Current Mood: Currently Listening to: The Carriage Road--Jim Chappell (Acadia)
I've been visiting a lot of self-help websites lately, and I came across an article that resonated with me so strongly because of the sheer brevity of it: in just over 500 words it summarizes not only what I needed to know about myself, but also how to best support others. I'm passing it on :-).
What You Need to be Successful by Bob Mueller
We must give to others both roots and wings.
There are two messages that all human beings need to receive. They are the messages of affirmation and of personal responsibility. These two messages are like the two legs on which a person can walk successfully through life.
The message of affirmation is this: "You are a unique human being, the one and only you. There never was and there never will be another you. You are a real gift to this world and a person of inestimable worth."
The message of responsibility is this: "As you mature into adulthood, you must take your life into your own hands. You must, at this time, assume full responsibility for your life, your emotions, and attitudes. The outcome of your life is in your hands. When you look into a mirror, you are looking at the one person who is responsible for your happiness."
These two messages have been compared to "roots and wings." We must give to others both roots and wings.
The roots of any human existence are the roots of personal worth, of self-confidence - the roots of belief in one's own uniqueness. The message that offers roots is that of unconditional love.
The wings of a human existence are the wings of self-responsibility. Giving a person wings is the message that "You have everything needed to soar, to sing your own song, to warm the world with your presence. You must take your life into your own hands. You must not blame others and complain about your lack of opportunity. You must assume full responsibility for the course and direction of your life."
The message of roots says to an individual: "You've got it!" The message of wings says: "Now go for it!"
How Do You Help Someone Else?
In the process of loving another and providing roots and wings, there are three important stages:
1. Kindness: a warm assurance that "I am on your side. I care about you."
Someone has wisely said that "people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care." To build a relationship on any foundation other than kindness is to build on sand. I have to know that you really want my happiness and my growth, that you really are "for me," or I won't open at all to your influence.
2. Encouragement: a strong reassurance of your own strength and self-sufficiency.
What all people need most is to believe in themselves. They need confidence in their own ability to take on the problems and opportunities of life. To "en-courage" means to put courage in. Encouragement instills into the recipient a new and fuller awareness of his or her own powers. Encouragement says: "You can do it!"
3. Challenge: a loving but firm exhortation to action.
If encouragement makes the loved one aware of his or her strength, challenge is the loving push to use this strength: "Try. Stretch. Do it. If you succeed, I will be in the front row clapping my hands off. If you fail, I will be sitting right at your side. You won't be alone. Go ahead now. Give it your best shot. Go for it!"
A Dickens of a Christmas... and a Dickens of a Blog Entry
Current Mood: Currently Listening to: Nothing right now
This month marks the second year that Steve and I have lived in Williamson County in Tennesssee. We often talk about how much we love living here, and I've always wondered how I could best describe why. Turns out I don't have to. The video below explains it well.
As you're watching, notice the shots of downtown Franklin--the Main Street USA looking place--because it preps you for what I'll be talking about next :-).
For the last 25 years Franklin has held a tradition that Steve and I had an opportunity to participate in last weekend: the Dickens of a Christmas street festival. Every second weekend of December, downtown Franklin takes you back to Victorian times as shopowners, theater groups and volunteers dress up in period costume, with some roaming the streets as characters from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and the musical "Oliver".
Steve and I went to the festival on Sunday, when it was scheduled to run from noon to 5pm. We decided it would be a good idea get there early so we can get a parking spot at the only parking garage in the immediate area. We got there at around 11:30, which apparently was just in the nick of time... the only parking slots left in the 4-level parking garage were on the top floor.
There were already people milling around in the streets
As we headed towards the public square, I kept telling Steve how much it felt like walking down Main Street USA at a Disney theme park... but what I loved was that these buildings weren't props...they were real. That's not a prop sign, a real lawyer works there :-).
At the public square, I came across my first people in Victorian garb by the Festival Headquarters tent.
I was a little shy to ask if I could have my picture taken with them, but they were very nice and welcoming :-).
