Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Out, out, OUT!!

Finally! After months of intermittent ear drops and no shortage of complaining, I decided to once and for all, take Sophia to the GP, get a referral to the ENT specialist to suck out that huge, offending piece of ear wax that seemed to be lodged in her right ear permanently.

She cried, she struggled but it finally came out!! That sucker must've been about the size of a golf ball. Not that I asked to see it after it got dislodged. I was too happy that it was out in the first place.

No more nightly eardrops. I don't have to stifle the urge to shine that torch in her ear only to have to smother the itch to dig that piece of junk out. And then complain to the hubby about it existing in the first place and stopping him from digging it out himself to stop my whining.

I am patting myself thoroughly on the back as I went through the right channels too. Got the whole procedure covered by insurance! And got myself some meds for the irritating cough and phlegm while I was at it! For free!! Covered!

I should do this more often, go through the right channels, that is.

I'm Not Anthony Bourdain, But I Ain't Half Bad

I've been cooking up a storm lately. Just before leaving KL during one of our recent trips, we bought a stack of Periplus and Marshall Cavendish mini-cookbooks from Kino. Best investment we ever made. I've been diligently flipping through them and picking dishes to try out ever since.

Over the past few weeks, I've been trying out a dish or two but since Rizal left for Mumbai and Brussels on Sunday, I've stepped up on the dishes. Not all of them have been from the mini-cookbooks but almost all of them have been successful.

I've been making up several batches of Mushroom Rice Balls (kinoko no takikomi gohan), or what I refer to as my mushroom onigiri, which I picked out from another recipe book of mine. So far, Sophia likes that the best, mainly because it's rice and she loves rice and she also gets to hold it in her hands and eat it rather than mess about with the spoon. And to top it off, it's such an easy dish to make. Did I mention it's quite delicious? Well, it is.

When I came back from my biz trip to KL, I lugged home two huge packets of dried noodle. I'm not sure what kind they are but I know my mom uses them specifically for a type of braised noodle dish she makes. So of course, I call her on the phone before I give it a try and I must say that I'm not that bad a cook myself! The noodles turned out a little dryer and paler than mom's but other than that, tasted just as great. I'm a genius! Jona loved it, and so did the girl. She liked the noodles so much that she ate only the noodles and disregarded the prawns, bits of chicken, mushroom and vegetables in her bowl.

Yesterday we tried a walnut and mascarpone pasta from one of the mini-cookbooks, which turned out splendidly and which all of us really liked too. For dinner, I whipped out the Japanese mini-cookbook and we tried out the french beans with sesame sauce, which was an interesting dish and went well with our lotus soup.

Today I did up another batch of mushroom onigiri specifically for Sophia beause for dinner I was gonna cook Korean chap chae for Jona and me. Given Sophia's experience with the braised noodle, I didn't want to have her just picking at glass noodles and not eating the rest of the good stuff. I did a variation of the usual onigiri; since I'd already toasted sesame seeds for the chap chae, I decided to chuck some into the mushroom onigiri for added aroma and taste. And boy, did it make a difference! Sophia had two onigiri for dinner. Another success story chalked to my portfolio.

Cooking's been quite fun lately. But then again, that's only true, I think, because I have Jona to help clean up the mess after. Before she came, cooking was more a chore than anything else. Just the thought of cooking and then cleaning up could tire me out. Now at least I have the time, energy and interest to look through recipes and am bothered to try them out. Having another person to help eat all that stuff also helps too.

Cooking is simple if you have some extra hands in the kitchen to help prep and clean. What used to be a necessary chore turns out to be an adventure instead.

I'm Done!!

Here's how she announces that she's done doing her biz on the potty:


It's her take on 'yay' and in imitation of what I say to here when she's done a good job sitting on the potty.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Library Haul

  1. 11 Birthdays - Wendy Mass
  2. House of Many Ways - Diana Wynne Jones
  3. Audrey, Wait! - Robin Benway
  4. Just One Wish - Janette Rallison


I feel bereft. Of what exactly, I'm not sure. A good story perhaps? The fact that I have to leave behind favourite characters, riveting plot and a perfectly imaginable and believable world?

