Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday Lunch Date

One thing that Tim and I are thankful for and have been enjoying for a long time is the privilege of going out to lunch on Mondays.   We found out that it works well for us to set aside this time of the week to go out and leave the pressures of work and house chores behind.   We have each other's focused attention as we discuss whatever is occupying our minds at the time while we try out restaurants around the area.

This time we went to Mylapore, an Indian restaurant in Folsom.   This restaurant serves vegetarian foods.  Every once in a while we like to go meatless (I mean meatless and tasty) and Mylapore fits the bill.   The portions look big but in reality they are small.  The use a huge crispy crepe-type bread to wrap a small amount of spiced potatoes psyches anybody to thinking that the food is enough.  The folded crepe is often bigger that the platter where the food is served on.  That is a great thing for those of us who are trying not to outgrow our current wardrobes.  The secret to successful taste of the food is the combination of many flavors which come in the form of sauces.

To stretch our date a little bit longer we went to get coffee.  This time Tim decided that we'd walk to Starbucks - not too far.   Unfortunately I was wearing my high-heeled shoes which required more muscle work in a not-so-ergonomically approved fashion.  I had to hold onto him as if I was motivated by a desire for proximity but in fact I needed the support.  I have to learn my lesson since he randomly decides to go for a walk without taking my footwear into consideration.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

These Things Do Happen

It was cold this morning.  The clouds covered the sun making the colors of the plants seem more intense.  The grass looked greener and the rose seemed deeper-pink compared to their washed out colors in a bright sunny day.   Tim was making sausage omelet while Miriam took her morning shower.  I admired that beauty of the plants as I drank coffee. Then I thought I saw a mouse in the backyard.  I got up to go check if we still have some mouse bait in the garage.  Then I heard and saw something that changed the mood of the day...

Drops of water trickled down from the second floor of the house into a corner of the garage.  I looked up and I saw a water-damaged sheet rock - now with a hole allowing the water to go freely.  No!  We just had the master's bathroom fixed from water leak last month.  Now it's the kid's bathroom.  We called Domco Plumbing - and they are very good in treating any plumbing problem as an emergency.  Within an hour the plumber was here.   He determined that the drain under the bath tub was the problem.   He promised to come back tomorrow morning to fix it.

Then I began to feel upset because we did not detect the problem soon enough.  I can only imagine what damage has been done behind the walls.  After I dropped off Miriam to school I spent most of the morning cleaning the garage just to ease my emotions.   My coffee got cold.  I ate breakfast but I didn't enjoy it as much as I normally would have. 

Could we have done anything that would have stopped the drain from leaking?  This reminds me of the movie the Phantom of the Opera when a piece of scenery on the stage falls on Carlota while she sings Think of Me.

Andre:   Signora, these things do happen.
Carlota: For the past three years "these things do happen."  And did you stop them   from happening? No! ... 

Apple Hill - It's The Season Again

Apple Hill Farms are open again!  It has now become a tradition of our family to go to Apple Hill to buy apples in large quantities.  Tim figured out that it takes thirty minutes to drive from our house to the Hill - which means that we can go there during his lunch break and be back in an hour depending on traffic.
Tim and I drove up to Apple Hill yesterday.  'Gravenstein' apples are in season - they are flavorful and cook well as in pies and apple sauce.  We purchased a 20-lb box of apples.  I bought a big seedless watermelon along with some fresh corn.  We could not resist trying the blackberry dumpling from Boa Vista Orchards.  They were good or should I say - it would have been good if we that was all we ate.  Instead, we drove to Abel's Apples and there we bought apple donuts.  In fact we brought some to bible study last night and shared some with the folks in our small group.   So good and so fattening. 

It appears to me that Apple Hill is like a year-round Farmer's Market.  Families love going there to have picnics; purchase apples; soon the hay mazes will be open for little kids and adult as well.  Pumpkin patches will soon be ready to be trampled by small feet.   We love going there to buy apples.  Our favorite apple varieties are Gravenstein, Pippin, Granny Smith and Fuji.  Fuji is sweet, juicy and crunchy for eating.  The other varieties I mentioned are particularly excellent for cooking although we love them also as table apples just because they are tart.

It is the time of the year when we eat a lot of apples.  Already I made some apple sauce which my children enjoyed with their dinner last night.  It was so good!  This morning we had apple sauce with breakfast and I put sliced apples in their lunch also.  Maybe tonight I will make apple pie for desert. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bus Stop

The three Lewis Munchkins and Marcus Lippuner at the Montridge Way bus stop.

