Friday, August 28, 2009

Sky-watching at the Seattle Waterfront

“The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Photos were taken at Seattle Waterfront near Bell Street Pier Posted for Sky-Watch Friday

Hungarian Sausage

I can eat Hungarian Sausage any time of the day. This is my usual meal at Vienna Kaffeehaus---I love their Hungarian Sausage. It was a bit early for dinner but I was within the vicinity of Vienna Kaffeehaus in Mandaue during my trip to Cebu in July, and I suddenly had a craving for their spicy sausage. The cafe also serves great coffee.

Join fellow foodies at Food Trip Friday and Food Friday

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Street vendor at Colon - TWTW

A street scene at Colon Street, one of the most crowded streets in Cebu City
A street vendor peeling green mangoes while parked at the side of the street
Street vendors are often called "lords of the sidewalk"

Posted for This Way, Thurs-way

Grilled Tuna Belly - hapunan [dinner]

Isn't it beautiful? My grilled tuna belly from Wednesday night dinner---juicy and perfectly grilled. It came with java rice and buttered broccoli and carrots. I love this healthy choice especially after exercise. I am not in any particular diet---I eat anything I want but in moderation.

Di ba ang ganda-ganda? Isang tingin lang, gaganahan ka na. At kapag nalanghap mo pa ang bango ng inihaw na tyan ng tuna, ay susunggaban mo na kaagad! Ito nga pala ang hapunan ko noong Miyerkules ng gabi---makatas at perfect ang pagka-ihaw. May kasama itong java rice at buttered na mga gulay. Ito madalas ang pinipili kong hapunan lalo na pagkatapos ng ehersisyo. Hindi naman ako nagdi-diyeta at kumakain ng kahit anong gusto ko basta katamtaman lang.

Let's have dinner at Litratong Pinoy

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ballard Locks - Watery Wednesday

I don't know much about locks. In the Philippines, we only have flood gates which are cheaper version of a flood lock. So I was fascinated when Che brought me to the Ballard Locks, also known as the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. It's a complex of locks that sit in the middle of Salmon Bay, part of Seattle's Lake Washington Ship Canal.

I devoted time reading this billboard, "Why are the locks needed?" to somehow understand how this device works. But I guess I was still jet lagged, my brain didn't absorb any engineering fact. Good thing their website puts it simply---here goes:

The locks are there to maintain the water level of the fresh water Lake Washington and Lake Union at 20 to 22 feet above sea level. The locks also prevent the mixing of sea water from Puget Sound with the fresh water of the lakes, and move boats from the water level of the lakes to the water level of Puget Sound, and vice-versa.

The complex has two locks, it also includes a spillway with 6 gates to assist in water-level control. A fish ladder is integrated into the locks for migration of anadromous fish, specifically salmon (will post the fish ladder next week).

The Ballard Locks were formally opened on July 4, 1917 and are operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. They were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

a boat waiting for water level to rise

visitors center

Posted for Watery Wednesday

Stop and smell the roses - Ruby Tuesday

The sight of flowers makes my heart flutter in a way that some women feel when they see a shoe sale or a sexy guy smiling across the room.

While on a business trip in Seattle, I took time to smell the roses, literally, at the University of Washington.

Frosh Pond and Drumheller Fountain

Posted for Ruby Tuesday

Sunday, August 23, 2009

UW campus tour

view of Johnson Hall from the rose garden

Two weekends ago, I was visiting Seattle and spent a good part of my Saturday walking around the University of Washington campus. After seeing blooms at the streets of Downtown Seattle, I wanted to see more flowers so Che brought me to UW campus. Che was Franzia's (my cousin) college roommate and been living in Seattle for the past 5 years. She didn't grant me bragging rights but I'm telling you anyway (heee-hee)---she is a Fulbright scholar who had just finished her Ph.D. at the University of Washington. Another Filipina scientist we can be proud of.:P

There were no classes on Saturday so we had the campus to ourselves. It was a bit chilly and cloudy but according to my "guide", it's the usual Seattle weather---perfect weather for walking. So we walked and talked and laughed and took a wrong turn a few times.

UW campus is simply impressive. It was opened in 1861, one of the oldest public universities on the west coast and the largest university in the northwest at 643 acres of park-like grounds with a mix of modern and neo-Gothic buildings.

approaching Drumheller Fountain

We lingered at the Frosh Pond/Drumheller Fountain and watched the ducklings, smelled the roses and rested our feet before walking again towards Lake Washington.

