A pop in

*Waves*

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.

新年快乐!

I've just received my first Chinese New Year gift this season!

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 :)

Coached

Suddenly many people around me seem to really like Coach's products.

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!

Reflections from a car wash

I took our car for one of those handwash services at a petrol station.

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.

Another lovely weekend

The weekend started off with a yummy Spanish omelette breakfast. Roboman ordered a Mr Benedict - his usual choice :) I really should learn how to do eggs benedict.

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!

Portrait of Me

This is me!

Drawn by my partner in a graphics course I am attending. The eyes can't be seen so well, but they are there - 2 dots :)

Isn't it cool?

I was so thrilled when I saw it.

And even more thrilled when I saw her finishing up the drawing with a necklace with a little red flower.

Because this was what I wearing ->

I decided to use one of the red yo-yos I sewed to add a twist to a necklace I made sometime back and then modified with larger stones. Nice huh? =)

Shoe Frenzy

Nevermind the 2 pairs of shoes I bought over Christmas. I scored these 3 pairs last night for less than S$35 in total!! How crazy is that?!

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

Anger Management

Someone really irritated me today. I controlled myself, was civil and even managed a smile and rational replies. Right after that though, I felt myself short of breath, and with muscle tugs around my chest area. I had internalised my anger.

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!

Chiku

A kid at church had never seen a chiku before, so one of her aunts brought the fruit to show her. It was left on a table near where I was seated. I myself had no idea what it was until told! I really don't even remember ever eating it before - although I must have.

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... :(

Weekend Stuff

I spent Saturday afternnon cleaning out my old room at my parents' place (yes I know it is rather late to be doing so!), and lugging tons of stuff home. I only managed half the room when I was already sneezing so continually that my mum told me to stop. heh. Roboman set up racks in our storeroom to create some semblence of organisation in what used to be half a dumpster (just kidding).

We made our way to Funan Centre to buy 2 new lenses for our digital SLR. They are supposed to be my Christmas presents from him, as I would like to pick up photography this year. I have been told that my photo compositions (using my point and shoot digicam) are not bad, so I would like to hone that eye, and also learn about the technicalities of photography (aperture sizes, shutter speeds, ISO etc etc). I admit we have it so much easier these days with digital cameras!

So, after a busy, and rather tiring Saturday. It was nice hanging out today with friends from church. We did a Bible study today on Contentment - which was apt and a good reminder at the start of the year. We had a lovely lunch and then tea at a friend's place, and I spent the afternoon running around trying out my new prime lens :) Twas fun!

No Wine *Whine*

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a simple dinner with Roboman and a friend. I ordered a glass of their house red, to savour with my meal. All was fine and dandy during dinner. Conversation flowed and we enjoyed our food.

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 :(

Rekindled

My love for chwee kueh has recently been rekindled. I love it freshly made, warm and soft.

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.

Mmmm

Food Discipline

All my friends (and some colleagues) know that I absolutely adore fried chicken.

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?!

Multi-tasking

So it was the last episode of Little Nyonya last night. I didn't even know until several colleagues talked about wanting to get home on time to catch the show.

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 :)

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New Year Heat

I'm feeling the heat of this year's work already.

Wham!

But I am thankful I have a job, and that I continue to be challenged by, and enjoy, most of what I do.

And I look forward to more relaxing teas and lunches where conversations about work are not allowed :)

We all need breaks to keep our sanity.

Farming out

Scarecrow!
I spied it during a trip out to check out some local farms
(can't say more for now).
I loved the ruralness of the area (by Singapore's standards). As far as my eye could see, there were no tall buildings in sight. When we kept quiet, the only sounds we could hear were of birds and insects.
I think I could actually enjoy such a life. Unfortunately we have mosquitoes in this climate, and I attract them like bees to nectar. I have my battle scars to prove it!

It will be nice to remember this tranquil place when work hits us head-on this coming week.

Emerging Sweet Tooth

For a non-dessert person I am, I've been having waay too much dessert lately! The chocolate cake from Rider's Cafe is the best I've eaten in a very long time...

New Year's Dinner

We were invited for a lovely homecooked dinner. I was looking forward to it all week and knew that it was going to be a food fest, with lots of chatter and laughter :)

[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

Thanks for the wonderful dinner and company, Imp! =)

Welcome 2009!

We welcomed the new year in a quiet manner.
Just the 2 of us.
A prayer of thanksgiving together for the past year,
and a simple homecooked meal
Humble shepherd's pie (and some soup)
and chilled white wine.
We then lay down under the stars, by the pool.
Armed with some cookies and a beer.
It was breezy and quiet. Very serene.
We shared about key events of the past year,
and our hopes and concerns for the new one.
We sat till we heard cheers as the clock struck twelve.
The ships sent up flares into the night sky.

A shared kiss.
Holding hands, we walked back home to start living 2009.

May God be with us,
granting us wisdom to live the way He would want us to.