Friday, December 29, 2006

Life is like eating artichokes

Life is like eating artichokes, you have got to go through so much to get so little.

What did you do in 2006 which you have never done before?
Can’t say.
Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, or will you make more for next year?
I’ll probably make a new one. I don’t remember if I ever made one this year.
What memorable places did you visit?
NYC and Outer Banks in North Carolina
What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
More courage and more patience
What date from 2006 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
July 23-26th “lighthouse hunt” in North Carolina.
What was your biggest achievement in 2006?
My newest rep: a good cook.
What was your biggest failure?
Can’t seem to identify a penny, a nickel and a dime
Whose behavior merited celebration?
Mine and hubbys!
What did you get really, really excited about?
Birthdays and anniversaries
What song will always remind you of 2006?
Bad Day by Daniel Powter from American Idol
Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier!
ii. thinner or fatter? fatter, unfortunately
What do you wish you’d done more?
More exercise
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Temper tantrums
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate last year?
Sadly, yes.
What did you do on your birthday?
Dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s with the hubby

What kept you sane?
Quiet comfort of home and that there’s always tomorrow
Who did you miss?
Mom, and Bub (my dog who replaced me in my mom’s world - my mom’s enfant terrible)
Tell us a valuable lesson you’ve learned in 2006.
That it doesn’t make me less of a person if I can’t please a lot of people, and that growing old isn’t that bad
What was the nicest thing someone told you about yourself?
I’m a good wife ;)
The most touching experience you’ve had this year.
When the hubby got sick, and I took care of him.
What did you hate most about yourself this year?
I always have bad timing in throwing a bad mood. I never learned.
Quote a song lyric which sums up your year.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand,six hundred minutes,

Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
(“Seasons of Love”, Rent)
Was 2006 a good year for you?
Yup. Life has been good. Can’t complain.
What was your favorite moment this year?
A lot! David’s birthday, my birthday, weekend trip to NY with friends, summer trip to North Carolina, our anniversary…
What are your favorite months of the year?
June, July and December
What are your least favorite months of the year?
January and February
Do you have a new year’s resolution for 2007?
To be more assertive.
What was your most embarrassing moment of 2006?
Let’s not even go there.
What are your plans for 2007?
Cook more. Bake more. Play tennis more. Read more. Travel more. Eat less. Study more. Start a new hobby. Learn new skills. Work harder. Stay healthy. Get more sleep. Make more new friends. Become a pet parent (maybe). Always be happy.

Monday, December 25, 2006

A happy Christmas, and a merry mix-up, too!

It’s Christmas Day! But it’s raining here… What a soppy way to spend a wonderful Christmas day. But anyway, a happy Christmas is still a happy Christmas, be it rain, shine, snow or a mix-up midnight mass; or here or there or missing family and friends.

We spent the Christmas eve at our friends’ home and of course, the center of attention that night, except for the delicious feast, was the 3-year old Stefan, who expertly tore off the wrappers of his presents. Well, we got some presents, too. Some nice, some junk hehe. But as we always prompt ourselves- it’s the thought that counts. For our good friends who hosted the party, we got them a good-humored wooden plaque which said: “My Wife Wanted A New Experience, So I Showed Her The Kitchen”. They were delighted with it and unhesitatingly hang it in their kitchen wall, like a religious icon for the wife, a self-proclaimed kitchen skeptic (and proud of it!).

Earlier last night, we went to hear Christmas Eve Mass at our parish. The schedule online said 9:30 p.m. for Misa Noche Buena. Well, we blissfully (albeit unintentionally) ignored the information, fixated on the 9:30 pm. So imagine our shock when we realized the 9:30 pm Mass was the Spanish Mass! So we heard the Mass in Spanish and I tried to keep up with the prayers and the songs. My Beginners Spanish was no match for the priest who rapidly spewed out his sermon, I had no time to catch all the words, hehehe.

But I must admit, it was a great experience. It was unexpected, but a fortunate incident nonetheless. I found myself singing with “hosanna, hosanna, hosanna en el cielo…..”- the only nearly-familiar song phrase that night. I loved it. I guess there’s a different kind of spark channeling our interest with a language we are still learning to speak, we got ourselves more into it. It was one-of-a-kind Christmas eve story, surely.

Hope your Christmas was happy and memorable, too!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


To celebrate our second wedding anniversary (December 18th), the hubby and I went to a Spanish tapas bar. Since I am persnickety when it comes to dates, anniversaries and fussy little details only OCs like me can devour, I was a little grim nobody remembered our anniversary (well, except for Mom and Roselle!). The hubby said, nobody ever remembers any wedding anniversaries. Is that true?! Well, I remember most of my friends’ wedding anniversaries or the dates they went steady. Hahaha!

So there. I can’t help it. I’m always a sucker for anniversaries. So at this place that we went to, we ordered paella valenciana, gambas gabardina, brocheta de pollo and chorizo al parilla. And this marvelous drink- sangria margarita, a wicked mixture of triple sec, tequila and white wine. ¡Increíble! I love it to the last drop. The hubby was teasing me because I got all giggly (it meant I was drunk, hehe). I was quick to order the drink to the waiter, but he was quicker to see my i.d.!

I had a great time. Despite the tough brocheta de pollo, the dinner went well and it was a great little celebration. I love anniversaries! I believe that it’s a must to celebrate every little thing you’ve got, before detachment and dispassion become a way of life and before you know it, you’re both drained off passion and left to rot. So celebrate! No matter how cheesy it gets.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Lady of the Baking Pan

It was a weekend overloaded with baking and… Lord of the Rings. I made chocolate fudge cake for Darko’s (our friend) 27th birthday on Saturday. It was sprinkled with pastel sugar stars, and although I failed to make its milk-chocolate frosting to my desired consistency, it was not entirely unfortunate-looking. Darko’s 3 year old nephew Stefan ooohed when he saw the cake, but he asked, “does Jasmine’s cake have eggs?” Poor boy, he can’t eat anything with eggs. Then on Sunday, I made devil’s food cake with chopped cherries for our wedding anniversary. Our wedding anniversary is today! We’re two! Yaaay.

On Sunday, after going to church and an hour and half shopping for supplies, we spent the rest of the day (and the night) watching the Lord of the Rings on TV. The hubby hadn’t seen the three movies in full length, but I was able to convince him to watch all three. After all the “who’s that?”, “how come?”, “what happened?”, “don’t tell about the next scene!”, and a quick, quick nap- he liked the movie! The Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite movies. And my top two favorite scenes (in The Return of the King) are: when Arwen saw a vision of her future son on her way to Grey Havens which prompted her to return to her father, thus rejecting her Elvish immortality; and when Aragorn asked the ghoulish ghosts who betrayed his ancestors, “Fight with me”.

What a weekend. Can you imagine doing all that baking and watching all three Lord of the Rings movies at the same time practically up to eleven thirty at night? Not to mention I still have to make a pineapple upside down cake for tomorrow’s Christmas party at work. Therefore, I call mine self… Lady of the Baking Pan.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

an ode to my manic state of mind

Ever felt like a chattering teeth wind-up toy? Hopping maddeningly, aimlessly all over the place? I was a wind-up chattering teeth for a day. I woke up yesterday morning, with a sense of foreboding, not in a cataclysmic sense but a kind of sheepish admittance because……. (drumrolls, please) I left a lot of work undone the previous day.

