Saturday, 31 January 2009


I had a missed call while I was at the market this morning. It was mum. She called again when I was in the bathroom, so I stepped out for a moment to pick up the call in case it was urgent.

"Are you coming home for dinner tonight?", mum asked.

Yes, we are.

She continued, "Your brothers are not coming back you know. Besides, Wati (our domestic helper) is off today, so nobody's cooking."

"In that case, I won't come back then." I replied without hesitation.

"Oh, come back lah. We have lots of stuff at home. You can cook something." Then she went on to talk about her teeth and denture.

"Hey Ma, I have to go back into the toilet. I'll let you know about dinner later..."

Now that I had a little more time in the toilet, I realised how inconsiderate I was. Just because my brothers are not coming back for dinner and there's nobody cooking tonight, I decided not to go back too. But who's going to make dinner for my parents? Mum is too weak to rustle up a proper meal all by herself and even though my dad is able to cook, he has been out of touch for years.

I called her back immediately and told her we're coming back to cook dinner afterall. She sounded really happy at the prospect of seeing us tonight. I am looking forward to this actually. It will be just like the good old times.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Indian food and sick dog

CH and I were planning to check out the Capoeira classes last night but changed our mind because of heavy traffic in the city. We made a detour and ended up having dinner in a small restaurant in Little India.

While the famous Banana Leaf Restaurant was packed with tourists, this little one nearby was more popular with the locals. If you ask me, I think most Indian curries taste similar except that you pay a premium for the ambience at the nicer restaurants. Our dinner, comprising mutton, chicken, squid, vegetables, rice and juice only came up to S$17. The service was efficient and hard to beat.

We strolled around after dinner and forgot all about the Capoeira classes. Well, these classes sound really fun but it is probably too much trouble for us to travel all the way to town every week for the lessons. Besides, these night classes start at 8.30pm and end at 10pm. I'll have a hard time getting up early to send SK to school in the morning.

I got home last night to find Rusty shivering and weak. He still looked sick this morning, so we brought him to the vet. As he was running a high fever, the vet suggested we send him to the hospital for blood test.

We arrived at the pet hospital and waited for more than an hour to see the vet. There were so many other dogs and cats in the waiting room. Like most of the other sick pets, Rusty was too weak to bother with socialising today.

After what felt like eternity, we finally got to see the vet. He couldn't pinpoint what exactly was wrong with Rusty, so off we went to another room for blood test. More waiting ensued, so I decided to take some photos.

This feathery friend belongs to the hospital. It kept calling out "ni hou mah?" (how are you?) to me.

Oh, here's my poor sick dog.

YK waiting with Rusty.

The vet called us in again when the results were out. He thinks Rusty is fine but prescribed some medicine for the fever. If his fever persists over the next few days, we'll have to bring him back for other tests.

Maybe it is psychological but Rusty appeared to look better and feel more alive on the way home. We got home at 3pm and $150 poorer. I quickly fed him his lunch and medicine and hope he'll get well soon. He's sleeping now.

We're attending a popiah (spring roll) party at best friend's house tonight. Looks like we'll be talking about our vegetable-growing business all night.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Midlife crisis

Maybe it's midlife crisis or is it just me? Instead of feeling all charged up and raring to go, I tend to start a new year feeling restless and unsettled, sometimes even a little confused over what I want.

Everything looks even hazier this time round. I can't even blame it on PMS and it is too early to be menopausal. I am listless, lethargic and achy all over. Even Rusty looks as lifeless as I am and he's only 35 human years old! Come to think of it, he could be suffering from midlife crisis too.

While mired in confusion and inaction, I am still tempted to sign up for Capoeira (Brazilian martial art/dance) classes, join an adventure club or scale mountains in Malaysia. You get the drift? The signs are there.

Everyone's happy now

Sometimes I think I am too preoccupied with finding answers. Take today for example, I kept wondering what makes me happy. Then I saw my niece and instantly my world brightened up. Little kids always make me happy. Seeing the innocence in their face makes me want to cuddle them and shower them with love.

