Recently in how the day went Category
Sis dragged me to thai boxing class. I’m not very keen on classes, I’ve tried yoga, aerobics and dancing and didn’t really enjoy them. This thai boxing was quite okay, long warm up with stretching, squats, crunches and the like then it was punching, jabbing and kicking against the punching bag or the trainer. It was good, I wasn’t all that winded. But I don’t think I’ll go again.
Did some work on her book, then it was mad rush to take my niece to enopi class then taikwondo class. Grilled some fish back at Sis’ home for dinner. Quite a full day.
Went with Mum to Sai Kung, a bit out in the countryside. Still quite crowded. There’s a pier, a walk to a small sandy beach and traditional shopping streets. Saw a guy flying a kite made up of more than 100 small paper pieces.
There was a normal covered wet market, but alongside the pier fishing boats come right up to sell their catch direct to customers — fish, lobster, crab, prawn, clams, whelks, all sorts. Most of the restaurants offer seafood. We had a set dinner for 2: lobster with noodles, steamed small prawns, steamed fish, steamed abalone. All in all a good meal and a good day.
Korean bbq with family. It’s the first time my niece has tried it, and she said it’s “fun.” This is an all-you-can-eat so there was a neverending selection of vegetables, meat, noodles, rice, fruit, dessert and drink. I started doing the beef Korean style, wrapped in lettuce with kimchee and bean paste. Less meat, more filling.
Met up with mm in the afternoon for another drive, this time to an industrial building that had lots of outlets. Clothes and furniture and food. The one thing about this building is the lifts are very inefficient so there are people walking up and down the stairs. There are different stairwells and on some floors the doors don’t open. It’s a sort of adventure.
We were there till late, caught this sunset when browsing through a furniture store and took this on my iphone through their window. Nice.
Met up for mm, she had car hunting on her mind having all of a sudden decided she wanted to buy a car. Had shanghainese lunch — eel noodles, snow peas with dried tofu and jellied pig’s trotter. It’s been a long time since I had the sautéed eels, used to have it a lot with my grandparents. Fried with bean sprouts and noodes, it was more filling and less oily.
Then went to a bunch of dealers, first to look at new cars. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford. Then to a second hand place. Saw a lovely BMW 118i that I liked. Not many golfs so we headed to the VW dealer. Booked a test drive for next week.
It was like going out with a good friend. That’s as much as I can expect nowadays. 10hrs together is better than sitting around like an idiot at home.
Met up with mm for tea. Then her friend called, they were meeting for dinner but she was ready early. We all ended up going for drinks and dinner together. Afterwards we went to the friend’s house and met her dogs. Ugh. Not well trained, barking, following everyone around, reaching up to your legs. Lucky they are small so I can ignore them. Stupid things.
Up early again, did more laundry before heading to the same restaurant as yesterday for brunch. A little more packing and it was time to leave. This time there wasn’t much traffic delay, we were travelling back on the coach. Had dinner, then back home.
I went to bed before 9pm and was out as soon as my head hit the pillow. Woke up for a couple of hours at 3am, which was to be expected. By the time I opened my eyes again it was 2pm. Wow. Sleepyhead.
I’d cleared the fridge but there’s still a lot of food in the freezer and in the cupboard, but I just had my usual tea before heading out to the market and the supermarket. Got fruit and veg at the street market and did a big enough shop at the supermarket to get free delivery — coke zero, wine, comfort, toilet tissue, olive oil, campbell’s soup all add up.
Met mm for a glass of wine so we could update each other on what’s been happening the past 10 days. She had to go visit a friend’s mother at hospital so she couldn’t stay for dinner. I got the bus home and watched tv for a while. I know there are 800 pics waiting for me to sort out, I’ll try to get to them soon.
In the morning I did a fairly deep clean, the sort that involved dusting the top of cabinets and vacuuming behind furniture. More strenuous than normal cleaning; with all the furniture moving I was sweating up a storm. At least the flat is cleaner now. The new lighter floors means I can see every single speck of dust, which bothers me more than it used to. May be our standards of housekeeping change over the years.
Weather was nice, the sun was out and it wasn’t too cold. Went out for a walk, and ended up walking for over 2 hours. Went to this store called Gateway, which I think is trying to emulate Costco — they even have Kirkland branded stuff, bulk buy sizes of cereal and everything is displayed in a warehouse-like basement space. Prices are high though, higher than supermarkets, probably due to shipment. More attracting expats who miss home than bargain hunters. Things like A&W root beer, jello, cranberry sauce, steak rub seasoning that isn’t available at normal stores.
The rest of the day was spent watching a bunch of Man vs Wild episodes. My Sis gave me a flint and a credit card sized survival tool, she’s always on about survival in the wilderness. I keep thinking, it’s more likely that we’d need urban survival tools rather than in the wilderness. Like if there’s a natural disaster or alien attacks like in the movies. It is worth packing an emergency bag, time to do some research.
Didn’t sleep very well, ended up getting up and reading. Sigh, unfamiliar bed at mm’s. We didn’t get up till 10.30am. Had brunch of bratwurst and fried eggs, I played on her mbp and she practiced piano for a bit. Leisurely headed out to catch the ferry to the “opposite side” — a sort of traditional fishing village that served lots of seafood. Nice view of the boats moored in the typhoon shelter.
Caught a minibus into town, aimlessly walked around, then found another ferry to take us back. Dinner at a market restaurant, very very busy but very very good food — golden prawns, stir fried squid thai style, vegetables, fresh fish congee. I ordered a beer, which came served in a chilled bowl. Heh.
Stayed home all day. Played computer games, read some, did research into paints colours. The most constructive thing I did was to replace the hinges on one of the kitchen cabinet doors. These spring-loaded hinges look complicated, and I had difficulty figuring out how to open them. But the mechanism of how the 2 parts fit was pretty straight-forward, once we took out the old ones and replaced with new ones. Even managed to adjust the doors properly.
Went with Mum to the market to do this week’s shopping. Ack. People everywhere. My idea of grocery shopping is pushing a trolley around a supermarket. Her version is going to the wet market in the middle of a crowded town centre and fighting your way through the narrow corridors and what seems to be the entire population of the world. And it was crowded on the train back. These people have no concept of either personal space or indoor voice. I know on travel programs they love places like this. I hate it.
Yes, I woke up at 2am and didn’t get back to sleep till almost 5am. Woke up also to itchy eyes and runny nose. Ah, the dreaded pollution strikes again. I’d forgotten. So much so that I left my anti-histamine supply in the shipment. I have enough in my backpack to last about a week, so I have to ask my dad to get some more. Sigh. A day of rest and unpacking. Mum has 4 seasons of Fringe she’s watching, I took out the foot massage machine and watched a few with her.
I know I’ll sound like a spoiled brat but I hate being in the lowest airmiles class. No priority boarding, although the announcement was vague and the staff member let me through before general economy boarding. I checked in as soon as the online window opened so I was able to switch to a second row window seat. The flight was full, there was a poor girl sitting in the middle seat. Watched The Avengers and a few eps of Glee, slept for about 5hrs. Luggage took forever to come out, the priority bags came quicky then there was no activity for a good 10mins. So much so that I had to go over to the desk to check. Ugh.
My parents, bless them, came to pick me up and we got home in a taxi quickly. Had dinner at the market they like going to — golden prawns, pigeon and vegetables. I was so hungry I even had half a bowl of rice.
Got really sleepy suddenly. I hope I won’t wake up in the middle of the night but I’m sure I will.
The movers did the final packing (bed, TV, other stuff) and started loading in the morning. They didn’t want to send the container to have it sit in a residential area for 2 days, so they transported the boxes to their depot in a couple trips — this was how they intended it, apparently, since the depot is in Park Royal, only a short hop on the A40. They were done and gone by lunchtime. Which meant I had the entire afternoon to clean. So I did, cleaned room by room. No vacuum cleaner, just a broom and pan from the pound shop, leftover swifter liquid, lime lite and lots of cloths. Looked pretty clean and spotless after I was done.
Booked a cab for 5pm, and so that was it. Saying goodbye to another home. For the next 24hrs I’m staying at the yotel at heathrow. I’d stayed there before, once before an early Chicago flight. They call themselves a cabin hotel, with small but functional capsules consisting of a bunk style bed, tv and small bathroom with monsoon shower. This time, the bed was on the upper level, so it involved a bit of climbing in and out. I did think about splurging and staying at a really nice hotel on Park Lane, or somewhere central near Paddington, but this was the best choice. Getting my luggage to heathrow means I don’t have to worry about it tomorrow, and can just get over to T3 after I’ve done whatever I want to do in London. Plus they don’t have check out times, booking is by the hour, so I can have a shower before I leave.
Settled for dinner at café rouge in T4. Good location at the departures level and good for relaxing and people spotting. Ordered moules marineres for starter and bavette et frites for main course. Confused the servers somewhat by not being in a hurry, I guess they’re mostly used to people on their way to catch a plane or meeting people or generally people with a timeframe.
Back to arrivals level and my little cabin for the night. Watched the Great British Bake Off (ah, I’ll miss this one) and Hell’s Kitchen USA. Caught the final ep of Hell’s Kitchen on youtube so I know the winner. I have most of the day tomorrow, have to decide where to have lunch.
And that, was my last full day in London.
I should be reflecting on the Paralympics closing ceremony and the end of a glorious summer of sports. Too many thoughts still, which need to be organised and mulled over.
The other thing on my mind is this is my last weekend in London. The shipment people are coming tomorrow, the parking space has already been blocked on the street outside. I’ve been trying to get rid of stuff, but ended up buying more. More food. More wine. I have the charity stuff in a corner, my luggage in another, and cleaning / stuff not going in yet another place. Deep breath. That’s it. Another move.
- filed 2011-12 taxes (deadline Jan 2013, so scads ahead of time)
- typed up address change letters for batch printing
- sent off shipment forms (got email from shipment company that deposit was received)
- wine xls for customs — brand name, type, year, % alcohol, volume, price
- bagged up and labeled cable collection — ziploc bags are the best
- bought laundry basket
- bought 2 dinner plates + 2 dessert plates
- bought more dried goods — couscous, quavers, chocolate turkish delight for AK
- bought more rosé to try
- continue working through each room to sort out stuff to keep, for charity, or to chuck away
- checked at bank on money transfer process and cost
In other news, my amazon order arrived: Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake, Bones season 6 and a set of 3 baking trays with rack at a fantastic price. A prospective new tenant came to see the apartment. Did more cleaning. Getting there.
- fruit and veg shopping — no meat yet, need to clear out freezer
- upload kentucky pics — 338 pics here
- check lease and get prepared
- other general cleaning
At least no laundry yet, can wait till the end of the week. Luckily there’s time for reading and watching a bit of Wimbledon.
US Mother’s Day and a gorgeous sunny day. Mum and I went to Camden market, not to walk around but to the street food stalls. This time we had chicken & mushroom pie, seafood paella and chorizo tortilla. Then we walked around some of the main street shops, and I saw some creepers that were pretty dope.
Walked off more of our lunch at Primrose Hill. I’d never walked up to the top of the hill, and was impressed with the view up there. After walking back down, we took the bus to Waitrose at Finchley Road and bought more food.
photo courtesy flickr user courtneyrian
On Friday I gave myself a weekend to do list:
- start taking winter clothes to dry cleaners — done
- laundry — normal and sheets done
- Brussels hotel — looked through kayak, ba.com and eurostar, I think A’s suggestion is a good one
- running 12 miles — ack, garmin showed 12 miles, but nike+ was just under at 11.8; claiming the 12 anyway
- skype sunday with family — done
- cook the quails I bought at Waitrose — done
- make duck for lunch this week — done, made duck fat potatoes, carrots and kale too
- make chicken stock — done, although I think I made random poultry bones collection stock, I’m sure there’s duck bones, guinea fowl bones as well as chicken in that ziploc bag I fished out of the freezer
- replenish fish balls supply — done, I went to the Thai shop at Westbourne Grove instead of schlepping all the way out to Leicester Square
- Gino Gelato — part of the not schlepping all the way out to Leicester Square meant I didn’t go to Japanese Gelato Day at Gino Gelato. I can go another time, I really didn’t want to go out to Covent Garden on Mother’s Day just to get a free sample
- books — not on the original list but I happily bought 7 new e-books
Met SM and his wife for dim sum. I’ve started to take people who are unfamiliar with dim sum to New World. Not that I’m impressed with their food, service or décor. It’s just that it’s one of very few remaining places with trolley service. It’s always great to show people choices and let them pick the dishes they want to try. We had lots, including lotus rice, all the usual dim sum and crispy fried noodles. Beer too. £15 each is very good value.
We didn’t have dessert, instead walked up to Soho and had cappuccino at algerian coffee. This place was established in 1887, and is a treasure trove of all things coffee, tea and chocolate. Fresh, organic espresso or cappuccino from an authentic coffee machine, oh the smells. I don’t drink coffee, and I had a cappuccino that I thought was very good.
Onward, and we walked along Wardour Street towards Oxford Street. Wow, so many new food and drink places. We found ourselves at princi — pizza, salads and all manners of scrumptious cakes. Semi-self service. I had a ricotta cheesecake, SM had a chocolate cake and AT had a passionfruit cheesecake. Love the design and concept of the place.
We said our goodbyes and I went to Waitrose at John Lewis. Bought vegetables and a bottle of Caol Isa cask strength that is apparently discontinued and therefore discounted to £25.
I chickened out of the 17 mile run today and did just 13. HM in 2.30 is slow for me.
When I got home at around 1pm, that was the start of a whole afternoon of drama. Water started leaking from a point in my kitchen wall. it’s not too bad, but for my downstairs neighbour it was worse. I had literally just struggled home from the run. The decorator upstairs turned the water off, and we had to wait for the plumber to come around. Remember, I’d just run 2.30hrs and desperately wanted a shower.
Turned out, they did some re-connection upstairs that somehow managed to open up an old pipe that led to what used to be the tap in my flat. They hadn’t capped that joint so when they accidentally reconnected, water came down that pipe, and out of the disconnected tap which has since been plastered over. Took them a couple of hours to figure out and fix. By then it was almost 5pm.
I had planned on cooking but by the time the guys all left I was too exhausted. Couldn’t think of anywhere good to go though. After a whatspp discussion with mm, it was decided that I’d just go somewhere withing walking distance. Originally planned on going to the Thai place at the station, but I ended up walking the other way and eventually found the nearest pub. Had a very clear cider, a burger & chips and a 2-for-1 old fashioned cocktail.
Flight was full on the return trip too. I got a bulkhead seat so I could move around easier. We arrived early, around 4.45am. My bag was only 17kg, so I just took the tube and walked home. I had planned on getting milk and some basic staples on my way home, but nothing was open, no shops. Okay, it was only 6am. After showering and unpacking, it was a reasonable hour to go out, so I went to the supermarket and got a few more things. Most of the rest of the day was laundry, vacuuming and catching up. Early to bed.
Stayed home, didn’t want to go out. Chatted with mm on whatsapp but mainly packed, played on the mba and did nothing. Lunch and dinner of some leftovers but Mum also opened a can of abalone, yummy.
The residential blocks in front of us have been demolished and the view for once is clear. Next time, there will likely be tall buildings blocking our view. Sigh, such is the way of modern life.
Taxi at 9pm and I was all checked in quickly. Got settled at the lounge, waiting to board. Flight at 23:55.
Joined my ex-team members for lunch, then went back to the office with them. Chatted with my friend I for about 1.5 hours. Our financial advisor came over and went over my stuff, then went over bbmm stuff. Drinks with mm at the Marriott, a couple of glasses of wine, buffalo wings and a small baked camembert. I think I’m switching to Italian wines, I had something from Masi which was very good.
I had plans to relax, read, do filing or even write a little. But the day ended up being: skype, photoshop, make dinner, make lunch for the week. And then all of a sudden, I turned around, and it was time for bed already! Where did my Sunday go?
This morning as I was walking to the tube station, the sky turned pink from the sunrise. The clouds were lined up in a pretty pattern and there was a crispness in the air. Took this on instagram, with the hefe filter. I have a normal pic on my camera that I haven’t bothered downloading yet.
I called up a local dentist last week for a checkup appointment. Just a random clinic I found on the NHS website. I chose it because it was nearby, it’s open on Saturdays and it has positive reviews. It’s at Harrow Road where I do my shopping, and I’m surprised I hadn’t noticed it before. It’s really just a neighbourhood sort of place, not very posh. The people were very nice though, the dentist matter of fact and did a good job. Check up, X-rays and cleaning altogether cost me £65, which, compared with the unspeakable amount I spent last year on a crown, 6 veneers, new fillings and some flashy bleaching in the US, is an absolute bargain.
A rare beautiful, sunny, cloudless sky in London. Took Mum to the Southbank. The queue for the London Eye was very long, she was happy just to see the attraction. It was crowded along the river, but not too suffocating. Lots of street performers and people just strolling like us. Walked from the bottom of the London Eye all the way to the Tate Modern, with a couple of breaks. Early dinner at my favourite real food festival stalls underneath the festival hall. We had polish sausage with new potatoes, organic 21 day aged burger, I had a cider and Mum had an apple & carrot juice. Bought some jars of lemon curd and chutney; and some more of the dry aged beef to cook at home.
Went to the autumn real food festival at the southbank with RM, SM and his wife. Similar to the last time I went in May except with more stalls that spilled out to the river side. We walked around checking out all the stalls. I had Heston’s crab cakes and whole roast hog roll, again. I figured I won’t know when the next time I’ll see it, the weekly market probably ends when it gets near winter. For dessert we shared some mini Dutch pancakes and chocolate mousse. The Dutch pancakes, or poffertjes, were tiny, fluffy and made from a grill with small holes like the ones the Japanese use to make octopus balls. Traditionally served with butter and sugar which was how I ordered it.
Early day, was at RM’s serviced apartment around 9.30am to help him move to his apartment. He called a minicab and we managed to take all his stuff down and upstairs without much problem. Walked around Canary Wharf for a bit, had lunch at Jamie’s Italian. Starter of peas and broadbeans bruschetta was very good. I had cockles linguine, the cockles were delicate but oh boy the pasta was perfectly cooked.
Went out to Carnaby Street, found a coffee & juice place to stay out of the rain. Found a vintage whisky place at Old Compton Street too. Met JA at Foyle’s then to Korean dinner. Went back to RM’s place for a drink at the building’s sky lounge bar. Long day, I wished I could have been home sooner.
I should have done 5 miles today, but with a still niggly knee I did the “listen to your body” thing and opted for rest. Did go to the supermarket and got the week’s shopping done instead, so that’s a good thing. Bought some red beets. Sigh, I’m missing: golden beets, honeycrisp apples, heirloom tomatoes and all manners of squashes.
The tube problem continues. Today it was the bakerloo line, signal failure again. Stopped for a good 5mins outside Paddington before struggling to Warwick Avenue. Then the driver said something about an amber alert and the train will stay at the station for a while. Fine. That’s only 1 stop, no problem. I’ll walk. One good thing came out of this, that I figured out the location of a couple more zipcars.
In other news, I can’t seem to stop eating snacks. Mainly biscuits, mini-flapjacks and quavers. No wonder I’m slower this year.
Met up with RM and the A’s to go to Chinatown for dim sum. I haven’t been for ages and ages so weren’t familiar with the restaurants. Since the A’s don’t normally go for dim sum, I thought we should try one with trolleys. There are only 2 remaining, so we went to New World. It was pretty okay, the selection got boring after the 5th time they came around.
Strolled to Covent Garden, and we ended up for beers at Belgo. Hahaha. We split up for a bit, RM and I explored around Seven Dials and spent time at kidrobot store.
Dinner was with the A’s in their house. They had another guest, their neighbour who seems to be a big cricket fan. I was the only one he could talk to! We had steaks on the grill, asparagus, salad, new potatoes and cheese. Lots of good wine naturally.
We picked up my niece from Victoria in the morning, then took her to the Natural History museum. Grrr, the dinosaurs were closed for cleaning. There was a GBP10 dinosaur alternative exhibition but it wasn’t very good.
Went home for a late lunch of tortellini, gnocchi, cheese and cauliflower. They napped while I played on the computer. Dinner was at Benihana. Little one was fascinated by the shows, although she only wanted sushi and hibachi rice. Sis and I splurged out and had sirloin, chateaubriand and prawns. Oh, and a lot of cocktails.
I woke up at 11am and spent the day reading a book about time travel. That’s all I did.
The problem with waking up at 3.30am is that I can’t stop eating and by the time I get up again, properly at 8am, I’d already eaten into (pun intended) a chunk of my daily calorie allowance. Plus today I hadn’t planned on going running, just as well because it got dark and there was a thunderstorm attack at 5pm. Since it’s Easter, it’s time for hot cross buns. No, I didn’t make these, they are from the supermarket.
My obligatory once a year day off. Weather was nice, 20°C. Spent the morning skyping with sis and mum, I’m glad we finally got round to fixing everyone’s logins. Mum kept worrying about image quality, but as long as I can see her, I’m not complaining. We even did a 3-way conference call. Talked with mm when she called too, told her about plans for the day and just chatted. It was nice.
Went for a very slow 5-miles around the park, then to the local shops to get some baking ingredients. Last year it was croquembouche, this year I made a flourless swedish apple cake. It was too moist and didn’t hold its shape very well, but tasted perfectly fine.
For dinner I made surf and turf. Ack, I did the same last year, so it’s a tradition now. It’s also supposed to be national beer day so I got a vedett beer from belgium to go with my dinner.
I think I’ll just skip today. Should have gone running but didn’t. Should have been more productive but wasn’t.
A couple of years ago I made pancakes and tried paczki for the first time, last year I was on vacation. This year all I feel is blah, I have zero inclination to do anything for Shrove Tuesday. I don’t want to make a batch of batter for just 3 pancakes. All the Mardi Gras, International Women’s Day stuff, I don’t feel them.
I didn’t get upgraded. The person in the middle seat did, so at least I (and the aisle seat passenger) had more room. Didn’t sleep very well, watched Glee and Entourage. At some point during one of the last few flights, I switched from watching in-flight movies to tv shows. Food was average, didn’t have any wine. Landed just after the LRH 6.02am curfew. Long walk from the gate, luggage came out fairly quickly, was home by 7.30am. Unpacked, showered, called mum, texted mm. Powered up the slow dongle, what a change from mum’s fast wifi. Lasted until about 10am, then had to crawl into bed. Slept for 3 hours.
Took the bus out to Kilburn to get a sim card for the iphone. At last I’m connected. Couldn’t sync it yet because, gasp, iphone 4s are only compatible with itunes 10, which is os 10.5 only. I guess I’ll have to switch to the mba soon.
Bought a whole chicken, rocket, veg, milk and other groceries at m&s. Stopped by a chippy and got shish kebab. Now that brings back memories. Was very tempted to get a saveloy too, but I’ll wait for another day.
The boxes are still in the flat, the extra furniture still in the corner of the living room. 2 weeks away and they haven’t magically unpacked themselves. Sigh. Still lots of work to do to make the place like home.
Went to bed at 10.30pm last night, woke up at 2.30am, and I was afraid it’d be another sleepless night. Next thing I know, Mum was knocking on my door to wake me up to go to lunch. It was 11.30am. Slept 13hrs, making a big dent in the jetlag sleep deficit.
Lunch was at Café Marco, then we went to the bank and did some errands. We were too full from the big buffet lunch that we didn’t need to have dinner. Played with my new toy till late. What new toy? Hahaha. More soon.
I had a card from the post office of an undelivered package from a couple of weeks ago. Today was the last day they would still hold onto it so i had to go get it. The delivery office is a good 30mins walk one way according to google maps, so I decided to bike it. Didn’t enjoy cycling on Harrow Road, cars were careful, but I’m really not that good a cyclist. The package turned out to be the Sky router, which I have to return. Heh, I should have left it so it gets returned to sender.
In search of a decent internet connection, I ended up at the small local library. They have free wifi, which was okay for about 10mins, then it slowed to a crawl. It was fine when I used my “useless” dongle, it turns out that when it can get a fast 3G signal (blue light) it’s pretty good. Problem is at home i mainly get the treacle 2G (green light). I forgot to bring the power supply so I was limited to how long I could stay there. The battery life of a 4 year old mbp isn’t very good.
