Monday, July 29, 2013

It's in the jeans!

Yesterday at church, I noticed this young woman wearing a printed top with matching pants.  At first I thought she was wearing her pajamas until I realized this type of attire was the current trend in fashion.

When it comes to fashion, I prefer to stay in the safe zone.  I was brought up to wear matching colors.  Shoes and bags should be the same tone.  Keep it simple when it comes to accessories.  Do not draw attraction to yourself.  Clothes don't make you, personality does.

So when I see how fashion has evolved through the years, I feel 'old'.  Mismatched tops and bottoms, shoes and bags give me the hives.  I tried it once just for the heck of it but I felt so uncomfortable I wanted to shrink and hide behind a closet or wear a blanket over my outfit.   

One of my staple outfits is a top and jeans.  Yet skinny jeans and leggings are not part of my wardrobe.  For one, I am too short to pull it off. Second, I equate leggings with sleep wear.   Third, I no longer belong in the hip category range.

My jeans are straight cut, sometimes a bit of a flare at the seams.   Now that I'm a lot lighter, I get the impression I'm now wearing what you call "mom jeans".  Nothing wrong with them (it goes with the adage that you should 'act your age') but the thing is I'm not a mom so why should I wear them? :D

My options are to get them 'fixed' or buy new ones.  Let's see if my budget cooperates with my plans.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Roulade, Terrine and Pavlova

Usually after dinner, I like to chill and watch TV shows.  If there is nothing to view on the telly, the alternative would be to park in front of my PC. Normally I would view one whole season of my fave programs.  I was done with my medical drama (Grey's Anatomy), scandalous politicking (Scandal) and spies thrillers (Homeland, The Americans).

So I turned my focus towards the yummy world of cooking shows.  Top Chef, MasterChef US and Australia and Top Chef Masters.  Programs which feature the culinary expertise of ordinary folks as well as experts in the food industry.   Most of them cook with ingredients I have never come across and use fancy terms to describe their dishes.

I only cook simple Filipino fare like Beef Kaldereta, Beef Steak Tagalog along with my experimental dishes which I concoct at the drop of a hat.  The hubby has not had any food poisoning experiences based on my cooking so that is a good sign.

To satisfy my gastronomic senses, I tune into people that cook recipes I would never get to taste let alone afford those fine dining cuisine.  Most of them look 'simple' enough but boy they take a lot of prepping combined with creative imagination to look so delectable in their presentation.

The above picture is a screenshot from the finale episode of MasterChef Australia the Professionals.   It looks so yummy, doesn't it?

Watching these cook shows late at night does not bode well for my diet.  Thankfully, I have a strong will power and I am able to control myself from ransacking the pantry or the ref for a sinful midnight snack.   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Living within your means

Saving was not part of my vocabulary when I was growing up abroad.  We were not wallowing in wealth but I like to think we were better off than a large majority of the population.   A bulk of my dad's income was spent on family vacations. We might not have invested in a house & lot back home but I can enumerate 20+ cities we traveled to in Europe and Asia for leisure purposes.  So much so that when we had to go home for good, we spent a number of years renting instead of owning the places we lived in.

As fate would have it, I married a guy who lived an *austere lifestyle*.  Contrary to popular belief that tertiary instructors earn big bucks, it has been quite a task for me to budget his income.  Sometimes there would be days even weeks when his salary would be delayed (apparently it's normal for state owned universities) for various reasons, so I would have to dip into our savings to make ends meet.  Not to mention the period when he took out a loan (for our fertility treatments) payable for 3 years and 1/4 of his salary was automatically deducted.

Therefore, I have been highly conscious of ways on how to live within our means.  I am mighty proud I am able to implement these measures without breaking into sweat. For someone who easily perspires, it is a big deal!

Here are some tips:
  • Cut your utilities cost.  I noticed that we barely watch TV so I checked out the website of the Cable TV we were subscribed to and went for their most basic plan.  The number of channels are limited but most of them were the one I frequented so it fit my viewing habits. Instead of paying P780.00 monthly our cable TV bill is fixed at P499.00.
  • Whenever I don't use an electrical appliance, I unplug it from the electrical socket. Even when I just go down to cook or have my meals, I unplug the computer, the DSL modem as well as the electrical fan.  The same works for when I go back up I unplug everything downstairs.
  • Be sure to open all the curtains/blinds in your home so you won't have to switch on the light fixtures.
  • Most of the time, I eat lunch alone.  So I stack up all the dishes with dishwashing liquid in a small pail and wash them later after dinner along with the pots and pans I used for cooking.
  • I use ratty old clothes as rugs.  I do have many old clothes which no longer fit me.  I cut them into large square pieces and use them to dust off furniture and appliances on a daily basis.
  • Aside from rent, we spend most of our meager income on food. Grocery shopping is much easier when you have a list of items to purchase.  I have this rule when the contents of a food item is less than my thumb that is the time to replenish so I add it to my list.
  • I always buy sachets. Aside from the fact that they are cheaper, they are also lighter and not too heavy to carry in your tote bags.
  • In my opinion, promo priced items are not necessarily better.  For instance, some products come with an attached 'free' item such as a can of corned beef with a free sachet of chiz wiz.   Or those 'buy one, take one' promos, I stay away from them.   I always feel guilty when I have to throw away these free items since we don't patronize them.  Since I went on a diet, I have to stay clear of dairy products plus having an extra can of corned beef is not feasible since we are only two in this household.
  •  Always check the expiry dates of every food item you buy.  When arranging your pantry, put the items with the shorter expiry dates in front so you dispose of them first.
  • I always cook vegetables first once I reach home. They tend to perish right away and when kept longer in the ref, they get all 'wrinkled'.
  • Make sure to squeeze out every single bit until the last drop from the bottles of condiments, hair products, dish washing detergents etc etc.    Heck, I even use tiny pieces of soap, as long as they still have bubbles to lather, I'm game. :D
Well these are the tips I can conjure right at this precise moment.  If you have some more tips, do share.

*I love my husband and I don't mean to belittle his income but it is just the way it is.  When I first talked to his mother (based in the USA) over the phone, she told me they weren't well off.  I replied it doesn't matter, really.   When in truth I wanted to tell her in jest "hindi naman po pera ang habol ko sa kanya, kundi ang kanyang matipunong katawan" he he he.    

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Memories that remain

This is one of my favorite ABBA songs.
She sings about a summer fling in Paris.
It reminds me of someone really special,
who shall remain nameless.
I still think of him often.
More often than I care to admit.
Perhaps too often than it is permitted.
It was many years ago.
Yet I still get nostalgic about it.
I remember it with fondness.

Our Last Summer
The summer air was soft and warm
The feeling right, 
The Paris night did its best to please us
And strolling down the Elysee
We had a drink in each cafe
And you
You talked of politics, philosophy and
I smiled like Mona Lisa
We had our chance
It was a fine and true romance
I can still recall our last summer
I still see it all walks along the Seine,
Laughing in the rain
Our last summer

Friday, July 19, 2013

Too Much Information

In this age of instant this and instant that, researching on medical conditions is merely a click away.  Through the ever reliable Internet, loads of information on various topics can be quite overwhelming.  Although some amount of information can be quite helpful, I sometimes get the sense that all these pieces of material can also be quite harmful.   

When I was still on fertility treatments, I read up on everything about the prescribed pills (injections) to the different procedures I had to undergo.  I absorbed way too much information for my own good and my peace of mind.

For instance, I learned that the daily meds I drank to increase my follicles had an adverse side effect to my main 'problem' (very thin endometrial lining).    So I was given another set of meds to make my lining thicker but this would mean it would decrease the number of follicles I needed to produce.  

When I asked my OB-GYN about this seesaw effect, she just assured me it was the best course of action for my condition.  Being the diligent patient that I am, I merely followed her instructions to the dot.   Yet at the back of my mind, I had this nagging feeling that it was all a very futile effort since the meds would counteract each other's functions. That is why after almost 2 years of trying, I 'gave' up.  It was too stressful for me to handle.
In the light of my high cholesterol levels, it seems to take the same seesaw path.  The meds I was given for 3 months although it lowered some components, it also meant a hike in my triglycerides and VLDL levels.   
So what gives?  How does addressing one problem area lead to a second or even third problem to crop up?  It is really not fair, is it?

