Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Summer House's Garden

Update: August 2, 2013

I'm supposed to rest today and so, my sister has banned me from thinking of work or anything business or work-related. So I shall think of mundane relaxing things. Like gardens. When I have my own summer house, I imagine it to be on a property in Eden in Davao City. It's not going to be so big. Maybe around 500 sq. m. The house will probably take up half of the lot but the other half will be a garden. The ground floor will have a pool. Not a big one. Something more meant for dipping than actually swimming. It can be drained and made into a sort of receiving area during months that are too cold for a pool. The kitchen and a small dining will be on the ground floor, too. The basement will be for the staff's accommodation. Aside from their bedrooms, they'll have a small common room they can converge, eat and watch TV in. The second floor will be the family's bedrooms, and the entire third floor will be a family room with glass walls on the north and east sides.

As for my garden, I'll be collecting orchids. Weird orchids from different parts of the world. Here are some of them:

Note: the images are not mine. See credits and links beneath each image.

Alien Orchid (Dendrobium spectabile)
I think it's lovely. This Papua New Guinea Dendrobium is complicated and loud, but I find it very pretty.

Monkey Orchid (Dracula simia)
Apparently there's an orchid with what seems like a face of a monkey. And I found several variations of the plant online. Here they are. And the nice thing about these orchids is they smell like ripe oranges.

Photo by: Eeerkia Schulz from Amazing Tech Zone

Photo by: PhotoMonde

Photo by: PhotoMonde

Photo by: Großräschener Orchids (although, I think they call this Dracula Vampira)

Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major)
It really does look like a duck, doesn't it?

Photo by:

Naked Man Orchid (Orchis italica)
Now, I find this orchid weird, and visually, I'd like to have this in my garden. My only problem is that they say this type of orchid smells like poop. So, either I reconsider and not get this as part of my collection, or I plant it in the far part of my garden.

Photo by: Captain Cynic

Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)
It looks like a humungous insect, alright. It comes in different patterns, too.

Photo by: Jam Jar Flowers

White Egret Orchid (Habenaria radiata) 
Hmm, I think I've seen this before (in person) but I'm not quite sure.

Photo by: Not Over the Hill

Spiral Orchid (Masdevallia caudivolvula)
It doesn't look like an orchid, but apparently it is one. I like it. It looks very happy.

Photo by: Orchids Wikia

Hooker's Lips (Psychotria elata)
While it's still young, the plant resembles these kissable lips. Then becomes more flower-like after it blooms.
Photo by: Amusing Planet 

And so, those are among the ones I'll collect for my summer home. I don't know if some of them would actually grow in our country. And if I do decide to build this summer home I have in my head, I'll have to revise my list. But for now, since it's still in my head, thrive, my pretties!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 19, 2013

There Are Just Days...

I'm sick in bed right now. But tomorrow, I may have to gather my strength and force myself not to be sick. It's been so busy these days and I'm just so very tired. And a little part of you wishes a little bit to succumb to the sickness so that you would have no choice but to rest.

But then you start computing in your mind the cost of getting sick, and the amount of work you'll have to get back to and decide, nah. It's not worth it.

Or is it?

Many of my friends and members of my family tell me that I'm overworked. That I don't rest properly anymore. That if I don't learn to manage my time, my future husband and children will be very lonely. I keep arguing that I can be busy now because I'm still single. And that I'll change my habits when the time comes. But will I really be able to? And do I even like being busy now? I guess the answer to that is no.

The truth is, I'd like to be able to go to the office and actually have time enough to eat a leisurely breakfast while chatting with my team about non-work stuff, reading up on industry news, or just enjoying the solitude. I even imagine having partners or industry friends come over and join me for breakfast every now and then. But these past months, I find myself eating lunch while working at my desk twice a week on average.

I'd like to have enough time to be creative, and to think up of magical stuff to do. And actually have enough time to execute them, and execute them well! These days, everything I do is hurried. And the truth is I'm not happy with the quality of work I'm churning out. They're passable. But I'm not exactly proud of them. I don't have time to think and plan. I do what I need to do, I fulfill my commitments. But as my sister pointed out, I get to my appointments haggard. I can't even appear pretty because I'm rushing from one appointment to the next all the time. I try to meet up with friends in the evening, but I have no more energy by that time. Recently, a friend asked where girls like me hung out. The truth is... I don't. I don't go anywhere to meet new people. The new people I meet are always for work.

My weekends and evenings are not mine. If I'm not busy with socio-civic meetings, industry events, or church events, I'm working on Game Design Documents because I keep telling myself, I need to hurry up and develop ways to expand our client list. If I slack off, our funds might run out before I can find us a new client.

I need to drop some of the groups I'm part of. I need a sales team and an underboss. I need a healthier lifestyle. And I need to remember how to rest.

Ah, I couldn't help but imagine at times like this. What if I traveled the world for an entire year? Just to regain the awe and wonder. Or what if I went to Spain on a study tour for six months just studying Spanish and Flamenco? What if I worked at an NGO? What if I took over the family farm, plant coffee and tea, and spend the rest of my time perfecting the art of Sado (Japanese Tea Ceremony)? What if I went into an industry that dealt with people instead of ideas?... That would be quite a shift.

Anyway, thank you for listening to me (reading) ramble. It helps me unwind. I'm not leaving my company. I have big plans for my little studio. I really just need to learn to delegate and manage my time. And I will do that.

And if you're in my area, let's have lunch. :) That'll force me to leave my desk.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Stats Details 2013

Half of 2013 is now done. And I must admit, I didn't make the most of the first half of the year. I had been busy moping and feeling bad about my circumstance that I am ashamed to say that I may have wasted six months of 2013.

But the year isn't over yet and I am not beyond redemption. So allow me to share the personal fixes I have taken upon myself to impose.

[28 points to a Level Up]
Yes, as silly as that sounds, I haven't been smiling enough lately. Very un-Filipino of me, I know. But I need to get back into the habit. Plus, I've been praying about the problems I've been encountering, but God has been impressing upon me this: "Rejoice in every circumstance." I know, right? I didn't get the specific answers and direction that I was expecting. But, hey, He's God and He has a point. So the plan is smiling face for 21 days to form to habit + 7 days for good measure. If I fail for a day, repeat from the beginning.

[50 points to a Level Up]
I am overworked. I have very little rest. 1 point each night I sleep at 10. 1 point for each night I come home early. 3 points for each week I implement my Sabbath. Four weeks for the habit + 1 week for good measure.

[5 points to a Level Up]
My brother is scolding me. I'm reactive because I lack planning. Therefore, I need to allot one day a week for planning. Four weeks for the habit + 1 week for good measure. Failure to do it in a week means a reset.

[6 points to Level Up]
I'm aiming for a 6-month contingency for now this level. 12-month for the next level.

[75 points to a Level Up]
I need to develop a doable exercise routine. And a better diet plan. This is more difficult because stat is dependent on my Rest and Plan. I need to add the exercise into the plan, and I need to sleep early to be able to have time for exercise. I also need to relax and control my stress because I have a tendency to stress-eat. So, two points each day that I am able to exercise. Another point each day that I am able to eat properly. An extra point if I am able to drink only one cup of coffee for that day, but three points if I am able to not drink at all. Five points if I am able to take care of my skin that week. Another five points if I am able to dance. Three weeks for the habit and one week for good measure. A week of less than fifteen points means a reset.

Broaden Horizon
[64 points to a Level Up]
If I'm bored, that's my fault. I should go out there and engage myself. And better yet, engage with others. I need a travel a quarter. If not, then either a class, a new hobby, or something new. A point every time I go out and see a friend. Two points if I see him/her again within the month. And ten points for a trip, a class, or an adventure. One trip per quarter, two coffees per month.


If you're wondering why I'm listening to a K-Pop band all of a sudden, that's +Costa Palma's fault. :P She shared one of SHINee's Japanese music videos to me. I looked at their other music videos and somehow, they ended up on my playlists. What drew me was the way their videos were done. I liked the visuals. I liked the themes. And I liked the stories. "Dreamgirl" was fun. "1000 Nen Soba ni Ite" was touching. But "Hello" was the one that was feel-good.

It showed the boys in different points in courtship. And I thought it was cute. One was about to propose. One was bringing a gift. Another was about to pick someone up. One was at home just being in love. And one was going to a girl's house to bring flowers. But all of them were smiling like everything's all right in the world and they couldn't help themselves. I like that. I don't see that a lot lately.

It got me thinking. The last time I saw an irrepressible smile was when I took my sister, Maita, to Ueno to get a bag of chocolates for only 1,000 yen. The shopkeepers kept adding more and more extra chocolate into the bag and made a big show of it. My sister couldn't stop smiling (she tried). I'd like to see these smiles, these smiles you can't help. And I'd like to smile these uncontrollable smiles, too. I think I shall try smiling again. Consciously smiling again.

All videos and images are copyright of SM Entertainment.

All Boils Down to Love

It's been a roller coaster of life lessons these past two years. And the ride's not over yet. But so far, in my walk, it keeps on going back to Love. I'm not talking about romance. I'm not even really talking about friendship or family love, either. I'm talking about the baseline Love that operates beneath all our relationships.

When I broke up with my first boyfriend, it was devastating, not just because you were losing someone you loved. It was greatly also because that concept you had of love was being shattered. Love was a lie. And since love is the ultimate, then everything else I had ever believed in could be a lie, too. (I turned to God, then. Because above Love, there was only God. And I desperately needed something/someone to hold on to. God was my last resort. If He turned out to be a lie, too, then, well, I was already devastated. Let the rains fall. God. Not religion. And it was actually the best decision I have made in my life. Not the easiest, mind you. But that's a story for another time.) I was surprised to hear the same words I had said from other girl friends who had broken up with their first boyfriends: Love was a lie. But somehow, life put me in a situation where I had to choose. Forgive him and choose Love. Or hold the grudge and affirm the statement that Love is indeed a lie. So which would you choose? Grudges are heavy and tiring to keep so I chose the former. And so I just negated my earlier statement that Love is a lie.

So, life goes on. I finally was able to wish him well without bitterness gripping my heart. Then the next lesson comes. Someone close to me suddenly comes up and confesses to me that he likes me. And my world is turned upside down once more. Now, my friends think this is a good and exciting thing. But not for me. He is a friend of mine. And I've always held on to him as a constant in my life, one of the pegs that held my world in place. The sudden change in the relationship made me panic. And I couldn't help feeling like he had betrayed me by feeling what he did. If one just looks at it, one would think it wasn't a big deal. But for control freaks like me, we find our worlds spinning out of control!

I learned a lot from that particular subplot of my life. Surprisingly, the lessons are relatable to marriage. I learned why one should never rely on a person for stability. Not another person, and most definitely not the self. I learned how to stay and fight to keep a friendship, even when all I wanted to do was flee. I learned to make sacrifices, and sacrifice other relationships for what you want to keep. I experienced first hand counting what each of us had done and why we shouldn't count in the first place. I saw the danger in treating symptoms without treating the root cause. I saw more clearly that baseline "love," which was not romantic in any way. And all this with a guy who wasn't even my boyfriend. May God give him a nice sensible girl soon (and may the knight forgive me for saying so).

Aside from that, I'm also currently taking up my MBA, and the course I'm working on now is Social Transformation. When the universe teaches you something, it's usually trans-media. And so through my coursework, people, and circumstances around me which seemed supernaturally connected at that time, I learned that you need three relationships to be in good order to effect change: your relationship with your Maker, your relationship with people around you, and your relationship with your society. And what's the basis of those relationships? Love.

In relation to my MBA, I met with Gawad Kalinga's Tony Meloto, who told me that the men in this country needed to be empowered. I researched and asked around about men and how people thought they could be empowered. Since my company made apps, I thought maybe we could make an app to help. Or as an activator, maybe there's a project I could help with to help empower the men. But the answer, I found, was simpler and more difficult than I had thought. The answer was: Love them. When men feel loved, that motivates them. That makes them step up and go beyond. Simpler because you didn't need to spend on apps or projects to do that. More difficult because you actually have to do it yourself. It required you to engage with people and love them despite their shortcomings. And maybe love them some more BECAUSE of their shortcomings. And you can't outsource this. You can't delegate this. You have to believe this and model this and live this yourself.

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Her Fault for Wearing a Short Skirt

This morning, my Executive Assistant came in wearing a nice flowery knee-length dress. A man in a white long-sleeved shirt followed her up. The man had a cellphone in hand. One of my young programmers was at the bottom of the stairs when he noticed that the man was actually taking pictures under my assistant's skirt! But the poor boy was probably too stunned that instead of shouting, he just froze there. Eventually, the news got to me. I asked the building for help to identify the man. But G&A Building's Vice President, Manuel Ponce, wouldn't even help us. According to him, it's a personal matter. It's scandalous and the building does not want to get involved. Besides, he said, it was my assistant's fault for wearing a skirt.

I am just so mad right now! We took matters into our own hands and talked to each company ourselves. And thankfully, the companies in the building allowed us to check. But we couldn't find the man. We will continue to look for him. But I am just so very mad at Mr Ponce right now for not even helping us. This is sexual harassment and he blames my assistant for wearing a skirt?! It wasn't even a short skirt. The nerve of that man!