Disney Tops Cruise Ship Rankings

If I’m ever going to go on a cruise, I’d want to go to a Disney one. Even if I have kids or not, because I am, after all, still a kid at heart.

Beyond Mickey Mouse: Disney tops cruise ship rankings –

The Disney Dream is shown arriving at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.


Blah, Family, Me, Trips

Lola Basilisa Hortelano Elvas

I can’t sleep. It’s been almost 24 hours since I have learned my last living grandparent had passed away. I literally cried out, “Nooooooo!” after I saw my sister’s status update on her Facebook wall. I was devastated. I was happily planning to go back to the Philippines with my family in January, hoping to surprise Lola on her 96th birthday. It was going to be a memorable experience, given my two daughters have not seen their great grandmother yet. It was supposed to be epic.

Sadly, this will not be so. It feels like days already, yet…has it only been 20 plus hours? A lot has happened since then. I had startled Lucien awake after my outburst and had been a comfort to me since then. I literally broke down in tears. I only stopped so I could call people. I thought about Laverne, our old neighbor in Kinkaid, who had been best friends with my grandmother and fondly called her Lisa. They had exchanged letters over the years, and I had been visiting Laverne every once in a while to catch up with news. So, I decided to call her and let her know what had happened. As soon as I said my name, I knew something was wrong. Laverne didn’t know me. What? She does not recall who I was, nor my mom, my sisters who she has met years before, not even Ted, my grandfather, nor Lisa, my grandmother she hung out with so much. She did not know my grandmother. I was hurt. Extremely. Particularly the way she was indifferent with how I finally said that Lola had passed away. She seemed concerned enough but it wasn’t a concern by a great friend of hers, more like how an acquaintance reacts to someone who passed away. I hung up and sobbed even more. Never mind that she forgot me, or mom, or my sisters, I was more hurt that she would forget Lola like that. I later learned from Mom that Laverne might be suffering from dementia or onset of Alzheirmer’s because of her old age as well, but nevertheless it was heartbreaking.

Later in the afternoon, after exchanging instant messages from family back home, we decided to use Skype. It was comforting at least to talk to family, catching up on things and trying to figure out if or when we will go home. In the meantime, Lucien was trying his best to get me to the Philippines in two days time, and I had been filling out time off request forms for my employer. Lucien came through for me, and was able to get me tickets, but I had to go to Houston to board his ailrine’s international flight. No biggie, and luckily my flight doesn’t leave till the afternoon. My employer was generous enough to give me my requested time and do what I need to do. All through this, I felt like in a daze, totally exhausted yet my mind wouldn’t let me sleep like tonight. I was constantly online, calling this and that, doing a few quick errands and repeat. I even had the strength to cook which kinda comforted me more a bit. I used to remember Lola “forcing” me to learn how to cook. I say forcing because at the time, I wasn’t interested. However, the ever present home economics teacher in her had insisted I learn a thing or two of cooking. And even typing. And sewing. And doing crochet.

When Lucien and the kids got home, we all sat down and talked. I actually didn’t want to because I know I would burst out crying. But we had to explain to Dani and Lauren how Lola, who they were excited to see, is now in heaven. It was a little hard to explain it and Lucien even had a hard time trying not to cry. Later, after dinner, Lucien insisted I go take a nap, as I had not rested since the news. I had fitfully slept for three hours and woke up since I still had some packing to do. After the girls had gone to bed, Lucien and I had some good conversations about Lola. He is so sweet and all I needed for comfort. How blessed I am with this man.

There are so many loving memories of her. I’m just sad that I didn’t get to spend more time with her as we lived so far away. Lola didn’t like it in the States. She felt her age, and she couldn’t go outside and do as she pleased. In the Philippines, she was the queen of the house and can go about and do active things. She felt so alive there.

More memories I remember:

– I used to invite her to go to church with me and she used to scoff at me and refuse to go. When I was already here in the US, I had heard she is so active in church, holding bible studies in her house and had a women’s circle group. What a change! I was so happy for her.
– I loved her “Ahay!” “Meow meow!” remarks I teach them to my kids.
– Lucien had said Lola was the first one to accept him to the family, even before my mom did as she didn’t like him at the start. She said something like, “He is my grandson already!” Lucien was so touched as he had no grandparents anymore. She even gave him a hug to welcome him to the family. He teared up as he said this and I followed suit. He really loved her as his own.
– We went to a reception of some sort and had a big banquet. As they were serving coffee around the tables, the server asked Lola if she wanted some. She said “No, thank you” while nodding her head yes. The server was so confused and gave her coffee anyway. She leaned over to me to ask why she got coffee when she had refused and I told her she was nodding yes. Haha.
– I heard about how Lola went to the bank to withdraw some money. The teller asked, “What denomination?” (pertaining what kinds of bills she needed) Lola answered confidently, “When I was younger, I was a Baptist, but now I go to a Methodist church!” :P

There are more but now my mind has finally admitted its exhaustion. Tomorrow night, we will drive to Houston and begin my journey home and see Lola for the final time.

In Awe, Me, Slumming, Trips

Renting an island not just for the rich –

  • Many islands can be rented for a few thousand dollars a week
  • If you have a sense of adventure, some can be had for a few hundred dollars
  • “It’s a mystique to be on your own private island,” owner says
  • Necker Island is on the other end of the spectrum at $53,000-plus a night

I would love to try this someday, but that someday will be a long time coming.

Family, Trips

Houston and Filipino food goodness.

So, now I’m 33. It’s kinda weird seeing that number. It reminds me of Jesus and the most eventful year of his life. Could this be the most eventful year of my life?

Spent birthday with family. I had done a lot of errands that day, and just finished in time for a sit-down dinner at a Thai restaurant. Good stuff and fun times to catch up on things.

Already after my birthday, I drove to Houston with Luci and Dani. Luci is going to work there for a bit to jumpstart a passenger flight for the airlines he works for. It should be a fun experience for him.

It was also a good time to visit this Filipino restaurant I’ve been missing from previous Houston visits. They had a buffet lunch and we went there in the 2 days I had stayed. They didn’t cook the same food on both days, which was good. I was filled with Filipino food goodness. Luci even mentioned that he missed hearing me talk Tagalog to people other than my family. I then realized I really should get Dani to speak Tagalog often with me when she’s more comprehensive.

I drove back to Houston with Dani, sans Luci. It was my first time driving on my own like that. 3 to 4 hours drive from one city to another is a big deal for me. When we go on long trips, it’s usually with Luci and he drives most of the way. I was kinda scared I would fall asleep on the wheel, but leaving around the afternoon and before dusk really helped me keep awake. Even Dani was awake the whole trip, almost. (She fell asleep once we touched down in Dallas.)

So now we’re home safe, it’s back to normal life. Our house is still intact, despite that big tornado warning around the area I live in last Thursday. Thank goodness.

Missing hubby now. Must go talk to him.

Family, In Awe, Trips

Miracles on the Road

Pictures from trip to Carlsbad:

We had a very mysterious thing that happened to us on our way to Carlsbad. One of God’s miracles? However you think of it, it really was unusual and creepy. So we were following our car’s GPS navigation to our destination and we took this little highway north towards the border of New Mexico from Texas, and we were running on a little under a quarter of the gas tank. We figured we’d run into a gas station on the way, but for about 50 miles or so, no gas station or a store in sight. We saw a little town, but we didn’t see anything but little buildings and everything was dark. So we just kept going.

After a while, the GPS told us to turn left, and we did see a sign that said “Gas” this way about 16 miles. By this time, we were already down to no bars on the gas tank light. We were running on faith that it will keep us going till we get to the gas station. Alas, after all the praying and cajoling the car to keep going, we slowed down to a stop. It was already around midnight and there were hardly anything around except a few houses.

So, hubby started preparing to go out and walk back where we came from and hope to find a gas station, when this 18-wheeler truck arrived in front of us. Hubby asked where the nearest gas station was, and the truck driver said there’s a gas station 16 miles to where we were going but the closest one was 6 miles behind us (we could’ve kept on going forward instead of left). So the driver offered to take hubby to the gas station while daughter and I stayed by the car.

What was eerie at this point was that no one else drove by. So was it God-send that this truck driver came at the right time?

Hubby came back with the truck driver and had enough gas to take us back to the gas station 6 miles away. The driver even helped fill up the gas tank with what we had. Hubby told him he didn’t need to drive him back but the driver just shrugged his shoulders. We were so grateful.

And so, our “adventure” came to an end, and we were able to go our way.

Baby, Family, Me, Slumming, Trips

Christmas and the New Year is Looming

I was glad to hear that someone is covering for me on the 24th so my family and I can spend Christmas with my family. It’s always been the family tradition to celebrate Christmas during the night of the 24th, but this time it’s going to be during brunch. Living in the U.S. isn’t easy when the half of the population is working on a holiday, especially Christmas. I’m one of them. My job may be nice, but we work 24/7, including every holiday known to man.