I know I have no one to blame but myself for neglecting my health.  Up to the time that I got married at the ripe age of 39, I was never conscious of my diet regimen. I sailed through life with a blast.  Living it to the fullest and enjoying every nanosecond of it.   After all, we only have one life so might as well savor it so now I pay a hefty price for my shortcomings.
Tsk ... tsk ... tsk.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pills, pills and more pills!

3 months have elapsed since I had my medical tests so it was time for another consult. I wanted to check my cholesterol levels to see if there were any improvement after taking the prescribed medicine for 3 months.

My lipid profile indicates 3 of the 5 cholesterol conditions were now within normal level, while my triglycerides and VLDL level were still 'critically' high.  Plus my liver functions peaked not in a good way so that 'problem' needs to be addressed ASAP.

So although I've been on a strict diet (save for 1 week when my sister was in town), been active in my simple exercise routine, I must still push myself further to attain my goal of a 'no pills' lifestyle.

It is deeply frustrating to say the least. I've never been a pill popping for every ache kinda person.  It just takes me back to the 'dark' period when I was undergoing fertility treatments where the amount of pills + the injections I endured was pure torture.  

On hindsight, I believe stressing over the cost of the meds was a big factor in my failure to conceive than my actual inability to be a mother.  Oh well such is life, we win some and we certainly lose a lot more in the process.

So this morning, I just drank all the necessary pills and shrugged.  I might as well just accept this whole new lifestyle and charge it to the rigors of getting old(er) and my credit card too!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pet Peeve(s)

When I got back to our apartment, I noticed two new things.  We had new neighbors (in the 4th & last apartment door) and they had a dog tied to a kennel near their entrance.

I've always been afraid of canines and don't really associate well with pets, in general. Dogs bite and attack people, they also stink, have fleas and bark incessantly ergo disturbing my peace and quiet time.   Irregardless of the fact that a number of jeeps and tricycles pass by our street during the day so it isn't really that quiet in my neck of the woods.

So I asked D "how come you didn't tell me the new neighbors have a dog?" He merely shrugged and replied "If I did, would you refuse to return home?"  Good point.   He further added "Mabait siya, nasa dulo naman at hindi siya tumatahol"  ("It's a good dog. He is tied up at the far end of the compound and hardly barks".)

Well D is wrong!

He doesn't know (since he is at work till early evening) that the pet dog does bark.  It is barking now as I type this post about him or her (I'm not sure and I don't intend to find out its gender).   It barks whenever its owners leave for work at around 9:30 every morning!   Worst of all, it managed to break itself free from its reins and walks around the common area, barking.   I almost fainted when I went out to hang the towels to dry and the dog suddenly walked towards me without a sound (mind you! such a sneaky one!) and barked at me.  I fled and ran inside our apartment, still cowering in fear.

So yeah don't tell me he is a good dog, he ain't, ok!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Back in circulation

D & I have this silent agreement that when my sister is in town for a visit, I'd stay at the condo.  This way we save on the commute to and from Quezon City.  This involves from 3 days to 10 days, per visit.  This also entails that I bring most of my personal belongings with me.  Clothes, make up kit, toiletries, shoes and accessories.  It almost feels like I myself am going away for a vacay, albeit it doesn't involve using my passport.

End of June my sister informed us she was coming over for a week for some R & R. She has mostly been traveling to and from trade fairs so she wanted a break from work.  So the usual sister bonding moments ensues.  Dining out at her fave restos.  Shopping for clothes, shoes and accessories.  Pampering treatments like hair cut and nail spa.

We had so much fun. We forgot to take pictures of the places we visited as well as the food we ate.   But I'm beaming with happiness and bursting at the seams (literally) from eating out too much. Credit card is pushed to the limits but I'd say that sister bonding time as well as spending time with my parents is priceless!!!