cobalt blues


One of the best jdoramas I enjoyed watching was Attention Please (2006, FujiTV).  It stars the talented Ueto Aya, as Misaki Yoko, a tomboyish happy go lucky girl who at first did not know what to really do with her life.  Out on a whim, she decided to become a cabin attendant.  And much to her (and everyone else’s) surprise, she was accepted.  Yoko later finds out that being a cabin attendant is more than just traveling, serving food, and pointing for passengers where the emergency doors are; she learns valuable life lessons along the way that ultimately changes her flighty ways (pun intended), giving her a new and better outlook on life.

From turbulence to stable skies: Ueto Aya as Yoko whose training as a flight attendant changes her from a flighty, head-in-the-clouds punk girl to a happier and level-headed young woman

Working for the service and comfort of other people can be fulfilling and taxing at the same time. Somehow, it can feel like a thankless job, and so we lose passion for it and get burned out. Shows like Attention Please can help remind you the value of hard work, of what you’re supposed to do, and get you back on track. Here are some of my favorite “work quotes” from the show:

On guaranteeing quality for the service you offer: “Sending someone who is not fully qualified in the sky is the cruelest thing one can do to a person.”

On doing your part for the sake of the team: “Please don’t take flying lightly. If you can’t control the cabin, we can’t sit in the cockpit and be at ease.  We all help to fly the plane.”

On learning from your mistakes: “There are a lot of different problems waiting for us which the textbook doesn’t address.  The key to solving these problems is always in front of us.”

And on this note, I would like to say that I chose Attention Please as my next jdorama inspiration for my FooDorama Challenge #7… click here.

Btw, Attention Please is also close to my heart because my niece Pch is also a Flight Attendant.

She had worked for the same airline company as Yoko’s (so i do have confirmation that all those sempai-sempai stuff in the drama? They’re all true!).  I talked about her days as an FA trainee in an earlier post.  She has learned a lot since then, and enjoyed the times she had spent as an FA for one year. That chapter of her life has somewhat prematurely closed but now… another new chapter is about to begin.

My pretty Flight Attendant niece, Pch: the working girl at work (Left)

This post is dedicated to Pch, who will be soaring the skies again soon.  Since she doesn’t have a blog, I will just post pix from some of her memorable Asian trips and travels made possible by her adventures as a glamorous FA, proving that just like what Yoko had experienced, hard work and dedication do pay off…:

Wherever you are, Pch, always soar high, live life to the fullest and keep your feet on the ground… Ganbare and Godspeed. ~~Love from Tita S.

Time flies by so fast. And before you realize it- it’s now the end of another year and another decade. I’ve been slacking off from writing and updating my blog. I kinda admit it was hard to start writing again… But to update i must.

I would like to share some pictures from October to December 2009:

Boo! We all know the ways of The Craft. Paper Crafts that is. These were the Halloween decors at my workplace!  Courtesy of T. Ami and our students…

All Souls Day 2009. We visited mom at the memorial park. It rained that night and the wind was strong – blowing out the candles that we set up.  And we had to take shelter under tarp canopies left by other picnickers.  Good thing the rain didn’t last too long…Afterwards, we went home and watched a horror movie. Chillingly good fun!

I was there! Educators and parents gathered at the SpED Expo held in Glorietta, Makati on Dec. 1, 2009. Our school did a talk too about reading and learning difficulties.

Kids works and some of our teaching materials on display at the SpEd Expo in Makati.

Can you spell syzygy? Friends and I watched this superb musical at the RCBC last Dec. 6, 2009. Helluva good time, talented cast and with a surprise marriage proposal at the end of the play from one of the actors to his girlfriend.

Next Post: more holiday pix from December to January… Yes, folks. I’m cramming it all in a few number of posts as much as possible.  That’s what i get for slacking off. Har-har! 🙂

Here are the pix from my hiatus. Nothing much, actually. Just passing the time away and going through the day to day motions:

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I’ve taken up brisk walking at night for the past weeks. I’m enjoying it immensely.  Good thing it’s safe to walk around my home at dusk.  Can’t say I’ve lost weight yet but I do have noticed that some of parts of me are indeed getting firmer and tighter. Yay!

