March 31, 2009

Behind closed doors

The day got off to a dramatic start this morning when Nick, who had offered to send me to work, got locked in our master bedroom just when we were about to leave the house. He had locked the door while changing and for some reason the doorknob got jammed when he tried to open the door. After twisting and turning on both ends of the door, we gave up and called a locksmith who said he could come in half an hour.

In the meantime, I tried using a knife, a card and the keys to pick the lock but nothing worked.
I had wanted to be at work on time today but couldn't leave Nick in the lurch. He was supposed to drop Nat off at Membina but in the end, Swana and Mummy came over with Gigi.

Aunty Sarda came over to see the commotion as well, she had intended to watch over Nat and Arlyn so that I could go to work on time but eventually I decided to wait for the locksmith too.
He came promptly and got to work immediately. It only took him 2 seconds to open the door, all he did was insert a thick plastic sheet in between the frame and the door and shake the door really hard and voila, Nick was free! The lock broke though and we spent $80 in all for the service and a new doorknob.

I had emailed my bosses via Blackberry to inform them I would be late, but one of them thought it was just a funny excuse for being late and replied, "Hi Susmita, that's the best excuse I've ever heard for coming in late! Good luck and see you later." Just in case he didn't really believe me, I sent him a picture of the locksmith at work. I only took the picture because I was going to blog about it, so it came in handy!

I have a new boss again as of today, in addition to the 3 I am currently supporting. This guy is new, having joined less than a month ago, he is the replacement for my original boss who left in September. Hope he's not a slavedriver!

March 30, 2009

Happy birthday Rena!

Nat seems to be a attracting a lot of insects lately, a few days ago a large raised bump appeared from nowhere on her right leg, Arlyn says it looks like an ant bite. A few small bumps appeared elsewhere on her body, and chicken pox crossed my mind but nothing else cropped up after that, though yesterday we found a large mosquito bite on her thigh.

Last week she fell from the bed a second time, this time on my watch. It happened so fast, I had no time to react. While trying to climb down from the bed, she leaned too far on one side and lost her balance and rolled over the edge of the bed before landing on the floor. Poor baby. After Natasha Richardson died from a seemingly harmless fall while skiiing a couple of weeks ago, I was paranoid of head injuries. But she's ok so far.

Met Jane, Germaine and Rena for high-tea on Saturday at Sheraton, in conjunction with Rena's birthday. The spread was mainly local but there was roast turkey and sushi too. I tried the buah keluak fried rice (not enough keluak if you ask me), assam laksa, peking duck, popiah, dim sum etc. The best thing about the buffet I think was dessert, there was durian pengat and warm chocolate cake prepared on demand. Yum...

We had a lovely afternoon sitting by the waterfall, catching up and making plans for a holiday in the second half of the year. I can't wait...really hope it happens!

After lunch, I met Swana and Nick and the babies at Great World. Nick found Nat's shoes tight and immediately wanted to buy her a new pair so we checked out a couple of stores and he pulled a face when I suggested Bata, but that's where he eventually bought her a pair of Bubble Gummers white mary janes. Cheap and good!

Read some shocking news when I checked my Blackberry just now, a senior executive is leaving the company and there's going to be some changes. My future is uncertain again!

March 24, 2009

Pre-Easter shoot

The Studio Loft had an Easter Hop-In promotion that started yesterday. Since I happened to be on leave again, I brought Nat for yet another close-up, and dragged Swana and Gigi in the process.

Unfortunately, Nat was sleepy by the time we started the shoot so not very many smiley shots. I thought the grass setting provided would be perfect for the ladybug costume I bought from Old Navy, but I ended up with a grumpy bug. Oh well!

Gigi on the other hand is a cam-whore! She was laughing and smiling for all her shots, flashing her toothless grin. In all we selected 20 shots, I think I need to do the ladybug again!

When we were done, we headed to Vivo for lunch at Thai Express and then walked around a bit. Nat wanted to walk on her own, check out how she matched Aunty Nana and Ma.

March 22, 2009

Lazy Sunday lunch

Anjali, Tom, Priya and Komathi (with 3 kids in tow) came over for lunch today. Swana and I felt guilty we hadn't been able to catch up with Anju and Priya the last 2 times we saw them (Nat's party and Rhubesh's wedding) so we decided to host them for lunch and at the same time, screen Anjali's boyfriend Tom properly, heh heh. Gotta look out for our American-raised nieces once in a while, living on their own here while their parents are in Shanghai.

