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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

7 Random Facts

I’ve been tagged by my friend, Apple. (this could not have come at a better time since this totally helped keep my mind off my stressful day at work!).

RULES:

Each player starts with 7 random facts about themselves on their Blog. People who are tagged need to blog 7 facts about themselves and post the rules as well. At the end of their blog list 7 people you are tagging. Let them know that they are tagged by leaving them a comment.


1.) I hate doing laundry and ironing clothes.
2.) Luckily I have a husband who does not mind doing this for me.
3.) I have the names of my "future" kids all picked out: if it's a girl - Julianna Sabine, and if it's a boy - Joaquin Jaime (in keeping with the "all first names begin with "J" tradition").
4.) 5 things I can't live without - "Scratch" my baby pillow since birth, our GPS system, my super-sized bags, Internet connection, and books.
5.) My favorite cable channels include: E!, HGTV, FoodNetwork, Lifetime and TLC (mindless tv is my guilty pleasure).
6.) I enjoy shopping for others more than I do for myself.
7.) Our fridge always has: soy milk, egg substitutes, a variety of cheeses, tomatoes, Caesar salad dressing, jello cups and fudge pops, sundried tomatoes and olives.

I tag: Kaye, Sareet, Vina, Les, Daffy, Nick, and Elliot.

Work = ARGH!

I had a really bad day and am still quite upset about how things turned out at work. It just seems that there is too much going on and the expectations are too high. (I’d write more … but this whole “public journal” idea … well, you know the rest). I guess the 3 best words to describe my state at this time are: overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated. Part of me feels I should still keep going while another part of me just wants to curl up in bed and pull up the covers. Work is just so “ARGH!”. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just not cut out for this “dog-eat-dog corporate rat race”. I don’t know.

My dad always tells me to focus on the positive and to live my personal life separate from the pressures at work. I wish I could but as with most good advice, it’s so much easier said than done. I try not to think about it, try not to beat myself up over things that go wrong, try not to overanalyze things, try not to focus on the negatives, try not to lose sleep over what’s done and what cannot be done. But my nature rebels against my attempts to act nonchalant about this whole situation. I’m a natural born worrier and stressing over everything is in my blood. I can’t help it!

I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if things were tough but I could see a way out. You know how sometimes the going gets tough but you hang in there since you can glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel? Or even if the light isn’t visible, but you at least know the direction you need to keep going to get to the light. In my case, there are times I am so overwhelmed and not only is the light not visible, I’m not even sure where I should be heading.

I don’t mean to be so melodramatic about all this. I have a good life and am thankful for so many things – I guess my professional life is just not going the way I want it to right now. And even then, as I complain about my job, I realize that I’m still lucky compared to many. At least the pay and benefits are good, not to mention the other little perks. I’ve got to keep things in perspective though, focus on staying positive and try to be practical about the whole situation.

I’m reminded by something my hubby once said, he has theorized that most people cannot “have it all”. Sometimes one part of your life is going great while another may not be so hot. It’s not easy to have every aspect of your life be perfect and get to balance it all. I guess that’s true. I mean maybe my current professional situation may not be so awesome but I do have a great family, a great husband, good health and a good life. The same for most, there are parts of their lives that are going better compared to others parts that may not be going too well. I guess life is fair that way. No one can have every single thing good going for them and at the same time no one can be totally down in the deepest of dumps. That’s life’s way of being the great equalizer. We can all have some good in our life to remind us the God is watching out for us – but also some bad in our life so we don’t get too cocky and forget that we are only human.

I have to keep reminding myself that work is just a job. It’s an important part of me but it does not define who I am. I still want to do my best and exert every effort – but not (never) at the expense of other things that matter most.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In-Laws

Last night we had dinner at PF Changs to celebrate my in-laws' actual anniversary. As always we were a loud, boisterous but happy crowd. Whenever we get together there is always non-stop talking, good natured teasing, and lots of laughing. I am definitely lucky that I have such a good relationship with my in-laws (and that includes parents, sisters, brothers, spouses and nieces and nephews too). There are countless stories about terrible mother and daughter-in-law feuds or of wives who can not get along with their husbands’ families. I can’t imagine having that kind of drama going on with my in laws. Right from the start, each one of them welcomed me into the family and made me feel like I belonged. I never had those awkward get-to-know moments or times when I felt like the outsider. It was never really a problem fitting in.

