Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Domesticated Goddess Journey: Learning How to Cook

My journey to become a domesticated goddess started over ten years ago when Sweetie and I got married. It was hard since we always had helpers at home when I was growing up. Sweetie and I had to compromise about having helpers. He grew up without helpers (we're complete opposites!) and that meant he wasn't comfortable having any at home. My Mom knew I won't be able to cope so we always had someone who would clean the house once a week and do the ironing*. I had to learn how to cook though.  

I only learned to cook because someone advised me to treat cooking like a science experiment. I was forced to learn because a few weeks after our wedding the party leftovers from holiday parties started to dwindle and buying cooked food got costly. I started with egg, then hotdogs and canned goods. The only real dish I could cook ten years ago was spaghetti and lasagna. I didn't go further than that in the beginning because I have issues with gas stovetops. 

Circa 2007, cooking spaghetti. 

Eventually I expanded to simple Filipino dishes, but I had a lot of kitchen mishaps in the beginning. I cut myself many times cutting veggies, oil wisik and getting burned. I realized I should have paid more attention during cooking class in HS (I only liked doing the groceries hehe). My cooking prowess improved when I discovered electric stoves.

Here are the ways I learned how to cook:

(1) Coaching by friends - the spaghetti I cook for my friends was taught to me by my seatmate at OHSI, Maica. She had to teach me several times until I finally got it. It was the only thing I knew how to cook for many years. I learned how to cook adobo from Mang Gerry (Komikero) and my housemate's ex. Tappy taught me how to bake fruitcake and I ping her annually to review me how to make it haha. 

(2) Attending classes - I used to attend cooking classes hosted at Maya Kitchen. They used to invite bloggers and I enjoyed attending those classes. I was planning to enroll in cooking and baking class this year, but the pandemic foiled my plans. 

(3) YouTube - Would you believe it was Dominic Ochoa (the actor) who suggested to me that I could learn a lot about cooking from YouTube! I learned how to slice veggies properly because of YouTube and I look up cooking/baking techniques also via YouTube. I watch a wide array of cooking videos, I watch Masterchefs, homecooks and oftentimes I just search a dish I'm craving for. My current favorite is Simpol

From scaredy cook to baking bread (well funny looking ensaymada here).

I think Miggy is a better homecook than me. He has his Papa Lolo's talent and he is more experimental. One of my goals this year is to learn how to cook our family recipes. I'm stuck here in Singapore for now so I'm starting with recipes. I've been filming how I cook Miggy's favorite recipes so he can make it for himself back home. You can find the "Recipes for My Son" here.

I only started to learn how to cook ten years ago. It's never too late to learn! I'm still picky on what I cook (because I'm scared of oil splatter!), but I'm always up for a challenge. Maybe next year I can finally enroll in the class I've been eyeing to enroll in. 

What about you? Are you a talented cook or are you like me? Haha. 

If you're curious how I started my journey to become a domesticated goddess. Read the starting point here.

CB//176 #StuckAtHomeDay/206 #WFH120 #StayHome #BeKind 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

That Time I Visited Taichung in Taiwan

I love visiting Taiwan. The first time I visited Taiwan a few years ago I felt at home. There was familiarity even though it was my first time to visit. It made me think, maybe my grandma is from Taiwan? Anyway, I always look forward to visiting Taiwan and as much as I haven't done any of the touristy things I'm happy I've been able to visit a few places outside of Taipei like Kaohsiung, Yilan and Taichung. 

This is how I will remember Taichung for now, until I get to explore it more. 

Last year from Tokyo I flew to Taipei and then took a train to Taichung with Shin Yee. I was so happy she decided to come join us (she loves visiting Taiwan too). We met up at the train station and got HSR tickets to Taichung. I love taking the HSR since it's fast, comfortable and you can have snacks if you want! I was excited to see a new county and explore it. 

The county has it's own charm. I loved walking around just before dinner to explore.

Taichung is famous for night markets and hiking. I got to explore the night market and try out a couple of bubble tea shops. The train station was huge! It doubles as the bus interchange too. I didn't get to see the old train station which they say is beautifully made of bricks. 

The train station.

I would have loved to explore Taichung more, but it was raining so hard while we were there. What made the trip special for me was meeting the teacher community and seeing old friends. They are always warm and welcoming and despite the rain they managed to host a mini-party for the success of the event. They hosted the celebration on the stage of the auditorium haha. It was a totally different experience! There was so much laughter and they all made me feel welcome. 

I was hoping I could explore Taiwan a bit more this year. That will have to wait for another day.

CB//175 #StuckAtHomeDay/205 #WFH119 #StayHome #BeKind 

Monday, September 28, 2020

What are My Art Pieces?

