One Place

“I could live like anybody else in one place. I could be happy and fulfilled, in one place…”
-- One Place, Everything But The Girl from the Worldwide album

I love Everything But The Girl and this particular song always puts me in a reflective mood. Oh wait… I’m always in a reflective mood. Hehe.

Heard this song one weekend afternoon as C and I were on our way home from a squid balls, kikiam and gulaman samalamig spree at UP. It was one of those moments I want to bottle up so I could go back to it again another day, to savor it once more. I felt happy to be going home. I felt happy with the settled life I have.

It was not this way a few years ago. Maybe five or six years ago, I wrote an essay for a creative writing class and these were my first paragraphs:

On a bus from Dumaguete in Negros Oriental to Kabankalan in Negros Occidental. The bus is pulling out of Dumaguete and I am looking at backyards and the city life I had grown familiar with in the three days I had spent there for work. I am surprised at the tears that start to fall. I am feeling heartbroken. Why am I crying? I am wishing the boy beside me will not notice my tears.
After a while I realize that I am scared. Scared to go home to Manila. And that bus ride was the first step I was taking in going home. Home, where my happy life was waiting to be resumed.
I pour out all of my grief in that long bus ride. And I savor all the sights, sounds and scents. Children playing in their backyards. The sweet smell of earth freshly harvested of sugarcane. The dull bass of the bus sound system blasting Bread songs.

I remember that time in my life a bit vaguely now. I was so restless and I felt I had not done all that I could do and I was married and scared of the looming possibility of getting even more tied down by children. I remember incessantly asking C to allow me to get a job in a cruise ship so I could cure my wanderlust. Hahaha! How crazy is that, right?

Instead of doing crazy things, I quit my job and put up Silly. A truly Silly thing to do, leaving a decent pay and awesome medical benefits. But taking that plunge surely cured my wanderlust and gave me a better sense of who I am and what I want in life. I am deeply grateful that I had the balls (and the patience of an oft silly husband) to make such a huge change in my life.

And five or so years after, I read that essay with much sympathy for that scared-out-of her-wits girl, trying to figure out her life. I don’t have everything figured out just yet. I doubt if I ever will. But I surely know I’ve got one heckuva good thing going here (and a great friend to experience it all with) and no cruise ship is going to be as exciting this. Eeeks… drama.


Snacking while pms-ing

I must be pms-ing because this little bag of joy made me walkout of TV time with C.

I'm a snacker. And I'm the type that fixates on a specific snack. I eat that snack for several days or weeks or months till it's almost coming out of my ears. I've fixated on broiled peanuts. On Eng Bee Tin's mongo hopia (a sweet, mung bean pastry, for non-Filipino readers of this blog, or for my cousin Charlie in Canada -- hehe). On Kettle Chips. On pancit (stir-fried noodles). On fresh langka (jackfruit). On double dutch ice cream and many more stuff.

Today in the grocery I found my next fixation: Oishi Caramel Popcorn. It just had to be Oishi. I had a choice between that or Kettle Korn's version but I've always loved the Oishi balance of sweet and salty.

I was set. I got a small bag of Cheetos Crunchy and ate that with C in the car going home. Salty food is a perfect prelude to the sweet snack.

I rushed through our dinner of chicken adobo and steamed okra (yummy!!! oh my!!! it was just so yummy!!!) and just quickly checked my email before settling in front of the TV to munch on the popcorn. I like saving the best for last.

When I got to the TV room, C was munching on indian mango so I dipped into that, cleansing my palate for the main event.

"Can you pass me my caramel popcorn, please?" I ask C.

"Huh?" he says to me, wide-eyed.

"The popcorn in the grocery bag," I remind him.

"Hee... Naubos ko na (I finished it off already)," he says sheepishly.

At this point I'm thinking he's trying to taunt me and when I make a sad face he'll whip out the popcorn and laugh at me.

"Ows? (Really?)"

"Yeah... Sorry!!! Sorry!!! I'll buy another tomorrow!"

I stare at the TV, eyes brimming with tears. Okay, I'm exaggerating about the tears!

"We'll buy tonight!" he says, pleading now.

I get up, drink a glass of water and leave the room.

Deep inside I'm laughing hysterically because he's really feeling so sorry, he'd actually go out of the house at this late hour to buy Oishi Caramel Popcorn! But deep inside too I feel so bad because I was really looking forward to munching on that snack. I had already envisioned myself just eating a bit and saving the rest for tomorrow. How weird is that, right?

Ah well. Some snacks are just not meant to be. :)


Sound Trip #8

First saw Katy Perry when she performed in American Idol. Took me a while to get used to her. Haha. But now I love her! She kinda looks like Emily Blunt, no? I love her "Vegas wedding dress" in the video. Enjoy! I'm off to meet a new patternmaker! Mang Nando, I hope you're good!

