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My latest fruit. Loving it!

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The start of something new. Leave the negative behind and face the new challenges with a smile.

25 years ago today, I set foot for the first time inside then Far East Bank & Trust Company – Midtown Hotel Ramada branch. This was my first job after earning my degree.

It’s nice to look back. My stint with the bank was the best I have ever experienced. It was there that I found the greatest friends one can have.

It’s back! Peppermint Mocha, Dark Cherry Mocha Latte and Toffee Nut Latte. Yum!

And the Sticker card issued for today at all branches come with one sticker slot free. Yay!

So it’s just 17 sticker slots to fill up. My first card has 14 stickers to go and I can choose 1 of 3 2010 Limited Edition Starbucks Coffee Planner.

Each of the planner is basically the same, wider than their 2009 version, three cover designs and textures and with date spaces vertically printed.

It’s Christmas in a cup!

I have never been lucky in any raffle I have joined in since birth. But not until over the weekend.

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An 8G 5th generation orange Ipod Nano. Sweet!

Just got out of an abbreviated management meeting. It was so since our projector conked out “without notice” and worksheets can not be flashed on screen.

It was our fiscal year-end meet to show how we perfomed for the year. Results need another post but I wouldn’t go there. But part of the agenda is the change of our payroll dates beginning next month.

Instead of the usual 15th and 30th pay checks (we follow two days before said dates), management has decided for a 10th and 25th payday schedule. This is mainly for the convenience of the finance and accounting department who regularly rush month-end results for the corporate and regional offices and for the projections to be made for the succeeding month.

It isn’t really much trouble for me to do it, a week’s adjustment works fine. Except for the first payroll processing that would have more than 15 days worth of pay, the succeeding processing would be a normal as the old schedule.

But it amused me (and a colleague I was sitting beside in the conference room) because the new payroll dates are now similar to our sales ladies in retail outlets, maintenance and warehouse personnel. Ha ha ha….

It may feel different at first but it’s just a matter of getting the hang of it. Looking at the bright side, I can shop on non-payday weekends when malls aren’t crowded. 🙂

I took the half day off from work to enrol at my alma mater. I was a bit anxious, not that I am venturing into graduate studies, but seeing my school again after twenty-five years. What surprises are in it for me.

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Going through the popular “South Gate” was a breeze as it has been made wider than before plus a CCTV cam is installed by the gate. I walked through the first corridor of the main building and that moment brought so much memories. For three years, I passed by that corridor for only a handful of times since my classmates and I would normally take the back door. (It was during the years when the first light rail transit system was being constructed.)

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I went up and proceeded to the Office of the Vice-Dean to do my business. Too bad, the VD wasn’t around. Her staff assisted me. However, it took a while…no…a long time before they can proceed with my assessment since my school records were pre-1989, the year they computerized all students’ records.

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I felt helpless but couldn’t assist them in any way. I have totally forgotten my undergraduate and graduate school identification number. The first lady staff had no choice but to pass on my record to her superior. But then, the superior likewise had no idea how to extract my records in the system. She had literally taken the hard copy of my “past university life” from the records department from another building. After over an hour, it was only then when my datea was keyed in the university’s databank. All this time, I just sat down inside their office, aimelessly looking outside the window, trying to reminisce. It felt good 🙂 .

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My name was called and was asked what courses have I taken during my initial attempt to earn an MBA. Goodness, I can vaguely recall. Those were just pre-MBA subjects. At any rate, I requested for a copy of the flowchart and a description of the course code so I can decide which two I should initially enrol in. I thought that taking 2 “easy” subjects can give me a feel of how it is to be back in coursework. But then, the superior at the vice-dean’s office can not give me an answer and just enrolled me in Information Management and Management Statistics. I couldn’t have it changed any longer (at that point) as she has clicked my way to the class of the department heads even before I can open my mouth. The most I got to say is to take my first 2 subject at the campus close to my office.

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True enough, she did what I said and was asked to get my assessment form from the Registrar’s office. I read through the form, was given the student’s handbook and was asked to proceed to the Cashier’s window. I did not settle the dues of course. I am still going through another set of exams in Algebra, Finance Math, Calculus, Statistics and Accounting in mid-May at the other university I am applying at. As if the GPAT wasn’t enought last February 8, a proficiency exam is required. And the above subjects are the ones I hate the most!

Going back, I slowly left the Registrar’s office and went to the Chess Plaza, sat down and looked around the vicinity while enjoying the wind mindlessly blowing within the campus.

A lot has changed, new buildings added, the campus expanded. But one thing remains, the good memories I had back then.

This is the time when I take advantage of having quiet moments for myself. Back in 2001 until 2003, I take the opportunity to go to an Open Lenten Retreat at the Sangandaan house my best friend referred me to years back. It has always been refreshing to spend quiet time with the Lord reflecting on his sufferings to save all of us.

This year, my best friend recommended another Open Lenten Retreat at Southridge School in Alabang. It is much closer to my parents’ place so I do not need to be up early and drive to Makati to reach the session at 8:30 am.

I am apprehensive about this new venue and organizer, probably because I am used to the Sangandaan retreat. This is another new experience to be one with the Lord. And if only for this, I look forward to this endeavor.

Come Good Friday, our house was chosen as one of 14 to be part of our Village’s Stations of the Cross. My Mom has been bugging me to arrange the table where our neighbors will pray when they reach our place. I’m not sure yet which of the Stations will be given to us, maybe 7 or 8, so says Mother.

This long weekend, we trekked to a nearby department store’s textile section to search for the appropriate white cloth to cover the facade of our home, not the whole house, but the gate where our second garage is located. We got white votive candles and a small table which I was tasked to arrange at dawn of Good Friday. I have ordered flowers from my supplier and need to pick up arrangements on late Wednesday night. I hope Mom will be happy with what I plan with the arrangement.

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After the demise of an uncle and an aunt last year, there have been successive deaths of people I know or an immediate member of the family of person/s I know.

Q109 ends today and there have been 4 deaths since. FrancisM, an artist of ours, the mother-on-law of my Boss’ nephew, the father of an office colleague and more recently, the brother of my dear friend and former officemate.

Everytime I hear the news, it instantly gives me chills. First thing that comes to mind are members of my family. Not that we are a big bunch — we’re only 4. I always pray for my folks’ long life so that I can have the opportunity to serve them and provide them a comfortable life. I also pray for my brother despite our differences and his with my parents.

It seems I am not ready to face such tragedy in my own brood. When this fear embrace me, I try to recall what my best friend told me once.

“Whosoever pass to the next life enjoys a more comfortable state than us. Everyone goes through it. You just have to keep the faith that the Almighty will take care of the rest.”

It sounds like a cliche but it actually is true. Acceptance is the only way, albeit a very difficult step, to move on. No one is ready when a loved one departs this world. We just have to accept, trust, and seek strength in His love.

My Saturday was unusually busy. I started the day early to drive up to Diliman for my grad school interview. I thought I’d be the first amongst 57 listed but I managed to get the Number 6 slot considering I arrived at the venue an hour earlier. 

Good thing I had my trusty Ipod Touch to keep me company. It was warm that day, had to step out of the venue and search for something cool to drink. The only place nearby were street hawkers with their mini “caravans” (dunno how you call their stalls on wheels) and got myself the “un-cola”. No Coke products were sold. Sheesh.

I proceeded to Room 101 and was asked to fill out a list and indicated the slip with my number. Waited for just a bit when the admin person started calling the first 3 to go to Room 105. After about 15 minutes, my name was called to go to 105. I was getting tense this time. I haven’t undergone any interview for the past 18 years, job or otherwise. In my line of work, I am always the interviewer, never the interviewee. 

It was around 9:25 am when I was called to proceed to one of the smaller rooms in 105. My God! It’s going to be a panel interview! I was sweating from tension (and I think from the aircon unit on FAN mode. (duh! summer on fan mode?)

I was pretty confident answering the questions from the panelists (all finance professors, 2 males and 1 female…well, one male is gay…he he he and he most inquisitive) as honestly and candid as I could. Most of the queries were about my current job and my reasons why I wanted to pursue graduate studies. I was even asked why I wanted to get in the university and not my alma mater.

Right after that, I felt confident that I convinced them that I am worthy. Though I am not really pinning my hopes up come Monday when I should receive a call from admin for the results. 

A friend who accompanied me asked how it turned out. I just said, “It felt like I was joining a pageant.” Ha ha ha…

By a little past 10 am, I drove to Alabang to catch my 1 pm Automated Perimetry and Eye Photo at the Eye Center of Asian Hospital. Traffic was horrible along C5, made a detour to end up along EDSA, caught in a jam by the tail-end of the MRT n Pasay, detoured again to take South Super Highway. I have only less than an hour left. I had to call my brother telling him I can’t pick him up any longer and that we should just meet at the hospital.

5 minutes before 1 pm, I got to the lab, paid the package fee and was escorted in a small room with a huge medical equipment. I do not know what it’s called but perimetry would actually test how far your sight can see while you stare at a particular green light with several white lights keep on blinking. When lights blink intermittently, I need to press the button (similar to what they use at Jeopardy).

Both my eyes had their turn and in less than half an hour, I’m done.

Next what the eye photo. This was the difficult (and kinda painful) one I had to go through. The technician had to place eye drops, supposedly anesthesia, so that I can bear the bright yellow light focused really close to my eyeball. I can blink but my eyes should not move. Then, the tech clicks the camera (Nikon D70) attached to a larger medical equipment and takes the picture of the eyeball but the iris should be at the mid part of the pic. This was the difficult part since my iris kept on moving micro seconds before the cam flash clicks away.

It took around 34 or so shots just to get the right angle. You can just imagine how painful and straining it was for my eyes. I was requested to rest for 4 hours since both eyes were dilated. I just told the technician I’d rest for 15 minutes and I’d be ready. 

Got the results right away, I demanded for it. Went to my opthalmologist’s clinic to deliver the pictures and requested for an appointment. I was given a Monday slot which is a total no-n0. Workday, uh, duh? So next Saturday at 5:30 pm was the earliest I was given. 

Drove out of hospital grounds, brought my brother at home. It was difficult to drive. My eyes were still dilated. My prescription shades weren’t much help. I was teary most of the way and sight was “cloudy” but I pulled through. 

I was supposed to drop by the office and inspect the dismantling, preparation and installation of the new office logo at our lobby. I had to change plans since it was getting more difficult by the minute driving through the EDSA traffic.

I ended up going to my place, cooked rice and adobo and just stayed home with a friend.

It was a full day. Tired from driving all over. Squinting my eyes. Headache. But rested well that night.

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