 Last night we watched Bea Alonzo's house tour (part 1). Oh wow, she has a very beautiful house! I couldn't help but admire how well designed everything is, from her art pieces, furniture, cabinets and her well-organized pantry. While watching I asked Sweetie, "Do we have any art pieces?" 

I wildly looked around our tiny apartment while waiting for Sweetie to answer. He said, "You're Yoda collection!" Uhh, yes perhaps that and Sweetie's Transformers. I thought about our home in Manila and thought about whether we have any art pieces. I know my Mom has some paintings and sculptures, but her centerpiece is a family painting Tito Bert made for us. 

If I could have one art piece I'd like to have this please (only two in the world!).

My friend Anne pointed out to me, I'm a functional person. She has been helping me think about how to fix our home in Manila. She said all the pins I pinned on Pinterest are functional! Uhh, yes, guilty as charged. We moved to our home in Manila in December 2012 and we don't have anything hanging on the wall yet. In Manila though I have on display precious items - family photos, gifts from my communities across Asia and special birthday gifts. I may not have expensive art pieces, but I keep precious items on display.

My prized possession, a gift from Marcus and Shirni. 

Looking around our apartment here in Singapore, here are my "art pieces" --

Family photos.

Groot from a movie we watched as a family and Sweetie's forever white paper rose he made for me.

I've had these for awhile now, coin bank frog from my playmate Josh, an elephant from GBG Colombo and a Poke ball from Yoshi. 

I've been thinking a lot how my future home would look like, but honestly I'm still thinking more about how functional it can be rather than how pretty it should look. My home has always had that well lived in look and I think it will never change. Ralph said that everything is in it's proper place when he came to visit (he has a very nice home). I was happy with that comment because what that meant to me is, "It's not messy!" It does get very messy when we don't have visitors and everything is in order only when Mom comes to visit hehe. 

What about you? Do you collect art pieces? 

CB//174 #StuckAtHomeDay/204 #WFH118 #StayHome #BeKind 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Secret to Fast-Tracking to a Better Life

I read this on Didache last night, "Don't shun the guidance of your elders. Why commit their mistakes when they can teach you a shortcut?*" I thought more about it before I fell asleep and remembered those days after I graduated when my Dad gave me a boatload of advise. I was then young and stubborn and wanted to do things my way. He let me be, but what followed was many years of trial and error and a lot of mishaps and misdemeanors. 

This was taken at the airport in Jakarta. Our flight was super delayed.
Dad regaled the apos with his childhood stories.

It was on September 27, 2007 when things started going the right way for me. That was the day I was on my way home from the US. I sent a plea to Papa God to navigate my life. Through the years I would remember those nuggets of wisdom my parents shared to me. Here's a few of them:

(1) Hardwork pays off. Work hard for what you want. 

(2) Don't show off.  Your efforts will be recognized by itself. 

(3) Find someone who has the same values as you. 

(4) Speak up when there is wrong-doing. 

(5) Do the best you can for your mission. Do this to serve God. 

(6) Don't be a corporate slave (sorry Dad, I still am).

(7) Keep your hands busy. 

(8) Believe in yourself and have faith. 

(9) Nothing is impossible with God.

(10) Always pray. 

Those are just a few of the lessons my parents have taught me. The most important part of it is letting Papa God navigate my life. When I'm in a bind now I always ask myself, "What would Daddy/Mommy do?" 

What about you? Where you always obedient to your parents? Did you always listen to their advise? Or where you like me, stubborn? 

CB//173 #StuckAtHomeDay/203 #StayHome #BeKind 

*Reflection written by Rissa Singson Kawpeng, September 25, Didache

Saturday, September 26, 2020

An Interesting Vending Machine

I went out today for a regular check-up and headed to the nearby mall to buy some groceries. I was buying a drink when I saw this very unusual vending machine. From afar I thought it was selling special cupcakes.

When I went near I was surprised to see it was a vending machine for succulents! You can select from many different types!

Signs of the times noh? Whoever thought of this is probably a plantito/plantita. Would you buy a plant from a vending machine?

CB//172 #StuckAtHomeDay/202 #StayHome #BeKind 

Friday, September 25, 2020

200 Days of This New Normal Life

Two hundred days ago we were told to work from home. I remember that day very well. It was a Friday and something strange was happening in our lobby. There were a lot of cleaners and I told myself, "Wow! They're making an extra effort to clean up!" 

Thirty minutes later I found out why. The day before a patient from another building tenant was picked up by an ambulance. He was one of the earlier patients who got infected. If I remember correctly he got infected from his parents who picked up the virus from patients zero (this was in news reports). I said a little prayer for the patients and thanked my angels for keeping me at home the day before. Later that day we were all told to work from home. 

This was the last time I was at the office, March 13, Friday, 7pm.

