28 January 2008

Mile High Loving

These lovebirds have been at it for 2 weeks now. Same three going through an unvaried sequence of activities on two trees in our back yard at almost the same time, around noon. I don't know if it is a daily romp but they have entertained me during a few lunches.

On Sunday, I decided to be the paparazzi and captured their 'love affair' on camera ...

Birdie 1 flies and perches on branch. It was too
high up for me to recognize its species.

It positions itself to wait for Birdie 2.
Not for long, about 15 seconds.

Birdie 2 flies in and joins Birdie 1 on branch.
They sort of dance around for 15-20 seconds.

After catching-up, they kiss, neck, copulate
with great stamina, at least 2 minutes!

Birdie 3, a Blue Jay flies on to a lower tree next to
rendezvous tree, gazes up and makes its presence known.


Birdies 1 and 2 fly away together. Blue Jay follows in the
same direction. For a threesome somewhere, perhaps?


Now, me thinks THEY are the true members of the Mile High Club and we homo sapiens need a new name for ours.


27 January 2008

Iron Chef Seattle : Secret Ingredient - Chicken!

Nah ... I made that up. Hehehe! We just took turns to cook this weekend. David made chicken & veggie curry while I roasted a fryer.

ROAST CHICKEN

I didn't follow any recipe, just felt like Asian-style roast and agak-agak (estimated) the ingredients. Chicken marinade was olive oil, soy sauce, honey, grated ginger, minced garlic, lime juice, salt & pepper. Potatoes were sprinkled with dill. Mushroom and beans had sage, paprika and lemon juice. End result -- YUMMY!

CHICKEN & VEGGIE CURRY

David is a 'little bit of this and a dash of that' kind of cook and has become a master at it over his bachelor years. Even when he does refer to a recipe, he will enhance his dish with spices that do not move faster than him. :) So, lagi (some more) no recipe for his delicious curry. The veggies were onion, potatoes, celery and carrots. Paste was S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix. End result -- YUMMY also!

26 January 2008

Pursuit of Knowledge

Do you have friends who, when asked what time it is, teach you how to make a clock? I am a step ahead, I married one. I'm only saying this partially tongue-in-cheek because David will readily admit to the tendency of providing TMI - Too Much Information. It is a phrase I psst-psst when the flow of extra details starts to confuse me or worse, challenge my impatience. It used to be FFPFast Forward Please, which he found less amusing than TMI. FFP is very effective when you are in a rush and need to bring his story to an abrupt end.

Now, I don’t want to give the impression that my husband is boring company. He isn't. His stories are often funny, entertaining and his depth of knowledge is amazing. He’s just a bit long-winded at times, totally unselfish and presumes that everyone shares his insatiable hunger for information. He has reached the incurable stage of reading everything that lands on his lap and all non-spam pop-ups on his monitor when he isn't absorbing facts from documentaries. The latter he does until the TV literally watches him. Seriously.

I am, on the other hand, very selective about what my brain cells process, filter and store. It is the result of prioritizing a demanding career over personal interests for nearly two decades. The ABC rule that I apply to scheduling work tasks had long spilled over to life outside the office. I have become rather selfish with who and what occupies my time. With internet resources just a few fingers away and a walking encyclopedia always in the vicinity, I no longer feel the need to collect and retain as much general data as before. My leisure focus has shrunk to a few specific hobbies which require little cognition and lesser erudition.

I don't know if our different approach towards intellectual enhancement and enlightenment is good for our relationship or not in the long run but for now it gives us the personal space we both enjoy once in a while.

One aspect of gaining knowledge that we do share is the habit of looking up a dictionary for the definition of new words. It has been and still is the best way for me to remember how to spell, pronounce and use them correctly. David does it for the same reason and more. He needs to know their origin, creator, related words, equivalent in other languages, etc. One of the dictionaries that provide him such details is this heavyweight given to him by his dad ....

Height Comparison with Paperback Novel

Width Comparison

Thickness

Total of 3393 pages!

Have you seen a book that is larger than this? When I first saw it on the bookshelf, I thought it was a block of crafted wood!

I don't refer to it for the simple reason that it is not light to hold.
I do know that if I ever stumble upon a word that is not listed anywhere else, I will find it in one of these 3,393 pages.

25 January 2008

Ice Heaving & Wedging

Ice heaving & wedging occurred at our front yard this morning. These pictures show how fascinating nature is when its elements react to one another.

