A Dog's Life

Brutus has his own blog. You can read his adventures at "A Dog's Life." It's also listed on the right side column under my Friends and Family Blogs. If you know any dog lover, feel free to tell them about his site. I hope you visit his blog soon!


Meet Brutus

Our new baby... a 4 1/2 pound Shima!

I have been wanting a designer doggie for a long time! For the last couple of years, I have been looking to get a Yorkie-Poo. Tonight, DH and I decided to get a Shima, it's a cross between Shih Tzu and Maltese. He is such a cutie!!! Don't you think Brutus is a perfect name for our little fur-ball?

Brutus needs a haircut!


I ♥ Road Trips!

"Life's a journey, not a destination"

Five glorious days of antiquing, wine tasting, cheese tasting, shopping, dining out, relaxing in front of the fire... what else can girl ask for?

DH and I own a WorldMark by Wyndham timeshare and decided to spend sometime in one of the resort in Birch Bay. The resort is about 7 miles to the USA/Canada border and it's about 7 hours drive from our house. We had a wonderful time just relaxing and spending quality time together.

We walked to the beach, visited local wineries and dairy farms. We visited the nearby towns; Bellingham is a seaport and college town, and Lynden, is a cute little Dutch town. I love walking thru downtown, window shopping and looking at old-century brick building. I managed to pick-up a couple of Fenton milk glass to add to my collection at one of the antique shops. ☺

There are several berry farms in the area; there are blueberries, blackberries, marionberries and many others. Some of the berry farms look just like a vineyard, it's beautiful. Berry season was over and missed the harvest.

We drove to Canada one early morning and spend the day in Vancouver. We had lunch at one of the local pub, and walk around downtown and Gastown. I did not realized how big Vancouver is... it's a HUGE city! WorldMark has a resort in downtown Vancouver, so DH and I are planning to go back and spend a few days there.

The fall foliage are so beautiful, I can't find the words to describe it! We drove the farm roads, the coastal highway & byway, and many a long-winding road... it was a perfect time to take a drive and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

On the way home, we decided to take another route instead of our usual Interstate Hwy 90 over Snoqualmie Pass; we took US Hwy 2 and went over Stevens Pass instead. It was a longer drive and more treacherous (in my opinion) but it was well worth it. We stopped along the way to take foliage pictures and we stopped at Leavenworth, a very picturesque German town for lunch. Leavenworth is famous for it's Oktoberfest and and makes you feel as if you are in Germany. I found out WorldMark has a resort there! We're adding this place to our list of weekend get-away.

I am looking forward to our next road trip!


Ode to Autumn

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Green leaves gradually changes color to vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, transforming the natural landscape right before our eyes. What better way to celebrate the season by sharing this poem with you!

Ode to Autumn
by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cell.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


Bayanihan Spirit of the Filipino People

Bayanihan. Pronounced like "buy-uh-nee-hun," bayanihan is a Filipino word derived from the word bayan meaning town, nation, or community in general. "Bayanihan" literally means, "being a bayan," and is thus used to refer to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation.

I'm sure you have seen the news and heard of the devastation in the Philippines cause by Typhoon Ondoy aka Tropical Storm Kestana. It's heart wrenching to see these people suffer. Watching TFC (The Filipino Channel) in the comfort of my family room, I saw many Filipino helping each other. OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) and Pinoy Expats sending help. I can see that bayanihan is alive and well in my home country!

When I called my brother to check-in on how things are with them, he assured me that him and his wife and the little girl we are adopting are safe. The area where they live is about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Manila and has been spared from the floods. So, I breathe with a sigh of relief.

If you are interested in helping, you can donate thru the Philippine National Red Cross. It is one of the major organizations providing aid to those affected by the floods. Wherever you are in the world, you can send your donations to them through
this online donations form. Choose “Typhoon Ondoy” in the Project/Activity drop down selection.


Somewhere over the Rainbow

I've been feeling melancholy lately... I don't know why. So I decided to make a playlist for one of my favorite songs.

This is a collection of many different versions of Somewhere over the Rainbow. From the classic & original Judy Garland, the blues sound of Ray Charles, the Hawaiian style of Brother Iz, sweet voice of 6 year-old Connie Talbot, to the rock and roll version of Jimi Hendrix and every thing in between.

I'm looking for Norah Jones and Whitney Houston's version. If you have it or any other version please let me know. I hope you take time to listen to Connie Talbot's version, she's a 6 year old singing sensation.



Summer Round-Up

Summer is quickly coming to a close and fall season soon to begin! I'm sorry to see summer gone but I am ready for the cooler weather and I am ready to end my hiatus from updating my blog!

DH had to work a 6-day week pretty much all summer. The extra money from over-time was very nice. But we weren't able to do our favorite activity which is to go on road trip on weekends, to visit nearby towns and check-out festivals around the area. Although, we had a chance to go and explore the Olympic Peninsula while visiting his parents in Bremerton.

I have lots of photos to share, and DH just bought me an external hard drive (1Terrabyte) so I can organize my pictures. I will try and upload some photos soon.


Celebrate Growing Older

48 life lessons for my 48th birthday.

  1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
  8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
  9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
  12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
  13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
  16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
  17. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
  18. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
  19. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  20. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
  21. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
  22. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  23. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  24. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
  25. Always choose life.
  26. Forgive everyone everything.
  27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  28. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
  29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
  31. Believe in miracles.
  32. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
  33. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
  34. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
  35. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
  36. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
  37. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
  38. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
  39. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
  40. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
  41. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  42. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  43. The best is yet to come.
  44. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  45. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  46. If you don't ask, you don't get.
  47. Yield.
  48. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
I would like to take credit for these life lessons; but this was written By Regina Brett, a Columnist for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland , Ohio. It is the most-requested column she's ever written.


Dropping By

Sorry if updates in my blog is kind of slow (more like non-existence) but time is not on my side as I juggle to finish commitments and everyday chores.

Anyway, just drop by to say that DH and I are doing well and will try to get an update soon!


In Loving Memory

Paul Rene Saunders
May 5, 1959 - July 14, 1997

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
~Psalm 116:15

I could not stay another day,
To love, to laugh, to work or play;
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
And if my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
~ Shannon Moseley, “Don’t Grieve for Me”


I Feel Good

Whoa-a! I feel good, I knew that I would, now
I feel good, I knew that I would, now
So good, so good...

You know when you've accomplished something and it makes you feel good about yourself... that's how I feel right now.

Last week, I've been working around the house to get the boxes unpack and put away. The boxes in the living room are all gone! The kitchen, living and dining room area are organized. My china and crystal are safely put-away in the china cabinet. My Christmas Village collection is displayed, pictures and painting are hang on the wall. My house is starting to look and feel more like home!

Next week's project: the family room and the office.

Today I joined an exercise class from our church... I have been thinking about exercising and getting to know the women at my church and this was the perfect opportunity. After class, I went with two other ladies for a protein smoothie and brained stormed for some ideas for the Women's Ministry. Our church is a small congregation and they can used some help; so I think will jump right in with both feet. I figured it would be a good way to get to know these women and get involved with the church.

My week has been busy and fulfilling. I hope yours was too!


The PacMan vs The HitMan

I'm not really a big boxing fan. But since Manny Pacquiao is from the Philippines and my fellow countryman, I thought I'd write a little about him.

PacMan as he is widely known, is considered as the pound for pound champion of the world. Manny’s fighting record stands at 48 Wins, 3 Losses and 2 Draws. Those 48 wins include 36 knockouts. He is a source of great pride and is considered a hero in the Philippines.

Good luck Manny... I hope you win!


Congrats Manny! Pacquiao deafeated Hatton in the 2nd round!


Should We Worry About The Swine Flu?

Today I sneezed and made a comment about getting the swine flu!

Well, DH was not very happy about what I said and told me that the swine flu is very serious and people are dying. So, somewhat chastised I decided to do a little research on flu pandemic.

According to what I found online, the last great flu pandemic to hit the world was in 1918. That flu killed 2.5% of all people it infected. This new swine flu is killing 6%.

So why not worry?

Think about 1918. There were no anti-flu medicines. There were no widely-available face masks. There were no quick diagnostic tests. There were no governmental early warning systems. There was no widespread knowledge of how to avoid infection, or quick access to medical personnel if one did have an infection.

