Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy thanksgiving

We co-hosted thanksgiving dinner with Choon Ping and Pei-Sun this year since they are renovating their house. Preparation work started on Wednesday night. We made some cranberry sauce, corn bread (both for eating, and also for the stuffing), pumpkin pie, and also brined the turkey. The brine solution is a super saturated solution with brown sugar and salt, with some herbs and oranges. The brine is suppose to help keep the turkey really moist and flavorful while it gets roasted on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, we cooked the stuffing (corn bread, fennel, and italian sausages), and let the mixture cool down before stuffing it in the turkey. Then Pei-Sun cooked her famous honey glazed ham. We then have to wash the turkey off of all the brining solution, and dried the turkey before putting it in the oven for 4 hours at 325F. We basted the turkey every hour with chicken stock and turkey stock. For side dishes, we have a green bean casserole. This year we had a fancier version - we started off with fresh green beans and mushrooms instead of canned beans. We also made some mashed potatoes, and very delicious gravy to accompany the potatoes from the drippings from the turkey. The Pilsbury Doughboy also helped out with some buttery cresent rolls.

We finally had an excuse to open the gigantic bottle of champagne our caterer for our wedding gave us. Farzad had quite a blast drinking his bubblies... Other non alcohol drinkers enjoyed some sparkling apple cider that Farzad brought over, or home made lemonade using lemons from Choon Ping and Pei-Sun's lemon tree.

After dinner we had some wonderful desserts - Cammy brought over an apple pie, Donald and Sandy brought a tiramisu, and the pumpkin pie with cool whip. Yum! Everyone was pretty stuffed. Later we played a game of Pictionary, and of course, no surprise there, the girls won :)

Choonping is carving the turkey.

Look how plum and juicy the turkey is:

The sweet and flavorful ham:

Choon Ping all pooped out after the party:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Celebrating 60s together

Hi, we are all 60s this year, except #9 ;)

Thus we chose to celebrate this important year of our journey in life together, in Penang, on 22nd November, 2008

After some introduction, I read out an earlier e-mail specifying that all MUST wear our "brotherhood ring".

This is the "brotherhood ring" which we tailor made from Hong Kong in 1967, before we completed Form 6 and went to different universities all over the world.

The 9 rings symbolized 9 brothers, and the bell at the center stood for CLHS.

Every ring is individualized.
This is mine, and carries a "3" at the center of the bell.

Being the only defaulter:), #8 was scratching his head, trying to give all sorts of excuses........
while the wife sportingly smiled in consent, haha!

During planning, we had earlier decided that this expensive dinner would be shared equally.....

but all present happily voted that he should pick up the bill, after all, he is one of the most loaded, hehehe
Thanks to Cresendo!

I must not forget to mention #9, who had also 'generously' picked up the bill on the dinner a night before..........
Thanks to KimLoong

Finally, 7 of the 9 brothers could make it to this party!
All, except #5 and #7, the 2 who suffered Permanent Head Damaged! ( PhD )

Let's hope there will be some stem cell cure soon, so that they can join us in the near future.

We were all so glad that #4 and wife flew in just for the night, and then went back the next day!

This is the spirit we need!

Whisky poured, XO bottoms up!
We really had a gala time......... much laughter and tears!

#6 ordered some special food for the night.

Well, the general opinion is.......quite good lah!

The first dish was double lobster with crab claws.

This was really some thing special.
A whole piece of large sharks fin doubly braised in superior soup.

The sucking pig was so good that it was gone in 5 seconds, leaving only this little tail for #1 to capture.

Braised abalone with Broccoli.
I felt that the abalone was a little too hard.

This was a good dish.
A 1.5 Kg " 游水七星班 "
.......steamed to perfection.

This was the additional dish requested by #8 the previous night before he realised that he had to pick up the bill :)

His favourite, Ab Bee's too?

The only vegetable dish for the night.
Some tried to avoid too much vegetables for fear of " horns " growing out from the forehead!

Just imagine, from this small plate, there were still some left over....

Oh ya, this was another additional dish requested by #8, even after he realised who was the host for the night. Good brother!

His theory is that we need some "長壽麺", since this is a birthday party.

The grand finale:

We had ample deserts, 3 types!
But by then, we were all too full...

Thank you #8, for your generosity :)

For all the laughter we had for the night, he said it's worth every cent of it!

Then we adjourned to our house for more programs.

Unfortunately #2 was too drunk and had to be sent back to his house before everyone turned up.
It's already 11:00pm

This is the special cake ordered by Suan See.

We first watched a special slide show capturing our life since CLHS, how we started this "brotherhood"

It took us all back through a nostalgic path in the 60s, 70s and early 80s, covering our trips to Penang Hill, Cameron Highlands, Johore Ulu Tiram, Genting Hhighlands, and outings at The Penang Botanical gardens etc.
Wow, how time flies.......everyone gets a copy.
I will send one to #5
Then we cut a cake.

The wives did what they do best, serve....;)

While the men did what do best, eat!

This was the only representative from the second generation, Kai Chiean, #8's last successful attempt!

He was also our photographer.

More eating by the brothers

And more here!

This was the final picture taken.
#1 then gave a short speech before we called it a day!

Happy time passed so fast.
It's already past 1:00 am when the party was over.

All the wives enjoyed so much and they informed us that they had decided that such gathering should be an annual event!

What else can we say, brothers?

See you next year!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Plumbing + Electrical

After the roof trusses arrive, they installed them. Then nail plywood over the top. After that, another waterproof material is layered over the plywood. The first big rain of the season came right after we installed the waterproof layer over the plywood... phew. We got really lucky there. Also they have to make a cut through the waterproof layer and plywood at the ridge of the roof to create ventilation. After that, they installed the shingles and the ridge vents.

Finally, a pitched roof!! First feature complete... :)

While the weather was sucky a few weeks ago, they have been working on the electrical wiring. I didn't know installing recessed lighting is so easy. Just look that this picture below. They are nailed in between the bottom chord of the 2 trusses. Then adjust to the location you want. Then wire it up! Simple! I guess when you have the ceiling there, the wiring part becomes more tricky. BTW, 4" recessed lights are more expensive than 6".

Next the plumbing. This step is also painstaking. We have to pick up all the valves and plumbing system that we want. But also need to decide which shower head, what type, what system, what type of shower pan. After all that, still need to decide the height to install the knobs, the faucet. Aargh... So many things. Here is a picture of the rough plumbing for the master bathroom. Notice the valves (black color covered), from the top to bottom. They are 3-way transfer valve to the volume control valve, and finally the thermostatic valve. Thermostatic valve is a fancy name for temperature control. Did I mention those copper pipes comes in 2 sizes, 1/2" or 3/4"? Which one would you like?

Did I mention the duct work for the heater? We also installed new ducts for the new furnace. So have to decide where the outlets for all the air duct. And we need a central air return path in the middle of the house. I guess that make sense, like electricity, you need a ground wire.

The contractors have been working on plumbing, electrical, duct work for a while now. These are small things that is really time consuming, and don't really produce too many interesting pictures.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Pre-fab Roof

These pictures are taken 2 weeks ago. Our pre-fab roof truss arrived in a trunk from Sacramento. The roof dimensions are customized to the house. I was so stressed when trying to finalize the measurement before the framing of the new side complete.

The trusses are pretty cool, it came in a trunk as follows.

Then the operator uses the crane on the front of the truck to lift each segment of the trusses and set them onto the house.

Once they are set onto the roof, they have to be properly secured to prevent them from falling. After each segments are properly secured, the house looks like this.

After that, the contractors spent the next of 2 days installing the trusses piece by piece. That's when Shirley Ave turned from a flat into a pitched roof. Plywood is then installed on top of the trusses, then they stapled the waterproof material on top of the plywood just in time before the winter storm arrives last week. Phew!

While that's all happening, someone just chills...

Saturday, November 01, 2008


These pictures are taken 2 weeks ago when we finished the framing in the new part of the house. Note that the front yard has shrunk.