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!


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.


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 :)


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...


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.