September 19, 2008

Say it with flowers

I like all flowers in general because all of them have captivating beauty, but I don't grow them. I don't mind with the dirt and the worms but I am really horrible at taking care of plants. I think I don't have much of a green thumb if you know what I mean. To me all flowers are beautiful whether they grow in the gardens, meadows, prairies, in open fields or along roads. One of the advantage of living in a tropical climate like Indonesia is the availability of beautiful flowers all year around. My favorite flowers are daisies, gerbera daisies and frangipani. The other flowers I love are orchids, sunflowers, lilies, hibiscus, magnolia and tulips (but we don't have them here). Here is some interesting reading that reveals your favorite flower says a lot about you. So, what's your favorite flower/s?
If you like this flower, then tradition is very important to you and you have a down to earth attitude. You have loyal and trusted friends and you surround yourself with loved ones who seek your guidance. You would make a great sage in ancient times, or an excellent leader currently.

You pay attention to details and see the things most people do not. You are a natural at taking in everything about life and are happy to be alive. You are also a very optimistic person.

The best career for you would be anything where you deal with people. Due to your upbeat attitude, working in a hospital could help brighten the days of those people around you.

You are often bored with the mundane and enjoy vitality and creativity. You go with inspiration and thrive in jobs where you are your own boss.

If you are doing something with artistry, writing or anything else creative, then you are happiest. The nine to five job atmosphere is something that is completely wrong for you and your creative personality.

People are drawn to you because you make them feel better about themselves through your nurturing ways. You would make a great therapist and you feel at ease when dealing with everyone else's troubles.

You are a very caring person. Other jobs that would work well for you are a guidance counselor or anything where people need your personal views on their lives.

You are a friend who gets the first call when news happens within your circle of friends. You are very social and busy, but you crave alone time and at times you feel shy around others.

For women, you are looking to bring the best out in your husband or boyfriend. Due to your outgoing personality, anything in customer service would work well for you.

Change is good for you and you are always thinking of ways to improve everyone's lives, including your own. Deep down, you are content with what you have, despite your need for a changing atmosphere.

You would enjoy traveling so try and find a career that takes that into account. Being stuck in the same position for years will drive you nuts.

September 15, 2008

Gladys & Snowy, a strange couple ...

I read that cats don't usually bother chickens when they bump into each other because chickens are about their size. But I'd never seen cats make friends with chickens either. My cat, Suneo, was sort of scared of everything that he's not familiar with. I was wondering what would be his reaction if he has to share a place with a chicken like Gladys, esp. knowing that his favorite treat is steamed chicken breast fillets? Here is a heart-warming story of an unlikely friendship from the Dailymail :

Best of friends: Lonely chicken Gladys finds her soulmate...Snowy the farmhouse cat
By Daily Mail Reporter

It's an unlikely partnering, but a lonely chicken has struck up an extraordinary friendship with a cat.

In another life, Snowy the cat would surely be chasing chicken Gladys round the farm they both live on.

But against all the odds, the pair have become firm friends - even lavishing affection on each other.

The incredible friendship blossomed just over two months ago when a fox killed 13 chicks - leaving Gladys as the only survivor.

Alone and in need of a friend, Gladys was brought into the farmhouse by her owners to keep her safe. And it was here her beautiful friendship with Snowy began.

Now the two pals are inseparable at the farm in MIddleton, near Leiston in Suffolk, and Snowy even puts her paw around the chicken to comfort her.

Owner Jane Etheridge says one of her bantam hens hatched 14 chicks - including Gladys - but after just two days a fox attack left just three of the chicks alive and a pile of feathers.

Two of the chicks later died but Gladys survived and was brought into the farmhouse where she was fed breadcrumbs to build her strength.

It was here Gladys was befriended by 10-year-old Snowy, and the cat would even wash the fragile bird as well as affectionately rub up against her.

Mrs Etheridge, a 69-year-old pony breeder who is married to Albert, 70, said: 'Gladys would not have survived outside, she would have died, so we kept her inside where she was warm.

'Snowy cleaned her and washed her. Gladys is now about two-and-a-half months old and is our pet.

'She still comes into the house to play.
'She comes in and bounces up and down in front of Snowy and he just stands there and takes it and puts his paw around her.

