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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Faye's Favourite Things: Tinted Windows

In highschool when most girls my age were salivating over Hollywood hunks, my sister and I had our eyes GLUED only on grunge rockstars. We both gushed over and maybe even fallen in love then with Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell, Evan Dando, Shannon Hoon, Jeff Buckley. I have to confess too I found Jon Bon Jovi and John Rzeznik extremely sexy (it's probably the voice that had me. but don't they look alike too? but they're not grunge rockstars anymore lolz). I could go on (but everyone else evades my memory now, tabby maybe you can help?). Half of this list have of course already left this world (can you say we have a penchant for guys who die young? hahaha i hope not).

I've since gotten over that phase in my life. But today, a friend sent me a copy of Tinted Windows' album and I'm smitten once again. TAYLOR HANSON, why do you have to be so darn good looking???? and so talented to boot???? I'm in the middle of a serious paper pile issue here and yet you had me pausing to ogle at your photos! Sigggggggggggggggggggggggggh. Please excuse me. I get overly girly when I'm crushing over a rockstar. Please, please, please come visit the Philippines soon TINTED WINDOWS! I am now a super fan. I will be playing this entire album on and on and on until my ears bleed. And yes TAYLOR, I shall stare at your photos until my eyes are sore.

And here's a photo of what wiki would describe as THE SUPERGROUP:

they probably really are THE SUPERGROUP: James Iha, Taylor Hanson, Adam Schlesinger, Bun E Carlos

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Better Me: An Update

And so, a quarter past me making this post of making a better version of me by the end of this year and actually promising to do something about it in writing, here's how far I've gone:

photo source

Good news:
-I lost another pound so that brings me down to 105 from 108 in the beginning of this year.
-I can now fit into my skinny jeans. (Well I still wore them when my waistline was around 29-30 inches but of course my mid-section wasn't a very pretty sight to look at)
-I feel better, lighter. I wasn't able to do a long run since my 21k stint at Condura last February but I can finally claim that my easy runs these days are really easy and I always feel like I'm flying every time I do my 10-15min fartleks.
-I've been incorporating weights into my cardio workouts and I'm feeling a lot stronger than I've been in years.
-I've been on the green smoothie brekky diet for 5 weeks now and I am positive that I can now keep up with the 5-day a week plan. There are days when I wince at the thought but I just push myself to prepare the greens and I'd always end up finishing a big glass or two. (big yay for me, right?)
-I've been off rice during dinner for two weeks now and I don't wake up starving anymore unlike the first few days that I was on this diet.
-On the work-front, there were recent changes which I hope is going to be for the better (especially for me). I am now challenged as ever (in a positive way). I am also starting my Nihonggo classes soon and some Microsoft excel training which is a BIG motivation for me to do better.

photo source
-My lipid profile in early January yielded normal results for my LDLs, HDLs and Cholesterol. (big yay again!) I've been off the meds for four months now. Doctor says I just have to retain the exercise and the food portioning and I should be fine.

-I have started reading 3 books. And I have yet to finish any one of them. I have really lost my reading mojo. If you find it, please let me know right away okay? I will come to get it ASAP!
-I have been doing less and less recipe experimenting in the kitchen since I've been eating less and less. I hope I won't be losing my cooking mojo as well :(
-Because the diet seems to be working, I'm getting less and less motivated to do my regular runs. I need to find something to push me harder soon. If I want to be better equipped for July's second half-marathon, that is.
-I am nowhere near my goal to cut down my caffeine consumption. Any tips on how I can curve my caffeine appetite?

photo source

Okay, these are what I can come up with for now. I hope I can make this a regular quarterly update just so I can check my progress. Wish me more luck, I really need it (lolz)!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Earth Day 3am Thoughts

I hit the sack too early and now I am up at 3am. I have been trying to lull myself to sleep for the last 20 minutes and yet sleep just seem to be eons away now. I gave up and decided to try writing my thoughts down instead. What thoughts? I actually had jumbled ones few minutes ago. Then I launched my chrome browser and saw this:

Today is Earth Day and the Google banner suddenly reminded me of my earlier plans to write a lengthy, hearty post on ways that we could take care of the earth. That too seemed eons away now and I'm left with nothing to write anymore.

Maybe I should just write about how Earth conservation has become a 'silent' passion for me. Silent because  I don't think I deserve the label environmentalist, conservationist, or  Earth/nature warrior. I don't think I've done something monumental to deserve such. But I do love the Earth very much and I am probably drawn deeper to it than I'd imagined.

