Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Our lovely Ford truck, perfect in every way, had a flat tire in Interstate 35 yesterday on our way to the hospital in Minneapolis.

Ken had to very slowly maneuver his truck to the emergency lane, away from the ongoing traffic and park there to wait for help to come.

At first I wasn't worried because Ken is mechanically minded - till I realized that he wears a pacemaker. Oh uh.

I am sure you too are aware that car manufacturers of today uses air tools to tighten the lugs on a wheel, which make them near impossible to remove with a simple lug wretch provided with the car jack. The tight lug bolts provide a safety factor, but has made it almost impossible for someone to change his or her own tire. Especially someone with a pacemaker.

Interestingly, in a matter of seconds a highway patrol eases behind us to check on us and offer help. He said he can call a back-up that would replace the tire. By this time though, Ken is already on the phone talking to a Ford representative asking for roadside assistance. We gave them our location and within 20 minutes a truck turns up with a friendly mechanic driving it. He inspects the tire, open the back seat of our car to get the jack, remove the spare tire from the back of the truck, replaced the busted one and had Ken sign the service form and off we go.

The whole process only took about 15 minutes. We did not even leave our seats the whole time and we did not pay a thing!

This really amazes me because we don't have such road side services in the Philippines. If your car breaks down, or have a flat tire, or anything goes wrong, you can't expect that help will be on its way in a matter of minutes. Unless you call a relative or a friend. What will appear is the towing service who will ripped you off with exorbitant fee so you can get your car from their impounding area and then you can bring it to the mechanic.

So while we are speeding toward Faribault City, I was thinking, I would add this to the list of things I love about living in the US. In this day and age when I may encounter danger on this country's highways and biways, having the assurance that help is on the way in a matter of minutes is indeed very comforting.

Let's admit it. A car is a machine. This means, no matter how new and sophisticated it is, or how well maintained it is, there is always a chance of something going wrong with it.

Thank you America/Ford for the roadside assistance.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Finally got my license.

I drive to our local supermarket today - by myself!

Yes, I passed my road test last week on my first try. Woot, woot!

I never really pictured myself driving a car because just the thought of it scared me. I just couldn't do it. I was too nervous. I thought at my age, ha, ha, I was just too old to catch on.

But I live in a city that has no public transport, hence getting a driver's license is a must-have otherwise, I won't be able to go anywhere without asking someone to drive for me.

Yes, I knew the time had come and I was determined to pass the test; I just had no idea how I would do it.

Fortunately, Wells is a wonderful place to learn to drive with wide road and countrysides. Besides, I have Ken who is a very good teacher. I feel comfortable to make mistakes because I know he will not bite my head off if I do something ridiculous like reverse into a lamp post.

It was Dec. 2, a Friday when I took the test. When I got my schedule I was a little apprehensive because I know that it normally snow during this month. But on that particular day, the sun was bright and the sky clear. And snow had not fallen in this part of the state yet.

I practiced for weeks prior to my schedule. I am aware that i'll be tested for my basic skills of the road. So I was very mindful of fully stopping at the stop sign and also signaling properly before leaving and re-entering the parking lot. I also practiced to parallel park, and to do a three point turn. I made sure I practiced these two maneuvers the most days before my road test.

It paid off, because I managed to ace them both.

I could say that my road test was a very pleasant experience. The instructor was very nice and he made me feel at ease. I was calm, but alert. If I was nervous, I know I will be bound to make a mistake. But because I was relaxed, I allow things to just happen. I listened to my instructor, signalling when he asked me to turn left or right, stopped at stop signs, parked when he asked me to, and did the maneuvers.

When I eased my car at the parking lot, he said: "you did very well, you passed the test!"

I was so happy but only muttered a simple "thank you".

The next day, we had snow. Flakes would be the wrong word because, within minutes, the snow blanketed our entire neighborhood in a layer of white. Had it occurred yesterday it would be difficult to see where the lines of the road marked the two lanes and to think that I haven't driven in a snow laden road.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Not a very Black Friday.

I did expect that last Friday the shopping malls will be filled with shoppers who are trying to find great bargains. That people will fill up the highways, the parking lots and the check out lines. People who will fight over specific sale items just to get one. People who will push and shove others to be first in line. People who will trample others just trying to get into stores.

But to my surprise, the stores I went to don't have much shoppers. Or maybe because I got to the stores late in the afternoon when all those door busters prices they are offering are almost over. I was very glad though that those great deals I saw in newspapers ads were still available and I don't have to wake up early or stand in line to get them. Exciting!

I actually don't have a list of things to buy because Ken and I did our big shopping two days ago. We bought new appliances for our kitchen - refrigerator, gas stove and micro wave oven. We are also going to change our cabinet doors and kitchen counter to give our kitchen a total facelift.

But just the same, it is still a thrill to scour the aisle for cheap stuff and hunt for bargains.

So, would I go shopping again on Black Friday next year?

Hell, yes!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Another Thanksgiving day.

What are the things I am thankful for?


For such a simple question, the answer is many, simple and other times, complicated.

The first thing that would come to my mind is the love of Jesus. I have seen how His love work miracles in my life and I am grateful for that. He has been a source of constant strength for me.

I am also thankful for my family. Good or bad, my family helps to keep me centered. They help me remember who I am, and who I want to be. My family and I have been through some hard times. Like most other families, we also sometime don't always see eye to eye, but at the end of the day, we are there for each other. In there own special way, every single person in my family has been instrumental in shaping me into the person I am today and I thank them for that.

