line is missing, I send it back and ask them to fix it. When someone gives me a present with a bow on it and the bow is crooked, I fix the bow before taking it off and opening the present. When a colleague is erasing a pencil written sheet, I check the sheet, re-erase to make sure there is absolutely no trace of it ever being written and give it back to her. I spot mispellings of people's names in magazines. I clean a whole row of tv screens on an airplane to make sure my friends and I can watch spotless on-demand movies on our 13-hours flight (ask Boris, he'll confirm this!) I plan a minute-by-minute itinerary for all my business trips, including a scheduled bathroom break and try to squeeze in 15 minutes of shopping after lunch.

Yeah. Detail freak. Or OCD maybe - I am confused which one is more appropriate.

Anyway - not sweating the small stuff was near-impossible for me to do. Until recently, when I discovered that sometimes, letting things happen out of the norm and order is actually OK to do.

So here's the story: normally, on the last day of my trips, I would book a taxi in the morning to go to the airport. If my flight was 12, I'd book the taxi at 8 to leave at 9 and reach the airport by 10. But last week on Wednesday (my flight home was Thursday), I was coincidentally speaking to the reception and she offered to book me a taxi early. Normally, I would have said, "Oh, it's OK, I can do it in the morning." But that night, I sort of thought, well, why not?

It would have been out of the ordinary habit, and it would have meant me changing my minute-by-minute schedule the next day, but hey, why not?

So I agreed to it, and the lady booked me the cab. I went back to my room, thinking it was such a big deal that it changed my routine, but whatever.

Thursday came, and it was snowing cats and dogs outside, and the minute I got to reception, the guy on standby for the morning shift said, "You're so lucky you booked a cab last night, otherwise you would not get one. It's snowing today and taxi's do not want to take passengers when it's snowing."

I stood there with my mouth opened and my jaw nearly touching the ground ala Ally McBeal. It would have taken me forever to get a cab had I insisted on ordering one in the morning, and I would have missed my long-awaited flight home. Amazing!

Now, to some people, this might not be a big deal. To some people, this may only be making something out of nothing. But for me, it was a no bullshit kind of way to smack me in the face and tell me that life needs to take it's course sometimes, and made me realize that I can't try to plan and schedule every single thing. And sometimes, the course that is set out for us is better than what we planned.

Cutting the long story short, I'm home, I'm happy, and I'm a bit more open minded now. I can let go of some of the small stuff because my perspective has changed: (a) they don't matter that much and I shouldn't waste time and energy on them, (b) it's OK to make mistakes or miss a few things because if they work out, they work out. If it's a mistake, I can learn and move on.

The new year hasn't started yet, but I'm starting early with my resolutions. I'm not going to sweat the small stuff.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Technology Bites...

Do you remember a time when you weren't clutching on tightly to your BlackBerry typing away like your life depended on it? Do you remember a time when you weren't with a laptop desperately seeking a wi-fi location so that you could log on to your email or website to update something?
I do.

Last week, my life was turned upside down and around simply because my new onyx Blackberry decided to crash. I have no idea what happened, I just tried to turn it on after it suddenly restarted itself, and it just wouldn't load. I was lucky I had my laptop with me, as I was on a trip to Paris for work, but I just suddenly felt so disconnected with the entire world.

How did we get this dependent on technology? How did our lives entirely function and revolve around technology? And when technology fails me, I end up feeling pretty much completely lost. It was like I had to remind myself every few seconds or so that the world would still be there, things were still running, even without a Blackberry.

Is this a sign I need to go to gadget rehab?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just Do It !

So I haven't written a blog in like forever. What's my excuse this time? Busy. What else is new?

I'm desperately trying to finish the seemingly endless book #2 - now, I'm at 65K words, and I still can't figure out how I'm going to end this even though I had an outline in the begining; I'm not just feeling it, you know? It's not how I want the book to end anymore, so I'm changing course. My bad, I fell in love with the characters too much, so I have to have the best ending possible for them, otherwise, I just wouldn't be able to live with myself.

Aside from that, I'm also busy crazy at my day job. Guests from overseas are constantly visiting our shores, reports are piling up, new projects are being initiated almost daily now - it's suffice to say things are really GOING ON right now. It's like I can't even catch a breath. And the travelling... Oh, don't even get me started on that. I've been to Singapore, Hong Kong, back to Singapore and will still be going again and while I do appreciate that I'll be able to use the miles for a family vacation (hopefully in December), can I just say that I am getting sick of airplanes? I feel like getting sick every time I board one. (Although, I must admit, I still love airports. And like I said in my tweet recently, the Hong Kong Airport is TO DIE FOR).

To top that off, I have 2 kids who are taking turns getting sick. It's like the viruses just love being passed on from son to daughter, then back to son, and back to daugther. And occassionally, like now, it gets passed on to me. I've been in bed for like 4 days now.

One of my best Twitter buddies @TigressReow said to me the other day "It's not EZ being Mom, Wife, Careergal, Author, Daughter etc when sick or w/sick kids" - and she's totally right. It's not even easy to do when I'm healthy and completely up and running!

But here's my survival trick: just do it. No - this is not an ad for Nike - although I am a big fan (of their products, not of their business practice). Seriously, people ask me all the time, what is my secret? How do I juggle everything I do and not go crazy? Someone even asked me: how many hours do you have in a day? The rest of us only have 24!! And my answer is that I just do it.

See, the way I see it, if you keep on thinking and trying to figure out how you are going to do so many things in a day, you'll never find the answer. Instead, you'd waste time just sitting there, trying to sort things out - things that will never be sorted out perfectly anyway. So what's the point in doing that? Do things as they come, keep your cool and just sail along smoothly.

