Sunday, December 04, 2011

I Poo, Therefore I Am

So a day after I watch what could possibly be the best marketing campaign I've seen all year (yes Chueys it's the damn Coke OFW campaign), I find myself on the toilet reading the latest Time magazine issue with the 50 most influential women article. And I have an existential moment (the kind that only ever happens when one is sitting on the toilet contemplating the mysteries of life).

I wonder if I hadn't stopped working -- would I be a Marketing Director by now?

Yes I know that is a very, very strange question to ask one's self while on the toilet (or anywhere else for that matter), but hear me out.

Ever since I started working back in 1996, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was an assistant product manager for the Bank of the Philippine Islands back then, handling auto loans. I reported to a product manager, who in turn reported to the head of Marketing. I wanted to be that guy. Not my boss, but my boss' boss.

And it wasn't about being in a position to order people around, or having the head of the bank listen to you. It was because I knew in my heart, that given enough experience and exposure --- I could do his job. And I could be good at it.

So I spent the next 12 years of my life working on my career with that one goal in mind: become a marketing director before I was 40. Of a major Philippine bank. Or a multinational one. Whichever came first. Or paid me more money.

And I loved my job. I loved what I did. I loved the creativity that it required. I loved the analysis it took. I didn't want to be a Marketing Director who just ran campaigns and advertising strategies for the bank products. I wanted to be the one who built those products. And launched them. And grew them. And eventually killed them. Boy did I love my job.

There wasn't anything I wouldn't do for it either. Including spending half a year in various LTO offices gathering raw data, and churning market analysis based on that data, with my partner Kris. Scouring through piles and piles of car registrations and handwriting the information on it in cramped, smelly, un-airconditioned back offices of various government offices. Subsisting on bottles of diet coke and sky flakes crackers. Oh those were the days.

I've lost count of all the all-nighters I pulled with Tricia and Steve when we were launching/re-launching online banking for UBP when I moved there after BPI.

Giving the ad agency a heart attack when I insisted on doing online editing when they couldn't get my brochures right for CBC the night before my product launch.

Or personally/physically attaching stickers to new ATMs in SCB. And I was already an AVP by then.

Nothing was too big or too small for me to do --- so long as it meant I got my job done right.


We make plans, life plans, but never stop to wonder if something will change along the way. The situation. Your circumstances. You.

I met a man. Picked him because we both didn't want kids. Got married. Changed our minds. Fought to have kids. And got them.

And my life changed.

It changed even more when my then 3-year old asked my husband, after yet another long late night of me not being home, if I was angry at her because I never wanted to be around her. And may be that's why I was always gone.

I quit my job.


I wish I could say I never looked back since. But obviously I do. Not with regret. I do, wholeheartedly, believe that what I'm doing now is more important. Even if I do constantly speak of Munchausen by Proxy in my posts and blogs.

But I do look back. And wonder.


Looking forward, I know I won't go back. To that job. To that life. Even if it is something that John and I have talked about several times, as something to explore when the kids are older. Part of me feels it will be too late. Another part feels that I've changed too much to go back to what I used to do.

I look forward to changing again. I don't know into what. A teacher perhaps? A counselor? A shrink? A person who knows how to drive? Who knows?

Life is change. It's what makes life exciting and scary at the same time. Life's sheer inconstancy is what makes it worth living --- just to see what happens next.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


So this long weekend is finally at an end. And not a moment to soon.

It has not been a great weekend.

We started off the mini-break with a weekend long stay at the Peninsula from Friday to Sunday. But instead of being the relaxing holiday we thought it would be it was.... in a word - stressful. From getting rained out which meant no pool time for the kids, to problems with construction noises, John forgetting his CPAP (which gave everyone sleepless nights) and cancelled dinner plans and flake outs, it was like a National Lampoon vacation movie. Only not funny.

When we got home Sunday afternoon one of the pipes in our laundry area burst. Of all the bloody luck. To prevent flooding the whole downstairs area we had to shut off the water main. Which meant the whole house had NO WATER.

It took the plumbers (who thankfully were available even though it was a holiday) 2 days to fix the problem. 2 days. The Medinas were unwashed for 2 days (except for those moments of desperation when we'd turn on the main even though it meant that water was gushing out of the busted pipe downstairs --- sorry Mother Nature! The toilet needs to be flushed!). It was like a National Lampoon home movie. Only not funny.

