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See You Around Karen

Friday, December 28, 2012

Today is my friend K's last day at work. After 16 years with our office, she has decided to resign. The decision did not come easily as all of us, her friends, were convincing her to stay.

Wag muna! 

Five years na lang may pension ka na kasama ang medical insurance.  

Pwede ka naman lumipat na lang ng department.

Mami miss mo kami!

None of what we said could change her mind. It took her a year to arrive to this point but arrive she did. Her mind is made up. All we can do now is support her decision and cheer her on whatever course she takes.

It's the holiday season and most staff are on leave.  On her last day with us, we had a two hour lunch at Sumo San in Megamall. No worries about the long lunch since there were no bosses anyway. I was on leave by the way but joined them along with the Twerp.  We got our orders out of the way so we could get on to talking.

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Spicy Tuna Salad (P218)

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Chicken Teriyaki (P228)

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Sukiyaki

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Japanese Fried Rice (P228)

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K joined our office two years before I did. On my first day at our department, being introduced around to everyone, she stood out as she was very friendly and welcoming. It was very easy to talk to her and to approach her if I needed help with anything. She was the one who said that she recognized me from PNB where we both worked previously. That she also worked there. I was surprised. I'm not good at remembering faces. But I did recall her after a while and I remember even talking to her. We eventually moved to other departments but kept up our friendship. I'm sure that this is not the end of our friendship. I have few close friends but those friends I keep for life. Goodluck K!

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Family Christmas Traditions

Saturday, December 15, 2012

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My family, composed of my Mom and me, followed the Filipino Christmas traditions of hearing mass on Christmas Eve and waiting to kiss the image of the Baby Jesus after the mass, Noche Buena with catanas and queso de bola of course, Christmas trees with trimmings and blinking lights, and gift giving. Even if there was just the two of us, my mother would keep our family tradition. Sad to say, a bad marriage made me lose interest in these Christmas activities. I lost interest in celebrating anything.

Pero may bagong buhay na ako. I now have a precious daughter and a loving, responsible partner. I find myself looking forward to the holidays. But how to celebrate? My partner does not celebrate Christmas as we Filipinos do. Of course he does celebrate the birth of Jesus but he does not believe celebrating it on December 25. I keep explaining that it is a symbolic date. He says it's not right. I don't argue because I converted to his religion and know how conservative it is.

So, this year, the first time I'm giving gifts and celebrating the birth of our Savior, I am finding a middle ground between the traditions I grew up with and the extreme conservatism of my partner's side. Most important of all is to make our daughter understand that Christmas is not about gifts and lights and decorations but about the birth of Jesus. She's too young to grasp it but by celebrating simply and emphasizing gratitude for Jesus' sacrifice, I hope she eventually understands.

What are your family traditions for Christmas?

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2013 Starbucks Diary

Friday, November 23, 2012

Once again, I joined my friends in completing the sticker required for the 2013 Starbucks Diary. You might ask, like I ask some of my friends, if I actually use these diaries. Yes, I use them as notebooks for to-dos, reminders and notes. This time though, I will actually use it as a diary because my office has discontinued giving its staff yearly diaries. Sucks to use it for work but very efficient for me to have a diary for work.

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This year has a magnet closure and they come in three colors: black, white, and green. I like the white and the material used can be wiped clean in case it gets dirty. As before, there are coupons which can be used every month for a variety of Starbucks products.

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A Quick Pick Me Up After a Long Day at Work

Friday, November 16, 2012

This is a quick post. It's that time of the year again, peak season and working long hours. After an especially long day yesterday, I dragged myself home too tired to do anything but go to bed. I had initially planned to go to the gym to work off all the food I ate from birthday celebrations at work but abandoned that plan.


Anyway, when I got home I saw the bedroom door closed, meaning the Twerp was probably asleep. I pushed open the door and saw her and Tita on the bed. I thought Via was already asleep but when I stepped inside the room, her eyes flew open, her face lit up and she quickly sat up. Then she gave me a kiss and a hug.


Mommy! Why did you take so long?


Right there I forgot how tired I was. This is what my Mommy friends have been telling me when I had no child yet and preoccupied with my dog, saying that dogs were just like children :) They said a smile, a hug from their child at the end of a long day makes them forget all the troubles and fatigue from the day.


Happy Weekend everyone!

