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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Make Me Smile-y

If I were to use symbols for all the moods I had in the last 5 days, I would use up all the emoticons in Facebook, Skype and YM, not to mention all the keys on my keyboard. Heck, I'd probably need to download emoticons from the internet just to update my list.

See, it's been quite a roller coaster ride at work and at home that all I could muster was an emoticon to describe how my day went. I tell you, there was hardly a happy face =) or a huge dazzling grin *^_^*

First, both my little girl and toddler son were sick. Eone got fever on Sunday which made us scrap our plan for an out-of-town day trip. Come Monday, she's already fever free but we decided to make her skip school so she can rest. Then on Tuesday morning, I felt Enoe's warm skin before I went to work. I took his temperature and he's got fever too. Thankfully, he was well the following morning but to my dismay, Eone was running a fever again. Arrgggh! They're like playing fever pingpong and I hate it :-Z

And then there was work and the many things in between that just can't seem to wait; as if the world will end if I don't play Supergirl. Projects, meetings, admin work and the most awaited new office move are eating every minute of my executive time. And speaking of eating, I am annoyed that lunch for me the past couple of days was just a bowl of cornflakes taken in a hurry while checking my mails. Not that I mind eating in front of the computer, but I've always valued meal time as ME time - devoid of complicated thoughts such as work.

I know like the stock market, work has it's high and low, a peak and low season. Sadly, I am having the busiest, peak-est season ever! So busy that I could not even tweet that I am busy :-t

Good thing I have kids to go home to; three pairs of arms to hug me and three little lips to kiss me on the cheek  :-*  otherwise, I would go insane!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Pear from a Mango Tree

I had a professor in college who gave an unsolicited advice to the ladies in our class. She said, "Ladies, be careful in choosing who you end up with. Do not marry a guy who came from a broken family." 

We had different reactions: a few just shrugged off the suggestion, a couple of classmates raised their brows, and some felt it was unfair for our prof to judge people by what their parents did or did not do. But there's this one guy in our class who was actually hurt by that comment. He was offended by the generalization; angry that he's been judged at how he will fare as a father when in fact he has made a promise to himself that he will be a great father, if not the best, in the future.

There is an old Filipino idiom, 'Kung ano ang puno, sya ang bunga' that roughly translates, 'whatever the tree, so is the fruit' . I think it's crap! Whilst it is true a mango tree cannot yield a pear, fruits from the same tree can either be sweet or sour. The same goes for sons from a broken home who can turn out exactly like their father and/or mother or the world's greatest dad.

A good example is my dad who made sure he turns out to be the exact opposite of his father. My Lolo, an attractive man who owned vast lands in the North, had more than 3 dozen children from different women. My dad would often recall how he and all his other siblings (legitimate or otherwise) would all gather for Christmas under one roof, some of them he met only once or twice. My grandfather surely have supported each one financially, but money could never erase the stigma of being an illegitimate child especially during the early days.

Anyway, fast forward to today, my classmate is now happily married to a loving, beautiful, and intelligent woman (*wink) and has three children. And true to his word, he has been successful in keeping his vow to be a good father someday. He showers his children with love and affection and provides for them well materially - something he never experienced from his father. It's quite amazing how he is able to the job when he didn't have anyone to look up to, no father figure to take after.

Actually, the credit should go to his mom who wore the hat of both a father and a mother, who worked hard to ensure he gets a bright future and who loves him unconditionally. Ironic as it seems, he learned to be a good father through his mother.

He is the sweet fruit from that sour fruit-bearing tree. I am sure if our old professor could see him now, she's going to eat her words. Hell, she can also eat her (very very long) hair.

Happy Father's Day to my former classmate and Daddy of my children. Congratulations for a job well done. Keep it up.

We love you heaps!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Missing the pedicab driver...

He was often asked if he wished he had a son, and my dad have always replied, 'I've got 3 girls, I couldn't ask for more'.

