The Processed Cheese Food that Binds Generations.

Last week, my daughter wanted to have a CHEEZ WHIZ SANDWICH.

I apologize to all my readers who come for my pearls of wisdom (yeah, right) on the avoidance of processed foods. My husband brought it into the house to make pasta with cheese, one of his favourite foods from childhood.

According to their latest ad, Cheez Whiz "adds personality". But does it also add healthy stuff? How much "real Canadian cheddar" is in it? And will it make me turn BLUE?

I remember hearing a rumour -- passed around in high school -- that Cheez Whiz starts off blue (which the kids at school said emphasized its rampant artificialness -- yes, that's word). I know it ends up blue -- or is that blue/green? -- if left to pass the expiry date. Most real foods do.

Frankly, I tend not to believe unsubstantiated, high school rumours, but Cheez Whiz does fall into the processed foods category I usually try to stay away from.

Anyway, I made my girl the aforementioned requested sandwich. Then I toasted a piece of bread and spread some of the orange stuff on.

OH, MAN. I was suddenly transported back to my youth when my mom would make me "Cheez Whiz on toas" (no finally 't' and said with a Filipino accent) every week. Total taste memory.

Mini and I bonded over our Cheez Whiz treats, crumbs all over the place and smiles on our faces.

Cheez Whiz and I have made -- albeit fragile and temporary -- peace.

Winter Decends on the Front.

Snow that falls after my birthday tends to stay for the duration of the season. No melting. Happened again this year. See the pic above? It's my front yard garden on November 6.

One of the best surprises I got from my front yard garden is the fact that it's beautiful all year round. Okay, maybe not all year round -- it looks like dog barf in the early Spring.

But look at it! It's fun, interesting, flowery even! No flat dunes to be seen. My mother would probably say it looks like crap and dead with lots of dead crap... but I think it looks nice, and I intend to enjoy it while it lasts -- until an unexpected dumping of snow buries it until spring. Yearly snowfall here is very unpredictable. Some years, there will be barely enough snow for a decent snowman. Other years, there's enough to be creative.

Anyway, my winter front yard experience hasn't been all lovely.
Last week, I did some shoveling. The snow was wet and fairly easy to clear, but the stairs had a thin, immovable layer of ice. Very dangerous. I decided to sprinkle grit on the offending areas with the cat litter Roomie keeps in a container in the garage just for that purpose.

Well, apparently, the cat litter was of the CLUMPING variety. Cripes, it started to melt into the ice, creating this horrible muddy mess! It looked like diarrhea! Not exactly the look I want for the front of my house. It's frozen in place now. Frozen diarrhea on my stairs. Lovely.

On a high note, while I shoveled, Mini made a snowman. It has since lost its carrot nose (I suspect the local bunnies), and we think it may have been pee'd on (I suspect Arthur's dog).

Hmm. That didn't end up being much of high note, eh? Sorry.

Take Two: Brad Pitt in Troy. Ahhh. Better.

7:41 am is not early.

I'm a morning person. I usually wake up at 6am without the alarm clock -- don't hate me because I'm a beautiful freak -- and despite the typical morning fogginess, I'm happy, energetic, and ready to start the day.

Unlike my husband who needs coffee to function before noon. Unfortunately, he doesn't drink coffee. It's like living with a bear in pajamas.

Wait, this post is about me.
Anyway, this week has been very weird. Weird like this...

I've been feeling not-quite-myself these past few days -- more like a 4-year-old in funny nose glasses. Good thing I had the picture to illustrate, eh? What are the chances?

I've been waking up late -- probably due to the insomnia. (Read on.)

I've had insomnia (See?). I think it's because of the roast chicken I'd had for dinner. If you've had insomnia, don't tell my husband -- he'll blame poultry. (Why? Read on.)

I've been sick. My husband said it's allergies. He has allergies. If you have a runny nose, he'll also tell you that you have allergies too (See?). But I tried to kiss him the other day. He tried to avoid me. So, you don't really think it's allergies, do you, Mr. Fablo.

