High School Life

Posted by Analyse at 4:42 PM

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I was again Tagged - by Mitch. She's starting to be my Tag suki :D and I'm willingly playing along. This même suddenly reminded me of fond memories of my favourite episode during my younger years.

1. Who was your best friend? I was actually part of a group of 5 girls who promised to be Ninangs to our first-born child. Since they had their kids earlier than me, I was the Ninang to their eldest child and Louna was left without nobody to be called Ninang from my group of best friends.

2. Did you play any sports? A what? What’s that?

3. What kind of car did you drive? During HS? Nah. I only knew bicycles and tricycles then.

4. It’s Friday night. Where were you? At home most of the time. Or watching a film in one of my bestfriends house. What I love are Saturdays where a surprise visit of jeepneys and tricycles loaded with HS classmates embark in our place to take me away with them – destination – beach. It’s not necessarily in a resort. Most of the time, we squat in a private vacant lot where we spend the whole day chatting and eating. Ah, I miss this moment.

5. Were you a party animal? Sort of. Expect to see me in most of the parties organized by our group.

6. Were you considered a flirt? Not at all. You could actually see me hanging out with male barkadas most of the time.. but we call each other P’re (pare).

7. Were you in the band, orchestra or choir? Nope.

8. Were you a nerd? Nah. I was an average student from 1st to 3rd year, then started to aspire for the top 10 during my 4th year. If ever this counts, I was the Math genius of the batch.

9. Were you ever suspended or expelled? Never.

10. Can you sing the fight song? Ngek, what’s this?

11. Who was your favorite teacher? My Math teacher for obvious reasons. She’s using class cards to ask her students to go to the board and solve a problem. It was exciting and at the same time, nerve wrecking.

12. What was your school mascot? Nada.

13. Did you go to the Prom? Syempre.

14. If you could go back, would you? I would really love to.

15. What do you remember most about graduation? I wasn’t happy with the results. In fact, they considered our grades from 1st year to 4th year, took percentages from each then added some points for extracurricular activities. From a 3rd placer (during my 4th year), I ended up without nothing during the graduation rites.

16. Where were you on Senior Skip Day? Ano yun? Wala yata nyan sa probinsya namin.

17. Did you have a job during your senior year? Wala po.

18. Where did you go most often for lunch? Home.

19. Have you gained weight since then? Hmmm, I think so. But the last time I saw my classmates (Dec 2006), everybody agreed that I haven’t changed.

20. What did you do after graduation? I was accepted in MIT and I settled with my dream school.

21. What year did you graduate? 1993.

22. Who was your Senior Prom Date? He was not actually a date. He was my designated escort and he happened to be my bestfriend-turned-suitor-whom-I-haven’t-talked-to-since-then.

23. Are you going/did you go to your 10 year reunion? There was no 10 year reunion for our batch, simply because most of us are out of the country and it’s quite impossible to organize one. Now we’re talking about the 15th year reunion and I hope it will push through. Otherwise, we have a group-email as a means to keep up with each other.

Tagged: What were you thinking?

Posted by Analyse at 9:37 PM

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I got tagged by KK:

What Were You Thinking when you first met your current main squeeze? (husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other, sex partner, WHATEVER!)

Quite irritated. I don't know what has gotten in his mind but he decided to call me Monalisa from the first meeting.

A little background. Frenchguy and I met inside the premises of our Philippine production site end of 1999. It was during the start-up of the company. I was the 4th person hired in our department and Frenchguy was there to supervise the installation of the machines. My boss didn't formally introduce me to him so I didn't really care who he was. The very first meeting was at the stairs leading to the workshop. He introduced himself to me so I did the same. He called me Monalisa. Grrrr.

The rest is history.

And what was HE thinking when he first saw me?

He thought I was beautiful. Walang aangal. I was the only girl in the department at that time. :D

So now, I'd like to tag Haze and Francine.

