making it easier to keep in touch with family and friends

Monday, 31 May 2010


Today is a very happy day for me.

I submitted my revised dissertation to my supervisors. Hopefully there will be minimal revision or changes after this and I can submit for external examination.

Today is also a special day for me. :)

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Almost Done

Updated 31 May 2010 2:16am. I AM DONE!! :) I have finally completed the revision for my dissertation. :)

I am more than halfway through the revision of my last chapter. I am really on a roll here. I have been writing and revising last night (only had 3 hours of sleep) and for most part of today. Give me another couple of hours and I will be done.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Tooth, the Move and the Writing

I brought Juliane to see my dentist friend, Hoon at 12pm. Juliane needed to extract her milk tooth as her permanent tooth is growing up behind it. Sigh. It's the same problem with her previous milk/ permanent tooth.

We went to Hoon's place after she knocked off at 1pm. We had lunch at her place, followed by her showing us the common areas around her condo such as the zen pond, swimming pools, playgrounds. Juliane had lots of fun running around and having her photos taken by my friend, Hoon whom she calls Teeth Yi Yi (literal translation, Teeth Aunty because of her occupation :P). I also managed to help my friend moved her stuff out from her rooms to the living room as there would be repair work on the parquet flooring in her 3 rooms. Hoon later came over to our place to see my mother.

More writing needed. I am almost near completion with my dissertation. I am onto the revision of my last chapter. I just need to pull another all-nighter or two and I will be DONE!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Double Holiday

The start of the June holidays coincided with Vesak Day, a public holiday here in Singapore. It is a double celebration. :)

Vesak Day is celebrated by Buddhists. In the morning, the girls and I went to the temple and it was crowded as Buddhists would celebrate Vesak Day in the temples. Plus the weather was really hot, we didn't linger around longer than necessary at the temple.

Being a really HOT day, I wasn't in the mood to do much as I felt really lethargic. But I later found the perfect activity for such a hot day. I slept the day away haha.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Last Day of School

For school children or teenagers in Singapore mainstream schools, it is the last day of school for Term 2. The school kids will be off from school for a month, only returning to school on 28 June. I am not sure whether to feel relieved or to feel stressed with Marieann at home the whole day. Get back to me in a week's time and I will let you know how I feel lol.

PS I went to Isetan Private Sales after dinner... even though I had nothing to buy this time round. Maybe my subconscious knows me better and programmed me to go for retail therapy to de-stress lol. :P

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


My current FDW (Foreign Domestic Worker) wants to return home for good when her contract is up in early July. We have to respect her wishes. She has been with us for close to 12 years since 1998. The girls will definitely miss her as she has been around since their births.

In the evening around 6pm, my parents and I went to an employment agency at Coronation Plaza which is highly recommended by a close family friend. This is the first agency we went to and by 8pm when we left, we have decided on the FWD whom we would like to employ and I have signed all the relevant papers and contracts. We don't like to dilly dally lol. :P

The FDW would be employed under my name rather than my father's as her main job would be to look after the children and the secondary job, to do simple housework. As it is my first time employing a FDW, I have to do a FDW Employment Orientation Programme in which I will have to take a quiz at the end of the programme. Only when I pass, then I can proceed to apply for a FDW work permit. If all goes well, the new FDW will be here by late June earliest and latest by early July.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Lady Gaga - Bad Romance

My girls are really taken with Lady Gaga's Bad Romance. Whenever they have the chance, they would go on Youtube to listen to Lady Gaga's songs, especially Bad Romance, much to my mother's distress haha. :P

Monday, 24 May 2010


I am in the midst of revising my chapters. My chapter 4 stats is just driving me up the wall! ARGH. I think once I am done with my chapters, I never want to deal with stats again.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

The Nautilus Project

We finally tried out a new eating place. :) We were at Prologue, Ion buying some assessment books. It was 1pm when we were done. We just headed for the nearest eating place, which happened to be The Nautilus Project, a bistro and seafood bar.

The girls' spaghetti ($10) was changed from its original Spaghetti Bolognaise to one in tomato sauce and a bit of fish. We were impressed as the dish came with lots of pieces of fish!
The girls' father and I both ordered the Nautilus Soup Kettles. I had mussels, clams, prawns, pipis, grouper, salmon and crab in Fresh Mediterranean stock with fries ($29). The girls; father had mussels, clams, reef fish, pipis, salmon in Clam Chowder stock with garlic toast ($24).
For dessert, we had Lavender Ivore and Banaeirre. My Lavender Ivore was lovely to look at and to eat. :)

Saturday, 22 May 2010

On A Roll

I am on a roll now in terms of my writing. I have finished my 3rd revision for chapters 1 and 3. Going to start on my chapters 2 and 5 soon. I didn't feel tired despite having put in an all-nighter last night. I am going pull another all-nighter tonight and tomorrow night too.

