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Friday, June 28, 2013

Inspiration Friday

I thought my life at work can't get anymore tougher than how it's been in the past 3 months but apparently, it still can. That's how horrible this week has been for me. I would wake at 2am-ish and couldn't get back to sleep anymore. That's how bad my work issues have been nagging me. They hunt me even in my sleep. I was never the type who allows herself to be bothered at home by work but my life just seemed to have turned upside down these past few months (sometimes I look at the mirror and ask, do i still know you? wahaha joke lang)

At 2 am, I am always close to pulling my hair and shouting at the top of my lungs: "Stopppppppppp!...I want my old life back." 

So bratty eh? 

But that's just a knee-jerk reaction really. A glass of cold water always does the job of cooling my troubled mind off. And I start telling myself, "you know you can do better than that." Then I start counting sheep and finally fall back to sleep at a thousand and one.

Several times this week, I'd catch myself deep in thought...with just one particular thing running in my mind -- can I just focus on being a mom and wife instead? I know I'm at my ultimate best (ultimate na. best pa.) in this role. Why can't I just choose to be that?

Again, so bratty. And immature.

When co-workers get so overwhelmed by work they usually run to me for inspirational stuff, and I often am able to give them a boost. But why can't I do the same for myself? It's so damn hard convincing myself THIS TOO SHALL PASS. 

BUT I do know for a fact, it will. So I probably should just stop at this point and picture a warm, sunny weekend   with my fab fam instead. Our garden has just been restored to it's old self I can almost here it calling out for us to set up a cozy breakfast table filled with our pinoy breakfast favorites. Yes, I should probably do that tomorrow. Or maybe on Sunday morning after completing our 10-miler.

Now that sounds like fun.

Okay so enough with the drama. I better start chanting what the poster above says. And I'm just really happy I have a very supportive family who are always ever willing to give me tons of hugs for comfort. 

I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead! Sharing some more inspiring words I got from Pinterest (along with all these other posters in here):

Friday, June 21, 2013

My A-Z (Little Facts About Me)

 Thanks Sha for tagging me (I love meme's and enjoy reading them).

Without further ado, presenting my A-Z:

A. Attached or Single? Attached and will never be detached. :)

B. Best Friend? Scarlet. (because we've been friends for so long and we read each other's minds -- ay ako lang pala i can read her mind wahaha)
Pero baka may magtampo, a have a handful of super close friends too. And you know who you are :)

C. Cake or pie? Hmm, I'll go for pie. But will take cake in the absence of. Hahhaa (what can i say, i have a sweet tooth)
Bag of beans' Apple Pie
D. Day of choice? Friday! There's just something about Friday that totally erases whatever crappy memory I have of the current workweek.

E. Essential Item? I dreaded saying this but now -- my mobile phone, i think. (I'm totally attached now. Sadly)

F. Favorite color? Green. Any shade of it, except for Neon.

green was actually my wedding motiff
(not very evident in the cake color but yes i love green)
G. Gummy bears or worms? Not a fan of either but if i really have to choose will take the sour worms.

H. Hometown? Belison, Antique (i never heard of such place. but it's a very quite town and i always miss it!)

I. Favorite Indulgence? Dark chocolates and freshly brewed coffee (sorry that's two. i can't help it hahaha)

J. January or July? January because our family has a lot of celebrations in this month. And cliched -- but true, right? New Beginnings.

K. Kids? One adorable but mischievous kid. (probably going to be the one and only so i'm really trying to fill up my patience bank now)

L. Life isn’t complete without? My family. They are my most prized treasure.

M. Marriage date? 10.20.07

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 1 little bro and 3 little sisters (but they're all adults now and all bigger than me)

O. Oranges or Apples. Apples. Just because I'm too lazy to peel off oranges

P. Phobias? Mall crowd (hahaha di naman may term ba dun?)

Q. Quotes? "No pain, no gain" -- this was in my HS yearbook. still stands true till now esp when I'm training for a marathon. Hahaha

R. Reasons to smile? Tibs and Maia. God's providence.

S. Season of choice? Summer because this is when I get to take longer leaves at work and come home to Antique to reunite with my family

T. Tag 5 People. Almost everyone i know in the blogging world has been tagged. But just like Aimee's note: if you haven't been tagged yet and you want to join, feel free to tag yourself! :D

U. Unknown fact about me? Before I became a parent, the only nursery rhymes that I can sing/recite from memory is Jack and Jill and Twinkle, twinkle little star. Haha.

