Friday, April 29, 2011

A Quick Friday Post

I overslept this morning. If my husband did not nudge me, I would be sleeping until noon. Nope I was not watching the Royal Wedding in the wee hours of the morning. That wasn't the reason for the extra minutes of sleep.

It wasn't Manny Pacquiao's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live either, which I caught accidentally. I am not normally awake by 12 midnight, when Kimmel's show comes on, but last night I was still up. And when they announce that MP was going to be there, I waited for his interview. My husband asked if he was going to sing again. The last time he guested on JKL he sang much to both our chagrined. That super boxer simply loves to sing. However, last night he spared all of us by not singing. Thanks MP.

Earlier that night, I was unhappy with the AI results. Did anyone see it coming? My ever wise hubby guessed it was Casey (and no he did not peek at Yahoo either - where the results would have been posted since we are always late here in the west coast), reasoning that he had been voted off once before - until the save by judges kept him longer.

Okay so what's in store for the weekend? I am hoping that in between running errands and doing chores I'd be able to sort out photos for posting in this blog since I still have photos from our getaway in Central Coast for my hubby's November b/day and from the cruise we took in January.

Also I am hoping I could window shop (either physically or online) for my much-wanted DSLR. I have lamented previously in back posts how my p&s have been ruined by having dirty lenses. One has been sent out to the company for cleaning (part of the warranty).

Any good movies lately? Oh yeah, I have a Royal Wedding to watch this weekend. I think I may need to pop some corn.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

AI Talk

I missed two weeks of AI review and this is supposed to be a weekly posting. I have reasons, 1)there were only good performances as the number of contestants dwindle, 2)busy schedule, 3) busy schedule. Well you know what I mean.

Anyway, what can I say? With Pia Toscano's departure, there doesn't seem to be any contest at all - well IMHO of course. I pegged this season to be a mano a mano between Pia Toscano and James Durbin. So it was simply no contest now in my view.

And while I unashamedly throw my full support (minus the voting part) to James Durbin's campaign to be this year's AI winner, I thought that Randy Jackson's proclamation last night of Durbin as winner was ill-advised and in poor taste.

After all, the others in contention are all very good and still strong. Except of course I love the way James Durbin sing his songs.

Take last night's Carole King night, the six remaining aspirants did their best in performing their choice song. Although I may have to add here that two of my least fave perfomances were that of Haley and Jacob. My other fave aside from James' was that of Casey. Boy, was Casey good in that bluesy jazzy renditions. He appeared to be very professional in his performance last night. My husband even thought he got it made. He could perform in some joint and people would pay money to see him.

I would really be disappointed if James or Casey would be eliminated this early. I'm hoping it would be either Haley or Jacob getting the boot tonight.

Speaking of eliminated contestants, I saw Pia Toscano sing while her rumoured bf dance on Dancing with the Stars this week. I cannot remember what the dancer's name. They do look good together. I wonder if Pia would be a celebrity dancer next year for DWTS?

More girl talk.....

Anyone interested at all in the upcoming Royal Wedding? Hassle here in the West Coast as the wedding takes place at about 2 am here. But I am happy to report that our DVR is already set to record from 1 am foreward. I haven't seen the Diana and Charles wedding as I lived in the boondocks back then and had no clue who these people were.

I hope this marriage will last though.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Food Craving Wednesday

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My husband, er WE, make this pasta dish that I adore so much. It doesn't require a step to step procedure since whatever veggies are left on the fridge is what we put into it.

We first grill the veggies or sometimes broil them in the oven. Then we add them to the cooked pasta (whatever you prefer) and toss it with some homemade pesto, which we always have. When I go to farmers markets I never could resist buying basil even though I have no use for it. Well there is always a use for basil. We make pesto and freeze it for occasions like this.

We top off the dish with cheese - our choice is feta.

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The good thing about this comfort dish is that it can be eaten hot/warm or cold/room temp.

Grab a fork and dig in.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Let Me Tell You About My Weekend

The holiest weekend of the Christian world.

I took a 3-day weekend. Every year, except last, I take Good Friday off. Last year was the exception as I put in my vacay request late. I didn't realize that there were others in my office that also needed a day of meditation :) And only a certain number of employees can be out at the same time and when my request came to the desk, the number has been reached so I didn't take the Friday off last year.

