50 First Dates With Me

50_First_Dates_1I have been wanting to post this for a while but I forgot. That’s the problem, I forget. For the past 3 years, I’ve been getting absence seizures because of this congenital brain deformity (to be honest we really don’t know when this started). Nothing to worry about except for the fact that every time I seize, I forget some things. Things like what that thing you have in your hand is called. You know, the thing that you use to call and text people. That thing you hold against your ear and causes carpal tunnel…that thing. For the life of me, I would not be able to recall what it’s called until hours or a day after. Same as that yellow thing you use for writing and drawing with the pink eraser at the end. It’s not just these things I forget, I forget things that happen to me too. I have blurry memories of dates and activities with family and friends. Blurry memory if I’m lucky. At times, I get a total blank. Funny but it doesn’t really affect much of the memory related to work or heavy data. Stupid right? I can still remember the YOY net income of the company I worked at years ago.

It gets frustrating. It frustrates me that I don’t remember much, it frustrates me that my family sometimes has to talk to someone as if it’s a game of…I forget..the game where you have to act out things..wait, I have to ask a friend. Ah…Charades. That game.

It scares me too. I have images of Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates. A movie I really didn’t like, by the way. I felt that the female character, Lucy was asking too much from the male character, Henry. I mean seriously, all that effort every single day just to make her remember, every day for the rest of their lives. I do have maintenance medication but I do forget to take them at times, get episodes and I end up crying when a bunch of data gets booted out of my brain. My husband patiently reminds me of the things I forget. He reminds me of the dates we’ve been to, the things I have done or bought, the things he did. He reminisces while I listen as if it’s the first time.

“Oh, how sweet of me or wow, how could I have done that?” I would say in reply. I have no memory of these things at all.

I laugh at how we were and happy at how we are at the present. That’s just it, I live for the present now. I try to be as happy as can be every single day so that in case I forget, I don’t have to worry. In case I forget, my husband and daughter have a good story to tell me in the future to laugh about. The good thing about this is that we try to love each other as much as we can on a daily basis. My husband tries his best to make me fall in love with him every single day and vice versa. We aim to have good memories every day. Just like 50 First Dates, we love and live one day at a time.

Zee

  • I will be posting regularly now and keep this site as a journal. You know..in case I forget. Do you know anyone else with the same problem? It would be great to hear about how they cope.

Empty Calling Card, Full Heart

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There are just some things that are more important than work. Admittedly, it took a while for me to learn all this. I was independent from my family in my early twenties (in the Philippines, that’s pretty early or unimaginable) and have been stressing about household bills and surviving for around 16 years. I guess working my ass off to have food to eat and save for my future was hard-wired into my system. Things changed when I had my daughter and my second marriage. Work didn’t seem to be THE priority. Whatever joy I derived from work just didn’t seem to compare to the joy I had at home. This actually confused me. For many years, I latched on to my work and it slowly ate me away – my body, personality and my joy. It turned into an addiction and just like any addiction, difficult to manage.

I stopped working for a few months this year. Dropped everything and stopped working. For the first time in 19 years, there was no company name attached to mine. Questions such as, “What are you doing now?” or “Where are you connected now?” was something I dreaded. I came out with a blank. I had no calling card.

For the months of September and October, I decided to just recuperate and re- align myself. I focused on family, friends, painting and resting. Things and people I love. In a span of a couple of months, the addiction called work melted away.

My husband and I had a long talk about our situation. My choices in the next few months were crucial. If I were make a wrong choice when get back into the rat race, all would have been wasted. At this point, I told my husband that I wanted to step back at work, paint, write more and support him. The decision came with huge sacrifices but we feel that it’s all worth it.

I’m back at work now. Everything has been working well so far. It’s so hard to consciously pull back but I know that it is needed and a decision made. I apply my “Decide, Do, No Looking Back” motto again.

Some question my decision of taking a few steps backward career-wise but you know, when we die, our tombstone won’t have a company logo, credentials and a position title. So yeah, get over it.

There is nothing is more important than being happy. There is nothing more important than family.

Zee

Vader, Our Sith Puppy

I couldn’t post this earlier. It was too painful and I would end up crying.

Exactly 6 months ago, we lost our baby Vader. I was asleep in our room, our helper was in the bathroom and we both heard our front door open. I thought it was her, she thought it was me. I heard frantic barking from Luna the pomeranian and next thing I know, our helper barged into our room wrapped in a towel telling me frantically that Vader, our baby teacup poodle was gone. We ran to the building security and reported the loss and they started searching. We tried everything on the days that followed.

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Left his things outside so that he can find his way home.

We even contacted Mr.David Consunji who pleasantly and immediately helped us. My email must have been one of the most amusing he had received for the week but I am thankful they exerted all efforts. My letter (sensitive data deleted):

Dear Mr. Consunji,

We are residents of Tivoli Garden Residences. Yesterday (May 25) at around 8:30 a.m., our black poodle went out of our unit and into the hallway of the 39th floor. He was never found. I know we were remiss in having the door unlocked or even open but we are appealing to your kind heart to help us find our dog.

We have placed posters at the Iris Bldg., did door to door flyering at the building and have informed the security and asked for them to view the CCTV footage of the elevator. We feel that he might have entered it and went to another floor. We were informed that we do not have CCTV at the hallways yet as we are a new building. We have done everything and ended our search at midnight last night.

In fact, we have gone to social media and our call for help has been shared and reshared on Facebook. We are that desperate because Vader was family. We are all devastated.

You are our only hope to ask the security to take the matter seriously as we get mixed reports or they just say “makikita rin yan” or “nanakaw na yun”. We have not lost hope and will keep hoping that he is still within the compound.

I thank you in advance for even giving us the time to even read this email. I know this may be inconsequential for some but as my daughter said, Vader, our dog is family and we don’t give up on family.

Sincerely,

Zarah Hernaez- De Joya

I was sobbing for days. Vader our baby was truly our baby. He gave my family so much joy and love. He went with us almost everywhere and weekends were spent walking him at Bonifacio High Street. He had his own Twitter account: @sithpuppy and his own Instagram account. He was family and our hearts were broken.

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Vader Come Home

Some people may not understand how we had so much love for a dog, a pet, but this little guy made life so much brighter for our household.
He was stolen for sure. Who could have opened the door? How can a dog of 4 lbs. disappear at the top floor of a high rise condominium?
They say he was stolen because we never had him neutered and some dogs get stolen for breeding. We didn’t because we didn’t want to cause him any pain.

We kept searching for weeks. We even went to the pet markets – Cartimar, Tiendesitas, Arranque Market, ready to buy him back if we have to. He wasn’t there. We went through pet buy and sell sites hoping to see his picture. Friends and even celebrities posted our call for help.
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Heartfelt thanks to all those who helped us find him, Anne Curtis, Boyet Sison, Ellen Adarna and Ramon Bautista. Pet lovers all. People sent us leads but it wasn’t Vader. Every time someone sent us a message that they saw a lost dog or a black poodle, our hearts skipped a beat only to be crushed in disappointment and I would cry again. I cried and I still cry for my baby Vader, 6 months after he disappeared. The support was overwhelming. A man we didn’t know even painted his toe nails in solidarity with us and our search for Vader. This made us smile, God bless him.

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Black toe nails with paw prints.

We will never give up but we’ve come to accept that he might be in someone else’s home now. We just pray that they love our angel as much as we loved him. I can’t even call him a pet or dog, he was truly my baby. Vader was love.

A friend said one can never get over the loss. You just have to create space in your heart to love a new baby puppy.

Unplugging Your Family At Home

This is how we unplug at home. You can visit our couple and family adventures at HeSaysZeeSays.com

He Says, Zee Says

It’s quite difficult to unplug in this digital world. Our family is extremely active on social media and we consciously find time to drop gadgets and phones to just talk and spend time together. That is until someone brings out a gadget again. We have hobbies like drawing, reading and painting that keeps us away from these things but as a family unit it’s hard to find something in common. We’re not the type who likes board games (Mommy is a sore loser…haha) These are some of the activities we do together: 1) Read the same books and discuss – We all got hooked on the Percy Jackson series. 2) Plant – We live in a condo and it’s a challenge but my daughter and I love checking on our babies everyday.

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3) Drawing day – We spend time drawing with themes or just take time…

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Marriage: Always A Work In Progress

It has been quite a while since my last post. In fact, almost a year has passed. I left everyone hanging while in the middle of packing my former life to move on to the full fledged life of a newly married (again) woman. The move to the new place didn’t go to smoothly and I’m sure some of you have experienced some condo turnover blues. In fact, I think we have the entire People’s Republic of China on the floor right above us. We have learned to live in peace the past year.

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Chairs from Craftsmithliving

A new home requires new things and finding the right pieces (that we could afford) and trying to “marry” the home ideas of two individuals was a bit of a challenge. In fact, during my last move to Makati, the house was up, running and decorated in 4 days..all from scratch (See post on: Ngarag Central ) Of course, I had to be confined at the hospital for 4 days after that ordeal but my place eventually looked like this: The Impatient Patient’s Place . it was easy because I had full run of the house, budget and the entire hullaballoo. I want a floral rug, I get a floral rug! Now, I have to consult and remember that this is not a temporary abode but something more permanent, our home. Plus, I have to consult..and consult and sometimes that doesn’t really work out too well and to think my husband and I have pretty much the same taste. We just wanted furniture that made us happy like this table and set of wrought iron chairs from Craftsmith Living or have a TV rack and a wonderful Bomb chair made by LongLive Upcycled things.

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TV Rack from Long Live Upcycled things made from vintage windows and recycled wood
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Bomb Chair by Long Live Upcycled Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The past year also required a lot of purging and giving away of old things and furniture. You can only fit so much in 100 square meters. Seriously. Throw, clean, give away..haggle over what to keep and what not to keep, have cabinets done and just making sure there’s a semblance of order. We are far from done, actually. We just needed to pause for a bit to put up artworks of love. Our own works and ones collected through the years. Art at home make us happy.

We are literally still building up our home. Adjusting, purging, making sure everything is perfect and working like finely-tuned machinery. It has not been easy but building a home and marriage has never been easy. You just have to keep going and trying. It may take months, years, even a lifetime. When things get tough, we pause and do things that make us happy. There are some things that just cannot be resolved so, we create our own rules and practices that just make the family happy. Every home is different, every family is different.

Marriage a year and a half later, is still a work in progress.

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Banyo Art: A reminder to the toilet users at home
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Knowledge: Signage for our study (acrylic on canvas)
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Le Carnivale: A family portrait of my different, happy, funny family. Acrylic on Canvas 4′ x 6′
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Art adds so much colour to our home.

Cranky Piece Of Humanity

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All three descriptions = me

On an average, I wake up at least 7 times everyday before my alarm sets off. Thrice as the puppies wake me up at 3:30 a.m. and I let them out at 5, twice as my hubby’s alarms go off, once to wake up my daughter and another to send her off to school.. No wonder I’m a cranky piece of humanity.

I’m typing up this article at 5:30 a.m. like a perky morning person when I definitely am not. I don’t even try to be and set my alarm at 7:30 a.m. because I know I am not wired to be a rooster. I am an owl.

I wish I could sleep earlier but nope, that’s pretty impossible. I’m usually the last person asleep at around midnight or so.

This is quite an irritable dilemma. Has been for a while. I force myself to go back to sleep at 6:30 a.m. and end up over sleeping and still cranky – irritable, strange and working badly, even sick.

Right now, I’m wishing that Mother’s Day comes along (that’s practically a year from now) and I ask for a day off. A day all to myself with no bother, no noise, no people. Nothing.

We really should have annual VFLL’s – Vacation From Life Leaves.

I don’t know how long I can function this way, really. Maybe it’s a sign that I should be a morning person…God forbid.

Packing Emotional Bric-A-Brac

IMG_20140622_165108Here I was taking a break after an afternoon of packing what I call emotional bric-a-brac. In truth, I was packing books and tons of art supplies. I’m used to moving but packing will always be an emotional experience, especially this time around. IMG_20140622_165146

I love my place. I moved here as a single mom with my daughter with so much hope and dreams. We wanted it to be a little nutshell of art. I spent hours painting while she watched or drew beside me. I packed all the drawings I saw today. I don’t have the heart to throw out any of her cute doodles. Like me, she puts so much heart and soul into them.

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She does her thing, I do mine.
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It was just you, me and our fake poodle, kid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art was always something we both anchored on to cope. It made me cope with the rigors of a single momhood and it paid for some of our monthly needs. I love my place because I spent hours, days of just being lost in painting and writing. I was who I felt I was meant to be, and not just a working mom and now a wife. Those two roles have the habit of taking over one’s life and you really have to pull yourself back and say:

“That’s not me. I’m not just a working mom and wife.” In my head, those are just roles and not the end all and be all of my whole being.

As time goes by, you have to pull harder..or you get lost. I look at the empty canvasses and I know I was lost for a while. I had all sorts of reasons: too busy, have errands, no space, too sick, too tired, mom duties, wife duties, too lazy. Basically, everything under the sun.

I found myself again as I packed every memory filled painting, every single acrylic, brush, watercolors, invites to do exhibits and published articles.

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So much paint, so little time.
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Good Housekeeping, March 2010
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Paintings and empty canvasses.

I found myself as I stared at the empty canvasses strewn at the hallway. I cry and tell my husband “Don’t allow me to be just a mom and wife, okay? Don’t let me be just this. It makes me sad.”

