Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Where mama, boo!

Luis is at an adorable age now, 2 years old. I try to recall Lucas at 2 years old and I cannot remember exactly how he was. I can only remember that he was starting to be good and interesting company.

A few nights ago I was putting Luis to bed as usual. He was talking and wanting to play as usual. One of the games we played before is I will wrap my fingers around the vertical railings of his baby cot, and I will say "up" and inch up the railing. And then when I reached the top I will say "down!" as I moved my hand down quickly. It's really very simple and boring but it delights him. Such that he makes his signature laugh.
This night I played a few times and then stopped because I really want him to fall asleep.

Then he invented another game. He used his cloth and covered his face. Then he said, "Where mama?", and then "boo!". He sounded so cute with his piece-meal English and cutie toddler voice. And then he passed the cloth to me and said "mama try, mama try!".

I wanted to write this down because I know I will forget it soon. And I want to constantly remind myself to spend quality happy time with my children. Don't always scold them! Children are meant to be slow and talkative and happy! While they can still 'recover' fast, change this behavior. Do not regret it when one day the children do not want to do things with me because they have formed a wall in their mind that mama always scolds them.

Mummy do you want to see bags and shoes?

The day before, a Monday, I decided to take leave at the last minute. I worked in the morning and then I went shopping in the afternoon. When I passed by the Charles & Keith shoe shop, I remember the first time I came to this shop I was with Lucas. My husband was looking at watches and I wanted to look at shoes. I brought Lucas with me into the shop, half thinking that I will not enjoy my time inside because Lucas will be bored.

However... he was a very good sport. He was not bored and he was in a happy mood. He was almost interested in what colours of shoes I wanted to buy. It created a nice memory for me. The first time I went bags and shoes shopping with Lucas.

Some months later, I cannot remember when, we must have been passing by such a shop again. And Lucas asked, "Mummy, do you want to see bags and shoes?". And he said it in a very happy chirpy way.

So that day when I went past Charles & Keith, I remember my sweet Lucas.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

When my dog of 16 years got a stroke

It was terrible. My husband called me and said something is wrong with Bobby, he could not stand up. I heard him shrieking over the phone and I immediately drove home from work. 

When I saw my husband carrying him, he was trembling and his eyes could barely open. Brought him to the vet and found out he had a stroke. Probably because he was too stressed by the grooming he had that day. He was so tired he slept on my lap and immediately when we reached home. But around midnight he woke up. He could not breathe well, going into a high pitch breathing sound every few minutes so I had to carry him or change his position. He also refused to drink or eat. Eventually he fell asleep in my lap around 2-3am, I put him in his bed and he carried on sleeping. By this time I already cried buckets, he was suffering so much that I told Bobby to go already to heaven. I slept on the couch so I could watch him. Luckily he slept soundly till 5.30am. But 10min after I went to my bed he tilted his head backwards and could not turn back so I had to help him. I took the morning off so j could force feed him through the syringe and then monitor him. At that point I thought it was still a possibility to put him to sleep that evening. 

However Bobby got better! When my husband reached home he told me Bobby could stand and walk a few steps! We were both happy. Brought him to the vet for checking and subcut. He was still generally not well, not alert and he shrieked during subcut too. 

When we got home he went to drink water! Another progress! But he still doesn't want to eat, but there was no more wheezing so it's a good sign. 

Day 3 we didn't was Saturday but we didn't make plans so we can spend time with Bobby. Could walk more steadily but still did not want to eat. So I had to force feed him again. There was some trembling and I was concerned but he quickly fell asleep. Subsequently he slept almost all day and all night. 

Day 4, I guess the sleep was good because he took the apple that I offered him! Hope he can eat on his own today. 

Very hectic week with two resignations and one new scope, but this was the most stressful. I'm glad that Bobby is turning around quickly, hopefully he gets back to being a happy dog. You are a fighter Bobby. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

2015 work challenges

Today is my first day of work for 2015. I did not expect the whirlwind of challenges that I will face today. In retrospect not all are new information, just that I did not expect them to culminate all at the same time.

First I had a resignation from a senior direct report first thing in the morning. Not that it is not unexpected, she has been looking for a while.

Then I had a planned resignation letter from another senior direct report.

Both are leaving around the same time. The leaving is not a problem, it is the fact that both are leaving around the same time that is the challenge.

And last, at least for now till lunch time, is that I learnt there is really no choice but to take over a new role and new group of direct reports. And this is also happening around the same time!

