Saturday, December 30, 2006

Instructions for Toro care

Dear caretakers,

Here is the instruction for taking care of poor me while my parents are gone.

1) Feeding is once a day. Please use the measuring cup as serving size for the day. My food is behind the storage cabinet where the master bedroom faces. There are 2 bags of food, about half of the serving cup from each bag would be about right. The 2 bags is one normal food, the other low fat one... :)

2) Please clean the litter box daily.

3) Please pour away remaining water and fill in new tap water in my water bowl daily.

The schedule for taking care of me goes as follows :

Chin Ping 1/1-1/2
Shwe/Xin 1/3-1/6



Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!! Pei Sun and I had a relaxing Christmas. We had a small Christmas Eve steamboat party at our house. Mark, my ex-collegue stopped by. P'ng also came since Kai Xiang and Judy are not in town. Instead P'ng has Toro as company most of the time.

Haven't seen Fanny and Johnny in almost 2 years already. They looked great!
The night is also pretty warm, so I walked around the neighborhood and took some pictures to share. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

We lost the fish...

Unfortunately, after surviving for another 2 days, our little fish passed away yesterday. This one has been around with us for a long time. It has followed us from Morse Ave to Atherton, and back to Sunnyvale. A bit sad.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Frost hits California!

Winter cold front California with full force 2 days ago. The temperature dropped to 20's at night. The next morning, when we woke up we saw a few interesting things... Pictures to share! Apologize for some of white balancing on the pictures are incorrectly set.

Ice on the windshield...
Poor Calla Lily...
It used to look like this. Picture was taken a few days before.
The impatient in the backyard also seemed to have suffered.Besides the plants, our house also got really cold. And that's quite taxing on all its inhibitants. This includes Pei Sun, Toro, and I. But the one the suffered the most is our poor little Thai Glass Catfish. The temperature in the fish tank has dropped so low that the poor little tropical fish almost lost its life. Pei Sun noticed that the fish was having a hard time swimming, it seemed to be having a hard time floating. Pei Sun called me to get a new water heater for the fish, but the fish shop is closed when I arrived. In the meantime, Pei Sun had to microwave water and add it back to the fish tank to keep the water temperature from falling too low.
After we bought the water heater the next day, when we came home, we realized that the poor fish is already lying at the bottom of the tank. We were shocked!! Immediately, we performed an ER rescue on the fish. I heat up water. Pei Sun picked up the fish. Then she put the fish into the pot. Ouch, ouch! Poor thing, the surface around the pot was quite hot. The fish must have scalded itself a few times. It really wasn't doing too well. Sometimes tries to swim. But occassionally gave up and sank to the bottom of the pot. After probably 30min, it finally regained its strength! The fish is now back in the tank. It has been through a lot, send it some regards when you are around... :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Water Heater Leak

Woke up Sunday morning to find out that our garage is flooded. Turns out the water heater leaked. It is time to replace it. Fortunately the home warranty insurance covers it. The plumber came this morning to inspect and confirmed that we need a new water heater. Hopefully we should have hot water again tomorrow. In the mean time, we have been seeking refuge in Xin & Shwe's house for some aquas caliente.

Everytime we have a water leaking in the garage, it means time to clean up the garage.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Extended family member

Hi all,
Please allow me to introduce this cute little baby-Marcus. Who do you think he looks like? ah, gorbie+ Karin of course. He was born on the 15th of Dec. This pix was taken on the 16th. Do you think he looks like 1 DAY old? nah... BIG BIG BIG... 7+lbs. Will keep you guys updated later about his mischief...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Joe had been staying with us in the past few days to spend some quality time with us and more important with the babies KaiXiang and Toro.

So it happens that he was leaving from SFO on 12/12. On that day Pei Sun was actually not feeling too well, she seemed to be catching those marathon sneezes again. After Pei Sun and I sent him to the airport, I came home feeling a little tired after a productive day of work.

So I thought, I am ready to go to bed. As soon as I left the car, I noticed oops, the side door was unlocked. Once again, we left the house open. Oh well, it happens quite a lot. So locked it as always.

Then I tell myself let me turn off all the christmas lights first, so I went to the patio area, then I noticed a pair of New Balance shoe. Oh crap, Joe forgot his shoes. But wait, there are more shoes... Hmm... what happened?

My first thought was. Oh no, someone trespasses the house. But then 5 sec later, I realized what it was. Surprised!
It was my own birthday party. So I did spoil the surprise, but only 5 secs earlier. I consider it still pretty well executed plan! Good job, Donald!

The party was fun. It was fun because it was so spontaneous. It was so casual, gotto see so many friends without having to make a lot of plans. It's nice. I feel contented. Perhaps one of the many reasons that make December special!

And Lynn, the cakes are awesome!! Check out the pictures in the surprise party link. It is one of the few moments in life when I like time to just stop.

Then the next day, 12/13. The actual day. Toro begged me for food early morning at 4am, I feed her. Then again, she begged for food at 6am. I was furious, so I gave her 4 tiny pieces instead of her usual meal (around 30 pieces or so). She didn't want to eat any. So I have to give her more. And still she refused. After 3 times of refilling her food bowl with my food, then she finally started to eat. Then I went back to sleep.

Alarm has sounded. I didn't know. Then Pei Sun woke me up at 8am. It was too late for a shower if we are carpooling. If I don't carpool with Pei Sun, then she would be late. So she got to work late, I had to take the caltrain. It wasn't too smooth a day to start. Then I got to work, busy! But quite productive! Got a few birthday greetings to cheer me up! Chin Ping called me to wish me my bday, then she asked me how's the camera? I was confused, what camera? "No camera," I told her. She said "oops.."

I didn't think too much about it except that perhaps i was supposed to get a camera as a gift, but it was later decided to not get it. That's why there is the "oops."

Birthday is a big deal in our family tradition. We celebrate it by eating out in a nice restaurant. But instead, we eat dinner at home today. The menu wasn't too impressive at all, instant noodle (Indo Mee), and some leftover fried rice and porridge that we had when we sent Joe off the airport yesterday. It was definitely the least eventful dinner in my 32-year of life.
After an unexciting dinner, I managed to get a few phone calls first from Lina, then from Lalit with birthday wishes. It was quite fun to hear from friends who are not even local. After that, I went into the bedroom and was greeted by all the froggies. And Toro too sneaked in between.

This is when I am so pleasently surprised that an uninteresting dinner was followed by such an extraordinary presentation by Pei Sun.

I opened the box. I knew it was a camera because of the oops from the morning. And the first thing I saw was the lens. I thought I got a lens, have to buy my own camera. But there is no way, just not Pei Sun's style to do so.

It's a Nikon! Awesome. I have been talking and talking about getting a digital SLR for probably a year now. Finally, I got it. I am sure at that point that Donald is involved in influencing the decision. The next sets of photos are all taken with the new D80.

Pei Sun held it off without telling me for so long. She has been planning this for a while. So sweet of her.
Tricky too, started me off with such uninteresting food.
I hardly want anything usually. Only thing I wanted was SLR. She knew all along, and she waited for the perfect time to give it to me. So touched! Definitely the best gift ever! Also very timely for our trip to NY.
Consider the day wasn't too good to start, it ended pretty nicely. I had a really good birthday after all.
I feel grateful to have my lovely wife by my side. I feel lucky because it is more than just her presence that I felt. It was the satisfaction that she understood me, and gave me the best of my wishes.
Even though the camera news was leaked out, it was still a surprise as I wasn't really expecting it until I saw the present. Then I knew what was inside... hehe...
This is how the story goes, apparently the surprise party was supposed to happen on 12/13. Then we have the camera and everything. But circumstances moved the party to a day earlier, and the camera didn't arrive in time. Donald had to wrap the camera and pass it to Pei Sun on the day before our uneventful dinner. Given all the effort that went into it, I should stop whining about the dinner.

Toro checking out the new camera. She asked, "Why is the lens moving around?"

Raindeer in front of the fireplace.

Steakhouse in Mt. View

Took a walk after lunch. It's fall!

More fall pictures...

Iceland poppies...

The corner house wins the most elaborate christmas decor around.

Toro wants some attention, when the computer is getting too much of my attention.

Another fall picture.

Del-Toro is short for dell toro.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cool looking corn

Remember the corn we harvested from our garden? Well, we planted it way too late (I think late summer), and we had to harvest everything in our garden when the weather got cold and the corn were still pretty young. So anyway, here are some pictures of the corn. I didn't know that each of the corn kernel grow at different pace. Kinda cool looking. However, they don't taste good at all! Not sweet, and doesn't have a corn taste. :(

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New York here we come!

Bought our tickets to NYC. We will be there on 12/31. Coming back from Newark 1/6/07. Thinking about visiting Ken @ Boston during the trip too.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

game nite

We had bunch of ppl over to play games on friday night. We were afraid that we will have trouble fitting 11 ppl into my tiny little studio, but somehow, after peisun's brilliant idea of moving my couch to the space between my bed and my closet, we could fit everyone on the floor for a game of Pictionary. Choonping, Donald, and Matt made an awesome team, so they beat us (other 2 teams) quite a bit! :( We then proceed to sing some karaoke with some discs Alice had bought along - christmas carols, pop music (think christina aguilera, N sync etc, and some country as well. All in all, it was lots of fun!

Of course, lots of snacking during game nite :)

Donald working out after having too many cream puffs!

Who is the most talented singer?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Chocolate Souffle

Yeah. Toro family has been a bit more lazy about blogging lately. That's because we are too busy eating... Some proofs below :

Pei Sun made souffle last Saturday and invited Matt and Ah Girl over for dessert. Here is a picture before they went into the oven.

We have always enjoyed chocolate souffle ever since we had it in Pasta Pomodoro from Arif's recommendation. Unfortunately NOT all pasta pomodoro is created equal. The chocolate souffle that we had in Palo Alto was excellent. And the pasta pomodoro in Sunnyvale serves the same thing, but tasted lousy. The more tragic thing is that Pasta Pomodoro of Palo Alto has closed shop!! What? Thus, it is better if we could perfect the recipe. Let's see...

I think we passed with flying colors!! What do you think?

