Friday, January 29, 2010

Hello, World!


I am truly humbled by all the comments that are pouring in on my give-away post

I feel very excited about being a part of this experience!  Though I'm not as creative as some of the AMAZING artists on the One World One Heart tour, I am blessed to be a pit stop (#688!) on this magical carpet ride.

I hope you all enjoy the random sights and sounds I have to share on my own journey.

Thank you all so much!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One World One Heart - My First Give-Away!!!

***OWOH Giveaway is CLOSED***

I'm inspired.

Thanks to a mermaid in the attic's blog I found a really neat activity to participate in, and it involves a Give-Away!
One World One Heart

Visit her blog for instructions on how to participate.  But let me tell you what you'll get from me first.

I'm not much of an artist.  I have wonderful friends who are more artistically inclined than I am, but I give it my best shot.

What I want to give away is something that has meaning for me, and will hopefully have meaning for some of you as well.

Every year since 2007, I've participated in the annual Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) Walk.  It's a cause that I personally have some stake in (click on this link if you have the energy to learn more about why).

But, I'm not about being victimized.  Instead, I choose to focus more on the strengths of rising above it all (there's that social worker in me again!).

So, I gathered my friends and started a team in 2008.  In 2009, we raised close to $4000 for this wonderful organization!  I was very proud of my team.

Oh, by the way, our team name is the "Maganda Malakas Sirenas" - Beautiful Strong Mermaids.

In Philippine mythology, Maganda was the first woman and Malakas was the first man.  While that has some implications, I think it's important to think that those two qualities are within each of us, as are the masculine and feminine and other dualities.  I feel proud to be able to wear those two monikers on my shirt, and it helps to bring energy and life into an otherwise difficult situation.

One of the fun activities we got to do together was make t-shirts for the walk.  I designed our logo, and we had silk-screening parties.

As the 2010 BARCC Walk is on April 11th, and slowly inching closer, it's time again to register and start thinking about making more t-shirts for new team members.  In honor of the event, I want to give away a t-shirt.
Beautiful Strong

The top row is the Tagalog translation.  The second row is the Baybayin (pre-Spanish colonialism script in the Philippines).  The third row is English.  The mermaid tail is my own design.

The winner will get to choose a shirt color (which I will purchase at American Apparel), and the ink color (I will send you a picture with all the ink colors I have, and we will work on your shirt together).

Okay.  Now for the rules.
1.  Comment on this post.
2.  You must have a blog or give me your email address (as long as there's a way for me to contact you if you win).
3.  In your comment, give me your shirt size and what color shirt you would like.  Feel free to check out the American Apparel store for specific details.
4.  The winner will be randomly chosen (with a random number generator) and announced on Monday, February 15th.

That's it!  Easy peasy.

Good Luck Folks!  I'm excited to share this t-shirt with the world!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Who knew that letting go would feel so good?

I am SO not a super dramatic type of person.  I might talk big, but really that's it.  I'm all talk, really.

But this time around, I knew I couldn't keep going without taking some action, and getting with my girls and casting my past hurt into a pyre.

The entire Saturn's Return experience has really been rough for me.  It's been a lot of things that just keep piling up - personal stuff, family's health, stuff with the boyfriend - more and more seems to keep happening.

There's been a lot on my plate.  But luckily, my East Coast/Social Work Ladies were here to fill my plate with love and support.

Mmmmm...taco action and mint chocolate chip cookies....

While we weren't a complete set due to scheduling and life, the 6 of us who were there were all given the floor to fully share all that we've been carrying - such a social work move!

All around the table, we talked about what's been happening.  Issues with other friends; wedding planning; relationships with co-workers, boyfriends, husbands, and family members; old loves and new prospects; health issues; and what it's really like to put yourself and your needs first.

We talked, we laughed, we teared up (okay...I cried...I'm a crier...).  But we also discussed, offered advice, and listened.

You'd think we were part of a clinical support group!  But seriously, it felt like how a women's community should feel.  None of the competitiveness, none of the jealousy, all of the support.

After all the stories, close to midnight it turns out, we were all getting sleepy.  But before we closed our night, we started a fire, and I burned some no longer needed items.

A Contract for 1 Heart and 1 Soul

I was telling the girls about how I don't ever see myself acting this way.  It was very "Waiting to Exhale," when Angela Bassett gathered all her husbands items, chucks them into his car and sets it on fire.  It was very maarte.

Waaaay too excited!

Maarte, in Tagalog, means being very dramatic, high maintenance, and making a big show of something.  I'm so not maarte.  But I was with that fire pit.

Rising flames

Before we went out into the cold winter night, we quickly looked through my pictures and I shared my memories with them.  I feel no remorse for burning the pictures.  I didn't burn them all, as many of my pictures are still in Los Angeles, but I don't plan to burn them all either.  But I don't feel that the ones I had in my possession are of any more use to me, here in Boston or in the future.

I'll always have the memories, and I'm hopefully using whatever lessons I learned from that time in my life.

There was no mourning...

Though we didn't want to force it, we did feel like something needed to be said while the images burned, almost like a toast.

We all felt, though, that while the event was spawned by needing to release past hurt, we were also helping to create new hope.  As the violent flames slowly burned out into ash and steam, we reflected on all the hope and possibility that awaited us all.

Probably due to the photo chemicals, this last bit wouldn't go out.
We each threw in a bit of snow to help with the end.

As we all acknowledged that many of us were in the midst of Saturn's Return or major transition, we knew that this night really helped to set the course for the rest of the year.  Though I'm sure we'll be seeing each other again soon in other social situations, I'm looking forward to another night of being maarte.

A Letter to My 90 Year Old Grandmother

Dear Lola,

Your tribe loves you.

While I will miss you and your crazy antics, I think it's okay to let go and say goodbye.  It's okay.  The other side will be much warmer than this cold world, and you won't need your red blanket anymore.  You can have as much sugar or ice cream on your rice as you want.

Thank you for birthing your 12 babies.  Thank you for being a prime example of a strong powerful woman.  Thank you for all the rice & egg.  Thank you for the champurado on the weekends.  Thank you for all your hilarious moments.  Thank you for building an empire that is the Rodriguez Family.

Even when you pass, you will always be with us.

I love you, Lola.

Love, Cecile

Lola Representin'

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dropping Things That Are No Longer Useful

As noted on my Top 5 Goals for 2010, here's my #5:
5. Learn to let go and move away from things that might be holding me back.

I'm realizing this is definitely going to be one of those multiple-year projects.   But I'm trying to get a jump on it.

In the next couple of days, I plan on slowly dropping things that are no longer of any use to me.  This will include the following:

1.  Old paraphernalia of/from my ex (who I learned is engaged to his preferred type of Asian..I mean, Congratulations and all....but still...)

Photographs, Postcards, Leaves, and A Contract for 1 Heart

2.  My last journal (much more private than this blog, but filled with too much of the sadness) regardless of how many pages are empty.  I'm only really closing it out, but I'm not one to throw away my journals.

3. Weight.  I know, I know...this is such a standard New Years thing.  I hate being so cliche.  But it's also about the weight that I feel during the winter.  I can't handle all the darkness that comes with the winter - especially in New England.  So, if I focus on my Word of the Year, I think I can not only better handle the darkness, but also lose some pounds.  I've already started yoga and my pilates class starts soon.  So, I'm getting there.

From My Goddess Guidebook Adventures

I'm sure the list will continue to grow throughout the year.

Tomorrow, I'm getting with my girls and hopefully burning up all the things in the first picture.  I'm super excited about that!  I've never in my life thought I would take such a dramatic action.  But, I know it will feel so cathartic.

And it's just what I need right now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Outsourcing My Toesies

This month has become unnecessarily busy.  I'm glad that I'm finding time to blog at all! ( I'm cheating...I'm at work/my volunteer job...)

But I'm finding that I won't really have time OR money to get my toes done and still have them look good for Valentine's Day.  Plus, I have one color that I really really want to use, and it would be much more apropos for February (dark and dreary time in the winter, and starting to need more light).

I've also decided that instead of getting a pedicure in January, the money that I would have spent on that (just about $40) will go towards my trip to Greece.   I'm unfortunately quite a bit behind in my savings because of all the unemployment stuff, but I'm slowly getting there.

So, I would like to start encouraging others to take pictures of their pedicures and send them on over to me!  Maybe tell a little story about your impressions, why you desperately needed a pedicure, and any other bits of information you'd like to share.

Here's what I would like to know:
  • When you got your pedicure
  • The name of the salon and the city it's located in.
  • The name of the nail technician
  • Do you usually get this style or are you trying something new? 
  •  What lead you to get your pedicure?  Is it for self care or just a day out with the girls or just because?

Kailua Beach, Hawaii, 2007

I'd really like to encourage everyone to get to know the technicians at your local nail salons.  Even if you don't like the idle chit chat with them (or maybe there's a language barrier), at least find out what their names are!  They're doing you a grand service by getting that close to your toes!

Send your pictures and pedi stories to

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mermaid Collages: Past Thoughts and Future Hopes

The past couple of weeks have really involved a lot of introspection.  Much of which is currently sitting as drafts.

But, I'm feeling a need to re-evaluate a lot of my choices and decisions.  I've been looking back, thinking about all the things I've learned and all the lessons I still need to learn.

In the next year, I feel that there will be a lot of death in my life.  While the idea of my own death scares me a bit, I do believe that death is nothing more than change, much like the Tarot card interpretation.

Right now, I'm struggling with the death of my former self and all the memories that came with it.  I feel this need to honor the past so as not to forget the lessons, and I dislike the idea of regretting anything.  But perhaps my honoring of my past (and I'm really meaning my late teens and earlier part of my 20's) has led me to hold on to it more than I should.

Here's another Mermaid Collage from 2002 (I will retype the words on the page so you don't have to open another window and fight with my horrendous handwriting), and a 2-pager at that!
  So tired from all the wear and tear of everyday life...just needing one full night of sleep without waking to tasks that need to be done...
What is being sparkley?  Especially when so much has worn you down and sullied you...Is it someone else's glance?  The music they hear whenever they're near you?  Or is it what you make and believe in yourself?  Is it all your tears your laughter your dreams all rolled up into one?  Is it all the hard work that no one will ever recognize?  Or the ones that have affected that one person?

When lying in bed...laying in bed...what thoughts run through your body - ending at your brain...your mind...Devious thoughts...April Fools pranks at unsuspecting victims of your cruelty...What will I dream of tonight?  Being a mermaid...on her way to her prince...not so he can save her, mind you...cuz his car has broken down...What will I do tomorrow?  No...don't'll just keep yourself awake with that kind of talk...stretch...breathe...Don't worry about those so-called friends...too worried about who's gonna supply their addiction...don't mind them...this is only have a man who loves you so much - he already talks about your have best friends that care for you so deeply - they count the days til your homecoming...Don't fret about all that sadness that wells up inside's only homesickness...because you know how many hours-drive it is to see the love of your see the happy smiles of yoru friends...Don't're not chemically imbalanced...depressed...bipolarl...ADD...dyslexic...suicidal thoughts...sometimes hearing voices...screaming!  Screaming the answers!  But I have none...not until my last breath will I have the answers...For now, I'll just sleep off this feeling...and wait to see what tomorrow will bring...

Time to wake up.

Monday, January 18, 2010

City Sights - Strange Choices

I realized that people make some strange choices. And some of those choices need to be explored a little.  So I take pictures, and it's high time I shared them with others.

