Book of the Week: Notes Left Behind

I mentioned in my last post about the book sale in Fully Booked and I chanced upon this book which sold for P100 or PHP150 if I am not mistaken. I was taken by its poignant synopsis. Somehow, with all the current experiences that I have gone through in my own baby journey, I feel drawn to people who have surpassed frightening and challenging situations in their lives.

I started reading the book when I was at the airport on my home to Bacolod for my best friend’s wedding. While waiting for my flight, I read the first chapters of the book and I was helplessly and unsuccessfully fighting back the tears.

Notes Left Behind is a must-read for all parents and those who are going through a rough time because of any diseases. I didn’t have much expectation when I bought this book but this turned out to be one of those “it-was-meant-to-be-in-your-hands” read.

This narration was from Brooke and Keith, parents to a pretty six-year-old Elena who was diagnosed with brain tumor.

Elena was afflicted with cancer and her parents shared their painstaking journey of watching their daughter under the clutch of the disease. They shared their story diary-style – how they deal with the situation one day at a time. This book is a poignant read and shakes you to your core.

In some way, I was able to relate. When afflicted by the big C or with any other “unexplainable” disease for that matter (in my case, repro-immuno disorder), your faith stumbles and your life changes. It makes you stop for a while and look at your life in the ways that you have never considered before.

And as usual, same with my other book reviews, here are some of my favorite quotes:

It is the feeling of being out of control that hurts the most. After all, from the very beginning of life you are taught that if you do good, good will come to you…

I’ve heard them all. “God has a plan, though we may not understand it.” “God works miracles.” “God only burdens those he knows can handle it.” From friends and family, they come without offense and are meant to comfort. I know this, but somewhere deep down I can’t help but question.

Never look at a day and think it is a bad day, because this may be better than tomorrow, so just thank God that you have the day at all.

Let me take this moment to thank Elena and her family for being an inspiration.

Fully Booked BGC Sale

So while waiting for the husband to finish his basketball game, I decided to meet up with Pau (one of my clingy babies) for a merienda (more like dinner) at Wildflour.  

After we met, I had a long walk to Fully Booked (had to shed off the Fully Loaded lunch) to check out some books *duh*

To my surprise, there is a book sale!!! *heaven*

There were books for PHP50-PHP200. 

   

I got the following:

  
Laurell Hamilton’s Bullet : PHP50 (originally at PHP315)

Russell Brand’s Booky Wook 2: PHP100 (PHP630)

Robert Landophi’s Quick-Fix Gluten Free Cookbook: PHP100 (PHP699)

Brooke and Keith Desserich’s Notes Left Behind: PHP100 (PHP599)

Gabriel Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles (hardbound): PHP150 (PHP920)

Note: Gaiman at regular price, boo-hoo!

More, more, more for me!!!

You wouldn’t find any books of really known authors though but still a steal, right?! Sale is until July 12 so hurry, hurry, hurry!

I love how this day ended. My Monday is awesome!

How about your start of the week, loves? Hope you had a fabulous one!

Cheers! 

Book of the Week: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

 

This book has been sitting on the shelf for a while. I have been meaning to read this but I had been so busy that reading took a back seat.

I wanted to drown myself in weirdness again and so Murakami and Gaiman are usually my best bet. With their cats and all. Haha.

Anyway, so this book talks about a man who returns to his hometown to attend a funeral. This, of course, triggered memories of his childhood and a long lost friend, Lettie. He recollected on their (mis)adventures, most of them bordered on fantasy.

Here are some of the quotes that I loved:

“Books were safer than other people anyway.”

“I was not happy as a child, although from time to time I was content. I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

“That’s the trouble with living things. Don’t last very long. Kittens one day, old cats the next. And then just memories… And the memories fade and blend and smudge together…”

“… I had imagined that a narcissus must be the most beautiful flower in the world. I was disappointed when I learned that it was just a less impressive daffodil.”

“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even a greater things crumbled.”

