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when mother nature strikes

It has been a sad couple of days. I just found out that my hometown, Cagayan de Oro in Philippines was badly devastated by Typhoon Sendong. I never realized the severity of the damage it caused until some friends shared several photos. To date, there are over 500 confirmed dead and the number is growing. I am thankful that my family and relatives are all safe although some of them were flooded and lost all of their belongings. Safety is most important among other things, that I am so thankful about; however, my heart goes out to the people who lost their love ones. When mother nature strikes there’s not much we can do. Below are some of the photos my friends shared.

This first photo below was taken in Iligan City, another neighboring city 1.5 hours away from Cagayan de Oro, also badly flooded.

One Hundred Seventeen people confirmed dead in Cagayan de Oro alone

in holiday mode

I am still working on my christmas decorating around the house but the tree is finally up. I wanted a small tree ‘cos I didn’t want to deal with a lot of pine needles and hauling around a big tree is a pain but what the heck it’s only once a year. 🙂 So I picked up a 6.5 foot  from Walmart. Hubby played some christmas music while I hung the ornaments on. This is my favorite time of the year and there’s something about christmas that makes me feel so happy except from the traffic and hustle and bustle that came with it 🙂 It’s all good…that’s what makes it exciting I guess.

Every year we go to our favorite store in town called Mix Bag to get a couple of christmas ornaments. We have yet to do that this year. They have the coolest ornaments I’ve seen and so many to choose from. My three kitties each have their own ornament that represents them based on their personalities. I have their pictures posted on my older post, here.

My tree. I got most of the ornaments at the Dollar Tree.

This is Atchee’s (my oldest cat) ornament. She’s such a diva 🙂 ↓

This is Mcqueen’s, he’s the only male cat. He has the greatest temper but likes to be up on anything with heights. ↓

This is Gizmo’s, my youngest kitty. I call her Gimmo just cos it sounds cute like her. She loves attention, purrs loud, and hyperactive. She also loves to climb up the tree and play with the ornaments. ↓

Last but not the least is Bud. Bud passed away last year. He lived for 17 years. We still put his ornament hanging to live with his memories. We miss him so much. ↓

You might think I’m crazy doing this but my husband and I love our kitties so much like our own babies. We include them in almost everything we do for holidays.

I hope everyone have a safe and happy holidays!

countless blessings

November 24th, 2:00 PM, Collins Lake recreation area, Marysville, CA. It wasn’t a typical place to be on thanks giving day but, there I was in a cold rainy evening with family and friends in front of a campfire enjoying each others company, our little chat and our turkey dinner with a fusion of German and Filipino cuisine. Being in a calm, captivating place at that very moment with wonderful people was a lot to be grateful for.

What we focus on, we empower and enlarge. Good multiplies when focused upon. Negativity multiplies when focused upon. The choice is ours: Which do we want more of?

JULIA CAMERON, Blessings

 If we can only draw our focus away from things that we didn’t have, to what we have, it is when we realize the countless blessings that we have to be thankful for. Sure, the economy affected everybody. I have never known so many people who lost their jobs and homes my entire life until today. It is sad and terrifying. I know, because I was once one of those people. As a self- proclaimed worrywart I worry about almost anything. I sometimes spend sleepless nights worrying about the possibilities of not being able to maintain the lifestyle that I have- which by the way, the same as most average Americans have- somebody who works hard to pay her bills and being able to maintain and run a typical average household.

This is how I cope…maintaining my optimism. Let me tell you, sometimes it’s not that easy to do. There are times when I get scared about what could happen to our country- the economy might get worse. It is when I start taking a look of the things I own, the family and friends around me, and where I’m at (literally). Then I think about the pictures I see and reports I read or hear about many others who basically have nothing, lost everything or people in a war zone who are suffering. I always come to a realization that I am luckier than the estimated 1.7 billion people who are living in poverty today. By that, I mean, people who luck the basic human needs such as shelter, water, food, and clothing. I think about those who are living in chaos their entire life yet they still manage to wear smile on their faces.

I still have a roof over my head, clothing, food on the table, my health, and most importantly I am surrounded with people I love. Life itself is a gift. Your perception about life changes how you live and appreciate the simple things around you. There are indeed a lot of things to be thankful for. You don’t need to look for them; they’re just around you needed to be seen and appreciated.

My Four Little Furballs

When I married my husband he had a fat furry baby named Bud. As much as I love to be his new mommy, he didn’t make me feel quite welcome into his life. I used to get a few scratches and bites on my legs and arms. Bud was a possessive cat and did not want to share daddy’s attention to anybody. A few months after, I decided to get a new kitty. We named her Atchee (a Filipino term for sneeze). She was very sick when we got her from the SPCA, so that’s how her name came about. Her nose was so stuffed up that she wouldn’t eat. I thought she wouldn’t survive but I nourished her back to health. Six years after swearing not to have anymore “babies”, we got McQueen- a friend’s whose daughter eventually developed allergy after a year and a half of owning him.  Who has the heart to deny this aloof yet good little “boy”.  I took him after a few negotiations with hubby. Bud and he never get along, there was always a competition between them. Besides, Bud was getting old and cranky and hated having a young and hyperactive kitty around. Despite of all these, we are one big happy family. They each have a spot on the bed. Bud sleeps on top of his daddy’s chest, Atchee on his lap.

At 17, Bud started loosing a lot of weight- from 25 lbs down to 10. It was painful to watch him suffer from old age, losing strength and always sick. After weeks of battling when to euthanize him, we realized it was time to let him go. It was the hardest decision we have to make. The night before we took him to the vet to put him to sleep, I was sitting on the bathroom floor weeping. I can’t bear the pain of loosing my boy. He then sat beside me trying to comfort me- as if telling me , “everything’s going to be okay mommy”.  I sobbed more. The next three days were gloomy and tearful.

Three months after Bud’s death along came Gizmo. In spite of swearing having two cats is enough, we somehow ended up adopting another. Yet, this time Gizmo chose us. One day, we visited a family friend (Gizmo’s previous mommy). Out of nowhere, Gizmo came up to hubby’s lap rubbing up against his tummy and purring as loud as I can remember. She would never let go. At that moment, we knew she was ours.

Bud’s last christmas

A not so old Bud. We miss you Buddy….

Atchee guarding the christmas tree. She’s my little cheese monster.

Bud napping with his little sister, Atchee

MacQueen in his holiday collar

My boys, Bud and Mac chilling out

Gizmo, my little polydactyl

Gizmo, showing off her extra toes. This was taken before she was declawed.

Our youngest sleepy head showing off her shaved tummy. This was a few weeks after she was spayed.

These four little monsters bring  joy to our lives.

A Walk Along The River

It was a nice spring afternoon when Hubby and I decided to take a walk along the American River. It has been a rough and long winter so we thought about taking advantage of this sunny and windy day before this unpredictable weather strikes again.

We are very lucky to live across the bike trail that runs several miles along the river.

Our neighborhood golf course

Spring Bloom

Wild Life

Romantic Sunset

After 2 miles of hiking, it was starting to get dark. It’s about time to head back home. What a better way to spend the afternoon.