making it easier to keep in touch with family and friends

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Dozo Please

Dozo means 'Please' in Japanese language and it is also the name of a fine dining Japanese-French-European fusion restaurant in Singapore. We went there a few times before and the girls requested to go there for dinner tonight.

The girls both had the Children set: Mushroom soup, Chicken Teriyaki with Japanese Somen, warm chocolate cake with ice cream and fresh orange juice ($15.80).

For the adults, we had the 7 course set ($59.80).
For Starters, it was the chef's selection of assorted platter: scallop, smoked salmon and foie gras. Bite-size portions but enough to whet the appetite. :) For Drink, we had the Iced Fruity Refresher.

For Cold Dish, I had the King Crab Claw Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette while the girls' father had Sashimi. My crab salad was really fresh and I love the fragrant sesame vinaigrette.

For side dish, I had the Gratinated Escargots with Yuzu Butter and he had the Steamed Bamboo Clam. The clam was fresh and light in taste.

I chose Crab Bisque in Cappuccino style while he had the French Onion Soup. My crab bisque was really creamy and rich in taste. It is refreshing to drink soup in a cup. :)

For Main, it was Crispy Kurubuta Pork Cheek with Onion Jam and Pickled Ramp for me and Sake-infused Grilled Unagi on Hot Stone for him. My pork was really crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. :)

For dessert, I ordered the Japanese Mua-chi with Green Tea Ice Cream and he had the Espresso Creme Brulee.

It is a nice change eating at Dozo. The food is tasty and their service is excellent! No wonder the girls wanted to come here lol.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Swimming and Eggs

My good friend invited my girls and I over to his condo because the girls have been dying to go swimming when they were last there. We arrived just after 9:30am and the girls couldn't wait to jump into the pool after saying hi to my friend. The weather was perfect, a little cloudy and not windy. :)

The girls swam for a good 45 minutes in the pool, actually they were more like wading in the pool as they can't swim lol. I was in the pool too because I have to keep an eye on them, just in case. Better safe than sorry. While watching them, I was using the jacuzzi in the pool. Thank goodness for that, otherwise I would be bored lol. :P
While the girls were having their tea back at the condo, my friend set up his Dreamcast for them to play, besides his NDS. Both Marieann and Juliane are only interested in Streetfighter kind of games haha. Marieann is really good. She even managed to beat my friend several times when they played against each other hahaha. Friend, you getting old lah. :P

We later went to lunch at Hatched, Evans Road with my friend and his wife. Hatched serves mostly egg dishes cooked in various ways - boiled, baked, poached, scrambled, fried. We all had The Designer omelette ($10) where we could choose 3 toppings to create our own omelette. For dessert, we shared a Pancake Party and Summer Berries ice cream. I forgot to bring my camera so no photos :( but much to the delight of my girls as it meant they could eat the food at once when it arrived.

After lunch, my friend dropped us home. The girls told me that they had a great day for 3 reasons. First, they finally went "swimming". Second, they played Dreamcast games. Third, they love eggs. After deciding between themselves, Marieann and Juliane announced to me that they will be going back to my friend's place for "swimming", for Dreamcast and also to Hatched for the eggs! Wah, already made plans without discussing with me. Haha. Friend, so how? Lol.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Work in Progress

Work in progress:
1. The examples given by the coders for each dimension are being incorporated into the coding manual. :)
2. The codings of the artifacts have been entered and they are ready for analysis. :)
3. All the student interviews have been coded with the data entered and they are ready for analysis. :)
4. The teacher interviews are still in the midst of coding and some of the codes have been tightened up after discussion.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Honeymoon's Over!

It is official. P1 honeymoon is officially over.

Marieann came home with lots of homework. There were work from the Chinese activity book, the Math workbook, and English worksheets. On top of that, she has spelling tomorrow which she still has to revise. I was a nervous wreck when I saw the amount of homework. I just don't understand why she doesn't seem frayed by it all and why she could take her own sweet time to do her homework.
I don't remember assigning children that much homework when I was a teacher. A former SCGS colleague of mine and I both lamented about today's volume of homework as we had to supervise and rush our girls to complete their homework. Pressure to perform academically is catching up, however more with us than our girls who are the happy-go-lucky kind. Sigh.