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Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Twerp's schools celebrated Halloween early, on the last day of school before the semestral break. They were asked to bring their favorite book to school and dress as one of the characters in the book. Via told me she wanted to bring her Barbie Musketeer book so Barbie Musketeer she will be for Halloween.

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I didn't want to spend for her costume but I didn't time to make one too. We looked into her closet and found whatever could pass for a musketeer costume. I did make the hat with the feather and bought her a plastic sword.  My friend J said she looks like Puss in Boots. Without the cape yes, it does look like Puss in Boots. Oh well.


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The school went all out for their halloween celebration. The kids went trick or treating in nearby business establishments such as the bank beside the school and a radio station. Then they had a program. Via came home with a basket full of candies.

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Wonderful Indonesia

Sunday, October 28, 2012

From time to time, my office features a country to get to know it better. There is a program to open the "exhibit" and after, a buffet of food native to that country. I've never attended any of the previous programs but this time, I was very interested because it's P's country.

I was surprised how interesting it was. There was a fashion show, talk from people who lived and worked there, and performers from their tourism ministry. We enjoyed the performance especially the one with audience participation, playing songs with the Angklung. Everyone who attended had a souvenir, an anklung. It's a musical instrument made of bamboo. It makes a sound when you tap or shake it depending on the tune.

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The fashion show was a hit. The native costumes were very festive and colorful. I took a picture but it wasn't clear because of the lights on the stage. Too bad. The clothes were amazing.

Of course we enjoyed the buffet after.

My friend Becky with her Batik bag and me with the souvenir with the angklung inside.

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This assorted dish is so delicious. See the dilis on the left side? That's Ikan Bilis. P always brought back Ikan Bilis with him when he went to visit Indonesia. I love it!

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This is a mixed vegetable dish. It looks boring but it's really full of flavor.

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Chicken Satay.

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Some of the clothes on display.

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It's just a preview of Indonesia's rich culture. I'm looking forward to seeing the more historic places in the country.

Fun Facts:

Java is one of the earliest places the ape-man lived. The skull of the ape-ma who lived at a time when most of Europe was under ice was discovered here.

Almost everyone in Bali has their teeth filed down. They believe that the essence of the six vices, jealousy, anger, confusion, drukenness, desire and greed, enters the body through the top six teeth. By filing the top six eeth, they are filing away their "demonic" ends. The entry of the vices are thwarted and entry to heaven is guaranteed.

Top places to see:

Bogor, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Borodubur Temple, Tagunan Zoo in Jakarta, Istiqlal Mosque, Bali and Medan.

Happy foodtripping and traveling weekend everyone!

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Paradizoo in Mendez, Cavite

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A great place to bring little ones during the weekend is Paradizoo in Mendez, Cavite. It's a working farm with beautiful gardens. Rates are reasonable. The place is also owned by the owners of Residence Inn. It's better to go to Residence Inn first because there is a bus service to the zoo. It's a very nice place to relax. They have a lot of fun activities for young and old alike.

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Pony Ride

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Feeding the Rabbits

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Butterfly Farm

P is looks interested.....or trying to look interested. Our guide was determined to show us every little corner of the place. I was not interested in the butterflies so I sat down to wait till the next attraction.

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The famous five legged cow. I didn't quite get the fifth leg in the photo though.

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Fishing
I love this small pond. It looks so peaceful.

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They also have a bee farm and products from honey for sale. We bought a massage oil that just smelled heavenly. It's very big and you'll get a workout from walking around the place. We stopped by this cafe midway our tour of the farm/zoo to rest and quench our thirst. Water never tasted so good! The little one enjoyed it a lot. We might go back again some time.

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United Nations Month in School

Monday, October 8, 2012

Via’s school announced October to be United Nations month. The students in the pre-K class were asked to choose a country to represent. Then on October 5, a Friday, the class will wear the national costume of their chosen country. Aside from wearing the national costume, each student will share with the class a word in their chosen country’s language. Mommies were requested to make a headband indicating the country, the flag and the chosen word so everyone in class will see it.

Syempre, pinili ko Indonesia for via because Daddy is Indonesian, Via has lots of Batik dresses. No need to spend for her costume. The school actually encouraged Mommies to be creative and not to spend on the costumes. Since Via has the perfect dress to wear, all I needed to make was the headband. 

I was excited to make the headband. I went to Robinson’s Department store and found a perfect brown, sturdy headband. The flag was easy enough. It was red on top and white at the bottom. Buti na lang simple and flag ng Indonesia. Red for courage and white for purity. For the Bahasa Indonesia word to share with the class, we chose Terima Kasih which means thank you.

