Friday, December 24, 2010

Thank you 2010.


Here it comes again. The time of the year when I take stock and say my thanks for the blessings and everything else I experienced this year.

So here are the few things I am grateful for:

As always, I will be thankful for the three children that I raised. They are a large part of who I am today. They made me a better person and the love they provided had sustained me through countless battles in life.

I am thankful for my mother. I just adore her cooking although I wish she wouldn't put too much food on my plate. Yes, we are very different people but there is a special bond between us. Also, she made my stay here in the US very pleasant and stress free.

I am thankful that my father is still with us despite his illness. He isn't as strong as he used to be but I treasure those few times I was able talk to him.

I am very grateful for my brother who made my trip here possible. He did not only spent for my fare and application fees, but also made sure that I visited the tourist destinations while I was in California.

I am thankful for meeting AA in person. He is one of the select few I met online who remained very special to me. Finally seeing him in person, talking to him while looking in his eyes, and hearing his voice added a whole new dimension to our friendship.

I had one wish though - I wish I would meet Sid in person as well. Someday. Maybe, someday.

Meeting Ken this year is like a non-conventional fairy tale. He is charming, funny, and very thoughtful. Ours is a whirlwind relationship. He proposed to me only after three months of having known me. I am thankful for having a new future to look forward to. One with the promise of love safety, and happiness. He treated me with respect and love. I am thankful for him being the man that he is, and the love that he offers.

I am thankful being in a foreign country, away from all the people I used to know because I learned how to cope with being broke. I learn how to make do with my lot in life, and how to treasure those little treats which don't cost the earth.

I’m also truly thankful for the little things in life - sunny day, the rain, the snow, the traffic-free roads, the tranquil scenery, the wild life, the smiles on peoples faces, sitting on the couch with a warm fuzzy blanket on winter nights while watching a good western movie.

While it might seem like I need a lot to be happy in life, there really are only a few things that I need in order to get by.

In short, this has been a good year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Real Bambis.


Do you like watching deer? I do.

I grew up in a country where "bambi" only exist in book. So seeing a real deer fascinates me.

Each day on my way to work, I would crane my neck looking for a single deer or hope to see two or three. But sometimes I get lucky and see a large herd of deer crossing the road. Bucks, does, fawns, walking and running.

You see, since it started to snow Ken had been the one driving me to and from work. We enjoyed the scenery during the early mornings. We would leave home early so we can take a different route each time. Most of the time we would take the gravel road and as expected, it always seemed like we were the only ones out-and-about. Sure, now and then we would encounter another vehicle, but the timing gave us the road almost to ourselves.

Sitting inside the car on a foggy morning and seeing a family of beautiful deer out in the field is truly a beautiful sight. But of course Ken is acutely aware that a deer may jump into our path from the brush and trees. So he drove slow and always anticipating an encounter with one or more of these fur covered friends.

Sometimes we don't see them, but we know they're there. When we see a deer or group of deer moving toward the road, he would slow down the speed of the car and proceed with caution and also to give us time to watch them.

Like most cities in Minnesota, deer hunting is encouraged here. But even if this saddened me, I know that the deer population has to be controlled as their overabundance could destroy farmlands or wreak havoc in the area that they are at.

As with any area that has many deer, people here also get frustrated with the deer jumping out in front of vehicles and causing accidents or cause damage to a car. In the same way that a hunter can kill a deer, a deer has plenty of ways of killing a hunter.

But whatever their fate, the beauty of seeing these real "Bambis", however briefly, were etched in my mind forever.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Christmas present.


While reading book has always been a favorite pastime for me, the style of reading has changed these days.

We now have electronic books!

The first time I saw Amazon's Kindle was in April when I first got here. I was in awe at the Kindle display there but I cannot afford it, so I just went to searched for Dan Brown's The lost Symbol in hard bound copy.

But guess what?

Ken gave me as a Christmas present, the Nook.

Oh my gosh, this is even better with its two separate screens. That makes it quite unique because the bottom portion of the screen is a full color screen with multi-touch display, while the upper screen is a monochrome e-ink display, just like the Kindle’s. I also like the fact that this device is specifically designed to read books designed by a company which specializes in books.

He even bought a case for it too.

Thank you so much, Ken!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Music of my life.


I have been listening to music.

Nothing unusual about that. Except that I have been listening to music of the 50's, 60's and the 70's. And I am downloading them into my mp3(at least the last two)so I can listen to them over and over.

When I was a teenager, the melody alone was enough for me to like a song, get on the dance floor and the rest took care of itself. But as I grew up I realized something - the songs seem to reflect what was happening in my life at the time, or had happened at some point in the past. Like falling in love, splitting up, heartache, pleasant surprises, death, all featured in my life and in the songs I listened too. There wasn't a particular song that stood out, but more a realization that the words actually meant something, if only I could be bothered to listen.

I actually knew the words to songs, not just dance to the music. When I had a boyfriend, then split up, I would find a song to fit the mood. When I had a new crush I would find a new song to be happy. When death occurred in the family, then there were a whole hit parade full of songs to fit the occasion. The Beatles, Bread, Queen, Bee Gees, Eagles, all wrote songs I could relate too. Also solo artist like Manilow, Streisand, Stevens, Richie, Dion who have voices as rich as their lyrics.

But the majority of today's sounds, I'm not too sure if its music anymore because it doesn't have anything to say to me. I don't relate to it at all.

But I still know a good song when I hear one.

PS: I wasn't born during the 50's but I want to listen to Ken's music and appreciate the tune of this era.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Brrrr ...cold!