Of course, there are certain things that happen in life that cause the balance to shift, like me getting sick now, and having to be in bed for 4 days. This is not expected and thus when I get back to my routine, I'll have to work faster to get everything done a little faster so I can get back to the normal pace later on - but from what I've learned, just keep a positive attitude and focus forward. Don't take your eyes off the goal. Give yourself deadlines and mark them in your head so you get the adrenaline rush you need to get yourself moving and constantly pushing forward.

Sure, you'll say "easier said than done". In the beginning, it'll feel that way too, for sure. But my advice is, believe that it can be done. It can. I hope this doesn't come off cocky or anything but seriously, I've done it. It can be done. Maybe not perfectly - because let's face it, we're all human beings so we'll never be perfect - but it can.

Who's with me to try it out? :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Drum Roll Please....

My first book!

Can I tell you how crazy this feels?
No, wait, I can't. Not because I don't want to, but literally, I can't! I can't describe how amazing and surreal this feels! I am over the hills, over the moon, over the universe excited, and getting me back to earth is proving to be a huge challenge. It's just... amazing. Sorry, for a writer, I can't even find the words to properly describe this. It's embarrasing, really.

When is it coming out, you ask? Soon.
Where will it be available? I'll tell you when I know.
All I know now is that my dreams are this close to coming true, and I'll remember these moments leading up to the release of the book for the rest of my life.

Don't worry, I'm still keeping my day job just in case... ;)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bye bye bag...

Ah, Paris... City of Lights? Maybe. City of Crime? Heck, yes!
I was minding my own business, talking with some colleagues in the cab ride from the Charles de Gaulle airport to the hotel when all of a sudden, the window was smashed and some dude (now, nearly 12 hours later I call him "dude" but earlier he was "jerk") grabbed my bag. My beautiful black leather Chanel bag, with some of my lifelines inside: iPhone, Blackberry, iPod, wallet (with cash + cards), limited edition Emilio Pucci pen, Chanel necklace, lipstick, business cards, passport, ID card, frequent flyer cards, and the list continues (unfortunately).

I was stunned, shocked and literally speechless. It wasn't until my friend kept shouting to the cab driver to call the police did I actually realize what had happened. I swear, when the window was smashed, I actually thought I was being shot at, and I didn't even realize my bag was gone.

After the shock came anger. It was like I was on an anger high or something, I couldn't stop being so upset at the stupid dude who took my stuff. I hadn't felt anger like that in a very long time.

Then, came sadness. I was so overwhelmed by sadness that I had lost some of the things I really (really) loved and depended on (i.e. Blackberry for tweeting and iPhone for all my games) that I kept crying and crying until my eyes felt like they were burning. Of course, while I was at the police station, I kept my cool, but as soon as I checked into the hotel, I cried buckets.

Now, after all that, what's left of me is wonder. I can't stop to wonder and ask so many questions: why did he need money so much that he would go to the lengths of committing a crime to get it? Why did it happen to me? Why didn't I keep my bag under my leg or something? Why didn't I see him coming? Why didn't the cab driver see him coming? Why can't the police catch him? What am I going to do with no money? How can I get back all the numbers and info I had in my phones? What happens after this?

Honestly, even though it's a long shot, but I have been telling myself that the guy needed an operation or needed to pay for college or something that cost a lot of money that he didn't have so he resorted to stealing. Somehow, this way of thinking helps me "forgive" - even though it's still nowhere close to being easy to do.

So they say that everything happens for a reason. I really, really, wonder what the reason is for this one. Seriously.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Price to Pay

These days, nothing in the world is for free. Let's not even talk about products, there's even a price to pay for hearing. So yeah, naturally, these days, I am all about paying the price. Everything has a tag on it.

It all started with the news that my son needed surgery. I walked into the doctor's office with concerns that his speech wasn't as developed compared to other kids his age, and I came out with a "glue ear" diagnose and a piece of white paper that said he was scheduled for surgery on Thursday that same week.

I came out of the doctor's office with a blank stare, completely bewildered. How did it get to this? - I asked myself at the time.

Sure - it was only "minor" surgery. But every mother would concur that nothing is minor when it comes to our kids. The thought of my boy being unconscious and operated on with an IV stuck into his little hand in a scary operating room was just too much for me to bear. And of course, being the overdramatic person that I was, I couldn't hold the tears back at all.

Just before the operation, the nurses rolled his bed into the operating room and my son held on to my hand for dear life. He was so scared that I couldn't see color in his face at all. I'm sure we traumatized the crap out of that poor little kid. But it had to be done, what choice did we have? He woke up from surgery kicking, screaming, demanding that we take out the IV, and he ended up taking it out himself with blood splattered all over the place. (I know, eww right?)

This is what we had to bear: trauma, cost, 2 weeks of being away from home, the expenses of being in a foreign country, exhaustion, and additional costs of changing our tickets (which were promo tickets!).

But when weighed with what we got in return: my son's hearing back and precious time with both my kids while we were stuck in Singapore waiting for my son to recover post surgery. Fourteen priceless days with both my son and daughter, uninterrupted by work or people or television or anything!

Now if that's not well worth it, I don't know what is...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It Takes Shock Therapy to Open Your Eyes...

When my husband came home from work the other day, I dropped everything I was doing to run to the door and greet him with a long lingering hug as soon as he stepped foot out of the car. Call me a drama queen if you’d like, but I actually had tears welling up my eyes and I felt lucky he was alive.

No, he wasn't recently in any car accident nor did he go through any near death experiences of any kind. He just went to work, went to meetings with clients, replied a few dozen emails or so and at the end of the day, drove home – all the normal routine (and perhaps rather mundane) things.

What wasn't normal was the fact that someone called our house telling our poor housekeeper that he had been in a terrible car accident and was in critical condition at the nearest hospital. In tears and completely terrified, our housekeeper called my mother-in-law, who then called and told me.

Sure, I had heard of similar scams happening around our circle of friends. They call, they say our loved one is dying then they make a second call asking for money. So logically I was convinced it was a scam almost immediately. Somehow though, in the back of my head, I kept thinking "What if it's true?" Matters became worse when I kept getting my husband's voicemail at every attempt of calling his cell phone.

Figuring the only way to find out was to see for myself, I left the office, rushed to take a cab to the hospital, and was there in less than ten minutes. I soon found out that my initial instinct was correct - it was just a scam. And no, the con artist did not ask for money - which made the scam seem rather odd and pointless. But anyway...

On my way out of the hospital -where the nurses there told me this sort of thing happened all the time - I finally managed to get through to my husband. Although I knew it was a scam, I still felt unbelievably relieved that he was unharmed, unscathed, and even smirking at me in response to my so-called overreaction. I couldn't stop the inner drama queen in me, I bawled my eyes out as soon as I heard him say "hello".

People generally say that everything happens for a reason. So perhaps this odd incident happened to wake me up and tell me that I haven't been appreciating my husband enough? Was it a cosmic attempt to remind me not to take him for granted? And perhaps for me to subsequently tell others about it so they could learn the same lesson I did?

Whatever the reason, I find myself now strangely thanking the person who tried to scam us. Not deeply thanking him of course, because well, who am I kidding, at the end of the day he still gave me an anxiety attack and I'm not a saint so it’s not that easy for me to entirely forgive and forget. But beyond that, I did learn something out of the whole fiasco.

Sometimes it takes a bit of drama in life to wake you up, and while I used to be more of a "the glass is half empty" kind of person, I can now tell myself that even though it's half empty, but at least it's not entirely empty. There is still half a glass worth drinking.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Waiting... and waiting... and waiting...

So, I was standing in line at the Bank (after pay day, obviously) and I noticed that the line was basically shaped like an 'M'. I stood there patiently waiting for my turn for at least 45 minutes, and finally when it was my turn, the teller put up a 'closed' sign and just before she left, she asked me to move to the next line. To cut the long story short, I finally made my transaction after being at the (stupid) bank for around 1 hour and 20 minutes. Time wasted here: 1 hour and 5 minutes.

When I got back to my car, I had to wait for the gate to exit the parking lot to open, which took forever because for some reason, the gate was stuck. Time wasted here: 10 minutes.

As I got out of the lot, I entered a traffic jam that prolonged by journey to the office by about half an hour, causing me to be a total of 3 hours late to get to the office, while I had only asked permission to leave the office for an hour to get all the bank stuff settled. Time wasted here: 30 minutes.

This - all the agonizing waiting - is not the end of my story, my friends. At around 3pm, I was supposed to have a meeting with this agency, and while I managed (for once) to not be late and arrive at the venue at exactly 3pm, the agency was late because they had a flat tire on the way to meet me, so I had to wait for around 40 minutes until they finally showed up. Then, as they were going to present their concept to me, they had a problem with their laptop, so again, I had to wait. Time wasted here: 50 minutes.

On the way back to the office, traffic was fantastic and I was so happy to be able to arrive back before 6. I rushed to clear a few emails and left by just before 7, and... was greeted by none other than an evening rush of traffic. Home, which is essentially 20 minutes from the office, became 45 minutes away. Time wasted here: 25 minutes.

Dinner was OK, but then after dinner and after playtime with the kids, I wanted to log on to my computer to check Twitter and reply some personal emails and all of a sudden the wi-fi was off. I called the internet provider and got the automatic answering machine, and was told to... wait for it... WAIT! Imagine that... I waited for what seemed like ages, and finally a man answered and said I would have to wait while the technician checked. Internet was back on at around 11pm - which was about half an hour after I called. Time wasted here: 20 minutes.

Look, I know that patience is supposedly a virtue. But see, I wasted a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes that day, just waiting around aimlessly, when I could have been doing so many other things more useful in my life.

In 3 hours and 15 minutes, I could have read a book with my kids and played with them, I could have written another 1,000 to 2,000 words for my novel, I could have replied 100 emails at the office, I could have proof read at least 10 articles for the magazine I work for, I could have watched an entire movie, and I could have even watched 9 episodes of my favorite sitcom! Oh, my fave sitcom these days is How I Met Your Mother, by the way.

I just don't get it. On a daily basis, we waste so much precious time that we never get back, and at the end of the day, what do we get out of it? Nothing more than what we initially needed anyway. And I think about all the times I wished there were more than 24 hours in a day... I mean, if we saved all the time wasting, we'd have those extra hours we need, don't you think?

Maybe it's just me, because I'm pissed at all these people who have made me wait. But tell me, is it so wrong to want things to run smoothly, glitch-less and hiccup-less so we can all move along faster in life?

Friday, May 1, 2009

For The Love of Gossip

Did your mother ever tell you it wasn't nice to gossip about people? Mine did. A lot. She used to tell me that it wasn't nice to talk about people behind their backs. She said it was disrespectful, especially if what we were saying about them were not even necessarily true. Perhaps not a lie, but more like "speculation" or "assumptions".

The reason for that little talking-to we had was because she overheard me on the phone with my friend 'R', talking about how 'A' and 'C' left together from a party we all went to the night before, and we met them again in the morning at McDonald's wearing the same clothes they were in. Ohhh... that was sweet gossip material indeed.

Fast forward a 'few' years later - well ok, maybe not really a few.. more like fifteen.. - guess what? I'm still gossiping. Or rather, looking forward to gossip.

Here's how gossip surrounds my life: I get up and go to work in the morning, and I arrive at work at 08.30 (if my HR is reading this, then yes, I get there at 08.30. If she's not reading this, then actually, I arrive at 09.00. Sometimes 09.15. Oh all right, fine, I admit it - sometimes it's 09.30!) and before I start turning on my computer and checking my emails for oh-so-important emails from people, I sit back in my chair with my mug of coffee and wait for exactly 2 minutes. 2 minutes later, on the dot, my two colleagues come up to me with gossip for the day. "Did you hear what happened to 'K' from accounting? Her boyfriend totally dumped her for a model!" or "OMG, 'L' just had a fight with 'C' and cried in the ladies room for two hours!" -- you get the picture, right?