The best news of the day is that I finally cleared out enough space in the bedroom so I could put the bed up. It was difficult with just one person, had to prop up the beams with whatever I could find. There are small parts missing, probably fallen off during one of the many moves over the last 12 years. The screws are pretty worn too so they are tough to tighten. Sigh, next time I move, I should sell the bed and get a new one. Right now I don’t care. All I care is that I can sleep in my own bed tonight.
Originally I was going to celebrate CNY by getting Singapore noodles from the Thai place next to the station. Not perfect, but a good enough choice. The girls at work had a different idea, and we all went for cocktails. The place had 2-for-1 happy hour so we went a little crazy. During the evening I had a mojito, a caipirhina, a cosmo (I think), something with Baileys and ice cream, a Baileys & mint shot and a beer. Taxi home, naturally.
We went out with cc and mak to jamie’s italian for cc’s birthday. It was a nice lunch. We had the seasonal meat antipasti plank — selection of cured meat, salami, prosciutto, mozzarella, pecorino and crunchy salad for starter. For mains I had the rabbit ragu papperdelle — slow braised wild rabbit finished with mascarpone, lemon and crunchy herby breadcrumbs. Mak had the burger and mm and cc both had the squid ink angel hair with scallops. Washed down with 2 bottles of Sagiovese. The bread was scrumptious, the pasta was fresh although my rabbit was a little salty. I’d go back there again.
Afterwards we walked around the Waitrose nearby for a bit, bought some groceries. Then Mak drove us to my new home so I can show it to them and to bring over the groceries and a couple of bags.
Moved to a new serviced apartment today. Big difference, this one is modernised and not grotty. People much nicer too. Though only a one bedroom, it’s larger than the 2 bed at the other place.
I had to pop back to the office for a bit, and we had lunch at the café next doors. The rest of the afternoon we went to Westfield. Oh wow. HUGE. We only managed to walk through one floor before heading to Marks for some food shopping. More food shopping at Tesco’s, spent ¢100 altogether. Bought salt beef bagel for a quick dinner and returned the car. All in all a very busy day.
another familiar place, we went to brent cross. It hasn’t changed all that much over the years, more people and more shops. Lunch of English Breakfast at John Lewis. Early home to pack for moving tomorrow.
We drove around today. Went to J&A’s house to check it for them, then to maida vale to show mm the new home. Stopped at hampstead, amazed that we got a parking spot immediately. Japanese lunch, I had a bento and mm had tempura udon. Walked around the shops in the cold, tesco’s and then home. All very relaxing.
I finally looked on google maps and figured out how to walk to work. It’s only 15mins, I think the tube takes longer what with waiting for the train and up and down the stairs. I walked a little wrong way at first, but I got it right when I went home in the evening.
Got my hair cut at Moga, a little shocked at the price £38, I remember when it was £28. I’m just gonna have to suck it up.
Lunch at yo! sushi £20, mixed salmon sushi/sashimi plate, spicy tuna hand roll, beef nigiri, edamame, tofu katsu curry with rice. Did a Boots run for bathroom essentials. Got a temp sim card for the Nokia, so now I have a mobile number.
Food shopping at M&S — nice veg, salmon, yogurt and a very fantastic stilton with cranberries. I had it with grapes and hobnobs. Okay, hobnobs don’t go with cheese and grapes, but I prefer them to crackers or water biscuits.
So I survived until the end of the week. Work was okay, I’ve been quite self-contained — I have email, I know who to contact to get things done, I have most of my stationery and stuff so I don’t feel much like a new hire. May be I should mix more with the people in the dept, sigh.
I found the Tesco. It’s a small Express off a side street about 5mins walk away. With the icy pavement it’s more like 10. Now that I know about shoveling and salting I’m wondering why people don’t do it here. Oh wait, I know. Nobody here knows how to handle snow.
Anyhow I got a whole chicken £4, much cheaper than breast or thigh parts. Also got some cherry tomatoes, rocket, fish fingers, ice cream and quavers. Fairy, washing up sponges and kitchen towel too. Plus a bottle of wine a Jacob’s Creek shiraz cab at £4.99. The whole bill came to £30, sigh. More things to re-learn: VAT included so no need to factor in sales tax; and leave the credit card in the machine until the transaction is finished…don’t slide it in and pull it out straightaway. I don’t think I can survive on just this tiny Tesco’s for 1-2 months. I’ll need to figure out where to get a larger variety of food this weekend.
This pic is for Car, cos she’ll get a kick out of the name of the church, St Botolph’s without Aldgate. And that is an old fashioned police box in front of the gates, yep. The current church was finished in 1744. The building at the back is 30 st mary axe, or the swiss re building, as much of a skyscraper as we get in London. And I’m back to being blasé about old historical buildings co-existing with modern buildings. Okay.
I had been chasing the shipment companies over the weekend for confirmation of when the crew would be arriving. With the holiday it was difficult to tracking down anyone. But they called at 8.15am today and arrived at around 9.30am. I’d gotten a couple of signs from the alderman’s office to block off the road. As expected the whole container came, this one seemed larger than the one when I moved in. The middle space was still blocked off by a car, whether the owner missed the sign or didn’t care I don’t know. I ended up calling 311 and they sent an officer very quickly. He got the licence plate and set about tracking down the owner, which I thought was really nice of him. He could have given them a ticket or towed the car away. I think he found a room-mate or neighbour, but whoever it was, they moved the car.
They had a 7-person crew for this move. The company is hassett, which is an allied affliate, and allied moved me here. I like some of the crew members more than others, but they got the job done. I particularly liked the padding brown paper they use for furniture, the lining feels like a blanket. I spent the day reading, surfing the net and watching them pack. Last time the crew chief had me doing inventory, this time I didn’t even need to do that.
The estimate person initially said it’ll take 2 days, which is why I arranged for packing today. They could have done it in one. So now I’m sitting in an empty apartment with just a step ladder (to sit on) and my mattress. They even dissembled and packed the bed frame. Tomorrow morning they will come and pick up the last few items. I have a lot of stuff, the 20-foot container is almost full. Altogether about 170 pieces, I’ll know the exact number tomorrow.
After the long weekend away, there’s now only 1 full day for me to prep for the move. I went though every room to throw things away, take batteries out, stack similar items together. I know I don’t have to lift a finger when the movers come in, but I need to know everything is organised.
Packed my suitcases too. I’m not having an air shipment — office stuff went via fedex already — so I need to take enough for 1 month. Work clothes, shoes, jumpers. Trying to be economical, so I’m only taking 2 coats. The weather report says it’s cold and may snow in London, so I have to take my boots. I’ll probably end up wearing them cos they are the heaviest. Not ideal for the plane, but can’t be helped. The heaviest items are all the electronics and wires. When I moved to Chicago, I had the luxury of a couple of extra trips back and forth, so on one of those trips I took my duvet. Not possible this time, so I’ll have to hope the serviced apartment comes with good bedding.
Food situation is pretty good, just some bread and peanut butter left. May end up having to eat out tomorrow. I’ll stay home tomorrow night, so there’s the last minute opportunity to do laundry and take a shower before going to the airport.
Had some time in the afternoon. Went to the store to get some stuff, stopped by my landlady’s shop, thought about running but decided against it. I’m supposed to be following Higdon’s intermediate half marathon training which starts tomorrow. The chances of me going running tomorrow is zero.
Walked around Navy Pier, not a lot to see really, but an important Chicago destination. Tried to take mm to Frontera Grill, we got there around 5.30pm and there was a 60-90min wait already. Not worth it, we went to Whole Foods and went home. We seem to be staying home a lot, I feel guilty and want to take mm out but she keeps saying it’s fine to be home. She’s been tired and working hard so I think it’s okay.
Went to the outlet today, it was fun. We bought quite a few stuff. At home I made steak and we watched Bones again. Sigh.
homemade bratwurst, the ooom-pah of German bands, the music of top area headliner bands, activities for kids (Kinderfest), and of course lots of great beer
Yes there were bratwurst, one stall with a huge queue. The band was okay, the kids activities amounted to a balloon animal. Beer was bud, bud light, 312, goose island green line — none of which are german. Sigh. At the side of the brat stall, almost hidden in the corner, was a stall for cevapcici, or croatian lamb sausage. Two sausages, hot sauce served on a pita bread, the same price as the bratwurst. And tasted so good that I went back for seconds. The guy knocked $1 off, I guess he was impressed.
It was raining this morning, and I thought I might have to stay indoors all day. Luckily it cleared out after lunch so I took the bike out. Rode to the totem pole. The path was pretty clear, not many riders. Quite a few runners though, I guess a few of them would be doing their long runs for marathon training.
Went over to the german festival over at lincoln square. Too used to driving, so I initially cycled on the main road. Did not like that one bit, too close to cars. Turned off into smaller streets and was less stressed. The festival was exactly like the maifest last year (didn’t go this year) — beer tents, food tents selling the same bratwurst meal, and even the arcade game stalls were identical. I am not going to make a comment about german consistency and reliability. (Heh, and I just did anyway.)
As it happened I was there for the General von Steuben parade. I had absolutely no idea it was happening, but figured it something was up with the large number of people lining the streets around the festival. Apparently:
the parade celebrates Baron Friedrich von Steuben, who came to this country as a volunteer offering his services to General George Washington. General von Steuben converted the revolutionary army into a disciplined fighting force, instilling in them much needed inspiration, confidence and competence.
There were many floats, people in traditional german clothing, marching bands, local dignitaries, politicians and even the truck of a moving company.
Had a bratwurst, potato salad and sauerkraut meal washed down with a large beer. With perfect timing the sun came out. Walked a little along the square exploring the german deli and a kitchen shop. Cycled back home via Ravenswood, and stopped at george’s for their yippee skippy (ie peanut butter) ice cream.
The 2010 tall ships festival is going on at navy pier. To avoid the crowds I went after work. I got a $1 discount by getting the ticket online in advance, not too bad. There were about 20 tall ships from all over the world. Some of them could be boarded and others offer sailing tickets — which sold out really early. I got the boarding ticket for $5 extra.
I visited quite a few ships — the inland seas, the roald amundsen all the way from the north sea, the friends good will, the madeline and the pride of baltimore. All were extremely interesting, the masts, the array of ropes and knots, the small crew quarters, galleys and how pristine they are all kept.
By far the biggest attraction, and with the longest queue (I think it took me about 45mins) was to board HMS Bounty. This the American replica, built for the 1960 Marlon Brando film. Still, it was authentic enough for the visitors and I, like many, spent a few minutes just sitting on deck enjoying the lake and the day.
Didn’t stay for the fireworks, though I probably should have. At 9pm, it would have been late when I get home. Had a couple of beers (note to self: cheapest beer at navy pier = haagen dazs café, $2.75 for domestic draft) and chinese fast food for dinner.
Another summer festival, this one the Korean festival. Only a 10-minute drive away, so no excuse. Plus unlike the ginza festival, no entrance fee. They closed 2 blocks of the street, and the stalls varied between food, community groups, a Hyundai dealership and others selling crafts or korean toiletries and other stuff. There was a sand wrestling competition area and inflatable castles for kids.
My main purpose is for the food, naturally. I had the spicy rice cake (dukbokki) and fish stick in soup. I remember the first time I had the spicy rice cake, on a bitingly cold day in Seoul, I had no idea it was that spicy. Since acquired a taste for it, cos I know what to expect. The fish stick is just like any fishball, just in a flat form. Stayed away from all the fried food. Everything washed down by an OB beer. Just one, cos I’m driving. Didn’t get the jinru either, cos I’m driving.
The food and beer came to $15, which is a better value and more authentic than the $20+ half chicken I had yesterday. The lady at the food stall gave me too much change actually, but I gave the correct amount back to her.
Went running this morning, 5miles to the flag and back. Seeing that it was free slurpee day (7/11 and all), I ran to the 7-eleven and got this tiny cup of slurpee. I mean, tiny.
Watched the world cup final on tv. Very scrappy game, I was getting bored and not wanting to sit through the extra time. I wanted holland to win but am fine with Spain winning, they were the better team.
Took the bus down to navy pier. Parents are so familiar with the buses, better than me lol. Walked to the end, sat there for a bit, then had dinner at bubba gump. I take everyone there, and usually it’s well received. We ordered crab legs and assorted shrimps. Papa and I had margaritas. It started raining mid-way through dinner and by the time we got home it got heavy. They had a small umbrella between them, I had to be content with running very fast home.
When I booked the flight, the return leg had me sitting in a middle seat. I wasn’t that bothered, I figured when I get to the airport I can ask for a better seat. Then when I did online check-in earlier today, I saw that I’d been re-allocated to an exit row aisle. Wow. Legroom. Nice.
I got to LGA very early. Took me almost 30mins to get a cab, and traffic was horrendous. Still managed okay. I remembered that once inside there wasn’t much to eat, so I had a five guys hamburger at the food court. It was the least uninteresting food. Nah, that’s not fair. Five Guys is interesting food. Their selling point is juicy burgers and good fries. I eschewed the fries, couldn’t face so many calories. But the burger was juicy. There were 2 patties and the juice ran all the way down my fingers. Free refill on the soft drinks, but that doesn’t mean a great deal cos we can’t bring it beyond security.
Flight was delayed a little. I got on early and was settling in to read before the seat-belt light came off. Then the passenger next to me got on and asked if I could swap with his wife, who was sitting 5 rows ahead in a window seat. Stupidly I gave up my legroom and agreed. It was okay, I’m comfortable in a window seat. I just hope this good deed comes back to me some day. I had to go to the bathroom when I got off, perfect timing my suitcase came out just when I strolled to the luggage carousel.
So we were going about our business on a friday afternoon looking forward to the weekend. And then 3.30pm building management told us of a severe weather advisory that strong thunderstorms were approaching. It was still sunny and dry outside.
Parents were coming downtown so I called them to tell them to call me once they get to our meeting point. I would then come out immediately. We were meeting at Sears Tower. The rain started to come when I met them at 4pm and we were soaked by the time we got to the car. Traffic down the Ryan was slow, 10-15mph all the way down. Windy and raining, but we were safe in the car. Turns out we were lucky, the storm ripped out some windows at Sears Tower shortly after we left the area. Phew.
By the time we got to Car’s house it’d died down somewhat. But they had a power outage. So we went to costco first. Mum was like an excited kid, wanting to buy lots of stuff. Papa too, was intrigued by some fabulous looking alaskan king crab legs. We got those, plus scallops, wild salmon, boxes upon boxes of cereal, cereal bars and other stuff. My boot was stuffed.
Also stuffed in person. Car’s mom fed us homemade spaghetti meatballs. It was such a nice meal. We had to leave in a hurry when the storm returned.
I’m sad, lost and angry. Very close to chucking it because of nastiness, stubbornness and well, plain nastiness.
I don’t have my wits with me. Most of me is still in orlando. sigh. Ran 5 miles after work, it helped a bit.
When I opened my eyes this morning it was 7.02am. ARGH! I had a 8am conference call and should have woken 1 hour earlier. I got ready, but had to spend 10mins finishing paris on mw. Still, wouldn’t have made it. So I drove in. Half an hour. So why don’t I drive to work everyday? Because it costs 3 times as much as taking the “L”, and even though it was fast going in, it was a solid block of traffic on lake shore drive going home.
Went to a birthday gathering with the family. One adult and 3 children whose birthdays were close together, so celebrating together. Lots of food — italian beef, meatballs, sausage, pasta, potato salad, regular salad, big cake.
I spent most of the time after eating playing with some of the kids. Mostly a 2-year old, who decided I was her personal toy for the day. So cute. She was one of the birthday kids and got tons of presents. The only one she was interested in was a pair of simple shiny butterfly sandals. I was sitting on the bottom steps of the stairs, she ran into my arms and we played at taking her sandals off and putting them back on. It was exhausting. But fun.
Back to doing the usual stuff — running, cooking, laundry. Running was horrible. I did 8k and just couldn’t get a rhythm. The outsides of both feet hurt. Left knee threatened to give out a couple of times. Whole left leg was stiff. It’s only been a week, I can’t believe how out of practice I got, it’s not like it’s the first time I’ve had a week off running. Hmm. May be it’s too much eating. All those fry-up breakfasts at the hotel surely didn’t help.
Got 4 chicken leg quarters from edgewater produce yesterday, at 45cents a pound. Total cost $1.70. Incredible value. Chopped them up into 8 pieces, took out the skin and roasted with thyme and cumin. There is a difference when cooking with herbs and spices, I must remember that.
Watched another dvd, then settled to an evening of reality tv. TAR final was satisfying and celebrity apprentice wasn’t as boring as usual.
I woke up at normal time, sigh. Must be getting old—oh wait, I did get older today. Double sigh.
Waited for mm to call all morning. A little unhappy that she didn’t till I emailed her on the bb, she was busy. But I couldn’t stay unhappy for long, could I? Spent the whole morning making croquembouche (see previous post). Why did I want mascarpone yesterday? To make mascarpone cream to use as filling of course. Well, the normal cream worked. I added a little icing sugar so it didn’t just taste of cream.
Lunch was portabello mushroom and vegetarian burger. Went running in the afternoon. Down to the flag at Montrose and back up to the roundabout. Total 11k. It started raining the last 2k, glad I had a cap. It turned into a downpour once I got home, I was lucky.
Did laundry and made dinner of surf and turf — sirloin steak, grilled prawns, vegetables. I opened a bottle of cranberry red I got from truro vineyards at cape cod last year. Started watching a dvd, then gave up cos I needed to deal with the pics.
There was a running joke on my fb status about how I didn’t broadcast my birthday and people weren’t sure whether to acknowledge it or not. I really liked the idea of subtly referring to it but not actually naming it. Kind of “i know you know” game. Fun.
I got a census form today. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s apparently mandatory by law, I would have chucked it away. I don’t feel I should be counted. That’s the problem with my entire existence, I don’t ‘belong’ to any country.
Long day today, because of the flight. Parents booked the taxi to take us to the airport, I was at the lounge for about 1 hour. Now that I’m “only” at gold level I don’t get upgraded, but I absolutely cannot complain. Food was good, watched The Blindside and lots of Deadliest Catch. Up in the Air was also on, and I guess we could have not gone to see it, cos mm is also on a plane today, to London. Nah, it was worth it to go with her.
Layover at LAX was 2 hours. I was worried. You never know what’s gonna happen at US airports, they’re the epitome of what airports should not be — unpredictable, crowded, disorganised, bad. I was one of the first off the plane, immigration was fast, but my luggage got mixed in with the regular luggage. X-ray check was painless, so I got lucky. Was able to check my suitcases right outside the exit, and then something surprised me — 2 staff members were on hand to ask where I was going and to help direct me to my next terminal. Wow. Well impressed.
The American terminal is just around the corner from the international, 2mins walk, no big deal. Security was decent, and I got into the first class lounge for some odd reason. Much needed 45mins rest, and to have some food.
Flight to ORD was full. Long walk to taxi stand. Home at 10.30pm. Door to door, over 21hrs. The snow that I had to drive through 3 weeks ago is still here, looks like they kept it cold for me.
Lunch at city hall with ubs people. Then an afternoon of errands. Long overdue haircut, massage, last minute shopping.
Dinner with SC and AK. Jap food, naturally. Highlight was fresh sashimi from the fish, then the bones were made into soup. Nice.
Went to the office after lunch. Talked for a bit with my colleagues but mainly it was spending time with mm. She was busy but was able to get away early so we can go to dinner. I had a couple of hours to spare, it was perfect to photograph the wan chai area. There are still old buildings and temples there, not sure how much longer they will be around. I’ve always always wanted to photograph the blue building, it’s kind of a mecca for photographers.
For dinner, mm took me to a Japanese grill place. We had warm sake and the usual grilled food — ox tongue, fish, chicken wings. Our favourite turned out to be riceball skewers, the rice was grilled to perfection. Yum.
I had a legitimate excuse to stay with her tonight — I need to use her wifi to upload pictures. There’s no wireless at home, I couldn’t connect via ethernet, and Sis’ network was so screwed up by her network engineer friend that I couldn’t find a single connection. So, it’s over to mm’s place. One click and the airport was on. Of course that’s because she has my airport express and I set it all up myself. Heehee.
Another bbmm day. We had lunch at a “modern” chachantang (although they’ve been in business for decades) then aimlessly walked around. Eventually ended up where the marathon expo was happening and I picked up my kit a day early. Went for foot massage at the usual place then went back to our respective homes.
Times Square CNY decoration is a giant vase and ball, very red but pretty nice. We took advantage of mm still on holiday to meet up there to check out glasses. I had my eyes tested. Sigh, slight presbyopia (old age eyes) has begun to set in, but not serious enough yet. The optometrist says I can survive as is for another year or so.
When we have no plans, we tend to want to go on a bus ride, so we took the #968 and ended up in yuen long. Had dessert, bought some snacks, walked the length of the main street and took the bus back out. No plan is a great plan.
Lunch with mm’s family at the usual restaurant, with the usual food. Always so predictable. I didn’t have a lot of time last week to shop for the kids (I knew about the lunch late) so I made do with Jewel chicago shopping bags. heehee.
Met up with Mum to go shopping for one of the main items on my shopping list, the drool-worthy canon s90. It’s not that much cheaper, I bought it anyway. I’m bummed that the mbp doesn’t have connectivity, so I wasn’t in a hurry to try it out by going crazy with taking pictures. First impressions:
- sharp looking, fast shutter, clear screen
- familiar P, TV, AV settings
- low light, f2
- good zoom
- lots more function than the common point-and-shoot
- I keep missing the zoom, hitting the notch underneath the wheel instead
- didn’t come with a case
Yeah, I’m still obsessed with the driving through snow thing. Overnight there was enough snow that I had to spend a good 10-15mins getting the car ready, and boy am I glad I shovelled the bit of the road around my car so I could get out. The drive took a little less time than yesterday, it was sunny so visibility was better.
When I got to the vendor site, I deliberately parked out in the open so I’d get the sun for as long as possible. When I left after 5, the snow on top had gone. There were huge chunks of ice where mud flaps would be and I kicked them off.
My parking space was completely covered. I had to totally dig a space big enough for the little car. The problem was that there was nowhere to put the snow, so I ended up piling it all in our backyard. It was kinda hairy, reversing back in, but I managed at the end.
I woke up to a brilliant sunny morning. Perfect for skiing. It was so nice out that I didn’t go to four lakes, instead I ventured a little further to wilmot mountain in wisconsin. I figured it’d be a nice drive, and I can go to four lakes next time I want to ski and the weather (and therefore drive) isn’t as nice.
The weather report there actually showed fog when I left. It’s under 1.5hrs drive, and I got there at around 1pm just as the sun came out. It turned out to be a glorious afternoon and I got in plenty of skiing.
Yes, yes, I know. Compared with everywhere I’d skied, this is a tiny hill with artificial snow. But it was still fun. To get back to pre-accident proficiency I’d have to go back to live in Switzerland, or move to a place with real mountains, and that isn’t going to happen soon. Anyway, back to wilmot. It’s very well organised, with something like 10 chairlifts going up various slopes. The runs are mostly greens and blues, with some blacks — well, the blacks are easy reds IMO. I tried almost all of them, except the baby slopes, the ones at the far side and the mogul run.
Of course I picked one of the busiest weekends of the year to go, so there was a queue for rental and everything else. The queues for the lifts were manageable — there are so many, and they are pretty close together that it’s less than 5 mins to slide to the next one if the queue is too long.
I pretty much skied non-stop for 2-2.5hrs, taking a small break to get a drink from the car. Another thing — the carpark is right next to the mountain, well convenient. By 4pm I was getting tired, the sun had gone and the fog started to roll back in. The place opens till 11pm for night skiing, but I was done for the day. Left at 5pm and was home, showered and eating dinner by 7pm.
It’s a long weekend this week, Monday is Martin Luther King Day. Plans, plans, plans.
I want to go skiing. Yes, there is skiing around Chicago. The nearest is four lakes at Lisle, only 35mins drive away. Okay, it’s not Flumserberg, more like a man-made hill, but it’s so near that it’s worth checking out.