Working from home wasn't new to me. I did that for five years in Manila and then I moved to Singapore. We get super busy, but we still make time to have lunch together. That's the first thing I started to miss since Sweetie was still going to work for a few weeks before they were asked to WFH too. Secondly, I missed the prepared food and after meal coffee I would get with my seatmate. Sometimes we'd head down to Starbucks or Gong Cha for some merienda. I also missed the daily commute which allowed me to spin Pokestops and Inns (haha). And sometimes after work I take a walk around Harbourfront Centre/Vivo City before I head home. 

Last meal out before the circuit breaker started.

April was a flurry of activity. We managed to move apartments then. It was quite stressful, but it was a huge relief to move to a safer home. By May I was going bonkers and that's when I started baking and gardening. Eventually I accepted the fact that things will be uncertain for a longer period. I just needed to adjust to the new normal. 

Now that I'm used to living this way, I cannot imagine going back to the office. Sweetie now goes to the office two to three times a week. I only go out when I have physiotherapy or a doctor's appointment. We think it's better to just stay home for now since there are still random cases popping up and I'm still a high risk person. 

I was surprised to find out that wearing masks wasn't required yet last March. 
This was taken when we were new-home hunting.

I was chatting with my Ate last night and I told her that I am just so grateful that our family has remained safe and healthy. We try to help where we can. Here's how I cope -

(1) Pray

(2) Purposely disengaging from work at an appointed time everyday

(3) Follow my doctor's orders to live a healthy life

(4) Not spend so much time on social media (it gets quite toxic!)

(5) Work on my hobbies 

(6) Blog everyday (it's a challenge for myself, but writing keeps me sane)

(7) Check on loved ones (and nag the son every few hours)

I made the mistake of throwing myself at work. I worked 14 hour days because there was so much to do. I ended up sick so that's the first thing I worked on. Then I thought about how I could make things better everyday. I have days when things get quite stressful, that's when essential oils come in. I have friends who are still having a hard time, I'm just there whenever they need me. 

What about you? How have you been coping in this new normal?

CB//171 #StuckAtHomeDay/201 #WFH117 #StayHome #BeKind  


Thursday, September 24, 2020

My Home Panaderia Update: What I Learned to Bake so Far

I embarked on a home panaderia project last May because I miss Filipino bread! I realized it's going to take awhile before I can have fresh hot pandesal so I put myself to work to learn. I made a list of buns I wanted to learn to make. Here's what I have made so far:

Dinner Rolls - this is what I baked to introduce myself to bread baking. It was easy to make. Sweetie loved it warm with butter. (Video)

Ensaymada - my first ensaymada tasted good, but I failed in the looks department haha. I belatedly realized that it required some technical skills in forming the bun correctly. I may have overcooked it a little also since it was a little crunchy. (Video)

Spanish Bread - my first Spanish bread looked okay, but the taste wasn't what I envisioned. I think the issue mainly is the margarine I used, but we don't have Star Margarine here. I later on tried a friend's recipe and that one I liked much better. Forming the bread also takes practice. Usually the last piece I form is the best looking one haha.  (Video)

Pandesal - I finally tried baking pandesal by end of May. We loved it! It was a blockbuster. I tweaked my second attempt a little, added a bit more sugar and it tasted like your next door neighbor's panaderia pandesal. This is one bun I've been baking often. (Video)

Putok/Star bread - my putok bun did not look like a star in my first attemp. LOL! It really looked funny. I changed recipes on my second attempt and it tasted much better. I also improved a lot with the shape in my second attempt. (Video)

Monay - I read that monay almost has the same recipe as putok. I ended up making both putok and monay in one baking session because of yeast issues haha. Monay for me is comfort food. I'm glad I got it right the first time. (Video)

Pambonete (panbonete) - I wasn't happy with how the panbonete turned out. It was edible, but I want it to taste like the Casa Moderna pambonete. I also did not have the right bonnet looking cups, so it looked more like a baby bonnet than an adult bonnet haha. 

Cheeserolls - the cheeserolls turned out okay, Sweetie liked it but I wasn't too happy with the consistency of the bread. It was a good run, but I'll probably try a different recipe next time. 

Here's what I learned so far:

1. Try several recipes until you find the best one you like. Try tweaking it also to suit your taste. 

2. Try to use ingredients that are closest to Filipino brands, i.e. margarine, powdered milk. 

3. Don't just any any kind of milk, so far I like using British milk for my baking. 

4. Check the water or milk temperature before you add the yeast to make sure it blooms. Too hot will kill it and you'll end up with wasted ingredients. 

5. Practice shaping/folding techniques to get the look correctly. 

6. If the recipe calls for egg wash, make sure to wipe it on all sides of the dough equally. 

7. Your oven may behave differently compared to other ovens. I used to use a convection oven and when we moved homes we ended up with a gas oven. Check the right temperature equivalent based on the ove you're using. 

