"Let smile be your umbrella when it rains"

Here's a portion of my letter to someone very close and very dear to me.

After listening to you relate the whole tragedy and ordeal you had been suffering for months, I was suddenly drained out of energy. It’s amazing how the human being could carry all the heavy loads of burden and still survives. You are strong and I’m sure you will be blessed greatly for all those patience and endurance. You have a tremendous stress tolerance. I would understand why one could think of ending one’s life. But I am glad that you didn’t do it. It’s not the solution to a problem because when you die, are you sure you would go to a better place? Well, I am not really sure, what happens to people who commit suicide, but it’s not really the best thing to end one’s life. I have always believed that some things in these world happens for a great reason that while we don’t understand it now, there will come a time that we’ll understand the purpose. Some things are incomprehensible, some things are painful. Some things involve a lot of struggle. But there’s always light at the end of the long and dark tunnel. It might look dark and gloomy right now, but things will always change. It won’t stay the same. There’s the up and down of life, sometimes, we reach the rock bottom, but I’m pretty sure we could get to the surface one way or another and be able to breath and be able to see light and sometimes rainbows, beautiful rainbows after a storm in life.

I know, it's easier said than done. It's so hard to smile when one is undergoing some life's crisis. It seems that every muscle in the body droops and sags. That's why I like the old Filipino saying "Bawal ang Nakasimangot Dito" or "Frowning is Prohibited Here".


The ancestor of every action is a thought
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~ American lecturer, poet, and essayist, 1803-1882

Have you ever had this itch that you cannot scratch? I have this penny size or one centavo size red spot on my left arm from the skin test they did about four days ago. It's a TB or tuberculosis skin test, a requirement for work. I was advised not to put pressure on it when it was administered. So, I was very careful not to touch or press on it. But after two days early in the morning I woke up with a slight itch on my arm,
oblivious to the skin test, I scratched it. Later on when I went back for the result it became all red with a smaller ring that looked darker red than the outer ring. So, I was there at the place waiting for the doctor whose taking his time. I waited patiently, after a while he came out from a room. I showed him my arm. Of course he asked if I had been scratching it. I told him, it was itchy and I wasn't aware, just scratched it. He then pressed on it and proclaimed the test negative.
He doesn't seem concerned about the very red spot, so I thought it might go away soon. But it has been days and it keeps itching. It so hard not to scratch something that's itchy. I tried so hard not to. Maybe it's good time to practice endurance and discipline. Imagine something itchy and you are not allowed to scratch. This morning it's still itchy, but I noticed the outer red ring is diminishing. Maybe it's good sign. Maybe it will eventually go away.


Finally I got my spunk and enthusiasm back. I don't know what has gotten into me but for the past few days I had the blues. Gosh, I had been trying to shake it off and finally, I feel normal again. I think the awesome weather has something to do with lifting my spirit. It has been so nice outside, you just wanted to go out there and enjoy yourself, enjoy the sun, the weather. I even spent time organizing my kitchen and fridge which had been a clutter. Yes, when I cook, I destroy the whole kitchen. I'm not often so keen at cleaning up afterwards because then I get tired and so J, would scold me for not cleaning up. I am just keen at eating. It just takes a few seconds to wolf a dish that I might have taken an hour to prepare. Sometimes it's a great outlet for me to cook. I even sing while cooking. But who was that who told me that when you sing while cooking you'll become an old maid. But I guess I don't have to worry about that because I am already married. Well, one could still be an old maid, at least somebody else's old maid.


Do you go to book sales? I do, I spent hours browsing at hundreds of books yesterday at the Friends of the Library Annual Book sale. I was able to get a few great finds among the stacks of books. I Think it is great that they do it every year. That will also give a chance for those who wants to recycle the books they got this year.


I thought it's only a Filipino practice to have "ninongs and ninangs" during baptism. Well, this Sunday, me and J will be god parents to Lauren Elizabeth. She's the daughter of J's twin sister. She's Catholic, so I guess it's more of a Catholic practice to have godparents.


Imagination decides everything
~Blaise Pascal~ French mathematician, physicist, philosopher and master of prose, 1623-1662

Music has it's way of playing human emotions. I went for long walk. I tried to squeeze the CD player in my sweat pants pocket and plugged the earphones to my ears. I walked in slow pace, dragging my feet as it made noise scraping the concrete. I was listening to Z93.7. I don't know what came over me but I was suddenly melancholic. Nostalgia overwhelmed me every step I took as I drag my feet on the concrete parking lot of the Springdale Elementary School. No one was around, just me and my poor soul. I circled around, watched the mud puddles and ditches of water from the earlier rain. The wind was blowing hard, but I couldn't feel anything except t the pang of blues that seem to envelope me, feeding on me, killing me, squeezing my abdomen and ripping my heart. It was almost physical. Thoughts of home flooded me. I thought of the people close to me and how they must be doing in their lives. The music seem to accompany me with it's every rhythm, every beat. I wanted so much to sit down and feel the moment, the current but the benches were wet. I just stood there, the cold air blowing, and got lost in my thoughts.


Enthusiasm...the sustaining power of all great action
~Samuel Smiles~ Scottish author, 1812-1904

I had some big doses of rejection that has been compounded for a while now. I don't know for how long, but maybe for a long time now. I just refused to acknowledge them. First, there's the long absence of any communication from my very close friend which went on for months now. I finally mailed a letter which I had tried to compose a few months ago but didn't mail it. For some reason I just felt rejected by friends whom I have known for a long time.I feel like I have long been forgotten. It's probably partly my fault since I don't frequent my interaction with them especially when there's nothing really exciting to talk about. If not it feels like we are not thinking in the same wave length. So, now I'm wondering if I'm the one who changed or were they that changed. We probably both changed. It's just that I couldn't tell the changes. Or is it that that they moved on and decided not to include me in their move? Is it that they have met new and more exciting friends? Boring that I am, can't blame them. I just feel that big empty space without them. Maybe I just needed more social life. Honestly, I'm not so much a social animal. I have the capability, but I suck in socializing. I'm not so good at meeting people, I run out of things to say unless I get into the most enthusiastic mood. I tend to test how comfortable I get with a person.I'm not the type who would blabber a whole lot at a first meeting. I tend to be the observer, the listener and feel my way into a conversation. Sometimes, I end up as one of the onlookers if there's nothing, nobody interests me I just walk away unnoticed. But you know what, I envy the conversationalist. I still have a lot to work on, in this aspect.


Laughter means: taking a mischievous delight in someone else's uneasiness, but with a good conscience.
~Friedrich Nietzsche~ German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture

Did this ever happen to you? J and me were shopping at a department store then I suddenly had the urge to go to the restroom. It is located at the entrance of the department store. I couldn't find J, so I just left my buggy and just went to the first room I saw. When I came out I noticed another door adjacent to the one I just went in with the female symbol and that's when I realized I went in to the men's restroom. I was suddenly conscious of myself, looking around if there were people outside who might have seen me went in there. When I finally saw J, I told him what happen, he burst out laughing. I must be blushing because he teased me saying "Haha! Your face is all red." Well, I didn't feel that embarrassed since nobody was outside the door waiting for his turn. But it was really a funny incident. It only tells us that when we are in a hurry we often miss some details along our way. Sometimes we miss the most important things just because we don't have enough time. We are such in a very busy world, we wake up grab our things, we don't even taste our food at breakfast because we are such in a hurry. Worst we burn our tongue with hot coffee trying to speed up things. What I'm saying is that sometimes when we hurry, we tend to miss or forget things in our attempt to get things done in a blink of an eye.


Gosh Kids have a great sense of humor. I worked for long hours for three days straight with these children. They are bigger, no longer toddlers with running nose. They are much older but they are still kids. They are at risk children who were taken away from their homes due to a lot of reasons. Anyway, the first day I worked with junior boys, younger ones from 5-13 years old. Some of them are very very cute and sweet. But some could be mean and ugly and antagonistic if they don't get their way with you. Especially some of them are mentally, emotionally and psychologically sick due to their present conditions. Imagine leaving your whole family behind and had to live in a very different environment with strange people and strange kids. They are undergoing tremendous transition in another home environment. So, a lot of them try to express their anger in a lot of ways. Worst, they try to kill themselves or run away.

It was a little intimidating working with the senior boys, they are between 10-18 years old. Yes, more grown up, teenagers. They are bigger and taller and they could tower me when it comes to height. But, they have been the best group I have worked so far. They could be a little rebellious and they talk back when they ask them to do things but other than that they have been very sweet and good to me. Sometimes they talk smart at you, but so far they have been civilized in manners except for sometimes when they get cranky and foul mood.

