Monday, March 31, 2008

Out of the ICU!!!

Yes! Dad was transferred out of the ACSU today! He is now in "his" room, the Presidential Suite, hehehe. Huge room, allowing him some comfort that he is in a big space, with loads of room for people to visit. Not that we encourage a lot of people to visit. At least *I* don't want too many visitors because apparently it tires Dad out too much. Can you believe he has apnea even someone is talking to him?!?!? I guess he tries and pays too much attention to the person who is speaking, he sometimes forgets to breath! Sigh! Only dear Dad!

Some guy from MedServe, the insurance company, came by while Dad was still in the ICU. I was the only one there so he talked to me about coverage for Dad's stay in the hospital. I guess his coverage was practically used up since he was in the hospital just last October for a stroke. However, the guy was explaining that if this stay was unrelated to a stroke, then of course they would cover Dad's expenses. Otherwise, we would have to wait until the next renewal date for the coverage to take effect again.

Whatever. All I was thinking was that I would rather pay than have Dad go through the pains and struggles of physical therapy he went through since his last stroke. That, and the fact that I would rather have him diagnosed with tuberculosis than have him diagnosed with cancer all over again! At least TB is curable now!!!

Ugh. All this talk about insurance just reminds me how precious it is to have, especially nowadays! Getting sick is expensive. The basic term life insurance just doesn't quite cut it. Health insurance is a must have, but in this country, it is still a luxury of sorts. Not all companies even offer it to employees, believe it or not! We've wisened up and have started giving our employees health insurance as a benefit and they've shown their appreciation by not coming in too sick to work, or have generally felt better. I guess they're more secure knowing that if something happened, they'd be covered?

Anyhoo, we're aaaaaalllllll glad that Dad's out of the ICU. Of course, this means that we stay in the hospital until really late at night, since there are no strict visitng hours. :)



Sunday, March 30, 2008

Visiting Dad

I thankfully woke up early, at 7:48 am. I jumped out of bed to rush and take a shower to make the 8 am mass so I could make visiting hours at the hospital. Japa and the kids had gone to mass last night because we had dinner afterwards with his family (Jopie's graduation dinner), so it was just me by my lonesome at mass.

Dad was looking and acting much better today. He complained why he was in this God-forsaken hospital. I looked at him and told him that hello! He was at one of the best hospitals in the country! I guess he was looking at the cramped room and the lack of TV, the lack of a couch, the lack of visiting space, hehehehe. Yup, back to being the old Dad!

But his speech stayed nice and clear, he was very alert today as well. He talked with everyone, and stayed with the conversation. Sure, he would drop off to sleep sometimes all of a sudden, but the doctors said it was still because of the effects of the meds he was on. I guess he was still being given some anti-seizure medication that made him sleepy. But things were progressing well, although we still didn't know what caused him to have a seizure the other day.


I did quite a few layouts today, since I wanted that coveted coupon over at SSD, hehehe. So I'm making up for lost time!

THE METROThe Paris METRO was an incredible subway system. With 14 different train lines, along with 8 other local trains connected to it, the Metro was a labyrinth! But Mom and I managed to find our way through the Metro maze to go to so many tourist spots! It was fun trying to figure out where we would stop and what connecting train we would take. We felt like true Parisiennes as we bought tickets, took the Metro and emerged onto our correct exits, victorious!

Raegan did very well in her first ever aquathlon, finishing 17th out of 32 girls in the 12 and under category. She was nervous and excited, not knowing what to expect for her first ever run, but she did the 400m swim and 2.5k run in 34:06.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dad in ACSU

Oooookaaaaay. Didn't wake up in time to get ready to go to the wedding. Japa didn't even wake me, figuring I slept really late last night......or rather, this morning! Sigh! Oh well. I rush out of bedm took a shower and just made it to go to the hospital in time to make visiting hours.

The Acute Stroke Unit is very strict with visiting hours. Only 9-11 am and 5-7 pm. Then they send you away. Of course, we try and linger when we can, hehehehe, and sometimes we're successful, sometimes we're not. Anyway, it was good that we have a couple of nurses in our employ. One of the nurses was able to stay inside the ACSU with Dad the whole night. As in the ACSU nurses didn't bother sending him out. I guess they figured with a personal nurse, Dad was one less patient they had to worry about monitoring too much. So Mom was feeling better because of that, that at least Dad had someone he knew in the room with him whenever he'd wake up.

Dad was very drowsy, understandably. Must be the drugs they gave him for the seizure and the sedative to calm him down for the CT scan. He drifted in and out of sleep when I was there. The times he was awake though, he seemed pretty strong. He was able to lift his shoulder from the bed and make as if to sit up! That is strong for him! I was just looking in wonderment at the whole thing, hoping of course, that it would be just like that when this was all over.

After visiting hours, we all trooped to La Vista to have some lunch. We just hung around afterwards, until it was time to leave for the hospital at past 4 pm. And we stayed as long as we could at the ACSU.

Dad appeared so much stronger, talking much much clearer than ever! His words weren't slurred at all, he was following the conversations closely. It was awesome! :) I was telling Mom that maybe the seizure had reversed something in Dad, that he was stronger, hehehe. Far fetched, and medically impossible of course, but hey, there's always a miracle, right?

I was able to scrap today since I guess I have jet lag still!

LOVING IT (HER CHOCOLATE CROISSANT)I had fun taking these photos of my dear mother, who was trying to hide how much she was enjoying her chocolate croissant in the subway! Hahahahaha!

As we stepped off the Metro at the George V station, the smell of freshly baked croissant greeted us. Mom HAD to have a HOT piece of chocolate croissant - straight from the oven and NOT from the shelf, thank you very much - before heading out into the area of the Arc de Triomphe to take photos. She was LOVING her impromptu meal so much, I had to take her picture even if she tried to avoid the camera!



Rushed Dad to the Hospital

What a day!

We had all gathered at La Vista in the evening to be measured for our gowns for Zhar and Rod's wedding in August. After dinner, as Lai and I were finally having our turn, Reese comes into the room and starts to tell us in a slow voice that Lolo Boy was----

And we were basically distracted by all the commotion outside.

Apparently, Dad had started seizing while being seated at the dinner table, enjoying the conversation of everyone else in the room. All of a sudden, his arms stiffened, his eyes rolled up into his head and he bit his tongue. Spit rolled down his mouth and he started shaking. Dic jumped up to rush to the kitchen to have the car brought to the front door while Zhar ran to the kitchen for Mike and Eldon, the nurses. Mom started telling Dad to try and relax, while the rest of Zhar's family sat there in shock, poor things.

The kids, who heard all the commotion while in the den, thought that it was picture taking time and rushed upstairs to witness the whole thing! Sigh! What a situation, eh?

Rod, Dic, the nurses and Chris (Zhar's brother in law) hurriedly carried Dad in his chair to the front door and loaded him into the van. Mom rushed to get his purse while maids were scurrying about rushing to get cellphones, the blood pressure machine and the blood sugar stuff ready. Dic and Rod plunked themselves into the van with the nurses and Mom and Oca stepped on the accelerator as Manuel and the other drivers hurriedly opened all the gates. Man!

As there was nothing else for us girls to do, we did proceed with the fitting, but in a more somber mood. We were done in about an hour, although the boys did keep us up to date with what was going on with dad. They told us not to go to the ER yet, as nothing was being done, and that we had guests in the house. There was nothing for us to do at the hospital anyway.

When we finally got to the hospital, we rush into the ER to find that Dad had been brought OUT of the CT scan because he kept moving. He had to eventually be sedated enough so that a scan could be performed on his brain to determine what caused the seizure. Luckily, Roby was there to help us with the doctors in the ER, and Tito Norman was on hand to readily read the CT scan results.

In short: there was NOTHING on the CT scan to explain what caused the seizure. Tito Norman had initially thought that it could have been a tumor or some growth in the brain that caused the seizure, or maybe a stroke. The scan showed nothing. According to Dic and Rod, Dad was incredibly STRONG physically throughout the whole stay at the ER when he had regained consciousness: he was trying to rip off his oxygen mask, he was attempting to sit up, he was attempting to roll on his side! Incredible!

I know it may be medically impossible, but I am hoping and praying that a stroke reversal of some sort may happen. That Dad WILL get stronger as a result of tonight's situation. That he'd be more limber, more agile, more.....normal. Hoping, and praying. Nothing wrong with that eh?

It is still a mystery as to WHY he had had a seizure...but Boydee mentioned that Dad had been a bit down the past few days, right after he had been xrayed after being suspected of having pneumonia. The pulmonologist apparently had told Dad that he MAY have either pneumonia or a growth or tuberculosis, based on his reading of his xray film. So Dad being Dad, immediately thought of the worst and assumed that he had TB!!!!

Sigh! And the STRESS of all that thinking ---OVER-thinking, if you ask me---probably triggered the damn seizure!!! I'm hoping it's this simplistic explanation rather than a cancerous growth in the brain, which is a waaaaaay better explanation for what happened tonight!

So to whoever is reading this, prayers from wherever you are in cyberspace for Dad will be much appreciated. He is in the acute stroke unit right now, and will be there for a few days until they are able to perform an MRI on him. He needs to be monitored closely and the ACSU is a better place for him than the regular ICU.

Ok, I need to go and get some shut eye. I have a wedding to go to in a few hours....if I can get up. Either that, or go to the hospital during the meager visiting hours allowed for ACSU patients.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jet Lag!

I canNOT believe how affected I am with jet lag! I mean, I think I'm a pretty well-traveled person, and I like to think that my body's pretty much adapted to all sorts of time zones...but the trip back from Paris has just totally thrown my entire body system OFF!

Ever since Monday, I've been HAVING to take naps in the afternoons! I mean, I am rendered immobile practically sometime from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm thereabouts because I just can't keep my eyes open! And my body is screaming to be in a supine position, otherwise I'd faint! hehehehe. A bit of exaggeration there, but you get my drift.

It's like I've drowned myself in vats of wine and just dropped amongst the wine racks in the cellar from sheer fatigue! Not that I drink myself into oblivion; I do enjoy the occasional glass of light, fruity wine, but to literally drop into a drowsy, almost-drunk stupor is just beyond me! Sigh! I am SO hoping that this jet lag is overcome SOON! I need a schedule of some sort to come out of all this! Sheesh!

You would think I'd be using all the weird hours to try and catch up on my scrapping, but I think with all the deep sleep I've been finding myself in, I've started to develop some sort of stiff neck! NOT good! Grrr! So I can't very well keep my head up for long periods of time!!! Aaargh!!!!

Ok, gotta go lie down now...and just watch TV, basically. Thank goodness for CSI, hehehe.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easy Peasy Business Cards!

Need a business card fast? Or better yet, a logo design without having to spend thousands on an advertising firm's services?

Just for fun, I decided to create a card for our Sisterhood Challenge. The site first started out by asking me the image I wanted my "company" to project. Since it was for scrapbooking, I picked FLAIR. Then, I was asked the industry I was in. Well of course it was Crafts and Hobbies, what else! :)

Then it was time to pick the actual logo. Once I had narrowed down my industry, the site showed me pages and pages of possible logos.....I made a literal stab in the dark in the beginning, and found the logo I wanted under ABSTRACT. If you look at it closely, it does look like a woman, balancing 2 circles of ever-evolving responsibilities (my analysis here, hehehe). Very apropro, eh?

Then type in the name and a layout for a business card, including colors, and presto! The work is all done! Definitely easy peasy!

Go check out the site I highlighted and I kid you not when I say that it took me less than 10 minutes to come up with this:

Pretty cool eh?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Back Home, Finally!

Ahhhh! Home sweet home! I am resting, after having taken a shower and scrubbing down major time. Traveling 16 hours in the same clothes I was in during our last day in Paris does not make me a happy camper. Ugh! I soooo needed a shower when we arrived!

It was a loooooong flight......much longer it seemed than our flight going to France (although technically, it was really shorter). Maybe it was the anticipation of going home and seeing Japa and the kids that made me ITCH to get home fast!

Our flight from Paris to Dubai was pretty much uneventful, me finally getting to watch a couple of movies on the personal TV screen (that was HUGE!) that we had. As we neared Dubai though, with about 13 minutes to go, I was really sleepy, so I figured I'd get some shut eye......a few minutes later, I woke up with a start, looked over at the monitor and saw that we had 25 minutes to go! HUH?!?!?! *entering the Twilight Zone maybe???*

Then as I got fully awake, I realized that we were hovering above the skies of Dubai...but visibility was close to zero with all the clouds and fog and whatever else was up in the sky with us. I knew it was morning and being the Middle East, the sun was most likely up high in the sky at 6 am. But we could see no sun! Then we hit some turbulence....and I started to pray that we'd be able to land safely, and soon!

Sure, we have travel insurance (we had to get it, to be able to get a Schengen visa), but it would be nice to NOT use it right? Hehehe. After a few more minutes, I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw some spire tops of the tallest buildings in Dubai. Whew! We were going to land soon!

Dubai International Airport was a MADHOUSE. Soooooo many people, despite the early hour! This was such a busy airport!!! And because of the early morning fog, there was quite a lot of flights that were delayed....and the lounge was PACKED. Ugh!

Luckily, Mom found us some seats pretty quickly, and we settled in for the 3:45 hour wait. We had some snacks, but eventually fell asleep in our chairs. We woke up with a few minutes to spare and we went for a looooooong walk to our gate.