Then, throughout the day, I'd receive numerous phone calls, asking about certain work related things, but then ending up with at least one or two more gossip topics. By the end of the day when I am ready to go home but not quite eager to get stuck in traffic, I open up to check out the latest celeb gossip. Oh, and I'm signed up for the newsletters too.

On weekends, my husband and I love going to bookstores, where the kids would get 1 book each that they like, he'd get some magazines and books, and I would grab the latest People magazine along with some fiction novels (because I can't be bothered reading books that don't have conversations in them).

And it's not just me! Every single time I am at the bookstore, I hover around the magazine rack along with hundreds of other women, all practically pushing and shoving trying to grab hold of OK or Life & Style or Star or whatever gossip magazine is available. And believe me, the ones that sell the most are the one with headlines like, "Co-star Love Triangle" or "She left him" or "She Kicked Him Out". It's always the relationship gossips that sell best.

What is our fascination with gossip? Why is there always that need to know someone else's business and then re-tell it to someone else? Why is it that we enjoy it so much that we dedicate valueable time in our lives that we can never get back, just to talk about things that might not even be true? Even when you know for sure it's not true, there is this urge to read or talk about it anyway!

Maybe it's because some of us live mundane and uneventful lives. We live monotonously and so we feel the need to live vicarously through others. Maybe it's because it's the only way we can talk to other people constantly. Like, if we didn't have gossip, our conversations over lunch or dinner with friends would probably only be enough to last us through appetizers. What else would we talk about during the main course? Or maybe, just maybe, it's because we actually care about the people we are talking about. Maybe. Highly unlikely, but well, maybe.

For those of you that feel bad for constantly being obsessed with gossip, fear not, you are not alone. There is a whole bunch of people out there (and here, e.g. yours truly) that cannot for the life of them, live with out gossip. I, for one, have already made it a point to tell my mother that if she is expecting me to stop gossiping (or hearing it, or looking for it) - it's never going to happen in this lifetime. It's just part of who I am.

I do constantly wonder why I do it though. Honestly. Don't you?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Copy Cat

I was at dinner with a few friends, and in the course of our conversation, I noticed that one of my friends was carrying a new handbag. A new ridiculously and over the top expensive handbag. I kicked one of my other friends (can we call her A? If I use her real name, she could totally beat the crap out of me) and rolled my eyes towards the bag - a code for her to follow. She followed my directions and gasped at the bag: one she had wanted for weeks but simply could not bring her heart to go out and buy on account of the recession and all. It didn't seem like wise spending (or something like that).

The other girls began to notice, so we then went into our usual "oh I just looovvveee your bag!" and "ohmigod your bag would look so great with that red dress you have!" talk, you know, how we girls always talk, and in the stereotype borderline shrieking manner too.

The owner of the new flashy handbag, let's call her C (so she doesn't kill me - which she would if I revealed her real name), blushed a bit at the hysteria surrounding her bag, and quickly justified that her husband had bought it for her for their anniversary the week before. Funny, we had dinner in April. Her anniversary is in June. But anyway... if that was her story, then that was her story - I kept my mouth shut.

A few days later, I met one of the girls again (let's call her B) by chance at a mall while I was shopping for some shoes for my son (actually, that was my excuse to my husband. I actually went shoes shopping for me). B, evidently had done some shopping herself because to my complete and utter shock, she was carrying the exact same bag C had...! I knew it was brand new because that night during dinner, B basically said that she would kill to have the same bag, and spent the entire night staring at the stupid bag while the rest of us were busy discussing how Kris Allen from American Idol was better at the song choice and arrangements but Danny Gokey was better vocally.

Anyway, I thought to myself, OK, so she liked the bag and bought it too. Whatever. So I moved on and went back to my shopping. About ten minutes later, my Blackberry started Ping-ing, and I had gotten a BBM (Blackberry Message) from D - this friend of mine who lives in Singapore. Her message was this: OMG! Remember that girl I was telling u abt that keeps copying d way I dress & buying d same stuff I do? She came 2 d office 2day wearing the exact same dress I wore ysterday!!

I am rarely speechless. As you can see from various posts, I seem to have an opinion about everything - be it important or extremely lame and not even worth mentioning. And after reading the BBM I got, I was speechless. For exactly 7 minutes.

The familiarity of what she said, and what I had seen earlier with B reminded me of a friend I used to have who would copy everything I wore too. If I came in with a new bag on Monday, she'd wear one on Tuesday. If I had new shoes on Friday, you'd better believe she'd be in the office on Monday bright and early sporting the exact same ones.

It was (and is) simply mind-boggling. Why do these people feel the need to copy others? What exactly was wrong with just being themselves? Having taste of their own? Having their own flare, style and preference? And I'm not talking about things like us normal people copying what celebs wear in the magazines and stuff, I am referring to these total copy cats who follow you obsessively, nearly being 'Single White Female' material!

Sure, sure, we should probably be somewhat proud that we are apparently setting trends of some sort. But really, how is anyone supposed to be original, authentic, and strikingly different anymore if in two seconds, you have copy cats following your exact wardrobe?

A Twitter friend once tweeted that people should be happy with who they are and stop trying to be someone else. He too, like me, questioned what was wrong with just being yourself? Seriously, why can't we all just be who we really are?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Easy job? Yeah, right.

(Warning: This message is probably more suitable for high school and college kids. If you're older, you can still read and add comments where you feel necessary. If you're older but are in denial, well, who am I to judge, read on!! Haha)

Last Wednesday, this intern started working at our office.
He came into my office, all shy and seemingly innocent. He wore what was probably his nicest shirt, cotton pants and formal shoes, and shook my hand with a smile. His smile was sincere, I could tell.

