Truth and Honesty

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By Rosa | Filed in Rose | No comments yet.
“When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.” — Adrienne Rich
Today, Adrienne Rich, a pioneering feminist poet died. In her many works, the quote on truth is most striking to me. There is truth, as in being honest. Then there is being true — most importantly to one’s self. I think you can’t really be true to other people, lest you first be true to yourself…and sometimes that’s the hardest part.

Enough and Good Enough

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By Rosa | Filed in Rose | No comments yet.

Enough. What a a powerful word. It reminds me that I need to know when to stop. One time, someone greeted me, “I wish you enough in life” and it was a good wish for me. I’ve never done too much excess in life anyway but it still good to be reminded. Sometimes i wonder, how many people who bought into the era of the McMansion could have been helped financially by the same powerful word — enough.

The reverse is true for me on the words, “good enough.” I think good enough is one succumbing to mediocrity and this I find disturbing. Don’t get me mistaken. I am not one out there for perfection but I am for passion. Endeavors worth doing, are worth doing with passion. So good enough is never enough.

For at least 15 years, the Filipino Senior Citizens of Central Ohio (FilSeCo) always hosted a Valentine’s Day Dinner-Dance Party. It was always well-attended by families, adult children, little grandkids, and always open to friends and family. It was a semi-formal affair where everyone dressed up, had a sit down fancy dinner, then dancing after with a live band or a local DJ. In other words, good clean fun and truly A Family Affair.

This year, our Lolos and Lolas (now in their 70s and 80s) have decided to hang up their boots. It was too sad to think that there will no longer be a V-Day party so PASCO, the longest running socio-cultural organization decided to host it for the community. I couldn’t help but think this was like the symbolic passing of the torch but what a nice legacy to leave to us. It was like they were telling us, work hard, study well but don’t take yourselves too seriously. Once in awhile, dress up, mind your ‘Ps’ and ‘Qs’ and have some good clean fun with your friends family….oh, and don’t forget to show us your boogie.

CLICK THIS TO WATCH VIDEO

Maraming Salamat po, FILSECO.

 

My Almost Family

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By Rosa | Filed in Moving and Joining | No comments yet.

Growing up, I was surrounded by family, literally living behind our home, beside us and everyone lived no more than 20 miles away from each other. Visiting Grandma was a weekly occasion. Because everyone was nearby, I was surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family members. Child care was never an issue. There was a solid sense of security being around all of them.

 

I want my kids to have the same experience but with my family living halfway across the globe and Tom’s family spread across the country, this is just not possible.

 

Making friends is not hard for me but making friends with other adults raising children with similar ages as my kids needed a bit more effort. It took years but here we are — my almost family

 

Needless to say, the friends I’ve come to know in Columbushave enriched our lives tremendously. They truly are now my family. We’ve watched our children grow, we exchange parenting tips, we watch each other’s children so that we can sneak out for a movie, coffee or even just a quiet trip to the grocery.

 

It truly takes a village to raise kids.

 

I’m incredibly fortunate.

My Indoor Garden | The Real Deal

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By Rosa | Filed in Gardening | No comments yet.

I say “the real deal” because if you’ve ever walked into an indoor gardening store like I did one time, you’ll slowly realize they are selling a ‘different’ kind of plant in there. No kidding.

This winter has been extremely mild so I’ve been inspired to start my 2012 garden indoors even as early as January. I’ve been following the writers (and of course Master Gardeners) Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman, owners of Four Season Market in Harborside,Maine. I’ve read most of Coleman’s books and he is extremely generous in sharing information and quite detailed in his descriptions for techniques to use for four season gardening. I’m far from being able to raise vegetables during all four seasons but one never knows…maybe one day I will.

This year I’ve been able to select the veggies I will raise this summer. I’ve been raising more and more Asian vegetables – okra, Chinese eggplant, long beans, ampalaya (bitter melon). I add this to the usual garden staple of tomatoes, carrots, and summer squash. New for my garden this year are the addition of beets and lavender (herb). A friend also plans on sharing his asparagus with me this see so we’ll see how they all turn out.

What I’ve started so far are herbs — cilantro, chives, and basil. I figured I can probably just raise them indoors and yes they are thriving. I also planted ginger and garlic but only because they started growing spuds and I hated to throw them. Yes, I’ve also repurposed my plastic milk jugs and even a fancy grab-me Victoria’s Secret bag into my seed starting kit this year. Call me cheap.

I hope to blog about the progress of my garden this year. I also plan on blogging about my compost and my worms! If you are also a gardener, leave me a note and maybe we can grab coffee sometime and exchange stories. I’d love to hear what other gardeners are doing.

 

Late Night Snack

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By Rosa | Filed in Food | No comments yet.

If I had a frenemy*, it would be the Late Night Snack.

