Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Welcoming the New Year in Phoenix!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

OLA: Welcoming the New Year in Phoenix!

my daughter April's story-book engagement at the Scottish Highlands
Bill about to enter the cinema
It’s my 66th New Year! I have spent 10 of those in the US and it is very different here. Whereas it is boisterous and smoke-filled in the Philippines, here it is very quiet and intimate. Bill and I welcomed it by ourselves with a small midnight meal. We had ham, queso de bola, stollen, Roscato, champagne, and twelve round fruits, albeit all oranges from our orange tree! This was after the rollicking movie Last Vegas at a second run theater, Super Saver Cinema, in Phoenix for only $1.50 each!

We waited for 2014 with much anticipation! We arrived from San Diego on Dec. 28 giving us three days to prepare for the welcoming of 2014. Bill and I immediately launched out year-end cleaning as is the custom in the Philippines (not spring cleaning as is the custom here). First we focused on the files, then the clothes and bathroom cabinets, and then the pantry and kitchen storage. We achieved a lot this year. After all, we are not running around with the RV!

Hawaiian Experience spa in Chandler, Arizona
solitaire diaond necklace
'Carol' also had a lot of cleaning to do. In the Philippines I regularly had facials done. On Dec. 31 I went for a Hawaiian Experience spa at the nearby city of Chandler. It was a gift from Bill and the Harpers (my daughters gave me a soliataire diamond necklace!) who feel I deserve to be pampered After the anti-aging all-organic facial, I signed up for the next ten months with just $59 more a month on top of their gift card. Hopefully, I will no longer need the facelift that I think is due!

Bill doing the shopping at Sprouts
Next we went to Sprouts, the famous fresh farm produce supermarket so that we can fill up our pantry and refrigerator with goodies, another tradition in the Philippines! As the clock struck twelve and the $8M ball dropped in Times Square, we remembered what a good year 2013 was: my fifth grandchild Kai, my becoming eligible for Social Security and Medicare, and the completion of my book and Bill’s one-month with Jim helping him with he new office building, two weeks with Cristine in Alaska, and a month helping Suzanne recover from her hip surgery. 

Kai,my fifth grandchild
New Year'sEve Midnight Meal
Then I remembered T.S. Eliot who wrote "For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice.” 2014 will be as exciting, if not more!
the complete route of the 'Iron and Ice' cruise
First of all, we have booked ourselves a cruise to Denmark, Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, and England on an Enrichment Voyage (there are courses when the MV Explorer will be at sea) from June 1 to 15. Before that, on May 1 to 16, we take an air/land trip through Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. And on June 16 to 30 we take a road trip through southern England (Southampton, Salisbury, Stonehenge, Bath, and Cornwall) and  London before going to Scotland for the wedding of my daughter April at the Guthrie Castle on July 2. Then the family tours Scotland after the wedding. Even my BFFs Ann, Jingjing and Fides will be there as Ninangs!

But the best thing for me (after April’s wedding of course) is that I will finally get to publish my book. While it is now going through editing, I am now making the rounds of some literary agents focusing on travel memoirs and self-publishing houses. Even if no one picks up the book, I will self-publish it by March, right after two rounds of editing, in time for June right before July 4, the Fil-American Friendship Day. When I retired in 2004, I had as an objective five things: cook a little, teach a little, love a little, write a little, and paint a little. In 2014, ten years after, I have just one unmet goal. But I also added another unintended activity: traveling!

Bill, on the other hand, has earmarked the year as a big payback year. He retired in 2009 and in just five years he will begin achieving that goal. He has been committed to the CASA program, court-appointed special advocates, who attempt to make sure the needs of the children of parents in jail or in litigation or are victims of child abuse are taken care of. He had to go through a strict screening, including a lie-detector test and fingerprinting at the end. He then will attend four training sessions in January and hopes to receive is first assignment in February which may run as long as eighteen months.

Loud and clear, our voices will be different in 2014!