Friday Night Live

We just went to see Jesse Eisenberg at the Broadway Performance Hall in Seattle City College tonight and he was magnificent! The best friday nights we’ve had in Seattle are invariably spent listening to some author talk about his work. The last time I had such a fantastic time was when Neil Gaiman came to town. The atmosphere is so zingy, everyone around you is SO bookish and buzzing with the excitement of hearing choice gobbets from the author himself and getting to ask him intrusive and personal questions and getting his autograph. It is lovely being surrounded by bookworms! And Jesse Eisenberg is one of the funniest authors I’ve ever met. His book reads a little bit like Simon Rich, but faster paced. He read 3 restaurant reviews from Bream gives me hiccups, all of which were wonderful, and he kept laughing at his own jokes which was hilarious :P Like he was reading it for the first time or something, he kept having to pause to giggle; it was awesome. And then he was joined by Sherman Alexie and they had a wonderful conversation and Q&A session about everything under the sun, including how much they love being Jewish and Native American respectively because there are fewer restrictions to things they can say. Eisenberg was saying how he compared something to genocide the other day and never had he been so happy to be Jewish after that.

They also bitched about where they get inspiration for their “evil” characters. Eisenberg said he overheard the following in a pharmacy the other day and never forgot it:
A: *cough*
B: Bless you!
A: (pointedly) It was a cough.

and he was all “Who does that?? Who does that?!?” Alexie’s anecdote was

lol. A member of the audience asked Eisenberg if there were any projects he had worked on halfway and then just abandoned altogether, and he was like, “lots” and threw the question to Alexie:
Alexie: Oh you know, several
Eisenberg: At what point did you decide to abandon them?
Alexie: They were complete novels, actually. But they were terrible.
Eisenberg: Oh, that’s not such a great time to decide to abandon something. