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.