Happy weekend, everyone!


Cannes Photo: Pucker Up

photo by Loic Venance, AFP / Newscom

French actor and singer Johnny Hallyday and his wife Laeticia, at the Cannes Film Festival. What a lovely shot! I love it when the photo also captures the photographer/s taking the shot.


L'Heure D'Ete

I hope this shows here. I love movies like this. Relaxed and not in your face. Leaves you room to think while totally capturing your attention. That's possible, no? :)

Pure and Simple

I'm really loving the new packaging of Johnson & Johnson. Psychologically, the products seem to be so pure and simple, they've got nothing to hide. Unlike more complicated, "benefit"-laden products hiding in fancier, opaque packaging.


Working At Home

I've never been much of an office person. Even when I was working in an office setting, I would ask my boss if I could bring my laptop to the office pantry or to a Starbucks nearby. Working at an office desk the whole day just isn't for me.

Now that I'm back to working from home, I've resolved to kick some bad habits (sleeping and waking up late) and establish a more "professional" and efficient routine.

Here are some of the things I do to keep my work at home interesting, creative, organized and efficient:

1. Wake up at a set time everyday. I am not good at this yet. I have a 10-year old in me that loves to stay up as late as can be, just because she can. This makes me wake up so late too. But I'm instilling some discipline in that 10-year old and I'm trying to be in bed by 11pm. Even if I'm still reading a book by that time, at least I'm in bed and can doze off sooner than if I were in front of the TV watching some nonsense like World Poker Tour. Haha.

2. Have breakfast. No need to explain why. Enough has been written about the wisdom of not skipping that meal. In our household, we like to eat some fruit maybe 20 to 30 minutes before the main meal. This helps prep your tummy for the whole day's work.

3. Have a list of things you need to do. I have lists everywhere. On post-its, in my phone, in my pda. But I have a calendar on my computer where I keep a tally of the things that I need to do for the day/week/month. It helps me prioritize and also helps in de-cluttering my brain before I go to bed. Without lists, I'd be up all night anxious about the things that need to be done and worrying I will forget some of them.

4. Dress up for work. This one is something I really find so important. It just sets the tone for the entire day. I don't mean dressing up in a suit and heels. For me it's just taking the time to have a nice shower and wearing something that sets my mind on work and not on sleep. Haha. Sometimes I wear shorts and a tee. On other days when I need to feel more creative, I wear a cute skirt and a tank. I try to be green so I instead of turnig the a/c on, I use a fan. So dressing cool is important. I like to think of my work-at-home outfits as costumes. Depends really on my mood and what I want done that day.

5. Have a work area that you love. And work tools that you enjoy. I have a huge table that I had made three years ago. It's supposed to accommodate large pieces of fabric for when I need to cut stuff. Right now though it's filled to the brim with notebooks, paper and various containers full of pencils and pens. But I love my table and I love all the things I have on it. And it never fails to put me in a happy work mode. :)

6. Have a routine. I hate routine but I'm learning that having even just a very simple one is a big help in making my work day efficient. And when I'm efficient, I get my work done faster and earlier. So I can have time to do other things I like. A routine helps you prioritize things too and helps you not get sidetracked by timewasters like Facebook. Haha. :)

My routine if you'd like to know: upon waking up, I grab some fruit and eat that while reading a magazine or newspaper (to get the mind in a creative mode). Ideally, this would also be a perfect time to read God's word and pray. Sets things in the right perspective. :)

I then have my breakfast. Before I shower I open my mail just to see what needs to be answered, etc. I also open my calendar to check my things to do. Note that I just scan these things. No answering mails yet. While I shower, I think of my to-do list and determine what I'll do first.

After the shower I get to answering email, confirming orders, checking payments, etc. After doing those things, the rest of the day is ideally spent thinking of new designs, making graphics for announcements, updating inventory and dealing with home concerns too.

I check my mail maybe thrice a day. The next check is usually after lunch then in the evening before dinner. Which leads me to my last tip.

7. Log off. From Facebook. From yahoo or gmail. From the internet. I also put my phone on silent mode. I find that if I'm logged on the whole day, I won't get a lot of other stuff done (like designing new stuff, getting ideas from magazines, etc). How easy it is to succumb to checking what people are up to on Facebook if I'm on the computer the whole day. How easy to just browse fashion sites and drool. It's good for the soul and for the mind if we don't spend the whole day online.

I hope the routine makes sense. I'm also trying to improve on things. But right now, this routine works for me. :)

Hope these tips help you, if you're new at working from home or if you're thinking of shifting. Let me know what you think!