“Nothing’s ever the same. Be it a second later or a hundred years. It’s always churning and roiling. And people change as much as oceans.”

“Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not. You stand two of you lot next to each other, and you could be continents away for all it means anything.”

“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”

I rated this book 4 out of 5 in Goodreads. It was very entertaining and kept me at the edge of my seat bed. If you are like me, who is an escapist, this book is perfect for you.

How Uber Saved Me Time and Money

Going back to work means braving the horrendous traffic of Manila. One of the primary factors I considered when I was choosing a company I’d join was the office location. I could and would not want to go beyond Taguig. Living in the South, it seems too draining to travel all the way to Quezon City during rush hour

*shudders*

I was more than relieved to know that my new company is just several kilometers away from my old office. Familiarity is always welcome. During my first week, I brought my car but parking at BGC is terrible that the husband decided to drive me to the office instead every morning.

*chicken dance*

Our concession was that I have to commute to Resorts World so that it is easier for us to go home and he doesn’t have to waste time going back to BGC with all the traffic. Of course, I agreed. I was more than happy that I didn’t need to drive and we get to save plus spend some time together before and after work. 

The trouble with this arrangement was  that it was sooo hard for me to get a cab from BGC to Resorts World. There was no buses or other means of commute either. Pahirapan talaga! I tried GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi but there were not much cabs available and I would usually wait for at least 30 minutes before I can board one. 

And then I tried Uber. 

I have heard of this service since last year but at the bell curve of the Diffusion of Innovation theory, I am laggard. So it was only now, after a year and much raves from my colleagues and from my friends, that I jumped into the bandwagon (it was also more out of desperation).

Last Monday, after too many failed attempts from Grab and EasyTaxi, i desperately signed in to Uber. To my surprise, the service was no-frills, wasy and very convenient. The car arrived in less than 5 minutes. What surprised me the most was that it was cheaper than getting a normal cab, even wayyyy more affordable than paying for Grab and EasyTaxi’s fare with top-up rates!

During my first commute, I paid around PHP200 for a Grab service from BGC to Resorts World. Compare this to how much I paid for my Uber service today!

 

 

I saved around Php80, drivers were polite and the fare was charged directly to my EastWest credit card. Cars looked fab and the service was really reflective of their vision – giving the customers the experience of “like having your own personal driver.”

For my first drive, I used the promo code from my friend, Joei of Joei & Me and got a Php100 discount coupon! I ended up paying around Php30 only!

I am gushing because Uber is such a superb service and if you have been following my blog, you’d know that I post about products and services that I have personally tried, used, and loved.

On a side note, the marketer in me has been trying to assess the situation. I really wonder if they (Uber drivers) earn from this service because it would be too bad if they aren’t and this service will be terminated. At the same time, I also feel bad for the “normal” cab drivers. I would presume that they do not earn as much anymore with these new competing services.

But who can blame us, really? 

I am sure all of us have our share of horror taxi-driver-stories where we were charged higher or kinontrata or were simply refused. Oh well. The wheels have turned. Welcome to the era of customer revenge.

Obviously, this is the beauty of these innovations that confront the norms and provide a better way: they are always beneficial to customers. This occurence can be an eye-opener to taxi operators and drivers to improve on their services, lest everyone would now be taking Uber or similar services.

So… Just felt that I should share this awesome experience. If you’d like to try Uber (because you haven’t yet and are a laggard like me, haha), you can enter my promo code to avail of a discount (and you send me a discount as well) : loud205ue. Go and try it sometime!

Uber awesome, don’t you think? How about you, loves? Share your Uber story!

Cheers.

x

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Going Back To Work

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“No one should ever ask themselves that: Why am I unhappy? The question carries within it the virus that will destroy everything. If we ask that question, it means we want to find out what makes us happy. If what makes us happy is different from what we have now, then we must either change once and for all or stay as we are, feeling even more unhappy.” – Paulo Coelho

It has been awfully quiet in this part of cyberspace (last post was more than a month ago, ugh) – saw-ry!

