Monday, December 05, 2011

Third Trimester Already?

And time for pregnancy updates in bullet points:
  • Belindy passed screening test for Trisomies 18, 21 , and neural tube defect
  • Mommy passed screening test for gestational diabetes mellitus
  • Belindy has been kicking hard all day every day. Kick count cards average 10 minutes for 10 movements!
  • Mommy's weight gain is uncontrollable..blaming year end festivities including Thanksgiving, Daddy's Birthday, Christmas and New Year's
  • Belindy's aunts J and T organized a shower when we were in TX for Thanksgiving, you have a lot of stuff; Your aunt Y bought a luggage full of baby clothing for you, I only have to get a few more things!
  • Daddy got a job with more vacation than Mommy, we're not going to worry when you're sick and can't go to daycare!
  • We're moving to a bigger place
  • Belindy's opung bought her plane ticket and will be here Jan 23rd, Belindy's uncle U will be moving to B-town 40 miles from us for his new job
  • Mommy and Daddy have been to three baby moons: Las Vegas, Chicago and TX
  • Mommy and Daddy have been to so many classes for baby's impending coming, if only Mommy can remember everything she learns in class, state of pregnancy brain is deteriorating

Our homeworks:
  • Move and unpack
  • Buying baby gadgets and stuff; we got a DSLR as our first baby gadget, LOL
  • Do whatever we can to keep you, Baby, from premature birth
  • Birth plan and practice those exercises and breathing techniques
  • Managing Mommy's anxiety of giving birth

What an eventfull year 2011 is. Can't wait for 2012!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Always Sunny in Berkeley

It was another sunny Sunday in Berkeley today. The last time I was at this campus was when @inokathome visited Bay Area two years ago. Today, Hubbostrich and I were on a trial drive for his upcoming Thursday interview. We left the house 10:30-ish and arrived within an hour to cover that 42 mile distance.

Morgan Hall, the home of UC Berkeley's Nutritional and Toxicology Department.

The post-doc candidate posing in front of Morgan Hall.

The lovely pregnant wife. LoL. #CongratsYouReAWhale.

I think I found the picture and the get up do me justice on being 22 weeks pregnant here. Finally.

We've heard the raves about an Indonesian restaurant in Berkeley. We were definitely trying it out today for lunch. It took us a 10 minute deliberation on what to order, the bule couple behind us took only 30 seconds. We got the following:

Mie Tek-tek (stir fried, the have boiled version too). I don't think I have ever tasted this particular noodle dish back home so I don't know how it tastes compared to the "original". Surprisingly, I like it better than any Chinese restaurant noodles I have ever had.

Udang Goreng Mentega. Not my favorite, but Hubbostrich enjoyed it so much, specially, after it's been sitting a while and got marinated.

Nasi Bungkus, a weekend special. It was a decent rice dish that comes with a trifecta of ayam goreng kuning (fried chicken), gudeg (jack fruit and tofu in sweet sauce) and rendang (beef curry, Indonesian style). It was also served with a hard boiled egg and green chili. Coming from Sumatra, the Jayakarta Nasi Bungkus comes a little less adventurous for my hot and spicy palate. Hubbostrich tends to agree with me. We like Southbay's Bay Leaf's Nasi Rames better since it comes with kale curry and spicier green chili.

and....Es Teler! I had a special request to add tape (fermented cassava) to this sweet concoction of jack fruit, shredded coconut, and jelly on coconut milk. The owner was so kind not to charge extra for it.

Bonus picture. Hubbostrich cranking the bird up on me because I took too many pictures of him and can we eat already? I used the spoon and the straw to frame his sweet adorable face and I got the bird? He's lucky I still shared that Es Teler with him. He loved it so much and sipped it till the last drop.

Please join Belindy and I in wishing Daddy Hubbostrich luck on his interview. You can do it, BB!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Made with Real Cheddar Cheese

While watching The Great Food Truck Race finale on On Demand last night,

BB: Babe, can we change it? We watched this before...

I gave him the (pinky) finger and the following respond

Pregnant Wife: Do you want me to eat this?

It was Club & Cheddar sandwich crackers from Keebler. The crackers were merely gross to his standard because almost half of the calories per serving is coming from fat, and as you all know, I've been complaining about weight gain incessantly. I can't help it, it's so yummy! And it is made with Real Cheddar Cheese (really? LOL)!

BB: Is this what our relationship turn into? Bribing yourself to not to eat
something in order for me to not do something. Put down the remote or I'll eat
this. LOL.

PW: Whatever it takes.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


There are reasons why couple ends up with other. In most cases, opposite attracts, in Hubbostrich and I case, it is the opposite. We are just so alike, except maybe temperature wise. If one is cold water, the other is a bit warmer. One significant example of being alike is that we are both enablers specifically in the field of gastronomy. The following examples are just covering today. But the readers should get the idea on how it goes most of the time in the N****n household.

Case 1, at the house

BB, I gained like 10 lbs now.

Oh, good.

Good,10 lbs? I still have 18 weeks or so to go.

Oh...Babe, you get to cut the sugar. Savory...I mean, I know you can't stop baking, it'll make you go crazy. So make something savory, a quiche! Yes, that should be your next project. There's a lot of fat but at least there are a lot of proteins too. You know you just need to eat a little portion of it.

Case 2, at the grocery store, walking down the dairy aisle

I need sweets.

Sweets? No!

My palate needs sweets after all those pizza you baked. Do you want ice cream? They're on sale!

Hmm...what about malted milk shake? Do we have chocolate syrup?

[Kiss him on the cheek]

Masterbaker, with his pizzas today. There were 1 supreme, 1 Hawaiian, and 2 pepperoni mushroom pizzas.

He made yummy meat pies yesterday.

One thing for sure, no cooking next week!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


We started taking pictures on 12 weeks and then approximately every 4 weeks after. Here they are so far.

Every pregnancy is different. Every body shape is different. I joke to Hubbostrich that I can be one of those celebrities who conceal their pregnancies until late term.

More postings is imminent to journal Belindy's prenatal growth. Next post...ultrasound pictures? We'll see...

But before that, I have some concern on my weight gain. Beware of CPL/spreadsh*t maker in action. See chart below.

Based on data up to 20 weeks, I did great on the first trimester and half of second trimester. And then, I started to gain about 1 lb/week at weeks 18 and 20. With this weight gain rate, projected weight gain at full term (let's say 38 weeks) is a whopping 28 lbs. Based on this guideline, I was only planning to gain 20-25 lbs--I already fell into the overweight category pre-pregnancy. 28 lbs is still tolerable. But wait, here is a what if scenario. What if the weight gain rate reaches, say, 2 lb/weeks, this will result in megatron weight gain of 46 lbs! Both Belindy and I are doomed!

What do I do to prevent this from happening? I have tried to stay active every other day with a gym, yoga, or swimming. But some weeks I slipped from committing, blaming work, being lazy and just circumstances. Next is to control my diet, this is proven to be not quite so stellar. You should see how many cakes and snacks have I been making the past 2 weeks. Pure no self control. Forgive Mommy, Belindy. Hope you're not going to be macrosomic.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Tips for Interview

For whatever reason, I am on the board of finding a new person to employ at work. I am sorry to say there is a decline in professionalism these days.

Let's take a look at the definition of professional (adjective) as defined here.

c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession

(2) : exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

Instead what I have observed is that people seem to be in it just for the money, nothing else. Am I too altruistic? Don't people want to grow with their job? Second, this is California. There is an 11.8% unemployment rate at the moment I am writing this post. Regardless of location, it did not scare you that there are that many candidates out there and that many could possibly better be than you? Carpe diem, seize the day!

Hopefully, the following list will serve a note-to-self and a quick check for somebody out there who is going to be on an interview(s).

1. Be prepared
This is only a job interview not the end of the world but you still should be prepared. Take a look back on memory lanes and revisit your previous job functions and experience and also try to learn about the job you are applying for beyond the listed announcement. Anticipate questions.

2. Gain as much knowledge about the company you are applying for
Many times candidates give a blank look when we ask them if they know anything about our company. Most of them recited the lack of time for them to prepare about this interview. Look at point 1 above.

3. Resumegenic
Many many times, a candidate looks impressive on paper, in person a complete disaster. An extreme example would be like asking a plhebotomist with 10 years experience the function of clotting agent and he/she would reply, "you got me on that." Isn't that terrible? Again, look at point 1 above.

4. Dress conservatively
Men, wear at least a pair of slacks and button down long-sleeve shirt. Women, keep those low cut tops for bar trips and minimize make up and accesories.

5. Behave professionally
I don't want to get unsolicited information on your marital status and the ages of your children and your weekend adventures from you. We will know you better when we actually offer you the job.

6. Be enthusiastic about the job you are applying for and yet be sincere

7. Ask questions
We want to know if you are really interested on the job and willing to perform to the best of your ability to improve the state of the company

8. Money is not everything
Don't ever mention about pay scale much less about money being your only goal in life. It's universally accepted as taboo.

That's all for now. I will add when inspiration strikes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Yawn. Life at work is relatively boring these days. I am reminded on how I am not content to be immobile behind a computer while waiting for machines to perform measurements. I prefer the hustle and bustle of running around like a headless chicken around the lab to perform multiple tasks. I am afraid this inclination is not in line with my aspiration to be a somekind of a manager. Oh, well!

Belindy and I are more comfortable with each other on the second half of this first trimester. There are less hunger pangs and more energy for the host/incubator. We are good. On our second prenatal check, Dr. W pulled out a Doppler ultrasound and we got to listen to Belindy's 175 bpm heart beat. Wow, that is where the energy goes.

Hubbostrich is pretty happy too since I now show less symptom of CPL. For those of you who are not aware of this, it's a mental condition associated with an expecting mother. Crazy Pregnant Lady. Although in my defense, my CPL is less than some others I know. I am raising a glass (of milk) to my fellow pregger friends.

Hubbostrich and I made a costum t-shirt to commemorate our 12 weeks of pregnancy and to announce the impending coming of Belindy to the world (by world I mean Faceb**k). Last Saturday, we went to a kiosk at the mall, sketched a simple designed and let the guy worked his best to modify what could be copyright infrigement images. We had the t-shirt done for two Hamiltons and a Washington and only for 30 minutes of our time. Not bad, not bad at all.

Here is the finished product and its model. I think this is the brightest idea I had so far with this pregnancy brain: just let the walking billboard boy do his job and collect congratulations and well wishes. Thank you, everyone!

Hey, look who's drinking for three? Beer for Daddy, martini for Mommy and little shot glass (of milk) for Belindy!

Now, if only Hubbostrich is willing to go to lunch at the cafetaria at would be so much easier to spread the news. For now, I just scotch-taped a black and white print of the picture on my white board at the cubicle. Any idea how to let people at work aware of one's pregnancy? I am not even showing yet.

One last thing. I have just enlightened to the fact if Belindy is not messing up with his/her estimated delivery date of February 5 (Superbowl baby?), he/she would be a water dragon. My dad was a water dragon. Oh, what a serendipitious moment.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spreadsh*t Victim

Even Belindy is a victim of spreadsh*t.

Here I just wanted to chart fetus crown to rump length (CRL) measurement compared to those of "average" fetuses, data taken from here. From its first ultrasound, Belindy is pretty normal, I conclude.

After GDM, there's another thing that has been occupying the back of my mind. It's Down Syndrome screening test. We are scheduled for an ultra sound and a blood test tomorrow.

This 7-11 week ultrasound will be also used to determine the fetus' nuchal translucency (NT). Here's a graphical explanation of NT I grabbed from this website.

This nice study (I need to find the exact source and link it) nicely summarizes the correlation for Down Syndrome obtained from the so-called combination test. The test consists of a blood test and ultrasound from the first trimester and another blood test from second trimester. PAPP-A is measured from the first trimester blood test. Alpha fetoprotein, estriol, HCG and inhibin A are measured from the second trimester blood test. Only HCG data (not fetoprotein, extriol and inhibin A) along with CRL, and NT length are shown in the table.

Out of these 16 cases, cases 8 and 11 are the only two that are worry-free from Down Syndrome.

My heart is palpating. I hope Belindy is having an NT not higher than 3 mm and that I have a close to 1 MoM PAPP-A tomorrow.

Wish us luck!

Monday, July 18, 2011


I found out that I (and so is any other pregnant woman) have to undergo a glucose screening test aka glucose challenge test. The test is aimed at screening for the development of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). If one tested "positive" on this first screening test, a glucose tolerance test then will be administered to determine if one really develops a GDM.

GDM itself is a type of diabetes developed during pregnancy. It occurs when a woman's body is not regulating enough insulin and/or having insulin deficiency. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the use and the storage of blood glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscle cells. Elevated glucose level in the blood could be observed when level of insulin is abnormal.

Some literature suggests that gestational diabetes is a pregnancy condition that tricks the body to ensure supply of glucose for the growing fetus. To put it simply, when a pregnant woman has low insulin sensitivity and high blood glucose, most of these glucose molecule will be transferred to the fetus via placenta. The fetus will grow abnormally larger (macrosomia) and possibly will develop health conditions such as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), jaundice, respiratory problem, etc.

Enough of the background.

Why do I worry on my chance of developing GDM? First, diabetes runs in the family, on both sides nonetheless. Second, I am not exactly living a super healthy live style: over indulgence, mostly on food, is always the case and I don't think I exercise enough (although, with Hubbostrich as my personal trainer, we try to balance a cardio to weight lifting exercise) most days of the week.