I was supposed to ovulate this week (Yes, I went there... again), and after some intensive self-probing (mentally, not physically -- eww), I don't think I did, which totally screws up my hormones.

And now that I think about it, even my already bizarre kids are acting even more twitchy and combative than usual, like this...

I don't think the "weird" is going to end any time soon. It might even get worse before it gets better. I'm bracing myself for the really weird, unlikely stuff to start happening... like locusts or world peace. Or my kids actually start cleaning up their messes.

A Special Announcement

Last Saturday, my girlfriends Harmzie, Myrtle, Glo, and I gathered at our fav sushi joint to eat raw stuff and blind all the cute young boys with all our undeniable hottiness.

Actually, we weren't sure if Glo was going to be joining us. Apparently, some of her coworkers had fooled her into going to see some male strippers later that night. She's so foolie. :)

But she made it, unable to ignore the siren call of the nigiri and maki and sashimi, and also because she had some news to share with us before running off to watch naked men shake their naughty bits...

Glo and Shawn -- the cute dude she's been living in sin with since time began -- are engaged!

To be honest, I never thought they would ever get hitched.

And of course, we all know who's to blame: Glo.

Really. She is that hard to pin down. I once overheard her say, "Meh, I'm already getting the Big One. Why buy the cow when you're getting the milk for free, right? hehehe..." Yeah, she actually said hehehe. Sheesh.

Now, I love Glo to bits. She's family. She was one of my bridesmaids. If Shawn's "Big One" was all she wanted, she's got my whole-hearted support, but did she really have to call him a cow? Or was she complaining that he had lactating man-boobs? Or was she saying he knew someone who could give them free milk? I don't know. Maybe I'm just confused.

Anyway, "Big One" or not, Glo couldn't have missed Shawn's tireless devotion.

Every night she'd come home covered in booze and mud -- did I mention she's a professional mud wrestler[1]? -- and Shawn was always there to hose her off, all the while wearing the frilly thong panties she demands he wear on such occasions.

Now, that's the kind of devotion told of in legend.

Of course, Glo is a smart girl and eventually came around. She realized what she had, saw past Shawn's foibles and oddities -- like his habit of painting his toenails chartreuse, wearing tights and cape, and going by the name "Velma" every second Thursday -- and decided to propose.

The proposal was spectacular. Actually, the fact that Glo didn't turn blue was spectacular. Who'da thought it would be so cold the night she decided to pop the question? Well, she didn't have to be naked. And on the roof of their house. But when she gets an idea in her head...

Then there were the noisy helicopters that kept circling overhead. Shawn kept yelling "Why are we on the roof? And why are you naked?!" over the noise whenever Glo would ask the question, so she'd have to ask again. And again. Then he kept trying to put a jacket on her -- she'd get mad, scream, and throw the jacket back at him.
It was like a scene from a really bad porno. Except with a little almost-blue naked person.
And helicopters.

Anyway, frostbite aside, Shawn said yes, and Glo now sports a beautiful jade & amethyst ring on her wedding nipple.
Sorry, did I say nipple? I mean finger.

A dream wedding in Hawai'i is planned as long as Glo can find someone to take her place at the "Horny Toads Bar & Mud-Wrestling Emporium".

Congratulations, my dear Glo! And congrats to you too, sweet Shawn -- see, I told you the Brazillian wax would do the trick! We love you, both! :)

Glo, stop groping Shawn

[1] - In all seriousness, Glo is a much loved daughter, cousin, and friend. She would never call anyone or anything a cow, except maybe an actual cow.

Motrin, Are You Effing Kidding Me?!?

[Updated with the original ad]

So, this morning, Roomie and I were sitting on the couch, laptops open, both of us catching up with our respective online worlds.

While Roomie perused the recent news on Reddit, I scanned Twitter and found my Twitter Sibs frantically waving their hands in the air, freaking, and in a general uproar about Motrin's brand-spankin' new ad -- an ad that appears to mock the idea of baby-wearing, a topic very close to my heart.

