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Thank you for your visits, the flowers, mass cards, your messages, your kind words, your hugs …

There are no words to express our gratitude.

Thank you to our friends, relatives, former classmates, and officemates who were all there to comfort us in our time of grief, to the class of 83 who shared stories of his stint in college, to his beloved 4B classmates whose antics Jim would gleefully share with me, his former bandmates, the PhilMusic community, the musicians, the neighbors he grew up with, Hackathon peeps, online friends (BBS, soc.culture, FB, Twitter), even those who have never met him personally but took the time to pay us a visit.

Most of all, thank you Jim Ayson. Your death has finally sunk in and is giving me the biggest heart ache.

Babe, I whispered words of strength on your deathbed. But if I have to be honest, as of this moment, I have no idea how I could do it.

But I will. I will do my best. And I promise to do everything in my power to give Gabby a good life.

I will love you forever.

My Breast Pump Story

An entire shelf in our condo is dedicated to Medela. I practically got its entire line: the Pump In Style Advanced, all the flange sizes, extra membranes and tubings, sets of bottles (in all sizes), micro-steam bags, accessory wipes, softfeeder, Calma bottles … You name it, I probably got it.

Yes, I got sucked in Medela’s monstrous marketing and distribution machinery.

But I hated it.

Medela made me hate pumping. It was so painful, it took so long to get a letdown, and it couldn’t remove any of my clogged ducts.

But I was afraid to try anything else. After all, it’s Medela — the giantess in the breast pump industry.

However, a few weeks ago, there were two incidents which just made me want give up all the money I invested in Medela and try something else:

  1. I had my nth clogged duct which, again, I couldn’t seem to pump out using my Medela PISA; and
  2. My supply started dropping considerably

I started to panic. I went back to my breastfeeding supplements and ate more oatmeal than ever. I replaced all my pump parts, tested the results in another PISA that a friend lent me, cleaned the tubings, and used all the flange sizes available on the market.

Nothing worked.

It was time to change my pump.

I started researching on the other brands available — Lansinoh, Ameda, etc. And then I vaguely remembered a friend telling me that she knew someone who had a good output using an unknown brand called the Spectra. This was information I scoffed at at that time, but I have to admit I became intrigued later on.

After reading hundreds of reviews on the Spectra, I knew I had to try it. But where to buy? I had two choices — Amazon (where it was P5,000 cheaper), or a local supplier. I rarely buy from local suppliers since I subscribe to a reliable and inexpensive forwarding service. But this time, it’s different. The pump is practically my life. I needed to talk to someone, to help me, to convince me that this is the right pump for me.

I called the local supplier to ask for more information, and I was relieved. The girl I talked to was so helpful and so kind. It’s as if she could hear the desperation in my voice. She gently urged me to pass by their office in Tektite in order to try out the different pumps they have available.

The very next day, I went to their office (with a very lovely and quaint interior, by the way). I was immediately escorted to a private room where I was able to try out the pump I had in mind — the Spectra S1. As soon as I tried it, I was sold.

To make the long story short, I am now a proud owner of the Spectra S1. And I love it.

And that’s my breastpump story.

So far, so good. Finally.

(I will be posting a separate review of the Spectra S1 soon. It’s probably not the first pump that working moms would initially consider, but I promise that if I get my hands on the more portable Spectra 9 Plus Advanced, I would also post a review.)

Seriously, INC.

All things considered, bilib ako sa pagkakaisa ng Inglesia ni Cristo. Bilib din ako sa sense of organization nila. It’s no small feat to congregate that much people.

If only they don’t think the planet revolves around them. If only they are fighting for a cause I believe in.

However, as someone who doesn’t have a lot of the knowledge on the issue, I can only conclude they are congregating to hide the illegal acts of their leaders. Kung wala namang kailangan itago, wala dapat i-alma.

Tomorrow is a workday for the remaining hundreds of thousands of people. A huge number of which can’t afford to be absent. Hindi madaling mag trabaho. Hindi madaling madagdagan ang oras sa trapik. Pagod na pagod na kami. What the hell were you guys thinking?

And we’re now on Yaya #3

In 7 months, we’ve gone thru 3 yayas. Didn’t expect to go thru so many in such a short time. Apparently, they don’t last as long as they used to.