It was a mad rush trying to get the food ready, I was torn between doing Western or Asian, in the end decided it was easier to make Western. So I made calamari, roast chicken, roasted vegetables and mashed potato, while Swana made chorizo sausage pasta, salsa and rocket salad. Ok, technically Nick made the calamari, I'm too chicken to deep fry, but I made the lime and pepper batter, which didn't stick to the squid! Fail!

Other than that, everything turned out well, though I found the chicken a little dry. It was marinated with butter, thyme, salt, pepper and lemon juice but I think not enough butter.

I liked the roasted veggies, very summer kind of dish...just some yellow peppers, zucchini and mushrooms tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and dried mixed herbs, popped into the oven at 200 degrees celsius for 30 mins.

The rocket salad tasted as good as easy to make but such wonderful flavours. All that's needed is some rocket leaves, cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan. For the dressing, equal portions of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, plus minced garlic, dried oregano or Italian herbs, salt, black pepper, and a dash of red wine. Just whisk and drizzle over the salad.

Komathi's Dharmika was so sweet and quiet, she's only a month younger than Gigi. She looks exactly like her grandmother, Aunty Shanta.

Over lunch we got to know Tom a little better, we thought he was English, but he's actually Scottish. Nick taught him how to order coffee from the coffeeshops. He was lamenting the lady shouts 'ang moh kopi' when he places his order, but Nick taught him how to say 'kopi poh' and 'kopi siew tai'.

One of these days, Nick is supposed to introduce him to mee pok..that should be interesting!

March 20, 2009

Drama on the bus 2

Was minding my own business on the 196 bus to work this morning when a young man decided to confront the bus driver about his speed...or lack thereof. I missed the initial part of the conversation but perked my ears up when voices started being raised.

This guy was standing next to the driver at the junction of Eu Tong Seng and Cantonment Road repeating, "You are hogging the road! You are hogging the road!". I was confused at first and looked out the window to see if anyone was hogging the road and where the voice was coming from. Then I realised it was the boy/man, who was evidently incensed that another 196 bus had overtaken ours.

He questioned the driver why he let the other bus pass him by, I don't even think the driver understood the meaning of 'hogging'! I think the driver explained something to the guy or maybe ignored him, because the boy suddenly took offence to something else the driver said and shouted, "What? I am nothing?"

I couldn't hear much after that, I think the driver called his supervisor to report the incident and the boy wanted in on the conversation. But when the driver continued ignoring him, he stormed off the bus when it stopped at Duxton. When I saw his face, he looked like he was about to cry, barely 18yrs I think.

Wonder what his problem was but maybe he wasn't of sound mind?

On a seperate note, I have somehow miraculously lost 1.4kg since I embarked on my weight loss plan, despite taking a hiatus the past 2 weeks. Read somewhere long ago that results only show 2 weeks after you start something, so no doubt I appear slimmer now only because of my efforts from a couple of weeks ago but judging from the way I've been eating recently, am bound to put it all back on in no time!

Weight this morning on an empty stomach was in theory only about 3.6kg to go within the next 3 months. Woo hoo!

March 19, 2009

She speaks!

...sort of! Nick has been away in Tokyo these last few days and I know I have mentioned Nat babbles a few words like 'star' and 'bear' but she doesn't always try out new words. Earlier this evening, while on the line with Nick, I kept putting the phone to Nat's ear and asked her to say 'hi' to daddy, which she shyly repeated as, 'ai' and then after that she went, ''. Close enough!

Had a pleasant evening, catching up with Desmond and Michael over yakitori dinner at Kazu, Cuppage Plaza. Think expensive Japanese satay, but it was good stuff!

We adjourned to NYDC at Heeren for dessert and drinks and were joined by Gen, Michael's fiance. Their wedding is just 6 plus weeks away, I have 3 weddings to attend in April, along with Nick's birthday...April is going to be expensive!

March 16, 2009

Bachelor Boy no more!

Last night, the last of my paternal cousins got hitched. At 36, Rhubesh finally tied the knot, something the family thought would never happen since he had declared he wouldn't marry till he was 45 or 50. But he claims the right girl came along so he thought to himself, 'Why wait?'.

