"Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save."
-- Will Rogers --

Lately, I had been reading a lot. I am glad I have the time to do some reading. I have read four books just the past month. I love Katherine Neville's "The Eight". It is a combination of historical, mystical and scientific plot. Really enjoyed reading this book. Mary Higgins Clark's "We'll Meet Again", I can't believe I read it in one day. A wife was convicted of murdering her husband. Locked up and was released after six years. After doing time, she's determined to find out who shot and killed her husband.Interesting twist of events. Then I read Micheal Palmer's "Miracle Cure". It is about a certain miracle drug that's being tested before it's release to the public and a doctor who once believed in the drug went hunting for trail of deaths which may have something to do with this miracle drug.
Then James Patterson's "1st to Die." A sexual deviant who chooses to brutally kill brides and grooms on their wedding day. I also have started leaving through "Memoirs of a Geisha", I don't seem to have the patience to finish it, perhaps in due time I will be able to finish it. I have also started with John Sandford's "Silent Prey." I am still starting. Sometimes, when the beginning of the story catches my interest, I would go on reading. Sometimes, it depends on a certain mood. I could get into a reading mood and goes on and on like a bookworm. Sometimes reading doesn't get into me.


Lately, I have been doing a lot of cooking too.And not just cooking, but I am trying to practice my creativity. Some of the ways of cooking that I have tried so far; tempura - using tempura batter, I was able to make shrimp tempura, vegetable tempura, fish tempura, chicken tempura. Pasta- We have gotten into shrimp pasta alfredo, in addition to spaghetti and pancit. Curry - Chicken curry is a classic favorite especially with toasted red hot chilli peppers. It gives it a kick. Porkchops topped with sauttied onions,green peppers,red peppers,and veggies. Some veggies that I use, baby bokchoy, zuchini. It's best if the porkchops are marinated ahead of time with your choice of seasonings. I use olive oil, chilli oil, season-all, paprika,salt and pepper,dash of soy sauce.Spread,smother seasonings evenly and let it stand for 30 minutes. Salads- we are trying to take the healthier alternatives. We love spring mix, and this salad dressing called "Seven Seas", it's a red wine vinaigrette. Sprinkle sunflower seeds,or some other stuff like tomatoes, cucumber,carrots, mushrooms. Smoothies - we love smoothies especially when the weather gets steamy hot. Of course the classic banana strawberry is on our list. I would combine different fruits. Sometimes I freeze some fruits that are starting to be over ripe and then put them in the smoothie mix. I sometimes use, also those drinkable yogurt in addition to milk to the mixture. It's always refreshing. I would trick hubby into eating avocado this way, by adding avocado to the smoothie. He doesn't like eating avocados, unless it's guacamole. In a smoothie drink, you can't taste it really unless you put a lot of it. Frozen Capuccino, or mocha. That's right, we make our own at home. I am trying to have fruits for snacks and desserts, but hubby doesn't get into it. He loves ice cream and cookies. I would say he's got a sweet tooth. I am not really into sweets except chocolate. But even chocolate, I tend to be choosy. I love Cadbury chocolates. I like my chocolate more milky that sugary taste. Sushi - I love sushi, I have made homemade sushi with shrimp tempura roll. So far, it has been successful. I have to figure out how to make miso soup. Of course, the easiest way would be to get those ready made that you can just pour in hot water. But making sushi can be easy. I just don't get into making the raw stuff. It's hard to get real fresh seafoods. I mean raw fish and seafoods take special care to avoid food poisoning. So, I stick to the basic, maybe california roll next time.

Right now, am trying to avoid canned goods, and frozen goods and too much salt. I probably use more salt on all my foods.

Still in the process of well, I guess experimenting with different ways of cooking. I would like to get into steaming and other ways of course.

Another thing that am trying to do is to grow my own herbs. I have some already in pots in our backyard like parsley, shallots. I intend to get some others like rosemary, mint,oregano. Some of my herbs have been left at our last place. I even had two tomato plants blooming and some garlic. Oh well, I will get new ones later on.


I was reading James Patterson's "1st to Die" and there was a part where the sexual deviant character in the story, Phillip Campbell was talking to a woman on the plane going back after he brutally killed his second bride and groom victims. He looked at the paperback the woman was reading;" Memoirs of a Giesha." It interested him that of all things this woman was reading a book about bondage. "Good book?" as he smiled to her direction. "That's what everyone says." She replied and she added that she was just starting. Then he leaned over, sniffed her citrusy perfume. "It's hard to believe, it was written by a man."

I never realized this until I read "!st to Die." Or I would have never looked at the author of "Memoirs of a Giesha" that I have put off for a while after reading the first few chapters. It's written by an American and a male guy from Tennessee, Arthur Golden. It's from the perspective of a man. I was wishing it was written by a first hand experience. If you don't really look at the author you would think it was written by a giesha. I haven't read the whole story, so I won't comment further, according to some who have read this book, it's a good read, a classic. I would probably want to read other books written by a real geisha like the "Geisha of Gion." by Mineko Iwasaki.

I have never had any idea what a geisha is until I watched documentary that illustrates a corps of highly trained women dedicated to the performance of traditional dance, singing and instrumental music—while addressing cultural perceptions of this uniquely Japanese tradition.Their training from an early age by older geishas. How they put on layers of kimonos and how they are taught how to perform gracefully infront of men and etc.

Of course there are still present day geishas performing in teahouses.In the west, a geisha may be thought as a prostitute.Well,being a geisha may not exclude that part of the entertainment may come the sexual involvement since most of the customers are men. At present, it's an art that's becoming extinct.

I have the part where the fiftteen year old girl's virginity was put into auction. At the present day, it would be a crime to do such thing due to the changes in laws and geard towards protection of human rights. But there are still similar cases going on in some parts of the world.We just hear or read about them. I remember I watched a documentary about "Human Traficking" going on in differant parts of the world. Women being recruited and being promised jobs and good pay in other countries, it turns out they end up in a pimp house where they are being abused and mistreated and not even get paid. There was a woman from Bogota,Colombia who was betrayed by her own cousin was working in Japan. When she got to Japan, she found herself in a pimp house, her documents and passport confiscated. She was forced to work for them. There are lots of similar cases going on around the world, people being sold for sex slaves. We just don't hear about them, except when they hit the media.

On a slightly different topic, I was on a plane from Hongkong, I was reading "The Morning Post" and I was shocked to read about this African sexual cleansing. It is an old practice where widows have to have sex with a family member inorder to break the bond with his spirits and to save the village from disease. I find this practice very weird. Well, it's a practice that is slowly deminishing.

Another practice that is a old and is still being practiced at present in a way is "arranged marriage." The first time I heard about this was in highschool when a classmate of mine mentioned she's "nitbe". I was so curious what that means. So I was insistent she explain to me. She said that eversince she was a baby, her parents have already pre-arranged her "husband to be", I said, "what?" She even know who the boy is and that her parents and the boy's parents are close friends. Later on I have learned it's an old practice that people do in the olden times. Some even wed their kids as early as toddlers or even while they are infants. Some parents take it seriously that their kids marry their choice. As to my former classmate. She didn't marry the guy. She ended up marrying another. But even then, this practice is being done in present day marriages. What is amazing is that when two people are pre-arranged and would actually marry each other in the future with their own free will, and I mean fall in love without the pressure of other people. In the Philippines, it's very common for good friends "compadres" to arrange the future of their kids over a bottle of gin.