Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

To Fred, From Placido and John

Yesterday, we joined Manong Fred in celebrating his 80th birthday. One of his sisters-in-law, Conchita, sang John Denver's Perhaps Love to him and Manang Purita, his wife.
The song brought back so many memories to almost all of us who were there in the party because that was one of the most popular songs when we were still in Nigeria. I had to download it from YouTube as soon as I got home. Here is a duet from John and the young Placido Domingo.
I didn't even know they sang it together and that John wrote the song for his mom.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

She Would Have Been ......

Princess Cedillo Van Dyke would have been 66 years old on April 24th. I am sure she celebrated her special day with the angels.

The above pictures were taken when Gloria and I visited Prency in Wyoming almost seven years ago.
I deem myself lucky to have had the chance of seeing her in her beloved Jackson, Wyoming. How I wish I had a digital camera back then.
These are some (there are many more) of the things that will always remind me of my Tocaya, (namesake):

We're given the same first name which was quite unique at that time -I thought I was the only one who was named such - until I met her. She got hers because she was born among Princessess and I got mine because my godfather-to-be convinced my dad that since I was born at the foothills of Bundok Princesa (Princess Mountain), that name would fit me to a T.

She introduced me to Girl Scouting. She showed me what it meant to be an effective and dedicated leader. Once a week she would hail a calesa, picked me up from my place, and we would go to an elementary school to train young kids the rudiments of girl scouting. I am sure her sash of badges are still among her treasures.

She had always been a picture of self-confidence. She was the first one to stand up so we could organize, and eventually lead, our freshmen group. In fact, she's an officer in almost every club or organization there was.

And, how many of us can drive from Chicago to California and on to Wyoming ALONE? Hard to believe but she did. And again, that was just one route of the many trips that she made. I admired her spirit even more after Gloria and I had our Western States road trip.

Talking about spirit. Hers was the most positive of all. Who would have thought she would leave this world this soon. This is one of the last e-mails she sent, written in that style that I've always admired almost to the point of envy:
I have been staying here in Idaho Falls, at Liberty Square Retirement Community for a week now for radiation treatments every week day. FOUR MORE DAYS of radiation then I go home to Star Valley Ranch Monday evening, then it's for IV (Intravenous)chemo at the Cancer Center in Jackson on Tuesday, the 5th. CHEMO IS EVERY 3 WEEKS in Jackson. My stay here at Liberty Square has been like VACATION at a posh resort that I have decided to become a resident here by June 1st!!! I've already reserved a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment (all utilities, meals prepared by 2 professional chefs and served in a 'fine dining' atmosphere, cleaning once a week, life-alert necklace etc. included except phone) on the ground floor close to the elevator and side exit. My living room faces a wonderfully landscaped courtyard! Best of all this is the only retirement facility in this city that provides underground parking! I've listed all my properties for sale. THE HARDEST to let go is my dream retirement cottage in Thermopolis. I had visions of living there by myself independently, reading books, flower gardening, having garden parties and meetings for the Christian ministry. Cancer changed all that so I have to be practical and live in the present now that my future is more unp redictable! Amazingly I'm feeling very well, considering. The new tumors impinging on the nerves in my shoulders, near the spine and under my armpit appear to be shrinking so maybe they'll come loose enough to be taken out. THEY ARE NOT YET SURE that the tumors will be operable by then. I have a tremendous appetite so I've stopped losing weight but I need to keep it up and gain at least 10 lbs. I think I've made the right decision and am so relieved. I'm so happy that my daughter is so supportive of it. I'll write you my new address in June! Love, Princess

I miss you, my friend.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Best Food Critics

Last Saturday, Morgan paid us a visit. Jacob and Joshua came, too. I decided to engage them in a baking activity. They were so excited when I told them I would be baking Black Bottom Cupcakes.
They helped me prep the muffin pans and took turns in "holding" the portable mixer. Of course, they also found time to play with the papers so I ended up using limp ones, if you know what I mean.
The only drawback? My camera was on low-batt mode!
Well, at least I got my my reward. After the trio ate their cupcakes they asked if they could take home some more.

To Love and To Hold

With the advent of technology comes the ease in creating invitations to any affair, whether it be to an informal picnic or a formal sit-down dinner for a debut or quincenera.
I remember when one of our sons got married, my to be daughter-in-law spent sleepless nights designing her own invitations. By my standard it was already easy because she used a ready-to-install program that included a kit with envelopes and papers that she would use to create her desired design. But her choices were very limited unless she wanted to install another program, an option of which was out of the question because of budget restrictions. I am very sure that had they seen these choices of Wedding Invitations then, she would have chosen Style W-127 with burgundy lining, because she loves the color burgundy, and the elegance of pearl. And as young romantics, they would surely choose the embossed gazebo. I am very sure of this because they were married in a gazebo which, incidentally, was included in their wedding package. My daughter-in-law would also have had a great time mix-matching styles, fonts, colors, verses that are generously provided.
If ever I will be lucky to enjoy my Golden Wedding Anniversary, my invitation will be W415 with the balloon in GOLD. If I won't be able to fulfill my dream of riding an air balloon before that date, at least I can always pretend to be loving the ride as I hold on to my beloved as we sail in the air balloon that's on my invitation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

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Post Script: (Saved this as a draft but missed to publish it on time. Better late than never, as someone had said).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day, Everyone!!!

Image source: http://webclipart.about.com/library/events/blearth6.htm Recycle, recycle, recycle.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Her name is Azusena, with an S

The first time I saw her I knew right away. After she made her first Alfredo Sauce, my decision was confirmed. She would be my second contestant for the scholarship competition.

It was the second semester and I had barely eight weeks to train a student for the district wide competition. I, myself, was also in training with the sponsoring organization, C-CAP (Careers Through Culinary Arts Program). I was starting to panic.

She came to my class and announced that her name is spelled with an S. (I first thought of changing the Z to an S, but no, it was the C that should become S.) She is the very first student who was concerned with how her name is spelled. For me it means conviction, determination. I asked her if she would consider competing. The answer - YES.
With complete dedication, Sue and Danny, the other contestant, started practicing their knife and ommelette making skills for the preliminaries. Fortunately, they both made it to the finals. Sue received a scholarship to go to the San Francisco Culinary School. While doing some catering she was also pursuing a biology degree at UC Berkley.

Two years ago, her younger sister, Lupe, started teaching in my school and, coincidence of all coincidences, used my classroom for intersession classes. That's when I learned that Sue is working as a Chef Instructor at Kitchen Academy in Hollywood and have plans of teaching at her high school Alma Mater.
Last Thursday, April 17, was the first meeting of our school's CTE Advisory Board. I invited Sue to be a member of the board because I believe that she will be a perfect role model for many students. I also told her she can take my place when I retire.

Another perk of being a teacher.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today, I told my classes that I needed some volunteers to help me prepare lunch for tomorrow's guests who will visit the school. Several of them rose their hands. I told them that their volunteering also means that they will also have to do a lot of cleaning up after the event. I am thankful that none of them retracted.

Without Oscar's expertise with herb's and spices, the sauce for the lasagna that we will be serving tomorrow wouldn't have been half as good. I am thankful that Oscar accepted my request for him to stay for three periods, although he had to ask for his other teachers' permission.

Today is my friend Gloria's birthday. I am thankful that she accepted me as a friend and am doubly thankful that The Lord is beside her.

Although I am saddened with the news that my grandson Joshua has the symptoms of Apraxia, I am thankful that he is a healthy and intelligent child and that he has all the signs that he can recover from it.

I am thankful that I can trust and thankful that there are many who trust me, too.

For those who are also thankful this Thursday, please visit IRIS.

So Far and Yet So Near

Nothing is sweeter than hearing your loved ones' voices on the other end of the line. And I know it is even much sweeter if the loved ones are miles and miles away, like across the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. With today's advanced technology,they sound like they are just across the street. And once you start exchanging stories you don't think anymore of the minutes that tick away faster than the flow of words between you and the one on the other end of the line. You forget that those ticking minutes mean cents that become quarters that easily add up into dollars and sometimes hundreds of dollars. You only realize it when you start reading the bill.
One of my husband's co-worker uses the india phone card to call her folks in India. My husband was wondering why she and her husband don't apply for a phone line since they call almost twice or thrice a week. He didn't have the nerve to ask until,one day, hubby learned that one of our sons and his wife also use a prepaid phone card. He asked them why and they told him that it was cheaper in the long run because they don't pay for hidden fees like tax, overcharge fees, pre-set fees, etc. Another thing is that they can keep track of their phone expenses because they pay for it up front. They can also control the length of time that they stay on the phone so they can devote more time to their children. The card can also be used to call anywhere in the world.
One thing, though. Just like anything you buy into, check and compare rates. Study the different options offered. Be an educated consumer.
We started examining our phone bills and using a phone card is already in our agenda.


Today is my very dear friend Gloria's birthday, shown here with my grandson, Matthew. (Sorry, Mare, I couldn't find a solo.) I greeted you yesterday because I was afraid I might forget to do so today. But at three o'clock this morning (yes, 3:00 am!) I was awakened with the thought that I haven't greeted you on my blog!

Happy, happy birthday to you and a strong wish for many, many, many more.

On this your special day I want you to know that I feel so blessed to have found a friend in you. Not only are you a friend but also a sister and a mentor. I've learned so much from you when it comes to dealing with life's uncertainties, and you may be much younger than me but you always make me feel like I have my elder sister beside me especially when we are in an unfamiliar territory.
Have a great, wonderful, joyful day, my friend.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Under My Roof

Traveling is one of my passions, whether it be simply walking around the corners of my city or going overseas. One thing that is always embedded in my cache of memories whenever I travel is the rooftops of houses and buildings as the plane approaches airports. There are rooftops that spell affluence, and there are rooftops that announce the need of the owners.

Whenever I pass by a house, the first thing that catches my eyes are the roofs. One type of roofing that appeals to me is the brick tiles. I love the red-orange color. It somehow connotes the feeling of happiness. Maybe because the color reflects the brightness of the sun. I also look at how the materials had been placed or attached. Were the tiles neatly placed? How secured were they attached? Was there any loose or chipped tile? And what about the color, does it match the sidings and the rest of the house? Does the whole roof add quality to the whole appearance of the house? I also took note of whether leaves that were blown stayed on the roof (after all, leaves can rot, can't they?)
From the roof come the sidings. Are they aligned, uniform and pleasing to the eyes? Then the doors and windows. Do they balance the whole house? Do they say "Come on in, you are safe here?"

If you are in the process of buying a house, or remodeling one, then maybe you would like to explore GAF Roofing options! The company backs up the quality of their designs that will help maximize the visual appeal of your house. If you want a natural wood looking shingles, or maybe a stone look, they can supply those from any of the numerous factories around North America.
The company also stands by the performance of their building products proof of which is the inclusion of exceptional warranty provision because they can assure any buyer that their products can equal, if not exceed, the industry standards. That means they are sure of their products' longevity.
Another thing that the company is known for is giving the customer the pledge that their product is of the best quality. And how do they do this? Just like a university, the company is continuously researching on how their products can be made better than what they are right now.
Just look at the picture. Doesn't it say "Get me if you want beauty, quality and performance."

Friday, April 11, 2008

They Light Up My Life

I received an award from Rachel of My Soulful Thoughts. It is the "You Light Up My Life" Award that The Teach of Work of the Poet created. To the creator and the unselfish giver, many, many, many thanks. I truly appreciate your generosity.
"Light gives of itself freely, filling available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not there-fore diminished." I think this award is to honor someone filled and radiating with compassion, concern and good.
In return, I want to share this award with Chona, and Nancze.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

He is pregnant?

Really, he is pregnant?
I didn't hear the whole news. I thought I mis-heard the pronoun.
When I learned that he and his wife will be on Oprah, I almost dared any traffic authority to catch me.
As I was watching the show, I couldn't explain what I was feeling. I didn't know if I was believing what I was hearing. I even had that moment of discomfort as I looked at the wife beside him. But the longer and the more intent I listened, I knew that yes, it was possible. All that I needed was to believe.
Now I can't wait for July to come!

Even Rambo Will Love This

As a mother of three boys, I am not short of seeing tactical gears in my house. I know those are only for make-believes but the fact that they are wearing them like the real thing makes them feel like they are in the "real world", if you know what I mean. www.lapolicegear.com is a site where not only boys but men and women in the military can purchase items like Blackhawk Gear, helmets, or military shoes. They also carry lines on pants and shirts for daily work-out. Small items like socks and pairs of shorts? They have those, too. And no one needs get lost. The site is user friendly, very easy to navigate and direct to the point, (no pun intended).

Dare to Compare

How often have you said "I wish I'd seen that one first!" after having finished paying for something?
As for me - many many times. Either somebody's item was cheaper than mine; or the color wasn't what I really pined for; or simply what I bought was not what I had in mind in the first place.
Lately my husband and I have been doing more shopping comparison before pulling our wallet for any thing.
We first compare prices for the item or items we want to buy like cameras or computer parts or components different stores offer before deciding into a particular item. We've found out that by doing so we enjoy more what we buy instead of being frustrated because we didn't like what we have taken home with us. Also, comparison shopping is educational in a sense because through comparison comes learning about the qualities and capabilities of the goods you intend to buy. It is almost like doing a research work for a school assignment.
Sounds fulfilling? Then, go ahead, try it.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Another good Monday!

Good news greeted me this morning.
There was good news only from the sub.
First period went by without any hitch.
Demonstrations for every period went well and on time.
Students were enthusiastic. No one went to sleep considering it is a Monday morning!
Had some volunteers to clean after my demos.
Almost everybody accepted the idea that any cake mix can be made nutritious if grated vegetables are added, yes, you're reading it right - vegetables. (I added unpeeled zucchini and carrots and apples).
All, and I really mean all, students found the muffins great after all!

Now, what may tomorrow bring?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Aahhhhh, Sunday, Sweet Sunday

Our friends, Glo and William, invited my hubby and me to play mahjong with them last night. We were there in time for lunch, then played until one o'clock this morning. (Yes, that is how engaging this game is!)
I was surprised that I woke up feeling excited inspite of the late (or is it early) bedtime. What surprised me more was hubby getting up to my call without any sign of hesitation or complaint.
He made breakfast while I started reading the Sunday papers. Well, I had that privilege after I kidded him I dreamt of his favorite aubergine omellette.
Smart move, eh?
After breakfast I offered to do the dishes. That's when I got in the mood for organizing the kitchen counters and cabinets as well. I felt so accomplished afterwards.
After all, isn't it Sunday today?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

How Convincing Are You?

Selling? Not for me.
Every time someone approaches me to sell me something, I have no problem with it. My problem starts when that someone starts convincing me that I can also sell the same product or products even faster than he or she does. That's when things start whirling within my mind: what will I say to a prospective buyer? Do I have that convincing voice, or phrase, or look? Can I remember everything that I need to say about the product? Will I have the time to do it?
With an ecommerce software I think I can.
With it opening up a business will be like going into a vacant room, putting up my own shelves and filling those shelves with goods and products or services that my prospective buyers will be excited to buy. Then I will equip my e-market with a shopping cart software. This software will provide my customers with the baskets or shoppings carts that they will fill up and pay for before leaving my e-store.
Now, isn't that fast and easy?
Wait no more. Go to Ashop Commerce and see for yourselves.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

What a Week!

The assignment was for each student to write the recipe for the dish that I demonstrated the day before. As a group, they were allowed to consult with one another. In this particular group, I heard them talking about "Mexican recipe". I approached the group and asked: "What's "Mexican" about it?" Before I could change my question to "Or, rather, what do you think makes it a "Mexican" recipe"? one of the girls, a newcomer to the class, looked at me with her piercing eyes and said:
"You are so rude barging into us like that. You have no right to interrupt us!"
I took a deep breath and asked the rest of the group if I had the right and they all said
"Yes, Ms."
The rest of the class was suddenly quiet as if waiting for my next move. (Of course I was feeling red and hot but I tried all I could to remain calm). I got closer to the girl and whispered:
"As your teacher right now, I have that right."
I didn't dare elaborate for fear I might not be able to control my temper.
For the rest of the day, and night, I kept wondering: Was she right?
The following day, while the class, in groups, was preparing a recipe, I noticed a great change in the girl. She was friendlier, asked me questions about the procedure, even complimented me on my colorful chili apron.
I knew then that I had been right.

Pizza Toronto

Ever wondered how a Canadian pizza tastes like?
Wonder no more.
Pizza Toronto, one of the very first franchisees to Hot and Fresh Pizza Pizza, a pizza chain that is based in Canada, is one stepping point to experiencing one. Looking at the menu, I thought it has one of the most customer-friendly offerings in terms of nutritional content, eye-appeal and cost. The variety on their menu list indicates the chain's concern for the health and enjoyment of its customers, as shown by their inclusion of ethnic toppings.
As a teacher in food and nutrition, I always encourage my students to change their eating habits and preferences. I try my best to introduce numerous ingredients and flavors that are healthier and more tasteful. It is quite heartening to note that Hot and Fresh Pizza Pizza is continuously researching for ingredients that will provide the right combination of nutrients on their bread, like their Mediterranean and Hawaiian Pizzas. Additional choices of healthful salads are also on the menu.

This pizza chain has expanded to include Brampton Pizza and London Pizza in Britain.
Interested in opening a pizza restaurant of your own? Act now.
By the way, still wondering how it may taste? Go place your order online.

Any Tear Can be Mended

Our phone ringing was the last sound I would like to hear. Every time it did I would either freeze or jump from my seat. Could it be that guy again, or that company? Yes, my husband and I were so deep in debt that every call meant either someone asking when we were to send our next payment, or that we were not financially qualified for something we applied for. Until that time came when we almost could not buy anything anymore. It was tough time.
Then someone suggested we consulted with a credit counselor. We did and with the counselor's help we were able to make arrangements with the creditors so we could pay what we owed them based on our ability to do so. Many of our creditors were willing enough to help put us back on track by cutting off portions of the original charges, interests or taxes. It took us almost two years to clear all our bad credit loans. But it was worth the wait.
New credit card offers started coming left and right. We learned to take more time so we could be sure that we would be able to pay back what we would owe before we accepted bad credit credit cards.
Through all these experiences, we learned that there is help available for every problem any one may encounter. You just have to know who to turn to and must have the wisdom to weigh which offer is the better one.
Those tears in your credit history? Those can be mended.