Saturday, August 26, 2017

Picture of Being in Love

   Our perception of another person’s looks registers through the eyes but is interpreted by the brain.  If we know for a fact that the person is a senior citizen, no amount of make-up will get us to see a twenty year old.  The camera has no brain.  What it sees is what you’ll get.

   When I was with the love of my life, I took our daughter to a photo studio for a mother and daughter portrait.  I was so beautiful in the picture that it didn’t look like me at all, just like my photos while pregnant.  Back then, people said it was because I was having a girl.  That’s a Filipino superstition.  My looks in photos went back to my normal after the love of my life walked out on us.

   Fast forward to 2009, I visited the grave of the same “love of my life” at 57 years old.  Upon review of my photos taken beside his grave, it showed me looking no older than thirty.  My features were modified by one of life’s little mysteries.  Just as some people’s hair turn gray almost overnight or they shrivel and look older beyond their age as an effect of tragedy.  My proximity to him made me beautiful as it did when he was alive.  On the way home, my face changed slowly back to the way it was, not ugly but fifty something Asian.

   There seems to be a level of being in love that only the camera lens can see.  It's beyond scientific explanation.  Haven’t you ever wondered why some couples look so good together?  Yet each one is not as good looking without the other.

   Was it chemistry that sitting next to his ashes made me look young?  Was it the power of being in love, which I am still?  Was it a reflection of happiness that comes from the depth of the heart, in knowing that I would be buried next to him, and will rise with him in the resurrection of the dead?

  “Your dead will live.  My corpse will rise up. Awake and shout joyfully, you residents in the dust!” (Isaiah 26:19)

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Killer Dave

   Filipinos are rice eaters.  It took me ten years in America before I acquired a taste for bread.  It’s been said that wheat is good for the health.  I tried the wheat breads sold at Target.  Subway sandwich shop has Grain Wheat Bread, Italian, Flatbread, Honey Oat, Monterey Cheddar and Italian Herb and Cheese.  I tried them all.  I still would rather eat rice plus whatever Filipino dish comes with it.

   Then I found this bread with an intriguing logo.  The logo is a thug looking man playing a guitar.  The product name says Dave’s Bread with the word killer scratched on top.  It could either mean Killer Dave’s Bread or Dave’s Killer Bread.  The second is quite discomforting.  Why would a baker want to brand his consumable product “killer”?  So, what’s the deal with Killer Dave? 

   In 2005, co-founder Dave Dahl came back to his family bakery after serving 15 years in prison.  He worked tirelessly to develop a new recipe for organic and Non-GMO bread.  Dave’s Killer Bread was born.  Today, it is the #1 organic bread in the US.

   The website claims “the Best Bread in the Universe”.  I agree!  I love that there’s thin sliced so I don’t get over stuffed with carbs.  My favorite is the Organic Bread, Good Seed (70 calories).  It has tons of sunflower and sesame seeds so it stays with me longer.

   Then, I went to the Second Chances link.  What I found blew me away!  It says “At Dave’s Killer Bread, we have witnessed the power of Second Chance Employment: hiring those who have a criminal background, and are ready to change their lives for the better. It gives people a second chance not only to make a living, but make a life.”

   The Dave's Killer Bread Foundation aims to remove the stigma of a criminal record and show that Second Chance Employment is life changing.  It invites industries to become a second chance employer.  It’s common knowledge that businesses are hesitant to take a risk.  The foundation wants to share their information and understanding about employing people with criminal backgrounds.

   Under the heading “STORIES FROM THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOUR BREAD” are stories of employees who have been imprisoned.  This is what touched my heart, “approximately 1 in 3 of the more than 300 employee-partners at the company’s Milwaukie, Oregon bakery has a criminal background.” Employee-Partners!

   “for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dropout and Proud, The Autodidactic Polymath

   My life changed every five years or so like clockwork.  I was a Media Representative selling television show spots and newspaper advertising space for 5 years.

