Saturday, December 31, 2005

Year-End R&R

Today is the last day of 2005...

To be exact.. it's just a mere 6 1/2 hours till we usher in the new year. How time flies.. (hmmm.. such sentiments is deja vu in my blog :p)

Have been having rather care-free thus stress-free days as I am still officilly on leave. Actually one of the main reason I took leave between Christmas and new year, is that besides R& R (rest and relax) I want to spend some time for my other R&R (reflections and resolutions).

However, I didn't quite achieve that. For I spent most of times either having fun going out, catching up with friends and relatives, and the some inevitable work that I needed to complete. In between, I also idled a little... and it did feel pure bliss. Such luxury I had not indulged in for some time..

And.. now 2006 is just staring at us in the face! Although I didn't really do the second `R&R'! I guess it's not too late to pen some thoughts on my beloved blog.

I will not list the highlights of my life in year 2005 for that would be quite a list! (if you free, go through my archive but that's only since May). Rather I just want to ponder and reflect on the things about myself that I've been happy with and what I feel I've failed over the year..

1. Spiritual Life

Ok, confession time. On the surface, it looks like I was still as active as before in church ministries - in worship, in CCF (our peer group) and involved in various `projects' such as spearheading the evangelistic night, singing in the Christmas Cantata and so on... Yeah, I also continued to be attending both Sunday service and Friday peer group regualrly (unless for certain reason I missed them). BUT.. the big but is, in this year, I have become more of a Martha than a Mary. Christians would understand what I mean by this. While I'm still being `obedient' and doing God's work and ministires, the time I spent with the Lord in prayer, in reading Scriptures and the important quiet time/ personal devotions had dwindle to almost zero...(yes, it's that bad especially after I entered the blogosphere).. so much so that I would say my personal relationship and intimacy with the Lord has suffered inconsiderably. At times I feel spiritually dry.. I know it's not because God has been far from me but I have not made an effort to draw close to Him..

Compared the the year before,2004 was a more fulfilling year spiritually which saw me reading a couple of good Christian books and one of them is `Purpose Driven Life', as well a managed to have quiet time at least a total of half the year..

Although I know spiritual matters could not be measured quantitatively. the tme you set aside for God is an indication of how close you're to Him. So, my first and foremost resolution for 2006 is:

A. To have a closer personal walk and a more intimate relationship with the Lord

And next...
B. To develop and improve the `SPG' temperaments.

Hehe, the acronymn sounds dubious but the `SPG' challenge was something I have blogged at mid year but I don't think I've much improvement since.It stands for `Self Control', `Patience' and `Gentleness' - three of the components of the Fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians: 5:22-23.

But I believe as I continue to seek the Lord, He will help and mould me to be more Christ-like, only if I let His Spirit to work in me..

2. Physical Life

Exercise and losing weight was something I was all positive and gunghu about when I began 2005 but I have failed miserably in this one!!

When work became more hectic and the travelling came, somehow my enthusiasm in attending the gym had also been affected.. Yes, I'm still a member and still paying monthly subscription but sad to say in the last two months especially I only went to gym ONCE! And besides gymning, I am one who would be least motivated to take up any other forms of exercises.

Battling with my fat and weight was another down the drain affair. While the first half of the year saw a determined me seeking `profeesional help' (which i would not go into details here) and doing my part to lose some weight to fair success.. the second half of the year not only I've piled back the weight, that glutton, no self-control, no will-power side of me when it comes to food (or anything good in that sense) won through. Which means, I sort of given up on diet ALTOGETHER - and indulged myself in any food I like to.. well, indulge in.

Needless to say, I think I'm fatter now than I was this time last year.

This diet and exercise resolution has been on my list since eons ago every new year. While I endeavoured into the `battle' in 2005 though the end result was less than ideal, I believe i shall soldier on and have a fresh start again!

C. To exercise regularly (twice a week)

D. Be on a sensible diet that leads to gradual weight loss

Even if I fail in January with CNY looming, I could try again in February.. at least I am not going to have that same attitude to exercise and dieting as I did in the last couple of months.

3. Relational Life

No, I am not talking about my love life (which is ziltch just for your information and it is NOT one of my resolution unless God Himself provides) Here I mean my relationship with my family, my friends, colleagues and the community I live in at large.

As Jesus is concerned about making relationship, I think what I could do as His child is also to model after him. Rather being task oriented, i want to be more a people-oriented person who is genuinely concern of other people's welfare. Living in the city and in the `rat race' means that we become more impersonal in our relationship with others. Yeah, most of us have a few very close friends or family members perhaps whom we could relate to. But sometimes it is worthwhile to `invest' in new friendship/relationship, at the same time re-foster a close ties with existing friends and people you know around you.

I heard this before: At your death bed, you won't think of your wealth, your work, your possessions but what you treasure most would be PEOPLE - ie. your family and your close friends..

This is very true.

E. To be more a people person and `invest' more time in caring for family, friends and anyone who needs a `friend'.

Only five resolutions this year? (well for B it encomposes quite a lot already). Also, there are other plans of course - like travelling, improving my vocal skilss, etc.. BUT I feel what I've mentioned are like the `foundation' of all other resolutions..

Last but not least, here's wishing everyone - friends of Jess' 2 Js' - a Happy, Healthy and Hopeful new year ahead.. May God bless you and keep you in 2006! :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Jelly the Greedy Bully

Recent posts have all been about my self... am reminded suddenly that this blog originally started off as a blog about my two darling dogs - Jojo and Jelly. So it's now time to have some update.

Thanks to the Christmas break.. I have been having more time to spend with my two Js. Jojo these days are looking much happier. The wounds are almost dried up totally - only a small bit is still raw. He's off medication and his appetitie is getting very good. More like a true Goldie. (When he was younger, he was quite slow in his food intake) I guess the regular morning feeding time and the feeding discipline - ie. only 5 mins to eat up his food - has been helpful.

What about Jelly? That little bugger is still as cute and manja to me. But her other side is that of a mobstser personality. Yep, she is a big bully to Jojo, which is more than double her size.

Just take the example just now. I first gave her a chewing stick (made of edible rawhide and other ingredients) and as I saw she was greedily devouring it, I also give another bigger type to Jojo outside. But when she realised I gave one to Jojo.. she ran out, hid hers somewhere and went on to grab Jojo's stick! There was some chasing around as Jojo went after her to get it back but he lost out.. he is such a mellow fello compared to Jelly!

Well, I had to step in. I took Jojo's stick from Jelly and gave it back to the righful eater. And chased Jelly back into the house. Seeing she has `lost' the old one, I gave her another stick.. (another different type that she can eat easier).

But guess what..? Minutes later when she finished eating the stikc, she started making lots of noise at the door and I thought she needed to go outside to pee. I opened the door and she rushed out.. Yes, you guess right. She went for Jojo's half-eaten stick! Poor Jojo could only look at her helplessly as she got the upperhand.

Actually I was reading the papers so I only discovered this 15 minutes or so later and stepped in for the second time. I retunred the half-eaten big `stick' to Jojo and dragged Jelly inside again and reprimended her sternly.

No more chewing stuff for her tonight.

And.. after using so much of her energy, she has dozed off in my room now after splurping on gulps of fresh water.

Pity Jojo....he is already deprived of being in the house and always get bullied by Jelly. I must pay more attention to him..

Monday, December 26, 2005

One Year After the Great Tidal Waves...

Today marks the first anniversary of the horrifying tsunami catastrophe in South Asia.

Today is also Boxing Day. But since Dec 26, 2004, Boxing Day - a day of joy following Christmas which is traditionally is spent resting and opening presents - would never meant the same again.

It was heart wrenching to see the sufferings of millions as a result of the disaster... but on the other hand, a tragedy of such mammoth proportion also brought out the unity of the human race.. although it was by reaction rather than pro-action...(sometimes, i wonder why it takes something `bad' to bring out the `good' in people while other time we are just contented being apathy to the cries of the down-trodden)

Anyway, i don't have any poignant thoughts to pen on the tsunami disaster (for my mind is still clouded after a late night) But as a part of the 6.2 billion (or thereabout) inhabitants of this earth, i want to pay my humble tribute to the many many brave and selfless souls who had sacrificed and risked their lives to play their part in the relief work and building the homes of those in affected areas - in particularly Sri Lanka and Bandar Aceh.

We know the lost of those affected could never be replaced. Even now, CNN and other news net work is broadcasting special programs on the `one year after'. Reminds of one year ago and days following Dec 26, 2004 where CNN, BBC and other major news net work had round-the-clock reporting on the tsunami. And after watching it for some time, the initial grave shocks and disbelief gave way to numbness and sadness.

I've spoken to colleagues and friends who were in the disaster areas (either reporting or in relief work) and from what these brave people had seen and experienced, I know it would be something that would haunt them for the rest of their lives..

Others like me..the only contributions we could make were monetary donations and prayers...

Lets hope and pray for the survivors and their families, that their suffering will be alleviated and to live life on with courage..

And lets hope and pray that the good of the human spirit will live on in this fallen world.. even at times when we're speared from disasters.

So This is Christmas.. and What Have You Done?

I actually kept to my words and didn't blog till after Christmas! *A self pat on my back!* (and now suffering withdrawal syndrome...) :p

Christmas has come and gone and what a eventful and joyful time it was..The Cantata on Friday Night went well.. we had a great time singing to the Lord and to the almost full-house guests who came. No major boo-boos although for some songs, the timing was a bit off but as someone commented, the overall spirit was good and we produced some great music and voices. Praise the Lord!

The last minute (as in last 1-2 week) practice saved the day when I sang solo for opening verse of O Holy Night. Although I felt certain parts I could not hold my breath long enoough but I did sing it with much expressions and emotions. Oh, I didn't forget to smile.. :) The shortcomings might have been covered up.. Errr...(shyly) to my surprise, had compliments by many people..

Am glad that quite a number of friends I invited actually turned up. Even dad came although he had to leave after O Holy Night as he had an engagement.

Me with Carol, KY, MY and one of her little ones

The two Nics ready to tug into the pancake

Well, Christmas eve was another busy busy day.. Had lunch with some friends - my belated birthday lunch - at Jushi, Plaza Damas. The food was pretty good but the service could do with some improvements. Although already stuffed, we adjourned to Paddington (forgot full name) to have pancakes for desserts as M.Y.'s two kids were looking forward to it.. Then I went off to do some last minute shopping for Christmas presents as well as bought some food.. yep, I was to prepare a simple Western dinner for dad and grandma. Mom had flown off to HK to see sis' family...

There was no rest in between..but cooking was fun, and not difficulty as I had help from our two maids. I acted like the head chef :p Was pleased that I succeeded making for the first time fresh potato and leek soup, with a little brocolli.. Although the process got quite messy, as I didn't know whether to blend the vege raw or cooked into puree but the end product was quite good and tasty! Even dad - a food critic - thought it was nice.

The Christmas dinner I created; gifts galore - no not gifts I receive but to give out!
Main course however was a little disappointing. Dad was in charge of getting the meat but the steaks (they were already marinated) weren't so fresh and my own marination would be much nicer. The lamb chops were quite nice though. We also had some prawns which were pretty fresh. So overall it was a satisfying and nutritious meal. Of course, there was red wine to `wash' it down..

Wanted to have an early night but wrapping present, reading blogs.. (yeah, i didn't blog but still read others') etc.. got me busy and by the time I got ready for bed it was 1am! I had to wake up 6:30am the next morning as the choir was to perform at both my church's service at both centres - Subang and Pantai.

Rise and shine at 6:35am! Have never woken up so early on Christmas morning in my life! wait! correction. I did wake up two years ago at 4:30am - to catch the early flight to Christmas Island with uncle and cousins. Although still craving for sleep initially, I was quite alert and in high spirit. It's Christmas Day! :)

Waiting to sing at Pantai on Christmas morning - CH, Zan, Lynn, me and May

Singing our hearts out during Christmas service

Haven't been to Subang centre for a while.. the congregations seemed a little aloof and `cold', compared to Pantai's. Because the stage was small, we were quite cramped, some even ouldn't see our conductor.. Overall, we did ok. But... when we returned to Pantai centre, somehow our spirit had a boost! We `warmed up' more by singing along with the congregation the worship songs - mostly familiar pieces - outside the auditorium. And then when it was our turn to sing...a miracle happened! Even with lesser members as some stayed back in Subang for service, we performed our best yet when we sang the three songs - O Little Town of Bethleham, Mary Did You Know and the triumphant O Come, All Ye Faithful. Our voices were unified and especially for the last song, it really built up to a poignant climax!

Some fellow choir members were craving for spicy stuff after being deprived of if to keep our throat `healthy' for singing, so we had Indian for lunch - at Flavours of India at Desa Sri Hartamas. It was quiet and looked like we booked up the whole restaurant!

