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Off We Go Again

23 Jun

It’s a long weekend ahead because of the Hari Raya holidays and we are off to hubby’s hometown to see the grandparents. We anticipate a long drive ahead, similar to during Chinese New Year when city folks go back to their respective hometowns. Oh well, part and parcel of the festivities and long holidays…

We will get there when we get there. Just drive safe and no hurry, safe travels to all!

From Near and Far

28 Apr

It’s always nice to have a warm fuzzy feeling when receiving birthday greetings from family and friends, even strangers from near and far.

The first few birthday wishes came from the games I play (no, it’s not from the Candy Crush team but rather Monster Busters), strangers in other words. But I thought it was sweet and thoughtful. Gifted with a week’s worth of free play and 10,000 play coins, I think these game developers are very connected to their loyal gamers. Thank you.

And of course on the actual day, phone calls, emails, wishes on Facebook, WhatsApp and SMS/Messenger came from friends, family members as well as my bank, my credit cards, my loyalty program cards and even the local area politician, strangers in other words!

The world has become smaller—from the US, Bermuda and London to Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur—with the use of social media and technology to connect us on a daily basis and on special occasions. 

I’d like to thank everyone for your thoughtfulness and well wishes. Made the day more meaningful. To a better year ahead!

  

The Gum Ball Machine, Part 2

10 Feb

After much thought about the M&Ms for my gum ball machine, I have decided not to fill it up. Sigh… A friend suggested to mix the plain ones and the peanut ones if I was undecided. What a brilliant idea! Tempting, very tempting but I have to go on diet and having a chocolate dispensing machine within my reach may thwart my plans.

The Chinese New Year celebration is almost over with one last Chap Goh Meh dinner with Mom and my sibling’s family tomorrow night, so I have to stay disciplined and go ahead with the diet intention.

I need to lose all that weight gained from the constant eating since December last year when M1 came home for Christmas. Also because I feel a psychological expansion of my waistline when I put on my only pair of Levi’s and it feels tight. Not good especially when the Levi’s is those stretchy ones. Thank goodness, I was back at the gym earlier in the week to get things going.

So for now, the gum ball machine remains a decorative item and not a chocolate dispensing machine. But… me being me, I couldn’t resist the chocolate temptation and gave in to getting a small packet of M&Ms. I reasoned that the diet starts only next week, a little now wouldn’t hurt. Weakling.

  

The Drive Home, Part 2

30 Jan

We came home by yesterday after the family Reunion Dinner on Friday night. The drive home wasn’t that bad as it took five and a half hours, an hour more than normal.

Every year during the Chinese New Year exodus, the drive both ways would be a long crawl with almost bumper-to-bumper traffic. On Friday, it took six hours and the return, a half hour less, far less than I had originally anticipated prior to the start of the trip.

There were a couple of years it took us ten hours just to get home, hence the fear. So I am thankful we arrived home with nothing close to those sort of hours yesterday.

There were several accidents along the drive up north but I wouldn’t call them accidents; just mere breakdowns of single vehicles. Not even any contact of two vehicles and the slow down was unavoidable, causing some stretches of the drive to be a crawl. I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The time with the family was all about eating. And we had good home cooked meals by the Aunty. Now that we are back here, it will be more visiting to other relatives and more yummies to savor!

We officially go back to work on Thursday.

The Drive Home

27 Jan

Today is the Reunion Dinner and for the first time for as long as I can remember, we are just leaving home the day itself and not a day earlier to attend the occasion. We just could not leave yesterday because of reasons worthy of another story or two. This year, the dinner is with hubby’s family up north.

I anticipate a ten hour-journey for what is normally a four or five hour drive. Oh well, we are prepared with much music choices, sandwiches, chips and drinks for the car, I just hope traffic will be kind. Who knows? We may arrive on time.

Here’s wishing everyone a very Gong Xi Fa Cai and may the Year of the Rooster bring you much happiness, success and prosperity that you will want to crow about it all year long!

Teenagers These Days

26 Jan

You know you are a dinosaur when the teenagers today go out and they don’t need you for transport home. Instead they come home by GrabCar (equivalent to Uber).

Yes, this is our baby, M2 the teenager, coming home with friends after dinner on a Saturday night. And on top of this, they all slept over, with permission of course.

Teenagers these days, I have no words to further elaborate.

Year In, Year Out

2 Jan

Happy New Year world! With the new year ushered in, let there be more positive vibes, more love and more stories to share!

This New Year countdown has been different for us. Year in, year out for the last few years, we would stay home for a simple home-cooked meal, paired with a bottle of wine and just relax. By eleven, we would be in bed and by the stroke of midnight, the fireworks in the neighborhood would go off and entertained us. Then in the horizon, there would more fireworks displays and we would ooh and ahh at the bursts of colors as well.

This year, a friend invited us to her house for dinner for the New Year Countdown. And what we had was a front row view of the fireworks display within the community that she lived in. We were only two streets away from the launch site; only the tall hedges between the two streets blocked the view of the actual launch.

For a change, it was breathtaking and simply awesome to see the fireworks display so up close instead of from the bedroom window. I think we ooh-ed and aah-ed for the entire ten minutes, definitely more than all the previous years combined.