Tuesday was a day of nonchalance. I left a lot of emails and tasks half-done because I got myself busy with getting annoyed and angry. As usual, over things which doesn’t kill me actually, but nevertheless I let myself soak into a state of angriness. It was gratifying, while it lasted. So yesterday, there I was catching up with my accumulated emails, and then happily cramming up urgent tasks in between this-and-that phone calls. Mr. Time Management would promptly (and zealously!) mark me an F!

I thought I work best on the eleventh hour. Well, that might have worked a long time ago. I was tempted to believe now that it’s still legit. But it wouldn’t save my bottom now, which is why I thought parading such a racket should be a once in a blue moon thingy only- ONLY when you’re in a manic state of mind. In the midst of that manic state, a thought came across my mind- that it was actually good! Satisfying… in a foolish kind of way. But then again, I’m not sixteen anymore who’s postulated to do such sheepish things.

Oh, well. Everything fell into place, luckily. I felt the rush, and it must have been a tailor-made cure to my intermittent feeling of sleepiness of late. It sure did jolt me back into haste. Come to think of it, acting like a wind-up toy, what a sight I must have been. But who cares? ¡Vivas!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"evolution of my emotions in a day at work"

9:30 am

10:35 a.m.

12:20 p.m.

3:20 p.m.

3:23 p.m.

3:25 p.m.

4:00 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

5:32 p.m.

All's well that ends well.

Monday, December 04, 2006

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

It seems like I’m all set for the December gaiety. Well, not quite.

I have a tree set up, wrapped our Christmas presents early, has mailed our Christmas cards even earlier, and I even put a tiny red Christmas bell in our front door knocker. I think that’s enough Christmas décor for us. Maybe some poinsettias when Christmas is really near.

Last weekend, we did some additional Christmas shopping. And as usual, the hubby complained it was “too exhausting”. But despite his boredom, he never growls at me, which is why I adore him to bits. Anyway, we were looking around for presents for our Secret Santa at work. I wanted him to get the strawberry-colored mini fondue set. But he disliked it. Instead, he chose a set of scented Chesapeake Bay candles. I tried to dissuade him, but come to think of it, it was a cute choice ;) I hope Monica and Caren will be happy with our gifts.

It’s going to be a month awash with little celebrations for us:
8th- Darko’s farewell potluck lunch
18th- wedding anniversary!!!
19th- Secret Santa party at work
24th- Noche Buena at Darko and Janet’s place

I made cherry cheesecake last Saturday. A little mishap happened, but with a lot of help from the hubby and a quick rescue effort, the cheesecake was picture perfect. And scrumptious, too! I brought some at work today, and they liked it. Me happy!

I got another load of books from the local library over the weekend. And I hope to read them all before the year is over. Biting off more than I could chew?! My goal is to read (and reread) all the Classics I could lay my hands on before I get 30. Hmm, that’s a tad too ambitious? First on my list is Don Quixote (I got the book from the latest load), then maybe the Canterbury Tales, next would be A Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights), perhaps I could go for The Song of Roland, then The Divine Comedy. That’s the end of the list, before I get too carried away. Well, maybe I could squeeze in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Do I really believe I could read all those in less than 8 months? Oh well, that feat, if- and only if I could achieve it, could be another worthwhile blog entry. Until then, I could leaf through my books page by page, and then slowly slither my way to this goal. But for the meantime, I just want to think about Christmas and enjoy Christmas….

Monday, November 27, 2006

we have a tree!

Finally, our “first” tree was set up last night.

After last year’s non-Christmas, I insisted we keep up with the tradition of Christmas decorating this year. I may not have buntings or an ostentatious Parol, or maybe some cardboard Santa face but I was thrilled with our little tree. But a tree topper is still missing, and I’m still on the mission of finding a nice, charming one. I still wanna hang a wreath on our door or add more trinkets to our tree, or maybe some poinsettias and berries here and there...

A most ubiquitous décor back home would be the Nativity Scene, however, I may not have luck in seeing one here. I did, however, experienced a true (Pinoy) Christmas sparkle- never ending carols played on the radio. We were expecting to hear carols not until after Thanksgiving, but one radio station started playing lovely classic carols at least 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. So we’re getting an overdose of Christmas songs and carols driving to and from work.

The long Thanksgiving weekend was a much anticipated break. But like any other holiday breaks, it’s much too short. Our break was mostly spent waking up late (except for Black Friday, when we joined the throng of early shoppers!) and watching movies on DVD. We also went to a Thanksgiving dinner at our friend’s parents house. Her turkey was extra-yummy this year. We are perennial dinner visitors at their house (birthdays, Thanksgiving, New Year, etc. etc.), we’re sort of the “extra non-family family” to them.

My almost-in limelight pineapple upside down cake, which made a recent appearance at the Thanksgiving dinner will soon roll in next at the office’s Secret Santa party. I’m excited about this Secret Santa thing. Such a juvenile delight, no? Although I got a terrible, terrible present from my Secret Santa last year, I’m not discouraged one bit. However, this poor gift choice point is just so upsetting, don’t you think? I mean, who would shriek with delight over a box of an all-purpose greeting cards as a present? I’m not being hypercritical but I find it hilarious.

My so-not-a-fan-of-gift-shopping-and-gift-giving hubby surprisingly insisted on picking out Christmas gifts for our close friends, which delighted me, of course. Making decisions on appropriate gifts for each person is as critical and fulfilling as making a life-changing decision, (hehe). Gift-giving with all its frills- from choosing the wrapping paper to matching the ribbons and bows and sticking in the gift tags- is mind-boggling to most husbands. But for me, it’s fun art.

So I hope it’s gonna be a happy Christmas. We’re two kiddos alone and away from friends and home. But with our pretty, teeny tree, it will be a joyous Christmas, after all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"it takes a long time to grow an old friend"

circa 1985


Roselle and I had been classmate since 2nd grade and we’ve been good friends ever since. We were inseparable from elementary ‘til high school. And like true best friends, we were constant seatmates from freshman year up to senior year. And we managed to communicate without fail when we went off to different universities and later, to different continents.

One of the things we fancy is our shared interest and enthusiasm in reminiscing the erstwhile happy, carefree childhood years and of course, reunions. The last one that we had was in 2003, and we had a blast! And although through the years, it’s getting harder and harder to arrange a reunion, we know and we believe it furiously that we could……. one day, have that “grand” reunion.

Monday, November 20, 2006

no time to be crabby!

Ingredients for a laidback weekend:
sleep ‘til lunch
Chesapeake Bay blue crabs
a quick trip to the carwash
2 hilarious movies on Sunday night

I guess I am merriest when the weekend is started right. Meaning: a schedule-free Saturday morning. Because it means I could sleep until... whenever. Last Saturday, we woke up at 11:45. Ah, bliss. After an idle lunch and more do-nothingness in the afternoon, it was time to go to our friends’ house for an evening smoking shisha. Before that, we made a quick stop to the office and then got some fries and apple pies at McDonald’s. Shisha schmisha. It was great, but that’s all there is to it. Perhaps next time when they invite us to smoke shisha again, we might have to turn them down. I had a suspicion that they only wanted us to be at their house because they wanted a second opinion about their ongoing argument that night. Shisha was an excuse, hehe.

Anyway, it has gotten steadily cold over the weekend. After hearing Mass on Sunday at noon, we headed for a quick trip to the carwash. Sadly, the hubby’s Katie has been a little neglected lately. She needed a little polishing, but the matter of spending at least twenty minutes standing in the severe cold polishing Katie in the carwash parking lot was too unappealing, so we decided she’s already “clean enough”.