My MO is usually a plateful of Doritos super flat corn chips drizzled with shredded three-cheese. I stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds and ooooh, out comes my favorite late night snack. Yeeeeessssss! Noooooooooo! *see what I mean? That plateful is so bad for me….and if I eat that every night, I will balloon. I think I already gained 10 lbs just blogging about it.

Tonight, I rock my world by not succumbing to this craving and instead going for what I’d call – sweet potato jam. I started with boiled sweet potatoes, added some banana chips (for crunch) and then stuck a few raisins and nuts on my sweet potato — just so it wouldn’t be sooo sooo mushy on the palate.

Sweet Potato Jam

Here’s what the Nutrition Information would read on a baked sweet potato. This food is low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6 and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Manganese. I picked this out of http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2667/2#ixzz1lTQa4F00
I love sweet potatoes and I love that they are actually healthy for you. I boil a whole bag then stick them in the refrigerator. When I need to eat something, I just grab one, peel it and snack on it. I have also decided to include the sweet potato in my garden this year. Hopefully it thrives.

I do want to say that I blame my friend Jessi** for getting my fat ass off the couch to get a late night snack…..she gave me the recipe to her Imperial Shrimp Rolls. There. I said it. It’s your fault Jessi. HA! **realfriend&notafrenemy

London.is.very.very.English. I’m not trying to be funny here but I mean, you wake up in London and you KNOW you’re there.

Today, if you showed up in London, you will see an elderly woman sipping her tea, wearing a hat with a feather (or a net). She is wearing a powder blue, polyester dress with flat dowdy shoes. She’s licensed to look like the Queen Mother or Violet from Downton Abbey….except she’s sitting right next to you, in real life. Bizarre.

The red double-decker buses don’t disappoint. It actually zooms past you screaming at your senses, “You Are In London!” Combined with the yellow stripe marking a pedestrian lane, I feel like the Beatles will be crossing Abbey Road any second.

Fish and chip pubs. Everywhere. It is cloudy; it will likely rain in the afternoon.

I say it’s very very English because sometimes you wonder if a City looks just a little bit from how they have been showcased  in Frommer’s but walk away a block or two and its disappointing. Or maybe it just looks like it in travel magazines for only a few square blocks (but not really). No. They were right. Those pictures were accurate. You will know you’re in the land of David Beckham and the Spice Girls.

Our bed and breakfast had Victorian-style wallpaper. I turned on the ‘telly’ and watched the BBC. You should try that…same news, but different take on issues….oh and America is like Topic Number 11, after talks about France, Greece, the Euro and other things important to that side of the world. I also watched a show called “Balls of Steel.” Hilarious. I was trying so hard to understand the accent and whatever it was they were doing was extremely funny and entertaining in the Benny-Hill-kinda-way.

I woke up and our English breakfast was plenty. Sausage came with uhm, a whole skinned & blanched tomato. Toast came in a toast holder. A toast holder! Who needs that? The Brits do.  

The Queen’s guard doesn’t laugh. Believe me. I tried… damn fuddy duddies.

Walking Picadilly Square on a drizzly evening made it feel like I was going to meet up with Lilly Allen for drinks.

In Victoria Station, it was so tempting to run into one of the subway columns just like Harry Potter did, to see if it would take me to Hogwarts. Tom stopped me. I’m glad. I don’t want tabloid paparazzi to see that. It wouldn’t be pretty.

When you’ve switched from finding a UDF or 7-Eleven to looking for Sainbury’s and Tony The Tiger’s Frosted Flakes are relabeled to “Frosties”, you know you’re not in Ohio. Of course it was also a shock that clothes retailer Marks and Spencer was now hawking high-end, grab-n-go, healthy snacks. Score!

There is one thing that took my breath away. How Londoners must love books & the theatre. Here in this city, books thrive and even the dirtiest alley might promote whatever is showing on the West End. It’s exhilarating and makes me feel so hopeful. When you go down the tube, there are life-size posters promoting novels, book releases, author signing events and the latest musical. There are neon billboard signs promoting books, for heavens sake — never mind that it’s for Danielle Steel, it’s still literature right?

It was wonderful.

Oh, and Mind The Gap.

Seared Tuna

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By Rosa | Filed in Food | No comments yet.

I like tuna cooked medium-rare.

tuna, 8 ounces

mirin, 1 tbsp

honey, 2 tbsp

rice vinegar, 1 tbsp

sesame oil, 1 tbsp

soy sauce, 1/4 cup

sesame seeds

mix all the liquid ingredients. save 1/2 of it as dipping sauce.

heat pan until it is HOT! dip the tuna into the sauce, then into a bowl of sesame seeds

move to hot pan and cook for 60 seconds on each side or until you see some brown on your fish.

Wha-la! SEARED TUNA…don’t forget to slice it into thin strips and serve over a hot steaming bowl of rice or just on top of fresh greens for an even lighter dinner.

I got this recipe from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sesame-seared-tuna/. I didn’t have it with wasabi paste tonight.

 

Oui Paris!

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By Rosa | Filed in Travels | No comments yet.

You fall in love in Paris because you are surrounded by extremely good looking people who speak lyrical words you don’t understand.

In the middle of the busy subway station, someone plays the violin, the harp, even a cello — making time stand still even just for a song.

Surrounding you are buildings that have lived for centuries. They serve as a landmark to men that have lived before us. If you stood still and stared, you sense that hundred-year-old soul in them yearning to reach out to you with stories to share.

Napoleon re-drew Paris and they never touched it since. He had good taste. Today any renovation can only be done to the interiors of a building. Nothing touched outside. No wonder movers use windows to hurl furniture up to apartments.

I sat on a bench along Les Champs Elysees. This beautiful avenue witnessed horror as Nazis marched in during those dark days. But of course it was also there to greet Lance Armstrong at the end of each Tour de France, especially the one he won right after battling cancer. What a historic site. Today it is lined with high end stores – Cartier, Peugeot and of course, there is a Starbucks. I feel like it should have been kept the way it is but such is life….even avenues move on.

Food Porn? It’s there. Coffee and Coffee Houses, everywhere. It was ironic to me that Starbucks thrives but they do… courtesy of young Parisians that find it trendier than the traditional coffee shop on the corner. Guess where I chose to sip my latte.

So yes, Paris is all they say it is…and more. I will be back someday.

Merry Christmas from The Huffs!

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By Rosa | Filed in Rose | No comments yet.

Merry Christmas To All Our Family and Friends!

We send you all our love and wish you all the best tidings the holidays bring.

We also wish you an even better 2012!

Our biggest family news this year is the opening of our store front called The Computer Lab! In May 2011, we opened the doors to a local PC/Laptop/LCD TV sales and repair store conveniently located only a block away from where we live. Sandwiched between a music store and a carryout, we have been received well and now see customers that come throughout Columbus and neighboring cities. We have been truly fortunate that we’ve seen success despite being open for less than a year.

Topher graduated from High School and works at The Computer Lab while waiting to get started with college this Winter 2012. He has been taking his job quite seriously and shows up consistently, and has been learning the combination of professionalism and customer service. YAY! We have truly been proud of how he has stepped up to the plate. We have a Store Manager, Michael, that works Part-Time and has been with us for over a year now. The hours that Michael and Topher put in make it easy to keep the store open as Tom continues to focus on his IT consulting work.

Alex is now a Junior at Thomas Worthington High School. He continues to take these impressive Advanced Placement classes. We try to remind him not to rush through High School but he seems intent. He is now on a track of researching colleges, universities, degrees and careers so if you get a call from him for advice, don’t be surprised. What a big decision that will soon be coming his way! He also helps at the store as needed but his spare time seem spent on creating elaborate ceramic bowls —- watch out Christmas gifts for uncles, aunts and grandparents!

Dakota is now in 6th grade and is enjoying every bit of his last year with Colonial Hills Elementary. He is still our sporty kid, juggling both basketball and competitive swimming. He also picked up a paper route this year to help us pay for some of the sports equipment/gear he needs (uhm, wants). He is also big into art this year and declared (at least to Grandpa Huff) that he wants to pursue architecture….we’ll see if that sticks. One of his art work was selected to be displayed at the School District’s main office lobby for a month and another art work was selected to be sent to Japan for a local school competition in a sister city. He looks forward to finding out the results from that but he’s also just glad thinking that his work made it all the way there, the other side of the globe.

KJ is 5 and started Kindergarten. He loves (LOVES) school and everything about it….from the new friends, the lunch boxes, the homework, recess, his teachers, playdates after school — the whole bit. He is also learning how to swim and goes to gymnastics classes once a week. He LOVES gymnastics where he tumbles, does cartwheels, attempts head stands and all that — all without getting into trouble. We are glad.

Our children continue to be our biggest blessing as we watch them grow into their own selves and become the person that they are/will be. Tom and I took a trip this year to London and Paris that was a big treat for us. We have been fortunate to be able to take time away from our daily hustle bustle so we can also have time to enjoy each other. Rosa lost her job at Nationwide Children’s in September after a higher than usual cut in federal funding for her area. She’s been spending her time helping at the store and reassessing what 2012 might bring for her (will keep everyone posted!). Tom has seen a lot of out-of-state trips for more national clients. The trip to Europe is one we continue to talk about, cherish and enjoy remembering.

Our schedules have been hectic and green seem to be ‘in’ so I hope this blog sends everyone the same warmth and sincerity as our usual greeting card.

We send you all our love.

The Huffs

Tom, Rose, Topher, Alex, Dak and KeiJay