Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Leadership Fundamentals

The Hubby and I are going to a six-week series on Leadership Fundamentals. It's every Thursday, 7PM, at the Every Nation Building, Bonifacio Global City (that's The Fort to you and me).

I'm quite excited, since I do need to work on my leadership skills. I've always been one to go with the flow, or strike out on my own. When I do have people under me, I tend to be too easygoing yet controlling (is that an oxymoron?--The Hubby's new word of the day).

To be discussed:
Purpose - September 29
Vision - October 6
Integrity - October 13
Government - October 20
Perseverance - October 27
Decisiveness - November 3

The great thing about this is it's absolutely free! Anyone can come, and you can join anytime (of course, it would be better to attend all). And Joey Bonifacio will be conducting the sessions. So that should be a treat. He's a great speaker and an astute businessman, so I'm sure we'll learn a lot.

If any of you want to join at any time, let me know. :)

Monday, September 26, 2005


A day after contemplating the wisdom of upgrading my portfolio at www.writing.com, which my chennybopping soul could not get myself to pay for, someone anonymously gifted me with an upgraded membership.

Not just the Basic Membership that I was thinking about, the one that allowed up to 25 items posted, but a full Upgraded Membership that lets you post up to 250 pieces, plus lets you do a whole lot of other things. And this anonymous gift is good fo two months. Oh joy.

Of course, I also realized that it could be a marketing ploy--a sneaky way for them to entrap chennyboppers like me, making us taste the good life and forcing us to pay for membership when our current membership expires, because we discover that we can't go back to five items. Oh well. I don't care. I still appreciate the upgrade.

But now comes the pressure. Pressure, pressure, pressure. I now seriously have to write and produce material to post. What a waste of the 250-item space if I don't get at least half full. I have to really set aside time and effort to get out those brilliant stories swimming around my head, floating in my soul.

I need to be disciplined. I need to be focused and effective. I need to finish work so I won't feel guilty when I do non-work writing. I need help to do this, as by nature, I am a lazy bum.

Pressure, pressure, pressure. I need serious rehabilitation for creative writing muscles that have atrophied.


Speaking of gifts, my dad recently bought me a copy of Jonathan Kellerman's Twisted. And the Baby Seester bought me Kellerman's Therapy (which she will read before giving to me; I don't mind--I do the same to the books I give to her).

When you give, it just comes back! What a wonderful concept.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Rediscovering the Muse

I've been trying to get back into the writing groove. So I dug up all my old work--a couple of short stories, some kiddie stories and a poem--and posted them here, on my online writer's portfolio at www.writing.com. Do try to take a look--and give me a rating or review if you're up to it. This is the first time I'm actively plugging my writing--and exposing my soul!--so be gentle please.

The only problem with the online portfolio is that for free memberships for chennyboppers like me, you can only post a maximum of 5 pieces. Which means whenever I have something new, I have to delete something. The paid membership starts at about $10 for three months. That allows me to post up to 25 pieces. Hmm. Is it worth it? Theoretically, posting your work there is supposed to get you helpful feedback to help you improve your writing, but does it really work? Will it really help my writing? Or is it just the satisfaction of getting read, and maybe getting an occasional ego-stroking (or bashing!)?

But 5 pieces severely limits me. Then again, have to really see if I can produce more than what I already have. Must really find time and discipline to write again.

I'm excited.

And scared.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

7 Things

I've been tagged by Selina! Hey thanks. And thanks for the salsa recipe too.

7 things that used to scare me:

  1. the dark
  2. all sorts of monsters and creepy creatures--from vampires to werewolves to ghosts to the botelyayo old ladies who walked around Baguio shouting "Botelyayo!" or something like that (they actually just wanted used old bottles, but my Aunt Candy would always tell me that they were there to get me if I didn't behave)
  3. pain
  4. my grandmother on my dad's side
  5. failure
  6. humiliation; looking stupid
  7. loneliness

7 things that scare me now: These days, things don't really 'scare' me, since I know where I'm going, and God is my posse. But these are still things I don't look forward to:

  1. failure
  2. looking stupid
  3. pain
  4. losing loved ones (even losing my dog makes me grieve!)
  5. not being a good wife or mother
  6. not fulfilling my purpose
  7. not knowing my purpose
7 things i like the most:

  1. books
  2. fountain pens. nice ballpens and pencils. and notebooks and lovely paper. and stationery
  3. dogs and most furry creatures (with the exception of most rodents)
  4. food
  5. the beach and all that go with it--the sun, sand, sea, shakes and me as the ultimate bikini goddess
  6. great conversation, laughter
  7. music that matches my mood (can live without TV, but go nuts without the radio or CD player)

7 random facts about me

  1. I'm practically blind without my glasses, and I'm allergic to contact lenses
  2. I hate cigarette smoke. Detest. Abhor. Enough exposure will bring on an asthma attack.
  3. I had numerous puppies named "Cutie" when I was a kid--and they all died.
  4. I prefer what my dad calls "white people food" most of the time (pasta, bread and steaks!)
  5. I'm a crybaby. I cry when I'm happy, sad, lonely, mad, good, bad...
  6. I have to read. I read anything--books, magazines, can labels, signs, etc.
  7. I like to walk. Might be the Baguio girl in me. When I got to Manila, couldn't understand why people would ride a jeep or trike when they just had to go a couple of blocks down.

