Monthly Archives: June 2008

Gay Pride Parade 2008

One thing I want to do sometime in the future (and hopefully with my brother Nikki in tow) is to watch the Gay Pride Parade of New York. I didn’t know it was actually today until we ended up in traffic on 34th street on the way to the Lincoln tunnel to our luncheon in New Jersey. We were stopped right at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 34th where the Empire State Building stood proudly on one corner. As Alan said, we got front row seats to a snippet of the show.

The rain had poured momentarily but strongly, and we caught some dancers in white spandex (donned with the wet look) dancing/marching to the tune of “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis. It surely exuded a party atmosphere as the crowd enthusiastically cheered the parade on with complimentary catcalls and hoots. How I wish Nikki was here with me.

 
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The scent of freshly fallen rain

I don’t know what it is about the rain that I love more— watching it falling from the skies, or the smell of dew that lingers long after the skies have cleared. I’m sitting under a tent in the lawn of a friend’s home, resting after having a hearty lunch in celebration of the baptism (binyag) of one of the newborns. In keeping with tradition, the buffet was overflowing. Talk about my favorite lengua, bopis and of course, the traditional lechon.

The rain started to pour right after my boys and I settled down with our plates in one of the tables in the center of our tent. It was the perfect spot to be in in the midst of torrential rain. We ended the meal with mango cake (from Red Ribbon no less) and the rain was still at it. It stopped just before the grass where we were seated got soaked.

I’ve been tailing the little tyke who has been totally swept off his feet by the baby. They took the baby inside the house again and I let him go there by himself this time. I asked him if he wanted me to have another baby — and always he was quick to answer no, because I have him already.

The buffet has been cleared and all but the barbecue grill is still churning out food. I took my seat again and decided to sit here awhile and just enjoy the cool breeze…take a moment to smell the air…

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Parting with a constant companion

We went back to the waterpark today since it was in the 90s and the forecast for rain wasn’t until late evening.  So off we went, carrying our gear on Angelo’s stroller.  This is not our first time in a crowded theme park, and we have usually taken precautions in stashing our things when we all went on the family rides.  I wasn’t going to bring my camera today and was going to opt for Alan’s but we forgot a thing or two at home and drove back and I decided I’d take it anyway.

I don’t even have the energy to relate the story properly but I lost my camera in the park.  It happened to be under a hefty pile of clean clothes under a towel that was draped over the hood of the stroller, and when we returned to the stroller after what was a really fun ride and I saw the towel raised up, I knew the camera was gone.  Someone actually looked under and took the camera.  And the culprit was in such a hurry they didn’t even bother to cover the hood of the stroller again.

It’s just a camera some would say.. it’s almost 2 years old now, a gift from Alan for our wedding anniversary in 2006, right when my old one conked out on me.  I’m heartbroken.  This camera has travelled the world with me and was always in my purse no matter how bulky it was, helping me to take photos whenever the opportunity presented itself.  Fortunately, I had downloaded all the pictures to my hard drive save for the ones taken today.  Still, I feel such a deep loss over the theft of this precious companion of mine.

I am seriously thinking of just getting the same one instead of “upgrading” to a newer version.  I was quite happy with how I had started to get to know this camera  better.  It’s now half the price of the original selling price when it first came out which makes it a bargain.  While its highest resolution is just over 7 megapixels, I’m quite happy with this considering I have never gone higher than 4 megapixels with my photos except in some rare occasions.  For now, I’m contenting myself with the camera of my blackberry curve.  (Another painful sigh..)  Alan is prevailing upon me not to get another one just yet.  He says I can use his but next week, he will be attending a high school reunion with his camera and I will be without one.  (Oops, I WILL have my blackberry which actually takes good pictures up to half a meg in size in it’s “superfine” mode.)  I’m paying heed to Alan and will hold off.. for now.

Here’s a sample of my blackberry curve’s picture capability showing the little tyke posing by the surfboard photo corner:


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My own creations: Scrapbook embellishments

I completed a scrapbook layout using a background paper from my archives of free downloads, but using embellishments and elements strictly from my doodle pad, literally.  I was ready to publish it here when I realized there was one element I forgot to “create” which was a suitable frame because my photo looked “naked” without a shadow (which I cannot execute because I’m not using a photo software), or a frame.

I was pretty happy about the layout except for that.  So tonight I’m going to allot half an hour to create a few frames which I can scan and color tomorrow.  I put a a sticky on a clean sheet of bond paper and drew a frame around it as close to the actual paper without letting my pen touch it.  The layout, sans the frame, actually looked okay but it felt “kulang” or lacking in something.  I plan to do the Manila Scrapbook using this method, combining background paper from digital kits and embellishing with my hand drawn (then scanned) embellishments.  I noticed that I always run low on elements when creating huge projects which require a diversity of embellishments from page to page.  The solution?  Create my own embellishments.