Oh this weekend. It's like Mercury was in Retrograde or on Gatorade or making Lemonade or whatever it is that Mercury does that seems to louse up people's lives.

And yet. And yet. Every time something new would go wrong John and I would just console ourselves with the thought that a) it could be worse; b) there's a bright side to this.

The rains that kept the kids from swimming forced us to let them hang out in the tub instead. Which they apparently dig more than the pool. Plus it meant that I wasn't forced to get into a bathing suit.

Despite the fiascos with the room --- the sheer size of the suite we occupied gave Livie enough (safe) room to learn how to run. She runs! She runs! Albeit very wobbly but still she's pretty fast once she gets going.

The cancelled dinner plans and flake outs meant we just had dinner at Spices instead with John's sister and our good friend Jaime. At 50% off! With free wine! Altogether not a bad night.

And the water pipe bursting. Well... we finally learned how to work our water tank, how to turn it on and how to fill it. So now if there's ever a water shortage ---- we'll never run out of water again.

So I can choose to focus on all the things that went wrong, or I can choose to let all that negative energy go and just look on the brighter side of things. The things we learned, the memories that were made and the fact that we now have unlimited running water.

Oh, and the best part of all --- this weekend is finally over. :-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Hubby

It has been.... years... since I last wrote you a birthday card. Or note. I guess this is what happens when you buy your own presents and just send me the bill. But hey, whatever works and gets you the present you want... I'm down with that.

But it's late, and I've been feeling sentimental, so I wrote this one for you.


It's easy to list the things you do that irritate or bug the living hell out of me:

How your clothes are always on the hamper, or around the hamper, but never IN the hamper.

Your irrational annoyance with security guards, waiters and motorcycle drivers.

The innumerable times I've had near death drowning experiences in the toilet because you never remember to put the toilet seat down.

Your insistence on squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle.

Your jet engine like snoring.

The hoarding.

Feeding the kids cheetos and chocolate before meal times.

The perverse pleasure you get out of anonymously poking or pinching my ass in public that has lead me to mistakenly hit several unsuspecting men with my handbag.

And how you're secretly trying to kill me by wiping chocolate stained fingers on MY towels so that the ants attack me fresh out of the shower.

Oh I could go on and on..... And I could.

And I could focus on all these things you do that drive me crazy.

And I'd forget about the things that make me crazy... about you.

How you always hold my hand when I sit in the passenger seat of the car.

How you always think of me when you're buying CDs and buy albums of bands I like or you'd think I'd like. Without asking if I already own them --- which is why we have 3 copies of Dogs Die in Hot Cars and 5 copies of Faded Seaside Glamour by The Delays.

How there isn't an electric appliance or broken toy or device that you can't fix. You are Handy Manny and Macgyver rolled into one.

I remember how you let me sleep on your chest (all 1*& pounds of me) when we lost the babies because I couldn't go to sleep.

How your "Y" genes gave me two beautiful daughters who look nothing alike yet, oddly enough, both look like you.

On the rare occasion that you sing "Deeply Dippy" or play "Born Slippy" it still makes me feel giddy.

How you always call me when you're on your way home because you still miss those times we used drive home from work together and just talk and talk and talk.

And how every so often you will talk to me about work and ask my advice, even though I haven't been a banker in almost 4 years, because you think I'm "still smarter than half the people I deal with".

Oh I could go on and on and on.... And I could.

No matter how frustrated I can get with you sometimes, nothing has ever overshadowed the fact that you are still the best

friend I have, the best person I know, and the best man that you could be.

Happy Birthday dear husband.

Yes, you are still the "jackpot". And to this day I still don't know what the contest was for.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not So Fast

Hey little girl, what's your hurry?

You have all the time in the world to grow up, and I only have a few short years to call you my little girl.

Already you talk of boys, cold creams, and how embarrassing it is to have people see you being cradled in my arms. So these arms only squeeze you tighter, wishing they could squeeze you back into being my little girl.... knowing they will have to open soon to let you go. To let you grow.

