Monday, May 30, 2011

Plant vs. Kids



The office has this annual gimmick where kids of employees are invited to visit the office as a way of giving them an idea of what their parents do at work. They are taken on a grand tour and all the departments prepare goodies for them, and there are also magicians and clowns and games, the whole works. Since we are celebrating our 65th anniversary this year, the kids were brought all the way to the manufacturing plant in Bulacan. Luckily, Yoshi made the age cut-off (7 to 12 years) so the two of us went together. (Poor Bootsie had to stay home tho. Owww.)

You can imagine what a riot the whole day was with 20+ grade schoolers and their diverse personalities. Even I had fun touring the plant (complete with lab gown and everything) and seeing how our products are made – the assembly line of Propan bottles, the machine that puts the orange coating in 60 million Poten-Cee tabs, and the pervading smell of Ascof lagundi everywhere (haha). I’ve been to the plant before but always for so-serious, ho-hum work stuff, nothing fun and Discovery Channel like this. Ha ha.

The tour was supposed to be the highlight of the event, but I think the kids enjoyed the program and games and Jollibee food packs more. Haha. Yosh and I loved the chicken dance and we were humming it and doing the steps even in the van on our way home. (We taught Bootsie the thing and the three of us together spend the whole night just dancing it and drive Chestnuts crazy. Haha.)

Our favorite part tho was all these funny stuff from the kids. There was an 8 year old boy whose comments shocked me bcoz they were delivered with so much sarcasm at such a young age. Haha. (And it takes a lot to shock me bcoz, after all, I live with Yoshi and Boots.) And then there was the orientation part where a youngish employee made a presentation on the company. She asked the kids if they use all our products and the kids all went, Yes!!! And this little boy even comes forward and announces on the mic that his favorite is Ascof apple flavor. We DON’T have an apple flavor. Haha.

And then another little boy says proudly and without any trace of malice or hesitation, like he’s just stating a matter of fact, Gumagamit din po ako ng C-Lium pampatae. HAHAHA! That boy is the winner of them all.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

All Maxed Out

I’ve been all maxed out since two Sundays ago.

It’s a tough life.

I remember Rhoel’s advice about travelling on business, how you should spend only the per diem the office gives you. And if you’ve run out of baht or dong or whatever, then you just stop. So you could be crossing a busy street in a foreign land when you realize you’re all out of foreign money, but just stop, anyway. Haha.

That’s exactly how I am when my credit card runs out. Part of the perks I had to give up with the VP post in SM was the credit card with the insurmountable credit limit. So now I have to battle with normal credit limits like mere mortals. And somehow I’m always being maxed out. When that happens, I have no choice but to stop, just stop charging away, right? On the up side, it's effective damage control bcoz it makes me just stop spending. On the down side, it means two things: No Buying and I'm Broke. Groan.

I don’t even know where the whole lot of it goes and disappears to. Sure, there are My Infamous Clothes and Shoes and Hello Kittys (books are not included bcoz Books Are Good) and all these trinkets for the house and the boys (who are all perfectly content with their lives, anyway, without my amassing more objects for them), but a big chunk of it also goes to stuff like spas, mani-pedis, and – as if we could forget – FOOD. Going out to restos, stocking up on groceries, pigging out in the canteen, buying stuff to eat at home or while malling/walking around UP/breathing/whatever. Do these things even enhance my over-all well-being? I don’t think so. I think it just makes me a meaner person knowing I can afford all of these things.

Or at least afford them until I reach my credit limit.

Every pay day, I set aside money for the kids’ Education Fund and Other Needs, my share in the bills, my share in the family savings. I’m quite a stickler for that (thanks to Mom). The rest tho is fair game and I could choose to spend however I like – or not spend at all and save up instead. The latter is what Ches does. You know what I do. I spend it till it’s all gone, like a balloon lost to the sky forever. Like I’m allergic to money and have to get rid of all of it before it stays too long in my hands. Groan.

Hence, when we were arranging the SEAFF flights and hotels, I had to ask Jon to use his credit card on everything as mine was all emptied out and totally useless again. Jon could only say, ano na naman ba pinagbibili mo? Hahaha.

I keep telling myself I’ll be better next month. Or the month after that. Or the month after that. Aaargh.

The whole concept of a credit limit is that it’s all you can afford, right? Live within your means and all that drama. The premise is fairly easy to understand - it’s not rocket science or high school algebra. You have to be either very dumb or hopelessly delusional about your financial capabilities to fail to grasp it.

So I guess that makes me ... ???

I don’t know.

Maxed out, I guess.

Sigh.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Green Light

We called her that behind her back bcoz every guy for her is a go go go. We tried to understand and not judge her. Our heart bled for her bcoz she had a dysfunctional family, if you could even call it that. If we thought we had problems, we only had to think of her to put things into perspective. So we just tried to be good friends for her and did whatever we could to help her.

Mostly she managed pretty well on her own. She had low points, she would disappear from us for months on end, but she has been a survivor since childhood and somehow we know she will always find a way to get by. Last we saw her a couple of months ago, she was at her peak, raising her healthy and good-looking kids and rising up the corporate ladder. So we thought the past was all behind her, that she was well on her way to a much better life.

But then we find out that she was still at it all along, still at her wild ways, and even at work, too. Despite the kids, despite the good pay, despite the comfortable life. So now she’s in trouble again. And somehow we’re just not buying it anymore, her old excuse for every single problem she’s ever had in her life. You can have a crap childhood and barely a semblance of a family, but once you turn 18, you’re in charge of your own life, right? At some point you’ve got to stop blaming your childhood and family and start being responsible for yourself. And if you’re given all these chances to make it better, then your luck has definitely turned – don’t blow it anymore.

She’s pretty, she’s smart, she’s earning well, she has great kids. Why does she have to do these things still? For the attention? The dangerous living? We had thought she’d be over this kind of behavior in her 20s, especially considering she started so young. There may have been some point in our childhood when we thought it was cool to be so wild, when we felt painfully dull compared to her, but that was probably just a teenie weenie point, and the rest of the time we were not fooled. The rest of the time we were just grateful to be boring rather than damaged.

So again we sympathize with her and counsel her the best way we know how. But deep down we are also sad for ourselves, that after all these years, when we thought we’ve all grown up and become stronger, wiser persons – she could still break our hearts like this, big time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy List 15



1. Oracare make-over with this hilarious, snooty gay who uses only Shu Uemura. (So of course I remembered I still had the Shu Uemura eyeshadow from my beloved secretary Lani and when I got home promptly retrieved it from where I’ve kept it hidden and forgotten.)

2. Ann’s paella that she copied from our lunch at Tres. It was so good I had more for baon the following day.

3. Finishing up all by myself and in one sitting a giant bar of Guylian Belgian milk and hazelnut chocolate. Yum.

4. Email from Ate Ann all the way from Canada. I miss her.

5. Shopping for pastillas, chicharon and salted eggs on our way home from Nueva Ecija after a tour with some government peeps at the company’s organic farm (where all the magic lagundi is grown)

6. A big pack of cashews from Anji from her Vietnam trip. The Best Cashews Ever.

7. Helping MIB in his purchase of this condo. Toxic work since his broker and real estate lawyer are virtual imbeciles but at the end of the day, he told me he’s lucky to have me on his side and even luckier that I’m friends with the lawyer of the seller. It feels good knowing that you’re helpful and valued like that.

8. Dinner and wine at People’s Palace with fellow SM alumni. I so missed M’s mimicking everyone in the office. It’s her prime talent. And of course all the other girls are on these diets again and going on and on about Cohen and HCG injectables and T’s very own starvation diet or whatever, while M and I were just busy trying to decide what to have for dessert. Hahaha. Some things never change. I get piss drunk and stay out till midnight or so and Ches gets mad at me, so of course I had to get madder at him. Hahaha.

9. London- and Paris-themed notebooks from Rosa, with this follow-up note: Let this be a reminder that your sheer fabulousness will be sufficient to get you there one day. No need to pawn your family assets. Owww. Rosa is always too sweet.

10. The whole craziness over the Ascof Natural Super Mom. Even the former CEO texted me about it, and Zech from Training who has moved to a new job. The CEO also wanted me to give another acceptance speech since he wasn’t able to make it to the event. Aargh. My boss, tho, is taking me out for a treat. Yay.

11. Classic Confections cupcakes which I bought from one of my group buying sites. It was so good, especially with the chocolate frosting. It was well worth going back to Greenbelt for. (I was supposed to pick it up on the night of my dinner with the SM girls but forgot to in my utter drunkenness. The voucher should’ve been forfeited technically, but the owner was nice enough to even text me and remind me to get my cupcakes. And just like that, Classic Confections made it to My List of Favorite Desserts Places. Haha.)

12. Dinner with Ches at Lusso, with the famed foie gras burger. I loved the spinach pasta, too. Meals like this are worth going out of QC for. We walk around Greenbelt after and I scout other restos we should be trying next time. Ches says, you’re probably the only person who window shops for food. Hahaha. (I miss Greenbelt. We were there every week when I was still with the Ayala group. We would meet at snooty places like M Cafe, Sugi, Bizu, People's Palace, Yoko and Ono, Bubba Gump. But then I moved to SM and became the MoA resident. And then I moved to QC and somehow have not had any compelling reason to bother to get out of QC just to hang out. But what could be more compelling than good food, right? Right =)

13. Hanging out with PMS kids at home. We so missed each other we ended up just yakking away till dawn. Robby was asleep by 2 AM, me by 3, but Ches, Robert and Eycee stayed up all the way till 4. I love that they’re so low maintenance – I feed them mac and cheese and Tostitos and Ches brings out one of his wines and they’re happy with that. We just talk and laugh for hours and hours and end up having the best time.

14. Robert and Eycee think I look like Reese Witherspoon! Hahaha. Actually, Mon also told me so. And Rommel. HAHAHA. Feeling. I told Robert and Eycee, ok, that definitely makes it to my happy list. Haha.

15. Brunch with Babs and Regie at Cibo. It was one of those times that are so fun and the conversation so stimulating you just have to put it in a blog. Babs did. Haha.

16. A Hello Kitty San Francisco nail file from Babs. Pasalubong from her US vacation. I love it. It’s my first Kitty from San Francisco.

17. Yoshi’s karate class graduation, where he won in a sparring session and his team got the winning prize. This older classmate also told him: Don’t worry, you’ll get the yellow belt someday. Owww. That little guy broke my heart. His parents must be so proud of him. My wish is for my own kids to be like that – to be nice to other people even when they don’t have to, or when no one’s looking, and just bcoz they’re genuinely good persons. (Yosh doesn’t have the yellow belt yet bcoz he didn’t take the exam for the next level. Ches said taekwondo is better and this is what he should be working on. We enrolled him in karate only bcoz the taekwondo class already started when he was still in school. So there.)

18. Salt scrub and massage at Organic Rituals Spa in Greenhills. Still part of the birthday treat. Ches is happy that, in lieu of one week of kindness, he’s getting like a year’s worth of spa treats. Hahaha.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tall Tales

(From the blog of my friend whom we shall hide under the name Shalani, as she is paranoid about being jailed for this. No worries, Shalani, I'll bring our favorite pasta with prawns, parmesan and parma pizza, and pesto dip from Cibo when I visit you in jail. Ha ha.)

Brunches with Kitty and Bistek are always fun. We see one another every now and then to keep up and tell tall tales.

Kitty, ever generous, game me a loot bag from her many travels, thank you! She gave me many freebies too which she gets working in a pharma company with a spiel that would rival a promodizer ha ha, “the expiration says June but that’s ok because it’s natural and the expiration is just to comply with the FDA”.

I told her the unedited version of my recent travel, better said with feelings. Ha ha And then along came Bistek looking harassed just when the pasta and pizza arrived. He apologized that he had nothing for us. That’s all right; we weren’t expecting anything.

Bistek is his company’s latest poster boy, modeling the company uniform. We had a good laugh about it and I threatened to share it on FB so that more friends could have a laugh. It’s so unfair how Bistek hasn’t aged one bit since college.

We talked about our work, our bosses and what have you.

I complained about bosses who ramble. Kitty said that this was better than bosses that you can’t get anything from. Ha ha Bistek complained about bosses who appear dumb or feign ignorance when put on the spot. Kitty complained about bosses whose credentials are good only on paper and children of owners who try too hard and appear stupid. We all agreed how we so admire bosses like Atty M who rose from the ranks but has remained down to earth. We also talked about integrity issues and how peeved we are on bosses who charge every single thing to the company. Kitty shared how this executive kept the evidence of a P20,000 tip to a call girl which his colleagues discovered. Tsk tsk Seems he had to account for every single expense item! We talked about office affairs too and how sorry we were for the spouses they were cheating on.

And of course, we talked about P-Noy and how things are at a standstill.
I complained that it’s been almost one year and things haven’t moved. Kitty has friends in government who know for a fact that P-Noy’s government is Iskul Bukol. Kitty said, ang promise lang naman nya ay na hindi siya magnanakaw, di naman siya nag-promise na magtatrabaho! Ha ha

Bistek shared a rumor of Josh running out of one of Bahay Pangarap’s rooms shouting “I won! I won!” closely followed by P-Noy scratching his head. Apparently, they were playing play station. At least he’s a good uncle, offered Kitty. Ha ha What a slacker!

