Tuesday, December 22, 2009

1 day to go

Tomorrow is THE day.

I finally got confirmation, we report to the hospital in the morning and if all goes according to schedule, we should be all done by noon. *fingers crossed*

I started panicking last night when I realized that I have not really done any research on what goes on around a C-section procedure. I did ask if my husband can be there, what sorts of cuts they will make, and I also wanted to ask or sort of make a joke about whether or not I can wear a bikini afterwards (haha!) but I didn't because the OB scared me. But I didn't really ask how long the preps were, what needed to be done, if there was anything I had to bring or prepare and the most important question of all - when do I get to eat again ?

On a more serious note, I'm trying to get things wrapped up and done today - both work and personal issues. I started turning projects over a few weeks ago and I'm pretty confident that the team has that down pat but I'm still dealing with some issues that I do not want to have to deal with when the baby comes home - bills, Finance Mortgages, and other such matters.

Please do pray for us. Please pray for a smooth delivery, please pray for baby's health and please pray that we will be good parents and raise our kid well.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Crab Cakes

I wanted to finish up a leftover bag of mushroom & wild rice that Ahya left behind from his visit last year. I couldn't think of any dish that would go well with this - though I'm sure there's tons! - so I decided to just prepare some crab cakes, I still had some leftover green bell peppers that I needed to use up, after all.

For this, I used a recipe that I picked up from a Chicken of the Sea advertisement long ago but had to tweak a little because - typical me - I ran out of ingredients.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (used green bell pepper instead)
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise (only had around 2/3 of this amount so I lessened the bread crumbs)
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash cayenne pepper (did not add, hubby does not like spicy food)
2 6-oz cans crab meat
1 medium egg, beaten
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (for crab cake mixture)

2/3 cup breadcrumbs (for coating, I skipped this)
3 tbsp melted butter (for frying crab cakes)
  1. In a bowl, combine pepper, green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, seasoned salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
  2. Stir in crab, egg and 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  3. Divide and form mixture into balls.
  4. Roll crab balls in remaining breadcrumbs; flatten into cakes about 1/2 inch thick. (skipped the breadcrumb coating).
  5. In skillet, pan fry crab cakes in butter 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden brown.
This turned out very very good. :D

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday Sweepstakes

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of 2000 Flushes. All opinions are 100% mine.

I decided to log on to the web today, taking a break from cleaning house & getting our place ready for the baby, and came across the 2000 Flushes Sweepstakes promotion for the Super Bowl. The contest is called "Is Your Bowl Ready for the Big Game ?" and the grand prize is $10,000 for a bathroom makeover - ooh, this sent shivers up my spine. I've been wanting to have our bathroom(s) redone since last year but our wallets are not yet ready for the expense.

I'm sharing the link to Enter to Win the sweepstakes DAILY. Who knows ? If we get to be the lucky winners, I'll be sure to post the before and after pictures our our bathroom. In addition to the grand prize, you could also be eligible to win one of the 99 free products weekly prizes. There's really nothing to lose, after all, the 2000flushesbrand.com is a very reliable product which I use all the time to keep our bathrooms sparkling clean - it is a very easy to use product that keeps the bowls clean without much fuss, definitely a great help for busy people and (future) moms like me who might not have too much time on their hands left for cleaning.

So what are you waiting for now? As I said, there's really nothing to lose and remember, the more times you enter the sweepstakes, the more chances you have of winning.

Distribution of products by 2000 Flushes, a WD-40 Company, to Participating Parties (media, bloggers, or other third parties or individuals) for the purpose of review and/or endorsement are done so in faith that the Participating Parties will be in compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising and other related regulations, applicable statutes, regulations, or requirements of any government authority as they relate to subsequent posts or promotional material featuring 2000 Flushes or any of its products resulting from distribution by 2000 Flushes.

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Chicken Parmesan

We were supposed to have lemon chicken for dinner tonight but when I realized that it was deep-fried and that I needed to avoid fatty & heaty foods, I decided to look for something else that I could make with the boneless, skinless chicken thighs that we were having for dinner. After checking out what we had in the refrigerator, I decided on baked chicken parmesan.

Checked the internet for recipes and looks like there are a lot of variations out there. I threw caution to the wind and picked & chose what I wanted to do. Hubby helped with this dish as well :D

Ingredients:
Boneless chicken thighs, sliced thinly (or use cutlets)
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the parmesan coating for the chicken by mixing equal parts of parmesan cheese & breadcrumbs (more parmesan cheese = better). Mix in the parsley.
  3. Season chicken thighs with freshly ground sea salt.
  4. Dip seasoned chicken thighs in egg.
  5. Coat chicken with the parmesan - breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Arrange chicken on a baking rack and bake until done - around 20 minutes.
We just used bottled marinara for the sauce and made some whole wheat pasta to go with the chicken.

Friday, December 18, 2009

X days

We only have days to go before we finally get to hold our baby in our arms. It seems like it was only yesterday when we were trying to get pregnant and praying for a baby and here we are now, anxious and scared at the same time.

It is said that a baby will change your life forever, that it gives you a different perspective in life. In our case, I feel like we've spent our married life in anticipation of a baby because we always knew that we want to be parents. We worked, saved, and spent money with a future baby in mind. Everything we did was in anticipation of our family's future. We even did whatever we could to get a term life insurance quote so that we could get affordable life insurance to assure our child's future.

Days to go. Days, not weeks.

Days to go till we start dealing with diapers, wipes, crying and sleepless nights. Days to go before we start waiting for that one small smile that will wipe away all the tiredness and make everything worth it.

We love you, babe. Can't wait to see you. We loved you before you were conceived, we love you even before you are born and we will love you forever.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Funny ka ah...

My brother, apparently, has been trying to get in touch with me for a few days now. But I keep missing his calls, my phone would usually ring twice and then stop ringing. I'd check out the caller ID, see the number from home and if I call back, Mom usually answers and I'd assume that it was Mom who called in the first place.

So recently, I heard 3 VMs with a male-sounding voice that says "hello?". That was it. I actually got 3 of them - one from the answering machine, one from my cellphone and another from our VOIP's voice mailbox (this kicks in if a call comes in as call-waiting and does not get picked up).

I didn't really put much stock or pay any attention to the "hello?" messages that I got, I didn't even make the effort to find out who this guy was. After all, if there was something urgent, wouldn't you have left a more substantial message ?

So... these past days, bro left me messages on YM to ask "did you get my messages?". He left me a similar message in Facebook - "did you get my messages ?"

Confused, I looked around for any messages - emails, chats, & even those social networking sites... - aside from his "did you get my messages?" message, I didn't see anything else.

I figured my brother was being funny, leaving a message asking about me receiving the message. Eh ?

Eventually, we did manage to talk to each other and guess what ? The messages he was asking about turned out to be the "hello?" messages that I heard days ago. Hay. Anong klaseng message yun ?

Shoti, funny ka ah. :D


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bidazzled

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Bidazzled. All opinions are 100% mine.

Came across a new site called Bidazzled.com which was recently launched in November. This is a Penny auction or Pay-Per-Bid auction site that was created to fund a lung cancer charity, The Ruch Foundation.

This is a different sort of bidding style compared to the one that I've gotten used to, there's no set expiration date for the auction but instead, each bid increases the countdown clock. If there are no more bids, the countdown clock continues to count down (obviously) and the auction ends when the time ends.

There are no reserves on the price. Kinda cool, huh ? Also, there aren't really any losers in Bidazzled. If you win your auction, then you get the item that you want for the price that you're willing to pay. If you do not win your auction, you still get up to 50 bonus bids that you can use to bid and use for future auctions.

