Rainy Day

Mario is visiting the country and although he is not passing by our neighborhood, we can feel his strong presence tremendously.

Mario is not handsome nor famous. In fact, everyone seems to hate him and wants him out of the country right now. Still, he lingers and we can’t do anything about it. He calls the shots and we’re helpless.

Mario is the 13th (?) tropical depression to hit the country this year. Classes in all levels and office work have been suspended in several areas following last night’s and this morning’s non-stop rains.

I woke up to the news that Metro Manila is flooded. In the suburb where we live, some 1,000 meters above sea level, some streets are submerged in flashfloods. That means no going to the market or the grocery. We’re stranded in the house with nothing in the freezer but an already opened pack of bacon and Sam’s vege-meat. We also have eggs and a can of luncheon meat. They will do until the flashfloods subside and we can drive to the market. Read more

Lemon Day

One afternoon in Boracay, one of those times when the wind was blowing and I just knew that a downpour would follow, while the rest of the group was frolicking in the sea, I was having one of those what-have-we-done-with-our-lives talks with a friend. I was telling her that illness does not scare me, except Alzheimer’s disease. Of course I’m decades away from that age to seriously entertain the thought… but it’s there. The thought of not being in control of my mind is horror beyond imagination. I sometimes tease my kids about it using “variations”. Last time it was, “What if I wake up one day with amnesia and have totally forgotten how to cook?” Sam, never at a loss for smart answers, replied, “Isn’t that what your blog is for? So you can just follow what you wrote?”

lemon-dayMy friend is scared of the same thing (I’m not alone with strange fears). I told her that I deal with it by treating the brain as a muscle like any other. It needs to be active and it needs exercise. So, I exercise my brain everyday in every way that I can; mostly, by learning new things.

My rule is to learn at least one new thing each day. It doesn’t matter what. Last night and earlier today, it was creating a new logo using Photoshop commands I had never used before. When I was satisfied, I moved on to lemons. How to make limoncello with lemon zest and what to do with the fruits’ flesh afterward.

lemon-day2I love limoncello but good limoncello is pricey. There are cheaper brands but they are so watery that it feels like throwing away money. So, I thought I’d learn to make limoncello. After all, how hard can it be? Alcohol, lemons and sugar… the thing to learn was the how.

I searched the web, found at least six different techniques then decided to start with the most straightforward. Cut off the lemon zest with a vegetable peeler, drop into a bottle of vodka, screw on the cap tightly and leave in a cool, dark place for a week or two. After the soaking period, the vodka will be strained, simple syrup will be added, and voila! Limoncello. Of course, I haven’t gotten to the straining part yet. That’s still a week or two into the future. In seven days, I will strain half of the vodka, add simple syrup and taste the limoncello. After another seven days, I will strain the remaining half of the vodka, add simple syrup and taste. Then, I will compare if the additional seven days of soaking lemon zest in vodka makes a marked difference.

And the fruit flesh…? Read more

On ballgowns and the history of the toilet

Having been raised in a generation when Barbara Cartland was standard reading for teens and pre-teens, I spent many days and nights dreaming about ballgowns and jewelry, and Prince Charming. European-style, of course, having been influenced by Barbara Cartland. It was a phase I quickly outgrew after discovering that Perry Mason books were a lot more exciting than Barbara Cartland novels. Still, I loved visualizing pretty gowns, matching hats and gloves, horse-drawn carriages and waltzes. How I made the images fit in with Perry Mason, I cannot recall.

I still smile to myself when I remember those days. And I am constantly reminded of those fantasies with the oh-so-many quizzes I come across on Facebook about things like what era do you really belong to. Although I still adore watching period films with those gorgeous costumes (the photo above is a screen grab from “Belle”), I no longer have fantasies of living in the Tudor Age or even in Marie Antoinette’s Versailles.

It has nothing to do with feminism; it has everything to do with the toilet. If some kind of science-defying act will allow me to sample life in the past, I will choose an era after 1850 when the flush toilet came to widespread use. No latrines and chamber pots for me, thank you.

Seisha Coffee

seisha

Had to register a business name at the local DTI office. There was a queue so we decided to kill time at the cafe on the ground floor of the building.

Seisha Coffee is probably the oldest and most decent cafe in Antipolo. Sadly, the cappuccino didn’t look nor taste like it was made with espresso.