To Baby, On Her First Anniversary

I’ve been reluctant to speak of this horrific life event but recently, I have concluded that it’s time.

By the end of this month, it will be a year since I have lost a beloved friend to an unfair, unseen, and merciless enemy.  The stream of family and friends (I personally knew) who have succumbed to this vicious beast within the last 12 months has been incomprehensible.  Baby was a sister to most of my sibs and cousins. She was an “adopted” daughter to my parents.  I have nursed my grief and allowed for sorrow in fits and starts, with the default numbing after a flood of emotional pain. 

It was a surreal nightmare of days locked in our individual homes and learning through frantic text messages about Baby’s solitary struggle in the hospital, with not a loved one to hold her hand, soothe her with whispered words of comfort or soft lips pressing on her forehead. Not to properly mourn and bury her in the accustomed manner was something I could not have imagined.  The virtual events that replaced the wake and funeral were disorienting and inadequate because gathering would have spelled disaster for the living.  We all had to watch her family make do with a sealed urn on a draped table lovingly arranged and adorned with flowers as a substitute. We have been deprived of the expected opportunities to console and commiserate. When hugs and shoulder-squeezes were much-needed, we were locked away in our homes.  Grief in an era of forced isolation became a solitary journey.

If there was one thing the months of mandated self-isolation at home with husband and dog has afforded, it has been for rare opportunities of quiet reflection.  After cleaning out closets and filing cabinets, after rearranging linen and pantry closets, after purging Marie Kondo-style, I made the conscious decision to spend parts of my days not tethered to my devices.  The back-to-back daily video-conferencing was dizzying enough. I just sat comfortably near a bright window and looked out. Or, I walked Beau around the neighborhood and allowed for boredom to creep in.  It paved the way for a lot of introspection.  I’ve decided on one of these recent meanderings that it’s time I let this loss have a seat at the table.

I’ve been honored by Baby’s family to speak at one of the virtual events they scheduled back in April 2020.  I had frantically searched for old photos, re-read old text messages, leafed through our high school yearbook.  I discovered I left many old photos somewhere in my parents’ home in Manila.  The search and the reminiscing to prepare for the eulogy brought me back to the most tender of times growing up with her.  I have considered her one of “my people.” And I have never doubted that she considered me as one of hers too.  Ellen Greenblatt, a writer from Berkeley, had said about losing a loved one “was to be robbed of this cloak of love one had worn everywhere.”  She went on to add that more than the companionship lost, is “also the very self and reflection of you your person carried in their eyes and heart.” 

I’m sure no one will disagree that grief is quintessentially a very human experience. It is a testament to our connectedness with one another. But, when I say that we don’t really get over our grief, there may be those who would like to deal with this through pharmacotherapy or even psychotherapy. There’s nothing like processing it bit by bit, through time.

I have come to understand profound loss differently in the recent years, more so in the last 12 months. When someone dies or something ends, it breaks our hearts. We feel that something has been taken away from us. A person, a relationship or connection, a place, a passion, a vision of a desired life. We are suddenly exposed to a myriad of unpleasant emotions: anger, bitterness, sadness. Grief is a very tough taskmaster. It demands 120% of our attention, deprives us of rest and enjoyment, and imposes a somber hue to our world. It can even linger like an overstaying houseguest.

Then one morning, we wake up and decide that it’s time. It’s time to celebrate this departed person’s life in our everyday activities. It’s time to see there are many things in our own lives that are pleasurable and meaningful. That we are surrounded by people we love and who love us back.  That none of this is a betrayal of our friend or her memory. 

We can affirm our love for those we have lost in everyday that we live fully. We wish they could see what we see or experience some milestone we arrive at. But they are no longer with us tangibly to share in the joy. Well, we carry them with us all the time anyway. Have you had conversations with the loved ones you have lost? I have.

Baby was always this sunny person who tried to see the good side to any event, no matter how tragic, and in every person she interacts with, no matter how truly annoying or difficult some of them are.  She was always gracious and accommodating, ever the loyal friend and problem-solver.  The eulogies were impressive in the celebration of her accomplishments but more importantly, it was who she was to different people personally that proved most poignant. She showed us how she loved life and all of us in all her actions. Above all, her family was her true treasure.

Baby loved us deeply and we loved her back deeply.  Ultimately, isn’t this what matters most? 

At home in Hillsborough for Louie’s birthday in 2011.

As the last two lines of “Nature Boy” sang:

“The greatest gift that you’ll ever learn,

is just to love and be loved in return.

“The Friend COVIC-19 Took From Me,” the Friendship Files, The Atlantic Magazine, December 11, 2020

Posted in Childhood Friends, COVID, Friendship, High School Friends, Loss of a Friend, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Creamy, Jammy, But Never Hard, Never Runny, Never Gray

Most of us egg lovers like our morning eggs in very definite ways.  Some might resort to frying in oil or butter, poaching in boiling water with a smidgen of vinegar, or even microwaving flat on a saucer with some oil.  Still others prefer an unstructured scramble or even an omelette with preferred fillings.

For the most part, the family prefers their eggs boiled in their calcium carbonate shells.  But, that’s where the similarity ends.  Everyone seems to have their preferred way to boil their eggs.  I prefer to place a cold egg in a small pan of room temperature water.  I turn on the heat and set the timer for 10 minutes to achieve the creamy not quite solid yellow-orange yolk with the whites firm but just so.  My husband prefers to place room temperature eggs in boiling water and cooked for seven minutes for the just barely runny yolks and soft whites.  My sister-in-law, Merle, prefers her morning egg at 7 minutes and 30 seconds.  Our daughter prefers 6 minutes and 30 seconds for what she considers a “jammy yolk.”  We all have our morning rituals complete with the ice water bath waiting to receive the hot ovoid at the end.  Some have even timed exactly how long the cooked egg needs to sit in ice water.  A minute for those who like some steam floating up from the yolk or up to 5 minutes for those who like it cool with every bite.  Then, there is the issue of adding a pinch of salt.  Or not.

One thing for sure, no one likes hard dry boiled eggs, with green or gray yolks. and rubbery whites.  These would be considered mistreated, abused, near-nuclear eggs.

In most countries, people store their eggs on the kitchen counter.  But in the United States, eggs have to be refrigerated. This is because the US FDA requires all eggs in the United States to be washed thoroughly.  This reduces surface contaminants but it also removes the outer layer called bloom, which makes the egg shell impermeable.  Without this layer, the egg shell is porous and it can allow air and any moisture pass through, as well as various microorganisms.  Egg color preferences are beginning to change too.  It used to be that everyone wanted white shells in the standard 50 gram size. Now, there are the brown, speckled, large, extra large, almost spherical, to name a few.

The internet abounds in how-to discussions as well as videos on how to properly cook an egg.  Everyone swears by their methodology.  Some people have even become egg snobs!

All these have come to our consciousness again when our son-in-law used the “Jammy Snack” theme (our daughter’s Instagram name is @jammysnak) for his surprise celebration for her 30th in Maine this past weekend.  Everyone did their part to be a jammysnak!

WyLa celebrating a milestone birthday with friends, September 6-8, 2019, in all their “yolky” splendor.

Happy 30th birthday, Anak!*


*Anak means “my child” in Tagalog.

Posted in Birthdays, Celebration, Family Stories | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Letter To A Friend

If I may have offended you recently in the course of our conversation, my apologies for the sentiment it may have cloaked your heart. I stand by what I had said. My turn to be your conscience. You have, all these years, been mine, nudging me to think things over again, to reconsider, to walk through the logic pathway, but to also meander through some worthy alcoves of kindness and consideration. Life, after all, is not completely logical. Neither are relationships, most of all, human beings. To this, I have been in your debt.

I always take comfort that you are one of these people I had good fortune to cross paths with, who does not have to announce their religious faith with pompous swagger, who does not have to punctuate their statements constantly with ostentatious pronouncements. You just are. In your actions, in your philosophies, in your opinions. Neither do you justify your good fortune and comfortable life with these alignments.  I also appreciate your restraint in attempting to proselytize. I sense you respect my own chosen sensibilities about these matters. We do agree that this is all a journey that takes many stops and turns. Who knows where this will all lead us?

We always want to do what is right. But, we also run the risk of self-righteousness. Sometimes, what is right is not always what is best. We need to weigh the odds. Potential collateral damage. Doing what is best but ensuring there are no irreparable long-term ramifications.

I also know that you are more than anything, compassionate and kind. You like to help what you perceive as the down-trodden, regardless of how they got there. Even if it’s from their own doing or their flawed judgments.  I can only hope you don’t believe you can reform all of them. This is where our beliefs take  divergent paths. It is a religious tenet to believe people can change, with enough grace. It is scientific evidence that personality disorders do not. One can only change their behavior, but they remain what they are.

I know that in the end, you will do what is best, balancing it with what is right.  I did too, a few years ago. I let the exit happen without the “nuclear option.”  It took a lot of restraint.  You had reminded me to be compassionate.  I worked quietly with the same painstaking effort to complete the transaction, respecting and honoring the collective decision.  I can only hope that long-term, this indeed was the best and optimal directive.  That we would not have to face these demons when the rules of the game have changed.  And the game will indeed change with new players joining in. I also have to think of what our responsibilities are to the new gamers knowing that we let some matters slide in those years. Have we sullied the game a little in the process? These considerations continue to niggle and whisper in my semi-conscious states.

Posted in Friendship | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Soap Collection 

The four variations to the soap collection. Photo credit Likeitiz March 9, 2017

Late last December, my cousins gave me some specialty soaps for the Holidays. It turns out that this project was long overdue. My aunt, Thelma V. Leelin, their mother, had spent most of her life a revered dermatologist in Manila. She had passed the baton to one of her daughters, Donna, at her retirement. The soap project was her vision. What came out was a thoughtful collaboration between mother, daughter, and a daughter-in-law (Rachel)!
I should also mention that my aunt is battling the “emperor of all maladies,” as aptly named by Siddhartha Mukherjee, in his Pulitzer winning biography of the big C. 

Yes, she has stared the beast in the eye, felt its breath, and raised her fists in clear defiance. Perhaps, the soap project is a return salvo, or an affirmation, or a legacy among many. Or all of the above. One thing’s for sure though. She’s a fiercie. (I had written about fierce women in the past here. I’d say, she’s definitely one of us!). 

While reading through two of Dr. Mukherjee’s recent books, I could not help but think of all the women I have crossed paths with who have contended against this unwanted adversary. Admittedly, even the mere shadow of possibility has always made me flinch.

To all of them who have gone mano a mano with it, salaam! To Loudette Zaragoza-Banson, Cari Leviste-Azores, Maia La’O, Claire Kwek, Laura Hosking, Nettie Ramsay, Linda Benevento, Marichi Pedrosa-Harvey, Emma Royo, Berna Filart, Libet Virata, Freddy Herrera*, Clarita Go, Joey Albert, Lot Ortiz-Luis, please, if I missed someone, just add.

To those who fought a worthy battle but succumbed in the end: Anna del Rosario, Vanna Virata, Chic Migallos, Ruthy Roa, Joey Sy*, Edwin Chin*, Scarlet Santos, mom-in-law Justina Ortiz-Luis, aunt Maria Flor Meneses. We continue to remember you and how you have enriched our lives.

*I know I included some men in these lists. They’re warriors in their own rights too!

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, cancer, Courage, Health, Second Chances, Vanna Virata, Women's Health | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sunday Walk

We went for a Sunday walk at our fave off-leash dog-friendly park, Fort Funston. We owed it to Beau after getting cooped up at home during the sequence of storms. We were also gone for most of the year-end holiday to visit our parents and spend time with family thousands of miles across the ocean. 

The morning was just perfect! Sunny skies. Mild breeze. Lots of dogs and their humans. We were in great company. 

Beau was in his full element. There was lots and lots of running and zooming. Sniffing such a variety of smells and markings. Up and down different canine butts. He was in such heaven he even forgot to lick his drool. (I have mastered the art and science of avoiding that thick wad of spit when it takes flight with the wind! I’ve been splattered enough times before.) 

But, alas, it was not a day to play on the beach. The tide was too high. 

We had to contend with cliff views instead. 

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Disturbed Does Justice

Simon and Garfunkel Album "Sounds of Silence" released January 17, 1966. Photo of album by Christer Ehrling, from Instagram. From CBS (Europe) release.

Simon and Garfunkel Album “Sounds of Silence” released January 17, 1966. Photo of album by Christer Ehrling, From Instagram.  CBS (Europe) release.

I had posted songs which I consider poetic and timeless before here. Sometime last year, my daughter sent me a link to a new interpretation of one of these classics. This new rendition of “Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel was haunting and prescriptive. One might even argue, it is apropos to the time we now live in.  This from a Chicago-based band known for their heavy metal Billboard 200 hits that have rivaled Dave Matthews and Metallica.

In their 2015 album, Immortalized, they included their rendition of Paul Simon’s live-forever works: 

Disturbed has shown that they can take Paul Simon’s masterpiece and make it resonate with the current generation. This only reinforces Simon and Garfunkel’s work as timeless in music and message.

Recently, I hear the group is nominated for the Grammies:


Posted in Disturbed, Music, Paul Simon, Poetic Lyrics, Poetic Songs | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

J.D. Says We Can

51idsm4kvzl-_sx329_bo1204203200_In the aftermath of the U.S. elections, when we managed to pull ourselves out of the rubble and debris, we sought refuge in each other’s promises to continue the fight for whatever it is we vowed we would be willing to die for. We all agreed that the first step is to find ways to understand what motivated people to choose what they chose and why other people abdicated their voting rights by staying away from the polls. Reading suggestions circulated around the family chats. Daughter volunteered to have conversations with people who had opposing views to her. The mantra was to “listen, understand, address.” Or, read, understand, resolve.

I chose one of the suggested books, “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance. The book is a memoir of his life, so far. He says he’s an anomaly of his lot — the hillbillies, rednecks, or, even worse, white trash. He tells us his life story, about the people he loves, the people who helped shape who he has become, and the happenstance of events (the stars aligning?) that led to his redemption from the trajectory many in his town were spiraling to.

It was not a long read. I alternated between reading and listening to the book (Thanks Kindle and Audible!) The audio was narrated by the author himself. J.D. minced no words in describing the poverty, addiction, abuse, and family dysfunction that came package-deal among the citizens of Middletown, Ohio, a poster-town for the “dirt-poor white of Scots-Irish descent.” There was no sugar-coating here. He described his lot plainly and honestly. No excuses either.

Along the way, he mused about his own learnings — how he was proved wrong in some of his beliefs (it is not necessary to get even with every perceived slight or that studying is not only for girls and sissies), or how he disproved for himself age-old principles his kin lived by or are willing to go to jail for (you don’t inflict physical harm to people you think insulted you all in the name of honor or that all the lack of opportunity is the fault of the government).

Towards the end of the book, he could not say enough about the many family members who mentored him and helped shape his choices that led to his success at Yale and after. Sometimes, all it takes is some sage advice or a guiding principle, and a child’s future changes dramatically. For him, it was several things: the value his mother gave to education in spite of her drug-addled brain and revolving door of partners. His mamaw’s (grandmother) steadfast belief in him and the stability she provided in her home when his own was too chaotic. This, in spite of her being known to be a shotgun-wielding old hot head. The regular math exercises with his papaw (grandfather) that steered him to a discipline of putting in the time to study. This, was n spite of his papaw’s alcohol dependence. His biological father’s home with a new wife and children, where a couple did not have to shout and disrespect each other in order to communicate. And many more individuals who have left their mark.  In all of them, he was thoughtful enough to sift through their inherent flaws (and there were many glaring ones!)  and glean from them the values.  These helped shape his choices.