And then I heard... "Christmas Cahds! GET yer Christmas cahds 'ere!"
I turned to look and there was a young man walking around selling Charles Dickens Christmas cards...and he was selling them with a cockney accent. "Merry Chrismus!" He was telling passersby. "GET yer Christmas cahds 'ere!"
I was tickled pink--I absolutey loved how some people were in character, truly game to play :-).
I asked Steve for $5 (what he was selling the cards for) and quickly walked after him.
"Excuse me," I said.
He turned. "'allo there," he said, smiling.
I smiled back and said, "I'll make a deal with you. I'll buy one of your Christmas cards if you pose for a picture with me."
He nodded, grinning. "Oi can do tha'. Tha' sounds like a real good deal."
I was dressed in a red leather jacket and jeans for a reason :-). I fished around in my purse. "Okay I need you to look at this like it's the strangest thing you've ever seen." I barely finished my sentence when he noticed what I had in my hand.
"OOOHHH!!!" he yelled, laughing and throwing his arms up in the air. He suddenly gave me a big hug. "That's the 10th doctor's sonic screwdriver!" he exclaimed. "Yes it is!" I laughed, because not only did he know that it was a sonic screwdriver, he specifically knew WHICH one it was. And at this point, he had totally broken character :-).
It was really easy to pose for the picture after that :-).
One of Steve's favorite stores in downtown Franklin is Franklin Tea (www.franklintea.com), so we stopped by so he could pick up a few teas. The ladies behind the counter were very nice and were also dressed in Victorian garb for the festival. They did admit that they couldn't really wear a full bustle since it would make it tough to move around the shop, but their dresses still looked lovely. Ladies in Victorian wear, in a tea shop...the whole scene reminded me of Mary Poppins :-). Steve bought two new tea varieties, and I got a cup of tea to help myself keep warm while we walked the streets. I asked for something English... it seemed only fitting :-).
As Steve was ordering his tea, I recognized Fagin from Oliver walking outside. I didn't get out of the store in time and was only able to get a picture of him walking away.
I did, however, get some great shots of a man riding a penny-farthing bicycle as well as some other people in period dress.
Walking back to the square, we ran into Ebeneezer Scrooge. This is the happy Scrooge now, because at last night's Christmas Carol show at the Franklin Theater he'd already been visited by the Christmas ghosts :-). He spoke with a British accent, too--all the characters that we met from A Christmas Carol and Oliver were playing their roles wonderfully.
Yes, those muttonchops are real :-).
One of the things we really enjoyed were the street performers. Many of them were children, and they even more adorable because they were dressed up Victorian style as well.
At the public square we ran into a couple of bobbies (who are actually real Franklin police officers) who were very obliging when I asked for a picture :-).
We also came across the ghosts of Christmases past and present :-).
And I FINALLY got my picture taken with Fagin :-).
Steve didn't quite know who he was until we were walking away. When I told him he was Fagin from Oliver, he said, "Check your pockets :-)."
Here are some other pictures we took at the festival:
Steve in front of the tree at the public square
There were lots of people in downtown Franklin by this time.
Carriage rides were $2.
One of the many historical houses in downtown Franklin. This lovely home is a wedding venue.
You know it's an awesome festival when dogs are welcome :-)
We also came across a store that sold sugar plums. "I've never had a sugar plum," I said, and Steve handed me some money so I could taste a classic Victorian treat and know what it meant for children to have visions of sugar plums dance in their heads.
Another highlight of our day was listening to the Clearview Baptist Church Handbell Choir. I've never heard a handbell choir before, and I didn't know what it was going to sound like. Part of me thought it was either going to sound like a chorus of bicycle bells, or it was going to sound as imposing as big cathedral bells.
I was wrong. I didn't realize bells could sound elegant and comforting, and I had to keep myself from choking up a few times while they played "Ding Dong Merrily on High."
I was so hoping they'd play Carol of the Bells, and they did. It sounded awesome :-).