FRIDAY:
As was my tradition with mom since we came here in the US, we went to our version of Visita Iglesia. Near where we live there are 5 Catholic churches that we visit. Three were open all day, the other two were open after 2 pm, but we went to all five anyway and said our prayers.

My husband also took the day off. His situtation is different. He has some days off that needed to be used.

When my Visita Iglesia was over, my husband and I drove to Berkeley to attend the Good Friday service (1.5 hours to 2 hours). The church is next door to UC Berkeley campus so I was suprised to see many students around. Apparently, Cal (the uni's nickname) takes Spring break after Easter.

The service was solemn, this church knows how to do this Good Friday service properly. The singing was fabulous, they have the best choir. It was spiritually enriching to be attending a service like that.

When the service was over, I couldn't belive how famish I was. Then I remembered that I had a little pandesal and coffee so I could take the medicine. I remembered that I wasn't hungry at breakfast but had to take something to go with my meds.

We decided to run a little errand - a grocery store trip - to get the items we need for our little dish for the Easter potluck at church on Sunday. Since we were in Berkeley, we thought it best to go to Berkeley Bowl a little mom and pop grocery store that has the best produce around. Veggies you don't normally see elsewhere you see here. I particularly like their bulk items section.

We went to their second branch, the newest, that is near the freeway and found that there is a little cafeteria inside the parking lot. We went to see what it was all about and saw many people eating. Since we were hungry we decided to grab a little pack of sushi and keep our hunger pangs quiet.

This branch of Berkeley Bowl seems bigger. I enjoyed the salad and antipasti section. We bought a pound of mixed antipasti. Then we grabbed the veggies we needed for our dish and off to home we went.

I was too tuckered out after the service and the trip to the grocery store that I wanted to take a little nap before the 7 pm Taize Service at our church. But when we lay down to nap, the cats jumped on the bed and we got distracted, then Harrison Ford and Indiana Jones was on tv and we watched a bit until it was time to go to church.

A Taize Service is when worship is conducted in singing of hymns mostly from psalm verses. Very solemn and meditative with just votive candles around the cross. Very very nice.

SATURDAY:
Our friends' friends were camping in nearby Sta. Cruz mountains for the weekend. They invited our mutual friends for a day of hiking. They in turn invited us to drive out to the mountains with them. I wanted to go after learning where they camped. It is the very same park that I wanted to visit for the longest time.

The 9 am meet time became 9:30 and off we went soon after that. The husbands were up front and we were in the back. I made sandwiches for the drive. The drive would take about 2 hours, although it seemed so much faster than the 2 hours that took us to get there. Maybe because I am into drives especially if we are passing tall redwood trees, who cares about time right?

But my lady friend sitting next to me wasn't exactly enjoying the twist and turn of the ascent to the mountain as she hurled a few times. I'm not quesy about people barfing, even though the smell bothers me a bit. But this isn't her first time to get sick when we drive on curvy road. She did the same thing on our trip to Yosemite (and we want them to join us on a cruise). We stopped when we see the turnout and she managed to clean her side of the back seat and clean herself a bit. She usually bring another set of clothing for instances such as this. Not this time, but she didn't need it.

Anyway, we managed to find the friends, and their other friends. We went on short hike to different trails - easy one as our friend has a little disability that limits his mobility. We joined them for a very late lunch and found that these friends brought with them their birds (parrot and macau) with them to camping. I thought that was funny. Apparently they never leave these pets behind no matter where they go.

The funny thing is it was a drizzyly cold Saturday both in the mountains and in the valley so I wonder how they managed to sleep under the thin tent. I was assured that they brought enough blankets to cover them, etc.

I did like this park so I told the hubby that I am willing to sleep on tent again especially on this campsite since there is flush toilet and shower a few steps away and one is sleeping under these giant redwoods, what a spot.

We managed to visit one waterfall (the big one is about 13 miles away) and took some photos.

The drive home took us to Half Moon Bay where we visited our usual snack place and gotten some salmon and fish tacos and deep fried oyster - enough to keep us nourished for the drive home.

SUNDAY:
Another 6 am waking time so I could take Mom to her church service at 7 am. The service lasted longer than usual since it's Easter.

