Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Busy (Work-Free) Days!

I'm FREE from work but so far the days have been very b-u-s-y indeed! And I feel even more tired out than when I'm working..! :p

A diary of highlights of the last few days:

Friday: Last day at work.. finished off whatever I needed to and packed up things. Just a little sentimental feeling but mostly happy! ;)

at my empty desk just shortly before leaving!

Left office by 5:30pm to go for my first personal training session - which almost killed me! (the arms and abs were hurting till a few days after) Went to Alpha in CCF followed by supper - was in a real good mood!

Saturday: Re-joined our small group vocal class after stopping since beginning of the year. Need to really work and practise harder - but happy that we're actually singing Christmas song and not the usual `a-a-a-a' technical vocal work that we were doing for so long! Had yummy Ipoh white coffee with friends and chit chatted for a while and then killed time at a mall before going to Bukit Jalil for David Tao's concert.. This was the first time in many years I was not reviewing but just watching it.. so I couldn't get clear pix as I was seated quite far away! It was a great concert - I liked the stage setting of a tropical forest - and of course his creative genres of music and superb showmanship - such a talented artiste!

I thoroughly enjoyed myself but left just before the end to beat the traffic jam.. reached home in time to say hi to sis, bro-in-law and Edgar who was still awake. Yep, they're back here a week and just great timing that I was free to bring them around!

Sunday: just a time for family and eating.. went to two restaurants nearby for lunch - to feed Doug char kuay teow AND Cantonese fried meed - and dinner at Hakka restaurant.. Felt that I had over-eaten again..! argh. Took some photos of the kids..

Sean and Alexis having fun in the jacuzzi!

Monday: celebrate mom's birthday with lunch at Jogoya at Starhill. The place was huge and we practially have to `work' for the food - quite a bit of walking around. To be honest, the food was a bit disappointing, but the two boys really enjoyed themselves running around and refilling their bowls with ice creams etc.. the cake cutting time was an `exciting' one as Edgar wanted to blow the candle off and Sean managed to cut the cake for mom! :p

Doug has to leave after lunch and the two boys were getting all sentimental and Edgar even wanted to cry!

Well, they cheered up more when I took them to see the creatures of the sea at Aquaria in KLCC.. yep, it's the start of the mall-crawling season..

The shark and stingray taken by Edgar!

Tuesday: Mid Valley Megamall - kids can't miss Megakidz for their trip here each time and I have arranged for my second PT today too.. so while I worked out - this time the lower body - they were at their own gym. After that, dad brought them home while mom, sis and I continued to shop.. it's meant to be for sis but the shopaholic in me could not help to buy things for myself too.. got some nice earrings.. ;) then volunteered to buy groceries while they continued to shop and only got home about 8:30pm for late dinner

(forgot to take photos today)

Preview: Tomorrow we will be going to 1 Utama and Thursday to Berjaya Times Square. If weather is good, Friday will be an outing to A-Farmosa Safari.. at least it won't be in the mall!

Friday, October 27, 2006

It's THE day!!

FINALLY, the time's arrived!

Yep, today is Oct 27 - - my last day of work at a company that I've been in since Sept 15 1994.

I have just a bit more work to complete since my ed requested I do advance..hmm.. and then just pack-up the last bits of stuff.. I've already been packing up in stages over the week..brought back one or two small boxes and folders. But most things went into the bin. As I went though the stuff that i've accumulated over these last 12 years... press releases of noteworthy assignments, booklets, photos, CDroms, draft of research and work, letters and cards, pay slips from way back (what, I earned so little then? but not so much now too!) etc.. etc.. , and gosh, the sense of nostalgia was quite overwhelming.

Many of these I've kept either they're quite useful so just in case I might need it, or simply, I wanted to keep them for memory sake..

Anyhow, I ended up throwing more than three-quarter of the stuff - filled up all the bins around, and brought about quarter back.. But one day, I know they would probably go into the bin too..

