Monthly Archives: March 2007

Two minutes to midnight and I just realized that my window just opened

I’ve been busy scrapbooking and I’ve cleaned up for the night.  I’ve been assembling the layouts and adding the hard embellishments.  The paper coaster, the card keys from the hotel, the newspaper clippings.. the business cards I picked up from some stores, and I’m also adding the captions I made the previous week.  I’m getting there.  It’s been a while but I want to finish this before the Disney trip. 

My mind is sort of floating in outerspace right now because of the excitement of my day today.  Nothing much except for an interesting phone call I got.  There are times when something just creeps up on us and we are caught unaware.  I got a phone call just like that today.  I knew the caller — he is a colleague of my boss.  I’ve known him longer than my boss actually, although our interaction has been more social that professional.  He starts off by saying they’ve heard nice things about me, and so has his boss.  The latter part is what caught my attention — his boss happens to be the boss of my boss’s boss.  THAT boss.  It was a very quick call with a simple question, would I talk to his boss?  Can I say no to that?  I told him he was coming from left field and I need time to absorb the import of his message, but yes, I will.

Now I realize that was a window that opened.  What was the door that closed?  My boss and I did my performance review a few weeks back and he told me he was very happy with my performance, that I had often exceeded his expectations and he looked forward to another productive year together.  I just got stumped when he told me I wasn’t getting a raise because I was already way above the market reference zone.  My first problem is that I will be above that market reference zone maximum for at least another 5 years.  So I was asking no one in particular if this meant I was pretty much stuck at this salary level with no hope of a raise in the near future — the answer I got was sort of a yes.  That didn’t sit well with me.  He did give me a sizeable bonus, but I think the bonus would’ve been more meaningful if I got my usual raise which wasn’t even 3% but which I got every year for the last two years I was with the previous boss.

My first impulse was to jump ship but I felt my hands were tied.  I have to admit the fact he has been very accommodating of my need for flexibility in schedule and my childcare issues has been a big break compared to my situation with the previous boss.  Still, I didn’t have the option to work from home even if I was equipped to do that precisely with my laptop which afforded me connectivity from home.  And I cannot deny the fact that I like working for this boss.  He’s pretty easy to read, and while he has his own quirks (nobody is perfect after all), I’ve had a relatively easy time steering this ship so to speak.  So Alan and I talked about it and I told him I will stay put for a year, then see how things turn out during next year’s review.  Perhaps then, he would see more value in showing me his appreciation by ensuring I get a just raise and a decent bonus all at the same time.  I’m not holding my breath, though.

Then this call came.  No, I don’t have the job yet, but I’ve been told it has been narrowed down to a choice between two internal candidates.  Apparently, they have done their homework, background checking, etc., even going as far as checking with the old boss.  While there was no love lost between my previous boss and I when we parted, she apparently endorsed me and said that between the other lady and myself, she felt I could do the job better.  She did give the caveat about my childcare issues — that was a relief considering if they still wanted to talk to me despite the fact that they had heard that one reason I am where I am right now is because of the flexibility it has afforded me, then there is room to compromise.

This new job is definitely better paying not only in terms of the base pay but the bonus as well.  There is a second assistant who is more clerical, with the senior position being of a managerial nature.  It would mean dressing to the nines again day in and day out, and being available 24/7.  Being in the frontlines, it means more stress, and more real work.  (Oops, there goes my scrapbooking.. LOL)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about the prospect of taking on the job.  I can only hope that Tuesday’s conversation turns out well, but part of me wishes I wasn’t being put on the spot with this development.  If I get offered the job, I have to give a response, and the most difficult part would be telling the boss.  (The one I am currently with.)  I have never really felt confident enough to apply for those openings on the penthouse level, and I feel flattered that I am being sought out instead of being asked to apply.  I find it rather unusual that the prescreening has already been done — I am not even talking to the Chief of Staff who called me anymore.  I am talking directly to the hiring manager.

Many people are intidimidated by her not just because of the title she holds but because many know her to be very driven and accomplished.  I have always admired her from afar but never dreamed I’d be summoned to her office to feel each other out.  Again, how could I have said “No, thank you.  I’m happy where I am.” 

Decisions, decisions.  While I look forward to this conversation, part of me dreads it because of the possibility it will mean telling my boss it’s time for us to part ways.  Then again, who knows?  There is a possibility this might not work out.  I guess I won’t know until the conversation is over and done with.  Wish me luck!

Continue reading

Tagged | 5 Comments

Talk about blowing me away!

