We are now on the 6th day of December. It is just unbelievable how 2020 has flown by while taking us on life’s scary roller coaster ride.
I wrote about My Fall Joy List 2020 which captures the events of October during this pandemic. The first two weeks of October were warm with gorgeous summer-like days. The days were lovely but I was so ready for fall’s chilly weather. It finally arrived around the 3rd week of October and thankfully stayed. Here are the rest of the wonderful things that happened during this month:
Autumn Moon Festival
It was a very warm first day of October which was also Autumn Moon Festival. I love to celebrate this Chinese holiday even though I am not Chinese. I guess it is partly because Manila Chinatown was a familiar part of my childhood, and growing up with Chinese-Filipino friends. I was badly craving moon cakes during Autumn Moon. I also realized that all the moon cakes that I ever had in my life were sent to me by my parents from Manila Chinatown. I got them during the different times of the year if a friend or relative was visiting the US. My siblings and I get a tin can each of four plump moon cakes with salted duck eggs that my parents would buy on the same day the plane was leaving so we get them very fresh less than a day later, or my parents would hand carry the moon cakes if they were the ones coming to visit us. I was craving moon cakes so much that I drove to Oakland Chinatown. Due to the pandemic, the crowd at Chinatown was sparse but the stores were open. I was happy to get lotus and mung bean moon cakes that were actually very delicious! I also treated myself to Chinese pastries. Then on the same week, one of my co-workers gave me a moon cake with salted duck egg from Taiwan! What a treat!
BFF AND FRIENDSHIP MOMENTS
I am happy that BFF and I continue to meet up despite having very limited places that we can go to where we feel comfortable. We met up again at our BFF Head Quarter which is the San Francisco Ferry Building. We had a drink and empanadas. We ate and drank while wearing a mask which was a challenge while dining but very much necessary for life and safety. Then as always, she spoiled me with treats. I also got to see my friend Ali who stopped by my work for just few minutes. I was so happy as opportunities to see friends are so rare nowadays.
We stopped being creative during delivery date night. Meals are really not the same if they come in a delivery box so we gave up trying different foods. Sushi became our go-to. It is healthy and easy. Then one Saturday we had Church’s fried chicken which was a guilty and yummy indulgence. LOL!
I also wrote about our very first out of town trip (and the only one so far in 8 months to this day) since shelter in place in March when we went to a pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay as well as our super-delicious beer and fried seafood dinner at Half Moon Bay Brewery. It was lovely fall day by the California coast.
As expected, Halloween was very different this year. We thought that this would have been the most perfectly-timed Halloween. There was the rare Blue Moon and Halloween fell on a Saturday. Due to the pandemic, Halloween was pretty quiet. Trick or treating was discouraged. We still saw kids in costumes walking by our house but we did not decorate this year and also did not turn the patio light on which meant we were not giving out candies.
I had fun decorating the house and the backyard although no one could see it. BFF and I saw each other the day before Halloween and she gave me my Halloween treats as always. I cooked the Halloween noodles she gave me in the shape of bats, pumpkins, etc and made chicken noodle soup on Halloween morning. I woke up with a strong craving for chicken soup and her Halloween shaped noodles came in handy! Evening was very low-key but fun. We watched movies both scary (his choice) and cute (mine). I cannot believe that I have not seen Hocus Pocus ever! I saw it for the first time this Halloween. He ordered food delivery but I really just wanted to nosh on cheese and crackers and a glass of wine.
Overall, it was a cozy Halloween season even if we were not able to keep our yearly traditions because of the pandemic. I enjoyed reading many cozy Halloween mysteries (aka brain candies). We spent October nights watching movies such as Ghost Ship (2002), Tales from the Dark Side, Food Channel’s Halloween Baking War and my Disney shows like Raven. Halloween is a big thing at work every year. They really go all out and last year we even had a DJ. I was not expecting anything but they did a short Haunted House walk with a basket at chocolates in the end as a reward, and virtual pumpkin decorating. Very cute and truly appreciated the efforts but hardly anyone was at work while WFH.
IN THE KITCHEN
I baked one batch too many pumpkin muffins this month until I ran out of canned pumpkins. This was when I realized that there is canned pumpkin shortage! LOL! (To this day in December, they are still nowhere to be found!) Here is my recipe for super-moist pumpkin muffins.
Working from home made me improve my soup-making skills. I cook and eat tons of homemade soups with meatballs, tofu, bokchoy — pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. Ha! Ha! I also cooked a traditional Filipino breakfast called “longsilog” which was a combination of chicken sausage or longganisa, garlic rice (sinangag) and fried eggs (itlog) = longsilog. I have not made this at home in years! And it was so delicious!
WHAT I AM GRATEFUL FOR
I am someone who always sees the world in roses even though thorns are everywhere as well. I am blessed to be hardwired with a grateful heart, positivity and resilience as my natural makeup. However, the challenges of the times started to affect me. Then, a lovely message came along as it always does whenever I am in need of hope.
When I was in high school, an English teacher wrote on one of my essays, “It seems like God communicates to you through nature.” As I was feeling down, I found a little rose bud in front of my house as soon as I got out of my car. It either fell from a bouquet that someone was carrying or from a neighbors’ garden carried by the wind. This has happened to me many times in my life. Whenever I was in low spirits and feeling discouraged, I would sometimes find a random flower in front of my house not knowing where it came from. I do not want to overthink it. For me, it is His way of letting me know that I am loved and He never fails to communicate it to me in many different ways since I was a child such as through a smile of a stranger, a hug from a friend, a little present from nature….
This October, I am grateful for countless blessings. I am grateful that I got to see my sister and nephews even though I had to wear a mask the entire visit and we could not share a meal together. However, I got to play with my nephews and my sister sent me home with lots of food that my brother in law cooked along with many different treats. I am grateful for my workplace that tries to make the staff feel appreciated through fun events even though I know that everyone is getting tired. I am very thankful that I am able to talk to my mom and dad everyday which I could not do when I was working late everyday, for quiet moments at home with Mr Sweetie where we enjoy the joys of sheltering in place and enjoy each other’s company; for BFF and friends who make life happy despite the challenges, and for the blessings of fall. I was finally able to harvest my tomatoes and peppers. They were just enough for a little salad but I am grateful for the many summer afternoons spent gardening in my backyard….. In Him, my heart is full of gratitude.