We had another snowfall yesterday.

The thought of seeing snow fall excites me no need when I was still in Manila. Oh yes, the sight continue to marvel me but the experience of actually living with snow doesn't.

First, because it's miserably cold!

Yes, even when the season has charm, it doesn't charm me as much as refraining from freezing my bones. Besides, after several days when the snow freezes, they become obstructive and filthy. I also do not like the slap of a strong cold wind on my face, frostbiting my ears and especially, chapping my lips. The last one is most uncomfortable.

As a result I have to bundle up like an Eskimo to spend a few minutes outdoors. I also have to constantly keep my hands covered with gloves, which is pretty an obstruction if I need to use my hand constantly. My feet also get soaked from walking through snow and ice. Hence paired with the cold air outside, my feet would turn numbed. I also worry about slipping on my bottom on the ice... AGAIN!

Add to that are the terrible gray days which occured all too often. The clouds covered the precious few hours of daylight, therefore the rest of the time, it's pitch dark outside.

The saving grace for me is the holiday feel around town when all the Christmas lights starts to twinkle.

Yeah, I could feel the magic in the air...but so is the cold looking for any way it can find to creep beneath my clothes and pierce right through until I am brittle to the bone.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ready for Christmas.


Even in a small town like Wells, I give kudos to the good ol' country folk in this town for an amazing job decorating their houses for the holidays. These people couldn't care less about what the neighbors think. Obviously, they couldn't also care less that their power bill for this month and the next is more than their car payment.

I love watching the well lit houses that Ken even promised to bring me to the big city where houses are completely covered in colored lights.

But to my horror I discovered that there is no Christmas tree to decorate at Ken's house(perhaps he didn't find it necessary as he has been living alone for the past seven years). No christmas wreath or lights to put out in the porch. So I spent days browbeating him to buy an artificial tree because decorating for Christmas is perhaps the greatest time of the year for me. I like putting up christmas decor and with all the snow around here, this is going to be a real white christmas for me.

So finally last Saturday, or the day after Black Friday he relented to shop for the Christmas tree at Target. As expected those pre-lit trees at a bargain are out of stock so we settle for a 7ft. unlit tree and bought 2000 lights and ornaments.

As soon as we got home, I started unpacking and went to work. I am so excited that I can't wait another day to put it up. While I was fluffing out the branches of the un-lit tree, Ken settled down in the couch to watch me finish assembling it. It didn't take me long and when I’m done putting all the ornaments in place on the tree, Ken turn on the tree lights and turn off the living room lights.

We sit on the couch to admire his beautiful little Christmas tree ...

We are ready for Christmas and whatever it brings.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving and Black friday.


After the summer, fall and winter comes another first. Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Thanksgiving:
If the roasted pig takes center stage on the dinner table in the Philippines during holidays, here in the US it is the roasted turkey that get the spotlight. Oh well it doesn't taste as good as the squealer, but I like the way it is presented on the table. And like Tracey's mom, my mother love cooking too, and yesterday she buried herself in the kitchen whipping different pies and other dessert aside from cooking three more supporting dishes to go with the holiday star.

Yeah, yeah. I over ate as I just throw caution in the wind and stopped counting the quantities. But at least this put a smile in my mom's face!

But the true meaning of this holiday they say is to be able to give thanks for all the blessings that came our way. I could not count mine for there were so many.

And that alone is a lot to be thankful for. Amen.


Black Friday:
This day like it's predecessor gets plenty of news coverage. For days television and print media is bombarded with ads about these big deals that stores are offering. Door busters? What's that?

Okay I get it. I have to be standing in line in the cold to be among the first to get in the store to avail of those knockout deals.

Knock out and busted. Yeah right!

I don't see the logic why stores have to open their doors at such goofy hours as 3am! Getting up the day after Thanksgiving at some ungodly hour can be very brutal especially if the temperature outside is 12 degrees F. So me, Linda and Frank decided not to sleep at all by playing Chinese madjong till three in the morning. I don't know if it was a right decision, because I wasn't feeling uppity going around the stores with eyes half closed.

I am not a super shopper by any stretch of the imagination but I do like to save money. And besides I just wanted to see first hand what's the fuss about and why is there so much frenzy about this day. Also Ken was generous enough to give me shopping money(yay!), but put his foot down about going with me. Good decision.

I did not buy any of the "door busters" items as you can see from the photos above. What I got are just ordinary things which I need in the house but are sold by a few dollars less than their original price. So is going shopping at dawn in freezing temperature worth it? NO!

Now I can say that Black Friday is a modern day treasure hunt. It is the one day where ordinary shopping become a competition. So, never again.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Imagine if there is no computer...


So here I am sitting in front of my PC at past 10 pm. Again.

I guess I could say that I lived here. Seriously.

Hmmm...let me see. I moved here about 7 years ago. I liked it, that for a while I decided to settle down here permanently. It started with chat rooms. I was completely fascinated with the idea of sharing ideas with people from all over the world. Unfortunately, that simply isn't what you'll find in most chat rooms. For the most part its lonely singles, looking for love in all the wrong places. So I would jump from one chat room to the next, looking for anybody with something interesting to talk about. It was almost magical to actually find someone who could hold a conversation that wasn't about my bra size or what kind of undergarments I prefer.

My fascination with chat rooms lasted for 2 years but by then I have enough friends in my yahoo messenger list whom I talked to in a regular basis. I could spend hours and hours typing away on my keyboard. Even spending most of my waking hours on the computer up until I cannot hold my eyes open any longer.