August 9th marked the start of school year 2010-11.  On that day Miriam had the privilege of walking her two siblings to the bus stop since her summer vacation extended two days longer than that of the high school schedule.   The bus stop is about 50 yards away from our house; I could watch the students from our driveway as they wait for the bus which arrives there at either 7:30 or 6:35 depending on the day of the week.   I think that the kids in the neighborhood are fortunate that the bus stops very close to where we all live. 

For Shannon this is her last year in Oak Ridge.  Soon...pretty soon she'll be in college.   Six AP classes is making her final year in high school challenging.  Well, she still has time to volunteer at the El Dorado County Library - so she must be doing fine.  

Marcus is Brahms' friend since he was in first grade.  Hard to believe that the two boys who used to so small are now in high school.  I still remember the time when they got in trouble in second grade; they had to spend their recess at the Principal's office every day for a whole week. 

Miriam longs to ride the bus but she'll have to wait till next year when she goes to middle school.  In the mean time she walks or rides her bike to school. 
Bus 36 on Montridge Way

Saturday, September 4, 2010


On our way to Santa Barbara we stopped in Oxnard to visit the de Ocampos who used to be my neighbors in the Philippines.  Lelong Ago (Santi) and Lelang Ibang (Gene) were waiting to see us.  We were eventually joined by their kids, Bobot, Auntie Belen, Steve and Angel.  They brought us to a Vietnamese restaurant to have dinner.  They were very hospitable and kind.  I brought home a lot of plants from Lelang's garden.   Orchids, succulents, seeds of various flowering plants and even kamote cuttings.   Since I'm behind in writing this post, some kamote tops are ready to be harvested.  

It was like being in Abulug again.

Old Books

After years of being in boxes, these Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books are on their way to start a new life.  These were books that Tim read when he was a young boy and he loved reading them that he thought that his children might one day read them also.  Unfortunately the kids had different tastes when it comes to books.  Although each of them tried reading one or two of the books, none of them really liked these ones.  Finally, the books are going to find their new readers in the Philippines - Cheska and Brian.  My cousin Beth, who lives in Aparri has indicated that her kids are in need of reading materials.   Tim was happy to send his childhood books to them.  

My children love books.  It was very interesting to watch them dust the books before we packed them.  Even if they did not want tot read the books they still handled them as if they are real treasure.  

"Books...are like lobster shells, we surround ourselves with 'em, then we grow out of 'em and leave 'em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development." 
 Dorothy L. Sayers (1893 - 1957), The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, 1928

College Tour - Day 3,4,5

UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz

Our trip to Santa Cruz was cold.  We dressed ourselves like we were in El Dorado Hills forgetting where we were.   Fortunately during the tour of the university we were shuttled in a bus from place to place although we still had to stand in the cold as the tour guide talked to us.   The place is nice, Shannon likes to imagine herself walking under those evergreens but I think it looks dark and gloomy with all the clouds and fog. 

Santa Barbara looks old but it was there where we got inside one of the dormitories.  They have a model room that is hypothetically furnished.  In this situation I imagine that student have to like their roommates.  

This reminded me of my days in England.  I lived in student hall but the rooms were single occupancy.  I had no roommate - although ten students shared a common bathroom and kitchen area.  We had a cleaner who came once a week to clean our rooms, changed our sheets every other week, scrubbed the bathrooms and cleaned the kitchen.  
Miriam and Brahms racing the waves of the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz

The trip to the bay area also included a sentimental tour.  We visited places where Tim's parents used to bring him as a kid - Sunset Beach and Marian's ice cream.   In Gilroy we showed the kids the hospital where Shannon and Brahms were born, in Morgan Hill we showed them the place where Tim and I lived right after we got married.  Then in Fremont we showed Miriam where Shannon attended kindergarten and part of her first grade year in Ardenwood Elementary School.  Then we drove by the first house that used to own on 33775 Shallow Court - so many memories there when Brahms and Shannon were little.  Unlike her siblings, Miriam lived all her life (so far) in El Dorado Hills.  Looking back, we all like our current place.  Thank God for providing us a place that we enjoy.

UC Santa Barbara


Daughter and Father

Miriam was using her feet to per her grandparent's new dog.

Father and son.

We had a nice visit with the grandparents George and Barbara in Hollister.  It's hard to believe how their garden have grown.  The house that used to be very  visible could hardly be seen  now.  They have a nice low maintenance garden that features native plants which were chosen to attract butterflies, bees and othr pollinators.  We enjoyed a nice Greek dinner and ended it with berry topped ice cream.

Stanford University

Taking a little break from the tour of Stanford.

We finished the college tour with one concrete conclusion - the universities we toured are all very costly.    In the meantime Shannon will apply to some of these Universities and other ones outside California and pray that she will get admitted and be offered some financial aid of some sort.