Today, people — even in the relatively poor country of Mexico — are being screened weeks earlier, preventative measures are being taken, quarantines are being put up when they can still be effective, and information about this situation and how to prevent it is a knowledge that pretty much everybody on the planet now possesses. We are a cleaner and healthier race than we were 90 years ago, and the immediacy and quality of our medical care is vastly improved in even the poorest corners of the planet. The United States alone handles millions of flu cases per year, and while the swine flu is a specially bad version of the flu, it is still the flu.

Can a disease still come along that will again wipe 40 million people? Possibly... but if it does, it will be something new and unexpected to which the tried and true methods of infection avoidance prove to be ineffective.

A little swine flu humor added in for levity's sake:


No Reservations!

One of my favorite chef/foodie celebrity is Anthony Bourdain. He finally went to the Philippines and did a show about the country of my birth! It's too bad he didn't eat "Balut" (fertilized boiled egg) and "Dinuguan" (blood pork stew) on the show... Bizarre food with Andrew Zimmern (another favorite show) did!

I hope you enjoyed the show.


Spring has sprung!

In spite of Old Man Winter's grip, spring has sprung! Fuzzy buds are unfurling from the tips of our bushes, flowers are budding and tulips are poking through the ground.

To celebrate spring DH and I went to Seattle for a few days last week to visit his parents and sister. Sarah took us up to the viewing area of where she works; Columbia Center, Seattle's tallest building. We had fun looking over the city and had a great time.

Of course, you can't really go to Seattle and not stop at Pike's Market. On the way to his parents house, I got my M-i-L a bouquet of spring flowers and I got some for myself on the way back home.
While on the Ferry, we saw the USS Abraham Lincoln on it's way to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton. The Ferry actually stopped and let the ship through the channel first. The USS Lincoln is huge; it was an awesome sight!
On the way back to Spokane, we stopped to take pictures at Columbia River and the Wild Horse Monument.

Thanks mom and dad, we had a very nice visit!


Then and Now - Dear Husband

My DH took a picture of himself while at work today and emailed it to me.
I found an old photo of him at his heaviest and wanted to share it.


This and That

Writing about the weather seems to be an easy subject when I can't think of anything to say. I will do my best to not focus on the weather since I can't really do anything about it. Although it's been warmer and sunny the last two days, it's still too cold to work in the yard.

I have been kind of in the dumps lately. I just haven't had the motivation to get these boxes unpack. Believe me I have the plan on how to do it, what I don't have is the motivation to get going. Every day I tell myself: "August, you need to unpack these boxes. Start with one box!" But when I see the mountain of boxes in the living room, family room and garage, it's just so overwhelming!

I think I know what's bothering me... it's the possibility of moving to Texas. DH hasn't heard anything from them, but he did tell me that they sent his boss some sort of "evaluation questionnaire" so they are looking at him. At this point we don't know anything yet. It's the waiting and not knowing that's so hard!

Last week DH and I went to Outback for dinner and the service was so poor that the manager didn't let us pay. I felt sorry for him because they ran-out of a lot things and he was going from table to table explaining and probably giving them a free meal as well. He told us because of the weather their delivery truck was stuck on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass. Our date wasn't a total loss, we still had a nice time talking with each other.

Because of the economic downturn, DD (darling daughter) lost her job and got-laid off. So yesterday, Sunday, she moved in with us until she figures out what to do. This is going to be a big adjustment, she hasn't lived with us and had her own apartment for the last 3 years. Come to think of it other than summer and holiday breaks, she really hasn't lived with us since she left for college in 2003.

Wow, I didn't think I have that much to say! I guess I better stop for now before this becomes a big wall of text.

Until then,


Philippines in Pictures

The Aguirre family residence - where I live when I'm in the Philippines.

Some of the fruit trees in the property - my brother picking some "Kamyas", a sour fruit that can be made into candies and use in various Filipino dishes. There are mangos, papaya, bananas and several fruit trees in the property.

Rice field in front of the house - time to harvest!

The Neighborhood - just a glimpse of the discrepancy between the "haves and the have not". The property owners in this neighborhood are mostly "Expats" and when the lot is vacant it is sometimes "squatted" by poor people.

"Palengke" (Wet Market) - seaweed vendors, misc seafood, coconut, rice & flower stalls and a vegetable vendor smiling for the camera.

Stay tuned... more pictures to come!