One of the things I found last night in the attic was a magazine where I had scribbled four attempts at poetry which I’d rather call Ramblings.  I had written them in 2003 after my D&C which followed my second miscarriage.  I posted them in my other blog on Motherhood, etc. under the post Lost Ramblings from a Mother in Mourning

I failed to bring my poetry from my younger years the first time I left Manila for New York, but I made sure to bring them with me in 2002. Some of them are still on the original sheets I had scribbled them on — others I had managed to make into short compilations.  The earliest poetry I have was from my elementary years and yes, I have them.  Writing in prose these days has been a struggle.  I have not really written any coherent prose in recent years — even these four pieces are barely coherent in the same sense as I was used to writing.

One of my forever to-do is to hopefully compile all those scribblings into one or a series of anthologies.  Since most of them were written before I became bestfriends with computers, they are either typed (yes, through the electric typewriter of old!) and more than half are actually handwritten.  Reading what I have writtent through the years is like seeing a “me” I used to know, still part of the person I am now but so different from who I have become.

I keep saying I just need to stir up the creative juices again, and once they start flowing, they will go on and on.  And maybe I will get to fill notebooks again with my rhyme and reason as they say.

Crafts: Digital Scrapbooking Galore

Did you know that there are a lot of Filipinos who are featured in the various creative teams of the more popular websites here?  I am soooo proud!  There are also a lot of members who do digital scrapbooking layouts in the various communities online and their works are just fantastic!  You can see I’ve had a lot of time to browse online of late, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to bookmark them, but I will feature them here when I get the chance to go and visit their sites again.  (Yup, downtime at home has been spent scouring the web for more freebies and more ideas).

I have been spending a lot of time at RAKscraps.com where I’ve enlisted for membership enabling me to have access to their newsletter which has a TON of downloadable freebies!  Not to mention all the featured designers and members whose works are also highlighted.  Archived editions of the newsletter are also available down to January of this year, and with each edition packed with more than just one freebie, you are all set to harvest at least a dozen!  Membership has its rewards besides that because then you get to access their FREE Mega Kit which is uploaded middle of the month and then made available to members piecemeal.  I missed the first four installments but caught the 5th and 6th download links of what looks like a superb megakit indeed.  It’s the type of kit which would enable you to do a whole album (and more) once you get everything together. 

So I’ve started doing 8×8 scrapbook layouts of Manila to give to my niece, Audrey, and to my Dad, and I’m starting our summer scrapbooks, too.  Ambitious, I know.  As far as Mom’s scrapbook is concerned, I’ve made a decision to relayout the first part because I am just not happy with what I see now that I know a whole lot more about scrapbooking.

I’m going to attempt to do digital scrapbook layouts of our summer outings, but print them into two pieces to be pieced together later.  I still intend to embellish it with actual paper embellishments because I don’t think I can really stick to just digital scrapbooking per se.

It seems to me everyone has target layouts to complete by the end of the year at RAKScraps (and RAK, by the way, stands for Random Acts of Kindness) so mine is 50 for now.. til the end of the year.  And that’s Mom’s scrapbook alone which I have been working for the first part of the year anyway.

I’m going to attempt to pull together a “BEFORE” album of the layouts in Mom’s scrapbook, then I will do a full album again once I’m done and good to go with it.  Watch out for that!

Sundays are made for lazing around the house

The sky over our part of New York is overcast.  It’s actually been gloomy and there have been showers off and on.  We experienced quite a downpour yesterday, but we’re good today.  (I think..)

We’ve been watching DVDs at home, and it’s Angel’s turn with his THOMAS the TANK ENGINE.  This is my type of weekend.  Just sitting in the living room, no pressure, and playing with Angel.  I’m actually going to start cooking lunch in a bit.  We’re definitely having lunch at home.  I don’t have much on my list except the groceries as far as errands are concerned.  I will probably put my scrapbook stuff together, maybe pay a visit to Bed, Bath and Beyond to check out this Grid Cube Stacking shelves unit I am thinking of using in the attic.   Otherwise, I’m sticking to boxes which work out at this time anyway.

I’m cooking some Sinigang na Salmon and Inihaw na baboy  (using our George Foreman grill).  Time to get busy in the kitchen.