Going along the first post of City Sights, these folks made some interesting decisions about how to get around the city.  Mainly, it's a question of their style...but it does make me question the function as well.

Oktoberfest 2007
She's taking "going green" to a whole new level!
I would be worried about getting the fur stuck in the gears, stopping the pedals, and flipping the bike over.
...but that would probably only ever happen to me...

Summer 2009

Okay...I don't know if you can really see it...
But this car has this strange holographic purpley-pinky-rainbowy glaze over it!!!
I first noticed the car maybe 2 years ago, and I literally stopped walking and took off my sunglasses just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.

I don't know how this person didn't get made fun of...
They're clearly trying to be all hardcore and tough....but the color choice just isn't helping...
But I must say that it's a show-stopper of some sort or another.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Embracing My Own Pace - "Friend M"

"Friend M"

"As I think about the conversations I've had with my parents about marriage and babies, I think the bottom line is that my parents want a grandchild.  It seems like they want a grandchild more than wanting me to get married.

"They've told me that they'll take care of my kids while I work, which is nice, but...I'm so not ready.  I'm sure when I find that special someone, marriage will fall together naturally.  I feel like I need to be financially and emotionally stable to actually "settle down" for marriage and kids.

"It's been two years since I've lived away from home.  I can hardly take care of myself and there are more things that I want to do in my career. And to be quite honest, I enjoy living on my own right now.

"But don't get me wrong, I want to get married eventually and have that dream wedding that people are always dreaming about!  I plan to dance down the aisle with my dad instead of walk down the aisle, and I too have picked out names for future babies! (LOL!) But I'm just not quite ready to settle down yet."

Some Background On M's Parents:
"They were never really the typical conservative Asian parents that all the other Asian kids talk about.  In elementary school, they focused on grades.  But after seeing how bad I did in middle school, they gave up and were like, 'Just let her be! She'll figure something out.'

"So after elementary school, there was no pressure to do well in school, no pressure to become a doctor or a lawyer.  They always encouraged me to do what I wanted and they told me that they'll support me in whatever I do, so in turn, I knew that they trusted me and would support me and to that I'm so grateful."

Random Collection of Conversations:

1 - With Dad.
"Last Father's Day, my dad was telling me about a friend of his who just had his first grandchild.  I jokingly said to him, 'Uh oh, that means, I should start having kids, huh daddy?'  I expected him to say, 'No, no, you keep working and doing what you want.'  But instead, he said (as he laughed), 'Yeah, you should hurry up! Definitely before you're 30!'

Here's how the conversation went:
Dad:  So, how are things going? Are you seeing anyone interesting?
Me:  No, if I were seeing someone, you would definitely know!
Dad:  You're going to be 30 soon...
Me:  (Whoa, wtf?! Wait a minute!) I have 2 more years before I turn 30! Well, techinically 3!
Dad:  No, you ONLY have two more years!"
Me:  Then daddy, PRAY that I find a guy like Akira from EXILE (this popstar that I love)
Dad:  (laughs hysterically) That's never going to happen!

Akira at a movie premiere

2 - With Mom.
"My mom, on the other hand is like, 'Don't listen to to your dad! I had you when I was 32!'   She would always say that I too would be getting married late in life like her.  But she does drop hints that parents love taking care of their grandchildren.

"Once I had a conversation with my mom over the phone about how she would feel if I came back home from Japan pregnant and unmarried.  Would she freak?!

"She answered, 'M, being a single mom is very tough, it would be better if you were married because raising a kid on your own is hard--but if that happens, daddy and I will help you.'

"To be honest, I was kinda surprised to hear that, but I think it comes from her not being conservative (sometimes I think I'm a bit more conservative than my parents!).

"It could also be because my cousin in Japan knocked up his girlfriend, got married, and my mom's older brother LOVES his granddaughter and that's influencing her.  And nowadays in Japan, it's not surprising to see people getting married after they find out they're expecting.  Times are changing.

