Hard drive crash

My laptop wouldn’t boot up properly this morning.  The IT Helpdesk picked it up before noon and by late afternoon, the hard drive had been re-imaged, with only a fraction of my files being successfully retrieved.  A little is better than nothing, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell myself.  And of course, there’s always some software or other which I can try to use to retrieve what had been effectively deleted by the re-imaging.  I just don’t want to dwell on it.  Some things you just lose. 

Closer to the Weekend

I can’t believe it’s Thursday tomorrow already.. Angel’s last day at day care, the boss returns from California (but I still don’t see him which is good and bad at the same time..), it means I’m closer to my long weekend now (4th of July is Tuesday!), and I probably have a short day on Friday and I’m keeping my fingers crossed the boss sends me home earlier than usual.  (2PM would be good!)

I just finished cooking Angel’s viand for tomorrow, Alan is pecking at his laptop e-mailing his boss.  I’m blogging.  (Can’t do it at work anymore because all blog-related sites have been blocked!) 

We had Tempura tonight, by the way, complete with panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) — thanks for noting the mispelling, Dheena..  It would’ve been great to use my Camaron Rebosado recipe for the batter, but I can’t find the cookbook where I have it.  I should’ve remembered it in my personal website but I had a spark of genius and decided to use some buttermilk pancake mix instead.  (It’s one of those supposedly gourmet mixes which didn’t quite meet my standards.. )  However, instead of adding a whole egg, I only added the egg whites which was what my rebosado recipe required.  Then I dipped the shrimp in panko and fried it.  Voila!  Shrimp Tempura..

Alan and I shied away from the Thai Chili sauce that we resort to when I don’t have the energy to actually make the dipping sauce (complete with mirin, etc.) — but tonight, I just had it with mayo and ketchup which tasted great.  Yummy!

Updated my Blogroll

I was principally updating to change Jerome’s URL for Bridget Jones is a Man and I thought I’d also add two blogs of a friend from high school (Delightfully Evil) and a cousin of mine who has a medical degree but who would rather concentrate on being a writer (The Orange Express) — something that strikes close to home.  They are, after all, now part of the chain of blogs I try to visit every once in a while.  Check them out!

Craft Report from the Scrapbooking Newbie

Scrapbooking is something that I have enjoyed immensely but which has been a real learning experience for me.

I started right after my trip to Paris last year in February as I endeavored to document that very memorably journey I took to the City of Lights.  It was good that I refused to splurge and spend on scrapbook kits and elements.  Instead, I used internet resources to find scrapbook sites for ideas and paper and elements for printing.  I accummulated a lot of digital scrapbook paper along the way and have stashed them in folders in a bin I have.   I started making my embellishments myself.  I would stay up late “piecing” or “stitching” together paper to make the 12×12 layout I had chosen.  I had the pictures, I had the elements, but I was lost as to layout and embellishments.

Towards the latter part of the year, I started a scrapbook for Mom chronicling her first months with Angel here in New York.  This turned out to be a better vehicle for creative expression as I became better versed at coordinating scrapbook kits to make them more visually pleasing.  While I used printed photographs for some pictures, I was able to create layouts with enlargements and some photo effects.  The scrapbook is essentially finished and now just needs the journal entries and dates for captions.  I meant to bring this home to Manila but never did.  (Blame it on the dozens of other things Mom preferred to prioritize bringing home.)  I hope to document the scrapbook by taking photographs once done for my own records.  (Photographing the layouts, though, is another matter altogether.)

Since I started scrapbooking, I look at paper and textures in a different way now.  I cannot wait to go to IKEA to get more fabric swatches which I can use as embellishments.  I had cut out the letters with the darker shades and stitched them onto the lighter reds.  (I will take a photograph and post it here.)  Every time I go into a Home Depot or paint store, I pick out swatches and get 6-8 of my chosen color because they make such good tag materials.  When I go to the dollar store now, I look at the twines and ribbons to check out what I could plop onto a scrapbook layout like the twine I featured a while back. 

Except for purchasing the scrapbook itself, additional page fillers, and some paper stock (colored but undecorated), as well as a self healing mat and some cutters, I have kept my expenses to a minimum.  I’m starting to experiment on doing my own digital elements (such as the summer photo overlay of Angel’s photo in a recent post) and will be toying with doing my own alphas (alphabets) through Paint.  Taking it a project at a time, I am amazed at all the free resources out there.  One can never run out of sources for more ideas, each more inspiring than the next.

