"midwest is best" road trip

I just realized I didn't take any pictures of Chicago with film, just digital. It's funny because I uploaded film faster than digital. I'm being lazy right now to go through all the pictures that's in there and picking the ones I actually like. So I guess I'll skip that for now and show you pictures from my sister's house in Dayton, OH.

Day 6: We left Chicago Tuesday morning and decided to stop over my sister's on the way to Pittsburgh. Which works out perfectly because it's halfway to PA and we don't have to pay for a hotel. We got to check out a couple of Goodwill stores while we were there, but I didn't find anything, except for a $5 simple black Burberry dress in my sister's size. I had to convince her to get it too because she's not really into designer/name brand stuff, but even if it wasn't a "Burberry" dress, I thought it was still pretty.

This is the first time I'm using this camera and I like it.

Jhayda's such a great kid. She has this innocence about her and imagination that I wish I had as a kid. She paints, draws and writes stories. She's really good at taking care of her little brother and Sofia while we were there.

Jhaxie's collection. He just turned 5. He is still very much into dinosaurs and animals and has recently started getting into Pokemon. When he was 3 he knew more about dinosaurs that I ever did my entire life. He started reading last year. He's such a clever boy, but he can be very emotional and mischievous at times.

Sofia loved spending time with her cousins and still asks me every now and then: "Ate?"
(which means "big sister")


"midwest is best" road trip

We started the summer by going on a road trip from New Jersey to Chicago. To be honest, I was dreading this trip just because I wasn't sure if Sofia will be able to handle sitting in the car for long periods of time, this amongst other reasons. Much to my surprise, this trip turned out to be very relaxing. We made it a point to take our time, make as much stop as possible and just go at our own pace.

Day 1, Thursday: We decided to stay the night in Cleveland, OH. It took us about 10 hours to get there vs the estimated 7.5 hours. Which wasn't bad. We stayed in Lakewood, Oh which is the more residential part of Cleveland and it was really nice and quiet there.

We found Melt Bar and Grilled there which is famous for their huge melt sandwiches. The episode when Man vs. Food visits is actually going to show tonight at 9pm est on the Travel Channel. Though, I must say I didn't think my food was all that great. I got the "Purple Parma" which is just an eggplant parmesan sandwich. Andrew, on the other hand, seemed to really love the "Big Popper", which is basically jalepeno poppers and cheese, between two big slices of battered bread and deep fried like a Monte Cristo. Needless to say, he didn't eat anything the following day.

Day 2 Cleveland to Chicago

Day 2, Friday: It was hot. We tried to go down to the beach but by the time we reached this point, we were ready to go back to the car and turn up the ac. Which is exactly what we did.

The drive to Chicago wasn't bad. There was a huge storm right when we were by Gary, IN. so we stopped at the service station along with all the other motorists. It rained hard for 20 minutes. We sat by Hardee's while Andrew resisted the urge to buy food there. The electricity went out a couple times and we watched each others reactions and laughed to ourselves about how silly it is to get so scared about losing electricity. The rain calmed down a bit and we continued on.

We finally got to Chicago and talked about how great the skyline is compared to Cleveland's and probably all other cities. It was traffic of course, but I took Lake Shore Drive anyway because it's more scenic. Sarsi calls me from Hawaii and I get a quick update from him, but I had to let him go because, well, I was driving. Then I reminisced about days spent with friends at Grant Park, the one day I worked for Greenpeace and solicited people's billing information in Navy Pier, that one park with a great view, my old work, the places I used to ride my bike to and the quiet little area by the lake I used to do tai chi at. Finally, we exited at Montrose. Saw that the Target finally opened there and talked about how Montrose looks nice until we pass Western.

Finally reached Avers, namesake of this blog. My mom was home watching The Filipino Channel of course, and the house smelled like fried pork chops. Welcome home to us!


this will always be the summer jam.


afternoon naps

Sundays have been my favorite day of the week. It's been the most peaceful and relaxing day for me because both sofia and her dad take their afternoon naps and I steal away to do my own thing. Sometimes I go shopping or run some errands. Last Sunday I set out to get a manicure and pedicure. On my way to the nail salon, I passed by a Chinese massage parlor which looked a bit shady from the outside, but I figured I should scope it out anyway. It turned out to be the best thing I've ever done for myself, better than a manicure or a pedicure. It was like a vacation and I only had my legs massaged. This was no ordinary massage, it's Chinese acupressure, which has a lot to do with unclogging trapped energy (chi). It goes hand in hand with qi gong and tai chi which I used to do, and should start doing again. Basically I sprained my ankle a few years ago and it has not been better since. I even got physical therapy for it, which unfortunately was a complete waste of my time and money. However, the magic this man performed my legs and ankle is truly remarkable. I am in awe that my legs feels this good at the end of the day, when usually after so much walking in the city I am miserable and want to chop my legs off. I am already thinking of other persistent aches that bother me so I can go back. Also the lovely thing about this place is that it's not trying to be "fancy". It's just is, massage tables next to each other with curtains separating them. The lights were off, but there was ample daylight coming in. It's very quiet and all you can hear is water falling. You close your eyes and just let him do his thing on whatever pains you and it's instant serenity.