Although I still can’t claim to be an expert on yayas (hardly!), I’ve learned a few things:

  • Yayas don’t really care much about the Kasambahay Law.
  • Contrary to popular belief, they don’t like taking a lot of day offs. “Magastos eh,” they say.
  • Some of them (not all) will take advantage of your first sign of weakness. If you unhesitatingly give in to something, they will ask for more. Sad, but true.
  • They usually have a “fair market price.” Pasig (bayan) rate for yayas is around 3,500. In BGC and Makati, it’s 6,500. 
  • If you don’t pay the market rate, other households in your area can easily poach your Yaya.
  • Yayas refer each other to other households. That’s usually how they get poached. If you think your Yaya doesn’t have friends in your area, you’re wrong. They will definitely get to know other yayas and communicate with them via text.
  • They also look for boyfriends thru text. Hehe.
  • Some agencies are scams. They make money out of finders fee. After the contract term is over, they connive with the Yaya to leave so that you will go back to the agency to find another Yaya (and pay the finders fee once again)
  • Established agencies usually have yayas who have been working in Metro Manila for a long time. That is a good and bad thing.
  • Yayas who have been working for a few years in Metro Manila seem to have more tendencies of jumping from one employer so another.

What’s your experience with yayas? Lemme know.

Mayaman ka naman eh

We stopped at a traffic light along Kalayaan Ave. A young boy ran towards our car with his palm stretched upwards, asking for alms. We tapped lightly at our window, the signal for “no alms.”

The boy sneered, kicked the door, and mockingly licked our side mirrors. He did this repeatedly until the light turned green.

To him, I was the lady inside a nice car — “ang may kaya.” And in this country — it doesn’t matter if they use the money to buy cigarettes, Tanduay, or rugby — I am still obliged to give.

“Mayaman ka naman eh.” Always said with a hint of accusation, as if daring anyone to complain.

Nursing strike

Last April 7, just when our nursing relationship was going well, Gabby decided to go on strike — a nursing strike. She would refuse to nurse and would only take milk from a bottle.

Was it because I recently just introduced the pacifier or because we stopped cup feeding and started using a feeding bottle? Or was it because I got a bit rough that one time while trying to fix our breastfeeding position? I would probably never know. But the nursing strike really affected me, and I was determined to solve it.

Once again, I turned to Kelly Mom and Jack Newman for help. I devoured all the tips related to nursing strikes and tried them one by one. Finally, six days later, I gently offered my breast while she was thumb sucking. Tada! She latched! The nursing strike was over.

There were a lot of things that I tried, but I feel these were the ones which made a difference:

Carried the baby as often as possible. As soon as I would get home from work, I would carry the baby as long as my rheumatoid athritis would allow me. Whenever she would accidentally fall asleep in my arms, I wouldn’t put her down immediately — I would continue cradling her for at least 30 more minutes.

Offered the breast as often as possible. Very gently, without forcing her. If she refuses, then I tell her softly it’s okay and offer her the bottle.

Co-slept. We were already 90% co-sleeping, but ranked it up 100% during the nursing strike.

Stopped using all items which possibly caused nipple confusion. This means the pacifier and the feeding bottle (we were using Medela’s Calma). We want back to cup feeding, although this time, we used Medela’s soft feeding gizmo to reduce spillage.

The time when they all hung out at my condo

I used to love having visitors. I got it from my mom. I love entertaining, and always appreciated the relaxed atmosphere. My parents’ home actually became one of the “official tambayans” while I was in college.

Years ago, I got a 1 bedroom condo unit in Salcedo Village. Once again, visitors would come & go, and I would open our doors to anyone who wants to hang out or simply do their thesis.

There was just one problem: It was the only place where we would hang out. When I would suggest that we explore malls, coffee shops or restaurants, I would just get the usual reply: “Sa condo mo na lang!”

Later on, one of our habitually late friends, started become even more so. Her previous 1 hour lateness became a record breaking 3 hours … each and every time. This means that my visitors started staying an average of 6 hours in our condo, 2 to 3 days per week.

After a few months, this arrangement became too much for my now husband, who became very vocal on why others do not offer their own homes, or even suggest to meet outside instead.

Later on, even I felt I needed a break. Playing a hostess for hours started to take its toll. I began subtly tell my friends that we need to meet outside instead because our condo won’t be available.

Sadly, and also quite expectedly, the texts and phone calls stopped. It happened fast: my friends and I stopped seeing each other altogether as soon as I stopped opening our doors. Even 2 people I felt I was particularly close with. It was as if me and my condo are a package deal.

Soon, I’ve moved on. I’ve made new friends, got a new job, and a new condo.

Just last year, I saw one of my old friends, who exclaimed: “Chette, na-miss kita! Hang out naman tayo sa condo mo!” I laughed and waved goodbye.

St. Luke’s saves your credit card info in their internal system

This is a letter I sent to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City. SLMC has acknowledged receipt of letter, yet there is no proposed action as of this writing.

I’m very concerned that the cashier in your Pathology department saved my credit card information in your customer information database.

The information I saw the cashier enter in her computer are the following:

  • Credit card #
  • Name on credit card
  • Expiration date

These details are considered confidential, and pose security risk to credit holders. It is also unnecessary in processing of payment.

May I request SLMC to reconsider this practice, as I have already been a victim of onlinecredit card fraud, and am very concerned that a known establishment as SLMC is employing this practice?