On the way home I dropped by Bangsar Baru to the bank and also some last minute shopping again! By the time I reached home, I was tired and looking forward for a nap. But somehow my mind was still so active that I couldn't sleep! On one hand, I was in a happy and elated Christmas and year-end mood. But on the other hand, I felt kinda stressed that I still had a number of incompleted stories that I should hand in this week. Because if I procrastinate, workload will accumulate and when I return to work on Jan 3, the start of 2006 would be quite unbearable!

Yeah, I would have to use some precious time during my leave this week to finish those work.. sigh. It's not really the break that I had hope for.

Anyway, putting aside work, I had a wonderful and fun-filled evening at a friend's family Christmas dinner party just now. My Prime College friend Carol who is based in London is back for Christmas (her annual trip home these days) and again her family threw a Christmas dinner for relatives and close friends. The food was yummy - not the usual Christmas fare except a turkey but tasty local cuisine including Per-li (Carol's cousin)'s mother's famous Mee Siam! Which I took a few helpings!

Aunty Betty serving food to two boys from orphanage

Our `gang' gathering for a group picture

After dinner was casual chit chat and more food - desserts folllowed.. another of our gang who is also the prolific and famous food blogger
Boo_licious (as she likes to remain anonymous) made a chiffon cake and gave us her award-winning cookies as Christmas presents. Oh, speaking of presents, there was again the annual massive Christmas pressies exchange between family members and friends.. (now u know why I needed to do last minute shopping! :p)

The gifts opening time provided us much fun and laughter. We were made to open our gifls by the hosts.. while there were many `wow, so nice.. thanks..' there were a couple of gasps and gigles.. yes, some pretty kinky stuff that I'll leave u to imagination. Then there were some quite hilarious ones - like my friend's granni gave her future grandson-inlaw shower gels! And not even in dispenser but in two economical bags full! Could that be some hints...!? ;)

Cousins and sis-in-law busy opening remaining gifts..

With the host and `semi-host'

As I drove home, the clock turned midnight and it was already boxing day.. Christmas has come and gone, just with a blink of the eyes. Next week this time.. it will be 2006!!

It's time to pray and think of my realistic resolutions for 2006. Am thinking of starting another blog - a spiritual one for the new year. But I vouch not to take up too much time in front of the PC.. Yes, that could be my first realistic resolutions.. at least more possible to accomplish than say losing 10 lbs!!

Errr.. I hope so.. (btw, its almost 4am when I completed this post!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Abstaining from Blogging (Till after Christmas)

Good time is short-lived usually. So, after a wonderful birthday weekend comes a nightmarish work week! So many deadlines to rush as I've taken leave next week. On top of that there are two nights of rehearsals for the Christmas Cantata and the performance is this Friday evening!

I have decided (drumroll..) I shall not blog from now till Sunday, so that I can have more time to rest and practise..

Had a stressful day at work today.. had a terrible experience `working' with this particular movie distributor company which was doing a tie in with our paper for a Chinese movie. It was kinda complicated but I knew I just couldn't produce that `cover story' that I ought to do by tomorrow..This would be the first time I `failed' or miss a deadline. But thankfully my editor understands the situation.

Worked on year-enders and left office at 10:30pm...

Well, hopefully I will have more intersting things to blog about after Christmas and when I'm on leave (I just hope I don't have to work but there'll be some works that I have to bring on to next year...)

Anyway, Christmas and New year is coming...

A Blessed Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Memorable Long Weekend

The following is a quick write up of a rather long diary of the past 3 1/2 days .. I had a great long weekend - the `celebration' and fun began on Thursday evening...and didn't end till Sunday night!


With mum in front of the restaurant

Two of the sumptuous dishes we had - Sashimi platter and a yummyTemaki which I forgot the name :p

After work, mom came to Bangsar and treated me to lovely Japanese food at Mizo, Bangsar Village. We didn't realise it's so costly but must say the food was very good - Sashimi, baked oyster, some special temaki, beef roll etc.. yum. Haven't had such lovely jap food for ages.. After dinner, we then went to Perhaps Love - I had two complimentary passes. But ended up getting 10pm tickets as there were so many people at the cinema! Too many new movies are coming up so this one was showing at a smaller theatre - and too bad it was no longer THX. The sound system was not so good but I still enjoyed it second time round.. Wonderful music and singing. Though mom question the logic of the love story. Guess love has no logic... though its hard for us to identify with their circumstances. Well, i would recommend anyone who likes love story or musical to go watch it.. nevermind if u dont understand mandarin (subtitles in English/BM!)

