Thursday, July 28, 2005

Forward Passing

Hubby sent me this as a forward and I laughed out loud reading it. Just want to share the joy... 

 

TO ALL THOSE WHO SURVIVED the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's , 70's and 80's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing and didn't get tested for diabetes.

 
Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have PlayStations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
 
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we
were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live in us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 60 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own
good.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Succumbed to the Lure

I took one of  the dreaded blogthing tests after visiting aiibrat's and Mrs. L's journals. I was curious if these tests will reveal something about me that I do not know already. I found out that they are passive and they say things one wants to hear. Below is the result I got when I tried one tittled ,"What are the keys to your heart?" I want to go back there and do every possible combination on a quizz and find out what they say. I have time to burn and it is too warm to go outside. So a-quizzin here I go... 

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free. In love, you feel the most alive when your lover is creative and never lets you feel bored. You'd like to your lover to think you are optimistic and happy. You would be forced to break up with someone who was insecure and in constant need of reassurance. Your ideal relationship is open. Both of you can talk about everything... no secrets. Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

This tells me that I am passive-aggressive  and I have the righteousness of a TV evangelist. Now I see where I need to amend my rotten ways... 

Friday, July 22, 2005

When you are unhappy and you know it, write a poem...

                   

A poet is an unhappy being whose heart it torn by secret sufferings, but whose lips are so strangely formed that when the sighs and the cries escape them, they sound like beautiful music... and then people crowd about the poet and say to him: "Sing for us soon again;" that is as much as to say. "May new sufferings torment your soul."
Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher (1813 - 1855) 
 
 
  
Waiting

 

I’m sitting here

Waiting for you

Negative thoughts swirling

Hoping you are alive

Somewhere warm

Safe and loved

 

I do not know

What I did

To make you run

From reality

And what I can do

To keep you grounded

 

Meanwhile

I am just sitting here

Thinking of ways

We can get closer

Stop the charade

End this disaster

 

I do not know

How to reach you

Literally and emotionally

I am ready to expunge

Just waiting

For your response

 

Sometimes I feel

I can wait

Until you are ready

To settle down

And be happy

But waiting is exhausting

 

I wait in misery and hope

The next time you come around

You are whole and new

Without the need

To chase pieces of you

In all the wrong places

 

***Note: This is a poem I wrote a while ago when I was having a problem with a loved one. To date, I am happy so do not worry about me. Poetry writing is therapeutic for me so I write poems about things bothering me at the time. It gives me clarity and affords me the luxury of restrospection. Just wanted to post the poem here to share.***

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hurricane Update and More Italian Babbling

We got back to the Gulf Coast safe and sound. We surveyed our property and found that it fared very well. I am glad to report that we only found a few broken tree limbs and a blown away downspout. And Hurricane Emily decided to visit Mexico instead. We're a bit sore from cleaning hurricane debris and from lot of happy dancing.  Hallelujah!

I wrote the essay below after I got back from Italy:

I took my time to think of what I am going to write about my trip to Italy. There are so many interesting subjects such as the arts, antiquity, language, scenery, food, and culture.  But I did not like to write about safe subjects because the entry will most likely sound like a college course in Humanity. I did not want to be bored to tears writing about something a lot of people already know about Italy. I wanted to immerse myself in the culture. I longed to know the language and the colloquialism, to live like the locals, to eat what they eat, to have an in depth knowledge of their political, social, and environmental concepts. 

I remembered walking the streets of Italy and wondering what the natives think about. I wanted to make friends with the locals and experience what it is like to live their daily lives. I wanted to be let in their homes and learn their behavioral norms and societal values firsthand. I laughed at the notion because I knew these people do not know me well enough to allow me such privilege. 

 

I was bothered about the possibility of my writing about Italy as I saw it because I am aware that I have a healthy dose of ethnocentricity in me.  I know two weeks in Italy does not make me an expert about anything Italian. I also know that some of the aggravating incidents I encountered while I was there were products of my being lost in translation. I had Latinand Spanish classes long time ago and though my stored knowledge of these languages were helpfulwhen translating written words, I got muddled when I tried to speak the language or interpret what the natives were talking about.

 

I wish I could have stayed for a while longer. Long enough for me to write something concrete and of substance about Italy and the Italians. I am not a tourist at heart. I always have this yearning to know more than one can in a specified time period. My mother used to say, “When you want so much, you end up with nothing.”  I am happy with the glimpse of Italy I was provided but I feel like I asked a question and my question led to more questions. Now I have to find the answers to these questions. I did not end up with nothing. To the contrary, it feels like I got more than I bargained for.

 

What I love about Italy:

 

  1. The architecture. The palazzos, rotundas, basilicas, and cas.  I can go all day long looking at these works of art and they are everywhere in Italy.
  2. The museums. The feelings I experienced when I came face to face with the modern and old masters’ sculptures, paintings, frescoes and mixed media arts can only be described as pure ecstasy.
  3. The wines and the vineyards. The Veneto area is like Cali’s Napa Valley, there are wineries galore. Do I need to say more?
  4. The dolcis. I got a sweet tooth and there are baked goods and candy stores to indulge in everywhere we went!
  5. The gelato. This Italian sherbet is amazing! Most of it is homemade so its taste and texture is different from one gelateria to another. The more reason to stop by at every gelateria to see how their gelato taste like. Gelato comes in all flavors imaginable but my favorites are the ones made from exotic fruits.
  6. The food. I do not think I need to elaborate on this. The pasta,  pizza,  paninis,  cheese, seafood and prosciutto…. It’s all marvelous. Just feel free to say no to horsemeat and exotic games/bugs if you are squeamish. Friendly advice: Skip the Campari soda, unless you like drinking something that taste like the juice of an unripe grapefruit. Bleh! 
  7. The language and the accent. No wonder Italian men are labeled as romantics. It is all in the tongue. I love how they roll their r’s. Mama mia!
  8. The country homes. The concrete/stucco walls and red tile roofs make these homes look very solid. They are usually two stories high and have wrap around verandas. I love the way they all look so homey with their flower boxes, garden patches, vineyards, orchards and flower gardens.
  9. The autostrade. That is what they call their interstate highway. You can relive your dreams of being Maria/Mario Andretti in these highways. I remember us driving 150 mph and everyone was passing the slowpoke Americans!  Instead of rest stops, they have Autogrills.  These are diners over the interstate so you have a view of the speeding cars down below. I thought that was a novel idea that will probably go very well in the United States.
  10. The bambinos. Yes, the Italian babies. They are brunette and have silky olive skin.  They have lovely, lovely little faces and pretty eyes. I wanted to kidnap one to take home with me!

 

Things I did not like about Italy:

 

  1. Having to pay to go to the bathroom. Yes, public restrooms are almost inexistent in Italy. Italians are very nice people but somehow they are stingy with their restrooms. The only place where you can access a restroom for free is at a McDonald’s. It costs fifty cents Euro for a trip to the toilet. That is about seventy-five cents in US dollars. I thought it was ridiculous since I have to spend about $5.00 in bathroom fees for an all day outing.
  2. Parents taking their kids to nice restaurants and letting them run around the place. Also parents who are liberal in giving their children wine to drink during dinner. These were toddlers I saw guzzling red wine like it was milk!
  3. People who seem to be preoccupied with how they look but did not smell themselves or took a bath before hitting the door. There were a lot of instances where I was a victim of an olfactory assault in various cities of Italy. I would say there were a number of  people I encountered who are hygienically challenged. Could these be the tourists living in suitcases and reusing their already worn clothes?
  4. The way they pack people in buses and other public transportations. They just keep on stopping and filling them till you can’t breathe anymore. This sardines style traveling is confounded by  #3.
  5. Having to pay cover charge in restaurants and caf├ęs. I guess they do this because people in Italy are notorious for buying a drink and sitting at tables for hours watching people or chatting with companions. It gets on my nerves because I usually just want to eat and get out. The cover charge is not to be mistaken for the tip. You are to leave a tip even though they slapped you with a ridiculously high cover charge already.

 

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Go Away, Emily!