8. Don't be afraid to obtain new gadgets! When I first started baking bread I took so long kneading the dough (it's a workout!). I finally got a Kitchenaid stand mixer and it cut down my baking time.

9. Get a beeswax wrap. It's better to use this than cling wrap. Saves you some money and the environment.

10. Share your buns with neighbors! I'm so far sharing to our cleaner and she loves it! I'm still mustering up the confidence to share it to my Pinoy neighbors. 

CB//170 #StuckAtHomeDay/200 #WFH116 #StayHome #BeKind  

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

How Essential Oils Made my Hair Lustrous Again

The last two years of taking maintenance medication has been awful for my hair. There are odd strands that are colored on both ends, but white in the middle. Some have become kinky. I badly needed a trim because my hair started falling like crazy. I got lucky and got a trim a few weeks ago. That helped a bit, but my hair needed rescuing. 

I don't really like going to the salon. For two reasons: (1) I get anxious spending so much time getting a haircut/hair treatment; (2) They keep trying to sell you stuff you don't need! I was previously conned to buy expensive hair products which I was told would make my scalp and hair healthy. Whenever I stopped using the previous symptoms would just come back immediately. I eventually gave it up and avoided the salon that recommended the products to me. 

What my hair and scalp likes is natural treatment. When I remember I do this home hair spa regimen which I learned from a TV show many, many years ago. I also tried using mayonnaise. That works, but I feel it's wasteful and I'd rather put the mayo in my sandwich. 

I was introduced to essential oils by Ninang Jane and a high school classmate who's a doctor. Other high school classmates also recommended it to me. I started using it to diffuse oils. I super loved it! Eventually I did some research and found other uses for the oils. I found several recipes on how it can help make your hair healthy. I use an essential oil based shampoo and conditioner (from Young Living) and I made several "hair sprays" which I spritz on my hair before I take a bath. 

Here's the hair spray recipe: 

Bottle #1: 100ml spray bottle, 5 drops Lavander oil, top with distilled water

Bottle #2: 100ml spray bottle, 5 drops Cedarwood oil, top with distilled water

Bottle #3: 100ml spray bottle, 5 drops Rosemary oil, top with distilled water

*I use Young Living essential oils

I've been using it for two weeks now and the hair fall has drastically reduced and I'm seeing less kinky hair strands. I guess the oils are helping keep my hair healthy. I noticed also that my hair has been more shiny and lustrous. I've also been sleeping much better. I read that the smell of cedarwood helps with melatonin production which helps with better sleep. And probably the lavander relaxes me too.

CB//169 #StuckAtHomeDay/199 #WFH115 #StayHome #BeKind


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Be a Pineapple

I almost lost my crown today. I actually did and was bawling my eyes out and doing some writing to calm myself when I got a call. I was need for an important task. I took a deep breath and rushed to prepare to be where I was needed in fifteen minutes. 

The mad rush was what calmed me down. I had to focus at a snap of a finger. I had to be at my best for it. That's how my Dad trained me to keep my emotions in check. I was able to set aside my upset self to deliver. My Kuya said that was a big feat. What they didn't know was right after my part a friend reached out and made time to chat with me. Tears started to fall again, but I managed to keep it together. 

I managed to keep it together for the rest of the day and that's what professionals do. During dinner I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post by Jonathan Yabut. He said, "Be like a pineapple whenever you're stressed: (1) Stay tall and mighty; (2) Keep wearing your crown; and (3) Remain cool and sweet inside". 

Easily said than done. So that's where I bring in the lessons I got from Chade Meng Tan on "Joy on Demand". One tip he gave during the session I attended years ago is to take a deep breath just before your next meeting. Just inhale and exhale all the stress out. You owe it to the next person you are meeting to be at your best. 

It is hard to do and I'm honestly still struggling now, but as Jonathan Yabut said, "Be like a pineapple...!" Chin up, don't fall into the trap of playing politics and just do what you are good at. 

CB//168 #StuckAtHomeDay/198 #WFH114 #StayHome #BeKind


Monday, September 21, 2020

I was Super Afraid of the Hulk, Mark Ruffalo Changed It

Ohhh, when I got in the taxi today to go to my PT session I was so surprised the dashboard had a figurine of The Hulk on it. I used to have an insane fear of the Hulk. I was a young child when it aired in the Philippines and Lou Ferrigno as The Hulk really scared me. 

Whenever I see an image or a figurine of The Hulk I turn away. It's worse when it's a huge statue! The 80s show looked really real and to little me The Hulk was a scary monster. It's a little fuzzy to me now why I was so scared of The Hulk. Things changed because of Mark Ruffalo and how they portrayed The Hulk in the Marvel movies. 

