LIFE: 12 natural hair myths

“Natural Hair is Very Strong”
This is a misconception. It may look or even feel rough and tough, but it isn’t. Natural hair is actually fragile and has to be handled with much care. Why? Because the strands curl and bend so much that each curl is a possible breaking point because the bend in the strand weakens the shaft. In fact, many people assume people with natural hair have thick and strong hair strands when in fact they can have fine and wiry strands which can break easily.
“Natural Hair Can’t Be Combed.”
Naturally curly/kinky hair is not meant to be combed and styled like straight hair. Curly/kinky hair requires a whole new mind set in styling and you can’t work with kinky hair the way you do with relaxed hair. I can not and will not attempt to get a comb through my hair dry — only while it’s soaking wet with conditioner.
“Products are Only Made For Black or White Hair”
Lets face it, companies want to make a profit. Everyone knows that black women spend more on hair care than any other demographic so guess what — it’s all about the green. If you’re concerned about spending your money with black owned companies, realize that many companies such as “African Pride” are no longer black owned. Products may be geared towards a demographic (and have pictures of Africa and black women everywhere), but the owners don’t discriminate. Plus, there are many products that work well for a variety of ethnicities and hair textures.
“Natural Hair is Only for the Political ‘Soul Sistas’”
This statement is not necessarily true. Maybe in the late 60s and 70s, but not now. Many women are simply fed up with conforming to a BS beauty standard, tired of the same 6 week routine, tired of running from rain, humidity and water parks, tired of damage, etc. There is real information out there on caring for and dealing with natural hair that really wasn’t out there before, and women are doing research on their own instead of depending on what a stylist tells them.
 “Petroleum and Mineral Oil are Good for Natural Hair — They’re in all the Black Hair Products!”
Products marketed for Black women usually contain petroleum and mineral oil for two reasons: they give our hair an artifical shine and there are cheap products to make and sell. Petroleum and mineral oil clog the pores on your scalp and coat the strand, making hair much more prone to damage and breakage in the long run. If you are using an expensive product and one of these items are near the top of the ingredient list, sorry to say but you’re most likely wasting money.**
**Editor’s Note: Although Mineral Oil and Petroleum based products are not good as moisturizers, they have proven to be effective sealants. Click here for an article on the benefits of mineral oil
“Natural Hair Can’t Grow Long”
Think about when you relaxed, how many times you had to get a touch up. Every 6-8 weeks or so? That is all new hair that has grown out of your scalp. Keeping the strands on your head is the goal for hair growth. Also, the curlier the hair the more shrinkage you will have. Therefore it will appear that it’s not growing at the same rate as someone with straight or wavy hair. Black women’s highly textured hair does tend to be more fragile than non-black women’s hair, often due to our curl pattern (every point along the hair strand that coils is very fragile and prone to breakage.)
The longer the hair is, the more care it needs. So oil those ends, give yourself deep conditioning treatments, wear protective styles, eat right, drink water and exercise to grow and retain the hair. Black hair does grow. I believe the main reason black women don’t see this growth is because we damage our hair to the point that it’s constantly breaking off. You just have to be gentle with it and keep it clean.
Also, when natural hair is being subjected to blow dryers, flat-irons/curling irons, harsh hair color and/or chemicals, it may suffer, break off and will not *appear* to be growing.
“Natural Hair is Difficult and Unmanageable”
True, it can be difficult if you don’t have the proper knowledge. But you also have to define manageability for yourself. Sure it does take time to detangle, get the knots out and do treatments, but by carefully caring for your hair, you can reap a full healthy head of hair. In my experience, I enjoy doing and taking care of my hair. Also keep in mind that listening to your hair instead of fighting it will make things go a lot smoother.
“Relaxers Promote Growth and Make Hair More Manageable”
Again, you have to define manageability for yourself, but relaxers have nothing to do with hair growth. The increased length of relaxed hair (as compared to natural) has more to do with the lack of shrinkage. A relaxed and natural woman might have the same length hair, with the relaxed hair falling to the shoulder and natural hair coming to the ear. But if the curl pattern is stretched out, it will touch the shoulders also.

“You Must Apply Grease to the Hair and Scalp”
I remember as a young girl getting my scalp “greased” in the kitchen. True it did not harm me and my hair grew but simply put, it is not necessary. The scalp can produce oil on its own. If you find that your scalp is particularly dry, try light oils like jojoba, sweet almond, coconut or olive. These oils are easily dissolved into the scalp and, if used sparingly, do not leave the hair greasy. Try to avoid putting heavy grease directly on the scalp (see the above statement regarding mineral oil and petroleum). Also keep in mind that since kinky hair has a curly formation, it takes a lot for the scalp’s oils to reach the ends compared to a person with straight hair.
“Trimming Makes Natural Hair Grow.”
Even though trimming will improve the overall health of your hair by getting rid of split ends, it has nothing to do with the hair that grows out of your scalp. By trimming your hair, you are able to hold on to strands that don’t split, so you are able to see length because it’s not breaking and splitting. I had a friend who would hold on to her split, see-through ends in an attempt to grow her hair long. But she had to get a major haircut once a year to get rid of the splits, so each year she had to cut her hair shorter and shorter to make it healthy again. It was a never ending cycle that could have been prevented.
“You Shouldn’t Wash Natural Hair Too Often”
I grew up hearing that you can’t wash too often because our hair is very fragile. Maybe with relaxed hair, but washing is wonderful for natural hair. However, strong shampoos can be drying. If you do use shampoo be sparing with cleaners that contain sodium laurel sulphate. If SLS is too harsh for your strands, try a “conditioner wash”, using conditioner to cleanse your hair instead of shampoo.
“Water Will Dry Out Natural Hair”
Water is the best moisturizer for natural hair so don’t be afraid to apply it! The key to maintaining a moisture balance is RETAINING the water that you do apply to your hair via sealing. Here is an article listing the two steps to effective moisturization]

list via MoTown Girl
[can't wait until my hair looks like this]

DIY: fur heels



sorry guys, I did this project at night and didn't realized (until halfway through) that I had no batteries for the flash on my camera. So, I didn't take in-progress or process photos for this one. But it's not hard at all; basically what you do is cut up strips of fur with an xacto-like blade from the back (the skin side) and past them on to your shoes (use heavy duty glue).