The hubby had a sudden craving for crabs, so we were headed next to the supermarket for some Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. Tiny, tiny fellows. I haven’t tasted crabs ever since I was a small girl since I have an averse reaction to eating crabs. I let the hubby cook the crabs, because when I saw the first crab thrown into the steaming pot of water, suddenly, I felt like a killer, a crab murderer (!) But I tasted the blue crabs, anyway. I was almost convinced I’ve outgrown the allergic reaction to crabs and the itching afterwards was just a figment of my imagination. But I’m still itching now so I guess I still can’t eat crabs.

The hubby complained how tiny the crabs were and there wasn’t much to eat! That was the tale of his Sunday crab craving. Then it was time to watch some movies on DVD. We watched Nacho Libre and Little Man. In between movies, there was a one-hour pause to give way to our beloved The Amazing Race. The two comedies were good. Not brilliant. But it keeps you laughing the whole time, which for me, is a good measure how funny the film is. It wasn’t bad at all.

Two movies in one night. A DVD, a projector, speakers. It’s a good alternative to seeing a movie in the movie house. Inexpensive, plus you can curl up in the couch in your colorful socks. Who can get crabby with these conditions? Not us.

Friday, November 17, 2006

twiddly and twitchy

The past two weeks of November came and went without so much a fracas. And it went so fast I could barely remember what I did and what happened in the past seventeen days. Well, I remember snippets of ho hum work, chores, pineapple upside down cake, but- I remember most is how dreary the weather gradually has become. Cold, clammy, gusty, rainy. Perhaps, I am just kind of… mad at the weather.

Somehow, days feel like beat and totally slumberous. Am I in dullsville? Ever felt like you’re stuck with all the madness in the world and you can’t take another minute of it? Well, I am not exactly in that avenue but I just felt like I am taking it one hour at a time. If I’m anxious about a task or a buzz I abhor at 2:00pm, I always tell myself I’m unassailable for a few hours until then. At least. It’s silly, but it works somehow.

The comfort of worrying too much is the desire to look forward to something innocuous: a nice meal you’re gonna prepare, a relaxed time on the couch watching late-night TV, some funny stuffs online, a tub of ice cream, and quite ironically- another day. I’m always chirpy at the end of each day, because it means: I got through another day (be it rough, boring, happy or an emotional day) without a broken spirit. It’s enough to reconcile me with the reality.

I guess the whole antsy-feeling-over-a-seemingly-worthless-and-cutthroat-day-and-everyday is not so bad. Whatever it is that I’m feeling so antsy about, I can always blame it on the weather. It will always get better. Tomorrow.

Monday, November 13, 2006

an unlikely comparison

Happy Birthday, Mr. Big.

You're mean, Lucy Van Pelt.

It's Chris Noth's a.k.a. Mr. Big birthday today. He's 52. Big is one character any woman my frame of mind would love to hate. Love, in the sense that he is gorgeous, extremely attractive- and unattainable. And hate, because he is elusive and complicated. In essence, a snakepit of emotions once you get yourself enmeshed with. But then again, you can't help but love Big.

On the other hand, Lucy Van Pelt is a girl I love to hate. She's a popular Peanuts character, who came to my attention lately because of a book I'm reading. With all her crabbiness and overbearing attitude, I just want to squash her. But she's just a pest. And as bad egg as she is, I still can't push her aside. I just get amused by her antics. There's some tidbit of Lucy Van Pelt in all of us, I believe. She's a little girl with perpetual bad hair days :)

Big and Lucy. Just an (unlikely) comparison of two characters we looove to hate, but can't ignore.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

a memo to myself

little mental notes to myself:

DO get up right away when the alarm sets off, otherwise you’ll be snoozing for another hour
DO remind the hubby not to buy plantains for the meantime, because you two can never tell when it’s ripe enough
DO eat more fruits and less junk
DO clean up as you go
DO pay more attention to the sometimes ignored Chinese bamboo at home (because it’s your first attempt to grow a living thing in your home and you… MUST… not... let... it… die)
DO sleep early and wake up early
DO keep on convincing the hubby that fat-free milk or 1% reduced fat milk are not worthy milk at all
DO eat imitation crabmeat
DO plan a memorable Christmas decor at home this year (wreaths! poinsettias! candles! a tree!)

DO more toiling and less dawdling

DON’T take “little” naps after you get home and before dinner- you’ll be too grumpy and sluggish to fix dinner
DON’T lose important papers among sheaf of papers scattered on the coffee table
DON’T hog under a polyester blanket and comforter with the heater on high, or else you’ll end up with a nosebleed in the morning
DON’T buy anymore cornflakes because you never eat them for breakfast, anyway
DON’T be grouchy and throw a temper tantrum when being asked to rush to get ready
DON’T succumb to a bad-hair-day
DON’T bother to read chain emails
DON’T become a fatso
DON’T entertain the idea that you can smoke
DON’T drink beer

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Ultimate List

THE ULTIMATE BAG – chestnut Hudson by Marc Jacobs Collection
THE ULTIMATE BAND - The Corrs (staple music in late 90s while I was still in college)
THE ULTIMATE ROMANTIC OCCASION- wedding anniversaries!
THE ULTIMATE COFFEE JOINT – Starbucks for the hubby’s occasional iced coffee
THE ULTIMATE GAY ICON – Ricky Martin (hehee)
THE ULTIMATE HAIRDO- sleek-back ponytail
THE ULTIMATE IMAGE – well-educated, well-read, clever, polite, reserved and resolute
THE ULTIMATE JOB – world traveler

THE ULTIMATE KILLER HEELS – Jimmy Choo Elan silk satin sandal
THE ULTIMATE ACCESSORY- a tasteful bracelet and an elegant pair of earrings
THE ULTIMATE LOVE SONG- Someone by The Rembrandts
THE ULTIMATE MOVIE KISS- Spiderman’s upside-down kiss
THE ULTIMATE NOSE- Nicole Kidman’s
THE ULTIMATE PAINTING- Starry, Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
THE ULTIMATE MOVIE LINE- “…those are your emotions acting without the benefit of intellect” – Charles Rane, Passenger 57
THE ULTIMATE SIGNATURE SCENT- light floral and fruity scent
THE ULTIMATE STREET- King St. in Old Town, Alexandria
THE ULTIMATE BURGER- our ‘homemade’ burger, with cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, chopped onions and tons of relish
THE ULTIMATE CITY – Washington, DC for its history, cultural diversity and pulsating power
THE ULTIMATE CUISINE – Asian and Middle-Eastern
THE ULTIMATE FLOWER- deep red American Beauty
THE ULTIMATE HOBBY – writing and weekend out-of-town trips
THE ULTIMATE JOKE- the “this song is dedicated to my one and only joke” (corny! But it works all the time...)
THE ULTIMATE JUICE- cranberry juice
THE ULTIMATE MOVIE VILLAIN- John Malcovich! and Bruce Payne (Passenger 57)
THE ULTIMATE URBAN LEGEND- drinking cold water after a meal slows down the digestion and coats the intestine with “sludge”, which leads to cancer (!)
THE ULTIMATE WALLPAPER- Les Misérables icon, Cosette

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

This Kiss, Last Kiss

It’s funny how some inane things spark a memory- funny, touching or just plain run-of-the-mill kind, and somehow it makes us associate things. Right now, I could think of two things, two songs actually, This Kiss and Got To Believe. Well, these are cheesy songs, I know. But I’d shoot one person in the head (especially people my age!) who claims h/she never ever listened to these songs.

