Saturday, November 22, 2014

Grace And Thankfulness

It's Thanksgiving next week in the US. Of all the American holidays, it's the one Western holiday that I want to celebrate here in the Philippines. Never mind Halloween (especially since I just get stressed with all the costumes). I just think that we don't say "thank you" often enough.

I have SO MANY things to be thankful for. So many. But there is one that particularly stands out because it brings food to the table, among other things, and lets me earn without needing to leave home. Now the latter remains debatable as a perk, but when you're a mother of a child who is susceptible to all sorts of respiratory infections and gets feverish with every bout of cold, being able to stay at home is a huge benefit.

Back in 2011, I replied to a LinkedIn ad from a company in Europe -- on a lark, mind -- not really expecting anything to come out of it. So I was pleasantly surprised when the editorial manager (EM) replied immediately. Things went pretty fast, and soon I was already receiving steady work from the company, which, for the sake of privacy, I will refer to here as "Castle."

Like I said, Castle provides steady work, although of course there will always be lean times -- even scientists and authors have to rest. Another wonderful perk is Castle's fair rate. I know, and have long accepted, that it is lower than my American or British peers; after all, why would Castle subcontract something if they're not going to have any financial benefit out of it? And yet, Castle's rate remains the highest among my clients. And the most important of all is the gracious EM. There are times (not often!!! *defensive*) when my work isn't as good or when I miss my deadline, yet she's always professional and understanding. Last February, I was midway on a book when Sharkteeth got sick, and ever so gracious, she emailed me, asking me not to worry about the book and to focus on S first. While other EMs would be freaking out by that point, Castle's EM was calm and collected. And have I mentioned their fair rates? I have?! LOL! Well, I can't stress it enough, Castle's rate is very good. So good that it inspires me to work harder. Hahahaha!

It has been more than three years (no jinx please!!!), and I still marvel at this grace I received. Thank you, Castle and your ever-so-gracious EM.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cath Kidston Stanley Mugs For Sale

Magpa-Pasko na, I need moolah! Hehehehe. I'm selling Cath Kidston Stanley mugs. It's 320 pesos each (SRP is 6.50 GBP). Shipping is 180 php per piece +40 pesos per additional mug (this isn't a fixed amount -- it's probably cheaper when you order a lot). The shipping fee is a bit steep because these are breakables and will be crated. If you are ordering a lot, like 10 or more, maybe I can give you a discount. You can send me an email at thepseudoshrink at gmail dot com.

Kentish rose

Daisy rose check

Garden bird

Christmas Santa

Strawberry blue

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Easy and Fluffy Japanese Cheesecake

Oo, nasunog ko ang gilid. What can I do, I'm torch-happy.

I practically cheated when I made this cheesecake, I should rename it the almost-immoral cheesecake. You know why? Because I basically dumped all the ingredients, save one, in the rice cooker pot, mixed the batter, switched it on, and let the rice cooker do the job. Then I took the credit!

This is very easy to make. At the risk of sounding like an insufferable know-it-all, let me just clarify that this isn't like the New York cheesecake, which is dense and creamy. This one is fluffy and more cake-like, hence lighter and not quite as tummy-filling as the New York variety but just as delicious. 

1 usual box of cream cheese
40 g cake flour
40 g white sugar
200 ml milk (or cream, if you prefer it creamier)
3 eggs
1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Mix everything except for the egg whites, which I beat until stiff and then folded into the cheesecake batter. (Actually, it is the batter that should be folded into the beaten egg whites. But whatever.) You don't have to separate the yolk from the white and just mix everything at once. But I did -- I'm a fancy baker that way. LOL!
2. Turn on the rice cooker. Trust the rice cooker with all of your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. Hehehe. When the light switches to "warm," do the toothpick test. If still uncooked, just turn the rice cooker back on.
3. Once cooked, remove the pot from the rice cooker and let it cool.
4. Place a plate on top of the cheesecake and flip it over.
5. To serve, you can eat it plain or with jam. I prefer to sprinkle some sugar, which I caramelize till it is golden.
Try not to cry when you see how beautiful, and taste how delicious, your cake turned out to be.


Proponent of easy cooking and baking
"You lost me at the seventh ingredient."

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Such gorgeous pancakes

I got the recipe from Recipegirl , and I really didn't think I'd be able to pull off such a complicated-looking pancake. So it was a pleasant, and delicious, surprise when I managed to. Easily, I might add.

Alam ko naman most of us are busy. Busy with work. Present! With kids. Present! [Albeit only one.] With housework. Present! With spouse. Present! With pets. Present! Busy with life. Present na present! So hindi ko na kayo papahirapan na gagawa pa ng pancake from scratch. Bumili na lang kayo ng Maya or White King ready pancake mix. Huwag Magnolia – sobrang tamis ng kakalabasan ng pancake. Then just follow Recipegirl 's instructions and you should be off eating some glorious cinnamon roll pancakes in no time. It's very easy to do and the pancakes look gorgeous and like made by a pro.


1. One pancake is enough for one person. Nakaka-umay pag marami.
2. Do not add any other syrup.

3. If you have diabetes and you cannot not eat this, have your medication ready, 'cause I tell you, your blood sugar will shoot up.

Everything in moderation. 


