Peeking out from a rumble of too much good food, many (MANY) people, and flat out tiredness...
Completely randomly though, I read 2 classic novels over the Chinese New Year celebrations: Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Around the World in 80 Days.
I love how novels give me a respite from the 'now'. My form of relaxation.
A beautifully cloth wrapped package containing mandarin oranges and 年糕 (Chinese New Year cake) from dear friends: a creative mother-daughter pair.
The next one week will be hectic with two reunion dinners, a flight up to KL, tons of eating and visitations.
Here's wishing everyone a very happy Chinese New Year - all the best wishes for the year ahead!
For those celebrating, enjoy the festivities and food! For those not, may you be recharged over this long weekend :)
I'm generally not a fan of designs with logos all over, but I do like some of their full leather bags. (Especially those without hardware that are too jangly and loud).
Anyway, after receiving a present from Coach last Christmas from a friend, I told her she inducted me. Haha.
So I recently bought this one.
I love how bright and sunny it is.
I'll be toting this over the upcoming Chinese New Year!
Till now, our 1 year 2 month old car has only ever been washed and polished by Roboman (okay I helped twice). He refused to let anyone else wash it. Partly because he was afraid of bad handling, and partly because he enjoys the time of peaceful solitude when he gets down to cleaning the car. I must say he does a really good job too. He did not have time the last few weeks though, so I decided to drive to a car wash.
The car wash had 3 attendants. One to do the soaping and rinsing. The second to clean the wheels and rims. The third to dry the car. I was quite interested in how the processes were marked out.
Then I saw the 2nd guy. I recognised him as a young Indonesian man who used to be one of the cleaners at our office. He always wears a smile, and he was no different at the car wash. I smiled at him and he smiled shyly, with recogition. I was happy to see him still gainfully employed, and with the same positivity about him.
I didn't get to speak with him, as I was in the car with water splashing all over outside. But when my car was being dried, I stepped out to talk to the older man who was doing the drying. I told him that I recognised his colleague, and asked that he said "hi" for me. He agreed to do so.
The older man then asked me in Mandarin how many days am I getting off work for Chinese New Year. "2 days only", I replied, "The first and second day." I said it in a manner that indicated that I didn't think the number of days off were enough. I wanted to eat my words when he responded with a "Wow, so good, we have to work throughout those 2 days." He then proceeded to tell me how they have to wash up to 200 cars per day on a weekends.
I looked at his wrinkled hands and asked why he didn't wear gloves. He said they made it difficult for him to do his job properly.
With my car dried, we wished each other a Happy New Year. As I drove off, I saw him taking a (perhaps much needed) cigarette break.
Somehow, I left the patrol station with much to think about. I think I will be back to see them.
Many things happened over the two days that made me feel so loved. One of it was this totally unexpected gift from a dear friend. She left a note saying that she thought of me when she came across this book. Her gift also came with some of her own fabric for me to experiment sewing with :) I've flipped through the book and I just know that I'm going to be having such fun with the projects in there!
I love it that Anchorpoint has turned into an outlet mall of sorts :)
My shoe cabinet now has 5 pairs of shoes with ribbons on the front =P
I remembered to pray about this time (ok not before ranting to one close friend). She prayed with me for peace. A while later, she emailed me this Chinese saying, wanting to cheer me up.
She's so going to kill me because I don't see what is so funny about this poem! Still, it is a handy little reminder so I printed it anyway and it is now up in my cubicle wall :)
Thanks dear for being there for me!
On a another note, an older lady in church asked my mum if I was pregnant!!! Apparently it has been observed that my tummy 'has been getting bigger'.
I shall go run away to mope... :(
After paying up, we walked to towards the car where I suddenly felt a wave of giddiness, and immediately threw up my dinner. It was so sudden that I didn't quite know what hit me.
I pushed that incident aside, assuming that it must have been because I was ill rather often those few weeks and that it was a lingering bug.
About a week or two later, Roboman and I went up to New Asia Bar just for fun and an after dinner drink. I ordered a cocktail and we chatted. Again, everything seemed fine. Then in the car on the way home, I suddenly felt sick again and reached for a barf bag.