I see you sometimes watching me with sadness and longing when I'm holding your baby sister. Swinging her up and down, holding her tiny hand to help across the room. I don't do these things because I love her more. I do these things because I still can. I'm strong enough to throw and catch her mid-air. I hold her hand to cross the room because she needs me to, she with her shaky and uncertain legs that just learned how to walk.

Would you let me still swing you in my arms (do I have the upper body strength to do so? Hahaha!)? Will you still let me hold your hand as we walk? Often you walk ahead of me, so eager to see what's around the next corner. Or worse --- you run ahead of me, because I'm walking too slowly and you are in a rush to get to what's next.

Slow down. Please. Slow down.

I waited so long for you. Missed so much the first 3 years of your life. Is it so wrong to want to squeeze the most out of every minute we have together now?

My favorite part of the day is when it's time to sleep. Because when we lie down it's time for you to be still. And you'll let me hold you and cradle you in my arms until you fall asleep. And when you do I can spend hours watching you, without you feeling self-conscious of my stare. I can marvel at how big you've grown, how beautiful you've become, and how, when you're asleep, you look more like the little girl you still are, instead of the 7-going-on-40 year old you can sometimes be.

Little girl, what's the rush?

Stay mine a little while longer.

Friday, May 06, 2011

An Early Mother's Day Note to My Girls

I take pictures in my mind

Of things I hope to never forget

Like your big toothless smile when you wake up next to me

Or the sight of you running down the school lawn

With your arms outstretched to hug me.

The way your eyes disappear when you laugh

Or the way you sleep with your mouth open in the car.

I want to remember

Seeing you fall

And watching you pick yourself up

The way you twirl around in my room with a frilly skirt and flowers in your hair.

My girl.

My girls.

But how will I take a picture of....

The sweet smell of your breath

Or how it feels to hold your tiny hand in mine.

There will be no pictures of.....

Your big, wet, sloppy kisses

The sound of your laugh

The feel of your hand rubbing my arm as you try to fall asleep

And the delicate scent of you as you sleep.

There are just these words

And my thoughts

And my prayers

That I will never forget

The things that make me grateful to be your mother.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

You Were Tanya Titong Weren't You?

On the basis of an interesting episode of Modern Family and a recent conversation between mutual friends, I've decided to write this post.

In the episode of Modern Family, Claire tells the camera that daughters should never, ever, know who their mother were before they had their kids. As far as kids should know, their moms are saintly, pure and wise. Coincidentally a bunch girlfriends had gotten around to talking about me at a friend's shower. And two of them mentioned how they liked to follow my status messages on Facebook, but they never felt quite sure if the person they were following was me, because I sounded so different from the girl they knew back in college.

Well, I'm not ashamed to admit that I have changed. The wild, carefree, careless, chain-smoking, perpetually drunk rejection junkie I used to be has been replaced by the soccer mom from hell. I personally feel that most of the change has been for the good, but every so often I (and some friends of mine) miss the old me.

She was crazy but she sure was fun.

Will my girls ever get to know the person I was before I was their mom? Hell. No. Hahaha!

As much as I would like my kids to know that I was once a cool and fun person, I would rather just let them think that I was born.... Mother. Bossy, conservative, caring, loving, not necessarily fun but full of life lessons and worthy of respect.

I wouldn't change the life I've led. Not.One.Bit. I think that I am wiser for all the experiences I've had. And I'd like to share whatever wisdom I have with my kids. They just don't need to know how I "learned" these life lessons. I don't think I merit much respect in the way I learned a few lessons like:

1. I once tried to "dive"... into a Jacuzzi. I was very drunk at the time and am just basing this story on the anecdotes of friends, and the bizarre collection of cuts, scrapes, bumps and bruises I had the next morning which I don't remember getting. Lesson learned: drink in moderation. And never around bodies of water.

2. I took a week off from work (unknown to my boss and parents) to learn how to scuba dive. Mostly because I had a crush on my scuba diving partner. And that same guy was the reason why I went on a 3 day dive trip with 6 guys I didn't know because he invited me.... and didn't show up. Lesson learned: Never let a guy dictate what you do or where you go. Learn to do your own thing.

3. To maintain my weight of 96 lbs. I spent 4 years drinking diet coke and smoking cigarettes for lunch and dinner (aka the Kate Moss diet). Lesson learned: Yes there is such a thing as too skinny. And never believe that line that "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels". Because there is, and it's called carbs. Learn to love the body that God gave you. Take care of it.