Then it was the 9:30 Easter Service at my church. It lasted much longer since aside from the Easter celebration there also was a baptism. Then there was the potluck and the Easter Egg Hunt. I did not participate in both after service activities, since I helped out in clearing the altar. Plus, I had some serious headache attack.

Hubby was on clean up duty so I had to sit in the car nursing a headache. When we got home past noon, we took Mom out to a Chinese lunch. It is in this no frills Chinese restaurant that only Chinese people know about. It is in the new location, still small and all the tables were taken so we were ushered in the back - we even past the kitchen. They have a small set up in the back that my hubby jokingly called the mafia room.

We ordered 6 dishes and paid $40 dollars. That's cheap and food is good, not the American style Chinese food.

My headache persisted all day. I hang dried the laundry then went straight to my computer to work on my project for the church.

My church is holding a big fundraiser this summer. I am the graphics person. I had completed the flyer and the donation letter. My assignment next was to come up with tickets for the event. With hubby's help, we managed to finish this project yesterday and sent it out to the vicar and the one in charge for approval.

And because my headache wasn't going anywhere and not getting any better at all and no amount of acetamenophen or ibuprofen could cure, I went all out and sought the cure that I knew would work:
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Well the headache didn't go away completely, but I was happier after taking a full dosage of above meds.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On EMMA mode

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I'm tired. No matter how many times I say it today, it doesn't make me less tired. I need a break!!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pen not Ten

Soooo busy with the start of this week - Holy Week.  I miss taking this week off, ala PI.

Anyway, last night as we were getting ready for bed, my husband handed me $10 bill.  I thought he could read my mind.  You see we allot only ten dollars for our weekly allowance - we agreed to that amount - as part of our belt tightening program so we can save up for future vacations or whatnots.

Why did I think he could read my mind?  Because I needed my allowance for this week and I didn't want to stop at the ATM, have no time for that.  But he can easily go since he doesn't have a long commute to work.

How did you know I needed money I asked him?  He said I asked him for it when I called him at work during the day.  For the love of chocolates, I couldn't remember ever asking him to swing by the ATM at all. I know I have some memory loss lately, but this surely I could remember.

When was that I asked him further?  He said, " You told me, don't forget my ten." 

Hahahaha!  I said don't forget my PEN.  Not ten.  And here I laughed out loud it scared the cats.

I liked the pens they have at his work. Our work don't buy those pens because of budget limitations.  So if I need one I ask him to give me one, hence the "don't forget my pen" message.

I think dear husband needs a little visit to the ear doctor :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bulleted Thoughts for Friday

Oh one of those days when I cannot string sentences into paragraphs so I'm using bullets.

  • First time since I got married that I went to work without my wedding band.  Forgot to put it back on last night after taking it off to wash the dishes.  Something feels wrong.
  • Did not do an American Idol recap/prediction.  A combo of laziness, busy schedule, and worry over Emma.
  • Emma my tuxedo cat has vomitted in the middle of the night.  What came out was unchewed food.
  • Last week we awoke to a vomit near Buster's food plate and assumed it was Buster who overate and threw up. Now we're leaning more towards Emma being the culprit.
  • Was observing Emma if she had some changes in eating/appetite (No), behaviour (NO), or her physical well-being (NO).  She's not lethargic at all, although my mother has been noticing that she was. I think my mom may have mixed up lethargy to a cat's laziness.  Keeping my fingers crossed still.
  • Really bummed that my 2 point and shoot cameras have dirty lens and I don't know how to clean them.  They are ruining my shots when I zoom to take photos.  The newer one thankfully is still covered by warranty and would be sent for clean up.  The older one is my fave and I think it's on its last legs, but I still want to hold on to it.
  • I hope I can save up enough for that DSLR.
  • I feel really silly and petty when all I could think is DSLR while two of my friends are having a tough time.  One is in need of a pacemaker, else the next time she passes out she won't wake up.  And the other is caring for her husband who's dealing with chemo :(
  • I am going to a free Christian music concert in Berkeley this Saturday. 
  • I am looking forward to a little trip in Costa Rica late summer/early fall.  Not booked yet, getting our schedules sorted out so we can start planning and paying for the trip. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Street Photography #8:

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I really hope I could go back here (Valladolid, Mexico) and stay for at least one night.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

