Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Testing BLOG IT

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Help Us Have A Better Planet!

Hi Neighbors!
Want a better planet? Want to help by participating in eco-friendly actions and to spread the word?

Take a pledge to do eco-friendly actions, ie changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs, low flow shower heads or you may already have done these changes, register to take the pledge and check the list to see what else you can do to help our planet.

Here is the web-site, email to your friends, families and neighbors, the city with the most pledges can receive hybrid taxis for their city, another way to help the planet!


Thank you to all who chose to check it out and participate.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pierce Street... My Grandmother's Legacy

My Grandparents bought this 3-story Victorian house in the late 50's. They were always surrounded by friends and distant families. Mostly army buddies who brought their wives and families over from the Philippines after World War II. My Grandmother and Uncle came to live with my Grandfather in 1947. My Grandfather was in the service and away from his family on and off for 20 years and when he was reunited with them, his oldest daughter (my mother) was married and had a few grandchildren and his son became a man and was soon to be in the service himself.

All through the years from the time they bought this Victorian home to the time their retirement home in Sacramento was completed being built in 1977. They have welcomed new families starting a new life in the United States. These were friends of friends, family of friends, our family from the township, distant family, neighbors, etc. It didn't matter basically if you were a friend, most were referred to my Grandfather and Grandmother for a place or rather a room to live in.

We refer to our humble home as "Pierce" as that was the name of the street we lived on. Through most of my childhood years, I remember the comraderie of everyone and saw how strong our heritage was practiced in this little community of ours, mainly because of my Grandparents and their friends. Every weekend there was a gathering whether it be for lunch, a party or all night party of Mah-Jong. Our house was never empty, it really was nice. Everyone in the building was either "Auntie", "Uncle", "Brother", "Sister", "Grandfather", "Grandmother", even there was no relation what so ever. We were like a family, a really BIG family!

Most of the 70's, our neighborhood was still filled with plenty of Filipino families. I think back and though I never really paid attention to any of them, I remember their faces and their names. I was about 5 years old in 72' and I didn't realize the significance of what my Grandparents gave to our community. After the 70's and the 80's rolled on in, there weren't as much families having their new start here at "Pierce" anymore. In 1985, the year I graduated high school some friends decided to rent a flat out with roommates and that's when things really start to change.

Since then we have had a lot of students, new couples just starting out, elderly couples move in, rebel kids trying to prove they can be independent and lots of loonies! For the most part my Grandparents offered basically cheap rent. He negotiated with them understanding their situation also explaining his situation too as far as needing to pay utilities, taxes... etc. Unfortunately that became his thorn in his side later....and is what is our thorn now or more my Mother's.

A couple of decades ago it was possible to negotiate rent and there was no rent control and heavy rental laws or strict rental boards. My Grandfather, over the years must have had his head stuck in the ground because as this was all established he did not prepare himself to set rent at a more marketable rate. It was because of his ways and his stubborness he let the building go bad. He didn't maintain it as well as he should have. My Mom inheriting his traits is the same way.

The picture of our house above is how it looks now. It finally got painted last year after years and years of my Mom saying she was going to have it painted. The last time this house was painted was back in 83'-84'? I definitely was in highschool. OMG!! that's like about 20 years ago...well it was really weathered and peeling and the ugliest house on the block, a definite eyesore. Our neighbor next door painted their house twice in that time span!

Well that was some of things my Mom has taken on as improvements/renovations/repairs/remodeling to this house. It is really sad though how bad it has gotten. If my Mom and Uncle had invested in this house while they were all alive with my Grandparents, this house would not be in such a state. Now my Mom is the sole owner and now having to make right what my Grandfather let get wrong.

I am glad she has part of her flat done though she has not completed it yet. This house has been a headache for her but this has been her home since she has come here from the Philippines. This is the house my Grandmother worked so hard for, the one my Mom fought basically tooth and nail for.

As for all the neighborhood folks and the people who have came and gone, we have seen some of them. Most have passed on and we have seen the rest unfortunately at the gatherings of their funerals. It's remarkable to see these familiar faces, have aged, or the older kids are now Moms, Dads, or even Grandparents. There was talk of a neighborhood reunion, to share history to the new owners, residents and neighbors living in this neighborhood of the past. I guess the plans for that dissipated.