I haven’t been writing much here of late but I check in every day to check comments or messages left by those who pass by and read my rants and raves here.  The other day I was pleasantly blown away by a comment from one of the authors I recommended one time I got tagged — Teresa Reyes Tunay whose book FLOWING FREE had made such an impression on me not just because of Ms. Tunay’s written wit and humor, but because her stories spoke of a sense of adventure that opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I practically grew up with her columns in MOD magazine — I wonder if that magazine’s still around, but reading weekly installments was nothing compared to reading her book.  It was one of the books in my small library which I handed out to friends before I moved to New York in 2000, and I’ve written Ms. Tunay that I hope I can find a new copy and drop it off to be autographed by her next time I’m in Manila.  That would be a great addition to my small collection of autographed books by Tom Clancy, Caroline Kennedy, James McGreevey and Jamie Oliver. 

Continue reading

Tagged | 2 Comments

Planning a vacation and postponing it

We’ve been planning our trip to Orlando for weeks now and were vacillating between postponing and going because of some issues at Alan’s work.  Although he got the go-signal from the uber bosses, we came home tonight with some bad news about my mother-in-law feeling some pain in her stomach.  It was so bad that she called her doctor today and got the advice to go to the emergency room if the pain persists through the weekend, or if she is not that uncomfortable, that she pay her doctor a visit for an MRI.

With an almost 77-year-old body, that’s not good news at all.  Although she acted as if she was perfectly alright over dinner earlier, even my own Mom was adamant we postpone.  Alan himself had his doubts about the prudence of going ahead, knowing how far Florida is from New York.  For my part, I felt that some unknown force was pulling us back and stopping us from going on this long-planned vacation.  One thing I have learned to do through the years is to trust my instincts, and my instincts were telling me Mickey Mouse wasn’t going anywhere — Disneyworld will always be there.

Fortunately, the tyke in whose name this whole vacation was planned around is too young to brood and throw a tantrum over postponing a trip to Disneyworld.  I can’t say I’m totally disappointed because it means I can spend more time with Donna who would have been here in New York another week with me in Orlando if we went on the trip.  I guess you can say it wasn’t a total loss.. after all, even if I didn’t get to go, I get to spend more time with my bestfriend and I still get to visit Orlando sometime in the very near future.

I’m still taking Monday off, though.  I have always been a firm believer that birthdays were meant to be taken as a special day off.  This birthday is going to be special because I get to spend it with my Mom — probably the last one I’m spending with her here (at least until my 50th which I plan to celebrate in Manila or until she joins me here permanently once I successfully petition her)..   And the best part of it all, I get to spend it with Donna with whom I haven’t celebrated a birthday for the last 18 years or so… yes, it’s been that long.  That’s one great birthday gift..

Continue reading

Tagged | 3 Comments

Enjoying the hectic days just passed

I finally saw Donna last Monday, took her and her husband Ed out last night (got home past midnight!) and I am looking forward to catching her even just once and possible twice before we have to go on vacation.

Being with Donna again has been precious indeed, the feeling is just beyond words.  I feel sad and happy at the same time.  So I’m taking time off writing about it until I can take a step back and be better able to put it into words.  Soon.

Meanwhile, I was blown away when one of my favorite Filipina writers, Teresa Reyes-Tunay actually found a reference to her and her book FLOWING FREE and she left me feedback which just made my day.  Wow.. that’s all I can say!

Continue reading

Tagged | Comments Off

Dave continues his journey of hope

I finally had the chance to call Jinky, (aka Estrella De La Cruz-Tolentino, member of SPCQC High School Batch ’83) after planning to do that for a week.  Somehow the 12 hour difference always throws me off and I am always thinking about the prudence of calling from out of the blue.  Thanks to chikka, I texted her before I called and I managed to get through.

Dave was doing great, she told me and was no longer suffering pains in his extremities.  He was crying out loud in the background, though, because his Ate was being asked to go with some cousins and he naturally had to be left behind.  Typical of any four-year-old who would throw a tantrum when Mommy tells him to stay at home and just rest… in a sense, hearing him was comforting.  He was feeling strong enough to let his displeasure be known.

Dave is now being treated at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, and has been home for a couple of days after having been confined the previous week.  He was given an initial low dose of chemo to begin the treatment, and lab tests were undertaken to better tailor fit the chemo protocol to be used in what is being projected to be a year’s treatment.  The cytogenetics test performed to determine this will take a month to propagate, and we can expect that in three weeks’ time.

Thanks to the generosity of those who responded to our initial appeal, the P38,000.00 this first confinement cost was easily covered.  Part of it was likewise paid for by PhilHealth, (around P14,000 of the total cost), and there is enough money to cover the medication that Dave needs.  The selfless help extended by batchmates who actually drove Dave and family to the hospital when he was rushed there, as well as their physical presence at this trying time to cheer up Dave and Jinky are truly priceless.  That, coupled with all the prayers and the continued effort to find help for our little angel has been most heart-warming.

