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Friday, February 27, 2009

Yes, you are.

Promise me you will always remember:
are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem and
smarter than you think

Some wisdom there. From mouth of babes, or more accurately, a children's book- Christopher Robin from Pooh Bear books.

This i want to tell to my children.

and i guess it works a lot of us adults too.

Be strong.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My 25 random things

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you!

1. I was a tomboy growing up who would sulk and/or cry if I had to wear a dress for CNY/ wedding or birthday dinner. I might still be one.

2. I was a marksman with the AR15 in the NCC

3. I can cook from scratch with or without a recipe, decently.

4. I am mortally afraid of lizards. E helps me catch most of them at home but I catch all the cockroaches, so we're about even.

5. My 2 favorite books are "Lord of the Rings" and "红楼梦", both of which I had read at least 15 times.

6. I can't live without chilli. I'm not sure if I want to live without chilli.

7. I drive too fast for my Nissan March. I'm not sure if I will still be driving too fast or at the right speed for the car if I have a more powerful car.

8. I made my father cry when I refused to continue my studies in the Uni. We compromised by my applying only to the 2 business schools of NUS and NTU, if I didn't get into either, I could pursue other options. I was accepted into NUS Bizad. I'm glad I went.

9. I sang alto in my primary school choir, and we performed at youth festival concerts etc.

10. The 2 friends closest to my heart are both "yanling"s. I'm truly blessed.

11. I aced all my chinese exams in school, once topping my cohorts for the year in Secondary School.

12. I used to hand make Christmas Cards for my close friends from Primary 5 to Uni 1.

13. I flunk Uni 1 for failing stats at twice. Devastating but it made me less afraid of failures.

14. I love BBQ chicken wings, and buffalo wings with blue cheese dip!

15. I am good with my hands and can do most handicrafts including knitting and croqueting, but I haven't learned how to use a sewing machine yet.

16. I once drank 2 3/4 jug of beer in 1.5 hours.

17. I learned to do make up by applying them to only half a face and see it was any improvement

18. I had pre-cancerous cells taken out during a colonscopy.

19. My favorite beach is Chrissy Beach in San Francisco, and favorite holiday location in Phuket.

20. My comfort food is my mom's rice porridge with fish slices and meat balls.

21. I can only eat eat yellow flat noodles if they are part of Hokkien Mee, and never in soup.

22. I played lots of sports and tried different types of exercises growing up. Volley ball, Badminton, Table Tennis, Tennis, Squash, Cycling, Bowling, Cross-country running, Kickboxing, Pilates etc. I realized I only played team sports where the other team is on the OTHER side.

23. My favorite cocktail is a hurricane which I first tried in New Orleans.

24. I want to complete at least one triathlon this lifetime, but first I need to learn to swim the freestyle properly, do so in open seas AND to cycle on the road.

25. E, my 2 girls and I hug, kiss and say "I love u"s to each other each time we leave the house for work/ school.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Kiss - 11

A labor of love.

Completion is the only option.

I scribbled some notes at the back without telling E before framing it up ,will he find out some day?

Happy Valentine's Day.



They say that it is better to do a thing correctly the first time, or it will cause way more cost, time & effort to rectify a mistake.

I know and I have always practiced it.

Until a mindless careless offhand gesture of dropping a quick cheque in the deposit box of the wrong bank...

It took:

- 1 call to the ex-manager (it is because he is the EX-manager that I'm tying up all the loose threads) to do an phone-check to see if the bank managed to credit it, and to ask the payer if the cheque had been cleared.

- 1 call received that there was no change in bank balance. no reply on whether cheque cleared.

- 1 call to the RM of bank of the wrong deposit box, she doesnt knows what happens to wrong cheques deposited.

- 1 call from the EX-sales engineer that the payer had received the cheque (the wrong bank had mailed the cheque to the cheque-issuing bank, who mailed it back to them)

- 1 call to ascertain the location of the cheque - office in Kaki Bukit

- 45min being unable to find 18 Kakit Bukit Road 3 and there were no building numbers on the road directory.

- 3 calls later, I was told it was a red building with a kopitiam underneath it. The building was called Entrepreuner Business Center which WAS on the road directory, it was white with red awings and BLUE coloumns... I guess she just couldnt pronounce "Entrepreuner"

- parking was $0.50

- $0.27 in parking + 15min for a branch of the right bank which had since moved from Jurong East Central

- Finally finding that they moved back to the previous location in Corporation road.

= NOT to mention the cost of petrol to cover that 50km

boy, am i tired today.

and all i did was to rectify a mindless careless mistake.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Kiss - 10

There is no way around it, the one and only plan is to try to fit the balance pieces one to another, eliminating those that don't fit and moving on to the next.

There were some intelligent guesses based on adjacent shapes and size, but that was as much help as a candle flame in a cold dark winter's night (any guesses on what song were the corny last 5 words lifted from? :D )

Slowly and painstakingly, it gets done. The "only" remaining pieces are those left in the box, instead of bags full...

It WILL be done.


Dinner at Fabianne's bistro at PP

We celebrated E's birthday and since I had a craving for meat, we went to Fabianne's bistro at PP again for dinner.

We ordered
- 1/3 panini bread with presto sauce (free)
- 1 panini bread with presto sauce cos E loves bread and becos our very nice/ friendly/ attentive server, Ana had misinformed us about the size of our mains...
- 1 spicy crab soup, good with chunky pieces of crab meat, but disturbingly like a very milky curry...
- 1 caesar salad
- 1 pan fried foie gras with very nice caramalised pineapple sauce. But portion too small (even after E let me have 2/3 of it :o )
- 1 wagyu tenderlolin which was aged for 60 days. It was nicely charred on the outside, but it was just a tad over done for our medium raw, the meat was pink but juices were not oozing out with every cut, there were no fibres in the meat and lacked the chew that i like. Not enough charred fats too. I should have gone with the striploin. :(
- 1 crackling pork belly. Basically roast pork done Brazilian style. Not crackling enough on the top, and not salty enough at the bottom. Go for the catonese style. The portion was twice what Ana had described to us, and we struggled to finish it.
- 1 guiness stout
- 1 house pour red wine which was very good and went well with the food.