"Two weeks ago, I was on the phone with my mom and she expressed that she would be shocked to find out if I was going out with someone (What?! I'm so confused!)."

Mom:  To be honest, I think I'd be shocked when the day comes when you tell us that you have a boyfriend.
Me:  Why?! I would think you and Daddy would be happy to hear that I FINALLY have a boyfriend after all this talk about not having a boyfriend for 27 years! (Gasp! I know...)
Mom:  Well...
Me:  Is it because you think I would love him more than you guys?
Mom:  (long pause) Yes, we'd be sad that you've found someone that would mean more to you than your parents, like we've been replaced...
Me:  Oh Mommy! I'm still going to love you the same way! (jokingly) Do you expect me to never get married and grow old with you guys?!
Mom:  Well...yes...(serious tone)
Me:  What?!
Mom:  Well..that would be an option.
Me:  Wha?! I eventually want kids you know!
Mom:  Yeah, I know, you can always dump the guy if things don't work out between you two - daddy and I will help you out. Every parent would love to take care of their grandchild...
Me:  (laughs) I'm going to get knocked up then!
Mom:  (laughs) Be safe!
Me:  Wha?!

"So, that means I have my mom's approval to get knocked up!

"I proceeded to tell her I had a baby daddy in mind.  She retorted, 'Akira from EXILE huh?! I give up! M, listen, you're never going to get married and have kids if you're too busy obsessing over a popstar!'

Akira in EXILE's LOVE album

"My mom might be right - I am too busy obsessing over the popstar I love.  So I'm beginning to think they have a valid reason for being a bit worried!  But that doesn't change the fact that I'm still not ready."

J-Pop Star also means Movie Star.  Akira in "Yamagata Scream"

Thank you "Friend M" for contributing your story!

If you'd like to share your story, check out the "embracing my own pace" section on the right-hand sidebar for details!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Confidentiality Takes a Break

There are times when you have to question the "authorities" and "professionals" who are helping you become a better whatever you are.  Especially when they don't seem to walk their talk.

I had an extremely surreal moment today in regards to my profession.

My Chosen Profession
I am a macro social worker.  This means not a clinical social worker.  I'm not fit to do one-on-one therapy sessions with people.  I've got too big of a mouth and too expressive of a face.  In my explanation of a macro social worker, I always say, "I'm much more of a community organizer, program planner and developer type of social worker."

"Case files, Forms, and Reports Galore -- Field Work, Interviews, Phone Calls, and More. 
Never Quit Once You Start And Always Work Direct From the HEART!"

I love the profession for its variety.  For even though I'm not a clinician, I often engage in conversations that take me to that realm.  But I love that I'm able to create programs, bring tons of resources to our clients, and work so closely with kids.

But today, I really had to take a step back and reflect on my training.

While, yes, I am legally unemployed and paid a small stipend to continue working at my (virtually volunteering) job, I am still able to take a seminar for first-time social work supervisors.  Meetings are held through and at the school from which I graduated.  It's great training, really.  I get to talk with others about their experiences and feel very lucky about my relationship with my intern.

Ethics and Dilemmas
Today, we discussed ethics in supervision.

Somehow the conversation turned to the university's policies when a student needs to be disciplined.  Unfortunately, the steps the university took were taken against a great friend of mine, and it lead to him not being able to graduate. 

It felt like a huge mistake.  There were people walking that stage who didn't deserve the letters tacked onto their name.  But my friend wasn't given a full chance, perhaps because he had too much of a voice.

That was my first awakening of the fact that the Schools of Social Work don't necessarily walk their talk.  How could they be teaching us certain values and not uphold the same values for their students?

Oh, right...they're a school and university first. 

So, right...back to today.  The conversation turned to an explanation of the status review process for students.  And suddenly, I realized that the person leading the discussion was describing in detail the events that happened to my friend, and I'm talking the exact incident to the final decision.