I don't know how many people 30 and under knows about this song, until Casey Abrams of AI sang it last week.  I am definitely over 30 and only learned of this song a few years ago when Rod Stewart coached AI (during Daughtry's season) and plugged his album.  I googled that album and listened to the tracks and found this song included in there.  I loved it since.  But I am sharing here is a clip from the original singer, CCR or Creedence Clearwater Revival featuring songwriter and lead singer John Fogerty.  Lyrics here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Weekly AI Review Or Something

Before I go on with my weekly listing of my fave and least fave performances, I must say I recently went to out for dinner on a weeknight, a very rare occurence for me.  A friend of ours just got back to the States after a few months overseas and he and his wife and me and my husband went to this tapas place.  The selection is not wide and varied, but the dishes were great.  I'll blog about this since I have photos to go with it - very soon.

So on to the American Idol perfomance night.  I didn't realize that before the season started the producer had announced that this year - with the new judges and all - there would be no theme every week.  Howevder, it looked like there is a theme every week, don't you agree?

And last night was Rock and Roll or songs by artists inducted in the Rock and Roll HOF.  The top 9 went on to perform and I was pretty much satisfied with the performances.  They as a group pretty much upped their game and gave their all.  It is a competition after all.

At the end of the night, here are my picks.  For this week and the coming weeks, I will refrain from using BOTTOM THREE instead I will refer to it as my LEAST FAVE peformances. 

I am still reeling from my successful prediction from last week.  On my bottom three last week were Naima and Thia - who were both got the boot. 

This week, rock being the theme and my fave themes of all time, I chose the following:

FAVE PERFORMANCES:
1.  James Durbin - come on now even if you weren't a fan before this night, didn't he sway you a bit to take a second and closer look at him?  I was washing the dishes when the commercial break come on and I told my husband that I predicted James to sing a Beatles song - a slow one since it's a Rock and Roll theme, he'd take the slow route.  I was correct on both instances, although the song he chose -  WHILE MY GUITAR SILENTLY WEEPS - was not the one I had in mind, but what a clever choice.  He came out swinging with his emotional take on the theme.  And what a handsome guy he is.

2.  Casey Abrams - A few posts down, here, I mentioned how much I love the song HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE RAIN that was a cover by Rod Stewart, originally sung by CCR. My brother has CCR CDS and sometimes when I borrow his truck one of these CDS are in his truck stereo and I get to listen.  But I wasn't particularly knowledgeable about the group.  Still I was stoke to hear Casey go out and cover this song, the song that I personally believe would be great tune in this day and age and would merit more air time.  I thought he did a great job - especially since the song he chose was my favorite.

3.  Scott McCreery - Who knew he could do Elvis?  And spectacularly well I might add. I was truly impressed with his overall perfomance last night although some of his hand gestures were a bit disconcerting to see.  Anyway, I thought he hit the bull's eye with last night's perfomance.

LEAST FAVORITE:
1.   Stefano Langone - I did not particularly care for his brand of crooning and the song he chose I thought did not do any justice to his quest. I am not a fan to begin with and with that song choice last night I remained not a fan.  You see what I mean.  I thought he failed last night to convert nonfans to fans by that song.

2.   Lauren Alaina - No one sings that and comes out looking and sounding good, unless you're Kelly Clarkson, which I really haven't seen since I jumped onto the AI bandwagon in Season 4.  But I heard Kelly's interpretation and it rocked.  But Lauren's Natural Woman - suprised to find it was sung by Queen Aretha - was nowhere near the shadow of the originator.

3.   I don't have a third choice. 

I'd like to note that I like Haley's raspy almost manic performance last night. I hope she keeps choosing songs like this.  Plus, keep the curls Haley, I like the curls on you.

Agree or not, doesn't Pia sounded like Celine Dion every single week.  Keep your eye shut and just listen. You would think it's Celine crooning.

Jacob Lusk continues to do well. But I don't think he'll have enough staying power.

So there goes my weekly prediction and blabber about American Idol.  Until next week.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Random Thoughts and Random Observations

There is nothing much to write about, but something inside me tells I should write something.  I fear if I don't post something and let this sit idle I'd lose my momentum and interest. 

