A Delicious Sign of Hope

A small delicious sign of hope – our favorite Chinese Take Out place just recently reopened.

For weeks we have been checking constantly on when our favorite Chinese Take Out place would reopen. Not only that, but we also drove around the neighborhood if the other Chinese Take Out place are open. They weren’t. We saw about 3 different places closed.

Today Chris got home telling me, “I got good news for you. I think things are starting to go back to normal.” I replied with, “what made you say that? did they already come up with a vaccine?” Chris responded, “no.” I asked again, “did they find a cure?” Once again Chris answers with a firm, “no.” I stopped asking as I was really more guessing.

I went to the kitchen and found my answer. I see our usual order on the kitchen counter. I was surprised!

“You found a Chinese Take Out place open?”, I asked. He just nodded. “Or wait! Is this from our Chinese Take Out place that we normally go to?” Once again, he just nodded, but smiled this time. I ran to him with excitement and joy because finally we can normally order Chinese Take Out again!

This may seem silly to some. But we are one of those that value the little things in life. It may be little things for some but it can mean so much more for other people. What about you? What’s something so small and maybe silly to others but seems like a sign of the hope for you? Feel free to leave a comment below.

ASL 05.03.2020 (Clearwater, FL)


Kindness In Low Supply

Kindness in low supply as well as other basic needs.

I wanted to share how my day went today and probably this is something similar to your day. It is sad how our normal lives have taken a drastic turn. As you know I work from home and don’t really get to go outside that much. Today I decided to look for toilet papers before we ran out of our own supply. I wanted to be responsible and not to add to the people who are outside so I decided to call stores. I called publix that was nearest to the house. No toilet paper, as expected. Nevertheless, I made it a point to ask how the person was on the other line and letting them know of our gratitude for still working. I also wished them to continue to be safe and take care. Next call, Dollar Tree, no one was answering the phone. Then called CVS, no answer. So I went ahead and proceeded to going outside.

I went to CVS first as it was closest to our house. There was no toilet paper but I ended up buying dayquil and nyquil because I thought I might as well prepare for the symptoms if I get it since I’m the government is telling us that they want to SLOW DOWN the spread meaning the spread might still happen and we might eventually get it. So I went ahead and got me some medicine and even cough drops just in case. I noticed that there were so many elderly around me. I tried to distance myself. I overheard an older lady asking about distilled water and how she needs it for her health and how it has ran out. I see many older people still shopping. I left the store feeling bad.

Living in Florida, we always joke around how the whole state of Florida is a retirement capital. Even the neighborhood that I live in coincidentally was created to entice retirees to live in a quiet neighborhood that is still within the city. In just the street that I live in, I have 3 neighbors who are retired – 1 of which I constantly try to watch every now and then as she has had several medical incidents. Sometimes I’m scared to find an ambulance in front of her house and feel relieved seeing her ok the next day. Going outside today just reminded me how much more seniors live among us and who need our help more than ever.

My next and supposedly my last stop was Dollar Tree. I was thinking that maybe I’d have some luck there. No toilet paper but there were plenty of kleenex (limit to 4 per person). So it wasn’t a wasted trip. Once again I see a lot of elderly people. Usually I smile at people. But this time I just kept my distance and just grabbed what I needed, kleenex definitely then stumbled upon random things like pens and chocolates — ended up getting some of those too. I proceeded to the check out counter. The guy in the counter had white hair but I didn’t expect him to start off with this small talk and said “I’m 75 years old, and you know how I got to this age?” I immediately responded “by not eating chocolates?” lol He said, “no, by slowing down. you need to slow down don’t worry take your time.” I wasn’t aware that I looked like I was in a hurry but then again I’ve been told I look hyper and high energy all the time. After I paid I hand sanitized and left went to the car and for some weird reason I felt like staying there for a moment. I eventually drove away. Then as I was on a red light waiting for the green light, I realized that I had forgotten to bring the bag of kleenex with me. So I immediately made a u-turn at the first possible opportunity and headed back to the Dollar Tree. I felt embarrassed to have to walk in there because if I had listened to the old man and slowed down then maybe I would have been able to remember to grab my bag. When I walked in he told me that he had given it to a girl who tried to give it to me. But it turns out she walked away with it. But he had told me to still get what I needed. I grabbed the ones that were on my receipt, luckily I kept my receipt and had proof of what I bought. But I cannot believe that girl had taken my stuff that I paid for.

I had to go back to the corner where the kleenex is and while I was grabbing my kleenex a paper towel fell on me! I looked around and this old man was trying to get a paper towel from the top shelf. I told him I was fine and I can try to help, “I am short but I can climb it if needed. But I do see some of those at the bottom shelf. How many do you need?” He says he’s good with just 1 paper towel and went on his way. I went back to grabbing my kleenex. Then on my left this time, an old man talking to himself, “well this seems to be a good deal, I can use this in the toilet.” I was puzzled. I thought he had found toilet papers and saw him looking at the table napkins. He turned to me seemed to be waiting for a response. I felt obliged and said, “oh yes, definitely that is a good deal for that much.” He added, “these could work for me.” My heart sank. I wanted to tell him to take my kleenex instead since it’s softer but I told myself not to ruin his good mood and just continued to encourage him as that’s all I could do for his situation.

I went back to the counter and showed that I only took what was on the receipt of the bag I left behind and showed him the bag that I had so to make sure that I didn’t take anything extra. The old man said, “listen, don’t worry about it.” I told him that I should have listened to him and slowed down. He smiled. I said sorry again for the trouble.

As I was leaving I couldn’t let myself go home without doing something good. When I first arrived at the Dollar Tree, I noticed a girl who had a sign needing help. Normally I don’t like giving anything as I know that not everyone use it to help themselves but it could be for drugs. So I gave her a box of chocolate instead that I got from the store. I did ask her if she saw a lady with a plastic bag filled with kleenex. She said that she did and she seemed to be looking for someone for a moment. I told her that if she sees her again to tell her to return the items to the store if possible. She thanked me for the chocolate and I told her to stay safe. Then I went home.

There’s not a lot of kindness going around. But I still feel like I did experience some of that today. However, I do feel like we need more of it. You may notice that I emphasized the elderly on this post. I truly feel for them. They are truly struggling right now. If I’m struggling to find toilet paper, then the more they are struggling. Please don’t be selfish. Please only take or buy what you need. We all need to survive. That includes the elderly. They are our neighbors too. Let’s help our elderly and other families, by not panic buying and by only buying what we need for now. Please. Let’s all help in sharing kindness by being considerate. It’s not just about going outside or staying at home. Yes, you are staying at home to help with not spreading the virus. But you also bought so many supplies that your family will take months to use up. While your family is safe at home with abundance of supplies, another family is struggling still going out to look for more supplies. Kindness comes in many forms. It can be done directly or indirectly. So in a way, you have been unkind indirectly but the impact is as bad. So please be kind and be considerate. We are all in this together. We are all struggling. So we must all strive to help one another.

ASL 03.21.2020 (Clearwater, FL)

Offline Journal

I have an offline journal. It’s called my journal. You know, the one that I actually write on.

But here’s what I’ve noticed over the years. It took me months in between to write enties there. There were some entries that I had to write it months after it happened. Some because I was not ready to write about. Then when I was ready to write about it, I didn’t feel like writing. 

Then I thought about how about 2 decades ago that I actually tried to start typing my journal on the Microsoft Word document and saving the file on a diskette. Yes, a diskette! It didn’t last long as the storage was not going to be able to save that much data. Then the usb flash drive came into picture many years later. I tried it again. I realized that some of the things I was writing were something I wanted to share. So I created my first blog. It actually had a good following – partially because I was working as a Radio DJ at that time and people were curious about my off air life. Facebook wasn’t invented yet and Friendster, at that time, actually had a limit of how many friends you could add. I actually had 3 Friendster account just to keep up. So having a blog was good because they didn’t need to add me to be able to feel connected with me.