The Face Behind The Blog

Posted by Analyse at 9:58 PM

Monday, July 23, 2007

There's no secret. Browse a little bit more and you'll see pictures of her and her daughter posted on most of the entries. This blog started August of 2004. It talks about the author's observations, her views, her life.. no wonder, it's HER blog. Barely a year later, March 2005 to be exact, a big milestone dawned on her. Came with it is the creation of another blog - Ma Crèche Privée - literally translated to My Private Nursery, which tackles her daughter's life, from in vitro to today. It's her way to communicate her child's development to families and friends all over the globe.

The woman behind the blog is a first-time mom and a career woman rolled into one - in short, a SAHM wannabe. She's blogging from France and she's dreaming of winning the EuroMillion (lotto) to be able to stop working - but without betting a single euro. While waiting for that big jackpot, she's working her a** out as a Chemical Process Engineer in a French-owned multinational company where she's given free air tickets to solve machine and process problems in their production sites worldwide.

The woman who tagged me - Francine. She's a newbie in the French environment and she's adapting quite well. She's at the moment preparing for a big event and realizing all the more the difference between her culture and the new culture she's trying to embrace. Feel free to check her page.

And here's the instruction to this meme :

1st step - Post a short blog article that includes a photograph (or a series of photos) showing the face behind your blog. If you already showed a photo somewhere on your site (such as in your about page), then make your post more interesting and choose a photo that’s not currently online.

2nd step - Include links to other people that have displayed a photo, or include their photos in your post, adding a reference.

3rd step - Tag as many others as you like in your post to spread the meme.

4th step - If you link back to me here and send an email I’ll be sure to include links back to you. Each person tagged should create their own post and repeat the process.

I'd Love to Tag:

Auee - Same reason as Francine, i don't think I already 'saw' you.
Mitch - I always see you 'blurred'.
ScroochChronicles - I'd like to know you too.
Feng - You're tagged!

I Rock, My Mom Too

Posted by Analyse at 9:59 AM

Sunday, July 22, 2007

And what about that? After blogging and bloghopping at a slower pace lately due to inevitable everyday errands, Mitch still thinks I rock. Thank you, thank you. I'm not prepared for this. I'm speechless.

Still from Mitch, I was tagged on 10 Random Facts about my Mom. In fact, I could list a lot more than that, but OK, I'll limit myself to 10.

1. She's a proud Mom. And she's got all the right to be one. She's raised 6 kids (with my Dad of course) with two meager salaries of elementary school teachers. With the expensive education in the Philippines (add to that the boarding house, telephone, water, electricity fees and the monthly allowances), she's obliged to follow a strict financial scheme. They are insurance agents and rice farmers on the side. And by the way, she was obliged to sell a beach lot which she bought when she was still single - for our precious education.

2. When she starts to brag, she brags. She would start with 'Yung panganay ko... yung pangalawa naman... yung pangatlo.. yada yada yada.' She would normally talk about her kids and their achievements. No wonder, we are her pride. And of course, when we are with her and she starts to brag, nagtatago na kami. Ang yabang ni Ma-Dear e.

3. She's equally proud of her grandkids. She's got 4 from 4 of her children, and obviously, she wants more.

4. She helped for the education of her youngest sister-in-law. My Dad is the oldest child in the family and with that, the salary of my Mom became a part of the family money. Inspite of that, she still feels indebted to my Dad's family by the fact that our house is built on their ancestral land. By the way, that youngest SIL just gave them a Toyota Revo as a gift this year. Not bad. Good deeds pay off.

5. She never knew her parents. They died when she was still young. So her eldest brother raised her. But this eldest brother married a very strict wife who obliged her to work all the time except on Good Friday. And yes, she feels indebted to this SIL too.

6. She's an utang-na-loob slave and I don't know how to move her out of that.

7. Loving Mom as she is, she never wanted her children to be morally indebted to anybody. Not even to her. She doesn't want her children suffer because of utang-na-loob. She never obliged us to send her monthly remittances - she just doesn't like the idea. To those who don't understand her concept, she just shrugs her shoulders and say 'Pinaghirapan naman ng mga anak ko kung ano man ang meron sila ngayon. Dapat lang na para sa kanila na yun.'

