Friday, November 28, 2008

from WM to WAHM to SAHM

that's 'from Working Mom to Work At Home Mom to Stay At Home Mom' to the uninitiated public.

Whew! This past year has certainly been full of surprises! This blog alone, just one facet of my life, has been testament to the major changes that affected all aspects of my existence.

Today i was just supposed to write about the last of my weekend rantings but the more i thought about it, the more i realized it was more than just a mere rant. it's practically a transition from one mode of living to another. You see, in the same long week/weekend that my pc contracted its ongoing disease, my arm gave up on me and my last project almost never saw the light of day, our yaya since oona was born, up and quit.

A lot has happened to warrant her leaving us. Suffice to say that apart from the little things snowballing into big things, she was a great yaya to our little girl up until the day she left. She was conscientious about oona's welfare and well-being, kept oona clean, well-fed and healthy. When oona gets sick, she'd be diligent about medicine, keeping her nasal passages clear, applying hot or cold compresses, hydration and the other million or so things babies need that rf and i were clueless about. She knew how to take care of infants and kids, being the mother of a sickly child herself. She had a lot of good suggestions and insights gleaned from a lifetime of experience being a yaya. We were lucky to have her for as long as we did. However, being human, she was not perfect and neither were we. And there lies the rub, as they say.

To make a long story short, respecting boundaries became an issue in the family. She's become too familiar with us that she increasingly forgot we were her employers. Us, for that matter, found it increasingly difficult to gently deal with her as her attitude was really an indelible part of her. it wasn't that she was evil, it was just that thing when character traits rub people off the wrong way. since we've had her long, she's let her guard down more so she's more kampante. di na pumopormal, like my mother would say. Treating her as part of the family worked only to a certain extent (ensured her dedication to caring for oona), since her behavior towards us frequently crossed the line.

Don't get me wrong, she's really a good person. Strong, knowledgable, caring and would fight for oona to the max should something threaten oona. but i share most of the blame. i should have been more firm with her, more employer-like and less friendly. well, less friendly doesn't mean less kind anyway. it was also my fault for not putting her more firmly in her place whenever she'd cross the line. she comes on too strong kasi, and her opinionated views are more often than not inflicted on everybody non-stop. it's a challenge keeping up in volume and in content when she starts talking. and lately, she forgets that she's talking to her elders and her employers, treating orders as suggestions, pretending she doesn't hear or conveniently forgetting what we say. she would go for her own preferences rather than ours and basically make choices for us.

we did talk to her a bit about these things when it wasn't as bad as it got recently. she reasons well, so sometimes it boils down to a he-said-she-said thing that would just blow things out of proportion if pursued. you know those types of conflicts? when democracy isn't the answer? well, i learned it too late: too much latitude is too much latitude. while it is true that we had our failing as employers, it shouldn't be my burden to try to please her constantly either. i guess i was also afraid that should i show any displeaure, she might vent her ire on my poor little girl. anyhoo, she left only after she herself felt that things were not working out between us all and it was time to go. she said her goodbyes, packed her bags and tried not to cry when oona threw her a flying kiss.

of course, our little girl was terribly upset over the abrupt change. we knew it was something she couldn't name or understand, all she knew was something wasn't right in her ordered world. for a week, her separation anxiety manifested itself in temper tantrums and crying spells. she would be visibly upset if someone said goodbye or anyone left her line of sight. She seemed pretty determined never to be a victim of a broken heart again. I don't blame her, yaya lavished her with much affection and care. The way she cried and clung to us kinda freaked us out so much, rf, me and mamang (rf's mom who lives with us), that we each did our own tradition of warding off usog, loosely translated as unwanted vibes. You know, just to be on the safe side. More than that, we kept oona occupied and comforted whenever she'd feel bad. We took her everywhere we went, including her in all our activities, no matter how mundane. She kept her dad company while he got ready for work, toddled around after me while i did housework (getting in my laundry, 'helping' me clean house using her bib, etc.) and accompanied her grandma on her walks around our condo building.

So far oona's adjusting pretty well now. She's established a new routine, with us filling the void her yaya left. Soon, she'll forget to miss her. It's sad, yes, but these things happen.