It was all good positive vibes especially with the whole place organized as a carnival with lots of people, food stalls, food trucks and even a stage for live performances. A fitting welcome for the year in and curtains down to the year out.

Happy New Year!

   
    
   

Having A Party

12 Dec

I don’t normally cook but I do enjoy the task occasionally. Over the weekend, we hosted a birthday dinner (for hubby) and had a dozen friends over. Normally with numbers like these, we would just have a BBQ but the constant wet weather made it impossible to have an outdoor cookout. So I cooked.

I wouldn’t say it was tiring because I had help from hubby, M2 and the maid. Everyone played a role; it was good planning and timing that resulted in the tasks going smoothly without a hitch. 

And the Saturday evening turned out very enjoyable. Lots of alcohol (beer, tequila cocktails, whiskey, Riesling, Chandon Brut and more whiskey), laughter and of course food. Lots of food that was, in my opinion very balanced – covering all the basic food groups: carbo (pasta and garlic bread), fibre (salad), fruits (there were grapes and pineapples in the hor d’oeuvres), milk/cheese (ice cream and cake) and protein (ribs and chicken).

Even the weather was cooperative. It drizzled for a short while and the wind was rather strong, creating a really cool and windy night. Sitting out at the terrace was just wonderful.

The star of the night was the ribs. I searched the internet high and low and found this ‘Easy Fall-off-the-Bone Oven Baked Ribs‘ recipe from inspiredtaste.net the easiest to do. But time was of the essence when baking the ribs. I decided–to save time–to also boil a second batch of ribs (with just garlic, salt and pepper) and doused it with ready BBQ sauce to bake so that everything was ready by the time all the guests arrived. Both recipes turned out excellent, complementing the balanced basic food group menu.

We did good and had a great time playing hosts. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind hosting a party and baking some ribs again.

Top tray was first batch, bottom tray the second batch

Road Trip Again

14 Nov

We enjoy road trips every now and then. Four years ago, we went on our most epic road trip and what I called ‘The Great Adventure Road Trip‘. It was a 21-day trip that covered three states and a driving distance of 2,285 miles of the West Coast of the USA, flying distance not inclusive.

We started off from Phoenix getting in from LAX with Southwest Airlines. From Phoenix, we picked up the keys to our rented MPV and headed off to Chandler, Flagstaff (to visit my college), the Grand Canyon, Henderson, Las Vegas, Anaheim, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

It wasn’t so much to eat but rather to see old friends, places and do things; to share with my family places that I’ve experienced and to enjoy new sights together. Aahh… What an adventure we had and I would do it again if the opportunity came around.

It sure is nice to reminisce and while we don’t do such lengthy road trips anymore, it is equally nice to go on one, albeit shorter. And of late, the short local trips taken focuses more on food. 

Over the weekend, we took a 3D/2N trip to Penang to attend a cousin’s wedding, skipping work and school on Friday. And while we were there, the local Penang food was top most on our mind. This gave us an opportunity to compare the flavors of Penang with Ipoh, which we visited two weeks ago.

I must say there is a difference and conclude that the Char Kueh Teow, Lobak and Assam Laksa in Penang are simple mouth watering while the Loh Shi Fun and Chicken Rice with Beansprouts in Ipoh are tops. So be sure to have these items at the top of your checklist of must-eat before you try anything else.

The Little Escapade, Part 2

1 Nov

The plans for the ‘Little Escapade’ was a little different from our previous trips to Ipoh. We stayed at Z Hotel this time, a new boutique hotel with an impressive cafe offering a wide range of artisan coffee, tea and cakes. But these drinks and desserts were not on our mind, local food was.

We walked quite a fair bit going on a food trail during this trip. I think Ipoh can rival Penang as a food paradise. We had two dinners at two different locations which were very good. Simple and cheap, we were definitely sated.

 

Day 1, dinner #1

  

Day 1, dinner #2

 The ‘hor fun’ in Ipoh is really, really good. It’s a known fact that it’s the water source at this place that makes the ‘hor fun’ and beansprouts taste different. Besides these two, we find that we also like the local coffee and snacks.

We made many foodie stops, trying a little of everything so that we get to eat as many varieties as possible. And with everything within walking range from the hotel, we did not have to feel guilty with the input.

 

The long breakfast queue for dim sum

  

Day 2, breakfast #1

  

Day 2, dessert after breakfast #1

  

Day 2, breakfast #2

 The peanut snack is one amazing snack. We found ourselves queuing up twice to buy it. On Saturday we were in line for half an hour only to abandon the attempt because it would derail our golf plans. So the next day, we went again and ended up queuing for an hour and a half! A friend asked was it that good and worth the wait? Yes I would say. The taste is definitely unique.

  
On Sunday, we had two breakfasts so lunch was not even on our mind. Working off the breakfast, we walked and discovered Concubine Lane, an interesting lane that has quirky shops as well as street vendors selling trinkets and snacks. With such wonderful discoveries, Ipoh is fast becoming the choice option for a getaway for us.

 

The little boy with his ice ball

 
By mid-afternoon, it was time to leave and head home before the traffic built up. And with a car full of food and snack purchases, I think this ‘Little Escapade’ was a deserving one. I sure look forward to our next destressing trip!