7 important things in my bedroom: Hmm. This is a hard one. I don't really keep much in the bedroom. Unless you count The Hubby as a thing.

  1. jewelry. What little I have anyway.
  2. more books.
  3. clothes I guess. But I desperately want to revamp my wardrobe.
  4. shoes. But I have only two serviceable pairs. I miss my Imeldific days! ;p
  5. toothbrush--in the master's bath that's in the bedroom. Can't stress how important this is!
  6. extension cord. The only portable, decent-looking one in the house.
  7. can't think of anything else!

7 things i plan to do before i die:

  1. go on a mission trip
  2. raise godly kids who will make a positive difference in this world
  3. get a master's degree in Creative Writing
  4. go to Europe with The Hubby. and South America, Asia, Australia...
  5. publish a book. At least one
  6. get a scuba diving license
  7. get a driver's license

7 things i can do:

  1. write
  2. cook
  3. make soap, lotion, cologne
  4. cross stitch and knit
  5. convert Celcius to Fahrenheit and vice versa
  6. swim
  7. wrap gifts

7 things i can't do

  1. sing or do anything musical beyond turn on the radio and change the CD
  2. dance gracefully
  3. drive
  4. enjoy math problems
  5. sit still for long
  6. make a website from scratch. use graphics applications like Photoshop; layout applications like Freehand. Not yet anyway
  7. skillfully argue without losing control of my emotions. or bursting into tears. that's why I never went into law.

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex

  1. nice, clean smell. I particularly like the smell of soap, and light, sporty, water-y colognes
  2. eyes that can make you feel that you're the only girl in the world
  3. witty conversation
  4. sense of humor
  5. intellect
  6. some special skill--cooking, playing an instrument, singing, dancing, whatever
  7. integrity

7 things i say the most

  1. ayayay
  2. sus
  3. duh
  4. haay
  5. what you think?
  6. why...[fill in the blank]?
  7. what's to eat?

i'm tagging angel, nica, regina, anna k, stef.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Paradise Lost

I was rummaging through my collection of notebooks--used and new--and I found a beat-up pink Cattleya notebook. The kind that you used in the binders with those hook/paperclip things to hold them in place.

This pink Cattleya was mine since first year high school, and in it I had written six chapters of a Sweet Dreams-type of novel. In longhand.

Inserted in the pages were six loose-leaf sheets of detailed character sketches, complete with full names, nicknames, birthdays, likes, dislikes and class schedules. I also had all the names of the teachers per class. And the love ineterest and friends and enemies of all the major characters. Though my unfinished novel now makes me cringe, I could see the enthusiasm I had, filling up the 50 or so pages with my tiny, 0.5-mech-pencil-only handwriting.

I remember the joy of sharing the story with my friends, on whose lives my characters were loosely based. I remember how easy it was to get the ideas flowing. How easy it was to keep on writing. I remember...I remember that I wrote that without any goal in mind. Just the pleasure of getting the story out of my head and onto paper.

I remember and it makes me want to cry. Where has that enthusiastic, hopeful writer gone?

Yes, I now make my living as a 'writer'. But what kind? I write fluff for a living. I write on demand. I write the things that bring in money. I write whatever the client tells me to. I take their words and form them into something more readable. Their ideas, not mine. Their words, hardly any of mine.

And when I try to write for myself, when I try to get my stories out on paper--nothing. No words come out. I've forgotten how. And somehow, I die inside.

I know that writer--the one who writes without a care for grammar or sense or audience or approval or pay--is in here somewhere. Buried under deadlines and responsibilities and the need to always be perfect. I just don't know how to find her.

Maybe that's why I so desperately want to go back to school and earn my master's degree in Creative Writing. Maybe the discipline of having to write non-work will help me break free. Maybe being immersed in a world where you aren't selling anything in your writing will inspire me somehow.

I want to write.

I want to feel the sheer joy of words tumbling out effortlessly, forming themselves into delightful stories.

Where have I gone?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Toothless Wonder

I broke my front tooth last Sunday. Snapped right off, leaving a small stump and a suddenly big space in my mouth. I have this nasty habit of gritting my teeth. And I inherited my mom's weak enamel. Bad combination.

When my tooth broke, I did what any mature 30-year old woman would do. I locked myself in the bathroom and called my mom. And grinning at myself in the mirror, I looked hideous. So I also burst into tears. I didn't want The Hubby to see me looking like a toothless hag. My mom finally convinced me to talk to The Hubby so we could look for a dentist.

So there I stood, staring at the poor, sleep-deprived Hubby, willing him into consciousness. He finally jolted awake. "I broke my tooth," I mumbled from behind the village phone book.

"What?" he sleepily and grumpily mumbled back.

"Broke my tooth."

"What? What? Let me see."

Let him see? No way! I didn't want to disillusion him this early in our marriage. So I mumbled some more behind the phone book while keeping away from the bed.

"Fine," he said and turned on his side to go back to sleep.