If my Grandmother was here today, she would be so pleased with how the remodeling is coming along. Probably be happy with how the house looks. This house is her legacy......

My Father and I

My Father and I did not have a good relationship as I grew up. We weren't close and I became rebellious mainly because of him, and it was more evident when I was in high school. I learned later, through self therapy the reasons why I had so much anger towards him and I am sure it was typical in most families. When I was about to start sophomore year in high school, he and I were ready to jump down each other's throats. I had an opportunity to leave my household and I jumped at the chance.

My brother who moved with his family out to Ohio for a new job career, was just starting out on his family. He just had one child just one year and half, the second just born a few months before. He asked my Mom if I would be interested in living with them to finish school out there and help them out as well. I begged my Mom to let me go, and said that I didn't get along with my Dad and I wanted to get away from there, my Parents decided to let me go.

I was thrilled, that was the beginning of Summer, a few days after arriving, going through my bag I found a letter from my Dad. He had slipped it into my bag I am guessing before I left, and I broke down into tears. He wrote the words that I been wanting to hear for years. I could never understand how parents could not be affectionate to their kids and not want to spend quality time with them. All I ever wanted was a hug, some affection, some words of praise or adoration or love, but all I got was negativity.

When I thought I done well, the words I kept hearing out of my parents mouths were "Okay, next time do better" or "Your younger sister did better than you" or "so and so is better than you". My Dad also worked long hours, later I figured out it was partly due to the fact of my Mom. He voluntarily went to work early to open up the office and stayed until his regular hours probably taking his time. I don't blame him being how my Mom is. He was exhausted when he came home, he rested, ate dinner, relaxed in front of the TV then went to bed. He never really made time to spend with me or my sister, but he was more affectionate toward my sister.

Every now and then he would pat her head, squeeze her nose, or when she propped up on the couch him, he would move his arm around her and bring her in close. She was almost 3 years younger than me, and she got all the good things. This played a major part in my attitude towards him, jealousy and resentment. Wanting his approval and acceptance.

I tried in many ways I could to do better in school but it was never good enough. When he was trying to teach me how to cook some recipes of our ethnicity, which is what we normally ate each week, I try to make it just as he taught me but there was always something not right about it. Eventually I started cooking to my own taste and my Dad ate and later I found out he like most of my cooking.

My sophomore year in high school I was back in San Francisco. I was too home sick and because of legalities my mom didn't want to pay for, I ended up coming home. The relationship between my father and I didn't change, we still clashed, it just wasn't as intense. We had an understanding of some sort after that. My father, my younger sister and I sort of joined sides against my mother. One of my older sisters (half sister, from my mom's first marriage, step child to my father) came from the east coast, a single mother, who hated my father, for no apparent reason other than my mom married him. My dad was not her second husband, he was her third.

Her father was still alive and they were divorced because she left him, and came to the states. Though my half-siblings were angry at my mom and their dad, they had hostility toward my father who had nothing to do with my mom leaving their father. Well because of her presence, she moved into our house and took advantage of my mom's guilt, she turned my mom against my dad, and created more negativity in the house. That was one bond my dad and I shared, though it was created on anger.

After few years of madness, she finally moved, the damaged was done, and during this time my dad was diagnosed with so many things. His side of the family have high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. He was told he had diabetes and hypertension and he did something about it. He dropped weight, and stopped smoking and looked good. Although he never shared his medical progress with us.

After getting married in June of 1990, the dynamics of my relationship with my father changed, 180ยบ. He talked and treated me as an equal, as an adult. I felt a sense of respect and I felt he listened to me and I didn't feel like I was this little girl around him, or when I talked to him. It was so strange when I realized this. We talked about my mom and he joked about her temperament and her cussing in her native tongue. It was hilarious, it was the first time I was feeling I was finally bonding with my father. From that day on I noticed a change in him.

Through the next two years we talked occasionally, up until 1991 my husband then and I lived in the upper flat in the same building with my parents then moved to the country to live and give company for my grandparents. The latter part of 1991, my Dad seemed to have gotten really sentimental. He should have retired June of that year but decided to finish out the year. He decided to really create friendships with the co-workers he knew at work and called them socially at home. He started getting re-acquainted again with his siblings, his nieces and nephews who lived in Northern California.

