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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Celebrating the Gift of Life and the Gift of Friendship

Red Aloe Bloom, dedicated to Tes of The Craftista
How do I make a special day much so special of a special person who is herself a special gift that I and the other The Salitype Society sisters have experienced? I can never forget day one when I joined The Salitype Society. Upon invitation of my friend Jo to join Salitype, I first browsed what was going on at The Salitype Friendster site. I decided to click the link of the moderator first before joining, that click brought me to Tes page, and was inspired to see her success in teaching. At that time, I was strongly contemplating on shifting to teaching from college to high school, but was a little bit afraid of my inexperience of handling the energy of younger hearts and younger minds. Reading her success brought inspiration and strength to pursue my dreams, of working with younger hearts and younger minds. I was glad I went to The Salitype Society Site, I was glad I joined, I was glad for having met the moderator of the The Salitye Society, Tes, 
Betchai and Tes at Page, Arizona
who has brought so much inspiration not only to me, but am sure, to all her family, friends, and the students whose lives she touches and molds everyday. The pure joys and priceless happiness the friendship and sisterhood brought by TSS can not be compared to gold.  It is a sisterhood and friendship we all wished at TSS to grow old with. 
Tes and Betchai @ Lake Powell, Arizona
And to every year that is added to our lives, we are thankful and happy for another year of friendship that consistently blooms. Perhaps, that is the reason why I chose the red aloe flower above as my first picture in this post, despite I know that the birthday girl's favorite color is not red, but purple. That red aloe has so much meaning why it is the first picture in this birthday post dedicated to Tes. First, I saw in Tes eyes the glow of happiness and excitement whenever she saw that flower blooming profusely in San Diego.  Second, this aloe seems to bloom profusely non stop all year round, and that to me represents each of The Salitype Society's sisters' wishes, of the friendship to continue to bloom beautifully, a friendship we all wish to grow old with. Third, one of my many birthday wishes for Tes is for her aloe to bloom beautifully in their beautiful home as well, a symbol of friendship traveling from San Diego, California to Houston, Texas. 
Anyway, let me share with you my funny "birthday gift hunt" for Tes the past weekend. What to give to someone who has almost have it all? She has the beautiful gift of family and friends, she has a very meaningful career, so I thought of instead sending her more succulent ground cover that we tried to gather together in La Jolla last December 31st :) 
Ice plant growing wildly along the Torrey Pines-Del Mar Trail
So, last weekend, I tried to gather more ice plants of varying colors. I thought of sending the ice plants by putting them in a box, but decided not to since I am afraid how the plant will survive without any air for several days. So, instead, I planted the ice plants in pots and wished to have this birthday present be given in person someday. Plants to me is a symbol of a garden of friendship, a symbol of friendship that grows and blooms. 
The trail where the ice plants where profusely blooming last weekend was actually starting to become a purple dream as well. 
Wild Sea Lavender
Purple is the birthday girl's favorite color, and it was a joy to see them starting to bloom in time to greet Tes probably a happy birthday.
Sea Lavenders Lining the Trail
Purple Against The Sea
Happy Birthday Tes, your birthday was such a special day for the world for having you as a wonderful gift. May you have many more wonderful birthdays to come, to continue to bring joy to the lives of many people you inspire. May God bless you always wonderfully.

PS........ here is a short recipe of my chicken pho without chicken, I believe, you can use this with beef ( use bones or what we call kansi for better taste). 
Chicken pho 
Since I am busy, this is the lazy version of chicken pho :)

1. Toast onions and ginger until it smells so good and everything is charred.
2. Toast the corainder seeds, cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick, lemon grass in a dry pan until it smells so good :) or Khai's describes it, as smelling Vietnamese food :) ( or you can use the toasted herb, spices and seeds for pho that are available in packets in Asian store, not the bouillon, but they are really all those seeds, herbs and spices that are pre-toasted for you).  
2.  Boil the chicken stock ( hehe, I use the chicken stock in tetra pack since we do not buy whole chicken since we can not finish it) with toasted onion and ginger, and the herbs and spices. Add coriander and daikon when boiling. Boil until the smell is so good and it tastes Vietnamese pho ( sorry, that's how I determine if my soup is ready, I do not time nor use measurements). 
the boiled toasted ingredients after straining the soup
3. Strain to separate the soup from all the solid ingredients. 
4. Bring the clear soup ( now separated from the toasted solid ingredients) to a boil again and add chunks of chicken if you want some meat, otherwise, this soup is good without piece of meat too. Add some salt and pepper for taste. 
5. Garnish the soup with fresh uncooked vegetables before eating.
Thai basil, mint, bean sprouts and red cabbage for garnishing
PS....you can also add sea foods to this soup if you want a sea food soup.

Anyway, as I mentioned, this is a lazy way to prepare Vietnamese pho, somehow, it is good enough for Khai so I think it is good :) haha! Otherwise, there are also many recipes online. 

Again, happy happy birthday Tes. Here is today's shot of the cacti that was starting to bloom when you were here, it is still blooming up to now, holding long, holding strong. Hope yours will bloom soon too.


  1. Happy Birthday Tes!

    Betchai... this is an awesome post for Tes. You are indeed a good friend. You took extra care and time to come up with this tribute. We are all blessed to have you for a friend.

    And you recipe, yummy. Just want I need right now for my diet because the doctor said I can't eat solid food yet for at least 3 days. I need more fibers so my "you-know'what" will be easier and softer to go out. lol

    Miss you girl.

  2. happy happy birthday tesya girl!

    this is a wonderful gift to our dear friend on her special day. betchai, you're such a good friend, very thoughtful and loyal. wish i could meet you and the rest of the salitype someday.

    lovely sets of blooms and i will try the recipe because ysa loves bean sprouts and cabbage. i will definitely give this one a try.

    thanks girl! missing you....

  3. Happy, happy birthday Tesya dear! May God grant all the deepest desires of your heart. I know you used to tell me this but now that our heart's deepest desire has been granted (can't thank you enough -and the rest of our TSS sisters- for your love and prayers) it's time for me to wish you the same. :)

    Beth, i agree with Ruthi and Eng. This is a priceless gift that can never be replaced by any expensive material thing. Your friendship rock, dear friend. May God bless your good heart always. Like Tes, your friendship is also a wonderful gift and all your awesome nature photos (and yummy foods) are superbonus!

  4. Third, one of my many birthday wishes for Tes is for her aloe to bloom beautifully in their beautiful home as well, a symbol of friendship traveling from San Diego, California to Houston, Texas.

  5. you recipe, yummy. Just want I need right now for my diet because the doctor said I can't eat solid food yet for at least 3 days.

  6. hope you had the most wonderful of birthdays Tesya dear! thank you so much Betchai for posting this....Love yah Tesya, may you have all the best there is in life...stay as wonderful as you are!

  7. Dearest Beth,
    I am deeply touched by this well-worded and carefully-thought-of tribute. This is truly beautiful, Beth. One of the best gifts I have ever received. I will print it and post it in my inspiration board. Never had any friend written something as beautiful as this post for me. I will save pages in my scrapbook for this special post. This is precious, priceless and something I will cherish for always! Thank you so much for such a wonderful gift, Beth!

    I am touched that you attempted to gather and sent me some ice plant. No worries, I know in God’s time we will be able to visit you guys again. Doods, I and the girls really enjoyed exploring beautiful San Diego. It is a haven, and I love the low-maintenance succulents that grow profusely all over the area and in your lovely yard. Most especially, I have the most glorious time with you, dear friend! We had so much fun, Beth! Whenever am glum, I just look back at our happy reunion and it is enough to make my day! How we laughed! Again, thank you for having us, and thank you for the laughter!

    The cacti you shared with me are doing well. They now grace our yard and I was even able to put some indoor. I cannot wait for our aloe to bloom! Like what you mentioned, it is very symbolic –from San Diego to Houston- It travelled thousands of miles, thrived and survived. It is like our friendship –knows no distance, no boundaries- It continues to bloom and flourish.

    Thank you for the recipe, friend! I am excited to cook pho. Doods, I and the girls love Vietnamese cuisine. Doods’ favorite is the pho! This is what he orders most of the time.

    Oh wow, it got so long. I got carried away by such a beautiful post! Thank you, Beth! You are such a blessing to TSS, to your family and to your friends!

  8. Thank you for the warm birthday greeting and wishes, dear friends and TSS sisters. I am richly blessed for having each one of you. As Beth mentioned, may we all grow old together.

    I have been unbelievably busy lately -my apologies for being out of circulation. Will catch up with everyone as soon as my schedule becomes light again.

  9. my frnd is 19 yrs n she luvs readin islamic buks n likes to hear nasheeds n lectures...cud sm1 suggest a collcetion of ebuks or sm nice lectures or a nice album i cud gift her??

  10. What fantastic pictures. Happy birthday.




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