June 30, 2012

West Coast and a Wedding

It had been a while since we’d visited West Coast Park so we took the girls there this morning.

It seemed a lot more crowded compared to 2 years ago, I think more families have discovered the place, plus there are more housing developments in the vicinity.

But still, there was sufficient playground space for all, and while Nick minded Nat, I watched over Sasha while munching on my hash browns.

She hoarded a seat within a fire engine truck, not giving others a chance to try driving it despite me reminding her to let others have a chance. After a while I went to hide in a bid to make her look for me and vacate her seat, and it worked because I heard her calling for Mummy in a teary voice.

We then went to see what Nick and Nat were up to, Nat was having a ball on the zip line while Nickypoo worked up a sweat pushing her along. Then we tried these rubber hammock swing things, there is some very fun equipment at West Coast!

When we got home, I decided to make gingerbread men with Nat, she helped me roll the dough, cut out the shapes and stick the buttons on the cookies. She even made an Indian gingerbread man by adding a pottu!

In the evening, Nick brought them over to Membina to play with the cousins while I popped by SGH to visit Aunty Sarda. Valembal, Aunty Susi and Ma were there, Swana and Kaelash popped by too.

The bandage had been removed from Aunty Sarda’s head and her scar was exposed, there was a long line of staples from the middle of her head to the ear. Ouch!

Then I rushed home to get ready for my ex-colleague’s wedding at Goodwood. She had planned a movie themed nite. I didn’t dress up in any character but a lot of her other friends did! There were superheroes, a Journey to the West cast, Cleopatras, Elvis etc. It was quite funny, felt like a D&D!

Serene was of course very radiant, her gown was very princessy which is unlike her, because at work she was quite tomboyish, always in pants.

Dinner started promptly at 8pm, one of the earliest dinners I’ve sat through by Chinese standards! By 8.45pm, we were on the 4th course!

The couple dressed to the theme for their second walk in, the groom Basil dressed as a gladiator or Spartan warrior, while Serene was like a Greek goddess. You can tell these two don’t take themselves very seriously.

But it was a really fun wedding, Basil made a touching and funny speech to his parents and Serene. You can sense how much he loves her, awwww. Even their wedding photoshoot had a series of funny shots and their montage was cute. Must get the contact of the studio she used.

Dessert was not the usual orh nee, but mini Haagen Dazs ice cream cakes. Very pretty!

My colleague Wee Ngee offered to send me home and I hitched a ride in his Saab lime green convertible and he obliged my request to lower the roof. So it was my first ever ‘topless’ ride, surprisingly quiet, didn’t hear the street noise or feel the dust at all!

Jason Mraz at The Meadow

Yesterday evening, I had the Jason Mraz concert to attend. Swana was supposed to pick me up after work but there was a miscommunication and she bailed in the end. So I proceeded to take bus 97 from my office to MBS, normally a 5 min ride and the bus is frequent.

However, I lost my building pass just before I left work and the search for it made me miss one bus just as I was crossing the road. I thought the next bus would come along soon enough but after 30 mins, it was nowhere in sight.

When it did appear however, it was packed to the brim and nobody could board. Had to wait another 20 mins for the next bus which was also packed and when I reached MBS, I was not a happy camper.

The view as I walked from MBS to Gardens by the Bay perked me up slightly and I snapped some pictures along the way. Swana informed me a glass of Moscato was awaiting me at Verandah Café where she, Kavi and John were having a bite.

Being new to the Gardens, we didn’t know our bearings. She told me to come to the set of 3 Supertrees near the glass domes and I walked towards the trio I saw only to find out there’s another set near the entrance. So it was really not my day and I had to forego the moscato because we were running late!

We entered The Meadow where the concert was being held just as Jason kicked off promptly at 8pm. Took us a couple of songs to find a good spot to sit, we just wanted to chill instead of standing for 2 hours.

The first half I didn’t recognise any songs, but it picked up in the second half with Frank D Fixer, Mr Curiosity, You and I, The Remedy and of course Lucky which he sang with Corrine May and I’m Yours. For his encore he did 93 Million Miles and I Won’t Give Up, which made me teary...I think all married couples should listen to it!

He’s such a talented and witty songwriter, if you read his lyrics. Had a great time and so did the other 15,000 strong crowd.

Explored the gardens a little bit, the Supertree Grove was quite magical, makes one feel tiny. Need to come back one day and take some nicer pictures!

