Friday, September 4, 2015

Reasons Why I Don't Read

Oh my goodness, this blog is truly neglected. And I will show you why, in addition to why I no longer get to read fiction.

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With the exception of the first image, all the images were printed from the internet. I was intrigued with the coloring fad but I didn't do anything about it. However, on a trip to Walmart, I found a coloring book that was within my price range. So I bought it and some color pencils. The first few designs I did were horrible. At least these ones I think are not so bad. My eye for artistic beauty seem to be lacking. I am continually second guessing my choices of color scheme.

But this is why I have been doing little else in my free time. Have you joined the coloring trend yet?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

It's All Good, Baby. All Good.

Since I haven’t been around these parts lately, I want to share what’s been happening with life around my neck of the woods.

VERY GOOD:

Had a birthday (Thursday), took 2 days off giving me and the husband 4-day weekend. He treated me well for my birthday, exceeded all expectations. We don’t normally do a “big” thing for our birthdays. Dinner is the norm. However, for this birthday he pulled out all the stops. Flowers, cake, a sunset dinner Hornblower cruise around the bay, a beautiful sapphire ring, mani-pedi, massage, lunch at a Filipino restaurant in the Mission Distrit, a short road trip to Occidental, Bodega Bay, Tomales Bay, Olema, Pt. Reyes.

ALSO SO GOOD:

Friends came over the next day to share dinner at home. Got the very best scribbled b/day greeting from my favorite 7-year-old boy who we babysit. He decorated the drawing with kitty heads. He knows I’m a big cat person. His folks on the other hand gave me a wonderful set of jewelry. The mom knew I adore fashion jewelry and had asked me before where I shop for them. I really adored the gift. My other friend got me a wrap-around skirt, which would need a little bit of alteration, but I got the sewing machine for that. The night was wonderful. Filled with adult conversation and discussions from politics to culture to fashion and everything in between. It was as satisfying as the pesto pasta we had for dinner. The party broke at midnight.

On Saturday, we went to dinner with my two brothers, mom, and one sis-in-law at our favorite hole-in-the-wall Chinese place in El Cerrito. We ordered up a storm, got two dishes to go and only added up to $80. I chose the place because that’s my mom’s favorite spot and also wanted the family to know about this place. I think my sis-in-law is already making plans to bring people there. It’s a nice place to eat, if you don’t mind the nonexistent decor. Always I find my table the only non-Chinese when dining there. Talk about authentic dishes. They have for that day snails in black bean sauce that my brother adored. I scored big time there. It impressed him, because in restaurants like this you don’t want to see sweet and sour pork in the menu (although they have it).

On Sunday, we went to a friends’ wedding. We met the groom through church. We’ve been around them awhile, through the ups and downs, and we’re elated when they told us they are finally getting married. I didn’t do a church wedding because I am the type to shy away from spotlight. I don’t want the attention, but I enjoy going to parties like a wedding reception. The ceremony was casual, fun, and the priest was on top of his game and very funny. Honestly though, it was too casual for my liking.

The reception was held in Pleasant Hill and has an open bar. Truth be told I was hungry like a horse but threw caution to the wind and drank while munching on apps. I had three drinks (2 margaritas and a mojito) and didn’t feel buzzed at all. I guess the drinks were weak. The affair was catered but the bride and groom had requested that my husband make his famous cauliflower biryani and chicken kebab to supplement the food. The couple loved my husband’s cooking and so we both “slaved” at the kitchen Saturday evening and Sunday morning. It was all worth it when the caterer asked my husband after the dinner was served how he cooked his biryani and if he has a restaurant. High compliments, wow! My husband can really cook!

We were at the table with good friends of ours, a couple with their two kids, the younger one was one of the flower girls. She devoured every dessert and like any 5-year-olds has learned to manipulate people to get what she wants. She’s so adorable. I came to the table with my plate full of apps when she saw I had desserts. The girl immediately asked me where the dessert table was. She had more servings than I can ever count. Later her mom must have put out the stop sign on her dessert table trek so she asked me if she could go ahead and grab some dessert for me. Wise eh? I said go ahead, get me one and you can go and grab one for you too. She did. I let mine sit at my plate. I never intended to eat it. It was for her all along because I knew she would ask for it later on. And she did!!!!! I love that adorable girl.

Later, the mom texted me a picture of her and the brother all asleep in the car on the drive home. I’m glad she didn’t crash from sugar high that night and gave her folks a quiet Sunday night.

