Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Better safe than sorry.

We are still experiencing sub-zero temperatures. Then came the rain.

As expected, the early morning news is flooded with car accidents in many places due to icy road. I shrugged my shoulders and told myself, nothing will happen to me on my way to work. I will just have to drive extra slow because the roads were icy and slick. I was determined to leave early to give me ample time to get there. I would get to work and put in my 8 hours, then drive home and make supper, watch TV and go to bed.

Everything seemed fine.

Or so I think.

But as soon as I got on the road I realized that getting from home to work can be a problem. The entire road surface for miles is glazed due to the freezing rain that it is pretty well impossible to drive safely on it. I am driving a ford explorer, an SUV with 4x4. Does this offer me any safety?


As I eased my car on an icy road I can feel my four wheels slip on ice just the same as two. So I drove very slowly, about 20mph wondering how long it would take me to get to my destination. If I ever get there! At the back of my head, I can hear a voice telling me to go back and just give up attempting at all. It is a Sunday. I was alone on the road and up ahead the road appeared dark and wet with a dull shine to it.

I was already off Easton when I tried depressing my brake to see if it work but it just skid through. It was so slippery that I could not feel any traction between my wheel and the road. What if I lose control of the car and ran into the ditch?


Yes, I survived my first accident, but the thought of it happening to me once more is very unpleasant. I can still remember the telltale drift of my car accompanied by the sickening feeling in my stomach as I realize I have no steering control. I steered in the direction of the skid, but it has no effect. Seemingly in slow motion, my car turns left and right, spinning out of control, helpless. When I saw it heading towards the ditch, all I can hope is for it to land upright. And it did!. Heart pounding, it took me three minutes to calm down enough to call my husband on my cell phone.

My senses tells me that even if I get to work, coming home in the dark of the night in the same road condition would be extremely hazardous to negotiate. This layer of ice between my tires and the road can take a severe turn for the worse. Four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, two-wheel drive, it doesn't matter. This black ice is a killer and it could kill me faster than I can imagine.

I am still a long way from Delevan and another 8 miles from there to Winnebago. I cannot take that risk. I finally eased into an open curve and slowly turn my car towards home. I can call my supervisor and tell her I cannot come in and I'm sure she will understand.

Driving home, I feel better. I feel safe.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This week it seems that hell had actually frozen over here in Minnesota!!!

I am miserably cold.

The cold I am experiencing now is a little daunting, add to that wind chill and it becomes a survival challenge for me. Minnesota winters, as anyone who's lived through one can testify, are tough.

I am forced to wear flannel pajamas and sleep under a thick comforter. And if I misplace my fuzzy slippers, the trek to the bathroom turns into an icy expedition. I hate the icy winds that freezes my fingers and cause my nose to run non stop. Because of the cold I cannot gain access to my car unless I am red faced and gasping for breath, especially coming out from my workplace. This extreme cold turn the simple process of getting into my automobile an obstacle course that is physically exhausting.

Not only do temperatures often fall below zero, but if it snow, there is a drive way one has to clear. It's a dreaded time of year for anyone who owns a shovel and has a back that hasn't yet been professionally diagnosed as "strained."

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

Monday, January 21, 2013

How it use to be.

I grew up in a family where entertainment meant playing and running outside the house. There are trees to climb, fishes to scoop up from a running canal, tiny rocks, twigs and leaves to toy around, strong winds to fly our kites with and many other things that are not electronic.

We do not have television. Not that it wasn't around yet, but it's a luxury that only the rich can afford and we are not rich. I only get to watch shows on tv when one was installed in our town plaza. The whole town will gather there every evening that it became like a social event. Old and young alike would crowd around a 20 by 18 inches box to be enthralled for 2 to 3 hours of pure entertainment. There are animated talks before the show starts, then hushed silence fell as soon as the black and white screen flickers. I remember hearing laughter and cheering and booing depending on what happened to the main character or the villain of the show we are watching. Honestly, I really don't understand most of the conversation of an English show because I was just starting to learn the language then. But I clearly remember the warmth and joy this boxy component had brought to our town.

Why do I remember all this?

Because I would sit down with Ken everyday in our living room to watch reruns of classic tv shows. These tv show that I remember having glimpsed but did not fully understand as a kid reminds me of the things I used to know - good old family values and memories of an era gone by.

These old TV shows have a way of taking me back in time to a place where in my mind I still yearn to be. Innocent as lambs, where people owned up to their faults and apologized to one another when they wronged their fellow man. Remembering the old TV shows engulfs me into places in my mind that make me feel nostalgic and lonely.

Hearing that famous opening theme music of MASH, I have to admit that I felt some goose bumps and got a little nostalgic for the 70s. I also start to like watching Gun Smoke. Matt Dillon, Miss Kitty , Chester, Doc Adams and Festus stream into our home every day and it introduced me to the Wild West. Bonanza has good family values, no crude humor, and good almost always overcoming bad and the Cartwright sons always stood by each other.

I understand the conversation now, and I applaud the excellently-written, superbly-acted, with sly, off-color humor blended together scripts. These shows are still quite enjoyable to watch even today and that was what I discovered when I started watching some episodes of MASH. In a world gone mad, The Andy Griffith Show make me recall a time when things were much more human. Treating one another with a kindness that is truly genuine is a lost art in society today and often looked upon as old fashioned or even just plain silly.

Enjoying the classics is as close as I can get to a world that has passed me by and as long as I am graced with the blessing of finding them on and filling our living rooms, I know I'll be happily taking that trip when I can.

All of these shows are long gone and many of the stars of these shows have passed away. But, these shows and the stars who played on them will never be forgotten and will live on forever.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An addict no more.

If I lived in the virtual world, did I live? In what world do I want to spend my life? Are experiences and memories from my virtual world contribute to my physical existence? Or are they just blank pages in my life, where I just sat in front of the computer and lost a bunch of time?

Questions, questions...

I cannot help asking that to myself as I sat here in front of my computer. You see, my loving husband is feeding me with my addiction. He gave me an iPod on my birthday, and bought me an iPad mini this Christmas. As if the time I spent playing Mafia Wars in the computer isn't enough to drive him nuts!

Sure now I can sit in the couch and watch tv with him, but as soon as the commercial comes up I slide my iPad's screen and update the news feed on Facebook, or play Bejewelled.

I admit that back in Manila I get completely sucked up by the internet. I meet so many friends online that I find it a joy talking to them through chat or messaging.

Then I started blogging.

And suddenly the joy of writing, the pleasure of discovering my own insights into life by looking at what I write fascinates me. I become like two persons - one is typing and the other is reading, and the reader is fascinated by what the writer is writing.

The weird thing is that I start to get my identity in the virtual world. I begin to gain my reputation there, and build relationships. My real world becomes gradually less interesting to me. Yes, I share my insights of the real world with the virtual world, but I'm just like an outsider looking in.

I become addicted to computer. I love the power that I have when I am "virtual". I love the ease it brings to my life so much that the real life becomes very difficult. (And it really was difficult for a single mother raising three boys) To me the real world is too physical, it's too primitive. There I was, living in a society that is a collection of all moods and choices. In the net I choose what to see, with whom to interact, whom to speak to, what to do, what to read. I have control over the world that I emerge myself in. Once unplugged I felt isolated, helpless, and I longed to go back in.

Coming here, I find stability. My husband is a very wonderful man who made life easier for me. If I am not working, I would kill time driving around with him in the countryside or tend to my plants or tinker around the house. I blog some of my adventures, but writing had just become a hobby and not a means to escape. I don't chat with online friends anymore, but I keep in touch with them once in a while to check how they are doing by sending them brief messages.

To me the internet has now become more of a lifestyle than an addiction. I use it to order things I can't buy in stores, arrange travel, get directions, and communicate with families all with a simple point and click.

This allows me to have more time for myself, more time for Ken, and more time to live my life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Me and John Denver.

I just came home from Waseca. I drove Cedric there because he will work tonight. He will stay there till Friday, then Ken and I will pick him up again on Saturday. He spends his days off at home here in Wells.

I was alone on the road, on my way back. Everything looks quite and peaceful.


country road, take me home, to the place I belong...

That's John Denver on the radio. Suddenly I am reminded of home and I get a little misty eyed. My thoughts went wild. I envisioned my dad the last time I saw him. I remember the house I grew up with, and the folks who shaped me into who I am today. I remember the old movie house across the street, the plaza where I played with my cousins as a kid, my elementary school, the market place.

life is old there, older than the trees...

I keep remembering my hometown, and it make me feel sad, and painful and happy and warm all at the same time. I swell bursting with pride and love for the place I was born. And I wonder if everyone feels this way when they hear this song no matter where they're from, or if it's just me and John Denver.

the radio reminds me of my home far away...

Even when I have come to love living here in Wells because of Ken, I know that part of my being is always tied to my old home town. A piece of it lingers in the vast sugar cane field that stretches out under the sun. Another piece lay hidden in the old ancestral house and the trees I have climbed. But most of it lingers where all the elements of childhood, of magic, of tradition, of love, of comfort, and of belonging resides.

take me home, country roads...

Soon, very soon.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Five O

I have turned 50.

You might think that would be cause for distress? On the contrary, I love this phase of my life. The hectic hustle and bustle of youth had passed, and I have settled into a familiar lifestyle which is as comfortable as an old shoe.

Maybe some of you are fighting old age with a vengeance. Not me. I intend to sit back and enjoy every minute of it.

Truthfully I thought I would not feel any different than I did when I was in my 30's and 40's. After all, they say age is just a number. But as the months went by I began to realize that being 50 means that things do change, some for the better and some for the worse.

For a start, I found that gradually, I could no longer do simple, physical things with ease. Rising from a low chair for example, required a lot more effort than it did before. It's the act of propelling yourself upwards that is so difficult. I also start to get age spots on my cheeks. They just seem to appear overnight. And thank goodness for hair dye because I begin to realize that if I didn't dye my hair, it would be grey all over.

A little nap in the afternoon suddenly becomes an attractive idea, and if I sit down in one place for too long, I suddenly feel my eyes beginning to close that I tend to miss the end of films or chunks of programs on TV that I was anxious to watch all the way through. Now, don't make me bore you with the details of the menopause - but then everyone knows what they are! Of course the eyesight tends to get worse, that I have to have reading glasses within my grasp in case I need to read labels, or cooking directions from a box.

On the good side, now that I am fifty, I have earned respect from people. The fact that I am not expected to run marathons, or carry anything really heavy is an advantage. And if people expect me do these things, then I can protest and say that I cannot do that at my age!' I also like the fact that it's OK to dress for comfort and no-one will judge me.

On the whole being 50 means slowing down a little, taking the pressure off myself and learning to be me. I enjoy it. I embrace it.

Here I am at 50, enjoying the United States from the front seat of a Ford Platinum.


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