Friday, June 28, 2013

15 Today

As I was walking down the hall today, I overhear a conversation. I cannot remember particularly what I heard, but when I spotted who were talking I recognized the man. I know him many years back and I was so surprised how old he's gotten. He looked so much older than I what I rememebered.

Then I realized what date today is. Today is June 28th. My 15th anniversary at my present job. 15 years!!!! Talk about staying power.

Then I wondered, do people say to themselves that I have gotten so much older since the time we were working together, or seeing each other regularly in the cafeteria or around the hallway or the parking lot?

Here's to another 15 and hopefully I find the fountain of youth soon.

(PS I know it's called exercise, but I'll find the encouragement to do this regularly soon.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Still here

Another week has gone by and no post.

The past week was busy. Our church's main annual fundraiser was last Saturday and you know that there wouldn't be any posting on Friday, or Saturday, or even Sunday for that matter. The event was big enough to be very exhausting. While I spent most of the Saturday prepping for the event and/or in the event working the tills, Sunday was devoted to Lifetime TV for Women and editing photographs. We don't have the official tally, but I'm not positive we made more money than last year, or even equaled last year's take. Still, we continue to learn as the years go by.

What was really inspiring with this year's fundraiser was how the parents of the kids from the Conservatory of Arts (Music) supported the event, from selling tickets and raffle tickets to helping out in the kitchen during the event. Their presence was big on the night of the event. It was wonderful to be working alongside the parents. Afterall, this fundraiser benefits both the church and the conservatory. With all the budget cuts in schools these days, money for music programs are difficult to come by and so we try to help out these kids as much as possible.

A graduate of the high school from last year's Conservatory of Arts attended the event and even played piano. While people mill about sampling one scrumptious chocolate confection to another, the kids from the music program play beautiful music from jazz to standards.

The weather cooperated somewhat. The days were hot leading to the event, but cooled down a bit, just a bit, for the event. We had fans in four corners of the room and the windows were all open to let the breeze in.

We were afraid the chocolates would melt with the heat, but they didn't, thank heavens!

And so one big job done. What's next?

In a month I'm going to hop on a plane to complete a personal project. I've been toying about blogging about it daily. I'll be gone for about 10 days minimum. I just hope I have free internet where I'm going.

In the meantime, this weekend, we have a date with another couple. Back to Napa we go with a wine tasting in the afternoon and an early dinner at my fave tapas place. Okay so I've only been to this restaurant once before, but I really like the ambiance and the food and the service. It's not the lack of interest that prevented me from coming back again and again to this restaurant, it's the budget that should be blamed. Eating out can make a big dent to one's household budget, so we try not to indulge too much in this activity we love so much - eating out.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ready for Chocolate Extravaganza Fundraiser

The annual fundraiser at church is this Saturday, June 22. This being its 3rd year in existence, the preparations are less hectic than the first year. You cannot imagine the number of meetings we had planning the fundraiser. We were meeting like weekly starting in January. And the event was June.

Anyway, in addition to the more relaxed atmosphere overall, personally I am more relaxed heading into the fundraiser. I will again be in tandem with Susan manning the cash register. I hope we will be busy all night long.

And so I planned last night to be our "making chocolate" night. So we made our chocolate concoctions last night. I even photographed my finished products. They look good, they even look yummy. They were yummy, we sampled one piece each.

The hubby made some desserts this year. He passed last year, but he made one in year one. Last night he made two kinds, a fudge and a chocolate carrot cake. Mine is a crunchy apricot chocolate delight. I got the recipe online, but made revisions left and right, you wouldn't recognize the original recipe. It might as well be an original Maria recipe.

I wasn't too stressed making the chocolates this year. Unlike last year when I was feeling so overwhelmed. Must be the fact that last year I made my entry on a Friday and the event was Saturday.

That was the main reason why I scheduled making chocolates this year on a Wednesday instead of the eve of the event just so there's plenty of time for the chocolate to chill. In addition, if and when there are chocolate emergencies where the creations are total disasters there will be enough time to fix or make a new batch. I'm glad I learned my lesson last year.

