The Tale of the Spider

I was taking a hot shower one day.

I could feel the fatigue being washed away by the hot water.

I could feel my lungs being cleared by the steam that enveloped the whole bathroom.

Then I saw it.  A golden spider the size of a dime slowly going down right in front of me.

I stared at it.  I was adamant not to be the kind of girl who screams at such a small creature who can’t even nick my skin to show blood.

So I stared at it some more looking for stripes or fangs or whatever.  It stared back.

I figured, the first one who blinks will lost but as brave as I thought I was, the spider was braver.

It swung.  From its rope made of spider silk that I thought would weaken from the steam.  Left and right, it taunted me.

I could crush it, I know.  But I wanted to be brave not cruel.

I closed my eyes praying it would go away.

I hummed to the tune of Hey Jude.

When I came to the line “Hey Jude, don’t be afraid…”, I opened my eyes and the spider was gone.

It could be on my head or down the drain or back to where it was hiding in the first place before it ruffled my senses.

It could be anywhere.

I chose to think it was just my imagination.

What we imagine can’t kill us.

But if I see you again, my dear golden, brave spider, remember the line from Hey Jude?

“Hey Jude, don’t be afraid. You were made to go out and get her.”

I will get you next time.

Advertisements

Triple Chocolate Mini Brownie Cups

My friend Arvi told me that she got her hands on my favorite Brownies Unlimited chocolate chip brownies.  I was drooling with jealousy but there is nowhere in this country will I be able to find something that good.  Then I remembered the wise words from Looney Tunes.  To paraphrase the “If you can’t beat them, join them.” line, “If you can’t find it, make it.”

So I did.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my Triple Chocolate Mini Brownie Cups.  In a very blurry photo taken at 4:30 AM.  Next time, I will do better with my baked good photos.  For now, this is the best I can do with what little energy I have.

IMG_3074

As we were pulling in the parking lot of Costco, I started telling my husband the story of famous bakers who studied in really good schools.  I told him that they spent thousands and thousands of dollars to learn baking techniques.  I told him that since I don’t have the time, and the money obviously, to go to culinary school, I will just experiment and keep on trying until I learn what I need to bake goodies.  He said, “But before you experiment too much, think of how much you will spend too because it can get expensive.”  So I went back to the “But culinary school will be way, way, way more expensive.”  So yes, I came home with a big bag of organic sugar and chocolate chips to last me until the holiday season.  Ladies, that is how you negotiate.  Or if that does not work, you can always go back to the “I am pregnant.”, “I just gave birth.”, “I take care of your kids.” tactic.

So why Triple Chocolate?  The brownie has a thin layer of ganache on top and decorated with chocolate chips.  Without the chocolate chips then it is just Double Chocolate.  Haha.  I know.  I am so good with naming baked goodies like that.  In fact, sometimes I feel like I can work for Margarita Fores and name her dishes.  Left-over adobo can become Twice Cooked Adobo and the Ilonggo “Laswa” can become Tropical Vegetables in Clear Shrimp Soup.  Seriously, she should hire me so I can eat all the dishes she cooks for free.

Oh and I baked these brownies in mini cups for the very important reason of not having a 9 inch pan.  So yes, I have to think of ways to negotiate with my husband to get me that pan tomorrow.

The recipe I used for this brownie is a combination of all the recipes I got when I solicited for a recipe so a big thank you for those who replied.  You’ll get a box of brownies from me.

So what is the verdict?  Well, my husband finished three pieces.  He actually likes it better without the chocolate chips but for a chocolate lover like me, anything extra chocolate in there is good.

So how do I like it?  It is good but I want the ganache to taste less dark and I want the brownies to be more gooey?  So next time, I will look for a better ganache recipe and maybe try cooking the brownies in a pan properly and cook it in less time for that gooey texture.

I know this is a long post for such a mini dessert but the brownies I just ate makes me write like I am high.

Up-Beat

How can you not beat yourself up too much when you do things that make you feel like you’re a bad mom?

How does the guilt go away?

My daughter is only 3 months old but whenever I do something I consider lacking or something that accidentally hurts her, I just want to cry out of frustration.

My husband laughs at me and asks me how would I feel when she is older and hurt herself, scrape her knee, or experience a broken heart?  I would cry.  Probably louder than she would.

But really, how do Moms stay upbeat during situations that make you want to beat yourself up?

Chocolates help, certainly.

Working keeps mind off the guilt, I suppose.

Playing with the baby, coaxing her to smile, tickling her feet.  Maybe they’d help you smile too and forget.

Until the next time it happens again.

What people didn’t put a lot of emphasis on when I was pregnant amidst all the advice I was given is this “I am such a bad mom. I wanna beat myself up.” feeling.  It is real and it sucks big time.

It helps to have a supportive partner who’d hug you, rub your back, and tell you things are going to be all right after you’ve done the same thing to your kid.

But really, help me out.  How can I be upbeat after beating myself up?

Is Being Fair Enough?

UPTOWN realtors

Nowadays, people are obsessed about being fair in all their dealings.  I am not saying it is not right because it is.  The question that bothers me is that, in this day and age, is being fair enough?

When I first joined our business, I was astounded at the salary given to our employees.  They were way more than the minimum wage.  Coming from the corporate world where everyone is asked to look for ways to save money for the company, I told my father that we can lower down the salary into the required minimum wage based on our city law and get bigger profit.  It is still fair, right?  But he vetoed me.  He said that these people deserve what they were getting.  My father was not just being fair, he was also being generous.  Until now, our business’ biggest expense is our employees but they also are part of the business’ success so I am no longer complaining.  In fact, I appreciate the lesson that was given to me.  Being fair is good.  But being generous, is a lot better.

We had misfortunes of having our cars “carnapped”, too.  Carnap is a term used in the Philippines for stealing vehicles.  One person rented a car and actually brought it to Mindanao without the intention of returning it.  The Highway Patrol Group were able to recover the car and my father had to fly to Mindanao to identify the car and to bring the people who stole the car back to our city so he can file charges.  It was a long trip via land and sea to bring the car from Mindanao back to our city and during that time, the women who were inside the vehicle already smelled and were uncomfortable because they did not have change of clothes. Being fair would have been my father just letting them suffer for what they did.  But gracious man that he is, he actually bought them clothes.  Yes, the same women who stole his car.

I have hundreds of stories like these so you know that I grew up with very generous parents.  They were not rich but they always give more than what is fair.  

My generosity has always been questioned.  People ask, why do you like giving gifts to others when they don’t even give gifts to you?  My answer is always:  Why not?  Giving gifts to others makes ME happy.  I know it makes them happy too but it makes ME happier so in a way I am doing it for myself and not for them to return the favor.  Being fair would mean giving others the same amount of gift they give to me.  But being gracious means not caring what I receive but caring more about what I give.

So if you ask me, is being fair enough?  No.  Not at all.

You will not touch people’s lives by being fair.  You will touch lives and inspire others, however, by being gracious, by being compassionate, by being generous.

And what good life is if you don’t inspire others or you don’t make them happy?  What kind of life is that?  And who would want to live a life like that?

The easiest way to make people happy and make yourself happy in return is to always, always give them more than what you think they deserve.  Regardless of the situation.

So starting now, don’t always think about being fair.  Think about being gracious, generous, and compassionate.

Then I promise you, the world will just find ways to reward you.

Emoji-themed Birthday Invitation

My baby’s 11th birthday is coming up and we decided to give her a swimming party with an Emoji theme.

As I will not be there, I volunteered to make the invitation.

I love making invitations from scratch.  Not only is it cheaper, it is more personal and they are fun to make, too!

I started by designing the main invite and printing them out.

Snapseed 6

The next step was to prepare the “envelopes” or the cover.  In this case, they are just folded colorful stock cards.

IMG_8351

I wanted the envelopes/cover to be less serious so I had to cut waves on the top and bottom.  I used regular scissors but it would have been a lot better if I have pattern scissors.

IMG_8353

I then glued the main invitation to the colorful cover.

Snapseed 8

Of course, I blurred all the details in this photo for security purposes.

I then printed out emojis that I cut out.  I think this is the hardest part of all.  Cutting out the emojis took at least 30 minutes of my time.

IMG_8355

Lastly, I glued the emojis to the invitation.

Don’t they look cute?

Snapseed 7

I spent around 3 hours doing all the 24 invitations.