I am thankful for the times that I have been through and conquered, because they have made me into a stronger person. My life has been a long journey and along the way I have faced obstacles, road blocks and forks in the road that I have dealt with and I have learned from those choices I have made.

I am thankful for my health and the health of those who mean so much to me. I am most grateful for and most blessed by Ken with whom I share my love and laughter. A husband and friend who in his fierce loyalty and supportive love have always kept my heart full of joy and warmth.

So, no matter how dim or dull my surrounding seem right now because of the winter season, I have so much to be thankful for. All I have to do is look at what is right in front of me - Ken enjoying his bowl of popcorn!

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone.

Monday, October 24, 2011

No secrets.

Okay, so I have signed the offer letter last week. Yehey!

But with it, is also a consent form allowing the company to do background check on me. So basically, by signing the consent form, I also authorized my new employer to have access to my entire past.

This is new to me, because in my experience in hiring people I only counted on my gut instincts to hire new employees.

No background check being conducted.

But looking back with the problems I have with some of the sales personnels I hired, maybe I should have done this. However, it's not a common practice in the Philippines. And it cost money especially if you hire a third party to do it.

From what I have learned, here in the US, background check can be incredibly extensive and can go far beyond what any employer would reasonably need to know before hiring someone.

While I have nothing to hide, I am still a little apprehensive for any unpleasant surprises that may come up. This type of investigation does not simply confirms that I have no criminal record, but it could be much more than that. They can check up on anything from credit history, to books I read, to my relationship with my neighbors.

Or is that too extreme?

Anyway, I don't mind them checking on my employment history, because I know they just want to make sure that my job history in the resume I submitted is accurate and that I held the positions I stated I held.

Let's wait and see.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A very fruitful week.

Does anyone like job interviews? I don't.

I have been an interviewee in my long career, and I think I would never be completely comfortable sitting on the other side of the table. I see how people squirm in their seats, stutter and fumble while groping for answers to the questions. But living in a foreign country and knowing I need a job to survive, I know I will be subjected to this ritual whether I like it or not.

Two Fridays ago, I walked in at a manufacturing plant to ask if they are accepting job applicants. I was given an application form which I filled out. I don't know what position is open so I simply say " production related work". I also left the salary space blank, for the same reason.

An hour after I got home, the phone rang and it was the HR personnel of the company. She asked if I could come on Tuesday for an interview. I didn't expect a response so soon, so I frantically drafted a resume and search about the company in the net. The more I learned about the company the more excited I became because I realized this is where I will be most comfortable. It is a food manufacturing plant and it is considered among the leader in the global food industry. And wonderfully enough, the company is looking for a lead supervisor in one of their production line.

But the days and hour leading to the interview can be very stressful because I fear of not answering a question quite right. So I prepared for it.

I wrote down what I think would be a job description of the position I am applying for. I reflected on my experiences and how they match up with the job description. I wrote down what skills I have that made me qualified for the position. I also jotted down personal qualities that will make me stand out in the position. I even considered a trait I have that may be a drawback in the position and how I had improved on this area.

Tuesday morning I was ready.

Resume, check.

Attire, check.

Confidence, check.

WHAT?!! There is a test? A math test and it is timed? There's problem solving here, lady! And I cannot proceed to the interview if I can not pass this??!


Anyway, I passed the test. The interview took 2 hours because there were three managers who interviewed me separately. Ken could not believe I spent two hours inside the building because he said he saw about 5 Mexicans went in and out of the building in less than 5 minutes each.

The following day, the same HR personnel called me to asked if I could come on Friday for another interview with the plant manager. Now, this certainly gave me a good indication that I will probably land a job there.

So off I went again last Friday for another interview. It was the most pleasant interview I had. My experience with the first interview had given me a clear understanding on how to answer a potential question because when I look back at it, I wished I had answered some questions differently.

I left the office feeling fairly optimistic.

Today, I got another call.

The HR personnel asked me to come to the office to sign their offer sheet. NICE!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Autumnal display.

It's amazing how we had a very nice weather all week. Above 80 degrees in all seven days.


Yes, I'm jubilant because we rarely get this type of weather since September. But that doesn't keep my nervous twitch out because I know that this unusual nice weather is often followed by incredibly disgusting cold especially during this last quarter of the year.

Anyway, with sunshine blaring out its one last long cord before retreating to the trickle of winter, Ken decided we go to the Amish county to check out some furniture we could use in our living room. Sadly, when we got there there no were no one to see us because they have a funeral.

So, with so much time to kill and with no back up plan of the unforeseen snag , Ken decided to show me again the postcard-perfect autumnal color.

He drove towards Winona coasting along the Mississippi river.

It was breathtaking.

From inside the car, I have the view of the calm river to my right and the golden light pouring through the trees along the mountain to my left. I sat quietly while I marvel at the rich interplay of solemn browns, and brash yellow, the dash of crimson against the broad strokes of green. It stretches on and on from Winona to Wabasha to Lake City.

I couldn't help thinking how blessed I am to see this wonderful display of nature. There is nothing like this back in my country and I wish folks back home could see what i am seeing right now. This!

I silently thank Ken for such thoughtfulness knowing fully well that such a long drive will put a toll on his feet.

And indeed, he felt throbbing pain on his leg on our way back...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hot iron gone cold.

Early in life I have learned that washing and ironing one's own clothes is a part of life, the way brushing one's teeth is. I was taught early on that knowing how to iron clothes is a life skill and if nothing else, a necessity. We Filipinos take pride in our clean and well put appearance.