Hearing the growing freak-out in my voice, Roomie talked me off the ledge, "OK, hold on, have a look at the ad first."

So, I hit the link from Katja's post, and together, Roomie and I watched my laptop with growing horror as the commercial unfolded.

We watched them claim that baby-wearing seems "to be in fashion" and that it's "a good idea in theory", as if it's some sort of new fad, as if baby-wearing hasn't been around for thousands of years, as if many cultures worldwide have never continued to wear their young because baby wearing is such a PROVEN good idea.

Motrin shouldn't have made this commercial. Baby-wearing and the need for pain medication just don't go hand in hand. And now, legions of future moms could be turned off to baby-wearing if they're misled by idiotic, poorly-researched pap like this.

So, yeah, watch the commercial yourself (Thanks to dizastor!), and check out Katja's post for the video of other mom reactions too.
Maybe you too will think, like Roomie and myself, that the Motrin people are morons for coming up with such an offensive, condescending ad.

The uproar is huge. I wonder if heads are going to roll.

Earth Night: The November Edition.

After many months of "When are we going to have Earth Night again?" from Mini, we finally had an Earth Night last night.

At 9pm, we turned off all electrical equipment (exceptions: fridge, water heater, and VCR that was taping Dr. Who), gathered at our round dinner table, candles a-blaze, and enjoyed a nice quiet hour together.
Mini drew all sorts of pictures with the new markers I gave her that morning. Lam decided to practice his math skills on various sheets of paper. Roomie worked on fleshing out some ideas he wanted to write about. And I worked on new blog posts and my Christmas TO-DO list.

As I mentioned, it was all Mini's idea. When I asked her why she loved Earth Night so much, she said it was because she likes the candles and drawing. Lam says he likes the dark, writing, and candles. Roomie and I both like the quiet and the fact that we are together as a family.

Actually, it was so quiet, Roomie and I were dangerously close to falling asleep. Seriously. It was dark, warm, and cozy. Give me a pillow and I would've been toast.
Next time, we'll start it a little earlier in the evening. Shouldn't be too hard with it getting dark here so early nowadays.

All in all, good for us, good for the environment. Happy.

the 6x6.

Katie told me to do this. Well, not me specifically, but it's Friday -- meme day for this blog -- so I decided that when she said "YOU", she meant me. Because, hey, it really is all about me... on this blog anyway.

Okay, here's the dealio:
  • Go to your Sixth Picture Folder (online or on your hard drive, wherever) then pick your Sixth Picture.
  • Pray that you remember the details.
  • Tag 5 others.
So, a quick trip into my private Flickr account at those coordinates reveals this awesomely cute pic:

It's our little Lam giggling up at his daddy. I'm guessing he's thinking "hey, it's that crazy fun guy again... I hear he's really awesome at doing laundry". Roomie was just about to leave for work (he was still a software design engineer at the time. yuck.), and he was giving his little boy a kiss and hug. And of course, making him laugh. It wasn't hard -- Lam was quick with the giggles.

I remember this being one of those mornings where Roomie just didn't want to go. He'd just returned to work after 2 months of parental leave, and already he was ready to take another 2 months so he could be home and do this all day: Cuddle and giggle with his son all day long.

If I'd given Roomie even the slightest hint that I'd trade with him and go back to work in his place, he would've jumped at it in a split second. I was, after all, qualified.

No way, Chicken Marengo! I'd rather stick pins in my eyes, rip my arm off and beat myself with the wet end, have dental work done than be an engineer again.

Okay, now, it's time for me to tag 5 people to do this on their blogs too. Be sure you go and visit these blogs and have a look at their contribution...

YOU (yeah, go. do this now. and let me know.)

The World is Just Awesome

When this commercial comes on, the family comes running into the room to watch.

And the other day, I overheard my 4yo Mini, lying in her Dora tent with her little foot sticking out, singing "I love the whole world; it's such a brilliant place...", over and over.

It would appear that my favourite commercial has also become theirs.

You know the one.

Sing it with me: "Boom-de-ya-da, boom-de-ya-da, boom-de-ya-da, boom-de-ya-da..."


As y'all know, one of the items on my List of Things to Do before 40 is to get my cholesterol under control. So, the other day, I decided to get started by getting my biomarkers and hopped onto my scale. Well, I almost crapped.


And on the same day, I saw a hot mom-of-7 grooving her 6-pack and size-2 ass all over a Turbo Jam infomercial. WTF?!! Thanks, Universe. Way to kick a girl when she's down.

Now, I know many of you are probably thinking "136? So what?! That's nothing". For me, it isn't nothing. It's not healthy. Especially when my not-overweight parents are taking $600 worth of blood pressure medication. Especially when my bodyfat is over 36%. Yes, almost half of me is fat. Eww.

And then there's this. May I remind you of this picture here to the right? (I can't believe I'm showing it again.) It's my shapeless ass with the more-than-a-hint of muffin top.
Don't try to flatter me. I'm being realistic here. It's not pretty. And don't tell me you don't see it. My readers have excellent eyesight.*

Yes, I'm apple-shaped... I gain all my weight up top, near my organs... not good. Even my doctor's concerned. And, in this shot, I was only 125lbs. I'm worse now. Scary.

So yeah, my bodyfat is high because my metabolism is shot. Totally. I lost a lot of muscle when I went too low-cal when I practiced CRON, and we all know that the more muscle you have the faster your metabolism. CRON is a great lifestyle, if you can sustain it. I couldn't, and now the pounds are packing on.

I'm a smart girl. I know what I'm supposed to do to get myself in bikini shape. Build muscle, do cardio, eat clean. Simple, right?
Then why is it that I'd rather squeeze ginger juice into my eyes (I've done it before -- long story)... that I'd rather dance half-naked in 5C weather in front of complete strangers (yeah, I've done that too)... that I'd rather eat Pig's Blood Stew (it's a filipino thing)?

What do I do about that?

* - Yes, when you start reading my blog, you will in time no longer need glasses. And if you didn't need glasses to begin with, you get x-ray vision. Really.

Chop, Chop, Chop...

No, dammit, I'm never going to stop changing my blog's layout!

This time, with the exception of adding back my Twitter Updates, it's mostly removals.
Why? Well, it was feeling cluttered. It's amazing how slowly and insidiously those little gadgets and objects are. Next thing you know, you need to prune. So, on the chopping block were:

1) 3-column footer
- too much unnecessary distractions. I moved the credits to my About page, moved the Categories List and Followers List to one of the sidebars, moved the Creative Commons License to the bottom footer, and removed my Visitors Map altogether.
And after checking out some of my favourite blogs, I noticed that they've removed theirs too.

2) recent comments
- no one looks at this... or so I thought. It's made its way back.

3) "best of" posts
- another one that I don't think anyone looks at. If anyone likes this one, please let me know.

4) the Flickr pictures
- if I could find a better location for these pictures, I'd put them back. Where do you think they should go?

5) various widgets and badges
- moved into the Blogroll/Links page

I primarily want my visitors to focus on my posts and blogher ads, not the bells and whistles on the sidebars.

What's next? I want to do something else with my header... it might be just the tagline or maybe the whole thing.

Is there's anything you miss and would like to see again on my blog layout? Are there things you think I should remove from the layout? Please let me know!

So, I'm sure I gained 25lbs...

See this? It's a Three Layer Strawberry Cream Cake. And it was my birthday cake.
I took this picture the morning after my birthday. About 8 minutes after that, this tasty treat was in my belly.

Those who know me are probably asking "Why in the world is it not CHOCOLATE?!!!" Well, it's because my daughter doesn't like chocolate cake. I know! We fear she may have been switched at birth.

Anyway, no complaints. As I said, it was tasty.