I am reminded of another story I learned a few years ago.  It is the story of a farmer’s son, how, a farmer encouraged his son to study and aspire for much bigger goals than tilling the soil. Now this son has come back to help his fellowmen.

I was also reminded of a story a good friend had told me. My friend, a retiree, had decided to spend his time helping the poor out of their sorry state, one success story at a time. He decided to introduce, teach, and assist qualified individuals in microfinancing.

He told me the story of a sari-sari store (neighborhood corner store) owner who had three children and a husband who drove a tricycle for hire but spent most of his earnings on alcohol. When the team first met her, the children were unkempt and inadequately clothed. One child had pants but no top. The other had a top but no bottoms.  They all walked around on their bare feet. It was clear that the family was barely scraping by.

Sari-Sari store, a neighborhood corner store that sells various food and household items. Photo courtesy of Pinoy Transplant from Iowa.

Sari-Sari store, a neighborhood corner store that sells various food and household items. Photo courtesy of Pinoy Transplant from Iowa.

They introduced their program to her and she was keen to try it out.  She went through the process and the training, and was granted a loan to improve her store.

Over the next few years, the team continued to follow her progress. Her children were seen clothed and they wore slippers. They started to attend the local public school. She convinced her husband to clean up his act and contribute to the family pot. Everything seemed to be looking good for them.

Tricycle zipping through the streets in the Philippines. Photo by digitalpimp, courtesy of

Tricycle zipping through the streets in the Philippines. Photo by digitalpimp, courtesy of

One day, my friend decided to meet with the store owner again. He asked her what her plans were for her children. Perhaps, it was time to plan for when they go to college. That would entail putting away enough savings for their future. There was enough time to do it too. He suggested that perhaps, she can grow her business a little more to accommodate the growing needs of her children. She looked incredulously at him. She told him that once they were old enough to work in her store and help their father with the tricycle, she wanted them to stop school and to help the family with the business rather than seek higher education. She could not see beyond where they were. She was content with whatever they had. She considered the improvement of her little store her success story.   She did not understand that things can change, even for this microcosm they called their own. She was happy that her reach is within what her imagination could grasp, always. Could it be that when poverty stunts growth, it stunts everything else?

While it is true that there are many givens in our lives — we can’t, as individuals, control many things like politics, the environment, ideological wars, and such. We do have choices on a lot of small things that cumulatively, change the path our journeys take. J.D. showed us this. This, in spite of the helplessness his lot were immersed in. This, in spite of a tumultuous family life. This, in spite of the culture of misplaced pride, the lack of structure, or the distrust of any organized institution.

Yes, it is possible to surmount these odds. This hillbilly has shown he can. Therefore, the rest of us can too.

Posted in Books, College Education, Culture, education, Family, Family Stories, Grandparents, growing up, Hillbilly Elegy, Life Choices, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Unwanted Intrusion

Beau doing his own version of downward dog at the Zoi-Roy backyard last Saturday, August 6, 2016. Photo courtesy of Mara T. Yee

Beau doing his own version of downward dog at the Zoi-Roy backyard last Saturday, August 6, 2016. Now why can’t I do that and not be in such great pain? Photo courtesy of Mara T. Yee

Two weeks ago, our dear Beau got skunked! We had let him out for his pre-bedtime ritual under the Redwoods. I was tidying up in the kitchen. I noticed he took a little longer than usual. So, I called out to him. It took about a minute or so but I heard the familiar gallop around the side of the house and up the back steps. He came crashing into the kitchen and straight for his bed, which I had just fluffed and covered with a new blanket.

And then the sonorous mephitic assault permeated the kitchen with such venom, I ran out and called my hubby quickly.  He was getting settled in bed already.

“Hon, Beau got skunked!”

We frantically googled remedies, potions, and bath concoctions. No, tomato juice does not work. That’s a myth. Yes, first thing you need to know is “DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, LET THE DOG INTO THE HOUSE!”