I want to make braised turkey legs, another winter stew that sounds tasty and is economical. I also want to do some baking. Either a repeat of the chocolate quinoa cake I made a couple of weeks ago, or blueberry muffins.
I want to go get some quinoa to bring back to my parents and sis. Coincidentally I read that cb2 at lincoln will be closing, although they are keeping their North Ave shop. It’s decided then, gonna hit Trader Joe’s.
I shovelled the back and the front of the house before I left this morning. And all around my car, it was all surrounded by snow and ice. Driving was okay, visibility wasn’t too good and other drivers were driving way too fast for the conditions. When I got home I had to shovel the snow out of my parking space. Then for good measure I shovelled and salted the back so there’s a path from the back door to my car; and then i did the same for the front so I won’t slip tomorrow. No wonder I don’t feel like playing on the wii fit or doing strength training tonight.
I’d planned to go running on the treadmill at work today, my colleague and I were hosting a 3pm meeting and I thought I’d go afterwards. Needless to say the meeting overran, and then we were debriefing, and then I had to take care of some emails. I had planned on cooking tonight so there wasn’t time to go on the treadmill. At least I have the stuff in my office now, may be I’ll try tomorrow. It looks like snow over the weekend so the prospect of going outside is slim. Sigh.
I so wanted to go running today, but I chickened out. it was too cold, and too windy. yeah, yeah, excuses. I did do something instead!! continued with nrolw stage 2, and did 30mins on the wii fit.
My car was full coming home. In the boot were: the printer, wii fit, bags of grocery including carrots, celery, onion, potato, mushroom, spinach, cherry tomatoes, apples, lemons, quince, chicken thigh, oxtail, ham, liver sausage, canned tomato, wine, guinness, container upon container of leftover thanksgiving food, turkey bones, my puma bag and backpack. I don’t have a large boot, so the puma bag had to go in the backseat. I feel so privileged, every time I visit, I come home and I need to make 3-4 trips upstairs.
I went to the sappho’s salon event at women and children first bookstore to support Anne Laughlin, who read from her new book Veritas. I have the book in my ereader, it’s high on the list of books to be read. And especially after I heard her read a lengthy excerpt. She also read the prologue from her newest, untitled, book. Oh wow. That one is already fantastic and I can’t wait for it to come out.
The second half of the event was singer-songwriter julie loyd, who sang a few very pleasant songs.
The good thing about living only 5 mins away is that I was probably home and showered before a lot of the people even left the store.
I’m taking tomorrow off. First because my kitchen table and chairs are being delivered. And secondly because I have too many days’ annual leave left over. I’m pretty certain I won’t lose them, because we’re good at enforcing rules for every department except our own, but still. So it’s nice to have a long weekend to look forward to. No plans beyond: assembling said kitchen table, watching dvds, running, going to the supermarket and making chicken stock.
video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGGVMWsAZ8E
Friday was mm’s sis’ anniversary and I said the rosary for her. There’s been too many passings this year, and the prayer was also for everyone.
It was a glorious day when I woke up, so I went running by the lake. All the way up to where the bike trail ends, then back down along the lakefront all the way to Montrose Beach.
After showering drove to Ikea. The route on google maps is bogus, there’s been roadworks at the Lawrence junction to the Kennedy for ages, so I just took Foster.
I was really hungry by the time I got to Ikea, so I headed to the restaurant immediately and had a large meatball, lingonberries and mashed potato lunch. The aim was to look at kitchen tables, to make sure that I wasn’t missing out on anything. There was one, table and 4 chairs for $129, good price but not what I was looking for. I ended up buying a bedside table to use in the living room by the fireplace, 4 glass bowls at 99c each and a bottle of chopping block oil. I never thought of oiling my chopping blocks, let’s see if it works.
The main shopping was done at home. I finally ordered the bar table and stools I saw at cb2. Delivery on Friday.
Also bought 6 ebooks, catching up on recent releases. And 6 mp3 cds:
- oracular spectacular — mgmt
- breakthrough — colbie caillat
- rattlin’ bones —kasey chambers & shane nicholson
- b.r.m.c. — black rebel motorcycle club
- baby 81 — black rebel motorcycle club
- the e.n.d. — black eyed peas
Oh yes, my musical taste doesn’t make sense, here’s acid, pop, country, alt rock and hip hop.
We came home to some sombre and devastating news, but it’s not my place to post about it. I don’t quite know how to deal with it myself, yet.
I finally got home home mid-afternoon. Unpacked, did laundry, sorted photos, went outside to buy milk, made lunch for tomorrow, that’s really been the rest of my Sunday. I’m fighting off the cough that I must have picked up in Ptown — between Chef, DK, Jo all being sick, the wind, and not much sleep last night, it’s not a surprise.
My pics are all sorted and uploaded, but I will need to mooch some off other people to complete the set. Here’s the flickr set.
Not looking forward to work tomorrow. It’s gonna be a tough week.
I left work early today to drive down to the dealership to get my radio installed. Finally. When I bought the car they couldn’t find the faceplate but for some silly reason they could only order the whole unit and that had to be replaced. Ah well, whatever, as long as I get some form of radio.
Then Car and I went to Walmart to buy sweets and stuff for our trip. While I was at it, I bought laundry stuff and shampoo and heavy stuff.
On the way home it started pissing with rain. Some people were still driving like maniacs, sigh. There’s recent talk about banning texting while driving, oh man these laws can’t come soon enough for me.
My second Landshark event today was the oyster festival at Roscoe Village. According to the original blurb in Time Out it’s supposed to be a Guinness and oyster event; but somehow Guinness disappeared.
The entrance fee was $5, and of all the events I’ve been to this year, this $5 was a waste. First off, I expected oysters — as in raw bar oysters. Was very disappointed that there was only one stand, selling baked stuffed oysters at $20 for the half dozen. I guess Americans have this paranoia about serving raw seafood, but if that’s the case why have the festival in the first place. Tasted okay, and nice with beer, but nothing like fresh raw oysters, right? Sigh.
Still hungry, so I had a lamb kebab and another beer. Took the bus and was home by 5pm.
Spent the day running around in one place. Very excited but very tired. More news tomorrow.
It took me 2 hours to get home. Then I had to dump my stuff immediately and trek to the supermarket to get stuff I couldn’t get a Costco — milk, juice, fruit & veg.
I know I say it doesn’t matter, but I really would like a car soon.
The Air & Water Show took place over this weekend. I found a spot at the lakeside between Oak Street Beach and Ohio Beach, it wasn’t as crowded as the main area at North Beach. Weather-wise it would have been better to come yesterday, cos today it was overcast and rained a bit. I had my hat on so I wasn’t bothered, I was more annoyed at the lack of blue skies and good light. I got there just before 2pm. Seemed like I just missed whatever was on the program before cos it was a good 30-40mins before the display started again.
I must confess I have no idea what models the planes were, just that they were very impressive — both the planes and the pilots’ flying skills. I was a bit too far south to be in the middle of the action, even though I could see pretty well. First there was a series of single plane displays. The biplane was especially crazy.
The main attraction was of course the US Airforce Thunderbirds and even I knew they were flying F-16s. The cloud cover gave them an advantage to sneak up on us, I was looking around trying to spot them approaching. All in all it was a magnificent display of precision flying. And the noise!! Especially when they flew over my head.
I had both my camcorder and my camera. The photos needed to be photoshopped, and somehow the audio went missing when I converted the mpg to mov. Need to fix that sometime.
video of thunderbirds (no audio): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PM7HgiddXM
photos full set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/invisiblecompany/sets/72157621936484447/
One more progress. I got my driver’s licence today. I actually went to a driving school, got a package deal where I had a couple of refresher lessons and could borrow their car for the test. I know, I could have just borrowed someone’s car and gone for the test, but as mm said, I should get the refresher to make sure I don’t slip into my bad habits (and of course we all have ours) during the test.
The most stressful time of the day was actually all the waiting. On top of the queuing I did when I got the provisional licence, I had to queue up again: get a number, wait for half an hour, go to the counter where they looked at the docs again, go to the cashier to get the application stamped (no payment, that was a time wasting step), get in the car, queue up for the tester. By then I was pretty tired from the queuing.
The test was dreadfully easy. So easy that now I understand why there are so many bad drivers on the road. Just driving along a fairly non-congested road, a couple of traffic lights, stop signs. And then back to the facility to do a straight reverse, and parking at an angle at a space big enough for a truck. Apparently there’s also a parking test and question about uphill/downhill parking, but I didn’t get tested on those. My instructor said that sometimes they don’t do that if the testee is driving well.
This brings my total driver’s licence collection to 5. Yes, FIVE. You never know where you need to drive, right? These are all souvenirs from the places I’ve lived. I can buy a car now. And I don’t need to carry my passport around all the time. Nice.
I spent 9 hours (1-10pm) on Sunday at lollapalooza, which is one of America’s prime music festival events. It’s a 3-day event, but as I looked at the lineup, I decided I could only do one day, especially since I had to go to work friday. I was a bit bummed that I missed Depeche Mode on Friday and Gomez, TV on the Radio and Tool on Saturday. Ah well, next year.
It was a HOT, HOT, HOT day. We were allowed sealed bottle water, and throughout the day I made sure I was hydrated. Okay, I had 3 Bud Lights in addition to the water, watermelon and smoothies I enjoyed. I also diligently bought and used sunblock; and a cute fedora I bought at one of the stalls. The first pic here shows a fire department “mobile ventilation unit” which they used to fan water for a cooling shower for the participants. The second pic shows what seems to be all 225,000 attendees.
There were 8 stages, and with Grant Park 1 mile long, it was essential to plan. There were only a couple of overlaps where I had to decide, most of the time it was obvious who I wanted to see. I caught the end of Bat for Lashes, who I’ve never heard of but will likely buy their album now. Then mid-afternoon it was Airborne Toxic Event, who were more subdued than I expected. I wondered if I should have gone to see Kaiser Chiefs instead. I was fairly close to the stage, although being short it was difficult to see over the shoulders of people in front of me.
A short break afterwards, during which I chomped down a portion of Jack Daniels bbq wings washed down with a watermelon wedge. Then it was back to the same stage to see Vampire Weekend, which got us jumping and doing screams. I only know their most well-known songs, and I sang along like the other audience members.
It was then time to explore the other side of the festival, more food, looking around the stalls, bypassing the autograph area. Found myself in the dance pit section, where DJ Boyz Noise was spinning. Then caught the end of Dan Auerbach before heading to Lou Reed. Unfortunately Lou was disappointing, so I walked the whole mile back to the south end, got a tamale/taco combo, a smoothie and a frozen kefir (like frozen yogurt), my last Bud Light and found a seat on the lawn to wait for The Killers.
Brandon Flowers and gang did not disappoint, opening with Human, rocking hard through their repetoire and finishing with a flourish with Read My Mind, Mr Brightside and All These Things that I’ve Done. We sang “I got soul but I’m not a soldier” over and over and over again, it was brilliant. Two encores later, I joined the thousands on my way home, very satisfied, very buzzed and feeling a little like I was 21 again.
True to plan, I went to market days today. Not sure what I expected, but there wasn’t a market there, heehee. Instead, it’s a bit like midsommarfest only more crowded and more boisterous. Suffice it to say that market days are held at N Halsted, the same stretch where Pride takes place, to give an idea of the participants. Lots of stalls lining both sides of the street, from organisations soliciting for members, marketing by major companies (T-mobile, Comcast etc) to food and drink, craft, jewelry, clothing stalls.
I had a Polish Plate at one of the stalls — stuffed cabbage, polish sausage, sauerkraut, potato pancake, 3 perogis — at $10 not cheap, but nice tasting and filling. Better than the burgers, pizzas and fried noodles at other stalls. I also tried a Bud Light Lime, which tasted really bland, but what did I expect?
There were several stages set up along the route, and I stayed to enjoy a couple of the bands. There was a rock band, Hag (“it’s a good word,” said the keyboardist) made up of middle-aged women who belted out 80s classics like Vacation and Gold Dust Woman. The lead guitarist was good, even though she looked like someone’s really nice mom. I also watched an Abba tribute band, and they attracted a HUGE crowd. Old and young were all bouncing up and down with the well-known tunes.
Again, it being boystown, and a hot day, there were plenty of, well, skin as well as more outrageously dressed individuals. Everyone was plenty willing to let me take their pictures, even posing. A woman asked if I was Press, which gave me warm fuzzy memories of GCLS.
Take a look at the full set, there are some fairly “oooh la la” pics there. The set turned out really nice. Sunny day helped, but I did buy a new MRC circular polariser, which I’m sure vastly improved the pics.
I haven’t had a whole weekend at home since I moved in, and I’m still waiting for that full weekend. Nevertheless, i had a full day at home, which is a small blessing. Went to church in the morning, cos I promised I would. Supermarket on the way back, then it was reading, cooking, watching tv, laundry, ironing, messing with the iphone, websurfing. Still languishing in a weird combination of loneliness, solitude, uncertainty and irritability. Difficult to shake off.
Even though it wasn’t exactly under my authority, I let the C&B team out this afternoon. There doesn’t seem to be any official rules (that i know of), but in practice people can leave when the market closed. So some of them left at 2.30pm, some left around 3pm. I had a conference call at 1pm, then I had to work on a document as a result of that call. But I was able to leave around 3pm too.
It’s the start of the long weekend. Yippee.
I ordered a chairmat and in/out trays from staples. On the website I could print and sign a “driver release form” so the driver can leave the goods on the porch. But they decided to use ups instead, and the driver left a card instead of the stuff! Anyway, I signed the release at the back of the ups card, and they were delivered today.
In other news, I had bought a new 26” tv over the weekend. I briefly thought about the $299 Dynex (Best Buy own brand) but finally went for the sony, which was $479. When I plugged it into the cable box, there was no signal. Argh. So I had to make an appointment with the RCN guy to come in. He said there’s something wrong with the HDMI port, but got me hooked up using component cables. I still get the hi-def channels, so i’m not bothered. I have 4 yr extended warranty, so I can take it back for repairs whenever I feel like it.
So today I went to City Hall to get the equivalent of a provisional driver’s licence, I think it’s called the instructional licence here. Passport, SSN, address proof and $10. The clerk asked if I have an existing licence from another state, to which I answered no, but I have from overseas (I actually have 4 licences). To which she asked “can you drive?” What was I supposed to say?
Anyway, there was a simple eye test, then the written test. I’d studied the Rules of the Road earlier, and did some practice online tests. I got all the questions and signs right, yay!
For all my other licences I just had to present my UK licence to convert. Of course Americans don’t trust UK, or Swiss, or HK, or International, so the next step is I have to go for a driving test. Good grief.
My flight was at 4.35pm, and I gave myself 2 options: a) check out, leave the luggage at the hotel, go to Oxford Street and come back; b) check out, leave the luggage at Paddington, go to Oxford Street then get on the Heathrow Express. I opted for (b) cos I didn’t fancy trekking back to Liverpool Street, there wasn’t a lot of time anyway. What I didn’t account for, was that it costs £8 for left luggage. That’s too expensive!
So I ended up hanging around the station. Had a very nice plum tart and tea at paul. Took my time, didn’t do anything to hurry up.
Had plenty of time at the lounge. Even though I was flying AA, I went to the CX lounge instead. Ate some food, drank lots, watched the cricket, talked to mm. It’s funny, Mum couldn’t decide on the colours for the flooring and tiles, and couldn’t find me cos I was in London so she called mm! Very wifely. Hehe.
Flight wasn’t full but someone sat next to me. I had the first seat in business class. Watched He’s just not that into you, napped for a bit, listened to the radio, watched the flight path. It was a long fly-in, overshot Chicago, almost to Iowa before turning back! Must have been a long queue. Immigration and customs were quick, I got a talkative taxi driver, was home by 9pm. Went to the supermarket, initially to get milk and ended up getting loads of other stuff. I’m glad to be home.
The big meeting was finished by lunchtime, then I had other meetings in the afternoon. Those were done by 4pm, so I was able to get back to the hotel. Called mm, then went running, then went to get dinner — salt beef bagels from Brick Lane, of course. The rest of the evening was watching tv, nothing special.
Summary of each hour, even though I was up after 8pm, there wasn’t anything interesting, so it’s only 10 pics:
- 1100 — it’s a saturday, i’m allowed to lie in. first things first, tea and get online
- 1200 — take stuff to new home. what i like about the area are the trees, and the cute roundabouts
- 1300 — walking around Clark, this woman walking in front of me
- 1400 — maifest at lincoln square — may version of oktoberfest, my first summer festival this year
- 1500 — late lunch of german meatloaf sandwich with potato salad and sauerkraut, washed down with 1 litre of beer
- 1600 — more food! almond custard cake
- 1700 — waiting for the train at ravenswood station
- 1800 — after 2l of beer, i need water and something for the headache
- 1900 — yummy cherries
- 2000 — back to where i started in the morning — water and mbp online
It was a crappy, crappy day at work. It’s been a while since I entertained thoughts of resigning.
And then in the afternoon I got an email
Dear Mrs [redacted], Your shipment has now arrived and has already cleared customs.
Yeah, I know, “Mrs” — reminds me of Switzerland.
It’s been a beautiful weekend, just the right temperature and the sun coming out both days. But I have a cough, and it’s been one of those weekends when I stayed indoors all the time. Went running twice on the treadmill, that’s about it. Reading, facebooking, just doing nothing much.
It’s been one of those weekends.
i fell asleep the second the lights went out last night, and slept all the way through to almost 8am. We checked out of the b&b, returned to the breakfast place from yesterday, and headed out to Rockefeller Plaza. I didn’t know about the top of the rock observation deck, it was great! Panoramic view of central park and a closeup the empire state building.
Outside at the plaza I spied a Teuscher store. Sigh. Memories. I had to get their champagne truffles even though they’re like almost $5 apiece.
then it was time to return to the b&b and head out to the airport. we called Ali again, and he in his imitable way brought us to LGA quickly and humorously. I took Car into the AA lounge until it was time for her flight. we were on different airlines for the return to chicago. the weather in NYC had been great all weekend, which didn’t prepare us for the delays — the weather in Chicago was grotty, and air traffic control at ORD was controlling flights coming in. This means my flight originally at 5.30pm was delayed until 7.30pm. I was lucky that I was in the lounge in a comfortable sofa and free drinks. Once we boarded the plane, they pushed us out quickly but we had to sit on the tarmac for 20mins waiting for our takeoff slot.
In the end I got back to PT after 10pm. I’d originally planned to go grocery shopping, but that was no good. Shopping and laundry will have to wait till tomorrow.
i’m in nyc this weekend, to meet up with car and bobbi and to attend a launch event. got in last night after an uneventful flight to LGA. We’re staying at chelsea pines inn at w14th and 8th — the meatpacking district. it’s a great little b&b, with rooms named after hollywood stars. we were in the George Nader room, except I have no clue who George Nader was.
woke up early, after a restless night. the b&b has a nice kitchen with a simple continential breakfast. We wanted a real breakfast instead so we walked over to this very nice place. i had waffle with ham, which i scarfed down at record speed. i was pretty hungry, having only had snacks at the ORD lounge, and the remains of a beef sandwich when I arrived at the b&b.
After breakfast we taxied down to Battery Park to catch the ferry. The queue was long cos of the nice day, lots of tourists, and security check. This meant we had time to check out the sights and sounds — street vendors, buskers, the Korean war memorial.
We didn’t alight at the statue of liberty, the view from the boat was nice enough. I’ve never been to Ellis Island, and was impressed with the museum. Unlike some other visitors, i don’t have the emotional connection of “my great-grandparents came through here when they immigrated from the old country” though i can understand how it can be moving. The small exhibit on the ground floor was the most impressive, with visual exhibits showing immigration trends.
Back on shore, we walked the 10mins or so to Ground Zero. It’d been fenced over, even more so than my last nyc visit, and there wasn’t much to see. The memorial wall seemed a little sad and temporary, perhaps the idea is that it goes on the new buildings when and if they are completed. With the amount of interest in the site, i’m surprised there isn’t an observation platform or something like that. Yes, it’s tacky to treat this place like any other tourist destination, but it can be done with dignity and for visitors to have a more substantial experience. It’s important.
We were tired after that, so we taxied it back to the b&b to relax for a bit. There’s snacks and hot drinks available at all time in the kitchen as well as free wifi, a change from business hotels i tend to find myself staying. Originally we were going to take a bus to NJ, but wisely decided to call a car instead. it wouldn’t have cost that much more than a taxi and a bus, and miles more convenient. We were attending the launch party for yuri monogatari 6, a graphic novel series. The party was at rareflix.com store at the Secaucus outlet NJ. Very hard to find place, and to add to the confusion, it’d moved. Credit to our driver who stuck with us and was determined to find it. A lesser driver would have just abandoned us somewhere in the general vicinity.
I’m not a big consumer of comics and graphic novels. I feel like I should get into them more, but haven’t been able to. That’s one of the reasons I was looking forward to this trip. The party was low-keyed and casual. We looked around the store, including in the back where there was a horror set. Pretty soon the contributors arrived and started signing. For sone reason they all had to wear purple and white feather boas, i guess to distinguish them from non-authors? i dunno, it was fun anyway. We were there primarily to support JD, who also writes books, is in a band, is super smart and all round cool person. The evening ended far too early at 10-ish (and that’s saying something). we called Ali, our driver, and he took us back to the b&b.
We hadn’t had dinner, so we ran across the road and got pizza. I had a slice of bbq chicken, it was perfect for the time and place.
First the factual bit. We woke up early, the alarm went off at 6.15am. Was out of the door at 7am to go to the airport express. Check-in took only a few minutes, then we went to McDonalds for tea before I had to get on the train for the airport.
There was just enough time to go to the lounge to get a bottle of water before I had to sprint to the gate. Both flights (to Tokyo and from Tokyo) were virtually empty and I had 2 seats to myself throughout. Watched some films, ate the food served to me, and was able to sleep for about 4 hours. Immigration at Chicago was atrocious, it took 1.5 hours from landing to getting on the taxi. Did laundry, went to the supermarket and cooked dinner. Tried to stay awake till normal time.
Sounds clinical and boring. But what i didn’t add were the feelings. From the beginning of the day we tried to spend as much time as possible together. I lingered as long as possible at the airport express, until just before the train was due to leave. But eventually time catches up on us and we had to hold each other close and say our good-byes. Both of us were crying by then.
I spent most of the comfortable flight over wondering what the hell I’m doing, leaving mm behind like this. Good career prospect, opportunity for writing and perhaps being published, welcoming friends — are they enough? I know we have our share of problems in our relationship, and that we’ve done the long distance thing before, but this feels different. I’m not sure how long this assignment is, I know for sure I have no job back because I’ve outgrown the region, I know I don’t want to be moving around so much anymore.
So where does it leave us? We’ve not talked about it, like we never talk about us. There’s an understanding and expectation that we will stay together. There are issues I’d like resolved before we embark on the rest of our lives, this is my point of view. so many unknowns.
We are both at high points in our careers, coming up to real responsibility and with it, earning power. From a purely practical and materialistic pov, the next few years we can make enough to be really comfortable and not have to worry about the future. May be that’s the medium term goal?
Sigh. I don’t know. I miss her like hell. I don’t miss her as much as I thought. I’m in a confused place that is entirely of my own making. And so how am I supposed to do now?
no spa today, but equally great. mm and i took the common ferry to the small fishing village on the other side. It’s quite a touristy area and famous for its seafood. You buy the seafood from a specialised shop then bring it to a restaurant to cook. mm treated me to a real treat — geoduck sashimi, a great steamed fish, steamed clams and cockles. The restaurant’s name was Happiness, and it was a happy meal.
We walked around the village a little, hitting a local temple and life buoys on fences that were marked decoration only. Stopped for a tea, then our walk was cut short when it started raining.
Resting back home, then went out to the wet market to get frog. Yes, frog. mm is so good at cooking that. Simply cooked with mushroom, and we both love frog. I even took a video of the legs and portions twitching when salt was added. A bit surreal and not for the squeamish, so I’ve put it behind the cut.