What is urging me on is the thought that I want my grandmother to be proud of me, and of my achievements. Although she is still in a coma, I hope to be able to tell her that I will be graduating soon and I will bring honour to the family as the first PhD holder in the family. Thus, I have to finish the revision of my dissertation before I go back to Taiwan in mid June.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Coming Taiwan Trip

The girls are excited that they will be going to Taiwan, the birthplace of their maternal grandmother and see their Taiwanese relatives. I am excited too to be going back to Taiwan after all these years but my excitement is tinged with some sadness and regret. I wish I can see my grandmother under better circumstances. I wish I had made the trip back to Taiwan earlier. I wish I hadn't kept thinking I have time... My only consolation now is that it is still not too late.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


I have decided to go back to Taiwan in June to see my grandmother who is still in a coma since late April. Since it will be the mid-year school break, I will bring my two girls along as they have never meet any of my Taiwanese relations since their births and it is about time for them to meet my maternal side of the family. I myself have not been back to Taiwan since the mid 90s. It is time for me as well to renew my ties with my Taiwanese blood.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Exam Results

Marieann brought her papers home today. Parents were informed via the school letter of this. It was nerve-wrecking waiting for her to come home. When I saw her papers, ...


Thank goodness, she passed all her papers. But there are still room for improvement as she made plenty of careless mistakes. Sigh.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


It's that time of the year again where we have to start working on abstracts for submission to conferences in late 2010 and in 2011. We are going to be busy writing and submitting again. Must take note of deadlines, otherwise our efforts will come to naught if we missed the submission deadline! :P

Monday, 17 May 2010

Afterthoughts of Denver Trip

I really enjoyed my Denver trip, despite the cold and the scratched cornea haha. Being in a new city, seeing new things, taking in another culture, learning about its history and geography, doing as locals do, sampling new dishes, wandering wherever my feet take me, ... all these and more make me feel alive.

It has never been a problem for me travelling overseas alone. In fact, I love it. I find myself learning a lot on trips like these, not just about the places I visit but also about myself. You can say every trip is like a self-discovery trip for me lol. It is also the freedom of going where I want whenever I want, doing what I want whenever I want without having to follow anyone's schedule but MY OWN! :) It is the wanderlust in my genes that I blame lol. :P Look at my own immediate family: my parents originated from other countries and my brother now resides in UK lol. Looking further back in time, it seemed on my maternal side of the family there was a sea-faring Dutchman for one of our ancestors haha.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Flowers in Denver

It was considered spring when I was in Denver although it felt more like winter to me. :P There were flowers everywhere I go. I marveled at the fragile-looking flowers blooming in the cold. Oh, and these are are not native flowers of Denver. :P

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Scenes of Denver

I finally managed to sort out my Denver photos. Here are some of my favourites of the Rocky Mountains and of Denver city. I hope you will like them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Rocky and the highway: Can you see the storm coming in?

Sun setting over the Rocky

Another sunset over the Rocky

I love watching the sun setting over the Rocky

Various city scenes

Friday, 14 May 2010

Catchy Foreign Songs

I remember there were a number of catchy foreign language songs a couple of years back. Here are my favourite ones lol. I am sure you remember them too. :P Go ahead, sing along to them and dance to them too if you want. :)

Ketchup Song

Macarena - Los Del Rio

Dragostea Din Tei or better known as Numa Numa

Thursday, 13 May 2010


I have lots of work to do once I am back.

1) I have to put in the claim for the AERA 2010 conference.
2) I have to put in the insurance claim for my medical expenses when I was in Denver.
3) I have to mail my USA Departure Record form back to USA as it was not collected from me when I departed USA. :( Otherwise, I may have problem entering USA in the future. Sigh.
4) I have to work on an article, which my former boss and I co-wrote, and submit it for a journal.
5) I have to work on the book chapter which my current boss, 2 colleagues and I are co-writing.
6) I have to work on an abstract for submission to another conference at the end of the year.
7) I have to work on my dissertation and get it ready for final draft by end of this month.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Exams are OVER!

Today is the last examination for Marieann! :)
Her examinations actually started just when I went to Denver. :( When in Denver, I called home almost daily reminding her to revise her work and to do her homework until the point when she heard it was me on the phone, she would say "I have nothing to say" and then run off. Sigh. Concerned for her and this is what I get in return. :( Ok, maybe she was getting stressed out by me more than her exams. :P

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Photos of Denver

I took plenty of photos when I was in Denver and of The Rocky Mountains. I have yet to sort them out properly. I will upload the photos once I have sorted them out. Soon I hope so please bear with me. Thanks. :)

Monday, 10 May 2010


Coming back from Denver, there are 2 adjustments which I have to make. First, I have to adjust to the change in time and second, I have to adjust to the difference in climate/ weather.