Then Ray introduced me to IMVU where I can create my own virtual world. I get addicted trying to get the coolest item and sprucing my beach house, my space ship, my pad or my apartment in NYC. It's here where I met Sid.

But pretty soon I got bored with that also because by then I had started reading blogs and I got hooked on it that I decided to write a blog too. Now, I am not just sharing my life, my thoughts, my fears and dreams to a single person but to anyone who cares to read.

And then I have Facebook. All the other social sites pale in comparison as FB gave me a lot more, thus demanding more of my time. I have a farm to tend and upgrading my farm and crops seems to be my real life goal for a while. Then my kids taught me how to be a tough mafia that I even beat them in scores and level. I had given up farming now as I find the organized crime world more interesting, haha!

Alas, they don't call the Internet the information super highway for the heck of it. If I want to learn something new, all I have to do is type in a keyword and do search. The other week I got four Pashmina from my auntie which I don't know how to wear. So I Google it and found a video teaching me the different ways to wear it. Easy!

I search songs and download them in my mp3, I read the news, watch video and even movies in my computer. The PC makes it possible for me to be entertained and not ever leave the house.

Am I addicted to computer?

What about you?

Friday, November 19, 2010

See what I got!


Flowers aren't something most men go out and buy every day.

I know, because for the life of me, I don't remember getting a single stemmed rose much less a bouquet from J while we were together!

Therefore it surprises me no end that Ken fully understands the importance of using flowers as a tool for effective communication. I mean he doesn't need to verbalize in words certain moments when simple words are just not enough.

Funny, but I could not believe that receiving flowers for no apparent reason can be a thrill. Reeeeally! Maybe because it made me realize that someone is thinking of me. And believe me, flowers do brighten up the day. Also because I know that he had taken an extra step to make it so.

Oh well, no matter what the reason is, I will always appreciate the gesture that brought me a lovely bouquet of different colored roses. I don't even need to know what these color stands for (I read somewhere that the color of roses have meanings). As long as it made me feel good to receive nature's beauty.

Loved and appreciated, who could ask for more?

Monday, November 15, 2010

My first snow.


The weather news declare that we will have snow fall in the evening.

I didn't know winter will arrive so soon here in Minnesota. But I guess as soon as the leaves changes its color and the air gets crispier by the day, then snow isn't far behind.

Am I excited? Of course! I am eager to see what the surroundings will look like the next day but I am not crazy excited. So fast forward.

It was past 8 am when I woke up and opened my bedroom window and saw blanket of snow in the yard... and as far as my eyes can see! Snow glorious snow. The beauty of the surrounding is absolutely breathtaking. The way the snow glistens or the sparkle of frost first thing in the morning. There is nothing like a good snowfall that make the dreary brown landscape come to life.

I went outside, and I felt the crunch. The sound that snow makes when it's fluffy and fresh and sparkly, and I am the first one to walk on it! I also felt the sharpness of the air, so clean and so crisp that I can see it when I breathe, going in like mint and out like smoke.

But maybe I am the only one excited of seeing it because I heard my mom mumbling under her breath about shoveling another 4 feet of snow away from the garage and then make a path towards the deck.

At 9:30 Ken picked me up and gave me a tour of the town. I find a great deal of delight in the quick accumulation of the soft white blanket covering the sidewalks and yards. From the car window I watched the snow plow thundering down the street pushing the accumulated snow off to the side of the road.

I guess only in winter can one truly appreciate the value of having a home to live in. Why not? A nice warm home is fabulous after a long winter walk. You see while Ken watches a show on tv, I went out and walk around the block. My ears hurt and my feet were cold, but it's all worth it when I enter the house and began to thaw out.

However, this same snow did not allow my mom to watch the Pacquiao - Margarito boxing match at eight that evening because the gravel road that lead to town is deep with it that driving on it can be very tricky.

But that is another story.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The girl who kept me awake.


Finally!

I am done reading all three of Stieg Larsson's books. The story is truly captivating that I stayed up late for several nights till early mornings as I just can't seem to put the book down.

Yeah, I know that a movie version of this book is in the works but I still believe that it won't be nearly as superior as the paperback version. While movies can certainly stimulate my imagination, reading this book do so much more and do so more effectively.

Through reading the book, I am forced to create my own image from the author's words. Larsson's description of the way Lisbeth and Mikael and the rest of the character look, the expanse of the landscape, or the sound of their voices is already created in my mind which may be different from what the movie will create.

Of course, these images and ideas I created is largely based, as is anything, on my own understanding and interests as a reader. I know that in the movie, my imagination is not needed, and the visual image that accompanies the story is provided for me and the visual impact of the story is not based in any way on my own understanding of the scene.

But the experience of creating my own visual image and using my imagination, makes reading exciting!

It's the ability to personalized and to have a dialogue with the book that made the difference. It allows my own logic and creativity to be used, and for me to grow as I read. It is an experience that cannot be achieved by simply watching someone else's vision.

But am I still excited to see the film?

You bet! As I wanted to see if the actors will live up to my interpretation even if the movie version will never live up to the original strength of the written book.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Crazy over football?


It's like Manila all over again.

Much llike when Manny Pacquiao has a boxing fight, every Filipino is glued on their tv screen watching the fight. It is the same here in Minnesota when the Viking is playing. Football is like a blockbuster movie here where the purple team plays the hero while all the other football team is the villain.

You can just feel the excitement and pride of Minnesotans when their team won the other day because when Ken and I went out to have dinner after the game, sixty percent of the people in the restaurant are donning their Viking shirt. It's like a symbol of greatness for the city it represent. But of course when the team were losing, I bet, they are just as fast to bury their shirt in their closet!

