Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Survived a Japanese Game Show

Is there anyone here who watches this show ?

Hubby and I started watching this last night and we are so addicted. The first episode showed the American contestants - who didn't know what they signed up for - being flown to Japan. Thinking that they were going to visit a popular TV set, they were ushered into a studio and were surprised to see that *they* were the show.


If you have time, do watch this. It's so aliw. And so unbelievable.

Watch it, please :)

and on that note, Hai! MAJIDEEEEE!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


A member in a support group I belong to raised the question a question about manners and how to handle delicate situations. She asks, how should parents handle situations where they're asked "Why [child1] is smarter/prettier/more intelligent than [child2] ?"

I'm actually looking forward to reading the feedback from the other members because as a child, my siblings and I have been in plenty of situations where we get compared with each other and with other children / cousins and having suffered through these humiliating moments, I still do not feel equipped to deal with this if this happens again.

So far as labels go, my older sister is the pretty one. She gets asked to be part of the bridal party or to join the Santacruzan (heehee, but she never did). Being petite, she also has the luxury of looking younger than her actual age, to the point that when her friends would see us together, nobody would believe that she's actually 8 years older than me.

A very tactless friend even went so far as to say "come on ? Are you kidding me ? She's your shobe ? But she looks older... uh... este.. you look so much younger than her!" she then turns to me and asks me to my face "come on, you're the Achi no ?" I couldn't say anything.

I am the smart one. My parents can go on and on about my achievements and the awards I've received. A typical conversation between my parents and friends or relatives would go something like:

Mom: this is my eldest daughter
Others: wow, she's so pretty! so beautiful and so lady-like!
Mom: and this is my younger daughter, matalino yan, she's done these [list of achievements]

So ano ? Hindi ako pretty ?

I felt bad that Mom felt the need to add something to prop me up. I used to resent being with my sister. I didn't want to go out with her or be introduced with her because just standing beside her makes me ugly.

Now that I'm older (and wiser, hopefully), I understand that it was hard on her too. If I felt some resentment ("hindi ako pretty?"), then I'm sure she felt it too ("hindi ako matalino?"). I vowed to myself that I will never fall into the trap of comparing my children.

Unfortunately, I now find myself doing the same thing with my nephews. When asked to describe my sisters' two boys, I would say that Lance, the eldest one, is the booksmart and mabait one. Lyle, the younger boy, is the streetsmart and naughty/pilyo one. It's true though.

Paano kaya to ? What's the best way to handle this without hurting anybody's feelings ? In my nephews' case, the labels just shows off their strengths and it's not a criticism. I only hope that they see it this way too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Let's Eat!

Tagged by Sheryll of Our Family Adventure and I just had to add in some comments :P

-START HERE -Eaters: kathyrazzi kathycot buhaymisis whenmomspeaks kathycotcooks my precious niche just me.. eds edsmommylife Me,Myself+2 Le bric à brac de Cherie Chez Francine La Place de Cherie My Angels World, Life is Good and Beautiful, From This Side. Our Family Adventure! Popcorn's Thoughts ADD YOUR BLOG HERE!

1. Chicken sa McDo, Jollibee, or KFC?

  • In order of preference: KFC (hot & crispy), Jollibee (love the skin)

I remember when I used to go out with friends during our college days, we'd go to Philcoa & head out to Jollibee or McDo to have lunch. H and I usually voted to have lunch at Jollibee because L doesn't eat Jollibee chicken's skin, so hati na kami ni H sa chicken skin niya :P

Those were good times *smile*.

2. Pepsi, Coke, or rootbeer?

  • Pepsi and/or Coke. I swear I don't even notice the difference! I've heard though that if they're both warm (room temperature), Pepsi tastes better and that if they're both ice-cold, Coke tastes better.

3. Greenwich, Pizza Hut, or Yellow Cab?

  • None. I'm not a pizza fan. But if I have to choose and I'm really really hungry, I might have to go with Greenwich, sila yung merong thin crust diba ?

4. Adobo, sinigang, or nilaga?

  • Nilaga

5. Beef, pork, or chicken?

  • Beef.

Though, hubby and I are discovering the joys of chicken in an effort to eat healthier, we have quite a few recipes in our repertoire now.

6. Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, or Gloria Jean’s?

  • Starbucks sa Pilipinas and anywhere else.
  • Dunkin Donuts' sa US - has anyone tried their coffee ? Sarap ah.

7. Cornflakes, Honey Stars, or Milo cereal?

  • Cornflakes

8. Goldilocks or Red Ribbon?

  • Goldilocks, I miss their plain mocha cakes.

9. Tokyo Tokyo, Teriyaki Boy or Rai Rai Ken?

  • Teriyaki Boy for the food
  • Tokyo Tokyo for their iced tea.

10. Take Out or Dine In?

  • Dine-in


BerryBlitz, Arlene you're tagged if you're interested :)

Can't think of anybody else to tag right now, so if interested, please tag yourself and leave me a comment so I can check out your answers :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

At the dentist's

Hubby and I went to our dentist last weekend to have our teeth cleaned and checked out. After our cleaning sessions, our dentist pronounced us cavity-free, yay!

On our way out, we walked by the Pinay receptionist who asked us how it went, I told her that we don't have any cavities.

Sabi nya, "walang cavities ? ay :( ".

Aba, sad siya ?

So I said to her "isn't that good ? diba yan yung goal ? na dapat walang cavities ?"

"oo nga, pero ibig sabihin matagal na ulit bago ko kayo makita."

Haha, so sweet (or enterprising?).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ayos ;)

I found a post that leads to a reading level rating tool on Tsinay's site. Even though I cringed at the thought of what the result could possibly be - with all the Tagalog words that I use every now and then - I pushed ahead and tried this out anyway.

blog readability test

So I got a "College (Undergrad)" Reading level rating. But wait....

I'm not so sure if this is a good rating, after all, this doesn't really say that I write like an undergrad / college graduate but rather that a college / undergrad reading level is required to understand my posts. Or is this really the same thing ?

ah, basta :)

Friday, July 18, 2008


I talk a lot.

And I mean a LOT.

But lately, since the project started moving forward this Monday, my days have become so long! I start my days really early now at 9am (and this is early, considering that I end my days late too because I also work & coordinate with our offshore staff).

Early morning meetings are usually with our company upper management & sales team, talking about the contract that's being drafted. The sales guy keeps pushing us to give more freebies under the guise of "protecting both the client and the company". Duh, he wants to take away all the conditions in our SLA to give the client some level of comfort. Where, if I may ask, does protecting the company come in ?

Mid afternoon to late afternoons are spent talking with the mid-level executives who have been assigned to complete tasks in the earlier meetings. I sometimes talk to our offshore company's manager too - who keeps such strange hours, I think... I don't even know if he gets any sleep at all because he's always working.

Last Tuesday was the worst. The phone kept ringing and I swear, I did not have more than 5 straight minutes without the phone to my ear. I even got calls from clients who don't normally call me, correction, have never called me ever. And at the same time I was on the phone, I also had these chat sessions with our developers and our global support team going on too. I was even in a conference call while I was having my lunch. I didn't get to take a break until dinner time and hubby had to get some takeout for that. And after the 1.5 hour dinner break (whew!), I went back to work again to prepare for a 10:30 meeting with Manila. I had to beg off at around 12mn because I couldn't think straight anymore.

I can be very talkative and I usually have a lot of things to say. But this week has been very taxing on my vocal cords. I was so tired of talking that there was a point last night (I was working on my notes for the meeting with Manila) when hubby came into my home office and I just held my hand out as a signal for him to stop. I looked at him and shook my head.

Hubby, the dear man, understood and left me to myself.

*sigh* Thank you, hubby. I *heart* you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We *heart* the Grill

Hubby and I are loving our grill.

This grill is a George Foreman indoor-outdoor grill that I received as a birthday gift 4 years ago.

I know, I know. I didn't use it immediately because I didn't want to just leave it outside (balcony) permanently and be exposed to the elements. Yet, I felt too tamad to bring it in inside after every use (after airing it out to get rid of most of the food smells, of course).

Anyway, we decided to use this last July 4th and boy, oh, boy, we're great .. correction.. HUGE fans!

So far we've grilled baby back ribs, corn, chicken bbq, pork chops, asparagus, bacon, and now, our latest dish - Korean BBQ (marinated short ribs, recipe to follow).

We had doubts about the electric part at first because, after all, there's this notion that fire-grilled food is always better than those grilled through an electric grill. Well, there's not a whole lot of difference and you still get the dark (seared) lines across the meat anyway.

Kulong ?

Imagine our surprise when we decided to drive to a nearby McDonald's to get some Mickey D's Sweet Tea (our new favorite drink) and saw Ronald behind bars. Check out his friends, they were behind bars too.

Monday, July 14, 2008


We have this application that we've been developing and improving for at around 5 years now. A few of us have affectionately nicknamed this the booger project - that type that you keep trying to flick off but it keeps sticking to your finger.

It's a very crude nickname, I know, but very appropriate.

Anyway, this finally got sold. After 3 years of being marketed. Wow.

You see, our product is quite good (and this is an honest opinion) and the people that we've showed this to all agree that the software is good so we're convinced that we are at least up to par, if not better, than the top competitors in the market. We lose out on the deal when the conversation turns to the question "so, how many institutions are using this application now ?"

Uh, 1 ?

Never mind that the 1 institution using our application is very extremely happy with the solution and the services that we provided them. Never mind that our current partner, a leader in this industry, saw our product 3 years ago and decided to abandon their in-house application that they've had for 10 years and partner with us (they provide the services and we provide the technolog).

The fact is, it still boils down to 1.

... and 1 isn't such a good number in a world where numbers matter.

So now, we have another future reference site if this deal pushes through and I am hoping that the saying is true,... that 2 is better than 1. Hopefully, we get more sold in the future.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Lyle: Humble

I mentioned that I will post some entries about my conversations with the little boy (nephew, Lyle) so I'd remember this in the future and here's one of them :)

Lyle: Mommy, what's a pterodactyl ?

Mommy: it's a fish

Lyle: *laughs* No, Mommy, it's not a fish, it's a dinosaur that flies!

Mommy: e you know naman pala, why do you have to ask me ?

... at this point I butt into the conversation

me: yeah, Shoti, you're a very smart boy. I'm so proud of you.

Lyle: (with a serious look on his face) no, A-i, I'm just a little boy who's a little bit smart.

naks. so humble, eh ?

Thursday, July 10, 2008


My 4p conference call just got confirmed and guess what I did ?

I went and brushed my teeth (again ah, I already brushed after I had lunch) AND GARGLED! Gargled!

It wasn't until I got back to my desk - in my home office - when I realized the futility of what I had done. Haha!

Oh well. One can never go wrong with good dental hygiene.

Truck convention ?

I had some errands to run at the bank - okay okay, I admit it. I miscalculated our bills for this month and I had to make habol and transfer some funds from another account so that we don't go below the required average daily balance and get penalized.

I decided to walk the 0.7 miles to the bank. My hubby, the dear dear man, even reminded me that I could just drop by Dunkin Donuts' on the way to the bank for some iced latte - he means well, really,... but I've gained so much weight that an iced coffee (with whipped cream) isn't really a good idea.

I figured, how hard could it be ? My friends who work in NYC walk much further than that on a daily basis, I could do it too.

Halfway down the 0.7 mile mark, I was panting.

That was how out of shape I was. I wanted to cry and began to yearn for those years when I could do 3 hour aerobics sessions at the gym and still have the energy for weight training afterwards.

Btw, I have been walking briskly since I left the house. I figured that since I was walking anyway, I might as well make the extra effort to raise my heart rate so I could claim to have exercised as well.

Anyway, I took the reminiscing part as an excuse to stop and take a breath. Aliw rin because when I looked around (I had not been paying attention to my surroundings below), I saw what appeared to be some sort of a UPS convention.

There were 5 huge UPS tricks, arranged in a semi circle (this was highly unusual because there isn't any UPS hub / location / office in the area). I approached the parking lot, half-expecting to see some sort of show / meeting / soiree (haha!) taking place in the middle of the half-circle. There were none. Ay. :(

Disappointed, I walked the rest of the way to the bank. I did see a cop point his speed radar gun towards oncoming traffic and I saw him flag an SUV down. Haha! Seeing this one vehicle get a ticket for speeding kinda makes all those times when hubby & I make an extra effort to observe the speed limit even if we're in a hurry all worthwhile.

and no, I resisted the coffee urge. yay!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oven range in - Phase 3

So we get the stove plugged in after we got the power source all sorted out (more info about the power plugs / electrical work in this post).

The new Kenmore oven range that we purchased has a smooth ceramic glass top and has 5 cooking elements on the surface. 2 small elements, 1 big element, a simmering / warming element and one with a dual element (big + small). We also went with the black finish just because it looks so much cooler than its white or bisque counterparts.

I have to admit that we did go a little bit over our original budget when we got this model. But we were lured by the sleek look and feel... and really, the one that we were thinking of getting at first (i.e. "the cheapest smooth glass top range") really looked cheap. Kahiya naman. And in our defense, we could've splurged a bit more and gone for the brushed stainless steel finish BUT we opted to go for the smart buy. *proud smiles*

So anyway, after the power was set up and all, we now have a usable range. We still needed to have the micro-range hood installed though, we get reminded about this each time we cook and the whole 1st floor gets filled up with the aroma. Oh, and yes, the huge box that's sitting in the middle of our living room is such an eyesore too.

The Power Source - Phase 2

This post is the 2nd in a series of posts about our new stove, I'll be posting this under a "DIY" tag for future reference.

Our new oven range arrived well within the 2 hour delivery window that Sears gave us and we were quite happy about this.

Both the stove and the micro-hood have been installed and we just need to finish/clean up the exposed drywall in between the two.

This post (or series of posts) aims to document our stove-replacement experience. Note that I was too embarassed to take pictures of the contractors while they were installing the micro-hood so I only have pics of what hubby did for the oven range. :-P

First thing we handled was the electric source from the wall. You see, our old stove was hardwired to the power source. We planned to hard-wire the new stove to the power source as well but the new stove's power box didn't allow for thick wires to be attached.

The picture on the left (from shows how the ends of our power source looked like, except that ours didn't have this electric box / housing built into the wall, our wires - which were much thicker - literally just came out of a hole in the wall.

We went to home depot to look for suitable wire contacts and found a surface mount oven range outlet instead. From then on, it was easy. We installed this surface outlet to the end of the power source (with the electricity turned off, of course) and bought an electric power cable for for our range.

Next thing on the list was the oven range power cable, it looks a little something like the picture on the left (taken from Each of the wires were color coded - red, black, white and green.

Note that the power cable has to be purchased separately from the oven range.

We then attached this to the power box of our new range.
Plug the the stove into the socket, switch the circuit breaker back on, and our new oven / range is in business.

Monday, July 7, 2008

D-Day 2

A colleague lost his job today :-(

If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that:
  • our company closed down its offices in NJ last year and employees have been asked to move to HQ in Massachusetts, this was D-Day 1;
  • our boss, now the ex-boss, did not move to HQ;
  • a colleague, G, and his wife moved to MA (company headquarters) soon after the announcement. He and his family are doing well;
  • another colleague, R, decided not to move and was given her 3 months-notice;
  • another colleague, E, asked for an extension of his stay in NJ until December;
  • and that hubby and I tried to move but couldn't sell our condo (at a reasonable price) and so a year later, we're still here.

D-day 2 was yesterday. Boss called 2 weeks ago and asked me to make arrangements for a meeting between him, me and E.

The boss coming over to NJ from MA was highly unusual. I have been making frequent trips to HQ each time the boss needed to talk to me face to face and him coming over this time ? Well, let's just say that alarm bells started ringing as soon as I got his message. The last time that someone in the company got visited by his boss, he got fired.

Today, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach, I was hungry but had no appetite. I had been praying hard for this meeting in the weeks / days leading to this meeting and I had prayed hard before I left the house for the meeting so I eventually arrived at the realization that with all the blessings that we currently enjoy - permanent residency cards for hubby & me, hubby's job, a small amount set aside for rainy days in the bank, moral support from our friends and our families' love and support - we wouldn't find ourselves in dire straits if I lost my job today. It wasn't surprising that I found myself very calm when I met up with the boss earlier today.

I don't want to go into details about what went on during that meeting with the boss except that he is perfectly happy with my productivity & efficiency so I'm still employed and still get to enjoy the privilege & benefit of working from home. He asks only that I make arrangements to make regular trips to HQ on a monthly basis - doable since the company pays for all expenses anyway. Everything went well - this was actually the best-case scenario - for me.

Unfortunately, E was let go. The boss assured me naman that we bring different skill sets to the table so even if E was let go, I don't have to worry about my position or feel threatened. I don't have to feel the pressure to sell my house and move to MA either because "NJ is just a place" - his words, not mine - and that if I'm productive in NJ, they don't mind. It looks as if moving to MA is still on the table, but it's not first and foremost in their (bosses) minds.

E's spirits are still up when I talked to him today mostly because he's been getting a lot of hits on his posted resume. We're hoping that he lands a good job soon, before his separation pay runs out.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 4th weekend

We wanted to go out of state with a friend (based elsewhere) who's currently on a short term project stint in NJ. Hubby wasn't feeling too well so we decided to just skip the long trip and just stay at home.

On Friday, July 4th, we invited Elijah to spend the day with us. Entertainment was Wii - Guitar Hero III turned out to be the favorite of the day (check out the intense concentration on those faces in the picture) - and dinner was baby back ribs and bacon-wrapped asparagus, grilled on the George Foreman grill that we used for the very first time that day. Busog naman.

Hubby and I had not gone out on a date-date in a while so we decided to have a movie marathon on Sunday - we also wanted something to do to relax and keep my mind away from D-Day 2 (following Monday, more on this later). We packed ourselves off to the movie theater with my purse loaded with bottled water, pretzels and bananas. We saw Hancock, Wanted, and The Happening. Hancock and Wanted were great - exciting, even. But The Happening was "eh?" - not nice at all.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hair pins

I blogged about the hair pins that my sister got me in my CA Vacation Recap post and Mylene asked for pictures :) pero syempre, here's a short background muna:

I was attending a wedding and wanted to do something with my hair. I decided to grow my hair out months and months ago because I originally wanted curls.

I got myself a 1 inch styling / curling iron one time and scoured YouTube for how-to videos. I started experimenting on my own hair afterwards but found it difficult to get the look that I wanted. I wanted sexy hair but it wasn't easy. Even after numerous tries, it was still hit or miss with me, sometimes I'd get nice curls, sometimes naman gulo gulo, as if I went through an air tunnel or something.

One day, I was going through You-Tube again and looking for how-to-fix-your-hair videos and came across a series of films on hair sticks.

I wanted to get something like this (see picture on left, that's a geisha stick from The videos make it seem easy but I didn't want to spend for something that I wasn't sure about.

I decided to skip the online purchase and would just keep my eyes open for any stores that might sell them. Basta I didn't want to spend extra on something that I wouldn't be happy with anyway.

A few days into my vacation, my family and I went malling and came across this stall being manned by 2 pretty Korean ladies. They sell all sorts of wigs, hair extensions, pins and other accessories. Everything was so pretty! Their display on hair extensions caught my mom's eye so she dragged us over there to look.

I was checking out their wares when this lady came up to me, unpinned my hair and decided to put my hair up in an up-do. I started to protest, but she didn't mind me. I remember hearing her mutter "wow, you've got a lot of hair" but she kept twisting and twisting my hair anyway.

Then, she pulled out these pins, I didn't know what they were at first. They reminded me of the old-style bobbie pins that my mom / aunts used to pin up their hair when they were in their teens (think beehive hair).

Basically, the lady pulled my hair into a ponytail and started twisting. She kept twisting and twisting and then when she got to the end, she folded my hair in half and tucked the bottom portion behind the upper half, pinned my hair and it looked a little something like this:

Of course, the whole look could've been cleaner if I had tucked in the loose strands or sprayed something to set it... but this is how it came out.

I used 3 pins in the picture. Sis actually bought 5 pins for me, so when I attended the wedding, I had 5 flowers in a line that started from the top of my french twist down to the bottom - very very secure.

Note ah, the wedding was outdoors and near the beach so there were strong winds.

Practice lang and watch the videos :)