This is the scene that broke my fear of The Hulk -

*Watch from 0:44

I think I saw how much more human The Hulk was from the Marvel movies. I was probably too young to understand why The Hulk became The Hulk in the TV show. All I remember is he'd get mad and turn into a gigantic green monster. Mark Ruffalo also made Bruce Banner more adorable and cute. The CGI of The Hulk was also less menacing and he actually looked huggable to me (hehe). 

So that's how I got over the scary Incredible Hulk. What about you, have you been scared of a fictional character?

CB//167 #StuckAtHomeDay/197 #WFH113 #StayHome #BeKind


Sunday, September 20, 2020

That Time the Red Opel Car Disappeared

 One of the things I remember are all the cars we had when I was growing up. It was just a few since my parents like to keep using things until the end of its life. I have a lot of happy childhood memories with the cars we had growing up. I only realized today that the cars we had when I was a child are all European cars. This is because my Dad used to work for a car distribution company. 

Our family car was Daddy's 1967 W11 190D Mercedes Benz. I blogged about the Chedeng it last July. The car serviced us until into the 90s. Daddy super loved the car, but it eventually had to retire since it became hard to maintain it. The other car we had at that time was a red Opel car. I'm not sure what model it was, but it was mainly my Mom's car which was eventually used by my Ate and Kuya to go to school. 

That's the red Opel car. And that baby is me!

I remember riding it because the only way my Ate and Kuya can borrow the car on weekends was when they would bring me along. I remember once going to BF with my Kuya to bring a gift for his then girlfriend, Gerry (I don't know why I still remember her name haha). Then there were weekends when we'd go to La Salle when they had org activities. My Mom said that the car serviced the family from when my Ate and Kuya were in elementary school (I wasn't around yet). 

The most memorable bit about the red Opel car was revealed on my Kuya's wedding day. He shared that the car was carnapped somewhere in Taft Avenue. I'm not sure if it happened when he was still a student or when he was teaching in La Salle. But it happened. It just disappeared. He said he sweated buckets and walked up and down the streets to look for it. He found the car about two blocks away from where he parked it. The car being so old conked out in the middle of the street. He was so relieved to find it and only told us about it on his wedding day. 

I don't remember what happened to the red Opel car. I think it was eventually sold. Mom eventually got a white Volkswagan Passat car (B1? I'm not sure). Now this car deserves a blog post for itself. It's action movie levels blog post. I'll write about it on another day. 

Those three cars were part and parcel of my childhood. We eventually used cars that were office issued so they came and went. We did keep Kuya's first car, a Toyota Corolla. We kept it for almost 30 years! Mom finally sold it a few years ago. Ahh that car saw me through high school, college, grad school and Miggy's HS graduation. We also had a red Lite Ace which was used for business and I vaguely remember a yellow pick-up when I was in HS. I'll leave those memories for another day. 

So that's how a red Opel car disappeared and thank God it was old and conked out in the middle of Taft Avenue. 

CB//166 #StuckAtHomeDay/196 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Changes in Communications and Productivity in the Last 25 Years (Part 1)

I was telling Sweetie's stories about my previous jobs and it got me thinking. There has been a lot of changes in technology since I graduated. I was already a sophomore in uni when my alma mater changed all the Olympia typewriters in the lab. From typing class it was changed to computer class. I already knew how to use a computer then because my Kuya enrolled me in logo programming classes when I was just ten years old. I'm from that generation that transitioned from offline learning to using computers. 


When I graduated from university I was still using a beeper (pager). Yes, that thing only doctors use now. I originally had a Pocketbell one and then I shifted to Easycall. Mobile phones were expensive back then and my first mobile phone was issued by my company. We didn't have a cap back then. I went through several feature phones and eventually got issued a phone with a camera. 

A friend eventually gave me an iPhone, I sold it and returned the money to him (he was trying to pay me for consultancy services). My first smart phone was, of course, a NexusOne. I went through all the Nexus phones and now I'm using a Pixel phone. All Android, of course. I was happy using my old Nokia feature phone, but I was forced to get a new Mi Phone for my local sim. They unfortunately turned off the 2G system here in Singapore so I have to use a smartphone for my local sim to work. I still use my Nokia feature phone whenever I go home (it's 9 years old and still working!). 


I always had a desktop. My first one I inherited from my Kuya. It was a computer with a floppy disk drive. You had to put DOS disk to boot it first and then slot in the disk with the app and use another disk for your data. Oh, I remember that late night the "devil" virus attacked my system (I think it's officially called Natas).

This is how my first computer looked like (more or less).

I started with a monochrome (green), then my Kuya gave me the black and white (or sepia? Not sure what it's called) monitor.  Eventually my computer got upgraded and my parents gifted me a color monitor (LCD) as my graduation gift. It was a whopping PhP20k back then. My first experience using an Apple Computer was when I worked at Shell as a writer (I was still a student then). 

