More than Just Coffee

More than Just Coffee

By Ruth Manimtim-Floresca

I am not much of a coffee drinker. And I don’t particularly like spending a lot on signature drinks. Lately though, I’ve been finding myself hanging out with online media friends at various coffee shops after we’ve attended events.

It’s nice when we get to use the gift certificates we’re given during press cons or by clients but, most of the time, we do have to shell out for the stuff we order. Good thing the stores offer non-coffee drinks so I can still buy other kinds of beverages. However, practical person that I am, I still try to limit my spending and just let the others get the regular coffee and pastry fixes they always can’t seem to be without.

Analyzing the situation, I realized that I’m there mainly for the company. I enjoy being with my friends because we always have a great time exchanging stories. We seem not to run out of topics to talk about and I find my mind stimulated by all the interactions which, at times, even give me ideas about new stuff to write about.

True friends are hard to find these days. So I’m taking these pockets of opportunity to bond with them when I do have time to hang out even for just an hour or two once in a while. After all, I don’t know how much longer our schedules would jive and if we’ll still be having coffee together a few weeks or months from now.

I like how we continuously meet individuals whom we could be great friends with in time. It’s amazing how our hearts have the capability to let more people in who will eventually touch our lives in the most meaningful of ways.

So I don’t mind spending for my not-so-cheap, non-coffee drinks every now and then. Ultimately, the friendships, the stories, the laughter, and the good times are worth far more than that.

Photo by Christiana Rivers on Unsplash

Surviving the Internet Age

Surviving the Internet Age

By Maridol Bismark

How does someone born at a time when computers were still unheard of survive in this techy world?  Bombard your child with questions, that’s how.

I work for an online entertainment portal. Every day, I am exposed to words and phrases that are just starting to make sense to me: URL, landing page, sites, chatting, etc. I even get my pay through a system that at first, I couldn’t make heads or tails of: sending a vendor summary form through the magic of Excel.

So I holler at my son, not once, but many times over, and ask him to take a look-see, fast! He looks up reluctantly from his books, rolls his eyes, and does as he is told. It helps that he’s still in school and relies on me for his tuition and daily allowance. In other words, he has no choice.  LOL (That’s laugh out loud!)

“Mom, just check what you see on the screen!” He tells me, half-pleading, half-incredulous.

I point to the button that says, “Do not click this Web site.” He clicks it while I watch with bated breath. Voila! The screen starts to respond!

Next, I point to YM (Yahoo messenger) and wail that I can’t see my previous messages. He clicks on the “show recent messages” part and everything appears right  before my eyes. I could have kissed his hands right then and there except that he’ll find it corny and laugh his head off.

Why, I can’t even get my pay if  not for his know-how of Excel!

Ah, the  joys and pay-offs of motherhood!

I hear the same story over and over again from classmates caught in the same situation. This doesn’t only apply to computers but to cellphones as well.

My editor sends me a text: “What’s the model of your cellphone?”

I text back: “Let me ask my son when he comes home from school.”

She replies, “I do that, too!”

I look at my son straight in the eye and say, “What will I do without you?”

I feel like a child lost in a newfangled world, groping for a hand to guide me. Fortunately, the hand belongs to the boy who appreciates everything that I’ve done and will still do for him.

So let the new jargon come, full blast. I will not be afraid. I have my son’s hand to hold when the going gets tough.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Make Your Own Luck

Make Your Own Luck

By Paula Bianca Abiog

A few days before the Chinese New Year, my mom started sprucing up our home to welcome the year of the dragon. Up went the red curtains. Throw pillow covers were changed to red as well. On our dining table were the requisite display of 13 round fruits, plus bowls of uncooked rice, sugar, salt, cotton, chocolate coins, and ang pao.

“What are those for?” I asked.

“For luck,” my mom answered.

I had to fight the urge to let out an amused smile. Can uncooked rice and round fruits really invite luck into our home and our lives? Sure, it won’t hurt to follow these traditions (and I’m not sure we even have Chinese blood in the first place), but wouldn’t it be better if we don’t just rely on some external factor to steer luck our way?

I read somewhere before that luck wasn’t really about having all the lucky charms on your body and inside your home. It’s more of a belief: consider yourself lucky, and you will be lucky. Like most things in life, “luck” doesn’t come for free. You have to make your own luck.

Not that I’m dismissing my mom’s lucky charms, but I thought I’d help speed up luck to come our way by being proactive as well. Here’s what I plan to do to be lucky for the rest of the year:

Think lucky. Earlier this year, I declared 2012 as “my year”—I will be successful both in my professional and personal life. It’s too early to tell just yet if this year is indeed my year, but I think having that thought, and shouting it out to the world, can go a long way in inviting luck in my life. Happy, positive thoughts will generate happy, positive results, so this early on, I will consider myself lucky.

Work on your luck. As my friend always says, “If you want to win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket.” In other words, to be lucky, you have to take chances. It’s time to stop thinking “There’s no way in hell that’s going to happen,” or “I don’t think I should do this.” Being open to all possibilities, shutting out the negative talk, and taking the plunge should now be my battlecry.