10% off with Citibank credit card.

I'm not sure if I'll come back again, but those were damn good paninis...


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


It is really tough when E's birthday is so close to V-day, the Most Commercialized and Over-rated Day of the year, at least there is some sort of goodwill towards mankind with Christmas.

I can only thank god that we do not celebrate a white day (14-March IIRC*) that the Japanese do. Oh wait, maybe I should wish that we do, since that is the day when boys give things to girls... argh. whatever.

Last year, we went to Morton's on me (it was over-rated and under value for money, thank god for credit card redemption vouchers...)

This year's gift is super-easy, he ran out (more accurately, it had been so long since he last used it and the smell went bad) and I bought him this

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The Kiss - 07, 08 & 09

It is getting tougher, but at least there some shiny poppy looking flowers in the flowery ground.

And there is logic to the madness... sort of,

Thankfully I also managed to plug some holes that were left in the vines beneath the female's feet.

But once that is done, I find myself scrapping the bottom of the barrel to delay the inevitable bronze background.

I dug out all the pieces of bronze which had a small part (however small) which could fit to main picture, and that helped, like 30 pcs...

As I was shifting through the bronze pieces, i realized that the borders have different size for each side too.

Thank Goodness, or I would have either gone blind or coo-coo just when I am so close to the finish.

To my own amazement, I did managed to finish the border, and even better I can see very subtle difference in the bronze, i.e. very dark bronze vs very very dark bronze...

I hope that counts for something.


Friday, February 06, 2009

The Kiss - 05 & 06

There is little progress over the robe, which I had thought couldnt be too difficult since there were designs that could be followed, right? Unfortunately they came in such small fragmented pieces that it was almost impossible to eyeball the picture and choose a meaningful color and place it correctly the first time, or the second, and maybe I'll lucky on the third.

Move on to the face and hair. 30min's work. Not too bad. The "easy" part is over.

The robe is complete! 2 hours worth! But oh so satisfying :)

Victory is short-lived.

But there is nothing easy with the uniformly bronze background and the flowery floor. But between the devil and and hard place, I'll take the flowery floor anytime...


Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Kiss - 03 & 04

Amongst the pack of floweries, there were some that had speckles of gold which looked like heart-shaped leaves and vines, i picked those out and completed the base which the female was kneeling on.

Slightly over an hour for the picking and fixing for just over 100 pcs.

This is slow work but still progress.

I started picking out the pieces with lines and blocks, separating them into black/ light colors and gold.

That took more than 30 mins. I'm too tired to go on... but I can't stop yet, or the girls may try to help in the morning and simply force pieces to fit together...

Ok, some of the male's robe is seeing form. But I really have to stop now... zzz


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Kiss - 02

I started on the non-shiny bits which were "easier" because I didnt have to point them every which way to see the base color under different angles.

Also because they had vivid colors that corresponded to known parts the picture. The female's dress to be specific.

Unfortunately, there were so few of them. Like less than 100 pcs in 45min

So I divided those pieces with straight edges to bronze versus and colorful, and worked on the colorful ones. Not too difficult but again, too few of them. Another 50 pcs in 25min

Then I decided to dive into the shinies. Those that are pale gold but with some sort of swirly patterns to them.

Tough tough tough. But at least some of them attach to the completed dress of the female.

And time flew, cos it was 1hr 15min later that i finished that less than 100 pcs.

Argh. Sore back, stiff shoulders, blurry eyes.

But it is starting to take shape.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Kiss - 01

My first words upon opening the box of jigzaw at home were "These will kill me..."

1000 pcs of 1.5x1.5cm pieces with the majority differentiated only by being gold, slightly less gold, darker gold, bronze, reddish bronze, darkish bronze, small specks of gold, larger specks of gold, some dark brown, very brown, dark brown, black...

It is going to take f o r e v e r.

It took me 1.5 hours just to sort them into 5 bags of straight borders, gold family, bronze family, flowery family, non-glittery family.

I had to stop when my eyes were seeing stars even when they were closed.

E never did have a passion for puzzles growing up and could not understand why I would 找罪受(find trouble for myself)...

but But BUT it was a LABOR OF LOVE!



The Kiss

Had always been moved by the life-sized The Kiss painted by Gustav Klimt.

Not just the imagery of the possessive pose of the male holding the face of the female, almost engulfing her with his embrace and his robe, her surrender, her delicate hands and ankles, the masculine lines and blocks in the male's robe, and swirls and circles in hers, the jewelled tone of the whole painting...

Everything. The whole and every bit of it just mesmerizes me.

I had never found a satisfactory reproduction of it, they were not glittery enough, they were too small, they were too crude.

Then I found one in Vietnam, where the painting was made with shells. It was probably US$70, but it was slightly off in its translation and eventually too heavy to carry home.

Nonetheless, I took a picture of it and used it as E's calling card in my hand phone.

It was enough. For a while.

Until I chanced upon a jigzaw shop which had one completed puzzle framed up. Alas, it was a plain reproduction which was not bejewelled.

We decided to try our luck and ask if they had one with glitter. They did, and showed me a 1000 pcs puzzle. I broke my no-spending vow, and bought it with a frame, thus starting my labor of love.


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