Sunday, February 24, 2013

Daily February: Days 23 & 24


Hah! It's becoming harder and harder to keep up this daily blogging goal.

Let me tell you this, I'm quite proud of it in fact, I have finished THE ALCHEMIST by Paul Coelho.

Now I'm reading Amy Tan's SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING. So far, it's a fun read. I was reading it while eating my cereal at lunch today. Then I heard myself laughing out loud. The sound surprised me. It's been ages since a book made me laugh. It's not even meaning to be funny. It's just wonderfully written. The book is a little thick, so it might take days, just like the thin Alchemist.

Right now I'm taking a break from reading by blogging and by watching the Oscar's. I'm having a fun time watching. I like awards shows. I always have a pick, even though I saw none of the movies nominated. We've cut back on our movie budget. We'll wait for DVD.

Since I'm in the mood to write, let me say I have been enjoying the American Idol the past week, where 5 of the girls and 5 of the boys were cut. The judges.....hmmm.....Mariah Carey is boring me. Amused I was by Nikki Minaj, who by the way I had no idea who she was before Idol. Yes, that's how clueless I am. Still I cannot tell you one song of her.

I doubted the inclusion of Keith Urban in the panel. I thought he was good as a singer, but I don't know much about him to fully make a vote, like I have one. Anyway, he's my fave judge so far, because his yes and no reflects mine.

Good news, we have a new addition in our extended family. My nephew became a first time father last week with the arrival of little precious one, Ashley Michelle. I haven't seen her yet, I'm aching to see her, except that I'm not sure I'm germ-free after the nasty cold bug I had two weeks ago. I still feel yucky sometimes and the cough is persisting so I'm not sure being near a newborn is a good idea.

Spring is nearly here. I cannot wait. The fruit trees in my garden are blooming, although the plum did not get pruned so there might not be too many fruits this year.

This weekend we spent a lot of time weeding. My backyard is overrun with weeds. (Buster just interrupted me. I think he wants to go downstairs. He needs human supervision to go down or up, hehehehe)

I planted a few Shasta daisy seeds today. I was planning on planting my "salad greens" seeds, but I didn't have a pot available. The planting plot just got weeded today and so it's nearly ready for tomatoes, but I'm not sure the plants are in the nursery yet. Will check next week.

Okay my tilapia sarsiado dinner is waiting.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Daily February: Days 21 & 22

I got distracted again and forgot to post yesterday. I really don't have anything to say so I'll just post pictures. Here are some of my favorite people watching photos.

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man with dog

Well, happy weekend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Daily February: Day 20

Here are what's keeping this potato a couch potato:


Continuum (on Syfy)



Nashville (ABC)



The Americans (FX)




Scandal (ABC)

In addition to this new shows, I'm still in love with the following:
  • Castle (ABC)
  • Revenge (ABC)
  • Once Upon A Time (ABC)
  • Big Bang Theory (CBS)
  • Person of Interest (CBS)
  • Merlin (Syfy)
  • Haven (Syfy)
  • The Good Wife (CBS)
  • and many many more :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Daily February: Day 19

Here are a few quotations about change/s that I really like:

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” -Karen Lamb

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -Andre Gide

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” -Wayne Gretzy

“In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” -Warren Buffett

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn

“If you run you stand a chance of losing, but if you don’t run you’ve already lost.” –Barack Obama

Monday, February 18, 2013

Daily February: Day 18


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Holiday Monday. It's going to be some time before there's another Holiday Monday. Hubs and I woke up, stayed in bed to watch some cooking shows, including a Barefoot Contessa episode in Napa/San Francisco, got up near noon and reheated the frozen pancakes. That was very filling. Then went to a friend's house for lunch. We were asked to come because one of their friends want to meet us. We ended up having another meal and then a walk in Point Pinole Regional Seashore. The weather was a bit chilly with cold breeze.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Daily February: Day 17


What is it about February 17 that I think it's special day and there's something about it that I'm missing or forgetting. Is it someone's birthday and I've forgotten?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Daily February: Day 16


It's the first day of the long weekend. In the afternoon we drove to Pleasanton for the Home and Garden Show at the fairgrounds. I like going to shows like this, you can learn a lot about home maintenance and anything home related. The displays are nice too and there's some freebies to be had.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Daily February: Day 15



Day 15 already. The month is half way through. Geesh!

