Thursday, December 18, 2014

Trip Katangahan. What Else Is New?

O, huwag kayong tumawa -- naiwan na naman ako ng eroplano. Ang press release ko sana eh dahil sa traffic, pero the truth eh katangahan. Sobra-sobra-sobrang katangahan. When I checked the screengrab of my itinerary, akala ko ETD yung ETA. Tanga lang. Hays.

Na-realize ko na lang when I was queuing sa cab and TheHusband messaged me asking for my ETA. Such a stupid and expensive mistake. I called TheHusband. Medyo naiyak ako. It was so frustrating and embarrassing. Together we looked for available flights, whether a red eye to Cebu that night or to Dumaguete the following morning. Ang mamahal ng Dumaguete flights tapos fully booked na yung both Monday trips ng CebuPac. The PAL options are equally bleak. Thankfully, TheHusband found a relatively cheap red eye flight to Cebu. My plan was to get the first bus going to Liloan, the southern part of Cebu closest to Dumaguete. Na-delay ang flight. Ang tagal. Actually, it doesn't have any bearing naman on my bus trip going to Dumags kasi the bus leaves around 2 am pa. But inspiration struck. I went and asked the ground steward kung pwedeng i-rebook na lang ako sa Dumaguete. Long story short, na-rebook ako without having to shell out additional fees and what-nots. Yun nga lang, sa airport na naman ako natulog. Kebs. Sanay na. My only regret eh hindi ako masyadong nakapag-mall. It was a bit of a downer to an otherwise happy day of meeting with Dbrightspot, Diane, and Tsokoholik.

Lessons learned:
1. Check itinerary carefully. Can't stress this enough.
2. Be nice to ground stewards. Or to everybody for that matter.
3. Dress smartly when traveling. Feeling ko eh hindi nila ako papansinin kung mukha akong taong-grasa.
4. Walang mawawala kung magtatanong. Either yes or no lang naman ang sagot. :)
5. CebuPacific's fare increases as the date of departure approaches; PAL's stays the same. And PAL's website shows available seats that aren't available anymore sa booking offices.

I was thousands of feet up in the air when I wrote this, and I was marveling at the beauty of view. The plains, mountains, and bodies of water are all equally majestic. I cannot say the same when I'm on land, however. On my first night back in Manila, I caught myself thinking, I wanna go back to Dumaguete. I wanna go back to Dumaguete. I wanna go back to Dumaguete. Hahahahaha! I am thoroughly Dumaguetefied na. #Provinciated Grabe naman kasi ang sitwasyon sa Manila. Parang nakakasakal. To think just a few years back eh I was part of that buzz, that constant hum of city living. Saan ka naman makakahanap ng lugar where you'd be hit on (Babe, may asim pa asawa mo) and literally hit (on the nose!!!) on the same day? BUT...cue in Hotdog's Manila. :)

Friday, December 05, 2014

Trials And Tribulations

Oh, hi, dear blog-friends! Buhay pa ako. Yay!

I was just so busy. I had to learn a new tool in a matter of hours and turn around urgent files quickly. How quick? The turn-around time was 6 hours! Grabe, muntik nang mag-total eclipse ang heart ko. Corneeeeyyyy. Sorry. Kulang sa tulog.

Needless to say, medyo nataranta ako...medyo naloka ako...medyo nangilid ang luha ko habang nag-wo-work. Sa isang eye lang. And I wiped the tear even before it can fall. I'm hard that way. Hahahaha! Pero diba nga, thankful ako for this work? So I sucked it. There was no choice but to march on. And march I did. For six days. For freaking six days, I barely cooked. I barely mumbled. I barely went out of the house. Okay, tama na. OA na ako. The important thing is tapos na yung project na yun. I can breathe easier.

Or so I thought...

May bagyong padating. Hagupit! Pangalan pa lang takot na ako.

Back in Thursday morning, Dumaguete was included in the list of projected areas that might be affected. Nataranta ako. I bought a powerbank and canned goods. Seems every other Dumagueteño had the same idea. Isang kilometro yata ang haba ng counters. Exagge ako. Hehehehe. Pero very long talaga ang lines. Friday classes were cancelled. Sayang, mahina lang naman ng ulan today. I guess the city government wanted to play it safe. Mahirap nga naman pag inabutan ng ulan ang mga kids. I think Yolanda traumatized all Pinoys, not just Taclobanons.

So far, wala pa namang malakas na ulan. I hope magtuloy-tuloy na ang good weather. And sana wala namang tamaan ng malakas. We all deserve a happy Christmas.

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 in Cath Kidston Bonifacio Global City is 599 PHP). 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