And wait he didn't because it was a whirlwind long-distance courtship that lasted a few months with a Filipina named Jhoana he met here. In December he announced he was getting married and yesterday he put pen to paper. The elusive bride was finally introduced to the rest of us yesterday, we had only seen her pictures, unless one made the trip down to his parents house where he had tucked her away!

She seemed really sweet, her English is limited but am sure they'll work it out somehow. He's definitely smitten!

The wedding was a simple and informal affair, they had rented one of the Changi Ferry Point chalets, a big unit just by the sea. The plan was to exchange vows at sunset - something which we missed because parking was a killer. There was no system to speak of and no actual lots and no wardens so it was a free for all situation. By the time Nick had found a space, the ceremony had ended and all I heard was the applause.

Still, the setting was quite nice though a tad muddy from the earlier rain, managed to catch a glimpse of the setting sun. The dress code was 'insouciant resort wear', trust his sister Kavi to come up with something like that. I wore a newly arrived Forever 21 scarf print top with a turqoise flower and coincidentally I had a turquoise print resort-ish tunic for Nat from Baby we matched!

From an organisational standpoint, some things could have been done better (just my events background speaking) but we still had fun, at the expense of some poor souls who volunteered to sing. Music plays a large part at family weddings and yesterday was no different. Since there were about 7-8 singing acts, the whole thing was turned into 'RJ Idol i.e. Rhubesh/Jhoana Idol', and there were fake judges to boot e.g. Divya Abdul, Dave Dawg and Ajen Cowell.

The first two acts were painful to watch, like the bad auditions you see on American Idol. They just happened to be Rhubesh's students, he gives tuition full time. Gotta give them credit for having the guts to warble like dying cats in front of 200 people though! The performances got progressively better but I didn't stick around to find out who 'won' because Nat was hungry and cranky.

I was largely distracted the whole evening, didn't really get a chance to mingle. Was keeping a lookout for Nat since Arlyn had stayed at home, so me and Nick were on guard duty. It was hard to keep track of Nat because so many people wanted to carry her, plus it was dark outdoors. You hear horror stories of kids being kidnapped or drowning when parents take their eyes off them for a couple of minutes.

Just a couple of days ago, the youngest son of the family Arlyn's sister is working for passed away. He had drowned while swimming a couple of weeks ago and had been in a coma. He was only 3 and had been at the pool with his mum. I don't know what happened exactly but the mum must be wishing she could turn back time. Sigh, so tragic.

March 15, 2009

Miss Independent

Went to the Takashimaya Baby Fair yesterday, never seen so many pregnant people all at once! Bought an extra Maclaren stroller that was going for $98, shared with Swana. Can't resist a bargain as you know, but also Ma has been saying she wanted an extra one because the two babies were getting heavier and she wanted to be more mobile when bringing them down to the park.

I also bought some wooden letters to stick on Nat's room door but she tries to pry them off whenever she 'walks' past.

There was a Warehouse/Topshop/Miss Selfridge sale going on too within Taka, bought a pair of denim shorts and 2 tops for $60. Who cares if one of the tops was loose, it was $19 and silk and marked down from $113.

Nick was in KL for the day and I made dinner for me and Arlyn, some baked chicken drumlets and roasted veggies, turned out quite nice. I also made a batch of vegetable stew for Nat which she seemed to enjoy.

This morning, we had breakfast at West Coast McDonalds, Nat was such a ham. I put a very, very tiny amount of syrup on a hotcake for her and when she was fed a morsel, she went, "Mmmm". Wonder where she learnt that from, she also goes 'Aaaah' after drinking water, like a Pepsi commercial.

The weather was super hot, but our friend refused to wear a hat. She wanted to walk by the water so we held her hand. At home, the most she will venture is 3 steps unaided, I will stand in a corner and encourage her to walk to me, but then keep taking steps backwards until she looks like she's going to fall then intervene. I think by end of the month, she should be walking proper. I seriously need to babyproof the house more!

March 13, 2009

Mini Fran

I have a little Fran Drescher on my hands...Nat's laughter sounds A LOT like The Nanny's. That annoying, nasal, "eh-eh-eh-eh-eh" that sounds like an engine won't start. It's highly amusing! And she does it all the time!

I can just picture her wearing colourful suits and going, "Mr Sheffieeeld..."

Yesterday she tried to say 'star', but it sounds more like 'tar' and this morning as she carried her rubber ducky, she said 'duh' for duck!

She speaks!