Learning my lessons from another post (which I still owe at this point), I steer away from pregancy forums. This type of information exchange is not reliable as there are so many instances of pregnancies which varies from case to case. Instead, I sourced information right from peer reviewed journals.

I came across the abstract of this article. With its straight forward title, this one hit my attention. Please note, I came across the article on Friday and the test was the next day.

My action plan was to mimic the experimental method they used (i.e., the prolonged exercise) in hope of increasing my damaged muscles tissue consumption of blood glucose the next day. Provided that I don't have insulin resistance in the first place (type II diabetes), this exercise should lower my blood glucose. In short, I do exercise most days of the week but that Friday I trippled my usual routine. I kept my diet the same.

On the day of the test, the lab technician brought me a chilled orange concoction that contains exactly 50 g of glucose. The drink was to be consumed in 5 minutes and my blood was to be drawn an hour after. I made sure I didn't consume a lot of carbohydrates with high glycemic index and high sugar drink the day of the test. I went walking just before the test and in the first 30 minutes I went walking up the stairs of the hospital, just to maximize my metabolism level.

Today, I had the result in. My heart beep faster as I scroll down the result online. My blood glucose is 102 mg/dL. The cut off for a "positive" is a > 139 mg/ dL. I took a congratulatory deep breath. I might not even have a high blood glucose without the Friday exercise in the first place. I should be worried when the number was closer to the cut off even with the prolonged exercise.

Let me conclude. At first, I had an ulterior motive to find ways to "cheat" the glucose screening test (one should not cheat in the first place, if you have the condition you should be treated). At the end, my literature finding actually change my point of view. It increases my awareness of the importance of diet and exercise and other healty life style in life. Not necessarily of fighting GDM, but on the overall quality of life.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ultimate Vegetarian Nachos

We finally finalize our vegetarian nacho recipe. This week's nacho night is the best one yet. It's the addition of cilantro and the fresh ground cumin that makes the difference. What happened was that we were out of cumin and had to grind the seeds on the spot. Don't forget to put the ground cumin back to fridge because once they air dried, they are not that flavorful.

We love nacho night because it's actually a well balanced meal. You get vegetables, carbs, fat and protein. Well, maybe we need to work on portion control because it is still a lot of calories. You can probably use reduced fat version of the dairy products used here and low sodium corn tortilla chips.

As usual, I forgot to take picture. Use your imagination!

Viva la comida.



-for fresh salsa

1 serrano pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
1 pickled jalapeno pepper
1 tomato
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion chopped medium size
2 tbs cilantro
1/2 lime
2 tbs pickle solution (from the jalapeno pepper pickle)
1 tsp fresh ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika

-for main assembly

40 corn tortilla chips
1 cup Mexican cheese blend (Monterey Jack, Mild Cheddar, Queso Blanco, Asadero)
1/2 cup black beans

-for finishing

1/4 cup plain yogurt


Heat oven to 400F
Mix all salsa ingredients together in a bowl
Cover a flat baking pan with some vegetable oil
Assemble tortilla chips on the pan
Pour salsa over the chips
Distribute black beans and cheese over the chips and salsa
Bake for 15 minutes
Take it out and cool down for a couple minutes
Distribute cilantro and yogurt on top

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Martini Glass

Dear Belindy,

Yes, Belindy was our code name for you, a portmanteau of your father and my names. And the following is a little early story of you.

We were planning for your conception towards the end of 2011. I, your mom, was an avid advocate of basal body temperature method (along with some other symptomps) to pin point my fertile time of the cycle. This way we can hopefully, God willing, time your arrival when the right time comes for all of us to start a family.

As an engineer, I believe in measured quantity and in interpreting data. The past three months before your conception, though, your father and I were renegades. I was not recording my temperature as dilligently as can be observed on the two data point (some times one point) charts. Your father, bless his heart, straight up believed my words that we were "safe" just based on my historical data from last year.

Early June 2011, we had bought tickets to a two back-to-back weekends wine tasting festival up in the Santa Cruz mountain. By that Thursday, I still did not get my period and were not observing that it will start anytime soon. What a long cycle, I thought, which I had attributed to stress at work and travelling. FYI, we were just got back from Texas that second week of May for your father's PhD graduation.

Being responsible people, your father and I went to get a home pregnancy test. If we were pregnant, we did not want to poison a developing embryo. As I am not a trained aimer, I opted to collect my urine sample in a clean cup. The problem was that we did not have any clean cup for this purpose except for the two extra disposable martini glasses we had for our New Year Eve 2011 at Lake Tahoe. By the way, your crazy bubbly Aunt Antonia was there celebrating the New Year evening with us. If you happened to be a girl, you were going to be named after her.

I was not drinking a lot of fluid that morning except for my 16 oz french press coffee. It was not surprising that my urine was in dark yellow hue and "thick". Your father upon seeing this filled martini glass pronounced that we were pregnant with you (and that I should drink more water). The next five seconds and three minutes were not necessarily the longest three minutes of our lives. Your father then lifted the aluminum cover that he used to cover the test stick. And there it was with two strong pink lines and the word pregnant we were full of mixed emotion. Your father kissed me and said "Congratulations, Mommy."

Darling, it was not sinked in on us for the next few days that we were going to have you. Part of the reasons it that we were worried because we thought it was not the perfect time to start a family yet. Ultimately, we believe in God and everything is going to be okay.

We were not officially announcing to the world about your impending coming. We wanted to pass the 12 weeks mark or after we observed your heart beats. Only a handfull of our closest friends and immediate family knew of this development. You have to read the next story I have for you to see why.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stranger with a Strange Heart

Really, one should easily accept that music is influential and ubiqutious as a meliflous background to one's everyday life. I, on the other hand, can go for months not listening specifically to anything. Forget about work these days, there's never enough time to listen to the internet while I am too busy moving and thinking. Then, you would think that time at home affords you the chance and the entertainment. But save for watching occasional VH1 reminiscing countdown shows with Hubbostrich (and clicking on links from friends to "one hit wonders" on Yo*t*be), it's pretty much a barren desert of music in my world.

In the car, though, while talk radios occupy 90% of my ten minute driving each way to and back from the work place, I occasionally scan the radio and usually ended up at one psychedelic channel that is Stanford radio KZSU. This morning, I heard this song for the first time there and have been playing it over and over with a smile in my face. I do believe there's no more tricks up my sleeve and although the good old days have passed, the good times are definitely coming.

20 years of schooling, I just never learned the math
That 1 and 1 don't equal 2, they often equal half
While I've tried to live the high life, the best that I know how
And I bought my share of debonair, parlayin' it on the crowd

Oh I, I do believe that there's no more tricks up my sleeve
Oh, the good old days have passed and the dip turns after that
And slowly I've become undone, a stranger with a stranger heart

Well, I plan to hit the bottom, the bottle then the top
And I pray that something quits me before I got to stop
'Cause the masquerade is over but I was barely there
The masks come off the gilded clock, yet I'm just barely here

Oh, and I, I do believe that there's no more tricks up my sleeve
Oh, the good old days have passed and the good times after that
And slowly I've become undone, a stranger with a stranger heart

Oh I, I do believe that there's no more tricks up my sleeve
Oh, the good old days have passed and the good times after that
And slowly I've become undone, a stranger with a stranger heart

I do believe that there's no more tricks up my sleeve
Oh, the good old days have passed and the good times after that
And slowly I've become undone, a stranger with a stranger heart

I do believe that there's no more tricks up my sleeve
Oh, the good old days have passed and the good times after that
And slowly I've become undone, a stranger with a stranger heart

--"Stranger" by Dr. Dog from the album Shame, Shame (2010)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Baby PhD

What can I say, I miss Hubbostrich so much. He spent a week after defense in College Station to finish up some lab work and now he is visiting his family. Yes, he is a Mr. Dr. N now!

On behalf of my sanity and health, I can't wait until he gets back here Wednesday. Sleeping with the light on and eating junk food are recurring old habit I need to rid of, all while I am nursing a cold. Although, I am enjoying driving his SUV to work everyday and that working late is not such a sorrow with no one to come home to.

Yesterday, I texted him a couple times, I didn't get any reply. I then sent him a picture message of me doing an impersonation of Hannibal Lecter just to relay a message that I was getting a little bit annoyed, I still didn't get any reply. As last resort, I called him twice in a span of one hour but they went straight to voicemail. I know he knew I was ringing him. After all those my only conclusion is that the biatch is ignoring me for reason I have no clue what, which is more annoying than the ignoring itself. Gosh. What a resourceful wife to do? Call her father in law of course!

"Who is this person?" says FIL.

"Aw, I am bored and lonely here. You guys are having fun without me!"

"Oh, you're about to miss this kid more, I am about to beat the s*it out of him!"

"What happened?"

"Well, since he's a PhD now, he thinks he's the smartest person in the world...he is actually pretty ignorant."

"Aww, you're the dad of the PhD, of course you are smarter! It's only paper work."

"I know, I just don't have the credentials."

Now I know where Hubbostrich get his "confidence" from.