The rest of the day was spent eating :-). I had freshly made apple fritters while Steve had tamales. On the way back to the parking garage the Roasted Chestnuts stand had opened, so naturally I had to get some chestnuts for myself. Steve's not a big chestnut fan though :-).
Steve and I had a wonderful time, and said that from now on, if my travels to Manila permit it, we'll go every year :-). We're already planning to dress up a little more for it next year. He's thinking of getting a Victorian top hat for himself :-).
Current Mood: Currently Listening to: Nothing right now
Have you ever wondered why sometimes we say "It's only Thursday?" and sometimes we say "It's Thursday *already*?" And when we say that, that other people don't seem to feel the same way?
I saw this show on the plane heading back from the Philippines. It absolutely fascinated me. The title is, "Does Time Really Exist?"
You start the show saying, "Pshh, of COURSE time really exists." By the end of the show, you realize that you really know nothing about time.
Arguments made in the show:
Time is the same for everybody vs. time is different for each person
Time is a physical reality vs. time is an illusion our brain creates to keep track of changes happening around us
Time is one dimensional (it moves as a line) vs. time is two-dimensional (it's actually a shape)
10 years after college, and I finally get:
why astronauts in outer space age faster than people on earth
how space relates to time
why our bodies wake us up just before the alarm clock goes off
how the concept of parallel universes (other versions of our universe existing at the same time) started
Some "Whoa, dude" moments:
Because our brain needs time to process everything that's going on around us, our awareness of the event is delayed by a few milliseconds. That means what we experience as "now" is actually a few milliseconds in the past.
Schizophrenia might actually be a disorder of time perception, that the schizophrenic's brain is unable to link an action to its resulting consequence.
Current Mood: Currently Listening to: Nothing right now
A friend of mine sent me a message saying I hadn't posted much on Facebook lately and hoped I was okay :-). October was just so packed with stuff I hadn't had time to post much at all... sorry about that. How busy was I? Well...
Start of October I went with a team to an instructional design seminar in Atlanta which sparked an internal training development project that I had to create handouts for in 3 days.
I had a little bit of a breather when Steve and I went to Gatlinburg for 4 days for a late anniversary getaway :-). We rented this gorgeous Victorian-inspired cabin (Steve liked it too, although he did mention that if he was single that that wasn't the kind of cabin he'd rent LOL). I also decided that since Steve and I don't really have too many pictures of us together (it's always either just him or me in our pictures), I decided that we'd hire a photographer for the trip. Chastidyi took awesome pictures, and her idea of us going to a nearby field to have a few shots with the Smoky Mountains in the background was just brilliant :-). It was raining a little bit at the time but I think that kind of weather helps create the smoky effect :-).
After we got back from Gatlinburg I flew out to the Philippines the next day where we piloted the stuff I made for the Cebu site. After the pilot project I flew back to Manila and pulled an all-nighter (or in the Philippines' case, an all-dayer :-)) helping finish a presentation for a client. I had to extend my stay a couple of days. I actually just got back to the US Wednesday night at 11pm...it was a long itinerary (MNL-NRT-SEA-DTW-BNA). I was so out of touch with the world that while I was in Narita and decided to check the news to see what was going on, I saw the headline about Gaddafi being buried in an undisclosed location in order to prevent vandalism and enshrining. I thought to myself, "Gaddafi's dead?"
The next morning back in Nashville I helped prep for my bosses' Halloween party which was Friday night. Steve and I were working the haunted hay maze and by request, I reprised last year's role as Sadako (the girl from Ringu) :-). Judging by the fact that this year I got hit 3 or 4 times by little kids with candy bags (one of them tried to yank the wig off my head and another one got a good solid punch in my gut), I'd say the costume still works LOL :-).
This weekend was the first true weekend I've had to myself all month :-). I decided to decorate the front of our condo for Halloween. Didn't take me long at all, and was pretty pleased by how it turned out :-). Steve posted the pictures on Facebook; I'll make sure to share it so you can see.
I also managed to start another blog entry...I just have to finish it and I'll post it soon. Amusingly enough, it's about time--and how little we know of it, scientifically speaking :-).