Flower, the Skunk from the Disney movie, Bambi, got his name after Bambi, supposedly learning to talk, called him a pretty flower. Illustration courtesy of

Flower, the Skunk from the Disney movie, Bambi, got his name after Bambi, supposedly learning to talk, called him a pretty flower. I have always been baffled at the depiction of these animals as though they’re the epitome of wholesomeness and utmost cute-hood, if there is such a thing. Illustration courtesy of

Too late! We ran back to the kitchen, where we witnessed our big black lug rolling around on his bed, huffing, blowing his nose, growling at no one in particular, and desperately rubbing his face on his bed.

And so it was that the dog had to be bathed past midnight twice over, with an agreed concoction of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a splash of dish washing liquid slathered and rubbed on his black frame. The bed had to be placed outside. We gathered the towels. and aired them out on the porch. I had to wipe down the kitchen cabinets, just in case. We opened all the windows in the entire house. Then we had to shower ourselves.

Pepe Le Pew is a cartoon character in Loony Tunes, known for his obsession with romance and the can't take no for an answer peskiness. He sports a French accent and turns off female prospects because of his overly assertive manner and odoriferous personality.

Pepe Le Pew is a cartoon character in Loony Tunes, known for his obsession with romance and the can’t take no for an answer peskiness. He sports a French accent and turns off female prospects because of his overly assertive manner and odoriferous personality. This is a contrasting depiction to the Disney character. You’d almost expect this one to be best friends with Speedy Gonzales.  Illustration courtesy of

Even as we finally crawled into bed way past midnight, we still kept trying to smell ourselves, our sheets, our hands, everything around us. We were at last, too tired to gag.

What a potent weapon that was!  I later discovered that skunk spray is a combination of sulfur-containing chemicals, most notably, n-butyl mercaptan. It has the distinctive ability to not just offend but to physically nauseate. And a human nose can smell it up to a mile (1.56 km.) away, down wind, and can linger up to 6 months. It is also inadequately comforting to note that once a skunk has reluctantly released its chemical defense, it will take up to 10 days to replenish enough for a reload.

After several more baths, a frantic call to the gardener experts about luring and trapping, frenzied house cleaning, and sadly, throwing out the previously loved and worn beds, the rank smell is starting to dissipate in the house.

Yesterday, lo and behold, one of the traps contained a dark striped stranger. Could this be he/she?  Hubby said it looked very cute. Beau made a tentative approach. We covered the trap with a large box, hoping Beau will not come near it anymore. One would think that he learned from the experience by now. At least, we’d like to think. After all, he still growls at a friend whose dog tried to bite him. And that was years ago.

At the Balae get together in Portola Valley. Beau is able to socialize again, finally, after two weeks of seclusion for his smelly past.

At the Balae* get together in Portola Valley. Beau is able to socialize again, finally, after two weeks of forced seclusion for his smelly past. Photo courtesy of Wyatt Roy (on timer and rapid clicks!)

Thou shalt not re-engage with a stinker, mon coeur! Or we will disown you. Do not be a sucker for abusive encounters.

*Balae – Filipino; what you call the parents of your daughter or son-in-law.  I heard from friends that in India, the father of your in-law is a “samdhi” and the mother of your in-law is a “samdin.” Cool!

Posted in Beau, dog, Great Dane, Pets | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Warrick’s Song

I had written this essay about my brother-in-law, Warrick Lyn, four years ago in a writing seminar up in the mountains of Bussard Meadows. The theme was on “loss” and, after many barren hours, Warrick’s death, and life, started consuming my imagination.  When the words came pouring out, I realized that I was not just writing about my loss but also of Warrick’s loss.  I had meant to post this essay but it seemed unfinished then.  Recently, I came across my draft and have decided to share my thoughts about him. 

th-1Warrick would have been 70 yesterday.  Seven years ago, doctors said he had cancer that had spread to his spine. Only two months after diagnosis, he could no longer walk.  He lost his will to live.  He said he would like to die on his Dad’s death anniversary that year.  And he did, peacefully.  

Warrick was this tall good looking man with a generous heart and an endearing stammer — dark,  simpatico and with all the right moves, as they say among his circle of friends.  He was a popular college soccer player — a young man about town, chased by many women and envied and admired by many men. 

In the 60s and 70s, he traveled the world introducing a new musical genre — reggae– as a sound engineer and producer, shaping the finest works of many reggae bands.  The late reggae icon Bob Marley  was one of his closest friends.  A brilliant future was assured.

Composed by Frederick Hibbert and Warrick Lyn, Photo courtesy of

Composed by Frederick Hibbert and Warrick Lyn, Photo courtesy of

Warrick was the adored Uncle Wawa to his nieces and nephews. He was  the cool one, the one loved by all.

And then everything stopped.  The travels ended.  The applause turned to silence. Big dreams seemed to have vanished.  The seeming decision was to paint houses, to stay home, to be the other half of an amazing love story.  Years came and went…quietly.

I have always wondered — was Warrick’s life a fulfilled one, a life well-lived? Is to love and be loved enough?  As Henry Thoreau wrote,  “Many people live their lives in quiet desperation, and die with a song still inside them.”    


I knew Warrick  had that song.  I continue to mourn for  Warrick.   I mourn for the song that will never be sung,  the song  I will never hear.  

Related Reading:

Posted in Family Stories, Life Choices, Loss, Music, Reggae | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Let It Rain, Let It Rain, Let It Rain!

Rain on Highway 92, 12.10.15, photo credit likeitiz

Rain on Highway 92, 12.10.15, photo credit likeitiz

Alas! Welcome, welcome, welcome rain! It looks miserable all right. But boy, it’s a welcome sight for all of us here in California. You can see the sun struggling to peek out of thick clouds as it slowly meets the horizon late afternoon. The entire Peninsula was a white haze in the distance as we approached westward from the San Mateo Bridge.  One can only hope that drivers will behave and re-learn how to drive in treacherous weather.

Yes, the gloomy weather cheers us up in the Bay Area nowadays. However, as I drive home, my consciousness is jarred by news of yet another Trump antic. Sigh! When will I stop hearing about this contemptible schmuck?  (Listen, KQED. I love you dearly. But you have got to stop dishing out news about him. I’m so sick of hearing about whatever insanity he spews while flailing his limbs. Quite frankly, he’s embarrassing all of us.) Here are Colbert and Stewart bending over backwards to trash him again and again on the Late Show:

Why America spends even a second of their time listening, watching, bothering with him continues to amaze me. Why the media gives him the very things he wants: air time, media time, pundit time, talk time — beats me. It’s like giving candy to a baby every time he has a tantrum. Will the tantrum ever go away? No. Will this baby ever learn to behave in a civilized society? No. Are we creating a monster? Yes. Well, not if he’s already one. We’re just making him into an Uber-monster.

I remind myself that there’s still a lot to be grateful for. Good health. Loving family. Great friends. After all, Thanksgiving was just a mere two weeks ago.

Thanksgiving at our home, 2015, photo credits Gean Dee, Lara Ortiz-Luis, Wyatt Roy, Likeitiz

Thanksgiving at our home, 2015, photo credits Gean Dee, Lara Ortiz-Luis, Wyatt Roy, Likeitiz

And then, there was Carolyn Hax’s article today on “Finding a happy medium with a mentally ill family member.” Now THIS is sound sensible advice. Here she gives gentle and reassuring advice on what to do with a mentally ill relative who always manages to sabotage any family gathering and turn it into a verbal mudslinging fest within seconds of sitting down to dinner. She likens the process to dealing with people who have dementia:

The thought is for now, and it’s actually a twist on a strategy for dementia caregivers, “meeting people where they are,” meaning, you don’t point out that Uncle Billy isn’t actually here, or that it’s 2015, not 1965. You don’t correct, correct, correct. Instead you go along. “So what does Uncle Billy have to say?”

She is so absolutely right. (Click the link above for the entire article. It will help you deal with irate store sales staff during the holidays too!) I plan to treat The Donald as nothing less than a demented human being. With an emphasis on the D for Demented.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments