Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Weekend

The chores around the house doesn't seem to end. When you are an employee in a company, the projects will end upon deadline, the management meetings will eventually stop after a few hours, the press conference, events, etc will end when everything's over and done with. Not household chores. This morning, as E is out of town for work, I had to send C to school. I think driving out in the early morning got my adrenaline running so I started on a washing spree. I washed the laundry, curtains, half of the floor of the car porch (the other half was taken up by both cars, too lazy to move them!), then I 'washed' the dog, and re-potted some plants. Tempted to wash my car but I decided it's too humongous a task. I think my adrenaline must have run out. Next, I have to think of what to do for dinner.

It's Thursday as I publish this post that I wrote yesterday:
I had meant to write about our weekend since Monday and now it's Wednesday already! It's so easy to lose track of time. As a stay-home mom, there are various things to juggle and multitasking can sometimes be no longer effective. Or is it an 'age' thing? For example, I walk upstairs with the intention to do something but along the way, my mind thinks about something else and by the time I get up there, I forget what I was there for. And the countless times I forget where I put something. And the long windedness over something trivial sometimes, like now!

The weekend, yes, that's what I'm supposed to write about. ACE had a fun weekend. On Saturday, we caught the 3D movie How To Train Your Dragon and all three of us really enjoyed it. I had spotted the book some weeks back in the bookstore and it looked like one which Caitlin would enjoy so I got it for her. Little did I know that the following week, the movie was previewing already in the cinemas. When Caitlin found out about it, she was eager to go for the show.

It turned out that everyone else in the whole of KL was too. Online bookings could only be made two days before your chosen date. I made two trips to the cinema to get the tickets. The first time, the box office had yet to release the showtimes for the weekend shows so they couldn't sell the tickets (They only release it three days ahead). So I had to go a second time. Luckily, I was early enough and was able to choose good seats.

The story line in the movie, however, is very different from the book, according to C. Despite that, she enjoyed it.

After a late lunch in the mall, we headed home. In the evening, we went over to our next-door neighbour's house for dinner. Her newly-married daughter had just returned from overseas for a visit and she took the opportunity to have a gathering among relatives and neighbours to visit her new home. C was first glued to Book 4 of How To Train Your Dragon (it's a short series of 7 books) until after dinner when she started playing with another neighbour's kids, while E and I made small talk with some guests and neighbours.

On Sunday, we got off to an early start. C skipped Sunday School to attend her cousin's birthday party in PJ. It started off with rock climbing at Camp 5, followed by pizza and pasta and the birthday cake for the kids. Then it was lunch with extended family at One World Hotel's Chinese restaurant.

I must say that Camp 5 is a pretty good place for some family fun if you are game for some adventurous physical activity. The place is pleasant with clean and spacious locker rooms with toilet, shower and locker facilities, and a cafe that serves a healthy food menu.

I had known about Camp 5 but it was our first time there last Sunday. Caitlin had fun climbing. They started with the kid's boulder cave, and progressed on to a slightly bigger and higher 'hill' before going for the real thing, a relatively high wall. The marshalls helped them put on their climbing shoes, helmets and harnesses and watched and guided each child as they climbed. I guess I'll publish some photos of C's rock climbing adventure some other time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Eating out

Just for fun, these are some pics of food ACE have enjoyed in the recent months (Dec 2009 - Mar 2010). They are not in any particular order. Looking at all the pictures just make me salivate!

Chicken hor fun, KL

Beef balls, Seremban

Beef noodles, Seremban

Stewed pork, KL

Fried radish cake, KL

Ice cream, JB

Fish porridge, Muar

Oyster omelette, Muar

Ngoh hiong, Singapore

Fish and yam steamboat, Singapore

Har kow, KL

Assorted dim sum, KL

Fried tofu, Singapore

Salted egg yolk prawns, Singapore

Chicken chop, fish and chips, Kuantan

Curry mee, Kuantan

Mushroom soup, Kuantan

Steak, Kuantan

Stuffed crab, Chukai, Kemaman

Sashimi, KL

Grilled eel, KL

Gingered fish head, Seremban

Beef with spring onions/ginger and stir fried sweet potato leaves, Seremban

Friday, March 26, 2010

One, two and three years ago on video

Since I opened the 'time capsule' of Stories of ACE, I thought it'd be fun to open the one for my YouTube account too. As I don't post videos as often as I blog, I've chosen the clips that are circa the relevant periods. The video clips are not very clear as they were taken using my mobile phone.

About one year ago, Caitlin performing with her Yamaha JMC classmates:


About two years ago, Caitlin doing an impromptu 'dance':


And about three years ago, Caitlin dancing and singing to her then fave song:


And compare them with this rather recent one of Caitlin and her classmates performing at her school concert. She is the fourth girl from the left, in the checked mini skirt

One, two and three years ago

One year ago, here's what I wrote:

Post-move update (click to read)

We've moved on a bit I must say since then. Although there are still some boxes and tools lying around the house, at least the oven has been put to reasonably good use (for a non-oven owner and user like me prior to this). As for the stove, it's been very much used on a daily basis to feed the three, and sometimes more, tummies in this house.

As for C's toys and books, and A and E's books and magazines, a lot, a lot more have been added on to the now untidy and haphazardly arranged book shelves. C's bookshelves cannot hold all her books now....and it's time to tune the piano again....

Two years ago, here's what I wrote:

Watch what you eat (click to read)

The skin allergy never re-surfaced since. I've always been conscious of what we eat. However, I must say that it's hard to be disciplined in eating healthily. Much of the tastiest foods usually come with some level of unhealthiness, especially when you eat out. Being a food lover and somewhat adventurous in trying out new dishes and eateries, it's hard to avoid temptation. If I want to eat 100 per cent healthily, I'd have to really work hard at eating at home and preparing our own food all the time.

A and E recently went for a health checkup. E has to exercise, watch his diet to avoid the risk of obesity and high blood sugar (genetic predisposition) while I have to exercise and cut down on cholesterol-laden food. So the main thing is EXERCISE which we both have problems committing to. While E gets some workout playing futsal with colleagues after work twice a week, it's still not enough. I walk up and down a steep hill getting C from school every afternoon and upstairs and downstairs doing stuff around the house, it's also not enough. We wonder if getting a treadmill would help....

And three years ago, my blog was created on 20 March 2007:

A new adventure (click to read)

This blog has come quite a long way since then. I had strayed a little from its original purpose along the way as my eyes were opened to the then new, exciting world of blogging and its potential for exposure and money-making possibilities. I dabbled in it but never went far enough as I somehow lacked the drive to figure out the technicalities of it.

This year, I'm back to making Stories of ACE purely a journal, recounting events, activities and my personal thoughts. I've not posted many pictures of late compared to the earlier days when I was more gung-ho in 'beautifying' my blog. One reason is that I'm using my notebook more these days. All my photos are in our desktop and I'm just too lazy to transfer them over to the notebook.

The frequency of my posts have also reduced, averaging one a week compared to 2-3 a day during those 'exciting' blogging days. I recorded the most number of posts in 2008 with 289 posts. In 2007 and 2009, I wrote, coincidentally, the same number of 137 posts. This year, it's 25 posts to date. If I keep at this rate, I estimate about 100 posts this year.

How good or popular a blog is, is however, not dependent on the number of posts you write. It's all about who your audience is, the content and effort you put into it, to make it popular. This does not apply to my blog. As mentioned earlier and in my maiden post, this blog is for myself, some family members and friends. Even if nobody reads it, it does not matter. It's just an open journal.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Man's best friend

Man's best friend -- the dog. A woman's best friend too I 'd say.
Throughout my lifetime with pet dogs, they've always proved to be so.
Of course, it's a two-way street.
You love them, care for them and shower them with attention
And you'll get the same in return.

You don't have to guess, I'm writing about ACE's current pet dog, Rusty.
He's part of our family and we love him dearly.
Lying beneath my chair now, he makes me feel not alone.
We both enjoy each other's quiet company.
No words need to be spoken, although he understands when I speak
And I try to understand his actions.

When I'm watching tv and he feels ignored, he'd put his chin on my lap.
When I'm enjoying Facebook, he'd put his paw on my arm or give the keyboard a tap.
He'd sit upright beside me when he first gets into the house.
If I ignore him, he slumps into a crouch.
After a while, he turns to his side and lets out a 'humph!'
Sighing,resigning to thankfulness that he's been let in.
So there he continues to lay and soon starts to nap.
REM sleep takes over at times, and you'll hear his doggie-dream yaps.

When I get up, he'd jump up in a blink
I got up to merely get a drink.
I go to the bathroom, he follows. I go to the kitchen, that's where he goes.
I go upstairs, he tries, but I say "no".
If I take too long, he'd sneak up, a stair-climbing pro.

But he knows -- if I get out the door with my car keys, he'd stay just at the door.
On the inside, for a while before he decides he must be out to know more.
The car door opens, in a flash he jumps inside, hoping for a happy joy ride.
Sadly, most times, I'd drag him out and say
"Good boy, stay".

When strangers with two feet or four pass by our door
He'd bark and say, "Come nearer and I'd bark more"
His partner in action, the neighbour's dog, would then say " I saw them first"
Together, in the dark of night, they'd sing a chorus.
Oh my, what a ruckus!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

School holiday

This week sees C at home with me for the one-week school holiday. We spent three days visiting Kuantan, Cherating and Chukai last weekend, returning on Monday evening. C enjoyed herself totally on the beach 'jumping' waves, playing with sand, and swimming in the pool at the resort we stayed in. She also decided she didn't need arm band floats while swimming in the adult pool because I had taught her how to tread water and she felt she had sort of gotten it right. It was good exercise for her three days in a row with all the hours of swimming and treading water attempts and jumping up and down over the waves in the sea.

We took a drive to visit the Turtle Conservation Centre in Cherating. It was located outside the entrance of Club Med. It's a small place with an exhibit room providing posters, and replicas about the life cycle of turtles, threats to their survival, conservation efforts etc. There were also small ponds where some turtles were kept. The place does not collect any entrance fee. You just need to register upon arrival and if you wish, make a donation.

After the short visit, we drove on to Chukai (in Kemaman, Trengganu) for lunch. We had Chukai's famous stuffed crabs at one of the popular restaurants which had stuffed crabs as their specialty. After a satisfying lunch of stuffed crabs, steamed fish, stir fried kailan and rice plus drinks, we headed back to Kuantan. On the way, we stopped at one of the numerous 'keropok' stalls to buy some for family back home.

Kuantan and Trengganu are known for their seafood,seafood produce like salted fish, dried squid, and fish, prawn, sotong keropok. You can buy the pre-packed ones or loose ones by weight. Most of the keropok sold are those that you have to fry yourself. I was actually looking for those that are ready-to-eat but not all stalls or shops have those. There's also the keropok lekor and satar that east coast is famous for. You can get the normal keropok and keropok lekor in KL but I've yet to come across satar here. We bought some satar to try. I like it. It's fish paste mixed with coconut and spices, wrapped in banana leaf into a triangular shape, skewered and cooked over a grill.

Thanks to the GPS, we didn't have problems finding our way to places that we wanted to go. It also brought us to some popular food places, making our visit (and our tummies!) more satisfying. We didn't have to depend on hotel fare to feed our tummies although breakfast was the usual buffet fare that came with the hotel package and one 'free' Chinese dinner thrown in.

The food places we visited were Tong Juan Restaurant in Chukai, East Grill Steak House in Kuantan and Hoi Yin (good curry mee) in Telok Cempedak, Kuantan.

C's favourite part of the trip was the pool and beach. She had protested continuously throughout the one-hour drive to Cherating as she wanted to stay in the hotel to swim. My favourite part of the trip was seeing Caitlin enjoy herself at the pool and beach and learning to tread water and try breast stroke moves with her arms, getting a two-hour treatment at the resort's spa and eating the tasty stuffed crabs and curry mee (yummy!).

The drive back home was faster and nicer compared to the journey there. It was smoother compared to the initial traffic jam we faced getting on to the Karak Highway and the heavy rain on one stretch towards Kuantan. Caitlin entertained herself during the four-hour journey there and back with her books and some Pokemon figurines E packed for her as a surprise.

As for pictures of this trip, it'll have to wait. It's a busy week this week with Caitlin at home, having to prepare her for her school test next week and her music mini-concert end of this month.I'm also behind with one write-up that's due in a couple of days...

Rusty spent the weekend boarding at the vet's. He got a proper 'haircut' from the groomer there and looks more handsome than cute now. He was very happy and excited to see us when we went to collect him. Among the three of us ACE, I think I'm the one who missed him the most when we went on our short holiday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Remember the tortoise and the hare?

I'm the kind who likes to get things done quickly. I don't like to waste time. C and E are the laid back kind who take their time. I like to move fast. C takes like five minutes at times (and I'm not exaggerating) just to get out of the car after I've parked, turned off the engine, gotten myself out and ready to start moving to wherever we are headed for.

