Monday, December 22, 2014

Waiting For Christmas

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more! (Dr. Seuss)

After I submitted my research papers this fall semester, Kepi and I got busy with decorating our home.  Here's our Christmas Tree.
This year, I decided to bake cookies and muffins as gifts for our neighbors.  These are the chocolate chip cookies.
Blueberry Muffins with crumbs.
After they've cooled down, I packed them in Christmas boxes with candy stripes liners.
Each neighbor got ten chocolate chip cookies and four muffins.
I love the candy stripes liners.
This is the set up of our dining table.
I think we're ready for our Christmas dinner.
Simple centerpiece - a red lamp and jars of red and silver ornaments.

Yes, I've been so excited for this year's Christmas.  I have so many reasons to be excited. First, I am getting nearer my one year re-birthday for my bone-marrow transplant.  Second, I have a beautiful home blessed with a loving husband and two pets who love me unconditionally - Dizzy and Daisy.  Third, I have the unending love and support of my family and friends. Fourth, I will be another year older next month.

Truly, Christmas doesn't come from a store, but lives in the heart of each and everyone.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday In Pictures

Quiet day in the office today, so I took a short walk and a long lunch.

Below are my pictures of the day.

Leafless at Lafayette Park.

Clouds hover over The White House.

This guy stopped me from my walk.  He was too friendly. Perhaps he was hungry.

When I returned to the office, these gingerbread boys were waiting.  I guess it's time to have some tea.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Thanksgiving Update

Today is the last day of fall semester. It's been a tough journey.  

After my class tonight, I really should start writing my final paper on Russian Revolution and start enjoying the Christmas season. Besides, I still have cards to write, gifts to wrap and shop orders to take care of.

 Snow ushered quietly the day before Thanksgiving. We had a quiet dinner at home, and Kepi cooked a perfect Turkey.

 After our Thanksgiving dinner at home, we visited Brigit's house to have more Turkey and Filipino treats. Here's Kepi attacking the Turkey again.

 Ridiculous! This is how the mall looked like on Thanksgiving evening. People were out shopping.

 Black Friday! Kepi and I love the bargains on Black Friday.  We did hit our favorite shops. The lines weren't that bad. I was able to get some sweaters and movies. I'll start watching these movies once this semester ends.

 I also bought a Santa to put near the fireplace. It was so funny because people were looking at me and Santa riding my shopping cart. I think it's also because Santa has this bell on his hat that kept ringing while we rolled inside the shop.

Christmas Trees! After Thanksgiving, houses came alive with lights and wreaths and even cars came bearing with Christmas trees.

 Kepi and I visited our local home and garden center and picked our tree. The lights are on, but I haven't had the time to hang the ornaments yet. Our tree is about 7 ft.

 The snow stayed a few days. Here's Kepi and Daisy going out for a walk.

Crazy Daisy loves the snow.

 I baked these sugar cookies for Thanksgiving and they're a keeper. Crunchy on the outside and chewy in the inside. That's the way I love 'em.

 I baked these Blueberry Streusel Muffins two days ago. Kepi loves 'em. I'm testing out recipes as I'm thinking of giving baked goodies as Christmas gifts especially to our neighbors.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gobble Gobble

It's gobble gobble time of the year!

On Saturday, we decided to go shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner. The town shop, usually dead, was busier than usual. There was a lot of frozen Turkey at the freezer section. If majority of the shoppers were rummaging for the biggest bird, we were the opposite. Since there won't be many people eating the Turkey at home, we wanted a small one. The smallest one we could find was 10 lbs. That is still too big!

We got a Butterball, and this will be Kepi's first time cooking a full bird at home. We've usually spent our Thanksgivings in Atlantic City. This year, we'll be celebrating at home.

I sold my first batch of Chocolate Chip Banana muffins. I have a couple more recipes I'm working on, and I'm excited.

Yes, I have started my Christmas shopping and some are already wrapped. Some of these will be traveling via mail.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. (John F. Kennedy)

A beautiful Thanksgiving to all!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Char Sui Buns, Grad School and the Holidays

Char Sui buns for lunch today. Thanks to the polar blast, my coworkers and I decided to just order Chinese food for delivery. The winter-like temperatures can make anyone feel lazy to go out.

I don't know, but I feel like writing today. Blame it on that Venti cafe mocha I had this morning.  Hmmm....caffeine must be kicking in.

With Thanksgiving arriving next week, the office is quiet for a change. It is that time of year when most projects get wrapped up. I do have a number of projects looming, but they're not due in the next few weeks. My boss will be out on vacation next week, so the mouse can play just a wee bit. You know, put my feet up on my desk, eat some cheese and drink some cafe mocha. More coffee?

Grad school has been keeping me busy. My decision to go back to school was met with protests. I know friends meant well, and I fully understood where they're coming from. I shouldn't be taking too much stress as I'm still in the process of recovery. In the scheme of things, this semester is tough but manageable with the help and support of my husband. Yup, I married the right guy; thank you, Kepi.

I have two weeks left this semester. I submitted my second research paper last night, and I have one more to go. My third research will be about the Russian film "Beg" and a novel "Pnin." Russian emigre is the theme. I am not sure what to think about this topic yet.

The signs of Christmas are here! I know, I know. Thanksgiving enthusiasts will shush me, but I can't help it. I'm a Christmas person. In keeping with traditions, Kepi and I will put up the tree after Thanksgiving. We're going for the real tree this year.  I've already started sending Christmas cards overseas, completing my Christmas gift list (just the list), and planning how to make the house more Christmassy. Anyone in the blog world want to exchange gifts with me this year? Just curious.

Yes, I am ready for the new year. Here's my 2015 planner and I can't wait to fill it up with new adventures and posts of gratitude.

I am so excited because life is something to be excited about.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jardin Botanique Montreal

On our second day in Canada, we explored Montreal. One of our stops is the Jardin Botanique, and this is my second time visiting this place.  I was very excited to show Kepi around, as this is his first time visiting Montreal.

Montreal has a feel. Yup, French feel. We bought our tickets here. I forgot how much they were.
Kepi and I thought the Insectarium is way cool.
I would freak out if I see something this big crawling.
A robot dinosaur? Perhaps.
Another robot dinosaur that really intrigued me.
We were so lucky that these water lilies were in bloom when we visited. Here's one waiting for its time to bloom.
Such beauty, such elegance. It looks like she's ready to go ballroom dancing tonight.
I think this is my favorite area - the Chinese Garden. The building backdrop is the Friendship Hall.
The water lilies and their beautiful pink flowers.
These red lanterns remind me of New Year.
Friendship Hall
A glimpse of The Dream Lake Garden designed by Le Weihzong.
Did you know that the grey rocks used on this lake came from the Tai Lake of China?
I love this walkway especially with the red lanterns.
A boat floats as the Tower of Condensing Clouds keeps watch.
I find this place perfect for meditation or a retreat.
Kepi and I at the Springtime Courtyard. Yes, note those newly weds at the back. It's actually my first time seeing that they're in our photo and sort of centered too.

We had a wonderful time at Jardin Botanique, so if you happen to be dropping by Montreal, do try to visit. It's easily accessible by Metro, but we drove this time which isn't that bad in terms of traffic.

Friday, October 17, 2014


After an eight hour drive from Maryland to Quebec, we woke up pretty late the next day. It was the first time in months we woke up faraway from home. It's a weird feeling. I guess that's the effect of being quarantined in a hospital for months.

Although we barely could open our eyes, we stumbled our way to the nearest Tim Horton, had some breakfast and started the car to Mont-Tremblant.

The road to Mont-Tremblant. I imagined it would have been prettier in winter.
We parked near this flower bed.

Stopped by the Post Office to pick up Canadian stamps and send out postcards to family and friends.
Walked for a while and we came upon this sleepy dog guarding an art shop. I think this dog could be fired for sleeping...just kidding.
The name of this lake escapes me but it was a picturesque day at the Laurentian Mountains.

This dog enjoyed a good swim and went back to the water several times while we were there. We even managed to chat with the owner.
Moose fountain
A deer crosses our path.
Mont-Tremblant village

While we couldn't do some hiking at Mont-Tremblant, blame it on my achy legs and weak system, we certainly enjoyed driving around the area. I'd love to come see this place in winter and maybe learn to snowboard or ski.