So this will be the LAST day! quite unbelievable as it finally comes.. In a way, I am glad that there was the 2-months notice period to get me prepared and the reality of no longer with this paper/company sink in.. Feeling nostalgic aside, the feelings of joy, happiness and relief is even stronger! And yes, I know it's definitely for the better! :D

I will be surrendering my compaq laptop that was once stolen (loaned by the company and now in disastrous condition after me using it for five years) and the company tag. But will keep the expired gov press tag as souvenir.

A photo for memory sake...btw, we're no longer part of the company stated there- and it's my 3rd or 4th tag as the previous ones got snapped!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fun festive break

Selamat Hari Raya! and belated Happy Deepavali!

Most of us have a stretch of holiday thanks to Deepavali which fell on last Sat. To those of us who are not Hindus nor Muslims, the five days off (weekend plus public holidays) just means rest and time to have fun I guess!

Now, it's only one more day left and it's back to work for me - more like wrapping up work!

Must say I've had a good time so far.. from last Friday night to today.. - nothing very extraordinary but just spending time with family, relatives, going out with friends, movie, shopping, and had a pretty strenuous workout in gym today! (and of course online as well..)

Thanks to my fitness freak friend who's also a member of CF (S'pore actually).. I did more than my usual today! But I know I needed to as my trainer just called and said the first session of P.T. will start on Thursday nite!! Anyway, it was a great workout.. and then because of the rain, we went to Starhill and it was the first time I explored the eateries there (yeah i know, am ulu these days..) the deco was interesting but pretty pricey places!

Already I can feel that my muscles will hurt tomorrow.. already feeling quite exhausted physically and plan to retire to bed earlier than usual..

Tomorrow will be going out again! (mom already commenting I'm always out.. :p) Will be treated to a long due Sashimi lunch (yummy) by uncle and then a massage session followed by tea with a friend and dinner with a couple of church friends to discuss our peer group's Christmas celebration plan.

Well.. there will be more days of outing from this weekend onwards as sis and the kids are home! But guess what? their main agenda is to visit all the major shopping malls in town/PJ! dejavu.. ;)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Final Countdown 2

It's happy time for me, praise God :)

3 more rest days followed by 2 working days ..

And I'll be FREE!!

(have already brought back one box-full of reference books from office desk - more stuff to pack!)

The `Art' of Naming Yourself.. :p

(ARGH!! earlier post got wiped-out when my PC hanged! here's a repost)

Last night, with the effect of some alcohol, we had a hilarious time in the car on the way back home from dinner.

Didn't know how the conversation went to Christian names.. and mom disclosed that both her elder sisters each have one. And she wanted one too! So she asked me to come out with Christian names that begin with `P', as her Chinese name is Pooi Yoke.

So I suggested from the top of my head names like `Patricia', `Pauline', `Polly', `Peggy', `Penny', `Priscilla'.... Bingo! she likes the sound of Priscilla! But there's a slight problem. Mom can't pronounce it - she said `pes-cil-la' and had to repeat me a few times to try to get it right!

Dad, listening to all this in amusement, chipped in to make fun of mom.. and then suddenly announced that the name `pes-cil-la' suited her. "But it sounds better to add a `ya' in front. Your name should be `Ya-pe-ci-la'," he said and went on to laugh and chant `ya-pe-ci-la', `ya-pe-ci-la' nonstop!

I burst into laughter!! I shall not divulge what that `name' means in Cantonese but those who know the dialect know it is not something nice!!

Mom was not amused.. but she still liked the name Priscilla although dad has twisted it to `Ya-pe-ci-la'. She is now officially Priscilla Chong.

Then we decided to give dad an English name!
And now, that wasn't easy as he wanted a name unique and descriptive of him.. any John, David or Michael won't do. Well, I suddenly thought of something and suggested to him jokingly that since he loves his beer, he might as well call himself `Anchor' or `Tiger' or `Calsberg'!

Guess what? Dad liked the name Anchor and said it was great for him - since Anchor sounds like `anger' (which he admits to being angry much) and of course, Anchor is his favourite beer! So yeah, he said he is now Anchor Chow!


Anyway, we also wanted to give my sis a Christian name - as everyone in her family has one - but finally didn't come out with any as she would have her own idea!

Then I announced to them that I was thinking of changing my Christian name too! Ok, I have given myself the name Jessica since my teens but everyone who knows me in person - from relatives to friends to colleagues - call me by my Chinese name. Jessica or Jess for short (and I prefer that) was used for pen pals (yes, I had from way back), subscriptions and posts in England and later as an online name/nick. Even my blog is so named now.. and my two dogs also have names beginning with J.

But I think around the beginning of the year, I started developing a fondness for the name `Erica' and thought I want to use it myself - simply because it sounds nice.. And to be honest, as I'm getting older, I feel the name Jessica doesn't suit me much.. or maybe I just get a bit `bored' of it?!

I won't trade anything for my real Chinese name (as it's pretty unique!) but now, I am considering changing my so-called Christian name to Erica! Mom said she liked Erica better too!

But if I do.. I won't have that `bond' with my two Js - Jojo and Jelly - anymore. Of course I wont rename them - they would be utterly confused! And besides changing my email address... I would probably need to change the name of this blog - hmm.. will call it `EC's two Js' - EC stands for Erica Chow.

So, what do you think? `Jess' two Js' or `EC's two Js'? Those who know me.. do you think I'm more a Jessica or an Erica? ;)

p.s. btw, Jessica means `wealthy and blessed' and Erica means `powerful and regal' - but not like ppl care much for the meaning.. mom didn't bother to ask what Priscilla mean and Anchor?! ok.. it can be means a support and security I guess :p

Friday, October 20, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Two Js looking good! :)

Jojo has put on some weight and looking more sturdy these days! It must have been the effect of being nuetered early last month!

Anyway, we always thought he was a little on the thin side.. so now we're glad that he looks better and healthier.. and yes, his appetite has increased too!

We haven't observed any major change in behaviour, though I think he is a bit less aggressive and `hamsup'.. but still as playful as ever!

Jojo's favourite squeky toy.. he loves any toy that makes noise!

Hmm..trying to get a bit of shade in the garden as I chased him to snap photos?

Meanwhile, Jelly's biggest interest now is to go for a car-ride! She would jump into a car whenever anyone opens a car door. So again today, she was waiting to go into my car as I was leaving for work

And as she saw my camera, she came closer to me...

Fluffy and nicely-groome Jelly is such a poser!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Alarming Statistics!

Had my consultation session for personal training this evening.

Technology is really amazing - I just had to stand (barefooted) on a machine called `In-Body' and hold onto its metal-like handle for a while.. and Ta-Da! It read all the `scary statistics' for the trainer and me!

Nope, I'm not gonna divulge those stats which spelled out everything from my weight to body-fat/bones/muscles/water weight (and many others) to the ideal stats for my height and age.

It couldn't read my age of course.. haha!

Well, what I learned about my own body condition is nothing funny. In fact it is quite alarming, although I know already more or less where I stand - from my sessions with slimming centre and the measurement when I first joined the gym more than two years back.

It is confirmed that my bone structure is actually consider small - thus the weight of my bones in proportion to muscles (not much) and to my FAT is really quite SAD!! Yes, my fat weight is the heaviest - in proportion! Just base on the fat percentage alone, I'm considered obese! :(( And BMI wise, I fall in the slightly overweight category..

My trainer, after explaining in alarming tones to me all the stats, suggested a training outline AND the goals that I'm gonna achive in 12 sessions.. But mind you, after 12 sessions, I still have to work on it, but the $$$ I am to pay will be less.. There are no shortcuts nor miracles here.

And of course, to accompany this tough-sounding exercise regime, I will have to watch my diet too! After the first few strength training sessions, I will be given a nutrition guideline to follow. It didn't sound as bad as what I had to go through before (at those slimming centers) and so I am determined to follow it faithfully.

Training will commence after Raya break. In the meantime, I need to build up my stamina by doing some exercises too. I went for spinning class after that and had a great workout!

I will be measured again by `In-Body' on January 17, 2007. By then, I hope to, no, I MUST achieve the statistics target that had been set for me!

Jelly's `boyfriend' and make-over

Last night, I brought Jelly along to my cousin Chien's home mainly so that she could play with their Miniature Schnauzer Charlie! Jelly hadn't bathed for 8 days but it turned out that Charlie too was equally, if not, more smelly!

