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A New Interest

22 Feb

Of late my iPad Mini has been lagging and not compatible with my usual games – Candy Crush Soda and both the Monster Busters. I can launch the apps, collect the daily rewards and that’s it. Just can’t play and it’s exasperating.

So prior to Chinese New Year, I diverted my attention to a new interest, jigsaw puzzles. A mundane game, if you can even call it a game but at least there’s more interaction with it than the others. I’ve completed five puzzles already, and started on a 560-piece puzzle this morning.

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Change in Pattern, Part 2

20 Feb

My hopes for a six hours drive home yesterday was not to be as my estimates were way off! The drive home was just super duper long.

It started out smoothly but only for awhile. Traffic then became so heavy and got worst, culminating with a standstill situation on the freaking highway and a crawl at 10km/h, sometimes 30km/h for a good part of the journey for no apparent reason. Ridiculous. And it rained, making the drive more tiring. All in all it took us nine and a half hours to reach home.

This is part and parcel of Chinese New Year – the traffic crawl besides the food and family. Because it’s only a once-a-year experience, we take it in stride. If not, we’d never go back for the occasion. Thank goodness, we had food, drinks, music, devices, cables and power banks to keep us entertained during the long drive home.

Anyway, enough of the driving ordeal, what’s more important was the activities we did during the four days in hubby’s hometown which was a change in pattern from previous years.

Besides the food and rest, we managed to play two rounds of golf instead of just one round. During the first game at Darul Aman Golf Club, I lost my nine iron and discovered the loss almost immediately. I absent-mindedly left it somewhere on the fairway approaching the green at Hole One. Amazingly I wasn’t too upset and rationalized I did not need it, save for a couple of shots, and managed for the rest of the game.

It was the heat that got to me more than the loss honestly. After the game, we reported the loss and thank goodness, the club was found and returned within a short time. Phew… relief. I had contemplated my options if it wasn’t returned. An excuse for a new set perhaps? Hmm…

The next day, we played at a different course, Royal Kedah Club and after two days of back-to-back games, I’m happy to say there was no pain felt on the limbs. In other words, no recurrence of the tennis elbow. A good sign indeed considering I was using just all my irons for both games. No driver, woods or hybrid clubs at all.

The change in pattern also saw us catching the latest Marvel Comics’ superhero movie, Black Panther which was refreshing and very entertaining. And we visited a plant enthusiast whom hubby befriended on Facebook and got to see his eye-popping huge staghorn ferns at his farm. Hubby bought two staghorns from his new friend and promised to visit again on our next trip.

And this year, we start work on the Fifth Day of Chinese New Year instead of the Sixth Day which has been the norm for us for years. Definitely a change in pattern for the Year of the Dog.

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Lovely blue skies and paddy fields on the right

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One of the many meals the family had

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The big staghorn ferns and the two purchased smaller ferns mounted on wood

Change in Pattern

19 Feb

It used to be for every Chinese New Year when we are back in hubby’s hometown, we’d eat, sleep, eat some more, do nothing and eat again. Coupled with the hot weather, a full tummy definitely makes one sleepy. This whole process will then be repeated for the next few days. 

This year however, it’s slightly different. For the eating I ate less and as for the sleeping, I slept less too. Because of less intake, the need to sleep was less. I am not complaining; it had been a restful break despite the change in pattern.

We say goodbye to the old folks as we head home today. Again, let’s hope the traffic will not be heavy and be smooth all the way. If we are lucky, we should get home within six hours, an hour more than the typical non-festive traveling time. Otherwise it could be a very tiring eight or even nine hours crawl. We shall see…

Reunion Dinner 2018

15 Feb

Yesterday was our last day at work before we break for Chinese New Year and boy was it a busy day. I managed to clear most of my work – the boombox in the office has been inspirational, and looking forward to a stress-free break. I’m sure I am not the only one with this feeling.

Reunion Dinner 2018 is sans M1 again with the occasion at my sibling’s home. Every year it’s a debate whether to have this auspicious gathering at home or in a Chinese restaurant and many a time, the choice of having it at home outweighs the eating out choice. This is because the Chinese restaurants will hold two dinner sessions for families and this feels very rushed. Imagine having to eat an eight-course dinner within a hurried and noisy environment. Whereas at home, it’s at a leisurely and comfortable pace.

I hear these days some restaurants are now even doing three dinner sessions capitalising on the occasion! Well, however it is done, it is an all important gathering for the Chinese. We look forward to the Year of the Dog tomorrow to usher in a prosperous and healthy year ahead!

