I’m all mixed up once again. It’s just more than 24 hours and I’ve already done several things not so related to each other but has nevertheless kept myself busy, frustrated, confused, and excited – may not be in proper order but may apply all at one point. Yes. I’m once again having that chopsuey day. Well, just to remain optimistic there’s always a good thing about bad things.  At least it doesn’t make my day SSDD.

***

After a meeting with the rest of our village’s board of directors yesterday and with our treasurer walking out of the meeting, I finally filed my formal resignation this morning as well. It’s not because I’m fed up with any of them but it’s because of the troubling effect that goes along with the treasurer walking out and her probable termination.

So this morning while trying to decide between eating proper breakfast or leaving on time for one of the most important things I’ll be doing in the next few months to come, with fingers tightly crossed, I hurriedly typed what has been going on inside my mind for weeks, my resignation letter. It’s about time.

Emerald court
I miss the days when this is a common sight.

I really hate doing it but I did the best that I could to explain why I’m leaving this time. I got several compelling reasons and one of which is living a quiet life away from the baseless accusations, gossips and intrigues which are sadly done by elders who are supposed act as well-meaning advisers in the community. Although these may not be directly addressed to me I can’t bear hearing it anymore and this isn’t the environment that I want our baby boy to witness – this is one major reason.

Now I’m back, hopefully, to living as a private individual. Next time, I’ll share some of the homeowners association woos and woes.

***

Other than filing my resignation which I just realize was actually my first as I never had the chance to make one since I joined a team, organization or even a company, I started the first step to another milestone in my life. (Incidentally, I’ll be leaving my current job without it again)

This morning I went to Ateneo Rockwell to register for their MBA Regis program course entrance exam. Although, their building wasn’t exactly as vivid as what they have on their website’s header, I was still thrilled and excited the moment I saw it from afar and it got even more intense when I came inside. The place itself had this professional feel and the surrounding appears to be a very conducive place to learn. What especially caught my attention though was the solemn chapel inside the campus. I’m wondering now if this is filled to its capacity during exams with most of the students asking for divine intervention. Anyway, just in case it is, I’ll just bear kneeling outside.

Ateneo Rockwell's chapel
Law students do pray here. Photo by: Michael Gomez

The whole registration process went very orderly. I don’t know if this is always the case but when I arrived at the registrar’s counter, there were only four other people transacting and even if I had to go down to the cashier’s office to pay for the exam fee everything was still a breeze. When I left home this morning, I was prepared to be in a long line of students and have asked myself for extra patience. But then Ateneo’s automated system changed my perception of a traditional registration flow – it took me just about 10 minutes to finish the whole transaction and I was happily on my way home just in time for a late lunch and a well-deserved siesta – considering that it’s from Cavite to and from Makati being completed all in the morning wasn’t bad at all.

***

My blogging addiction has stepped up. In my desire to monetize my blog, I’ve been searching for days already on how to do it properly. I’ve also researched on what free or paid blog providers will cater monetization. Somehow, I discovered that in this case the best things aren’t free. And this led me back to Typepad.com.

I made the first steps in signing up with Typepad a couple of weeks ago but I was taken aback when I saw that its 14-day trial period would require me to enter my credit card number. Yesterday, as I ran out of choices and with my eagerness to sign back, I read and re-read the trial period conditions which to my relief say that I won’t be charge if I cancel before the 14-day period. And so I proceeded.

Sadly, my first impression about this paid blogging site isn’t good. For one, my expectation of Typepad being better than WordPress faded soon enough as I had a hard time using its dashboard. I find its features falling short of WordPress’ and just a bit better than Blogger.com. I still have 13 days to exploit it, but as of now I’m already revisiting my Blogger account and have done some re-layouts and modifications. I can see that it’s starting to look a lot like Typepad now. It’s a shame. But of course, I’m not quitting on Typepad yet. In the next days to come, I’ll spend some time using it and will give it another chance to prove its worth. Hopefully, at the end of the trial period is a win-win situation.

Here’s Typepad’s dash.

typepad

Here’s WordPress’.

WP dash.jpg

Now take your pick. I’ll bet a day’s worth of transport fare.

***

Chapel photo credit: Michael Gomez

***

Mood: 4/10 Honks!

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Kids and Lyrics

kidsnlyrics.jpg

Just as I have anticipated when we got married (wifey and I waits for a few more months before we become a decade-old married couple this coming June), I have eventually become an overprotective and strict father. Our 9- month old son’s presence confirmed all traits that since then I knew I would be or would like to be when fatherhood comes in.

I really don’t know if I’m doing a good job, but deep inside I feel that I’m at least meeting expectation. Wait, that last two words remind me of work. Maybe it’s because the absence of work, or at least its regular routine, that my missing the attendance tracking of my staff, conducting shiftly hud- dles, checking with my persistent upstream and downstream customers and everything else about work has made me more aware of everything about baby stuffs. Worries about work has been replaced with which nipples goes to which bottle, if milk scoops are exact to the brim, if formula ratio has been properly mixed, which baby DVD has been played already…and this is just to mention a few (trust me). Did I just mention DVD?

One of those baby things that I’ve actually been keeping tab is the baby music’s lyrics which I’ve been hearing so often again and again that the last regular “adult” LSS I can remember is the Journey’s Only the Young Can Sing. Now my ears have been attuned to Barney’s Mr. Sun and I can very well remember the video of Flying in an Airplane that I’m now beginning to think that it’s the Barney videos that are unconsciously encouraging gay- hood or lesbianism. But maybe it’s just me and besides it would require a long separate blog for that topic. By the way, don’t get me wrong and let me make these two things clear:

  1. I love the songs but I hate the video.
  2. I personally have nothing against members of the third sex…and Barney.

Ok now? So let me continue, but still the following maybe as thought- provoking as questions like who is capitalizing from all these recession and layoffs? Will Vietnam’s Intel factory perform just like the Philppines (pun intended)? And so many other questions currently and continuously bothering me.

Having an LSS of music for babies does seem to trouble me more than hav- ing Usher’s Trading Places lyrics play over and over again inside my head. This is because I’m now very careful with what our baby boy might be hearing and if the message it sends isn’t something that will plant harmful ideas to his innocent memory ready to break loose anytime during his ado- lescence. I don’t know if it’s paranoia on my part but I’m not taking any chances. And besides, remember the word “subliminal”? Scary, huh!

Let me start checking some of it now. Here’s the first, titled Ice cream Sun- day. Isn’t this a call to obesity? I wonder if Ronald McDonald composed this lyrics:

Ice cream Sunday it’s my number one day… Monday is not a fun day, mom makes broccoli… Thursday is the worst day, there’s liver on that dish Friday is a cry day, ‘coz then we all get fish…

How about this one, Fiddle-de-dee? This one reminds me of anything but children song. If I remember it right I saw one Body Snatchers episode in the Discovery channel about a bee or wasp planting its eggs inside a fly:

Fiddle-de-dee, Fiddle-de-dee,

The Fly has married the Bumble Bee, Says the fly, says he,

“Will you marry me?

And live with me, sweet Bumble Bee?” Fiddle-de-dee, Fiddle-de-dee,

Oh, I love you, and you love me!

How about a song that teaches our kids to stereotype?  There’s probably one, it’s titled There Was a Crooked Man:

There was a crooked man, And he walked a crooked mile, He found a crooked sixpence Upon a crooked stile:

He bought a crooked cat,

Which caught a crooked mouse, And they all lived together

In a crooked little house.

How about one that suggests animal cruelty? Now I find that the famous idiom, “curiosity killed the cat” is after all missing a word before it. The complete could be, “Kid’s curiosity killed the cat.” And we parents should not wonder why in the first place, because of the song The Cat Came Back:

Old Mister Johnson had troubles of his own

He had a yellow cat which wouldn’t leave its home; He tried and he tried to give the cat away,

He gave it to a man goin’ far, far away.

But the cat came back the very next day,

The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away

Thankfully, there’s one song that would give hope to those cat lovers and this happens to be one of my favorite kiddie songs. I heard this when I was a kindergarten and 30 years after I was surprised that I can actually remember the tune. What’s more surprising was that after I googled and saw the lyrics I was able to sing it with pride in front of our baby. But, I’m still wondering if this one has some hidden message in it…like love and death? Well here’s the full lyrics of the song Senor Don Gato. You go figure.

Oh Senor Don Gato was a cat On a high red roof Don Gato sat He went there to read a letter, Meow, meow, meow

Where the reading light was better,

Meow, meow, meow

‘Twas a love note for Don Gato

I adore you wrote the lady cat

Who was fluffy, white and nice and fat There was not a sweeter kitty,

Meow, meow, meow

In the country or the city, Meow, meow, meow

And she said she’d wed Don Gato

Oh, Don Gato jumped so happily

He fell off the roof and broke his knee Broke his ribs and all his whiskers, Meow, meow, meow

And his little solar plexus, Meow, meow, meow

Ay Caramba cried Don Gato

Then the doctors all came on the run Just to see if something could be done And they held a consultation,

Meow, meow, meow

About how to save their patient, Meow, meow, meow

How to save Senor Don Gato

But in spite of everything they tried Poor Senor Don Gato up and died And it wasn’t very merry,

Meow, meow, meow Going to the cemetery, Meow, meow, meow

For the ending of Don Gato

When the funeral passed the market square Such a smell of fish was in the air

Though his burial was slated, Meow, meow, meow

He became reanimated, Meow, meow, meow

He came back to life, Don Gato

Oh by the way, if you’re wondering how on earth Don Gato sounds, you may check dizzler.com. And if you’re a bit disappointed (like I was last December) after hearing every available version, please tell me and that would be my cue to record and release my own. Hahaha.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Kids Do Say the Darndest Things

whencominghome.jpg

I remember several years ago, one of the TV programs I enjoy the most is the one hosted by Bill Cosby, Kids Say the Darndest Things. Several American kids appear as guest and are all seated side by side in front of the camera with the comedian host and they are asked about their opinions on mostly adult matters. The answers are often funny and sometimes so interesting that I’d wonder how at that early age they would have had learned such things. Well, I’m hearing the kids speak once again, this time they’re thinking out loud about the recession.

This morning during our staff meeting our boss started with the usual ice breaker when he flashed through the electronic projector someone else’s doodling. Soon after the bulb warmed up, the intensity of the projection revealed a comics strip personally drawn by his daughter who was just a 3rd grader.

The strip has six frames of colorful drawings telling a short story of their family and their plans during this recession period. Surprisingly, the innocence of his small kid did not fail to capture what has been blasted on TV over and over again in the news reports since our company’s closure was delivered to all of its Philippine manufacturing plant’s employees. His kid even drew a close resemblance of the company’s logo.

Although this is my first time to see a kid’s personal expression of what is currently going on, this isn’t my first time to hear stories coming from colleagues and friends about what their young children said when they learned that their mom or dad will be out of work in the next few months.

One peer told us that when she called her parents to inform them about the retrenchment her young son grabbed the phone and blurted, ”Lola, mawawalan na ng trabaho si mommy at daddy, tulungan mo po kami ha (grandma, mommy and daddy will lose their jobs, please help us)!”

Another heard a different tone from his children, “Tehey, lagi na kaming makakapaglaro kay daddy (We will be able to play a lot with daddy now)!” This joyful welcome of the bad news must have been the most common I’ve heard from other co-employees’ stories. And I can’t blame their kids, really.

Intel’s working environment is so competitive that raising the bar to be at par if not exceed the level of performance (and indicators) of the rest of Intel plants worldwide requires each of its employees to be at their best almost all the time. And to be able to meet that expectation, every employee is at least expected to be at work and leave work on schedule. During the busy years, rendering overtime was often a must. Unfortunately, this is when someone at every employee’s home is deprioritized or worse, ignored – kids. Some will say wives, but that’s a different story.

Therefore it’s really not that impossible if during this recession and global financial crisis, while every parent is worrying about almost everything, there will be innocent kids smiling and rejoicing that sooner or later this year they’ll be one happy family again with their jobless mom or dad just around them ready for 24X7 playtimes.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Is It Still Christmas?

Glowing Santa hat, Santa Claus

“Make every day of the year Christmas” and “Christmas is in our hearts” are just a couple of Christmas cliches I’d always remember. In the past years of being an adult, bringing back the same feeling of how it was celebrated during my childhood seems to be getting more impossible with each passing year. These recent days, I yearn for innocence and simple joys that this season should bring.

