Saturday, June 28, 2008


Anticipating my usual 2-day off work, Friday evening is usually my favorite time of the week. However, this week, I feel exhausted physically and emotionally. Aside from the fact that this is my weekend to work, I am feeling a deep sense of loss as the 2nd cycle of Clomid had not given us a result we are hoping for. Unlike the 1st cycle, I am feeling more pain physically. There is this constant cramping in my lower abdomen, which is bad enough for me to need to take pain medication to be able to function. It is difficult to care for others when I am not feeling too well myself. Compounding all these things is a nagging right eye allergy that is making it red, itchy and watery, bad enough that I had to apply cold compress at work. Also, I feel more disoriented which is not good because I have to drive to unfamiliar places this weekend to see patients. Are these side-effects of Clomid?

Normally, I, kind of, look forward to working the weekend as this is the only time that I can listen to weekend NPR (National Public Radio) programming while driving. I, particularly, love Car Talk, Wait, Wait. Don't Tell Me, Splendid Table, Travel with Rick Steve, This American Life and Prairie Home Companion. However, this weekend, I cannot enjoy any of it. I am feeling preoccupied by some random thoughts. All I want to do is to have a chai latte, lie down and blog, in that order.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Satellite View

It is in a small street of a middle-class suburban neighborhood where in summer you can see well-maintained lawns, mature trees, people in shorts walking or biking and happy children playing. Everyone seems to enjoy the short season of warm days adorned by full bloomed flowers and cooled by a refreshing and fragrant breeze from newly mowed grass and wild prairie flowers. There is nothing special in this neighborhood where most houses were built in the mid-1970s but I feel at home here. We do not know the names of our neighbors. Waving, smiling and polite how-are-yous are the only interactions we have had. However, most communication is non-verbal. The loud hum of a neighbor's lawn mower signals that we have to mow our lawn. The aroma of grilled meat in early evening has a soothing effect of primal carnivorous desires that we shared. The sound of car engines is a reliable clue to get up in the morning and announcement that our neighbor is back home. We cannot help but feel sad when we see a for sale sign but feel elated when a sold sticker is placed over it. Our hearts are delighted by the thought of living in such a desirable place. Wildlife such as brown squirrels, grey bunnies, multi-colored migratory birds, geese from a nearby pond, well-fed dogs and occasional stray cats are also a sight and sound here. Everyone seems to be content sharing this small space.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bathroom Remodelling

This is how our master bathroom looks right now. For the first time, we feel like we are accomplishing something. We started this project back on Memorial Day weekend. We thought it would be easier as we are using a fiberglass surround shower stall versus tiling but we were mistaken! Every stage of this project has been difficult as our house is older and those stalls you can buy from big box hardware stores do not fit perfectly in our cubby hole for the shower. Now, we just need to tile the top of the shower, finish the drywall, paint, install trims and shower hardware. I promised myself not to embark on a project like this again for my sanity's sake!

Slob Confession

Yes, I admit I am a slob. Take note, not dirty but a slob. Sometimes I wish I could be more prim and proper and more organized. It's just that my nature is the opposite. I envy people who work in an office because they can dress up nicely and look professional. You see I do not need to dress up for my job. All I need to wear are shirt with Mercy logo and black pair of scrub pants . I don't even wear make-up or fix my hair nicely. Okay, that's laziness in my part. A lot of times I feel why bother when I just get dirty in my work. My poor husband, he has not seen me dolled up for quite a while!
It's not just in my physical appearance; my car is also a mess! I spend most of my working day in my car. I eat my lunch and do my computer work there. So, it is full of crumbs from my perpetual peanut butter sandwich lunch, papers, pens, paper clips, walkers, restorator, and other things I use for work. My husband suggested to use a crate but it did not help. It's even difficult to haul groceries as there is no room for it in my poor car. Also, I am the cause of why the left tail lights in both of our cars are broken! Please check out pictures.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Late spring 2008 backyard scenes




Jason hanging clothes on a sunny day.

Onion bed



This is our 36 square feet strawberry patch.

Our first harvest.

My first canning experience ever. Strawberry jam. Yum!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flood of '08

I was oblivious to the current natural disaster hitting most of Iowa until yesterday when while driving I cannot get through a main street to go back to our office in downtown Des Moines. Cars were slowing down and the red traffic lights were blinking when I saw water spilling like lava from a large manhole on the side of the street filling the street with dark water creating a small lake. City workers were scrambling to place large signs for detours and placing temporary sand levees to prevent flooding to the nearby buildings. After taking long detours, I arrived in our office with more empathy to one of the secretaries who was evacuated from her home few days ago due to 5 feet of water in her basement. Earlier that day, I asked how she was doing and without prompting she showed me several pictures of her basement where you can see stuffs floating including her washer and dryer. Before I left for home , I wished her a good weekend and she answered me with a smirk "Yeah right."

Upon returning home, I watched the news learning that more mandatory evacuations were in placed in some Des Moines neighborhoods that are within 500 year flood zones as the integrity of the levees were compromised. The news showed desperate people wading through contaminated flood water that is about thigh high for them (maybe waist or chest high for me) trying to rescue their pets and some precious belongings. At the bottom of the screen, evacuation shelters and sandbag outlets were being advertised. Several events such as the Republican and Democratic parties state convention, the Iowa Cub Games as well as the Farmer's Market were cancelled. Our plan for the weekend changed as we found out that the streets to our favorite places were closed. It is a very small discomfort compared to people directly affected by flooding. What a year for natural disaster!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Disappointed and disillusioned by the current administration, Jason and I decided to be more involved in Iowa's January caucus to select the democratic presidential nominee. We felt privileged to be part of the first-in-the -nation caucus. Earlier in 2007, we thought Iowa will lose this status as many states were arguing that Iowa is highly homogeneous and does not represent the country's diversity. However, the 30-year plus tradition prevailed.

It was cold Saturday in November when Jason and I heeded an invitation to a house party for Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Initially apprehensive due to fear that there will be no other people attending, I reluctantly agreed to go. Part of me had this curiosity to see the inside of the house where the party was held. It sits on a main street I pass almost everyday. The 2 story house is ordinary but what interests me was their big tidy garden. Spring through Fall, a stand is erected in front of the house where you can purchase fruits and vegetables in season. I was interested on how these people live as I would like to be a homesteader someday.

When we arrived, we were surprised by how much people were inside that modest house. It did not take long for us to learn that many people in our neighborhood shared the same political sentiment. The energy and excitement was palpable. Drinks and cookies were offered in which Jason cannot resist. The kitchen was the only place that Jason and I lingered as there were so many people. I examined the house and my eyes were caught by this mission-style bookshelf holding different cookbooks from vegetarian to meat lovers. Then, we heard a commotion in the living room. Gov. Richardrson followed by his well dressed volunteers had arrived. Before starting the meeting, he went around the house and shook hands and addressed each person by first name. Dressed in a turtleneck sweater and brown suit, he looks better in person than I thought. The meeting began with Richardson laying out his ambitious platform. After about 10 minutes of speaking, he accepted questions from the audience. Tons of questions were thrown from Iraq war to the falling dollar. We were impressed and that same day, we decided to support him.

January 3, 2008, we caucused for Bill Richardson but as you all know it did not happen for him. After a long, bitter nomination process for the Democratic party, Sen. Barack Obama is the presumptive nominee.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I arrived to the final realizations of certain aspects of my life so far...

  • It does not matter how long I live in the United States, I will never be an American. I have American citizenship but Filipino is the nationality attached to me for the rest of my life.
  • I will never lose my Filipino accent. I have tried my best to train my tongue and lips to pronounce words in American way but at the end of the day when fatigue sets in, I revert back to my Filipino accent. I am not ashamed of it as I heard different accents of English language. No one can tell me that my accent is wrong.
  • I need to eat rice at least once a week. However, I learned that I love brown rice more than white rice. Aside from brown rice heartier than white, it is more nutritious. Rice is a very versatile food as you can eat it with almost everything. Though my consumption decreased since I came to live here, it remains a staple in my household.
  • Iowa is my home away from home. I tell people that I probably know Iowa better than the Philippines. Driving makes you more oriented to a place. When I first came here in Iowa, I felt like I was thrown in the middle of nowhere. There are no big cities and high skyscrapers that I imagined America would be. Instead, I found acres and acres of flat corn and soybean fields. People will argue that it is not really flat as it has rolling hills but it is for me compared to the Philippines where you can see a mountain silhouette from a distance. To make matter worst, Filipinos are small in number compared to other bigger states. However, Iowa has grown on me. I love its four seasons, the peacefulness, big sky, small towns, low cost but high standard of living and nice people. I cannot live anywhere else for now.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Apache Wedding Blessing

Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no loneliness for you,
now there is no more loneliness.
Now you are two persons but
there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place
to enter into the days
of your togetherness.
And may your days be good
and long upon the earth.

June 7,2000

It was an awkward kiss that ended our brief wedding ceremony. We received polite congratulations from the Justice of the Peace and from our two good older friends who stood as our witnesses. Bringing out the color of his eyes, Jason looked regal in his new charcoal colored suit while I felt fat in my red printed silk dress. Taking in the moment, we took our time descending the marbled steps of the old ornate building serving as a courthouse. The only sound in the lobby was the echo from our shoe heels hitting the hard marbled floor. Outside was a glorious sunny spring day. Breathing in the fresh fragrant air, Jason and I together with our 2 friends ambled across the street to the parking lot. It was decided to go to Apple Bees to celebrate the occasion.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summer of 1999

Carefully watching the boiling water cooking the freshly bought sweet corn, I was surprised by the arrival of three male house guests. My equally surprised roommate reluctantly opened the door. The first young man that appeared in the open door was blond and tall. My head was turned and my eyes were squinting in concentration to remember who this guy might be. Was it Jerry, my friend's tennis playmate? He firmly shook my roommate's hand like a salesman and introduced himself as Jason. The other two, hiding behind, were familiar to me as former co-workers. I excitedly joined the commotion in the small living room that also served as a bedroom. Fatigue and hunger ignored, I put on a big smile and how are you's. After polite small talk, it was decided to go bowling.

I was the only female of the group. Overwhelmed by the attention given by these boys, I was giddy. I was particularly torn between the attentions of 2 different young men. One I just met and one I was pursuing for a long time. Who should it be? Then I felt in those kind gaze the tender feeling that the blond young man is the one for me. At the end of the evening, he slipped a piece of paper in my hand. There was his phone number.

That night, I slept with a smile and burning passion in my heart to see this young man again....

Monday, June 2, 2008


Warm rainy spring evening, sitting in our new Adirondack chairs on our open front porch, Jason and I were winding down from a busy weekend of bathroom remodeling. Our unwashed tired bodies, enjoying the coolness of light mist of the rain, were feeling the healing power of fresh air and joy of this simple pleasures of togetherness and peacefulness. Recovering from a roller coaster feeling of despair and elation at various points of our remodelling, I cannot help but uttered these words with a smile and sense of contentment, "This is heaven." Forgotten for that several minutes were dim realities of an impending busy work week, the unending household chores needed for survival and the unfinished and gutted master bathroom.