Last Saturday afternoon, I heard This Kiss by Faith Hill on the radio, from the movie Practical Magic (which is, by the way, one of my favorite movies of all time). “It’s the way you love me, it’s a feeling like this, it’s centrifugal motion, it’s perpetual bliss, it’s that pivotal moment, it’s unthinkable, this kiss, this kiss”. For a romance junkie like me, those words can melt any hardened hearts out there.

Then there’s Got To Believe. Well, everybody knows who sang that song ;) And for the love of me, I always tie it up to Rico Yan. I know, I’ve watched that movie with the same title (his last one) with my friends Bonna, Candice and her adorable son Joseton.

But these two actually share a similar twist and plight, I realized. It was too late when Gillian (Sandra Bullock) learned about the curse that the man she truly loves, dies. The finality, despair, the pain of the irrevocability of her lost love was poured out when she confronted her aunts about the death of her husband, her true love, a man she couldn’t stop kissing. And well, yeah, since I read my showbusiness news ;) Rico and Claudine were about to reconcile and planned to see each other as soon as he return from his vacation, and then he suddenly died.

It must be tragic beyond explanation, to hope to see somebody you love and suddenly he dies a tragic death without you saying your amends. And much worse if the last time you ever saw that person your heart was filled with pain and resentment. And when you’re ready to make peace, that other person is gone. No matter what others opine, I still would say it was sorrow beyond any man could muster.

There are thousands expositions on that tribulation. How can we categorize this love misfortune? There’s rejected love, there’s unrequited love. All of it is bittersweet sorrow. However, parting with an excess baggage of an unfinished business, too much unheard words, too many unsaid words, is just plain sorrow. An agony for one’s soul.

Anyway, just a thought about life’s endless possibilities. And love’s fate and integrity. And of course, the joys of unembellished love songs which never fail to break hearts, exalt love or bestir feelings, thoughts and memories.

Monday, October 30, 2006

a cold, sweet week ender

Late Sunday afternoon, we decided to call on the Lincoln Memorial for some quietude and diversion. Actually, the monument wasn’t our ultimate pit stop that day. We just came from the shopping mall, and the hubby suggested we go to that Peruvian procession in Adams Morgan. But we were too late and the crowds were thinning when we got there. After picking up some empanadas (Chilean empanada, my favorite!), we thought of going to The Mall, however, we ended up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and had a spectacular view of the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool at dusk.

It was terribly cold and windy! I couldn’t help but shiver in my shoes. But the view was priceless, of course. Nothing beats watching the sun set on the monuments, and watching the obelisk glow. But minus the 40 degree chill, I wish. Why didn’t we think of this in the summer?

I actually love our assorted Sunday afternoon activities here. Back home, it was pretty predictable, and back then, if we’re not in one mall then we’re at the other mall, either for some movie or BBQ-flavored French fries and pearl shakes. Ah, pearl shakes. Those were the days. Rico Yan was still alive then. Or we’re at Shakey’s for mojo potatoes and manager’s choice pizza. It was predictable, but consistently happy. And it will hold a soft spot in my heart forever.

We also had a great time last Friday night. We met up with some officemates for tapas at a Spanish tapas bar. It was some kind of a farewell party for our officemate Hanan, who’s getting married next month and who’s embarking on a new job post soon. The tapas are all exquisite, we couldn’t get enough of it- paella Valenciana, croquetas de pollo, gambas al Ajillo. Just writing it makes my mouth water once again. And my favorite part of all- free flowing sangría! I drank too many of the blood-red sweetened potion, and I wanted more! hehe Which made silly old me merrily boozed up afterwards.

Well, it wasn’t such a shabby mode to end a maddening, insipid week at all!

P.S. What’s on my mind at this moment: pineapple upside-down cake, brownie and a middle-eastern lunch on Wednesday. Hurray for food.

Monday, October 23, 2006

once upon a weekend

We concluded that our weekends mean only two things: one is a weekend which starts after lunch, and the other is a weekend with a full schedule which starts really early. Our recent weekend was the latter. I prefer to wake up late on weekends. The later, the better. If we had no prior plans or out-of-town trips, I’m the happiest girl who wakes up at 11 a.m. But last weekend, it was different.

I woke up at 7:30 (which was dreadfully early in my own weekend standard). We had a full schedule ahead of us- drop by books at the library, rush to the office for hubby’s unavoidable scutwork, then off to Baltimore in Maryland. You see, the hubby really wanted to see the Flugtag event held in Baltimore that day. Flugtag is definitely a guy thing. But being a good wifey that I am (wink, wink), I was more than happy to accompany him. Last year, we also made a quick trip to Baltimore, in the heat of summer (103 degrees!) and got a mean sunburn. Happy memories, hehe.

Flugtag, schmugtag. The hubby had a great time. So that makes me happy, too. Besides, I like going on little weekend trips like this. It’s fun and experiencing the vibe of a different city is always a plus. There’s a thrill in narrowly missing exits, navigating in unfamiliar streets, finding free parking and deciding what and where to eat. The hubby and I share that boost.

After Baltimore, we then rushed to attend Stefan’s 3rd birthday. The hubby took lots of pictures of the birthday boy. He and his little friend Dača enjoyed hamming it up for the camera. It was a fayuh truck-themed birthday- from fire truck-shaped birthday cake, fire truck piñata to fire truck toys. Boys will be boys! In a mad dash opening the presents, he smugly ignored the clothes presents. He only wants toys. (Sigh), to be three! Speaking of presents, we got him a Dominoes set, which was easily overshadowed by the trucks and bikes and airplanes, hehe.

Neither of us managed to get up early on Sunday. Surely, after one hectic Saturday, taking it easy on Sunday would be a welcome respite. But we had other things in mind. After a quick breakfast and hurried lunch on the road, we were on our way to The Great Country Farms in Bluemont, VA. They had these pumpkin patch, hayrides, pig-racing, and all sorts of things and we wanted to see it. We initially planned to go to WV or back to Shenandoah to watch the fall foliage, however, we were not sure about the peak. So we ditched the idea and went to the farm instead.

Well, well. I guess we’re the only ones there who don’t have a kid in tow. It was heaven for the kids. Lots of animals, pumpkin-colored jumping pillow, hayrides, pumpkin cannon, mazes, slides, the whole shebang. What I enjoyed the most was the hay ride to the pumpkin patch. Every 30 minutes or so, two tractors pull a hay cart full of visitors to the pumpkin field around a mile away. And then people can pick their own pumpkins right there on the field. What a ride, what a sight. Dangling my feet on the cart, the brisk cool breeze on my face - I liked the simplicity and the cheap thrill of it all.

It was a wonderful opportunity to take pictures, too. The hubby lent me his other camera, and I took some nice pictures, too. There were burros, miniature horses and a donkey with the most wonderful big donkey eyes I’ve ever seen. On the way back from the pumpkin patch, we spied a burro hiding in the thicket. David was amused by the pumpkin cannon- this Great Emancipator. They blow up pumpkins somewhere into the fields. And the pig races was hilarious. We thought there’d be race-adorned pigs, but there were only like six piglets who probably got scared by the tolling of the bell, so they ran on the make-shift race track. It was hilarious. Too preposterous for the grownups, but totally smashing for the kids.

