This is me.
I'm Taking A Break
17 had an opinion on what I wrote.

With my blog, that is.

You guys have all probably noticed how long I have been posting less often. I've been trying to keep to my posting schedule but I'm just really overwhelmed. Scanning the pictures, placing borders, and even finding the words get more difficult as the time passes by.

Guess it all started when my grandfather died. Not that I'm down in the dumps about it; I'm pretty happy he's gone to heaven actually. It's just that his death reminded me to pay more attention to people and my relationships. This led to me spending more time with my living grandparents, parents, friends, and all my other loved ones who I don't connect on a computer with. And since I'm about to end the fourth year of my five-year college education, the pace is also stepping up like crazy. I hardly have time to sleep these days --- I never mentioned how I fell asleep on the wheel during a particular long sleepless bout, and woke up in the other lane, have I? --- and I've had to cut out loads of things so I can keep my more important un-school-related commitments.

Which is why I'm bowing out of blogging for now. I will still answer comments --- and by all means, drop me a line if you'd like to, and even email me to check up on things --- but there won't be any new posts until... Well, until posting doesn't seem like just another chore anymore. Until I don't dread posting so much.

My friends with blogs (Catherine, Linda, Henri, Cookie, Claire, and some others) need not fear: just because I won't be blogging anymore doesn't mean I won't be interacting on their blogs. On the contrary, not worrying so much about my own posts will free up time so I can actually read their blogs.

I really need the break. Hopefully, I'll be back with a clear head on my shoulders.

Take care, everyone!

Daisy on 1/16/2009 11:09:00 PM

And Christmas Break Begins!
6 had an opinion on what I wrote.

I'm really sleepy so this post will be quick.

Anyway, I'm free for two weeks! Woohoo! *does a little dance*

And I'm really tired. I haven't slept well --- maybe three hours a night --- for the whole month because of projects and exams. I'm so tired I fell asleep while driving once and scared myself awake. We all got pretty sick in class, and we pretty much hibernated. I don't ever want to go through all that again.

The projects did turn out great though --- we got overwhelming applause for our one-and-a-half-hour movie for History class on the life of the national hero --- and the exams seemed okay. Some were good but one was failing. We couldn't change anything though but to do better next year, so Henri invited me to celebrate our freedom by going to the mall.

Hi, mall! Long time no see!

And it really was a long time. Lots of new shops opened, there were gigantic Christmas trees and decor all around, and even new trends (Would you, dear Reader, believe we saw ten people wearing winter scarves in tropical weather?).

We were glad to be there but we were starving. It's hard work to fail an exam, so we tried out a new restaurant for lunch.

our appetizer

Our first dish was fried mozzarella cheese with spiced tomato dip, and it was good. We scarfed it down pretty quick. We do wonder whether it was really good or whether we were just really hungry. Hm.

Either way, the taste of warm melted cheese with cold sour tomatoes agreed with us. Then the main courses arrived.

Henri's meal

Next came Henri's humongous meal of grilled pork with rice and vegetables. I say humongous because it was big enough for a person to subsist on for a whole day; Henri brought half of it home for dinner. She said it was delicious but so filling that she couldn't take any more bites.

If that looked like a normal serving to you American readers, this is the moment to realize that the rest of the world often eats less. Much less. We have buckets the size of your extra large sodas, America; I can still remember how overwhelmed I was the last time I had a meal in that side of the world. I ended up ordering kiddie meals so I wouldn't waste food.

my meal

I had salmon with some sort of caramelized onion glaze, grilled corn, and pilaf rice. The salmon was pretty fresh, and very good with the sauce. The rice was sticky and perfect with the salmon. All in all, it was great and I finished it. It was still a bit too big for me though; I overate.

In other words, Henri and I have agreed to share a main course the next time we eat there.

It was a fun meal though: practically the first one out we've had in a while. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping for Christmas presents --- especially our own gifts from ourselves --- and just having a cool time. We enjoyed poring through a new bookstore for hours, and came out with an appropriate number of new books.

We met some other friends in the evening and had a large pitcher of lemonade. Commiserating over bad grades was never so refreshing.

I later joined my sister and another good friend for dinner to top off the day.

