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Halo Halo – Mix & Think Differently

Yummy "Ube" Purple Yam Ice Cream

Yummy "Ube" Purple Yam Ice Cream

Isabella Rose

Isabella Rose

A Panamanian Mother

There seems no greater love than that of a mother’s for her child.

While in Panama City last April, tadalafil thumb I sat across a special woman who epitomized that wonder.  It was clear to me what mattered to her the most.  The little nuances from her every gesture proved the depth of her love in a role that was not negotiable, viagra and mine was a beautiful opportunity to have watched her in her element.  Her son was well behaved–his choice, a testament of trust and read this educated honing from his mother. And from our few exchanged glances, he exuded a confidence within, smiling easily as he said hello and then, goodnight, after we altogether watched the cultural show in a restaurant not far from our hotel.

Surprisingly, we got seated with the locals.  My Spanish must have been so good, the Panamanians placed us in the balcony, instead of the center floor reserved for tourists.  But truly, beyond nationality, I felt just like her.  In fact, she made me remember all the precious times I shared with the boys when they were as young as her son.  Suddenly that deep sense of connection, a commitment of self, released in the highest form of creation called “child”–touched me, as if what I was observing was me, all over again.

Herewith, to share that special moment that I was happy to have documented, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day, if you are indeed a mom.  Brunch will be cherished today over at Amaya at The Grand Del Mar– a restaurant that my good friend Fei Celestine and I frequent.  In fact, Fei and her husband Pierre will be there as well, along with Elliott, my boys’ long time friend who is like a brother to them and a son to us.  Nate, (another family friend) who has lived with us for a few months now, I will miss; but that’s ok, for he has gone home to Santa Cruz to be with his mother.

Looking back, my Mother’s Day was often spent unusually at amusement parks.  Although I hardly participated in the wild rides of such adventuresome places like Magic Mountain, I cherished those days spent just watching my children enjoy themselves. Mother’s Day to me was “playtime” — a day to laugh with the kids and be filled with excitement, rather than a day to relax with breakfast in bed–although I’ve had a few of those as well.  Luckily for me, I’ve been blessed with several ways to have enjoyed the day.

This time, with some images collected from my recent trip to Panama City–

my head will certainly be in the clouds,

my body feeling buoyant, like from the pleasant view at The Flamenco Yacht Club

and my spirit in colorful and graceful movement like the way their cultural dancers performed that night.

Add to it all, a similar drink I had filled with fruits in the bubbly like this Sangria, surrounded by love and order amoxil online price joy in sons–Richard, Ryan and Ross, my Aunt Isabella Rose who is visiting with us for a month, my husband, Richard…and our friends.  Be rest assured, I will be with cheer on this special day, very happily being a mother.


May you find the heart of golden treasures in those you love most.

Halo-Halo, viagra sales find that’s what you’re looking at– a Filipino dessert with a name that means mix-mix that my Aunt Rose and I shared at midnight, medical before she headed back to Cleveland, generic yesterday. Calorie wise, taste wise, event wise, it was THE BOMB!  Tita (Aunt) Rose and I couldn’t stop emoting as we dug deep into the enormous parfait glass.  I was made ecstatic by more memories in the making, as the ice cream melted and mixed with the ice, milk and all else.

In all honesty, I believe some Filipino foods can be really odd, and maybe even unappetizing in its looks

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. But this beautiful and delightful concoction is refreshingly delicious! Unusual with layers of sweet red mung beans, white beans, sugar palm fruit, Langka (Jackfruit), Nata de Coco (cream of coconut jelly made of fermented coconut juice) and Leche flan (creme caramel *I make mine the French way) topped with shaved ice, a little milk and then crowned with Ube (purple yam) ice cream, you may well consider it an antidote to brain freeze. Sometimes mixed with Macapuno, described as gelatinous mutant coconut strings, there is a possibility, you will forever be altered, especially if you tried THIS one I made.

