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The Big Clean Up

10 Apr

So on Tuesday we got to see our M2. My… my… I think a wee bit taller and definitely fairer but not skinnier which is good. This means I had fed her well during her two-week quarantine.

The customary selfie upon release

We had a big clean-up that day, disinfecting the whole room and throwing whatever that can be washed into the washing machine. The windows were all opened to let in some fresh hot and humid air to start anew!

It was a busy day and it felt good.

Sorry No Housekeeping

27 Mar

It is Day 5 of our quarantine period but if I include the MCO period, it’s actually ten days being at home. I think both hubby and I are still doing okay but I suspect M2 may be a bit restless, cooped up in her room. All the way home but not quite home, no different from before because we are using the phone to communicate despite being in the same house.

We’ve been sending her food in a Bento box, leaving it outside her room. Almost like a hotel’s room service but this is where the service stops. No housekeeping provided so she has to take care of this chore until the quarantine period ends.

The various Bento box meals
Besides meals, there’s Snack Boxes too

Sometimes I even forget she’s back because she’s been so quiet in her room. Of course being out of sight, she’s out of the mind! But as she has online classes everyday, we leave her alone.

I guess I’m still not used to having her back, sooner than the original plans. Oh well, I’m not complaining. Better to have her here than afar with the ever changing situation of the pandemic.

However once the quarantine period is over, the situation remains except that M2 can leave her room. The government of Malaysia had announced on Wednesday, a further two weeks extension of the MCO! So we still have to stay at home until 14th April. It is with fervent hope that this drastic measure will flatten the curve to fight the Covid-19 spread.

Every other day, a new Whale is carved
and completed

And until then, my cooking skills have been improving, my carving has yielded more Whales than ever and my waistline has been expanding much to my dismay. How can it not when I am constantly thinking of all these delicious food that I am now able to cook—because I have the time—instead of design work? In truth, the 16/8 diet has long since been thrown out the window at the start of this.

Gotta hang in there is all I can say.

14-Days Quarantine Now

24 Mar

The situation has changed. As of Monday evening, both of us started a 14-day quarantine because M2 returned from Ireland and we were in contact, hubby directly and myself indirectly. He went to the airport alone to pick her up. The Arrival Hall was eerily quiet devoid of people which was good given the circumstances.

She can’t be missed coming out from the Arrival Hall

M2 will of course do the 14-days quarantine without question having flown back on Qatar Airways and being exposed during the 13.5 hours flight plus a three-hour transit in Doha. We are doing the same too (staying quarantined) as a precaution with almost zero contact with her. She will be confined to her room during this period and the first 72 hours will be critical.

We are thankful that our baby is finally home after the official announcement that classes are ending earlier for the Spring semester. With the onset of Covid-19 spreading so rapidly in Ireland and Europe, you’d never know what would happen next.

The situation is very unpredictable, being so dynamic and constantly evolving. As it is, flights are being suspended to/from Ireland and it would have been impossible for her to come home had we had acted later. Shudder… thank goodness we didn’t.

So for us now, it’s a reset of our situation of staying put. Today being Day 7 of the MCO, it is now reset to 14 days.

Let’s hope we stay sane. One thing’s for sure, my cooking skills will improve by leaps and bounds now that I will be cooking for three!

Smooth Sailing

28 Jan

The weekend passed by quickly and this morning we said our goodbyes to the parents and left at 8.45am. In anticipation of heavy traffic ahead, I packed lots of snacks and drinks to keep us fueled. But we were in for a surprise, it was smooth sailing!

It took us the normal two and a half hours to reach Ipoh, which was good. But we joined a long slow crawl after Ipoh. A quick check on Waze showed an accident further up. Oh dear.

Nonetheless it’s an okay pace because half the journey was completed already. Even if we arrived home by two, we’d still have done it in good time.

Chinese New Year Customs

27 Jan

We left home on the first day of Chinese New Year to head for hubby’s hometown. The traffic wasn’t too bad save for two stretches where it was rather heavy and another where a minor accident occurred. I won’t elaborated on this though…

As always with every other Chinese New Year, it’s a family tradition to visit an Aunty residing in another town nearby and to catch up with other family members. Soon the first day passed by quickly.

Day two was more our thing, and that is playing our customary first Chinese New Year golf game at Darul Aman Golf & Country Club. When we got to the golf club, there was hardly anybody else. But after the first tee off, we saw some other golfers.

The pace was slow in front of us. Then again it was a typical four ball flight versus our two balls. I played well again. Maybe it’s the golf set, the XXIO MP900 clubs are getting more comfortable with each game. But after the game, the elbow hurt to high heaven!

When we crossed over, the waiting pace stretched even more. The flight in front of us apparently bypassed the jumbo flight in front of them! So we ended up trailing the six-balls and it was so tedious as they were extremely slow. And annoyingly noisy but we endured because we were not in a hurry and we didn’t want any bad vibes during this festive time.

We will play another game today before we return tomorrow, bracing for the heavy traffic and long drive ahead.

Preparations for the Lunar New Year

17 Jan

The Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year is one week away, omg! This time, I really take the cake leaving it until the very last minute to prepare to usher in the Year of the Rat. What a champion.

According to the Chinese zodiac, the Rat is the first animal in the 12-year cycle and 2020 is the year of the Male Metal Rat. Do find out what the Metal Rat Year means for you if you believe in Chinese horoscope as it differs for all Chinese zodiac signs. For me, well… good fortune will smile upon me if I put family and friends first!

On the homefront, the customary red cloth at the entrance of the house will be put up this weekend (told you it’s very last minute!) and the customary gifts finally prepared. This year the Reunion Dinner will be with my Mom and my sibling’s family before we head North the next day to hubby’s side of the family. And for the second year in the row, both our girls will not be present for the festive occasion.

The End of the Food Trail

7 Jan

M1 has arrived safely this morning after a long but on time flight. So the adventures of her food trail officially ended on Sunday with an early dinner before leaving for the airport that night. With the end of the food trail, this means no more constant heavy meals for us except for several upcoming Chinese New Year-related dinners with friends that have been pre-arranged earlier. We have gone back to the 16/8 diet routine immediately, kicking it off with a salad lunch yesterday.

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Bak Kut Teh with two sides was a good farewell dinner choice

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Contrasting the meat-based dinner, lunch the next day was just fiber and more fiber

The big question I’m sure that must be on everyone’s mind, did I gain weight? Of course I did! How could I not when the eating window was switched to 16 hours and the non-eating window reduced to eight hours or less, three quarters of which was being asleep. So essentially there was very little time in between for a meal to be fully digested before the next meal.

There were nights when I fretted to step on the bathroom scale knowing the numbers I’d see would not be pleasant. But I took it in stride because I knew the situation was temporary and it won’t last long.

There were several times when the weight climbed steadily upwards, it was rather horrifying. However the numbers fluctuated when we ate less; I even managed to squeeze in a couple of salad lunches to lessen the guilt. Thankfully, yesterday morning when I stepped on the bathroom scale, the final result was somewhat comforting for I had expected it to be more. I gained only a kilo (2.2lbs) which wasn’t too bad considering it did spiked up more than that!

I’m sure within a week, this gain would be erased and the 16/8 continues until when Chinese New Year comes around, a new round of festive eating to indulge in!

Now We Wait

6 Jan

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We thought it was rather cute to stand in front of KFC’s Fun Land signage at KLIA.

Last night, we sent M1 off. The two and a half weeks of wonderful quality time together has come to an end, so has the gastronomic food trail too. She had a long ‘To Eat’ list and we got most on it covered. But towards the last few days, hubby and I surrendered and was glad her friends took her out for a couple of dinners giving us a breather.

