You are viewing gandarynako

buttermelt



Sigh. Apparently I forgot my vow never to engage in recipes with instructions to ''cream butter" during the winter season. The thing just won't cream! Hahaha!

Hope it's warmer (and more comfortable) where you are :-)


xoxo

a touch of serenity



Lunchtime is usually a rushed affair for me. The kids come in all sweaty and muddy from the park, acting as if they had been starved for days on end, and I scramble to prepare something quick and nutritious. Then I supervise them throughout the messy meal, whose duration largely depends on what they're having (if it's spam or pan-fried salmon, they practically inhale the food within 5 minutes, but if it's nilaga, it'll take close to 30 minutes). Then they clean up and then it's TV time while Mama eats, and it's another hour before I persuade them to take a nap.

But some days are relaxed. Today was one of those days.

Days like these make me really thankful for little pockets of serenity to enjoy a simple Japanese lunch of makimono, miso shiru, and mikan while the kids play quietly.

Of course about 5 minutes after the photos above were taken, my youngest, I-chan runs up to the table to demand a share of mikan. Hahaha!



+++

What did you have for lunch today?
\(^o^)/

missing my blog pals

In the past few days I've been studiously reviewing my old posts and rereading all the comments. I realized that I've really missed blogging; especially the part where I get to interact with all the friends I've made here. Sure, some of them are on FB and I get real-time updates on what's happening in their lives, but it's different on a blog.

What exactly is different?

I guess the fact that a blog post is similar to a diary / journal entry; it's more than just a status update, it's a snippet of our thoughts and feelings at a certain point in our lives. Blog authors put their hearts into their stories. I know I do.

I've been trying to find time to blog hop and catch up with everyone and am sometimes saddened to see that my friends' blogs have been inactive for some time too. And I really miss reading about all their escapades and commiserating on their problems or trying out a trick or recipe that they recommended. When I announced that I was preggers with Pchan, so many people commented to congratulate us. And most of those were people I'd never even met. But I felt the love that they were sending. And I was ecstatic :-)

I'm just really glad that I got into blogging. I'm glad I got to record snippets of my life in Tokyo like this. And I'm super glad I got to meet and interact with all of you:-)

I truly value your readership :-) There were times when I was in Manila, I'd be in the middle of a meeting or after one of my lectures, some people would come up to me and tell me that they read my blog. And I'd feel all warm inside :-) There was even a time when a colleague found out I was based in Tokyo and she began telling me of a blog she used to read. It was of a Filipina living in Tokyo. Then she began to describe in detail one of her favorite blog entries. And it was my public washroom series. And she was just so kilig when I told her it was my blog, she even insisted on a picture. Hahaha!

I guess that's the difference between FB and blogging --- one can't help but read the status updates on FB, but one really has to make the effort to blog-hop and touch base with everybody. I love the fact that I'm not forcing anybody to read my blog, but some kind souls do so anyway.

And I'd like to say thank you. Thank you very much!

And I promise to make a concerted effort to write more. Thanks for taking this journey with me! Arigatou minna!

Let's go to the park!



Those of you who've been reading this blog for some time know that I prefer a sedentary lifestyle---i.e., I'm lazy. I'd rather read, write, and draw than run around and play. But having two active boys forces me to get my muscles moving or get left eating their dust.

So I'm super glad that the place we currently live in offers a lot of public facilities for outdoor play. In summer there was a wading pool that was open for two months. It was about 12-15 inches at its deepest, but splashing around in the cool water was a great way to beat the summer heat. It doubles as a playground in the colder months.

There are also ponds where you can feed ducks, geese, and ginormous koi. But the sandpits are my favorite places. I guess little boys are just meant to get dirty. Hahaha! Whenever I send the grandparents photos they say my kids look like they've been toiling the fields.

But it all helps; all the visual and sensory stimulation within a natural environment is something that's hard to get within the concrete jungle. Having facilities like these at hand, with play furniture designed to enhance balance, upper and lower body strength (good exercise for adults too!), make me wish we had something similar in the Philippines.