I told my friends and their initial reactions were always "Were you drunk?". I suppose the physical symptoms seemed so, but it is really unusual because I had so little to drink, and always on a full stomach. I usually need a lot more for me to feel sick, and even more for me to actually puke.
So anyway, I became a lot more careful about drinks thereafter.
I even declined beer when a bunch of us were at Brussels Sprouts for dinner. And that was one evening that really freaked me. I had NO alcoholic drinks at all, and instead shared 3 tubs of mussels and clams with the friends. The shellfish were cooked in a variety of alcohol of course.
After happily downing a number of shellfish, I suddenly felt the beginning of the sick feeling again. (I'm better at detecting the feeling now). I immediately stopped, and rested my head in my hands. It was spinning.
The friends were quite shocked at the reaction, and so was I. There was so little alcohol in me (after all, most would have evaporated in the cooking), and I had so many steak fries to buffer my tummy too, so there was little explanation to my body's reaction.
I think I might have developed some sort of allergy to alcohol :(
The ones sold at Ghim Moh Food Centre are especially good. The textures are perfect and the sprinkled chai poh is made beautifully, with a lovely mellow flavour, and not just plain salty.
Have fried chicken smells waft past me, and I will not be able to resist. I can have it every day and won't feel bored.
Each time I am in a restaurant with friends, if fried chicken is served they'll turn to me and go "Hey, there's fried chicken for you!"
When I happen to grab a burger at McDonalds, it is always the McSpicy that I order.
However, because of family health issues, and my concern about my own body (I must be in good shape to have a baby, right?), I decided sometime last month that I will not eat fried chicken till March. And I told Roboman that. He had an amused look on his face that kind of spelt 'yah riiight'.
Anyway, so why March? Well, that is my birthday month, so I figured I should treat myself :)
And how has my report card been so far? Not totally clean unfortunately, but pretty darn good, if I could say so myself, considering all the temptations I have been facing.
I have only eaten a small piece of fried chicken my sister 'donated' to me from her Nasi Lemak plate while in Malaysia. And, a McSpicy one evening when I was feeling really PMS-y and asked Rob if I could. His response was, yes sure! Burgers are not really fried chicken! (Now I know I will wish someday that I didn't hear that)
My greatest feat of self-discipline probably played out today though.
I was at a Shihlin Street Snacks stall where they sell my favourite XXL fried chicken. The colleague asked if I wanted to share a plate. I immediately blurted out that I wasn't supposed to eat fried chicken. She went ahead to order it though, and I spent lunch mustering up all my will not to eat any from the huge plate in front of me!
Finally, she said it was too much and she couldn't finish it.
So as not to have the food go to waste. Guess what I did? I meticulously peeled off all the fried batter and ate the breast meat encased inside.
Aren't I a good girl?!
The boys had a squash date, and the girlfriend (wife of Roboman's sparring partner) and I had a gym date.
While the boys went off, we were kind of tempted to watch the show, just to see what happens at the end of the story. We were so proud that we did not cave in, and switched off the TV when the commercials came on. After a workout at the gym, we came back and peeked at parts of the show while we cooked dinner. The girlfriend made a gorgeous spicy warm salad with a bacon and mushroom dressing.
So the boys had a piping hot meal when they returned :)
[The evening started off with a jolt though. I was napping in the late afternoon and literally threw on one of my maxi dresses and headed out of the door with Roboman. Horror of horrors, halfway through the journey to the Imp's, I realised that I was bra-less (EEEK), and had to make Roboman turn back home for me to decent up =P]
The dinner was really a delight though. I shared that I was dreaming "meat meat meat!" all week, anticipating lamb that I knew was going to be served. And indeed the lamb dishes beautifully done and correspondingly lapped up. There was also beef, pasta, pilaf, pumpkin, salad and a variety of juices and single malts lavished on us by the Imp and her man, whom I knew started preparation a couple of days before! And they didn't let us help with the cleaning up!
There were lots of sharing of experiences and events that put us all into collective sighs, cackles, anticipation, and understanding. All in good fun and merriment.
I contributed an apple crumble, which everyone, being very kind, said that they enjoyed it. heh. I was pretty pleased with the apple mixture, but felt that the crumble was too crumbly - not enough bite. Boo. Thankfully the best part about such desserts is that it goes with ice-cream, so when all else fails, ice-cream always delivers. Heh