Vice: Ganda

When Vice Ganda called for an end to hypocrisy, he didn't mean this:

promiscuity eh?

From what I see, the respected comedian desires to break the wall separating the closeted, effem-basher homosexuals and the out, flamboyant fairies like him. We are, after all one people. 

Whoever spun this article is walking a very thin line. This is not how you do it when you're searching the pink brick road to acceptance.

The publicity stunt is bound to backfire. 

Rocket Languages

Rocket Languages is our new language learning service and it is good! It recently received the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice award for best product in the language learning category. Rocket recently added voice recognition/comparison to all their language products. They’ve created an amazingly fun and effective way to learn a new language.

New users register on at our website, , with their library barcode number and email. Registration is completed by making up a password and accepting terms. It is that simple.

Pick the language you want to learn. The choices are Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, American Sign Language, Spanish, Rocket Eigo (English course for Japanese speakers), Rocket Ingles (English course for Spanish Speakers).

I picked French hoping to communicate with new friends from France. I was impressed by the short lessons that have lots of practice. I was assured that it was never too late to start learning something new. This was nice to hear.

Rocket has great memory tips. One tip was to think in your new language. For “I am hungry” think “J’ ai faim” The idea is that by having these conversations in your head you get lots of practice without an audience. Great tip!

They also give good learning advice. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes”

Reminds me of Miss Frizzle, the teacher from the ‘Magic School Bus’ television show. She advised her students to “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.”

Rocket offers social networking to enhance learning. It is called ‘My Community’. It lets you post questions and comments to teachers, native speakers, and other Rocket Language Learners.

My first lessons were on meeting, greeting and eating. The Rocket teachers warn that you might experience “…a strange tingling sensation when you hear your first French word.” Forwarned, I was not overpowered by the newness of the sounds.

The conversations were clear, fun and done at just the right pace. They were short and effective with a lot of responses called for on my part. Each conversation may be repeated as many times as you need to pick up the pronunciation.

After a few days practice I was hopeful that I would be able to at least great my friends from France. I greeted them with “Salut. Comment ├ža va?” After that my mind went blank. "C'est la vie." Paris was not built in a day. I will definitely keep practicing and thinking in my new language. And then I will “Take chances, make mistakes and get messy”

Mary Donne
Head of Information Services

Floor Resurfacing the Right Way

It’s an inescapable fact that the relatively simple task of resurfacing floors is often confused and considered interchangeable with the process of refinishing floors. Neither job is particularly pleasant but unlike refinishing, resurfacing is something that an ambitious amateur could undertake and likely succeed at. Here are some simple A-Z steps you can take to ensure that the job gets done right.

Prepping Your Room:

What’s the first thing a painter needs? A blank canvas! Any furniture or rugs should be moved out of the room you’re working on.  The smartest move would be to put it in another room but if you simply don’t have the space, rent a small moving truck or van for the day (U-Haul works fine). Once you’ve cleared the room, give it a solid sweeping and mopping. Be as thorough as possible to ensure a clean workspace.

The Buff ‘n’ Shine:

Now, it’s time to rent a buffer. Most day rentals for buffers hover around $30. Ask an employee to give you a general overview of how the machine works. It’s a relatively easy machine to work with but it’s also helpful to know how to maintain and clean it. Once you start buffering, be sure to go over the area at least two or three times. Depending on the size of the room, it will take you anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to complete. Top it off with another good sweep.

Pick and Apply:

Waterborne finishes are safer and quicker than any other option, and they are more scratch resistant, making it a clear choice for pet owners. Waterborne finishers are also the most environmentally friendly finishes on the market (low on volatile organic compounds). Each waterborne coat takes only an hour to dry. You will have to apply more coats than with oil-based finishes but it’s worth it in the long run; three coats should be sufficient. When it’s fully dried, give the floor one last sweep and that’s that.

Hiring Out:     
Resurfacing is not a job that every person wants to roll up his or her sleeves for. Time restraints or the stress inherent in any home improvement project may make hiring a flooring specialist or contractor a more viable option for you. If so, consider these questions when interviewing prospective contractors.

1.     How long have they been in business? Over three years is best.

2.     Do they have a timetable? They should have a secure idea of the amount of time needed.

3.     How do they stand with past customers? Ask around and get an idea of their track record.

The job should not take longer than two days. Doing it yourself will run you anywhere from $100 to $200 while hiring a professional will run you anywhere from $300-500. When Click and Improve handles a job like this, we demand a pre-set schedule and price. So, you should expect the same if/when you hire a contractor or service provider.

Don’t be shy to call up a professional and ask about when it’s safe to move furniture back in, as it can vary depending on the finish. Once every thing is back in, you can admire and take pride in your floors, which should be ready for several more years of use and abuse.  

Help with What to Read Next

Have you seen the librarian action figure?  She has a real action move "push to shussh" where she raises her finger to her lips to shussh!  The figure is modeled after Nancy Pearl, a librarian who retired from the Seattle Public Library, who is well known for her reader's guides, book reviews and creating the first "One City One Book" reading program.  Her reader's advisory guides are worth consulting to find out how to determine what you enjoy reading and how to find more books that meet your specific reading preferences.

So far, she has published seven of these useful guides:

Now Read This: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction 1978–1998, Libraries Unlimited, 1999, ISBN 1-56308-659-X

Now Read This II: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction, 1990–2001, Libraries Unlimited, 2002, ISBN 1-56308-867-3

Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason, Sasquatch Books, Seattle, 2003, ISBN 1-57061-381-8

More Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason, Sasquatch Books, Seattle, 2005, ISBN 1-57061-435-0

Book Crush: For Kids and Teens : Recommended Reading For Every Mood, Moment, and Interest, Sasquatch Books, Seattle, 2007, ISBN 978-1570615009

And her most recent books:

Now Read This III: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction,  2002-2009, Libraries Unlimited, 2010, ISBN 978-1591585701

Book Lust To Go, Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers, Sasquatch Books, Seattle, 2010, ISBN 978-1570616501

If you want to use these books and books like these to help you expand (or pinpoint) your reading selections, ask at the Information Desk; many are kept at the desk in the Ready Reference collection.  Others can also be found on the shelves at 011.73.  You can also use these kind of guides to read books set in specific locations, fiction that includes historic characters, and fiction about specific eras or points in history.  There is even a reader's guide to the Best Thin Books for Teens.

Sinking Feeling

Manila International Book Fair
September 16, 2011

I should have taken it as an ominous sign. 

It was a sunny late afternoon. I was pushing my mom's wheelchair towards the Shrine of Jesus the Way at the Mall of Asia when I caught glimpse of the bay. The azure expanse at the end of the road was a sight to behold. It was a well-spring of tranquility spilling over my gloom-afflicted shell.  

As we neared the sanctum across the convention center, I found something odd about the bay. It was a bit swollen. "Perhaps it was high tide," I mulled over while looking at the shimmering blue horizon. It was like the ground was tipping over and the line between the terra firma and the aqua marinus was separated by a mere solid block of concrete higher than the esplanade. Take it out from the landscape and the bay might actually engulf the reclaimed property extending from Roxas Boulevard.  

And then I imagined a not-so-far future when islands in the Pacific would actually disappear beneath the ocean. Scientists all over the world have already warned that shore lines will retreat should climate change remains unchecked. Cities from New York to Dacca would have to be given up to the sea as stronger tempests pound the coastal regions. In my head, I imagined a massive sea barrier higher than some of Manila's landmark buildings. The city, which had sunk below sea level must be constantly walled.  

I shrugged at the thought upon remembering Baby Lenin. For Christ's sake, the kid is just one year old. He deserves a better world than the one I'd leave behind. 

I would like to think the idea was just a figment of my dystopian imagination, but after seeing pictures of the Baywalk and Roxas Boulevard this afternoon, with the peripheries between the sea and the coast overlapping under the monstrous storm surge, it seems my sinking feeling just two weeks ago is justified.   

I remember before I went to bed at 8 in the morning, as the sky began to howl with the arrival of gale-force winds, a government official in Malabon worried that the high tide set that morning would further inundate the city. Nobody knew what would happen next. Fortunately for us, the government was prepared.

Avoiding That Sinking Feeling

If I were to sit here and type out every option available when it comes to bathroom faucets, this post might run the length of Moby Dick. Technologies advance, trends change, and handymen, plumbers and contractors install new, uniquely designed sinks every single day. The choices of faucets are innumerable but the bathroom sink is a central part of the bathroom and home improvement professionals of all sorts will tell you that the days of everyone installing the same simple sink unit with a vanity mirror and cabinets underneath are over. There are new ways to save room, ensure a more modern and stylish design, and make cleaning a breeze. Here are three or four options to consider talking over with your local NYC plumber.

·      On the Wall: Sinks attached directly to the wall are becoming popular for several reasons, not the least of which being that they cut down on the instances of plumber’s crack. There’s a minimalist bent to this that makes it easy to see leaks and to keep your bathroom clean. It gives off a spacious look as well and allows you to think of new, fun ways to design storage for your hygiene and medical supplies. Bad news: You need to think about new storage ideas…now.

·      Vessels: Vessel sinks, which essentially sit on your countertop like a large bowl with a faucet, convey a sense of containment. This means less clipped hairs from shaving and excess water from washing on your countertop. They also look incredibly nice and personalized. They are also very large and take up a lot of the countertop. Investing in some reasonably priced, wall-mounted holders for your toothbrushes, soaps, floss can solve this problem, and face washes.

·      Consoles and Pedestals: Like the vessel sink, the console conveys a sense of personalized attention. The sink is attached to the wall but has a set of legs going to the floor that are used for support. They are very classy looking and it’s only slightly harder to clean than the wall sink. There are also pedestal sinks that essentially do the same thing but with one thick stand that offers support and is attached to the wall as well. If you do chose this one, be sure to discuss it with a plumber or home improvement professional, as pedestals are a bit harder to install.  

Any of these options are easy enough to plan with a plumber but you might consider undertaking this project while remodeling other parts of your bathroom and get it all done in one fell swoop. I am a huge fan of console sinks: They look classic and give the room a stylish yet open feeling. In fact, I recommended a console sink to my cousin last month and am happy to report that she just recently got one installed. She will not stop raving about it. But, as always, different strokes for different folks.

Welcome Wagon

"this is another attempt of me blogging. i have quite a number of blogs in the past starting with Multiply which we all know has lost its following and people don't open their accounts anymore. i had one blogger account way back in college for my philo class though --- that was full of pambobola just to get a 4.0. Hahaha! i have tumblr and i blog every once in a while but i couldn't blog everything since i couldn't talk about gay stuff there. LOL. 

so you see, i don't write very well. so whoever is following this, thank you for being nice. haha! 

i'm JC, by the way. and this is my alternate life." 

One year later: 


Ngayon pala anniv ng blog ko. Hehehehe. 

His message appeared on my Gtalk chatbox. 


Talaga? Teka. 

*pause* hinanap kunwari ang blog ni kabiyak. Inabot rin ng ilang seconds bago ako naka-reply sa kanya. 



Buti natandaan mo. 

Notthewimpykid: Last week ko pa yan tiningnan. Hehe 

The fits of remembrance had me recalling my life the day Baabaa first appeared on blogger. A look into my own timeline reveals that I was about to start my Raketship with someone who would drop me at the middle of a remote training session. Bentusi's job ad would appear on Pinoyexchange a few days later. 

