Friday, October 31, 2008

Back into the Groove...

Am more into my regular schedule this week.....after 'refusing' to get out from my holiday-mood. When I got back and was confronted by fighting between the two boys, I was like "I need another holiday". And you know what my two monkeys said "GO. GO." And you know why?? 
Because while I was away, Grandma allowed them to play their games during weekdays! 
Plus Grandma tend to spoil them and let them have their way!!!

Anyways, this week is BACK TO USUAL BUSINESS... went back onto my weekly Oil Painting class on Monday. Was kinda tired of re-touching my water lilies for the 100th time; managed to 'borrow' a spare canvas from a friend...and proceeded on something new. My current work-in-progress are two Balinese Dancers.....will post a pix when I am done. Now it is only 15% completed. 

Scrapbooking also re-commenced on Tuesday. Played with my new 'toys', i.e. the acrylic stamps that I got from my trip. Perhaps a little too over-enthusiastic as one of my pages seem TOOOO cluttered with stamps now! Also indulged in my once-a-week privilege ......Scone & Cream. *Gulp* which is why I have also re-commenced on my gym visits. :-P

An aunt was in town (actually, still in town) and I went to her hotel to meet her yesterday. Didn't know where to take her, so just took her to the nearby wholesale market. Too much stuff that she said that she didn't know how to look nor buy. :-)

Oh yeah...and had to revert back to my MOTHERLY ROLE too.
S1 had his teacher-parent conference yesterday (Thursday, 30th Oct) at school. 
Waaaaaa....had to meet soooo many subject teachers..and at different locations. But have to say that we did quite well...managed to see all except two of his subject teachers.
Mostly they have POSITIVE things to say about S1. 
But do these angmoh teachers actually would say negative stuff about students? I donno....

And was in school again today...this time for S2's Art Project. Basically, to help out during their class Art Period. The kids' project was to make a 'Roman Mosaic' on a flowerpot, using egg-shells. Sounds and looks easy...but I tell you NOT easy at all. Need very nimble fingers!!!

And tonight...will do my WIFEY ROLE.... 
Errr...before you all have notti thoughts...it's not what you think. Not the bedroom role, okay!!!
I am just accompanying H to a function....not exactly know what to expect. Just am told that it's a 'Crayfish Party' at the Marriott. A Nordic Tradition, as I am told.....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Low Down on Trump International...

No. This is definitely not a paid post!!!

No. I did not specifically SELECT The Trump International Hotel and Towers.

Let me tell you how I 'landed' onto this hotel...

H had been telling me about the 'Name Your Own Price' option on Priceline.com.
So...being the curious 'ole me, I went to try it out. Basically, all you need to do is select the date, city, location, star rating and the price that you would pay.
The name of the hotel is witheld until you've won 'a bid'.
Easy enough...

The location that I selected was 'ON the Strip' for 5-star hotels...
And when the result came...it was The Trump International Hotel and Towers. I tell you, immediately, I was sooooo disappointed! I was hoping for maybe the Bellagio...
:-P
Then went on to look at the hotel websites, read reviews etc.... Hotel website says it's at the corner of Fashion Drive and Strip...and reviews said otherwise...Reviews were also NOT so positive about this 5-star hotel. So, was a little apprehensive about this hotel...but was still open-minded...

The lobby, rooms, bathroom were all nice. Check out their site for photos...Even have an LCD TV in the bathroom....whatever for? Really got such terror TV-addicts? For financial tycoons that need to watch the news while soaking in the tub???

But then, the location is definitely NOT on the STRIP. I was telling H that I got cheated by Priceline. It takes about 5 -10 minutes walk to the STRIP (depending on how fast you walk lah...). I mean most times, we cut through Fashion Show Mall...but after mall hours, we have to walk on the road. Certainly NOT on the STRIP!!!!

I did request for a room on the high floor...as there were many reviews on TripAdvisor that the noise from the freight trains behind the hotel was unbearable...So, with a room on the high floor, we weren't disturbed by the blaring horns as some guests have complained.