In fact, we wouldn't be caught wearing a wrinkled clothing even inside our homes.

So, imagine my surprise when I see household here in the US without an iron or ironing board in their homes. Most Americans wear creased clothing that is in dire need of ironing and yet no one give a hoot about it.

Wait, that's jumping forward.

Going back, I didn't actually get into ironing clothes when my boys were still growing up. We have a housemaid who do that for us. But when money become tight, and letting go of the house help seemed practical, I have to learn how to iron our own clothes.

Oh yes, it's a relief that irons have come a long way since the heavy cast iron monstrosities of days gone by. The one we use back in the province used charcoals to heat it. Thanks God, today we have electric irons that are time saving devices and also save me lot of effort. No wonder I find ironing very pleasant and I do it every Sunday morning after I am done with my house cleaning chores.

Yes, I like ironing. So lower you brows...please!

You see, ironing allows me time for reflection. It' is so easy to let my mind wander as I continue to work my way through the ironing pile. The simple rhythm and the soothing music relaxes me. Sundays is the best day because radio stations play old songs which really sets me in the mood.

BUT, living here in the US changed all that. It seems ironing is a task many Americans shy away from. People here go to church as if they are simply going to the supermarket. They wear shirts pulled out straight from the washing machines. Some don't even bother folding washed clothes but instead just throw them in piles on a bed.

I understand though why ironing is the last thing people here want to do after a long week of work. They have more pressing things to do on weekends like going fishing, or having a picnic, watch football games or go shopping than worry about such mundane things as ironing. Besides, everyone wears wrinkled clothes, so who cares?

So, I really don't know if I should be hopeful or scared with the thought that advancements in technology may further change the way we iron our clothes.

Maybe electric irons will become an ancient relic that we can admire and tell future children, "When I was your age..."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Laughing the gloom away.

I absolutely love to laugh.

I love laughing till my sides hurt. I love laughing so hard I have tears coming out of my eyes. I love laughing so hard I have to hold my mouth to stop laughing. I love not being able to stop laughing.

It's amazing.

Oh yes, there were instances I have to laugh at myself. In fact, that may be the healthiest form of humor - to be able to laugh at oneself. I admit that many times I do ridiculous things that beg laughter and Ken is always sharp to point it out to me and we both end up laughing about it.

Laughter does indeed make me feel good, and with the prospect of a cold boring day, I believe it can actually be the key to avoiding the anxiety I may otherwise feel when life becomes a bit dull.

It does help a lot to be around Ken who is funny, and has a great sense of humor because he know how to reach a deep part of myself that is almost child-like. It seems each day a positive good feeling lingers and leaves a smile on my face.

It somehow leaves me wondering how he does it when he feels poorly because of the constant pain on his legs due to diabetic neuropathy. But of course, I am thankful that he often makes me laugh.

So YES, humor really matters. I may have taken it for granted, but while I am writing this, I realize that life would be almost impossible without it.

It is this indispensable feeling that helps us forget the reality of everyday problems.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My American Dream.

It has been exactly a year and a half since I arrived in this country I acknowledged as THE most powerful country in the world. So as I sat in front of the PC tonight I thought of putting down in words my opinion of what the "American Dream" means to me.

I have long heard from other Filipinos who chose to live here that the United States offers boundless possibilities and opportunities. That regardless of one's past and previous circumstances, people can achieve their dream if they put in hard work. The fact that this exists, give me something to aim and strive for.

My standard of the American Dream however may differ from what most native Americans perceived it to be. Judging from what I see and hear in the news everyday, it seems their dream has become solely a struggle for wealth and possession. They want the most stylish clothes, the newest car, the best technology, and any other possession you might consider trendy. Obviously, it costs a lot of money to live this lifestyle that it left them in deep debt and make them unhappy.

I had lived a simple life, and so I have but simple dreams - that I will be able to go about my business without being harassed, that I can save money for the rainy days, that I can walk down the street in relative safety. Yeah, pretty simplistic, you say?

Not, if you have lived in a third world country.

Having a loving and understanding partner is essential to attaining this dream. As the pure joy of this dream is in the journey itself and a strong hand to hold on to when I get to a bumpy road.

I suppose part of me also wants the big house, the money, the cars and maybe the fame but when it comes right down to it, the only thing that truly matters to me is my husband. That's why it scares me when he gets ill!

So, does the American Dream exist? Its all here and it is all accessible.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ken's little annoyance.

Do you notice that nearly every conceivable situation carries with it the capacity to annoy?

I actually don't get annoyed very easily, but Ken has a short endurance to it. Maybe because he is in constant pain that any potential irritants can be be very annoying to him.

Talking to the phone annoys him, especially when it is an answering machine on the other end giving him instructions on what button to push to get to the utility department he need to get information from. It is doubly annoying to him to be put on hold because for 15 to 25 minutes he would blankly listen to dead air like some sort of simpleton. But nothing beats him for being annoyed when the person he was talking to, tell him she will call back but never did!

Then we end up calling an ambulance.

Wouldn't you be annoyed too when you finally get to the hospital and the first thing the doctor told you after examining your condition is that you may lose your leg? It is not only annoying but disturbing!

Then apologized for his wrong diagnosis - after two days. Annoying!!

My being too fussy on Ken at home also annoyed him. He said I treat him like a child. But how can I ignore the blood that continuously gush from his leg? I felt a relief when we finally went to see a doctor at the VA clinic - another source of agitation.

The doctor said Ken needed a vitamin K shot to thicken his blood. But guess what? They don't have it in the clinic so we were sent to urgent care at another hospital.

Darn, they call it urgent care when there is nothing urgent with how they do things there. First, it takes eon to finish the registration process. When we finally moved to another unit, the lady at the information told us that they have to bill Ken and not the VA despite Ken's telling her that it had been prearranged. She made us wait at the reception area while she stormed out to the registration. She came back apologetic saying she made a mistake. But she already annoyed Ken that he told me if they don't tend to him in 10 minutes he is walking out of there.

When we were called to enter the examining room, the doctor who saw us have no idea why he should give Ken vitamin K shot. He had to ask him questions about his medical history, and he has a loooong one that at some point it become exasperating to him. When he left the room we have to wait again while they confered with staff from the VA clinic. Annoying!

Today, Ken's foot is healing well. His temper? Well...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In support of a friend.

Are you guilty of passing judgement on someone?

I am.

I think it is human nature and a trait that can cause a lot of harm if we are not careful of how we judge. We all judge on a daily basis, sometimes unintentionally but nevertheless we judge.

As I look closely into myself, I realized I am guilty every day of passing some type of opinion on someone. And it can be a dangerous tool that I possess if my judging opinions are passed on to others, because judging can destroy other people's character and in the process I may hurt people that I don't even know.

Today I got a call from a friend that some people had been talking ill behind her back. I know her and it peeved me that people would say things by just looking at her photos without even knowing the story behind those pictures.

Life as we all know it, is a highly personal experience. We do not know the depth of an individual. We do not know their feelings, their thoughts, perceptions, and the internal conflict that they face on a daily basis. Their experiences are solely their own, and no one can judge their walk of life.

We are a species with an array of personality types. We are all individuals who have endured unique experiences and have overcome different life challenges. If we have never been faced with a similar circumstance or situation, then how are we to criticize another person's action and reaction to life?

I told her, as I would do in a given circumstance to just ignore those nasty comments. She should not give them a position to impose themselves on her especially if they are being rude or arrogant because they think they are better.

Have I been unfairly judged before? Many times. Thus, I know how it felt to be on the receiving end.

And I do not like it one bit.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Moving forward.

I believe that all of us are the product of our life's experiences. We are the character that has made us. We are what our childhood forced us to be. We are what our teenage experiences convinced us to be and we are what our adult life allowed us to be.

I don't mind what other people say about my life because only I own my life.

At the same breath, my life is always moving forward. We are always moving forward in life whether we acknowledge it or not. This is one constant that will never change.

And all is perfectly unfolding, and taking place in the right time, and in the right place.

I had chosen to move along with life even if in doing so I would hurt and disappoint some people. My decision had altered theirs, and it left a bad taste in their mouth. But sometime I have to set out my pursuit of something which never really was my objective to begin with. It so happen that half way down the road, opportunity present itself.

This is my one shot at life and I grabbed it.

I owe some people a lot of gratitude for the support they have given me in the past and I own that indebtedness. It is very sad that they do not understand the choice I had made even if it doesn't directly affect their life situation right now.

I cannot give up and spend the rest of my life grumbling about missed opportunities. Besides this is my life and I have to take charge and set out to achieve what will make me happy. The choice is all mine. I have no control over the past, but I still have the freedom to make choices for the future. I cannot wait for things to change on their own. I have to move them if I have to.

I regret having hurt the very people who I thought would be happy to see my life turn to the better. I hope they see my point of view. But I cannot dwell on negativity. Life is way too short to keep going down a negative road to nowhere.

If I fast forward to the last day of my life and I am in the last moments here on Earth and remember all the times I could have pursued an opportunity and chose not to for one reason or another. How would that make me feel?

Pretty rotten, huh?

Regret is the pain of realizing we could have done something and chose not to. There is no pain greater than the pain of regret.

Oh, just to make things clear, I did not have a baby or adopted one. This is just a photo taken last Sunday during Denica's christening ceremony.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Car show.

This has been an exciting day for me because Ken brought me to Iowa to see a car show!

Ok ok, you say, "what's fun with that?"

Let me explain...

Lets start from the Mecum Classic Car Auction show from cable channel that Ken love to watch.

You see, it also peaked my interest because I don't understand the logic on how so many people wanted to buy "old" cars. Oh, by the way, a classic car is a car that is at least 25 years old, still in mint condition and considered collectible item, or at least that's how I understand it. They really look stunning, but I know for a fact that these cars has no fuel efficiency, they don't have warranties and not better for the planet because of the smoke they emit.

BUT! and this is a big but, they have soul, charisma and the memories that go with it. So from that alone I can speculate why people love those cars from the 60's or early 50's. It was an era when cars had personality. So each Saturday night Ken and I would sit in our living room gawking at those wonderful cars on parade and watching people bid on them.

Yesterday he told me that there is a car show in Joice, Iowa, which is just an hour drive from Wells. He asked if I wanted to go check it out. Of course, I said YES!

Omg, I was already feeling giddy as soon as I saw numerous cars lining up the main street of the town. I even wanted Ken to park on the first open spot he could find, but he keeps driving around and I was getting restless! He finally saw one right across the local library. The reason he parked there is so he can use the building's toilet, haha!

another OMG!!!

Those cars on display there are very rare birds indeed. You never see them around anymore. The powerful machines along with its clean line would dwarf all the other cars on the road.

