Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oh My Gosh!

We went to the Thaipusam Festival here in Singapore yesterday and let me tell you - I have no idea how they do that - but wow!  I can't wait until I have picture programs again to show you.  We are working on it as fast at the time differences will allow - be back with pictures soon. 

Be patient my friends.  I feel like a chick hatching out of an egg... almost there, but not quite - and I am bursting with energy to share these pictures.  Wanna load them on the computer but it seems to be a problem with having no software yet.  All my discs are in storage in the states.  HUGE problem... lol...

The pictures will make you cringe, take your breath away, and give you a whole new understanding of the world I/we live in and how people 'celebrate' different things.  Wowsers!.  Pah-leeze fix the stupid computer!!  lol...

It will be well worth waiting for, it will be a jaw dropping experience - hold on to your hats and keep dropping in!  I promise, I will be back.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

I am Still Here... but...

My computer is still broken  :-(  Thank you all for being patient with me and checking in.  I have no photography editing abilities, in fact, I have no way to take my pictures off the camera even.  What a pain in my backside.

It is difficult to get the computer fixed.  Our son is working on it from California.  We are on a 14 hour time difference which means when he is sleeping I am awake and vice-versa.  Or I am gone - which I have been most of this week.  Times like this I need to stay home, but I  have made prior commitments so I follow through. 

He works on it as much as he can, but he has not figured out how to morph himself over here and slide the DVD's in when he needs to, or restart the computer in safe mode from there... lol.... I am sure he is doing his best to figure that out - but I am just as sure he would rather his mom just stay home and let him get it done.

Today I go to Sentosa Island with the company spouses group, tomorrow is the Thaipusam Festival.  Look it up on Flickr - but a warning - not for the weak at heart.

I will be back soon. 

Do you miss me yet?

Monday, January 25, 2010

I am Broken :-(

Well, not me exactly, but my computer sure is.  I have no idea what happened, but it gobbled up everything in my start bar, except my Outlook, which says it is missing my pst files - so it is no good to me as well. 

I am assured my some handsome red-head young man that it is all there - just not connecting with the Windows part of it.  I don't understand, but he does and that is what counts.  So, until our son has enough time to get it running again, I am broken - I have no pictures to post, nothing to say and I can only forlornly look at my computer broken computer. 

At first I was very upset.  I thought I had lost everything - but after talking with him and him working on it a bit, I am good.  He says it is there and can see it - it is just not linking to the stuffs.  He will get it fixed on California time.  In the mean time, I will try to get on my feet with this stupid medicine and enjoy the New Orleans Saints win!

The thyroid meds... Is it normal to feel like I have a lump in my throat and a horrible headache?  Do I need to call the Dr or just ride it out like I am doing?  I woke up feeling like I was smothering last night.  Odd feeling when it isn't asthma... lol... it honestly felt like someone had stuffed something down my throat and has felt that way off and on all day  :-(

Off to rest some more.  I can't seem to get enough of that.  Please send me a shot of feel good  :-)

Be back soon.  I am counting on it.

♪ ♫  Who dat?!  ♫♪ Who Dat?!  ♫♪ Who dat say ♪♫ dey gonna beat dem Saints?! ♫♪

Oh how I wish I were home... so I could hear that chant!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

NeWater Plant

Friday I went on one of Val's awesome tours; this time to the NeWater plant near Tanah Merah MRT.  Val offers us great tours periodically throughout the year.  I met her through a mutual friend - we all go to Bible Studies at the same church.  I love her tours - some are more fun that others, of course, but I enjoy them all.  NeWaters was a very scientific tour.  I am not so much interested in scientific stuffs (like where my drinking water started), but you can never replace the fun we have when we get together - no matter where we go.  This is going to be short and sweet - because I think like me you don't want to really know where your drinking water came from.  

But here are a couple of pictures of the processing part:



On the tour they gave us bottles of water.  Most opened them and drank them right away.  I was not thirsty as I had just had some water, so I didn't - I just tucked my bottle away for later.  A bit later they told us what had previously been in the water we were drinking - proud and all that they had filtered it enough to get those 'impurities' out.  I was glad mine was still sealed.  

I am better not knowing where that water started. ACK!  
Do you hear my humming loudly though this speech?  Because I felt like I was. 


Yes, I probably trust the government (of both countries) to keep me safe and sound.  Suffice it to say, I don't need to know ever again what was in that water when it first started there - and you didn't have to tell me it might have started in my toilet!

Now, because of the nature of the tour, my eyes started wandering.  You know I can't keep focused on a darned thing.  So with camera in hand, I just snapped pictures of those amazing things that is always around me.  Always.  Every where I look, there is something simply amazing and picture worthy.  There was plenty here, but I won't bore you with all the pictures, just a few.

I am going to share *my* tour of the NeWater plant:

The reflection on the ceiling: 


The floor:


The guide talking to my tour:


I was obviously paying great attention...

This one came out blurry, but you get what I was going for.


Sorry folks, I doubt I will be going back for a re-shoot.

This was a demonstration... on something... 


That floor really entertained me.  
Steve says it doesn't take much to do that... 


Now this one was confusing - do I look at the ceiling or the floor?
Definitely not the writing on the wall there... 


And I had to check out the ladie's room.  You didn't need to know that, except I must have an explanation of the photo below.  You will obviously see it is in the ladie's room.  

N, this is where you (and other spewers) should put down your coffee  :-)

And the sign (once again) caught my eye:


Did it really say what I thought it did?


It did.  
Now think that one through for a while and see if YOU come up with the thought that NeWater is trying to project here... lol... 

And that, folks, was the extent of what I got out of NeWater.  Great pics and deep thoughts. 
Nothing I felt like I really needed to know - you know the nasty (and filtered with great care) details, but I had fun shooting the shots and spending time out of the condo.
Some things you are just better being left in the dark about...
But the company I was with was exceptional and as always, I enjoy being with the group.

And ladies please remember to keep seated for the entire performance...

?

Ben Foods Pte Ltd

Deep in the heart of the warehouse district, near the shipyards, on the west coast near Jurong Bird Park, tucked away on a back street where you are sure it isn't located, there is indeed a warehouse to shop for food.  When I first came to the island, I heard about Ben Foods; the great deals they have on meat and that it is a "must go" to place to conserve the budget.  Believe me, here in Singapore, we all have to tighten our belts and stretch the buck.  Since it is only open from 10am-12pm (2 hours) on Saturday mornings, by the time I remember it, it is usually closed or very close to it.  Today I remembered.  So off we went.  

The taxi driver assured us that by the time we paid for taxi fare to and from the remote place we were headed for 'good deals' that we would have wished we had gone to the store.  
"No savings."  said he.
Maybe he was right but I was on a mission to prove him wrong.  

When he dropped us off, this is what we saw:



We were unimpressed.  There had to be something more... 
But this seemed to be it...  See the people?


We enter.  Guards welcomed us and didn't question us, so we must be on the right track.  On the left there is a small landing of stairs.  At the head of the stairs are shopping baskets (the handheld variety) and the door to go into the building.  We were still unimpressed.  We arrived 15 minutes early and the doors opened soon after we arrived - definitely before the 10am bell.  We grabbed a basket and went in sure we would find a landslide of good deals.  It was a *very* small room - not at all what we expected:


The room filled up very quickly.  Steve and I both are clausterphobic... so it wasn't pleasant and wandering around, and I found no incredible, breath taking buys.  Let me say, however, I don't use hash brown potatoes, or frozen potatoes of any kind, and I don't use chicken nuggets, or fish balls, or clam chowder, fish sticks, frozen sausages, or frozen soups.  I don't drink wines, I don't eat that icky brand of yogurt, don't use 5 pound bags of shrimp flavored chips or I don't use 20 lb bags of fragrant rice.  
They sold some other odd stuff in there - 
I just happened to have my point and shoot in hand... (you can feign surprise here) 
So... can you tell me - why do I want to buy this?


After a bit of wandering, Steve and I made eye contact and both of us could read each other's eyes - "let's get the heck out of here".  Yes, I was disappointed.  That darned taxi driver was right - we just wasted S$45.00 in taxi fares to get here and back.  We made our way to the door to put up the baskets.  

When we walked out of the room, there were people EVERYWHERE - it looked as if they had come in by the bus loads!  They were already lining up in ques (lines) and were paying out.


Steve (the wise man that he is) said, "There has to be something else..." looking around.

A short glance away, he found it.  
It was not the door we went into and wasted 15 minutes in - 
It was this door:


So we wandered through that door and found this:


Crates and crates of meat!  There was a frenzy of people digging in the boxes, packers were packing as fast as they could and putting more meat out and people were tossing huge chunks of meats into their baskets.  Curious, Steve and I wandered over - and low and behold, we found some great deals!  
What in the heck did we MISS while we were in that dinky room?