At tamang tama may birthday celebrant kaya very festive ang araw na yun.

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Terima kasih untuk mengunjungi!

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Baking with the Twerp

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Last Sunday, Via and I made Oatmeal Cookies, our first attempt. I let her help as much as she wanted and only took over when her arms got tired mixing. We followed the recipe below which I found in Panlasang Pinoy. We did not have a measuring cup so the measurements weren't followed exactly. We also did not have a proper oven and used the oven toaster. We just loosely followed the recipe. I know when baking, measurements are exact but my objective is simply to have an activity with my little girl that we would both enjoy.


Ingredients:




  • 1 cup oats

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 piece raw egg

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup raisins


Combine flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt then mix well. Set aside. Put the butter in a mixing bowl then cream using an electric mixer. Gradually add the light brown sugar while beating. Continue beating until the texture becomes fluffy. Add-in the vanilla extract then continue mixing for 2 to 3 minutes. Put-in the egg then beat in low-speed for another minute. Gradually add the oats and mix until fully distributed. Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture (flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon) then mix again. Add the raisins and incorporate with the other ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a wax or parchment paper on top of the cookie sheet or baking tray. Scoop some of the mixture and arrange on top of the wax/parchment paper. Flatten the mixture to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the cookie from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Transfer to a cooling grid to completely cool before serving.


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The cookies did not turn out as we expected. They look like potato chips but they were edible and best of all we had fun making it. Via said, "It's yummy!"

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Conquering Fear

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I would love to think that I am a daring person but I'm not. I'm not a scaredy cat and I found that I can be courageous when needed but I wouldn't be someone to jump off airplanes or go bungee jumping. I like roller coasters but don't know if I would try the one where your legs are hanging with nothing under you.

Anyway, I wrote a few posts ago that we wanted to try the zipline when we were in Coron but Via, who badly wanted to try it, was not allowed. She's too small. I kinda breathed a sigh of relief that I would not have to get on that thing. But then we went to Tagaytay and saw another zipline. This time Via can go on it, on Daddy's back. I went and paid for it, climbed up the stairs and all the while there's a debate going on in my head that went like, I don't want to go....but you're the one who asked if they wanted to try it.....yes, but I didn't think Via would be allowed....well they're looking forward to it.....but it's so high and those trees and rocks below won't let us live if we fall.....do you want to look chicken in Via's and P's eyes.......no, but..but...... By this time, I was already bundled and strapped and had no choice. A moment later we were pushed out into space. There's no turning back.

It went rather quickly. The zip takes all of 20 seconds. Then we were across . We went back by Cable Car.

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Boy, am I glad I didn't back out. It was a great feeling after to know I was afraid but conquered my fear.

Zipline at Residence Inn, Tagaytay: P150

Printing of One Photo: P100

All the photos in a CD: P300 (they also printed one pic for us no charge)

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St. Luke's Global City

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I was admitted twice to St. Luke's Global City the past few weeks. The first was only for one day because my scheduled surgery to remove my gall bladder/gallstones was postponed at the last minute. I was already being wheeled out of my room, done all the preparation when the cardiologist said, stop, we have to postpone. I heard wheezing in her lungs. What the....? I was all psyched up to get it over with and now this. The surgery was rescheduled for the next week. Meantime, the wheezing would be treated for one week. I have to be careful with what I eat to avoid being an emergency case. Can't join my friends on night outs this week. Drinking is best avoided anyway because we might end up needing to check www.thesobrietysolution.com.


I have to say I was disappointed with service during my overnight stay but I reserved judgement until after my second stay at St. Luke's Global City, the following week. All my and my daughter's previous hospital confinements were at The Medical City and I have always been very happy with their service.


Admission was quick seeing as there was no one else being admitted at the time. Via got our number at the door of admissions office. The regular private room was P2,500. I got de luxe private room, P3,500. All rooms have flatscreen TV, refrigerator and free WiFi. You can also borrow a DVD movie to watch. The procedure itself, laparoscopic cholecsystectomy, would range from P30,000-P110,000. Gosh.


I must say everything was high tech. The bed was push button to move up and down. Via enjoyed checking out everything in the room. The refrigerator where she made ice, the bathroom, the faucets, the bed, the bell to call the nurse, the hand sanitizing dispenser, everything she could get her hands on.


