Thursday, August 11, 2011

Being Nicole

Been fighting all my life. Endlessly fighting. Exhausted, battered and scarred so much. Yet I still continue.

Where I draw this strength, I cannot answer definitely. I know it just moves me to do what I must do.

- Google+ Status, 11 August 2011


I can almost hear the waters and the waves splashing on the shore. I am close to smelling and tasting the salt in the air. I cannot wait to feel the wind blowing through the trees and ruffling my hair. I am just about to locate myself in silence, in a place I am a stranger to.

- Google+ Status, 9 August 2011

Just me and my shadow dancing

To dance as if no one was watching and with no care to the world last Friday night until the wee hours of Saturday morning made me realize how much I missed my craft: be it classical ballet, jazz, ballroom or disco/bar lounge grooving.

Did not mind the sweat streaming down my face; did not feel my feet ache from the high heels I was wearing; did not bother with the crowd closing in on me nor the smoke emitted from smokers around me and from the DJ's booth. I was basking in it all.

I was lost in my own world, in the comfort and reality of dancing. I was on my own most of the time, dancing and unleashing myself, and once in a while, someone would offer to partner with me for a sweet, slow LA walk or an exhilarating swing that left me breathless, excited and happy.

To dance: my dance, my partner's dance, our dance, and my dance again.

- Google+ Status, 7 August 2011

Stirrings Within

I want to get away. I want to escape. I want to resurrect myself.

- Google+ Status, 4 August 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My YM Moratorium

I recently declared a moratorium on myself: not to use Yahoo! Messenger.

I have no idea for how long or for how short a time. I just know that I need to lessen the distractions at work and impose some discipline and professionalism in the way communications and documentation is handled. Plus, I was getting so annoyed at the pop-ups every time somebody logs-in or logs-out. More so if the Internet connections are not stable and steady in your contact lists' office.

My moratorium decision also stems from something very personal but I will not disclose here in this outlet. It is not for public consumption.

How have I been faring so far? Well, it could be something similar when undergoing drug or alcohol (or sex?) rehab. You undergo a "detoxification" process. But I suspect mine is both a cold turkey and detox approach.

I declared my moratorium over a month ago I think but have not been able to uphold things on my end for I guess a week or two. It was only recently that I was able to control and discipline myself.

I am slowly experiencing the benefits of being less distracted at work and being able to gather more concentration and focus. But I just have to disclose that I kind of "cheat", in the sense that I open my YM and quickly check who is online and if there were any offline messages left. But all is done in a minute or maybe even less. I do that around three times a day.

In curbing this habit or this typical routine, I found myself not tempted to chat or open the chat window. I guess I would consider that a milestone for myself and that this "cheating" is forgivable.

My aim is really not to use YM in matters related to work or business and to train people to document things and respond quickly, properly, professionally via e-mail.

In fact, through e-mail, I am able to "converse" fluidly and not experience disruptions of thought unlike in chat when people just interrupt on as is or as need basis. E-mail is also beginning to be a friend as well. I am able to decently list down the things I need in an organized and uninterrupted manner as opposed to YM.

Perhaps this decision to declutter and to delineate my personal space from work helped shape this declaration.

So I hope to continue this practice and achieve the type of discipline I need in managing my affairs. Wish me luck as I continue on.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Five Things Females Need to Know When They Find Themselves in the LTO

I had the [mis]fortune of trooping to the the Land Transportation Office (LTO Main) in Quezon City last Monday. I was to settle a fine on a very subjective violation called "swerving" and collect my most valued ID - my driver's license.

For females who are not of faint heart, bearing an ounce of street smartness and open to all sorts of adventures like myself, you would not mind at all heading to the LTO Compound by yourself. Otherwise, you better have a male companion tag along with you. Why so?

1. Lining up and submitting the ticket.

Upon entering the compound, you will encounter a long queue at the Administration and Settlements Office/ Building. The line - by a hands down majority - is dominated by male drivers. So these are the jeepney, bus, taxi, truck, van and professional drivers league.

The line extended outside the building. I found myself a bit down the corner of the ASO right smack at the morning sun's peak. Oh, before I forget, best if you brought an umbrella for shade and protection (both in the figurative and literal senses).

Admittedly, I got anxious - not for my safety - but more for the time that will be consumed in settling a minor traffic offense. I arrived a little after 11:00 a.m. I think.

Going back, if you are not comfortable in this crowd, do not panic if you are all alone. The guards periodically check for females lining up and immediately usher them inside the building. Why you might ask?

I discovered right then and there that WOMEN ARE GIVEN PRIORITY in the line. Yes. I shit you not.

I found myself seconds later inside an air-conditioned environment, told to get a number and be seated as my papers were being processed.

Okay, one inconvenience down.

2. Document Processing: the WAITING Game.

So noonee, noonee, noo ... checked my watch, "Oh no, it's almost 12:00 noon. They are definitely going to announce lunch break soon. Darn, another delay ... Hold on, why is that guy's paper's being released when I came earlier than him? I have a number to prove it."

I learned that the LTO does not follow numbers issued out. Yes, typical of our Philippine government offices. Makes you wonder why they issue numbers when they don't follow the sequence at all right?

