Friday, December 30, 2005

Kampong is the life for us!

Today, everyone was feeling better and we went to Palau Ubin for our adventure. We called a London taxi and all of us piled in, Vince sitting in the jump seat. Palau Ubin is an island about 10 minutes from Singapore by bum boat. We chartered a boat for S24 and went to the island. We went to lunch at this non-airconditioned place, and the lunch was really, really good. Lots of choice for the vegetarians and then afterwards we went biking on the island in rented bikes. Then we went to Raffles City to have ice cream and buy some clothes for Edda. We met up with Donald who came back from Malaysia this afternoon and had dinner together. Tonight we tried to go out on a date, but Edda and Vince thwarted it and instead we bought some Korean soap opera.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Another quiet post-Xmas day here in Singapore. Vince is still running a fever and Edda is still fussy and Katherine is dripping from her nose. Donald spent the day out and about with a friend of his. Jeremy and Bob went downtown to shop for pants/books/ravioli.

Monday, December 26, 2005

KL - Not!

So today, Katherine and Vincie weren't feeling very well and Edda has been teething pretty badly, so we cancelled our trip to KL. Instead, we hung out around home and relaxed.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy birthday Dad!



Your personal ruling planets are Saturn and Neptune.

You are ruled by the mythical God, Neptune, which describes your nature most adequately. Just like the vast ocean you are restless, moody and fond of change and travel. You love the water and places connected with the sea. You possess unusual and original ideas on religion and philosophy. It means your compassion has risen to sublime heights and you will do anything for a person in need. In this respect, you must learn to balance your own needs lest you become a victim of the people you are trying to help.

You have strong psychic abilities that relate to the water element and you can use this talent, not only to your own advantage, but helping others as well. All of the healing and helping professions are well suited to your nature.

Your main lessons are to learn to take better care of your material life so as to enjoy your future fully.

Your lucky colours are the darker green shades.

Your lucky gems are turquoise, cats eye chrysoberyl, tigers eye.

Your lucky days of the week are Mondays and Thursdays.

Your lucky numbers and years of important change are 7 , 16, 25, 34, 43, 52, 61, 70, 79.

Famous people born on your birthday include Clara Barton, Rod Sterling, Helena Christensen, Dido Armstrong and Mariama Goodman.

Back to Los Angeles

After 7 day cruise, we are back in Los Angeles

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Lovely week continues...

On Friday, we rented a car and went down to the National University of Singapore where recently there was a music conservatory established in association with Peabody. We drove to the university and since everyone was on vacation, we figured that Bob wouldn't get to meet anybody. But he met students who were playing in a string quartet and also we persuaded the associate director to come out of her office and talk with Bob about practice rooms and such things.

Then we had lunch at the school canteen. Someplace called "The Deck", it was so cheap, I think all of us ate for less than 15 US dollars.

Then we drove to the Jalita Cold Storage, my favorite supermarket because the isles are wide and they stock arugula and Paul Newman's spaghetti sauce. I left the party to head to Woodlands and I visited Kate and Abby and Joyce, Kate's mom. Chris was also there working from home. The baby is adorable! And they seem well.

Then Bob and Katherine were kind enough to watch the kids. Donald headed downtown to meet a friend, we went on a date and ate pizza at a wine bar a few bus stops away from us.

Today I went rowing and then met up with the rest of the family in Little India. Dakshi was kind enough to show us around and talk about the temples and all the various gods and the stories behind all the figures. We also saw some Buddhist temples.

It was pouring rain on the way home and we had a nice spaghetti dinner and then got ready for Santa!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Jurong Bird Park

Today we went to the Jurong Bird Park.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Everyone is here!

We all picked up Donald from the airport yesterday and today, Katherine and Bob showed up in the morning. And we are hanging out and getting over jet lag.

Today Donald and I went downtown to meet Elaine, our dogwalker. We also bought a nice trash can to replace the bad one in our kitchen.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Leaving for Vacation

We are leaving for our long vacation. Will be back to mainland USA on Dec. 25th. Take care and enjoy yourself. Don't know whether the cruise ship has internet or cell phone communcation or not. Will check our messages occasionally.

Had pizza for dinner

I knew Jeremy was going to be working late today, so I ordered pizza for dinner.

Stayed inside the house today. Waiting for everybody to show up.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A better look at swedish meatballs.

OK, you couldn't really see it that well in the last picture. And no, I didn't take all these pictures at IKEA, I'm posting from public pictures on the Flikr website. I love it!

Swedish Meatballs

This is what we had for lunch yesterday!

See you soon!

Off to Singapore! Woo hoo!

IKEA

We were at Ikea today, getting pillows and more Christmas ornaments. I'm so scared about the Christmas crowds that I showed up right at 10am when the store opened. The cab driver actually made fun of me going shopping so early.

They have a ball playroom which Vince has been shunning ever since his traumatic experience with Learning Ladder, the bbaaaddd preschool experience. But today (becuase of his extra confidence from Appletree), he went right in and I was at a loss for what to do for the whole hour I was without him. I got my shopping done in 12 minutes and then I had to do laps around the store so that I could take advantage of the 1 hour free babysitting.

Then we went to eat swedish meatballs.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My little soybean.

Today we went to the doctor to have Edda checked out. I'm a little worried that she isn't walking and she's not really talking yet... She should know a few words by now, like mama or pointing out things that she wants, but she's not doing either of those things. The doctor did say that she's rather late for both these things, but the walking he isn't really concerned about and I'm not either, I'm sure she'll walk someday, but the language aquisition is something I consider more indicative of her cognative abilities. The doc referred us to someone who'll be able to do a hearing screening on Monday... I'm pretty sure she can hear, but we'll do the screening to rule that out.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Funky chicken.

Quiet today around the house. It's pretty frustrating, these mood swings around my period. Some months it's pretty easy and I don't get moody at all and other times, like the past 4-5 days have been really difficult. I get angry at people for saying things that normally I would brush off earlier in the month. I'm more anxious around people and I get distracted easily. I have a harder time sleeping well and the kids get on my nerves easier and I get on their nerves more easily. During this weird hormonal time, it feels like a bird is sitting on my head and I just want to stay in bed. But like a miracle, this afternoon, I could feel the mood lift and now I'm back to my normal self again. Bet my period comes tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Ready for vacation

We put most our stuff into a storage place. My computer was packed into the original boxes. This computer traveled with me a lot. From Huntsville to Richland, from Richland to Denver. It will go to Maryland and SC. Eventually, this one will end at Washougal home.

I am not use to dad's laptop. He will bring his laptop with him on the trip. However, I have my cell phone with me all the time.

We are leaving from Denver on Friday 12/15 to LA. Leaving from LA to Hawaii on 12/16. Cruise Hawaii islands for week and be back to LA on 12/24. On 12/28, from LA to Ft Lauderdale. ON 1/3 from Ft Lauderdale to LA and from LA to Portland. We will drive from Portland to Vancouver. Be back to Portland on 1/9 and back to Denver on evening, 1/9.

Sunday..

On Sunday we made sheperd's pie for Kate and her family and brought it over for them in the afternoon. Sunday night we had a wonderful time with Raymond, Yvonne and their kids Jared and Ryan. They brought over chilli crab and other take-out stuff. The kids played and played together. It was amazing because Jared and Ryan go to sleep at 10pm which is normal for Singapore, our kids go to bed at 7:30. They didn't show up with dinner until 7:30. Vince stayed up three hours past his bedtime. Crazy.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Spousal allowance.

Each year, I get a spousal allowance which I can spend towards taking classes or joining clubs, etc. It's one of those things which if I don't spend, I don't get in cash. So I've been taking piano and music theory and I took a knitting class and now I'm taking rowing lessons. Today I went out to the Pandang Resevoir where I learned how to capsize my shell and then get myself out of the shoes which are tied into the boat and then bring myself and the boat back to shore. I do like to row, it's really nice being out on the water, but I think joining this club might mean that I get the chance to row single scull by myself. The boathouse is actually pretty far from the water and I'm not really sure I can carry a single scull from the boathouse to the water. At MIT there was the boathouse and 20 feet later, there was the dock. Here it's about 250 feet, a flight of stairs, a left turn and a steep ramp down to the dock.

Friday, December 9, 2005

The Question...

"What are you jealous about?"

One Sentence

Every time, Mom said something, Donald always agrees. I said something; Donald just throws all kinds of rocks at it and disagrees. This makes me wonder and a little bit jealous. Why? Here is my “why” in one sentence as Donald requested.

“As a universal phenomenon, father-and-son rivalry always pits son-&-Mom against father with few exceptions and that makes most fathers a bit jealous because Mom supposed to be closer to her husband, not to her sons or daughters.”

But, Donald, it is good for you, at least you have Mom on your side. And it is good for Mom too because she has you on her side, especially when I am gone to heaven. And it is good for the whole family. A bit jealous but no bad and hard feelings :)

noel

Rough day.

Vince had his last day of school for the time being. They put together a nice portfolio of his work for the past 2 weeks and he was so excited about it. It actually was impressive the amount of stuff you can do in 1.5 hours a day. Vince really enjoyed his time there.