NOT SO GOOD

My reading has been derailed. First by a renewed attraction to Bejewelled Blitz and second by a new addiction to coloring these wonderful designs that are like zentangles. I have 2 books that I was reading simultaneously, but both are now waiting for whatever free time I’m going to have after all these hobbies.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Blah! Blah! Blah!


Two weeks ago was my last post here. There’s not much to tell about the past 2 weeks except that we went to get the bookshelves from Ikea (finally!). Well, the whole set required 2 trips since one component of the set was out of stock on the first trip. Actually, the lady upstairs told us there are 4 in the inventory and would likely be gone by the time we reached downstairs to the warehouse. She called it alright. Anyway, we came back the following weekend and completed our set. The husband and I we’ve been talking about putting a bookshelf (actually a built in was what we wanted initially) in the family room on both sides of the fireplace. We’ve been talking about that for years. On August 1st, we will be in this house for 6 years and we have just bought the bookshelves. Boxes and boxes are sitting in the garage right now waiting for us to find time to do the assembly. Too much to do with a house, isn’t it? The back splash in the kitchen is still a dream until now. Too many things to do with the house and the yard that needs to be done in stages because money is not available.

Anyway, I have completely ignored by backyard. With the drought, I let the plants die, if they die. What can you do? We water them 2x a week sometimes, most times once a week. We have been collecting water in buckets, like rinse water from kitchen or the cold water from the bathroom shower to water the plants long before the water agency told us to save water. Still the plants need more water than we can provide. Such a shame.

My birthday is coming up in two weeks and the husband doesn’t know what to do. He’s waiting for me to tell him what I want to do on my birthday. I don’t do much celebrating on my birthdays and I don’t see the pattern being broken this year, although I might do the usual dinner and something else. Hubs is thinking we should at least go out for an overnight somewhere. Reno, Tahoe, Monterey – these names are being thrown in the mix of potential destination. But I don’t know. I’m not sure I wanna go.

Although today I suddenly thought of Point Reyes as a perfect overnight getaway spot. I always wanted to stay in one of the B&Bs near the park whenever we drive there and maybe we will consider it. But I really don’t know.

A day in the city is not ruled out. I haven’t been to California Academy of Sciences yet, so probably that’s a good place to spend one’s birthday. Closer to home as well. I also was looking for places to eat and with my love for tapas and Spanish cuisine I might consider going to Zarzuela. Lolindo in SF also sounds good. Yelpers are happy with the food there. We shall see.

In other news, I have met a blog pal recently. She is visiting the States with her daughter and with SF as part of her itinerary I met with her. She’s so charming. Her daughter is adorable and quite mature for her age. I adore them. It was like I’ve known them my whole life, that’s how comfortable I was with them and I hope they share the same sentiment.

That’s 2 blog pals I’ve met eye to eye since I began blogging a whole lifetime ago.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Should I?

So I was fooling around FB today scanning photos from my friends and family. Suddenly feeling bored with the same pictures I’ve seen over and over I decided to find people. I used my hometown as a filter to find a long-lost school chum. This wasn’t my first try to find her. I have searched for her before, always using her maiden name because apparently I don’t know what her married name is or if she’s married. I really wanted to catch up with an old friend.

Anyway, my search pulled up a ton of people from my hometown and one name came up that may sound like her brother. I don’t know her siblings per se. We were friends from 7 years old till we were 16. So we were in school together for about 2-3 years, then she moved to a new school and our friendship was conducted via letters. After elementary school, her entire family moved to the US to join her father who was serving in the US navy. The exchange of letters not only continued, but became more furious. She sent me long letters, 3-4 pages (front and back) sharing all her glorious new adventures in a new school and new surroundings. I remember at age 13 (and this was waaay before the age of internet) I was reading her letter about a trip to Disneyland. She said from their home in Vallejo, CA they traveled by car for 11 hours and the road was straight – she even drew 2 lines like this….II and she was bored to death. I was transported to a new place I haven’t been or will never be and I read all her letter voraciously. I lived vicariously through her letters. She was a productive letter writer. I wrote as much as I could, sharing my pathetic adventures in our old plain boring town making it sound as interesting as it could be without veering too much from the truth.

So anyway, back to the FB search…. I clicked on a name that sounded like her brother’s name. And I scoured his timeline to see any mention of her. Yes there was a mention of her, which meant I clicked on the right person. Next, I searched his friends list and unfortunately she wasn’t there. Okay so to make a very long story short, I found that she also has a sister, which I didn’t know because I only knew of her and her brother when I was friends with her. Anywhoo, I clicked on the sister’s page and found a group picture including her and a man’s arm is wrapped around her. Thankfully, the man was tagged in the photo and I followed that tag and I found her. The man is her husband and she’s there. It looks like she’s only about 4 hours’ drive away from where I live.

I am so very tempted to message the husband because it looks like she doesn’t have a page of her own. But I am having second thoughts.

Should I or shouldn’t I reconnect?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Fireworks

Fourth of July is time for fireworks. I don't care for fireworks. I'm just not. I don't get excited by them. I don't plan my holidays around them. I just don't.

I thought I'd share that!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

First of July

First of July.

Whew! The first half of the 2015 sure did whiz by, isn’t it? I can’t seem to remember anything from that first half; well not really except that most of what happened was a blur to me.

Last weekend we went to the movies with another couple. We went to see Jurassic World in 3D. Now to be honest I don’t really care about Jurassic World or the previous movies about dinosaur. I may have watched all of them, although for sure I remember seeing the very first one on the big screen. The following installments I may have seen them on cable or Netflix.

Since I was there only to complete a double date I had no expectations of the movie or the enjoyment factor that I would get from such an outing. After all, the reviews I have read about the movie went like this: a lot of running by people not making wise decisions.

However, both the movie itself and the 3D experience surpassed my expectations. Well, I have no expectation to begin with. Still it was such a surprise to me that I enjoyed the 3D experience this time around. I cannot remember the movie anymore but the first time I went to a 3D movie I was dizzy for the most part. I ended up watching the rest of the movie without the glasses, so you know that wasn’t a good experience.

What I am looking for now is the last installment of Mockingjay. I cannot wait.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

And so......

Okay, I was silent here again.

I was busy, I think.

While I was quiet here I went to the Giants game one Friday night, for the Pancreatic Cancer Society fundraiser.

The Giants lost, big time. They were getting no hit until the late innings. Pathetic.

Also, I've been reading some more. I really really enjoyed the last one that I read from John Grisham.

Good news. My green tea truffle that I entered for our church's Chocolate Extravaganza fundraiser won first place in the candy category! Can you belive that?

I practiced it first. I brought a sample to my co-workers. One of them is a great cook. She makes wonderful chocolate barks and other snacks. She said it was okay. Another co-worker said the flavor was okay, although the green tea flavor was weak. Of course she's Asian and she, like me, craves for the bold green tea flavor. However, my audience was probably not into the bold green tea presence in a chocolate truffle.

So I made my basic chocolate truffle and added chopped up candied ginger then sprinkled it with green tea. I instagrammed it here.

I believed the reason why I was chosen by the tasters was that my entry was a bit different from the usual brownie, or caramel flavor. I'm so happy I tell you. It's ironic that someone who has no kitchen know how gets to win a cooking contest :).

In another news, I finally got to the movies again. Today we saw San Andreas. It's an okay movie. That is all I have to say.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Birds, birds, birds!

I've been collecting photographs of doors, windows, and signs. Lately, I've been expanding my field of collection to birds. I have not been quite successful in the wild, on the few times that I went for bird watching. However, I found that the shore bird exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium provides the best venue for bird photography. Here's a few shots from there.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tough Times

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May I vent?

Again you say?

Yeah, again!

I know quite a few people who are dealing with difficult issues. Of course I know we all have crosses to carry. Some have heavier than others. As I observe around me, I feel a tad guilty that my cross is lighter than most people. I feel so blessed. And guilty. What have I done to carry a lighter cross?

The crosses that people around me are carrying:

Death of husband, then father and now brother is fighting the big C - all these in a span of 1.5 years.

Prolonged divorce proceedings that is wreaking havoc to health.

A cancer diagnosis for family member.

Sorry, I'm just having a bad day. All around me I feel people's sadness. I have been having some aches and pains too, part of growing old I suppose. Since the death of my niece in February, I feel like I'm in a fog. Somehow it's still not sinking in - fully and completely - that she's not going to show up on my doorstep.

All right, enough of this.

Let's go get excited about the GS Warriors basketball team who are in the NBA finals after 40 years. Geez, the winnings were nonexistent for a long period. This is hopefully their year to hoist the cup or trophy.

Another thing that's keeping me busy is reading. I have been devouring some paperback lately. Time is limited so I don't get to read as much as I really want to. I do my reading during lunch at work and if I don't finish the book during the week which I normally don't I take the book home with me and finish it on the weekends.

The last three that I finished reading are:

FRENCH SILK by Sandra Brown

THE SIGMA PROTOCOL by Robert Ludlum

THE FACE by Dean Koontz

I'm currently so engrossed with a James Patterson novel. For the life of me I cannot remember the title right now.

Have you heard of the following tv shows?

THE TYRANT

THE STRAIN

UNDER THE DOME

These are my summer guilty pleasures and I cannot wait for them to come on pretty soon.

I wish I have HBO because I really really love Game of Thrones.

Till next time.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Back from Vacation

Back from a 5d4n Mexico beach vacation, I am now here to report about it. Although what is there to report about? We stayed in a resort, all-inclusive, fronting the blue of Sea of Cortez. It's funny I know but each time I go on vacation, my period shows up. My last vacation I got my period when we landed in Venice. What is that about?

Anyway, I kinda dug the resort vacation this time. I have been to Cabo once, when the cruise stopped for a day there. This vacation is different from that. We didn't rent a car as we intended. We didn't go to explore other towns as planned. But we enjoyed our time. We went shopping, walked on the beach, soaked on the jacuzzi, joined other Warriors fan in the Sports Bar watching games 4 & 5 against the Rockets, went on a sunset cruise by The Arch, had a pamper me time at the spa, and parasailed.

However, on the last 2 days the temps was boiling hot. Unbearably hot. It was the kind of heat that would give you a headache. Mine hurt like crazy, not a good feeling when you're trying to have a fun time.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Well, hello there!

It’s awfully quiet around here lately, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s good to be quiet to balance all the noise in real world. Life has been monotonous and routinary, is that even a word? Okay, it’s not a word. Let’s just use ordinary. It’s been pretty ordinary around here. Five-day work period, 2-day weekends. Although it’s especially a cool and mostly overcast month of May it seems. No rain, though. Pity that’s what we need around here.

Here in the Bay Area it’s pretty crazy if you’re a sports fan. The GS Warriors are in the conference championship, up 2-0 over the Houston Rockets. Believe me I work my schedules around their play-off games. Nope, I do not watch them live. It’s too expensive. Cannot afford with my paycheck. But I get together with friends and we take turns having viewing party, sort of. And of course the San Francisco Giants just finished not only sweeping the hated archrival the Los Angeles Dodgers, but blanking them in all 3 games!!!

This is why my blogging is taking a back seat for the time being.

In a few days I’m off for several days in the beach of Cabo to soak up the sun, the sea and the sand. I cannot wait. I’ve done a little bit of research, but for the most part I’m looking forward to a little rest and relaxation and plenty of hot sand between my toes and hopefully my share of the margaritas.

There’s a place called Todos Santos, which is about 1.5 hours drive from Cabo. It’s a small town famous for its arts and crafts and the home of Hotel California. No, not the one mentioned in the very famous Eagles song. However, look up the net and you’ll see everyone’s taking their selfies with the hotel. I want to see it. It’s going to be iffy if we’re going to rent a car for a day to do some sightseeing, but if we do Todos Santos is in the itinerary for sure. Oh and the capital city of La Paz, although according to the net that’s all 4 hours of driving away. Wait and see.

It’s the time of the year that discontent sets in. I don’t know why. Probably because half of the year is over and nothing has been accomplished. It’s always the same old routine, the same old regrets, the same old pessimism.

As soon as we get back from Cabo, I’ll get going on prepping for a chocolate item that I will be entering for the fundraiser, the annual Chocolate Extravaganza at church. While I had been lucky in the first year to bag a spot in the top 3 taster’s choice, the following years had been unsuccessful. I do want to revisit the recipe (truffle) that I entered on the first year where I bagged 2nd place but tweak it a bit. I’m thinking of changing the flavor from mint, which I was not crazy to begin with, to something different. Maybe amaretto. I would have to experiment first.

So for the time being, enjoy your summer. And if you’re on the other side of the world where summer days are dwindling giving way to cooler, or rainier weather, I sure hoped that you made the most of the sun and the sea and the sand this year

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Bunch of Randomness

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In my mind I've been making up posts for this blog all through the week, but somehow these never made it to the blog.

Anywhooo, I just want to share a few randomness with you today:
  • The picture above is from Berkeley Rose Garden snapped a week ago.  Unfortunately, it was too early to visit that very few of the roses had flowers.
  • I got my DSLR cleaned professionally.  However, I only got the body cleaned and not the telescopic lens because as usual I'm trying to save money. Turned out the cause of all my problems was the dirty lens and not the body(mirror, etc), ugh!
  • I'm taking a month off Zumba.
  • One more month and I'm off to Mexico for a little R&R.
  • My co-worker is going to Italy this year, her first time, and I'm so excited for her.
  • I bought two bags of books from the town library's book sale.  My year's supply of reading is taken care of.
  • Speaking of reading, I've been doing a lot of that lately.  A lot, a lot!
  • I still haven't seen Insurgent.  It doesn't look like I'm ever going to see it on the big screen.  How was it, for those who have seen it?
  • Thankful Emma and Buster are in pink of health, knock on wood.
  • I haven't been to San Francisco since last year, can you believe that?  Too much things going on here in the East Bay.
  • I could have a bowl of vermicelli bun right now.
  • I'm a little under the weather. It's 71 F outside, and I'm inside the house in my bathrobe and feeling really cold, sinus is congested and head pounding, but surfing online makes my aches and pains all manageable.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cheap is Expensive

Are you like me? Do you have a fascination with buying anything cheap? I like going to the Dollar Tree, Dollar Store, 99 Cents Store, etc to get items like dust pan, brooms, paper clips, legal pads, etc, etc, etc.

Lately, however, I’ve been becoming aware that cheap is getting expensive. Like the soap caddy for instance. We buy at the dollar store. It doesn’t work after a few months. In a year we get to replace the caddy so often. Then there’s my work ID badge, the plastic thingy that you hang on a lanyard? Well I’ve been buying ID badge holder every month at the 99 Cents Store. Finally one day, I had it. On the third week of the last badge holder that I got from the discount store, it broke. I finally had it. I decided to buy one from Walmart. Okay so as much as Walmart doesn’t appeal to me as a “good employer”, the prices cannot be beat and when you’re operating your household under a tight budget, believe me you will grab onto Walmart’s prices so quickly.

Anyway, so we went to Walmart and found a package of 12 badge holders…..for $1.99. Twelve for $1.99!!!! More bang for my buck! And it’s good quality too. I think I will think twice before buying something from the dollar store from now on, although I’m very sure that nothing can stop me from shopping there.

Do you buy anything from discount/dollar stores?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Millie and Other Random Thoughts

Out of the blue I thought of Millie today. Who is Millie? I met Millie in college, freshman year. She’s one of the girls I hang out with. Since we were seated alphabetically (pathetic, right?) we always sit together, both of us have last names starting with M.

In college she wore her straight black hair short, an inch or two above shoulder with bangs. She wore red red lipstick on her nicely shaped lips. She also wore make-up, I thought too much for school setting. She kept her uniform (yes we did wear unis in university) above the knee, highlighting her beautifully-shaped legs, proportional for her short stature.

She was a Manilena, through and through. Okay to be more precise, she was from San Juan. One time we went to their house, I don't remember why.

Anyway, she belonged to the group of gals that I hang with on that freshman year. All of them are from the Metro area and I was the only one that’s from the province. I really felt like I was fresh off the boat for the most part whenever I was around them, or what we used to term, promdi (short for from the province).

She was very nice to me and she has that guile, womanly guile that only a Manilena would know at age 17. In my eyes she was mature beyond her years.

She moved away the next year. I heard she migrated to USA.

Years later, my bff from high school who also migrated to California was on the phone with me and out of nowhere she asked if I knew Millie. They bumped into each other in San Jose and they had me in common. Both of them shared individual experience of how we copied off each other during exams.

I really don’t have a reason for this post except that I realized that so many people come into our lives that are there only for a second or so. Then they’re gone forever. They move on to their own journey on this earth and our journey goes on without them.

Say for instance, all the people in all the classes I’ve been in the university. Out of a roomful of people, there’s one or two that would be important for a period of time, if not forever. What happens with the others?

I’ve lived in dormitories before. I’ve made life-long friends there. But there were more who I ate dinner with regularity and yet I cannot remember their names anymore. At one point in my life, I have shared a chuckle with so many people that have touched my life in some ways.

