Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy new year!

Well, I’m not too happy cos my nose is still itchy.. Been itchy since we got to Changi on Tuesday *.* Even my eye sockets are hurting =(

Nonetheless, I’m really excited about the coming year. This new year marks a new start for me – no exams nagging at the back of my mind! I’m really looking forward to doing a lot of things :)

a) Reading! Time to make use of my library card, catch up on some reading..
b) Spanish! Love how it sounds, can’t wait to pick it up again
c) Learning! Want to attend some classes at Kellogg, fill up my little brain
d) Writing! There’s mfism of course, and I also want to attempt to write the family history of my maternal family and translate the history of the Sito family!
e) Relaxing! Just hang around, have tea, watch dramas! Hohohoho!

Happy 2011 to everyone!

Update 2 Jan 2011
And getting fit! Brought back my book on pilates - should utilise it! Thanks to Z's reminder :p

Bye bye, NPS!

On Friday, 17 Dec 2010, the entire NPS vacated the 14th floor and moved to the 13th floor to make way for NPTD’s birth. On Monday, 20 Dec 2010, I went up to the east wing to get a cable for my laptop and saw that the place was so empty – no lights, nothing on the desks, no chairs in front of the desks. It was like in the morning of Monday, 30 Oct 2006, when we came into the newly renovated west wing, where the lights were yet to come on, the desks were yet to be filled, and the chairs were just rolled in, still wrapped in dusty plastic sheets. Just that, unlike in 2006, this Monday signalled the end, not the beginning, of NPS.

I felt quite sad that day. Now, I don’t even remember if, after I left the east wing, I visited the west wing; I might have at most looked through the frosted glass door.

It has been a memorable journey. I really enjoyed the years from 2004* to early 2007. A lot of work, tough work, but I had a lot of fun too cos of the great company. We started with three and grew to seven of us. The times when we were setting up NPS in 2006 were especially fun. For quite a while, I would wake really early so that I could reach office at about 8 am or so to get a head start on work! That gave me more time in a long work day, or allowed me to go for dance lessons :)

* Ok, NPS didn’t happen until 1 Jun 2006 but hey, three chaps were around on a part-time basis since 2004!

But I was so tired after Sg Day 2007 that I could no longer wake early to reach office so early. Guess things just went downhill from there, especially after I took a holiday in September; came back to a mess that shouldn’t be..

The following year was busy but I was looking forward to it cos our “baby” was finally coming out after a looooong gestation! There was a lot going on – “baby” plus other stuff – and every day was a welcomed challenge, plus I was able to manage my life better. With more manpower in the office, I even sneaked off to the UK in June – for leisure :p It was really tiring in the final two months – I had to have Berroca every day to keep myself going with little sleep, and I’d never had that much coffee in my life.. But it was an amazing ride! That kind of dulled the next two years – nothing quite as exciting..

I’ve grown with the organisation, learnt a lot along the way, had my ups and downs. As NPS grew, it also changed. It already felt quite different from the beginning, even though the newbies were great fun too. Plus, I’ve been there for the longest time.. I mean, even my colleagues’ babies have outgrown their diapers and started primary school!

So it’s good that I’m away these two years. As the chapter of NPS closes today, I’m gone too. And when if :p I return, well, we shall see...

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Back home

I’m back in Evanston! And back to my powerful hairdryer! :p This now feels more like home - at least there is some permanence here.. No packing and unpacking for a clear stretch of some five or six months! Phew!

We arrived this morning and had Macs for breakfast at the airport :) Waited for the cab in front of this


We returned to something cute :)


Oooh... I forgot that I asked Sito to tuck Zo-san into bed before he left. Now Zo-san has a friend – Kappa!


Also had a little shock in the kitchen


Wa! That’s a lot of fortune cookies from Chinese takeaways!

Spent the morning unpacking madly.. We brought back so much stuff! Including a box of food! Dried shitake, soup ingredients, 3-in-1 Milo, bah kwa!

I was hoping to wash the bedsheets, unpack, clean the house, shower and sleep – in that order. But the scheduled power outage from 6 am to 4 pm completely ruined this plan. We had only intermittent power so I managed to hoover the house. Then we fell asleep after 1 pm without lunch.. And we woke at almost 5 pm :p

By the time the chores were done, it was time for a late dinner. Wore my new fluffy coat - I like! Though it wasn't too cold today, it felt good to be warm and comfy :)

The shower was really good! It's been a long long day.. Just dried my hair – this short hairstyle is good for this weather as expected; I only had to shake my head to shake the hair out of my face. But I have to style it every time I wash my hair or it will look like shit! Oh well, I have time right? :p

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Fast forward two weeks..

Well well, my exams were over. Sito came back to Singapore that very night. And tonight, we’re going back to Evanston!

Time really flies.. We didn’t manage to do a lot in the past two weeks. After my exams, I was busy with a, um, CCA at work that week.

The weekend was fun – we went to RWS! We had a family room at Festive Hotel – I like the flower theme; even the “Do Not Disturb” sign was a flower ring instead of the usual card...


We had some time to roam about before dinner so we did..

Waaaa!


And we watched a really bad HK movie starring Gigi Leung in the room before Dad fetched us to dinner, which was at Imperial Treasure at MBS. We got there earlier to head up to the 57th floor – CH was right, it was indeed the “Marina Bay Public Swimming Pool”! It was soooo crowded! Just that most people were touring the place, not swimming.. And it was so cold as well! How did those people swim there??

Proof of us having been there :p




The MBS casino from the restaurant corridor


We tried to take a bus back to RWS but figured we were better off taking a cab instead. As I gave our destination to the cabbie, a thought hit me – we were going from casino integrated resort to casino integrated resort *.*

We were so tired by then, with all the blood going to the stomach, that all we could do was laze in front of the TV watching a cartoon whose title I forgot.. Then Sito decided to get supper! :p It was good – 炸酱面 from Ruyi :) Then I fell asleep while he was in the shower. But I remember waking up and telling him we would meet Jie for breakfast the next day :p

While waiting for lunch, we watched a weird show, Anna Magdalena, starring Aaron Kwok as a bummer, amid other big names. But it was just weird.. Perhaps too artsy fartsy for my liking!