V. Vegetable?  The dark green leafy ones (Pechay, Malunggay)

W. Worst habit? Not prioritizing sleep. And cramming. (okay that's habits)

X. Xray or Ultrasound? Uhmmm ultrasound? Because it's more safe and reliable?

Y. Your favorite food? Anything with sabaw. (soup dishes)

Z. Zodiac sign? Cancer.

So that's about it. This sure was fun to do!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Scenes From Japan: Foodtripping in Nagaoka (Day 1 Neneya)

Chow time!
Day 1: Neneya
May 20, 2013

We found this restaurant after walking within the vicinity of Nagaoka Station for almost an hour. We were starving and extremely exhausted from travelling for almost THE entire day (left Manila at 9am, arrived in Tokyo at 230pm and checked in at Hotel Mets in Nagaoka at around 6pm already). We unpacked a few of our things for work, freshened up a bit and went down around 7pm to eat but to our dismay would find out  that most restaurants around the area close early (at around 730pm most shops are already closed). 

We were almost ready to give up and opt for a fastfood meal at the KFC store that we found near the Cocolo supermarket but decided to check out the other side of the road and found this gem of a restaurant at the second floor of a building that turned out to be housing several seafood restaurants as well. This was a private dining restaurant - meaning, every table is enclosed in a small room (the one we were ushered in was just big enough for my co-worker and me) - and we were expecting premium food prices but surprisingly, according to my Japanese co-worker was just right (not too pricey).

We opted to dine light so we ordered food that were mostly with veggies. The main course was a rice dish since the Niigata Prefecture is really popular for it's rice (and yes, sake).

Oh after taking a bite of our appetizer, my co-worker and me agreed the one hour walk was worth it. We took our sweet time finding a good restaurant to welcome us and we found just the perfect place.

Without further ado, I present to you photos of our day 1 foodtripping:

Even in a province like Nagaoka, almost everything is still automated. Even these doors are operated by those buttons at the left. Ah, the perks of being in a first world country
what looks to be canadian bacon on a bed of greens and some cherry tomatoes
munching on our appetizer with  a tall glass of my all-time fave dinner drink - Ume Sour to go with it
the sweetest, most savory raw cabbage i've ever tasted.
would've been best if they used less seasoning here but still it cannot be denied that
vegetables are the best here in Niigata.
Mozzarella slices on a bed of slightly spicy Kimchi.
Not very fond of Kimchi but it was really good combo here with the spring roll chips and the mozzarella slices
the highlight of this dinner. it was so good. but i forgot to ask what it was called.
Eating was probably my stress reliever on these back-to-back trips to Japan. But suffice to say, regardless of how much weight I've put on in just a week, I'm happy I had the opportunity to take my palate to explore the food offerings of this beautiful country.

We All Live For The Weekend.


from Pinterest
And if this gloomy weather's starting to dampen your Friday mood. Here's something to cheer you up:


all photos and poster in here are from Pinterest. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Life Lessons: On Enduring and Pushing For A Goal

During lunch a few weeks ago, a Japanese colleague popped this question while on the discussion of health and fitness: Does any of you take up running as a form of exercise? I always am curious what long distance runners are thinking every time they run that far. Because me, after 2 kilometers, I usually end up asking myself: WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?

That solicited a hearty laugh from the group. And most of them expressed that they can relate to our colleague. And then someone asked: Has anyone here ever tried running a marathon?

*Blush* I cleared my throat and say: I HAVE! (Then all eyes are suddenly transfixed on me. On this tiny little woman, seated quietly in the corner)

'REALLY???', a colleague blurted (to clear the silence most probably), ALL 26 MILES?

'Yes. I did. But I finished it for more than 6 hours. And it was really agonizing'


(that last statement wasn't really verbatim. i honestly cannot remember what the exact words were. but at this point, i was really blushing from head to toe. i am not used to that kind of attention. but i thought, now is the time for me to inspire more people to get fit)

After that rather embarrassing exchange, I went on to tell them that yes, despite months and months of training I still get to the point where I start asking myself that same question. But when you've ran 30 kilometers already, there's no point in stopping and turning back. Push a little harder to finish the remaining 12 kilometers. And that's what really makes it all the more special. That point where you start doubting if you can finish. And yet, still find the energy to finish despite of.

Or you  can also turn it all around.

Yes, the experience is agonizing. Terribly agonizing. Hunger creeps in, your muscles start to twitch and a cramp attack seems pretty imminent. Dehydration, a side stitch, lead legs, a tiny throbbing pain starts in your head signalling a developing migraine. The list can be endless.


- look up and see how blue the sky is. (oh it's looks like a fine day to play outdoors)
- be fascinated by how white the clouds are and how beautifully shaped they are
- look sideways, and see trees beautifully lined
- look to the other side and smile at the person running next to you (you're both healthy enough to run a race, isn't that awesome)
- pause and take a sip of your water or energy drink and acknowledge how good that actually feels

The list can be endless too.

As with life, finishing an agonizing full marathon is also a matter of perspective. Of course, the contribution of training cannot be undermined. Training  will help decide in what condition you will finish a race. But it is the heart that will give you the strength to endure the pain and exhaustion when everything else tells you it's impossible to do so.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Scenes From Japan: The Artist At Ueno Park

If I get another chance to come back to Ueno Park, I will definitely get at least a piece of this man's art to bring home with me. 

I almost did you know and regret that I didn't listen to that tiny voice that was telltng me, there might not be a next time anymore. But the pinoy in me (who likes to attach a peso value to every purchase I make abroad) won over and walked away. 

The first time I saw him he was offering this --

Came back a month after, and he was there again selling watercolored art. For 2000 Yen a piece (about the size of an A4 bond paper):

On the two separate occasions that I've passed by Ueno Park, he was there so I'm assuming he's a regular sight there already. He's stationed at the foot of the stairs beside the entrance to the Skyliner station. Right beside this sign:

I will try to come back, Mr. Artist. One day. Some day. I will come back and buy a piece or two from you.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Scenes From Japan: Ojiya (Niigata)

Ojiya is a small city (more like a town actually) in the Niigata Prefecture. In the 4 days that we've been shuttling back and forth from Nagaoka (where our hotel is located) to this place, QUIET is probably the most apt word that I can best describe the place.

If I am to preserve a scene in mind for this particular place, I will probably forever picture it this way:

Lush greenery, Very very clean air it literally smells like PINE the minute you step out of the taxi. If I could bottle the air and carry it with me, I would've.
Every morning, we leave our hotel at around 730 to catch the 740 train from Nagaoka to Ojiya. The trains are scheduled almost an hour apart so it's imperative that we get to the train station in time. Again, although the hotel that we stayed in (Hotel Mets where we paid around 6,500 Yen per night) is far from great it beats the one across us (most of our colleagues recommended New Otani) due to it's accessibility to the train station. It's actually connected to the station itself so we didn't have to rush in the mornings. I'd wake up at 6am and still take my sweet time prepping up.

In the days that we've been doing that, we've mostly riden a train full of high school students and sat with familiar faces already. It's a short train ride of about 20 minutes (3 stops from Nagaoka to Ojiya if I remember correctly). Ojiya doesn't have public transportation so we take a taxi from the station. The office is just about 5 minutes away but taxis doesn't come cheap in Japan (flag down rate is at 660 Yen) so we spend about 1,300 Yen daily per way on taxi fare.

This is the view from right across the train station. That street behind the bull fighting billboard is the way towards our office. 
Just like the train rides to Hanyu, I also enjoyed the train rides to Ojiya. They were peaceful with relaxing views of ricefields and suburban neighborhoods, kids on bikes (probably on their way to school) and even a slight glimpse of snow-capped mountains.

Sadly, I spent all most of my days holed up in this place. But I was here for work and I had to deliver what was expected of me. It is after all my pride and honor to be called to help out and I wouldn't wanna let people down.

Now that I'm searching the web on what this place has got to offer though, I feel a slight tinge of regret I didn't even dare to visit a park or a Koi place there (since Ojiya is really known for it's Kois). On our last day, we were in for an adventure because we left the office late and the ticket office was already closed when we got to the station. We almost thought we were going to have to pay gold to get home (read: several thousands of bucks for taxi fare). Good thing my companion speaks Nihongo and she was told we can still ride the train and pay when we get to our destined stop.

Bye bye, Ojiya. Till we meet again.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Friday Musings.

Photo from Pinterest
It's a Friday. Yehey!

In my head there's festive music playing, colorful and bright pompoms up in the air, cheerdance. You get my point. There's a party happening in my head already.


I've got a million things to do before I actually call it a happy weekend. NO make it a TRILLION.

I hope your Friday is rocking. As early as Monday, I was already looking forward to this Friday and envisioning a date night with the husband. I've been bugging him to take me out drinking. I miss those one for the roads that we used to do before when we were younger and still dating.

photo from Pinterest
BUT. There are more important things to attend to now than drink. I didn't say that to make you feel guilty, if you're a working mom like me and is planning to go out drinking tonight. GO! You deserve it! You earned it! I really meant that for me. This morning while discussing plans for the day with my husband, I already decided to do what I deem is best for me. I'm lacing up for another 4-miler date run tonight.

But I might cap the night off with an episode of Grey's Anatomy and a glass of wine with the hubs (well, I know I'll end up drinking 2 glasses since he's really not fond of wine) to finally make that imaginary celebration in my head happen.

However your day turning out to be I am sincerely wishing you Happy Friday, friend!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Recipe: Egg Sandwich Spread

What's your go-to recipe when you need to instantly whip out a meal for your family?

Mine will always be my super fast and super easy Sardines Pasta. But some days, especially on weekends where we eat breakfast late (usually around brunch already) and decide to skip lunch, sandwiches are my easy go to snacks. Even if I like (or rather love) to keep stock of different kinds of spreads in our pantry, I always try to inject a little bit of homemade touch on the meals that I serve to my family during weekends (even of lazy ones).

This recipe is one of the most loved homemade spread in our household. It's very easy to make. And my 4 year old always love to help make this. On a recent playdate, we made a tub of this for our little potluck picnic. Our small sandwich container was wiped out clean so I am taking that as a compliment. We have a winning spread here. :)

Anyways, since it's school season, I'm thinking maybe you'd wanna try making this for your kids baon.

What you will need:

5 pieces large eggs, hardboiled and chopped finely
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 sprig of parsley, finely chopped
2 packs of light mayo
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp condensed milk
salt and pepper to taste

How to do it.

1. Dump all ingredients unto a deep bowl and mix well.
2. Toast your favorite flat bread and spread away.

In the photo, I'm using a multigrain loaf bread. I think it's a good match to this spread.

This recipe by the way, yields about a pint of egg sandwich spread. It usually keeps for about a week in our fridge.But I guess, since the ingredients are very attractive to Salmonella, best to consume it within 3 days.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hello June!

I was about to type in: JUNE is here. School season has landed. Then stopped to check my 2012 entries. I feel like I'm writing the exact same thing for my June post last year. But alas, no Hello June for 2012. Good for me.

Yes, in my part of the world, June will always be the start of school season. And of the rainy season (when I was in grade school the term was Wet season, I don't know if that remains true to this day though). 

For our little family, I don't know what June has to offer yet. I've been overly exhausted from back to back trips for work. I feel like I missed the chance to actually feel excited about the incoming school season.  That thought makes me a little sad as I've always looked forward to school season. The smell of plastic covers, notebooks, fragrant erasers, ahhh even the smell of graphite is something I've always looked forward to. (Yes, I'm really addicted to school supplies)

Before I left for my second trip to Japan, I frantically tried to complete every thing that the kid needed for the coming school year. I felt that if I joined the rush, I will just collapse in the middle of the mob (and really, that's how National Bookstore is like these days. My happy place isn't that happy right now so I'm intentionally keeping myself away from it for the next 2 weeks). 

I need to get out of this rut soon. I need to shake off this gloom or else it will totally consume me. I don't like myself so much these days. I miss sleep. I miss my lazy weekends. I miss cooking for my family. I miss my long runs. I AM MISSING A LOT OF THINGS.

(And this has got to stop, Faye)

June is going to see me finally getting back to my old self. YES. That's the primary agenda this month.Wish me luck!

p.s. Still despite feeling out of funk I'm glad that the minute I woke up, I still remembered my dear Lola Pila's birthday. Hope you're having a rocking birthday celebration up there Lola.Keep watching over us. Keep praying for our safety and good health. We Love You!
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