Click on the pictures for larger images of the ice crystals.








24 January 2008

Friends For Keeps

Kris's friends recorded this video for her at her farewell party ...



For some reason she is unable to view the DVD-version of it in its entirety on her laptop and internet access is restricted at her college. Rightly so, I should add. :)

Plan B puts it here for Kris to get to it easily whenever she gets a chance on a trip to town.

Enjoy it, Kris. It takes someone very special to have such wonderful friends, and you're it!


22 January 2008

Perks of Being Over 50

If ever there was a period when I was solely responsible for the increase in minute sales at Sprint or Skype, these past 8-10 days would be it. Besides the weekly chats with mom and exchange of updates with my siblings, I have been gabbing across the miles with several long-time friends in SE Asia and Europe. It is something we do yearly even though we appear in each other's mailbox throughout the 12 months. Some news just gotta be told or repeated in real time for laughter, tears and gossip fixes. It is our version of Auld Lang Syne and New Year Resolutions!

Topics naturally vary according to who is on the other end of the line but one common interest surfaced this year - my milestone Half-Century Birthday in November! I was surprised that all of them knew. It is in my blog, so an open secret (silly me!) but still I am quite pleased they remembered. Some of the bits they wanted to know ...

... how are you celebrating? Dunno yet-lah. It's so far away. I am thinking Vegas if we still haven't gone there by then. First time at 50 sure win some, right?

... David throwing you a surprise birthday party? He better not. I hate surprises and he knows it. I have been an organizer like forever, so surprises on me are BIG No-Nos!

... how do you feel? Normal-leh. Am I supposed to feel differently? Like how??

... any fears of getting old and sickly? Too late-lah. Already there, just try to embrace both with grace and dignity, and make the most of time left.

... you still pass the pencil test? Yes! I dare say that I am truly blessed with the right assets for once but I suspect it has something to do with being vertically challenged.

... you're so lucky, you don't have any children to worry about. My 15-year old started ada boyfriend already. I need to discuss the birds & bees story. Any suggestions since you jaga v-jayjay until quite late, kan? Tell her Uncle David says, "The best contraceptive is the Aspirin or Panadol. Hold one between your knees at all times. You will never get pregnant."

Now do you see why these annual conversations are so necessary? LOL! I did not have the opportunity to chat with Pak Idrus but he sent me this funny, feel-good and highly appropriate piece to cap a week well-spent with a truly jolly bunch of friends.


PERKS OF BEING OVER 50

1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

2. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

3. No one expects you to run--anywhere.

4. People call at 9 pm and ask, " Did I wake you ???? "

5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

7. Things you buy now won't wear out.

8. You can eat dinner at 4 pm.

9. You can live without sex but not your glasses.

10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

11. You no longer think of speed limits as challenge.

12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.

13. You sing along with elevator music.

14. Your eyes won't get much worse.

15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.

17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.

18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.

19. You can't remember who sent you this list.

And you notice these are all in Big Print for your convenience.


14 January 2008

Tag : 3 Takeaways from 2007

My first tag of the year is by Zawi, a very wise man who acquires knowledge and experiences through a genuine interest in people and their surroundings. Coupled with his own success in life, the stories he tells are inspiring and entertaining. He is one person I will enjoy chatting with, anytime of the day.

This tag is about sharing 3 blessings received or 3 lessons learned in 2007. There is little difference between the two if we think about it, so here goes ...

#1 - Kind strangers and good friends are found in simple packages. This is not new to me as my own roots are humbling and several of my closest friends are those I have known since I was a child or teenager. Even when I was working and mingling with the corporate elite, I find myself forming friendships with the rank and file at greater ease than with business associates. And, they last. I was reminded of this when David and I vacationed in Langkawi Island in early 2007. With the exception of a couple of over zealous vendors, we really enjoyed meeting the locals during our trips around the island. These are the rural residents like the lady selling drinks and tidbits by the roadside, the security guard atop Gunung Maya or the giggling cashiers at the duty-free emporium. Simple folks who are obviously happy with themselves and what they are doing. They were friendly, smile at first sight of us and eager to help. Sometimes, I'd pretend I don't understand Malay or Chinese dialects to hear what they had to say. It was always a genuine desire to make our stay a pleasant one. Perhaps, they were attracted to David's baby blue eyes or afraid that he will drown in his own perspiration but people were just very kind and nice.

Amongst them is Hashim, video-taped here working on his fishing boat with his son. I think his name was Dollah.



