Of roadtrips, etc.

Vacations are things I look forward to and dread at the same time.  It’s not so much the vacation per se but the getting there.  Sometimes we fly, sometimes we drive.  Last week’s vacation was a drive to Williamsburg, VA which was probably our fourth if not fifth trip there.

This year was different because the ten-year-old now chooses to travel comfy (translated: with a pillow and blankie) and he packs his own backpack now.  (I still pack his clothes in the suitcase, though.)  And while car sickness is still a problem despite his Sea-Band Acupressure Wrist Bands, it’s a little easier to manage.

I personally pack my go-to tote which contains my journals, art stuff to bring, magazines and other knickknacks.  The sanitizers and wipes go into either his backpack or my tote, but always INSIDE the car.

Things to remember before leaving the house:

1.  Pack your chargers and make sure all handhelds are fully charged.  (You only have so many plugs to charge into in the car.)

2.  Bring drinking water and other beverages to save you from buying at every stop.  If you travel with kids who drink from juice packs, freeze a few the night before and keep it in a cooler.  You won’t need any ice to go with the drinks because the individual packs will cool the container.

4.  Don’t forget snacks.  Kids often get hungry between rest stops and you don’t want to have to stop just for food.

5.  Pack a plastic bag specifically for trash in the car and discard at the next stop or when full.

6.  If your child tends to get car sick, fold and pack several good plastic shopping bags.  Make sure they have no holes so that you don’t have to scramble with gooey drips if you happen to have the kid throw up into a bag with holes.

7.  Pack ample napkins or a roll of paper towels if you can.  You never know if you will have to clean up.

Things to remember when in the car:

1.  Make sure the seats are comfy and that your child stays buckled up.

2.  Keep the drinks in cupholders where they will be upright and will prevent spills.

3.  Use the compartments behind the seats wisely by putting items that you might need to grab in a huff like napkins or barf bags.  Keep the maps, information sheets or ticket printouts there as well.  Avoid storing bulky items that might impede movement of the passengers.

I enjoyed this particular road trip.  It was relaxing even if I had to grab a bunch of motion sickness tablets an hour into the trip at a stop, and coax the boy to down the tablet.  The good news is that it worked almost instantaneously as promised!  We did our usual stops — finding one Cracker Barrel restaurant along the way for lunch. Browsing their country store is always a trip in itself and the food is reasonably priced and satisfying.

I had the seasonal Campfire Chicken Meal which came out wrapped like the left and unwrapped to a sumptuous feast on the right.
Cracker Barrel Campfire Chicken mealCracker Barrel Campfire Chicken meal

All for $9.99!  It’s always an enjoyable experience going around their stores and eyeing the decor in their restaurants which are, uncanniliy, almost perfect repiicas of one another.

Needless to say, we did another Cracker Barrel stop on the way back.  It’s now part of our road trip routine.  Cracker Barrel branches are located off of most high way stops all throughout the United States.  If you haven’t tried it yet, just going in is an experience that should make your trip worth it.

Sundays and pancakes.. and choosing life

I surprisingly didn’t wake up unil past 8am this morning, and I whipped up some banana pancakes for Alan’s breakfast.  (The little tyke had some nuggets with rice for breakfast already.)  I simply mash a banana and mix it in with a cup or so of the  complete mix (I use Aunt Jemima’s).  After enjoying mine plain, I picked up my cup of coffee to get me started with my day and I started to write a post here.  I didn’t get too far, but I did get a few things done.

It was one of those Sundays which saw us spending the day at home, and yet it was one of those that made you wish it wasn’t Monday yet.   I managed to photograph and post some items in the shop (Halleluia!) — and on Flickr where I keep a set of the photos I use to sell my items.  Since the photos are of the items listed for sale themselves, the page disappears when the item is sold or when it expires, so I am archiving my photographs in a folder on Flickr.

I didn’t get any of the letters or cards I meant to write done — yet.  Maybe tonight.  I got an e-mail from my brother Nikky which has convinced me I must sit down and write that e-mail to my cousin who is a pathologist about a question that’s been in my my head for weeks on end now. 

I was saddened to hear, too, that he had a friend who had tried to take his or her life but didn’t quite succeed, only t o succumb to the injuries the attempt left him with two weeks later.  The girlfriend of someone I know who struck me as a simple yet kind hearted girl had also tried to take her life at such a young and tender age, but she thankfully, did NOT succeed.  And there was the news of Cesar Montano’s son having taken his own life.  I can’t help but wonder what desperation had driven these people to do what they had done, and to inflict harm upon themselves like they did.

I have had my own lows and points of despondency, but it never crossed my mind to hurt myself or end it all.  Perhaps it is because I have been so blessed with the love of family and friends that it has never even been an option, and I have a fear of God to know that it is the wrong thing to do and will not solve any problems.  I do not condemn them but wish that they find peace as they go to the next life.  I wish that young girl who tried sees that there is always hope and there is so much to live for.

And I think about the many people who continue to fight to live — who, despite the odds, cling to their faith that if it is His will, they will see another day.  A former high school batchmate of mine who is a prominent showbiz figure although she herself is not in the movies has battled cancer publicly, celebrating yet another birthday.  I saw her Facebook status thanking God for another birthday.  I used to think she was the one who had it all.  This is one woman who has travelled the world over many times beginning when she was but a little girl.  Her Mom was known to be a shrewd business investor enabling them to live very comfortably, and even in married life, she found the man of her dreams who she fought for in spite of her mom’s vehement objections.  She has remained married to this man and now has such a beautiful family — it seemed picture perfect.  And yet life dealt her a blow, but she rose up and fought on.

There is Franz, a young man I’ve never met but whom I consider a long-lost inaanak or pamangkin.  His family and friends waged a financial and physical battle to help him make it and he did.  Latest scans showed he has been clean and we continue to pray that he continues to grow stronger and grow up to raise his own family in the not so distant future.

They continue their fight.  So I wish those who find themselves in despair to the point of giving up hope.  I wish they see it and grasp it in their hands so that they, too, may continue to fight to live, battling whatever demons they may find in their minds.

Dinna’s Diner is coming to a close.  Pancakes and bacon for breakfast, pork giniling and a side of plantains for Alan’s lunch and tortang talong for the veggie fix for my mother-in-law.  Tonight it’s round two for the giniling for Alan and a fresh batch of nilagang manok for the biyenan. The little boy?  He had nuggets and he’s having some pasta tonight.  Dinner is served.