Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Time For Reflection

I am having a tough time doing my year-end post over at my other blog. Usually this comes in easy. I enumerate the places I've been throughout the year and voila I got a post. This year it felt different for some reason. I cannot really pinpoint where the change is or what factors might be affecting this change in my feeling. I have traveled my fair share this year. Somehow I felt it was less than last year, although that is not true. I was hoping that by writing here, somehow, a switch will flip automatically and I'll be able to come up with something to post in the other blog.

I was sitting in front of the computer for a few hours yesterday, which was a great day to just chill after the chaos of the Holidays, but when nothing comes into my head I turned on the tv and lo and behold GAME OF THRONES is running a marathon. I hit record all and thought I'd go out for a bit to see what's on sale, although I truly was not interested. The hubby just needed to get some fresh air, so we went out.

As expected, we didn't see anything worthy. Of course we didn't hit the big stores in the mall, because...why? Anyway when we got back I was eager to continue watching my Game of Thrones, when I realized that the setting on my dvr only records up to 5 epis. OMG, I lost the first five epis. That kinda put a wrinkle on my face right there. Anyway, no harm since I have seen those episodes before.

Anyway that's not why I am posting here now, two months since the last post, I want to practice my year-end post. Sort of a dry run.

In the hopes of getting an inspiration from last year's year-end post I went and scrolled my posts and I found out that I did not do one last year because we left for Bangladesh middle of December and got back home January 9 or something.

Thus my 2016 started in Bangladesh with family and friends and being reunited with a girl I met some years ago who now is a mother yet still maintain the girlish charm.

From Bangladesh we flew to Bali for a 6 day interlude before flying back home. A wonderful time was had by us. Bali is known for beautiful beaches, but I didn't dip in the pool once and we only saw the beach once. We were chasing temples and being culture vultures, ate at local food stands where we got freebies because they want us to discover and enjoy Balinese cuisine.

In May we celebrated our anniversary in Cancun, which is not really a surprise given the fact that we both enjoy Cancun. This time around with a whole week and no itinerary to adhere to we were able to visit Xcaret, an ecological theme park. In past visits, we have tried to dismiss coming here because we thought it was a Universal Studios kind of park, but wrong we were. What an incredible place to enjoy culture and nature.

For my birthday in August, we went to Florida and had a theme park trip visiting both Universal Studios and Disney World. In addition we had a beach day at Cocoa Beach. I'm starting to like Florida, especially since the food is awesome. Had Venezuelan and Puerto Rican cuisine while there.

In the fall, we gathered up friends and had a weekend of quiet in a cabin in Alpine Meadows in the Sierras. What lovely time we had and such a beautiful cabin. We hoped to be back someday.

Now just before all the craziness of the Holidays friends emailed us of a cruise that's reasonably priced. Since I had a previously approved vacation time around the same time we said yes to a cruise. So in November we sailed the Caribbean stopping in both the British and US Virgin Islands and Bahamas. A much needed break before the chaos of Christmas preparations.

2016 was just another year in terms of travel, but the focus of the year for me was friendship. We have continued to develop the friendships we have and enjoy other people's company more. We went out to eat more, we went to each other houses to eat more and we traveled together this year. We are lucky that we have friends who become family.

May 2017 be kind to all of us. And please laugh more this year, it's good for you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hello There, Again!

Just when I’m giving myself a little blog break I chose to write something here. Work has been quite hectic recently that whatever things I needed to write here stayed in my brain and wouldn’t get out for me to write about them.

A dream became realized recently when we rented a cabin (what a cabin!) in Alpine Meadows by Tahoe and stayed for 2 nights with friends of ours. It has always been a fantasy to stay in a cabin in the mountains. What a fun, relaxing weekend it was. It rained the entire time, from our arrival on Friday night to our departure on Sunday afternoon. We ate, chatted, napped, watched a lot of tv, both sports and chick flick, observed the kids playing with each other and found a quiet time to oneself amidst a cabin full of people.

What made it more dreamy was that the trees were showing their fall colors. The cabin was surrounded by yellow everywhere you look. Quaking aspens dance in the wind, which was viewed from the large glass windows of the cabin. There was this one big window by the dining room, what a joy. I started daydreaming about how lovely it would be to do one’s sewing in the dining room table while looking out at the trees outside. What a cozy cabin, a bit compact, but each nook and cranny had a purpose.

I made a mental note to do more of these weekend trips. They are cheaper, does not require long travels, and they are so reinvigorating. We are looking at coming back to this cabin next summer. Why next summer? Because this cabin, that is owned by husband's co-worker, is booked solid from November to May. Fingers crossed we could go back here and enjoy the surrounding area with a hike. We were unable to hike because of the rain and the cold; our friends walked under a mile to reach the nearby creek, the watering hole around these parts where people swim in the summer time.

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My friends going out for a walk after breakfast.

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View outside the dining room window.

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Stuck to the kitchen window.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

We Are SF, We Are Giant

So frustrated! That's how I have been feeling since July this year. Well now, I am not the only one to feel this way. The entire Giant nation shares the aggravation.

Us Giants fans, we don't ask for a lot. We just want our championship parade every other year. It's looking more and more like that's not happening this year. What is more hurtful on my part personally is that I wasn't around in 2014 during the exciting World Series because I chose to gallivant all over Europe, opting to see Venice, soak in Santorini and meander the historical alleys of Genoa. Thus, I missed the masterful performance of Madbum, of how he singlehandedly carried the team past the rampaging KC Royals - who won it all last year.

What is perplexing is how everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, so far. Nothing they do is working. Well, they are not doing anything. The Giants are not moving the runner to second base. They are definitely not hitting home runs, let alone scoring runs. What they are doing? They are allowing the opponents to score on them, to hit all their pitches. So annoying. I cannot put my finger on it. It makes my blood boil. Even my husband who is at most a casual bystander gets outraged.

For my health, I stopped watching. I know I shouldn't. I should keep on supporting them. I am not just a fair-weather fan, but them getting a meltdown in the past few months is stressing me.

I love you Giants. Right now, I can't even look at you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hello

I have requested to move up an approved vacation from management. I don't care whether it gets approved or not. Either way I am still going to get vacation time. Except that if approved I might be going to enjoy a few Carribean islands versus a combination of Vegas/San Diego if not approved. If it gets approved, I'd meet up with friends of ours; if not approved I'd meet up with other friends of ours. I think it's a win-win situation.

In another news, we recently went on a Monday night eight-some with 3 other couples - all friends of ours we met at church. One of them was having a birthday and his lovely wife planned this surprise birthday. However, him being a contrarian did not approve of the choice of restaurants. So funny. He wanted to go to an Indian restaurant and despite this occasion being his birthday we all vetoed because we all wanted to drink (on a Monday night!) and most Indian restaurants don't have variety in their alcoholic beverage menu, if they even have it. So all tired and stressed from a whole day of work, we had a fun-filled and loud dinner. Now they want to do this regularly. Another is having a birthday at the end of the month and husband's is not too far away. Really fun to get together with these people.

What else is happening? Not much. I'm still coloring, although I don't spend as much time as I did before; I started to read again. A medical thriller by Robin Cook. So glad that I am reading again. What I need to go back to is Zumba.

Fall Season is fun for tv lover like me because the shows I follow are back. So far, only Big Bang Theory has aired its new season and it was funny as ever. The writers of the show have not shown a decline in their ability to write humorous situations and the actors appear to be better than ever. Thus, I was DISAPPOINTED that there were no acting/writing/directing/bestcomedyshow in last Sunday's Emmy Awards? Unthinkable.

That's all for now.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September!!!!!

So here we go, September!

Only four months before the year ends. It is not funny anymore that at this time every year we go shake our heads in disbelief that 2/3 of the year is over. And the last 1/3 of the year would be busily spent making preps for the Holidays and various parties. This Monday is Labor Day and while I welcome the day off, I know that it’s going to be downhill from there.

As a matter of fact, a couple of days ago, the unmistakable scent of fall made an appearance here. I was surprised when I felt and smelled it, I’m sure it didn’t really have a smell, but you know what I mean.

There are various changes that signal the end of summer as well. On my commute to work in the morning, there is that not to be missed sign in my face. Pretty soon when the clock falls back, I would have a quiet morning as my companion for commute. I so welcome that prospect.

It’s been over 2 decades since I left the homeland for good and I had fond memories of Christmas carols being played as early as the calendar changes to September, but I am glad that is not the case here. I am just not ready for the Holidays and the hustle and bustle that the season entails.

Right now, I want to have a quiet September, cool breeze on my face, exploding sunset scenes, September baseball, and waiting for pumpkin spice latte.

Happy September everyone!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

This Is How The Florida Vacation Went


Day 1 – Left for Florida. Flight was delayed by half an hour so we left about 11:30 pm PST. We arrived at the airport about 7 pm. A long wait in the airport especially when there’s an 8-year-old that’s easily bored.

Day 2 – Arrived in Orlando at about 9 am, local time. Took the shuttle to the car rental place, that took longer than necessary, but was in Universal Studios by noon. Went to a couple of rides and the Hogwarts Express. It rained. Got to the resort about 9’ish or more around 10 pm. The two men went to nearby Walmart to shop for supplies. They arrived and made a wonderful saltless (we forgot to put salt and pepper on the grocery list) chicken fajita.

Day 3 – Second day in Universal Studios. Got to take a lot of the rides and was in long lines for most of the day too. Those rollercoaster rides were too much for me, but I had to go on them. I just closed my eyes the entire time. Also went to a ride that soaked us from head to foot, which was good given the heat and humidity of the day.

Day 4 – a break from the theme park routine. Decided this was beach day. Drove 1 ½ hours to Cocoa Beach. Beautiful beach, warm water, wide sandy beach and not crowded. On the way back, stopped at a Venezuelan restaurant for dinner – we had arepas, tostones, fried yucca, empanadas, etc.

Day 5 – DisneyWorld day. Today is the only day we allotted for Magic Kingdom. And today happened to be the hottest and most humid day of the week. The heat was brutal. I nearly lost it. We did a few rides, went back to relive memories by going to Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World and Jungle Cruise. These rides are not magical anymore. Anyway, rain happened again, like each day this week at about the same time every day. Waited out the rain then resumed activities and watched the magical electrical parade and the fireworks at Cinderella’s castle. Left after the 9 pm fireworks, our friends stayed behind until the park closed.

Day 6 – Husband and I went back to Universal Studios to take the Transformer ride, because we didn’t do it on day 3. We also took the Hogwarts Express going the other way and did a bit of shopping. While we spent the day in Universal Studios our friends had another beach day. They drove to Daytona Beach and enjoyed sun, sea, and sand all day long.

Day 7 – Flight out is at 10 pm today. While our friends went to Universal Studios, the husband and I went for a drive to Tampa a little over an hour’s drive. Then we scouted out the food trucks and got some more Latin food before heading out to the airport. Husband got sick on Day 5 – he was coughing and was running a fever. On day 7, I got sick. Got home at 3 am.

COMMENTS: I enjoyed Orlando more than I expected and more than I enjoyed Miami. Although in Miami's defense, I was only in the city for 2 days and that is simply not enough time to taste and see the offerings of the city.

Cocoa Beach is quite nice too. The beach part is awesome, the main city is not so much. At least didn't get to see much. I would not rule out a return to Orlando with or without a visit to the theme parks.

One more vacation time on the list for 2016 and that's coming up in November (2 weeks) and I still don't know where we'll go. However, one thing is sure, we will stay stateside for this vacation. We are thinking of revisiting San Diego since it's nearly 10 years since we last visited it and now that I have reconnected with my college pal who lives in San Diego and who came to visit me in July I thought San Diego is a sure destination. Likewise, I am thinking of spending a few days in Sedona, long overdue. I've been planning on going back to Sedona since I fist visited it nearly 10 years ago also.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A little update


Checking in right before going to Disneyworld. Been here in Orlando for 3 days now, today is day #4 for this weeklong vacation. I understand I have not written here in nearly 2 months, which is really a shame. NOt that there are a lot of things that happened that's worth a post, although come to think of it, there definitely are a few stories I would love to share. But that's for another post.

We've been lucky for the most part with weather here. The heat is there but the low humidity makes the heat a lot easy to manage. Today however is different. The forecast calls for 87% humidity + 90+ heat, can you handle that? The question is can I handle that and I'll be going around Disneyworld.

See you later. I'm going to change my wardrobe into something that would make me cooler the whole day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Got So Excited

I lost my mind at Michael’s yesterday. Ok let me back up!

I am preparing for a chocolate creation for the annual fundraiser that our church hosts in connection with the local high school’s art and music program. Every year, members of the church make something chocalatey for participants to sample. The fundraiser billed CHOCOLATE EXTRAVANZA is a chocolate buffet. I have always made truffles. I believe this would be the 5th year of the fundraiser and I am the reigning people’s choice champion in the truffle division (cake, cookie and bark are the other divisions). Because of this, there is more pressure for me to up my game with my chocolate creation.

Last week, I tested my recipe. While it was good, my friend who barely eats anything had three of my “truffles” and she said they were good. I knew they were good, but I felt they lacked some oomph in them. Consulting my husband on the recipe we decided to switch it from all chocolate flavor to lemon flavor (my winning truffle last year was a green tea truffle).

Shopping for ingredients was slated yesterday. Hubs called me at work to make arrangement to meet at Grocery Outlet after work. I came early and texted him that I would be gawking at all the beautiful things at Michael’s which is next door to the grocery store.

I picked up a set of coloring pencils (my first set needs replacement after I’ve colored so many mandalas and zentangles). On a whim I made a beeline to the food decorating section……………… and Oh Em Gee!!!!!!

Who knew there are all these utensils and devices to make chocolate creations easy breezy. The husband went straight to Michael’s and I showed him what he needed to make his creation. We bought a mold. And I had to contain myself from hyperventilating. I was so excited and I am already looking forward to making edibles for Christmas gift giving. I love you Michael’s.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hello June!


No kidding, it is June. Yeah, before you take another breath, 2016 is outta here it seems.

When was the last time I was here on this blog? I cannot even remember as I type this post. I am drafting this while I have no access to the blog.

I want to share that I finally got to see an NBA game live in person when the hubs snagged a last minute tickets on the second game of the round one elimination round featuring the Houston Rockets vs the GS Warriors. I was at work when the hubs announced that we would be going to the game that night. As it turned out, a friend of ours were joining us too. What a fun night. The Warriors won naturally, although they did without their star MVP Steph Curry who was out on injury. I cannot believe the atmosphere at Oracle. Indeed it truly becomes a Roaracle with all the fans yelling and roaring at the top of their lungs, us included. Hubs lost his voice – a badge he carried proudly. Ticket prices were not as unreachable as we thought. Nowadays, we just have viewing parties at home.

What else? Oh I got my eyebrows done. Is that even news? It is for me. My eyebrows get groomed so rarely that when they do it is news. I do like the way the lady shaped my brows this time. So far this is the best eyebrow job I have done. I will go back to her next time, and hopefully not before I get a bush where eyebrows should be again.

Tomorrow I am going to participate in a walk/fundraiser for Pancreatic Cancer. I don’t know if you remember, my niece lost her battle to this dreadful disease last year and friends and family formed a team in her honor. This would be the first time the hubs and I are joining the family.

Also occupying my time is preparing for the church’s annual fundraiser, the Chocolate Extravaganza. This fundraiser has been mentioned here every year and if you will recall my entry GREEN TEA TRUFFLE won first place for truffle division peoples’ choice award. Having said that, the pressure will surely be on me this year. I cannot NOT do well in this division. I have already tried out my cake pops recipe and found out that I had to tweak the measurements a bit. I am hopeful that my entry this year will be received by tasters favorably again. I know one little boy that will keep an eye on my entry knowing that last year I won the whole thing.

Another thing, we took my nephew (ok great nephew) to the movies to see Jungle Book a few days ago. He is 6 years old and seemed okay to go without his folks. I am after all his aunt. We got him large popcorn and Vitamin water (no soda). We got there early and he ate his popcorn and drank his water and watched the previews. The minute the movie started, he had to go potty!

When I dropped him off, his mom asked how many time little A asked to go potty? OMG, apparently, he goes multiple times in the course of the movie. The trick here is the hubs took away his water when they came back from the bathroom so he didn’t drink anything at all during the movie. Wise move, hubs, veteran move.

That’s all folks!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Back From Cancun


Cancun is not for everyone. And not all who goes there are spring breakers boozing around the beach making a fool of themselves.

In my few trips to Cancun, I have just once seen a crazy nightlife and that was when we stayed in the heart of Hotel Zone, where the hotel/resort we stayed in was a stone’s throw away from Hard Rock CafĂ© bar. But the hotel zone is just a small part of Cancun. Sad though that many who visit Cancun only get to see that part.

In truth, Cancun has many resorts and beaches and other establishments that cater to families and nonparty goers who just like to lazy about in the sand sipping some fruity drink with a kick.

In this just concluded vacation, I was lucky to stay in the Hotel Zone, but far from the maddening crowd where I joined others in beachcombing. We visited the famous ecological theme park XCARET, which is about 1 to 1.5 hours drive. If you go to Cancun this is a must visit. For no particular reason did we not visit this park in previous visits, but since on this visit we had nothing on the calendar but relaxation by the beach, we thought it was time to see it. We were floored by the beauty of the park, the variety of activities to suit everyone’s tastes and physical capacities and fed the hunger in this culture vulture.

I must say, we are already thinking about our next visit which is in 2 years. Yah, we don’t want to do Cancun in a yearly basis, because after all there are so many beautiful places to explore and only so little time to do it. But, we’ll be back Cancun, just save the lounge chair on the beach for us.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Blah, blah

*****Here is another post that I found sitting in my draft folder.*****

My yard is looking a lot better now after working on it over the weekend. Weeds waist high sprouted after the El Nino blast of the winter. Only the upper half of my back fence was visible from the house that is how tall the grasses were. After two days of pulling weeds, we can see the neighbor’s house in the back again, LOL!

I am the youngest in the family and my folks were older when they had me. And because I was the youngest and the only girl in the family I was sorta kinda spoiled a bit. No chores for me. It did not help that I was a sickly child and have a mom who panics about my health a lot.

So now that I am a grown-up and have my own house to take care of, the thought of cleaning up the yard is difficult. My instinct is to hire someone to do the job. Heck we had done so in the past. We drove to Home Depot where the day laborers are situated.

This time around the husband was keen on us doing the job. We need the exercise to begin with, plus we can save the money for the future vacation.

However, weeding sound innocuous right? The morning after is the real test. My muscles are sore and achy and I had to do the weeding all over again on Sunday. Exhausted and achy but happy that we did the job ourselves. No way is the backyard job complete but the hardest part is done. We didn’t go anywhere this weekend, because it’s backyard day. Reward for achy muscles came in the form of a impromptu at home tapas happy hour. We scoured the cupboard and the refrigerator and came up with crackers, smoked salmon, olives, goat cheese and almonds and we had a couple of bottles of adult beverages just in time for the Warriors game on Sunday.

Back to the backyard woes, we are thinking of either cementing it or putting stones just so the weeds don’t grow anymore. A guy who does backyard jobs came to the house on Saturday and checked out the job and promised to give us a written job quote. Too many expenses when one has a house to maintain. I’m getting a head ache. But doing something now is better than waiting and waiting.

Monday, May 9, 2016

So blessed, don't be stressed.

Oh lordy, I need a vacation so badly that all I ever think of is a get-away. I’m so obsessed with some time off it’s pathetic. All my free time I spend surfing the net, looking at every deal they have on GroupOn, Travelzoo, and whathaveyou. Seriously. I’m even so excited about the upcoming R&R in Cancun. I normally don’t get excited about Cancun. I know I’m so spoiled. I got a wake-up call about how blessed I am when I was talking with friends of ours, another married couple, and we were planning something to do because her birthday and our anniversary are on consecutive days in late May. When she suggested something to do, we both told her that the date is no good since we already have plans (Cancun) and when she asked, we both shrugged as if it wasn’t a big deal (well it wasn’t). That Cancun wasn’t a big deal, but of course to some IT IS a big deal because they haven’t been there. She jokingly said you both acted like your plan is to go to the grocery store and not Cancun. And she was right. Thinking about it that night, we might have been jaded by the fact that we could “easily” go there, whereas others may consider that a trip of a lifetime.

Have I been too spoilt with God’s blessings that I don’t appreciate every single blessing that I receive? Please let it not be. Please don’t let me be ungrateful.

In other news, how is Mother’s Day people? Did you spoil your moms or did you get spoiled. My mother is at an age where she no longer cares about what she says especially if she gets a gift that she doesn’t like she will tell you in your face when everyone else in the family is present. At her age, she is done pretending she adores (but doesn’t wear) all the sweaters we buy her. So I told all my brothers that Mom likes three things: take her to a buffet lunch, bring her flowers or flowering plants and give her gift card. The memo was also sent to all her grandchildren! I salute her for being frank. If you can’t be honest with your kids and family who could you be honest with? She wears her “grumpy old lady” role to the hilt.

We took her to the buffet, let her eat all the oysters and crabs and fish she can handle. Let her have some ice cream for dessert too. Let her live, we say. And this is another big blessing that I have, my mother lives a very full life and in her advanced age is able to fend for herself. My family and I may not see each other eye to eye (literally and figuratively) but the fact that we live within a 5-mile radius of each other is such a blessing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Charity Begins at Home

I grew up in a conservative household. The fact that I am the only girl in a brood of 5 and the youngest may have contributed to the fact that my parents, my mom specifically, put me on a short leash. It was home, school, home. Day in day out. If I wanted to go somewhere else, it’s a major production. I must have a chaperon. Thankfully I grew up with nieces and nephews who are closer to age so there’s always someone to tag along with.

Also very unique in my household is that my dad specially wanted the gate locked by 6 pm. Even his relatives who would drop by after sundown would not be able to come in. Dad’s house rules. By the time I appeared in their lives, they had raised their 4 boys, was expecting their first grandson who arrived 2 months after I did, and had exhausted their energy raising the kids and worked like mules to keep everyone fed and clothed. So I understood their reluctance to change the way they raise their daughter.

Because of dad’s strict rules of no visitors allowed after sundown, we rarely had anyone staying over. I remember only two different aunts – mom’s sister and mom’s cousin – who stayed with us for a week or so. Not that my parents were uncharitable, they are lax in giving handouts and help, they just don’t like people staying over. My dad also was sick for a long time, so it’s really understandable that he is not keen on entertaining.

Now when I got married and visited my in-laws I saw the way my husband was raised the exact opposite. In their household, they always have people around visiting for a day or staying over. Their house is open to people who need a roof for a night or more. It was so different. At first I was so uncomfortable with all the people coming and going. Then I understood that my husband’s generous spirit and his easy-going nature was cultivated by his parents.

So when we got together he wanted to adopt the house rules from his childhood. Now we always have people in the house, not relatives, who comes for watch party. Last night, a week night, a school night, our friend and his step son came over to watch the Warriors game. The minute the son entered the house, he said he was too hungry and ready to eat. I felt so wonderful knowing that someone not related to me by blood feels so comfortable to say things like that. Little by little my aversion to people coming over my house that is not blood related is dissipating. My husband’s good attitude about charity and hospitality is rubbing off on me. Hallelujah!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Mission Accomplished

Finally something that I've been planning on doing for months and months, maybe even a couple of years, was accomplished this weekend. I finally got to clean out my closets. Two, yes, for someone who doesn't shop much and who has no fashion sense, my closets certainly filled up. The reason behind this is that despite the fact that I regularly weed out items that I simply don't like to give to Salvation Army, I have so many clothes from when I was still single (celebrating my 9th wedding anniversary this month) that I kept because I liked them so much even though they didn't fit any more. Don't worry I don't buy trendy clothing that goes out of style so the clothes I donated were still okay. Some of them were worn once or twice only. Oh those were the days when I shopped like money grew on trees.

When the husband saw what was happening, he joined in and cleaned out his closet. When we were done, there were 6 bags and 2 boxes of clothing that we dropped at Salvation Army. I felt so good and so light to see room in my closets.

Now the good thing about donating clothes is that I got to buy new ones for me. I don't shop much, but when I do I get more than one. So I got 3 new tops and hubby got 2 new pants. This shopping trip is going to last me for a long time.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

What's In My Draft Folder

I know this blog has been quiet lately, but I was writing in the background for material for this blog. Here's one that I wrote last month I believe.

ON MOVING AND MOVING ON....

MOVING...

A swanky new building is opening at work and 99% of the workforce in my department is moving there. The rest of us are moving also, but not in the swanky new building. I and 5 others are moving to another building. My new digs at work will require a little aesthetic work – new carpet for example. I think that is all there is with regards to my new work space, but I will still have my own office. The world around me though is chaotic, as co-workers packing up personal effects to move to the other building. No other items are allowed to be carried over with the move since the mgt has decided that the new building will have all new equipment and furniture. So, adios comfy chair. The rest of us who are not moving to the new building will move to our new digs in 2 weeks. Hopefully a week of sprucing up will be enough so we can move quickly and on time. This old building that we are abandoning will be torn down. This is a case of it’s cheaper to build a new one than to renovate and make earthquake safe an older structure.

And MOVING ON...

The American Idol is ending its mostly illustrious run next week. It stayed on the air for 15 years. Fifteen freaking years!!!!! Yes, that long!

I came onboard on season 4, the year that Carrie Underwood was voted as champion. I was hooked immediately, especially when the charming and ruggedly handsome Bo Bice seemed to croon to me personally every week. I lost my head with Bo. I went out to vote. And in those years, it was very difficult to vote because you cannot get through the phone line most of the time. And while you had all the time in the world after the show is over when the voting begins, you cannot get through the line to vote. You really must like your idol very much to go through the challenge of casting your vote. I must say I did that, jumped through hoops to cast a vote. I was so engrossed in season 4 that I still have VCR tapes of that season in my garage, I think. Yap, call me AI geek. Well I was one.

In my history of watching American Idol, I’ve seen a lot – boring, compelling, exciting, more boring seasons. I have my share of favorite performances that I sometimes watch on You Tube when I get nostalgic.

The timing is right I thought. I am ready to move on with my tv life without American Idol as I’m sure others are too. I am not sure that the show is still pulling in good ratings. I think it stayed longer than it should. On the other hand, I think someday there will be a rebirth or a reboot of American Idol. I know there’s still THE VOICE, but I never watch that thing. I don’t like the judges.

What I am looking forward to is an awesome, jaw-dropping, no-they-didn’t, OMG kind of finale. A finale to end all finales. I hope all the previous winners will attend and perform. I expect to see all the past judges to be in attendance as well, most especially Simon Cowell.


American Idol......please hit this out of the park will you?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

One Quarter Down, Three To Go

In a little over a month I will be visiting the beach paradise Cancun for the third time. For someone who wants to visit as many new places before going back to the old ones, I surprised myself with this decision to go back to Cancun again.

How can I make this visit memorable? How can I see Cancun in a different light? I will be staying in the Hotel Zone, just like we did on the first visit. On the second visit we had a rental in a resort in the Puerto Morelos area, far from the chaos of the tourists in Hotel Zone and closer to the local culture of downtown Cancun.

On both visits, we spent significant time in the city. The first time we were there for 6 days and did the touristy things like visiting Chichen Itza (Mayan pyramid) and a boat ride to the mangrove forest. The second time we were there for a medical procedure, hence we stayed longer (12 days) and were more sedentary and lounged more on the beach than being a tourist. In addition, we were able to see and mingle a lot with the locals on the second visit because of our distance to the Hotel Zone.

Now that we are going back to the Hotel Zone, which on the second visit we saw so many changes that I hardly recognized it, I want to do some touristy thing in addition to finding more things to do than what is on Trip Advisor's list. I want to see what the locals see and eat where the locals eat again. Maybe there's a festival that is not on the Trip Advisor's list that will coincide with our visit to the city.

The husband is looking into visiting one of or both of the theme parks nearby - Xcaret and Xplor which are both water activity parks. I had checked their websites and so far from what I gather these are not something I am interested in partaking. Besides, the price for entrance is a bit over my budget.

Also the fact that we are staying in all-inclusive resort means that I would be eating all my meals in the resort, which makes the chance of hunting for local food becoming slim to none. It seems so wasteful to spend for food outside when you have already paid for your food inside the resort.

I don't have too much expectations for this upcoming vacation. Although I must say that I have fallen in love with the beach in Cancun. The color of the water is soothing, the white sand that turns pink when hit by the sunset is a sight to behold and the beach combing is unparalleled. This being the anniversary trip for 2016 I hope I can find something to spring as a surprise to the husband. I have not been going beyond the call of duty of the wife so I need to step up to the plate and do something he is not expecting but something that will blow him away.

Anyway, a few pics from Cancun.

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Cancun 2013

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On the beach of Xpuha, an hour's drive from Cancun, 2013

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Cancun 2010

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Cancun 2010

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bits and Pieces


· The day after the call-in sick post came out, I was out sick. Not intentional and has nothing to do with the post, since the post was drafted a while back and was sitting in my draft folder.

· My zumba class took a hit last week. I only managed to go once. It was holy week and I had church duties that coincided with the class schedule.

· Went to see LONDON HAS FALLEN which is a sequel to OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. I’m one of those whose tastes run into the action genre, both in movies and in books. I like to watch/read about spy escapades. I enjoyed it, but you won’t miss a thing if you don’t see it.

· My sewing skills proved to be beyond rusty. I ventured into my sewing jobs – mostly alterations – the week before last and it took an entire afternoon to alter the length of three pants (1 for the hubby). I grew up watching my mother sew. She would give me small jobs, like unstitching etc. She would make me watch her and learn how to do small alterations. I ended up making a few projects, like doll dresses. But as I grew up, sewing became uncool. None of my friends were into sewing even though their moms would be sewing in the living room while we were there doing what teenage kids do when they are at their friend’s house. So I stopped sewing. Now that I need to be able to mend and alter, I realized my mistake of not keeping this “talent” in my back pocket for future use. Sigh!

· This weekend on Facebook, I shared a meme about greeting the SF Giants’ catcher Buster Posey a very happy birthday. Over dinner at my house on Sunday my friend asked why I would greet Buster and had never made similar greetings to my husband on his birthday. I told him that we agreed no public display of affection, especially on Facebook!

· On Friday after the Good Friday service at church we went to our friend’s (the same one who asked about the Facebook above) house to deliver a cake and present for their youngest son. He turned 8 on Friday and had a wonderful celebration of movies and pizza with his friends. The visit turned out more like chilling with the adults as the birthday boy was busy playing an online game with the same friends he went to the movies and pizza with earlier in the day. So at the dining room table, there we were two couples sipping cab and munching on antipasti (home made) lamenting about the woes of home repair. It was such a mundane topic that I never thought I’d be engaged in, although that says more about my Peter Pan syndrome than anything else. The chatter went on for hours and when it was time to drive away from their place (they live 5 minutes away) I sensed a peaceful feeling. I told my husband what a relaxing 2+ hours it was, just sipping wine and eating cheese and olives and talking to friends. Precious moments, I was blessed to have those moments. And the best way to end a work week.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Random Thoughts


I have a confession to make. Every Sunday night, I toy with the idea of calling in sick on Monday morning. The first thing I think of when I hear my alarm go off on Monday morning is shall I call in sick today?

Don’t get me wrong. I like my job. I like the company I work for. I like my co-workers. There is just something so deflating about Mondays. Must be the constant nagging in my brain that weekends are typically so full of chores that whatever time left for fun and relaxation is never enough to sustain me for another long week of battling with long commutes.

Moreover, there is something magical about taking a day off on weekdays when everyone is either at school or at work and you’re seemingly the only one you know who enjoys the sun while you go about playing hooky for the day. All I am saying is we all have FERRIS BUELLER syndrome inside all of us.

Thus I try to take a day off the right way, by scheduling a day off with my boss. I remember this one particular day where I decided to take the whole day off after an early morning doctor’s appointment. I typically don’t shop on my own, that’s not my thing, but on day’s off when the dear hubs is slaving at his lab at work I cherish these precious moments to stay longer than necessary browsing and trying shoes, trying on clothes I normally don’t like, and since I am confessing here I seem to always eat junk when I am on a day off and my “official” day off food of choice – nachos from Taco Bell. Hah, I know right? No reason at all, the nachos seem to taste better on my day off.

What about you, anything to confess?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Well Hello There


This little niche in the wide wide world of interweb is pretty quiet, isn't it? It has been for a bit now. Lazy again, you'd ask? Naturally I would mentally search for a lame excuse, but you'd know I would be lying through my teeth. Therefore, I am not gonna lie. I'm not going to offer some excuse or thorough well-thought of but still untrue explanation.

The fact of the matter is over the time this spot has been asleep, in the background I had drafted several posts that had never seen light. I have not checked my drafts folder but I am almost 100% certain that those essays are no longer relevant. My nature is to write down things that upset me, that rile me, that amaze me or anything that interests me. Not all of these, however, are for public consumption and so has never been posted here.