We ended up walking to MBS in search of drinks and food after giving up trying to get a cab. Swana got distracted by the Mulberry boutique while Kavi went to the ATM, they were still open at 11.30pm!

They didn’t have my fuchsia small Bayswater but according to the salesman, it was retailing for $1690 and was sold out long ago, so it wouldn’t have been available on sale. I feel better now! Swana impulsively bought yet another bag! A patent leather cream sling.

We ended up at HY California for some drinks and snacks, nice place to chill and enjoy the view although the LV Maison blocks the skyline. The calamari was crispy and their salsa is very refreshing.

Had to walk really far to get a cab home, we walked from MBS to NTUC Building...the queue outside the casino was ridiculous, more than 100m long I reckon!

Earlier in the day, Nat had a major meltdown just before the school bus was due to pick her up. She refused to go to school and when Ma called me at work, I could hear her screaming her head off in the background.

She didn’t state why, just kept repeating ‘I don’t want to go to school’. She then said she didn’t want to attend PE and Ma kept trying to reassure her that she could sit out PE if she didn’t want to join in and that I would inform her teacher of it. But it was futile.

When pressed for other reasons, she claimed someone in class had called her naughty, her friend Jordan. Knowing how sensitive Nat is, that was probably the main reason why she didn’t want to go.

In the end, I rushed down during lunch to persuade her to attend, I wasn’t going to make it a habit for her to skip school whenever she was upset about something. She wore her home clothes and I promised she could have a few minutes at the playground before heading to class.

She was really happy at the playground and then when we found the class in the activity room going through their PE lesson, she refused to enter. After a while she warmed up, and joined in bouncing some balls. Gigi was trying to sayang her, she also looked like she was going to cry because Nat was crying.

I asked the teacher Mrs Koh if anything had happened of late, and she said no. We both think it’s a case of not re-adjusting to their old routine after school holidays. Anyway, I agreed with the teacher it was best for me to just leave and let her deal with the aftermath, so I snuck off when Nat was distracted. She probably hates me for that!

June 28, 2012

Evil Rena!

No lah, I don't really mean that. Or maybe I do, because she made me part with a large amount of money!

We met for lunch today and to check out the Reebonz GSS sale...their showroom is conveniently located in Raffles Place.

Wasn't planning on buying anything especially since I know they probably get their goods from the factory outlets and mark up 2 or 3 times. Like a Prada bag I would have bought for less than $550 would sell around 1.2 - 1.5K in their flash sales online.

Anyway, we browsed around and after a while my hands were full with a Fendi denim bag, a brown Tods rounded tote and a red YSL Muse that seemed like a bargain at 2.5K less 30%.

I was leaning towards the Fendi which would have cost around $750 when I spotted a small Mulberry Bayswater in the colour I had been eyeing in Amsterdam, hot fuschia. I asked the group of ladies standing in front of it whether it belonged to any of them and when they said no, I grabbed it and didn't let go!

I can't remember how much it was in Holland, something like 790 euros I think. This one was $1690 less 30% plus another 5% for Mastercard and I had a $100 Reebonz voucher for RSVPing. So the total damage was $1050. Ouch! But still cheaper than the original selling price of GBP 695 I think so I don't feel so bad.

Hopefully I can get the boy to offset some of the cost since he owes me a dress and birthday present, which should defray 70%. Forget the dress, I'd rather have this bag! Heh heh.

Germaine, Joanne and Rayhan popped by this evening, self-inviting themselves. I was at the hospital when Germaine arrived, Sasha screamed the house down apparently. I don’t know why she’s still scared of Germs and eyed her with suspicion the whole evening, making sure she didn’t come near her.

Germaine made herself very comfortable as you can tell!

While the adults ate and chatted over wine, the kids coloured and drew. Ray seemed to be under the weather still, his voice was husky and Nick wasn’t quite convinced he was 100% healthy.

There was one point when Ray and Sasha were playing in the room when Joanne made Ray go and hug Nat good night. Sasha stood up behind Ray immediately and stretched out her arms and said, “Hug me!” to his back…classic moment!

June 26, 2012

The road is long

I just got back from visiting Aunty Sarda not long ago. She was in the midst of dinner, managing to feed herself but I think the op took a toll on her because she had to rest a fair bit in between bites, caught her dozing off a couple of times.