The Doctor has requested that Dave be confined for three every-other-day doses of chemotherapy beginning this coming Wednesday, March 29, and they are to be discharged on Wednesday, April 4.  The family is being given a respite through the Holy Week and Dave is going to be confined anew after Holy Week for another series of chemo treatments and then succeeding chemo treatments will be done on an out patient basis.

The money so far raised should be good to cover Dave’s expenses up to the confinement before Holy Week.  We are counting on future donations to help tide Dave through the succeeding confinements and expenses.  Although we are still in the process of collating the projected expenses, we know that this is going to be quite a financial hurdle to overcome.  Still, I assured Jinky she should not worry about the money.  We have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity — I am sure that is a message from Above that help will come.  We just have to believe and do our job to ask — so that those who can can open their hearts and dig deep into their pockets to help Dave with this medical challenge he is facing can help him through this trying time.

It’s imperative that we pursue treatment now that Dave still has the physical strength to cope with the demands of chemo therapy, because the disease IS curable.  Those who wish to help can e-mail me at, those who want to give donations directly to Jinky can refer to this earlier article for her account details at a local bank in the Philippines.

Dave is a four-year-old boy who was diagnosed to have ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA last year.  Although the initial  diagnosis late last year was that he only had two months to live, Dave has bravely battled his ailment and is trying to get his chance for a cure.  Pinay New Yorker and Dave’s mom, Jinky, both belong to St. Paul College of Quezon City High School Batch ’83.

top blogs

Continue reading

Tagged | Comments Off

Raincheck on a date tonight

I was supposed to see Donna tonight — I was all excited and was getting a few things ready.  Some magazines, a few small token gifts.. we were planning to take her and her husband out to dinner and then go for a few drinks at a bar in Manhattan.  I got a call at 7PM that they had to stay home because some relatives were arriving.  I completely understood but I couldn’t help but be disappointed.  I just consoled myself with the thought that I’m spending the whole day tomorrow with her and her family.  We’re meeting up at Grand Central and then heading out to Fifth Avenue if the weather is good, maybe walk to Central Park from 42nd street, stop by Rockefeller Center and take a few pictures along the way.

I am all excited to see her and spend time with her, but Alan mentioned a valid concern — if her whole family is with her tomorrow, then we wouldn’t have much of a chance to talk and catch up.  =(  So he offered to reschedule dinner on Tuesday in New Jersey.  That lit my face up because then, we can just see each other after work and be able to eat, then we can do drinks another time — perhaps when she returns from their stop on the West Coast just before she returns to Australia.

There is never enough time.. but I’ll take what I can get.  Fourteen years apart is much too long.  No matter how we tried to meet up in Manila, we always missed each other.  This is going to be a rare opportunity for us to be together again — and we don’t know when we can meet up anew.  We have always managed to keep in touch no matter how far apart our letters have been.  These days, there’s e-mail, but somehow it still falls short of the usual.

Our friendship is truly unique because I can remember the very night we started to be real friends.  It was already by our junior year in high school although we had known each other since our freshman year.  Even if the whole batch was 300 something strong, we somehow knew who else was with which batch.  It was at one of the parties that some of the girls had organized at the Corinthian Gardens Clubhouse — it was a black and white party — (meaning you had to come in black and white or black or white..) — and I was by the lobby waiting, and so was she.  As it turned out, we were both waiting for friends from La Salle, and I was seated on one of the ledges, waiting in anticipation for my friends.

She approached me and struck up a conversation, telling me she had always wanted to be friends with me but was afraid I would find it weird if she approached me as we weren’t classmates.  That was October 2, 1981.  I remember the date because we used to celebrate the anniversary of that day we became inseparable.

The years have seen us with our own challenges, and she left Manila in 1992 before I finished law school.  We had drifted apart the years before she left but she sought me out specifically before she left, and we started writing each other right after that.  We have maintained the friendship long distance and have kept tabs with each other.  So this reunion is very meaningful on both sides.  I felt heartened to hear her telling her aunt that I was her “bestfriend from high school”. =)  Indeed.. and I can’t wait to see her tomorrow.


Continue reading

Tagged | Comments Off

Five things to be happy about

  1. Being able to knit myself a scarf
  2. A sense of humor to deal with my almost three year old tyke’s moods and energy
  3. Target
  4. take out Embotido
  5. talking to my bestfriend Donna who I am going to see tomorrow after 14 years of being apart!