Since the trip home was full of fun and involved a lot of interaction between the kids (Angelo and my niece Audrey and my nephew Art), I want this add-on pack to be very playful.  I wanted the colors to be happy so I’m using my neon highlighters a lot.  I’m experimenting with crayons and craypass but the colors are not coming out as virbrantly as the markers are.  I’m actually playing it by ear and creating elements by type.  I expect I’ll be creating certain elements as I go along, or recoloring what I had created to suit a theme.

That’s why I do the line drawing (in black ink) and then photocopy the drawing before coloring, and using the markers on the photocopy to prevent the black ink bleeding into the color.  It also helps me keep the original for photocopying again if I commit a mistake or change my mind about the color or meidum I used.


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Reading THE MEN WE BECAME

I’ve always loved to read.  And I have been complaining that I haven’t been doing enough of it, but the last three days, I’ve been stealing time to read Robert T. Littell’s book on his friendship with John F. Kennedy, Jr., THE MEN WE BECAME.  I’m almost done reading and expect I’ll be done by tomorrow if not tonight.

It’s a quick read which sees you hearing the story from the point of view of one of the long-time friends of this Kennedy icon.  Littell and Kennedy apparently met at Brown University where both men went to college.  It’s a bestfriend talking about the other friend sometimes fondly, and at times so painfully honest you see that JFK, Jr. was indeed human after all.  There are a lot of personal anecdotes which told simply and straight from the heart gives you a glimpse of many private moments in the very public life of JFK, Jr.

There are no cliffhangers or scandalous revelations — it’s just a buddy story, but something we can relate to.

Up next?  I might go and read THE WITCH OF PORTOBELLO by Paolo Coelho.
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UPDATE: Reading again among other things

I haven’t done my usual “daily post”  here not for lack of trying.  I’ve been trying to update my catalogue of Starbucks Mugs (View my Flickr Set in a new window), but it’s a little tricky trying to export thumbnails and HTML codes so I finally gave up and just decided I will do everything longhand.  The pictures have been uploaded — I just need to compose them into a coherent blogpost that will be housed in my Starbucks Gallery (a new category) which I will continue to update as new mugs are added to my collection.  I have 42 mugs duly photographed, and last night, I counted at least 50 mugs on my kitchen shelf which I hope to get to during the summer, and I’m also trying to “remember” if I have any other mugs tucked away that have yet to be photographed.

And I’m happy to report I’ve started reading again.  (More on that later.)  I’ve been so happy reading that I’ve even downloaded the Supreme Court decision in Kennedy vs. Louisiana which in essence says child rapists do not deserve the death penalty.  While I try to veer away from politically loaded subjects, this one struck a cord in my heart when I got the news alert from The New York Times:  ”Supreme Court Rejects Death Penalty for Child Rapists“.  I don’t know how to react.  So I thought I would read the rationale given by our esteemed judges of the Supreme Court and see why they felt it was an unjust and cruel form of punishment given the nature of the crime.

That distracted me from my current research into resurrecting my business after I had gone through the motions of revisiting the relevant government websites to get me going.  I’m completely lost now on that but I will write about it again later.  (Promises, promises — I know.)  To be frank with you, I haven’t quite decided the exact direction I’m taking on this one but research is part of preparing for it.  After reading through the preliminary paperwork, I realize I have to think of a business name.  (That itself is going to be a blogpost in the future or two..)  Pinay New Yorker?  Nah… that’s my signature/monicker, but it doesn’t do it for me as a business name.

The past few days have also seen me doodling and scribbling away as I attempt to come up with my own digital scrapbooking kit.  (Ambitious, I know!)  But I have these simple ideas I’m executing for my Manila Scrapbook which I hope to share for free here in this website.  So my evenings have been spent doodling and coloring captions and tags.  I’m still working on the embellishments, although I am not optimistic I will be able to come up with a paper pack.  I have spent time debating with myself about whether or not crayons or craypass work as well as markers.  I am experimenting and I am getting there while having fun doing it.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  I have been getting a slew of comments worth publishing were it not for the fact that they were posted without a working e-mail or URL to track back to  by the author.  =(  So sad that that’s the case because they would’ve seen the light of day here on my blog and might have even merited a response from me but I have rules to follow.  As requested, please do provide an e-mail address and/or a working URL in the future.

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Chris Burden: “WHAT MY DAD GAVE ME”, running until July 19 at Rockefeller Center

It was one of those days I worked in our office in Manhattan and I was walking to Alan’s part of Midtown so we could go home together.  As always, I had my trusty camera on hand to capture the moment.


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This is a long overdue post on this exhibit at Rockefeller Center.  Read more about it here and here is an article from the New York Times on the exhibit.  It’s one of those things that make New York City, New York.
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A different Saturday morning

I’m typing away again giving myself a 15 minute break before I go back to the kitchen.  I woke up reasonably early because the little tyke woke up at past 7am.  (What a relief!)  Perhaps it was force of habit but I did what I do every morning.  I walked to my blackberry which was connected to the charger and checked for messages.  I quickly scan the new mail and I basically look for two things: mail from the boss and mail from home.

Just junk mail.  Good.  I am fortunate that the boss is mindful of the fact that if she e-mails me at an unholy hour and I’m up, I will respond.  So she tries to keep that in mind but she’s in Europe and I’m just worried our arrangements for her might not have worked out.  She is, after all, 6 hours ahead, and she has been there almost 8 hours now.  If anything went wrong, I would’ve heard about it already.  Or on the otherhand, she would’ve handled it.  Sigh of relief.

And I always watch out for e-mails from home — and since they’re 12 hours ahead of me, most e-mails come either during the time I’m asleep if not towards my noon.  Nothing for now. 

The boys have both had their breakfast, and I’ve washed most of the dishes.  I made my stop at the bathroom and cleaned the throne (not the tub yet, though), and I’m gearing up to cook some negamaki for a pot luck lunch we’re going to which is also supposed to be sort of a baby shower for one of Alan’s officemates.

I’m looking forward to that one because I am good friends with some of Alan’s officemates.  It’s good to mix with the people he works with day in and day out in a social setting.  We’ve been to picnics, dinners, parties, weddings together. 

We’re not really looking towards staying there the whole time.  We want to be able to make up for the time Alan was away for business from Sunday to Thursday.  But it’s always nice to be with friends.

Time to hit the kitchen and get cooking.  I’m giving myself thirty minutes prep time and around the same amount of time to cook.  It’s a little tedious to prepare because it means wrapping bits of thinly sliced beef on scallions.  The fact that I’m preparing double my usual serving will add to the prep time. 


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My favorite low sodium Teriyaki sauce. A shortcut marinade that saves me a lot of trouble from making teriyaki sauce from scratch
Grab a pound of sukiyaki beef from the Chinese grocery.
Green onions which are cut to 1 inch long
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
Pour enough of the teriyaki marinade into the bowl to cover all the beef. Let the beef marinate for around 30 minutes.
Allow excess marinade to drip from the sukiyaki beef by placing the meat on a strainer. Make sure to catch the drippings in a bowl for use later.
Lay out a strip of beef on a flat surface then put some scallions on one end.
Roll the beef firmly. I usually prefer to start with the short end so the wider end is the one on the outside of the roll
Your roll should look something like this.
Set aside each roll in a separate container.
Fry the negamaki in batches, making sure the meat is thoroughly cooked.
Set aside the beef as it gets cooked.
Fix the negamaki rolls on your serving platter and boil the marinade to cook. Adjust seasoning at this point if necessary, water down the marinade if too strong, the spoon over the negamaki.height=
Toast the sesame seeds and then sprinkle over the negamaki.
Add sliced green onions as garnishing and serve.

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The Busy Bee Cake from Black Hound

I went to a birthday party this afternoon in the office where they served this extraordinary cake that was something I just had to share.  They ordered this cake from Black Hound which was simply to die for!  It was my first taste of The Busy Bee Cake which was described on their website as

“(their) signature cake.  Three layers of chocolate butter cake, two layers of almond butter cake, two layers of bittersweet chocolate mousse, and one layer of marzipan…all covered in marzipan and bittersweet chocolate and decorated with marzipan and almond petal bees. Your cake may be ordered with an inscription at no additional charge. The bees remain on the inscribed version of this cake.”

The “frosting” is actually a chocolate and marzipan fondant-like icing which requires that you cut the cake with a real instead of a plastic knife because it will crack as you try to slice into the cake.  The cake itself is very satisfying and chocolicious, and a piece will sate your craving both for a sweet treat and something filling.

The cake layers are thin enough to lend their flavor to the whole but not too thin to be unnoticeable.  The almond bees were not only visually delightful but a rather yummy treat.  The flowers were actually made of marzipan which was another added treat! On the whole, it was a dreamy indulgence we had.  Something you should definitely try if you ever get the chance to go to their store here in New York.

Their retail store is located at 170 Second Avenue, New York City (212.979.9505)

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Please excuse the picture quality as this was taken with a phone camera
  
  

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My Christmas Projects


I’m starting a new subcategory within the category CRAFTS to make good on my long-ago plan to start preparing for Christmas during the middle of the year.  That way, I don’t feel stressed out decorating right around Thanksgiving, and I can make sure the cards I write and address actually make it to the people they were made out for.

I have a few ideas and they have been running through my head the past couple of days, hence, the post.  All projects will be denominated with the tag above.  Give me a few days.
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