We were driving around on our last afternoon in Langkawi and wandered into an unnamed road that led to a fishing village and its seafood processing center. Hashim gave us a verbal tour after I decided to share our drinks with him. We exchanged stories and when he heard that we had failed to find a rental boat to sail around the islands, he offered to bring us out the next day at no charge. He was visibly disappointed when we told him we had a plane to catch, and he extended an open invitation for our next trip back there. I have a feeling he will remember us when we do.

#2 - Don't believe everything you read in blogs, especially when the authors have a penchant for secrecy but contradicts themselves by dotting their 'i's and crossing their 't's in publishing the very same secrets using pseudonyms. Dubious actions like this or what folks seek to achieve through them does not bother me as it is their right to do so. It is, however, disappointing when you get to know them and become privy to their real life, only to realize their modus operandi is not what they portray. I was misled by one such author last year. It left me disgusted at best and I have since raised my degree of skepticism when I see the word "incognito".

#3 - Never underestimate the dire consequences of small errors. You've probably read about my Thanksgiving weekend mishap. Jumping off a sailboat on to docks, floating or otherwise, is something I have done over a hundred times in Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Singapore and here in the US. Sometimes I step down but mostly I jump because my legs are so darn short. I don't know what I did differently that fateful afternoon but the misjudging of distance or miscalculation of timing had to be minor. Unfortunately, the damaging results were not and it has not been fun.

I am supposed to tag 3 others but will neglect the call since this is rather late. Do feel free to continue the chain if you have takeaways to share, and let me know as I would love to read your post. :)

13 January 2008

I am not home sick

Brave and comforting words by Kris who just started college life in the UK and was interviewed for a story on the new intake of students at Concord College.

We were naturally worried about her settling in as she had a pretty sheltered childhood and teenage life in Malaysia. Besides missing one's comfort zone, sense of security and familiarity in everyday life, it is never easy to be separated from loved ones and friends. Friends are valuable at her age when rivalry and malice are mere words in dictionaries, and Kris made many through her school, sports, church, and recreational activities. Apparently, a huge group turned up at the airport to send her off and there were bucket loads of tears befitting a teary drama episode. She was miserable for a couple of days on arrival in London but brightened up when they started shopping in Oxford Street. That is solid proof she is family!

Her lifestyle has changed with boarding policies and the absence of mamak stalls for lepak-ing (hanging-out). The only outing will be a weekly trip into town for supplies, not unlike what Laura Ingalls did in Little House On The Prairie. Her mom mentioned this but I forgot to ask who came up with the reference as Kris and Laura have somewhat similar characteristic traits.

A Levels actually began last autumn but she opted to complete her SPM in Malaysia (equivalent to 10th Grade in US or GCE in UK) which means she now has to complete 6 terms in 18 months instead of the scheduled 24. My sister thinks it will be a real test for her because she is more smart than studious but I suspect her pride and competitive nature will see her through easily. Sport is an important part of life in Concord and they have excellent facilities, so Kris is in heaven. She is already lamenting that winter is boring with limited outdoor activities and she can't wait for summer.

I think this young lady is off to a great start on her journey to face the world as an adult.

( Photo courtesy of Concord College.)

09 January 2008

Bill Gates of Animal Kingdom

Since my mishap, I have been sleeping on our futon downstairs. It is the only piece of furniture Lola has carte blanche to jump up and lie on 24/7 without invitation. She is not allowed on any of the leather couches without permission. Being Ms Velcro, she hardly uses it as she has a personal need to be near, if not touching us all the time. Instead of stretching out on queen-size luxury she'd rather lay on the floor by our feet wherever we are. The minute either of us have a reason to use the futon and head for it, she'll dash forward, leap up and seat begging stance in anticipation of the human physical connection.

I think it confused her quite a bit when I first took over her daybed as I did not allow her to join me for fear of her jumping or lying on my injured foot. Poor girl was also torn between staying with me downstairs or following David upstairs to retire. For the first week or so, she stayed with me not out of loyalty, of course. I was nearer the kitchen, so her chances of having a treat is higher. Yes, she is also Ms Chow-hound, forever hungry. When that wasn't happening, she began sleeping on the staircase landing just in case. Occasionally, she took the liberty of sleeping on one of the leather sofas in a stand of "you sleep on mine, I'll be on yours", perhaps. These nights, she is mostly with David who in her mind is the leader of our pack.

