Thursday, January 15, 2015

Moving Forward...

Trying to anyway.....

We're half-way through the first month of this year but it's only now that I found the courage to sit down and write. Well I've been writing, just not publishing. Sadly this year didn't start happy for me. Actually, it's more like a carry-over from the year that was. I didn't quite expect that 2014 would end the way it did but it did. Such is life I guess.

A dear friend departed this world before 2014 closed. It's still very hard for me to actually think, much less talk about it but I'm trying to move forward. It sort of came as a shock to me because I was left in the dark about it. I say 'sort of' because I wasn't told outright that something was wrong but I saw signs that something may be wrong with her as far back as about 2 years ago.

We were very close because we went through a lot together. A lot of life changes be it work related or personal matters. She saw me go through some very painful phases in my life including the deaths of my parents. She was also there when I hit some highs in my life . The only reason I can think of as to why she kept me in the dark with her health woes was because she knew me too well. She knew I probably wouldn't have handled it very well. That I'd panic and be more paranoid. She's right. After her passing I was a basket case for a few days. Sad as I was with what happened, I and another friend were left with the very difficult task of informing our common friends of her demise. The task at hand was made even harder with the fact that at the time of her death, it hasn't even sank in to me that she was ill because it all happened so quickly. I was bombarded with questions of how and why. I could answer the 'how' but definitely not the 'why'. Only HE knows why and all I can do is to accept that she's no longer just a phone, a chat, a PM away.

My husband saw first hand how affected I was, am, with what happened that he started to worry whenever I have to talk to another friend about it. He's been worried that I may not be able to handle another conversation about it because he saw how I was the first few days after I learned how sick she was. It got easier as the days passed but it's still very painful. When I last spoke with her via Skype, days before she died, she kept telling me that 'time heals all wounds' and that things will be better. I'm holding her to that promise right now. So far, she's not delivering.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Until We Meet Again...

Still Speechless in 2015....

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Discover Today’s Hottest Vacation Trends

Today’s hottest vacation trends range from family oriented getaways to wildly exotic adventures. What’s more, some of the trendiest destinations are not typically thought of as desirable vacation spots. If you are looking for a different kind of vacation, think about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new.
Did You Say Vietnam?
Americans are suddenly interested in the exotic. Flights to Tanzania increased 50 percent in 2013, surprising travel experts. The surge is likely due in part to reduced airline fares, but Tanzania is not a destination typically at the top of a vacationer’s wish list. It’s not the only unusual choice for tourists, either. Ecuador, Vietnam, Malaysia and Turkey are all seeing spikes in the numbers of vacationing American tourists. Chris Cuddy, CCO of CheapOair.com, believes the increased interest is partly due to the fact that Americans get so little vacation time compared to much of the world. When Americans plan their vacations, they choose places that feel like real getaways. Countries like Tanzania, with its unique combination of ancient culture and sweeping landscapes are particularly attractive.
What’s So Special About Tanzania?
Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa and one of the poorest in the world. It hardly sounds like an attractive tourist destination, but it is one of the most visited countries in Africa. In fact, the tourist industry is responsible for an improved economic outlook. There is no question that the reason people go to Tanzania is because of its alluring landscape and abundant African wildlife. The Serengeti National Park is famous for its lion, leopard, African buffalo, cheetahs, zebras, wildebeests and gazelle populations. The once abundant African elephant still lives in small herds in the northern parts of the park. The annual migration of over 1.5 million brindled wildebeest and approximately 250,000 zebras brings thousands of tourists to the park each year. The park landscape includes savanna, grassland plains, woods and rivers. For Americans, a trip to Tanzania is a trip to another world and that’s exactly what they are looking for.
A Vietnam Vacation
The scene of a long, tragic war and now a single party Communist state, Vietnam, too, seems like an unlikely vacation destination. It is, however, one of TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice Award winners and its capital, Hanoi, made its Top 25 Destinations list. Popular tourist destinations in Vietnam include Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Sapa, Nha Trang and Hue. Visitors to Hanoi’s 54 Traditions are treated to an exhibition of cultural artifacts and collections including local art, clothing and shaman tools. The Old Quarter is 40 streets of history. Historic neighborhoods, architecture and shops selling goods of all kinds provide a glimpse of the past. A 2014 Travelers’ Choice Award attraction winner, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum features the contributions of women to the country’s culture and history. Highlights include exhibits defining women’s roles in the family, military conflicts, commerce and how the role of women changed throughout history.
Everybody’s Welcome
Another hot vacation trend that can be as laid back or exotic as you want is the multigenerational vacation. Family vacations don’t mean just Dad and Mom and the children anymore. A multigenerational vacation includes Grandma, Grandpa, aunts and uncles as well. Families often live far apart and increasing numbers choose to spend the family vacation time together. Planning a multigenerational vacation means taking into account the fact that older relatives may have less physical stamina than children and children have relatively short attention spans. It can be a bit of a balancing act, but spending a vacation together is a great way to strengthen the family bond.
Here are some great multigenerational vacation ideas to keep everyone happy:
  • Take a cruise: Cruises are great choices for taking a family group that includes people of all ages. There’s something for everyone. Children can participate in programs, activities and games; adults can play bridge, sit by the pool and see shows. Some cruise lines have nurseries, so parents can have some alone time, if desired.
  • Go on a city safari: Some cities, like Washington, are tailor made for a multigenerational vacation. Choose lodging within walking distance of the best attractions. Elders can choose which attractions they want to tackle and head back to the hotel if they need to. The White House, Capitol, Smithsonian and historical monuments are all free. If you go during the holiday season, you can see the National Christmas Tree, attend special programs and enjoy the celebration.

Visit a themed resort: Specifically geared to satisfy the interests of every age group, resort themes vary from Wild West dude ranches in the American Southwest to European discovery tours. Most offer a wide range of options to fit the family’s interests and budget.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What Happened?


I've been MIA for several days. I want to write a lot of things here but I just don't have the mojo to do it. I tried a couple of times but I end up putting it in the draft folder then deleting it altogether.

Anyway, I've been busy going around both online and offline stores to look for things I need to put in the box I'm sending to the Philippines. The last delivery came in late last week and we spent last weekend going around the mall as well as other stores. It was night time already when we got back home but we were able to pick up some stuff so I was happy, tired but happy. I was finally able to tape it close earlier this week and it's now waiting in the garage ready to be picked up by the cargo company later this week. According to him it will reach its destination either last week of January or first week of February. A little late for Christmas but oh well....

With the box all packed, my Christmas shopping is almost done. The list for Santa has been fulfilled except for one item. It's actually a pretty short list so it didn't take a lot of time to get it done. We're actually racking our brains now as to what else to add to it. Our little one is obviously over that stage when all she could ask for were toys and more toys which made her list before almost impossible to fulfill. I remember one year when she requested for a 'rotary phone'. They're virtually non-existent unless you want to pay by the thousands to get a real [vintage] one. We got her one but it's not really a rotary phone, only one that resembles one. It was good enough for her. She was just 7 at that time.

As for me and my other half, we don't get presents for each other anymore. Sometimes we surprise each other with something but they're usually for fun only. This year we may not even do that since we're planning in doing something early next year. Last year we went out of state for Christmas. This year we're staying put. The main reason we went out of town then was to see snow...and family of course. We did that already so we'll be home for Christmas this time around.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Good 'Ole Guitar

My sister in law used to be a lead singer in a band. That was more than 30 years ago. They had a lot of singing gigs both locally and abroad. Aside from singing, she also played the guitar so one of her first purchase when they got their first gig to sing abroad was a Yamaha guitar which she used until she quit her band to start a family. That Yamaha guitar though didn't retire because I remember using it a lot and toting it with me everwhere I went when I was still in college as well as I when I started teaching. She let me use it for as long as I wanted to but when I had to teach overseas, I decided to return it to her because I didn't want to lose it or damage it in my travels. I now have my own guitar so I don't have to borrow. But even if I have a guitar of my own, I still think about that first guitar I had. I wonder where it is now. I probably should ask next time I talk to my sister in law.

December...already?

I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering as to where time went, right? It seems to be the case, at least to me, every year. Why is that? I guess we're too busy with life that it still catches me off guard when I realize that another year is about to close.

Anyhooo...I've been MIA for about a week now. I've been around. I even drafted a post a few days ago but for some reason, I don't feel like I should post it. It's one of those posts where I just sort of babbled away so into the trash bin it goes.

I've been sort of busy lately. I'm trying to find stuff for loved ones for the season of giving. I've been on it for the last several months actually and I'm not done yet. I was supposed to send the box 2 months ago to make sure it will make it by Christmas but it's quite hard because I don't want to just get something and them not liking it so I did what I said I wouldn't do. Ask them what they want. I did that a couple of years ago and things got out of control [read: budget!]. This time around I specifically said that I can only get what can fit in the box and there's a limit to my 'resources'...LOL. Fortunately they listened...haha. I still got a few surprises for them but most of what I got are 'special requests' so to speak. I'm still waiting for some stuff to be delivered. Hopefully, the box will be out the door by next week. Goodluck to me....

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tablecloth Hunt

It's been a while since I looked for a tablecloth for our 'formal' dining table, aka, little one's work table. Yep, it serves as her working station during the day and our table for special occasions only. Ha! When we first got it I went gaga in looking for a tablecloth for it. All I got were runners. This time around I want to look for a real tablecloth for it. I haven't had much luck though but if I am looking for 90 round crinkle taffetta tablecloths then my search would have been over by now because I found a few of those already that I like. Not the ones I'm looking for though. We have a round table in the breakfast nook but I'm not sure if I want to put a tablecloth on it...yet. Maybe in the future? I guess I have to continue my search for the elusive tablecloth before the holiday season gets here...or is it here already? Ugh!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Thankful for Another Year

And now I'm a couple of years away from being a 'golden girl' as the little one likes to call it. Yep, I just celebrated a birthday. The day started with our little one coming in our bedroom at around 8 in the morning to hand me her handmade birthday card coupled with her birthday kisses. Her cards are becoming simpler as the years go by but still priceless to us. Much as I hate to admit it, I know that there will come a day when she won't be making those cards for us anymore.

In the past, we didn't really go out of our way to find a place to eat on any of our birthdays, unless the little one requested it. This time we actually did just that. We drove for more than an hour to get to a seafood restaurant which was recommended by one of hubby's clients. We've been looking for a seafood restaurant around here [well, apart from restaurant chains like Red Lobster] and we just can't find one. This one is still NOT in our area since it's in another county. But we took the drive and we actually enjoyed it because the restaurant is located at the end of a ten-mile zigzag road surrounded by water. It's a very laid-back down to earth place where diners come in their most comfortable clothes. On this particular day everyone was wearing something to keep warm because the temperature was in the low 60s I think. To me it's freezing actually...but that's just me being a wimp. LOL.

After attacking a dozen [each for hubby and me, the little one had clams fettuccine] of garlic crabs, we braved the very cold breeze outside and attempted to take a couple of pictures on the deck. Btw, hubs wanted to eat by the deck but I said no. It would have been perfect if the temperature was in the 80s.

We were able to snap a couple of pics and here's one of them. I was literally shaking when this picture was taken...it hurt even just to smile.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vintage Treadmill....

  1. A few weeks ago I posted about going back to basic as far as my treadmill is concerned. To the left is my 'vintage' treadmill I talked about in that post. Well, vintage may be exaggerating it a wee bit since it's only about 10 years old. But this was the treadmill we got when I realized that my weight was not coming down on its own 3 years post natal. Ha! Did it work? Did I lose any weight? I did...probably half a pound. Not the machine's fault though. I just wasn't motivated enough that time to use it regularly and continuously.
Anyway, I tried to convince the hubby to give it away when we decided to get the elliptical a few years ago but it stayed in the garage collecting dust and cobwebs. We got rid of the elliptical and got the tread climber, then got rid of the tread climber but this treadmill stayed in the garage. Why? Well, probably because it's so 'basic' that we're embarrassed to even give it away for free [even with free shipping]. LOL!!!
 
Anyway, I decided to dig it out of hibernation a few weeks ago. I've been using it regularly since then and so far so good. I've clocked a few miles on it already. I try to walk a mile on it every morning, either before or after I use the recumbent bike. It was a challenge at first to use it because I'm so used with the tread climber that just goes automatically once you press the start button. This one doesn't have a start button. I actually have to walk on it for it to start working. The screen can only display 1 thing at a time ~ mile, time, calories and the odometer. Here's how the screen looked like while I was walking on it a few days ago.
 

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Night of "F-I-R-S-Ts"

* First try at canvas painting

* First time to attend an art class

* First time to learn with a group of virtual strangers

* First time to be out of our sight for a long period of time [3 hours].

And those are the many 'firsts' the little one experienced last week. She had a lot of fun to say the least and she can't wait to experience another one in the near future.

Now let's talk about 'my firsts'. Ha!

Seriously, that's the first time that she was not within our sight for a couple of hours. To say it's scary is probably sufficient. I was also anxious on how she'd do being with a group since she's always with us only. I wasn't overly concerned but concerned nonetheless. I even gave her my cellphone so she could call us anytime she wanted to. Overkill? Yep...but hey I'm a Mom and I want to make sure she has the means to call if she has the need.

After dropping her off, the husband and I were literally at a loss as to what we should be doing. We didn't make any plans on how we should spend the time with just the 2 of us. We didn't want to go back home. We thought about hanging out in the parking lot of the studio and tinkle with our gadgets. But we decided against that and went to a couple of stores instead. The whole time we were at the store we were actually looking for stuff for the little one like a purple purse, purple watch [yep, that watch in my previous post], and anything purple we think she may like. We were like a couple of kids lost in the store honestly since we really didn't have anything in mind to buy. After a couple of hours of strolling in the stores, we decided to pick up some food because I got hungry. I ended up getting pastries instead of real food. Bad me because it meant sabotaging my so-called diet. Oh well. With about an hour left of her 3 and a half hour class, we decided to hang out, yes, in the parking lot of the studio. From where we were parked, we were able to see what they were doing in the class. I must say that my worry [of her not being able to interact well with others] was unfounded. She was getting along with the others, well, at least with those that she talked to anyway. She said there was not a lot of chance to talk to others but her seatmate because most of the time was spent painting.

Anyway, she's looking forward to the next schedule. We don't know yet as to when that will be but I'll definitely be more prepared [and relaxed] next time around,