Tag Archives: Family

Forgetful Me

27 Dec

Last Friday, I inadvertently gave an inaccurate account of the previous year’s Christmas Eve Dinner. My bad. We DID have a family dinner together, but I honestly forgot about it. Was it so insignificant that it slipped my mind?

Or could it be with the last two years being in constant lockdown with the various Movement Control Orders (MCO), I lost track of time. I think the fact that it was just the two of us at the dinner sans both girls stuck in my mind more than anything else.

Or, in all honesty, I have become a tired and forgetful dinosaur more than ever!

Christmas Eve Dinner 2021

24 Dec

This year, we are thankful that we can get together with the family after missing out on the Christmas Eve dinner last year. It was the pandemic that derailed everything-from travels to gatherings-throwing festive occasions into disarray, and both of us had a quiet two-person dinner at home instead without much camaraderie.

This year, the SOP’s have changed with most adults in the country, all of us included, being fully vaccinated. So it is great that we can gather to celebrate Christmas.

I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Be safe, stay safe, and be healthy.

Out of Quarantine

28 Jun

The wait is finally over! M2 is out from quarantine today. No words are needed to describe the joy and relief for all. We are together again except for M1 who is still in the US.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.