Friday, October 17, 2014

Snail Mail System

When it comes to my snail mail replies, I have been asked several times what my system is. Meaning, with all the multiple letters I get, how do I know who to reply to first? I don't get my letters everyday. Randomly, I choose a day in a week to pick-up the contents of my PO Box. Piles of colorful envelopes greet me all the time. It's always a wonder which one arrived first. So, that's why I decided to set-up a system that works for me.

I ordered a customized self-inking rubber stamp online. And it looks like this:

The Rec Date means "Received Date." That's the date when I picked it up from my PO Box. Of course, there's always multiple letters in one Rec Date. That's when the second date comes in handy.

The Let Date means "Letter's Date." Sometimes, the postmark of the sender's PO is visible, like this one:

But there are times when it is not visible for me, like this one:

That's when I visit the actual letter inside and get the letter's date when it was written, like this one:

Unfortunately, there are penpalers who don't write any date at all. And, there are multiples of same letter's dates as well. My final step in figuring out who gets a reply first ends up with using the alphabetical system. I'll just use their last name's initials to finish organizing my letters. It's really easy when I got used to doing it.

I'm too OCD, but at least it totally works. Unfortunately, when I get into a writing rut, everything gets delayed. HaHaHa.

So, how's your Friday night?

P.S. The Rep Date means "Replied Date." It's to remind myself that I already sent out a reply. I'm too forgetful.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fremont Chili Cook-Off 2014

This year marked my fourth year of attending Fremont Chili Cook-Off, and the Rotary Club moved it to a different location. It used to be inside the Saddle Rack compound. Instead, they were placed in between Macy's and Sears inside Newpark Mall's parking lot. It's indeed a bigger venue with lots of parking spaces. However, the event appeared smaller and spiritless. Perhaps, we got there early. The stage for the band was not set up yet, and the crowd, well, not much crowd. Weatherwise, it was cooler inside the mall than outside the parking lot. Mid-80s! Meh, vitamin D was good.

My first frustration was the absence of the Firefighter's Jaws of Life demonstration. That was the best part of the event for the last three years of my attendance. This year, they didn't have it, and it made the whole event dull for me. I know it's all about the chili, but I'll get to that in a bit. There were other several fun stuff that were not present, and one of them was my favorite chili from last year, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. That chili was the bomb! I submitted all my voting tickets to them last year. They were not present this year. Boo! There's the usual mini-concert of bands whose name were unknown to me. (I'm not really a country music fan, so "The California Cowboys" screams country music to me.) We tasted chili and we left. That's it.

Here's the blow by blow. We bought three booklets. Each booklet consisted of six tasting tickets. Shaggy and I shared nine tasting tickets each. A booklet cost $8 online, but $10 at the gate during the event. The drinks were for separate purchase. Five drink tickets for one small cup of beer and one drink ticket for others (i.e. soda and water). Each drink ticket cost $1. The whole area was embraced by one single yellow tape. I guess, the security were not that tight since no one can taste the chili without the tickets. Without the tickets, you're just a lurker. HeHe.

Here are the chilis we've tasted this year (Photos on top of the chili photos will be the chili-makers):

Thou shall not pass chili? Well, it's called Gandolf's chili. Very little heat. Ratio of meat, veggies, and sauce were good.

The Firefighter's Chili was a bit sweet than spicy. I'm not into sweet chili. I think they forgot to turn off the water hose on this one. The fire was absent!

The Ted's Triple-C Chili sign looked promising, but when it came to their actual chili, I was disappointed. The meat almost blended with the sauce. Meaning, no meat texture. Too watery. No heat at all. Cheese was good, though.

The servers for the Masonic Homes Chili boasted lots of red peppers in their chili. After tasting though, I don't think they put enough red peppers. No kick at all.

This was actually a free chili given by one of the servers from the Warm Springs Little League Baseball booth. This chili reminded me of Thanksgiving Dinner. It contained black olives and tasted different. Unfortunately, the spiciness I wanted was not in it.