This evening, the same thing happened as we were headed to a cafe for dinner after her music lesson. It was past our usual dinner time, plus with her being a slow eater, I knew we'd be home later than usual taking into account the heavy evening traffic. And I don't like lingering around the car whether getting in or out of it in public, especially when it's dark.

So without a thought, my 'hurry up, faster' mode kicked in. Now that I think about it, I think I'm in that mode most of the time when C is with me. In the mornings, it's 'hurry up, faster, eat your breakfast, wear your socks and shoes, you're gonna be late for school. In the afternoon, it's 'hurry up, faster, turn off the tv, do your homework, it's gonna be dinner time soon'. At dinner, it's 'hurry up, faster, chew and swallow, eat faster'. At bedtime, it's 'hurry up, faster, brush your teeth, stop reading, change and go to bed, it's past your bedtime'.

Going back to this evening while getting out of the car, C said (after getting out), "Mummy, you're always like the rabbit, always want to be fast. You know, it's better to be like the tortoise."

Sigh....it's times like these you wish they didn't know how to apply what they've learnt!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mandarin comments

Once in a while, I get comments about my posts in this blog that are written in Mandarin. Thanks to those readers who drop by my blog and share their comments. However, I am rather Mandarin-illiterate and can only manage to speak basic Mandarin, write my name and my ability to read/write Mandarin is rather limited.

I am therefore unable to read and understand the long Mandarin comments. I have managed to make out some which appear to be spam or those with the intention to 'advertise' their own links, while others remain undetermined. Today, I received one which directed me to what is obviously a website with adult content. The pictures clearly suggest so with young Asian women flaunting their cleavage in seductive poses!

As such, I have chosen not to publish any Mandarin, or other foreign language comments unless the English translation is provided. And even if the comments are in English, I reserve the right to accept or reject based on the validity, relevance and decency of the comments offered.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Child of technology age

In the car, Caitlin was verbalising a dream, another one of her ambitions:

"If I'm a boss, my office will have pink walls, and everything in all shades of pink. I'll have a pink notebook with mouse and mousepad. (Guess what her fave colour is?)

My secretary will be A (her classmate). (Because she's her friend).

My office desk will have four drawers. There'll be book shelves, a refrigerator, coffee maker, cups and food, a pink swivel chair, sofa, shoes, clothes, make-up. (She listed all the clothing items in fact. Why so many clothes? In case she spills coffee on what she's wearing...)

My car is the looong type which rich people always drive (we then told her it's a stretch limousine). I'll have a pink stretch limousine with flower patterns on it. On the two front doors, there will be the XXX (company which E works for) logo. (Wow, so young already know branding!)

How do I become a boss?"

I said, "You need to study hard and improve your handwriting" (her handwriting tends to be untidy)

She said, "But I'm using the computer-lah!"

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's March already....

I've just been busy with stuff -- everyday stuff and other stuff. Sometimes I wish there's more than 24 hours in a day, or that humans don't need to sleep. Imagine if we don't have to sleep at night, we'd have the extra 8 hours or so to do other things.

The weather here continues to super hot with sudden short bursts of moderately heavy rain in the evenings, making it very humid. One can just sit down and watch tv and start perspiring even with the fan on. Only the airconditioning will help. But once you step out, for even two minutes, you start perspiring again. I think one can just get a tan by driving around running errands, sending and fetching the kid, no need to bask in your bikini on a sun-kissed Caribbean beach.

It's 10 days or so to the school term break. It's only for one week and when school resumes, there'll be this year's first monthly school test. On normal days, we are not able to find the time to revise any schoolwork. Will have to make it a point to help her do some revision during the one-week break. However, we also hope to take a short break somewhere.

As usual, we don't plan our holidays. It's always ad hoc. And most times, I'm the one who has to get the plans in motion. It can be tiresome when it's always you who initiates and takes action on plans. I guess that's the nature of a person who wants to get things going as soon as possible and be done with it, as opposed to another who is laid back and sometimes leaves it till it's too late. There's this Chinese (I think) saying that likens this procrastination habit to "scrambling to dig a hole only when want to sh*t".

Nobody's perfect, I remind myself. Just 'march' on this March, and smell the roses along the way. Don't smell the sh*t. Ha ha!