After our brief shaking of hands, I led him to the room where three of my staff worked, introduced him as the new intern, and left him in their care. I laughed a bit as I walked away, thinking about that poor kid who had no idea what he was getting into. But if he was anything like me, he would walk away at the end of his internship with his head held high, knowing he was ready to face anything.

I went back and forth to that room to monitor how he was doing, and I couldn't help but feel reminiscent of my own early working days. Geez, that was a heck of a long time ago!

I started working when I was 19, almost 20. I actually celebrated my 20th birthday on the job. Why did I start so early? Easy answer, I dropped out of college. Was it a choice? Definitely not. I just couldn't afford it anymore, and couldn't get student loans. Sad right? Yeah, tell me about it. But before you go all teary eyed and feel sorry that I don't have a Bachelor degree like everyone else (well, maybe not everyone) - don't be. I am happy I started working early. By the time my friends had finished college and just started working, I was already a Manager. So woo-hoo for me! Seriously, no regrets - everything worked out for the best. And this doesn't in any way mean that it's OK to quit college halfway. If you can get your degree, then gosh darn it, go get it! Stay in school!!

Anyway, back to my rambling, I started my first job thinking it would be easy. I thought it would be like the summer jobs I used to have, you know, a temp reception kind of job where I'd answer telephones, get people coffee, copy some stuff, fax some stuff, type some stuff. I mean, with no experience and no degree, I always thought that that would be how I started off. Stress free, happy go lucky, a smile on my face every day.

Nope, that's not how I started. I was assigned to something else entirely: telemarketing sales. Oh God, it was an awful job. No offense to anyone who does it, but I really, really, really hated it. I hated that I had to wear a headset all day long that would automatically dial a new number as soon as I hung up on the previous call (without so much as a single minute's break!), I hated that I could hear myself breath through the mouth piece on the stupid headset, I hated that I was calling people and interrupting them, I hated when they were rude to me on the phone, I hated when they would hang up on me without even letting me speak first, I hated that some guys actually tried to hit on me over the phone, and I certainly hated that even though I made a sale, it didn't make me hate the job any less. Did I mention I hated the job?

At times, I would get so stressed over going to work that I would get heartburn and end up feeling sick and barfing the whole day. No joke!

But you know, after a few weeks, I managed to get a grip and suck it up. Thanks to Mom dearest who kept reminding me that I needed the experience, the network, because I might have good use for all of it one day. She told me that everyone has to start from something crappy, in order to be able to have a deeper appreciation for other things, that other things will seem much more rewarding.

In the end, I stayed at that job for nearly two years, got promoted twice (that means 2x the salary too) and transferred to a much more interest job in the marketing and communications department and that job was basically how I got introduced to the job I have now (which I have had for the last NINE years). Rewarding? Yup, I think so. Was it easy to come by? Not at all.

At the end of the day, this is what I think: every first job will be basically pretty crappy - but if you work hard, pay your dues, and try to learn everything there is about that job, eventually it will equip you to be ready for something bigger and better that's patiently waiting around the corner for you. It's never going to be easy, and don't ever let your young, naive, innocent college brains think it will be. Trust me, it's going to be hard. But it's going to be worth it, more than you could possibly imagine.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I met a friend of mine a few days ago, someone who I hadn't seen in a while. We exchanged a quick conversation, then went our separate ways, with her saying 'I'll call you! We'll have lunch on Tuesday!' just before she hopped into her fancy black car.

Tuesday passed... she never called.
And while I sat pondering why, I realized that when I saw her in October of last year, she said the same thing, and that led me to remember how we met before that and she also said the same thing! It got me wondering, if she didn't really mean it, why did she keep saying it?

The more I asked around, the more I realized that this happens to everyone! Guys tell girls they'll call after a first date all the time, and never so much as look at the phone afterward - I hear of this the most. My husband said he has a friend who does that to him too, says he'll call but never does, and I just can't help but wonder why? What happened to the good old days when teachers and parents used to remind us to not say something that's not true? Or when our folks used to remind us that a promise is a promise, and we needed to keep them?

Look, it's not as if the world crumbles if they don't call - of course not. We keep it in the back of our mind and life goes on, sure. But I just don't get why people would waste their time and energy just to say something like they'll call when they have no intention of doing so? Is saying something now just a combination of a bunch of words that just happen to form sentences? Have words lost their power and respect from people? Do words mean nothing anymore?

Well, they should. Seriously.
Words should be said and meant. They were created for a reason: to be used and honored - not just to fill in a few minutes of awkward silence and be disregarded. Words have power. They can make someone fall or rise, they can make the world change for the better or for the worse. So why aren't we using our words wisely?

Monday, April 13, 2009

To be or not to be...skinny...

I have never been one to be faithful to sport, exercise or any kind of movement whatsoever. Well, besides running around after my kids, but I don't think that counts. Or does it? Oh, and let's not forget walking around shopping centers in super high heels. Yep, that should definitely count as exercise. Anyway, in order to get rid of the 10 or so pounds left of flab I still had on my body post maternity (second baby, Mikaela Natascha born Feb 08), I joined a fitness club near my office so I could go and work out before going to work. At that point in time, I had a new found respect for waking up at 5am to rush to the gym and have a full two hour work out before work. Awesome, right? Are you feeling the urge to applaud? OK, now, hands down please. It only lasted three months... :) *cheeks blushing in embarrassment*

Anyway, from day one of starting the whole gym thing, I noticed one thing. More women were members of this gym than men. I had this idea in my head that men would dominate the fitness world, with them hovering over the bench lifting weights and trying to have six packs or eight packs or chocolate bar abs, or whatever they call it now. Oddly enough however, I only found 4 men working out that morning, while 19 women (excluding me) were buzzing around the gym. And if you think they were sitting together gossiping or chit chatting, you are so wrong. None of them even spoke a word to each other, and were dead seriously working out. Except for me, naturally, I was too busy observing.

