Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 New Year Resolutions

It is that time of the year for quiet reflection and think about the goals for the future-- not that I have any lofty aspirations for the coming year.

Over the last few months I have really enjoyed the simpler pleasures of life. And so I thought, why change it? Life seems so much easier when you desire less and make do with what you have around you. I have to admit, Christmas got a little out of hand. From my wish list of ONE item, i got so much more. I am thankful for that, very elated at my gifts, but still wished that I hadn't desired for SO much... I need to learn how to be comforted and contented with what I have and what I have been given.


Back in China, we would never keep track of our spending. Here, I'm learning to budget when I grocery shop, think twice about purchases and eliminate wants from needs. I go back to square one, when growing up, every single cent earned is so hard-earned and spent wisely.


Another thing that plagues the family discussion daily -- eating healthy. Ever since Grandma and her boyfriend arrived, we have junk food spilling out of the cupboards and out of our ears. I must have put on a few pounds just by drinking at least a gallon of soda everyday. Today, I went grocery shopping with the J-man and we conscientiously eliminated junk food from shopping cart. We skipped past the candy/junkfood/soda aisles with upturned noses and deliberately filled our cart with fresh vegetables and fruits. J also bought eggs that were labelled "From natural grain fed, free-roaming nesting hens". One thing that irks me is that it costs more to buy fresh foods. That is why it's so hard for people to want to eat healthy! We buy and eat so much processed foods! At this point, I also wonder how much chemicals go into producing our so-called "fresh produce". But you can't win them all, can you?


And then in addition to eating healthy, we got to get our butts off the couch, wake up at least half hour earlier each day, just so we can work out and keep ourselves healthier in body and in mind. For me, it means to not slack on my yoga practice, even though it is so easy to come up with a thousand reasons not to do it. Because of my new job, i come into contact with a million people a day, including germy babies and children. So in addition to popping multi-vitamins, I gotta get my routine going so I don't come down with anything too easily...


Lastly, our normal peace and quiet have resumed when our visitors left us yesterday. Even though I hate to say it, but it had been quite an unbearable three weeks. Grandma and her bf quarrelled every single day they were here. They quarrel first thing in the morning, when they wake up. They pick fights over the smallest things, and sometimes over nothing at all. They quarrel when we go out, and spoil everyone's moods. The worst thing for me is to listen to the cussing and the swearing. I never knew how bad it sounded until I heard them every day for the last twenty days. It is bad enough to put me off swearing. And it has also reminded me of how short tempered I am with J. The plus that came out of this is that I remember to treat J better, to curb my temper and be a million times more patient.


So for 2011, my resolution list:

Live simple.
Budget all spending.
Eat fresh. Eat healthy.
Sun salutations every morning;
A full Ashtanga workout at least twice a week.
Swear less, be patient more.
Love J everyday like it is the last.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tis the season for good tidings...


Quilted coasters for Christmas! A set of 4 for every family!


I tried embroidering on the coasters (see top row, second from left)...but I decided that my skills suck (the back looked kinda messy sometimes) so I should practise some more before trying them out again. And I didn't want to take the focus away from the gorgeous prints. I love the baby blue ones with bright pink flowers! All my fabric came from my personal hoarded stash, and I think it was about time I used them... no point keeping them for myself... and i really liked the results! I also added some polyester batting in between, so they look nice and padded. Best of all, they are completely machine washable so all anybody has to do is throw them in the wash to get rid of coffee stains and what nots.

Also wanted to let you all know that I've been offered the Discovery Place Kids' job officially. I will start once I'm done with my two weeks at Walmart. I can't wait because that place is just F-U-N!!! I hope i get to help out with the birthday parties for kids too. I'd seen their program line up for this Saturday, six birthday in one day!, so yes, they are VERY busy... I went into their headquarters in Charlotte for the final paperwork, and got my DPK name badge, which got me free entry into their Discovery Place museum in Charlotte. I got a complimentary ticket for J who tagged along (of course, because he had to drive me there). And then we had an afternoon of fun checking out all the exhibits.


Built and left this for some kid to destroy.


A very serious Dr J at work.

And for a celebratory lunch, we ate at a fancy Thai place called Basil, complete with duck curry and tom yum soup!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Linguistically speaking...

Ever since I found out the title of the Jay Chou song that I liked, I made a very Jay Chou playlist for when I drive. Like all men, whether they understand the language or not, the J-man protested vehemently initially. Then i argued that it makes me drive better, and because I was tired out from work, I need to relax by listening to my songs. He is very eager to make me happy after a tiring day at work for fear of treading on my toes. Haha!