So that was it. Our Sunday spent at the country farm. Ahh, to be young once again.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

a box of 64 colors

Back in my schoolgirl days, a 64-color crayon box was more than awesome. If you have it, then you’re “it”. One girl can own two most precious possessions in preschool and first grade- a snazzy pencil case and a 64-color box of Crayola. Armed with that, any little girl can smile and sing away the whole year through.

However, I was dumbfounded to learn that currently there are, at least, 120 colors in the biggest box of Crayola! Do preschoolers and young ‘uns really need all those fancy schmancy colors? I mean, do they really, absolutely, necessarily need wild blue yonder, razzmatazz or antique brass to color a page in their coloring books? Can they even spell those colors? (hehee-hee) It’s all blue, red and brown to them.

Click here and here too to see all the Crayola colors.

Well, times have indeed changed. Now it has more variety, more character, more fun I suppose. A box of crayons has become much brighter and zestful. Gone were the days when the grass, the melon and the leaves on the trees share the same shade of green, or the sun, the lemon, and the sunflower are plain yellow.

Perhaps it makes life a little more vibrant, a little more colorful, and a little more pizzazz here and there?

Here’s a little word association game:

black- my pair of Mary Jane school shoes in HS
blue- my blue Xavier U tie
brown- brown sugar made into caramel for leche flan
green- green kaong in buko salad
orange- a carrot= Bugs Bunny= What’s up, Doc?
red- a single cherry in a can of fruit cocktail
violet- my violet Tigger socks years ago/DNG’s Vitara
vellow- jackfruit, with its intense aroma which I strangely could not stand
gold- gold glitters used to decorate home-made Xmas cards
carnation pink- tutus and ballet shoes
red violet- mangosteen
Prussian blue- Xavier colors, I guess
salmon- pair of tights and leotards in dancing class
turquoise- gemstones used in making bracelets and necklaces
burnt sienna- some of Fall colors
maroon- school uniform (not mine)
periwinkle- a gloomy day, I suppose
sepia- old photographs
aquamarine- endless sea
goldenrod- bunch of gerbera

Monday, October 16, 2006

once upon a reverie

If time and circumstance allow it, and if I have an inexhaustible pool of funds that I could happily just retire at this tender age of 29, I think I’m going to be… a florist.

Imagine how blissful it would be surrounded by beautiful flowers all day, never worrying about irate callers, meetings, deadlines, grouchy bosses and edgy officemates. I’ll be there in my off-white/beige/celadon flower shop, tender love songs piped in, comfortable lemon-and-lime couches for my customers, rows upon rows of flowers- roses, lilies, carnations, daisies, orchids, tulips, peonies…. in all glorious colors. And there I would be, gladly arranging bouquets and vases of those divine beauties.

Talking about it makes me feel like Ferdinand, the children’s storybook bull who would rather smell the flowers than fight in bullfights!

Once in a while, we have these brief moments of fantasy, maybe as an escape from a dull, cold day or a temporary exasperation about something. Or maybe just for fun. Like answering inanely delightful queries such as: If you can only wear one piece of clothing item for the rest of your life, what would it be? Or something like: If you could eat only one dish all your life, what would that be? Maybe even something silly like: What’s the best name for a cat?

This is reminiscent of past Group Process sessions back in my freshman year in college. One catches a glimpse of the other’s inner thoughts and wishes. It’s always fascinating to have that kind of games. It also makes us examine our own personal goals and vantage points in life. But it’s really all about exploring your willingness to have fun.

My hubby has a fantastic idea, too. If money won’t be an object and he can just retire, he would be a photographer and travel all over and photograph all the exquisite things in the world. Flowers and photographs, how splendid would that be?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I did it again!

There I was again, last Sunday afternoon, trying to be a stalker. I just had to polish my stalking skills. I convinced the hubby to go back to Georgetown, to take a walk down N Street in DC to see the houses Jackie O used to live. You see, I was a failure on my first attempt.

So last Sunday, we finally got to see the houses at 3307, 3038 and 3017 N Street, in our own Georgetown Walking Tour.

Armed with my own camera (borrowed for the day from the hubby), I was filled with excitement. I squealed like a schoolgirl when we got to the first house (3307). We found several older tourists also taking pictures of the house ;) I was a bit self-conscious. But I must say, to be there at that old house which was their home before they moved into the White House. After looking through all that black and white photos of JFK, Jackie and Caroline in books, looking into the real thing was really one-of-a-kind. I was truly in my die-hard fan mode.

Here’s an excerpt:
3307 N St. NW - Then-Sen. John F. Kennedy lived here when
he was elected president of the United States in November
1960. Perhaps the most famous and photographed of the
Kennedy Georgetown homes, the red- and rose-colored Federal-
style home cost JFK just under $100,000 when he bought it in
1957 while Jacqueline gave birth to daughter Caroline. It was
on the doorstep of this house, built in 1812, that Mr. Kennedy
announced the appointment of his Cabinet, including his brother
Robert as attorney general. "I think I'll open the front door of
the Georgetown house some morning about 2 a.m.," JFK said to
then-Newsweek reporter Ben Bradlee, "look up and down the
street, and if there's no one there, I'll whisper, `It's Bobby.'
" When the two finally did step out on the porch, JFK warned,
"Don't smile too much, or they'll think we are happy about the
appointment." Mr. Kennedy sold the house soon after the

Further on the same street, we found the Harriman House. Here’s a little piece of history:
3038 N Street -Across the street from the Beall Mansion is
the Riggs-Riley House. This is considered to be an outstand-
ing example of a small, balanced Federal house. It was built
in 1816 and owned by the family that founded the Riggs Nat-
ional Bank. In recent years, it has belonged to the family of
statesman W. Averil Harriman.

This was Jackie Kennedy’s temporary home right after she left the White House, after the assassination of JFK in 1963.

Then further on, we found the house Jackie bought after moving out from the Harriman House- 3017 N St, a 3-story, 18th century home on an ivy-covered hill. They lived there for a year, before they moved to an apartment in 1040 5th Ave, New York. It is a lovely house, thickly shaded by magnolia trees. Stories had been told that mobs of tourists used to haunt the streets just to get a glimpse of Jackie and her kids.

All in all, it was one happy excursion. How fanatic can I get?

Please click HERE to see some snapshots of JFK & JBK homes.

To complete our jaunt that day, we stumbled upon the Turkish Festival in full swing in Pennsylvania St, between 13th & 14th Sts. The smell of the Turkish food and the unequivocal sound of Turkish music emanated through the sunshiny yet a bit nippy DC afternoon. We watched Turkish dancers gaily swayed and whirled away on a make-shift stage. From time to time, there were two precocious toddlers hopping up the stage and unabashedly displayed their shimmies, with matching pint-sized beaded & coined hip scarves. Such sweet souls.

It was another hit weekend for us. Monday was a holiday, so we gladly roosted at home. After each perfectly lazy long weekend, it’s always a pain to finally go back to work. But it’s only gonna be four days before yet another weekend will come sauntering about.


Friday, October 06, 2006

recipe in a dash

*rice noodles and tuna*

1 small can flaked tuna in oil
rice noodles (around ½ cup when blanched)
chopped onions
2 cups thinly chopped Chinese cabbage
garlic powder
1 tbsp. soy sauce
sesame oil
dash of ground black pepper
dash of seasoned salt

1. Pour off excess oil from tuna can, leave a little amount just so the tuna is not dry
2. Sauté with chopped onions in a small pan.
3. Set aside.
4. Blanch rice noodles with hot water for around 4-5 minutes, or until tender but not soggy.
5. In a medium sized pan, sauté onions and chopped Chinese cabbage in vegetable oil.
6. Season with garlic powder, black pepper and soy sauce.
7. Add rice noodles, stir fry for 3 minutes, or until cooked. Remember not to overcook it becomes soggy.
8. Add a few drops of sesame oil.
9. Place noodles in a dish, then top with the sautéed tuna.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

best advice

The best advice that I ever received was: Do not care anymore what other people say. You are embarking into a new life, and that’s the only thing you should be concerned about.

What made it the best of all the advices I’ve had (sought or otherwise), is that it has worked perfectly for me. I am inclined to believe it was tailor-made for me.

Back when I was in my teens, I cared what others had to say. I was easily affected by other people’s kibitzing. But I guess that comes with age. Now that I am older, I knew better. One of the finer points of getting older (not necessarily becoming an old fogey) is that you tend to be mellower, less agitated. You tend to respond, rather than react.

Which is why I am not horrified anymore to get older. Because a sense of calmness flourishes over you, it wraps you up with a greater perceptiveness on things. I guess now I know what they mean by coming to terms with oneself.

When you’ve grown older, and much wiser, you be willing to take care of yourself more and trust yourself more, and love yourself more. And you refrain from punishing yourself, and show courtesy to what’s truly best for yourself.

Monday, October 02, 2006

gone cold Saturday

It was, distressingly, a cold, cold Saturday. It’s unfair because I am not prepared for the nippy days yet. But who am I kidding? I can’t tarry the cold weather, and that’s the truth. Anyway, it had been an eventful, happy weekend for me and hubby. It started with phở and ended with beef sinigang.

Last Friday after work, me and hubby double-dated with our friends, Darko and Janet at our favorite phở place. Such a modest and kooky place to choose for a Friday night double-date, no?! Then Friday night at home, since I didn’t have to fix dinner anymore, I found time to bake some chocolate brownie. My hubby loved it, I loved it, too! :)

On Saturday, we volunteered at the Taste of Falls Church. It’s some kind of a food fair, with some Falls Church restaurants and cafés participating. We manned the ticket booth from 1:00 – 3:00pm. It was fun, so much better that I expected. It was a pretty easy task- explain to people how the 1-ticket-per-taste works, take their ticket purchase, give the change, charge to their credit (if they’re using their cards), that sort of thing. A ticket costs $3 (you pay just $25 if you get 10) and you can use one ticket if you want a taste of any restaurant sample dish.

It was really cold that day! I had my jacket on but it was truly chilly for an early Fall weather. It was a dog-friendly event so lots of nice dogs with their owners were wandering about. My favorite was the beagle-like doggy which had the most unusual bark of all. People were really amazed by his strangely cute “woooo… woooo…woooo….” instead of the costumary arf, arf, arf! So adorable…

Saturday night, we were guests at casa de Lazics for shisha-smoking session again. Darko ordered pizza and I brought some of my brownie, too. Apple-flavored shisha goes well with red wine, (that’s what I think). When we got home that night, hubby said he’s kind of tired of smoking shisha. Kind of he ran out of steam with the whole shisha furor.

Too pooped out, I woke up really late on Sunday. Glad we were able to catch the 12:30 Mass. After that, we made a quick trip to the Library and picked up more books. We planned to play tennis late in the afternoon. However, just when we were leaving the building, black clouds loomed and it started to drizzle. So we dropped the tennis thing, and instead, decided to go to this shopping club thingy, which was a huge, huge, HUGE mistake.

After our purchases, we were horrified to see the total amount. Way, waaaay over the amount we were supposed to spend. We felt we were robbed. If anyone could see our faces that time, we looked as if we were punched in the stomach and swallowed push pins at the same time. Vital lesson for the day? Never, never, NEVER go saying on a rainy day- oh we’ll just drop by BJ’s and pick a few things. Because truth is, you can never ever pick up just a few things. Chances are, you’ll end up with a pyramid of stuffs which you’re gonna regret and grow tired of in the next six months. Last night, in an effort to rationalize our impulsive buys that afternoon, hubby and I resolved that kind of spending is just not for us. Maybe when time comes when we need crates upon crates of tissues, Campbell soups, cheeses and jellies to feed a little league baseball team. But not now.

So there goes one happy, frightful weekend. I made beef sinigang for dinner, we watched TV and hit our noses on the books. Hubby is reading The Wal-Mart Effect. As much as we can, we would like to remember that cold Saturday afternoon at the ticket booth, and not that mortifying spending spree.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

most memorable stories and characters

Late this afternoon, on a quick deliberate break from whatever I was doing, it came across my mind sheaf of stories and characters which had a passionate impact on me- emotional, comic, historical, poignant, in the past and over the years. I wanna share a few of most unforgettable, remarkable stories and characters I’ve encountered, though not personally, but emotionally.

The Scarlet Ibis. "The Scarlet Ibis" is a short story written by novelist James Hurst. It was first published in The Atlantic Monthly in July 1960. I guess you have to read the story for yourself, to experience what I believe is the true grit, pride and glory of the human spirit. It’s emotional, nothing fancy. Not the buckets of tears stuff, though. It cuts through your heart.

Tintin & Snowy. My favorite reporter and his fox terrier, and “world travelers”. This comic book duo piqued my interest in history and geography. Lots of insanely funny characters which will perpetually amuse anybody. Click
here to meet the Tintin and Adventures coterie.

If Tomorrow Comes. A 1985 novel of Sidney Sheldon. The main character, Tracy- strong, resilient, cunning, was my personal hero, (I guess). Not that I wanna be a con-artist :) But the character was so clever and definitely NOT the 'helpless' kind. This story got me hooked to more Sheldon novels.

Veronica Lodge. Ronnie and her Archie-kins, Betty, Jughead and the whole gang are funny, funny, funny. These are the staple read of my pubescent years! These are classic characters. I will always cherish those Archie years.Veronica, sometimes good-hearted, sometimes spoiled and vain, and always lovable.

Steel Magnolias. I looove, looove, looove this movie. It's endearing, honest and liberating. This will always be one of my favorite movies of all time.

Love. The version of this song that I heard is by Kenny Loggins. And I used to listen to it before I go to sleep many, many years ago. I guess the original version was sung by the Beatles. I just find the words empowering, unbinding. Yet it's so simple.
Love is real,
real is love
Love is feeling,
feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved.
Love is touch,
touch is love
Love is reaching,
reaching love
Love is asking to be loved
Love is you
You and me
Love is knowing
You can be
Love is free,
free is love
Love is living,
living love
Love is needing to be loved.
Love is wanting
To be free
Love is knowing
You will be.

James Lovell. Jim Lovell, on the Apollo 11 article on the National Geographic. It was so fascinating and I read that article over and over and over again. He was played by Tom Hanks on the movie Apollo 13. But the first time I read about him was about the Apollo 11, and I think he's remarkable.