Yeah, right. That explains the robots, remote controlled cars & toy guns he bought for us when we were growing up, haha!

I love you Daddy. I miss you. Happy Father's Day (in heaven).

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tax Me Not

I was able to claim Eana's birth certificate from the hospital the other day. I have been eagerly awaiting its release as I want to start processing The Hubby and I's documents to add her as our dependent, specifically in our social security, Philhealth and of course, tax exemptions. Although we still have to get the authenticated copy from both the City Hall and NSO, the hospital copy already has a confirmation number that Eana's birth has already been registered.

When Enoe was born, The Hubby didn't immediately process the required documents to add him as dependent and as a result, he failed to get the corresponding tax exemptions (and deductions). This really annoyed me from my toes to my split ends not only because the tax deducted from The Hubby's salary was quite hefty, but also due to the fact that we really don't see nor feel where our taxes are going.

I could rant for hours about the many inefficiencies in our government (mostly as a result of graft and corruption) but I bet everyone already knows them! Tax extension do not happen in our side of the world so I had to live with the fact that our government took more than what it should from our pot.

Since we tied the knot, I've have been tasked to oversee both my personal finance and that of our household so I am very conscious of what goes in and out. It's more than just the OC in me. Frankly, I don't enjoy looking at payslips and get slapped with how much tax has been taken from my pay. Neither do I rejoice reviewing my electricity bill and find out that I am actually paying Php1800 on VAT alone. Actually, I hate looking closely on all receipts because I know for certain there is a tax line somewhere. Come to think of it, we are being taxed with our every move so no one can blame me for wanting to ensure we get Eana listed as soon as possible as additional dependent. Heck, the difference may only just be a couple of hundreds if we're lucky and still isn't enough to buy a can of milk.

(Hmm, I should have mental note to remind me NOT to vote for Ralph Recto in the next election every election until he gets tired of running).

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Your Hand in Mine

Dear Daddy,

I took a picture of my little Eana's hand while I held it in mine as I am starting to put together photos of her that I can use for her christening invitations. As I look at the photo, I can't help but get flooded by memories of you while you were at the hospital and about to embark your journey to heaven.

The pain management drugs were doing their job so well that you were hardly ever awake, and if ever you were, only incoherent words came out of your mouth. Due to your inability to verbally communicate to us anymore, we instead resorted to holding your hand while we talk to you and wait for a squeeze as your form of reply.

And so there was a hand holding yours every day. Oftentimes it was Mom as she kept by your side every single day and night; other times it was either me or Darling Sister or Little Sister.

I remember when doctors had to insert a tube on your neck to commence your dialysis and no one in the family was brave enough to stay beside you while the doctors do the procedure. No one except me. The picture of you, in pain but trying to be strong, invades my memory to this very day. I didn't know what to do then except to hold your hand and assure you it will be over soon and you'll be fine. Of course I was lying through my teeth because I knew in my heart we were just prolonging your agony.

I guess holding your hand through that ordeal was my way of reciprocating the many times you held mine through the years. Those hands surely tapped me gently to sleep when I was baby, guided me while I learned to walk, supported me on my first ever bike ride, and squeezed fruits for my dose of fresh juices. Never did those pair of hands touch my skin in anger to physically hurt me.

It's been three years today since you went with the angels and all I could wish is another chance, even for a brief moment, to once again put your hand in mine.

I miss you Dad and I love you.

Your Kikay

Friday, June 01, 2012

A Penny for Your Thoughts

I had my passbook updated 2 weeks ago and noticed that the interest on my money has been again reduced to a mere 1/3 of a percent.A few years ago, interest on deposits was at least 1% but the recent economic and finance sectors' condition brought down the rates now to this very discouraging fraction. I mean, why would I retain my money in the bank with this very low interest rate, not to mention whatever my money will earn will be subjected to withholding tax?

