Sunday, September 30, 2007

It Pays to Ask

I had offered to treat my two daughters and their Johns (Ching and my son-in-law, John Valdezco and Kathy and her boyfriend, John Grimme) to a trip to Batanes, which my husband seconded. (A third daughter is starting work in Canada and cannot join us).

Kathy had booked the six of us (herself, myself and Ching and our 3 Johns) on Asian Spirit to go to Batanes in December. She told me that I would have to go to the Asian Spirit office myself if I wanted to take advantage of the 20% senior citizen’s discount, so I did. Kathy told me that she had asked about the airlines promo fares, and that the prices quoted us were the lowest.

When I approached the counter, I asked if they had loyalty or frequent flyer programs. She said no, but they had the “VIP” deal. What’s the VIP deal? She said that if I bought 5 tickets, the 6th was free, but that I had to choose between that or getting the senior citizen’s discount. Hmmm… should I go for the 20% discount on my ticket alone (I’m the only senior citizen in our group of six) or the 100% discount, if I counted myself as the 6th passenger? Did she have to ask? I saved more than P13, 000!

P.S. When Kathy called the airline, she asked for the frequency of flights, and the sales person answered, “We fly daily on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.” When asked to compute the fares, he asked Kathy, “May I hold you for a moment?” and she answered, “I don’t think so. My boyfriend would not like that.”

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Daughter's Independence

Do you sometimes feel that you know the exact moment when a milestone happens in your life? In 1981, on the first day that my eldest daughter entered a big school, I knew it was the beginning of the process of letting her go.

My eldest daughter was 4-1/2 years old when she entered St. Scholastica’s College as a prep student. She looked great in her blue and white uniform, carried her own school bag and lunch box without help from me, ready to face the challenges of grade school.

I joined the 40 or so parents (mostly mothers, some fathers) and nannies who were watching the class from outside the window of our children’s classroom, each of us just watching our own daughter or ward. Every now and then, the teacher would come out and ask us to please leave the children and wait at the designated waiting areas – which were far from the classroom.

It was like a dance, and we were moving to and fro. When the teacher got busy attending to the children – some of whom were crying and some did not want to be left in the classroom, we parents would inch our way to the windows, some even crowding at the doors. Then the teacher would shoo us away, and we would move away. At least, for a little while. Then one parent would dare move closer, positioning herself where the teacher would not see or notice her. If she succeeded, another parent would follow suit, and another. Then, the teacher would come out and talk to the parents, pleading with them to let the children settle down in class. At first, she would be reassuring, but later everyone could see that she was getting annoyed.

I was one of those parents tiptoeing back and forth until my daughter marched out of the room, and said to me in a reprimanding tone – “My teacher said you should wait there.” – pointing to a place several meters from her classroom. I think that was the first time that I felt my four-year old daughter was actually scolding ME, her mother.

It was at that precise moment that I knew that someday soon, she would no longer be mama’s little girl. My little daughter was ready for the big, wide world, and I knew I had to prepare myself to let her go. It was the day I learned to say goodbye. The day I knew she would succeed in life. I was a proud mother that day. I still am.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Preventing Alzheimer's

I have learned that one way to delay memory loss is by doing mental games – crossword puzzles, Sudoku (the numbers game), or even playing chess. I was prepared to do that and had bought a chess set when my husband and I attended a seminar on Corel Painter – a software that allows one to convert photographs into what look like watercolor, pastel or oil paintings.

Except for MS Office and a little bit of IPhoto, I have stayed away from computer software, especially graphic applications, because my poor brain cannot tackle the complicated steps. So maybe, learning Painter is the right challenge for me.

Also, I need to decorate my house with paintings and since I run a photo studio, and my husband and daughter are both photographers, I did not think I would be right in buying and displaying real oil paintings or watercolor drawings. I wanted pictures with more personal connections to us. But to display photographs – especially since we are in advertising - would be like turning my home into a studio, and that is something I would not like to do. Looks like converting their images into photographic paintings would do the trick.

Today, I will try Corel Draw’s Painter. It looks like I have found a way to decorate my home as well as to exercise my brain to stave off or prevent Alzheimer’s.