I was also confessing my past sins while lending my voice to the collective indignation at policemen who raided the Queeriosity Palace in Pasay. While I don't completely agree with the people who go to BH, I was crying foul at the human rights abuses and the trauma they got from authorities.

Funny, one year ago and I was already ranting about my fucked-up sleeping pattern too. The nocturnal habit is still there, in fact just a few days ago, the partner was nagging me to sleep earlier. Sinasabayan ko daw kasi yung Atlantic Time Zone niya. Haha.  

This was my life the day I spotted the Notthewimpykid setting up his own online space. Parang magkapit-bahay lang. Kulang na lang magkaroon kami ng impromptu house-warming party sa blog niya. I know he should be the one writing a post about his blog anniversary, but I can't help but recall what his arrival means to me.

Talk about turning 180 degrees from the life you once had.

Now, the Raketship is flourishing, despite my occasional Writer's Block and procrastination. While news about bathhouses had finally disappeared from my radar, perhaps, nobody goes there anymore. 

If there's a reason why the partner's blog anniversary has a special place to me, its because of its prophetic revelation of our future. 

Who would have thought.

Unknowingly, I was the first who welcomed him into my world.

Special Needs Programs at SBPL

As frequently happens when one reaches out to help others, the giver gets something good in return. This has been the experience of the Library beginning in 2009.  Buoyed by a grant from INFOLINK, the Eastern  New Jersey Regional Library Cooperative,  SBPL along with other area libraries committed themselves to developing programs targeting children affected by ASD (autism spectrum disorder).
While the money has long since been spent, special needs programming has now become a standard part of each week's agenda at SBPL, giving us an honored place in the lives of many new friends. It is estimated that about one in every 110 children (or 1% of all children in the United States) may have some form of ASD.

That first year really got the ball rolling for us. We connected with local and regional resources to offer parents and kids whatever we could including workshops, as well as fun and educational programs, many also included the siblings of children affected by ASD.  Among the programs was an interactive music concert, Art Therapy, Creative Stacking, Read to a Therapy Dog, and even Yoga for Kids.

Some related program topics addressed other concerns such as diet and ADD/ADHD. In addition, Library staff created a how-to picture book about visiting the library.  Copies were distributed for use in the Library of course, but also to the Township Health Department and to all of the special needs classes in the school district.

Well-attended programs showed that there was a need and desire for this kind of outreach outside of what was offered in schools.  Library programs had the advantage of a community approach that brought the family together. But, enough about what we did. We are doing more today.

Our librarians are now regularly entering the special needs classrooms in the school district offering story times and cementing the Library-School connection. 
The bi-monthly library newsletter The Compass includes a list of activities, usually scheduled on Wednesdays and Thursdays. These include the ever-popular Read to a Therapy Dog program, where a live dog trained to listen to young readers with and without special needs, comes into the library. We are also currently offering the Creative Craft program and Stories and Activities for Children with Special Needs and their Families. Efforts are continually made to juggle staffing to provide some evening programming for working parents.

The cherry on top if that these programs are offered free of charge.  Library Registration is required for some of these programs so it is always a good idea to double-check with the Children's Department by calling (732)329-4000, ext. 7285. Special needs programs are now made possible with funds raised by the Friends of the Library. When you make a donation to the Friends, become a member, or make a purchase at a book sale or other Friend event you are helping to support library programming, including special needs. Thanks!

For more information on current special needs programs and on how you can help the Friends of the Library go to or call (732)329-4000, ext. 7286.

DIY: from boyfriend-sweater to new-dress

This one's easy, just cut then sew & you too can have as many comfy body conscious sweater dresses as your boyfriend will allow you to cut up. No bf? There are plenty lonely oversize sweaters at your local thrift store that I'm sure will be happy to keep you warm during the winter.

NOVELTY: the gift of time

My first day back - my boyfriend gave me this necklace.

Empty Plates

A few minutes after serving scoops of peach ice cream in sugar wafer bowls to my husband, daughter and son Thursday night, I looked up to see each one of them doing exactly the same thing:  trying to scrape up any last bits from completely empty plates.  I guess you liked it, I said.

It all started two days ago.  I picked up a big basket of peaches from Pleasant Hill Farm in Jamesburg Wednesday afternoon on my way to work at the Library.  Left the Library that night with three cookbooks in hand with ice cream recipes:  The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz, The Ultimate Ice Cream Book by Bruce Weinstein, and The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto.

After perusing them all, I picked the Peach Ice Cream recipe from The Perfect Scoop.  Since I knew from experience that any ice cream mixture has to be refrigerated overnight for the best results, (and don't forget the ice cream maker cylinder has to be frozen 24 hours in advance), I prepared the base Wednesday night.  It didn't take much time or skill.  Of course, the key ingredient is great peaches.  Which I had.

The next day was easy.  I grabbed the cooled peach base out of the fridge and the frozen cylinder from the freezer, poured in the mixture, hit the button, and 20 minutes later I had some beautiful, softly set, luscious, late summer peach ice cream.

After I ate (inhaled?) a scoop (the perfect lunch), I thought that the whole process was so easy and quick, maybe I should make some homemade cones?  How hard could it be?  And I'd always wanted to do it.

To my pleasant surprise, the sugar cone recipe I picked from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book worked like a charm.  Easier than one might think.  A caveat:  on a humid day like yesterday, the cones and bowls softened a bit after a few hours.  Might want to make them on a drier day, or else eat them immediately.  They're so much fun to have though, I don't think your fellow ice cream eaters would mind if they were a little bit less than perfect.

Funnily enough, I used wooden blocks (well washed of course) from my granddaughter's toy basket to mold the cones.  After making a batch, and having the seams come apart a little, I read The Perfect Scoop's recipe which recommended to press the mold down firmly on the seam to keep the cones from coming apart, and to pinch the bottom shut.  Worked well.  (Of course, you can always drop a mini marshmallow or two in the bottom of the cones to keep them from dripping, too.)

Peach Ice Cream, adapted from The Perfect Scoop

1 1/2 pounds ripe peaches (about 4 large)
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup sugar, (any kind, white, turbinado, brown)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
few drops fresh lemon juice

Peel the peaches, and cut into small pieces. Cook in medium saucepan with the water for about 8 minutes as you would applesauce, covered, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are tender.  Remove from heat.  Add the sugar of your choice (I used turbinado because I had some and I like it).  Cool.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Process or blend until just barely smooth.  Chill overnight.  Freeze in ice cream maker.

Oven Baked Sugar Cones adapted from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons, butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Beat the sugar and egg together in a mixer until thickened and pale yellow.  Beat in the butter, vanilla and milk.  Sift the flour over the batter.  Mix gently.

Line a half sheet pan or cookie sheet with a Silpat mat.  Drop 1 1/2 Tablespoons of batter on the mat and spread out with an offset spatula to a 6 inch circle.  Three fit easily on one sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned.  Immediately remove wafer with a spatula and shape over cone mold.  Carefully press down flat on seam side and pinch bottom shut.  Quickly repeat with remaining wafers.  Then let cool a few minutes and unmold.  This recipe makes about 12 cones.  (Can also shape over the back of custard cups to make bowls.)

Even if you don't want to bother with the cones, do try the ice cream - it's so good!  You can pick up an ice cream maker at a yard sale for about $10.00.  The Cuisinart I have I got for Christmas, and sells for about fifty bucks, but you could probably get one on sale for forty.  Ironic that I'm enjoying this ice cream maker now so long after the holidays.  In fact, I did make coffee ice cream (my fave) right away in January, but I used a recipe where you had to cook the eggs and make a custard. Although the flavor was great, the texture was a little bizarre - despite straining the mix before freezing, the ice cream was a little, well, grainy.

Maybe that's advanced ice cream making - for my money, I'll stick with this non-custard recipe when the peaches are fresh and plentiful. After all, you can't argue with an empty plate.

There are so many great sounding recipes in the cookbooks I used, The Perfect Scoop and The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, I would recommend both books, even after having tried just one (excellent) recipe apiece. And if you do,will you let me know how it goes? 

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Peach Lover 


Huling Biyahe

I spoke to a girl-friend. (read closeted fag hag kasi hindi niya alam ang sexual preference ko) on Facebook chat last night. The sexy, late-twenties school principal was the one I tried to pair with auto-fellatio boy a few months back. The pair somehow clicked, with the sexy school principal chick finding the boy interesting. The problem is, auto-fellatio boy fell in love with his Ford Fiesta. Ang issue pa nito, no-girlfriend since birth ang binata at mas effeminate pa kung kumilos sa akin. Our friends are beginning to question his sexuality tuloy.

Unfortunately, the boy didn't pay attention to the chick. Bad shot sa akin yun kapag nagkita kami sa reunion.  

Now the sexy school principal chick who bought her own Hyundai racer this week asked me if I pray a lot. Of course I said yes, ako na ang tambay ng Monasterio de San Jose habang nasa Canada ang Santo Papa. Akala ko pa naman na she would ask me to pray that her students bag the championship sa isang inter-school competition, but it turned out, she asked me to pray for another boy.

"Mugen naniniwala ka na meron tayong one great love?" She asked. Napaisip ako bigla.

Truth is, I had many crushes before. High school pa lang ay nanliligaw na ako ng babae. (in a pathetic way) Nung college naman ay pabling na ako ng slight, and in my early 20's, ang crush ay madalas kalandian. Kaya ngayon I dwell only at the present. I may have had thoughts about what ifs, but if one would look at my romantic history. I go full blast with my feelings until the other person says its time to go. So far hindi pa naman ako namaril ng ex sa SM Malls.

"I don't believe in that one great love at the beginning." I told her. "You realize it only when you have been together for a very long time." Siyempre impressed si babae.

Ang kuwento pala, the other boy and the sexy school principal chick dated three years ago. The boy asked her kung puwede daw ba maging sila, the chick declined. Sabi niya hindi pa siya ready. The boy moved on, met his next girlfriend and now break na sila. He tries renewing his bonds with the sexy principal chick at hetong si future fag hag naman ay biglang nabuhayan ng loob at tinawag siyang the "one great love."

Knowing my girl-friend's frustrations, I tried to be supportive with her in her quest to find that elusive love. Sabi ko pa nga, "sabihan mo na lang ako kung mapapakasal na kayo ha?" I'm sure kinilig si babae. Pangarap niya yun for a very long time. Pero ang laking gulat ko lang nang malaman ang buong storya.

The guy asked for her number. Dali-dali namang binigay ni sexy school principal chick. What I thought was a recent event happened na pala two weeks ago pa, and the boy all this time has not sent his first text message to my girl-friend. Kung gaano ako kabilis naging excited, ganun din ako kabilis nanlupaypay. Parang nilabasan lang ng tamod. As conventional wisdom goes, you find someone interesting, you reach out with a speed of light. Sa kanila yata, parang paasa lang ang nangyari.

I told the girl-friend what I felt. Sabi ko na kung may gusto ako, kaagad na tatawagan ko, makikipag-set ng date and who knows, the person might feel the same. Gusto ko sana gawing example si Baabaa, kaso baka lalong ma-depress si future fag hag kapag malaman niyang hindi ako straight. I assured her na as long as I'm around, I'd make sure she will end up with the right guy. Parang katulad na lang kay ex-girlfriend, I stalk her potential dates just to make sure hindi siya natatanso. 