Bistek said when the trust ratings dip, the love life angle surfaces. This isn’t hard to believe. It’s the job of spin doctors. And then Bistek told a rumor about P-Noy’s women and Maalikaya escapades plus FG and Mikey sharing a slutty actress for one night. Eeeew, Kitty and I are grossed out. May Maalikaya pa ba? Ha ha Bistek’s friends in government confirm the factions and the Iskul Bukol way of governance. Hubby and Kitty are right - we get the government we deserve.

And then the topic moved to girlie bars. I’ve never been to one, I confessed. Kitty said she, her hubby and their friends went to a girlie bar once where the girls gave lap dances. From fully clothed, she said they went full monty. She said it was like watching a porn flick. Bistek offered, you can never make me go to a gay bar. Ok, who’s asking? Ha ha Bistek said he remembered the theme of one when they were organizing a bridal shower for a friend. He said it was “The Boys of Al-Qaeda”. I can imagine buff men wearing only turbans and holding fake armalites! Wa ha ha

Winner




There were 20+ contestants apparently. And out of those, I was picked as one of the five finalists (the four others were mostly old women who have been with the company for 20 years or so). I didn’t even understand why. I didn’t have any heart-rending sob motherhood story to speak of. Rosa and I were thinking you probably need to live sa ilalim ng tulay to win the Ascof Natural Super Mom title. Haha.

To begin with, I had stayed up way until midnight the night before the finals thing, drinking wine and being all hoity-toity in Greenbelt with my fellow SM alumni. I was hung-over and barely able to make it to an early morning meeting in the office. So much for being a super mom. Haha.

I sent pictures for the AVP for all the finalists and brought a dress like we were asked to, but it was one of those things I did and played along with simply bcoz it took less effort than to back out and complain. Haha. Rosa got increasingly frustrated with me as the day wore on bcoz I was so un-excitable over it and was just working away like any other day. She kept saying with her trademark pout, Gay is so right, you are so uncompetitive. Hahaha. She and the rest of the Legal girls were more excited than me stringing together the completely glittered letters of my name. Rosa even went around threatening everyone to support me or we will withhold all our legal services that they need. Ha ha. She’s such a character.

I so didn’t expect that it was going to be this big deal in the office. The finalists were asked to sit on the stage for the entire program, and the persons who nominated the finalists each took turns reading their entries, and the whole place was packed with various cheering squads. Ugh. Rosa’s write-up was funny and touching, no doubt – but it was embarrassing when she read it In Front of Everyone and they were all giggling over stuff like my Hello Kitty obsession and dating the hottest guy in my college block and food being the most important thing in the universe for me. Aaargh. If I had any hope left of salvaging my grand plan of keeping an honorable image in this office, it was completely, irrevocably dashed when Rosa read that write-up. Hahaha.

No one was more surprised than me when I was announced the winner. I was so surprised I actually stood up when my name was called, and then I didn’t know what else to do and felt awkward sitting back down so I just stood there feeling really stupid for a good 30 seconds. Hahaha. And then they handed me the huge bouquet and gift pack and gift certificate. Sir R (the president of the subsidiary that sponsored the contest) offered to carry them for me while I gave a little speech and I actually told him, No, Sir, let me carry them and enjoy my moment. Hahaha! I’m a certified lunatic, I tell you.

It was a big joke, really. The judges couldn’t possibly have known I was a good mom on the basis alone of 500 words, right? And who is anyone to even judge that one mom is better than the next? It’s just crazy. I told Rosa, natakot lang the two judges bcoz you threatened to sabotage their board meeting if they didn’t make me win. Hahaha.

But anyways, it was a happy kind of crazy. I got flowers, after all, and some moolah to take everyone out to lunch (Rosa got the moolah and gift pack, too), not to mention my glittering name up by the ceiling. Haha. Plus, there's what Robert said: sobrang mahal ka nila sa office mo, baka next year CEO ka na. Hahaha.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Super Mom

(Rosa wrote this as an entry to a contest in the office, the Ascof Natural Super Mom. I told her, ipaubaya na natin ang prize sa rank and file. But she felt competitive bcoz the other departments sent in entries and she didn't want Legal to be left behind. Haha. Hence, she rushed this piece in the last hour before the deadline, and had to make severe edits to meet the 500-word limit. I told her, so what if this entry doesn't win, you're already a winner in my blog right this minute. Haha. Do not believe everything she wrote tho [especially the part about the hot husband haha]. She just felt compelled to put in all the glowing words since I'm in charge of her promotion. Haha. Thanks thanks, Rosa. I love you =)

You don’t expect a 120-pound shopaholic who has an extensive Hello Kitty collection to be the best candidate for a Super Mom. Rather, the perfect candidate would be someone who will regale you with stories of breastfeeding, her children’s successes, and why a trek up the corporate ladder always takes a back seat to motherhood.

Then again, these things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. That’s why she’s a Super Mom in the first place.

That Super Mom would have to be that girl in college who was both pretty and smart. She would’ve sailed through law school, graduating in the top 15 of her batch, and would’ve been courted by the top law firms in the country. She’d be that girl who dated the hottest boy in her block and would’ve received a marriage proposal a couple of days after passing the bar examinations.

She’s the type who, after five years of working for the top law firm, would take a pay cut and move to a job which will allow her to be a more hands-on mom to a genius-in-the-making. She wouldn’t allow work to prevent her from breastfeeding, attending parent-teacher conferences, and taking pictures of her kids on each and every school program known to mankind, and she wouldn’t allow motherhood to stop her from earning six figures a month so she can help her husband build the family dream house, one that includes a second floor to fulfill a child’s dream of a house with a staircase.

She could be at the top of her game, probably a Vice President at one of the biggest conglomerates in the country after only a ten-year career. But she wouldn’t be the type to blink and move to another company if this means being ten minutes away from her two boys, and being able to spend an extra hour in bed with them in the morning.

At work, she’s the perfect boss as well. She’s generous with praises, lavish with her compliments, and firm with her leadership. She’s not afraid of authority, because she knows that more than the personalities involved, it is the organization she’s protecting, and more often than not, people listen to her because if there’s one thing that she stands for, it’s integrity and the belief that if it’s important, then it must be done well.

Then again, she’s not just defined by her children, or her husband, or even her job. She defines herself. Thus, she doesn’t care if at her age, Gift Gate still happens to be her favorite store in Trinoma, or if food is one of the most important things in the universe for her. So what if she hasn’t watched Thor yet; she likes indie movies anyway, especially those with soundtracks from not-so-mainstream bands like The Veronicas.

So while we all love to hate her cause she could still fit in the Levi’s she wore in college, we just can’t. And that’s why rather than envying her, I wrote all these about Atty. Jewel.

