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A long holiday weekend. I turned a year older :)

A lot has happened over the past few weeks and I am not sure where to start. There were a lot of Christmas parties I attended, and I turned another year older :) . My mother came over a week before my birthday to have her interview at the US embassy for her US Visa so thankfully I did not spend Christmas and my birthday alone. Unfortunately that meant my father spent Christmas alone at our house.

My mother and I spent most of my birthday shopping for her upcoming trip to the US. We bought a nice green checkered luggage (on sale) since she found my 2 week luggage too small. We bought a black double lined trench coat, several long sleeved cotton turtlenecks, a couple of bonnets, and a pair of leather gloves. It's not really that cold where she's going but she gets cold easily even complaining if an electric fan is pointed in her direction while she's sleeping here in the tropics. Sheesh! Hahaha. On our way home there was a huge traffic jam near a public market and it was past dinnertime when we finally arrived. We had a ball of ham, chicken-potato-macaroni salad (my mom was complaining that her fingers were stained red chopping beets for the salad), freshly baked high fiber low sugar bread we bought along the way, 3 types of cheeses (Emmental, Havarti and Gouda - I originally planned to make cheese fondue but decided to eat cheese cubes with the bread instead), jelly salad with nata de coco and kaong, and a bottle of sparkling grape juice. For Christmas the following day, we had a lot of leftovers (hehe) and just added some barbecued pork ribs and beef and mushroom stew. We were sipping vodka mudshakes that my mother seem to like but later told me she was getting a little dizzy :p

Orange monster

I got some nice presents this year from our office exchange-gift and from friends and family. My mother gave me a nice small stainless steel pressure cooker hehe (strangely enough I always wanted one). From friends, I got an egg shaped alarm clock that keeps on falling off the table (the time is displayed on a see through glass on the center of the egg), a 3 legged 1 eyed orange monster with suction cups for feet and bendable legs that has a motion detector and plays a recorded sound when activated (it's a cool gadget I think but I have yet to think of a practical use for it - perhaps a door greeter that will warn potential guests to my room to stay away?), a dancing wind up robot toy (weird), a small LED keychain flashlight (very practical), a very "kikay" decorative photo frame with colored beads and stones adorning the sides (this is probably the strangest gift I received - even surpassing that dancing robot thingie), and a Stephen King book. Hmm did I miss something? For those who haven't given me any gifts *cough* I'm sure you just haven't had the time to give it to me yet *grin*.

Of course I also had gifts for myself and my new apartment. For the apartment, I bought this very nice clothes drying rack. It has 2 bars that can be independently adjusted to your desired height and the lengths are also extendable on both ends. The entire construction has a sturdy feel to it even with the lengths fully extended. I finally got rid of the makeshift clothesline I made using a span of nylon rope spanning one window to the bathroom door. For myself, after much deliberation, I decided to buy a gaming console. :) Not one of those new generation types like the XBox360 mind you, just a plain Playstation 2 with the new slim form factor. I got it on a Christmas promo that included an extra controller, a memory card and 10 games in the package. I still haven't tried all of them but I should at least test out all the games before the warranty expires. The only problem I have is that the one game I really want to play is Naruto 2 and I can't make sense of the menus in Japanese! I can play the combat tournament just fine but I need to understand what is being said to unlock the special characters in the game :( I gues I will have to send screen shots to my brother for translation.

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