P1 honeymoon is over! :(

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Trojan Horse

I was trying to look at some files from my thumbdrive. As the PC I was using in school prompted me to run a virus scan on my thumbdrive, I thought why not. I was darn surprised when the anti-virus programme alerted me to a threat! :O It was a Trojan-gamethief.win32.magania. Horror of horrors, I have a Trojan horse on my thumbdrive!! :( The threat has now been eliminated by the anti-virus programme so my thumbdrive is now clean. However I am now worried about my personal notebook and netbook as well as my office notebook as I have used my thumbdrive on those machines. Although I have scanned my thumbdrive previously, none of the anti-virus programmes pick up this trojan horse. Hopefully it meant the thumbdrive only got infected recently, very, very recently. :( Sigh. I have absolutely no idea how my thumbdrive got infected.

Wait a minute, on second thought, what if it is one of my machines that is infected and it has in turn affected my thumbdrive?! Argh.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I Love Talking about...

Relationships. Haha this is definitely an occupational hazard. :P As a psychologist and a counsellor, I am usually asking my counsellees about their relationships with family, with friends, with studies, ..., etc. I am often working with them to dissect and analyse their relationships and in doing so, I am trying to help my counsellees understand themselves better.

Oh yes, it helps a lot that I love to talk, especially in my line of work hahaha. :P

You Love to Talk About Relationships

You love to talk about people you know. You're not exactly a gossip - you just think a lot about your friends and family.

You're likely to be completely up to date on what's going on in everyone's life. And when someone has good news, you make sure and share it.

You also spend a fair amount of time dissecting relationships and analyzing people. You are always trying to better understand the people you're closest to.

Of all the types, you are the most social. You have a lot of people to talk to and to talk about!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Data Entry

The coding exercise was completed last week. We managed to receive about 82% agreement between the 3 coders for the consensus coding. That is pretty good result. :) Now I am left with the data entry for the individual coding. I should be able to finish the remaining 15 schools' artifacts by middle of this week.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Have You Seen The White Rabbit?

Marieann decided to stay home for lunch for her grandfather's home-cooked fried noodles and also because she wanted to watch "Cafe 13" at 12pm lol. The rest of us went to the nearby Dempsey Hill for brunch.

We settled with The White Rabbit at Harding Road. I love the quaint old white chapel that The White Rabbit is housed in. The old chapel has been beautifully restored, the decorative window grilles and the stained glass windows are charming.

Juliane ordered a Fish and Chips ($9) while her father ordered a Ricotta Hotcakes ($14) served with fruits and caramel syrup. I was really hungry so I went for Eggs Benedict ($23) served with sauteed spinach, black truffles, muffins, salad and roasted asparagus. Juliane's fish was really fresh and crispy while my Eggs Benedict was really filling. :) For dessert, we shared a Carrot Cake ($14) served with ginger milk Bavarians and mascarpone ice cream.Yum!! I love the ginger milk Bavarians, not very sweet and exotic in taste with the spiciness of ginger. :) The ice cream was not too sweet as well and went well with the carrot cake. :)

After brunch, we pick up Marieann for her 1pm lesson. Juliane and I went to Square 2 to do some shopping while waiting for Marieann to end her lesson at 3pm. I got more new clothes for Chinese New Year. Actually CNY is just an excuse to buy more clothes hahaha. :P

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Ouch No More

My neck and my right shoulder are getting much better. :) It doesn't ache any more when I turn my head to the right. However to play it safe, I continued to apply Voltaren at least for today. I also avoided carrying my handbag on my right shoulder and avoided carrying heavy stuff with my right hand. I think by tomorrow, I would be fully recovered. :)