At first I got a little panicky. Now I see these as challenges that I am motivated to overcome. It's an opportunity to strengthen and renew the team. It's an opportunity for me to grow some new skills, despite it being a lot of operational work which is not savvy and not something I like. But my boss has to take it, and coming from his viewpoint, I will take it  up since it is the most logical place for it to reside.

Ok so 2015 you really did not spare any mercy right from the start! I will take you on!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Airfryer sesame seeds fish fillet

Over the Christmas/New Year season we spent one of the days staying home instead of going out. Our maid was on holiday back in The Philippines and we were pretty much on our own with the boys. After a morning of scooter-ing and tricycle-ing downstairs, we came home to no lunch. As usual we tried to convince the boys they only need milk and don't need lunch, but even this time I was skeptical. Hubby put them in the bathtub and watched over them while I searched for food in the fridge. Found fish fillets bought by mil thankfully, and sesame seeds that I recently bought. Don't want to clean up any mess, so Airfryer it is. And of course, Google for recipe! With some modifications based on what I have on hand, here goes the fish which were quickly devoured by the boys, hubby included, and then a nap so that we can rest too!

Original recipe from:


- 5 frozen fish fillets, no need to defrost, how nice! (I can't recognise what I used, I think mil said its garoupa)
Note: it's also ok if it's not frozen. Just cut the cooking time by roughly 3 min. 

- About 3 tablespoons of plain flour 

- 1 egg, beaten

- Handful of sesame seeds
- 5-6 soda biscuit crumbs (or any plain biscuits you have or breadcrumbs)
- Pinch of seasalt
- Pinch of pepper
- Pinch of rosemary herbs (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of oil 

1) Fry the sesame seeds in the pan for 2 min, no oil needed. Stir constantly! They brown very quickly. Remove from pan. 

2) Mix all coating ingredients together in a large plate. 

2) Line the Airfryer with aluminium foil and preheat Airfryer at 200 deg C. 

3) Arrange your ingredients in the following order for efficiency!

4) Dip the fish in the flour. Shake off excess flour. 

5) Next dip it in the egg. 

6) Then dip it in the coating mixture. You can be generous here. 

7) Pop into Airfryer. If it's frozen fillet, cook for 10min, then flip the fish and add another 4min. 
If it's not frozen, do 8min and 2 min. 

8) And voila!
Mine had different colours because:
- First two pieces were not cooked long enough. 
- Second two pieces didn't have enough sesame seeds so it was replaced with ritz  biscuits. 
- Last piece had a lot of black chia seeds added by hubby and cooked too long. 

I find that the sesame seeds were really fragrant. But it was not very crispy. Not sure why since the temperature was very high. If you get crispy fish do share!

Barley Gingko dessert 白果腐竹薏米

This has always been my favourite Chinese dessert. My mom cooks it so well. It's smooth in a way that I cannot describe, the beancurd skin is so soft that you just need to swallow, and the taste is rich and not just mere sweetness. My husband likes it too which is rare because he doesn't have a habit of eating sweet desserts like the Cantonese, me, do. We think cooking over a charcoal stove is a big factor. 
I tried cooking this a few times fleetingly over the past years, each time failing miserably. Last week I seemed to have come close to it. Yesterday I tried again, we think it's rather good, the best that can be achieved from cooking over a gas stove. One day I have to let my mom try it!

- Barley: measure 1 flat tablespoon (not heaped) per serving

- Water: measure 1 rice bowl per serving and then plus 1 more bowl

- Beancurd skin: make sure you buy the one for dessert

- Honey rock sugar: to taste (as reference, I used about 4 pieces for 10 servings)

- Gingko nuts: as reference I buy 50 cents worth for 10 servings 

- Quail eggs (optional)

1) Measure your barley and rinse once under the tap. 

2) Add water to the pot and put over high heat till it boils. Then turn down to the lowest fire on the stove. I use this kind of pot hoping that it retains heat better and thus contribute to the smooth taste. Expect to boil for about 2-3 hours. 

3) Boil the quail eggs and remove the shells. Concurrently do step 4.

4) Remove the shell and skin of the gingko nuts. Then cut it in half to remove the core, otherwise the nuts will be bitter. Add to the pot when done. 

5) When the barley is soft, roughly after 1 hour, crush the beancurd skin in a bowl and add to the pot. Boil for about 1 hour so the skin will be super soft. 

6) Add the quail eggs and sugar to taste. If the soup is too thick for your liking, just add more water. 
Note: if you are not sure how much sugar to add, do it little by little until it's sweet enough. 

And you are done! If you have leftovers just put them in the fridge. It's nice as a cold dessert too.