Through the years it was always Kuya or Ting who would help build a new computer for me. It was very expensive. Eventually I just got HP desktops because I used to do a lot of layouts/graphic work etc. I got my first laptop from my current job. For a few years I still kept my desktop, but eventually changed my home computer to a laptop (I seriously need to get rid of my desktop, it's still at home in Manila). 

My previous laptops used to be clunky and heavy. Eventually they became slimmer. My first personal laptop was a pink one. It was expensive and cost PhP70k. I used it for a few years before it went underwater during Typhoon Ondoy. I exchanged it for a netbook. At work, I used whatever was issued to me. I can easily switch from an Apple computer, to a Windows one to a Chromebook. 

From clunky expensive computers, I'm now happily using old Chromebooks for personal use. I haven't bought a new computer in 7 years. Everything I do now is browser dependent. If I wanted to buy a new Chromebook it will probably just cost between PhP15k to 18k. My hand-me-down from Miggy still works so I probably wouldn't need a new computer until this conks out. 

I realized I could go on and on about changes in technology in the last 25 years since I graduated. I'll probably blog this as a series (it might turn into a book haha). So for today I'll just write about communication and productivity. What about you? What has your experience been like?

CB//165 #StuckAtHomeDay/195 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, September 18, 2020

How to Make Yummy Japanese Style Hamburger

That Japanese style hamburger with the special sauce? Yup, I make those at home for my boys. Uncle Fumio told me it's the best burger in the whole world. He sent me a few Japanese videos on how to make it, but the chef's were too fast! I just watched it over and over to learn the right technique. 

I like making my patties small. This is how my Dad used to make it at home, so I wanted to keep it that way. I made them big once and the boys were overwhelmed. I guess they wanted being tricked to thinking they're eating mini-burgers haha. 

Here's how I make the Japanese-style hamburger --


400 grams ground beef

1/2 tsp salt

ground black pepper

1/2 onion, chopped

vegetable oil

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

1 cup breadcrumbs

2/3 cup water


3 Tbsp ketchup

1 Tbsp sake

2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 tsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp butter

CB//164 #StuckAtHomeDay/194 #WFH112 #StayHome #BeKind 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

It's My Second Clotiversary

"If untreated, acute PE is associated with a significant mortality rate (as high as 30%), whereas the death rate of diagnosed and treated PE is 8%. Up to 10% of acute PE patients die suddenly. Two of three patients succumbing to PE die within 2 h after presentation." (Source

I am posting my clot story to drive more awareness about the risks of having this disease. My doctors never thought this would happen to me.

Two years ago after multiple tests my doctor told me what was ailing me. I had a huge blood clot in my lungs. No one suspected it because my open heart surgery was successful and I had resumed regular activities with heavy traveling.

Enroute to the hospital for a test.

I suspected something was terribly wrong. There were nights I could barely breathe and I would sleep sitting up. I thought it was just really bad asthma. I would even put the air filter right beside my bed. I suffered through it for more than a year. I was already seeing another doctor for over a year when I felt the medications he was giving me wasn't help. I was also in and out of the ER every other month.

I honestly had to fight for myself. Because I wasn't getting well I went to a clinic to request for a referral to see a respiratory doctor. The doctor in the clinic told me that I'd probably get the same diagnosis -- acid reflux that was causing asthma. I knew something was wrong so I insisted. At that time it would take me 15 minutes to walk, take an elevator to the next floor and reach another meeting room at the office. It would usually just take 2-3 minutes to do that if you can breathe properly.

It took a few weeks before I got an appointment with my new doctor. When I saw him he ordered for tests to see if I had COPD. I had a flurry of blood tests, allergy test, xray and a CT pulmonary angiogram. The CT clearly showed I had a huge blood clot in my lungs. After that my doctor had me do another series of tests to determine what caused the blood clot. It was undertermined and I didn't have a DVT. It was only ten months later when the cause was determined (May Thurner Syndrome, read about it here).

I'm grateful I was able to visit Rome, but I should have probably taken a break to recover first. 

My doctor was meticulous and knew exactly how to get me better. He even allowed me to go to Rome three weeks after diagnosis. It was a bad idea, but I survived and after that my doctor because stricter with grounding me when needed. It was my urologist who told me I am very blessed to have lived through it.

2nd anniv check up.
Recovering from pulmonary embolism does not have a set timeline. The clot is gone, but recovery is very slow. I rarely go out because I don't have the same energy as normal people. I read that pulmonary embolism affects both your lungs and heart, so it really takes time to recover. I joined a group where patients share their experiences and no one patient is the same.

To be honest, heart surgery was the most painful thing I've been through, but I was much better in about six months. My lifestyle changed a lot, but I still got to do a lot of things. PE and May Thurner Syndrome is a different monster. It's been two years and the effect has been more severe than undergoing heart surgery. To my family and friends who have been supporting me the last few years, thank you. The love, care and understanding means a lot to me.

