30 Things

1. I need to have a clean and neatly tucked bed sheet before I sleep. Otherwise, I refuse to sleep. I can sleep with all the dust and clutter inside my room, provided I have the cleanest white or light coloured bed sheet. 

2. I refuse to wear heels. No negotiations, I live a flat life.

3. I’m not a huge fan of chocolates. While everyone considered chocolates as comfort food, mine is having excessive salt and carbohydrates intake. By that, I demand a pan of paella, pizza or a bag of potato chips.

4. I don’t like my pen be borrowed and used by some random stranger. One of my greatest pet peeves is a fellow airline passenger bugging me for my pen to fill out the immigration form. Worst, I hate it when people don’t know how to return borrowed things.

5.  I hate it the most when a fellow female gives me a stare from head to foot.

6. I can detect a plagiarised work from my students. I can give an A+ to a grammatically problematic paper given the originality and hardwork.

7. I used to rant in my Facebook account. That was when Friendster was more famous and I only have 5 contacts in Facebook.  I regretted and vowed to never do it again. Whenever I encounter a contact ranting through a status message, I feel either annoyed or entertained. 🙂 While I don’t rant in Facebook, I transferred my sentiments here. Heehee

8. This blog is concealed from my colleagues and family. Although some friends are starting to discover this. I’m afraid of losing my freedom of speech.

9. I graduated from giving crappy gifts. Whenever I purchase a gift, I make sure that my friend will like it. Unfortunately, people around me including some friends never get tired of giving me gifts they know… I will not like.

10. Paying my credit cards make it as one of my greatest struggles. I can’t wait for the day when I can finally free myself with all the pending bills.

11. I easily cry.

12. I used to give my friends this special birthday card signed by their crush. I would make all means to make it happen. When my birthday arrived, I wasn’t expecting my friends to return the favour. I’m fine. Unfortunately, I got offended by a friend who told me to prepare my own birthday card.

13. Some of my friends are “user friendly.” They only remember me when they need me.

14. I got tired of organising Xmas reunions. I was once offended and vowed to never embrace the role again. A friend tried to fill in my shoes. As expected, she failed and my revengeful self was happy.

15. I’m becoming nocturnal doing my freelance works and teaching tasks during the holiday break. For some reason, I find my working pace when everyone is asleep and the entire environment is in silence.

16. In my opinion, parenthood changes but does not guarantee maturity at the workplace. I have seen colleagues who entered parenthood with their value system and professionalism left elsewhere.

17. I hate to be associated with powerful people at the workplace. It has its own perks but the consequences are more dragging.

18. I can proudly claim that everything I have is a product of my own hardwork. I never engaged in any illegal endeavour to achieve something. I made stupid mistakes such as overspending with my credit cards. But I’m cleaning up all the mess I made without the help and salvation of my parents.

19. I have no problems with being single. I’m fine except when everyone in the family is silently conniving to make me feel ugly.

20. I fear growing old and dying alone. This is intensified by the fact that I have ageing parents and a special brother to take care.

21. I wanted to write a book. As much as possible, away from my life in the academe. I don’t see myself writing textbooks and workbooks.

22. I still don’t know how to wear lipsticks. Everything ends up on my teeth.

23.  I don’t feel proud whenever I receive anything due to privilege, special favour and influence. I hate it when people brag about their government issued documents without having the need to wake up early and deal with the flock of fellow applicants.

24. I’m losing the interest to work. This is another battle I’m facing.  While I’m being challenged, I know I shouldn’t give up for my family and sanity.

25. I will never join a feast unless I’m personally invited. I’m extending this hard headedness even when there is food left at the office’s conference table. I will never touch anything that is not mine.

26. I grew up way different from my parents. Despite living with them until today, we have a lot of contradicting ideals and values. Much to their surprise, they raised a kid opposite of what they are expecting from their parenting principles.

27. I love freelancing and online writing. I don’t have to deal with nasty colleagues. I can do things on my own terms. Unfortunately, this type of work makes me more anti-social.

28. I feel insulted when clients are making all means to lower my professional fee. I’m selling personalised service and not some mass produced retail good.

29. If I get rich, I will sponsor scholarships and not a basketball team. While I love watching the ball game, working for a school made me realise the deprivation of academic scholars. I feel for these kids who are silently bringing glory to the school. I will make my scholarship terms less rigid though. You don’t have to be the top student in class to deserve my assistance.