She will be in ICU for at least one more night, she could recognise people but could not verbalise what was on her mind but I think it should improve once the swelling goes down. At one point she kept pointing to her pillow and saying ‘Listen to here’ but I didn’t know what she wanted till I figured she wanted to move her pillow down.

I think essentially she is recovering well, doesn't complain of any pain but I sense her frustration at her current state of helplessness. At this point all she wants to do is rest as much as possible, so I think she will only be up for visitors from Thursday or Friday onwards.

June 25, 2012

Umpteenth trip to KK

School reopened today but my daughter had to ponteng because it’s now her turn to be down with stomach flu, after Sasha had it last week.

Spent several hours at KK yesterday because Nick didn’t want to leave anything to chance after she was vomiting non-stop for 2 hours.

Same old routine/treatment while being observed at KK – anti-vomiting meds administered followed by 30ml of liquid every 15 mins for 1 hour, no dairy for the next few days, plus paracetamol if there is fever.

We could have done it at home but he’s too impatient. Anyway, Nat felt better at the hospital after a while and could dance and sing.

Sasha just had a fall, my poor poor pumpkin ran after her shower while wrapped in her towel and slipped and hit her head on the floor. Just because she was screaming her head off he wanted to go to the hospital without first waiting to check for signs of concussion.

But I made him wait till she calmed down and there doesn’t seem to be any ill effects. At least I pray not. I seriously need to get her a helmet.

Today was Aunty Sarda’s surgery. I couldn’t visit her yesterday because of Nat and today I didn’t go because she would be very groggy.

It went as desired, according to the doctors. Swana overheard them telling her she did well. The tissue sample has been sent for formal testing but the doc says the shape is highly indicative of an aggressive malignant tumour.

She's resting in the ICU and will be transferred back to her ward within a few days if there are no complications. I for one am relieved that at least the surgery was successful and we all look forward to her recovery and discharge.

June 24, 2012

Melissa & Derong get hitched

Congratulations to Melissa and Derong who tied the knot today, or rather yesterday!

There was a church ceremony in the morning, followed by dinner. Nick was scheduled to play in a Father’s Day football tournament with his friends but Sasha was not well so he decided to stay home with her.

I brought Nat to the church wedding, she’s starting to get into weddings, says she wants to be a bride one day. Mark and Grace were there with baby Marie, she’s grown so much!

There was a cute sign in counter with Mr and Mrs Potato Head figurines and instead of signing a book or poster, there were Jenga blocks.

We caught a glimpse of Mel when she arrived as we were still loitering outside. She was gorgeous in her gown but that was our cue to get seated.

For some reason though, the ceremony didn’t start immediately. Everyone was ready and for close to 10 mins, Mel just waited at the entrance. But eventually she walked down to Canon’s Pachelbel and the ceremony progressed.

A few minutes into the ceremony, we saw the videocamera crew rushing in…so they had been waiting for them to arrive. Must have gotten lost, they got tekan-ed by the priest who was quite sarcastic about their tardiness. I’m sure they didn’t mean it, they were from Malaysia and probably unfamiliar with our roads.

I can just imagine how upset Mel must have felt, but at least Swana got a short video clip of her walking down the aisle.

The service was short and sweet, and it was a cozy group size, I think less than 100 present so a lot more personal and everyone got to take group shots with the couple before the lunch reception.

Food was from Angeli, same caterer I used for my wedding. The food was good, especially the dry mee siam, tau kwa pop, siew mai and carrot cake.

Raiden, Gigi and Nat had a ball running around the hall and Rachel channelled her maternal instincts by carrying Marie.

After leaving Nat to nap at Membina in the afternoon, Swana and I went to visit Aunty Sarda. Had a good chat with her, she was doing fine.

Went home to nap for a short while before getting ready for dinner. I have so many unused cocktail dresses, and decided on a colourful bubble dress I dubbed the ‘Thumbelina’ dress.

Before heading to Membina to drop Sasha, I popped by 110 to offer my condolences to Anjana, who left for Nepal today. She was very emotional, which got me teary-eyed. Found out it was Mr Saha’s birthday yesterday, he didn’t hold on long enough to see 65.

Dinner was at Jurong Country Club, it was my first time there. Relatively easy to find and the function room was quite nice, just like a hotel.

There was a roving photographer during the cocktail session and mini-prints were made available almost immediately. There were even props to jazz up the pictures.

We had a very good table, just along the aisle so I could snap the couple as they made their way in and then the 9-course dinner commenced.

Confession: I swiped the plastic flower that came with the cold dish, it was a battery-operated one that changes colour. Melissa, if the club charged you for it, please let me pay you back!

Overall the food was pretty good, there was scallops with broccoli, chilli crab sauce and mantou, cornflake prawns etc, but the standout was the ginseng chicken, it was sooooo tender and melted off the bones yet the ginseng flavour was very subtle.

Mel changed a couple of times, and we kaypohed by following her to the dressing room when she changed a second time. Classic moment captured on camera as her sister Melinda ‘struggled’ to lace the back of her gown. This image is from Merianne’s phone. Too funny!

After the wedding, 10 of us headed down to New Asia for some drinks. Kevin bought 2 bottles of champagne for the ladies but we struggled to finish it. Music wasn’t so bad when we arrived but got boring after a while so I didn’t dance at all! Really getting old and boring!

June 22, 2012

Decision time

Took an urgent half day yesterday so that Ma could attend Mr Saha’s funeral. They cremated the body and will bring back the ashes to Nepal for a memorial.

Headed to the hospital over lunch time, managed to catch Aunty Leena and family who drove in from KL for a quick turnaround visit. They brought their family friend Father William Heng who is based at Novena and he prayed over Aunty Sarda for a successful operation.

Chatted with Nat and Cristabel, it’s been ages since I’ve seen them, probably Jean’s wedding which was more than 5 years ago I think. Aunty Leena brought along some homemade passionfruit curd for Aunty Sarda, it smelled lovely and she had some today with wholemeal bread.

Had lunch with Jane and Rena at Raffles Place Coffee Club earlier today. There’s a 1-for-1 promo on selected main courses and we shared a chicken lasagne, black pepper duck pasta and added a slipper lobster linguine.

Rena passed me 3 pairs of slippers she helped purchase in KL earlier this week. Such nice friends I have! They are identical except for the colour. Swana also bought me black heels from their Putrajaya trip.

We had a family conference at the hospital after work, with Aunty Susie, Aunty Amy, Kaelash, Swana and me present. We managed to discuss with one of the doctors to understand more about the proposed surgery, risks and recovery.

We asked him basically what to expect if she did the surgery, what if she didn't, whether there were alternatives, what the procedure involved.

Based on what they have seen so far, it seems she's a ticking time bomb, it's a matter of when. They are treating it as malignant, only after removal and testing will they really know for sure if it is but I think we can assume it is.

To them it looks like an aggressive tumour, not likely to be related to her breast cancer as that happened 16 years ago and she's been clear since and her scans didn't turn up any other tumours, except for a 1cm sized nodule in her left breast (that's a separate matter to be dealt with after.)

If it turns out to have originated from her breast, then the prognosis would be a lot better, but in their opinion, it's something that developed there on its own and based on how sudden and acute the symptoms were, it's probably only been there a few months. For it to be this size in a matter of months then goes to show how aggressive it is.

Not doing the surgery and leaving everything as is would mean she could have anywhere between 6mths to 1 year best case. She would still experience a deterioration in her mobility, speech, cognitive ability, memory, threat of stroke, fits, coma towards the end.

Going ahead with the surgery will hopefully prolong her life by up to 2 years but eventually she will still deteriorate. A lot is dependent on how much of the tumour can be removed and how she responds to the chemo/radiation post-surgery, there may be microscopic tumours undetected.

They say that however she behaves now is as good as it gets and she has a 85-90% of remaining like this after the surgery but surgery will not reverse any damage already done and revert her to her old self.

I asked about Gamma Knife radiotherapy to reduce the tumour before surgery but they said it's not suitable in her scenario and they don't think the tumour will be receptive to it. The other option is also to just treat with chemo and radiation only but again, based on the aggressive nature of the tumour, it won't be enough.

So the plan is for her to proceed with the operation on Monday morning at about 9am, we discussed it with her after the doctor left and she wavered a bit because naturally she's scared but she made up her mind to go ahead.

They will shave a little bit of her hair to make the incision on the scalp, a small portion of the skull will be sawed off and they will cut through the brain to get to the tumour. After which they will fix back the skull and secure with metal bits.

Assuming all goes well, she will spend about a day in ICU, then be warded for a week before discharge.

All we can do now is just hope for a successful surgery and that everything goes smoothly and according to plan. The risk of something going wrong on the operating table is about 5% so she's got a good chance that things will go right. Keeping fingers crossed.

June 20, 2012

Tumour be gone!

Was on leave yesterday, hoping to catch Aunty Sarda’s doctor to see what the next steps are. Luckily enough, I happened to be around when he popped by and he showed me her MRI scans. Swana had met him on Monday and mentioned he was cute, but the picture she sent didn’t do him justice because he was cute in a goofy boyish way!

Anyway,here's an update on Aunty Sarda:

The tumour is in the left upper side of her brain, about 4cm in diameter and it's swelling/pressing onto the right side of her brain too.

The recommended course of action is to remove it and tentatively the surgery is scheduled for next Monday morning. They won't be able to tell conclusively without a biopsy if it's cancerous but said if they were to remove a tissue sample for testing, they might as well remove the whole thing. But based on the shape, the likelihood is that it is cancerous.

The location is a little tricky, they hope to remove the whole tumour if possible, but if it's too attached to certain sensitive spots, they will cut as much as they can and might have to leave a little in. Hopefully they can pry it off. Post-surgery, there might be chemotherapy or radiation involved once tests confirm whether malignant or benign.

Still awaiting results on whether there are other tumours in the rest of her body, that might impact any decision on the surgery, but for the moment Aunty Sarda herself has decided she wants to operate. Whether she fully comprehends the severity of the situation is another matter!

She's already getting very forgetful, loses her train of thought easily and doesn't remember names, though it's slightly better than when she was first admitted. But she's in good spirits and taking everything well.

The current steroid medication to reduce swelling can only help so much, eventually it's going to get bigger and impact her quality of life e.g. the risk of stroke, loss of mobility, impair speech, possibly even a coma. Naturally there are risks associated with surgery on this part of the body, at least a 5% chance of haemorrhaging, stroke, infection etc. Also she may not be completely back to her normal self after this, but we can only hope and pray.

Good thing I was on leave today anyway, Sasha started showing symptoms of food poisoning yesterday afternoon and so did Gigi. They had to delay their earlier-planned trip to KL for half a day while she stabilised.

Poor bub was vomiting and pooping a lot, they brought her to KK early yesterday morning. Sasha vomited twice and had a high fever all night, up to 39.8. We blame the ma ko kueh from Bengawan Solo!

On a sad note, Mr Saha passed away this afternoon after succumbing to pneumonia and multiple-organ failure. His death made the Nepalese news because he was a public figure of sorts. RIP…

June 17, 2012

Father's Day 2012

The kids ambushed Nick this morning while he was brushing his teeth to pass him his Father’s Day card and present. Unlike him, I was at least prepared with something they could give him…what did I get? Nada! Hmpf, still bitter…heh heh.

Kevin and him would have received identical Lacoste polos because Swana and I bought them together. I made Nat write on his card, her handwriting is super big!

Sasha fell from Nat’s bed last night, I didn’t hear anything except her crying at 1.45am, so I went into the room to pacify her but couldn’t find her on the bed, and nearly stepped on her on the floor!

Nick heard the thud. Surprisingly she didn’t fuss, she stopped crying as soon as I picked her up. I hope she didn’t suffer a concussion, she’s a tough cookie and thank goodness the height of the bed is low.

Went for mass before heading to SGH to check on Aunty Sarda. The steroid medications worked wonders, she’s much improved although it’s not a long term solution.

Her mobility was better and she wasn’t slurring and her mind was relatively sharp. Still she loses her train of thought easily but if she maintains this level of alertness, that’s good enough for me already.

She’s not the only one in hospital. Mr Saha, Pop’s friend from Nepal came down 2 months ago seeking treatment for his liver/stomach/kidneys and has been living at 110 with his wife Anjana when he’s not warded.

That’s the reason why Ma has been at my house the last couple of months, and why Aunty Sarda’s been back at Spottiswoode, she’s been helping host them.

He had made a recovery somewhat and had been discharged and was all set to go home only to pick up a secondary infection and he’s now back in ICU and given 48hrs to live. I saw him last week when I went to look for my sari blouse, little did I know I would probably not see him alive again. Poor guy.

He was actually one of the former Nepalese king’s trusted advisers and ex-president of the Nepalese Olympic Council. This weekend has been eventful, to say the least.