Saturday, September 30, 2006

When things go wrong for no reason

Two days in a row, I had things go wrong. First my work laptop just died on me. It wouldn't boot or restart. Zilch. Nothing. And it had to happen when our IT guy had already left the company and his replacement only starts in October. So, in the meantime, I can't do any work. Worst case, I'll have to go into work everyday and use someone else's PC if it's available.

Then on Friday, the phone and internet decided to quit. Just like that. No reason no crime. The router was working but the cable was out. So I called the cable company and she told me the earliest they could send someone over was Saturday. I had withdrawal symptoms all Friday. So I decided to paint.
Since all the PC would be good for now is to play music, I selected some songs from the hard drive and played them on Windows Media Player while I painted. I realised the left speaker wasn't working. Nevermind, the right speaker was still ok. I could live with that.
Then, the music started skipping. And it quit playing altogether. I sighed and gave up. This just wasn't my day. I shut down the PC and went to bed. To make the day more sulky, someone moved the Stop Sign from the street INTO our yard!! Now we have a STOP SIGN inside our front yard. How pretty, no.
Oh, and Trouble got a haircut on Friday and it made him all sulky too.
It's just one of those days when you just have to sleep it off.

This morning, Jason told me the internet connection was up and running, but the router was dead instead. So maybe we need to buy a new router. An hour later, after he messed a little more with it, everything worked fine, including the phone. I love my husband!! Yayy, life is back to normal and we don't need to buy a new router. I am so pleased I get to call my parents before they board the plane. And I am dying from excitement and I probably won't be able to sleep all weekend. So I am just going to keep myself busy. We have a list of chores to do and so far, things are going smoothly (knock on wood). Except for the STOP SIGN, I think it is going to be a pretty good weekend.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Still sticking around

Just when I thought I was going to get laid off because of all the re-organization and staff movements lately, my boss presented me with my very own business card!! Yippee!! So I guess I'll be sticking around for awhile.
I don't want to jinx it by saying anything too positive, so I'll just stop here.

On a slightly different note, here is my freaky moment. Last night I had a dream about a person named..let's just call her Ms. W. I can't really remember the details of the dream but it wasn't anything bad. And I was pretty sure it was about work.
Anyways, this morning, I received an email from my boss saying that she has just hired a Ms. W for our department. Tomorrow, I'll get to meet her and if she looks like the person in my dream, I'll be really freaked out. Maybe my psychic powers are slowly starting to emerge.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The final results

Well, sort of. Until the tree and shrubs and bulbs grow.
We still need to finish the pavement and put in a bench. But until then, this will have to do. I still can't believe we have a fountain and rock garden in our yard!!

Oh, if you were wondering when the nephews will get into it, here's a photo of them looking gleefully excited and all ready to jump in. Wrenn also threw a piece of fries into the pond.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

An Achy Breaky Goody Saturday

This is an amazing Saturday.
Jason and I had been talking about putting a fountain in our yard since before we moved into our home. We had fantasized about a tropical paradise, we joked about turning our yard into Gilligan's Island, we drew plans, we put thoughts on paper and transformed our plan into the computer using photoshop.

Today, with our in-law's help, our plans were put into action and our yard transformed right before our very own eyes. We have our very own fountain and rock garden. And we did it all by ourselves with lots of help from my parents-in-law. We probably would not and could not have done it without them.
We started digging since 7.30am. We also got 2 pallets of rocks from the landscaping place down the road. After much digging, shovelling and fitting the rocks like a jigsaw puzzle, our mission was accomplished by 6pm.

Now, we just need more soil, plants and river rocks (and probably some painkillers because I'm sure we'll be all achy tomorrow morning)!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Seems like I have nothing new to post about. Is it because I have no life?
Besides the mundane things that happen everyday... sleep, work, eat, talk to cat, nag about the messy kitchen,.. no dramas have been encountered. Perhaps that is a good thing.

On Sunday, I had to say goodbye to my Petunias. They had to make way for the Chrysanthemums. Petunias are now on the small plot on the ground and counting its days. Very soon, they will wither away as the cold takes over.
Its' circle of life will come to an end.

Exactly one week ago, I received an email from a friend that his dad was hospitalized for water retention in the lungs, abdoment and legs. This morning, he passed away. My condolences goes out to the Dawson family.

Jason's GrandAunt Ethelene passed away last Thursday.

Today is also my friend's birthday. Happy Birthday Jacky!!

Today, I find some quiet time for myself to reflect on life. Its' joys, sorrows and mysteries.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006


This is what my husband needs to wear on his feet since he is always breaking his toenails!
So, whaddaya think, honey?
It is in your color too!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Preparing for Hallow E'en

I know this sounds creepy but I have started preparing for Halloween. (Don't even start with Christmas, okay).
I am making some little treat bags to give out to the kids who will come a-knocking on our door on October 31st. This will be our first Halloween in this house. I foresee there will be quite a lot of kids (and teenagers). We have often seen these kids around our little neighborhood and in the swimming pool. And our Russian neighbors have 5 young kids! I think it's gonna be adorable to watch what they will come up with.
And this year, my mom will be here to help me! I know she will get a kick out of this because we do not celebrate Halloween the same way in Malaysia. It's all commercialised there and only the pubs, bars and discos do the Halloween thingy where they have drinking contests and best costume prizes and what not where the yuppies gather.

So here are my treat bags.....

Sunday, September 10, 2006


We've had two good pasta meals two days in a row. Our neighbors invited us out for dinner last night because we helped look after their cats while they were away. We went to Macaroni Grill and stuffed ourselves with fresh baked bread dipped in Olive Oil and I had the Penne Rustica (penne pasta with shrimp, grilled chicken and smoked prosciutto baked under a golden crust of Parmesan cheese). I barely could finish half of what's on my plate even though it was soooo good. Then they insisted we order dessert and we could not pass up the tiramisu.

This afternoon, we went to Olive Garden with the whole family to celebrate my birthday. I don't think Jason and I digested our dinner from last night yet. Still, we ordered the Never-ending pasta bowl and soup/salad. That was too good to pass up. You can create your favorite pasta and sauce combination and stuff yourself silly. After eating only half of my angel hair pasta with sun-dried tomato parmesan and alfredo and 2 bowls of soup, I could not refill any more. I had filled my little belly to the max. And I probably had yesterday's dinner to blame on.

I think I've had all the pasta I could have for the year.
But I may tell you differently tomorrow.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Officially 33!!

Happy Birthday to me! Birthdays are always interesting because each of us have our own meaning we give it. Eventhough I see age as just a monumental number, I'll soon be hitting the milestones of middle age.
As the year passes, I realise how significant every year has been. I've learned more about life (and I'm still learning everyday), I've seen the changes around me and also in me. I know deep down, I'm still the little girl who once ran around in pigtails and getting bruises on her knees constantly, piggybacked on my papa and played camping with blankets on the bed holding a torchlight and listening to spooky stories.

So here's my day...
Started the day by receiving text messages and phone calls on my cellphone from all my friends and family a thousand miles away. That always warms my heart.

Had to go into the office today because we have our weekly meetings on Thursdays. My boss announced that she had hired 3 more people to do my job (gulp!). So I was supposed to conduct a training for the newbies on the system that I was using. But newbies did not show up for work today so the training will be postponed to next week. Then my boss told me there will be changes for me and she will let me know next week. (In my mind, all I could hear was "Oh No, she's gonna fire me on my birthday! Wouldn't it be a day to remember?")
So after the meeting I asked her if I should have any reason to feel worried about these "changes". She said "Nah".
I left the office at 3.30pm (I still work 30 hours/ week)and I browsed the myriad of halloween stuff at Party City while waiting to go pick Jason from his office. Jason smsed me saying "You are banned from going into Party City". (because I never leave Party City empty handed. I always stock up on birthday cards... and sometimes, other stuff). Then I stopped by Jack-In-The-Box and got myself a Jr Bacon Cheese Burger (99 cents).

Then we picked my mom-in-law and we went for some sushi!! This particular restaurant we like to go to gives a free entree to the birthday guest, so I got a free birthday meal!!
Mom-in-law gave me an autumn flag, a wreath for the door and a scarecrow (whom I named Russell) and money to buy more plants and river rocks!! Yayy!!
My beloved hubby gave me a banana tree and a pot of elephant ears. My hopes of turning the yard into a tropical rainforest might just come true.

Oh.. and Trouble gave me a card too!!Thank you for letting me share my day with you.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

No white after Labor Day?

So who came up with this fashion rule??
And why?
I am still bewildered.
I love white. And I happened to have three white pants in my closet, which I hardly wore during summer because it was too warm. I bought those pants because it fits me and I did not have to make any alterations. Those who know me will understand how difficult it is for me to find clothes that will fit tiny me, especially pants. Even petite sizes do not necessarily fit me sometimes.
So this No White after Labor Day rule is cruel!
Will I be incarcerated if I wear white? Will you report me to Miss Manners? Will I be frowned upon ? Will you be embarassed to walk beside me?

What about nuns, nurses, brides?

If wearing white is forbidden during the months of September to May because white reflects heat, then logically, wearing black should also be forbidden from May to September because black absorbs heat. Right? Right?

Heck, the rebellious demon in me wants to put on those white pants and I don't care if I look like a fashion victim or not.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Discovering the Southern way

Here are some things I learnt since stepping foot on NC a year ago.

- Brinjal = Eggplant

- Ladies Fingers = Okra

- Yam = Sweet potatoes. Purple yam is nonexistent here (or atleast I have not seen any in the grocery stores or farmer's market yet)

- Supermarket = Grocery store

- Green Beans are steamed/boiled. Never stir-fried in garlic.

- Barbeque is not the same as fixing ribs on a grill and pouring on sauce- barbecue is a noun, not a verb, and to confuse the issue, every Southern state has its own brand of barbecue. Eastern North Carolina style barbecue is pulled pork, marinated with a vinegar-based sauce

- Biscuit is not a cookie served with hot tea. A biscuit is a flaky piece of bread you eat with supper, and serve with iced tea. Sometimes you eat biscuits with gravy (and grow fat)

- Almost all dogs are sent to training school to learn some obedience. I think that is really cool.

- I do not see any stray cats (or dogs) walking around in parking lots. Even the cats that you sometimes see walking alone around the neighborhood actually belongs to someone.

- You can eat chips in bed , and drop crumbs on your sheets and no ants will crawl all over you when you are asleep.

- You will die without central air-conditioning.

- If someone tells you that someplace is just "down the road", it does not really mean you can "walk" there.

- It is quite common to ask for separate checks when you are eating out in restaurants. And it is ok to go dutch. It will not be considered rude or stingy.
(Oh by the way, cheques = checks)

- And never ever forget to tip, eventhough service sucks. Service is usually pretty good.

- It is not rude to leave your shoes on when you enter someone's house. (I would've received a "You have no manners" stare if I did that back home)

- It is also not rude for children to call adults by their first name. (Back home, women were always "Aunt" when we used first names for adults. Men were "Uncle" with their first names. And they do not have to be related to you. It could be anyone on the street. Basically, anyone that is older or around your parent's age is an aunt or uncle)

- You have to have a car in order to get around. Taxis/ cabs are rare, except at the airport.

- Shopping cart = buggy

- Boot of a car = trunk

- Petrol = Gas

- Everything has a 7.5% sales tax

- dish rag = dish cloth

- Football (American football) is a religion

- Dinner is at noon. Not at night. Supper is at night. (Then what is lunch? I still get confused with this one. I am assuming dinner is a formal lunch. Please correct me if I am wrong)

- Pedestrians always have the right of way. Do not ever honk at a pedestrian.

-Burger King = Burger Kang

- Uhmukin = Someone who lives in the United States of Uhmurka

I'm sure there are many more things that I have discovered in the past one year but these are just the few things that I can remember now.
There'll be more things to learn and discover fer shure while I'm 'eah, idinit? Watch out y'all. Lawd, hammercy.

Ahh, it's good to be 'eah!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Matthews Alive 2006

We went to the town of Matthews this morning to watch the parade. It was crowded but we got a good shady spot and set up our chairs there. There's the usual school bands, fire trucks, clowns on stilts, kids rushing for candies... etc.
After the parade, we walked down the "Strip". (No, nothing like Vegas) Looked at all the food and the nephews wanted to ride on the train and the panda-looking airplane. Too bad I'm a little too old to ride on the carousel now.
Then we gorged on some food. I had a Cajun burger (It was ok) I could not decide whether to have that or a Alligator stick. And my nutrisystem hubby had rice, an eggroll, chicken-on-a-stick and a corn dog. I also took a photo of him holding a giant smoked turkey leg. But we brought that turkey leg home. It is still sitting in our kitchen unless Trouble ate it.
The arts and craft center was pretty interesting. Lots of handmade knick knacks and paintings. Jason did not want to see those stuff so he headed on back home and I went with my in-laws.
He later came by his parents' house and they watched the ballgame in the afternoon while I took a nap.
I'm glad it's Sunday tomorrow.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

The Naked Lobster

I came across this article from our company's newsletter. It's an excerpt from It's Not as Tough as You Think: How to Smooth Out Life's Bumps - by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski.

Ever thought about how a lobster grows? Because of its rigid shell, the larger it gets, the more uncomfortable the lobster becomes. Eventually, it has to shed its old shell in order to grow a new, roomier model. This process is repeated multiple times (as many as 25 times over the first 5 to 7 years of its life) until it reaches its maximum size.
During the 48 hours or so that the lobster is shell-less, it is in grave danger. You could walk up at any time with a cup of melted butter and it would be all over. For the lobster, there's no growth without risk.

I see 2 lessons for us in the story of the naked lobster :
You won't grow without taking some risks.
You won't grow without leaving something behind.

We don't have to take the risk if we really don't want to. If we are too afraid to leave the familiar for something better, we can continue to stay in our cramped, little shell convincing ourselves that it isn't so uncomfortable after all.
But will you be happy? Maybe yes, maybe not.

After all, life is all about taking some risk, isn't it? We can atleast tell ourselves "Well, I tried"