I grew up surrounded by nature having lived in an agricultural province for 20 years and having been raised and fed by agriculture, I just know I am somehow obliged to give back what nature has done for me. My family has been toiling land since I could remember and is still toiling it up until this day. And I don't think we are going to give that a rest anytime soon. Nature has afforded us so much, I could never take it for granted. So despite moving away and setting up a new life for my own family miles away from that place I grew up in, I try my best to still give back. I live in the premise that even small, trivial acts of love for nature can be great ones when compounded with other small efforts. And I'd really like for my kid to learn to appreciate what nature and the Earth has provided her as well.

I keep a bowl beside me each time I get busy in the kitchen.
A bowl for peels and veggie scraps
to hand over to my husband later for his compost.
So I started with my household. My husband who before marrying me has never concerned himself  with garbage segregation and composting has now eagerly taken up that duty. My four year old daughter knows her plastic trash should always go to the bin (she pockets her candy wrappers if a bin is nowhere in sight or she would hold on to her trash until we see a bin). Small steps leads to big ones. I make the effort to always check and make sure I have a reusable shopping bag with me because to me using paper bags are just the same as using plastic (I see millions of trees killed every time I see stack and stack of brown paper bag in the SM Supermarket counter but that's just me). I almost always never leave the house without them (and I'm actually starting to subconsciously collect reusable bags of all kind hahaha but I'm looking at the stuff I've accumulate and I'm actually loving them).

Small steps can also invoke change. Small steps can also contribute. Small steps can influence others too.

At work, I put out the lights in the pantry and the bathroom when nobody's using them. I now make the effort to ALWAYS put off my desktop before I head home (and make sure the monitor is also off). I segregate my waste when I'm at work (well most often than not) and try to recycle as much paper as I can (because my heart always bleeds when I see a huge stack of paper going to the trash).

I think being aware that me alone can wreck havoc in Earth makes a whole lot of difference. Because by being aware of the damage I can make, I tend to think twice, thrice, many times before I do something to nature. I hope do the same too. When you're enjoying your time at the beach, try to make sure you don't leave your garbage behind Whatever you brought in, you bring it back because the beach doesn't need any of that. When you're out nature tripping, don't leave any trash too. The mountains don't need your empty water bottles and your plastic utensils (next time just bring the real, reusable ones okay?). I could write more but it's just too painful for me to recall now how our indifference is hurting the Earth so much.

I know you might have read this a million times before, but when will this ever stick to you? YOU CAN'T JUST TAKE AND TAKE. YOU HAVE TO GIVE BACK TOO.

I know I am far from being the perfect Earth citizen. But in knowing that, I believe I am doing something already. By knowing that, I now take caution. Because I don't want to harm MORE than I've already did.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My-Take/Recipe: Mama Aida's Sipo Egg

Eggs are one of our VIP (very-important-pantry) must-haves . We just cannot afford to go out of stock because this is the only food that Maia never says no to. When everything fails, to the eggs we go.

Aside from the common chicken eggs, Quail eggs have also become a recent favorite of our little growing kid. She discovered how delish that teeny tiny egg was when she first tasted her Lola Aida's (my mother in law) Sipo Egg dish. My mother in law is Kapampangan so yes, her cooking skills are just way, way beyond my reach. But once in a while, I try my best to replicate her cooking to appease (mostly Tibs) our household's longing for her dishes.

I've long wanted to share the recipe for this dish but I just couldn't figure out how SIPO is spelled. Thanks to Google and for this recipe's popularity in Kapampangan feasts, I got several hits and found several other variations to this recipe that I do plan to try in the future (well, mainly because they had more veggies in them so I wanted to try and introduce that to Maia as well).

For this particular recipe, you will need:

1 pack (about 250g) of mixed frozen peas and carrots (yes fresh is even better)
about 100g of chicken gizzard, cleaned and cut into small, bite size pieces
1 piece of med sized onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 pack or can of cream of mushroom soup
about 2-3 tsps of butter (no need to melt)
about 2 tsps of olive oil (mixed to a tsp of butter)
24 pcs of boiled quail eggs, peeled

How I did it:

1. Saute onion and garlic in butter+oil mixture.
2. Add the chicken gizzard and over low fire cook till done (I like to cook ours really well and by well, I mean browned)
3. Add in the frozen veggies (make sure they're already thawed).
4. Pour in the mushroom soup. (Dilute the cream of mushroom soup in about 4 cups of water if you're using the powdered kind but when you have the canned (condensed) version, just pour directly.)
5. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
6. Add in the peeled quail eggs and serve hot.

This can feed about 4-6 hungry stomachs. Enjoy!

I added in some broccoli stems here since I had some left from the day before. The eggs were peeled by the little girl and she happily devoured the vegetables and eggs right after I served it.
I couldn't be any happier.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Re-assessing Priorities

At the beginning of this year, Tibs and I felt we are finally ready to get pregnant again. I never thought that day would come but we just woke up one day and felt that sense of readiness. Yes, its true that really happens sometimes. It was funny at first because last year, each time we'd bring up the topic of having another baby, Maia would blatantly refuse to move forward and would insist she doesn't need a sibling. So we didn't consider. But it started unfolding towards the end of 2011, when Maia would often yearn for company and would seek her village friends and cousins. Maybe that tickled our subconscious and started us rethinking but I guess what matters to us really is that we felt that readiness that we initially thought would never come.

So timely was this plan to get pregnant again because my yearly visits to my doctors were coming up and I had the perfect opportunity to get everyone's blessing before we really consider making this a part of this year's plans. My OB was the first to give her blessings. She actually wanted us to work double time since she doesn't want me getting pregnant past 35 considering my medical history. She wanted to avoid age-related complications and risks. Next came my surgeon and yes she agreed with my OB-Gyne. She agrees, I'm still in perfect shape and should really try to have another baby. Then everyone else gave their go - Cardio, Neuro. It was happy news for us. 

And so we begin. Wish us luck!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reality Checks, Empty Fridge And Post-Vacation Rants

We just came home from a 5-day vacation at my parents' place in Antique where pampering is the best. I love being at home because I get a break from a lot of things related to household management mostly. Being home at my parents is my break from my adult life and I always look forward to that.

The only downside from all this is the loooooong travel from Cavite to the Pasay airport, Pasay airport to Iloilo airport and Iloilo airport to Antique. That almost consumes an entire day. So yesterday despite being really beat up from the commute we are more than happy to finally welcome rest. BUT (Wait) I open the fridge and realize in dismay, I cannot summon rest just yet because 1) I have to figure out fast what to feed my family for dinner because 2) it's getting dark soon and I do have to rush to the market if I want to have time to rest before I prep dinner. Yes, you thought right. Food deliveries are not a popular option in this household. Well, I can't claim that to be 100% true but we do try our hardest not to make it an option. Today, I'm glad I still had the energy and willpower to choose what my conscience tells me to be the best option.

The sight of an empty fridge always makes me feel really down. Yes, I am my mother's daughter and a fully stacked pantry and fridge (for that matter) gives me some sort of peace and calmness (aren't most wives are anyways?). What's even worse is, I've parked my menu planning mojo for 5 days so my creative brain has yet to awaken. I was in no mood to think of what to cook for the next 3 days. But of course, I just couldn't let that laziness get to my core (aha! some drama finally). At that point, I also realized I do have to reclaim responsibility. Reality check - I am now back to my very own kingdom. Where everything rolls because I command them to. Or rather, because I do the rolling myself. (this is what happens to mommy bloggers who go on long breaks)

So I took out a pen and some paper and made a list - shrimp, fish (yeah that generic because i always get disappointed when i get to the market and not find the specific fish that i was looking for), onions, tomatoes, spanish sardines and some ingredients for my green smoothie breakfast tomorrow (buko juice, bananas, pechay). Tibs helped me out of my misery by deciding what he wants for dinner tonight and he asked for his favorite pasta (thank God for helpful husbands). Well, at least tonight's dinner is solved. Tomorrow will take care of itself (it always does anyways). 

While I was putting together that list, a memory from the past stabbed me. I thought of how different I am now to the Faye that I was say...6,7 years ago? Yes, I've mastered my independence early because I had to be away from my family when I went to college and eventually for work. I learned to do my own laundry, cook my own food, all the basics that would factor out TAKING CARE OF ONE'S SELF. Yes, I could take care of myself then. But 90% of the time too, I yielded to the call of procrastination. Nobody owned my time so I had plenty of time to dilly-dally and cram the last minute. 

BUT Not now. Not these days. No, not anymore. 

Well my concern these days actually ONLY evolve around the issue of feeding. But most days, that really alone is burdensome. And I always feel like I'm carrying a big weight around my shoulders when I don't get the menu done. Or if I couldn't think of anything to cook with what I have in the fridge. It is as if my family will starve if I don't act immediately. Yes, I do over exaggerate. And I tend to push drama into almost every situation, don't I?

In the end, after I've gone through my short list and mentally approved it, I realized I am in fact happy with obsessing myself on matters like this (i.e. feeding my family). Because the reality is -- I value responsibility in more ways than I could actually fathom. I guess it's the sense of responsibility that really fuels me to be passionate about this role. Well apart from of course, unconditional love (which on times like these when exhaustion tended to overpower you is easily forgotten) and mother's instinct (which I tend to lose too when I'm on the verge of a meltdown).

I want to be a super wife and a super momma. Sometimes, I'd like to be a super daughter and a super sister too. And a super friend as well. But at the end of the day, it is ME who affirms my being extraordinary. Not the people who helped define me as a wife, mother, daughter, sister or friend. 

TODAY I was super and extraordinary. And I am giving myself a big pat in the back for that.

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