Thursday, February 28, 2019

Tricycle Thursday - An amazing experience

The last day of February and it is snowing again.  It's a bit tiring to see more snow after returning from our mini get away in Arizona.  Although a couple of days were cold and rainy but the rest of our stay were warm and sunny.  While visiting our girlfriend and Jeff's BFF from the Bay area joined us, we met an amazing man who gave us the experience of riding a tricycle (recumbent bike), two wheels in the front and one in the back.  They picked a sunny warm day to do this and we all met at a park.  We each had our own bike courtesy of the man who is the Founder of a Spokes Fighting Strokes.  He gave us a quick lesson and some tips on how to ride it.  A helmet was a requirement and immediately everyone practiced around the parking lot.  The guys who are all experienced bikers went for a longer ride around the trail while me and my girlfriend went for a leisurely ride around the park a few times.  My right knee started hurting so we had to stop for a bit and then resumed our trip.  When the guys returned, they were very happy with the whole experience and would consider getting one of those bike.  But the real amazing part is that the man who made this possible was stroke survivor and his non profit organization helps people who had the same unfortunate health issue.  He is able to help them get back into their normal life and experiencing being outdoors.  It is their form of exercise, therapy, friendship and connecting with similar people with similar experience.  The photo below is similar to the one I rode.  Please check out the link above to learn more about this amazing man and his road to recovery. 

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Freedom Friday - Forty Five Years

It is hard to believe that I have been living in the Canada for 45 years.  I still remember my first flight out of Manila.  If I remember it correctly it was Northwest Airlines, then Japan Airlines, then once it Canada it was good old Pacific Western (Not Air Canada).  The route was Manila-Tokyo-Vancouver-Edmonton-Yellowknife.  The overnight in Tokyo was eventful. I traveled with another girl who was going to get married to a guy who was my parents tenant in their home in Yellowknife.  We had to stay in a very nice hotel that had many floors.  We met a nice man who worked at the hotel who offered to take us shopping the next day.  I believe his name was Taku.  On the morning of our flight, they had a 7.0 earthquake and from our hotel room, we could watch the building across swaying from side to side.  Luckily it had stopped and we were able to checkout and got to the airport on time.  While waiting at the gate to board a flight, I met another nice older man, Mr. Triggs (not really sure how I still remember all these names.  Since we were going to board a 747 from Tokyo to Vancouver, he asked for my seat number and told me he would look for me once the flight was airborne and able to walk around.  Mr. Triggs was sitting in First Class.  The aircraft had the spiral staircase that takes you to the First Class Lounge.  He did look for me and gave me a tour of where he was seated, had a drink and a snack.  What a memorable first time on a 747.  Once in Vancouver I was met by my parent's friends who took me shopping for winter clothes.  The next day I was on my way to the great white north.  Almost forgot, the winter coat they got me was like a Santa jacket, red with white sort of furry collar and white cuffs and white trim at the edge of the coat.  Boots was a bit clunky but warm and I had a faux fur hat and warm mittens.  This was definitely a shock leaving the Philippines with a 98 F and arriving in Yellowknife with minus 30 C weather.  That was the first time I saw snow.  It had been at least six months since I had seen my parents and it was so great to live with them again.  Ten years in Yellowknife was enough so we moved to Whitehorse and stayed for four years.  After the north, we moved east to Mississauga and a couple of times to Ottawa and finally left Canada when I retired.  Luckily the next city was warm and sunny San Jose, California.  After nine years, we are back in beautiful British Columbia.  Although I have only lived in two territories and two provinces, I have been lucky enough to travel to most of Canada except Nunavut and Newfoundland.  Maybe someday we can still try to get see both. Happy 45 years to me and I am very thankful that my parents chose to emigrate to give us a better and safe future.
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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Savory Sunday - Simple food but yummy

Today's post is all about food, either home made or from the restaurants we tried.  Some of them are from my trip to Edmonton a couple of weeks ago.  Then the rest are just the ones I have recently made.  Yesterday was our annual Progressive Dinner in our neighborhood.  This year I was tasked to do a couple of meals because there were not enough couples to host the meals.  The organizer asked if I could do both soup and salad.  Of course I said yes, since for me that's easy, right.  Since there are some people that are allergic to certain things, I had to make sure that I taper both soup and salad to their requirements.  For the first entree - SOUP, I made Wor Wonton Soup.  Yes, I made the wonton from scratch except for the wrapper.  It took us a couple of store to find the wrapper but eventually I found it at Safeway.  I thought at first, I might as well do an Asian theme.  For the salad, I made a couple of style, just in case people do not eat certain greens.  Pick A - Asian Chicken Salad or Pick B for Baby Bok Choy Salad.  They were both easy to put together and both dressing did not require lemon or lime (some people are allergic to citrus).  We had two couples for the soup and 3 couples for the salad.  Everyone enjoyed all the entrees at my kitchen.  It was a successful Progressive Dinner and a fun way to socialize and try a variety of food.

My sister made me pancakes for breakfast while I was visiting her.

One evening, we decided to have a drink and she made me a strawberry margarita.

One day after I came home, I made this lemon curd puff pastry with Asian pears.

