Posts Tagged ‘holiday musing’

Happy 2013 ! Random Thoughts and Foodie

May you all have a prosperous and fruitful 2013 !

Hello ! Renxkyoko Iglesias here.


My European tour made 2012  quite an eventful year , and I’m glad I get to share it with you.  It was also quite an experience to be given an opportunity to help re-elect Pres. Obama.  My sister and I and several  thousand  Californians went as far as Nevada, Iowa, Colorado, and Wisconsin  as part of Pres. Obama’ s ground campaign.  ( Just Reno for me, though… specifically Washoe County, the poor part of  Nevada , totally Republican, dirt roads, trailer parks, all white * don’t they know they will be thrown under the bus by Romney, he he he, someone on a truck yelled Eff you at us , it was scary…… Anyway,  it was difficult ,  but we managed to turn  Nevada into a   Blue state.  ) But then, if not for those 2 above, 2012 would be same-o, same-o… school, work, home, study, check out if there are any manga updates of my favorite shojou romance, daydream or rant, sleep, go to school again… yep, story of my life. I must have sinned in my past life.

Well, we all got a love letter from WordPress, right?  My stats are modest, but I ‘m happy . I  get a fair amount of comments, and to me, that’s more important.   To be honest, I don’t know if those who click LIKE  really like my post. He he he…. One time, I was online when I heard a ping on my Messenger.  That means, there was  a reader who just clicked LIKE. But surprise, surprise, I heard 4 pings , one after another,  in 3 seconds duration.  Gotcha ! lol ! !  The blogger couldn’t have read my post in 3 seconds flat, could he/she?   As for me, rest assured I read your post word for word. This is also the reason why I have 5,471 unread emails , to date. I don’t delete. I read all, but……. my fellow bloggers, I cannot cope anymore. I have 50 subscriptions, and each day that I don’t get to open my email folder adds  about 200 emails.  I kid you not.

According to WordPress, I  had 24 posts in 2012.  That’s 2 a month.  And the blogger with the most comments is 35andupcynicismonhold.  What is most interesting  is the post that got the most number of views …… it also  got the most number of comments, 139 I think?  WordPress also says that it has the most ” staying power”.  I posted All About Nothing , as usual in February, 2012, and believe it or not, I still get  at least 10 views a day from that post for almost a year now. WordPress didn’t give the total number of views, but I’m sure it must be in the thousands already. Happy Valentine’s Day comes second.  OMgosh, I was so pathetic here ! !  Well, I’m still pathetic.


There is one  post in 2011 and one in 2010 that also got tons of views.  I mean, I still get so many views from these old posts.  WordPress suggests I  should consider  writing about these topics again.  Uhm, not really, except  this one….. HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2012 ! ! !  I like the foodie post myself.  When I reread this, I was surprised to see the paella and the empanada that I cooked that year.  Yeah, I cooked those ! Here are  the pictures…..

paella (2)


untitled (2)


.Empanada….. by the way, I made a mistake with the dough. I used a fluffy dough.  It was store dough, ready made…. I don’t know how to make a dough, haha. I’m intimidated.

Empanada dough should look like this.


.I mentioned these two because the best food I had eaten by far  in Europe were Spanish empanadas and the paella in Spain, Both are very common foods in the Philippines.  In the Philippines, Paella is sometimes called Arroz a la Valenciana. Philippine dishes are basically of Spanish origin.  The Philippines was under Spanish rule for almost 400 years, so the similar palate shouldn’t come as a surprise….. for example, Filipinos eat pig’s blood too. In Spain, it’s called Morcilla.  I had Morcilla in Burgos and it was good. The blood sausage in London wasn’t that good though. Well, I love pig’s blood.  It’s one of my favorite Filipino dish.  It’s an acquired taste, so don’t hate, lol.  I’ll talk about this soon. (  Filipino stores here in the US sell pig’s blood  )

Below are some photos of our New Year spread. Not much this year, though. It was just family, all 6 of us.


Hmmmm, I notice the program on TV… it was The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.  Eh. We were watching  a political talk show  during  New Year’s Day lunch.




Stewed beef we call Pochero. It’s made of beef, cabbage, garbanzos, long, green beans, potatoes, garlic, onions, tomato sauce.


Lumpia… just ground pork and shrimps, watercress, carrots, etc, wrapped in egg wrapper, then fried… eaten with sweet – sour sauce.  The one on the right is roast pork dip made up of soy sauce, vinegar and  fried tofu.


Roasted spare ribs, we call Lechon.  This one will  give us a massive coronary, but it tastes  so good, especially the crunchy skin. Oh, my. . The dip is the one with tofu, but I prefer liver sauce. You can see the liver sauce bottle in the pic.

006The one above is one of my favorite desserts.  It’s  pandan flavoured agar-agar ( similar to Jello) and lychees . Pandan essence comes from the leaves of Pandanus plant, which is very common in SouthEast Asia.  Sometimes, we add pandan leaves when cooking rice to give that great aroma. ( The leaves are sold in Asian stores here in the US. )


Fruit salad…. A mainstay Philippine dessert.  It’s just a mixture of fruit cocktail,  cream,  nata de coco, and sweetened palm fruits. The last two are  ” must “ingredients  in any Philippine fruit salad. Nata de coco is Spanish for cream of coconut.  According to Wikipedia, nata is a chewy, translucent  jelly-like product produced by fermentation of coconut water by Acetobacter xylinus, a bacteria introduced into coconut water, the fermentation of which produces this jelly -like substance.  The process originated in the Philippines.


Cubed colored nata gels. The white nata has the original color. Nata  is very, very delicious.  There is also nata de pina….. cream of pineapple.


Above is fish with sweet sour sauce . We call the dish Escabeche. Escabeche is Spanish for pickled… the fish is not really pickled, just covered with vinegar- sugar sauce and soy sauce.


We call the juice Sago Cooler. It’s made up of caramel ( boiled brown sugar with banana essence or almond essence ) and sago pearls.


We use a tall glass with long teaspoon to scoop out the sago pearls. Guys, you should try this. It’s very good, If there’s no sago at the Asian store near you, you can float  gelatin, jello, or whatever. Be sure to add banana or almond essence, that’s all.

By the way, you can see 2 more desserts with the Sago Cooler photos.  The black colored dish is Biko, some sort of rice cake. Mom used deep purple rice, almost black rice. ( we also use white, sweet , glutinous rice, available at Asian stores… it’s different from regular rice). The other dish in the photo , the one in red dish is cassava cake. Cassava or yuca comes from the root and do you know it’s one of the most dangerous food in the world, if not prepared properly?  lol


UBE,  ( pronounced  oo- beh )or purple yam, one of the Philippines’ favorite dessert. It’s used as ice cream flavor, in cakes, bread fillings, or as is, like the photo above.  It’s a mixture of condensed milk, butter and grated yam.  We use the Philippine variety, because the purple yam grown in other countries does not have the desired taste and consistency. In fact , that ube in the photo isn’t the real thing, and Mom got so pissed that she almost threw it away. It got saved when we added a Philippine variety that we found in the freezer. The store where we bought it ran out of ube and what we found were purple yams from another country, which we suspected were not really purple yam, just ordinary yam with purple food coloring. It was gooey and tasted weird.




Aaaargh, holiday food ! !  It ‘s always a problem to lose weight after pigging out on all that goodness.


I definitely won’t fit into my newly acquired  Runway dress shown below.


I need to exercise again.


To be honest, I want to make another WP account that will have food and fashion as my theme. Or , another account  where I can write about animes and mangas. (   I know, I know !  I  confess ! I’m an anime manga fan. Don’t hate ! )

So, anyway,  I’m almost done with my European travelogue.  Spain and France  are next.  Paris  was our last stop. From there , we flew back to good ol’ US of A. \

This is all for now. Barcelona and Madrid are next in my travelogue !  Good day to all and Peace ! !


My European Trip Pt.15. Avignon , Carcassone, France

Hello ! Renxkyoko Iglesias here !   I greet you all a Happy Christmas and peace and goodwill to all, no matter what your religions are.



And here’s my humble wish list…. oh, please change the ’54 Covertible to a brand new  Beemer, 2 door.




. I’m not jumping for joy this Christmas. I’m  remembering  those 20 kids who were massacred in Connecticut, and what effect their deaths  are on their families. I wonder what the parents are feeling now. I wonder what the other 6 year old  twin is feeling now   that her sibling is gone.  I wonder what the parents are thinking as they go over their dead child’s stuff… their clothes, shoes, toys,  and the change of clothes before they went to school and never came home. . I’m not a parent, but I feel the pain so much. My tears have not dried up.


.To be honest, Christmas always makes me feel nostalgic  and  long for all the happier  Christmases past.


So, anyway, this post is about my trip to Avignon and Carcassone. Avignon and  Carcassone were mere side trips, although we did stay overnight in Carcassone.

Avignon is also called ” The city of Popes” because the Popes made Avignon their residence for over 100 years. This happened during the Papacy’s schism when there were 2 rival Popes who assumed the papacy, one residing in Rome, the other in Avignon.

The population of Avignon is 100,000, and about 12,000 live within the ancient town centre that is enclosed  by medieval ramparts or defensive walls

Below is the enclosed medieval town center, courtesy of Wikepedia.


.Photos below are the only ones I have of Avignon. It was raining very hard , and we stayed for  4 hours or so. We had lunch there and I also had “lavander” gelato ( ice cream). Growing lavander flowers ( for the essential oils) is one of Avignon’s main produce.



DSCN1179DSCN1180 DSCN1181

Do you see that red hood at right hand corner? That’s yours truly, ha ha. This time , that’s the only thing you see of me, he he he… No Monaco – like stuff.

.The photo below is the panoramic view of the center, courtesy of Wikipedia.


Next is Carcassone..

Carcassone consists of 2 areas, the upper part which is heavily fortified, surrounded by 2 outer walls  ( double ramparts) of concentric design. The fortress  that time was considered impregnable. The lower part is the area outside  the fortress. There are 53 towers, one of which is called The Inquisition Tower. It was used  during the Catholic Inquisition. ( I don’t like to talk about the Catholic Inquistion. Suffice it to say that the Inquisitors did indeed use torture to break the will of those they considered heretics ) I saw one original torture equipment employed by the Catholic Church . It ain’t pretty.

Below  are photos  of the fortress , courtesy of Wikepedia.




.Above is the view from my hotel room. Super, huh.



.Above photo is a medieval bridge going to the fort.


Another old bridge…..
















.So that’s it for Avignon and Carcassone.

I was supposed to post this before Christmas but I was so busy with holiday activities.  At      work, there were so many  late  holiday shoppers. The best one was on Christmas Eve when a Hongkong businessman came in, a regular client, who bought all the clothes I showed him, mostly Runway clothes. Runway meaning, clothes that have been designed for a runway show of the designer.  I wore each design and showed it to him. So happy that he bought the designs, all sizes. I got a free Runway blouse for a job well done. I’m sure I’m going to get another silver circle.

So, here’s my new blouse. That’s a Runway blouse, okay? * happy dance*



Of course we knew the businessman was coming, so I  had to wear a 4 inch heels, put on makeup, do my hair, etc.  I got 2 more free runway dresses this december.  Almost all our big time clients are Asians ( Japanese, Chinese, Singaporean, Indonesians, Koreans )…. I’m Asian, so I;m the one who gets to wear and show off  the clothes. I have the body build of  an Asian , petite, small boned, etc. They want to see how each dress looks on an Asian girl. So, yeah, that’s part of my job. And I always get something free, right off the bat. Like that red blouse. My manager told me not to take it off anymore. It’s mine.

This is all for now. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL ! !

HAPPY NEW YEAR ! 2012 !!!!!

Hello ! Hey , HAPPY NEW YEAR ! !