She even included the part where my fellow classmates and I stood up against the school's decision, and wore signs on our graduation caps supporting our friend.

A tiny picture of one of the supporting caps.

This was such a surreal moment.  I chose to stay quiet.  Part of me wasn't sure how far she was going to go in the story.  Part of me couldn't believe she was talking about it with me in the room of 4.  Part of me wanted to know exactly how the university felt about the incident.

Follow Up

During the conversation, while I stayed quiet, I felt that I needed to chime in and say, "Actually, what really happened was...."  But would that have been appropriate in the location where the incident took place?  Trying to tell the other side of the story wasn't going to allow my friend to come back.  But, maybe it would have prevented the facilitator from saying more.

The more I thought about it, I realized the seminar facilitator probably had no recollection about which year I graduated.  Though, you would think that that would make you feel wary about sharing such confidential information to new supervisors as it only happened 4 years ago.  Then it makes you wonder, are they using his story as an example every year?  And if they are, they're only telling 1 side of the story!

Afterward, I spoke with my supervisor about the experience.  I told her that I felt awkward, but also didn't really know if I did the right or wrong thing or if anything could have been done.  My supervisor was taken aback and appalled at the recklessness of the facilitator.  She acknowledged that none of us should have been put in a situation where we felt uncomfortable about the content.  She questioned the relevance of my friends incident to our learning.  And she noted that for a conversation about ethics, the facilitator completely dropped the ball.

There they go again.  Not walking their talk.

Next Steps?
I'm not sure what to do about what happened.  I have 3 more sessions of this seminar, and I want to gain as much as I can from it.  I feel like I need to say something about her talking about my friends incident, but I don't really want to deal with any of the aftermath.  My supervisor encouraged me to write her an email, just stating that it made me feel awkward.

On some level, I feel like a horrible friend.  This was another chance to stand up for him, but I failed.  On another level, I didn't want to collude the story and get the other new supervisors involved in a past story.

I think that this type of activity isn't exclusive to the school I attended.  I think that all Schools of Social Work lose sight of the content of their lesson plans after so many years of being separated from the communities in which they served in the first place. 

All in all, it was a strange way to start the day.  I still have a lot of processing to do.

But, here I leave you with acronyms for MSW according to

Master of Social Work
Municipal Solid Waste
Microsoft Word
Mammal Species of the World
Microsoft Windows
Medical Social Worker
Modified Sine Wave (electronic signal shape)
Machine Status Word
Murder She Wrote (TV show)
Most Significant Word
Men Seeking Women
Mikheyev-Smirnov-Wolfenstein (effect; neutrino oscillation, mass)
Men Who Have Sex with Women (medical/public health)
Master Search Warrant
Mountain Spring Water
Maiden Special Weights (race for horses that have never won a race)
Mission Science Workshop
Meters Sea Water (SCUBA diving)
Main Seawater
Magneto-Static Wave
Maximum Shipping Weight
Mao Shan Wang (durian)
Minimum Squared Weight
Middleware Sub Working Group
Managed Windows Service
Manual Shift to Working
Multi-Cast with Same Wavelength
Multiple Stop-And-Wait

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Let Me Set the Record....

I'm not anti-marriage.

My parents have been married for 28 years, and I believe in love and Happily Ever After.  But I also believe that everything takes some effort and work. Even the Happiest of Ever Afters have some hardships.

Sure, one day, I'd love to have a family and house of my own.  Sure, once in a while, I feel this longing to have kids.  And..okay...fine...I have a couple of names picked out already.  When I was about 5 years old, I answered the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" with "A mother."  So, I do want to have children one day.

But I'm not wanting to rush into anything.  I'm well aware that being unemployed means that it's probably not a good time to do any sort of settling down or having a family.

Let me take another step back.

Once upon a time, I truly believed that I would be married soon after grad school (I would have been 24, the age my parents were married) .  My ex and I were totally planning for it.  We even took our parents to dinner to tell them our plan (that so didn't go well...and my parents felt so bad for my ex that they paid for dinner.....I'm pretty sure his mom hated me....).  But in the end, after almost 9 years together, we broke up.

It was quite an awakening.  A true reality check.  But I also reflected on how I played a part in the whole relationship and its demise.

I knew I hadn't grown up enough.

Now that I'm in another long-term relationship, living with the guy and all, I don't feel that he and I need to rush into any sort of situation.  I still feel that he and I both need to work on some things on our own before we're able to handle the responsibility of each other and a family.  Seriously, if he asked me to marry him right now, I'd have to honestly say (and he knows this), "I love you...but I'm just not there yet..."

Believe me, I've taken ALL of 2009 to think about this.  The year started with a wedding, and ended with one of my childhood best friends having her second child.

This past year was the first time I've had to attend multiple weddings of my friends - 1 in Hawaii, 1 in Los Angeles, and 1 in the North Shore of Massachusetts.  In true social work fashion, I've really had to check myself throughout the year.  "How am I feeling?  Am I jealous?  What is it that's bothering me?"

Now, weddings....well..that's a different blog post.

Jealousy, while I can be guilty of it, was not playing any part in my feelings of 2009.  I believe that all my friends who got married and are planning to get married are all at a point where they can be, and that's the right step for them.

I talked in one of my first posts about how I feel like I'm not physically, emotionally, or mentally ready to "settle down."  Most of what was bothering me was how fast everyone else was "growing up" and maybe even "leaving me behind."  But I just don't want to be an expendable part of their lives as they move on and create new ones.  The whole experience really had me feeling whatever transition period I might be going through.  Yet, I'm still not in any rush.

When I'm ready, I'll know.  It's my own pace.  And I'm quite satisfied with this pace.


Have you been told that you need to "hurry up" and get married or have babies?
What about feeling like you have to follow in your family's footprints?
Are you doing something you love even if it's costing you more than you make?

I want to hear about your experiences and feelings about being pressured to "grow up," following your passions, and whether or not your satisfied with your choices!!!

I encourage those of you who are currently unsatisfied to think of concrete steps you'll take to take more control over your choices!
p.s. Self-proclaimed strengths-based social worker here.

Email me your stories, with your name, website, pictures, whatevers!
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shoulda shoulda shoulda

I guess I couldn't have left Los Angeles without getting at least one comment on either my weight or my lack of husband and children.

For a good part of my 20's, I escaped the husband and children lecture.  Clearly, since I was still in school, I needed to focus on that instead.  The weight issue is another story.

I'm Filipino.  I was taught to finish all my food because of those goddamned kids in China and Africa (even though we also came from a third-world country).  Holidays are tables fool of food (as you can see from my Christmas post) and eating the whole night.  Yes, I played outside instead of watching TV for the most part (in fact, I did not grow up watching Saved By The Bell like so many of my friends).

So, I still got chubby.  It probably didn't help that after swimming class at the YMCA, we would go to McDonald's.  It also probably didn't help that when I was around 5 or 6, I thought I needed to weigh 50 or 60 pounds, and that a 0 would be tacked onto my age as I got older.  Weird, I know.  I learned quickly that that wasn't true.  I don't weigh 270 lbs.

And while the doctors would lecture me about my weight, I was still okay with myself.  Then I started going home to visit for the holidays.  My paternal grandmother, whom I love but scares me a little, starts grabbing at my arms, "You should lose weight!  You'd be pretty if you did!"

Yikes.  I started avoided visiting her because of the comments and the arm grabbing.

My mom was another culprit.  Not a visit would go by without a comment on my weight - at least within the first 24 hours.  She would then follow her comment by saying that it's still healthy that I had fat on my body, and I would be regarded as wealthy in the Philippines.

In the past couple of years, I started getting more serious about my weight.  I joined an expensive gym, do workout DVDs at home, started counting my calories.  I lost maybe 10 lbs.  Then I started focusing more on eating more vegetables and got into riding my bike to and from work.  I lost another 10 lbs.