Continue reading

Tagged | Comments Off

Can’t stop knitting!

I’ve been knitting every moment I can sit down to do it all day.  I’ve so far finished three skeins of the ladder yarn I’m working on, and from the looks of it, I should be good with another skein and possibly part of another before I’m finally done.  I’m really inspired to finish it this weekend with the weather improving but remaining nippy. 

It’s really something to see the material taking shape and the scarf getting longer — I just want to keep on and on.  I like that I can continue stitching while drifting away thinking about other things.  The rhythm of getting the stitches over the needles and pulling at the thread to keep going is like a slow dance for my fingers.  It’s like swinging gently back and forth on a swing.  I do count the stitches every few rows just to make sure I had not stitched any extra purls or knits, and when I do, I make adjustments.

I wanted to knit more since last year but didn’t really have the chance to.  It looks like I’ll finally be able to get that done this year.

Continue reading

Tagged | Comments Off

How I find the time..

Some of my batchmates at St. Paul College of Quezon City back in High school (we graduated in 1983) have been visiting my blog and have been amazed at how I can maintain a blog, maintain the batch website, write for the batch eZINE and still be a fulltime working mom.  Don’t ask me, because I don’t know.

But I guess one reason is I’m a very a spontaneous person.  The two posts you see here were written after 6PM while waiting for Alan to get me here at work.  He just called that he just got on the 57th Street bridge and will be here shortly.  I figure I have around 10 minutes before he calls me that he is near my building already and I have to shut down and pack up.

I write, I write, and when everything settles down at home between 10PM and midnight, I write some more, I knit, I fiddle around with my scrapbook.  My leisure time is spent doing things I enjoy the most which again includes writing.  Sometimes I forage for a scrap of paper with enough blank space for me to write on as I sit on the bus.  And although I would love to read more, I’ve made it a routine to open the novel I’m reading when I sit on the subway on the way to work and later at the end of the day, I do the same on the way back.

I’m busy trying to think of what I’m cooking for dinner tonight as I try to plan my weekend.  And I’m jabbing away at the keyboard trying to finish this post.

Writing for the eZINE is not quite as easy because I write for an audience and I have to make sure the articles come out with some structure and a semblance of sense.  Here on my blog, I just rant and rave without regard for rules or sanity.  It’s my private space, I proudly proclaim.  I have one more article to write and I’m waiting on the e-mail responses to questionnaires I had sent out some time ago.  Every now and then I think of something new to write about.

(I am suddenly reminded that I have to trim a pair of pants I want to wear next week.  Too long.. perhaps I can start doing that tonight.)  I am excited about the arrival of my friend, Donna — she arrives with her family from Australia tonight and I hope to see her during the weekend.  Forget about the rains!

Continue reading

Tagged | 2 Comments

The buzz about Sanjaya on American Idol


There’s been a lot of buzz about why Sanjaya Malakar has been able to survive this long, now officially getting a slot as one of the top 10 contenders for the plum which ensures him a spot in the tour for the coming year.

People who keep griping cannot understand why Sanjaya is still singing when others who were more talented than he was have marched off the stage after being voted off. 

So the other day we were having an animated discussion about this latest American Idol slate and I suddenly asked out loud if these people complaining had actually voted during last Tuesday’s elimination round.  I got blank stares and resounding “No”s from everyone.  And that was the problem.  If people want to see someone else win, they have to vote for that someone else.  Otherwise, other people who are more intent on seeing their choice win, including Sanjaya’s horde of fans (apparently), will see their idols stay, while the poor talented souls who didn’t get your votes will get booted out.

American Idol works on a very simple system — it’s the popular vote that decides who gets to be crowned the winner at the end of the season.  It’s not Simon’s ranting (although it admittedly makes people think and it does sway the vote), nor is it Paula Abdul’s kind criticism and praise.  It’s the people who take the time to text and call in their votes.

I voted — not for Sanjaya, though –  and the four people I voted for will be back next week.  I’d hate to see a repeat of previous years when the talent favorite — the one who obviously had a right to wear the banner of American Idol across his or her chest got voted off.  I was guilty of not voting for Latoya Jackson or Christ Daughtry because I figured that they had a horde of people voting for them.  It turns out a majority of them probably thought the same thing I was thinking, wasting precious votes that went to other contenders whom we thought had lesser of a chance to make it or not voting at all.

So if you want to make a difference and get Sanjaya off that stage, you have to start voting for the OTHER candidates next week.  If you want to see Melissa Doolittle make it, don’t presume that half of America is voting for her because that other half might be mistakenly presuming the same thing, and we will end up denying her the title she truly deserves.

Continue reading

Tagged | Comments Off