July 27, 2008

Say, "Aaaah"

Made a first attempt at introducing solids to the munchkin earlier yesterday and as expected, she didn't like it.

Had bought some rice cereal to start with and her facial expression was just priceless when she took her first spoon. I didn't even fill the spoon, just a tiny drop but she spat bits of it out. Made 3 attempts and gave up. Nick tasted some of the cereal and said it was sweet, maybe should go with something more bland. Shall attempt again tomorrow, perhaps some cereal in her milk.

July 26, 2008

Riley's Barnyard Birthday Bash

Riley celebrated her 1st birthday today, 3 days ahead of the actual date. It was held at Savannah Condo Park courtesy of Kaelash's uncle who lives in the estate. The place was very nice actually, Swana commented it felt like we were in Africa when statues of giraffe, elephants and leopards greeted us as we drove past the guardhouse.

Since the theme was Barnyard Bash, we came in our farming best. Well, the only thing I had resembling something country-looking was a pink gingham top. Nutty wore striped pink overalls and brought her own cow that played 'Old Macdonald had a farm' when you pull the handle...I swiped it from the Fisher Price rocker we have at home.

The party was grand - the function room was filled with helium balloons, signage, and some entertainers who kept the kids occupied with storytelling, music and games. There was even a piniata, body painting, sprays to colour hair and photo montages of Riley, plus a donation box for her education fund!

Food was catered from the Eurasian Association and the cake from Awfully Chocolate. Jeanette even made all the desserts.

Gosh, I wonder what Nutty's first birthday will be like? I can't imagine a birthday party filled with screaming children, bouncy castles etc. Our house is too small and I can't think of any reasonably-priced nice venues to rent. Am not into chalets and we don't have any club memberships. Nick and I think we will be quite slack when the time comes, I know we will have cake...but other than that, I can't envision anything else!

Hmm, I have to start planning already.

Adios Pedro, Bonjour Pierre!

Ok lah, some of you were very clever and guessed what our major purchase was. Yes, we have a new car...just collected it today. Actually, it's not new but rather a second-hand Peugeot 407 sedan bought at the SPH Car-nival two weeks ago. Succumbed to temptation especially since the car was in very good condition with relatively low mileage, the dealer was willing to offer a reasonable amount for Pedro and the interest rate was at 2.65%!

We were initially supposed to collect it last weekend, but when we went down to Car Times at West Coast and test drove it, something was wrong with the brakes so the dealer sent it in to Autofrance to check. And then after that, had to do the Vicom inspection for road tax renewal so we only managed to take ownership of our new 'baby' today. Actually the whole experience with Car Times was very pleasant, and Nick was impressed with their service.

I was kinda sad to leave Pedro behind but also look forward to zipping around in Pierre the Peugeot. You know, the fact that 'Pedro' and 'Pierre' both mean 'Peter' is a coincidence. And the fact that Peter is Nick's middle name is another coincidence. I hadn't put this together till today. Swana was the one who suggested naming the Picanto Pedro when we first got him. We had wanted something Latin sounding in P since Picanto sounded like some Mexican dish and Pedro was short and snappy.

And, at the back of my mind, I always knew that if we ever got a Peugeot, I would name him Pierre. Firstly it was French, and secondly it started with P. I had toyed with Philippe, Pascal, Jean Paul, Henri and Thierry but went with Pierre in the end, and today Swana pointed out that Pedro and Pierre both translated to Peter and I wondered how come it never occured to me before.

Anyways, it's been hard to keep the news from Mummy and we finally surprised her today when we went to pick her, Arlyn and Swana after collecting the car. She had been looking out for the silver car and didn't realise we were in the Peugeot till we pulled up. I managed to capture her expression! Must buy 4D soon!

When we were leaving the house to go out, I spotted a snake downstairs. Its head was sticking out from the a gap in the pavement and I was kind of shocked. Reminded me of the time I mistook a giant monitor lizard for a snake when walking home from primary school one day and ran all the way home crying, traumatised by the sight!

I was slightly calmer this time, more excited than anything. Had my camera with me and managed to snap a picture before it disappeared back into its hideout. Ma thinks it's a black cobra, I have mentally named it Caspian. Don't ask me why. I have a thing with double letter initials. I even named a stingray I saw along the beach in the Maldives while on honeymoon, something like Sam the Stingray, or maybe it was Steve?

Had wanted to call the AVA but didn't have the number on hand. Will take a look tomorrow if I go out and if it's still there, will call the authorities. Am actually inclined to leave it alone, but in case it is a cobra, better to alert AVA or something since kids play around that area.

Mafia Night

Our company D&D was finally held last night at HOUSE, Dempsey Road after months of delay. It was actually supposed to have been held while I was on maternity leave but for some reason got pushed back...maybe because there was no one really heading the social and recreation club after one of the HR persons left, and the ball got dropped.

In the end, I did most of the event management. I couldn't sit and watch from the sidelines while the committee ding-donged on every decision, so I stepped up to liaise with the event company and venue, sourced door gifts, sorted the lucky draw prizes with help from another colleague, and did the internal publicity and actual day event logistics including bus shuttles to ferry people out. Phew!

It all went well last night, I think majority had fun. We had about 120 persons including partners and overseas colleagues and people got hooked onto the Nintendo Wii game consoles set up, that it was hard to draw their attention to the stage. But overall feedback was that it was more fun than last year, because people did not leave immediately after the event. There were a few stray ones who stayed to continue drinking and explore the rest of HOUSE.

The food was surprisingly good, and there was so much leftover. I really enjoyed the roast chicken, grilled seabass with citrus sauce, mushroom soup and the coconut apricot cake, which I took home a large chunk of. There were actually some portions of vegetarian risotto prepared for some of the guests, and I had a one and a half plates of it. It was that good, just the right texture with some cheese, asparagus, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Simple but tasty!

I even won a prize in the lucky draw, a 2D/1N stay at the Caribbean Residences, a service apartment at Keppel. Shall be checking that out soon! Here are some photos from the event...

July 20, 2008

Happy Days

Ok, ComGateway redeemed themselves slightly as I received the missing Old Navy package on Thursday...but there's still part of that order that's missing as the merchant had shipped a pair of shorts and socks seperately. The next day I received my Motherhood order, less than a week after it arrived at the ComGateway US address.

However, I have not heard back from their customer service people despite 2 emails, so am still miffed.

Swana has been staying over the last 3 nights while Kevin's in India. Today she helped me sort some of the stuff that I am selling at my home bazaar. The original cost of the clothes on sale add up to a few thousand dollars! Scary!

But at the rate I am eating, there will be more clothes in future that don't fit. Last Thursday evening, I met up with some of the ladies from SES, past and present, for the Fullerton Hotel chocolate buffet. There was Yus, Emily and Theni plus Bona whom I had not met before but have occasionally read her blog. Caprice popped in for a bit too, I brought my camera but forgot to take pictures! Duh. But will take pictures at the next one, we said we should feast together regularly and have planned to attack The Line at Shangri-La next.

It was just like old times. I think out of all the places I've worked, the colleagues at SES still rank as the best. Despite the high amounts of estrogen in the air from working in an all-girl department, there was no animosity or politicking against each other, but we were united by a common enemy. I cherish all the friends made there and miss the good old days at Cathay Building and Goldbell Towers. Sigh...

Went furniture hunting on Friday with Swana, and Ma, Arlyn and Nutty came along for the ride. Had lunch with Aunty Sarda at Shokodu at Raffles City first, before heading to the mega Courts and Ikea at Tampines. The food at Shokodu was not bad and not very expensive, it's like a Japanese Marche and we may have overordered a little. I had one of those tomato rices with an omelette and chicken chop, and we shared gyoza, yakitori sticks, a waffle and a crepe!

The Courts at Tampines was a disappointment, not to mention the layout sucked in terms of entrances, exits and escalators. In the end, Swana didn't buy anything from there nor Ikea, but yesterday she found a computer table she liked at the VHIVE Jurong outlet. Nick drove us all the way there and for dinner we landed up at Tanglin Mall. I opted for Spageddies and had my favourite crayfish parmagianna and picked off everyone else's mains. Such a glut.

Am ignoring my daughter by blogging, and I have to continue sorting out my inventory...ciao for now.

July 16, 2008

Those twits at ComGateway

I just have to rant.

Stupid ComGateway screwed up another one of my orders, this is the 3rd time. The first time was a delay in delivering an Old Navy order. I didn't mind so much because I saved on shipping charges in the end after they waived it.

The second time, a concierge order I had placed for Ann Taylor got sent to a wrong US address and was returned to the merchant. It was more than a month by the time the package was delivered correctly, and I subsequently received it this Monday. The order was originally placed on 3rd June! Am still not sure what kind of charges I will incur but Ann Taylor had better offer some kind of discount for screwing it up.

Today I just found out another order has been wrongly delivered. This particular Old Navy order had been placed on 21 June, and arrived at ComGateway's Portland facility on 26 June. Last Tuesday when I asked their customer service to check, they said the shipment was in Singapore but there had been a delivery error. They did not elaborate what the delivery error was but said they would expedite the courier.

I gave it a few days, but still nothing. On Monday night, I wrote to their customer service email enquiring about the status but till today there was no reply despite their auto-reply saying they would revert within two days.

I engaged a customer service officer named Kate in a live chat just now and she said the package had been delivered! I said no it hadn't, nothing had been sent to my house. But she said according to the airwaybill, someone named Joyce had signed for it on 11 July. I said I didn't know any Joyce and no such person lived in my house and I definitely have not received anything. She apologised and said they would look into it.

I printed out the DHL tracking result, the package supposedly arrived in Singapore on 29 June but I wonder why there was no attempt at delivery till 7 July. According to the tracking result, a recipient refused delivery on 7 July, probably because it wasn't meant for them but DHL tried again on the 11th and this time it was delivered.

They have no excuse getting the address wrong, everything is registered with ComGateway and should be on their system. It was probably a human error or really bad handwriting.

I had been looking forward to receiving my package and now there's a possibility I may never receive it. I doubt Joyce wants to return all those free clothes! She might even have distributed them all by now! Such a pity too, since I had some dresses for Nutty in there to match mine. I expect a full refund and compensation for my order cost because Old Navy would have charged my credit card directly.


I am not pleased. As soon as my last outstanding ComGateway order from Motherhood.com arrives, I am cancelling my account.

July 13, 2008

Oops, we did it again!

Me and Nick have a habit of making impulsive big ticket item purchases. First it was the house which we bought in 10 minutes (I have no regrets about that one), then it was Pedro the Picanto which was another 10 minute transaction. Again no regrets, he served us well.

Today we paid a deposit for another large purchase, if all goes well, we should be able to reveal what it is in a few days. Nothing is finalised yet, so I am not at liberty to say...but watch this space! This time, the decision took slightly longer, 1 hour!

Caryn the Adult

Yesterday was the 21st birthday party of Caryn, and me and Nick attended along with the Babes and Dopes. Caryn had 'chope-ed' us way in advance, several months ago in fact!

I haven't actually attended that many 21st birthday parties but whatever few I had attended were all either like BBQs at chalets or home parties. This one was a posh affair at Oosh at Dempsey Road, complete with free flow alcohol, backdrop, door gift, stage games and perfomances by EIC.

Caryn had a surprise in store for her guests - the door gift was a 4-track album with her on lead vocals and backed up and produced by Jack and Rai of EIC! Jack and Rai and their respective girlfriends were seated at our table, and Jack passed Nick a copy of their new album titled "In Stores Now" which I asked them to autograph. There's a Contiki contest that buyers of the CD are eligible for so Nick was showing off his tiny sticker on the album sleeve and the contest insert.

John and Kevin got called up on stage for one of the drinking games, sipping beer with a straw. Surprisingly the two mamas lost to Caryn's older uncles!

The birthday girl herself was a social butterfly, flitting from one table to another...if this was just the 21st birthday, I wonder what her wedding - whenever that happens - will be like. She's already reserved Nutty for a flowergirl, ha ha!

July 12, 2008

Mita Stewart strikes again

Ok, so I cheated and didn't bake my cake from scratch, but still it was the thought that counted.

Kevin and Swana came over for lunch and as we didn't get a cake for Kevin last Wednesday, Swana thought of getting him a cake for today. But when I woke up, I decided to bake one instead since I had the lemon cake mix lying around, plus wanted to use my poppy seeds before they expired.

Sham popped by for a bit too and she minded Nat while we had a late lunch. Natalie really enjoyed her company, Sham seriously needs to get out from her ministry and find a job with less taxing hours, and then she can babysit next time. Ha ha!

Anyways, here it is, my lemon poppy seed cake.

New toys for the munchkin

Nutty was scheduled to have a jab yesterday but when we got to the Outram Polyclinic, the nurse advised not to do it as it had been less than one month since her Rotavirus immunisation at a private clinic. Bugger.

Instead of trooping home, me and Ma decided to hit Centrepoint, dragging Nutty and Arlyn along in the process. I bought Nutty a number of toys and outfits, using up nearly all my John Little and Robinsons' vouchers. Luckily the peak period and city area surcharges were not in effect yet, so our cabfare home was relatively cheap.

At night we went out again, this time to Harbourfront for dinner and some groceries. Checked out the Mothercare flagship store, it was pretty big! However certain things at the Centrepoint outlet were on sale and I didn't see these at the Harbourfront store. For example, a changing table and high chair on sale at Centrepoint were not on sale at Harbourfront. Strange. Plus, I saw my B&W Oriental Hobo OiOi diaper bag at Centrepoint and the pink paisley print one I was originally eyeing. But there were no OiOi diaper bags at Harbourfront.

Anyway, back to the point about cabfares...after the last price increase at the end of last year, I had vowed to avoid taking cabs where possible...I just don't think all the surcharges and hikes are necessary to help the drivers out and improve availability. And yesterday they announced the implementation of a 30ct diesel surcharge, plus there are soooo many ERP gantries everywhere now. And there will be a public transport fare hike again around October.

A cab to Orchard from home during peak periods costs more than $10 now, when previously it was around $5. Everyone's feeling the pinch of inflation, rising food and oil prices but yet the powers that be keep raising prices! And as much as we complain, after a period of adjustment, everyone just accepts the changes. No strikes, no protests, no nothing.

The taxi companies should cut back on their rental fees as far as I am concerned if they want to lessen the burden of rising costs to their drivers. Can you imagine, one taxi paying an average of $90 daily for a year equates to over $30K. Multiply that by 7 years and taxi companies would have earned over $210K per car in a seven year period, way over what the actual cost of the car was and at the end of the day, the drivers don't own the taxi! The largest operator here has 15,000 taxis in its fleet...that's over a $1 million in rental income a day!

That's the problem when all these public service companies start listing themselves - profit and increasing revenue is all they care about and accountability to their shareholders. I have gripes about ERP too, not being ungrateful or sour grapes but I do personally feel it's a cash cow for the LTA.

Nick says he is starting to feel suffocated here, but the grass isn't always greener elsewhere. Hmmm, wonder if we will uproot at some point?

July 10, 2008

Spotlight on Kevin

Yesterday was Kevin's birthday and me, Ma, Arlyn and Nutty had dinner with him and Swana at Crystal Jade Kitchen at Plaza Singapura. Kavi and Siva joined us too, because the Babes and the Dopes were watching 'Get Smart' after dinner.

Me and Mummy had an ulterior motive in picking Plaza Sing, there was a one day 20% storewide Spotlight sale and we both wanted to buy more material...to add to the gazillion untailored pieces we already have!

The queue to cut cloth and pay was horrendous though! Even though Arlyn helped me queue the moment we got there while I started browsing, it still took over 90 minutes to get my materials cut. And after that, we still had to join another queue to pay! It was 2 hours later that we finally left and it was way past the store's closing time and Nutty's bedtime.

On top of things, I had to navigate Nutty's stroller with one hand and lug rolls of cloth to the counter one by one. I couldn't leave her with Arlyn because she was squealing and talking to herself and the aisle where the queue started was just too cramped and Nutty's stroller would be in everyone's way.

I don't know why they only allow one counter to cut dress fabrics! It was the same queue to cut and pay and it took at least 5 mins to process each customer because they only had one cash register. Later on, they directed people to other counters to get cloth cut, but after cutting, still had to join the cashier queue all over again. Bad system!

Nevertheless, I am still quite happy with my purchases...

July 7, 2008

Nuts at T3

Ben and Wendy left for an ultra-long holiday to Melbourne last night, only returning on my birthday next month. They couldn't confirm seats direct to Melbourne on Ben's mileage so they went via Adelaide instead.

Sigh, I wanna go on a holiday too! We went to the airport to have dinner and see them off, it was Nutty's first time at the airport and she was super excited! Maybe she thought she was going on a trip too! I must say T3 looks pretty nice, very spacious and the best part was that it was not too crowded.

We settled at the Lerk Thai restaurant since there was no queue, and during dinner presented Ben with his advance birthday present, since he was not going to be in town.

This year, it's a pair of walkabout tickets to the Singapore F1 qualifying session. I made a voucher for him since the tickets will only be ready in August. Before you ask why the tickets aren't to the actual race, it's because we all have a wedding dinner to attend that evening. Xinyi - can you put up some large screen TVs at your dinner?

After dinner we went up to the Harry's thinking that we could have coffee and catch the F1 British Grand Prix. But, the coffee machine was down and the coffee junkies decided they would rather drink coffee elsewhere than catch the race. So off we went to TCC, where I had a rather yummy tiramisu.

Earlier in the day, me, Nick and Swana went to browse cars at Leng Kee, popping into the Citroen, Opel, Subaru and Honda showrooms. Nick liked the Citroen C4 Picasso and Opel Astra, but I preferred the Opel Zafira, am such a soccer mom, I like MPVs! At Subaru, we checked out the Forrester and Legacy wagon, the wagon was nicer than the Forrester.

Last stop was Honda where Nick bumped into his friend who is a salesman there. I finally got to inspect the Stream up close plus the Odyssey and CRV. The 7-seater Stream is surprising spacious, despite its compact nature, The back 2 seats have ample leg room just like the Opel Zafira.

In comparison, the C4 Grand Picasso is so tall and bulky yet the back two passengers almost have to sit with their legs up. Bad space planning Citroen!

July 4, 2008

Spot the difference!

Today is Nutty's 5th month on earth, and coincidentally America's birthday too. The jury is still out on who she looks like more - me or Nick, but I still contend she looks more like me, only bearing a similarity to him when grumpy or sleeping. But actually, she looks most like my sister, check out our baby pictures below and compare for yourself.

Me at a few months

Me at 1 year plus, my passport picture!

Swana at 7 months

Swana at 7 months

Anyways, the munchkin is starting to assert herself more and registers her displeasure whenever something doesn't go her way.

For example, when she wants to be upright she will wriggle and protest while on her back, and if she's not picked up in 10 seconds, she'll wail like there's no tomorrow and as if the whole world is against her! And once you pick her up and walk a bit, she'll go, "Hmpfff" and give you a look saying, "Didn't you get the memo that I like to be upright these days?"

But she has the cutest giggle, and it's easy to make her laugh. Just act like a total idiot and throw all caution to the wind! Funny faces and sounds repeated over and over again do the trick. She also drools like nobody's business, sucks incessantly on her mittens and puts everything into her mouth, especially the furry parts of toys!

I miss her blobby newborn days when she would just sleep all day and stay still!