He even mentioned to me that he wanted to make plans of having a 25th Anniversary Party for my Mother and him. That really threw me, because we had talked about it for years and he was so against it. My mom was ready to make a big bash out of it and he said no. He never celebrated their anniversary, he was not that sentimental, but this year he was. He asked my sister and I to help him so we did what we can. His attitude about it was so strange he wanted it so perfect.

He got rings made, got a suit tailored for the occasion, it was totally unlike him. The day of the event came around, I was already living in the country, a couple weeks before my Mom had told me that my Dad had been spending countless hours on the phone talking to friends and family. She was concerned or surprised because he doesn't do that.... *haha* that was more her thing. As usual, my mom did the usual bickering at the party, but my Dad wasn't having it, he wanted it his way, he actually was getting mad and was stepping away and outside to cool off, like I said he wanted it perfect, he had his vision of how he wanted things and he did not want my Mom to F*** it up!

June 1992, it was his birthday, he had a party shared with one of my nephews. He had been retired now for 6 months, and it's been driving him crazy, not doing anything. My Mom constantly on his back and wondering who are all these people he is a calling and talking to all the time. At the party my Dad is discussing plans with me... of wanting to come out to Sacramento where I live soon, and him wanting my "husband" and I to find a house so he can stay with us and start a garden in the back, anything for him to do and be away from my MOM! We said sure. Then he got serious.

My sister and I were there with him waiting for what he had to tell us. Then he tells us that he has lung cancer, and he needs surgery to cut away the part that is cancerous. He is waiting for the Surgeon to say it is okay for him to have the surgery. My dad had to pass the EKG tests before they set a date for the surgery. Well Hell! I thought... how long has he known he had cancer? Then it all came down on me... all the strange behaviour and the sentiment. Tears welled up in my eyes as I try to hold back the tears, keeping my lips from quivering I asked him how long has he known. He said for a while and I asked him if my mom knew all this time, and he said no. How could she, she didn't know why he was acting so strange either, not that she would be able to put two and two together.

All these emotions were flooding in me and I just sat there staring at him feeling a bit cheated that he didn't say this sooner. I looked at my sister and she had a blank colorless look on her face. I am thinking why, why now. I knew the risk he may have to face, it's cancer damn it! His age and physical health didn't help either for the chances of recovery through surgery. I was scared. I wanted to hug him, but at that point I was not accustomed to that type of affection even though I myself craved it. I got up and went outside for air and privacy and I just let the tears fall.

In the background I hear it was time to do the cake and I walk in standing behind the crowd in the background, and my Dad makes his announcement that he may have surgery sometime in the next few weeks and why, everyone was stunned.

My Dad heard from the Surgeon and he was scheduled for surgery within a week after his birthday. I was at my Parents house and drove him to the hospital. He didn't seem scared, he seemed hopeful and he was braver than I was. I was so worried and I drove up to spend time with him. We just found this new bond and I felt threatened, I wanted him to know that I cared and loved him and wanted to be there for him. I waited until they took him to be prepped for anesthesia. I went back home and waited a few hours called to see if he was in the recovery room then drove there with my Mom and Sister.

I think my Sister was in denial because she didn't want to go. We stayed for about an hour after they moved him to his room. I headed back to the country the next day. I thought about him the next several days and called each day to see how he was doing. He was released and I don't know how many days after he got sent back to the hospital because his lung wasn't draining and was starting an infection and he was hospitalized again. He was there a few days then released again. A few weeks had gone by and he had a home care with a nurse coming to the house, and nurses aide to help him as well with the dressing on his incision.

As any sick person, he was unbearable to my mom and sister. They gave him a bell, the one that you see on boats with the string at the end of the clapper to ring the bell with. He had that to signal that he wanted something and from what I heard he rang it often and complained of food often. I didn't think he could be that bad. July had come around and our family was stricken with tragedy when my grandparents were in a car accident. Both were badly hurt, though my grandmother didn't look bad but she was internally, she fell into a coma within 24 hours of admission then suffered a major stroke in her brain. Most of our family stayed at the hospital paid vigil to both my grandparents, but it look like my grandmother was the worse of the two. There was no improvements and was declared brain dead and we had to make the decision to pull the plug and let her die naturally or leave her on life support.

My grandmother was 85, she lived a long life, saw all of her grandchildren grow up and marry, saw some of her great-grandchildren grow up and some married. She was so frail, so sweet, so gentile, and I told my family what she told me in the ER. She looked at me with pain in her face and eyes and said she never felt this kind before and you could see she was suffering, it broke my heart. So we decided we couldn't let her go on feeling like that and decide to let her go naturally. I was one of the few who stayed vigil all night staying close just in case she goes. She held out until late morning. We called some of our siblings but they missed her by 2 minutes. I walked down the corridor and I ran into my brother and before he could asked, I just nodded, and my brother who I've never see cry or show any kind of weakness just broke down in tears, my sisters trailing behind him embraced with him. I choked back up again.

The nurse and my Eldest sister were late in bringing my grandfather from another ward for him to say goodbye to her. He was still delirious from trauma, then he realized what was going on, and it hit him hard. My mom and sister told me how my Dad took it when they told him and he just replied that he knew and he was sad and crying. My grandmother had been a mother to him ever since his own mother died when I was about 2 years old. It hit him hard too. He said she came to visit him and the house. It was her house so I believed him.

He was upset because he wasn't well enough to travel and make the services, but his recovery was not going so well. It was getting better but not at the rate as the doctor wanted. His lung was not draining properly, so he had to really sit up even while sleeping and that was hard on his back. A couple of weeks after the service in late July my grandfather had been moved to a nursing home, got therapy and was ready to come home. He needed more home care and needed someone to care for him at home. Before the accident, there was some bad blood going on between my grandfather and myself and he basically threw me out, but that's another story.

So, now he needed someone to care for him, and though my Uncle was retired he had to care for my Aunt, and my Mom didn't work she had to care for my Dad. They look to me to care for my Grandfather. I laughed to myself over it...here he needed me... now that he had kicked me out. I wasn't evil or mean hearted then, I was a forgiving person then, I learned from my grandmother, so I said I would take care of him. I spent the next few weeks working with him, physical therapy, occupational therapy, bathing him, changing him, doing his laundry, cooking for him, going grocery for him, picking up prescriptions, taking him to his appointments, wheeling him around in his wheelchair, doing his errands, moved into the next room and slept with one eye open to care for him.

In all the while I kept wondering about my Dad, I called him and talk to him for short bits to see how he was doing. He still called his friends and relatives and his lungs still draining but he wasn't healing fast enough. They had cut away 3/4 of his right lung. I finally had a break and thought this would be a chance for me to go and visit with my Dad. My Uncle and Aunt and Mom were coming up for the weekend, so I thought I would go down to the city. My husband wasn't working anymore that morning so he watched my grandfather, my Uncle usually arrives before Noon and I cooked their lunch and had my grandfather's food ready just needed to be nuked, and I was out the door.

My Dad was glad to see me as I was to see him. He was more glad to see me for one because he knew that I would cater to him more than my Mom and sister have been doing lately. All the stories they have told me about him being difficult I finally believed, but I remained patient and try to make him happy. After all he liked my cooking, as he finally told me! Well he made me run that weekend round and round. Unfortunately that was the only time I got to spend with him before he died except the day before the weekend he died.

Weeks went on and it was September, my Dad was feeling better and he got the "OK" to travel. He wanted to come to the country to visit my grandmother's grave and just so happened we were having a memorial for my Grandmother for her birthday. He, my mom, Aunt and Uncle came a day before the party. They arrived at the house before Noon as usual, we had a quick lunch and went out to the cemetery. My Dad rode with me and we talked and he said he wanted to make this trip and he made it sound like it was so important like it was the only trip he was going to make, he went on to say how bad he felt that he missed my grandmother's services, you can hear the sorrow in his voice. There was also a bit of sadness, and he kept talking about how he felt he was dying.

I responded by saying... you can't think that way you need to be stronger than that Dad... but some how I think he was tell me he knew he was actually going to die, soon. My grandmother said the same thing to me in the ER that day, not only did she say that she never felt that kind of pain before, she said.... "I think I am going to die".... I don't know what that is, is that their acceptance that they are at peace with death? I have said before in a post that 1992 was very traumatic for me. That was the beginning of down spiral to a deep depression, one that I have surfaced from but still battling.

