Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2 weeks to go

Two weeks to go before my sister turns another year older. It's funny how she reminded me of her birthday (as if I would forget!) the last time we talked on the phone. She was telling me about her day - what she did, where she went, what she bought - and suddenly said "malapit na birthday ko".

I just had to laugh when I heard her because you see, this is my brother's style. He reminds people when his birthday approaches and drops hints all over the place. Achi & my bro are really two halves of the same coin, maybe being born exactly 12 years apart (i.e. they were born under the same animal sign under the lunar calendar) gives them similar ugali.

Me? While I won't deny appreciating if my birthday is remembered, I don't think that I've ever reminded anyone - not even my immediate family - about my birthday. Hiya eh.

Have you?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Salmon Cakes

This overexposed shot shows a photo of the Salmon cakes that I prepared a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I lost the recipe and cannot figure out the website where I copied it from and when I attempt to make a search, there are too many hits. And no, I don't have my browser history anymore.

I vaguely remember adding:
chopped red pepper
chopped onion
salt & pepper to taste
1 can of corn kernels
2 8oz cans of salmon
egg or eggs
plain bread crumbs

Mix them all together, form into patties and fry.

If someone can point me out in the right direction, I'll appreciate it :)

Wedding attire

My brother called me up to ask, "what's the usual wedding attire in the US? What do people usually wear?" and I told him that while girls' attires differ depending on the formality of the event - cocktail dresses vs evening gowns - but guys usually wear suits.

So then brother starts arguing with me - we are discussing this because he will be attending our cousin's wedding in May - and tells me that it's an afternoon wedding anyway so why would anyone wear suits ? I took this as my cue to remind him that a lot of people wear suits to work every single day.


He's still unreconciled with the idea but I'm trying to convince him that he has to wear a tie at the very least. My brother, the sort of vain guy that he is, is kind of warming up to the idea of pure silk Luxury ties.

Personally, I'm liking this gold one and can totally imagine him wearing this.

Pizza day

Saturday night last weekend was pizza day for hubby and me. We made the crust - he wanted to knead and thought it was fun - together and we divided it up and formed nd topped our own pizzas since we wanted different toppings.

Hubby's pizza had a tomato-based sauce ( tomato sauce + tomato paste and seasoned with oregano, onion powder and garlic powder). He topped it with mozzarella cheese, ham, meatball pieces (Ikea swedish meatballs), bacon, pepperoni and more mozzarella.

My pizza sauce was cream-based, I used plain creamy Alfredo sauce from a bottle. I topped mine with spinach, ham, meatball pieces, bacon and mozzarella cheese.

We dropped by the supermarket to get some fresh mushrooms but I forgot to take them out when we were preparing the pizzas.

The crust is still not as nice as I would like them to be. It's okay to eat while it is fresh out of the oven but it gets harder when it cools. Konting experiment pa and we can probably invite friends over for a make-your-own pizza dinner sometime.


Dropped by the library on Saturday morning and as per hubby's request, picked up DVD movies of The Godfather. We watched parts 1 and 2 all day on Sunday and we are loving them so far! Can't wait to see part 3 but since I was only able to borrow 2 DVDs on my card last Saturday, we have to go back for the rest.

Part 2 was around 4 to 5 hours long on two DVDs. I cannot imagine how people watched these in the moviehouses but, hey, we did sit still for that time. We couldn't turn our eyes away because the movie was so good. Now, I kinda know why people like using Corleone, Vito, Don in their internet handles. :)

I did wonder how they could possibly get hold of those old cars in the movies. Hubby says that at the time the movie was made, there were still plenty of those cars around (i.e. they weren't that old back then) so it must not have been too hard. I thought that they might have gone to some sort of club or something like a biker community where they can look for people who own vintage cars and bikes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Versatile Alfredo Sauce

Had a hankering for pasta today so I boiled some spaghetti and for the sauce, I sauteed some garlic, added some salmon chunks from a can and poured in bottled Alfredo sauce.

I didn't think that it was going to be good. The last time I tried canned salmon chunks w/ Alfredo sauce, it didn't turn out this good, seems like the sauteed garlic added just the right amount of flavor.

I'm still iffy on whether hubby will like this or not. After all, he's not a huge fan of cream sauces to start with. But I guess this should be good enough for a no-meat meal on Fridays throughout the Lenten season. We're not supposed to eat much anyway :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Unknown numbers

I got bored tonight and I decided to go through all the caller IDs that my phone has stored in the past few months. I'm seeing a lot of numbers that I don't recognize and believe me, I am good with remembering and recognizing phone numbers - I might be the only one in my family and my circle of friends who doesn't rely on my phonebook to dial out, I always dialed the number straightaway.

So I set my browser to Infospace under reverse phone lookup and start typing in these unknown numbers one by one (I did say that I was bored) and not surprisingly, they're all coming up as unknown numbers. So these numbers called me repeatedly - some even multiple times - and nobody bothered to record a message and none of the caller IDs could be traced back to them. I wonder, could they be using some sort of Free Spoofing service to hide their real phone numbers ?

As for me? I've decided to hold onto this Free Spoofing information, this might come in handy some day. A way to spy on an ex-bf, perhaps ? or your spouse's ex ? or just to pull phone pranks, it's sure to be fun.

The freebies started it all!

This is how the entertainment system in our living room looks like right now. It sort of embarasses me - and yet, here I am posting it in a blog! - to admit that half of these items you see in the picture are inherited from friends.

The TV is from the old company apartment - it was going to be thrown away and I asked for it. The 2 speakers on each side of the cabinet were inherited from friends and so are the receiver on top shelf of the cabinet and the DVD player on the middle shelf (right).

The Tivo, Wii and even the cabinet, we did buy for ourselves. *whew*

We watch most of our shows on a much nicer flat-screen TV, but not an LCD or a plasma, in our bedroom. We've been thinking about and planning to replace this TV with a bigger flat panel version but we're taking our time. No hurry.

The problem with this TV now is that most games are designed with wide-screen TVs in mind. When we play guitar hero, the song lyrics are so difficult to read. I cannot practice and show off my karaoke prowess tuloy.

Anyway... I digress. I am posting to this picture to sort of mark the time and try and see how long it will take us to implement the improvements that we've been planning in our heads since we inherited the speakers.

Getting the speakers sort of started an avalanche of home improvement ideas and these thoughts started running through our heads:
- if we have these speakers & a receiver now, the TV looks overwhelmed, we should get a new TV.
- if we get a nice TV, we should get additional surround speakers & a subwoofer to complete the setup
- but acoustics in the living room isn't good -> transfer plans for a home theater system in the master's bedroom, this means we need to get a complete set of speakers (smaller ones) plus a new receiver.
- need to buy new TV for masters' bedroom. Where to put it ? Ah, in between the his/hers closets! but the doors are in the way.
- so need to replace the bi-fold doors in the closets, ah, sliding doors (and we actually went to home depot!) or custom accordion doors
- ah, the new closet doors are nice,... we need new hardwood floors to match the doors
- the bathrooms will need to be updated too, then. Because it will look off if the rest of the rooms have nice floors and bathroom tiles are outdated (we actually looked at new toilets, vanities, sinks and cabinets in home depot too)

and now, we are overwhelmed.

... parang gusto ko nang isoli na lang... - NOT! :D

Homeowners Meeting

I attended last night's homeowners' association meeting and annual election. The last time I went was in 2007, hubby has just moved in and we decided to attend together to meet and get to know our neighbors.

I voted for the incumbent board because I was happy with everything this past year but I realized later on that it would be good to inject new blood every now and then. I'll probably vote for someone else next year, if there are other candidates.

Oh, and that realtor who lives in the next bldg ? The one that was constantly bothering and hijacking us during 2007 to 2008 ? Trying to get us to sign her up to sell our house ? Well, SHE attended the meeting and I was really careful not to look at her lest she deem that as an invite to come and talk to me again.

She approached me after the meeting and after exchanging greetings, she said "are you still selling ?" I told her no and that we were waiting for prices to stabilize again. She took this as her cue to try and sell me other services because she started talking about Debt Management loans that I could apply for to make my mortgage payments more affordable. She even asked about my husband and whether or not we are still working.


Imagine my satisfaction when I said to her, "loan ? oh, you mean a mortgage ? Sorry, I don't have a mortgage. Not anymore."

She might have thought that I misspoke or that she misheard me because she asked again, "yes, a mortgage loan for the house."

and again, I cleared it up for her, "no, my house is all paid up." and I bid her good night. Last I saw her, she had just pounced on another neighbor, probably asking her the same questions too.


Church library

My church recently set up some shelves in a room near the gathering space and placed an announcement in the weekly bulletin. They're asking parishioners to donate all sorts of books and invite them to come in and borrow some books too.

I've been donating some books which I've read and are nice but don't really want to keep forever. I bought 4 books last week and I have 5 more to bring this weekend. I'll probably check out their library to see if there's something interesting to borrow.

If you have any books to donate (and of course, are in my area) drop me a line and I'll pick it up one of these days.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Need Credit

My friend and I were just talking about her credit card woes the other day. She's been in the US for a few years now and has a very good credit score and yet her credit card limits are on the low side.

She's been calling and requesting the company to increase her monthly limit (so far, she's been calling every 6 months) but she gets declined all the time without any specific reason - the people that she's talked to always said that they didn't know why.

I've been pushing her to just get a new credit card instead of trying to get her limits raised. If she, say, applies for new gas credit cards then she accomplishes the same thing - she'll get additional credit power every month and she can even choose the best rewards program for her. Don't know which one she'll apply for but my all time favorite will always be the cashback reward cards.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll be able to get approved for a new card.

Pork Giniling

I've been a fan of Eating Club Vancouver's dishes ever since I found an Aristocrat-style-chicken-bbq recipe on their site a year ago.

I've been trying out more and more of their dishes and this time, it's their Mom's classic Pork Giniling dish (ground pork). Check out their site which is very helpful because they posted pictures of each step in the cooking process.

2 lbs ground pork
1 tsp vinegar (optional)
chopped garlic
1 cup of diced carrots
1 cup of diced potato
1 tbsp shao xing wine (I substituted cooking sherry instead)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 cups water (approximate)

This is a short-cut version of the recipe, check out the original post for more detailed descriptions:

1. Brown the ground pork, add the vinegar and drain / scoop out the fluids that will come out from the pork.
2. season with pepper and mix around
3. add the chopped garlic, carrots and potato
4. add the cooking wine and oyster sauce and mix around
5. add the soy sauce and water, let boil & simmer till cooked.

Another wedding!

We just received the invitation to my cousin's wedding in May and we are so excited. It's unfortunate that our situation won't allow us to take some time off to attend s0 we're looking forward to seeing the pictures instead. Thankfully, my brother has his annual visit scheduled around that time so he'll be able to bring our present to the bride and groom AND represent our family in the occasion.

Cousin & his fiancee does not seem to have a wedding registry yet, I did find one but it only had 3 items - a food processor, a set of sheets and some other kitchen appliance. Uh. Obviously, it's still incomplete.

I remember the time when I was choosing things for our registry, those were good times. Getting that scanner, going around the store and scanning things left and right ? I felt powerful, even if it was only for a few hours. My favorite part was choosing a china pattern, glassware and luxury flatware and cutlery that goes with it.

It's quite amusing, really, to find out how much thought goes into choosing patterns. After all, I grew up without paying any attention to the china and flatware that we use at home. The most conscious I had been - aside from the time that we were choosing for our wedding registry - was when I was in my late teens, I remember being annoyed when I would get mismatched cutlery and flatware on my place setting on the dinner table. That was a no-no. Eventually, the maids did learn to pay attention as well and everyone was happy - most especially me.

We eventually ended up with something similar to this Bead cutlery model. I've always loved clean and sleek designs and this is no exception. I love the detail and the feel of the handles. I'm looking forward to seeing the styles and patterns that my cousin and his fiance chooses. Can't wait.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Nothing seems longer than waiting for the right time to:
- praying & hoping to *not* get a period
- take a home pregnancy test
- and, getting a positive result on the HPT

Hay. I'm glad that I didn't really keep track of how many HPT kits I've wasted over the past months because I couldn't wait.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tough day

It's only 3:43pm and already, I feel so drained!

Today has been one of those days. Woke up early for a weekly 7a status meeting. Thankfully, I did bring up the fact that the UK guy has been cancelling our meetings every other week anyway and proposed that we just set bi-weekly meetings instead. He agreed. This guy would cancel the meetings but would email at the very last minute so the Manila peeps have to stay up late in the office anyway and I have already woken up extra early that day. The past few Thursdays have not been fun because of this.

11a found me dealing with a huge client issue. We lost some data and I was just about ready to roll up my sleeves and wade through millions of files to get 361 separate files that contain backups of the lost data. I did not look forward to the job that followed that - moving the data into the db. Thankfully, God heard my frantic pleas and it turned out that we already had the utilities to do the file uploads.

I explained what happened to the client (part of it is their fault, I think) and that I would do everything to get the data restored quickly. I'll spend some time afterwards and try to find out what caused this but that is the least of my worries right now. Data restoration first.

Times like these make me want to retire and unfortunately, hubby and I are still ages away from being real estate magnates (haha!) with lots of income-generating properties. We do like to scout around every now and then to look at properties on the market as we've been wanting to move to a bigger place now. Here's to hoping that our financial situation will continue to be good or improve - even better! - so that we can eventually move to a bigger home and with that, set our condo up as a rental with the help of a good and qualified Real Property Management company.

Horror movies

Hubby and I have made 3 trips to the library since last week, we're both having so much fun reading the books and watching the DVDs that we borrowed.

I got a hodgepodge of books - some John Grisham novels, some fantasy novels by RA Salvatore and a couple of cheesy historical romance paperbacks - while hubby got excited when he finally saw a complete series of Manga comicbooks in the young adult section. He checks out that section a lot but never gets to see a complete series, there's usually a few books missing.

Funny lang because we borrowed - don't know why - the Amityville Horror movie the last time we were there. We watched it one night and both got so scared that we couldn't sleep. I remember leaving a bunch of docs downstairs and I wanted to get it but was too scared to go down by myself. Hubby (not sure if he was serious or just acting) was like "hey, don't leave me alone here". I think he was a bit scared rin.

I really should blame me. I like watching horror movies but I always end up getting scared afterwards :P