Hubbostrich was handed the phone. He told me that this father and son are having the highest time of their 33 years career as a-father-and-son. They have been talking for hours on anything and everything. There were a lot of beer drinking involved and a lot of leaving the tables from disagreement on some X, Y, and Z topics. Taking my calls or responding to my texts is simply wasting time and out of place. The nerve!

"OK, Babe, just don't get those guns out. It will be one heck of a Law & Order: Criminal Intend episode."

Hubbostrich to his dad, "X says that we should not drink and be near guns."

His dad in the background, "Tell her, there are three just laying around in the table, and a couple knives scattered around the room."

Hubbostrich then says, "Even Goren couldn't figure this out, one person got a gun shoot, another has knife on his eye, what are you gonna describe to 911?"

"Yeah, when Goren looked at your dad's background...a former *** agent...and your background...a doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering...what is going on here?" I added.

And then I broke Hubbostrich the reason why I insisted on talking to him that instant.

"My mom just called and she is wondering why we are not pregnant yet. Are we doing the best we can? We need to remember that I am about to wither on my 31 years of existence in the world."

This is so inline with what my sister put in my Facebook status when I announced to the world that Hubbostrich passed his defense.

All I need to say to busy bodies (and to myself from time to time) is this quote from where else but my favorite Ecclesiastes 3:

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Uban oh Uban

Bermula dari ngomongin uban, dasar cewe-cewe chatting royals...

uban saya tambah banyak
*beat chest in sorrow
*hide under a rock

you want to hear where my uban is
di alis

hows that possible

kmrn dah dicabut tumbuh lagi ????
itu brarti udah akut
si Stacy What Not to Wear itu highlight putih

she's probably starting a trend

lol that
trend udah dari jamannya si mamiek
inget mamiek nggak

anaknya P. Harto?


inget nggakk

what about this

lebih menyentuh hati
4 3/8 nada

nada pertama!

no 1/2 nada

Sunday, February 13, 2011

No Habla Ingles

Hubbostrich finally finished his dissertation on Thursday. He is working on the slides for presentation since then. His defense is this coming Friday. Apparently, all of these have finally taken a toll on him. As a little break, we said yes to a birthday lunch of a girl in the gank today. In the car,

I feel better today.

You were that burnt up...burnt off...I mean...burnt
out yesterday?


At the lunch, the two of us were casually discussing NY's recent drama with her job and how talented she is overall. [Crossing our fingers, but NY's going back for good is imminent. More on this tomorrow when words are finalized. Damn you, JCP. I so want to switch carrier to be an advocate of the law.]

I think your sister has an excellent English skill of anybody I know, even you!

...Hold on!!

Babe, you mix up words

Yeah? What words?

You want me to make a list?

[Thinking about conversation in the car 20 minutes ago] Burn up?

That's what they do at refineries, Babe

Burn off?

That's also what they do at refineries

Burn in?

That's what you guys do at your work

Burn out!!!

Three strikes and you're out!

LOL LOL Hey, but my writing skill is supposedly better than hers

Yes, your editing skill is excellent

I think it has to do with time you spend with

You meant I didn't notice her flaws as much as yours?


This reminds me of a conversation in the car coming back from a lunch with NY, brother, and then Fiancestrich. Apparently, I uttered a word with a wrong pronounciation and was innocently unaware of it. That prompted NY to a bashing which is pretty mild according to her standard.

"She can't speak proper English, you can't speak Indonesian, how do you guys communicate?"

We all couldn't stop laughing.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Blot Blot Western Baby

While I was getting pulled in into a project with demanding work hours (this morning I got home at precisely 2:01 AM) and Hubbostrich is on a deadline for February 19 defense, our household has given up a few time vested luxuries such as meals from scratch and recreational activities. Before bed time TV watching is now reduced to numbness entertainment (well, hello, Aqua Teen Hunger Force) or dramatic money making ventures (American Pickers, Pawn Stars). Hence, updating this little blog is not a priority lately, although like Ms. Cecily Cardew character in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, I enjoy a life of deliberate contemplation poured in a written format, time permitted.

On my occasional free time at nights and weekends, Hubbostrich makes used of my playing editor skill to work on his dissertation. Did I tell you I enjoy being an editor? In fact, that's what I want to be when I grow up.

"Babe, you always forgot to put a period at the ends of your sentences!"

"Well, you sometimes can't see them in Times New Roman."

Such a ridiculous excuse. An Arial will work better, he claims. But wait, there are more of ridiculous situations coming my way. For instance, when Hubbostrich says he is done with a chapter of the dissertation, it means there are 50 unknown references need to be gathered around and 10 figures to format. Who is responsible for this? Yes, such a sweet life of an editor.

I still make sure to use my higher up in the food chain position to point out things to be corrected in his dissertation.

"I'm telling you this is not a good abstract, you have to be dramatic. Think headlines. Short and to the point, snip-snip!"

"F- the Thesis Office and their 350-word abstract," is all he can say in frustration.

Ah! A couple more hard work days and we will submit a draft to his advisor.

Bonus point:

Hubbostrich has been claiming this as the official soundtrack of his dissertation writing. He can totally relate.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


My group at work has an opening. I handed a hard copy of a friend's resume to Manager in Charge of this hiring. The resume in transit is four pages long. We are all eager to sell expose ourselves for jobs we want, but at four pages it probably is not going to hit the point. Also, a third party tête-à-tête is tad more efficient. The irony is I just realized those after MiC talked to me at my cube a few minutes after I handed him that resume.

"Is he/she a smart PhD? Because if he/she is not, then..." he asked me point blank.

"Where do you think I put my allegiance on, I handed you the resume."

I only wished I had the courage to speak that up; secondary, it also feels like a slap in the face-we need (a) whole other post(s) for self pity. Instead, I tried to sell my friend out to the best of my ability.

"...he easily adapts to new fields...he was an intern here...yes, he is smart, I was a his defense...bla bla bla..."

"Let me think about it," said MiC.

I think I just failed my poor friend.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Year New Responsibility

Pseudo-boss: "Happy?" He chugged a devilish laugh.
He was walking by my cubicle this afternoon. I was pulled out from his project to another one by my Big Boss (which is really at the same level as P-B 's) last week. This week feels brand new to me. I have never been this scared working on a new project. The past two years I was a baby learning to walk. Somebody always grabbed my arms and shielded me from falling hard. This new project is that baby running.

Me: (Shrugs) "I don't know what to expect. But I have a big meeting with Big Boss tomorrow."

P-B: "Don't worry, he'll explain A to Z." Devilish laugh part deux commenced.
So, here is to self-development. Gotta remind myself that I am not in this only for the money.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Last night when I got home,

Xindy: What's for dinner, Babe?

Hubbostrich: Something with meat sounds good.

Xindy: Does chicken count as meat?

Hubbostrich: Yeah!

Xindy: OK, think exactly what you want for dinner while I'm excusing myself to the bathroom.

Hubbostrich: OK!

Xindy is back.

Xindy: So..?

Hubbostrich: Chicken with Aaron's famous rub, baked potato chips, oh, and some salad.

Xindy: OK, sounds good to me!

Hubbostrich: Don't we need wine?

Xindy: Hmm..yeah...

Hubbostrich: Wanna walk to Safeway with me? I have this one in mind.

Xindy: What is it?

Hubbostrich: Remember the spicy cabernet?

Xindy: Oh yeah, that'll go with the spicy rub, and it's cheap too. What is it called? I don't have it written down on my black book.

Hubbostrich: Hmm...I don't quite remember, it has red blots on the label and somethingCatholic.

We managed to walk to the store and,

Xindy: I don't know where it is, Babe.

Hubbostrich: Oh, it's somewhere in here. Ah, here it is.

Later that night he accidentally let out that he was at Safeway earlier that afternoon for something else but managed to browsed thru the cabernet section and liberally had this bottle in mind.

What is the point of this blog post you ask? Well, I just want to share that I used to have a 100% success rate in detecting Hubbostrich scams. This time I failed, I was scammed into thinking that it was purely his innocent choice of wine for the dinner we have had just discussed.

I should be more attentive. Clue number one, there's no way he remembers informations as trivial as those. And the way he said was a tad too coy. "Red blots"? It is actually called Red. "Something Catholic?" It is from St. Francis Winery. Clue number two, it was not more than two seconds between my question of the wine whereabout and when he found the targeted wine.

You know, Bibi, Tiger Xinda never makes the same mistake twice. She definitely will detect scam-in-progress better next time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Nothing strikes my senses a couple of mornings ago other than stumbling upon this article via a certain microblogging. It sucessfully raises my blood pressure as well as mental confussion, the article hit bases too close. As we all know, Hubbostrich and I have teamed up on the so-called Western-Asian household model for a couple of months and counting now and we do have a few ideas on raising our future children "succesfully", certainly not the Tiger Mom way.

Anyhow, after a careful examination, the WSJ footnote mentioned that the article is an excerpt of an upcoming book by the author. So it is more than possible that controversy is intended as part of book marketing. Although, I am not sure how succesful this gimmick is for your more-than-average pedestrian. I, myself, am going to wait for a library copy instead of wasting a couple of hard earned yuen on it. I guess it is not hard to infer what we could get out the book. I sincerely placing hope it is not a how-to manual for every day Tiger Mom but more like a memoir, shall we say, a path to author's parenting-discovery.

This other microblogging site, on the other hand, succesfully brought us a lighter, I mean sarcastic, note on the subject. I must say it is a much better channel to direct your disapprovement. I can't stop LoLing on its almost daily witty one liner (and footnote) and don't get me started on the Asian MILF, she totally images the original Tiger Mom's profile.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

St. Claire Cooking

Tonight I discovered French provencale cooking by chance. A recent bout of vegetarianism leads me to buying a large eggplant thinking to make somekind of lasagna. Hubbostrich, though, had some craving for cheeseless, hence less calories, pasta dish. We consulted this indispensable book for an eggplant recipe and stumble on Ratatouille Provencale.

As always, yours truly and her partner in crime never stay true to a recipe. We modified JoC's recipe even added some ground beef (the vegetarian me is finally cured after a week) and some purple head cabbage to the hearty stew. I also boiled some elbow macaroni and toasted rye bread as side dishes.

I couldn't really identify what is so good about it. It's probably just the amalgamation of all natural glutamates in the tomatoes and the onion, shallots, and the sweetness and flavors of the vegetables including the eggplant and the beef taste in the background and the hint of vermouth.

Bibi and I each had to come back two more times for a total of six helpings between us (recipe was for 8 servings) and was left with small container for somebody's lunch tomorrow. If that is not enough to testify on how good the stew is maybe you should come visit us and we will cook it for you.

Without anymore ado, here is our recipe.

Xindy's Ratatouille St. Claire

On dutch oven,

heat up 1/2 c olive oil

pour in

approximately 2 c (1 lb) 1" x 1" cubed peeled eggplant
1 c julienned purple head cabbage

cook covered until tender, approximately 10 minutes.

Remove vegetables from dutch oven onto a dish.

Season with salt and black pepper.

On dutch oven,

brown approximately 1/4 lb ground beef

pour in 1/4 c dry vermouth

cover and cook with medium heat approximately 15-20 minutes (if started from frozen state).


1 clove sliced shallot
1/4 c sliced onion
1 sliced red bell pepper (yellow will work too, this is mainly for color)
3 sliced cloves of garlic

Cook at medium heat for 3-5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add to the mixture

1 can of Italian tomatoes
1 tbs of sliced fresh sage
2 bay leaves
1 tbs of fresh rosemary
1 1/2 c water

Cook for another 10 minutes.

Reduce to low heat, add the eggplant and cabagge mixture, cover and cook for another 20 minutes.

Bon appétit.

Xindy's Ratatouille St. Claire

Friday, January 07, 2011

Office 2011

New year, new resolution, new hope for a better life.

This year I started at the 9 x 9 ft square patch of green box where I perch during some of my hours at the office. The project started in the spur of the moment the second day of work in 2011. I acquired a gently used white board from the division secretary by chance of reading her email a few minutes after she had sent it. And then a manager walked by with an LCD monitor and offered it to me. After another acquisition of keyboard a secondary work station was ready for me to use.

While I was rerouting cables and such to set up the work station, it striked me to clean up around the cubicle. After all, this little space is considered a second home and who in the right mind doesn't appreciate a clean living space. So, I threw away boxes and what not and rearranged stationeries and office stuff around. I then consulted the internet and my dedicated online designer to help me with decoration.

I touched up, cut out, and affixed some flower patterns from MS Publisher template to the rolling door of one of the shelves to the left of my work station. I decided to have shades of purple as color theme. Leaves (and two four-leaf clovers for good luck) cut out were added to fill in some left out spaces.

Cubicle revamped 2011

To continue the flower and color theme, I added this wicker basket that contain artificial tulips. This printed Periodic Table of the Elements has been with me for some time and I think the table and the tulips look lovely placed side by side.

Cubicle revamped 2011

One of my undying passions is to be learned in Latin, as such one of my favorite mottos is naturally in the language of interest. MS Publisher template striked again. I printed the motto into a tweaked template on a brochure paper and affixed it on the corner of the cover of the shelf on my right.

Cubicle revamped 2011

The other part of the right shelf rolling door is decorated with postcards from the places I have been on road trips. Postcards to me are such inexpensive useful mementos that posses minimum dust acquisition tendency.

Cubicle revamped 2011

That is it for now but I figure am not done with revamping yet. Next in line is some lighting to warm up the place and to use the wall behind me for further decor.

Happy New Year.