I couldn’t sleep last night. My throat was burning like hell and I was feeling miserable. We have a massage booked at 11am, but I decided I really needed to see the doctor. So mm, bless her, got ready quickly and took me there. Throat infection, 4 types of medicine and 1 bottle of cough syrup. 3 days’ worth of drugs, let’s see.
The massage was at L’Occitane spa, i had a deep tissue massage, a complimentary relaxing back massage and a facial. Niiiice.
Lunch at our Japanese “canteen” cos we were in the same area as work.
Still feeling miserable so we went home for a much needed nap. Heh, I headed straight for bed as soon as we got home and didn’t wake up till the alarm.
I had dinner plans with my parents. If it were anyone else I would have cancelled but I did not want to stand my parents up. I enjoyed the meal, glad I made the effort. Back early, so plenty of time to rest. I thought about going running, but decided against it cos of sickliness. There’s a tinge of guilt but it’s probably for the best.
I woke up early, and was playing around in fb when mm woke up. Discussed a little where we’d go for lunch, and decided at a nice Jap place. I had a fantastic chirashi, she had a sashimi set, we also ordered a mixed tempura to share.
Took one of the long distance buses into the countryside. Walked around the markets and shops. Had some skewers at a street food place and dessert at the famous B’s dessert place.
The bus back stopped at the bus terminal near our foot massage place, so we took advantage of the location. 2 parts later, our feet are much better. And after a late meal of steamed crab and roast goose, we were truly satisfied.
The last work day before I leave. Called the phone company first thing. It’s stupid, for a phone company, it doesn’t accept cancellations by phone. I handed in a form in person last week, but had to call to confirm the cancellation is okay. Archaic.
Then called the Rates Dept to change correspondence address. That’s all the address changes I can do now.
Lunch with my ex-boss, I haven’t seen her for so long. Had chirashi at a nice Japanese restaurant.
Haircut took only 30mins or so, Sam is quick today.
Went for 3 parts of massage (half foot half body). A new person cos my regular person wasn’t available. Man, he was tough. My calves were rock solid, and he isolated the sore spots immediately. It’s one of those massages that hurt like hell but is good for you. He’s also the only one at that place who cracked my spine and my neck.
Have a bad sore throat, so bought some plain vegetables for dinner. mm has her own food in the fridge.
It’s been an…unusual birthday. Everything is out of routine. I feel a little weird, happy, sad, thoughtful. Breakfast with mm, then spent 2 hrs at home waiting for the gas and internet people to show up. Lunch with family, but not altogether a harmonised experience. Back home again to go over with parents. Early back to mm’s home, and it was only spending a few hours by myself that I was able to calm down and gather myself for late dinner with mm. Solitude rules.
Early start, to finish off getting everything ready. The shipment crew came at 9am, 6 guys, worked very efficiently and professionally. I tried to get out of the way, spending most of the day standing in the bathroom watching the proceedings. The packing was fascinating, especially how they wrapped large items like the table and cabinets. I was tweeting most of it on my mobile, kept me occupied. Lunch was 3 McDonalds sandwiches, I think I went a little crazy — sausage & egg mcmuffin, filet-o-fish, teriyaki chicken. Plus a taro pie. Oh my.
The crew finished at 4pm, then I followed one of the vans while it brought a small consignment to my parents’. I have to give them most of my electronics and food/wine cos I can’t take any with me.
Parents treated me for dinner — lobster, steamed fish, ostrich, mushroom & mixed veg. I took the bus home, picked up my 2 suitcases and taxied to mm’s. I’ll be here for a week, it’ll be interesting cos we haven’t lived together since London and that was a long time ago.
Some of the boxes got delivered today, while I was out running. This is for the local move of food and stuff to my parents’. It’s hard to know where to start packing. Should I clear out the kitchen now? Or wait till later in the week? Should I pack my suitcase already? What about throwing things away?
Went back to the office late afternoon and sat in mm’s office reading for an hour or so waiting for her. We went for Japanese dinner cos I was missing Japanese food in a major way. It was nice.
I can’t keep my eyes open though, just nodded off for 20mins totally unconscious. Taking a shower then to bed.
My colleague J invited me and another colleague to her house for dinner. Her husband cooked a fabulous dinner of simple succulent roast chicken, spouts and strawberries. We had fabulous wine — started with a Chablis, moved to a Morgon and finished with a slightly portly Gary Farrell to finish. I had an absolutely fabulous time.
so much to do, only one day.
laundry 2 loads.
gym — 20mins weight training + 45mins running.
lunch preparation — chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, mushrooms.
catch up on posts.
Woke up at 3am-ish and took a melatonin, still woke up at 7am. When I’m this jetlagged I give up trying to sleep. Crawled out of bed, played on the computer, had some tea, and went running for 5 miles, just cos I was really really really cold.
Tired enough that by lunchtime I was fading, so I crawled back into bed and slept.
Dinner with my family at a nearby Japanese place, got some carrots for soup, then took the bus home.
I won’t have trouble sleeping.
mm and I celebrated chinese new year at a, um, sushi restaurant. one of those conveyor belt places that is usually very crowded but today at 1pm, we didn’t even have to wait. We ordered a mixed tuna plate, with 3 different kinds of tuna ranging from normal to fatty. Also had a bottle of sake.
Then we were pottering around the stores, and were at burberry when there was a huge racket which got louder and louder. It was the lion dance, coming to the store to “fetch the green” — I’m sure there’s some lucky meaning but it escapes me right now. We were at the right place at the right time.
Flight was at 11am, an hour earlier than usual, or they revised the schedule. Had to get up at 6.30am to shower and get ready to leave by 7.30am. Saturday morning = light traffic and I was all done and at the admiral’s club by 9am.
Flight was half-full, and I’m glad I took the chance to select an aisle seat at the side. No one sat at the window and I ended up having both seats. The other good thing about it being so empty was I managed to snag one of the Japanese bento meals for dinner.
Other than that, boring flight. Slept for 3 hrs. Watched 4 films:
- Burn After Reading — very Coen Bros, a big tangle of inter-related coincidences, funny stuff
- City of Embers — despite the steampunkedness, it got clichéd and boring and I couldn’t wait for it to end
- Road to Rodenthe — lovely leads in Richard Gere and Diane Lane but far too sentimental and again, couldn’t wait for it to end
- Bottle Shock — meh, quirky in places, pretty good choice to spend 1.5hrs
My first day in the office as an official Chicago branch employee. A different feeling than other new hires cos I already have an access card and laptop. There was a problem with the network cable, which got fixed. But email didn’t work all day. So I gave up after lunch and came back to the apartment. Went shopping then running. Tired.
I took the afternoon off, it wasn’t that busy and I had lots of errands to run. It was at the back of my mind, but it hit me today that I was flying on Sunday, and not too much time left before I have to move proper. Had lunch with mm, then went to:
- the bookstore to exchange a book — Sis gave me LP Chicago for Christmas which, well, i don’t need
- the computer place to get a memory stick for the PSP
- the snack place to get pistachios
- the bank to get USD
- the electronics store to unsuccessfully look for a travel hairdryer
- the supermarket for chocolate for the office
Was going to get a taxi, but found myself walking nearer and nearer home, so at the end i walked, albeit carrying several large plastic bags and a very heavy backpack.
First I went crazy at amazon and bought three earbuds. Then I met up with my parents for lunch, and went crazy with more gadget shopping. Here’s what I ended up buying today.
Bought the my taxi game for the PSP. This is quite an old game that I’ve played on the PS2, and mm’s brother let me play on his PSP at christmas, so I had to get it.
Another gadget was a spare card reader, 55-in-1, it’s the same one I have now. It doesn’t need a power supply, just plugs in straightaway.
Mum and I went to look at apartments cos I suddenly decided I can afford to buy a small investment property. Saw something quite promising, will explore further.
Early dinner at the casual restaurant at the wet market. Then had to go back across town to get the wooden car beads that I forgot to get. Those were heavy, man. And no, I don’t have a car. But I will in Chicago, so I wanted to get these now.
We didn’t go to midnight mass last year, probably because of tiredness or something. This year I’m on my own on Christmas Eve — went with family to the yacht club mulled wine and carols event that finished by 7pm — and the thought of going to midnight mass was strong.
The main cathedral is only 15-20mins walk, it’s on one of my running routes. So I headed out at 11.20pm, and when I got there it was crowded already. No seats left inside, and only a few left at the seating areas they’d set out outside, with big screen tv view.
Before the service the choir sang carols. At one point a soloist sang O Holy Night, my absolute favourite. She was good. Not as good as these ladies but very touching.
I opted to stand during the mass, and it was a nice service conducted by our Cardinal. There were announcers, telling people when to stand and when to sit — there’s usually a lot of people who a) don’t go to church often or b) aren’t Catholic but wanted to experience midnight mass. Before the communion, they announced twice that communion was for baptised Catholics only. The communion inside had holy wine, but not for us outside.
Yes, I don’t go to church often, but I love the belonging feeling everytime I go.
The rules are simple:
We are not allowed to spend any money on anything, no matter what. In other words, we can’t make a run to the store to buy food, we can’t spend money on any sort of entertainment, and so on.
No additional expense on utilities (eg no premium movies on cable). They even updated recently with a list of 100 things to do over a money-free weekend.
It’s very straightforward for me. All I did was stay home. I didn’t do grocery shopping — I have enough food for the weekend and even through Monday and Tuesday so I can do shopping during the week. I wasn’t tempted to buy anything from amazon, I didn’t pay any bills, in fact I didn’t even speak to anyone between talking to Mum on the phone friday night and going to bed sunday night.
I read, napped, played computer games, did a couple of food memes, enjoyed several foot massages on my uSqueeze, made fruit salad, made lunch for Monday.
This type of weekend, I never want to end.
Woke up at 1am, 5am and then finally 8am. Bummer. But it meant I could go get my hair cut earlier, before the place gets busy. My hairdresser always gels my hair and styles it. He says my hair looks good when gelled cos it’s short and thick. The problem is as soon as I’m out of the door I run my fingers through it and flattens whatever style he put in. Hee.
Had to go to the supermarket. The delivery yesterday missed all the fruit and veg items. Just as well cos I bought more than I wanted, including my favourite rocket.
Slept all afternoon again. Crawled onto the sofa at 1-ish and woke up just before 5pm. Had rocket, yellow pepper, tomato and pear salad. Sprinkled a few dried tart cherries I got in Chicago last time, they’re not that tart, fit the salad perfectly.
I’m sitting here alternating between playing Jewel Quest and reading a book with the aircon on. I’m still hot and need to rub the sweat off periodically. Sigh.
Even with melatonin I woke up at 6am. Didn’t even struggle to get back to sleep, I got up, made tea and turned the mbp on.
Luggage was promptly delivered by 10am. I started getting tired again but had to wait for the supermarket delivery. I got the 9am-1pm time slot and by 1pm when they hadn’t arrived I was annoyed and tired. Checked outside the front door and there were packages! I wonder why they didn’t ring the bell.
After quickly unpacking I flopped to the sofa, sleep chasing me urgently. It was hot so I put a beach towel on the sofa seeing how sweaty I get. I’ve always been easy to sweat and I can’t believe how many towels I’ve been using lately.
Slept until 4pm. Reheated the cacciatore sauce in the freezer and had that with penne and chicken. More melatonin tonight.
I think I should take a break from all these posts about food, heehee. May be something techie, but it’s all been iPhone this iPhone that all month. I’m still in the watching tv mood as opposed to reading mood, which is just fine. The travel channel is having a China week cos of the Olympics and I’ve been watching bizarre foods.
I was supposed to leave on Sunday, but there’s a big important meeting on Wednesday that we’d been waiting for, so I decided to stick around for a few more days. This means a whole weekend down at the house. I got a taxi to Car’s office, and was late cos the driver didn’t know the address! I was like “no, turn left here!” when I saw that he was driving us further away. Geez. If I didn’t know the area, I would have been screwed.
We drove up to where Cam works and met up for a quick bite at the bourgeois pig café. I had a Midsummer’s Night Dream salad which was spinach, cranberries, goat’s cheese and pears. At $7.45 and a small (for US) bowl it wasn’t value for money. It was great to catch up with friends though.
I had many meeting scheduled for today, so it was busy. Was still able to get away at a decent hour. Left to my own devices for dinner, my natural inclination is to get something and eat it in the hotel room. No fancy restaurants, no restaurants actually. Plus, with so many heavy meals lately it was nice just to get a salad and watch tv. Which was exactly what I did.
Door to door, from PT back home, was almost 24 hours. It really is very tiring.
Watched a few films on the plane — 21, Fool’s Gold, part of Batman. Read the 2 DoC books I saved specifically for the flight and thoroughly enjoyed them.
Too tired to do laundry. I know it’ll take over an hour, I’m not sure I can stay up that long.
I went to the taste of chicago today. I avoided going at the weekend because of the crowds, and today i got there at 10.50am, just before the 11am opening. The place was practically empty and I had time to walk around looking at the stalls deciding what to try. Tickets were available for $8 for a strip of 12. Most stalls had 3-4 menu items costing around 6-10 tickets, although they have one “taste of” item for 3-4 tickets obviously for tasting.
There were the expected sandwiches, pizza and the like but I focused on trying food I hadn’t tried before. First was a chorizo arepa, because I was watching a program on the Food Network over the weekend on arepas. This arepa wasn’t anything like the ones on TV, the sausage was okay but the pastry was dry. The second thing I tried was a mustard fried catfish. Now this one was good. The breading wasn’t thick, the fish was fresh and the mustard gave it a nice gentle kick.
On the theme of fish the next stall offered shark. I’ve eaten all sorts of unusual food so i wasn’t fazed by the shark. It was actually quite nice. Like tune in taste although it’s white not red. Better than crocodile definitely. Not to fishy either. I was kinda full by then but one dish from my earlier inspection stood out — goat with fried plantain. I didn’t care for the goat, it was very tough, even tougher than mutton. The plantain was good — sweet and filling.
Dessert time. The New Orleans style restaurant offered up a tasting portion of beignet and a large piece of watermelon was the perfect thirst quencher.
The best till last. A combo of lemon and watermelon ice. Yep, a great day out.
This is the first time I visited a Pride event. I’m not very well versed in the history and reasoning, but I thought it was an enjoyable day. There were people who were over the top but you get that at every event with a large crowd.
The crowds were already busy when we got off the train at around 11am. We found our place under the shade of a tree and behind some people who had seats. Some people were throwing freebies from a pub and I got myself a Miller Lite visor.
The parade started at noon, with a line of police horses escorting the starting banner. Then it was a non-stop selection of colourful floats, cars, music, dancing, random politicians and the like. I had a ground level position right at the barrier but I couldn’t crouch for long and had to stand up.
Sometime after 1pm everything ground to a halt and was like that for a good 45 mins. It also started to rain so my group, as well as half the crowd, decided to leave. After later we found out one of the dancers had fallen off and broke her leg.
mm avidly follows the horoscopes while I generally give them a cursory glance if I come across them. This was on my igoogle today:
Just as you were getting accustomed to the hectic pace, everything changes. You wake up in a quieter and gentler world today — and it’s not just because it’s the weekend. Instead of charging ahead, think about taking some time off and doing absolutely nothing at all. It might sound boring, but it might be just what you need.
Oh my. That’s a tough case to build for not believing.
It was totally unintended. Met mm at the hairdresser’s … there were too many people so I was the only one who got the haircut.
During tea we talked about how to remodel my apartment, so it was only natural that we ended up at the “home decoration” street looking at tiles, taps, showerheads and show kitchens. I said I’d give her the right to renovate however she likes it.
Dinner at a sushi place we’d never noticed before. This one advertises itself as a tuna specialist. We thought about getting the most expensive, the blue fin tuna, but decided to go for the next one down. The fatty tuna chirashi was good. I ordered a large beer and we shared it.
With some time to kill, we went to the big department store and discovered a big sale was on. It’s been a long time since we were tempted in a big way. I bought a couple of new pillows and we both bought a foot massager for the times when we can’t go to the reflexology place.
So yes, our pockets were much lighter after today.
I had a long lunch with my friend CC today. We’ve known each other for almost 12 years, have followed each other all over the world, worked in almost the same companies. Now she and her husband live in Singapore but she comes back to visit occasionally. We’re neither of us very sociable people, often not bothering to look up friends. But we always try to meet and catch up. It was nice, we had salad buffet at the Marriott.
Dinner was with other ex-colleagues, SC and SS. Originally a couple other people were due to join but they couldn’t make it. Had Vietnamese, also very nice.
Then I caught up with CC again at another restaurant where she was having dinner with other friends. I joined them for dessert.
Altogether a very sociable day. Probably completes my quarterly social quota.
Got up at 6.15am, was all checked out before 7am. Waited for the limousine bus for the airport, which was pretty full. By the time I got to the lounge, I was so early that the passengers from the earlier flight were still at the lounge! Then again, I had no choice because the bus ran every hour and I’d be cutting it too fine.
The flight was nothing spectacular. I got home around an hour after landing. I called mm to tell her that I’d brought dinner — the salmon roe she asked me to buy — but she was asleep and barely able to talk to me. Kinda disappointed, but what can I do?
The rest of the day was spent watching TV, sorting the pics and obviously catching up on posts. That’s how my life is nowadays, just on my own and finding my own way to occupy my time. There’s no good or bad about it, it just is.
Here’s an interesting collection of KitKats I got from vending machines and convenience stores in Tokyo. Why is it relevant to anything I just wrote? Nothing. It’s not.
I opened my eyes this morning and it was 11.30 already; by the time I finally got up it was closer to 12.30. I was really tired. Really really tired.
I took the day off. I could have gone out to lunch or dinner with mm, parents or sis but I asked them all for a raincheck. I just want a quiet day. I had noodles for lunch, read, played a new computer game, and made mediterranean chicken with double potato mash for dinner. I’m gonna alternate between reading and gaming till bedtime, and it would have been exactly how I wanted to spend my birthday.
I’ve caught up on Paris posts. Here’s a cute picture of miniature Eiffel Towers I took through a shop window. Most nights I got back to the hotel late — restaurant service didn’t start till 7.30pm and with 3 courses for a large group it took a long time. So I didn’t fancy paying €15 each time to get online.
I was home, unpacked and showered by 8.30am. Most of the morning was trying to stay awake and finally I went to bed at 1pm. A nap was good. There’s a lot of catching up on greader and books in general. I’m not too tired yet but I might pop a melatonin and go to bed early.
The more I check out how Easter sunday is determined, the more confused I get. So I’m not even going to try. All I care is that I get 4 days off, and I left work at 4.30pm today.
It’s also a little bit colder than the last few days. Easter is always the last cool weather, then it starts getting hot and humid and awful. I hate summer.
Long weekend, did I mention that? Heehee.
I was tired from jetlag; mm was tired from being ill and overworking. But we still dragged ourselves out and met up for a bit today. Since it was still cool and the sun was out, I suggested that we went for a walk at the islands today. Well, not the islands, just one. The ferry ride was just over half an hour, and there were quite a few people, but once we got to our destination people seemed to scatter.
It really was just aimlessly walking around the old-fashioned village, window shopping and eating a little. We had orange juice with lemon and shared a club sandwich at the small coffee shop place. Dinner would be usually seafood at one of the restaurants but we decided to return to the mainland for an early dinner instead. We were finished by 7.30pm. I walked her to her bus-stop, went to the supermarket to get eggs and butter (I forgot with the big online order) and got a taxi home.
It was a restful day. We’re both glad we made the effort to go out.
It only took an hour to get home from the time the plane landed. Unpacked, sorted through mail and showered in another hour. Chatted with Car a bit. Waited for the grocery to be delivered — I’d made the purchase on Monday while still in Chicago, oh joys of online shopping.
Thought about taking a nap in the afternoon but decided against it. I’m making myself get really tired, then may be I’ll take a melatonin pill and hopefully I don’t wake up before sunrise tomorrow.
Man, I’m fading.
The thing today was we went shopping. I hate shopping, but today was productive. Car wanted some bookshelves and I wanted socks, so we have target places to go. So here’s what we bought:
- car wash — no, not the car wash itself (though that would have been profitable) but one cycle at the car wash place. It’s different from what I’m used to. We had to get out of the car, the workers cleaned inside, stuck it inside the tunnel where the belt took the car through, and we picked it up the other side
- wii games — Harry Potter and Transformers. For me of course
- a 24-pen pack of colourful sharpies — so I can attempt more doodles
- blank dvds — $20 for 100, a good bargain
- Age of Empires games — not for me cos they were PC only, grr
- bookshelves for the basement — actually a double storage cabinet with shelves and doors
- 6 pairs of socks — with discount coupons they came to under $5
- 2 pairs of work trousers for Car
- Chicago Bears crocs for me, I’m such a tourist
And then we got chocolate milkshake from oberweis. I didn’t get a picture because: we took drive-thru and were moving in the car; I was too busy eating the shake. Oh yes, so thick that I needed a spoon. Very yummy.
It’s one of those indulgence days.
Met mm for lunch. We were talking about it on Thursday and agreed on the Korean restaurant. Now looking back, we never actually talked about which Korean restaurant (out of many in the area) but we both knew where to go. We had cold noodles and oxtail soup. The noodles were very nice, and we’d order it again definitely.
After lunch we took the bus to the acupuncturist’s place. I hadn’t been since November, and got a small disapproving look from the nurse. My original reason — a terrible unending migraine — hadn’t returned. But I’m sure the reason behind the headache — stress — is still there.
We could have gone shopping but we decided to go for foot massage instead. Ah, so nice. I fell asleep, as usual.
Dinner at a wood-smoke oven place. The starters, Waldorf salad and cream of pumpkin soup, were good. But the wood-smoked steak was horrible. Not tough, the other way round and that’s because it’s been treated with baking soda to make it tender. Problem is, it takes the flavour and texture completely away. Disappointing. Even a free tiramisu won’t persuade us to return.
So, simple day full of eating and pampering. Nice.
not. a. thing.
I spent most of the day dealing with emails and reading. My colleague was off sick so I had a rare day when I can focus on doing my own stuff.
Left early and did a big shop at the supermarket, getting necessities such as shower gel, toilet roll for delivery tomorrow.
Fresh chicken was at 30% off, so I got one and roasted it. Another trick I learned, when resting the chicken after cooking, turn it over so the juices flow to the breast.
Boy I’m boring.
Woke up at 11am. Could have slept more, but conditioning meant I got up, made tea, had lunch and the usual “awake” stuff. But I was still sleepy.
Played on the wii for a bit but all I wanted was to sleep. So I had a nap at just after 4pm. When I opened my eyes it was almost 7pm. Boy, napping in bed is different from napping on the sofa.
I don’t think I’ll have problems sleeping tonight despite all the hours of sleep. I’m tired and it’s cold. I took out the extra duvet last night so I’m on three duvets. It makes me feel like I’m hibernating in a very warm cave.
Wouldn’t it great if humans can hibernate? Just curl up in a warm place and slow down whenever we want, no need to bother about work or stress or the outside world.
First explored by NASA as a potential means to send astronauts far into space, the research had been abandoned for over 20 years as it was too ambitious, and difficult. Recently, the race to hibernate humans is on again, according to the Times. This time, the purpose is medical.
to equip ambulances with a clear saline solution called plasma expander that would be injected into seriously injured victims at the scene of a car accident. The plasma would rapidly send body temperature from 37°C to 10°C, slowing the metabolism, delaying the onset of shock and limiting damage from wounds.
Woke up at almost 1pm, a rare occurrence. But welcome, I’ve been tired lately. Besides, I had no plans for the day. Watched tv, read, did laundry, played on the wii, watched more tv, finished the printed book I was reading.
Made a salad with bacon, runny egg, croutons, romaine lettuce, tomato, yellow pepper, apple and avocado. The croutons were made from an olive ciabatta from a couple of days ago. I diced them, lay the bacon over the cubes then baked the whole lot in the oven for about 20 mins.
I think I deserve to be lazy for a day.
Twice a year I willingly go to a place where there is a huge crowd, and work my way through the throngs of people. Today is one of those days. mm and I went to the home products exhibition — the annual Ideal Homes-like exhibition except on a smaller scale. Usually we’d buy a lot of the specials — drinks, gadgets, noodles, snacks, but this year we had perfect restraint. Apart from food at the food court area, we didn’t buy anything. It was nice to walk around though.
