Thursday, May 31, 2012

5 Down 7 To Go

Last Day of May already, 5 months down, 7 more to go. Before you know it, we're blowing horns and clicking our glasses to welcome a brand new year. Geez!

I don't know where May went, believe you me. It just whizzed past by me. It was a quiet month. Work, home, church. Repeat over and over, week after week.

I do remember the month was spent browsing online for tours to India, then contacting them via email, exchanging emails back and forth, and finally settling on an itinerary and price that was perfect for us. It was confirmed though that it will be monsoon season when we go there by the travel agent. However, our Indian friends told us there's hardly rain where we're going anyway. I don't really care. I can use some rain :)

Our wedding anniversary happened this month too. The previous two years we've been going to Monterey for our anniversary but this year we decided to go north in Eureka to see the giant redwood trees. Our dear friends, another couple, tagged along. Made for a fun trip. No romantic dinner though.

So that's how May came to me. How was yours?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

One week's worth of thoughts.


IMGP3038, originally uploaded by M'roy.

I read my last post here, and it was written prior to the announcement of the new AI winner. It does seem so long ago, wasn't it, and not just nearly a week ago when that happened. I wonder what happened to Jessica in all these days following the finale.

Here's a breakdown of my week-long absence:

Thursday - began a 3-day road trip. Left at 10 am heading north, far north to Eureka. Drove through groves and groves of magnificent coast redwood trees, so tall you cannot see where the top is. Stopped at almost every nook of Avenue of Giants (a scenic route paralleling I-101). Arrived at our destination hotel in Eureka. Dinner was take out from BLESS MY SOUL CAFE. Really good Southern Cajun food.

Friday - More sightseeing. Went hiking on the dunes of Manila. Yes indeed there is a Manila, California. The trail of the dunes ended on the beach. But this is Northern California where the beaches are not only super cold, but really windy as well. More sightseeing around Arcata, picked up lunch at Wildberries market. Drove around and headed to Fern Canyon but car couldn't go up, we feared with the rain coming down. Instead, we just enjoyed the lovely sceneries driving by I-101. Stopped at Trinidad, a charming little fishing village and took more back roads to enjoy the coastal rugged cliffs and sceneries. Dinner was at a Chinese buffet. Today was our anniversary. Another married couple joined us on this trip.

Saturday - On the way home, we stopped at Loleta Cheese Factory and enjoyed a variety of cheese samplings. Ended up buying two different kinds. They have a very pretty backyard patio. Loleta is a really small town, much like a western town. Almost nothing there. One block consisted of post office, a cafe, a church and nothing else. Oh yeah there's a bank too.

Also stopped by Ferndale to indulge in my obsession with Victorian architecture. Ferndale is a small town with well-preserved old Victorian houses in downtown. Really pretty.

Was thinking of making a sidetrip to Mendocino, another coastal town, but we were running out of time. The drive back was equally pretty.

Arrived home at 8 pm.

Sunday - church. Secured parking at a local park just across the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge was celebrating its 75th birthday and many activities and festivities in the city. However, the traffic would be horrendous and I personally did not want to bother. So we watched the 9:30 pm fireworks from across the bay in Point Isabel.

Monday - Memorial Day. Ran errands all morning. PM hubby decided to light up the bbq, even though we had bbq a week ago with friends. He just wanted to do it for us. While he was busy bbqing, I managed to rewatch PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Yap. It was a great end to a long weekend.

Now all my attention is focused on my July vacation. All flights are booked, tour is booked as well. We are getting some passport sized photos taken later. We need some visas where we are going.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jessica or Phillip?

IMGP3053

The question will be answered tonight.

The choice had been made and will be revealed tonight.

That's all I have to say. I really don't care much which one ends up winning it all, because both have talent to build a career with or without the title.

Who will it be?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Recap


IMGP3122, originally uploaded by M'roy.

