Tuesday, September 30, 2008

...and I can see Russia from my house.

I'm sorry to put political stuff on the blog, but this is just ridiculous. Tina Fey should step in as the VP candidate right about now.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Marriage Retreat Weekend

The Chaplain's office held the first Marriage Enrichment Retreat this weekend and Aaron and I were lucky enough to be one of the first twelve couples to call them to get on the list. It was a free trip to Bintan Lagoon Resort and featured several classes with a marriage counselor to learn how to be a better spouse. It was a really great weekend. We even learned some stuff we didn't know we needed to know. Whoda thunk it?

Here are the pics from the weekend:

(The first questions usually asked by our parents is what the room looked like, so we took pictures for them. I think it's so they know that we didn't stay in a grass hut with a dirt floor.)

This is the pool that we never made it to.
On Saturday night, the couples were each given a golf cart to drive to dinner. We had no idea where we were going or what to expect. Below, Aaron and I are on the way over there. We quickly discovered that the golf cart had only one speed: bat out of hell fast. Look close in the picture, I'm holding on for dear life.
We arrived at a tee box at the top of a cliff over-looking the ocean. It was gorgeous. They had set up a dance floor and a table for two for each couple. It was really sweet.
The only bad part? The "Love Ballads of Broadway" CD that they had blaring for ambiance kept skipping. Indonesia's CD selection is limited, I'm sure.
Isn't it pretty? We loved loved loved it. The food was delish as well.
We left after the sun went down and giant beetles started attacking the lights around us.
The next day, we ate lunch at the golf course restaurant...and my husband is incapable of taking a nice picture. Sorry.

Here's the group that went on the trip.

Yeah. You'd think after a weekend of relaxing that we'd be all rested up. I guess not.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mooncake Festival

Singapore is wrapping up its celebration of the Mooncake Festival (also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, but as Singapore has no seasons, they call it Mooncake instead...or at least I think that's why). Anyway, the Mooncake Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese New Year. For us American kids, that means usually mid to late September.

I was intrigued by these little pastries when I first saw them on Orchard road. And no, they're nothing like Moon Pies that we eat in the States. These suckers are thick and more like a bready, cake. They cost anywhere from $10 to $50 US. Any pastry that can pull that much dough outta someone's wallet has got to be interesting at the very least. However, I had no idea what they were or what was in them. I heard several Chinese folk lore stories about how they originated from several people and even read some here on Wikipedia. They're pretty interesting.

Yesterday, when I went to my doctor's appointment. My doctor, in effort to make small talk, enquired about my experiences in Singaporean cuisine. I mentioned to him that I wanted to try one of these mysterious little cakes. Lo and behold, he just happened to have some in his office. He happily sent one home with me in a McDonald's paper sack. (Don't even get me started on that part.)
So here it is:
Isn't it pretty? It has Chinese characters on it and all these really complicated designs.

Inside is traditionally lotus seed paste and an egg yolk from a salted duck egg. The egg yolk is supposed to symbolize a whole moon. Thus, why it's named a mooncake. And since lotus seed paste is expensive, they will sometimes substitute bean paste. I don't know which mine was. I'd like to think I got an authentic, expensive one. :)

So I decided to suck it up and just try it even though I was a tad hesitant about the salted duck egg (remember folks, those are the black ones).

So it wasn't terrible. It was very dense and very rich. People don't usually eat a whole cake to themselves.

I only ate one bite. I may try some more later. I'm still warming up to it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I heart Tina Fey

This is pure genius. Loves it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Guinness the Menace Strikes Again

Guinness and I aren't friends right now. What he mistakenly thought was a toy, was in fact, an innocent baby gecko in search for food. Guinness crushed him with his paw and then ate him like a gummi bear.

It was a sad evening. It's not the first time it's happened. However, it was the first time I could prove that the victim was alive and well before the demon dog got a hold of him.

Guinness is showing no signs of remorse. I think someone is getting his game of fetch taken away today.

Rule number one, Guinness: We do not eat animals that first entered our house alive.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A few housekeeping topics

Everyday, local Singaporeans dig through everyone's trash in the housing area. Most wake up at the butt crack of dawn to do this in the privacy of their own dumpster, but this couple was caught red-handed...by me....in the middle of the afternoon. Ha! (Oh God, I'm that nosy housewife that spies out the windows.) We think they are searching for recyclables, but honestly, who knows. It must really suck to dig through our trash though cuz it's filled with Guinness' poop and dirty diapers from the baby across the hall. I think that's why this couple is walking away empty handed. Sorry for littering your treasure trove with garbage Mr. and Mrs. Dumpster Diver.

On a less dirty note, our living room actually is beginning to look like a living room. Thanks to an overly zealous office remodel and some turned cheeks, we have furniture! The couch was made for munchkins, I'm pretty sure, but hey, you can't beat free. We're currently looking for a cover for it cuz navy blue doesn't match the mammoth of a "Big Man Chair" that Aaron brought from home. I hope IKEA has some couch covers cuz they don't make couches this small in the US. We're all fat there and need things like "Big Man Chairs". (That's not a nickname. That's the name the chair is marketed under. It's like saying "Hey! If you're a fat ass, this is the chair for you.)

So yeah, it's mostly reject office furniture, but its still nicer than the crap we had from college. Guinness is a fan of the couch in particular. He is already "hiding" his toys on top of it.

We said he was cute...not smart.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

At Last! A One Stop Shop!

My new friend Danielle introduced me to my new favorite place in Singapore. It's the "Super Walmart" of Fair Prices (a popular Singapore grocery store).

