Saturday, November 12, 2005

NBS couldn't join us 'blading so we lunched together instead. I wanted soup and bread at Cedele, J8, but somehow we couldn't find the place. Maybe we were searching in the wrong annex? We settled for MOS Burger instead where June bought a cute Coke promotional teddy bear (white with "Coke" in tiny letters emblazoned all over it). We sat and chatted longer than expected -- I even got a sighting of NBS' sister who happened to be walking by our table but, unfortunately, on the other side of the glass partition, so an intro wasn't convenient.

JY arrived at Bish Park way before us and by the time we arrived she was ready for her solo park tour. June continued working on her basic maneuvering and eventually learned to bank anti-clockwise. Next week, she'll figure out clockwise banking, and hopefully, braking. Then she should be ready for park exploration. JY isn't so systematic. JY is the learn-as-you-fall kind of student. Cool.

Went for petanque training late but we still put in quite a few games with the kids and a triples game with Wendy, Celine and CW. Training was a little edgier today because June and I are partners at tomorrow's National Doubles Championship event, which everyone else is training for too! To be realistic, we'll just concentrate on pointing well since our shooting sux, and hope for the best. Wish us luck!

After training, June found an adorable little kitten at the garbage collection area of TP stadium. She wanted to take it home so badly, but it wasn't ready to leave its mother yet and kept darting back to the safety of its refuge every time June got too close. June'll have to build up trust over time, as she has with many of the strays downstairs of our place, and then it's ours! Bwa ha ha!

Weng taught us how to play bridge after dinner at Blue Jaz. Rules are simple enough, but it's going to take lots of practice -- as always -- before we can play the game properly. Oh, well, 1 more new skill to pick up...

Friday, November 11, 2005

After a long day of report writing, a couple of meetings that promised some unexpected developments -- not ready to talk about them yet, though -- and a day full of department excitement because today the JC2s took their GP exam, I squeezed in a bowling quickie with Anthony and Amy at the CSC in the late afternoon.

Nothing to boast about, though. Of 3 games, my first 2 scored 120+ each only. Lane 16 was a bit slippery and my very first throw landed me on my butt though I still knocked 7 pins over. Wonder if the college bowling team training on the lanes behind us saw? Anthony and I both threw 125 on the second game and were severely punished by Amy's 140+. The girl's game is picking up nicely.

It was only in the third game I got a decent score, 164. It's bad that it takes a long warm-up before "the game" can start proper. And even worse, I need to find a different aiming point and a different starting position because what worked in a previous game doesn't necessarily work in the current one. Where is the consistency?

Took June and Q-tip out to dinner. Nearly collided with a Matrix as I was exiting my parking lot and entering into the main road. Must be a problem with my judging of distances or the Matrix was just driving faster than I estimated. Whatever. I thought I could make it, but as I entered the lane there was a furious beeping from behind, so I switched to my left lane to avoid him. He had the exact same idea and likewise switched to the left lane to avoid me. All I could do was floor the accelerator and hope for the best. Meantime, the Matirix driver stood on his brakes... the fact that I can still make this entry means that we all made it out of that hairy situation in one piece without a scratch. My guardian angel really works overtime to keep me alive.

Dinner at Porridge Culture: Warning -- cash only. Credit cards and NETS not accepted. You imagine the scenario.
OPs are finally over and we are now on the final leg of the PW cycle -- assessing the groups' files of supporting documentation for their projects. From the OPs there seems to be a trend to research the feasibility of incorporating yoga, or aromatherapy, or some other homeopathic practice into the school environment as a means to "cure" hyperactive children, relax stressed-out kids, and focus easily-distracted kids so they can do better in their exams. Sort of makes you wonder about the working environment our kids have to put up with.

But it also shows the kids do have some ideas about how they could possibly make improvements for themselves. They aren't all particularly original, and some might even be financially disastrous, but the OP could be a way to actually trash out what works and what doesn't, as Chewie and I did with the presenting groups after their assessments were over. Once we put away our assessment forms and our pens, the presenters could relax and then our discussions became animated, spontaneous and highly engaging. Don't know if the kids enjoyed the post-presentation chat, but their assessors sure needed it.