This rarely befalls me. I remember it happening a handful of times; a long time ago after I read Mercedes Lackey's The Last Herald-Mage series and Stephen Donaldson's Mordan'ts Need series. There were a few more but what happens is that my mind is filled with the world and the characters that inhabit it, usually, it's a series or trilogy.

After the third book of the same characters and the fantasy world they live in, it's difficult to let it all go when the story's finally ended. It takes a few days for my mind to leave them all behind and get on with the next book. And sometimes, my life. When the characters won't get themselves out of my head, I find my eyes may close in imitation of sleep but that's just it: an imitation. My ability to knock off after my head hits the pillow is sorely tested and I become an insomniac for at least one night.

It gets difficult to pick up a new book and start on a new story. Unhitching from the fantasy world gets to be difficult and finding a new story to interest me takes some work, especially if the next story is not of the fantasy genre.

In the end, I survived finishing the King of Attolia by barely skimming through Barry Lyga and only Gene Luen Yang managed to haul my ass back to interested reader mode. Nothing like the Monkey God and a graphic novel to get you out of a funk.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tai-Tai In Training

She was supposed to look the part of a Chinese opera diva. But with the hairclip and the string of huge pink orbs hanging off her ribbon necklace (can't see in this photo), she ended up looking like a grandma on the last day of term.

Mommy's weird sense of style is to blame. Plus I didn't have anything in the closet to dress her up in as any other profession (the theme for the day was 'things people do'). One of her classmates came as a cut Singapore Girl. Too bad mommy didn't have too much of an imagination. Oh well...at least she went dressed as someone, unlike some of her other classmates (most of them boys) who were dressed only as well, themselves.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mommy's Birthday!

No, that's not a Christmas pudding or Christmas cake. That was made by Rosa, my helper's sister. And yes, it is chocolate.

And yes, the little tyke is helping with blowing out the candles. And yes, I am getting old(er). Doesn't that split look nice and wide? Pointy toes and all... .

Caught By The Thief

Megan Whalen Turner's Thief trilogy is BRILLIANT.

Although, I started out with The Thief wondering what was so brilliant about it and got somewhat bored and thoroughly annoyed by the main character. I guessed a part of the plot somewhere along the book but was still happily surprised by the ending. In the end, I suppose, being annoyed by the character must have been necessary to the reading of the book. I'm still not sure about that one... .

The Queen I had the pleasure of pretty much uninterrupted reading, and where I thought The Thief was slow and boring at parts, this one kept my fingers itchily turning the pages.

The King is the best of all the three books. It caps off the trilogy splendidly with its many twists and turns. It was so good that I couldn't wait to finish it and then when I finally had, I found myself wanting more. So I went online to find out if there could possibly be a fourth book.

There is!!! I'm excited that the series is not ended and that I'll get to have more of this brilliant tale but I'm chagrined that now I have ANOTHER sequel that I'll have to follow up with shortly. This one in 2010. When will these sequels ever end? Argh! At least the other sequels are due out sometime later this year and this gives me a good wide space to read and digest them before tucking into the fourth installment of The Thief.

It just means more good things ahead.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Library Haul

  1. Blood & Chocolate - Annette Curtis Klause
  2. American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang
  3. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl - Barry Lyga


... is waking up in the morning and have Sophie crawl onto my chest and lie there, half asleep, not quite awake yet, gently tapping her fingers on my shoulders while the morning greets us with the sound of her dad snoring.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


In a fit of bad temper and a flurry of haste, I booked my biz day trip back to kl via MH on the 23rd instead of the 25th. Luckily, it was a special fare of SGD270 return. Unfortunately, since it was a special fare, no changes could be made.

No help for it, I had to book another ticket.

Talk about a blunder of moronic proportions.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The World's Most Needless Predator

Overheard at Aquaria on Sunday, as we were going along the tunnel aquarium with all manner of fish swimming around and over us:

Father: Look, boy! That's a parrot fish! Mmmm...tastes really good when it's deep-fried!

Me: What the...???!!!!!!!