Still not fully healed. Back to work for two days, followed by a 3-day weekend on account of President's Day on Monday.

I'd like to go out for a little hike on Monday, but I'm considering what people had advised me to take it easy because the cold bug this year had been very difficult to shake off.

People get better one day and then the bug would be back a few days later. I certainly don't wanna be sidelined by this again.

Thankfully, no more appearance of vertigo.

People tell me they have it with their colds too. Why didn't I hear of it before?

And there's more people who had vertigo more than I expected.

Anywhoooooo....

The weather has been warmer than usual, but I peeped at the forecast it seems like rain is on the way.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new installment of the DIE HARD series, I cannot remember the name.

I lost my desire to read again. Oh no!

As I write this the tv is showing an old movie PENELOPE, Buster is sleeping on top of fresh laundry while my husband and is snoozing on the bed with Emma in between his legs. I love these quiet moments like this.

I am blessed.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Daily February: Day 14

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So nice to see people in love.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Daily February: Day 13


Still home sick. Supposed to be my last day of sick leave, per doctor's note, but woke up really feeling congested and all icky.

The crazy dizziness feeling I have been experiencing with this cold is vertigo. My doctor said so and I've never been scared like that when the room just spins and you don't know where up or down is. I lost a whole night's sleep because the room keeps spinning each time I lay down. Thankfully last night the vertigo didn't show up.

Today is Ash Wednesday and tomorrow's Valentine's Day. I just want to feel better.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Daily February: Day 12


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Still home sick. Nasty cold bug still at it. Going to see my doctor in a little bit, hope I can drive.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Daily February: Day 10 & 11


I missed yesterday's post. I had a good reason for doing so. I was sick. I woke up with hoarse throat, clogged nose, and chest that hurts every time I cough. It hit me really bad. All day I was in bed, missed church, alternating between sleeping and watching tv.

Woke up today a bit better but still sick. Cold sucks.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Daily February: Day 9


It's been a very very nice day. The weather had been a tad cool but the sun was out. We were in the city today because we went to join the hordes of fans who went to participate in what the SF Giants call FAN FEST. Had a blast just like last year.

Then we drove around the city and stopped at the Palace of Fine Arts and took some pictures.

Dinner was at a sushi place in Balboa called Yuubi Sushi. Really good sushi.

On the way back to the car, we passed by Cinderella Bakery and Cafe, which is a Russian bakery and cafe and had 2 pieces of cake to go for our dessert, because we didn't get anything at the sushi restaurant. We also got a coffee to go, it was freezing when dinner was over.

Oh yeah, we also went to get a sandwich at Valencia Street at a little liquor store that sells great sandwiches called Rhea's.

This would be our pre-Valentine date since we don't plan on doing anything for Valentine's.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Daily February: Day 8

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I could use some time with nature this weekend.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Daily February: Day 7

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Coming soon to a strip mall nearby. I have been hearing rumbling about how good the burgers are in this place and little did I know the small communities in the I-80 corridor is getting one. I still limit my burger intake to 2 per year. I'll wait for this to open and see how good the burgers really are.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Daily February: Day 6

You know how we have "good days" and "bad days"? In addition, we also have "pretty days" and "ugly days"

Today is definitely not my "pretty day".

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Daily February: Day 5

A PAGE FROM MY JOURNAL

September 12-13 2011

We arrived in San Jose late afternoon; it was pouring rain. As we cleared immigration, I experienced a bit of trepidation at whether there would be someone outside the airport to meet us and take us to our hotel. This is after all a foreign country, and my anxiety was brought by a bad experience from a Cancun trip where the guy who was supposed to meet us did not show up at all and we had to arrange for our 30-minute ride to the hotel by ourselves. We had been reimbursed by the hotel later on, but the grief that brought us was traumatic. However, the setting was the same, late afternoon arrival and pouring rain – déjà vu.

But not this time. The minute we stepped out of the airport to the open gates, we immediately saw a guy holding a cardboard with the name of our travel group/agency. We approached him and he checked us off his list and handed us folders for our itinerary. That was the “aha moment” when I knew this was going to be a good trip.

There was another couple in his list and so we waited awhile, not long, for them to get out of immigration. In the meantime, we chatted with this very friendly 20-something guy who told us the Red Hot Chili Peppers were performing in San Jose that night and how much he is a fan of the group but how he was unable to see them because he didn’t have the money to buy the tickets.

The 20 or so minutes drive to the hotel was punctuated by traffic jams, for which the guy was apologetic. We were hitting rush hour traffic in a downpour. We were dropped off at Crowne Plaza, which also houses the convention center and a casino, both can be accessed through the lobby.

The lobby alone was telling me that this would be beyond my price range – given my pecuniary difficulties. The friendly reception lady made our check in very smooth and painless. We rode up the elevators to our 3rd floor room – very elegant, a junior suite. Plenty of room for a one-night stay.

We freshened up and got our clothes ready for tomorrow’s trip. It had to be done now since the trip would start at 6:15 am.

When the freshening up and prepping for tomorrow’s trip was over, we had to go out and find someplace to eat. Off the reception area is a full service restaurant and there is also a separate lounge bar near the casino entrance. We don’t want those choices. We were told there is a grocery store across the hotel. We just have to cross the busy street, and boy was it busy. And the dark has set in while the drizzling continued.

We went inside the grocery store and browsed at the merchandise. My husband couldn’t resist purchasing a bottle of the local booze called cacique which is like a rum made of sugar cane. We bought a few other things and suddenly we spotted restaurant/cafeteria part of the grocery store, where store workers and other locals eat their meals. We looked at the selection, read the menu and found you can have like a combo meal. I thought that this dinner our first one in Costa Rica would consist of junk foods, apparently not!

My first taste of Costa Rican food reminded me of how much it tastes like Filipino food. The chicken dish that I had with my rice tasted like afritada – same tomato based sauce with minor differences in spice combination. That was a very illuminating detail that pleased me. I knew I wouldn’t have trouble with food – not that I have any by the way. Still, the taste of the food gave me comfort and a sense of familiarity.

We had our food in take out boxes, but we chose to sit there and eat where they had two tv sets for eaters to enjoy. On one I saw that a new show was about to start, we have paid for our items by this time. So when I saw that the Miss Universe Pageant was starting on, I told my husband that I’d like to see this one in full and if we could just carry out our meal and eat in the room where we could watch the show and eat in peace.

So there we were eating inside our room and watching the live telecast of Miss Universe. I had facebook on – free wifi – and posted how very disappointing it was for Ms. Philippines. I immediately got a reaction from my “friend” that they have been waiting to see it and it won’t be on for another 2 hours, California has it delayed telecast. Apparently, I spoiled it for her.

Part of the package was free breakfast, and we were afraid we’d have no breakfast since the pick up time was 6:15 am. However, the breakfast buffet is open from 5:30 am every day. I think it’s because many business travelers stay here – we saw pilots checking in at the same time we were – and they have to leave early hours too.

The spread was nice, fresh fruits, meats, cheese. Breakfast was rushed as you can imagine. When we got back to the room to get ready to leave, our phone rang and was told the guide was waiting downstairs to pick us up. It was 6 am. Change of plans it seemed. We didn’t get down until 6:15.

At the lobby we met our group – 7 of us. A couple from Baltimore, a couple from Sacramento and his mother from OC, and us. Just 7. Our friends from Philly attempted to sign up for this same trip, same group and was told that the trip was fully booked. 7 people and it’s fully booked. Interesting.

A big tourist bus was waiting outside the hotel, which means we were’nt the only ones going to Tortuguero. Our suspicion was right because after they loaded us and a few others in front of our hotel, we drove around San Jose picking up more passengers from different hotels and hostels, which wasn’t a bad thing. It was sightseeing for free as I saw it. Nice to see the city streets not crowded in the early morning hours and the city waking up.

