Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Great medicine, good food.

Normally, going to the hospital is my least favorite activity.  I usually expect to wait for hours for my turn to get a consultation from the doctor assigned by the company HMO. Well, that was the case for this particular visit. I had to do a 12 hour fast for my blood test at the Makati Medical Center, so I went at 7:30am so that I can have breakfast early as well. 

I looked around the newly renovated MMC and found some familiar food stalls: Pizza Hut, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Seattle's Best and Mary Grace. However, I was really looking for, you know, BREAKFAST. So I asked the guard and he recommended the Floating Island which served all kinds of meals.

Situated on the 3rd level of the MMC, it greets you with an aroma of Lavazza, a brand of coffee I first had the chance to taste while in Italy with my host family from Mel, in the province of Belluno.  Immediately, I decided, this is it!

The staff seemed attentive and friendly and gave us the menus right away. I ordered the Beef Tapa (P205 Beef slices with fried rice and 2 eggs) 

and my friend A ordered the American Breakfast (P175 Hash Brown, 2 sausages and eggs-no bread)

and we both had the Lavazza  brewed coffee for P70 each.


The beef tapa - delicious! The atchara (pickled horseradish) was a perfect side dish.

The American Breakfast - filling and good value for money, although there should have been bread to go with the sausage, and maybe another hash brown.

The Lavazza coffee - perfect. good value for money and great brewed coffee.

The service - ok. My friend asked to have her eggs scrambled and they served it sunny side up. Serving time was fast since there weren't too many people. And we were lucky the manager was there so she was always on the lookout for customer's requests.
Ambience - It's nice to have a place like this to hang out in while you're in a hospital. It makes you forget about those horror stories about hospital food too.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting to know the induction cooker

Out of necessity and fear of being helpless (and foodless) once the gas runs out, I decided to get an induction cooker. An induction cooker cooks/heats food faster and is more energy efficient only because you are supposed to finish cooking meals faster than over a fire. The induction cooker only works with any stainless pot or pan. If you place any other cookery with it, it simply won't heat/cook the food . The price for an induction cooker ranges from as low as P1,000 to P15,000. I got my Hanabishi induction cooker for P2,300 at Automatic Center in Cubao (Quezon City, Philippines). It came with a free stainless steel pan so it was ready to be used in case of emergency.


The day finally came when I ran out of gas while in the middle of preparing our breakfast (thank God it was a weekend!). I took out the manual, skimmed through it and was eager to start. I put some oil in the pan, since the manual said "never put an empty pot on the stove", placed it on top of the heating plate and pressed the ON button.

In a matter of SECONDS the oil was sizzling...but the pan was browning TOO! I panicked and turned it off. I guess, oil in the pan wasn't enough.
So take two: I put oil in the pan, put the garlic in and pressed the ON button again. I adjusted the heat to low and Viola! I was cooking! I had the fried rice and hot dogs cooked in under 10 minutes.
Induction cooker, you passed my test. It's great for emergencies and people living in small spaces. It's energy efficient and time saving as well. I do recommend you get one!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

First Day Blues

A lot of parents know this: the first day of school can get a little crazy. For my son K, it was just that.

All throughout the week he had been wondering which class he'd belong to and who his class adviser would be. So when I told him that he'd be in the same class and under the same teacher, he was pacified. You see, people with Asperger's Syndrome need to be aware of their schedule for the next day. If changes occur unpredictably, it would be very devastating for them.

We started the first day of school morning like we had during the school year before: we woke up at 5, I cooked breakfast and prepared his lunch while he got ready for school. We chat for a few minutes during breakfast, he brushes his teeth and goes downstairs to wait for the school bus. Everything went smoothly and I was assured that he was ok until his teacher sent me an SMS saying that he had been transferred to a more mainstream class. I knew I should be ecstatic. I had been excited for the day when his teachers would deem him worthy of transferring to a more advanced class. But no. I was so worried about how he would cope with the sudden change in his environment/plans/classmates/teachers/subjects and so on.

So, as soon as I got home I asked him how his day went. He said: "It's a LOT DIFFERENT!" And I could tell that he didn't have a good day. When I asked him if he liked his old class better, he pulled a weird face and then tears were running down his face. I asked him why he was crying and he said: "It's automatic." I truly believe he can't understand where all the emotion was coming from but I knew it all stemmed from the fact that he went through a most devastatingly unpredictable day and he couldn't do anything about it or express how he truly felt.

This really broke my heart. I know he's bound to encounter more events like the one he endured today. And I won't be there to hold his hand or tell him that everything's going to be alright everytime this happens. But I know that I'm going to do whatever it takes to prepare him for such situations and I'll try to teach him that change is something we all will experience as we all grow older.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The most important things I have to remember by heart

Some will say that giving birth to and living with a child with Asperger's Syndrome is a curse. Imagine teaching someone how to look at people in the eye, or, how to crack a simple joke, better yet, understand one. Or think of how you can work on conjuring an "acceptable" smile, or teaching him how to pause between sentences as "normal" people would. Let me tell you, it's hard. Most parents are concerned with their child's bad behavior, worrying about peer pressure, or being too independent, too early. Parents of kids with AS worry about totally different things.

I've consulted several books on how to understand, help, and live harmoniously with my child who has AS. The books all helped but I believe the best way to go about it is to listen, observe, and remember. You have to listen to him and try to "get" him. He doesn't talk like other normal/neuro-typical people. He talks like he was reading off an encyclopedia in a monotonous voice which makes it difficult to appear interested in whatever he's saying. You also have to observe him and see what ticks him off, what excites him and what calms him down. It may be sights, sounds, smells or textures which gets him ticked off. He may be excited about a certain activity, person, video game or toy. A mother's job is to remember by heart all these things so it can be avoided, dampened or enhanced.

One entry about this is really too short. To better understand what my son is like let me quote a part of one book I'm reading right now: THE ASPERGER'S ANSWER BOOK by Susan Ashley PH.D.

What your child with Asperger's Syndrome wants you to know: (Part 1)
  • I may overreact for no apparent reason, but usually I have a reason, I just can't say yet.
  • Just because I was able to control myself for several days doesn't mean I can today
  • I don't misbehave on purpose, and I am not trying to defy or annoy you
  • Don't expect me to be smart in every subject just because I have a great vocabulary
  • Please don't tell me to "work it out" with my classmates, I have no idea how to do that
  • I love to talk and do not know when to stop. Gently remind me to "hold that thought."
  • I am at my best when every day goes predictably. Please try to have a routine in class.
  • Please warn me in advance of upcoming changes since I do not cope well with change.
  • Keep a close eye on me in group activities because I do not do well in groups
  • I am slow to respond if you ask me a question so please give me time to answer
  • My brain does not work well when I am interrupted. I usually insist on starting over again.
  • Please do not insist that I look you in the eye. I am very uncomfortable with eye contact.
  • I don't understand jokes or sarcasm so you might have to explain them to me.
  • Even though nothing anyone does can cure me, I need your support every day, all year.
It's a 24/7 job, and I'm happy to be doing it, for him. He's a wonderful person. Compassionate, sensitive, and loving. It's unfortunate that not everyone who crosses his path will understand him. But, I'm excited for the few who will get to know him and realize what a good person he truly is. And for that I'm truly blessed.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bravissimo, Gelatissimo!

I make it a point to go out and treat myself to something nice every Friday night. Be it a movie, eating at a new restaurant, buying my favorite magazine, or shopping for simple toiletries, it makes me feel like I'm doing something nice for myself and I deserve it after a hectic week at the office.

Last Friday, my friend and I decided to treat ourselves to something sweet. It was something we rarely did as we are always on a diet and are very conscious about the calories we take in. However when we passed by Gelatissimo in Greenbelt 5, we just had to give it a try.

Gelatissimo, Greenbelt 5

Stepping inside, you will be confronted with an array of flavors which can be quite overwhelming. You can ask to taste any flavor before making your choice. You pay for it at the counter: P110 - 1 scoop/flavor in a cup. You can also choose to have your gelato in a cone (I'm not sure how much more you have to pay, but it isn't too expensive ). You can opt to take it out or stay inside the store and enjoy your gelato sitting down. Anyway, we tried the Chocolate Truffle and the Mint Chocolate flavors. And boy, was it good! I'll be sure to visit Gelatissimo on my next cheat day!

Chocolate Truffle & Mint Chocolate Yum!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Grrrendha!

I went shopping with Alice last Saturday and was looking for a comfortable pair of shoes I didn't need to worry about wearing while walking the rainy streets of Manila for the next three or four months. Slippers are allowed where I work but I just don't go that far...Good thing I chanced on these inside Chocolate boutique in Robinsons Galleria:


Sandals/slippers are priced P1000 - 1500. But the best part is, they'e all completely 100% biodegradable! Isn't that neat?

I'm so looking forward to wearing this today. :) I'll tell you how it goes once I continue this post later. :)