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A New Beginning

15 Jan

M2’s travel to Ireland was more manageable to track, eight hours behind our time compared M1’s travel to the US where the time difference was much more and so hard to keep up, travelling back in time and all.

She had a big send-off entourage which was nice but emotional at the same time. Sad tears flowed among family and friends present at the airport to see her off but there was also happiness for her as she faces a new beginning.

Like her cousins and sister, we are very proud of M2 to bravely go off to college without us having to accompany her – being so young at 17 and a half years old, surpassing even M1. Her taking this path in stride, to see and experience the world and be more independent makes me tear up when I think about it because my baby is all grown up.

M2 may be travelling in a group with other students unlike M1, who travelled solo but the fact remains both girls didn’t need us to go with them. M1 graduates this year while M2 has just begun her exciting journey.

We got home at almost two in the morning and I couldn’t sleep, needing to keep track of her on flightaware.com. This is the best site/app ever to live track the what, where and when status of an aircraft. When morning came, I was like a zombie in the office from the lack of sleep and my eyes still stung and remained puffed from all the tears shed.

By Monday evening our time, she arrived safely. The layover in Dubai wasn’t too long and Emirates is a great airline. I heave a sigh of relief knowing she’s well on her way to greater things in life.

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M2 onwards to her new and exciting beginning!

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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.

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.

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.

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

A Lovely Morning

15 Dec

It was indeed a lovely morning after breakfast. The sun was bright and hot and I got toasted a wee bit while working on Codewords on the book instead of the phone, my dying iPhone5S.

An occasional dip in the sea then the pool, we couldn’t ask for more. By lunchtime, automatically our tummies were rumbling and we opted for sandwiches and a Tandoori pizza by the poolside.

Unfortunately, the beer that I intended to drink did not materialized as the mocktail Margarita concoction on the menu sounded very tempting, so we had a jug of it. It was very good and refreshing.

Feeling contented and with a light breeze blowing, the setup was perfect for a snooze! And we almost did but decided to go for another dip in the sea after resting long enough for the food to digest.

Soon after, our Penang friends dropped by the resort to catch up with us and it was nice to see them again. Amidst our chatter, the sky turned dark and cloudy again. Yes it rained.

Thank goodness I managed to work on my tan earlier in the morning. Let’s hope tomorrow, being our last day (how quickly time went by), I can still catch a bit more sun in the morning before we check out and leave for home.

Whale of a Time

19 Nov

Sometimes doing the same thing over and over again can be quite mundane. I am not saying Citizens, Monuments and Gnomes are getting boring but once in a while, I’d like to do something different for variety.

That’s why there are Superheroes, Dinky the dinosaur, Halloween Owl, giant Citizens, a couple of Gnome Homes, an Apeach and whales in the collection. My latest challenge was carving another whale but a much larger one than the four that I have carved.

Larger because it will double up as a smart phone holder as well. The idea came about after a dim sum meal with a girlfriend. I totally had a whale of a time (pun intended) carving this new baby on a glued two-piece Meranti. So much so, I started another one in between some other efforts.

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Hubby’s Samsung A6+ sitting on the whale

 

Is Golf Really Healthy? Part 2

30 Oct

My earlier assumption of burning 200-400 calories during a round of golf was off by a whole lot! I used to be able to hit such numbers but these days, it’s not even close.

Two weekends ago, during the Saturday morning golf game, I clocked 5.9km with 9,993 steps but burned only 127 calories. This was according to my Xiaomi MiBand2. Hmm… has my metabolism slowed down?

Anyway true to my earlier take on the after game plans, the four of us (plus a friend) had lunch but skipped the alcohol. The spread may not look or feel heavy but I believe the calories tipped over what I burned. Oh well…

I shouldn’t be too nit-picky with such things if I want to enjoy the company of friends during a round of golf. Do note these days, it’s more the company than the game for me because of the nagging pain on the left hand.

Speaking of left hand, I have decided to go get an x-ray done to assess the situation and see where do I go from here. I am so not looking forward to this I must say…

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Noodles, vege, fruit vege, more vege, anchovies & onions plus a fish porridge, nothing too heavy…

Is Golf Really Healthy?

26 Oct

Many will think that golf is a good and healthy activity as a form of exercise but I don’t think so. Think about it for a minute.

You may exert a lot of energy and probably burn 200-400 calories from the four and a half hours outing but along the way, old sports injury – if there are any, are subjected to more stress. Such is the situation with my left wrist and obviously, this is not healthy. Or you may unfortunately pick up new injuries.

And usually after the game, a hearty meal ensues whether it is a morning or afternoon game. On top of that, the alcohol intake, be it beer or whiskey… goodness! All that hard work gone in a jiffy.

A pint of beer is about 180-208 calories (depending on brew type and brand) while a shot of whiskey is about 64 calories and more, depending on proof percentage. No one stops at just a pint or a shot, let me tell you. I know I don’t. This probably explains why I have gained some weight recently despite the limited diet due to my Endometriosis – the meals and drinks that follow after each and every game.

You may feel good thinking you managed to burn 200-400 calories initially but six hours later, if not careful or disciplined, you end up putting back more calories than what was burnt in the first place!

Imagine week in, week out, the once a week or more games with this routine. One may argue that consumption of food and drinks was in moderation or very little but mind you, every little bit counts.

In conclusion, golf may be a good and healthy sports by itself, it is the after-game indiscipline that will just void all that form of exercise and render it ineffective.