                                              

We are still in the Carolina's and we are not heading back to the Gulf Coast until Friday. We heard from a few of those who stayed behind that Dennis was not as devastating as it was expected. A lot of areas, including where we live,  already have their electricity, water, cable, and phone services restored.  

We might have to turn back by the time we get there though because Emily is out there and seems bent on visiting the Florida Panhandle like her cohorts. These Hurricanes must talk to each other and have this fascination about vacationing in our backyard. The Panhandle is very hospitable but its residents, like  us, do not like destructive visitors. We would like Emily to visit other places if she is bearing tornadoes, heavy downpours, and storm surges instead of gifts. We live in Sunshine State not Tornado Alley, Emily!!!  Just ranting and raving because there is not much we can do when it comes to the wrath of Mother Nature but can't we get a break?  Some people say that these hurricanes are a small price to pay for living in paradise. Yeah, right! We've been living on and off the Gulf Coast for the past twenty years and we never had these much of a problem until last year with Ivan. Granting that we were pretty lucky to sustain just minor damages to our properties last year and probably some downed trees this time, we are not ready to brace for another one.  We are not the welcome wagon for all hurricanes wishing to visit the USA. We actually felt guilty on the day Dennis strolled in our hometown because we were a few states away, soaking the sun at Paramount's Carowinds theme park. Every now and then we felt a twinge of guilt. There we were, riding the rides, watching the shows and taking pictures while those who stayed behind in the Panhandle were wracked by fear and anxiety. We felt sorry for those who can not afford to leave their homes, for sentimental or financial reasons. Our hearts went out to thosewhose homes are still damaged from Ivan's destructive forces and burdened by the financial, emotional and psychological agony inflicted by natural disasters. A lot of people on the Gulf Coast are yet to see their insurance checks from Hurricane Ivan. It is not easy to look at a home you lived in for decades destroyed and uninhabitable. It's heartwrenching to lose all the things you worked so hard to have. It's even harder to give up on pictures and other sentimental mementos gathered through the years. We know of people who are still battling the insurance companies for monies to repair their homes from last year's hurricane, are paying for mortgages in their uninhabited houses, paying for storage for their salvaged properties and paying for rent for a temporary domicile. 

 Why not move elsewhere,  away from this hurricane infested place, you may ask. We asked ourselves the same question. The bottomline is that despite all our angst about the hurricanes that visited and will be visiting the Gulf Coast area, it is still home to us. It is where both of our children were born. It gave us the constancy that is very much needed by a mobile military family like ours. It is the place we tell people we are from when we are on temporary assignments in domestic or overseas military facilities. It is the only place, aside from Hawaii, that we always yearned to go back to to raise our children and to grow old in.                                                                                                       

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Happy Birthday, Casey!

'

'

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Heading for Higher Ground

This might be my last update for a while. I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida and there seem to be every indication that Hurricane Dennis is heading our way.

We stayed put for Hurricane Ivan and it was a hellish of an experience. I do not want my family to go through all that ever again. I've grown smarter and I'm getting out of dodge before hell breaks loose.

I will be in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Hopefully, the weather there will be better than what is foreseen for the Gulf Coast and crossing my fingers that Dennis will not follow us there. 

The roads will be treacherous. There's news of flooding in Atlanta and thunderstorms all the way to South Carolina. We need to get on the road soon because I know there will be a mass exodus out of Florida.

Wish us luck!!!!  

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

I lied...

Back due to popular demand!!!

The grand canal in Venice. The view is breathtaking...

 

The targhetto (ferry) stop infront of  another important building I can't recall the name of. LOL.

Awww, isn't he so delicioso??? Ladies, gondolas are for rent, not the gondoliers...

This is the home of modern and international art in Venice. It was closed when I was there. It is reopening in November of this year. 

Even the fish market in Venice has a great background!

This is the Academia. Old masters' priceless work of art inside. After a while, I can't really tell who did what... Info overload and too much vino and gelato will do that to you.

Being seneraded in an outdoor cafe by tuxed ensemble? Only in Venice, Italy!!!!