Tag Archives: Ireland

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.

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!

Reunion Dinner 2020

24 Jan

This is it! This evening the family sans our two girls will gather for the all-important Reunion Dinner. We chose to eat at a restaurant instead of dining at home, slaving over the stoves preparing the dishes.

A time for reflection: I would like to approach the year with more positivity, less pain and less judgemental so that life would be happier and more meaningful. Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy and Prosperous Year ahead, Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

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.

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.

img_7511

Ushering in 2020 with some wine and cheese!

img_7529

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.

img_7560

Roaring display of the lion dance at the mall

img_7550

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!

A Comparison

3 Dec

I must say I’m very impressed with M2’s illustration skills. For someone who did not have any formal training or art lessons prior to being accepted for the Honors design program (yes Honors, you read that right), she’s really good. I’m so glad we discovered her potential and nudged her in the right direction. Now she’s able to flourish.

I was curious as to how I would fare in comparison to her skills. So I attempted the same composition after she sent over the picture that she used for reference for this assignment.

img_6090

Same same but different

I guess I have a more sketchy approach because I don’t have the patience for details. Having worked for so long, I am used to conceptualizing my ideas in rough sketches or thumbnails which I will then brief my team. And they are the ones who will execute with details.

While my attempt was using pencil and hers was ink, and both pieces on paper, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to art. It’s a showcase of one’s talents and I sure am proud of my M2’s talents.

Contrasting First Years

29 Nov

When M1 went off to university four years ago, we had periodic pictorial updates on the classes she took. As she was a Food Science major, obviously it was food-related and the pictures were experiments that were conducted in the lab for her classes. From the preparation to the end result, we had interesting pictures of how to make Camembert cheese and smoked salmon.

img_5648

Fancy some cheese?

img_5650

Or perhaps smoked salmon?

Now with M2 having started her first year at college––she has completed her Foundation Studies with distinction––we are also getting updates on her classes. As she is a Design Communications major, similar to my degree but mine was called Visual Communications with an emphasis in Graphic Design, so obviously we are getting art and design-related pictures.

This being an assignment from her Illustration class. Dang… the details and patience! I am so glad she’s on the right path to nurture her creativity and shape her ability.

1dd3d726-c249-4f4c-a11f-bd8c13769bfe

Gone to the Dark Side

27 Sep

Two days ago, I found out that iOS13 can be downloaded already but truth be told, I wasn’t keeping tab on it. It was M2 who mentioned to me when I spoke to her. She’s doing great by the way, enjoying college life to the max in Ireland.

Anyway, I downloaded the update for my iPhone XR. And my… my… new features to learn! The biggest thing was of course the Dark Mode, which I enabled. Like a Jedi gone bad, I gravitated to the dark side. Bwahahaha…. I couldn’t resist. Seriously I enabled it to only activate after dark, perfect for reading in bed or low light environments, as what Apple envisioned.

The other new fun thing I discovered – creating my very own memoji. This feature was available since iOS12 but I never used it. According to reviews, it’s now more refined and more fun to use. I’m glad to have discovered it now as it’s rather delightful, and my memoji looks pretty close to the real me. I’m a good memoji I must say! Heheh.

The other thing that I was fiddling with was Shortcuts which somewhat works for me and not. Apps that I use constantly, I can’t seem to add to the menu. User problem? I think this will take me some time to figure out.

Nonetheless, I seem to embrace the latest changes well. Gotta keep up with technology even if this means leaping over to the dark side with glee.

img_5353

Happy Anniversary to Us

30 Aug

It’s August already but it feels like 2019 is coming to an end, having gone by so fast with so many changes in both our lives this year. The most significant being M2 going off to college in January and M1 graduating in June. Tomorrow is yet another milestone, our wedding anniversary!

As we celebrate our 24th anniversary, I reflect back with mostly good and happy thoughts of our relationship and love for what we have built together as a team – our family, our home and our design studio.

Not every road to success is a smooth journey; there’s bound to be bumps and potholes along the way but that’s part and parcel of what makes a relationship work – to listen, to compromise and to sync as one to take on this exciting and sometimes challenging journey together.

Happy anniversary to us! And to celebrate the occasion, we are off for the usual alphabet escapade trip. Be back four days later… ta!