Mathilda came over this afternoon and it was a little stressful for Vincent. They played nicely for about an hour and then the tears started coming.

I made a kick-ass dinner tonight from Real Simple magazine. Pita bread, a yogurt sauce with dill and cucumber, chicken with thyme and oregano and then finally a tomato/feta/red onion/olive salad. Yahoo!

Search bar is working.

So I guess the googlebot found us. The search bar is working for the last few entries.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

How cute is this?

So today was kind of difficult. I don't know why, I only know that it's the 2nd half of the lunar month and it's just harder for me. Edda has been fussier than usual so we took her to the doctor to make sure she didn't have an ear infection. I didn't think she did - she wasn't running a fever or anything. So although she was screaming her head off when we left the apt, by the time we got to the doctor's office, she was perfectly content and happy and the doctor said she'd perfectly content and happy.

Oh well.

Hmm... what else happened today? Vince insisted on staying at the Lot 1 Shopper's Mall after school today to watch the Strawberry Shortcake show. All the Singapore malls have these little stages set up and various cartoon characters putting on shows. The seating area is packed, packed, packed!

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Second Career

I guess that my “career” has almost come to its end, if there is one. And if there is one, one thing that makes me happy and pretty satisfied is that I have gone through with all I have; with what I am capable of; and with 100% of me and much more. As in baseball slang, there was a career start, with first career hit and many hits that followed. But, home runs happened rarely. There were so few and so far apart. As far as I am concerned there were no career shutouts.

Nevertheless, I have lived to what I have been longing for. And it provides me with lessons, simple means, strength and endurance to carry me further into the future. Hopefully, it can be equally worthwhile.

While not knowing when and how my body and mind are gradually giving away, it is time to think about shifting my “second career” into gear as an 18 wheeler (6 wheels for the tractor and 12 for the trailer). This time I should have more options than I’ve ever had. At least, I don’t have to worry about jobs, to make ends meet, to pay kid’s tuitions or to save aggressively into 401Ks or Roth IRAs.

With memory slipping away and blood pressure going in the wrong direction, I still manage a number of 700-mile-a-day driving with few stops and without too much hassle. I guess to become a truck driver is always one of sweet dreams of mine, especially driving a real truck of 18 wheels. Additionally, highway romance with my “holding hands” is equally thrilling and timeless. Along the way, I can also enjoy people or sceneries and be challenged by more rigorous routines.

Trucking is always a fascinating thing to me. Every time, I talked to the truckers at stops along the highway. Or, at one time, I talked to a couple of husband-wife truckers stocking up on their supplies in a parking lot of Wal-Mart, ready for their cross country run. They all warmed me that, besides families and friends, I should think about:

  • Annually, the number of large-truck occupant fatalities in the US is around 750 and overall fatalities in accidents involving large trucks are 5,000.
  • People generally think 18 wheelers in rather nasty and negative ways – uneducated, dumb, mean, dangerous, and intoxicated with no “real” job skills.
  • Or, trucks should pay more gasoline, transportation and vehicle taxes. The roads are just not designed to withstand the wear and tear of those big wheels with heavy loads. Furthermore, trucks’ emissions are choking the earth.
  • If a truck is slow, the driver must be a pain in the neck that shouldn’t be allowed on the road. If it is fast, the driver is a S.O.B. anyway and shouldn’t be allowed on the road either. Either way, for sure, trucks are no pets.
    Ideally, just forgetting about all these necessities hauled by trunks daily, around wealthy neighborhoods, on scenic routes or “Marine Drive” of coast lines, along lake shores, near resorts and inside cities, no trucks should be allowed. Or, a little bit sympathetic – “No Trucks, 5:00AM till Midnight” or “No Trucks, 1 ½ Ton”.
  • Pay special attention to motorcyclists and small car drivers, especially, when they stay close or pull in front of the truck too soon. Rethreaded tires are banned from automobiles for years, but most trucks still ride on them. If one should blow, the energy it releases is equal to that of a stick of dynamite; a motorcyclist happens nearby would not stand a chance. It did happen. Along the road, one can see the remnants of rethreaded tires together with many pitch-black markings coated on the highway.
    Besides, when hauling a load of steel, there is absolutely no way the truck can slow down before running over the car in front that pulls in and slows down suddenly.
  • It is not easy to try one’s hand at pulling 80,000 lbs of truck across the Rocky Mountains, especially during the winter months (I agreed whole heartily with my own experience. About a month and half ago, during a localized light snowfall in Copper Mountain, ~40 miles west of Denver, CO, on Interstate 70, I almost got stranded inside my 4,000 lbs Crown Victoria).
  • There are those office people and dispatchers who are constantly on one’s back to hurry things up. They always say that “the load is hot” and “take a shower later”.
    It is illegal for a dispatcher to force one to run over one’s legal time (10 hours for every 24-hour period). However, some dubious operators know how to pay one so little, that one can’t make a decent living by working legal hours. Therefore, working overtime is the only way out. Or, they can master the art of making logs appear legal for the record.


    But, I think I can manage. Still, trucking is fairly fascinating to me if my “holding hands” comes along. The following things are what I am wondering about:


  • Currently, Rena & I are working on the gloveboxes for re-processing surplus weapon grade plutonium to much lower civilian grade materials for nuclear power plants. It will render fusion materials less harmful in the hand of terrorists. This is especially true for those stockpiles in the former Soviet Union. Due to gloveboxes relatively small sizes, we named our efficient studio suites, the “Glovebox”.
    I can tell, unmistakably, Rena does not like our “Glovebox” too much. Therefore, I don’t know if Rena can remain inside the upper deck cabin of an 18-wheeler all the time when hauling is going on. Maybe, a small kitchenette up there will do (she likes to cook and her food is delicious, especially her carrot cakes). Or, may be, she can be converted into a real “born2run” lady-trucker.
  • Truckers have far more excitement than any desk job can offer. Imagine, pulling an 80,000 lbs rig downhill on a long-winding highway with slopes of 6% or more while gazing up at those sky-pointing emergency ramps with barricades for runaway trucks, what a feeling!
  • Talking to people on Citizens Band (CB) radios would be fun too. One can talk about his own trucks, bikes, motorcycles and I can talk about mine. Maybe, we can share a meal with a few of them along the way. Sometimes, it is awful nice to meet ordinary people with hard jobs.
  • It earns good money too. I guess if one drives diligently and safely, one can earn a decent salary.

    Of course, first, I have to persuade Rena to be my companion on the road. The second is to get a professional license by attending a truck driving school. Maybe, great senior rates are available for qualified applicants:). Or, I might secure some financial assistance from the Employment and Training Administrations for my midlife career change.

    10 months ago, I found one driving school for trucks in Pittsburgh, PA, very close to where I stayed. Too bad, I did not have time to attend. Neither in Denver, CO, our stopover here is just too short. Besides, Rena and I are just too busy to take action. In the meantime, adjusting ourselves to being suddenly inside the arm’s length of each other 24-7 is indeed a mind-occupying obsession

    Hopefully, there is a trucking school near Aiken, SC, our next pit stop.

Secret Pal reveals herself!

My secret pal has revealed herself! And I got the last wonderful package. Full of chocolate, yarn and goodies for Ruby even. Ruby loves Bryna... Everyone in the family loved being spoiled by my secret pal! Thank you Bryna!

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Ruby ate too much.

Again, Ruby got into the dog food and ate a huge amount. Can you see how distended her belly is? Vince took one look at it and said, Ruby is going to have eight babies!

Crazy busy - or fretting.

Since Jeremy's gotten back, I've been feeling like we've been on a little wave of activity. Jeremy's work is going well, but things are starting to heat up in terms of deadlines and people freaking out. I hate when that happens. Vince loves school which makes me feel all mushy inside. Edda is still learning how to walk. We've been visiting little Abigail in the hospital.

Donald! I need your help!

Hi Bro -
Why isn't the blogger search bar working? I want to find old posts, but even when I type in "Vince" I get no hits. If you have a moment. could you look into it? It's what I'm obsessing about these days.

I looked into it and these are my only conclusions..

1. Googlebot isn't indexing my blog because no one is reading it or linking it.
2. I need more meta tags, whatever that means...

Love,
Sis

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Mathilda's 4th birthday party!

On Sunday, we went to Mathilda's 4th birthday party held in Woodlands "My Gym" indoor playground. To say that the kids enjoyed themselves would be an understatement. Vince was bounding and hopping and playing and Edda was crawling, crawling, crawling. We had a really nice time. The strawberry cake was fabulous!

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Bode baby!

So I haven't blogged in a while because Jeremy came back from Germany and my friend Kate went into labor and had her baby at 1:30 am December 3rd. So it's been a mess around here. Look at her! So cute.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Good, Mom Has Changed!

Mom has changed for the better. She takes a nap when she is tired. She has suggested to eat out several times already :) Well, it is good and should be that way.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Did I tell you that I love crafts?

So Vince really likes school. Quite a relief for me, every night he asks in a hopeful voice if tomorrow is a school day and so nice to see him excited to go to school and running into the classroom. And then when I pick him up, he enthusiastically says goodbye to his teachers and a see you tomorrow! Wonderful to have this back again. I spoke with Miss Eileen, his teacher, and she says that he just loves it and that he is quite "active". She seems to enjoy his company.