30. I work for a school and I can easily enrol for doctorate studies for a minimal fee. Unfortunately, I lost interest in further studies. When I got immersed with the culture and system outside the academe, I realised that an additional academic degree is almost useless. As I see it, experience and exposure matter more these days.

That Facebook Page

I cannot remember the exact time when Facebook Pages was launched. My earliest recollection was when famous showbiz personalities started creating their own fan pages. The page enables fans or likers to receive updates and gain drops of access to the everyday lives of these people. Over time, businesses also started to take advantage of this feature. Likers are updated on product arrivals, store openings and promotional offers. The power of Facebook pages further evolved when informal organizations or groups started pages whose function exceeded what these famous personalities and businesses can offer. Eventually, there are hate pages for people and companies, tribute pages, gossip pages and so much more I couldn’t even imagine.

The company or the school where I’m working recognised the need to join this social media bandwagon. The school’s Communication Office maintains an official page whose main function is to showcase accomplishments, achievements and important announcements. As an employee, I felt obliged to “like” and become aware of the activities made in our official page.

As my number of “friends” or contacts increased, I later discovered unofficial Facebook pages that carry the name of our school. Among those I discovered was this page that carried the most number of fans or likers. Out of  sheer curiosity, I joined the group. I was expecting the unexpected. True enough,  the page led me to unearth cans of worms. Most information posted are gossips, hearsay and negative things about the school. Some are half-true, too good to be true, exaggeratedly true and only a few are hidden truths.

I don’t have means to track the moderator of the page. Though to be honest, I don’t see the point of knowing the perpetuator. If the management will discover, what for? The negative things have been said and documented. Punishing the criminal will not erase the crime. My firm opinion on this kind of issue remains the same. Suppressing the air that spreads the smoke is never the solution. Eliminate the fire that emits the smoke.

On the few months I’ve joined the group some common issues discussed evolve on the following, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL and BASKETBALL!

Our school is a member of this famous collegiate league. We lost the chance to take home the championship title for two consecutive years.  Hours and days after the last game, everyone seem to have a brilliant explanation over everything. blah blah blah Heck, everyone suddenly becomes a seasoned basketball analyst.

While I have nothing against the overflow of stupid and useless thoughts (freedom of expression that is), I believe that everything has its own limitation. Most members are of legal age. Let’s not anymore debate the kind of relationship that exists between age and maturity.

One post I will never forget was when the entire coaching staff of the Basketball team posted their gratitude and appreciation for all the supportive fans.  In my mind, they should have coursed their words to the official Facebook page of the school. Better yet, they should have waited for an institutional event and requested seconds for their most awaited gratitude speech. I couldn’t blame them because the official Facebook page of the school is dormant anyway. In addition, the page unites both alumni and students. There’s more following and reach observed in the famous and unofficial Facebook page. I guess this is another example of how the “unofficial” takes over the role of the “official.” Oh well, let’s reserve this issue in another blog post.

This Facebook page usually becomes active during the heat of the basketball season. Months after, the page turns like a room of dust and old cobwebs 🙂  As a result, my curiosity hormones are deprived with its own supply of juicy facts or not.

I thought I was maintaining my usual inactive and boring Facebook account. Everything changed when I saw a significant number of my former students liking this controversial Facebook page. It perked my interest.  I ended up becoming another silent stalker of the page.  What I perceived as another unofficial page changed when I discovered the overflowing posts everyday.

Unlike the other pages I encountered, this account possesses a point of uniqueness. Only the page administrator can create posts in behalf of all the fans. However, there’s a twist behind the posts made. All information should be submitted by fans through Google documents. Why consider an external source in collecting information? This is to facilitate the element of anonymity. We all know how the absence of identity can change the rules and outcome of the game. Anonymity removes inhibitions and grants that barrels of bravery to anyone. I believe this is the main contributor to the popularity or call that success of the page. The juiciest untold stories are unearthed with anonymity. Everyone is given an endless feast of gossips keeping the messenger safe and protected.

Whether the stories and experiences posted are true, most are tainting the reputation and image of the school. As much as I want to feel sad for the school, I’m more concerned on how some colleagues are addressing the issues shared on the page. Some of my colleagues are counterattacking the accusations by rendering comments. Seriously? This is not the mature and professional way to treat accusations made by kiddies. If they see the page as an immature attempt made by college kiddies, why waste time fueling a non-sense online debate?