In the evening, June got her first petanque injury. She was slightly behind me, both of us bending over to see whose boule won the point. I estimated that she had won so I stood up and jerked my thumb in her general direction to say so. She was still bent over, intently looking at the boules and not seeing my thumb until it poked her in the eye. And put a small scratch on the bridge of her nose too. Why do we always hurt the ones we love?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

June's really happy with the Rollerblade carrier that Ching brought back from Modell's of NYC last night. It's the 2005 model and it's so spacious it'll probably swallow up not only her in-lines but all her protective gear (sans helmet) too. Now she's fully kitted up she's got some serious incentive to learn to 'blade properly. Go, grrl!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Went bowling with the Gutter Boyz at the CSC after OPs. Seriously needed to unwind.
# of Games: 6
Average: 158
Clean Game: 1
High Game: 216 (personal best to date!)
After throwing a few crappy games, I think I've finally got the hang of CSC's lanes. Let's see if I can repeat this feat again another day.

June had to entertain a HK business visitor so they had dinner at Equinox, leaving me to my own devices this evening. Found company with Anthony, Amy and later Wendy, and we had dinner at Blue Jaz, the Dunlop Street branch. Navigating around Little India was quite an experience. I haven't even walked those narrow streets before, let alone drive through, sharing the road with pedestrians, bicyclists, hand-pushed carts and trolleys piled high with goods or recyclables. Finding parking here takes patience and luck, and a good navigation sense since it's unlikely you'll get parking right at the place you want to get to, unless you're Anthony who's quite lucky about these things.

Parked on Dickson, just a short walk away from Dunlop. Interesting sights and scents with the backpackers' hostels; quaint, cosy pubs and bistros; mixed in with electronics stores, stores that sell junk (literally), and traditional Indian goods. The scent of jasmine and Indian spices is unusual, almost appetizing, and I was looking forward to eating soon.

Blue Jaz here offers an all-day, all-American breakfast with coffee for under $5, as are many other items on the menu. I had the dory (smooth, white fish) but it wasn't enough to satisfy my raging hunger. So I ordered a companion plate of cheese fries (cheese whiz, more like), a choc milkshake and later, an earl grey tea. For the price, the food really isn't bad. Not great, but decent sized portions and reasonably tasty.

No luck here with dessert either. Had my eye on a brownie a la mode featured on the menu, but only the NY cheesecake was available. Not quite what I had in mind. Too bad.
Below is June's eulogy for Belle:

Today Q-tip lost her "package"–Belle. This is usually how we introduce Belle to our friends and relatives. As when my mom's ex-tenant moved out of TP 4 years ago, she left 1 dog (Q-tip) and 2 cats behind. My mom's friend only wanted to adopt the black Tom cat as Belle was pregnant during that time. Our intention is to give both the cats away and only keep the dog but since my mom's friend wasn't interested in keeping the pregnant cat, we had to take her in.

Remember when she first came in our house, she was so smelly and panicky. She hid behind the washer and the fridge for almost 2 days. Q-tip kept trying to squeeze her head behind the washer and fridge to look for Belle and encouraged her to walk out from her hiding place to play and had her meals. We later managed to catch hold of her and put a collar with a bell on her to keep track of her movements. That's why Min wanted to name her Bell but we later decided to name her Belle instead.

This morning Belle was not able to move both her hind legs again, this time she even vomited in the second bedroom and on the living room carpet. We quickly took her to Dr Kasey and he told us she had a stroke again. This time the condition was quite bad and the chance of recovering was slim. Both her ears also turned pale and cold when we took her out of the cage, she was also not able to control her urine. I knew it was serious but I was still hopeful. I have to leave her with Dr Kasey and I left for work.

Dr Kasey called me around 3 pm and told me that Belle just vomited blood and was breathing through her mouth and asked if I could rush down to see her for the last time. He told me Belle will collapse anytime soon.

