Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Kitchen Casualties: Things I Know I Did Wrong

And we're back in the kitchen (and on this blog) after a more or less three-year hiatus on cooking/wreaking havoc/playing with food (which we should never do, no).

Tonight's victim is a well-loved dish that people still find hard to identify: the afritada.


As anyone would easily notice, it does not look much like an afritada. But it is. You know why? Because the ready-mix sauce I poured on it said so.

So here we go with what went wrong.

First and foremost, I bought adobo cuts. It's not technically wrong, but it does deviate from the normal afritada.

Second, I did not buy Baguio beans or green peas. Honestly, it was just because my basket was too heavy already to go get more greens. (Excuses.)

Third, the instructions said "potatoes, in chunks." In my mind I was thinking of large cubes. In reality, I had diced those taters. And the carrots suffered the same fate.

Fourth, stir-fry. I Googled afritada. I Googled the sauce. I Googled the ingredients. What I didn't research was what exactly stir-fry meant. I guess I just assumed I knew. I did know. But reinforcements always help. So when I finally asked what stir-fry was, I found that it meant frying using very little oil. The "very little oil" part? That's where it all went downhill.

The potatoes took, like, twenty minutes to "stir-fry both sides until light brown." (Mind you, I was using an electric stove.) They didn't even turn brown I think. Or maybe I was getting colorblind because I was hungry and I haven't even started step 2.

Fifth, stir-fry the chicken in the same pan until light brown. That took me about thirty minutes to an hour. Because it just wasn't getting cooked. And I've decided to prefer having burnt chicken than uncooked chicken. So there. Fried chicken in afritada.

Sixth, simmer. I've cooked soup before and that had "simmer" in the instructions, but I've obviously never understood what it was. Simmer meant to boil then lower the heat but not to turn it off. What I did? I just turned it off and waited twenty minutes as instructed. Smart move.

Seventh, keeping the whole thing cooking in a pan that already had burnt potatoes sticking at the bottom. Now it tastes weird. Although the burn parts look like pepper so that'll do, I guess.

Eighth, me eating it. Well, there's no one I'd rather put in harm's way when it comes to cooking except me. Because a little Yakult, a little Coke, a little Lormide, and I'm good. But me eating this afritada is, well, a risk I probably shouldn't take (although I will because it's edible and cooked for sure but not share-worthy . . . and I don't like wasting food).

And there you have it. Eight things I know I did wrong as I tried my hand again in the kitchen. Good thing I'm still alive now after eating it so I can tell the tale.

Fair warning to the rest of the world: do not follow me. 😁

That's it. Happy reading and cooking amd eating!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I Am Okay

"Good morning," she says.

They greet her well enough. They start talking. They start sharing. They start gossiping.

"Good morning," she says.

"How are you?" they ask.

"I am okay," she says.

They talk. They share lives. They share new information. They leave and continue with their day.

"Good morning," she says.

They do it all over again. Day after day, they greet and talk and everything's fine until it's not. And then they wonder.

"I am okay," she says. She talks about her day, about the movie she just finished watching, about the new song she was listening to. She talks about the person in the next cube. She asks about her workmate's family. She asks about her friend's friend. She asks about the weather.

They talk. It's all normal. They're all okay. Until they're not.

"Good morning," they say. But she doesn't answer.

"I am okay." She smiles. Her smile, they assume, was her answer. Her smile, they assume, meant she was okay.

She's not.

"Good morning." Help me.

Look at me. Really look at me. Help me. Save me from this smile. Save me from this cry. Save me from this facade. Look at me. Ask me how I really am. Or don't ask me how I really am. How will you know? How can you not know? I am not okay.

I am searching for someone to see beyond me. See beyond my smile and find me. Find me in my corner. Find me in the shadows of the life that has suddenly overwhelmed me. Look for me. Find me. I am right here.

I hide behind curtains of routine. I hide behind witty lines and sincere laughter. Sincere laughter that hurts. Sincere laughter that burns with tears. I hide behind truth because no one asks beyond the truth. No one asks for the truth.

My life is shattered. My path is dark. My hope is missing. Help me look for it. Help me feel secure. Help me know that I can move on from this. That I can move from this. That there is a reason to move at all.

Ask me how I really am. Wait for me to say I'm not okay. Wait for me to pour my heart out to you. Don't be afraid. I won't need you to listen for long. I won't need you to help me with practical advice. I won't need you to do anything but ask. Really ask. Really see me.

I am not okay.

"Good morning," she says.

They talk. She smiles. They go on with their lives.


How many more people do we need to see broken before we realize that our genuine fellowship is not at all genuine? How many more people do we need to see walking away before we realize that we are not addressing the deeper issue? How many more people do we need to find "okay" before we realize that they are not?

Almost every day, we ask at least one person how they are. Almost every day, we hear the same answer and we don't follow up.

"I'm okay."

Are you really?

For the one asking:
Are you so easily satisfied with an "I'm okay" answer? Are you so easily convinced that life is good and life is okay for the other person? Granted, life may be doing well for the other person, but okay is not a good enough answer. Why leave the question with that answer? Why jump into a different topic when "How are you?" is a deep enough dive into another person's life to quench any other topic? Why stop at "I'm okay" when okay has never been true?

For the one asked:
Tell the truth. Be honest. Don't be afraid. People will listen.

For the one asking:

How can we help if we don't know you need help? How can you be helped if you don't ask for help? How can we all be truly and sincerely "okay"?

One day. A world with genuine people. One day. Someday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

While Waiting

Overthinking dude's perspective

I found her there, by the fountain where most couples and noisy teenagers hang out. She was alone, looking around, not minding anyone. She smiled occasionally to herself, probably remembering something funny. I couldn't help myself then.

I started to approach her. My heart was pounding. I've never done this before. Would she think I'm a stalker? Would she think I'm weird? Would she run away and report me to the police? I checked myself quickly. I was dressed okay, decent enough.

Few steps left and she turned and stared right at me, her smile frozen but her eyes alive. I stared back at her but looked down briefly, trying not to be rude. But when I looked up, she was still looking at me. Her face filled with changing micro-expressions. She seemed to be thinking of a million things. I was thinking of only one.

"Hi." I waved at her slightly. She broke her stare and looked down, gently laughing at herself. "What's funny?" I asked.

"Nothing." She smiled.


What went on in her head

Hmm where are they? I'm hungry. Where should I eat? Not chicken again. I need to eat healthy. Fruits. Just fruits? I'll be hungry before I go to sleep. But I have cereal at home, so I guess that's okay. But fruits are expensive. How about rice. Rice with chicken? Budget friendly. No, rice with beef. Oh ramen. Ramen seems nice right now. But not in my budget. Where can I buy cheap ramen? Hmm. Value meal 4 then? But it doesn't keep me full for long. What's this guy doing? Why is he staring at me? He looks familiar. Where did I see him before? Oh at the dimsum. Hmm dimsum. I'll just buy juice instead of soft drinks. Why is he still staring at me? Do I really look hungry? I'm just hungry, dude. Stop staring at me. Oh wait, I'm staring at him too. Oops. I like his jacket though. I'll probably just buy nuggets.


This is what happens when you make me wait when I already have to go home. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Time to Let Go

We must let go of time. Time always moves forward. It does not wait for anyone. Some people say they live in the moment, but moments stay in the past. Time does not stop for moments. Time keeps moving on, and we can never keep time or bring it back. When time leaves, it leaves, and you will never have the same time again.

We must let go of time because the more we hold on to it, the farther we are to it. We think we're holding on to time, but we're only holding on to the past---a time that has already left us. It is only the present once, and every day of our lives become the past.

We must let go of time because in the end we all run out of time.

Some things we just can never bring back.


Woke up and found my watch stuck at 4:44 (but technically it was 4:14 because my watch is 30 minutes advance).

Saturday, November 26, 2016

You've Already Said Good-bye

It started before it ended
When the news broke before the waves reached the shore
When the tears never fell and the words never spoken
But the lives go on as if good-bye has been spent

It started before it ended
Though I'm still here, it's as if I'm not
Though posts still exist and likes still persist
It's as if the distance has already separated us

It started before it ended
When the laughter burns and the conversations flood
But the moments are fleeting and the nights are longer
And the songs are louder in the silence

It started before it ended
When the routine is broken and built
When the habits and promises are safe in the treasure chest of time
In the forgetfulness and fickle memory of time

It started before it ended
When the hellos are empty and the small talk is all there will ever be
And the good-byes have finally been said
As if good-byes were meant by saying hello
As if good-bye was what was meant to be said from the beginning

It started before it ended
You've already said good-bye


I told you my #NaNoWriMo discipline is not to be trusted. Now it's almost December! Oh well.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Halfway into Darkness

Halfway into darkness, I found myself grasping. The edges of the pictures, the faces, the brightness fading. The heaviness of darkness blanketed my head, embracing my skull with the warmth of suffocation. It was daunting. It was undeniable. It was irresistible.

Halfway into darkness, my eyes could no longer carry the burden of seeing. I fought. I fought as valiantly as any knight would against the dragon breathing fire. But my dragon breathed darkness. My eyes were swallowed slowly into oblivion, drowning, now seeing, now blinded.

Halfway into darkness, I heard the rush of life. The cries of faceless people, identities never shared. I felt their hurry, their eagerness to move on, as if the darkness never threatened them---as if I were the only one engulfed by it.

Halfway into darkness, I could not fight. My mind felt numb, my body paralyzed but for fleeting jolts of resistance. I dared and braved the ancient paths of those who tried and failed but lived to tell the tales---the stories of darkness winning in and over them. Hope of change sucked out of freedom.

Halfway into darkness, I slipped and fell and went tumbling into the comfort of surrender.

Halfway into darkness, I slipped and fell asleep.


Because oh my I fell asleep in the jeepney again. O_O


I'm not counting days anymore. haha

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Of Melancholic Music

Out of the darkness, the music came. Calling, capturing those who dared to listen. Like sirens to the sailor lost at sea, the music allured the people, except me.

It didn't matter what song it played, what movement it was, which instrument it used. It didn't matter that after every song came the devastating emptiness of silence. I knew it would come again, and with its return, the cries of longing unfulfilled.

The strings softly strummed sang an intro to the sun. The drums beat deaf the wooden floor below. The keys depressed rang deep beyond the walls. The walls could not contain it---the walls of human hopes.

I cast aside desire, knowing well the pull of want. The voices call me crazy to give up and take a stand. The music, the instruments, the humming, and the songs, they were of no use outside. They held no allure, no symphony, no harmony to a rider of a broken vessel.

And yet.

The songs came again, inching, whispering to me. The strings that sang to the sun struck through my restless soul. The drums that beat the floor punctuated every heartbeat. And the voices called me crazy not to see that the music from which escape I wanted was the music within me.


Day 2 (because November 1 was a holiday :p )
"She never wanted to hold a musical instrument ever again" would be too obvious.
NaNoWriMo, here we go.
Also, oh my, it doesn't rhyme! (Cries of despair)