Here's my adorable niece, getting ready for school. For some reason, I always end up visiting when she's getting ready for school.

Waiting for the bus.

Hurry, the bus is here!

Up she goes, into the bus.

Maybe that explains why I cannot bear to see a child's dejected face. SK had been looking forward to buying hermit crabs for his aquarium all week. As the shops were closed during the Chinese New Year, I promised to drive him to the store after school today. We went to the mall in Bishan in search of the shop that sells hermit crabs but after scouring the entire mall, we just couldn't find it. I suspect it has moved away. I could see how disappointed SK was.

When we got back, we started Googling for more vendors and Voila! we found one at the mall near our house. We hurried there and now SK is the proud owner of 2 hermit crabs. He has a soft spot for all kinds of crabs since young. All he does is talk about his hermit crabs now which can get quite annoying but I'm happy that he's happy now.

When I brought mum to the dental clinic today, the dentist wasn't very nice to her. When she saw mum's swollen gum, she chided mum for not cleaning her teeth properly. Now I know my mum's extremely diligent when it comes to dental hygiene. She would brush and floss after every single meal, even after eating a piece of fruit.

Apparently when mum left the dental clinic last week, her gum was already sore from the new dentures. The affected area just got more infected over the weekend and it became so painful she couldn't eat and sleep at night.

Naturally, I scowled at the dentist for being mean to mum. The dentist saw my disapproving face and commented that if my mum had taken better care of her teeth, I wouldn't have to sacrifice my time to bring her to the clinic.

Now, that's where she's wrong. I have no qualms about bringing my mum to the hospital or the clinic. All I hope for is to see her comfortable and healthy. As I grow older and treasure her even more, seeing her happy makes me very happy too. I hope the dentist can understand that.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Spreading happiness

We're finally back in the office after a long break. It feels good to be back to the old routine. Rusty has gotten too used to an entire week of long morning walks, he refused to go home after his short walk this morning.

He stood there stubbornly while I tugged at his leash, "Come on Rusty! Let's go home!" We managed to get home in time (after I picked him up and carried him to the door) to send SK to school.

Looks like it is going to be a quiet day at work. Mum has been experiencing toothache again after the last treatment, so I'm bringing her to the dentist this morning for a look see.

I'm kind of happy to see some articles about 'happiness and joy' in our papers today. Happy people are healthier people too. I tend to agree. But I also think healthy people should be the happy ones. We all take our good health for granted.

Mum's been plagued with all kinds of ailments, it can be a struggle for her to stay happy but I must say she has done a great job. She tries to be positive most of the time but sometimes her face cannot hide the misery.

When I brought the kids to visit their paternal grandma on Tuesday, YK kept commenting how youthful and lively she looked. I must agree, she is a picture of good health compared to my own frail mother. Because of her good health, she travels everywhere and mingles with her friends everyday. She lives life to the fullest.

If you want to kick-start a happier life, here are some tips I gleaned from the papers:
1. Count your blessings - reflect on what really matters and rechart your course to one that will bring joy, meaning and fulfilment to your life.
2. Money can't buy happiness - Engage in meaningful activities like bonding with family and friends or pursuing charity work.
3. Avoid toxic people - Avoid people who may bring you down with their negative attitudes.
4. Show gratitude and appreciation - Write a letter of appreciation to someone close to you to thank them for who they are and what they have done for your life.
5. Keep things in perspective - Balance your expectations with the reality of your situation and your own perception of things. E.g losing your job doesn't mean you're a total failure as your career is only one part of your whole life.

Brainstorming session

From our smiling faces, you would know we had a good brainstorming session. Indeed, we spent 3 hours talking enthusiastically about our business idea. To us, this is an auspicious day. A new business was born right here in Tea Chapter.

We planned to meet at Pacific Coffee in Red Dot Building at first but changed our minds. While we like the striking Red Dot building and the creative vibes surrounding it, we went for Chinese tea at Tea Chapter down the road instead.