Not that I complain about working holidays. I like working the days, because there is hardly anyone here. It’s quiet, I could probably take a nap if I wanted to, play online games (shhh), but only if there isn’t anything going on.

I’m very thankful lately that I have a great family. I know we were all scattered here and there back in the day, where you hardly saw anyone, and you hardly did anything. But it’s just now that I feel that though we have been far apart, we have grown closer. I love my siblings more than ever, and I have more camaraderie with them. Also, it’s just lately I have learned more about them than in my younger years when I was self-absorbed and oblivious. It’s very refreshing to know that I have, at least, connected with them even more.

So what has the past year been like?

Last May, Dani celebrated her first birthday. It wasn’t much, just us 3 but still it has been fun just being together. It made me cringe tho that she used her hands to eat and messed up her birthday suit. Ah, well, all in the occasion, huh? :)

Dani also had her first haircut this year. Her bangs were just getting into her eyes, and we thought it was time. We took her to the hairdresser and it was hard for her to keep still. I had to have her sit on my lap and hold her head while the hairdresser cut the bangs. Dani was kind of scared, but was more scared of the stranger cutting her hair than the actual cutting.

Had another family reunion in July and it was fun. We also had the chance to see my stepmother, Auntie Gigi perform on stage during the reunion. Luci, Dani and I drove all the way to Chicago and had a blast doing it. Also the most memorable of all, having my family sing together in my aunt’s church. Just being together like that gave me goose bumps.

My first trip to Singapore happened in November. I was also able to get my eldest sister to join us during our trip there. It was fun seeing her again and having to spend time with. She and her hubby were also able to see Dani for the first time. Dani seemed to know they were family since she took to them right away. I was going to arrange to go back to the Philippines for a couple of days as well, but that plan didn’t work so well. Maybe one of these years, Luci, Dani and I will plan to go home again for Christmas and New Year.

So, yeah, I’ve been pretty thankful this past year. Where in that certain day of time we look back and think of the bad things, all I can think of right now are the good things. God has blessed us and I am happy.

So what’s in store for the next year? Right now, I’m praying for another child. Why not join me? :)

Baby, Me, Trips, Work Drama

Quietly Sits On Her Cubicle

Random blog title, I know. Just thought I’d spice it up a bit, other than the usual “Updates” or “What I Did Today” stuff. (I was going to put in “crap” instead of “stuff” but I gots family that reads this, so there. Eep! Family, don’t read this parenthesis part! *sigh* Too late.)

Anyways, as I was about to say, I thought I’d update again on this blog of mine.

Remember on my last entry, that I took a sleeping pill that night? Not recommended for me, or at least not recommended to be taken after 1am (especially when I have to get up by 9am). The next day I was groggy and sleepy still and I had to get Luci drop me off at work. I was walking like a zombie that I had to sit and take a little nap to get off the grogginess. I wasn’t really “awake” until 1pm. I don’t even remember what I was doing from 11am to 1pm. I know I had to call John – my bro-in-law – at one point for an issue at work or something or the other. I don’t remember much of our conversation but he tells me some outrageous things that I know he’s joking around with me. Hehe, yes, it’s that bad. I think I’ll hold off taking sleeping pills for a while. That day wasn’t a pretty sight. :( I think it also caused me to get a sore throat which led to coughs and colds, too. Ugh. What a week.

Luci left today for Trinidad (ya know, Trinidad & Tobago? It’s in the Carribean somewhere). He’s helping out on a cargo flight for some kind of event that’s happening there – something to do with race cars. He’ll just be there for three days, but I’m already missing him. I think Dani’s missing him, too. She was extra fussy today, compared to yesterday where she was mellow and serene.

Speaking of Dani, I was making her laugh earlier this morning before I went to drop her off at the babysitter’s and then suddenly she made a panicked face and started spluttering and coughing and crying. I didn’t know what was happening and I was so worried. I tried consoling her and comforting her, all the while I was trying to figure out what was going on. I went up and down the stairs with her in tow to see what I could find to help console her. As I was going up the stairs holding on to her tummy, she suddenly let out a big burp. After that, she calmed down. I guess that was what was bothering her. Good thing it wasn’t too serious. *sigh of relief*

So, that’s the story of how my week went. Hope you had a better one.