Friday, 22 January 2010

Goretex Shoes

I bought my Goretex shoes! :) I bought the Women's Hedgehog GTX XCR ($196) from The North Face. It was actually a choice between the Hedgehog GTX or the Vindicator GTX. There was only a difference of $10 between the two pairs of Goretex shoes. In the end, I went for the lighter as well as the more versatile pair. I was advised to get a larger size rather than my usual US size 6 as I would need some toe space especially when climbing down the trail lol. So now, my shoes is slighter bigger (which I can easily fit a finger in if I don't wear socks). But as long as I wear thick socks and tighten the laces, the fit is fine. :) I am really happy with my find. :) Below is a photo of my Hedgehog GTX XCR shoes, yes I got it in foil grey and popsicle pink haha. :P

(Photo Source: The North Face website)

Thursday, 21 January 2010


The right side of my neck and the right shoulder are still sore and stiff. I don't dare to move too much because of the pain. When I turn to the right, I move my whole body instead of just turning my head/ neck. A good friend who is experienced in suffering from stiff neck (lol) advised that I should be stretching my neck muscle gently (of course not to the point where it hurts badly) instead of just leaving it be.

So now, other than applying Voltaren four times daily, I am also gently massaging and stretching my neck muscle whenever I can. Hopefully, I will feel better soon.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


One minute I was talking, the next minute I was "OUCH"! There was a sharp pain shooting up the right side of my neck and I was frozen in mid-speech. It was excruciating pain. I had no idea what I did or how I pulled my neck muscle. :( I couldn't look down at my toes nor could I turn my head more than 45 degrees to my right without having to turn my whole body! :( :(

I applied Voltaren which seemed to help a little but I still couldn't turn my neck left and right very much, especially to the right. I am thinking maybe my posture during the intensive data entry was bad and it has affected my neck muscle. :( I hope I will recover soon.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Coding Exercise II

It's the second day. Things are going very smoothly. The teachers were coding faster as they have found a common understanding of the coding dimensions. While the teachers were coding, I started to do the data entry. Might as well start now as there will be well over 1500 artifact codes to be keyed in once the coding exercise is completed...

Monday, 18 January 2010

Coding Exercise

The coding exercise is on this week. We have recruited 3 former teachers to rate the quality of the artifacts we have collected from schools. I went through with the teachers the dimensions in the coding scheme before they started their coding of the artifacts and I stayed with the teachers for most part of the day in case they have questions. Being the first day, the coding was slow as teachers needed to find, among themselves, a common understanding of the coding dimensions.

It is going to be a grueling week. As it is, I am already exhausted just on the first day. :P

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Snowflake Test

Blogthings has a couple of new quizzes. I tried The Snowflake Test. The result is amazingly accurate lol. :P

You Are Unique Because You're Curious

Unlike most people, you are truly interested in and open to the world around you.

You don't judge anything until you know it well. You are happy to step outside your comfort zone to try something new.

You are rare in your ability to take in many new sites, sounds, and ideas at once. You don't get overwhelmed.

Like a snowflake, you believe life is more about the journey than the final destination.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Surprise Meeting

I was out with Juliane today doing our usual routine. :) We were first at Takshimaya (for Juliane's Mckkies Happy Meal and toys! lol), then we were at Isetan Wisma (for my Clarins lol), and finally, we went to Ion. There is a The Planet Traveller at Ion. I thought I have a browse to have an idea what I may need for my Denver trip. I bought a pair of Bridgedale socks as I am intending to spend a day at the Rockies Mountain National Park. Better be safe than sorry as in getting the right kind of cushioning with the Bridgedale socks than to have blisters on my feet.

Anyway, to cut the long story short, I was famished and was looking around the food court at B4 at 2pm+ when I met my colleague and good friend from work and his wife. Actually it was Juliane who saw him first haha. We had lunch together. While the adults were eating, Juliane was kept entertained by my friend's NDS. For someone who has never played with NDS before, she is very good and she much preferred the fighting games to my friend's surprise haha. :P

My friend and wife gave us a lift home after our late lunch. Thanks. :) When we got home, Juliane asked that I buy a NDS too. Seeing how obsessed Juliane was when playing with my friend's NDS... Do me a favour please. Don't tell Juliane and Marieann that I already have one. Shhhh...

Friday, 15 January 2010


Coding scheme - ready :)
Coding sheet - ready :)
Coding process - ready :)
Artifact tagging - On-going :(

The coding exercise will be held next week from Monday to Friday. All systems are ready to go, well almost, not all the artifacts have been tagged yet. But I am sure the artifacts will be tagged and ready to be coded when the time comes. Fingers and toes crossed lol. :P

Thursday, 14 January 2010


I just found out today that a colleague of mine will be attending the AERA conference in April as well. It was a pleasant surprise for us to find out that we are both going. We were wondering who else would be attending the conference, especially the RAs.

Anyway, the discovery came about because he was asking me which airline my boss would be taking to the USA. We cross-checked with each other about what we have found out about the various airlines going to Denver, USA. I think we both agreed that UA might be the best airline to take in terms of timing, convenience and pricing.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Flickr II

I have finally uploaded my photos onto Flickr after a number of tries. Hahaha. :P First, I forgot to place some of the photos into the set intended and ended up having to cross-check each one. Next, I couldn't get the photos to appear in the order I wanted them in. I ended up having to delete the set and up-load the photos all over again at least twice! :P

Ok, I know instructions would be somewhere but I am just too impatient to locate and read them. :) It is ok, I learn better by trial and error haha. :P

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


I spent most part of today tagging the artifacts collected from schools. We need the artifacts for next week's coding. I decided to help out the RAs with some of the tagging, even though I have my hands full such as working on the coding scheme for next week! *PANIC* I managed to tag the artifacts from 3 schools. I think I can help out with another school or two at most before I really have to work on the coding scheme and have it finalised by Friday.

I was also tagged by a colleague for a discussion about assessment. It was most interesting and provided me with the break I needed from tagging. :)

Monday, 11 January 2010


I have a Flickr account which I signed up for almost a year ago. I thought I would upload my photos onto Flickr so that my family and friends could view them. However, procrastination and laziness got in the way... until now lol.

My centre recently had a New Year lunch and I was one of the unofficial photographers. :P I shall figure out how to use Flickr and upload the photos taken so that my friends and colleagues can view them. :)

I will let you guys know once the photos are uploaded onto Flickr. :)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Gathering at Grill-Out!

After dropping Marieann off for her 1pm lesson, we met up with Juliane's god family for a late lunch at Grill-Out!, Orchard Central. We haven't seen each other for quite a while. Juliane was most delighted to see her Kai-ye, Kai-ma and Malcolm Kor-kor. She couldn't stop smiling. :) She was initially shy but soon, she was chatting and playing with Malcolm.

The girls' father and I both ordered the lunch promotion (2 to Dine @$23++): USA Korubuta Pork T-bone and with an additional $6, I had the soup of the day: mushroom soup, drink: iced tea and dessert: cake with Basil ice cream. Juliane had my soup and shared some of my pork t-bone. The pork t-bone was char-grilled and served with orange keyanti sauce. The fat trimming on the pork was just fantastically delicious! :P I really liked the basil ice cream too. You could taste the basil as well as eat bits of basil in the ice cream. Despite basil not being the usual ingredient to make ice cream, it was pretty good. It wasn't very sweet and was creamy. :)

After lunch, the girls' father went to pick up Marieann while Juliane and I went to the sale at Robinsons. The girls managed to pick out their Chinese New Year clothes. :) The next time we shop, it would be for my CNY clothes lol.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Shopping for Denver Trip

Yes, I know it is still a number of months away from my Denver trip. Wait, I forgot to confirm my air ticket. Will get it done next week. :P

Yes, about my Denver trip, from what I have read up on from Denver website and travel guides, it is still pretty chilly during the April/ May period (max of 20C and min of 5C) and it's going to be rainy too! I never liked the cold, worse if it is wet too. *shivers* :( Since it is going to be rainy and I will be doing lots of walking, I am going to need a good pair of waterproof walking shoes. My last pair of sports shoes, if you recall, disintegrated after being acquainted with the seawater (during
My Semakau intertidal walk 27 June 2009) haha.
Looking around at Royal Sporting House and World of Sports, I found some brands which sells waterproof sports shoes such as Columbia, Salomon, Hi-Tec, Merrell, and Keens. Now I will have to do some research on which is the best waterproof shoes to buy. I still have another 3 months before I make my purchase. :) I also bought a fleece jacket while out looking for the waterproof shoes. Might as well since I don't have one (I left my fleece jackets in my flat in Brisbane, never had the chance to bring them back to Singapore) and it was reasonably priced at $39. :) I can wear the fleece jacket as the mid layer while in Denver.

Hmm, what else can I buy for my Denver trip? :P

Friday, 8 January 2010

Green Around the Gills

I started feeling unwell late last night with an intense, pounding headache. I couldn't take any medication due to my allergic reaction to painkillers. Sigh. Tried various ways to ease my pain such as pressing hard on acupuncture points that link to headaches, rubbing lavender oil on my temple but to no avail. Finally, the pain got so bad that I threw up twice in the wee hours of the morning. At least I felt better after that and could catch a few hours of sleep.

I had to go into campus today because there was an important meeting at 2pm. I still had a headache but at least it was not as intense as last night.

I am feeling much better now. However, I still have no idea what was the cause of my intense headache. I wish I knew so that I can prevent another headache from happening. It is a torture suffering from such headaches. :(

Thursday, 7 January 2010


My colleague recently bought a new electronic gadget. He brought it to show us in the office. It is a Kindle Wireless Reading Device.

The Kindle is pretty amazing. It is really thin and lightweight. The display screen looks like and reads like that of printed paper and there is hardly any glare even when I stood under the light! Really good for people with astigmatism like me haha. :) The Kindle can hold more than 1500 books, newspapers and magazines. And what's best for us researchers, it can also download journal articles onto it. :) In addition, you can change the text size which you can't do with books, newspapers and magazines. Good for those of us who are getting older haha. :P

However I am in two minds about getting a Kindle for myself. The Kindle will definitely help to free up space in my room (from more and more books that I am buying haha), cut down on waiting time for paperbacks and such and it is definitely convenient as you can have a number of books on hand to read at any one time. However, I am still an old-fashion kind of person when it comes to reading. I love books. I love nothing better than to feel each page as I turn it, to hear the rustle of the pages, to inhale the scent of books... I just love being with books, otherwise I wouldn't have been a librarian and head librarian for 6 years! And also with technology, it keeps advancing. What can be read today on Kindle might not be supported by newer reading devices a few years down the road... So I am in two minds... I guess if I ever buy a Kindle, I will still buy the physical books especially if they are books that I want to collect and keep. So much for saving on space huh lol. :P

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Kelly Clarkson - Already Gone

My girls have been fans of Kelly Clarkson since they first heard "Because of You" by Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson. Yes, I know her songs are a little old for them but I guess they are listening more for the music rather than the lyrics. :P They are now listening to Clarkson's "Already Gone".

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

New School Year

Marieann is now in P2. A couple of her former P1 classmates are in the same class as she is now. It is good that she has a couple of familiar faces around and still has the opportunity to make new friends. :) Oh, homework has already started coming in... :P

Juliane is now in K2. Her entire K1 class graduated and transitioned into K2 in late December 2009, with only a new girl joining the K2 class. Juliane is excited to be in K2 as she is now being looked up upon by the younger kids in preschool. :)

So far, I am glad that both are enjoying school. Both of them seem to be on top of things, doing their homework without having me to tell them. :) I hope their enjoyment and excitement for school continues... :)

Monday, 4 January 2010

Xena's Mama

The girls received toys with their MacDonald's Happy meals, a Sonic saucer which can be played like a Frisbee. Juliane has been playing with hers and the extra she got from Marieann's friend. She would throw them out like Xena's chakrams (the round killing things) with a loud war cry and followed by an announcement. After two day of this, I got fed up.

Juliane: Ahhh. I am Xena, Warrior Princess.
Marieann: Mama, she hit me.
Me: Want to see Xena's mama go after Xena with a cane?
Juliane: Got? Afterwards on TV at 4pm, is it?
Marieann: (Howling with laughter)
Juliane: (puzzled) Why is Jie Jie laughing?
Me: (to Juliane) You Xena?
Juliane: Yes, I am Xena, Warrior Princess.
Me: So I am Xena's MAMA!
Juliane: Hahaha!
Me: So want to see Xena's mama go after Xena with a cane?
Juliane: OH! NOooooooooooooooo! (ran off)

I think she has gotten the idea and hopefully she stops pretending to be Xena lol.

PS I think I am quite happy that the girls have similar tastes as I do. We won't have to fight over what to watch. They are now both watching the re-runs of Buffy, Charmed and Xena. Hahaha. :P

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Tis the Night before School Opens

Tis the night before school opens morrow,
either excitement or dread follows.

Marieann is excited after a long break,
cos her restlessness has reached its peak.

She took a final look,
checking the bag for her books.

Her school uniform laid,
she pinned the badge without aid.

She went to bed with zest,
but her excitement soon put her to rest!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Happy 8th Birthday, Marieann!

Marieann is 8 today. For once, her birthday is on a weekend. :)

Marieann invited 2 of her closer friends to watch Alvin & The Chipmunks 2 and thereafter to lunch at McDonald's as way of celebrating her birthday. She wanted to invite more friends but I thought I could only handle 4 kids at most and I don't think I want to submit any other parents to the "torture" of watching the chipmunks haha. :P
We met Marieann's 2 friends at 10:30am, Lido for the 11am show. The girls really enjoyed themselves at the movie and were laughing away. We stayed till the end of the credit roll and caught some extra scenes which the girls were thrilled to watch. By then, we were the only ones left in the cinema lol. We went to McDonald's for lunch. The girls started chatting about the movie and their favourite scenes. :) Soon, 2pm came by and it was time for Marieann's friends to go home. After her friends left, the girls and I went to Borders to pick up a present for Marieann. Other than the book which Marieann picked up, I also bought her a dictionary and Juliane a book too.

We celebrated Marieann's birthday at Kuishinbo Japanese Buffet Restaurant, Great World City. Yes, we were back there again. Haha. After a sumptuous dinner, we went home to cut Marieann's birthday cake.

Happy Birthday, Marieann! Hope you have had a great day! :)

Friday, 1 January 2010

First Outing of 2010

This is the first outing of the year, 2010. :) My girls and I went with Marieann's classmate and her mother to the Singapore Zoo. The girls have been talking about it the whole holiday and we finally made time to go for it. :)

All ready to go! :)

Forgot 1st Jan is a public holiday. It was really crowded when we arrived there at 10am. We soon made our way into the zoo after a light breakfast. We saw many animals on our way before watching the Elephant at Work and Play presentation at 11:30am. The girls fed the elephants after the show. They thought it was really fun. :)

Elephant presentation show

Next we went to Kidzworld for KFC lunch and wet play for the older girls. Juliane was having a running nose so instead she went for rides on the pony, merry-go-round and horse carriage. She also got to pet the animals such as guinea pigs, goats, horses and also fed some of the animals which she totally enjoyed. It started raining around 3:30pm. We had tea break at KFC, Kidzworld while waiting for the rain to stop. When the rain stopped, we hurried to take the tram as we only had half an hour left before the last tram ride at 5:30pm. We went round the zoo on the tram once before leaving at 6pm.

We were dead tired by the time we arrived home at 6:30pm. Marieann was asleep by 8pm, Juliane was asleep by 9pm and I was... still awake lol. Too exhausted to fall asleep. :P But I will try to rest soon. Tomorrow is another busy day!

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone a Happy and Fruitful 2010!

Hwei Ming