Still nowhere near where I'd like to be, but I'm only really unhappy with my body around my family and when I get on the scale.

But this past vacation, I almost didn't hear anything about my weight.  Almost.

nom nom nom

It's only been recently, since I've finished school, that I've gotten comments about getting married and having a family.  My maternal grandmother is the one pushing this topic this time.

The general gist is that I need to hurry up and have kids because I'm getting older.  But, now I'm getting it from my aunts and uncles on my maternal side as well.  Just when I think I was going to survive another holiday without getting lectured....well...2 days before I left for Boston, it happened.

With that, I now present to you the dialogue between my family and me at around 11:30pm on New Years Eve.

Tito E:  You know, you should have babies now.
Me:  WHAT?? Oh my god...I'm soooo not there right now!  I'm still a baby myself!
Tito E:  Well, the older you get the harder it will be to have kids.  So you should hurry up.
Me:  But what about all my other cousins?  Are you saying the same to them?  They're older than me!
Tito E:  Well, you have a partner.
Tita B: already have a boyfriend.
Me:  I'm so not ready to have a family right now.
Tito E:  Well, as long as you have kids before you're 35.
Nanay (my mom):  Hah?? I'm not ready to be a Lola (grandmother)!
Me:  Thank you!! I'm glad at least we're on the same page here!
Nanay: should lose weight first or else you'll have a hard time....


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My 2010 Goals

My goals for 2010 are featured on The Novelista Barista!

Click on the picture to check out my goals and Jen's blog!
Yay! Blog love!

I'm also planning to do a little reflecting on my 2009 (which is possibly still affecting me right now and trying to make my 2010 a great one by working on a Goddess Guidebook.
I will probably be posting some reflections here, but mainly will be working things out on my *ahem* "Goddess" blog.

Here's to starting things right!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Travels: New Years

As 2009 turned into 2010, I was feeling hopeful, but I also knew that my vacation was nearing its end.

But I couldn't think of a better way to spend the transition than with my friends and Los Angeles.

Here's two sights that would be part of my Los Angeles friends tour:

I know it's not the best quality....but yes, that's a tree that's been cut to look like a dog's head!

The famous Youngwood Court (aka The House of Davids)

You gotta love the Black Power Santa!

It's been at least 2 years since I've spent New Years with my family, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Happy New Year in my parents back yard

Lighting sparklers

Crazy lights

Mermaid tail?

C and V!

Starting 2010 at The Happiest Place on Earth
It's been years since I've been to Disneyland.  My boyfriend has only been to Tokyo Disney, which I've also been to and it completely pales in comparison.  This was also the first time for the both of us to go to California Adventure.

We arrived when Disneyland opened at 8am, and left the park at 11:30pm, a half hour before closing.

Walt and Mickey copycats

Aurora's/Sleeping Beauty's Castle

We were soaked! Thank goodness for a beautiful 70 degree day!

I kicked his butt...

Screaming...and laughing...and screaming...and laughing...

Cream cheese pretzels and Churros!!!

Jedi Training Academy is Ageist...My boyfriend so wanted to be chosen!

This kid was HILARIOUS!  He was so not listening to directions...

At California Adventure, on a "Hollywood Set"...I kept getting dizzy looking at the back drop!

Resting our feet on King Triton's Carousel 

Beautiful! But the ride was way too short!

Our footsies were exhausted!

Goodbye West Coast
We were so exhausted after Disneyland, but we still needed to pack.  Our flight was at 9:50am, but we knew that we needed to prepare for whatever LAX would be throwing our way.

Now, I'm sitting back in our living room, while the final Pats game is on.  The snow delayed our flight getting back, and there's still snow clouds hanging over the city.

It was great to sleep in our own bed.  But it's hard for me to not wish this was out my window instead.

Sunrise Over Downtown

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