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A Terrible Loss

4 Jun

This fight against the pandemic becomes more urgent and personal when it hits you to the core because it’s someone you know and not a number on the daily statistic.

Yesterday I lost a friend to Covid-19. Rest in peace, my friend. I have no words to say.

Doing Nothing

10 May

I feel this round of MCO is taking its toll on us. It is only Day Five, and we are restless. Although hubby did bake, and I did work on my DIY project, it is not enough. At times, we feel as if we are doing nothing.

Thank goodness for my Apple Watch and the Activity monthly challenge. Without this, I would have been an assured couch potato. The Activity challenge keeps me on my toes to exercise and stay fit.

The days better hurry to go by quickly, for we can’t wait to go back to interacting with people, playing golf, and having more productive days.

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!

The Year That Wasn’t

1 Jan

Goodbye Year 2020! What a year it turned out to be. I felt that it was a year that wasn’t – in other words, we were, firstly, short-changed for nine months in our lives and secondly, didn’t turn out so great as many envisioned it would be.

Before reaching this nice number, people, myself included, thought it would be a spectacular year. But alas, how wrong we all were. The Covid-19 pandemic created so much havoc in the world. And everything is never the same again.

Gone are the closeness and freedom that we took for granted with our movement with friends, society in general, and places we visit; in place, it is now constant caution, fear to a certain degree, and restriction.

For me, I felt my 2020 was just three months only, the first quarter of the year. After we went into lockdown in March, the next nine months, day-in, day-out felt like deja-vu. A new routine was born, and old habits had to give way because we had to learn to adjust to the new normal. Thank goodness we didn’t go crazy with cabin fever, and instead, discovered ourselves in many other aspects.

I learned to appreciate my friends, the home, and family more. Although work at the office took a beating to practically zero design work in March and April, it did not dampen our spirits. M2 came back from Ireland and had an extended six-month summer break. M1 stayed put, and we talked every morning to keep her company.

The new normal made both of us manage our time better to be more productive in other things. Hubby learned to bake, an unthinkable endeavor in all the years that I have known him, and I brushed up my cooking skills to widen the variety in our meals because eating out was not an option.

I also picked up a new hobby to keep myself busy after my Meranti wood supply for carving depleted by May. From June onwards, I started working on DIY miniature sets, and have completed nine DIY sets thus far in a spate of six months.

Another good thing that came out of this situation was my golf game, which improved tremendously. With downtime in the office, I was playing more golf than ever. After the lockdown eased, and golf was allowed because it is an outdoor activity, I was golfing up to four times a week! So maybe the year wasn’t that bad after all on the personal front despite being in deja-vu mode.

As 2020 is behind us now, it does not mean the pandemic is over. Far from it, in fact. We should remain vigilant, put on our masks whenever we are in public areas, and keep a one-meter distance apart to be safe.

A toast to a better year ahead – may 2021 bring better fortune and goodness for everyone. Happy New Year, and stay safe wherever you are!

An Excellent Piece

28 Dec

DIY project number eight is a wrap! I must say it is an excellent piece in terms of looks, quality, and enjoyment level. I completed the project on Christmas Eve morning.

The chandelier piece stalled me towards the end of the project. From piecing it together and then installing it, it was an unexpected problem.

At the start, I kept checking the lights and wiring to ensure all the lights and connections were working. I decided to bypass two steps because an elaborate chandelier is never easy. I did not use the rubber hose for the center light. Instead, I used a black Sharpie to camouflage the white and yellow wires. I also did not clamp the three lights to the center light, leaving them protruding outwards more. I thought it looked better.

However, after gluing the chandelier to the ceiling, one of the lights did not work. I was horrified and almost in tears! All that hard work and effort to make sure the lighting and wires were okay, this happened – a day before Christmas Eve.

Painfully, I had no choice but to rip out the chandelier to trace where the problem was. Thankfully I found it. One of the connections of the light inside the rubber hose was loose!

I managed to resolve the issue and brought DIY project number eight to the Christmas Eve dinner for a proud Show and Tell session.

The very impressive DIY project #8

A Very Different Christmas

25 Dec

2020, what a year! How do we even describe it? For starters, this Christmas is a very different one in all aspects – the mood, the celebration, and the people.

The mood is muted, the celebration toned down or none at all, and people are socially-distanced to stay safe.

For the first time, both our girls are away from home during this festive holiday time. The house feels bigger because our domestic helper returned to her homeland in January, and official pet number one went to pet heaven last year. So it’s just the two of us.

Thankfully, there’s the extended family to have a simple, joyous Christmas Eve dinner at home. We count our blessings and are thankful for the close-knit bond.

Here’s wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! Stay safe.

Hubby baked an apple cinnamon cake for the occasion, and the turkey was the main course.

First Road Trip Post-MCO, Part 2

20 Jul

The weekend’s post-MCO road trip was nice. The drive up North was pleasant and didn’t take too long. As always, going away is about food. Our first stop was in Ipoh for lunch; we had Chicken Rice and bean sprouts.

The must-eat choice when in Ipoh

After lunch, it was smooth sailing all the way and we arrived by mid-afternoon. The folks are fine and doing good. But weather-wise, it rained a lot so we couldn’t go out. Anyway, with social distancing still in practice, we didn’t want to and was contented just to laze at home.

Before we knew it, it was dinner time! We decided to have Thai food at the restaurant that we visited the last time and discovered the restaurant has changed its name! Despite the change, the food quality was still good.

Previously it was called Khun de Thai

Saturday was our customary golf day. We make it a point, every trip to play at Darulaman Golf Club, which is a short drive away. And I am pleased that this round, I played so much better than all previous games.

After the game, we got boba teas!

The weekend quickly passed with another sumptuous dinner on Saturday night with the parents and an Aunty before we left on Sunday morning. On the way home, we opted for noodles instead of the usual crab porridge at Nibong Tebal and I must say, they were good choices.

The dinner spread for six
Lunch at Nibong Tebal

The journey home was peppered with rain now and then, but not too heavy until it made the drive tiring. It was a good weekend away.

Being Thankful

27 Apr

2020 will forever be etched in stone as the year everyone looked forward to but now wants to forget – for the first half of the year that is. The Covid-19 pandemic has swept across the globe and has caused lives to be upended, events cancelled, routines disrupted and birthday celebrations postponed. Some people even want to reset the year, get a refund for the months lost and such.

For me, I can’t decide what I want but for sure, it’s the first time in my life I’m celebrating a quiet birthday at home, not outside or away. With the MCO in place, there’s no restaurant to go to nor a destination to visit for a getaway celebration.

It’s okay because…

I’m thankful for being healthy;
I’m thankful for my loved ones who are keeping safe;
I’m thankful for my friends who are keeping me sane;
I’m thankful for my hobbies and discoveries that are keeping me occupied, and
I’m thankful for technology for us to stay connected to be closer while staying apart.

Where’s the Fish? Part 3

10 Feb

Just last week I thought there would be no more ‘Yee Sang’ to toss and eat as the Lunar New Year celebrations was ending, we had a final one on Chap Goh Meh night itself! And what a thrill we had with this finale.

It was the family Chap Goh Meh dinner and I had the honor to put the dish together with all the ingredients available. It was decided it should resemble a mouse, after all we are celebrating the Year of the Rat. And this time, we finally had fish topping – salmon that was cooked not raw but still counts in my opinion.

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Me busy putting the ingredients together

What fun I had crafting the dish, almost like a piece of art. The final toss was even more enjoyable with the family savoring our own creation in presentation and flavors. The dinner that followed, needless to say, was simply delicious, all home cooked. It was a good Chap Goh Meh dinner.

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Where’s the Fish? Part 2

7 Feb

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So on Tuesday when we were out with our friends for dinner, there was the ‘Yee Sang’ dish to toss right before the rest of the other dishes were served. But no raw salmon topping on it! Again, where’s the fish? We had slices of abalone instead…

With the Lunar New Year celebration coming to an end soon, I guess we won’t be tossing anymore ‘Yee Sang’ because there’s no more dinners to attend except the final one – the family Chap Goh Meh dinner on Saturday night.

Chap Goh Meh literally means the 15th night of Chinese New Year and it’s the last day of the festive period and celebration. For some (like my side of the family), the dinner on this night is equally important as the Reunion Dinner. So we will, as always, have a final family dinner at home to mark the occasion.

And most likely no ‘Yee Sang’ although there will be a steamed fish on the menu. Looks like we will have to wait until next year for a ‘Yee Sang’ topped with raw salmon.