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Mga Istoryang Sinauna: Kastilyong Buhangin

2004. Company outing. Sandcastle building. Competitive people. Stuff of legends.

I don't even remember the name of the resort. It was in Batangas -- the far side of Batangas. Parang mas matagal pa ang trip kesa dun sa stay sa resort. Sharkteeth was still a baby then. Ang cute-cute-cute-cute-cute nya nun. [Pagbigyan nyo na ang nanay.]

Diba, ang cute?! Anak, saan napunta ang kulot mong buhok?

Anyhoo, this isn't about Sharkteeth. This is about the sandcastle-building contest. If I remember correctly, mayroong cash prize. Not that we care about the money. It wasn't about the money. It was the bragging rights.

It was a team of copy editors and systems something chienes. The copy editors? Well, what can I say, we were (still are) an enthusiastic and competitive lot, and like good copy editors, we researched online on how to best keep the sand together. One resource recommended starch.

We scheduled a meeting to discuss our strategy. Yes, merong strategy meeting! Para sa sandcastle. Everybody dutifully attended. We had notes, for goodness sake! Everybody was excited. But the excitement level of the copy editors was disproportionately high. In retrospect, I think the systems something chienes guys must have been snickering behind our backs because of our overflowing enthusiasm. Because seriously, aside from kids and Sand Masters, who gets THAT excited over sandcastles?

Heto na! Beach outing na! Sandcastle building na!

Gawgaw? Check! [Pinabili pa ni Tsokoholik yun sa nanay nya.]
Timba? Check! 
Flaglets? Check!
Plastic cups for the towers? Check!

Aba?! Ano eto? Nagdala pa si Onyxx ng small sculpting tools! Artistry? Malaking check!

Isip-isip ko, shoo-in na kami. We researched and planned. We had the necessary tools. The artistry. The confidence and enthusiasm. Sure na sure na sure na eto! Gow!

Kaso the sand wasn't holding up well. *Gawgaw, you had ONE job! Only one job!* Dagdag lang kami nang dagdag ng sand. Dapat pala we shoveled everything into a pile then carved away. But we were nothing but persistent. May puso!

Eventually, nagkaporma rin. We were thinking of adding a foot more of sand to make up the center of the castle. Kaso umulan. Pinatigil na. We didn't have the time anymore to add another foot of sand. Hayun -- ginawa na lang dome. I'd like to believe that it was the dome of a mosque, but honestly, it looked like a solitary boob.
The legendary sandcastle

Long story short, we didn't win. Some other group with a tall castle won. Bitter ang mga copy editors. Yung mga systems something chienes, kyeber lang.

We avoided talking about it when we got back. We avoided talking about it like our lives depended on it. Like if we do NOT talk about it, it must NOT have happened, it did NOT happen. What sandcastle?! I don't remember any sandcastle. Sandcastle? What does that even mean?!

Ang pait-pait.

A couple of years later, nakaya na naming pag-usapan. And when we did, nagpipigil kaming humagikgik kasi naaalala namin ang timba, ang gawgaw, ang flaglets, ang sculpting tools ni Onyxx, ang aming overflowing exuberance. Kulang na lang literal na mag-roll on the floor and laugh our asses off. Hanggang ngayon, pag napaguusapan ang sandcastle, lakas pa rin ng tawanan namin. Perhaps to cover up our bitterness.  Hahahahaha!

So there.

Ten years ago. Company outing. Sandcastle building. Sore losers. Stuff of legends.

And I leave you with this song...

Sumpang kastilyong buhangin pala
Pag-ibig na pansamantala, 
luha ang dala
'Yan ang pag-ibig na nangyari sa atin
Gumuhong kastilyong buhangin 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Mother Of The Year 2014

There's this NASA promo where you can fill in a form* and print a boarding pass to Orion's test flight on December.

Orion boarding pass

I printed one for Sharkteeth. I thought it would be a fun souvenir.

Well, you know the saying, "the road to perdition is paved with good intentions." I was just supposed to hand it to her.

But the devil took over. 

TPS: Hey! Look what I've got over the mail.
Sharkteeth: [excited] What is it?
TPS: Mars is sending a flight to Mars, and they sent you a ticket! You can go to Mars! Yay!
Sharkteeth: Huuuwaaaat??? Are you messing with me?
TPS: Of course not! Here, look at the ticket. It has your name on it.
Sharkteeth: [suspiciously] I don't think that's real...
TPS: Of course it's real. It has a barcode and serial number and stuff.
Sharkteeth: Stop messing with me. Besides, how can I go to Florida?
TPS: Mama Nell will pick you up and bring you to Florida...
Sharkteeth: [faltering] But, but, it's on about Christmas?
TPS: I'll just give you your Christmas gift early...
Sharkteeth: I can't spend Christmas here with you?
That's when I started to think that it might not be a good idea after all...but I couldn't back out anymore... 
TPS: Maybe there's a live feed or something and we can chat.
Sharkteeth: But it won't be the same.
TPS: Oh, it's going to be fun. You in Mars. Can't beat that, right? 
Sharkteeth: You seem to be happy about this...
TPS: What if I am?
Sharkteeth: [sarcastically] Well, Merry Christmas to you!
TPS: Aren't you excited about this?
Sharkteeth: [starting to get teary-eyed] NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! How can I be excited about this?! It's Mars! It's far! It's Christmas!!!

Huwag ka nang magalit, bebe ghel. Sorry na. Love you!

The Mother of the Year Award for 2014? I'm seriously killing it!