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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lake Arrowhead

Last Saturday, Jojo and I spent the day exploring Lake Arrowhead. Although the drive was only an hour and a half from LA, it really seemed like it was another world. The day started out with great weather and beautiful scenery. Here were the views as we ascended over 5,000 feet into the pristine mountain resort.



The drive was a little harrowing since the road was steep and the turns were sharp. But the views were gorgeous (with a capital G).



Our first stop when we arrived was talking a walk along the lake and enjoying the cool, crisp mountain air. Of course, within the hour, we started getting hungry and decided to have brunch on a waterfront cafe called "Belgian Waffle Works". I had read reviews about the place and it looked very promising. We sat at a table overlooking the boat decks.



The place was very charming despite the falling pine needles that fell on our food throughout the meal. The restaurant decor was charming New England style (you can catch a glimpse of that style in the dainty plates and saucers). We shared a Parmesan Roast Beef sandwich which was SOOOO GOOOD. I know it was just a sandwich - but Jojo and I agreed it was one of the best sandwiches we've had (gooey cheese, tasty tender roast beef, hearty bread and a horseradish based dressing).



For dessert, we had to have the place's specilaty: Waffles! We decided on a Banana Cream Pie waffle. It was even better than all the reviews we had read. The bananas were sweet, the vanilla ice cream provided a great contrast to the hot, toasted waffles. The cream was freshly whipped and the creme filling was creamy and just sweet enough without being overpowering. It was sinfully good.



We walked off lunch around Lake Arrowhead Village - a cluster of stores, gourmet food shops, coffee houses, and boutiques. The place was so charming.



The day just got even better when we rounded the corner and found ... shopping outlets! Jojo was kidding me about driving a hundred miles, up 5,000 feet, and still managing to stumble upon a shopping paradise! It was great since the Memorial Day sales were full blast. Stores had storefront sales advertising 40-50-60- and even 70% off. Yay!


After getting two pairs of pants and a twinset for me plus some shirts for Jojo, we decided to go on a tour of the lake on the Arrowhead Queen. We boarded the Queen along with 30 others, for a 1-hour narrated tour along with our ship's captain, Bill.


It was interesting to see all the beautiful homes along the waterfront and to catch a glimpse of the wildlife so abundant along the coast. I absolutely fell in love with the place. It was serene, scenic, and special all rolled into one. Captain Bill told us the average home on the lake went for $7 million dollars ... a lakefront home definitely makes it to my top ten things to get when I win the lotto!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Back to Blogging

It’s been almost two weeks since I last posted anything. Aside from being so busy at work and getting home late most nights, I was sick last week and didn’t really have the energy to blog. This week, I’ve been busy with my one true vice: REALITY TV. All week long, I’ve been glued to the boob tube watching the finale of my favorite reality tv shows: from The Bachelor (last Monday), Dancing with the Stars (Tuesday), and American Idol (last night). Now that the reality tv season is over … I’m finding myself with evenings open to just about anything! Guess it’s back to channel surfing, catching up on my reading, and blogging! :)

Last weekend we also celebrated my brother, Jules’, birthday. To celebrate his special day and the gorgeous weather we’ve been blessed with, we had our first backyard barbecue of the year. One of the best things I love about LA is the perfect barbecue weather. And one of the things I love most about our home, is we have a great backyard patio built for cozy, intimate, barbecue parties. Barbecues are great ways to get together. I not only get to have my family and friends over – but I also get to enjoy spending time with them rather than slaving over a hot stove :) Barbecues are when you have guests over and end up making them do their own cooking!

For this one we grilled steaks, baby back ribs and wieners. I also served pasta, corn salad, and potato wedges on the side. And for dessert, Jules had a mudpie birthday cake which was YUMMY.

I want to post some pictures from our little tête-à-tête but since we got a new camera and since I’m quite technologically challenged, I have to wait till Jojo has time to walk me through it. So maybe next time then :)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sick Days

One of the worst things in the world is having a B-A-D cold on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. And that’s exactly what Jojo and I have. We’re both suffering from stuffy noses, bad coughs, sore throats, and aching joints. The worst part about having a cold is there is absolutely nothing you can do to get rid of it fast enough. We’ve been drinking lots of liquids, getting rest, taking it easy, eating healthy, taking cold medicines to alleviate the symptoms, and gulping extra doses of Vitamin C. But other than that, all we can do is wait it out. It looks like most of our weekend is pretty shot trying to get over this cold!