That Friday evening, my Dad came out for dessert and to socialize with our guests. He sat with me at the table and we were talking and a quiet moment he says softly the same words he said to me earlier while driving home. He tells me he thinks he is going to die. Again I respond the same, and one of my older sisters, who was visiting, heard started freaking out a bit and asked my Dad not to talk that way. My Dad looked at me with sadness then turned toward our visitors and laughed it off. My Mom squabbling, you keep talking that way and you will. My Dad shuffled on down the hall and went back into the bedroom where he and mom and baby niece were sharing.

Early Saturday morning, the day of the Memorial Party, I go into the room where my parents are to get my baby niece, and not noticing my Dad, the phone rings, it was the baby's Mom. She and my sister are on their way from the city. I take my niece out the kitchen and my Mom gets up as she woke up from the phone ringing. Then I hear my Mom screaming my Dad's name, asking him to wake up. A cold chill goes down my back and though I know I was moving toward the room I didn't feel my feet. Before reaching the door my Mom pulls the door open and taps on my Uncle's door and begs him to come out and wake my Dad up and the tears just rolls down my face. I already knew.

I hit me like a ton of bricks! The window was wide open, he was right under it, it was hot last night as it always is, but in the morning it is cool and he slept with his shirt unbuttoned. When I walked in this morning I noticed how cold the room was. I sat on the bed he didn't move or anything. The phone rang, he didn't move or make a peep, usually it would wake him up but it didn't dawn on me until my Mom went frantic. I had a supernatural incident earlier that morning and I ignored it. I shouldn't have because all through the year that year I been having them, just didn't know how to interpret them or knew when these things happen. I was stunned because again an event like this happened, this time my Dad, and in our house.

People were going to start arriving in a few hours, we didn't know what to do, I didn't know what to do. I was stunned. I immediately called my sister to see if she had left yet. She hadn't they were just walking out the door. I told her get here as soon as you can and she said why, dad die? I said yes.... she said you are lying and I said why would I even joke about that? I called all my other siblings and the ones who came last night staying at my brother's place came to the house as soon as they could, in the mean time paramedics came and the coroners office was called. In all this commotion my grandfather was in a state of confusion. The accident had affected his hearing some, and he kept yakking about cleaning up and setting up for the party. I kept ignoring him and shaking my head. The coroner finally came and declared my Dad dead and time of death and they hauled my Dad off to the coroner's office.

My Grandfather was yelling at my mom to go to the hospital with my Dad, and I started yelling at my grandfather that my Dad isn't going to the hospital, he was going to the morgue, that he was dead. He looked at me with bewilderment and started crying and apologizing he said he was sorry he didn't know and my Mom went to him. Then all the bad things he sad about him changed, he now was saying good things about my dad. This was another reason my Grandfather and I clashed, he always talked trash about people.

The next couple of weeks was awful, from the plans to the services to the burial to traditions after the burial. I had so much anger with my family, my mom, and getting more depressed. I was feeling lost. I lost my grandmother and my father who I looked for guidance and security and now both were gone.

The following days, weeks, months got even worse. Everything hit a nerve, something reminded me of my dad, good or bad memory, I just broke down in tears. I was like that for years. In 1997, things got a little bit better and all the guilt I felt lifted a bit and I didn't cry as much, I still feel the pain of loss and the sadness. I miss him a lot, especially so because I have been living with my Mom since I moved back here to the city. In fact, I was crying on and off writing this post. There are still linger bits of anger and resentment for the time loss spent with him but I try to remember all the good things he liked and enjoyed and the jokes he used to play on my Mom.

One thing my sister and I regret was sitting down and talking to him about his life before my Mom. We came across some old pictures of him with his side of the family, with his parents, his sisters and brothers, his nieces and nephews, when he was in the service. There are pictures of females.... previous girlfriends? We wondered how he met his first wife... the mother of our half siblings. We didn't really get to learn where he exactly he was from in the Philippines, we just know he learned to adapt new dialects being in the Philippine Scouts. He learned my mom's dialect.

The most hardest time of the year for me is Christmas. That time of the year always hit me hard because that was his favorite time of the year. He really got into the spirit. Not necessarily in the gift giving, but the music, the decorating, the bustles of downtown shoppers and shopping bags. Christmas will always be bittersweet.

