Monday, January 23, 2012

Good-bye my friend

A couple of days ago I got a shocking email from a former co-worker that another co-worked passed away from cancer. That news came as a shock to all of us who used to work with her. She was only a few years older than I was but somehow managed to keep her girlish manner.

Her smile was infectious, always helpful and caring and boy did the girl like her beer!  LOL During the staff outings, she and another co-worker were the first ones with beer in their hands, starting off the party ahead of the rest of us.

It's so sad that she was taken so early, she still had so much to give to her family and friends.

Good-bye my friend. It was a pleasure to get to know you and to have spent some time with you on this world. Be in peace. The love you left behind will stay with us always.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A good day

My birthday came and went but I had a good one this year.  The day before, a friend took me out to dinner and on the day I had dinner with a couple of other friends. Since I told my mom that let's stay away from getting clothing articles since both of our wardrobes are overflowing, she got me a big box of chocolates and rice crackers since she figures I'll be craving something salty after eating so many sweets. LOL

For the dinner with friends, we went to a restaurant that runs a bakery and they offer all you can eat freshly baked rolls. I like their yomogi rolls, made with Japanese mugwort. The course dinner was nice, we had salad, appetizer, main dish and dessert w/ coffee/tea. We ordered different appetizers and main dishes so we can share. The food was nice and we were sopping up the sauce with the freshly baked rolls. Yum!

I was waiting for friend to finish packing so we can ride the train together, me to the dinner, him to the airport, so I ended up being a bit late. Trains are evil, tho . . . they make you drowsy and you doze off almost missing your stop.  I got off first, wished him a safe trip, and headed off to the restaurant.

I was out all day and didn't get home til late at night so I got my birthday present from my son the day after. He got me some cake  And they were gooooood!

It's a conspiracy! Everybody's out to expand my waistline on my birthday this year!  But still, it was a good day and hugs and kisses to all my friends who sent me birthday wishes!

Science and scrubbing

After spending a few days over at a friend's house, I come home to a vile lingering smell of something burning. I was like WTF?! I head for the kitchen and there it was . . . my beloved shiny (and expensive) Amway frying pan burnt to a crisp. AAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!

Apparently a certain idiot in the household put the pan on the stove, forgot about it and went to bed, waking up to the charred remains of what was supposed to have been the previous night's dinner.  My son's in charge of doing the dishes and he was soaking the pan in water in hopes to salvage it. The charred remains felt like it was cemented to the pan.

Well, I wasn't about to give up and throw out an expensive piece of cooking ware that easily. I hop on the net to see if I could find any solutions. And there it was . . . How to Clean Burnt Pots and Pans . . . all you needed was some baking soda, vinegar and determination. After following the directions, lo and behold! The charred remains came off! It's going to take a bit of polishing to get the pan back to its shiny luster, but getting all that burnt stuff off is a good start.

I felt like I was doing a science experiment, using the baking soda and vinegar, but it worked like a charm and my beloved frying pan's pretty much restored to its original state.


Lost with map . . .

A few friends got together for a night of Korean BBQ the other day but before that, my gal pal, M, and a buddy dude, R, met up in the afternoon for a stroll in the park.

We met at the Shinjuku Station, which is probably one of the worst places you can use to meet up with someone. The station is huge and also confusing. M tells me to meet her at the Central West exit. R and I were heading from Yokohama, but since I got on the wrong train, I ended up being late to meet R at the Yokohama Station. Oops  So we get to the Shinjuku Station, get out the Central West exit, and she's nowhere to be found. A few minutes later, I get a text from her saying she's running a few minutes late. R and I were standing there, starving since we haven't had lunch yet, waiting for my gal pal to show up. Then I get a text saying she can't find us. Dude . . .  Since we were standing in front of a department store, I told her to meet us in the cosmetics section. Now what girl canNOT find the cosmetics section in a department store?  LOL

To get to the Shinjuku Gyoen park, we find that we should've started out at the EAST side instead, then head south.  Thus starts our adventure in finding our way to the other side of the station. Just to let you know, it was no easy task. We went underground, went in circles, got above ground, got lost . . . and all this time M was holding a map in her tiny hand. Now who the hell gets lost while holding a map?! I was hungry and getting kinda cranky and before the inner bitch is totally unleashed, I took matters into my own hands and fired up my GPS, which I should've done in the first place. I knew she was a lousy navigator but didn't think she can manage to get us lost while looking at a map! 