Edda says hi!

Hello from the top of the couch. Today I was perched on the top of the couch trying to stay away from my kids when Edda discovered that she could climb up onto the couch! Woo hoo! She was so impressed with herself that she forgot she was really really pissed off at me just 30 seconds before.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

EEwwww! TMI!

So I changed Edda's poopy diaper and because she was fussing, I immediately took her to her room for a nap and I left the diaper on the floor in the living room. Five minutes later, I come in and I find Ruby happily licking away at the diaper! Yuck! She ate the whole thing. Gross.

Crazy craft!

So Vince is liking school, mainly because they make such cool crafts! Today he made a birds nest out of brown and green crepe paper, a tissue box, two paper birds and chocolate eggs. He was so excited. Appletree is a hit!

Ruby seems a bit bummed. Vince has been tormenting Ruby when my attention is elsewhere and I think Ruby misses Jeremy. She's been in her crate more than usual.

Dentist Dewhuirst house!

Mainly to Emy and Jeremy -- our dentist in New York is the coolest dentist there is and we go to her all the time --> even Jeremy who hates dentists. Anywhooo - she and her hubby built this way cool house about 10 minutes north from Bard and here is their story.

A Day in Dresden

I always enjoy coming to Dresden, and yesterday was no exception. I woke up at 4:30 or so, and after chatting with Doris I went for a walk up the hill behind the hotel, to the Spitzhaus, where I had a nice view of the sunrise. It is nice to feel the crisp 0C air after all the time in Singapore. Then I went to the office, where I had a productive and pleasant day. It is a great pleasure to work with people with whom I have worked for years. After work I had dinner at a local restaraunt with a couple guys from AM Singapore, who are staying at the same hotel. They said they would walk up the hill with me this morning, so I have to get dressed for this now, and get ready for another long productive day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Win stuff by searching with Google - Blingo!

Blingo

Appletree.

Elaine, our dogwalker, took Ruby for a walk this morning. Ruby was so excited to see her, she was flipping out all over the apartment, prancing and scratching the floor and almost jumping on everybody in the apartment.

Vince went to school today! He seemed to really like it! What a relief. It's from 11 - 12:30 which is kind of a bummer because it's right in the middle of lunch, but I packed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and he ate the whole thing immediately after class. I was worried because Jeremy's gone and I wanted Jeremy to be around, but Vince was calm and excited about the whole thing. There are 4 other kids in his class, and Vince might have been the most relaxed one. This is just a 2 week thing - singapore is on it's long holiday a 6-week break from school and everyone starts their new grade in January. Vince will be N2 for Nursery 2.

Obsessed about fashion.

So I'm gearing up to wean Edda and then I'm going on a fashion tear. OK, I'm really just searching fashion websites and I've determined that there is no way to be fashionable without dry cleaning your freaking clothes. There is now way I can be fashionable with tee shirts and jeans that I just throw in the washer/dryer. Oh well, I'm just impressed about how much you can spend on a pair of shoes ($600) or a bag (pretty much as much as you want to spend).

Donald, have you looked into other girls' closests recently? I own: 1 pair of flip flops, 1 pair of Tevas, 1 pair of clogs. 4 tank tops, 4 shirts, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of khakis, 2 pairs of shorts and a bunch of sports bras and cotton underwear. I have a dress that I wear maybe once every 3 months. I *always* have something to wear. Do girls actually own 10-20 pairs of shoes/pants/shirts/etc? Because if I'm suppose "build a wardrobe", I'm suppose to have a closet full of dry-clean only clothes. Argh! I want to look good.

Donald, Where Is My Bet Money?

Donald, where is my bet money? Mom got a nice watch over the weekend and I am ready to cash in :)

Weekend Update...

Ah, It was a good weekend. A lot happened.

Thursday was dinner at the Kong's in East Bay. Mrs. Kong was sexy as ever and served up a mean dish of turkey, ham, and prime rib. yum yum. Linz and I became Sudoku masters, or eternally frustrated by them. Also we sang Karakoe Revolution all night on the PS2 with Hasnain and Zainab.

Friday was prep day for the second day of turkey eating on Sunday at Choon's. I made an apple pie, tho it turned out to be more orangy tangy that I expected. I think I grated waaaay too much orange rind into the mix. It also didn't help that I didn't follow the instructions very well.

Friday night I hung out with James who was visiting from LA. Also hung out with Ronnie's parents too who were around for the weekend. We went to Kabul's, and afghan place, where they didn't fill our water glasses for 30 minutes, they came by with the wrong order, and Ronnie's mom found a metal shaving in her salad.

Saturday, was Big Date night. I went up to the city to meet up with Winnie, and it went okay. I had fun, tho honestly I think I'm looking for someone different and I'm pretty sure that she's looking for someone different too. We went to the place called Watercress, and Asian-French fusion place, where the waiters were funny, and teased us a bit. I don't think Winnie was amused... I thought it was funny. We went to go see "Prime" after that. I had seen it already, but she enjoys chick flicks, and it's definitely got some funny ass parts in the movie. I like the part when Uma Thurman finds out that her boyfriend lives with his grandparents. :P

Sunday was cooking day,as we started around 10am. Turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread, stuffing, apple pie. That was on my plate. Turkey I think we ended up overcooking since the breast was a bit dry. The cornbread just sucked, and read above for the apple pie. Tho everyone loved loved the mashed potatoes and the stuffing. We must have dumped like 2-3 heads worth of garlic into the potatoes. yum yum. I'll have to save the stuffing recipe too. it turned out really really well. on the whole, I think everyone was pretty impressed with the meal. that's good cause there was a lot of pressure to make it a good one. :P

Welp. That's it. everyone, i got the box of stuff for singapore. i havent' opened it yet, but I will tomorrow.

good nigth!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Turkey 2005!

We had a really nice Thanksgiving. Celebrated it on Saturday as everybody was working on Thursday. Jeremy made the turkey and stuffing, Vince and I made the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. We invited Kate, Chris and Dakshi and the kids were great and didn't melt down, even after 2 sugary grape drinks and a can of Coke, Vince did great! Kate brought over some sweet potatoes and I tried to make this classic green bean dish, which I had never heard of, but it involves french-fried onions which I couldn't find in Singapore.

Today, Jeremy left at about noon to head out to Dresden!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Innards of a carrot cake.

So tomorrow (Saturday)is big thanksgiving day for us here in Singapore. This morning, we talked to all the Martins in Nyack, NY via webcam. (Mom and Dad, you gotta get a webcam, it's too cool) We saw everybody including 3 new babies! Felix, Zoe and Vanesa!

I'm making a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. A turkey is running around the house. We're going to have a nice time.

Show me your ID!

I've been trying to find a dog sitter/boarding place for Ruby. I posted on this website called doggiesite.com which recently made the news in Singapore because apparently a bunch of people made racial slurs on the website, prompting arrests and jail time for the posters. Who knew dogs could stir up so much emotion. Anyways, I posted on the website about babysitting for Ruby and I got about 10 responses, some people saying that they would be willing to look after Ruby in their house for as little as 10 dollars a day. That's like $6.50 US! Crazy. It was a little weird getting emails from these people because everyone has adopted these SMS abbreviations in their email (u instead of you and b4 instead of before), so it all comes off as somewhat unprofessional and young. But I found a person who wrote in regular english and seemed to respond quickly to my emails and such things and charged a bit more, but I felt better about it. Anyways, she does pet sitting. So tonight, she took Ruby and Jeremy to the vet --> since we don't have a car. Ruby got an ID, sheez - they love paperwork here. Her name is Elaine and we love her.

Alphabet.

So Vince pretty much knows all the letters of the alphabet. He gets the little L and the big I confused and things like that. Sometimes when the font is weird, he gets confused, but he's pretty good and getting faster as saying the letters. This wall is how I taught him. Everyday we'd make a few letters together, it's so colorful here on the wall of our study, I rather like it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Happy Thanksgiving. We are heading to Washougal.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Regular day.

Today we just hung around at home. Nothing exciting. Nothing not exciting. Edda's last molars are coming in. Hmmm.... What else?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Happy birthday to you!

To my lovely mother who is 64 today!

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy biiirrrrtttthhhday dear Mommy!
Happy birthday to you!

Your personal ruling planets are Mars and Jupiter.

You are enterprising, ambitious, and have a strong desire to succeed in a big way. Ever on the look out for new opportunities and promising new ventures, you are willing to take risks if you sense that something is going to be a winner. No matter how much you accomplish, you never seem to be completely satisfied. You always feel you can do more, and set your sights on another goal. You feel frustrated in limited circumstances, and you will leave secure and reasonably successful situations if they do not offer challenges and potential for growth and expansion in the future.

You like to keep stretching your limits, to see how far you can go. Sometimes you over-extend yourself or promise more than you can actually achieve, due to an overly optimistic or overly confident assessment of your own capacities. You relish healthy competition and feel that it spurs you on to even greater achievements.

Your lucky colours are yellow, lemon and sandy shades.

Your lucky gems are yellow sapphire, citrine quartz and golden topaz.

Your lucky days of the week Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday.