JFK, JBK, JFK Jr. I had been constantly asked about my fascination with them. And I don't know how to explain it. It's just that they're very interesting. Remarkable accomplishments? Maybe not the noble and saintly kinds like that of Mother Theresa's or Gandhi's. But I guess they have strong personalities, they are different, and they have flaws which make them a lot human. And I believe they weren't swayed by any opinions and they never gave it to common precepts of the people about them, which I believe is a remarkable spirit.

remarkable. My favorite, gilt-edged word for today. :)

....And of course, Cosette and Dexter. Cosette, from Les Misérables and Dexter, the stumpy carrot-top on Dexter's Laboratory, are my favorite little girl and little boy. They're adorable. Enough said. I love them heaps. The girl makes me cry, and the boy makes me laugh. They make life so much brighter.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

here's my 'worst' list

worst color for a shoe: neon green
worst food taste ever:
condensed-milk sweet spaghetti sauce
worst situation to be in: finding out you have no cash to pay the cab
worst hair smell: geriatric pomade smell
worst TV show: VH1’s Flavor of Love
worst dress mishap: finding out your dress is see-through and there’s no slip to be found
worst travel companion: one who has no inkling about the history of the place and is only
after shopping
worst conversation: with someone who’s too slow and dense to get any of your point
worst remark a girl can get: you got fat!/you’re too thin!
worst gift: comb-and-face towel set
worst habit: worshiping oneself
worst 2pm activity: being stuck in a long, tiring (boring) meeting and you feel like sneezing
worst flower a girl can get: fake felt roses
worst ice cream flavor: obviously fake macapuno flavor
worst picture: quintessential Pinoy wedding photo where the groom trying to shove a piece of
cake to a wide open-mouthed bride
worst fruit: tisa
worst vegetable: saluyot (jute leaves)
worst movie, so far: Date Movie
worst smell in an office lunchroom: stinky fish in the microwave
worst bridesmaid dress: drab, old rose princess-cut cocktail dress, with high neckline and pouf sleeve, with matching plastic flowers on your hair

What's your list of "worsts"? :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

poor sick souls

The past five days were dreadful for us. On Wednesday, the hubby got sick. He might have caught strep throat. Our remedy was Tylenol, lozenges and chamomile tea- lots of it. And like an old grandmother, I fed him porridge. And kept the tea flowing. Poor baby. Once he asked if he could have orange juice, I said no. And once, it’s so funny, because I caught him with a snowball in hand. I was aghast, I ordered him to get rid of it pronto. The dessicated coconut-marshmallow-chocolate-covered thingamabob was off-limits, definitely.

I kept him company, he was in bed most of the time. And at moments when he’s feeling a little better, sat with him on the sofa while he watched TV or trying to ‘work from home’. Friday night, we had Chinese takeout dinner- schezuan shrimp, roast beef lo mein, lemon chicken, wonton soup. A feast for the poor, sick soul.

By Friday night, hubby was feeling better, however, I started getting sick myself. My throat started to feel scratchy, it was difficult to swallow, and was temples were throbbing. I guess hubby passed the virus on to me.

So that’s how we spent the first day of Fall- holed up at home getting sickie. Poor us. Instead of gallivanting under the glorious Fall weekend weather, there we were coughing and sneezing, and nursing our headaches. In between, I managed to finish yet another book about JBK. At times we turn the TV off, and we walk barefoot around the quiet house. Sometimes, it’s actually comforting be in that muted environment. When all we can hear is each other’s breathing. (In our case, coughing and puffing included).

Sunday, we heard Mass albeit my agonizing headache. It was no help that lots of kids were crawling around shrieking, stomping, running around. We decided to have Phở for lunch to tend to our congested sinuses and itchy throats. But it was bad Phở that we got. Hubby vowed never to come back to that restaurant.

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon and Sunday night for us. We slept late, as usual. And this morning, we felt somewhat better and went back to work. When we stepped out, it was cold. Not freezing cold, but chilly. It felt like we missed the seasons. It’s Fall, all right. We can certainly hope it’s just a change of the season thingy. And we’ll bounce back and be meanderers, once again. Hello, Fall!

Monday, September 18, 2006

stalker for the day

Off we went to DC last Saturday afternoon to engage in some last summer weekend whirl. I wanted to be a stalker that day. I wanted to stalk Jackie O.

I wanted to find her place in Georgetown, the house where she stayed in after she left the White House. She resided in two houses after she moved out of the White House- first, in a house lent to her by their family friend, and second, a place of her own. I had also wanted to see the house they lived in after they got married and while JFK was still a senator. All their homes were in Georgetown.

I was so excited to be a tourist du jour. Never mind l (surely) looked like a gaudy fan. It will all be in the spirit of fun (and wonderment). However, I did not do my homework. I was too confident I memorized all three different house numbers, and I insisted I knew which is which. However, by the time we got to N Street the numbers were all mixed up.

The narrow, potholed N Street in Georgetown was nevertheless charming, with all the lovely age-old brick townhouses and cobblestone sidewalks. It looked shrouded with all the old trees. It's a lovely part of Georgetown. I gasped when we saw the house with the number I thought was the one. Turned out to be not, because we were parked on the wrong street! And the house across I thought was the one she bought and moved into. We took pictures of the wrong houses!

We walked into the other street (the right one by this time). And again, I got preoccupied with the wrong house across the street, and all the while the house behind us was the right address. No wonder I couldn't believe the gated wrong house appeared so contrastingly from what I gathered. And I peeked less into the right 3-story house where she lived until she moved to NY. What a buffoon of me. If only I had listened to David, he told me to bring the Jackie O book I'm reading then I could double-check the correct house numbers. And he wanted me to have my picture taken in front of the house, holding the book and pointing at the house. I'd die before I'd do that!!!

Had we walked a few more houses up the street, then we'd be staring at the Harriman house, where she moved into right after moving out at the White House. Then had we walked .3 miles further up the street, we'd be at their first Georgetown house. Oh well, I guess I'd have to polish more my stalking skills. Lesson learned? Jot down house numbers just in case I forget. I still want to go back there and see, and perhaps linger more (I hope no one notices this huge unabashed Jackie O fan).

Before our stalking trip, we visited the National Geographic Society to look at the photo exhibit by Reza. There was also a photo exhibit about soccer. It was a lovely last summer afternoon. I'm gonna miss summer...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Things that get my goat

There are some things in life which sometimes, for unexplainable reasons, annoy us to the highest heavens. I have (quite) a long list:

1. Fergie singing the dumbest song I ever heard, My Humps (or whatever)
2. people saying they’re gonna show up, and won’t
3. clumsy people stepping on my toes
4. the whole Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt hoo-ha
5. broken promises
6. Vina Morales (hahaha!)
7. kids trying so hard to act grown up
8. grimy men making lewd catcalls to passing women
9. people who constantly peer at their cellphones while in the movie theater

10. people who blatantly stare
11. Jinggoy Estrada (icky, icky, icky)
12. paper cuts
13. bird-brained, crazed drivers
14. people who cuss too much
15. people who seem to subsist on nothing but tacky, smutty jokes
16. accidentally stepping into a puddle
17. static electricity
18. being stalled in traffic
19. people with better-than-thou attitude
20. Paris Hilton
21. people who make harsh, inconsiderate remarks, and can’t handle it if bestowed with
the same harsh, inconsiderate remarks
22. brownouts
23. people who write incoherent messages and expect you to comprehend it
24. bad, unintelligible handwriting
25. people calling in the dead of the night wanting to be phone-pals
26. artistas singing so embarrassingly off key on TV variety shows

27. people getting too close (even if you don’t know them), violating personal space
28. solicitations

…and the list goes on and on. Tell me what your pet peeves are. Inane things which somehow always manage to get our goat :) Let's share our thoughts!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

it's a soggy day

It’s a cold, soggy, dreary September day. I hate the rain and I’m going to be stuck with it until, at least, early next week. I’m not yet ready to set aside my strappy sandals. My hubby wondered why I chose not to slip in reliable pair of boots. I guess I’m still in denial. I loved the summer sun and heat so much, the thought of covering up and piling up clothes is, I guess, agonizing.

