Luke and Fem




My 22-month-old son played with my watercolor and brush and like any other mother, I was just blown away.  There were 12 colors on the palette but he stayed with green, blue, and red. Am I reading too much into it? Maybe. My daughter and I might have rubbed off on him. What with all the brushes, paint, paper, and the amount of warning he’d get not to touch a painting set out to dry, it’s just a matter of time until he’d ask for his own paint set and paper. I love watching my kids draw or paint. I just can’t help but marvel at how freeing it is to just paint like a child. Fem paints with focus while listening to her iPod while Luke paints with abandon and needs to be fueled with affirmation.

That’s my daughter when she was about the same age as Luke. They look so much alike as kids. She wants to be an artist and did an accurate “portrait” of herself. Amazing.

They are the two parts of my heart.








July Changes

Amateur attempt to illustrate a story... 🙂

I just came up for air after an illustration project and barely had time to regroup when I realized with a start that an almost married friend needed her fabric flowers for her wedding (sorry, D) So after almost a month of lugging my portfolio, watercolors, and wads of paper towels, people were taken by surprise to see my sewing kit and swags of vibrant yellow and royal blue fabric replace the painting materials (Cherry, you also sew?! How many kids do you have to support?) I can’t blame them. After all, it’s rare to see outside-work things get merged with my full-time job hours (ĂĽber multi-tasking anyone?) I can’t possibly be a workaholic, am I? And besides this fabric flower gig is a wedding gift so it’s not monetarily motivated. It’s not like I’m purposely piling up stuff to do just so I’ll have stuff to do.  Really, I don’t. I just find myself into these situations.

I still have to finish a few more stories and my task list should be signed off as complete. Just in time for a new killer schedule to take effect (2am to 11am with Monday and Thursdays off ugh) My boss, David gave me a heads up about a bulletin board assignment heading my way too. Wow, this is turning out to be a ‘crafty’ month.

On a serious note though, I’m at a crossroads of a drastic career change that may or may not work for me. How drastic? Let’s say I have to master a whole new language altogether. I knew this was coming and I realize I AM at the point of that dreaded moment where everything hangs in a balance. It’s scary that there are signs everywhere that shows 5 years may be enough with this company and that I have to be outside of my comfort zone and make THAT decision to get something better for my family.  I am aware that I would be letting go of  everyone who had grown to become my ‘second family’. Boy, is it hard.

How hard is it to let go?

Precious Time

Remember the project I talked about? That’s me in my dining table “studio”. Sneaky friend, Edcel prodded my daughter, Femy to take a picture of me finishing an illustration.

I could have done it a bit sooner but Lukey came down with fever due to teething which means, I was up all night checking his temperature, nursing him, and making sure he takes some paracetamol. Poor little guy. Good thing his dad came by for a visit and I had 4 precious hours to finish the rest of the drawings.

I hope for my family’s sake, this project pans out financially. I do enjoy creating and drawing things but writing a story and illustrating it? Can I pull it off? Will parents actually read my stories to their kids? Will I make it before the end of this month?

Lessons I learned:

Sometimes it helps to just do it.

Time is not something you mess with.

Happy week to everybody!

How to Survive a Cash Deficit on Your Monthly Cash Flow

A big amount of 4,500 PHP (108 USD) is what I lack just for this month alone. And I’m now scratching my head on where to source it. I do have a lucrative project at the moment however, typical Asian modesty refrained me from asking when exactly I’ll be paid (that and the fact that side project “employer” is family makes it even stickier) He did give me an advance that I have used to cover May deficits and I didn’t think far ahead enough to cover next month’s. Boo-hoo.

My obstacles: 2 ongoing loans (one will end on Dec. 2011 and the other April 2012)

My earnings: full-time job (350-440 USD) and a half (part time; earning varies)

My challenges: cover monthly deficits with online part time jobs

My goal: Financial freedom before I hit 40 (retirement fund, savings, art earnings as passive income)

Although sensible people will say it’s not wise to take out a loan to pay another loan (they’re right; that’s how I got into this mess in the first place) in my present circumstances, just to stay afloat, you’d have to consider borrowing from the best or the worst.

The second loan company that I’m utilizing has this cash advance service where I can borrow from 1 to 2 thousand PHP (20 to 48 USD) 5 days before the next pay period without interest. Most Philippine companies opt to pay their employees bi-monthly (15th and 30th of the month) Because I do have deficits, I do run out of cash so this is an option.

I have tried pawning jewelry ONE desperate time. If you, like me who only have one item that’s pawn-able, it might be best to skip this option. The pawn shop I went to had a great reputation and great customer service but unless you have loads of gold to get a big chunk of money out of pawning, again just skip.

Borrow from relatives and friends, when you have every intention of paying. I cannot stress this enough. Trust is the main reason they’re lending you money. Don’t break that trust.

Lastly, if all else fails, restructure your loan payments. Talk to the people you owe or have to pay. It will place you in an awkward position, yeah sure but being transparent and planning your payment shows you’re willingness to pay the amount off.

Hope this helps.

Going Somewhere

Just last week, I received news that one on my part time writing job had to be on-hold. Bad news for me as this would provide an even bigger deficit in my cashflow for this month.

I seriously thought of pawning things when a opportunity to write children’s stories and illustrating them came my way. (Did I tell you I love to draw?) And here I am presented with a chance to earn from something my parents insist that you won’t make money from. Although I’m no Van Gogh and this is the first time I’ll do it as actual “work,” money from this gig will be an IMMENSE help.

SO yeah, I encourage you to earn from your passion. Maybe this might go somewhere, maybe not but I’m giving it a try AND keep my day job too.

The Economics of a School Year

June here in the Philippines marks the start of another school year. This means by this time, your kids would have already been enrolled, school books already purchased, uniforms and school shoes ready, and as the case with my daughter, have negotiated new allowance rate.

Friends argued that I’m giving too much (she gets 80PHP every school day; that’s almost 2 USD) Considering that she also buys lunch at school, I would argue back that it’s a reasonable amount.

Other kids at school actually get more and some even are given double than what she gets and yet she could save some and doesn’t even ask for movie and snack money when she goes out with her friends.

OK I AM considering preparing her lunch when the last of my loans have been paid off (April 2012) We would have grocery money by then.

Money spent for School:

Enrollment – 29,800 PHP (710 USD)
Tuition per Periodical period of 4 – 5,000 (119 USD)
Uniform – 2,490 PHP (59 USD)
Shoes – 600 PHP (14 USD)
Books – 4,850 PHP (115 USD)
Allowance – 400 PHP a week (9 USD)

Just another page in my expense book.

Starting Over

I’m a single mom to a toddler son and a 12-year-old daughter. Although I do have full-time job, I am horribly deep in debt that there is no other option but to simply have another gig to improve our cash flow. So here is me, setting a goal to get my family out of debt and reach a place of financial stability.

I doubt you’d be able to glean anything profound here and this blog may chronicle more blunders than expected but I do hope you’d appreciate my views on parenting and the road I’m about to take to “quietly build an empire.”

At 32, I’m starting over.