For breakfast this weekend, I made the traditional native Bannock.
I can't believe I forgot to take the photos of my soup and salad for our progressive dinner. Oh bother, I am sure you know that they are anyway and of course you can always check Pinterest. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Memorial Monday - It's so hard to say goodbye

The past couple of weeks has been a little tough and a bit sad as well.  It's not my excuse for not posting anything new, but I am sure you will understand.  After receiving a phone call form my sister that my brother (he is the oldest in our family) has been in the hospital for a few weeks.  A couple of days later, I got another call, my brother is in ICU.  It was time to make a decision whether to go or not, but it was not difficult.  I knew I had to go.  From past experience, I seem to get the similar news, but a little late and I guess you can figure out what happened.  Luckily I was able to get flights within a couple of days and I arrived at the hospital.  I guess I was not prepared to see my brother's health condition.  My sister and I stayed for most of that day.  We returned about mid morning and was given the not so great message about his condition.  The chaplain was there within minutes and the last rite was given.  My sister and her two sons plus myself were there beside him.  The whole staff of that unit made sure my brother was comfortable and made sure they were there when he called.  Shortly after twelve noon, I told me sister to grab some lunch with her son.  I stayed with my brother and held his hand.  A short prayer was left by the chaplain for us.  There was nothing I could do but decided to read the prayer to him.  It seemed to comfort him and then it was time.  I am thankful that he did not die alone,  I was there still holding his hand.  Saying goodbye was so painful but knowing he is not in pain and now at peace, somehow makes it easier to understand this circle of life.  We will miss him but will never forget the good memories.  

Friday, February 8, 2019

Freezing Friday - It's too cold

For most of the month of January, all you can hear on the evening news is how cold the weather has been in many parts of the USA as well as Canada.  During those times, our temperature were truly mild.  We might have some snow but the next day when the sun shines, they all melt and roads are clear again.  For whatever reason this week, the forecast was not very nice at all.  We can get down to -24 C or -11 F.  However you look at it, it is freezing. The benefit about being retired is that you don't need to go out until you really need something in the store or maybe have an appointment.  Otherwise, I am very happy at home and when I get really cold, even when the heater is on, I get under my electric blanket and everything is warm and cozy.  Out east, where I have a lot of friends and family, their weather has been nasty too.  Their snow banks are at least 5 feet or higher. After chatting with one of my friend, she mentioned layering and using long john, etc.  And sometimes you have so much snow, they have to take and use their SNOW Leave.  I am not sure if you have heard that, but we do have that leave and employees can use it.  But before this post end, I just want to wish my BFF from Ontario a very very happy birthday.  I will have to wait until I see him next time so we can have drink to toast this year's birthday.  Until then I wish that the weather gets warmer and that spring arrives sooner than soon.  If you are experiencing some really cold weather, please dress warm, stay safe and if you don't need to go out, stay at home and enjoy a cup of warm beverage, a good book and a thick fluffy blanket. 

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Tradition Tuesday - Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year - this is the year of the PIG.  Yeah, we can eat as much bacon.  Just kidding, we don't really celebrate it but when we use to live in San Jose, it was one of my favorite time because at Jeff's workplace, he can get the best moon cake.  There's one lady who works at some company and has contacts in China and for whatever reason, she hands out the best moon cake that comes in those decorative box.  Anyway, of course this year I won't have it, but hopefully there might be some available at some of the local store.  Another one I will miss is definitely going for dim sum.  This is one of those days where there are so many different types of dim sum because it is their Chinese New Year.  Although I saw on our local newspaper that one of the Chinese restaurant is offering a buffet special tonight for dinner.  As much as I would like to have some Chinese food, we truly cannot eat at buffet because we cannot consume that much food, and it is not practical nor reasonable.  We will probably just eat at home but still celebrate today by having Chinese food.  I can steam some dumplings, cooked some Cantonese noodles, fry up some spring roll and maybe add some BBQ pork if I can find a store that sells them. I am getting hungry. Gotta go.

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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Superbowl Sunday - Patriots all the way

After a few days of debating whether to have a party or not, I decided to have one anyway because we have to watch the game and it's more fun to watch with a few more people.  Some of our neighbors will be attending and of course I will be serving some appetizers during the game.  Since I don't have my menu planned ahead, I will just be winging it.  No, I won't be serving wings.  Instead I will serve a mixture of finger foods and maybe something hot to keep bodies warm.  Maybe some hearty chili, spicy meatballs, pigs in a blanket (since it is the year of the pig) samosas (a couple of neighbor loves them) and still debating whether or not to make fresh lumpia (vegetable roll) or fresh salad roll (vietnamese style).  As for drinks, in our neighborhood, every event is BYOB.  Almost forgot to mention that I will also be making football brownies and maybe a special bread pudding with rhum sauce.  Someone gave me a Panettone (an Italian sweet bread) from Christmas and now I need to use it.  There are still squares and cookies in the freezer that I can take out if needed.  Now that I have covered the menu, I just have to prepare myself for the game and cheer for my team.  I don't want to read any of their predictions and or comparison between the two teams.  Whatever happens, I will accept it graciously and not cry.  Haha.  But from previous years that I had a Superbowl party (one in San Jose and one here), both times Patriots lose. OMG, maybe I should have not hosted a Superbowl Party.  Aaaahhhhh!!

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Image result for superbowl 2019 date

Image result for superbowl 2019 date