It was a breeze walking in the lush surroundings, amidst old buildings, deserted streets and empty benches. I was in Wonderland! I marveled at the young brilliant minds nurtured here---what an excellent environment.

Suzallo Library, built in 1926, across the Red Square
No, he's not my boyfriend and I was not whisked away in this stretch limo. This guy grabbed me while I was about to pose near George Washington's bronze statue. I believe he was part of a wedding entourage, or perhaps a groom-to-be having his last hurray.:P

Will post more photos from UW soon.

Posted for Weekend Snapshot and Our Weekend Memoirs

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Photo-Hunt: ripples

Sand ripples at Cagbalete Island

What causes sand ripples? According to Weatherscapes, running water interacts with sand surfaces - like the waves rushing on a beach. The sand may show a high degree of ordering by forming ripples. Usually these sand ripples are most obvious about 20-50 cm below the water along a beach, but they may also be seen on shore. The fluid dynamics of the water creating the ripples is similar to the formation of gravity (windshear) waves of clouds in the atmosphere.

Photo-Hunt is hosted by TNChick.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Jan Q

A self protrait of Jan Q, my 18-year old nephew. He was diagnosed with Keratoconus, a progressive, noninflammatory disease of the cornea, last week. The family is devastated, his younger brother wept with their grandfather, his teenage cousins cried over the phone while telling other relatives of his condition. Jan Q is trying to be cool as most 18-year olds are but I know he's worried about his condition. The probability of blindness is no joke, even to an 18-year old.

We have never heard of Keratoconus until last week. Jan had been treated for an eye infection a couple of times since childhood, was given prescription glasses, but nobody diagnosed it correctly until he was seen by an Ophthalmologist in PGH last week. His eyes were examined and scanned through a corneal topogram and he was directed to another Ophthalmologist who can fit him with corrective lenses. The challenge with Keratoconus is that it deforms the cornea to a more conical shape than its normal gradual curve. Because the cornea is irregular and cone-shaped, glasses do not adequately correct the vision of patients with this condition. Jan's eyesight was restored to 20/20 when fitted with rigid contact lenses (rigid gas-permeables, or RGP) but because of his conical cornea, the lenses fell off. RGP lenses provide a good level of visual correction, but do not arrest the progression of Keratoconus. The Ophthalmologist quoted P60,000 (or about $1,300) for a pair of Rose K lenses with a 2-year warranty. The lenses will be specially designed to the shape of Jan's corneas. Rose K lenses are imported and there are no local distributors.

We went to another Ophthalmologist, a cornea specialist, yesterday for a second opinion, also hoping for a better price for corrective lenses. The doctor agreed to the diagnosis from PGH and referred Jan to another Ophthalmogist in Greenhills for RGP fitting. The second Ophthalmologist told us that there are only a few doctors here who do contact lenses for Keratoconus patients, it's possibly the reason why the lenses are so expensive.

From various articles I read in the net, no one truly knows the cause of Keratoconus. There have been many theories like a genetic predisposition, deficient collagen crosslinking caused by free radicals but there are no scientific evidence to support such theories. The doctor we've seen yesterday mentioned that vigorous eye rubbing causes the progression of the disease. Jan may have an untreated eye allergy that causes his eyes to itch. The doctor also stressed that about 25% of Keratoconus cases will progress to a point where corneal transplantation (or penetrating ketatoplasty) becomes necessary. I pray that Jan's condition will not progress to that point. For now, Jan applies 2 kinds of eye drops to treat his eye infection. We're going to see the doctor in Greenhills on Monday, and hopefully, Jan Q will have clearer vision soon and can go back to school. 

Photo: a "conical cornea" that is characteristic of Keratoconus

Elliott Bay sunset - Sky-Watch Friday

Basked in this mild summer sunset while walking to the end of the pier for the sights and sounds of Seattle's Elliott Bay. Photos were taken from Myrtle Edwards Park across the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle.

Posted for Sky-Watch, Friday

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chimichanga Veracruz

After walking around the University of Washington campus, Lake Washington ship canal and gardens, I was so hungry I had a rice craving. Che wanted to bring me to a famous Vietnamese restaurant at the University District but it was already closed when we get there. We checked out a few Japanese restaurants nearby but she wasn't sure if they were any good. So we ended up in Don Eduardo's Mexican resto.

I was expecting Mexican dancers when we entered the restaurant, or a telenovella burning up a TV screen. Instead, we were serenaded by Mexican love songs, and that made me more hungry.

I had Chimichanga Veracruz from the seafood menu. It's a flour tortilla filled with crab, prawn, baby shrimp and vegetables, deep-fried and served with sour cream and guacamole. And of course, there's Mexican rice on the side. That did it for me. The chimichanga tasted great, too...loved the seafood and rich cheese flavors!

I could barely move after I demolished my chimachanga!:P

Make Way for Ducklings [TWTW]

These are lucky little ducklings...

They have their own "pier" at the Frosh Pond in the University of Washington campus.

"Make Way for Ducklings" sign

My first This Way Thurs-way

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Litratong Pinoy: merienda [snack]

flavored suman

Na "discover" ko itong masarap na merienda kamakailan lang---flavored suman. Meron silang 8 flavors, tulad ng macapuno, mangga, langka, coco-mas (latik), mais, ube at iba pa. Tita Lynn's ang brand ng flavored suman at may stall sila sa Market! Market!, Tiendesitas at Rustan's Supermarket. Hindi ko nga pala kamag-anak si Tita Lynn. Kakaiba lang talaga ang linamnam nitong flavored suman n'ya---masarap ipares sa kape o hot choco, kaya ko pina-plug.:P

Katulad ng maraming Pinoy, mahilig din ako sa merienda. Kapag weekend at nasa bahay lang ako, pagkatapos pa lang pananghalian, nag-iisip na ako ng kakainin sa merienda. Kung sinisipag, nagluluto ako ng merienda---madalas pasta at kung ano-ano pang naiimbento ko. Kapag wala na talagang maisip, meron banana-cue, turon at mainit-init pa na "paputok" at may pantulak pang Coke.

Like most Filipinos, I am fond of snacking in the afternoon. On weekends when I'm not going anywhere, I would start thinking of an afternoon snack right after lunch. When in the mood, I would cook pasta or whip up some invented dish. But when all else fails, there's banana-cue (deep-fried bananas with caramelized sugar), turon (banana spring rolls), and hot cracked, crisp-surfaced "paputok" (bread) drowned with a bottle of Coca Cola.

I recently discovered this delicious snack---flavored suman (sticky rice cooked in coconut milk). They have about 8 flavors such as macapuno, mango, jack fruit, coco-mas, corn, ube (purple yam). Tita Lynn's flavored suman has stalls in Market! Market!, Tiendesitas and Rustan's Supermarket (Tita Lynn is not a relative, by the way :P). I love this traditional suman with a twist---great with coffee or hot choco.

Cinnabon Stix and brewed coffee

Sa opisina naman, medyo umiiwas ako sa mabigat na merienda katulad ng pansit, pasta, iba't-ibang kakanin, burgers at pizza. Pero paminsan-minsan, may craving ako sa cinnamon rolls kaya napapalakad ako sa Cinnabon kapag coffee-break.

In the office, I try to stay away from heavy snacks like pancit, pasta, various rice cakes, burgers and pizza. But there are times when I get cravings for cinnamon rolls that make me walk to the nearest Cinnabon during my coffee-break.

Ito naman ang merienda namin ni Che no'ng bumisita ako sa Seattle kamakailan---creme puffs na may vanilla and chocolate fillings. Bumili kami ng isang dosena, bitbit namin papuntang Starbucks sa Pike Place Market kasi yon pala ang pinakaunang Starbucks sa kasaysayan ng kape. Kape at creme puffs---sarap!

Shared these creme puffs with my friend Che when I was in Seattle recently. We bought a dozen and brought it over to Starbucks at Pike Place Market, the original Starbucks. It was a one-time must-do for all pilgrims who love the dark brew. Coffee and creme puffs---perfect snack!

More tasty snacks at Litratong Pinoy

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fountain of Rings - Watery Wednesday

A hot summer afternoon in Atlanta, and these kids jumped right in to cool off in the Fountain of Rings at the Centennial Olympic Park.

The Fountain of Rings is the centerpiece of Centennial Olympic Park and is one of the most recognized and photographed landmarks in Georgia. Took these photos last week during my short visit in Atlanta.

Watery Wednesday is hosted by