I still remember my excitement when I was a kid the moments I’d hear Christmas carols playing over the radio which is usually when the “ber” months begin. There’s always anticipation that “Joy to the world” or ”Ang pasko ay sumapit” will once again be heard right after the last week of August. Always the case back then. This is how we Filipinos are known for: having the longest Christmas season. Most tourists and other people from other countries are fascinated by the fact that even in September, Christmas decors are starting to be seen in homes here in the Philippines.

But not for me. I actually didn’t care about putting one up for years already. I seem to have come to accept that times have indeed changed. Since I started working, I’ve surrendered to the unavoidable fact that sometimes Christmas will be spent at work. I’ve likewise accepted that Santa never did exist; that some ninongs and ninangs do intentionally hide from their godchildren; that as we grow old, the chances of getting toys as gifts are fading; and that Christmas after all is just for kids. A few more years and maybe I’d soon find myself as a certified Grinch.

So why am I starting to fret about wanting to feel Christmassy once again? That’s because I want our baby boy to experience it just like we did when we were kids. It’s funny but looking at his wide innocent eyes peering out of the window and being awed by the twinkling of the multi-colored lights makes me mushy and brings me back in time about three decades ago. It looks like those clear baby eyes are silently questioning why everyone is in a hurry; why there are fake pine trees everywhere; why there are groups of kids outside singing jolly carols; and probably why there is Christmas in the first place.

First exchange gift
Our son’s first time to exchange gift.

***

Today, on our way to Batangas, instead of playing his usual Barney CDs I tried scanning the radio stations in search for Christmas songs.  To my dismay, none of my preset stations played any of the tunes. All I got were every genre but Christmas carols. And to think that it’s December 25th worsens my disappointment. The spirit of the season isn’t on air already – not until the radio’s auto-tune stopped at 100.3 RJ FM.

The station is playing 48 hours of Christmas music. It cheered me up in an instant. And although I can’t confirm that our baby boy did appreciate it as well, I’m just so glad that at least one station still dedicated two days just for Christmas music. I know the memories of hearing these will embed in the mind of our baby for his first Christmas ever.

Now I still wonder, is it still Christmas? Or did Christmas fade after some of us completed the 9-day misa de gallo; after all the Noche Buena have been eaten; and after all the gifts have been opened? Hopefully, it’s still Christmas…

100.3 RJ FM carols,Christmas songs
The effect of RJ FM’s Christmas songs.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

 

Writer’s Block Hits

The most feared writer’s block hits me. I’m beating all the odds just to make time to write and it’s also as if I’ve got all the reasons not being able to come up with a regular post.

For one, there’s the baby who has gotten most of our attention, not to mention suck out our energies. There’s also the mysterious hectic schedule at work—despite the economic slowdown, decrease in demand, people separation, and the upcoming shutdown—that continues to take a large chunk of my time. Lastly, there are also several parties to attend to and the booze that goes with each of it dilutes every blogging ideas and replaces it with a bad hangover.

The irony is that while most of these reasons are sources of overwhelming ideas to write about, everything ends up with a mind full of bright light bulb moments yet none ever gets published. It’s like an intersection of late employees eagerly wanting to drive through it and in the process collide with each other thereby causing a more chaotic and hopeless traffic jam.

But tonight, our baby who has become more energetic and more entertaining with each passing day somehow runs out of steam. It must be the cold December breeze outside or it may be because of the hot bath I gave him. No matter what made him hit the sack early, this is opportunity to write. I’m so desperate to purge those ideas that have been raring to get out of my nutshell.

Writer’s block reminds me of two people. One is Jim Paredes who in his article in the Sunday (Dec. 7, 2008) edition of the Philippine Star wrote Why I Write (also appears on his blog). Another is Saedel Pensoy who I incidentally happen to know after reading his comment on one of Jim Paredes’ blog.

In his article Jim said, ”But sometimes, “constipation” traps the thoughts, feelings and words in the deep bowels of the mind. The more one tries to write, the harder it seems to produce output. And that can be worrisome when one has a weekly deadline…” Then he added, ”And yet, one must write, not because of a deadline or the pay, and not because, like the analogy of the toilet ritual, it can be toxic to keep it all inside. I write because I am one of those cursed people who have been awakened to writing and have been enlisted to do so…

These are my exact sentiments, Jim just had it in writing. Mine became a bad case of writer’s constipation—for the lack of a better word.