Treasures in my attic

I went up to the attic after washing the dishes to start making room for my stuff down in the living quarters.  I put what we had left behind of the hand-me-downs for Mom’s kababayans in Bulan, Sorsogon (Bicol) in a suitcase, and came up with 3 big paper bags of winter wear she had passed up on.  Alan will drop those off at the local Salvation Army.

We’ve had quite a few windy storms in the past few days, so there was some sandy debris near the vent opening just by “my area” of the attic, I made room and sat down.  I went through the postcards strewn about the floor.  Most of my postcard collection are in boxes, but there are a lot which are in small paper bags and in open bins which need to be stored properly.  I sorted through those which were mixed in with some documents and old letters and magazines and just segregated them into freecards and postcards for now.  While going through them, I also tried to weed out the magazines I would keep and those I would throw away.

I am such a pack rat!  It is so hard for me to throw away something unless it is obviously no longer useful or it is something I find no use for at all.  I am a very sentimental person and I keep old letters, cards, gift tags, etc. although I have no organized way of keeping them.  (I have, however, practically all of the cards and letters that Alan and I exchanged before we got married bundled up in my closet in the bedroom.  Now I must put myself to task and gather what we have given each other since we got married — I keep finding them everywhere!)

I found pictures from my family in Manila, and early pictures of Alan and me –  duplicates because he keeps albums of hard copies — mostly during our pre-digital camera days.

I found my box of pencils — and added a few which I found in another box containing my things from my job with a non-profit on Wall Street before I started this job I have now three years ago.  (I have to remember to bring up the pencils I have here in the kitchen counter and in the bedroom.)  I found the postcards that started my collection — giveaways from the early days of Sari-sari (the store) which I want to frame and put in our living room.  (No matter that they are now yellowish with age..)  The first edition Papemelrotti craft postcards you will no longer find on their shelves.  Early Ayala Museum postcards of artworks by famous Filipino artists..

It was a walk down memory lane.  I managed to pull out a lot of stuff to get rid of, but much of what I had gone through, I just sorted and stored again.  They are there because they mean something to me. 

My typical Saturday evening

Back in the day in Manila (Pre June 2000) – Saturday evenings were spent either going out with friends or out on a date, or staying home after spending the day out with Nikky, my youngest brother.  We would usually go to the mall (Glorietta or Greenbelt), watch a movie or just go around shopping and eating, stop by Dad at the parlor before heading home.

During my early years in New York before Angel came along – We would stay home with the stepson spending the weekend with us.  It meant watching a DVD, ending with Saturday Night Live late at night.  We would go out Thursdays or the early days of the week when we would meet up in the city and go out to dinner by ourselves or with friends.

Now that Angel is here – After spending the day out with the family, we would have dinner, Alan would put Angel to sleep after reading him a book (current favorite is THOMAS the TRAIN or one of two CARS book featuring Lightning McQueen) — Angel would’ve taken a bath during the day instead of just before bed as is customary during the week, and we’d sit in front of the TV watching a DVD or just watching TV… maybe catch Saturday Night Live.

Disappearing blog posts

This happened to me last night, too, and I was just too exhausted to try and write again so I just gave up.  You know, disappearing blog posts that are somehow lost when something goes wrong with your signal goes funky and you hit “publish” and you get that “Can’t find server” page.  Hmph!  Okay, venting time over.

I’m making pancakes for breakfast.  Everyone in the house is up.  Angel is playing with Alan and the Grandma’s are lounging around.  Alan’s mom here in the living room, my mom on her bunkbed going through yesterday’s news which I printed off of Philippines Star online. 

I make my pancake batter in a pitcher for ease in pouring when I cook.  I used to put it in a mixing bowl and I ladled it onto the frying pan, but I picked up this handy way of preparing it from my mother-in-law.  It’s a little tricky when you mix it, but it makes it a whole lot easier when you start cooking.

The weekend is supposed to be a little wet.  We don’t have any special plans really — just out to spend the weekend with family.  I’m going to go through my scrapbook stash and fix them for storing in the attic.  I have letters to write and a few chores to complete at home.  Next week is going to be busy with barbecues out of town and a wine tasting trip with friends.  So I want to do as much as I can today and tomorrow.

The weekends are always too short.  Before you know it, it’s Monday again.  I’m not complaining, though.  I’ll take what I can.