But I thought I would be able to blog last night, after making the chocolates and cleaning up after, but I was too tired to do anything. My back was killing me and so I joined Buster (my orange cat) in the living room and stretched out on the couch. I cannot even remember the tv program I was watching while waiting for hubby to finish baking his masterpiece. When we were finally able to go upstairs in the bedroom, the 11 o'clock news was well underway.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Somewhere I heard, that vacations last longer than they usually are because of the photographs we took. Personally, I don't get to enjoy the vacation when I'm on vacation because I'm somehow pressed to go to this spot, see this attraction, buy this souvenir or sample this delicacy. I don't really just breathe in the sea breeze or the mountain air and sit in a rocker or boulder and enjoy the vista. I do that long after I've gone back home. Memories of my stay at the beautiful Mountain Paradise Resort in Arenal, Costa Rica.








The rooms are in small houses/cabins and laid out all over a well-manicured lawns with gardens that I'm sure required many gardeners to maintain. I was sad to leave the place, because it was just relaxing and peaceful out there, not to mention a total immersion to nature. Every room I believe has a jacuzzi at the back patio/porch area that has a clear view of the main attraction in this part of Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano.

We were too busy exploring nature (volcano and waterfalls) that we didn't have time to enjoy the hotel and its grounds.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

No celebration today. My dad has passed and my hubby is not a father yet. But the day is so pleasant that after church and after helping an elderly lady friend of ours we met up with friends of ours with their two kids for a little hike. We hiked here (photo taken rom another visit, a year ago)


In the photograph, the grass is still green, now it's all brown and we saw signs of controlled burn. We even hiked higher, farther, and longer than ever. It was really a nice alternative to just sitting in the couch watching Lifetime Television for Women.

No kidding right?

So the 6 of us went from one hill to another enjoying a clear day giving us all access view of Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco. What a nice day.

Then one time we went farther and knew we had to backtrack a bit because we went too far and our cars are like two hills away, hahahaha. But we didn't want to backtrack, because that's a long way. Instead there's a very steep short cut so we took it. I suck up my fear of heights, some of the trails are really narrow and one slip you'll tumble back down. We were high up there. I'm so thankful that my knees didn't wobble in fear. Well, it must have been the presence of 5-year-old boy J who made me summon some courage to finish the descent despite some scary patches in the trail.

We started at 4 pm, came down at 6 pm so that's a good two hours climbing. Then we decided to cool off a bit at the little beach nearby. It was 8 pm by the time we got home. A worthwhile Sunday it is.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I'm lost!

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Was going to tell you where I was today, but the street had no name.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Few Good Reads

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Here are a few of the blogs I've been stalking, er reading, that are worth sharing.


If you like to eat out and shop in the metro, be sure to check this out. It is full of beautiful pictures of food and fashion. But it's not all that. The blogger, Jane, mother of three, is hilarious in her storytelling of being a mom and a wife. You'd fall in love with her just like I did. I read her entire blog in a few short days. Must read, really. Plus for an expat like me, it's a great way to get reacquainted with the hometown - eating and shopping wise.


Cute kitties.....need I say more? If you need a picker upper that doesn't contain caffeine, but works better than caffeine, then this is your must-read. No denying that cute kitties gives our day a boost. Laurie works with the humane society helping them raise money (the famous IBKC telethon) in addition to fostering the kitties. Check it out.


If kitteh is not your thing, but architecture is especially Victorian architecture, then this photo blog is the must visit for you. It is a great place to gawk at ornate, fancy, whimsical, fantabulous, historic, rich, decadent, incredible Victorian houses. I spend a lot of time looking at dream houses.


Gastronomic adventures in glossy images await the readers of Jin Loves To Eat. She eats and eats and still is slim and fit. Life is unfair *grin*. Although her dining exploits are mostly centered on the Asian cuisines, she features the dishes beautifully.


I've been a lurker/reader for a while now of this fabulous once-a-month blog. He writes the way I like to be able to write someday and he takes pictures the way I dreamed of taking pictures. I want him to be my blog sensei. The way he tells stories, straight to the point, funny and succinct. I'd like to see how his mind works when he goes on photo walks because the compositions and the things he photographed normally aren't the same subjects that would interest me, but seeing it on his blog in b/w or wonderful colors I can't help but be awed. I'm a big fan. Check him out.