Unfortunately, Jim’s recovery didn’t infect Saedel. Just like me, I find Saedel a writer and blogger in progress. When I learned about his site, I kept on coming back to read his posts. And from it I saw how he has improved a lot in almost every aspect of writing. At some point he even decided to monetize his blog and everything went spontaneous from then on. Not until he wrote 10 Drafts and a Focus. When I read it I knew he’s having the most hated writer’s block.  And like helplessly watching a friend die, I soon witnessed its last entry. Currently, the site has become an attraction for spam commenters. I can’t help but hope that he has moved to another blog provider and continued what he does best.

***

Time really flies so fast when I’m in front of the PC. I checked and I’ve been here thinking and typing for a couple of hours already. HBO’s rerun of Mr. Bean’s Holiday has ended and another movie is almost halfway through. My second shot of my night cap has evaporated. Good thing that our baby boy is still sleeping. Tomorrow is the start of our two-week vacation and if time permits, I’d sure be glad to blog some more. Maybe.

Marcus peeks
I’ll be right here when you’re done…”

***

Mood: 5/10 Honks!

Home Alone with the Baby

“A coward is a hero with a wife, kids, and a mortgage.” -Marvin Kitman, author and media critic (b. 1929)

 

Today is my first time to be left alone with someone so little yet so handful to be with. I had to skip work just to see and feel how well I’ll do with this tiny living gift. It’s also my way of checking if the baby routines systematically listed by my wife on the cork board would work out fine if followed to the dot by our neighbor whom we asked to babysit while we’re out.

The drowsiness and a bit of headache didn’t keep my enthusiasm to face the day. It’s going to be more than 12 hours ahead with just me and him. The moment my wife closed the gate and headed for work, I was mentally conditioning myself and was trying if I can remember the routines even if I’m not looking at it. There’s breakfast, vitamin and supplement intake, bath time, playtime, and lunch for the first half. The second half shows two more play times separated by two other routines. Wow! Isn’t that overwhelming enough for someone who’ll be left alone with such demanding baby?

Twelve hours later that seem to me like months in the gym–at least there you don’t wipe someone else’s poop–I didn’t realize that I performed everything as listed. Right after I set the innocent and handsome looking small guy in his colorful crib, with his eyes beginning to show his sleepiness, I was so ecstatic that I feel like calling a celebration. However, I can’t shout for joy as I’m so sure it will be like waking a sleeping little giant who’d be so eager to get out of his sleeping pen once again to play like there’s no tomorrow.

jollibee pic
A dad’s mandatory and embarrassing picture with the Jollibee mascot. Taken in SM Bacolod.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

We Are Now Parents

baby blogger
Baby blogger

It’s been a week already since we welcomed a third member at home. He’s the reason every routine changed completely. On his very first day at home I realized soon enough that despite the long preparation—mind setting, shopping of baby stuffs, reading of articles about having a baby, and other things we did to prepare for such day—we still seem to be overwhelmed by the mere presence of a little boy.

This little boy whom we’ve anticipated–like normal parents would–since early this year has taken charge of our lives. Now our sleeping and waking hours depended on his. My brewed coffee turned cold. Other meals have been skipped. AXN has been traded with Cartoon Network. Mythbusters was crushed by Dora. We’re now out of our comfort zone but we’re not complaining because we’re now officially parents.

One of the things I missed is having the time to blog. There’s no more time to kill. Like now, kid’s now watching TV and sooner will be begging to have his bath and I’d have to cut this entry short. So to end this post, I will leave a touching poem (by an unknown adoptive parent) which was shown to us on the first seminar we attended when we decided to have an adoption:

Once there were two women who never knew each other One you do not remember, the other you call your mother.

Two different lives shaped to make yours one One become your guiding star the other your sun.

The first gave you life the second taught you to live it

The first gave you need for love the second was there to give it.

One gave you nationality the other gave you a name

One gave you the seed of talent the other gave you an aim.

One gave you up – – it was all she could do

The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.

And more you ask me through your tears, The age old question through the years.

Heredity or Environment, which are you the product of? Neither my darling – – neither. Just two different kinds of love.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks!