Archive for January 2005

 

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Where Chopsticks Are White

30 January 2005

Chinese motif found on internet, modified by me

My brother was made Employee of the Year at his place of work (one of the hotels in Perth)! Woo how cool!

So he and his wife treated us and my parents to a lovely dinner at Genting Palace in Burswood. It was nice Chinese food (not mind-blowing) but in super fancy-shmancy style.

I haven’t been there in years. I’d forgotten how painfully posh it was. All the cutlery and crockery were CLEAN! I didn’t think that was possible at any Chinese restaurant these days.
The carpets were fluffy and plush. There was no clear plastic vinyl over the white table cloth. The wait staff stood a few paces beside our table, pouncing at any half empty glass.
And every single plate was whisked away the moment it became free of any significant piece of meat or vegetable. Quite annoying, especially if you’re like me and love eating *just* sauce with rice. Oh well.

Highlight of the evening was Callum entertaining us with his new found ability to shout two words together.
“BIG MAN!”
“TWO FISH!”
“NICE LADY!”
“BABY HORSE!”
“DOG OUTSIDE!”
And my favourite, ah bless him, “BIG POO!”


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Daily Magical Moments Are

28 January 2005

When your kid goes all starry eyed just by looking at couple of boats bobbing up and down in the water.

When your husband rubs cocoa butter over your aching pregnant belly, and you go to sleep smelling like chocolate.

When friends turn up unannounced with a bag full of steaming hot char siu baos (barbecue roast pork buns).

When a $20 top scans for only $11 at the checkout.

When your tomato harvest is ready for picking!


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Australia Day

26 January 2005

Photos stolen from all over the web

I have to admit, I didn’t have a very typical Australia Day.

As much as I love the annual pilgrimage to the river, the picnic on the grass, the burnt sausages, slapping on the suncream, drinking icy cold beer in the sun, the constant fly swatting, watching the crowds roll in, and then finally gazing up into the sky to watch the fireworks… we decided to do something a little different.

We were invited to a champagne breakfast. Sizzling sausages, crispy bacon and fluffy scrambled eggs sitting on toast. Then a stack of hot waffles tumbling with maple syrup, cream and fresh fruits. Oh not to mention the champagne and strawberries. Mmmmmmm I ate soooo much.

Later in the afternoon, we set up my son’s paddle pool on our lawn. We splished and splashed under the trees. We sipped homemade lemonade. Made silly home videos. We ate watermelon until they dripped at our elbows. We ran around the backyard until grass stuck to our undies.

That night, we ate take away. Put Callum to bed. And watched the tennis while getting my feet massaged. Ahh.


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Drawing Without Ctrl-Z

25 January 2005

I was doodling a few weekends ago.

It was nice to sit in the sun with a stick of charcoal between my fingers and actually make tangible marks on paper. Sketching out the world on a bit of A3.
It felt like I was messing with creation itself.

It felt good to make mistakes.
To have the charcoal crumble under my fingers.
To leave smudges with my sweaty palms.
It was very refreshing for the mind and spirit.
Something I need a lot more of.


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Everybody Loves a Before / After Shot

22 January 2005

I needed a haircut badly! Just a simple trim to lop 5 inches off. Nothing too complicated. A friend of mine recommended Top Image. And I’ve heard SO many other people rave about them. I was quite keen to see what the fuss was all about too.

The overall cut was fine. I was pretty happy with it. I just wanted my hair to be slightly shorter, thinner, and a shorter fringe. It was a good price!

But what COMPLETELY won me over was the guy’s hair cutting technique! I’ve decided that he’s now my official regular hairdresser — this is probably only significant when I tell you that in my 8 years of paying for my own haircuts, I’ve NEVER gone to the same hairdresser twice.

Firstly, he washed and blow dried my hair BEFORE he cut my hair. Then he basically snipped and snipped huge locks of hair at a time until he was done. Very fast, very expert. The way he handled my hair felt absolutely divine. Confident, strong, purposeful, and skillful.

ALL the hair dressers I’ve been to, would lead me from the basin to the chair with my hair sopping wet. Then they would proceed to pin up all my hair except for a little skirt at the base of my neck. Cut. Let down a bit more. Cut.
Fiddle with the length. Let down a bit more. Cut.
Tilt my head this way. Cut. Compare lengths of hair.
Cut a bit more. Fiddle. Fuss. Make small chat. Ugh.
There’s no way I’m going back to that.

*I’m a changed woman*


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My First Burns Supper

21 January 2005

When my brother-in-law invited us to a “burns night”, I thought it was his way of saying BARBECUE.

To my embarrassment, a Burns night was a traditional Scottish supper commemorating one of Scotland’s famous poets, Robert Burns. Apparently he was a big fan of haggis, women and whiskey. So there was lots of eating, drinking and dancing – all of which proved to be a rather volatile combination.

I’ve never seen so many men in kilts before! Not to mention all the sporrans [read : man bags] hanging strategically over their crotches. There were so many different types and they were all so cute.

I worked up the courage to ask a guy if I could take a picture of his sporran. Ha. So there I was, bent over in the low light with my digital camera pointing straight into his crotch. The picture didn’t even turn out. Not enough light. I kicked myself for not holding the camera even closer. I ended up having to take sneaky shots while standing in a group.

Apparently kilts are pretty expensive to hire. Like $200 for the night. So it was pretty funny to see some guy turn up with a red tartan picnic rug duct-taped around his waist.

It was also the first time I ate haggis! I was in Scotland in 2002, but we were too busy sight-seeing. Anyway, haggis is basically : the stomach bag of a sheep filled with the sheep’s lungs, liver and heart, beef suet, oatmeal, onions and seasoning. It was actually not that bad. A bit like meatloaf. Then again, I’m Chinese, I’d eat anything.


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Pregnancy Gripe #2550

19 January 2005

Cannot. Wear. Cute. Mini skirts. *Bangs fist on monitor*

Found these ones on A&F.


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Evil Toddler Manipulation

18 January 2005

Haha. How could I resist a smile like that?

And all he wanted to do was watch Hi-5.

Imagine what he’s capable of when he wants to borrow the car?

 


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Back to the drawing board

17 January 2005

A few months ago, I volunteered to design and create a website for my local toy library. For free! I figured that with no hard corporate deadline and with a bunch of cool volunteer mums as my client, it would be nice distraction dipping my toes back into the world of web design.

The only problem was, I haven’t done any client web design for 2 years now. Sure I’ve been tinkering with my site since then. But I have to use a different part of my brain when designing for clients. And I couldn’t BELIEVE how long it took me to come up with a layout that I was happy with. I mean, it was embarrassing! Something like 3 months. Opening the file, moving things around. Changing this and that. Then closing the file, because I couldn’t stand working with such mediocre crap.

Ahh how I remember the dreaded ‘web designer’s block’. Brings back many memories of late nights at the office trying to finish off 16 layouts by 8am the next morning. Gawd, then there was ‘ad creative’s block’ where we lived, ate and slept in the conference room over the weekend working on 3 different ad campaign concepts for a Monday morning pitch. [Shudder]

Anyway, first stage of the design is over. You might be able to squint and make out what it looks like from the picture above. I can’t post any links, but if any of you mums and dads are interested in finding out more about toy libraries in WA, here are a few links.


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Those Damn Rats Again

14 January 2005

Aargh!! My VERY first tomato to turn ripe this season has been chomped on by a rat!!

At first the bite looked a bit suspicious – like a human bite. Perhaps a human the size of a TWO YEAR OLD. But after a bit of CSI work I saw tiny teeth marks on the tomato skin. Grrrr. I got my husband to set up a few rat traps under my tomato plants and corn stalks. I just hope we don’t snap any of the neighbour’s cats. Heh.


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Pregnancy update at 31 weeks

12 January 2005

I have 9 weeks left.
And I am SO over this pregnancy thing. Get this kid outa me now!

I must have a whopper baby inside me, because I feel HUGE. I’m at that stage where my body feels unnaturally lop-sided and top-heavy. Like an over-sized waddling duck. It takes me ages to get comfortable in bed.

I toss and turn like a grumpy hippo. And by the time I get settled and fall asleep, I end up waking up 5 times throughout the night to go to the toilet – as the result of having a bladder the size of a chick pea.

I’ve also been craving different foods each day. It usually hits me in the late evening. Peking duck, bacon, white chocolate, Oreo cookies (just the biscuits), chicken sausages, peanut butter, pork crackle, and KFC burgers. Then again, I always crave KFC burgers. It’s just nice to be able to send my husband out to get it for me at 10 o’clock at night.

My doctor told me that I had a low blood count, which might help to explain why I have been feeling so tired lately. He put me onto iron tablets. But he forgot to mention that I should ease myself towards taking 3 tablets a day. So on new year’s eve morning, I took my tablets. And by noon I was sitting in the passenger seat of our car, spewing my guts out into a nappy bag. It was not classy at all. I had to wash bits out of my hair when I got home. Then I had to be in bed by 9pm. And that folks, was was how I spent my new year’s day!

Eh. I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. I have had none of the major pregnancy complaints – bleeding gums, swollen feet, excessive weight gain, high blood pressure etc etc. Lets all just cross our fingers and pray that this one will come out quicker than the first.


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Carry Handbags

11 January 2005

Pictures from Carryhandbags.com

Oooh how cute are these bags from Carry?!?
Apparently they are all individually designed and handmade and some are one-of-a-kind pieces. Unfortunately the prices aren’t listed, and you have to contact them if you want to order. I didn’t bother to ask, I’m sure they must be worth heaps. I’m happier just browsing.


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Early Harvest

9 January 2005

After months of battling the snails and slugs, I finally have ONE red chilli ready for harvest. Yes that’s right, ONE CHILLI!

You see, we have a big rule for our garden – no snail pellets. Mainly so our son doesn’t walk through the garden and feast on them like he does with … the cat food.

At first I thought that chillies would be pretty much safe from snails. You know, perhaps a little too spicy for their little mollusc tummies. But noooo. They devoured the leaves, flowers, chillies AND seeds. Leaving me with little plant stumps covered with slime. Ooh how they would mock me.

So anyway, I stood in my kitchen, staring down at my chilli, racking my brain for a way to eat it – other than “freshly cut chillies in soy sauce”. It felt kinda silly creating a whole meal plan around a single chilli. In the end I sliced it up and threw it into one of my Kylie Kwong favourites braised silken tofu with pork, chilli and tomato. Yum.


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No Place Higher

4 January 2005

I thought since it was the beginning of a new year, I’d start by sharing something …a little closer to my heart. Something that has inspired me to look forward into this year with even more passion for life and passion for the small, simple, everyday happinesses.

In March 2004, my husband was diagnosed with cancer.
I really believed that God was kidding around. It was too much like a clichè TV series… happy couple with a cute kid, house almost paid off, new car, steady income, about to start trying for a second kid…. then wham. Early diagnosis of cancer. No symptoms. Just a little piece of paper with some numbers (cancer markers) on it saying “YOU HAVE CANCER.”

We and the best doctors in town agreed that surgery was the best option. So in June my husband had major surgery to remove a tumour in his abdomen. He recovered so quickly that he was back at work within a couple of weeks. It was pretty amazing and reassuring. But what they removed turned out to be benign. And the cancer markers were still rising. So the hunt continued.

By July everyone decided that chemotherapy was the best and only option. He started it on my birthday and it was just awful. We agonised through it one day at a time. But after the first cycle, it was clear that the chemo was having no effect. The cancer markers were increasing, not decreasing. So we stopped treatment and everyone was a little unsure of what to do next.

We rested for a month. Took a short holiday. Discovered we were pregnant. Returned to start afresh.

Scans showed a mysterious tumour lodged in one of his back muscles, behind the area where they first operated. A very complicated operation would cut it out, but it would leave him without the use of one leg. Nothing made me cry more than the thought of my husband being unable to kick a ball with our kids in the park. But at least he’d be alive.

In September, his cancer markers were off the roof, so he underwent another major abdominal surgery to take out the mysterious tumour. 6 terrifying hours later he emerged from the recovery room… wiggling both sets of toes. The operation was a complete success. The surgeons did a brilliant job. The whole cancer was cut out, it hadn’t spread AND he had perfect function of both legs.

It’s January 2005 now. Almost 4 months after the operation. My husband is back at work. Life is back to normal. Plans for building a sandpit in the backyard have resumed. People can’t believe that he had cancer. I almost can’t believe it.

It was a miracle that we’ve walked away from all of this triumphant.

A miracle and triumph that can only be described as the grace of God. (Which is what I’d like my next kid’s name to mean, or some derivative of that.)

I guess it’s a bit weird that I made no mention of this all year, and left it until now to share. And I hope everyone will more-or-less understand why I left it til now to share it.

Updating this blog was my escape – a pleasurable and enjoyable place where I could craft words and pictures based around the ideas and moments of my life I wished to share with others. It really brightened up my day.

So yes, it’s January now. We’ve been adjusting our lifestyle since the operation. Eating healthier, being more active, focusing on reducing stress in our lives, spending more time with friends and family, having fun and basically enjoying the everyday joys of life. It’s those things that count most, I guess.

And so, after sharing all that, I hope this sparks some kind of inspiration in the midst of your new year resolution making. Nonetheless, this is me, wishing everyone a happy new year!