Thursday, March 28, 2013

Let me tell you......

........about this new restaurant that I discovered last Sunday. It serves Vietnamese cuisine (yum) and is decorated by items/tools that the Vietnamese use for fishing and farming, or in their daily life. The restaurant also has high ceilings with exposed beams and a sunroof at the center. It's a big restaurant, and the tables are set a good distance from each other.

Gay took us out to Nong Thon on Sunday. She's been getting adventurous gastronomically in her advancing years, which I really applaud. When she phoned us she mentioned she's taking us to a Thai restaurant. We said okay, let's see what's going on in here. Several months ago we introduced her to Vietnamese cuisine via banh mi and spring roll. We thought that those two dishes would be the best for her to get acquianted with Vietnamese food. She loved it!!! So much so that she took one of her girlfriends out to eat at the Vietnamese hole in the wall that we recommended.

And so when she said Thai food we were thinking she was really getting adventurous. She just got to know Vietnamese now she's venturing into Thai cuisine on her own.

Anyway, the hubs and I were suprised that the restaurant was not Thai but Vietnamese and that it was in the same spot where a coffee house called CENTRAL PERK (yah, you Friends fans would recognize the name) used to be at the corner of Central and San Pablo.

We enjoyed the food of course. I love Vietnamese food and I shied away from my regular pho instead opted for a vermicelli bun. The hubs ordered the same thing.

I could not wait to go back here. I was talking about the restaurant nonstop for days after we ate there and then a colleague of hubs called to say she wanted to talk to him. They're bummed about seeing one of their co-worker lying in ICU after deterioting so rapidly after a diagnosis of Lou Gehrig's disease.

So the hubby made arrangements to meet with her at that same Vietnamese restaurant next week. Yay, I am going back there. I can't wait.

Happy Easter everyone!

Monday, March 25, 2013


The deacon from church loaned us a book entitled FINDING FAITH IN MOVIES. I saw the book in the living room as I walked out of the door to go to work today. As a matter of fact I see it every single day, sometimes I don't notice it at all, but today it was very noticeable. FYI, we haven't read the book yet.

I think the reason why I noticed it today is two-fold: 1) it's holy week 2) the blind side.

The Blind Side, the Sandra Bullock movie that won her an Oscar's a few years ago, was on tv last Saturday. It's a heartwarming movie that teaches us what a Christian should be.

The scene where Sandra Bullock character decided to take Big Mike home never fails to hit me. Tears would just roll off my cheek unceremoniously each time. I realized on Saturday why that scene hit me hard.

It was a "test" that people find themselves face every single day. Should we solve this the Christian way or not. In that case Leigh Ann Tuohy (Sandra's character) chose to do the right thing, well the Christian thing.

Matthew 25:35-36
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

The scene highlights my weakness, my tendency to think negative, my inability to see Jesus in other human beings.

It was the Holidays, my husband remembers it to be Christmas last year. It may have been the 26th. It was raining hard and we were out and about driving from one store to another. On the way home at about 5 PM when it got dark so early we halted at a stop light under the freeway bridge on the way to the freeway ramp. There stood a single lady, clean and neat, holding a sign asking for help. She wasn't the typical bum you see on the side of the road asking for help, but she looked like she was down.

I was fumbling in my purse for loose change when the light turned green. There were cars behind us and so we drove off. The hubby took the next exit and we drove a few more blocks to find some food for the lady. One gas station has food and coffee and so we bought some and drove back to find her. Luckily she was still there, and we gave her the food and coffee. She thanked us profusely.

As we drove home my husband said, "What if that was Jesus and it was a test? He simply couldn't let his laziness and inconvenience to get in the way of doing the right thing. Unfortunately and shamefully, I must admit, I would have driven off and wouldn't look back despite the qualms I might have felt and would soon dissipate.

I know this isn't the typical post I do here. The movie just inspired me to look into my everyday life and reminded me to be a little kinder. We call can't adopt a black kid and help him become a pro football player, but we have a role to play in this world designed especially for us. We simply have to find it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Maybe it's maturity, or that I've been around people who have been talking about it a lot, or it could also be all the things I've been reading online, especially my FB friends' postings. I've been more aware of counting my blessings and being more thankful lately.

