Saturday, July 30, 2016

Searching Saturday - Should I get a job?

Before I retired, some of my friends were asking what plans do I have to keep myself busy. At first my response was basically, play golf, volunteer and get back to sewing.  After a few years of doing that, every now and again, I would pretend that I was looking for a job.  First I would search for only part-time jobs, then I will switch to full time but in the end, never really apply.  Sometimes I wonder what it is like to earn US dollars.  It's funny because I have earned some funds by selling some of the items I've sewn.  Now that I have only two volunteer jobs, I am back to searching some part time jobs.  I am so amazed at the amount of jobs available for anyone who is really searching and who is determined to work.  So you are probably wondering, what exactly would I be applying for.  There were a few jobs that was interesting and they were all part-time.  Here's some of the list that I found when I did my research.
  •  Night and weekend receptionist for a car dealership (I use to work part-time at a few dealerships - Toyota, Subaru and Acura)
  • Scorekeeper - for some youth and adult hockey league, keeping stats, etc.
  • Concierge - a retirement home looking for someone to assists, plans, organize activities for their residents
  • Part time jobs with Kohls, Macy's, Dick's Sporting Goods, and many others
At the end of the day, I opted to really think about this.  I like the idea of researching but when I think of all the things that comes with working again, something inside of me is screaming NO.  I guess for now I will say that I like being retired and am happy to just volunteer and do the other things in life that I love.

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This is a dream golf caddy specially when you can't walk and push cart for 18 holes.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thankful Thursday - Rewarding Experience

Do you recall the blog I posted about sewing washable sanitary pads for girls and women of
Cameroon?  Today I received an email from the coordinator and I am sharing your her message.
I know this is late coming, but I just received a thank you letter from my colleague thanking each of you for your wonderful service. I took 150 of the washable sanitary pads with me on my trip to Cameroon in May.  I traveled throughout 4 regions of the country and distributed the pads to a couple of rural villages, an orphanage, and a gender club. The girls and women were absolutely thrilled with the pads and very grateful. I am attaching the letter from Parchibell as well as a couple of photos of the women after receiving the pads.  
We also put on a workshop to teach the women how to make their own pads and they were just delighted. The workshop was so successful that we have had many requests to teach throughout the region and into some of the other countries. I also took a couple of your pads when we went to the US Embassy. They were very excited about our initiative. And finally, I was on national tv showing off our pads to the viewers. So, thank you, thank you, thank you.  Your help is so very much needed and appreciated. 

She also sent some photos and a letter that is worth sharing.  This was a wonderful volunteer and rewarding experience.  When my summer busy schedule dies down, I would most likely do this again.  I am very happy that I was part of this project.

The woman on the left holding a red pad is one of my creation.
In case you did not get a chance to read that particular post.  This was my first pad set I made.

This box was full and I completed a total of 60 pads and 60 case.
There were 40 pad sets that I completed later and gave it to my friend's niece who was volunteering in Burkina Faso.  My friend delivered it to her at the beginning of this month.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sharing Sunday - Family and extended family

Sunday is usually a family day for Jeff and I.  My MIL comes for dinner and Jeff catches up with her on family updates.  This weekend my cousin is staying with us for a few days before she returns to Vancouver.  After picking her up from the station, we stopped by MIL's home to pick her up and we decided to spend some time with my cousin's niece and her family.  It was very interesting to find out that they rented a home through airb&b and the home was nine minutes from my MIL's home.  I haven't seen our cousin's since I saw them in 2007.  It was a perfect afternoon to visit and get to know them since they were leaving for LA tomorrow.  After our visit, Jeff, MIL, cousin Jo and myself stopped by the grocery store to get some items needed for our Sunday dinner.  Simple dinner which were all grilled items as it was a very hot day and I didn't want to cook in the kitchen.  Since it was a little cooler around dinner time, we opted to eat in our backyard deck.  We sat around after dinner sharing stories and laughing at some of the stories each one shared.  I had the chance to bake a pineapple cake recipe which I found on Pinterest that was very easy. Although I was missing one the ingredient, the cake turned out moist and not too sweet.  It was a good evening to stay outdoors but as soon as I feel some bugs around my legs, it was time to get back inside the house.  Almost forgot to share what I prepared for dinner.  Grilled steak, grilled asparagus, grilled gray squash, and corn on the cob (marinated with butter, ginger and honey).  Sorry, I forgot to take photos and now I don't have anything to show except for our dessert.
Mint, Basil, Cucumber, Gin and Tonic - refreshing drink on a hot day.

