four months left

I wouldn’t have believe any who told me I’d find myself sipping a cup of hot coffee in the future. Yet here I am. Its warmth is calming and calm is what I need to be right now.

Almost a month has passed since the start of classes and I’m still surprised to see the building abuzz with students. I think I’ve gotten used to about two months of quiet in the hallways. It’s not a bad or good thing. I just need to get used to it. I still need to refer to my schedule to make sure I’m on time and I’m heading to the right room before I go to my classes.

I’m just glad I’m finished with my graduate courses. Well, except for my thesis that is. I’ve got a research proposal to finalize this semester. I need that approval to start data gathering. Plus I have two major research papers to remove from my work backlog. Hah!

I’ve got four months left. Work, work, work! No more time for finding motivation and dithering. Write, write, write! (I guess this is me being calm.)

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the eldest

This day made me realize how great it is to have sisters living in the same town. Got a dinner invitation from the eldest sister. As with any gathering among siblings, it’s the time to let off steam from work among other things.

The eldest sister has been busy organizing an event and nothing’s going as planned – as expected. She’s making the preparations for the back up plan. Over pad thai and spicy beef soup, it was nice to catch up and consult. She’s a decade wiser than me. The eldest sister is the person we go to for advice on matters that we have no idea how to deal with.

What’s great about this person is that no matter how much of a recluse I can be, she’s always there to reach out. With the third sister still adjusting in the new work environment, the eldest sister makes it a point that we have that get together at least monthly.

With the ten-year gap, I spent high school without her. She was in college then. She came home during vacations and semestral breaks. I saw less and less of her. I was about thirteen when she got married halfway through college. When I came to Laguna for college, she was there to guide me.

Imagine a bratty me living with the eldest sister and her family. I can say, she put a lot of sense in me – without the harsh words. She has a way of making one realize one’s mistakes and encourage them to deal with them and do better. Among the sisters, there is no sense of superiority – anymore.

Of course, there used to be a hierarchy of power. That’s always the subject of hearty conversations – the fights, power trips, etc. Now, everyone take turns wearing the wisdom hat, offering words of advise, encouragement, and painful facts.

But if we want the  most direct and raw reaction, comment, or advise, we approach the eldest.

excuses

Back pain. Throbbing pain. It feels like I’m growing wings. I won’t be surprised if something sprouted from my upper back. I suffer from back pain everyday, as expected from the weight I carry – literally. But today, I found it less bearable.

There. That’s my excuse for getting a back massage 😀 I need to be in good condition this semester. Having to worry less about the back pain will greatly contribute to being in that state.

 

and so the semester starts…

You know the summer has ended if you start recalling the days based on the tasks you weren’t able to finish, hours you have no idea what you did, and that feeling of exhaustion during the evenings (although you did nothing major entire day).

During the start of the day, I thought I had plenty of time to do some reading and update the lecture slides for the courses I am handling this semester. Half a day later, I find myself staring at this screen wondering where the day had gone.

I haven’t even entered the college’s reading room downstairs to select the books I’ll be prioritizing. That is, if the person in charge would let. My record with the reading room is far from impeccable. All I was able to do was move two previously selected books (from our department’s collection) from the shelf to my table top – a meter away. Talk about productivity. I just hope I’d be able to flip through them by tomorrow.

few minutes

I missed it.

Woke up before five am to prepare for the run. I checked the clock and thought I had a few more minutes to sleep before going to campus. A few minutes turned out to be a couple of hours. When I woke, the sun was up and there’s that sense of disorientation. The pair of running shoes set near the door reminded me of what I should have done.

Last night, I had to go to my sister’s place to have my jogging pants and my shirt “air dried” (that’s the washing machine’s term for prolonged spin drying, I guess). I’ve also prepared a playlist for the run and made sure the music player was fully charged.

During those  few minutes, I was enjoying looking at some notepad and notebooks. I was in a bookstore/school supplies shop, none of which I have gone to before. I did found it weird that their stocks were in a stack of plastic drawers. I spent a lot of time, at least I thought I did, looking for notebooks. I remember having selected two thick notepads with and a Garfield notebook with larger than usual silver metal spring coated with clear plastic. I knew I was about to go to the cashier when I woke  up. I think I was more bothered about not being able to purchase the notebooks than having missed the run.

I guess I’ll just have to jog later. At least I get to test the playlist and meet the weekly jog challenge.

i am number 9

That’s about five months of daily tasks, frustration, realizations, gratitude, and doodles. Weird to see how about 20 weeks can be packed in a one-inch thick, 5″ x 6″ set of notes.

I’ve been writing less and doodling more. Less frequent but longer episodes. I got to write more about other people especially since the third sister’s move to town. There’s a lot of plans left as plans.

Since June 2005, I started the conscious effort to keep notes on daily tasks, worries, and hopes since I keep forgetting things. Six years and nine notebooks later, it has become more of a need. It’s been part of the routine, some sort of therapy, or basically a way of hanging on to reason.

Looking at these journals, it’s comforting to confirm that something did happen in the last six years. I don’t know how I’ve managed to write something from nonsensical observations and keep writing. Most of them rubbish. I’m just glad I wrote.

The purpose was never to make sense or be intellectual. It was basically to rant and complain, to forgive and to thank, and to note how seriously lagging I was (and/or am) in my submissions. It is home to raw, selfish, impolite, immature, unreasonable words that will be refined by a series of considerations done with diplomatic, rational, and objective thinking.

And as one starts with the tenth set of notes, not much will change I guess. To more deadlines, complaints, regrets, doubts, and thanks 😀

the mother turns 54

It was a challenge to get up this morning. It was raining the whole evening and the winds joined in. This weather is something I’m used to coming from Albay. We get heavy rains and strong winds every month. And it makes sleeping, tucked under the comforters, such a pleasure.

In this weather, the mother spent the entire day doing minor construction work in the site of her new interest – beauty salon n. I don’t know how many salons she has opened (and closed several months later). I’m hoping this one reaches at least it’s first year celebration. The sisters and I have always hoped for that. I’m not sure if any of her businesses lasted a year. It’s her birthday today. She’s 54, she says. For her age, she’s done well to keep fit. She shares pants size with the third sister who is in her mid 20s. The third sister was the one to point this out.

Spent the evening waiting for the mother to finish her construction work so we can start the cake tasting. All three of us brought a cake, none of the same kind. (Is that reflective of how different our tastes are?) The eldest daughter brought that tall mango bravo cake we’ve been talking about. Fruity but not that sweet. The third daughter brought black forest and the fourth daughter brought belgian chocolate cake.

Most of the evening was spent in family chat with the two nieces and the nephew around. Three generations of the family in a chat – reminders of the general check up, healthy diet, and weight loss; recommendations for supplements, beauty products; exchange of financial woes and work experiences… it go on and on.

It did end after the mother felt the effects of the day’s manual work on her 54-year old body – and after talking about her salon plans nonstop all through dinner.