Archive | March, 2021

What Was I Thinking?

30 Mar

Sometimes when sports equipment is left unused for too long, it will deteriorate in performance and strength – case in point, golf shoes. I have had many different brands of golf shoes. And it does not matter what brand, the rubber outsole, will deteriorate with time and usage or harden if underutilized.

Although I was golfing so much last year, I rotated only the newer three pairs of shoes. The two remaining older Adidas pairs were left collecting dust. Last week, I decided to wear the brown Adidas pair to walk 18-holes on Saturday. Bad idea.

As I have not worn the shoes for a long time, I did not check the shoe outsoles properly before donning them. Right after the first hole, a piece from the bottom fell off! Uh oh. A little unbalanced but still okay. I continued with the game. We were walking 18-holes, hubby using the golf trolley, and myself carrying my bag with 11 clubs. I wanted the exercise.

Eight holes later, the left outsole was flapping! Oh no, this is not good as we are only halfway through the game. I had to save the situation; otherwise, we cannot go on. Luckily, there were rubber bands on hubby’s golf trolley. So a quick DIY and the problem was resolved.

Three holes later, the rubber band snapped! Hmm. Why did it not occur to me in the morning that the shoes may not survive the walk? We’re talking about 8.25 kilometers and about 12,000 steps for the 18 holes. On foot, there is so much more stress to the shoes’ performance. I should have known better.

So there I was, that Saturday morning with a flapping left outsole and some other missing outsole parts on both shoes! On top of this, water seeped in, and my socks were soaking wet. Let’s not even go into details about my pruned toes and my heavy matchplay loss to hubby.

The moral of the story – never assume all unused equipment will still be okay for use. Always do a thorough check, not a quick glimpse, to ensure everything is tip-top before teeing off for a golf game challenge or tournament.

The shoes were immediately retired when we got home after the game.

Ta my Adidas, you served me well except this last game.

He Bakes, She Bakes

29 Mar

The past year during our various MCO (Movement Control Order) to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, hubby learned to bake while I cooked. Initially, I baked using ingredients from ready cake-mix boxes, but baking did not interest me. So I stopped and, instead, focused on cooking to expand the menu for our meals.

But hubby enjoyed this activity and baked stuff from scratch. Admirable considering the kitchen was never his place to be, more in the garden. And we had a variety of baked goods. From scones, cakes, and all sorts of bread, I have never eaten so much of these things daily prior.

Hubby’s lovely herb bread…
…and perfectly shaped cranberry scones

Once in a blue moon, I itch to bake, and I only do one thing – apple pies. And mind you, I do just the filling; hubby prepares the dough. I don’t know why I find this fun. But my approach to this is more by feel than by measured steps. Nothing is ever accurate because I always read the instructions halfway, never pass what is needed. So the amount required is sometimes missed out!

And you can imagine what comes out when I bake! When hubby bakes, the result is predictable and almost to perfection. Occasionally, a slight burn on the scone surfaces or the bread did not rise. But we know what to expect. When I bake, well, you don’t know what to expect. Thank goodness, I don’t bake so often, if not at all!

My recent attempt was the perfect example. I was craving apple pies, but hubby was not too keen. So he suggested I use ready-made puff pastry skin. Knowing I will mess up the dough part of the pie, I agreed.

The apple pie recipe that I scribbled on a paper was missing from the kitchen counter! Oh dear, so I had to google it up again. When I found something similar to what I had in mind, I just read half of it and jumped right in. Very brave because I used only the ingredients that we have, skipping those that we don’t. The only thing I measured was the amount of sugar. The rest was just thrown in by looks and feel.

And I had to improvise because, with puff pastry, I was making puffs now instead of apple pies. Hubby was appalled at the situation because nothing was standardized! Besides the pie-looking puffs, there was also a real puff, a dim sum, a wrap, and a blob. It was spectacular!

My spectacular apple puffs of all shapes!

He could not understand why I can craft laboriously on DIY miniature houses and cafes with their minuscule detailed accessories, but not the apple pies, or in this case, apple puffs. Hmm, unexplainable.

Horrid as they look, they turned out good, I must say. The filling was just right in taste, while the puff pastry was perfectly flaky and buttery. Will I bake again? Well, there’s another pack of the puff pastry in the freezer, and I just might. Whether the taste will be the same or what they will look like remains, we will only know when that day comes.

Our Garden

26 Mar

Our garden is a sanctuary of sorts for all the critters in the area. Birds flock to our place for bird seeds provided on a timely schedule, squirrels romp here hoping for the same fortune as the birds, and earthworms make a mess of the garden surface while having a galore underground. The smaller critters – the bees and caterpillars enjoy the nectar and leaves at their own pace without any disturbance. It is a very fertile and happy place.

Recently we spotted an injured squirrel from the kitchen window. Unfortunately, I was too slow with the phone to get a picture. The poor thing looked like it got scalded for its tail, and part of its face and body is missing some fur with the bare pink skin showing. The poor critter is constantly looking very frightened and wary of the surroundings and still surviving.

One day, hubby – out of pity – threw out a piece of bread for the injured squirrel to eat. It came around and sniffed at the bread, unsure what it was. It is evident bread is something that is not in the squirrel’s natural environment. It even sniffed at the surrounding plants, wondering if the bread fell off from one of the nearby potted plants.

We couldn’t wait for it to eat the offering and left for the office soon after. That night, when we got home, the bread is gone. I am assuming the squirrel ate it, and we have not seen it since. Hopefully, it gained some strength from the offered food and is recovering well. We have to keep a lookout for it to appear again.

The Papaya Tree, Part 2

23 Mar

It looks like our other papaya tree is finally fruiting! Yay. Just when we thought we would not have any papaya to eat after chopping the big tree down to a manageable height, the newer six-foot-tall tree has come to our answer.

Will this tree give us papayas to enjoy?

The young papaya tree failed to pollinate several times. Previously, there were lots of flowers, but nothing more. This time, I guess the insects and bees have finally cooperated, and there are fruits now. Let’s hope the fruits will grow. We will have to monitor to ensure that the squirrels don’t get to them.

DIY Project #13 or 12A

22 Mar

I took a few days off working on my miniatures because there was work to do in the office. Even weekday golf has taken a backseat. I now play weekend golf only, although I did play a game last Friday.

And when I finally had the time, DIY project number 13 kicked in. But it has been slow for reasons unexplained. I can’t find the momentum to get going on it being somewhat superstitious on numbers.

The latest DIY project #12A

So I am just wondering if it’s because it is the number 13. Then again, usually, it is the number 14 that Asians avoid for superstitious reasons. Anyway, between the numbers 13 and 14, both are not my preferred numbers.

The pieces that are completed so far

Perhaps I should call this latest project – DIY Project 12A. Hahaha. And when I finish it and progress to the next one, I will call the next one DIY Project 12B, bypassing both superstitious numbers! So clever.

A Year of Controlled Movement

19 Mar

It is exactly a year yesterday that my country, Malaysia, went into total lockdown when the Covid-19 pandemic blew up. One year has passed, one year of lockdowns, called Movement Control Order (MCO) in various stages depending on the severity of reported cases.

Over the year, we experienced total lockdowns (MCO), conditional lockdowns (CMCO), enhanced lockdowns (EMCO), and eventually recovery (RCMO) either in totality for the whole nation or partially in selected states. With a year of controlled movement, everyone’s lives have changed, ours included.

Businesses were affected, travel disrupted, and lives were lost. The whole world was topsy-turvy. Did Nostradamus ever saw this coming? Hmm. However, sad and dim as it looked, sometimes a bad situation can be turned around for the better if one’s outlook is different and positivity prevailed, at least for us.

We learned to appreciate the simple things in life that we always take for granted. We learned to slow down and smell the roses. Along the way, we picked up new skills and hobbies to keep ourselves busy when we had to stay home during the lockdown stages. And we are still doing those things today – hubby with his baking, and myself with crafting DIY miniatures.

While it looks like the controlled movement may go on with CMCO still in place where we live or various other MCOs in other areas, I wouldn’t be surprised if this continues until the end of the year. By the way, the latest CMCO has extended again for another two weeks until 4 April.

If this is the case, keep on wearing a mask and maintain our distance from others whenever we have to go out. These practices are by far the easiest, least painful, and sensible.

Our Papaya Tree

16 Mar

Our papaya tree has been very fruitful. We have had an abundance of fruits and have given away much of the yield. But good things must come to an end.

Two weeks ago, the largest fruit fell from the tree before hubby could pluck it. Thankfully, it did not cause any damages to the potted plants on the ground, nor did the fruit explode upon impact.

We both agreed that after harvesting the last few fruits, the tree needs to be shorter. Otherwise, it will be hard harvesting future fruits standing on the top-most step of the nine-foot ladder. Currently, the tree is about 20 feet tall!

So we spent a fruitful (pun intended) morning trimming the tree down to a more manageable height. It will be a while before we can have some papayas from the garden.

Capping the once towering but now shortened tree with some pots

Bird Tales, Part 2

15 Mar

The battle with the pesky woodpecker continued for several days. In the end, we humans won. How did we do it?

There were no more new holes in the staghorn ferns, but there was a show of who is more superior. Every time hubby stuffed the opening with garden refuse – the bird would somehow remove all the stuffing! One evening, we discovered torn newspapers on the ground when we came home. How clever the pesky woodpecker.

The mess made by the woodpecker

After that episode, hubby decided to spray water-based repellant on top of organic vinegar, and this double dose only worked for a short period. The woodpecker was very determined. Hubby deducted it must be pregnant and ready to lay eggs, hence the urgency to make a home. Otherwise, how do we explain the persistency?

So we changed tactics and upped our defense. Hubby decided to stuff the hole with eggshells, recycled from his baking! We figured if newspaper pieces, leaves, and twigs can’t do it, perhaps something sharp and more potent as a stronger yet natural deterrent. The eggshells will provide nutrients for the plant and, at the same time, prevent the woodpecker from causing more damage.

Eggshells are a good deterrent

It was not easy to stuff the eggshells upwards, but they held. After several days, this latest effort proved to be successful! The pesky woodpecker has not been heard or seen. Perhaps it found another site to make its home and lay her eggs. Well, wherever it is, we hope it won’t come around to our garden and spoil hubby’s prized staghorn ferns in the future.

Which DIY Set Next?

12 Mar

Last week, I caved and bought another two DIY sets from my favorite online shopping site! Unbelievable, considering I already have two DIY sets in queue plus a third set, which was a Christmas present.

The latest two purchases
The plan to combine two sets into one

I had this sudden ambitious plan to combine two sets into one unit, hence the two new sets for this purpose. I think it’s just an excuse for simply wanting to buy something. It’s been too long since we last went shopping at the mall, and like I always say, grocery shopping does not count. The need to purchase something is too strong to deny, so online shopping is the best to quell the urge.

And now that I have five sets, I have to decide which one to work on next. Once I get going, I should also have to be disciplined not to buy any more sets as spares.

A Dozen Miniatures

9 Mar

Sometimes a change in the weather can be a blessing in disguise. We were supposed to have our usual weekend golf game, but it rained the whole of Sunday morning. We decided to go home and not wait around because this type of rain will not cede.

Very yummy effort!

Hubby, of course, baked while I decided to finish up DIY project number 12. I must admit it took some effort because the cool weather was perfect for doing nothing. He attempted a Pineapple Upside Down Cake again because the first attempt failed sometime back. I only had the three lanterns and the last two baskets of the dim sum left to complete.

Dragon Gate Inn is such a cute set
The interior, no patrons now due to Covid-19

And when I finally did, the sense of accomplishment was just so rewarding. I even put together the display dust cover as this set came with it. As the Ikea display cabinet is already full, the dust cover is perfect for keeping the dust out of DIY project number 12, which I anticipate, I will put on the table.

The first miniature with a dust cover

So now, I have a dozen miniatures completed! Wow. Project number 13 will be next soon.