Category Archives: personal

A recap of my 2008, part one.

I am here sitting in front of the computer and getting bored.  I looked up on the wall where my National Wildlife Federation calendar hangs and I see that today is December 15. Yes, were are halfway through the last month of 2008.  I know, I know.  I have wondered aloud many times in the past too, where did the year go?  So I thought what a neat idea to look back on my personal 2008.  I have been blogging for roughly 4 years now and never have I done a recap of my year.  Of course each yearend I read other bloggers recaps of their respective year, and each time I tell myself that I too would do it next year.  So, I am doing it this year.

I remember how 2008 started with rain.  Unfortunately, not much came after the initial showing.  We were close to getting water rationing.  We might still get water rationing summer of 2009 if the snow caps do not meet the norm or the rainfalls are sparse.

In January also husband and I were having a problem, a good problem actually, because our individual vacation cap from our jobs were getting full and we needed to take time off else we would lose further accruals.  While still mulling over where to go or what to do or how much money to spend on said vacay, we received a very disturbing and devastating news.  My MIL who was ill for a total of four days and who was scheduled for surgery in January suddenly expired.  Our dilemma on what to do or where to spend our accumulating vacay time was solved.   Unfortunately, we had to use it on going to Bangladesh for a funeral.

Because availability of vacay time was not a problem with neither of our jobs and the fact that this was considered an emergency situation, we were easily allowed to take time off, as much time as we wanted.  Within three days of getting that dreaded phone call, we managed to arrange everything, including husband flying off to LA to make arrangements with my passport/visa.  Apparently Bangladesh requires visa for US passport carriers.  But it was easily resolved with a stamp that hubby had to personally get from the embassy in LA.

In spite of all the rush, I managed to bring with me a journal where I wrote everything that I experienced in that 20-day trip from my thoughts to the people and places I met and seen.  I am still having second thoughts if I will share that journal/diary entries here.

I was pleasantly surprised at my Bangladesh trip.  It was a very pleasant trip, enjoyable, and educational.  I know the reason we went there was not for R&R, but after the funeral, R&R it turned out to be.  There was very little sightseeing accomplished as my husband and I and the family continually played host to people streaming in and out to extend their sympathies and “check out” the foreign wife.

I don’t think I have written about the fun discoveries from my Bangladesh trip.  Here are a few things that set them apart from the rest of the world, I think.  Here are their traditions sort of:

  • They have rituals performed when a “new bride” (which I was considered to be) enters the husband’s families home for the first time.
  • I have my hair combed and braided by an aunt on the first night in preparation for sleeping.
  • Meals are eaten rather late.  Breakfasts are from 9-11 am.  Lunch from 2:30-4:00.  Dinner from 10:00-11:00.  Of course, there is tea time, around 5-6 pm.  My husband and I have requested coffee in lieu of tea on some days.
  • People entertain friends and relatives in their bedrooms.  Yes, bedrooms.  If you stayed in the living room or were not invited in the bedroom that meant the owners of the home do not consider you close enough to merit a bedroom visit 🙂
  • A  lot of people start coming in to visit after the sun has gone down.  Must be the heat causing this trend/tradition, but it was winter when we went there.
  • Winter there was in the 60s too, pretty cool, and I was unprepared.
  • People love to do two things: eat and chat.   And enjoy paan in between meals.
  • Be prepared to be fed like a truck driver.  People keep shoving food in front of me.  I think I had two dinner invites on one night and eating two dinners is not something I recommend.
  • A new member of the family by marriage gets showered with gifts.

Needless to say I have had a memorable first trip to Bangladesh.  Yes I did say first, I and hoping there would be follow-ups as I just scratched the surface of the country my husband calls home.

Because our tickets were purchased on a very short notice, our return flight from Singapore (there was no direct flight from SFO to Dhaka) to SFO was not available on the date of our arrival from Dhaka.  While my in-laws were lamenting that the three extra days we have before our actual flight back to SFO should have been spent with them, understandably so, my husband thought that we both needed a few days to relax, breathe in and out, and just recharge for the long flight home—in Singapore.  He was very thoughtful in those trying times, thinking of me that I have never seen much of the world and since we were in these parts I should sample Singapore.  Sample we did.  I was glad we did the Singapore (and a day trip to Malacca), because he seemed to be able to gather all his strength back and seemed like the old him.

to be continued….


Posted by on December 28, 2008 in personal


Six Pack

I haven’t done a Six Pack in a long time so I am excited to do another one.

Here are six Christmas traditions of my growing up years:

  1. We did not wrap gifts nor open presents.
  2. We always got new clothes for Christmas.
  3. Attending the midnight mass was a must.
  4. Noche Buena consisted of nilaga, queso de bola, and hamon.
  5. We jumped from anywhere high as soon as the church bell rings on both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve in the hope of getting taller.
  6. Brother #3 always gives out a stick of gum for Christmas. 

Happy Holidays every one.  Peace.


Posted by on December 24, 2008 in list, personal


My World #7: San Francisco Cable Car















Twas a busy week wasn’t it?  I have missed two photo memes last week because of my short break in preparation for Thanksgiving.  And honestly, I am ill prepared for this week’s My World too.  But I am digging something from the archives again.

Here’s another iconic San Fran image,  a moving National Historic Landmark, the cable car is seen here traversing California Street

My World is a photo meme headed by the same people who does Sky Watch.  Please go and visit them and you’ll find  a list of participants for a taste of other people’s world.


Posted by on December 1, 2008 in My World, personal, photo meme


My World #6: Goats R Us

I first saw them many years ago on the local news.  They were being featured after they did “work” for the SFO runway.  Apparently, there are some spots in the runway, where workmen are not allowed and for some reason, they can get access. 


I never paid any more attention to it.  A couple of years later as I was a few yards from home, I hit a little traffic in this residential road.  I noticed the people stopped their cars in the middle of the road to watch them do their work on the hillside.  This particular hillside is a little steep that man cannot do the job.  I thought that was funny that they get tapped to do the job.  The following day, just as I was driving past that same spot, I saw their “ride”.  A trailer with the words GOATS R US was parked on the side of the road. 


Another year past and I was expecting to see them do their usual work of the hillside.  But they were nowhere to be found.  One weekend my hubs and I did our usual walk/photo shoot of our fave regional park, we saw them.  They are now doing this work for the park for fire prevention purposes, as you know California has added fire as the fifth season of the year.  And because I had come here to shoot and walk, I had my camera with me.  Below are the shots I took from that walk.  Taken at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline.


This spring I saw them in the neighboring city clearing hillside brush in the residential area again.  I guess there will be no dearth of work to be done by these handsome beasts.

Is there something similar to this in your world?  I would like to know.  Thanks.


Would you like to see similarities and differences of your world to other bloggers?  Check them out here.


Posted by on November 24, 2008 in bay area, personal, photo meme


L. Vong

There is a blogger out there who’s started to post/showcase her many friends one at a time.  I thought that is an interesting subject to explore.  The attraction of the subject for me also comes from the fact that I have not had “friends” since I left the Philippines.  You know real friends, the kind who knows your insides, knows exactly how your intestines bend and where.  I have made a lot of friends through school—all levels I attended I made bestfriends.  I thought I’d walk the memory lane down to my friends houses.  Would you join me?

Code name:  L. Vong.  I met her in Grade I.  She sat in the same row, she was in the front and I was three or four seats behind her.  What made me remember her [the only thing I remember about her] was the fact that at 7 am she would enter the room with these popsicles [the twin kind], she would eat one right away, and keep the other in her desk[our desk had a compartment for all our things] for recess, which was at 9 am.  I thought that was weird since the popsicle would have melted by then, you know Philippine heat and all.  The funny thing is I never got around to see whether she ate the other one for recess or not.  I reminded her of this later in our friendship but she had no recollection of it whatsoever.

She moved to another school after the first grade.  I met up with her again in high school.  We were in the same class, because of a mix up.  I enrolled in Section 1, but ended up in Section 6 [both are the “good” sections].  The adviser of Section 6 wanted me to be in her class, but all my other friends from elementary school were in Section 1, where we all agreed to be.  Anyway, the separation from my grade school homies proved fruitful as I got hooked up with Elvong and her grade school homies.  We were in the same class for four years. 

Nothing was exceptional with our friendship, we ran around the same circle, went to the same places, did the same things, laughed at the same jokes, and gossiped together, attended the same church, etc.

We roomed together in Manila for one semester. I think that was when we really bonded.  I got to know her sisters more and I learned that she was way cooler than I expected or even knew.  By the second semester we parted ways.  But every free time from school we had, we got together.  I was introduced to her new sets of friends.  The remarkable thing about her is that the saying: BIRDS OF THE SAME FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER does not apply.  She made friends with everybody.  She was seen with the good girls and also with the Lindsay Lohans and Paris Hiltons of our town and yet people admired her for accepting these women as her friends.

She was overly protective of people she loves and dedicated to her duties.  When her bestfriend, another classmate, left for Germany, L. Vong assumed the best friend’s role as daughter and sister.  I was dragged to the best friend’s house to visit and check their situtation.  The parents were only too thankful that L. Vong was checking up on them, on how the crops are growing, on whether they have been spared of the seasonal fever and cough, those sort of things. 

When she married a boy from our circle, I was only too happy.  They were perfect together.  Plus the boy had suffered enough, we thought.  He waited and waited for years until she finally said yes.  And I was one of the many who was godmother to her first born.

I remember she was the only one who really knew me  that well.  Knew me too much she taught, er showed me how I am.  One day we were having a friendly poker game, she called me out for being way too cautious.  I never realized that I was that way.  You see mathematically speaking, my cards were way too good not to risk a high bet.  Our bets were candies at that time.   There was like a 10% chance that I would lose that hand, still I bet a measely 5 candies, if I remember correctly.  I think that was the first time I heard someone tell me, LIVE A LITTLE.  I remember taking a long pause and saw the whole situation, like an out of body experience (which could really be due to our alcohol conspumption), and I questioned myself why I didn’t take that risk, after all what was I going to lose?  Candies?  Candies that I was never going to eat anyway since I wasn’t into hard candies.  But stubbornly, I did stand by my bet.  You of course knew, I got heckled for being such a chicken. 

Anyway, I remember her today because September is her birthday.  It’s been 15 years since I last celebrated her birthday with her.  I miss my friend.

(Author’s Note:  This was written in September and has been sitting in my draft folder.  I miss her this Holidays too.)


Posted by on November 18, 2008 in friends, personal


My World 5: Crab Season

IMG_0114, originally uploaded by airam94564.

This weekend was the beginning of crab season here in the Bay area. For the last two weekends, I found myself crabbing. Initial reports claimed that the crabs were aplenty.

For the first weekend, on November 8, we went to Berkeley Marina. It was a cold windy day, but the pier was full of people with more people have crab nets than fishing poles. We were able to haul medium-sized stone crabs that barely clear the size restrictions. Those we cooked as Singaporean chili crabs, yummylicious.

Last Saturday, after learning that the best spot to go crabbing is by the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, off we went and found that pier you see from across the foot of the Golden Gate. People were crabbing there too and the time we arrived we saw someone pulling up her net and catching a big one, a stone crab and not a dungeness that’s the signature crab of the SF.

Both me and my crabbing companions have a tough day so far and a very tiring one too, but the minute we sat and threw our nets in the water, we found comfort in the beautiful 80-degree weather with the Golden Gate Bridge glowing in the sun. We all have been living in this area for years and years and never have we seen the bridge this way. We were all one in saying this is why the tourists keep coming here. Every light shows a different beauty to the bridge. We let our husbands deal with the nets as I just took photos. This one is not one I took from Saturday. But that’s my shadow taken November of last year.

After a seal had taken all our baits, we decided to just get closer to the bridge so we left Fort Baker pier and drove a few minutes across to the other side of the Golden Gate and enjoyed our first Golden Gate sunset.  We went home crabless and crabby because a seal outwitted us, but we were treated to a home-cooked Indian dinner by our crabbing companions.  It was a good Saturday in my world.

To see more of other people’s world and/or to join in showing your world, check out MY WORLD.


Posted by on November 17, 2008 in My World, personal, photo meme, Uncategorized


How to Lose Weight Without Exercise

With the upcoming Holiday season and all the eating we are going to do, I thought I’d post this reminder or tip to lose all those calories we are surely going to inhale.

Proper weight control and physical fitness cannot be
attained by dieting alone. Many people who are engaged
in sedentary occupations do not realize that calories
can be burned by the hundreds by engaging in strenuous
activities that do not require physical exercise.

Here’s the guide to calorie-burning activities and the
number of calories per hour they consume.

Beating around the bush. . . . . . . . .75

Jumping to conclusions . . . . . . . . 100

Climbing the walls . . . . . . . . . . 150

Swallowing your pride. . . . . . . . . .50

Passing the buck . . . . . . . . . . . .25

Throwing your weight around (depending on your
weight). . . .50-300

Dragging your heels. . . . . . . . . . 100

Pushing your luck. . . . . . . . . . . 250

Making mountains out of molehills. . . 500

Hitting the nail on the head . . . . . .50

Wading through paperwork . . . . . . . 300

Bending over backwards . . . . . . . . 75

Jumping on the bandwagon . . . . . . . 200

Balancing the books. . . . . . . . . . .25

Running around in circles. . . . . . . 350

Eating crow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225

Tooting your own horn. . . . . . . . . .25

Climbing the ladder of success . . . . 750

Pulling out the stops. . . . . . . . . .75

Adding fuel to the fire. . . . . . . . 160

Wrapping it up at the day’s end. . . . .12

To which you may want to add your own favorite
activities, including:

Opening a can of worms . . . . . . . . .50

Putting your foot in your mouth. . . . 300

Starting the ball rolling. . . . . . . .90

Going over the edge. . . . . . . . . . .25

Picking up the pieces after. . . . . . 350


Posted by on November 12, 2008 in list, meme, personal



IMG_0036, originally uploaded by airam94564.

They were friends,had mutual friends and belonged to the same clique. She thought he was always there for him. He was. In high school, he would tease her with any boy who would show interest in her. She was always comfortable with his company. She would allow him to do her math homework, despite her inner voice telling her not to. She did because he always volunteered. She would correct the ones she thought were erroneous, but there were so few of those cases/problems that merited her correction.

They [the clique] remained close through college even though everyone went to different universities. They would maintain close contact, meet during school breaks, and write to each other in between breaks.

The closeness stayed through their post collegiate days when they all shared the pains of applying for jobs and waiting endlessly for call backs.

All through this, he was secretly carrying a torch for her, which she knew nothing about. Everyone in their circle knew, however. The girls told the boys she knew nothing about it and that he was misreading all the signs. She remained close to him, considered him her very close friend. What she thought was the same treatment she was giving him all these years were now being colored differently by him because of these feelings he suddenly felt for her. She remained clueless. Sure, she would catch him staring at her, or sometimes all his focus was on her, but she brushed those aside as inconsequential. It simply did not occur to her he would break the pact—no hooking up in this group. Of course that pact had become null as two other couples came out of this group. He was wishing they would be the third couple. She was wishing for someone else.

It all unravelled one weekend trip to the beach. She brought friends with her from college, a couple. He did not know they were a couple. He got really jealous when he started teaching her to swim. She had no clue he was stewing while she was trying her dog flaps with this college friend next to her on the water.

When they all got back from the trip, she was informed. He was hurt. She could not understand why her desire to learn how to swim would inflict him pain.

They sat her down and explained that in a span of about two years he was carrying this torch for her. She told them she had no knowledge. They all agreed with her that she was plain dense when it comes to these matters. She was, they said, after all only focused on a single person, the one not from the group, but the group actually liked him too.

She tried to talk to him. But by then he got really nasty. A bad side of him that she had never seen before was in full display. She was put off by this ugly side of him. And she too brought out her claws ready for the battle.

By then the friendship that was developed for over 10 years had gone up in smoke. There was no way to salvage it, despite friends’ intervention. He eventually eased out of the group. She stayed put.

A year or so later, she came to her senses. She tried to write him and apologize for what she termed as her “insensitivity to his feelings”, but he was by then still consumed by his anger that no amount of reasoning would sway him. It was a friendship lost.

Authors note: I am personally saddened by the demise of this friendship as I personally know both parties. Sometimes pride and failure to communicate wreaks havoc that is irreversible.

I was listening to this song, Apologize, and heard the lyrics, “its too late to apologize“, and immediately remember this story. I will be posting the lyrics to the song, I don’t know what the song is about to be really honest. I know this post is about that line—it’s too late to apologize.

Here’s the lyrics to the song.


Posted by on November 6, 2008 in personal, soundtrack of my life



WOO   HOO !!!!

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Posted by on November 5, 2008 in personal



He’s Not Eating A Balut, you think?

It’s crazy when I have his blog on my blogroll and I have to find out about his travel from other bloggers.  One of my fave tv personalities had visited and taped his Philippine show.  We all waited for this right?

Check this out.

He did say he’s not eating a balut.  He better not.  A foreigner eating a balut is as hackneyed as listening to Charice Pempengo belt the same old same old Whitney ditties or that Dreamgirls song.

Needless to say, I can’t wait for the airing—next season?

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Posted by on October 28, 2008 in personal, tv