Archive | December, 2018

Goodbye 2018

31 Dec

What a year it has been! At the beginning 2018, never did it cross my mind that I would be facing many ups and downs, making it a truly eventful year. Top on the up trend has been my musings and followers, and my carvings for Gigglesville and Gnomie-wood. The cumulative number of 273 pieces carved consists of Citizens, Big Citizens, Monuments, Whales, Ocean friends, Apeach, Dinky the dinosaur, Gnomes and their homes. But there were no increase in the Superheroes count.

And worthy to mention also is my chase on Candy Crush Soda to reach 1000 Days on my iPad. To me, the daily launch just to get the Daily Bonus is an up trend to achieve that number. I just hope the device don’t die on me as I inch closer to my target.

On the home front, my two girls are all grown up with M1 in her Senior year at University and M2 ready for the next exciting chapter in her life, college-bound having completed high school. Time goes by so fast. Too fast I feel sometimes.

On the down trend, there were notable events too that could almost rival the good ones. These are mostly health-related issues and I must say are pretty life changing.

I was diagnosed with Infectious Colitis in February after a Colonoscopy and Endometriosis in April after a Laparoscopic surgery. Not good so I had to change my diet and lifestyle to deal with these issues. I gave up coffee, eggs, cheese and avoid certain food groups but alcohol and chocolate are still hard to resist. I lost weight as a result from this change which was good until recently, I added some back. Oh well…

However my physical problems didn’t end there…

My sports injury exacerbated and the diagnosis turned out to be a Wrist Tendonitis problem due to my constant carving besides golf. When you think about it, subjecting the wrist to the constant swinging of the clubs and hitting the ball is actually too much to bear upon impact with a weakened wrist. And golf is a non-stop 4.5 hours or thereabouts, thus aggravating the problem acutely. Whereas for carving, the time spent on it can be controlled. I can carve for less than an hour or sometimes three to six hours at a pace without pain that can aggravate the wrist.

So I stopped playing golf for ten weeks to rest the wrist, and did treatment and therapy which helped. Carving continued though but only as and when I have time.

An even bigger down trend is my iPhone5S. It is dying. I thought it would at least last until my birthday next year but the situation does not look good at all. The battery drain issue is just so bad, I find myself using the phone lesser and lesser. One charge can only last a quarter of a day if I even use it a little bit. Perhaps in retrospect, this is a good thing to be less device-dependent? Then again, I suspect this less device-dependency will change once I get a new phone. We shall see.

But I should not focus on the down trends to say life was not good in 2018. There were many up trends as well which I should be thankful for. And I have my friends to make me laugh and be happy, my carving to keep me occupied and contented, and my health is actually much better after those two main episodes.

So as I bid 2018 goodbye, I brace myself for 2019 to be an even more exciting year as there will be major changes, positive ones to look forward to. Thank you 2018, another year to remember by and to 2019, I welcome you with open arms.

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Sooner Than Later

28 Dec

I thought I would go back to playing golf only by the new year but I thought wrong. Two days ago, I played because my golf buddies missed me, I do too them, hence I agreed to the game. Initially I felt trepidation as I wasn’t sure if the Wrist Tendonitis would act up. The feeling was almost bordering on fear and that’s not good, having a negative outlook for something I once enjoyed and love.

So I changed my grip, adjusted things a little bit here and there, and it turned out to be an enjoyable pain-free outing which was nice. Only the rain prevented us from finishing 18-holes when it came down fast and hard with three holes to go.

I must say the adjustments helped tremendously as it quelled the negative feelings and the enjoyment returned. I even managed to score three pars, on a Par 3, Par 4 and amazingly on a Par 5. The company was great as always. And I used hubby’s Never Compromise Stubby Putter (yes, it’s conforming) instead of my usual Scotty Cameron Squareback. I figured if I have to relearn how to play again, I’d better use equipment that is even more forgiving.

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The cute sturdy Stubby is a sure one-putt putter!

I think the mental state of mind over the situation played a role and I am glad I played sooner than later to sign off 2018 with a positive as far as my golf is concerned. And I now look forward to 2019 for my next game with confidence and hopefully, pain-free as well.

Like a Celebrity

27 Dec

Recently I carved Monument #11 from a block of Meranti wood, a four-tier piece meaning there’s four Citizens stacked on top of one another. And I shared the finished piece in a public owl community group in Facebook.

I was amazed and very flattered at the responses and numbers it garnered within 24 hours. There were so many likes, positive comments and shares, and it made me feel like a celebrity, totally great and very motivational.

But now I wonder if the stats increased after that moment of stardom died down. I should revisit to check… Hmm.

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Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

Every year we celebrate Christmas on the Eve with a sumptuous home dinner spread.

Everything on the table was home-made except for the Honey Glazed Ham and dinner buns. There’s the turkey, the main star, and the supporting salad, creamy baked cauliflower, baked potatoes with bacon bits, spaghetti bolognese and dinner buns. And of course, the ham.

