Sep 24, 2014

Daily thoughts - Finding my unlikely "sole" mate

When I was in College, the official shoes sponsored by our university for our varsity team was Asics. Back then, Asics was not that popular yet, it was Nike and Adidas that was the all time favorite. For our track team however, Asics was the cheaper yet more reliable bet. 

After graduating from College I still continued running but not as regularly as I used to. I've always been loyal to Asics though because I have never had any issues with it. Occasionally, Id get Nike if it was on sale and also Adidas. In Medical school I still ran every week and switched brands from Asics, Nike and Adidas. I dont mean to diss Nike but everytime I got a pair of their running shoes, the sole just comes off. It looks great but does not deliver, not to my standards that is.

When I quit Medical School and moved to Singapore, I ran almost everyday. Running is pretty popular there but I didnt really join a lot of races. I mostly ran because I enjoy it. The shoes in Sg are a bit expensive and Asics was no execption. When it was on sale, i got myself the first Asics DS Trainers and then later on the GT 2140. I had to replace them eventually when I moved to the Philippines after my 3 years stint. 

Asics ceased being affordable once the running bug hit the Philippines. The running fever has caught on quickly that even couch potatoes I knew back in college are ardently pursuing running. For whatever reason they have, because of trend or health, its still not a bad idea. Fitness is something that I believe will never go out of style. However as is the case with anything that's considered hip, the demand for the outfit or gear necessary for the trendy activity consequently gets a hefty price tag. Nike has always been expensive and i never really cared too much for it. But I was disappointed when Asics in the Philippines followed suit. I never purchased another Asics in the Philippines because the prices are a rip off. The last brand I got was a Mizuno Wave precision 11 which was 3 years ago. I thought it was an excellent pair of shoes and was reasonably priced as well.  

Fortunately here in the US, you will always find an array of amazing and affordable running shoes. the only drawback is that since there are so many choices and great reviews, it is'nt easy to pick out the right one. Finding a perfect pair, which is not really impossible is trial error. Its almost like looking for a good husband. Lol. You truly have to try on a few to know which one works for you (the shoes I meant). 

I bought an adidas and two Asics when I first got here. I paid almost 500 usd just for running shoes. Im not into heels or other fancy shoes so i invest in sneakers. The Asics Nimbus was the last pair I bought. It was awesome and although I hated the color (shocking pink), I thought it served me well. It was light, almost had the perfect snug and didnt chafe my ankles. But it was a little tight on the toebox and it left me with semi dead pinky toe nails. Also it was not cheap.

asics nimbus 14
It was time to look for a new pair because my old ones had to retire. The basic requirements I look for in a pair of running shoes are the following:

1) roomy toebox -snug but allows you to wiggle your toes. 
2) lightweight - but doesnt have thin soles you can almost feel the ground
3) affordable- of course. whats the point of getting awesome shoes when the price is not equally great. i want to run, but i also want to be able to eat well and pay my bills. 

After thoughtful consideration and exasperating experience on reading shoe reviews, I decided to just go out of the box and try any shoe at the specialty store that felt "right". I didnt want to restrict myself to any particular brand that i have been accustomed to.  After my shift from work last March, I went to Jack Rabbit to try out their shoes. The lady who assisted me asked me a couple of questions to help me find the kind of shoe I needed. I told her I ran every week and I prefer something that wasnt too bulky but provided enough support. I unsure whether i was an under or overpronator so she asked me to run on the treadmill. (she said I am an overpronator). She didnt ask me if i had any brand preference and neither did she suggest any either. I thought it was cool because I didnt feel like i had to choose from the usual.

She brought out a couple of shoes for me to try on. I tried a pair of saucony, asics, mizuno, adidas and lastly brooks. I chose the brooks ghost 6. It was the only pair with the roomy toebox. I have these weird flat feet and urban dictionary has a term for it. Its called the duckbill platypus feet. One of the reasons I always have trouble finding the right pair of shoes is because of this. I was so glad I finally found a pair of running shoes that has that wide wiggle room for my not so dainty toes. And it was inexpensive too.

7 months later Im still so in love with this pair that if i could id even sleep in it. some people suggest that you use your running shoes only when running and alot other kind of shoes for other activities. But these shoes are so amazing that I feel like im not wearing anything when I run or walk in it. I want to use it forever but ive abused it to death that my last long run was so uncomfortable I had to accept the sad reality its over for my favorite pair of running shoes. 

The good news is, I now know what kind of shoes are perfect for me. After 21 years of running its a little strange I never figured it out that I had platypus feet and I needed something with a bigger forefoot space. The Brooks Ghost 6 is the best pair of running shoes I have ever had. It had the lightness of the Asics DS trainer, the stability of the Adidas Glide and still manages to look fashionable (although the last one is the least important quality to me).  I am seriously considering on replacing these shoes..not with the newer model but the same one but a new pair! yeah it may sound stupid to some but im close to running my long overdue race and im not taking chances by getting a different pair of shoes that may not even hold up that well. Another perk of getting the same model is that since its successor has recently come out, i can get a new pair of the old model for 60 dollars less. 

Search is over. I may switch to another model in the future but the Brooks Ghost 6 is by far the shoe that was meant for me. It would've been great if it came in orange though. 

Brooks Ghost 6

Sep 22, 2014

Daily thoughts - Positives of the week

Even if I wanted to I cannot get around to writing my daily positives. I just dont have the time. Nevertheless I dont let a day go by ignoring the many things I am grateful about. I will highlight a few of the many things that stood out from this wonderful week.

1) Grateful to have a fridge stocked with good food! I was able to cook a couple of awesome dishes because I had all the necessary ingredients.

Tofu in green curry
Chickenless sopas
grilled salmon with turmeric,lemon, pepper and cumin. sauteed snow pea shoots

creamy mushroom soup from scratch
Kimchi Bibimbap
Porridge and tofu

Mac&Cheese, veggie links and steamed broccoli

2) Hubby was down with a cold but he is now recovering. Cheesecake our cat was also having some issues with his breathing but he seems ok now too.

He looks pissed like we woke him from his beauty rest
3) Did my workouts without sustaining any injuries. Praying it will stay that way.

4) And of course I am forever grateful for another day of being alive. the greatest gift of all is the gift of life, to be in the company of those I love and cherish. For having a great husband who gives me massages and appreciates everything I do for our little family.

Running thoughts - 13 mile run on Sunday September 14 2014

Last Sunday I dragged myself to go out for a run. Im currently following a training plan and Im supposed to do a 13 mile long slow distance run for that day but I was too sluggish and not in the mood to do it. But I had to coz the race day is 2 months away and its paid for already. I have to just suck it up and be as excited the day I decided to sign up for it. 

I started running at a very slow pace and the usual run route view by the river was not as exciting. It kinda mirrored my mood, overcast, blah, boring. 

But I went on my way and decided id finish the run at central park. I dropped by at Jack Rabbit along 72nd street to pick up some energy gels because I only had a bagel for lunch. I didnt even bother to bring water which is a must especially when going out for runs longer than an hour. I tried to look for a small bottle of spring or distilled water but all the food cart i checked out had those humongous ones that were too bulky to carry with me. I decided to just get this thing over and done with.  Normally Im happy when I go running. this wasnt one of those days, it felt more like a chore. 

On the 9th mile of my run I saw a couple of runners headed towards the Jackie O reservoir. I remembered that a few weeks back I was running at that loop, part of the are was closed off so I decided to run on the outer lane of the park. I followed the crowd anyway to see what was going on.

The runners all stopped to admire the view. The hue from the sky was just spectacular so I whipped out my phone and took a few snaps. I uploaded it right away on facebook and instagram and was getting a lot of ooohss and aaahhs and wows immediately. I didnt even need any filter to show how amazing this view was. 

I was not expecting that the sunset would look so beautiful that afternoon because while i was running at the riverside park, the sky looked gray, sad and  unlike the past couple of days. it was like signaling the end of summer. But to my surprise, my otherwise uneventful day and run turned out exciting because of this magnificent view. Its kind of a metaphor in life. When you least expect it, there is something beautiful out there at the end of your day waiting, but you have to look for it to find it. Lol mushy mode.

It was getting dark though and I had to make my exit from the park after I ran 11 miles. After that incident a few weeks ago I never thought I would put myself again in a crazy compromising situation. When I reached 11 miles I was running deep in the park, in a semi lit part of the road but for what probably seemed liked 5 whole minutes, there was no one else other than an old dude who I just ran past. I was scared once again but it was too late to retreat because the road was going downhill now. If i ran back where I came from, it would take a toll on my legs and I had just a bit of fuel left in my tank. I just removed my headset, tried to be alert and ran until I found a well lit place with more people and looked for an exit. That's the last time I try to beat the sunset in Central Park. Running is fun but not when you're being chased by sexual predators. That could set a new PR though but what if you tripped right? lol game over. 