I worked in a bank for over 3 years writing policies and procedures but until now, I still could not understand why they have to penalize depositors for failing to meet the required maintaining balance, or deduct a fee every month (until you ran out of funds and the account eventually close out) for non-movement (dormant accounts). Whether or not there is movement, the money stays in the bank and bank uses the money for other investments. So why?

I guess this is why in the last couple of years, I have learned to put our hour hard-earned cash in more profitable investments like stock market and mutual fund. There are risks involved but the chance of growing funds is relatively higher compared to letting it sleep in the bank. For example, in stock market, if you play it right and not get greedy, the money could flow in in as short as one day. In case of loss, I'd like to take it as only a paper loss unless I formally sell our stocks at a price lower than our purchase cost.

There is a misconception that stock market trading is not only for those with lots of funds to spare. Not really. It's for everyone who are financially wise and are willing to take reasonable risks. I'd say for beginners, it's good to start with a few thousands. You don't even have to buy blue chips and instead start with a top penny stock and could bring good results as well as small doesn't always mean that the potential is also minimal.

So how do a neophyte in stock trading begin? I suggest attending a free seminar being offered by stock trading corporations. They usually schedule trainings and orientations on a regular basis and they are also free. It's also good to start reading or watching the news, and NOT the entertainment and showbiz section. Start browsing their business section and arm yourself with information particularly on the industry/stocks you are eyeing to purchase. This will help you in making your decision whether to buy or sell.

If one is really intent on making a living on stock trading, maybe it's better to get the help of a seasoned stocks broker. They know the ins and outs of the business and can offer sound advice when everything seems to be falling apart. Of course, there is a fee involved in a form of a commission.

Pata, Pata, Paano Ka Tumaba?

Barely a day after my C-section with Eana, The Hubby asked my OB if I could already undergo liposuction. Of course he was just kidding and we all laughed (while I mumbled between my teeth 'humanda ka sa akin pag bangon ko dito!')

I couldn't really blame The Hubby for wanting back my old body. I want it back too, but I just couldn't find the time and motivation to start shedding all these unwanted, post-maternity deposits that all went into wrong bank accounts (hips, thighs and tummy).

me, before I ate her. haha!

Back in college twenty pounds years ago, I wore medium-sized clothes. My waist line was a mere 25-inch and wearing tight jeans looked good on me. I don't know what happened but soon after I started working that I began gaining weight, a little here and little there, but fast forward to today, it now seem I have already eaten the old me, whole and unpeeled.

I recall when we were just newly weds, The Hubby wanted to encourage me to exercise by accompanying me to walking/strolling sessions. Excited by the activity, I wore my complete 'workout' outfit, like I was an athlete of sorts. We walked around the neighborhood and as far as our feet could take us. On our way back, we passed by stalls after stalls of food establishment and you guessed it right, we literally ate our way back.

I find it so hard to lose weight unless I take refuge to slimming pills or teas - those kind that make the toilet your best friend, hehe. The sauna is the only thing that entices me to go to the gym and aside from that, all visits ended in what seem like a comedy flick. Like how I stayed on the stationary bike for 1 whole hour, completely not moving (hey, I'm supposed to be stationary, right?!) and just watching a movie while drinking unlimited iced tea. On another visit, the nachos stall right outside the entrance of Fitness First won over the thread mill. See, there are more temptations in the gym than elsewhere.

So how do I lose weight when my love for food always prevail over the need to be slim? How do I reclaim my 25-inch waistline without surrendering chocolates, cakes and donuts? I probably need a magician (her name is Vicky Belo) or some sort of voodoo to instantly reduce me again to a size 6. I came across a book, The 4-Hour Body, by Timothy Ferriss and my mom said I need to buy and give it a try at least for the sake of my children. Whoa! Emotional blackmail, tsk, tsk.

Well, seriously, I really think it's time to bring back the old me - the one with a figure of an 8 and not a 0.  How will I do it? Hmm. Let me finish first this ice cream...
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