What an enjoyable weekend I had. Weather wise we were hovering in the low 80s, perfect for bbq. That was exactly what we did on Saturday. We had a few friends over. Four of them (+ 2 kids) arrived before 2 pm and stayed until about 5 pm. We ate, talked, drank and repeated the cycle 2 or 3 times. It was fun.

Then when they were all leaving, another friend of ours was coming in. He came ahead because his wife was still at school (very diligent in gaining more knowledge, good for resume). She also came straight from school. We ate and talked and drank also.

I don't normally enjoy bbq chicken (which we made) but the way the hubs seasoned and cooked it, it was simply heaven. I had 4-5 pieces all day long.

The couple that came late are the same couple we'd be going to the road trip this week. So we talked about the upcoming trip and how the guy voiced his concern about the cool weather forecast where we are going. Apparently, Northern California will be a little below 60s by the end of this week. He was hoping for more 80s. Well, I'd rather have a little cool than a lot hot :)

On Sunday, after church and running errands, we went for a little walk at Tilden Park. What a gorgeous park that is for a walk. It has a lot to offer. People were biking and hiking. We didn't even go to Lake Anza. I'm sure that lake is filled with swimmers.

I still have to finalize plans for this week's road trip. I must narrow down restaurants choices and places to see. I hope I'd be able to convince them that seeing the Victorian Village would be worth the time.

House, the tv show, is ending today. The series is closing its doors permanently. I haven't seen it this year, but I'm hoping I can see its entirety tonight. Oh, DWTS is also having a finale isn't it?

Just updating this blog. I thought I'd been losing steam keeping this going. Hopefully soon I'll have more stories to tell. Lately it's all been work and church, nothing exciting there.

Have a lovely week.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Season of Farewells

To a tv watcher just like me, you know this is the season of finales. The shows are either putting on a mind bending season finale or tying loose ends for their series finale.

Two of my long-time shows have said/are saying goodbyes this season. The housewives of Wisteria Lane have managed to neatly tie loose ends in a bow just like Brie would do it. I was watching on Mother's Day Sunday, just like I always do for years, but I wasn't aware until the 2nd hour that it was the finale I was watching. I used to be in the loop when it comes to my tv shows, but this past 2 years have been really different. I've got more things to do at night than ever so most of the shows I play catch up. Thanks to DVR.

Needless to say, it was quite emotional to see a show that you've watched for years. But I was glad that DH have ended their run the way it did.

HOUSE is airing its finale next week. I missed the show yesterday, because I've got my church meetings on Monday evenings. I'll catch up with it this week, after my chores.

In another goodbye, my new fave show MISSING starring Ashley Judd and shot in Europe has been cancelled. I think it still has one or two unaired shows. I hope they air those and I'm really hoping some other channels will absorb this show, because it's really good.

American Idol will be crowning its new Idol in 2 weeks, then no more singing until January. I'm really excited to see who ends up the top 2, after that I really don't care anymore, unless of course Joshua Ledet makes it to the top 2. I really don't dig his way of singing.

Another show that hooked me is the Katharine McPhee starrer (she was an Idol runner up) is SMASH. Thankfully, it's been picked up for another season.

So while my regular shows take a summer break, I'd be wise to do the same. I'd like to (fingers crossed) limit my tv watching and pick up something - a book perhaps, or even some needlepoint - to do as a project. Wish me luck. In the meantime, I'm still glued to the tube, heaven help me!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Top 4

It's down to 4 contestants still singing at American Idol. If you remember in the past years, I used to write regularly about the show, but this year has been quite hectic.

Last night's show showcased the talent in each of the remaining 4 singers. I stand my ground that Phillip Phillips is the man. I really enjoyed both his performances and his duet with Joshua Ledet.

Phillips wowed me by singing one of my absolute fave songs, HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE RAIN, which was sung last year on the show by Casey Abrams, remember that? Well, I like how Phillips sang it. On his second song, he totally hit that one out of the park. The song is unfamiliar to me, but the way he performed it was spectacular. He totally threw down the gauntlet.

