Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 One World One Heart Give-Away!

The One World One Heart Event is now over!!!
Thank you all for participating! 


I am so excited to be participating for the 2nd and Final time in the One World One Heart Give-Away!
If you are a blogger who would like to participate, please click on the image above to take you to A Whimsical Bohemian's blog and the One World One Heart rules.

Now, let's get started, shall we?

A Bit About Me
Hi!  I'm Cecilia, The Greenest Mermaid!

I'm just another blogger, a sirenophile, a social worker, a wanna-be-world traveler, and an observer of the world around me.  Please feel free to click on any of the links on the link bar above to learn more about who I am in this world, and to check out some of the other blogs I own.

The Prizes
Now, I tried to think of something that I could create with my own hands, but I'm not as creative as many of my friends are.  But, I do have 2 door prizes to offer to all of you wonderful folks who stop by and leave a comment!

Runner-Up Prize
For my runner-up prize, I wanted to share part of my dream.  Last year, one of the major highlights was going to Greece with Jenny.  I sometimes can't believe that I've made it to Greece, but it's exciting to remember that I did.

So, for my runner-up prize, I want to give away a framed photograph of one of my favorite images I captured.
"Santorini Coral" July 2010
I noticed this bit of color under the waves, so I tried to hold my camera still as I snapped this.  Now, I want to share it with one of you!

The image will be 5x7 matte print, with a white frame.

Grand Prize
So, for my grand prize I wanted to give another t-shirt in honor of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Walk that I am walking in once again on April 10th.

As I said last year, I want to give away something that has meaning for me, and will hopefully have meaning for some of you as well.

Every year since 2007, I've participated in the annual Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) Walk.  It's a cause that I personally have some stake in (click on this link if you have the energy to learn more about why).

But, I'm not about being victimized.  Instead, I choose to focus more on the strengths of rising above it all.

So, I gathered my friends and started a team in 2008.  In 2009, we raised close to $4000 for this wonderful organization!  I was very proud of my team.  In 2010, we raised $905 as a team.

Our team name is the "Maganda Malakas Sirenas" - Beautiful Strong Mermaids.

In Philippine mythology, Maganda was the first woman and Malakas was the first man.  While that has some implications, I think it's important to think that those two qualities are within each of us, as are the masculine and feminine and other dualities.  I feel proud to be able to wear those two monikers on my shirt, and it helps to bring energy and life into an otherwise difficult situation.

I hope that you visit BARCC's website and learn about some of the myths about sexual assault.  I hope that this will help people feel that they are able to open up communication lines with people who love them.

But here is an image of last year's prize.
2010 Grand Prize
The top row is the Tagalog translation.  The second row is the Baybayin (pre-Spanish colonialism script in the Philippines).  The third row is English.  The mermaid tail is my own design.

The winner will get to choose a shirt color (which I will purchase at American Apparel), and the ink color (I will send you a picture with all the ink colors I have, and we will work on your shirt together).

The Rules
1.  Comment on this post, and this post only!
2.  You must have a blog and give me your email address so that I can contact you if you win.
3.  In your comment, tell me where you're visiting from, give me your shirt size and what color shirt you would like.  Feel free to check out the American Apparel online store for specific details.
4.  Comments after 9pm EST on Thursday, February 17th will not be considered for the prizes.
4.  The winner will be randomly chosen (with a random number generator) and announced at 11pm on Thursday, February 17th.

Enjoy browsing through my blog, make sure you leave a comment, and good luck!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Awareness

After witnessing all that I witnessed on the public transportation (note that I said witnessed and not experienced), I'd have to say that I'm extremely glad that I am extremely aware of my surroundings.

While I am definitely of the opinion that I'd rather have my headphones on whenever I'm on the T, it's mainly because I'm actually extremely aware of whatever is happening.  I would also like to admit right here and right now that I'm really quite nosey.  Remember my "Rear Window" post?

But I really don't want to hear other people's conversations.  Especially when they're talking on the phone about something extremely private and personal.  Especially when they're talking about some medical condition.

Yet, I know how valuable it is to keep your wits about you at all times.  So, if I know I'm going to be in a high traffic area, I make sure I'm aware of my belongings and my person.  If I'm walking around by myself in the evening, I don't pull out my earphones until I'm on the T.

I don't think it's about not trusting others.  It's about me misplacing things or accidentally dropping something of mine - which has happened way too often.

But it's also about knowing if others are unaware of their surroundings and belongings.  I feel like I'm often the only person on the T who let's other riders know that their bag is wide open or something is hanging from their backpack or they dropped their glove.

Maybe it's not worth it to be so aware of what's happening around me, since I think it can lead to being overly vigilant.  But I'll take my sense of awareness over having my fly open any day.

Epic MBTA Experience - A Process Recording From A Macro Social Worker



As I type this, it's 1:22am, and I just need to get this somewhere outside of my brain before I can fall asleep.  Let me warn you that this is a long and detailed post.  But, I promise it's a worthwhile read.

So, today was an exciting day.  I was going out with friends to celebrate a wonderful woman's birthday.  There was even karaoke at the restaurant!  It was so much fun!

"Pick Up" Truck
On my way to the restaurant, I decided to take the 86 bus, which would take me there directly.  As I was waiting for the bus, a red truck stopped at the red light.  The passenger in the car rolled down his window (that's wasn't automated), so I thought that perhaps they needed directions.

Alas, he was trying to hit on me.  "Where are you going?"

Being me, I of course engaged.  I repeated that I was going out.  Trying to be cool, he said that they were going to South Station.  South Station?  Not impressive, sorry.

I just want to ask, does that really work?  The boyfriend says that it just needs to work once for it to be worth it.  But really?  Has that worked?

Lost Wallet
Well, the bus finally arrived, and I continued to listen to my music.  We arrive at the Harvard Square, a major hub for bus and subway transfers.

As people were leaving, I noticed that 1 man turned around to check if he left something.  He reached over to the seat in front of me and grabbed a wallet.  It wasn't his wallet.  There was a couple sitting in front of me.  I thought, "Oh man, that's the worst.  I'm glad he saw it and will give it back to the other guy."

I watched the man with the wallet get off the bus.  I watched him slowly walk towards the couple and their friends (who all looked like they were heading to dinner together).  I watched him hang back behind the group and put the wallet in his pocket.  Then they disappeared.

I must have had a look on my face because a woman who sat down in front of me turned around and smiled at me.  I couldn't believe I just saw that.  I felt horrible.  I felt like I could have done something.  But I assumed that he would return the wallet to its rightful owner.  I thought perhaps that he would do the "right thing."

And as the bus left the Harvard Square terminal, I thought about how difficult things must be for that man that he felt he could benefit from keeping that wallet.  I thought about how horrible that other man would feel once he realizes that his wallet fell out of his pocket.  I thought about how I will never put anything in my pockets ever again.

Last Straws of Anger
On my way home, I totally misjudged my timing.  I waited about 1 hour in the cold for the right bus to finally arrive.  I probably could have just taken a longer way and stayed more warm, but I stupidly opted for waiting longer to take the route that would lead to the least amount of walking.

So, I go from the 86 to the 66 to the B line in Allston.  I'm at the Harvard and Commonwealth Ave. stop, noticing that there are quite a number of people waiting so the T should be arriving soon.

Suddenly, I hear some commotion over my music.  I look to my right and I see a car stopped at a light, 2 guys and 3 girls.  One of the girls angrily walks past me, and I see that the driver has decided to get out of his car to give this girl a piece of his mind.  The friends try to hold the man back, pointing out that he was trying to hit a girl.

Now, I'm not really a fan of violence (though even I will admit that I can feel violent at times of extreme anger).  I'm definitely not a fan of domestic violence.  But if you're a person on the street trying to act tough and talking smack, you better be ready to continue your tough act regardless of your gender.

The angry man starts walking back to his car much to the delight of the people stuck behind him.  He starts reaching into his jacket, and I start thinking, "Oh my god, please don't have a gun...please don't have a gun..."  But he takes his jacket off and throws it in his SUV.  He starts walking back towards the group.  I notice that he has a cast on his left wrist.

I back away a bit, knowing that there wasn't any stopping this man.  I see the T coming down the tracks, and I worry that someone will get run over.  But the man starts to really get physical with the group.

At this point, I've got my phone out (which is quickly running out of battery from all the bus schedule checking I was doing in the cold) and am calling 911.

The two guys, one of whom puts his case of beer down on the ground, start pushing him back.  The man swings.  I don't know if he hit any of the guys.  One of the guys hits back.  The man falls back and hits his head on the ground.  He's still for maybe 10 seconds.  He gets up and is bleeding from his lip.  Blood is on the ground and on his shirt.

Meanwhile, the T has opened its doors and people are trying to get off the T, trying not to step on the man on the ground.  One woman stops to help him get up, and she sees people on the T laughing.  She gets angry at them and hits the window with her palm.  I let her know that I've called 911 and the police and ambulance is coming.