Chase


Chase is what Bootsie calls the usual game of catch. He and Yosh run around the house with Vada and when he catches either of them he yells, ‘chase!’ Same thing when the four of us run around the UP Amphitheater after Mass. But he also says it every time something makes him happy. I bring him pasalubong and he yells ‘chase!’ I let him play with my Hello Kitty can with all the Kitty trinkets inside and he yells ‘chase!’ I tell him we’re going shopping with Vada and he yells ‘chase!’

He also calls his grandparents ‘grandma’ and ‘grandpa’. Which is weird coz we all refer to them as Mama and Papa and Lola and Lolo. He gets these things from Playhouse Disney, I think. The seniors love it. It’s like his term of endearment for them. Haha.

He plays with my dangling earrings and flouncy skirts and calls them ‘hurly hurly’. Don’t ask me why. (I’ve no idea and he never bothers to explain.) He calls RC Cola 'R-Sinuka'. One time my Lumix was running out of batt and making this ticking sound and Yoshi said it was going to explode and Bootsie looked at the logo and said, No, it won't explode bcoz it says here Lumix No Sabog. HAHAHA. He has this slow, severe nod (like Ate’s and Vada’s) that makes him look all good and kind (don’t be deceived). He likes to tease Vada, for no reason at all, with a prolonged ‘uuuuuyyyyy!!!’ We play The Addict Game (we answer questions like who is addicted to Power Rangers? to dinosaurs? to chocolates?) and he always asks this one question: who is a plate? Which is so crazy and nonsensical that I have no choice but to join in as he and Yosh break out in hysterics.

Our relatives and friends are just a little bit intimidated with him bcoz he’s not your regular friendly, easy-to-please little boy. He’s so tough-looking and self-sufficient like he doesn’t need anybody in the world. He throws his infamous tantrums that last several hours. (Just the other night he told me, Mommy, please scratch my back but we’re not friends. HAHAHA.) My side of the family thinks he’s just like Tito Rino bcoz of all his little angst and temper, while my in-laws think he’s just like Tito Aaron bcoz he’s simply uncontrollable when he’s hyper.

Yoshi is everybody’s sweetheart bcoz he’s so sweet and polite and eager to please. At Bootsie’s age, he’s been sleeping over on a regular basis with his grandparents. Bootsie, on the other hand, has only ever slept away from Ches and me when we went to Beijing and then to SEAFF.

I like that he’s so clingy to us, tho, like he's our family's secret treasure that no one else is allowed to be close to. And that he’s so fierce. And so confident in his own little self. And how he makes all of us laugh and laugh. Not to mention, he’s the best-looking guy in our family. Haha.

It’s no wonder he makes our day if he so much as speaks to us on the phone once in the three or so times we call while we’re in the office. Ches and I have this game where we try to beat each other in getting Boots to talk to us on the phone. We text each other stuff like, Bootsie talked to me! Chase! Haha.

We’re looking forward to 60 million more chase moments with Bootsie.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy List 14




1. Mothers’ Day surprise from the boys, with a card from Yosh where he pasted pix of all my favorite things (sunflowers, shoes, dresses, bling) and an exquisite red woven Hello Kitty bag. Oww. It was the very same bag that Ate Josie (my friend the store manager haha) wanted me to get when Rosa and I went to Gift Gate Trinoma. Such a winner. (I love you, boys!)

2. Several emails from Ate, plus a Mothers’ Day card with four cats (me, her, the two boys) and a rat (Ches). This card made me and the boys laugh and laugh.

3. The girls’ Mothers’ Day lunch treat for Ann and me at Banapple. Not a week goes by that I don’t get a treat in this office. It’s so fun here, I swear.

4. Ches’ and my treat to Mom at Pancake House and Starbucks. I also gave her some shopping money. Happiness is a role reversal and being able to afford giving your parents some money. Haha.

5. In return, Mom gives me a chocolate Etienne Aigner shoulder bag and black Naturalizer slippers. Both brand new, from her relatives in the US. She has all these lovely stuff just lying around her house somewhere, and my strategy has always been to bide my time and just wait for her to bequeath them to me bit by bit. It’s been working so far. Ha ha. I used to pro-actively covet her stuff, but I ended up losing her pearl earrings at the Mandarin gym, and wearing out her big LV tote that I used as gym bag. So now I no longer borrow – I wait to own. Ha ha.

6. Bootsie’s assessment in Mayfield, which he had to take prior to enrolment so the teachers will know which level to put him in. He does us proud and easily names the colors and shapes, and makes wild guesses at the letters and numbers. Ha ha.

7. Mangoes from my lola in Pangasinan and in-laws in Tarlac. We never even have to buy mangoes bcoz we get supplies from the province till we’re all breaking out in prickly heat from too much mango shakes. I bring some to the office for the girls and Anji says, eto na ba ang galing sa lupaing isasangla para makarating ng Europe? Ha ha. She is so right. (I think that lupain is in my brother’s name, tho. Even the kalabaw. His perks for being the only boy and youngest. Dang.)

8. Judith Viorst’s book on the Alexander Five. I love all her books about her son Alexander, especially Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day, and Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday. My dream for when I grow old is to be as funny as her.

9. 127 Hours. You would think a movie which just shows for the most part a guy whose hand is stuck under a boulder would be deathly boring. But it’s actually quite compelling and poignant. And even after an experience like that the guy in real life is still at it skiing and mountaineering and stuff! Amazing. If it were me, I’d be like, ok, I’m staying indoors for the rest of my life. Haha.

10. Turning to Nico when this old friend broke my heart. He was such The Rebel in college and Ches and I are just so proud and happy that he turned out so well. He’s one of our friends whom we know really care about our boys. We love him and Lei dearly.

11. Babette is back from her US vacation, blogging, texting, and emailing away

12. The best news this year: two of my best friends getting major promotions at work. Omg. Finally! I’m so happy it feels as if I got the promotion. Two words: matinding libre. Ha ha.

13. Cashews from Thom which he brings all the way to E-Com where we go for our corporate governance group meeting

14. Laughing over The Mongol with Regina, and Ches and I laughing over the gems he comes up with in the course of our dinner at MoA. Stuff like ‘corporate governance is a progressive science’. Ha ha. And this guy says these cheesy things with a straight face. Liz and I call him Suddenly The CG Guru behind his back. Haha.

15. Pet names with Ches. Something we started in college and which we are into until now. They’re our own silly little secrets and only the two of us know what they mean.

16. My instant Google in Ches. I ask him stuff like, where are the Hamas? Why are waves formed? (Haha. Parang si Bootsie lang.) And he gives me the answers straight out without so much as scratching his head. It’s annoying the way he knows it all and makes me feel so ditzy. On the bright side, he also comes in quite handy. Haha.