Man, it's good to be home :-). Things will still be busy, but I don't think it'll be as extreme as it's been this month. At least I hope not :-).
Links in case Facebook doesn't copy the a href codes: Victorian Cabin: http://www.hearthsidecabinrentals.com/cabin.php?id=175&mo=1011&go=#availability Chastidyi's Pictures: http://orangecloudcreativestudio.zenfolio.com/p92939195
Current Mood: Currently Listening to: Nothing right now
“You’re probably not even Filipino anymore.”
Someone I was having a conversation with said that recently, and it’s not the first time I’ve been told that. Depending on the source of the statement, it’s either being meant as a compliment or a chiding remark.
Sometimes the statement makes me feel like I’m being put into some sort of “half-breed” category: not quite Filipino, not quite American. I’m in the gray area, where I don’t belong to either group.
I was born and raised in the Philippines, and I speak Filipino fluently. I even have a “Parañaque accent.” I moved to the US in 2004. I have the unique (and awesome) opportunity of working closely with a very principled entrepreneurial American executive team, which has given me a front-row seat to the American visionary spirit in action. I’m married to an American.
But it doesn’t mean I’ve lost my sense of being Filipino. As a matter of fact, I’ve become much more acutely aware of it, because sometimes it’s so clearly different from how everyone else around me thinks. Sometimes it allows me to help people more. Other times it gets me into trouble. But believe me, the nuances of one’s original culture is much more noticeable when that person is completely immersed in a different culture.
I do feel the need to reconnect to my Filipino self sometimes, especially since all my US-based relatives are either on the west coast or the east coast. In addition to the “call-the-folks-back-home-every-two-weeks” routine, I have several Pugad Baboy comic book digests next to my bed, which I sometimes read at bedtime.
When I find a comic strip particularly funny, I want to share it with Steve. So I try and translate it—not just literally, but idiomatically. It’s challenging, but I like doing it…it’s particularly satisfying when I succeed in making a Filipino joke universal. I guess it’s also a way for me to share my being Filipino with him. He loves adobo, by the way—he considers it one of his top 3 comfort foods. And he can make rice the way Filipinos do it: using his fingertip as a measuring device. “Sayang” is part of his everyday vocabulary.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m proud of being bicultural. I get the opportunity to see the strengths and challenges of both my home cultures, and I get to combine the best of each. I suppose it’s almost like being able to go to Narnia, except *I* get to have a say as to when I get in and out of the wardrobe.
Current Mood: Currently Listening to: Nothing right now
10 years ago today people all around the world watched in horror as planes crashed into buildings, symbols of strength were destroyed, and office workers jumped to their deaths in desperation.
I still lived in the Philippines in 2001, and even though I didn't completely understand what the World Trade Center towers represented at the time, I could see the expression on people's faces as the news cameras zoomed in on them. Even through the dust and the cameras, the feeling of helplessness was palpable. I didn't have to be a mind reader to know that the foremost thought on people's minds was, "Oh dear Lord, what do we do now?" And I had a feeling it was only a matter of time before helplessness would turn into panic and chaos.
And yet that's not what what happened. I did see the confusion, and I did see the anger, but most of all what I remembered was how people started helping each other. My most vivid memory of the aftermath was the line of people that snaked around buildings. They weren't in line to collect for handouts; they were in line to donate blood.
Everywhere I looked, the feeling that resonated through the TV screen was: "We're Americans, damnit, and we're going to get through this."
The song "The Change" says it best:
"I hear them saying: 'You'll never change things... No matter what you do it's still the same thing.' But it's not the world that I am changing-- I do this so the world will know that it will not change me."
As we remember September 11 and grieve for all the lives that were lost, instead of just focusing on how terrible this world can be to itself, let's focus on how people have risen above it... and let's continue rising.
Current Mood: Currently Listening to: The Way You Look Tonight--Beegie Adair (I'll Take Romance)
I love Saturday.
