Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 - The Year of the Cats

When I look back to 2010 - I have only 3 words that would sum up my year:

1. Surgery
2. Emma
3. Buster

I will expound on those 3 items soon, but allow me to say this out first. I had no major expectations for 2010, because 2009 was THE YEAR for me. It was the dream year, the year when almost all my dreams became a realty and more, much more. After such a monster year, no matter how great 2010 would be, it would pale in comparison to my 2009. Hence I had no expectations whatsoever.

Still I was a little perplexed that the year would start with uncertainty and seem to be ending with another kind of uncertainty. But I sucked it up the entire year. I knew whatever life would bring I could handle it - I was still enjoying the afterglow of a marvelous 2009.

And so my 2010 began with a doctor's visit that ended with him saying: Surgery would be your best bet. Please, surgery here is not THE ONLY option. I had other options. I was never in danger at any point. My choice of surgery is like choosing to have an aching, pestering, nagging tooth be removed/extracted, other than taking in pain medications. So the surgery my CHOICE.

And yet it's monumental for me being my first time to have a surgery - let alone be confined in a hospital. I've lived all these years and thank heavens I've never stayed in a hospital overnight as a patient. Many times I did when my father was sick. He was sick the whole time I knew him, from my birth to the time he expired. Poor guy.

Anyway, what was unforgettable about that was it went by pfft - so quickly, so painless. I thank God for pulling me through that test.

EMMA came out of nowhere. Sure we were visiting animal shelters because we heard that with the down economy comes a spike in the numbers of pets in the shelters, but we weren't in the market for a cat.  We were hoping we could get a dog for husband who's aching to have a four-footed best friend. 

Emma was a sweet one. She meowed her way into my heart that first meeting. When she continued to extend her paw from inside her cage to touch me combined with her purring and mewing, I knew that she had to come home with me. We took the weekend to decide, just to be sure, although we knew the two days would change nothing. We still wanted her home.

And she came home in the middle of my recovery. I was still housebound and recuperating marvelously. But I thought having Emma around the house keeping me company and sharing my lazy days [who would have thought that cats loved doing nothing with their owners, not I?] made me heal faster. I couldn't think of life before her.

I named her after Emma Watson. On the second HP movie, Hermione turned into a cat, remember that scene? I thought Hermione there looked a lot like my cat, so we named her Emma. The cat did not look like a Hermione, but Emma fits her to a tee.

And BUSTER completes the year.

The San Francisco Giants had an amazing year, memorable, awesome year. They won the World Series trophy after 50+ years. That's a long time to wait for a championship. That's why the entire region was almost hysterical in their euphoria.

In the midst of their hunt for the trophy, the region was awashed with the team's colors of orange and black. Anything orange and black seem to be selling. The shelters - I thought all of them - were having a "sale" of only $9 adoption fee for orange cats.

So off we went to the shelter closest to our house, the same one where we got Emma a few months ago. This orange tiger was on the front and he wowed my husband. I wasn't paying attention to him because I was too enamored by the trio of 2-week old kitties in the back. Sooooo cute!

Before I knew it, my husband was signing the adoption papers. Unfortunately, this shelter was not having a "sale" and so we didn't get Buster for that price. It didn't matter. We love the cat.

Buster wasn't fixed when we adopted him, so we couldn't take him home right there and then. Instead, we picked him up four days later at another facility and he was a darling, although he was roaming all over the car when we were driving home.

We named him Buster for BUSTER POSEY, the SF Giants rookie phenom catcher. So we call our cat, Buster, the Posey cat.

I cannot imagine life without the cats now. Emma sleeps in between my legs, and only in that spot, and only when I go under the sheets. Lately I have been waking up with Emma in between my legs and Buster next to me with his toys. Buster is funny that way. He carries around his toy with him whenever he goes from upstairs to downstairs and even to the bed.

My co-worker has warned me that cats are indeed addictive, that I better watch out not to get any more. Else she'll see me on the ten o'clock news with all my cats being taken away by authorities. Funny. I fear that may be true. I am so in love with cats right now.

That's what I remember about 2010. It is the year I became a cat owner and a cat lover.

Monday, December 27, 2010

After Christmas Post

12 days had passed since my last post. You know why, right? You know why a lot of bloggers had not had a new post in a few days, me included. Well the preparations for the Holidays had gotten in the way of some blogging.

Well, what have I got to report during this 12-day absence from blogging? For one we have had a lot of rainy days - continuously raining for a week, stopped for a day then wet all day Christmas. What can I say but thank heavens it seems like no drought situation next summer. We will have enough water to get us through a dry California summer.

I have enjoyed shopping this year. Must be the fact that I started last year during the after-Christmas sales so I was already ahead by the time the season of shopping came around. Plus, there weren't as much shoppers as in the past so I really didn't have to wait in line to pay for my purchases. You know those long lines really zap the energy out of me - and the cheery spirit too.