I have every interest to continue writing here. Managing three other blogs + a full-time job + a full-time life is harder to juggle than I expected. I wonder how others do it - and they even have kids. I don't. Kudos to them.

So what is happening in my neck of the woods you ask?

First we are currently getting a good dousing courtesy of Mr. El Nino. And the rain will continue throughout the weekend we were told by ecstatic meteorologists. The slight discomfort of wet slippery road is nothing compared to the dire consequences of drought and so you will never hear a bad word about the rain from Californians, even though some areas are prone to flooding. It is this that I don't understand. I grew up in a tropical country and I know rain. And I know typhoons and storms and monsoons. This thing that California gets that everyone gets crazy about will not raise an eyebrow in the tropics. This rain is drizzle compared to the ones we get every afternoon during rainy season. But - a little rain is cause for flooding here in California. Why is that? The soil is different? I can't understand. I remember when I first moved here and there was a sign posted on the side of the road cautioning drivers of "flooded areas" in the freeway. As it turned out, the "flooded area" was simply a large puddle of water. Too much hype about nothing I thought. Since then I didn't put too much stock in the warnings like this, although that might not be a wise move on my part.

Anyway, I personally welcome the rain, whether we are in drought or not. I simply like the rain. I just wish I don't have to go to work when it rains so I can sit in my sofa, my legs under a comfy throw, the cat sitting on top of my legs and we are both watching the drops of Jupiter in the backyard through the glass door. Wishful thinking!

Secondly, I went to my first cat show EVER. One of the blogs I maintain is about my cats EMMA AND BUSTER and through their blog they have made kitty friends and one of them is SUMMER SAMBA who blogs here. She is a show kitty. The minute I heard through her blog that she is coming in my neck of the woods I knew I had to see her. Thankfully it was not difficult to convince the husband to drive all the way to San Jose for the show because he was keen on attending the TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE show at nearby Santa Clara Convention Center, which is next doors to Levi's Stadium where the Forty Niners play. So we hit the Cat Show first and we made the rounds, visited the cats that were competing and spent a good time with Summer, watched some judging and fell in love with two or more cats. We made the rounds of the merchandize for sale but nothing in my price range caught my fancy.

The Travel and Adventure Show was another first for us. We went from booth to booth making sure we collected the freebies they offer, mostly reusable bags, signed up for free travels - which I'm sure we will not win. Although we stayed for the drawing of 2 free plane tickets to Taiwan from the Travel Taiwan booth - which went to a lucky woman. In addition, they also had free bobba drink for attendees. Rick Steves was on stage giving a talk, but he was preaching something that every seasoned traveler or backpacker already knows so we just left. But his stage was packed with people wanting to hear what he's got to say. I grabbed one of his travel brochures from his booth, but it's been a week since and I haven't checked the brochures that I got from the show. The only problem with Rick Steves is that his trips are above my price line so I will never be able to be on any of his trips - unless Mr. Mega Million or Mr. California Lottery has anything to say about the matter.

Lastly, on the last post I was telling you about how we just arrived from a 3-week trip to visit family in Bangladesh and a little R&R in Bali. Well not too long after, exactly a week after we arrived we got news that my FIL had passed away. So my husband who was just getting over jet lag had to turn around and go back for the funeral. I stayed behind. We felt blessed that we were able to spend time with him over the Christmas holidays, his last, who knew, right? When I saw him he was more ill than the last time I saw him which was 3 years ago. I was there when I found out that he had COPD and I knew two people that lost their lives on COPD. He was a smoker, a heavy smoker at that when he was younger and so this was the result of it. Still, I didn't realize he didn't have much time. Just a sad way to begin the new year.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Hello 2016

Tomorrow will be a week since we got back from our nearly month-long vacation in Bangladesh and Bali over the Christmas and New Year Holidays. How did it go, you ask? Read this. Another lesson from this trip? Just don't travel during the Holidays. Don't. The fare price is double the regular price, and very crowded too. But the rewards somewhat outweigh all the hassles. We were with family and friends on Christmas day since my nephew had organized a party and invited friends over. So little kids brought their parents too and the house was full of people laughing, talking and eating. So much fun!

We were invited for a NY eve dinner across town and we encountered the famous Dhaka traffic jam. I was trying to hold my pee.

In between Christmas and NY, we traveled by train to seaport city of Khulna for 11 hours to board a 3-night cruise of the world's largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans (national forest, half belongs to India and the other Bangladesh). The cruise ship carried 36 passengers, including this lady whose blog I read. Small world isn't it? Before leaving Bangladesh, I paid a visit to another blogger who now lives in Bangladesh permanently.

Now Bali is the part of the vacation that solely for us. WE always do this when we go to Bangladesh, we set aside a few days in a different location just for the two of us to recharge our batteries. Being with family can be too overwhelming as well you know. However, Bali is too HOT!

I'll tell you more about Bali later on. I'm still not fully over my jet lag.