And long after the game is over, people are still talking about it like its a national debate - should Brett Favre retire this year? Should the team owner fire the head coach even when they won their last game? What did Randy Moss do or did not do to be axed from the team?

I really don't understand the game. For me, it's kind of barbaric the way the players hit each other. This game lack politeness as both team fiercely defend their territory and violently tackle those who would encroach. Back and forth they struggle towards a goal. The scoring team pushes forward while the other team keep ground. Maybe it's just me, but I don't get a thrill watching big bruisers with over flowing testosterone repeatedly bashing into each other, all in the deceivingly simple pursuit of moving the oblong brown ball from one side of the field to the other.

Yet, in the end, I enjoy watching football for the simple reason that I enjoy it! Maybe it's just an opportunity to take an interest in something lighthearted, inconsequential, and just plain fun.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Summer or winter?


Oh my god! I know I won't be walking in winter wonderland as I just found proof that hell had actually frozen over here in Minnesota!!!

Oh no, I don't have any vision of gliding over crystalline powder of snow. I've been miserably cold and it's not even winter yet!!!

The cold I am experiencing now is a little daunting, but add a cruel wind chill to that and it become a survival challenge for me. And for the past three days, it's been windy that the Fall felt much colder than the dead of winter.

I know I have said in my previous post how I hate summer. But darn, I'm missing it already!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

YES!


The only things I need in life are air, water and food. Or so I think.

Well I do know I don't need a diamond ring. But then Ken gave me one to make the engagement valid not only for the world to see but also for me to know that he is truly going to go forth with the commitment of marriage. We are forging a life together. Which mean I will no longer be alone because we will stand strong as a united front against the world.

When something bad would happen in my life he is the only person that I would turn to, and I know that he felt the same way.

When I saw the ring, it was like- Wow! This is real!

Ok, I'll be honest. He made me picked the ring. But I have never gone through the process before, and I find it insane to have to wear daily something so expensive! I knew I won't be able to wear such jewelry in Manila or I'll get my finger cut off if a robber sees it. No one wear a genuine jewelry in the streets of Manila for fear of being robbed or worst, die of it.

So, what do I do? As far as I am concern, this ring symbolizes a lifetime of unconditional, and immeasurable love. I can't compare a lifetime of love to the size of the diamond. The quality of love is priceless.

However, they do say a diamond symbolizes forever. That is why I got a diamond engagement ring when he pops the big proposal and I know this is a gift I will cherish for the rest of my life.

How did he proposed? It was very sweet and a very "his" type of proposal.

I had always thought one had to get engaged in a fancy restaurant or in a very special place for the couple. But no, he pops the question while we are seated inside the car while driving around town aimlessly.

Oh well, I now know that its still just as special if you get engaged sitting in the car in front of fields of corn and beans!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Boys to men.


Let me make this clear. I have nothing against men. I love the men in my life - my sons. Sometimes though, they puzzled me. They seem to live right on the borders of common sense, logic and deductive reasoning.

I have always wanted a son. I prayed and prayed for a baby boy when I found out I would be blessed with new life. Oh, I was so happy when they placed my precious little man in my arms. But it wasn't long after that beautiful moment that he peed all over me. And I soon found out that baby boys pee on their mothers often. As soon as you wise up and figure out how to shield yourself, they begin to master projectile vomiting! I was totally unprepared to see my infant child play out a scene from the Exorcist.

Thank goodness they outgrow it.

No, that's a lie. I just lied to you. They do not outgrow it, they perfected it!

It's not long before they are no longer content to pee on you, the parent. They often choose to pee anywhere and everywhere. When they graduate from diapers to big boy pants their target of choice is the toilet seat, the wall behind the toilet or the floor around it and sometimes the dog.

As my boys mature, they do not always seem to understand the necessity of clean clothing. If allowed, they will wear the same socks for a week. Pants and shirts that emit low odor vapors are still acceptable to them. They will wear jeans that show off their skivvies and consider the undergarment as simply a patch covering the hole from the inside.

Of course, they care about their appearance that's why they use deodorant beneath a less than fresh shirt. They trim their fingernails and toenails, leaving the clippings wherever they may fall, and they will wipe the crumbs from their shirt before leaving the table. Again, leaving them where they fall.

Another irritating thing is that my three boys leave their shoes anywhere and it is certain that if I am there, I will trip over them. My sister complained that when they finally decided a garment is no longer wearable they will deposit it on the floor just a few feet away from the hamper. I get an earful from my sister about how fast my boys pile up soiled clothes and how messy their room is. But what can I do? I am thousand of miles away and I could not bitch at them?

But hey, what would me and my sister talk about if the world where perfect? We need my boys to keep us entertained. I give birth to them, I love them, I tolerate them and I thank God for them. (Wait till mama comes home)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A picture-book, no more.


This to me is the magical time of the year - Autumn. First, because I seem to be happier. Maybe because it is not too hot, and not too cold during the day. I dreaded night time though because then the temperature falls dramatically.

However, along with the temperature change also came a flurry of activities. The farmers are busy putting in their harvest of corn and soybeans and all along the sides of the roads you will see the left overs of the process of harvest. Then comes a splash of new color here and there. A little red here, a little orange there, and yellows everywhere. The new colors trigger the thoughts and puts me in a different frame of mind. For some reason, I forgot about my fear of winter because the beautiful scenery has become the main attraction.