If I may use the Filipino-gay lingo, why make patola over a very childish destabilizing attempt?

Of the many comments made by a few colleagues, I can never forget this colleague who challenged the college kids to transfer school. He told the kid to leave school if he is unsatisfied with the kind of services rendered.

Oh Dear God! This is a testament that feeding my fellow employees with countless customer service seminars does not actually breed customer service. Oh well, I personally think that you don’t need advanced degrees to understand the right and wrong in Customer Service 101.

All the while, I thought that this would be the last stupid and lame behavior from a colleague. Days after, I learned a colleague who vehemently reacted to a post directed at her. Her name was never mentioned but clues tend to point at her. And just like that, I was given a living case example that age, educational attainment, and parenthood do not in any way correlate with maturity and professionalism. In the end, she obviously appeared defensive and guilty. Worst of the worst, the lowest of the low, she threatened of filling legal charges. Libel, seriously? How can you file charges to a person hiding under a pseudo name? If her objective is to discipline the kid, I don’t see legal action as the right approach. The legal charge will simply threaten the kid.  It will not prevent the attacks made against the achool.

This rant post is getting longer. I’m afraid I’m becoming useless and annoying. Let me end by leaving three points

I was never against the page which they now tag as the freedom wall. In my line of work, we show appreciation for rants and complaints. We even treat complaint as a gift. Through complaints, we are able to discover areas of weaknesses straight from the client’s voice.

Hunting the page administrator is useless and a waste of time. Due process, Facebook terms and conditions and bureaucracy, how many years and legal fees do we have to incur to close the page? As I have said, nothing can be undone. Efforts, resources and time should rather be directed to discuss and address the  complaints.

Lastly, I have one request to my colleagues .. Please don’t make another patola.

When that time comes

I knew that this is bound to happen.  Despite the anticipation, I never prepared for it.  As always, I adhered to my immature and lazy principle of going with the flow and taking things as they come.

I’m officially the family’s breadwinner. It used to be that my Father and I jointly provided for the family. After some time, my Father’s income started to diminish. Back then, I can feel the gradual curtain call to my Father’s capability to earn. I know it will come. It’s just that the bulk of responsibility came too early.

Unlike other retired employees, my Father’s fate was different.  Other retirees expect drops of monthly pensions after years of employment. It may not be enough, but any additional money is always a much welcomed aid. In the case of my Father, he will have nothing because he was self-employed.

My Father owned and operated a school bus for more than 40 years. He safely brought to school the children of equally hardworking parents. I believe that my Father was way different from  all the rude and undisciplined drivers we often complain because he always have loyal and returning clients. Most of his passengers are children of previous passengers.  During Christmas, he would receive more gifts than any other school bus drivers. Some of his previous passengers would even take time to pay him a visit and hand him a little cash gift.  I’m proud to say that my Father is one of the few people who loved his job and provided that service from the heart.

The problem with my Father is that he neglected his own future. He loved me so much that he invested everything on me. Having a special brother, he knew that I was the only child who can finish school. He sent me to the best school, even though it would cause us some financial trouble.

And now, the future of my Father has finally come.  My Father is finally embracing retirement and it’s time for me to step on his shoes. Part of me wanted to cry because of fear. Part of me feels pathetic because of the burden that lies ahead. But to be honest, part of me silently cries because when my future comes, who will be in charge of me then?

White Rose

M doesn’t know me. We made a few useless encounters, but that was it.

I used to be in this situation several years ago. All my efforts ended up as a pile of futile attempts. It wasn’t meant to be. I learned my lesson in the most painful and humiliating way.

With the way things are going added to this my dwindling self esteem issues,  I will never have any chance with M.  At the end of the day, I have to satisfy myself with another series of useless encounters.

Feeling hopeless, I ended up with another pathetic move. Payday is still faraway and my wallet is screaming me empty. Against my own will, I withdrew money from my hard earned savings account.

The best thing that happened that day, there were no lines in all atm machines. As I make my way, I noticed a long stemmed white rose above the atm machine. Someone intentionally left it? Very unlikely. Someone who previously used the machine might have a lot of bags and other items in  her arms.  She decided to temporarily let go of the useless white rose which could hamper her more important transaction.

It should have been a simple item left by another person.

Obviously, my mind and heart are conniving to convince me that it wasn’t as useless as it is.

