Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Am I spoiled? --

40+ means you're spoiled

Do you have:
(1) your own cell phone
(2) a television in your bedroom
(3) an iPod/MP3 player
( ) a photo printer
(4) your own phone line
( ) TiVo or a generic digital video recorder
(5) high-speed internet access (i.e., not dialup)
( ) a surround sound system in bedroom
(6) DVD player in bedroom
(7) at least a hundred DVDs
(8) a childfree bathroom <-- not after June ^_^
( ) your own in-house office
( ) a pool
( ) a guest house
( ) a game room
(9) a queen-size bed or larger
( ) a stocked bar
( ) a working dishwasher
( ) an icemaker
(10) a working washer and dryer
( ) more than 20 pairs of shoes
(11) at least ten things from a designer store
( ) expensive sunglasses
(12) framed original art (not lithographs or prints)
( ) Egyptian cotton sheets or towels
( ) a multi-speed bike
(13) a gym membership
( ) large exercise equipment at home
( ) your own set of golf clubs
( ) a pool table
( ) a tennis court
( ) local access to a lake, large pond, or the sea
( ) your own pair of skis
( ) enough camping gear for a weekend trip in an isolated area
( ) a boat
( ) a jet ski
( ) a neighborhood committee membership
( ) a beach house or a vacation house/cabin
(14) wealthy family members
(15) two or more family cars
( ) a walk-in closet or pantry <-- used to have one
( ) a yard
( ) a hammock
( ) a personal trainer
(16) good credit
( ) expensive jewelry
( ) a designer bag that required being on a waiting list to get
( ) at least $100 cash in your possession right now
( ) more than two credit cards bearing your name
(17) a stock portfolio
(18) passport
( ) a horse
(19) a trust fund (either for you or created by you)
(20 ) private medical insurance
(19) a college degree, and no outstanding student loans

Do you:
(21) shop for non-needed items for yourself (like clothes, jewelry, electronics) at least once a week
( ) do your regular grocery shopping at high-end or specialty stores
(22) pay someone else to clean your house, do dishes, or launder your clothes (not counting dry-cleaning)
( ) go on weekend mini-vacations
( ) send dinners back with every flaw
( ) wear perfume or cologne (not body spray)
( ) regularly get your hair styled or nails done in a salon
( ) have a job but don't need the money OR
( ) stay at home with little financial sacrifice
(23) pay someone else to cook your meals
( ) pay someone else to watch your children or walk your dogs
( ) regularly pay someone else to drive you
( ) expect a gift after you fight with your partner

Are you:
( ) an only child
( ) married/partnered to a wealthy person
( ) baffled/surprised when you don't get your way
( ) been on a cruise
(24) traveled out of the country
(25) met a celebrity
( ) been to the Caribbean
(26) been to Europe
( ) been to Hawaii
(27) been to New York
( ) eaten at the space needle in Seattle
( ) been to the Mall of America
(28) been on the Eiffel tower in Paris
( ) been on the Statue of Liberty in New York
( ) moved more than three times because you wanted to
( ) dined with local political figures
( ) been to both the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast

Did you:
(29) go to another country for your honeymoon
(30) hire a professional photographer for your wedding or party
( ) take riding or swimming lessons as a child
(31) attend private school
( ) have a Sweet 16 birthday party thrown for you

... I didn't think I was to begin with. But 31 is cutting it a bit close. ^_^

* * *

Saying goodbye --

Somehow this song always seems to be part of the goodbyes in my life --
Leaving on a Jet Plane
by John Denver

All my bags are packed,
I'm ready to go,
I'm standing here,
Outside your door,
I hate to wake you up and say Good Bye.
But the done is breaking, surley moan,
The taxi is waiting, blown his horn.
Already I'm so lonesome I could die.

So kiss me and smile for me,
Tell me that you wait for me,
Hold me, like you never let me go.
Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane,
Don't know when I'll be back again,
Oh Babe I hate to go.

So many times, I let you down,
So many times, I played around,
but I can tell you, they don't mean a thing.
Every place I go, I'll thing of you,
Every song I sing, I sing for you.
When I come back, I'll bring your wedding ring.

Now the time has come to leave you,
One more time has come to kiss you,
Close your eyes and I'll be on my way.
Thing about the day will come,
When I won't have you leave alone,
About the day, when I won't have to stay.

... When I left Xavier to pursue my MA, this was the song I sang to my workmates. Everytime I travel, this is the song in my head. Now that my stint with the ALLC is over and I am on leave from the University until October, this song is playing in my head.

During the closing ceremony for the ALLC, I was pleasantly surprised that they selected this song to close the festivities.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Support my friends! --

A few friends recently opened Cafe Press stalls to display their talent --

Please visit and spread the word:

Origami Dreams

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Breakfast --

For breakfast, I promised Johann I would finally prepare the Alaminos longganisa which has been in our freezer for the past two weeks. I don't like cooking Alaminos longganisa because it is a tedious task -- first, you have to boil the longganisa and then let it fry in its own oil. A lot of patience is required because the perfect Alaminos longganisa has to be "tostado" --

The first time I saw Alaminos longganisa, I was afraid to touch it -- I was afraid of the pointy, toothpick-like skewers that hold the longganisa together and it smelled strange to me. As an Ilonggo, I am used to the sweet-salty smell and taste of our longganisa. Alaminos longganisa has a distinct vinegar-y smell and taste.

Johann's roots can be traced back to Pangasinan and the longganisa is one of the things he remembers and loves from his childhood. I've prepared Alaminos longganisa for breakfast a total of 4 times now -- the first time was a disaster as I had no idea how long it would take to cook it. We ended up having brunch instead of breakfast and the longganisa was not "tostado" enough --

The concept of the "tostado" longganisa is also alien to me as the Iloilo longganisa isn't meant to be "tostado" -- come to think of it, I remember eating skinless longganisa growing up.

The next few times were much better and I decided to play with the Alaminos longganisa. I've mixed it in a rice dish with tomatoes and seafood (all cooked in the rice cooker) and I'm thinking of mixing it in a pasta or pizza one time.

This morning was the fourth time -- I separated the longganisa into pieces, careful not to dislodge the toothpick-like skewers and I poured enough water into the pan. And then I waited.

Waited for the oils to start oozing out.
Waited for the distinct smell of vinegar and salt.

When all the liquid had evaporated, the sizzling started and the longganisa started to acquire its distinct crunchy exterior.

The smell woke Johann up and, while he set the table, I started to fry some eggs to go with the longganisa.

Perhaps the most interesting part of breakfast was the choice of dipping sauce -- we had run out of vinegar (because I used it to deglaze the pan) so we used some sinamakan (a seasoned vinegar) from Iloilo.

You know what, Alaminos longganisa goes very very well with Iloilo sinamakan.

* * *

For people curious to see how I look --

Click here.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Things I've learned from watching television --

Recently, I stumbled upon an episode of House. I don't regularly watch this program, but I've heard about how good it is so I decided to sit through the episode.

The focus of the episode was a nun (Sister Augustine) and the conflict between faith and reason -- to make things more interesting, everything was happening on Christmas.

Episode Transcript here.

This is my favorite exchange in the episode. (Chase is a doctor.)

Chase: ... I chose 1 Peter 1:7. “These trials only test your faith to see whether or not it is strong and pure. Your faith is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it.”

Augustine: “And your faith is far more precious to the Lord than pure gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tested, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of His return.”

Chase: He hasn’t left you. The only thing in the way of your knowing if he’s left you is your fear. You have a choice: faith or fear. That’s the test.

Augustine: Do you think faith doesn’t mean I won’t die?

Chase: It will affect how you experience your death, and therefore your life. It’s up to you.

* * *

For writers --

The British Council announced the Bridport Prize for short stories and poetry.

The gist: First Prize is GBP5000, Second Prize is GBP1000 and Third Prize is GBP500. Deadline is May 10.

More details here.

* * *

And "Hurrah!" to Winnie the Pooh --

He got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Click here for the article.

Pooh is 80 years old, btw.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Date Day! --

Johann and I decided that we were going to treat ourselves to lunch at a place we've never been to before. With the heat and the weather as it is, we were limited to Gateway and the surrounding areas. We found ourselves in Marikina Shoe Expo -- our first time there and we had lunch at Bellini's.

The food at Bellini's was delicious -- Johann had the Seafood Risotto and I had Pesto on Fettucine. The service, however, was a little "bleh" -- the waiter taking our order was busy fixing the table beside us while he was taking our order. We weren't sure if he heard our order or if he got it right. It also took them long to serve our drinks and to replenish our water. The serving size was also a bit small, considering how much the meals cost.

For dessert, Johann and I visited the newly-opened Dairy Queen at the Gateway Food Court. They were busy and packed! And the quality of their ice creams suffered a little. I had the Pecan Delight, which is Pecans and chocolate. The chocolate and the nuts were only mixed on the top 1/3 of the ice cream -- when I dug deeper, it was all vanilla.

BUT --

It was soooooo yummy! I love gooey, melty ice cream!

The people behind Dairy Queen also brought in Orange Julius and I can't wait to try their smoothies!

We were supposed to watch a movie after, but we were crashing from all the carbs so we headed home.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Fun Meme --

The Wikipedia Birthday Meme
Go to Wikipedia and look up your birthday (excluding the year). List three neat facts, two births and one death in your journal, including the year.

1907 - Maria Montessori opens her first school and daycare center for working class children in Rome

1931 - Thomas Edison submits his last patent application.

1936 - Porky Pig premieres.

1883 - Khalil Gibran, Lebanese writer and painter (d. 1931)

1960 - Nigella Lawson, British chef and writer

1852 - Louis Braille, French teacher of the blind (b. 1809)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

This caught my attention --

Teens lack money smarts, which talks about how US teens lack financial literacy.

They apparently have a 30-question test to see how "money savvy" you are and students can only answer an average of 52.4% of the questions correctly. This number has been on the decline since 1997.

Then I followed the other links from the site and it led me to this:
10 Financial Tips for Young People

I'm about to be a mom and I want my son to have a secure and stable future. Johann and I started taking steps towards this right after marriage by placing our money in efficient interest-earning savings funds.

As much as I'd like to say that I am very good with handling money, I sometimes fall victim to splurges and "crazy" spending -- my one luho is shopping and I indulge in this once in a while. These days since I can't shop for myself, I buy stuff for my son -- thank goodness onesies and mittens and booties are cheap!

Our other luho is books -- and it is dangerous for me and Johann to be in a bookstore with a credit card. We try to get a book or two a month, but sometimes, we go over the limit.

* * *

Kiseki wo shinjite --

I don't remember when it was that my sister and I sat down to watch a feature on The Prince of Egypt. I don't even remember if we saw that feature on television or on one of our DVDs.

What I do remember is hearing a snippet of the Japanese dub for Prince of Egypt and the song "When you believe" --

It was an amazing and memorable moment and one that sparked an obsession that was only recently satisfied.

For her birthday, my sister got herself the Special Limited Japanese Edition of Prince of Egypt -- this edition was offered once before many years ago and it sold out before we could get it.

We listened to that section a few days ago and, while we were watching it, I was thinking about how certain things are so universal that, in any language, you will understand it. (Rent in Japanese is another example. ^_^)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Like the Ant (or how we're preparing for the Holy Week) --

Johann and I are preparing for Holy Week next week and we've started stocking up on DVDs to watch during that time. Today we went to Metrowalk with my sister and we purchased the following:

Everything is Illuminated

We still have half a box of the Gilmore Girls Season 3 and full boxes of Seasons 4 and 5.

There were a LOT of good titles available at Metrowalk and we'll get them the next time we're in the area --

Good Night and Good Luck
The Squid and the Whale
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
plus a shedload of Indie films

We've discussed grocery plans for Holy Week and we plan to do our buying on Tuesday.

* * *

Oh --

And I got to eat Iceberg Halo Halo today with my sister (and Johann paid for everything) --

Yummmmmm.... ^_^

Monday, April 03, 2006

Jaa ne --

My youngest brother is now on his way to Japan to take his PhD in Japanese Studies.

I really admire my youngest bro's determination and vision -- he applied for a Monbusho scholarship and was granted one. I'm not surprised, though -- if you look at his CV, you'll see how dedicated he is to the study of Asian/Japanese history and how he has pursued it so passionately since he graduated from college.

I remember meeting with his Philo teacher (who was a batchmate) and she told me that, even then, my bro was able to connect questions in History to questions in Philosophy.

My other brother recently found out that he got the scholarship to pursue his MS in the United States. He'll be leaving this August. This brother's interest is Science and he works for the Manila Observatory. I've visited him several times at his office and I am always amazed at how effortless the work is for him -- how forecasting and crunching data seems like second nature to him.

I'm really proud of my sibs and how they were brave enough to pursue their passions -- ^_^

* * *

Sunday afternoon with Mahar --

I needed to return a book to Mahar and he wanted to show me his new place so we decided to meet up yesterday afternoon.

I really LOVED visiting his new home -- it has a very welcoming feel to it and you could really see how the place was designed for a family. He took me around the neighborhood and talked about some of the people living in that subdivison as well.

... now I want to live there, too. O_O

After we left the subdivision, we both started talking about wanting something sweet to eat. We decided to check out Cordillera Coffee along Xavierville only to find that they were closed on Sundays.

So, guess what we did --

We drove to UP and had carrot cake at Chocolate Kiss.

Carrot cake is an ongoing craving of mine. It has been indulged by Johann and my sister many many times already. During one really intense craving moment, Johann and I took a jeep to UP to have carrot cake at Chocolate Kiss.

... I really should just learn how to make it.

After UP, Mahar was contemplating going to Gateway for the sale but we decided to swing by Shoppersville so I could pick up a half-gallon of FIC Pistachio ice cream. We got to the FIC freezer and saw that it was near-empty. Thankfully, there was someone kind enough to dig down to find the last Pistachio ice cream for me. (Guess he understands the needs of a pregnant woman. ^_^)

All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon of conversation and spontaneity. ^_^

Best bit of advice from Mahar (actually, Mahar's mom through Mahar): It is practical to be happy.

* * *

Oh --

and I finished reading The Professor and The Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Apparently, one of their most prolific contributors was a doctor who was also an inmate in an asylum.

It's an amazing reconstruction of the greatest set of books (IMHO) was formed.

Now I want to read this: The Meaning of Everything : The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary also by Simon Winchester.

I'm a big fan of the OED -- and, at one point, I was actually working towards getting my own 20-volume set. I had called the local Oxford books distributor and inquired about how to get it in. The books are expensive, costing $800 dollars (used) on Amazon. Let's not even talk about shipping costs. The guy I talked to used words like "container" and "ship by sea" -- O_O

I'm currently reading Jonathan Carroll's Sleeping in Flame. Carroll is one of Johann's favorite authors and he is very happy that I have finally decided to read one of his books.

* * *

Joy and Jubilation! --

Martha Stewart on Lifestyle Network! Mondays to Fridays at 9pm!