I am very happy when Ken took me last Monday on a long road trip to the northern part of Minnesota so I can see the burst of colors. They say the color of the leaves there are peaking so fast that if we blink we may miss it. So off we go, without much of a plan as to where the road will take us. He just thought we should go to Duluth and just follow nature's trail from there.

It was a sight to behold! Nature's palette definitely had a designer. Oranges, from burnt-orange to orange-yellow. Yellows, from buttery-yellow to butterscotch. Brick-red, fire-red, and brown. Then there is the generous amounts of copper, bronze, and gold which can make any man feel rich. The colors are so rich, in fact, that they become too rich for the tree, hence they shed them.

From the car my eyes feasted on the drifting beauty before me. I hum a tune as the car coast along lakes, rivers and mountains all displaying festivities of color. The green seems out of place, but I guess being admonished by the proud yellows for not yet being in costume. Today, we found ourselves coasting along a motorized-deserted road. It seems nature just did a show for only the two of us! It was breath-taking at the same time amazing at how one can get an adrenalin rush just by watching as simple as the turning of the leaves.

I hope that you too can grab the front seat to this awesome show. Take a minute to look out from your window as this beauty will soon fade into obscurity.

Oh, let me mention that we were pleasantly surprise to find a little cozy bistro in Rush City that served very good food. And to top it, they got mango frosty which gave me a taste of home. Perfect!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Watch out! She's PMSing!


I know, people around me cringe during this time of the month. This is the period where I lost self control that lead to rages. I say things that I have to apologize later. I snap at people when I am in pain and being bothered.

But you see, I feel utterly miserable!

For three days now I feel bloated, I have constant cramps, I feel lazy and irritable and depressed. So today, I just sat on the computer and kill,kill, kill! Yes, I had a killing spree in NY and Moscow bringing my total body count to 2,768 and I looted properties in Las Vegas. Boy, I had such an adrenalin rush that I almost forgot I am PMSing.

Oh yes, I need distraction from the cramps as the periodic pains drives me nuts! But darn, this is something I deal with every single month. It totally takes over my body. A bit like an alien possession, once a month.

Of course, I blame Eve! If she hadn't eaten that damn apple, things may have been different! Even my cat hides from me at times like this. I must have tried nearly everything to stop it happening, but still ended up nearly killing everyone in sight (at least only in Mafia Wars).

Ok, I'm calm.... I am breathing deeply... counting one, two, three, four, five...

Arrrrgh!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A letter to my son.



Dearest Tido,

My sweet first-born child Tido, you made me a mother when I honestly had no idea what I was doing. Oh yes, it was with you that I dipped my toes into motherhood always testing the water unsure if I was harming you or helping.

You know that I constantly worry about you and your younger siblings especially because I am not there to look after your welfare. But after talking to you last night on Skype, I know that inspite of my doubts, I can rely on you to face up to life challenges. I may not be with you physically now but always bear in mind that I always think what is best for you.



Hey, it is your birthday today. Wow, my eldest son had just turned 26! What you don’t understand about birthdays and what I haven’t told you is that when you are twenty six, you are also twenty five and twenty two and eighteen and ten and five and one. When you wake up today, don’t expect to feel twenty six because you won’t. You open your eyes and feel everything’s just like yesterday, only it is today.

And you don’t feel 26 at all. You feel you’re still twenty five. And you are underneath the year that makes you twenty five. Like today you might say something stupid and that’s the part of you still thirteen. Or maybe you still sleep with the blanket up to your head because you are scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. Yes, you don’t feel twenty six. Not right away. It takes a few day, weeks even, sometimes even months. And you don’t feel smart 26 not until you’re almost twenty seven.


Son, no matter where your life takes you, always remember this: Life is not about you, or your clothes, your shoes, your hairstyle, not even your pimples. It’s not about the people you know, or the things you have. It’s not your diploma, or the places you have been to. Life is about love, of pain, compassion and happiness. It is about knowing how to deal with circumstances. It is about touching other people’s lives and making an impact. It is about making mistakes and learning from it.

So it is with this renewed happiness that I wish you a happy twenty sixth birthday. Know that I, your brothers and everyone in the clan love you even more than we ever could have thought possible.

much love,
Mama

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gearing up for winter.


Like any first timers who come to the US, I dreaded the coming of winter because of the cold weather it brings, yet I also get excited with the thought that I will finally see snow flakes falling from the sky. It will soon be fall, which means winter is just around the corner. Exciting!

As I said before in my previous post, I really am not a fan of summer because it brings a more hectic lifestyle - with vacations, swimming, hiking and everybody soaking in the sun rays in one form or another. However, winter I think is more peaceful as there will be fewer people congregating. I believe people during this time are more cozy in their homes, wrapped in their blankets, in front of their fireplaces, drinking hot chocolate. Oh why not? It would be a nice respite from the roasting sun and high humidity of the long summer solstice.

And now as I look around the never ending fields of corns and beans, I could almost picture out the stunning beauty of the snow as it seemingly goes on forever across my frozen field of view.

Of course, I ready myself for its coming. I already bought winter clothes although its a bit disappointing when you get to a store and they don't display their winter jackets yet. But well, I did get a few and I am excited with the thoughts of strolling through the stores and streets clad in multicolored layers of winter clothing, adorned with scarves and topped off with usually ebony-colored gloves, hahaha.

Above are what I have. Jackets, coat, bonnets, a scarf, a winter boots, and mittens. I have flannel sleep wear and blankets. Did I miss something else?

Hmmp, don't say a warm body to curl up with, because it is not on sale in department stores. Duh!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ray of sunshine ( sigh!).