Yes, while it is true to say that a classic car does not have some of the more modern technology that most look for in a vehicle, they however more than made up for being part of automotive history.

Kudos to the owner of those cars who keep them in shape.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where are they?

I am saddened that most of those blogs I have followed had been dormant or had been deleted by the owner.

I know that anyone who writes reaches a point when it becomes difficult to continue. It could be writer's block or a writer's change of interest.

It happened to me a lot as well.

Life happens.

Things change.

But somehow my the blog remains. Blogging was never something I thought I would do. Come on, why would anyone want to read what I have to say about just random things?

Yet somehow writing a blog is like keeping a journal of my thoughts and feelings. It's similar to keeping a diary of sorts. It is a simple way of storing all the things that interest and excite me.

I admit I don't write as often as I use to but writing if I find a time, help me organize my ideas. And reading my old posts allow me to look at my life as a third party and not a participant.

I like reading other people's blog because their life also interest me. Besides I feel intimately close to them by being in the front seat in their life's journey. That's why seeing those blogs fold up is like losing a friend.

Hope you guys will come back and start writing again.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just another birthday!


I can't believe I'm almost half a century,
It happened awfully fast
They say I'll have 49 candles
But I know I'll just have a blast.

I'm not prone to dance and sing,
But I know I'll have a great time
Just think, I have so many memories
I can do it all again in my mind.

I'll celebrate in spite of my age
I'm happy to still be here,
I'm glad I can still walk, and talk
I've had a good long life, you hear?

My hair is not yet white, some wrinkles here and there
But they bring me respect and love
Getting old isn't as bad as you may think
I have blessings from Heaven above.

I have family who love me forever
No matter how old I get
And friends who still respect me
And I don't have a single regret.

So please don't feel sorry for me
I'll still have so many good times,
I have so much to be thankful for
I'm just glad to be forty nine.

The End

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm learning to drive!

Unlike most Americans, who were encouraged to learn to drive as soon as they could reach the pedals and stay behind the wheel (not necessarily sitting!), I didn't get the opportunity to start learning to drive until now - out of necessity.

I am forty eight years old.

You see, living in the Philippines without a car could never be described as a genuine inconvenience. If a bus was missed there would soon be another; or a jeepney, or a motorcycle with a side car we call tricycle or one could take the metro rail transit to just about anywhere in the Greater Metro Manila area, with no worries.

But where I live now, public transport disappear completely like some Bermuda triangle-like phenomenon whisking them away to another dimension.

A real problem. But the solution was easy - learn to drive!

Ok, since I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, I convinced myself I will pass the test. And sure enough with only four errors I acquired my permit and the right to drive with a licensed driver.

The first time I sat in front of the steering wheel I feel as if I could go into a panic attack. My breathing is shallow and my body stiff. But it helps to have a patient instructor like Ken beside me. He would patiently remind me to buckle up, adjust the seat and the mirrors before I start the car. I would drive about 50 miles per hour, which was pretty close to the speed limit in the country roads here. Ken however would keep telling me that I was going too slow and needed to speed up that's because he constantly monitor my speed!

I'm pretty certain I stalled my car on every street corner in my hometown the first time I went around it and Ken kept asking me to just drive him to the emergency room. But just to make this clear, Ken never appeared to get anxious or angry at any mistakes I made. We would cruise around wherever I pleased which made driving with him a lot of fun. Unlike a driving instructors, who I guess would generally give me specific directions when it came to what streets I could drive on.

Ken let me decide where I wanted to go. He was almost pleasant. Which is scary in its own way. Haha.

For now I dreaded the thought of driving in the city because I know I would be praying for streetlights to remain green for me - always.

Did I tell you I haven't practiced parking and backing up?

But with the State Government shutdown, it will be a while before I could get my road test and a driving license. I'll just cruise idly for now...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Addicted to pizza.

Am I a pizza lover?


At least that's what I thought, till Ken introduced me to bake-your own-pizza from this nice and cozy little shop buried in a city nearby.

Now, every Friday evening is pizza night and I love pizza as much or more than I do spaghetti and meatballs. Yes, you read it right, e v e r y f r i d ay.

Cost or travel doesn't matter as all our mind can think of is our date with a pie from heaven. It all started one Friday, months ago, when Ken asked me if I would like pizza for supper. I turned to him with a surprised look, because I never thought pizza could be anything but a snack food! But when I saw the large pie with all the toppings on it, I knew I won't have to slave in the kitchen that evening and there will be less dishes to wash, so I said YES without batting an eyelash.

I have had pizza before but I can only tell you that I really couldn't say enough about how good that first bite was, and stayed that way to the very last.

What's unique with this pizza is it is a "take and bake". They assemble our pizza while we watch and we can then take it home and bake it ourselves for that hot, fresh-baked taste.

But that's not all. I would always add more stuff to it before putting it in the oven. I'll sprinkle more green peppers, onions, mushrooms, pine apple tidbits and lots of cheese. Sometimes I would add meat around the dough so it won't burn as we would always order the thin crust.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Cheap treasures.

Talk about a treasure hunt?

Only one place will always come to my mind - thrift store!

Looking in thrift stores is an ultimate thrill. I always go in looking for anything cool, fun and edgy. Sure it can be a bit overwhelming seeing so many things all at once.

Yeah, I know any classy department store have the same effect, except this one doesn't make you spend more.

I would normally start at one rack and slowly work my way down the other. But who ever said that searching for treasure was easy?

But it become easier if I go with my favorite shopping buddy. I always go with my mom or our friend Linda. Of course it's not always that I find stuff I want, but there have been other times when I found the piece of my dreams. I found this one wallet which has never been use because it was still wrapped in its original paper and I have been looking for one where I can put all my cards and what-nots.

When I do find something I love, it is like it was waiting for me all along.

I can't wait for my next hunting expedition...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friends forever.

I know my blog had been dormant for a long while, sorry. But things had been very hectic here the past days. Fortunately it is settling down nicely hence I can again find time to write.

What happened today inspires me to start writing again.

You see, I just exchange messages today to an old pal I have not been in touch with for a very long time.

Someone from my town. Someone I've been friend with before I moved to the city.

Like most anyone, as I leave my old town to dive into my career and pursue the path to dream fulfillment, I also left my old friends behind in the dust for a while. Maybe it's because I met new friends that fit more readily into my new life.

But now I realize that somehow they are never good replacements for the ones I grew up with. They may have the ability to share a future full of laughter and fun with me, but they will never have the history that my old chums have with me.

Fortunately, there often comes a time when I and my old pals get back in touch with one another and rebuild the friendship. That's why I always like attending high school reunions. And there is one looming in 2013, yehey!

Indeed, it's amazing how my friends and I seem to understand what happened, so there is no need to apologize or explain. We can simply go on, picking up right where we left off years ago.

I am thankful that I remain friends with several of my own friends from youth, even though we had that typical break in the middle. For the most part, we live quite a distance from one another, but with the age of technology, we are able to keep in touch and continue the relationships with ease. An email every now and again goes a long way in letting them know that I am thinking of them and we keep each other abreast of what's going on our life. Whenever we do, we fall right back into the old patterns of the friendship and we never seem to miss a beat.

As we chat and catch up, retelling the stories of our childhoods together, I feel the freedom and the love that is only existent among old friends. Even if the days are busy, I still make the time to nurture these relationships in the simplest of ways.

I do this because they are the truly important ones.

And there is no greater reward than a dear, old friend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sealed and delivered.

I sent a Balikbayan box to my family last Sunday. Yehey!

But that's not the real cause of my jubilation. No no.

It's the sight of seeing Ken's puzzled face on how I was able to fit so many things inside a single box. He could not believe that those items he saw scattered on the floor in my room could be crammed inside the box.

Oh, unless you are a Filipino you probably don't have a clue what I'm talking about when I mention about a balikbayan box.

Okay, the word "balikbayan" is actually a combination word coined in the 1970s. "Balik" means to go back and "bayan" means home town or home country. So "balikbayan" is someone going back to their home country, but it only pertains to people going back to the Philippines.

Therefore the term "balikbayan box" refers to boxes shipped by Filipino overseas via cargo containers to there loved ones back home.

Mind you, it is a box that Filipinos eagerly awaits from family members, relatives or friends living overseas. The box contains from canned goods to clothes to shoes or any items requested from a Filipino recipient that can fit inside a Balikbayan box.

It is a good thing though that shipping boxes to the Philippines is much more economical than one might expect because there is no weight limit. I simply need to pack all I can get into a Balikbayan Box without ripping it off and ship it for one price! No extra cost.

You see the Balikbayan box has its social role and significance. Tied to it is the pride, joy, love, anticipation and hope of each balikbayan. I admit I want to put so much stuff inside because I want my boys and relatives to experience all that I saw, tasted, touched, smelled and felt in this country. And nothing would give me more joy than the excited ‘ohhs’ and ‘ahhs’ of those who will be present when they open the box.

Ken put his stamp on the box by carefully and meticulously tying it up so it will get there in good condition. Aside of course from sending all eleven pairs of his running shoes he had bought but never use inside the box.

Yes, the Balikbayan box is not an ordinary thing. It’s where you can find love, pride and joy – where else in the world can you find that in a box?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Being a Christian.

I guess it is safe to say that the national religion in this country is sports, not Christianity.

I say this because sadly when I enter the beautiful churches here I see just a few people along the pews during a service. But if I sit through an NFL games on a Sunday, I see the stadium packed to the rafters.

Philippines is predominantly a Catholic country. I know.

That's why I noticed the difference of how Lent is celebrated here in the US. If I am back in my country I will be among those women who go around the subdivision reciting the passion of the cross. My house will be among one of the 14 stations, hence there will be table outside my gate with candles and crucifix. I will abstain from eating meat starting on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. I will ask my children to give up something during the observance of the Holy week, like not using their cellphones as an important part of repentance and renewal.

Also this is the time of solemn reflections.

And my thoughts tell me that what was true in the days when Jesus actually walked the earth is still true today. Men and women still hurt one another. I still ask the huge "why" questions and demand answers. Life continues to be a mystery to me and I want answers that science can't find. I still need to know that there is something greater than myself and I know for a fact that it's not the Internet. I need to be assured that I go somewhere when I die. I need to know that someone cares for me when it seems no human does.

I'm old enough to have suffered some very reals pains in life and I have felt and known the comfort that can only come from God. I've had some very extremely lonely moments in life and have experienced the presence of someone greater who carried me through those dark moments.

I don't go to church very often becoz here I need to drive to go there and I can't drive just yet. But my faith and belief in God grow stronger.

I am a Christian. And for me, it is strong and vibrant and alive.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pray it won't happen to movies as well.

If your life is a Reality TV, would you watch it?

I know I have talked about this subject in my previous post. But the trend toward reality shows is disturbing to me.

At first it was fascinating. Throw together a few regular people and watch them interact.

But it's grown into something else entirely!

Singers and dancers aren't real anymore. They're the results of television polls. I see half naked club kids in hot tubs. Person pitted against person for money and not an honest game of trivia. Now it's backstabbing and arguing that make the big bucks. There's a show about rich brats having birthday parties. Of families swapping wives so the world can watch them traumatize the children.

These shows basically promote the worst behavior in people. Lie, cheat & steal for money. Where does it end?

Do viewers watch tv now to see people in public mental collapse? Or do networks programmed us to descend into this state?

When did we as a society decide that filming a group of people arguing, hooking up, and throwing fits was a good substitute for a television series with a script, a plot, and some substance?

I agree that sometimes it's fun to just kick back and laugh at something stupid someone said or did. Besides, real people were so much more interesting to watch. We could identify with them. They looked like us! No glamour or make up, just real people.

That was then...

Now, instead of these 'real" people we could identify with, it's buff men and women in bikini or tight shirts strutting there butts and tits in our living room screen.

Even Reality TV has become Hollywood...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring has sprung!

Ahhh, Spring.

The sun today is strong enough that I can feel it's healing warmth deep within my skin as I sat in the car on my way to work.

As his usual, Ken took the lake route today thus giving me a peek at the new wildlife making its way into the open. We saw among other things five eagles perched on the tree along the lake. The ducks and geese swimming and resting after a tedious flight from I don't know where. All I see are flocks of them flying in from every directions.

The birds are chirping and it seem to me that the snow is already a distant memory as green grass and trees will soon be ready to burst forth their glorious shade of green.

I saw chickadees flitter around on one tree, bluejays bop in and out of sight, crows fly overhead and the sparrows seem to take such utter pleasure doing what they do best, singing.

This is beauty.

This is peace and tranquility.

This is one of those moments that sustain me through the long winter days and nights and I am so grateful that even with all of life's up and downs, twists and turns, I am able to see the beauty of a new life and truly appreciate all that IS around me.

There is a newness of life in the Spring air. I can smell it and hear it in the sounds of the birds that have returned.

This is one of my Forever Moments.

So I will watch and enjoy this moment for as long as it remains as it is right now. I am sure there are many things I would be doing today.

But those can wait. This will not.

Tomorrow it will not be the same. Tomorrow the colors will be just a bit more mature. The birds melody will be slightly different as different birds flit in and out of this one place on earth and the left over snow may melt overnight.

So, there I was inside the car with Ken sitting quietly while watching National Geographic from the car's window.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Goodbye Papang.

It was my dad's funeral yesterday. I wasn't there to see him laid to rest.

But I am there in spirit.

My father died peacefully on Wednesday morning - Philippine time. When I received the news I didn't feel sad but was rather relieved that finally his sufferings is over. I just prayed that the Lord will give him safe passage to heaven.

Having been diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer my father was immediately resigned to the fact that he was going to die. He opted not to go under the knife, no chemotherapy, no medicines, but rather chose to spend the little strength he has left with the family. At that point it was just a matter of taking care of himself.

Aside from my aunt Ellie and my uncle Butch my sister Nenet assume primary care responsibility for him during this painful time. They were nurturing, patience and pretty much give my dad whatever time he has left to be about what he wanted. Maybe these, and his desire to live to see how his children, his grandchildren and the rest of the family is faring day in and day out had allowed him to live for four years after the diagnosis.

But as the final weeks and days went by, the father has become the baby. My sister has to spoon fed him and has to bring him to the bathroom. Eventually, he lost his appetite for food, he became so frail and weak that it is painful to watch his strength slipping away. The truth is, it become more and more difficult to watch the struggle for life when we knew death would bring final release.

When he drew his last breath, I am certain he wasn't alone. My brother was there waiting with outstretch hand. They are once again reunited in death and that in itself is a gift.

My father was, and will always be, a hero in my eyes. He did not accomplish great deeds. His name will not be found in the history books.

He was just my Dad.

And I will miss him terribly.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This ain't fashion.

Unless I am a contestant in "Dancing with the Star", my sprained wrist is unlikely to make any headlines.

And to think that I am not even aware that I had sprained it!

Really, I don't remember falling down or reflexively extended my arm to brace against the impact. I just woke up one day with a throbbing pain in my wrist every time I twist it or put pressure on it.

And it's been two weeks now. Darn.

But the good thing is, the area doesn't swell. It has no skin discoloration. I have been taking Ibuprofen for the pain and I had started wearing this wrap that Ken had bought to prevent my wrist from twisting and so far it helps.

Any idea what this is?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Toy for the big boy.

Thank you all for wishing Ken to get well.

And get well he did!

He went last Wednesday to St. James Hospital for a check up and came home with a new car.

Now I am worried that something is wrong with his brain...

You see, his other car is only two years old, and it's also a Ford F150!

Okey, I got it. This ones interior is so fashionable that I think never before has so much luxury been extended into such a useful vehicle. And while both car has option to Ford Sync with navigation, and also an electronic work-helper function that can keep track of tools, jobs and calculate miles driven etc., this one has a camera at the back and the overhead mirror turns into a screen when you change gear to reverse.

But the real winner is the Box Side Steps which you can pull out from the rear and sides on this truck cargo bed. They give us a step to stand onto and down on as we are accessing the cargo area.

Why did no one think of this before?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just another crazy day.

I am relatively lazy today. I lounges all day and watched TV.

But there is a reason for it.