The day started out like any other weekday. School. Home for lunch. Back to school. The usual.

The fun didn't start until after school, when I picked the kids up with the car, which according to my son is the only civilized way to travel. You see, my kids are apparently royalty and deserve door-to-door chauffeuring than get prodded by their tyrant of a mother down the less than 1/2 a kilometre to school. Uphill both ways.

We then crossed town to pick up Roomie from the College, and headed to Polo Park for dinner.

For all the non-locals in the audience, that's not some fancy-schmancy restaurant. It's a mall. Yes, folks, I had my birthday dinner at a food court. By choice. Seriously.

It was a win-win situation really. Everyone got to eat what they wanted -- the kids got KFC, Roomie got some noodle stuff, and I got my favourite Tom Yum with shrimp soup from Thai Express along with the Lychee Green Tea bubble tea from the Famous Wok.
And I didn't have to fight with anyone to eat their food. Believe me, it was worth it just for that.

It was my Birthday so I got the large soup. And when I mean large, I mean LARGE! "Bowl the size of a basket ball" large. And the bubble tea was large too.

With the cakes (yes, plural -- I had some of Roomie's leftover birthday cake), the soup, super-sweet bubble tea, and more Halloween candies than I care to count, my pants are more than a tad extra-tight. Crap.

So, now I'll have to work extra hard on reaching my goal weight in time for all the Christmas parties I plan to attend, where I will, of course, gain it all back again. Double crap.

Tom Yum Soup Image by adactio

Baby, You Can Drive My Car... Maybe...

I am green with envy. Shai got a new ubercute pink car! She told us all about it, and I now tell you about my own car/driver escapades...

1) I took driver's education in high school, when I was 15 1/2 years of age. My instructor could've been an army general the way he would order us about. He was also not human. It would be -20C outside, and he wouldn't wear a coat.

2) I passed my written driver's test on the first try, but failed the in-car test twice before passing. Oh, wait, I did pass the parallel parking portion of the test the first time, but failed everything else.

3) The first car I drove by myself after getting my driver's license was my dad's Ford Comet. It was in the middle of winter to my piano lesson. I didn't like taking piano lessons. I also don't like winter.

4) I learned how to drive stick-shift at the age of 29 after Roomie and I bought our current car, our beloved burgundy '91 Toyota Tercel 5-speed. Roomie was my instructor. He gave me some line about "being one with the machine". I thought he was full of shit until I realized he was right. But only a little right.

5) I don't want to ever own an automatic transmission vehicle any more. I've been spoiled. Manual transmission gives you so much control over the vehicle. And yes, I'm a control freak.

6) I hate turning left.

7) My dream car is a Pontiac Vibe FWD. It must be in Red Hot Metallic/Burgundy, and of course, 5-speed manual transmission.

Uh-huh! It's My Birthday!

Woo hoo! It's my birthday! It's my birthday!

Really, it's my birthday. I didn't get to sleep in, get breakfast in bed, or get any presents yet (I have to wait till tonight), but I did wake up to the fabulous news that our biggest trade partner and neighbour has a brand new awesome president. Congrats, guys! :)

Anyway, on to my special day...

On this day, 39 years ago, in Our Lady of Loreto Hospital in Manila, The Philippines, I came kicking and screaming out of the womb and into this defenceless, unsuspecting world.

I have no problem telling people I'm 39. Probably because I'm told I don't look 39. It's all thanks to those SE Asian genes I suppose -- or maybe the deal my folks made with the devil -- maybe both.
But as with these Asian genes, I'll look young and perky -- okay, maybe just young -- until I hit 65, at which point I'll look 80 in less than a week. I'm not kidding. Just wait.
Until then, I'm content with people thinking I'm 29 at 39. :)

So, it would appear that I have only 1 year to do all the things on my List of Things To Do Before 40.
Now, I'm happy with the stuff I've done so far -- finished a professional degree (which I don't use btw), traveled and lived in Hawai'i, met and married the love of my life, gave birth to two beautiful humans, and started this awesome blog (or should I say, super-awesome blog?).

