Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Deed is Done

Yes, it was all over in under 10 minutes. I cannot believe I actually went through with it considering my fear of pain.




The day started cold and wet and the dental surgery is located in the heart of all the chinese supermarkets, eatery, etc. I wonder if Jared's parents had a premonition (then) that he would be married to a chinese when they made the choice of going to that particular dental surgery which is managed by Dr Orlandi. No doubt, it is a thriving business because he now hires 6 chinese dentists to work for him!

Prior to stepping into the dental establishment, we decided to go to the chinese superamarket to stock up. This exercise couldn't have been more cruel to me. Jared decided that he was going to buy $20 worth of cooked char siu (some of which to be consumed at lunch) and yours truely? I can only settle for tofu and century eggs! We left the supermarket with 3 plastic bags of goodies, all of which I cannot consume except for two!

Back in the dental surgery, Jared went for his appointment first while I continued to sit at the waiting area browsing through a pretty decent collection of tabliod trash. Then the dental assistant came to get me. By the time I sat into the chair, both my hands gripped tightly to the sides of the arm rests till my knuckles turned white, I felt cold and my eyes were shut tightly. No, they haven't even done anything to me at that stage!

Both Dr Tang and her Dental Assistant were most patient and professional. Dr Tang explained every step of the procedure while the Dental Assistant had her hand on my shoulder just as Dr Tang applied numbing gel on my gums. The KILLER was the insertion of the needle to fully numb everything! I had six needle insertions on the outside and inner gum area on te left and right - where the bloody so called wisdom teeth (2) were happily growing out of. I had my legs wrapped around the chair, white knuckles, cold forehead, eyes clamped shut and silent moans of protests to signal my discomfort while Dr Tang worked swiftly. Before I know it, she was onto another set of aparatus and she explained that i would hear some pressure noises...crink crink, the first teeth was out, she moved to the other set...crink crink, the second teeth was out too!

I couldn't believe it! All I could do was give the both of them the big thumbs up! I am very impress by the whole procedure and no, I do not want to get another extraction done anytime soon if that is at all possible! I shall conclude this blog entry with a visual souvenir:

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tomorrow is the day...

...I head back into the dentist's chair.

About a month ago, the unimaginable happened. I walked into a dental surgery after an absence of 16 years. Yes, I have not been to a dentist till last month because of horrific experiences as a child. What eventually got me there were (1) coaxing by Jared (2) private health insurance which we have been paying for but never use!

We went to the dental surgery used by Jared's family since he was a child and he is still being cared for by the same Dr Orlandi since he was in primary school! I was very impress by the place - it was bright, calm and staff very professional and friendly. As I was eased comfortably into the chair - I was entertained by the television program, ceiling art and hanging mobiles. The last visit went well, in fact, the dentist was very impress with the condition of my pearly whites considering they haven't been attended to in 16 years! All I needed was a filing until they showed me the x-ray! They recommend for the removal of two wisdom teeth (top) because it is a challenge keeping them clean let alone floss!

WHAT! EXTRACTION! NOT ONE BUT TWO! ***If I were in cartoon land, I would have fainted with stars revolving around my head***

To cut the long story short, I am going in for the procedure tomorrow in the chair. I am not looking forward to it but I am thinking of the positives (1) I will not have tooth decay (2) It will be over in 20 minutes so says the dentist (3) I can live on ice-cream and yoghurt

WHY OH WHY - did GOD give us Wisdom teeth? Why call it Wisdom teeth when it is evidently not wise at all!?

Friday, June 23, 2006

OH-LAAAY! OH LAAAAAAAAY! OH LAAAAAAAY!

There was no peak hour traffic at the usual times today. Why? All of us were glued to our tv sets to watch Australia play against Croatia. It is fascinating how football has taken this nation and around the globe over like an infectious virus! Across the country, alarm clocks would have gone off at 4:50am in preparation for the game at 5:00am - at least this game was played at a more decent time!

Hundreds and thousands camped overnight in the cold winter night and morning at the many vintage points in capital cities across the country to replicate what I can only imagine the tension, suspense and excitement of what it must be like at the stadium!

Jared as usual, set both our alarm clocks to go off as back up just in case, one decided not to work. No guesses who didn't wake up to two blarring alarm clocks this morning! JARED! Like any couple who have been together for awhile, I refused to turn it off and after 15 minutes of hair tearing shrieks from the alarm clocks, I poked him in the ribs which jolted him out of bed straight away and into the living room. I have never seen him wake up that quickly in our six years together!

He then proceeded to screaming, shouting "BS referee!", etc etc..while I decided to stay in bed for a bit longer before the suspense finally got to me.

For the first time in 32 years, Australia is finally in the World Cup and for the first time ever, we are now in the second round!

Harry Kewell (Australia's answer to David Beckham but very good family man) sent the Socceroos into the World Cup round of 16 with a stunning late equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw with Croatia in the most remarkable soccer match Australia has ever been involved in.

Australia will now play Italy in the round of 16 in Kaiserlautern on Monday (Tues AEST).

John Howard - declare next Tuesday a Public Holiday!!!!! C'mon!!!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Remembering Paul

It's been a year since our good mate, Paul Bodington, died, and still a day never goes by that we don't feel his absence in our lives esp. during a Geelong Football Game, his dodgy cakes, his amazing capacity to cater for an army even through there is only 5 of us, his corny jokes and above all, his genuine friendship and love for all.

I'll never forget though, the Bods Lessons in life, so succinctly summarised by his friend June Balfour:
  • Smile at people
  • Say hello to the person in front of you at the check-out line
  • Send 'thank-you' cards and letters
  • Buy inexpensive gifts, silly gifts and give them to those that you love at random
  • Wear Hawaiian shirts at random because it makes other people smile
  • Always have a corny joke up your sleeve
  • Invite people to dinner even if you have no dinning room furniture
  • Care for people, meet someone new and more importantly, get outside your own self
  • Hug

His passing is a reminder that life is short and precious, and that we'll all benefit in someway from trying to live the way Paul did - sharing hugs, generosity and happiness, letting those close to him know how much he appreciated them.

Through his work, Paul was able to share a laugh with so many people - earlier this year, he was honored by his colleagues in a way that would make him proud: ABC Local Radio Award for Outstanding Radio Feature/Package by an individual (which Paul won himself) was renamed the 'Paul Bodington Award'.

At yesterday's memorial, a special seat was placed at the entrance of the Japanese Gardens at Mt Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens in memory of Paul. It's a lovely spot to have a seat and enjoy the surroundings and remember Bods.

Take a comfy seat there one day, and have a think about who you'd like to hug next, or what silly present you're going to buy for your partner or your kids or your friend on the way home.

Cheers Bods!

Memories of Paul

http://www.abc.net.au/brisbane/stories/m1248272.asx

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Advocating for Chivalry!

20th day of winter ; showers 12C - 20C
What happened to the good old days of ladies and gentlemen? Where gentlemen open car doors for ladies, gentlemen usher ladies through the lift door before oneself, gentlemen give up seat for ladies regardless of circumstances, both ladies and gentlemen give up their seats for others who need it more than they do, etc.

When did we toss out good manners and civic-mindedness in the company of other humans?

Is it because we are a more selfish generation attributed by of our stressful lifestyles? Is it because we have been "burnt" by another human for being chival?

There is no excuse especially if the reason or excuse in this case is because we are tired, stressed or selfish. However, if one's reasons are due to the fact that you have been "burnt" by another human for being chival, then we are onto another thing altogether!

Take this (real) incident for example. It took place in Hawaii onboard a crowded bus. Girl on holiday has a seat. She sees a woman in her 60's standing. Girl looks around and sees that her fellow passengers sitting down who are much younger than her are not offering their seats to this older woman. Girl stands up, offers her seat. You would think that the woman in her 60's would smile and appreciate that. But no, the woman in her 60's responded at the top of her voice, "That's alright. I am not pregnant, I am just fat!"

Another example cited by a male friend. He was in the lift foyer of a tall office building in the city. He noticed a woman waiting for the same lift. When it arrived, he held the door open from outside the lift and lets her in. She was not only not appreciative of the fact that he had just demonstrated the act of chivalry, she gave him a earful for thinking of her as being helpless!

Have we become such a cynical society that we question good intentions and actions offered by complete strangers? We are indeed our very own worse enemies.

So next time when someone does something nice for you e.g. open your car door, offers you a seat - take it graciously with a big smile and make sure you let that lady or gentleman know that it is much appreciated.

Let us protect chivalry and ensure that it never ever goes out of style!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Winter Cleaning

18th day of winter; 8C - 22C
(for some reason, i am unable to upload pics today)

We have all heard of Spring Cleaning but Winter Cleaning? Yes it happened on Saturday for us.

I was in a "nesting" mood and no, I am not with child. It is rare for me to be super duper enthusiastic about housework and since I was, I better seize the opportunity while it lasts. It lasted for 9 hours including time taken to do our weekly grocery shopping!

It started with our pantry - all four deep shelves. Got rid of what we hadn't used or eated in the last 4 weeks and ended up with 2 basins worth of tupperware! Didn't realised we had that many?! Cleaned every single jar and bottle, disinfected every shelf, etc. I then proceeded to cleaning the oven - that was a task in itself! It was easy enough to remove the mental contraptions in the oven but to put them back was even worse than removing lice from a child's head of hair! Then was the fridge and then the stove..it went on and on. After that, I even made dinner! I must have been high on something - I know, the fumes from the oven cleaner!