I find the second adjustment fairly easy to make but it is the first adjustment that I am having problems with. My body clock is out of synchronisation with Singapore time. My body is still operating on Denver time, that means I am falling asleep at the wrong time and I am getting hungry at the wrong time. :( In other words, I am jet lagged! The symptoms I have are irregular sleep pattern, fatigue, grogginess and sometimes "disorientation", especially when I wake up - I do not know where I am lol.

I hope I will recover from jet lag soon, in another day or two's time.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Happy Day

Happy Birthday to my father.
Happy Mother's Day to my mother.

It is a dual celebration today. We celebrated both Mother's Day and my father's birthday today. As I was away, my family didn't celebrate my father's birthday with a cake as I am often the one who took charge of such things. Since I am back today and in time for Mother's Day, we had a dual celebration. The girls were all eager to blow out the candle and cut the cake for their grandparents lol.

Saturday, 8 May 2010


Updated 9 May Sunday 11:59pm

I arrived in Narita and cleared the customs by 3.35pm Tokyo time (Singapore time 2.35pm). UA803 was departing at 5:35pm Tokyo time (Singapore time 4.35pm) which meant I had 2 hours to kill. I was beginning to feel really tired and sleepy at this point as it was night time in Denver lol.

At 6pm Tokyo time (Singapore time 5pm), UA803 was in the air. I was in the 2-seaters and the seat next to me was empty. Yippee, more space for me. :) I was able to take photos from the window seat. :)

Sun setting in Tokyo

Although I tried my hardest not to sleep, I did fall asleep, a good 4 hours of sleep. :( I am going to have a hard time regulating back to Singapore time now. Sigh. :( We were provided with dinner an hour and a half before we landed in Singapore at 11.53pm.

I had the same thing as I left from Singapore to Narita :(

By the time I reached home, it was 1am, 9 May Sunday. After I have had a shower and unpacked some of my stuff from the luggage, it was close to 4am. But I wasn't tired and I just couldn't sleep. :( Looks like it may take a few days to regulate my sleeping pattern. :(

I am definitely home. It is so warm and humid lol.

Friday, 7 May 2010

On My Way Home II

Updated 9 May Sunday 11:46pm

I arrived at DIA just before 6:30am but there was a queue already for the United easy check in. Thank goodness the queue moved quite fast and it is rather unique as you checked yourself in through the check in kiosk. There are ground staff who would come by once you have checked in to help you attach the tags and so on. By 7:15am, I cleared customs and was inside the terminal. I had a bit of time to browse at the shops (which were opened) before boarding started at 8.01am for UA875. By 8:50am, we were on our way to Seattle. :)

Sunrise on the way to DIA

The Rocky Mountain in the distance

The roof-top of DIA which is constructed to look like The Rocky Mountains

The train within DIA which takes passengers to Gates A, B and C

We touched down in Seattle at 11:50am Denver time. The next connecting flight from Seattle to Narita was on time at 1:30pm Seattle time (I think Seattle is one hour behind Denver time). :) I had about 3 hours to spare at Seattle Airport. I browsed in the shops, had some snacks and read my JR Ward lol. Soon it was the boarding call for my flight UA875.

From Seattle to Narita, the flight was generally smooth, only some slight turbulence. I managed to watch "Leap Year", "Sherlock Holmes" and "The Book Of Eli". :) I was trying my best not to fall asleep. Lunch was a diabetic meal of chicken in white sauce, brown rice and vegetables whereas the meal before we landed in Narita was omelette for me (it looked a lot like breakfast to me but the rest had either pasta or noodle).

Once we crossed the international date line during the flight from Seattle to Narita, we are officially now 8 May instead of 7 May. :)

On My Way Home

I will be leaving for the airport in 4 hours' time. My ride will be picking me up at 6am. Although my flight leaves at 8.30am, I would rather go earlier just in case of strict security checks, etc.

My flight arrives in Singapore on 8 May, 23:55pm. By the time I get home, it will be 9 May lol. I will update my blog when I am rested lol. :)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Last Day in Denver

Today is my last day in Denver. I decided to take it easy and besides, the weather has turned cold again lol.