We finally found our way out of the station and was on course to the park. I saw a fast food beef bowl joint across the street and asked if R would be OK with having a beef bowl for lunch. He's never had one so he was game. Now M was another story. Being kind of a snob herself, she doesn't like places that aren't trendy. You won't see her walking into a fast food joint out of choice and started griping about the calories and cholesterol levels. That was it . . . I was really hungry, to the point that I was starting to feel a little sick, so my inner bitch couldn't stay quiet any longer . . . I was like if you want to go somewhere else, go ahead, but I'm going in and getting something to eat NOW, and marched right into the beef bowl joint. R and M followed but she was kind of put out since she didn't get her way. But fortunately, the place had low-cal ala carte items on their menu so that appeased her a bit.

Our hunger sated, we headed off to the park, which was just down the road. The Shinjuku Gyoen park is a big park in the middle of Tokyo. Since we only had a few hours, we didn't explore the entire park and stayed on the main paths. I knew it was cold out that day but didn't expect to see ice on the pond!  BRRRRRR!!  It was funny and cute watching the ducks tread cautiously over the ice and occasion, fall through along the edges where the ice was obviously thinner. Being winter, the trees were bare and the park lacked color but the daffodils were in bloom and gave off a nice scent. I'm sure the park looks stunning when the cherry blossoms start blooming and grass turns green again.

The park was closing and it was time we needed to head for the Korean BBQ place to meet up with the others. It was the six of us this time and eat, drink and be merry we did! Even tho it was just after the holidays, the place was packed! There must've been a bunch of Tokyo tours or something on that day cuz there were so many big groups. A lot of kids and teenagers, too. Never did I see a tray of French fries and fried chicken disappear so quicky from the buffet line!  The place wasn't so packed the last time we were there. The price is quite reasonable considering soft drinks, booze and dessert were all included in the all-you-can-eat. We were busy grilling, yakking and drinking til we were about to burst. To get to the ice cream for dessert, we had to fight off the hoard of kiddies flocking the ice cream freezer. Of course being the self-serving adults we were, we managed to get our ice cream and cakes. LOL 

Time was up and we had to leave but we were happy and full. We roamed through Ginza for a bit and found a nice little bar where drinks and bar food were at an extremely reasonable price of 300yen each. On the way, we saw the oddest thing . . . a pair of shoes left behind by the side of the road. Back in the 80s, when it was popular to change into slippers when people got into their cars (I kid you not, some people had a no-shoes policy in their cars, just like in the homes!) and forgot to retrieve their shoes, so you saw a pair of nicely aligned shoes left behind in a parking lot. This happened more out in the boonies where parking was more plentiful and people drove more than they rode busses and trains.

After drinks, we bid our farewells. Two of us had birthdays coming up and were treated with homemade chocolate cake, which was very rich, chocolate-y and yummy!! 

I'm looking forward to our next dinner! But before then, I'm gonna have to do something about my waistline . . . yeah, right . . . LOL

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's just too "Me"!!

I got a birthday package in the mail today! Woohoo!  And it's from a good friend who moved to the States a while back! YAY! There even was a card inside, a real, honest to goodness card!  Better yet, there were not one but TWO boxes of chocolates in the package!  I also saw something familiar . . . little Garfield beanie babies . . .  I pull them out and the bigger one was wearing a tshirt saying "I don't do perky!".  My dear friend wrote in the card that "The Garfield is just too YOU!" He knows me too well!   After all, he HAS seen me in the mornings!  

Thank you dear friend!  I LOVE the chocolates and Garfield beanie babies!  HUGz!!

*My birthday's next Tuesday, tho. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Traumatizing beauty

OK. Taking care of your complexion might not be an easy task. But whenever you don one of these moisturizing facial masks, don't roam around the house too much or you might end up traumatizing your mother. I guess coming across one of these (refer to the right) is least expected in the house and a person can forget to breathe for a few seconds. LOL My son's seen me like this a couple of times. After freezing in place for a second or two, he just starts giggling. The things women do for beauty, hey?

A friend of mine got me a whole bunch of these when he went to Korea for work. The Koreans aren't fooling around when it comes to their cosmetics. These facial packs make your skin feeling smooth and after regular use, you'll notice the difference on how the foundation goes on. I also got a tube of the Korean BB cream foundation and it's nice how it goes on thin and light but still manages to cover blemishes. This foundation serves as an all-in-one moisturizer, sunscreen and base cover so one application takes care of all these.

