Friday, September 28, 2012

9 Down, Only 3 To Go

Oh what a fast year this has been, don't you agree? Here we are at the doorstep of October. The Holiday Season is upon us.

To recap September here's what happened:

• Went on a day trip to Capitola, 2 hours away, on Labor Day.

• Participated in a 2-day planning session for church called DREAM AND DINE. It was successful and so much fun.

• Attended the EL SOBRANTE STROLL, a street fair/festival.

• Attended the 4th annual (my third straight) EAT REAL festival at Jack London Square in Oakland.

• Found out I have another "disease".

Here's what I'm looking forward to in October:

• Decorate for Halloween/Fall.

• Split the cymbidiums into smaller pots. This would be a big job since there's nearly 30 pots of cymbidiums that needed to be split. Costly too, since the cost of the pots alone would be a big dent to the pocket book. I better go to the Dollar Store for this.

• Check out the quilt squares available at Michaels and/or Joann's Fabrics. I intend to make a little kitty quilt.

• Read another book or two.

• Transfer the hyacinths into pretty little pots so I can keep them indoors come spring when they bloom their scented flowers.

• Weed out my closet some more. I don't have as much clothes as I used to because I continually keep purging without buying replacements, however, I can't figure out why I still have so much clothes.

• Go for a fall drive.

• Go out with the Roberts.

• Hang out with the Manns.

• Eat out with my Dining Group.

• Weed the yard.

• Trim the roses and fertilize them.

• Find my loquat tree another home.

• Learn how to knit. This year I've been surrounded by people who knit. My
next door office at work knits; I attend meeting and the people are knitting; everyone seems to be knitting now since the weather is getting cooler. My friend's 13 year old daughter knits beanies (cap). She learned from You Tube. I hope I'll learn how to do that.

It seems I have more goals for this coming month. I hope that I can accomplish most of them despite my busy schedule and laziness (sometimes).

Here's to a brighter 4th quarter. Happy Fall Season. Happy Holiday Season. Cheers!!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Most Productive Weekend, Etc

I'm compelled to write about my weekend, just because it was productive. A far cry from my usual weekends.

This weekend I participated in a 2-part planning session for church we cleverly named Dream and Dine. It's actually a program that the leadership group of our church, of which I am a member, came up with to get the congregation involved in dreaming up projects that the church could undertake in order to foster relationship within the church congregation and the outside community in which we belong.

The Friday night session was aimed at family friendly activity. It was our Ice Cream social night. Ice cream of various flavors were served. As you know when sweets are involved, especially ice cream with nuts and sprinkles and chocolate syrup and whipped cream, people get more relaxed and more inspired to dream of activities that they would like to be personally involved in.

What I found really inspiring about this is that people I did not think would attend such events came. Of course the kids that we pumped with sugar in their system were loud and active, but very fun.

We were able to brainstorm a bit that night after the ice cream tubs were back in the freezer. It was a successful Friday session.

Session 2 was longer, on Saturday from 9 till 2. Breakfast and lunch was provided. As expected my eyes were bigger than my stomach as a piece of uneaten muffin was sitting on my table all throughout the brainstorming session.

Lunch consisted of Kinder's bbq, a feast. I have tried one of their sandwiches before, but not their bbq. The chicken was really good and juicy.

Anyway, the Saturday session was more into making concrete plans for our projects. The entire group chose about 4 projects to undertake. The people were asked to choose which project they would like to participate in and guess who chose parties/music and entertainment program for church and community? Me and hubby both chose to be involved in it.

What was very encouraging about this whole project was the very enthusiastic response we received from church members that came. I hope that the joy they felt at planning would continue to guide them/us throughout the year.

Also happening this weekend was the annual Eat Real festival, more popularly known as food truck fest in Oakland at Jack London Square. I've gone to three of these now. It's only in its fourth year.

Hubs and I went after our webinar on Sunday afternoon. There were quite a few logistical changes this year compared to the two previous years. For one, they kept the entrance to the festival by the hotel free of food trucks. All the food trucks were farther in.

Sunday was the third day and so there wasn't as much people as the previous years. There were newcomers, but some old faithfuls were there. We tried braised pork belly slider and beef pho roll from RICE, PAPER AND SCISSORS. Both are very good, especially the pork belly. We also tried the mac and cheese, where they used garlic gouda cheese. Definitely adult flavor, it doesn't taste anything like it came from the blue box. There was this thing they call knish, which is a spinach potato filled light wrapper or light dough, I cannot determine, but it's definitely fried. It came with two sauces, one is garlic, parsley and green chili and the other is I think something like cilantro and roasted garlic. I preferred the former. It's not my fave.

Also we had the lamb poutine, which is okay. My first time to try a poutine. Anything with french fries is good.

We all washed these down with black currant kombucha.

We got full from eating those but still we wanted to try some so we opted to take the following home: a rice plate from Seoul on Wheels, Korean bbq with steamed rice and vegies with gotchujang, or Korean chili sauce, Argentinian chicken empanada, Acme bread grilled cheese panini. Those we had for dinner at home while we watched the Emmy Awards.

Speaking of Emmy Awards, I'm quite disappointed that the shows I follow didn't get any wins, I think. Well I was tuning in and out but I know that Big Bang Theory didn't get anything. It's all HBO that gets all the good stuff. Why?

Well, I've said too much. Hope all our work week goes well for everyone.



Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Barely Survived Survivor




Hey, it's Fall and that means TV season again. It used to be the big thing on tv viewing when the fall tv schedule is announced because to an avid viewer the summer months were full of reruns. Not anymore. Lately, the networks have cooked up a summer menu who turns out to be just as palatable as the fall menu. The only difference with these two sets of schedules is the big shows still air on the primetime season which is Fall.

I will write something about this at length in the coming days. Today I'll tackle SURVIVOR, the reality show.

Being a tv watcher I know and has heard of Survivor. Who hasn't? It's been on for quite a long time. I've seen snippets of it from magazine shows like Entertainment Tonight. Nothing about it tickles my curiousity to tune in and watch. I've not seen a single minute of the show.

Until last night's SURVIVOR PHILIPPINES first show. Okay so I didn't watch it on it's regular time. I DVR'd it, and watched it just after the 11 pm news.
My reason for watching it this season and setting the DVR to record all new shows are: a) Jeff Kent is playing. Jeff Kent is a retired Major Leaguer, he played professional baseball and he was very good at it. Especially when he donned the San Francisco Giants uniform, where I spotted him and since he came to my team, he became a favorite of mine. b) Philippines. The location alone to be honest would not make me watch the show, but the combination of Kent and PI was too great a pull to ignore.

However, despite the incredibly beautiful surroundings and the fun of seeing Jeff walk and talk, the show was not holding my attention. Alright, so I watched it late at night when sleep was calling, but still it was boring to me. In fact, I turned it off midway so I can get some sleep. I will need to get back to it when I can.
I'm not particularly excited about all these "alliances" and scheming and plotting that these people are doing. I'm not liking the show at all. And I'm quite sure that while I will continue to record the shows this season, I will not be back next season.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Thoughts

Think happy thoughts. That is the advice many people give and receive in times of trouble. When one needs to change the situation one is in, it's think happy thoughts. When one is sick and needs all the help one can get from all aspect, it's think happy thoughts.

Because believe it or not, our frame of mind, our attitude can spell the difference between win or defeat, so to speak.

And why am I talking about happy thoughts right now? It's because I have been constantly reminding myself to think happy thoughts lately. There are so many ugly things that are happening around me. While I tend to hold on to my faith, sometimes I cannot help but let that sneaky little worry and his bestfriend fear enter my heart and mind.

I am finding it hard to think happy thoughts at times, especially when one is feeling some pain. And the news that come from every which way is that another one needs prayer of healing. It's ugly. I'm getting afraid.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Food Craving Wednesday

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The Eat Real Festival is coming in 2 weeks, but my schedule is full that weekend. I wonder if I can find a little break in my busy weekend to sample some food truck delights?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Ramblings

What is it about weekends that sap my energy and make me forget what I did when Monday comes calling? Such is the truth again today Monday as I tried to dig into my brain recesses for what transpired over the weekend, Saturday most specifically.

Sunday I know what I did. It was a busy day with church service and picnic with 3 other churches. This is our second annual picnic with the other 3 churches and the attendance was bigger this year. I took it as a good sign. Last week I was in total panic mode, because well, this is sorta our project. My husband and I are our church's representative to this coalition. So we were supposed to have a hand at everything minute detail of the picnic and service. Thankfully everything went smoothly.

I was amazed at all the wonderfully delicious and healthy salads that were brought by parishioners. We grilled hotdogs, but other than that people just brought salad. We brought our "famous" and often made couscous and three-bean salad. I really love this salad so easy to make and so yummy. Needless to say there were 3 or 4 other bean salads on the table, but each one is different so that was good. Of course there were different pasta dishes and the mandatory potato and macaroni salads.

Because I believed I ate healthy - not to mention skipping breakfast - I treated myself to a very small piece of strawberry cheesecake and an equally small piece of chocolate mocha cake.

The service was at 10 am and we have a webinar at 2 pm. Since it was our project, my hubby and I were in charge of cleaning up (which included hauling all the chairs from the park to the church - the church is across from the park btw). We joined other church officers for the webinar midway into the first hour. I was so tired from hauling the chairs. But I guess that was because I'm not in good shape. We were able to invite only one couple who doesn't belong to our church to join us for the picnic and they came, bringing a rice dish. It was the only rice dish so that was good. However, I had my hands full making sure that the children were occupied with games and the people were having food and enjoying themselves that I hardly had time to entertain them. We spoke on the phone when we got home that evening.

After the webinar, we have been toying with the idea of going out to eat. Sorta treat for each other. However, as I was getting really tired and I was looking forward to watching the baseball game (Dodgers vs Giants, Giants win yahoo!) I didn't pursue the plan. Hubby wasn't keen on going out to eat as well. We've been talking about eating out for the past week since I've been hankering for a little frozen mango margarita courtesy of Chevy's Happy Hour.

Anyway, we got home and fixed some food to eat. There were some left over salads from the picnic that one of the church members collected for me. I don't know why she thinks I should bring home the left overs (there wasn't too much anyway) but I was glad that she fixed me a plate while I was hauling the chairs back to the church. And instead of fixing myself a glass of margarita, I was sipping iced coffee from McDonalds. Not a bad combination.

Hubby suggested we complete the building of cat house, but I was too lazy to move and the baseball game just started. Who would have thought that I'd sit there for nine innings and watch the ballgame in its entirety. I thought my baseball game watching is a thing of the past. It appears like it's not. I thoroughly enjoyed the game, btw, of course who wouldn't when one's fave team is winning.

Well look at that I managed to ramble on and on again and my ramblings don't make sense. Don't mind me, I have a pounding headache and I'm just trying to get through Monday. Hope your Monday is going smoother than mine. Have a lovely week.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lately...

In between catching up with work because of my time off and getting my body adjusted back to Pacific time these have been happening...

A friend vowed never to travel outside of our time zone again. He believes that after a certain age, the body is being punished for the constant change in time zones. I think he formulated this theory after we came back from our trip and complained how we suffered from jet lag the whole time we were in India and again a whole week after our return from Bangladesh. I'll have to wait and see if he keeps his vow.

My husband's wish for a day trip to Capitola became true this Labor Day. And what a perfect day to be there. The sun was out in full glory and the temperature was very mild. We even timed our visit to a Begonia Festival. Needless to say, with the combination of a Holiday, festival and wonderful weather the beach was jampacked with people. What a fun time for photo blogger and people watcher like me.

A whole month of Indian and Bangladeshi food got me into some serious food craving. Upon our return from vacation, we consciously cut down our food intake. Just salad and fruits for lunch, which we actually were doing before we went on vacation, and then a sensible dinner, which is less carb and fat. However, doing this has made me crave my Filipino dishes all the more. Last week I had some serious hankering for adobo. Nope did not indulge my craving. This week I'm thinking about grilled or fried fish with steamed rice and tomato/mango salsa. I have to go back to the Philippines to completely savor these flavors.

Finally got to see BOURNE LEGACY. Wanted to see this because I like the Bourne series and also because it was shot in the Philippines. Was a little disappointed that the part they chose to show the Philippines wasn't the part or parts I wanted to see. Plus the chase scene I thought was way too long. But shout out to Lou Veloso, I thought he was memorable in his bit part. In addition, I would have wanted to see more of Palawan too. But I thought the movie was good, Jeremy Renner was good, he's actually rubbing me the right way, and my husband and I both love Rachel Weisz since the first time we saw her. The story is okay too.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A page from my journal

July 22, 2012

Ben and Timmy took us to the airport. They arrived a little before 10 am. The drive to the airport was easy, it being a Sunday and all.

Checking in our luggage was easy as well. One of our carry-ons was found to be double the weight limit, so the guy at the check-in counter offered to have it checked in free of charge. We were only too happy to accept his offer. When we were walking away from the check-in counter we were having second thoughts about the contents of that bag, if there was something inside it that we might need asap during the long haul.

We had coffee with Timmie and Ben and chatted a bit to kill time. We were there early.

Then it was time to go in. We told them to wait for us to make sure we cleared customs. It was again not too bad. We easily got that thing done in the least amount of time.

When we cleared it and got our bags back, we phoned them to tell them they can leave.

Still there was time to kill because we were told at check in that the flight is delayed by an hour. We walked around, got a bite to eat at Fireside Café and watched a little Giants. The Giants and the Phillies were in extra innings when we left to head to our boarding gate.

Little wait at the gate before we were allowed to board. Our seats were in the back of the plane, the second to the last row, which is good because there’s enough room on the side to stand up and the seats are so close to the restrooms. Very convenient.

It was going to be a long 13 hours I thought. The meals served were sufficient, good enough. The wine also was good. I watched Hunger Games and several episodes of the Big Bang Theory, before I finally succumbed to sleep. I felt like I had enough sleep.

We arrived in rainy Hongkong. About 2 hours before arriving, the ride became a tad bumpy, which really scares me. But nothing really tough to swallow for seasoned air travelers.

In Hongkong, we had very little time to go from arrival area to the departure gate, because well our flight arrived late. 20 minutes late, for which the airline was very apologetic about.

I thought I had time for potty break when we arrived at the departure gate. However, it wasn’t to be. You see we were lining up in the wrong line earlier. I even asked the lady in the front and she said we were in the right line. When it was our turn to hand her the boarding passes, she said we’re on the wrong gate. It turned out that our gate was all the way to the end of the terminal. So we hurried and breathing heavily by the time we saw our destination.

When I was about to make a short potty run, I saw that the line had started to form for boarding. I knew I could have made it and back to the line in time, but I didn’t risk it. I wasn’t in a hurry to use the facilities. I only wanted to take my contact lenses out since I’ve been wearing them for many hours already and I’ve even taken a nap with them. I don’t wear contact lenses for napping or sleeping.

Thankfully, we got boarded and found out that we were not seated together. Thankfully the gentleman I was seated with agreed without a word to swap seats with my husband. I fell immediately asleep. The plane didn’t leave soon. It was sitting there for sometime and I have already fallen asleep. When I woke up, the plane was still sitting there. This plane was also a Cathay Pacific. This one had faulty entertainment device so no choice but to sleep during the entire flight.

The rain in Hongkong was falling hard. But I was sleeping so I didn’t feel it. The shaking I felt. The meal on this 5 hour ride was okay as well. I was expecting more since I heard that Cathay Pacific is one of the best airlines. The service I got on both the SF to HK and HK to DEL was adequate, more than okay, but definitely not outstanding or memorable.

We arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport at midnight, 12:30 am. What little I saw of the airport, I was impressed. I would have loved to snap a lot of photos, too many spots are photo worthy, but it was midnight and we just got off a 20-hour plane ride with the last thing I wanted to do was take out my camera and start photographing. First things first. We have to go through immigration and then collect our luggage and then customs. Three of our luggage we found quickly. The keyboard took a long time to locate and if I didn’t ask an airport worker who asked a co-worker to check the other carousel, we wouldn’t be able to locate it. I don’t know what kind of system that is, if some of our luggage comes out of one carousel and another piece of luggage in another carousel.

While I was waiting for the luggage to show up, hubby went to call our travel agents. Thankfully we manage to find him. We also got some money changed and also get a SIM card.

It was about 3 pm when we got all settled in our hotel. Did I tell you how hot and humid it was at midnight? It was unreal. I could have sworn the temperature at 1 am was above 80 with very high humidity. Sweat was rolling down my spine and my neck. So uncomfortable.

Shower was wonderful as well as an air-conditioned room. We only had a few hours to sleep because our tour starts in the morning at 10 am.