It's very easy to like Hollie. She's that younger sister type who likes to play and sing. I thought however that she has not found the right song to complement her wonderful voice throughout the contest. She needs a little bit more seasoning. I'm afraid she's the one deserving to go home tonight, performance-wise.

Joshua Ledet hit 1 out of 2 for me last night. His first song that Josh Groban masterpiece did not hit the mark for me. His second James Brown rendition was a grandslam. However, his type of singing, oversinging just isn't my type. Although I must confess he does sound very American Idol winner like.

Jessica, Jessica, Jessica. What can I say? I hold on to my belief that she will not win, because she doesn't have enough people support. There is nothing to criticize with her singing, it's superb, professional sounding even. But whenever I hear the song from Dreamgirls, all I can imagine and see is Charice belting it out in the Korean talent show that I have watched over and over on You Tube. While I really think her voice is the best in the competition, her stage presence and song interpretation needs a lot to be desired. I don't choose her to win simply because I am not into pop songs - I don't go for Beyonce, Gaga, Katy Perry. But I hope the best for her.

However way the cookie crumbles tonight, I'm sure these four have shown their talent and have caught the eye or eyes of producers in the industry. I'm sure they will make a living out of singing. So good luck to them. Sometimes you don't need to win to be successful. Just look around who's in the industry. In the season where Taylor something won, who's in the showbiz? Second place Katharine McPhee is riding high with this wonderful show SMASH on NBC and third place Daughtry who is successful in his singing career. There of course is Jennifer Hudson who placed fourth and made a wonderful career.

So there. Let's go Phillip Phillips!!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Glorious May


IMGP2920, originally uploaded by M'roy.

It has been a glorious May so far. Blue skies, sunshine, flowers everywhere. Wish I was doing more outdoorsy stuff rather than cooped up in my room working. Hope you're all having gorgeous weather.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Quiet Weekend

Who would have thought that I'd have one? I was doubting that the quiet weekend would never come, but it did last weekend and I'm just telling this today. I had a meeting after work last night, which made it impossible to catch up on my blogging.

Despite the weekend coinciding with the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, it was quiet. We went to check out if there are any festivities related to the holiday out in Richmond (they have annual parade), but apparently we drove out there late and the set-up looks like it's being torn down. Not to go home without a taste of South of the Border, we thought it best time to check out Las Montanas, a grocery story, which I'm guessing is a chain store, since we frequent the one in neighboring Concord. But this new location is much closer to us, yay!

Well, because of the holiday, the people working there were garbed in traditional Mexican clothing. The store was very festive and crowded. On entry at the left side is a cafeteria style set-up. We looked at the menu and thought we'd have a little giant shrimp ceviche and pupusas. I know, I know, pupusas isn't Mexican food, but I always love to eat them. They're just wonderful. I might try my hand at making them, since this store sells masa.

Anyway, there is a little sitting/dining area off the cafeteria and we gulped our horchata and the rest of the food with so much gusto. Boy the food was really delicious.

Well, I'd be sure to keep coming back here for the food. I also noted they have very reasonable pricing for combo/party platter packs. I was telling my husband how I'd love to have a taco party someday and this place solves all my problem :)

BTW, my mom and I bumped into a neighbor of ours, who also happened to be my 3rd grade teacher at Chow King on our weekly Saturday brunch there. We chatted for a while and agreed to meet at my house someday. I hope this materializes because it's really nice to see people you've known since you were a kid.

Still working, thank God. Still busy at church, thank God. Still watching all my tv shows, which hubby says the number of which grows every year. True, but they're all very interesting.

Nothing on the big screen captures my fancy so I'm not watching any lately. Busy mapping out a short get-away for our wedding anniversary at the end of the month. And our trip to India is almost set. I'm also excited to be back to Bangladesh.

How would this coming weekend fare? I only get a quiet weekend rarely, so I bet it's not going to be quiet this time around.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why Did You Call?


