Thursday, January 31, 2008
Hubby and I met in high school, we were good friends and had lunch together (with the rest of the barkada) every single day throughout high school. There was never really any spark between us. We weren't really even close with each other, we just happened to be in a group that hung out together.
In retrospect, I believe this might be because my yaya and his best friend's yaya were good friends and brought our lunch baons to school together. As high schoolers, we weren't allowed out of the school during lunch time so me and the other guy's yayas would bring hot lunch to school and hand them to us through the iron fence that surrounded the campus. The rest of the guys would buy their lunch from the cafeteria or one of the many caterers who sold meals in school. We'd all eat our lunch together, hand our empty containers back to the yayas and walk back to where our classrooms were.
I was always just one of the guys. Hubby was going steady with another girl back then, but they didn't really spend a lot of time together.
Ever since we graduated from high school, one of those guys from our group (hubby's best friend) would invite us all to his family's annual Christmas party. This kept the group in touch with each other and we had the opportunity to catch up with each other's lives at least once a year even though we were all going to different universities.
Hubby and his high school gf's relationship didn't make it past high school and I would later on get involved with other people.
When we finished college, we had more freedom (we were already working so we had the money to spend, haha! and we'd all have cars) to go out so the group started to go out a lot. There would be times when we'd have dinner together once a week and go out for dessert afterwards.
I was the only girl in the group so the guys would usually take turns picking me up and dropping me off at our house. This wasn't really a problem because I live 5 minutes from Tomas Morato and that was where we usually ended up anyway. Hubby, coincidentally, lived nearest me so it wasn't surprising that he got to pick me up and drop me off most of the time.
At this point, this is where our (hubby's and mine) accounts would slightly differ.
My take is that hubby was driving me most of the time so we got to spend more and more time together. I didn't even know that he was nanliligaw but come to think of it, I don't think that he even courted me. This didn't happen quickly, mind you, over time and great distances - I was travelling and working on projects abroad and would be out of the country half of the time - love began to grow. I don't even know how it happened or when it happened basta one day, kami na.
I'm not really clear about what his account of our story is. I have this idea that he thinks I've a crush on him. That thought probably made it easier for him because hubby is just like a typical Tsinoy - torpe (mwahaha!).
Around 1999 or 2000, I remember a phone conversation with hubby and me wherein he told me something like "... my officemate saw our chat window, he asked me who you were and he was surprised when I told him that you were my girlfriend." I pounced on that statement and confronted hubby, "Huh ? I'm your girlfriend ? Why ? Did you even ask me ?"
Syempre, he was struck dumb and didn't know what to say. As for me, I was glad for the insight. Ah, he thought of me as his girlfriend pala. *kilig*
That's the story of how we officially became boyfriend & girlfriend.
The next several years that followed isn't nearly as interesting as our start so I'm going to cut my story short for now. I will have to continue my story at a later time as I'm already tired - but not too sleepy to realize that even though I've written up something substantial tonight, I haven't even really answered Mec's question yet, hahaha!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Obviously, we're pack rats. Nothing is too good (er... well, mostly) to throw away.
Anyway, we decided to keep this in our kitchen temporarily - we have plenty of counter space and we have this huge unused corner - so we'd have a computer down there for internet surfing, chatting and looking up recipes. This'll be great for practicing & exploring the Mac OS too as we're both Mac virgins.
We do have laptops... but they stay upstairs and I don't like lugging a laptop around the house. :)
Hopefully, days 3 to 5 will proceed as smoothly as the first 2 days. *fingers crossed*
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I do appreciate my Mom's concern. I really do. But after a long hard day of training and exercises, the last thing that I need to hear is my Mom calling to ask "Does Sammie have anything for dinner ? Does he have baon tomorrow ?"
I always respond "He's a big boy, he can take care of himself."
Hey, I married a *MAN*. He's not helpless.
Thankfully, Sammie's quite independent and resourceful. This evening, he diced up some deli meats (cold cuts) and made himself fried rice.
Below are some panoramic shots that I've taken, a third of the room is occupied by the queen bed, in front of which is a divider with chest of drawers that also serves as a tv stand. The area (left hand side of the picture) has a stove, microwave, mini refrigerator and a kitchen sink - it's on the other side of that wall behind the TV.
I also have a work desk, a separate dining table for two, an armchair and a sofa for entertaining.
Now, I find myself too lazy to walk from one end of the room to the other. The first 2 nights, I plugged in my cellphone to charge near the work desk area and each time the phone rang (my mom and sister calls a lot), I've had to run to chase after the phone. This makes the room feel so much more bigger, haha!
Monday, January 28, 2008
After today's classes, we decided to go to a nearby mall (note: no sales tax in New Hampshire!) for dinner and some shopping.
Guess what I found in a Target store ? It's an escalator made especially to transport your shopping carts.
You start by pushing your cart onto the cart-a-lator (I just coined this word right now *smile*) and the conveyor belts does the rest.
Voila! Step off at the end of your escalator and wait for your cart.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Guess who got summoned for jury-duty ? Hubby.
This is a surprise because hubby has been in the US less than a year and apparently, his name (or his social security id ? or his identity ?) is everywhere.
This is starting to get me worried because a few days ago, we decided to try and get a copy of our credit reports and we were expecting hubby's to be empty, of course. Surprise, surprise! When the Experian website was verifying his identity, they were asking him about loans that he supposedly applied for in 2004 and another in 2006. I wonder, are social security IDs recycled ?
We've decided to get identity & credit monitoring for hubby so we'd be able to see what's in his records and dispute any erroneous information. Mahirap na.
In any case,... all those Judge Judy shows that he got to watch (because I wanted to and he had no choice) these past few months will surely hone his juror skills, haha!
I have yet to find a gift for hubby, I do have a few options but I haven't really decided on what to get him. I'm checking out what discounts are available from couponchief.com and I found the following possibilities:
- Laptop from Dell
- an iBook or an iPod from the Apple Store
- a gift certificate, maybe, from Tiger Direct so I can just let him choose what peripherals he wants for his computer
So far, I'm leaning towards the iPod (since he recently got a laptop from work) and have something engraved on the back of the casing. :)
I mentioned in a previous post that I will be flying to Massachusetts this weekend to attend a week-long training at our headquarters. I'll also be staying on for another weekend for a meeting that I have to attend on Monday, this is the same client as the one which was cancelled due to a snowstorm weeks ago and I flew from airport-to-airport.
So now, am looking at my bags and can't decide whether I want to bring the small (hand carry size) roller bag or the medium one (which I'll have to check in) for my clothes. Hopefully, my stuff would fit in the smaller bag so I won't have to check anything in, I do hate waiting at the baggage terminal - and what I hate the most is when the airlines leave or lose your bag. Ugh!
I am also trying to decide which laptop bag to use, arte ba ? I have one which is small and compact (but heavy due to the padding) and a slightly thicker bag which is a roller bag. I find the roller laptop bag more convenient because I just have to pull it along and leave it on the floor whenever I stop and talk to other people. No aching shoulders. As for the smaller laptop bag, it has this sleeve at the back which you can slide down stroller handles so this makes travelling easier when you have both bags.
The thing is, if I'm bringing a roller bag for my clothes and another roller bag for my laptop, am not so sure if I can handle pulling 2 bags along - that would leave me with no free hands.
Me thinks I am over-analyzing this but it's really getting hard that I always have to go through this each time I leave - doesn't matter how long I'll be gone for or where I'm going, but I always have to go through this agonizing (heehee, drama) choice each and every time.
.. and don't get me started on what purse I want to bring... or shoes! I'm far from being a fashionista but obviously, I need to have something that matches. hay.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I now have 500 MB worth of images covering 3 years (2002-2004) and I'm in the process of scanning and indexing my 2005 paperwork. All non-important documents go to the shredder after I get an electronic image.