Always thinking of you Dad.... we love you and miss you.

Friday, December 09, 2005

My First Birthday That I Could Remember.... I Was 5

On the day of my birthday, December 1st, it was pouring houses and buildings! Okay, cats and dogs but you get my drift eh? Well the weather was dreary and my birthday landed on a workday. My Sister usually takes the day off to take me wherever and whatever I wanted to do but I told her not to because I didn't really want a big to-do.

Ordering take out or delivery was just fine and spending the evening watching a great DVD to end the night would be exquisite, well it did not end up that way.

The day started great, waking up to the rain pouring down. I layed there for a minute or so, I had been very melancholy although this time of the year makes me reminiscent of my childhood. I thought back of first memories of my birthday and each time it was my 5th birthday.

I was in Kindergarten and my teacher was Ms. Jones and she was very, statuesque. She was my favorite teacher. I thought maybe she was Scottish because she loved to wear plaid, you know those kilts and all but I couldn't tell ethnicity backgrounds then. I just loved her because she made me feel special. Now I don't know if she had goodies for my birthday and we had a little celebration but I do remember an impromtu celebration that day.

She made a birthday crown, it was yellow and I believed it said Happy Birthday or Happy 5th Birthday. What I did know is that my Parents or just my Mom would not have thought to bake or bring anything to share with the kids at school cake or cup cakes for my birthday, at least not at this time. She was not like a PTA Mom or an involved Mom or a type of Mom who would think of things like that.

This would be a culture alien to her. Later after going home from school, my Grandfather and I went to pick up my Mother from work and I don't know what was said but next thing I knew we were heading to a bakery to pick up a cake! A real birthday cake!! This was on my Birthday and not on a planned birthday party, which is when a cake is picked up, this is on the actual day of my birthday that is not a planned party.

I was so excited, maybe it was the story I told my Grandfather about how we had a little party at school for my Birthday? I actually wore the crown on my head to pick up my Mom, you can imagine me in the back seat in a boat size, bright red, Ford station wagon with that thing on! What was even more shocking was that I got to go into the bakery with my Mom and pick the cake out myself.

It was of course the end of the day and the display case was pretty much empty but off to the side were the special decorated cakes with the creamy frosty icings, some topped with glazed fruit, or rosettes in a variety of colors! My eyes just searched the display case up and down and then it zeroed in on it! It was lush and white and fluffy with white icing and topped with these large juicy looking strawberries! I love strawberries... wierdest thing was that there were strawberries in the winter?

I couldn't wait to get home and cut into it... this had been so exciting so far. While we were gone, my Grandmother called over my Uncle and Aunt for dinner. My Mom, Grandfather (who was holding the cake in the pink box neatly tied with the white rope to keep the lid shut) and I walked right on in. I am running down the hall hanging on to my "Queen of the Day" crown wanting to gloat at my sister, and I came into a small crowd showered with hugs, kisses and birthday greetings, I turn around and spot my sister and pointed to the pink box and gave her this humongous grin.

Finally! It was showtime, the ritual before cutting the cake, the candles were lit, 5 candles plus 1 to grow on, the lights were turned off and I shut my eyes to make a wish. The singing began and as it ends I open my eyes and let out a big breath.... crossing my fingers, all the candles go out! I am thinking "Yes!" my wish will come true and we all enjoy a slice of the cake.... It was a yellow cake with vanilla sliced strawberries for filling and vanilla fluffy white frosting with huge strawberries atop. Pictures were taken at some point and I could see how happy I was.... if I could only be 5 one more day.

Acts of Love...

Here is a post of an Aunt trying to come up with funds for her Grand-Niece to have a special "Sweet 16th Birthday" party by donating what would be garage sale items to put on eBay up for auction or sale. Rhye seems to have a great amount of variety on eBay to choose from. I hope she making out like a bandit.

She also mentions her previous post where she makes plug-ins for other bloggers who also have great sites, those soaps at Althaea Soaps looks fab! I pop back over there with my wish list myself.

Well you should read the post and get the low down on things, here ya go:

Friday, December 02, 2005

Another Birthday Has Passed...