The day started nice and cool. But later in the afternoon it was raining heavily with strong gusty winds with warning of tornados. And like the sudden change of the weather, as I journey through life, I experience happiness in varying degrees, depending mostly on how I perceive things and my emotional state. Of course, I also accept that happiness is fleeting, and that I may not stay happy all the time. Therefore I appreciate the good times all the more, and I don't take them for granted.

Yesterday was a very special day. I am glad that there are people who wants to cheer me up. They take time to keep my mind active and persuaded me to do something I never would have thought possible. It is especially heart warming when someone tried to make an effort to make me feel special and important and shower me with gifts.

Friends and family are also my source of joy therefore I don't neglect them. We talk as often as we can - thanks to skype and oovoo because even when they are in other parts of the globe I still get to talk to them everyday. It's good that my cousin Babette discover oovoo. It is amazing as the medium allows us to have conferences at the same time see everyone on cam, unlike skype that only let you use the cam on a one-on-one chat. We giggle and laugh and share stories as if there's no distance between us.

Add to that is the knowledge that America voted Michael Grimm in AGT last night. I was gripping my seat as the result is being announced and I let out a shout of joy upon hearing his name.

I guess its true what they say that essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Who's got talent?


I was just done watching America's Got Talent. It's now the finals where only four contestants are vying for the title and the 1M grand price.

Honestly, I never watched this show when I was still in Manila because the first time I watched it I wasn't impressed. The title of the show itself seem to be stretching the imagination somewhat as I watched contestants with spirit but with little aptitude to entertain. It's like seeing an act on a street which won't even merit a second look.

I don't understand why millions of viewers tune in to watch people who are hopelessly lacking in talent, make a complete fool of themselves in their quest for fame and fortune.

But my mom had asked me to sit with her to watch the show and I can honestly say I got hooked on it. I am entertained by complete unknowns! The program showcase a mixture of acts that range from excellent to awful. And I see massive talent with every kind of act you can think of, represented.

As usual, I cheered for the underdog and in this case, Michael Grimm. I hope he gets his wish tomorrow ... and mine too!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Unfinished, untitled.


It's Sunday.

The day started with me slowly waking up to the sound of mom's footsteps downstairs. Instead of getting up, I pulled the blanket over my arm and curled my body in a fetal position. I shivered a little. I am cold. I am awake. I am lonely. I am scared.

Lying in bed, I contemplated on the events of the past days, months... I acknowledged that I am getting older, heavier and less attractive. The odds of growing old alone gets higher by pounds, wrinkles and years.

There was a time when I had someone to have breakfast with. He stayed in my life for a short time. He was a good man and it felt right. I let him in and for a while it seemed, my luck had changed.

Then, he changed his mind and went away. I was left asking myself where I failed.

I was happy to have someone to curl up with at night, someone to cook, to talk, to laugh with... It still hurts to remember those times when he would come up behind me and hug me tight while I am at the sink washing the dishes.

I started to cry. I couldn't stop no matter how hard I try. I pressed my face on my pillow wanting to go back to sleep. This new day had nothing new to offer me.

Dreaming sounded so much better...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A ride of a lifetime.


The weather is very nice today, not too hot and not too cold. It's perfect for a bike ride!

Ken had been waiting all this time for this perfect weather and when it finally came, he did not hesitate calling me to inform me that he will pick me up after dinner (which he really meant after lunch)for a tour around the county.

Of course, I am just seated at the back. But I know the feel of being in control of the motorcycle and its a heady stuff. I have a small scooter back in the Philippines which I would take out at night to drive around the subdivision. I can still remember the rush that comes from a quick twist of my wrist. The blast of the wind serves as a direct feedback.

But this ride is different. There is almost nothing that compares to motoring along a smooth stretch of curvy back road devoid of cars, pedestrians and other things non-motorcycle. Ken has a good grip of the bike and he is a very good driver.

The road is so clear and smooth that I can't help feeling a sense of adventure that comes from gliding effortlessly through long sweeping curves. I can feel the adrenaline rush as we safely negotiates a series of turns, then accelerate smoothly into straightways. And as we drove through a stretch of lonely cornfields, my senses become keener and awareness of my surroundings become more acute.

It's hard to explain this to non-riders, but just sitting in the saddle of a bike actually RELAXES me! Put another way: there is simply no time for stress, because I am too busy riding and enjoying the experience.

A Harley ride is like having freedom that no car or drug can replace. Try it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer isn't my favorite time of the year.


There always seem to be a problem wherever one chose to live. I thought it would be nice to settle in the US because of the cold weather. But as soon as I got here, I realized that I can not stand the cold. It was too much for a tropic girl like me. I was gritting my teeth as soon as I stepped out of the cold California air. It was funny because three weeks after I got here ,I was still shopping for jackets while most people are already buying summer clothes.

So I thought maybe summer will be better. Lo and behold it did come and so did the mosquitoes and flies and every other bugs. It was hot, it was humid and there seems to be a daily thunderstorm watch. There were days when it gets oppressively hot that even when I was from a country where the sun is up most year round, the summer here was way too hot for me. My skin which is basically brown had turned darker and it itches. I was never this dark before even when I exposed myself to our hot eastern sun. Here when you combined humidity and heat, the temperature felt much greater than it actually was.

And we reside like a gazillion miles away from a shoreline, thus we are stuck with the lake. But the lakes here are not clean to dip into because all the pesticides and whatever it is farmers sprayed on their crops went into the lake. Oh yes, the lakes are quite beautiful as they have trees and grasses and wild flowers and I bet the water is cool because they stay frozen for months - IF YOU DON'T MIND THE BUGS!

Another reason I don't like summer is because I can not wear a swimsuit. I am not built like those other women who can flaunt there body in a bathing suit. I know I don't look pretty in them. Seriously!

I just can't wait for Fall, or will I be surprised again?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Look what I got!


I missed my cats back in Manila and it really broke my heart when I learned from my neighbor there that my mother cat Stray had died just two weeks after I left. She said my cat would stay outside looking out on the road. Maybe, hoping that any time I would appear or that any of the boys would. She didn't really gave me the detail of how my cat died, and I wouldn't want to hear of it because I just can not bear the thought of her dying knowing that we had abandoned her.

So, I was kind of ecstatic when I saw an abandoned kitty in one of the barns here in the farm. When I first saw the gray and white fluffy kitty, she was nervous and fearful. She would look at me, but would run as soon as I made a slight move towards her. So everyday, I would go to the barn and offer her treats and kind words. I would put the food closer to me to try to get her close. She would come to the food and even ate it while I look on, but a tiny movement would drove her scampering away again.

It was two weeks of her getting use to my presence in the barn when I was finally able to touch her. She did not only allow me to pet her, but she also brushed her body on my legs and arms. Although I knew she was born totally wild, she warmed up to me. I was even surprised that when I left the barn she was right behind me, following me as I walked towards the house.

Since then, she would wait for me at the deck for her food and she now sleeps at the garage.


On rare occasions that she would come inside the house, I would let her come to my room and lay beside me. She is such a cutie and she is very playful. She followed me everywhere, and even helped me when I worked in the garden.


I named her after my other cat Inee although Ray called her Smokey.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Serenity around me.


I have been living in an urban area most of my life, and to be honest, I am tired of it. 27 years of living in Manila, which hasn't really changed much during my time there.

I thought I was a city girl. But now that I live in a small town, I was surprised that I do enjoy my time here more that I hate the thought of going back home to all that polluted city air and noise. What I liked the most about my stay in Wells, is the fresh air and vast green fields that I woke up to in the mornings. Not to mention that life here is simpler and laid back. I love the serenity around me.

I do dream that one day, I will get my chance to live in one of those beautiful country homes, with ivy growing around the front door and a small garden at the back where I can grow crops.

I just went for a ride along the countryside today with Ken and I was surprised at how small the towns here that there was one with just a population of 120! The town looked so peaceful and serene that I wonder why people would chose to live in the chaotic city! From that trip, we plan of traveling next time on his big bike and enjoy the rush of cool breeze on our skin rather than be confined in the car.

I'll shoot some more pics, next time ok?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'm back!


Wow! I got a new follower even when it felt like eon the last time I posted something here.

Indeed, it is nice to know that the world is still watching me. And that there are still people out there who are interested to read my blog or that people are sharing my thoughts and emotion.

Thank you Pam, for telling me that you liked my page even when I know that sometimes I don't make sense, haha. Now, you just got me into blogging again!!

Of course, I like writing because it helped me keep track of my life. Writing down my thoughts allowed me to share my joy, my pride and feelings with you guys, even when I don't know who's going to read it or how it will help you.

Many times when I read my old posts it made me wonder what made me happy a year ago. It's like a reflection of my life... Do you also get that? Reading them made me realized that I do exist!

Yeah, I know Tracey that blogging can be addictive - you write almost everyday, remember? Maybe because blogging has become a playground of our emotions. It allowed us the freedom of expression. And the fun part was that nobody here has the right to tell us how to write, when to write and what to write.

So, be ready for my return....

Now, where do I start????

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Phew!



I am finally connected!!!

Excitedly, I logged in and want to download or is it upload some photos? I have so many things to say but I don't know where to start. I keep typing and deleting my words. I have changed the topic several times... too many things in my mind.

My heart is beating fast or is it dragging? I don't know but I am aware of the heavy breathing, the sighs, the numbing pain. I have to stop.

Don't worry I will be back soon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm leaving on a jet plane...



I know I have not updated my post... I still haven't uploaded those pics I took during my home coming. But these are very crazy days. I have a million and one things to do plus an incident that left me thanking the Lord that I am still alive and safe.

I am leaving tomorrow, so maybe my next post will have to be written in my brother's living room in LA. I hope you will all be here when I return to blogland.

Till then...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another home coming.


Gah, I am so dumb with gadgets. I was tinkering with my camera trying to upload photos I had taken during my trip to the province but I don’t know how. So I have to wait for my son Benjie to do it for me. I will share them with you on my next post, ok?

The last time I went home was to attend the burial of my Auntie Sophie last year. This time around we will celebrate her first year death anniversary but sans the tears as we intend to celebrate her life. Also my coming home falls right smack into our town fiesta celebration. And as expected the photo above showed a very common scene during any town fiestas anywhere all over the Philippines where the humble Lechon (roasted pig on bamboo poles) is always the star in every gatherings. Why? Because it’s simply yummy..!!!

You see, fiesta celebration in this part of the country is truly a display of hospitality to the highest level! My ancestral home was spruced up weeks before the affair to make it more homey for us balikbayans or people abroad coming home. It is during this time that clans came together in a family reunion, and where we have the chance to meet old friends and new acquaintances.

Going around the town, I see makeshift stores covering a long stretch of street which was close to traffic so I presumed that probably two or more weeks before the fiesta, these makeshift stores and night-life establishments had started moving in from other towns and provinces. In my four days stay there its worth mentioning that I had the most fun meeting up with friends and enjoying the sumptuous food served in every corner of the town. But it was the reunion with kins that mattered the most. Exchanged of stories doesn’t seem to end and the ancestral home is filled with laughter and so much glee.