What makes me even more lucky is the fact that Jojo comes from such a close-knit and easy going family. Actually, in many ways, Jojo’s family is like mine. Both our dads have a great sense of humor which often keeps the rest of us laughing. Both our moms are poised and proper and are quintessential homemakers in every sense of the word. They both gave up careers to raise kids, support their husbands and run happy households. And having parents like that, I think, makes a huge difference. All our brothers and sisters, despite having differing personalities and interests, are super devoted to and protective of one another. Jojo’s family is extremely close – and I mean that figuratively and literally. After all, we all live about 10-15-minutes away from each other and we spend almost all weekends chilling out in each others’ homes. Till I met my hubby’s family, I actually thought mine was one of the rare families that actually enjoyed hanging out together the way friends do.

One of the things I like best about Jojo’s family is how they look out for each other - whether it’s big things (like helping each other out with finances) to little things (like babysitting each others’ kids). Now that my father-in-law has retired, all his kids are clamoring for him and my mom-in-law to come live with them. It’s kind of sweet how my in-laws divide their time staying with each of their kids. But I think that’s exactly what makes a family … a family. I can’t imagine not having my parents stay with me or with one of my siblings when (and if) my dad ever retires. Since he moved to his own apartment, I’ve been telling my brother, Jules, to come back and stay with us. And our home is always open to whenever Jim, Joy or Atsi are ready to move to L.A. But even apart, there are ways we stay close and are part of each others' lives. And again, that's what makes a family ... a family.

It helps that spending time with Jojo’s family helps me become less homesick. But on the flip side, sometimes their closeness reminds me too much of my family and that also makes me miss mine even more.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Celebrations

This past weekend was a multi-celebration for my family as well as Jojo's.

First, my mom's birthday was on June 16th. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mother-Bear! I know you wanted a quiet birthday this year and that you specifically requested no big parties or lavish celebrations. But nonetheless, I wish you a multitude of blessings and lots of love on your birthday. I hope you know that even if we are miles apart, I am sending you my thoughts and prayers on your special day. Many more wonderful birthdays to come and hopefully for the next one we'll be there to celebrate with you in person! I love you, mom.

Then on Sunday, we celebrated Father's day (over the phone with my day) and at the Sea Empress restaurant with my father-in-law. Father-Bear, HAPPY DAD'S DAY! I love you, pops. Know that through the years and even if I am at the ripe old age of 32, you are still my "papa" and the best dad in the world as far as I'm concerned! My father-in-law is a close second. And hopefully soon, Jojo will be part of that special group. BTW, happy father's day to all my friends who are dads too. It's so great to be at that time in our lives when so many of us are starting families. A special shout-out to one of my best friends, Tash, who was recently blessed with a baby girl.

On the 18th, my in laws will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. Ruby anniversary! To commemorate such a milestone, yesterday they renewed their wedding vows at the St. Maria Goretti, a beautiful and intimate church in Long Beach followed by a reception for 60 close family and friends at the Doubletree in Carson.

It was a great afternoon filled with good food and lots of great people. In honor of my parents in law, we (my SILs and BILs), plus all the grandkids put together a program filled with video presentations, singing, toasting, speeches and of course dancing!

Here are some pictures of yesterday's party:


Here are my in-laws with Father Jun (my FIL's first cousin too) right after the mass. Doesn't my MIL look beautiful? - hard to believe she's over 60 and has 7 kids and 11 grandkids!

Here we are at the Doubletree. (my hubby, me, Lee, Edel, Sydney and Jojo). The dancing part of the program has just started. The deejay was really creative starting off with songs from the 60s and 70s to get the older folks on the dancefloor. After that he played 80s music - which is pretty much our generation. Then he played hip-hop music and my nieces and nephews got on the floor. Finally when everyone was into the dancing - he played crowd favorites such as the ever popular YMCA, Achy-Breaky Heart, and even I Will Survive! Everyone had a pretty good time!


My in-laws with some of their family and friends based in California. Some of my hubby's uncles and aunts drove all the way from San Deigo, Santa Barbara and San Francisco to join the party.