March 10, 2009

Drama on the bus

Was on 167 yesterday evening en route home but somehow I missed my stop because I had mistakenly thought someone else had pressed the bell. But when the bus whizzed past my bus-stop, I resigned myself to backtracking on foot.

Just as I was making my way to the exits, the bus driver who was kind of speeding, slowed down suddenly, I think the traffic light was changing. What he failed to notice was than an old lady was also getting ready to alight and had stood up. Suffice it to say, she lost her balance and fell heavily on her back and hit her head on the driver's cubicle door. I really can't remember how it happened now, but at some point he did brake suddenly in the middle of the road.

The whole bus gasped but only the front two passengers went to her aid so I went and offered my help as well, putting her bags aside and holding her as she composed herself. Subsequently she and the driver had a heated exchange in Hokkien, he was blaming her for standing I think, and she was explaining she was getting ready to alight. I don't think he actually apologized.

I don't think she broke anything but her forehead had a red bump. She was mobile enough to alight the bus on her own. I regret not offering her more assistance, I'm sure she would be aching today and badly bruised. She could at least claim medical compensation from SMRT, it didn't cross my mind at the time to take down the bus number and check on her more. Maybe I'll write to SMRT anyway, just to make them aware of the incident.

On a brighter note, Nickypoo asked me to tune in to the Jack and Rai show on Class 95 last night, he had made a dedication to me and Nat! Jack and Rai were at the Contiki Beach Netball tournament on Sentosa the day before so they invited him to call in and talk a bit about the event.

Anyway, the song they sang was 'Fire' by Babyface and Des'ree. I don't think Nick picked it out, Jack might have suggested it in reference to the hot weather at the netball event, but still it has some significance because I remember there was a point in our courtship that the song was mentioned or played or we danced to it or something. Aaaawwww...

March 9, 2009

Diva's Day Out 3

Held the 3rd edition of Diva's Day Out at my house on Saturday, and I must say it was better than expected. A lot more people came this time round, makes you wonder, "What recession?". Perhaps people were just looking for bargains?

There was a constant stream of visitors and many existing DD customers brought their friends. A lot of people were also there to collect their orders from Joanne, plus we had some additional vendors whose friends also turned up to support. I was surrounded by Joanne's family - 3 of her cousins formed the additional vendors, selling their second hand stuff, handmade jewellery and one was launching her baking business.

I exceeded my very conservative sales target by quite a bit, thanks to the Kate Spade bag finally being sold! Also sold a number of dresses and some maternity clothes.

I still have plenty to offload...will try to get a flea market stall one of these days.

March 6, 2009

Molto Bene!

Just had a late lunch with Nickypoo, as a belated anniversary celebratory meal. I took leave today but ended up working half the day. He took halfday and just woke up from his nap.

At first I had made a reservation at Flutes at the Fort, but after seeing their weekly specials (steak tartare and kangaroo!) I decided to see if Valentino's could accommodate us at the last minute. Had been meaning to check them out for the longest time, but it was always hard to get a dinner reservation unless you book weeks in advance. Lunch was a lot easier, only a day's notice.

True to all all the reviews, it was a charming Italian restaurant in the middle of nowhere, modest but homely. A family run business with Chef Valentino roping in his sister, brother-in-law and parents to help with the service and cooking. The server we had knew her daily specials well and ran through the list with us, taking the time to describe each dish.

I settled on a crabmeat pasta, but changed the original squid ink spaghetti to regular linguine. Nick had a beef tenderloin with gorgonzola sauce and we shared one of the daily antipasto specials, deep fried zucchini.

The zucchini was coated with breadcrumbs and fried to perfection, a quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice jazzed it up a notch. There were about 5 slices, probably half a zucchini was used so though it was yummy, I found it a tad pricey at $26+ because for $16 I could have had calamari instead.

Even my pasta with crabmeat was cheaper at $24+, and it was filled with generous chunks of crabmeat and laced with a creamy tomato sauce. Nick was impressed with his beef tenderloin and the overall standard of food though and doesn't mind going again.

We were too stuffed for dessert but popped in their pastry shop Perla next door where Valentino himself explained some of the tart flavours and gave me a chocolate 'salami' to try. We bought two mini tarts, a mixed berry with custard and a chocolate crumble. Have yet to try them but am sure they will be outstanding.

Can't wait to try other stuff on the menu!