Part 1: Woke up at noon.. Spent some times with two Js and then drove to Jln Ampang - to Vila Manja Day Spa - for my self-treat spa experience. Had a blissful close-to 3 hours package that has the following treatments: foot spa, body scrub, relaxing massage, foot reflexology and hot stone massage.. some of quite new to me and the one I really enjoyed was the relaxing massage. The therapist was really good in that.. I felt so relaxed and almost dozed off at some point. The ambience of the spa was very nice, with Balinese, Thai, Oriental themed deco. However, the damper that there was construction work going on near by and although the windows were shut, those annoying sound of construction works could be heard almost throughout the treatment. Really spoilt the wonderful atmosphere and the very soothing music.

Part 2: Jam, jam, jam on the way out of town. Met up with my Bible Study group for dinner at Delicious, Bangsar Village. It's a real bustling place! We then bought some desserts and adjouned back to Pat's house (also in Bangsar). Had an interesting birthday `cake' in the form of a Christmas pudding and a tall slim straw with crumpled paper on top pretending to be a lit candle! :D I even had to imaginarily (is that such word?) blow the candle!! Anyway, while eating puddings and Delicious' delicious cakes, we also had some fun sharings. Cody the plum Golden Retriever was really excited and couldn't stop humping me of all people. Could he smell dogs on me? ;)

Pretend to blow the imaginary flame on the `candle'; with my BS group members at Pat's place; and with Cody the over zealous and friendly dog!

The first half of the day was spent on `duties' so to speak. Went for a meeting with peer group leaders but had to leave half way to an assignment - the launch of the soundtrack and picture book of `The Third Generation' - an all local Chinese movie starring singer Nicholas Teoh, models Carmen Soo and Amber Chia. Intresting but risky combination I would say as all have NEVER acted. But lets see. Rushed home at 2:30pm - trainers came for the last time and gave some more tips on training Jojo and Jelly. Basically they felt we had tackled all the `trouble shooting' and now its up to me to continue giving him training. Jelly too, needs some serious training as she didn't even have her basic obedience.

A Long Journey to a Concert
Hardly had time to rest as I showered and got ready for the YTL Russell Watson concert! Because of the logistic problem, I couldn't go to the wedding. Met with cousin at Sentral station and we took the KTM train to Sentul station. Noticed some other concert goers were really well dressed. Was also quite impressed on how big scale this was - (well, it is after all YTL's 50th anniversary celebration) - and looks like all their staff are out on full force stationed at carpark, train platforms, at the commuter buses etc... There were tonnes and tonnes of people at Sentul Park and there were several large tents or marquee. We were assigned to the orange tent according to the invation card. The food was a little disappointing - very basic stuff and most were quite tasteless! Bumped into some church members! and later also met with some old friends! Looks like the whole world (well except for those attending the wedding) was there! ok, i'm exaggerating of course. And you know what? I've never queued this much before! We queued to walk into the tent for dinner. We had to queue for more tha 20 mins (the queue was soooo long) to use the mobile toilets. And we joined a very long queue to get into the open-air concert area.

With cousin at the dinner tent; at Sentul Park grounds later

Riveting Russell Watson

Russell Watson (from google image) and the beautiful stage

Our seats were not bad only thing was the person in front could block you. Surprisingly, the PM was there quite early and even the Agong arrived quite soon.. some guests who were at the end of the queue were even later than him! Then we had a few speeches - including a very long one from T.S. Francis Yeoh. Then the Adelaide Symphony Orchestar played the music and the star of the night - the charming Russell Watson came on finally! To be honest, the first half of the program was not that exciting and there were some technical glitches in the sound system. But the second half was simply brilliant - he sang Volare, Fenicuili Fenicula and my favourite that night Amore e Musica (title song from his new album). Almost half of the repertoire was modern songs like I Believe, You are So Beautiful, Music of the Night, Draw Me Closer. He is naturally talented, having no formal voice training. His vocal is so versatile that he is equally apt at singing classical and pop - in fact his voice changes to suit the style! He ended with Nessum Dorma but after shouts of encore, he sang You Raised Me Up and closed with a Christian song Above All.