As for the rest of the household, we're more relaxed. There's little to no tension among us three. We didn't even realize just how uneasy we've become with each other until she left. All the more that i felt it was really time for this change. You know what they say about people coming into your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime, right? Well, yaya was for a season and it was time to let her go and march on without her. Mamang and my mom for one, are happier since they both think she was fast becoming un-disciplineable. No one was going to talk back or give us, especially mamang, lip.

For rf and me, we decided that we weren't going to have another yaya again. Maybe a maid if i get pregnant with kid 2, but definitely not a yaya. We're doing the raising ourselves since we've proven during these past weeks that we could do it and we spent very little time worrying about oona than when we weren't the ones watching over her. I personally feel more like a mother being hands-on like i am now.

Speaking about personal feelings, i told rf that i felt i was really okay making the transition to being full-time with oona. Not that i'm only a mom when i'm with oona, but since the universe was pointing me in this direction, it was definitely time to give up working at home. Sure i could still do rakets, but it must be workable around the times when oona's asleep or she doesn't need me around. I can't do jobs that require me to ignore everything else just to reach a deadline so animation and video editing's out. At least i'm left with writing and a little graphics (when i find the time to get my poor pc fixed), so i won't really starve for creative expression.

Grabe, from assistant studio director of an art studio to full-service freelance graphic artist to my sole lifelong career as mommy to oona, my world got increasingly smaller and my task proportionally all that much harder. But like i told my friends, i'm exponentially happier and satisfied with my life.

I can't ask for anything more than this peace i am so definitely rockin' now!

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the weekend woe continues...

It started in the middle of the week when i was cramming to wrap up my latest project. It was just a sore spot on my upper back, near my shoulder blade that i normally attribute to the casualties of working for extended periods of time as a graphic artist. So naturally, i ignored it.

Over the steady course of long hours and little to no sleep for the next three days, the sore spot became an ache even my personal masseur (the hubby) couldn't eliminate with talented fingers and patented moves. From the ache, it spread to my entire upper back and began to creep down my right arm until the stiffness felt like it would tear my muscles apart if i so much as took a breath.

I bore the worsening pain, psyching myself that i would visit my hilot right after the project was shipped out. I didn't want to break stride and lose momentum. But after one lunch break, as i sat down to continue the headlong rush to the deadline, i found out i couldn't even move my fingers and breathe at the same time without feeling like i would pee in my pants with the exquisite pain. Stars exploded in my eyeballs and my arm and back were filled with broken glass grinding into raw muscles and bones.

I had to face it. My spirit is willing but my body is a cantankerous old lady in orthopedic shoes beating the spirit part into submission with a geriatric cane. And an incredible choke hold. I had to tap out before i passed out on the proverbial mat! Old lady wins the title round!

I managed to get dressed minus the usual help from my right arm and i all but ran straight to my hilot. Riding a jeep to the spa where nanay hesusa works was pure agony as the driver made it a point to run into every pothole and speed bump with as much speed as possible. I kept myself going one step at a time and was infinitely relieved to find that she had an hour or so to kill before her next appointment.

I took a shower from their hi-tech sosyal shower stall with all them buttons and nozzles. Of course i make it a point to be clean before a massage. I wouldn't want nanay hesusa's palms to glide away and come off with my libag! To help the healing process, i turned the heater to as hot as i could take it without possible 3rd degree burns. Concentrating the jet of hot water onto my tired back muscles eased the pain and relaxed me no end.

After that shower, nanay hesusa began to work on my back. She's been taking care of me six months after i gave birth so she's already familiar with the territory. When she got to my throbbing pain however, she declared it a pinched nerve. She scolded me for taking too long before i paid attention and proceeded to kill me with her healing hands.

As i lay there, being tortured to be cured, she explained to me that i overworked the arm. Not giving it a rest (coupled with my poor posture and unhealthy work habits) squeezed and pulled the nerve trapped between stiff muscles and the moving bone of my shoulder blade. It irritated the sore nerve to be the angry mess i was putting up with.

She alternated between relieving the stress and soreness of the affected area and the rest of my old lady body.
She had to work on the spot at intervals, stopping when i couldn't stand the pain anymore. Believe me, i have a high threshold for it, i had a normal delivery.

