Monday, December 30, 2013

This is how the cookie crumbled in 2013

So it's that time of the year again. As the door closes it's door on the old year; another door opens to welcome the new year. Thus, it's time to take note of how the cookie crumbled this year for me.

First sake tasting ever (will probably not repeat since I'm not fond of sake.)

Read The Alchemist by Paul Coelho, Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan, the first 3 books of the Twilight Series

Seen with my own eyes the TERRACOTTA WARRIORS and THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING.

Spent anniversary weekend in Mendocino.

Camped with friends in Cabin 4 1/2 in the Sierras.

Visited Sequioa National Park.

Visited Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden.

Went for invitro fertilization (IVF) procedure in Mexico - was unsuccessful. Broke my heart and spirit.

Suffered from vertigo the first half of the year that almost disappeared in the second half - thank heavens!

Celebrated my birthday in Isla Mujeres, Mexico by touring the island and visiting the turtle sanctuary.

The Bay Bridge has a new eastern span.

First time to eat at an Indonesian restaurant.

Movies I've seen this year include: Oblivion, Taken 2, Solitary Man, Catching Fire, Before Midnight, White House Down, Gravity, Breaking Dawn 2, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Epic, Abduction, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, Magic Mike, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey.

I'll try to reflect on the highlights and low lights of this year and create a post later on.

Happy New Year!!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Off The Cuff

Did you know my childhood did not include a Santa Claus? Nope I did not know him until I probably was 11 years old and I only knew of him because he graced the Christmas cards that we were to exchange with our classmates. By the time I got to know the "existence" of the bearded one, I was too old to believe. After all, he was supposed to know where every child was at Christmas eve and drop off presents at their homes. So for the past 11 years, I did not get any presents and so I was never going to believe anyway. I didn't get presents for Christmas. None of my neighbors and playmates did either. All we got is new dress and shoes (hopefully) for church service.

I am trying to remember a memorable Christmas for me. I cannot. There didn't seem any one that tower above the rest.

First off my entire childhood was kind of weird. I think it is. We lived in one compound, our house was in the front. Behind ours is my oldest brother's house where he and his family lived. And bringing up the rear is brother #3's house where he and his family lived. So we were together all the time. My playmates were my nieces and nephews.

My father was ill when I was born. My mother said he was already ill when I was conceived, which accounted for my sickly childhood. He contracted tuberculosis in the army. He battled the disease for a long time until his death when I was 17 years old.

So my father's health was always in the back of my mother's mind. We never traveled, because he was not healthy enough to do that. He was homebound, not bed bound thank heavens. But he was always sick. Thankfully, none of us had contracted tuberculosis, considering it's a communicable disease.

Thus Christmas was a simple affair. I thought my mother's poor upbringing did not allow her to experience any kind of Christmas. To her the pinnacle of Christmas celebration is to have a potful of steamy hot nilagang baka (boiled beef soup), a leg of ham cooked in 7-up, and a queso de bola (gouda). Sometimes, just to make the celebration go overboard, a bowl of fruit salad is on the table. Other times, it's spaghetti.

All these food on the table gave everyone a big smile and made our hearts sing, not to mention or stomachs very happy.

And so there was nothing pretty special about our celebrations. We did not decorate our house except for a parol. We did not have a Christmas tree until the very last Christmas before I left for California. I don't know where we got it, but I decorated a table top green fake Christmas tree and wore that dreadful pink lace eyelet straight dress (that I thought then was sooo elegant) at church, that made me look 20 years older than I was. I really don't have fashion sense even then.

Now that we're all here in California, each decorate his/her house and we follow the American tradition. We gather at one sibling's house for Christmas lunch, which is in reality a whole day's affair. It's potluck so the host doesn't get that much burdened. This year it's my year to host. I have my menu all written down. The hubby had made minor adjustments, especially to the dishes he would create.

I know someday there's one Christmas that will stand out, but for now, I am really happy with the simple way we celebrate Christmas. Then and now, we always, always go to church on Christmas Eve before all the eating can commence.

Happy Christmas everybody!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crazy Cat Lady post

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Crazy cat lady and kitties napping during one of my sick days off.

Please I beg your indulgence in this purely selfish, crazy post.

It's about what happened in the bed last night. Did I hit your curious nerve there?

Aha, this is not R-rated, if you must know. It's actually sorta Disney-esque kind of post.

It's about my furbaby Buster. I've been yakking here about Emma sleeping on my legs or in between them almost nightly (except when it's hot). Buster on the other hand has claimed under the bed as his kingdom. That was the first place we went to when we got him from the shelter and so we put his catbed there. Now his catbed is gone, he doesn't like to sleep on it anymore, instead preferring the dusty carpet floor, or if he surfaces from under the bed would sleep in the computer chair also in the same room.

