My wedding ring

I have a simple gold band for a wedding ring.  I take it off along with my engagement ring and anniversary ring when I get home.  I don’t want to do my chores wearing it and usually pick it up on the way out of the house as I grab my purse when I run out.  I was in a rush to leave today and Angel’s trying to stop me from walking down out the door made things worse.  It wasn’t long before I realized I had forgotten to put my rings on.

I feel naked when I don’t wear them.  I look at my hands and I can’t help but feel like I am incomplete.  It’s not just the ring per se but what it stands for.  But what can I do?  Perhaps it’s age getting the better of me..

The Pencils I Fancy

I can’t even remember how I started collecting fancy pencils, but by the time I left Manila in 2000, I ended up giving away around 300 of them.  My sister, Offie, took the bulk of my collection and gave it to her favorite inaanaks.  I followed Fe’s admonition to let it go and just start a new colleciton when I got here.

I only saved a handful of pencils like the ones I bought in Hong Kong with the Alan Chang designs, and true enough, I started buying pencils again after I started working.  Unlike my postcard collection which I have focused on, I get a pencil as a souvenir when I get the chance to — if I find something nice in a Museum, a souvenir shop, or as a giveaway in the hotel or store.

I collect all types that bear some novelty in them, be it a corporate name, a color, a special property like those fancy pencils they used to sell at TICKLES which changes color when you hold them because it reacts to the heat your hand exudes.  I have the pencils hidden in a box the size of a big shoe box right now and have not purchased any of late.  One of my most memorable acquisitions recently was a year ago when I got a FREE pencil in the children’s store of the Louvre in France.  I wanted to buy it, but they told me it was FREE!

I hope to one day put them all in a tall jar, and stash them in a corner of my attic space.  =)  I got some Spiderman pencils which Angel started to take a fancy to.  Alan brings me one or two from his business trips.. it’s a collection I’m definitely keeping this time.

Out of the War Zone (Thinking of the Pinoys in Lebanon)

I’ve been paying close attention to what has been happening as far as the evacuation of our kababayans in Lebanon are concerned.  It is always difficult to be caught in a war zone, but sometimes, we have no choice if we are to continue to make a living.  As they say, kapit sa patalim.

On the American side, there are thousands of Americans trying to get out of the country, but the US Government is evacuating them after exacting a promise of reimbursement of the cost of a one way trip to Cyprus which is approximately $150-$200.  How appalling is that considering the circumstances?  I just read it in the news  and pity the poor people who need to promise to pay to be saved.  I thought this was all about taking care of your own — so does this mean if you are not willing to sign for lack of money or resources, they will leave you behind?  Even if you say promising to pay is one thing and collecting is another, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth when you think about it.

Then once in Cyprus, you either get out on your own or promise to reimburse the government again for your trip back to the land of Uncle Sam.  While this is still a supposed “plan,” I hope the government reconsiders out of compassion. 

And what about the Pinoys?  They are being herded into the Catholic Churches which are reportedly safe havens.  We Filipinos can get pretty stubborn when it gets to evacuations, and there is always the worry of losing one’s source of income.  But chaos threatens and we don’t know if this will end in a few weeks or develop into a full scale war.  The mere fact that the Americans are evacuating should be ominous.  I hope our brothers over there pay heed and go back home.

Kittichai in 60 Thompson

 

 

 

   

   

Alan and I have been married for almost 6 years now and I must say I’m proud of the fact that despite that, we have managed to keep our dynamics as a couple going, even if we now have Angel and both our Moms living with us. (Plus there is the stepson who is with us when he feels like taking a break from his Mom or when his Mom gives him the boot.. it’s one or the other.) It’s a crowded house and one with a lot going on — time management is important because we can no longer go out to dinner in the city on a whim like we used to. We have to time our late night outs to be scheduled far enough apart so as not to unduly burden my Mom with looking after her apo. It’s a little more complicated now, but we continue to try to keep the romance going. We may not do it as often as we used to (at least once a week) but we continue to indulge in our penchant for enjoying the restaurant offerings in New York, Restaurant week or not.

So we decided to invite our friend, Jeff and Jackie, to have dinner with us at Kittichai, the Thai restaurant over at 60 Thompson, one of New York’s more popular hotels. What is most striking is the decor of the bar and the veranda which is a smoking area. (Some establishments pay a fine to be able to allow smoking in their establishments… not many go through that expense, though.)

When you enter, their very able hostess meets you next to an aquarium inside an ornate birdcage. (I tried to take a picture discreetly with my razr but it just didn’t come out nicely.) Once you step into the bar, you are greeted by walls of bottled orchids in water with an incandescense illuminating from within the bottle. It took me a while and a glass of reisling to figure out that there was a bulb inside the cap of the bottle which illuminated the whole fixture. (There are now led-battery operated tea lights available for this purpose.) They were very soothing to the eyes and hypnotized you with their serene appeal. Inside the main dining area was an infinity pool with floating votive candles in ultra small fish bowl-like glass which glided around as if there was a slight current, sometimes bumping into each other like billiard balls and deflecting each other. Cattleyas were hanging from the ceiling by a string, giving the illusion of floating blooms.

We decided to do two appetizers to share: The Chocolate Baby Back Ribs with Thai Spices and the Crispy Rock Shrimp. No, the Baby Back Ribs were anything but sweet, but you could definitely see the cocoa in the color. The ribs were falling off the bone and a filling appetizer even in small portions. What was distinctive about the shrimp was the sweet sauce which was not overpowering. For the entree, I chose to do the special which was pan seared scallos with a sweet glaze, Jackie ordered the Crispy Whole Fish with Tamarind Sauce. Alan ordered the Braised Short Ribs in Green Curry and Sweet Basil while Jeff went for the Chili Smoked Hangar Steak with hot basil, wild ginger, and lemon-grass pepper sauce. It was as authentic as modern Thai dishes can get because Kittichai is actually the signature restaurant of Chef Ian Chalermkittichai.

We ended the evening with individual desserts and while I can no longer remember Jeff and Jackie’s, Alan had the Mango sticky rice and I had the coconut crepes with kalamansi sauce which was basically their take on a french crepe with coconut flavor, swimming in kalamansi instead of the usual orange syrup that crepes suzette are doused with. Yummy! Well worth the $50+/head it cost us, and service was very good, as well! Our Thai server was very helpful with the selections and was very friendly. It’s a place for beautiful people but they serve beautiful food, too. And back to my gauge of authenticity — yes, there were a lot of Asians dining, and being a lover of Thai food myself, Kittichai rates high on my Thai food place to go to!