Thursday, March 31, 2005

A Trip to the Clinic

We brought Henry and the Twins to the vet today

for their vaccinations, together with a sick kitty, Fred.


Henry went in THIS The Twins in THIS and Fred in THIS


All of us piled into THIS, Henry riding in the back and the Twins and Fred in the backseat
At the vet's, the twins were absolute darlings while Henry was displaying his usual craziness.


Turns out they're all healthy except that the twins have hookworm and had to be medicated. We brought back medication for their momma and it looks like I'm doing some spring cleaning of the yard tomorrow to prevent reinfestation.



Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Food Glorious Food

Cinnamon Spiced Chicken

Here's sharing a recipe I got from Kitchen Capers..my first attempt at roast chicken.



Ingredients:

1 spring chicken
1.5 tbsp ground cinnamon powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dried Dill leaves

Method:

1. Marinate chicken with all the other ingredients for 20 mins.
2. Preheat oven at 200C for 10 mins.
3. Roast chicken in oven for 25 mins.
4. Turn over every 10 mins.
5. Serve hot!

The taste of the cinnamon, dill and sugar was really subtle but yummilicious. I used a convection microwave oven on CompuRoast ( I know I'm pampered that way ) and it roasted for about 40 minutes. David gave it 2 thumbs way up.

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Wedding and Puppy Updates

I've finished making my invitations


and they come in a package of :

1. The Wedding/Church Invitation
2. An explaination of Chinese Wedding Symbols
3. A Save The Day Magnet

Now I need to print out ( custom ) envelopes and we're good to go!


And here are the puppies at 5+ weeks

Sunday, March 27, 2005

My Heart is Pounding

All because I watched TV

Grey's Anatomy is a TV show on ABC that I had been waiting for to watch ever since they started commercials advertising its premiere months ago.

Why?

Because it's a show about interns. A group of them.
And because before I came to the States, I was a doctor for 2 short years, and one of those years was as a dreaded intern. Added to that is that, I now have to start studying again to get licensed to BE a doctor in the States and that's SELF STUDY( while having all the household responsibilites vying for my time ) with all the disadvantages that come with it as well as having to go through internship again once I'm through with the exams....I would be married then and as I'm "no spring chicken", it would also be time to think about starting a family on top of that.

On the up side however, I do have some actual working experience and anything that was put into practice sticks better than just reading from text books and observing.

My life as an intern wasn't all that long ago that I could have already forgotten all the little details. Rather, it was so recent ago that occasionally, I still have nightmares about the long hours, leaving no time for any other personal life plus getting superbly jealous of people who did not work on sundays and public holidays, days and nights of being on call back to back, and coming back to my dorm room late at night, brushing my teeth, flopping on the bed and losing total consciousness till the next morning when it started all over again.

And who could ever forget being treated like, as they called it on the show, "the bottom of the food chain", being totally clueless, where on the job training meant you might actually be responsible for decisions that determined someone's well being ( or downward spiraling health ), all this under the supervision of residents and specialists who can make or break you. I wondered if I would become hardened to normal emotions from everything that I would experience - sometimes working as a young doctor forces you be detached just so you don't get emotionally overloaded.

But why do I persevere?

Because I love it. I love getting to know patients, learning from them, helping them in whatever way I can - they keep me grounded, thankful and human.

Because I can't think of any other profession that I would be other than this. Sure, there are days when I ask myself, "WHAT WAS I THINKING"? Certain days, I don't know what I was thinking.

Sometimes, I am made to feel like medicine can be cold, dehumanised and heartless, dominated by expensive machines and multinational pharmaceutical companies that peddle sickness and a quick-fix drug for every problem.

But as with anything else, there are bad days and there are good days. But it's the fulfilling days where I feel empowered but at the same time humbled, that make me go on.

Freaky Weather

The Whole Spectrum

2 days ago : > 80F

Last night : Hail

This morning/afternoon : Rain

Tonight : SNOW!

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BIG FLUFFY MICHIGAN-TYPE SNOW FLAKES!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Happy Festivities

I knew it was Good Friday,

but being quite ignorant about Jewish holidays, it took me by surprise and pricked my curiosity when I saw on my Calendar that it was also "Purim", so I thought I'd look it up and here's what I found.

PURIM



Purim is the most festive of Jewish holidays commemorating the deliverance of the Persian Jews from destruction as recorded in the Book of Esther.

During the time of King Ahasuerus, one of his ministers, Haman, sought to destroy the Jews in revenge for being snubbed by the Jew Mordecai, who refused to bow down to him. With the king's authority, he draws lots (pur) to determine the fateful day, which falls on the 13th of the month of Adar.

Learning of this decree, Mordecai approaches the new queen, his cousin Esther, to intercede with the king. Esther, who has not revealed her Judaism publicly, fasts for three days in preparation for this task. At a banquet for the king and Haman, she denounces the evil Haman, who is eventually hanged.