CB//163 #StuckAtHomeDay/193 #WFH111 #StayHome #BeKind 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

I'm Conflicted

There's something I've been praying for. When I pray for something I usually ask God to give me a clear sign (like the white rose). I think maybe I haven't made a clear request because the feedback has been conflicting. The universe is saying one thing, but my katawang lupa* is communicating something else. This means I should rework my prayer. What do you do when you're in that kind of situation?

My doctor gave me clearance to resume my physiotherapy sessions. I'm so grateful my physiotherapist is the most patient, kind and caring PT in the whole wide universe. Before we start our sessions she always asks me how I am and she adjusts what we do based on my state. She also already knows when I'm more tired than usual. This happens when my extremities couldn't follow the direction it should go (haha). She knows me very well so she adjusts as needed.

Sweetie told me he was going home late from work so I decided to go to Plaza Sing to buy dinner and flowers. Of course, I dropped by Spotlight to buy Mom some fabric (really! It wasn't for me!), picked up some groceries and flowers. I also got a bento from the grocery, it was cheaper than hawker center food and was yummy. I was properly tired by the time I got home.

My brain was still so fired up so I did some work on a doc I left hanging. Ahhh that effectively depleted me and I've been watching a couple of YouTube videos while blogging. I'm still conflicted though, I hope tonight's Reading will provide some needed guidance.

CB//162 #StuckAtHomeDay/193 #WFH110 #StayHome #BeKind 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Left My Wallet at Home! Gaah!

Half-way to the hospital for my follow-up check-up I realized I left my wallet at home. I had taken it out of my bag last weekend and forgot to return it inside my bag. I realized I left it because I was wondering why my bag seemed spacious. I wasn't worried I won't get back home, I was annoyed I wouldn't be able to get some stuff at the grocery.

I didn't want to be late for my appointment so I just went to see my doctor. He was happy with my progress. I told his nurse I hope I didn't need to pay for anything since I left my wallet at home. She said not to worry since the fees and medication were going to be charged to insurance. Whew!

Just me and Mr. Cat today.

I really wanted to buy Sweetie some coffee buns. His favorite is from a bakery at the Bugis MRT Station. Luckily my coin purse was in my bag. I walked past the bakery to check the price and then went to the side to count my money. I managed to buy 4 coffee buns and skipped buying my favorite bun.

I was surprised to see that the MRT entrance into Bugis Junction is already open. I stopped in front of Cold Storage to just look longingly at what I wanted to buy (new flowers). I passed by Toastbox and saw they had my favorite bread. I hoped I had enough coins to pay for it. Luckily I did.

While waiting for my doctor I checked my bag if I had any money in the bag. I had my coin purse, but nothing else. I realized I probably had cash in my MRT card, in apps on my phone and there's Paylah. I have colleagues who go out without any cash (now I remember my manager owes me $20 since March). In Singapore you can go out and just have your money tied to apps or your cards, no need to bring cash. I follow a budget so as much as possible I don't use my credit card because spending tends to pile up if you do.

Before I went home I discovered my Starbucks app had some money in it. Of course, I got some dessert for me and Sweetie. I usually take a taxi and pay cash to help uncle taxi drivers. Today I had to take Grab going home since I didn't have enough money on me. Maybe I'll just buy the grocery items I need tomorrow after physiotherapy.

Going out without my wallet wasn't a disaster. I'm happy I was able to buy coffee buns for Sweetie. I just need to make sure I don't forget it again tomorrow!

CB//161 #StuckAtHomeDay/191 #WFH109 #StayHome #BeKind 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Broke Until 30

I was broke until I was about 30 years old. My salary all went to Miggy's tuition, upkeep and his toys (yup, he always got rewards for good grades). And I remained broke because I also saw myself through graduate school. My Tita had to help me pay off my schooling debts (thank you Titay). I was only able to start saving when I won 100k at the Ad Congress.

This was our wedding arras given to me by my Mom. It was from her arras when they got married.

I saved as much as I could growing up. I had a "wedding fund" which I eventually used to fund my graduate studies. I didn't ask help from my parents to fund grad school because I put them through so much already and they were still taking care of me and Miggy. So I made sure I provided for Miggy's schooling. While all my friends were going on trips and enjoying their 20s, I had to be prudent with my spending because I had responsibilities. Would you believe I was already in my 30s when I first went to Boracay? (And that was a business trip!).

After that super dry period I told myself I needed to save. I had to. I was 28 when my cardiologist told me that I needed to eventually have heart surgery. You can just imagine how worried I was, but with hardwork and many, many prayers things just worked out. There were also many angels along the way who helped me.