17. Texts with PMS kids, bcoz we haven’t seen each other for several Fridays now. They’re all so sweet. Robby brings out my mommy instincts like no other. Eycee knows my deep, dark secrets that I don’t share with the boys bcoz she’s a girl and can relate better (haha). And I remember Robert was so concerned when I left for KL last year in the middle of a typhoon. He kept texting me way into the airport and asking whether my flight was pushing thru, like he almost wanted me to not go. I love love love these kids.

18. Finding unexpected treasures when you’re cleaning up at home. Last weekend, I found my Hello Kitty postcards from Macau in the bag where I keep our bank certificates and stuff. I guess I put them there bcoz they are as precious to me as money. Haha.

19. Our bright and airy home. I love spending weekends at home when it’s perfectly sunny outside and our curtains are flying in the breeze. I think it’s sad when you have to turn on the lights at home in the daytime. Hence, part of my requirements to Mel when we were having he house done was 60 million windows and a skylight in the kitchen. Sunlight is happiness.

20. Watching Coldplay on Youtube. Their best videos are The Scientist and Strawberry Swing. My favorite songs are Yellow, In My Place, and Viva La Vida, altho Chris Martin looks positively stoned in the video. Haha. He so rocks. I love him even if he married the Gwyneth Paltrow.

21. Anticipated Mass in UP Chapel, dinner at Rodic’s, and walking around the acad oval with the boys. Mid-way I tell Ches, it’s your turn to answer Bootsie’s questions. He asks mind-boggling stuff like, ‘baket girl ka’? It’s as nosebleed as Yoshi’s ‘what’s an oxymoron’? Aaargh.

22. Shopping for school supplies with the kids. The boys and Vada love their sneakers so much they practically throw away their Crocs and just run off in their new shoes.

23. Satin wrap dresses with funky prints by Michelle Lim. Happiness is a lovely, girly girl dress. I fell in love with the aquamarine, but it also came in powder blue, and they cost a lot less than my Mango dresses, and my credit card was still alive and not yet maxed out, so whaddahell - I got them both. Double happiness. Ha ha.

24. Scoring plane tickets and Patio Pacific accommodations for my in-laws. Our Bora trip is shaping up to be quite the adventure. Ches says, now we have to babysit not just the two boys but my parents, too. Haha. I tell him, two words: free meals. Ha ha.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Laiya


We planned early on to go to the beach this summer bcoz Bootsie has never been to a beach. He’s been to HK, Macau, and Singapore but not to a beach. Haha. And we took pity on him bcoz, at his age, Yosh had already been to several beaches – Bora, Puerto Galera, Pagudpud, Palawan, Corregidor (not really a beach but still a natural body of water, not a swimming pool which is all that Boots has been exposed to). So our family summer junket definitely had to be a beach.

I thought Laiya had to be nice bcoz it was where the high-end resort Acuatico was located. We chose La Luz bcoz it was highly-rated at tripadvisor … and its website’s opening page includes this lovely quote from The Beach. (Haha. Yes, I make my life decisions on the basis of The Flimsiest Factors.) And it didn’t disappoint. When we got there they were airing the Pacquiao fight live by the dining area. (I think boxing is barbaric and cannot stand to watch the carnage, but I have as much Pacquiao Pride as any Pinoy.) It was pretty rowdy, but when the weekend crowd left, then it became more the secluded beach spot we wanted it to be.





We loved that there were so many places to go to in the resort – the beach, of course, and this more shallow, rocky area which Bootsie called The Baby Beach (the only place he would wade in, as he was scared of the big, strong waves in The Adult Beach), the huge rock that we bravely conquered and gave us a nice view of the whole area, the playground, the cabanas where we took naps and stayed after dinner, the tree which we all climbed and Yosh promptly fell from, the swing overlooking the water, the dining hall all lit up with candles at night.


Yosh was so brave and had so much fun playing amid the waves which were gigantic and powerful. I would just sit there and be washed far onto the shore by the sheer force of the waves. I loved how it made me feel so thin and light. Haha. Sometimes I brought Boots with me and we would sit where the waves reached our feet, but mostly he was too scared so we just stayed in the sand digging and building shapes and stuff.


Ches was The Hottest Guy on The Beach. He was the only one with ample muscles and a flat tummy. (I know bcoz I kept looking around. Haha.) And I say that not with pride but with sadness. How pathetic is a beach where your husband is the best-looking guy? Haha. (It was like in our PolSci block when the boys were crushing on my friend J and one time she was picked up by her boyfriend and the guys wanted to know, gwapo ba? mas gwapo ba kay Ches? And I was like, wait, Ches is the standard for good looks in this block? We’re so pathetic. Hahaha. I love my husband. I wouldn’t have married him if I weren’t convinced he was hot, right?)

Omg, the food was great, too. I was expecting the perfunctory buffet with four or so lame dishes, but this one came with yummy fish, chicken, pork and pasta, plus soup, salad, appetizer, and desserts. The famed Batangas coffee was refillable at breakfast, and snacks were a full-fledged meal with pancit, turon, puto, and sandwiches. Bootsie was happy with the soups and pork chops. I love how he’s so easy to feed. My favorite was the appetizer of green mangoes in this vinegar/sugar/whatever else concoction. I told Yosh, these mangoes are Better Than Love. (And he says, better than my hugs and kisses? Hahaha. He’s right, nothing could be better than those.) The two of us kept going back to the buffet spread that Ches was compelled to sing Bruno Mars to me (‘… you’re amazing … just the way you are …’), the amazement, he says, referring to my appetite. Hahaha.

We arrived at the beach all pale and expectant.



At the end of our trip we were all burnt like healthy dark chocolates. Even Bootsie The Fairest of Us All ended up with a rosy tan. Yoshi looked like lechon de leche altogether. Hahaha. And all you can see of Ches and me are our teeth. The last time I can remember being this dark was in Palawan, after we spent one whole day island-hopping at Honda Bay.




The best part, as in any family trip, is bonding with my boys. I love how Bootsie, despite being a certified brat and bully, is still just a baby, and scaredy cat of the waves and the beach and climbing the big rocks (and was so clingy to me exactly the way he was at the Night Safari). He’s another little happy soul and he goes around the whole day humming made-up songs or telling himself stories. Yoshi is like an extra adult who’s just so mature and so reliable and at the same time keeping his own trademark humor and sarcasm. I know Ches and I have done A Lot of Bad Things in our lives, but we look at Yosh and think – there’s one thing we did just right. And Ches and I were lovey-dovey as usual in this trip, as tho it was our nth honeymoon albeit with two kids in tow (haha). We have all these pix where he’s stealing kisses from me. This guy is too sweet, I swear. It’s Chester’s all-encompassing love that makes me believe I have innate goodness, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Laiya is definitely a must-return.