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Can’t say for my diet though.  A friend told me how to make glazed brie. This one was topped with a mixture of nuts, brown sugar, and brandy; then, baked slightly. Great with red wine and crackers! And besides, Sis has a brand new oven.  So…

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And of course, when there’s an oven, baked mac can’t be too far behind. Just loved it! Pawie made this with ground beef, pepperoni, two kinds of melted cheeses, rigatoni, and some secret ingredients.  Yum!

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Reunions: Family and relatives on my father’s side got together some weekends ago.  Two of my balikbayan uncles came and we celebrated the way we know best–eat!

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At work, we had some celebrations, too.  We gave one of our staff, Lin, a baby shower before she had a maternity leave while two of us celebrated birthdays.  So many people celebrated birthdays in March!

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Sign of the times: News of the recession can really be a bummer. This is the reason why I need to contemplate and reflect on some of my plans and life’s issues.  But I pray that we can all bounce back from this… as we often do. Kaya natin ‘yan! (b^ー゚)

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My room is still a mess. But it is a work in progress. I mean, I’m getting there… Really I am.  <( ̄. ̄*)> hmp!

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Well, at least, I’m starting on my grad paper. So far so good.  In the pic above is my student and the case study that I’m working on. A good kid, love him to bits.

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Kite-flying with another student of mine.  I’m proud of this girl. She has come a long way…

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Family Day at EK: We visited a place called Enchanted Kingdom. Not really a kingdom, not really enchanting.  But it’s all we got so far…

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Summer! Ahhh!  Fruits and ice cream… We’re all craving for iced fruity desserts these super humid days. Oh, God, I could use one right now…* drools*

And also, I’ve discovered the power of Japanese emoticons… sometimes they can say what you really mean when words are just not enough. Til then(*ゝω・)ノ♥♥♥ ・゚:*:゚ toodle-loo!

stuff-2701Time to put the holiday decors down, store them away, and clean up what needs to be cleaned up.  I don’t normally do NYRs (new year’s resolutions) but this time I need to do some thinking and make some changes.

Packing away the decors and back to the same way it was?… Not if I can help it.

Like…I love blogging (and facebooking).  But I feel there are times, that I’m finding myself spending way too much time on it–time I can’t afford right now.  So stumbling upon this site and reading about it helped me break away from being obligated to blog… (and rethinking about doing away with other addicting internet habits):

1.  I will be busy for my written comprehensive exams. I have a month to prepare for it.  So that means, I will not be blogging and facebooking much until that part of my life is over.  Just thinking about the exams is making me hyperventilate.  Oh, God!

stuff-2682. Preparing also means cleaning up and organizing my notes… my files… my room… my life. I am such a pack rat, I hate throwing away bits of inane fluff and pieces of scribbled paper, too afraid to part with them for I might somehow need them in the future (which never happens).  This crazy habit has got to end!

To finally get on top of the situation: To borrow (and to butcher) a quote from Sir Edmund Hillary, it is not these  stacks and stacks of notes and documents we should conquer but ourselves (Left)

3. And of course, the mother of all NYR cliches… Maybe… just maybe… lose some weight.  I will not add anything more regarding this.  That’s just that.

So there… I don’t know how to end this. Maybe a little goodbye-be-blogging-whenever-I-can will suffice…

So…Bye! Be blogging soon…if I can! And wish me luck….

…and food seems to be everywhere.

This post is all about the holiday food I took pictures of–food served for the Christmas and birthdays parties (apparently, a lot of people were or are celebrating their birthdays in Dec.).  It’s ironic how your waist grows thicker while your wallet gets thinner during the holidays, huh?

