Tuesday, January 27, 2009

31 Thank Yous And More

As I type this post (10:30 PM), I could hear a poor soul shoveling snow outside. I could hear the crunch of the shovel hitting the 3 to 4 inches of snow that dropped for the past 24 hours. After the shoveling, he has to apply ice melts, hoping that the freezing rain tomorrow won't refreeze them - again. My prediction last night was on point. It snowed the whole night, and I woke up to winter wonderland. I felt a mixture of delight and agony; delight because the kid in me loves the snow, but agony because the adult in me did not like walking on the slippery pavements. I turned on the TV right away and watched intently which firms, schools, government offices were closing. Alas, my firm wasn't one of them. I dragged myself to the shower and protestingly got dressed for work.

The walk from my apartment to the Metro took forever, but I made it anyway carefully trudging through the icy sidewalks. When I got to the Metro Station, I found out that there was an hour delay due to mechanical problems, a train got stuck somewhere and trains were sharing tracks. I didn't budge and accepted that I'll be late to work today. When my train finally arrived, it was packed. Just like any good passenger, I obediently took my space in the crowded train. I was pushed, squished, and pulled from all directions. I just closed my eyes and hoped that things will get better. The train ride should have been less than 40 minutes, but it became an hour and a half ordeal.

I sighed relief when I reached the office. I made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed two small muffins, and sat in my office ready to tackle the day. Suddenly, Ms. Admin peeked through my door and said, "You know, our Internet server is down and we're not exactly sure when we'll get it fixed due to the weather and all." At this point, I was ready to burst. I didn't know if I was angry or frustrated, but it was probably both. I dropped my head, realizing that I can't win by being mad, I shook my head and laughed. After all, it is my birthday.

For the whole day, I managed without my Internet. I can't believe how I've become Internet dependent. It's like an addiction. Work life took a different level as the facsimile became alive again. Some of my office workers weren't even sure how to use it. Most of them are so used to just scanning or sending documents as e-mail attachments. I can't blame them; it's faster that way. I found the experience rather amusing.

It was still snowing when I left the office. Of course, my train going home was late too. I've stopped complaining, and I'll be content to know that my birthday was made interesting by a series of eye-opening events. I am happy and thankful that today I turn 31.


Dear All,

My sincerest thank you. I am deeply touched and humbled by all the birthday greetings and wishes you have showered me. Thank you so much for remembering my birthday and celebrating it with me in spirit and thoughts.

My heart is overflowing.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's All About "ME"

I had an early birthday celebration when I was in Hawaii. My parents and I had a big lunch at Max's of Manila (Waipahu). We feasted on Pork Sisig, Max's Chicken, and Chopseuy. Now that I've mentioned about Sisig, I am starting to crave for it. This was my first time to go to Max's, as the restaurant opened in Hawaii about two years ago. I really like the place. Anyway, I decided to make a small celebration of my birthday today. My real birthday is in two days, but I'd be busy with work by then so I decided to make this day all about - ME.

The small Boston Cream Cake was a license to eat sweets, dates, and my favorite Melting Moments cookies.

Why four candles? Because 3 + 1 = 4.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blog Award

Thank you, Witsandnuts, and you do know that I do find your blog brilliant in design and content as well.

***This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog’s content or design is, in the giver’s opinion is brilliant.

The rules:

When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to said person so everyone knows he or she is real.

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have 7 friends. Show the 7 random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Weblog.” Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten honest things about yourself. Then, pass it on!

Here's 10 random honest things about me.
  1. My hair has been "really" short for the past 10 years. I am thinking of growing it long. We'll see how long my patience will last.
  2. I don't like gourmet coffee or tea. If I drink coffee or tea, I'll have it black, but occasionally I'll add milk and sugar.
  3. I love walking in the rain or snow. I find it relaxing.
  4. I wear sneakers on my way to work, then change to my working shoes in the office. It makes my commute easier.
  5. I drink cocoa before I go to bed. It's a tradition.
  6. I haven't been to the movie theatre for almost a year, as I do like watching DVDs at home where I can truly relax. But I think I'll go watch Harry Potter on the big screen this year.
  7. I love purple and pink.
  8. Since I came back from Hawaii, my sleeping pattern has been screwed.
  9. I eat ice cream even in the midst of winter. There's a store near me that offers free ice cream whenever it rains or snows.
  10. I dread my next bone marrow biopsy.

The seven random victims of this award are:

  1. knittering - I love the drawings and crafty ideas on this blog. This blog makes me say, "I wish I was crafty."
  2. Because It's Human Nature to Communicate - This blog is filled with family stories and LOVE.
  3. mordsith - I actually thought she's a Sith Lord, but she's more of a Jedi. The force is strong on this blog.
  4. kumareng grace - I feel lucky to have a cyber kumare. I enjoy her travel postcards so much.
  5. Embracing Everyday - I am new to reading this blog. This blog has given the value of love and hugging to a higher level.
  6. Kero's Celebration - The owner of this blog is family, and family means a lot to me.
  7. Journal of Kuyanin - I am new to this blog, but his blog has excellent design and content. Not to mention that the cold December wind blew him and landed on my blog.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sour Wednesday

I have a love and hate relationship with winter, but today, I am starting to hate winter much more, not to mention that we have a month and a half more to go. I know hate is a strong word, but this morning was so cold I felt like a frozen meat that needed serious thawing. It doesn't matter how much lotion I've been using, my skin still looks and feels dry. My nostrils sting from inhaling the chilly air, and my cheeks numbly burnt from the wintry breeze. But then again, I chose to live in this area, so I'll just suck it up and take it.

Seasons like these make me consider moving some place warmer, possibly changing my job and engaging a new way-of-life. But from a pure economical standpoint, this is not the right time to be switching jobs or even consider changing careers. These are tough financial times, so I'll just suck it up and take it.

Then again, I'm probably just pissed because someone in the office ruined my morning, and I can't find a way to appease my super sensitive feelings. Or, I feel completely off and irritable just because I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. This too, I'll suck it up and take it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Six Quirky Things About Me

I was tagged by Little Miss Firefly to list six quirky things about me.
  1. I could be a clean freak for one day then totally become a slob the next.
  2. I sometimes wear flannel pjs while out shopping - this usually happens during winter.
  3. I "was" a drama enthusiasts, but now, I only watch comedy and action adventure.
  4. I have a potted Calamansi in my apartment, which I'm hoping will start bearing fruits soon.
  5. I am crazy about anything cute. I'd go into a Sanrio store and spend hours there. If you want me out of a stationery store, you have to drag me.
  6. I don't own a microwave just because I don't want to.
* I'm not tagging anyone, but if you like this tag, please feel free to do so.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

O'ahu Postcards

Ko Olina Resort at Kapolei. Disney's planning to build a resort near this beach. I hope it will not change the beauty of the area.

Ala Wai Harbor.

Another view of Mokolii Island.

Statue of Duke Kahanamoku (Waikiki), the legendary surfer and swimmer of Hawaii.

Off to beautiful Kaneohe.

The famous Waikiki beach. It's too crowded for me.

Ala Moana Beach near Ala Moana Shopping Center, Hawaii's largest open-air shopping center located in Honolulu.

Rough waves of the famous North Shore.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Let's Go Holoholo

Before holoholo: My Take on "Tuyo"

While reading everyone's comments on my post about "tuyo," I'd have to agree to some extent that there's some demeaning behavior towards the cooking of "tuyo" and indirectly towards the Filipino couple involved. We also have to take into account that they've been warned several times about breaking apartment rules, but I do know that the Filipino couple were just exercising their freedom to be who they really are - like any other Filipino who loves to eat dried fish. I'd like to believe that the Nuns just couldn't "tolerate" the smell due to numerous frying of the dried fish, but their reasoning that the smell of tuyo is "potentially dangerous to life and health" has no burden of proof. I think they just wanted a reason valid enough to take to court in order to stop this incessant frying of tuyo. Has there been any death cases in the Philippines, where I think people are often exposed to the smell of tuyo and as much eat it, directly related to the deadly tuyo smell? I think our population should be cut in half by now if that's the case. Also, the requested $75,000 for damages is totally ridiculous. We are talking about smell here and not destruction of property. My suggestion, the Filipino couple should put $75,000 worth of coins in a sack, jingle it for the Nuns to hear, and consider the damages paid and the case closed.

As a precaution, people who rent should be wary of housing rules and regulations specially if you live in a country that doesn't rejoice in the heavenly smell of fried tuyo. If you want to live in peace with your tuyo cravings, read the housing rules before you move in, and if there are no prohibitions to cooking smelly food, by all means move in and cook as much tuyo as you want.

Now let's go holoholo!


In Hawaiian, holoholo means "leisurely travel." So, with that thought, here are some of the photos I took while going holoholo in the island of O'ahu.

Wave break.

Wash out.

This beach is near my grandma's house, so we usually walk there after lunch or dinner. We like to think it's our private beach, as tourists rarely come here. It's a big contrast from the crowded beaches of Waikiki. I like this beach the way it is and I hope it remains that way.

My piggies being buried in the sand.

My red slippers, abandoned and waiting. I'm happy walking barefoot at the beach.

The red canoe.

This is exactly where I'd hang my hammock. I think it's the perfect place. It's in the Kualoa Park and perfectly between Mokolii Island (Chinaman's Hat) and the Ko'olau Mountains.

Another side of the Ko'olau Mountains.

Clear water.

View from the Pali Lookout.

That's the winding road we took to get all the way up to Nuuanu Pali. For a little history from the HawaiiWeb.com, "the Nuuanu Pali Lookout ("Cool Height Cliff") overlooking the 985 foot cliffs of the Ko'olau Mountain Range, is one of the best views on O'ahu. It was here in 1795 that King Kamehameha and his warriors defeated the O'ahu armies by sending them over these steep, forested cliffs and claiming his victory and uniting the Hawaiian Islands. The breathtaking sight and the gruesome history of the battle fought here is enough to cause a chill to run up your spine."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's "Tuyo's" Fault

Let's take a break from my Hawaii posts.

I almost fell from my chair when I read this on the GMA News website. Apparently, a lawsuit, filed by Manhattan nuns against a Filipino-American couple claiming that the smell of "tuyo" could be “potentially dangerous to life and health." As a person who gets the occasional craving for dried fish, I found this interesting. I do know by experience that to other ethnicities who aren't used to the smell of dried fish, the smell is challenging and offensive to them. Is there a way to cook dried fish so that the smell is minimized? The story is available online at: GMANews.TV - OFW Microsite - In Manhattan nuns’ lawsuit, the smoking gun is Filipinos’ iconic ‘tuyo’. (Posted using ShareThis)

Highlights from the story:
  • In this particular housing, there's a rule that states, "Cooking smelly food is not allowed." (I think this is the key here.)
  • The nuns are seeking $75,000 in damages, and made it clear that they have nothing against Filipinos as a people.
  • Complaint says, that some tenants closer to the Lims’ unit have moved out, and that the Lims have been warned repeatedly about the smell emanating from their 16th floor apartment unit.
  • The “foul smell" from the "tuyo" was too strong the nuns suspected it was coming from a decomposing body and called in the Fire Department.
  • Do you think this case has anything to do with racism, against Filipinos? Feel free to leave any comments or reactions.
  • I would like to hear about your "tuyo" stories or anything similar to it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year in Hawaii

Inauguration is the word in DC. The city is preparing to welcome millions of people, so imagine the preparation involved. It's a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and happiness. I am a bit worried how the city will handle such a huge number of people. While a lot of out-of-towners are settling into the city, a lot of DC residents are planning their get-away...lol. I still haven't decided.

Here's a continuation of my holidays from my homestate. Enjoy the photos.


New Year's "Must Have" Food

It's been known that "malagkit" or "kakanin" should be prepared for the New Year, so that the family remains close together and that the round shaped "kutchinta" signifies wealth. Yes, my family follows all these beliefs. Mom and Grandma prepared all sorts of food - pansit, macaroni salad, a bunch of rounded fruits like oranges, mochi, and more.

Fireworks Lighted the Path for 2009

The women in my family held sparklers to light up the path for 2009, while the men enjoyed firing up aerial fireworks.

When the clock struck 12 AM, the sky was on fire to welcome 2009! In Hawaii, as long as you have a permit, you can set firecrackers. The fireworks on the photo are from residential houses.

New Year Temple Visit

Entrance to the Byodo-in Temple.

A peaceful pond

A busy Temple especially during the first week of the New Year.

Peaceful, quiet and welcoming.

The Koi Pond

Mom ringing in peace for the New Year.

The Meditation Garden

Does it look familiar? The Temple was used in the popular TV series Lost. This is the Byodo-in Temple located in the Valley of the Temples, situated at the foot of the Ko'olau Mountains.

This is one of my favorite places in O'ahu. I just love how the Ko'olau overlooks the Temple. According to the Temple's history, "The Byodo-In Temple was built in the 1960's to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant workers in Hawaii who came to work in the sugar plantation fields. It is a replica of the 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple located in Uji, Japan on the southern outskirts of Kyoto."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Christmas in Hawaii

Please note that there'll be several posts about my vacation in Hawaii. I'm in the midst of settling into my usual routine because when you go out-of-town for two weeks - things do pile up. I finally renewed my driver's license today, so that's a relief. I still have to pick-up my mail at the Post Office, as I've put a two week stop of mail delivery. I can't wait to sift through my mail.


Traveler's Itinerary

My flight left at 7 AM on December 23. I wasn't looking forward to the long flight and two stopovers (Phoenix and Kona), but my heart swelled up with the thought of being with family and being at home. On my flight from Phoenix to Kona, the girl who sat beside me happens to be a Filipina local (meaning she's Filipino but born in Kona). We ended up talking about how we missed Hawaii, the Filipino culture transplanted in the islands, and about our favorite local plates. Our conversation made the 5 hour flight bearable and the next thing I knew, we landed at the Kona airport. She was glad to be home, but I had to catch a short flight to Honolulu. We exchanged e-mails and promised to keep-in-touch.

It was 70 degrees and humid in Kona. It was funny because I was sweating, was still wearing a jacket and hauling a thick coat. This was the fourth time I've been on the island. The first was for work and the other two were for vacation. This was the first time for a stopover. Since it's an open airport, I sat near a garden, closed my eyes and simply let the humidity engulf me. Soon, I'll be home.

My plane landed at the Honolulu airport late in the afternoon. My parents were already at the arrival area with big smiles; I knew I was home. The photo below was taken at the Kona airport.

My Favorite Local Plate

Once I got out of the airport, Mom asked me what I wanted to eat. I instantly replied, "Chicken Katsu at L&B." I've been dreaming of this crispy chicken dipped in delicious sauce on a plate of steaming rice with the local macaroni salad on the side. I devoured this plate. Nothing beats the taste of home.
Christmas Day

It was a busy and crazy day. There were lots of presents to wrap. The cousins were busy doing last minute shopping. Sales were ongoing. Mom and Grandma were making noise in the kitchen. When Christmas morning arrived, colorful Christmas wrappings were torn and scattered. There was constant eating, and Grandma just kept on cooking. In the afternoon, my parents and I managed to go for a walk at the beach. This photo was taken at Ewa Beach on Christmas Day. I think that boy was taking a siesta. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to do that every day?

Island Blackout

The next day, O'ahu got a lightning storm, and boy, the island lost power and was left in the dark for hours. The island felt quiet and torches were lighted in Waikiki - just like the old days. It was relaxing to be rid of lights and noise, but I was concerned about the Obama Family who were also vacationing in O'ahu at that time.

Honolulu City Lights

My parents and I had a relaxing time visiting the Christmas Exhibit at the Honolulu Hale and the Honolulu City Lights. Here are a few photos I took.
There were a lot of Christmas Trees in the exhibit, but this one looks delish - Pastry Christmas Tree.

I thought this was really cute. Part of the Snowman Family exhibit.

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Santa! Mr. Santa doing the shaka sign, and Mrs. Santa wearing a muu-muu. In front of them is the Turtle carrying a tray featuring Hawaiian delicacies such as laulau (wrapped in luau leaf or commonly known as taro), poi (another food made of taro), and a coconut drink with straw. I love laulau.

Mom and Dad enjoying the Christmas Tree exhibit at the Honolulu Hale.

String of lights - follow the star.

The biggest Christmas Tree in the island of O'ahu, complete with train steam effects.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Am Back

I trust everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. It was 7:39 PM when my flight landed at DCA last night. It was such sorrow and delight to feel the chilly 32 degrees, while my system adjusted back to the cold weather here. As soon as I got out of the airport to catch my train home, my two weeks in Hawaii felt like a dream. As I rode the train, my mind raised through memories of warm weather, wearing slippers, the white sandy beaches, light t-shirts/shorts, swimming at Ewa Beach, playing with my dog, hunting for stranded seaweeds, the sweet taste of malasadas and so much more. It was a wonderful two-week vacation.

I really feel like a zombie today, as I'm trying to catch up on paperwork. I should have taken another day-off to get my system adjusted to the five hour difference, but I did miss working "a little bit." We're quite busy as we prepare for Mr. Obama's Inauguration. It's a bit of a hustle, as the city's closing roads and blocking parking lots. Secret Service issued maps and announcements about procedures, and it feels like a jungle trying to figure out the city with its new routes, as if DC isn't already a jungle. So if you or someone you know is attending the Inauguration, BE PREPARED TO WALK and BRING A MAP.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am back and that I am grateful to everything that has happened in 2008. 2009 will be remarkable as we set off to another year of adventure. I didn't make any resolutions this year, but I only have one wish - TO BE HAPPY AND GRATEFUL.

I'll be posting photos from Hawaii soon.