I went to Fairways Supermarket after my run to pick up a few items. But before that I had to replace the electrolytes. 

Everything would have been great until I found out the damn train had to stop at one station and wont go any further. Everyone had to get off and take the shuttle.

Packed train ride
When I got home I still managed to cook a very awesome dinner. This is true love. Cooking dinner even after a rigorous 13 mile run. 
Tilapia with lemon, butter, garlic and parsley. Ready to be baked!

Finished product with rice and sauteed kale. 
What a glorious day. That run was'nt so bad after all. 

Foodie thoughts - Salmon with Chraimeh sauce

My husband bought the Jerusalem cookbook a year ago and I've been looking at this recipe for months and never got around to making it. The ingredients were'nt really that hard to find but it just looked like it was too taxing to make. But i knew eventually i was going to make it coz the photo in the book just looked so good. 

So one sunny day I decided I needed to make it because I couldnt find it in any restaurants in new york anyway. I went to Fairways (were I get most of my groceries) to pick up some of the ingredients I could'nt find in the supermarket in my neighborhood. Once I got everything together I was unstoppable in the kitchen. lol.

I basically followed everything on the book which can also be found on this link

Here is the full text: 

This recipe is from Jerusalem: A Cookbook.

Authors Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi write: “In Jerusalem, just as famous as gefilte fish is chraimeh, the ‘queen’ of all dishes for Tripolitan [Libyan] Jews... Families pride themselves on their particular chraimeh recipe. It showcases the true skills of the Tripolitan cook – and, with variations on this theme, of other North African cooks – evident in the texture of the sauce, its color, piquancy, and heat.”

Sea bass or any type of white fish can be used instead of the salmon.

“Chraimeh is served as a starter, warm or at room temperature, with challah for dipping, a slice of lemon, and a jug of water to calm the heat. This dish is easily reheated and the sauce is so tasty that you may want to double the amount so you have more for dipping the bread.”

Makes 4 servings 
110 ml. (scant 1⁄2 cup) sunflower oil 
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour salt and freshly ground black pepper 
4 salmon steaks, about 450 grams (1 pound) 
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 
2 tsp. sweet paprika 
1 tsp. caraway seeds, dry toasted and freshly ground 
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin rounded 
1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper rounded 
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon 
1 green chili (hot pepper), coarsely chopped 
2⁄3 cup water 
3 Tbsp. tomato paste 
2 tsp. sugar 
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges, plus 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) 

Heat 2 tablespoons sunflower oil over high heat in a large frying pan for which you have a lid. Place flour in a shallow bowl, season generously with salt and pepper, and toss fish in it. Shake off excess flour and sear fish for a minute or two on each side, until golden. Remove fish and wipe the pan clean.

Place garlic, spices, chili and 2 tablespoons oil in a food processor and blitz to form a thick paste. You might need to add a little more oil to bring everything together.

Pour remaining oil into the frying pan, heat well, and add the spice paste. Stir and fry for just 30 seconds, so that the spices don’t burn. Quickly but carefully (it may spit!) add the water and tomato paste to stop the spices from cooking.

Bring to a simmer and add the sugar, lemon juice, 3⁄4 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Taste for seasoning.

Put fish in sauce, bring to a gentle simmer, cover pan and cook for 7 to 11 minutes, depending on size of fish, until it is just done. Remove pan from heat, take off the lid, and leave to cool.

Serve fish just warm or at room temperature.

Garnish each serving with cilantro and a lemon wedge.

roasting the caraway seeds


Frying the salmon
spices and other ingredients
Fish and the chraimeh sauce
Finished product with Asparagus and Couscous:)
I am not trying to sound like an expert but the sauce was truly outstanding. Best of all the hubby said it was probably one of the best meals he has ever eaten. Restaurant quality. Yey mission accomplished. the guinea pig is happy.

Sep 18, 2014

Daily thoughts -4 Positives of the day

I dont have time to get on the pc as often as I want and I wonder how some people have the time to even blog every single day. I dont know if that's something enviable but it's kinda cool to be able to do that. Or even post new photos of the cool stuff I see when I go running or even just my cats. I also would love to share the things that made my day.

For starters I would like to share my Facebook Wallpost yesterday that a few people shared on their wall (flattered!)

"When you constantly cheat, take advantage or take for granted the people who care for you and they remain silent don't always assume they aren't aware of what you are doing. It could be their silence is them slowly withdrawing from you. Then all of a sudden you're not just unfriended, you're simply just not part of their lives anymore."

I honestly dont meant to sound like a crabby old bitch by saying something like that. But its the sad truth. I truly dont understand why there are people who dont value the kindness, love or trust you show or give them. it's not that you expect them to do cartwheels over everything you do, but at least they should'nt go out of their way to deliberately lie, and treacherously manipulate you or take something from you at every opportunity they get. Then again there is that worn out saying that goes, if you allow lousy behavior then dont be surprised if it continues. So yeah thats what I thought. If they wont change, its truly up to you to do something about it. Sever ties for your own good. Its okay to forgive if youve been wronged but i dont think the trust can easily be restored. Forgiveness is possible but it does not always have to be inclusive of trust. 

On a positive note id like to highlight the things that stood out from my day yesterday:

1) Ran 4 miles today without incident. I didnt get enough sleep so I was expecting id conk out out somehow but that didnt happen so im grateful for that

2) Cooked something hearty for the hubby. Chickenless sopas which is somewhat one of his favorites when we used to live in singapore (except the original had chicken in it). He is feeling a little under the weather

3) Finally found someone willing to buy the old iphone 4s we had for 2 years. There's nothing wrong with the phone and the truth is we wanted to hold on to it for a few more years until it fell apart. Its in good condition and even comes with the otter box. If Sprint wasnt such a douchebag and unlocked it for us then we didnt have to purchase a new one. but the evil greedy bastards that they are, they have a policy of not unlocking their phones even after youve paid the hefty installment fees for 2 years. they must be really hurting for money or customers otherwise they would have just honored their word 2 years ago and let customers do as they please with their phones as soon as the contract is over. In short, they didnt want us to part with them and move on to another carrier, because they are just so awesone..NOT! oh well that would be for another post because i said positives for the day :p

4) Last and not the least, I am grateful to the Lord for giving us another day to be alive. Happy to be healthy and in the company of my amazing husband and our 3 babies. they are My world in this shoebox paradise. With a fridge stocked with food and a great fast, reliable (sometimes) internet connection. Oh and the cold water is back too. For some reason, we only had hot water for 3 days. I realized that it's crazier and more annoying than the other way around. Because when the water is hot and you have a tiny bucket to stock water, you wait forever for it to cool down. First world problems? Lol. I remember a few years ago, the problem was not having water at all. haha

Sep 12, 2014

Daily thoughts - "Love" contributions of random people on the subway and from my fb friends

A couple of days ago I came up with this idea of asking people on the subway what they thought about love. I wanted something original and a one liner but unfortunately it was not as easy like i thought. Most people I asked had to get off their stop before they could give me their thoughts. I was able to get only 2 or 3 answers from the train so I resorted to facebook to get some help from friends. I intend to compile all the answers until I come up with a hundred. in the meantime, here's what I gathered so far. Some dont seem like original ideas to me because it even came with the photo of the quote taken online somewhere lol. Oh well Ill change the rules next time but for now id like to share these:

So what is love to you?

1) Love is abandoning a promising future to be with someone you arent sure would do the same thing for you. 

2) Love is not having to ask if it would hurt -Louie Y. 

3) Love is helping someone for Jesus sake eventhough he can never return the favor - Ruth P

4) Love is sacrifice - TJ T

5) Love is giving someone the power to destroy you but trusting them not to - Red R

6) Love is what makes you smile when youre tired - Red R

7) Love is putting others' needs before yourself -Maila M

8) Love is a decision

9) (here is my favorite)  Love is waking up to the sound of my baby crying because she wants me to hold her. Love is changing your daughter's nappy so she remains comfortable. Love is hearing my daughter ask me to take selfies of the two of us together. Love is gazing into the big beautiful eyes of my daughter as she smiles happily and innocently at a world where evil does not exist. Love is knowing that the people you care for are safe and content with their lives. is my daughter and loved ones (friends and relatives alike)- Sonnyboy

10)Love is a blessing - JOhn Dee

11) Love is, still laughing at the same jokes your husband has been telling you for years -Ariana

12)The ability to gulp the arroz caldo leftover of your granddaughter after she spew a spoonful over the bowl because she had one too many serving already. - Attorney Joe

13) Love is a happy and crazy feeling i felt in high school. Whenever i see him, i felt bongo drums thumping in my heart. Whenever he comes near again my heart skips a beat like an old carburator of a dilapidated car. If he smiles at me i see flowers everywhere. It is a crazy and funny feeling. The sad part is, i did not even knew his name.- Atty Joe's friend carmencita 

14) love is a deep sense of contentment and security because you know youll never be alone in the world and that you'll always be with someone you care for deeply and who feels the same way about you. it is being with someone you can have a great time with and be yourself with and that person will always be there for you - Brutus

Daily thoughts - September 10 positives of the day

I decided that everytime I have the chance to get on my pc I will enumerate at least 4 positive things that stood out from my day.

facebook wall post of the day (hehe)

My highschool teacher passed away 2 days ago and I can't help but mourn his death yet at the same time celebrate his life. Life is indeed short and I believe that this is reason enough for us to pursue what makes us happy. Time to give up the frivolous activities that only interferes with our passion and opportunities to enjoy life. I'm not saying give up your day job, just don't put off having fun too long or life could be over before you appreciate it.

1)Yesterday was truly a great day.  for starters I managed to squeeze in a work out before going to my Wednesday class in the afternoon.

2) I called an important person and we have resolved a 4 year conflict. I am really very happy to have spoken to her and this is the start of a beautiful relationship again.

3) This is probably one of my favorite highlights of the week and not just today. I ran into the yogurt guy who I always get my afternoon snack from when I worked at Wall Street. The last time I saw him was on July 18 2014 when I said it was the last time I will be getting yogurt from his truck at that spot because our company was relocating to Texas. I remember how sad he was hearing the news. I told him that I might still see him around though because I know he is at Union Square by evening and sometimes I do go there. He seem relieved by that though. He has met my husband too and one time even gave us two free cones of yogurt! He is that cool. So anyway I saw him and boy was he so happy to see me too! he even told me he missed me and I said I missed him too. I told him that i wont be going back to that same office because they really have moved to TX. He still remembered my usual order and when it was time to pay, he adamantly refused to accept my money. I tried but failed. this man is truly awesome not because he always gives me free stuff but this isnt the first time he has shown me so much kindness. A few months ago he gave me a box of green tea and even a bag of mint. The reason why this particular experience is important to me is because my friend, Soufian, is a Muslim from Morocco.  I know right now that Muslims are getting a bad rap because of the evil activities of the fundamentalists. And its not uncommon that they are lumped in altogether under one stereotype. But I dont believe that they are all the same. This example clearly demonstrates that there are Muslims who just want to coexist peacefully with anyone regardless of their religious belief. I cannot help but be truly overwhelmed by the simple yet generous display of his kindness to me. Oh and he was also apologizing so profusely that they ran out of strawberries. isnt he great?

Soufian getting my order ready

the awesome yogo yogurt
4) last but not the least of course is waking up alive, happy and healthy to be in the company of my amazing husband and my 3 brat babies.  Life is always beautiful and meaningful because i have these wonderful blessings from the Lord that give me so much happiness and reason to keep believing that one need not a lot of money in the world to be happy. The essentials are those that matter and that is family and being content with what one has.

Daily thoughts - Looking back on the brevity of life

A couple of days ago I received news from my brother and highschool friends that our Algebra teacher passed away. He was only 47 years old, single and has no children, yet was very successful as a professor. It was like dejavu because I remember a couple of years back that my thesis adviser, also young (early forties), single, no children and yet very successful suddenly died. I even wrote an article about him and my thoughts on the the brevity of life. 

I feel sad knowing he passed away but it was an eye opener too. You never really know when it is your time. Life is indeed short. 

I reread my old article and here I am again pondering on the same sentiments.  Although I have rearranged my priorities in the past few years and have been in pursuit of what makes me happy, there is still something left undone. Ive been stupid believing that I have all the time in the world, still putting off that plan to truly move on. I needed to take that step and forgive otherwise I cannot truly get on with my life harboring these grudges. 

So yesterday, I made a major decision to bury the hatchet and call a person I havent spoken to in 4 years.  I called, she didnt pick up. But after a few minutes here she was calling me back. I answered it and she didnt know who I was at first. When I finally told her it was me, there was something magical that happened.There was sincerity that she really was happy to hear from me. And she asked for forgiveness. 

It was a first step but a huge one for me and im truly happy and relieved to have let go of that pent up anger. Forgiveness indeed as they say is a gift you give yourself and not just the one you give it too. 

Life is too precious to waste being angry and hateful. There is so much we can do when we do not have any of that animosity. We are more productive when we are happy. 

I am free=)