Well the night started as usual. Emma in between my legs, Catpapa next to me snoring. As I was trying to catch my sleep I heard a noise. I knew Buster jumped onto the bed and before I knew it he's next to me. He does this sometimes, asking for head rubs, neck and ear scritches. If I'm not awake, he would head butt my palm, and instinctually I would do as he asks in my half awake state.

Last night I was fully awake. It's been my habit to have a pillow on one side while the hubby sleeps on the other side. It feels more comfy and warmer that way.

So Buster proceeded to beg for head rubs and scritches, which I willingly gave. Then his motor started running, he's a big purr machine that one. As he purred and purred while I rubbed and rubbed, he started to make himself comfy on top of the pillow.

And my last waking memory is that of my hand draped around Buster's body, while his sleeping face was inches away from mine.

We slept cuddling. He was so sweet to allow this moment and experience with me.

Yap I admit, I am certifiably a crazy cat lady.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A week before Christmas

A week to go before Christmas and I find my energy level for the Holidays a bit down. Likewise my enthusiasm meter shows it's way down. I don't know what happens to me during this time of the year. I cannot seem to summon up enough energy, enough excitement, the same eagerness I once had for this holiday.

As our family had been doing for a few years now, what with the original nieces and nephews all grown and some have little kiddies of their own, we now only buy one present with a set price (usually $10) that would hopefully be gender neutral which we would number and then we'd pick out a number and we'd get the present with the corresponding number (like a white elephant thingy). Now if you pick the one you brought, you could pick another number. This way we can all cut down the cost of Christmas. Our family is big, and if we continued doing what we were doing before (buying each and everyone a present) well, it's crazy expensive. And completely unnecessary expenses, I might add. We all agreed that the adults (which now outnumber the kids) don't actually need anything, don't require presents at Christmas. So we all only buy one present, however, all the kids under 12 still get presents from everyone. After all Christmas presents are for kiddies, right?

That being said, trips to the stores/mall have been curtailed in half, or even less, especially since we almost always pick something up from the store all year round, or hit the buy button on websites for deals we see.

Be that as it may, I still found myself at the stores this weekend, the horror! I was slated to pick up some clothes for moi. I don't normally shop much for clothes except that I had budgeted some money for clothes from my vacation fund. I had found some pants, work pants, that I kinda like, but when I saw the long line at the cashier, I didn't hesitate to leave them behind and march out of the store. Long lines and shopping chaos give me headache.

Also this weekend, our 2nd annual project for the homeless in the city went underway. On Saturday we filled Christmas sacks filled with goodies from toiletries to food and bible. The evening also consisted of dinner and caroling. A fun time. Sunday was when the gift sacks were distributed; however, we didn't go with the group to distribute. We had other things to do.

We had a heavy heart all weekend long, helping friends with relationship woes. It's really hard to keep a relationship going. It's true love is not enough to keep it going. So many little things required for a partnership to bloom and thrive and grow, things like respect, compassion, romance, trust, etc. It's hard when you are friends with both of them. It would be easier if you are friends with just one of them, then your focus and support is with the friend. The hubby and I were on call and we've been fielding calls all weekend long. I pray that they can find a solution that is right for both of them. It makes me sad to see a relationship crumble, especially when you don't see the crack forming right before your very eyes. You only become aware there's trouble when the whole darn building collapses. That's what happened here. The hubs and I look at each other in disbelief. We had NO clue at all.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Well.....

Me: Do you have proof of this accusation?

Him: No

Her: He has no proof because it's not true.

Me to Him: If it were true, can you overlook it? Can you move past it? Is this a deal breaker?

Me to Her: If this were true, can you move past it? Can you go on without this baggage and whatever it is that drove you to make this mistake? Can you both keep on living together without looking back at this time in your relationship?

~ This is why I didn't pursue counseling. I suck at it. Plus I take it personally and too seriously.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Award, Weather, Movies

The supremely talented PRINSESA'S ANATOMY has bestowed upon me another blog award. Well to be precise the award went to my meme blog, FRANKLY MY DEAR. However, since I have been using that solely for memes, I thought I'd acknowledge the humbling honor that she passed on to me.

Muchas gracias mi amiga!

And now to the talking points for this post:

WEATHER:

It's silly that I'm even talking about it, considering the impact that bad weather had on other people all over the globe. The terrible snowstorm that's happening on the other side of the USA for example; or that deadly typhoon in the Philippines a month ago. Yet, it's been cold here. Freezing. Over the weekend, I don't think the temps have reached 50 F. It's cold! I'm worried about the outdoor cats in our neighborhood. My hubby has put out boxes in the yard in case cats want to get out of the elements and hang inside the box. Also we had that rainy day that downed a lot of water, then raced out of here like an unlicensed sidewalk vendor at the sight of a policeman.