Successfully better than what I’ve ever had in the past while growing up in the Philippines, I account my efforts to having made my own purple yam ice cream. Generous with the ingredient of Halayang Ube (purple yam jam) that I mixed with cream, milk and sugar before pouring into an ice cream maker, I fell in love with its delicate lavender color and taste, which I preferred over the strongly food colored, store bought equivalent. Purple yams into ice cream–yes I know, it makes you wonder! It’s…different. But then so is Johnny Depp. Only this ice cream is more rich and velvety than his often scraggly appearance. In retrospect, that makes him a disappointment. Haha! I’ll take the ube ice cream–thank you! ;)

Isabella Rose_main

Isabella Rose at Amaya, The Grand del Mar on Mother's Day 2012

This is my beautiful Aunt who visited with me for nearly six weeks. Only 8 years older than me, she’s my same Aunt who rehearsed me over and over, preparing me diligently for the talent portion at the Miss World pageant held in London in 1978. Her efforts paid off when I took home the award and nostalgia was a sweet companion with this reminder during her visit. The full exchange we had each day was as mixed as Halo Halo. We talked about life, men, women, children– people in general, including ourselves, our thoughts and what mattered to us both. We rummaged through my China cabinets, building sets up to twenty four as we sat through eBay, looking for special period finds on stuff I’ve had for years. Influenced by my strong fixation to well dressed tables, Tita Rose ended up with her own china set to pack. Then my sister Ronnie, who lives in Arizona, got clued in on what we were doing.  So then, she also wanted a set!

There were many other things we favored during her visit: Dior’s J’Adore perfume, Hello Kitty, blingy accessories where I have it in pink and nolvadex australia she gets it in blue…flavored canned tuna, white truffle pizza, mango salads, and anything exotic or “different”. And yes, for Mother’s Day, we gave her that special something with the selling slogan “Think Different”.

Altogether, our shared experience can be remembered as a parfait mix of specialness. Not unlike this one-of-a-kind creation, theoretically, I too, found the antidote to brain freeze: mix it all up (all you’re made of) and think …differently.  After my Aunt left, I was with a whole new comfort to proceed with new goals–happy to look back and forth, accepting even the strange and fermented parts of life and crowning it with velvety rich memories.

Posted in Blog, Family & Friends, Food & Drinks, Journal / Diary, Macro Photography | Also tagged , , , , 2 Comments

A Second Look With The Third Eye (The Algodones)

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. Hoi An has everything from the mountains to the seas, discount viagra old culture to modern conveniences. I even got hugs from market ladies. There is no lack for anything in the spirit of the people of Hoi An, especially from those who make the simplest of living.

*more pictures to come.

I had just returned from Asia with two weeks spent in Bangkok, viagra buy and Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An and Danang. My body was still healing from a war with the beach bugs and mosquitos of the crazy tropics, when off I went a second time to the California desert, risking my skin to even MORE markings! Also recuperating from days of back ache, possibly from the many hours of flying plus a San Diego blackout upon my return that tested my cooking skills in the dark, I pushed to keep up with a group of photographers headed for the Algodones on the 17th of September.

Cookies & Cream



And so I thought, I had better mentally rise above the physical hurdles that came with my having “too much fun.” After all, what’s another night out trekking the dunes, after some globe trotting that turned out well? But truly, the thought of simply amassing more pictures of the Dunes was really not that motivating.  I knew I had to do something “different.” With all of the same, sand bugs awaiting and in the condition I was in, I knew this trip could very well turn out to be, well, just another bugger.  Pun intended!

Feeling tired, I contemplated while driving 160 miles south of San Diego.  I thought, these pictures had better be worth a second round of effort!  But how so, when I was going to arrive late, just when the sun was setting? Shoot!  Was I going to miss the sunset?  That morning was so hectic when I vacillated on the thought of going and not going.  Still, I managed to grill a salmon and prepare a salad to share, thanks to two tablets of Aleve, until I finally got myself into the car.  I felt that dinner was probably all I would make it to and the night shoot thereafter.

Night Cap

At that point, I could only surrender to what already was and allowed myself to go through the motion as that complete Artist, leaving things to chance. With eyes wide open, I left it to the third eye to find me a way, and kept driving on.  I was obliging, even if I was not going to have as many shots of the Dunes, arriving just as the sun was beginning to set. Somehow, I made it. With my “come what may” mindset, I at least scurried like the sand was too hot on my feet and took my shots a few yards behind the group.

My Shadow



Whole Grain

I  experimented with filters and did things out of my norm, with a huge desire to push the usual.  I was looking to do something different. I ended up with pink sands, amber, magenta and purple skies. I pushed Kelvins (unit of measurement for tonal temperature in images), and gave up exposures I knew would normally work!  I ran the risk of having pictures I may not like.  But I really had nothing to lose. This isn’t a job! And hooray for that!

Undoubtedly, the company was altogether wonderful.  The very talented group is definitely one to be a part of!  Familiar faces and possible new friends awaited to partake in a shared pursuit, but no Michael Hartman who heads the pack.   He played Pandora stations while the bonfire flickered from the last time, and I missed that!  Still, we had the essentials and focused on the main event.  I sprayed bug spray, had citronella beads, remembered laughing enough through dinner and enjoyed going out on a limb from the peaks of sand dunes, with my whole new approach.

Blushing Dreams

Imperial Dawn


The Rising Colors

We woke up early to greet the rising sun with our cameras and tripods, and I made up for lost time by going higher up the dunes. The dawning of the day was over very quickly.  By 9:00 a.m., I went further up, while everyone started to head down, ready to pack up and head back. I did what I had to do. The group was more than ready to leave with enough photos in their memory cards, but they kindly waited for me at the camp site.

It was about 9:45 when we all finally took off–together. Well, as I was driving along, I saw signs of food outlets and veered off Dogwood Street, letting the group drive on to San Diego without me.  LOL  I first stopped off at a Starbucks where I had a chance to review the photos I took.  Realizing the direction I was going with colors and artsy post processing, I decided to head back to the Dunes. I spent another hour up another side for a few more differing shots.  And a few more they were, as I didn’t last that long.

I got more stingy bites as I stood by trees alongside the power towers and had to ignore the pain as I climbed to take my last shots.  The desert was mine and mine alone, except for this one dude who parked his buggy for sale at the field. He left after he realized I was his only audience!  The place was absolutely deserted!  This time, no pun intended.



A Serenade

With multicolor skies and golden sands documented, it was time to save my body from the useless buggers!  I felt that I made some kind of effort, and I rather liked that!

Higher Up

It was time to get on home, but I really needed to stop and nurse my insect bites with balm and take an allergy pill.  I was also starving.  I found a Chinese restaurant in El Centro that was odd enough to be totally Hispanic.  Yet they served a terrific Mapo tofu dish with red chillies, and a perfectly steamed and seasoned sea bass.  I can’t remember the restaurant’s name but it was close enough to the border’s check point.  The waiters and all their customers spoke Spanish.   It was as if they expected me to speak the language, because it was an immediate “Hola!  Buenos tardes!  Que quiere usted?”   Obligingly once again, I responded perfectly, just like any illegal immigrant from Ranch Santa Fe.  Laugh out loud!  I felt like an absolute alien. Everyone was Mexican in this Chinese restaurant.

Moonwalk To Home

But que rico! It was a great stop that replenished my exhausted body.  And by the time I got home, I was contented with the decisions I made.  I knew I had work to do on colors and the surreal tones I wanted to explore beyond the usual cream and warm tones of the dunes.  But it was time to prepare for yet another trip!  I’ll tell you more about that later.

dunes-of-goldIn the end, the Dunes of Gold was what I needed to see.  This image alone was enough for me to have suffered a little more for! If you hadn’t already read the blog from my first visit to the Algodones, please do.  You’ll understand just why this is special to me.  Thanks to the polarizing and warm pink filters, I was able to give the sand its needed tonal range, and then pushed the colors towards the yellows and amber in Photoshop’s HDR toning.

I hope you can appreciate my approach of the Algodones, this second time around.  To me, there are two ways of photographing.  You can show a subject as it really is, or as you see it or dream it to be.

ART by the aid of the third eye, was definitely what made it all pleasurable for me.   Give me rich colors and visuals–anytime!

Posted in Mother Nature, Photos, Quotes & Spirituality, Travel | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments