The First Day of the Year

I had a pretty busy New Year’s Eve because I got my wish to spend the New Year at home.  In the afternoon, we dropped off a bottle of champagne at our Ninong and Ninang’s house where we had originally intended to join their family for the Noche Buena, then proceeded to shop for our dinner.  I was really meaning to take a picture for the website, but just before 5PM, we got word that my mother-in-law wasn’t feeling up to going to her balae’s house and so Alan invited her to come join us for dinner.  Mom and I had decided to forego the fish for the next day but instead decided to do it anyway at the last minute.

By the time my mother-in-law arrived, I had cooked up some spaghetti (in keeping with the tradition of having noodles at the table for long life), I had cooked some jumbo shrimps in balsamic vinegar, soda (yes, soda) and some oyster sauce, steamed a whole striped bass which Mom dressed with mayonnaise and decorated with egg, mayonnaise and carrots.  (Now I really feel bad I wasn’t able to take a picture of that.) 

My oven is still on the blink but I had my trusty turbo cooker — (the one that enables you to cook it without oil in it).  I put my bone-in, butt portion ham in around 2 inches of water and boiled the whole thing, waiting for the water to totally reduce and then I patted sugar onto the skin, adding just a little more water.  It surprisingly came out very delicious and tender!

I also whipped up some Filipino style fruit salad (2 cans of fruit cocktail, 1 can of condensed milk, 1 can of nestle table cream, 2 apples and 4 large lakatan bananas.)  I would usually add some nata de coco but I didn’t have any, and I chose not to add the lychees at the last minute.

We had the last of Mom’s leche flan which was round as can be (steamed in a Selecta half gallon container no less), and we had a hearty meal.

It was a quiet New Year’s eve.. but it was another memorable New Year’s Eve spent at home.. Angel didn’t bug us as he watched his DVD while we ate. 

We greeted the first day of the year with a quiet hug and kiss.. we watched the ball drop in Times Square. 

New Year’s Day saw us having kare-kare which was as authentic as you can go with Mom giving me tips on how to pull it off.  We all went to the mall later and looked if there were any interesting sales.  Angel, for a change, obliged us and did not create trouble for us as we pushed him in his stroller in the mall.  I picked up a few things using the giftcards I had stashed in my purse.  (More on this in Bargains Galore!)

Welcome to 2006.. it’s finally here.

Saying goodbye to 2005

Everybody says time flies so fast.  It’s one reality that we are hard pressed to deal with and before we know it, time has passed and we are left wishing we did this or that.  I used to be one to cry over spilt milk, but as I grew older, I’ve come to realize that there are things that are just not worth fretting about.  So instead, I dwell on the blessings of the previous year.

I am thankful that I have my family, I have a job, I have been blessed with the friendship of so many wonderful people, and that I have the discernment to know that God is behind it all.

So as I say goodbye to 2005, I look forward to 2006 with a lot of hope.  There is much to look forward to in 2006 with Alan and Angel, seeing my family back home hopefully towards the middle of the year, doing good at work now that I have found a very understanding and professional boss, and fixing up our home which Alan and I have come to truly cherish as our lovenest.

And yes, on the “lighter” side of things (no pun intended) — I do intend to take better care of myself by losing weight and seeing my doctors more often.  (Mom will be very relieved to hear that!)  Now that Angel is almost 2 years old, not only must I worry about his health, but more importantly, Alan and I must remain fit to see him through to his adulthood.  I do look forward to seeing grandchildren eventually, although I know that is still far off into the future.

Back to 2006, besides the weight loss and the trip back home, these are the things I intend to accomplish before 2007 finds me:

Start my holiday planning early — as early as January 2006.  There was one Christmas when I started holiday shopping by June which enabled me to get presents for practically everyone on my Christmas list.  Then there was another Christmas when I started crafting Christmas decors (gold 3-D papier mache stars, paper basket woven christmas bells, 2x2x2 inch gift boxes adorned with fancy ribbons and trimmings) in October enabling me to achieve a gold color motif by the time we put up our tree end November.  It can be done if I plan way ahead.

So when I put away my Christmas decor (and we didn’t get to put up much this year owing to this little tyke running around grabbing everything in site), I will organize what I have according to how I want to fix up the decor in December 2007.  In fact I will put up my decorations by mid-November, just before Thanksgiving to make the most of it!

On my list: set aside all the new silver trimmings and ornaments we bought as we hoped we could have a silver motif for our tree.  Start picking up discount gift tags and cards before the stores run out this first month..

Review my wardrobe and give away that which I don’t need anymore.  My mom has a favorite yearly ritual — asking my siblings and I to go through our things and collect those that we can get rid of for her to give away to her provincemates in Bulan, Sorsogon.  Between Alan, the stepson, Angel and me, we have managed to put away at least 2 boxes of clothes now which we will bring home when we go home this year.  I have yet to go through my existing wardrobe and I’m sure I can contribute at least another third to the whole bunch of giveaways.

Fix my side of the attic and make it my own working corner.  We were lucky to have had crafty predecessors in this co-op unit of ours.  They had converted the attic to a playroom for their young kids, and although we had always hoped to fix up our attic, we have just dumped things time and again, most around the opening, leaving a lot of wasted space forward and backward of the folding ladder that gives us access.  I have already started clearing the entryway and have made it look less cluttered, and organizing the attic means I would probably have less clutter down here in the living space.  Once I fix my corner up, then I can even do my crafts and scrapbooks up there without hesitation.

Work on my crafts more earnestly.  I have a ton of things I want to do and I will write a separate post on this, but maybe I can start knitting scarves to give away as presents for Christmas 2006 on a quarterly basis.  I have three major scrapbooks to finish by the end of 2006, and I have at least one or two more in mind.  The birthday scrapbook for Mom is a must, the Paris scrapbook I will finish definitely before the first half of the year, and Angel’s scrapbook/s will be done before we leave for Manila.  By the time I get back, we will have to start working on the scrapbooks from the trip to Manila and the other summer adventures we have had with Angel since he came into our lives.

Read up on, apply for and get my US Citizenship.  I have downloaded the information booklet and have it here in the house but have not even managed to leaf through it.  I will gather all the materials and apply when I get back from the visit to Manila.  I just don’t want to risk being called to an interview or an examination while I am back in the Philippines which might cause me problems.  While my 10-year greencard (which is just a year and a half old) assures me easy ingress and egress to and from the United States, I want to work on petitioning my Mom whom I can only get if I have become a naturalized citizen.

Revive my commercial website and define what it is I want to offer to the public.  I personally own at least 3 domains, two of which I had tried to tweak into a business venture in the making — but which never got off the ground.  I guess at that time, I was trying to be too many things to too many people all at the same time.  So I am trying to define where it is I want to be and want to continue to develop that into something which I can hopefully register and earn off of.

Decide on whether or not I want to start studying for another career.  This is an area of great indecision for me, that is why instead of trying to decide what I want to study, I must think about whether or not I would want to invest the time to study or go into learning another career at this point in my life.  It’s a nice thought but something I think I must finally resolve for myself.  I’m giving myself the whole year to decide on that. 

I’m on a roll — perhaps it’s the whole business of another year ending and another beginning.  We all feel it’s a fresh start again in more ways that one.  It’s up to us to make the most of this new year beginning as midnight tolls.

Feedback on MUNICH

It’s always great to hear from kababayans who stray into my part of the blogsphere like Major Tom who wrote:

Hi Ms. Pinay. Glad to be visitin here. I bet Munich was such a great movie. Merry Xmas to you and have a happy new year…

To which I say.. Yes, it was a great movie.  Although I mentioned MUNICH in passing in a previous post, I had meant to write about the film based on my views as the better half of a cinephile my hubby is.  As I mentioned, both of us count SWORD OF GIDEON as a favorite film.  (This is the earlier version of MUNICH, or a similar film which dwelt on the retaliatory action taken by the Jewish nation against those who massacred the Israeli athletes in Munich).  There were similarities between the two and differences that are noticeable but negligible given that the story both movies are telling are the same.

Both movies depict the horror of terrorism and vengeance with stark clarity that makes one think about one’s concept of justice.  Based on the novel by GEORGE JONAS III, “Vengeance,” you are bound to compare the TV version and the Spielberg opus.  Except for the depiction of the story as told by Jonas, the production values are totally different given that the two were produced 19 years apart.  

Major Tom, if you can get your hands on a copy of SWORD OF GIDEON before MUNICH hits the screens in the Philippines, try and refresh your memory about how JONAS’ story was told onscreen the first time — I believe it will make you appreciate Spielberg’s work all the more.