Friday, December 30, 2005

Pasta Queen!

Yesterday, I made pasta from scratch.

Yup. Made my own noodles--mixed the flour and eggs. Kneaded the dough with my own hands (good workout!). Rolled out and cut the noodles. Cooked the noodles. Made pasta sauce from scratch. And it was GOOD.

Store bought pasta does not give you this satisfaction. It's amazing--almost the way I feel every time I finish making a batch of soap. Don't you just love the way you can see all these ingredients come together to form something else? Amazing.

Of course the pasta wasn't quite perfect. And it took me two hours to come up with enough noodles good enough for five people. And the sauce took me another 30 minutes (I cheated--I used canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes). But the results were superb, if I must say so myself (although I cooked rice, in case of disaster).

I am doing the dance of joy. I am twisting in weird ways to give myself a pat on the back. I am beside myself in delight. I feel so gifted!

Now why did they have to make cleaning the pasta machine so difficult?

New Family Members

We have new additions to our eclectic family, which currently consists of The Hubby, me, Chloe, The Boo, about 30 fish and the occasional sibling who sleeps over.

Yup, that's them in the corner, initially terrorized by The Boo. Not that Boo wants to eat them, he just wants to see. The Boo is like a kid. He's all "I wanna see! I wanna see! Please lemme see! Huh? Huh? Can I see?"

And so he found a way to get up on the table, and he just stayed there, sniffing the bird cage and sitting there, watching. Of course, The Hubby went ballistic when he saw The Boo on the table, and we had to take him down (but I secretly found it cute).

The birds belong to my sister Rix. We're keeping them here till she gets back. Since this picture, we've gotten them a bigger cage. And two more bird friends that The Hubby's mom got as a gift (note to people out there--do NOT give animals as gifts or giveaways, no matter how cute or sweet they look. Not everyone has the time, resources or personality for pets, and pets HAVE to be taken care of after they're given. So those new "pet party" things now? Poor animals! Don't. Take your kids to the zoo instead).

Sometimes I forget to feed them. Ehehe. Have to get used to having birds in the house. It's nice to hear chirping though; something different from barking and whining (fish don't say much).
I’ve never taken care of birds before. I’m thinking that there must be more exciting things for them to eat other than birdseed. Fruits or vegetables maybe? And where should we put them? Hang them up? The Hubby has named the birds Kimberly, Alcatraz, Bjorn and Natasha.

The Boo is still excited about them. When we go near the table, he rushes over and goes into his pick-me-up position (sitting up on his hind legs, with that adorable puppy-dog look) so he can see. And when he can, he still goes up on the table (yesterday, I caught Aling Lourdes, our beloved once-a-week housekeeper putting him up on the table; apparently I'm not the only one who finds The Boo's obsession with the birds cute). And I think that the birds are used to him, after the initial fright.

I wonder if, with a bigger cage, we will ever have eggs—for breakfast. Mwahaha. No really. Do these birds ever breed in captivity? I can’t wait to see.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Some Cheese with that Whine?

The Hubby says I have an attitude problem. He says that I complain about everything. And that I always like to get my way. Now. And if I don't get my way, I resort to slamming doors and using brute force.

And I'm thinking, is that how he really sees me? How people see me?

Yes, I admit I like to rant--fine. I like to whine. I'm a whiner. And yes, I am short-tempered (but ask people who've known me; vast improvement in this area), and patience is not one of my virtues (I need to tend to the fruits of the spirit more. sigh). But that doesn't mean I'm not happy, or that I don't find joy in anything. In fact, if you ask me, I love my life. I've been blessed with so much. Sure, there are always things that I feel can be improved or can do better. But that doesn't mean I'm not content.

As for getting my way, yes, I like getting my way. I've been getting my way for 18 years. I've been away from family and basically on my own since I was 12. I'm used to getting my way. I'm used to being in charge. Nearly two decades of getting my way isn't easy to change.

But The Hubby has a point. I guess it isn't easy to live with me (I think I hear heartfelt agreement from the seester and the cuzins). I'm being selfish, self-centered.

Suddenly, I'm ashamed.

But is that going to change me?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Sonja is dead. She was Rix’s cat.

Rix, being Rix, can’t resist bringing home strays every so often. She once brought home a boxful of kittens, which she gave away to her cat-loving friends in school. She also wanted to buy and bring home three ducks she saw in Philoca, since she pitied them strung up on a pole by their webbed feet, but she couldn’t figure out how to commute home with them. So when Rix found Sonja, half-drowned in the canal near our street, Rix naturally took her home.

Sonja was the ugliest creature we had ever seen. She was so tiny, small enough to fit in your palm. She hardly had any fur, and what little she had was clumped together unattractively, standing on end. Her tail was cut off, and her eyes were crusted shut by pus. We didn’t think she’d make it through the night.

But she did. We kept her in a rag-lined shoebox, feeding her milk via dropper. A few days after, she was crawling out of the box, and insisted on sleeping on top my PC’s AVR. She couldn’t have been more than two weeks old.

Rix was supposed to give her away when she was old and strong enough to eat without a dropper. So for a month-and-a-half, we just called her The Cat, because if we named her, we’d have to keep her. But all her friends were already loaded with Rix’s previous rescues. So she stayed, and we decided to call her Sonja (pronounced with the “J” as in “jeep”).

Sonja eventually outgrew her ugliness and became a pretty black-and-white-spotted cat. In fact, there was a time that she became so fat that if you looked at her from above and behind when she was sitting, she looked like a soccer ball. And when she slimmed down a bit, she still resembled a cow of some sort. She was a massive cat.

We were mortified when we finally took Sonja to the vet, only to find out that she was actually supposed to be a Sanjo. The vet found a tiny pair of balls that we missed. Sonja had always been a “she” to us, and so that’s how we always referred to her. But I guess it explained why Sonja often snuck out of the house, and always managed to return home un-pregnant. The last thing we wanted was more kittens, given the fact that our circle of cat-lovers was saturated with cats.

From the start, The Boo was fascinated with Sonja (although in typical Boo fashion, when we first let him smell her, Boo put Sonja’s head right in his mouth. I suppose, just like a shark, having no opposable thumbs, that’s how he gets a feel of new things). He kept close watch over her, especially her first few days. He left the box only to eat and go to the bathroom. When she was walking around, he’d trail her around the house. Initially, Sonja would hiss at Boo and lash out. He once took a clawed swipe to his nose. But that didn’t keep him away. Eventually, Sonja learned to tolerate him, and I guess they became friends.

In months, Sonja was taller and much, much quicker than The Boo. And that’s when the fun began. She’d stalk him from behind the tables and from the top of the chairs. She’d pounce on him when he’d pass by. He’d chase her around the house, around and up and down the furniture. Of course, Sonja always had the upper hand. And she picked on him a lot, even when he was sleeping. She actually bullied him. But she was always Boo’s ally. Once, when The Boo and Chloe were having a spat, Sonja came out of nowhere, and for no apparent reason, took a swipe at Chloe.

Sonja, along with Rix’s birds, was supposed to move in with me and The Hubby. But then, she died. And it seemed to be a very horrible, painful death. Rix found her in the bathroom, lying in a pool of blood that ran from her mouth. Her eyes were wide open.

We still don’t know what happened. Maybe she ate something poisonous. Or in her jaunts to other neighbors’ yards, an irate homeowner kicked her and damaged some internal organs. Or maybe she got hit by something. It seems that she died of some internal hemorrhage.

When she was a baby, she refused to be touched by anyone. Maybe the trauma of her early days made her fearful of people. But eventually, she allowed us to hold her and pet her, but it was only Rix she loved. Only Rix could carry her, and she always slept with Rix. In her last days, she was more malambing than usual, wanting more attention from Rix. Maybe she sensed that Rix was leaving for a long time; or that she—Sonja—wouldn’t be around for long either.

Rix is devastated. She has sworn of pets for now.

We’ll all miss Sonja.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Honeymooners are Back

The Hubby and I are back from cavorting on the powder-fine shores of Boracay. Actually, we've been back since Tuesday night (we were in Bora from Tuesday to Tuesday), but the past few days have been spent settling back into reality.

Our long overdue honeymoon was fantastic. It was more a time to destress more than anything else, I guess. In fact, most of our first 24 hours on the island was spent in bed--sound asleep! No playing coy here. We were that tired. Our flight was at 7AM, so we had to be in the airport by 5:30AM, so we both decided to not sleep the night before, instead it was all work, checklists, packing and last minute panicking. We were checked in Pearl of the Pacific in Station 1 by about 9:30AM; walked to D'Mall to hunt down super cheap palenke food for brunch; back in the room by about 1:00PM; enjoyed cable TV (we don't have have cable here at home, mostly by choice); conked out by 2:00PM; woke up at 6:00AM the following day. The Hubby said I woke up at about 6:30PM, said I was hungry, then promptly went back to sleep.

We stayed a total of seven nights: three in Pearl, three in Fairways & Bluewater, and our last in Bans Beach Resort. Pearl was OK, it has potential for greatness, if only they refurbished and do better on the upkeep. They are building new units, but I wish they paid attention to the existing ones first. But service was great; everyone was nice and friendly. word of warning--food is OK, but overpriced for what you get. I wouldn't recommend eating there.

I wouldn't recommend eating at that El Toro restaurant near Crowne Plaza or Crowne Resort at Station 1. I don't know if they were having an off day since it was off season, but the seafood wasn't fresh, it wasn't cooked well, and their prices are deceptive. That was the lousiest meal we ever spent P600++ on. Never again.

But Bora has a lot of other great eating options. Paradiso Grill, for one. We had lobster and a huge kebab. Scrumptious (The Hubby felt bad when we got back, when he saw that in Market! Market! king crab was P380/kg; in Bora it was P180/100g!). And for me, the best ever tapsilog is from (strangely enough) the English Baker. They also have the yummiest lassi (yoghurt shakes) on the island. Coming in close second for the tapsi is Fairways & Bluewater's. Actually, food in Fairways is really good. They have a rather limited selection on their menu, but everything we had was a delight. Reasonably priced too. Oh, pasta does not seem to be their strength though (my arrabiata was sweet!!).

The Hubby and I walked a lot in Bora--had to burn off all the calories! We also tried to do laps every morning, either in the ocean or, when we were at Fairways, in the pool. Now that we're back, I feel bad we're settling back into our couch potato/mouse potato, sedentary lifestyle.

I loved Bora, but it's sad to see it becoming so commercialized. And the trash! How can people be so unconcerned where they drop wrappers, papers and bits and pieces, and then later wonder why the place is so dirty?

This isn't a very cohesive, interesting post, but I just wanted to get back into writing again.

This is us after a swim at Pearl's beachfront. One of the many headshots we have--the downside of being too shy and too lazy to ask someone else to take our picture. Oh well.