A simple thank you

I had not seen my boss for 6 weeks.  It was his birthday July 15 so I tried to get people to celebrate it with him as he travelled to corporate events and department meetings.  We finally saw each other Tuesday and I came ready.  Alan had been egging me to give him a thank you card at least for being so understanding during our childcare crisis while waiting for Mom to return.  I was at a loss as to what to get him.  While we have become very comfortable as principal and assistant, we are still getting to know each other, having worked together for less than a year.  So a bright idea hit me and I got him 2 of his favorite cookies from PAX Foods.  For his birthday present, I bought a decent bottle of Merlot from Napa Valley.  (You can never go wrong with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon for a red wine bottle to give away.)  I even put it in a very nice bottle bag.

I picked simple cards and opted instead to write a lengthy dedication.  I wanted him to know I appreciate how good a boss he has been to me.

I got a cake from Zaro’s for him as well so we could greet him as a group.  I got all these in the morning — picking up the cookies first, rushing into Grand Central to get the wine then the cake and stopped by Papyrus (a high end card store here).  It had to do that all in under an hour in the sweltering heat, and by the time I found myself standing by the platform waiting for the 7  train, I was starting to sweat.

I thought I’d save my gifts for the end of the day after we had given the cake, but I wrote the dedication on the cards even before he arrived.  Was I surprised when I he came to me and handed me a small gift in a box with a simple satin red bow.  I thought it was the opportune time to exchange gifts so I managed to hand him the two presents.  He looked at the brown bag from Pax and asked what it was — I said, “Your favorite cookie.”  He had given me a COACH photo cube which would be a perfect holder for most of my favorite photos tapes to my screen filter.

That was a most touching gesture considering it was HIS birthday, and there was nothing exceptional I had done.  Little things like that (although the gift was not exactly cheap) make me feel truly appreciated, no matter how crazy things may get at work.  It sure helps to have a boss who appreciates the things you.

We had a town hall with a third of his total staff of 100+ and in his opening remarks, one of the first things he did was to introduce me and acknowledge my contributions to the department which totally caught me off guard, and he made a joke of it being something I don’t like him doing — putting me on the spot, that is.  But he has always been very generous with his appreciation which means a lot to all his people.

I know that my simple thank you with two of his favorite PAX cookies meant as much.  And he gave the gift before I gave mine so I know it wasn’t even in reciprocation, but a purely unilateral act of gratitude.  How can you beat a boss like that?

On the way home early

It’s a minute to 2PM and I’m sitting on the express bus cruising through 6th Avenue and I’m on my way home.  Our head office is closed due to power outages in that part of New York and I would’ve stayed home but we had an event in New Jersey.  The boss was kind enough to give me car service to and from the two offices, but since the head office is closed, my colleague and I took the car service to Midtown and just headed our own separate ways home.


I stopped by Cucina & Co. in the basement of Macy’s in Herald Square to pick up some sushi for lunch.  (It had to be something I could eat on the bus without the aroma to let everyone know I’m digging in.) 


Were it not for the fact hat I’m lugging my laptop and another tote plus my purse, it would be very nice to just walk through a few blocks even if it’s a tad warm outside.  New York, on a nice day like today, is quite a sight to behold.  Bryant Park, one of my favorite places in the city, is teeming with people going through the lunch hour.  Later, the crowd will reduce in size but there will still be a lot of people enjoying the park.  (The tourists never go away.)  It’s summer and there’s a stage in the middle where live shows, concerts and movies are shown in the summer.


So I thought I’d just take advantage and just go home.  Time to catch some sleep with the little tyke if I catch him awake when I get there.   

From a Bar Reviewee

I received this rather long comment from Les to a post from way back in March (Back when I was in Law School). 

With the Philippine Bar exams just around the corner (it is held for four consecutive Sundays of September), I guess some barristers are finding themselves blog hopping to find a break from the stress and studying in general.  This comment can be found in my comment roll but I feel a need to answer it in a blog post.  Also, I thought it would be more convenient to read the full (unedited) text of the comment as a post.  How can I refuse a fellow- Atenean?  The mere mention of the Ateneo School of Law is enough to get my attention.

Les does not have a blog but left me an e-mail.  Here’s what Les wrote:

hello ms. dinna,

i read your blog and found your entries really interesting. I was just taking a short break this morning from studying and came across your blog site. truth be told, what caught my attention was the fact that you were from ateneo law school and now living in new york. you see, right now I’m reviewing for the bar exams after having graduated from ateneo law, plus, I really am seriously considering taking the new york bar after this. i was wondering if u have any advice for me since you’re a lawyer and you’re living in new york now. there are quite a number of us who plan the same thing, and we’ve researched a lot regarding the requirements for the new york bar. So far, we’ve heard that the Barbri? review center in NY is the best law review center, that the exams are held twice a year (feb and july), and that ateneo and UP law grads can automatically take the bar exams while grads of other law schools need to take 19 units of law courses at a U.S. law school. my mom wants me to meet up with an immigration lawyer here so I can acquire a more detailed set of information regarding the requirements for pinoy grads. truth is, m quite torn because I also think that working here in the philippines for a local law firm might be more advisable before taking the NY bar, plus, it would be helpful if i save up a little before going there since based on our estimation, it would cost around P800K-P1M to enrol at a review center, rent an apartment, and spend for necessities and law materials for a period of 5-6 months. but my worry is that if i start working here, what if I end up getting stuck with my job and not being able to uproot myself anymore to move to NY, also, what if the privilege granted to law grads of ateneo gets revoked in a few years. i have no idea what NY is like. the only relatives i have in NY is a cousin who’s living with her husband and her baby, but they dont reside within the city itself. My older relatives like aunts and uncles live in New Jersey.

I was hoping u could maybe give me some idea on what it’s like to live in NY for fresh pinoy grads like us, and perhaps share some information regarding law practice there. =)


I also find it interesting that your interests include communication and the arts since my major back in college (loyola) included english literature and com arts. I also went through the same experience of passing the UP law entrance exam but got rejected during the interview phase. no regrets there =) i love ateneo, i had the greatest time and met the coolest friends =)

Pinay New Yorker says: Thanks for visiting my blog, Les, more so at this very crazy time in your life.  I don’t think I will be able to give you a response to your feedback in full but I hope you will find the time to stop by from time to time to read my thoughts on the things you raised.  I have been doing my own research about the New York Bar (so yes, I have NOT taken it), and I am working towards eventually giving it a try but all in due time.  I came to the United States to raise a family and while I have always said “Once a lawyer, always a lawyer..”, it’s one of those things I hope to eventually do — but family takes priority at this time.

First of all, stay focused on the upcoming Bar Exams.  Taking the New York Bar Exam should not be an immediate concern.  While we at Ateneo have always enjoyed a high passing average compared to other schools, there are always “casualties of war” so to speak. I cannot fully describe to you what taking the Bar Exams is truly like because it is something you will have to experience yourself.  It is different for each one.  (I think it’s about time I started writing that long-delayed post developing in my head about my own Bar Exam experience.)

Make sure you are rested.  Do not be stressed by the tips.  Focus on the last minute reviewer — and get plenty of rest the night before.  Writing for hours during the exam and being stressed while doing it can exhaust you.  I had to struggle through my Taxation and Legal Ethics exams because I was ready to put my pen down in sheer exhaustion. 

Secondly, I hope it has occurred to you that taking and passing the New York Bar does NOT guarantee you a job here.  It only means you will be granted the privilege to represent a client in New York, but not to practice permanently here unless you get a firm to sponsor you or you are an American citizen.  It is not adviseable to take the exam immediately because one of the requirements to take the New York Bar Examination if you are not an American Citizen is proof of a legal practice (cases handled, employment history in legal firms as an attorney).  The official site of the New York State Board of Law Examiners gives the basic requirements and the law.  I am hoping, though, that you will postpone visiting the site until October because you have quite a feat to accomplish passing the Bar, Ateneo or no Ateneo.

Now that I realize the things I tell you might prove quite distracting, I’ll make a deal with you and promise to give you my two cents’ worth in October, AFTER the Bar Exams.  It should prove enough of a distraction from the after-Bar stress and exhaustion. 

Again, thank you for visiting.. good luck

Related posts can be found in the blog section LAWYER WANNABE which can be found in the navigation bar.

My wedding ring

I have a simple gold band for a wedding ring.  I take it off along with my engagement ring and anniversary ring when I get home.  I don’t want to do my chores wearing it and usually pick it up on the way out of the house as I grab my purse when I run out.  I was in a rush to leave today and Angel’s trying to stop me from walking down out the door made things worse.  It wasn’t long before I realized I had forgotten to put my rings on.

I feel naked when I don’t wear them.  I look at my hands and I can’t help but feel like I am incomplete.  It’s not just the ring per se but what it stands for.  But what can I do?  Perhaps it’s age getting the better of me..