Belle couldn't wait for me and Min. She died 20 mins before I reached the clinic. At least we got to stroke her head and body for the very last time. I requested Dr Kasey to put her collar and her name tag back on her as they had to remove it during the treatment. I told her to remember her name is Belle and from now on God will take care of her on our behalf till we meet again in heaven. This is the last thing we can do and give to her.
June and I chilled out at Timbre, drowning our sorrows with bitter lemon and ginger beer in 10 oz. high-ball glasses. Thankfully, the place doesn't serve desserts else we'd've wiped out their entire stock of ice-cream.

The beer was flat; the acoustic 2-piece band was um... youthful, needing to down treble and up bass a bit, and the music kinda' sweeter than I'm used to. But it was a restful evening, no need to engage either brain or muscle. Just hangin' out with friends, making idle chatter 'round the table, and alternating between critiquing the band and singing softly along with their music.

Thanks for the company, ppl.

Monday, November 07, 2005

In a sudden, shocking turn of events, Belle is no longer with us.Posted by Picasa

A relapse of the stroke she suffered in June this year left her paralyzed on the living room carpet this morning. We took her to Dr Casey for treatment immediately. He advised us that her condition was much worse than before and that the treatment would have to be more aggressive.

We had to leave her to go to work, but later in the afternoon, Dr Casey called to say that Belle's condition was cascading downwards. She was already gone by the time we rushed down to the clinic.

Today, we lost the most patient, sweet-tempered, gentle cat we've ever known.

We can't help but blame ourselves for not continuing her treatment after the last time, but her condition appeared to us like she had made a complete recovery. She was her old, normal self with unhampered mobility. She could walk and run, and jump up to places where she may not exactly have been welcome, but we indulged her anyway.

For more info about the cat that was, well, there's a little bio here, if you haven't already seen it. Meantime, the household's a little sad right now, thanks for asking.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Q-tip, in her pink faux Burberry trenchcoat, is ready to brave bad weather as we set off for the SKC Championship Dog Show. She's a spectator, not a contestant, btw. Posted by Picasa

Someday they're gonna have to make dog-sized merchandise counters. Posted by Picasa

When ya gotta go, ya gotta go! Posted by Picasa

Well, you asked us to "sit," didn't you? Posted by Picasa

Q-tip, what do you think of boy dogs? Posted by Picasa

"The next person who says, 'so cuuuute!' gets puke on his shoes." Posted by Picasa

And over in Bish Park, Chewie and JY swig 100Plus before hitting the slopes again. Posted by Picasa

3 L-plates looking confident. Check out the spankin' new gear! Posted by Picasa

Petanque, 'blading, bowling... wonder if this pix is evidence enough for a healthy lifestyle award for us? Posted by Picasa

The aptly named Sunset Grill and Bar where June and I and Q-tip came for dinner. Coincidentally, Amy brought her folks here too, and we surprised each other. Shows great minds do think alike! Posted by Picasa

A pix with something for everyone. Foodies can look at the food, dog lovers can look at Q-tip, sports fans can look at the 'Adidas' logo, me... I'll just look at June. *dodges a flying shoe. Posted by Picasa

Finally, June and JY proudly promenade towards the rink with their own in-lines. Posted by Picasa

June gets the Geoblade 1.3W...

and JY gets the Geoblade 1.5W

Fully suited up, JY prepares to leave the safety of the rink to explore the park proper. Chewie and Tones are on hand to escort her today. Posted by Picasa

In the evening, (after completing in-line training in Bishan AND petanque training in TP), we -- me, June, Anthony, Wendy and Weng -- surprise CW at the Blue Jaz with a belated birthday cake. Posted by Picasa

Celine is as surprised as CW over his little celebration. Posted by Picasa

Oh, and at Blue Jaz, this dear little black-and-white cat scrounged some kibble off June, then made itself comfortable on some cushions in the outdoor dining area. Posted by Picasa