Be thankful. Another friend once said that we should always be thankful for all the blessings we receive to invite more blessings to come our way. The other day, as I was eating lunch with my new officemates, I realized that I was lucky to be with these nice, friendly people who helped make me feel welcome in the office. Cheesy as it sounds, I did say a little thank you prayer to God for letting me meet this new set of wonderful people. Being thankful puts you in a positive frame of mind, I guess, and will eventually lead you to get more things to be thankful for.

Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash

Revisiting College

Revisiting College

By Maridol Rañoa-Bismark

“What do you like more? High school or college?” I ask my son, who’s on his third year at the university.

“College,” he replies, without missing a beat.

In college, he tells me, you get to meet more people from all walks of life. You also have more freedom, the freedom to choose your teachers, your schedule, and your extra-curricular activities.

If high school is the time to form cliques, then college is the time to widen one’s social circle, and to create as many of those circles as one can. No longer bound  to one section, your teenager can hop from one college to another like a butterfly flitting from one flower to the next. He may make friends with schoolmates who are so unlike him, or who come from a province or a country that he has never been to.

I myself am fascinated at the big university my son goes to.  When I enter the building, the guard greets me “Good morning,” thinking that I’m a professor. Since my age and eyeglasses allow me to assume another identity, I get to enter different school buildings and walk through an ongoing exhibit or diorama. Why, I even get to know about job openings for students. They’re posted all over the bulletin board!

Another big bonus: finding out what events my son has signed up for the month, at least we have something to talk about at the end of the day.

I pepper him with questions: Did you find the career talk useful? Are you joining the college fair? Did you meet anybody interesting in the outreach program?

It’s a great way to bond with somebody who’s turning out to be harder and harder to catch up with.

School activities are generally safe subjects to discuss; he won’t recoil when I ask about them. Sometimes, when I’m feeling lucky, I segue to more delicate matters like grades, teachers, and girls. I step on the brakes when he suddenly turns quiet or starts answering my questions with a standard, “It’s okay.”

It’s his way of saying, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

I’ll just try another day. He’ll ask for my opinion when he needs it.

For now, I enjoy the sights and sounds of the university. I walk around the campus that it is my child’s second home and try to see it through his eyes. And here’s what I saw: all these young happy people, eager to learn, eager to grow, and excited about all their tomorrows. I am instantly filled with joy and say to myself, “Wish I were in college too!”

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Manic Mornings

Manic Mornings

By Romelda C. Ascutia

Come to my house on a weekday morning, and you’d think it has been the site of a police raid. You know the aftermath of such an intrusion: The place is all topsy-turvy after investigators have combed it inch by inch in search of contraband. That’s how our house greets me when I come down from the bedroom in the mornings. But the culprits are not the search authorities; it’s my two boys.

My children, a college freshman and a high school sophomore, have convinced me that they are old enough to take care of themselves and don’t need my help to prepare them for school in the morning. This is not an act of total altruism on their part, mind you. Truth is, the boys don’t want me hovering over them because I drive them nuts. I nag them to hurry up, to take a bath already, to brush their teeth properly. I pester them with questions. Why didn’t you tell me you have a button missing from your polo? Why don’t you ever bring an umbrella (or at least a jacket) when it’s raining? Why won’t you get a haircut? Why do you ignore the fruits I place on the table?

Because our mornings have become a strain on both sides, we have agreed that I will get all the boys’ needs ready the night before—the hot water in the jug, the cereals and milk in the jars, the bread for toasting snug in the bread box, uniforms hanging neatly in the cabinets—and they will do the rest. The next morning, my duty is to simply call out to the boys when the alarm sounds off, and I go back to sleep when I hear them stomping downstairs.

This arrangement has worked well for all of us so far. I believe this setup teaches the boys to be more independent and self-reliant. If I’m around, they treat me as a convenient lost-and-found center: Ma, did you see my ID/belt/notebook/toothbrush/watch? Can you please go upstairs and get my P.E. shirt? I’m already in the bathroom so could you throw me my towel?

As for me, as a night person, I am not at my best at dawn. I become more energetic as the hours pass and get my second wind late in the night, when everyone is asleep. That’s when I whirl about straightening things, sweeping the floor, cleaning the bathroom, folding the laundry—all those things other moms normally do in the first light of day. Before I head upstairs, I survey my handiwork with a little smile, knowing that everything is in its proper place.

So there’s been a wonderful truce in my household ever since we hit on this morning deal. But I am still far from completely content. After they leave I survey the “damage” my independent young adults have inflicted: beds unmade, dirty clothes and wet towels on the floor, cabinets hanging open with folded clothes in disarray, used plates on the dining table, toothbrushes by the sink, pools of water near the bathroom door for me to slip on. Books and notebooks that are not scheduled for use that day sit in chairs. Receipts, tissue paper, and other whatnots lie on the floor, having missed the trash can.

And so the next hour or so is used to clear up the trail of mess my boys have left behind. But like any hopeful mom I truly believe that with time—and more nagging on my part—my mischievous raiders will become better behaved. Until then, the morning raids will continue.

Featured Photo from Mrs H’s Favorite Things