As I finish my phone call, all the people on the T are commenting.  "I'm going to be a witness because that lady hit the window."  "That man really busted his lip."  "Anything anyone says to that man would be 'smart.'"

I look at all these people and say, "Really?  Not the most appropriate thing to say...I mean, no one calls 911 anymore for anything.  If anyone's going to be a witness, I think I'd be more appropriate."

The sirens approach from all sides, police and paramedics together.  I tell the police that I called 911 and tell them what I saw.  I also tell them that the other people who were fighting the man (who finally moved his SUV out of the way) were on the T.  I told them 2 boys and 3 girls, one of the boys has a case of beer.

I overhear the T driver say, "UGH! What time is it?? I just want to move the train and get home!"

Some people leave the T just to walk.  But soon, the police let me know that I can get on the T, and they give the driver the okay to leave.  The group who was involved got off the T, so they didn't need my eyewitness report anymore.

On the ride up the hill, a mere 3 stops away, I retell the story to someone who didn't see a thing.  We joked about how he was able to catch the T because of the fight, and that he would retell the story as though he witnessed it.  I told him to say there was a unicorn involved as well.

At my stop, several girls walk behind me.  One of them says, "Is this really my life?"

At this point, I couldn't even believe what I heard.  I turned around and said, " isn't.  It's that man's life, and you were luckily not involved."  We laughingly said goodnight and try not to get into any fights with angry people.

And here I am.
I feel like I could really go on.  I feel like I could insert an entire paper based on the ethnicities of the people involved in each of these stories.  But I'm leaving that information out because that's not what it's about.

But, here is this social worker's take on the 3 stories.

I joke about the guys who call out or try to talk to you from their car.  But when you really think about it, it's safe in their car.  They can hit on you and even if you reject them outright, they have to keep driving anyway.  They're in "control" of the situation, so it's the safest way to hit on girls - who, in the scheme of the dating world, often have more control of the situation (trust me on this, ladies. I can write a whole different post about this..and I just might).

I've already mentioned that I feel like if you consciously steal, you must really feel like it is your best option, what will benefit you right away.  I wonder how little financial control one must have to feel compelled to steal.  I feel horrible for the man who lost his wallet, and I hope that he was able to fix whatever he needed to fix to prevent more money from being stolen.  But, I do feel like it's a good thing to be a little more conscious of ones belongings no matter where you are.

I have so many thoughts about the final story.  It frustrates me that I was the only other person other than the T driver to call 911.  I know I wasn't the only person who witnessed this.  I know that one of the 5 people in the involved group could have called 911 before it escalated the way it did.

That man clearly needs to work a bit on his anger management.  But this was the final straw of the evening.  Whatever happened to him prior to this moment must have been so angering, so frustrating, that one little girl's snarky comment put him over the deep end.  He was even posturing and insisting that he could kick someone's ass as the police stood in front of him.  There was nothing more for him to lose.

It's fascinating to me how people on the T assumed so many things about the people involved when they hadn't witnessed a thing.  And for the girls at the end to turn it into something that "happened to them," I don't know.  It makes me wonder a lot about the selfishness of their age and their generation.  It makes me think about what I would have done and said if I was in my early 20's.

When I was in my early 20's, and I saw something strange or not safe, I called 911.  I knew that I'm not a hero, but that things can easily escalate if the proper officials weren't notified.  People think it's not their business, so why get involved?  But I say, people sometimes need to act to prevent it from becoming their business.

Finally, I just want to say that I just happened to be a witness to these things, and I'm writing my observations.  These things definitely didn't "happen to me."  But I don't mind being the stories conduit to others.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Searching For a Starting Point

So, I haven't really talked about this too much in this blog.  But all this time being unemployed has given me time to work on my own dreams.

However, I'm running into a major road block:  my dream isn't specific enough.

Here's the gist.  I've always wanted to open my own nonprofit.  The idea has changed throughout the years, though.  Originally, I wanted something focused on child abuse prevention.  Then I started thinking about music and arts programs.  Then I started thinking about sex education.  Then it turned into a studio for dance and creative expression focused on self care.

Now, I feel like it would be neat to have a center for dance, yoga, massage, body work, and sexual health information.

I feel like it would be wonderful to have a space where people can explore creativity and self care while learning more about pleasure in all its forms.

But I have so many doubts that come to mind as I sit around working on a business plan.  I'm no dance teacher or yogini.  I feel like I don't have any specific expertise that would give me much credibility for opening anything up.  I feel like if I were to open up a studio, I would need to go out there and do the work of teaching and getting my name out there.

I know I can't do it on my own.

One of the big questions that's weighing on me is, "What do I have to bring to anything?"  I have some sex ed background, but not enough that I can open up my own agency.  I've taken dance classes for about 9 years, but I'm not a teacher.

I've had to think a lot about trying to start small.  But I don't know really what that looks like.

I've gathered a small group of people to help me organize my thoughts.  But we need to produce something, which would help us start getting our name out there.

I'm wanting to organize an event that would showcase a variety of performers who are just getting their art or their name out to the public.  The hope is that these folks get to explore their art and share it with others.  At the same time, the event would have some information about a sexual health issue.

But maybe I need to think smaller?

Maybe I need to stop doubting myself first?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Today, I kissed the boyfriend goodbye as he left for his first class in grad school.

It's been...well, quite a journey up to this point.

All of 2010 was spent with us both being unemployed, but I was still "working" and pushing through a lot of the difficult stuff.  He took it as an extended vacation.

Come April and May, we were both sick of each other.  Living in a cluttered, tiny apartment together puts a lot of stress on the both of us.

These are times when you start really asking a lot of questions.  But, instead of keeping them internally, I wanted to keep communication lines open.  I asked him what he wanted to do with his life.  All the free time couldn't be just an extended vacation.  We both need money to keep living in Boston.  And truth be told, I don't know if I could keep living my life with someone who didn't have any dreams left.

After a lot of asking and a lot of frustration, he realized that he wanted to go to grad school and study library sciences.

He took the GRE's, and kicked its butt!  Then he applied to grad school, and we waited patiently for the acceptance letter.

Finally, January arrived.  For some reason, though, he kept thinking that it started much earlier than it did.  First he thought the first day was the 6th.  Then he learned it was the 19th.  Then he realized that it was a misprint, and it actually started on the 26th.

It kept feeling like there was a constant obstacle that kept popping up.  It was disappointing.

But finally this week arrived.

Yesterday, we took a walk around the neighborhood and did some Back To School Shopping.  We stopped by Staples and got him his very own notebook and pack of pens.  Then we walked over to a small hair salon and got his hair cut.

But I decided, you know, I should get my hair cut as well - considering the last time I got a hair cut was back in February.
First Haircut of 2011 - 3 inches lighter
So, I am extremely excited that he's off in his class.  Just thinking back to my first couple of weeks in classes, and how many friends I've made, I can't wait to hear all about his experience and I hope that he makes new friends.

I'm also hoping that I can convince the boyfriend to dress up as a "Sexy Librarian" for Halloween!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Delivery

In this crazy coldness, I have to say that I really appreciate that so many food vendors and restaurants deliver.

Once in a while, the boyfriend and I like to be extremely lazy and just order pizza for dinner (and it usually serves as a fairly decent lunch the following day).

We usually order from Presto Pizzaria in Cleveland Circle, where they have thick slices that are extremely filling.  The pizzaria was actually the location of our 3rd date, and he discovered that I usually eat the crust before the rest of the pizza.

I had to think about all the pizza I've ordered in my life.  In Los Angeles, I don't know of any pizzaria's that deliver that aren't Domino's, Pizza Hut, or Papa John's.  There might be some small pizza place in our neighborhood, but I couldn't even tell you.

I do feel like I usually get food delivered in L.A.  Perhaps because it's never too big a deal to go out to get your food, seeing that the weather doesn't go below zero.

But here in the Northeast, I love that I can get pizza, or Chinese, or Thai, or subs delivered right to my apartment's entrance.  Especially on a cold cold night like this.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tosies of the Month - January 2011

Woot! First pedicure of the year!

I had my day all planned out today.  In the morning, I had a 2nd interview at one job I'm really interested in, and then I had another interview at 5pm.  Instead of going back home, I decided to just stay in the downtown area.

After my interview in the morning and grabbing some lunch, I ended up going to see Disney's Tangled, FINALLY!  Loved it!  Totally teared up, but tried not to mess up my interview makeup.

By the time the movie was over, I still had some time to kill before my interview.  As I walked around, I felt some wetness on my coat.  My water bottle had leaked!  My resume's and note paper were a bit damp in the corners!  How completely unprofessional!

Luckily, I was on my way to the nail salon, and I figured that being in a warm place would help to dry it out a bit.

As I was getting my nails done, I get a phone call from the person I would meet with at 5.  She wanted to reschedule!  Wow!  While I was eager to talk with her, I was happy to know that I wouldn't have to face embarrassment by showing up with a damp bag.

