health, motherhood, personal

Nearsightedness: A Genetic Problem?

It has finally been officially diagnosed. I had long suspected that Joreb has myopia (nearsightedness) because he likes sitting on the chair closest to the television when watching his cartoons. I presented my suspicion to his pediatrician, who then referred us to an opthalmologist. The opthalmologist was a little hesitant to check him at first, but I told her that he knows his letters and numbers. Joreb was very cooperative, so the checkup went smoothly.

According to the doctor,  toddlers naturally don’t have 20/20 vision yet but it is still good to check if Joreb’s eyesight is right for his age. He should be at around +100 (100 grade for farsightedness), but his eyesight is already at -50 (50 grade for nearsightedness/-0.50 diopters). The doctor does not recommend eyeglasses yet, however, but Joreb has to come back in a year’s time. His eyesight has to be monitored properly.

Why does he have myopia? Well, he likes to “read” books and play games on his tablet. He enjoys watching television. Nearsightedness also has a genetic factor. Children who has one or both parents with the same problem will more likely develop it. My eyes are at -600 and -650. My husband’s eyes are at -125. I just hope that Joreb’s eyes will be closer to his dad’s level of nearsightedness and not to mine.

Next year, I will make sure to bring him for another eye checkup. Two of his playmates (ages 4 and 5) already wear glasses. Children nowadays are more exposed to devices that can cause all sorts of eye problems.

Here is a photo of Joreb after going home from his eye checkup:

MFA, motherhood, personal, web content jobs

Life as a Home-based Writer


I never thought I’d end up working at home. I used to work as a college instructor at Ateneo de Naga University, teaching Programming (ActionScript), Adobe Photoshop, Presentation Skills, Scriptwriting (for short animation), and other subjects related to my degree, which is Bachelors of Science in Digital Illustration and Animation. I graduated cum laude from the same university and thought that I would be serving the school for more years to come.

My family (me, my husband, my brother and the maid) moved to Manila in 2007 basically because my brother was about to start medical school at UST. My family is very close-knit. Something good came out of the move, anyway. My husband is now about to take his comprehensive exams for Masters in Marketing. He works as a manager for a major social and entertainment hub. I now have 18 units of Masters of Mathematics and am almost through with my MFA – and oh, I shouldn’t forget  the four days of law school. 😀

When I found out I was finally pregnant after a year of getting treated for infertility, I was eager to prove to people that I can still work at an office and brave the daily commute (I took a train and a bus to work) until the eighth month. Unfortunately, I was frequently sick. At only two months pregnant, I reluctantly resigned from my office job because my office mates were – and still are – such lovely people. I still stay in touch with some of them. My former manager even became one of my son’s godfathers.

After the sickness stopped, during the fifth month of my pregnancy, I applied to the same office as a home-based writer. Luckily, I was taken in by the company. I still work for them as a home-based web content writer, covering SEO articles, press releases, short news items, and more. I worked on other gigs at the same time.

I went back to working in an office setup on September 2011. I worked as a test creator and rater for mostly Korean test takers. Again, I was in a pleasant environment. My toddler, however, was acting out and was mad at me for working. So, I resigned but I still work part time for the said office, as a rater.

This year, I applied for a regular home-based job. I only needed to be online four hours a day from Mondays to Fridays. I write three blog posts daily for the company’s three websites. I write on entertainment, SEO and travel/festivals. So, I now work daily for two companies and have other part-time jobs while I am almost at the end of the MFA program at De la Salle University (now writing my thesis proposal and have started some essays for my nonfiction thesis).

Working at home is ideal for a mom and graduate student like me. In the mornings, I write for one company. In the afternoons, I am online and available for the other as I work on blog posts for its sites. At night, I get to work on my thesis.

Of course, I do have time for my toddler. I bathe him in the mornings and play with him, albeit a few minutes at a time, during the course of the day. We both spend the afternoons in the living room with the nanny, anyway. During bedtime, I read him three to eight story books, complete with gestures and varying voices. Fee Fi Fo Fum! He loves story time! 🙂

Not everything is perfect about being a home-based writer, though. There are no bonuses and benefits. So, I pay for my benefits as a voluntary contributor. People also think that I am an unemployed mom just waiting for my husband and my parents to hand me money each pay day. The moms in my condo building are either unemployed (with or without nannies) or completely engrossed in their jobs (doctors, office workers, etc). I feel out of place.

In school, it is the same thing. Most of the other MFA students are very young (22 to 26 years old), younger than my brother who is now a medical intern.

I try to make the most of being a home-based writer and see the best that I can get out of it. The flexibility of hours is amazing, of course. I can buy the weekly groceries on Wednesdays at 4 pm. I can go for a mani-pedi in the morning. I can bring my son to the doctor when the need arises. There is no need to go on a leave. The problem is I really am never on vacation. I am always on, almost 24/7. I say ‘almost’ because I do sleep. Sleep is not as refreshing, however, when your son’s toddler bed is right next to your bed and he sometimes pees a lot to wet the covers – at least that is the case lately what with him drinking too much milk and juice during the day (sometimes as much as 4 Big Mango Zestos, 3 large bottles of milk and more). 😀 But yes, at least I am with him. He is my priority, and that is why I am a home-based writer.

Next year, he starts kindergarten. By then, I hopefully would have my MFA degree. I will first get him accustomed to going to school and then I will check if I can get back to an office setup. I am considering jobs as college instructor, SEO writer, or translator (well, I do have to review Spanish). My son and I do have to learn how to be independent of each other. If things don’t work out as planned, there is always the flexible life of a home-based writer.

health, personal, rant

Gym Membership and the Lazy Home Office Worker

I just had my gym membership account frozen for the third (?) time. I had not been working out properly for over a year, So, I am just paying monthly for a membership that I don’t really avail of. I just cannot do it when I am worrying about what time I will get home (even though the gym is located in the mall next to our condo building). There is just too much to do in terms of work and school, and it is getting hard to leave my toddler home. When I leave without him, he asks me “What are you doing? Where are you going?” I’d end up worrying about him whenever I am away.

The condo has a gym but it has only a couple of treadmills and one skiing machine. I have to wake up really early just to be able to use one of the treadmills. Even when I do, there are usually some men and women in their forties or fifties already using the gym before they go to work. I would end up using one of the bikes halfheartedly. But yeah, I just might do that tomorrow – wake up early and end up using the bike. Then, I will just do my crunches and weights at home. Ugh. If I do get up early and if my back does not hurt and if I don’t get tempted to work on an article due Monday. The reluctance is pretty strong, I know.

Also, tomorrow, at about ten in the morning, I have to bring Joreb to the optometrist for his first ever eye checkup.


health, motherhood, personal

Joreb’s Mole (and other Birthmarks)

Just a few days after Joreb had his regular checkup (last Saturday), he had to go to the dermatologist. Well, we went to the clinic just this morning. He was complaining about his mole yesterday. He said that it was very itchy.

When Joreb was still a baby, we all thought that the large mark on his chest was just any port wine birthmark. Then, the birthmark darkened, and hair grew on it. The hair was apparently causing the itchy sensation. The mole shouldn’t cause a lot of  worries, considering that his lolo and uncle on his dad’s side both have large, dark moles with hair on their hands. Both families, as far as I know, do not have histories of melanoma. However, I could not help but worry, especially since his pediatrician advised us to get Joreb checked by a dermatologist.

The dermatologist was astonished at the number of birthmarks on Joreb’s body. The others were lighter in color and do not have hair. In short, they can easily be dismissed as okay.  The biggest one, however, needs to be monitored regularly. Because of this particular mole, Joreb cannot afford to develop a sunburn on his chest. He cannot scratch the spot, either, even if it itches. The dermatologist advised to use an ice cube on the area, instead.

For now, though, everything is fine. There is no need to go through a biopsy except if the mole doubles in size, gets jagged, becomes a site for a bumpier growth, and turns whitish/bluish/reddish.

health, motherhood, personal

Joreb William’s Regular Checkup

My son just got checked by his pedia this morning. He had gained 1.5 kilos since the last time his  doctor saw him. He had to slow down on his future weight gain to avoid being overweight. He is now about 18 kilos (between 39 and 40 pounds) and 3 feet 3 inches at 3 years and 3 months. According to his doctor, his BMI, at 19, is just right. She also commended him for being very respectful, nodding and saying his “pos” and “opos” while talking to her. She said other kids are not that respectful nowadays. She made this comment almost right after another boy, a little older than Joreb, came barging into the clinic, pushing Joreb just as the pediatrician was checking my son’s ears. I had to hold my anger in check because the other boy could have caused an accident that could lead to damaged ears for my son. I also don’t like my son getting pushed around, especially since the boy’s mom is right behind her own son. It was a good thing that the doctor was able to hold her hands still enough.

Anyway, I was generally happy with the checkup, although we had to go home at almost 1 pm. Joreb is also set for a checkup with a pediatrics opthalmologist next week. He had been using my tablet everyday, learning spelling, reading and all sort of things, watching Youtube, and playing video games, so it is no wonder that I fear for his eyes. I myself am near-sighted, with both eyes at -6.00 diopters or 600. At ten years old, my eyes were already at -4.00 diopters or 400. I hope his eyes are fine, though, and that we will just be going for a routine check.


web content jobs

Ixomsoft Computing Solutions

I have just started working as a blogger/features writer for iXOMsoft Computing Solutions. This is the company description, according to its own website:

iXOMSoft is a software and web development company located in Manila, Philippines. Our passion is to develop simple, attractive and usable custom software and web design that serve as a successful marketing and promotional platform for targeting a wider internet audience. We make it possible to be in the lead by offering you a professional software and web development service for a business of any type and scale, which will give you a head start and help get things run smoothly in the online environment.”

So far, I am having fun creating content for them. I do hope I will be able to boost their site hits, as well as to engage more potential clients.

To know more about its services, you may visit any of the following sites:


office ties, personal

Another Death…

The death of Secretary Jess Robredo still stings. Today, however, things went from bad to worse, and not just because it’s a Monday. My former office-based boss, who also gave me home-based assignments from time to time, was shot dead by robbers yesterday at around 6:00 pm. This happened in a convenience store a mere walking distance away from the office. His name was Robert Armstrong, a 45-year old American who had lived here in the Philippines for a few years now. He was married to a Filipina with whom he had a three year old. He was not just any foreigner as the news seem to suggest. He was a kind boss who always asked “Is it okay if I give you this assignment” even when we all know full well that the assignments he was giving us were part of our job, anyway. He never changed even when I resigned as an office-based worker to become a part-time, home-based one. He never made us feel uncomfortable, and we did not even feel the cultural differences. He was our friend. R.I.P. Mr. Robert Armstrong.

Photo below: Christmas Party 2011. In the photo: Kathy, sir Rob and James (I took the picture).