Tuesday 25 December 2007

The little model

Remember adorable little Kay from my Saturday Night get-together? Here she is again, wearing the mini-skirt that I gave her for Christmas. Her dad takes such great photos of her, she looks like a child model!

Boxing day

I brought mum to the hospital for the results of the MRI scan. Result shows that the situation is under control, and the tumour size hasn't changed during the past 3 months. She celebrated the good news by eating Five Star chicken rice for lunch. She had put herself on a strict diet since the treatment, avoiding food that she thinks will cause inflammation (like chicken, eggs, shellfish and crustacean) even though the doctors did not recommend it.

Anyway, what's important is the situation looks fine now except that she still feels unwell and weak. The doctor has taken her blood sample to check for her thyroid condition.

The roads are pretty quiet today though it's a working day. Maybe some offices close for Boxing Day... incidentally mum said the term 'boxing' came about because today's the day when people open up their presents. I was arguing that when you open presents, you're 'unboxing'... not boxing... oh, whatever!

Have a good boxing day everyone. I have no more boxes to open though.

Monday 24 December 2007

Finally, it's Christmas Day!

I just came back from my morning run. It feels good to workout especially after our eating marathon. It's a quiet Christmas day for me. I'll be sending YK to a Christmas party in a bit and will return home to pack for my trip to Chiangmai.

We're participating in the half marathon there on Sunday but are going several days ahead to acclimatise (actually to chill out). I've booked ourselves into this lovely hip resort called Proud Phufah which is perched on top of a mountain. I found this place via the Internet. According to the reviews, the decor is fairy-like, modern and whimsical.

"Each villa has its own unique design with distinctive decoration. Most of decorative stuff or even the handwriting graphic applied on washbasin and other ceramic objects are individually designed only for Proud Phu Fah by the inspiration created from the cheers of children and magnificent nature. All villas have plenty of peace and happiness for the appreciation of natural relaxation.

The scent of lush green mountain and the sound of the flowing stream that passes by every terrace of the villa harmonize with sentimental music as well as bird's songs, the chirping of various tiny insects just like a fantastic whisper of the forest, will peacefully full you into deep relaxation. Furthermore, the splendid taste of healthy Thai cuisine is served with high nutrients of different herbal ingredients and fresh vegetables that really provide benefit for your good health. All the elements here are defined as "Natural therapy" that treats you to be entirely refreshed and relaxed in your body and soul."

From the photos, it looks like we're going to have a lovely time. Check it out!

Villa no. 8 is where we'll spend 2 nights.

Christmas eve

While most people were busy with last-minute shopping on Christmas eve, I spent the day driving around the island. First stop, I sent YK to Suntec City where he was meeting some friends. I left the crowded city and joined CH for lunch in Toa Payoh. I ended up buying new pillows and bolsters since he was around to help me carry the bunch of fluffy goods.

I promised mum to get her a new fax machine to replace the cranky one at home. By a stroke of luck, CH had a new one idling at home. We picked up the machine, then stopped by my brother's house to collect turkey. A friend had given him a whole turkey, nicely marinated with curry spices and roasted to perfection. They couldn't possibly finish the whole turkey and wanted me to bring some home.

We got home, hooked the machine up, unpacked the pillows, and headed out of the door again, this time bringing SK along with us to my best friend's X'mas party. We arrived early and spent our time playing with the dogs and admiring her new fish pond while waiting for YK to arrive.

As usual, it was a great party... we ate too much! Well, it's just another day of over-eating for Blur Ting!

The olive tree in the yard is now laden with olives.

Admiring the new pond!

With Benson the beagle. The other dog in the background is Babe.

The 3 "Bs" - BlurTing, Benson and Britney.

Isn't Britney such a sweetie?

Sunday 23 December 2007

High tea with the ladies

I met up with my old friends from junior college for high tea at Goodwood Park Hotel today. It was pouring outside but we were tucked away in a comfortable corner chatting about old times while indulging in Asian food.
We called ourselves the 'Blackie 8' back then because our favourite colour was black. There was another group called the 'Pinky 5'. I guess we were not very creative back then.... Well, the girls in our class outnumbered the guys like 4:1, hence life during the 2 years was absolutely unexciting and uneventful.
Now that all of us are busy with work and family, we tend to meet only when Len, who's from Malaysia, comes visiting. As expected, between mouthfuls, we updated, downloaded, gossipped, vented, giggled and grumbled. I learned that May Ling finished her marathon with really impressive timing, Yvonne had moved to a new apartment, Joyce has been promoted at work and Vivien's kids are no longer tiny babies!
It was definitely nice to see old friends again. We left the hotel feeling high from the laughter and chatter. I really think we should do this more often.
Black is still our favourite colour!
From left - Len, Joyce, Yvonne, May Ling, Vivien and me.
The sweet girl in front is Len's daughter.

Saturday 22 December 2007

Love and Laughter

Last night's dinner around the steamboat was enjoyable. The turkey breast, stuffed with 8 treasures (a yummy mixture of chestnut paste, crunchy water chestnut, ginkgo nut, etc), served with cranberry sauce, turned out to be a delicious treat.

The Peanut Chocolate Crunch Log from Swiss Bake was definitely a hit. I love the layer of crunchy peanut brittle (just like Almond Roca) sandwiched between the chocolate praline. It was so Yummy!!

My niece and nephew, who are Christians, did a little performance - singing hymns and reading passages from the bible. Well done kids!

My brother and family watching the performance.
And then it was time to exchange presents. The biggest surprise of the night came from my sister-in-law (Ting's mommy). She gave me such a thoughtful and wonderful gift, it almost brought tears to my eyes! I was touched beyond words. Here it is...

Inside this cute box is a scrap book documenting my 1 year journey as a blogger. She picked my favourite topic - Rusty - and created a 30-page scrap book using excerpts from my blog. The painstaking process of printing out photos and quotes from the blog, customising each page with little details took 6 whole months!

Look at the details. She even used a blow torch to make the letters "my dogs" look 3-D and glossy! A blow-torch? Oh my. She had added flowers, rivets and stencils to the page too.

She added in lots of cute captions using cut-out letterings, buttons, textured paper and interesting fonts to make the pages come alive.

I love how she embellishes the pages with delicate lace, ribbons and cartoon characters.

She builds stories around the photos and uses different backgrounds and colours to set the tone for each page so that everyone is unique with its own theme.

The best thing is, it's updated until the day before the Christmas party! She really put in so much attention and thought into the gift, it put me to shame.

Finally, the last page says it all. Love and Laughter! That's what family is all about. It makes life worth living.
Thank you Ginny!

Friday 21 December 2007

Taking a break

Ah! Finally, I'm taking a breather this busy Saturday morning. I've a mug of hot coffee and dough fritters before me.

After visiting the temple with mum, we decided to buy some groceries. One shop after another... and we ended up with a carload of stuff. I've also decided on what to cook for dinner. The cool weather is perfect for steamboat. All I need to do is to prepare the soup stock and lots of fresh seafood and vegetable.

What better way to celebrate Christmas than to gather everyone round the bubbling hotpot for a hearthy and healthy meal?

I've got to wrap presents now. Have a good day everyone!

Thursday 20 December 2007

Interview Meme

Amel tagged me!
Instructions - Remove 1 question from below, and add in your personal question, make it a total of 20 questions, then tag 8 people in your list, list them out at the end of this post. Notify them in their chat box that he/she has been tagged. Whoever does the tag will have blessings from all.

1. At what age do you wish to marry? I got married at 25 which didn’t work out. I think marrying in our 30s would probably be more ideal.

2. My question: If there is something you’d like to change about yourself (whether physically or emotionally), what will it be?

3. If you were to be stranded on a desert island, who are the 3 blog buddies you would take with you? Why?
- Seagrape cos she’ll surely bring her adorable kids with her too. She loves the beach and is so creative, she can magically turn leaves and sticks into clothes and bags.

- Mother Hen cos she makes me laugh and she’s the best planner on earth. I can count on her to keep us alive. She can transform a desert into a paradise.

- Amel will be such a joy to be around with. She’s the cheerleader who's always so positive. Since she’s been experimenting in the kitchen, so I’m sure she can cook us new dishes everyday.

4. Where is the place that you want to go the most? At this moment, I wish to be in Oregon with Mother Hen. She’s undergoing a surgery (a small one she says) and no matter how small it is, I’m sure she’ll appreciate having friends to comfort her at this time.

5. If you can have 1 dream to come true, what would it be? I wish my loved ones are immortal. I wish they can always be healthy and live forever.

6. What's the best compliment you've ever received? I received a nice compliment this week while I was having my legs massaged in Bangkok. The masseuse said I looked much younger than my age!

7. What are you afraid to lose the most? My loved ones. Definitely not my weight!

8. If you win $1 million, what would you do? Buy a house, invest some and keep the rest for my family (the old and young ones)

9. If you meet someone that you love, would you confess to him/her? Or would you keep it to yourself and observe from afar? I would tell him only when I know him better and if I know the feeling’s mutual.

10. List out 3 good points of the person who tagged you. Amel is the most positive, grateful and joyous person in the blogosphere!

11. What are the requirements that you wish from your other half? Understanding, patient, calm, sincere, gracious, humorous, witty, sporty and generous.

12. Which type of person do you hate the most? Wicked people

13. What is your ambition? I’m abit too old for ambitions but I’d like to do something meaningful and active like leading groups of people on walking or hiking tours when I'm older. It'll keep me healthy yet I can bring joy to people.

14. What is the thing that will make you think he/she is bad? If there is only one thing, then it must be greed. When a person’s greed (whether for money, sex, love, power…) goes out of control, he will become scheming, manipulative, dishonest and self-centered just to achieve his goals.

15. Christmas is coming, who do you like to celebrate with? I find Christmas in Singapore too hyped up, not everyone knows the true meaning of Christmas here. It’s all about feasting, partying and presents. For me, it certainly is a great opportunity to catch up with old friends.

16. What do you think is the most important thing in your life? Health. One probably doesn’t realize it when he’s healthy but the moment health is gone, you’ll do anything to get it back again.

17. Are you a shopaholic or no? No. I dislike shopping and crowded places.

18. Which actress or actors you would like to be? Michelle Pfeiffer because she ages beautifully, is talented yet keeps a low profile. I’m not sure about her personality but I haven’t heard anything scandalous about her.

19. It would be 2008 in a few days, do you have a new year’s resolution? Now that you asked, I shall start drawing up my list.

20. Do you have any plans for tomorrow? We’re having a family dinner with turkey, log cake and lots of Asian dishes, and of course, presents for the kids.

Since I have to tag 8 people, I'd like these blogging pals to do this meme at their own time.
1. Flying Pink Elephants
2. Karen of Water Learner
3. Janice Ng
4. Nick Phillips
5. Michelle of Crow's feet
6. Project Heavy Traffic
7. La Delirante
8. Seagrape


While I am still feeling on top of the world, having completed my first half-marathon and trying to psyche myself up for the real marathon (42km), along comes the ultra-marathon.

On May 31 next year, the inaugural adidas Sundown Marathon will offer an ultra-long 84km challenge with a cut-off time of 15 hours. As the name suggests, it's a night run, set to start at 8pm. Racing at night is a nice change where it's quieter, cooler and less humid.

The response was so good, the 100 places were filled up 2 days after registration. So the quota was increased to 175 runners of which 80% has already been filled.

Wow, now that they've up the ante, everyone's going to train harder.

Well, you can count me out!


It's a public holiday and guess what I was busy with all day? Babysitting Schee and my god-daughter EeHui.

When I was out shopping this morning, I received a message from my friend. She's moving house today and needed someone to take care of her babies. As it was raining heavily, we couldn't go to the zoo or the mall (dogs are not allowed). So, I brought them home.

Naturally, Rusty needed to show Schee he's the boss around here. He started marking territory by peeing everywhere until I had no choice but to keep him outside. He spent the entire day peering through the glass door...

Rusty to Schee: Whatcha looking at? Why are you in MY house?

I'm glad we have Ting's toys to keep EeHui amused.

My adorable little god-daughter's such an angel, it's so easy to take care of her!

They're best friends.

These 3 musketeers get along so well together.

Wednesday 19 December 2007

The day flew by...

Gosh, the day's almost over. It flew by so quickly it was a blur! As you can imagine, I was out all day (hence no time to blog). I was with mum at the hospital all morning. Since she hasn't been feeling too well, the doctor brought forward her MRI scan so we'll know the results of the treatment earlier.

When we got home, I decided to check on SK before leaving for a meeting in town. A blast of cold air greeted my face when I pushed open the door. SK was snuggled in bed watching TV, all wrapped up under the blanket while Rusty was enjoying the cool comfort inside his doggie bed below. The scene made me laugh. It reminded me of Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

I stopped by Vivocity to get some chocolates for my customer and even managed to sneak into Espirit for a spot of Christmas shopping. I really had to tackle the growing shopping list. It happens every year as I receive more and more invites to Christmas parties. While I'm a sensible shopper on most days, I end up buying the silliest things when I'm under pressure like today. I was charmed by these robots in the store and grabbed a handful. Now that I'm properly sobered up, I wonder if my friends would love them too....

It's a public holiday tomorrow. Yay! I have more time to shop but I'm sure everyone's thinking of shopping tomorrow too.

Tuesday 18 December 2007

Yes, I'm back!

I'm back! This is one of my shortest trips. I came home to find SK lying in bed at 5pm. Something must be wrong with him. Yup, the poor kid's running a fever. I fed him some soup and medication and he went straight back to bed.

It's funny how someone has to fall sick whenever I am away (even if it's just for a day). It's either YK or Rusty. Now it's SK. Actually I'm not feeling that great myself. I've been feverish for several days already but I guess my flu shot helps to keep the symptoms under control.

I didn't even realise Christmas' next Tuesday. I thought we have a couple more weeks to go... I didn't even find time to buy presents and for our X'mas party at home this Saturday... talk about being ready. Nothing has been planned except that C.H has ordered turkey and my sister in law is bringing log cake. Maybe that's all we're going to eat!

School's about to start after the New Year celebrations. Well, it's about time. The kids have been too well rested the last 2 months! It's time to put their brains to work again.

Two nights in Bangkok

I arrived in Bangkok late Sunday afternoon after some delay at the immigration when the computer system decided to freeze up. This happens alot these days at the airports. When the system's down, everything comes to a standstill. Makes me wonder if people can do anything manually again anymore.

This time, I stayed at the shopping district of PloenChit, flanked on all sides by luxury shopping malls. The last time I was in Bangkok (2 years ago), we stayed one night in Khao San while en-route to Korat for our adventure holiday.

If you ask me to make a comparison, they're like two different worlds. While Khao San is a backpacker’s haunt, teeming with old buildings and temples, ethnic restaurants and tattoo parlours, PloenChit Road is a shopping haven for sophisticated shoppers where Prada, Gucci and Armani compete for their attention. Of course I didn’t get distracted. It’s a business trip after all.

I must say I’m really impressed with the country’s progress. The nation is definitely in a celebratory mood. As the host country of the 24th Southeast Asian Games, they're the biggest winner, hauling in 183 gold medals. More importantly, they're celebrating their revered King’s 80th birthday. It’s heartwarming to see that the king is very well-loved by his countrymen. On the Monday I was there, almost everyone wore the royal colour of yellow as a sign of respect for their king.

Outside our hotel - a tribute to King Bhumibol.

King Bhumibol's birthday on 5 Dec is a national holiday in Thailand and has increasingly become a day of nationwide tribute to the man who is the most influential figure in modern Thai history. In his six decades on the throne, he took an active role in rural development and is respected for his dedication to helping the country's poor.

The sky walk is a cool elevated pedestrian walkway that links all the major shopping malls. From the skywalk, I could observe the busy traffic below without having to worry about getting run down.

I spotted a Buddhist temple sheltered by shady trees.

The Central World is the biggest shopping mall in Thailand. All the main brands are represented here and it would take more than a day just to explore its 500 world class stores and 50 restaurants. The building is huge, measuring some 400m long and including an attached hotel, 55 floors high.

Interesting and humongous piece of art inside the Central World.

One of my favourite zones in Central World is the Food Hall where I had dinner one night.

Here's a view of Central World from the sky walk.

The same view at night.

Flower vendors lining the street outside Grand Hyatt Erawan, one of the best hotels in Bangkok. My business associate treated me to a wonderful lunch of Thai curry, Tom Yum soup, other traditional dishes and dessert.

The famous Erawan Shrine that belongs to the Grand Hyatt Erawan. The shrine was built to appease the spirits after a series of construction accidents occurred when the hotel was being built. Traditional Thai dances can be seen there during the day.

There's a constant flow of devotees day and night. It was packed the night I walked by.

Amarin has many shops selling traditional Thai products like silk and clothes. Here, the restaurants serve mainly traditional Thai food.

The tuk tuk is a widely used form of urban transport in Bangkok.

Saturday 15 December 2007

Saturday night get-together

After many failed attempts to meet, we finally managed to sit down together for a meal with Steph, John and Watson last night. It's isn't an easy feat getting a group of friends to set aside time amid their busy schedules for a get together. Even after months of planning, three couldn't make it last night. One was down with fever and two were traveling.

The loving couple - Steph and John.

Our little group had a nice dinner at a Thai Restaurant in Vivocity. This being the weekend and Christmas season, there were queues everywhere, from the carpark to the toilet and restaurants. Good thing Steph had called days ahead to make dinner reservations and all we did was walk right in (past a long line of hungry people) and could start feasting almost soon after.

We had too much delicious food to eat. Steph ordered papaya salad, mango salad, Pad Thai (fried Thai noodles), pineapple rice, olive rice, green chicken curry, sweet and sour fish, Tom Yum soup and fried bean sprouts. Some of the dishes were so spicy, I had to drink icy lime juice and ice milk tea to save my life.

Apart from eating, I spent the night playing with adorable little Kay who just turned one. For some reason, she liked me to take her out to the patio to watch the ships sailing by and cable cars moving overhead.

Well, I'm off to Thailand this afternoon. Looks like my diet for the next two days will be more Thai curry and Tom Yum soup. I won't be blogging, so you guys enjoy your weekend!