This is all part of my 2008 Q1 plan to reduce & get rid of all junk. Galing no ? Aside from the reduced clutter, it's now easier to bring up any documents that I need without having to rummage through files, folders and lots of envelops crammed into a filing cabinet.
After this, I'll be writing out the files to CD / DVD and will store it somewhere for safekeeping.
How about you ? How long do you keep your statements ?
At this rate, if we want to stay within commuting - let me clarify, EASY commuting - distance from the city proper (be it NYC or Boston) we can only afford to buy a townhouse or a condo and not a house, not if we're pushing for a 3 bedroom (and a den / family room) with 3+ bathrooms.
Gosh, I am still hyperventilating.
Friday, January 18, 2008
How the Dragon fares (according to OnlineChineseAstrology.com):
Hopefully the Pig showered blessings on you last year. If not, not to worry. This year promises to be even better with your good friend the Rat in charge. You can enjoy a lot of success, but this is still not the best of years as Earth does not favor your luck. It is thus a time to avoid risk. As a Dragon, you could be something of a dreamer. If so, this is the perfect year for you since Earth promotes practicality. You are thus likely to have a good chance to realize one of your big dreams.
and according to http://www.chiff.com/a/chinese-horoscopes.htm
The rat is a good friend to the dragon. The new cycle that starts this year will bring prosperity to the dragon after what may seem like a long time of struggle. The stream of good fortune that you saw coming your way in a trickle last year will reach fullness this year. Your energy is strong after resting in the year of the pig and you will find that difficulties are able to be overcome. You will need energy to keep up with the social whirl coming your way. While much of your focus will be on friendships and love, put some of that energy toward career networking opportunities that will develop this year and will benefit you throughout the next cycle. The conservative nature of this rat year may give moments of frustration to the dragon who cannot tame a fiery nature. This is a time to begin ventures that will benefit from the steady nurturing earth influence but you will need patience and persistence to see them through to success. The signs are very good for your soul mate to appear. Take care to recognize this most special person or the opportunity may be lost in your busy social life. Home influences are strong and if you have been dreaming of a major purchase - of a home or for your home - this year is a good time to see the dream fulfilled.
At home, there's this heating & cooling system maintenance appointment that I've been meaning to set up. In fact, I must have gotten at least 10 reminder calls from the company already since November of last year. You'd think that this would be easier for me since I work from home but our home heating/cooling system has a compressor (?) that's up on the roof and I needed to talk to the bldg superintendent to get access. I didn't get to talk to the super until last night.
Getting to the super last night was a stroke of luck too. He lives in the same building and we see him all over the place all the time. But when we need to talk to him, we can't find him - Murphy's law :D So last night, I found a memo from the condo association left outside our door. The memo says that they found out that most of the smoke detectors in the units were still the original units from when the building was built. These need to be replaced (for safety reasons, of course) and the condo board has pre-ordered smoke detectors by bulk and that the super would replace them for us. I called up the super and he came over and replaced our detector in minutes. Galing! He told me that ours is the 16th that he's replaced within the afternoon and that he gets better at it every time :)
We were also able to give our Holiday gift card to the super. We've been dropping by his place every now and then since last Christmas but since he's usually out and about the grounds, he's very hard to pin down w/o a prior call or appointment.
I also have appointments set up for our car service for next weekend and a doctor's appointment for me (OB) following that. These are also some of the things that was in my list since last week.
Speaking of next week, I also need to plan a menu for the following week (last week of January) as I'll be flying to MA again and will be staying there for a week and a half for training and meetings. I'll be leaving hubby all alone and if my memory serves me right, he's always just resort to hotdogs, bacon, eggs and spam for his meals. Kawawa naman. I plan to prepare ready-to-cook meals (hubby can fry or use the oven / turbo broiler) or freeze cooked meals that he can just reheat.