The outrage I felt! How could he not see that what I wanted was his assurance that he would still love me even if I looked like the wicked witch of the east? Couldn't he read my mind? So I slammed my way out of the room, stomped down, and sobbed quietly as I tried to look for a dentist.

A few minutes later, The Hubby came down. "Are you ready to talk properly?" he asked.

Well, if talking properly meant facing him without the cover of the phonebook which was now open before me, then I wasn't ready. So I just mumbled some more, with my back turned to him. I felt ugly, unlovable, stupid and thoroughly misunderstood and unwanted.

But I'm blessed with a husband who eventually gets it. Much later, he finally apologized for being insensitive, and we made up. We didn't really kiss, because it just felt too weird kissing without a tooth.

I was only able to go to the dentist on Monday. So till then I had this lisp, especially with the letters "B" and "V". Oh, and to add to my semi-misery, The Hubby's siblings came over for dinner Sunday night. I must have looked so strange, talking behind my hands all evening (much earlier in the day, though, I was telling The Hubby that I wished his family would come over more often--I just didn't expect my wish to be answered so soon!).

Then when I got to the dentist, she had to do a root canal (I cannot explain how much this terrifies me. I hate going to the dentist. The sound of the drill makes me break out in goosebumps. I'm such a wuss when it comes to pain). Then she said one of my dreaded fears--I needed a jacket on my tooth. I always dreamed of dying with a full set of natural teeth, and this ruined it all.

When I got the temporary jacket, it was too white. Now while I am not exactly happy with the not-so-white color of my teeth, I still would have wanted the fake one not to stick out like, well, a sore tooth. So it was another two days of talking without letting my lip go above my teeth-line, and trying not to smile in public. "Oh," said The Hubby, "you could glow in the dark!" Grr. Sometimes I wonder about his sense of humor.

Fortunately, the dentist made another temporary jacket that was more in the mother-of-pearl shade. So I can now talk normally and smile and laugh aloud.

And yes, The Hubby and I finally can kiss and make up properly.

The Most Blessed Dog in the World

The Boo has to be the most prayed-for, prayed-over, most blessed dog in the world.

He got lost on Sunday night, we got him back Thursday night. My cell group and even our pastor had been praying for him. Right after one of my cell group mates prayed for The Boo, I read the text message from someone saying that they had The Boo.

He had been with the family across the street, two houses down from us, the whole time. And, as I prayed for, he was loved and safe and sound--indoors. When we went to get him, he came trotting out of the house like he belonged there. I think he was almost sorry to be back home, since he still isn't allowed in the house.

Again, I am overwhelmed by the way God has orchestrated the whole thing. The Boo was picked up by that family, and not by anyone else. They adored him. Yet they were preparing to go house-to-house today to look for the people who lost their dog. We weren't able to make too many "Lost Dog" flyers, yet they got--and read--one. They loved Boo, and that was what I was praying for.

This is another testimony of God's faith, even in small things. Faith has always been a problem for me. Yes, I do trust God for my salvation, but for the smaller things, I always try to work it out myself, sometimes thinking that I shouldn't bother God with the petty details of my life. But God IS interested in the petty details of my life. And that's one amazing thing that I still am trying to digest.

Of course, his interest is not to be misconstrued as getting a carte blanche for everything I want. He still has his own plans that I can't even begin to comprehend. And that's the crucial thing--believing that he has the best planned for me, even through the hard times and problems. After all, having God in your life doesn't guarantee easy living. But it does give you something to hold on to. I guess faith is like a muscle. You have to work on building it, making it stronger. And God sends mini-trials like this to give you a faith workout.

Would I still feel the same way about faith if I didn't get The Boo back? It would take me some time to get it, I guess. But eventually, I would still put my faith in God.

One thing though, faith doesn't mean that we loll around waiting for miracles to happen to us. So while we trust God to continue to keep The Boo safe, The Hubby fixed the fence.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Boo Is Gone

We lost The Boo again yesterday.

Same thing as last time. Big storm, major thunder and lightning. And for some strange reason in his addlepated half-brain, The Boo squeezed out the gate to look for comfort and security heaven knows where.

I was in church when the storm hit, and I was desperately praying that Boo still be there when we got back. But he wasn't.

I am drowning in rage. Rage against myself. I should have made The Hubby cover the fence with chickenwire. I should have done it myself. I should have gotten him a collar with my number and a "Reward for my return" note. I should have...I should have...Why didn't I? I don't know. I am filled with sorrow and anger and regret.

I'm trying to think what God is teaching me this time. Is it because I love Boo more than I respect The Hubby's authority on this matter? I have never totally accepted The Hubby's decision to keep Boo out during storms--I pout, I follow with a heavy heart, I constantly argue with The Hubby on this point.

Is it something more practical, like procrastination? Or rather dealing with procrastination. I should have fixed the fences right away, but there was always some excuse not to.

Or could it be that there is nothing to be learned this time? That it's really a faith thing. Having faith that God has better plans for everything, even for The Boo. It has to be. I have to have faith. Because I can't bear to think of the other alternatives.

I pray that wherever The Boo is, they love him as much I do. And that he's safe and sound indoors.