I think it's the sheer "mine-ness" of the day that I like the most. Read a book? Sure! Play World of Warcraft? You bet! Eat cheesy poofs for breakfast? Try and stop me. And hey, if I want to continue required reading for work, then that's my choice too (you hear that, honey?) :-).
Sure there's regular chores to do like the laundry and the floors. But you know, our place isn't very big. It takes me an hour tops to both vacuum *and* wipe the hardwood floors down. And if I plan it right, the laundry can be running while I'm doing all that. And since there's only two of us, I only ever really have 4 loads of laundry to do.
Often I get a sense of wanderlust, like if I don't get in the car and go someplace for some reason I'm wasting the day somehow. There have been a few weekends where I've told Steve, "Let's drive someplace." No real destination in mind, just going out, taking the back roads and watching the fields and trees go by. Sometimes we argue about who gets to drive, because whoever drives has control of the radio :-).
This weekend is my high school's 20th reunion in San Francisco. I was originally planning to go but a house expense has dipped into my travel fund and has rendered me house-bound. On one hand, I'm going to miss everyone and that's a bummer--it would have been nice to reconnect with everyone. On the other hand, it's kind of hard to stay bummed when you realize you have the weekend :-).
Current Mood: excited to go home Currently Listening to: Lakes of Pontchartrain by Deanta, Celtic Wonder
You know you've been on Facebook too much when you start a blog entry and marvel that you're not limited to any specific number of characters for your post :-).
Am currently in Manila where it's 3pm... which means it's 2am back in the States. I should be sleeping, but it's Saturday so it's not a big deal that I'm up. Figured I'd post a blog entry since I haven't done that in a while.
So what's happened since I last blogged, January of 2011? Well, the biggest development is that we've moved out of our apartment and into our own condo :-). It's a little over 1000 square feet, small by house standards, but now that it's been 8 months since we've moved in, I can definitely say that we're happy with it :-). When we were looking for a permanent place to live, our choices were a) live in the area that we liked but in a small condo; or b) live in a house with a yard, but it would be at least 30 minutes away.
We decided to stay in the area that we liked. We haven't regretted that decision :-). We live right on the edge of Cool Springs, and the sheer convenience of being near everything is worth it. Ever have one of those days when you'd like to go out for dinner but you don't know where you'd like to go? Not a problem, we just cruise around the area knocking out options ("Italian? nah. Steak? nah. Greek? nah. Japanese fusion? maybe.") until we find a choice that jumped out at us. We wouldn't have had that luxury if we had lived further out. Sure, we could've have driven to Cool Springs and THEN cruised around, but when you don't know what you want, it seems like a waste of gas (the cost of which has been getting ridiculous lately) to drive out 30 minutes for something that you're not even sure you'd find.
Also, having a smaller place meant the utilities would be less expensive. We've had months when our electric bill was much cheaper than what what we were paying for at our apartment last year. Our condo's previous owner took really good care of it, and made sure it was well insulated. As a result, our electric bill (which includes A/C costs) during this blazing hot Southern summer was, I kid you not, $96. That's less than $3.50 a day for 24/7 airconditioning. You can bet we'd be paying MUCH more than that if we had gotten a house that was at least twice as big.
Current Mood: Currently Listening to: Centerfield--John Fogerty
I know, I know :-). "It's been almost a year!"
Steve recently updated his blog and I realized that I've GOT to update mine. At least update the entries if not the current layout :-). I've gotten really lazy just posting updates on Facebook instead of writing actual blog entries.
January marks the first year mark of living in Nashville. And we're absolutely loving it :-). I'm not saying Memphis wasn't a good place to live in, just that Nashville has turned out to be a better fit for Steve and myself. Even just the topography (i.e. more hills) is something that we noticeably prefer.
So what's happened in the last year or so? I'm going to have to check Facebook.
[checks Facebok] In no particular order: visited museums, complained a lot about the cold, got my car loan paid off by the insurance company, lived with one vehicle for a few months then got a new car, played a lot of World of Warcraft, watched my first hockey game, got a new dog :-).