I know the wisdom of it would be doubtful to most. She could have damaged my back permanently, right? But prior to her stint at the spa, she was a real hilot and kumadrona of the old school in her hometown in negros. Yes, the kind who helps you give birth, sets broken bones, massages away fevers, pains and all sorts of body ailments. A real barrio 'doctor' with inborn and inherited skills. It's not easy to find one nowadays and there are a lot of fakes, but she's the real deal. I was amazed the first time i came to her with my sciatica. She knew what she was doing and when i interviewed her about what i was going through, her diagnosis was as concise and precise as the medical report i read about my pains. She attributes this to life experience, common sense and a familiarity with the human body and its conditions, such as we who are dependent on medicines and quick remedies of a modern age are sadly far removed from.

After the massage, the pain was still there. Nope, it didn't miraculously disappear because as nanay hesusa said, it's been too long there. But she assured me that it's on its way to healing as the surrounding muscles have been relaxed and unknotted. She prescribed lots of rest, a hot compress and a pain reliever ('put two salonpas,drink an alaxan and keep off it til morning').

I couldn't help but laugh, my old school barrio doctor doesn't mind combining her traditional healing methods with science. Very progressive for a 65 year old hilot!

The swelling did go down and was gone the next day. Now it's as good as new. I haven't abused it since then as the project's been passed on but i'm lifting oona nowadays and she's an easy 10 kilos. So, i'm more careful about using this arm as i wouldn't want to drop my little girl or go through that agony again!

Next yaya blues!
Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Sunday, November 23, 2008

christmas countdown!

a few more days and the christmas season is officially here! sooo...a break from my scroogy posts: i'm thinking of getting me, rf and oona in a christmas theme photo.

i know it sounds corny and i would definitely have cringed at the thought two years ago. but now, i really think oona would look sooooo CUTE in a little santa claus hat or maybe even the entire outfit! i didn't get to put her in a creche or a little baby angel costume last christmas because i was just so blaaah from giving birth, settling us down and all... but maybe this year, we could throw ourselves into the spirit of the holidays for the kid's sake (future blackmail photos!). i already surfed and found lots of Santa suits from that we can choose from (hehehe!). yes, santa suits for us three! okay, so maybe rf would probably die first before wearing the beard but maybe i could get him to wear the outfit at least!

well, digging around the site unearthed lots more christmas inspired costumes and a treasure trove of other stuff! it was easy to move around the site so i was able to quickly pick out a few things i liked before i get back to mommying (no nanny yet, not that oona's a pain. she's such an angel!) and/or before the computer hangs up on me again (cos it's still wonky and all...ugh, scrooging later on!)

anyhoo, i would absolutely LOVE these for oona! they're so adorable! if i'd seen these last year, i would have been a little bit more inspired to celebrate the holidays with more pizzaz.

this for rf :D (okay so maybe it's old hat but it's better than dressing him up as an elf in tights and a bobble hat!) he could even wear this on christmas day while giving presents for oona's benefit, to build up the christmas story!!! (although rf's definitely going to need a pillow to build up that jelly belly there.)

and these are for ME! rawr. i definitely should celebrate the holidays more, if only as an excuse to shop-fantasize! these are most definitely going to get worn more days than there are in the christmas season.

heehee! okay, so it's stretching my imagination a bit but hey, it's christmas! what's an airbrushed christmas photo-op between family and friends, eh? :D

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Trojan.AgentMB.JIXQ513316 aka FUvirus.exe

reposted and expanded from a yahoo! answers post earlier:

apparently this a new virus and the infection is spreading. there are more of us out there and we are all frustrated by the lack of information and panicked by the havoc it's creating. since i got hit a couple of days ago, i'm still searching for a cure to put an end to this madness, while burning my uninfected files to dvd in case there is no hope left. thank god for security task manager that's enabled me to at least keep my computer from totally dying while i save my files. if i had the money, i'd buy the thing to keep me sane beyond the 30-day trial period.

anyway, some things that might be find useful for others out there while the computer doctors race for a cure to this disease. my band-aid solution while waiting for major surgery.

1. first up, the virus is called Trojan.AgentMB.JIXQ513316. it's also called the FUvirus.exe (Welcome to Fu Virus!)

2. it's lodges in the system32 folder and it is programmed to stay hidden. it pretends to be a legitimate process so other antiviruses cannot/have difficulty sensing it.