Sunday, May 08, 2011

Las Casas

Its complete name is a nosebleed - Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Rosa and I agreed to go bcoz it was our first office summer junket and we didn't want to have a reputation of not joining office events. Plus, I love ancestral houses, and I wanted to get my hands on the cashews from Bagac which our chairman said were The Best Cashews in the Philippines. (I didn't get any tho. We didn't stop until Lubao, where the only pasalubong available were those you can easily get from any Savemore store. Whaddawhack.)

The ride was long but tolerable coz Rosa and I chatted all the way (if we weren't sleeping). The only eventful thing that almost happened was I was assigned to join the pukpok palayok game, and I was so there confronting my team leader as soon as I found out. Hello, I'm the girl who can never tell right from left in broad daylight, and you expect me to be doing that in a blindfold? Oh, and Rosa and I won stupid purple Propan bags in the raffle. It was the one raffle were people actually cringed when they won something - since the somethings were mostly promo materials for our products. Haha. Thina won one of the grand prizes, tho - a cool white Swatch - so Legal was still a winner.

I love love love the grand old houses. They look like little ladies from a bygone era all dressed up for the ball. Apparently the owner buys these houses from everywhere in the country and transports them to this place and has each of them painstakingly restored. I told the girls, I should bring Ches here so he can see the owners' ancestral home collection - it will so give a helpful perspective on my shoe collection. Hahaha.












(Thanks to Rosa for the last three pix as my Love Lumix ran out of battery early on.)

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Happy List 13




1. The boys splashing around at Vada’s little pool, at one point even wetting poor little Rain in her playpen. They never want to get out of the thing and stay there for hours naked and laughing. Summer days are made of these.

2. Freebies from my parents. When we go see them on weekends, they usually have pabaon for us – from Pops, veggies, fruits, fish, or his binagoongan baboy That I Absolutely Love, and from Mom, some hand-me-down lovely thing (like a Liz Claiborne bag, towels, curtains) or something new like Minnie Mouse or Snow White shorts. (Yes, I think she’s conflicted – she bequeaths me her fine home stuff bcoz she recognizes I’m running my own household now, but still sees me as a little girl who’s still into Disneyland and fairy tales. Haha.)

3. Dinner at my in-laws where there’s always so much food. They usually serve some native veggies, inihaw na isda, lechon kawali, balut, and their yummy chicken asado. I suspect one of the reasons my in-laws are fond of me is that I always eat a lot. Ha ha. And I think one reason why Ches grew up to be such a goodie-goodie person is that his childhood is far from deprived (and I don’t just mean in the food or material sense).

4. Serious Men by Joseph Manu. It took me several days to finish bcoz it was slow going at the start, but perked up eventually. Funny and wise. A lighter version of Slumdog Millionaire.

5. Prelude to A Kiss, which I think I’ve seen with one of the guys in UP Theatre and which I asked Ches to download coz I wanted to see it again. I was probably with Nico that first time since he’s in love with Meg Ryan. And why not? She’s such her own person – with her unique posture and gait and her 60 million facial expressions. She starred in some of my favorite rom-coms (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail). Plus, she’s consistently so thin. I have a soft spot for stick people. Hahaha.

6. A concerned text from Pie re my blog about the copycat, and I had to reassure her it was nothing serious – it was just me bitching as usual. Hahaha. Later in the week I also a get a surprise package from her – of Hello Kitty clips that I saw in Gift Gate in Trinoma earlier in the day. Owww. She’s so sweet. I can’t even remember the last time I received a surprise in the mail like that. It’s a brilliant idea to make someone happy, right?

7. And still over the same silly blog, this time a concerned call from Jon, sounding like he was all set to be my lawyer for some serious intellectual property infringement case. (Jon is such a good friend like that. As soon as he senses something is amiss, he’s on the phone checking up on me to make sure I’m still sane and have not gone all-out berserk.) And he doesn’t hang up on me even after I spill out the sordid, shallow details, we just laugh about how haba my hair truly is and how utterly imitation-worthy I am, and he proceeds to tell me Another Top Secret, like we were still friends despite my infuriating superiority complex. Hahaha. (I love you, Jon =)

8. Fixing Yoshi’s birthday at Bora. Yes, this early in the relationship. I got a package that even Jon said was a good deal, but after I finalized it, I kind of regretted it bcoz we’ve been to Bora at least five times. As if there are no other nice places to go to in the country, or even abroad. Oh well. At least Yoshi loves Bora, and Boots hasn’t been there yet. Plus, I’m a firm believer in my family’s capacity to have fun anywhere, just as long as we’re together =)

9. Thom’s dinner treat at Gayuma ni Maria, for his birthday and passing the brokers’ exam, with Paula and me. We laugh the night away dissing Thom as usual and the many funny creatures that inhabit MWC. Plus, the two of them are in this strict Herbalife diet, hence I ended up with most of the wild mushroom soup, veggie lumpia, moussaka, spareribs, and two kinds of cake. Yum.

10. Kabab Korner for Ate Rhea’s belated birthday dinner. The food and ambience were good, and we would definitely go back for more. (I love our neighborhood – everything we need is just within walking distance. KFC, McDo, 7-11, Pancake House, the new Shakey’s, Trellis, Snackaroo, Spaholic, BPI, BDO, Starbucks, the salons, all the Korean restos and groceries.)

11. More big words from Ches. I bring home imported chips from Hi-Top and he says it tastes all ‘rancid’. I tell him, can’t we just use simple words that don’t have to give us nosebleeds after a long day at work? Hahaha.

12. Teasing Regie about his modeling the new MWC uniform. Thom emails the incriminating pix, and he, Pau, Reg and I shoot emails about it the whole morning. (I miss Reg. I don’t see him often enough.)

13. Body Surfing by Anita Shreve, which I finish in one sitting bcoz I was insomniac again. It was good as novels go, but not one of my favorites among her work.

14. A long, rambling phone call with Regina, which I spend mostly tormenting him as usual. He’d say, tell me again why we’re friends? And I’d say, wait, we are friends? Hahaha.

15. Two-day training in The Legend Villas, where the food was a lot better than at the five-day training in QC Sports Plaza. (Yes, I judge trainings on the basis of the quality of the food served. And yes, 99.9% of the items in my happy lists involve food. I knew that. No one has to tell me.)

16. During the training, and right in the middle of a somewhat heated discussion (remember, this is my office and everybody is too nice to ever really heat up), this manager’s mobile phone loudly rings to the tune of a sappy Air Supply song , and she couldn’t make it stop until almost the chorus. It broke the house down. It was my absolute favorite part of the entire training. Hahaha.

17. And still in the same training, this senior executive passing on a note to me that read: “Atty. Jewel, I like your shoes. Really nice.” I’d be weirded out if this old guy wasn’t so nice and so proud about being from Pisay and UP. Haha. Sometimes, you just have to accept a compliment for what it is and not go digging for some hidden meaning, right? You can just be normal and not be psychotic all the time. Ha ha. Note to self.

18. A COO apologizing to me for forgetting to reply to this email I send about one of these projects we’re working on. He’s so nice. And he’s my favorite bcoz he looks mabango all the time. Hahaha.

19. Mani-pedi at Got A Polish near home, where the woman who does my feet gives it to my big toes real hard and painful, exactly the way I want it. Aaaah. BTS.

20. Shining, shimmering black shoes from VNC

21. Rosa’s sleep-over since we were leaving for the Bataan office junket at dawn the following day. She said she likes our home bcoz there are no tensions or pressures from anyone. Haha. She also gave the boys sweets and me Clinique cosmetics from her US box. Yay.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

MATABA


When I enrolled Yoshi in his karate class, I had to fill up this form to order his uniform. I filled up his name and age and left the space for size blank as he was going to get measured for it. When he came back with the uniform a week after, the form was also given back to us. In the space for size, somebody wrote: 50” MATABA.

Yes, not big or large, or even extra large. Make no mistake about it – Ethan Joshua is MATABA.

All of us in the house burst out laughing when I read this out loud, Yoshi louder and harder than anyone. After a while I ask him, are you hurt by this, Yosh? Embarrassed? Does it bother you? Coz we can sue these guys, you know. We’ll sue them for moral damages. On the grounds of besmirched reputation, mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and all of that phony stuff in the Civil Code.

He just rolls his eyes at me, looking every bit the well-fed and well-adjusted little old man that he is. I remembered what Teacher Liway told me last year when I went to see her for a parent-teacher conference, that one remarkable thing she noticed about Yosh is his sense of security. On their way to the gym or library or somewhere, Yoshi would be calmly drinking from his water jug or something, and the girls would bug him to get a move on already or he would be left behind in the classroom. And he would just tell them, it’s ok, I’ll just follow. And Teacher Liway said this is so different from the reaction of most other kids, some of whom would throw a full-fledged crying fit if they got left behind anywhere.

Of course I’m happy that a child of mine turned out to be so secure like that. But can you imagine – if Yosh hadn’t been such a bright, happy person and was the type to get affected over being labeled mataba (and in writing, too), we could’ve built a case against Claret. It would have been My First Lawsuit Ever. Hahaha.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ate Rhea


Ate Rhea has been with us for two years when she said goodbye last October bcoz she had to take care of a sick sister in the province. I asked her how long she would be gone and she said until her sister recovers, maybe by April. I was devastated. But I couldn’t possibly not let her go, right? I’m not about to presume that my family is more important than hers.

We needed a second helper to assist Ate Ann when I gave birth to Boots, and it was Rhea who stayed and lasted. She was the best of the lot, too. We all love her bcoz she’s trustworthy and hardworking and so unassuming. She’s one of those quiet girls who get the job done and always just stay by the sidelines no matter how we pull her into the family circle. Even my mom and dad-in-law love her. She was with us in our old bungalow, and when we rented an apartment during the renovation, and in several junkets like Enchanted Kingdom and Baguio.

She ably took charge of the household and the two boys when Ann went home to Iloilo last year. And then there was that high point of my geniusness last year in SM when I forgot my corporate attire at home (I had gone to work in my gym clothes bcoz I went to Fitness First in the morning), and this was On The Very Day I was presenting before the Mancom, in that period when my and my friends’ departments were all under siege by evil forces. It was Rhea who saved the day and brought me decent clothes. She knows her way around like that.

Best of all, she’s mabango. As you know, I’m very easy to please. For our helpers, my only criteria are that they are (1) kind to my kids, (2) honest, and (3) mabango. I have this silly notion that you can’t smell good unless you’re also clean. Hence, the requirement. I don’t care if you have a PhD from AIM or whatever, if you’re not mabango then you’re not qualified to live with us. And Rhea is one of those girls who always exude a whiff of something sweet when they pass by, from her shampoo or whatever. Ann is the same way. Hence, the two of them are allowed to get their hands on my kids. Ha ha.

My boss complains that his wife invests too much in their nannies - treating them as part of the family, sending them to cooking classes and stuff – and gets heartbroken when they leave. Like when a nanny didn’t come back as scheduled after her Easter vacation, and his wife stayed in bed the whole day being sad. He said it to make fun of her, and I was just quiet bcoz that was exactly how I am with my nannies.

Imagine our collective happiness when Rhea came back last Sunday. The boys and I all hugged and kissed her and I had to wipe away my tears before anyone caught me being too dramatic again. (Yeah, I can be really embarrassing like that. I pretend to be all fierce and unforgiving, but I transform into a crybaby at the slightest provocation. Groan.) She came back to us on her own! After six months! Which just goes to show that she’s a really good person and we have every reason to love her like our own. Also, that’s gotta say something good about my family, right?

Rhea’s homecoming is too happy it does not only make it to my happy list. She merits an entire blog altogether.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Single White Female

In high school, Malou once noticed that she was starting to sound like me – with the kind of words I used, my mannerisms when I talked, stuff like that. But that’s ok bcoz that’s what girlfriends do together, right? You like the same things and pretty soon you could end up looking and talking like you were twins.

Phoebe used to jazz up my Levi’s the same way she did hers. Ate always gets me doubles of all the dainty stuff she has that she knows I would also like. Rosa and I bought the same purple Maryjanes in Alberto, and I gave her XoXo bangles similar to mine. I bought Paula the same purse with orange flowers and green handle as the one I had, and gave Babette a pair of Kitty earrings I originally bought for myself. For Christmas, I gave Eycee the beige version of this blue dress I have from Bayo. Babette also says her blog was inspired by mine, and Rosa and Pie started their own happy lists in their blogs after I did mine. This is all part of the fun of being girly girls.

But when you’re not my friend and you copy something of mine – that’s majorly NOT cool. Have some originality, why don’t you. What are you gonna do next – give up your usual frumpy principal attire and start wearing Mango and Zara and Enzo? Are you gonna take up reading now, and watching indie films, and maybe even blogging? Go ahead, give yourself several nosebleeds – last time I checked, it’s still a free country.

You will also have to befriend all my family and friends, bcoz they are who make my life so colorful, insane, and endlessly amazing. Assuming they’ll let you, that is. Which I highly doubt considering you are not only insufferably dull, dumb to your boyfriend's faults, and pretend to be all virginal, it turns out you are also a poor little copycat.

