Tag Archives: United States

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!

My New Putter

6 Sep

Whenever M1 returns from the US, we get a lot of new toys and gadgets! Her return this time is no different, and there are several new fun things again. One of which is my new 32-inch Raspberry Red putter called the Peanut Putter.

The Peanut Putter!

A whimsical yet ambidextrous and very easy-to-use putter, I think this will be good for me to reestablish my putting dexterity. Having laid off golf for four months already, I think I have lost some putting ability. Sure we have the chipping net in the garden, but that’s for chipping and pitching. Putting is a different game altogether. And even though we have the putting mat, it is not the same.

So if and when the time is right for us to go back to playing golf, my Scotty Cameron putter will have to make way for my Peanut Putter to debut. I hope the occasion will come sooner than later.

Anxiety and More Anxiety

27 Aug

After six and a half years and two degrees later, our M1 is finally coming home. We are, of course, thrilled with her decision. There was quite a fair bit of anxiety for her trying to book her flight home because of the pandemic.

She had two previous bookings canceled by the airlines because of limited flights and transiting countries having strict regulations to deal with the pandemic. What was supposed to be an 18-hour one-stopover journey became a two-stopover and much more than that. Way much more.

The two-stopover flight with Air Canada did not go as planned! The delayed first leg of the journey caused her to miss her connecting flight to Narita Airport for the second leg. Dear, oh dear. And she could not wait for the next available flight out with the same airline as the Covid-19 test would become invalid after 72 hours from testing. Throw in the immigration restrictions of no more than 24 hours for transit.

It’s so stressful to add to the anxiety dealing with new issues like flight timing, and immigration, on top of health.

Thankfully, she found an alternative airline for the same day, but the journey is longer. Oh well, an extended flight is better than being unable to return at all. With cases on the uptrend again, there isn’t much choice. I will be tracking her path on flightaware.com as always. We have to wait another day until she arrives.

Proud Parents Again

30 Jul

Amid this pandemic and trying lockdown, there is good news to share. M1, our firstborn, passed her Masters Thesis Defense yesterday (our time), which is equivalent to the day before for her in the US. It is indeed a blessing to be proud parents again, and we are most thankful this arduous journey is now complete.

This time around, the achievement is more meaningful because she had to endure the lockdowns and work around the disruptions because of the pandemic. And she prevailed. Words pale to describe the relief and joy for all of us. Well done, for lack of a better word; we couldn’t be more proud of your accomplishment.