Monday, October 31, 2011

Annie, Amanda, Allyson & Timothy's first holy communion

Annie, Amanda, Allyson and Timothy had their first confession and first Holy Communion on Saturday at Holy Trinity Church.

I still remember my first Holy Communion. The entrance hymn was 'Enter, Rejoice and Come In'. Funny the details that stick in your head. I also remember my friend Sally wrote all her sins down on a big cardboard to memorize! Haha.. that was so funny!

Anyway, I think it's all a very symbolic, coming-of-age ritual. Like a debutante ball to introduce young ladies to the community!! Or the less glamorous and much more painful ritual of pulling teeth for young girls in certain African tribes!!! Hahaha... (we saw that on National Geographic!! It's crazy...)

Well, it's good for the kids to be recognized as 'almost grown-ups?' and thus hopefully they will show more maturity and responsibility.? 'Hopefully' being the key word here. Anyway, we as parents will always encourage them spiritually, because this world is abundant with all sorts of evils, and any teaching which will help guide them on a 'good' path is most welcome!

So, as Father Jepy said, "Welcome to the club kids!" :)

Many thanks to their spiritual teacher, Dorothy who selflessly volunteers her time year after year.

It just so happened to be Sis no.2's birthday that day, so I baked her a red velvet cake and to her horror, we sang the birthday song for her in front of everyone at the church potluck! :D

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tahns potaysen

So the other day I picked Solomon up from school. As always, I asked him what he did in school that day:

Mummy: What did you do in school today?

Solomon: I do tahns potaysen

Mummy: (Eh?) Tahns potaysen?

Solomon (very confidently): Yes, tahns potaysen.

Mummy: What is that?

Solomon: Tahns potaysen.



*crickets chirping*

*Mummy's brain creaking*




*light bulb!!*

Mummy: Oh! Is it like cars and aeroplanes??

Solomon: Yes. Motorcycle and lorry also.


Shop facelift

I've had my shop for 8 years now! 8 years! It used to be that 8 years is unimaginably long, eons, forever! Then you grow up, then you grow old, then 8 years is the blink of an eye!!

Hahaha.. forgive me for being a Drama Mama... I'm bored you see... and tired...

Well, I've been working till 8:30pm for the past 3 weeks and I'm not used to it after slacking off for so long! :) It's really tiring and super boring when there are no customers.

But, I'm now busy with renovation plans. The shop is going to be downsized, both physically and "employee-cally"!? (What's the appropriate word then?)

Anyway, I've set the ball rolling and the air-cond guy has shifted the air-cond to my side, now to get the alarm guy, the electrician guy and the cabinet guy to do their parts....

Then I have to sack my cashier who cannot count and hire a new staff, hopefully one with half a brain would be nice... (Don't mess with me,  I'm mean when I'm tired...) Well, I'm interviewing candidates now, and hope to get a reliable and efficient one.

So there's plenty of work ahead, re-organizing the company structure, rearranging the shop and it's stock.... It's not going to be fun, but change is good. I embrace change. Bring it on!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crossroads and dreams

So, I think Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs' death has made everyone of us pause a while and re-evaluate the meaning of life. I mean here's a man, who was on top of  the human food chain. Basically he was at the finishing line of the rat race, so to speak. He got to where everyone of us are striving day in and day out to reach. And yet, it seems, this place we are trying so hard our whole lives to get to, isn't exactly all rosy and perfect!

Sickness and death is unavoidable, even if you are the president of the United States, even if you have more money than God (Hubby's favourite phrase to describe people like 'pek mo'! lol)! Money, fame and power are useless when your time is up.

This reminds me of a joke I once read; there was once a miser who kept all his gold bars in a box in the attic so that when he died, he could pick up his treasure and bring it with him, on his way up to heaven! So one day, this old man died and went to heaven with his box of gold. St Peter met him at the gate and asked him what he had in the box. The old man opened up the box to show St Peter its contents. St Peter took a look then asked, "Why did you bring pavement??" :)

Okay, anyway, back to Steve Jobs. Here's one of his quotes:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.
Steve Jobs

So I translate that into... "Go open your cake shop!!!" Muahahaha...... and have been dreaming of gorgeous cake shops like these ever since:

I would so love to open one, and yet do not look forward to the responsibility which comes along with it. I already run a retail business, so I know it's not all fun and games. You get tied down... which is the total opposite of what I am working towards... FREEDOM! More or less... :) Freedom to travel whenever we feel like it, Hubby and I! Quality time to spend with my kids... etc..