I was half-expecting him to say something about the stingrays and how good they tasted grilled. Sheesh.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Tally Of Sorts

Hmm...got this meme off Boy With Books. I normally don't do memes but thought I'd try this just for fun:-

The following list of books teens love, books teens should read, and books adults who serve teens should know about was compiled IN ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC MANNER and should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

Put an “X” next to the books you’ve read
Put a “+” next to the books you LOVE
Put a “#” next to the books you plan on reading
Tally your “X”s at the bottom
Share with your friends!

1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams X
2. Kit’s Wilderness / David Almond
3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie X
4. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson #
5. Feed / M.T. Anderson #
6. Flowers in the Attic / V.C. Andrews X
7. 13 Reasons Why / Jay Asher X
8. Am I Blue? / Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
9. Audrey Wait! / Robin Benway
10. Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block X+
11. Tangerine / Edward Bloor X
12. Forever / Judy Blume X+
13. What I Saw and How I Lied / Judy Blundell #
14. Tyrell / Coe Booth
15. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants / Ann Brashares X
16. A Great and Terrible Beauty / Libba Bray X
17. The Princess Diaries / Meg Cabot #
18. The Stranger / Albert Camus
19. Ender’s Game / Orson Scott Card
20. Postcards from No Man’s Land / Aidan Chambers
21. Perks of Being a Wallflower / Stephen Chbosky X
22. And Then There Were None / Agatha Christie
23. Gingerbread / Rachel Cohn X+
24. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist / Rachel Cohn and David Levithan X+
25. Artemis Fowl (series) / Eoin Colfer X+
26. The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins X+
27. The Midwife’s Apprentice / Karen Cushman X+
28. The Truth About Forever / Sarah Dessen X+
29. Little Brother / Cory Doctorow
30. A Northern Light / Jennifer Donnelly #
31. Tears of a Tiger / Sharon Draper
32. The House of the Scorpion / Nancy Farmer X+
33. Breathing Underwater / Alex Flinn
34. Stardust / Neil Gaiman X+
35. Annie on My Mind / Nancy Garden
36. What Happened to Cass McBride / Gail Giles
37. Fat Kid Rules the World / K.L. Going X
38. Lord of the Flies / William Golding X+
39. Looking for Alaska / John Green X
40. Bronx Masquerade / Nikki Grimes
41. Out of the Dust / Karen Hesse
42. Hoot / Carl Hiaasen X+
43. The Outsiders / S.E. Hinton
44. Crank / Ellen Hopkins #
45 The First Part Last / Angela Johnson
46. Blood and Chocolate / Annette Curtis Klause
47. Arrow’s Flight / Mercedes Lackey
48. Hattie Big Sky / Kirby Larson
49. To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee X+
50. Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan X+
51. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks / E. Lockhart #
52. The Giver / Lois Lowry X+
53. Number the Stars / Lois Lowry #
54. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie / David Lubar
55. Inexcusable / Chris Lynch #
56. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things / Carolyn Mackler #
57. Dragonsong / Anne McCaffrey X
58. White Darkness / Geraldine McCaughrean
59. Sold / Patricia McCormick #
60. Jellicoe Road / Melina Marchetta #
61. Wicked Lovely / Melissa Marr X+
62. Twilight / Stephenie Meyer X
63. Dairy Queen / Catherine Murdock
64. Fallen Angels / Walter Dean Myers #
65. Monster / Walter Dean Myers #
66. Step From Heaven / An Na
67. Mama Day / Gloria Naylor
68. The Keys to the Kingdom (series) / Garth Nix #
69. Sabriel / Garth Nix X+
70. Airborn / Kenneth Oppel #
71. Eragon / Christopher Paolini X
72. Hatchet / Gary Paulsen
73. Life As We Knew It / Susan Beth Pfeffer
74. The Golden Compass / Phillip Pullman X+
75. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging / Louise Rennison X
76. The Lightning Thief / Rick Riordan X+
77. Always Running: La Vida Loca / Luis Rodriguez
78. how i live now / Meg Rosoff #
79. Harry Potter (series) / J.K. Rowling X
80. Holes / Louis Sachar X+
81. Catcher in the Rye / J. D. Salinger X
82. Push / Sapphire
83. Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi X+
84. Unwind / Neil Shusterman
85. Coldest Winter Ever / Sister Souljah
86. Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli X+
87. Chanda’s Secrets / Allan Stratton
88. Tale of One Bad Rat / Brian Talbot
89. Rats Saw God / Rob Thomas
90. Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien X
91. Stuck in Neutral / Terry Trueman
92. Gossip Girl / Cecily Von Ziegesar
93. Uglies / Scott Westerfeld #
94. Every Time a Rainbow Dies / Rita Williams-Garcia
95. Pedro and Me / Judd Winick
96. Hard Love / Ellen Wittlinger X+
97. American Born Chinese / Gene Luen Yang #
98. Elsewhere / Gabrielle Zevin X+
99. I am the Messenger / Markus Zusak X+
100. The Book Thief / Markus Zusak #