Because a royal decree could not be voided - including the decree ordering the extermination of the Jews -- Mordecai had to send another decree to all the provinces. This letter authorizes the Jews to protect themselves from their enemies. The days following the Jews' struggle with their enemies (the 14th and 15th of Adar, the 12th month of the Jewish Calendar) are declared days of feasting and merrymaking, today celebrated as Purim.

This year (2005) Purim begins at sundown on the 24th of March and goes to Friday evening, March 25th. It is perhaps the most joyous day of the Jewish year, with masquerades, plays, and drinking of wine even in the synagogue. Sometimes it's even compared to a "Jewish mardi gras"



Purim is celebrated by:

  • Reading Megillat Esther, (Scroll of Esther)
  • Mishloach Manot - Sending food to friends and neighbours,
  • Matanot L'evyonim - Giving gifts to the poor, and
  • Enjoying a Purim Seuda (meal), feasting and merriment.
The entire month of Adar ( and not just Purim itself ) is a time for silliness and humour, and making lots of noise with Graggers ( noisemaker rattles ) during the reading of the Scroll of Esther when Haman's name is mentioned.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

March Madness

Americans love their sports

The NCAA ( National Collegiate Athletic Association ) men's basketball tournament, which started last weekend, is colloquially known as "March Madness" where 64 leading college basketball teams get together and fight it out. For three weeks in March and the first week of April, the tournament pretty much enjoys the undivided attention of sports fans everywhere, David included.

The Tournament has its own unique lingo in that other than round 1 and round 2, the teams will go down to the "Sweet 16", "Elite 8", "Final Four," and the "Big Dance."



Apart from the frenzy it ignites among sports fans everywhere, the Madness also refers to the amazing amount of gambling that happens where many people enjoy predicting the outcome of the tournament in the shape of, among others, office pools and world wide online gambling.


This year, it's even more nerve wrecking because David's alma mater Texas Tech ( where he studied law ) is in the "Sweet 16" and will meet W. Virginia to battle it out to be in the "Elite 8" tomorrow..

Monday, March 21, 2005

A Moment in Time

When I came to America,

I brought along 2 suitcases of things, and among them was this picture of me when I was about 2 1/2 years old and still staying in the "old" house, which was an old chinese shophouse converted into a home.

The picture was taken in our kitchen ( the only one not in the picture would be my dad, who was behind the lens ) during lunch and it was Valentine's day 1974. We finally moved to a new house in a different part of town in 1986 but I have so many memories of this humble home, but those stories in later posts...

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I am 3 years older than my mom was when that picture was taken
Joanna, our oldest sister, was 4 and a 1/2,
Carter, our brother would not be born for another 3 years
Jumbled Mind would not be born for another 6 years,

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Home Alone

David left early this morning..

to travel 430 miles ( approximately 7 hours ) down to a little town, near the American/Mexican border today. And so I'm home alone with Henry, Missy the blue heeler, the twins, the 2 fishies and the 6 cats, probably until tomorrow morning.

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I miss him already ( and am praying for a safe journey )

Saturday, March 19, 2005

A New Toy

When I was younger,

if my mother brought us out shopping for clothes or household stuff, I would stray off to be with my father and browse through electrical appliances and gadgets.

Yesterday, THIS came via the UPS guy for me to print my Wedding Invitations ( and massive number of photographs ) on..

The Canon i9900

Canon i9900 Major Features:


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* New ChromaPLUS 8-color ink system adds red and green inks to extend the range of the orange/red and green color gamuts

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* Fast printing: 4 x 6" borderless in about 38 seconds

* 6,144 nozzles for exceptional speed and quality

* 2-picoliter MicroFine Droplet Technology with 4800 x 2400 dpi resolution

* Wide Carriage with Borderless printing in 4 x 6", 5 x 7", 8.5 x 11" and 13 x 19" sizes

* Individually replaceable ink tanks lowers your printing costs

* Computer-less PictBridge and Bubble Jet Direct USB printing

* High-speed USB 2.0 and FireWire interfaces

I've already designed and printed a prototype of my invitation card, a short explaination of Chinese Marriage Symbols as well as a Save the Day magnet..WOOHOO!

p/s: David did the research on this one..he used to be a (semi) professional photographer for magazines and such, and so it's more HIS toy than mine :)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Deep Fried Vegetables

A lot of things here in the South are Deep Fried.

The only deep fried vegetables I had ever eaten back home was probably Japanese Tempura dishes. But I've noticed that in Texas ( and in the South ), vegetables like okra ( or lady's fingers to Malaysians ) are deep fried..along with squashes.

Now "squash" as a vegetable ( and not as a sport or a meaning akin to squish ) was a new term to me when I got to the States. I've always known and loved cucumbers, but squashes, although some of them looked like cucumbers, were way different.

Cindy made some fried squash for lunch today, so I thought I'd just share some recipes I found online. Enjoy!


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Squashes are four species of the genus Cucurbita, also called pumpkins and marrows depending on variety or the nationality of the speaker. Squashes are categorized as summer squash or winter squash, depending on when they are harvested.

Squash is native to North America and was one of the "Three Sisters" planted by Native Americans.

The Three Sisters were the three main indigenous plants used for agriculture: maize (corn), beans, and squash.

These were usually planted together, with the cornstalk providing support for the climbing beans, and shade for the squash. The squash vines provided groundcover to limit weeds.

........................................................................................

Fried Squash or Zucchini

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The flour/cornmeal mixture is very light but results in a slightly crisp texture.

INGREDIENTS

1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups cornmeal
2 pounds zucchini and/or yellow squash, cut into about 1/2-inch slices
1-1/2 quarts canola or other cooking oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional garnish)
========

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and cornmeal.

  2. Add the squash slices and toss to coat.

  3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep pan, being certain the pan is large enough to hold the oil without it spilling over when the squash is added.

  4. The oil should be hot, but not smoking.

  5. Add about half of the squash and fry, stirring constantly, until tender and lightly browned, adjusting heat as needed.

  6. Remove with a slotted spoon or strainer and place on paper towels. Sprinkle immediately with salt, pepper and the optional cheese. Meanwhile, repeat the process with the remaining squash.

  7. Serve immediately.

..........................................................................

Fried Okra

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Ingredients:

3 cups Okra, fresh sliced
1 cup Flour, all-purpose
1 Tbsp. Creole seasoning
1 tsp. Salt
2 cups Buttermilk
1 Egg
2 cups Cornmeal
1 cup Flour
1 Tbsp. Salt
4 cups Vegetable Oil

=========

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet to 325°F. Mix the flour, creole seasoning and salt in a bowl. Beat together the buttermilk and egg in a second bowl. In a third bowl combine cornmeal, flour and salt
  2. Place the okra in the seasoned flour first, knock off the excess flour and place in the buttermilk. Drain well. Coat with cornmeal mixture and drop into fryer. Fry until golden, approx. 7 minutes, and serve warm.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not a fan of deep fried stuff. Baking and soup/curries is more my cup of tea.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Today we had Biscuits for Breakfast..

and man, that term can get quite confusing.

Why?
  • Biscuits ( American ) are Scones ( British )
  • Biscuits ( British - often crispy and dry ) are ALSO Cookies ( American - and often soft and chewy )
In American English "biscuit" means a form of bread similar to a roll made with baking powder or baking soda as a rising agent rather than yeast, usually served as a side dish to a main meal or a breakfast item.



In British English a biscuit is a harder baked product which in North America would be called a "cookie" or "cracker". Both sweet and savoury exist, where sweet biscuits are commonly eaten as a snack and may contain chocolate, fruit, jam or nuts. Savoury biscuits are plainer and commonly eaten with cheese following a meal ( not AS a meal ).

( from watching Sesame Street over the years, I thought that cookies were special biscuits! )

In the States, Biscuits are served with Gravy along with chunks of sausage, and is quite a food of the South. Traditionally, a lot of grease and fat goes into making the gravy and biscuits, but I've omitted all of that ( yuck ) and use NO-FAT gravy and the wholegrain flour mix. They can also be eaten with..

  • Jelly ( American ) aka Jam ( British ) or
  • Jam ( American ) aka Marmalade ( British )
not to be mistaken with the British Jelly ( American Jell-O )

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

My Main Man

For those who have waited to catch a glimpse of David,

here he is with the twins who are 3 weeks and 3 days old today......



Hey, I DID say it was a "glimpse" *smiles*
P/S:He has the Bruce Willis look cos otherwise he'd be Grizzly Adams..

Monday, March 14, 2005

Spring is around the corner

And the best things about it..

is the weather and the flowers...




These are some of the wild flowers that are starting to crop up in our front yard...I just hope i don't get bad hay fever like last year!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

I have a magnetic personality

No, change that to ELECTRIFYING

Recently, I have been zapping myself ( painfully ) when I reach for the door knob, car door, keys, coins, even other people. And then there's the thing about my hair sticking out in weird configurations and crackling while brushing, as well as sticking to my forehead and face. Some days I feel like I am going to spontaneously combust!

The culprit? Static Electricity.

I've had static electricity experiences before, but not THIS rampant!

I quickly googled it and found some reasons:
  • Carpet - we had linoleum on the floors in Malaysia, but now I'm walking on carpet and yes, i sometimes tend to scuff and shuffle my feet along, creating massive amounts of electrical charges.
  • Rubber shoes
  • Dry air - the air in Winter is notorious for being dry, and the central heating in the house, which takes out even more humidity, doesn't help ( the humidity in malaysia is like 99% and was 50% in Abilene today)
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Some remedies I found online included:
  • use conditioners for your hair and lotion for your body
  • rub a fabric softener sheet ( the kind you toss into the dryer with your clothes ) on your hair and skin
  • Get a room humidifier
  • get a ring and wear it ( to "ground" the charges )
  • touch a key or coin in your pocket before you touch the door knob/car door etc..
  • drag around a metal chain like what you see on gasoline tankers/trucks going down the Highway( eek, i'm not Frankenstein! )
I told David about my predicament and he told me that the only solution for me was to wear a lightning rod on my head. BLEH!

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