I have to start all over again and this time around, I’m not alone. I’m packing with my daughter, husband, a poodle and a pomeranian puppy (our new baby). We’re moving to a better place full of love and art. More than this place will ever have.

We better get those creative juices going.

My Butt In a Rut

It’s been tough to write lately. Not because nothing has been happening but more of the fact that too many things have been happening. The past 3 months feel like the gods have been conspiring against me. They decided to draw lots and picked my name as to who they should torture the most.

I know that this will soon pass. Things would fall into place eventually and karma would hit the people who made me feel terrible big time. When I say big time, I mean have boils grow all over their body, have someone prick every single one and push them in the ocean until every single raw boil gets filled up with painful saline again. Yes, I was that annoyed for a while. That’s even a less painful route. I would have wanted a Game Of Thrones twist and have someone’s head explode into smithereens…and I’ll have a smug smile like Cersei Lannister.

Obviously, I have anger management issues. I do. So I told myself that I shall try to be productive instead of destructive

Since I can’t write coherently right now, I will just do a random list of articles people request me to write about or I want to write about:

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Make-up must be explained sometimes.

 

  • Make- up Tutorial for the Lazy Woman – Yes, I might do this and I know I promised some people that I would but I had a really bad allergy attack right on my face a couple of weeks ago. Contact dermatitis so bad that I wanted to walk around with a paper bag over my head. So doing a naked face on the net is not a very good idea..but then,it could go viral..let me think about this.
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This on my face. All over my face. Gawd.
  • Allergy Attack from Hades – I’m still battling what has brought me so much hell and torture the past 3 weeks. It’s right smack on my face and I’m not ready to show the pictures of what happened on my blog yet.I have the best dermatologist working on it but I’ll post when I’m healed and back to normal. The pictures you see on Instagram are examples of my bad ass make-up skills with industrial strength concealer. Everyday, I have to spend 30 minutes taking all this gunk off.

Don’t ask “Why not go out without make up? Isn’t it going to make it worse?”. Don’t even go there.

You know who they are. Image: theconversation.com
You know who they are. Image: theconversation.com
  • Workplace Bullies – I used to be a bully of the worst kind. Tiny girl with a big voice, words that hurt, chop and dice people and can roll her eyes like there was no tomorrow. I learned and grew up to be what I call a semblance of a better person. Unfortunately, not everyone grows up and there are tons of work place bullies out there. Sad part is that they just learned to be bullies at work..position and new found power does that. Sad..so tempting to crush like a beetle on the hot pavement. So easy to eliminate. Really. But I’m supposed to be a better person now. *sigh* I say better person because really, I can’t be a bigger person. I’m 5.2”. I hate workplace bullies especially if they bully people who matter to me.
One of her drawings under the "Nomnom" Collection aka us eating.
One of her drawings under the “Nomnom” Collection aka us eating.
  • Bea’s Art – I’ve posted several of my 10 year old daughter’s artworks and have had several requests to feature them and several order requests (She says she’s not ready to sell yet). I’ll post this on the next article. Hey, I’m a proud mom. Sue me.

Okay..those are some of the things I plan to write about as soon as I get out of this rut I am in. If you have more suggestions of things I should write about, just leave me a note. Maybe it will distract me and make me feel better.

Zee

 

My Heart Bleeds Over Heartbleed

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This Heartbleed bug is a hassle.

http://heartbleed.com/

I need to change all my passwords. You can’t be too safe, right? Half of our lives are on the internet. I need my privacy..says the girl who word vomits on her blog. I need to have safe passwords..says the girl whose Instagram and Twitter account are public. Well..I can at least try right? We try to be as responsible and safe as possible on social media but you’ll never know. What if someone hacks your account and God forbid posts an really bad OOTD and everyone thinks it’s you? Worse yet…an ugly selfie. Must, must change that account password.

The tricky thing about changing passwords is that you’ve probably changed it a gazillion times and have used up everything you can think of except for random numbers that you can’t remember the next time you time you log in and requires you to write it down somewhere…digitally (because we don’t use pen and paper nowadays, don’t we?) and we end up in the same crappola we started out with. Oh well. The trials and travails of the digital age.

Worse yet, I changed my passwords but what if the darn bug hasn’t hit my side of the world and when it does hit, I have to change all my passwords all over again?

Ugh.

If I start sounding sane or posting religious and inspirational quotes then my heart has started bleeding for sure…but then again, that could really be just me praying because my accounts have been hacked.

Zee