Now remember we have the Barbie sized refrigerator and freezer, so we couldn't buy much, but we did buy a basket of food - mainly meats:


I know you see margarine (is that what they call it?) here and a block of butter.  I actually only saved about 40 cents on each pack of margarine, but we did darned good on the meats!

So for you Singapore shoppers, here is the breakdown of what we got... Oh, and since all of us have a passport and we all know what size it is, I put my passport next to the meat so you can get an idea of sizes...
Purty smart, huh?

This is what our basket of food contained:


All very nice cuts of meat -

There were pork chops: 


Loin thin sliced bacon (it is yummy!) 


Very large rib eyes that we had to slice - but the meat was beautiful.
It was not green - the cutting board is though  ;-)  The meat had excellent color.


Not shabby is it?  I took pictures so you could see how pretty all the meat is.

The final food total came to this:
2 racks or pork ribs (26 in all)
40 slices of loin bacon
5 huge pork chops
19 - sliced (3/4"-1") rib-eyes (FYI - New Zealand)
1 small roast with the left over rib eye
5 *very* large filets of dory fish
2 tubs of margarine
1 block of butter  

Grocery Bill:   S$129.80
Taxi Bill:   S$42.74
Total cost:  S$172.74
(I know some of you want to know in USD - that total is $138.19)

We figured out the price of just the steaks alone and after cutting, they are about S$3.42 ea
Before the taxi fare of course  ;-)

Yeah, we definitely made a deal because if I took the price of the rib-eye only, then added the taxi to it and  divided it by the steaks/roast we got, that total would be still under S$5.50 per steak.  Definitely not bad.

So if you don't mind this...





...then Ben Food Pte Ltd will definitely save you money, especially on meats - and you might eat a bit nicer; none of this meat is knock off meat.  It smells very fresh.  We quickly divided it, cut it and stored it in our Barbie freezers.  We may have to eat steaks every night for nearly a month, but we are good... 

Things to know:
You are not in the wrong place when you see containers and warehouses
They opened earlier than the stated 10am time
The crowds grow very rapidly
They provide plastic bags to bring the food home
They take credit cards and cash
They give receipts
Must find the "other" door first
Meat is generally sold in large quantities

So now you have the unofficial official cajunsis review.  It is worth the taxi ride.  
Go forth and buy - take a friend and split the taxi fare.
Take your hubby and get lots of rib eyes.

Did I forget anything?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Rest of the (Frog) Story


Remember the frog sighting?


And the next frog sighting?


The one that was out in the middle of a huge field, so far out I had to do a double take to see him?


We keep watching him...
Yes, he is still there. 
He must have been punished 
because he had his back to us at one point.


Today, I went to check him out.  
He is still there but he is facing the river again.
At least he can see everyone walking on the path now.
He looks a bit more weathered, but still very lonely  :-(



Steve and I questioned our Singaporean friend Kimberly (you might have to scroll down a bit to see her in that linky) about the lonely frogs.  She filled us in on the details.  Apparently something financial or something bad has happened to the families of the frogs and they were removed from the home of the families.  They were then placed far away from the home, facing away from the home and the second frogs' eyes have been removed so he cannot find his way BACK to the home.  They must have really been angry with him Kimberly said.

Chinese superstitions are so strong, Kimberly was extremely agitated that Steve walked over to the frog.  She thought it would bring him, us (and her) bad luck just by being close to it.  Steve, on the other hand, wanted to pick it up, polish it, give it a new set of eyes, and bring it home to display it proudly in our home.  He thinks that it would love him so much for rescuing it, that it would thank him by bringing him multitude of money.  

He still threatens it each time we pass it.  
Kimberly cringes, and I am not so fond of him being so close to it myself.  
If there is any hint of superstitions coming true I like the tiny bit of money we have.
But someone has touched him...
And Kimberly and Steve hold their ground.  
Kim says he is bad luck.
Steve says he needs to be saved.

I see both sides.

What shall we do?

You vote.

Not saying we are going with it or anything... 

Fessin' Up ;-)

I have been feeling icky for a long time.  Haha.  Like you didn't know that.  So here goes - I had another annual physical in December, and it just showed that same icky bloodwork that the Dr here in Singapore said not to worry about.  
It was a bit worse, but I figured not in the 'worry about' stage.  


Yesterday I was doing my daily climb of stairs and at about the 6th floor, I got extremely dizzy.  So much so I nearly fell back down part of those stairs.  It is a long way to roll down.  I rested, got up to the 6th floor (or whatever floor it was - I am kinda groggy on that) and made my way to the elevator and back into the condo.  


I slept hard for about an hour.  When I woke, I still felt puny, but I was ok.  Trying to figure out what was going on, I took my blood pressure.  It was a bit low, but not so much I should worry.  
Finally, realizing I had not followed up on the blood work from when we were home, I decided to call a different Dr and go in.  
Lucky for me in Singapore, they always get you right in.  
2 hours later I was in her office.  
And there is never a waiting line.


After a quick glance at the blood work she asked how long I had been ill.  Hmmm.... well, several years not really up to par... but not ill.  Aside from that stinking side pain, I am just tired, weak, my dry hair falling out by the handfuls.  I have itchy dry, scaly skin, sometimes feel fainty but most of the time I am ok, I can't ever seem concentrate, feel like I live in a fog, I have constant battles with depression... Yes, I have lost some weight, but... (you see where this is going, right?).  


She was not surprised said it looks like my thyroid was dying 3 years ago...  The blood work has progressively been getting worse and now it is serious.  Hmmm.... I need thyroid replacement therapy.  What Dr had I been going to?  She didn't understand his lack of using replacement therapy but said she was going to do so immediately.


Oh and "Look at your iron levels."  
"Wait." 
"Lack of." 
"It is very low."


So I am anemic as well.  


Iron and Thyroid Replacement should make me feel much better.
Linda assures me I will feel like a young person again just like she does!
She has been hypo for several years.
(I am trusting you here Linda - I will hold you to that promise...)


In the meantime I am banned from 10 flights of stairs  (Oh darn)
and I cannot walk long distances  (Oh darn)
and I probably should not get too overheated  (Does she know I live in Singapore?)
and no strenuous exercises  (Oh darn)
At least until my blood work looks better than it did yesterday.
Much better says she... 
Or at least until I feel much better.


She assured me I should see improvements within a couple of weeks and she will draw blood in 2 months and see where we stand then.  She said I needed all the iron I had so she would not redraw blood yesterday to double check the December results and do a pancreas work up...


And I was in and out of there with meds in hand in 35 minutes.


I will go to another GI Dr to find the source of my side pain after this is all settled - she has hooked me up with a new one - one that she assures me will find out the source of the pain.
There is a cause for that side pain.  
I know it.


My cholesterol is extremely perfect - both good and bad.  
She was amazed I was not on cholesterol meds it was so good!   Yippeee!


I am doing something right.
Or maybe it was my ancestors... 


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Keeping Us Safe and Sound

Safety vehicles make me... uncomfortable.  I am not sure why.  
Maybe it is because when I *hear* them
I have two immediate thoughts.  
(1) Someone's life just changed and 
(2) Lord be with them.

However, even so, I respect them and look at them in awe.  They are usually quite impressive.  

Even here in Singapore they are impressive.



Sometimes, they demand your attention.


Being as massive as they are, I still have to wonder - where do they put their feet?


I admire the people who work in emergency response. 



I don't ever feel uncomfortable around them.
In fact, I am usually quite comfortable. 
But here...  Do they have to be so intimidating looking?
They demand your respect.


Maybe it is the thought of the 'high court' consequences of wrong doings. 
*Runs fingers from ear to ear across neck*


I feel so safe here.
Even while eating out.



Quite sobering, isn't it?

(Remember the US kid that had the lashings a few years back?  He was in Singapore)

Thank goodness we don't see this often often.  

It would really be

Scary.

But it is not.

Have you seen a Cannonball in a Tree?

There is a little tree... well, maybe not so little, but it blends in with the other trees around it...

Like this:


Looks like a jumble weed mess, doesn't it?

I got curious and wandered over to it and looked up:


Definitely a jumble weed mess...


And of course I looked down:


Isn't he cute?  But he lives in this mess at the base of the jumble tree...

So I start looking a little closer... you know me.  Gotta see what I can see.  Maybe there are some other admirable characters living there.  Maybe even an exotic bird...

Nope... not a bird. 

A CANNONBALL?  

Oh my gosh!  Was there a war here and it was left lodged in the side of the tree?

QUICK!  Someone come here... Oh wait. They will think I am looney tunes...

Is it really a cannonball?


It is on a vine... it... is... a... SEED?

And what is that next to it?

A flower?


*getting closer...*

Indeed it is a flower... 


A very beautiful flower...


If I say so myself.. a quite exotic flower... 


A cannonball that has flowers for pets... 

And now I see them every where... 


I shall watch for these trees every time I go out.  

God amazes me when I least expect it.  
He is awesome like that...

And  I finally found the inevitable sign:


A Cannonball Tree.  

Imagine that.

Singapore Memory Project