Friday, January 10, 2020

Stories of 2020


Today, I received my first moving violation. A traffic policeman cited me for “speeding” going 35 on a 25. I honestly didn’t realize that the road or stretch of road going downhill from my street is even a 25 mph zone. Always thought it was 35 to be honest.

Anyway, I had the ugly feeling that I was getting cited when I saw the policeman riding behind me and I knew or realized I was zooming in at nearly 40 going downhill on a wet foggy early morning on the way to work.

I pulled over to the parking lot of a grocery store which is nearby and thankfully my husband had cleaned out the glove compartment of the car and put everything in place. Thus, I was able to produce the registration when asked. However, I knew for a fact, and in fact asked for it from the hubby some weeks back, that I do not have a copy - paper or digital - of insurance coverage. I guess I should be thankful that the policeman took my word for it that I had current and valid insurance coverage.

Well, it took nearly 25 years of driving for my first ticket to come. I should at least be grateful for that right? At some point in one’s life, we all get traffic tickets. The fact that mine came after 25 years of driving should tell you how careful I am and how obedient of traffic rules I have been. Or simply I just got lucky all those years and not get caught. You judge.

Friday, January 3, 2020

This is how the cookie crumbled in 2019

When I first thought of writing a recap of my 2019, only the rough spots came to mind. Thankfully, I didn’t write this piece right there and then, or it would have been a totally different narrative – one that is not accurate and completely misleading and full of bitterness.

If I did, I would have only written about regrets, pain, disappointments and how 2019 screwed me over. Yes, I am a cry baby and whiner. Public admission takes so much weight off my shoulders. Hopefully in 2020 I can totally shed my cry-baby whiny skin and learn to grow more spine.

At the point in the year where year-ender reviews are being composed, it’s sad to think that all I could really focus on were the challenges that this year has brought. I realized that life is not meant to be lived like a television series where problems are solved in 30 minutes and everyone had a good laugh afterwards. In real life, the pain lingers, the tears continued to flow days after and the bitterness simmers and bubbles continuously.

I bought a notebook – yes a journal – specifically for this so that I may write down every single thing. But the journal remains blank. I never got the courage to write down every raw emotion coursing through me at the time. I don’t want people to find out someday that I harbored bitter resentments. That I was unable to move on. That sweeping things under the rug just doesn’t cut it anymore. That turning a blind eye is not as satisfying as looking the tiger straight in the eye – recklessly dangerous and there’s a big chance you’ll end up dead, but at the time you’re doing it, it was worth it. That turning the other cheek is simply not my cup of tea.

However, after the explosion of emotions had subsided and I had time to sit in quiet I realized the year did not begin and end with my challenges. The year began with me cruising the Canary Islands with my college roommate and the mother of my godson. As the year opened its doors, I was in Barcelona, one of my most favorite spots in the world. What a blessing that was, right? On the same trip, I got to visit new places with my husband and friends. What else could I ask for, right?

Following this trip, I found myself faced with a big decision. After giving it a little thought I decided I needed to shake up my life. I read the situation as the world or fate giving me a way out. I saw it as a sign to leave. It was the sign I was waiting for in years and somehow it was a now or never kind of decision. I was afraid either way. If I leave, the unknown is pretty scary. If I stayed, the ennui and stagnation are lethal and that’s pretty scary.

Thus, I made my first (stupidly) brave move in as far as I can remember. I left a job I held for a long time to sit on my couch for an unknown period of time. I told you it was stupid. But my husband supported my whim and encouraged me to take a few months off to think things through and devise a new game plan for myself. The funny thing is I learned that introspection is not my strong suit and that I have a hard time reaching my very core to learn what exactly it is that I need and want to do with the rest of my life. I was completely satisfied with the “status quo” that getting the boat rocked was a situation I did not allow myself to ponder. But I sailed through the first few weeks, basking in the glory of extra hours of sleep, no hour and a half commute or the stressful days at work. Eventually I got bored with that as well and I started to troll every employment website there are available and got myself into examinations for county and gov’t jobs. Pretty soon I got called for one interview after another. It was an anxious time because the last time I was at a job interview was some 20 years ago. You read that right, 20 years ago was the last time I went for an interview.