4. I bungee jumped on a dare. I accepted this dare while drunk. Which taught me the lesson of never accepting dares while drunk. Actually, never accept anything while drunk.

5. I went parasailing in South Africa. While it was winter. On a dare. Which I accepted while I was drunk. Which taught me that some lessons are hard to learn and I am also very hard to teach.

6. I was the blind date queen of the Philippines. While single, I went on 22 blind dates over the course of 3 years. Because I believed in being open to the universe and the possibility of finding love in the strangest places. It taught me that true love can sometimes be right beside you (or in my case 3 cubicles away). It also taught me to never accept a blind date set up by Steve Crisologo.

I smoke. I drank. I cussed a lot. I was a bit of a cutthroat bitch in the workplace because I was ambitious. I dated a lot of guys. Loved a few. I did whatever made me happy, and I never let anyone tell me what to do. I lived my youth to its fullest and I believe this is something every one should do. (Jesus, I'm starting to rhyme). May be not in the same way I did (God I hope my girls don't), but the important thing is to live it on your terms. To do things that you want, to live with no regrets, and to take each experience and turn it into something that enriches your life. Good or bad.

Which is why I'm so different now. Because I've been that person, learned the lessons that that person's life offered and because of those lessons I've grown into the person that I am today. I wouldn't have wanted to stay Tanya Titong. As fun as she was, she was also oftentimes very lonely, scared and insecure. She had a lot of growing up to do.

And she had to grow up the hard way. Had her heart broken. Betrayed a friend. Lost a father. Struggled with infertility. Lost 3 children.

But along that way was also blessed with: True Love. Faithful friends. Solid siblings. A great life. And 2 beautiful kids.

I'm happy to be Tanya Medina now. 50 lbs heavier. Goes to bed at 10 pm. Gets up at 5 am. Doesn't smoke anymore. Rarely drinks. Talks incessantly about her kids, her husband and cooking.

I live a new life now, shaping the ones that God has blessed me with.

Now I just sit back and watch the show that is my kids' lives unfolding. And I'm glad I've got front row seats.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A Sister Speaks

In honor of the Oscars yesterday (which I missed because of my brother's wedding), I am posting the speech I gave last night. A lot of people came up to me afterwards because they really liked it. I told them that it took me an hour to write, and I wrote in the middle of the night because I completely forgot about it because I was out of the country up until the day before the wedding. But may be it resonated with a lot of them because I wrote it from my heart. Even though he's a fully grown man, even though he's now married with a family of his own, he will always be my baby brother and I love him.


I’ve been asked to give the speech on behalf of our family tonight, not just because I’m the smartest and funniest of all us Titong kids, but also because being only 18 months older than him, having been his room mate, and having spent countless hours listening to Dave Matthews and U2, smoking illegal cigarettes and experiencing existential angst together --- I’m the one who knows Epi best.

And knowing my brother as well as I do, I have decided to entitle my speech tonight: Top 5 Reasons Why We Wish Anj All the Luck in the World (aka Stuff that might have changed your mind about marrying him 2 hours ago but now its too late and we have a strict no-return, no exchange policy in our family).

5. He’s secretly in love with… the best man (you know I’m talking about you Anton Palma!), and they may or may not have been carrying on a secret affair for the last 10 years. Later tonight ask him about OMD’s song Secret and why it has special meaning for the two of them.

4. He carries all of our genetic waste material – case in point: notice how white I am, notice how dark he is. He is short. He is fat. And in the words of Homer Simpson: “Baldness is hereditary”. That’s why it’s a good thing Anj is so pretty, because at least now his kids will have a fighting chance.

3. And speaking of genetics, it is a fact that the father carries the math gene and will determine how well your kids will do in math. Your husband carries the dubious distinction of earning the lowest math grade in the history of the Ateneo High School. So Anj, I hope you’re also good in math.

2. You are marrying the world’s biggest cry baby. He’s more emotional than a woman who is having PMS. I would say he cries like a girl, but that would be an insult to girls. He cries at tv commercials and sad movies. I have seen him cry when girls dump him. He used to cry during swimming class when we were kids. Nowadays (and Anj can attest to this) he cries in the hospital when they have to stick a needle in him.