To be honest, I really don't know what single girls who are approaching their thirties feel. Sa tinagal tagal kong umiikot ang mundo sa sangkabadingan, ngayon na lang ako nagre-reach out sa mga babaeng kaibigan na naging bahagi ng masayang buhay ko sa college. Kung hindi dahil sa isang conversation with a high school classmate ngayong gabi, I wouldn't fully understand why sexy school principal chick appeared a little aggressive in pursuing a guy - any guy - who she could get married soon.

"hay nako mugen ako pa tinanong mo hindi ako masaya sa buhay ko. ginagawa ko nalang kung ano role ko sa buhay." I asked the high school classmate if she's a single mom. Sabi niya hindi. Hirit ko naman masuwerte pa rin siya. Yung mga kilala kong single mom, ginagapang talaga ang mga anak nila. This is what she said to me. 

"ano bang mas maganda mging single parent o tumandang dalaga?" Biglang sumagi sa isip ko si sexy school principal chick. Kasama na dun si ex-girlfriend na pinagtatawanan ko pa habang kausap sa Facebook rin kagabi.

"eh 30 na tyo kamusta naman kung magka anak pko"

Somehow, I felt like an ass for being insensitive. Being surrounded with single moms who try to make both ends meet in such a way they would look a little desperate distorted my view. It prevented me from seeing the other side, yung side naman ng mga babae na gusto magkapamilya pero kailangang maghabol na sa biyahe.

"Parang gusto kong maniwala na all goodlooking guys are either taken or, umm gay." I once told someone.

If only I know a lot of nice, faithful straight single guys, I could have introduced them to my sexy single girl friends. Seryoso, gustong gusto ko maging masaya sila. Kaso sa mundong ginagalawan ko, these guys never exist.

Yung iba pa, makita lang na medyo maganda ang katawan mo sa DP, magtatanong kung puwede "makitambay" sa place mo.

And that story deserves another entry.


Taas Noo

“This is what democracy is all about: having a government disciplined enough to imbibe in itself the principles of transparency, accountability and citizen involvement—the necessary preconditions to poverty alleviation and inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” 

President Benigno Aquino III
Open Government Partnership Summit, 
New York

I was all smiles one morning while reading the news article on the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was a breath of fresh air after having to bear the putrified smell of blood reeking from the crime scenes at the SM Malls just a few days ago. Of course I was not there to see the gruesome moments while men fell to the ground after being gunned down by their lovers. (who plans to self destruct as well) But the collective shock, no matter how I tried to shield myself, was able to hit me with a potent punch.

President Pnoy was invited by Obama to attend the opening of the global initiative summit at the Big Apple. I remember asking @abi_valte on Twitter how much will the taxpayers have to shell for the plane ticket and the hotel accommodation of the president and his men. It turns out, the price was irrelevant. Rather, we should all be proud that the country was invited to grace the prestigious event attended by some of the important leaders of the free world.

The Open Government Partnership aims to promote greater transparency and accountability in governments. It hopes to fight corruption with free-flowing information and instill a sense of nationhood by engaging  people on social media and other public forums in a healthy discourse of state policies.

The chance to speak came at an opportune time because the country is also remembering the declaration of Martial Law 39 years ago. While no one among us had lived through such time, echoes from our surviving elders tell how they fought for freedom on our behalf.

And while the past leadership corrupted every aspect of our lives, it was, I believe a far cry from the ancient horrors of an authoritarian regime. History was there to make sure the past never happens and we asserted it the moment we cast our votes and chose the leader who would look after our aspirations.

Change has indeed come. From the symbolic turnover of classified documents from the AFP to the Commission of Human Rights, to the alliance of the government and the business leaders against corrupt business practices, to the very words of the taxi driver that I hailed a few nights ago; when he concurred my impression that the police have become a little less abusive these days. There seems to be a quiet hum in the air, and its familiar sound has become too hypnotic for our ears to ignore.

To be sure, these superficial embellishments do not translate to swift economic prosperity, and it would not serve as an antidote to our social ills. (As of these writing the Polytechnic University of the Philippines students and faculty are planning to march from its Santa Mesa Campus to Mendiola to bring into light the dwindling budget for the state university) Instead, the sea change serves as a reminder; a promise that as long as the government fulfills its social contract with the people, the nation will somehow be appeased.

John Kennedy once said in a stirring speech "ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country." The speech tells us that to achieve progress, the citizenry should do its duties and not rely everything on the government. I do not know how many of us are aware of this wisdom, but I have faith that as long as PNoy enjoys the trust rating recently reported in the news, he can call on the nation to do its part in nation building.

I was there when the people banded together to help Ondoy's victims get back to their feet. The Bayanihan was infectious, I know, such selflessness runs in our blood.

Anyway, whenever I get to read news like this, I cannot help but return to that blog post last year, when, in a moment of epiphany I defied everyone's expectations by casting my future with the current president. I remember all the comments as well the occasional cricket sounds whenever I write entries such as this.

"As for Noynoy, I see him accomplishing little during his term, but he will be loved like his parents are. Accomplishing little will never be an issue, not even a footnote in the grand scheme of things.

What he will bestow to a grateful country is a sense of belonging: an undeniable feeling of pride among its citizens."

June 29, 2010
Midnight Afterburner

Five more years before history judges our decision.

So far, I am overjoyed that the present, has not betrayed me yet.


Taking A (Proverbial) Bath

With a few notable (and largely private) exceptions, the bathroom is still largely considered a place where one goes to be alone. It’s a place of personal business, things we don’t really like to talk about. More and more, however, I have found myself talking to friends who are planning or have already completed remodeling jobs that distinguish the bathroom as a place of utmost comfort and even luxury. To be perfectly frank, these are not always cheap fix-ups. However, it won’t be long until they are as normal as getting a new tub or new fixtures put in.

Below, you’ll find some of the more interesting and provocative advents that have become popular as of late and piqued my interest particularly. With the amount of fresh and modern ideas coming in concerning how we use our bathrooms, it’s only a matter of time before the bathroom is as regularly remodeled as the kitchen.

·      Soaking Tubs:

It used to be that when a homeowner had some extra money to spend, a Jacuzzi was one of the first things on the wish list. Jacuzzis are still a solid, fun investment but they can be a bit obtrusive. So, think about getting a special soaking tub in your bathroom. They are deeper than normal tubs and look incredibly stylish, offering the perfect place to relax with a book and a glass of wine or to simply zone out for an hour. Most salesmen or contractors will be able to help you plan where you could possibly place the tub most conveniently.

·      Big Showers:

The act of taking a bath has gone down in popularity, largely due to green concerns about inflated water usage. Showers are now the key component of any bathroom, along with your toilet. A recent home improvement trend is to make the shower bigger, more stylish and more spacious. Making your shower larger gives off the feeling of a top-grade spa, allotting more room to enjoy the steam and even take a seat. Some contractors have even started to take out the doors, glass and tubs, centering the entire bathroom on a drain in the middle of the room. This feeds into a growing trend towards porcelain and stone tiles in bathrooms, though this isn’t recommended if you are thinking about selling your house in the near future.

·      Heat & Steam:

Steam baths, which essentially work like a sauna, are coming up in a big way and though they are a bit pricey (north of $1,500), it isn’t a bad idea if you treasure your alone time in the bathroom. This also adds to that spa feeling I mentioned before. Another big idea has been to put mesh under your tiles and connecting it to thermostat to ensure warm floors and a more comfortable experience for your bare feet.

·      Tear Down the Walls:

The aforementioned idea of breaking down the walls to create a shower as a main component of the bathroom may be a bit adventurous or daunting to some. In this case, if you want to get a bit more private, think about building a separate, enclosed area for your toilet, not completely unlike a stall but more soothing and personal. If you’re a tech person or just an entertainment hound, you might even think about putting a small flat screen on the back of the door, allowing for you to watch the latest episode of Glee or a recent Brad Pitt movie as you handle your business.

The landscape of the home has become more and more personalized as the years have gone on and the bathroom is no different from the kitchen or the bedroom in this regard. As in most things, it is a determination that depends largely on room, as my favorite of the lot – the soaking tub – is best in a more open bathroom, whereas making your shower bigger is something that nearly any homeowner could benefit from.

For me, the soaking tub is a home improvement project that offers both a sensible source of leisure that can add to the value of your home and help you rethink the design of your bathroom. That being said, any of the aforementioned additions can fill similar roles, depending on the individual, and each one helps redefine the bathroom as room deserving of thought and not just a place to, er, take care of business.

eBooks for the Kindle Is Here

Many South Brunswick Library patrons are already reading eBooks from the library on their desktop computers, eReaders and other mobile devices.

The good news is now out for Amazon Kindle users.  You too can download eBooks with your South Brunswick Library card from our website.  Just go to

Click on the 'Download Audiobooks & eBooks' button.

Read our helpful hints page. This includes the library name you will use in ListenNJ, "Libraries of Middlesex"

Then use the link  'Click here to download'.

You will be taken to our ListenNJ page.

Click on the 'Supported Devices' link and then click on the 'Software/Apps' link.  This is where you will get information on the app you need to get Kindle Books from Overdrive.  When you are done here go back to the ListenNJ window.

Click on the picture of the Kindle with the title "Now Available Library eBooks for Kindle".

You will see a list of the Kindle books in ListenNJ.

Use  Advanced Search see Kindle books that are currently available if you do not want to wait for a book.
Please call the South Brunswick Library Information Desk for help with this feature. 732-329-4000 x 7286.

You may also read these Kindle eBooks on a PC, iPhone, Blackberry, iPad or Android.  You will need an App which will be available at Amazon when you go to download the book.

Here is the help information from Amazon's webpage for this new service :

Visit the website of a U.S. library ( that offers digital services from OverDrive.

Check out a Kindle book (library card required).

Click on "Get for Kindle." You will then be directed to to redeem your public library loan. You may be required to login to your account -- or create a new account -- if you're not already logged in.

Choose to read the book on your Kindle device, free reading app, or Kindle Cloud Reader.

Note: Public library books require an active Wi-Fi connection for wireless delivery to a Kindle device. Library books will not be delivered via your Kindle's 3G connection. If trying to send to a Kindle device and do not have an active Wi-Fi connection, you may instead choose to load your library book via USB. Both Mac and Windows users can manage Kindle content through a USB connection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be notified before my public library book loan expires?

Yes. Three days before the end of the loan period, we will send a courtesy reminder e-mail about the loan expiration. Once the loan period has ended, an additional e-mail notification will be sent. Availability of books and length of loan are determined by your local library.

How do I view the status of my loan?

You can view the status of a public library book for Kindle from the Manage Your Kindle page. Click on the "+" symbol next to any title to view more details about any book that you've borrowed including the expiration date.

You can also access all of the materials that you currently have checked out on your library's OverDrive-powered website. Within your library's digital site, look for links to My Account, My Bookshelf, or something similar.

What happens to my notes and highlights after a loan expires?

You can always access their notes and highlights through, even after a book expires. And if you check a book out again, or purchase it from all of your notes and highlights will appear in the book as before the loan expired.

Are public library books for Kindle available internationally?

At this time, public library books for Kindle are only available at U.S. libraries.

What Kindle devices can I read public library books on?

You can read borrowed Kindle books on any generation Kindle device or all free Kindle apps, as well as in your web browser with Kindle Cloud Reader. Public library books require an active Wi-Fi connection for wireless delivery to a Kindle device.

Library books will not be delivered via your Kindle's 3G connection. If trying to send to a Kindle device and do not have an active Wi-Fi connection, you may instead choose to load your library book via USB.

How do I send library books to my Kindle device or reading app?

Once a public library book has been redeemed, you can send it to any registered Kindle device or reading app from the Manage Your Kindle page. Public library books require an active Wi-Fi connection for wireless delivery to a Kindle device.

Library books will not be delivered via your Kindle's 3G connection. If trying to send to a Kindle device and do not have an active Wi-Fi connection, you may instead choose to load your library book via USB.

For more information, and to learn about transferring files to your Kindle, please see our Kindle Help page at:

DIY: Burberry-esque coat

the inspiration:

 the diy:

Winter is almost here and I am going to need a new coat. Burberry's latest collection has inspired me to D.I.Y a trench. What do you think the end results will be? To be honest, I'm not to sure myself.

Debut Novel Receives Rave Reviews

Both mesmerizing and chilling is how I would describe the novel I chose to read this week, Alice LaPlante's Turn of Mind.   At the beginning of the novel, Dr. Jennifer White is being questioned for the murder of her best friend and neighbor, Amanda, who was found dead in her home with four fingers cut off with surgical precision.  Since Dr. White is a former orthopedic surgeon, police believe she is the murderer or at least involved in some way.

But is that even possible? Dr. White is suffering from severe dementia and although she has moments of lucidity, there are many bad days when she doesn't even know who her children are or the caregiver who lives with her at her home.  How could a person whose mind is disintegrating be capable of carrying out such a horrible crime and then be successful in covering up her tracks?  The relationship with Amanda was a close one but not without heated arguments and difficulties that frienships endure.  But what would be her motive?

Narrated by Dr. White, this book delves into the characters innermost feelings and her story is a tragic one.  The reader understands what it is like for a highly intelligent surgeon to lose her faculties, to no longer be able to practice medicine, to make decisions regarding her future and where she will live.  Introduced in this book are her two grown children, Mark and Fiona.  Mark for the most part seems untrustworthy, especially when he stops by to visit his mother frequently with the motive of getting her to write him a check. Fiona is in charge of her mother's finances and seems more attentive to the true needs of her mother but even then, questions remain regarding their loyalty.

This book is part thriller, part family drama, and most important, a touching novel that allows readers some insight into the plight of those afflicated with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.  It is a difficult read because of the subject matter especially for anyone who has a family member or friend suffering from dementia.  However, I would still highly recommend this is one of those books that stay with you for a long time.

Collecting the Evidence on Countertops

Cooking and trying out new, bold cuisines at home has seen a huge surge since cooking shows (main offender: Top Chef) have begun to dominate television programming. Thus, it is only natural that people would want to focus on home improvement projects in their kitchens, turning them into laboratories where they can experiment with recipes.

The first thing that comes to mind when undertaking a remodeling project in the kitchen is the countertops. Whereas cabinets are often the face of your kitchen, countertops are where all the work gets done; following the metaphor, countertops are the body of the kitchen whereas the refrigerator would be the brain. Okay, enough with wordplay…down to business.

·      Wood/Butcher Block: Maple and oak are the most popular materials in this situation and they look gorgeous. It is easy to maintain their inherent smoothness, as they can be easily sanded and resealed. These types of countertops are very easy to clean, but they can be damaged by water and can stain without proper care. In addition, they are prone to scratches and cut marks, the degree of which depends on where you order them.

·      Stainless Steel: Stainless steel allows for a very modern, industrial look that often conveys discipline and precision. Again, these are very easy to clean and are not sensitive to heat, unlike wood. They are, to be honest, a bit pricey and can be especially noisy, especially if you live with sensitive sleeper. Stainless steel countertops also can dent and are very easily scratched by knives.

·      Ceramic Tile: This is a great option, especially considering the relative inexpensive cost of a tile project. There’s also a very “Mom’s kitchen” feel to a tile countertop. There is a slight issue with unevenness and easy damaging, but these are relatively minor considering how easy these are to clean, not to mention the innumerable amount of choices you have in color and texture. Lastly, they handle heat very well.

·      Laminate: Another particularly inexpensive choice. Laminates, made of plastic-coated synthetics, come in a wide range of colors to suit your personal style, are incredibly easy to clean and maintain, and are also remarkably durable. That being said, if you do chip or scratch laminate, it is often going to be there for good and front edge choices can run you a pretty penny, if you are at all particular.

·       Granite: Prices are dropping quickly on this option and it is a viable choice when it comes to remodeling. They are essentially permanent, extremely hard to damage, need very little maintenance with new sealers, and are immensely attractive to homebuyers. Make sure you get a good contractor on this job, however, as a lousy installation is the only thing that can really botch granite countertops. Try not to cut on it, as your knives will dull. On the flipside, granite holds up to heat and there are literally thousands of color choices.

·      Soapstone/Concrete/Engineered Stone: Soapstone has a rich, classic look and is smooth to the touch. It is ostensibly stain resistant but it takes a bit of effort in the way of maintenance, needing regular applications of mineral oil. If you have the income, concrete is a good alternative, as it is heat and scratch resistant, offers decorative finishes, and boasts a unique look. Most cracking or problems with porousness can be easily fixed. Similarly, you could go with engineered stone, which is a bit more expensive, but is resistant to stain and acids. They also require very little care.

·      Marble/Solid Surface: The aesthetic value is extremely high with marble. These surfaces also handle heat very well and are basically waterproof. Then again, they can be pricey, are prone to stains, and need periodic resealing. For a good alternative, look into solid surface, which are stain resistant, seamless and offer an array of colors. The only big flaw is that solid surfaces are a bit sensitive to heat. As with granite, be sure to get a good contractor with good standing with this option, as installation is a key component.

If you’re going DIY home improvement with this, best of luck, but this is the sort of project that even if you were to take it on by yourself, you would want to consult with a professional contractor or service provider. Putting in countertops are one of those projects that, if not done right, isn’t worth doing. So, be smart about it and think about what you really want from your kitchen. My favorite kitchens tend to have wood countertops, not only because of all the positive uses, but also because of the homey, almost rustic look they exude. There’s warmth to wood that is impossible to replicate. When it comes to the kitchen, however, everyone has a different opinion of how it should look and what should be done in there.