In my first blog, I posted articles like How to eat balut, photos of different events I’ve attended and/or even MC’ed. Unfortunately, the server that was hosting my blog made some changes and have decided to no longer host any blogs. So along with many accounts, my blog was deactivated and deleted. Luckily, Facebook started during the time when my blog was still active. People were able to slowly add me there and was able to see what I’m up to there. With Facebook on the rise, I didn’t feel the need to create a blog as I could share easily my stories there instead. Or at least I didn’t feel the need right away.

Eventually, I created a blog. I just had to create it for so many reasons. One reason is I wanted it to be more of a place where my family and friends can just visit and see any updates about my life. Whenever I get a message of family and friends checking to see how I am, it takes a lot of time trying to send messages 1 at a time. Group messages don’t really work because not all are in the same group, i.e. family, relatives, friends, coworkers, etc. I ended up creating several. I couldn’t really decide whether to keep my personal life updates on the same blog. Additionally, I had thought about what will be the main content of my blog. I settled with some blog names. I tried to update it often but still felt like something was missing. I still didn’t really post much of my personal life into it. Don’t get me wrong, I like keeping some parts of my life private. I like telling stories. So I thought to try to continue blogging. But, I want to be able to still document my life and maybe one day read it when I’m much older and my memory won’t be as I would have remembered. It would be good to look back and read what I wrote based on my own words.

The dilemma I face in having an offline journal is writing. I like writing on my journal but I hate the actual writing part. I’m more of typist than a writer. I like the thought that I can easily access my written recollections of my memory from a journal. So I really have to find a way to overcome that or find a nice offline journal that I can just type instead of writing.

I was surprised to find out that there are so many apps that you can use as your online journal. But there were very few, or close to none, that I could find that you could use an offline journal. I know I shouldn’t be surprise because, come to think of it, if you have a software that can only save it locally or offline, then you would have to be logged on to that device to write a new entry or to access old entries. So I thought about maybe if someone can invent an electronic journal.

An electronic journal, a software similar to blogs, that lets us write entries and securely save it on an external hard drive. It will have features such as showing us the calendar and showing us which days we have entries and able to categorize our journal entries too. It’s a great idea — if only I knew how to code to create such a software. I know a similar software exists. However, most softwares or apps out there are more of trying to get you to subscribe for them to keep your journal or it’s free but you have to be online to be able to access it. It would be nice if it could be like our word document files or pdf files that we can save in a folder. I know I could do that too. It’s funny because over a decade later, I still go back to thinking I should save it as a document locally or with an external storage. It was a diskette before, then now an external hard drive. Funny how big of a difference with the 2. I can also put in a password protect on the files. But to be able to find a journal entry with the saved documents, I would have to search all over the place within folders and subfolders, and would even have to try to remember the date when I would write it. Even though it would be good to just start somewhere and able to start writing, I didn’t want to do it because it didn’t seem practical to use. Another option I thought was if I just create a private blog and use the blog as a private online journal – and I did. But still encountered an issue with that. What happens if the blog account gets full? Or what if the host site for my blog account closes or halts its service? This has happened to me before. The site that was hosting my blog had announced that they were no longer hosting any blog sites and will give us time to slowly go thru our blogs and save what we need to save. I didn’t get to save mine. I wonder if the new blog sites have a feature that allows me to download all of my posts over the years. I didn’t really look into that. If they did that would be good to know that not everything will be lost. However, I will need to reorganize it again.

So in conclusion, writing in a journal will still be the most reliable option that I will have with me. I can easily update without being online. I can customize it the entry with text and drawn images symbols. I can also add printed photos by pasting on the page. At least, that is the plan until I find a better alternative.

ASL (Clearwater, FL)