I think one of the things that should be taught early in school is financial planning. My Kuya gave me a challenge a couple of years ago -- to be financially free by the time I'm 50. The clock is ticking so I'm trying to work my way towards it. My Kuya gave advice last year on how I can manage my money better especially since we're an empty nester now (no more tuition fees to pay!!!).  Here's what he suggested I do (I compute it after setting aside money for tax) --

10% investment to build passive income
10% to upgrade yourself
10% to celebrate
10% keep for emergency
55% everyday expenses
Start at 5% tithing

What I like best about this plan is the amount set aside for celebrating. That helped me move on from the mindset that I'm still broke. I've been that way for fifteen years and it's been easier for me to spend for my boys than to spend for myself. I guess that's how it is when live in fear (I don't want to leave my family in a bind). Now that Miggy's done with school, I could relax a bit and enjoy my hard-earned money. Kuya's list is helping me better plan my future.

Eating at Jollibee is celebration enough for me.

It's never too late to start saving. I was a fresh grad when my Kuya taught me not to spend beyond what I'm earning. The only financial hole I fell into was my student debt. I was stuck in it for a long time. After I got out of it I made sure I did not fall into that trap again (well taking graduate studies eventually paid off). I've also disciplined myself to live within my means.

What about you? How do you save?

CB//160 #StuckAtHomeDay/190 #WFH108 #StayHome #BeKind 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Organizing My Chaotic Craft Materials

Ahhh, I finally organized my craft materials. I had everything in a cabinet in our old apartment. We hurriedly packed everything in just a week and I gave away the cabinets that housed my craft materials. I realized it's been hard for me to plan my Christmas project because my materials are all over the place. I also couldn't find the project I made at a free class at Spotlight which I want to use as a template (I still didn't hehe).

So today I decided to take the plunge and opened up all the boxes. It took the whole afternoon and I'm happy it's all organized now. I put the items in translucent plastic boxes and labelled what's inside each box. This will also prevent me from buying stuff I already have. I originally thought I was running out of thread, but found the bunch of thread I bought last year. I don't have enough velcro though, but will just buy if I make bags again.

I dream about having a craft room someday. A room that will hold all my fabric and craft materials. It should have a nice long table where I can easily cut fabric and lay out the quilt. Of course, it will have an area for my sewing machines (I hope to have more than one hehe). And a wall where I can hang my work so it's easy to take photos. Someday it will happen.

For now at least my stuff is now easily accessible and I know where everything is (more or less). This should make it easier for me to work on new projects. Now I just need to allot more time for my hobbies.

What about you? What are your hobbies? How do you organize your materials?

CB//159 #StuckAtHomeDay/189 #StayHome #BeKind   

Saturday, September 12, 2020

How I Made my Quilted KitchenAid Stand Mixer Cover

 My birthday gift for myself was a KitchenAid stand mixer cover. I realized when it arrived that it needed a cover. I immediately went to work a few days after it arrived. I wanted the cover to be bright and happy so I decided to just use my rainbow fabric.

It took me two weeks working on the project on and off (there are days I get lazy). I was so happy when I finished it and I have a friend who said she wanted to order one for her mixer too. Haha. I don't know if I'd be able to make it since my creative side is usually shy when it comes to selling what I make.

Here's how I made a quilted cover for my KitchenAid Stand Mixer -

CB//158 #StuckAtHomeDay/188 #StayHome #BeKind   

Friday, September 11, 2020

Unwanted Bee Visitors!

When I sat down to start work this morning I was so surprised when a bee started buzzing around me. I was so scared to shoo it away because I've been stung by bees before. I think the bee was attracted by my manager's voice (LOL!) because it would come near me whenever he talked! I was probably visibility stressed coz my manager told me not to move and just ignore it. It only went away when we finished the call.

Bees from that time I visited Guimaras.

I'm happy when I see bees visiting my tiny garden. There's one that's been actively checking out the mustasa plant and I think it's been helping pollinate the tomatoes too. I'm just really wary when they come near me because I was stung by a bee, twice, when I was young. I was playing tennis (against a wall) and I guess there was a bee that was flying around that got annoyed by the ball. I still remember how painful it was.

I got so busy I only saw the bee again after conducting an interview. It was hanging out on the dining room light. Funny thing is I had another call with my manager and the bee started coming near me again! Hahaha. Sweetie came to the rescue and caught the bee with a bag and he let it out in the balcony. That was when he discovered 5 more bees buzzing around the living room. We were wondering how it got in.

Sweetie eventually saw that the balcony door on the opposite end was open. It was probably left open by our cleaner (she has a penchant for forgetting to lock doors/windows -- she left our bedroom window open around the time I had severe asthma!). Anyway, we have to make sure that everything's closed after she does cleaning for us.

So that's how we got unwanted bee visitors inside the house today. They're always welcome to hang out in my tiny garden. I hope we got all of them, but I think there's one more hiding around the curtain.

CB//157 #StuckAtHomeDay/187 #WFH107  #StayHome #BeKind