Anyway, all the waiting was because we had nothing to do while the others went to the casino! :p (And we were too lazy to venture further out :p) Nop, we’re not paying $100.. Odd that I dreamt about going to a casino last night.....

Lunch was a cozy affair at Chinois. We probably enjoyed our last trip there more than this cos we were still full from breakfast! Suddenly I could understand the pain of the foie gras on our plates.. Um, I meant, the pain of the duck or goose..

No other particularly exciting outings after that. We watched Rapunzel, which made me feel like I wanted my long hair back! Other stuff were just random..

Cute right? :)


And this! So old school! Found it at the National Skin Centre.



Went to AMK on 23 December and saw a Hokkien opera at the market. So interesting, and distinctly different from the Xmas glitter in Orchard!


Other major happenings included a farewell party for our office – changing identity and leadership, sighs.. I’m sad.. More on that later.. Celebrated my 31st birthday really early with CY – went to Minori where we ate a lot! And cos it was Christmas season, Santa Claus came out to play!


Also had a house party with KLK on Sunday that extended into dinner at Toa Payoh where we went to a 金店 to look at 四点金 for YX – yeah yeah! :) Had some wine that afternoon and ended up feeling a lot of pain during the foot reflexology session the next day, right where the liver spot was! =(

Apart from these, it was a whirlwind trying to settle admin stuff and buying supplies to bring back to Evanston. Sito had a procedure done to remove something on his skin. A fever followed him for the next few days, and amid all the errands and running about, I came down with a slight cold as well. But we’re now feeling healthy enough to endure the day-long flight! Just keeping our fingers crossed that our luggage will make it through – rather heavy, including a box of food! :p

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Three months later..

Sometimes I would forget that Grams had already left us. I mean, we still go to "grandma's house". It's always been "grandma's house" since we were kids :)

But today, I saw the chap put a badge with her photo and details on her urn. It was like, so..definite. As the badge was glued on, it very clearly dawned on me that Grams no longer lived in grandma's house.

There was a prayer ceremony at Bright Hill Temple to mark her 100th day of passing today. Then we went to the columbarium to pay our respects. That was when we found that the staff had not put on the badge and called for them. They wanted to put it on but couldn't unlock the gate - the family had changed the lock to a digital one as the old key to the gate broke! We were saying we should probably write the combination on a piece of paper and leave it inside the gate - so that they could come out if they wish to!

We like Grams. Her spirit lives on in her children, grandchildren, and hopefully her great-grandchildren who do not all have the chance to know her...

PS: Her third great-grandchild just said hi to the world! Yeah! :)

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Ramblings on a Saturday afternoon

Two days ago, I was trying to pull my chair nearer to the table but somehow missed and hit my hand on the table edge. Today, the bruise feels incredible *.* And just now, I almost slipped in a DRY bathtub.

Like I always say, clumsiness cannot be cured..

Anyway, I just got back from an early lunch cos I was hungry :p Took a bus to Plaza Sing and got an errand done as well. Then I decided to walk back.

No, I didn't know the way, but GPS showed me :)

Along the way, I found a little carpark on Penang Road. Is that the carpark nearest to me? Cos this estate - actually, it's just a single block - has no parking facilities. Not for tenants at least.

Found Oxley Road and headed up, walking on the right side of the road. But guess what? That was the wrong side of the road - a gurkha directed me to walk on the other side. Oops.

Was happy to reach River Valley Road - it's a much more familiar sight. And shielded from the sun.

Now, I'm in the comfort of my room and procrastinating about going through the practical exercises...

Actually, this is pretty frustrating. After the first couple of weeks in Sg, I've been trying to study most of the time. So I didn't get to meet people much. After exams, I'll be busy with a "CCA" at work - will probably have to go into office most days next week. Then we must run errands at the dentist etc and buy stuff to comfort ourselves in winter :p But I just want to spend time leisurely with Sito before he gets busy with school again - watch movie, have tea, go shopping :) So apart from CY and KLK, it's family time man! Prioritisation is key when time is short.

Yes, time is short. I'd better get back to the practicals... Sighs!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Breakfast excursion

Woke very early today so thought I’d make a little excursion to the coffee shop we passed by on the day I moved in..

So this is where I’m staying now. And where Sito will be returning to :) The tall new building, not the old one blocking it...


I walked out to the main road and took a right. There’s a Montessori school across the road - JHS Childcare Centre. The sign looks so old I must take a photo of it :p

And I was rather taken with this shophouse among so many in the area.. Reminds me of an eatery I saw in a Taiwanese movie – very old-school and flavourful...

Digression: Why are there ants crawling on my keyboard?!

Passed by Mohamed Sultan Road. Can’t remember when I last went there! Ah, I feel old.. I was more tempted to check out the temple this morning *.*


Finally, I got to the coffee shop. The bak kut teh wasn’t open so I had laksa! Yes, laksa early in the morning! Think I last had it some years ago :p

And I love the chicken bowl!

This is quite an interesting neighbourhood. A mix of new and old. Like heritage old. Will try to make more excursions when I have the chance :)

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Evil mf vs. Stupid Ant

Just finished writing my essay :)

And I spotted an ant on my screen.

I moved the cursor around it, and it got confused! It started to move a little faster.. Until it reached the dock of the Macbook, where the icons pop up as the cursor mouses over them - it went frantic!

Haha!

No, I didn't kill it like I did those black nasty ones last time..

Ok, now, memorising the stupid essay..

PS: I moved out of HV into a serviced apartment on Sunday, cos our tiny flat couldn't take six persons. More updates on this place later on...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Stress is building up..

It's official - I'm stressed!

It just shows how long I have not *really* studied..

The last time I was really stressed for exams was perhaps in secondary school. I had nine subjects - not too many but certainly not few either. And I hated geography. And I didn't understand most of my physics. And my Japanese was confounded after studying seven subjects in English and one in Chinese.

Studied a lot in JC and university but kind of cruised through the exams, although I obviously did much better for the former!

(I didn't know about stress in primary school. Reading Nancy Drew and Hans Christian Andersen was more important than exams!)