So far, this is what I have on my list:
- lumpiang shanghai
- marinated porkchops (for frying or baking)
- spaghetti sauce (tomato based and alfredo sauce), he can just boil the pasta
- Chicken stuffed w/ bacon
- burger patties
- chicken embutido (from a Pinoycook.net recipe that I've been wanting to try out)
- gyoza (he can boil and/or pan-fry)
I could probably cook some pork adobo ahead of time and freeze that. Any other suggestions ?
.. and if it's not already apparent from my list, we're not good at making veggie dishes so we try to eat as much fruits as we can.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I started dreaming about babies a few weeks ago. It's not really surprising given that we have less than a month to go before our 1st wedding anniversary so we've had the alone time that we wanted to get. If we put my age into consideration too, then now is definitely a good time to start.
Last Monday, I was on the phone with my Mom and casually mentioned that hubby and I are considering expanding our family but that we're still in the early stages - the "considering" stage.
The next day ? I get a phone call very early in the morning from Mom. Aba, nag research na pala. She had done her homework and found out that if we conceive between now and next month, there's a big chance that we might be getting a boy. Better raw if our firstborn is a boy to take out the pressure of producing one - it's the family name propagation thing... you know ;)
I am feeling the pressure. As I said, we're just considering it and we do have to fit a baby into the big picture. There's always the possibility that we'll finally get our house sold (at a good price) and we'll have to make plans to move to another state and having a baby might just make things a bit more complicated.
But then again, it's not like we're bound to conceive immediately as soon as we decide that we want a baby, right ? I'm sure a lot of mommies & soon-to-be-mommies out there can attest to this.
Anyway... I guess the bottom line is that I shouldn't have said anything to my Mom, at least not until we're sure about which way we want to go. Ayun, Mom got so excited and has been calling me daily to ask me how we are & whether we're having a baby yet. Nya!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Okay, so the picture just proves that I have no artistic talent whatsoever. In fact, notice the flower that was crossed out, haha!, nagkamali eh. That is the extent of my drawing ability.
Then it was hubby's turn and it turned out so much better.
Thankfully, we were able to wash everything off that same night. Nobody had to go into work with weird figures on his/her arm.Hubby and I are kids at heart.
Boneless chicken breasts / thighs, sliced thinly
Filling: Butter, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt & pepper.
I usually just mix the ingredients for the filling and make "tantya". Spread the filling over the chicken slices, place a slice of bacon, and roll it up and stick a toothpick to allow the roll to retain its shape.
Dip the roll in egg and roll in breadcrumbs. At this point, I just wrap them up in foil and freeze.
To cook, bake in 375 degree oven (turbo broiler) . Cooking time varies.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Woke up at 6:30am on Friday morning, had breakfast, packed up, checked out and met up with our partners so we could go to the (prospective) client site together. It rained all morning so the drive (and the walk) was really miserable. I didn't have an umbrella and really hated getting wet in the rain. The meeting went well and I drove another 1.5 hours to get to the airport. Flights were getting delayed and cancelled all over the northeast due to the rainstorms so I was really fortunate to get on the plane and make it back home the same night.
I have another meeting scheduled for Monday (tomorrow) in Boston again so I had to fly back to MA this afternoon. Just before I was about to leave for the airport, a friend called me up and warned me that there is a winter storm warning in effect over Massachusetts / New Hampshire area and that they were expecting 8 to 12 inches of snow.
Take note ah, the last time that we had 12 inches of snow in NJ, my car was buried more than halfway in the parking area. Low slung cars (i.e. sports cars) were completely buried and could only be found if they had their antennas sticking out from under a huge mound of snow.
Anyway, I tried calling up my boss & our partners to see if the meeting has gotten cancelled. We haven't heard back from the client so I just pushed ahead and caught my flight.