The low-down was.... On the next morning, my toilet got blocked!!! (errr...lucky it didn't overflowed!)
AIYO! How can a 5-star hotel be like that?
And this is a spanking new hotel in Las Vegas. Not some crappy hotel in the middle of some Sumatran Jungle!

Anyways, called housekeeping to sort it out. Informed them that they could get right to it as we were leaving the room. That was about 10.15 am....

We only got back into our room at about 11.30 PM....as were entering our room, we saw that the day's newspaper sitting at the entryway. H then said "Eh...don't tell me they didn't make-up our room".

ADUH! Really. Our room was NOT made up!
If I was staying at some shit-hole, I wouldn't be complaining....but we paid good money here!!

Okay, nevermind. H called Housekeeping to complain but told them it was pointless to send someone to clean our room at 11.45 pm ! But could they please send some clean towels!!!
We waited like FOREVER for our towels....... and then H made another call to complain...

I went in to shower. AIYOOOOOOO... NO HOT WATER!!!
What to do?
Just wash my hands and legs and my ahem-ahem....
Just as I was finishing, the water then only turned lukewarm...enough for me to wash the rest of my bits without freezing my @ss off. And I am that kind who lurrrrves HOT showers.
Knowing me...I was complaining the whole time...whinging that my third-world country shower is more powerful and hotter than Donald Trump's.

I think H called Housekeeping to complain again....and later, the manager called to apologise. It was quite funny as H remarked to me"As Donald says 'You Are FIRED'". I was like "huh? you really told him that?" Hahahha.. Of course not lah.

The next day, the water was warmer but still not my usual HOT. :-(

Not only that...the room had a little kitchenette with all the spanking gleaming appliances....but when I wanted to boil some water, found out that the stove was "locked". Didn't bother to call housekeeping to sort it out...thus ended up drinking water straight from the tap. The appliances just for show or what??????

And also expected a 5-star hotel to have a well-stocked minibar in the room. 
NADDA! Not even bottled water. All they had were coffee, sugar and cream.
Is it a norm in the USA that there is zilch minibar in the room or what? 
Just kept telling H that the 5-Star hotel that we have in this third-world country is waaaaaaaaay ahead man!

Don't think the hotel is at a decent occupancy rate...as there weren't many people around. We wanted to have a drink in the hotel lobby bar...but it was rather deserted.
No fun with no people, right? So gave it a miss.

Will I stay here again???
Definitely NOT!!

Day 4 - Bakersfield, Barstow, Las Vegas

RISE and SHINE ....early in the morning of Day 4. Monday - 13th October 2008.

We had a light continental breakfast (included in the rate) at the hotel. Perhaps for H not so light...as he had two eggs, and waffles... I only had half a muffin. Mind you, it was a HUGE muffin. After breakfast, we were on the road again.
Our first destination were the FACTORY OUTLETS at Barstow, which took us about 2 hours drive from Bakersfield.

Polo Ralph Lauren, Guess, Coach, Nine West, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Ultra Diamonds, Kenneth Cole, were some of the brands at the Tanger Outlet. As H was a mission to get rid of my 1980's wardrobe...I was on the roll! Let's see, what did I buy here? Basically, only hung out in two shops, i.e. Kenneth Cole and Ann Taylor (sale here!). Think I bought two pairs of slippers and two blouses from Kenneth Cole. And from Ann Taylor; two shirts, a cardigan, some long and 3/4 pants. After about 2 1/2 hours here, we decided to head towards Las Vegas.....as we wanted to check out the Las Vegas Premium Outlet....BUT not before stuffing ourselves with good 'ole KFC first!!


Driving to Las Vegas from Barstow took another 2 1/2 hours.....Drive was on the Interstate Highway...so NOT too bad. Not like the remote road from Monterey to Bakersfield the night before...


Las Vegas....HERE WE COME!

The route from Barstow to Las Vegas was through the Mojave Desert.....

Miles and Miles of Barren Land..






On arrival in Las Vegas, we went straight to the outlet.

:-)

Errr...here I bought two pairs of shoes from Cole Haan, two pairs from Stuart Weizman, some other stuff....can't remember. Will post ALL my purchases in a separate post. But I tell you...really cheap compared to back home. Not only the stuff were at outlet prices, a lot of the stuff were going at 50% off too! Yes...my shoes were 50% off factory-outlet prices. This outlet...is a MUST-COME.

By the time we were done here, it was almost 7 pm. And we head off to check-in at our hotel.
Where did we stay?

Trump International Hotel and Tower......before you go "waaaaaa...Trump wor", I will have a SEPARATE post to blaaaah about the hotel.

Anyway, we checked-in, showered and then headed out to return our rental car. Took a cab to the first hotel on the south end of The Strip, i.e. Mandalay Bay. Had a buffet dinner there. Basically, we just ate crabs and more crabs. Just simple steamed Alaskan Snow Crabs dipped in butter. Yes. There were loads of other stuff...prime rib, lamb, turkey, pasta, pizza, Chinese food etc etc...but we just homed-in on the CRABS!!!!!

Did I mentioned that we tried our luck at the roulette table at the Mandalay Bay?

SHUCKS! Lady Luck NOT smiling on us... :-(

What to do?

But to head back to our hotel for zzzzz. Perhaps better luck the next day???

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A DESSERTS Person

Yes. I am. 
A DESSERTS Person, that is.
At any buffet spreads....the first counter that I ZOOM to would be the DESSERT one. The DESSERT counter would be the deciding factor whether we go for the buffet or ala carte. 
So can you imagine my excitement when I saw this spread in one of the New York delis? 
If I could, I would want to have a taste of each and every one of them. 
But then, my weight would surely go SKY-HIGH.
Wonder if natural appetite suppressants could help me curb my appetite for these decadent luscious DESSERTS..... or am I just kidding myself?



Monday, October 27, 2008

The necessity of a Car

I for one think that a car is pretty important....especially for a family. 
In my student days, I could live without a car. I remember walking to-and-from college, walking to the supermarket, walking to the cinemas. Only occasionally hopping onto the bus or the tube. If you were to ask me survive today without a car, I don't think I would be able to. I don't think I can manage two boisterous boys on public transport...plus do you know how much groceries it requires to feed a family of four for a week? Can you imagine me lugging those bags and bags of groceries on public transport? In short, nothing beats the inconvenience of your own car. With the current economic turmoil, some would say that a car is a frivolous asset. But I think it's really a necessity, and perhaps getting the right car insurance quote will be able to stretch our dollars more. 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 3 - SF, San Jose, Monterey, Bakersfield...

Sunday, 12th October 2008....
This day was our 12th anniversary... the OFFICIAL ROM one..... 
Did not do anything special to celebrate. This was gonna be a loooooooong day.

Firstly, both of us were jet-lagged....and woke up at about 5.30 am. Couldn't go back to sleep. Lazed in bed till it was a decent time to get breakfast. 

We went to a nearby diner for brekkie. As I was really starving, announced LOUDLY to H that this time, I do NOT want to share! I want my OWN portion!!!!
What a mistake it was!!!
I had ordered scrambled eggs with sausages; and H - bacon omelet. 
Aduh! The portions were HUGE! And came with loads of hash browns and bread.
I didn't even touch my scrambled eggs...as I tucked into H's 3-egg bacon omelet. 
This was a waste of money. *sigh*

After breakfast, it was still too early to do anything. Our plan was to be at HT's house at about 9.30 am....and it was still too early to start our journey. So....hung around at Union Square. Two gila Ah Beng and Ah Lian in the middle of the square taking photos...actually..more of the Ah Lian forcing the Ah Beng to take photo. Heeeeheee

Union Square, San Fransisco
(There's also another Union Square in NYC)

The Powell & Hyde Tram

After sitting awhile in the middle of the square like 'sor-lous', we decided to just check-out from the hotel and head-off. (HT said that she called me at the hotel and was shocked that we already checked out at 8 am.) We did drive abit around San Fransisco....went to Chinatown (again....this time by car. The last time was Friday nite which was by foot), and then to Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the world) and then off to San Jose on the highway via the Bay Bridge.

Driving down Lombard Street
(Can't see the curves...Not even from the bottom. I did try to take a pic...Those nice photos you see in postcards must have been taken from an elevated position)

Despite of our slow and leisurely drive, and unplanned stopover at HSBC and Safeway, we made it right on time at HT's house. I thought she said apartment, so when the GPS directed us to a street of houses, I wasn't sure if I got the right place. When I rung her doorbell, I was a little bit cautious in case I got the wrong house. 

NOPE. It was indeed the right house. HT, her hubs and little C greeted us at the door!
Sorry...no photos as HT warned me NOT to put any on my blog. Her daughter is sooooo cute. I took tonnes of photos of her and will scrap a page of the various pose of little C munching happily on her snacks. We hung around her house for awhile, and then went to place (errr....donno the name leh) for Dim Sum. 
Wow! Very packed restaurant full of Chinese.
After brunch, we went to another place for coffee....again forgot the name..but HT calls it "Disneyland place"...hahahah...cause the buildings are so nicely painted that it does feel like "Main Street USA". 

Then....it was time to say our Goodbyes..... Hugs Hugs. Till we meet again, my 'ole friend.

H and I then set the GPS for Pebble Beach, Monterey....... home of the US Open. Took us some time to reach our destination from San Jose. Donno what time but we paid the Entry Fee of USD 9.50 (I think) to enter the Pebble Beach property where the famed 17-mile Drive is located. 
View from the Club House 

17-Mile Drive 
(Can't remember what is this area called)

Famed Tree that has become the Pebble Beach Symbol
(BTW, this tree is trademarked!!! One must not use it's image commercially without the approval of the Pebble Beach company)

From Monterey, we head off towards Bakersfield...where we will put up for the night. 
Why Bakersfield
Not that it is some terrer place. It is quite in the middle of no-where. And it just seems like the best place to put up for the night for our onward journey to Las Vegas....yes, we are going to Sin City. I tell you...the road from Monterey to Bakersfield was really really remote. There was a stretch of 50 miles that has NO town in between whatsoever. Thank goodness for our GPS to guide us through....

Desert.....

Check out the Wind Farm!

Oh yeah... this was my FIRST time driving on the RIGHT side of the road. H was feeling a little tired, so I took over for the 50-mile stretch of ULU land. Straight road, I can handle...if there are turns and such, I think I would be confused as to which lane I am supposed to take. 

Anyway, we got into our hotel in Bakersfield at about 8.30 pm. Not too bad lah. We were hoping to eat at the hotel's restaurant...but they were having a private function and was closed. Didn't want to drive out again...so just ate instant noodles in the room (which we got from Safeway earlier). We stayed at the Quality Inn and Suites, which I pre-booked. HT was telling me that I could have just drive into any motel on the way.... But as I was abit kiasu, I decided to just pre-book. 

So early nite...and instant noodles on our Anniversary. :-)

Day 2, Back in San Fransisco

Yes. Yes. Very long-winded. Still on Day 2. Continuation from here

As we got into San Fransisco, it was still rather early. Only 4 pm. Told H that we should go straight to Fisherman's Wharf in our rental car, rather than drive back to the hotel. In any case, we have to pay parking charges anyway....so rather than pay parking charges at hotel, and then paying for tram tickets; might as well just pay for the parking charges at Fisherman's Wharf

Waaaa......seems like whole of San Fransisco was at Fisherman's Wharf
Why ah?
Even all the car parks were FULL and were quoting USD 40/- per entry 'due to event'. 
Errr...what event???
Blurr blurr aje.
Ohhhhh...it was FLEET WEEK and there were AIR DISPLAYS , NAVY SHIPS, NAVY RECRUITMENT DRIVES, LIVE MUSIC etc etc that was taking place at Fisherman's Wharf

No wonder, I have been hearing LOUD booming noises from fighter jets when I was talking to HT the day before.... and saw air displays as we were approaching the Golden Gate Bridge earlier. Now it all made sense.....the large crowds near the Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf

Back to looking for a parking spot....was of course NOT willing to pay USD 40/- for parking. Rounded a couple of times, and was going to give up and go back to the hotel...and then H saw an empty spot by the street. And what's more??? There was a surplus of 56 minutes left on the parking meter!!! 
I was so happy....like 'chapp tou kamm' (picked up gold) and then H remarked... "Can Spend $$$ on your scrapbooking stuff. Here, save USD 2.50 so happy!" . 
Of course what. Better than nothing maaaa.....