Any taker?

Hey, Toro seems to be sleeping quite a bit.
Perhaps temperature in US is dropping fast.
It's hibernation time.....?
Wake up! It's dinner time.

Hi, this looks delicious.
Stew, BBQ, or even sashimi.
Want to try?
Guess what?

It's rabbits!

How about these goat heads.
It's only 1.2 Euro each,
Apparently the brain is a delicacy.
It's good for those who thinks a lot!
Daddy and mummy were served 'curry goat head' some 5 years ago in my Indian supervisor's house, during Deepavali.
We were asked to break open the head and enjoy the brain ;(
It was supposed to be the privilege of the VIP ;p
It was embarrassing, but we managed to decline tactfully .
No wonder we are still not so smart...........

Ok, now how about porcupine?

Not for food though.

They are for decorations only.
Very creative, made from some pine tree stems.
Business idea:
Should fetch good price in e-bay.

Now let's look at something tempting, and edible.

How about some smoked ham?

Tons of it!

Now something to exercise your jaws,
nuts, dates, and chocolates.

...........and some sweet stuffs for the ladies

Let's try something fresh, and moving.
How about this?

Crabs, Crayfish or Lobster?

Guess everyone, or most of us, love this;)

They are all alive.

Termidore? Baked? Fry with black pepper, or just raw with shoyu and wasabi, yummy yummy....

I am hungry now;)

Of course we need some fruits, as what Ah girl's nutritionist says :)

The red fruits (with soft spines) on the left are called 'Pitaya'. It is a fruit of a cactus, but planted widely in Malaysia today.

It is called 'Dragon fruit' back home, as it resembles the fiery ball in front of a Chinese dragon.

They are 2 varieties, the greyish flesh variety is plain, not so sweet, while the red ones are fragrant, juicy and sweet.

I remember first tasting this dragon fruit in Shang Palace some 15 years ago. It was air flown from Vietnam.

I was naive enough to try planting from its 'seeds' inside. Of course I failed!

We need stem cuttings for re-planting, and now I have planted one in our backyard. Hopefully it will start to fruit after about a year.

After all these food, it's time for exercise. How about horse riding?

Simple and cute!

Saw a group of kindergarten kids playing on them later. They were just about to enter the play ground.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Reading glass

I went for an optometry check-up today(since it is the last day of my vision insurance coverage). I was given a clean-bill. Last check-up was 3 years ago, I had vision of 1.0/0.75. Today, it has become 0.25/0. It does seem like a good trend for me. The previous time I had it checked-out many years ago, that was 1.25/1.0. This means, if I was still wearing the glasses from 3 years back, my vision would be blurred today. So, is it fortunate that I have lost the glasses 3 years back? Well, things checked-out ok! I am happy.

My only complain is that my eyes are really tired after looking at the computer for a long time. So she prescribed me reading glasses. Don't get me wrong, I am not far-sighted. At least not yet. But since my job requires me to focus on things which are closed by all the time, with a reading glass, it would be able help my muscle relax, which should reduce my tired eyes. We will see!

What creature is this?

Saw this in a fresh market near La Rambla.
It's some sea creature.
Probably something that grows on rock???
Wonder how they eat it?

Final harvest

Today I harvested all the fruits of our labor from our garden. We planted corn, carrots, several different peppers, cherry tomatoes in our little plot. The weather has been so cold that all the plants did not look happy. I think my favorite crop is the carrot. You plant some seeds, and couple of months later, you get these big fat carrots! It's weird that eventhough the leaves are of the same height for all the carrots, they vary quite a lot in size.

The other day, we harvested our first carrot when choonping and peisun were here. It was pretty sweet and crunchy. Luckily the carrot we picked to harvest turn out to be one of the bigger ones, as we had to share it four ways.

Poor Eeyore can't get to the carrot! No wonder he's always depress..

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dinner with P'ng's parents

Had a dinner with P'ng's parents on Monday night.
This open air restaurant near to Cintra Street brought back sweet memories as we used to patronise this area some 40 years ago:)
40 years!..........sounds old ;(
But this was THE place those good old days:)
I can't remember when was the last time we were here, but must be years ago.
It used to be very famous for it's dry beef hor fan, yau char koay, and hum chim phen.
In fact, P'ng father even bought us some hum chim phen for breakfast ;)
But, most important of all, the food is still good!
We really enjoyed the dinner as we sweated, because I drank many cups of hot Chinese tea:)
After dinner, we went to their home and chatted a while.
For that, we were presented 2 books on Penang Hawker food, and some nice air flown Indonesian cakes :)
Also I received those Glucosamine Sulphate and dog biscuit from them.
Thanks, Choon Ping.
This morning, I took some Nestum, sprinkle a tea spoon of Glucosamine Sulphate on it, then add some hot water, mix it, make into small balls, and feed it to Mindy.
She loves them!
As the medicine is in powder form, this is probably the best way of feeding her.
I noticed that Mindy's hind legs have improved greatly.
Hope this pack will take her up another level.
Time will tell...............
Will keep you posted of the developement.
Mindy just want to say 'Arigato...........'
Photo taken 5 minutes ago.