3.deleting it and putting it in the trash bin won't work as it will tell you it's a running process..i only found out where it was when i downloaded the trial version of security task manager. it helped stem the havoc it was creating as this program was able to detect hidden processes and gave me the option to quarantine it. i would suggest you download it here. security task manager will show you the FUvirus process running, and let you quarantine it when it pops up. should you delete the process from quarantine, be warned that it will stem the tide but not totally eradicate it as it will have infected other drives or folders as it happened to me. do not panic if you can't find files....go on to the next item.

4. it impersonates all the folders it can get its hands on, attaches a .exe to make them into application folders. don't be fooled!!! your files are still there, the virus just hides them as system files so you can't see them if your folder options hides these kinds of folders. just go to folder options and uncheck the hide system folders option. your files will then be visible as semi-transparent system folders.

5. then i suggest you install bitdefender as it was the one that identified it as Trojan.AgentMB.JIXQ513316. bitdefender recognizes this virus and blocks it no matter what signature/path or name it uses while letting you access all your files, even ones whose folders are still infected.

6. this jumps from port to port via USB so don't use any for the moment. burning files to dvd works. just don't burn the .exe sure you are NOT burning the files that have .exe's where there aren't supposed to be.

as of now, i posted this in the bitdefender forum and am just waiting for a reply. i will post as soon as i get the right cure :) hang in there, everyone.


another way is for a system restore to an earlier date, as AJ said. but i haven't tried it yet. still burning my files as of now, just in case something goes wrong and all my files get blipped out of existence.


don't use your infected usb or let anyone else use it. when you're able to find a cure, clean your pc first then attach your USB to be cleaned.


or reformat. but don't use your infected usb because it will reinfect your comptuer.

:) whew! hope this helps. goodluck to us!

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

the weekend odyssey

i had a doozie of a weekend to cap the peach of a week, to say the least. For starters, the project i was working on barely made it to its preview because just when i was exporting it, a particularly nastehhh virus chose that time of all times, to make an appearance. From the usb flash drive of my unsuspecting client, who can only speculate where it came from, it jumped to my poor pc. It embedded itself in the windows system32 folder, making it a part of my platform, i think that's what it's called, and autolaunching on start up. It converted all my folders into application folders with a .exe added to the folder names, replicating itself through all my directories and drives. (not to mention replacing my sleek windows xp folder icons with ugly, tacky folder graphics from computer stone age!)

The virus slowed down my processors by as much as 50% then i couldn't access my admin panel at all. At first i thought it was the newfolder.exe virus but apparently this one is called the, virus. I don't know what the 'fu' means either but i think it means 'f*ck up'. I so hate viruses and their programmers. You may be geniuses but you suck! Why don't you guys do something useful for a change, like an idiot cure you could use on yourselves?!

Since my free norton anti-virus had already expired, i figured that's how this got through. I was able to download avg 8 but installing it became another nightmare. It kept telling me i had other anti-virus programs running while i already uninstalled everything, even going so far as to tweak and clean the registry entries in regedit with a registry cleaning program. Then, it would show me an installation error. Various messageboards identified the error as a permissions issue so i 'permitted' and 'allowed' everything i possibly could. But still, no go. I wanted to forego reformatting until i've exhausted all possible solutions (or i scream bloody murder).

There doesn't seem to be specific entries about this sort on google. It seems to be impossible that i could be the first hit this bad. I tried norton, mcaffee, fuvirus in their virus directories!

As of now, i have bitdefender on, but i also have secure task manager running to block the virus. It's helped a tiny bit, this band-aid solution while i look for a cure. At the very least, it's shown me where the pest nested originally (the system32 folder) and a few telling characteristics (autolaunching, poses as a legit program and is hidden/can therefore escape detection by most anti-viruses).
Courtesy of the trial task manager guard, the virus announced its presence with a cheeky 'welcome to fuvirus!' message! Oooh the b@strd! Me want to smash! GRRAAA!

So much for my pc. And the moral of the story is a bad safe sex analogy, as i'm sure you can guess. Always use protection and don't 'consort' with strangers.

But wait! There's more! That's just the first of my long weekend woes. Stay tuned for more as my thumbs are going numb from posting via my cel. It's not easy even with autospell on.

I so HATE viruses. *kick*

(Anybody who knows what to do short of reformatting the entire thing, please feel free to put me out of my misery!

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Friday, November 7, 2008

SURFACING FOR AIR: Mommyluscious Works At Home

It's been awhile since my last post and like a drug, I've had my withdrawals. But I'm glad to be able to at least take a bit of time to slowly get back into the loop.

I've been working extensively for the past few weeks. Just at home but it doesn't make it any less hard nor does it eat less time. The project I got entailed working on graphics and animation whose complications I sorely underestimated. Plus the fact that I haven't done this much in years. And my equipment lacks the necessary plug-ins to respond as quickly as it should have. AND the schedule and requirements for me to do my job with as little to no problems at all was sadly thrown out of kilter by inconsiderate people.

Of course I shouldn't rant so much given that the production has its inherent problems but professionalism dictates that THAT shouldn't be my problem. I have a schedule, a list of requirements and a deadline. If problems should arise, there should be adjustments and compromises to ensure everyone's happy. It shouldn't be that I'm the peon and I should bend over backward to keep accommodating irresponsible people until my back breaks. And it's damn near broken.

Clients should treat service providers better than they do. The mentality of "the client is always right" really sucks because most people abuse that for all its worth. Being reasonable is always subjective but common human decency shouldn't be pushed aside. Problem is, with this kind of mentality, the abuse couples with "taking as much as I can get because I'm the client and I'm always right." So enter delays, irascible demands and immovable, uncooperative deadlines. Then when you don't deliver, you're told you're unprofessional, the cause of delay and they claim it's only right they don't pay you for your troubles. Or cut your fee. Whateverrrrrr!

This made me seriously reconsider if I should really just quit while I was still sane. After all, I did sign up for SAHM-hood and I don't really like missing Oona's milestones while I'm stuck in front of the computer. On the other hand, finances being seriously tight, I keep grappling with the guilt and restlessness of a former contributor to the family funds.

Was I being merely selfish? Or lazy? Or was I being the one unreasonable? After all, work is work, isn't it?

I seriously didn't know I would be thinking about all this when I decided to accept being a SAHM. I also thought there was little difference between a Stay At Home Mother and a Work at Home Mother so I thought the cross-over would be easy. Yeah, NOW I know!

Schedules and routines are much tighter at home, especially since your own movements are structured around the little girl's timetable. She's the ultimate boss. Not me, not RF, not anybody. It's not that she's bossy, demanding or being a brat, but it really is how it goes down with a baby.

When I said I'll take on jobs I can do at home, I thought I considered it enough. Apparently it needs more thought. As my esrtwhile hubby said, working at home isn't a problem nor are my skills. Talent, honed by skill can be polished to full function given a little time so I shouldn't worry about having lost my edge due to inactivity and younger hotshots out there. What I should focus on would be professionalizing my services and sticking to my guns. He says since my time is in the little girl's hands, I can't give it away to people, things and concerns that are infinitely less meaningful than our Major Project: Oona.

I'm glad I married a very supportive and understanding man. When I'm going neurotic and wringing my hands like the worry wart I always become, he'd always try to make me laugh first then think second. Sometimes (okay, most of the time) it pisses me off because my neurosis makes me feel like he's trivializing my concerns then telling me what to do. Later on though, but grudgingly, I'd have to admit he's right on the money.

The world won't change overnight, least of all for me, but what I can do is make sure I'm not forced to sacrifice the things I quit the fast lane for: my ethics, my love for all things art and most importantly, my little growing family. It may sound demanding to others out there that I won't bend my rules, after all, I'm one of the little people and they hold the moolah. I'm merely prioritizing my life. They're not the one raising my little girl and they won't even remember who the heck I am in a month or even less. But my Oona and my RF would feel the vacuum Mom's absence or lack of time for them would create. I don't want to reason later on that I'm doing this for Oona's own good. While it stands to reason, it doesn't comfort me to make that compromise. I'd rather compromise on the side of my family, my core principle.

I decided to be a mother and wife first before committing to being an artist and business person second. So I should stick to it. No exceptions.

So watch out world, this mom's back in business with a vengeance! But always on time for the little girl's play time, feeding time, bath time, sleepy time...

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker