Monthly Archives: January 2007

Blogging on a cold Wednesday Morning

I attempted to write a post last night in vain, mostly because I was busy trying to make the G-mail chat function work.  It was rather frustrating because my wireless connection was affected by the winds outside, but other than that, I was just too tired and didn’t really have the verve to write.

Blogging and writing in general for me comes in spurts.  Once I get started, it just flows.  However, there are times when it just doesn’t.

There’s around an inch of snow outside.  This winter has been brutal with the cold temperatures but has been rather sparse as far as snow is concerned.  There have been warnings but so far, they have yet to see major snowfall.  This is one of the hassles of living on the east coast where winter does not just mean “cold,” but I’d take my snow anyday to be safe from the hurricanes of the usually temperate states like Florida.  (Of course they have Disneyworld, but I can always hop on a plane from here..)

And the slow down on posting hasn’t been for lack of things to write about.  It’s just that I’ve been preoccupied with other things — principally my batch website, and now I’m back to scrapbooking.  With only so few hours to set aside for my personal projects, something takes a backseat.  I haven’t had the time to attend to some new pairs of pants whose hems I need to take care of (yes, I sew them myself and I’m mighty proud of the work I do..).

Now I must get ready for work.  My boys are still asleep — but I have to get going…

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Looking back in time..

My high school batch is trying to get ready for our silver jubilee reunion, but it’s a little difficult to jump start the effort when only a fraction of the 300+ or so members of the batch are actually into pulling this off.  Plus there’s the added pressure of a just concluded silver jubilee of the year ahead of us a few days ago.

If there’s an upside, it’s the fact that we are getting to know friends we grew up through elementary and high school as adults and professionals now.  One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the fact that with so many different personalities, clashes are unavoidable.  The so-called peacemakers are torn between putting their foot down or staying neutral, and sadly, the latter is the safer choice when you’re trying to balance all the different interests at play.  It’s not easy, that’s why I’ve opted to just stay in the background and involve myself with the website.

There are only four of us working together to upload a digital yearbook — two fantastic graphic artists, an Editor-in-chief for the yearbook, and myself as Web Administrator.  I would love to spearhead the e-zine, but I only have two hands and one brain, I cannot focus on more than one aspect of the website at a time.  Outside the batch project, we all have our private lives which preoccupy us 95% of the time.  Yet we’re all excited, even if three of us are outside Manila right now and are thinking but not yet sure about going home to attend the reunion in person. 

That would be a treat.. =)  More so when I think about hearing and seeing the graduation song sung again — a song I composed way back which became special to the members of the batch.  I’m thinking of extending the song and adding a verse and a revised refrain to talk about being here 25 years after we said goodbye during graduation.  I’m looking to the heavens for the inspiration — but really, the inspiration is all inside.

All I have to do is go back to those days and look at where we are right now.  I just have to remember my dear friends from those days of innocence… and I have a thousand and one memories to take me back.

Those were the days.. 

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My first real cake

Okay, it was a cake mix — and I had to rescue it from the dripping cake pan a few minutes after I turned my back after putting it in the oven.  But today I achieved a feat!  I actually baked a cake.  I added a wee bit too little pandan flavoring that it’s hardly discernible, but I’m happy with the way it came out.  I’m glad I put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes after initially taking it out because it had a moist center on top, despite the toothpick having been clean.

I’m happy.  I’m thinking I’ll turn it into a Tres leches cake but Mom already took a slice.  Maybe I’ll just top my slice with a little caramel.  Yummy!

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A story worth sharing

The story below was forwarded to me by Mariz a few days ago.  True or not, fact or fiction, it is worth reading as a point of reflection wherever and whoever we may be.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the writer’s name — this has been circulating.  I thought it was worth sharing here in the blogsphere — for whatever it’s worth.

Ever since I was diagnosed with having a possible heart enlargement, I have exerted more effort to do physical exercises. I do jogging during week days and go on long mountain bike rides every Sunday.

But last Sunday was a special Sunday for me. While I was on my way to the mountains of Busay in Cebu hoping to strengthen my heart with this exercise, I personally encountered a heart-breaking scene that started a big change in my outlook.

I already passed the Marco Polo Plaza (formerly Cebu Plaza Hotel) when

I decided to stop to buy some bananas at a small carienderia along the road. I have not taken any solid food that morning, so I needed some fruits to have the needed energy to get to my destination – the mountain top.

I was almost done eating a second banana when I noticed two children across the street busily searching the garbage area. “Basureros” I said to myself and quickly turned my attention away from them to sip a small amount of water. I cared very little for these kind of children actually. To put it straight, I do not like them and I do not trust them, even more.