Fantastic Fireworks:
It has started drizzling at the encore time but it seemed the fireworks display chased the rain away! After Russell Watson bowed off, the orchestra continued to play and was the accompaniment to the most beautiful, spectacular and amazing fireworks I've seen in Malaysia (another very spectacular one was during the handover ceremony in Hong Kong - orgnised by the HKSAR goverment)

Took some shot using the `firework display' mode on my camera

The (Long) Journey Home
It was l-o-o-o-n-g. Although I was to get a lift from my friend who gave me the invite and herself got a black-tie invitation. It was a long walk out of the concert area to where we waited for her driver. There I bumped into a long lost university friend who happened to be working with YTL. Also saw the media centre and my colleague covering the event... Then there was another incident for me and my cousin when we arrived at Sentral Station that caused us to walk up and down looking for places to get our carpark redeemed. By the time I reached home, it was 1:15am. I left home at 5:40pm. Probably the `longest' concert I have been to. I couldnt sleep immediately as I was hungry (hardly ate dinner) so I cooked instant noodle - showered and washed hair as I sweated so much. I was so exhausted..that I couldn't get up to go for church service the next day..

Choir practice: This is our last Sunday practice and we accomplished quite a bit despite our conductor's absence. Rearranged our positions and went through the songs. More likely because of my lack of practice and also not physically in good shape, I knew I didn't do well in my solo part. One piece is also out of timing but other than that, it's progressing. A few of us stayed back to pray a while.

Dinner: A small group of my close gal friends, who also happen to be fellow choir mates to treated me to dinner at an Italian place at SS2. It was a quiet condusive place for talking too.. We feasted and then.. I must say I had the most unusual birthday song accompaniment when the nice tall ice-cream birthday cake was taken out. It sounded like the music to the horror movie Omen! (forgot the actual name of the classical piece as I was told later :p) It had two large and one small candles - I turned 21! Haha. Besides the nice dinner and cake and company, I got presents too -some lovely jewelleries and a box. (thanks again gals) Oh, and I also got updated of the interesting wedding that I missed the night before!

Zan, May, Lynn, HL and me posing for a pix. notice the peipako box at the right - we each were given one bottle by Zan to keep our throat in good form! :) Showing two of the presents I received, creatively snapped by Lynn.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

In Less Than 24 Hours...

In less than 24 hours...comes the day I have dreaded it to come since 2005 started!

I'm going to turn another year older. Yeah, I know everyone goes through birthday every year....and it is supposed to be a joyful and celebration day.

So why am I making it a big deal? Maybe it's my child-like, I don't-like-to-grow old mentality.. but maybe it's just the fact that I'm indeed growing old. Crudely put it, I'm now at the other side going downhill if 35 is the mid point of life.

Haha, silly me. I just gave my age away. Anyway, it's no big secret.. friends who know me know my age. I even revealed it indirectly (you don't have to a mathematician to figure out) on national newspaper when I wrote a first-person account on a concert I attended this year.

You know what, these days I'm not so worried about revealing my age to even strangers. If ever I'm asked the question `how old are you?' (or differently-phrased similar question), I would ask them to guess. And whether it is truthful guesses or my acquaintaces just being tactful, my age has been guessed between five to 11 years younger! Just this year alone! No kidding..

I know this might sound shameless but well, the narcissist part of me always secretly lit up in glee.. especially when they say `but you look much younger' or` you don't look your age!' when I reveal my real age.

Ok, enough of self-gloating.. But what to do? For someone who has reached the 3rd cycle of Chinese horoscope, I'm entitled to some self-bemusement or else I might feel depressed.. really.

Will be having quite eventful days ahead. Tomorrow (today actually) mom and I will have a dinner date around Bangsar after which we will be watching the beautiful musical movie Perhaps Love, courtesy of two passes from GSC. Have already watched the preview but don't mind watching again. Great music/dance and very beautifully and artistically filmed..

Will be taking leave on Friday - repeat last year's practice of resting on my birthday. So far, my day program is to treat myself to spa treatment at Vila Manja, a lovely day spa set in a bungalow. To think of it, I have not been to a spa proper although I've tried various massages and body treatments at various beauty centres. Look forward to it.. :)

In the evening will be having a dinner gathering with my Bible Study group. We are taking a break from our weekly studies at church.

Saturday will be quite a `challenging' - beginning with a morning peer-group leaders' meeting and later will need to juggle between a friend's wedding at Cyberview Lodge and Russell Watson's concert at night at Sentul Park. Yep! A show by the good-looking and charismatic British Tenor backed by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will culminate the five-day YTL 50 years celebration.

A friend who has certain connection with Tan Sri YTL himself treated me to the ticket which is not for sale. (since I also brought her to a few Cantopop concert free!) While hers is black-tie ticket, mine is the normal one. And we were supposed to get there using public transport (KTM and commuter buses) as arranged and paid for by YTL. Something a spoilt journo like me am not used to but must give them credit for being so well organised.

Sunday will be church as normal and choir practice and then prayer. And will be having dinner at a Italian restaurant with a small group of friends..

Speaking of choir, I will like to highlight the Christmas Cantata entitled `Celebrate Christmas, Celebrate Christ' by my church - First Baptist Church, Petaling Jaya. The program will consist of lovely carols in exciting arrangments as well as narration - that reminds and reflects on the true essence of Christmas. And yes, I will be singing in it..

Do refer to my friend and fellow choir mate HL's blog which features a beautiful poster and the details. I will like to invite all of you who could make it to come.. will personally remind some of you again. But do let me know too if you are interested...

And now, celebrations aside, will have to think of some realistic birthday/Christmas/new year resolutions that I would keep to..

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas Tree Again!

We hadn't have a Christmas tree up the last two years - due to the fear that Jojo would `eat up' the tree and the ornaments! But this year, I decided that it's time that we could finally put up the tree again! Jojo is now residing outside and if he does come into the house, he is better behaved and would likely to leave the tree alone. Jelly, meanwhile, is only interested in biting things that smell like food..

So, it marks the first time we have a Christmas tree for Christmas in this new home!

After putting up the tree sans ornaments for a few days, I finally went to replace new lights - got the clear ones for a change rather than multi-coloured we used to have. I also bought some new ornaments adding to the existing ones. The colour theme is silver/pink and accented with red.

I spent less than an hour decorating it. I know it is nothing fanciful but it does give a nice festive atmosphere to the living/dining room. And it does look much prettier in real than in this photo... :p Posted by Picasa

Mini Reunions with `Old' Friends

I've meant to post this sooner but kept having problems with posting photos on Blogger...

In the last two weeks, I had three mini-reunions with `old-friends' from way back.. by that I mean these are friends whom I've known for more than two decades - to be precise, 24 years or so! (gasp) They are my secondary school mates from Singapore's UWCSEA whom I went to boarding school with.

Quite a number of us are based in KL but most of us hardly met up.. but then, although some of them we had not seen each other in years, and for others even decades, there's always a feeling of familiarity when we met up and yeah, we're like old friends (literally!) After all, we have lived together, played together, studies together.. in our formative years.

Mini Reunion 1- Reason: Angie
Last week, Angie from Hong Kong dropped by for three days. The last time she came to KL was seven years ago! She's originally from Labuan though and I managed to catch up with her in Sept when I was there. Anyway, a few of us had dinner with her at Madam Kwan's at MVM, followed by drinks at Coffee Beans when a few more people came. I seemed to be the only one having a camera (yeah, dont think anyone of those busy high-flyers blog!) :p

At Coffee Bean: (clockwise from left) Andy, T.L,, Melissa, Wong, me, Pat, Angie and Kington, who I used to keep in touch with then never seen at all since his wedding five years ago. And we are both living in KL!

Pat (whom I keep in touch with), Angie and me posing for a pix. Maybe we will meet together in HK next year!

Mini Reunion 2 - Reason: Angie (part 2)
Two days later, Wong Chen played the gracious host and invited a few of us to his cosy and arty apartment. The walls of his aparment were decorated with many modern art painted by himself. Yes, here is one artistic lawyer.

(left) The artist/chef -of-the-day Wong and (right) TK, cutting the vegetable pie while Wong's neighbour Sandra looks on. Speaking of T.K., he has lost a whopping 20kg in two years! I hardly could not recognise him.

Pumpkin soup with ice-cube? Wong said he created this as he was lazy to heat up the soup! It does taste lovely though. On the right is the sumptuous vegetable with bacon pie (there is no official name to the dish) and fresh salad with vinegrette. What a satisfying meal. Forgot to take picture of the `sinful' desserts from Strudels but since they're not homemade....(but nonetheless yummy

(from left) T.K., Wong, Zainal (seated) Angie and me posing for a pix after a satisfying meal. We chit chatted for another couple of hours or so over drinks and trying to finish off the desserts..

Mini Reunion 3 - Reason: Gail
The following week, Gail from Canada stopped over at KL before she went back to home town Miri. We had dinner at Fiona's club house - just four of us gals plus Fion'as son Joshua who is also Pat and my godson.

