Tag Archives: United States

Moving Around

12 Nov

Car rental in Dublin is so easy, unlike in the US. There is less paperwork required. Our spanking Ironman red hybrid SUV is comfortable, spacious, and easy to handle. With a built-in navigation system, finding our way out of the city was easy. The weather was good, and hubby drove along the non-toll roads toward Galway.

I am Ironman (hahaha) with this car!

When it drizzled, we stopped at a pub for lunch. I think we ordered too much. But then again, with the cold, we were famished. The portions always have a lot of chips (or mash) that we cannot finish, unfortunately, famish or not.

Lunch at this pub

We arrived at Galway by 3.30 pm, and just nice to check into our hotel. After a short rest, we headed into the town center. We were delighted to discover a Christmas fair at Eyre Square with things to see, buy, and food to savor.

Heading towards the Christmas fair

We had a good time browsing despite the large crowd and weather. For a change, dinner was at a tapas bar, with drinks, of course, to celebrate M2’s graduation.

The streets of Galway
We tried the Chimney Cake
Christmas atmosphere at the fair
Satisfying dinner

It was a long day, and we decided to call it a night earlier than usual.

The Big Day

11 Nov

Thursday was a chill day without any sight-seeing activities because it was the big day for everyone, M2’s graduation ceremony! After three years of hard work, determination, and dedication, it has come down to this moment!

The proud moment

The ceremony was very different from the one we experienced when we attended M1’s graduation in the US. Held in the campus auditorium instead of an open stadium, it was a cozy and personal affair. Both graduation ceremonies are moving for us nonetheless.

We could not be more proud as she had graduated with First Class Honors in her Bachelor’s Honors degree program. Our responsibility as parents to ensure both girls are well-equipped for the world is complete with this latest milestone in the family.

The Blundstone Travels Again

2 Nov

The first thing I earmarked for the impending trip was my Blundstone boots! It’s been three years since they last saw some serious action, having gone to the US for M1’s graduation. But as I was unboxing my boots from the shoe cabinet, I found another pair of boots!

Uh-huh, my Blunnies have a rival in the calf-high boots. I have forgotten about this pair because it’s an impractical pair of boots for hot and humid holidays that I mostly do pre-pandemic time. However, for this upcoming trip, calf-high boots might be suitable. Hmm.

I like wearing the Blundstones to travel because they are super comfortable for walking (even after re-soled), but calf-high boots may be good to ward off the cold! There’s still space in the luggage, and I can always do the last-minute packing. We’ll see how it goes.

Decisions, decisions…

Losing Track of Time

2 Sep

Two days ago, we celebrated our wedding anniversary. When one is married for so long, like me, the tendency to lose track of time is prevalent. I have stopped counting how many years we have been married.

Typically, we would go to our favorite porky restaurant to enjoy a platter each and a bottle of wine. But this year, we opted for something different – going with Chinese food and no wine. No wine?! Yes, for a change. The spread was sumptuous, and the four of us had a delightful dinner as the restaurant was not packed nor noisy.

The sumptuous dinner menu

When the girls were away the past few years, we never considered dining at a Chinese restaurant, especially to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It would be hard to order for the two of us, being small eaters. But now that both girls are back, we can have more options for dinner celebration venues. Isn’t it wonderful?

Here’s wishing us a happy anniversary, good health, and happiness throughout the year!

A Welcome Celebration

29 Apr

What a difference with another year passing by for birthday celebrations! The existence of Covid-19 makes it hard for us to predict what can happen with its spread making daily situations so volatile. We cannot plan special occasions so far ahead because things are constantly evolving. Even as I write, the SOPs will change again come next month.

Two years ago, my birthday dinner celebration was a muted affair. We stayed home because of the pandemic and had food delivered. There were scores and scores of containers for the meal. It wasn’t the best in presentation, but being at home made up for it, given the virus fear and lockdown circumstances. Last year, it was a blur, and honestly, I don’t remember what we did on my special day.

This year, things are a little bit different. A spontaneous four-day gastronomic journey that began on Sunday to celebrate instead of a golf getaway like we usually do. Moreover, we just went on a golf trip to Forest City recently, so another trip now is too soon. This mission to discover new food to savor in the run-up to the actual birthday is much appreciated for the chef in me to have the week off from making dinner nightly! Woo hoo.

Lovely fine dining Japanese dinner
We ate to our fill!
We came home to cut my yummy Lemon Pistachio birthday cake
We played a post-birthday round of golf!

The birthday dinner was also a welcome change for various reasons. It was the first fine-dining experience after the many lockdowns we had during the pandemic. Secondly, it’s the first year with M1 joining us, being away for her education, and missing my birthday celebrations for the last six years. All in all, a welcome celebration. A toast to a good year ahead for me, and be in the best of health and mind.

Some Good Cheese

21 Mar

I love cheese, and I used to eat it a lot. But sadly, in recent years, my body cannot handle the cheese intake. The dairy is too much for my tummy because of my Endometriosis issue. Sometimes it is not just uncomfortable bloating – there are accompanying aches of varying degrees.

So I stopped eating cheese to protect myself from the unnecessary pain, avoid pizzas especially, burgers with melting cheese slices, fries with gooey cheese – you get the idea? Last year, this changed.

When M1 returned from the US, she introduced lactose intolerance supplements to me, something we were unaware of before. And what a lifesaver this supplement has been for me!

When I feel like having cheese for my meals or even a big cup of boba milk tea, I will pop the supplement first before consuming the food or drink, and it helps. There is no bloating or discomfort. My life has changed for the better when it comes to having dairy.

Recently, we bought some good cheese to eat. Creamy, rich, and bursting with flavors, the cheeses are just heavenly. Thanks to the lactose intolerance supplements – I eat happily without pain or discomfort.

Good cheese these two

Something New from the Garden

11 Jan

Our garden is full of plants and edibles. But I have to admit I am not the green fingers person managing our garden. It was only during the lockdown phases the last two years that I learned to appreciate it. I can identify Creeping Charlies and unwanted weeds and even made an effort to plant vegetables for our consumption.

You can find the usual air plants, stag horns, and bromeliads that hubby has besides some other plants, small trees, shrubs, and the one big frangipani tree that we love very much. Then there are the edibles like chili, curry leaves, fruits, herbs, and some vegetables spread out here and there. The space is balanced between plants to appreciate and food to eat to be sustainable.

When M1 came home last year, she brought back some corn seeds, glass gem corn, to be precise. At that point, we were not sure whether the corn could grow in our environment. Hubby, being the green fingers maestro, tried. After almost five months, he has successfully grown some glass gem corn! Wow.

Glass gem corn from our garden!

It does not matter that they are small and puny in size upon harvest. The fact that the species can grow in humid and wet conditions is good enough. Both corns are not as colorful compared to what we see on the internet. Nonetheless, they are very pretty looking, and we are most pleased with this new thing from our garden.

The Year That Wasn’t Again

31 Dec

The never-ending year 2021 finally concludes today. I look back, and what a year it has been! I feel history has repeated itself, with the year being another year that fell short of expectations like 2020 because the pandemic has dragged on.

When the nation went into lockdown again in May, we were short-changed for several months to have a good year. And the lockdowns implemented under the Movement Control Orders (MCO) had so many versions, I lost track of it all.

But life goes on. With what we had experienced in 2020, we handled 2021 a little better. We became more accepting of the situation and were more productive, and the hobbies picked up in the year before continued. We also got vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus, and it was our passport to venture out (if needed) without hassle.

Towards the end of the year, I picked up another new hobby – felting. What fun this turned out to be! Felting is immensely enjoyable and therapeutic when I am not carving or crafting miniatures as it is a short and fast activity to complete.

Looking back, being home this time around wasn’t so bad because there’s so much to do at home, and I love it. There is no rush or fear but simply comfort and ease. As long as there is good time management, the days go by quickly.

M2 came back for her Summer holidays, and it was great to have her home. My cooking skills improved from last year, and there were many great mealtimes together at home as a family since we couldn’t go out at all.

Then M1 came home for good after completing her Master’s degree, and both of us are very blessed to have the family as a complete unit. But soon after, M2 returned to Ireland, and M1 started working. By the third quarter, we were juggling work, albeit not much, and playing golf when the country reopened to more activities.

But just when we thought things were improving with vaccination and economies opening everywhere, the world saw a new virus variant! The Omicron. The pandemic management globally was sucker-punched with this new development. Travels, activities, and economies were restricted once more, and many countries faced fresh lockdowns. When will this onslaught of the unknown ever end?

So we start 2022 with uncertainty again. I see no point in toasting the New Year for better fortune and goodness. Just brace yourselves to stay negative (Covid-wise) in a positive way, stay healthy, and stay safe. Goodbye 2021, I wouldn’t say it was the best, but we survived. Happy New Year, folks!

The Other Baker

19 Nov

It looks like hubby is not the only person who bakes in our home. M1 is quite a baker too. I supposed this came from her lockdown periods when she was still in the US. With nothing much to do, baking was an outlet to keep busy.

But our other baker bakes adorable stuff. She baked these cute little bear cookies not too long ago. Pretty to look at, delicious to eat too. I hope she will continue to indulge in this whenever she has the time.

Want some bear cookies?

Gain One, Lose One

20 Sep

It was the beginning of Summer when M2 came home, and it was great. With the lockdown imposed, we felt safe in our bubble at home. Then M1 returned from the US not too long ago, and we were complete.

But just when we are comfortable with both girls being home after being empty nesters for some time, the situation has changed again. The Summer holiday has ended for M2, and she has to return to college. Within a short time, we gain one and lose one.

M2’s Summer vacation is officially over, and yesterday, she flew back to Ireland. I’m tracking her journey at flightaware.com as she is still flying when this post is published. I only hope she will be on time to arrive, unlike when M1 returned.

Sending M2 off at KLIA

During this pandemic, every country has its safety measures for international travelers. Although Ireland’s SOP is very different from the one imposed in our country, M2 must self-isolate even though fully vaccinated upon arrival. Rules are rules, and they should be abided by to stay safe.

Here’s wishing her all the best for the Fall semester ahead, and stay safe!