Needless to say I have been busy - both at and out of workplace.  Been to the church meeting after work last night.  Was assigned to be the graphic artist, sort of, this big fundraiser we are planning for June.  That means I have to design the flyer (done - final edit last night), poster (have a draft that need to be tinkered), donation letter (also given final go by committee last night), and tickets (which I will start working on tonight).  That's not the end of my duties. I  think I may have to also produce a programme that must be submitted closer to the event date.

Honestly I was overwhelmed by the responsibility.  I know a little bit about designing flyers but nothing compared to the magnitude of this job.  You see I have no artistic bone in my body.  I cannot even draw straight lines.  I cannot mix and match colors.  I simply am the "wrong" fit for this job.  But the task fell onto my lap and I went with it.  Scoured the internet for template designs, emailed people for help and/or permission to use their flickr image.  It was really a big job. 

Thankfully a fellow blogger that I avidly follow since the very beginning of my blogging days - she inspired me to put out a blog when I read her posts - mentioned in her blog that she is doing her church's fundraising flyers and other graphics.  She is a professional graphic artist.  She was an answer to my prayers.  I emailed her for inspiration, she emailed me back with material I could use and did use.  God's presence!

My participation in this undertaking is almost over and I haven't enjoyed the experience.  I reached that realization today.  When the task first came to my desk I was a bit surly.  Yes it added to the things I needed to do outside of work.  Work has been pretty draining this year, too many things to do, and the last thing I wanted to do when I came home is to do some more work.  That is how I approached the job. 

A co-worker asked me why I had a frown the day after I got the job.  I told her about the assignment I got from the church fundraising and how inept I was at this project.  She told me then that the way to approach this was to think that I'd be doing something for God and put all my efforts into it.  The results would be coming from God.

Why didn't I listen to her when she said think that this is for God.  I never did that. I had some resentments early on because I was doing it for the committee, which is not the case.  Oh well.  I should take a 180 on this and start enjoying the ride.  I shall again do the same thing next year.  Not my idea.  That was brought up last night too, that this would become an annual thingy - but I already designed the flyer and the logo. Only the dates would be changed in the coming years. 

Anyway, I was planning on joining Miss Kayni's giveaway.  First because I truly love freebies.  And most importantly, the prizes are truly lovely.  But the tickets need to be generated tonight, so I pass for now.  Till next giveaway.

Before I forget our weekend had been glorious - weather wise.  I could not find anything to complain about.  We had sun, breeze, and glorious 70F.  Bay denizens who had to endure steady rain for weeks and weeks were flapping their wings like free birds and went outdoors to enjoy the sun.

We pulled weeds both days, though looking out in the garden, front and back, it needs more than our efforts combined could give.  We are asking a guy - jack-of-all-trades - our guy to come and help us with anything that needs fixing around the house.  He can lay out tiles and wood flooring and also do some gardening. 

On Sunday was my burger day. No plan for a burger.  But we were scheduled to visit with our friends, an elderly couple who asked for burgers.  We often bring them some eats when we go and visit with them.  During these visits we eat together and then we asked them what we could do for them.  They're old and had been very sickly over the past 2-3 years. In fact the husband just got out of the hospital again.  He has been the one sick with this and that thing.  They only have one son, who hasn't really gotten control of his life.  So he's not even stable enough to support/look after his parents (emotionally that is not to mention financially).  That's why we take it upon ourselves to peek in once in a while and see how they're doing - in addition to the phone calls.

When we left their house, we decided to go walk a bit.  After all there's a burger that needs to be burned.  Our choice of park to walk is called Eastshore State Park.  We don't come here often since this is located along the very busy Interstate 80, one that is crowded even on weekends.  So we avoid coming this way.

However, since we were in the neighborhood and the sun was out we went here.  Normally this would be too cold to walk being too close to the water.  But Sunday was terrific. I was wearing short sleeves and I was fine. 

Furthermore the reason we wanted to visit is to see if the outdoor museum is still there.  Refuse, trash, and whatever washes up on the shore some artistic hands create works of art and they stand out near the water.  Every local knows about this and enjoy this part.  I cannot remember if there are new items - I will post my entry about this on my other blog. 

But here enjoy some of the things I found on the net about this place.  Here is one. Here is a writeup. And photos.  Remember to wait for my entry on my photo blog.