(sauteed squash w/ shrimp paste)

heat 3 tbsp cooking oil
add + sautee:
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced
2 pieces large tomato, sliced

then add:
3 tbsp shrimp paste
1/4 lb pork, thinly sliced
cook til brown on all sides

1 cup water 1/4 lb squash, chopped into 2x1 inch cubes
1 large egg plant, chopped (add this a little later after the squash)
boil & simmer til it's soft

then add the rest:
some okra
some string/green beans

salt and pepper

serve over white jasmine rice


west village



west village


these are pictures i took last year. i'm posting them to make up for the lack of pictures i've taken this winter and to remind myself of the little things i love about new york: it's character and quirks. i realize, as i looked through my photo stream, how little i've captured of this. maybe this is a good reminder that my mission here is not over.

i woke up today feeling a sense of lightness i haven't felt in so long. i actually started listening to music again as i commuted to work and i forgot how good it feels when the soundtrack to your life is playing in your ears and you watch it unfold before your eyes. oh, and the sun! i felt the sun on my skin and it felt so good. there was a small patch of sunlight on the sidewalk streaming from behind the buildings and i sure did bask in it.

so, i guess i should tell you, but i hope i don't jinx myself if i do... but i have an interview tomorrow... and i'm real excited about it. for reasons i'll mention if and when i actually do get the job. but for now, i just want to say i haven't felt this happy in a while. it definitely explains the lightness i felt today. all the built up tension on my neck was gone. i even said "hey" (accidentally since i was in such a good mood this morning) to the coworker who i stopped talking to and awkward it was.

also lola v. is back from the Philippines, which all of us are so grateful for. sofia, on the other hand, was just thrilled. when she first saw lola she just stood there staring at her, not moving but she had a huge grin on her face. she's a very shy kid, so if she doesn't recognize you she would probably freeze and hide behind something. she hadn't seen lola since august and i'm sure part of her forgot about her a little bit, but as soon as she saw her and felt her presence she knew. the rest of the night she followed lola v around and hugged her and tugged at her leg. she wouldn't even come to me when i called her and instead she went straight to lola! little punk..

so, i have a huge calendar at work whose days i cross off with a big X. my coworker asked me why i did that, and i explained that it's what prisoners do when they are doing time. she found that rather disturbing and said that something was wrong with me and that i'm in big trouble. hah! but its true. i've felt that way since the first week when i found out what i got myself into. anyhow, i am impressed with myself that i actually have worked there for over a year. it's because a) i'm a masochist. b) i have this need to put myself in "challenging" situations to prove to myself that i can do anything. c) i can't find any other job. d) all of the above.

it is also clear that i am not the only one impressed by how long i've lasted working here. random people who work in other departments still come up to me to tell me how surprised they are that i am still here, or to congratulate me on how long i've lasted. this is no joke.

the past couple of weeks have been nonstop research on possible career paths to pursue. still haven't decided. my whole life thus far has been this endless pursuit to finding something, but today something in me knew that i am exactly where i need to be.


snowed in


for the past so many winters, i find myself saying, "this is the winter of discontent." then the following year, "this is the winter of discontent." and the following year, "no, this is the winter of discontent." and finally this year, "this is definitely the winter of discontent."

i would really like this post not to be about venting and i will try very hard for it not to be. so bare with me.

so much has happened just in the month of january and i'd like for it to stay in january. it is now february.

these have been the most eventful and yet the least inspiring days.

most of which i will blame on the snow, how it has made my commuting life a living hell and used up all my sick days. now that i am really sick, i have to go to work.

i've also been quite ambivalent about nyc and have come to a conclusion that everyone here is miserable. and that the saying, "if you can make it in ny, you can make it anywhere" is true, because ny is probably the worse place to live in. which really sucks, because i really did fall in love with this city and i really want to stay in love with it. perhaps its another one of those relationships that i just can't commit to for the long haul. another love/hate relationship.

the overarching reasons that's causing me to dislike nyc:
1. commuting is rather difficult when you live on the other side of the hudson river and having to cross that river everyday just to get to manhattan. also, nj transit shuts down on certain inclement weather and prevents me from going to work. which is really a blessing in disguise.
2. i am unhappy at my job. certain events have occured that has made me even more uncomfortable there. let's just say i have put up with so much bullcrap already and things are only getting worse.
3. i have no social life
4. "new jerk city" = people here are rude. which is probably the reason for #3 and its probably because they are miserable.
5. maybe i am just too sensitive. ny is not for the faint of heart and i'm just not that kind of person who would argue with random strangers. though lately i find myself in certain situations that's put me on the brink of the the tipping point.

i think these are pretty legit reasons that are making me reconsider moving back to chicago. but then when i think about winter in general, i would much prefer to live in the west coast.

i've been really trying to love ny again, the ny i see in movies. i've been watching a lot of new york city movies/tv shows lately to try and make me fall in love again. mostly woody allen films, meg ryan movies, seinfeld and 3o rock.

if you know any other good ones that might help hold me over til spring, i would greatly appreciate it.