Now we wait, having heard from her this morning when she arrived in Incheon Airport on time and departed for Narita two hours later. Soon we will hear from her when she arrives in Narita to complete her second leg. After that we will have to wait until the wee hours of Tuesday morning (or Monday past midnight) when she lands in Portland to hear from her again. Long wait. Long trip.

No tears this time and like I said, acceptance. And quietness all over again at home. Sigh… best if I channel my focus now towards preparing for Chinese New Year.

Beginnings and Endings

3 Jan

The new year started off rather quietly for us. We stayed home that evening and had a fun time cooking together, preparing dinner for a very leisurely paced New Year’s Eve meal. I felt this was better quality time instead of going out and be squashed in the crowds.

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Ushering in 2020 with some wine and cheese!

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Sautéd mushrooms, baked potato wedges, honey-glazed carrots, pork steak, greens and a pasta. Quite a meal!

By midnight after seeing some of the fireworks that we could see from our windows, we continued to watch Netflix, waiting to Skype with M2. After we finally heard from her, we went to bed after that! No revelry beyond as it felt just like any other day.

The new beginning is supposed to bring new excitement. We have not even fully digested the spirit of Christmas, New Year’s mood, suddenly at the turn, Chinese New Year things popped up! Decorations at the mall were updated, along with cookies, clothes especially Cheongsams and all things Chinese New Year related were on full display. I am so not ready yet for the next festive celebration.

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Roaring display of the lion dance at the mall

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The new beginning means an ending for us. The food trail is coming to an end as M1’s time with us is ending soon. It’s not sadness all over again but acceptance.

As we cherish the next two days before she leaves, we hope to spend quality time with her again in the future. It has been truly wonderful. Maybe we will visit her in the US again? Who knows? The year 2020 will be full of surprises.

Looking Back at 2019

31 Dec

Well well… it looks like another year has gone by again. Time to file the memories away to recall later fondly and another set of annual resolutions to make. Or break. But the end of 2019 is much more than another year gone by, it’s the end of a decade!

Looking back, I’ve had my fair share of good memories and heartaches with many things happening in the year. After all, there’s 365 days. What stood out most for me can be summed up to these.

Both girls are all grown up, with one having graduated and continuing on with grad school in the US and the other just starting college in Ireland. Proud parent moments. Then there’s me reaching the milestone big five birthday. Happy me occasion.

My carving hobby resulted in a mixed growth in Gigglesville’s population this year. There were only 13 new Citizens to reach 194 (I couldn’t push myself to reach 200), the Whales grew to 48, with 30 new ones while the Gnomes had only two new giant ones to make three dozen as of 2019. It could be better.

But with this carving activity, there was a price to pay: my aggravated injuries. My golf game suffered as a consequence and for the first time, I find myself not giving the sport any priority anymore. I lost the will to excel when injuries persisted. Hopefully this mindset can change to a more positive one come 2020.

Besides the sports injury, my endometriosis pain was well, a pain to deal with this year. More acute than ever, I was at the mercy of a monthly recurrence, it was dreadful. So I started the 16/8 intermittent fasting diet to manage the painful backache and cramp attacks. With a controlled diet and a list of food to avoid, losing a fair bit of weight along the way was a booster and motivation too besides minimizing the agony. It helped.

Not everything was rosy and good though. My iPad Mini has been wonky and unreliable with each passing day, my MacBook Air had to be resuscitated but nothing compared to losing our beloved English bulldog, Rooney aka official pet number one to old age and sickness. It was the saddest day of our lives and suddenly, the house was emptier than ever and our lives changed.

Looking back, if I were to put 2019 into perspective of a phrase, ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ aptly summarizes the year for me. Now as I ponder what to expect for the new year and new decade, I hope it will be one that focuses on ‘the good, the better and the best’. No resolutions needed though.

To everyone, here’s wishing you an awesome 2020 ahead, Happy New Year and Goodbye 2019!