October 30, 2011

What’s Left Of My Spare Time

First of all, does spare time even exist? Because I don’t have one. Whatever time I have left after work - and it is very little- I spend on my husband (talking, watching DVD’s, drinking) and my children (playing, snuggling in bed, reading bedtime stories or…….witchifying Barbie and Bratz dolls for Halloween!)

So the things I enjoy doing alone, like reading, blogging and lately, drawing ….well, I have to steal time for it. And because I can’t do it all with the very little time I have left for myself, I’ve decided to drop blogging for a while.

While I was away from the blogland, I spent my “spare time” finishing the book, “When We Were Orphans” by Kazuo Ishiguro. I am now starting to read “Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin. I did miss blogging but wow, what a great time I’m having so far devouring books again. I am back to my old habit of reading a book in uninterrupted chapters instead of token pages.

As I was saying, there’s also this new side of me as a Mom and as a person emerging these days as I indulge not just in crafts (Refrain: witchifying Barbie and Bratz dolls for Halloween) but also in newly-found passions. See, I’ve started on this project of doing a sketch of my kids. This is the result of my first sketch of Unna. (I’m going to do this again though because I thought I made her look older in this sketch.)

I don’t know how to describe this feeling but on the top of my head come words and phrases such as--- liberating. Being a child again. Wonder. Quiet joy.

And oh, how I’d love to do more but I don’t know when and how. Because unfortunately, in this crazy, full-to-the-brim world of ours, there really is no such thing as spare time.

October 17, 2011

Trying A Little Art Again

These are the types of artworks that my officemates do (stole these from their FB sites). So you see, if you are exposed to this kind of craftsmanship, you will never dare pick up a brush even if you have long harbored a childhood dream of doing artsy stuff.
Artwork by Argem V.
Artwork by Tokwa P.
 But by some stroke of luck, I got myself into a sketching session and was able to produce something (click this--tadaaann!!). Emboldened by this promising start…and upon the strong encouragement of my officemates, I bought last Friday my own set of colored pencils and watercolor ;-)

I decided to leave it at the office though. The mentors are there anyway and I can easily bug any of them for tips on colors, sketches, shadows, etc.

But without my drawing implements, I was able to do another sketch early this evening. With just a cheap ballpen.

Artwork by TeySD. Hahaha.
Who is she? Well, it's my version of Oprah Winfrey!

I wasn’t really planning to do a sketch of her. It’s just that earlier, when I was checking my Facebook, I chanced upon a video of Oprah talking about the book and the movie, “The Color Purple”.

I was so interested in what she had to say but loading the video is taking forever. So I did her sketch while waiting even if the image of Oprah kept on changing. By the time the video finished, the sketch is done, too.

It is rough. But it is a beginning. And at my age, beginnings are good. Really, really good.

October 15, 2011

Learning A Little Art

Because I work in an advertising agency, there is an abundance of talent around me. They are people who do not just “sell products” but those who actively pursue art- - painters, designers, book authors.

My first choice in college was actually Fine Arts because I’ve always wanted to draw even if I don't have the talent to do so. Had I followed my dream, I would probably be an Art Director today. But I became a suit, a strategic planner, a finance guy- - the extreme opposite of art.

The dream to draw remained but I contained it all these years because of my very exposure to people who do know how to draw. I thought I couldn’t do it as well as they could so why even try?

But even if I didn’t summon art, art itself came to me! It happened the other day, when I asked my friend, Maki, to think of a nice birthday gift for a former Client, good friend, and staunch supporter of our company, Margot.

She thought it would be nice if the 8 of us in our group would draw different versions of her. These are the pegs that we stole from her FB page.
Naturally, it stressed me out because I never did a sketch in my entire life. But it was a latent passion that suddenly got awakened so I had an instant tutorial with another friend, Tokwa, who told me the basic principles:

@ Start by doing a light sketch of the basic shape of the face.
@ Draw a light cross or “letter T” across the shape so you can easily place the eyes, nose, mouth in its proper position and proportion.
@ Once satisfied with the basic figure (i.e., if it closely resembles the person you are trying to draw), start darkening the shape.

In our practice session, I came up with this.
And in the final session, I had this. I did it twice. So the first one is not just a nice fluke.
The final gift will be framed and given to Margot this Monday. 
And so I thought this will be my story for Maxabella's Grateful Week. I am just soooo thankful for:

@ friends who helped me fulfill a lifelong dream
@ the chance to create something acceptable, even if amateurish
@ reigniting a passion and being audacious enough to do a similar project, this time with my kids as subject 

It is also quite significant that my first artwork is something that I should give away. And I suppose that made this whole process even more wonderful.

October 14, 2011

How Often Do You Check Your Blog Stats?

I have a curious relationship with my blog site’s stats.

From the beginning, it has been clear to me that I will not blog for money nor fame. (I blog because I want my children to read this blog again --- when they are adults themselves and therefore get them to know me and appreciate me in a way I will never be able to demonstrate now that they are still children, and in the future, when I am old and tired, forgetful, menopausal, whatever. But that’s another story.)

Given that, I have already psyched myself when I was starting out that traffic will never be an issue to me. And thus began the lonely days of writing to the universe that never seemed to listen.