Gosh, here I go again, apologizing for neglecting my blog. I can’t make school as my excuse this time coz  I’m on vacation.  (=_=) # Well, first off,  I ‘ve been given longer hours at work, and that’s good.  I need the dough for school and my European trip this summer.  Oh, I’ve written about my Euro trip , right?  Five months to go. When I first wrote about it, it was 8 months to go. Time does fly, doesn’t it?  So, how was everyone’s Christmas ? This year, my family’s Christmas celebration was pretty quiet. There weren’t any guests, just us family. As per family tradition, we went to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. ( Midnight Mass was at 11 PM ) Then after the Mass, we had a simple midnight dinner we call  Noche Buena ( or is it  called Media Noche ? ) . It was just hot chicken /rice porridge and ensaimada ( bread , also called brioche ). It’s melt in your mouth Philippine  bread, topped with butter , sugar and  shredded Edam cheese. We call Edam cheese Queso de Bola.



I started writing this on Dec. 31, 2011. It’s now Jan. 5, 2012. I feel so guilty abandoning my blog like this, but I promise to write more often this year. Make that my New Year’s Resolution.  I’ve been busy doing things that I won’t be able to do anymore  when school opens in 3 weeks……. like hanging out with friends, going to parties, playing video games , and reading mangas. Gosh, I haven’t even read Eragon yet.

So, where was I ?

Oh, yeah, my  holiday activities….. Well, Christmas dinner was just family. We didn’t have guests this year ( that is, if I even consider my Sis’ BF and BFF ” guests “. They’re like family already… this year, he was in San Diego with his Dad, and BFF was in Ohio with her grandma ) . There wasn’t much food compared to last year.

This year…….

As usual, we had eggrolls( lumpia ) and  caldereta ( beef  stew), ham, paella ( Spanish rice ), galantina ( fancy name for chicken loaf ), roast pork, sauteed mushrooms with veggies, and desserts. I’m proud to say I made the paella, my first time to cook that.


Another view of the spread

Galantina and sauteed mushrooms

Desserts ( leche flan, cassava cake, fruit salad , cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, pastries, and muffins ) The small pastries have sweetened coconut in them. In the Philippines, they are called pan de coco.

Cheesecake and chocolate cake ( bought from Costco)………. Oh, by the way, do you see that thing , on upper right hand of the pic above ?  It’s Afghan bread….. it’s flat and it’s 3 feet long, and tastes better than regular sliced bread. And do you see the one on the left? That’s pineapple sweet bread. Sooo good.

So, that’s it, our Christmas day meal.

I was planning to post pics of our New Year’s Day celebration on a separate post but I guess it’s too late now. Anyway,  we didn’t prepare much this year.

So, do I love cooking? Well, I did cook most of the food  seen in the photos, especially the paella, but I can’t say I love cooking.  When my mother was diagnosed with Diabetes and high blood pressure, my sister and I had to take charge of household duties.  Cooking is not a rocket science, anyways, and I’m lucky Mom has tons of recipes that have  already been taste -tasted and rated 5 stars.  You see, before my family immigrated here to the US, Mom had a thriving catering business in the Philippines. Three days before we immigrated to the US, Mom  still managed to cater  for 300 people. It was a convention…….. catering was AM snacks, lunch, Pm snacks, and dinner. I still remember that. It was rather chaotic at our house, so many people coming and going, preparing food. The whole place was like an assembly line.

Now, our New year’s day feast: There was less food on the table. That was okay though. At least we didn’t have to pig out and eat the same food for 3 days.

Almost the same thing . We had  noodles ( pancit ) instead of paella, roast pork ( I love the roast pork, with all that crunchy skin goodness ! Ugh ! So unhealthy ! ) and I made empanada ( meat turnovers )and turrones. ( wrapped fried banana ). We also had mini quiches and wanton soup.

Empanada ( meat turnover…. sauteed ground chicken with potatoes and raisins )

Turrones ( wrapped banana then fried….. it also has brown sugar and jack fruit in it ).

Mini quiches and OMG, that cake ! It’s called Fruit Basket and the taste was sublime ! Ah, but it was a $ 36 – cake, so I ‘m sure the baker saw to it it was worth the price.

Wonton soup ( I made this )\

Ahahaha ! Here’s a horrible random pic of me on New year’s Day. I didn’t get to sleep at all. I got home at 3 AM  from a New Year’s Day party , then cooked and baked the whole morning  for our New Year’s lunch. .,  I looked like a hag in this pic and intentionally picked my nose when Mom took the picture. Bleh. Good thing it’s blurry.

So, what did you guys get for Christmas ? I got a a pair of gold hoop earrings and necklace with my birthstone, and a Wii video dance game JUST DANCE 3  from my parents, a gorgeous leather jacket from my brother, and a nice sweater from sis. My best friend gave a me a nice pair of earrings too. Wow ! I just love Just Dance 3. It’s like having a fun exercise and at the same time,  learning awesome dance moves. There’s another one, Michael Jackson Experience, that I’m going to buy , too. Although they say the dance routine is really difficult to follow. Ha ! I’m sure it is.

Well, to be honest, talking about so much food and material gifts makes me a bit uncomfortable. This is not the real spirit of Christmas, you know. There are millions of children who are starving and suffering  at this very moment. I feel kind of guilty……………  Oh, my, this reminds me again of the story The Little Match Girl.  ~.~  But what can I do ? I just want them to know that amidst this merriment and celebration, I stop and think about them…… that , at least there’s one in this world who has not forgotten .  The truth is, not everyone is happy this Christmas.  Mom;s favorite first cousin died on Dec. 24. She literally died in the arms of her husband while waiting for the ambulance. At first, she was clinging to him, then she went limp. It was so sad.  Then my sister’s ex- boyfriend died from brain tumor on Dec.15.  I heard my sister sobbing in the bathroom . When she got out, she was holding the glass cell phone stand that he gave her and her eyes were really swollen.  It was really a sad story between him and my sister.  In fact, when he was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago, it was only my sister , aside from his family, that he told about his condition.  Well, it was  a short bittersweet relationship , and he told her she was the only girl  he ever loved but he was glad that she broke up with him , because 6 months after the break -up, he was diagnosed with cancer. Oh, man, my tears are falling now. There’s another sad  story I’d like to talk about, but I  don’t want to feel any  sadder than what I’m feeling at the moment.

Oh, I got 3 more Versatile Blogger Award…. one from Koopa , Viv, and trjensen…. my 7th, 8th, and 9th awards. I’ll acknowledge this on my next post. I really gotta publish this now.

This is all for now. PEACE . And be happy !


New Year’s Eve celebration in the Philippines is the best in the world, second to none. Each Filipino household prepares sumptous midnight meals they call Media Noche ( Christmas midnight meal is called Noche Buena ), and this tradition comes from their beliefs or superstition that dinner tables laden with food will stay that way all throughout the whole year.  And Filipinos welcome the new year with a loud bang, literally. Here’s how………. I urge you to click and watch each video . Each video shows only 1/10 of what is really going on there. You have to be there to feel and to believe the awesomeness of how Filipinos celebrate the coming of new year. It’s not a pocket size, corporate sponsored fireworks display. It’s every Filipino household ‘s fireworks show. Listen to the sounds of NEW YEAR IN THE PHILIPPINES!

This one here….. Dad says this is the one that makes a lot of noise, not the fireworks display. It’s called Judas’ belt, and it’s expensive. He says he could afford to buy just 2 belts, and the rest would be triangulos ( triangle-shaped firecrackers that are as loud as the judas belt and are lit individually with a candle and tossed on the street ) By the way, firecrackers are not illegal in the Philippines, though thousands lose a finger or two every year. (^_^);;   The government cannot do a thing about it. It’s tradition.

So, here it is…. the noise on the ground, at GROUND ZERO, and it’s just on one short street…. multiply that by thousands of street s all over the city….. go figure….

2010, bye, New Year 2011, hello!

 2010 is over, goodbye, I hate to see you go, but I, more or less, had a good time, thank you.  So, hello, New Year 2011 ! I hope this new year will have something better for me. Not that 2010 was a bad one… it was , in fact , a good one. I went to the Philippines this summer , met new friends and relatives, had my 15 minutes of fame at Jason Derulo’s concert,  went to see Usher’s concert too.

So, how was my Christmas ? Well, it was rather stressful. Christmas eve, my mother and I went shopping for ingredients. We left at 10 AM. I forgot to eat breakfast, ( and I ate very little dinner the night before, like 4 spoonfuls of something ) and grocery shopping went past lunchtime, so , at around  2 PM, I almost fainted, right there at the grocery aisle. Good thing Mom was with me. I sat down on the floor and mom had my head down between my legs until I recovered.  There was a Chow King nearby, ate something there, but i just threw up  and made a mess of it in the car.  Anyway, once home, we buckled down and started cooking. I made the maja blancaleche flan , and wrapped the bananas and the lumpia ( pork eggroll ) for frying the next day.  Then , the family attended the Midnight Mass, at 10 PM. We got home at 12 midnight, ate the traditional hot rice porridge we call  ” arroz caldo “, and though we went to bed at almost 2 AM, we still hoped we could wake up at 5 AM to resume cooking. But I  guess we were all so tired  we overslept . Mom was the first to wake up at 9 AM !!!!  It was supposed to be a Christmas lunch and we had at least 7 guests coming over.  The stress was tremendous, and  at 11 AM we figured we wouldn’t be able to get everything done by lunchtime, so my sister started calling the guests ( her friends actually ) and moved lunch to  a later hour like 2 PM.  They nevertheless came much later, at 3 PM . The Christmas lunch became a Christmas supper.  They had a good time, emptied 3 bottles of champagne,  and actually left at 1 AM ( this morning ) . Here are some pictures of our Christmas dinner. Not shown in the pictures are leche flan, maja blanca, the teramisu cake and the pretty fruit centerpiece  that I made. There just wasn’t enough space on the table. We put them on the kitchen counter.





My mother and sister miss the Philippinie Christmas tradition.  Midnight mass there is really held at midnight.  Christmas in the Philippines is one of the longest in the world. From Dec. 16  to the 24 th, Filipinos attend a 4 AM Mass, called ” misa de gallo”,  the so-called mass at ” cock’s crow “, a 9- day novena of Masses.  Before 4 AM, church bells ring everywhere, and brass bands parade down the street to wake the people up for the misa de gallo. ( I remember the brass bands…. their music was loud, lol )

On Christmas eve, Filipinos prepare for the Midnight mass and midnight meals after the Mass they call Noche Buena 

We used to observe  this Filipino tradition of Noche Buena, a sumptous meal right after the Midnight Mass, here in the US but It’s not practiced here , even among Catholics.  So, we discarded it 6 years ago and opted for a  lunch or dinner  on Christmas Day.

We opened our gifts after lunch . I got a Kodak digital camera from sis and cash from my parents and brother.  I wished for a PS3, but I guess I’ll have to save for it.

Well, this is all for now. Happy New year everyone ! ! Peace !!!!


Philippine Christmas Feast

This afternoon, my mother, sister and I discussed the food we’re going to cook  for our Christmas feast. Except for the lasagna which my sister has requested , everything else is traditionally Filipino Christmas fare. This is the list of dishes we ” plan” to cook,  and we start cooking tomorrow, the 23rd of December.


2. Lumpia ( Filipino  pork egg roll )    

3. Ham

4. Embutido ( porkloaf)

5. Adobo ( stewed pork in vinegar and soy sauce, considered the Filipinos’ national dish )

6. Pancit Bijon ( Sauteed noodles)

7. Grilled Pork Belly

For desserts:

9. Fruit salad , Filipino style… it has canned fruit cocktail, palm fruit, nata de coco, pineapple, cherries, shredded fresh coconut , all mixed with heavy cream

10. Chicken-macaroni salad

11. Cassava cake

12. Turrones ( wrapped fried banana)

13. Leche Flan ( egg custard)

14. Fruit cake ( we know how it looks…. a ” must ” in Filipino Christmas feast)

15. Puto ( rice muffins )-

16. Assorted desserts already bought from Costco, like Petit Fours, Red velvet cake,  and delicious store bought hors d’oeuvres

On Christmas Eve, the whole family attend the Midnight Mass. In the Philippines, it’s at 12 midnight. Here in the US, it’s at 10 PM . After the Mass, we partake of  a simple meal of hot congee ( rice porridge )

and in the morning of Christmas, we have hot chocolate, pan de sal ( mini French bread ), queso de bola ( Edam Cheese ), and I guess, left -over rice porridge.

and hopefully , our favorite Filipino bakery doesn’t run out of churros and ensaimadas.

Ensaimada is airy, melt in your mouth bread, topped with butter and edam cheese.

Last Christmas, 2009, we had these on the table.

Hair Style, nukes, and reindeer

It’s 5:35 AM, Dec.21,2010. Christmas Day is just around the corner. It’s amazing how time flies so fast.  I haven’t even taken pictures of  my Christmas decorations, as promised on my blog a while back.. There’s really something different about Christmas this year. I feel so uninspired, and , well, not down exactly, just a little unenthusiastic. I just can’t seem to shake off these holiday blues, no matter what I do .  I can’t even come up with a  yearly Christmas wish list. Well, I do have two…. my own PS3 and cash, plenty of cash.  Normally, I would at least have 10.  Oh, and there was this blog that I just read a few minutes ago. It kind of sums up what I’m feeling right now. The blogger wrote just one sentence.  ” Only my  fish keeps me company.” (@__@)

Or, maybe the reason for the blues are the rains. It’s been raining here for weeks, without let-up. While it’s raining here, up north is being pummeled by snow blizzards. Don’t think California is  sunshine all year round.


 Oh, my Lord. I just heard one of the worst Christmas songs ever.  It’s John Denver’s ” Please Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas. ”  Click this and listen…. it’s horrible.  Here’s the problem, though… Sony Corp. is so anal about their music, even this one. As if !!  So, you will again be directed back to You Tube. But if you’re interested, click it anyway. But , of course , no song can top  ” Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer ” for sheer ugliness. But then , that’s just me. LOL 

 That was tough listening, wasn’t it ? Sorry ! LOL

Have you heard of  Hatsune Miku ?    She’s a software that has been created as  a singing synthesizer by Yamaha. And though she doesn’t exist as a human being, she has nevertheless become a singing virtual diva in Japan, and has held a concert  attented by at least 25,ooo screaming human fans. LOL ! Only in Japan. Here it is, click if you’re interested to see a virtual diva . 

I really feel so lame today. There’s nothing to muse about, nothing to mull over,  except a few odds and ends,  a few knick knacks swirling in my brain . I should be thankful there are at least a few swirling up there. I’m not brain dead yet, thank goodness. Although, lately, I’ve been worrying about what’s going on between South Korea and North Korea.  I guess this conflict is even more worrisome than Afghanistan or Iraq because North Korea has nukes in its arsenal, and they have a leader who seems  crazy enough to push the button at the slightest provocation. Well, anyone who doesn’t think he’s got the most horrible hair style in the universe is crazy in my book.   

 Well, of course, Albert Einstein did have a crazy hair cut, but he was a genius, so I forgive him.  On second thought, didn’t his Theory of Relativity facilitate the creation of atomic bomb?  The bomb was created   based on the theory that  a large amount of energy could be released from a very small amount of matter as illutrated by his famous    equation, E=mc squared.



Albert Einstein was  a pacifist. So, I guess I should not have even equated him with that guy above based on hair style.  My bad. Sorry, Mr. Einstein.

This is all for now. Happy Christmas ! Now, don’t get run over by a reindeer and don’t get drunk on Christmas, ya hear ? PEACE !!!!

Wines and Benedictine Monks

Ah, here, click this first before you read on.


Nope, they are not real Catholic monks. They are high school students. < laughs >

The real ones are contemplative monks called Trappists who belong to a Roman Catholic order that follows the Rule of St. Benedict. However, contrary to popular belief, Trappist monks do not take a vow of silence.  But they do take a strict observance of silence, small talk is absolutely discouraged, and they will only speak when spoken to. I figure a Yes or No  response will suffice.

But, not all Benedictine monks follow this strict adherence to silence.   We have pictures that show we once attended a relative’s elementary graduation at his school, Benedictine Abbey, in the Philippines.  I think I was 5 years old in the pictures, so I don’t know why I still distinctly remember seeing a group of  hooded men and later, seeing one monk with hood on, smoking a cigarette.  (^_^)”. 

 St. Benedict’s  Rule is just this…. 1. Stability   2. Fidelity to monastic life   3. Obedience  …… It didn’t say anything about  indulging in one vice or two, like smoking and drinking wine, and merchandising. In fact, most monasteries produce goods for sale to the public, and they, in fact, brew beer that is considered the finest in the world.  In Northern Ireland, where majority are Catholics, there is a monastery there, Buckfast Abbey, that produces a famous wine called, yes, of course, Buckfast.

Here’s a picture of an empty bottle on the street, presumably drunk by a homeless guy.



It used to be advertised as a tonic, but is now considered ” deadly” alcohol by the authorities, due to its high alcohol and caffeine contents. One bottle of  Buckfast  has 15% alcohol and caffeine equivalent to 6 strong cups of black coffee.  \(^_^)/ Good job, monks ! < laughs > Now , why am I suddenly talking about  alcohol ?

Here’s why…….. LOL!

This is a picture of wines in our house, LOL.  Mom cleaned out the cupboards this morning and lined  up the wines covered with  dust ,on the kitchen counter. Don’t get me wrong…… we only drink on special occassions, like on Christmas Day, and definitely on New Year’s Day eve.  And I don’t drink…. but we live just a few miles from the vineyards  , a beautiful , quaint  place here in California called Napa Valley.   So wines here are aplenty. and cheap.

And speaking of coffee…. I woke up at  5 this morning, got up to get my first cup o’joe, and WTH, we were out of coffee !  It was raining very hard, and very, very cold, but it didn’ stop me from driving out to a nearby 7-11 to buy coffee. I bought 2 cups of delicious , hot coffee.  Later, mom told me the coffee was in the pantry. Pfffft !!!!

And here’s something to amuse you. I love the moves ! But  I hope no one gets offended. The dance moves are rather decent, actually.

 This is all for now. Happy Holidays!

Random “philosophical thoughts” and the Little Match Girl.

So, here I am.  The first  day of my holiday vacation, Wednesday, Dec. 15, and so ready to muse…………. 

Well, it’s now Dec. 16, Thursday , 5:28 AM. I started writing the first two sentences above last night but I was so sleepy I could barely open my eyes.  I’m like an alarm clock. There’s no school, but here I am, pounding the keys at 5 AM.  Ah, I’ve written just 5 sentences, and already, I’m starting to blabber. 

 Today is Dec. 16 !!!! My sister’s birthday ! ! !  I guess she doesn’t want to be reminded she’s getting old…  she’s  still drop dead gorgeous, but, I can hear her biological clock ticking, loud and clear. Her boyfriend needs to pop the question already, and soon.  I don’t know what he’s waiting for, really. He practically lives in our house.  Or, maybe because he doesn’t have a steady job ?. He’s a Philosophy graduate and all that, but what  commercial company that gives decent wages needs a philosopher  in its roster?

 Philosophers spell trouble, if you ask me. They think too much. They complicate the simple and elaborate on the obvious.  ” Cogito ergo sum.” I think, therefore, I am.  It simply means  ,  that if you wonder  about your  existence, the act of wondering, in itself , means you do exist.  That’s Rene Descartes’  simple statement that became the basis for Western Philosophy .  I can be nitpicky and argue about the fact that a brain -dead person who’s incapable of thinking  can  exist, too . Technically, that is. In medical world ‘s point of view, a person is considered dead when the brain  does not function anymore. But , of course, the doctors cannot say that to said person’s loved ones.  Having said that,   I’d like to know if there is  such a thing as Eastern Thought  ?.  But, I do not like to think about that now .  Thinking  philosophical thoughts is a hard thing to do.  So, therefore, right at this moment, I do not exist.

About my laptop getting stolen at work, ( my mother’s laptop, actually )…. …. thinking back  about that incident  gave me the willies.   The laptop was easy picking, thank goodness, so the thief  just left me alone and unharmed. But, what if my laptop wasn’t on the counter ?  I’m thinking of  two possibilities …. 1. He could have shoved a gun or knife to my face ,  ordered me to  open the cash box,  then shot or stabbed me.  2.  Same thing, but he could have, instead,   ordered me to go to the freezer room, locked me in there, and left me to freeze to death…… ( pauses )………   I need to vanish these thoughts. It’s Christmas.  I’ll be nice and  just think  the thief  merely wanted some money so he could buy a gift for his little girl.  

Speaking of little girls, Christmas and  freezing to death……………. Have you ever read a book that made such a great impact on your psyche that it changed how you view the world?  Well, there’s this little children’s book titled The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen. I read it when I was 8  years old.  I remember my teacher was a pretty Filipina named Miss Silao. Anyway, I think I made a rather passionate book report about it. ….. I wrote  something like, ” children should be loved, not get beaten, children should just play, not sell matches,  children should be happy, not die on Christmas Day.”  I think Miss Salao was disturbed ,enough that she  talked to me after class.  I remember telling her ( I was in tears, too )  I did not like the book, that it upset me that a little girl died. Miss Silao explained to me  it was just a story the author made up, that nothing like that ever happened.  I don’t remember if Miss Silao managed to appease me or not, but, to this day, I still tear up everytime I think  of the little match girl.  I realize now the story was a mere social commentary of that era. Sadly, it still rings true today. There are millions of children out there that get beaten and abused and  go to bed hungry. But what can I do ? Nothing.  Perhaps, if I don’t think about them, they will cease to exist.

( sighs ) Well, I guess this is all for now.  Just eight days to Christmas, by the way.  Be good, be nice, be courteous, be polite. Peace and goodwill to all men. Happy Holidays !



Exam time, laptop stolen

I’m done with Math. Wooo !  The test was not easy, but not hard, either. Let’s say it was guess estimated.  Today, I’ll have  Ecology and Spanish, and tomorrow, Physics .  Wednesday is my last day, then, Vacation time !!!!! < happy  dance >

Oh, I forgot to tell you. We had a group presentation last week on Ecology. Group was just me and my lab partner, another Filipino. And guess what, he choked ! ! ! Good thing I managed to take over the discussion, and our teacher said it was individual grading. I wanted to wring his neck myself.  That’s what he gets for cramming. (>~<)  I had to help him finish his part of the presentation the whole night at school. We both went  home at 5:30 AM  Thursday, the day of our presentation.  Nasty business.

Alright, about my Mom’s laptop. …………… here’s my story.

I brought mom’s laptop  to  workplace.  Well, my sister borrowed mine , and so I borrowed mom’s.  Around 8:30 Pm, a man came, ordered a pint of ice cream, a flavour that wasn’t displayed on our menu, a strawberry cheesecake flavour.   The laptop was on the counter, and I didn’t think to keep it out of arm’s reach when I went in to the freezer room  to get the ice cream.  It only took a minute to get it, but when I got out, the man was gone, and so was the laptop. Damn ! I called 911, and my boss, then, a cop came and interviewed me, my boss who was at home told the cop there was a video , but it was being recorded at her house, and yes, she saw what happened. The guy took the laptop as soon as my back was turned,  and ran off … he didn’t have a vehicle. When I told my parents about it, my mom freaked out… she didn’t care about her laptop, but she complained about my boss letting  just one person  work at night, and a girl at that.  

It was weird, actually. Minutes  before this incident, an old man came by to buy ice cream, then told me it was dangerous to work alone at night , especially in winter… then he  asked what school I go to, and when I told him, he informed me there were already 7 assaults that occured at our school last month and 1 just last week. I know all about last week.  Then , he gave me a $ 20 tip, and told me to keep it, and not put it in the tip jar. He also gave me a card . He was  a sherrif.   

 Sunday night, I went to work again. Two math classmates came  to keep watch until I closed the store at 10 PM, then we went to Denny’s for an all nighter. They were my study pals…. problem is, what about next time ? Who’s gonna come to watch over me while I work?  Mom promised she’d come early to pick me up and would just wait outside the store.  I really want to quit this job, but this is the only one I can find that works around my school schedule.

Oh, wow ! I didn’t know there was a Filipino on Glee’s cast. I’ve heard good things about this show, but I just can’t find time to watch  tv nowadays, and if I do find the time,  I watch History, Military, and national geographic channels.  Oh, and ID channel, and not to forget SyFy.  (^__^)

Anyone interested in astronomy ? Here’s something that I found from one of the blogs on WordPress. Click it…. it’s awesome !  Do you know the voyager is now 9,000 B miles away from the sun, and do you know that the signals and images we are still getting from Voyager 1  at this very moment have been beamed to us from Voyager  four years ago ?

Hated what I just went through

What shall I talk about this time ? I have a boring routine, that’s my problem. 

 Oh, I know. How about some medical procedures  done on me last Thursday. Well, I had 3 shots for flu, pneumonia, and pertussis.  The doctor thought my cough  sounded nasty so she gave me something for whooping cough. And while we were at it, she suggested  a mammogram. Don’t worry, it won’t take 10 minutes, you won’t be late for class, the doctor said. I froze up when I heard mammogram. The big C ? Oh. my. gosh. I said, ” Dr. Renee, don’t you think I’m too young for that ? ” And she replied,  the big C does not recognize youth. I mulled   it over for a minute or two, then decided , what the heck, go ahead. I’ll take it. So what else do you want done on me ? How about some colon cancer check-up, the doc said. What the heck ! ! !  No way ! ! I poop fine, thank you very much. Geezzuzz.

Well, Kaiser Permanente is big on Prevention, so I guess that’s the reason why they’re so eager to check me up. 

Anyways, the mammogram….. it was quick, just as the doctor said. And  I giggled the whole time the LADY radiologist was doing her job.  ( Emphasis on the Lady ) . She was giggling too, and cracked jokes.  I can’t imagine a male radiologist doing that stuff on women, unless he’s gay.  I mean, geez, she casually scooped up my boobs and parked it on that thing. ( ^_^)’, front and sideways.  Okay, I stop here. It’s not exactly a pleasant topic.  But , ladies, I suggest you get yourself examined, the earlier, the better. It’;s scary, but that’s reality. Ignorance is bliss, that’s my motto, but I think I don’t want to be ignorant about my health.

( sighs)  Gosh, I hate hospitals. All those Christmas decors won’t make a patient feel better, that’s for sure.  Besides, it’s Christmas. How in the world  did I get persuaded  into having these medical procedures at this time of the year ? Mom and I went there just for the flu shots, for crying out loud !!!!! Imagine that>

I just had a chat with a fellow history buff. He even knows what the main language is in the Philippines. It’s Tagalog. Speaking of which, the Philippines is smaller than California, but it has at least 100 different dialects, and the dialects are totally different from one another. It’s crazy. We were at the airport and heard 2 Filipinos talking….. I asked my mother if they were Filipinos because I didn’t understand the language…. mom didn’t either, but she thought it was Pampanga dialect… the place is less than a hundred miles from Manila, the capital city, where  Tagalog is the lingua franca, and that’s what I speak. We have relatives here in the US who are from the north.  They speak their dialect among themselves, which is Ilocano, and it’s sure as heck like Greek to me.  I just think it’s rude to speak a language in another’s presence when that one doesn’t understand the language. This is the reason why ” regionalism ” is so pervasive in the Philippines. Those who speak the same language group together.  Over here in the US, there are Ilocano associations, Visayan associations, etc….. heck, there are even associations of  Filipinos who used to live on the same street in the Philippines.   My parents don’t want to join these associations.  Mom says it’s just a place where Filipinos show off their newly acquired possessions, their BMWs and Mercedez Benzes, their blings, their houses in ” gated ” subdivisions. This gated thingy is a secret joke in my family. It’s a long story.

Ah, I’ve reached over 500 words. Time to say goodbye then.  Happy Holidays to you ! !



If The World Didn’t Suck….

…… we would all fall off  this planet. Well, that’s gravity, our current topic in Physics.  ( ^__^)  Last week  had been kind to me. I got a fairly decent grade in my Physics exam. In Math, I got a 3 – digit score ( 100%, happy dance ) and I  just  feel, oooh,  totally blase about my straight  A ‘s  in Spanish. < flicks hair > Pardon my bragging. After all, I worked my ass off to get these grades.

And , my group garnered an enthusiastic  ooohs and ahhs from the class and a Magnifico from the  teacher when we had our cooking demonstration in my Spanish class. \(^_^)/ My class  was  from 6 PM – 7:20,  my classmates  ate the Fajitas that we had cooked, and I swear, for at least 4 of them, it was free  dinner. I saw them come back for more Fajitas 3 times. My group didn’t even get to taste  it. (~o^). And to think, I had promised mom I’d bring some home. After all, she bought the ingredients. The steak was expensive.

And, I passed my WPJ English exam ! That’s a requirement for graduation. Those who didn’t pass would have to take additional English classes. I was surprised  my Math classmate who is a Math major failed the exam.  He was whining like, ” That isn’t    f!#$%&*ing  fair ! They should also require English majors to take Math ! Let’s see what happens ! ! ! ” Geezuzz ! I thought I would fail myself. My essays were horrible and didn’t make any sense, and I swear, since I passed it, everybody should have passed the exam too, especially my Math major classmate. He’s the one with the logical mind.

I put up the Christams tree and  trimmed  it, all by myself.  In fact, I ran amok and decorated the whole freaking house,  including the toilets.  I even used up the decors mom had already retired. And ,  mom was , like, ” ehrm, aren’t you overdoing it, just a little bit? One more red thing and the house’s gonna explode, I’m afraid. ”  Ha ! I’m not even done yet . Wait  ’til you see the porch .  I’m gonna take pictures of my handiwork as soon as I finish this. ( drools )  Well, at least, my wild decorating spree shook off  my holiday blues.

Well, this is it for today.  As ever, be happy, be nice, be courteous, and be polite. Peace ! !

Random Christmas Thoughts and Wishes \(^_^)/

Back to my early morning musings and random thoughts.  Ah, I think I hear someone snickering, Blogger Alert ! …….( pouts )…… whatever.

It’s December . It’s this time of the year again. I’m sure my family will be celebrating this holiday in a low key way…. no relatives this year.  While driving to the cinema last week to watch Harry Potter, I heard my first Christmas song of the year on the radio. I noted down the time….. it was  7:54 PM and the song was Silver Bells.  I don’t know why, but while listening to the song, I felt a sudden wave of nostalgia wash over me.  Christmas always does that to me. I wonder why. Perhaps, I remember all those happy Christmases past….. Christmas last year with relatives,  reunions with other relatives from Seattle and San Francisco, and most particularly, our Christmas with my cousin JP who lived with us for 3 years to study here in the US, and died at age 25.  I treasure the gifts he gave me…. a sweater, a pair of skates, and a boombox.  Or, maybe , it’s because Christmas holidays are basically for children, and  everytime Christmas comes around, it   just makes me sadly more aware that I’m not a child anymore. Or, maybe, I’m just  simply,  a  sentimental fool. 

I like the cold weather.  One reason why I like it is , I can use my chic coats and my stylish boots. I just love my winter outfits.  But, I am ditching my Ugg boots. Mom has always hated them, and  has  never failed to remind me it’s not flattering on  me,  and  that I look like an Eskimo hunting for dinner in the Alaskan wilderness .  Not that there’s something wrong looking like an Eskimo, but you know what I mean.  ( sigh ) It is so hard to be politically correct at all times.

Anyway, here’s a picture of an Ugg boot. Mine looks exactly like that.

I wonder what I’ll get for Christmas this year. Last Christmas, I got a lot from my aunt, a Calvin Klein purse, a CK  perfume, cash and, don’t laugh, a complete Twilight book series , Britney Spears perfume and cash   from Mom, coat from sis, and a laptop bag from bro. I have not read Twilight. I attempted to, so many times, but I couldn’t get past Chapter 3.  Anyways, here’s my Christmas wish this year. Rejoice that you’re not my Santa < laughs >……. Click to find out what I want for Christmas. Wooo!  Santa Babyyyyy !!!!!! Come on down !





My Holiday musing has just started

It’s Nov. 1. I can’t believe the year ‘s gonna end in exactly 2 month’s time. Wasn’t it only yesterday that I’d talked about Thanksgiving and my relatives ‘s visit during the holidays ?  Our relatives from the Philippines ( my aunt and her 2 sons, a lawyer and a teacher ) came here to the US to visit us , and stayed for one month, Dec. 15 – Jan.15.  We were quite busy entertaining so many people 24/7. We also had a grand  Christmas Day reunion . Relatives from Seattle and San Francisco came over, 6 of them , add 8 of us, and a dog, and that made one  rambunctious Christmas Day party. I wonder though how it’s gonna be this year. I don’t think there’s going to be another reunion. Our relatives from San Francisco moved to Washington, DC, and the ones from Seattle had already told us they couldn’t make it this year. So, I guess  it’s going to be just  family .  But isn’t Christmas supposed to be this way ?  Christmas is the time to be happy, not merry.  It’s not  Rockin’ Christmas, rather,  it’s Silent Night, Holy Night. Sadly, the whole of Christiandom has forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. It has become this boisterous and endless rounds of  parties and debauchery, of brazen and shameless commercialism, of senseless gift – giving. Amidst this holiday merry-go-round, don’t we sometimes feel the need to sit down and think , even for just a moment or two, of the poor and destitute, of children who go to bed hungry, of the homeless who sleep in the streets, shivering in the cold wintry night, of people in war-torn countries who do not even know if they are going to survive the day or  see the sun rising tomorrow. No, I’m not preaching. If you think I am, then I apologize. Please don’t think that I’m this goody – two -shoes, holier -than-thou person trying to impress upon all and sundry how unselfish I am, because, frankly, I am selfish, and more often than not, arrogant and self- centered.  (=.=)

Thank goodness, Holloween is over. Is it just me, or am I right in noticing that it seems  there are fewer kids trick or treating this year than last year? We are again stuck with tons of  chocolate left-overs. I should be happy, but I’m on diet, and mom who loves chocolates cannot eat anything sweet anymore, and the rest  of the family won’t touch them. I’ll bring them to school, then. \( ^_^)/  Some politicians are just a bunch of idiots. They actually passed a law banning 13 year-olds and over from trick or treating. What’s up with that? Well, apparently, some old ladies who live alone are afraid to open their doors to grown up trick or treaters and have voiced their concerns to authorities. Such party-poopers. I guess it can’t be helped. (~.^) I’d be afraid, too. Who knows , I might be opening my door to burglars and home invaders dressed in Holloween costumes, completely masked and suddenly shoving a real gun or knife to my face.

I don’t have a Math class at 10 AM today. But, it’s 10:03 already. I leave in 30 minutes. So, bye for now. Be nice and polite. Peace.