Birthdays

Jia in Wonderland

Jia in Wonderland

so, birthdays. kids nowadays have it made. imagine? they even have themes for their birthdays. frozen, pirates, spider man, etc. when i was growing up, we would be blessed if we had a chicken to slaughter and cook, and then share with the neighbors. there was even one birthday that i would never forget, as it was one of those surreal ones.

i woke up excited, but quickly got deflated like a tire running over a rusty nail, when i was told there was not going to be any fanfare, as it fell on the time of the month when money was low, if not non existent. to amuse myself, i chased this huge brown moth that had no business being awake in the light of day. someone said from inside the house, i forget who, oh you are going into some money! a brown butterfly like that means money! okey, moth, or butterfly?
but the strangest thing happened right after. in rolled, in his rickety bike, our town postman, with mail in his hand. it was addressed to my dad, and when he opened it, it was a check. a backpay or something. then my mom said, if we can’t cash it here in town, we will have to go to the city then.
my heart stopped. the city. on my birthday. with money.
hahahahaha i will be chasing lots of brown moths or butterflies from now on! i jumped up and down in happiness. sure enough, the check could not be cashed. we all got dressed up, piled into public transportation, (in those days, only the very rich had cars) and to the city we went.
my mom decided that we should have my birthday lunch at a newly opened hotel restaurant. you know, one of those places that actually had cloth napkins. i was bursting at the seams. so were my brothers. my pretty dress was quite tight around the waist when we finished eating. i stuffed my face with the food like there was no tomorrow. now you know why of all my birthdays, this one was not to be erased from memory, not even by electric shock.
but back to the present kind of birthday parties. alice in wonderland was my granddaughter Jia’s theme when she turned, wait for it, two. she was dressed just like alice down to the striped stockings which took two people to put on, as she just hates anything on her legs and feet.
her party was a huge success, with the photo booth as the highlight, and her unique birthday cake, that had one guest asking, does that still need to be cooked?
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The author, Josie (mad hatter hat, lol) with the birthday girl

birthdays are important in our lives though. they have to be celebrated, even if we have to chase brown moths to do it. not everyone makes it to his or her next birthday, or some do, but then leave this earth right after. and if we have family and friends to celebrate them with, the more blessed we are. my mom used to always say, no matter how humble the preparation is on our birthdays and someone drops in unintentionally for the meal, it was always an extra blessing.
God willing, Jia will be seeing more birthdays, and more themes. the whole disney set of princesses will suffice for the next few years. unless she would want to be Jack Sparrow.
Captain Jack Sparrow.
xoxo, josie

elizabeth point-e, amelia island

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it had to be the show “Revenge”, my daughter’s favorite show. from the title itself, it was all about revenge until they ran out of vengefulness and so finally ended. the Hamptons was imprinted in her psyche long after the show ended. come family vacation time, she looked for a place just like it, and found a B & B that looked like it belonged there. just by the photos online, it was very easy to fall in love with the place.

reservations were made, and when the day came, our little family packed the car to the max and headed on our way. when we pulled into the parking lot and got out the car already running out of wows with the place, a very accommodating gentleman named Stan, welcomed us. amused by our gaping mouths, he pointed the important parts of the B & B, even held the elevator for us as we finally closed our mouths.

since we arrived early, and check in time was 3 pm, instead of the 11 am that we thought, we had time to explore. we were then told that they had just been open for lunch and we could avail of that. super!

my little 21 month old Jia thought the strong breeze in the wrap around porch was going to blow her away, so we went inside. one thing we noticed firsthand though, and this we say because usually wherever we went, even in church, Jia always caused a commotion, not a single person acknowledged her presence. the couple eating brunch outside in the porch, and the other two ladies on high chairs, just looked at us adults, and then at Jia, and it seemed like their salads were more interesting. they are not baby people, we thought. or maybe they just had very thorny bushes up their hind anatomy.

once inside, the receptionist at least smiled, and smiled, and then smiled some more, looking like she was going to say something but didn’t. okay, something is off, but we just could not say what. we then headed to the dining room, and only two of the six or so tables were occupied. they had the same demeanor as the people outside. this time we really thought we had zits on our butts with more personality than these people! thank God the waiter was nice, and after lunch we headed to the beach, with the hope that the shells and the feathers of beach birds would go ohh and ahh over Jia.

the beach was beautiful, even if the water was already way past splash splash time for us Floridians. it was near freezing, though probably not for the young men fishing nearby who probably wore lead underwear for obvious reasons.

soon, we finally could get into our two bedroom cottage with a full size kitchen. before we could even say hi cottage and unpack, there was a knock on the door. he wanted to speak with the daddy of our group, and he, was apparently co-owner of the B & B. from what we could see of his face, he did not look too happy. uh oh. Daddy’s eyes were a bit glassy when he came back in, and what he said next explained a lot. apparently, no children below ten years old were allowed in the place. apparently, it was stated in the confirmation. who reads confirmations?!! they are usually in very tiny letters that even the minions could not read. well, we will be! no wonder everyone except Stan acted strange! but to be fair though, these people wanted peace and quiet, thus picked the beachfront B & B, and were incredulous seeing a 21 month old in a onesie having one of her rare screaming meemies. i take back the thorny bush part, sorry. but Stan will have a very interesting talk with us when we see him again.

so now, Jia was welcome everywhere else but the main building, but still it would’ve been nice if they corrected us earlier. anyways, we were allowed to at least get our breakfast from the dining room and have it at our glorious porch overlooking the beach. there was also cocktail time in the afternoon with apps, and discovered even without Jia, the people were as stand offish and botoxed as we previously encountered. the couple with THAT child, must have been on Jill and Dave’s foreheads. ah well. as we usually say, they don’t sign our paychecks, and hopefully these people will be filed under no problem if we don’t see them again.

ahh but the rewards we got after that tiny Jia glitch. dinner was at a mexican restaurant in downtown Fernandina beach. guess what, it was full of children, one even looked like it had just been born, we had to look around if there was a placenta lying around somewhere. what a relief that was, and besides the well done steak that had to be replaced with a medium rare, (waiter error) and $7.50 bud lights, our dinner was heavenly.

in the daytime, the downtown crawl was even better. there were shops that fell under the quaint category, you know, with overpriced, cutesy little gadgets that we probably did not need to buy, and the rest were restaurants and bars. one of them the oldest one in the state, if not the country. this time we had lunch at a marina that was also child friendly, and the food was delicious and fair priced, with very smiley wait persons. we concluded, and this you could learn from, without alcohol, the bill is way lower.

it was our only full day in Amelia island, so we really milked it. we took in all the sights and sounds of it, all really delightful, and we had mental scrapbooks set up. we had to purchase the overpriced AI shirts though, to be worn, dust and all, on our way home.

we headed back to the beach for some nostalgic photo ops, where nothing we said or did would squeeze a smile out of Jia, as she rode her range rover of a stroller. from the beach in the twilight, the B & B looked like it was a venue of a tv show, you know, the one where a character just won a golden globe and she bumped another winner on her way to the stage and the video of it went bacterial, er, viral. the view of the sunset was not really much as we were on the Atlantic side, so Jia did not have the chance to say, do it again, Daddy. well, not yet anyway.

finally, we got to meet again, Stan the man. we asked him why he did not warn us, and his response was so sweet we had cavities by the time he was finished explaining. well, he said, she was the most beautiful child i ever saw and i just did not have the heart to tell you! how could you say no, you’re not allowed here to that face? pointing at Jia, who was looking up at him. he said more things about his coworkers that would be unprintable, so they will remain unprinted.

but as nice as that sounded, fate had something to bring us down after that quick high. the restaurant we planned to have dinner at? wow. just wow. the way it was described in the brochure, the dining experience would be out of this world. well, ours was by way of the kitchen, just to get in. the ramp that could accommodate the stroller was by.way.of.the.kitchen. and when we got to the dining area, there was that once a month female problem, it was cramped. i think even the knees needed elbow room. the hostess was devoid of smile muscles of course, and at her ‘do you have reservations’ question, she had us at do. the customers stared at us like we were in overalls and yelled banana! another case of so welcoming a group in such a tiny island!

Amelia island is Key West without the drunks, but at this point, we’d rather have the drunks. at least they had warmth! so out of the restaurant we trooped out, and by the outside dining area, Dave blurted out, ‘well, i wouldn’t wanna eat here anyway! did you see that kitchen? ewwwww!’ we were like, ‘louder, Dave! so the customers could hear!’

we blessedly found a seafood place that had the smilingest hostess with beautiful, long, blond hair, the nicest manager, (he noticed Jia) and the cutest server. whew. we really did not want our stay in this beautiful island with people sucking on lemons sucking on lime. the taste of old grease on the food was evident but hey, we had smiles. and most important of all, Jia had the run of the place. the night ended really well.

would we recommend elizabeth point-e to others. definitely. but leave your young uns below ten at home. Amelia island? oh, even more definitely! it is beautiful, and if you know where to go, you won’t be disappointed. we weren’t, all in all, despite the glitches. we even took pictures of the other B & B we might try out next year, God willing!

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how to not get sick

is it rocket science? is it the theory of relativity? no. but how come we still get sick?

for starters, as long as we breathe, as long as we go outside and see other people, as long as we touch each and everything else that other people, who have exclusive membership to the ewwww country club; touched, we will be exposed to germs.
depending on our immune system, we either can resist or easily catch certain diseases. too bad it does not apply to catching fish, game for tonight’s dinner, and richwithnorelativesorexesandreadytodie men.
it honestly is a no brainer, especially when it comes to the common cold. as it is easy to spot, we stay away from someone who has it. we don’t shake hands with them after a really hearty sneeze and they covered their mouths with their hands. if it is someone we are close to, no pda until it clears. absence does make the heart grow fonder, if we give it a chance.
there are all kinds of vitamins and minerals  in the market they are hawking to keep us healthy. we don’t really have to take all of them because believe me, by the time we are done taking all of them, we are dead from water toxicity. we just need to make sure our diets are of healthy food, we exercise, and we meditate.
handwashing is really important too. (does that mean people born with no hands are lucky? sorry i had to go there. some readers are just that smart!) by no means. like i said, if we breathe, that means we have a nose and lots of diseases are airborne. but those transmitted by contact are just as bad. proper hand washing prevents the transmission of these diseases. it only takes 20 seconds.
what is 20 seconds compared to being sick? worse, if there is a rearranging of letters and in the very accent of John Lequizamo, de-cease-ed?
an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. definitely not rocket science.
xoxo, Josie

how to have an amicable parting

Classics 101: Great Expectations

emphasis on the EX. because no, we are not taking about the book, although the author, charles dickens, plays quite a part. the first four letters of his last name anyway.

pretty much, if we are in the female gender of the homo sapiens species, we have experienced one or two ex-es from hades. or gehenna. or h-e-double hockey sticks. there’s the dreamers, always talking about the ideal job and how much money they would make someday, but never could hold a job, so even if we are on the thin side, we are milking cows. there’s the testosterone loaded ones who wait for us to get dressed then take us down, so if they had not invented the pill we would be pregnant everyday! there’s the light handed ones who think slapping and roughing a woman around is a pro sport. we might as well be paid at the boxing training place. there’s the over jealous one that would even get jealous of our cats or dogs. oh no, not a wag of the tail!
or, they would be all of the above in one man. God help us!
so, how do we prevent ourselves from being primetime news of the found dead kind? two words: tact and diplomacy. and women, thanks be to God, are in abundance of it. we could use it to our advantage. make it really sound like it’s us and not them. that they deserve better. that we would be better as friends. and whatever wile it is we could think of. but parting amicably would add years to our lives.
it’s just a battle of testosterone and estrogen. hey, if women could take the pain of 28 broken bones when having a baby the natural way, if we could have five or so days of the month while young on the red dot, and if we could deal with hot and cold sweats come menopause, we could rule the world.
wait, we already do!
xoxo, Josie

classics 101: The Hobbit

excuse me for the wrong spelling. wrong vowel, extra b. it should be spelled the habit. the word which could be a last name, and the ONLY first names it could have would be either good, or bad.

habits are pretty hard to break, because some of them had been with us since we were born – burping and farting indiscriminately, for example. but we will limit ourselves today to that habit that bury us upside down if we are not careful:
the habit of owing. america is known to immigrants who have come here in rat infested ships, wheels of airplanes, dump trucks turned into boats, and airless containers, as the land of opportunity. it will quickly turn into the land of
OWE-portunity if we are not careful.
the first mistake is always not saving. the paycheck is never enough. that would easily be fixed if we never, EVER, live above our means. if we look around us when we get home today, and look at all the things we bought and don’t even glance at anymore, let us tell ourselves, that would’ve been money in the bank.
dusty dvds, anyone?
second mistake? credit cards. once we sign up for one, our mailboxes would be flooded with others. true, we need to build up our credit to get to the big leagues of buying cars and homes. but there is a way that we would not be buried with finance charges, especially store cards, and never getting out of the in the red zone. the way to do it is, we get one that one we could pay off the next month and one that we can pay off over the amount due. that way, credit builds up and it would not be overwhelming.
there are many more mistakes that we always rationalize with – “but i work so hard! i deserve all of these!” that is true! but if it causes us sleepless nights and a very bad phobia of the mailman, that’s not good. eating out a lot, buying that expensive coffee with names we can’t even pronounce, getting groceries and stuff without a list, (or even with a list, go beyond), and many more, are other culprits. we’ve made bestselling authors on books on these topics, when we know deep in our hearts we have the common sense enough not to overspend.
if we already are in this situation, the best solution is, don’t owe anymore. pay off existing debts first. if employed full time, get that 401k going. if at 50 or so, we are in el nido sipping drinks with the little paper umbrellas for itty bitty slobber rain, ours hopefully, you will thank me.
now stop singing i owe i owe so off to work i go. snowhite is awake.
xoxo, Josie

on weird questions

i’ve been asked all kinds of questions from how’s your day? to what are you?. it’s usually easy to answer how’s your day with “hwe” or blah, especially if someone asks me this question just about everyday. what are you i was asked way back, and i felt so smug when i answered, a human being. i know she, (of course it was a she), was asking about my ethnicity. it has been my experience that it depended on which store i was, and i would be always be mistaken as an employee because of the way i look. so anyway, i gave this lady a short history lesson, and a little manners lesson.

water under the bridge, that. this last weekend though, i was asked a question i actually was at a loss to answer. me? who always had a smart answer to just about everything. especially when i’m wearing my witty thong. the question? hi! what brought you in here today? by a girl in a candle and lotion shop. it was almost a give me a password or you can’t come in question. i squeaked out, the smell?
must’ve been the right answer or close to it because i got away scot free. actually i was just following my daughter who had gone in earlier while i put some purchases from another store in the car. i don’t know why i did not give that answer instead. the smell? what a lame answer. if that girl had been anywhere like me, she’d probably queried back, of what? then a whole can of worms would have sprung open out of medusa’s head. smell of feet, dirty undies, fried dried fish. anything else but candles.
so, until now, i still have ptsd from that question. i hope there would not be a next time.
what brought you in here today? seriously?

true love

first dates. we all want it to be perfect – right dress, great make up, cosy place, gq cover looking date. it’s going really well, you just can’t stop staring at his beautiful eyes and piano keys choppers. with matching deep throated voice that sends chills down your spine especially that he is the only one who seems to say your name the way you want it. he also looks at you deeply and doesnt seem to notice the other women batting their damn those are loonggg lashes at him.

not bad for a first date, huh? then, just as soon as you’re sure he’s gonna call again for a second date, a horrible sound disturbs the whole ambiance. a sound that could never be mistaken for anything else, especially if it is accompanied by a smell that could uproot someone’s nose hairs. a teeny tiny whistling kettle that seemed to marry a french horn.
he laughs and and he laughs. and you are beet red and choking on your own embarrassment. hoping the restaurant is on a sinkhole and it decides to open right at that moment.
he has tears in his eyes. yours just refuse to focus as they are still under the influence of your very unsympathetic nervous system. fight or flight? you’re in between. that spaz of air that let go without permission seemed to come with crazy glue gluing your butt to the chair.
the night finally ends and he takes you home. a polite kiss as he still giggles. and you definitely know he is never gonna call again.
but guess what, a number of dates still follow, and 8 children after, this man still worships the ground that you walk on.
true love. this.
xoxo, Josie

why we can’t blame men for menopause

so, i had a flat tire. g.i. jane that i thought i was, i googled how to change a tire, the girly girl way. unrolling my nonexistent sleeves, i started to do the job. when i put the thingamabob on the whatchamacallit, it would not budge. i think if i had hemorrhoids at that time they would have popped. so that was that. my landlord came home, he saw what was happening, and rolling his existent sleeves, he easily changed my tire.

my thoughts of being independent, and never needing any man in my life flew out the 1974 leaky windows. and then of course, who fixes my car when i have car trouble? a man, or men. if it blew a gasket, i don’t even know what the dang thing looks like. i wish i were my favorite character in the movie my cousin vinny played by marisa tomei. then i would not need a man to fix my car.
what about plumbing? and electric wiring? there are jobs that only men can do. i have to give them that. construction. there’s another one. i could not picture myself with that tool belt. probably heavier than me and taller than me, it would be walking by itself with me somewhere around being dragged.
without men, it would only be struation. it does not sound right at all. sorry, i’m struating today. without men, it would only be prestrual cramps. it sound like it hurts even more. without men, it would only be opause. opaused to what?
let’s admit it, we need men. and channing tatum, is a man.

on the subject of teeth

no one likes to talk about teeth, except the dentist and his hygienist. why wouldn’t they? them teeth, brushed, flossed or not, pay for the golf clubs and hair extensions.

so my mom tells me God asked her one day to choose – teeth or hair? and she chose teeth. and now she only has about 33 strands of hair on her head but minus a couple of molars, she has a complete set of teeth. at 85. she has been asked where she got her dentures from by other senior and not so senior citizens. and for her answer, she would arrange a sort of chest bump with her upper and lower teeth. case closed. and the best of this narrative? she has not even gone to a dentist for cleanings, except for those two times she had the molars extracted. her mouth hygiene just consists of brushing her teeth after every meal, and sometimes maybe a toothpick for some stubborn in between the teeth food particle. unbelievable? yes. especially that her mother had pyorrhea and lost all her teeth early in life, and for the rest of it, gummed the toughest meat in the market. she must have gotten more of her father’s teeth genes, as i remember grandpa still also had teeth in his 80’s; just that they were as yellow as the sun.
how can we keep up with genes and oral hygiene? here’s how, and you will thank me if at 90 you are still eating potato chips. first up, ordinary dollar store soft bristled toothbrush. for two minutes, brush your teeth with no toothpaste, in sweeping in and sweeping out motion per section of teeth. experts believe this removes more plaque. then you can use toothpaste for that fresh feeling. and while you still have toothpaste in your mouth, this is the time to floss. yes, floss. don’t be stingy on the length, as a new section of the floss has to be used per in between teeth. when done, use the tongue scraper. you wouldn’t believe the gunk you would get off the weirdest  muscle in the body.
so we get to the rinse part. water first till all the toothpaste is gone, then some minty mouthwash. any brand will do, according to what you prefer. if you only want to use mouthwash once a day, that should be fine.
there, no one will ever fault you for having the freshest breath and being the star patient at the dental clinic! and like i said, when you are still chomping on potato chips in your nineties? you’ll be saying, thank God for that Josie!
xoxo, Josie

How to lose weight the easy way (according to Josie)

did you hear? the blue men team has a new member. me. they might scramble to change the name to blue people team because my anatomy is completely different from theirs. nothing hangs.

kidding aside though, i am just referring to my face being blue, and just figuratively. why? because, i am blue in the face trying to tell people trying to lose weight how to do it the easy way.
before saying what it is though, let’s have a run down how people get to be obese. one day we’re in a single bed, and the next, we wake up in a king bed. how’d that happen?
i know that the hardest to deal with is when it is a “gland problem”. sometimes the body doesn’t know when to stop and the next thing we know, the firemen have to break the whole bedroom wall to take us out. so we will rule this out. we will just indulge ourselves with the ones we could really deal with without a bariatric specialist.
i am a firm believer of conspiracy theories. one of them is the food industry – make everything bigger. how would they do that? steroids in meat, miracle grow in plants. the intakers of those would have the tendency to super grow too, right? then of course, with obesity comes the medical problems – diabetes, heart disease, etc. doctors and drug companies rake in the dough, pun intended. along with them the authors of self help books, the diet food companies, and personal trainers with hourly rates that would feed a family in a third world country for a year. scary, isn’t it?
so now, i can share my experience. i grew up being a toothpick. i could not gain weight if my very life depended on it. like that corny  joke, if a stood sideways and stuck out my tongue, i would be a zipper on halloween. no amount of vitamins, and extra milk and food that my mom pumped into me made me gain weight. when i had menarche, that is, when i first had my monthly irritant, my mom thought i would then gain weight. she was wrong. when i got pregnant with my children, all two of them, my mom said that finally i was going to gain weight. again she was wrong. the most number of times she has been wrong as she was never wrong in anything. i gained the textbook weight, and lost them the very day i came home from the hospital. back to being a zipper. my face used to be so hollow, add my inherited dark spots under the eyes, and one person very short of tact actually made a comment that i looked like i had aids. i did not take offense though, because this very person that said it, excuse my mean streak, could easily pass for a blowfish in its blowing phase. another woman, also devoid of tact, and also a blowfish, told me one day how flat my behind was. i told her, i’d rather have my butt like it was and not like hers that stuck out  like a window unit air conditioner.
lifting a patient got me a herniated disc right after. God does not like ugly. my very good looking breath stopping doctor put me on steroids. i avoided surgery but i ate everything in sight and i gained some 20 lbs! and kept it! yeah! finally!
but here comes the late forties. slowly but surely, i started getting a bagel around my belly button. my cheeks filled, and my arms, hips, and thighs actually had meat in them.
still couldn’t catch up with jlo though.
then in a hiatus from work, i went home to the land of the pork. from whole roasted pigs to shaky pork fat in all kinds of dishes. i actually gained 20 more pounds. i had to buy new clothes as i did not fit in my old clothes anymore, and if some of them still did fit, i had muffin tops that i couldn’t have with my coffee and a beer belly protruded. the sad part? i don’t drink beer.
so i came across this weekend diet. it would only be done on weekends and i could eat anything i want during the week. i didn’t really count how many weekends i did the diet, but soon my weight came back down to 102; from 120. talk about numerical dyslexia.
the best part, the muffins tops went away, although the bagel stayed. eh, i credit my over fifty metabolism. it’s a trademark, along with cellulite and brown spots.
that all said, here’s how the diet is done: saturday and sunday: for breakfast, two boiled eggs. for lunch, a slice of chicken, pick your favorite part, and sautéed or steamed vegetables. for dinner, a slice of fish and ramen noodles. not bad, huh? no snacks or sugary drinks either. it really is easier to stick to this diet because it’s only for two days a week, and the rest of the week is the usual foodstuff.
it is worth a try. i am living proof. just a note though; i became a chickenarian and gave up pork and beef, and the body knows. i developed an aversion to meat, and it is more pleasant in the bathroom as this diet does not produce smelly by products anymore.
meanwhile at walmart…
xoxo, Josie