As soon as I got to Boston Logan International airport and turned on my cellphone, I saw that I had voicemail. Halfway through my flight, at around 1pm, the client had called our partners and cancelled Monday's meeting. Thankfully, the shuttle runs between Boston & New York every hour. Our plane came in late so I only had 30 minutes to get out of the gate area, come back in to the airline's check-in counters, have my return flight re-issued and changed, go through airport security screening again and cancel both my car rental and hotel reservations.
I felt so harassed. I swear, I must have looked really really frazzled by the time that I got everything done. I had to cancel my car & hotel reservations from *inside* the plane because boarding had already begun when I finally got out of the security screenings. *pant pant*
It's Sunday night and the work week has not yet begun but I already feel tired.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Our house has been listed on the market since July 07 and a lot of things have happened since then, the most significant of which was my realtor F going bankrupt and shutting down its business in September.
So by the start of October, we've been bombarded with solicitation letters, calls and visits from other realtors who all want to get our listing. The thing is, back then, my original realtor has not officially gone out of business yet. They've laid off their 300+ employees and are down to a staff of 20 and they're no longer answering phone calls but since they haven't officially shut down yet, our contract with them was still binding.
I have nothing against agents. Really.
I know that they're just trying to make a living and the situation with F back then was really messed up. Nobody knew what was happening and everybody wanted to get a head start on everybody else so they were putting a lot of pressure on us to sign up with them. Ang kolet!
Never mind that we got this official letter from F's lawyers cautioning us not to sign up with other agents because our contract was still binding. Never mind the web articles that we've read telling us that a decision was still pending over at the Federal courts about the listings. No, these did not seem to matter with the other agents because they were all over us, telling us that F was no longer in business and that they were holding onto our listing illegally.
Hubby and I weren't desperate to sell so we decided to just sit down and wait till the entire mess gets sorted out. We didn't want to make hasty decisions and get in trouble for that later.
By November, things did get sorted out. A Federal Court Judge allowed F to sell off its listings and a new realty company got our listing - C. An agent from C came by, talked to us and we felt comfortable with him. Now, our contract has expired and we've just authorized an extension for another 3 months.
Now, the agent from hell I am referring to is a neighbor (lives in the same complex). She's nice enough and sounds legit but she's too persistent and pushy. She would pounce on us in the parking lot or drop by unannounced. We felt ambushed in each and every one of the meetings we had with her. It wasn't pleasant.
Yesterday, I was napping and got startled by the sound of the doorbell. We weren't expecting anybody - but we had a creepy feeling - so hubby crept down quietly and tiptoed to the door. Guess who he saw through the peephole ? Yeah, the agent.
So we keep quiet and pretend to be out.
A few minutes later, the phone started ringing. We let the machine pick up and it was the agent. "Hello ? Hello ? This is your friend! I'm here at the door. Please pick up. It's your neighbor here!"
Then our cellphone started ringing (they were on silent, whew!) , the agent again.
The doorbell chimed twice more and then there was silence.
I hated feeling that way. I hated the feeling of being cornered to the point where I have to hide in my own home. But we didn't want to talk to her, we were in our PJs,... not ready for company so we felt that we had to do that.
This afternoon, I had signed the extension with my agent, C, for my listing with them till April. I gave the agent (neighbor) a call back to let her know. Aba, nagalit!
When I told her that I had signed an extension with my current agent, her voice got louder and she said, "but you promised to give me your listing! I'm your neighbor! Nobody else should have your listing! and you said you don't like your agent ? why sign up with him again ?"
I never promised to sign up with anybody, the most that I committed to was to think about their proposal.
She then goes on with "Do you know how many listings your agent has ? He will never work for you. He is too busy for you, he will do nothing. I will work for you, I will sell your house for you. I do advertising, I do internet, I do searches."
and then later on, in a sad voice, "I thought you liked me but well, you like the other agent. You do not want to sell your house. Go ahead." Ha ? Bastos no ?