If you start dressing up now and absorbing some culture and surrounding yourself with beautiful people, then maybe in the next few years you can be a little more like me - a bitch, no doubt, but surprisingly well-loved all around. And maybe then he’ll love you more, right?

So what are you waiting for? Go.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Happy List 12



1. Sleep-overs of my in-laws. Ate Yen and James are on vacation from Ireland, and spent a night and two days with us. The Tarlac and Marikina relatives also came over. Ches’ family is big, loud, and super close, and whenever we all get together, no one ever wants to leave, as if we don’t see each other on a regular basis. I keep telling Ches one of the things I love most about him is his family.

2. Lenten retreat in the office, which stressed that the most important thing at work is relationship. In life, too, I think.

3. Carlos Celdran. Brave, irreverent, funny. Pro-RH, anti-Damaso. (Need to go on his tours soon.)

4. Lunch at Friday's with SM friends Sherry, Dette, Auds, and Regina, in honor of Sherry’s leaving SM to pursue motherhood (ha ha), Regina’s Red Mango treat (which I coerced him into doing haha), and catching up with Lani at Starbucks

5. Ticking off all the items in my to-do list in MoA (buying a new set of contacts, having pix for Mom printed, and getting stuff for our birthday gift for MIB)

6. Ches playing hooky so he could join me in MoA. We end up watching Sucker Punch which he says is a hit in the US but is not my kind of movie at all. It was too cheesy I was wincing the whole time. Groan. The things I do for Ches.

7. The Little Black Book of Beauty by Nina Garcia. Teh’s Christmas gift. Fabulous and practical at the same time.

8. Coming across Eycee, Robert, and their battalion of friends at the UP Chapel on Easter Sunday

9. Playing with the boys around UP after Mass. We started going to UP instead of Claret for Mass this summer, and we go around the campus after to give the boys a semblance of exercise. It’s our healthy and cheap new form of bonding.

10. Running around the neighborhood with Ches. He’s a workout junkie and has been bugging me to join him since I’m always complaining about my sleeping problems. I usually run for only a couple of minutes, and just stroll the rest of the way. Ches orders me to run some more but I tell him I can’t exert myself bcoz I have asthma. Ha ha. I’m such The Queen of Alibis.

11. Things We Lost in The Fire. Easily one of my favorites this year. It’s one of those movies that never stop being sad (like Reign Over Me, Rachel Getting Married, and Rabbit Hole). Benicio del Toro made me cry and cry.

12. Margot At The Wedding. Unconventional and unformulaic. Jack Black is a different kind of funny here – all snooty and emotional. I think Nicole Kidman is one of those actresses who have everything – beauty, talent, and substance – but you just have to like her bcoz she seems so nice.

13. The royal wedding bets. I read how the Brits bet on such hilarious stuff as who would be the first to cry in the wedding (the odds are in favor of Elton John), at what point in the ceremony the Duke of Edinburgh would fall asleep, the color of the Queen’s hat, the main dish at the reception (some people bet on corgi, the royals’ favorite breed of dog). Too funny.

14. Yoshi’s karate class. I go on leave to join him on his first day and channel my usual stage mommy instincts. I also bring Bootsie and he’s even more excited than anyone to start punching and kicking away. Haha.

15. Texts from Rhoel and Dendee about our payables from the trip. I tell Rhoel he can keep the 85,000 dong so I can go around forever bragging that he owes me 85,000 (I don’t have to say it’s not in pesos). Dendee insists on paying already bcoz she’s worried I might throw a tantrum similar to the one I had when we received our first pay slips in QT and it was less than what was written in our job offer (it turned out they gave the tax shelter allowance separately). She wasn’t even around then but I guess she heard about the kind of venom I am capable of spewing if I feel cheated in money matters. Hahaha.

16. Friends who call you way into the night to ask for your ideas on how to propose to their girlfriends and how to break the news to her parents, like you’re their adopted Ate or something

17. Friends who ask for your advice on their career and whether or not it is time to change jobs, and actually do as you say. (But don’t blame me, Aiz, if it doesn’t work out. Haha. I love you, Aiz!)

18. Endless phone calls with Paula as she drives from The Fort to Marikina, where we diss the brilliant creatures that inhabited our former office by the bay, and laugh like witches over Thom’s current Herbalife obsession

19. Thom’s night visits, to get his strawberries, and then to bring me and Boots our supply of cashews

20. Our surprise birthday party for our beloved boss. Rosa puts a collage of our pictures in a big frame that we hang in his room, and they decorate the whole place while Ann and I are in a subsidiary board meeting. Our gifts come in the form of vouchers that they put in a balloon that he had to sit on to pop (and he gamely did). Hahaha. We also had paella, lechon kawali (his favorite), and the yummy Dulcelin mango torte. It was a huge success and was another event to add to our treasure trove of happy office memories.

21. Training with Ann and Rosa at EDSA Shang. I chat with the speaker (Atty. Catindig) who was my teacher in Commercial Law Review and who I credit for my high grade in that bar subject. The best part, of course, are the snacks and lunch buffets. I so enjoyed the salad bar where I put all the bacon bits and walnuts and cashews that I want. There was also the salmon, snapper, lapu-lapu, osso buco, and countless little cakes. Yum.

22. Eycee’s texts about stuff like Carl Jung, anima, and feminine inner personality. So crazy. (I reply to her, stop giving me a nosebleed, Eyc! Hahaha.)

23. BB messaging Jon, where we plan our next trip and I complain to him about this girl we know who’s so much richer than us now, and we were supposed to be smarter than her in school. Dang. Jon commiserates and we get bitter and envious together. Hahaha.

24. Loudette’s text after she reads my blog about my current job, saying she believes I deserve all the good things that have been coming my way. Owww. My friends are perfect everyday. (Looking forward to Chuchi’s party so I can see all these guys again. Chuchi considers doing it in Manila, finally. Haha.)

25. Telling Binay off if only thru text. I’ve been getting all these texts about him since he assumed office, consisting of grossly exaggerated updates of what he’s up to (stuff like, VP Binay successfully deferred the execution of Filipinos in China!). I just ignore and delete. This last one tho (about Marcos’ burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani) came in at midnight, and that did it. I’VE HAD IT. I replied: Stop texting me about friggin Binay!!! I will NEVER vote for him EVER!!! Especially when you bright people bother me AT MIDNIGHT!!! Ches says I just wasted my text bcoz it was likely system-generated. I knew that, too, but I don’t care. Dang, it felt good.

26. Having our annual pictorials amid the sunflowers in University Av. Plus, with the huge U and P letters that magically appeared in the Sunken Garden a few weeks back. Then early dinner of Rodic’s tapsilog and jumbosilog at the Shopping Center after. Weekends do not get any more perfect than this.