French toast with crispy black pepper spam.

Pineapple cake which taste like pineapple upside down cake.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Forgive me Friday - A bunch of excuses

This has been the longest break I took from blogging.  Actually I wasn't trying to take a break, my life just got busier and of course I am trying to enjoy every day that I feel good.  You are probably wondering what I have been up to.  I know some of you check my blog regularly and when I have not posted anything new for a few days you start wondering.  First let me ask for forgiveness and then say thank you so much for not giving up on following my blog.  So what is the number one excuse.  Honestly I think I kinda got stuck.  The last time I sat in front of my lap top to write a post, all I got was the title and the rest of the page was blank.  It was like that for a couple of days.  I tried it again, the same thing happened.  That's when I thought I needed a break.  My second excuse, I was doing a lot of sewing, trying to finish all the potato bags and fabric wallets.  I've only done half and there's more to sew.  My third excuse - we decided to do some renovations for both bathrooms.  Jeff and I have been busy shopping both online and at the stores to figure out what we like to get.  Just this week we completed all the shopping and are just waiting for the flooring to arrive.  Of course Jeff will be doing all the work and he is hoping it will only take a couple of weekends.  I will do some final details of the redecorating.  OK, I think I am caught up.  Here's some photos to share which is just a mixture of pictures taken since my last post.  Have a great weekend and a birthday wish to my golf buddy Man as well as Mark (Jeff's brother).

The assortment of produce from Jeff's garden.

My MIL had this in her kitchen and I thought it was funny.

Can you name this vegetable? 

Before.I love this small individual naan.  Perfect for single serving.

After.  The cherry tomatoes and basil are from Jeff's garden.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Farmer Friday - Not a full pledge

What is a definition of a farmer?  One definition is a person who cultivates a land or crops.  OK maybe Jeff is not a full pledge farmer because he doesn't raise any animals.  He says he is considered a backyard gardener.  The fact that there are crops in the backyard that we harvest, I can call him a junior farmer.  Haha.  Since he first started his garden in the front and backyard,  we truly enjoy harvesting whatever he has planted each year.  Some years are very productive although there is a lot of waiting period.  This year he did not plant as much because he has a nemesis - those damn squirrels.  During the past week, we have started harvesting and one of my favorite was the cucumber.  I was checking all the plants to see how they were doing and to my surprise there was a cucumber well hidden under their leaves.  Jeff did not even notice it until I brought it to his attention.  Our tomato plant just came back and although not as full as last year, we have started seeing more but very slowly growing.  I am most excited this year is the mini eggplant which has at least six fruit.  We also got our first yellow squash and I can't believe the one strawberry plant.  It is struggling but I picked four small ones last week and this week four new ones are getting red.  

This was the first one and now we have five more smaller one.

The first yellow squash and first cucumber produce. 

This was the surprise cucumber which is definitely bigger and crisper than the first one.

The first batch of cherry tomatoes.  We don't have as many plants as last year but it will be enough.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Worship Wednesday - I did try

What made you do it? My cousin ask me when I told her last Wednesday that I went to church.  It did for my son because I wanted to pray for him.  The church was smaller and since it was a week day, it was not packed.  One of the things I noticed right away was that some of the prayers has changed.  Even though I have not gone to Sunday mass, for some reason I still knew the words to most of the prayers.  The other thing I noticed when I opened their book to join in the singing, the words to some of the hymns were also changed.
Some of you might not know that a long time ago, I was very active in the church.  I use to belong to the Sunday morning choir when I lived in Ottawa.  We had a great group with a piano, cello, flute and two guitars (yes one of the players was me).  The group covered all the voices, two altos, two soprano, two base and one tenor (he was a powerful singer).  When I lived in Mississauga, ON.  I belonged to the Saturday evening choir, a small group with a piano, flute and two guitars (this time I played my 12-string).  Sometime our leader would be unavailable and I would be ask to lead the congregation to all he hymns during that mass.  Oops, got side tract.  Back to my church attendance that one day.  I was seated in the last row so I can really concentrate and pray.  As I said before, it was not busy and therefore many seats were available.  Minutes after the mass started, a woman came in and sat beside me and another woman in front of me.  Remember the whole two rows were empty in front of me.  At one point the woman in front sneezed and used her hand to cover her face.  If you have gone to mass lately, there's a part of the mass where everyone shakes hand to offer their PEACE.  I thought to myself, I can't shake her hand, maybe she won't turn around.  I was relieved when that time came and people just bowed their heads to offer PEACE.  The moral of the story is I did pray for my son but I realized that I don't need to be in that church and I can pray wherever I am.  I believe that my son can hear me wherever he maybe.  

Monday, July 4, 2016

Merrymaking Monday - Happy 4th of July

Red, white and blue will be the color of the day.  Every park and every backyard will be filled with people grilling, drinking and celebrating the American Independence Day.  It's weird because a few days ago, I did the post for Canada Day.  It's two celebration back to back and I won't complain. Last night we were invited to an early 4th of July celebration at our friends Michele and Tom.  She had all the decorations, table and paper plates, etc.  But it wasn't an all American dinner, it was way better.  She served two big trays of fondue items.  One tray had prawns, scallops, chicken and beef.  The other tray had mushrooms, four different variety of oriental dumplings and of course the filipino lumpia.  There was a variety of sauces for each of the items and steamed rice to accompany all of the above.  Yes, I forgot to take photos.  As a last minute decision, we are having an All American BBQ and my MIL is joining us for dinner.  Here's my menu for the 4th of July celebration.  Actually it's very simple.
  • Beef sliders with different toppings like caramelized onions, tomatoes, cucumber from the garden, provolone cheese and the all american sauces (ketchup, mayo and mustard)
  • Potato salad - traditional recipe passed down from our generations (just kidding)
  • Grilled corn on the cob with butter, lime and cilantro
  • Watermelon for desserts
This year I am not interested in watching the fireworks because I prefer to watch the Macy's or whatever they are covering on TV.  My ear cannot take those big sounds and I am not interested in getting mosquito bites (if you go up the hill close by our home, you can see all the different fireworks around the city of San Jose).

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 Here's my favorite American patriotic song by Lee Greenwood.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Flag Friday - Happy Canada Day eh!

Happy Canada Day to all the family and friends living in Canada or outside of Canada.  Last night Jeff hang our small Canadian Flag.  The other flag I brought with me has faded so I got a small one the last time I was in Vernon, BC.  Our friends J and G will be coming over for dinner to help me celebrate today.  It was a little difficult at first to figure out what's Canadian when it comes to meals.  So instead of trying to make it true Canadian, I just picked a couple of things to make.  Our appetizer is a mini version of the French Tourtiere aka meat pie and for dessert, I made some mini butter tarts.  The rest of the menu are BBQ chicken thighs and breast, grilled corn on the cob with butter/lime/cilantro sauce, over roasted baby potatoes with garlic and rosemary, grilled pineapple.  I won't be able to show you photos of the above menu, but I took a photo of the mini butter tarts.  Maybe I won't forget to take more photos of our Canada Day dinner.  Proud to be a Canadian!

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