I don’t know what I’m talking about. But as I was looking at the photos of people I took in Venice, an idea is brewing in my mind. I think I’ll explore that idea further.

In the meantime, I wonder what happened to Millie. Would we recognize each other when we bump into each other? I could only wonder.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Take Time To Smell The Flowers

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Enjoy the little things.

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Bask in the sunshine.

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Dance in the wind.

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Make a new friend.

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Remember to always take time to smell the flowers.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mindless Mumblings.

Almost a week ago today, the sad news that Philippine movie personality Liezl Martinez succumbed to the big C came to me as I was about to sleep for the night. Her passing affected me in a way I did not expect. I guess one reason is that I’m still whirling from losing my niece to the same dreaded disease. Another reason is that I have been following (okay reading since I don’t have an account) her tweets and Instagram for a while now. I enjoy looking at her photos. I don’t recall watching any of her films; I don’t think she had many. I wasn’t even maka-Albert (Albert fan) during the Regal Babies days. But her passing saddened me. It felt like air was let out of my balloon. Rest in peace Liezl, another one gone way too soon.

Anyway, things are the way they’re supposed to be. Did not go on any trips, long or short; however, there’s one in the offing that I’m quite excited about. I’ll let you in on the planning soon.

Yes, I’ve returned to Zumba. I missed two weeks of February because we were too busy with the niece being in the hospital and then the funeral. But I’m back. Now if I could only lose some weight.

Spring is officially arriving tomorrow. Out here in Cali, we’ve had Spring since after Fall. I don’t recall any winter like conditions here. And because our winter was the driest in how many years, the drought conditions are getting worse. I read somewhere that the water supply we have right now is only good for one year. And then what?

I’ve been telling anyone who would care to listen this. Why not transport all the extra snow that the other parts of this great country received this winter and dump it all in California? That would solve some of this state’s problems on water, right? Kidding aside, how feasible is it to do that? Pipeline from one coast to the other?

Another thing on my mind is the worsening traffic in the Bay Area. Can we not utilize our waters to ease congestion? Is there a way to make our ferry system affordable and appealing to the commuters? Talks have been going in the past about a ferry depot in Hercules. As a matter of fact, construction of housing and stores have been put up near the location. If my husband reads this he would tell me to attend the town hall meeting. We have attended one time and it was about this same issue. I believe that was nearly 5 years ago.

Speaking of commute, I was able to share my route, the scenic route, to my co-worker. I did not realize we live near each other. And when I told her about my route she was flabbergasted that such a route exist. When you’re commuting in the I-80 in the East Bay you are expected to have a plan B or route B because if you rely on taking the freeway the rest of the way you’ll be in big trouble. The most obvious plan B is to take San Pablo Avenue. It somewhat parallels the freeway. The only problem with this route is that everyone knows about it and it’s the first one they take when something goes wrong on I-80. There’s another route that also uses San Pablo Avenue, but this one takes Arlington and you’d end up in Oakland.

Now this is the route I use nowadays. I don’t even bother to go to I-80 even though I see it’s clear near my house. I know it’s jammed in Richmond or in Berkeley, so what’s the point.

I take the backroads. My commute is through the rolling green hills with grazing cows, and electric poles and lines covered with birds, then it comes out to a curvy San Pablo Dam Road that passes by dams and hills and Orinda town where I take the freeway to Oakland.

My co-worker has been taking the route for days now. Today she was beaming from ear to ear and said her commute is down to 40 minutes. Well that’s still long, but better than I-80. I’m just glad I shared this super secret route, which actually was shared to me by others as well. Pass it on.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Wow





Amid all the despair and sadness of the past few weeks, I managed to find something really beautiful. I thought God gave me this day to tell me that things will be better.

My niece had lost her 3-year battle with pancreatic cancer the day before this video was taken. When she was first diagnosed I was about to leave for my India/Bangladesh vacation in 2012. I remember that clearly because I phoned my brother just to give him a heads up that I will be out of the country for a month and our elderly mother who lives with me has all the sitter she needed at that time. I always ring my brothers and email them later whenever I leave so that they know my whereabouts and at the same time ask if they could drop by the house to see mom, as she gets sad when I'm not around.