After being stuffed to the brim, the first dessert came out – fruits in sweetened syrup. Then before we knew it, the second dessert was served – home-made cheesecake accompanied by coffee. Burp!

The family sans M1 who did not come home this year, had a really good time eating, drinking, chatting and merry-making. Exchanging and opening presents was entertaining and always appreciated.

Here’s wishing all my readers out there, friends and family a wonderful Merry Christmas! Peace, love and joy to all.

In Full Swing

24 Dec

As work in the office is slowing down for the year-end holidays with clients being on leave, the carving at home is in full swing because I now have more time, coming home earlier than normal. With so many pieces to do all at once, the table is a mess.

There’s Gnomes and Whales to carve, Citizens and Monuments to varnish and new pieces to think about, it’s a never ending process but fun.

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My Friends Can Cook, Part 2

21 Dec

Friends are the best thing next to family. Friends who can cook for you are even better! It was a simple Moroccan Chicken Stew, home-cooked that was just heavenly. Coupled with the wine I brought, catching up with friends in the comforts of the home is good for the heart and soul. There were fruits after the meal to sweeten the chatter and laughter.

I could get used to this – more catch up sessions with girlfriends from yesteryears. Perhaps the coming new year will be apt to continue this.

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A sweet combination of longan, strawberries and persimmons

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Cab choice blended well with the chicken!

My Friends Can Cook

20 Dec

Recently a girlfriend cooked Chicken and Lamb Briyani Rice for us, complete with side dishes and lovely garnishing. Hubby and I really enjoyed the meal and the company. It has been awhile since we had this dish, what more home-cooked. And this brought back memories of my first encounter with Basmathi rice when I was at college, the rice being the trigger here.

Over the Summer during the dinosaur era, I had a Pakistani housemate who took over the room from my previous housemates. It was a tad complicated as we were in between housemates but eventually, the living arrangements worked out.

Now during that time, the grad student would cook the one and only thing he knew, Basmathi rice and Curry Chicken. He had great skills cooking the Basmathi rice in a pot over the stove, with the rice always coming out fluffy and not burnt, and very yummy after tossing it in butter. But it’s the preparation of the chicken that I can still remember vividly until today.

He would cut the whole chicken to just eight pieces, no more no less. I asked why and he reasoned that it has to last him four days because he simply does not have the time to cook daily with his busy Summer schedule. With the chunky pieces rationed to one piece per meal for two meals a day, I thought it was the most convenient planning ever!

Compare that method to the preparation taken by the girlfriend on the meal she cooked for us, everything was bite size, flavored with exotic spices and very detailed in presentation. I’m not complaining but just marvelling at the efforts taken by her to ensure that the end results are perfect.

Whether the meal was cooked in simplicity for a hectic Summer schedule or meticulously for an afternoon leisurely lunch, both methods resulted in awesome tastes and I feel privileged to have friends who can cook for me.

Tonight another girlfriend will be cooking for me and I am so looking forward to the occasion and catching up with her on life.

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The final presentation complete with raisins, nuts and quail eggs

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Vege side dish

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Raita side dish

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Papadum side dish

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Dhal with lamb side dish

The Last Session

18 Dec

Last week, I had my last therapy session for the Wrist Tendonitis and there’s good news and bad news. The good news is the tendon area has recovered well. I just need to continue with the strengthening exercises to ensure it’s strong enough for me to go back to playing golf next year.

Now the bad news. There was some tightness on the joint of the thumb! A new and unsuspecting development, stemmed from carving which I was doing extensively prior to going off to Penang. Sigh… I have to figure out the best balance and solution to this. Otherwise, horrors of all horrors, the carving has to stopped.

With Christmas around the corner, perhaps the carving can slow down or cease until the end of the year. We’ll see how it goes.

Ugh! Monday

17 Dec

It’s always the case of needing another vacation to recover from the vacation that just concluded. Ugh! Monday.

The journey home yesterday took longer than necessary – five and a half hours, almost akin to our annual Chinese New Year trip back from hubby’s hometown up North. And this was from Penang which should be shorter. There were two stretches where the crawl was just so tiring and the rain didn’t help. After three hours, we changed drivers.

And the rain continued all the way home. Not feeling refreshed but quite the opposite, I did not even unpack, leaving it to today. Ugh! Monday and we have to be in the office.

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One Last Taste and Sight

16 Dec

We checked out and left Golden Sands Resort way before noon and much earlier than we normally would from a resort. For a change, it felt good not to rush.

We then detoured to visit hubby’s sister before we all made our way to Batu Lanchang Food Market. Finally we had our Char Kueh Teow along with other local fare (more Pasembur, Carrot Cake, Roast Pork, Otak-Otak and Fried Oysters).

After brunch, a quick visit to the Wet Market to buy fruits and experience some sights and smell before we bid Penang goodbye.

I pointed out to M2 the conventional way of how coconut milk is extracted, something teenagers these days do not get to see. I was equally amazed at the fruit stall selling bananas. So many variants!

By 2.00pm, we hit the new bridge and were on our way home.