It could probably be the volume of documents they have to process and each offense might vary in the level of paperwork needed to process it. That is how I would put it but then, it still smacks of INEFFICIENCY.

So what happened?

I just waited and prayed (two mysteries of the Holy Rosary). I was so surprised that they did not sound the lunch bell.

The LTO employees just continued processing and handing out documents. Some went on lunch breaks but still conducted work as they chowed their food right in front of us waiting crowd.

Shortly before 1230 pm, my name was called in FULL. (On a side, I have four names.) So just imagine the buzz I created (AS USUAL) with it.

As I approached the counter, I was handed my processed papers (together with a copy of the ticket I submitted from the apprehending officer) and was shortly interviewed about my name and my ancestral roots.

So what is the point of this second entry? Well, just SMILE, be GRACIOUS and ACCOMMODATING to these people - in spite of how things are being conducted in our own government offices. It is probably a treat for them to see a cute, charming and well-mannered yet bad-ass lady driver from a sea of typical male traffic offenders.

Carry this on throughout the day, I assure you, things will just move swiftly and in your favor as a female.

3. Settling the fine (at the speed of light).

I settled my fine at a whopping PhP1200+ and was issued an official receipt right then and there at Window 9. ( I was advised by my cousin, who is a lawyer, that it was just less than PhP500 for swerving. Guess not.)

Soon after, I was instructed to head to another building to attend a lecture and undergo a written examination. I had twenty minutes to spare before 1:00 pm. FYI: the lecture and exam is always scheduled every two hours (8am to 10am, 10am to 12nn, 1pm to 3pm, and 3pm to 5pm).

As I registered my name at the lobby, the guard told me that I would need a ballpen. Since I left my own in my car (which I parked in a friend's residence, not far from LTO to save me the hassle of parking in its uh, confusing, compound), I had to purchase one at PhP10! (Sigh ...)

Lesson: ALWAYS BRING A PEN. No matter what.

4. The LTO Driver Lecture and Exam.

Tip: Remember the things taught to you in driving school and use a lot of LOGIC.

That is the coverage of the written test. If you did not undergo driving in a licensed driving school or your personal driver did not disclose anything essential about driving, you will be in deep shit.

It is a 60-item exam and the passing score is 45. You also have the option of taking the exam in English or in Tagalog.

By the way, women are segregated from the men in the classroom. Yep. All men up the front of the classroom and women at the back.

There's a male proctor assigned specifically to handle the male crowd and another male one to uh, care for the minority of females.

Here, as a female, you are still treated with respect and provided assistance in case you don't understand examination instructions.

Plus, since you are a minority, test papers are checked on the spot, you are given time to review the items marked as mistakes and the passing scores are submitted to issue a certification that you have undergone a short rehabilitation course in driving.

AND, you get a FREE souvenir from the LTO: a handbook on driving. Everything you need to know - offenses and corresponding fines, traffics signs, etc. All the works.

Plus the next time I get apprehended, I was advised by my proctor to haggle it to a lower offense like "obstruction". Hmm ... okay.

5. Homerun.

Last step for this grueling day is for you to collect the much valued driver's license.

As soon as I got my certification, I took my proctor's advise of scooting out of the classroom immediately so I can redeem my license early.

Let me digress a bit, after the examination, we were asked to watch an AV video of the LTO and all you need to know about driving here in the Philippines. When it ended, the men were asked to march to the second floor of the building while we girls (we were three) were asked to stay behind.

I cannot recall why but my guess is that it might be a fraternal thing. I don't know, there might be an initiation of some sort for male traffic offenders. *SHRUG*

Going back, I went back to the ASO (second floor) and submitted my certification. True enough, as I sat down to wait for my name to be called out, my male "classmates" came barging in and the hall was immediately filled.

Minutes later, my name was called out and I got my most precious driver's license back.

What time did my day at the LTO end? A little before 3:30pm. Not bad.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Blogging Challenge

Hahaha ... I cannot believe I signed myself up for a 30-day Blogging Challenge together with some work colleagues, who I consider now as awesome friends. This initiative was brilliantly hatched by Noel Nuguid. Admittedly, just like him, this will really force me to blog on a regular basis.

I would like to think that I am a natural writer. Words, ideas just flow from my mind down to my fingertips (i.e. on a keyboard) and/ or my pen. Yes, I do keep an online space for public consumption of my work and I maintain a journal of my own private musings. Why so? There are just some entries which are meant to be shared between me and my journal. Nothing more.

My blogging is not to give a blow-by-blow account of my life nor release so much angst and gripe about life's injustices. As a blogger, I am responsible for how I conduct myself in public since blogging is a public activity. Whatever I write will be a reflection of myself - and I do not want to turn people away with my words.

One can call it that I am playing safe. That I am restricting myself from expressing fully what is inside of me. Well, let them. That is their opinion.

But for me, I want to exercise a degree of responsibility for whatever I let out in my entries. I simply want my entries to bring smiles or a bit of memory to the surface. To ignite an idea that was buried in the recesses of one's mind. Or to strike a new friendship based on similar realizations and interests.