Fiona had not seen Gail since leaving school while Pat and I saw her 7 years ago when she came to KL. We had a wonderful time chatting and talking about `the good old days!' It was really nice to know that we were still the same and never changed! Gail is still the jovial and generous self and she insisted on treating us dinner!

Gail and me

Jushua and mommy who is making monkey face!

This photo - (from left) Pat, Fiona, Joshua, Gail and me - was taken after a satisfying Chinese dinner at the restaurant. We adjourned to Fiona's house to have tea and chatted further, and left close to midnight as Josh was getting cranky and all of use were all also tired... After all, we are not teenagers anymore!

Friday, December 09, 2005

It's Grooming for Jelly Again

BEFORE: Jelly was looking very cute and scruffy albeit a bit messy and mom was nagging me to take her for grooming (she also needed to have her nails trimmed badly! Posted by Picasa

AFTER: looking neater now, a sleepy Jelly dozing off on my rug..Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

One More Addiction / Jam and Sing!

I totally lack self-disciplined when it comes to things on the Net. Yes, as mentioned, I am easily addicted and get obsessed with new stuff. Already these days I have been spending quite a lot of time (early hours of the morning to be exact) blogging and then surfing others blogs. By that I mean friends as well as strangers.

And then now I am hooked on this Blogthings quizzes! Especially that they're short and easy to do. I have confessed in an earlier post that I'm a sucker for those so-called `personality tests'. In fact, I am also those rare ones who kinda enjoy filling up questionnaires and surveys. Maybe I'm just expressive and vocal?

I think I've completed more than 90 percent of all the tests on Blogthings and its `sister-quizzes'. I think I'm going nuts.. must stop!!

Well, since I have been writing so many aritcles - long or short - during work these few days, I can't really keep my mind coherent to write another `masterpiece' here. Rather, I am just jotting down random thoughts now.

It's now just two-and-a-half-week to Christmas and I'm looking forward to it. All the work would have wrapped up by then and my nice editor had already approved my leave from Christmas to New Year! Even though I've taken a fair amount of leaves this year. Don't think i've exceeded the 28 days quota though.

I am not going anywhere but using that one week to rest and set goals for the new year.. yeah, i'm good at setting resolutions but not in keep them!

Besides work, the practices and preparation for our Christmas Cantata is going full steam as its only 2 weeks to performance date. To be honest I had not been practising much at all except memorising my part last week. But tonite I did!

Well, I have not had dinner with family for some days, on mom's request, I wrapped up work a little earlier and left office after half-past seven. My `fear' was confirmed - got stuck in a major jam along the Connaught Highway home. Don't understand why we have to pay toll yet stuck in a jam always. Groan.

But for once, the jam was quite bearable because I made use of that 1 hour to practice my singing in the car with the music! Yeah, thanks to HL's reminder, I downloaded the CD nto my iPod. (I don't have a CD player in car but can play iPod music through an adapter) It was quite a good practice actually. I must have sung quite loudly coz my voice was a little hoarse when I reached home.

Time to check out a couple more blogs (NOT blogthings) now before I hit the sack. I have all my evenings filled with various programs from tomorrow till Sunday!

Bonjour, Je m'appelle Dominique!

Your French Name is:
Dominique Huet

My blog should be in my Favourite Colour! :)

Your Blog Should Be Purple
You're an expressive, offbeat blogger who tends to write about anything and everything.You tend to set blogging trends, and you're the most likely to write your own meme or survey.You are a bit distant though. Your blog is all about you - not what anyone else has to say.
What Color Should Your Blog or Journal Be?

Oohh.. so maybe I should redesign my blog with purple theme? (yeah, like I know how to do it.) Don't know about setting trend and stuff but yeah, I do write about anything that catches my fancy.. and it is about me and my two Js alright. :p

And...On Matters of the Heart

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.
In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved.
You'd like your lover to think you are optimistic and happy.
You would be forced to break up with someone who was emotional, moody, and difficult to please.
Your ideal relationship is open. Both of you can talk about everything... no secrets.
Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.
You think of marriage something you've always wanted... though you haven't really thought about it.
In this moment, you think of love as commitment. Love only works when both people are totally devoted.
What Are The Keys To Your Heart?
Now, this is pretty accuate description I would say after getting some way off and hilarious results from Blogthings!