This is my first visit to Tea Chapter and I find the experience an interesting one. We sat on cushions around a low table and ordered a pot of Chinese tea from the extensive tea menu and some cookies and pancakes to munch on.

Best friend's hubby is quite an expert in Chinese tea and he did the brewing and serving most of the time while we were busy brainstorming. He contributed some good ideas too. I think it was a fantastic afternoon.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

So much for 'Me' Day

It's 2pm and I've spent the entire morning in bed - napping, staring at the ceiling with a green tea peppermint mask plastered on my face or simply 'stoning'. All this time Rusty was at my feet, curled up in a ball, sleeping the day away.

So much for having a "me' day! I finally dragged my ass out of bed and wandered to the living room. YK was perched on the ladder with one hand inside his tank.

"Tank maintenance again? Don't you need to eat at all?", I asked.

He launched into his self pity mode, "Yah, this is what I do everyday when you're at work. No breakfast, no lunch. I'm just a poor neglected child!"

I swear I could see him stifle a grin with the corner of my eye as I walked into the kitchen. "Instant noodles?", I asked.

"I want proper lunch!"

So I made him pasta with shrimp and fresh shitake mushroom. I wasn't in the mood to eat so I'm back in my cocoon. But don't worry, I'm done with sleeping. I have to get ready for my brainstorming session in town. Ciao!

"ME' Day

We took an additional day off after the mandatory 2-day holiday. I believe in recharging ourselves from time to time and hope my staff appreciates it. SK is in school and YK will be going out with his friends later, so I plan to have a "Me" day. A day to do what I like.

So, after sending SK to school, doing laundry and walking Rusty (well, I still have to do my chores first even though it is a ME day!) I've got the radio turned on loud in my room and I'm bored. I start to check my emails, read blogs and the papers and think about what I else I should be doing today.

I want to change my life. I look at other people's social life and wonder if I should inject some life into mine. While I was backing up my old photos last night, I can't help but look back at the (digital) photos taken over the past 5 years. I was always actively doing something, from running and traveling to partying. More importantly, I was always grinning from ear to ear. I looked wholesome and jolly.

But lately, I do not have many photos. Even so, the recent photos mostly show me frowning, scowling or looking drained. Maybe these are candid shots but gee, I don't want to become a 'huang nian por" (sour-faced hag) so early in my life.

So, I'm thinking maybe I should do something interesting to rejuvenate myself again. Take up a new sport or join a club so I can meet more happy people.

For a start, I am looking forward to the meeting with best friend this afternoon. We're going to talk about our new project. That's a good start.

Monday, 26 January 2009


It's still a public holiday, SK wanted to go to the beach to collect some shells for his aquarium, so we drove to Changi Beach early in the morning. As expected, there were lots of campers over the long weekend but I had not anticipated the amount of trash strewn all over the park. It was appalling!

We got back into the car and drove to a more isolated part of the beach with less campers but there were still alot of trash, some strewn below the big banners asking people to keep the park clean. We took a short walk along the beach at Changi Coast but couldn't find any shells.

Then we got back into the car and drove to the more popular East Coast Beach. Apparently the cleaners had done a great job because the park was almost spotless. All the rubbish were bagged up and put away, so the walk was much more pleasant.

Though Singapore is an island surrounded by water, we can hardly boast of spectacular beaches. Due to the extensive reclamation of land especially along the east coast, our shoreline is not even original. When you look out into the sea, you'll find lots of big ships in the horizon. As a result, the water is not crystal clear and you can't expect lots of marine life or sea shells along the beach.

Anyhow, we had a pleasant walk in the cool, breezy weather. It brought back memories of the kids' younger days spent at the beach every weekend.

SK tried to lure Rusty into the water but he doesn't seem to enjoy swimming very much. After a quick dip, he was more interested in rolling about on the grass to dry himself.

