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NaPoWriMo Day 25: A Work Poem

27 Apr

Some days, I like my work, by which I mean, my wage-earning, get dressed in a suit, meet with customers employment. I get to travel on occasion and most people I encounter are funny, kind, hard-working–in general, nice people who I don’t mind spending a few minutes, or in some cases, whole days with.

Other days, and other people in certain circumstances, I do not. I do not like them (the people or the days) with a vehement, name-calling, furniture-kicking spite. They sap my joie de vivre, they foster my anti-social tendencies, and worst of all, they rob me of time, with my husband, with my friends, with my real work–this writing thing that I do and love and wish I got to do more often.

On a recent The Writer’s Almanac (with silver-soft Garrison Keillor), Keillor talked about the poet Ted Kooser, who woke at 4:30 every morning to write for a couple of hours before work. Kooser wanted to write poems for the everyman, poems that talked about everyday life and experience. Which got me thinking about the thing that I complain about most these days: my job.

This is nothing new. People have been frustrated by their jobs for eons. And there are days that don’t make me sick with rage and pent-up frustration. Days that my coworkers are a joy and testament to the power of friendship and camaraderie to get you through the mundane and not so pleasant aspects of grown-up life. Other days, not so much.

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My 101 Things (aka the Day Zero Project)

24 Jun

In my renewed efforts to be a good netizen (Internet + citizen = huh huh, get it? sorry, dumb things amuse me), I’ve been checking out the blogs of those kind souls who either “like” one of my blog posts or, gloriousness of gloriousnesses, decide to follow my blog. I ran across this fascinating piece by sarah on the go! about the 101 Things in 1,001 Days phenomenon (hereafter known as the 101 List).

I’m a pretty life-long lister, though the advent of the smartphone has curtailed this dramatically. In the old days, I carried a paper calendar (what?!?! yes, paper) which was filled with doodles and appointments and to-do’s that I then dutifully carried out and crossed off. It was an idyllic time when you could look at two largish pages of paper and see your whole week. Now I’m scrolling endlessly on my iPhone screen, trying to see what I have going on on what day.

But back to the 101 List…this seems to be a pretty nifty little thing/community/time suck/planner. The idea, for those old farts out there like myself who hadn’t heard of the dang thing until Monday, is that you create an account (I know! Another user name! Another password!) and get list-happy, either picking things others have already picked or making up your own list of 101 things you’d like to accomplish in 1,001 days. Continue reading

Flashback: Jho at Age 3

15 Jan

One of my aunts has recently started culling her impressive photo collection and gave my siblings and I each a packet of family photos for Christmas. They range from true oldies, like the one you’ll see below, to almost recent ones to flashbacks from the glorious 1980s and 1990s, when bold prints, big hair, and truly ginormous glasses reigned supreme.

As the last of our extended family to leave the Philippines, my aunt has a treasure trove of old photos that most of us have never even seen. Even my mom was stumped by this photo, taken on the occasion of my third birthday.

I’m the one standing. My littler sister is in the straw hammock that served as our crib. I’m guessing that my father took this photo. He owned a photo shop in the Philippines and I can always detect a certain craftsmanship in his early photos, a delicate framing of the subject and background, that gives the photo a little more drama and tension than all the bad, too far away, or too blurry, or just blah photographs we’ve taken at family gatherings. Continue reading

Enter the Dragon, or Here Comes 2012

15 Jan

Happy New Year, my peeps. 2012 is officially here (though I’m still sometimes writing ‘ll or, god forbid, ’09) and it is with quivering hearts that we look to another year, another page turned in the (hopefully) long (and not too boring) novel of our lives.

A new year always makes me a little anxious and angry. Inevitably, I haven’t accomplished as much as I’d hoped in the last 12 months, and the thought of resolutions and diets and spring cleaning makes me want to punch the next New-Year-New-You devotee.  Continue reading

The Logic of Two Ovens…or a Thanksgiving Cooking Manifesto

24 Nov

It’s 8:00am and I’m awake in bed, trying to plot out in my coffee-deprived brain how to most efficiently stage my Thanksgiving cooking. I do this every year (at least the years when I’m responsible for more than one dish) and it strikes me that today, of all days, two ovens is a must-have.

I’m as disturbed (and secretly exhilarated) by American excess, our multi-colored and advertising-drenched aisles of toothpastes and dental floss (whitening, tartar control, pro-enamel, sensitive gums, etc.), the unending shelves of cereal for the sugar junkies and health nuts alike, the thrumming rows of frozen vegetables, microwave meals and bagel pizzas.

But two ovens? Man, you won’t know how much you covet them until a day like today. And I’m not even cooking a turkey this year. Reheating a cooked one for several hours – yes. But starting from scratch – no. Nonetheless, Turkey Day requires copious preparation, the will of a field army general, and the absolute confidence to kick people the hell out of your kitchen (this means you, CityBoy, get your own damn kitchen).

Our motley assortment of serving dishes prepped and ready to go

So far, my Thanksgiving day cooking consist of:

Eggplant caponata (done and chilling in the fridge)

Sweet potato casserole (prepped and ready to go into the oven for 30 minutes)

Mashed potatoes

Roasted Brussel sprouts

Green beans pancetta

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…And Some Wedding Thoughts…

12 Oct

Very early on, maybe a week or two into our engagement, CityBoy and I decided that we didn’t want a long engagement. We were approaching four years together, and it was time for this show to hit the road. (I’m not really sure what this means, but you know what I’m saying, right?) I couldn’t imagine spending a whole year (or more) trying to plan the “perfect wedding.”

As most of my friends know, I’m pretty relaxed about most things. I didn’t have a wedding hope chest, or any real notion of what kind of flowers/dress/cake/etc. I wanted. I’ve watched Say Yes to the Dress, but more as an exercise in schadenfreude (a la “Good lord, why would you spend $20,000 that you don’t have on some hoochie dress that shows your bare midriff on your wedding day? You are an idiot and I’m glad to not be your husband.”).

But I did know what I didn’t want. Continue reading

Moving Thoughts

27 Jan

my little sister made these sweet cupcakes

The other day, a coworker, knowing that I moved from California to New York, asked me about my experience. He and his girlfriend are considering moving from New York to Florida, and he wanted some firsthand knowledge. This got me thinking. It’s been almost two years since my move (!!), but I haven’t really reflected too much, at least here, about how the move has gone, how it’s affected me and my relationships with others, and whether I’d do it again.

Since we’re all still thinking about the new year and what it holds for each of us (beyond the feverish, resolution-fueled exercising I see at the gym and yoga studio), I figure this deserves some attention. Here’s what I’ve learned in the past year and a half (not in any particular order):

Save up.
If you’re considering moving to a new city and you don’t already have a job lined up, wait. Stop. Save. As much as you can, but I’m recommending at least enough to cover your expenses for six to nine months. I’d never been unemployed for an extended period of time before I moved to New York, and I’d never really struggled to find work, so I naively thought that it would take me three to six months TOPS to find a new job.
Boy was I mistaken. It took me a full year, about a thousand job applications, and interviews with three companies (the only ones who responded), to find a part-time entry-level customer service job. Whose salary is not even close to what I was making at my previous job.
Of course my search was hindered by the worst national job market in decades, a failing economy, and an extremely competitive under-employed labor pool in New York City, but I wish I’d really heeded all those friends and family members who expressed serious reservations about my plans to leave a good job without having a new one in place. Especially since NYC is probably the most expensive city in the US.