Well, 42/100. And another list of books to keep in mind...:)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

On The Lookout

Yup, we'll be moving when our lease ups and ends this July. Although it really is a bit too early to start looking yet, we've been going to different areas to figure out if we'd like to live there. I personally love the area we're in: wet markets a few minutes' walk away, NTUC Fairprice and Shop N Save also a few minutes' walk away, the MRT station right at our doorstep, oh, and the community library just one MRT station away. But then again, the rent that we're paying hardly justifies the noise level we have to put up with: headache-causing construction work right below us and of course, the MRT trains going by can be quite a nuisance but the worst of all are the ad-hoc fighter jet practice runs which can creep up on you like a surprise. Nope, I think it's time we moved to quieter pastures.

It's rather fun going around looking at apartments. The great thing about Singapore is that almost EVERYTHING can be found on the maps and online. There are pictures of apartments with details of the nearby amenities down to the distance of the apartment from the MRT station or the nearest school and/or shopping centre. You'd NEVER get that sort of information on a Malaysian apartment on any website or even on the map.

The main criteria here will be floor space, proximity to an MRT station (nope, not getting wheels anytime soon) and amenities, and nothing too old (anything more than 10 years would be old). Oh, and of course, within budget.

So far we've taken a look at Serangoon and are benchmarking our search on the very first apartment we saw there, the Yardley. It has an awesome patio which opens out onto the swimming pool and lets in the sound of running water (great feng shui!!). Great way to camouflage the sound of traffic from the neighbouring highway. I have a contention with the small kitchen though; it's less than half the size of our current place. The fittings were nice and new and it also had it's own cozy little front entrance with a built in show cabinet. The apartment block has three units on one floor and it just so happened that the one that we viewed had its entrance set apart from the other two units. Sweet.

We're not going ahead with that unit because obviously, we need to look around and check out our options further. Also, it's too early to look at apartments and be expected to commit as most owners would prefer immediate tenancy. The soonest we're likely to move is early June. Plus, Serangoon is a leetle bit futher off into the suburbs than where we are now. So...we're still looking.

Toa Payoh is an excellent hub to be living in, closer to the CBD; too bad the apartment we saw, Oleander Towers, didn't live up to Rizal's expectations. It was older and somehow had a musty smell about it even though the agent said it was only vacant for a month (hmmm...not too sure about that). I love it's proximity to the MRT station (I love the MRT station! It's under a mall!) and it's high ceilings. Other than that, I really don't think I can sleep at night on the ground floor with my windows and sliding doors open. I also don't want to have to worry about where the brown cows are or what they're getting up to 24/7 since it's a ground unit so, that's a no go.

Sunglade in Serangoon is also a no-go mainly because of two things: it's smaller and feels much more cramped than even The Yardley and the very frightening sliding doors in the living room which open out to a so-called balcony which is more like a ledge which is about a 1' drop to a window-planter like platform with a few bars as railings. I can just imagine Sophia tumbling out the sliding door onto that platform and then...shudder...brrrrr.....The pool at Sunglade though, is every kid's dream come true: water slides, fountains and jets, a mock sand bed, arches, and just water meandering everywhere.

