Monday, September 28, 2015

My Dream Board

At a recent training I attended, we were asked to create a dream board, a visualization of the things that I want to achieve in life. It is believed that if you focused on positive thoughts then you also bring positive experiences into your life. This is what the dream board does. So here's what I came up with.

  • A bigger house so my kids will have their own room. My son co-sleeps with us and my daughter has her own bed. I like the closeness this brings but my daughter is now a teenager. Most teenagers would want their own space. 
  • A house with a decent home office. I came to love working from home because it gave me the flexibility I needed. I think it is but right that I get to have my own office. 
  • A car so it's easier for us to get from one place to the other. Plus we can go on a road trip if we want to. 
  • For my kids to finish school. I mean, who doesn't want that? All I want is for them to pursue their dreams. 
  • A one-stop cloth diaper store! My son is potty trained but I am soooo not over cloth diapers. Seeing them just takes all the stress away. Have you seen how cute the prints are?
Still my favorite picture of my son wearing the cloth diaper

  • Trips to Legoland and Disneyland. Sure I would want my kids to enjoy but the little kid in me is dying to go there. 
  • Lastly is to help out in putting up a (breast) milk bank in Bacolod and at the same time strengthen the breastfeeding support in our community. A long shot for now but we are slowly getting there. 
I enjoyed making the dream board. I think it helped me get everything into perspective. But I also noticed that all these are my long term goals. Maybe I should create another dream board for my short term goals, don't you think?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life Lessons from

My son and daughter started playing this game called It was a game that they discovered while watching some YouTube videos. It caught my attention when I heard both of them yelling while trying to get away from these huge circles and I got interested. So what is this game?

From the information I got online, it was a game developed by Matheus Valadares in April 2015 and the name originated from the word agar, which is a substance that is used to culture bacteria. The game is really very simple if you think about it. You start out as a small cell (circle) in a map (petri dish) and your goal is to swallow as many smaller cells (circles) as you can. While doing that, you have to avoid getting swallowed by bigger cells as well. Sounds simple, right? Think again. The map is full of humongous cell swallowing masses and sometimes you get eaten in seconds. And even if you get bigger, there are viruses around that can pop you into bits and other huge cells can feast on you

The MAP (Petri Dish) in

True that this is just a game but the more I played, the more I realized how much life lessons you can get from this and here are mine;
  • You (always) start small. No matter which path you take or whatever you do, you always start small and build up from there. 
  • Take your time. Sure there are a lot of big people (cells) out there, but take your time. Do not be in a rush. Feed on as many pellets as you can, the same way you feed yourself with as much knowledge and experience for you to hone your craft.
  • You may be small but know your skills and use them to your advantage. Small cells are the fastest. So you can swerve and get away from those big bullies quickly. Plus you can hide under the viruses because you can't be popped into itty bitty pieces.  
  • There will always be bigger people than you. There are so many times when I thought I was big enough and then I run into someone who would just eat me whole in the game. Always be in the lookout and prepare to escape. 
  • Work with someone. When I was building my mass, there was this one little cell that I decided not to eat. This little cell would eat more pellets in order to grow and would split in half so I could eat half of his mass. I also feed him in return. This cycle continued for sometime...until some huge cell ate both of us. 
  • Even if you are number one in the leader board, do not be complacent. There are viruses around you that can pop you any time. This is also true in real life. If you are on top, it doesn't mean you stop working hard. You will eventually fall behind if you do. 
  • When someone knocks you down, get back up. Don't dwell. Just move on. 
  • Ultimately, you control your fate. You decide where to go, who to target and who you work with. It's not anyone's decision but yours. 
Have you tried playing this game?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

An Afternoon at the Mind Museum's on-the-go Educational Program

The Mind Museum is a science museum located in Taguig that provides an educational experience about science to kids and parents alike. We didn't get the chance to visit the place when we were in Manila so we were quite excited when we found out a few weeks ago that they are coming over in Bacolod. Well, we thought that they're going to have a booth or an exhibit of some sort but we were wrong. I guess we didn't read the poster well.

Guess who's excited?

What was brought to Bacolod by the District North Point and Avida Land was The Mind Museum on-the-go Educational program where a resident scientist facilitates science shows. I learned that this is the first time that they had this in the Visayas. Yes! We were the first!

My son has been crazy about science. He learned the whole solar system at 4 years old and he can talk to you about bloodstreams and the chromosomes and even the fact that he used to be an egg cell inside Mama's womb. We thought he would find the activity interesting and we were right.

We didn't catch the 2 pm show so we ended up watching the 4 pm show. They did a few question and answer first where the kids can win prizes if they answered correctly. He was game. He was ready. He was running back and forth. Unfortunately, he was too small and I didn't think the host noticed him so he did't win anything. It was fun to see him try. Although he didn't win anything, the best part for him is getting the chance to participate during the experiment.

Mind Museum
The smallest one who volunteered. 

They did around 7 experiments, if I remembered correctly. My favorite was when they created a "cloud" using a PEP bottle with 70% alcohol and a pump.

Trying to make a "cloud" after the show

My son's favorite was when they tried to burn a paper money that was dipped in alcohol and sprinkled with salt. I say tried because the money did not really burn. My son told me that it was "resistant to fire," (his exact words). I had to ask him again what he said because I was surprised that he said that. And his other favorite was when the coke "exploded" after dropping a pack of Mentos.

Kids were clapping and jumping up and down when they saw this. 

It was a fun experience for the kids and I think we should have more of this in Bacolod. We were expecting an exhibit but the kids got more than that. Resident scientist, Asia was very good with the kids and she gave the scientific explanation behind the experiments that they performed. The Mind Museum will definitely be on our list to visit when we go to Manila soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Uncertainty of Being a Freelancer

When I signed up to become a freelancer, at the back of my mind I knew that there is uncertainty involved. Will I get a good client? Will the pay be enough? Is this something that I see myself doing until I retire? Is this sustainable? At one point I thought, "yes" and then the unthinkable happened. I lost my full time job simply because the client was downsizing. Just like that, our income was cut in half and I have only two weeks to get a new contract. TWO WEEKS!

For those who are familiar with the Upwork platform, two weeks is never enough. There are more than a million freelancers who are signed up in that platform and like you, they are also hoping that they could get a contract. There are a lot out there who will bid lower than your rate. On top of that, you wouldn't know if the client's need is immediate or not and how soon they will respond to the application.

So a few of my friends asked, why shouldn't I just consider going back to the work force? Go back to the office. Work in a government. Go back to the BPO industry. I realized, I am not a blue collar or a white collar person. For years I have followed what's dictated by the society or my parents and I have not been really happy about it. I want to do something that I want to do. Call it selfish. Call it whatever you want. I call it freedom. I want to be able to work, when I want to work, where I want to work and have control over how I want to spend my time. This is just another bump on the road.

I'm glad that my old client took me back. We have been out of touch for more than a year but she took me back. This experience made me realize a few things:

  • If you work for a company or organization full time, expect that there will be structural change. It may happen now or it may happen in the future. This is exactly what happened to us. The team went from 15 down to 6. Drastic!
  • If you do not have stats in the organization, do not expect a logical explanation as to how they came up with a decision on who gets to stay or who will be let go. How long you have been working or how hard you have been working for the company will not matter.  
  • It's better to get two part-time jobs than stick to one full time job. When you lose one, at least you didn't have to go into panic mode. 
  • Work for someone who appreciates your value and what you can bring to the table. My old client did prior to me getting hired full time in a big company and I failed refused to recognize that because I was then chasing my QA dream. Bad move? Yeah. I never should have stopped working with her.

I will be forever grateful to my old client. From QA to VA, not bad. It made me think about Marge, The Happy WAHM. She has been working with one client for 10 years. I want to be able to have that kind of security. That's my goal. So if I can find one (or two) really stable contracts, then I'm set. And you bet I will do whatever I can to keep them.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Nusing in Public without Using a Breastfeeding Cover?

A couple of days ago celebrity host KC Montero irked the breastfeeding community with his comment about moms being discreet when breastfeeding in public. My initial reaction was to raise my eyebrow and ask, why? Is there something wrong with what we are doing? How is feeding your child suppose to make someone feel uncomfortable? This is not the first time I've seen and heard this happened. Trust me. And this is sad.

Breastfeeding mothers do not use breastfeeding covers for several reasons. I used to think it was necessary because I was at first scared that I will expose myself in public. I bought one and I was at first excited to use it. Then it happened. I wore it. I positioned my son and put him under the cover. He thought we were going to play hide and seek and he immediately lifted the cover. There I was flashing everyone in sight. The truth is as soon as your baby gets older and more active these covers eventually become useless.

Back when I was still using the cover.

Yet I continued using them because at that time my husband was not OK with me breastfeeding in public without using one. Instead of me bringing a bottle, I resorted to using the cover because I was committed into ditching formula milk gradually. Yup. I was stubborn. The next time I used it was when we were in a cab on the way to the doctor. I used the cover and feed my son because he was hungry. It was almost lunchtime, the sun was high and the aircon could not do anything. My son was sweating profusely inside the cover and he became restless. My husband saw this too. After attending countless breastfeeding seminars, my husband eventually warmed up to the idea of me feeding our son in public to the point that when he hears our son cry, he would tell me to go ahead and nurse. We eventually ditched the formula and the nursing cover too. I guess you can say I pretty much mastered the art of nursing in public. I've done it at the clinic, the mall while shopping, at the church even in public transportations like the MRT, the bus and the jeepney.

At a breastfeeding photoshoot

Everything all boils down to this. When a woman makes a decision to breastfeed the first thing that she needs is support -- from the family, friends, organization and the community -- because this is not an easy journey. Some had to resist the urge of supplementing with formula milk because someone made her believe that her milk is not enough. Commenting that a woman should cover up in public not only will humiliate her but you are in a way insinuating that what she is doing is wrong. It's not like we want to whip it out just to deliberately make someone feel uncomfortable. When a mother breastfeeds in public, the only thing that she is thinking of is her child. So the next time you see a woman nursing publicly, give her a smile to encourage her. When you are with your children please do not let them look away. Take 5 minutes or less to tell them that what the mother is doing is just feeding her child. Nothing out of the ordinary because God was amazing enough to actually design a woman's body like that so a baby can thrive from a mother's milk. However, if you are uncomfortable just look away. Do not talk. Do not comment. Do not say anything at all. Just leave.