Sunday, February 27, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Soup

Well, it's really been an interesting week of me forcing myself to keep going even though I've been sickly and sounding like death.

I want to post about my experiences at the day program with the little 1st graders, because I have some serious gems and moments of insanity to share.

But this post is about all the soups I've had this week.  Though, I probably could have had more soup.

On Tuesday and Friday, I got to feast on some delicious phở action.  Have you had phở?  It's Vietnamese brothy noodley deliciousness. 

I usually get the chicken soup, and I love throwing in the basil leaves, bean sprouts, and squeeze of lime.

When the boyfriend and I go out for phở, we sometimes argue about who gets the bigger lime wedge - because we both love limes.  Then we realize that we could just ask for more lime wedges.

It's also recommended to squeeze in a generous amount of Sriracha and hoisin sauce.  I like my sauces to change the color of my broth.  But then it gets nice and spicy - so much so that it help drain my sinuses and I have to get gross and blow my nose at the table.

So frakin' good.

On Thursday night, the boyfriend concocted this delicious soup made with chicken broth, potatoes, and kielbasa.  Seriously, if there's any reason to keep this guy around, it's because he can cook and he can cook well and creatively.  Thank goodness for years of being a bachelor.

Then just tonight, we spent time with some good friends and some new folks sharing in some hot pot action.
Hot pot for 9
I know hot pot isn't exactly soup, but there is the broth that is the important component of the meal.

We had tons of veggies, fish, shrimp, beef, pork, and chicken.  Our friend's dad made some delicious dipping sauces, and at the end we got to soak up some more of the broth with some glass noodles.  There was enough on the table that our friend and his dad will have left overs for at least another couple of meals.

It was delicious, and we are properly stuffed.

There's just something wonderful about the warm brothy goodness of soup that I think is wonderful no matter what season it is.

Though, there's something about having soup in the winter and especially when suffering from an illness that makes it the most pleasurable.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mermaid with a Cold and Nightmares

Well, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.  But this mermaid got sick!

I know I didn't protect myself from a the windy coldness last Saturday, and I made myself extremely vulnerable by sleeping late.

I have a stuffy head, running nose, and soon-to-be sore throat.  But, I've also had the opportunity to work at this after school program during this February vacation week.  I'm not too worried about giving my cold to any of the kids, because they really probably have better immune systems than I do.

But at night time, I've been getting extremely warm.  So warm that I feel like my brain does a lot of spinning around.

The first night, I thought a lot about how my body was exuding all this heat because I let too much coldness in.  I'm pretty sure I started blabbering to the boyfriend in my sleepiness.

And last night, I had two nightmares, which I haven't had in a long time.

The first nightmare involved me hiding under some church pews or a table of some sort.  While other people were pretending that there was nothing to hide from, I saw this demon-looking creature fly around above the heads of the seated folks.  Suddenly, it spotted me.  It's cold eyes stared at me.  Then, it swooped down at me.  I woke up.

The second nightmare started off with me out shopping.  I was in a store, when a bell or an alarm started ringing.  All the women were directed to another section of the store, almost like it was standard procedure.  They asked us to sit down and put our heads in our laps.  The room got dark, and this fog entered the room.  I remembered that the place was haunted by a little girl, and I assumed that this was some ritual for the little girl to choose someone.  Choose someone for what, I have no idea.  I could feel the little girl ghost approach me.  I then felt the eerie chill of her little fingers walking down my spine.  I woke up.

I felt this fear grip me when I awoke.  I suddenly started thinking about whether being sick makes one really attune to the spirit world, and perhaps I became clairvoyant in my illness.  My back was facing the bedroom door, and I was certain that the little girl ghost was there.  I had to really change my thinking around just to convince myself that it was okay to move just to reach out to touch the boyfriend.

It was frightening, but in the light of day I know how silly it sounds.

I am definitely planning on taking some Theraflu tonight before heading to bed!

Monday, February 21, 2011

City Sights - Ice and Clouds

I feel like I could take pictures of snow all day, especially on a snowy day like today.

But here's some other things I like noticing during the wintertime.

Wall of ice made from water droplets. 
Some of the icicles were reaching upwards!
Brighton, MA
February 2011

One restless night, I watched the clouds flit quickly through the sky.
So many clouds moving so fast.
Brighton, MA
February 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Recognition

One of the neat things that the boyfriend is into is old movies.  On this lovely but cold Sunday, he saw that How the West was Won was just starting on the Encore westerns channel.

It features quite a lot of awesome movie stars, like James Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Gregory Peck, and of course, John Wayne.  There are definitely parts of the movie that make me glad to be a woman in today's day and age.  But, it is quite an adventure-filled movie.

Now, the fun thing about watching the older movies is to recognize some faces and voices.  There were two characters in this movie whose voices were so absolutely familiar to me, but it took me a bit of time to place them. 

After a while, I realized that the two voices were voices from Disney movies!  Both were in Robin Hood, one was the voice of one of the Vulture guards keeper and the other was the voice of Friar Tuck.

Sometimes I really enjoy playing this game with myself.  I'm usually pretty good about recognizing faces and voices.  But if I get stumped, I refuse to head right to  I will try to figure it out for the rest of the movie, if need be!  I'm just that stubborn.

There is just some simple satisfaction from recognizing people on my own.  Absolutely satisfying.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tosies of the Month - February 2011

I know it's really only been a month.  But it strangely feels so long since my last pedicure.

I'm testing out this Blogger app on my Droid, so I figured that I could put it to some good use while I'm still at the salon.

It feels like spring is upon us here in Boston. The dirty, massive ice mountains have shrunk into ice cubes, and the melted mix of snow, trash, and melting agents flow like rivers to the sewers.

Seems like others had a similar inclination as I did to head to the nail salon, though it does seem like the majority of girls (because let's be honest...they're mere fetuses or college kids) are here for an eyebrow wax.

Nonetheless, I present to you my toes.

The color is OPI - Unripened, pedi by Ken and design by Dana herself.  The location is Dana's Nail Salong, Brighton, MA. The occasion - warmth amidst the cold.

Alright, Blogger app.  Let's see how you do.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

One World One Heart 2011 Winners!!!

Oh my goodness.  I can't even believe that it's over!!!

I really really tried to visit all of the blogs.  But, I kind of failed.  I got to 300.


But, I do have some winners to present!!! Yay!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to present to you all, the Runner Up.
Commenter #15 is Linda from Just My Little Bit!  Congratulation, Linda!  You win the photograph of the underwater coral from Santorini!

And now, I present to you all, the First Place commenter.
Commenter #30 is WriterGirlDreams from The Sacred Ordinary!  Congratulations!!!  I will be emailing you soon to discuss the details of your shirt!

It's been great to participate once again in the One World One Heart event!  I've added more blogs on my list to follow and made some new friends!  I get to share some pieces that mean a lot to me with new people around the world.

It's been truly a pleasure!

Hearing on Sex Education at City Hall

On Tuesday, February 15th, Boston's City Council held a hearing on the state of sex education in the Boston Public Schools.

This hearing came about because the Hyde Square Task Force and their youth organizers created a documentary about the scarcity of comprehensive sex education and its consequences.

Students are asking for better, more comprehensive sex education, which includes conversations about healthy relationships, STI's, and peer pressure.  They are also asking for more availability of condoms at high schools.

In my social work experience, I've had the pleasure of being able to visit the State House quite often for various reasons, but this was the first time I had attended a hearing in City Hall.  The room was packed!  They needed to start filtering people into other rooms that had televisions so that they could still watch what was happening.
The big players were all at this event - Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Health Commission, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice, Massachusetts Alliance on teen Pregnancy, and of course the Hyde Square Task Force and student representatives from various youth organizations.

But there were also representatives who agreed on the availability of comprehensive sex education with a strong emphasis on abstinence and disagreed about the availability of condoms for high school students.

City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley was really a champion on this effort.  She asked the right questions to the various people who were testifying for and against the subject of the hearing.  It's great to see that the city is listening, especially when the strongest voices are those of the youth.

Many of those that disagreed with subject of hearing had the usual arguments.  One woman spoke about how sex education in schools undermined the testament in the Bible about honoring thy mother and thy father. But City Councilor Pressley reiterated previous testimonies that stated that while parents want to be the first resource for their kids, they don't often know how to broach the topic.

The first group who testified against the distribution of condoms was from Pure at Heart, based out of Harvard University.  They read statistics from countries around the world that showed that more condom availability means that more teens will just have sex.  They also stated that it would be wrong to recommend a product that is not 100% effective in preventing STI's.  Councilor Pressley then stated that their argument would be related to wearing a seatbelt -which is not 100% effective in preventing harm during a car accident.  The Pure at Heart representatives then started using drunk driving as an analogy to sex, which in all honesty, was pretty incorrect.

The one shocking testimony for me was from a medical doctor.  Though I couldn't hear too much of his arguments because he wasn't speaking too clearly into the microphone, he not only disagreed about the effectiveness of condoms (stating that they need to be used correctly to be the most effective, which begs the question, "How are people supposed to know how to use a condom without education?"), but also blamed the prevalence of teen sex on the lack of a strong two-parent home.

Truth be told, my eyes went wide at that comment.  I cautiously looked around at adults and kids in the room and questioned if anyone would take his comment personally.  While I agree about having positive adult male and female role models in everyone's life, it would be wrong to say that those positive adults can ONLY be parents.  How many of the people in the hearing come from single-parent households, but also have other positive adults in their lives?

Truth be told, it seemed that most of the people who disagreed with condom availability mainly spoke about how "kids don't know any better."  They talked about how having more condoms would mean that kids would want to try them out, but then not use them correctly and just pass all types of diseases to each other.

As someone who is a believer in youth empowerment, it was frustrating and disheartening to hear those arguments.  While the adults are ultimately the ones passing the laws, I really believe that the youth have the ability to make informed, educated opinions about very difficult topics.  They have to maneuver the murky waters of relationships, friendships, waking up to get to school on time, homework, work, and so many other things.  The fact that so many of them are able to do this is an achievement in an of itself, and the adults have to remember that.

I definitely agree that comprehensive sex education includes not only a conversation about anatomy and STI's, but about all prevention methods including abstinence, about healthy relationships and peer pressure, and about the ability to make a choice.

I connected with the Boston Public School representatives, and will hopefully get involved in a task force to further work on the creation of a comprehensive curriculum.

I really feel extremely passionate about this field, and am really feeling that this is where my path is leading me.  But, I don't want to wait around for an opportunity.  I really want to seize it.  I'm ready and willing, good, giving, and game.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Less Than 3

This was the Valentine the boyfriend emailed me today:

This was the rose I received during belly dance class from one of my lovely classmates:

This is my most favorite love song that I am dedicating to all of you:

I wish you all love and romance, first and foremost with yourself!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Mango

During my last job interview, the group of Case Managers asked me what kind of fruit I would be.  I outright said Mango.

Why mango?  I've been craving mangoes for a long time.  We've gotten mango juice, dried mango, I've ordered foods in restaurants that would have mango in it.  But, I've just wanted to bite into the mango meat.

At our last trip to Costco, we finally got some mangoes.  While I don't think they're as scrumptious as say fresh mangoes in the Philippines, it definitely satisfied my craving.

I remember feasting on so many mangoes the last time I was in the Philippines, and when I returned to L.A. and had a mango, I remember feeling extremely disappointed.  The Philippine mango is the BEST, in my opinion.

These aren't as sweet as I'm used to, but they're still so juicy.  We have to be careful with the mangoes in our apartment since our tiny galley kitchen gets very warm, so there's a small window of optimum ripeness before they start to go bad.

I've been trying to have fruits for breakfast before I ingest coffee or any other food category.  I am extremely excited to finally have some mango deliciousness in my home.

I think for my next mango adventure, I'm going to mix it with some Greek yogurt and granola.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bed Head

I don't know what it is about my hair, but I have this potential for extremely epic bed head.

Let's take Exhibit A from my early years.
I apparently had a lot of hair as a baby.  You can ask my mom, and she'll tell you all about it.  Funny thing is that most of it is on my head.  I don't really have dark hair on my legs or arms, and most people thought I was plucking my eyebrows before I actually was.

At some point during college, I had my hair cut really short.  I wish I had a picture to show you, because I'm sure it exists!  But it's probably somewhere in my photo albums in L.A.  But that would have been my Exhibit B.

Today, I usually wear my hair up when I go to bed.  It prevents it from getting all tangled, and it will generally stay out of my face.  Now, that doesn't really prevent my hair from acting all crazy.  In fact, it somehow makes it worse.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Exhibit C.
Half asleep, too bright flash in the too bright bathroom.
I kind of HAD to take a picture.  This was just last night!  I woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, and I had to laugh at the bouffant that was created in the mere 2 hours of sleep I had had.

My hair had gone into full parakeet mode.  It was like it was trying to tell me something.

But after this picture, I stumbled back into sleep and dreamed of less unruly hair.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trying Out a New Look

***UPDATE - February 11, 2011***
Alright, so it looks like this is an approved look! Thanks for those who made suggestions!


What do you think?

While green is my favorite color, even I recognize that it can be too much of a good thing.

I also love earthy colors and ocean colors.  But I also appreciate the clean look of so many white-background blogs.

I'd love to get some opinions. What is it like as a reader? Did you like my previous look or was it too much?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nonprofit Expo

I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by amazing, supportive people. So, even in all this unemployment, I can't ever get too down because my friends are so supportive.

Yesterday, one of my friends told me about a Nonprofit Expo at Boston University.  So, I prepared my resumes, put on a business casual outfit complete with my Gentle Souls heels.
Gentle Souls - Fortune Stella
Okay, well, I figured if I'm going to get used to heels, I better start walkin'.  But, I did pack some flats along as well.

So, I had already looked at the list of organizations that were planning on being at the Expo, and I knew that the majority of them weren't necessarily ones that I would apply to.  I also knew that most of the organizations would only be looking for internship or volunteer positions.

Nonetheless, I signed up for a couple of mailing lists, and picked up a ton of fliers and brochures.
Info, info, and more info.
When I would chat up one of the representatives of the different organizations, I would ask if they were hiring or just looking for interns or volunteers.  The majority of folks were definitely looking for volunteers.  However, there were some that mentioned and even had print-outs of some job positions.

I would ask them if they were looking for a specific amount of experience and education.  Weirdly, they would say that they were looking for someone who at least a Bachelors or were in the midst of getting their bachelors.  I then responded, "Well, I have a Masters in Social Work."

I got a lot of surprised faces.  A lot of people who said that I looked so young, so they assumed that I didn't have that much experience.

Even when I would outright tell them that I was a social worker/community organizer, they would try to hand me an internships.

I really don't think I look as young as one of the young ones.  But I appreciate the gesture.

Once I got home, I emailed the folks that I chatted with about specific positions they were offering so that I could have a leg up on the newbies. 

I hope the Expo is fruitful.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dear Ullr The Norse God of Snow more snow!

I would really like for there to be more sun and less ice.

I know that I was really excited when the big blizzards rolled around, but don't say that I didn't predict that I would soon be sick of it.

Besides, I would really like a reason to try out these new babies that I've practiced with inside the house.
Corso Como Delicious pumps in Olive

So, we all think that you deserve a major break and that we also deserve a break from all this intense snow and sleet and icy rain.

Thanks.  We hope you're listening.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - The Super Bowl Edition

I'll be straight up.  I'm not naturally a football fan.  In fact, I can still find different reasons why I dislike football.

But in 2007, when I first started dating the boyfriend, I learned that he was not only a big nerd, but also a huge football fan.  His duality was so strange to me.

I told him that I was very content that both my high school and my undergrad didn't have football teams.  I feel like it creates too macho an atmosphere for me to be comfortable.  Otherwise, I didn't really care too much for it.

He decided that he was going to get me interested in football.  He proposed that every time the Patriots scored a point, I would get a kiss.  Well, I quickly learned that each scoring was actually 7 points, which meant I got 7 kisses for every touchdown!


Well, suffice it to say that that season was a heart breaker.  But today, I now enjoy watching football with the boyfriend.

Being that today is the day of the Super Bowl, which I've always enjoyed watching because of the social aspect (much like why I enjoy the World Cup so much), I thought it would be fun to list all the terms in football that make me say, "Excuse me, what?"

Double Entendre Football Terms
Bump and Run
Crackback Block
Down and In
Down and Out
Down Box
End Zone
False Start
Going Deep
Going Long
Illegal Touching
Loose Ball
Muffed Kick
Open Up Holes
Pooch Kick
Pump Fake
Tight End
Too Many Men on the Field
Wide Receiver

Happy Super Bowl to those of you who care!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Tribute to My Grandparents on Lola's Death Anniversary

One year ago today, my Lola took her last breath and joined the rest of the stars in the sky.  She wasn't the first of my grandparents to pass, but her death was the one that seemed the most imminent.

Her husband passed in April 1989.  He was a heavy drinker and smoker.  I believe he died from lung cancer.
My first taste of beer
It was the first time I had returned to the Philippines after moving to the US in 1986.  I remember him being extremely loving towards my mom and me.  But the stories of his infidelity to my Lola are what I remember most.  My Lola would talk about how his mistress would even accompany them to church!

It's ridiculous, really, considering that he fathered 12 children with my Lola, that he would still need to get booty elsewhere.

When I was 17, a couple of weeks before my high school graduation, my paternal grandfather passed away.
The Villero Family circa 1988
My Lolo is on the right, holding my brother.
My family lived with my paternal grandparents for about 9 years when we first moved from the Philippines.  He was my chaperon when I would walk back home from school, and he would always treat us with Kit Kat's.  He was an extremely hard worker, and moved to the United States to work so that he could move the rest of his family here.  His boss happened to be named Cecilia.

When I was in my last year of high school, and preparing to graduate, my Lolo had a heart attack.  My memory of it is a bit fuzzy, but I remember him being in the hospital.  Then, my dad came home from the hospital one day and told us that he died.

I was extremely saddened by the news.  He didn't get to see me graduate from high school and go on to college, and I wanted to make the man who literally joined me in my school journey proud.  I'm sure I did.

Luckily, my paternal Lola is still around, tending to her garden and being the fortress that she is.

At that point in my life, I was already creating my own understanding of death and the afterlife.  While I accompanied my Lola's to church every Sunday, I knew that I was not really a religious person.  I am somewhat spiritual, and understand that I can't possibly understand everything about this life and the universe.

Throughout my college years, I would talk with my Lolo (my paternal grandfather), and ask him to keep us all protected the way he did when he was living.  I honestly feel like he did.

So, at this time last year, my Lola was extremely ill.  She wasn't eating much, she wasn't moving around much.  The nurses knew that we all needed to say goodbye.

A week before her funeral, I flew to LA to say goodbye.  I had been living away from home for a long time, so I didn't watch her health steadily decline the way some of my other relatives had.

The day I flew back to Boston, I sat with my Lola in our computer room - which had become her bedroom since she couldn't climb the steps anymore.  I watched her straining to breathe.

I remember it being somewhat awkward.  I wanted to say a lot of things, but the nurse was in the room with me.  I couldn't say anything, really.  I just tried to send my thoughts to her.

I could feel her holding on, and it made me wonder if being religious made you fear death.  Why would she need to hold on?  I told her we would be fine, that we would all be okay.  That I was visiting from Boston, and I would be leaving again that day, but coming back next week (because I was being fairly realistic about her health).  Even in her failing health she was trying to be strong for all of us.

Maybe that's where I get my strength.

And so, today, on her death anniversary, my parents flew back to the Philippines where they buried her next to her husband.  There were multiple days of mourning in 2010, from the wake in Los Angeles to the wakes in Manila.  Then she was finally laid to rest on the 17th of February.

According to Filipino tradition, family members get together again a year after someone's passing to feast and remember.  It almost signifies the end of mourning.

I wish that we were wealthy enough that my whole family could have joined my parents to the Philippines.  But we are all spread around the world remembering our Lola today.

I'm sad that she's no longer with us physically, but I was more sad that she was in so much pain near the end.  In fact, I don't really believe she's any less with us just because she's passed.  If my Lolo's are able to watch over us, then she's surely doing the same.
Lola and me.
I'm kind of hoping that I have a dream about her soon.  I'd like to see her and ask how she's doing, and if she gets to watch the Game Show Network all the time.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First Tarot Spread of 2011

I've been meaning to pull out my tarot cards for a while now.  With the new year, I sometimes feel like change needs to happen so instantaneously.  Like, at the strike of midnight, my troubles will turn into a pumpkin.

While I know that's not how it works, I still need to get some extra guidance.  And what better time than when there's a new moon in the sky!

As I shuffled the cards, I thought a lot about my financial worries, really looking for a job, all the ideas I've had and plans I've made or put on hold.

Interestingly, all of the cards were quite fitting with each other, and they were all in the Swords, Chalices, and Pentacles suites.  If you know a little about tarot, I'd love to hear your thoughts on that!

Swords, not one of my favorite suits, are generally about thoughts, challenges, and often strife.  Chalices are generally about relationships, emotions, and love.  Pentacles are generally about earthly matters, material things, and finances.
First spread of the year
I did a modified Celtic Cross spread based on several bits of information from other tarot card readers I know.

The start of the spread touched upon my unemployment, losing faith in myself, evaluating and re-evaluating my goals.  It talked about how there will be lulls in my worrying, but it can return if I'm not able to recognize the light within me.  It talked about how past is past, and it's time to move on. 

The spread encouraged me to keep fighting and keep going, to stay motivated.  I've done quite a lot of work, and I need to be able to evaluate it with fresh eyes and continue working.  I have a lot of options coming my way, and I need to make choices based on what I love and not what will pay me the most - otherwise, I will just fail.  The spread reminded me about all that I do have, and that I need to share what I have with others. 

A new job or a new opportunity is on its way, according to the Knave of Pentacles, one where I can use my past resources but also build new experiences.  It talks about how I need to maintain some balance between all the things I'm involved in, and to not be afraid of putting one project aside in order to make room for a new project.  The Ace of Swords talks about all the potential I have within me, and it can work in my favor if I am able to see it, but to stay true to my beliefs.

Finally, my previous boss pointed out that a major spread should be concluded with a card from the Major Arcana.  So, as I pulled out more cards, the first Major Arcana card to show itself was The Moon.
Really, how appropriate that this card would show itself on the day of a New Moon.  Really, generally, how appropriate.

The Moon touches upon having to walk my path through some darkness, and possibly by myself.  I have to keep the faith in myself and let go of my mental blocks.  I can't wait for the sun to show, because the opportunities might disappear at that point.  Eventually, the path will be revealed and the lessons I've learned during this journey will only benefit me later.

Definitely some valuable insight in this reading.  One that I've heard from others, and need constant reminders of.  I might be holding on to The Moon card, perhaps place it in my datebook as a reminder.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...