So anyway, remember I said I wanted to close my pharmacy? Well, it's kind of a shame to waste the education my parents worked so hard for. And also it's hard to find a buyer for the business and I wouldn't be able to purchase medicine for family at wholesale prices anymore. There are also many other small factors which contributed to the conclusion Hubby made, which is to chop the shop into half!

That made sense, since I was heavy-hearted to close the shop, and yet wanted less responsibility, down-sizing seemed a good solution! This means that the pharmacy will be much smaller and thus can be easily managed, even by one person if need be.

Now, that left another half of a shop empty and open to all sorts of possibilities!! (ahem... cake shop anyone?) It was very, very, awfully tempting, but after much deliberation, I did not think I would enjoy all the headache and sacrifice which came with a retail outlet, we decided we will rent it out instead. Cake shop may still happen one day.... ;)

Well, for now, that's the plan; to chop the shop into half!

I'll leave you with another one of his quotes. One which parents especially should keep in mind:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Think Different, narrated by Steve Jobs

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Last week Dad went to Singapore to attend Little Brother's graduation ceremony. He's the last of us Chuo siblings to finish his studies. Dad must be so relieved!!  


 Six of us... my parents are amazing!! :)

Congratulations Boy! I'm sure Mum is extremely proud! :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One mini adventure! Part II

So after that first day, it was 6 straight days of madness! The first 3 days with Alan Dunn was the worst (best?)! We were too ambitious and aimed for 9 flowers over 3 days. Alan said that in UK, he only teaches one flower a day! So we ended up 'working' from 9am till 6pm most of the time and on the last day of his class, we were there till 7pm! In the end we only made 7 flowers/foliage/butterfly and he had to just demonstrate the last two. He was too generous in agreeing with the principal of the school to teach so many flowers in such a short span of time.

SIL and I both have never been to a proper workshop, so we never thought it would be so much hard work! By the end of the first day of rushing about and stressing, we were aching all over and so tired!! This is where the salon hair wash comes in handy!! :)

Before heading to KL, we had so many plans to go clothes and shoe shopping and cake supplies shopping and even to visit a huge book fair which was happening while we were there! In the end we only managed to go cake supplies shopping around the vicinity of the cake school... the book fair trip was scrapped... and we amazingly managed to squeeze in two nights of shopping at One Utama (after Lorraine Mc Kay's class, not Alan's)!

Oh yes, we also went to the nearby supermarket one night to buy yoghurt cause we decided to have a light dinner, after eating too many wonderful dishes which you can't get, or is crappy back home. Like nasi lemak, Penang char kueh tiaw, Maggi mee goreng mamak, O chien, thosai, banana leaf rice, Penang assam laksa....!!!!

Okay back to the yoghurt... Well, the intention was genuine, we honestly intended to get yoghurt, but when we saw all the wonderful stuff at the supermarket (you must excuse these China ladies from small kampungs) we ended up having for dinner: sushi, herbed/spiced cheese pieces and nachos with guacamole dip!! So much for yoghurt...

Furthermore... you know how women get at supermarkets... we spotted lotsa stuff which we just had to buy cause we couldn't get it back home! This included a bottle of rose water each just because we might need it one day!! hahahaha...

In the end we had a whole trolley full of stuff and no idea how we were going to haul it all back to the hotel!! SIL came up with a great idea and 'coerced' me into kidnapping a trolley!! hahahaa

So there we were pushing a trolley down and across a highway, pretending it was totally normal and laughing our heads off all the way back to the hotel!!! Thank goodness nobody we knew spotted us!! hahahaha We ditched the trolley on the roadside near our hotel, between some bushes and by the next day it was gone! When can two mums have the opportunity to act like delinquent teens except in the rare absence of our children eh??!! :D

Anyway, SIL and I are both more experienced in fondant figurines, so sugar flowers were pretty new to both of us. I think the workshop with Alan Dunn was the best, as we learned a whole lot of new things. Alan is very talented and gracious and very chatty.

There was a 'mature' lady from New Zealand who was like an infatuated teen in the presence of Justin Bieber!! lol... SIL and I had loads of fun laughing at her whenever she was up at the "teacher's table" chatting with Alan, which was all the time!! We were running around like headless chickens; rolling and dusting and wiring, and there she was so relaxed... (she's a veteran with sugar flowers)

Well, I think we accomplished a lot in the workshop with Alan, and we are very proud of the amazing flowers we produced!

The next workshop was with Lorraine McKay, a wee Scottish lass who is so funny, in a sarcastic way at times and also feisty; not to be messed with! She started off the class with her ground rules of no photography or video taking of her work during the creating and even after completion. She is more strict and punctual and did not entertain nonsense! But she is a nice and friendly person as well, just more disciplined I guess. This was why we had more time to shop, cause she made sure the classes finished on time!

She does amazing figurines with such detail that they even have teeth and smile lines! They way she put life into flat, robotic figurine hands made everyone gasp!

So on the last day, SIL and I basically rushed to finish our work and get all our precious fragile works of art packed, ours was the last flight out that night. Then we had to haul all our creations and luggage and boxes of shopping! We got a taxi with a smart ass cabbie who was quite funny and managed to get to cousin Julie's in time and in one piece. She brought us out to have heavenly banana leaf rice and it was off to LCCT.

At the airport, our luggage was still overweight, even though I had purchased extra weight online the night before!! They wanted to charge a ridiculous RM30/kg!! So SIL and I dug out our stuff right there on the floor and shifted them into our knapsacks!!

At the screening of hand luggage, I didn't even have to scan my bag of flowers and figurines cause SIL and I kicked up a big fuss about how fragile they were! In the end the customs officers were ogling at our creations and even asked for our name card!! hahahaha...

On the plane, we were seated at the first row and had our precious works of art on the floor. The steward also left us alone when SIL said he had to pay for damages if we had to put them in the overhead compartment!! *Rowrrr pppfffttt*!!! lol...

Well, that was it, an amazing, educational, fun, crazy trip! Let's plan the next one!!! ;)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One mini adventure! Part I

Wow.. I am still recovering from my mini adventure with SIL...

So, we went to KL for a 6 day workshop. 3 days with Alan Dunn, the master of sugar flowers, or as SIL puts it; the Michael Jackson of the Cake Decorating World! :) Then another 3 days with Lorraine McKay, who does figurines and is renown for her super-detailed facial expressions! (there are teeth even, in her figurines' mouths!!) You definitely have to be a little OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) to be so intricate! She says so herself! :)

It was quite pricey, both workshops combined came up to RM4k plus (we got early bird discounts). But it was an opportunity not to be missed, because this is the first time they are here, from UK. There were averagely 40 people (all women) in the class, and some came all the way from Dubai, New Zealand, Japan...

We met all sorts of students... motherly aunties, super-kiasu ah mas (elbow you out of the way type!), friendly ladies, not-so-friendly ladies... hahaha..

Okay, first, we got there on a Sunday, which was the last day of the wedding cake competition. We were initially supposed to get there in the evening, but SIL and I decided to change our flight to an earlier one just so we could catch the competition!

In the end, with all the changes, our Asia Asia tickets cost as much or maybe more than MAS. Next time we'll just take MAS so we don't have to walk so far in the rain, at times, and risk being charged RM30 per kg!!!! for excess baggage!! (that's another story...)

But it was worth it, as the cakes at the show were just simply amazing!! Okay, but first let's rewind a bit.

When we boarded the plane from Kuching, the first thing this guy next to me asks is, "Are you girls from China?"!! 