Despite being really tired, I was also incredibly satisfied with the outcome knowing that it was all done and dusted. Dinner was absolutely scrumptious - Beef and Guinness Stew. I guarantee it!

Beef and Guinness Stew Serves 4
2 tbsp plain flour
800g chuck stew, trimmed and cut into 3cm pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 brown onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
200g swiss brown mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup Guinness Beer
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
mashed potato, to serve
1. Place flour, salt and pepper in a snap-lock bag. Add beef and shake to coat. Heat 2 tbsps oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook beef, in batches, for 3 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
2. Heat remaining oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, onion, carrot and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tender. Add tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
3. Gradually stir in Guinness. Add stock and bay leaves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Return beef and juices to pan. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
4. Remove lid. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes or until steak is tender. Remove bay leaves. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mashed potato into shallow bowls. Spoon over stew and serve.

Jared was up to his neck in cables which I was in the kitchen. You see, we enjoy our surrond sound while watching movies at home and our home has a very open layout so cables were running all over the floor for the back speakers. Great sound but very unsightly so ever patient Jared was all over the media room and the space the separates our ceiling from the roof, "fishing cables", etc...I am glad he is handy like that and is qualified to do electrical work because labour alone would have cost us at least $1,500! Yes, he was doing it for 9 hours too! Very intricate but so worth it!
What was the cat doing all that time? Sun-tanning, sleeping, eating and meowing for attention. Sigh...what a life!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Beard Pa Pa's?


15th day of winter; 11C - 23C
What is that, you ask? Well, for starters it is tickling the fancies of Australians. Here's presenting "Beard Pa Pa's"

It reminds me of the cream puffs my mum used to get from Bengawan Solo (Singapore chain of pattiserie). We first came into contact with "Beard Pa Pa's" a month ago. It brought back fond memories of my childhood and I am surprise also that Australian's have never come across such a sensational delight!

So what makes it so sensational? The cream in the puffs do not contain any preservatives! They bake the choux pastry shells that are made up of two special layers. The inner layer is a choux pastry shell and the outer layer is a piecrust. According to one of the "chefs", their secret recipe of whipped cream custard takes 2 hours to prepare and they use vanilla beans from Madagascar. No wonder, I see tiny black grains and smell the wonderful sweet aroma when I bit into one yesterday evening. Yes, I bought a box for football last night!

The tempting cream flavours include Vanilla, Chocolate, Green Tea, Strawberry, Coffee and Caramel.

If you are looking for a treat or if you need to bring dessert for your next social engagement, you really cannot go wrong with a box of Beard Pa Pa's.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Back to Earth!


14th day of winter; 10C - 22C

Wow! What a week it has been! I am finally back in my office after 5 days of back to back events! It started off with...

Wednesday, 7th June
Came into work super duper early to tie up the lose ends with the events and didn't stop for lunch or toilet break until 6pm! Then off to the Sofitel Brisbane for the first event - Board Meeting including three course dinner from 7:30pm to 11:00pm. It was also the President's Birthday - surprise was planned. All went well. By the time it was over, my head was spinning and my back was in need of a comft bed to un-kink!

I had to share a room with my colleague. We had shared previously at another event and it was great but this time, she was as tired as I was an you guessed it...she's a SNORER! Oh man! It was as if I had the entire QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA in my 5 star bedroom! No guesses who slept the most that night.

Thursday, 8th June
I was surprisingly alert despite the lack of rest from the previous night. My adrenalin has kicked in and it will sustain me for the next 48 hours, as per my experience. 55 Branch Presidents across the State in town today for State Council and we had 5 guests from the Teachers Union addressing us. Once all the AV and attedance was taken, I slipped out of the room to work in the conference secretariate room for the rest of the day. More boxes were showing up, more event orders to approve, more registrations, more protocols...it ended at 5pm. My colleague was absolutely wasted from taking non-stop minutes, she decided to stay in while I went out for dinner with one of my bosses. Despite feeling a little weary myself, I needed to get out of air-con and walk. My only exercise for the day. On top of that, I had 2 more meetings to attend that night starting with...

10:30pm - meet with MC. Go through running sheet. Why so late? He lives in Melbourne and decided to fly in late.

11:30pm - AV set up. The AV techs are getting younger and younger...maybe, because I am getting older and older.

2:00am - in bed. Yes, colleague was snoring but I was too wasted and collapsed into bed.

Friday, 9th June
Woke up ay 5:30am. 23 trade exhibitors setting up at 6:00am. The conference team sets up registration for 350 delegates, 50 trade, 30 VIPs. All is going according to plan. Started on time. Minister spoke for way too long. Received call from Queensland Parliament asking me when the Minister will conclude his engagement with us because he was due to address parliament in 5 minutes- I then asked what protocols I may employ to get him off the stage, their silence was all the answer they needed. MC did a great job and got the program back on track! I walked non-stop the entire day and guess how many steps I did? According to my pedometer - I had done 18,000 steps!

Jared joins me at the Sofitel and my colleague checks out. While 430 delegates walked towards Parliament House for a reception with the Minister. Jared and I went for a quiet dinner in the city. We even managed to check out some lounges on sale! Off to bed and I had the best night sleep, ever.

Saturday, 10th June
Woke up at 6:00am. Had breakfast. More meetings before conference commenced. Trade Exhibitors are very happy with the organisation and connections with delegates. Conference proceeded without a hitch. All is well. State Conference Gala Dinner - 20 piece big band set up, balloons galore for the room. All went well.

Sunday, 11th June
Woke up at 7:00am. Brekfast with delegates. Speakers were incredible! Stand out for me was Li CunXin, Author of "Mao's Last Dancer". His book is in its 33rd re-print - I brought my copy and got him to sign it. I am one happy girl!

Conference concludes. More stuff to lug back to office. Thank goodness, office is only 1 minute drive down the road. Off load boxes of stuff. We went home and yes, I slept for the next 3 hours. We had dinner at home before heading out for movie - XMEN 3.

Monday, 12th June
Queen's Birthday Public Holiday. Cheers, Queen! Day of housework. While I did food shopping, Jared did a few loads of laundry and mopped the floor. Tonight Australia plays against Japan in the World Cup. Got to stay up - so off to bed we went for a few hours of shut eye. After 32 years, Australia is playing at the World Cup!

The Socceroos' (yes, we know it is football and no, I have no idea why Australia still insists on naming the team socceroos - perhaps because it rhymes with roos as in Kangeroos) stunning 3-1 win over Japan not only kept our World Cup hopes alive, it probably kept referee Essam Abd El Fatah alive. The Egyptian referee had ealier apologised to goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer for allowing Japan's only goal after the keeper was blatantly taken out of play.

Tuesday, 13th June
Woke up with sore head due to late night. Rang into work and took a day off in lieu. Why not? Spent the day re-organising my wardrobe, slept more and had a most relaxing day.



Monday, June 05, 2006

Weekends, come back!!!

It was the weekend before the big event. Yes, as of Wednesday this week, I begin my annual "pilgrimage" of conferences. First up, the State Conference held in Brisbane which pans over 4 days sees school leaders across the State flocking to it. The preparations are done but still the anxiousness lingers. The day I stop feeling anxious but prepared about running events is the day I resign because being complacent in this industry is suicide!

I did what I knew best to calm my nerves. To cook, of course! My darling husband is always a most willing guinea pig. Thanks Love!

It started on Saturday night. Pretty cold night and I really didn't want to spend a long time cutting meat and chopping vegetables but still wanted something homey and heart-warming.

Chicken Cassrole
washed down with Penfolds Chardonnay

On Sunday, we invited MIL over for Sunday lunch. It will be the second and last time I will see her before she leaves for Singapore on Thursday. I made "All taste BBQ Chicken" courtesy of Myra. It was easy and yummy!

All Taste BBQ Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Greens with Garlic

Sunday lunch is never complete without coffee and cake. Yes, I made it from scratch...

Chocolate Fudge Cake


Weekends are always too short...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Down the River...

It's finally Friday! I can't wait to get out of the air-conditioned office and have some freah cold air.

In about 5 minutes, I will turn off my laptop, switch off my mobile phone, cross the road to the ferry terminal and to the cinema with Jared.

We are watching "The Da Vinci Code" this evening. Read the book so many times, heard so much about the movie and yes - I will go with no expectations.

This weekend - off to the discount grog outlet tomorrow to get 36 bottles of wine as gifts for the conference next week and on Sunday, we are having MIL over for lunch before she heads back to the Lion City next Friday!

Before I know it, I will be back at work on Monday. Bloody cold, I bet!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Welcome, Winter!

Today officially marks the first day of winter. I am been looking forward to this season since the start of Summer in December 05.

Those of us in Brisbane woke up to a chilly 5C while our mates in the outer western suburbs, a bitterly cold -2C! I doubt many of them took a shower before heading out this morning.

The picture on your left, is what the State of Queensland looks like (for those who are not aware). The capital being Brisbane.

We are the second largest state in this country measuring more than 1.72 million square kilometres, 25% of Australia's land mass, which is four times the size of Japan, nearly six times the size of the UK and more than twice the size of Texas in the US.