Dexter, Daphy (my sister), and me

It was cool to catch up with people I hadn't seen in weeks since I'd stopped leaving the house altogether for anything other than schoolwork. I did sleep with my grandmother to keep her company after my grandfather died, but it seemed more like going home to sleep than a social visit. In other words, we'd talk then drop into bed until it was time to go to school again.

I am so glad it's over.

I will now be catching up on my reading, and I promised my dog that we'd watch some movies over the break.

I'm looking forward to just taking a rest.

Daisy on 12/20/2008 04:48:00 AM

One of Those Meals
3 had an opinion on what I wrote.

My posts haven't been as often as they used to be, nor have they been as full of photos as I'd like (read: almost zero). I thought I'd change that by posting the last photos I took of a meal out --- which was a long time ago, by the way, since I've been practically living in my Ama's (Grandma) house since my Angkong (Grandpa) died.

My Mom, my sister (Daphy), and I trooped out for food that sizzles on our plates.

uncooked meat on sizzling hot plates

Yes, I did say uncooked. This particular restaurant had something new: cooking your own food on hot plates that stay hot for more than a half hour.

We were pretty game. That last dish up there is mine: cubed Japanese steak with rice and little vegetable pieces. We all basically turned our food over and over until they were as done as we liked. Then we mixed everything and drowned it in sauce.

Let's watch Daphy do it.

It was interesting, especially mine. They all turned theirs over on two sides while I had to roll the cubes around on all six faces. You can understand, dear Reader, why it took me a bit longer to start eating.

Or maybe I'm just persnickety about how cooked my food is --- I like medium rare to medium well, by the way.

Anyway, my steak was delicious. It was just chewy enough without being too weird, and the sauce was good. The aroma of the whole dish was also wonderful. I tried that dish more than a month ago, but I still clearly remember how it tasted.

my Mom's chicken dish

Mom said it was good, and it did look good.

Daphy's dish

Words can't really describe how fun the experience was. That meal happened right after my sister and I got back from a long trip, and my Mom missed us loads (yes, we missed her too, if you were wondering).

The pictures still make me smile when I look over them.

Daisy on 12/11/2008 08:22:00 PM

Yes, I'm Alive
5 had an opinion on what I wrote.

I just haven't posted lately because my internet connection's shot in the foot. Both my parents and our computer technician are out of town --- on different sides of the world, by the way --- so I haven't updated. I really needed to get on the Web for a project though (a 1 hour to 2 hour movie on about seventy pages of the life of the Philippine national hero due in two weeks), so I broke down and practically started camping in my uncle's house. Which is where I am now, enjoying the Wifi.

I'm pretty tired and so are my classmates. I keep running around borrowing suits and other props for the filming, and we're polishing the script as I type this out. I just thought it wouldn't be fair to leave blog readers hanging without nary a peep from me.

I will also take this time to thank my wonderful uncle and aunt for taking me in like a lost child and feeding me, clothing me --- would you believe I stained my clothes while I was in their house? --- and putting a roof (with Wifi) over my head. I keep showing up with my laptop and they've been so helpful that I'm almost ashamed. I'm even sleeping in their house tonight so I can have conferences over the internet with group mates tonight. Same goes for my other relatives whose suit jackets, tuxedo shirts, and other pieces of formal wear I've snagged for the project.

Oh, and my paternal grandmother who has allowed the group to bring chaos film in her home. And my maternal relatives for taking care of our dog, housesitting, etcetera, etcetera. Loads and loads of things, really.

Thank you, Family, for being there for me.

I have more homework to do so I have to leave. Now.

I'm sorry if I haven't had as entertaining (read: photo-laden) posts lately. I will try to make up for it next week.

Until then, this (un?)faithful correspondent will go back to filming in borrowed clothes.

Daisy on 12/04/2008 01:34:00 AM

8 Facts
10 had an opinion on what I wrote.

This is the first night I've been home since Angkong (my paternal grandfather) died. It's been a strange and crazy time, but it's getting better. Our family's crying sessions have lessened, and we're all laughing again. My sleeping habits have also been improving which means I won't be late for class anymore.