When I was much younger, I didn’t really hate getting sick. To be honest, (and this may sound strange), I actually looked forward to it. Let me explain. Getting sick meant staying home from school but more than that, in my home, it meant getting extra TLC. My mom would always hover around me making sure I wasn’t too warm or too cold, she would remind me to take my medicine and would make sure I had apple juice and sweetened hot tea round the clock, my meals would be served in bed and I could eat when I felt like it, I could watch tv all day, read to my heart’s content, and get to snuggle in my parents’ King-sized bed. Most times my mom would keep me company and we would watch Lifetime movies and cooking shows on tv. When my dad would get home from work, he would always make sure to ask me how I was and spend a few minutes chatting to make sure I was ok. Manang Mercy would make me salabat (a hot drink laced with ginger and honey) every night to soothe my throat. Manong Danilo would drive me to the doctor and bring me home while my mom would send Mary Jane to Mercury Drugstore to pick up my medicine. My sisters (especially Atsi) would brush my hair and lightly scratch my arms till I fell asleep. I would get first dibs on what tv show to watch in the giant tv in my folks' room. And I would get phonecalls and even visits from classmates, co-workers and friends urging me to get better.

Today, getting sick isn’t as much fun as it used to be. Today, getting sick means making my own meals, getting my own drinks, remembering my own medicines, changing my own sheets, even when I am in the midst of sneeze attack or suffering a migraine. It means driving to the pharmacy in ratty sweatpants to buy nasal sprays and cough drops. It means making quick stops to the supermarket to buy ginger, honey, chicken stock and standing over the stove to heat myself some soup or salabat. Today, getting sick means making my own doctor’s appointment and driving myself to the doctor’s office and waiting in line to get my prescription filled at Walgreens. Today getting sick means staying at home but still working since I still get emails and calls from co-workers and bosses asking me to do stuff for work. Getting sick does not excuse one from paying bills, cleaning the house, taking out the trash, washing the dishes, and doing laundry. Life goes on and getting sick only slows you down while the world still moves on ahead.

I miss the good old days. The only bright side is my hubby and I are in this together. And as they say “misery loves company” =)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Surprises

Last week I’ve been under a lot of pressure at work because of a new project. As a result, I’ve been working long hours and even taking work home. Jojo has been incredibly patient and supportive. He’s certainly stepped up and done more than his fair share. As my way of thanking him, I decided to surprise him by getting tickets to watch Spiderman 3. Jojo and I have been looking forward to seeing this movie. We’re both huge fans of blockbuster movies and Jojo’s a big Marvel comics fan – so this would be the perfect way to show Joj I appreciate him.

Since last Friday was the movie’s opening day, I knew the lines would be long and movie tickets would be sold out. So I spent my lunch hour off from work lining up at the Del Amo AMC to get tickets for the 9:30 movie. It was going to be a surprise and I had planned on taking Jojo out to dinner and to give him the tickets as we’re having dessert.

Usually on Friday evenings, Jojo gets home a few minutes after I do. But since I’m on the phone with my family at that time, he usually just waves hello to me and opens up his computer to pass the time till I get off the phone and it’s time for us to start making dinner. That’s what I was expecting he would do which is why I posted a note on his monitor which read:

“Because you’ve been such a great hubby and have been working so hard at home and in the office … I have a surprise for you. Get dressed (warmly) and be ready to leave at 7:30 PM. Don’t ask me questions about what, where or why cause I’m not telling you anything – you’ll just have to trust me!”

I was on the phone with Joy when Jojo arrived and we were both excited about my surprise. But instead of the usual wave hello, Jojo walked up to me looking very excited. He very giddily tells me he has a surprise for me and hands me an envelope with two AMC movie coupons! Seriously. His surprise for me was my surprise for him! It was so funny when he handed me the tickets because I literally froze not knowing what to say when he told me we were watching Spiderman that night. He in turn started laughing when he read the note and I had to confess that I had gotten us tickets too.

The night turned out well, we enjoyed a good dinner, lined up in the cold to watch Spiderman 3 (which was AWESOME – the best of all the 3 Spiderman movies), and got to exchange the coupons Jojo had for another movie. It was just funny how we both surprised each other that way. Kind of reminds me about this Xmas story where the guy sells his pocket watch to surprise his wife with a haircomb, and the wife in turn sells her hair to buy her husband with a new chain for his pocketwatch. I love that story. I guess Jojo and my getting Spiderman tickets isn’t quite the same thing – but in a way it kinda is too. :)