Shooting Some Hoops

My family had a basketball half-court in our backyard when I was growing up. Having one helped kept me slim during my high school years. It also helped me make some new friends at school as a lot of them would come home with me on Fridays so that we could shoot some hoops in our court. When the old house got extended, the court had to go to make room. I stopped playing basketball regularly after that.

These days, I only get to enjoy shooting hoops when Raquel and I are at the local gaming arcade where we can play those timed basketball hoop games. The higher the score you get, the more tickets you win that you can exchange for gift items.

I realised that whenever we play a dozen rounds of that game, I get a workout. I thought it was great because shooting hoops never felt like working out to me. The only downside was that each game costs $2. A dozen games between Raquel and me set us back $24 each time. I figured, there must be a cheaper way to shoot some hoops.

Yeah, maybe I can just go to the nearby local basketball courts and pay for an hourly fee meanwhile sharing it with others. That’s okay, I guess. Except, being all rusty for not having played for many years now, I don’t want to make a complete fool of myself. Besides, I couldn’t do that on a daily basis. It would be great if I could play a bit of ball everyday to help me lose some pounds.

In the end, we just bought a basketball ring with stand at Rebel Sport yesterday. We weren’t after a professional standard basketball ring. All we wanted was a hoop we can shoot at. So, we picked one of the cheapest rings around. It isn’t that big but it’s just as well because we want it to fit under our pergola’s roof. The only problem I noticed was that the pergola roof wasn’t high enough and I kept hitting the roof beams whenever I tried to shoot high.

Anyway, today, we were able to spend half an hour shooting some hoops and running around after the ball afterwards. It was a cool workout and I didn’t even notice the time pass. At last, a form of exercise I can enjoy.

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Published in: on January 29, 2007 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

What’s Cooking, Doc?

I promise that I’ll be writing about our trip home to the Philippines soon. Meanwhile, Raquel and I decided to try something different. That is, instead of her doing the cooking and me doing the cleanup after meals, I’ll take a stab at doing the cooking chores. And I admit that I’m actually liking this new arrangement. I always wanted to do something constructive and creative which I sort of get when I cooked.

Being a complete beginner, I made mistakes, I found it difficult to estimate the amount of seasoning needed in the dish I’m preparing and I prepare the food real slowly (to Raquel’s consternation). However, I’m very confident that, in time, my proficiency at cooking would improve.

As the new resident cook, I took the opprotunity to cook dishes that I love. To date, I’ve done the following dishes: Picadillo (with additional shredded cabbage), Beef Stroganoff, Chicken and Sundried Tomato Pasta Bake (with the help of a prepackaged pasta sauce), Chicken Longganisa and a batch of fudge cookies (see photo).

Up next this week is Bistek Pilipino (Filipino-style Beef Steak) followed by another variant of the pasta bake. I’ll try something with more vegetables next week though. I didn’t realise that most of the dishes I’ve done (and will do) don’t have much in terms of veggies.

Published in: on January 28, 2007 at 11:17 pm  Comments (3)  

Bohol 2006 Photos

We’ve been busy these past weeks with work, chores and general everyday living that we’ve been neglecting some of our more leisurely pursuits, this blog included. Hubby has been planning a detailed post about our Bohol trip but he’s just too occupied with other things at the moment that he hasn’t gotten around to it yet. Man, you should really hear him talk about our adventures, or maybe misadventures; it’ll give new meaning to the words impassioned story telling!

Anyway, next best still is to see the photos we’ve taken during said trip. Note that you’d have to have a SnapFish account to view the entire album.

Published in: on January 25, 2007 at 1:15 pm  Comments (4)  

Going/coming back

It has been said time and again that travel changes a person and his perspective on life, but I never thought that it would still ring true even if my destination is the place I used to call home. Our trip back to the Philippines had us evaluating a lot of things – relationships (with friends and families), finances, lifestyles and opportunities/options among other things.

A definite highlight of our trip was our short stay in Bohol. There, we enjoyed the area’s sights (tarsiers, chocolate hills and Loboc river cruise), the friendliness and trusting nature of the locals and got a taste of the simple life. Manila, as always, was noisy and full of people everywhere. We had fun with trips of shopping (Mall of Asia mall rats here), going down to the local cinema, meeting up with old friends, going on a day trip to Villa Escudero, spending some time with our respective families, stuffing our faces with local food and native delicacies and revisiting old haunts.

We’ve also ranted against the crazy traffic and driving (Hey, stop! That jeepney’s only a couple of inches away from us!), waiting and queueing everywhere, which started in the airport’s immigration counter upon arriving then continued to banks, shops, cinemas, restaurants, transport, dermatologist’s office (I waited for nearly an hour even if I’ve booked in the time several days in advance) and continued on until we got back to the airport for our flight back. Also, there was the heat and humidity (we were constantly sweating during our first few days there). Then there’s the shoddy service at the bank (they weren’t dubbed Shittybank for nothing), with some confusion over a seemingly insignificant form I had to sign.

Could it be that living overseas had made snobs out of us? To me, the answer is no. I’ve already been complaining about the culture of misplaced patience towards bad and slow service, bureaucracy and the prevalence of crime in certain areas even before I left the country. Pagpasensyahan mo na, ganon talaga (Just let it be, that’s the just the way it is) shouldn’t be our mantra, we should learn to rage against it to improve things. Going back has shown me that sadly, nothing has changed. However, not everything was bad as I truly enjoyed my time in Bohol (and to a smaller extent, Villa Escudero) and time spent with my family.

Going back was good, but coming back to Melbourne was better.

Published in: on January 19, 2007 at 1:01 pm  Comments (4)  

We’re Back

Yes, we’re back in good old Melbourne and loving it. We’ve actually been back since Monday but four days onward I’m still feeling a bit sluggish. Our three-week vacation over the holidays in the Philippines was okay even though it didn’t exactly meet my extremely high expectations.

Let me explain. I left for Australia in November of 2000 and I haven’t spent Christmas in the Philippines since the last one. That’s six Christmases spent abroad. I have very fond memories of Christmas and New Year’s Eve growing up. Whenever the Christmas season rolled in, I would look back on those fond memories and think of how I’m missing out on all the fun.

And so, I was very excited to spend Christmas at home again after all this time. My expectations were unrealistically high, in fact. I guess, in retrospect, I was just setting myself up for some bit of disappointment. It’s like I’m expecting that this recent Christmas should match or trump the best ever memories I have of past Christmases. Not to say that the recent holiday season was bad, though. It just didn’t feel more fun than past ones.

Maybe it was because there weren’t as many street light decorations as before. Maybe because not all of my closest relatives were in the Philippines to celebrate the holidays with us. Maybe I’ve just grown too old for it all. Or maybe, I unrealistically wanted a recreation of a cherished memory of Christmas and didn’t get it.

However, I still loved that fact that I was able to spend the holidays with my Dad, Mom and little brother (who isn’t all that little anymore). I missed them being away from home for so long and I was glad to have been able to spend those few precious days under the same roof with them again.

Although my overall trip home had been somewhat stressful and had not meet my great expectations, I was still glad to have spent some time with my family again.

I’ll write up the more interesting experiences we had during our vacation in later posts. And thanks to everybody who had wished us well on our trip.

Published in: on January 12, 2007 at 7:38 am  Comments (10)