It's always a gamble to get a pedicure in the winter time.  Whenever I've gone to get a pedicure, it seems like I'm usually the only one, while the rest of the patrons come in for a manicure - and that was the case again today.  But, we all know how much I rely on them for my self-care.

So, the last time I was in the downtown area, I went to a new nail place.  But this time, I went to one that I had been to before.  And I wasn't disappointed.
Designed by Vi at Galaxy Nail & Spa, Boston, MA
Color:  OPI - Bikini Envy
Occasion: Feeling Positive and Wearing My Power Color!
January 2011
Here's a closeup of the design.
I told the lady to do whatever she wanted.
It's like a wallpaper design!
I wasn't sure how the color would look on me.  But I like how bright it is.  And it actually kind of matches my new coat!

I'm definitely liking the colorful outlook.  I'm hoping my toes will remind me of it when I'm not feeling so colorful.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow-Related Terms

Being that I'm from Los Angeles, there were so many things I didn't know about snow.  Most of what I didn't know was the different types of snow.

In the past month, there's been 3 storms that have made quite an impact on the city.  So, I wanted to point out 3 new snow occurrences that I didn't know existed before moving here.

When I first heard about flurries, I kind of fell in love with the word.  It's the type of snow that's really light, and gets easily blown around.

Obviously, the name for this type of snow makes sense when you think of the phrase "a flurry of activity."  But I like the lightness and the airiness of the word.

Whoa.  I mean, Whoa.

First of all, that's a really cool band name!

Secondly, it's an honest to goodness thing!  It's basically a thunderstorm while it's snowing.  I didn't actually witness it during the big storm this month, but a lot of folks did.  Here's how it works:
Science is cool.

Bigger Flakes are Generally a Precursor to Rain
Today, I was sitting in my little area, and I realized that the flakes were suddenly getting extremely large!
Look at how big the flakes are!
I was seriously having a double rainbow moment while watching the snow fall from the sky.  It looked like some little winged being was throwing clumps of snow while sitting on its cloud.  But I had to just ask, "What does it mean??"

Luckily, some native New Englanders answered my question, and told me that this will happen when the snow is about to turn into rain.  But still, it was gorgeous.
Gorgeously Ginormous

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Being Sure (Astrologically)

I know it's been a while.  I don't really know where my mind has been.  Well, I do know that my body has been particularly busy.  So busy that I haven't had time to sit and write a blog post on Sundays!

I'm not really complaining, though.  But onto this Sunday's post!


In the past week, people have been flipping out about their horoscopes.  At first, I thought it was another silly quiz on Facebook, but apparently it's because the news was blowing a story about astrology all out of proportion (No! The news never does that!).

I'm not really going to go into why people are so wrong.

Except to say that I don't know why the Earth's wobble is new.  Hasn't this been happening for, well, ever?

If you really want to understand what's happening, I really honestly suggest going to's Astrology page.  She has interesting blog posts about what's happening in the world and in the stars, and breaks down the idea that there is a tropical zodiac (which follows the seasons) and the sidereal zodiac (which follows the star charts).

Again, why is this such a new idea?  There's the Gregorian calendar, the Chinese calendar, the Jewish calendar, the Muslim calendar, the Mayan calendar...I could go on, really.  All these ideas somehow are "understandable" to most people, and yet it would be ridiculous to think of there being variations on the zodiac.
Can you spot Ophiuchus?
Honestly, my favorite part about people who are freaking out is the fact that they barely believe in astrology in the first place, and yet they are extremely adamant that their sign isn't changing (for some silly made up reason, such as "it only affects people born after a certain year," or "I've been a [insert sign here] all my life! I'm not anything else!"

Sure, one can't claim that astrology is necessarily a science.  But then, I would feel wrong about discounting Traditional Chinese Medicine (which I've seen work better for some folks with strange ailments).

Now, I've been interested in astrology from a very early age (I'm going to blame that on my Aquarius Rising Sign).  So, I've done some reading and I've even know what my chart looks like (which, you should know what yours looks like as well! Click here to get it done for free!)

I've known that I'm on the Aries-Taurus Cusp, and I'm quite proud of that as is evident by my tattoo.
Tattoos are probably another reason why people freaked out!
I am not only proud, but I am not feeling any nervousness about being the "wrong" sign.  Sure, my chart my read differently if it were created through a sidereal perspective, and I would be a straight up Aries.  But, the sidereal perspective would probably interpret the signs in a different way as well.

And that doesn't change who I am and who I was as a person.

Our signs don't rule over us.  They can be for entertainment, and they can be some guidelines for understanding yourself a little bit more.

We all carry bits and pieces from the other signs, as we carry bits and pieces of our experiences with us.  There's more to it than just the Sun sign (which is what everyone is freaking out about).  There's a whole sky's worth of information about us that we've yet to discover.

But, it does help to have your feet on the ground and feel sure about your footing, especially while your mind is exploring the stars.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pancit Bihon

For some reason, this recipe feels like it will take a whole day of cooking to prepare it.  But, it's really just because there are multiple preparatory steps before it all comes together.

But, if you time it well, the recipe takes less time than you think it would.

I made pancit bihon for New Years, and there was enough of it to last the boyfriend and me several days of meals.  Pancit is basically a Filipino noodle dish and, similar to adobo and sinigang, can be made in a variety of different ways.

This recipe was one that I acquired from my mother.  Being that I spent the holidays away from my family, I definitely needed to have some Filipino food to make up for it.

I was very pleased to know that the ingredients to make pancit aren't too difficult to get, though many of the ingredients I already had at home.

Ingredient List
Pancit Bihon noodles (can be found in Super 88 in the noodle section)
1lb Chicken (boneless and skinless) OR 1 box of Firm Tofu
2 boxes of Chicken Broth OR Veggie Broth
2 bags of Veggie Stir-fry (I suggest just going to Trader Joe's and getting their frozen bag of veggie stir-fry. I ended up getting a bag of frozen veggies + a bag of frozen edamame from Whole Foods this time around.)
1 bulb Garlic
2 Onions
Canola Oil or Olive Oil
Ground Pepper
Soy Sauce
Green Onion

Initial Prep
1. Cut 1 bag of noodles in half, and place them in a pot of water to soften.  Do not turn the heat on!  This procedure makes the noodles soft and easier to work with.
You can also get a brand called "Excellent," with a picture of a shrimp on it.
That's the brand my mom recommends.
2. Boil chicken.  When chicken is boiled, shred the chicken (you can just use your fingers or a fork) and put aside.  OR Fry tofu in a 1/2 cup of canola oil and put aside.
3. Mince garlic and saute.  Once all the garlic has browned, set it aside.
Browned Garlic and Shredded Chicken
Veggie Prep
1.  Cut and chop onions.  Saute them in a wok with a 1/2 tbsp of oil.
2.  Add the stir-fry veggies when the onions are coated in oil.  You can use all 2 bags or just 1 1/2 bags depending on how large your container is.
3.  Add 1ts of ground pepper, and 1/2ts of paprika.
4.  When the liquid has mostly evaporated and veggies are drying, add 2tbs of chicken or veggie broth.
5.  After most of the broth has been absorbed, set the veggies aside.
Sauteing Veggies
1.  In the same wok you used to cook the veggies, put in 1 box + 1 cup of broth, 3/4 cup of soy sauce, 2tbs oil, 2ts ground pepper, 1/2ts paprika.
2.  When the mixture starts to boil, put in the softened noodles.  Mix to coat all the noodles.
Almost done!
3.  When the noodles have almost absorbed the liquid mixture, throw in 1/2 of the sauteed veggies.  Saute the mixture.
4.  When all the liquid has been absorbed by the noodles, it's done!

Finishing Touches
1.  Place the noodles in a serving dish (probably a large tray of some sort).
2.  Put the remaining veggies on top of the noodles.
3.  Then place the chicken or tofu on top of the veggies.
4.  Then put the browned garlic on top of the chicken.
5.  Then sprinkle chopped green onions all over the dish.
6.  Finally, chop lemons in halves, then quarters.  Put the quarters on the sides of the dish.
To serve this dish, you want a nice large scoop of everything.  I highly recommend squeezing some lemon on the noodles before feasting.

Altogether, the preparation and cooking probably took me about an hour and a half, which is pretty fast compared to what it looks like.

Also, while it's delicious fresh from the kitchen, I think it's also quite delicious the next day after being in the fridge.  You can reheat it, but it's also delicious as a cold meal.

Personally, I could eat a ginormous bowl of this stuff!  It's one of the highlights of Filipino get-together's.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day for the Unemployed - A Picture Story

The first blizzard of 2011 is here in Boston.  The streets are all covered, and the people are all nestled at home.

I can't believe that the snow is still so novel to me!  In a day, when the snow has hardened to ice or when it's in big clumps of browning dirty snow, I won't be as excited as I am today.  But today, I woke up somewhat excited by all the white has taken over.

Before coffee this morning, I put on my coat and boots and ventured out into the cold.
Checking out the view before heading outside.
The plows were already out, trying to clear what's accumulated.  Though some were waiting for more of it to accumulate before clearing the roads.
Snow plow in the wings.
Today also happens to be trash day.  But what are the odds that they will actually be picked up?
Can you see the trash bags and recycling bins?
There's no way that anyone is getting anywhere today.  At least, there's no way that you'll be able to get anywhere on time today.  The T is running, but it is more like a stroll through the snow.
I'm pretty sure all the snow gets plowed onto the tracks...then what?
Not everyone has a snow day.  Surely nurses and doctors don't have that luxury, and certainly neither do paramedics and firemen.  Though, I sure hope that whatever emergencies there are today are not too intense.
No rest for the weary.
It's difficult to explain the feeling to those who don't have to live in this kind of weather.  Sure, I will be the first to tell you that I dislike having no other choice but to trudge through the snow just to get somewhere.  But, there is something exhilarating about being outside during a blizzard.
It's the cold air, the snowflakes that hit your face.  It's exciting to see a snowflake on your glove and notice the individual crystals that make them all so unique.
It's beautiful and quiet.  At least for now.

Who knew that I would enjoy the snow as much as I have?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Feeling Ranty: About Disney

So, a couple of months ago, I ranted a bit about The Little Mermaid.  Now, I'm going to rant a bit about people's negative opinions about Disney.


I want to start with a quick disclaimer.  I'm a Disney fan.  I love the movies, I grew up watching the Disney channel (though I couldn't stand to watch it now).  Being a generally open-minded person, I've heard other people's opinions about Disney movies and characters.  I've listened to what they had to say, and I could even see what they were talking about.  But that hasn't stopped me from enjoying the movies.  So, this post acknowledges that people have very different opinions than me.  But this is my blog, so here's my thoughts after much discussion and thinking.


Let's start with the most obvious thing that people hate on, shall we?

I'm not really sure when Alice became a Princess.
Also, this is definitely not a comprehensive image of all the
Disney female characters.
Disney Princesses
I get it, I really do.  Tons of women, including myself, have been "lied to" and "duped" into thinking that a Prince Charming would come along to sweep us off our feet and ride us into the sunset.  Oh, ya.  And they lived happily every after.

Clearly, that's incorrect.  Clearly, when Disney first began the divorce rate was much lower, rates of reported domestic abuse were lower, and women were not as independent.  With the changes in society, the Disney Princesses have also changed.

Now, let me take the core 6 Disney Princesses that are highlighted on every Disney Princess merchandise item.

Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella were all beautiful and eventually saved by Princes.  Sure, they were all extremely kind to animals as well as fabulous singers.  But, for the most part their stories were being guided by male figures and evil women.

Moving on to the 1990's.

Ariel, Belle, and Jasmin were all beautiful and eventually saved by Princes.  Sure, they were all extremely kind to animals as well as fabulous singers.  But Ariel was independent and strong-willed, Belle was a bibliophile, and Jasmin was curious about other worlds and open-minded.

I could probably go on about how people think they're all horrible role models, how they all cater to some male sexual fantasy, and how they teach little girls the wrong things.

Firstly, why hasn't anyone mentioned the fact that the Disney Princesses are fictional characters, mainly created by male writers?  Yet, we blame the females for their shortcomings.  It could never have been the males fault, oh no.  We need to keep putting the blame on other women because that is the easiest thing to do.

Seeing that the holiday season just ended, I'm going to go with this metaphor:  Why is it okay for your child to believe that it's perfectly acceptable for a strange man to come into your home just because he's bringing a gift, but it's not okay for your child dress up to feel pretty and to believe that they are deserving of a happy and healthy relationship (which you as the parent will help to define for them)?

Really, I'm a strong believer that movies and cartoons are too easily scapegoated when it's the parents who say, "Well, the t.v. can babysit my child while I go do other things or take a rest or whatever."  Don't get me wrong, I understand being exhausted.  But that just doesn't seem like a good reason to skirt responsibility for what your child sees on tv, hears on the radio, or sees in their households and among their friends.

For goodness sake, talk to your child about gender roles at an early age!  It would be just as irresponsible to ignore or not allow your child's interest in "girly, princessy" things, because it would just lead to more misinformation.

Completely Forgotten Characters and Movies
So, first people get angry at Disney because of the Princesses.  But then they get angry at all the other movies for being boring or uninteresting or unoriginal - and those other stories were mainly those that didn't have a female character lead.

The "unoriginal" debate is the most ridiculous thing I've heard.  Disney made itself by taking well-known and well-loved stories and animating them.  Most of the stories were modified in some way or another to make them fit within the film constraints.  I personally can't name a lot of movies that stayed true to the original story as much as possible - well, except maybe the Lord of the Rings trilogy which were 3 hours long!

Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that all the Disney movies were absolutely amazing.  For example, I'm not really a huge fan of "Home On the Range," but I'd probably watch it again if it came into my possession.

But I heard all kinds of negative feedback about "Atlantis," "Treasure Planet," "Tarzan," and a whole host of others.  I could probably rant about the negative opinions about each of them, but I won't.

I just found it extremely interesting that everyone would find something negative about anything Disney would put out.  If there was a female lead, then she must be a horrible role model in some way maybe because she dared to want love.  If there was a male lead, then it was mainly ignored.

I don't know too many people my age who saw the movies I just mentioned above, unless they were Disney fans or have kids.

I just feel like all the Disney hating comes just because there's a name involved.  I get that - they're extremely powerful and own a lot of media outlets.  They get to control what we see in the media.

Yet, that doesn't mean that we aren't in control of our individual wills and thoughts and opinions.

But, those are just my thoughts and opinions.  And it's open for discussion.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beginnings and Rumblings

It's only day 4 of 2011 and I can feel the momentum building.  There's movement and action, and I'm hoping it will all lead to bigger and better things.

While I was in Maine last week, I got an email about an opportunity to teach sex ed at a high school in the Greater Boston area.  All kinds of things went through my mind at the sight of the email.  I must have read it and reread it several times before making any more moves.

First, I had to think practically.  Could I get to the school by public transportation?  Would I be hearing back from previous jobs?  Do I have to reschedule anything?

After I figured out those logistical things, I responded to the email and spent the remainder of last week preparing for it.  At one point, I met with another volunteer and the head of the organization.

I was a bit nervous, truth be told.  While I was excited to interact with kids again and doubly excited to teach a sex ed curriculum, I started feeling some self-doubt.  Having no experience teaching sex ed and being unfamiliar with the curriculum, I just didn't know if I wold be able to pull it off.  It was almost as though I had forgotten how much experience I had under my belt.

But as we met and discussed the curriculum, I realized that I had nothing to worry about.  I know this is going to sound bad, but I actually felt better after the other volunteer asked me if I had experience teaching classrooms.  After quickly going through my experience and realizing that she was just applying for a Masters in Social Work and Sex Education, I calmed myself down.
Basic fundementals
When Monday finally arrived, I was nervous and excited.  I made sure to double check the bus directions, double check the curriculum, and double check my belongings.

As I exited the Haymarket T station, I looked around to eye all the bus numbers.  Realizing that I might be in the wrong section, I asked a T worker.  He said, "I don't know.  I actually just work with the subway."  I'm sorry, but why don't you know more about the services the T has?  Clearly, this is why they're losing money!

Frantic, I quickly walk to another exit, but I don't see my bus number and there's no other T worker around.  I quickly grab my phone and try to figure out where the bus is supposed to pick up.  I realize I'm most definitely at the wrong station, and there's no way I'm catching this extremely infrequent bus!

I had no other choice but to back track back to my neighborhood and grab a Zipcar.  I feel so flustered, but I knew I wasn't going to be late, since the bus would have gotten me there nearly 1 and a half hours before I needed to be there.

As I'm waiting in Government Station for the B line, I get a local phone call.  Since my cell has an L.A. area code, I know whether or not to pick up an unknown number.

The phone call is for a job I applied for back in December.  I schedule an interview for Tuesday.

Well, if these two days are any indication, I'm really hoping that there's more to come. In fact, this entire week is full of awesome.

All week I'll be teaching a sex ed curriculum.  The job interview went extremely well, especially after a fellow BUSSW alum peeked in and gave me an on-the-spot recommendation!  I will be contacting another agency tomorrow to inquire about a job I applied for.  The boyfriend will be starting grad school on Thursday.  I will hopefully hear back about the most recent job interview by Friday.  And the weekend will be dedicated to my side job and a sales meeting.

I am feeling eternally grateful for this week.  I feel busy and active and useful. 

Just a little more of that, please, 2011.  A healthy, manageable amount of activity that still leaves time for my side business to grow and for me to spend time with the soon-to-be-busy boyfriend and the kitties.

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