Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Jesus, I feel smoked.

Christmas party on 24th, the REAL Christmas, when Germans celebrate. Scottie and I arrived to a fairly mild crowd at a former brewery, now an apartment building. Red Christmas lights, red drapes, red furniture, red sheets on the bed, red iBook - the host sure likes red! Party-ers dressed up for the occasion, namely Santa hats and furry capes and stockinged legs. People brought sauerkraut, devilled eggs, pasta, pies, cookies, truffles, liquor. Everyone brought gag gifts: we were told to wrap up the ugliest thing we find in the house.

It was a mostly sedate crowd, some chilling out with a drink, some dancing and some hooping to really REALLY loud techno pump - I noticed the DJ had headphones on - if it was my guess, it would be to muff out the 300 decibel music he's happily spinning. Some, like me, were tearing our throats trying to hold discernible conversation with another.

Sometime after the music started, I detected a faint smell of weed. My neighbour smokes the occasional stick, so I recognized what it was. Quick scan and registered a couple of pipes being passed around to anyone who cared for a puff. A woman who had arrived in a Mrs. Claus outfit, stripped down to a red string bikini and sheer tight pants. What eventually, we don't know. One guy fell right over from an upright position, like a plank, and busted his eye on his glasses.

It must've been on the dancefloor when I must've been right next to someone with one of these pipes. The music got louder, the lights got dizzier, the dancing got wilder.

Technically I didn't smoke the pot. But the fumes that smoked up my lungs would've have knocked out a horse.

When the email said pot-luck, I had no idea it meant this.


I don't remember what partying is like, I mean the kind with techno/trance whatever music and tequila shots and rum and all. I've been to one or two some years ago, but I guess I've never been much of a party-er, not with booze and hard liquor, and certainly not with any kind of drugs. I hardly ever drink enough to be drunk.

It wasn't unpleasant at the party, in fact the music was good dance stuff, and we met a couple of friends and talked to some nice people. The food was a lucky pick of sorts, but the homemade ones were never wrong.

Just for the record, I drank only lime-ade.

Tomorrow's brunch party will be a lot more Martha Stewart.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Quest for Iscandar

We're off to Outer Space
We're leaving Mother Earth
To save the Human Race

The hubs and I have been singing this every day for the past week.

Every morning at breakfast, we put on the DVD, sing the opening song, and follow the adventures of Captain Avatar and his team on their Quest for Iscandar, to bring back the cosmo DNA and save Earth from the deadly radiation that will eliminate all life on earth in one year.

This anime is the mother of all animes. It was made in 1974 - BEFORE I was born.


One week ago I gave the hubs the ultimatum to clean up his bookshelf - there was no explicit penalty to this ultimatum, I had simply growled threateningly.

So the hubs sits himself in front of the offending bookshelf and verily set to work.

I must say that when he does get to it, he is indeed efficient with his task.


2 minutes into this do-or-suffer.menacing.wifey task, the hubs ups and runs to the TV with a box of DVDs in his hand, pops a DVD into the player and stands there, eyes fixated to the screen.

I watch him, perplexed.

And, the above video came on.

"Look sweetie, this is a show I watched when I was 8 years old." - eyes still transfixed on the TV.

"Oh, wow." I think of old-style cartoons I watched in the 80s when frames sometimes froze for 5 seconds (..doesn't seem so exciting anymore in this age of CGI)

As the opening song played, hubs tears away from his transfixation and comes to me, holds up his arm and says

"See sweetie, my hairs are standing up." then steps away and looks at me with puppy eyes.

There is a glimmer of wetness in his puppy eyes.

I recognize this moment - it is a sentimental moment.

Time for a hug.


So now every morning, we make breakfast, pop in a new episode, sing and march and punch our fists into the air to the opening song, and settle to watch the next adventure.

Will the Starblazers defeat the evil Gamelons? Will they make it to Iscandar that is far beyond the galaxy and bring back the cosmo DNA to save Mother Earth in time? There are 208 days left.

And the bookshelf sits content in its state of clutter.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I need a Fuzzy Wuzzy seat warmer

Summer is overr!!!

It's still sunny, but the winds are beginning to kick up - yesterday the winds hit 50 km/hr. So it's the blustery and chilly time of year again.

I like that I can get bundled up in jackets and scarfs and gloves and Uggs, now I just wished I had a fuzzy wuzzy warmer for the toilet seat.

Take Me Home, Country Road

Well, Maui has its famous Hana Highway of waterfalls and secret pools, and Kauai - KAUAI had a never-ending shoreline of spectacular ocean/coastal scenery. OH I felt like I was in a dream! or a painting, and the painting's come alive!! It was incredible, IN-Credible; surreal, SUR-Real; unbelievable, UN-BeliEEvable ... and so on and so forth :D

We had loads of fun in Kauai driving around. I was surprised to find Chinese heritage in Hawaii - a Kung Long Shopping Center and Ching Yung Village where we had some kung pao chicken and chinese broccoli for dinner one night.

It was actually too hot too be laying out in the sand, so we spent most of our day in the water diving, boogie boarding or snorkelling. We also did some very muddy and slippery hiking, drove up the Waimea Canyon, watched the sun set every day and did some cooking at home and chilled out by the tv in the evenings.

And oh! Hawaiian radio rocks! They have a station that plays hyms and inspirational songs like Shout To The Lord (All the Earth...) which I liked - reminds me of the years when I still went to church. Whatever's on radio is always happy, encouraging, romantic or just has a good groove to it. Ermm, they also had their own rendition of Take Me Home, Country Road.

Here's a little Hawaiian sing-along for you!

More photos here:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Maui II

photography by The Hubby
- except for the one blurry picture of hubby plunging into the water :p

Sunrise at Haleakala Crater

We woke up at 3am to drive 9000ft up the crater for this awesome view. OOooh! it was c-c-c-COldd as we waited, but ah! what a sight when the crack of dawn came! Commanding, yet gentle; awe-inspiring, yet humble. It was one of those moments you stood motionless and reflected on your life, start confessing your sins and wished you had given that candy bar back to the baby.

We took a short hike down the Sliding Sands trail at the crater after the sunrise. A gently-sloping easy path, but boy at 9000ft, was I out of breath!

Next was our adventure into the Hana Highway! Driving this highway is the ultimate tribute to the saying 'It is not the destination, but the journey that matters' - 52 miles of narrow, winding roads that lead into a subdued little town that didn't have a restaurant nor grocery store open past 7.30pm. We barely squeezed into the last store that was closing for the day when we got there.

On the way, however, is breath-taking scenery that errr...takes your breath away. Seriously, standing at the edge of the cliff, looking out into the far horizon, listening to sounds of the crashing waves, with the spray of ocean mist on your face, you feel there is no other place on earth you'd rather be.

One of the many many waterfalls along Hana Highway

We also stopped at a few turnouts and hiked/thrashed our way into the more obscure waterfalls/hideouts.
Venus Pool, looking out into the ocean

Our guidebook also rated it the Best Place to Ponder and Write a Great American Novel:

We decide it's worth more fun than that! :D Wheeeee!!!
Nirvana Baby! Wheeee!!!

Blue Pools - we had to ignore several keep-out warnings on the trail, and hike our way across boulders to find this gem. This place was absolutely surreal - the ocean washes up the boulders just 20 feet behind me.
Blue Pools

It was a little piece of paradise on earth. We stayed for the sunset, and I have no words enough for its beauty.

More photos here:

Saturday, September 22, 2007


WE'RE IN MAUI!!! ooohhh it's BEAUTIFUL!

It's so green and lush everywhere! and the ocean is really really blue and sparkly! Flowers of all colours blooming everywhere, cotton-white clouds in the sunny blue skies, and little coves all along the coast to snorkel in, waves crashing on fine sandy beaches and craggy lava rocks, underwater caves to explore where white-tipped reef sharks rest and green turtles lay sleeping, 100 ft clarity in the water, schools of fish, fish of all colours and patterns - spiked, streaked, striped, banded, painted, spotted, camouflaged..

Oooh! Hawaii is just such a happy place! :D

View from the lanai, Wailea where we're staying with friends

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thy Loving Presence

Scott and I have 3 wedding dates: our court date, our wedding day in Singapore and our wedding day in Buffalo. The more joy to celebrate.

People often ask me which date is the real one. What can I say? We made vows at all three weddings, and they were all real.

The least spoken about I guess would be our union in court: simply as it was as private an affair as it could've been, with no one else but us and the judge. With just us and the judge, I tuned in to the quiet celebration, to the dignity, to the great blessing of this moment in our lives.


We made a court date for this date 2006 at the Beverly Hills Municipal Court. Why September 14? We don't know. We simply picked a date. Scott proposed 2 weeks before and it seemed an appropriate interval....whatever that means.


12 noon was our appointment.

11.00am we threw on something nice from our wardrobes and sped off to 90210. We cleared security at the entrance, and got directions to our Judge's courtroom.

Judge Richard Stone. Judge Stone. Pleasant-est guy around, he was cracking jokes with his clerical staff when we arrived. It's nice to know the judge will not be barking out our vows to us in an already very nerve-wrecking time.

He gave us a choice of location - the courtroom or the rooftop. We chose the rooftop, and so we went.

There, overlooking the Beverly Hills neighborhood, 'neath the clear blue Californian sky, Judge Stone stood before us and gave a sermon on the sanctity of marriage.

We didn't have rings then. We just held hands.

As Judge Stone spoke, tears welled up uncontrollably and the next moment, I was bawling my eyes out.


I used to think about loneliness, about the wrenching uncertainty of my future, how sad I might be all alone. I wondered if I will ever have someone to hold my hand, and share the laughter and dry my tears. I wondered if all I ever will have is watching others be happy.

As we stood there on the rooftop, I felt an immense sense of gratitude, reassurance and peace.

Lay back in the arms of someone
You give in to the charms of someone
Lay back in the arms of someone you love -ONJ

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In Praise of the Seas - The Allure of the Deep Blue

Some of Scott's best photography yet. I thought these were so hauntingly beautiful:

Beyond the ken of mortal men, beneath the wind and waves,
There lies a land of shells and sand, of chasms, crags and caves,
Where coral castles climb and soar, where swaying seaweeds grow,
And all around without a sound the ocean currents flow...
- Graeme Base

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Man with Nine Knuckles

Our friend, Alex, from NY swung by for a visit last week on his way to Burning Man in Nevada.

This is the wedding gift he brought for us, a sort of symbolism for fertility

It is a water jug of sorts - you fill the water into the handle-end of the pot, and it streams out from the penis-end.

but this is what happened on its journey here to us.


Alex had also packed something else similar, instead with a huge head that symbolized wisdom - no prizes for guessing where that got bonked and cracked open (which I surmise was what he intended for his roommate in the following story).

Alex: " Oh well"

And as the story goes: His hand, btw, was broken when he had fUU-Riiously bAshed his dickhead of a roommate repeatedly on the skull for being, well, a major dickhead. Alex's knuckle got smashed irreparably. His roommate, uhh let's call him Dick, was in such shock that he supposedly ran naked into the streets of NY, albeit in the middle of the night. Still Dick's skull of steel was intact and he suffered no more than a slight headache and a bruised ego, and got away easy for some mega dumb-ass prank he did.

Alex, on the other(or this) hand, may make his appearance at Burning Man as a Russian hero with nine wives (according to a famed Russian tale and thus the beard), but he has a tale of his own to show for. Ironical, but pretty funny I think :p

The first time I met Alex, he had a broken shoulder from skiing, and the last we heard from him, he had been held hostage and in prison for a number of days in Iraq (true story) where he had gone sightseeing - don't ask me why.

In between, though, we are always relieved to hear of him engaging in saner activities like the Argentinian Tango and cross-dressing in public.

It's always good to see you Alex :)

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's An Ocean In Here Sweetie!

California waters is co-old. I have dived in 52F/11C waters in my wetsuit all 12mm of it in three layers, but I am for the wiser.

And fortunately, hubs loves me enough to keep me warm on my dives. This is what he got me for my birthday -

Ta-Daaaaaahhh!!! My new DUI TLS350 drysuit! I will never freeze my butt off looking for slugs underwater again! :D


Before donning my new drysuit in the ocean, I gave it a go in our pool. Here's the episode in pics and videos:

Burping my suit

Got my BCD on me

Checking my valves

Putting on my fins

And ready to go..

huhhhh..I'm as floaty as a life-saver.. won't. go. down. unngh!

Try again -

I drop like a stone!

What happened?


hahaha, so sotong, forgot to deflate my BCD the first time :p

So what's the conclusion?

Success! And all ready for the ocean! More underwater adventures coming up! Yaaayyy!!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Singaporean leh!!

Headlines on New York Times online:

A Singaporean doing the most Singaporean thing to do! :D :D

and note: the article is written by Steve Lorrr!! :D :D ROFL

Who's with Gwyneth? The Google Guy

Tan Chade-Meng, with, clockwise from top left, ex-Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright; Muhammad Ali, the boxer; the newscaster Tom Brokaw; and the actor Robin Williams.

Published: September 1, 2007

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — The gallery of photos lining a hallway at Google’s headquarters here is filled with the faces of luminaries who have visited the company: Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Muhammad Ali and Jane Fonda.

And in each of the more than 100 pictures, there is someone else: Tan Chade-Meng, a geeky fellow with a big smile who is a household name only in his own household.

Mr. Tan is a 37-year-old engineer at Google, and his initial chutzpah, his quirky workplace and a steady stream of distinguished visitors have turned him into the company’s in-house Zelig.

The visitors are often there to get a glimpse of the future in progress, and perhaps something to drop into conversation that suggests an advanced I.Q.: “When I was out at Google the other day...”

They end up getting a moment with Mr. Tan as well, and Mr. Tan gets another photo for his growing gallery.

At first, Mr. Tan had to work for his pictures. One day in 2003 he saw several police cars at the Google campus and muscular men in dark suits and sunglasses patrolling the hallways.

His interest piqued, Mr. Tan hustled down to the lobby and “waited for someone famous to come by,” he said. It turned out to be Jimmy Carter. The resulting photo and another of Mr. Tan with Al Gore went up on the wall outside his office.

Soon, no celebrity could visit Google without a “Meng” photo op — as in “Where’s Meng? You’ve got to get your picture taken with Meng.”

Mr. Tan, his photo gallery and the company’s endorsement of his little side project, said Eric Schmidt, the company’s chief executive, are “representative of much of what is right and fun about Google.”

At Google, Mr. Tan has a reputation as a top-flight engineer. But he is also known for his fondness for one-liners and for being a regular contributor to the company’s online humor groups. The job title on his business card reads: “Jolly Good Fellow (which nobody can deny).”

“In my free time, I do engineering,” he said.

Mr. Tan gets tips by e-mail or phone a few days before a famous person arrives. No one has turned him down yet.

It is an eclectic group. Colin Powell, the hippie activist Wavy Gravy, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robin Williams, Jane Goodall, Tom Brokaw, George Soros and James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, have all posed with Mr. Tan.

Mostly the guests appear to be good sports about it. A few, including Mr. Clinton and Chris Rock, the comedian, have even come to his small office for their moment in the spotlight.

Some drape an arm around Mr. Tan. He and Ken Thompson, a creator of the Unix operating system, hold plastic pink flamingoes. (The photos are online at

Mr. Tan is not a stickler for photographic technique. He uses an inexpensive digital camera, and the photos, he said, are shot by “random people who walk by.” Larry Page, the multibillionaire co-founder of Google, has snapped a few.

Mr. Tan, typically dressed in a sweatshirt or Google T-shirt, beams at the camera with a toothy, ear-to-ear grin that some colleagues good-naturedly call his Bugs Bunny smile. His regular brushes with fame have apparently not gone to his head.

“I’m just some guy at Google,” he said.


Aside to family, doesn't he look like Uncle Freddy??!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

30 Years Young

I hit the 'big' 3-0 this year.

Awkward teenage years and youthful twenties behind me now, I wonder what life will be like in my 30s.

Dave Barry says he grows steadily older each year without ever reaching maturity. Of course he's just the funniest bloke around, but I wonder if I've managed to mature even proportionately with my years.

Let's not even talk about wise. Wise is for the old.

Actually, I'm fairly grateful that I was born somewhere somehow I am not sold as a child-bride or into slavery; or into any one of the horrific circumstances of extreme poverty and hunger, or cultures with female oppression and genital mutilations.

In fact, at 30, I am blessed with wonderful people in my life - friends and family, and my husband, who puts, above everything else, our happiness together :)

I am physically healthy, emotionally fulfilled, and mentally least that's what I think.

Contentedness is underrated - especially at an age so young ;D


Did I have a happy birthday? Find out here! and here! and here!

And Happy Birthday to all my friends turning/turned 30 this year too!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hubs and I decided on whim Thursday evening to spend a day diving at Casino Point, Catalina island. So we packed our diving stuff and lunch and got up at 4.30am the next morning to catch the ferry.

I'm always lazy with dive reports, but here's hubby's :D

or if you just wanna look at the photos -


Also, we finally got ourselves a sturdy rack to hang/store our loads of scuba gear!!! This made me so so so SO HAPPY!!

Unfortunately when two bungling handymen try to put poles and parts together, we can guarantee ourselves an accident.

I absentmindedly let slip one of the poles and it fell and hit Hubs on the forehead with a resounding 'gong'. OWWW!! :-o


It nicked him just above the nose and drew a little blood. We wiped it clean and he wanted a plaster (a.k.a. Band-Aid) on it - the biggest one we had.

He's okay but growled at me for a little bit after that :( sorry sweetie...

Anyway, he's off to a Hawaiian-themed BBQ party with the underwater photographer's society now. He will be fine and even forget about the biggest-plaster-on-the-forehead if no one has the heart or curiosity to point it out to him at the party.

I finish assembling the rack and put things to where they belong, at least some of it..

Ah! such satisfaction to finally have decent storage for our gear, so I can stop stressing about things lying about. Let's have some order in the house, ORDER IN THE HOUSE PLEASE!!


speaking of Hawaii, we're going to Maui next month!! YaaaaYYYY!!!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007


This morning, perhaps delirious from a short night of sleep, my mind was racing with a dozen out-of-the-blue thoughts. One of which held my mind's attention for a significant while.

This is Xueli - it means pretty as snow, although she's not all white. She was a puppy-dog when we took this picture. She came to us a little, happy, excited puppy - cutest little bundle of fur and big eyes I'd ever seen. I was 8 years old, and remember being both scared and delighted by the sight of her. My uncle had adopted her from a friend whose dog had a litter of pups, and she became the (extended) family dog, mostly my Granma took care of her (Granma did everything then) but we have all walked her, fed her, took her for walks, bathed her, and played catch with her.

She had lovely soft hair, especially so after a bath and after she had dried off in the sun. The black part of her was beautiful, raven black and shiny. The white part of her was clean, pure and pretty as snow. It was a lovely feeling just brushing her.

She was mostly a quiet dog that didn't bark the house down. She was timid - she was terrified of thunder, and would scramble frantically and squeeze herself under the coffee table (it had a gap only 3 inches high!) Even when she was fully grown, she somehow managed it. She never chased cats int eh neighbourhood and was nervous with the ankle-biter that lived in the home next to the elevator, and hated walking that way. the funniest thing about her was that she knew what 'zang zui' ('to shower' in Hokkien) meant and bolted at the sound of the word. Bath time, as you can deduce, was to play catch. She would race herself crazy around our apartment in and out of every room, before coming to a sudden halt, tongue hanging out and panting, by which everyone present would freeze in their step, any false move and off she goes again!

She ran away a couple times, slipping free from the leash. One particular time that she ran away and we couldn't find her, Granma found her the next morning curled outside on the doorstep. How she made it 11 floors up the apartment building, we don't know - did she ride up the elevator??? or climbed all 11 sets of stairs up to come back home?? how did she manage to find her way among the jungle of high rise buildings and thousands of staircases?? Although we know dogs track a path by smell, we certainly have not walked her up 11 flights of stairs - we always took the elevator and pressed the button for the 11th floor; so until now we are still baffled - did she learn to press the elevator button???? All we knew then was how relieved we were and could only think how she spent a night out cold and hungry.

Xueli used to sleep in the living room at night, sometimes on the old brown suede couch that we have since discarded, sometimes on the ol' pile of newspapers we kept for the karang guni man. Sometimes when I woke up at night, I would wonder if she was okay, and would look for her and watch her sleep in the dark, sometimes she lays so still that it worried me, until she blew a little puff of air through her nose. Sometimes she trembled in her sleep, and I would start piling blankets on her. Sometimes she whined and I would wonder what she was dreaming of.

I cried when Granma told me Xueli had died. At that time, Granma had moved into my aunt's landed property home and Xueli had gone with her. They came back to Telok Blangah on the weekends. One Saturday, Granma told me Xueli had died, of old age..she was 13 years old by then. I asked Granma what she did with Xueli's body, and she told me she had thrown it out with the garbage. Although I was upset, I knew Granma would not know any other way to do it. And I think although we all love and miss Xueli very dearly, no one would be sadder than Ah Ma, and no one would miss her more.

I felt the sadness of the loss then, but this morning, fourteen years after, I suddenly saw the moment that she passed on; in my mind, I saw her lie down on her side, tired and drawing a last shallow breath..her eyes slowly close and she becomes still.


I have repetitive dreams - the same dream that happens from time to time, and one of them is of Xueli. When I dream of her, I often wake up thinking that it was real. Several times, I distinctly remember waking up after dreaming of Xueli, and walked around the house looking for her, not realizing that she had been gone for years.

I don't know why it haunts me, or what haunts me - perhaps because I wasn't there with her when she was passing, perhaps I feel sad, or guilty. Or perhaps it is only natural when I miss a dear beloved one.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fun with Mom

Scott's mom flew over from Buffalo for a holiday last week, and we shopped and shopped everywhere.

One day, when the hubs went away on a dive boat, the mom-in-law and I rented a neat little Daisun and drove ourselves around to do more shopping.

The map-reading and the navigating is another story, but let's just say we made our way home at the end of the day.

So, now I have a lovely new purple-and-butterflies bathroom, new blue, green and bright yellow bath towels, new Mexican-inspired dishcloths, wine glasses and whimsical silverware in the kitchen, a nice new floral embroidered toss pillow on my couch and more clothes that look the same but in different colours in our wardrobe.

When I have my own home, I will not have tan-coloured carpets, white blinds, beige doors and cabinets, and golden door knobs - I swear they must be installed in every rental apartment in LA just to drive tenants into depression.

Well now, colour me happy, mom's in the house and we can go shopping! :D


Just to prove we're more useful than we care to be, the ladies made dinners a couple times - some un-beliEEE-vably delicious salmon steaks with mom's special marinate, roasted asparagus and peppers, and brown rice.

The next day, I stir-fried leftover rice with corn and red peppers, put it on a bed of spinach and made a quasi-gourmet presentation of it. Boy, was mom impressed! She asked me about the recipe and I showed her my secret stir-fry sauce - Hoi Sin sauce by Lee Kum Kee!

Hahahahahah! :D


On other days, the three of us trooped to a couple of free, summer evening concerts in the park - an opera and a jazz-tap ensemble. They were our first experiences with both genres.

Opera was interesting - I didn't understand a word, and couldn't even tell if it was sung in Italian or French, and wonder if anyone amongst the crowded cheese-and-wine picnickers did at all. And knowing that, I had very loudly announced my advice to my companions before the performance:


The singers had mighty strong voices, I can tell you that. As well as that poor Great Dane that seemed a little distressed with the sopranos.

Now Jazz-tap(tap dancing to jazz) was totally different - straightforward entertainment with a marvellous groove. Easily and absolutely enjoyable. The audience had a great time cheering on the dancers and joining in the tap beat with a bout of messy clapping.

Encore! encore! at the end of it all!


Hubs and I decided to have a fun surprise for mom one afternoon. We all hopped into the car, took the route past a Santa Monica private hangar, which prompted mom to quickly declare:

"I will not go parachuting, bungee-jumping or skydiving."

Fortunately for her, we had no plans of pushing her off the plane, with or without a parachute just yet.

just kidding, mom ;)

Instead, we brought her to karaoke. Where she blasted her lungs out, circled her fists and swung her hips to the groove of Copacabana, Runaway Sue, Crocodile Rock and Great Balls of Fire!

Woo hoo! Go momma!


Here are photos of some other fun in the sun!

An Ah Lian moment

The Provocation:

BeliefWatch: Reincarnate

Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP
The Next Lama: The Dalai Lama says he won't reincarnate in Tibet

By Matthew Philips

Aug. 20-27, 2007 issue - In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country. By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.

At 72, the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959, is beginning to plan his succession, saying that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it's under Chinese control. Assuming he's able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks. "It will be a very hot issue," says Paul Harrison, a Buddhism scholar at Stanford. "The Dalai Lama has been the prime symbol of unity and national identity in Tibet, and so it's quite likely the battle for his incarnation will be a lot more important than the others."

So where in the world will the next Dalai Lama be born? Harrison and other Buddhism scholars agree that it will likely be from within the 130,000 Tibetan exiles spread throughout India, Europe and North America. With an estimated 8,000 Tibetans living in the United States, could the next Dalai Lama be American-born? "You'll have to ask him," says Harrison. If so, he'll likely be welcomed into a culture that has increasingly embraced reincarnation over the years. According to a 2005 Gallup poll, 20 percent of all U.S. adults believe in reincarnation. Recent surveys by the Barna Group, a Christian research nonprofit, have found that a quarter of U.S. Christians, including 10 percent of all born-again Christians, embrace it as their favored end-of-life view. A non-Tibetan Dalai Lama, experts say, is probably out of the question.

© 2007 Newsweek, Inc. |


I've never used this word before, but I feel compelled now to respond:

"Siao ah!!"


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Soup for the Soul

This is the soup that Pei Chin made for me.

I'm so happy I could cry.

How would I have known that, 14,000km away from home and Mom, I would have Lian Ou Tang to drink?

My favorite - Lotus Root soup, with groundnuts and red dates in pork broth, cooked from scratch with the freshest ingredients and simmered over the stove for hours and hours.

mmm.....It has an aroma so light and fragrant, and a taste so sweet and surreal it transports me back to my mom's kitchen in our HDB flat in Telok Blangah, where my mom has made a potful and is bringing me a bowl of wholesome, nutritious soup just like this one.


Soup soup!! I am bouncing around waiting for the soup to boil over the fire.

I am grinning and skipping all over the living room waiting to taste my soup.

Sweetie!!! come take a photo of my soup!! I want to tell everyone I had Lian Ou Tang!!!


bounce bounce bounce.

The hubs looks into the pot and refused to be stirred by my enthusiasm.

As gently as he could, he turns down 3 times my loud ballistic offers for him to try a spoonful of wholesome nutritious soup.

My mother-in-law, who was visiting from New York, bless her kind-hometown-Buffalo-roastbeef-and-baked-potatoes ol' soul, tries not to screw her nose at the sight of my steaming hot bowl of pork bones and tuberous roots.

I don't take their rejections personally; I am too dizzy with delight to be a dampened spirit, and unabashedly besotted with gluttony over my bowl of soup, looking like I was possessed by the Tasmanian Devil himself.


Home-cooked soup, especially soup this good, is nourishment for the homesick soul.

Happy 42nd Birthday to Singapore :)

Monday, August 06, 2007

My Piggies eat poop

We have the most adorable guinea pigs, Mousey and Tobey.

They eat all day long, chomp chomp chomp.

Lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, celery, cucumber, strawberries, parsley, lots and lots of timothy hay. Chomp chomp chomp.

Look - this is Mousey, isn't she funny?

I like watching them prod around in the shavings sniffing out pieces of food and hay.


When I woke up this morning, still groggy with sleep, I lazed on the edge of the bed peering into their cage, and watched Mousey in her hutch nudging around in the shavings for morsels of food. She looked so cute.

She sniffed at a pellet of poop.

and I said to her languidly, no Mousey that's poop.

She sniffed it a couple more times.

And promptly gobbled it up.

And looked immensely satisfied with herself for having found a yummy bite.

I was hoping she would spit it out, but she had eagerly munched it up and swallowed.

My face melted into a mixture of disgust and nausea - eeeeeeEEEWWWWw, mOUSEEyyyy!!!!!


That pretty much woke me up.


WHYYY is my guinea pig eating poop?! You would never think that a normal behavior unless you were some kind of dung beetle.

Research time:

As it turns out, piggies eat their own excrement sometimes. Guinea pigs produce 2 kinds of poop - one that is actual waste and another called cecotropes, which are nutrient-rich with proteins and essential vitamins.

The delightful thing about this peculiar behavior, is that these poopy treats, like all worthy foods, are best eaten fresh off the harvest; so when the piggies want a treat, all they have to do is dive in back and pluck a scooby snack right out of their piggy butt! :D yummy!

Disclaimer: This behavior is only acceptable with guinea pigs, rabbits, most other rodents and certain other mammals; not including dogs, cats and curious human babies known to have exhibited other charming displays of a sense of adventure.

Here are the piggies chomping on more palatable (to us at least!) gourmet choices.

Poop-snacking aside, guinea piggies are lovely pets, all they do is eat, poop, grow fat and look cute (according to Nat). Here's how it's done:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Contemplating my culinary flair

Don't you just love it when your food comes to you looking like a piece of art?

I like this whole concept of artistic presentation on my dinner plate. I love all those beautiful food photos people put up online of what they eat and all. They make me drool unglamorously. I love cookbooks - they have page after page of gorgeous dishes that make me believe I am capable of conjuring such artistry, and that the food would even be delicious. Furthermore, I would proudly serve it on beautiful dinnerware on a Martha Stewart table setting.

I do have this cookbook from the CIA(Culinary Institute of America) " Vegetables" that's really awesome.


This morning, I was so inspired to make myself a healthy protein power breakfast, I actually made use of what was in my fridge: I snatched up the crimini mushrooms and red capsicum/pepper and 3 eggs. Chopped 'n mixed 'em, salt 'n peppered 'em, and into the pan they go and fired away. Sizzles and smoke and all.

Wa La! My mushroom and capsicum omelette...unfortunately, burnt on the outside, bubbly and runny on the inside, flipped like a poor acrobat, uncooked and unsavoury.

I would post a photo, but it was even unsightly.



Alas, my beautiful food reality looks more like this:-

Our favorite cereals: Kashi GoLean Crunch, Heart2Heart, Cheerios Crunch, Raisin Nut Bran, TJ's Vanilla Almond Granola and Mixed Berry Granola...and more. This would rival Seinfeld's perpetually-stocked display.

Pour myself a bowl and add soymilk, eat with a ginormous(gigantic+enormous) spoon. I cannot go far wrong :D

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Squatter no more!

Granted I had the easy way out and did not have to stake out a corner for seven, eight, twenty years to claim my place legitimately, I am squatter no more. Hooray!!

The Drama:

After filing applications for my permanent residency status last October, I was given travel and work permits without further hassle. In May this year however, Scott and I were summoned for an interview, that basically required us to submit more supporting documents. So we dredged out love letters(emails!) when we were dating, put together photos of our weddings and sent them to Immigration Services via certified mail.

Last week, we received a letter: our application was denied. My work permit and advanced parole(travel permit) were terminated with immediate effect. I was to leave the country within 60 days.

The reason: we had failed to respond to requests for additional documents.

This must surely be a mistake. Horrified and in panic mode, we quickly got together our receipts and delivery proofs and sent them in with a letter to petition a reversal/re-opening of the application.

Scott and I were on tenterhooks over the weekend as we waited for a reply. On Monday, sooner then we thought it would, a letter arrived in the mail: Immigration Services has reconsidered and "the adverse decision is vacated"(the hubs thought the choice of words was pretty funny). Omg!! I can stay!! I shrieked in relief and hugged hubs. What a scare that was!

Then we realised that the letter was dated the day we sent in the petition to re-open the application. They must have found the documents and instantly rectified the situation with this letter, even before they got our petition letter! In any case, I was glad it didn't have to be a drawn out battle that would last years and stress us out. False alarm forgiven.

Two days later, another letter came that congratulated me on my new permanent residency status (yayyy!!), and also welcomed me to the United States. Funny this second part of it, for I have been here a whole year. I guess when I was alien and illegal, I was non-existent.

My green card arrived today. I exist.

Now I guess I will have to start paying taxes.

I got my hair cut!

Nice? :D

ok ok, vain la, i know :P

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A thousand cows in a burger

Uh oh, now the song is jingling in my head.

Supersize supersize the American Way,
Going down throwing down all day everyday
Supersize Supersize the American Way
Getting fat, going broke, either way you're gonna pay
Supersize me
Supersize me


Part of my assimilation syllabus into America is the very famous, very entertaining quasi-documentary on fast food culture in USA. From this movie, I learnt that

  • there are some very very...very large people
  • doctors don't have to look proper and kindly; they can look pretty scary and crazy (credit to: Dr. Daryl Isaac, who went on to look scarier and crazier with each scene, but eventually won me over with his fierce concern for his patient's health. I kinda thought he stole the show actually) and
  • fries will stay fresh for 10 weeks

Now, I will throw in a personal anecdote for good measure:

Just before I left for LA, Carl's Junior begun their move into Singapore. CJ ran naughty, tongue-in-cheek ads everywhere and we were just riled in anticipation of a new choice of burgers and fries. There is no lack of cheap, delicious and nourishing food in Singapore, but no one advertises Yong Tau Foo the way MacDonald does their Big Macs, or in this case, CJ their Cheeseburgers. Part of the excitement I accrue to the naivette that the burgers will come just as big and juicy, and the fries as plump as they look in the ads. We are simply incorrigible.

In LA, hubs and I are driving downtown, "What do you want for lunch sweetie?" as we waited at the light. I looked out the window and, spotting the joint to my right, chimed brightly "Carl's Junior!"

The hubs paused in palpable horror.

Nonetheless, the wifey has made up her mind, and she is hungry.

We go into the restaurant and I chimed my order happily, "Cheeseburger, with fries please!" and trotted to the table with my tray. I sat down, hubs across the table watching me. I unwrapped my burger and.. stared.

It looked like one of the very, very large people had sat on my burger.

I braved myself to take a bite, chew, and.. taste it.

It tasted like someone very, very large had sat on my burger

:( I felt tears welling up in my eyes.

The hubs sympathized with a chuckle, but as sweet as he might be, he could not help but launch into a tirade about the junk food industry. I felt too sorry for myself to pay attention.

I know someone who paid a hundred dollars(SGD) to try the UberBurger in Singapore. I hope that it comes from just one cow.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Shopping in America

You know what the best thing about shopping in America is?

You can return anything you buy.

I would like to go get a baby, preferably brunette with twinkling hazel eyes and a delightful chuckle, and try being a mother for kicks. I'll keep the receipt for bailout.


One day walking into the grocery store, Scott and I came by a woman, presumably a mother, ladened with too much shopping, looking hassled and pushing a double pram with a baby in each seat, whereupon the very amiable hubs, without missing a beat, spouted cheerfully:

"Oh look sweetie! Trader Joe's is having a special on babies - get 2 for the price of one!"

The mother of two burst into laughter.

True story.


I, on the other hand, come home and ponder the above fun hypothesis.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Afternoon naps

Usually, daytime naps are taken in the car when hubs is driving us somewhere.

Something about riding in cars, buses, boats and planes just makes me sleepy, especially when the sun is beating in through the windshields. My eyes strain and squint to watch the road ahead and keep up with conversation, but inevitably, the eyelids hang too heavy and I slip into the unconscious. Strangely, I somehow awake from slumber just as we pull up to our destination :P

Yesterday, hubs and I took an afternoon nap together. I had been watching Oprah on tv, when hubs came over to cuddle. We were both tired, him from the nitrogen build-up and I from an active Sunday and work in the morning. Eventually, we slid onto the floor and drifted off in embrace, wedged in the narrow space between the couch and the coffee table...Zzzzz...snorrrre..zzzzzzz

45 min later - *awake and groggy*. Backs to each other, Hubs is now pressed up against the sofa, and I am wrapped around the coffee table(our table is a tree stump).

Irrational rant: Oh wherefore our allegiances lie?

I roll over and land on hubs and go back to dreamland, body aching from the confined and convoluted sleep area.

Afternoon naps make me feel privileged, and is particularly sweet when there is someone to nap with :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Beautiful Sunday

Hmm.. Scott says I've had a busy day today..

Woke up at 6am, sent the hubby off to his dive boat.

Had cereal for breakfast - Go Lean Crunch, my fav!

Cycled to the boathouse

Rowed for an hour

Cycled to the Farmer's Market at Ocean Park - nine grain toast from The Breadman!

Came home and messed with the MacBook

and out again to the beach - tonnes of people at the beach!

Boogie-boarded for an hour - the waves are rRRrooOllin' in! wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Came home and cycled to the plaza

Shopped for a list of stuff

Hubby comes home! Hug hug!

Drove us to dinner at Siam Best. Finally had the shrimp wonton with asparagus special - bleah. the phad thai was yummy tho. I really liked the mango sticky rice we had the last time.

Home to look at all the photos hubby took on his dives. Nice set of pics today.

Well, I'm pretty happy with my day - how many people get the luxury of a beautiful day like this? :D

Friday, July 06, 2007


KICKS ASS!!!!! woooooooooohooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! CGI rocks!! I am officially a Michael Bay fan (Armegeddon is another kick-ass movie- I felt a tremendous cathartic sense of relief walking out of the theatre after watching the asteroids bomb into earth.. can't say much about the plot though, ).

Funny how I grew up, not playing with Barbie dolls and Strawberry Shortcake, but watching Transformers cartoons in the late 80s/early 90s, yep, even when I was 19, I would tune into the Malaysian RTM channels to catch the cartoon. Nope, never owned a Transformers toy, but never missed (with my brother)an opportunity to plonk down in front of the tv for another battle between the Autobots and the Deceptacons...My brother and I used to sing that song Transformers, more than meets the eye, lalalalalalala lalaaaaathe Deceptacons, Transformers...ok ok, I never caught the lyrics, but here they are from Google anyway:

The Transformers,
More than meets the eye
Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Deceptacons
The Transformers
Robots in disguise
The Transformers
More than meets the eye
The Transformers.

...And Then the simple world was inundated with evil Tellytubbies and Tamagotchi and Yamagotchi and what nots..

The Transformers movie reincarnation with CGI is way cool, going to the movie made me feel young all over again hahaha. The theatre was filled with fans, clapping and cheering throughout the show, when Bumblebee spruced up into a shiny yellow Camero, when the Autobots crashed into earth a la the meteorites in Armegeddon etc etc. It was goo-oood.

Celebrating a year in America. Cheers.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

4th July 2007, my first Independence Day in America. We had friends over and went to the beach and had a smashing time boogie boarding, the waves were awesome! Then biked/bladed 4 miles to watch a pretty decent fireworks diplay at the marina, in fact we could see fireworks going off in several locations within view of the marina, so that was pretty neat.

This is a year to the day I moved to Santa Monica. A year living 14,000km from home.

In this year, I
1. Moved to America
2. Married the most wonderful person I know
3. Had 2 weddings - one in Singapore and one in New York
4. Honeymoon-ed in Bali
5. Travelled to New York, Buffalo, Portland, Mexico, Monterey Bay
6. Did 129 dives in the cold cold waters of California
7. Got chauffuered in a limousine
8. Became a massage therapist
9. Saw the magnificent Niagara Falls
10. Heard whales sing underwater
11. Cooked
12. Ate more cereal than I ever did in my life
13. Started rowing again, yay!
14. ...can't remember anything else now, but if I had kept blogging during the year, this probably would've been much easier...

this is a non-exhaustive list of major accomplishments and trivial pursuits for me to look back and remember how I spent my time, probably not too diligently for idling time away on the beach/in the sun/in the ocean.

What I know is that this has been the best year of my life thus far. I miss my family, esp my grandma, and friends back in Singapore, but how blessed I am to have my husband by my side, to have his love, support, encouragement, inspiration, to wake up in his arms every morning. I know moving here in the beginning was the right decision. I am happy =)

Happy Independence Day :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wedding Photos

I'll try to pick up on blogging again - for now, here are the wedding photos. yep I got married!!! to my Bali beau :D