I wanted to write something memorable for my husband’s 2nd death anniversary. Matt always recited verses, mostly incongruous and funny while he was alive. I kept telling him to write them down because I could not possibly remember them. He did not listen.
I’m not a poet. This little poem just popped out of my head from nowhere. Is Matt dictating this to me?
I am grateful 2020 is over, gone and done. The New Year comes with an opportunity to reinvent, refresh, renew, and brings us better luck. It’s up to each of us to make plans for a better YOU.
2020 was a very stressful year for the whole country. We lost loved ones, the economy started going south, unemployment shot up, and with the lockdown caused by Covid-19, the entire world went into a spin. We got isolated from our loved ones, got restrictions to enjoy life, even going to church was forbidden. I hope with the coming of the vaccine, 2021 will be a lot better.
I need life to go back to normal. I’m tired of what is going on in the country. The election, the politics, divisiveness, the riot, the life restriction are not the life I envision in America. I long to return to the old days before Covid. I want to see my friends and be able to travel again and be free again.
To cure my loneliness, I found out music is good therapy. I find myself playing music most of the time. I play Filipino Kundiman to keep me connected to the Philippines. I want to go home and visit my parents’ grave. I missed Mom’s funeral, and it saddens me to no end.
What are your goals for 2021? I call it goals because it seems that resolutions do not work anymore. Studies show that resolutions seem to be out the window by the end of January or early February.
So forget about resolution. Instead, set some goals for a better YOU.
With some determination, you can accomplish a lot if you set your mind to it.
Did you accomplish anything about your goals in 2020? I accomplished a lot but not all.
Interestingly enough, diet or losing weight was not one of my goals. I lost a lot of weight last year without going on a diet or even thinking of losing weight. I think the fact that I had to go up and down the stairs at least 20 times a day (17 steps to the second floor) to attend to my sick husband made me lose weight. I did not follow any of those diet fads. If I do, I’m sure I will gain weight. I’m slowly getting back to my normal weight while maintaining a good eating habit.
I tried to learn a new language last year. That did not go too well because I lost motivation to do anything after my husband died. Grief took hold of me, and I could not function. I will try again this year.
One of my goals last year was to learn how to play the piano. I bought a piano a week before 2020, and I started teaching myself how to play the piano again. I play to distract myself from things I don’t want to think about. It’s for my enjoyment only and an exercise for my fingers to thwart arthritic pain.
I will continue to downsize my garden to a sustainable level. I’m planting more shrubs and vegetables and cutting down on roses which need more care. Since we don’t have a rose show anymore, I’m opting for easy-care roses.
Regarding books, I was able to spend less on books last year. This year, I’ll try to cut more on book purchases. I have enough books to read in my lifetime. Last year, I only read 12 books. I plan to read more this year.
And write more. Last year, I edited one of my manuscripts, and with the help of a friend who is reading it will try to finalize it this year. Then on to the next one. I have plenty of ideas percolating in my head, but in 2020, I felt overwhelmed after losing my husband and could not get back to the swing of things. I hope 2021 will be a better year. I need to stay focused.
One last thing I plan to do this year is to continue organizing my home, although I can’t find stuff after I get organized. Right now, I know where things are. Every year I said it is time to organize, but life gets in my way.
One important thing I found comforting, despite the pandemic. My true friends came to my rescue when I needed it most. They called and emailed me to comfort me, and we reconnected again after so many years of disconnection. I am very grateful to all of them. After the pandemic, we plan to get together and have a blast.
For a change, I plan to do things for myself. Charity begins at home!
So that’s my plan for this year. I hope 2021 to be a wonderful year for all of us!
Wishing everyone a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!!
What are your plans for 2021? Share and comment below.
Did you ever lose a loved one? I lost two within six months of each other – my mother in November 2019 and my husband in May 2020.
My mother’s passing in the Philippines was devastating to me. I could not attend her funeral because my husband was nearing death himself. I could not leave him. My mother’s 1st death anniversary is coming soon in two weeks, and it brings tears to my eyes in unexpected moments. Now that I can go, the pandemic prevents me from going to visit her grave in the Philippines.
When my husband died, I always thought I was ready for the inevitable since he was very sick for five years. I found out it was not that easy.
After his death, there were so many things I had to deal with. I kept myself busy organizing the house to where it was before his illness. Then I had to deal with all the paperwork concerning social security, his will, and other tax and financial matters. For a while, I trudged along.
I started editing my old manuscript to keep me busy – the last one I did for the NaNoWriMo in 2017. After I was done with it, I asked an old friend to help me read it and see what he thinks of it. That helps tremendously. If you are reading this, BP, thank you very much, and I mean it sincerely. I joined the NaNoWriMo again this November to give me something to do.
When my husband got sick, I slowly abandoned all my charity work and devoted myself to taking care of him. He was my charity.
When he became bedridden, I didn’t go anywhere because I could not leave him alone. I worked doubly hard as a caregiver.
When he died in May this year, we were already into the pandemic, and social distancing was already the norm. So I continued isolating myself. I’m so used to it that it did not bother me initially, but I believe deep down, it did.
I tried listening to music, mostly classical and ballads, when I’m alone. It soothes my soul and helps me cope with my grief. I even started to teach myself how to play the piano again. It helps a little bit. Music is a great equalizer.
I don’t know what happened to me yesterday and today. I could not stop crying. I have not cried this hard since the funeral parlor’s people took my husband’s body away for cremation, and I said my final farewell. I could not even go to the funeral parlor because of the Covid-19 restriction.
All these months, I thought I’m fine, but I guess not. It was all bottled up inside me.
I don’t know what hits me this week. I feel miserable, and yesterday and today were the worst.
I don’t know if it is the pandemic, the election, the veterans’ day, or just being alone and isolated for almost six years. Maybe it’s a combination of everything around me. Most likely, it’s my mother’s death anniversary causing it. I miss her terribly.
I feel all alone all of a sudden. Yes, my son is in residence, but he works all day. Maybe I need someone to talk to besides Skipper, my son’s dog, and a shoulder to cry on.
Usually, I keep my feelings to myself. Today, I feel a need to share it and get it off my chest. It helps ease the pain.
My mom, Fausta (Pacing) Rosales, lovingly called Lola by her grandchildren, passed away on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. She was 96 years old, a month shy of her 97th birthday on Dec. 16. She was the last among her nine siblings to pass on.
I thank you Mom for all the years you loved and took care of my three brothers and me, our spouses and your grandchildren, for your love and loyalty to Dad, for your zest for life and the courage to tackle all adversities that life brought upon you and your family.
I remember stories you told me about my struggle with meningitis when I was two years old. You and Dad and my doctor godmother pulled me through otherwise I would have died. When I was five, all my playmates were all in school but I was too young to enroll in 1st grade but you convinced the teacher to let me just sit in class without grading me. I was admitted and ended up getting 80 at the end of the school year and got promoted to 2nd grade. As I became a teenager and through my twenties, you were my ally when I had problem with Dad about boys. When I was reviewing for my CPA board exam, you were there making sure I ate right to sustain my long days and nights reviewing for my exams. When I left home, you were heartbroken but let me go to pursue my ambition. You knew I would be OK in New York. You were always supportive of what I wanted to do. You were easy to deal with than Dad who was very strict but both of you made me the person I am today because of your strict discipline. Thank you.
Here is my family when I left home for New York in 1967, taken at Manila International Airport.
(left to right) – My three brothers, Robert, Radelo, Renato, Me (Rosalinda), Mom and Dad. All four of us have the same initials – R.A.R.
Here we are again in May 1993 for Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary.
After I got married, you came to U.S. for the first time, after my first child was born. You stayed for a month to be with your first grandchild and later when I decided to go back to work, you stayed with me for four years until the boys are old enough not to have a babysitter. During those days, when my kids called her “Lola”, people asked me why my children called their grandmother by her first name. I had to explain that “Lola” is the Filipino word for Grandma.
Every time, I moved to a new home, you were around to give me a helping hand on my move. Mom was a well-seasoned traveler, traveling back and forth from the Philippines every two years. Mom enjoyed her U.S. trips to visit us all, alternating her stay between each of her four children. When she got tired of one, she went to the next one. We will always remember those happy times during our family gathering at Thanksgiving and Christmas at my home. Mom could get into an argument with one of my brothers who loved to tease her and she would use a few phrases she picked up staying with my other two brothers in New Jersey. We roared with laughter. She was feisty and hilarious. She loved meeting my American friends and always with a smile on her face. The last visit was when we first came to see our new home in Charleston in 2008. Our third bedroom is still called “Lola’s room” because she was the first one to occupy it.
My mom had a good life with few hardships during the war and in between Dad’s downturn in his business. She was the favorite among her siblings as she was growing up. She was a beautiful lady and Dad fell in love with her even before they met. Dad saw her picture in a magazine. Below was the original copy and the picture that Dad fell in love with.
When Dad married her after 4 years of courtship, Dad got her a maid even before I was born. We don’t consider ourselves rich but we are comfortable. Dad built Mom a nice home which has been the envy of the town. It’s made of granite, marble and steel and it has fared very well during typhoons and earthquakes.
She loved sewing and I had to have tons of sewing projects for her to do during her stay with me. Otherwise, she got bored. I still have the sewing machine she used and I was hoping for years that she would come back because I still have tons of fabric for her to do some work. She made curtains and slipcovers, did alterations for me, fixed buttons, mended things and made some of my early clothes.
One thing she was not an expert is cooking. Since she always had a maid, she very rarely cooked. But she was a big help to Dad in his business by taking care of the books. She was very organized and constantly in motion. She was a strong and confident woman. You would not dare cross her path because she would have something to say. She always stood her ground and we love her for that. Maybe that was the key to longer life.
She is now with Dad who left us in 2007. Dad must be smiling to welcome her in his arms once more.
I love you Mom and will miss you terribly. I wish I was there with you to send you off safely home to God and Dad. Rest in peace and thank you for everything
I received an email from someone asking for donation regarding the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington DC on Monday, May 27, 2019 of which he will be the Marshal. My husband being a WWII veteran I sent in a donation in his honor and also because of who sent me the email which brings me to this topic of mistaken identity.
The person soliciting the donation is no other than Lou Holtz, the Notre Dame coach. Since I have never been a football fan, I didn’t know who Lou Holtz was years ago until my husband told me a story when he came home after my son’s soccer game when my son was in grade school.
One of the kids watching the game called his father and said, “Look Dad, there is Lou Holtz.”
A lot of people have mistaken my husband with Lou Holtz. I have no idea how tall Lou Holtz is but my husband is 6’ tall and blond. He used to be reddish blond. I see Lou Holtz is also blond.
When we moved to Charleston, we were at the Charleston Market downtown having a quick snack and people stopped and asked if he was Lou Holtz. He denied it but people did not believe him.
The first time we went to dinner at Hyman Restaurant downtown, we saw a picture of Lou Holtz on the wall. I noticed people stared at my husband and then looked at the wall.
Then when my stepdaughter and her husband together with my three granddaughters came one summer, we took them to Hyman. Lou Holtz’s picture was one of the pictures posted along the stairway. They seated us on a table near the stairway. On the table was carved “Lou Holtz sat here.” I didn’t know if it was intentional or a coincidence that we were seated at that table.
Another time, we were waiting in line outside for a table and the waitress asked for our name and our guests having known the story said, “Holtz like in Lou Holtz.” When they called Lou Holtz, we were taken to the bar and there was a picture of Lou Holtz at one corner of the bar. Customers at the bar looked at my husband and then at the wall and asked if he was Lou Holtz and he said no. They didn’t believe him. When our bill came at the end of our dinner, our guests picked up the tab so the restaurant did not know if he was Lou Holtz or not.
The last time we were at Hyman with my son and his girlfriend, the same thing happened. It was hilarious to the point of totally out of control. It was the worst in my opinion. Two people addressed him as Lou Holtz and asked for my husband’s autograph. They even asked to have their pictures taken with him. It did not make sense to me because Lou Holtz was supposed to broadcast a game the same day in another city. He could not possibly be in Charleston at the same time. People were not thinking.
A waiter must have tipped the owner of the restaurant because he came over to our table and thanked my husband profusely for coming and bringing some friends. I think he really believed he was Lou Holtz. I could not wait to get out of the restaurant. My son paid the bill so it was still a mystery to the restaurant if he was really Lou Holtz. My son’s girlfriend suggested my husband should study Lou Holtz’s biography so he could answer questions intelligently to make it look real. I said, “No!”.
I don’t think I’ll ever set foot at Hyman Restaurant again. At least not with my husband. Of course, with his health condition right now, he can’t go anywhere so that solves that problem.
I’m excited to be nominated for the MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD although I have no idea what MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD is. This is the first time I received a nomination for any award at WordPress. It was a big surprise and I want to thank FortySomethingHeyHey for nominating me. Check her blog which is about Life is a Journey. It’s nice to be recognized by my fellow bloggers but a visit and a comment are good enough for me. I do appreciate the nomination very much but for now I would like to have my blog as Award Free Blog.
I still feel obligated to answer the following:
Three things about me:
I have lived all my life in four different islands but never learned how to swim.
When I passed my C.P.A. board exam, I was the first graduate from my university to earn the C.P.A. designation and earned a plague posted at the university hall for my achievement.
At 23, in spite of not knowing anyone at the Big Apple, I arrived in New York as a legal immigrant with a P-3 visa (professional, took me a two-year wait) with $100 and a suitcase, landed a job as Jr. Accountant at ITT Corporation the first week after my arrival (three days actually) but told my employer I needed another week to acquaint myself with the City.
I’m not arachnophobic (fear of spider). Spiders do not bother me. A big one might surprise me. I most likely will get a broom or something and hit it. My youngest son got bitten by a big brown flesh-eating spider and ended in emergency. This one might scare me a bit for the injury it can create. It’s really a nasty creature.
Fall is definitely in the air but as long as the weather stays mild, the roses will keep on blooming. I cleaned up the garden this weekend, pulling out all the bedraggled annuals and planted the rest of my spring bulbs. I saw some roses are still blooming but they are smaller than the spring blooms and the color is more intense. I saw this beautiful rose blooming next to my back door. It’s named Dr. Jane Goodall, to honor the legendary ethologist and conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall.
Here is a lovely poem written by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) that carries my sentiment for the season.
One hundred years ago this month, WWI ended with an armistice on November 11, 1918. The ‘war to end all wars’ was over. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, America swore “Never Again!”
WWI shattered empires, monarchies, kingdoms and, more importantly, countless innocent men, women and children. Its greatest legacy was creating fertile ground for the rise of two of the most evil men in the history of the world – The German and the Japanese.
I did not know much about WWI except the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary which started it. I always wanted to read about WWI since we have so many WWI books at home. I finally started “The Guns of August” by Barbara Tuckman. It’s a good start. But then again, I have other interesting subjects I want to read. It’s always the case of “too many books, too little time”.
When I asked my husband where his father, Lt. Robert Morgan, fought in WWI, he said Meuse Argonne. He was with the 77th Division, Machine Gun Unit. He survived the war.
Where is Meuse Argonne? I have never heard of the place. The only thing I heard often was the battle at the Somme. But then tonight, I just caught the end of the movie “Sgt York” on TCM and it mentioned Meuse Argonne.
Well, here is what I found out about Meuse Argonne.
The Meuse Argonne region was located in a very hilly area in the Alsace-Lorraine region that was heavily fortified by the Germans. If the Germans broke through this area they could easily take Paris. Likewise, if the American and French forces could push the Germans out of this area they could deeply influence a surrender.
This battlefield was a very large, highly fortified area full of towns, hills, trenches, roads, and railroads. The only way to take it would be to get out of the trenches and go on the offensive. Hence the name, Meuse Argonne Offensive.
There were 5 important “heights” that needed to be taken in order to control this region. They were: Montfaucon, Romagne Heights, Heights of the Meuse, Argonne Forest, and Barricourt Heights.
General Pushing hoped to capture this area in about 6-7 days. It would really take 6 weeks!
Meuse Argonne Offensive also known as Battles of the Meuse Argonne was the deadliest battle in American history involving 1.2 million American soldiers. It was fought from September 26, 1918 until the Armistice of November 11, 1918, a total of 47 days. The battle cost 28,000 German lives, 26,277 American lives and an unknown number of French lives.
Here is the timeline of The Great War:
6-28-1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated.
8-01-1914 – Germany declares war on Russia.
4-06-1917 – The U.S. declares war on Germany after the sinking of three U.S. merchant ships by German U-boats.
6-26-1917 – American troops begin landing in France.
11-11-1918 – Germany accepts the armistice terms demanded by the Allies, ending the war.
6-28-1919 – The Treaty of Versailles is signed at the Palace of Versailles, France.
By the numbers:
70 million – the number of men mobilized by warring countries in WWI. Almost half were killed or injured during the four-year conflict.
France – 1.4 million dead, 4.2 million injured.
Germany – 1.8 million dead, 4.2 million injured.
Austria-Hungary – 1.4 million dead, 3.6 million injured.
Russia – 1.8 million dead, five million injured.
Britain and British Empire – 900,000 dead, two million injured.
Italy – 600,000 dead, one million injured.
United States – 116,500 dead, 204,000 injured.
Ottoman Empire – 800,000 dead.
10 million refugees
3 million war widows
6 million orphans
In addition, millions of civilians died in massacres and another 20-30 million perished in an influenza epidemic called “Spanish Flu” that broke out at the end of the war among populations weakened by years of deprivation.
Click the link below to see the end of the war or start from the beginning to see the whole battle experience of Meuse Argonne Offensive.
Today is my court appearance for traffic violation. I am a bit nervous not knowing what to expect. Do I get fined $232.00 or something worse?
Two months ago, I got stopped by a cop on my way to take my husband to his kidney doctor. I saw a cop on my left waiting for the light to change. When it turned green, I followed the cars in front of me and crossed the road. Then I saw the cop behind me in my rearview mirror. I kept on going and then turned left to where the doctor’s office was. Then I saw he was still behind me and then I saw his blinking lights. I pulled over. I opened my window as he approached my car. He said my car tag expired. I said I did not know.
I never checked my license plate. I told him my husband took care of that and he got sick and pointed to my husband sitting on the passenger side. He asked for my driver’s license. I had to get out of the car because it was in my purse which was in the back seat. Then he told me to get back inside my car. It took him a while before he came back with my license and a ticket. He told me to report to the court and if I bring my new registration, he’d cancel the ticket. He let me go and told me to drive safely.
The last time I got ticketed was 18 years ago when I was a real estate agent. I was driving very slow checking on houses to show my clients. That was before GPS. I did not see a stop sign and the cop followed me make a left, then right before he turned on his siren and blinking lights. I pulled over. He gave me a ticket. I went back the next day looking for the sign. It was hidden behind a tree and if you did not live in the area, you’d not know it was there. That ticket cost me $75.00. That was the only time I got ticketed before this one.
When I told my son I got a ticket, he said, “For driving too slow?” I remember years ago, we went to Vermont and he said, “Mom, the farm tractor passed you”. Both my two kids think I drive too slow. Not really. I have seen some drivers drive slower than me. I just follow the speed limit. That’s all. I think if I get a ticket for speeding, my family will cheer.
Well, today my court appearance was at 10:00 am. I left the house early just in case there was traffic or accident on Maybank Highway. In our nick of the wood, it takes hours to clear traffic once there is an accident. I got to the court house plenty of time so I just sat in my car until I saw the Deputy Sheriff’s car drive in.
When I went inside, I was told to leave my cell phone in my car so I had to go back out and left my cell phone in my car. Apparently no cell phones allowed in the court room.
The court room was small. There were about a dozen people sitting and waiting for the judge to appear. At exactly 10 am, the judge and the sheriff arrived. I was called near the end. I had my ticket and my new registration ready and handed them to the sheriff. He said the plate number is different. I told him DMV gave me a new plate. My plate expired two years ago, in April 2017 so DMV had to make it a new registration instead of renewal. We might have received the registration renewal form in the mail but I don’t remember seeing it. It was about the time my husband had kidney failure and was sent to ICU.
The sheriff went into his computer and punched some keys. I waited anxiously. The judge and I never talked. After a few minutes, the sheriff handed me my ticket and the registration papers and said, “That’s it. You’re done.” I thanked him and the judge and left. That was it. I saved $232 and the ticket was cancelled.
I learned a lesson not to depend on my husband anymore. He is not well and I have to take care of everything now especially since the car is in my name.
I took these sunset photos yesterday and today in front of my townhouse. As you can see Florence missed us. We are extremely lucky. We did not get a drop of rain. Street scene was taken from the front porch. Those with the pergola on the left were taken from the second floor closet window. My terrace was boarded so I could not go out but my husband’s closet has a small window and it was not boarded. Those with unobstructed view were taken from the third floor window. Although the pictures do not do justice to the wonderful sunset, you can still see the changes by the minutes.
This was taken on Thursday, 9-13-18 at 7:04 PM. Florence was to make a landfall that night. Not a drop of rain.
Two minutes later, the ground was still dry. Thursday, 9-13-18 at 7:06 PM.
The following photos were taken this evening, Friday, 9-14-18.
Friday, 9-14-18 at 7:05 PM. Dark clouds above Whitney Lake.
Four minutes later, 9-14-18 at 7:09 PM. The clouds were not so dark.
As I was going downstairs, I saw a huge ball of orange glow so I went outside and took more shots. Friday, 9-14-18 at 7:28 PM.
More of the same at 7:28 PM.
A minute later, at 7:29 PM.
Ran upstairs, took this at 7:32 PM.
Two minutes later: 7:34 PM. The sky turned purple.