And as crazy as it may sound, last evening we hang lights in the backyard, in freezing cold temp. Hubs said we've been postponing this task for weeks now (we've been truly busy), it was now (yesterday) or never. So we dressed warmly (or so we thought) and went to proceed with the task at hand. Needless to say I was shivering the whole time and my fingers froze even though I had gloves on. My jeans were no match for the biting cold. Well at least my body burned a lot of calories trying to warm me up.

MOVIES:

I've been very lucky with movies lately, both on Netflix, cinema, or on tv. I saw this old movie on tv that featured Michael Douglas called Solitary Man. I liked it a lot.

Then on Netflix I've seen Oblivion, which is good too. This one's with Tom Cruise. Have I told you that Tom Cruise rubs me the wrong way, so as long as I can help it, I don't see his movies in the theater and wait for the dvd if I ever was going to see it? But this one's a good one.

Also on Netflix I saw Taken 2, sequel to Taken of course. Maggie Grace is a 30-year old actress who can play a teenager, good for her. I think there is a part 3 to this the way the story went. A special bonus for me in this movie is its location. It was sorta travelogue for Istanbul, a bit, and I like it.

What else did I see on Netflix? Lemme think.....Oh I've seen Argo. What an excellent movie, no wonder it was the talk of the town at last award season. If you haven't seen this, go rent it.

Finally, I got to see CATCHING FIRE, which I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the movie. I am beginning to like Jennifer Lawrence after seeing Silver Linings Playbook (also courtesy of Netflix) and this second installment of Hunger Games series. I don't know what the ending of the movies is since I haven't read any of the books, but I hope that Katniss ends up with Gale. You know why I hope that? I've got a miniscule crush on the actor playing Gale, Liam Hemsworth. So happy he's no longer with that Cyrus girl.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

These Pretties Make Me Happy

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Hope you find your pretty that makes you happy.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Now That Thanksgiving is Over


Now that Thanksgiving is over, bring on Christmas!

But before that, let me tell you how Thanksgiving went. I took an extra day, Wednesday, so that I had a 5-day holiday, what fun, isn't it?

Spent the Wednesday tidying up the house, vacuum, sweeping, mopping, dusting, all the works. Each time there's an occasion I vow to regularly do a clean up like 2x a month just so the house is always "clean" and when big days come there's only a little bit of dusting or sweeping slash vacuuming to do; instead of this half-day affair. BUT it never happens. The other half of the day was spent chopping and slicing. I was tired.

Thankfully on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, there was very little thing to do. The turkey would go at the very last hour since we were deep frying it. Nope it is good deep fried. It's not our first time to do this. The skin is crispy, but the meat is super juicy. A crowd favorite.

The mashed potatoes were done the day before; just like the roasted veggies. Since we were deep frying the turkey we decided to do french fries and sweet potato fries.

We had 8 guests; not one is family, at least not by blood. Our family doesn't do a thanksgiving as a clan; we wait for Christmas to do that.

The toughest part of the preparation is not the cooking nor the cleaning; it's the digging up the boxes in the garage to find where the good china is. I wasn't going to serve dinner and use Dixie. In the same vein finding the good utensils was equally hard. Take it from me, mark your boxes accurately when packing for moving.

Anyway, we found the good set. We know that there's two sets because I bought two of them. However I could only find one set. It's a set of 8, good right since I have 8 guests. But that means we have to find something for me, the hubs and my mom to use. Long story short we found a way to complete our table setting.

Friday we stayed in bed till around 12 noon. I was dog tired from yesterday. When the party ended the clean up began and we didn't get into bed until way after midnight.

Initially planned on watching CATCHING FIRE; but when we eventually finished cleaning up from the party (putting back the china et. al.) it was an hour or so before the showing. We hit two stores just browsing. By the time we were driving to the cinema we noticed that the parking lot was so full we drove away and abandoned our plan of watching a movie.

On Saturday our friends took us to a seafood/sushi buffet. I know, more food, so soon after Thanksgiving. I don't know what's going on here.

Then we all went to Costco for a little shopping. We managed to get toys for little kids we have on our list.

Sunday we drove to Daly City to go to another seafood/sushi buffet. What's going on in here?

In recap, my five day holiday was more about food and not too much about shopping. Oh and I need a vacation from this one.

Kidding aside.....I am very thankful. I am blessed tremendously, more than I deserved.