An open letter to my favorite grandma

25 November 2006     •     5 Comments
Family Stuff

Dear Mama Nena,

How are you? I really miss you. Even though it’s been more than three years already since you left us, I still wish you’re here. I know you’ve already moved on to a better place with Ninong Joe, but I can’t help it. You were like a second mother to me. You were my mother when Mommy wasn’t around. I’m probably the most attached to you than any of my cousins—probably because you did show everyone that I was your favorite.

I wish more than anything that you could join the family when I get married this afternoon to the kindest man I’ve ever met, Marc.

We’ll be getting married in the Church where you used to take me every Sunday for mass. We tell people that the reason we chose it is because their fees are cheap, but that’s not the whole truth. I chose that Church so it will be easy for you to find. I really wish you could be there, Mama. I hope you and Ninong Joe can find time to drop by, even just for a few minutes. I won’t be able to see you, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll feel your presence.

You’ve already met Marc, but you were stricken with Alzheimer’s at that time. He’s a good man, Marc is. And I’m sure that if you weren’t sick at that time, you would have loved him too. Since you’re now watching over us, you can see why I love Marc so much that I decided to spend the rest of my life with him. You know more than anybody how difficult I can be at times, but Marc is able to handle them well and take my tantrums in stride. He’s very patient just like you, Mama.

Marc and I love each other more than life itself, Mama. You don’t need to be worried about me anymore. Marc will take care of me the same way Lolo Julie took care of you.

When I walk down the aisle later, I will be thinking of you and Ninong Joe—wishing more than anything that I could have one last hug from you (the hug that had always made me feel that nothing in the world could harm me) before I take my vows.

I love you, Mama Nena.


Coping with the wedding stress

17 November 2006     •     10 Comments
Family Stuff

In eight days, I’ll be walking down the aisle to tie the knot. I’m really excited, but it’s also very stressful. There are things that Marc and I still need to take care of, and the work I needed to finish before leaving for my honeymoon is quite overwhelming. I’ve been trying to avoid blogging since this major stress week started—I don’t want my posts to turn out to be angsty, whiny and pointless entries—but I figured that writing about the strange emotional rollercoaster I’m in now could do me good.

I do hope I’m still normal, because to tell you the truth, I haven’t seen much blogs of soon-to-weds that show an emotion other than excitement. I’m not denying that I’m also excited, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the iceberg is probably made up of fear. Am I strange to feel this way? Or am I just reading too many hyped up blog entries about pre-wedding jitters? Or maybe these soon-to-wed bloggers are just denying to themselves the fear they feel? Honestly, I don’t see any reason to just be excited and not feel scared at the same time.

Marriage will be a huge step for me, it’s like getting out of the comfort zone I’ve had for years and then starting a new one. That’s really scary, especially for someone who is extremely wary and likes to play safe.

I’m not a coward, but the idea of not knowing what to expect scares me. I’m the type of person who likes coming up with backup plans—“if this happens, I’ll do this, if not, this is what I’ll do.” Fine. I’m so not adventurous. But it only takes me one time to learn from my mistakes—I don’t like making the same mistakes just because I was careless. I’ve been so careless during my younger years that I feel I’d be an idiot to not to think twice before I act.

Which brings me back to this fear I’ve been experiencing for the past few days. There are so many things that scare me about this upcoming wedding, I don’t even know where to begin. But I guess the thing about it that scares me the most is the thought that I can’t just run to Daddy for the little things I don’t want to handle myself.

Yes. I’m a daddy’s girl. And I have always been. Even my mom had told me that I am when she was still healthy. According to my mom, I was so attached to my dad when I was a kid that I got to the point of volunteering to be a “watch-your-car” girl just to be able to accompany Daddy to work.

As I have told Abe, Noel, and Migs yesterday during our small meet-up after the Exist press conference, little things could easily set me off bawling these days. I haven’t cried in about a year, and now, I’m doing it on a regular basis. I can block off emotion easily (being callous really does help with my kind of job), but this one, I can’t seem to just shut off.

Yeah. I’m that scared.

After next week, I just can’t run to Daddy when I have a “situation” anymore. I would have to learn to handle things on my own with Marc. I have faith that Marc and I would be able to cope and handle any challenges that will come our way as long as we stick together, but I’ve just been so used to going to Daddy for “magic” solutions. It’s hard not to feel scared (ok fine, I’m a tad bit terrified) that things won’t be the same anymore after I walk down that aisle eight days from now.

Monetizing Kutitots

11 November 2006     •     7 Comments
Tech Things

Sorry I haven’t really been posting much the past few days. There was a lot of stuff I had to take care of. Actually, there are still more things I have to take care of, but hey, I just can’t leave this blog hanging.

Anyway, if you’ve been regularly visiting my site, you’ll notice that some ads have been coming up before and after my entries. Well, I did put them, so you can be assured that you’re still reading the same site and not some spammy thing.

I actually started with monetization on my geeky blog, Filipino Web Designer, about two months ago. My earnings from Adsense are really pathetic, but the Text-Link Ads (TLA) ones weren’t bad. I figured that since Filipino Web Designer isn’t a personal blog, I don’t see any moral obligations to not put ads there.

I don’t really know what came over me that made me decide to monetize this blog. It’s always been just a personal playground for me. Maybe because I’ve been designing blogs with ads integrated into the layout? Probably. Regardless of which, who am I to refuse disposable income for doing something I love?

ReviewMe came at an opportune moment. I got the email notification about the new service this morning, and seeing all the good response from my blogger friends, I jumped right in. Anyway, just so you know, the preceding is a paid review by ReviewMe.

I have yet to see the real potential of ReviewMe, to tell you the truth. I’ve only experienced a “sneak preview.” It works basically the same way as Text-Link Ads (not surprising, since this new advertising system was launched by them). You sign up, then submit a maximum of six blogs for their review. If your site qualifies, then you just have to wait for advertisers who’d like to have a sponsored review on your site.

Pretty easy? Yeah, it’s easy. But there’s a catch. You must have enough Blog Juice to actually earn something significant.

I found this out by comparing the price-per-link of my two blogs (Filipino Web Designer and Kutitots) on TLA with that of ReviewMe. With TLA, my projected earnings for Filipino Web Designer are higher than that of Kutitots’. But with ReviewMe, it’s the other way around.

Filipino Web Designer has a higher PageRank than Kutitots, but Kutitots has a higher Blog Juice. So from there, I concluded that maybe these two systems use different basis for determining the price. Anyway, I don’t mind the difference. Both are mine, so what the heck. Heh.

One of the things I like about this ReviewMe thingie so far is that they don’t require positive reviews of the advertisers. Read the FAQ, you’ll see what I mean. As a daughter of a photojournalist for one of the country’s top daily newspapers, I know for a fact that these advertisers will be taking a huge risk with this disclaimer. For the past years, my dad had brought home extra cash and a lot of freebies from some of his photo assignments. Some of those people whose photos he took do their best to make my dad and the writer feel appreciated so they’ll have good photos and a nice review.

But with ReviewMe, it’s different. Advertisers can’t require good reviews. If their product or service is crap, then I can say that it’s crap, without any effects whatsoever on my earnings.

ReviewMe, though still a noob like me (hehe), seems to be a promising service. I happen to already like TLA, and since ReviewMe was launched by the same guys, I guess we can expect a lot from it in the near future.

As I said, I’m still a newbie with all this pro-blogger thingie—it doesn’t matter, some of the Top Pinoy Probloggers are good friends of mine hehe I can ask them for advice (come on now, guys, you will help me! Ahaha)—but so far, I’m enjoying the extra cash. It’s nothing compared to my design-related earnings, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to get some extra moolah from something I like to do just for fun.

Besides… Any extra moolah would be great, you know. The clock is really ticking, in a few days, I’ll be getting married. And it would be really nice that Marc and I will have a bit of pocket money when we go to Hongkong for our honeymoon (courtesy of my generous uncle and godmother).

My needle experience: Beginning to conquer the fear!

5 November 2006     •     9 Comments
Daily Dose

I got my teeth replacements from the dentist yesterday before Marc and I met with Abe and Jayvee in the evening. They’re mighty uncomfortable, but after the pain I went through last week, this is nothing. Having them on made me realize that I really ought to give myself a pat on the back for being able to go through that shit with my dentist.

As I have been telling Abe yesterday, it wasn’t the pain after the extractions that bothered me—it was the process of getting anesthesia shots that really, really freaked me out. Although my dentist numbed the parts where he stuck the needle to, the thought of a needle poking my gums made me want to faint on the dental chair. My dad had to cover my eyes so I won’t accidentally see the needle near me—or they would probably have to tie me to the dental chair to keep me from running.

I’m not kidding, I’m that freaked at syringes.

Ok, so maybe my dentist did his best not to show me the syringe and made sure I had my eyes covered before he poked my gums with it, but hey. You have no idea how much of an improvement it is for me not to have four nurses pin me down in order for a doctor to stab me with a syringe.

My most recent encounter with a syringe was about two years ago when I needed to have an allergy shot. Marc had to hold me in the emergency room while the doctor gave me the shot. A nurse was on my other side to hold me down, because every time the needle came a few inches from my skin, I tried to stand up and run. Well, in that instance it was just one nurse plus Marc. My encounters with a syringe before that really required at least four nurses and my dad in order for a doctor to give me a shot.

I didn’t used to be this scared of syringes. I was actually very brave about getting shots when I was a kid. It was after I was bitten by a stray cat during my fourth year in high school that this fear of syringes started.

Since it was a stray cat that bit me (for all you know, the cat could have been feeding off on rats and trash), my parents had me get anti-rabies shots. My dad didn’t want me to go through the pain of the traditional anti-rabies shots on the spine and stomach, so he paid more than triple the amount for me to have the least traumatic treatment possible. At that time, there was this new medicine that only required three sessions of treatment and didn’t need for it to be injected through the spine and stomach. This medicine needed to be injected on my arm and the wound itself. It didn’t sound too bad, so I wasn’t really that scared when I entered the room where I would be having the shots. I didn’t think it would be painful.

I was wrong. It was very painful. It was so painful that up to know I still can’t think of any other experience which will measure up to the physical pain I felt at that time.

Just think of it this way. Imagine a substance as thick as gelatin being injected on you. Your flesh would feel as if it’s getting pushed inside you. The pain is enough for your arm to be immobile for about an hour. Can you just imagine how painful it was when they injected it through the open wounds on my forearm and finger? “Excruciating pain” was the best way to describe it.

I’ve had an irrational fear of syringes since that happened. My first few encounters with needles after the ordeal were a bit, uhmm, violent 😛 It really did take four nurses and my dad to subdue me. I may not be a huge girl, but I was trained in martial arts and had some experiences with grappling (my dad wanted me to know how to protect myself). So yeah, I really did give those nurses a hard time just for one measly shot 😀

My encounter with the syringe last week clearly showed that my fear of syringes greatly improved. That’s why I’m so proud of me! Hehe. Seriously though, I really think this is noteworthy. From four nurses and my dad, I now only need my dad to subdue me. Hopefully, I won’t need subduing the next time I needed a shot. I don’t think I’ll already be brave enough to face syringes if I ever get into the Fear Factor TV show, but it’s a start.

Forgive me for sounding like a self-centered brat, but really, I’m so proud of me for this! 🙂

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