Monday, 31 October 2011

On my own

Watching 結婚できない男 now, literally the man who cannot get married. He is single, socially awkward and lives in a nice apartment by himself, and loves to cook and eat meat and is a neat freak who doesn't invite people to his place.

But he doesn't seem to feel lonely. He is always doing things on his own:
1) Having yakiniku at a restaurant
2) Going on a local bus tour
3) Watching fireworks

And people around him find it strange that a person should do all these alone. The female lead is also single and finds it difficult to eat alone in a restaurant so she often eats at ramen stands.

Now I find that strange. Why can't we do these on our own?? And when the 40-year-old female lead considers buying her own place, it means she has "given up on marriage" *.*

Eh, I've considered getting my own place leh... Let's see what I've done on my own all these years...
1) Watching movies - at a theatre; I watch dramas on my own most of the time
2) Having meals at food court, hawker centre or at my desk in the office
3) Reading/Studying at some cafe
4) Shopping
5) Holidaying - Scotland, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan
6) Singing karaoke at KBox - that included lunch so I turned on analog when I was eating :)
7) And yes, watching fireworks! That just happened a few months ago on 4 July - watched fireworks from my window :)

I don't think I've eaten at a restaurant alone; I'm too cheapo, don't want to spend too much when I'm eating alone :p

The thing is, I think there's nothing strange about doing things on our own. Alone doesn't mean lonely. Yup, sometimes it can be boring - like when I was in Scotland in January, it was so cold I didn't feel like doing anything! - but it's so convenient to do things alone! No need to arrange with people, no need to plan anything, no need to feel bad if planned activities turn out to be boring... Just do anything I like at the moment!

But of course I do enjoy and treasure time with Sito :) Just saying that I find it's nice to (be able to) do things on my own :)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Pick apples, bake apples :)

The girls went apple picking at Apple Holler on Sunday!

This map came with the tickets:



We had an admission ticket and a hayride ticket. Luckily I took a picture cos they took them away when we went in!



Oh, the Golden Goat Bridge, haha! The goats can walk up a ramp to the spot above "BRIDGE" to eat the food sent up using the ropes.



My wonderful apple cider donut! It was so rich it felt like a cake!



And that's eight of us on the hayride! (minus the photographer CG)



And we went through the enchanted forest! :) See them cute little things hanging on the tree??



I was happily holding on to an apple - it was pretty green so not too visible...



But this is super visible!



And there were apples everywhere... Some had a few human bites missing while some were uneaten, having suffered the unfortunate fate of being imperfect to be taken home or falling down as a neighbour was taken...



That's KF reaching for a much coveted shiny apple while S supported her!



Introducing - the Desperate Housewives of Evanston! Hohoho! (Btw, I'm happily watching the latest season on Hulu!)



And back to the entrance area, we did fun, silly things :)



Including finding our way through a corn maze - built with real corn!!



My loot! :) The paper bag contained another apple cider donut - for Sito :)



Eight of us had two of these fantastic dutch apple pies... Heavenly!



This was just next to our bench. I bought a pint of apple cider to bring home. But Sito didn't want *.*



Eight of us again! (minus CG the photographer again..)



Pumpkins galore! Outside a Trader Joe's on our way back.



I just had to display all my apples on the coffee table for a, um, group shot :p



And on Tuesday, I took two to make these lovely apple cinnamon and walnut muffins!

Ok, three of them didn't have the walnut toppings because I wanted to know the original taste of the muffins!



They turned out much less sweeter than expected. Think I'll use the sweeter apples and milk instead of apple cider when I bake again later this week.. Still have lots of apples left hoho!

Monday, 24 October 2011

I'm just so tired...

It has been a busy quarter for me so far. Kellogg classes, Spanish classes, volunteer work, socials. And today, negative vibes have drained all my energy. My chest feels like it's going to burst.

Hopefully sleep will help.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Dear, can you....?

Waiting for the baked salmon to be nicely browned before I start to cook the rest of dinner. Let me recount something that happened last night...

So Apple 4S comes with Siri. After watching some random stuff on Youtube, I chanced upon a video on a guy asking Siri random questions like, what is the meaning of life? (If you click through, check out the Singaporean version too.)

Sito had watched that before but he watched again with me. Then I started my going-to-bed ritual of moving my water bottle to the bedroom etc.. And when I walked out to the living room again, I saw Sito playing a Facebook game. And quite immediately when he sensed me, the following happened:

Sito: Dear?
mf: Hmmm?
Sito: Can you fill my water bottle for me?
mf: Huh, I become your Siri?!

*.*

This afternoon, after doing some other random thing for him, this happened:

Sito: Will you marry me?
mf: I already did!!!

Hoho!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

我的头发很乱

我的头发很乱(上)

这几天,头发不听话,怎么吹怎么梳都乱。把它绑起来,马尾也乱糟糟的,但起码我看不见 :p 已经近两年没有做负离子直发了,久违的自然圈再度涌现。哎,真怀念以前笔直又无需打理的长发!

我的头发很乱 (下)

今天,下雨嘛,我就撑着伞走向车站。但走没两步,忽然间一阵风从背后吹来,把我狠狠地往前推了好几步!可怜的伞也被刮反了。

后来下了车,又开始撑起伞走向目的地。走没两步,那可怕的风又向我吹来,可这次是从正面袭击。忽然间我竟跨不出脚步,得使劲儿一蹲一大步地逆风而行。又忽然间,风向一转,从右边刮过来,把可怜的雨伞刮坏了!:(

伞是歪了,但勉强还能遮雨。就是风实在是太猛了,我只能把伞给收了,只有淋雨的份。雨,其实不会很大。可是绵绵细雨加上狂风,竟变成雨针,一针一针打在我脸上,痛!没有伞遮头,头发也随风起舞左右前后乱飞,又湿湿的粘成一大条一大条的,丑!真的被风吹又被雨打得不成人形!

可是,回到家,头发自然干后,诶,怎么变得这么好看呀!

明天,我就沾点儿水,把头发吹乱,再随手一刷,看看效果如何 :) 说不定我会爱上这自然圈呢!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Teaching

Went for my first tutoring session this morning at the local elementary school.

It's a cute little school with just three floors. Each classroom is labelled with the number of the teacher-in-charge. I was brought to the classroom of Ms G who introduced me to my student, K, who is in first grade. Ms G went through some of her materials with me before K's classmate led us to a little room downstairs where we spent the next hour.

K has problems with reading and maths. I only managed to go through the reading with K today. She could read alright but she seemed to be reading without really understanding. And she couldn't write the alphabet properly. While she did some colouring, I looked at her maths file and all her mistakes were in those that had a lot of words, e.g. she couldn't draw the correct number of apples as instructed. Perhaps her reading problem is impeding her maths. I've decided to make some simple reading materials for the next class - I have some of my Montessori stuff with me! :)

This school uses the University of Chicago syllabus, and I found some really cool resources for maths at their website. I can't seem to find similar stuff on the MOE website, but the syllabus for primary one is not too different - counting, simple arithmetic etc, which means Montessori is really fast because five-year-olds will learn multiplication, which means I can use my Montessori stuff on K :) But Montessori materials for maths are difficult to make from scratch.. See how..

Thinking back, I knew I wasn't able to understand more than ABC when I first entered primary one; I had to ask my classmate what was going on when the teacher said something and everyone started opening their books! But I don't remember how much maths I knew by then, only that I had to memorise the multiplication tables when I was in primary two. Well, I turned out ok right? Hoho!

Anyway, this tutoring programme is also my exercise programme - it takes 25-30 minutes to walk there! One round trip is like watching an episode of drama on the treadmill :) And speaking of drama, I'm resisting starting another one (yes, I finished one - 流れ星 - over the weekend!) because this is one busy week and I don't want distraction! *disciplined*

But I'm going to keep writing.. Haven't finished what I set out to say yet.. Long-winded, I know :)

So, teaching. As a kid, I wanted to be a teacher. One of my favourite playacting games as a kid was to play teacher to my siblings and cousins and friends, using the glass door of a cabinet as a white board by sticking a piece of white paper behind. Needless to say, the adults were not very happy to find ink on the glass! But hey, it was water-soluble ink!

In the first few months of JC, I found a part-time job as a maths tuition teacher to a primary two girl. I quit when I got busy with school work and frequent rehearsals for our CLDDS performance.

During JC, I remember giving Na a crash course in - was it complex numbers? I think I failed that time haha!

Right after JC, I went back to NJ as a relief teacher for four months, teaching Further Maths to three first-year classes. That was my first proper job. Of course, I didn't give lectures. But I had to attend staff meetings and for team meetings, I was the one taking notes cos I was the most junior *.* Before that, I had applied for a teaching scholarship. During this teaching stint, I had the opportunity to review my application, and I decided not to teach. I really enjoyed the interaction with the students but it was just so tiring! I had to say the same thing at least three times a week, and for more difficult stuff, I had to repeat many more times in class and later during consultations. I knew I couldn't survive long. I really admire those who have taught for many years!

One of my three classes in 1999 - can you spot me?



And then in Oxford during my MSc year, I helped a friend with her BA statistics. We were in the same year but she took a gap year. I saw her work before - all A graded! Except for statistics. I think I must have been quite good back then!! Different story now ~.~

And between that and this tutoring programme, I earned my Montessori diploma. Some teaching training at last but I did not do any practicum.

Oh, and have I mentioned I married a teacher? ^_^ Sure, he's no longer teaching but sometimes you can still hear the teacher in him :)

So, there, my long relationship with teaching and a teacher. I really hope I can make a difference to K's learning in this year.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Talk about weather

We are wondering why many international students want to stay in the US rather than returning to their countries.

"What's so good about the US?"

"Well, they're comparing China or India to the US. We, on the other hand, are comparing Singapore to the US. Despite all the silly complains I read online, once you live overseas, you'll find that Singapore is waaay better."

"There's just one thing I don't like about Singapore - the weather."

"Too hot for you, I know..."

"Not just that.. If it could be like Hong Kong.."

"But summer in HK is damn hot!!"

"No, I meant some variation.."

"Got what - the rains come in June and December..."

"*.*"

"Now we have floods too..."

"Sometimes we have earthquakes..."

"And sometimes haze..."

Hohohoho!

Sito finds it funny that I laugh at my own silly comments :p

Anyway, I just recovered from a flash cold*. This has nothing to do with the weather, although it definitely is turning cold. Just read an article saying that this winter is going to suck real bad. Last winter was already very bad with the CNY snow blizzard!

* Flash cold = slept too late on Thursday, fell ill on Friday, recovered on Saturday
Normal cold = kena rain or wind or sick person one day, fell ill the next day, recovered 10 days later !@#$%^&*()

Friday, 14 October 2011

Goodbye, my HP laptop...

At 3.24 am, I turned off my work laptop for the last time.

I felt a strange sense of loss. I've stopped work officially for a few months but now, I'm really not turning this laptop on again. It's like a chapter of my life has closed.

And if I have the chance to return to my office, it wouldn't be this laptop anyway, so let me say this:

However much I've scolded you, my dear laptop, for being slow, I understand it's because you're overloaded with programmes; I really appreciate you for staying with me through so many tough days and nights, never crashing on me. Thank you...

Update 11.51 am

I woke up feeling FREEEE! Still feel a pang of sadness when I see the laptop bag on the couch but well, once I send it off this evening, I'll put an end to this chapter and move on to a year full of TV dramas and socials! And learning, let me not forget that..

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011!

So I went downtown on Sunday for the marathon again! As a spectator of course :) We were supporting L and K!

Some people organised a bus from Evanston but of the 30+ who signed up, only a few of us showed up. So it was a rather quiet journey and we reached the 13-mile point at about 8.00 am.

First stop: Lou Mitchell's Restaurant! That's C and me waiting for our breakfast :)


Source: C

My pecan pancakes without the pecans! They poured on the pecans a while later,  on top of the four fluffy pancakes that were the size of my face! We must have had some three or four cups of their coffee..



The toilet queue at Lou Mitchell was too long so we headed for the Union Station.. That's me going down into the station rather quickly cos I really needed to go :p


Source: C

Took more pictures in the station while waiting for M and Y to join us but in the end, cos Y's husband was faster, they went off to the 16-mile point while we left for the 13-mile point.


Source: C

Guess what, we waited until we received a tracking text that L had gone past that point! We must have missed her :( K's pace was similar so we probably missed her too :(

So we took pictures :p


Source: C

Then we turned towards the 16-mile point, hoping to catch them this time.. And guess what, we didn't *.* But L saw us instead!! We then ran after her to catch her from the front hoho! Quite fun to be running a bit!


Source: C

Don't know how both of us could be so blind.. Ok, C could be distracted by her camera but I had no excuse - another friend actually saw me twice at both points when I didn't even see her at all! *.*

Finally met up with M and Y. They saw K run by in a flash about 15 minutes before L. Check out my 大根足 :p


Source: C

We started walking towards the finishing point so that Y could meet her husband. Passed by the brown line which goes above the ground.


Source: C

As we were walking too slowly, Y rushed on ahead as it was getting late. So the remaining three of us took random pictures, like at this strange thing in the middle of the pavement!


Source: C

C had to go back to Evanston for an event and I was tired so we left early while M waited around to meet up with Y. Just before we parted, we saw the sign marking the starting point of Route 66!



Oops, my getup was very aunty ^_^

It was a very fun day :) And combined with the trip to Mitsuwa on Saturday and the amazing weather, it was a perfect weekend!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Girly trip to Mitsuwa and Ikea

What a beautiful autumn day today! And I dolled up a little to go out with Y and M to...the supermarket hoho!

It's a really nice supermarket - went there once with Sito in July but we went there after lunch nearby. This time, the girls went there for lunch - Santouka ramen!



It was an early lunch and I had breakfast so I couldn't get the rice bowl combo that M and Y had, sighs.. And they don't do take-outs for noodle dishes!

But I found some yakisoba for Sito in the end:



Yes, it's yakisoba pan! The noodle and bread combo is very interesting on the tongue.....

We also went to Ikea nearby as M wanted to get home stuff. Y and I bought small stuff too, though my shopping trolley isn't exactly small :) My frozen oden thawed completely by the time we got back *.* But I popped it right back into the freezer! Should be fine la hor? :p

Tonight I must sleep early as I'm heading for the Chicago marathon tomorrow morning! As a spectator again :)

Friday, 7 October 2011

Bite into an Apple with a capital A

Went downtown this afternoon and saw a crowd in front of the Apple store. They were looking at this:



I hurried on as I was running late for my appointment but on the way back, after buying a leather cover for our iPad2, I paused to take this picture, on my iPhone 3GS, no less! And now I'm blogging on my MacBook Pro.

Yes, I'm pretty grateful for what I make calls on, what I blog with and what makes my husband happy like a little boy.

Epilogue - Our journey with Apple products:

iPod Nano: January 2007, birthday present from Sito
MacBook Black: 2007, Sito's new toy
iMac: June 2007, mf's new toy
Pinky II: October 2009, to replace Pinky
MacBook Pro: August 2011
iPad2: September 2011

Thursday, 6 October 2011

New toy! :)

Congratulate us on our new toy!



But it doesn't have the smell of new electronics.. Too small? :p

It's been a very busy week so far, what with Kellogg classes, Spanish classes and all the socials! And very soon, I'll be tutoring a kid from the local elementary school! Here's a photo of my big ass on a tiny chair in the school during an orientation:



(See? You can't even see the chair anymore hohoho!)

(And, my hair is a mess!)

I was sitting at Jacoby's desk :)

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Oxford through my nose

The zip on my playboy bunny jacket wouldn't close, and I didn't want to wear my pretty coat to get milk. So I dug out an old coat I bought in Robinsons in 1999 before Oxford.



It's large and bulky, and frankly not fashionable at all. But it smells of Oxford. Or perhaps that is just the musky smell of the old wardrobe in my college room. Or the smell of Persil.

I sniffed at it for quite a while before I put it on. Happy :)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Birthday parties

We were at a really lovely birthday party this afternoon - there were blue and white balloons floating in the whole lounge, a pretty table full of sweets and cakes and photographs, a long table of food and drinks, a table full of presents from guests and a table full of thank-you gifts for guests. It's by far the best birthday party I've been to this whole year.

The thing is, the birthday party was more for the guests than the birthday boy - the birthday boy just turned one today.

Honestly, I have no idea why parents hold birthday parties for babies. Babies don't know about birthdays when they're babies! Some babies even cry when they see so many people crowding around them! And guests must always say how cute the babies are - even when they're not!

Thankfully, the birthday boy today is a really cute baby, good-looking like his parents, especially the mum - no lies there. And he's super good-natured too. I carried him for a while and posed for pictures - he's so huggable and he knows how to pose for pictures! Made this aunty very happy :)

So, hold me to my word - I'm not going to hold birthday parties for our babies in future. No point putting in so much work for a big wayang. Yes, we will still celebrate but within the family. No decoration, no present, no wayang. Because all these will come, when they get old enough to want birthday parties. By then, I'll see whether I can confine parties to having cakes and birthday songs in the pre-school. This is called 走后妈路线 :p

Or perhaps, because I haven't burnt out from organising birthday parties since the beginning, I may - just may - have the interest to hold full-scale parties at home or somewhere. After all, at pre-school age, we run a much lower risk of having the birthday boy and/or girl cry for lack of sleep or milk halfway through their own party *.*

I think many kids like to have birthday parties through their childhood. I know I did although I had just two that I remember, some six years apart! But in the teens, well, maybe less so; birthday parties may begin to sound kiddish to kids who can't wait to grow up. The next big party will probably be for the 21st birthday though I'm not sure why - I don't remember my 21st birthday at all, but I've been to my intern's 21st birthday party and boy, I felt very old there!!

And all the years until old age don't really matter. What's the point of celebrating the same day each year for 40 years?! Not like my birth has been a gift to mankind! By 60 or 80, it will be a celebration of "hey, you've made it here!" :p Or it's just something nice that children and grandchildren like to do for the oldies. In the few years before my grandmother passes away, the cousins were very happily involved in the her birthday celebrations, and she happily just let us do whatever we wanted to do for her :)

So the next birthday coming up in this household will be Sito's 31st! As usual, no present from me haha! Unless you count the free ice cream cone he gets from the birthday promotion at the local ice cream store :p By then he would be done with all his recruiting and hopefully his birthday dinner will also be a celebratory dinner for a successful (read: lands good job in Sg) recruiting period!
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