Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bye-bye 2008!

In just a few hours time, 2008 will be history!

I've been so busy in the last week that I haven't had time to even ponder on the year that is to be, and make resolutions for the new year. Let alone having time to post a year-ender which i really wanted to do!

In a while, I will be going out with my sis and nephew - to be a reveller in the heart of town for new year's countdown! This is definitely not the norm.. I haven't been out there partying on New Year eve for so long! Rather I chose to attend my church's watch night service where individuals would share of their testimonies in the year and giving glory to God.. I find it more meaningful to usher in the new year in the presence of God and his people..

But today, it will be different - because my sister is back from Hong Kong and she and the kids usually are not back at this time of the year. Since my eldest nephew requested to go out for `count down' and fireworks (and he has never been in HK) I thought why not since it will be those `once in a blue moon' thing for us anyway.

So the plan is, dad will drop us off near Sentral monorail station where we would take the train to Bukit Bintang! I missed the Xmas decor at Pavillion last year and I don't want to miss it agian this time round.. so tonight is going to be my last chance.. and would be nice since sis wants to see Bintang Walk at night. Ya, she's quite like a tourist than a true-blue Malaysian! :p

As the fireworks will be over at KLCC, we will try to see if we could take the train over there for the countdown.. really, everything will be played by ears! Just hope we won't suffer too badly with the revellers and crowds!!

So..what are some year-end thoughts? One thing which I find it so `scary' is how fast time flies by these days. Especially this year - 2008 just went by with a blink of the eye. I don't know if it's to do with getting older I no longer look forward to the new year. Rather, if I have a choice, I want time to stand still for at least a while..

Compared to 2007, I think 2008 is quite eventful in every aspect of my life. Work has steadily picked up and by middle of the year, I was quite happy that I had enough regular works to keep me going. Unfortunately in the last quarter, things had taken a change - I don't know if it has to do with the economy down-turn but I've so many lost opportunities, so much so that I was beginning to get a bit worried on how I'll survive this year.

But God is good. After some rather relaxing `break' recently, I had stumbled upon something new and challenging for at least the first half of next year. For the last two years since I quit full-time journalism, I have been writing for publications as my main bread and butter. I've hope to branch out to other forms of writing and now, I can say that I'm given the opportunity. It's to do with something I have a great passion for - but I'm still a freelancer and this is of a part-time basis. At this moment, I won't reveal too much..

But I'm quite excited about as well as some of the on going work.. though I've met some hiccups in the last two months as far as writing is concerned, which even made me doubt whether I'm suited to be doing this..

2008 was also quite a fruitful year for travelling.. although I did not make it again to go to the U.S. as I wished to from last year. In May, our family went to Zhuhai, China and then Hong Kong to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. I went to Krabi for a seaside escape in July but the highlight must be the short-term mission exposure trip to Yunnan with my church in September. Indeed, that one week opened up both my physical and spiritual eyes to so many things.. It was a memorable trip that is also paving ways for more opportunities in the missions field.

On the resolutions side.. I think I did not deliberately make any resolutions for 2008 based on past failed experiences. But there were a few areas which I wanted improvement in, and these are like the perpectual resolutions since eons ago. And yes, again I failed miserably - especially in terms of losing weight/diet, exercise and sleeping earlier.. In fact, some of them went from bad to worse!! This over-weight-internet-addict-OWL can't change!! :((

I don't know how determined I would be in 2009 but I don't think and seriously hope things won't get worse.. In fact, I should buck up and live a healthier life before I hit the big 4-0!

So ya, not much serious thoughts and reflections for this year end - in particually today. And the next post will be next year..

Happy New Year 2009 everyone! May God bless...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Yes.. it's Christmas!! And in a week's time, we'll be ushering in the year 2009!!

I'll be driving up to Penang with my sis and her kids over the Christmas hols.. and we will be joining my cousin and her family there for two nites. Although I'll miss Christmas service and a friend's Christmas party, but having Christmas by the beach is also quite cool for a change!.. and most importantly, is having fun and spending time my sis, nephews and niece who live in Hong Kong. It's not common that they're back here for Christmas..!

I've spent most of Christmas eve in the kitchen cooking up a storm! I had decided to host dinner for the family and features a pretty traditional Western menu. Besides the roast turkey that I ordered, also attempted rosemary roast rack of lamb - which recipe I got from my friend. It turned out really good!! Then for starters, did the tried and tested yummy fresh mushroom soup. Also made cous-cous, pumpkin, broccollis and carrots as sides.. Gosh we were so stuffed. And for once the turkey tasted succulent and nice!

Too tired and lazy to post photos up.. perhaps later..

Will try (but I must!) do a year-end review soon.. in fact, there are some exciting things to share as well as all the merry-making at this festive seasons!

In the mean time, here's wishing everyone a blessed Christmas and happy new year! :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Two Birthday Dinners - Pix Gallore!

I feel blessed that I was treated to two enjoyable and sumptuous birthday dinners two nights in a row! :)

It started with a memorable birthday eve celebration with a group of friends - dining at a place where we all have never been!

I made the task easier for Lynn, who so sweetly organised my birthday dinner - and told her that I would like to try out the eateries at SoHo KL @ Solaris - since I've never been. And from its website, it seemed one of the more interesting restaurants is Ole Ole Bali!

It was a Monday night and I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a good turn out, although I've been asking Lynn who were coming - curious ma . :p

True to its name, the restaurant has a Balinese theme with nice interior and ambiance. The food consists of Balinese as well as burgers!! Of course we all chose the former. Our nasi campur was quite tasty with lots of side dishes - although after a while it was too much already. Guess the only grouse is on the not-up-to-par standard of service. At least I was mentally prepared for it as I read in a couple of food blogs that the service was bad!

My food blogger friend Masak-Masak even warned me and told me not to scold the waitors! Anyways, I was in a happy and good mood so the slow and blur waiters were spared my scolding!!

We took lots of photos but somehow some of the photos were kinda blur... could be the obscure lighting..

And when the cake arrived.. I was amused to see two large and two small candles on it!!

With the gusy - only few of them..

With the gals! Yay - girl power!! ;)

It's a family tradition of sort to eat out on one's birthday. But on Dec 16th afternoon, I was still deliberating where to my birthday dinner with my parents as they left it to me to decide.. Being an adventurous person when it comes to food esp, I would like to opt to dine at a place I've been before! My mind was a bit blank so i did some research on food blogs and came across `Sage' in The Gardens from two popular blogs - just check out the exquisite cuisine on Masak-Masak and A Whiff of Lemongrass!

Looks very costly but since my birthday comes only once a year - that's the privilege I get :p But i didn't manage to reserve a table as I couldn't get through the nos given in the blog as well by The Gardens.

Since it was a Tues, I thought it's not that difficult to get a table for three. So we went.. but guess what, there happened to be a company function and thus there wasn't even one free table. I was quite disappointed..

Well, since we were already at The Gardens, so we all agree to find another restaurant there. After looking through the directory, it was between Alexis and Yogi Tree - both of these restaurants I have been once before for lunch.

We ended up at Yogi Tree. It's quite a `downgrade' from Sage but I managed to help dad to save at least RM400 or so! And it makes me happy when dad is happy :) I must say it has very good service and the food was pretty good too - at least my parents also enjoyed without burning a hole in the pocket!

Wearing the pair of expensive glasses that's the birthday present from mom!

Our orders from two set dinner menus: two pumpkin soups, seafood paella, garden salad, grilled rib eye steak.

And we were allowed to choose two cakes for dessert

The Chilean house wine was pretty good that we ordered extra!

Dad was so impressed by the meaningful wordings on the wall that he asked me to take a photo!

And.. when we got home, and before the end of my birthday.. how could I forget to take a photo with the two Js - who unfortunately weren't in the mood for the camera!! :p

Just want to thank all for your company and wishes, your gifts, SMS-es and countless FB messages.. there is no regrets in turning a year older (like I have a choice? haha)

p.s. oh, there is a joint belated birthday treat from a couple of friends next Monday..!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas singing series with Cantus Musicus!

The first half of December has been a busy month as far as singing (and feasting) is concerned!

My choir Cantus Musicus had been invited to stage three performances and you guess it, most of the time the singing was followed by feasting!! ;) But of course, the real joy was derived from singing those beautiful and meaningful pieces linked to the birth of Christ.

Being a shutterbug and one who likes to be at the receiving end as well, I did my narcissist thing and had a photo taken before I left home for each performance. ;)

December 1 - Equatorial Hotel
(dresscode - white top and long black bottom - and colourful accessories (mine you could hardly see:p)

It was for some Christmas event at the hotel - where they lit up their Christmas tree. There were some long speeches prior to our singing.. It was quite `sad'.. since we were singing in a corner of the lobby, and most people were not really listening - I think we had like an audience of about five?

Anyways.. we still sang in good spirit and I think those who watched enjoyed themselves. After singing, we were treated to a superb buffet spread!

December 7 - `9 Lessons & Carols' at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church
(Dress code: All black with colourful Christmas accessories - I borrowed a red necklace from mom!)

We rose to the occasion and in my and many others' opinion, sang our best for the performance. It was a meaningful presentation with readings of Scriptures by various diplomats in between carols. I really love the pieces from different eras in various languages..

After the performance, the audience was treated to home-made mince pies and mulled wine - courtesy of some talented ladies from our choir.

I did spam many ppl on emails, Facebook and sms and personally invited many to come but finally only my parents and three friends (one had to miss out the `feast' for a wedding dinner) came.. Well, it's their loss missing out! :p My parents and friends thought we were really good!

December 13th - `Festliches Weihnachtskonzert' by GSSKL at Bukit Nanas Convent Chapel
(Dress code: silver, blue & white)

This to me was the climax of our series of performances! :p

It's my first time entering Bukit Nanas convent, and the chapel of course. It's really quite beautiful! But my friend who studied there said it was even nicer before they painted the facade brown. I forgot to ask some members not singing to take photos of us! So I don't have any photos when we sang.. There was this part when a lady from our choir dressed up as Lucia of `Sankta Lucia' with a crown of light on her head. and there was also candle lighting when we sang `Light a Candle in the Dark'... ah, how I wished there were photos (well, the society's official photographer was there but haven't seen the pix in their website yet..)

And of course, there was the feast and free flowing wine!! Emm.. I think i was unconsciously trying to keep up with the amazing drinker sitting next to me - he already downed four glasses of white wine when we were just about to get our appetizers!! So I ended up having two glasses - one for red and the other for white wine - in front of me the whole night long..

And ya, i got a little bit high I must say but still steady enough to drive home, in a merry mood.

can you believe some of them still hadn't had enough of singing and continued after dinner?! :p

p.s. a big thank you to all my fellow choir members for being so united, singing their hearts out and a even bigger thank you to our choir director who put in so much effort in everything from selecting the music to coaching us and coordinating the presentations and more! Thanks Lisa and all for making this Christmas special and memorable! :)