Afterwards we went for foot massage. A great idea since it’s been several weeks for both of us. For dinner we tried the sushi place but there were too many people so we ended up at the excelsior pub. Had a drink with chicken wings, then dinner of steak and baked potatoes. A little walk after dinner and I was home before 9pm.
My flight from Singapore was at 10am, and I got there ridiculously early at 7.30am, intending to hang around at the lounge and have breakfast. At the check-in counter they asked if I wanted to get on the 8.05am and I was like, okay. A bit dubious that there was only half an hour but they said it was fine. The queue at immigration was longer than usual and I berated myself for not having a thick enough skin to ask people if I could cut in. Ran like hell to the gate and got there at 7.50am. Luckily people were still boarding.
It’s good to be early, cos this means I get home earlier. Did online grocery shopping and 3 loads of laundry. Oh yes, I had no intention of going into the office at all.
Downloaded the few pics I took in Sydney, I edited the posts to include a couple of them. Not looking forward to work tomorrow.
I was pretty stressed out over the weekend cos there seemed to be so much work to be done for the integration yet not enough time. We had 3 conference calls / meetings today. Sigh. Luckily I also managed to finish writing both Singapore and Australia proposals and sent them off to the respective people. Not bad for a day’s work.
I did 3 loads of laundry over the weekend, and right now I’m doing a 4th load. There’s still one more to do sometime this week. And I don’t even want to start thinking about cleaning and ironing.
I sorted the pictures but I’m so behind on feed reading. google reader gave up after 1,000, now it just says 1,000+ unread. It’s all the diggs, giz and engadget posts, they’re crazy.
All I want to do is sit around and read.
Met mm for lunch at Japanese place, then went for foot massage. Bought some crabs, came home, cooked them. Watched tv while having the crabs, and mm went home at 8pm.
Usual weekend fare.
Is my life boring? On paper may be. But I like the mindless aspect.
The day went by really quickly. I woke up briefly at 8-ish, fell back asleep immediately. Eventually woke up at 11am. No food in the fridge but there was enough in the freezer.
Most of the afternoon was sorting out pictures, catching up on TAR and Survivor, and reading. All of a sudden it was time to get dressed. Parents are treating Sis’ parents-in-law for vegetarian dinner. I was very tempted to plead fatigue, but decided to go anyway. I had to give the beef and souvenirs to parents, the swimsuits to sis, and of course there’s my niece’s late birthday present.
Being out meant I could do some grocery shopping. God I’m boring — milk, juice, fruit, veg. LOL.
Sorting out rest of pictures. All of a sudden it’s late. Where did time go?
What do you do when you have no office to base yourself and you have meetings at 9am and then 4.30pm? Hours and hours in between.
Go back to the hotel room of course. Watch tv, read.
Oh, and meet up with old friends. Yep, met sherlock for lunch near where she works. Man, it’s been years since I saw her — either 2003 or 2004. And we’ve known each other almost 10 years. Time has just flown by. I’m so glad we keep in touch and we chat non-stop as usual. It is unusual because neither of us are big talkers.
I’m still nervous about the work meetings, I’m afraid I’m missing stuff but can’t be helped.
I met with a couple of vendors and have a different impression of both — one is very sales pitch and the other is more practical, we talked more about implementation. Guess which one I like up to now? I know that evaluating vendors should be logical and systematic … but needless to say emotions come into it.
This has also been a productive trip in terms of meeting with friends. I had lunch on Monday with ex-ex-colleagues, reminiscing how we’ve known each other for almost 12 years. My ex-ex-colleague is now the head of the Singapore department, and it’s good to see her where she is now. Last night dinner was with SC friends, I’ve known them for 4 years. Today I had lunch with more-recent-ex-colleague who couldn’t make dinner. It was very touching to see all the friends. One of the SC friends is pregnant and I got the news that she went into hospital in the morning. Hopefully her labour is short and she’s given birth by now.
Most of the socialising is done now. Dinner was a takeaway of chicken teriyaki on rice. Tomorrow it’ll be meals on my own, which I’m looking forward to actually.
We went to a home and household show today. We expected it to have home decoration designs, ideas, gadgets and innovations. We saw a couple of common designers, the type of gadgets hawked at street markets (vacuum bags, window cleaners) and an exhibition on toilets.
Had early dinner at the sushi place, we got there about 4.30pm and had to queue up for about 20 mins even then.
mm was feeling headache-y and wanted therapy — retail therapy. So we went to a small shopping mall that was holding a “big” sale. She bought some clothes and a pair of shoes. I bought nothing, I don’t like shopping, but it wasn’t as bad an experience as it could have been.
Quick dessert then home.
The days are beginning to bleed together; I have to stop and think each morning what day of the week it is. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a luxury and I’m not complaining. The problem is I’ve been home 3 weeks and I haven’t been sleeping as well as someone who has no job/obligations/worries should be. Some days I toss and turn and can’t sleep till 2am; some days I wake up before 8am for no good reason (though, mostly it’s the stupid allergy). This morning I slept till 10.30am, and I was mildly pleased.
I got an email from my friend CL asking about me. I haven’t talked to her for ages, we’re used to talking to each other at least 3-4 times a week in the office. I realised I’ve not been doing much — staying at home, getting unhappy if I have to go out, watching TV, reading, playing computer games. That’s it. Very slackerish.
I suppose I have to start slowly getting back into a working frame of mind. If all goes well I only have 2 weeks of this luxury left.
So it was timely to read, via lifehacker, Tim Ferriss’ not-to-do list for effective working. I really like his reason for having this list: “what you don’t do determines what you can do” — especially in today’s hectic constantly-available culture. Which is interesting, because I “don’t do” a few of these already. The full list, and my comments.
- Do not answer unrecognized phone calls
I definitely don’t answer if it’s a number I don’t know. Sometimes I don’t answer the phone at all. I usually don’t reply to voicemails either.
- Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night
I am guilty of this sometimes. But I never give unreasonable deadlines for replies. Usually if I email last thing at night I’m expecting it to be read the next morning.
- Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time
I’d never chair a meeting or conference call without sufficient preparation for the attendees; but I’ve attended my fair share of calls that were called for no good reason. Sometimes people get 12 people on the phone because one person asked one question that could have been answered by one person. Sigh.
- Do not let people ramble—forget “how’s it going?” and embrace “what’s up?”
Oh yeah, get straight to the point.
- Do not check e-mail constantly—“batch” and check at set times only
I hate having unread emails. At work on Outlook there’s this pesky envelope at the bottom of the screen that I simply must get rid of. At home, I want to keep track of emails immediately, so I check gmail all the time. All my various gmails are forwarded to one gmail, so I’m up to date. I don’t obsess about email, but I do tend to respond to them quickly.
- Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers
Not relevant cos I don’t have customers. I dislike over-communication anyway. Bullet points and clear next steps, that’s what I try to do.
- Do not work more to fix overwhelm—prioritize
That’s never really been a problem, I work quick and usually don’t get backed up. If it’s something I’m not interested in doing, I won’t do it in the first place.
- Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7, seven days a week—make evenings and/or Saturdays digital leash-free
I’ve steadfastedly refused to get a Blackberry. I didn’t have a company laptop till my last month project and I hardly answer my cellphone. I make it pretty clear that work and home don’t mix.
- Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should
I can understand that sentiment and how people can become too attached to work. I have many friends from work, but that’s not using work to fill non-work relationships. I’ve always maintained that I go to the office for work — that’s it, it’s not a Life for me.
Tim Ferriss is the author of The Four Hour Workweek. Looks like a fad-type book but perhaps there are merits. May take a look at it if I come across it at a bookstore.
Turns out, my cool yellow raincoat isn’t as waterproof as I thought. It was pissing down with rain and it was almost 4pm, I was watching TV and contemplating taking a nap. In other words I was enjoying being at home out of the rain.
Then mm called about some documents that I had to sign and it was blah blah blah urgent-cakes. I had to go out. I don’t want to talk about it but I was severely annoyed. Yes it couldn’t be helped but it didn’t take away the severity of my annoyance. I dislike leaving home on a good day, and on a day when I had no reason to go out? Blah. Because of the urgency I took a taxi; then watched as the bus I would have normally taken pass merrily in front of the taxi that had gotten stuck in a traffic jam.
And on top of it, I got soaked coming home. At first I thought I’d take the bus home then I missed the bus, and the rain got heavier so I walked back to the taxi stand at my old office. Part of it involved walking up a long hill while a waterfall of rain water poured its way down past me. My trousers got soaked almost to my knees and my raincoat started getting wet all over and sticking to my arms and shirt.
I spent two days playing jewel quest[/small voice], which *gasp* I’ve never really played before. I’m not very good at it but I can totally understand the addiction factor.
Oh, and in between, this morning I did something serious. I went to meet the regional chairman at PL’s company. Very nice guy, we had a good discussion. Afterwards PL called me and said he likes me. I’m hopeful. I have a call with her global head in 2 weeks’ time, probably a formality but a necessary evil.
Alright, I’ll stop complaining about it being so hot after this.
I took 3 showers today. One in the afternoon cos I was tired and wanting a nap but not wanting to get my bed all sticky.
My normal shower after dinner.
I’m off to bed but I’ve gone completely sticky again so I’ll need to re-shower. Now one might ask why I don’t skip the normal shower till just before bedtime. Good question. Except I wash my hair at night and I don’t blow dry it completely and I don’t want to sleep with partially wet hair. I know, I’m lame and anal.
I thought it might feel strang that I don’t need to go to work today but no, I don’t miss it at all. Still waking up early and getting tired easily. Plus it’s so damn HOT. I move an inch and I’m dripping.
Went to the supermarket, which was disappointing because they were renovating and it generally felt cramped. I had to be careful I didn’t buy too much stuff cos I couldn’t carry all of it. The large stuff was delivered but I had to stock up on fresh food.
Played the wii, read, napped.
That was a day.
How can the weather be so hot?
And add to my tiredness and jetlag, we spent all afternoon and early evening looking at property. It was interesting but by the end I had zero energy left.
Jetlagged of course, so I woke up before sunrise, sigh. To be expected and I hope it doesn’t take me too long to recover.
Met mm for early lunch at our new favourite sushi place — the one with the yummy seared salmon. It opens at 11.30am and by the time I got there at 11.40am the first round of people were already inside and the usual waiting crowds were milling about. At the end we waiting for something like half an hour. Well, we had time. And we ate much more than usual. I was hungry and I needed the familiar food.
Top on my agenda was a haircut. I didn’t have time to get it trimmed before I went on my trip so it’s like a month too long. Even my hairdresser commented on how long it’d gotten. It was like a weight lifted when I exited.
We had an early dinner and then it was relaxing foot massage time. I fell asleep pretty much as soon as the therapist started. That was much needed.
Another much needed task is grocery shopping but since we ate out all day I can wait till tomorrow.
I was so busy for the last few weeks, today seemed surreal. A couple of calls, finished off a benefits analysis then spent most of the rest of the day reading an online story I’d printed. There were hardly any emails either.
mm and I went bowling today. We hadn’t been for years and years and years … last time was at Heathrow, I’m not sure if there is a bowling place there anymore. Our scores were dismal — I scored 97 and 75 while mm scored 64 and 74. Time was, I never went below 100. We need more practice.
After bowling we went for body massage. Boy was I stiff, this time when the therapist pushed my pressure points it really hurt. Much better now.
Early dinner at the Thai place — tom yum kung, chilli crab, mixed veg, chicken hor fun (enough leftover for my lunch tomorrow) and dessert. Buy one get one free Singha beer too.
Did my grocery shopping and took the minibus home. Showered and done by 9.30pm — that’s the sort of early night I like.
We went biking today at one of the islands. Took the fast ferry (around 30 minutes), had a late lunch and walked around before deciding we’d rent the bikes and explore more. We went to lost of places we wouldn’t have on foot, like the retreat, the back hills and the large cemetery. Quite tiring, and our bums hurt from sitting on the hard saddle.
We discovered this café place that serves this very refreshing drink — orange juice and slices of lemon in a large pint glass. Many people were drinking it so we went in to try. We had it for lunch and after returning the bikes. Yum
Seafood dinner and ferry back home. Tired, I’m sure my feet will hurt tomorrow. I just took a much needed shower because I was stick everywhere. And our bums hurt!
Today is the last of the six days vacation over Easter. Most people go back to work today, but we thought we’d take an extra day because mm was out of town for most of Easter / our birthdays and we wanted a day to celebrate.
Unfortunately she had to deal with something urgent so I spent most of today, yes like the previous 5 days, cooped up at home needing to find my own amusement. I read a little, wrote a tiny bit, backed up my backup hard disk, caught up with TAR, did long overdue ironing and a couple of loads of laundry. mm did come over in the afternoon and we watched a dvd and I made dinner. If we were in the habit of saying “if only” I wouldn’t have taken today off, but it was circumstances beyond our control. C’est la vie, n’est-ce que pas? It was a kind of a waste of six consecutive days of vacation, but again what could I have done? Sigh.
I was home all day today.
I finished off food that has been in the fridge and freezer for a while.
The only words I spoke were “thank you” for the grocery delivery person.
I spent most of the afternoon and evening watching dvds.
iTunes is off.
I’m a year older tomorrow.
It’s the start of a 5-day weekend. Plus I took Tuesday off so I have 6 days off in total. Not going anywhere unfortunately, mm has church duties over Easter and now she’s out of town with her family. Sigh.
So today was errands day. I went for a long overdue haircut and to pick up my new glasses. They didn’t have the sunglasses clip-on so I left still with my old glasses. Had loads of time before dinner so I went for a body massage. Then I bought an external hard disk and went to the supermarket.
Dinner with parents and sis’ family in lieu of my birthday. An old favourite Italian restaurant. The place was half full but the service was so slooooow. They did put a candle on the tiramisu and the staff sang happy birthday at the table. How embarrassing. The standard of food was also down. Either this is a permanent downgrade or the regular chefs are out. I used to love their food, today it was meh at best.
There are definitely fewer people around. I guess I’ll have to cheer myself and say it’s good that I’m staying around.
Met mm after lunch (she was at church, then had lunch with parents). Didn’t have particular plans, just wandered around — looked at CDs, fun stuff, bought some sour candy and stuff. Had tea of iced red bean and I had a peanut butter toast.
We talked about going for foot massage but decided to go karaoke instead. mm has been k-ing a lot lately, and she wanted me to “catch up” with the current songs. I suck at k-ing, not a keen singer, so while mm chose the “this week’s hits” I went for the 80s and 90s selection. I did try with the new stuff, like these songs called lightbulb and traffic lights.
Dinner was at the corner sushi place. It was the first time we went upstairs, and it’s more comfortable. We had a selection of sushi, a mackerel with roe sashimi, some whelks, pumpkin tempura, salmon head and ox tongue teriyaki. A small bottle of plum wine too. Heehee, there was enough sushi left over for me to doggie bag home — my dinner tomorrow.
Sigh. Nice day.
Went out around lunch time and ran a few errands.
Got my 10km run stuff — t-shirt, number, timer chip and souvenirs. Very efficient operation, long queue but the line moved quickly because there were many boy/girl scouts at the counters.
Then I went to HMV to browse around and listen to new releases. Finally found a copy of Ivy’s Guestroom. After HMV I went to Ikea to get a large serving dish and grater. Wanted to get a white single duvet cover & pillowcase set but didn’t see any that I liked.
Travel agent to get the airport train tickets.
Market to buy some veg.
Ended up having lunch at the vegetarian place at the market. It’s the family style place run by Sister Beauty. A plate piled with 4 types of vegetables and tofu plus organic rice. As much soup as we can drink (I had 3 bowls). And in age-old tradition, customers clear up themselves. There is a bin outside, and a large bucket for dirty plates. Just like home.
Whole day off today, yippee! But what did I do? I cleaned my dusty shoeboxes, threw out empty ones, vacuumed thoroughly under my bed (and the rest of the apt), made fruit salad, did 2 loads of laundry and tons and tons of ironing.
Oh, on the upside, I watched the rest of season 2, took a little nap and read a little. Unfortunately I also ate lots of junk food.
Why is housework never ending? Sigh.
Heh, I spent most of today in the office, in the airport lounge and on the plane. I was very tired when I got home, but yeah I’m glad to be home. I missed the cold.
Bonuses were announced today. Mine is unchanged from last year. I didn’t react, I never do. It is what it is. Compared with many people in the company, it’s not very exciting. But it’s equivalent to some people’s annual salary, so I’m already grateful. It’s more than enough for me to live on, and I can go on holiday, buy nice toys and treat mm to something good (noooo, not a car, heehee).
I had a nice Christmas, but have been either too lazy or with lousy internet access to update.
Friday 22nd was an early day, headed home at 4pm. Met mm to do some last minute shopping for her, then went back to her place. Made rack of lamb — seasoned a 8-piece rack and put it in her small oven. Also made a (rather overcooked :( ) courgette and tomato mix. That lamb was good.
Saturday 23rd she had church and family events, so I went home. Didn’t do much, apart from internet, reading and watching TV. It was a good day, to have some peace and quiet.
Sunday 24th morning I chatted with my international friends. Then mid afternoon went over to my sis’ and helped out with the evening meal. A family friend (couple and their baby) also joined. Sis and Mum ordered 2 turkeys and 1 leg of ham, which was way too much for 6 people, but we enjoyed it all. I took lots of leftovers home.
I asked for money to contribute towards my new lens this year, so that’s what I got, yay!
After dinner, I went over to one of mm’s churches for midnight mass. The main church was crowded so she told me to go to the hall where there was a live video feed. She was on duty in the hall so that was good. Sang lots of carols, and the mass went on till 1.30am. Helped the legion people tidy stuff away, which I think surprised them. Like, who is this person stacking chairs and taking hymn books back to the church? We called a taxi home, and it cost about the same as the journey from her place to mine, not bad.
Monday 25th. Christmas Day!! She had church in the morning, and went to visit her parents afterwards. We’d ordered takeaway party food before, so she came home with chicken wings, ribs, shrimp balls and calamari. We watched The Devil wears Prada which was a nice holiday film. Shifted locations at night — went to her place. We didn’t have any dinner since we were both full.
Tuedsay 26th first thing we went to see her sis. Her Mom had bought poinsiettas but was detained with her Dad, so we bought a nice bouquet at a nearby flower shop. Met her younger brother up there. Then met up with the rest of her family for dimsum lunch. In the afternoon we went to foot massage.
Wednesday 27th we both took as a day off. We went to the expo and bought lots of stuff.
It was a good 5 days.
I have 3 driver’s licences and 2 travelling documents — different countries and purposes. Today was the day to renew one of them. Met up with mm, queued up at one counter to get the form, filled in form, queued up at another counter to hand over form, photo and other docs. Took almost an hour in total, for something I have no intention of using, sigh.
Lunch with mm was nice though. But she had to go to pastoral care training afterwards so it’s another weekend alone for bb. Went to the supermarket, bought a bunch of fruits, orange juice and milk. For a change I was tempted to get some ice cream. It was not to be though, because the cashier couldn’t get the item to ring up and I stood there waiting impatiently till at last she said she had to go get another box to see if the barcode worked. Too much hassle, so I left the ice cream behind, sigh.
Got home around 3pm, got caught up with online stuff (nothing new) and took a nap. When I got up, made fruit salad and watched TV. Reality TV night, both The Apprentice and Survivor was on. I’d been recording the former, so need to catch up soon. It’s only the second episode of Survivor — I missed the opener last week, while recovering from my trip. Looks like an interesting season, I just hope I remember to watch it, sigh.
Now it’s almost 10.30pm and I realise I haven’t had a proper dinner. Fruit salad and vodka chocolate that Car’s mom gave me do not dinner make, sigh.
mm got a raise, yay! so she treated me to dinner tonight. We had lobster nachos, rack of lamb and a jug of Sangria. Originally we wanted to have a 3-course meal, but were far too full to have dessert. We were looking forward to either chocolate pudding or apple & blueberry crumble, but that’s for another day.
Walked around a little after, then I got a bus home and she took a taxi. She’s been working very hard these few days; between that and church stuff it’s like we don’t have any time to hang out. Sigh. That’s priorities for you.
It’s a sunny day but my mood is dark. It’s a bank holiday but my mood is dark.
I went out to get the rip in my cargos repaired. But either they were too busy, can’t get it back to me by tomorrow or the shop’s closed because of the holiday. I was very frustrated.
Then the software place shut before I could collect my disks. Frustration #2.
Went to the supermarket and bought stuff that was running out. They can’t guarantee delivery after 7pm tomorrow. Hello? People need to work?
When I got home I tried my hand at mending the pants. It’s held in place now but the stitches look terrible. Sewing is hard.
We went to visit her sis today. It was hot and I was sweating lots when we got up there, but then there was a breeze and it got better.
Had afternoon tea, walked around the shopping centre, went for foot massage, dinner at seafood restaurant. It’s late and I’m full.
I had writing group chat this morning, but it was quick, not many people attended.
Met mm for a late lunch at the steak place. Something about having steak at 3pm amuses me, but I was hungry.
After lunch we walked around the market, it was very crowded. It was basically to kill time till we could go to the church that mm got baptised in last week. I took her round the back way. Did I mention that I grew up in that area, my school is opposite the church so I know the area quite well?
Long time since I was at saturday anticipatory mass, it wasn’t as crowded as the main sunday mass but the turnout was impressive. For me, it was just another ordinary mass, but mm was clearly affected by it. When she came back from having taken the holy communion she was filled with emotions. I wish I could empathetise but it’s different for me.
She had meetings, the ones for newly baptised people. Originally I was going to hang around that area to wait for her, but she said I should go back to her place and wait. I took the bus and got off to change to another one. Then it occurred to me to pop by the computer centre near the bus stop to get a card reader and a USB hub. Ended up getting tons of software, which meant waiting for more than half an hour for the delivery.
Still had a little time to rest before mm called. We met at the restaurant nearby to her apartment and had a late dinner. We haven’t spent time together like this for a while, it was nice.
I was gonna stay home and rest. Then got distracted by the silly idiots from yesterday coming back into chat. Between the two of them they logged in using 5 usernames and started talking between themselves. It was disruptive. Then they started saying rude racist things, and that’s when one of the ops in the room kicked that person out. Got the forum moderators into the room and explained the situation.
They were stupid kids. Apparently on some of the junior boards being rude is rebellious and the accepted means of communication. And as soon as they showed up I logged in via snak, which gave me a log of the convo. Plus their IP addresses were showing, so who were they trying to kid? They’re banned from the chat now.
After the excitement I was gonna stay home and rest but I needed a haircut and realised I can’t go tomorrow as the shop closes on a Monday.
So I trudged off to get my haircut at the usual place. Then went to the supermarket. Bought a “five types of salmon sushi” for dinner.
I have one day before I have to fly again, it’s a big rush.
Repack my luggage.
Catch up on posts.
Do loads and loads of laundry and hope they dry before tomorrow.
Go for massage because my back hurts so much. I don’t really have the time cos of all this stuff that needs to get done, but I need to sort it out.
I’m all stressed out.
Had a file that needed to be submitted for uploading by tonight, since there is a systems freeze and if we don’t make it to this window we have to wait a whole week. It’s annoying, but c’est la vie. I’ve been working on this for weeks and weeks — this was one of the reasons for going to India. I finished around 8pm. That’s pretty late for me.
When I went downstairs, it was cold, windy and raining heavily. Very unpleasant. The taxi queue was lonnnnnnng, I think I must have waited at least 20 minutes, may have been better to get the bus or walk. The wind was biting.
Because of the upset stomach, which is still bugging me a little; and the constant eating out for the last 2 weeks, I made myself steamed vegetables tonight — carrots, broccoli, sugar snap peas and baby corn. No salt, no oil, no flavouring. Actually I’m not hungry at all. It’s cool.
For once I woke up later than mm. It was almost 11am when I turned over and found an empty side of bed, then gradually the sounds of the tv in the living room filtered through. We had taro cake for lunch, and dismissed the idea to go see the film, we’ll do that this weekend.
