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

 
 Posted by Picasa

Marrying Choon and Pei-Sun

 
 Posted by Picasa

Jason and Don

 
 Posted by Picasa

Don's Sandals

 
 Posted by Picasa

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!