Sure, there are basketball courts almost everywhere, but do you really expect a 3 year old to play basketball? We need more parks and playgrounds so kids will get their asses off their sofas and their heads away from computers and just run around and play. Sure there are playgrounds at school, but what about kids who aren't of school age? Sure there are daycares, but most are tiny spaces where the chairman or tanods nap after eating. Our daycare buildings are composed of spaces that have been appropriated from the sidewalk. How can kids run around in a 1.5 x 2.5 meter space?

I understand that space and budget are issues, but I think if a community got together and properly communicated these concerns to their barangay heads, maybe something concrete could be achieved. A play co-op for toddlers perhaps? A local grocery giving up a few parking spaces so a small jungle gym could be installed? Let's get creative, people!

And then maybe we'd hear the sound of kids playing in our cities again :-)

Cakey Christmas



I'm sitting at my dining room table trying to ignore the blanket of shredded paper that covers the whole of my living room (my boys asked me to make it snow, so I did --- I'll probably regret it later, but I digress). I am trying to amuse myself by leafing through a cake catalog I picked up at Aeon.

Christmas cake is a big thing here and you have to order it waaaay in advance. It's a bit at 1,500php (2,980jpy) for an itty bitty 8 inch concoction, but it's Christmas, so it's time to splurge (or so some people will)! But the cakes are truly works of art---my mom always hated cutting into one kasi sayang! Hahaha!

Roast chicken is also a must-have on your table (great marketing ploy KFC!), and I cannot believe the amount they're charging for the scrawny chickens they're serving. (Wow, I am such a Scrooge! Hahaha!).

I'm still trying to decide whether to give in to temptation and order or simply bake my own. Hmmmm, I still have less than a month to decide anyway.

What do you think? ^_−☆

Cool water

Hehehe. Saw this cute bottle at the orientation of new scholars at the Japanese Embassy in Manila. Isn't it cool? It's just the right size. I mean, I noticed everybody was able to finish theirs and no water was wasted. And since the bottles have that foil thingie at the end, there wasn't a need for bottle caps. I checked at the supermarket and the sell it for 5-8 php (I forgot exactly how much), but I think it's a great buy for picnics and receptions. Pretty good value for the size ;-)

Tags:

time flies...






;-) How time flies. It's almost been a year and a half since P-chan came screaming into the world (He still loves screaming, but that’s another story altogether).


It's been an interesting journey so far. Here are revelations that mommyhood has brought so far:


On breastfeeding...
... I can't believe I'm still doing it! Hahaha! How do I wean him? Wahaha! But these days, nursing sessions are more of cuddle sessions with Mama than actual feedings.


On cloth diapers...
...I tried, but disposables won out a few months ago when he outgrew his diaper covers. Sadly, unlike in Japan, there aren’t that many covers to choose from in Manila ;-( But we’ve been starting to toilet train him and he’s been wearing briefs in the evenings, so hopefully we’ll kick the diaper habit soon (fingers crossed).


On food...
... I'm really glad P-chan doesn't seem to be allergic to anything so far. He's a really adventurous eater and will try anything once. Though I specified that he not be given sodas, he's had everything from dinuguan, to puto, taho, and lechon. Among his favorites are bibingka, waffles, and fish crackers.


On buying things…
…it’s a good idea to check what’s available at your friendly neighborhood palengke before venturing out into the malls. Often, things will be a lot cheaper. I bought P-chan his first pair of shoes when he started taking baby steps at 7-8 months. It was a rubber affair I bought at the palengke for 50php (I managed to convinced the tindera to give me a 20php discount (Yay me!)--- and I got more use out of that than the pair I got him at Payless for 525php (shudder!). Recently, I bought him a pair of chairs for 70php each, which were way nicer than the 100php ones in the mall. Gosh, I am such a cheap mom. Hahaha!


On communication...
... It constantly amazes me how smart babies are. P-chan can now tell us where he wants to go, what he wants to eat, and which dog he loves best. He also understands when I tell him to give something to someone or to pick up his toys, but sometimes, he gets a really pilyo look and does the opposite of what I want just to get a rise out of me.


On milestones...
... Other people's kids will always sleep through the night, be better behaved, and learn their letters early. It doesn't mean anything that just because your kid isn’t the same, you aren't on the same level. Each child is different. I've learned to simply focus on P-chan and how he's progressing rather than judging his accomplishments vis-a-vis other babies. I love talking to other moms about how our babies are developing, but I dislike how some people can turn it all into a competition. It's just not healthy. I celebrate with P-chan whenever he masters a new skill and turns to me, his eyes full of pride. And boy, does my little boy love applause ;-)


On tough love…
…It’s hard to stay unmoved when P-chan looks at you with his big, round eyes with matching lip-quiver-and-pout (I wonder where he picked that little trick up?), or throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants, but I’ve learned that by standing firm and seeming unmoved, he gets past his pique in a few. Of course, I know that when I turn my back he appeals to his grandparents for spoiling ;-( the little rat.


On first words...
... I'm often asked if P-chan has started talking and what language he speaks. So far, it's been "Mama" and "ota" for water, but as to what language P-chan speaks, hands down it’s Bisaya. Seriously. Hahaha! It can’t be helped because most of the day he listens to his 2 yayas, Sandy (yaya’s kid and P-chan’s built-in playmate), and his lolo gabbing away in Boholano.


On letting him make mistakes...
... I personally think that kids learn by doing. They learn a lot from what they see us do, but most of the time, they have to have freedom and space to learn and make mistakes on their own. But I think this depends on the child really. P-chan seems to have inherited his father's independent nature, not to mention his bull-headedness (both Taureans, go figure), so he if he insists on doing something that won’t mortally endanger him, I let him do it even if it means he stubs a toe or hit his head. That way, he knows not to lift heavy objects because if they fall on his feet, it’ll hurt. (he still tries to lift some things, but knows he has to jump out of the way when it falls. Better than nothing, I suppose). He also knows how to go down the bed properly or duck when crawling out from the cubby hole beneath my mom’s dresser he loves playing in. In addition, Juls had just one request: that we not coddle P-chan (overly) much. So we (try) not to shout in alarm when he trips or falls, and instead encourage him to get up by himself. So P-chan hardly ever cries (unless he's throwing a tantrum) when he's hurt, he just stops a bit, gets up, and starts playing again. Of course there are times, when it hurts more than usual, that he'll go to Mama for a quick hug, but after a few minutes, he'll be off exploring again ;-)



Hay, there are a lot more things I’ve learned, but this post is the longest I’ve written in some time and I do hope I didn’t bore you ;-) I truly miss blogging!

Tags:

meeting the met again






it's been over a decade since i last set foot in this beautiful building. i was really glad for the opportunity to visit the metropolitan theater again after so long ;-)


here's hoping that manila holds on to one of it's most iconic buildings. i'm happy to know that despite a few leaks and a bit of surface weathering, the structure is still pretty sound and that with (more than) a little work, we can save it. the spaces within hold so much promise, if only people had the eyes to look past the grime.












;-)


doppelganger?



I love this pic. Doesn't it look like a stone temple from Cambodia?



But it's actually a photograph I took of the Paoay Church in Ilocos when we went there (on a survey turned epic adventure) last weekend. It was the first time I've taken pics of this church at night and I love how it looks ;-)

Haaay. Now I have to recover from almost 20 hours on a bus. This is the first time ever that I completed a survey of 2 museums in under 4 hours. Hahaha! More updates soon ;-)




---

roof table

 

Heehee. Game to play abother round of guess what this is? This is one of the projects that kept me busy early 2011.

So is it a roof...



... or is it a table?

Heehee. It's both actually. Originally conceptualized as an exercise in roof-building for the students of Escuela Taller Intramuros, it was decided to fabricate the roof in a smaller scale and make it into a table.



It's actually nice because you get to appreciate the lovely lovely woodwork ;-) we don't actually have this type of construction here; the roof is based on spanish mudejar ceilings wherein the pieces all fit together like a puzzle. I really had fun designing this table (from the obscure photographs in the books M lent me), it was like geometry class--- only more fun! first we picked out a pattern we liked, then I had to figure out how the ceiling was incorporated into the roof grid. it was really tricky because i wanted to to be just like the original ones, interlocking parts and all. good thing M's mentor in mexico sent us working drawing that i based the specs on.  heehee. but it was all worth it; i was really happy with all the raves the table got at the exhibit at greenbelt 3 in makati.

to the artists, educators, students, and artisans over at ET Intramuros, you guys did a really great job!





---