Still, I was ok. After all, my blog posts are like letters to the future. Even if in the end, my daughters and their families become the sole readers of this blog, then it would have served its purpose.

Then the comments started trickling in. The followers soon followed. They are miniscule compared to the numbers of the blog superstars I follow (who probably do not even have the time to check their stats). But they are precious to me.

Soon enough, I was clicking my stats far too frequently for somebody who is “not obsessed with traffic”. I love it when I get visits from countries that do not regularly seep into my consciousness—Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Oman. How cool to even say these names.

This morning, I checked the traffic sources and saw stuff I recognize like “hello kitty gundam” (yep, I wrote about that) or “ryan gosling is so hot” (uh-huh, uh-huh).

But there was also “how to clean old mirrors” (what? I don’t remember talking about anything remotely related to “mirrors”, let alone “cleaning”) and “melodramatic girl” (now that stings). 

So yeah, my name is Tey. And I am a statoholic.

I am not ashamed to say I check my stats almost everyday (except on days when I am buried in work) and I am grateful for every comment, every follow, and every single number that brings up my little chart, however slow.

And when my kids and my kids’ kids read this blog someday, they too, will look at my numbers, and at the comments of the lovely strangers who agree with me, laugh with me, and validate me as a blogger, mother, woman.

And for sure, even if I am not a blog superstar, they will be mightily proud of me.

October 7, 2011

Apple Love

This is my third post this week about Steve Jobs. I thought it is but fitting to end this tribute by dedicating this week’s Grateful List to him. Here are the reasons why.

1. I used to write random thoughts on pieces of paper. I usually scramble for it because these thoughts sometimes arrive in the most unexpected places—before I sleep, during a party or in transit, for example. Now, when a word, a phrase or a line comes, I just type it up in my iPhone.

2. When I gave birth to my children, we had to buy a new camera, a new video cam then in later years, a new SLR. But these days, I just take pictures and videos of them through my phone.

3. I watched Sex and the City for the second time- from the first season to the end- on my iPod. I thought at first I won’t be satisfied watching videos on such a small device. But when I did, I enjoyed it even more than when I was watching the series on TV because I was closer (literally to the sound and the video) and thus it became much more personal and intimate in terms of viewing experience. My iPod and SATC became my constant companions for 30 minutes, at times an hour, for nights and nights that year—a me-time ritual I looked forward to at the end of a tiring day.

4. My MacBook Pro allowed me to experiment some more and be a bit bolder in my presentation decks. In a PC, you take a few commands (control this, alt this) to get something done. In a Mac, you just drag and drop, swish and flick. It did make my work easier and much more fun.

5. My children have been early adopters of technology, just like many children of today. They played with my phone, fiddled with my photo booth, and watched cartoons on my iPod. I don’t deny them these experiences (but they can only play with my laptop or phone during weekends) because I have long acknowledged that that constitutes part of modern play. Soon enough, my 8-year old uses computer time not just for playing but also for Wiki research.

6. His ad campaigns rocked our industry-- particularly his “Think Different” campaign, which won many awards and sold many products. It also became an inspirational piece and a personal mantra to many practitioners.

There are still a lot of moments, a lot of memories and experiences built each day using one or two or all of Steve Jobs’ current inventions. A lot of me-time, a lot of parties have been enhanced by it. Talking to family, friends and co-workers have been easier because of it.

The global grief that ensued following his demise was sensational for a corporate guy. The outpouring of gratitude was just as massive. This message has been sent to the universe millions of times since the announcement of his death last Wednesday but I’ll say it anyway.

Thank you, Steve Jobs. You changed my life.

For more inspiring tales of gratitude, just click this button from the wonderblog of Maxabella.

October 6, 2011

Inspired By A Foolish, Foolish Man

My Facebook and Twitter walls are flooded with tears from all over the world and links upon links of photos, articles and videos about this amazing man. I am reposting one—a video of Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University as his story is worth retelling a billion times over today and in the years to come.

I actually watched this video for the first time today that's why the timing of this experience had a profound effect on me. I noticed how he talked to the students "at their level".  I noticed how this person, with a legendary larger-than-life reputation, came off in this graduation as a reachable, aspirational guy. I noticed how he avoided stories of accomplishments and grandeur and instead, talked about his trials and frailties.....wisely and cleverly transmitting such as lessons in triumph as well.

There are a lot of quotable quotes here. A lot of wisdom. And considering the circumstances now, a lot of lines that will heighten the sadness of this day.

Apples Abound In My Life

Because of you, Steve Jobs.

Because of you, my life is simpler, faster and easier. Because of you, my life is better-lived.

Thank you, Steve Jobs. The whole planet will miss you.

October 5, 2011

Good News, Bad News

Bad News. As it turns out, our being indie worked against us as the pitch that I talked about in my last post got awarded to a multinational agency. We are pretty sure that this multinational harnessed the power of its network to show their global expertise. Our competition is a Goliath.

Good News. I was not delusional when I described our presentation in shamelessly glowing terms. The clients said they got impressed with the bold assumptions we made in the strategy, the way we went beyond the brief, the freshness and the bigness of the creatives. They also said they can’t just let us “walk out the door” without giving us a piece of their business. So while we lost the pitch, we got awarded a new account! Woohoo!!!!

We, the proud members of a small, indie agency will be regulars at this office soon.