But there's other stuff, not bucket-list stuff, but other "me" stuff -- all nice and not too expensive. :) And if you think of anything else cool I can do, please let me know!

Okay, this year before I turn 40, I would like to:

1) get my cholesterol level under control (this might already be okay -- I haven't checked yet)

2) wear a bikini at the beach

3) run a marathon

4) go to all the Folklorama pavilions

5) learn Spanish

6) visit all 10 provinces and at least one territory

7) take a yoga class

8) take singing lessons

9) have a portrait of myself painted

10) finish writing my first erotic novel... and freak out my friends who will wonder which characters are based on them! heeheehee!

Any other suggestions?

One for the Road, Mr. Duck...

Today, Mini and I went to the Duck Pond at our favourite park to feed the ducks.
It's one of our favourite Mini-and-Mommy activities we've been doing since the start of school. After walking Lam to school in the morning, we'd grab our bags of leftover bread and hop in the car and head over to Assiniboine Park. Usually, we'd also venture over to the park's English Garden and then make our way to the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden where Roomie and I got married. Today, we just stuck to the ducks.

See? Here's Mini feeding them one of the 8 mini bagels we brought with us.

With the weather so freakishly beautiful and warm (18C), I figured we had to do this today. Environment Canada promises snow and -2C by Friday, so this would most likely be the last time we'll be feeding the ducks before winter hits.
Besides, we had a ton of old mini bagels and stale flax bread. The ducks would appreciate them even if Roomie and Lam didn't.

Here's Mini commanding her duck subjects bow to her benevolent dictatorship:

And finally, here's Mini rockin' the Elton John/Hello Kitty shades when I told her to strike a pose:

Happy 41st Birthday, Roomie!

To the man who loves us...

Yeah, that's you, Roomie...

You are:
  • tall, dark, and handsome
  • funny
  • awesome dad
  • funny
  • loving husband
  • funny
  • captivating educator
  • funny
  • clever, quick-witted, and nerdy
  • funny
  • reacher of things high-up
  • funny
  • lifter of heaving things
  • funny
  • dedicated runner
  • funny
  • stylish in a skirt
  • funny
  • natural video gamer
  • funny
  • builder of fabulous playhouse
  • funny
  • maker of tasty veggie pizzas
  • funny
  • grower of lush vegetable garden
  • funny
  • prolific Slurpee consumer
  • funny
  • brilliant math brain
  • funny
  • organizer of things in car hole
  • funny
  • devoted couch-snoozer
  • ... and so much more...
Did I mention that you are also funny?!

Happy 41st Birthday, dear... We love you!!! xoxoxo Wifey, Lam, and Mini

A Halloween ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

... two awesomely cute children decided to dress up as Luke Skywalker and Queen Amidala and use the Force -- and their irresistible powers of Cute -- to acquire mounds and mounds treats.

What do you think of my young Skywalker and his Queen mother? Click on the pic for a better look. Pretty good, non?!

I'd say this was probably the best Halloween yet for us. It didn't snow, but there was a chill in the air. Luckily, there was enough room under the costumes for extra warm clothes.

I put more effort in their outfits this year, and it definitely paid off.
The kids LOVED their costumes. And Roomie said that many who saw them were full of compliments -- makes me wish I'd been the one to accompany the kids on their hunt just to hear them!

While Roomie took the kids around, I gave the candies out. We had 24 kids come to the door, which is about average. Most of the kids stick to the next block over and rarely venture this way. But it's getting better.

My brood started their hunt at around 7pm and were done after just over an hour. The kids brought in a respectable haul. I did the candy inspection, removing the peanut products from Mini's pile. Those treats she traded with her brother for his non-peanut treats, and all transactions were completed with little trouble. Treats of questionable and unknown origin were discarded outright. Daddy ended up with most treats neither kids wanted.

All in all, another Halloween successfully enjoyed and completed!