I'm thinking, this would come in right on time for Christmas - remember, there are only 2 more weeks left to complete your Christmas lists! You get to shop (yay!) and get to help a charity out too. I call that killing two birds with one stone.

As for me, I wonder if there are any Naruto action figures being auctioned off ? My nephew wants one and Naruto is not mainstream enough and it isn't sold in our local toy stores.




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Friday, December 4, 2009

21 more days till Christmas

We received this season's first Christmas card yesterday, it made me smile to think they (the senders) must have gotten an early start on their Christmas lists and probably spent their thanksgiving weekend writing out the cards. It also served as a reminder for us to start sending ours out - especially the ones destined outside of the US - and so I did.

Our group is also having our Christmas party tomorrow. I still feel amazed at how everything has worked out. First, we were having problems with the venue and someone agreed to host the party. And now, as I was about to order our potluck dish from Jersey City, a friend calls up to talk about the party and offers to buy our dish from another store and pick it up themselves. Now, hubby and I don't have to rush off after church tomorrow just to pick up food.

Next, while we weren't able to get something for our annual White Elephant gift exchange (we just won't join that this year), we were able to get all the shopping done for the kids' gifts. Here's hoping that the kids (or the parents of those who are getting clothes instead of toys, haha!) will like what we got them.

We were also able to get a maternity photo shoot done with our photographer friend, the pictures came out great and I'm looking forward to getting the pictures on disk tomorrow so I can see about blowing one up for the baby's room.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Broiled Scallops

The first time we made broiled scallops was Thanksgiving 2007 and if you would care to check the pictures I posted for that meal, you'll notice a big difference between then and now.

2 years has made a huge difference, obviously. Aside from experimenting on the seasoning & flavoring, now, I know enough to: (1) use an entire strip of bacon to wrap around the scallop to allow for shrinkage of the bacon and (2) to lift the scallops so that they don't get submerged in the juices that come out during the broiling.

Preparation:
1. Season scallops with lemon juice
2. Wrap scallops with bacon strips, secure the ends of the bacon with a toothpick.
3. Season the tops & bottoms of the scallops with a tiny bit of paprika and seasoned salt.
4. Heat the broiler and pop the scallops in when hot.
5. After 2 to 3 minutes, the bacon will have browned a bit, sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on the scallops and let brown a little.
6. Turn the scallops over on the other side and repeat step 5.

23 days till Christmas

Gosh. 23 days to go before Christmas (and 21 days before we're due to give birth to Swe-Cha, yay!)

I'm still missing a few items from my Christmas list - haven't gotten anything for my nephews & parents yet - and I'm still looking for something to give to a few friends too and I came across this new book by Augusten Burroughs and this seems like a very funny book and is appropriately themed for the holiday. This seems like it would make a good gift, I can definitely think of a few people who would appreciate the humor.

And in celebration of the release of this new book, You Better Not Cry, St Martin's press is offering a chance to win a copy of the book in the You Better Not Cry Book Promotion Sweepstakes. You may want to check out the book trailer too.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monitor Woes

Hubby's computer monitor, the hand-me-down that we got from my friend A, decided to retire over the Thanksgiving weekend. It has served us well for almost 3 years (not to mention the years that she spent with her original owner) so it just seemed kinda appropriate to me that it went with a loud *bang* yesterday - without any sparks or burning smells, thank goodness.

I guess I should also look to this as a blessing, that the monitor chose to go out in time for Cyber Monday.

Hope that hubby finds something that he likes in the price range that I like.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Hubby and I spent Thanksgiving at home by ourselves this year. We were supposed to have dinner with friends but we decided to decline the invitation when we realized that we were both feeling under the weather - I have the sniffles and hubby has a sore throat. We didn't want whatever it is that we have (or hopefully, don't have) spreading around.

Not having prepared anything at all, we defaulted to just having a hot pot dinner of soba noodles, squid balls, shrimp balls, mini buns, kani, and thinly sliced beef at home. It wasn't bad, considering that everything was "last-minute".

We have so many blessings to be thankful for this year but everything else has been overshadowed by the arrival of Swe-Cha, whom we are expecting around Christmas time. Thank you, Lord.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Panic Buying

Hubby and I went baby-shopping last weekend. With the amount of goods that we purchased, you could say that we went panic buying, it took us a few trips to bring in our purchases into the house. I don't really care about the walk to and from the car as I needed to get some exercise in as well - as if the shopping wasn't enough! Haha!

It did enter my mind to try and postpone some purchases for a few days and see if we could get better deals on Black Friday. But images of pregnant ladies running around the baby store and grabbing everything they could get their hands on and me running around with them ? Possibly even fighting over the last item available ?

Uh.. no, thanks. Wouldn't want to risk getting injured and having to consult a Hawaii Personal Injury lawyer (if I were in the state of Hawaii) just to save a few bucks. I'd rather keep my sanity. It was an amusing thought, though.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thankful

Received a phone call today, I was nervous at first but it turned out to be a nice surprise.

Once again, my life is a living testimony to His power. God provides.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good service

I came across this article of a "Couple Busted for Refusing to Pay Tip" and remembered the experience hubby and I had dining out last night. I was not in the mood to prepare dinner and wanted to go out to have my new favorite sandwich at the local Friendly's.

Hubby got home late, as usual, and we got to the restaurant at around 8:45p. By that time, I was famished - remember, pregnant lady speaking here. We were able to put our orders in immediately after being seated as we already knew what we wanted. 30 minutes later, still no sign of the food.

The manager must have noticed how I was rubbing my belly, or how I was wincing from the hunger pangs or he must just plain realize that we weren't getting good service. He apologized and said that there was a big takeout order that had just preceded ours and the kitchen was getting swamped. He offered us some side salad in the meantime and we accepted.

Times like these make me realize how important good management and customer relations is. Those side salads he offered us couldn't have cost much and the veggies would've probably just wilted and wouldn't have been kept for the next day anyway. We went home full and happy. Oh, I should also mention that the manager offered me an extra scoop of ice cream with my happy-ending sundae too (now, THAT raise my spirits up, along with my glucose levels).

Mood: happy.

Coming soon

Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of my favorite authors right now. I first heard about her when I came across her book in the library - I did post a few entries before about borrowing books and DVDs from our local library, remember ? Can't believe that her newest book in her The League series will be available soon, December 1, to be exact.

I'm hoping that I can contain my excitement until this becomes available in our local library - I am operating in recession mode, after all - and I wouldn't have to resort to buying my own copy from the bookstore. Can't wait to see what happens.

Below is a trailer of her latest book, check it out :)

But then again, maybe it would be best to wait till mid-December or a bit nearer to my delivery time to start reading the entire series again. I'm a fast reader anyway and should be able to get through each book in a matter of hours at the most... it'll make for good entertainment when I'm twiddling my thumbs in the hospital - I'm kinda smiling as I'm re-reading my post right now as I'm thinking that books might be the last thing on my mind after I give birth this Christmas. In any case, I've always found time to read and I'm sure that being a new mom won't be that much of a problem.

Again, it's http://www.Sherrilynkenyon.com if you do want to check out her other series.

eBay Seller

I've been sorting through our clutter at home and saw a lot of things that we have been targeting to sell thru eBay for a long time now but have just not gotten around to doing so. It seemed liked such a hassle because we didn't know how things really worked and if it was really as easy as the FAQs described the process to be.

Anyway, last week, I finally decided to try and start off with a few items that were worthless to me. I figured, even if they sold cheap, I'd call it a day and not have to feel bad about losing money on the fees.

On a whim, I posted 3 coupons that were almost expiring (note that ebay policy states that coupons are free, bidders are actually paying for your time and effort in clipping the coupons and listing them) with varying auction lengths. One ended last week and got sold for $3.50. Another ended this morning and got sold for $5.50. And the last one ? Well, no takers yet.

To think that I was about to shred them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dreams

It's almost Black Friday season again and we are faced with a lot of temptation. We have been very good kids (haha!) and have been able to resist the sales and the temptation to buy stuff for the house.

Our mantra has always been "we'll have to move to a bigger house anyway" so we always end up pushing off any purchases that we had been thinking about - among those we have pushed off buying are a new couch, LCD TVs, DVRs.

So anyway, seeing these black Friday ads have gotten me thinking again... so what happens when the stars align for us (i.e. we find a new place we can afford, we are able to move, I still get to work from home, and possibly, still afford to not sell our old house ?) AND we get a chance to move ? Real Property Management is the answer. Hope we get to rent out this condo and keep it on as an investment.

*smile*

Thankfully, dreams don't cost much.

Sweetness

I visited my endocrinologist last Monday and I just have to say this before I forget - I love how he handles his practice, I never have to wait more than 5 minutes and today was no different. I was literally in and out his door. When I got in, his previous appointments had just stepped out and were walking out and I went right in. Galing.

Doc checked out my (real) scores - I have to admit that I was sorely tempted to put in fake numbers a few times when I saw that my sugar levels had spiked up - and said that there was no need to put me under medication as I have my levels under control most of the time.

The spikes ? Well... I will just have to keep a closer watch on what I eat.

On a happy note, I don't have to go back to him again until March next year. I also need to take another glucose test one week before I see him, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll pass that test by then. I promise to be a good girl and watch what I eat and exercise.

On an even happier note, I just discovered a yummy meal that still gives me good glucose levels two hours after my meal. It's a Friendly's create-your-own meal and I like to start off with the Steak and Mushroom melt sandwich (which I just found out from the website today is NOT a permanent item on their menu, argh!), I skip the fries and pair the sandwich with freshly brewed iced tea and sweeten it with Splenda. I also get to have a happy ending sundae with 2 scoops of their no-sugar-added vanilla ice cream and a no-sugar-added fudge topping.

SARAP.

And let me end my post by declaring that we are on the last stretch! We should have our baby in our arms before Christmas.

Being online

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Charter. All opinions are 100% mine.


Hubby and I are techies, hubby more so than me, but I have to acknowledge that my livelihood - my source of income, as I work from home most of the time now - is largely dependent on having good internet bandwidth at home.

Work aside, we're still very much dependent on the internet - our Tivo DVR downloads the playlist and program guides from the web (connected via wi-fi to our router), we are constantly monitoring emails all day, and I even get on the internet when trying to decide and / or preparing our meals. And let's not even start talking about our VOIP phone lines - we're heavily dependent on them for keeping in touch with our family back home.

It is with these factors in mind that I am very interested in checking out charter ultra fast 60, hubby and I are always on the lookout for better (and by this, I mean, cheaper but faster) options. Charter ultra fast 60 is currently a big hit in the Saint Louis and Southern California areas and service is currently being rolled out into the Northeast (yay!). Hopefully, my building gets a chance to be connected to their service and we don't have to be limited to our cable tv & internet provider and a DSL internet provider that's becoming more and more popular these days. After all, hubby is an internet-connection snob and does not even want to entertain the idea of getting a DSL connection because it's so much slower than cable.

Ultra60small


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Surprise Baby Shower

Our friends threw a surprise baby shower for us - well, hubby knew about it but I didn't - last weekend. I thought we were going to M & R's house for the Pacquiao fight and was so happy when we were greeted with a "surprise" when I got down to the basement.

At the risk of giving out too much information (hehe), I berated hubby about not giving me a heads up. You see, I needed to go to the bathroom. Bad. And being surprised isn't necessarily a good thing when in that situation. Thankfully, there were no other surprises.. and most importantly, I didn't give a "surprise" back to my friends.

That would've been a riot.

:P

Power supply

I've been waiting and waiting for an FTP transmission of a virtual machine from our Manila office. This VM was requested by one of our programmers in the US a few days ago, I wouldn't go so far as to say that this guy is demanding, but he does have his expectations and woe to those who disappoint.

In any case, it seems like each time we transmit huge files meant for this person, something ultimately goes wrong in Manila. Last Friday, when we first started the transmission, power went out in the office building. We transmitted as much as we can, until the UPS went out.

Before helpdesk went home for the weekend, power came back on and he was able to resume the transmission. But guess what ? FTP servers were scheduled to go under maintenance that weekend so it went offline again.

Sigh.

I tell ya, one of these days, the office (or the building) has got to get one of these generac generators as a backup power supply.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Usog

You know what they say about "usog" ? That sometimes, when you have a good thing going, it's better not to mention it ?

During my last pre-natal checkup, my OB measured my tummy and pronounced baby to be growing as expected. She then told me, "you don't have any stretch marks, that's very good."

Sure enough, just days later, I noticed a whole lot of stretch marks on the bottom part of my belly.

Na-usog. Hmp.

Friday, November 6, 2009

H1N1

After lining up at a nearby town's pharmacy for 2.5 hrs, we were able to get H1N1 vaccinations. Yay!

Thankfully, hubby was able to leave work on time today (instead of his usual 7 to 8p) and got to us around 20 minutes before we reached the front of the line. Talk about good timing ;)

And yes, A and my H1N1 vaccinations were preservative free.

Friday, October 30, 2009

3D U/S

We had our 3D & 4D ultrasound session last night, it took us a while to decide but we feel that it's worth it.

We got a whole bunch of pictures in a CD, all of them are taken from this angle because Swe-Cha was sort of folded in half at the waist and had his feet crossed near his face. He seemed like he was sleeping and he didn't move the whole time.

We also have a 20 minute DVD of the entire session - this would be boring for most people but we had fun watching Swe-Cha do nothing. Guess this is what being a parent does to you. *smile*

We saw a lot of yawning from both the 2D and the 3D perspective. Of course, we both thought that he was so cute.

We were also lucky enough to get a smile from him (check out the 2nd picture) and yes, he is a boy. No doubt about it as we got several good shots of his ... um... stuff.

Mom and Dad commented that Swe-Cha looks so round and has hubby's nose (haha, malaki siguro).

* cross posted in our pregnancy blog

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween

While speaking with my sister on the phone yesterday, I remembered that Halloween was coming up this weekend and decided to ask what my nephews' costumes were.

"Ha ? Costume?" was my sister's response.

"Yes, costume.. for halloween,.. remember ? It's this Saturday."

and she says "Is it this Saturday already ???"

Okay. Guess that answers my question. My nephews still do not have costumes and I am actually wondering why they haven't even reminded their mom about it - the older one is 9 and the younger one is turning 6, kids that age still go trick-or-treating, right ?

58 days

58 days till Christmas and I'm starting to scramble around, trying to do some Christmas shopping done. I figure, with the baby coming in December, I better get a head start or I won't have anything to give other than goody bags filled with diapers and maybe, halloween candy. That wouldn't make me a popular person this Christmas.

Also checking out some promotional items such as pocket calendars for my Mom and Dad - for them to give out to dealers, customers and those who pass by our storefront. I always find these small calendars very useful and have been keeping them updated (one a year) since 2002.

Hopefully, the kids will be filling out their wish lists soon and that I could get to see them before I start getting busy with birth preparations.


Always late

What is it with me these days ? It seems like I (we) always decide at the very last minute and by the time we make up our minds, it's too late.

First was that seasonal flu shot. From the time that I got a go-signal from the OB, it took me a couple of weeks to decide to want to get it. I finally decided that I did want to do it when I realized that the supply was running low. By then, there were no mercury-free shots available - none that I could find anyway.

Now, it's the 3D / 4D ultrasound session. I called up a facility last week to inquire and they still had plenty of open slots for this week. Who's to know that when we finally decide to go with it, they are fully booked till the 2nd week of November! By then, it'll be too late for me since I'm already at 31 weeks now - ideal time frame is between 24 to 32 weeks.

Not wanting to let this go,... I called up different U/S facilities and by the 3rd try, I did get an appointment for tomorrow evening. So excited :D

* cross-posted to my pregnancy blog

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Temporary Wealth

I've been monitoring our finances more closely than usual recently, in anticipation of the expenses that we would be incurring when we start purchasing baby stuff - furniture, clothes, bottles, diapers, etc.

I found myself a little bit amazed that we seem to have extra cash, even after I start deducting the projected costs. Wow, I thought, we must have been really thrifty and good with savings these past few months.

Unfortunately, reality came knocking at our door last night. Well,.. it actually came in the mail. Property taxes are due again this Nov 1. *sigh* So... that was what the extra money was for and it sort of slipped my mind - wishful thinking, perhaps ?

I can almost imagine the city clerk smirking, "mwehehehe".

That's the problem with quarterly property tax payments. It's probably not as bad as paying annually in which case coming up with the entire amount may just cripple you financially. But then again, with a quarterly approach, you have just gotten over paying the previous one when you're suddenly handed a bill for the next one. It just never ends.

I know I shouldn't be complaining. After all, we are more fortunate than most in that we still have a home in this economy.

Oh yeah, and our washing machine ? It's still leaking and will have to either be fixed or replaced. And there's that broken dishwasher rack that we gave up on (gave up trying to fix it each time it breaks) and just replaced for $100.

So there. The extra $$$ is gone. *sigh*

It would've been nice to go on a vacation and avail of Accor Hotels 3-Day Super Sale Asia Pacific, booking is between Oct 27 to 30 and you could schedule your vacation from Dec 2009 till April 2010 and with rates starting at $30 per night, I'm very very tempted to take advantage of this sale and fly back home with the baby & hubby in tow.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Unexpected guest

I just found out that Mom had invited a family friend's son to come over in December and spend a few days with us in NJ and this is causing me a lot of anxiety.

The friend's son had called me last weekend and asked if he can bring a friend with him when he comes to visit. He says that his best friend was due to go back to China and was planning to visit him in December and he can't leave her. I was puzzled by his question - mostly because I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about (vacation with us in December? Who invited him ?) and I didn't quite understand why he had to leave his friend behind.

Eventually, a few things got sorted out and I realized that he planned to visit us in NJ in December (no definite dates). I just sort of said that it's okay for him to bring his friend along but to make sure that he calls me first and checks w/ me because if I have given birth by then, then no. It'll be crazy here by then. He agreed.

Still puzzled, I mentioned it to mom over the phone this morning because I couldn't figure out how it got decided that he was going to visit NJ in December - I was sure I had not issued any invitations to him.

Turns out that Mom had already invited him. So in December, we'll have a new baby. My parents will be over for 10 days and we'll have this friend's son over for a few days during their visit. Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun *SARCASTIC TONE*.

Mom said, "I invited him but not the friend, just him" and when I asked Mom where I was supposed to put him while they're here (after all, we only have a 2 BR condo), Mom says "in the living room, of course". As if that was the most obvious thing in the world.

I do not know what it is with my Mom and her predilection for placing MY guests in the living room. She always puts me in that position and I don't like it. She did that with my sister & her kids before when she decided at the last minute to come at the same time as Achi - eventually, the kids and Achi decided to sleep in the same room as Mom while Dad had to sleep on the floor, diba kainis ?

My living room is not a sleeping area.

I hate asking people to sleep on the floor, especially not my Dad.

I don't feel comfy sleeping in the living room too, we had to do that when we visited my sister's place in CA while she was still living in her apartment. Our clothes (and our persons) all smelled of food and cooking oil and we didn't get enough sleep because:
- since we were in the living room, we were the last ones to sleep because we couldn't roll out our airbeds & sleep until everyone else has fallen asleep (otherwise, they'd still be watching TV)
- we would wake up at 2:30am because that's when my bro-in-law comes home from hospital duty
- we'd also be the first ones up because Mom wakes up early and starts cooking breakfast and watching her Korean telenovelas at 5:30am, even though the others aren't going to start waking up till around 7a.

So, no, I do not like the idea of asking guests to sleep in my living room... especially not those who plan to stay for more than a few days because I know how uncomfortable that is.

I don't have anything bad to say about this friend's son. He's very nice and I've known him since he was a little baby. I love his mom to bits too. It's just that the timing is very inconvenient.

As much as I love my Mom and how understanding she can be in certain situations, she can be very inconsiderate at times too.

:(

Career Change ?

I've been waiting for the economy to start picking up for a long time. I'm waiting for stock prices, real estate and the job market to stabilize.

Stocks are starting to get on track, if I can trust what I see in my 401k statement, but we are nowhere near recouping the losses my account has suffered since late 2007. Unemployment rates, however, are still going up and there is no end in sight.

This got me thinking... is it time for a career change now ? A few years ago, there was a huge demand for nurses in the US, some friends and I have always kidded around that we might have entered the wrong industry and should probably have gone into the nursing field instead. Now, with rampant criminal acts all over the world, maybe online guard card training is the way to go ? After all, Security Consultants aren't limited to any one industry and can work anywhere!

If interested and if you're in the Los Angeles area, then you might want to check out and join firearms training in los angeles.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mall

It's been a while since hubby and I braved going to a mall. We're not really mallrats, obviously, and we don't exactly enjoy any of the following aspects:

- the crowds (as I've mentioned in a previous post, we have not gotten our flu shots yet)
- crowded parking lots
- long lines at the cashier

In any case, we had to go this afternoon to purchase some items for MIL and we figured that today was a good time as any to go get them as we might be busier in the next few weekends preparing for the baby's arrival.

We got some Clinique products for MIL (to replenish her supply) and surprisingly, we had a pleasant experience. Department stores normally offer gift promotions for a minimum purchase. The current promotion gives a 7 piece gift package for a minimum purchase of $21.50 and is limited to one per customer.

Typically, hubby and I would be considered 2 customers because there are two of us. The last time that we went, the saleslady gave us a hard time about it because even though there were 2 of us, we were one family. Eh ? The small print only says one per customer, not one per family. She did give each one of us a gift but she made such a big deal of it and made it seem as if it were a huge favor that she was doing us.

Duh.

Anyway, this afternoon's experience at the Clinique counter wasn't difficult at all. Probably because they had plenty of these giveaways in stock. The lady helped get our purchases together and even helped us separate and group the items together to get the optimal number of gift packs. Aliw. :)

Now, THAT is a saleslady. We bought even more than we intended because she was so nice about the whole thing. Haha!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Seasonal Flu Shots

I had just been given the go-ahead by my OB to get vaccinated so I've been busy looking for clinics and pharmacies that offer seasonal flu shots. Unfortunately, it seems like most pharmacies are out:

(1) Target pharmacies in my area no longer have this

(2) CVS pharmacies in my area are out. I found a few locations that are around 30 miles away, but I was told that there is at least an hour's wait and that (bummer!) they do not carry mercury free vaccines.

(3) Costco will not be giving any seasonal flu shots after today.

My only hope now is to get an appointment w/ my primary care physician tomorrow and hope that he still has it - their offices are closed today so I'm getting very anxious.

If you haven't gotten yours yet, do look for one. Supplies are running low and I read somewhere that even though there is still a huge demand for the seasonal flu vaccine, laboratories will be shifting their resources to producing the H1N1 vaccine instead.

In the meantime, I probably should start checking out Herbal Remedies Elite Store and stock up on supplements and remedies that could help boost our immune systems.

Cha Misua

My first try at cha-misua (fried rice noodles) turned out "eh?".

Taste-wise, it was surprisingly good, considering that I just winged it and used my taste buds which I seldom use as I often rely on hubby's. Texture-wise, the noodles were overcooked. I made a big mistake which I don't plan on repeating the next time I prepare this dish (I pre-soaked the Misua in hot water - DO NOT do this!).

Ingredients:
Dried Chinese mushrooms
Fishballs
shrimp
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 cup chicken broth
soy sauce to taste
julienned carrots
Misua

1. Soak chinese mushrooms in hot water and slice thinly when tender.
2. Slice fishballs (you can also use shrimp balls or cuttlefish balls)
3. Heat oil in a wok, saute garlic, ginger. Add the fishballs, shrimp, mushrooms and the carrots.
4. Add chicken broth and let boil, season with soy sauce.
5. Add the misua.

Oh no, you don't!

One night, I happened to walk behind hubby while he was sitting at the dining room table with his laptop and saw that he was checking out Harley Davidson accessories.

My first thought was "huh?" but it was immediately followed by "Oh no, you don't!"

Not when we're about to have a baby,... not when we're still paying for our 2nd vehicle,... not now and not ever! I've never been a fan of motorcycles, you see, and I've always thought that they were very dangerous playthings.

It turns out that he was checking out the site for a friend [insert sigh of relief here] because the prices look good and the site offers a lot of bargains on a lot of brand name items.

Again, *whew*.

Pork and Kuchay Dumplings

Whenever I think about preparing a quick snack or think about instant ulam, dumplings are usually one of my top choices because:

(1) they're easy to prepare - boiled, pan fried, and;
(2) they're versatile - can be eaten with rice, noodles, soup, or even just eaten alone.

My favorite dumplings will always be the vegetable dumplings that Mom used to buy from a small restaurant called Mien San along Gilmore Ave. It's been a while since I had them so I cannot really recall what's inside and it wasn't until recently that I found out that Kuchay (Chinese Chives or Korean Chives) is one of the main ingredients.

With that, I decided to experiment. This came out good - not the same as Mien San's, but tasty nevertheless - and the best part is that since it's home made (except for the wrappers), it's not riddled with preservatives.

1 lb ground pork
4 pcs dried mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped
12 pcs chives (full stalks), chopped - could add more
1 egg
1 tbsp sesame oil
pepper to taste
2 tsp salt
dimsum wrapper (used Cantonese style)

To seal the dumplings - mixture of 1 tsp cornstarch, 2 tbsp water

Mix the ingredients together and form into dumplings. Dumplings could be steamed or pan fried. You could also store leftover dumplings in the freezer. Arrange them in a plate or container such that they do not touch each other, put the in the freezer - do not put them in a freezer bag or let them touch each other until they are frozen so that they do not stick together.

*This recipe made 46 dumplings which we devoured in a few sittings. Hubby declares that he loves this :)

Certification

I was sorting through my junk folders - scanning, shredding & throwing away any documents that I do not need anymore - and came across some printouts for SQL Server certification that I made earlier this year.

I had set myself a goal to get certified by June of this year and all the elation that I felt at the discovery that hubby and I are expecting pushed this out of my mind. Who knows when I will be able to review again ? Especially after our baby is born... Oh well :D In the meantime, I probably just have to learn about sql recovery solutions from Double Take.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween

I went to the library last night to drop off some books, DVDs and CDs that were due - fortunately, they're open till 8 or 9pm at night - and I saw a lot of parents with kids in their halloween costume. It looked like there was some sort of program or parade going on in the library.

It then occurred to me that with Swe-cha around, it wouldn't be long before we'll be joining in on the fun on Halloween. Wouldn't that be fun ? Putting on costumes, going trick or treating... oh.. and the sweets! (note that this is my gestational diabetes thinking about the chocolates right now...)

I still remember our first Halloween here (hubby & me) in the US. There are only a handful of kids in our condo bldg - and most of them are infants - so we never ever see trick or treaters around. That afternoon, I decided that I wanted to walk around to Dunkin Donuts' a few blocks down the street and hoped that we could see some costumed kids trick-or-treating. While walking, we passed by this house, the owner was in the porch and she shouted at hubby & me, "hello! You want trick or treat ?"

She must have thought we were kids.

and so I did :)

"Trick or treat!"

Hubby was too shy. He didn't take her up on the offer.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Looking ...

I've been terribly concerned about old friends and acquaintances since our country was battered by multiple typhoons one after the other recently. During those few weeks, social networking sites were a great help because it provided us with a way to keep in touch and get the latest news about friends and family - especially during those times when other means of communications went down.

Because of that, I've been uber-interested when I came across yet another social networking site, MyLife, this got me very excited as it gave me another option to search for other friends with whom I've lost touch. Learning about who has gotten married, who is dating whom, who has had how many kids, and which families are expecting babies - including hubby & me (and we're very eager to share the news of this blessing) - makes me excited and happy.

When I run out of "lost" friends that I'm trying to find, I might just start with ex-crushes *laughs*, ex-bfs, ex-gfs of the husband - oh, and probably those of my brother & sister's too. It would be interesting to find out where these people are nowadays and how they're doing. Who knows, if there aren't any lingering issues, we might just get back in touch and get acquainted with each other again.

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Chinese Style Steamed Spareribs

Tonight's dinner was supposed to be pork chops but I was craving some spare ribs so I went off to the store at the last minute to pick up some ribs. It's been more than a year since the first time that I prepared this dish, I used a different recipe then but I don't remember how it tasted.

This time, I found a recipe from SteamyKitchen that had fewer ingredients, was easier to prepare and hopefully, will be more memorable as hubby has already forgotten about the first steamed spareribs that I made but this, we love! I even scooped out the meat juices from the bowl and drenched my rice with it.

1-1/2 lbs pork sparerib (rib tips)
2 tablespoons black bean sauce (I used canned salted black beans)
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar

Preparation:
  1. Cut the spareribs crosswise into 1″ – 2″ sections.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Transfer spareribs and sauce into a shallow, heatproof pan that will fit inside your wok (a pie plate or 9” cake pan works great.)
  4. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Steaming:
  1. Set steaming rack inside of wok and fill with water almost up to height of rack.
  2. Turn heat to high and when water is boiling, turn heat to medium-high.
  3. Set pan with spareribs on top of a steaming rack in wok.
  4. Steam on med-high heat for 18-20 minutes until ribs are no longer pink.
  5. Make sure that when you are steaming that you don’t run out of water in the wok. Replenish with additional water, if needed.

Congratulations, Lance!

My sister called this afternoon to let me know that my nephew, Lance, just won 1st in Kata and 4th in weapons in his Karate competition this morning. Yay! I'm one proud Aunt.

I asked them to make sure that they post pictures so that the entire family can share in Lance's moment, but Achi was non-committal and said "Okay, we will try." Being a blogger since 2002, I've been so used to talking about events and photos (with a bit of security, of course) on the web for sharing. The rest of my family, however, are still not so web-savvy. That's why all my talk about them possibly putting up a family website or some sort of a brag blog (for proud parents, haha!) for their kids are kind of falling onto deaf ears - even if it's a simple site from an easy to use web site hosting provider.

I'm not giving up. After all, with security settings and customizations that are easier to control, this should be a breeze, right ? She wouldn't have to rely on free hosting sites that may or may not be dependable, or that may or may not allow her enough free space or may not even keep shared memories available for a long time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eggplant Parmigiana

I've been looking forward to having home made eggplant parmigiana for a few reasons:

a) because as much as I dislike veggies, eggplant just happens to be one of the ones that I love!

b) because my friend Kay, a very good chef/cook, had recently prepared this for her family and her pictures made me crave this. She kindly shared the recipe in her FB site.

And as a disclaimer, I would like to point out that I did deviate from the original recipe a little because the eggplant has been sitting in our refrigerator for a week now and I was still missing some ingredients. I also wasn't in the mood to fry because we didn't have enough cooking oil. And I had some frozen chopped spinach leaves in the freezer that I wanted to use up.

Ingredients:
- Eggplant
- 2 eggs
- bread crumbs (orig recipe called for flour)
- Traditional pasta sauce (bottled)
- chopped spinach
- parmesan cheese
- mozzarella cheese

Steps:
1. Peel and slice the eggplants, 1/2 cm thick. Sprinkle side with salt and layer it in between paper towels. Leave in the refrigerator overnight. Kay says that this will draw out the excess moisture and will draw out the bitterness of the eggplant.

2. Dip the eggplant slices in beaten egg and dip in breadcrumbs.

3. Oil a baking sheet and arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer. Bake in a 350 degree F oven till tender.

4. In a baking dish, pour a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Arrange a layer of eggplant slices, pour another thin layer of sauce, top with the chopped spinach leaves, parmesan and mozzarella.

Repeat step 4 (sauce, eggplant, sauce, spinach, cheeses) until all the eggplant slices are used up.

5. Pop into the oven and bake until the cheeses melt and begin to brown.

Oh, I would've paired this with pasta but I ran out of pasta sauce as well so we paired this with some freshly baked garlic bread instead. Yummy!

This post just reminded me to stock up our pantry again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Leak

I went into sort of a panic last night when I bent down to pick up what looked like a piece of string from the floor of the laundry area and realized that the string was soaking wet!

Looking more closely, I discovered that the entire floor of the tiled laundry closet was soaking wet. I asked hubby to come over so that he could move the washing machine out and check where the water came from. Poor guy, I have been making him work extra hard at home these past few days.

After some heaving, pushing and shoving, he did manage to get the washer out and it looks like the laundry closet "flooding" wasn't so bad after all. The flooding was minor and was easily taken cared of by paper towels and all-purpose cleaner to scrub off hardened dirt.

It's still a mystery to us where the water came from but I thought I'd place a paper towel underneath the washer the next time I run it, I'll also tie paper towels around the drain hose and maybe another one around the water intake hose and hopefully, nothing leaks out again. I'm hoping that the leak, at the worst, is from something that's easily replaceable and inexpensive.

Fortunately, I found this out this early and before any real damage was done. Otherwise, we might have to resort to specialists such as Able restoration for water damage Orange County repairs and control.

Decluttering 2

Remember that decluttering post a few weeks ago ?

Except for putting the items in bags and bins, not much has changed - specifically, nothing has been thrown or given away yet. Still not up to cataloging these items for Salvation Army (to get that tax deduction going). I'm setting a deadline for myself, if I do not catalog these by 11/7, they're going to our church's clothing drive that same weekend.

I do feel, however, that I deserve a little pat on the back for sorting through (and doing some speed reading) the stacks of magazines that I've amassed over the years. I've been steadily throwing away a several magazines a day (and I just have to point out that I do this outside of my working hrs, of course). At this rate, we might just be able to clear up Swe-Cha's room in time for his arrival.

*pat pat*

Hubby did a lot of grunt work over the weekend (*clap clap*). We got this Scotch Brite hardwood floor duster - which you can use dry or wet - over the weekend. It's similar to a floor swiffer, except that the pad is heavier and is held more firmly so you could apply more pressure when you wipe the floor. It's not really the pads that made us happy but the tool itself. Hubby likes to get down on his hands and knees and really scrub the floors but that is obviously hard on the back and the hands/knees.

Half a bottle of all-purpose cleaner, 2 microfiber pads and 2 makeshift floor pads* later, we have clean tile floors.

----

*Note that when we ran out of clean pads, I decided to channel my inner domestic-diva and with the help of of my el-cheapo sewing machine, a pair of ratty old jeans was turned into extra cleaning pads for the Scotch Brite cleaner.

I knew I was saving those jeans for a purpose.

Monday, October 5, 2009

After Ondoy

I've been touching base with friends and family over in Manila, trying to get a feel of how they're coping and how they're handling the post-Ondoy situation.

Some places are still flooded, evacuees are still in the evacuation centers, others have cleaner (but still damp) homes and some have yet to replace lost property. I've been talking this over with hubby and we are both seeing the trend - people are panic buying groceries, furniture shops are sure to rake in some dough... and most of all, repair shops, contractors and maybe even car dealerships.

I'm thinking that used cars dealerships that allow people to browser through a wide range of choices online would be a good place to start. At least, you wouldn't have to queue up with all the other buyers and that could take up all day!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ondoy

Photos and videos of Ondoy's victims have been circulating the net so I'm not even going to try and repost any of them. I've been monitoring the situation since last weekend and up till now, I cannot believe the devastation that Ondoy brought onto Manila. I've seen and experienced a lot of storms while I was growing up in Manila (and living and flood-prone areas) but none comes close to this.

Family-wise, we were one of the lucky ones as my immediate family got off relatively easy. Dad, Mom and my brother didn't even bother leaving the house that morning when they saw that the water in our street was already beginning to rise. The flood did reach our garage but no higher than a few inches. Our house stayed dry and the most that they suffered was the inconvenience of having no electricity.

Some cousins did have a hard time going home from work but given that we have family / relatives all over the place, they all were able to seek shelter and spend the night at a relative's house and didn't have to suffer being stuck in the road for hours and hours on end. An aunt and an uncle got stuck in the office and though they went hungry, they did have water to drink and got to stay warm & dry.

The worst was felt by an aunt and uncle who lives in Malabon, their house, a bungalow which was built on a lot that has been raised high above the street level, got submerged. Mom says that all their cars, furniture and appliances, except for a laptop and a television, were submerged and ruined. But the most nakakahinayang part for me was to hear that their fishes were lost too. They have these huge tropical aquariums with beautiful fishes and they also have this greater than 6 ft long aruwana - I forgot to ask Mom if the latter got lost too.

By the time that Ondoy left, we discovered that the family didn't exactly get off unscathed. We have substantial business losses. Mom keeps saying that she's just thankful that everybody is well but I get the impression that she's still trying to convince herself that all will be well.

It's scary out there.

I don't even know what to say or what to do to comfort my family. All I know is that I'm really thankful that we still have each other. Praise the Lord.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Decluttering

We spent the weekend clearing up and making room for the baby. Hubby did the all the grunt work and I took on a supervisory role *smile*.

We took boxes out, going through papers that were haphazardly "filed" (my quickie filing method) in plastic bags and shoved into the cabinets. Not-so-important documents were scanned and then shredded.

Huge plastic containers that were labeled "misc" were opened and revealed tons and tons of clothes. After that first round of cleaning that I did the last time which yielded 3 huge bags of shirts, 1 big bag of pants and several pairs of shoes, I didn't think that I had any more but I was wrong. But then again, I hadn't gotten rid of a single piece of clothing or footwear since 2002, there's bound to be a lot.

And oh, we did clear up 2/3 of a chest of plastic drawers and 2/3 of a dresser.

Eventually, when we've set aside bags of trash and clothes I'd like to keep have been put back neatly into containers and we've gotten the piles of clothes to be donated down to this point, I decided to call it quits and asked to watch TV instead.

I'll (meaning hubby and me) tackle this over the next weekend.



* this entry is cross-posted in my other blogs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Named Sockets

No, this is not a nerdy / techie post.

We were at Shoprite earlier today and saw a stack of airconditioners in one corner.

Hubby looked at the boxes and pointed this out to me. Check out the different types of sockets and the names that hubby gave them :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Trekkie again

Has anyone ever noticed the striking similarity between a Star Trek communications badge (or a Star Trek logo):
Star Trek Com Badge Photo taken from Wikipedia.

and the Java Mascot ?
Java Mascot Photo taken from Wikipedia.

Looks like the creator(s) of the Java mascot are Trekkies too.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Trekkie

You know you've been watching too many reruns of Star Trek Voyager when...

... you injure yourself and start looking for a dermal regenerator.

Sigh.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Lusot

The super did end up calling me back this afternoon - but the property management company did not (BOO!) - and told me that he had not gotten any reports about clogged drains today. He also told me that kitchen sinks do tend to clog and that it's a fairly normal occurrence.

I wanted to explain to him how careful we were with the sink drain but I stopped myself. I figured, who admits to abusing their drains ? And explaining that would only make me sound defensive, there was nothing the super could do after all.

By 3pm, the kitchen sink was still clogged. Hubby wanted to try clearing it again ourselves tonight (he had read up on some tips during the day) but I was determined to get a plumber. I recalled TV ads offering to clean and unclog drains for a flat fee of $45 or $49.95. I found several companies but they only service NY.

In NJ, I got estimates that range from $100 to "$175 or more", so that kinda put a damper on the plumber option. By 6:30p, I needed to prepare dinner. I wasn't looking forward to washing stuff in the half bathroom downstairs and I called hubby to ask him to just get some take-out for dinner. While on the phone w/ him, I turned on the kitchen faucet on a whim. I thought that since we won't be using it anytime soon, I might as well fill it up with hot water and let that work its way down the pipe.

Imagine my surprise when the water drained out.

Ha ?

I turned the water on again...

and again, it drained out.

Seems like our problem has fixed itself. This does give our theory about the clog being somewhere in our neighbor's some weight. The neighbor probably fixed their issues.

The best part is that we can run our very very full dishwasher tonight (whew!). I love it when things work out without us having to pay for anything. Imagine if we had called the plumber in earlier in the day,... tsk tsk.

Clogged

Our kitchen sink drain suddenly got clogged last night and we dare not run the dishwasher for fear that it leads to the same drain as the sink. Both hubby and I are puzzled as we are very careful with what goes down the drain - we use a mesh strainer and it catches most of the solid waste and leftover oil from cooking is poured carefully into jars for separate disposal.

Hubby tried using a plunger (a brand-new one which we keep for emergencies like these) then poured in lots of Drano and even used a snake to try and see what the clog was. Our drain seems clear ... up till the part where it goes into the wall. I'm still trying to get in touch with our property manager and the superintendent of the bldg to try and see if someone else has reported a clog. We suspect that the issue may be with the bldg's drainage and not ours. I would hate to have to call and pay for a plumber and not have the issue fixed.

It all seems so easy but I've been having difficulty tracking down the super. Our property management company has kept the residents away from the super and would like to have all calls routed through them. I have no problems with this, except that the contact people (two in all) we have with the company are usually out or on a call whenever I call.

Times like these, I get the urge to lobby for the replacement of our current management company with Real Property Management. After all, what good are they if you cannot contact them during emergencies ? RPM manages over 20,000 properties nationwide, received the Franchise of the Year Honorable Mention Award last year, was featured in the Bizjournal of Cincinnati and Columbus , has an exclusive agreement with Freddie Mac AND is a member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers. With credentials like that, where can we go wrong ?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Towel

I gave hubby quite a scare last night. I took a shower and didn't realize that I had no towel in the bathroom. When I reached out for the towel and found none, I shouted for hubby and asked for "HELP!".

Now, you have to understand... this isn't something new. I forget to bring a towel a lot of the time and I always ask him to help me the same way. Unfortunately, I forgot that this time, it was different. I am pregnant and it has been months since the last time I forgot to bring a towel.

So after shouting "HELP! HELP!", I heard banging sounds... loud and hurried footsteps coming up the stairs, down the hallway and into the bathroom. The door opened and hubby's face peered in. He was pale and flushed and looked.. well,.. scared.

I swear, I heard his heart beating fast too!

Ayun pala, when he heard me shout for help, he was coming up the stairs and didn't know how long I've been shouting for help. Also, me being pregnant, a lot of different and scary scenarios ran across his mind.

I was thoughtless. Kawawa naman my hubby.

So afterwards, I sat him down and talked to him so that we could agree on code words to prevent panic. What to shout if I need a towel ? hmm. I thought about a lot of things - "need assistance", "tulong", "nakalimutan", all sorts of words and phrases popped into my mind. None seemed appropriate for a missing towel.

It wasn't until I was telling this story to my friend when she suggested, why not just shout "twalya" or "towel" ?

Oo nga. Bopols, haha!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bad luck bill

When Mom and Dad were here, I remember talking about the peso currency which I still have in my "Philippine wallet" - the one which I use when I'm in Manila. Mom looked at my wallet, saw the contents, one of which was a P200 bill and exclaimed, "Uy, you have to spend this right away ah, don't keep this."

Concerned, I asked why ? Was it not valid anymore ? Was it going to get taken out of circulation ? And Mom says "It's still valid but people just say it's bad luck to keep a P200 bill, you have to spend it right away".

It wasn't until I looked more closely at the bill when I realized why some people would call it bad luck - check out the back portion and see who's taking the oath of office.

Haha!

And then there's this MB caption - I'm sure that this wasn't intentional. MB, after all, is a decent newspaper.

Kawawa rin.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Our first harvest

Our tomato plant, a gift from good friend A, has flourished and gifted us with our first harvest of the season.

Hubby got a bit sad again as he was taking these pictures and snipping the ripe tomatoes off of the vine. He has been the primary caretaker of our little container garden and he gets very sad at the thought of this tomato plant dying at the end of the season.


Meanwhile, here's a picture of our rosemary plant grown from snippings that we got from A too.

Laki na no ? (pwera usog)

I'll be using these to make some baked porkchops soon.

Web Hosting Ratings

I've blogged a few times about wanting to have my own website with its own domain but I never really got around to that. You see, there would be times when I'd think that I have found the best web provider for me, I wait a few days and then I'll find another one with a different plan that fits in with my budget and needs even more.

I still feel undecided about pushing through my getting my own website as it is very convenient to just maintain my blogs on free hosting sites. However, I would have more freedom and flexibility if I were to maintain my own website and I'm sure many of my blogger friends can attest to this - there are quite a few blogs which I follow who have already switched from free hosting to paid hosting services.

It does feel timely to come across a phpbb web hosting review site that gives me more details about each provider. I also like the fact that they have rankings based on different categories such as Awards or even by Rating.

I believe that this will help me & hubby with this decision as we do want our own site - after all, we're having a baby soon! - and we do not want to spend too much on this indulgence, especially during this recession. How about you ? Check out phpbb web hosting and let me know what you think.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pork Afritada

I found some leftover pork shoulder in the freezer and decided to cook this for dinner with some tomato sauce. Did some searching on the net and found a lot of recipes for Pork Menudo and Pork Afritada, the ingredients differed. Eventually, I just picked the one recipe that had the least amount of ingredients from AllFavoriteRecipe.

I started off from that recipe and tweaked a few measurements, this was what I did:

  • 1 lb pork, cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (patis)
  • 2 potatoes (Russet), peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  1. Season the diced pork with salt and pepper and set aside in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan, heat oil and saute pork until no longer pink. If juices come out, spoon them out and throw away.
  3. Add the garlic and onion, saute till onions are clear.
  4. Season the pork with the fish sauce.
  5. Add the potatoes (NOTE: if using Russet potatoes, do not add them at this time as they cook easily and will fall apart before your pork becomes tender).
  6. Add the tomato sauce and water
  7. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 25 to 30 minutes until pork is soft.
  8. Add the bell pepper and let simmer.
This turned out quite good, the only issue we have is that we used Russet potatoes and they cooked too quickly. Will have to add them into the pot a bit later (maybe 10 to 15 minutes later) so they don't get too soft.

Taste wise, this turned out good.

Star Trek

Last night, hubby started playing Star Trek Voyager episodes on TV. I never thought I would ever like any of the Star Trek TV series but we saw episodes one to three last night and I didn't get bored.

Thinking about it, this was the same reaction or feeling that I got when we first started watching the Stargate Atlantis series. It wasn't particularly good but it did look promising and seemed like a good program to follow.

After episode 3 ended last night ? I even sort of felt bitin (lacking) because I still wanted more. I'm feeling I'm going to be spending a lot of time on Spreety TV Online : Watch TV Shows Online Free to try and see if they have other interesting episodes or shows as well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fried Tofu

Tofu has always been a favorite in our kitchen but we don't get to try a lot of different dishes, mostly because we do not know how to prepare them and we usually stick with what we know.
Recently, Mom brought a vegetarian cookbook and left it with me because she says that we might make more use of it than she did. True to her words, I went through the book immediately and found a recipe for this simple fried tofu dish.
1. Dice tofu and scald with boiling water for 1 minute (to half-cook the tofu).
2. Drain the tofu on paper towels.
3. Dip the tofu in egg and then coat with flour.
4. Deep fry in hot oil.
For the sauce:
3 tbsp lite soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil (did not put this much)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

60k

We brought the (old) car in to the dealership for service last weekend, it was only supposed to be an oil change but we realized the night before that it was due for its 60k service.

The service manager told us that it would take a few hours at least for the 60k service, initial estimate was $650. That blows this month's budget, I thought, but we agreed anyway. After all, it wasn't really optional. Thankfully, they had a loaner car available so we didn't have to wait around for a few hours.

Then we remembered some symptoms that hubby had noticed recently:
- first there was that clanging noise, we've had this before and was charged $50 to fix a loose heat shield (we figured that if it were the heat shield again this time, we'll pass)
- and then there was that chirping noice that hubby hears when the airconditioner is turned on

So with that, we left the dealership and went home. Sometime around 2pm, the service manager calls us:
- the clanging noise was due to the heatshield again, they'll fix it but won't charge us again (whew!)
- the chirping noise was due to the belts, they had to be replaced for $190. So that blows next month's budget. Teka, what budget ? *sniff*

We were also told that the car would be ready for pickup by 2:30 and hubby tells them that we'll pick it up between 2:30 to 3p.

At around 2:45p, halfway to the dealership, we get a call from the service manager again. This time, she tells us that the gasket was leaking! She tells us that the tech flushed the coolants and when he was testing, the coolant he put in started bubbling - this pointed to a leaking gasket which they were able to confirm.

Fortunately, the service rep tells us that even though this isn't covered by warranty anymore, they will fix / replace this under goodwill and won't charge us anymore (after all, she did mention that the leak happened after they flushed the fluids anyway). The snag is that fixing a leaky gasket is a huge job and it will take a few more days.

So last Saturday, it rained and poured - out of our wallets, that is.

All this kinda makes me think if keeping a car beyond 5 years is worth it. But then again, after spending this much right now, we better use it for a few more years to get our money's worth.

Also, I'm quite glad that it's just in the shop for regular servicing and not for any other damages - in which case, we'll probably have to bring it to auto body buena park instead of the car dealership's service center which would surely cost us a whole lot more.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back to Reality

So my family has come and gone and I'm left with lots of happy memories - mostly of the little one, Lyle. I can't get enough of him and his sweetness (translation: paglalambing) and even though his non-stop chatter gets tiring at times, hubby and I couldn't help but fall more in love with him.

Now, while I enjoy my last vacation day before I go back to work tomorrow, I'd like to leave you with my favorite conversation w/ Lyle. We were driving to Washington DC and everyone else except for the driver (hubby), Lyle and me were asleep. I look back and saw my sister (Lyle's mom) sleeping w/ her mouth open and I pointed it out to Lyle. He started giggling and asks me what we can do. I suggested throwing potato chips, fries and all sorts of food /drinks into her mouth and he readily agreed (of course, we didn't do anything).

Eventually, I suggested that we throw boogers into her mouth. He looked at me, aghast, and said "A-i, your own sister!" and then promptly put his finger up to his nostril and started picking his nose.

*smile*

Later, when I would retell the story to the others, he would claim that he was feeling uncomfortable with a booger up his nose and that he was trying to get rid of it. He didn't have plans of flicking it into his mom's mouth.

I so love this kid. Maloko talaga, he gets that from me (proud aunt).

---

Mom, sis and I didn't talk about our issues anymore. Okay na rin, I wasn't ready for a confrontation nor an autopsy. I'd rather just move on.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Better

I cried for many days and thinking about how I should act and what I should say to Mom and Achi and still couldn't figure out what was expected of me. I keep thinking that if I make the first move and call Mom up, they would get together again to talk about how I called and talked to Mom as if nothing happened - which was what they did the last time.

Parang kasalanan pa.

So I don't call them and they didn't call me. Stalemate, I guess. This is so not normal for us. Also, I was flying out to MA again to report to the office and she did not even ask if I was okay.

I figured, she probably does not care what happens to me so long as her precious other daughter and her grandkids are okay there on the other side. So I decided to let go. Ayoko na, crying can't be good.

I finally get a call on Friday night. Now, it's my turn to say "Mom called me up and talked to me, parang walang nangyari." Looks like we're back to normal now, at least w/ Mom.

Honestly, I still feel sore about the lying - but nothing is going to change that. I have come to realize that Mom & Achi have their secrets and they have this relationship going on and it's never going to be the same between Mom & me.

I still feel sore that Achi hasn't made any moves to talk to me yet and w/ her, I am adamant. I don't want to talk to her first. She lied to me and she betrayed me, so she should make the first move if she wants to talk. Kapatid kung sa kapatid but if she can go on w/o me, then surely, I can live w/o talking to her. I have never depended on her for anything in my life and I'm not about to start now.

Trust is a very serious thing with me, I'm sure that Sis would say otherwise and that she probably feels that she didn't do anything wrong but finding out that I can't trust my own sister was just a little bit short of devastating to me.

What do I expect ? Di ko alam.

What do I want ? A sincere apology that shows that she understands why I was upset and what she did wrong. Nothing more, nothing less.