As you can see by now, I like taking pictures of food.  I just want to document the glorious sight of food and give respect to people who take time, money and effort to cook and feed us by posting the fruits of their labors for posterity’s sake…and before they get gobbled up and flushed down into the sewers of oblivion…

Here are some of them…

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My company’s QC Christmas Party Dec. 19, 2008: The program was short and just right… and the food was superb, especially the hot salsa for the nachos–kudos to the Manang who solely conjured these up with her magic wand!

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Gone in 5 minutes: The Before and After shots of Mister Dan’s Christmas gift for us at work– home-cooked pancit bihon sa bilao which the A Girls and I literally devoured in minutes… sarap! The picture on the right is what we Pinoys call ‘sus-nagkahiyaan-pa!’ leftovers.

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The A Girls’ Christmas Eat-Out at TGI Friday’s, Dec. 18, 2008: The place was packed, tears were shed as we surprised each other with gifts, and the identities of our secret Monito-Monitas were revealed. But where’s the food? Funny how we forgot to take pictures of the food we ordered…we gobbled them all up as soon as the waiters set them on the table…

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Egg custards from Hong Kong courtesy of our jet-stter friend, bpc! Thanks… they were delish!

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Dec. 13 Birthday feast prepared by Sis for Levic… Busog! Burp!

So… time to shed those pounds gained, I guess… starting um, tomorrow… or the next day after that…or next year…hehe.

(This is a continuation from previous post: The 4th Muse Tip)

5. BE FOCUSED. I have already discussed in a post why I am not a big fan of multi-tasking. Studies have shown that multi-tasking and multi-focusing are proven to be detrimental to work quality and task performance.  However, how can one be focused on writing when one is busy juggling a job, family and other important personal concerns?

Again, the answer is in the planning. Structure and discipline also play major parts in the creative process for the ‘weekends only’ artist.  Planning may well be the most difficult part of the process but once you are able to go over this hurdle, then the rest is smooth sailing.  Offer your Mondays to Saturdays for work and family while setting aside time every Sunday for yourself and your creative pursuits.  Do this in a quiet room in your house with no distractions.  Explain to your spouse and kids about your need for ‘creativity time.’

The disadvantage of doing this for only once a week though is that the narration or your story flow is continually being put on hold since you have to stop and sleep so you can wake up early tomorrow to go back to your regular work.  In my experience, this was usually accompanied with feelings of irritation and impatience (due to yearnings to go back to your writing) especially when you are already ‘in the zone,’ sometimes even bitterly blaming ‘work’ for temporarily impeding this creative output.  The best that you can do is to post your story plan or timeline next to you while you write so you can track where you were or where you left off.

Don’t overdo or go beyond your ‘creativity time.’ Creativity requires extreme concentration and there is a danger that you may shut out everything else, become oblivious to the time and may overlook things and other details in your life that also matter.  Relationships and job performance may suffer as a result.  In order to efficiently balance it all out (day job, family, and creative work), it would be a good idea to use a planner or a day to day schedule to make sure you won’t forget everything else and so that you can effectively assume your roles and carry out your responsibilities as a full-time worker, full-time parent/spouse, and part-time artist.  Use an alarm clock and set it beforehand so you can be conscious of the time.  Make sure to include in your schedule enough rest–both physically and mentally, as well.

6. BE PATIENT. I mentioned already once that one of my life’s mottoes is “One step at a time.”   If you have your goal in mind and know where you’re going, then rest assured that you will accomplish each step in the story flow until finally, you have reached the very end.  However, as expected, the writing pace will be much slower especially for the ‘weekends only’ writer compared to the one who does this for a living.  As I said, you tend to blame work or familial responsibilities from taking time away from your creative pursuits.  You become snappy and cantankerous. Be careful not to fall prey to this cliché–that artists naturally have this ‘artistic temperament.’  I have personally encountered how these s0-called artists justify their selfish, angry outbursts and childish tantrums with excuses pertaining to this so-called ‘temperament.’  Artist or not–it is unfair for people around you to see you like this because definitely they are also affected by your behavior and may even resent it.  You have to check yourself when this happens.  I advise you to be a human being first before you start considering yourself an artist.