There's another big development in the works, but I don't want to say anything for fear of jinxing it. I'll know for sure next week :-). Until then, since I update Facebook more often than I update Twitter, I'll delete the Twitter status import app and add a Facebook status import app instead :-).
Current Mood: CC is listening to: Nothing right now--playing World of Warcraft while I type this entry
If you've read Steve's blog or are on Facebook, you probably know by now that I lost my car in the great Tennessee flood of 2010 (it's being called the kind of flood that only happens once every 500 years, it was that bad). I've often said to Steve, "If I didn't go through it myself I never would have believed it if someone told me the water level rose so fast that it went from nothing to covering a car's front grill in two hours."
Here's a slide show of the pictures.
So here's pretty much a timeline of what's happened:
May 1, 2010: Day of the flood
May 2, 2010: Car gets towed from the mall parking lot. Our Triple A membership covers the cost of the towing for the first 5 miles. Thank goodness we only live 2 miles away from the mall. Towing company suggests to tow it to their lot since it will make things easier all around: easier for them, easier for the insurance company because they have a central location to pick up several vehicles. Their facility's less than 5 miles away too, so I said that was fine.
May 3, 2010: I rent a car. My insurance covers the cost of the rental car while they assess the extent of the damage. My policy gives me $25 a day up to $600. I was able to find a car in the economy category, $13 a day. All I needed to do was to go over there, give my claim number, and say that State Farm will take care of it. Rented it for a week.
May 7, 2010: Received a call from a car inspector at State Farm saying that he inspected the car, and found it to be a total loss. He will forward the claim over to their Total Loss Department for processing. I extended the use of the rental car for another week. Also heard that a friend of mine tried to drive her jeep through the flood but it wasn't able to manage it. She's safe, but the jeep's front axle is broken, and its bearings are shot. Insurance WON'T cover the damages to her car since "she made the decision to drive it into the floodwaters." When I heard this, I was extra relieved that we decided not to start the car at all at the mall. Now I'm just hoping that the amount that State Farm will settle with won't be TOO big of a gap in terms of what I still owe on the car, because if there's a gap, I'm paying the difference out of pocket. Note to self: next time I get a car, get gap insurance until its value and the cost of what I still owe on it level out.
May 15, 2010: State Farm called to give me the settlement offer. I won't give any numbers, but I'll give the formula that was used to come up with the offer: (current value of the car based on their own list + "extra for the vehicle having less mileage than the typical car that age" + sales tax + title fee) - insurance deductible = settlement amount. The good news is that settlement amount > amount I still owe on the car. Not by much, but I was just happy to know that I didn't owe anything :-).
Current Mood: CC is listening to: Rhiannon--Fleetwood Mac (Greatest Hits)
The Village People were right. The YMCA's pretty cool :-).
I have to admit, never having been to an actual YMCA before, the only perception I have of the YMCA is what they sing about in the video--and considering that video was shot in 1978, that's pretty darn outdated :-).
When Steve and I moved to Nashville, we saw 2 YMCAs just driving around the general area, and their parking lots are always packed. Finally I decided to look them up online to see just exactly what kind of programs they offered.
First I found out that there are four YMCAs in my area. Four! I mean sure, Steve and I noticed that people seemed more health-conscious in Nashville, but four YMCAs just in the general vicinity?
Not only was my curiosity piqued even more, but I also started thinking, "Gee maybe I should take a more serious look at getting more exercise." I started browsing at the different centers' class schedules.
Cycling. Pilates (Beginner and Intermediate). Sculpting. Yoga (Hatha/Sivananda and Vini/Ashtanga/Kundalini). Kickboxing. Aqua Aerobics. Tai Chi. Circuit Training. Step Aerobics. BOSU. Sports Conditioning. Zumba. Bellydancing. Ballroom dancing (yes, really!). Water Circuit. Water Cardio. Cardio Boxing. Line Dancing (line dancing, for crying out loud :-)!). Dance Toning. Boot Camp.
I remember being excited about all the different things I could try. I also remember being a little disappointed, thinking, "Aww man, now I have no excuse not to get my exercise :-)."
So I visited the nearest one: the YMCA of Cool Springs and they were very nice and I was given a tour of the facility. I learned that each of the centers seems to have its own little "extra feature." The Cool Springs one has a rock climbing wall. WOO HOO :-D!
And get this--the cardio machines? Treadmills, ellipticals? Each one has a satellite TV screen attached to it. If you bring your own headphones, you can get on one of them and watch satellite TV while you do your cardio. Is that neat or what :-)?
At the end of the tour they gave me a card that allows me to try out any of the classes at any of the YMCAs in the city before I decide if I'd like to become a member.
Long story short, I tried out a Zumba class on Wednesday, signed up for a city-wide (i.e. I can go to any YMCA in the city) membership Thursday morning, then went to another Zumba class at a different YMCA Thursday afternoon. I'm having a blast :-).
I wish I could take my parents to try out the YMCA. I'm sure they'd love the classes too.
Current Mood: CC is listening to: Somewhere--Jim Chappell (Sad Music Moods)
Technology is just awesome. I'm the last person to call myself a full-fledged expert in technology, but it's both exciting and scary at the same time how technology has become so much a part of my everyday life.
Recently I replaced my Google Voice Number (click here to see my blog entry about Google Voice). It's now +1-260-CCSLISH. Granted, it's not a Nashville area code (Nashville's area code is 615). As a matter of fact, 260 is in Uniondale, Indiana...and as of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 277--yes that's right, 277. Below is a picture of what the main street intersection looks like in Uniondale (you can click and drag your mouse from left to right to rotate the view):
And now I own a phone number located in Uniondale, Indiana. For free. Thanks to Google Voice. A few years ago I'd have to pay through the nose to get a vanity number.
Another thing I was able to do this weekend was finally understand what a Skype-to-Go number was. For months, I've been using Skype to call family in Manila (it's not the cheapest VOIP provider, but voice quality's the clearest), and for a while I've known that there was such a thing as a Skype-to-Go number, but I never really fully understood what it did until this weekend.
What I used to do is that if I needed to call family, I would boot up my machine, log in to Skype, put on my headset, and then use my computer to make the call.
A Skype-to-Go number allows me to make Skype calls using a conventional telephone--no computer required. I'm assigned a local Skype number to call, and then when I call that Skype number from my cell, Skype will act as a bridge and connect me to my parents' home or cell phone in Manila.
This means I'm paying cheaper Skype rates (because I'm making an international call through Skype, not through my cellphone company) but because I'm using my cellphone as the actual calling device, I'm not forced to stay in front of my laptop. I can walk around the apartment as much as I want. "But you'd still end up paying for cellphone minutes," you say. Nope. My phone plan's unlimited T-mobile to T-mobile, nights & weekends. I just need to make sure to call my parents during the weekend :-).
If you told me 10 years ago that I'd be able to do all this stuff I'd laugh and go, "Shyeah right, tell me another one." :-)
We had a great weekend :-)! The highlight of it was that Steve's mom and dad drove up from Memphis. We were so excited to show them Nashville. I actually had a gazillion possibilities in my head, where we could take them, what we could show them, and Steve had to remind me that they would only be driving up on Saturday (and it's a 3 hour drive), and we were going downtown that afternoon, and they would be driving back to Memphis the next morning so there's really not much time to be doing anything else. He said that it would probably be best to let how they were feeling set the pace for the rest of the day :-).
Mom and dad got into Nashville at around 12:30 or so, which was perfect for going to lunch. We took them to Genghis Grill, a Mongolian barbecue place.
Dad had previously mentioned to Steve that it's been a while since they had Mongolian barbecue, so we figured it would be a fun experience to do that. Mom loved how fresh all the ingredients were :-).
After lunch we went to the apartment so mom and dad can visit with the dogs. Then at around 3 we brought them back to the hotel so they could check in and rest a little bit before we headed downtown at 5. We were watching a hockey game tonight :-)!
It was about a 20 minute drive to get to downtown Nashville. Would you believe that event parking downtown was only $5? In one parking garage it was actually $4, but it was already full. Boy there were LOTS of people downtown.
One of the best parts of the Nashville skyline: the AT&T Tower, aka "The Batman Building" or "The Bat Tower." Picture from http://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/2119338620/
We wandered around a bit, then figured we needed to have dinner before the game. All the eating places were packed, so we decided to just go into arena and buy food from the concession stands.
The Bridgestone Arena (formerly the Sommet Center), picture from www.coolsprings.com
Tonight was the Nashville Predators vs. The Detroit Red Wings. Steve and I wore the Predators colors, Dad and mom rooted for Detroit :-). I didn't realize there were so many Detroit fans that were coming in to watch that game--we saw several Michigan license plates going home.
What a game! They were so evenly matched. First period, 0-0. Second period, 0-0. Third period, 0-0. Overtime, 0-0. There had to be a shootout, and even then it took 11 rounds before Detroit finally won the game. Here are some pictures of the game:
Dad did an awesome job of getting the seats. We had GREAT seats. We were in section 117, excellent view of the game.
One thing's for sure: this won't be the last professional hockey game we'll see :-). We might not watch the next one until next year, but it's nice to know we're now only 20 minutes away from seeing one :-).
We had such a great time. Mom said next time they'll stay longer so we can do even more stuff :-). I'm looking forward to it already :-).
Current Mood: CC is listening to: Nothing right now
Growing up I enjoyed balloons as much as any other child. The store-bought ones never seemed to be as pretty as the ones that were sold by a street vendor. Or if you saw the balloon inflated in front of your eyes it didn’t seem to be quite as mysterious as the ones that were already floating in air.
I remember how much of a struggle it was to convince my parents to get me a balloon—they didn’t think it was practical, and I understood why even at that age… and still, there was just always something so mystical about a balloon.
I’ve had balloons that I’ve let go, and I’ve held on to balloons until they lost their helium.
It was kind of sad watching a balloon slowly lose its ability to float…first it would kind of hover at eye level, and then float lower and lower until it would touch the ground—first tippytoeing around, as if it found the floor too hot, and then eventually it would rest on its side. Every time I saw a balloon reach that state, my mind would wonder for it, “What if?”
On the other hand, letting a balloon go was kind of bittersweet. The moment you make that decision to let go, and you feel that string slipping away from your hands, part of you—the voice that echoes your parents’ warning when they first handed you that balloon, “Don’t let go!”—hesitates. And then there’s that sharp second of regret when the string finally leaves your fist, because this is when you fully realize that you’re not getting it back.
But then you watch it zoom up into the air, like it can’t get to the sky fast enough—and you really do feel happy for it. You feel its excitement, you feel its optimism. You can almost hear it say, “I’m free!” It’s so thrilled that it doesn’t even turn around to thank you. As an adult I find it difficult to imagine that kind of happiness, the kind that would even make you forget to observe any level of social courtesy. But even so, you kind of don’t mind that it doesn’t thank you.
A friend of mine—her mother was in a terrible accident a couple of months ago and has been in a coma since then. Very recently the time came to honor the wishes stated in her living will. They’ve taken her off life support, and this week they’ll be taking her home, to take care of her until she passes away.
Today as I thought about my friend, I wondered if maybe her mom felt like a balloon sometimes. If maybe a string was all that was keeping her from zooming up into the sky.
I don’t know yet what it’s like to lose a parent, and I dread the day when it comes. So I don’t think it’s fair for me to even try to comfort her by saying, “I know how you feel,” or even to say, “I can imagine how you feel,” because I think that kind of pain would be unimaginable.
But I’d like to hope that when the moment comes that her mom does say goodbye to this earth, that it will be a moment of pure excitement and optimism for her—that she zooms up into the air, her spirit saying, “I’m free!”
And I hope that her family will be so happy for her that they won’t mind that she doesn’t turn around to say “Thank you” just yet.
Posted by Cecille Slish |
7:53 AM |
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