She decided to assemble the home entertainment system that has been sitting in its box the the longest time. There were wires everywhere! It took a while, cos we had to dismantle the vcr and dvd first, then connect everything. It’s complicated. And stopping all the time to test and make sure we have the connections right. Finally after 2 hrs we did it. Yay! Now mm has surround sound.
She went downstairs to the market to buy dinner — crabs and mini-whelks. A small portion of sashimi for the salad. We shared half a bottle of sake too. It was great.
I’m home finally. After 4 days away. It was really great to be at mm’s, though I did miss being home a little, I have to admit. I had left the dell on so I could keep grouper and bt going, but it’s gone a bit kablooey so I had to reboot. Stupid PCs. I’ve decided to buy the macbook for my birthday anyway.
Originally we had tentative plans to see the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but she wasn’t feeling well so we stayed in all day. It was bloody hot — the sun was out full force and I had to move from my perch on the couch to the shade. I was almost tempted to turn the aircon on! It’s supposed to be January, grrrrr.
Late afternoon I ran over to the supermarket to get the ingredients for our dinner. Last night we opened a bottle of Côtes du Rhône and it was so plonkish we couldn’t drink it — so we had to find a way to use it up. I wanted a whole chicken but it wasn’t available so I bought whole legs. Garlic, carrots, potatoes and a tin of chopped tomatoes completed my purchase. I cut the chicken up into pieces, marinated slightly with salt, pepper & olive oil and browned them with garlic. Added diced carrots, tomatoes and the red wine. Simmered on low heat till reduced to at least 1/3. The potatoes I did my usual par-boiled cubes then roasted till crispy. Pretty okay, though the chicken fell apart and it was more like minced chicken.
Felt like ice cream, so I checked out the tubs in the freezer. Hmm. Still taste okay, but they’d been in the freezer for too long and it was more like vanilla ice. Not too bad.
Early lunch for us, almost brunch. Then again, steak and beans is a large brunch.
Went to the flower market, which was very crowded, even though we went fairly early. Bought some flowers, but not so many. I got quite hungry, so we stopped for pork chop roll. Afterwards I picked up the duvet covers and bedsheets I had on order.
Bus back to her place to take a rest and dump the stuff we bought. She had dinner with her folks and I had dinner with a couple of friends — we had hotpot at a posh hotel restaurant. Quite expensive actually. Originally wanted to go to dessert at this chocolate place but it was full. Instead we ended up with a bar/deli place where they had an evening special of cake and glass of wine or liqueur coffee. I had a banoffe pie and house red — heavy but yummy.
It was past midnight when I met mm at the park to go to the fair. I hate crowds and it was late, but she wanted to go, so it was fine by me. man, that crowd! We weren’t moving by our own accord, it was like a sardine tin and people behind us would push us forward. The stuff on sale were the usual tacky worthless toys — balloons, inflatable toys, cheap decoration. Why people want to go get jostled by people and wet from the rain I have no idea.
I went to church with mm this morning. Got out of bed at 8.20am on a sunday morning. I wanted to make the effort, since it means so much to her.
The chapel at the Catholic Centre was small, and almost full when we got there. She’s in the choir so I had to sit on my own. Luckily the lady directing traffic found me a seat near the choir, actually it was just behind them, I was settled.
Good service. The Irish father talked about the story of the reluctant prophet Jonah and how he was supposed to have survived 3 days in the belly of a whale. Sometimes I gotta laugh at how people who wrote the Bible treated these stories as if they’re real. It’s a metaphorical whale, people. But still, a good story.
I like this church. They sing everything that is singable. The atmosphere isn’t pretentious, everything is efficient. But I’m not sure if I’ll go as often as I should. She has choir practice afterwards and that meant hanging around for 1.5 hours when I’d much rather be at home and online. I’m pretty sure my temper will get bad if I have to hang around every week.
We had a nice lunch then went clothes shopping. Honest honest, this must rate as one of my least favorite activities. My shopping M.O. is know exactly what I want, target the shop(s), zoom in and get out as soon as possible. I couldn’t manage spending 50 minutes in every shop, trying clothes over and over again, and asking the sales people all sorts of questions. I can barely talk to the sales assistants, let alone ask them anything.
Fruitful shopping trip though, she bought a really fantastic blue striped sweater and a few other tops. All were on sale, that was good. I didn’t have any energy to find anything for myself.
When we finally reached the foot massage place I was so tired, I almost fell asleep straightaway. I was asleep for most of the 1.5 hours though. After the foot massage we tried the ear candle massage. It’s our second time and it was pretty comfortable afterwards. When the therapist held the burning candle in my ear, I heard gentle crackles and pops, she was giving me a face and neck massage at the same time. Yeah, I fell asleep again.
Dinner was Indian food. I’m still tired.
I watched 5 eps of TLW s2 today, 3 of them in the afternoon while waiting for mm to call so we could meet for dinner. I wish we had a group of supportive friends like that, of course without all the drama and over-drama of a tv series.
We did food shopping and walked around a furniture store. Then simple dinner before going home again. I mentioned that I could go over tonight, but we decided not to, cos tomorrow’s a work day. Perhaps one day this week I’ll go over to try the Mon-Thurs special buffet at “our” Japanese restaurant.
Been listening to my iTunes on shuffle. I think I’ll rip the rest of my CDs. Previously I picked out songs I liked, but I think now I’ll get the whole CD.
Writing group chat this morning was … interesting and different. I guess with a growing group of people, the usual people dynamics interactions will happn.
She was out with friends, we didn’t meet till 6pm. We went to a food/product expo. Bought lots of noodles, biscuits and new bedding sets. There were bargains to be had.
Part of the area was food court too, we tried snake soup, stewed venison, pumpkin pudding. Nice stuff. By the time we got home it was almost 11pm. I’m going to bed, a little headachey.
I did NO work today. Yeah, lots to do, to catch up. But I couldn’t get into anything. I even came home for lunch.
Received an email from imation that they’d take a look at my flash drive. I finally found the receipt, I would’ve kept it.
Did backup for the website, it’s been a while. One of the files kept giving me type 2 errors, and since it’s a category archive, I skipped it. No clue why it’s bugging the memory.
Otherwise, a lazy day.
We had an incredibly quiet New Year’s Day. She went to church in the morning and bought chicken wings back for lunch. Yes, incredibly boring, but it’s what we like.
I tried writing a short story in the afternoon while she napped on my couch. We both realise we should be going out but we didn’t want to move. Eventually we had to, since we were decamping to her place tonight.
Had dinner at our usual Japanese restaurant, not set menu like usual, we ordered à la carte — crab in fish soup hot pot, unagi hand roll, sashimi, deep fried chicken [I don’t know what it’s called, cartilege?]. I had a glass of choya.
Walked to the cinema, bought tickets for Goblet of Fire for tomorrow. Walked back. It was really nice.
Spent the morning in chat, many people, some are actually friends. It’s amazing.
Met for lunch at a new Vietnamese place, we had beef noodles and a small steamed rice roll. I had a lemon 7-up. Was going to visit the big NY festival at the park but she found a smaller food exhibition at the convention centre, so we took the bus there.
Quite crowded but I could manage my claustrophobia. We decided it was a good idea to visit after lunch, cos we only tried very few items and bought even fewer, compared to what we normally did. Just some honeycomb, tea leaves and noodles. Oh, and a case each of blueberry vinegar drink. That woman at the stall was so rude it was hysterical.
There was also a gift expo downstairs, included in the nominal admissions fee. What did we buy? A pair of crocs each. Mine is in boring chocolate and hers in butter.
Talking of foot, we had our usual foot massage afterwards. Dinner of lamb hotpot and steamed fish; and we bought dessert home.
20 minutes to go. I’m in the study and she’s just fallen asleep on my couch. It’s just us this New Year’s Eve. It’s good.
All things considered, sitting in my office all day pretending to be busy but in fact bored out of my mind surfing the net isn’t a bad way of spending the friday before a long weekend. I sent myself a couple of faxes, got the dept secretary to give me efax access and wrote an email to imation about my flash drive. That’s about the only productive things I did. I’d much prefer to be a little busier. Ha! Famous last words!
We left work at 6.20pm, met up at the tram stop, but the trams were way too crowded. So we walked about 20mins to the restaurant we were planning to go to. All I remember about this restaurant is that it’s pretty old and I last went there with her and her sis. I think. Anyway we had roast chicken, fried dumplings and a vegetable / tofu soup.
Afterwards we walked around for a while before coming home. Love walking around in this weather, after dinner.
Had the rest of the hokey pokey ice cream.
Now this is the life.
Not thinking about the end of the holidays. No. No. No.
Still trying to sort out our photos and catching up on reading.
Family Christmas celebration today, later than expected, cos of timing. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, Swedish meatballs, Christmas pud, mulled wine. Everything very nice. I took one drumstick and the carcass home, parents took the rest. Lots to eat, my fridge is totally full.
This jetlag business is strange. I don’t feel that tired, but we woke up at 6.40am again. Couldn’t get back to sleep.
Today we decided to go out for morning tea, which ended up being brunch. Had the hokey pokey ice cream that we bought yesterday at home, then I made vegetable soup.
Sorting pictures is taking a long time, which is why NZ posts are taking some time too.
woke up at 6.45am and couldn’t go back to sleep, must be the jetlag. She cooked us breakfast and went to church. I really should go but I was lazy. I’m also afraid that I’d get roped into the choir and group activities, same as her.
So I caught up a little with my reading and had the most unlikely Christmas lunch of vegetables. I have no fresh food in my fridge.
Mid afternoon we met up and had foot massage. On the way, my bus broke down but no delay as everyone just hopped onto the next one that came along. The streets were full of people and I felt my bad mood rising with each person in my path. Why can’t they all go away?
Bought hairy crabs and went to the market near her place to buy vegetables for my fridge. Got some hot wings from McDonalds too. Okay, that sounds like a weird Christmas dinner, but well, it’s what we like.
Tired from our travels. She was asleep by 10.30pm. I stayed online to chat a little, but had to go to bed just after midnight too.
What did I do today? I can’t remember.
It’s the last day of work before we go on vacation.
I answered some emails, I sent some emails. I wrote a two-page discussion paper on implementation of my latest project. But I can’t remember the details.
It’s the last day of work before we go on vacation.
I met mm for lunch (heh! our lunch date was at … McDonalds!!!) and I was momentarily irritated at her cos as soon as we sat down her cellphone rang and I’d finished my grilled flatbread sandwich when she returned. But I can’t be irritated at her for long.
It’s the last day of work before we go on vacation.
I bought my boss a flash drive, ate some chocolate from an expensive gift hamper that came from a vendor. I tidied my office, cleared my desk, set the out-of-office in my email, forwarded my phone to voicemail. I left the office at 6.30pm.
It’s the last day of work before we go on vacation.
I have some more food to finish in my fridge. I have final packing to do. I have a chat conference with my writing group tomorrow morning.
It’s the last day of work before we go on vacation.
I’ve been needing a haircut for about 2 weeks, last week there were too many errands to run, so I didnt’ get a chance. So today after the chat conference I made my way over to my hairdresser’s. And boy was he busy! I got there at 3pm and he told me to come back at 5pm. I remember a couple of years ago when the place was empty, now they’re buzzing.
So I went to a local fast food place and had a chicken drumstick and a pork chop roll. Then to the travel agent to buy train ticket for the airport. Then a little Christmas-y shopping. Lingered at HMV for a while, then went to the supermarket. Got back to the hairdresser’s at almost 5.30pm. Place was still full. Sat down, read food & drink magazines and he finally got to me at 6.30pm. He felt really bad, but I could see that he was working non-stop.
I left at 7.45pm, a good 3 hours after my original plan. I wanted to go home and either nap or edit my Holiday story. Now it’s, like the Swiss say, kaput. Sigh. Not his fault, he didn’t know all his customers were going to show up en masse like that.
I used to go to London for haircuts, when I was living in NY or Zurich, I’d time my visits so I could cut my hair during those visits. Can’t do that now cos it’s too expensive. This particular guy is pretty good, almost as good as the London guy, so I’m happy to stick with him. My hair is way too thick, he takes out the thickness but keeps the shortness, I always feel lighter when I cut my hair.
I was supposed to go to church with mm this morning, but I was too sleepy. And she let me sleep, bless her. She had choir practice afterwards and she said she’d be done by 11.15 / 11.30, so instead of waiting for her call, I took the bus down to that area. Called her on my cellphone when I arrived. Called 3 times. Argh! Spent a good 40 minutes walking around a boring supermarket, clutching my cellphone, getting annoyed.
Can’t be mad at her for long. :P I took her to the Singaporean noodle place and we shared a laksa, a mee siam and a rojak. Very authentic lah. Afterwards we walked towards the German bread shop, on the way we discovered a small street market which was very nice. She bought a set of 3 cuddly dogs for her brother’s family and I bought a Christmas decoration for my niece. At the bread shop she bought a loaf of wholewheat bread and I bought 2 half loaves for Mum.
Then it was bus time to get to the other side of town. First, we looked for sports sandals for her, but not easy in the winter. Then she did some clothes shopping, which I must admit was my least favourite part of the day (sorry, mm *smack*). Oh, before that, we checked out the price of the new camera I want to buy. It’s considerably more expensive than I thought. Like, um, twice as expensive. Ordinarily I’m not a very price sensitive person, but this, I need to think about. Problem is, if I’m going to go digital SLR, I have no choice, because of the existing lens set that I have. I’ll check the price at the duty free tomorrow.
Mid afternoon we had bubble tea and peanut butter thick toast at the Taiwanese tea house chain that I haven’t been to for years.
Rested and rejuvenated, we went to look for my Christmas present. :D A waterproof, windproof jacket with down interior. Tried a few combinations of inner colours and outer styles. I have an old old old jacket that is full of holes that I’ve had since first year at college. And my ski jacket. But this one has warmth, and it’s bought by mm, what more do I want? Oh, and it’s 10% of the price of the camera!
Back on the bus, then went to the computer mall. Bought a spare flash drive and the Tunebase FM for our trip. Our original plan of getting an iTrip was forgotten when we came across this one, cos it can recharge via the car cigarette lighter.
I had dinner with my family. My sis’ parents-in-law are in town and we went to the favourite vegetarian restaurant. Poor mm had to go home on her own, no bb for dinner tonight, sorry honey.
Right now, I’m doing laundry and feeling icky about the trip. I’m all packed for the India trip tomorrow. Did I mention I don’t want to go?
Woke up before lunch, both of us, that’s pretty unusual. I was online and watching Discovery Travel & Living, she was watching her Korean drama. She made toast which made us kinda full, so we decided to stay home till later. Went for tea buffet at the excelsior — salad, sushi, canapes, plenty of hot dishes, dim sum, fruit, waffles, ice cream, muffins, bead pudding, red bean soup, sweet tofu. My credit card had 20% off too, we were stuffed.
Walked around the nearby malls. Went to the computer place to look for an iPod FM transmitter, so we can take one iPod to NZ and not have to worry about what’s on their radio, or spend time burning CDs. There are ways to link iPods to car radios, but for rentals the best options are the FM transmitter or the cassette adaptor.
We’ve narrowed it down to the Belkin Tunecast II or Griffin iTrip. Since our trip isn’t till December, we’re waiting a few weeks in case something new comes on the market for Christmas. Same for my new camera purchase too, I’m waiting till I come back from India.
Strolled around HMV, saw some new dvd sets I want to buy, but didn’t want to carry around. I’ll go back later.
The main activity tonight was going to see Corpse Bride. She saw the poster last week, and thought it’d be interesting. It was surprisingly good. It was definitely better than I expected — the story, the animation and the songs! I didn’t know they’d break into occasion songs and it was wonderful. I told her the rating is PG and at first she thought it can’t be, but it is. None of the dead people are remotely scary, heehee. I didn’t notice though, too busy having fun with the music.
We met for lunch, then walked aimlessly around in the middle of the crowds. I’m less anxious today and have less of a desire to magic all the people on the street into an alternate dimension, some of them I still consider space wasters.
I’ve been looking for a new pair of sneakers, after the pair I’d been wearing since 1999 developed a hole in the right sole. I lurve that old pair, but it’s time to get a new pair. Been looking and looking. Don’t want one that’s too sporty, don’t want white or black or weird colours. Been seriously considering an Adidas Gazelle but I’ve never been an Adidas fan. Imagine how happy I was to find a pair I like today. And she bought it for me. SWOON!
We got a bit hot walking around, so we went for foot massage again. At our old place. The therapist says my feet and legs were very stiff, she’s great, though she’s the most painful.
Dinner at a Korean bbq restaurant, it’s one of those ones that has been at its location forever. It was past 9pm and it was crowded. People kept coming in after us too. We had a set dinner for two: assorted small dishes, chicken, pork, beef, fish, squid, rice, soup, orange and a stick of chewing gum. I was dehydrated so I had a diet coke. We shared a small bottle of Korean wine. Good meal, excellent food.
Problem with korean bbq is, the minute I got home I headed straight for the shower. Everything about me smelled of the food — hair, skin, nails, teeth. All the clothes I was wearing today are right now in the washing machine as well as some of hers. She normally washes her hair in the morning but tonight, she washed herself from top to toe too.
All in all, a nice lovely day.
Another slow day. Lunch at home. Short nap. Foot massage in the evening. Dinner at home. Of course the thought on our minds — the end of a weekend, have to go back to separate homes. Sigh.
It’s getting harder and harder to leave each other on a sunday.
Chat conference for the g13 writing project this morning, it’s becoming an exercise in management, to coordinate with two groups, and quite large too. We did the random draw to see who was writing what, and I got #11 out of 12. Many nationalities in the group, the dynamics built up from the current group (everybody returning to the second project) carried over to the next group, which is great.
Mid-morning, and my new fridge arrived! Yay!
Instead of the usual foot massage, I had body massage, cos my back and arms were hurting. And did the massage hurt! There were times when all I could do was tense up and grit my teeth, even though the therapist tells me to relax. She’s good, I’m sure it’ll be better in a few days.
Dinner with my family, I asked her to join too, it’s great. My niece is so cute, she talks a lot now, and was running up to me with her dinosaur cards. Awww.
Afterwards we went for a drink, the place is only so-so in terms of service and quality. Location can’t be beat unfortunately. I didn’t behave too well, she was on the phone / sms about important work stuff and I was bored, I should be more interested.
I had a writing group conference in the morning that ran for about 3 hours. We planned to go to karaoke but decided against it cos: 1) not cheap and 2) I don’t sing anyway. Stayed at (respective) home till 5pm when we met up for foot massage. Thai dinner then home. See? Same old routine, but 110% what we wanted.
We went to see our financial advisor today, to catch up with our savings. Doing quite well in general. We were talking about how much we need in order to retire, it’s a long way, sigh.
Went to get tickets for our short break, explored a few options at the ferry terminal and at travel agents. Ended up finding a spa package at the Mandarin Oriental, on the internet. Could have booked online but she called a toll-free number and got it sorted out.
Enough walking around, later we went for foot massage. The therapist is one I like, but haven’t been able to time my visits so she’s free, I’m so pleased I got her today. She says my feet seem to be better, not as stiff. I’m glad.
Was supposed to meet family for tea buffet, so I only had a light lunch. Made her eat most of it heehee. Then mum called to say she isn’t feeling well, so let’s not go. I was secretly glad — not cos she’s feeling poorly, but cos I don’t need to go out. Then she called again and said she couldn’t find sis so it’s still on. Sigh, okay. About 5 minutes later, she called again … found sis and it’s off. Okay. 5 minutes later, called again to confirm, yes it’s off. Sigh, alright. Poor mum, not feeling well.
In the middle of all that, I was backing up my PB1 to the external hard disk. PB1 can no longer connect to the internet, I have no idea why. The mp3 backup took 5 hours, but now I can play my music on any machine, it’s worth it.
I’m glad it was a lazy day though, I don’t like going out anymore. Oh, the upside was, we had a nap in the afternoon, we were both tired, it was nice.
Another day of staying home, with my laptops. I have the dell open, writing on it. And PB1 playing iTunes. It’s comforting to be surrounded by them.
The technician was supposed to come today to install the broadband TV and to change my modem, but he came on Thursday (even though the appointment was today, huh?) and didn’t come back today. I called the company up and they’re sending someone tomorrow. They’d better, cos I want my cheaper broadband plan right now.
We went to Ocean Park today. It’d been raining the past … month and for once the sun came out occasionally albeit interspaced with heavy showers. When it was sunny it was hot as hell and we felt like we were melting. I didn’t want to go at first for the same reason — I don’t go outdoors when it’s this hot. But she had these complementary tickets that runs out 30 June, and she really wanted to go. Sigh, the things I do.
Turned out to be a good outing. Heaps and heaps of people, and rude and loud too. I tried very hard to pretend they didn’t exist. Watched a bit of the show from way up on the pathway, walked along a nice sea lion enclave, fought against thousands of people for much needed but way overpriced fried chicken, vsited the panda house, dinosaur house, goldfish house. All in all it was worth the visit.
Bus queue was long, so we made a great decision to take the taxi out. Stopped by the computer store and bought her a new Powerbook, currently sitting pretty at my place. Nice dinner and here I am. Every single piece of clothing I wore today is soggy and sticks to my skin, my hair is full of grease and whatnot, I stink of … just stink. Freshly showered, I’m okay.
Originally I harboured the idea of visiting the Food Expo, but I went to bed very late and woke up feeling tired. The breakfast buffet was very rich and by the time I thought about going out it was absolutely pouring, I wonder if I brought the rainy weather with me?
It eased off by 5-ish, by then too late. Went down to the foodcourt for noodles and bo bo cha cha. Back to the room to watch more TV — they have AXN here, yay!
In Singapore again, this time a day early, going to a colleague’s house for lunch gathering. Nice food, nice people, nice house.
I sat in her massage chair and fell asleep, how embarrassing! By the time I got to the hotel it was late afternoon. Popped out to the supermarket and bought drinks. Dinner was roast chicken sandwich. Didn’t feel like going anywhere, stayed in.
Staying at the Mandarin Oriental this time, Conrad was full. It’s newly renovated, very nice. The wall between the bathroom and bedroom is made of glass, with venetian blinds, but sitting at the desk I can see the tub, heehee.
Had some trouble connecting to the internet but all solved at the end.
Not a very eventful day, apart from the travelling.
Took the day off to clear leave. And got a surprise, cos she took the day off too! Yay! We went to a private restaurant, then ran some errands.
I went home to bake a cake for tomorrow’s lunch. Made one for us too, but it was a little dry. Then at around 5pm it started totally raining cats and dogs. And thunder and lightning too, yuck. Happily we didn’t have plans for dinner and had bought chicken wings to eat in.
Sigh, it’s the quiet life.
Have to get up early tomorrow, flight’s at 9am.
We went out for lunch at the Jap restaurant near her place. The recurring phrase was, “for the 100th time, what value for money!”. I had a seafood ramen set which includes small sushi and side dishes, for the same price as the boring lunchboxes in Central. Woot!
It was furniture browsing day, we ended up at a small trendy furniture store, a large trendy Japanese furniture store, and Ikea. She bought a small bug rug and new mattress cover, that’s about it.
Early dinner at the Thai place where we have a 10% discount card. Set dinner of Tom Yum soup, curry crab, stir-fried veg and pad thai. Plus dessert assortment. I had a Changi beer — very diluted but what the hell, it’s beer.
Met up with her ex-colleague and we went for foot massage. Librarian had body massage. It was good, except some stupid rough redneck woman talked very loudly on the phone and in general, it was totally disruptive, I wanted to throw a magazine at her. When we finished and I looked back to see what she looked like, I was like, yep, redneck.
Had dessert but I got bored with those 2 talking, I wanted to get home. Then as we left the dessert place it started to POUR, terrible thunderstorm. We decided to get a taxi home instead of getting the bus. It continued for about half an hour, then died down.
Anyway, what a lovely day. (And I got a little present too.)
I’m kinda on my own today, mm had to work in the morning and the rest of the day she is at her parents’. I woke up earlier than usual (we were at her place) and couldn’t get back to sleep, eek. Then I went over to kb chat and hey! Lotsa new friends! I was there hours! Yay for new friends!