Getting the Priorities Right

13 Feb

My goodness, it suddenly hit me that Chinese New Year is three days away! And I am so not prepared. The customary red cloth is finally up, but no further festive decors in the house because I chose to carve instead!

I have not stocked up my fridge with real food because there’s chocolate and candies hogging the space. And hubby bought drinks to fill the fridge – beer and more beer plus some soft drinks, all of which I cannot consume. Wait a second, I shouldn’t be thinking of drinking any alcohol with my current situation. Furthermore, the drinks are for visiting guests during the festivity! Need to get my priorities right here…

To add to my unpreparedness, I have not even started packing for the trip up North to hubby’s hometown on the First Day of Chinese New Year although I made the effort to pack my golf set. My priorities seem to be skewed.

So this year, the Reunion Dinner will be with Mom and my sibling and his family. Only M1 remains absent as she is still in the US. Nonetheless, it will be a boisterous affair with lots to eat and drink with everyone around but poor me, I have to be careful on my intake in case there’s a reaction. At least I am getting my priority right on this.

Finally It’s Done

12 Feb

Over the weekend, we finally pushed ourselves to get ready for Chinese New Year. And when I say get ready, it means putting up the customary red cloth at the entrance of the house. Finally it’s done. Yay. But am I ready for the upcoming festivity?

I think I am looking forward more to the break to relax and do nothing because lately, work has been overwhelming and a break is much needed. As for the festivities, merry-making and food, it will be a challenge to manage because my intestines are still a bit sensitive.

I have gone a week without coffee and somehow doing well. And watching what I eat, I have lost 1.5kgs already as a result of all this extra precaution. Who knows in three months’ time, I would lose a few more kilos! Let’s see how I hold up with during Chinese New Year.

Where Did Time Go?

2 Feb

We had two public holidays in a row in the middle of the week, Wednesday and Thursday. And suddenly, it’s February already! My… my… where did time go? While it was nice to have a two-day break, honestly, it’s wasting precious time when another long holiday is coming up soon.

This year, the Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year falls on 16th February and as usual, I am unprepared. With work catching up and the urgency to finish up as much as possible before we break for the holiday, I find myself hardly having any time to prepare for the festivities. Throw in my carving and wanting to play golf, 24 hours in a day is simply insufficient to prepare. Sigh…

Happy 21st M1!

19 Jan

Two weeks ago, we had an early birthday celebration for M1 prior to her return to the US. Today she turns 21. Dang… I feel old and no wonder the dinosaur sentiments are stronger than ever!

Although she is not here with us, the three of us will go out to celebrate this evening. But I am sure she will go out with her friends and celebrate, sensibly I hope, especially now that she is of legal drinking age.

I remember when I turned 21, I was in class and a classmate brought a six-pack of beer (in a brown bag) and gifted me. He thought it was significant, I thought he was being funny. Thank goodness the design lecturer did not notice or pretended not to notice. And yes, I did go out to the bar and celebrated sensibly.

Happy birthday my dearest M1! May you stay sensible and wonderful. And like what I said last year, I will say this again, no matter how grown up you have become, you will always remain my baby. Love you to the moon and back! Mwah.

A Quiet Start

2 Jan

It was a Monday but felt like a Sunday. The girls slept in because we didn’t have any solid plans and being so stuffed from dinner the night before and the many nights before as well! We have been dutifully ploughing through M1’s To Eat List before she goes back.

As for us, hubby was at his usual puttering around the garden and I was back at carving after a hiatus. With M1 back, there has been so much to do but unfortunately, sitting around at home to carve has not been one of the activity.

So yesterday, it was nice to relax at home and Citizen #120 was born! 120. What a significant number and on the first day of the new year. I have come so far for Gigglesville and I think this year the township will boom at an even greater pace. I am excited at the prospect.

It may be a quiet start but it’s a good start. We are back at work today and M2 is at school without any issues waking up.

Happy New Year

1 Jan

Happy New Year folks! A brand new year and a brand new outlook. Does it feel any different? Honestly, no. I have stopped making resolutions because I know I cannot keep them, so no point in trying to kid myself.

We had a quiet lead-in to welcome the new year. Nothing out of sorts, the girls and I spent quality time together whilst hubby was with his friends for a bit. We actually went shopping and as usual, felt overwhelmed by the crowd. Then dinner was at my sibling’s home, a simple home-cooked meal, nothing elaborate.

We even managed to reach home on time to watch some fireworks display within and afar from our neighborhood in the comforts of the house. Unlike last year where we were at a friend’s place for a party and caught some dazzling displays up close but after that, was stuck in a traffic jam upon leaving the place.

A quiet usher-in, let’s hope 2018 will be an exciting and positive one more than anything else.