Well I got through my birthday yesterday unscathed. I haven't celebrated a big ta-da for my birthday in years. The yearly thing has been basically like take-out or delivery, it can be pizza, Chinese, Thai, Barbeque or even Filipino food. We don't cook Filipino food often or rather any specialty Filipino foods so it can be picked up here or there.

My Sister Jo decided to work half day today to pick up some Filipino food this time and we decided to try some Red-Velvet Cake. Unfortunately, when she got home from doing all the little errands in preparation for dinner she was soaked to the bone. It has been pouring all day and, it just seems to be the perfect timing too, when she just pulled up, a sudden harsh down pour came about steady for 10 minutes while she was unloading.

Just one trip from car to pass it on to me at the gate the back of her shirt was clinging to her like skin! Well we quickly got inside and first thing she said was, "I am sorry, I am going to change then head to bed, I have got a headache and feel so sick". I felt awful for her, she said wake her in about an hour and a half, she was up at that time only to relieve her queasiness.

Again she apologized and asked if I could clean up the mess and said she wish she could keep me company. She insisted that I go ahead and eat and not wait for her because she didn't think she will be eating. My Niece Charlotte and her kids finally confirmed that they are coming over and they spent the evening with me. After dinner, we tried the Red Velvet Cake.... now I expected more from this cake, I don't know if it was the bakery that made it or maybe there was no biggie about Red Velvet cake?

The whole excitement of the day was that my Christmas decorations arrived, we haven't decorated in a couple of years, our house sort of lost the spirit of decorating, and my Niece's kids weren't able to decorate at their new place this year so they were more than happy to decorate my little 2 foot pre-lit tree.

I bought a little tree because we just don't have the room anymore to display our usual 5-6 ft fresh tree and it has become a hassle for us, though I would have love to have that pine tree smell in the home. I had visitors earlier in the day and had phone calls and eCards. I had a busier day than I expected and I was happy on my birthday for once because I had caring people to share it with. IT T'WAS A GOOD DAY!

Sunday, November 20, 2005


A new beginning...

What you see do not always seem as they appear, and at times it turns out to hurt you when you see the real truth.

I thought I was open minded and more accepting of things, trying to find things out before judging, but at this present day I come to hate how judgemental I am. I am quick to judge and quick tempered.

Ten years ago, I was quite the opposite, I was also blind to some things too. At the same time I was able to pick up vibes and read some people before everyone else can see how apparent they really were.

It's just strange how one person's greed can bring out the worst, even though their greed and meanness have always been there, in a whole family. We were all close and loving, we enjoyed being around eachother's company, we were siblings. Well we still are siblings but not how we used to be and I guess now they do have their own families, it is easier to concentrate on them than to worry about "what used to be".

It hurts, my heart actually aches each year, when a birthday passes, a holiday, an anniversary, whether it be a wedding or memorial anniversary. The thing is, it is most of the year as we have such a large family, I have 8 living siblings in all and their spouses, their kids and their spouses and now their children. We do see eachother time and time again but not as we did before... happily.

In about the last decade and a half there has been a dark cloud each time we gather because of that one person who destroyed our comraderie, our ... I don't know how to describe it, it's just not there anymore. We love eachother and in the same breath there is the underlying animosity and sadness. This had been mainly contained within the 8 siblings including me, but it roped in some of the spouses... but somehow it has affected our nieces and nephews now and gatherings have been unpleasant for them that they don't even look forward to it.

It hasn't discouraged them themselves from gathering, which I am glad about that, but as a whole family event.

This year I had an idea to "fix" some of the hurt and hopefully bring some healing. Some of the problems at the gatherings is everyone separating into different rooms or groups and not gathering as a group and bonding. Our Christmas Eve gatherings has suffered the most, so instead of watching TV, hanging out here and there. I thought why not bring a video or two of Christmas past or just old videos of family events, bring some photo albums and look at old photos and remember the ones who are not with us. This would be a bonding and strengthening of old bonds with the older and younger family.

The younger family will get to know about what went on when they were kids and learn more about relatives that have passed on, a family history, and why these people were so important in our lives. I would love it, though I don't know about the younger kids but I think they would if you talk about how they were when they were kids. It's fun talking about them too!

I want this to be a new beginning of sorts... a new blog start, but I do miss the good old days. Life seems so much simpler then.