It was around 2pm before I got moving, plan was lunch, then haircut then grocery shopping, then home. By the time I got to the fast food place most of their lunch was gone and they were in the process of switching to tea mode, so nothing yet.
In the end I wasn’t too hungry so I had my haircut first. Sam was quick today.
By the time I got home it was only 4.30pm. More playing around on net.
We were supposed to meet up then go back to her place together, but by around 10pm I was thinking, what’s happening? I called her and one second after it got through I had a brainwave — I have keys, why do I need to wait? Silly.
I was happily playing on her iMac when I happen to glance out of her study window. And saw a big nothing! She lives high up, on the 45th floor, and we were being attacked by clouds. Swafts of it was rolling in across the harbour and I could see wisps of it and then, it was all white. It’s like when I’m on the airplane and it’s going through the cloud layer.
Then the sun came out and I could still not see the street or the building opposite. It was kinda surreal. Like being in Shangri-la.
Another late start to the day, not as late as yesterday. We’d planned to go out, but it was 3.30pm and we were still at home and I’d turned the heater on for a shower.
Finally we did go out, because we went to a baptism mass. It was a long mass, combined Easter and baptism and confirmation. So much so that we had to sit at an outside bench and couldn’t hear most of the procedings. But when it came to the ceremonies we went forward and crushed with everyone to get a glimpse.
It was very moving. Very moving, long mass, but the joy on everyone’s faces. It was long, and to ‘civilians’ probably boring. But the hymns were beautiful and the readings were lovely. And it’s unusual, we had both holy bread and holy wine today.
It’s at times like this that I’m glad of my belief, even though I hardly go to church. It’s the solid foundation inside me that helps me become who I am.
It’s Good Friday. First off, I should be fasting today, at least refrain from meat. But I didn’t. Sigh, I mean well, I’m just not a good Catholic.
I woke up at around 10.30. She woke up for a little while but fell asleep again, she’s so very tired and I’m so glad she can sleep well here. No matter, cos I was reading the TWoP forums on TAR. I got hungry at around 1.30pm so I woke her up. sorry honey.
We saw Being Julia with librarian. It’s funny. Annette Benning carried the entire movie so well, but I was most impressed with Juliet Stevenson cos we’re both big fans of hers. We laughed our heads off at the theatre scene, and there was this other person in the cinema who had an even more insane laugh. A bit loud, but it was funny.
Then we went to her brothers’ new place for bbq. They moved to the top floor of a converted house and they have the roof. It was a good bbq. The last time I had bbq was also with them, at the roof of the office.
It was nearly 12.30am when we left. When we got back to town, we decided to do something we haven’t done for a long long time — stay out late. Went for quick dessert and walked for a little while before getting a taxi home. This post is dated 25 March but actually it’s 2.37am on 26 March, I’m waiting for her to finish showering and then it’s my turn. Yep, it’s been a long time since we stayed up this late (except when I’m reading or writing).
The Easter vacation is probably the best vacation ever. It’s Thursday and by 3pm the office was dead, we had month-end drinks with lots of nice food so I didn’t need dinner.
And it’s only Thursday! And we have FOUR days of vacation! Isn’t it awesome?
I didn’t have much food in the fridge, not having done any grocery shopping. So we were thinking we need to go out to eat sometime during the day.
But we had noodles and chiffon cake for brunch, and didn’t feel like going out. She was watching Korean drama and I was cleaning up my laptop.
I took a nap on the sofa (yeah, it’s big enough for the 2 of us if we squish together) and when I woke up, didn’t feel like going out again. So we ended up calling KFC delivery.
I like it. I hope she doesn’t think it’s boring.
Met up with my friend RM who has just moved to here to work, he was going house hunting this morning and invited me to come along. To take pictures and report to his wife, who hasn’t moved here yet.
Saw 8 places, 1 townhouse and the others were apartments. We were unanimous in our first choice, the townhouse. It’s in a narrow quiet street and on 4 storeys — basement leads to the garage and has a storage / maid room. First floor is the large living room and open terrace. Second floor is the master bedroom. Top floor 2 bedrooms that can be study and guest room. The bathrooms aren’t of the best design, they have this weird sunken bathtub in the master bedroom floor. If I were them, I’d ask the landlord to replace the entire bathroom with more modern and regular fittings.
It’s nice and open, airy and has a sort of peaceful holiday home feeling. There’s a pool that’s sculpted so it’s like flowing water. It was the biggest place we saw this morning, but rent is about the same as the others cos it only has a pool and no other facilities.
Our second choice was a top floor duplex that had 4 bedrooms and full length windows. The second floor is on a balcony you get up to by a spiral staircase. So the living room ceiling is 2 storeys high. Very impressive.
We also saw one penthouse that was only 2 bedrooms and small (actually lousily designed) living room. But it has a roof terrace and its own jacuzzi. Wow. I wouldn’t want it cos I was scared walking up the quite open stairs to the roof that had no handrails. Too much of a fear of height.
Had a simple lunch at the foodcourt and I went to the supermarket.
Very sleepy so I had a shower and took a nap. It was around 4.30pm when I went to bed and when I next opened my eyes it was still sort of light out so I figured, around 5.30. But it was past 7pm! Normally I only nap for an hour or so, this time it’s nearly 3 hours.
I think I was quite tired. I think it was catch-up sleep, don’t forsee any trouble falling asleep tonight.
It’s highly unusual for me, not having anything to write about. It’s been kind of boring. Our training begins at 9am, then we have lunch at the foodcourt at Marina Square. I don’t need to attend the afternoon class, which is a repeat of the morning class (we can’t close the Service Centre so we split the reps into 2 groups). So I’m back at the SC in the afternoon and I do my acting SC Manager thing, checking documents, signing letters, answering their questions. This time I’m sitting outside and we have a really good time, having fun, joking with each other, getting work done. These are real nice people.
The afternoon class returns and I meet up with them to talk about any issues plus any other matters to discuss.
I have dinner at the foodcourt, as a change, the one next to the hotel, then I’m back in my room by around 7.30 - 8pm. Shower, TV, Powerbook. That’s my day.
Tomorrow we have a demo to the rest of the regional team, 8am start. But it’s fine.
Still more than a week to go, work-wise it’s fine here, finer than fine. But we talked on the phone today for a short time, and now I feel lonely again. Sigh.
Woke up a little later today, relieved that I got a little more sleep. Still not late enough, I know, complaining about wanting to sleep later doesn’t work, I could have just gone back to bed. But I didn’t.
Finished off some of the salad and handrolls from yesterday for lunch. For someone on expense account I’m the model of frugality.
Watched some football on TV, not something I’d normally do. Chelsea vs Barcelona, followed by Arsenal vs Southampton. That, or it’s golf or some very old film.
Was having trouble with the aircon, either it’s too stuffy, or if I turn it up a fraction it’s too cold. So I was forever jumping up and down to adjust the thermostat. Finally had a brainwave — turn it on at the higher (stuffy) setting, then turn the fan on higher. Yay! It works.
Mid-afternoon went to the gym again. That’s unusual, twice in 2 days. Did 20 mins on the cross-trainer, some equipment. Arms and legs are sore but it’s a nice feeling. Still can’t get the crunches right though.
Went over to the foodcourt across the road, had stuffed tofu in soup and ice kacang. Plus a watermelon juice, it all came to SGD8. Yes, I’m in a frugal mood today.
She went to visit her sis today with her mum. We plan to go again when I’m back. I know how she misses her sis, I wish I can be there to be a cuddly comforty bear.
It’s quiet without mm. I don’t feel like going anywhere, doing anything, I’m all on my own.
Woke up at usual work time, which is frustrating, cos I was looking forward to sleep. The Powerbook is on, but that gets too quiet after a while.
Went for a foot massage at the normal Kenko, they were full so I went for lunch first. Had Japanese set meal of soup and seafood. The soup was in a little pot that is kept hot by a little fire, looks cute but tastes only so-so. The Japanese stall is next to the Korean stall, may be she’d like to try the Korean set there when she comes over? Sigh, is it wishful thinking to want her to come visit?
Went to the sushi place behind Carrefour and bought a sashimi set plus handrolls for dinner. As per usual I emptied the fridge first thing so there’s space.
Was very good, went to the gym for an hour. Did the crosstrainer, some lifting, some crunches. Still not very good at the crunches, need to get better. Need equipment. May be pool tomorrow, dunno.
Nothing on TV tonight, so it’s Powerbook and me. It’s too quiet without her. She’s missing me too, I read her post. I don’t know how to make us both better …
I was a bad student today, doing something else during training. Our PC training room has 12 desks and I was sitting at the last row, while the others listened during the training. Got a bit bored and distracted so I was looking at website stats — I’m getting more hits, over 200 some days. Still puzzled at the hits from obviously spam sites, the poker, viagra and annoying other sites that show up on the log, I think it’s MT Blacklist doing me a fantastic favor. Added more to my blacklist, I hate these spammers.
Checked email after lunch, had to use webmail cos we don’t have enough machines, but that’s fine.
Went to Lau Pa Sat for satay with my colleagues. One has her husband and young boy with her for visit, it was a nice dinner. Had a couple of mugs of beer, it’s a while since I’ve had beer, I now have a headache. I was right to cut it out.
It's the Year of the Rooster. Happy Lunar New Year.
Didn't sleep very well last night, woke up disgustingly early, before 9am. Turned the powerbook on while she slept on happily, woke her up after 11am and she came out to join me in the living room, but fell asleep on my lap.
Had a simple lunch, then went out to walk around. Majority of shops were closed but not some restaurants, supermarkets and fruit stalls. Just strolled around, enjoying each other's company.
After a little debate, we bought sushi, sashimi and snacks and went home. Caught up with Apprentice episodes. Opened a bottle of sake.
It was so nice, so easy.
She felt a little drunk after the sake and got me worried for a while. Luckily she recovered after sleeping it off for a bit. Phew.
Did I find a present? Yeah right, I'm so telling. Nope, my lips are sealed.
Anyway I'm home, it was tremendously hot all the way back and the first reaction I got when I got in was yuck, it's h.u.m.i.d., everything feels clammy and damp. Dehumidifier in action straight away. This is ridiculous, now I'm going to have to do a bunch of trashing cos things may not have kept in the damp. I know my clothes and shoes are in lousy condition already.
The other observation was how little mail I got over 2 weeks. Only 2 bills, a stack of bank statements and of course the stupid junk mail. But only 2 bills? Strange.
And the lulu book hasn't arrived yet. I wonder when it will, cos I'm going back to Singapore on Sunday already.
I did not leave the vicinity of the hotel today. Couldn't sleep last night cos of the constant buzzing of some stupid insect that was hanging around my ears, stupid stupid stupid. Woke up and it was nearly 11am, just as well cos I didn't plan to have the big breakfast today. Instead I had an eye on the buffet at the Italian restaurant at the hotel. SGD48, which is not too bad. For an extra SGD30, there was even free flow prosecco, for only one person it's hard to drink so much though.
Food was great, all sorts of antipasti — parma ham & melon, grilled veg, octopus, salad, cold meat, carpaccio. A nice seafood selection of oysters, prawns, lobster, mussels. And salad too, spinach, mushroom, pepper, tomato, dressing on the side, nice.
There were hot dishes but I didn't try, mainly lasagna and chicken. The main course was served, I had squid ink pasta with scallops and tomato garlic sauce. Pasta was just right, though a tad too salty, and the scallops were good.
Mousses, fruit, cake, chocolate sponge for dessert. They had cheeses though, but padana and pecorino wouldn't be my choice for a cheese spread.
May be it's the location, or the fact that it's a bit expensive (I mean, a bowl of noodles at the food court upstairs is less than $4), apart from me, there was only one other couple. Shame.
Took about 2 hours for the food to feel totally settled, so I went to the gym again. This time I managed to get the cross trainer to work, then did a few (too few lah) sit ups and machines. It was much more crowded than yesterday, but the sauna was again underused.
No need for dinner, finished the salad I bought at Carrefour yesterday.
Posted Part 14 of CA and watched the comments coming in. I'm bad.
So, all in all, an eventful day even without venturing outside.
Went to St Gregory' spa with AL and RO yesterday -- my ex-colleagues from my previous company. Funny that none of us are doing the same job we were when we knew each other, 2 of us have left the company altogether. But we miss the family atmosphere, I've been where I am for 2.5 years now and if I think back at the days when I've done 2.5 yrs at the previous place, there's a big difference. I don't feel loyalty, don't feel like I belong, no teamwork. We've been well and truly spoiled.
Anyway I did a body scrub and hair therapy massage at the spa. The scrub was nothing out of the ordinary, just some scrubbing with gritty bits that are supposed to exfoiliate, then wrapped in plastic and a simple head massage. The hair therapy was fun. Wet hair, then lots and lots of cream massaged into the scalp, with a finger massage. Then as it gets absorbed, a neck, shoulder and hand massage. Then a bit of steaming before more massaging and washing off. My hair was definitely softer afterwards. I was told not to wash it till Monday but I thought to myself there's no way I can stand not washing my hair for 2 days.
The spa is part of the complex at the Plaza Hotel, there's also a pool, a gym and a climbing wall I was eyeing, but never had the nerve to try. I was the first to finish, so I got a carrot juice while I waited. Afterwards we took a taxi to Suntec and had prata and gravy at the famous place there. I was already full.
Hung out at my room to play ligretto, wow, it's been a long long time since I played. Next time I'm back in Switzerland I'll have to remember to buy a box.
They left around 6pm, I was far too full from the prata to eat, so I took an early shower and turned on the Powerbook. But ezboard was down and I was soon getting tired. Nothing on TV either.
Decided to take a nap around 8.30pm. Next thing I know when I opened my eyes it was nearly 10pm and I was a bit cold. Turned the aircon down and went back to sleep. Woke up this morning at 8.15am, having slept for nearly 12 hours.
I needed that.
Came back from a big breakfast -- birchermuseli, fruit, sausages, chee cheong fun, fried bee hoon, kaya toast. Hence the unusual phenomenon of posting at 10.30 in the morning.
No plans today, meeting C&R for early dinner, may be.
It's an errand running sort of day. We met our financial advisor for an update meeting on the state of our affairs -- we have some joint investments together -- and it's looking fine. Made some switching decisions but didn't add more money. I think part of my cash bonus will go to repaying the mortgage rather than anything fancy.
Had lunch, surprisingly restrained of us, we didn't have a lot.
I was going for a haircut while she visited the clothing shop she buys most of her work clothes. But, wow, the hairdresser's was packed. So I ended up going with her to the shop, sitting on a pretty stool with her bag on my lap listening to the iPod while she tried her clothes on.
Then I went for my haircut. It was still busy but they fit me in between the perms and the other haircuts and the coloring. It took longer than usual but I guess it's a good sign that they are busy. I remember around a year ago when competition opened up nearby and the economy wasn't as good, they were empty.
We met up again and had an early dinner. Went to a new (for us) Korean place that was, to our surprise, staffed by many Koreans and with many Korean customers. A sure sign of an authentic place. We had too much (heehee) -- bbq pork and lamb, noodles with sauce, hot stone rice, plus all the condiments and soup. Fruit and ice cream were also included and we shared a bottle of plum wine. Mucho satisfied thank you very much. Definitely a place worth returning.
We were very full so we decided to walk a couple of stops. But before that, time to buy my new phone. Had 2 choices, and I finally decided on the more extravagant one. Wait till tomorrow when I play around with it a bit, then I'll write it up.
There was a time when I didn't get home till 9, or 10, or later. Day in, day out. It was a time for ambition and climbing the corporate ladder and working, working, working.
I can't do that anymore. I just don't have the inclination or motivation.
Had a conference call at 7.30pm that threatened to go on till later, luckily the other participants had to sign off at 8.30, so a reprieve. But only half the items on the agenda was discussed so needless to say there'll be another one.
Not that I mind, I had things to do.
But getting home late and not feel like eating anything till now (nearly 11pm) and just finished reheating some soup and eating it at this hour is not of the good at all.
Feels like part of my free time's gone, just like that. And I don't like it.
Our plan was, meet for lunch with her friend, then we'd go and pick up her glasses, and I go to the bookstore, then we go watch a film.
It ended up with late lunch, just the 2 of us. Then I had to rush home cos my sis was bringing some furniture round and they're not sure if they have my key and they were gonna leave them outside my front door. Then to pick up her glasses, then meet her friend for film and dinner.
So Friend got more time than initially allocated. She did ask me, bless her, if I minded the "lightbulb", which I admit was my first reaction. But then Friend doesn't seem to have plans so I guess we should be generous.
Finally saw Ocean's Twelve. Fun. Funny. The "introducing Tess as Julia Roberts" was priceless. Steven Soderberg's camera work and direction were idiosyncratic. There was this shot I absolutely loved, of a camera at ground level but tilted 90 degrees to normal, tracking the path of a plane. Fantastic.
The ending was a little deus ex machina for me, though I enjoyed how it was told.
We had Japanese for dinner. Had the live fish sashmi, where the fish is sliced while alive and is served with pieces of its flesh together with the head, tail and rest of the body. It's still twitching. Can be very disconcerting and perhaps cruel. But we like it. The bones go into a milky soup that's the best I've tasted.
I didn't realise how cold I was until dinner time when we watched TV under the blanket. She'd just come out of bed so was very snuggly and warm. My hands and feet were freezing.
And then it truly hit me how cold I was when I took my shower and the hot water hit my skin and I felt the warmth spread through, at last.
We woke up feeling the cold. It's cold, I have a thick shirt on and long pants. Indoors. That shows how cold it is.
She's really not feeling well so we're not going out today. Had sweetcorn soup and left over chicken wings for lunch. I'll have to find something for dinner, she's got a lot in the fridge so no problems.
Watched The Office Christmas Special 2003. Better than the other ones. Really brought the characters down before giving them a ray of hope. Funny.
Let's see how the rest of the day goes. She's gone back to bed, I think I'll go play Bandits.
Not much for New Year's Day but hey, it's just another day.
Nothing overly much to do, just walking around the shopping streets a rather aimlessly, browsing, looking. Had a bowl of delicious noodles, standing up at the streets, cos the stall was only just that, one counter serving one type of noodles, the only choice -- large or small bowl.
Nothing much else for lunch, iced milk shavings with green beans and Taiwanese pearl ball tea. It started raining and we didn't have an umbrella so the consensus was to go someplace that has cover. So we went to this Breeze Center, which is a mall, as modern as they come, with all the modern brand names. We spent the most time at the books section, with books, magazines and comics in 3 languages. And went to the supermarket where I asked and asked and asked if we could buy the Taiwanese sausages.
We didn't have a lot of cash left, having taking aside the necessary for the bus fare to to the airport I felt like we're back at the old days of being "poor" students again, having to ration our funds. It's a bit hilarious if I think about it, that we have only enough for a simple meal, can't buy anything. But on the other hand we have enough in other currencies and credit cards to do anything we want, yet the fun is to count all the pennies.
We braved the rain back, now we're in the hotel library, with a cup of tea and hotel internet, we'll have to leave in about 15 minutes. Another holiday finished, anything great few days away. And it is the company, no matter what people say.
Back to reality tomorrow, should be quiet at work though. Catch up on the news and all. I know there's a huge disaster that just happened, with tens of thousands of victims and millions homeless. But I've deliberately not thought about it, I can't help knowing about it, it's all over the news and TV, but selfish or not, I've kept it separate from my few days away.
Originally the plan was to go to the beach with sis and her in-laws, but my parents decided not to join cos it's too far for them to travel, and none of us knew how to get there. So I got a reprieve, that I can sleep till late.
I woke up at 11.45 and reached over and ... sniff, sniff, found the other side of the bed empty -- she'd started watching her serial drama already! Even before brushing her teeth, oh mm! How obsessed :).
Anyway we had some dumplings as snack cos the steak I took out last night hadn't defrosted properly yet. By the time I started cooking it was nearly 2pm. Luckily steak takes no time to grill, and I had some salad and asparagus. So it was a really simple but delicious, loving Christmas steak lunch. We even had half a bottle of champagne, hmmmm.
She watched TV, I bummed around the net, sometimes I'd go outside to visit her, sometimes she'd come inside the study to visit me. It's being together, but having our own space and being very very very happy.
I did go out for dinner with family, and she went home cos she was having a friend over. Got lots of presents, chocolate, a lovely spices box, a windmill for the fishtank, HMV voucher, a scarf. So happy.
So quiet, so peaceful, so together.
The best Christmas in a long time.
It occured to me last night just before I fell asleep that I have no idea what I did for Christmas last year, absolutely none. Which means it was very ordinary and boring.
Woe the wonders of the weblog, I could just look up the December 2003 archives, if I wrote anything right?
So, last Christmas Eve, the same as today, went to the yacht club for mulled wine and minced pies and carol singing. Then last year I went over to to play mahjong, but now it's only 8pm and I'm already home and she's outside having KFC chicken wings and watching serial drama and I'm here.
Tomorrow we have the whole day, then I'm going for dinner with parents and sis and her in-laws. Last year we had dinner at my parents', this year we'll eat out.
The lights in the living room are great, I love them so much, may be I'll keep them around all year.
Woke up late as well, but today was such a nice sunny day.
Had lunch at home then took a bus to the beach, only 15 mins ride away, may be the driver was trying to be Schumacher, may be it really is that near.
But so nice. Walking along the sandy beach, watching the waves, other people flying kites, walking through the village and to the big houses. So pleasant. Atmosphere, surroundings and company of course.
Came back out to town, did some shopping and met her Mum for Thai dinner. 3 of us had a set dinner for 4! Satay, prawn cake, steamed fish, stir fried veg, curry crab, taro rice, dessert. The rice and curry sauce we doggie-bagged.
I bought 2 long strips of Christmas lights, cheap, non-flashing, plain. They're now in the living room and I don't need any lights. It seems like a little magic has decided to visit my place and leave something nice.
Nice is an overused word. But sometimes it describes feelings and days so aptly.
Didn't wake up till nearly noon, still with a headache, hayfever day as well, so not such a great start.
Met for a late lunch, then went to look at mobile phones. We bought our current one impulsively, and quickly discovered Motorolas are not for us, not evn this top end A760. So it's back to Nokia. I like the new 7610, she has her eye on the O2 XDAII mini (well, it's not a Nokia, but ...). Just looking, didn't buy it yet.
Met her friend and her friend's friend to see another in the French film festival films, this one called Garçon. It's okay, so-so. Light-hearted. Afterwards the 4 of us went to dinner. Her friend's nice, her friend's friend was a little weird, may be she was just shy.
We walked around after dinner, first together, then separately. Mucho crowded with Christmas shoppers. Had a late night dessert then bus back to her place.
It's kinda strange, we go into a shop or restaurant and it's fairly quiet, then a whole load of people come in after us.
We went to have our hair cut today and called ahead to check the hairdresser was free, we were told yeah come on up. When we got there it was empty. Then mm was having treatment and in the middle of my haircut, something like 4 or 5 customers walked in, and he had to tell them to come back.
... I return to unfinished writings and half forgotten things to do. I'm on Page 4 of Blink and I don't feel like doing editing. I wrote 3 paragraphs of Common Areas and I leave it alone.
What happened to getting 5,000 words a day? Nothing like pressure to force a bit of creativity and action, and nothing like no pressure to let things slide.
Showed Mum baby's website, of all the family members, she's the one most likely to get the technical aspects but when she asked about how it was made my inner geek laughed. Downloading wp is no problem for her but she might have problems configuring. And css is not easy, I guess she might end up being one of those people who use default templates.
Went to the gym for the first time in almost 2 weeks. It's a thing.
I know I need to so cleaning and housework but it's so difficult to find the motivation.
And it's Friday tomorrow but mm has a function so for the first time in a long while I'm sleeping on my own on a Friday.
It's a thing.
I opened my eyes and it was 10.30am, nothing unusual. I got up, made tea, got some cashew nuts and read in bed for about half an hour.
She opened her eyes and smiled.
I finished my tea, brushed my teeth again, and went back to bed.
When I opened my eyes again it was nearly 3pm. Panic stations!