Fall starts in a week. And it’s not amusing at all that it has been raining and dark and dismal the past few days. I’ve been wearing sweaters and jackets already, but still- my feet are bare (in my sandals still!). Last Monday, a chilly, blustery day, I had my light jacket on, however, much to my hubby’s dismay, I was wearing a mini-skirt. I didn’t care much that my toes turned gray. What a ninny.

Anyway, it has been one awesome summer. We were able to do the things that we wanted to do. We went to a charity polo match, the Peruvian festival, Alexandria's 254th anniversary, and the highlight- a trip to the Outerbanks in North Carolina. Plus of course the little weekend trips and excursions. The one thing we failed to do? Scour flea markets. I wonder why we didn't have time to do it this summer.

One thing I'm gonna miss- long days. I just loved it so much, the thought of darkness at 5pm makes my heart wail. But it's okay, I'm also excited to see the fall foliage. It's lovely and I couldn't get enough of it. I'll get myself ready for the cold season. It won't be that bad. Maybe more exciting things will happen, and it will brighten up the long shivery months ahead...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

anecdotes, memories and celebrations

There are a few precious things I feel like celebrating today.

First, it's the one-year anniversary of my caffeine-free by choice existence. Yup, it's been one year since I willfully ended my love affair with coffee. It was a fuss-free breakup ;) No weeping, no mourning, no regrets. And like any other split up- I've grown up after that. No more silly dependency. I was free, and happier. Hurrah for that!

Second, I was in touch again with my elementary school friends- Iva and Hope. Thanks to my bestfriend Roselle who was so savvy in finding them. I was so excited when she told me two nights ago that Hope was online. It was almost ten years since I last saw Hope, and Iva, longer. But we've exchanged emails now and I couldn't be happier to be connected again with these old friends.

Many funny anecdotes and memories roll in. Me, Roselle, Iva and Hope were classmates since grade 2. Our teacher then was Miss Torres, a strict, conservative old maid who decided to let a boy and a girl share a desk, in a futile attempt to shush us all. She got tired of our constant chattering and monkeyshines. But it never worked because soon, our seatmates became our chatter buddies. Our class was a talkative, noisy bunch. We were known of that memorable trait- we prattled and cackled and twittered 'til 6th grade.

Our third grade teacher was Mrs. Barcenilla who preferred to let her pupils write her lessons on the board, and was too obsessed in keeping the red floor waxed and polished at ALL times. Then came 4th grade with Miss Singson, an old maid with a pushy, strong willed attitude to compensate for her whispery voice- she expected her class to have perfect written compositions, perfect recitations, perfect test scores. We were also forever memorizing poems and practicing dramatic dialogues to present in our frequent class programs. But she also let us do things that we love to do- cut colored papers and make colorful arts projects which she proudly displayed in one corner, plant seeds in a mini-garden, write and exchange letters with our classmates, write and act in little plays, read books to each other. She encouraged us all to be creative, and by far, she was my favorite elementary school teacher.

Our 5th grade teacher (whose name escapes me at this moment) liked to start the day chastising us all for failing to keep the classroom, (in her favorite words), spic and span. And she liked to add her other favorite words- "it's very shameful!" We were her last class, she retired after that school-year so she must remember us all, the class who can't keep the room spic-and-span. Our 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Pedregosa, just spent 3-4 months with us. The rest of the school-year, she was on leave. We heard that she had enough of our boisterousness ;)

Meeting Iva and Hope again makes me think about how young we were then, so carefree, so happy, so hopeful and eager to grow up. Now we're in a different stage of our life, and yet those memories and delightful anecdotes still soar. And the opportunity to relish those cherished memories is one reason to celebrate.

Another thing to celebrate is books. It's a little thing, but I wanna drink to that. It's been a long time since I found time to read again. It feels good to be able to get myself lost in words, engross myself in stories and just flip over the comfort of reading. One of the things I could never live without or give up, it's reading.

I love to celebrate these little things in my own special way. There's no use keeping tab of mishaps, gripes and misfortunes in this world. Friends, good relationships, love, simple pleasures, hobbies, husbands, new recipes- they're always worth a warm hurrah!

Friday, September 08, 2006

if it's Friday, we're having fun

If I were a shoe,
I’d be a Jimmy Choo glitter karung slide.
If I were a dress,
I’d be a Carolina Herrera frock.
If I were a song,
I’d be Tomorrow.
If I were an ice cream,
I’d be a green tea ice cream.
If I were a scent,
I’d be black raspberry and vanilla.
If I were a breakfast,
I’d be toast with butter, scrambled eggs and a steaming mug of cocoa.
If I were a season,
I’d be Fall.
If I were a junk food,
I’d be pepperoni pizza with garlic-butter sauce.
If I were an herb,
I’d be oregano.
If I were an earring,
I’d be a black Tahitian pearl earring.
If I were a scenery,
I’d be Shenandoah Skyline Drive in late Fall.
If I were a drink,
I’d be a frozen margarita.
If I were an outrageous other name,
I’d be Jassmyn Tamara Antoinette.
If I were a plant,
I’d be a fern.
If I were a daydream,
I’d be a sojourn in a weekend home with an immense flower garden and full library; a penthouse in the city with a spacious living room and a more spacious fully-equipped kitchen; and a 10-4, three-times-a-week-with-a-wickedly-high-paying job.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

something's amiss

Suddenly...... it hit me. It's the 6th of September and still, I haven't heard a single Christmas carol in the air yet. Something's amiss in my precious Christmas rituals!

I'm kinda looking forward to hearing my first Christmas carol on the first day of the ber months. Back home, Christmas starts in September. Carols are played on air the instant it's September, and by Christmas eve you're quite immune to the scads of versions of one single Christmas carol. Believe me, Silent Night Holy Night can be enjoyed as original, OPM, rap, chant, chorale, whatever you like. And carols won't fade away until Three Kings'. Now that, IS one truly merry Christmas.

I'm feeling nostalgic. I used to anticipate what carol will I hear first for that season. I remember, the other year it was Give Love on Christmas Day. The year before that it was Pasko Na Sinta Ko (which is always truly, truly a romantic Christmas carol). I love the feeling of hearing those carols. It builds up the excitement for the much-anticipated Christmas season. As the ber months wear on, carols become more and more meaningful, amidst the giant Christmas trees, homes afire with christmas lights, humble and elaborate parols hung side by side, the palpable Pinoy Christmas spirit.

I may not hear my first Christmas carol until after Thanksgiving. Which makes me miss home a bit much. I always think about while it's so quiet and uneventful here, back home the revelry has started - blinking lights wherever you go, colorful lanterns, mountains of ornaments in every shape and sizes, carols blaring until your ears bleed.

It's our third Christmas as married couple. They say, third time's the charm. I hope we could have more fun this year. I wanna have a tree, I wanna hang a wreath on our door (I am not sure how our non-Christian neighbors would react), I wanna have Santa's cardboard face and a Merry Christmas buntings on the walls (maybe not, hahaha)! Last year, we had a quiet Christmas. We attended midnight Mass, and there was nothing special to it. We missed the embellished and more heartfelt Christmas masses at home. The church didn't even have a belen!

I'm still excited to hear my first carol this year. Although, anxiety adds up because it feels like I've already missed a lot of the ber months without the carols. Until then, I could only hope that it's gonna be something special, God forbid, not a boyband version of a classic Christmas carol.........