From day two onwards to day 45, I still saw the same women every single time. What amazed me was, I only worked out twice a week - and that was already enough to cause aches and pains all over my obviously untrained body - but these women worked out every day, seven days a week! Not a single day off unless truly sick, the kind of sick that would keep them strapped to their beds. I couldn’t understand this for the life of me.
Curiously, I started asking them while in the locker room after the sauna and showers. Woman A said, “I have to, if I don’t work out, my legs start getting all flabby and my husband gets completely turned off!” while woman B said, “I didn’t used to work out every day, but my wedding day is in 67 days so I have to make sure I fit into my dress properly. I purposely made it 2 sizes smaller”. Ok then!

Woman C had a completely different reason, “ I have a health condition, so I have to make sure I exercise at least 45 minutes a day, but light exercise” similar to woman D who was only walking on the treadmill everyday for 35 minutes because that is what she did at physical therapy anyway, and felt it was cheaper to join a gym. But woman E through to woman S all had one thing in common with woman A and B: they felt the need to be slim.

Why is it such a prerequisite these days that in order to be looked at, to be liked, to be attracted to and to feel good about yourself, there is a need to look into the mirror and be able to recognize and say, “I am slim” or even some to the extreme of “I am skinny”? Who says you look better when you're slim?

OK, maybe it's because I am not exactly skinny either that I feel so strongly about this. But I never understood it - and believe me, I am one of those people who insists that I need to be slim. That's why my recent posts on Twitter and Facebook have been all about the guilt in eating what I want in the portion that I want , and the guilt is has grown more and more ridiculous by the day.

I recently posted a question, asking if it was better to eat less and feel hungry and pissed all day, or to eat more and feel guilty all day. Almost everyone answered "eat more" seemingly to say that they didn't care about looks and simply wanted to be happy, but I know for a fact that those people who answered also look into their mirrors every single day and wished they were model-like skinny.

In Sunday School, we were taught to love ourselves no matter who we were, in whatever shape, size, color we came in, because we were created unique and special - yet we hate being different anyway. Our parents have taught us that beauty lies in the inside, i.e brains, heart, passion, love and not looks - yet everyday we fear going to school because the skinny and popular girls at school would pick on us for being a bit heavy. Articles in magazines and newspapers talk about real women, real curves, being proud of your body - yet we turn to the other page, see a model in a bikini and feel bad about ourselves. Celebrities have blogged about loving their so-called cellulite and curves, and say it's OK to be size 2, 4, 6, 8 - whatever. But then they too, turn around and go the skinny route, flashing their bones on the red carpet.

Folks, I have a dream. I dream that one day, we'll all be truly happy with who we are. I dream that the world would not judge us for being larger than a size 0, and that people would really see past everything physical and love us for who we are inside. I dream that we can all accept and just be grateful of what we look like... Flesh, fat, cellulite and all, and happily eating carbs even though we know our jeans size may go up afterwards - because the size won't matter.
Who's with me?!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Parent Pressure

I spent about an hour and a half on the phone with a friend recently. It was one of many conversations we've had in the past few years that we've been friends, and every time, our conversations boiled down to the same thing: we were complaining about our parents.

This time, the story was: her Dad sent a text giving his 'opinion'. Then, Mom sent a text asking if a decision had been made, and of course, then slipping in a line or two about what she thought needed to be done. Then Dad. Then Mom. Then Dad. Then Mom. Then Dad. Then she just got tired and turned off her phone for a few hours... ;) - which all sounded freakishly familiar.

During my entire childhood and teenage years, I heard people (mostly my parents) talk about peer pressure, how not to succumb to the influences of our peers: to be who I wanted to be, do what I wanted to do, not to give in just because our peers tell us we would be uncool not to follow them.

As a grown up now, I have one question: why didn't anyone warn us about parent pressure?

Parents - or rather mine and my friend's - can be just as bad as peers. In fact, I think to some degree they are worse. Not only do they try and influence the decisions we make involving our marriage, how to raise our kids, what to feed our family at the dinner table and which insurance company to use, but they actually try and guilt us in the process!

The classic line I hear all the time is "we're not getting any younger" and "who knows how many years I have left" - all the while, they are still healthy as a horse and take handfuls of vitamins daily. Goodness gracious! They use these kind of lines and I am the one they call a drama queen?

The worst part of parent pressure is that as a wife, I sometimes have to be in the middle between what they think, what they want me to do, and what my husband wants me to do - and believe me, they couldn't be more different! My parents want this, my husband wants that, and no one seems to care even a tiny bit about what I want. It doesn't matter, evidently.

So, what's a girl to do? Me, well I just close my eyes and ears, and just do what I want. What I think is right. Same goes for my friend, who has chosen to unplug her land line and turn off her cell phone for the past few hours, and has been talking to me on Yahoo Messenger instead.

One way or another, parents are just going to have to face the facts: we're all grown up now. Yes, we appreciate inputs, suggestions and feedback, but NO, we don't have to agree with everything you say. You may have our best interest at heart, but we have to be able to make our own decisions otherwise we'll never be who we really are. If you think adolescent peer pressure is so bad, well then, parent pressure ranks high up in the list too.

C'mon, guys, let us grow up. We can't be your little kids forever.

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's an odd world we live in...

I was minding my own business - I swear - and all of a sudden, I notice a very (very) pretty girl falls. Or pretends to fall - I'm not sure. Well, actually, I'm pretty sure it was 'pretend to fall' because it was just the classic move I would have done back in the day when I was carefree and single.

So she 'falls' right in front of a group of guys: 3 incredibly handsome jock types, and 1 geeky looking dude with glasses, spiked hair and enough product in his hair to last normal people a lifetime.