Mom and I both tried NOT to sleep on the last leg of the flight just so we could avoid jet lag, but I guess our bodies couldn't take it, hehehe. We promptly went to sleep as soon as the plane took off (an hour delayed) but I did manage to finish the movie I was watching on the previous flight before doing so :)

NAIA was another MADHOUSE. Ridiculously so! Super duper long lines at immigration and after the freezing temperatures in Paris, it was HO-O-O-O-O-O-T!!!!!! Ugh ugh and ugh!

But I am home, on my bed, with Japa snoring beside me, hehehehe. Ahhhhhh! Home.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Modern Ages

Ahhhh....modern amenities....hehehehe. Not that I didn't enjoy our stay at the Maison St Jean with Msgr Lagoutte, but it was nice to have a television, an option for internet connection (even if it was exorbitantly expensive), and with Bedroom Furniture that included a great big, king-sized bed! The Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris Hotel's bedrooms featured Contemporary Bedroom Furniture, the type that you would imagine a boutique hotel to have. Totally Paree, in my opinion, very avant-garde and sophisticated.

Low platform beds, black or dark wood paneling, red-black combination, tempered with light purples. Mirrors, geometric patterns, glass, chrome. Framed patterns of parisian ladies (kind of like flappers) all over the room completed the total Modern Bedroom Furniture look.

I took photos of course, but I haven't had a chance to download everything yet....Mom and I pretty much dropped everything as soon as we got there so we could sightsee :)

We had to leave Bishop in Lisiuex as he wanted to rest a little bit more and didn't want to push himself too much. As a result, Mom and I had a room all to ourselves. We couldn't cancel a room reservation as they had already been paid for over the internet. So yes, we were definitely living in the lap of luxury! A whole room, with a king-sized bed for EACH of us. And to top it off, breakfast was included!!!

Gotta run! Will be doing the sightseeing list in a little bit!

On to Paris!!!

I am now on a train enroute to Paris. Mom and I left Bishop in Lisieux since he felt he was not fit to travel, and that he would be better off going straight to the airport from Lisieux. So we're probably going to be meeting him tomorrow around lunch time at the airport to say goodbye before Mom and I proceed to Nevers.

This morning, Mom and I went to mass at the Abri St Therese across the street. It's a small chapel set up temporarily since the Carmel Monastery chapel is currently being renovated. Afterwards, I dragged Mom up the street across the Carmel Monastery so that I could take photos for Japa, hehehe. It was the best view I could find, and I tried taking some pics WITHOUT construction equipment in the foreground! :)

By the time I next update this entry, I would have had a chance to finally connect to the internet in Paris!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Exploring Lisieux

Full day ahead today. Bishop was in pain today---he could barely walk, needing a wheelchair to go places. While he was in his room for breakfast, Mom and I took a short walk to the old cathedral that *should* have been St Therese's parish church (it is now City Hall, I think). We were almost to the steps of the church when it started to rain. Mom said to go back since she didn't want to get lost (it was less than 5 minutes away!) and that she didn't want to be late for when the sisters would be driving us to the Basilica for mass.

{The Basilique}

A sight to behold. We were there right at 9 am, when it opened. I guess Sr Monique's car has a special sticker on it, because we drove practically to the front door! Inside, there were barely any people inside, it was so quiet. And COLD. We went straight to the relics that were kept there---it was from the bone of her arm, encased in glass so everyone could see. I'm hoping the photo I took came out alright!

After a few minutes of veneration, we all sat in the middle of the basilica and Sr Blandine began her spiel. She pretty much explained in great detail all the nooks and crannies of the basilica. The interpretations, the mosaic tiles, the images, everything! It was so much to take in at once, but I'm hoping my memory will serve me well as I look at the photos and put them in an album!

We barely had time to look at souvenirs at the shop when we had to troop down into the crypt for Sunday mass. Bishop was taken earlier to the rectory, as he would be one of the priests during mass.

{The Crypt}

Another sight to behold. It was a little bit newer in design, with the mosaic tiles being nice and clean. And gilded with gold. Just beautiful! For a crypt, it was immense---it could easily hold 800 people! And for this Palm Sunday, it was filled to capacity! Msgr Lagoutte had reserved a place for us in the FRONT. Sigh! Hehehe. He introduced us at the beginning of mass to everyone, along with Bishop and some young kids on pilgrimage.

After mass, the Philippine Ambassador to France was there, along with his wife. Ambassador and Mrs Zaide were on their way to Mont St Michel that morning but decided to go to mass instead when it started to rain. So we took some pictures and chatted a bit, and Msgr Lagoutte invited them back to Maison St Jean for lunch.