It was a roller-coaster month of June. Big decisions were made… and here I am – back to the corporate world again.

I know, I know. I was supposed to be happy staying at home, working on the baby project, doing some writing on the side, sleeping the whole day, cooking dinner for Edzel, and not braving the terrible traffic every single day. So, what happened?

June was my month of revelation.

For some reason, I was able to connect with some other APAS “mommies”. One reached out to me through my blog and another one through Facebook. While I do not rejoice that there seems to be a lot of couples going through this same situation, it is comforting (in an odd way) to talk to someone who is exactly in the same boat. The phrase, “I know how you feel.” becomes more meaningful and resonates to your core.

These reproductive-immuno disorders have existed for a while NOW but it is so complicated that you get tired just by thinking of having to explain the condition to someone else. 

So last June, I received my last batch of test. It was a rejection test required by Dra. Sua-Lao, my OB, because she suspects that I am not only suffering from Category 1 & 2, I am also a Category 5 candidate. Hearing that news was devastating. The treatments for the first two categories are already crazy (read: injections in the tummy every day when you get pregnant to thin the blood plus the immunotherapy sessions) and having the “worst” category was just a punch to the gut.

I was initially ruled out for Category 5 as my NK (natural killer) cells count was low although Dra. Gloria said that there is no test in the country that can fully evaluate the rabidity of the cells. In layman’s terms, I may have few killer cells but they are the psychotic kind (PS, this is just my interpretation).

Last June, we had to bite the bullet because we wanted to cover all bases and just be done with all the possible tests. Dra. Sua-Lao requested me for a TH1/TH2 test to test rejection. We sent my blood to a US lab  and waited for two weeks for the results. The wait was agonizing (patience is not my virtue, hello!) I was hoping that my results will show normal ranges but lo and behold, my values were over the roof. Sua-Lao told me that this was the reason for my miscarriages.

This was another shock to me and Edzel. After Sua-Lao discussed our options, we (reluctantly) decided to put our ‘project’ on-hold. I was reeling from all my medicines and from the stress. I just want normalcy back, somehow. I am yet to discuss these new results with our immunologist, Dra. Carol, and what our next steps will be, especially with the indefinite timeline.

But this post is not all dark and gloomy. In fact, AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, this has been an epiphany. 

I realized that maybe it is just not time for us yet. I was so unhappy that I could not have a baby (yet) that I quit work thinking it was just stress. I was happy for a while writing and prioritizing our ‘project’ but then eight months after, there came more complications sprouting like mushrooms. I wasn’t happy with our baby project. I wasn’t happy with where my career was going (or not going). I wasn’t happy to stare at my computer the whole day with no one to interact with (there were times that I prayed to Him to make Sachi talk, haha).

I am an ENFJ, after all. I need social interaction. I need self-affirmation through the things I accomplish. Staying at home did not seem appealing anymore. And the oddest thing added up. With all the second-guessing if I should go back to work or not, I got a job offer.

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Deep in my heart, I knew that it was God telling me to just let go. I had to put at the foot of the cross this incessant want, this need of wanting a baby that is already causing me so much unhappiness. I was already complete. I had my husband. I had my career. I had a great family and an awesome bunch of friends. I had Sachi. The baby should have just been a bonus. Because if you really think about it, each child is a gift obtained through God’s grace. Edzel and I did all that we could. But it was just not within our control. It was not in our hands. 

So, I had to let go. Because it is selfish to  hold on and to demand for my little one. I already have so much blessings in my life. All we can do now is wait.

I could not count the ticking of the clock while waiting for His grace. I think He wants me to move on, do the things I love and just live my life as normally as I can. And normal for me is being back in the corporate world. Surrounded by the clicking of the keyboards and piles of program approvals. With the sweet aroma of caffeine that just seems to be more potent, more delectable when you gobble it while crunching some work files.

Finally, something in my life makes sense again. My gears are now moving, slowly but surely.

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