I'm going to be enjoying smooth moist skin while supplies last. It's good especially the winters are so dry here they suck out all the moisture out of brown sugar.

Meeting up with meat!

For you vegetarians/vegans out there, move on, cuz meat was on the menu that night and lots of it!

A few friends and I got together for a new year’s party in Shibuya the other night. Since the churrasco place was offering a New Year special, we decided to go get our fill of meat. And get our fill, we did! No doubt about that! The food was so goooooooood! :D

I headed out early so I can snap off a few pics of Shibuya. I didn’t take into account that it got totally dark by 5pm. It was still light out when I left the house! So I get out of the station, not happy that it’s always a few degrees colder in central Tokyo than it is where I live, overwhelmed by the crowds but somehow plow my way through for my stroll around the area.

I started up Dogenzaka, then cut through the “love hotel” district. I’ve never seen so many “love hotels” clumped together in one place! There was one sign that said this hotel is built in the pure Japanese traditional way with cedar bathtubs. I thought that was kinda quaint. I also found the swinger’s club that’s popular among the foreign crowd. I was looking for it and passed right by it a couple of time without knowing it. LOL I came across a few places that advertised “relaxation herbs” . . . now wonder what that can be?? :-?

Shibuya’s an interesting place. On the left, you have the hotel clusters, in the middle you have the shops and eateries geared toward the younger crowd and on the right you have the higher priced department stores.

My friends and I were to meet in front of the Hachiko statue (not the best idea if it’s crowded). I was wearing a brightly colored hat that helped me stand out since otherwise I’d be buried in the sea of people. They were able to find me and off we went to the Brazilian restaurant. 2 of my friends are city folk so they were able to negotiate the crowd without hitch but me and another friend are fellow booniesville residents so we had a hard time keeping up.

We finally made it to the restaurant. It was good that we thought to make reservations cuz the place was packed! They were turning away people without reservations. We got to our seats, placed our orders and headed straight for the buffet table. The black bean stew they served was really good. I sampled a bit of each of the dishes, except for the ones that had things I don’t like, and all in all, I liked it. While wolfing down the salad and other Brazilian dishes, the servers come around to the table with meat, meat and more meat. Then they give you a small slice of each, you’re pretty full after sampling 7-8 types grilled meat they bring around. The grilled pineapple was good and refreshing before moving on to dessert. Sadly, I only had room to try 3 kinds of dessert, the custard pudding, chocolate pudding and fruit jello, and of course, some coffee. No way am I gonna step on the scale the next morning! :))

After dinner, we went out for some drinks and yakked a bit more. It was a great evening. I had my son come pick me up at the train station since I wasn’t sure how much I’d be drinking that night. It ended up that I didn’t drink that much but it’s nice to have a car waiting at the station to take you home. :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Oh well . . .

. . . so much for resolutions. Since my closets and drawers were overflowing with clothes, hats, shoes and purses, I "resolved" to try to not add to the chaos. Key word being try.

Bored and restless, I finally shed my pjs, change clothes, put on some make-up and head out to go shopping. I needed to go out soon anyway since there're a few birthdays coming up.

So there I was, browsing around for birthday presents and what catches my eye? This hat! I swear it was beckoning me! It was like 60% off and when I tried it on, it was a good fit. It'll go good with my red or black trenchcoats, too. Kaching! The sale was rung up. Sigh . . . so much for resolutions. That's why I'm not in the habit of making any. And I got myself some chocolates, too. But that's OK since it won't add to the chaos in my closet, tho they might add to the tightness of my jeans.

Well, I didn't end my shopping at the hat. I did pick up a couple of birthday presents while I was at it. All in all, it was a good afternoon and I came home pretty happy with myself.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012

2011 wasn't the greatest year for me. Never imagined that I'd end up being unemployed for an entire year. Despite the fact that I'm fully bilingual and have tons of experience, my age and lack of degree is biting me in the ass big-time here in this male-dominated pedigree society. The prefer to hire young dimwit who limped through college partying more than studying than someone with experience and is good at their job. *sigh*

Now it's 2012, new year, new hopes and preferably with few disappointments. It doesn't help that the year started with Mother Nature shaking her booty. The epicenter was off the shores of an uninhabited island over by the Izu Peninsula and registered M7 but it was only M3 where I live. But still, it was a long one. I'm sure the doomsdaysayers are crying out it's an omen! LOL

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's shinnenkai (new year party) with a few friends. I know it's gonna be tons of fun.