Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy New Year, everyone!

Hope all of you are enjoying this holiday season before working hard again in the new year.

It has been a long time since I've last blogged. Now using my new handphone to do so as my PC has crashed and under repair.

Here are some photos of Angel and Bob using the camera on my hp.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Taking a break from blogging

I haven't been blogging for the past 2 weeks. Perhaps it's because I have been busy catching up with friends, trying to find time to study Japanese, keeping Bob company in my room, trying to recover from my flu by taking Chinese medicine from the sinseh, getting ready to cope with increased workload, spending time with parents and the community cats in the park when I'm not out meeting friends, thinking of how to spend on more worthy stuff and save more, etc. Maybe I'm starting to lose the interest to blog. I haven't bought a new camera to replace my faulty one as I could use Sis' camera since she hardly uses it. Even then, I don't carry it everywhere I go.

Nowadays I just admire the yummy food and tuck in. When feeding the cats in the day, I will just stroke them after feeding them. Anyway, I have taken many beautiful photos of them for the past few years. I did take some photos of the simple food I cooked and of parents' yummy dinner dishes but I haven't downloaded them from the camera. Maybe when the urge to blog comes back again, you will see photos and read my blabbering. I'm not sure if it will be anytime soon. But if any of you misses me, you know where to reach me :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chewy ginger cookies

I spent Mon afternoon, churning out about 100 soft ginger cookies. I missed baking and decided to do a big batch since my mom and friends like the earlier few batches I made. I also added chocolate chip and raisin to some of the cookies.

Strangely, I didn't feel any kick when I tried a piece from almost every tray. So I needed affirmation from mom and friends that my ginger cookies still taste great.

Sis tried 2 and thought they are lau hong (cookies that are supposed to be crispy but turn stale) but she said the taste was not bad. I told her they are soft/chewy cookies like the Subway cookies. I was relieved when Mom tried the cookies that night and said they were good. This gave me the courage to bring the cookies to the office and offer to my friends and colleagues :)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

AVA Responsible Pet Ownership Roadshow 2008

I visited the roadshow at the Singapore Expo yesterday with my parents after finishing my Japanese lesson in the afternoon. Reaching there after 5pm, the puppies at the Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD) booth were sleeping in the air-conditioned environment. Ricky gently touched one of the puppies and asked it to wake up and work to get itself adopted by the crowd who was watching them sleeping. I hope they get adopted by nice people soon.

The place at the Expo is more spacious and of course comfortably cool. There were drawings and paintings by children on their interpretation of responsible pet ownership, exhibition panels manned by AVA staff and a ferris wheel that carried some messages.

I headed to the Cat Welfare Society's booth to talk to 2 of the volunteers whom I know and find out how they were doing.

I continued to explore the rest of the hall and check out the other booths manned by other animal welfare groups. Before I left with parents for our dinner, I bought this bag, cute cat tissue holders and magnets from CWS :)

Goodbye, Rocky, Trini and Peanut

We haven't seen Rocky the long-haired black and white cat (abandoned by a Malay family) for the past few weeks and Mom learnt from an auntie that she saw Rocky being taken away by SPCA as he had an injured paw. It seems like the Malay owner had been feeding him and his nephew, Oreo and didn't do anything to help his injured paw, so someone decided to call the SPCA to help him.

Trini, the female calico cat who usually hung around my block's void deck has also disappeared mysteriously when I was away in Beijing. I did ask my Town Council officer who said he noticed that the old "sick" cat (our Rambo) has disappeared and he would let the complainant(s) know of the action being taken to remove the cat. He said he didn't remove any cats from my area so far. Mom and I hope Trini has been adopted by someone since she is a friendly cat. I have also called AVA to see if there were any cats taken from my area and the AVA officer said there were none.

First Bush disappeared, then Bony died, I have to send Rambo to a cattery, Rocky taken to SPCA and Trini has disappeared. I hope the rest of the cats in my area will remain safe.

This afternoon, I found Peanut (the hamster)'s cold body in his house. He hasn't been peeing and pooing well and also not eating well. Mom and I knew it was a matter of time before he left us. His sis, Pebble, did a few months. Now the remaining hamster, their brother, Poofy is the lone survivor after more than 2 years with us. He is losing some fur - clearly a sign of ageing. He will probably be the last hamster we are keeping since I don't think we will be adopting any more. I think the cats have been making us busy :)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bob and my office laptop

When we let Bob out for a short while and Angel was in my parents' bedroom, I was using my office laptop to check some office emails. Bob hopped onto the table to check out the laptop and also rubbed his face against it vigorously. He really wasted no time in marking his territory :)

Angel on our lap

Recently, we noticed that Angel likes to settle on our lap or tummy for a few minutes if we are resting on the sofa. "We" refers to Sis and I and excluding Mom and Dad. This has happened the past few weeks, once a week. Here are 2 shots of Angel doing that on Sis.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Working from home

I got my office IT guy to configure my laptop this afternoon, so that I can access office emails from home in future. I was just fiddling around with the router at home and my office laptop and luckily everything went smoothly as I remember the IT guy's instructions.

I have been arrowed to coordinate 12 weekly sessions of some management meetings in Dec or Jan next year. I will be expected to get ready the meeting materials and agenda when there will be inevitable cases of late or last minute submission of papers or presentation slides. Like the current and earlier secretaries, there is no point for me to stay back in the office and wait for such emails to come in the night before or the morning before the meeting. It is better for us to bring back our laptop and try to resume some normalcy in our life.

For my case, it will be enjoying home-cooked dinners and feeding the cats with my parents before checking office emails and working on them, in between spending time with Angel and Bob. Life will be a bit more hectic when I have to take on the extra role of a "secretary" but I hope it will be an interesting experience to observe the thought processes and attitudes of the decision makers. I don't play politics but it's good to see what make the organisation tick and perhaps it may help me to decide whether it's meaningful for me to continue working here.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Water Cube and Bird's Nest

The workshop I attended early last week included a half-day tour to these 2 places.

Pretty flowers along the way and many people from around China were also there to visit their national pride.

The temperature that morning dropped to below 10 degrees and when the wind blew, it felt really cold. I didn't bring along my gloves as I didn't expect the weather to turn cold suddenly. I tried to keep my hands warm by tucking them into my pants' pockets most of the time.

We visited the National Aquatic Centre (aka Water Cube) first. Its transparent membrane reminded me of the bubble pack we usually use to wrap breakable stuff.

Inside the Water Cube, there were more people and also sights

I like the bubble look of the interior. There is a fantasy or dreamlike feel to the place.
Can you spot Singapore's flag?

There was also some fountain/water show to wow the crowd.

It won't be complete without some souvenir shops for visitors to bring some mementos home.
They even have some handphones with the bubble concept for the cover.
I bought a watch for 80RMB (about S$20) and gave it to Sis.

To get to the Bird's Nest, we had to brave through the cold again :) The stadium's exterior looks like a unique mesh of different materials.

The inside of the stadium:

From the outside of the stadium, we could see the torch resting on top.

The plants resembling lallangs presented a picture of wildness in constrast to the clean look of the manmade structures and buildings. There are some sphere-like objects which I guess are lamps since I didn't take a closer look.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Beijing and the cats

I'll be in Beijing tomorrow afternoon to attend a workshop and will be back soon on Wed night. A few friends asked why I didn't extend my trip since it will be my first time in China. Actually I haven't even traveled out of Singapore since Apr last year. It didn't cross my mind to extend especially after Mom and I received bad news from our Town Council officer that he would need to remove Rambo the old community cat due to some complaints. Some residents think Rambo is old and sick and will spread diseases. As the TC officer claimed he can't let me speak to the complainants or they don't want to talk to me, I had to quickly arrange for Rambo to be put at a cattery before the TC culled him.

This afternoon, my family and I visited him and Rambo is not drooling anymore after he responded well to the gingivitis medication. He is also in a cage on his own as he has not been vaccinated. After vaccination, he will be put together with the other cats in a pen. I feel happy to see him safe and looking better. He was vigorously rubbing his head against my familiar hand when I put my hand through the grilles of the cage. I won't be able to see him everyday like in the past at the void deck but I will try to visit him monthly or every 3 weeks.

We visited Bob at another place where I temporarily board Bob there while I'll be away in Beijing. We are worried that he will meow loudly when he is alone in my bedroom and we don't want our upstair neighbour who is working in HDB to complain about us. Poor Bob looked scared in the cage and I let him out for a short while to pet him. I will see him soon on Thurs night and shower him with hugs and kisses.

My life revolves mostly around the cats. Dad thinks it's not good for me to be doing so much for the community cats and little for my personal life. It's a lifestyle and a choice I make. If I don't take care of them with the help of my family, who will do so? No one else will care about their welfare like me and mom. I sterilised them, I have bonded with them. They are like my family too :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chasoba and chocolate cake

When I'm in the good mood, I like to keep myself busy and sometimes cook or bake. This afternoon, I decided to do both.

My main ingredients are the above packets of sauce and chasoba I got from the Isetan Scotts' supermarket a few weeks ago. The chasoba needs only a few minutes to cook and I ran it under the cold water tap before mixing in the Japanese codroe cream sauce and sprinkling with some seaweed.

One plate for me and another for sis. We both found it very salty but yummy.

Inspired by the success of my chasoba dish, I went on to try this vegan chocolate cake recipe I found on the net. It doesn't use eggs, milk and butter. Soya milk, vegetable oil (I used olive oil), white vinegar are used together with flour, cocoa powder and brown sugar. The batter tasted a bit like a brownie batter. The recipe indicates a baking time of 30mins but when I poked a skewer in the centre of the cake, it came out wet. So I gave it another 15mins - the skewer came out with some dry crumbs. I quickly took the cake out as it might be overbaked.

There is no strong aroma of chocolate, probably as only 1/3 cup of cocoa powder is used. I cut out a bit of the cake to try and it is quite crumbly. It also tastes more like the traditional Chinese steamed sponge cake. Oh well, I'm used to not getting successful cakes. Sis tried a few crumbs and won't be eating any of it anymore as it's not chocolatey at all. I must admit it's not that sweet too.

I'm trying to promote my cake to my parents and telling them it's like the Chinese Huat kueh. Mom said that kind of kueh is used as offerings for the Chinese gods and not many people actually eat them and birds will peck on them if people place these kueh outdoors. Haha. My cake will be part of my breakfast tomorrow onwards since I can stomach healthy tasting food.

Beached whale

This is Sis' new nickname for Bob. When we let him out this afternoon after keeping Angel in Sis' bedroom, Bob would occasionally lie down on his side. He looked so out of shape and cute :)

Clean Angel

Sis and I worked together to bath Angel this morning. We closed ourselves and Angel in the bathroom and while I tried to hold Angel to keep him still, Sis tried to lather the concoction of warm water, cat shampoo and neem oil (I prepared) into Angel's coat. Angel protested a little and we talked to him, praised him for being a good boy and tried to keep his bathing experience as short as possible. After we towel-dried his fur and his coat still felt a bit damp, we let him out. Angel preferred to groom himself again :)

Half an hour later, Angel actually pooed and dropped one of his poo out of the litter tray and made a bit of mess. Sis cleaned his bum while I cleaned up the mess he made on the floor. Both of us were in a good mood today and as a team, we managed to keep Angel and the house clean while Mom and Dad were out :)

Bai Guo Yi Mi

This dessert is made of barley, bean curd skin and ginko nuts. It's one of my favorite hot dessert and Mom and I had a bowl each at Tiong Bahru Food Centre after our porridge dinner last night.

Ah Chiang's Porridge

I brought my family to this porridge stall (@ Blk 65, Tiong Poh Road - a street away from Tiong Bahru Market) last evening after my friend brought me there a week ago.

We shared this raw fish appetiser.

Sis and I had sliced fish with pork and egg porridge

while Mom had the mixed pork (minced meat, liver, intestine and egg)

and Dad had minced pork porridge.

Although my family agree with me that this is a good place to have a quick meal without any crowd, they don't think the porridge is that great. They think it's not hot enough. Mom thinks her porridge is better and has more ingredients. I still think this place is nice because the porridge reminds me of a home-cooked meal, in a nice clean quiet coffeeshop environment. I know how to make nice porridge too but it's not often, so I think this stall is a good alternative when I feel like having porridge :)

"Shark's fin" soup

Mom made this mock sharkfin soup using some gourd. The flesh of the gourd will become some soft shreds after being cooked and steamed. After adding some corn flour, coriander, minced pork and crabstick, this soup tasted yummy.

I just realised our dinner on Thurs is like a seafood meal, even though there were no sharks' fins.

Sleeping Angel

Sis took a shot of Angel sleeping at his favorite spot on a mat under the living room's window.