working on gifting warmth

Learning how to crochet began with wanting to make little items for our little apartment. Dishcloths. Coasters. Hotpads. Swiffer covers. Just small items that we could reuse. I ended up making two hot pads using two $3 balls of cotton yarn instead of spending over $15 for oven mitts. We’ve stopped buying disposable sponges and swiffer pads, and just cycle through crocheted cotton dishcloths and rags in the washer. Honestly, the goal was just to practice my crochet stitches, so these small projects were perfect. Being able to minimize waste (if we actually were, really) was a bonus.

With Christmas coming up, and from finding beautiful yarn on the internet, I decided to take on bigger projects for presents. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with wearables like sweaters or cardigans – maybe next year. So shawls, scarves and blankets became the plan that began in late August.

I ordered cakes of gorgeous yarn for my birthday. Yes, cakes! Massive rolls are actually called cakes – just the perfect gift! For me and for my family… eventually.

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by the blood of the gods!

For a few weeks, I have occasionally witnessed my boyfriend’s journey through the game Hades. It was interesting to see how this game reimagined Greek gods and goddesses and how they were integrated to a game. While I crocheted, working on a scarf I was making for my mom, I would blurt out random useless Greek mythology trivia at him. Trivia that I started learning as early as second grade because I learned of the origins of my own name.

Coupled with a bias towards Disney’s Hercules, my obsession with mythology began. After exhausting the well-known Greek myths, I tried learning about the Roman myths. After all, Aurora was my Greek goddess’ Roman equivalent, and Aurora was also the name of Disney’ Sleeping Beauty. Useless info for someone who isn’t me, sure, but 8-year-old me thought that connection was cool as hell.

But I got bored of the Roman stories and gods. The Greek gods were like Marvel and the Romans were DC. *shrug*

Anyway, back to the show. Hades (the game) put me on a Greek myth mood and Netflix released Blood of Zeus just in time. (spoilers ahead, btw)

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the (side) hustle

There have been a few people I’ve met who promote having a side hustle while also having a 9-5. Whether that side hustle is some MLM or a legitimate hustle where they sell something they’ve made, doesn’t make it any less of a hustle.

A real good baker I know makes beautiful sweets and cakes on the side for birthdays and weddings. She makes fancy fondant cakes for money every now and then. An old coworker has some sports fashion line going. They charge a reasonable price for their products. Those who are in “direct sales” though… well, they’re a whole other thing. Respect for the people doing the hustle, but it sucks that they prey on vulnerable people (and sometimes even desperate people who are struggling) to make profits. Whatever. MLMs, look them up. There are a list of all of them somewhere on the internet if you’re curious.

But – my question is – why supplement your income with a side hustle? Why can’t we just get paid a liveable wage. For four years, I was serving burgers and fries in the McMillions. Then I was getting paid below-minimum server wage, depending on tips that range between 0% to 25% depending on the guest. I left the food service life after getting my first office job, which I was super thankful for because it was a permanent job with employer-paid benefits and vacation. Yeah, I was able get my dental expenses covered and I was able to finally remove my problematic wisdom teeth for an affordable fee, but soon after, I realized that it still wasn’t enough to survive on.

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shame on you, smart person!

There’s been something weighing on me for the past few weeks since I spoke with an old friend. It’s something I couldn’t pinpoint right away and I didn’t even know it had a name until she said it.

Smart shaming.

It has always bugged me as a part of the culture I came from. I grew up with examples of it around me. As children, we were taught the importance of intelligence. That’s how you’ll get in the best schools. That’s how you’ll get in the best programs. That’s how you’ll get a scholarship. You’ve got to study and work hard – that’s how you’ll get ahead.

There’s a list of schools… almost like the Ivy League in the Philippines. There’s the top three or four universities, and there is a prestige if you get in.

But the moment you mention you’re a part of any of these top universities, you get some side-eye. “Galing mo naman, iskolar ng bayan.” “Ikaw na, taga-UP.” “Aba, ang talino mo naman.” These statements are literal compliments, but it is 99% always said in the same sarcastic tone I’ve heard.

We’ve been told to strive for great things, but once we hit the standard, once we “make it”, we’re shamed for getting there.

It’s not only restricted to education though. I’ve seen and heard people being mocked for beautiful artwork. “Naks, ikaw na ang painter!” In speaking a foreign language. “Nosebleed ka naman, pa-English-English ka pa.” Hell, even being mocked for their looks. “Siya na ang maganda!”

So we put our heads down. So we don’t tell anyone unless asked, and if we are, we say it in the softest voice possible so that no one thinks we’re bragging. Why isn’t it normal to celebrate our wins without someone else feeling offended?

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hooked on a new hobby.

After a couple of months into the whole self-isolation / quarantine / social distancing reality, I decided to try and pick up a new hobby that could potentially benefit more than myself. Out of almost an impulse – perhaps a quick Google search one evening – I’ve decided crochet will be the new thing.

I bought a couple balls of cheap yarn and a set of hooks from Michaels, and tried to follow some videos. Practiced for a few hours a night to get my tension and my movement right, learned a few basic stitches, and made it a goal to create some small things for the home to save on some money.

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WFH and cabin fever.

It has been almost nine months since I last attempted to make something on this site. Three seasons have gone. A lot has happened, but also feels like nothing has happened.

The obvious changes because of the pandemic has been ever present in my life. Since March, I have been working within the four walls of my home. I’ve been into the office maybe two or three times in the past six months just to pick up stuff that I needed for working in my little home workspace.

Going back, I felt nostalgic of a life that felt long ago. The building was quiet and almost empty apart from security quietly patrolling the lobby. There were signs of wearing masks and keeping away from others at a safe distance. I didn’t have to wait for an elevator. My office was empty.

When we were told we’re moving to WFH, we were told to bring home items we need from the office. Some desks were missing one monitor, others had both gone. Few keyboards, someone also took their mouse home. It was like the office was robbed.

Last March, I was thinking I’d only work from home for a few weeks, maybe a month tops. I left some things I know I will need when I get back – like my favourite mug. Coffee just hits different when it’s in my work mug.

After two months of WFH, I began to realize that all the craze about WFH before 2020 was not all we thought it was. Yes, I only have to wear “work clothes” that are visible on camera and I have been rotating through my sweatpants and yoga pants. Yes, I haven’t spent money on lunches since I eat leftovers for lunch and it’s conveniently a few steps away from my desk. Although I get an extra hour of sleep and still make it to work on time, there’s one big thing I forgot to take into account:

The stress followed me home and it hasn’t left since.

The days of leaving work and decompressing on the trip home were gone. Or even de-stressing over a drink with a coworker after a rough day isn’t really the same. Same thing with hitting the gym after a hard day’s work. Gone.

I couldn’t really do any of those anymore. I just quietly turn my laptop off when work is “done”. Sometimes it’s at 5, sometimes at 5:30, sometimes 6:30. Then I would need an extra hour or so to just get out of that “work mindset” or rub off that “busy with work” feeling.

Some days, this is how I feel:

Continue reading “WFH and cabin fever.”

#32

One day, you’ll get that message you’ve been waiting for. One day you’ll see your phone light up with their name, followed by the words “I’m sorry”. One day you’ll get that phone call and you’ll hear their voice on the other end of the line. One day you’ll open your door, and see them waiting outside for you.

And one day, none of these things would matter. You’ll get that declaration of love, that apology, that gesture you’ve been hoping and praying for… and none of it would move you like you once thought it would.

Perhaps this is what happens when you’ve waited long enough – too long – for someone to finally show up.