After 1pm Denver time (3am Singapore time), I took a walk to 16th Street Mall for the last time. First, I took the free mall ride up to one end of the ride which is Civic Centre Station where I took photos of Colorado State Capitol, The Denver Post building. The sky started to look threatening. I took the free mall ride down to the other end towards Union Station where I took photos of Union Station and Tattered Cover Book Store. I visited Tattered Cover, a book store with lots of nooks and crannies, an ample supply of sofas, overstuffed chairs, and antique tables for lounging and study and a Coffee & Tea shop with free wi-fi. I don't mind doing my writing/ work in this book store lol. I wish we have a book store like this in Singapore. Something unique about Tattered Cover too, it sells used books in addition to new books.

Me trying to take a photo amidst the strong wind lol

The building that housed Tattered Cover Book Store

It was close to 4pm Denver time (6am Singapore time) when I left Tattered Cover with a purchase of two children's books. It has started drizzling. I took the mall ride back down towards Larimer Street where The Cheesecake Factory is. I decided to have lunch cum dinner lol. I had a Lunch Pasta - Pasta Da Vinci (US$10.95): Sautéed Chicken, Mushrooms and Onions in a Delicious Madeira Wine Sauce Tossed with Penne Pasta and Parmesan. It was delicious. I ended my lunch/dinner with a slice of Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake (US$6.95): Raspberry-Vanilla Cake, Creamy Lemon Cheesecake, Raspberry Lady Fingers and Lemon Mousse. Sweet! :)

When I came back to the apartment around 5:30pm, it was raining lightly. The weather has certainly turned cold again lol. Strangely, I don't feel so cold now. I think I have become more accustomed to the cold now, just when I am to return home! Haha. :P Finished up the last of my packing and now updating my blog. I shall try to rest earlier tonight lol. :)

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Back to Cherry Creek

I found the shopping at 16th Street Mall a tad disappointing. There aren't as many shops as I thought there would be (unlike Oxford Street). :( I have had the intention of going back to Cherry Creek even before my colleague, Luis expressed interest in going there as he hasn't done any shopping yet and it is his last day today in Denver.

We went off to Cherry Creek just after 1pm Denver time (3am Singapore time). We had a quick look at Cherry Creek North, a shopping area too, neighbour to Cherry Creek Shopping Centre. We went separate ways at Cherry Creek Shopping Centre and regrouped at 5pm Denver time (7am Singapore time). I bought more clothes for the girls and for myself lol.

We returned to 16th Street Mall and after a while, we settled on Corner Bakery Cafe for dinner. Luis and I both had the Pesto Cavatappi (US$7.99): roasted chicken and cavatappi pasta tossed in a rich pesto cream sauce and sprinkled with toasted bread crumbs. It was simple but rich in taste and very reasonably priced too. :)

I have another day in Denver and will be returning to Singapore on 7 May. Since I got home earlier today, I might as well start packing tonight lol.

Luis, you have a safe trip home tomorrow. See you back in Singapore. :)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

AERA 2010: Last Day

It's the last day of the conference. Time really flies. I attended one final session today by David who is an expert in Assessment. I managed to pose him a question from my good friend back home as well as gotten him to autograph my copy of his book lol. He wrote encouraging words in my book. Thanks. :)

On my way back to my apartment, I took some photos of the Rocky Mountains from the Denver Performing Arts Complex where I will be watching an award-winning Broadway musical show, In The Heights tonight at 8pm Denver time (10am Singapore time).

I was moved to a new apartment today because there was a leaking pipe in my former one and with the repair works going on in the apartment, there was too much dust for my eye to take. I was moved from 19D to 15D, but still facing the Rocky Mountains. :) The layout of the new apartment is the same as the previous one, just the difference in furnishing. It is still as cosy. :)

My colleague, Luis and I met up for an early dinner at 5.30pm before catching the Broadway musical, In The Heights. We went to Katie Mullen's Irish Pub & Restaurant. We shared Scotch Eggs (US$5.95): hard boiled egg, sausage wrapping and breadcrumb coating. I have been searching for this since I last had it in UK several years ago. :) Of course, it was delicious lol. I had one of the Traditional Dishes, Trawlerman's Baked Fish Pie (US$13.95): cod, salmon, clams, crab, vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes. It was really yummy. :) I love pies lol. My colleague had the Mullen's Harp-Battered Fish & Chips (US$14.95). The portion was huge!

"In The Heights" was a 2.5 hours musical with a 15 minute recess in between. Our seats were upgraded when we went to collect the tickets. Our seats were now just a couple of rows away from the stage and right smacked in the middle of the stage. :) The musical was great, the singing, the music, the dialogue. Thanks to Ursula who recommended me to watch it. :) It was almost 11pm when the show ended. I am really glad that I caught the musical at Denver Performing Arts Complex which is the second largest in the USA.

It has been an eventful day for me. :) I am beat lol.