You see, several times I have been a victim to these kind of children who pretend to be basureros, looking for empty bottles and cans when in fact, the ‘plangganas’, ‘kalderos’, and ‘hinayhays’ are their favorites.

I remember one afternoon while I was watching a Mike Tyson fight when I noticed that the TV screen suddenly became snowy. I checked outside and saw two young “basureros” running away with my newly installed TV antenna.

Hatred may be a little bit strong word to describe my feeling towards these basureros, but I do not like them, really …until I met these three children.

I was about to ride on my bike again when I heard one of the two children, a girl of about 7 or 8 years of age saying aloud to the other,  a 12-yr old boy , ” kuya si dodong kuha-a kay nag-sige’g tan-aw sa mga nagkaon, mauwaw ta” (kuya si dodong kunin mo kasi tumitingin sa mga kumain, nakakahiya), only then that I noticed a small boy standing near me biting slightly his finger. He’s a few inches shorter if compared to my 5-year old son (but I knew later that he was also 5 yrs. old) Though he did not asked for food from anyone in the carienderia, the way he looked at the customers who were eating was enough to convince me that he was very hungry and was intensely craving for food. The older boy then quickly crossed the street and gently pulled out the little one who politely obeyed. As I watched the two crossing back the street to the garbage area, I heard the tindera saying ” Lo-oy kaayo nang mga bata uy, mga buotan ra ba na” (kawawa naman yung mga batang yun mababait pa naman). I learned further from the carenderia owner that the children are from a good family, both parents were working before, and that their father has a stroke about 3 years ago, and became partially paralyzed. Their mother died of a heart attack while their father was still confined at the hospital. The parents were still in their early forties when the catastrophe happened, and the children became “basureros” since then to meet their daily needs and for their father’s medication.

Deeply moved by what I heard, I went to a nearby bakery and bought

20pesos worth of bread and gave it to the children who initially refused including the little boy. “Sige lang noy, salamat na lang, magpalit lang nya mi kung mahalinan na mi” (sige lang po, salamat na lang, bibili na lang po kami mamaya kung makabenta na kami) the young girl said to me.

I explained that they need to go home because it started to rain.

“Naanad na man mi ani” (nasanay na po kami) the girl answered again.

Again, I explained that the rain can make them sick and if they’ll become sick there’s no one to take care of their father. Upon mentioning their father, they nodded and accepted the bread but I noticed that the older boy did not eat.

When I asked him if he does not like the kind of bread I bought for them he smiled but as he was about to explain, the little girl, who is the more talker of them interrupted, “Domingo man gud ron, noy, basta Sabado ug Domingo hapon ra siya mokaon kami ra ang mokaon ug pamahaw pero dili na pod mi mokaon inig hapon,si kuya ra. Pero basta Lunes ngadto sa Biyernes, kay klase man , si kuya ra sad ang seguro-on ug papamahaw, kami hapon na sad mi moka-on Pero kung daghan mi ug halin mokaon mi tanan.” (Linggo po kasi ngayon,pag sabado at lingo hapon lang po sya kumakain, kami lang po ang kumakain ng agahan pero di na po kami kakain pagdating ng hapon si kuya lang po. Pero pag lunes hanggang biyernes,kasi may pasok, si kuya lang po nag-aagahan,kami hapunan lang pero kung marami kaming benta kami pong lahat (kumakain) she continued. “Ngano man diay ug mokaon mong tanan, bahinon ninyo bisan ug unsa ka gamay?” (bakit kung kumain kayong lahat,hati-hatiin nyo na lang kahit kunti  lang ang pagkain?) I countered.

The young girl reasoned out that their father wanted that her older brother to come to school with full stomachs so he can easily catch up the teacher’s lessons. “Inig ka trabaho ni kuya mo undang na man mi ug pamasura, first honor baya na siya” (pag nagkatrabaho si kuya, hihinto kami sa pamamasura, first honor kasi sya) the little boy added proudly.

Maybe I was caught by surprise or I am just overly emotional that my tears started to fall. I then quickly turned my back from them to hide my tears and pretended to pick up my bike from the carienderia where I left it.

I don’t know how many seconds or minutes I spent just to compose myself; pretending again this time that I was mending by bike.

Finally I get on to my bike and approached the three children to bid goodbye to them who in turn cast their grateful smiles at me. I then took a good look at all of them especially at the small boy and pat his head with a pinch in my heart. Though I believe that their positive look at life can easily change their present situation, there is one thing that they can never change; that is, their being motherless. That little boy can no longer taste the sweet embrace, care, and most of all, the love of his mother forever. Nobody can refill the empty gap created by that sudden and untimely death of their mother. Every big event that will happen to their lives will only remind them and make them wish of their mother’s presence.

I reached to my pocket and handed to them my last 100 peso bill which I reserved for our department’s bowling tournament. This time they refusedstrongly but I jokingly said to the girl ” sumbagon teka ron kung di nimo dawaton” (suntukin kita dyan pag hindi mo tinanggap yan). She smiled as she extended her hand to take the money.” Salamat noy makapalit gyud me ron ug tambal ni papa ” (salamat po, makakabili kami nito ng gamot ni papa) she uttered. I then turned to the small boy and though he’s a few feet away from me, I still noticed that while his right hand was holding the half-filled sack, his left hand was holding a toy? a worn out toy car. I waved my hands and said bye-bye to him as I drove towards the mountains again. Did he just find the toy in the garbage area or the toy was originally his – when the misfortune did not take place yet? – I did not bother to ask. But one thing is crystal clear to me, that in spite of the boy’s abnormal life, he has not given up his childhood completely. I can sense this by the way he held and stared at his toy.

My meeting with that young “basureros” made me poorer by 120 pesos. But it changed me and made me richer as far as lessons of life is concerned.

In them, I learned that life can be changed suddenly. In them, I’ve learned that even the darkest side of life, cannot change the beauty of one’s heart. Those three children, who sometimes cannot eat three time a day, still are able to hold on to what they believe was right. And what a contrast to most of us who are quick to point out to our misfortunes when caught with our mistakes. In them, I’ve learned to hope for things when things seem to go the other way.

Lastly, I know that God cares for them far more than I do. That though He allowed them to experience such a terrible life which our finite minds cannot comprehend, His unquestionable love will surely follow them through.

And in God’s own time they will win………..

 

 

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Mom on duty

I’m on a break.. I started late in the morning (thank, God) making pancakes for breakfast, then Negamaki for lunch.. after a short break, I put the short ribs in the slow cooker for dinner tonight.  I just finished enjoying my afternoon cappuccino and some bretons, and maybe I’ll bake one of the cake mixes I have in the pantry.  I’m on a roll. LOL

I’m actually waiting for Alan to wake up from his afternoon nap.  The little boy woke up around half an hour ago and has been playing beside me.  He’s by his activity table just a foot away with a bowl of cheerios and his apple juice for merienda. 

The airplane circling over Sodor in the train set in front of the TV is a steady hum, and I’m trying to hear myself above the din to write here.  It’s been a full packed day but I’m happy because there has been no stress at all. I have four pairs of pants whose hems I need to take care of, but there have been too many things on my plate.  Perhaps later.  I haven’t even pieced together the two pages of scrapbook layouts I need to put together for the Paris album.

In between the cooking, I managed to write Donna in Australia.. alter some graphics for the batch website of St. Paul College of Quezon City Batch ’83 – but I’m stuck with just this post so far.  You think I would’ve updated sooner, but motherhood called first.

Have to check out the cake mix now and see if it’s still any good…

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Cappuccino, anyone?

I usually don’t go nuts about a kitchen gadget but this is one find I cannot get over discovering.  We were at IKEA some two weeks ago and I love browsing their Marketplace.  I saw this battery operated MILK FROTHER which was being sold for $1.99.  How can you go wrong?
I work the milk with the sweetener before pouring my freshly brewed coffee into the mug  and I have my cappuccino.  A new way to enjoy coffee without much hassle or expense. 
Coffee?

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Winter Restaurant Week in New York

We’re about to enter the second week of the Winter Restaurant Week in New York, and Alan and I sampled one of the restaurants we haven’t tried yet last night, BRASSERIE RUHLMANN.  I had written previously about the Midyear Restaurant Week last year where I gave my recommendations, and I urge you to try any of those restaurants as well as this latest addition to my favorites.

When Alan and I go for Restaurant Week, we try to look specifically at the more high end restaurants where we can go for a sampling without splurging on a fancy meal.  The way Restaurant week works, participating restaurants serve lunch for $24.07 and dinner for $35.00.  It still comes out pricey if you take into account that the meal does not include beverages and taxes, (last night’s bill came to almost $120.00 which saw Alan drinking two glasses of Cotes du Rhone, an espresso, and my two diet cokes.  But the meal was definitely more than worth it. 

It helps that Open Table lists the restaurants by name, neighborhood, cuisine, price in dollar signs ($$ to $$$$) and whether the restaurant participates for Lunch, Dinner or both.  Most of the pricier restaurants, however, participate only for lunch, presumably because they want to reserve their inventory for dinner for full paying customers, but if you are ever in the neighborhood during Restaurant Week, all the participating restaurants are well worth a try.

Alan and I did one of two choices for the appetizer and dessert, but for the entree, I went for the Tarragon Vinegar Chicken Fricasee and Alan had the Beef Hamburger.  It was a great meal, the ambience as expected was warm, cozy and romantic even — and the service superb, quick and efficient.

We’ll try to do another one before Restaurant Week is done — but if not, I’m all excited about our Valentine date this year. =)

top blogs 

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Silence on the blogfront

I haven’t been able to post here because too many other things have been occupying me — not to mention the fact that my connection in the evening is a challenge when I’m doing it on the bed away from the router.  This morning, though, I vowed I would begin the day by posting.

It’s freezing cold outside — supposed to be one of the coldest if not the coldest of the year.  So it’s extra bundling up for us today so that we can battle the bitter cold outside.  I don’t think it’s getting any better during the weekend. =(

Days like this make me wish for the warm and hot, sticky days in Manila.  You think you have it bad back there — but imagine the biting cold of winter, and the dry heat of summer.  Not a good combination, even if you say it’s in the land of Uncle Sam. 

Time to brave the cold..

 

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St. Paul College of Quezon City High School Batch ’83

I can’t believe our batch is celebrating it’s silver jubilee next year.  Now I’ve effectively dated myself — then again, I never made any bones about the fact that I turned 40 last year. 

I spent most of my free time trying to update the SPCQC High school ’83 website.  Thanks to Millet‘s genuis of a masthead, I have something to work with.  Meanwhile, we’re putting together a digital yearbook — if only we could get people to answer the questionnaire.

Do you know anyone from my batch?  The better known members of the batch are Liezl Sumilang, Toni Daya, Tweetie de Leon, Sienna Olaso (of Batibot and O-ha! fame), Ida Marie Miranda.. we’d love to hear from the others who have been “missing in action” for one reason or another.

A few have stumbled onto my blog and have found their way to the batch e-group.  We’re really pulling all stops to get this going — Hark, daughters of the great St. Paul as they say!

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BLOVIATIONAL

I was sitting comfortably on the 7 train on my way to work earlier, reading this week’s editions of TIME when I came upon a  new word.  I quickly fished for one of the half dozen pens in my purse and encircled the word so I wouldn’t have to search for it later when I am here by my computer.

“At a time when political pomp and blab have come to seem prohibitively pompous and bloviational, Rocky Mountain politics is fresh and innovative and fun.”

Thanks to Webster.com, I learned today that BLOVIATE is an intransitive verb which means “to speak or write verbosely and windily”.  Contextually, then, I figured out that bloviational means verbose and windy.   Now why didn’t Joe Klein just use verbose?  He wanted me to learn a new word, I guess.  This is is the same writer of TIME who always introduces a new word into my vocabulary, and for that I am thankful.  While I may not use “bloviational” in my day to day conversation, it helps to know what it means so I don’t have to pause next time I encounter it.

I was reading “WHAT DEMOCRATS IN THE WEST CAN TEACH THEIR PARTY“   when I stumbled upon this word.  Klein, as always, provides us with an interesting look on a different breed of Democrats who are succeeding in the West, a mostly Republican bastion until now.  Two short articles which formed separate columns were likewise very interesting to me, namely “HILLARY’S IRAQ SHUFFLE” (Viewpoint) and “WHAT’S A RESUME GOT TO DO WITH IT?” (History)  .

The first talks about Hillary Clinton and the second centers on Barack Obama’s chances given his apparent “pre-eminent ability” to lead.  These are just two of the slew of articles coming out on the very diverse race on the Democrat side, and this is not even taking the Republican’s own slate into consideration just yet.

William Kristol tells us the Hillary will “(have) to try to navigate between being too moderate and too mollifying,” but  beyond his take on Hillary’s stand on the war, you might find it interesting that he ends his piece by saying “… what if she faces a rival who spoke eloquently against the Iraq war from the first — yet also has a hawkish national security record?  What if that man has substantial experience at the highest levels of government — and can also raise plenty of money as a candidate?  What if he ran for President once before — and won the popular vote? x x x  .. If she stays awake at night, it’s because she’s worrying about Al Gore.”  I cannot vote as yet, but my take is that while Hillary Clinton has proven to be popular indeed, she has many issues to hurdle before securing the Democratic nomination. 

Barack Obama is being touted as too inexperienced, but as Richard Brookhiser raised in his article, he fits the Van Buren test to a T, being that the 8th president of the United States actually pulled off winning the presidency by showing that “intrigue and the art of popularity were (now) enough to win the White House.”  His win showed that “the electorate wants leaders who have played the game, even if they haven’t been All-Stars.” — and Brookhiser concludes that Obama qualifies by that standard.

We’ll just have to wait and see..

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