Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Smooth Talker

There and not there
In the space where I thought I had met you,
I have found a pebble.
All my love reduced to a pebble.
Unlike some people, I refuse to talk to a pebble.

Sometimes I see shadows moving,
hear voices whispering,
and think, My rescuers have come.
With tools and spectacles, they study the pebble,
which I insist is not mine, and they leave.

I have memories in chaos.
Words, songs, scenes, moments:
All mishandled; best forgotten.
I look for recognition, and ask
If you have left the key with me.

You made me see beyond this space and time,
Challenged me to reach,
Encouraged me to leap,
And left me in the air.
I should not be so surprised.

With teetering faith and questions upon questions,
I walk back and forth.
Your pebble is a smooth pendant I hang on my neck,
A rock weighing me down,
The universe outside of me.

I am at once a feeling being,
Exposed for the world to see,
And I am free.
What can a pebble do to me?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My New Aura ;)

Restlessness got to me and I did what any girl would do under the circumstances I was in:  I got a new haircut.

Haircuts, for most men, are done regularly, with much the same results.  They go to the same barber and pay the same amount of money for the same cut and  give the same tip each and every trip.  It is a matter of routine; a habit instilled even while they were still in school.

For women, on the other hand, it is a totally different story.  We have regular neighborhood salons for the basic snip done every two months, if we're being good; or whenever our mood, schedule, or budget would allow it.  We have the "splurge salons" (see my review of Shunji Matsuo Hair Studio on my Multiply site here) where we go to pamper ourselves to get that movie-star gorgeous feeling afterwards.  And then we have the "stylists' salons" that we go to when we want something radical, new, fresh, and unique.

After a week of poring through books that left me dissatisfied; changing bed sheets that did not help with my sleepless nights; avoiding people and questions I did not want to face; I decided that I had to avoid officially going crazy, and did something about it.  I am satisfied with the results.  Happiness; for this week, this month, or even this year, is not even the goal.  Survival and satisfaction would do.

I got one of the senior stylists at Aura Salon (Katipunan Ave., QC - highly recommended by the Sikat na Girls) to give me a new 'do.  I complained about my once-straight, now wavy hair; the over-layering committed by my neighborhood haircutter; and my aversion to the daily blowdry that had left my hair brittle and dull.  He got to work.  Initially, he was just going to cut off two inches.  I looked in the mirror and decided I want more.  I described what I wanted.  A shape that would fit my face, neat ends all around, and the requisite low-maintenance style.  He nodded his head and cut some more, with precision that I admired.

He ended up cutting off six inches of hair.  After he was done, I felt as if six tons had been lifted off my head.  I thanked him, paid, gave my tip to him and to the shampoo-blowdry girl, and floated to my car.

I was happy until I realized it was ten minutes until three, my car was coded and had to be brought  home soon, and my mother was calling because my father was panicking (since I was still not home and the MMDA might catch me).  My parents forget that I'm a thirty-something lawyer.  All the time. 

I have to pack, finish some documents for my father, attend mass and Bible Study, and get beauty sleep for an early flight tomorrow.  I took forty-five minutes for a haircut just to be able to breathe.  I think it was worth it.

I'll have some pics taken in Singapore.  You be the judge.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just Say No

I'm like a two-year old with my new favorite word: No. 

I say "No" now even to good things from good people to make up for all the "No's" I should have said since I learned how to say "Yes".

It has surprised some people that I can say No. Yes, I can. I just chose not to before because I thought that was the right thing to do. In saying No now, I'm saying Yes to myself.

I am not talking about drugs, alcohol, or any of those heavy stuff that I have
and will always say No to. Well, alcohol probably to a certain extent, is okay. But this is not about the Seven Deadly Sins or anything like that. This is also not about work. Of course at work, as long as it's part of the penumbra of my job description, I should do it. I don't mind.

These No's I'm now saying refer to the mundane things that people take for granted. I'm now saying Yes to my heart, to my soul, to my conscience, and it means more time to think, 
to breathe, to rest, and to sleep.  

For the longest time I have been a people-pleaser, and it did not help that I had the stuff to pull it off. And it 
amazes me now that supposedly shy people can really be pushy when 
demanding me to do things. "You do it; you're good at it." I have come to hate those words.

But before, I thought it was my God-given duty to play the piano, to sing, to write, to speak, to listen, to organize, to entertain, to pay, to type, to call, to text, to lead, to 
understand, to give, to wait, etc. I also thought it was the most loving thing to do.

So I feel guilty when I say No. I really do. I feel bad. I berate myself. I wonder if I'm worth anything at all, just because I said No.