My in-laws (minus the spouses and grandkids) - (from left to right): my hubby, his sister (Tracy), dad, mom, sister (Karen), brother (Lee) and youngest brother (Jay). My two other in-laws (Len and Ogie) are still in Manila with their families. They couldn't make it here for the event but while we did our program, they called long distance and the call was patched through and we got to hear their greetings. It was a very touching moment and brought tears to my MIL's eyes.

My hubby and me. I was still all smiles for the camera but after 2 hours at the Church and 4 hours of dancing and entertaining, my feet were killing me (standing in strappy sandals with 3 & 1/2-inch heels can be pretty painful!).



My in-laws wrapping up the party with a few words of thanks to everyone for joining us on this really special day. My FIL had the audience cracking up while my MIL was as poised and proper as ever.

I was looking through our pictures and realized we had very few pictures of my nieces (who looked like fairy princesses in their white gowns and flowered sashes) and my nephews (handsome in their barong tagalogs). I hope to post some of their pictures here soon.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Corporate Catch 22

There are things going on at work that I am dying to write about … but … I can’t. I guess one of the drawbacks of keeping a public journal is not being able to write with a sense of anonymity. Suffice it to say, today was interesting. Despite my current work overload and the magnitude of stress I’ve been feeling, my boss decides that I have enough potential to handle even more tasks and take on even more responsibility. I am on the verge of laughing and crying at the same time. Honestly, I don’t know whether I should be flattered or ticked off.

One of my co-workers sympathetically told me that if you keep performing well and getting your job done, they will keep piling on more and more stuff for you to do. So true! But on the other hand, if you don’t perform well and don’t get your job done, you get fired. It’s the corporate world’s catch 22. Sadly, it has come to deciding how much “slacking off” you can get away with without getting fired and how good at work you have to be in order to keep your job but not get assigned with way more than you can handle! It seems these days it is a very fine line.

I guess I could tell my boss “no thanks” which would be tantamount to saying my boss is wrong and that I do not have any potential. Therefore risking looking bad in my boss’ eyes and having others think I’m not a team player. Or I could say “yes”, try to define boundaries and set priorities (which hopefully my boss agrees to and later on remembers), and take on the new challenges. At this point, I hardly have a choice in the matter, and so I went with the latter and will just hang on, do what I can, and hope for the best!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Strange Dream

A couple of years ago, I had this recurring dream where I would find myself back in high school, sitting in class, just about ready to take a final exam. It was a very vivid dream - I could clearly visualize our classroom, me in my high school uniform, and even make out the face of a former teacher or two. In the dream, the test paper would be handed to me and the clock would start ticking. As I bend down to start working on the test, I would realize that I had not studied for the exam and did not know a single answer on the test. The clock would tick louder and I would always break out in cold sweat, start panicking, and actually wake up feeling anxious and disoriented. Sometimes my heart would actually be pounding and I would have to stop to catch my breath. The strange thing was every time I woke up after that dream, it would take me a minute or two to realize that it was just a dream and that I had already gotten thru high school. I would have to convince myself that it was just a dream and try to go back to sleep.

This was way back when I was still working with the consulting firm (especially towards the latter part when the company was no longer doing as well). At that point in time, I felt hopeless and really stressed with work. My hubby and I interpreted the dream as a manifestation of my anxiety and the tension I was feeling at work. Shortly after that, I had decided to move on and start working for another company (the company I am with today). For a while, although stressed with work, I did not have that dream anymore. Well, maybe I still did, but it was definitely few and far between. Jojo and I agreed it was definitely job and stress-related.

The last couple of weeks (months actually), work has gotten increasingly hectic. The workload has been staggering and the pressure has been pretty bad. The last couple of nights I’ve had to take a sleeping pill just to get at least 7 hours of sleep. This in itself is pretty serious given that I’ve never had trouble falling asleep. But the strangest part is I have been having that dream almost every other night. Same dream – with the test and being unprepared and panicking over it. Last night, I woke up after having the same dream and it was so clear in my mind that I actually imagined I was still in high school and had to really take a moment to convince myself that I was done with school.

It’s so strange having the same dream over and over again and every time it seems so vivid and real. Is this totally bizarre? I think it's pretty clear what the dream means but what I need to figure out is how do I stop having it? I think I really need to find some time to relax and get a grip.