{A Stop at the Monastery}

Since Bishop was still asleep from his meds, Mom and I acted as sort of emissaries as we went to visit the lone Filipina in the Carmelite Monastery. Sr Therezhina had arrived a month ago (and had missed the arrival of the Relics in Cebu since her Mother Superior told her that Sr Therese was already calling her to go to France). So she was just catching up on what was going on, she asked us who we were, she told us who she was. Seemed the poor girl was a little bit homesick, which was totally understandable, as she couldn't help but shed a few tears :) But she was happy and content to be where she was, and she looked forward to learning more about St Therese as she learned French as well.

{Les Buissonnets}

The house where Therese and her family lived in Lisieux, after her mother died in Alencon. It is a small house and wonderfully preserved. Most is still intact, and even original furniture and some clock pieces by Louis Martin, a watchmaker, are still there. The original fireplace where the conversion took place, Celine's painting of the family, home, Therese's First Holy Communion garment.....all still there. And yes, I took photos, lots and lots of them!

{Tombs of St Therese's Parents}

We drove back to the back of the Basilicia because Sr Monique remembered that we had not visited the tombs of Louis and Zelie Martin, whom the Pope had declared Venerable in 1994. This is probably the last time that we would get a chance to have our photos taken with Msr and Mme Martin here at the Basilica before they will be declared Blessed....and their bodies consequently exhumed for Relic-preparation.

{Cathedral of St Peter}

This was where Therese and her family went to church. We saw the small chapel that Louis Martin had purchased so that his family could be closer to the altar during mass. We saw the place where Therese had her first confession and where she took her Holy Communion for the last time before entering the Carmelite Monastery. We rushed through the place a bit because it was FREEZING cold!!!

Yesterday, the weather was a "balmy" 15 degrees. Today, it was 8 degrees!!!! Aaaack!


For dinner, we went next door to the Ermitage Center, a place for missionaries to come together to do their work. Msgr Lagoutte was also involved here, and it is obvious that he loves working with young people. The sisters and brothers came from different parts of the world; there were even some from Vietnam! They prepared dinner for us (yummy spinach in a flaky pot pie of some sort) and then did a presentation for us, including some English songs :). The most beautiful parts of the presentation I think were when they sang songs from Fr Patrick's compositions dedicated to St Therese.

Msgr Lagoutte asked Mom to say some words about how St Therese was received in the Philippines, he showed everyone the calendars, fans, etc that we had brought, and have gave mom a book, Fr Patrick's CD, some commemorative coin and some other stuff as a thank you for helping spread the word about St Therese.

And that was a FUN end to a full day! :)


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mont St Michel

Mount Saint Michael. The Archangel Michael. Legend has it that the archangel appeared to the Bishop of Avaranche (?) and asked him to build a chapel on top of a mountain. The Bishop doubted the angel. St Michael appeared to the Bishop not once but twice more, and still the Bishop resisted. Why, I have no idea. But on the third visit, the archangel pointed his forefinger at the forehead of the Bishop and burnt a small hole straight through the brain/skull of the Bishop. No, the Bishop didn't die, but he did build the church :)

And that Church grew into this enormous, beautiful castle-like village that rises from the mountain into the sky. At high tide a few times a year, the whole structure is isolated as the sea surrounds it. It is a magnificent structure! According to Boydee, this was used as the inspiration for the City of Gondor in the Lord of the Rings.

Climbing up the steep stairs to the top to see the monastery, I believe him. It took us some 30 minutes or so, including the times we had to help Bishop, the poor man. His leg was bothering him and was cramping a LOT because he seemed to be in so much pain. Apparently, his body does not produce enough potassium, which causes the cramping and the pain.

Anyway, we were greeted at the top by a sister of the Jerusalem Order. There are Brothers and Sisters of this Order who live at Mont St Michel: the brothers at the top and the Sisters at the bottom. And the poor Sisters have to go up and down 3 times a day on the average!!! Typical eh? Hehehehe.

Anyway, when we got there, St Monique brought Bishop to the rectory so that he could concelebrate the mass with the monks. We went down down down into the crypt---it was FREEZING! It was small and quiet. The thick stone of the fortress-like structure surrounded us and it gave us a feeling of being safe, of being enveloped in this quiet, holy atmosphere.