We put them together in Charlie's pan while we chatted in the house for about half-an-hour or so.. I also took both of them for a short walk. Charlie was quite well behaved but Jelly was the one getting all excited as usual and kept tugging me along!

She also seemed to be playing `hard to get' hehe.. as they got reacquainted with each other - some time back, Charlie stayed with us for a few days when my cousin went away.. (btw, if you don't know - Jelly is the one with lighter colour fur)

Took Jelly for an over-due grooming session today - it has been more than two months! Incidentally, my cousin also took Charlie for grooming today. However, Jelly's specialised `beauty salon' charged RM90 while Charlie's grooming cost only RM60 (bargained down by my cousin)

Well, she (I mean jelly) is a girl after all.. ;)

A Beautiful `English Wedding'

It was a memorable weekend. I attended a beautiful and cosy wedding up in the mountains!

My cousin Yen Sze married her Dutch boyfriend Chris at the colonial style Ye Olde Smokehouse at Fraser's Hill on Saturday. They had graciously invited their close relatives and friends to join in the celebration of their big day.

The booked up the whole colonial bungalow for the wedding - where the immediate family also stayed there. The wedding took place outodoor (good thing the earlier drizzle had cleared) on the spacious terrace.

I helped with the reception table - getting guests to sign in and pen their wishes to the bride and groom and Mei Lian (Yen's brother's gf) snapped photos of them to be placed in the guestbook later.

Amidst a cool afternoon sun, the guests were entertained by a string trio who presented some melodious numbers. Soon, the bride made the appearance by walking down from her room upstairs, accompanied by her dad.. and the romantic song `She', played by the band.

The groom took her hand and they walked out into the terrace where the exchanging of vows took place... surrounded by their closest families, relatives and friends.

A friend of Chris read some Scripture verses and the couple said their vows.. when it came to the exchanging of rings, Yen was joyful and moved that her voice choked.. indeed it was a solemn, tender and moving moment for all those who know them well..

Then it was a time of congratulating the newly weds and taking photographs, before a simple Chinese tea ceremony took place - also outdoor. Just shortly before that I found out that my name was on the list! As in Yen and Chris were going to present tea to me too (as I'm Yen's elder cousin). So I quickly got my act together and pack two small angpow packets :p

Unlike many Chinese weddings where the tea cermony could be quite a draggy and long affiar, this one was over quite fast.. and soon, we were treated to a `performance'!

The three singers were none other than the mother of the bride and her two younger sister (one of whom is mom), while the pianist was Chris mother. They sang `The Wedding' followed by `Moon Represents My Heart'. Although they were no great singers, the gestures already won them much applause! And they did practise hard for it, I could vouch.

Later we took a short break back to where we stayed - Silverpark Apartment - to get ready for the dinner, also at Ye Olde Smokehouse.

It was a traditional English fare - there were five long tables where the seating of each guest having been allocated. Sat together with mom and dad as well as second aunt's family, as well as few other guests. It was nice to have the band serenading us throughout the dinner.

The dinner lasted almost four hours! But it was not boring as there were some candid speeches in between.. My uncle (ie. the bride's dad) made a short speech in English and proceeded to read out a Chinese poem he had written for his daughter and son-in-law.. I helped him to translate into English - not easy as Chinese literature is far richer than Englihs. And it was kinda embarassing how he introduced me - telling everyone what I do and over-stated my calibre :p

When it came Chris the groom making the speech, we were all suprised that for a big portion to it, he spoke in Mandarin! He has been learning the language and joked that Yen had said he must speak Mandarin to the family before he could marry her! His pronunciation, the structure and the content of the speech was very impressive. I could see my aunt and uncle smiling in approval and the bride was beaming from ear to ear.. It was indeed a very touching gesture. Even my dad gave him a standing ovation.. well done Chris!

Then there were the toasts - in Dutch and Chinese fashion.. Of course the three loud and rowdy `Y-U-M Seng!' took the cake.. speaking which, the cake cutting and coffee followed. After that, everyone just carried on chatting and enjoying themselves.. the dance floor was open too but we left just before midnite..

Had a really nice sleep in the cool and clear air and before we left, we went to Ye Olde Smoke house again to say bye and took more photos! Aunt and uncle asked us to stay for brunch - which turned out to be a huge English breakfast.. we took our own sweet time talking and enjoying the weather before taking the road down at about 2pm.

The bride and groom and their two familes, meanwhile, drove towards East Coast to Club Med Cherating for an extended family `honeymoon'! hehe.. i think they will have their own honeymoon later too..

Yen & Chris, may both of you have a happy life together and God bless. :)

p.s. for more photos on the wedding, visit my flickr (via the badge on the right)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Fitness Challenge!

Went to gym tonight and after 30 minutes of cardio exercise and another 20 or so of weights training, I suddenly had the urge to have a proper fitness regime that could see results!

Had been considering personal training in the past but due to time and cost factor, I had just been working out on my own and although I feel a bit fitter I know I'm not achieving enough

But soon, I would have no work hours to observe - my time will be flexible in the next two months at least! Oh, speaking of that, I just did a mental countdown - 10 more working days to go!! :D

So I did it! I signed up for personal training! (here are some of the benefits of having a personal trainer)

I was recommended the six week/ 12 sessions to start with. Two guided sessions a week with tailored program to achieve my targets - which is basically to increase fitness AND to lose fat! There will also be nutritional advice and fitness/fat analysis etc...

I plan to start during the festive time when work load had waned off..

Well, it's not cheap but not something I couldn't afford. I decided it's a worthwhile investment, even if I don't lose much weight at least I will build muscles and be fitter! It sure beats signing up for slimming treatments, which I had done before and it's all in vain now.. :(

I'm quite excited and am determined to go through with it!

A Family Affair

We celebrated grandma's 88th (Chinese age 89) birthday on Sunday evening. Her actual birthday (only her lunar birthday is known) is the 19th of the 8th month which actually fell on Tuesday.

My two aunts, uncles and some cousins from Singapore drove up and most of the family members in KL turned up. So we had two full tables. But to think of it, if all the family members are able to make it, we will need at least three tables or more!

Due to a stroke she suffered several years ago, plus the onset of old age, poor grandma is immobile and also suffering from senility. She has to be `transported' on a wheelchair and somehow I feel the dinner was more a gathering for her children and grandchildren rather than for herself as she was quite oblivious to the happenings around her..

Anyhow, it gave her children and their children a chance to catch up with one another.. as most of us have not really seen each other since Chinese New Year or even longer than that! And yes, we all had a great time mingling and chatting away..

The food was good - dad chose Rasa Sayang Restaurant at Sri Petaling. We had a private room fortunately, as outside was a wedding reception complete with many rounds of`yamsengs'!

My humble present to grandma was the famous chocolate-banana cake from La Manilla - which was yummy. And with the sumptuous 10-course dinner, most of us had overeaten!

Here are some snap shots: (family members reading: feel free to `lift' any of them!)

Grandma and her loyal and helpful daughter-in-law - ie. mom ;)

Cousin Dawn from S'pore who has the misfortune of having her bag stolen just that afternoon in KLCC! She lost many valuables including her passport! Yet the optimistic gal won't let that dampen her happy spirit. :p

Cousin Nong with our cousin Chien's son Ally

The two youngest guests that night - Ally and Laura (the great-grandchildren)

Grandma and her birthday cake

Laura is all grown up and almost as tall as me!

Dawn, Denise and me taking a pix and Ally budges in!

Grandma getting ready to cut her cake

Just the gals - (standing) Dawn, Chien, (seated) Shelly, Vivian, Me and Denise

The Singaporean cousins - Dawn, Chien, Nong and Denise

The Malaysian cousins - Wei Zheng and wife Shelly, Vivian and Ee-Wang (Chien's husband Andrew is not in the pix so we are still not outnumbered!) :p

The 3rd generation gang + one 4th generation (minus others in KL, S'pore and HK)

And finally, a group photo taken but a camera-savvy Chinese waitress!

Wishing you a Happy and Blessed Birthday Ah Nay. May you be healthy and happy always.. !! :)