I left the party at around 2pm as the gastronomic festivities started to simmer and the games are just about to begin. But I have a plane to catch so I bade everyone goodbye with my heart filled with gladness that I was able to create such wonderful moments with them.

Next stop – America. And I am filled with excitement...!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I love you.


When was the last time someone told you “I love you.”?

Oh, I can easily recalled when, and it was just yesterday afternoon and it was just what I needed to hear.

No, it did not come from Mr. J, and I don’t expect to hear such words from him. Neither could I utter the same words to him.

Ok, brace yourself Randy because this is another of those "negative" post, hahaha.

You see, when I got married, I was "in love", so to speak. But that only gets me so far in real life. Having married relatively soon after I began dating Mr J, I had not had a chance to developed that enduring, active love that gets me through the hard times. And boy, how they came, as they always do! And I was totally unprepared to meet them and overcome them together. Instead, we withdrew from each other during the most difficult times.

With three kids and a jobless husband, life has become very challenging for me. I focused my energy and attention in keeping the family afloat while he hit the bottle. I certainly had no idea what to do with him. When we needed each other the most, we each found ourselves alone.

We went on that way for quite some time, living completely separate lives under the same roof. We barely spoke and when we did, it couldn't have been more surface and bland. The "I love yous" turned into obligatory words, said as infrequently as possible. Eventually, it was like pulling teeth to get one out of me. We became more like strangers to one another than husband and wife. In fact, we really didn't even much like each other, let alone have any of the "in love" feelings or the love we had then never developed at all.

It came at a point where I couldn't keep running away. I have two options. I could give up on him and end the marriage or put in time and hard work to rebuild the relationship. I chose the former. And I couldn’t feel more relieved.

Today, there are multiple people in my life that I love in similar and different ways - as friends, family, lover and I try to tell each of them how I feel. The L word has become less frightening as I find it easy to say maybe because I’ve become more appreciative of my own ability to love. I’ve also come to recognize that feeling love for someone is a wonderful thing and that the people I love are very precious.

How about you, when was the last time you say I love you to someone or heard someone say the L words to you?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Things I sometimes take for granted.


By now you all know that I am going home next week, specifically on the 18th. I have not visited Sagay for two years now and I am excited to see my dad again and the rest of the kins.

As I was packing things, ( I’am packing more things than usual because of my trip to the US which will be on the 31st), I realized that there are many things in my life which I take for granted but I know I would find it impossible to live without them. I am not talking about food and clean water, but some things which, although I could technically live without, would hardly make my life worth living in its current comfort.

The first is my family. My sons had given me love and comfort and a joy I could never imagine and never want to imagine being without. Whether it's being at home with them all day or coming back to them after a day out at work. They are the most special to me.

Then there's my other family which includes my dad and mom, my sister and brother, aunties and uncles and cousins. Of course they don’t live with me but they are always on the end of the phone, or at the background trying to make my life secure and happy. So, in different ways I'd find life without the love of my family really difficult and lonely but I suppose it's because we're so close and comfortable with each other that I take them for granted. I just wish I was more thoughtful around them.

Then there’s the internet. After being on broadband for so long, it will be so difficult and quite annoying not to have one. You see, the internet is such an addictive thing and without it, there's no email and a complete lack of communication. Okay, it's not quite that bad but sometimes it's as though the internet is the beginning and end of life for me whether it's me writing my blog, playing games, chatting to friends, watching videos... it’s just unthinkable what life would be without it!

Another thing is the mobile phone. I keep it close by 24/7 - even when I go to bed! Although I rarely use my cellphone, the calls and text messages sent to me are important and I want to be able to respond to them immediately.

And as I look around the house I see ordinary things like a cooker, kettle, fridge and iron making my life so much easier. And as for microwaves, they hardly need mentioning. Now, I feel so guilty about taking everything for granted I'm overcome with emotion!

How about you? What are those things you take for granted but cannot live without?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's a risky business.


Yes, all of us have a comfort zone where we feel safe and secure … and it's nice. I have that niche too. But if I don't venture out of this cozy little box of mine, I think I will definitely have some regrets later in life.

I know I can not go back and relive my teen years, my 20s, 30s etc. They're over, and there's no going back, no rewind button!

But you see, I have things I want to do that for a while I am scared of doing - things that to some (this include Sid, and Ray) seem impossible, silly or just impractical. Their minds can think of a million logical reasons why what I want do is just not a good idea. And I understand their apprehensions. However, these "logical" thinking can also hold me back from trying new things, of stepping out and taking risks.

I am aware that risk taking is scary. It brings with it an element of the unknown. Especially in my case as I don't know what is going to happen, or how things are going to work out, or whether it will fail or succeed.

But that's part of the fun guys, if you really think about it. If I already know what the outcome was going to be, there will be no challenge as there is nothing to push me towards it.

I know that not all risks will turn out the way I want them to. You see, I have taken many risks that have completely bombed. But the good thing about that is that I know I tried. I can look back and say that wasn't for me, or I won't do that again, but I will have no regrets. One of the scariest thoughts for me is to think that when I'm older I will look back and have a bunch of regrets. I don't want to feel that I missed out on chances or opportunities all because I was too afraid to try something.

Whether I fail or succeed I will have peace of mind knowing I have tried. I won't be left wondering what if...

So sit back, fasten your seat belt, and take the journey with me!

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