Your lucky numbers and years of important change are 3, 12, 21, 30, 39, 48, 57 , 66, 75.

Famous people born on your birthday include Voltaire, Oliver Goldsmith, Goldie Hawn, Bjork and Jena Malone.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Singapore is so weird.

So last night, I wrote that we waited from 2-5pm for a car crate for Ruby and also 40 pounds of dog food to be delivered from the "Pet Lover's" store. No one showed up. Jeremy was on the phone for about 30 minutes from 4:30 to 5pm and he got a call waiting beep, but he doesn't know how to pick up a call waiting and anyways he didn't want to interrupt his work call, we figured that it was the pet people calling for something and they would leave a message.

People in Singapore DO NOT LEAVE MESSAGES!

So since we didn't pay for the stuff yet, we figured, no sweat. It'll come next week sometime. They came by to drop the stuff off at 10:30 pm on Saturday night! What the heck was that about! Dunno. No explanation for what happened... Funny. Funny.

Today we went and got our frozen turkey (it'll take 24 hours for every 5 pounds to thaw in the fridge) and I finally bought my blender/food processor and mixer. I really miss our KitchenAid ones at home, I used them all the time and now with Thanksgiving and Xmas coming, I really need them.

Arif and Tahera

 
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Marrying Choon and Pei-Sun

 
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Jason and Don

 
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Don's Sandals

 
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Night Ride

Well Well. It was an interesting night. At work Jason, Don and I decided to go night riding since Don just bought a Fisher Cake 1 - otherwise known as a 5" full suspension mountain bike.

Don and Jason go to Don's house in San Mateo, and since I have to go home to San Jose to pick up my riding stuff, I also drop by Jason's place in San Jose to pickup his bike. Apparently his girlfriend as semi pissed cause she had to grab all his stuff and had to cancel her dinner plans with some friends. She doesn't really touch Jason's bike stuff, but anyways...

We meet up at 8, and then we get to the trailhead. We find out, that..

1) Jason has 2 lighting systems. and both don't work.
2) Don forgot his shoes.

we tried to jury rig a rear red LED bike light to Jason's bike, but the plastic clip snaped and that was that.

Don ended up putting platform pedals on his bike and riding in sandals all night.

We basicalyl rode around with Jason in the middle the whole night. it was a short ride, but it was fun. relaxing. moody in a way at night. we'd stop every so often and the air was sooooo still. And the views from Waterdog are pretty nice at night.

Home now. tomorrow' the road ride with Arif, Hasnain, Ray and co.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Ball pit at the zoo.

Today we went to the world-famous Singapore zoo. Vince was very, very pissy at the beginning - we had to sit for a family portrait for our membership pass and he refused to look at the camera. Our pass has 3 faces smiling and one back of the head. But slowly, slowly, we fed him a pepperoni pizza and some milk and he came back to a normal demeanor. The best part of the zoo is not the animals, it's for sure the water play area and the ball pit and the KFC that is located in the middle of everything. I think we just ate pizza, fried chicken, played in water and plastic balls and then headed for some ice cream (Ben and Jerry's yum!) and headed home. We waited at home for a delivery of a car dog crate and 40 pounds of dog food, but it didn't come today.

OK, Jeremy is reading this and he wanted me to tell you that we did indeed see a few animals, the most impressive of which was the alligator which are huger than you think they are and also Jeremy was impressed by the swimming cats. Jaguars? Leopards? Dunno. Anyways, they swam completely underwater - Yeager would have been flabergasted...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

That Little Wooden Bridge (Revised)

I hope this one is better:

That Little Wooden Bridge

Mom and I knew that we are not going back to our Washington DC home till, may be, at beginning of next year. Since we were not at home for almost 2 months, I decided to make a trip back on late Friday (10/4) evening alone.

While there, I watered our house plants; did some yard work; winterized our home and jotted down the odometer reading for my “auto storage policy”. Then, I came back in early Sunday morning after a brief ~30 hours stay.

In our yard, there is a little wooden bridge which Mom and I designed & built several years ago. This bridge has only one post at its mid-span. Part of the bridge is skew to the left about 30 degrees, toward the edge of our yard. It was built on a grassy dry trench for rain storms. Together, we spent a lot of time building and sitting on that bridge. Also, a plan centered on that bridge is already on our minds. It features a well-laid scheme of:

-Digging a water-lily pond with enough depth and hanging rocks that fish can hide from its predators,
-Putting all those small rocks along the water; rocks that Mom collected from all over the world, including a brick from her village house,
-Adding a bench under nearby trees, and
-Planting a lot of flowers on the far side of our yard.

Also, in our yard, we brought back different kinds of trees from different places, over the years. We planted them together and most of them grew into lovely green things.

That night, by the time I parked my rental car on our driveway, it was already 1:00 AM in the morning. The sky was crystal clear. The moonlight shined, penetrated and rained down through the nightly sky, laid across and sparkled on that little wooden bridge. Consciously, I took a special look. For that special look, the sparkling light on the bridge reflected back a lot of memories – memory chips full of pictures, pictures of us, families and friends. Since then, these memories did not fade away all night even when, finally, I laid in bed around 2:30 AM in the morning ready to sleep.

Next morning (?), when hand-pulling weed out of the ground, fertilizing our lawn and sowing the seeds, that little wooden bridge was always in the back of my mind lingering around. Of course, the moonlight was long gone, but not the memories.

That day, while tending our oak trees from Pennsylvania farm; fig trees from New York, magnolia tree from Texas; bamboos from Oregon; persimmon tree from a Chinese nursery in Maryland; ginkgo tree; local clematis climbing up, wondering through the white wagon wheel from Alabama, and of course, the asparagus bed, memories about tree planting and that little wooden bridge were once again there, keeping my mind occupied.

Saturday night, it happened that there was an outdoor bon-fire dinner at the cul-de-sac for the entire neighborhood, about 30 families. All neighbors knew that most of the time we were not there. We were there, once in a while, as resident strangers. This time, much to their surprise, they found me there. Of course, everyone asked about Mom.

One of our neighbors chatted with me that she knew her husband a lot before they got married, therefore, no surprises and no alarms. She knew all his ex-girl friends, all his bad habits, all his likings, sizes of his shirts and pants, all ex-this, all ex-that, etc. Then, I uttered my “own lines” in response to her. After 35 years of our marriage, sometimes, I just don’t know Mom that much and, may be, even myself. For example, today, I still don’t know why my “I do” was echoed back across the pastor, and for what? Either, I must have something special that I can’t recognize or fathom, or maybe, it was just pure luck. I think, most likely, “Good Luck Fools”. Sometimes though, I thought right choices were made. It is attractively contradictory, isn’t it?

The other neighbor, while cooking hot dogs on her portable min-propane grill, was equally sentimental, because that grill is still working after 20+ years of service. Still, there are propane bottles available that can snap right on to her grill. It was a gift from her boy friend who, now, is her husband. For that reason, she treasures it very much and, hence, uses it very rarely. May be just once a year. I said I could relate that to myself, I bought Mom an inexpensive heating pad from a discount store 35 years ago. It is still in use today. She brings it with her all the time, to anywhere everywhere.

Well, many couples were there talking and laughing and, of course, together with family exchanges, the memories about that little wooden bridge was once again coming out of their hiding places in my mind.

That night, after the bon-fire dinner and before retiring to bed, I packed some Mom’s scarves, mittens, gloves and winter clothes for early flight back to Denver. While packing, I just picked and packed the ones that I could find and like. With her belongings and clothes in my hands, the memories of that little wooden bridge were there again waving at me sporadically.

At that moment, I thought I would like to tell Mom about dreams of sitting together on that bench, under the trees, enjoying the pond as well as my memories of that little wooden bridge - “the sooner the better”. And I did, just minutes after landing at Denver International.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sleep.

The kids need more sleep. Especially Vince, by 4:30 or so, he's wiped out from the day. So we are trying to pull bedtime in. Last night was a record 7:30pm. Tonight we tried pretty hard, but it was 8 before he was in bed. Ahhhh, sleep.

Monday, November 14, 2005

That Little Wooden Bridge

Mom and I knew that we are not going back to our Washington DC home till, may be, at beginning of next year. Since we were not at home for almost 2 months, I decided to make a trip back on late Friday (10/4) evening alone.

While there, I watered our house plants; did some yard work; winterized our home and jotted down the odometer reading for my “auto storage policy”. Then, I came back in early Sunday morning after a brief ~30 hour stay.

In our yard, there is a little wooden bridge which Mom and I designed & built several years ago. This bridge has only one post at its center. Part of the bridge is skew to the left about 30 degrees, toward the edge of our yard. It was built on a dry grassy trench for rain storms. Together, we spent a lot of time building and sitting on that bridge. Also, a plan centered on that bridge is already on our minds. It features a well-laid scheme of:

-Digging a water-lily pond with enough depth and hanging rocks that fish can hide from its predators,
-Putting all those small rocks along the water; rocks that Mom collected from all over the world, including a brick from her village house,
-Adding a bench under nearby trees, and
-Planting a lot of flowers on the far side of our yard.

Also, in our yard, we brought back different kinds of trees from different places, over the years. We planted them together and most of them grew into lovely green things.

That night, by the time I parked my rental car on our driveway, it was already 1:00 AM in the morning. The sky was crystal clear. The moonlight shined, penetrated through and rained down the nightly sky, laid across and sparkled on that little wooden bridge. Consciously, I took a special look. For that special look, the sparkling light on the bridge reflected back a lot of memories – memory cards full of pictures, pictures of us, families and friends. Since then, these memories did not fade away all night even when, finally, I laid in bed around 2:30 AM in the morning ready to sleep.

Next morning (?), when hand-pulling wild weed out of the ground, fertilizing our lawn and sowing the seeds, that little wooden bridge was always in the back of my mind lingering around. Of course, the moonlight was long gone, but not the memories.

That day, while tending our oak trees from Pennsylvania farm; fig trees from New York, magnolia tree from Texas; bamboos from Oregon; persimmon tree from a Chinese nursery in Maryland; ginkgo tree, and local clematis climbing up and wondering through the white wagon wheel from Alabama, memories about tree planting and that little wooden bridge were once again there, keeping my mind occupied.

Saturday night, it happened that there was an outdoor bon-fire dinner at the cul-de-sac for the entire neighborhood, about 30 families. All neighbors knew that most of the time we were not there. We were there as resident strangers, once in a while. This time, much to their surprise, they found me there. Of course, everyone asked about Mom.

One of our neighbors joked to me that she knew her husband a lot before they got married, therefore, no alarms and no surprises. She knew all his ex-girl friends, all his bad habits, all his likings, the sizes of his shirts and pants, all ex-this, all ex-that, etc. Then, I uttered my “famous lines” in response to her. After 35 years of our marriage, sometimes, I just don’t know Mom that much and, may be, even myself. For example, today, I still don’t know why my “I do” was echoed and for what? Either, I must have something special that I can’t recognize or fathom, or maybe, it was just pure luck. I think, most likely, “Good Luck Fools”. Sometimes though, I thought the right choice was made. It is attractively contradictory, isn’t it?

The other neighbor, while cooking hot dogs on her portable min-propane grill, was equally sentimental, because that grill is still working after 20+ years of service. Still, there are propane bottles that can snap right on to her grill. It was a gift from her boy friend who, now, is her husband. For that reason, she treasures it so much and, hence, uses it very rarely. May be just once a year. I said I could relate that to myself, I bought Mom an inexpensive heating pad from a discount store 35 years ago. It is still in use today. She brings it with her all the time, to anywhere everywhere.

Well, many couples there were talking and laughing and, of course, together with these exchanges about family, the memories about that little wooden bridge was once again coming out of their hiding places in my mind.

That night, after the bon-fire dinner and before retiring to bed, I packed some Mom’s scarves, mittens, gloves and winter clothes for early flight back to Denver. While packing, I just picked and packed the ones that I can find and like. With her belongings and clothes in my hands, the memories of that little wooden bridge were there again constantly waving at me.

At that moment, I thought I would like to tell Mom about my dream of looking forward sitting together on that bench, under the trees, enjoying the pond as well as my memories of that little wooden bridge. I also decided, “The sooner the better”. Of course, I did, just minutes after landing at Denver International.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hey! We are so cool. Kind of. OK in a lame sort of way.

Note: Jeremy got his new Ipod to replace the one broken when Vince accidentally dropped the old one on the floor. Vince got his first Slurpee from 7-11. Big day for all.

Today we rented a car through our carshare. Last night we had to vacuum out the sludge from the old car seats and put them back in working order. We got a Honda Odyssey and the first thing we drove to was the dog park to see if it would be a good place to bring Ruby. Nice park, but no parking left at 11 am. Then to the mall where we had a great lunch at Din Tai Fung. Great, great food! (here's when J. bought his new toy.) Then we drove around looking for a shopping center, the kids fell asleep, we got lost and then headed home.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Grumps and recovery.

So the day started out grumpy enough. Our trip to Little India was a disaster. Everyone was grumpy by the end and it was only 1:30 pm by the time we got home. But it was rescued by quick thinking Jeremy who got me to get my butt out of bed and moving a little bit and by dinner we were all feeling better. Vince has a new Scrabble game for little kids and he's learning to string letters together to make words. Edda is learning to walk, tonight we weighed them an Vince weighs only 5 pound more than Edda - he's 33 and Edda is 28!

Friday, November 11, 2005

We love it!

Thank you Secret Pal! Got the package on Thursday and it has such lovely surprises. I'm especially excited about the hank of red yarn. Just have to figure out to wind it up into a ball. The chocolates are fabulous and my husband enthusiastically thanks you for the edible portion of the package. Vince loves hearing the doorbell, saying hello to the postman and opening the package. "A package! A package! Is it knitting stuff?" Edda likes eating the packing paper. A hit for the whole family!

Grumpy half of the month..

After I ovulate, I enter the 2nd half of my mood cycle when I get all moody and grumpy. So yesterday, I grumped around the house and stayed inside all day. Not so conducive to a good mood. Jeremy had to work late on Thursday because of daylight saving time, US and Germany both save time, but SGP doesn't - so all of Jeremy's teleconferences get shuffled around. Also my wrist is getting worse, I think I'm surfing too much (I'm typing this with only my left hand), but it means I can't knit or play piano, so my beloved hobbies are shelved for a while.

Today, Kate and I were suppose to hung out at our pool together, but she had a restless night with pretty strong contractions, so she went to see her doc - false labor. So the kids and I hung out together wit her at her place in the afternoon. As we left, Vince spotted a playground with a shallow wading pool and as I was talking to Jeremy on the phone, he "accidentally" fell in - with all his clothes on. Then we went to the store to buy some new clothes and he stripped naked right at the checkout line. Go figure.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Remembrance from College

I was asked to write a personal reflection about my English Lit. Advisor at Haverford for a scrapbook to be given him at his retirement party. I was nervous about writing something for the English department, since my "academic" style writing is a bit rusty, but I thought I would share the results with all of you.

The anecdote about Professor R. that comes first to my mind is as follows. I recall going into Professor R.Ă‚?s office as an advisee early in my junior year with some plan, now forgotten, to escape or to minimize the requirement that I take two classes covering the period after 1800. I left his office enrolled in a class on slave narratives, but not before prodding him about why Henry James was absent from the curriculum. I had always enjoyed reading Henry James in my free time, and often saw him referred to as a figure of great importance in American literature, but I rarely saw any Henry James on any syllabus. James was my idea of palatable post 1800 literature (although I did end up enjoying the slave narrative class). The next year Professor R.Obliginglyy taught the class I was looking for, more or less. Henry James ended up sharing the top billing with Thomas Pynchon, preventing me from escaping post-modernism in my senior year. I enjoyed the class, including the coerced introduction to Pynchon. But beyond the direct pleasures of the classroom, the syllabus set off ripples that extended into the months and years before and after the class itself.

I spent the summer before the class reading up on James and Pynchon in preparation for the high page count syllabus. As it happened, I had an accidental room mate that summer, Chip, who was also much interested in Thomas Pynchon. We were thrown together in an unfamiliar city by our affection for a pair of best friends, and ended up rooming with each other instead of the objects of our affection. This disappointing turn of events gave us more time and energy to devote to our reading, to get to know one another, and to discuss Pynchon. I am always reminded of our summer together when I see his name in the paper, as he has since made a name for himself as a novelist. When I got back to Haverford in the fall, I convinced my freshman roommate and close friend Alan to take the class with me. Our discussions of the course material followed a trajectory not dissimilar to SlothropÂ?s, from initially focused to finally diffuse as we moved through the semester. Finally, since reading out loud from Pynchon and James featured in our courtship, my wife, Doris, has fixed on the idea that she should read something from each author. After 10 years of trying, she has not yet finished anything from either one. But perhaps once our kids are in college in another 15 years or so, she will find the time and stamina. Or perhaps one our kids will beat her to it. In any case, the ripples from the initial inclusion of Pychon with James on that syllabus continue to follow me, and each of them brings Professor R. and his class back to my mind.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Matchy-matchy

Jeremy is so proud of himself. He bought these matching pajamas for the kids a few days ago and finally convinced them to wear them on the same night. Cute, huh?

Today we talked to Ping-ping and axed the swimming lessons, Vince just really wants to play in the pool. He's a little to hyper to actually have real lessons. Perhaps we'll try later.

We also went to the Appletree to figure out about Vince's tuition for the January/Feb/March term. Singapore schools go on holiday for 6 weeks starting on Nov 18, so I wanted to make sure everything was in order before the school shut down. Turns out that they are having a holiday program (1.5 hours a day for 2 weeks) starting the week after Thanksgiving that I think I'll sign Vince up for. We met Ms. Eileen who will be his teacher next year and she'll be teaching the holiday program. I'm nervous about it, Jeremy will be in the States when the holiday progam starts. Blah, blah, blah....

Went to IKEA and bought some Xmas decorations. It's going to be a blowout celebration here in The Warren condo complex. I'm even thinking of ordering a "real" Christmas tree. Where do you think they ship them from?

Then I went to find a blender. I need to buy a blender, food processer and mixer, but everytime I go to the store, the line to checkout is 15 people deep and there is only one person ringing up the sales. I HATE THAT STORE.

My disgusting toe..

This itches all the freaking time! It's from ONE ant that bit me about 6 weeks ago. About a week ago, I thought it was all done with and healed and then my histamines kicked in and staged a second allergic reation. I swear, I want to cut off my toe.

Another Letter to ME65 Classmates

Red Woods and Giant Sequoias in Central Colorado?

Last Saturday (10/15), Rena and I saw a lot of Red Woods and Giant Sequoias in Central Colorado. They are gigantic and always majestic, just like those Red Woods in the vicinity of Red Wood City and Giant Sequoias east of Fresno, CA. However, the major difference is that, what we saw are trees of ~35 million years old and have tall tree stumps only. They are there because they are all fossilized and petrified. Today, they scatter all over the field in this National Monument - Florissant Fossil Beds – at Florissant, CO. Some of them even have man-made canopies to shade the sun and to protect them from rain showers or snow falls.

Several facts worthy of mention are:

About ~35 million years ago, this valley had lush ferns and shrubs thriving beneath the towering Red Woods and Giant Sequoias. The weather was warm and humid. A volcano nearby erupted several times. First, it killed most of trees and also created a mud dam. Without any outlet, an ancient still lake, Florissant Lake, was formed. Later, the volcano erupted several more times and it showered the lake with more ashes. The ashes carried vegetations, insects & animals and sank into the lake covering the dead giant trees layer by layer. Gradually, these trees were fossilized and petrified. Until fairly recently, due to tectonic plate movements, the earth’s crust slanted to one side and emptied the lake where tall tree stumps were buried.

Butterfly fossils, not amber butterflies, are very rare. With ~45 known butterfly fossils around the world, 15 of them were discovered here.

Tsetse flies occur today only in tropic Africa. Exciting enough, people discovered a lot of Tsetse fly fossils here in this National Park - a place like nowhere else in the world, except very recently in Germany.

Praying Trees and Medicine Trees – Along Routes 24 & 67 and around the Park, there are a lot of Praying Trees and Medicine Trees that American Indians in this area once made use of. There are Ponderosa Pines which distinguish themselves with 2 or 3 shoots in their leaves. Indians tied down the growing trees, at selected locations, to the ground to make their Praying Trees for religious ceremonies. Today, it looks like a giant octopus with a lot of arms hugging the ground and spreading out in all directions. Conversely, the Medicine Tree always has one vertical, deep cutting scar on its trunk. The Indians used to extract its barks for nutrients and minerals. Some of the scars are more than 400 years old. The scars on the trees, together with the tree rings, have been used by Archeologists as a means to precisely trace back in time. There were a lot more Medicine Trees inside the Park than today. Most of these trees were cut down to support the nearby gold mine at Cripple Creek, CO decades ago. Today, it has only ~500 Medicine Trees left inside the Park. From its very beginning in 1873, there were a lot of people came to this place and went away with some valuable fossils from public lands. At the same time, they gradually took away some of our past, piece by piece and fossil by fossil. To stop looting and plundering that took place, President Nixon signed legislation to create this National Monument in 1969.

Aspen trees (a kind of poplar tree) – Aspen trees bear a lot of seeds but few survived, let alone growing into trees. Therefore, it multiplies itself through its roots. And because of that (not from the seeds), they are not all that diversified. As a fact of fact, they are not only genetically identical and but also living very closely to each other. In this Park, there are a lot of them clustered together at different places. Within each cluster, either they are all dead; or all healthy with colorful fall foliages; or already passing their fall foliage season (without any leave on them at all). Closely, they live together and die together, under the same environmental stresses. While living, they behave identically as a cluster at different locations. By observing them, it is a natural way to scare the Hell out of un-necessary cloning.

noel

Back to Classroom

I am thinking when things settle down a little bit. I probably will take night courses at nearby community colleges. Don't know where at this time.

The subject may be English, History or Psychology. Haven't decide yet! Always good to learn something new.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Ah Weddings...

Dude. Weddings are always a bit funny. This one on Saturday was no exception...

So this was Cheong and Nancy's wedding. I honestly don't know them very well, but I like weddings and so I went. I know hime mostly thru Choon and Pei-Sun, so they went along with Shwe and Xin. We all sat at the same table for dinner, and of course, Choon and Pei-Sun's favorite pastime is bugging me about women. Pei-Sun knew a lot of the people at the wedding because Cheong is in this Christian Choir Club that Pei-Sun is in (although she's not Christian) and she's having fun pointing out all the single women at dinner. Some of them came over and sat down in Choon's chair while Choon was talking to other people that he knew there, so I talked to them, and Pei-Sun would ask me of my opinion after they left. ha.

so fast forward a bit to the part about the bouquet toss... being Asian and all, the couple decides not the throw a bouquet but a pair of mashumari dolls that were in a wedding outfit. They were going to throw the girl doll to the guys, and then the guy's doll to the girls, but unfortunately they didn't realize that both of the dolls were attached to each other somehow, so they decided to do a combined mens and women's toss.

Of course, I caught it. It came straight at me. I was standing in the back but I'm one of the taller people, but all I pretty much had to do was lift my hand as the dolls probably would have hit me in the head.

Everyone congratulated me and I walked away thinking that my part in the wedding was done. But no Cheong and Nancy called me back to take some pictures with them. I walked away for the second time but they called me back one more time and i got this sinking feeling in my stomach.

They announced to everyone that I was to give the dolls to "the nicest girl in the crowd". Great! I did not particularly want to do this. My first thought was to give it to a kid of another friend that was at the wedding. I could have given it to Nancy as one person was to remind me of after the fact. but I was like, "Fuck it, might as well do something with it. So I decided to give it to this girl. Winnie, who had come by to chat with Pei-Sun earlier at dinner.

I think pretty much everyone was shocked that I did that. I mean, honestly, i knew maybe 11 people at the entire wedding, and I'm giving the dolls to a girl I just met like 15 minutes earlier. I'm pretty sure Nancy and Cheong didn't expect it. Pei-Sun was happy that I did it. I probably would have asked her to dance regardless of the doll thing. I just like dancing at weddings, and, well, you need a partner to dance with. That's not to say that she was chopped liver or something. She's definitely pretty damn cute. She has a certain elegance about her that's sorta classic. I guess the other random thing is that she breaks all stereotype for me since she's like, reasonably tall - probably like 5.6. Choon teased me about that later

but yeah, well, we went back to our respective tables, and finished dinner. Everyone was clamouring for me to get her phone number, but I figured the mass embarassment had at least secured me a dance later on in the evening, so I just wanted to let everything settle down a bit first.

So yeah, we danced a little later in the evening. Well I guess I should say that we half danced, half talked. Found out that Winnie worked as an assistant in a law firm, and is a piano teacher on the side. She plays piano for the Choir Group. But she lives in the city which is too bad I suppose. She's cantonese, and quizzed me a bit to which of course, I totally didn't understand. Found out she plays tennis, but it doesn't look like she can make our weekly tennis gathering on tuesday nights.

In the end tho, dunno if anything is going to happen. I guess I might be too American for her, and she might be too Cantonese for me. I never did get her phone number either, but I don't think I would be hard since obvious we both know the bride and groom.

In the meantime, I'm sure I'm going to get it tomorrow at tennis. laff. should be interesting. We'll see what happens.

Santa in Singapore

Sorry I haven't blogged recently, I have a few minor complaints, I think I'm putting on a few pounds, Vince has been a handful recently and I have this weird ant bite on my toe. It's so aggravating because insect bites on toes are incredibly hard to scratch effectively and now it's this one-inch wide pus filled itch center. Ugh, just go away! Go away! Also, I'm pretty sure I have tendonitis in my thumb from all my knitting and piano playing and lifting kids and extreme web surfing, so I'm bummed because I have to lay off my hobbies for a while while my thumb heals.

On Friday, I went to the Paragon to meet up with Kate for lunch. But Vince really would have none of it, bouncing off the walls, chairs, messing up the chalk-written menus. Blah. And Kate is 8 months pregnant and wanted to go to all these different places and Vince just didn't want to go anywhere, he just wanted to have cookies. So I had to abandon Kate downtown because Vince was being so demanding.

The Paragon is a hoity-toity mall, full of Versace, Cole Haan, Miu Miu crap.. Sometimes I try to get all excited about buying something nice, but then I stand in the middle of the store and look at all this crap and then I walk out. I mean, who wants to spend their hard earned money on a crystal Nemo which needs to be dusted every week?

The Paragon also had a very, very well stocked Christmas display. See? Edda and I met Santa! OK. Edda's not too excited.

This weekend we mainly hung out at the house. On Saturday, I went to my one-on-one knitting class. I was all optimistic because I found someone who was willing to teach me knitting, but it was OK. Actually, she taught me crochet, but I don't know what happened because now I'm home and I don't know what I'm suppose to do with my skeins of yarn. Oh well.

And Saturday afternoon, Vince didn't want to go to his swim lessons, I think they are a bust now too. God, I hope he likes his new school. Otherwise, I'm just going to be at home with the two of them for the next 1.5 years! Help!

So in the good name of home-schooling, today we started to learn to read. One letter words, I and a, two letter words, at and in, three letter words cat, bat, mat, bin, tin... etc, etc, etc.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Busy Weekend..

Seems like all my weekends are busy these days. dunno why.

This weekend I'm skipping working at the bike shop. I'm going to a friend's wedding at MemChu in Stanford. Should be fun.

Sunday I'm going to go do this ride up in Napa. It's some winery tour. 60 miles. I haven't ridden in a long time. but it should be okay. It's flat.

Friday, Was Lynn's brithday party. We all went up to San Mateo to eat at a posh japanese place and saw the movie Prime afterwards. It was good. but a little more serious than I thought it would be. But it definitely had it's moments. I can't seem to decide if Uma Thurman is hot or not.

Friday was also Eid! which marks the end of ramadhan. Arif and co can eat again! I ended up fasting the last week again, but it was sorta cheating since daylight savings kicked in and i could eat an hour earlier.

Work is picking up too. I relaly should be more on the ball about it, but i'm lazy.

Hanging out at Choon's before the wedding. I'm sleeping over at their place soo much these days. pretty much every weekend. laff. even have my own toothbrush at their place. funny. I Choon is thinking about (finally) buying a house! He's the one with the hookup in Atherton. He's been eyeing a house ever since i met him at Sun in 1999. He just hasn't bought one because, well, he thinks housing prices are way too high and the market would crash. of course, we're probably closer to that point than in 1999, but now that he's married and probably wants kids sometime soon, i think he might be semi-forced into it.

also I hung out with Joy yesterday. We went to go see the Dali Lama who was giving a speech at stanford. It was prettyy funny. it was on the basketball court, and the lama sat at where one of the baskets would be, and the front row was where midcourt was. The talk itself was okay. There wasn't really an agenda so the lama sorta went on about random thoughts for an hour. he basically said, "it's your perception of reality that clouds your mind, so realize this". Also it was sorta funny, because he mentioned that he didn't think meditation was that useful and that he didn't study very much as a kid because he didn't think it would be very useful.

Joy is doing well. She's getting married at Stanford next Oct. so we talked a lot about that. We haven't hung out for awhile. so it was nice to catch up a bit. She' sorat been incognito a bit.

that's it. later!

Friday, November 4, 2005

A letter to ME65 Classmates

All:

Rena and I are not craving junk food, or to put it more nicely, fast food. But, once in a while, we do go there where Rena is hooked on dollar-meals they offer - dollar-salads, dollar-fries, dollar-baked-potatoes, dollar-cheeseburgers, dollar-chillis, dollar-drinks, dollar-apple-pies, etc. Dollar-this and dollar-that, you name it. Anything more than a dollar is automatically tuned off in her mind. So far, it really serves us well.

Well, on the other hand, in our hotel, it is the dollar-laundry that dominates our routines. It is a dollar for washing and a dollar for drying. I don’t know why there is a slightly larger washer in our hotel’s laundry room. This is the favorite. Under Rena’s influence, we usually wait until this one is free. For drying, it is even more interesting. With energy conservation and thermal efficiency in mind, Rena has already figured out what kinds of optimal mixing of clothes it requires by using the minimum number of dryers. So, we usually are busy doing just that, moving out fast drying clothes at different times while putting the wetter ones at selected moments into number of dryers. Just like dollar-meal, it works wonder. Though, it can be somewhat complicated.

There are two more dollar offerings going on in our daily routines. One is the half-dollar-air and the other is the dollar-car-wash. Self service half-dollar-air for tires, together with the dollar-car-wash, posts even more challenges because its quick unwinding meters. It only lasts about a minute for two and four quarters respectively. With half-dollar-air and dollar-car-wash, completing these chores within a minute is challenging enough already, let alone listen to my dear “Holding-Hands” continuously echoing the time into my ears. (By the way, “Holding-Hands” is an expression for “other half” in my native tongue.) With my nervous heart pumping, one can imagine how difficult it can get. Using half-dollar-air, the dilemma is that I can’t see things near and far clearly with just one pair of glasses. In order to see air nozzle on the rim, I need to take off my distance glasses. However without my distance glasses, I can’t see anything a bit farther and, most importantly, readings on the meter. Alternatively, with dollar-car-wash, there are too “many choices” to choose from. Usually, it has rinse, soap, extra rinse, extra soap, wax, dry cycle, etc. Just planning to finish washing within a minute by getting the right optimal combinations (allocating enough seconds for selected cycles) based on our vehicle’s dirtiness is already a mind-boggling exercise. Let alone execute it.

To untie these binds, of course, one can always buy oneself the gift of more minutes with more quarters, but this option is usually off my table.

I hope there is no more clever business man who is capable of contriving additional dollar-business services successfully. Otherwise, I am sure, sooner or later, I am going to be sucked into and become part of. But, with one exception, I hope Rena’s dollar-cake business that she is dreaming of never gets off ground or can find some traction while cruising. Hopefully, I don’t have to lose a great number of my shirts or gobble up all her cakes. Either way is depressing.

Oh, I forget to mention things about using coins for our dollar-businesses. First, of course, it needs to get enough coins somewhere. Sometimes, it is a real drag. Second, Rena has to screen out the ones commemorating the State of Wisconsin because they may have an extra leave on their corn stems that they can fetch, at least, 2 Grand for each quarter in the collector’s market. Naturally, she would like to keep all of those just in case. In order to do that, I have to drop whatever it is that I am doing and come to her side because, due to her eye sight and without glasses on, she can’t see any engraving on the coin. As a casual coin collector, partly for her folks in China, she also would like to keep the new one(s) just released. The fun part is that we are not sure of which one(s). Without knowing exactly, she has a tendency to keep them all. Then getting more coins is about to happen.

Well, with all this, the only reasonable last hope is waiting for the inflation to start and come through in big way and a dollar ceases to be a dollar. Even with that, disheartenly, many double-dollar-businesses may spring up everywhere like cultivated mushrooms in “dark” and “cool” places. At that time, with at least 4-8 coins to carry, it may offer few reliefs.

Strange enough with all these dollar-businesses floating around us, I have my own indigenous dollar-business going on. Frequently, I buy power ball lottery tickets with, guess what? a dollar. Hopefully, with luck, I can afford to un-wrap this collar (dollar) business around my neck and free from it once and for all. My dream of winning lottery is rather simple and straight forward – this bar can’t get much lower. Can it?

So far, “buying lottery ticket” is still going on strong till the fat lady sings – Ain’t over yet. But, even with luck, sometimes, I wonder, I may have to come to terms with the effects of this thriving dollar-business for the rest of my life. It is because I have lived through all these years of knowing my “Holding-Hands” pretty well. Meanwhile, I marvel at her thrifty mind and mature somewhat to be appreciative. Otherwise, the double-dollar-business may be just around the corner. Who knows when it’s going to land?

But, at least for now, every little bit helps. Doesn’t it?

noel

Thursday, November 3, 2005

OMG! I love chocolate!

Well, today was the end of Ramadan, so all of Singapore had today off including Jeremy. We headed downtown to find a buffet that Jeremy's boss has been raving about. We went to this place called Pariss and they had this chocolate fountain with tiers of liquid chocolate pouring over the edge and marshmallows to dip into the flowing chocolate lava. It was Vince's favorite part of the meal as you can see.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

So sunny.

Put on your SPF 760000! Even so, Vince did get a little sunburned. Edda stayed in the shade, she really wanted to play in the sand, but once you put her down, she immediately puts a fistful of sand in her mouth and chomps down. Argh.. so we couldn't let her just eat all the sand that she wanted.

Blue, blue, blue sky!

Look at that incredibly blue sky behind Vince's head. Today we headed to Sentosa Island, just to the south of Singapore. We took a taxi there. We went to the aquarium there (small). But the big hit of the day was the beach! I can not begin to tell you how sunny the beach was at 1 pm. It was really nice at the beach, but hot hot hot and bright bright bright!

What a mess!

Boy, can Edda make a mess. Ugh!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Consumerism..

I think my web drought coincides with my running out of things that I wish to purchase on the web. I've covered the major points so far, in the computer and bike arenas, and of course all the weddings have passed. So now I'm sorta deflated and perhaps it is time to go onto the budget!

I think my next big item will end up being hte digital SLR... so I'll save up for that i think. oye. okay. time to eat something.

Trip to Las Vegas

We went to Las Vegas to see friends. We took a Walk at a new casino and did not play any. We talked a lots from Taiwan, china to USA.

Most is that our friend has lots of information commited when he was working at Ford. He started to collect all valuable information to write a book. This time he made of mine to start to do it. We promise him to help.

We had snow and icing road when we came back in CO. It took us extra 2hr to get back. Our car skipped once. Luckily no car nearby. And we have heavy car too.

Driving test.

I passed! I passed! You have to score 90% or better on the exam to pass and I spent all day yesterday trying to memorize what all these weird painted lines in different colors mean. It is a trial to figure out all the signs since I take only subways, buses or taxis here. I'm never paying attention to the road. I had the morning off from taking care of the kids which is a nice thing. Jeremy has Tuesday and Thursday off this week so we are hanging out.

One sock!

I finished a sock! I finished a sock! And it turned out really well. Well, mostly really well, a few issues with tension going from one needle to another, but I'm quite pleased. I read online about how to improve that when I was practically done, so I'll incorporate it into the next sock. I'm a little freaked out about how much yarn is left for the next sock. I'm the type of person who fills the gas tank waaayyy before the light turns on "just in case". So I'm freaked out that I might not have enough to finish, but I'm sure it's not true.

Bored of the Web...

Well.. It's offical. I'm bored of srufing the web. All I do is surf the same websites over and over again, waiting for them to change. It's pretty sad. I go to work, and surf. I come home and surf. I really ought to find a better pastime.

I played some tennis tonight with Shwe and Rich. I guess I'm back on the tennis bandwagon. But I'm out of shape as we kept on rotating, but everytime it came around for my time to play singles I felt like I was winded the whole time. I guess I'm not used to it. I like my new racquets, but they are definitely have a little too much power in the strings. I think I'll have to get them restrung at a higher tension sometime. Apparently Rich knows of a place that charges $5 for both the strings and the stringing! pretty amazing.

I can't quite sleep since, I took a 4 hour nap this afternoon. so maybe i'll just stay up and comtemplate the universe.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

back to fasting

Well, Hasnain's wife reconvinced me to start fasting again. It's a lot easier with the time change, so now sunset is around 5:11. whee!

Last night we went to P'ng and Judy's and saw their new house in Alameda. As it always seems, we end up talking about mortgages, interest rates, and interior decoration. laff. P'ng is going to redo his kitchen. I have to say that I had the winning design. woo hoo!

okay. I'm talking on Skype with Jeremy arranging a flight to singapore.

Earless Peter Rabbit

This is Edda's beloved Peter Rabbit stuffed animal. Her uncle Ben bought this in England for Vincent when he was a baby, but Vince didn't like it at all. Edda fell in love with this rabbit about a year ago. She LOVES this animal more than anything else in the whole world. She crawls around with it in her mouth. It smells moldy and is totally crusty with her saliva, but she doesn't care. I have to wash it at night so she won't know that it's missing. When we were in France at Cindy's wedding, we actually thought we lost it. He was left at city hall where the wedding took place and noticed it missing two hours later. We backtracked at least 15 miles in the hopes of finding Peter. There was a big party at city hall when we arrived to fetch Peter and the whole area was fenced off, but we spied Peter perched on a park bench, I had to make Jeremy hop the barrier to go get Peter. Whew. But just yesterday, Ruby couldn't resist the cottage cheese remnants left on Peter's ear and Edda left Peter in Ruby's crate so, of course, Ruby couldn't resist chomping on Peter's ear. I heard the choping while I was surfing the web and I looked and looked for Peter's ear and concluded that the ear is lost in Ruby's intestines now. When Edda picks up Peter now, she is pissed. She tries to chomp on the missing ear (her favorite way of holding Peter was in her mouth by his ears) she wails. So I spent some time on the web looking for a replacement Peter. Peter can be ordered from England... 20 dollars for Peter, 50 freaking dollars for shipping! I couldn't believe it! I finally found Peter on Ebay after looking through a million pictures of stuffed Peter Rabbits (do you know how many versions of Peter Rabbits there are? Sheez!). Anyways the bidding ends tomorrow morning.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Busy, busy day!

Today was hectic and busy. Usually our weekends are unstructured and free form, but not today. In the morning, Jeremy signed himself up for the car share thing. Basically, we join with a membership fee (really reasonable, about 10 dollars a month - so 7 US dollars a month) and then they have these cars all over Singapore that you can click into with a Smart Key, you book over the internet, blah, blah, blah. Anyhow, there is a car park really close to us and they have a Honda Odyssey there. We'll check it out tomorrow. But signing up took all morning. Then in the afternoon, Vince had his cello lesson and swim lesson back to back. It was a little too much for him. He's been excited all week about it and this finally wore him out. He was a little whiny at the swim lesson. I didn't actually go to either the cello or the swim lesson because I was busy preparing to go to Kate's baby shower.

We had Kate's baby shower at the Raffles Hotel in the Tiffin Room and we had high tea. It was really nice. There was Kate and Kate's friend from her pregant-lady yoga class. There was Joanna from Chartered and Julia and me. I was kind of nervous about the baby shower because I was kind of the host since I did the inviting even though it was Julia's idea. You know, I'm nervous that we won't get along, or the food will be bad, or we won't have anything to talk about or that the pregnant ladies will go into labor. But, of course, none of those things happened. We had a really nice time and we were the last ones to leave the tea room. They actually told us that they had to prepare the room for dinner and we looked around, and there were only empty tables surrounding us. Kate seemed radiant and calm and happy.

High tea

Ladies having tea!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Sock continues!

I've managed to turn the heel (after ripping it twice because I didn't count correctly) and also the decrease for the gusset! Woo hoo! I'm further along than this picture shows now, I'm almost ready to make the toe...

Lazy Friday.

Pretty lazy friday. Tonight I'm supposed to go out to dessert with Arif/Tahera and Choon/Pei-Sun. Ah the invasion of the married folk. laff. I don't really mind. Choon jokes on me that I get grief if i hang out with them on friday night for being single and that I get grief if I don't hang out with them on friday night. The implication being that I have a "Hot Date". Whatever.

Tomorrow is bike shop and afterwards, a dinner party with YAMF (Yet Another Married Folks). aka P'ng and Judy's new house in Alameda. My cheesecake is almost complete. I just need to go to the store to grab some cornstarch to thicken up my strawberry sauce...

How much this blog is worth.


My blog is worth $564.54.
How much is your blog worth?

Nada.

Today was a pretty easy day. There was an IT Open House at the library which we went to. I learned about this BigFix client that's pretty comprehensive. It's made to deploy patches on all our windows machines that are totally wide open to the net. I try to get my group to install this, but of course, users don't listen to computer admins. laff.

There were drawings for iPods and such. It was too lame since even if you won, you had to spin a wheel to figure out what prize you would get.

Went to another chalk talk about user centric design. Basically the Sakai project is just like Open Coursework from MIT, and he talked about the importance of user testing up front. I know for a fact that we don't do this in our own repository development. probably because it's hard to define who our users are really, but I still think it's the "right" way of doing software development. Of course this means nobody does this. laff.

I came back to work around 3:30 only to learn the our storage system that we were testing was down and it would take 1.5 hours to fix. Great. I went home and decided to make a cheesecake, for no apparent reason... It'lls be a strawberry one. hopefully it'll turn out well. i forgot to add the heavy whipping cream. no wonder it was a bit dry. I'm sure the 1.5 cups of sugar will go a long way to hide that fact. ha!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Just regular day.

We stayed at home today, mainly because Vince has a little bit of the cold that Edda and Jeremy had earlier this week. We did make it to the Lot 1 (our mall, as Vince calls it, it takes only 2.3 minutes walking to get there, I think I've parked further away from a mall in the US than our apartment is from Lot 1). I was indulgent today and bought Vince a Thomas wallet to replace his old Thomas wallet. What am I thinking? He is a Thomas fiend.

Flickr is printing at Target!

Yah! Finally, Flickr, the service that I'm using to store all my photos has a deal with Target to print them out! Hooray! Hooray!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bored at Work...

There are 2.5 people at work today. I'm bored and I'm just running my test suite which takes evry little interaction. So I'm surfing the web today.

Bonus...

Well, we had a Staff Appreciation Luncheon today on campus. They celebrated by opening the new staff rec center that has a climbing wall, a full gym w/ weigths and trainers, basketball courts, squash courts, and a fencing gym. I guess I'll have to take a fencing class at some point in the future. It's too cool not to. They ironic that they forgot to install showers in the building. I dunno who the genius was who got away with that.

Also apparently, all the staff got a $250 dollar bonus today too. Whoa. Apparently this never happens... And it's not much compared to the tech bonus of old. laff.

Tuesday is tennis night. I got some new tennis raquets that are really 5 years old. but they cost me 60 bucks a pop, which is good. Choon is demoing some racquets, and i think they are at least $150 a piece, and I knew if i did that that i would end up spending a lot of money on something that would only be marginally better. I pretty played witrh my racquet for the first time today, and I have to say that I really liked it. too bad we lost the match. 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. doh

Afterwards, Pei-Sun had brought some creme brulee for everyone to snack on. so we all got the ramakins out in the middle of the court and chowed down. Incidentally, does Jeremey know what the primo creme brulee carmelizing torch is? Pei-Sun is not happy with the one that she has.

One of my roomies is funny. He's all stressing about asking a girl out. He's a nervous type about it. I just wish he'd calm down a little. I think he's thinking too far in advance. are we a good match in this way? is this good about her? or can I deal with this about her? basically he just doesn't know know her very well at the moment, so I'm hoping he'll concentrate on that first. I've armed him with a bunch of restaraunts to go to in downtown mountain view. :) we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Thanksgivng at Washougal

Daddy bought air plane tickets today. We are going to Washougal for Thanksgiving this year.

Wea are going to drive to Las Vegas this weekend. We have this Firday off. Next week, daddy will go back to Sheets Farm to turn on heater and water plants. I will stay in Denver.

Hope Vince and Adda both are getting better.