Some sisters were there early, praying, kneeling on the floor. Some monks arrived and had stools to sit on. The sisters had some small benches that looked like they knelt on them. But the MOST BEAUTIFUL part of the entire mass was that the people of the Order sang the psalms. The word singing is truly an understatement. Their voices seemed to lift our spirits and clear our minds.....and seemed to transport us into heaven. Being way up high would probably give anyone that feeling, but oh, to hear these beautiful, clear, pure voices singing! There was musical accompaniment, but it sure sounded like they had a whole orchestra playing to support them! There was a mixture of different voices and it really seemed that the philharmonic was there in the tiny crypt with us. I wish I had had the sense to record at least part of their angelic voices with my phone but I was just so entranced from just listening. I should have brought along ipods to at least do the recording or download some of their beautiful, lilting songs. It just took one's breath away!

A sister also played the Sitar and even by itself it made beautiful music. Technology had come to this Order I am guessing, because even I know that a sitar is played by plucking strings, am I correct? But the sister had some sort of pad on top of the strings and she played it like a piano, sort of. Basta, it was just soooooo beautiful, so moving.

Bishop was invited to say mass with them and I was able to take a few photos, although I was slightly embarrassed since everything was so quiet and I could hear each whirrr of the camera's lens and each click of the shutter! :) But obviously, I got over that really quick!

We were *supposed* to have lunch with the monks as well, but I think they forgot and so we found ourselves going down the steep stairs to the little village that had evolved around Mont St Michel. Sr Moniqe suggested Madame Polard's (?) Omelets, a world-famous place.....but she didn't know how expensive it was, hehehe. So of course Mother dear footed the bill. Wawa Sr Monique, she was counting money....and we didn't need to know French very well to see that she was highly embarrassed and shocked that the food was expensive. But it was totally delish, for omelets! Very different, very fluffy, very tasty! Mom got hers with salmon, I got mine with mushrooms. Mom's appetizer was seafood hors d' ouvres and mine was oysters. Yum yum yum! Surprisingly, for the seemingly, light fare, we were stuffed without dessert!

By the time we were done with lunch, it was raining very hard. I had to take my wool socks out because they were starting to get wet....I was wearing my ortho crocs, hehehe. By the time got to the car, my feet were soaked :) They dried out a little bit by the time we got home hours later.

It was a tiring but wonderful day :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

In Lisieux

What a loooooong day! After a 9 hour flight to Dubai, a 3 hour layover, and a 6 hour to Paris, we finally landed at Charles De Gaulle Airport (yes, that's why when we travel to Paree the airport code is CDG! hehehe). We waited forever for Bishop's umbrella to come out of the conveyor belt only to find out that it had been shoved to the side by the other bags---the side of the belt that did NOT move!!! Sigh!

We go out to meet Sisters Monique and Blandine who, thank goodness, could speak English. Sr Monique had taken English for a year when she worked in Israel and Sr Blandine stayed in New York for 6 years.

{A Day That Could Have Been for Filipinos}

Sr Monique greeted us and told us that we were going straight to Lisieux....and that we were going to leave the Relics behind. The precious Relics. We were all WHAAAAAT?!?!?!? She said that the person who was supposed to do all the transporting and handling of St Therese's relics was very sick and could only do it tomorrow.

Man! I looked at Mom and told her that could have been an extra day that Sr Therese could have been at the Shrine, where people could be venerating her. Instead, we had to leave her somewhere in the cargo docks, waiting to be transported back to Lisieux.

{On to Lisieux}

The next problem we had was the $%^&* frame Bishop Arguelles had sent at the last minute. Damn, it was huge! It would NOT fit in the car that the Sisters had brought. On our way to the car, Sr Monique said "it's the blue one," and I looked ---in VAIN --- for at least an SUV or a van, hehehe. We had a 4-door little Ford car. I have NO idea what model it was, don't ask. All I know was that it was SMALL.

When the Sisters opened to back, they paused, unsure if all our bags were going to fit. Well of course I sprang into action. I MADE them fit---all 2 suitcases, 3 rollers, 1 small duffel. Then we were down to the %^&* frame.

After several attempts at trying to fit the frame SOMEWHERE in the car (I had said outright that it was impossible!), Sr Monique called the place where the relics were and asked if we could leave the frame with them. Thankfully they said yes.

So off we went. We had barely escaped the start of the weekend traffic that brought Parisians out of Paris into the countryside. We did hit a few traffic spots though, but overall, the trip that was supposed to take roughly 2 hours took about 30-45 minutes longer. Not bad.

I tried to stay awake so that I wouldn't have too much jet lag, but I dozed off a bit. It wasn't that exciting of a ride, so I didn't miss much. When I woke up, it was too see the green of Normandy. It was just.....GREEN. A beautiful, verdant green.