Despite everything that I said, and even if I follow all these tips, I still expect that things may not go as planned.  But definitely, the chance of finishing a novel this way is far greater than someone who did not plan ahead.

For the aspiring writer, good luck! You don’t have to wait for next year’s NaNoMo to start writing that novel.  Why not start now?  Through visualizing, observing, reflecting, planning, discipline, structure, and lots and lots of patience, there may be no need to search for your personal Muse.  She will just show up in the sidelines, cheering you on…

A friend who had seen and read my blog commented on the title. “Since you’re saying that you’re an artist, will you be doing art from now on?”

Instead, I explained to her that the ‘colors’ on my ‘palette’ in the title are just the metaphors for the things that transpire in my day to day life.  “Yeah, I get that,” she said. “But still, will you be drawing and painting again and all that stuff, too?”

I smiled albeit ruefully, and answered the question in my head, “If only I could…

Back when I was in college taking up Fine Arts, I’ve already heard people say that once you have a job (that has nothing to do with art), you will not be able to practice your craft.  “It has to be art and nothing else.  You can’t have both.”

Years later, I became a teacher.  Now, I am realizing what they’ve been trying to say was really true.  I can’t have both.

The Muse is a jealous mistress. You’ve got to give her your time and full attention. Or else she will deem you not worthy of her gifts.  She’s The Diva.  A multi-tasker is definitely not her type.  It’s got to be her or nothing at all.

I am not a ‘weekend artist.’ I have bills to pay and have to stick with my regular job.  I’ve got lesson plans, remedial plans, cases to consider, and a master’s degree to finish.  My mind can’t be on too many things at the same time (‘Jack of all trades. Master of none’).  If I tried to work on something artistic or creative, like during the weekends, I either end up with mediocre work or work that was forever left unfinished.  And I would be miserable every time that happens.  So to avoid being sad about it, I just don’t.

But I remember one magical year. I was jobless. I was a free-lance tutor and did not have a boss.  I found myself writing stories.  I was also sketching and planning.  The ideas kept coming. I forgot to sleep. I missed meals. I did not even take baths!  I wrote nine and half stories. I made plans for art projects.  I was obsessed…And it was exhilarating!  The Muse was here!

However, it was also the time I actually experienced being a starving artist.  I ended up having financial troubles.  I had to hock my necklace just to get money to pay the electric bill.  It was that bad.  So I had no choice but to go and have back the security and comforts assured of a nine to five job…

Patronage of the arts is important in the history of art.  Throughout the centuries, wealthy people used patronage of the arts to endorse their political ambitions, social positions, and prestige.  And in return we get priceless contributions from the greats of the visual arts, music, and literature like Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Shakespeare and Mozart.  There were attempts to promote the arts during the Marcos era but understandably, a country like ours that needs to fill its empty belly first, we scoffed at such attempts, shoving the arts into its perennial place in the backseat.

We all want to help our country be a better place for our children to live in.  It should also be a place worthy of our tears, pride and joy.  Showing it off to the world through our arts and creativity and culture is one way to do it. I lament the fact that there are hundreds of gifted writers, musicians, and artists out there, crying out and yearning to release their souls and be free to create and shine but yet are forced to work in a non-creative environment to feed themselves and their families (or leave for a place where they and their talents are more welcome).  The government has its hands full.  The corporate world (except for a few) couldn’t care less.

And if we do get a chance to practice the arts even ‘during weekends,’ what will be the outcome? In this fast-moving, materialistic, hi-tech, interactive, photo-shopping, multi-media world where people are running, rushing, altering, and multi-tasking, will we see mediocre works that are hurriedly done; or simply copied and altered from something that was available in the internet; or something cold and distant and impersonal and unoriginal and unreal–and yet passing it off as art? Should we settle for this than none at all?

The Muse is beckoning again.  She is angry and impatient.  And so am I… Please wait… just wait…

To be continued in the next post

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