There was this funny incident when we were at the dining hall, they were arguing whether I was Puerto Rican or Chinese. I was listening to them argue while we were waiting for our turn to get our food. Finally, I said, "I'm not Puerto Rican and I'm not Chinese" I'm Filipino. They both kept quiet and looked at me. One of them uttered "Filipin", so I repeated "Filipino". That settled the argument. I noticed that I was the only Asian around. None of the kids are Asian or mixed as far as I know. So, they associate me with a girl of Hispanic origin. She could be Puerto Rican and we happen to have the same name. Some of the kids from the other houses approach me with curiosity. Some of them think I am small and cute because of my size and height. Some of them actually love me. I have seen girls there that looked very grown up and I have mistaken them as one of the relief foster parents. It was fun and a new experience for me. From the few days that I have worked with them, I have noticed that the boys are easier to handle than the girls. I thought the other way around when I first got there. But it was the total opposite once I worked with them.

The location of the place is very quiet, very secluded surrounded by woods and trees. It has a nice view. They even have a farm with horses and some farm animals. There's a baseball field and an indoor gymnasium where the children play after school when the weather is cold. A big dining hall for all six houses to dine on week days. On Sundays they go to church. I had the opportunity to go with them last Sunday. It was all new to me. It was my first time to go to that church. I think it's a non-denominational. It was more of singing and praising all through out. The kids had their Sunday school classes. They seem to have enjoyed it. They go to different churches every now and then and if they like the church they could just go there every Sunday.

I have met some very nice people too whom I worked with. Most of them were very nice of course. But I enjoyed hanging out with Miss A, and Miss H last Sunday. Miss A, is actually the receptionist on weekdays, so I learned a lot from her especially what's going on inside the institution. I am also glad that I was able to have had the chance to meet her and know her better since she's the front person whom I could run to whenever I need something or if I had problems at work.

Now, I get to relax and enjoy the whole week without worrying about work. I'm not scheduled for a whole week and then some.This is something I like about this job.

Happy weekend everyone.


There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of them.
~Casey Stengel~


Baby steps! J keeps repeating this every now and then. It makes sense though. I'm taking baby steps in a lot of things. Don't you have those days when you just feel like your bottom got stuck and glued to the couch or to the chair. I am guilty as I procrastinate a lot sometimes. My mind keeps urging my body to get up and do something but my heavy behind just sometimes couldn't cooperate.

But it's good news on my daily work out. I have been consistent for the past months. And now, I just started doing Denise Austin's daily work out. It's a combination of earobics and light yoga. Some of the steps are really tough, but I'm sure I could do it if I do it daily. I have been consistent with working out because I want to keep my muscles firm and tight. I really got into it when my jeans started to get tight. I had to buy new ones. I gained a few pounds since I got married, but atleast I am doing something about it now. I also would like to keep in shape especially during the winter time. It's the season when most people gain weight. Atleast in summer, spring and fall, people could be active outdoors. Not so much in winter time especially for people who live in places where it snows unless they go skiing or ice skating. Oh yeah, I have tried once ice skating. I have been slipping down to my knees a few times but I finally learned how to balance. The same is true with roller skating. I wasn't really good at it the first time I tried it. J has to hold my hand to keep me from falling and hurting myself. There was a very funny incident at the skating rink. A little girl came and ask J " Are you her dad?" reffering to me. I didn't hear her. But when J told me what she said, I just burst out laughing until my belly hurt. I know I'm small but I couldn't be that small to look like J's daughter. But of course from my experiences with children they couldn't necessarilly think about age. They associate size with age. If you are small, they think you must be young. And I am short, compared to J who is six feet. It was hilarious. He just couldn't answer this young girl's very innocent question. Children could be very precious and innocent. But they could be little devils with long horns. Sometimes you couldn't avoid thinking "you little _______!!!" I just couldn't help thinking about Homer Simpson strangling Bart whenever he says " Why you little_____!!!"


I normally don't drink coffee, but recently I embraced it as a friend. I badly needed coffee now that I have wake up during the unholy morning hours when the rest of the world is still in deep slumber. I know not a lot of people like to do this early morning jobs. But i don't mind since it's just about two to three days in a week. If I'm really into this I could condition my body to rise and shine that early every dawn. Tomorrow is gonna be another long day.