First thing that we did was pop into the Crab House at Pier 39 for an early dinner. Not that we were hungry. It's just that we are crabs people...and just couldn't resist the beckoning call of CRABS!!!

Picture of the Crab House
(Courtesy of the restaurant's website)
We were soooooo 'eaw kui' (hungry ghost) that when the food came, we just whack. The mussels, prawns and crabs.  So...no photos of the yummy seafoods. H did indulge with two glasses of pinot grigio. Me? I had more Chandon bubbly!

After our very satisfying meal, we walked around. Took some photos (to the reluctance of H..., as usual

The Rock....
(Did a tour 12-years ago already. So didn't do it again this time round. Wondered what happened to the photos I took then??? Can't seem to find them.)

The Seals at Pier 39
(Apparently, they only decided to call Pier 39 their home after the 1989 Earthquake)

'Scratch my back, please!'
(Very very smelly.....)

From Fisherman's Wharf, we proceeded back to Union Square....we had to find a car park that had a decent rate.... thankfully, the one near the rental car company had an offer of USD 15/- per night for entry after 5.30 pm and exit by 9.30 pm. The hotel's rate was USD 29/- per night. 

Did we go back to the hotel? 
Nope...jalan-jalan around the Union Square area summore, had more ALCOHOLIC drinks over at the Clock Bar in the Westin, and then bought a very sinful toffee pecan cheesecake from the CheeseCake Factory to savour in the room.

My Cocktail at the Clock Bar...

The Cheesecake was indeed very rich, creamy and delicious. What's more, they had given a very generous dollop of whipped cream on the side. Really 'a moment on your lips, a lifetime on your hips' situation. By then, it was kinda late but thought we should go out for a walk in Borders ....hoping that we can shed some of the calories that we have just consumed. :-)

Browsed around Borders  for about half an hour, and as we came down the escalator....I saw a familiar face. He called out H's name... 

Guessed who it was? 

OYSTER!!!!

Fancy meeting here in San Fransisco....of all places. Talk about SMALL WORLD
Nope. He doesn't work here...he works in Singapore...and was in Houston for work for the last two weeks. And just so happened decided to spend the weekend in San Fransisco  .....

Who is Oyster? 
My old university mate from Imperial  in London. We used to go to Chinatown  together for meals...as out of the whole Malaysian gang, only two of us had monthly travelcards. Anyways, we decided to sit somewhere to have drinks and catch-up. The Clock Bar was jam-packed at this hour....so we had to find an alternative venue. Ended up at the Marriott. Errr...since I already drank like a fish today, decided on a nice soothing cup of camomile tea. 

It was nice chatting with an old pal......he updated on some of our ex-university mates... some still in London, in Singapore and Hong Kong etc. Actually, both of us were hoping to catch KC who has just moved to San Fransisco some months back...but he was out-of-town the weekend we were there.

I supposed we could have talked on and on...but the wait-staff came to inform us that the bar is closed....heheheheh...that was when we decided to say our goodbyes and head back to our respective hotels for a good night's rest. 

Till next time...


Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 2, Napa Valley

Saturday, 11th October 2008

Started off this morning with a hot breakfast of eggs benedict and coffee at Lori's Diner, at the corner of Sutter and Powell Streets. This time, we were smarter. H and I shared ONE order. It was just nice. One egg and half a muffin each, with enough hash browns too.

After breakfast, we head off by foot to collect our rental car from National at the corner of Mason/Geary Streets. We rented a Compact-type car. The guy over at the counter was urging us to upgrade to a convertible for a small sum. Old-folks like us stuck to our Compact. For Malaysian standards, it certainly was a decent-sized car....something to the size of an Altis. What we did get extra was a GARMIN GPS. I have to say that this was a handy gadget! A really must-have!....especially when you don't know the roads around.

We were set to go!!

With the GPS, we could afford to detour from our NAPA VALLEY destination......and where did we detour too????

Berkerley!

Why? To visit someone at the University?

Nope!

To a Scrapbooking Shop!!!
Hahahah...
Yes. I am serious. I had seen a little advert in the local San Fransisco Guide and mentioned to HT about it the day before. At first, she advised against going there, as it might be way off from the highway. And she was concerned with what H was going to do while I look at scrapbooking stuff. But later, she did a check on her maps and called me the night before to inform that it was not to far from the highway towards Napa Valley. So, with our nifty little GPS, I typed in the address of the shop and away we go.

Arrived at the shop at 10 am. Just as its doors were opened. Talk about ON TIME!
I was like a kid in a candy store!
Going crazy with the stickers, acrylic stamps, albums and such.
H was really good and patient. Actually tolerated the WHOLE TWO HOURS waiting for me. Yes. I was in the shop for TWO HOURS!
GILA. I know.
I was kinda hesitant with my hoard and wanted to put some of the items back. But H said "Aiya...just get them lah. Come all the way already". So, I bought two albums, 5 packs of refills, loads of sticker embellishments, chipboards, letter stickers and acrylic stamps and blocks. It costs $$$$ which is kinda alot for scrapbooking stuff (more than my three pairs of Cole Haan's and two pairs of Stuart Weizman's) . Yes. GILA GILA scrapbooker!

With me a happy girl, we continued our journey north to Napa Valley. Initially, we wanted to visit two to three wineries....but then decided to just visit one. Besides, H can't really drink that much as he has to drive. We went to Domaine Chandon (from Möet & Chandon) at Yountville.

Gardens at Domaine Chandon

Vineyards at Domaine Chandon

We arrived just in time to join the tour around the winery. H as usual, was like "must we do this tour thing?". Of course, we must. I insist.

Hey...I wouldn't have been able to take the following photos if not for the tour...as visitors weren't allowed beyond without a guide.

Steps to Making Base Wine

Big Vats to Ferment the Base Wine

Barrels of Wine - Aging Process (I think)




After the tour, we proceeded to the tasting room... Bought this package to taste the various bubbly. As H had to drive, he only had about half a glass. I, on the other hand, hantam about 3 1/2 glasses. Heeeeheheeeee....Paired the drinks with a cheese platter and an order of pate.
Yes. Eat. Drink and be merrrrrrrrryyyyyy!

We headed back to San Fransisco through Sonoma Valley (instead of taking the same route as we came) and via the Golden Gate Bridge.

A Vineyard on our way through Sonoma Valley
(donno what's the name)

Wanted to stop near the Golden Gate Bridge to look-see and take photographs....but I supposed the whole of San Fransisco had the same idea as the designated area was FULL and we could not get in. Have to contend with taking imperfect photos of the famed bridge from the car (BTW, H says my photo-taking skills is very very bad .....)

Golden Gate Bridge....taken from afar

Golden Gate Bridge ....closer

Okay....photos NOT perfect...but better from nothing lah. 

Actually,  I realised later that the area was jam-packed NOT because people wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge but more of the the AIR DISPLAY that was taking place...more about this in my next post. Very sleepy now...

Our USA Trip - Day 1


Have to say that we were quite lucky.....for we had our own personal economy-styled flatbeds all the way into San Fransisco from Seoul. Flight was not full and H proceeded to "chup" (remember we used to "chup" stuff when we were young??) the three seats in the back. Both of us managed to have three seats each all to ourselves and thus slept quite well on the flight. 

We arrived into San Fransisco at around noon on Friday, 10th October. 
I tell you....it certainly felt that we have just landed into Hong Kong, rather than the USA. All five airport employees on the airbridge were Chinese, and two were conversing in Cantonese.... And more oriental-looking staff. The driver of our door-to-door van was also Chinese. Aiyo....but this guy's driving was TERRIBLE...with a CAPITAL T! You know the kind that brakes at every opportunity?? I almost puked! H was of course nagging me...as I was the one who booked the door-to-door van (much cheaper than a taxi!!!) and he said that he would have paid the premium for the taxi. :-P And the worse thing was that we still had to TIP him despite of his Sh!tty driving! 