Hmm.... is that an insult or a compliment??? I think the former, 'cos (so sorry for the stereotype but it's 80% true here in Kuching) most China girls here are either foot masseurs, VCD sellers or another less appealing profession which happens to also be the oldest profession in the world... (Google it if you don't get me)

Hmm... maybe I should've just socked him in the face! hahaha... though I think we fell into the VCD selling category cos we were carrying knapsacks around like college kids! But then it could be a compliment that we don't like old, washed-out mothers eh?? Whateva...

SIL got the, "Are you from China?" again on one of the days after class when we went to wash our hair at a saloon, carrying knapsacks, umbrellas (it was raining everyday) and empty boxes (ran out of space for our shopping!)!! hahaha.. don't really blame them this time... we also speak funny mandarin I guess! :)

Anyhoo... so when we got to KL, straight from LCCT and off the taxi, we went to Sunway Giza where the competition was held! It was before 2pm, so we couldn't check into the hotel yet, so there we were, two 'China ladies', pulling baggage, carrying knapsacks and with a huge camera each hanging on our necks to boot!

That's Kris...

The cakes at the show were just simply awesome and mind-blowing!! My Thai friend Kris won first prize!! I was so excited for him! I met him when Hubby and I were at the Kinokuniya bookstore in Bangkok. We were both digging through the same cake decorating books and ended up exchanging blog addresses!! He only started dabbling in fondant 9 months ago! He is a graphic artist by profession I think and stopped working just to pursue this passion! I told him about ICCA and the cake competition and now he actually won! Beating some very highly-skilled veterans in the process! He wins an all paid 8-day trip to Squires Kitchen, UK, where he gets to learn from the masters and also visit the annual cake exhibition. He might join the competition there as well! I'm green with envy!! :)

Kris' fabulous creation

The ladies in our class were complaining how the cake competitions keep getting won by men... since they could dedicate so much time to their projects, whereas us moms would get interrupted every 5 minutes!! How true!! :)

Well, after the competition, SIL and I went hunting for our hotel with our luggage in one hand and iPhone GPS in another! We booked Tunes hotel, which was recommended by the people at ICCA, the 'cake school'. They said it was just across the road, but failed to mention that the road was a 6 lane highway!! At least we saved a bit on the hotel stay, as I had booked early and a 6-night stay was only RM300+ (I booked early that's why; the prices fluctuate like their Air Asia tickets). That included 24hrs air-conditioning, which yes, you have to purchase separately! Even hair dryer costs RM1 a day! But we're not complaining 'cos it gave us an excuse go to the saloon for RM30 washes with glorious shoulder massages!! But the rooms were pretty spacious compared to the Tunes LCCT which is essentially a closet!! And most importantly it was clean and amazingly they do have housekeeping come clean the room every morning! :)

Yuen Ting, Li Wen and Phai Leng

Anyway, that night, Cousin Julie brought us out for a yummy dinner at Bangsar Village. And to my surprise, I met 3 of my old uni mates!! We havn't seen each other since we graduated some 11 years ago! It's such a small world, and I have to get out more to see who I can bump into! :) During my previous trip to KL for Song Lih's wedding, I also bumped into another 2 uni mates, who are now married to each other, with 3 kids, just strolling in the same shopping mall; Empire Mall!

Okay so anyway, that was Day 1...

I had better continue this tomorrow.... work piled up while I was away!!

Oh yes.. today is my birthday! Happy Birthday to me!! I'm 34 now! ;) Nothing much planned, as I have to stay at the shop until closing 'cos two of my girls left without notice!!! (that's another story.. an aggravating one...)  but at least I have a good sidekick now, so I'm not complaining.  I just have to stay back and train my new staff for a couple of weeks.

Look at the goodies I got from Hubby and Sis no.3! Not to mention all the wonderful birthday greetings on Facebook and WhatsApp! *happy* 

 Thanks for all the love everyone! :)

Hubby got me 34 roses... I said that there wouldn't be enough space by the time I'm 80 and he said by the time I'm 80; no more flowers!! lol :P

P/S: I also got a scrummy Secret Recipe cheesecake from Sis no.2 and since I was stuck at the shop, the whole Kuching gang came to the shop to sing for me!! *awwww*
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