Get over it.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Anyway, I thought I'd post a list of the superstitions that our household observed this year as well as the ones that I heard of from friends and plan to add to our list next year. This is really a combination of Chinese and Filipino superstitions, I don't even know which one goes with which culture.
Please feel free to leave me a comment if you have any more :)
Things to prepare:
- 12 kinds of round fruits and place them on your dining table. 12 kinds of fruit = 12 months of the year. This symbolizes having plenty of food for the incoming year.
- 3 cups and place on your dining table. One should be filled with rice, another with salt and the last one with water. The containers should be filled to the brim. Another version of this superstition calls for filling the last cup with cooking oil instead of water.
- Before midnight on New Year's eve, a coin should be placed on each drawer and cabinet in the house. A coin should also be placed on each step of the stairs and on the windowsills and doorsteps.
- Pay off your debts and collect anything that you're owed.
- Just before midnight, all doors and windows should be open. Of course, keep in mind that care should be taken if you choose to do this as this might be viewed as an open invitation to burglers.
- Turn on all the lights in your house - I do this 10 minutes or so before midnight so I don't use up too much electricity.
- Coins (money) should be placed on the floor in the main hallway of the house - the one the main doors open to. Keep a broom handy nearby, you'll need this on the strike of 12.
- Keep money in your pockets, your pockets shouldn't be empty when the new year arrives.
- Prepare a comb and keep it handy.
- Throw away all your trash, if possible. It's considered bad luck to throw anything out on New Year's day so if you have anything that can possibly go bad (or go rotten), get rid of it before the new year.
Upon the stroke of midnight:
- Hold and jingle the money in your pockets.
- Comb through your hair, this is supposed to comb away all the bad luck - you don't have to fix your entire hair, a few strokes will do.
- In your entrance hallway where you scattered the coins, get the broom and sweep the coins INTO your house. This will invite fortune into your household for the new year.
On new year's day:
- It is considered bad luck to throw anything out.
- We try to refrain from spending any money on the first day of the year.
Needless to say, fireworks are illegal where we live so we only got to watch them on TV.
How about you ? Did you observe any of these on new year's eve ?
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
The letdown sunk in afterwards when the in-laws (hubby's brother, to be exact) started asking about how we celebrated our Christmas. When asked what our noche buena meal was, I said "Popcorn". The line suddenly went quiet, I swear, you could hear a pin drop! Eh totoo naman eh. I think bro-in-law couldn't decide whether I was telling the truth or teasing him. Eventually (it must have only been a few seconds later but it felt like minutes to me), he laughingly said that his brother (my hubby) should have just cooked and prepared a feast for me.
I made a decision that come New Year's Eve, I wasn't gonna disappoint. Hmpft :)
Hubby and I prepared the following for our New Year's Eve meal (pics to follow later):
Appetizer: Calamari, Pan fried (fish & veggie) dumplings
Entree: Shrimp fried rice w/ Chinese sausages, Chinese Fried Chicken (take out), baked scallops w/ bacon
Dessert: Cheesecake Factory's Tiramisu cheesecake
Needless to say, we were stuffed.
That night, our good friends E & K invited us over to their house to greet the new year. We had yummy chicken carbonara, baked ribs, baked fish, leche flan and buco pandan with them. Yummy.
Fortunately, I didn't gain a pound after all the new year indulgence. *whew*
Given that I have poor planning practices when it comes to food preparation (cooking), I didn't realize that I didn't have all of the ingredients until it was too late.
Instead of gin (in Pinoycook's recipe), I had planned to use mirin which I thought I had. Turned out that I didn't have enough so I added the 1/4 cup remaining mirin that I had and added 3/4 cup of cooking sherry (which was sweet too).
The dish turned out great! I probably should have held off on this (I did this last 12/21) and prepared this for Noche Buena instead. Now, am looking forward to getting invited to the next pot luck party, hubby and I are bringing this :)