No la, but he is also very sweet because he knows how tired I am, and so he gives in to all my whining, Jay Chou included. I also bargained that he gets to keep in touch with the Chinese language that way, even though gawd knows we can hardly hear what the man is singing.

I wonder what is making me go through this sudden phase. I had never been a serious groupie Jay Chou fan (Elisa and Daphne comes to mind), and I stopped listening to him by his 3rd album... Could it be a craving and need for my mother tongue and that I have no one except my mom to turn to? I even emailed a few of my Chinese ex-colleagues (in CHINESE!!) to keep in touch. I don't wish for my Chinese to deteriorate, and if i ever have kids, by golly I want them to be strongly bilingual, even if they can't be multi-dialect-lingual (if there is such a thing).

I just got an email from my good friend Jiani (another J!), and i miss the hilarious times we spent, trying to speak Hokkien, Cantonese, Malay, English and Chinese, failing miserably, but can still pass (if you know what i mean), depending on the people around us, and depending on who we want to leave out of our conversations. Aiyoh, so naughty. Yes, I miss that so much.

Here, I'm working hard to sound like one of them, speech accommodation they say, so it must certainly be contributing to my gradual loss of identity. At the cash registers I say "Hi, how y'all doin' today?" and say things like "ta-meh-tas" instead of "toe-mat-to". I cannot say "shiok" or "alamak" except in front of the J-man, because there simply isn't any point.

I didn't intend for the post to pan out into one linguistic rant, and I was even gonna post a few photos. But it was sitting at the top of my mind, and i had to get it out.

Four years ago, I started feeling homesick after about a couple of months in Shanghai. This, is probably around the same time for me to feel homesick again.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I survived Black Friday...

We spent Thanksgiving at Gramps up in the mountains, where the lack of phone signals and internet connection gave way to many hours of reading, games of cards and dice and catchphrase, and made everyone spend 110% of the time together as a family. The women got down to cooking ( read: me washing up) and the men tried to fix Uncle Lance's truck which broke down halfway up the mountains.

For the Thanksgiving feast, we had 2 deep fried turkeys!, ham, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, deviled eggs, pickle wraps, cranberry salad (that looked like ice cream), veggies with mom's spinach dip and J's blue cheese dip, J's roasted peppers with capers and anchovies (*yummeh*), crackers and more cheese, chicken-lip-dip (or however you spell it) and chocolate fudge cake. At least that's all I ate, I don't know if there were other dishes I missed because I was so stuffed by the first hour...

I had to go in to work 3rd shift on Thanksgiving, so after the feast, i tried my darnest to go to sleep, even though I wanted to stay up to watch football. I might as well have, because of tossing and turning for about 2 and a half hours in bed, I stopped trying to fall asleep and got up to watch the Saints play the Cowboys.

Got into work at 1030pm, and got myself mentally prepared for Black Friday sales... The first hour went by reeealllly slow, but as we approached midnight, more and more people streamed into Walmart, the noise level went up 5 notches, and the store went abuzz with crazy activity as the clock struck twelve. In past years, as I'd learnt, Black Friday sales only started at 5am. This year, however, the management decided to do the sales in two parts, so as to better handle the crowds. The first sale started at 12midnight for smaller items like bedding and DVDs and Wii games etc. The electronics went up for sale at 5am. As a result, I didn't think it was all that crazy! I had actually imagined it to be worse. Everybody asked me afterwards how working on Black Friday was, and were very surprised I answered, "Pretty manageable!"

My shift ended at 830am in the morning, and I was ready to go home and plonk right into bed. I slept in till late afternoon and awoke pretty fresh and cheery. And because I had gotten my first paycheck (*yay!*) the day before, I took the family out for some Japanese!

It had been a wonderful first Thanksgiving, and I hope you all had a great one too!

Now, I'm waiting for Christmas holidays to come around!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 Reasons to be Thankful this Thanksgiving

orange flowers
Via Design Sponge

1. My family and friends are well and healthy.

2. I have a loving husband who drives me to and from work, and prepares lunches for me to take.
One day it was lasagne, and another it was stuffed peppers. Yummeh!

3. I have a job and I am getting better at it with each day.

And just the other day I got the sweetest compliment from a customer who actually bothered to call back to let the management know how much she enjoyed checking out at my line. And with every customer i serve I get the sense of satisfaction that I was fast and efficient in my transaction, and that I was probably the politest thing they encountered that day.
One kid peeped over the plastic bag dispenser and exclaimed, "Wow mom, she's fast!"

4. People (family, friends and strangers alike) have been very patient and kind to me.

I have gotten many calls and messages from people regarding jobs they seen or heard about, in hopes that I may find one soon-- I got the Walmart job through J's aunt's sister. Also, every time i make a mistake at the cash register, customers never got mad, instead they go, "oh honey, you're doing fine". Many people also drop a line of encouragement or two before they leave.

5. If you're patient enough, good things will come.

I landed a second interview with the children's museum -- Discovery Place Kids. I didn't get through the first round, but a week ago they called me in for a second interview because they needed more people. Even though I haven't officially got the job because I'm in the process of doing a background check (who knows how long these darn things take??!!) I'm pretty sure by December I will be working there, on a more regular schedule.

And then there's the occasional babysitting stint for the family that I met.

And to date I've gotten 3 more responses to my babysitting ads. It's like when it rains, it pours. I had to reject them all though, until i know for sure what my museum schedule is like.

pumpkin pie
Via Moms Buzz

6. My first proper Thanksgiving this year, complete with pecan pie and deep fried turkey. Can't wait.

7. Christmas is around the corner!

I was told to make a list or get christmas money. I was going to go for the money, but after i heard what the amount was, I knew I would be too embarrassed to accept. So i painstakingly drew up a list of items that were well under the amount. I'll still get what I want, but people won't have to spend too much on me!

8. J is starting school soon in January and luckily the school fees are quite affordable.

9. I have a roof over my head and the only bill I'm paying is my phone bill.

10. I've had a blessed life thus far!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I ♥ clever machines!

Look ma! No hands!

60 decorative stitches with the step of my foot pedal!!!


And a button hole to boot!


I tried out my machine on my day off the other day just to check out the swanky computerized system. With a touch of a button I can reverse stitch, needle up/down, choose between 60 different decorative stitches and make neat button holes!!! I could also auto sew without the use of a foot pedal, but I'm too used to the old-fashioned foot pedal to give it up. Gives me something to do with my feet anyway. 

So to date, I am 100% completely satisfied with my purchase. I can't wait for my next day off to mess around with it. I have Christmas gift ideas in my head and I need to get around to making them before it gets too late! And machine embroidery is in my top 10 coolest things since sliced bread!

Monday, November 15, 2010

First Frantic Week at Work!

So I started my work at Walmart last Tuesday for a full day orientation from 12 - 9pm. And then they scheduled me for a 2 day training on the computer (they call it the CBLs computer-based learning) where I was to familiarize myself with the policies, health and safety regulations, cashier transactions and duties and so on. A total of 30 modules to be completed over two 8-hour days. 

I was, as what my mother would say, quite geh-kiang, which means I tried to be too smart, thereby completing my training in 1 and a half days. So by Thursday afternoon, I was out there at the cash registers. Now, when I studied the ways to ring up different transactions (cash, debit, credit, shopping card etc) the computer modules taught cashiers using the OLD cash registers. These old registers only had buttons and the yellowed screen that shows you your total. Unfortunately, when I got out there on Thursday, they sent me to the new system of cash registers - the swanky new computerized system, complete with touch screen computers.

Needless to say, I was stumped. 

Luckily, they put me on training with a more experienced cashier, Charlotte, a nice little old lady. She stood by me for the first hour, teaching me how to use the new system. However, at certain busy times, she would have to open up the next counter, just to keep the lines moving (yes, i was THAT slow). So at times, I was left to cope by myself. And in times of trouble, I would look over helplessly in her direction and she had to come running over to rescue me.  To make things worse, my counter was also the cigarettes and tobacco counter. Now, I thought I had seen it all, but the varieties stocked on the shelves behind me confounded me. The Marlboros don't just come in Reds, Menthols, Menthol Lights, Lights. They also come in 72s, 100s, ultra etc etc. Every time a customer comes up to buy some ciggies, I was like "Whaaaat?" And there's also tobacco in a tin, in a roll... The only fun bit about selling cigarettes is that I get to CARD customers. And because I am hopeless at guesstimating their ages, I card just about anyone who is not white on their heads. As a result, I get very pleased and amused customers. 

By the end of Thursday, I had gotten the hang of the new system and was actually looking forward to working the next day. It had been a steep learning curve, but interacting with so many people and punching out numbers with a flourish is quite fun!

Then on Friday, I went back to work with Charlotte at the cigarettes counter. The first half of the day went by without too much of a hitch, but after lunch, guess what? They put me at the old cash registers!!! AND I COMPLETELY FORGOT WHAT I HAD LEARNT!!! So for the rest of the day, I was really glad to get customers who use cash or debit cards (because those two were the EASIEST transactions to complete). There are some special transactions that completely bowls me over. The food stamps for example. There are so many steps to completing a food stamp, WIC, CVB transaction I almost cried whenever a customer placed them in my hands. And then there are coupons and vouchers to check, the produce SKU #s to key in and weigh, and a million plastic bags to pack. I beam the widest at customers who use their own recyclable grocery bags. 

So Friday was a disaster too.

On Saturday morning, I decided to take the initiative to take the first hour to go back on the computers and copy out the steps for the different transactions on the old system. I am now quite familiar with the new computer system (also because they're quite idiot proof to use) so all i needed to do was to get used to the old ones. By the end of Sunday, I had emerged more confident and doubly nice to my customers. Oh and in my last hour on Sunday, the supervisor pulled me out to help out at the apparel section, stocking the shelves and rearranging old stock. That was extremely therapeutic, standing there, folding clothes, neatening up topples, arranging clothes according to colours and size. I work best when I get to do things alone and at my own pace. And organizing and rearranging! The perfect job for someone as anal as I am.

So my work week came to a close on a high note. But I was completely wiped out. I had worked 6 days in a row, 9 hours everyday. I thought I was supposed to be a PART TIMER!!

And tomorrow I'm gonna meet the mom who wants me to babysit. I've already met her once and the family seems to like me very much, so tomorrow I'm going to get to know the little girl better and to discuss further details. That is a story for another time. Right now, it's time to relax and enjoy my weekly dose of Monday Night Football!! Wheeeeee!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Of Wildflowers and Road Kills...


I went for an interview today at Walmart's. Got called up for a cashier position (yipee!) even though it's a part time thing. It beats sitting around at home doing nothing. I suppose I landed the job because I went for the drug test and all. I mean I just went through one round of background checks and tests and they all came out good, I don't suppose it'll be any different this time around. I hope i get sane hours.

And then, because I got my learner's permit ID card thingy, i can now apply for a library card!!! So we drove over to the public library and this excited little bunny here pored through shelves and shelves of crafting books and fairy tales. Picked up a patchwork book because that's one project I can start on without a sewing machine, and I only need the most basic sewing equipment (scraps of fabric, needles and thread) to begin!

Also wanted to take a break from all that job hunting so picked out a book of Grimms' fairy tales to daydream a little and some Greek mythology to reminisce about TSD times. So excited about my library card!!!

As we were approaching our driveway, our car ran over something brown and furry lying in the middle of the road. The J-man thought it was a baby coyote so after we parked our car in the garage, we raced back up the hill to see what it was. But not before I picked a few wildflowers along the way!

It wasn't a baby coyote, it was a poor bunny rabbit!! *sob* The blood on the ground was still red, but rigor mortis had set in so the rabbit was stiff, its head smashed out of shape and its hind legs broken. I know that only because J picked it up and laid it by the side of the road, on the grass. I laid a few of my flowers on the poor rabbit and quietly apologized on behalf of the ass who knocked it over.

That made the total count of road kill up to THREE today. And we were only out for a couple of hours! We also saw a dead fox and deer on the interstate. Ay...poor sods.

In an effort to turn this into a cheery post once more, here is a picture of one furry (and ALIVE!) creature in our backyard...

Presenting the sneaky Squirrely!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Week Nightmare

Last week, things started to look up a little when I received a call from a temp job agency AND a photo studio with interviews. The temp job agency, Adecco, had a real last minute 3 day data entry job which pays $12 an hour. I was super excited but had to convince the J-man to drive me down to Charlotte to meet the hirers and do a drug test screening, typing competency tests and so on. All i had to do then, was to wait for the test results to come in, and for them to contact my references.