I sighed a prayer one time within the earshot of the Mister, "Thank you Lord for everything!", I said. I meant it too. I felt overwhelmed by all the blesings. I was surprised when he said, "You should list down your blessings, name them one by one, and not generalized them like that."

I read somewhere that the minute you start counting and listing down your blessings, you would find that you have more blessings than you imagined you have. And the more you appreciate what you already have, the less chance of you getting depressed or wanting more.

So let me count my blessings:
  • family that support and love me
  • roof over my head
  • food on my table
  • more food in the refrigerator
  • job that pays for all the food and other expenses
  • church that encourages me and enriches me
  • friends that give me companionship
  • pets that give me responsibility
  • blog that keep my mind active
  • photography that gives me joy
  • general good health
  • opportunities to be of service to fellowmen

Last night the top 9 performed songs by the legendary BEATLES. While the performances were overall great (2 probably underwhelmed me), I CANNOT believe my ears when 2 or 3 contestants admitted to not having heard of the BEATLES before in their lives. WHAT???????

I was very disappointed at the lack of knowledge of these young people. What are they teaching them in school? Kidding aside, I would think that if one is interested in a certain field, wouldn't he/she be interested in who excelled in the same field? Very very disappointed.

Anyway, with only two performance nights behind us, I would hazard a guess that it's the ladies that will be left standing at the Finale this year. I am drawn to the Kree girl because she has this soft sweet voice and equally sweet face, but I feel the same way for Angie, who cannot be mistaken for sweetness. I think Angie has punk in her, which I like too. Then there's another girl whose name I've forgotten but she's equally good. In fact all the girls are really good this year.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Random Honesty

• Those electronic gadgets (i.e. smart phone) I don't mind having them. I have a smart phone right now but its name doesn't start with I or it has no android in it (whatever that is). If obtaining them doesn't come at the expense of my travel fund, I'd be running to the mall to get one. I definitely could see myself with bowed head, eyes stuck to the small screen and fingers continuously moving. That would be me.
• I don't have a bucket list. I'm making it up as I go.
• I'm lazy. I need help.
• I have an unhealthy attraction to pens (writing materials). Whatever store I go, I make sure I visit and browse at the office/school supply aisle for pens. My brain controls the purse strings so my heart cannot go crazy and head on to the cashier.
• If I can, I'd fill my whole yard with roses.
• Guilty pleasure - teen/young adult love stories like The Twilight series.
• In college when I get stressed out, I go to Ever Gotesco restaurant and eat pancit canton by myself.
• I love fried eggplant; I hate okra.
• One of my favorite movies (cannot get enough of it) is SCHOOL OF ROCK. Jack Black rocked here.
• I'm an introvert; my husband is Mr. Congeniality. Opposites attract what can I say.
• Here's one of my most fave pictures I took:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring It Is

Our forecast for the entire week calls for 70s. All the way to Friday. Can you believe that?

I've brought a jacket, light one, yesterday and today just to be sure. I hate getting caught unprepared when suddenly the temp turns cold and I'm there freezing. Okay enough, it is exaggeration we all know it.

The weekend was also in the 70s. Two days I was weeding and planting. We planted the mesculun, which is the salad greens, and five tomatoes and lima beans. We also planted 4-5 strawberry plants.

The backyard is looking a bit better. The weeds keep growing, help! Anyhow, we've been doing a little at a time, but so far it's looking a lot better than before. Our rose bushes have new red leaves. I love it when the leaves are all red, they look so fresh and so vibrant. I don't mind the leaves turning green because I know the pretty blooms are coming soon.

Our cymbidiums are also blooming. Although unfortunately they were a bit neglected in the fall, so they are not as prolific as they can be in the past. I intend to remedy that this fall.

The weekend was also a time for friendship. On Saturday we had our monthly activity at church, this month it's a movie night. The night consisted of a spaghetti and salad dinner and a movie called HAPPY, which is a wonderful documentary that shows happy people and what makes these people happy. Incredible movie. You'll learn a lot, I sure did.

On Sunday we went out for lunch, after church, with a group of friends. We first went to an Indian-Pakistani restaurant, but we were too early. Then my hubby suggested we go to the Thai-Lao restaurant. They too were still closed, but we persuaded them to let us in and we'd wait until they officially open, which was 15 minutes away.

We chatted about politics and economy and the root causes of why people are happy - to tie in with the movie we watched the night before. We had wonderful array of curries and fried rice and eggrolls and other appetizers and of course pad thai.

I know we don't like to eat out two weeks in a row but it seems we have this time. It was unavoidable.

I started my third book, BRIDGET JONES DIARY, which is entertaining. I had lukewarm feelings about the movie, but I am loving the book so far.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Food Craving Friday

may 24-25 2011 299
Some days you just want to eat desserts first.

Our anniversary is coming up. Well not right away, it's two months away. But the planning for a small get-away has started. I have started to explore areas where we might be tempted to spend 2-3 days. Nothing concrete yet. No solid plans. I do have two places that are vying for the top spot. Both are in the Central Coast.

One is in Cambria. The hotel package is reasonable - we've been there before for hubby's b/day get-away. Plus it includes tickets to the nearby attraction, Hearst Castle, and a wonderful 3-course dinner for two. We've been really impressed with the dinner we had at this restaurant before and so we long to dine there again someday.

Monterey is the second one. The dessert sampler in the photo above is from Jack's Restaurant that is inside Portala Hotel and Spa. The hotel is really fancy and swanky, so did the restaurant. We had the best time here and the most likely the best dinner we've ever had was here. Incredible food. Just look at the dessert.

The final destination will go down to which place will give us the best bang for our buck. Budget speaks loudly when we go travel, either for an overseas trip or to a place 2 hours down the road. Either one of the places we choose, I can't wait for the anniversary dinner because I know it's going to be good.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Catching Up

A week's absence, that's what it was. I was busy doing nothing. My days nowadays are spent working, commuting, and watching tv. Pathetic I know. But driving an hour to and another hour from work daily in traffic can really sap one's energy.

Going out with friends can rejuvenate the soul. That's what we did on Saturday. We met with this couple we know for about 2 years now. We've been out once, which was nearly a year ago if I'm not mistaken. We keep planning but it's difficult to get our skeds on the same page. Our skeds finally synched on Saturday and they took us to Creek Monkey Tap House, where we ate and drank and chatted the afternoon away. Never underestimate the healing power of getting together with friends.

Anyway, I just found out that Princessa has tagged me. She wants to squeeze the last ounce of brain juice I have.

Here are the questions and my answers with explanations although it's not required:

1. You have to give up one part of your body: brain or heart? Pick in the context of the debate mind vs. heart or right vs. kind in making decisions.

Heart. I rely too much on my heart, I'm a heart over mind type. If I give up my heart, I'd no choice but to use relying on my brain.

2. Fictional characters are great! Would you rather be the hero or the villain in the greatest story ever told?

Villain. Too much responsibility on the the hero. Plus I'd have more chance to get an Oscar's by playing the villain :)

3. Smart and ugly or gorgeous and dumb?

Smart and ugly. I can use my smarts to make myself gorgeous.

4. Yes or No: becoming a parent and having kids.

Yes. No explanations needed.

5. Yes or No: divorce.

NO. My gutt tells me NO, but I'm not against it as a whole. It's a case to case basis.

6. You are about to do the one best thing that you have always wanted to do ever. What stops you from taking the plunge: your personal fear of failing or your fear of judgment from others?

PERSONAL FEAR OF FAILING. In addition, it's fear of making the change, taking the leap.

7. For one day, you get to spend the day with this famous person. Will you pick your favorite athlete, your favorite musician, your favorite author or your favorite actor?

ATHLETE (Buster Posey). Even if you don't know him, once you see him, you'd want to spend the rest of your days with him.

8. Yes or No: watching cartoons until your ridiculous old age now. (Admit it )

YES. I recently just watched the SMURFS, the movie.

9. The unfortunate has struck: your lover is dying. You are faced with this option: donate your vital organ to save him or her and die yourself while he or she lives without you or let your lover die without doing anything?

THE SECOND CHOICE. He knows my organs aren't in good shape :). He wouldn't want them in his body :)

10. Yes or No: death penalty.

YES. But on a case to case basis.

11. At a huge crossroad in your life, a decision has to be made which will alter the course of your freaking life. What do you do? Do you take the ridiculous way or the safe way to go about it?

RIDICULOUS WAY. Just for the sake of this meme, I'd choose that. But I know deep in my heart I'm a safe-way kind of person.

Aha! There I finished it. I also finished Amy Tan's SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING. I'm about to start another Amy Tan's book, the name of which I totally forgot.