I get her attention during the day and this past week did not shoo her off the futon. The danger of her accidentally re-shaping my foot is slim, plus it is resting on a nest of pillows higher than her. She started lying at the base but over the days crept upwards inch by inch and now lie on the quilt, next to my face. It is a nice warm feeling until she decides to fart.

The laptop is my second companion on sick-bay and I must have left it open and on when I dozed off this afternoon. This was the hilarious scene when I woke up .....


She was actually looking at the screen!

The camera flash caused her to hit a sound key.
The woman became even more curious!

Catching up on election results, maybe?

Computer work is tough. Sigh.

Her "when are you going to feed me?" look.

Our Sleeping Beauty


05 January 2008

A Day at Post-Op

I dread my current stretch of post-op appointments because the wimp in me surfaces when it comes to tolerating pain. I always take a couple of prescribed narcotics before heading out for each visit, so the actual foot regiment at the podiatrist center is a breeze. What hurts is the nerves waking up later and telling on the bedside activities of my podiatrist and personal friend, Dr Suzanne Wilson and her bubbly nurse, Debra. The complaints go on for a couple of days even with strong medication in my system.

Yesterday's visit was no different. I have been home for over 12 hours and faithfully keeping the pharmacists at Safeway happy, yet the angry nerves are still talking loudly!

Debra takes care of my X-ray sessions. I absolutely love this woman. We clicked from the moment we met and I don't know anyone who loves her job more than Debra. It is so obvious in the way she happily treats her patients, with genuine interest, utmost concern for their comfort and a smile that reaches her eyes. She is aware of my low threshold of pain and engages me in chats to distract me from the routine of forcing my heel to bend towards the floor. Today's topic was how we ushered in the new year and her baby - a bird of paradise plant in their conference room that I spotted earlier. The nursing profession couldn't have found a better representative.

These are Debra's masterpieces of my foot ...

Side image showing the hardware holding the shattered pieces of heel bone in place. It is amazing how fast the bone grows itself. Four weeks ago, the metal strips and bolts were just hanging loose in emptiness.

Image taken from back of foot. David counted 9 visible bolts. They are 12. I hope the other 3 were just hidden from view and did not detach themselves to go for a float-about!

Suz exercises the foot - as in forcibly twisting the ankle in circles and writing the alphabets with it - after viewing the images. She has decided that I am ready for baby steps, standing and walking in the boot, taking an hour each day away from scooter time. This will set me up for physical therapy in a week or two. My excitement and glee at the advanced progress was short-lived when she said the pain is likely to increase with PT. Sigh. More dollars for Steve, the pharmacist, I suppose.

(Suz)

(Debra)


The last picture is for family and friends who asked how I actually ride the knee-scooter. Ride is probably not the right word here as I push the scooter forward or backwards using it as the second leg to walk. The front wheels turn at 45-degrees angle both ways for negotiating corners and avoiding obstacles. It is fun and I have been speeding a little. No ticket so far. Haha!

I know five of you prefer a pants-less photo but this is a public non-rated site, so those REI khakis have to stay on. LOL! Besides, my leg muscle has shrunk quite a bit from prolonged non-activity, it is pretty scary and an eyesore.


04 January 2008

Go Seahawks!

Today is "Blue Friday" here in Seattle which means that football fans of the Seattle Seahawks are encouraged to show our passion and support for the team by wearing Seahawks attire or blue clothing to work and school. The team will host the Washington Redskins on Saturday in the first play-off game of the season.

What little work I do these days is from home and I don't attend school, but I am a fan.

Matt Hasselbeck (#8) is my favorite player. He is one of the best quarterbacks in the league - smart, tough, confident, talented with the right attitude and a great sense of humor both on and off field. What I admire most about him is his belief in himself when the odds are against him, his willingness to work hard to succeed and the deep values he observe in family and social circles. Next is his humbleness and wit. Reporters and interviewers enjoy their sessions with him as he is really interested in their work and often makes it fun with jokes and hilarious quotes. You won't see many public personalities laugh so easily at themselves and their blunders, the way Number 8 does.

David bought me the jersey and cap for my birthday and in readiness to attend a play-off game but I don't think Qwest Field is knee-scooter friendly. Besides, my freaking injured foot needs to be higher than my heart at all times, not a pretty picture at home, and worse in public.

So, come 1 pm on Saturday, I will be screaming blue from our couch in the den.

Go Seahawks!