Thursday, January 21, 2010

Books, books, and more books! --

For lovers of romance novels and chicklit, please check out Starry Night Books on Multiply and my Ebay listings.

For lovers of Science Fiction and Fantasy, visit Critical Hit Books on Multiply.  Hubby has an amazing set of Uncle John's Bathroom Readers and The Mammoth Book of ...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sunny mornings --

It's been dreary and cold these past few days -- the wind's howling and the day is gray.

But I'm surprisingly chipper --

Maybe it's because of these:



I have a long-standing love affair with peanut butter -- (and Nutella) -- I used to have "peanut butter" Wednesdays which (d)evolved into "peanut butter" everdays.

I love it on pandesal or on toast ... or on a spoon.

These two jars of PB are from The Peanut Butter & Co in New York.  A friend went there recently and was so wonderful and got these for me.  (Thankies thankies, C!)

I usually have two or three different peanut butters open at any one time ... but these are too precious so I started with the Dark Chocolate Dreams ...

I'm nearly done with it.  (I don't want to be!)  So I'll be enjoying the White Chocolate Wonderful next.

Oh, and my favorite mix?  Peanut Butter on the bottom half of the bread and Nutella on top. ^_^

For some strange reason, while I was writing this blog entry, this was the song in my head:

Smile a sunny morning
Sunny all the way
Something new is dawning
Bet it's called today

Smile a sunny morning
Sunny is the style
Even if you're yawning
You can yawn a smile

Come on and smile bees and bunnies
Wake up birds and trees
You'll find if you're sunny
Your morning is a breeze!

Life can be so berry
Berry, berry grand
Mornings can be merry
Give the sun a hand

Smile a sunny morning
Sunny all the way
Something new is dawning
Bet it's called today

Something new is dawning
Bet it's called today!

<-- it's from Strawberry Shortcake!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

32 --

In a few hours, I will be 32 years old.  (At around 9am)

I read back to old blog entries to see what has changed in my life in the past 7 years that I've kept this blog.

One curious thing was an IQ Test that I took in 2004.  I decided to retake the test --

And the result is:

Word Warrior

Your IQ Score is: 135
You are equipped with a verbal arsenal that enables you to understand complex issues and communicate on a particularly high level. These talents make you a Word Warrior.

Whether or not you recognize it, your vocabulary is your strongest suit—use it whenever you can. Since your command of words is so great, you are also a terrific communicator — able to articulate big ideas to just about anyone. 

Your wordsmithing prowess will also help in artistic and creative pursuits. The power of words translates to fresh ideas off paper too. 

Since you have so many words at your disposal, you are in a unique position to describe things in an original way, as well as see the future in your mind's eye. In short, your strengths allow you to be a visionary — able to extrapolate and come up with a multitude of fresh ideas. And you are in good company — bask in the brilliance of Word Warriors who have walked before you. 

William Shakespeare let loose the power of his pen. His ability to articulate the most subtle nuances of human nature and to create colorful characters are why his stories still have a major impact — even 400 years after he first wrote them. Whether you put pen to paper or use your understanding of the words around you to come up with creative approaches to problems, your potential as a Word Warrior is terrific. 

I was a bit worried at the start because I know I've probably lost brain cells in the past year or two ... so now I'm a bit relieved that I can still think properly when the situation calls for it. ^_^

Monday, January 04, 2010

Plans for 2010! --

It's the beginning of a new decade!

And I'm turning 32 soon! >_<

Here are some things I'd like to do this year:
1.  Learn how to "lechon" a pig
<-- our driver and I have had lengthy discussions about this and I am determined to learn how to do this properly before December.  I wonder how people get the mix of flavors and spices right.  How does one practice?

2.  Learn how to sew
<-- the better title would be "Buy a sewing machine"

3.  Organize my bookshelf (and Johann's)

4.  Organize my closet.  Believe it or not, I don't have a lot of clothes and I only have 1 pair of shoes (Pink Prima).  I think this is the year to update my closet.

5.  Buy a new pair of shoes
<-- I'll probably do this in Singapore.

6.  Buy a new pair of glasses and update my prescription
<-- At our family's Christmas party, I couldn't read the name off the raffle ticket because it was blurry.

7.  Blog/write more
<-- F, a friend in Cebu, and I were texting our one-line reviews of some of the romance novels we've read and it was amusing.  She asked me if I've ever written a review and I told her, no -- perhaps this year I can write one. ^_^

8.  Re-connect with friends
<-- I hope you are still my friends!!! >_<

My sister and I are also looking forward to our annual trip and, this year, we are going to Singapore at the end of January.  (It's a post-birthday trip for me and a pre-birthday trip for her.)  And we are taking Seth with us!  (Still undecided whether this is a good idea or not. O_O)

I'm also planning my little girl's 1st birthday party and baptism.  It's a bit tricky because her birthday is on March 27, which is the last weekend before Holy Week -- am certain most people will be away by then so we are moving up the celebration to the week before (March 20) -- but now we are competing against schools booking venues for their graduation balls.

I have a theme in mind already -- now I just have to think of what I want to happen.  (More on this in our other blog.)

Also plan for Seth's birthday in June.  Maybe something smaller.  Maybe just in school.  Not sure. ^_^

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Conversation at lunch today --

Maybe it's because we've been eating leftover spaghetti since December 30. 

Or maybe it's because there was a fire 2 blocks away from us last night and we had to rush home from a dinner with our uncle and his family who spent New Year in Iloilo. 

Or maybe it's because we slept at 11 because we had to air out the house from all the smoke.

Or maybe it's because we woke up this morning to a house littered with ash and we spent the morning vacuuming.

Anyhoo, the conversation:

Me: (After taking a bite of baguette) I never did understand baguettes.  Even when we were touring in France.  I always found them too difficult to bite into.

Johann:  It's the combination of textures.  Crunchy outside.  Soft and chewy inside.

Me:  Yeah, di ba they talk about that in Gourmet Rhapsody?  How bread contains many textures -- first, hard crust and then soft inside.  And when you keep chewing, it becomes sticky.  I still don't understand french bread.  Especially in sandwiches.

My sister:  It's because we aren't French.  I can't imagine the French rhapsodizing about our Kong Kee Siopao and Love & Kisses pizza. 


* * *

Excerpt from Gourmet Rhapsody --

You storm it through an initial encounter  with the barrier of crust, then yield to wonder the moment you are through, as the fresh soft interior consents...

... chewing bread, unlike pastry, or event sweet breakfast rolls, leads to a surprising result, to a ... sticky result.  As you chew and chew upon the soft interior, a sticky mass is formed, which no air can penetrate: the bread adheres -- yes, like glue.  If you have never dared to take a mass of soft dough between your teeth and tongue and palate and cheeks, you have never thrilled to the feeling of jubilant ardor that viscosity can convey.

* * *

The fire --

We were about to leave anyway, because it was 8 o'clock and I had to be home by 8:30 to put Anya to sleep.  Our driver knocked at the glass behind us and kept signaling to me.  I thought he was asking me if I wanted him to bring the car around to the front and I kept signaling back that he should wait for us.

Then he pulled out his cellphone and pointed to it.  I checked my phone and my heart stopped when I read the message:

"Grabe ang smoke diri.  Damo na bombero."  (The smoke is unbelievable.  A lot of firemen/firetrucks are here."

The message was from Anya's yaya who was at home watching Anya.

I called home immediately.  The only question I asked was, "Is it our house?"  and the yaya answered, no -- but the fire was near our house.

We rushed through our goodbyes and sped home.

We were about 3 blocks away and the smoke was so thick that our driver had to turn on the hazard lights because the visibility was so, so poor.

When we arrived home, I went to get Anya and the two yayas and brought them to the car.  My parents brought them and the two kids to the Christmas light display at Angelicum School.

My sister and I stayed home and turned on every fan we had in every room to clear the smoke.

Thank goodness it was a windy night and the air helped to clear the smoke faster.

This morning, we looked out our window and saw the black patch of grass and trees where the fire was.  It was a grass fire -- thankfully, no houses were affected by the fire.

We are now dealing with the soot, ash and burnt debris that keeps blowing our way because of the wind.

So now my sister and I are thinking of our emergency protocol -- what does one do when there is a fire nearby? 

The yayas said the initial smoke was so black and so thick that they couldn't see across the street.

I am grateful that my kids' yayas are calm and level-headed.  They kept Anya in our bedroom upstairs with all the windows closed and a fan running.  Seth's yaya closed all the other windows in our house.