1712, originally uploaded by M'roy.

Why did you call? His wife called out from the kitchen.

Stunned for a moment, then he yelled back to her, "I was going to ask you to swing by the cleaners."

Twenty years had passed but he still remembers clearly the time when someone asked him that very same question in that very same casual tone of voice.

He couldn't answer then. He stared blankly at her.

Even today, in his quiet moments, away from the noise of living his "successful" life - house, wife, two kids and two dogs and a thriving practice - he still remembers that day.

He has no regrets in his life. It went the way it should, the way he carefully planned it to be.

Why did you call? Twenty years later, he's still afraid to answer that - even to himself.

~~~~my attempt at writing a very short story~~~~
5/04/12, 3:30 PM PDT

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

4 Down 8 To Go

Today is May first...already... and so it's time for April recap.

April was a blur to be honest. Weather-wise, it was mix of hot (we reached the 90s) and rainy. The flowers in my garden are blooming. My roses specially are all abloom, so wonderful to see them. The rains also brought more weeds in the garden. Spent one of those hot weekends weeding. Was so hot I was downing cold water, one bottle after another. I was afraid I'd be dehydrated.

I finally got to see John Muir's house, see post here. I've been eyeing his house each time I pass by, but I suppose the admission fee and time were the main hindrances for not seeing it earlier. With his birthday and the free admission to national parks/historic sites, we were able to take advantage of both our free time and the free admission.

The Holy Week activities were hectic. I was busy.

Was invited for a dinner and play (musical play) from a couple from church. I was glad for the dinner invite, because I simply loved to get inside their house once again. I've been there for Christmas Eve party. They lived near the waterfront in a neighborhood that's newer about 10 years old. I loved the houses here. I usually go for a drive just to gawk at the houses and their gardens. Anyways, the dinner was fun and delicious and afterwards we drove to the community theater to watch Anything Goes. Really fun. I felt like I was really a part of the community.

My dining club went to Terrace Room inside the Lake Merritt Hotel for dinner. We had a lovely time, dining, chatting and even getting swing dance lessons.

A friend of ours bought a house a few months ago and threw a housewarming party for just friends - no relatives. It's just us. The 2br 2ba ranch house in the hills is simply delightful. Hardwood floors are shiny and oh so pretty. The house has natural lights, very bright and airy and I'm pretty sure has great Feng Sui (he's Chinese). We spent the whole afternoon noshing and drinking. The backyard is substantial for a single guy, very little to no maintenance required. I simply love the house. And Mike was a very warm host. I even conducted the house tours for those who came in later and wanted to see the rest of the house. Oh yeah, it was also his b/day the following day so we had a little b/day celebration too.

We had a major expense this month. We decided to install vinyl sidings just in the front of the house. The back and side have stucco. The front is beaten up by winds coming from the bay so we needed to get this done. Sear's
prices had gone down a bit, from two years ago when we had our first assessment. Plus, the no interest plan suits us. The guy who came to make assessment is the same guy who came two years ago and he remembered us, well the house. I don't remember him because he spoke with my hubs before and not me. Anyhow, the color scheme for the vinyl sidings is the same as the one we had before, except now our house looks cleaner and prettier. Our neighbor commented how we finally got it done. His house is across from ours and he has stucco all over his house. Now we're going to buckle down with the payments, well home improvements never stop once you buy a house.

Vacation is set and our final choice for destination (aside from Bangladesh) is India. We have booked our flights and tonight our tour. I've been in email contact with the land tour in India and they are willing to accommodate and tailor the tour according to our wishes, and that includes the dates and the order of visiting which cities first. I'm so excited!!! I even booked my nephew's services to housesit and at the same time accompany my elderly mother in the house while we go out on vacation. Now I'll just have to email family members about this plan and see how they can assist mom while I'm away.

Okay now that April is over with, let me try to enjoy May. You all do the same.