We'll be upping the ante on the search come April/May. Good thing for us that property prices are heading down so we may even take a look at areas closer to the CBD.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fantasy Streak

Been reading up a storm of fantasy YA fiction recently. And mighty good ones at that (they're all on my library haul lists). I just wish some of these fantasy titles wouldn't have prequels or sequels. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE these tales, I just find the waiting for sequels to be tedious. Almost ALL the fantasy titles I've read have sequels and one of them has a prequel (Graceling, prequel: Fire). Sigh...most of them are out later this year and I hope by then I haven't gotten tired of waiting or forgotten too much of the details of the first book that I'll have to reread it before going on to the sequel.

Why can't fantasy be short and precise?

Hmm...I suppose then I'd run out of some really amazing books to read.

Oh well...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Lift Off!

Swinging up a storm at Pasir Ris Park.

On our first trip to Pasir Ris Park, we were late; it was noon and the slides were hot to the touch. The swings were a pain to wait for and the park looked like it was parched and dying.

On our second trip to the park, we were early. Too early. We got there at around 8:30am and there was still dew on the slides. Good thing about it, though, was that the swings were pretty much ours to hog. So hog we did. Until Sophia decided she'd had enough and said, "Done!" and so we moved on to the now slightly drier slides. The park looked lush, verdant and green, thanks to the days of rain we'd had.

The highlight of the Sunday was a play we went to, specifically for kids aged 2 and above. Called Bedtime, it was a hoot! We weren't sure how the little munchkin would react to sitting down and watching two adult men play at romping around during bedtime (oh, it's all good, clean fun, I assure you) but she thoroughly loved it! So much more than we expected. She yelled out a few choice words, "There!", "Put back!" and jumped up and down and appeared excited whenever there was somersaulting and rolling and general funny bits. She didn't squirm or make a fuss like some kids did. She as attentive and understood the funny antics the two performers were doling out.

Only 45 mins long, it was a 45 mins well-spent, exposing her to the arts and we'll be looking out for more programs to take her along to. We enjoyed watching her reactions as much as we enjoyed the show ourselves.

Library Haul

I'm on a reading marathon!!
  1. Scat - Carl Hiaasen
  2. Graceling - Kristin Cashore
  3. The Thief - Megan Whalen Turner
  4. The Queen of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner
  5. The King of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner

Saturday, March 07, 2009


By the way, I fell sick two days ago. Went to bed with a funny tummy and puked up a storm in the middle of the morning. Came down with the chills and a fever right after.

I should have kept my mouth shut.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A House Full Of Sick

Well, make that Jona and Sophie. I'm keeping fingers and toes crossed that hubby nor myself don't come down with anything.

Sophie came down with a fever late Sunday night. Fever subsided by the next day but she'd got the runs. Tuesday we went to the doc for some sachets of friendly bacteria. She ate some bread which had dried fruit she couldn't digest and heaved that up, once in the evening and in the night. At 3am, she woke crying again because she'd pooped in her diapers and also I think because she was hungry. After a juice of friendly bacteria, she went to bed with a rice cracker in her hand. She awoke crying in the morning demanding nenn-nenn after three months of going without. Today she had no appetite and I felt the first signs of fever resurfacing in the evening. If she's not any better, it's back to the doc tomorrow and hopefully an MC for the whole week so we can make up her missed playgroup classes.

Jona started puking and came down with a temp last night. A couple of panadol and she went to bed. This morning she seemed better but towards late afternoon she started puking again. I sent her off to the doc (with some resistance, she only gave in when her sister said she'd go with her) and she came home with antibiotics. She was diagnosed with a stomach bug, possibly food poisoning.

Am gearing myself up for a battle against getting sick. Time to stuff myself with vitamins.

Library Haul

This doofus discovered belatedly that her library quota is EIGHT books, not FOUR! Realistically though, how many books can one read in 21 days? I left the library with 5 books (only because the additional 2 that I reserved had not been transferred to the community library for pick-up yet).
  1. Book Of Thousand Days - Shannon Hale
  2. The Fire Eternal - Chris D'Lacey
  3. Ever - Gail Carson Levine
  4. Vibes - Amy Kathleen Ryan
  5. Ten Cents A Dance - Christine Fletcher

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