Anyway, when I rang him he said he's in LA because my niece is in the hospital. They discovered something in her insides they don't know yet, but likely cancerous in nature. She was a very strong intelligent woman with 3 small children, ages 10, 7 and 5. The tumor was small when they found it in her pancreas, chemo blasted it or something. She had a few months of health. But it came back, more aggressive or something. I don't know really what happened. I get different versions depending on who I talk to. Needless to say, pancreatic cancer is tough to beat.

Long story short, she kept battling until the very last breath. My SIL (her mom) told us that under the respirator she mumbled: IT'S TIME. She bravely chose her ending. I don't know how she did that, but you know I'm not very surprised because while alive she's been doing things I'm afraid to touch with a 10 foot pole. And while technically I am her aunt, our age gap is merely 7 years and we're more "cousins".

She was in the ICU for a couple of weeks before she passed. We saw her on the first week and she was without respirator, but by the next week she just couldn't breathe on her own. The chemo made her lung linings (pleura I think) very thin that enabled water to fill her lungs making it very difficult to breathe. She had tube on her side, or back, to drain fluid. She was suffering too much.

Anyway, when the plan to take a short weekend trip to the mountains she was in status quo. Nothing was said about taking the respirator off. On Ash Wednesday, my hubs phone rang while we were in church. I stepped out to take the call and my brother said it's bad news. Her ICU doctors said they cannot do anything else for her. The husband asked if he could take her case in Stanford for second opinion. My travel plans were hanging in the balance until Friday afternoon.

We decided to push through with the trip on Friday evening. When we were leaving for our trip on Saturday morning, I rang my brother to check on them. They were arranging funeral services. That was when I found out that my niece and her family decided that she would go that Saturday, respirator would be taken out at 2 pm.

With our bags packed we drove to the hospital to say our last goodbye. Other nephews and nieces picked up my mom and drove her to the hospital for their last goodbye as well.

The whole drive, I had one eye on my phone. By 2 pm, I texted my nephew to ask if he's still in the hospital. By 3 pm, I got a text saying she passed on. It was a tough road trip. Road trips usually give me boost, a therapy for whatever ailed me in past.

The snow was unexpected. Days before the trip I kept calling the lodge to inquire about weather. When all I heard was sunny skies without chance of snow, I packed accordingly. Then on our second day, we awoke to this.....

I captured our travel buddies going to their car to get to the restaurant for breakfast.

Not my first winter wonderland experience, but it's the first in a very very long time.

Who knew snowfall can be very comforting and therapeutic?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I hope....


can't get enough

I can eat ice cream with the same reckless abandon as that of a child.

A lot of things happening lately. Will try to write.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sad Day


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I haven't been posting here lately, but I thought I'd put my feelings into writing. Except that I really don't think I understand my feelings. I know I am sad and shocked, but other than that I have no idea.

You see this morning an hour or so after my shift, my husband called. Now this is a routine call, every morning he calls to check if I get to work okay and on time. He leaves home before me. But this time he said he had bad news. Our friend and realtor died last night.

When my husband was single and working in suburbia (he's still working in the 'burbs), he rented a room with a childless couple. The house has 4 bedrooms and at one time all 3 bedrooms were rented. Finding a place to live in is quite difficult. Getting an apartment is not easy on the pocketbook. My husband being a quiet guy, shuns partying, found the ideal place with this elderly couple. They doted on him like a son they never had and in return he helps out with little things the couple couldn't do themselves - the husband being handy around the house.

This relationship grew stronger and even after we got married we remained close to them. They treated me as the daughter-in-law they never had. We take them out to dinner occassionally, or invite them over for supper - and they do the same for us.

The woman has a sister, D, the realtor. We became close to her as well and treated her like family. She was the one who got us our house. She was very patient with us when we were looking for a house. She used to tell me I cannot get a house because I like every house I saw. As a matter of fact, the house we live in now is one of those very few that I didn't really like. But my husband drilled some sense into me and I saw the potential. I'm glad I listened. I love our house and always think of D as the reason why we have the house.

When we closed escrow and I got the key to the house, she didn't want to accept her commission. She said we could use it to buy stuff for the house. After pointing out that she earned the commission, she then gifted us with a new laptop as a housewarming present.

D was a good friend. She and her husband, like her sister and her husband, are childless. Her sudden death raises so many questions. Who will look after her frail husband? What will happen to their house?

It's just a sad day.

In other news:

.....I'm still going to zumba (yay!)

.....I think I'm getting arthritis (no!)