I did not sleep until 4 am last night because I watched over Ken who is running a temperature. He felt really miserable and weak. He complained of headache, fatigue, chills, ache and pain all over.

I keep changing the thermostat because he complained its very cold even when he has two blankets on top of him. Then he complained its hot so I have to adjust the thermostat again.

There is nothing much we can do but let the virus run its own course. He doze off and on and I made sure the glass beside him is filled with water or juice. I knew he needed lots of liquid to flush the toxin away. The only setback is that he had to get up to pee and he hated it.

He slept all through the day today and it was good because sleeping is so healing and helped his immune system to go to work. At around four in the afternoon while Ken was still asleep I stood up from my fetal position in the couch and head to the bathroom. My head is starting to pound from too much NFL and I decided I needed a bath.

But not just a simple bath. I want to submerge myself in hot water mix with air that will provide me a massaging effect. And so I run water in the whirlpool and just lay there with eyes closed while I listen to music from my mp3.

But alas, something had to spoil my moment. My mp3 plunged into the bubbling water and got wet!

Next scene: Me still in towel, with a hair dryer trying to dry the gadget. Until now my mp3 would not function yet. Ugh!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Our little corner.

Ken has a laptop. I have a desk top computer.

Ken don't find it necessary to buy a computer table because he can just open his laptop and use it anywhere he pleases. In fact, whenever I use it, I just sit on a reclining chair and put it in my lap and tinker away or sit cross legged on the bed while playing MW.

But I do need to use my computer because he hates it when I sign off and forgot to put his account back on. So we decided to buy a computer table for my computer.

If you think that a computer desk is a simple thing to purchase, then let me tell you it's NOT!

Ok, I thought I only need a flat surface where I can put my computer on. A simple table would be fine because my computer has flat screen with wireless keyboard and mouse. No box.

But no no! Ken thought otherwise.

He said a good table should last at least several years, so if I picked the wrong one, I'll be sitting at my mistake for a long time. He said an expensive desk may be worth the extra cost if it will last a long time and provides ample space for everything I need.

So last Saturday we went to the city to find a good desk. He said if we can't find anything there we can ask someone to build one for us.

So search we did. We went from store to store and the two main types of computer table that we found in stores are wooden desks and metal/glass desks. They all come in a variety of shapes and styles and every one is unique and can be used for a wide range of purposes.

Actually making the decision as to whether to opt for a wooden computer desk or a metal computer desk was easy. Before we went hunting for that one table, we are in the consensus to go for the wooden one because it blended well with the decor and colour scheme of the room where we wanted it.

But of course, fine wooden computer desks are naturally much more expensive than basic metal ones, but we think the price is worth it considering the fact that we are adding it to the furniture and decoration of the living room as well as being used as an office space where Ken can do his paper works.

When it was delivered today and seeing how it transformed the room, we knew we made the right choice.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Time slips away.

It's 2011. Just like that. In a blink of an eye.

Is the time getting faster as I get older? Or am I simply too old to keep pace with time?

I don’t know about you but I would give anything for more days when nothing has been planned for the majority of it. When I would wake up from a deep sleep and strolled into the kitchen to get a coffee and then assume a very comfortable position in my favorite chair and sip the coffee s l o w l y.

But of course, this doesn't happen much as like most of you I go through life racing from place to place and moment to moment. There is never a shortage of things that need to be done, things I can‘t wait to be done with. Yes, I seem to be always racing against the clock as soon as I wake up.

Today is Rodney's birthday (my mom's husband). He is pushing 76 and as I write this I was thinking that the average life span is in the mid seventies and we all know the many obstacles that can make that number even smaller. I am not 50 yet but I know that the older I get the faster the time seems to fade away.

Therefore, I vow not to rush time away any faster than it will go on it’s own. I would like to be able to look back and say : “Wow I really lived a full life and made a ton of memories". Not, “Gosh it all went so fast and non stop that I don’t remember much of it".

So now I'll enjoy the long route to work each day and watch the wildlife and not read a book. I'll snuggle next to Ken to watch Gun Smoke/Wagon Train and not get crazy about leveling up in Mafia Wars. I'll leave the bed unmade on weekends so I could go back and get extra sleep or just keep warm under the blanket while reading my book. I will not worry about ironing clothes on Sundays as those shirts are hidden under layers of jackets anyway.

Yeah, I know. Life was never meant to be easy.

It just takes time to realize it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Quite quiet.

Did this year start with a bang?

Actually, I did not even realized that it was already midnight because there were no churchbells ringing, no fire crackers ruling the sky, no clanging of old pots and pans, no blowing of car horns, no kids blowing toy trumpets.

Nothing. In fact, the silence is deafening.

And then I realize I am in another country. The only "bang, bang!" heard is the one coming from the tv as Ken is watching his favorite tv series Gun Smoke in black and white glory.

It is truly a very different New year's celebration here. Americans don't have the same beliefs and practices like we Filipinos do. Most think that it is just a celebration of one second moving to the next second, one day to next day. It's not a birthday, not an occasion that won't happen again and is perhaps not a great loss to miss.

Indeed it doesn't seem to matter that much, and they're just grateful when they see the dawn of a new year.

So I spent the night watching tv and when my auntie in NY called, I opened the laptop and sat cross legged on the bed to chat with her and other relatives on Skype. Its like transporting myself back in my country as I listened to them squeal and laugh and told me how their celebration went.

Over all it was a good New Year's eve without a massive clean up the next day, although I did get a massive headache for lack of sleep.


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