Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Typical Sunday

i cooked. i baked. i washed. i chopped. i fried. a typical sunday. this is my life on a sunday.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Another Offer

i got another offer from the Bank last night. it was from another unit of the Independent Evaluation Dept doing a self-evaluation study of a regional cooperation program. if it were my call, i could take this project. but right now, still bound to the supe, i have to follow the advice to stay. who am i to say it's fruitless. perhaps the chapter will reveal itself in the coming weeks. who am i to say it won't be done, looking at the output today, saturday, the last day of the work week, i do marvel that it could be written this way. i am indeed writing this way. if the Bank accedes to my request to do the assignment from here, it's luck, Lady Luck indeed. if not, then i would just have to go through the motions and not dwell on the foregone opportunity. this work should have been mine. but i am doing more important work, nonetheless.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Missing Company

alone in this house. while there are days that roxanne and i would not talk, after being so busy with uni and wrapped up with our thoughts, still, the presence of one has been in this house for so long not to be missed. one has to get home early before sunset, to feel safe. one has to still check the locks, bolt the doors shut and make sure the windows are closed all the time. i would not do living in a condo all alone, in manila. it is much too strong. this silence. no silence like this.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


i believe and in doing so, i trust the process and the people dealt with. this is turning out for the better.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Monster High

my daughter has a new favorite. Monster High (ugh...). over skype, could hear the Monster High jingle being played over and over and over again. on one run, she pauses the song, to copy their lyrics. now, her eyes are so transfixed on the you tube screen. until when is this fixation? what will be next?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Three Lives

three lives in the making --- a weekend mom, an external PhD student, and an ADB consultant. can't wait for the trial run. being a full time mom during weekends, carrying on with the remainder of revisions in the morning and spare time in the afternoon, while embracing new challenging roles in an evaluation study of climate change interventions by the Bank. this life is most welcome.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Difficult Boss

looking back, the most difficult 'boss' i had was my father. this was back to the time when i did admin stuff for him. typing letters from a neighbor's house, going around the neighborhood to get signatures of officers for their monthly meetings, getting orders again from around the neighborhood if one of our pigs had to be butchered. he was quick, thorough in checking my mistakes. i started doing this at the age of 13 up to 16 when i was still in naga before college.  for more than once i was made to return to the neighbor's house to retype, to go around the neighborhood to repeat meeting instructions and recheck meat orders. i have to endure yelling, berating, that hatred in his face, as if i should not ever make a mistake. but with this 'training', i i indeed learned to be thorough, became a stickler for details, and found the way of introducing and talking to strangers, which helped me as a social specialist grounded on the field, talking to strangers. but it was a difficult learning experience, 'working' for my father. that's why we never really got close. that's why i might say i love my dad, but not to the point of liking him.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Future Now

ask. believe. receive. my friend, joey, advised to think ahead and claim one's desires as already there for these to unfold in real life. and i did. i started praying in terms of 'my intentions Lord are...' instead of 'please grant me...and make sure this does not happen...' i started saying out loud, 'i am...' rather than 'i will...'. and it did manifest.  it is not a plain transformation. it's as if i have been prepared, or is being prepared for this, for some time. just at the time when i got tired of complaining, sulking, whining, and getting angry at the past as a way to hit back. so now, the future is unfolding. it is here in my present, for the taking.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

No Blues

it's a red letter day today. then i realised that in the past, the blues have come after being a natural worrier all these years. because lately, since last week, by thinking positively, i haven't had the blues at all. only today, the mood was quite different, as it happens when having one's period. on the overall, i'm happy and eager to be. as i should be.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Road Transition

when writing, one must stop at the top of the hill. when one is in the verge of transitioning, extending the discussion to another line of thought, argument. tomorrow, i will confront the move downwards, contemplate and free the thinking from the constraints of past drafts. i will free the mind and fingers and just glide glide down until momentum gathers.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Blessing and Commitment

i have visualised it and it has come. work is waiting for me back home. the commitment to finish the revisions is even greater. every minute deserves the best of efforts. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Declaring It

i am powerful
i am beautiful
i am prosperous
i am meant to be this and more
i own the present and the future.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vietnamese in Freo

it's freo night with Yanti, Charlotte, Kirat and Charan over a steaming bowl of authentic vietnamese noodle soup! whoa~!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


it's one of the best marinades i've made. porkchop with salt, pepper, veggie seasoning, tarragon, rosemary and lemon juice (half of a whole lemon, medium sized).  keep overnight and fry in medium heat in canola oil. yummy! tastes well with mesculin salad, drenched with the cooked oil. nothing bad in indulging with a little fat once in a while. good to finish with coca-cola. nothing bad either indulging in sweet drinks, once in a blue moon! bon appetit:) no need for pictures as the true test is in the taste!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Getting On With It

everything is possible. the mind is clear and go on with rebuilding. the mind is clear and is not afraid. everything is possible. it is happening now.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Will Miss This

the balance of taking it slow but sure. of running against time, to time that must be spent on quality. somehow, the walks along south street are slower. taking in every bush, every memory of the sky, the color-draped sky during sunset and the crisp air beating round my ears in the morning. i will miss south street and the solace it brings after a long hard day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Yanti lost her bestfriend, Ulfa, yesterday to cancer. the loss of a bestfriend can never be recovered from. from death, physical separation, or a misunderstanding. Yanti had to take time off from the phd. these things happen. while writing the 'book'. but as the saying, Life goes on, implies, stopping is only part of the journey. it can be a long one or suppressed because of the impressed need to go on. but take your time, Yanti. even after the PhD is over, time can never replace a bestfriend.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Yes, Can Do

less stress
more conversations
less worrying
more consulting
less late work
more sleep
face it vitti
can do, always.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


the daughter surprised me for saying 'goodbye' as early as 7pm. huh? this early? parang kailan lang. tomorrow, Yaman will be going back to school. at 7, she's already in grade 3, according to the montessori system. goodluck abalantung! how i wish i'm there to bring you to school tomorrow. have a good time with your classmates. keep steady. don't take school too seriously.

Friday, June 7, 2013


all of a sudden i want to cry. i want to cry over what i have lost. what i was made to believe. what i am forced to explain, by myself, by my lonesome, all the pain, and shame, mine and mine alone to bear. and all of a sudden, the weight just got so hard to bear. it has never been easy being strong, and alone. of having to make the hard decisions and face the stern realities, with your loved ones out there, out there in a place you can't even touch.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Taking It All In

it takes mastery to be able to take it all in. criticism is still criticism. i am tired. and it gets frustrating when a chapter thought to have 'passed' need to be rehauled, again, even though in the previous feedback, only minor corrections seem warranted. if i am still me, like three years ago, i would have ranted and cursed my supe behind her back.  but perhaps a sign that i've 'matured' is this. i told her straight that i am running out of time. and if not for this, i would not bother. who would want a finely written thesis? and i'm learning. i'm really writing how to write for an audience. not just writing to please me, with what i already know. but then i made my frustrations known --- are we aiming for a perfect thesis, or just a good thesis? can we settle for a good-enough thesis? because right now, it takes a lot of emotional and mental toughness to stay within stride of the supe who keeps on changing her mind, changing her approach to my work, just because she'd read a book about what thesis writing is, the importance of well being for the poor, etc. i want to know the boundaries of this thesis. because it is a struggle keeping up --- with time, with the ebb and flow of writing, with winter that threatens short writing days and early nights, and the supes who cannot seem to settle down on what they want from me. i am just taking it all in. i want to learn. but please, can i be spared some kindness?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Being Me

it's hard being me. tough through and through. but still, i try to be. i try to ward off the fears, face my frustrations head on. and just breathe deeply before plunging. blogging about this is good. when i'm old and this blog still exists, i will always look back from march until august 2013 when strength, as far as i can tell, has been tested through and through. it's hard being me. still, i carry on.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Final Leg

when i get home, i hope i can get to rest, even for just a month in naga. rest in this pink couch which i'm looking at now, with Yaman beside me. when i don't need to open my computer for about a month. where i can escape from microsoft word and not worry about getting a living. i hope this will be over soon. and that finally, preparations will start for the final leg home.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Some Precautions

my agreement with roxanne is this.  except for sundays, if she finds me still not awake by the time i should be, she would knock on my door to check whether i'm still alive or have died in my sleep. the dizziness since last sunday must be the cumulative effect of sleep apnea, which i have had long before while overweight, up to now, at my normal weight. tomorrow, i'm having my bp checked. and if i'm lucky, will request for a blood test.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


i do not know what vertigo exactly means so i had to look it up. experience of a spinning or whirling movement. had one today, for about three episodes this morning. for someone who has been a stickler of good diet and healthy living, this came as a shock to me. i couldn't be having this. i'm well enough to do 100 push ups a day. it must have been the late sleep last night. way past 1030pm as i started writing practice again - writing six pages straight by hand. then woke up early around 6am. i felt my mind and body was ready. i should have relaxed more. it's a sunday anyway. for someone finishing milestone writing and a single parent, it's scary. suddenly i felt my mortality. the phd mattered less compared to my daughter. i kept thinking of Yaman the whole morning, the whole mass, and on the way back home. what would happen to her in case i succumb to a stroke, or fail to wake up tomorrow. finished or not finished, i will just get home by end july or early august. if i am unwell, i do not want to die here. if i am unwell, i want to get back on my feet with my daughter around. if i am unwell, i want to be with Yaman.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Little Details

i am now at the stage of revising my thesis. while writing is the heart and spirit of the thesis, there are other details that need to be attended to. little details that say a lot about the integrity of the writing process. these details are in the references, and the listing of tables, figures, maps and photos (which are formally called 'plates' as i've checked with other submitted theses). to not grapple with this at the tail-end of the revision process, i make sure to check all these in every finished chapter. a print-out is always helpful. here i mark the acronyms first, then go on to check the reference list whether the details are complete. for instance, in cited journals and book sections, the exact pages must be reflected. likewise, publication details for books must be accurate with the edition that one has actually read/ used. on-screen, i make sure all tables, figures, maps and photos are highlighted in yellow so i won't miss anything. i allot a folder for each revised chapter where a word document is dedicated for all these lists. fastidious yes, that's why it takes a lot of effort to finish a phd. one has to be writer, secretary, librarian, documentor, and admin all the same time to come up with a polished thesis. i no longer rue the process. i just go through it. they say this is just a start.