When she fell, the ONLY person who reacted was the geeky looking guy. He was wearing this 'way too big' t-shirt with oddly shaped jeans, that did not do him any good at all. In reflex, he grabbed the girl by the arm, thus preventing her from falling flat on her ass.

When this happened, I thought to myself, 'whoa, great reflexes!', and then I thought, the girl is going to thank the guy and be forever grateful. Or something that normally happens in movies: a quick peck on the cheek in gratitude - which would make the geek blush, drop his head down and then his friends would start to whistle and woo, and start punching him in the arm saying things like 'way to go, tiger' or something. (note to self: stop watching cheesy movies.)

Was that what happened, you ask? Absolutely not!
Instead, pretty girl got up, looked furious, and pulled geek boy aside. She - in a high pitched voice - said something like 'how dare you touch me!' and quite possibly said something along the line of 'you weren't supposed to save me!' I didn't hear it word for word, but it seemed like that was what she said.

Geek boy, terrified and starting to perspire, apologized to her roughly twenty times or so, and looked like he was going to start hyperventilating. His friends, who were not more that a foot away from them, stood there, laughing at him.

I couldn't help but shake my head as I saw all of this. Three things were extremely, extremely wrong in this whole scenario.

One: what the heck was pretty girl screaming at this guy for?! He helped her! He grabbed her just in time so she wouldn't hurt her pretty little bum! Shouldn't she have been grateful at the heroic act? Just because he was geeky looking and wasn't one of the cute jocks she apparently had been eyeing on, does that mean geek boy doesn't deserve gratitude? What, he isn't good enough to save her?

Two: geek boy apologized? For what?! Why on earth was he saying sorry for doing a good thing? Was he apologizing for not being the guy she wanted him to be? It wouldn't have been a problem if he was saying 'sorry I saved you' - as in regretting ever laying a hand on her. But saying sorry because he wasn't supposed to save her? What the heck was that? Low self esteem?

Three: his friends stood there laughing. No one came up to save him! It was actually a bit sick how they enjoyed watching him being tortured by pretty girl.

I'm confused. What is wrong with society? Is everyone so twisted these days that everyone has a classification now: geek boy, pretty girl, jock, and so they don't mix together? Is self esteem so low these days that people have to apologize for being who they are instead of being proud or content with their personality? Are people so shallow these days that just because someone doesn't look as good as others, they automatically get crossed off the list as human beings?

I'll tell you another sick thing about this whole story: I can't think of any other way to describe geek boy, pretty girl and jock!

This society needs help. Desperately. What will become of us if we keep doing this?

Sunday, April 5, 2009


So - I was up to chapter 7 of a new novel I was working on. I was excited about it and had tons of pages in my head ready to be poured out onto my trusted computer. I had stacks of little post-its that I used to jot down ideas before I forgot them. I mean, come on, let's be real here, my memory hasn't been all that trustworthy lately. I was really in to it, you know, worked up and totally stoked to be writing another novel.

And then... it came. Rejection letter number 3 for the first novel I wrote and sent out.

I know I have written about rejection before, and people may already be sick of this. But now, it's not just about dealing with the rejection. Now it's also about what happens after that.

Getting rejected is hard. To quote Seinfeld - yada yada yada. I'm not even going to go through how I feel about getting rejected again. What I'm dealing with now is basically trauma.

See, the thing is, I have now completely stopped writing the 2nd novel, for fear that it will just get rejected again, and that there would be absolutely no bloody point in finishing it! In my head, I hear those 'voices' tell me that I would be wasting my time finishing it, so I just sort of shut it off. Completely off. I can't even think of anything to write about if I had a gun pointed to my head now! How terrible is that?

Everything boils down to one thing. FEAR. It ain't pretty, people.
It keeps you from doing the things you want to do. It keeps you from going out on a limb, giving it your all, and just doing it. It keeps you heart guarded - I'll give it that - but is that really the way to live?

My husband kept feeding me with stories on how JKF Jr failed the Bar exam like a million times before finally passing, and how someone he knew applied to his desired college like five times before finally getting accepted. I registered everything in my head, but FEAR spoke louder than logic. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of getting my ego crushed all over again.

Should I keep trying? Can I keep trying?

No idea. All I know is, I have to get rid of this fear otherwise it will rule my life. As much as I want to save myself from humiliation, I would also like to succeed. And how would I succeed if I don't try?

Am I even making any sense here?

Holy crap. I think I need help.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Routines... Comfort Zones... Boredom...

So here's the thing.

Sometimes in life, things can get a little bland. You know, you wake up in the morning and say hi to your kids, you take a shower, put on your clothes and make up, get stuck in traffic on the way to work, have your morning coffee and start dealing with crap at work. Before you know it it's lunch time and you go out for an hour and come back and also deal with crap. Then everyone leaves the office and you're the only one left still typing away, and you pack up and go home too - only to find yourself stuck in traffic (again!) and extremely exhausted. You get home and all you want to do is have ten minutes to yourself so you can just have some quiet time and forget everything. But then when you get home and see your kids, you realize that you missed them like crazy and forget all about the "me" time you wanted to have. One, two, three hundred days go by, you age another year and you suddenly find yourself asking this question: what the heck have I done all year?

No, it's not my birthday and I'm not having a midlife crisis or anything. I'm just in that mode, you know, when you're thinking, wow - time has passed by so quickly, what have I achieved?

My daughter, who was born last year in February is approaching her 1st birthday already. She has 5 (and a half) teeth, has started nearly running, can say "Mama", "Papa", "Barney" (yeah, the purple ugly dinosaur) and can pick up the phone and say "Hello". I look at her, completely amazed, and I'm thinking to myself, "Didn't I just have the painful c-section like a month ago??" Hell, I still have all the baby fat on me, and she's already turning one!