JLPT in 2008 was inconsequential so that didn't count. But I had ample time - a year - to prepare for that.

Now, Montessori! The one-year course was madness cos it was part-time two evenings a week in addition to work. And there was a lot of homework - compiling file and writing essays. I didn't think I managed to absorb much cos I was trying to meet deadlines all the time :(

Just got the question for my seen paper yesterday. I was praying that kind of question wouldn't come out. Oh well, better to come out in the seen paper than the unseen paper! My past essays covered some points so now I'm more than halfway through :) Going to the library this Saturday to do more research since I don't have all the books.

The trouble is for the unseen paper. Just did an old paper and I sucked really bad... I could hardly remember the theory for the modules and the sequence of the exercises :(

And on top of that, I have to memorise most of the 2,500 words for the seen paper!

I think I'm going to fail at least one paper - likely the unseen one - unless my brain doubles in size some time in the coming week. Or I take a lot of cashews. Or kettle chips.

AND, I just received two work assignments today. I like them. But they're both due *just* after exams. And I'm working part-time. So that I could have time to study. Ha..

...

Naaaah! It's not happening!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

爱唱歌

Just back from karaoke with CY.

Was singing 下一个天亮 by 郭静 when I decided that I wanted a voice recording of me singing that song! Love how the tune goes.. But I didn't do it justice.. Not singing as well as I used to due to lack of practice, sighs.. So I picked an "easy" song that I used to sing quite often - 双城故事 by Karen Mok. I thought this kind of spells Sito and mf who are 3,000 miles apart :)




作词:李焯雄
作曲:荒井田

内湖买的那一束红玫瑰
比尖沙咀那一束更美
到阳明山泡温泉酒一杯
有没有伊豆的风味

整个三月 当你走过下梅雨的台北
香港也会 就连墙壁也为你心情发霉

来又回 思想随你而飞
你在叹气这里感到风吹
千山万水沿路风景有多美
也比不上在你身边徘徊

南京西路吃鲑鱼会不会
比起新宿那一次珍贵
长安东路和你喝的咖啡
也有巴黎阳光下的滋味

整个冬季 金色的灯泡把海港包围
在你心扉 会不会倒影出春光明媚

来来回回思想随你而飞
没有了你天地都是浪费
千山万水沿路风景有多美
也比不上在你身边徘徊

整个冬季 金色的灯泡把海港包围
在你心扉 会不会倒影出春光明媚

来来回回思想随你而飞
没有了你天地都是浪费
千山万水沿路风景有多美
也比不上在你身边徘徊

千山万水任时光后退
也只希望在你身边徘徊

:)

And cos I was listening to 93.3 in the past three months, I managed to sing a few new songs. One of my favourite is 伴 by 黃小琥. I never really listened to the lyrics when it played on radio so this was the first time I was singing and reading the lyrics.

It was so touching I cried within the first few lines!




作詞:姚若龍
作曲:于曉光、李偉菘
編曲:Terence Teo

如果 命運可以訂做
如果 有另一次選擇
我想我 還是會 把手讓你緊握
快樂地陪你去坎坷

就算 你有天變落魄
就算 你老得不能動
我想我 還是會 挽著你看日落
你的心疼在淚光中

嘴巴上 彼此嫌麻煩
眼神中 關懷那麼滿
沒說愛 卻早已認定一輩子的伴

在人前 從來不浪漫
在心中 卻總為對方打算
最懂的人最暖的伴

就算 我以後變囉嗦
就算 我老了有病痛
我想你 還是會 照顧我到最後
隱藏脆弱不眠不休

沒有辛酸 沒有遺憾
什麼是陪伴 什麼是心安 你是答案

爱唱歌,不只是因为自己唱得不错 - 别笑,真的不错嘛! - 更是因为旋律的陶醉、歌词的娓美,让我感同身受⋯⋯

Friday, 26 November 2010

Living

Walked into the kitchen to find the day's laundry dancing happily to the wind.



The clothes, lifeless beings as they are, are happy when stirred by the wind. How can some of us, living beings, be any less full of life?

I'm happy just looking at the clothes.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

My concubines :p

Just remembered that I had another blog titled “TAROS – 2 years 11 months and counting” tucked away in a web portal my office developed.

TAROS stood for “technically a returned overseas Singaporean”, and yes, it was created 2 years and 11 months after I got back for good from Oxford.

Since I’ll be in Evanston for another year odd, I’m an overseas Singaporean again!

Actually, I stopped updating it for years... There were a grand total of six posts since 2006, four of which were drawn from here anyway..

So I killed the blog :p

I've two other blogs on blogspot that I've stopped updating. One is in Chinese, an attempt at writing rather than mf-ising. Used to do that pretty well in school but well, I hardly have inspiration now.. The other one is fiction, cos I like the idea of me being a witch! :p All gone now until I have inspiration. And more time.

mf-ism remains my one and only love :)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Keeping in contact

Just had dinner with Z. Last I met him was at the airport in August. And before that, some time ago!

Was thinking on the bus back. I realise that despite the large number of friends of facebook and even my contact list on Pinky II, I’ve only been keeping in touch with a handful..

CY is the only primary school classmate that I’ve kept in close contact, of course. Used to meet the rest more regularly a few years ago. We even did a 团拜 one CNY! So I’m pretty happy that we’re meeting up this Friday :)

Apart from those with whom I went to NJ with, I’m afraid I’m not in regular contact with my secondary school mates..

KLK is special – I think they are collectively like CY #2, haha! Enough said :)

University... Well, I have this theory, that when people are overseas, away from loved ones, they tend to form friendships with people in similar circumstance. Sometimes, such friendships grow and grow regardless of where they are; other times, they dwindle, especially after people are reunited with loved ones back home. Perhaps I should be glad that I’m at least seeing some of them once a year or during weddings! I wonder how it’ll be like with the Kellogg bunch in future..

Z was one of a bunch of friends made during OBS back in summer 2000. Just 21 days in a little island.. And he came to my convocation with X, another girl from our watch but whom I’ve kind of lost contact with...

Work brought me other friends. Kind of in contact with a couple of ex-colleagues. Present colleagues – don’t know how until I really leave :p

It really takes a lot to maintain friendships. It takes even more to keep a family together. And with various work commitments, well, I think it’s a miracle that I’ve managed to keep in contact with more than a couple of people at all!

Facebook helps to a certain extent, since I can lie in bed and play with FB! And recently – in Evanston, not Sg :p – I’ve also got back to MSN after a long hiatus. But nothing beats a good dinner – or prata session, or KTV session! – to keep the friendship alive. And I’ve done / I’m doing all of these this month! Lucky me :)

Taking a break..

From Montessori to mf-ism.. I'm already taking a break from my break as a 陪读 wife with Sito :p

So what have I been up to since I got back last, last Thursday? Unpacked and ran errands on Friday. Almost didn’t make the deadline for exams application! Found that the pound dropped a little more.. Oh well..

The first weekend was bustling with joy and activities as Kel and D got married – congrats!! :) I'm so happy for them, especially Kel - 终于把你嫁出去了! :p This was one of the most enjoyable weddings so far - good friends, and they had a lot of funny clips! And, I had an interesting role as a BROTHER!


That was before we put on our smart jackets.. Now, we are definitely 帅! Except for Kel, cos he is 庄严 :p

The gate crashing wasn’t too punishing but the result was rewarding.. I mean, Daphne all dolled up! Woohoo! That’s a sight! Kel 不知道哪里修来的福!

And talking about 福, YX also has a lot of that too lor! Check out the gf next to him!

But don’t worry, Sito. Your wife ain’t too bad – 28 positive comments on her FB photo with new hair cut! :)


Taken right after the haircut, during dinner with Yan, just before the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows premier on Tuesday!

It was so crowded but it was so good! Now I can’t wait for next summer – part 2! And after Montessori is over and done with, I’ll read book 7 for the third time :)

Wednesday was Hari Raya Haji – had lunch with CY at The White Rabbit when it was supposed to be brunch... I made a reservation for brunch over email and got immediate confirmation. Then when we got there, they said they weren’t open for brunch and that they emailed me about it the day before.. Eh, back in Sg, I’m not so free to check email every day. And, you mean you decide only one day before that you would open for lunch instead of brunch??

So we sat outside for an hour before they finally opened.. At least they gave us some drinks – it was a very very warm day... We tucked into a big lunch – with desserts! After all, this was to celebrate her big 30th! :) Spent the afternoon shopping – both of us got cosmetics, yeah!

Oh, on the way home, I was passing by Cold Storage when this angmoh in his mid 30s hit on me! Is it the hairstyle, or the angmoh? :p

Had a last minute dinner with Kel and YX. D joined us after, and we promptly lost her in the toilet... Our conclusion was that she was in the cubicle when I went in, and she came out when I was in and when the boys just went into their toilet.. So she went downstairs to look for us while we stayed upstairs to wait for her.. Um, confusing, nevermind! Just a duh moment that evening.. Ended the evening with some drinks and banana tempura with kaya dip – omg, that was good!

Had a family dinner the next day.. We had to struggle to finish the tofu and the roast duck cos Sito wasn’t there =/ Come home, come home, and we go to Crystal Jade together :)

Was still full when KLK met for prata! :p I realised that I really missed sitting around with these chaps and chatting over a drink or two :) Did a lot of that after the wedding the last weekend, and during the prata session. Quite happy =)

Yesterday, Na and I went for afternoon tea at the Ion. It felt really good to be out in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday! Haha! Oh, did I mention I went back to work? Part-time, that’s why I could be out in the afternoons :p So we chatted the entire afternoon away. One moment, I looked at my watch and it said 4 pm. The next time I looked at it again, it was 6 pm! Time, where did you go?? Then WL came by and the trio went to the food hall for dinner. Na didn’t really eat and I ate rubbish food cos we had a good tea :)


Just now, Sito skyped me from NYC! Happy :) Thanksgiving week is almost over, which means only two more weeks stand between us! Oh, and two more weeks between exams and me too.. Ok, back to study........

Sunday, 21 November 2010

It’s just..unfortunate..

I have a strange relationship with Mother.

While in the US, I called her twice. Once after Grams passed away, and another time when I was testing a new calling card. In the second call, I told her when I was going to be in Singapore.

So I got back last Thursday night, and was busy that weekend for Kel’s wedding. I never thought I needed to call her until I was free. After all, I was away for quite a while without calling much. But YQ sms-ed me on Sunday night while I was out to say that she was going on and on about how come I never called. He asked me to call back.

Can’t she just pick up the fucking phone and call if she had something to say?!

I suppose it was like while I was in Oxford. She had never once called. Not even once. She only expected me to call her.

Anyway, I was adamant that unless I was free, I wasn’t going to make that obligatory call. So I called only on Monday after work. Can’t even remember now what I said. Anyway, yesterday, she actually picked up the phone to call me. So we had lunch today.

But you know what? We had nothing much to say. Just dragging things out of thin air to fill the silence. At one point, she asked, “No baby?” That really got me angry – she was the one who cursed me that I would have no kids! And now she had the cheek to ask that? I just told her to stay out of that matter.

After lunch, she was going to take the bus home while I roamed AMK Hub but after we turned our backs, she called me from behind to say she wasn’t going to go back so early. So we just walked two floors for a while and I decided I would go home so we split.

What do you make of this?

Honestly, I have very mixed feelings towards her. I know she went through a lot with an useless ex-husband. And she has cared a lot about me. When I was a jaundice baby, she looked after me all the time – heard from her many times, usually when she was angry and said I wasn’t worth her caring for me back then. And she was sad when I first left for Oxford. I also remember the time she helped me collect my extended MC slip when I was too ill to go get it. On our birthdays when we were kids, she would cook something nice. And I think she missed me so she wanted to go around AMK Hub with me for a while today.

But while I struggled to find examples of her being good to me, I could very easily remember all the times she wasn’t.

Like today, when I got to her house, she was in the toilet so I sat down with a magazine. When she came out and saw me, the first thing she said was about this pair of boots I had. Where was it? Oh, the faux leather fell apart and I threw it away. Then she lifted her hand in a fist and made an action to hit me – of course she didn’t but it was her most classic threatening action. Wasteful! She said as she did the irritating action. What’s her problem?! Being rude and threatening, and meddling with my business.. The boots were no longer in a wearable condition and I bought them with my fucking money!

As a kid, I always wanted to tell her about things that happened in school. But all I got as I started talking was a brush-off cos she was cooking (apparently with her ears) or – get this – watching TV. I learnt to just stop trying to make conversation. Being the eldest child, I was very controlled and could not do this or that. Such restrictions strangely did not apply to my siblings. And being the eldest child, I was expected to give way to the younger ones for like everything. Doing well in school didn’t earn me any recognition or encouragement. Perhaps I just became more trusted, cos every time I went back in summer or after I moved out, she would shove letters in my face to interpret and lucky draw coupons to fill in, when my siblings were there all the fucking time!

Ok, if I sit down to think about it, I gather that maybe she wants to spend more time with me so she always asks me to do trivial things. And she doesn’t know how to communicate other than asking me to do errands etc.

It’s fine if it’s just that. I can rationalise and understand that she isn’t very well educated and that’s just her way of communication.

But I can never, ever forget what she said to me. What kind of mother would curse her daughter to be childless??! I just want to stay far away in case I kena cursed again. It might have been said in a fit of anger but what’s said is said. She can take back her words but I cannot un-hear it.

I was talking with a couple of people recently on separate occasions and this issue came up. I’m glad they understand, although I’d much rather we all don’t understand such matters! :p So, I was saying that I started thinking of leaving home since age 11. I just wanted to leave the house, leave the dysfunctional family. Even now, there are times when I wish to just leave Singapore for good so that I don’t ever need to bother about this relationship anymore. Give her a lump sum to fulfil my obligation and that’s it. But Sito and I think that Singapore is a good place to live in. This is also where all my friends and other family are. I’ll just have to deal with it in as civil a manner as I can.

I think it’s pretty sad when mother and daughter are not close. I tried before. I was going around taking pictures with family and friends before I left for Oxford. In one shot, I put my arms around her, and she said, “Don’t pretend to be close la!” She simply rejected me outright. I’m not going back to be humiliated – or cursed – by her anymore. I just have an obligation towards her – so long as I’m working, I’ll continue to support her financially. But I just couldn’t find it in my heart to love her. And I feel sad for her cos of this, to have a daughter who doesn’t love you. It is unfortunate but it is something I’ve come to accept.

Update 27 Nov 2010

I subscribe to a health and fitness website and get emails very frequently. Lately I haven't been reading much cos these days, they usually link to articles rather than give the articles in the emails. But just now, I clicked on a link, and read this:

"Holding onto a grievance doesn't give you control over the offender, and it doesn't 'punish' them; it gives THEM control over you, and punishes YOU, because you're the one holding onto the health-harming stress and lack of peace of mind."

I need to think. And learn.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Home?

Well, I’m back in Sg. Alone. Without Sito.

I’m home now, at HV. But it just feels strange to call a place home when Sito isn’t there.

We’ve never been apart for more than a couple of weeks since we got together. This time, only e-hugs for us until a month later when he flies in as well. Oh, and skype when time permits.

Got something at Narita to help me through this month. Something nice and something I can give him :) Pictures later..

So yes, back in our little flat since late Thursday night. Now with five occupants! No problem living with many but I keep forgetting to bring this or that to the shower! After using super phones for the past five years, I’ve lost the ability to remember things on my own *.*

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Happy birthday to Sito :)

I made a little e-card for Sito, inviting him to a nice dinner – advance celebration of his grand 30th!

Didn’t mention the restaurant to him but the smart boy guessed it correctly.. But, I didn’t acknowledge until the sign loomed in front of us!

M
O
R
T
O
N

S

!!

Went to the original one and found the menu a lot more pleasing to the eye (and the wallet!) compared to that in Sg..

Our menu had an interesting header: Happy Birthday, Mr Low!!!

I neglected to mention Sito’s name when I mentioned in the online reservation that it was my husband’s birthday. And they thought I took on his name.. Gaaar!

So, well, that night, it was Mr Low and Mrs Sito :)

Started with the warm onion bread!


We finished the whole thing... Later, they gave a loaf of the same size to a party of three next to us.. Did we feel bad? Um, no :) It was so warm and yummy! Tried to look up the recipe for the bread but couldn’t find =(

Ordered a starter – scallops wrapped with bacon and served with apricot chutney, which went up Sito’s nose much like wasabi! There were three - we were having the other two not in picture :p


Oh, but it was good..

So were our mains! Sito had prime rib and me, filet mignon, joyfully medium rare.. Had spinach with button mushrooms and hashbrown for sides... The spinach was less salty than the one we had in Sg – a good thing – while the hashbrown was more like a rosti.

Sito looked happy :)


The sour cream and bacon bits for the hashbrown arrived shortly after we took this picture. It was, in all, very sinful..

Then, sin level burst beyond the scale when the complimentary cake arrived!


Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to Sito Dear...
Happy birthday to you!

He made a wish. I didn’t ask :p Should I? :p

At the end of the dinner, our attendant gave us a photograph of us – so nice!


But, argh, it says Mr Low too! :p

Still, I suspect we’ll be back here again :)

Sito took me to Morton’s for my 30th too. But no photo by restaurant leh... And it was too dark in the restaurant for my iPhone camera to work. Took more photos of Oriental and our room instead :p

Comparing our experiences in Sg and the original, we felt MUCH fuller in Sg, even without eating as much as we did last night, although both times, we had to pack some food. Our appetite seemed to have grown! Thankfully we haven’t :p Maybe after a period of smaller meals, we are better able to take occasional big meals?

Still, we had so much leftover that today, I cooked leftover beef and hashbrown for lunch, topped up with vege pasta:


Happy :)

Update 24 Apr 2011
I was clearing the mac and found an old expenditure list - our first meal at Morton's in Sg costs $294! We only spent US$135 here, on roughly the same amount of food. Ouch.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Another fun TG!

Ok, third consecutive post on food!

But this time, I didn’t cook anything.. Friday was Asian food festival cum dance TG. There were a number of stalls – Sg, Thai, Japanese, Indian, PRC, Korean and Taiwanese. Of course we were manning the Sg stall :)

I got involved somehow.. Again.. But it was fun! Did some art and craft to come up with our décor, food labels, slides and badges for the team!

Our stall – the flag was made from six sheets of paper :p The labels also described each food. I like the one for steamed rice – it read: White rice, steamed :p

We asked a Chinese restaurant to cook char kway teow, sambal kangkong and har cheong gai according to our recipes. I only tried the chicken and it had a lot more prawn taste than the ones I had in Sg! Sito said the char kway teow was so-so but the kangkong was like the real deal! We also had others complimenting the kangkong and chicken. Overall, success! :)

The team which was supposed to wear red but only I did! And it was the Sg Day sweater from last year! :p


I like the sweater. Was talking about it and found two Singaporeans who were at Sg Day 2007! Small world..

And a close-up on the badges we took home – I made them!


For our slides, I used the same city and food pictures and preceded them with a familiar sight in Sg - HDB flats :p

Oops, not too clear...

In the middle of the session, MOVE and the Indian club gave three performances – salsa, hip hop and bhangra! It was such fun even though we continued to dish out food to our “customers” :)

We sold out pretty soon and went exploring.. For some reason, the PRC stall had pseudo Chinese food – angmoh-ised dishes like crab Rangoon *.* Sito bought Japanese and Korean food in addition to our stall food. So we had quite a bit to eat :)

Took the flag home. Now it’s hanging above our book shelf :)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

mf’s chicken rice

So Sito convinced me to make chicken rice for the international potluck at McManus.

Cooked the dish about 10 (!) years ago – straightforward but troublesome. But this housewife got time, right?

I chose the smallest chicken but it was still too big. Or rather, my biggest pot was still too small to submerge the entire bird in water. Oh well, we’ll see what happens...

At some point near 3 pm, I decided I should get cracking. First, I read the label.

“Remove the neck and the giblets.”

What?!

Ok.. I dug into the top cavity, and pulled out stuff :(

I’m not sure if I cleaned out everything so I went online..

Step 8 totally freaked me out :((

Took a deep breath and returned to the bird.

Oh, bottom cavity was already emptied!

Phew...

I just removed the neck. Or the stump that was longer..


Pretty gross.. Thing at the right was the stump of the neck..
Rinsed the thing in and out, and laid it out to rest :p


Plenty of salt went on the chicken. The spring onions kept falling out but too bad, I didn’t have any toothpicks to seal the holes!

When the water boiled, in it went! See, the top was not covered..


The bit at the top left was a huge piece of FAT! I dumped it in and it disappeared after cooking!

Time check – it took me almost an hour to get the bird ready! And the sun was already starting to set as I typed *.*

But the water refused to return to the boil so I covered the thing. Now the chicken looked pretty happy in it.. The top started to change colour too. Looked like the steam was doing it well too :)


Kept the fire low to simmer it. While waiting, I typed the above :)

~~~ A few hours later ~~~

Taking out the cooked bird was easier than I thought. It took quite some effort the last time for some forgotten reason..

Used a pair of chopsticks to hook the bird out onto a tray and ran cold water over it. It suddenly occurred to me that Sito would dip himself in cold water after a soak in a hot spring :p After all, I’ve always said that he’s a 白斩鸡!

So the chicken was done and left alone to cool. Next was the rice! Lots of rice cos I wanted to keep some for ourselves :p

I don’t like to fry the rice before steaming it. I just steamed it with the fatty chicken soup :p

While the rice was cooking, I started to cut the chicken. What a challenge! It was oily, and I was trying to keep the skin together! And the breast meat was quite impossible to separate from the bones! So I torn the bits off the bones and dumped them with some leftover pasta for my lunch tomorrow :p

There was still a lot left!


I didn’t try the chicken at all but I tried the rice and I was disappointed =( There was barely a hint of chicken rice flavour, sighs.. I just added some sesame oil to give it more taste.. Was talking about it with some students and came to the conclusion that it was the chicken here... I mean, 10 years ago it turned out perfectly in Circus St!

Bah!

Anyway, the potluck was fun – plenty of food! I had an Indian kati roll which was really spicy, Chilean empanada which was so much like our curry puffs, two Venezuelan arepas with cheese, and of course the catered Chinese food! I had loads of dessert too, happy!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Cooking is a science

For me, at least.. I seldom see the art in my cooking! :p But I can see the science..

Realised this while making cookies – my third attempt in Evanston, and my second in making Ben’s cookies. (First was from the back of some dried fruit pack :p)

So, I started with melting the butter. The butter came in a stick. I dumped it into a bowl, and cut it up with a spoon while indirectly melting it over the stove top right above the pilot fire. The butter went from a huge lump to a clumpy watery mixture, and finally creamy..

Decided to start snapping after I had stirred in the white sugar – nice and creamy :)


Next was the brown sugar. A lot of brown sugar! And the consistency changed and became thicker. I think most of the sugar got dissolved in the butter.. Cos I don't see much of the sugar anymore but I could still hear the sugar..

Now the egg. I had halved the recipe so it now called for half an egg and half an egg yolk but I couldn’t be bothered to separate or be left with half of each!

Egg was so fresh and pretty! After snapping, I promptly beat through the membrane of the egg :p It was fun beating in the egg despite it almost costing me my arm...

The creamy mixture was now held together by the egg, resulting in a rather springy consistency. Then I added a tablespoon of milk, which somehow broke up the springiness. Honestly, at this point, even though it was about 7 pm, I lost all appetite for dinner – it looked like puke :p


Time for the dry ingredients! The first bit of the flour mixture:

I folded in the flour with the spoon. The creamy mixture became a soft dough after all the flour was folded in. I was happy! But my arm just died *.*

I then measured out a cup of semi sweet chocolate chips, and saw that the bag of chocolate chips contained about two cups.. But I used a cup for my first attempt at Ben’s cookies! And a bit more for my first batch of cookies!

There was only one explanation – my cup is too small!

So, with my shrivelled arm, I added another quarter cup of flour to the dough - a stiffer dough now.. And I poured in all the remaining chocolate chips after that!! :)

Chilled the dough for an hour while I had dinner.

And because the cookies spread out a lot in my last attempt, I decided to bake the cookies in two batches instead.

And guess what? They tasted the same as before but they now turned out looking like Ben’s cookies as well! So happy :)


Think the last time, I shouldn’t have melted the butter so completely over a small fire. And of course, I didn’t use enough flour :p

This is the recipe*. Not the actual one for Ben’s cookies of course, but it’s very close. This makes about 9-15 cookies depending on how big your cookie is!

* Sorry, can’t credit originator – I saved this in my hard-disk and forgot about it!

115g unsalted butter
1/8 cup caster sugar
5/8 cups brown sugar
1/2 egg and 1/2 egg yolk
1 tbs milk
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract – oops, I don’t have this :p

1 1/8 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1) Melt the butter indirectly and cream with the sugar
2) Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract
3) Stir in the flour mix, then the chocolate chips
4) Chill for a while – it should be cold
5) Scoop onto baking sheet and bake at 190 °C for about 14 mins or until edges turn brown if you can see them – I can’t, stupid oven..
6) Eat while very warm, or store when cool – but heat it up before you have them!

Fancy your husband in drag?

No, not in the bedroom! It was, well, in front of a few hundred people!

mf on Facebook: It's quite a weird and funny feeling watching your husband dance in drag...

And the comments:

Great performance!
N: He was damn good. You should be proud of him :)
mf: Oh yes, and they were runner-up! :)

In response to photo requests..
mf: No visual - don't want to make others jealous :) muy malo... incriminatorias! :p
M: Algunas fotos es mejor no publicarlascen Facebook, ja, ja, ja ;) (mf: some photos should not be published on Facebook :p)

With another wife whose husband danced in drag too
B: Yes it is! But you were so cute up there taking pictures!
mf: @B: Oh you must have too, right? Was just telling Sito I found a familiar bikini top on stage before I realised who that was! :p (mf: He was wearing hers which she wore in Costa Rica!)

Of course Sito’s hot, in drag and out!
KC: I wonder why Sito hasn’t commented on this chain yet. Btw, a few people were saying he was the hottest in the Poets' clan ;)
mf: Of course! I wouldn't settle for less :)
Sito: The pasty skin must have been the clincher.

:pPPpPP

Drag TG was one of the major TGs this quarter so I headed out with a few other JVs. Tried to find our respective husbands. Mine generally doesn’t pick up his calls so I just used eye power while the rest called. Some had more luck than the others but finally, I spotted Sito standing at the window upstairs – half naked! With Nat! Um...

We waved to each other :)

I couldn’t see the stage where I was standing so I moved upstairs to find my half-naked husband. It wasn’t the best spot cos it was right above the stage and we could see only the tops of the performers’ heads, but there was space.

See the crowd below?


Sito’s section started learning their dance that afternoon but when the Poets came on stage as "California Gurls", they were really good! And Sito could dance pretty well in a bikini top, a skirt and a wig!

Well done, boys!


PS: He wasn’t wearing my bikini!

PS2: Heard that they made the students do a lot of crazy things during orientation so as to level everyone - some kind of psychological thing. Guess that kind of extends beyond orientation to other activities here!

PS3 is in Sg :p

Monday, 1 November 2010

Pretty and youthful mf

One warm sunny day, I walked my usual 15 min to the supermarket. Somewhere near the supermarket, this guy cycled towards me and said I looked good as he passed me! Oooh :) I smiled :)

Then in the supermarket, I was looking at fruits when a granny started talking to me, saying that she liked what I was wearing :)

And now to the meat section.. I was roaming with my cart when this happened:

Angmoh in his 30s (I guess): Excuse me, but are you Chinese?
mf: *hesitating* Yes..? *damn, I don't know nuts about Chinese culture etc!*
Angmoh: You’re beautiful *smiles*
mf: *stunned* Oh, thank you!

As I continued shopping, I was wondering, what’s up today man?!

Was it my plaits? My dress? My leggings??


I asked Sito. And he said it was probably my plaits. Bleah.

And perhaps a couple of weeks later, I went to a JV event – Thirsty Thursday! But I just had an apple crumble :) So I was chatting with the JVs around me.. Then at some point, we were talking about age, and upon hearing my age:

26-year-old girl: Really? I thought you were really young when you walked in just now, like 23 or 24..
24-year-old girl: I hope I look like that when I’m 30!

And over tea after dinner one day, on the topic of weight, a JV thought I was lighter :p And another time, another asked if I had always been like this (gesturing at the whole of me :p)..

mf: Like this? *blur*
S: Like naturally petite..

But I’m not petite by any measure back in Sg! In fact, my height puts me above average, and my overall size, I’m certainly not thin but I don’t need (although I want, just a little) to lose anything so I would say I’m also above average.

How not to feel happy, right? :)

Oh, on an earlier trip to the supermarket, this boy – like teenager boy, ok – said I had a “nice walk” as I overtook him on a quiet stretch. But that was a little sleazy so I ignored him :p

But actually, upon closer inspection of my face, I can see clogged pores! First facial in two weeks will be really painful =(

Oh yes, be going back to Sg in two weeks.. But I don’t want to leave Sito alone here with his packed schedule! I couldn’t help him with classes etc but at least now I can give a hand in the house so he doesn’t need to bother with the small things like cooking and taking out the trash.. But I won’t be able to do that for a while.. And I’ll be missing his birthday! :(

Poor Sito... He’ll miss his pretty wife and I’ll miss my cute husband.. Argh! Sappy!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

About food

Sito and I like to eat.

I love it that he eats quite a bit and just about anything, well, almost.. And he loves it that I’m not the kind of girl who doesn’t eat carbs or picks at food and leaves a lot of leftovers. Nah, we have a healthy appetite :)

When we first started dating, our favourite was zi char. We had that very often – hor fun or fried rice or yee mee, with tofu, vege and/or meat. Got a little chubby from that :p

Along the way, we stopped the near weekly zi char, and had Crystal Jade pretty often.. By the time we got married and moved in together, we had mixed rice most of the time - $2.70 for a meat and two vege! But with good food around us, we continued our zi char and Crystal Jade when we had time :)

And now that we’re in Evanston, with no Crystal Jade and on a student budget, we’re mostly eating at myrfy’s kitchen! :p

Thank goodness both of us don’t really crave for Sg food, cos I don’t do char kway teow or hokkien mee etc. Thank goodness mixed rice works for both of us too, cos that’s what I’ve been making mostly, although it’s not the sweet and sour pork or kung pao chicken we used to have back home.

Don’t know why many Singaporeans miss their food when they go overseas. I suspect some miss their food more than their family and friends! There are even a number of Facebook groups or pages of people missing Sg food! (I don't find as many about missing family overseas..) I have witnessed this myself too. In the second leg of our 10-day, four-city work trip some years back, two of the group went to Bugis for dinner. I didn’t and still don’t understand *.* Maybe cos, while you can skype your family and friends, you can only 望梅止渴 when it comes to food??

Well, I’m happy having pasta all the time. Except that I’ve found that rice is better than pasta when packing bento, and rice is cheaper than pasta :p That’s why it’s mostly mixed rice for us..

But there is one bad thing about my cooking compared to $2.70 mixed rice, which is that, Sito has lost weight eating my non-oily food in limited portions! So poor thing :( I’m going to get more protein for him. I should aim for a generous mixed rice portion, which is, come to think of it, twice of his current intake of meat now *.* But I guess that the good thing is that I haven’t put on any weight, although I definitely haven’t lost any either!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

What I don’t like about cooking

It isn’t the dishes, although I’ll prefer to do less of that so I minimise my cooking equipment for each meal.. In fact, when we have a bigger family, I’ll very likely want a dishwasher :)

I can’t remember when I started cooking. Was it before Oxford? Likely. Just instant noodles. Cooked more exciting things in school during home econs class – trivial: I topped sec 2 home econs..

But the first time I really cooked a proper meal was definitely in Oxford. I didn’t have a kitchen when I was a fresher staying in college but I had this electric pot that I used to cook everything in my room (illegally! :p). Later, I had access to four-hob electric stoves – flat top, not the coil types! We seldom saw gas stoves in the UK – they seemed to be paranoid about fires...

So I was pretty surprised to see gas stove in our room when we first got here. When I first turned the knob, I could smell only gas so we bought a lighter to ignite the thing. Later, I heard that others didn’t need a lighter... That was when I realised what the “LITE” at the end of the knob meant..! Got to turn all the way to ignite! Gaaar!

Anyway, this morning, I happened to look towards the stove while sitting here, studying for the dreaded Montessori exams, and I saw something odd.. Upon closer inspection, I found two sparks of fire below the cook top! They help the ignition. No wonder the stove top is always a little hot.. Don’t think the one Mother uses has such a spark. Different forms of ignition mechanisms, I guess..

Actually, I don’t like cooking on gas stoves. Mother has been working with a one-hob gas stove. Sometimes she also uses her charcoal stove but with age, it is getting difficult to move that heavy thing from storage..

After Oxford when I wanted to carry on cooking during the weekends in Sg, I wondered how Mother could use just one single hob!! And the stove was quite difficult to control – the knob was stiff, and the entire stove could move as it wasn’t fixed to anything... So for years, all I cooked was pasta. Once, I was stirring in spaghetti when I smelled burning hair and my little finger hurt – it was so hot near the pot that the hair there was singed! *.*

And now, using a gas stove again, I didn’t smell any burning hair but I definitely feel the heat on my hands when cooking and in fact, I don’t see much hair on the last two fingers of my right hand! And I keep getting food stains and burns on the cook top that are so difficult to remove! I was also fearful of setting off the fire alarm when my food sizzles.. The smells get into the bedroom but closing the bedroom door early in the morning when I prepare bento will disturb Sito cos the door creaks. And the light is right behind me.

Bah...

I miss our kitchen in our marital home... We have a two-hob induction cooker – no risk of burning hands, all stains are gone with a simple wipe after cooking... Oh, and we also had a kitchen hood with lamps above the cooker that clears the air and allows me to see my cooking. Sighs, too bad we didn’t have the opportunity to cook often then..

Friday, 22 October 2010

Whirlyball!

KWEST Costa Rica played Whirlyball today!

It was great fun but I only had one game – I just couldn’t steer the WhirlyBug!! Kind of reminded me of bumper cars when I was a kid. I loved it, but I could hardly move the car! Guess some things never change...

We had fun going to the court too. So we had the party trolley for CIM Ball. Today we had a hummerzine!

Source: Hummerzine company, I suppose.. (Anyway, ours didn't have such a pretty inside - will try to update this later..)

As usual, we were drinking all the time. Today, I had a beer – happy :) Sito had two cos he was baton-ed, twice!

And speaking of the baton, I was sorting some old photos the other day when I came across this:


I was baton-ed way back in Xmas 2004 *.*

So we headed out for more drinks after Whirlyball. Walked a little and I talked to Amy’s friend Val. She works with children with autism – it’s pretty interesting.. If I’m up for more studying after Montessori, I could look further into that...

Next was a karaoke place. It was quite funny on many counts. First, the place was smelly, like puke smelly.. Ok, that wasn’t funny, just gross.. Second, the men playing pool were a seriously dodgy bunch.. They all looked like that drunk vagrant who wandered High St in Oxford when I was there! And third, when the karaoke started, I was brought back to the 1990s – they had books of song lists!!

We had to go just as they were starting to sing cos dear Sito wasn’t feeling well. And I saw the screen flashing lyrics. No MTV, just words! I remember seeing that in Oxford many in 2001 or 2002. So many years on, karaoke outside of Asia seems to remain the same! I’m so looking forward to KLunch with CY on 17 November..

Anyway, had a revelation while bathing.. I think mf-ism died a little as I progressed in work in the past few years. I mean, it used to be more colourful and lively when I wasn’t churning paper after paper.. When I started writing more and more civil service papers, that officious style must have crossed over and devoured mf-ism.. Now that I’m off the paper-writing track, hopefully mf-ism gets revived!
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