8. She is the 'Mommy' to all her children's friends and all her co-teachers. My ex even continued calling her 'mommy' even after we parted ways.

9. She waves her hand to everybody when she's out to go to the market. She knows almost everybody in our little town. They even tease her to run for Mayor of the town to which she answers 'Naku, ngayon at retired na ako, I will dedicate my time to my children and their kids.'

10. She's 64 years old and enjoying her retirement with my Dad (who is 7 years her senior). They still do farming and work as part-time insurance agents. They consider that work as their sole social outlet.

As you noticed, it was hard for me to dissociate my Mom from my Dad. They are partners, through good and bad times.

Job Applicant - French Style

Posted by Analyse at 3:27 PM

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The engineer trainée in our department is currently applying for a job and is chaining interviews one after another. One day, she would be somewhere around Paris, the next, she would be somewhere in the south. She have a rendez-vous with ANPE next week, for her to have all her travel expenses be reimbursed.

Sarap buhay!

*ANPE - Agence Nationale Pour l'Emploi (National Employment Agency)

Note: New graduates have to register to Assedic (National Unemployment Insurance) as job applicants. Assedic will then study the applicant's case to evaluate the amount he is entitled to. Most of the time, almost 95% of the travel expenses related to job-hunting is being shouldered by this government office. The papers will then be transfered to ANPE. ANPE will then provide all the services available for the new graduate, from job propositions to trainings with pay.

A Day in a Life of a Working Mom

Posted by Analyse at 4:23 PM

Monday, July 16, 2007

She woke up at the irritating sound of her phone which she set at 6:40 am the other night. It’s Monday. She turned carefully and gave a warm kiss to her daughter then moved out of bed slowly, wary not to wake her up. She decided to sleep with her daughter last night, longing for her daughter’s presence after few weeks of business trip.

It would be a long day today. She had to move double time. The usual 20 more minutes of sleep extension is not for today. Her husband left early this morning for a week-long business trip. She had to do everything alone… and for the next 4 days.

She hurried downstairs and had the usual toasted bread topped with Nutella and a mug of café au lait for breakfast. She tried to eat faster but the only way to do it is to eat less - she only had half of her usual dose. At 7:00 am, she was already brushing her teeth, ready to take a quick shower afterwards.

7:20 am. She poured 210 ml of fresh milk in the feeding bottle, placed it inside the microwave oven and pushed quick-start. She hurried again upstairs while saying ‘Good morning baby.’ repeatedly. She starts to hate the stairs which seems to take minutes of her precious time everyday. She peeped inside the room and checked if her daughter started to move. She smiled. She suddenly remembered her daughter when she was younger. Mornings had always been a pleasure.

After a morning ritual of hugs and kisses, she instinctively looked at her watch. 7:25 am. She carried her daughter up and zoomed downstairs to give her daughter her bottle, checked if the flow is okay, then ran again upstairs. She started preparing herself while her daughter took her breakfast.

At 7:35 am, she settled her daughter on her potty chair and she continued dressing up. Oppps, she forgot to give her daughter a toy. Potties are boring places for busy toddlers.

7:40 am. She started to change her daughter’s diapers. Her daughter just discovered playing boxing with her feet so dressing her up is all the more difficult. Add to that that her daughter wanted to put on her own shoes and didn’t want to brush her hair.

At 8:00 am, doors and gate closed, she started buckling her daughter up inside the car. She needs to be at her Nanny’s place before 8:20 am, or else, she would need to take the road to the school. In fact, the Nanny had to bring her son to the school at 8:30 am so she, together with the kids, needs to leave the house before 8:20 am. Too much constraints. At the fourth day, she was reminded that it’s summer vacation and rushing in the morning was not really necessary – Mommies forget things.

She arrived at the office before 8:30 am. Life went on as usual. At 5:30 pm, she was already preparing herself to leave the office because at 5:45 pm, the clock would start ticking overtime pay over at the Nanny’s place.

After a quick update on how her daughter was during the day, mother and daughter geared up and hit home at 6:00 pm. Their day has just started. Upon arriving at home, she placed her daughter on her potty chair while she did her potty too. Mothers and daughters do things together. Bonding and learning starts from there. They then started to play mommy-baby role-playing. Her, as the baby, her daughter, the mommy. At 7:00 pm, it was bath time. Bath time with toddlers always takes time - her daughter had this good habit of brushing the tub floor and wiping the tiles during bath time lately. And she just can’t tell her daughter ‘Stop that baby. That’s bad.’

At 7:30 pm, she was already preparing dinner while her daughter continued playing. Her husband called up and after a quick update of how the day was, she passed the telephone on to her daughter who took the phone and started talking while walking. Exactly like what her Dad does. She’s a copycat.

At 8:00 pm, it was dinner time. Her daughter is a good example of a toddler with a good mealtime manners – she eats on her own neatly. She’s a real breath of fresh air.

After mealtime, she started cleaning up the kitchen while her daughter continued playing. At 8:45 pm, it was toothbrush time for both mother and daughter. They went upstairs afterwards. After the potty, they both headed to bed. Her daughter took her favourite Dora the Explorer book and she started to flip on the pages with her. Yes, her daughter will again sleep next to her.

Her daughter started to doze off. She checked her phone. It was 9:00 pm. The alarm was still set at 6:40 am. She needs to rest too. Tomorrow is a promise of another long day.

PMN E-Zine's Up

Posted by Analyse at 9:50 PM

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The fast growing Pinoy Moms Network is taking another height by launching the much awaited e-zine. The sexy new look is of course a product of blood, sweat and tears as Sexy Mom describes it. Credits to the founder of PMN, Connie and Noemi, and of course the section editors, Sexy Mom, PinayExpat, FeistyMomma and AnnaManila.

PMN has become one of my favorite tambayan lately. It's there where I met interesting people with the same interest and love as me - our children. So once the e-zine project was announced, I was quite excited to be a member writer. Too excited that I have my first two articles published at the same day. Read my take on Toddler Management and what your kids could benefit from camping.

See you there.

My Daughter just turned 20 Months Old

Posted by Analyse at 4:17 PM

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Check out her new tricks here.

Les Vacances en France

Posted by Analyse at 10:08 AM

Saturday, July 07, 2007

My vacation counter has been reset last month. On the list are:

Congés Payés : 25 days. That’s 5 weeks of Paid Leave.

Pont Payé : 1 day. Day between a legal holiday and a weekend. We have 1 day a year and we could take it anytime we want.

Réduction Temps de Travail (RTT) : 11 days. The RTT is the equivalent of 35-hour workweek. With that regime, I get 11 more days of vacation a year.

Congé d’Ancienneté : 2 days. Days added related to the length of service in the company. What? Who says I’m old?

Report Jour de Repos : 2 days. The days I wasn’t able to take last accounting year which I have to consume till the 31st of August this year. Another way to keep unconsumed vacation days is to transfer them to the Compte Epargne Temps. It’s like a bank where you place your vacation days without worrying when you have to consume them. A quota of 18 days a year has to be respected tho.

Jour de Récupération : 3 days. These days are linked to the number of Saturdays I worked during my business travels which I have to recover upon arriving in France.

Add to that the official holidays which are:

January 1 – New Year’s Day
April N – Easter Monday
May 1 – Labour Day
May 8 – 1945 Victory
May N – Ascension Day
June N – Whit Monday (Pentecost)
July 14 – Bastille Day
August 15 – Assumption Day
November 1 – All Saint’s Day
November 11 – Armistice Day
December 25 – Christmas Day

Now, let’s do the Math. How many non-working days do I have? 55 days. Yipee!

Let’s get to the more serious topic now. Frenchguy, Louna and I need to take a 3-weeks summer vacation this August. We started to think about spending it in Italy, starting in the Vallé d’Aoste (to do mountain activities), then go down south to Pisa, Florence and Rome, then drive up to Venice and spend some time whiling away at the Italian shores, Mediterranean side. The problem was, we just started to organize everything last week, a month before our actual vacation. Since we’re running out of time, the best way to do everything quick was to ask people around us for some tips on where to park the car, which hotel to stay, what other small villages to visit, etc. But after hearing stories like August is the worst month to visit Italy because of too much tourists etc etc, we decided to think about Plan B.

Plan B is to visit something authentic or why not exotic. Egypt was long considered - cruise in the Nile River, a stop at the Hurghada/Red Sea then a day tour at Cairo. A perfect getaway. But I need a visa and we’re 3 weeks from taking our luggage off. Add to that the fact that the mercury will most probably display 40°C at daytime and Louna’s vaccines has to be reviewed. Ok, this destination - cancelled.

I again restarted to browse the net to search for Plan C while Frenchguy leaf through the pages of travel magazines. After minutes of thorough checking, I shouted ‘Know what? I won’t need a visa to go to Morocco’ to which he responded ‘Yes but you will also melt there because of too much heat.’ This destination – cancelled.

On to plan D. Plan D is … not yet finalized. We have an idea where to go and what to do, but nothing is reserved yet. And everything could still change at the last minute because of various reasons.

So expect for plan E. Hayy, ang hirap din ng maraming bakasyon!

Is Your Kid Safe Inside the Car?

Posted by Analyse at 3:43 PM

Monday, July 02, 2007

Have you ever experienced being absorbed by something leading you to commit serious errors and problems? Even fatal consequences?

A 19 month old toddler was found dead inside a car after a day of non-surveillance. In fact, his father forgot to drop the kid off at the day care center so he unconsciously left his son locked inside the car at his office’s parking area. He only realized the error at 4pm, when the day care administrator called up to ask why the kid was absent. When the father arrived, the kid was already dead of too much heat and dehydration.

The accident happened in a town not far from Dijon. It happened two weeks ago, when I was in the Philippines on a business travel. Imagine my fear when I heard the news and the images that crossed my mind... remember, I was away from my daughter. My first reflex was to imagine myself on that same scenario.

Louna is of the same age and I know that she’s not yet capable to unbuckle her safety belt nor open the window, nor open the car door. Imagine how helpless the kid was, and imagine the feeling of guilt his parents are into right now.

I know that this is a horrible news but I need to share it with you and be warned that such thing could happen.

I am listing some kid-friendly measures that could save lives:

- Wear seat belts. They’re there to save your kid’s and your life. An abrupt braking could literally project your kids pass the car windows to outside of the car.

- Use a car safety seat. The built-in seat belts are designed for adults. In cases where no car seat is available, stay at the back seat with somebody holding your kid.

- Never let small kids stay on the passenger’s seat. They could disturb your driving concentration when they start to push all those buttons. In case of accident, it is safer to have them at the back seat. I once saw a kid displaying half of his body outside of the car window while his mom was driving. The kid was of course, not attached. I saw two risks. Either the kid will fall down or be hit by a car.

- Lock car windows and doors. Most of the latest car models provide automatic lock system. Don’t hesitate to use it especially during long drives when kids start to be restless and try to open windows and doors. You know, kids learn at a very young age how to buckle and un-buckle up their seat belts.

- Never stay inside a stationed car with the air-con running. You risk carbon monoxide poisoning.

- Bring some water (and water spray). Here in Europe, summers could be very hot and dry. I’ve heard a lot of stories of infant death inside a car during long drives because of too much heat and dehydration. Car air-con is not yet generalized particularly here in France. In such cases, schedule the long drive at night when the temperature is lower. Use water sprays without moderation.

- And yes, don’t leave your kid alone inside the car. During summer, the temperature inside a car could go up to 45°C or more.

Some parents could just take these details for granted, especially the first 4 points, reasoning that their kids are well-disciplined and would never try such crazy deeds. But remember, kids don’t have the same notion of danger than you do. One prevention is better than a thousand cure. Take your pick.

More on defensive driving here.