Back home, I didn't realize the awesomeness of a huge store that had everything from apples to face wash to home appliances. Once I moved to Singapore, I quickly began to miss the ability to go to one place to get all of the things I need. Yes, I did in fact miss Walmart (I know my mom is doing a silent victory dance as she reads this.) It's one of those things like "you don't know what you got till it's gone". Don't get me wrong, I'd still prefer a Target, but I'll take what I can get in Asia.

So back to Fair Price Xtra....Seriously kids, it's great. My favorite part? They bake fresh baguettes and flavored bread loaves daily for cheap. I bought a baguette for a buck and a loaf of Soya bread for two bucks. It's cheaper than the enriched sandwich bread that could be a month old. I'm in carb heaven. That's a big deal in a place where most carbs are of the rice and noodle variety.

You know what else is great? This Asian shampoo that my friend suggested I try. It's called Asience and it makes your hair feel like silk. At least mine does until I plaster my five anti-frizz products in it. The shampoo and conditioner are only like four bucks at Fair Price Xtra. Sweet.

So I ride the 169 bus all the way down to Ang Mo Kio (it means literally "White Man's Bridge" in Chinese) where this wonderful place is. Then, I can ride the bus all the way back to Sembawang (I don't know what Sembawang means, sorry). It's about a 45 minute ride both ways during rush hour. I'm learning that public transportation = make a day of your one errand because it will take just that...a whole frickin' day.

On a side note, Guinness is doing well after his procedure. He doesn't seem to miss "them" yet. He is however, taking it easy and trying to fight the urge to slobber on his wound.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

When I have a kid...

please let him be as awesome as this one.

Friday, September 5, 2008

There's a reason Mrs. Fields went under

I totally get why housewives of the 50s were always baking. Now that I'm a housewife, I see the light. These women weren't trying to appease their hardworking husbands and their well-behaved children. This wasn't love and selflessness for the sake of a family's happiness. Those chicks were b-o-r-e-d. Bored.

I am also bored. I am a baking fool. It's not funny either. Check out the list of things I've made in the past four months:

Cherry cobbler
Mexican cheesecake
Chocolate chip cookies (about 10 times, they're Aaron's fave)
Peanut butter bars
Cinnamon rolls (3 times)
Chocolate chip cookie bars
Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
White chocolate macadamia nut cookies

Isn't that sad? We don't have children. Only one of those things were made for someone else...kinda. We also don't go to community picnics that require I bring a dessert. We don't even donate to bake sales. I make these things and only two people sit around and eat them. Two! It's a wonder my ass isn't the size of the moon.

To make matters worse, we usually don't finish one item before I'm off baking the next thing. (Example: One portion of cherry cobbler still sits in the fridge and the macadamia nut cookies are already done and in the cookie tub on the counter.) This is getting out of hand.

I think someone needs to take away my baking sheets.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dress shopping in Singapore

So the Navy Ball is coming up next month. I had been dreading dress shopping for this ever since Aaron told me about it last year. My mom can vouch that dress shopping for me is ridiculous. When shopping for prom dresses, it usually took several stores, a few tears and a lot of tugging and pulling.

You see, I was "blessed" with a larger top than most. I'm sure many of you are thinking "She has no idea how lucky she is to have big boobs", but you ladies have no idea how lucky you are to NOT have big boobs. I don't know if you noticed, but after the 90's, clothing sizes got a bit more modest in the breast region. Even shopping for tops is a challenge for me. I either come out looking like a porn star or a chubby Amish girl.

You can only imagine what a challenge I was facing in shopping for a dress in Asia --the land of "no boobs". I asked several of the wives here for advice and all of them recommended this little shop in Sun Plaza. It was the inexpensive choice and I went there first because lets face it, I'm only gonna wear this thing once and mostly likely, I'll spill something on it anyways. Drinks are free flowing that night. I can only imagine how painful it'd be to spill cranberry vodka down the front of a $300 gown.

Yesterday, I took the plunge. I shuffled through the large rack of mostly over-beaded and over-sequined prom dress rejects. I learned quickly that the Asians LOVE excess. Gold and bling everywhere. I am, however, more of a simple chic kind of girl. I'd rather jazz something up with jewelry, makeup or awesome shoes.

The sales girl was very frustrated with me five minutes in. I rejected everything she suggested. She sent the manager over to help me. Ha ha. Yeah, I'm that girl now. I figured out the sizing system through a process of not being able to zip things and things simply falling off. The sizes were 1, 2, 3, and 4. 1= small. 2= medium. 3= large. 4= extra large. I'm a 3....sometimes. This is where it gets tricky in "no boobs" land. All sizes have the same small cup allowance, I swear. I was falling and pouring out of everything, even dresses that were too big everywhere else. I must have tried on every dress in the shop. The sales manager just started bringing me any dress she could find in the larger size.

After about an hour, I finally tried on a winner. This bad boy has adjustable straps and rouching at the top. The combo is a life saver. The color is also very "me". It's a turquoisey blue-green and it's floor length with satin and a sheer fabric overlay. It's not something I'd technically buy back home, but hey "When in Rome...."

***I'm not putting a picture of it up until the Ball. Some Asian chick might try to copy my dress. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Never a dull moment

Singapore never fails to amuse me. Something odd or weird happens almost daily. Here are some of the latest interesting finds.

These are the loose chickens I saw as I was walking to the bus stop today. How random is that? Farm chickens loose in our housing area. I feel as though this is not normal...or sanitary.

This race car is completely made of chocolate. Doesn't it look yummy? It's on display at the Royal Plaza Hotel on Scotts Road. It made me really want to start gnawing on one of the wheels. I didn't though. I'm sure they'd frown on that.

So I think this is called a Phonograph. I'm not sure. If anyone could help me out that'd be super. Anyways, this is sitting in the back corner of a bar in town. I'm not sure why and I'm pretty sure the dust indicates it no longer works. It's still pretty cool though.

That's all I got for now.