Remembering Baguio

For all the urbanization and crowding of modern-day Baguio, the summer capital will always be special to me because I spent every summer there until I hit college when other things started interesting me after the regular schoolyear ended.  My brother Nikky and I took a short trip there after I heard mass at the Shrine of our Lady of Manaoag the first Sunday I was in Manila. The van depot is easy to find if you ask around — P60/person and you get a ride to the City of Pines.  You get dropped off along the way or at the van depot at the back of Burnham Park once in Baguio.

It looked different but it felt the same.  Too many vehicles (hence the accompanying pollution), SM has found a perch in what used to be a beehive of the elite, The Pines Hotel.  I had fun mostly because it was a great bonding opportunity with Nikky.  No matter how different Baguio was, I had a thousand and one memories that made that short trip truly meaningful.

Nikky wanted to walk to SM which was visible from Burnham but I cautioned him that it was deceiving.  We chose instead to take a jeepney ride and he was graceful later that he heeded my warning because it would’ve been a walk and a climb.

Before anybody chides me for going to SM, let me make it clear I didn’t go there to shop.  I needed load for my globe SIMcard.. LOL.. But was I glad I went there because SM Baguio will afford you a vista of two sides of the mountain landscape you cannot afford to miss.  Thanks to Bad Copy Pro, here’s a sampling..(All pictures are thumbnails.  Click on them and larger versions will open in a new window..)


Breathtaking, don’t you agree?  It was muggy then but it was awe-inspiring nonetheless.  It made the trip worth it after all..


Mines View Park is now a maze of stores to get the cliffside — we finally did but I didn’t dare venture to where everyone was crowding to.  It was enough to behold this.


My and my fascination for photographing things in motion.  On Kennon Road on the way home — I call this a ghost on the highway.

Having Cab on a Tuesday night

Sometimes Alan gets the craving to open one of our wine bottles on the rack, and since we were having a steak dinner tonight (nothing fancy, just had it with some baked macaroni on the side), we opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

I am not really (and never was) a drinker — but I’ve learned to appreciate wine and its attributes by association with Alan.  I personally prefer the Reislings which are fruitier in taste, but I cannot indulge myself too much because my tolerance for alcohol is rather low.  (This from someone whose favorite cocktail is a Weng-weng.. LOL)  Seriously, I’ve gotten drunk on guzzling merlot one time at a dinner party, one time Alan and I went out, I passed out on him the minute I lay on the bed, with all my clothes on.  Thankfully, I haven’t done anything scandalous, and I have never gotten drunk to the point that I no longer knew what was happening.

Tonight, I’m relaxing with my second glass.  (And that’s it for me — I have work tomorrow, you know..)  There was a time a cardiologiest recommended I drink a glass with some light aspirin every night when my heart felt like it was getting ready to conk out on me.  We ran a gamut of tests down to the very expensive nuclear stress test, but they didn’t find anything beyond an extra heartbeat which another doctor detected just by listening to my pulse.  (Thank God for insurance!)

But back to drinking my wine.  It used to be that it was just red and white wine as we know it and refer to it in Manila.  Here, I learned the distinction not just between red and white, but the different kinds of red and whites, and I have even experimented with varietals. 

One of the favorite getaways Alan and I indulge in is to go wine tasting here in the New York area.  There are wineries in the North Fork area of Long Island (near our favorite outlet) and we discovered a bunch up at New Paltz area (very near Woodstock of the hippie mega concert fame).  There are even more further upstate but we haven’t gone that far yet.  (And yes, I do plan to write about going wine tasting one of these days.) 

Wine is likewise an essential part of dining — and we are very grateful to the restaurants who have their own wine-pairing suggestions as they recognize that the proper wine, paired with a certain dish, enhances the gastronomic experience during the meal. 

I’m no oneophile, Alan is a budding one — I drink for the pleasure of drinking.  It is always a pleasure to sip a glass with a taste to your liking, but like sashimi or oysters, it’s an acquired taste.  This one I’m still getting used to, but I like the way I’ve grown into it.

Precious Pictures

I had lost a good chunk of my pictures from the Baguio trip last April 23, and I didn’t get to retrieve it until an hour ago courtesy of BadCopy Pro  software which I purchased to be able to re-read a rewritable disk that wasn’t working right.  Of the 200+ pictures it read, 93 were from the batch I had “lost”.  Photographs can be so precious.  I’m still smarting from Alan’s memory stick pro which I somehow “fried” in between downloads — thankfully, I managed to take 75% of the photos stored there before it held back the 25%.  The biggest loss were photos of Angel’s first hair cut. =( I have tried to see if the pictures we lost are retrievable through a similar software to BadCopy, but it seems the data has been corrupted beyond recovery.

A memory card reader I bought from CD-R King seems to be the culprit, because after I tried to download the rest of the card from the card reader, that drive no longer functioned and is no longer readable.  I guess that was false economy working against me.  It was a cheap card reader, but it did more damage than good.

I had promised my siblings a picture VCD of all the pictures I had taken, and I have a ton!  It’s just so beautiful to see my niece, nephew and Angel so alive in these photographs.  While there are hardly any pics (is there even one?) of the three of them together, I have beautiful photos of each one or at least two of them in the frame.

The scrapbooks will come in time. =)  I want to concentrate on Mom’s scrapbook of Angel’s first six months and photograph that for my own records, then I am working on scrapbook/journal for a very dear friend of mine.

Meanwhile, I’m going to burn file CDs of the digital pictures now that I have them all before anything happens to the digital media I’ve had them stored in.  USB keys can get lost, and this hard drive might crash taking memories with it.

Hoping to do some crafts again

I purposely didn’t include this in my summer “to-do” list because I am crafting all year round.  And now that it’s warm enough, I can work with paper, I can start knitting scarves for the winter, and I can work on reusing some of the fancy and expensive yarns from one of Alan’s sweaters I’ve decided to keep.

Maybe I’ll finally finish that cross stitch project of the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and get it framed before winter is here again.  I have beads galore to make into chokers and necklaces.  (New York has some of the best bead stores here in the US right on Avenue of the Americas or 6th Avenue towards Herald Square.  Look for the stores between 38th and 34th street.)

I look forward to taking more pictures this summer than last summer.  Now that I have not only my camera but Alan’s as well, that makes for more photos to play around with.  (Not counting those crude shots from my pink Razr.)  Here’s one I’m very proud of — even decked with some scrapbooking elements I made myself.

Working with Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)

This post is actually in response to WengT’s comment on using Bok Choy.. yes, that is easy to come by around here because the grocery I frequent, Waldbaum’s, sometimes has it on it’s shelves.  (Hooray!)  But I’d rather use bok choy in Nilaga, so for dishes like Tinola, I’d rather use other vegetables to afford Angel some variety.

There are times when I use bok choy as a side dish by itself, steaming the baby bok choy variety and then adding oyster sauce.  Sometimes I would douse it with beef broth and put salt and pepper to taste.  It also goes well with some teriyaki sauce.


Summer "To Do" List

Here I go again with my lists.. this time, things I want to do this summer:

1. Take Angel to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (then have merienda at Cafe Lalo of “You’ve Got Mail” Fame, just across the Museum.. it’s a favorite place I don’t go to often enough).

2. Have brunch at Cafe Charbon (we always end up going there for dinner!)

3. Bring Angel to the Central Park Zoo

4. Have a picnic at Central Park

5. Go wine tasting in New Paltz again

6. Have a wine tasting picnic at Osprey’s Dominion at North Fork

7. Catch Shakespeare at the Park (Free plays staged by known actors.. last I watched was THE SEAGULL with Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken starring in 2001..)

8. Watch THE WEDDING SINGER on Broadway plus another play if we can find the time

9. Visit Montauk again

10. Visit a New Jersey lighthouse this time

11. Work on my French (I do intend to go back to Paris — perhaps end of this year if Alan gets to go again!)

12. Lose weight (a forever to do!)

13. Do more scrapbooks

14. Sort through my magazines and get rid of those I can finally let go of

15. Read, read, read! (Let’s set a quota of at least 6.. starting with BLINK.. LOL)

Pinoy Top Blogs | Ranking the Philippine Blogosphere