Lately I've noticed how other people say No without even explaining why, and how 
they get away with it. I want to be able to do that. It's been done to me countless times. "You do it Ella, because nobody else will."

That's not true. Nobody else will do it because I've been asked, expected, or required to do it. And I've always tried to give my best when I say Yes.

I will end by re-posting something that I uploaded to my Facebook account. The PostSecret entry says it all.

Friday, July 10, 2009

We only part to meet again.


Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends. ~Richard Bach

We only part to meet again. ~John Gay

Man's feelings are always purest and most glowing in the hour of meeting and of farewell. ~Jean Paul Richter

Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need to know of hell. ~Emily Dickinson, "Parting"

Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye? ~Author Unknown

Gone - flitted away,
Taken the stars from the night and the sun
From the day!
Gone, and a cloud in my heart.
~Alfred Tennyson

Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos. ~Charles M. Schulz

Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes. ~Henry David Thoreau

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I'll miss you
Until we meet again!
~Author Unknown

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning. ~Ivy Baker Priest

Absence from whom we love is worse than death, and frustrates hope severer than despair. ~William Cowper

Excuse me, then! you know my heart;
But dearest friends, alas! must part.
~John Gay

To die and part is a less evil; but to part and live, there, there is the torment. ~George Lansdowne

May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand. ~Irish Blessing

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you.
~Dale Evans

No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth. ~Robert Southey

Can miles truly separate you from friends.... If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there? ~Richard Bach

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. ~Garrison Keillor

What shall I do with all the days and hours
That must be counted ere I see thy face?
How shall I charm the interval that lowers
Between this time and that sweet time of grace?
~Frances Anne Kemble

Not to understand a treasure's worth till time has stole away the slighted good, is cause of half the poverty we feel, and makes the world the wilderness it is. ~William Cowper

She went her unremembering way,
She went and left in me
The pang of all the partings gone,
And partings yet to be.
~Francis Thompson

Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love. ~George Eliot

Love is missing someone whenever you're apart, but somehow feeling warm inside because you're close in heart. ~Kay Knudsen

The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. ~Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

You and I will meet again
When we're least expecting it
One day in some far off place
I will recognize your face
I won't say goodbye my friend
For you and I will meet again
~Tom Petty

Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again. ~William Shakespeare

In the hope to meet
Shortly again, and make our absence sweet.
~Ben Jonson

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same. ~Flavia Weedn, Forever, ©

So sweetly she bade me adieu,
I thought that she bade me return.
~William Shenstone

But fate ordains that dearest friends must part. ~Edward Young

Love reckons hours for months, and days for years; and every little absence is an age. ~John Dryden

Where is the good in goodbye? ~Meredith Willson, The Music Man

Distance of time and place generally cure what they seem to aggravate; and taking leave of our friends resembles taking leave of the world, of which it has been said, that it is not death, but dying, which is terrible. ~Henry Fielding

As the presence of those we love is as a double life, so absence, in its anxious longing and sense of vacancy, is as a foretaste of death. ~Anna Brownell Jameson

Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would I'd never leave. ~A.A. Milne

As contraries are known by contraries, so is the delight of presence best known by the torments of absence. ~Alcibiades

May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
~Irish Blessing

Good-byes breed a sort of distaste for whomever you say good-bye to; this hurts, you feel, this must not happen again. ~Elizabeth Bowen

May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!
~Irish Blessing

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.
~Irish Blessing

Absence diminishes little passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans a fire. ~Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld, translated from French

Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven. ~Tryon Edwards

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. ~Kahlil Gibran

Farewell, my sister, fare thee well.
The elements be kind to thee, and make
Thy spirits all of comfort: fare thee well.
~William Shakespeare

A man never knows how to say goodbye; a woman never knows when to say it. ~Helen Rowland

The return makes one love the farewell. ~Alfred De Musset

You're searching...
For things that don't exist; I mean beginnings.
Ends and beginnings - there are no such things.
There are only middles.
~Robert Frost, Mountain Interval, "In the Home Stretch"

Fare thee well! and if for ever,
Still for ever, fare thee well.
~Lord Byron

May you have warm words on a cool evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door. ~Irish Toast

If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden. ~Attributed to Claudia Ghandi

Ye flowers that drop, forsaken by the spring,
Ye birds that, left by summer, cease to sing,
Ye trees that fade, when Autumn heats remove,
Say, is not absence death to those who love?
~Alexander Pope

The best things said come last. People will talk for hours saying nothing much and then linger at the door with words that come with a rush from the heart. ~Alan Alda

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue.
And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.
~Irish Blessing