1. And the number 1 reason why we wish Anj all the luck in the world --- He has not one, or two, but three bossy, loud, cranky, OLDER sisters. And everyone knows that a sister-in-law is 10x worse than a mother-in-law, and now she has 3. So if that doesn’t merit her all the good luck in this room, I don’t know what will.

While he is not a prized catch, I must admit that my brother has redeeming qualities:

1. He is kind. And generous. To a fault.

2. He is funny. Sometimes even when he doesn’t mean to be.

3. He is loyal.

4. He is smart. Hopefully in all the right ways.

5. Most importantly he values family. And in the sum total of all things, that balances everything out. A man who values family, who puts family first before all things, is a very rare and precious man. And you should count yourself lucky for having found one in my brother.

Earlier I said that I am giving this speech tonight on behalf of our family because I’m the one who knows Epi best. To be honest, I am giving this speech on behalf of the two people who loved him the most, but could not be here tonight.

It was no secret growing up that my mom loved Epi the most, more than all of us girls combined. We never held it against either of them, because they always had a special bond. Plus it was kind of obvious that he was her favorite because when we were kids and my mom used to ration the M&Ms because they were hard to come by (for the benefit of those of you too young to know what PX goods are --- imported chocolates were hard to come by and were usually brought home by relatives from the States or bought in Cash and Carry), my mom would give each of us girls 10 M&Ms after dinner for dessert. And she would give him 20. And it was like that with everything, so medyo obvious diba?

Eps, she loved you so much. She loves you still. And while we argued about whether or not she could be here today, I know you understand that it would be too much for her, and it won’t be good for her health. But she is always with you, with us. Remember the M&Ms, the kisses good night, the hand that held yours through so many things in childhood and after --- and know that she is here with you now . And always.

And if Dad were here, well, who knows what he’d say? You think I’m funny? You should have met that guy. He might joke about the fact that you were the rascalliest of all his little rascals. He might kid about how different you two are from each other, and how much better looking he is than you.

I like to think that he would say, in a very simple way, how proud he is of you. Of the man you have become. He never gave up on you, and I believe that is why you never gave up on yourself. And I think it’s the most wonderful thing that even he, with all his love and hope and faith in you, could never have imagined how far you would get, and how much further you can still go.

And while he is no longer here, he still lives on. In you. In all of us. He can live forever, if we raise our children right. If you love you children the way he loved us. If you believe in them the way he believed in us. Then his legacy of what a great parent is and should be, will be continued, first by us, then our kids, so on and so forth. And that will be how he lives on.

If you could be half the father he was to Sophia and all your future kids, how lucky they will be. If you could be just as he was, they would be so blessed. And if you could be more than that, then Daddy would consider his life well lived. Because all he ever wanted from you, from all of us, was to be the best person you could be. And you are on your way to being that. You could be the man he always knew you would be. And that would make him so happy.

I know that he’s looking down at us right now from heaven, smoking his cigarette and drinking his scotch. And I know he’s telling everyone he’s with, with pride: That’s my boy, that’s my son.

I love you little brother, even though you still owe me P500 from 1998. You are the best brother a girl could ask for.

And Anj, I hope you like David Hasslehof. I hope you don’t mind being the one who turns off all the lights at night, since my brother is afraid of the dark. And I hope you like guinataang bayabas because that is the Titong national dish and we all have to like it.

We’re so happy to welcome you and Sophia to our family, the only family that makes the Addams family seem normal.

Congratulations to you both.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

If a Blogger Blogs But No One Reads It.....

Does the blog really exist?

Well so much for my New Year's resolution to keep this blog updated. Aside from that entry, this is the first one I have for the year.

I am prepared, however, with a list of excuses:

1. I don't have the time - who knew motherhood was such a busy job? For all working moms and dads who think that stay at home moms spend their days lying in bed, watching trash tv and eating bonbons ---- can I just tell you that there are days when I fantasize about going BACK to work, just so I can get some rest. Hahaha. Not only do I have to manage my household of 7, I am also the personal and social secretary of my husband and my children. If I am able to squeeze in time to get a haircut or a pedicure I consider myself blessed. Having time to eat by myself or just trawl about the malls is a luxury. So who the hell has the time to blog?