But we still remember in good ways. I miss him a lot, and looking at my mourning clothes reminds me not to forget the memories.

As a result of the exhaustion, I haven't been able to take any food trips or pictures lately. I did eat some sea cucumber last night, but that didn't seem very blog-worthy. Then here came Chunks with a blog meme, and so I've got something to post this week!

The tag rules are as follows:

1) Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
2) People who are tagged need to write in their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3) At the end of your blog post tag eight people and list their names.
4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged and to read your blog.

1) I'm slightly obsessive compulsive. I arrange books in bookstores in alphabetical order, and fold clothes into similarly colored piles in department stores. I also don't like different foods on my plate to touch each other. Realizing these are all pretty neurotic urges and deliberately keeping them at bay makes me normal though.

Our department chair over at my university did mention a lot of Chemical Engineering students are obsessive compulsive. That's pretty strange.

2) My dreams are like a television series; there are continual episodes. Like I'll dream of three old ladies telling me of my true superhuman self one night. Then the next night, I'll dream buildings blow up and I'm doing extremely cool things. The night after, I'll dream of having an identity crisis as the baddies take my family hostage. And so on... These dreams can go on for weeks. I can write books on them.

Lora has mentioned I must be a sister of the main character of her web comic The Dreamer (click the link on Lora's name to see it).

3) I knit a lot. I have yarn stashes all over my room and projects on the back burner. I'm knitting a large stuffed toy at the moment.

4) I play the violin, the piano, and the guitar. But the violin's my favorite; I play two or three times a week at church. I also play at weddings.

5) My three favorite foods are my maternal grandmother's pork rib soup straight from the slow cooker, spicy beef soup with rice from this Japanese restaurant about twenty minutes away from home, and Shakey's Mojo potatoes.

said spicy beef soup, yum!

and my beloved Mojos

Returning readers should know by now that I love food.

6) My mental age is one hundred years old. That's what my cousins like to say anyway. They call me The Dowager.

In direct contrast, they say my nineteen-year-old sister is five years old in her head. They call her Princess.

Yes, it's a running joke.

7) I really really REALLY love to read. I've carried a book with me everywhere since the librarian let me bring library books to the playground back in kindergarten. I've read about eighty and counting this year, and more than a thousand --- someone asked me to estimate the number once --- my whole life.

8) I don't like sweets; I never even liked candy as a child. These days, the only chocolate I eat --- and not even that often, for that matter --- is dark chocolate. I don't even enjoy eating ice cream. When my family goes to the ice cream parlor, I order a rice meal while everyone gets banana splits.

Who to tag? Hm...

Henri, Claire, Joni, Cookie, Vandana, and Kat.

It's not eight, I know, but the people I usually tag were the ones who tagged me!

Anyone else I haven't tagged who wants to try it may do so, of course. And the ones I tagged are not required to really do it if they're too busy.

I guess the post ends here for the week. Take care, everyone!

Daisy on 11/26/2008 10:49:00 PM

2 had an opinion on what I wrote.

My cousins and I in our white clothes with black mourning pins.

Angkong's (my paternal grandfather: see last post) buried now so in a sense, it's over. And yet it seems like the grieving's barely begun.

Lots have happened since my last post. The family's all so tired but also very overwhelmed by --- as my uncle phrased it --- "the outpouring of affection". Less than thirty minutes after Angkong died, we had to pull out the phone at the house because people kept calling past midnight to offer condolences. More than a hundred flower arrangements arrived for my Angkong before our own flowers for his coffin could even be delivered. We still wonder how everyone found out so quickly; the obituary almost seemed like an after-thought.

And the people who attended the burial and the services each night... We'd made the whole thing simple but the services were standing room up to the funeral parlor's parking lot. My uncle always said Angkong was rich in friends; we didn't realize how true that was. People just kept surprising us from those that cried for him though they weren't family relations to those that attended the services from all over the world. I have a wonderful memory of a quiet Japanese man who sat in the kitchen during the services because there was no room, and came to pay his respects from his home country just because "it was right". I'm also reminded of a lady that told me my grandfather had character, and a friend who'd met him only once but visited because our love for our Angkong made an impression on him.