Matthew - my eldest, is one year shy of primary school. PRIMARY school, people! No longer is he going to be a toddler running around in diapers and just playing around at "so-called schools" that teach him to color and write his name. He's going to be in a serious "big-boys" school, and will pretty soon out-smart us all! Well, he'll definitely out-smart me, because this kids seems to be good in numbers, and we all know how much I suck at numbers!

Here's my theory about all of this: we get sucked into routines. Everyday just becomes a habit, and we sort of just go through the motions without really thinking or enjoying things anymore. We just... do them. No questions asked, just do it. And when we get attached to this full of routines lifestyle, we create a comfort zone for ourselves. We never want to get out of it because it's just much, much easier to follow the way things are "normally" and "usually" done. Every little thing that seems out of the ordinary becomes the "unknown" which then creates a sense of fear. Every now and again, that "experimental" part of us wakes up and says to us, "OMG, I'm doing this again?!" - and all of a sudden, we get bored of what we've been doing, think that our life is soooo insanely boring, so we get all gloomy and miserable, then we update our Facebook status saying "feeling lousy..." (oh wait, maybe that's just me!).

But when an exciting opportunity arises, we go back to that stupid "fear" and the circle of routines comes back again, and we're back to square one. I don't know about you, but I'm getting sick of this.

I think it's time to step up and live a little. Forget routines once in awhile and just allow yourself one freakin' day to let lose and do something out of the ordinary. A song I heard had some interesting lyrics that I thought were inspiring:

One more year has come and gone

But nothing has changed at all

Wasn't I supposed to be someone

Who could face the things that I've been running from

Let me feel, I don't care if I break down

Let me fall, even if I hit the ground

Let me cry a little, die a little

At least I'll know I've lived

Just a little

Why are we so scared of doing things out of our routine? Why are we so afraid that we might fall and bruise if we even attempt to go crazy and live a little once in awhile? Who knows how long we have to live. Who knows if the opportunity to do something exciting for a change will ever come again. No one really knows. So then, why not once in awhile, take the leap and just do it? Close one eye, make the jump, no questions ask, just do it. You only live once, right?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Movie Night - Australia

Just went to see Australia with one of my best friends, and can I tell you? Even though all the reviews were bad, I actually enjoyed it. Huh. Go figure.

It was refreshing to see Hugh Jackman looking like a man instead of some weird beast-type person (X-Men). The fact that he showed off buff and an insane six pack was pretty much a bonus... Let's not even go to the acting, his emotions got so real, especially during the part where he goes to the Bar (spoiler alert....) and demands for his Aboriginal buddy to be let in and given a drink. The tears, oh! (Well, mostly his, not mine)

Nicole was unfortunaly just 'eh' - as in acceptable but not Oscar worthy.

It was a bit long, I'll admit, and all through the movie my arm was just itching to slap the up-to-no-good jerk, Neil Fletcher. I'm imagining that whenever the actor steps out of his house in Australia (or wherever he lives), he'll be getting slaps all around from people. I'd probably be one of them. But that just proves the actor was brilliant in the portrayal, right?
Oh, and that kid Nullah - totally cute.

Oscar buzz? Nah, I don't think so. But if you have two hours to kill, try it out... ;)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year - New Dreams

Happy New Year, everyone!!
I know, I'm a little bit late - like three days late. But who cares? We are all owners of our own time, if I want to be late with this, who are you to judge? Besides, everyone is still in the holiday spirit anyway, no one wants to be going back to work on Monday... dread... dread...

So, the norm is to have resolutions every year right? I never really understood the point of that, since no one really manages to accomplish any of them. Like the people who always say they want to quit smoking, and do, for like five days (so you have two more days to go now!!) and go right back to killing themselves (ouch - I still occasionally do it, damn. Note to self, STOP IT!). Or like the people (i.e. ME) who always start the new year saying that they'll exercise more and lose unwanted weight. Yeah, right. Who are we kidding?

But anyway, in light of tradition - to honor what has always been done, I actually do have a few resolutions... Or maybe, to be more accurate, these are GOALS and DREAMS instead of resolutions... and trust me, if they materialize, well, I promise I'll never laugh at another resolution again for as long as I live...

1. Lose some damn weight! Like 20 pounds if possible, even though I'd probably be wafer thin after that. Screw it, we all dream to look like Heidi Klum even if we don't admit it.
2. Finish my novel and get it freakin' published. Enough already with the rejections. I've had it! I am determined to make it - no matter what.
3. Audition for New Moon or Eclipse? Haha! I'm laughing my ass off just thinking of it. Scratch that, the resolution is actually for me to be a part of something BIG in the world. Something people talk about (in a good way), so when I google myself, I don't just find my own blog and my own stupid comments on Facebook and Myspace. Like maybe there'll be articles about me in places like Time Magazine or People Magazine, or whatever (do you notice my standards dropped there, from Time to People??!?! Wtf?!)
4. Travel the rest of the world... I still haven't been to Spain, UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Mexico, Korea, New Zealand........ I want to see those places....!

OK... enough...
Not that I don't have more in my mind, but too many would just wear to thin and I wouldn't be able to focus.

So, let's see how this year goes... and maybe, just maybe, the next blog I do in January 2010, I can proudly say I accomplished them. Or not. Whatever.

Oh, oh, and songs for this week are:
1. Leave Out All The Rest - Linkin Park
2. No Greater Love - Rachel Lampa
3. How Can I Not Love You - Joy Enriques
4. Home - Michael Buble
5. Always Be My Baby - David Cook
6. Over You - Daughtry
7. Decode - Paramore
8. Never Think (Too Far Gone) - Sam Bradley's version... which is MUCH better than the one on the movie soundtrack. Ugh. You know, the one the actor sings - that Rob guy. Seriously, the dude looks pretty alright, and his acting is totally thumbs up worthy, but OH Please, don't make him sing! My ears... I still need them for hearing...

That's a wrap for now...