Then we were in Lisiuex. It is such a small town, it was barely on the road signs until we were almost there :)

{Maison St. Jean}

We are staying at the House of St John, where Msgr Bernard Lagoutte resides, along with several priests, including a Bishop Emeritus. The room Mom is staying in has pieces (primarily the desk) that belonged to the uncle of St Therese. The room I have has pieces that belonged to some bishop from long ago. Simple furnishings, and clean. And no, no TV.

Apparently, this house and the next (right next to the Carmelites) are pilgrimage houses....people on pilgrimage are welcome to stay here for a minimal fee I think. The only provision is that in return they participate in some of the activities of the houses.

We had 5 minutes to get settled as we were scheduled for an informal tea with Msgr Lagoutte. He is such a funny man. I love watching him as he speaks, especially when we start talking about the coming theologian discussion on a miracle attributed to the parents of St Therese, Louie and Zelie Martin. Actually, he reminds me of Bric :)

Dinner was a lovely affair, as we all settled together at the table: Msgr Lagoutte, Srs Monique and Blandine, Fr. Patrick, the Bishop Emeritus (forgot his name), the Msgr in charge of the house (I think, and I forgot his name, too!), Bishop, and Mom and moi. We had a nice, simply made soup that was surprisingly yummy! Just strips of vegetables and seasoned with pepper. That was it! Then there was vegetables, salmon and delish yellow rice :) They paid attention to the email of Boydee, apparently, hehehehe. For dessert we had cheese and yogurt (a staple here, from the looks of things) and CREPES!!!! Freshly made, too! And no fruits or chocolates, but they were slightly sweetened and we had the crepes with some light maple syrup. Yum! :)

Then it was basically time to retire for the night. I wanted to go out and walk around but it was already pitch dark. And it was barely 8 pm!!! Oh well. A full day ahead of us tomorrow.


In Dubai

It is 6:46 am in Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. A huuuuge steel structure of an airport, it was already teeming with people at 5 am, when we landed from Manila. As in...there were people manning the information desks and the countless duty free shops, the restaurants, the restrooms. It was a bustling airport this early in the morning! Amazing!

All I can say is, with the amount of people in the airport, thank goodness we had access to the Business Lounge of Emirates. It's a lot more quiet here, but full of people still. Even the kids are quiet :) Ahhhhh!

The flight wasn't too bad. Bishop, Mom and I pretty much slept the entire way through. The seats were nice, but weren't that big and plush, for business class. I mean, my HIPS were almost touching the sides!!!! So yes, the seats aren't wide enough, hehehehe! But the controls were fun to play with, we had our own mini tv screen with hundreds of movies at our fingertips. Oh, and the kids, especially Rogan and Riley would probably die than go to sleep and waste exploring the video games that could be accessed! Way cool, I thought.

The overhead bins were EXTREMELY large. Both our rollers (Mom and mine) could fit side-by-side in them! Whoa! Although Briggs and Riley traveling luggage would be cool to have, our semi-humongo rollers were fine as they were and didn't pose a problem with the "hatrack" space above. Yeah---that's what they call it. Not sure why though....we sure as heck didn't have hats! Hehehehe. Bishop, on the other hand, had his hat handy. For the cold, he said. :)

So here we sit in the Lounge, with an hour or so more of waiting. And you guessed it, free intenet, YEAH!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Nothing doing today. I just stayed home, trying to make sense of our itinerary for Paris. Figuring out what hotels to stay in. It's not that easy traveling with Mom. Sure, she loves staying in the hoity toity hotels, the expensive, plush ones. But I really hesitate at spending so much money for just sleeping! After all, we're going to be sightseeing and we're going to be spending way less time in the room than the outside, right? So for me, I would rather spend more for something else, like food! :) rather than just a place to lay my head for the night. Oh well. But that's Mom.

So anyway, we've decided (I mean, dear Mother has decided) that a hotel chain would be the best bet since we know what we're getting. So Hilton, here we come! And no, that photo isn't the Hilton, silly! It's the Notre Dame Cathedral, hehehe. That's one of the sites that top on our list to visit when we get there with Bishop. I want to explore this church a little bit more than when we went in 1988. A loooooong time ago! I know I have photos when I went up there (with Boydee I think), but that's all I remember! Nothing of the history, the architechture, nothing! That's going to change this trip. I hope! :)

According to Lai's super duper awesome good friend Peach, our Hotel is pretty much right smack in the middle of a LOT of things! We can WALK! Alright! There's the Tuileries Gardens, The Louvre, Palais Royal, and the Musee de Orsay. On the other side, there's the Opera Garnier and Galeries Lafayette. All walking distance!!! Now how COOL is that!!!