2. I don't have anything to write - my husband has already warned me about writing too many posts about him. We once had an argument about whether or not he can censure my blog, and believe me - it was a long, weird and tiring conversation. I also recently read an article about being careful about how much we blog about our kids and how we should realize they have a right to privacy too. Not that my 6 year old and my 9 month old particularly care (or know) what mommy is saying about them on the world wide web, but they wont be that age forever. I can see Pilar 10 years from now stumbling on one of my posts about a) her ability to channel Damien on a regular basis; b) her chronic constipation; c) her obsession with a boy named Hugo in school - and suing me for parental emancipation. Or royalties. Depends on how she grows up. So if I can't write about my husband or my kids, what the hell will I write about?

3. The laptop is such a hassle to boot and I can't blog from the iPad. Actually this is my excuse for buying a Macbook air, but hey - if I can hit 2 birds with one stone....

4. I wrote something but it got deleted - this happens more often than you think when your 6 year old knows how to work your Mac, but not necessarily the programs in it. Or when the 9 month old thinks its amusing to smear baby food on the trackpad.

5. I had an idea, but then I forgot what it was - there have been days when I've had quite a few ideas for posts. But these happen normally late at night when Excuse #3 rears its ugly head, and I have to weigh the benefits of the extra half hour of sleep I can get versus another post my 2 constant readers can enjoy. Sleep wins every time. Plus, having been anesthesized at least 6 times in as many years, I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, let alone what random thoughts were running through my mind at 2 in the morning.

But I do have so much to say, to share, to post in this great void of verbosity --- that oddly enough, every so often, gets "heard". I wish I just had the time, the words, the tools to do it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

My New Year's Resolutions (1st Draft)

I figured since 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, my year, I will, for the first time in a really long time, make some resolutions. (That's a lot of commas).

I will be realistic and reasonable, and not set myself up for defeat, by making them simple and easy to implement. I'm calling this my first draft since I will review them again at the end January and see if they really are as doable as I am assuming they are now. (You can take the girl out of the bank, but you can't take the process review out of the girl)

So here it is folks, my New Year's resolutions for 2011. May the force be with me.

1. I will love myself more - by losing 40 pounds and eating better, thus making myself healthier. I will exercise, diet, and give up soda, candy, ice cream and chocolate. I already feel sorry for the people who have to live with me. My incentive is that John promised if I hit my wedding weight ---- I can have a tummy tuck. And when has scary major cosmetic surgery not been attractive to anyone?

2. I will stop channeling Joan Crawford - and yelll at my kids less and hug them more. I will not stress Pilar out about school work, and I will let Livie eat the upholstery of random furniture (provided I can steam clean them before and after). I will strive to remember that my children are kids and are therefore supposed to act like kids, and will act like kids and I should cut them some slack. They are NOT tiny creatures from outerspace sent to torture me and stress me out until I die from a migraine-induced aneurysm. At least I hope they're not.

3. I will be more forgiving of people who are not as wonderful as I am.

4. I will stop gossiping about people. Correction. I will TRY to stop gossiping about people. Really. I will. Try that is.

5. I will try to reconnect with people who, once, meant a lot to me. And if it fizzles out I will accept that people change, people grow apart, and it's their bloody loss.

6. I will blog more frequently. Not because I honestly think anyone out there gives a damn, but because it gives me a chance to psychoanalyze myself and I am cheaper than a shrink.

7. I will be more honest- about myself, how I feel and what I really think about you.

8. Before I purchase anything I will run it through the new 4 way test: a) Do I need it or do I just want it? b) Can I afford it? c) Don't I already own this? (believe me, this happens more than you think) d)Am I just buying this because its on sale and I think it would be a waste if someone who isn't deserving winds up owning it instead of me?

9. I will declutter my life by purging with purpose and thought - unnecessary things and people.

10. I will accept that I am now mother and wife and that this will be my career for the next 2 years. I will stop wondering what if and what could be and just live in the now. I will try to be the best mother and wife that I can be and hopefully not get institutionalized in the process.

Love. Peace. Happiness. I have declared this to the universe and I claim it for myself.

Happy New Year everyone! :-)