We ate a late lunch and went for foot massage. After that finished it was already 7pm. Dinner and shopping for dept lunch prizes later and it was time to go home.
Sometimes I wish we could have more time together. Sigh.
Saturdays normally are quiet days in terms of weblogging.
We were real sleepy but she had to go to work, so little me slept on. Went to the supermarket and bought a whole lot of stuff, then went back home to sit in front of the powerbook.
She finished working mid-afternoon and we took a bus ride out. Walked round the crowded crowded place.
Dinner at a new place that served stonegrilled food. They served the food (I had sirloin, she had sirloin & lamp chop) on a piece of rock that's supposed to be 400C. We took it out and cooked it bit by bit so it wasn't too welldone.
Fun way of cooking, the only complaint was the meat was too trimmed so didn't have enough flavour. Otherwise, not too expensive and definitely worth trying again.
She wanted to go to the fortune teller, even though it was quite late (but they opened late), so we took the train and bus. It's the one where a bird picks a card and the fortune teller would interpret based on the question asked.
Afterwards we had some dessert, by the time we got home it was past midnight and into Halloween night.
It's been quiet at work, then Friday comes along and I expect an easy day and we have an IT disaster. Just great. Spent the morning running around and dragging people out of bed to fix our problem.
Month end drinks was Halloween theme, had a bit of wine, that's all.
Was able to leave and meet mm by 6.30. Had a simple dinner -- just what we like, simple, just us, being together, yum. Walked for a while, home by 10pm. Shower, she's watching TV, I'm online.
And in about 10-15 mins time I'll log off and we'll retire to bed and snuggle.
I'm feeling mighty fine.
By the time we woke up -- or more accurately, got out of bed, it was late, real late, cos when we got out to town to eat, it was 2.20 and we had 10 mins to go until the afternoon tea special.
Then she went for a facial with her mentor while I had my hair cut. We'd arranged to meet 6pm at the crab shop. I finished at nearly 5 and originally just planned to hang out at HMV. But my neck was hurting so I did an hour at the massage place.
I got to the shop around 6.20 (SMS'ed to tell her my plans) and after a few phone calls, found out they were still on the other side of town. Sigh. Another hanging around waiting time, how are they part of my life.
Finally they arrived and we bought the crabs. The hairy crabs that are in season. Went to her brother's place to steam them, we had 2 1/2 each. Very nice, but very high in cholesterol, so have to be careful. Had them with warmed wine, first time I tried, unusual but also real nice.
Just a bit of luxuriating.
My parents want to go on a trip to Shanghai, so I went with them to investigate tours. I hate going on guided tours, I hate being in a group, not having control of where I go, when I go, what to eat. Plus the obligatory stop at shops that sell nothing I want but gets commission from the tour company, and having to tip the guides.
But I guess for some people it's the convenience of not having to plan, of having other people cart them round.
So we got a bunch of brochures and then we went to a fast food place to look at them. Then Mum and I went looking at electrical stuff, and we had dinner at a hotel buffet.
So that's 2 weeks. It's not long enough I tell ya.
Our last full day. But we were stuck cos she was "on-call", ready to disappear at a moment's notice, cos of her mentor and her work and her case. I should be supportive, I try my best to be supportive, I want to be supportive. But, but, it's my holiday too. Sigh.
So we had to be reasonably accessible to central London. That ruled out Brighton, which we'd talked about going. Or anywhere out of the way like Bluewater. Or Southend.
So we ended up at Brent Cross. Oh let's hear it for good old reliable Brent Cross. I had salt beef sandwich (what happened to going to Brick Lane?), we hung around Smith's reading books, and that was our day.
Dinner back at the delicious Turkish place at Primrose Hill.
At the end she didn't get her phone call. But that was too late.
We had 2 appointments today, with 2 different agents. Saw about 8-10 places around St John's Wood and Maida Vale. One at Primrose Hill. The conclusion -- everything too expensive, nothing outstanding. Saw some good decoration, so old and not so good, brand new conversions and the usual big mansion blocks. It's exciting to wish.
Late lunch of pasta at Caffe Uno. Then we had to scram cos of parking.
Went to Chiswick High Street. Too windy to do much walking but again, juse being together. Finally managed to find Abbey National to update my book, had tea at Burger King (more than half the price of Starbuck's, it's just tea).
Dinner at Chutney Mary's. It truly deserved its title of best Indian restaurant in the UK. Beautifully decorated, very good food. We shared a starter plate of bbq variety -- meat, liver, kidney etc, then we had a vegetarian platter and osso bucco. Both were drool worthy. But wait for dessert -- chocolate fondant with orange lassi, pour the lassi over the pudding, bite into the sponge and feel the chocolate inside invade your mouth. That was one dessert I want to learn how to make.
A truly memorable evening. I wasn't mad anymore (well, I hadn't been mad since last night :)).
She spent the day meeting her mentor. I drove her out to his hotel near Harrods, dropped her off reluctantly, then headed my own way to the West End. Parked at a side street off Hanover Square, seriously debated whether to get a haircut, then had lunch of lamb & apricot pie and a pint of ale at the Woodstock. So windy it was difficult to sit outside and read the papers, but I didn't want to sit inside.
Walked all along Oxford Street, contemplated esayinternet for a long while, settled for HMV. Headed down Regent's Street and ended up at Carnaby Street. With my iPod and funny mood and conversations with shop assistants I came up with an outline for a story. Kept turning it round and round in my head, yes it could work.
The usual haunts, Covent Garden, Chinatown. Spent over an hour at Forbidden Planet, at its bigger and better premises at Shaftesbury Avenue. Read so many new books, discovered Watcher's Guide vol 3 is out, Tales of the Slayer vol 4 is coming out 1 Nov, almost bought a bunch of on discount BtVS comics.
Time to head back, we'd arranged to meet outside the hotel at 6pm, so I got there 15 minutes early. Went up to Harvey Nichol's foodcourt so that 15 mins would pass quicker. Then stood at the hotel entrance slowly getting colder and colder. Started to get really annoyed. If anyone asked me what I hate, it's people who are habitually late. I can forgive once or twice because of traffic or what not, but I don't know how many hours and days I've simply wasted, standing at tube stations, at bus stops, in the lobby of office buildings (I'm now an expert at godiva chocolate and calvin klein underwear), time that was forever lost, what price can I place on that?
I went back to the car and called with a curt message. I'm not sorry for the tone, nor am I sorry for hanging up abruptly. There's only so much I have patience for.
I called our friend and told her we'd be late. Leaving me waiting, that's one thing. Leaving other people waiting, I have no words.
Anyway the long and short of it was, I was in a foul mood when she finally turned up. I know she has a good reason, but part of me thinks, am I not also a good reason?
We drove up to our friend's place and had curry at this local place that had very bad service. What a palaver.
So not, that wasn't the best day of my life.
Finally we decided to get out of the nowhere hotel. Packed our stuff into the car and found ourselves homeward bound. Except there is no happy ending, the Marriott near home was full, so we opted for Travelodge. Eventually ended up at the one at Kew. A bit nearer town and back in "our" side of London.
Since we were literally on the A4, we drove out to Bicester. And bought a big ol' nuthing! Ha! Had lukewarm baked potato and tea, just being together was great. Then at the end, discovered the Carlucci's at the bottom end, shades of Bluewater again. Next time.
Tried making a reservation at Chutney Mary but they were full, so drove back to Camden Town. And received the first truly big shock -- L'Ecluse was gone! Gone! The staple in our lives for over 10 years, where we've seen its ups and downs. Gone! I'm still in shock.
It was Saturday night, we didn't have much idea of where to do, so I suggested the Greek place at Primrose Hill. Which turned out to be also fully booked, and so obnoxious neither of us wanted to go back. We ended up eventually at a smaller Greek/Turkish place a few doors down, that had charcoal grilled lamb. What a discovery. It was very very delicious. We had a starter of olive stuffed something and hummous, for main course we had one of lamb rib, another of regular shish. And both came with rice and veg and were yummy. Our night was saved. We've found another heaven.
Drove over to St John's Wood today to go to the estate agents. Boy was it a nightmare to park, as usual. Set up appointments and then had a tea and cake break before driving back over to Lakeside. The trick was to avoid the congestion zone meaning driving along a very slow moving Euston Road. Then we hit total blockage coming up to the Dartford Tunnel, so boring.
Lakeside had been renovated, less gloomy than I remembered. We hit the shops but came away mostly empty handed, until we reached Marks and Spencer's, where we spent a good hour. Bought some clothes, hehe.
M&S dinner -- chinese style chicken wings, fruit, dessert. Yums. Brings back memories.
She wanted to go househunting and I'd sort of promised. But we woke up and it was a rare sunny day and I didn't feel like spending it in strangers' houses. So I asked if we could go to Whitstable instead and of course she agreed. She could never resist me.
The advantage of living in East London is, we were so close to the A2. No need to trek all the way across town, now with congestion charge. And sooner than normal, we were there.
It's so strange that we discovered Whistable only when we'd left the UK. Before, we headed straight for Margate, at most stopping at Canterbury. How many seafood lunches misssed? And seafood we had, a very nice fish pie, very fresh oysters, a rather disappointing hot mixed seafood main course, and a totally great lemonn tart. I had a traditional beer, she had an English white (pretty decent, surprisingly).
We walked around the town centre a bit, visited the small shops. She bought a pair of shoes and we bought some sweets from a traditional by-the-jar sweet shop.
Half an hour to Margate and boy has it changed. We were disappointed at how run down it'd become, the amusement arcades not offering much anymore. We did the rounds, then headed back.
Went to Sainsbury's and bought salad, bread, eggs, ham. Pizzahut for a small pizza. That was our dinner, at the hotel room, cozy and happy. I was still missing Zurich and was still waiting for the "home" feeling to come back.
I should be real at home on a plane, long or short flight, by now. But my back was in pain and I was in a lot of discomfort for the whole flight, my knee wasn't happy, my shoulders weren't happy and I was restless. Even though the seats reclined pretty fully to a horizontal position.
Watched 3 films — 13 going on 30, Laws of Attraction and The Prince & me. Also watched Nigella Lawson and a program on Gordon Ramsay's crew taking over the restaurant at the Connaught. That's a lot to watch and my eyes joined the rest of my creaky body at being super tired.
It all melted away when I got home and mm was waiting up for me. I called the minute I got off, we chatted while I was walking to the shuttle, while on the shuttle and we only hung up when I got to Immigration. I unpacked, laid out the souvenirs for her to pick, and by the time I showered and was ready for bed it was 1am.
Late night shopping tonight. The streets don't look so dead when I come out of the office. So much so I bought ice cream — fresh berries & panna cotta, 2 scoops.
Backtrack, had lunch with sherlock today, Japanese ramen that's pretty authentic, for my not so sophisticated tastebuds, tastes like the ramen in Japan. Walked round a little bit after lunch and bought a couple of spare swatch straps for my new one.
Wasn't too interested in shopping, never was. But was glad the eating places were open. Went to the food hall of David Jones and bought some quince paste, something I've only seen in Australia, and I think once at either Harrods or Selfridges. There are a few food counters there — grill, sushi, antipasti, noodles, oyster. I looked and I looked but none of them appealed. So where did I eat? The mmore common foodcourt next door at CentrePoint. Had a Florentine crepe — spinach & cheese. Took an apple & cinnamon crepe back to the hotel but only managed half. They have lime flavoured diet coke here, a new taste.
Friday tomorrow, what a relief.
19 days. That's how long I'll be away from home on my long business trip. Singapore then Sydney. I'm in Singapore now. Again. Sigh. How original.
I have to pack both hot weather and cool weather clothes. And an assortment of snacks and stuff for different groups of people. Friends. Office people. Enough shampoo, shower gel and washing liquid. 2 pairs of shoes. Underwear, socks. Phone, iPod, camera and most importantly, the Powerbook.
I don't think it's sunk in, I'm just taking it one day at a time. We were both sad during the weekend before, trying to be close, not letting go. Timing was bad as usual. But something was also missing. I feel so guilty, I should be despondent, totally missing her. All I feel is a dull ache, like a small flame mutely maintained, not a big all consuming feeling. Why. I want to feel worse, all I feel is ... a big nothingness.
I'm so used to this place now, for dinner I went to Carrefour and bought bread and roast chicken to make a sandwich. Yeah, boring.
I have a half day today, so I've been at home doing more website conversion. Had Japanese for lunch, then a mango cake for tea. So now it's supposed to be dinner time and I'm not hungry.
Why make myself eat because the clock says so? Modern day people overeat anyway so missing a meal or two is no big deal, it's probably good for me.
I just turned on the water heater for shower. I might get hungry later on and make a sandwich but I'll leave it for now.
I'm trying to cut down on beer. Doesn't mean I'm not touching alcohol, just a different kind, lately it's been sake and choya. Beer is simply too fattening.
I haven't had any for a week, yesterday I did order a bottle while we were at dinner. She said nothing.
Today our plans was to go out, either to the islands or to watch a film. We woke up early-ish, around 9, she went to the bathroom and I was waiting in bed. Next thing I know, it's past midday. We fell asleep again. She says she didn't have the heart to wake me cos I was sleeping real soundly.
So day trip went out of the window.
We ordered KFC for lunch, a chicken pieces combo plus wings. Deliberately over-ordered so there were leftovers.
We wanted to go to the mall and may be watch Harry Potter. But it rained and we got lazy. She lounged on the couch with a book and DVD and I retreated to the study.
Ventured out briefly to the supermarket to buy dinner. I'm making chicken curry. It's been a chicken sort of day.
So I had a web disaster Wednesday night. Luckily I was able to fix it fairly quickly.
Today when I got home my fridge was up the creek. The food in the freezer defrosted and it just wasn't cold anymore. Not sure whether it's a problem with the fridge or did I not close the door properly this morning? It's been so hot I can't take the risk of salmonella. I threw everything apart from some dried stuff out. Everything in the freezer and all the milk and other cooked food.
Now I'm waiting for the next technical hitch. Good ol' rule of three. It's inevitable.
Why tempt fate? Why declare a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Actually I'm hoping by saying outright there'd be a third incident I'd have jinxed it away. Well, sort of a reverse jinx anyway. You know whenever you say "things are going good, everything's going so well" things will turn around and become bad immediately? So I'm saying I'll have a third technical problem, and by doing so, it won't happen.
The pyramids over here sure look purty in the sunset.
My god it's so hot and it's only mid-June. How to survive until September. I get drenched walking very short distances, I'm basically dripping like I just stepped out of the shower.
So this morning we set the alarm and woke up early. We both need a haircut. It's been like, 2 months, and my hair has gotten so thick. Even the hairdresser commented on how thick it was.
We've only been each other's company for a few hours this weekend. Yesterday she had to work and we met up with her brother in the evening, so alone time was non-existent. Today we went home, separately, after lunch. She has an appointment with the gas people and I'm meeting my folks for dinner. It's father's day.
When I got home I watered my plants and tried to fix the aircon so it stops dripping. No clue where the water comes out from so I gave up. When I got back inside I was completely soaked I had to sit quietly reading the paper till it stopped. I thought about going swimming but decided on the comfort of being indoors, such a wuz. Hee.
went for a foot massage today. Actually more like a paid torture session. It'd been a while since we'd been and my muscles were so tense and everywhere the therapist touched, it hurt like hell. I was trying to be brave and not whimper or groan, finally settled for squirming about uncomfortably in my seat. My neck and shoulders were not much better, but we didn't have time so I continue to suffer.
So much tension and pressure. Daily life is a grind. Why do we tolerate this in our lives. So much given up, all in the name of 2 square meals and a roof over our heads. I mentioned to my parents may be I'm thinking about moving, higher floor, bigger place. Tasked them with looking around. If they find something suitable it means going through the whole empty bank account big mortgage deal. I'd just gotten my mortgage down to a reasonable level, taking advantage of the low interest rates to pay off more of the principal each month.
Money. What a dirty word.
I've been at her place 3 nights running. It's nice. But it means Sunday night is even harder to bear. Then again, I still think we still have a long way to go till we can live together again. We have different habits, hobbies and the need for personal time to overcome.
Yesterday she had to wake up early for work and I got up not long after she left. Today we would sleep later and so we didn't wake up till nearly 11am. It's so comfortable. She has her aircon on much cooler than mine, so I didn't get hot and sticky.
Simple meals today. Lunch of noodles and vegetables at a neighbourhood restaurant. For dinner we bought food home and rented a DVD. It's so much more relaxing and intimate.
I have one way glass on my windows, the same type that's used in police interrogation rooms. So I can see out but people looking in only see their reflection.
So one morning I hear this insistent tap on the windows and I nearly jumped out of my skin. After a while I realised it came from outside, this bird was perched on my plants and pecking at the glass. It took me a second to realise it was seeing another bird and was probably trying to communicate with it.
Now it happens almost every morning, often there's 2 or 3 of them, all pecking and flapping their wings at their non-existent cousin. It's a funny sight.
The weekends of not touching the computer continue. Should I be proud? distracted? worried? When was the last time I updated this on a weekend?
Here's how it went.
To my grandpa, grandma, their respective mothers and aunt. Mum usually buys a flower basket for each, such pretty baskets of roses. I'm never afraid of visiting that cemetery, I've been there so many times, it feels kinda peaceful. I feel protected with so many loved ones there. They've opened up more of the hillside, it looks more open now.
After talking about it for a long time, we finally booked a squash court and had a one hour game. Our email exchange about booking was kinda innuendo-y:
me: I think we should aim to do some exercise this weekend.
her: of course! what do you propose? somewhere public as suppose to somewhere private, I suppose??
me: how did you read my mind? my first thought was the epitome of innocence, that we should book a squash court at the leisure centre. I even went as far as trying to log onto the esd website but couldn't pull up the page. just as I was writing the mail something else occurred to me and by the time I hit send, I did have in mind other exercises I'd like us to be doing, and very much in private. your bb is very very very bad.
We came close to the personal exercise, very close. But we missed it once again.
We've sorta stopped eating out as often now. After squash we bought fresh crabs and beans. Steamed the crabs and made a stir-fry of the beans with beef. Dinner at home. It was great. Last night we planned to eat in too, but didn't have time at the end.
Perhaps it's age, or stress, or sedentary lifestyles, we needed to sort out our aching muscles. My back was in very bad shape. Anywhere that the therapist touched was painful. But after the kneading and pressing it was a little better. My left arm was so stiff he had to pull on it and make it go crack.
We both changed our mobile provider to a cheaper one. I don't really answer the phone anymore, I use it for the caller display and missed calls. That's all. What's the point of continuing with the most expensive service in town?
We had an uneven day yesterday. Ups and downs. Fighting and making up. Tears and laughter. Pouts and grins. Not touching. Holding.
At the end I had to do a big shop. Had a coupon that was expiring end March so I went online and bought supplies of drinks, mint, canned stuff, household stuff. I have enough food at home to last like months, it's always been the case. I'm a hoarder.
My days are meaningless repetitions. Every morning for the past 2 weeks we've had a conference call at 8.30am. Sometimes it runs till 10 and during the day it's an endless stream of calls and writing documentation.
Lunch at my desk, surfing the net or reading fanfic. Downloading them and printing them out, 2 columns per page, double-sided. Not something I'm supposed to be doing, natch.
I try to concentrate on work. I get interrupted by people or phone calls or emails or I get bored and I have to leave the confines of my office and walk outside.
All I want to is go home.
Sometimes I don't have dinner in the living room, I'm at my desk with the Powerbook straight away. Reading, writing, writing, reading.
I break off to shower or do the laundry. But the lure of the screen and the keyboard and the mouse is too great and I can't stay away for long. That one night when it got too cold and I took a long bath, my mind wasn't on the bath at all.
Weekends are bad. I'm hardly home. While she takes her shower I power up her iMac and I'm at it again. Until she finishes and we go to bed.
It's an addiction.
All of a sudden it's weekend already and there's so much to fit into so little time. Friday night at long last we managed to watch Return of the King, which was brilliant. The last 20 mins or so dragged on a bit, but that may be because I'd been sitting for 3 hours and was getting restless.
Paid for our Kenya trip today, it's frustrating that she takes at least twice the amount of time to do anything as I would. Our lunch was after 2pm and I was a very cranky child by then. Then we spent three hours at the opticians getting new glasses for the two of us and sunglasses for her. Normally it takes me may be half an hour to get new glasses and I never ask everybody in the shop including the staff to decide which model for me, I just choose for myself. If I was sure it wouldn't cause a rift in our relationship there were so many times I wanted to yell "just decide already". Sigh. That's where my time goes.
Bought a pair of binoculars. Wanted to get a longer lens for my camera but they were too expensive. Even a 2x teleconverter was beyond my budget.
Tried a new dish at dinner, steamed turtle. Stop it with the "eww" already, ok? It was steamed and quite nice. Texture and taste reminded me of frog's legs. Would we order it again? Probably not. Sorry we had it? No, it was interesting. Methinks we'll stick to chicken though.
... for out of routine sleeping and waking patterns. Christmas Eve we didn't go to bed till like 4.30am, playing mahjong all night. Christmas morning woke up at 1pm, had a nice but rushed lunch and I had to go home to pick up the presents to go to my parents' place for Christmas dinner.
Boxing Day woke up real early, like 6am, to go to the last mass in Clara's memory. Had breakfast with her family and by the time I got home it was only 10am. Rest of the day spent by myself downloading songs, updating the website and reading a new fic.
Today when I opened my eyes finally it was 1.50pm. Lunch, washing up and chores later and it's already dark. Half the day's gone before I know it.
There's something about the quiet and solitude that makes it quite pleasant. What we've been telling each other it's our own private time. Can get addictive, this private time.
Splurged out on a new phone today, one that has more functions that I'll need - PDA like, bluetooth, email, internet. All good stuff, but in reality it's just another phone. The one I had worked perfectly fine.
Happy today, I can't help smiling or looking at eyes. That's what you get for being in love. There. I've said it. Didn't want to get out of bed this morning. MFEO.
Progress of the fic isn't bad. Slow. Scrapped one idea when it just ground the whole story to a halt. Changed the premise a little and it's starting to flow again. I have subsequent chapters planned out and that's new.
I got a wee bit plastered last night at the department Christmas dinner, sitting around for more than an hour waiting for latecomers and drinking wine on an empty stomach.
Got home and was conscious enough to check email, shower and blow dry my hair. Almost passed out when the hot water of the shower hit me and was forcing myself to keep my eyes open. Went to bed immediately afterwards. Woke up at 4.45am with a splitting headache, took half an hour for the panadol to take effect. Groan.
Lunch with mm, then we took a bus to the shopping centre. On the way the bus was stuck for like half an hour because of an accident up ahead. The enforced stop was perfect for a little shut eye, I was worried about whether I would be able to walk round cos of extreme tiredness the time out was a bonus, I felt much more refreshed after the nap.
The strap on my watch had become undone and I was trying to glue it back together using some superglue and I was squeezing the tube and the glue just shot out. The watchstrap is fixed but now I have superglue all over my fingers. It's not terribly sticky glue it's not like my fingers are glued together, there's just this layer of white chalky substance that can't be washed off. Great.
Been neglecting my plants they're all wilted and sad looking. Gave them a much needed watering, they should recover overnight. The ivy is growing steadily, soon I'll need to move it to the bathroom. I want to trail the ivy all round the ceiling to create a sort of greenhouse effect in the bathroom.
Did 2 loads of laundry this afternoon. Darks and whites.
Made a fruit salad with mango, pear and papaya. May be I'll squeeze a little lime juice over it to give it a bit of zest.
Dilemma. I can't access the website on Netscape, it's fine on Explorer but I don't use Explorer at home. So do I persevere or change servers.
Woke up too early for my liking today. So I was falling asleep on the train, bus and anytime I was sitting around. Man I have to break the 2am sleeptime habit. Easier said than done. Sigh.
My mind is racing at top speed I can't get any thoughts to stay still have to update this when it's calmer up there.
Yesterday hesitated for a moment before gingerly stepping into today.
God, if there were enough hours in the day, I could sit here forever.
I scrapped everything I did for the website and started again. Rusty as nails but hey! I still got skills.