'They are the best of friends, very much so, and when she first started going out she would not go unless they went together.

'He is a very strange cat and was actually feral when we got him, completely wild. But now he is all too human and a real softie. He sits on my lap, rolls over and puts his paw out on the chair.

'They are a strange couple but we love them both very much.'

September 13, 2008

Pork Adobo, flavor of the Philippines

I notice from my feed stats a lot of people come here looking for recipes. I see most of them looking for martabak manis, perkedel jagung & tahu isi, prol tapai singkong. I guess I will have to make a food blog in the future. Cooking has been my passion right since my teen days. My late mother taught me the basics of cooking and baking. She fed eight children, and I think it took a lot of effort to satisfy everyone's palate.

Anyway I made Pork Adobo this morning and they turned out perfectly - very tender and juicy. Adobo is a very popular dish in the Philippines, indeed it is considered a national dish. It is easy to make and requires just a handful of ingredients ... garlic, vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorn, soy sauce (I use kecap asin and kecap manis), and I also added mushrooms and star anise to give more flavor to the pork. The other variation of adobo that I have not tried is frying them to crispy. I might do it if I can find a good pork belly next time. This dish is served with steamed rice.

September 9, 2008

Questions of the week

Because I was not in the mood to write when I wrote this post, I will leave you with the following questions. Please feel free to tag yourself or leave your answers in the comment section :)

1. What kind of water do you drink? Bottled water, tap water? How much water do you drink in a day? If you’re not drinking water, what are you drinking?

2. Are you an urban dweller, a suburbanite, or a country person? Are you happy where you live now? What do you like the most? The least?

3. Do you know how many shoes you own? Have you, or would you, risk injury for a great pair of shoes? Have you ever hid a shoe purchase from your significant other?

September 8, 2008

Quotes of Note ... Good Karma

I received this in my e-mail and thought I would share it with you all.

Instructions for Life from the Dalai Lama

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

3. Follow the three R's:
Respect for self,
Respect for others and
Responsibility for all your actions.

4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great relationship.

7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

8. Spend some time alone every day.

9. Open arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.

14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.

15. Be gentle with the earth.

16. Once a year, go some place you've never been before.

17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

September 3, 2008

The world revolves around ... Suneo

Suneo is a busy body cat. When I prepared a set up to take the strawberry picture, he jumped up on the desk. He loves to know what is going on and what I am doing, he has to see/smell everything that is new to him like sniffing the strawberries. In this picture he fell asleep after getting bored seeing me taking different angle of the strawberry pictures...hehehe!

September 2, 2008

How to stay fit at every age

Everyday I wake up at 5:15am and go out for my morning walk at 5:30am sharp. As you know it isn't easy rising at such an early hour but I forced myself to do a 40 minutes power walk every morning. Otherwise I feel I cheated my body and mind. I am addicted to exercise but I don't want to join any gyms and have to pay an exorbitant fee for being a member. I’m a firm believer in exercising and staying in shape, I just don’t see the need to pay an arm and a leg for it. Walking is the cheapest exercise, just set goals to how much you feel you must reach and try to accomplish that. I also do sit up, some aerobic movements,and weight lifting with a 1 kg dumb-bell each to get my muscle toned. I think we all know it does take a lot of work to stay fit and in shape, but it can be done with determination.

Below is an interesting article from the Daily Mail about the kind of exercise you should do based on your age. If you have not exercised for a while, schedule your time and go for it. Happy exercising!

You're never too young to start and never too old to feel the benefits: How to keep FIT at every age
By Peta Bee

AGE: 18-30
This is the easiest age to maintain a healthy weight because your metabolic rate is at its most efficient, burning more calories both at rest and during physical activity.

However, a failure to be active can result in a steady weight gain that is more difficult to lose as you get older. Bone density peaks between the ages of 25-35 and muscle mass is at its highest around 25, which means you should find it easier at this age than any other to stay toned and lean.

HOW MUCH: At least 30 minutes of moderate activity five or more days a week, according to the government's chief medical officer.

But that is a minimum to stay healthy. Ideally, you should try to include at least three one-hour sessions of aerobic activity (which makes your heart and lungs work harder) a week.

You should also include a couple of weight-bearing and flexibility workouts to maintain bone density. Weight bearing involves moving your body on a surface, such as when running, power-walking or in an aerobics class; this puts stress on your bones and tendons helping build their strength.

Activities such as rowing, swimming and cycling are not weight-bearing forms of exercise.

TYPE OF EXERCISE: Good forms of aerobic activity include running, swimming, brisk walking and cycling. For flexibility, try Pilates or yoga.

Short of time? Try skipping, which works the cardiovascular system, strengthens bones and muscles and burns up to 110 calories in just ten minutes. Build up to as fast a pace as you can.

AGE: 30-40
If you are inactive you lose muscle mass at a rate of one to two per cent a year from around 30 onwards and need, on average, 125 calories less per day at 35 than you did when you were 25.

Both sexes produce less growth hormone from the pituitary gland during this decade, which further contributes to muscle and bone deterioration.

Wear and tear on the joints is more pronounced, and recovery time from injury takes longer.

HOW MUCH: A combined weekly total of two to four hours of weight and strength training. This can involve weight training at the gym or improvising at home with resistance aids such as stretchy bands, lifting cans of beans - even digging the garden. Plus one hour of stretching and flexibility a week (such as yoga).

TYPE OF EXERCISE: 'A combination of weight training and aerobic activity is not only the best way to stay slim, but also to increase bone density and strength,' says Louise Sutton, principal lecturer in health and exercise science at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Try an indoor boxercise class or outdoor circuit - classes such as British Military Fitness are held in many UK parks. Or make up your own exercise circuit using park benches, trees and footpaths as your equipment.

AGE: 40-50
Bones are deteriorating faster than they are forming - women lose one per cent of bone mass a year from now until the menopause. In women, the menopause is likely to occur during the late 40s to early 50s, and consequent hormonal changes can cause weight gain of up to a pound a year until the menopause is over.

Hormonal changes at around the age of 50 - testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (or DHEA, a hormone that helps to control metabolism and energy use) begin to decline - make keeping slim more difficult. Regular exercise routine helps to slow these changes.

HOW MUCH: A combined weekly total of two to four hours of weight or strength training and cardiovascular activity. One hour of stretching and flexibility a week.

TYPE OF EXERCISE: Aerobic exercise is vital for burning fat - try power walking. Invest in a pedometer and work up to 16,000 steps a day, trying to walk as fast as possible. If your joints are starting to get painful, switch to non-weight-bearing aerobic activities, such as swimming or cycling.

However, weight training is vital. Studies have shown that doing high intensity weight lifting (i.e. lifting 70 per cent of the maximum weight you think you can manage) a couple of times a week can offset the loss of muscle mass during this decade.

If you belong to a gym, ask an instructor to devise a progressive weights programme. At home, invest in a set of mini-weights or improvise with bottles filled with sand or water.

AGE: 50-60
Beyond the age of 50, muscle mass is lost at a rate of one fifth of a pound a year. This loss affects both sexes but is more pronounced in men, who often experience a much sharper decline in strength. Often the muscle lost is replaced by fat, hence the dreaded middle-age spread.

Female fat distribution changes after the menopause often causing women to become an 'apple' shape as weight shifts to the waistline. This signals that someone has more visceral fat (around the organs), the type that promotes heart disease and inhibits glucose tolerance.

To check whether you are at risk, place a tape measure around your middle. A measurement of more than 80cm (32in) for women and over 94cm (37in) for men means you are at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Over 88cm (35in) for women and 102cm (40in) for men puts you at the highest risk of these conditions.

HOW MUCH: A combined weekly total of two to four hours of strength or weight training and cardiovascular activity. One hour of stretching and flexibility a week.

TYPE OF EXERCISE: Sports that challenge your speed and endurance, such as badminton, tennis and football, provide all the elements of fitness you need to address in one session.

Lunges (preferably with hand weights) and leg lifts in the weight room are great for strengthening the quadriceps muscles in the thigh, helping avoid joint injuries and osteoarthritis.

'As you get older, you lose water content from the body's structures, including cartilage that protects the joints,' says Claire Small of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. 'Tissues become weaker, which means injuries happen more easily.'

Osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition caused when the cartilage protecting joints gradually wears away leaving bones to scrape directly against one another, is more common from age 60 onwards.