That bitter word, which closed all earthly friendships and finished every feast of love farewell! ~Robert Pollok

One kind kiss before we part,
Drop a tear, and bid adieu;
Though we sever, my fond heart
Till we meet shall pant for you.
~Robert Dodsley

The joy of meeting pays the pangs of absence; else who could bear it? ~Nicholas Rowe

Adieu! I have too grieved a heart to take a tedious leave. ~William Shakespeare

A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.
~Irish Blessing

Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart untravelled, fondly turns to thee;
Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
~Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller

If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me? ~Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant, "Free Bird," One More From the Road, 1973, performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending. ~Lazurus Long

May brooks and trees and singing hills
Join in the chorus too,
And every gentle wind that blows
Send happiness to you.
~Irish Blessing

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. ~Gilda Radner

Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart. ~Washington Irving

Farewell! a word that must be, and hath been -
A sound which makes us linger; - yet - farewell!
~Lord Byron

Goodbye, goodbye, I hate the word. Solitude has long since turned brown and withered, sitting bitter in my mouth and heavy in my veins. ~R.M. Grenon

Missing someone gets easier every day because even though it's one day further from the last time you saw each other, it's one day closer to the next time you will. ~Author Unknown

For in that word - that fatal word - howe'er
We promise - hope - believe - there breathes despair.
~Lord Byron

Let's not unman each other - part at once;
All farewells should be sudden, when forever,
Else they make an eternity of moments,
And clog the last sad sands of life with tears.
~Lord Byron

A goodbye isn't painful unless you're never going to say hello again. ~Author Unknown

A chord, stronger or weaker, is snapped asunder in every parting, and time's busy fingers are not practiced in re-splicing broken ties. Meet again you may; will it be in the same way? With the same sympathies? With the same sentiments? Will the souls, hurrying on in diverse paths, unite once more, as if the interval had been a dream? Rarely, rarely! ~Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton

Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life. ~Jean Paul Richter

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. ~Theodor Seuss Geisel, attributed

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July List

Wish and To Do List (for the days in-between):

1. Retreat
2. Spa - gift certificate: check!
3. Facial
4. Travel - Singapore: check!
5. Shopping money (notice the lack of check)
6. Finish course outline
7. Update myself on the course
8. Organize my songs on iTunes
9. Play music
10. Sleep
11. Organize old photos into albums
12. Update wardrobe for the Court
13. Submit all requirements
14. Take up gardening
15. Finally, buy that camera and that iPhone.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sheer Lack of Professional Care

My two-year old Nokia E65 began showing signs of old age, so I decided to take it to the Nokia Professional Care Center in Tomas Morato, QC, for some much-needed Phone TLC.

Over the years, my family and I have partonized this Care Center as it was nearest to our place and was definitely away from the madding mall crowd.

I went on a weekday, after work. There were about five people ahead of me. I was given a number and asked to register my contact information and specific phone concerns to a computer. "Wow, high-tech," I thought.

When my number was called, I went to one of the booths to talk to a customer service person. I assumed that she had all my phone complaints down pat, after all, I typed them all down and the computer screen was right in front of her. She asked me what I needed, and I assumed this was just SOP.

I told her that I needed to change my cellphone's cover. She inspected the phone and told me that it also had a "rough slide". She was not smiling, and I could sense that she wanted to get the session over and done with so she could proceed to the next customer. I had other questions about my office-issued Nokia phone. She abruptly said, "That part is out of stock, ma'am." I asked when it would be available. She shrugged and gave me a look that to me meant, "I don't know and I don't care." I told myself it was almost time for the shop to close and she was probably tired.

She made bullet-point notes on my Job Order form based on our conversation. I asked her to call me first to give me the quotation for any repairs needed. I also asked when my phone would be ready. She said to ask for the status the next day. I inquired if they had a service phone and she again stared at me as if I asked something out of the ordinary. She said the repair could take weeks. And again, the look that told me, "Live with it."

I tried calling the next day but both lines were busy. And the next. And the next. I waited for any message from them, but nothing came. Finally, after four days, I was able to get through. I gave the one who answered the phone my Job Order No., thinking that she would be able to answer my inquiries based on their high-tech computerized system.

I was made to wait for two, maybe three minutes, and I was tempted to put down the phone and get back to work. The girl finally returned to the line and informed me about the price quotation. I asked her if that covered the part I wanted replaced only, or if it included the repair for the "rough slide".

"Wait lang po, Ma'am, I will ask." More minutes passed. Upon her return, she said the price quoted covered everything, BUT she had to inform me that the parts they needed for the "rough slide" were not available. I asked when they would be available. I was already irritated. She was not sure how to respond and had to ask someone else for every question I had. What was the purpose of the computerized client registration and Job Order system again? I asked her to place the order for the parts immediately. I doubt now if she did.

I also specifically asked if I could have the phone back the next day, as it had my complete phonebook, and if they could just replace the function keys, which was the subject of my original complaint. I was not complaining about the "rough slide", really. She said I could pull out the phone and I could try calling other branches if they had the parts I needed.

When I got there to retrieve my phone a week later, as the shop was really out of the way, I was given a number and asked to register. I said, "I've already registered. Can't you just pull out my file?"

I asked that because in our office, we refrain from asking clients questions repeatedly, as all their information was already in our Client File, viewable by a few clicks of our computer mouse. This avoids wasting our clients' precious time.

I mean, come on, Nokia, people pay thousands of pesos for your phones. The least you could provide us is TRUE PROFESSIONAL CARE. Tell me what's so professional about this. Read below what else went on. I know I have friends in Nokia. Maybe the fault lies in this particular Care Center. But right now, where I am, it reflects on the brand.

I reluctantly re-registered on their (now low-tech) computer and handed my job Order to the guy who went inside, presumably to locate my phone. A customer service rep saw me lingering and asked what I needed. I said a guy already took my form and I was claiming my phone.

Without asking for my name, customer number, or Job order no., this girl (the one I spoke with last time, just my luck), asked me to sit down. She went inside for about five minutes, and returned with a phone and some forms. She was typing away when I noticed that the phone she had in her hand was NOT my phone. I told her so.

She asked, as if this happened all the time, "Ma'am, what is your name?" I tried to control my voice, as I felt my blood rising upon hearing this. I gave my name and asked her to get my phone.

She returned with the phone, which was in the same state as when I had left it two weeks ago. I asked her why they had not replaced the function keys. She gave me a bewildered look. I said, "I phoned and the girl who answered told me that you could replace it." It turned out, after verifying with her colleagues, that the girl who answered the phone did not bother to check that the only spare part available was already assigned to another customer.

The girl on the customer service desk returned, without smiling, without apologies, and informed me that I had to wait for the replacement part to be ordered. I wanted to ask, "From where? Finland?" but stopped myself. I bet they did not know when the part would be available either.

Instead I asked to have my phone back, told her that I was extremely dissatisfied with their service, that they had to get their act together, that they wasted my time, and that I was NEVER coming back to their service center.

As I was seething during the drive home, I wondered if they deliberately made cellphone repair inconvenient to force clients to buy a new phone. Well in my case they only succeeded in making me lose interest in their products. I was in the business of customer service for the past two years, and with the way the staff of Nokia Professional Care Center handled themselves during my past two visits, I doubted if they were professional, or if they even cared.

After this experience, it just became clearer: that after using that brand for more than a decade, I have had enough. My next phone will no longer be a Nokia.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dreams and Cockroaches

I took a power nap and had a dream about a bottle of cockroaches. I woke up not so refreshed and wondered what it could have meant, as I had not seen a cockroach recently.

I looked it up.


Seeing and at times just thinking about cockroaches makes a person feel squeamish and repulsed. When dreaming about these dreaded insects, the unconscious mind may be hinting to the dreamer that he needs to reevaluate and reassess a major part of his life. There is never just one roach; thus, the areas of life that need cleansing and renewal may be deep and wide. The negativity or contamination that is represented by the roaches may affect a great deal of your life. Thus, this may be a call to clean your psychological, emotional, and spiritual self. (Also, examine your motives!) On a less dramatic note, cockroaches in our dreams may be associated with food and uncleanliness, so don't leave the dishes for tomorrow!

Source: Dream Lover Incorporated,

There you go.

Aw, Shut Up.

I do not watch a lot of movies anymore. This is a quote from the script of one of my all-time favorites, Jerry Maguire.


This used to be my specialty. I
was good in a living room. Send
me in there, I'll do it alone. And
now I just... I don't know... but
on what was supposed to be the
happiest night of my business
life, it wasn't complete, wasn't
nearly close to being in the same
vicinity as complete, because I
couldn't share it with you. I
couldn't hear your voice, or laugh
about it with you. I missed my
wife. We live in a cynical world,
and we work in a business of tough
competitors, so try not to laugh --


I love you. You complete me.

Aw, shut up. You had me at hello.

If only we could write out our life's lines and the people in our lives said the right words back.

No, there are no scripts in real life. Only mindless chatter.

If only we could say, Shut up. And look as gorgeous as Renee Zelwegger.