   Then, I was a public transport operator.  It started when I bought a beat up 45-seater mini-bus with no franchise.  That’s called colorum, a slang for illegal public land transport in the Philippines.  I went to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).  I got my bus a franchise to run legally.  It plied the Cavite City to Baclaran route.  Eventually, I got tired of owning a vehicle I couldn’t drive.  It was too big for little bitty me.  

   I sold the bus and bought a pre-owned 1990 Nissan Sentra and got it a franchise to run as a taxi cab.  Two years later, car brands gave an offer I couldn’t refuse, 50K downpayment for a brand new unit.  I sold the Nissan Sentra for 150K and put a down on one Toyota Corolla, one Mitsubishi Lancer and one Nissan Sentra Series 3.  I got all three new cars a franchise to run as taxi cabs.  I paid the car loans with the income.  That business was a great ride but then personal computers became more affordable.  

   After 5 years, I sold the taxi units and bought a Macintosh because my multimedia designer son, Chris told me the MAC was idiot friendly.  I taught myself the office applications.  The MAC had an encyclopedia installed in it.  I was living next to a university so I thought of putting my MAC to work by doing term papers for 200 fully printed ready for submission.  A year later I realized I’ve gotten good enough for an administrative job.

Ayala Avenue, Makati City
   After 2 short stints in small companies as Administrative Assistant, I was ready for an Ayala Avenue office.  There I went from Administrative Assistant to Administrative Manager in two years.  I loved it there.  I stayed for 8 years until an opportunity to come to America dropped on my lap.

Loretto, KY, From:
   I flew to a small county called Loretto, Kentucky, population 623, all white.  I was probably the first Asian they ever saw.  A friend said I was brave.  My second job in Kentucky was Executive Assistant to the Retail Executive of a bank in the city of Louisville.  That job lasted for 4 years.  
My name was changed to Lori when I became a US citizen
Louisville, KY
   All the above mentioned experiences are not rocket science but when I heard my father say “my daughter can do anything she puts her mind to,” I felt like I won a Pulitzer.  

   Someone said I must be a genius.  Another said I’m just restless and reckless.  I thought I was psycho, until I found this term: Autodidact Polymath, a self-taught person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.  “An autodidact may or may not have formal education,” (Wikipedia) They are mostly dropouts like me.

   I have never in my life pretended to have a diploma, which is easily faked.  I’m not a genius, just an Autodidactic Polymath and my father is proud of me.


   Vilma Santos is another perfect example of an Autodidactic Polymath.  She was a movie actress who excelled in public service.  She was mayor of Lipa City for 3 consecutive terms and the first female governor of Batangas also for three consecutive terms.  She is now a Congresswoman.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Liam Hemsworth in My Eyes

   Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus' man,  is famous. I have not seen any of his films.  That shows how out of touch I’ve been.  Then, I chanced upon The Duel in HULU, on one of those days when the shows I regularly followed were off season.  

   Liam Hemsworth as David reminded me of Reb, the real man on whom the character in my book REBEL was based.  I know it sounds unbelievable, how David and Reb, one American and the other a Filipino, could actually be mirror image of each other.  However, the full beard, the uncut uncombed hair, the deep set eyes would have made them identical in black and white where skin color didn’t show.

   Reb was stocky like David, not tall and skinny but not overly muscular.  David spoke like Reb, with calculated words and manly tone that gets attention without trying.  The dusty, worn-out, 1800's fashion trousers of the western film incredibly matched Reb's dusty, worn-out loose blue jeans he wore in 1969.

   The way David walked, the way he moved, the way he hid in the bushes, the way he fought a fist fight, the way he taught his wife Mirasol fire a gun and the hurt in his eyes when she turned against him, were all reminders of Reb.

   Reb didn’t wear a western gun holster like David.  He tucked his 45 caliber in his back.  He didn’t ride a horse but rode a 1000cc motorcycle.  David shoots on his horse.  Reb shot at his target with his right hand while his left held the motorcycle handlebar.

   When I was writing the book Rebel I failed to describe Reb more accurately for lack of an existing photograph of him.  After I saw the movie The Duel, I realized the book does not do him justice.  Now I realize he's a Filipino Liam Hemsworth I let slip away.  My regret went a notch higher.
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