Again, I hit the stores this year on the day after Christmas and was able to snag great deals at Sears for next year's holiday gift giving. I buy stuff that I like a lot so that when these items don't go to the intended receiver, I would enjoy the items myself, a bit selfish don't you think? But honestly, I think anyone would love what I already had boxed up in the garage for my loved ones' 2011 Christmas gifts.

Have I mentioned that it was my turn to host the family's Christmas lunch this year? A number of family members were absent but there was a big turnout so it the food wasn't wasted. To-go boxes for everyone too - hubs and I don't have to eat all the left-overs, yay!

Our lunches are always pot luck, but as the host house we had to fix more dishes to be served. My mother shouldered the lechon - wouldn't be a celebration unless there's a lechon, that's what she believed. But since she was paying, I let her get her way :)

We made pancit bihon, Laotian salad, pesto pasta, basmati rice with green peas, italian style sauteed brussel sprouts, spiral ham, beef curry, lasagna. We put out veggie platter with dip, and cheese and crackers. For desserts we made Crema de Catalunya - a custard like dessert, and ambrosia.

Our family brought roast beef, lengua, dinuguan, green salad with chili dressing (really good combination), baked trout, and a cakey dessert that I would have to show you later on.

All in all the lunch was fun. Two dogs were in attendance, I was expecting four. But the presence of the bigger dog, Max, my brother's little darling mutt had spooked my dear Buster that he and his big sister Emma stayed the entire day inside our room upstairs. At night when almost every one left, especially the dogs, we were able to coax them to come downstairs and say hi to the ones left behind playing cards.

There was sniffing - a lot of sniffing. They sniffed the entire downstairs living area and garage too. Then and only then they calmed down and joined us on the couch in the family room where we were rewatching 2012, the movie, not a very Christmassy movie.

Well, how's that for a report. I hoped you all had a safe and happy celebrations.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Rebel

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[makuha ka sa tingin]

I reached work, swiped my badge and the lever went up allowing me passage to the permit parking at work. I have been parking here on this particular parking lot (we have three different lots) for nearly 10 years now.

Only today did I realize something.

Only today did I notice it.

The rebel buried inside of me is still there. The rebel that dominated my teenage years - albeit operating under the radar - still exists. That it comes out and controls me sometimes.

I am a grown woman. Old is what I think of me on days when my body hurts like hell as I get up in the cold winter mornings. And this grown woman has made peace with the sensible, responsible one that now controls this shell that people see as me.

This sensible responsible side of me has always managed to go 60 mph when the limit asks for 65. The same one that wouldn't cut the line even when others do in my face. It's the same one that let all this slide by.

Today, however, I was totally caught unaware while it was happening. Instinct. Gut. Muscle memory. I attributed it to all those things.

But you know what? It was the rebel inside of me that did it. That made it happen.

It was the rebel in me that blatantly disobeyed the rule. The rebel without remorse ignored the sign.

As I entered the parking lot, there was a huge arrow sign that directs the cars where to go. The arrow sign wanted me to drive up and park closer to the building. I don't like parking there. I always park closer to the exit. The rebel disregarded the sign and went against the conventional and sensible thinking.

I parked where I usually park, by the wall nearest to the exit.

And then I realized that I was bad. The parking attendant was there eyeing me as I hang a right to get to my spot. He was there looking at me as I got out of the car and walked towards the building. I yelled greetings and he replied. He did not say anything about the arrow sign at all.

As I walked past him and towards the building, I smiled.

I smiled because I felt the presence of the little rebel. She's still there inside me somewhere.

I hope she continues to pop up sometimes. Otherwise, life would be so boring.

[written on 10/22/10]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Moral Support

I was out sick last week for two days. Nothing serious, just seasonal stuff I guess. I was feeling run-down, must be due to the chaotic tone of the Holidays where people spread themselves too thin around this time taking on more than they can handle. I was one of those I suppose.

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On my first day in bed, Emma was my companion. Both cats stayed in bed with me, but Emma was the one beside me the whole time as I rested in bed and watched Twilight and New Moon - again!

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On the second day, it was Buster who kept me company as I felt a whole lot better and vegitated instead on the couch instead of the bedroom. There Buster kept me company as I watched via Netflix watch instantly the first season of PRISON BREAK. It was nice reliving those episodes again. I also realized that I did not see the first 4 or 5 episodes of Prison Break, how could that be?

Anyway, I returned back to work after getting my lab test results and all I needed is to pop some vitamins, good.

And how could it be that with the more you check off names of your Christmas list the longer it gets? I was out and about again this weekend picking up more and more for more and more people. I am getting bankrupt :)

Regardless, I am going to enjoy this Holiday Season.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Being Anonymous

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I like being anonymous on cyberspace. I don't think any of my friends know I blog. Once upon a time I did tell a few to take a peek at my blogs - I don't think they did -  and encouraged one or two who are terrific writers to write/put out a blog of their own. I thought they were wasting their talent by not sharing their written thoughts. I was very lucky in the past when they would write me kilometric letters. And when the letters stopped coming I thought it would be to my best interest if they would write. Unfortunately, they didn't blog or maybe I just didn't get an invite to read their thoughts, if they did put out a blog.

Anyway, this isn't where this post is supposed to go when I first typed the first sentence of this post.  But it definitely took a life of its own. 

So aside from being an closet blogger to my real friends, I am also a ghost or lurker to some fabulous blogs around cyberspace.  A few of them I added to my links and still others I continue to read without them knowing.  Some day I will tell you which blogs I frequent. 

In the mean time, I'd be happy to report that my tree is finally up.  I haven't taken a picture of it yet.  I don't know how long it will remain up as my kitties are so fascinated by the rounded ball of shimmer and glitter hanging on the tree that I spent the rest of the weekend shooing them away from and under the tree. 

We also have been getting some rain.  On Sunday, there was a downpour and I got wet going to the cinema to finally watch Harry Potter.  I know, I know.  But I love to watch movies when there is no crowd to spoil my fun.  Thankfully after 3 weeks of running, the crowd has finally thinned out at Harry Potter.

Wasn't that just a marvelous 2 hours  of Harry Potter?  I'm almost sad that it's ending.  Would it be too much to hope that JK Rowlings find the inspiration to continue the story with the next generation of Potters and Weasleys?  Fingers crossed.

Also I would like to share with you a fine fine deal of a sale I got on Thanksgiving weekend.  We went to Borders bookstore to collect the free latte (coupon via newspaper) and browse at the books.  But lo and behold I saw a display of some older dvds on sale for $7.  Included on the $7 display case were Twilight and New Moon, both of which are the 2-dvd package.  Can you believe my luck.  So last night after enjoying some Potter, I came home and put on Twilight and giggle like a teenager.  Nothing like being silly on a rainy night.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thirteen More Reasons To Be Grateful For

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I did it again! I started something and did not finish it on time. What you ask? I started to jot down my daily thanks and I stopped at November 17. My excuse had to be the many demands on my time during this Holiday Season.

Allow me to complete the list:

I am thankful for:

1. The deep fryer that went on sale 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.

2. The turkey that we deep fried on that deep fryer.

3. The gorgeous cold Thanksgiving day.

4. Spending the day with friend and family, eating and drinking.

5. Attending my first Charles Dickens Christmas Fair at Cow Palace - a real treat for an anglophile like me.

6. Long scenic drive to the central coast.

7. The picturesque town of Cambria.

8. Spectacular sunset at Cambria.

9. Superb dinner at Robin's in Cambria and lovely dinner at Manta Ray in San Simeon.

10. Wonderful service at Robin's in Cambria and Manta Ray in San Simeon.

11. Patricia/Prativa at Quality Inn in San Simeon.

12. Chance to revisit Hearst Castle.

13. Nature sighting in San Simeon.

14. Walking on the almost empty beach in San Simeon.

There I even have one bonus item to be thankful for. Needless to say there have been many many small things to be thankful for and I hope that I would be mindful of all my blessings from now on.

SHOPPING

Did you go shopping for Christmas yet?

I stayed home on Black Friday. I was too afraid to leave the house and face the mob aka hardcore shoppers.

Hit the mall and stores on Saturday. Was shocked to see the mall nearly empty. Not really a sight I expected given the fact that most of the items were on sale, and I was told that the same deals that could be had on Black Friday was available to shoppers on Saturday. So I completed *fingers crossed* my shopping list.

Last night, we visited our garage. Since we dumped a lot of boxes there when we moved 1.5 years ago, I was too scared to go there (kidding). I have most of my belongings still boxed. I may never get to see my DVD collection ever again - they are in one of the unmarked boxes in the garage.

But last night we went there. Husband knew which boxes contained our Holiday gifts - the ones we bought last year. I find shopping after Christmas more productive. We buy gifts/items that do not expire - like massager, or small appliances, and store them away for the next Christmas.

And boy was I suprised at what the boxes contained. We may have completed our list by the contents of the boxes. So glad we shopped one year early for this Christmas!

The tree however has to be put up today or tomorrow. I can't wait to have the tree up. BUT, I don't know how our little cats would react to the glittery shiny balls and ornaments or the flickering lights around it. I'm afraid that one day I'd come from work and see a big mess where our tree used to be :)

How about you, have you put up your tree and other decorations yet?

Are you excited by the upcoming parties and get togethers and all the eating?