The next day, however, the tests results still hadn't come in. It was company policy that I had to pass all tests and screenings before I got hired. So without that, I couldn't go to work that day. On top of that, the references I gave were not good enough, they needed references of people they could call, i.e. people who are in the US. So after a few hours of scrambling around looking for the contacts of some parents I knew who are currently in the country, I finally managed to scrape up 2 moms and a grandma who (bless their hearts) gave glowing testimonials about me. To cut a long story short, I was short of one background check so I wasn't able to land the temp job. On the bright side, I hope all the results came in after, because then I can give them a call on Monday in hopes of getting other temp jobs.

The other interview I had was with this photography studio called Olan Mills. The marketing manager K, called me one evening to arrange for an interview on Wednesday. It was for a sales promoter position and although I wasn't that interested, I was glad to finally get a call. Wednesday came, I arrived fifteen minutes before the scheduled time. The interviewer L wasn't there, so I waited. But when the scheduled time came and went, I still didn't hear from her. So the photographer D at the studio offered to contact her. While he was on his cell, L called the studio and apologized. Something cropped up at the last minute and she wasn't able to make the interview that day. I was a little bummed but hey, I understand sometimes things do crop up at the last minute, so I rescheduled with K for an interview the very next day with her.

I arrived early for my interview the next day, and again, K wasn't at the studio. Instead, D came out to meet me saying that K had tried to contact me earlier but couldn't reach me. She wanted to cancel the interview again because she couldn't make it. I checked my cellphone, no missed calls. Maybe she tried calling me at home. I thanked D and drove home. I checked my missed calls to find out that K had called me FIVE minutes before my scheduled interview. Like hello? Of course I wouldn't be home already, and why hadn't she called me on my cell?

Quietly seething, I called K to re-schedule for the the 3rd time and the next interview was set to be on Saturday noon. Before leaving for that interview, I debated on calling K just to check to see if she was there at the studio. I decided against it, because it might look like I didn't trust them. Well I didn't, but they didn't need to know that. I should have, because my gut told me I was going to be stood up yet again. I arrived at 11:45am to find the studio really busy. D couldn't talk to me because he was busy with customers, but he gave me a knowing shake of his head to indicate that she wasn't here and didn't call. I stood in a corner and decided to wait. At the same time I decided to call K every 10minutes, after she didn't pick up my first call. I waited till 12:30pm and was about to leave when D got done with his customers. He took me aside and apologized when I told him there was no news of K. He then offered to set up a working interview with a senior sales lady the next day, with a promise that if I did well on the job, she will provide a positive evaluation, possibly landing me the job. I declined, on the account that the management staff had showed such an extent of un-professionalism. As much as I needed a job, I do not deserve to be treated so shabbily. There is a bottom line.

So my uneventful week went by, and I am still without a job. I guess that job wasn't meant for me and something better will come along...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sew Exciting!

Have been shopping online for a neat little sewing machine for myself. Couldn't take just reading crafting blogs and sites and not doing anything about it. And what with holiday seasons around the corner, I gotta get me one!

Found this site that helps compare basic features at a glance.

Sewing Machines for Beginners

And boiled down my choices to 2:

Singer 7442
$168.95 with Free Shipping (on Ebay)

Brother XL2600i
$86.54 Free Shipping (Amazon)

Does anybody know anything about these 2 babies? I'm more inclined to go with the cheaper one of course. They both have great reviews and a few negative ones (of course, you can't please everyone). Will read some more about it before I place my order. The money is already in PayPal, so it's just a click away...


Friday, October 22, 2010

Dream a little dream of tulle...

and chiffon and silk and whatever else...

Who says you can't dream about wedding gowns even after your wedding?

verawang tulle
Tulle in wedding gowns can NEVER go wrong! I ♥ Vera Wang!

gianfranco ferre


This is for all my favourite-ladies-potential-brides out there. Elisa!! Priscilla you're next! wheee whee wheee!!! Gilt Groupe is currently doing Wedding specials! Makes me happy just looking at pretty dresses and shoes!

All pictures via Gilt Groupe

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Road trip, road trip!

petrified 1

We're back from a 5000mile road trip!
Our first stop was to the Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. However, to get there, we first had to drive through Tennessee (400+ miles), Arkansas (280miles), Oklahoma (330miles), Texas(177miles) before we reached our destination. We drove on Interstate 40 which is pretty neat because it was ONE straight road through these states (duh, that's why they call it the INTERstate), so it made driving really easy for me. I averaged about 75mph and sometimes even driving through the night. Once, i drove for 6 hours at a stretch so J could get a decent rest.

Bandelier is located in the Frijoles canyon area and was populated by Ancentral Pueblo people. These people created a settlement by carving out volcanic material called tuff and used them as building blocks for their homes. Near the base of the canyon walls, the soft rock that were subjected to erosion also created holes. The people then dug out these holes to construct a series of dwellings/caves. We climbed up ladders to get into those caves to get a glimpse of the insides. The caves were so small because the Ancestral Pueblo people were only about 5 ft! That's my size!


Our next pit stop was the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, which fortunately was the next adjacent state, a mere 7hours drive away. Before, i had always thought it was a forest of tall trees filled with rocks and fossils and stuff. Actually, the forest of "trees" existed millions of years ago, and because of the process of permineralization, the original structure of the wood is kept, but the rest of the tree has turned into stone. The process occurs underground when the wood is covered in sediment, usually due to flooding, or in areas where the water is laden with minerals. Cool isn't it? I love the pretty colours of the crystals. My favourite trail is the Crystal Forest, an open area strewn with petrified logs that show off some of the most beautiful colours.

petrified log

We spent only about 2 hours in the Petrified Forest because we needed to rush down to the Grand Canyon before it closed. We were afraid we wouldn't be able to get a campsite even though it wasn't really peak season. However, as it is such a popular tourist spot, there is no telling what could happen. The Grand Canyon is also in Arizona, of an even shorter 3 hours drive. When we arrived, the long traffic queues put an initial damper on our spirits, but we perked up when we saw the Express Lane. We had bought an Annual National Parks Pass at the beginning of the trip that gave us free entry into all National Parks in the States. This pass would now let us skip the long lines and breeze through the gates! Such an important and wise investment on my part *pat on the back*

We found out we needn't have worried because there were plentiful campsites for rent. Our main problem was that the J-man forgot our tent! Well, he didn't actually forget. He just took the WRONG bag that held Dad's hunting tent/shield (not for sleeping in). In our anxiety to open it and to check out sleeping possibilities before sundown, we accidentally broke the frame. Uh-oh. I was so mad at that point I almost wanted to go home. Luckily, we weren't that far away from civilisation. There was a General Store about a 10minutes walk away, and we decided to see if it carried any tents for sale. Crossing our fingers and toes, we made our way to the store, me, fuming and him, tail between his legs.

We had to thank our lucky stars, for not only do they sell REALLY expensive tents, they offered rental services too. We were going to camp out on Yosemite and Canyonlands later so we probably needed to buy one. But after checking out the prices, it was wiser to rent now, and buy a cheaper tent from a Walmart later, on our way to our next destination. The previous lovely campers at our campsite also left us some firestarters and half a bag of coal. So now we had a place to sleep and a fire to keep us warm!

After settling our camping issues, we headed to the rim of the Canyon to watch the sunset. It was amazing to see the colours change over the canyon. You know for sure that someone up there really knows what he's doing, a painter and sculptor all rolled into one. No words or pictures could ever do it justice, or least mine won't. Better to just go check it out yourself!

grand canyon

The next day, we took the Bright Angel Trail that went all the way down to the Colorado river which snaked through the Canyon. That would have been a 12miles round trip, and although my heart was willing, my knees were weak. So we stopped at the midway point, 3 miles down and 3 miles up. The view was breathtaking and my favourite bits were to see the different layers of the canyon up close. I should have studied geology when I was in school, but then again, it would never have taken me on this path up till now.

Our second night in the tent was beyond miserable. The temperatures dipped below 40deg F (below 10degC ) and even zipping up inside our own shell of a sleeping bag couldn't keep my feet warm. We didn't get a very good sleep that night and was very much looking forward to luxurious accommodations in Las Vegas in a few hours' time.

Lonely Planet gives really good recommendations, so we rely on it time after time when planning our travels. This time, we followed its recommendation to the Platinum Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Every room comes equipped with a jacuzzi bath, a living room and a kitchenette! The room is even bigger than the size of our Shanghai apartment! I ran the bath and spent a long time soaking in the hot steamy waters before we headed out to MGM Grand to watch the Cirque de Soleil production, Ka. A really good show, by the way. Made me yearn to be in a production once again. We were not really in the mood to gamble, so after a few half-hearted spins at the slot machines, we decided to call it a night. Vegas is a vibrant and bustling city, but it was my least favourite stop.

Our next two stops were going to be Yosemite in California, and Canyonlands in Utah. But thank goodness we did a weather check again before heading there. It forecasted rain with a possibility of snow. What with the weather in Grand Canyon, I didn't think we were prepared for snow. With a tinge of disappointment, we set out on our return journey the next day, but not before watching a game of Sunday football and checking player status on our fantasy leagues. *chuckles* Hooray for civilisation!

It was going to be a 36hour drive, long and weary, but we made it and lived to tell the story. :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

We ♥ Elephants!

To celebrate our wedding anniversary, we took a day trip to...


the Asheboro ZOO! which was about a 90mins drive away. *whew*


and picked up a (to my standard) humungous pinecone! Shall keep it for christmas!

pinecone 2

And i've recently discovered
Picnik, so all photos are heavily edited! FUN!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Love at first sight!


Via Strictly Vintage

Can you believe it?

We will be married TWO years tomorrow!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Make more out of life

Say YES.

I feel like I'm becoming the YES man (remember the Jim Carrey movie?) So in a bid to live up to my promise to  to plan my day productively, I agreed to go watch John and Jackie's soccer matches at 8am on a Saturday morning. Which was just as well, knowing that the J-man would still be away at the campsite till late afternoon. 

I was glad I went because it was fun to be outdoors under the morning sun! The weather has started to cool and that morning, it went down to about 18 deg C. Jackie was in the U-8 division and it was good to see petite little girls with their shining blond hair run after a soccer ball, without contempt for the grass mildly wet with dew. Some of them were so small their jerseys hung oversized on their tiny frames. In another game, a little boy by the name of James was relegated to the position of goalie. The 4 year old (looking more like a 2.5yo) covered such an inconsequential spot in front of the goal post, he couldn't stop his opponents from scoring. Even so, the way he kept trying made me go "Awww" and all soft inside.

John's team in the U-10 division, was unbeatable. They scored a total of 9 goals against the opponent, who only managed one. It was a more exciting game as the players were older and quicker on their feet. But what really made my day was when John and Jackie's dad came up to me and said that the children were really glad to see me at their games. 


the Merrill champion soccer duo!

In the late afternoon, while I was all cosy on the couch on my computer, J, his brother and dad decided to go golfing. J tried to get to me come along but I wasn't quite keen on the sport. But again, I agreed just so I could check it out, and maybe decide I would like it after all! For don't they say, "Don't knock it till you've tried it?" The day was fabulous with blue blue skies, and because it was late afternoon, it was much warmer and not at all humid! We drove to Fox Den Country Club which was just 5minutes away(!!) and while the boys were registering to play, I decided I was just going to be part-observer-part-caddie today. The best part was actually driving the golf cart around the course. I was gunning the cart around like a maniac (although they do have a speed limit on their carts) and even daydreamed about getting a job as a caddie. J wasn't as good as he was on his PS3 Hot Shot Golf game but he got the hang of it at the 7th hole. We couldn't finish all 9 holes because there was a pile-up at the 8th and since Jeremy had to leave for Charlotte in an hour, we turned around and headed for home. It was a bummer especially when I was having so much fun. Who would've thought?!!!


Some golf-karting fun!

So the lesson of the day (and perhaps for life) is to say YES, with a sensible dosage of discretion, and maybe life can just be a little more wonderful.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


The boys have upped and left for Marion this weekend for an all-boys-only camping trip, which in my opinion is not fair. Why only boys? I want to go camping too. But no, this camp is only for fathers and their sons to have a male bonding session i guess. There are about 4 sets of father and sons going on this trip of campfire, fishing and sleeping in tents. Well, i guess while they freeze their butts off in the low 50s temperature, i will be all snuggled up under my covers on a king sized bed. Hmph.

So Mom has planned for a girls' night out to the movies while the boys are gone. We are going to watch a chick flick which otherwise would not have materialized if the boys were around. Tonight the girls will be going to the Marquee to watch the Betty White show You Again. I hope it's good. It looks fun but i will be missing my boy. :( Not to mention, I won't be able to take the car out this weekend, because I can't drive unless he is in the car next to me. Bleagh. Maybe I should just practise my three-point turns in the driveway.

And there is the grand opening of Mint Museum this weekend in Charlotte that i so wanted to go to. Guess I'll have to pass on that. But check this out, I want to go to the Renaissance Festival coming up next weekend. It's a medieval themed amusement park complete with a village, marketplace and an arts and crafts fair! Everybody there will be dressed up 16th century style and speaking old English! Whoo!

Via Carolina Renaissance Festival
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