I finished my transaction and left everything as it is. On the way out of the building, I saw someone from the past.  She committed something that made me feel oppressed and stupid. She and the Company President made me feel that wealthy businessmen and some poorly educated employees are nothing but heartless individuals. They see pathetic and hardworking customers as mere milking cows.

Have I forgiven her and their company President who never had the balls to face me? It appeared that way when I left the charges.  The truth however is never. My vengeful heart is secretly hoping that their company will lose customers. I want them to be fed with their own bitter pill.

I always associate white rose with love and purity. In this case, what was the white rose trying to tell me?

Summer heat

Someone needs to relax and cool down ..

It was holiday here yesterday. While people say that holidays are best experienced on Mondays and Fridays, I still appreciate when they fall in the middle of the week. For some reason, it can break the monotonous schedule and my increasing level of laziness.

I should meet a friend yesterday who is about to get married. She informed me months before that I will be a part of her entourage. I will be one of her bridesmaids. For some females, it can draw that rare excitement. But for me? This is just another awkward moment or let us say, not one of my favorite things to do. I’m a proud member of the female populace. I love what other females love to do. But dressing up and forcing myself to prettify? Not really. For me, prettifying means having a new pair of comfy skinny jeans, button down blouse or any slimming top, flat shoes, a new Longchamp, well rested eyes, perfect self-made office make-up, and manegeable straight hair… that’s it! But to deal with heavy make-up from overused sponges and brushes, sorry not me. And I don’t want to blog my trauma with gay beauticians who ruined my face in those supposedly special ocassions of my life.

Call me shallow, selfish and b*tchy, I also hate those bridesmaid dresses. I hate wearing tube dresses, for heaven’s sake! Months ago, I told my friend of my demands. Since I’m the one who will wear the dress for hours, I requested to have my own design. So I guess, I have the right to demand what would make me feel comfortable. My other friend who got married months ago was so considerate and understanding to follow my amends.  (Thanks Ate Joy.) But this time, I’m up against someone who is equally hard-headed and b#tchy, like me. 

If I will be the bride and I had things my way, I’ll make everything easy. First, I wouldn’t have like three to four bridesmaids. I will stick to the Filipino tradition of having veil, chord, candle and maid of honor. I have a maid of honor so I guess I won’t be needing a bridesmaid. If I could even change everything, I wanted all wedding entourage similar to Prince William and Duchess Kate. One person to assist the bride, period! And as for the dress, I can stick to the plain white dress for the entourage.

Despite the situation that I’m forced to like, I should have been meeting my friend yesterday. I waited for hours for my dear friend. She never answered my text messages to which I felt insulted. I was getting impatient so I decided to call her. Much to my surprise, she doesn’t have clear plans of fetching me in our meeting place. The waiting time and the freelance work opportunity that I decided to let go. God, that hurts! It could have been another set of earnings to make my family happy, good news for my New Journey series and most important of all, another work and learning experience in my portfolio.

I don’t anymore want to detail the succeeding events that prevailed. Although I would like to say that I held on to remain as the dutiful friend.   

All I wanted to say now is that I’m totally pissed off.  I don’t need another rage of anger to intensify this dose of summer heat.

A New Journey

One of my closest friends at the workplace once showed me her budgeting tool. It was a Microsoft Excel file that itemized her expenditures and the expected earnings (take note) for the entire year. Whoa! My jaw literally dropped for a few seconds. As I explored her budgeting tool, I noticed that there are two sheets in the Excel file. The first sheet tallies her estimated income and expenditures. The second sheet contains her actual expenditures. It served as her monitoring tool. At some point, I felt that it was an exaggerated attempt. To record your daily expenditures and stress yourself in complying with your targets are way too much.

While I was on house arrest  for the week, I had the opportunity to watch an interview with the famous financial guru, Francisco Colayco. The interview was so brief and I know that he has more to share. How I wish the man would be given a regular TV show in a local channel. In that way, he could reach out to more hardworking Filipinos, who want nothing but financial independence.

While I was listening to Colayco’s advises, I realized that I can be one of his perfect example. Perfect case study for a lousy employee. I was awaken by how much money I’ve thrown away over the past years. I was alarmed by the money I splurged for shopping, not realizing that they could have been productive investments by now. If only I was cautious and prudent enough, I would have been richer by how poorer I see myself now.

I admit that I’m in serious financial trouble now. I can still support my family and personal expenses. I can save a little for my savings account.  However, the swipes and unnecessary spending over the past years are reincarnating as ghosts that haunted me over the past days.

I will not deny the fact that I wanted to get rich. Well, who doesn’t? Call me selfish but I want to earn more than enough for my family. I wanted financial stability for my parents, brother and my single self.  But with the way things are going now, this dream is far from reality.

I’m now given my own bitter pill to tenderly chew and swallow. I don’t want to remain in this blackhole. So starting today, I will be implementing my own financial monitoring device as well. I badly needed it. I have a feeling that I’m spending more than what I actually earn. Hence, this is the main reason why those plastic devices became my best friends over the past years. What I used to perceive as an overrated and exaggerated monitoring device turns out to be one of my newest friends.

To my dear blog friends who are reading this post, please pray for me and wish me well.  I wanted to uplift myself. I wanted to become a living proof that even rank and file employees are capable to draw and execute their roadmap to financial independence. As I journey to my much needed financial liberation, expect more posts on this struggle. Hopefully, the journey’s ending will resemble the conclusion of my Crayola series. Hopefully, things and life will be better for me.

You are my few, counted and best

I was not blessed with plenty of friends. I was rather blessed with a few, counted and best of friends.  I met her five years ago, as I was entering another chapter in my life. I never knew that as a new phase in my life unfolds, a new friendship is likewise about to unfurl.

From being a classmate, she became one of my greatest educators, adviser, listener, sister, shopping buddy and my preventive ego in many ways.  

As an educator, she everyone now and then relates to me her painful and joyful experiences in life. She would tell me how she suffered, laughed, enjoyed and learned things on her way. She would tell me her personal sentiments, imperfections and dreams for herself and her family. One thing I would never forget about her teachings is how to be confident, brave, strong, and laugh at your own mistakes. Bravery, which meant being able to withstand and confidently ignore what other people, would say. I was always conscious of what other people would say against me. She was however my extreme opposite. 

Having a Chinese blood, she likewise taught me some important and useful practices from their culture. Pearls are not lucky for the single females and giving sweets for newly wedded couples are just some of the few Chinese beliefs she taught me. How could I forget our Binondo escapades! Binondo may be negatively characterized for its narrow and crowded streets. But she made me admire Binondo the way it is. She introduced me to Salazar Bakery’s mini-tikoy. The tikoy strips and the tikoy with peanut fillings, I just love it.

As an adviser, she would constantly correct my mistakes, especially on overeating and buying food, which you can’t consume in the first place. She may not be the best person to consult about problems of the heart. However, she would really try her best to help me analyze situations and give the best possible advice.

She may not be the best adviser, but she redeems herself for being a great listener. She’s always the first of the few people who makes the effort to respond whenever I am troubled with problems and hardships in life. I hope I will be able to do the same for her. Whenever I am in those trying moments, sometimes I don’t really need sound advices. Having someone to listen and join you in those moments of agony would already suffice.  

She is my shopping buddy. She taught me a lot of things about shopping including the concept of those plastic rectangular devices, credit cards! She is now partly responsible from all my shopping swipes. She introduced to me the heaven of being able to fall in love and take home those shoes, clothes and bags.   

Lastly, she is my preventive ego. You read it right, not an alter ego. In some instances, I am always empowered with the idea of do it or regret later. When I once got struck with Mr. Someone, I exhausted all means to fulfill that dream. However, she was one of the few persons who keeps telling me, “no,” “no,” don’t do it. Later on, she said agreed with that plans but gave me the necessary precautions. Both that intentional and unintentional text messages sent changed my entire life. At some point, I was regretful for giving in too much and not listening to her. However, regardless that text message was sent or not, what I will rather regret in the future is the opportunity of not allowing her to enter in my life.

Today is your day girl! On your second year of being 30, I wish that you would have a great life ahead. You definitely deserve it. I hope that you will be given more opportunities to touch other’s people lives, in the same way you have marked in my life. I wish you more strength, good health and more, more, more PATIENCE girl! Good luck in all of your endeavors and I am looking forward for more malling, shopping and eating escapades with you. Thank you for the simple reason of coming to my life. Our other married and committed friends could have already forgotten us or are just too occupied with their own lives. However, one thing that I can promise you is that you will never be erased or set aside in my life. You are one of the few people who made me what I am today. Diane will never be the Diane without you. 

You are simply one of the few, counted, and best friends I have. Happy Birthday!