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A Milestone Anniversary

18 Jun

Last Saturday marks the 8th Anniversary of my blog! Wow. I am amazed that I have persevered for so long to keep this going. But all this achievement is unattainable if it wasn’t for the support of all my readers.

The blog has certainly evolved from a journal to share the antics of my girls and my travels. Along the way, I picked up new hobbies, the girls grew up and went off to college, and the travel escapades were lesser.

The travel non-escapades were more evident in the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has taken over the world and disrupted many things taken for granted.

Well, I certainly won’t take the things I do for granted and am thankful to every one of my readers as you follow me on my whimsical endeavors and daily musings. Happy Anniversary and happy writing to me!

Mother’s Day 2021

17 May

It has been an eventful 2021 amidst the pandemic for festivals and occasions with so many restrictions and lockdowns. I will remember Mother’s Day 2021 for the wrong reasons.

It was a botched celebration last weekend. The sumptuous seafood dinner ordered from a Facebook promotion never arrived for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the MCO strict restrictions to cross districts. No delivery riders were willing to send the food over because of police roadblocks. Secondly, it was raining heavily and the timing to deliver. All went awry.

Then the flowers that were ordered online by the girls arrived two days after the auspicious day! Hahaha. With two fails, I think I will remember the occasion far better than all previous celebrations.

A lovely bouquet and a loving note

Well, the next day, we got a full refund for the botched dinner delivery. Plus, I had lovely flowers to look at the past few mornings! At least something positive from the occasion. Thank you, nonetheless, for the effort and love.

A Quiet Celebration, Part 2

30 Apr

I thought it would be a quiet celebration to mark my birthday this year, having to stay put and all. But I was wrong! Hubby treated me to an early birthday dinner; then there was that golf game and luncheon with all the golf buddies.

The best part was the unexpected delivery. The girls surprised me with a dairy-free cake, or rather six slices of different flavors. Delivered a day early, they planned with hubby without my knowledge. A lovely but unexpected surprise indeed that made the birthday all the more special despite the circumstances.

A Quiet Celebration

27 Apr

Another year older, another year wiser, so the saying goes. This year, the birthday celebration is very different. Both of us are homebound, like 2020, unable to travel anywhere beyond our state border for a birthday getaway celebration. I supposed it’s okay. Better to be safe given the current pandemic that we are facing.

I have lost count of the number of CMCO extensions. And despite several extensions to curb the spread, positive cases are on the uptrend. Very worrying, so it is better to stay put.

The only thing different this year compared to last year’s birthday celebration is the MCO status. Last year, we were under MCO lockdown and had dinner ordered online and delivered. M2 was back then too.

This year M2 is not back yet, and M1 is still in the US, and we are under the CMCO phase, which allows dining in at restaurants. So hubby took me to dinner last night but not today itself. Today will be a round of golf with friends followed by a one-meter-apart-seating luncheon that I anticipate will be a boisterous occasion. So much for a quiet celebration!

I reflect on my life and am thankful for what I have and what I have achieved. The most important thing is I am healthy–save for my occasional Endometriosis issue–and able to do the things I love and be with friends I enjoy. A different celebration is, nonetheless, a happy birthday celebration!

A lovely Japanese dinner to celebrate my birthday!

Chap Goh Meh 2021

26 Feb

In a blink of an eye, the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is ending. Today is Chap Goh Meh, the 15th day of the Lunar calendar. It has been a very uneventful Chinese New Year for us. No Reunion Dinner with our family and no ‘Yee Sang’ to toss as we avoided lunch and dinner gatherings with friends.

Under normal circumstances, we would have done several lunches and dinners with friends and family by now. The ‘Yee Sang’ dish would be the main attraction besides friendship, chatter, and food. But alas, this is wishful thinking for this year.

Given the current MCO status, none of the get-together and celebrations happened, despite the SOP having eased. I miss the boisterous New Year merry-making. I miss the lunches, dinners, get-togethers, and my friends. Sniffle.

I can’t wait until the day comes when we can all come together for a proper sit-down meal and interact freely. But until then, guards up, mask up, and stay safe!

Where’s the Pineapple?

22 Feb

Just when we thought we were going to savor Spongebob’s pineapple because it was riped already, someone else beat us to it! Darn.

Caught in the act!

It was just a day before that I took a picture of the pineapple with the fake pineapple. The next day, it was gone, right down to the core. The garden squirrel had helped itself to the fruit! Hubby was surprised when he looked out the kitchen window and found the pineapple missing.

The scene unfolding before our eyes!

The culprit was still busy devouring the sweet fruit when I came downstairs, in time to snap a few pictures of the scene. The squirrel must be hungry, or the pineapple must be very tempting. There was nothing left, mostly the skin only. And after the first squirrel left, a second squirrel came around to enjoy what leftovers there were still.

The second culprit eating what’s left

Hubby was not too upset because he said during Chinese New Year, these creatures needed to eat. And we must be kind towards them during this time. Don’t shoo them away. But once Chinese New Year is over, he will do whatever is necessary to protect the remaining two pineapples that we still have.

He then recalled the last time we managed to harvest and eat one pineapple because he took measures to protect the fruit. He placed a wire mesh around the fruit. So we must remember this, or we’ll be asking again, where’s the pineapple?!

Some Normalcy

19 Feb

The lockdown situation eased a little, and it was indeed good news when outdoor activities were allowed last Friday. Even eat-in, albeit two per table, was allowed but following a strict SOP. The eat-in rule has further relaxed this week.

When the news broke, we were ready for some golf and played our first game last Saturday morning. But we found ourselves having forgotten the routine to prepare after a month of no golf and took a while to readjust. The hardest part was waking up at 5.30am. Nonetheless, it felt good to be out on the golf course; the greens were in superb condition. If only we played better.

Then on Valentine’s Day, we took the opportunity to dine-in at one of our favorite restaurants, as this was also allowed. A welcome change and we had a good dinner with a couple of pints. Our decision also helped the restaurant owner to recover from its lack of business during these trying times.

A cold pint each, crunchy gizzards, marinated pork strips, Wagyu beef, and although a bland-looking paella, it was good and an enjoyable meal overall.

On Monday, we played our second golf game on the Hills course. Unlike Saturday’s game on the buggy, everyone used a golf trolley for the afternoon game. And it was a scorcher because typically, the Chinese New Year weather is hot and dry! By the 15th hole, everyone decided to call it quits because not only the heat got the better of us, physically, the will to walk with the trolley for the last three holes was not there. The stamina is off for everyone with a month’s lay-off from the game during this MCO.

The heat was unbearable!

It is nice that there is some sense of normalcy returning when dining-in at restaurants for occasions and outdoor activities are allowed. And this week, the 10 km travel limit restriction has been lifted, but interdistrict and interstate travel is still off-limits until further notice.

Nice as it is, the MCO is extended again until 4 March! I think we are immune to the extension already, having lost count. So adhering to the strict SOP rules at all times is the best way to keep things nice and stay safe.

DIY Project #12

15 Feb

DIY project number 12 started immediately upon the completion of DIY project number 11. And it has been slow, very slow. There were things to do in the office, and I was busy. As such, there wasn’t much time to devote to number 12.

DIY Project #12, Dragon Gate Inn

The week before Chinese New Year, we were working late every day. I didn’t even have time to cook, what more to work on my miniature project?

Nonetheless, it is not a race to complete project number 12 but a time-filler to pass the time.

A Garden Party!

12 Feb

Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year or the Lunar Year of the Metal Ox. A very muted occasion for us because our status remains under lockdown, with no place to go or family to visit. Honestly, it is no different from the past 12 months. There’s nothing to celebrate. Sniffles.

We did, however, made an effort to liven up our situation for the Reunion Dinner. Instead of having dinner at the kitchen counter like every other night, we chose to eat in the garden patio last night! And have a barbeque while we were at it. We even had some feathered guests joining our party, but they ate earlier than us because bird seeds didn’t need grilling.

The birdies having a feast on the newly painted wall!

I thought we had to take precautions against the evening mosquitoes but there were none thankfully. We set up the table plus a side table at the patio and cooked up an eight-item BBQ menu for the occasion.

Typical Reunion Dinners are either six or eight dishes to signify abundance, but since it’s just the two of us this year, the eight-item course is more than enough and equally meaningful. And even though the dinner was technically not a Reunion Dinner, we enjoyed the change in ambiance.

Not the typical and traditional menu, I labeled it as an eight treasure platter.
The colorful spread on our Barbecook grill

Both of us laughed about whether the dinner qualifies as a Reunion Dinner because, firstly, we are always together, and secondly, it’s more like a garden barbeque party. The lengthiest duration that we are separated so far this past month has been five minutes? Having long showers does not count, though. Whether it is indeed a Reunion Dinner or just a garden party, we need to inject variation and humor into our lives to keep sane. Let’s hope the current MCO status will revise for the better come 18 February.

Until then, steer the Ox by the horns towards having a happy and safe celebration during this Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai folks.

What Version MCO Now?

9 Feb

There have been several extensions to this year’s MCO, originally termed MCO 2.0. How do we categorize these extensions? Typically it’s a two-week duration, but the second nine-day one threw things out of order. Do we say version 2.3, 2.2.1, or part three for the latest extension for 14 days until 18 February? Sigh. Whatever it is, one thing is for sure, the coming Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year on 12 February will be very different with the latest MCO enforced.

No interstate travel back to hubby’s hometown up North to see his folks, no Reunion Dinner even with my Mom, my brother, and his family because we are well beyond the 10km distance allowed for in-state travel. Other secondary no-nos include the customary New Year golf game with hubby. The list can go on. A very muted celebration, if one can even call it a celebration.

Despite the bleak outlook, we have put up the customary red cloth at the house entrance to brighten the situation. And we will have to find a balance to keep well for the remaining MCO days until further notice.