Thankfully, the interview process as I found out remains the same. In fact, I remembered that the interviews I went on 20 years ago were tougher in the sense that I faced a panel (at least 5 in a conference room) of interviewers instead of today’s 2 people or at most 3 people “panel”. The questions were pretty much situational and I suppose it’s not actually the “qualifications” that they are focusing on but on the attitude and how you tackle a particular problem. I answered as I saw fit and in all honesty I did not get very nervous. I did feel a little nervous before the interview while at the waiting area, but as soon as I was ushered in the interview room that all went away.

I got a new job that is a 180-degree change from my previous job. It is also a 15-minute commute (at most) and the boss does not micromanage. It’s quiet, the phone doesn’t ring and everyone just goes about their work when it’s time to work. I love it. There’s a downside to this job, but I’d rather not mention it here right now. I don’t know if I’m going to stay here long, but I love it so far.

Another blessing this year is the realization of my dream to see the so-called Utah’s Big 5 National Parks - Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce and Capitol Reef. How can you go wrong with a road trip to visit these natural wonders? In addition, we also visited both the Upper and the Lower Antelope Canyons in Nevada. This road trip was formulating in my brain for a decade or so; thus, I was really glad that we finally got it done.

So what will 2020 bring? I don’t know, but I can assure you that whatever it is I’m ready for it.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Farewell to you, my friend.

On a routine check on Facebook this week I found get-well-soon posts for a friend. The very next day, the posts became RIP. Only a few days before that he posted photos of him getting together with school buddies eating, drinking and singing karaoke. So much joy in his smile.

I met him in school. I was in the fifth grade; he was a third-grader. I know, what third-grader mingles with a fifth-grader right? I remember how I met him. Our classrooms were a few rooms apart, but were in the same building. My friends and I were playing in the grass across our room and they were playing in the grass across their room. Somehow, he and two of his buddies ventured to our grass and that's how we met.

I remembered seeing him again in high school, when I was a senior and him a sophomore. Funny thing, I don't remember seeing him as a freshman, although we went to the same high school. The reason why I remember seeing him in my senior year is that he used to help out a buddy of his to get to me. Somehow, he managed to convince this guy that he's friends with me and he can help him get close to me. Such bravado, huh! I think that's how I will remember him - he was not shy at all. He easily made friends with both upper classmen and lower classmen. The friend he was helping, we got close alright. That is another story for another day.

Sometime this year through a mutual friend he found me on Facebook. I'm really hard to find, because I am under my married name on FB. He knows me through my maiden name. We were chatting one time and he mentioned he's been looking for me on Facebook but couldn't find me until this mutual friend mentioned my new name. I told him that logging in under my married name act as a filter. Only those "close friends" can find me. He sounded hurt that he's not in the loop.

In the chat we talked about our lives and families and how proud he is of his boys who were doing so well in school, garnering awards and honors. He even sent me a link to a video of one of his boys delivering a valedictory speech during graduation. He was a proud dad. He also mentioned the last time we saw each other was in Manila, by San Sebastian Church. That was a Wednesday afternoon. We regularly attend novena on Wednesdays in San Sebastian because one of the acolytes was the cute guy from San Sebastian College. He was cute. A lot of college girls from universities nearby would come to the novena to see him.

But I digress. I was so surprised to see him there. It's been years since I last saw him. He was really surprised to see me there and the smile he gave me was so nice that the girls with me - my best friends in college - remarked afterwards that it seemed like we had something going on because of the way we were talking.

I really don't know if there was something going on, because I didn't stop to think about stuff like that. We've been really friendly throughout our friendship. He promised to show me around when I go back "home". He said our town has changed a lot and it's no longer a sleepy town that you pass on the way to Baguio from Manila.

Honestly I don't know why I got affected by his death. Sure he was a friend of mine despite all the years we haven't had any communication. I suppose I got sad because he was too young to die. His kids are still in school and he didn't yet get the chance to reap what he sow with his kids.

Dear G - thank you for being my friend. Farewell and rest in peace.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Still Here

I am still here!

I'm well aware that I have been gone for nearly 2 years. Busy schedule is to be blamed. Maintaining too many blogs too. However, a major change in my life and schedule has made me realize how I cherish the way I used to write about nonsense here, things that I cared about.