The whole process probably lasted an hour or so and the long ride to Tortuguero began. It wasn’t long when we left the urban sights of San Jose into a more rural landscape. Pretty soon we were traveling into dense forest. Our guide was Julio, he was pretty good with his spiel. I was not listening the whole time. I was letting my eyes drink in the passing scenery. Verdant lush green treetops, dense wooded areas, part of a forest/jungle also a national park, houses along the highway. Difficult to get some shots, some parts of the road were curvy and I was getting a little dizzy. I don’t get car sick, but the airconditioning was weak and the bus was full. I wanted to sip water but I was afraid I’d pee. From the looks of it, there wasn’t any place for pit stop.

Around 10 am we were pulling up into a gated compound. Beautiful garden filled with tropical plants and flowers and trees and ferns, all so green and colorful. We stopped at El Ceibo restaurant in Guapiles, midway from San Jose to Tortuguero. This breakfast – our second breakfast, we’re hobbits – was again buffet style and was part of the package. Filled in on eggs and ham and rice and beans.

We gobbled down our food rapidly so we can have time to explore the surroundings and make a stop at the restrooms. It’s so beautiful out there, clean air, butterflies fluttering about and birds singing and other unidentifiable bugs chiming in to the symphony of tropical sounds. Then another sound was distinct. There was running water somewhere. A little creek runs behind the restaurant, we got to take a peek. The orchids are simply adorable and are everywhere.

Apparently everyone in the bus with us would all be going to Pachira Lodge and we were loaded again after breakfast. I was so glad to be back to the comforts of the AC bus after that brief exploration of the garden because the sun was bearing down at full force and it’s not noon yet.

The rest of drive to Tortuguero was more enjoyable for me, the sights of real Costa Rica. Houses along the way have their front doors wide open – which reminded me how we have them back in our province. I told my husband how the minute my mom wakes up in the morning, she would open our front door and then go to the kitchen and cook. That front door will not be closed again until we go to bed that night. Same holds true for everyone’s house in the neighborhood. Oh how I miss those times, how safe we all felt.

We passed by banana plantation where we stop briefly to watch a guy pull bananas for packaging. We also passed by a pineapple plantation. We saw grazing lands and beautiful landscape. The road was unpaved and we were crawling at about 15 km an hour, could be boring but all the scenery were new so I guess if I wasn’t bored none was.

Finally got to stop at another restaurant by the canal. We saw boats unloading passengers and luggage. I got it. We were going to switch places with this group – we’re taking the boat, they’re taking our bus. The restaurant where we stop offers meals and cold beverages, but we were still full from the second breakfast. Therefore we only availed of the facilities.

Soon enough we were getting boarded on the boat that will take us to Tortuguero. By plane or by boat the only ways you can reach Tortuguero. I’m guessing it’s pretty neat to arrive by plane, but arriving by boat was simply fantastic. The sceneries and landscape and skyscape were tremendous. Birding was excellent, seeing locals go about their daily living by the canals was enjoyable, reconnecting with familiar sights and smells was precious. The 2 hour boat ride to Pachira Lodge went by quickly and I wasn’t ready to disembark.



Monday, February 4, 2013

Daily February: Day 4

I picked up the book I was eyeing for a few weeks now.

Finally. From the bookshelves at church.

The title was inviting. The subject was interesting.

So I started reading it at the car while waiting for hubby to finish his task at church.

Then it hit me.

I already read this book.

Well sort of.

I borrowed the audio book from the library.

We listened to it on our Monterey road trip a couple of years ago.

It was a fascinating listen.

(We bring audio books on long roadtrips and we listen to it instead of music.)

I like reading it.

So far.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Daily February: Day 3


No more.

I'm not going to do it anymore!

Once was a fluke.

Twice is a trend.

I'm not going to be stupid enough to do it another time.

I'm not hosting another 49ers viewing party. They lose big games when I do.

I will not be responsible for another big game loss next time!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Daily February: Day 2

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays were considered market days in my lilttle town. On these days, the public market is full of vendors. On these days the people go to the market and buy supplies.

We had refrigeration in those days – many had them – but still we only buy enough produce for 2 days. We never let fresh vegetables sit in the refrigerator.

So we go to the market on market days. To shop and to socialize.

I have lovely memories of going to the market with my mother. I consider them lovely now, but then it was a chore. I was with my mother so I can carry the basket of goodies. It was also some sort of training for when I become an adult and have a family of my own.

She would take her time choosing the best vegetables, the freshest fish, the best looking meat. It would take us 2 hours to round the whole market, especially on Saturdays when outsiders come to our market to sell their goods.

Mother would take time for a little snack at the many food stalls. Or on days when we were definitely short on time she would take some home so the entire family could enjoy the rice cakes or pancit or the steamed corn on the cob. Boy the corn on the cob was delicious. You eat it as is, no butter, no salt, nothing added.

There were many snack items that I looked forward to, but my favorite was halo-halo. And when the budget allows for it, the halo-halo special – the one with a scoop of ice cream on top and a slice of leche flan – is one that I crave for.

My mother knew how to haggle. Sometimes I feel ashame that she would be very aggressive in getting the price she wants for a particular item. To this day, she still calls her price for any item you know. Until now she would quote a price for a particular item and when she gets inside the supermarket and finds the price is higher she would ask me to get someone that works in the store to make sure that the price she saw (months ago in an advertisement) is the right price. No change in attitude.

I also loved it when we go to the section of the market that sells only dry goods – fabrics, clothes, dishes and other household items, shoes, etc. We always bought wedding gifts here. I was so fascinated when they personalized the items right there and then. Oh how simple life was back in the day.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Daily February: Day 1

I am embarking on a project to blog daily and I thought doing it in February makes the most sense since it is the shortest month of the year; hence less work, hahaha.

I had a dream last night. Two actually, but I'm only sharing one, the first one today. I'm quite fascinated by dreams and how few I remember when I wake up. I don't know if I don't dream quite as often or that I simply don't remember them when I wake up.

Last night when the hubby rolled over to get up and use the potty, I woke up too. In my estimation it was nearly dawn; but when I followed him in the potty I glanced at the clock on my bedside table and it showed that I had only been sleeping at most 1.5 hours. How could that be? I already had a dream.

The dream went like this: I overheard a man in his 20s or 30s begging the sari-sari store owner to please sell him coffee and some pastries for breakfast. The storeowner, an older gent with salt and pepper hair, was rudely telling him that he has no coffee brewed at the moment and that he needed to leave for work right away, else he'd be late and his boss wouldn't hear of it.

Now, this is where I know I was dreaming, I suppose. Why would you get coffee and pastries at a sari-sari store?

Feeling sorry for this hungry man, I invited him over to my house for coffee.

The next scene finds this man sitting in my kitchen/dining room. The room is vaguely similar to the dining room/kitchen I grew up in, although the counter wraps around one half of the room and there are two different sinks. Nope it didn't look anything ike the kitchen I grew up in.

Anyway, with all the counter space I find it really weird that only two coffeemakers were on it. One at each end. I went to the closest one next to the door and I had a tough time manipulating it. It's like a 1920s version of a cappuccino machine. Except there were no cappuccino machines in the 1920s, I don't think.

While fumbling through coffee making, my older cousin who lived with us and raised my siblings and I came into the room. (She's been dead for a few years now.) She told me that this machine I was using is broken and I should use the one at the far end of the long counter.

I was worried that the delay is making my guest bored so I thought I'd invite one of my childhood friends to talk to him while I figure out a way to brew coffee. While I was thinking that, the son-of-gun appeared in my kitchen and pulled up a chair next to my guest and they started talking while I started to brew coffee at coffee maker #2.

Then I woke up.

DREAM INTERPRETATION: I don't have a clue except that my cousin must be whispering to me from beyond telling me to remember her on her upcoming death anniversary. It's in February.