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There is a pantry where we could get hot and cold water and heat up food in the microwave oven. There is a waiting room for relatives of patients undergoing surgery (below).  The facilities in St. Luke's Global City were impressive.


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My surgery took three hours from the original estimate of one to two hours. The ultrasound showed a normal gall bladder despite the gallstones but during the procedure, the gall bladder was found to be very, very thick. My doctor said sometimes these things don't show up in the ultrasound. My surgery was at 9am and finished at 12. Then I was brought to recovery. I woke up from the general anesthesia at 2.30. I felt nauseus which was a side effect of the anesthesia. They gave me another hour before bringing me up to my room. On the way out of recovery, we passed Via and Tita waiting for me and we all went up together. I spent until the rest of the day and night drifting in and out of sleep. I was not allowed to eat or drink yet.


The next morning, I was told to try liquids and observe how my stomach reacted. If it went well, I could progress to soft diet for lunch. So I drank juice for my breakfast. Around mid-morning, I noticed Via was having difficulty breathing again. The day before, she started coughing. She might have caught something during their trips to the room and OR waiting area. I had Tita bring her to the ER because it progresses very fast for her. Within a day, her lungs get filled with phlegm and it becomes pneumonia.


My lunch was brought in around noon. I was still nauseous but terribly hungry. I thought I took the liquids well so I devoured the lunch. After polishing it off, the nurse came in and asked if I had already taken liquids. Huh...well, I said I had orange juice and I just now ate all my lunch because I was starving. The nausea went away after I ate so that was probably from hunger not a side effect from the pain killers. I asked the nurse what problems would I have if my stomach cannot tolerate solids just yet. She said, gas. Whooops! Right after eating I felt my tummy tighten up and bloating. But it was manageable and it was better than feeling nausea from hunger.


I stayed in the hospital three days. Checked in Sunday, Monday operation, Tuesday recovering and resting, Wednesday discharge. So how do I find St. Luke's Global City. Overall, it was fine. It's just that when I compare with the service I was used to having at The Medical City, SLGC pales.


They are little things, but they matter to me as a patient, and they do add up.




  • At billing during discharge for my first confinement, I asked for a copy of the billing statement. They would not give me one because it's fully paid by my company. Huh? At TMC there's always a billing statement in triplicate.

  • I was given a prescription of medication to take for one week. Only one copy which Mercury Drug takes for their file. TMC gives a duplicate copy so I have a copy of the schedule when to take the medication.

  • For the first confinement, I asked for the discharge slip a 1pm. I finally got it around 4pm. The second confinement, I asked for the discharge slip at 7am because I wanted to go to my daughter's pedia to have her checked despite having emergency treatment the day before. I explained this to the nurse in charge. I received the discharge slip 10am. At TMC, I get the discharge slip within the hour of asking. It's like there's a disconnect between the needs of the patient and their service. They didn't get why I was rushing the discharge. The nurse just kept repeating that it's been requested.

  • My cousin asked the nurse if we can have the gallstones after the operation. She said it's already with the lab. When my surgeon stopped by to see me, he asked if the stones were sent to me. I said no. He told the nurse to send them. It came later that night.

  • The nurses seemed tentative in putting in the IV. I got the feeling they didn't have much experience. One nurse needed five tries to put the IV in and still wasn't successful. Don't even talk about the pain while they tried five times. The anesthesia doctor had to do it when I got to the OR.

  • After the operation, my right hand where the IV was started swelling. By evening the next day, it was huge. I had asked three times before to remove it or do something with the swelling. Nobody came. When my doctor visited, I showed him my hand and asked that it be removed. He called a nurse who looked like he had no choice but to do it. I felt like the swelling scared them in dealing with it.

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  • Upon admission, I was visited by a dietitian regarding diets. On the admitting form, I indicated Seventh Day Adventists for my religion. We don't eat pork or shellfish and we don't take alcohol or caffeine. Too much alcohol consumption would lead to a need for staying sober tips. The dietitian took note of all it BUT look at what they gave me for lunch after my operation. Pasta with shrimp! This never happened in TMC.


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Like I said, overall it was okay. Considering all the hype, my experience was disappointing. It was lacking. I expected more from them. My first choice would always be The Medical City.

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So That's What It Was!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I've been having terrible back pains starting around July 2011 coupled with bloating and tummy discomfort that felt like having an ulcer.  I did not connect the two as being gallstone attacks. I ignored the bloating and occassional tummyache and had physical therapy and later on, accupuncture treatments for my aching back.


Last July, after satisfying a late night craving for corned beef (I ate the whole can), I felt indescribable pain on my stomach and back. No matter what I did, it was excruciating. I wanted to go to the ER but Via had fever that night. The pain started around midnight. I finally drifted off to sleep around 4am. When I woke up, the pain was gone.


I went to a doctor that morning and during the discussion about my health history, I mentioned that gallstones were appearing on my annual physical exam since 2007. Since I wasn't feeling any pain, I was told to leave them alone. Apparently, all the tummy and back pains were from the gallstones culminating in that excruciating gallstone attack after eating corned beef. I was told to have surgery immediately but I hesitated. P was due to arrive within the week and we had a full schedule while he was here. I didn't want to ruin our precious family time. Besides, if I was careful with what I ate, I won't have any more pains (I hoped).


I finally had the surgery, laparoscopic cholecsystectomy, scheduled on the last week of August. I was to have it done at St. Luke's Global City because that's where my doctor was affiliated with. But at the last minute, the surgery was postponed. That would be another post because I realize this post is already several paragraphs and it's only the beginning of the story.


I'll end with information I learned from my experience.


So how do you know if you have gallstones? Well, you don't unless like me it shows up during some other medical exam. You could have it for years and not feel any symptoms.


If you do find that you have gallstones, as long as it's asymptomatic, you don't have to have it removed. What you can do is change your eating habits. Gallstones developed from eating too much fatty food. There are also cleansing diets that some people swear have helped them pass stones naturally. I haven't tried it.


If you've been having gallstone attacks, then doctors urge you to have it removed because it will keep on happening once it starts. Better have it out using laparoscopic surgery than having reached emergency proportions and having open surgery.


With laparoscopic surgery, recovery is much faster. Some people I hear even have it done on out patient basis. It's best to stay in the hospital at least a day though because after the surgery all you want to do is sleep.


I'm glad I finally had it removed. Like magic, all my pains are gone and I'm recovering quite well.

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Brave

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One movie that's been long awaited by the Twerp to watch is Brave. When we watched Madagascar last July, it was Brave that we were intending to see. I didn't realize it won't be showing until August 2. So we contented ourselves with Madagascar. It was funny.

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When Brave hit the theaters, Daddy was already here and we all got to watch it together as a family. All the more fun. I loved the movie.  Great  lesson for both mothers and daughters. Communication should always be kept open without judging each other. I love Merlida's character and hope Via sees her as a role model instead of Barbie :)

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My Happy Birthday

Friday, August 24, 2012

There was no big celebration but it's the happiest birthday I've had so far as an adult. P and Via were with me and that's all that mattered. The rest was icing. My birthday was on a Saturday but for P, the day starts at sundown or 6PM on Friday and ends 6PM on Saturday. So we had dinner on Friday night at one of our favorite restaurants, Banana Leaf at the Podium. We ordered the same dishes we always order because they're our favorites: Roti with Curry Dip, Kangkung with Sambal Sauce, Tilapia with Sambal Sauce and this time, P ordered additional Ribs again in Sambal Sauce. He usually has Sambal with everything he eats.


Since the weather was bad (this was the weekend before the flooding), we decided to just go home after dinner. As we walked back, the rain started pouring when we were halfway home and we had to run all the way back. We were soaking wet when we got home.


The next day after church, we picked up my birthday cake with marshmallow icing from Goldilocks. It's my favorite, birthday cakes with marshmallow icing that is. I always order a simple one on my birthday. This time, I went for a Disney Princess cake for Via's benefit. She's the one all dressed up like it's her birthday. She loved the birthday cake because the castle was real. She can play with it. The doors open and the turrets light up. There are also the three princess figurines. She wants to be a princess and wear princess dresses. I bet a bridesmaid dress from WeddingtonWay would really make her day. She just might get her wish sometime soon. A bridesmaid or a flower girl in a wedding - soon I hope :)


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I love the iPod Nano P gave me as a birthday gift. He always chooses the perfect gift. I can tell that there's a lot of thought that go into the gifts he buys. He said I can use it at the Gym and it even has a Nike pace and calorie counter. I love it, I bought a strap for it right away so I can wear it as a watch at the Gym. I really, really love it.

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Happy Weekend Everyone!


 

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