The Washington Hospital's Chili was vegetarian. They had a condiments table with the cooked meat sitting outside their booth with the cheese, jalapenos, guacamole and sriracha sauce. Call me lazy, but I won't vote for a chili that was not totally cooked and served hot. Plus, this chili resembled salsa instead of actual chili.

I loved the sliced jalapeno on top of this chili, but it is not a jalapeno cook-off. The chili was too plain without it.

It tasted okay. I'm just not a fan of watery chili. I prefer meaty and spicy.

The texture was good, because there's meat in it. It's just a bit sweet to my taste. The veggies that went with it made it a bit sweet.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Last but not the least, the chili that we thought has a real kick in it was made by the Rotaract Club, and they received our vote-tickets:

Balanced meat and veggies. The heat was totally there. Water please!

We went home afterwards. We didn't wait for the band. The mall's parking lot became ridiculous with clueless drivers. We preferred to plop at home. I also tested my blood sugar. Fortunately, it was still in the normal range. Great! I love chili. Don't put sugar in it! LOL

How about you, how's your weekend? Do you like chili?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

LCHF Diet for T2D

Photo from here.

First, let me tell you about this cheap gasoline station located several blocks away from my house. We all know that gas prices differ every day. This cheap gas station, however, is always ten, sometimes, twenty cents cheaper. Who wouldn't want to save twenty cents per gallon, right? Plus, it's very convenient to pass it by after work, before arriving at the house. I always try to be frugal and practical. I'm not a rich kid. So, for several months, I did that routine whenever I need gas for my car.

The health condition of my car became weird. I never suspected that it's because of the cheap gas. However, the shop mechanic told me that the cheap gas contributed to its condition. It's like feeding junk food to my car. It made my car sick. After expensive repairs, my car is now back in shape. I avoided that cheap gas station like a plague. I go to either Shell or Chevron. My car is now happy and healthy.

Consider our bodies like cars in need of good gasoline. Our food is our fuel. We feed ourselves in order to function, every day. However, there's also that cheap fuel for our system that makes us sick. We actually ignore it because we are used to the cheap fuel we ingest. Our parents showed and taught us about that particular fuel we got comfortable with. We never broke the family routine. In my case, all my years I've eaten rice as a part of every meal. I'm not saying it is a cheap fuel that makes me sick. The only thing that's bad about it is my belief of if I don't eat it, I don't know what else to eat. That is, because I grew up with it and got used to it.

Of course, my body is not like the same as it was twenty years ago. Just like my car, it's not like as it was when I first bought it. For years, I fed my car cheap fuel. For years, I've eaten rice. My car got sick. My family history of Diabetes came out in me. I had to change my car's fuel and repair its damage. I had to change the food I eat to maintain my health and eliminate Diabetes. This is where I start LCHF.

Photo from here.

What is LCHF? It means Low Carb High Fat. I eliminated the fuel I grew up with (carbohydrates or starchy food). For now. Unlike the car, I don't want to use that cheap gas anymore, but for my body, carbohydrates aren't really that bad as long as it's not taken more than the allotted grams per day. That depends on goals. My goal is to eliminate my T2D, that's why totally no carbs for me, for now. For a week, I have been doing LCHF. I won't complain about it. I've learned that I can live without the starchy food I'm used to. Who wouldn't be happy with bacon all the time? And, instead of potato chips or nachos, pork rinds or chicharones are my snacks.

Photo from here.

No carbs at all, no artificial sweeteners, and as much as possible, no sugar. It's a journey I recently started for more than two weeks ago. I already feel good about it. I have more energy. I feel lighter. I doubled up my cardio routine to one hour every day. I do take a day of rest, but I try to add up the one hour I missed into the other days. It's a matter of organizing my schedule and managing my time. Not only my cardio, but my reading and writing as well. It's great!

Grilled Sausages, Red Cabbage, Pickles, and Cherry Tomatoes

For this weekend's activities, we went to an Oktoberfest themed party yesterday at one of our band friends' house, and I felt great being able to know how to treat food like I did. Lots of meats and veggies. I love hotdogs/sausages! No starch! Bottled water instead of soda and alcohol. (I know, no beer. I'm not really much of a beer drinker anyways.) I'm allowed to drink red wine and dry white wine, though. I had a great time! It was nice to see some of our wonderful band friends, and we also met several new ones.

Earlier today, We went to Lake Elizabeth for the first part of my cardio. (The second part is at home doing my one hour elliptical. I took a rest yesterday.) At the park, there's a lot of sign saying, "Don't feed the birds." Still, a lot of people threw chunks of bread into the lake. Why is bread bad? People think it's bird food. Of course, it is in fact food, but for the birds, it expands in their system and they get sick. Don't you realize that when you eat carbs, it does the same thing. Don't feed the birds. No carbs. That's what I do for my body nowadays. I love it! Besides, the birds are supposed to hunt for their food. Don't make them be lazy by spoon-feeding them! Unless you are feeding them bugs and green grass, anything else is not okay. I know, I know. Enough ranting. LOL.

We went grocery shopping afterwards. I revamped my list and bought lots of fatty stuff: lots of bacon, pure butter, pure cream cheese, full cream for coffee, whole milk, chicharrones, and veggies. No starch! Tonight, I'm pan-searing London Broil steaks with butter and rubbed with some of my favorite spices. I'll saute the veggies in butter, too. Yum!

So, how's your weekend so far?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hui Ilima 55th Annual Lu'au

Time flies quickly and another lu'au happened. One of my favorite events of the year, the Hui Ilima Lu'au occurred this evening. We just got home from it. This year, though, they had a new venue in San Jose instead of Mountain View. The event was held inside IES Portuguese Hall in Santa Clara Street. And, this year, my parents-in-law, my sister-in-law, and stepkids accompanied me and my husband. It was one big happy family event.

I love the new venue. Lots of parking, because they allowed us to use the nearby church's parking lot. We did get in line early, and we had front row seat. Unfortunately, we were at the side instead of the middle. Still, we were closer to the stage compared to our last year's seats.

My plate

My husband's plate

Please excuse my photos for being blurry. I did not bring my DSLR camera with me. I felt lazy. In fact, I even forgot my phone and used Shaggy's phone instead. HeHe. Anyway, the wonderful members of Hui Ilima served us delicious All-You-Can-Eat Hawaiian food: Kahlua Pork, Lomi Lomi Salmon, Chicken Long Rice Soup, Poi, Sweet Bread, Sweet Potato, Baked Fish, Steamed White Rice, Cocunut Pudding, Pineapples, and Fruit Punch Drink. We prepared for this. I only ate apples for breakfast and lunch, and I worked out real good to free up space for this Hawaiian goodness. HaHa. I'm serious! The food overflowed. It's all you can eat, and you wouldn't say no to everything, especially the Chicken Long Rice Soup. It's my favorite! I honestly need to get the recipe, so I can cook it at home.

In the past, I mentioned that I was not a fan of Poi. However, someone told us this evening that it shouldn't be eaten by itself. It's partnered together with the Kahlua Pork. I tried it this time, and boy oh boy it was great. The saltiness of the Kahlua Pork blended well with the light sweetness of the pasty Poi. What a delight! They were both great together added in Steamed White Rice. Yum!

After dinner, the dance show commenced. Great performances! I adored the keikis (little girls) dancing Tahitian. I kept thinking, "Where did their spines go?" HaHa. They can shake it real good!

Hawaiian dance is fascinating and captivating. Hui Ilima's Lu'au is the closest thing to being in Hawaii. What a lovely culture to experience! Filipinos are considered Asian Pacific Islanders, that's why Hawaiian is somewhat close to my heart. I danced Tahitian when I was a little keiki myself. However, don't ask me to dance now, because I don't think I can do the grass skirt thing. LOL.

If you have no plans of going to Hawaii yet, but you are interested to experience a Lu'au, I highly recommend that you visit Hui Ilima's Lu'au next year. It's totally worth it. There are raffle prizes in store for you, too, aside from the magnificent food, the friendly hospitality of the members, and the excellent dance show. Someday, I'm positive I'd be visiting Hawaii, but for the meantime, this lu'au is my fix.

So, how's your Saturday evening?