Tag Archives: Summer school

A Heavy Heart

22 Jun

This morning we sent M2 to the airport. She returns to Ireland to continue with Summer school. I felt a sense of heavy heart but thankfully no tears.

And now that there’s just the three of us, we will do some winery tours and play some golf.

Be Silly or Be Happy

11 Jun

Today’s the day we leave! But there are worries, silly ones and several of it…

Silly #1: my cocoon is still hanging on the front tree and it’s been seven weeks since the giant caterpillar morphed into it; way overdue from what I checked online to be at this stage. Why is the moth not emerging? Is the constant rain stunting its metamorphosis? Is it even still alive and okay? I dare not climb up the ladder to check because it’s way too high. Whatever it is, looks like we will miss the moth emerging from the cocoon if it does decide to come out during our time away.


It’s nice in here, I’m not ready for the world

Silly #2: my 1000 and more Days trek on the Daily Bonus for Candy Crush Soda on the retired iPhone5S will be broken because I am not bringing the phone along. And will the iPhone XR and iPad Mini have the trek broken too being in different time zones? I told myself I should stop this obsession but I just can’t shake it off. Silly.


Day 1016 for the iPhone5S and Day 1023 for both the iPad Mini and iPhone XR

Silly #3: will Rooney, official pet number one miss us?


Should I chew on it or not? Hmm…

Silly worries aside, there are some happy reasons too…

Happy #1: the pineapple in the garden. It’s been more than two years that hubby’s been taking care of it, and thank goodness it decided to ripen on time before we leave. Harvested last Friday, the fruit of labor and love weighed a whopping two kilos! Needless to say, the juicy and home-grown pineapple was thoroughly enjoyed.


Juiciest pineapple ever!

Happy #2: the constant rain seems to be good for the habanero plant for it has thrived well and we had a bumper harvest. So much chillies! I ate a little on Wednesday night and oh my goodness, almost died from the fiery burn. This batch is super duper spicy.


The spicy level of the reds win hands down over the greens

Happy #3: we will be meeting up with M2 in Amsterdam! Yes, our baby will fly tomorrow from Ireland to meet us at Schiphol. And she will miss a few days of Summer classes which unfortunately can’t be helped. I feel it’s important for her to attend her only sister’s Commencement ceremony, hence the plan as such.

Happy #4: we will finally be seeing M1. The last time the family unit was complete was when she came back for Christmas in 2017, so that’s like a year and a half since we last saw our firstborn in person. The weekly Skype video sessions do not count. Can’t wait. A 12 hours and 40 minutes flight for the first leg, then a four-hour transit before the second leg of 10 hours and 17 minutes flight (hopefully no delays) before the family will be whole again. Yay!!!

I guess with the happy reasons outweighing the silly ones, I shouldn’t be too silly and just be happy.

My Friends Can Cook

20 Dec

Recently a girlfriend cooked Chicken and Lamb Briyani Rice for us, complete with side dishes and lovely garnishing. Hubby and I really enjoyed the meal and the company. It has been awhile since we had this dish, what more home-cooked. And this brought back memories of my first encounter with Basmathi rice when I was at college, the rice being the trigger here.

Over the Summer during the dinosaur era, I had a Pakistani housemate who took over the room from my previous housemates. It was a tad complicated as we were in between housemates but eventually, the living arrangements worked out.

Now during that time, the grad student would cook the one and only thing he knew, Basmathi rice and Curry Chicken. He had great skills cooking the Basmathi rice in a pot over the stove, with the rice always coming out fluffy and not burnt, and very yummy after tossing it in butter. But it’s the preparation of the chicken that I can still remember vividly until today.

He would cut the whole chicken to just eight pieces, no more no less. I asked why and he reasoned that it has to last him four days because he simply does not have the time to cook daily with his busy Summer schedule. With the chunky pieces rationed to one piece per meal for two meals a day, I thought it was the most convenient planning ever!

Compare that method to the preparation taken by the girlfriend on the meal she cooked for us, everything was bite size, flavored with exotic spices and very detailed in presentation. I’m not complaining but just marvelling at the efforts taken by her to ensure that the end results are perfect.

Whether the meal was cooked in simplicity for a hectic Summer schedule or meticulously for an afternoon leisurely lunch, both methods resulted in awesome tastes and I feel privileged to have friends who can cook for me.

Tonight another girlfriend will be cooking for me and I am so looking forward to the occasion and catching up with her on life.


The final presentation complete with raisins, nuts and quail eggs


Vege side dish


Raita side dish


Papadum side dish


Dhal with lamb side dish

The Monet in Me

21 Mar

I love Claude Monet the Impressionist artist. Whenever I travel abroad, I always make the effort to visit art museums to view the Impressionist collection and especially to stand in front of a Monet or two to be inspired. I must say Musée d’Orsay ranks up there for me over the Louvre.

This love for Claude Monet started in college. I was very taken with the Impressionist style. One of my early Illustration classes, I did a portrait of Mr Monet. And it was during my summer Painting class that I did further studies on him. I remember one assignment called for us to emulate our choice of artist.

Obviously I chose Claude Monet. And the particular piece I chose was ‘Poplars on the Banks of the River Epte, Seen from The Marsh’ (1892). My two feet by two feet effort still hangs at home in the TV room today.

I loved the Poplar series so much that I recreated the ‘Seen from the Marsh’ piece at a smaller scale of eight by ten inches. The Monet in me then did a little series of my own with two additional interpretations of the poplars. But unlike Monet, I used the palette knife, my choice of tool to paint.


The paper may have faded but he’s still looking good!


My version of the Poplars


My Poplar series


Summer Days

10 Jul

M1’s first summer is going on well, with classes keeping her busy. Weather-wise it can be hot and sometimes still cold.

Comparing her experience with mine, I came home for my first summer after a year away. Unlike M1, starting as a freshman, I started as a Sophomore, transferring a year’s liberal studies from the local community college. Anyway, Mom and Dad thought I should come home and I did for a whole 16 weeks. Sure I enjoyed the food, friends and family but I felt it was too long. Towards the end of my summer, I was agitated, bored to death and couldn’t wait to get back to college.

So by the time my second summer came around, I decided to continue working at the bookstore and took a summer class. Painting. It was very laid back and fun. Needless to say, I aced it.

And prior to my third summer, I engineered an internship opportunity in New York City. That summer came and I interned with WBMG, Inc. under the watchful eyes of Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser. The exposure and experience were priceless and the best time of my life!

Ahh… Those were the days.

Summer is Here!

5 Jun

Spring term is ending for M1 soon. How time flies. It seemed like just yesterday when we sent her off at the airport. By the end of next week, she would have officially completed a term at university. But she will not be coming home. It’s too soon as she just left for the Spring term. She will have summer classes instead.

When I went off to university, I started in the Fall semester and by the time summer came around, I came home for a good 16 weeks. However, by my second summer, I took one summer class. Yes, just one – an oil painting class. It was fun. I worked at the bookstore as the in-house designer while also tending to the Counter selling art equipment and supplies, attended classes to paint daily and once a week, went off to the bar with my American ex-room mate for margaritas and buffalo wings. That was my summer.

Well, M1 will not have it so easy like me because she definitely has more classes than I did! But she will be fine and will do okay.