Anyway, we survived the trip on the van to arrive safely at our hotel, the Larkspur Union Square on Sutter Street. Just as I completed the check-in process, and still standing at the reception area, my friend HT called. She was worried as to why I haven't called her yet. Spoke to her for about 5 minutes whilst standing at the check-in counter. We got into our room to freshen up....errr...our room was kinda small. I remember our room at The Hilton 12 years ago was kinda small too. Guessed small rooms is a San Fransisco norm unless you wanna pay through your nose. Our room did have all the necessities...LCD TV, work desk, coffee-maker with Starbucks coffee, bathrobes, LATHER toiletries, hairdryer etc. Good enough for a short stay. But I have to say the location is great! Only one block from Union Square!

Typical Room at The Larkspur Union Square
(This photo is from the hotel website. Our room did look similar to this...except our flatscreen was wall-mounted)

HT called about 15 minutes later....and we chatted for about 1 1/2 hours!!! H was like "shouldn't we be going out already??". So...showered, and went walkabout around Union Square. First shop we went to was Victoria Secrets, and in no time, spent $$ on 3 sets of bras and underwear....and then to Macy's to buy little 'ole me a coat. I haven't brought any with me from home...and it was kinda chilly. Got a plain and boring black Calvin Klein one. Definitely much cheaper here than back home.

Can't remember what else we did....maybe walkabout more? 
What I do remember is that we went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. It's located on the roof-top of Macy's. We sat out on the patio....which was nice. Chilly but nice. 

View from Our Table of Skyline....before dark

After Dark

View of Union Square from The CheeseCake Factory

CheeseCake Factory's Yummy Cakes
(Wei? How come I forgot to take the CheeseCakes???)

Did we eat any cheesecakes? 
Not this night. H and I were over-stuffed ....We each ordered a main course. We forgot about the ENORMOUS American portions that were served! H had a very very large American Hamburger with enough fries to feed a nation. What did I have? Really cannot remember already. So old lah!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back to Reality!!!!!

Yup! After a wonderful holiday away.....it's Back to Reality.

Reality of arriving back to the HOT tropics.
Reality of living in a jam-packed city of 25 million people.
Reality of emptying my suitcase (errr...actually, I've emptied suitcase but stuff still sitting on my sofa)
Reality of sorting out the cable TV (boo-hoo-hoo...NO MORE ASTRO!)
Reality of getting back into gym-schedule
Reality of planning meals for boys...
...and the list goes on.....
ALL in the midst of being JET-LAGGED!!!

Got back home on Tuesday...slept at 5 pm. Woke up at 6 pm for dinner, then went back to bed at 7 pm. Woke up with BRIGHT eyes at 4 am. This morning, also woke up at about 4.30 am.  Am like perpetually sleepy.......so gonna go to bed now. 

Will continue tomorrow...

Nitey Nite.

More Memory?

With our recent trip to the States, I was afraid that my camera would have insufficient memory to store the tons of photos that I want to take. So......to be safe rather than sorry, I bought an additional memory card to act as a spare. However, though I did take many of photos, the spare card was not required after all. Guessed I'll keep this for use at my sister's wedding in Melbourne in December.  

Health Insurance

Thank goodness for the health insurance provided by H's company. 
Why do I say that?
Well, ugly crooked teeth and myopia runs in my family. Just as S1's orthodontic visits are coming to an end, S2's visits will be starting soon.  Not only that, I'm told that I have to bring him to the optometrist to have NEW glasses fitted. Apparently, he can't read what's written on the blackboard. And he just had his glasses fitted in January! 
Thank goodness that the health insurance includes dental and vision care on top of the usual medical coverage!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Doubly GILA???

Helllllloooooo....dearies.....

I've had my bowl of porridge, and am sitting next to the PC with a nice cup of latte in Singapore...

Was kinda early to arrive at the airport. We've had our bags checked all the way to San Fransisco already. Thus, we didn't have to do any check-in at Changi Airport. Still, we were two hours early. The traffic to airport was pretty good. Walked about the terminal abit.
Didn't buy anything, of course!

So with time to kill, and NO kids to scream, shout, whack nor fuss-over.....and there's PC with internet access, of course I log-in and check my email, blog, go on facebook lah!
Hahhahahah

Actually, it's soooooo different travelling without kids. For one, I don't have to be the one lugging the hand-luggage. That's H's job. IF the kids are around, we'll have to have TWO or THREE hand-luggage. I just have to breeze pass with just my handbag.
Nice....

Thursday, October 09, 2008

GILA Blogger....

Am I a real GILA blogger???

Am actually at the airport waiting for our flight to Singapore. One more hour to wait....and since there are PCs and free internet access in the lounge.
Why NOT blog?

Hahhaha

Actually ah....I tell you ah.. this S2 of mine. Just after check-in this morning, I received a call from an unknown number...Picked it up and it was S2 on the other line. And the first thing he said was "Mommmmmmmy. I lau-sai".
ALAMAK!!
What can I do leh??
He dirtied his underwear and apparently it had seeped through his pants.
How lah?
And driver just dropped us at the airport. It would take him about an hour and a half to get home (peak hour traffic) to pick my mom up and another 40 minutes to get to school.
Can you imagine S2 with a butt full of sh#t for more than 2 hours?
Told him to just throw away his underwear and clean himself up as best as he can while waiting for Grandma to pick him up.

And then there is the problem of Grandma being blurr blurr at school... she doesn't know where is his class nor the Primary school office nor the Medical Room. Thus, she'll have to ask around.
*sigh* Before I leave the country already got interesting event already.

Okay lah...later...

Will need to just send an email to school now...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rush! Rush!

I've leaving tomorrow morning and I have yet to pack!
So need to rush and rush and rush.
(Why am I still blogging then??? hahhahahaha)

Yes. Yes. Maid did come back as scheduled on Monday evening. Thank goodness. Otherwise donno how. 

Been so chaotic...donno doing what the last few days.
So had to rush rush rush...
- to reserve car in San Fransisco 
- print out all hotel vouchers and tickets etc
- sort out driving directions on Mapquest and then printing them out
- send out notes to boys' teachers (let them know we are away etc)
- pay some bills
- dye my hair (have to look good on holiday lah...cannot exactly have all my whites showing what!!!)
- go facial (Really! All acne popping out!!!)
- do my manicure/pedicure
- do some grocery shopping

Also supposed to go to the airport to pick mom up, but then she called and said that the plane has been delayed. So decided to just come home and send the driver to go on his own. 

Okay lah...better go pack my bags now...

Cheerio.

SF! HERE I COME!!!!!

Bacteria Zapper!!!

Do you know what is the key result from my "NO MAID FOR NINE DAYS" situation?
Acne. And more Acne on my face.
Why?
Well...with my maid gone for nine days, I had to be the maid. And that means scrubbing toilets, doing the laundry, mopping the floors and what-nots. 
I don't know whether it's because of the sweat that drips down the side of my face that clogged up the pores; or is it due to yucky bacteria that's been transferred from my filthy working hands to my face. Either ways, the resulting effect on my BEAUTIFUL face is detrimental!!! No Joke. 
H said that I should do something!!!
Maybe I should just charge a Zeno handheld device onto his credit card. If he asks, I'll just tell him that the little gadget will zap-off all the nasty bacteria that causes acne! Surely he would then keep his mouth shut?

Being Healthy and Fit!

Did I tell you that I have been pretty diligent in going to the gym at least twice a week?
YES! I have indeed... and am fitter. (I think!)
I usually exercise on the Cross-Trainer for thirty minutes plus 5 minutes cool-down.
Though the program in the machine would change the resistance in accordance to my heart-rate (based on my age, of course); the problem is that sometimes the sensors are not able to detect any readings and would thus switch to manual-mode. In this case, I would be exercising "blindly". Perhaps, I should just purchase a pulse oximeter that is for sports and recreational use. Then at least I could monitor my condition when I exercise.