.....We had friends over last Friday night and had lots of fun. House was shaking with laughter. Hubby drank too much, got sick all night long. Was hung over the next day. Glad he was at home when all this happened.

.....I'm going away for a night at a cabin near Sequioa National Park. However I will miss two parties because of this - my niece Ashley's 2nd bbq at the park birthday party and Tempest's Oscar night party. Oh I so wanted to go to both of those, especially Tempest's party because her husband is a professional pastry chef or is it chocolatier. Oh boy he makes really good chocolate yummies.

That's all for now.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Disappointments and Hopes

I started to write something here about what happened earlier in the day about someone's alleged prejudice against the third sex. Then I deleted it. What if he was only joking? However, he doesn't joke around that way. It was simply too jarring an incident. Why would he say things like that? I'm disappointed with him. I'm disappointed with me because I always thought he is an upstanding guy.

Even if he's only joking, I'm afraid I'm never going to see him in the same light again.

Now to more rosy thoughts.....

The Golden State Warriors are unbelievably good this year. Many are hopeful - and confident - that they would go past the first round of eliminations. I join the multitude of #dubnation who's wish is to see them win it all this year.

Vacation can't come soon enough.....

But I won't be taking one in another 4 or 5 months. I think a week-long beach holiday is due. I'm starting to get things done, like booking the resort, and the flight. For the most part this year will be quiet in terms of travel because we plan on visiting family in Bangladesh for Christmas. My husband didn't have Christmas with his family in 20+ years, so I say it's overdue, don't you think?

With this in plan, most of our vacation time would be used for this trip, limiting the budget allotment and time allotment for any other destination.

Meantime, my Christmas tree is still up and the so are the decors. I am plain too lazy to do anything. I've been having major headaches lately and when I get them I just wanna lay in bed with the cats and do nothing. I really should go to the doctor - again ask for diagnotic test even though the ones done on me before were all negative.

By the next post, I would have definitely packed all the Christmas decorations and to the garage they will reside until I fished them out again in 11 months.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

First Week of 2015 in the Books

That is right, the first week of the new year is down the drain. Pretty soon February is here. So what new things happened in this young new year so far? Let me tell you:

  • I am doing Zumba, 2x a week.  I am loving it, but my muscles don't.
  • Veggies and fruits dominate my diet.  Trying my best to make 2015 the year I finally lost weight and excercised.
  • Bye bye cable.  We're doing Direct TV now.
  • Reading, reading, reading.  I have read about 3 since the last week of December.  Yay me!

Projects that are still pending are:
  • Sewing.  I have lots of them.
  • Cross stitch project that has been on the shelf for a couple of years at least.
  • Want to do greeting card from scratch.
  • Scrapbook of my travel souvenirs - like all the train tickets, museum pass, knick knacks and paper and coin currencies from different countries I've visited.  Somewhere in my box is the makeshift 4 x 4 cardboard with handwritten Arabic stuff that became our train ticket from Alexandria to Cairo when the computer system went down in Alexandria and no real tickets could be issued.  I saved it.
I think that's good for now, project-wise.  That is plenty and I'm going to dance the dance of my people if I got to 80% of my goal. 

In the meantime, let me eat my fruit and push most of the carbs out of my plate.  I'm trying here.  Really trying.....hard.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Food Craving Wednesday

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Resuscitating this series of Food Craving. On my last vacation in October/November, I made sure that I have chocolate con churros in Barcelona. Otherwise, the Barcelona experience wouldn't be complete.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Tony Says.....

Tony Bourdain was asked:

What do you think of people who Instagram their food?

His answer:

Look, I'm guilty of it, too. I think it's worth making fun of. We deserve to be mocked. It's a dysfunctional, even aggressive practice. Why do we Instagram pictures of our food? It's not to share. It's to make other people feel really bad. … It's basically a f--- you. You say, "Look what I'm eating, bitches." You don't want people to be eating dinner with you when you Instagram a picture of your food. You want them to be eating a bag of Cheetos on their couch in their underpants. It's a passive aggressive act.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Oh those lyrics.

I finally realized I needed to google the lyrics of a song by Meghan Trainor.

I was singing it as.....

It's all about the bitch, about the bitch.

Hahahaha!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Overheard


"Eat first then we'll cuddle later."

Overheard this conversation tonight. Hubby talking to Fuzzy, a feral cat who comes for her dinner every night.