Favourite coral

The sun coral is currently my favourite coral in YK's aquarium. Trouble is, it only opens at night when everyone is asleep. When it opens, its cheery colour really brightens up the tank. Isn't it gorgeous?

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Happy new year

Today marks the first day of the Year of the Ox. We arrived at our parent's house this morning to find that my brothers have already arrived ahead of us. Everyone was dressed in auspicious colours. Even mum, who normally shun bright colours, wore a red shirt. I couldn't find anything very colourful in my wardrobe, so I put on an olive coloured tee and white jeans.

The little ones always look adorable in traditional costumes. Here's my niece, munching her way through the day.

My nieces and nephew in their colourful best.

Soon, my cousins arrived with their kids in tow. One cousin has three young sons. Another one brought a son and daughter. The energetic bunch were soon lavishing all their attention on Rusty. Poor little doggie. I think he's happier being left alone.

We left around noon. I'm sure many relatives will come visiting throughout the day but I kinda like being back at our apartment where it is peaceful and quiet.

Chinese New Year's Eve

It's the eve of the Chinese New Year and we just got home from reunion dinner at my parents place. Even though we have dinner together every weekend, this is simply not the same. It's the dinner of the year! Alot of thought goes into the preparation of every dish. We always have traditional Teochew dishes like steamed fish, steamboat, braised duck, prawns and ngoh hiang.

Since last week, we have been discussing about the menu. Everyone's in a celebrative mood. My father started buying festive goods days leading to the new year until the refrigerators are groaning with so much food. Teochews believe in cooking in excess on this special day.

My younger brother, who's the most talented cook in our family, started preparing his festive specialities days ahead. He cooked dried bamboo shoot with belly pork and prepared the stock and ingredients for steamboat. I contributed two dishes and my older brother brought a mango mousse cake. We had curry chicken, steamed pomfret, braised duck and sweet & sour prawns too. As you would imagine, we ate so much until we could barely walk.

In fact, our feasting started yesterday at CH's family reunion dinner. Each of his sibling contributed a couple of dishes so we were treated to many traditional Hakka dishes like abacus seeds, yong tau foo, wasabi prawns, sea cucumber with pig knuckles and chicken in Chinese wine.

We indulged in so much good food over the weekend, I'm glad I spent this entire morning cleaning the house and washing the sheets. We're not supposed to sweep on New Year's day as the Chinese believe we would sweep all the good luck away. For the sake of retaining our wealth, the broom stays in the closet on the first day of the lunar calendar.

This will be our first new year in our apartment and I actually miss the air of festivity while staying at my parent's where I would spend days sweeping leaves in the yard, pruning the plants and making the garden look attractive. Vendors would come with gifts like hampers, mandarin oranges and bak kwa (barbequed meat) for my parents. The mood was always joyous and infectious. No wonder I was so happy when I was back there this evening.

I actually look forward to visiting again tomorrow morning. It's a tradition for my brothers to visit our parents, dressed in their best and bringing mandarin oranges and good wishes. This time, we will also follow suit. I wonder what I'll be wearing tomorrow...

Friday, 23 January 2009

My littlest niece

When I arrived at the farm to bring mum to the dentist, my little niece was outside waiting for the school bus. The school's celebrating Chinese New Year today and she was all dressed up like a China doll. I can't imagine my 1.5-year-old niece is already a school girl!

The first thing she did when she got back from school was to take a nap. She's such a baby!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

The rich and famous

I finally met up with a friend I've known for more than 20 years for coffee yesterday. When I first knew him, he was about 30 years old, a young and smart entrepreneur with not alot of money but great business acumen. Though he was charming and always had an eye for sweet young things, he was always very focused on building his business. Eventually he married a doctor who is now my friend.

In 20 years, he built such an empire, his company is listed on the main board and he has amassed great wealth. I've known him from his humble days and I'm never the type to envy the rich. They worked hard to get to where they are today. Maybe they're smarter and luckier than most people but really, money don't fall on people's lap just like that.

During the earlier days, he traveled to forsaken places like Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to explore business opportunities. Then he expanded to Siberia followed by North Africa. Because of his industrious and adventurous nature, he went to places where people feared to tread and found alot of opportunities.

Well, if you think the rich don't have any problems, then you're wrong. As we sat having coffee, he was rattling on and on about his recent misadventures. Huge numbers were flying over my head but they go in one ear and exit from the other. Life is better that way.

Anyway, for those interested in hearing about what goes on in the life of the rich and famous, here are some nuggets I managed to retain in my brain from yesterday's conversations.

"Can you believe how unlucky I was Ting? My Ferrari was stolen and my boat sank and both were not insured. I lost half a million dollars just like that!"

Apparently he sold all his houses in Australia and parked both luxury vehicles at his friend's place. The car was stolen while someone was test driving it and well, his boat sank.

That's not all. He just sold his house in the prime district in Singapore for S$10m instead of $14m (US$10m) all because his contractor was so slow in refurbishing his new house (a bigger one in a better district), the property market crashed. If he had sold it 6 months earlier, he would have gained $4m more. "Then again, I could have invested that $4m in shares and lost it anyway." he mused.

Apparently he hasn't been spared from Lehman Brother's saga either. He lost $4m in investments. His company shares fell from 30 cents to a low of 2.5 cents today. His worth had plummeted like a meteorite. It's hard to tell if he's really still ok with all that bragging.

Everything about him is larger than life. He's a big guy with a big smile and a wide girth. He lives in a sprawling house with a huge-ass yard with a water fountain that extends from inside to outside. He has a gym and a swimming pool which his dogs love to frolick in. He probably has a big garage for his Maserati and fleet of cars too. (I didn't ask)

When we talked about pets, even his must be bigger than everyone elses. He has 4 big dogs including 2 giant schnauzers imported from S.Africa and some exotic macaws in his aviary. The pooches have their own treadmills in case of rainy days. His birds are so colourful and attractive (as I would imagine most pet birds are...)

I sat there wondering what this catching up exercise was all about. Maybe his friends are so tired of hearing about his wonderful dogs, birds, houses, cars and fishing trips, he had to dig deeper into his little black book to find unsuspecting old friends like me who's willing to listen to him? Maybe he's in trouble? Who knows? But whatever it is, I said I had to go (back to my own real world with my little dog, two sons and humble home).

TaTa. And I watched him walk all alone and forlorn to his flashy white sports car. Is he really happy?

I like trees

My favourite trees in the house.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Then there is light..

I'm getting excited again because I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. Many new businesses are born in times of recession. If you open your eyes really big and wide, you may still find opportunities. I have been mulling over a business idea for over a month now and have started doing some research.

I shared the idea with several friends and now one of them wants to go on this little venture with me. Though she is very busy, she has already started doing some research and will take a few days off after Chinese New Year to work with me on this. I like working with motivated individuals like her who will make things happen. I can't wait for our efforts to turn into reality!

I'm not a buoy

After too much wine and junk food last night, I woke this morning feeling like crap. Like the tide, life has its highs and lows.

"You know what your problem is?" my friend asked last night.

I gave her a blank stare.

"People come to you because you're an anchor. You're not a buoy." She added.

"You think? But an anchor has its sinking moments too. Sometimes I look around me and wonder who I can turn to if I can't find any answers." I replied.

"Well, somehow you've always managed to find solutions... but you've got me. I treat you like a sister, you know that."

To a certain extent, she's right. Like me, she's a single mum (by choice) and the company she works for relies heavily on her to make big and small decisions everyday. We cannot afford to be a buoy.

But being human, we sometimes feel the weight on our little shoulders. We can't be a cheerleader everyday you know. In times like this, when we have too much time on our hands, the mind becomes a devil's workshop. It becomes innundated with too many what ifs.

Still it is good to know that even the strongest anchor will sometimes drift away until someone comes along and set it right again.

Beach bums

Tired of the gloom around us, we wanted to get away from it all. So we arranged to meet at the beach. She brought her dog and two bottles of wine. I brought Rusty and two bags of snack.

Together we sat from dusk till dark, polishing off a bottle of white (and she had some of the red too), sharing our fears and worries till I was quite drunk, I had to gobble up all the chips and gulp tons of Pokka green tea. But, it was great to hang out with a good pal.

Good friends must share good things.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

No skeletons

The kids frequently use my camera to take photos of their pets (Rusty and fishes), download onto my computer before transfering to theirs. Sometimes when I'm busy driving, they would help me read or send phone messages. They can come into my room anytime of the day or night to look for things or rummage through my closet. In other words, I have nothing to hide. No skeletons in my closet or stacks of cash stashed away.

Now that I have a blog, my life is like an open book. Sometimes I reveal too much about myself. When I first started dating as a single mom, my well-meaning friends were concerned. "Maybe you shouldn't talk about your kids during the first date. You'll scare the suitor away", they advised.

I thought otherwise. I knew it would be difficult to get back on the dating scene again with kids in tow but how long can I hide my status? I don't like living a lie and would rather lay my cards out right from the start. It's definitely better than giving that someone a surprise months down the road. If he is sincere, he'll learn to get along with me and the kids. Otherwise I'm better off without him.

I like living with a clear conscience because I know how hard it is living with lies. I don't have to worry about people going through my stuff or scrolling through my phone messages or looking at my photo albums. I don't have to whisper into the phone, avoid phone calls, tip toe around the house or arrange clandestine meetings.

I remember how my ex would check through my phone and emails or read my diary while I was asleep at night. Thinking back, I wonder if he was more interested in finding out how much I knew about him or what I was hiding from him. Ah, he is one person who has too many secrets to hide. Frankly I never did give a damn.

Monday, 19 January 2009

From A to Z

You know times are really hard when you get all excited over a sales enquiry. You're happy to drive 30km to the yard, stand under the scorching sun and get covered in fine dust just to convince your customer your products are good. Doesn't matter if it is a big or small order, at least it keeps you occupied.

You are willing to work so bloody hard just to earn a few dollars. Heck, you're willing to close the deal even if you make nothing. You have to generate enough sales volume to keep your spirits up and the bankers happy.

You soon realise that you're not the only one feeling deflated. Everyone's in the same boat. Best friend says that her banker friends are ditching cuff links and tie for casual wear. Afterall, they spend their days in the office scouring the Net systematically for everything and anything under the sun, from A to Z. No need to dress up.


After a series of encounters with so many adorable girls within a week, I'm so charmed and wished I had a couple of daughters of my own.

Aren't they all charming? Can you see my littlest niece in the background licking cookie crumbs from her fingers? Ok, Rusty's not a girl but still, he's so sweet when asleep.

Last night, I had dinner with my business associate from Malaysia. His wife, two lively teenage daughters and a son were there too. The girls were so chatty and fun, they charmed the socks off me. When daughters put on their best behavior, they bring so much life and joy to a family.

We had animated conversations about fashion, travel, movie stars and Facebook. Yes, they think this aunty is rather hip.

I went home feeling high and invigorated from the stimulating conversations. In fact, this is something I sorely miss. When I was working in graphic design, we had brainstorming sessions with the team everyday. Even clients would try to pick my brain during meetings, they kept me on my toes at all times but I loved it.

All that stopped when I switched to this current business. Suddenly all the creative people and mental stimulation are gone. My colleague and I work independently and our customers are scattered all over the world, across time zones and we communicate via email.

When I was living with my parents, I chatted with mum everyday but now that we've moved out, some days would go by so quietly, I hardly even open my mouth to speak. Nowadays, I constantly have words and sentences running through my head instead.

In fact I find my mind so cluttered with thoughts all day long, they manifest into amazing dreams at night.

Last night I dreamt I was in a building in New York with Mother Hen and her husband who were there to attend to some business matters. I looked up through the skylight and saw the Statue of Liberty soaring above me. I ran out of the building to stare at the awe inspiring figure. It was freezing cold, yet there were so many colourful cruise ships along the busy Hudson River. Now, I have never been to New York before but the scene was so vivid, it's unbelievable.

I wonder what I'll be dreaming of tonight....

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Gone gone gone

I terminated my club membership today. I remember how I used to admire the gorgeous sunsets over manicured golf course while running in the gym. It's where SK spent many weekends splashing about in the pool and eating ice kachang (shaved ice) at the pool terrace cafe.

Now that we're no longer living near the club, I have decided to give up the membership. I could sell it but nobody's interested in forking out a sum of money to join a club in the depressed economy. I doubt anyone would even want it for free. By giving it up, I save on the monthly subscription fee. Oh well. When times are good again, I can always join another one closer to home.

Views from the gym.

Homeward bound

I drove to the farm early this morning to retrieve my little runaway dog. He spent the night outdoors and strode into the house only early this morning. Dad quickly brought him in and kept him leashed up until my arrival.

My nieces were already there before 7am. Ting was getting ready for school. Here she is, getting her hair tied up into a pony tail.

Being kids, they ran around while waiting for the school bus to arrive. It's really fun watching them laughing and playing, just having a good time.

Here's Cookie, the most well-behaved dog in the world. My older niece Qi said we should give him a "Good Dog Award". Maybe then he can flaunt his award at one of the neighbourhood dog gatherings.

The bus driver was late. The girls even had time to ride their bikes. Here's J.Ling looking like a pomeranian with her big hair.

The bus came and Ting had to leave. It's time to get her baby sister ready for school too. Her bus will be arriving later in the morning.

It was also time for me to leave. While walking to the car, I stopped by to admire my dad's cherry tomato plant which is laden with fruits. He has green thumb!

Now I'm back at work. I brought Rusty to the office with me. After his night of adventure, he's now sleeping under my cubicle.

Good news & bad news

The good news is I had a really relaxing day. My friends came over for lunch and we spent an enjoyable afternoon eating and chatting.

I cooked chicken curry in the morning. Here's a picture of the chicken pieces and potatoes being fried in the wok.

I made some ngoh hiang using minced pork and prawns, water chestnut, spring onions and crushed plain crackers.

The rolls were steamed, panfried and cut into smaller chunks.

It was a hot and windy day. We ventured out to the patio in the late afternoon. My friend's adorable little girl enjoyed herself tremendously in my garden. Aren't I lucky to find another little gardener?

One hand holding her 'naked' rag doll while trying to water the plants using the other hand. Awww!

Now, what's the bad news? It has everything to do with Rusty of course. We went home for dinner at my parents this Sunday evening as usual. When nobody was watching, Rusty snuck out of the house and disappeared into the farm. He refused to emerge even though we called until our voice turned hoarse. Does it sound too familiar by now?

Well, he came out a couple of times but dashed back into the darkness to frolick with another farm dog before we could catch him. We couldn't stay any longer playing hide and seek with him, so we left without him. Hopefully he'll return to my parent's house tonight and stay out of trouble until I bring him home again.

I can't believe he had pulled another stunt on us again. My friends were just praising his good behavior this afternoon. We spoke too soon.

I'm kicking myself so hard now because I can't believe my luck. I bumped into an old friend Daniel (I've known him for 23 years) and his wife at the mall 2 days ago. After I left the mall, his old residential number suddenly came to my mind. When I was younger, I had a fantastic memory and could rattle off everyone's phone numbers like a directory.

My mind was so preoccupied with that number all day, I reminded myself to buy lottery the next day. The trouble was, I had such a busy Saturday, I forgot to visit the lottery outlet. When I checked the winning numbers today, that number won 2nd prize. I could have been $20,000 (USD13,500) richer!

Sigh! Looks like I'm going to have a sleepless night.