Peach has been a GODSEND during all this planning and booking for hotels. She gave me a lot of helpful tips and links on where to start and all that. I've got lists of must-sees and places to eat and shop and a whole lots of things! So Peach, if you're reading this, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

{Sweet Rewards Point Time}

Personality Type Quiz

My Result:
Intellectual Personality Type

Quibblo user avatar

You’re really smart, obviously, but you’re more book smart, than street smart. You like reading, watch the news, and love discussing whatever is going on in the world. You enjoy being around people who challenge you intellectually.



Saturday, March 01, 2008

Tri Meet

Bright and early, we all trooped to Celebrity Sports Plaza for the kids' swim meet. The kids HATE to compete here because it's a 50-meter pool, hehehe. They train in a 25-meter pool and are so used to it, they feel they get so winded so much easily when they're in a 50-meter pool. And I totally see their I told them to suggest to their coach that they should practice in a longer pool for a few days a month. Obviously, that suggestion was met with yells and frowns and roars of rage. Oh well.

Here's a pic of their ENTIRE team. All 8 of them, hehehe:

Can't beat that. Oh, don't count that boy in the upper left. He belongs to another team. But can you believe our 8 kids competing against the 2 other teams who had about 15 swimmers each??? Sigh!

The kids did well though:

Raegan: First in EVERYTHING!!!
100m freestyle : 1:34.4
50m butterfly : 0:52.1
50m backstroke: 0:49.0
50m breastroke: 0:55.3
50m freestyle : 0.41.8

Rogan: First in EVERYTHING!!!
50m freestyle : 0:40.8
25m butterfly : 0:21.7
25m backstroke: 0:23.0
25m breastroke: 0:25.9
25m freestyle : 0:18.3

Raine: since she was the only 7 year old in her age group, she swam with the 8 years old girls
50 m freestyle : 0:46.9 - 4th place (6 seconds away from first)
25m butterfly : 0:21.2 - 2nd place (.05 second away from first!)
25m backstroke: 0:25.2 - 4th place (4 seconds away from first)
25m breastroke: 0:26.8 - 4th place (1.5 seconds away from first)
25m freestyle : 0:20.5 - 3rd place (1.2 seconds away from first)

Reese did well, too, considering she had her period and was thinking about NOT competing!!!
100m freestyle : 1:42.9 - 4th place (31 secs)
50m butterfly : 0:51.3 - 3rd place (3 secs)
50m backstroke: 0:46.9 - 2nd place (4 secs)
50m breastroke: she didn't want to do breastroke
50m freestyle : 0.39.8 - 3rd place (3 secs)

After the competition, the kids clamored to have lunch at where else? Omakase! Their all-time favorite restaurant. With their performance today, of course Elizza and I said yes! I was so proud of all of them, especially Rogan, who was the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the lot! I couldn't believe it! He did extremely well and seemed to think nothing of it, hehehe! Humility? Maybe. Or most likely, he was spacing out after each race, wanting to play in the water playground. Sigh. Boys.

[Sweet Rewards Point Time]

1. How often do you get sick with a cold? The flu? Something else? - Not much. I'm a pretty healthy person (knock on wood right this instant, hehehe!). I rarely get sick even with the sniffles.

2. Are you the sort of person who goes to work or school no matter how sick you are or are you willing to stay at home when it gets bad? - Even when I was a kid, I hated to miss school. Weird, I know, but I loved going to school. The only time I'd miss school was when I couldn't get up from bed (which was pretty rare). Now that I'm an adult, a migraine will make me stay home. Babying myself? Maybe. But I'm smarter now and I listen to my body. :)

3. How do you like to treat a cold? What remedies do you like and why? Do you go to the doctor willingly? - Thera Flu, cold meds, lots of water. I don't have time to go to the doctor, which is why I try everything I can think of first!!!

4. What do you do to keep from getting sick in the winter? - drink a double dose of Vitamin C if someone close to me is getting the sniffles :) Simple as that. Or stay away from them, hehehe.

5. What is your favorite thing to do when you stay home from work or school? - Scrap! Catch up on my DVD series. Read all sorts of things from fiction to kids' books to the latest on cheap land for sale.

And that, folks, was an easy way to earn a point over at Sweet Shoppe Designs for a coupon to go shopping. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I really do NOT need to spend more money on digiscrapping stuff, but I loooooooove the stuff over at SDD! And with a 40% off coupon, I'm going to get an awesome deal!!! :)