So many sad and happy tidbits intertwined from that occasion. I just wanted to thank all those people for supporting us the way they did. And for still supporting us now when we have to pick up the pieces. It's bittersweet to put on our white clothes every day, and almost embarrassing to cry over the silliest things that just remind us of him. For instance, I cried when I received my new Chemical Engineering textbooks for the semester because I remembered how proud Angkong was that I was getting an education.

We're also getting pretty busy with keeping my Ama --- grandmother --- company. Cheering her up is practically a full-time occupation. I find myself hurrying to finish studying during free breaks in school so I can zip by my grandmother's house at night. Though our whole family's actually pretty low these days. We joke, laugh, and enjoy being close to each other, but we all will have to comfort each other in the days ahead.

Then there are the traditions: I think I'll be wearing white in all my blog pictures until next year, and no reader will see me in red until 2011.

I feel like I'm sort-of babbling now but I guess it's my way of coping. I know he's happy in heaven, but we all miss him. We were all blessedly close to him, and we're thankful for that. Some people might not understand that --- my cousin's still a bit sore about her classmate informing her that a dead grandfather wasn't such a big deal to cry about --- but that just makes this whole experience a bit dearer.

This is getting pretty long, and I'm feeling tired so I guess I'll go now. Hope you guys are all doing well. Keep happy!

Daisy on 11/18/2008 12:51:00 AM

My Angkong
5 had an opinion on what I wrote.

No internet at home for a week so I broke down and went to my cousin's house to blog on his laptop. Sorry for the long wait, all. Here's the post I was supposed to post last Friday (yesterday):

I was planning to post on the trip I've just taken, but that'll have to wait. Things happen. Like Angkong --- the Chinese name for my paternal grandfather --- dying at 9:56 pm last night. November 6, 2008.

It was so sudden. But then, in a sense, it wasn't. My Angkong's been bedridden after a stroke about eight years ago. That didn't stop my uncles and my Dad from getting him to enjoy life though. We brought him on a trip to see his roots in China about three years back. I can still remember how happy he was, and how my Dad and uncles would crawl with him on their backs to get him to a First Class airplane seat without a wheelchair.

But I'm digressing. I've been doing that a lot; I guess I'm just tired. My eyes are still a bit swollen and my head's pounding slightly. I keep misplacing things today, and I've suddenly gotten this huge appetite (which often happens when I'm tired).

My Angkong was an amazing person. He migrated to this country alone as a kid during the beginning of the Communist era in China. He worked and sent money home. He subsisted on bats and cats, and hid from war planes during the Second World War. He worked hard, and loved to learn. I mean, he adored it when I corrected his English. I never heard any "I'm-much-older-than-you-I-know-much-better" monologues from him, just thanks for helping him get the words right.

Not that he was perfect, you understand. Far from it. But in the end, he loved us all loads.

My family is glad he isn't suffering anymore, that he's in heaven looking down on us and feeling the youngest he's been in years. Listening to his breath rattle and watching him struggle was difficult. And we're also glad we've spent so much time with him through the years. There were no real regrets; just memories.

For instance, he was the first and only person I told that I was the high school valedictorian before my graduation; my parents and everyone else only found out during the ceremony. I remember what a kick he got out of that; he laughed through the tubes attached to his neck.

I remember loads of things from last night. Some are inconsequential like my aunt wearing Lee jeans. Others are sadder like my Dad, who'd gone on a business trip, crying and telling me "I don't know why I'm here!" over the phone when he couldn't catch a flight home. Then there was my uncle just arrived from a delayed plane trip and running in to hug Angkong and burst into tears. The wailing from forty people crowded around the bed when we all realized Angkong had died. And my hysterical Ama --- Chinese for paternal grandmother --- being pulled off the dead body.

My mind is spinning, but there's still so much to do. Old pictures to go through for the wake, a full white wardrobe to get for the next few days of mourning (a Chinese tradition), eulogies to write, and people to comfort. And on top of it all, school.

But I know we'll be okay. We'll live, and work, and do our best. I suddenly remember how happy he was that I'd taken Chemical Engineering, and I know he'll keep being proud of me. And one day, I'll get to see him again.

Until next time then.

Daisy on 11/08/2008 11:09:00 AM