As mentioned above, I had a major change in my life this year and while trying to maneuver through all these knee-buckling changes I made a pass at the old posts and they cheered me up. I was writing about stuff that I was going through and I realized that I managed to pass through all those challenges as well.

That gave me some inspiration to keep this going.

I think I will just jot down what I think, what I feel, what I overcome, or what drowns me.

I will survive just so I can write all about it.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year

greece and venice 2014 892

New Year again. A fresh start. Clean slate. Another chance to write a story. Hopefully a better story than what we wrote in 2017.

As this year begins, I am hopeful. Hopeful that I can have a fresh slate to do better by me. I need to look out for me. To take care of me. It’s not about being selfish. I need to be healthy to take care of others. I cannot be running out of steam. Others are relying on me.

Besides that I still want to do so many things, to see many places and experience life. In order to accomplish that, I have to be in good physical form.

I have to resist the temptation of eating junk food; of eating when not hungry; of eating when bored.

I need to read more, find more activities that engage both the mind and the body.

I need to start acting like a grown-up.

I also must start writing again. Here. Not in my other blogs where I write about my travels and adventures. Here, where I write about feelings and thoughts.

Here’s to a kinder version of ourselves in 2018.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

June Breakdown

I just got back from camping in Sonoma Valley. It was the annual church camping and I believe this was the fourth year in a row that we are having this group camping. The first one we were lucky to have found one group camp spot in Samuel P. Taylor Park. That park is beautiful with tall trees and despite being so close to the road, we could not hear traffic noise from where we camped. The next year, we missed it, but it was held in Mount Diablo. I cannot remember why we missed it, but we joined the group for a day camping instead. The third year we camped at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park , the same one we camped this year.

The beauty of Sugarloaf Ridge park is that it is generally an easy drive, without traffic you can get it under 1.5 hour. Another asset for this park is that it is right smack in the middle of all these beautiful wineries and only a short drive away from all the yummy Mexican food and incredible wine tasting. There are wonderful trails to take if you like that sort of activity. There is a creek that was full this year and provided entertainment for many of our campmates. There is a waterfall trail which ends in well you guessed it – waterfall. Although it’s barely a “waterfall” in the truest and grandest sense of the word. The trail descends and is an easy short trail that even someone like me could tackle. We were told that earlier in spring the waterfall was full and the runoff to the creek downstream was bulging as well, which became such a popular spot during the hot afternoon hours.

The preceding paragraphs were written two weeks ago now with the intention of posting immediately, but as is my life nowadays, something came up and I had to stop blogging and voila, days later I still haven’t posted.

Anyway, the camping was just one of the things that happen in the month of June. Historically this month is pretty quiet and also mostly centered on church activities. In this month we have our annual church fundraiser, famously known as Chocolate Extravaganza and since its inception I was a cashier at the night of the fundraiser. I guess I can handle a credit card machine that’s why I was assigned there; although two years in a row now that we only decided to go with cash and check basis for all the silent auction items purchased.

Another worthy of mention here is our monthly birthday dinner with a group of people. An old church friend of ours who moved away last year joined us for dinner. She actually had found a job so far away from the church that she and her husband decided to leave the area altogether. We definitely missed her bubbly presence at church and during church related functions, thus when she visits occasionally we make plans with her right away. So that was the reason she was part of the birthday dinner.

At the dinner we found out her happy news, she got a full time job. The sad part is, for us, that the job is in the East Coast. She just relocated a few days ago.

June is such a drag. Such a boring time. I mean one week it’s hot as hell and the next it’s knee-shaking cold.

I must do something about June next year. I have to plan a little get-away to break the monotony of the month.

I would "promise" to write here more often and go back to the purpose of this blog as a journal for my life. It doesn't need to be about the travels because I already have a blog for that, nor about cats which I also have a separate blog for that. The thought of sharing one's feelings and unspoken thoughts still make me cringe. You know once you put anything down in writing and hit send or publish you just don't have any control over those thoughts any more. So, yes still having second thoughts about that part of my blogging life.

Stories of 2020

1/19/20 Today, I received my first moving violation. A traffic policeman cited me for “speeding” going 35 on a 25. I honestly didn’t ...