The Many Faces of the Moon

Reading blogs is just like peeking to the minds and private lives of other people. It's interesting how people think about things, their lives, their secret thoughts. Do you feel like you're looking through a peeping hole when you read somebody else's blogs? Well, I do sometimes. But we all reveal ang write differently. Some people would really write their very private thoughts. Some people like me tends to keep a little or some privacy. Some people doesn't care who reads it anyway. That's something awesome about blogs. One could do it anyway they want it, could write anything they want to write. Well, maybe not anything but almost anything. I admit some blogs are disturbing. It is facinating to be able to have a glimps of the weird and odd ways of thinking of other people. Some are really funny, some can be so miserable. Some have intriguing thoughts. Some are just mundane. Others can be hilarious. It's an exploration into the minds and daily lives of other people I don't even know and didn't even know exist. Isn't it facinating how we all are different. Different in how we view and how we would like to live our lives. We all have our own fantasies, illussions and realities we live in. We create our own world in our very own sphere, in our own minds and in our dreams.We all are living in parallel worlds, doing our own thing. Moving in our own time as the rest of the people in the opposite side of the globe. We could be in direct opposite time zones. Other people could be sleeping while half of the world has just started their day. We could be having winter while the other world are experiencing excruciating heat from the sun. The thing is, we all live our lives differently. It's always a wonder to know other cultures, other ways of thinking and other ways at looking at the world. This I know, we could be staring at the same moon from different angles some nights.


While I was just surfing the net I was really surprised to find this out. I mean it has been years, but I only found out just tonight when I typed my name just curious what I would find and there it was. I wish whoever placed it there told me or even e-mailed me. They probably did, but I couldn't tell from the thousands of junkmail that piled up my inbox everyday.Yeah, I get spam every single day. Thank you whoever you are, who placed my site there. I didn't know it was a hit. Well, that was way back 2000 then when I actually just started building it. It had been through a lot of changes ever since. By now, almost more than three even four years I almost have forgotten about it. But that's great, it has been my play mate, my virtual companion. We have been through rough and tough but thanks to virtual world I was able to create it.

I got a surprise package today that travelled miles of oceans and seas and skies. It bore my mile long name which almost occupied the entire envelope. Thank you Ellen. That was a real surprise. I love the book. It's a book by Milan Kundera; The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. I even love the title. J was amazed how far this book have travelled. It came from a place we have never been before. He was running his fingers over it and uttered "Are there Austrian dusts on it?" He put it close to his nose and said " Is this the smell of Austria?" I guess he was just trying to visualize the place where the book came from. He was of course trying to exagerate things but while watching him do that I wish one day we'll be able to visit "Austria", well especially Vienna.


The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery~

In several places I have been and places I have lived, some people would try to figure out my heritage or from what country I come from. The other day, two of the ten young boys I was supervising were arguing whether I am Chinese or a Puerto Rican. We were sitting at the dining hall waiting for our turn to get dinner. Then I said I'm not Chinese and I'm not Puerto Rican. I am Filipino. Then both of them uttered in somewhat disbelief "Filipin!". I said "Filipino". So, that settled the argument. It's just a little intimidating working with these kids who are even far taller than me. I don't think they could be physical, but it's just the size I guess. One of the girls who was off from school thought that I was one of them teenagers. I know, my size does make me look like one of them. But when she saw me talking to the receptionist submitting my time sheet, she confessed what she thought at first. In several other places I have been mistaken as maybe from a Hispanic origin like Mexicans or some other groups in the South America. I remember one time in the restaurant I was working, three girls were excited to try out their Spanish. But of course I heard them talking. So, before one of the girls even started talking in Spanish, I already told them that I am not Hispanic and she could just speak in english with me because I may not actually understand her if she speaks in Spanish. I'm sure the girl was embarassed but can't help it. In some other places, some people couldn't distinguish between any of the foreign immigrants. At another place someone asked me if I were Malay, Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese, Guatemalan. Well, sometimes I could be in a good mood to explain to them, but when they catch me in a not so good mood then they won't get the response. I think sometimes whatever the biggest group of foreign immigrants in a city, they would think you're one of them. Back when I was in New Orleans, they ask if I was Vietnamese. Some people do know about Filipinos especially if they have seen or met some of them.Or if there are lots of them in the area. But for some, they don't have any idea about Filipinos even the country they come from. Okey, at the restaurant where I used to work, the bartender thought that I was Portugese because I was speaking to the Mexican guys with my newly learned spanish. She thought I was, for a long time until we were discussing something about the Philippines. I had to explain to her that we do have spanish words in our language but not everything is spanish.That's why I could talk to the Hispanic guys because I could tell some of the things they are talking about. Many people think that Filipinos speak Spanish. Someone asked me also if I were Thai. That I would understand because Filipinos and Thais are really look alike. Some Thai people do look like Filipinos. Tan skin and even the size and physical features. But looks can be very decieving. You'll never know especially for mixed bloods. I just find it so interesting, the mixed culture. It's interesting to see different races, different colors in just one place. I was able to witness that at the international market. There were Indians, Italians, Vietnamese, Chinese, even German and all others I couldn't tell where their country of origins are. At the big corners are the united nations flag.Very symbolic, because not only the people are diverse, the culture, the language, the color and the food. You could find fruits, vegetables and all kinds of stuff from different parts of the world. I think it's a cool place to visit once in a while.

Cheer me up please. I must have woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I feel very gloomy for no reason at all. Well, I guess it's one of those morning sickness. No, I am not pregnant. That's not what I mean. Don't you have those days when you get up and you feel sunny and cheerful but there are days that you wake up like there's some black hole at the pit of your stomach? That's what I feel right now. A black, hollow feeling inside. Ahhh! just one of those days I guess.


I am treating myself with Arroz Caldo. It's actually Spanish; Arroz for rice and caldo means hot. It is the Pinoy version of the Chinese "congee". Me and my aunt used to make congee a lot way back when I was in HK. It's very similar to the Filipino Arroz Caldo with slight variation. It's rice porridge with strips of chicken or any meat you'd like to use. The Chinese congee uses some chinese vegetables. The Arroz caldo they don't use a lot of vegetables just onions, garlic and ginger. Anyway, I made Arroz caldo my own version. I have added pieces of vegetables. But I have put a lot of rice, so now, I have a potful of Arroz caldo. I also used patis to season it. Well, it doesn't taste so much as the Arroz caldo I know, but close. I think I just need to practice. My father use to make tasty Arroz caldo especially if he uses the native chickens. I really miss his cooking.And speaking of native chickens, those are my favorites compared to the white chicken you buy at the meat store. I don't know if people sell them in the meat stores too, but most of these native chickens are raised. When I say native chickens, these are the colorful ones like the roosters. I grew up eating native chickens because my parents raise some chickens and so are my grandparents. My parents live in the province not in the city that's why they are able to raise animals. I could still remember when I was growing up, early in the morning the roosters would crow very early in the morning about 4:30 to 5:00 in the morning and there's no way one could stay asleep once the roosters and dogs start to make noise at the same time. I remember we had like three dogs that would bark at every person that pass by our house. It could be annoying sometimes especially at night when you're trying to sleep. I remember J,got so pissed off when we went to visit. "I'm gonna break these rooster's necks if they don't stop crowing" he muttered with desperation. More so when the dogs started barking and young kids souting "pan de sal!" joined in the chorus with the tricycle booming in the background.I can't wait to visit home again.

A meeting is a gathering of important people
who singly can do nothing, but together
can decide that nothing can be done.
~Fred Allen~


Sometimes my mind is barren. Even if there seems to be a lot of things going on in my mind I can't get to write them. At times because I don't seem to have the adjectives to describe them. Another thing is that I get very private at times. I tend to keep a lot of things with me. I don't know, must be fear of disclosure. I am not good at disclosing a lot of myself. Like a turtle that pokes it's head out to peek and when you touch it's head it goes back to it's shell. I don't mean I am sensitive. I think I get very private at times. Yeah, maybe I'm a bit shy. But there are times that I get babbly and bubbly. It's also true in oral conversations. Gosh! I suck at conversing. I think I am more of an introvert. Maybe slightly in between but tends to be more quiet until I get used to the person whom I'm talking to. Sometimes it depends on the aura the other person is projecting.But I'm a risk taker too. I mean I don't go with the expression "bahala na" but I tend to go with "just do it" set of mind as long as I know I could handle the consequences.


Right now, I kind'a miss friends. Especially that I haven't heard from any single soul this week. My attempt to reach yield no result. I guess I miss a lot of the old friends. Some of them I lost contact. Some of them they never wrote back. It's probably my fault too because I procrastinate in returning their mails.