Summer vacation started more than two months ago, but I feel like it just started for me. I am right now giddy with anticipation for all the things I can finally do with the three weeks worth of free time in my hands.
It feels a bit weird, however, to leave the Los Angeles Times at the same time as 10+ other reporters who have been laid off. It feels even weirder that the very recruiting editor who hired me left L.A. Times the same day as me. What the what is going on?!
As I drove out of the Times parking lot, my hands were shaking a bit and my heart was pounding. I felt like dancing and singing and crying at the same time. Instead I called my daddy, who reprimanded me for driving and talking on my cell at the same time (but didn’t hang up because he loves hearing my voice, ha!).
“Daddy, there is a possibility that I might not have a career when I graduate,” I told him.
“Bollocks,” my dad said (but not in that exact word; he probably doesn’t know what that means). “The world will always be in need of journalists.”
“Yes, but they don’t wanna pay us!” I wailed.
It’s a tough time for journalists right now. Actually, it’s a tough time for every creators of content out there: artists, musicians, filmmakers, etc. It’s a major dilemma that the Internet, while opening up opportunities and doors to larger audience and readers, is also closing up the source of our livelihood.
(The L.A. Times cafeteria. It actually has its own Twitter account. Journalists.)
At the Times newsroom, the fate of not just the L.A. Times but the newspaper industry in general is the hot topic of debate. I was just discussing this very topic with my editor before I left; his advice was to be optimistic and just pursue my dream, bless him.
Well, obviously I’m never going to give up on journalism. But I foresee that for a few years at least, my finances shall depend on my dear brother, who just found a commission-based job at an insurance company. I blessed my brother that day, that he will be blessed financially. After all, this sister of his will be asking him for weekly allowances once he strikes it rich. Heh heh heh.
Anyway, for the next three weeks at least, I aim to be productive in all areas (except financially).
I’m also really, really looking forward to reading my daily New York Times paper:
I feel so guilty because the paper keeps coming and I keep tossing them aside to read “when I have time” but I never do have the time. But I still subscribe to the NY Times because I fully support its paywall system. People, we need to get in the habit of paying for other people’s labor!(Ignore the shirt. It’s only been lying there for six days)
Yes, I can read it online (which I also do), but there is something so wonderful about flipping through the fine, floppy paper with a cup of coffee or tea. It’s just so wonderfully old-school, especially in the morning with your morning cup of joe.
And speaking of coffee, I’ve been ignoring my lovely Moka Express stove-top espresso-maker ever since I started my internship. Time to get it whistling again!
I also cannot wait to start digging into this book:
Seriously. I’m a dummy when it comes to finances and economics. I dearly need this book. My dad will applaud me because he’s been nagging me to get financially educated. I think that the reason I hate money is because I don’t want to know how much I waste, and how much goes to taxes (American tax is ridiculously high!!!).
I also have a bunch of bananas to use up:
So many ideas running through my head…Banana-stuffed chicken in green curry, anyone? What? I think it sounds yummy. Kim, stop shaking your head in disgust.
The most exciting out of it all, however, is of course: EATING!
I feel so pumped up right now. There are moments when I feel like I should drive out and visit restaurant after bakery after cafes for the whole freaking day. If only Foodbuzz would accept my 24 x 24 proposal and fund the trip!
Anyway, with the little pocket money I earned from my internship, I suppose I’ll be able to sufficiently fund my dining adventure for the next three weeks. Uncle Sam and tithes and bills and a $480 traffic ticket have chomped off a significant portion of my dough, but I’ve got just enough to explore a bit of the L.A. culinary pie.
Also, I’ve decided to chop off my daily Starbucks iced tea habit. Goodness, I’ve just realized I’ve been spending over $5 a day on Starbucks each day. And after discovering that Starbucks has a $2 grande iced beverage promotion going on, I had added frappuccinos to my daily beverages, topping my daily Starbucks expenses to over $7. No need to lecture me, I’m already bowing my head in shame.
The topless mermaid sure knows how to seduce. But no longer. I’m staying home, and I’m making my own iced tea. A bloody good one, too. Because I just discovered the awesomeness of hibiscus.
I bought a big bag of dried hibiscus for just about $5.50/lb. I don’t know if that’s considered cheap, but I got a huge-ass bag for less than $3 and that makes me very happy!
All you do is steep the hibiscus in cold water at a 1:4 ratio for about 12 hours. The water turns a gorgeous deep purple-pink hue, concentrated with the fragrance and flavor of hibiscus. I keep the hibiscus concentrate in a bottle and stock it in my fridge:
The bottle is just an empty strawberry jam jar. I never throw out my empty jars because they are so super useful.
I keep the leftover hibiscus flowers in an empty Costco jar:
I’ve also got a lot of those jars, because damn those chocolate-covered almonds are addictive!
To make hibiscus tea, just pour the concentrate over ice with sweetener of choice. You might want to dilute it a bit with water depending on your preference of taste, but personally, I like to add a mixture of soymilk and 7-Up.
Yes: Soymilk and 7-Up! It’s the perfect blend of creaminess, tartness and fizziness. Trust me on this one.
And just for an extra kick, I also like to add some fresh lime slices. It really livens up the flavors. Lemon is just not…the same. I’ve not tried orange yet, but that might work…someone try that for me and report back to me?
For the sweetener, I like Sweet N Low. Health nuts will shake their head in disapproval, but Sweet N Low is the best sweetener in my opinion for iced teas—not Splenda or Stevia or whatever. Raw sugar, by the way, doesn’t dissolve well in cold liquids.
Now. Let’s just revel in how beautiful this drink looks. I love staring at it because the color is just so bright and vivid. It’s just such an eye-popper, and it makes me happy.
Now for the taste. I’m sure you’re wondering what hibiscus tea tastes like. I can’t explain it better than this: it’s tart, it’s fragrant, it’s sort of like intense floral grape juice.
Have anyone ever had Ribena before? It tastes a lot like that.
If you’re dying to try this tea, you can find hibiscus at your local Latino store or health food stores. They call it “Jamaica” as in “flor de Jamaica.”
Question of the Day: Let’s hear it—what is your guilty (and expensive) pleasure? Any Starbucks addict out there? Let’s commiserate with each other…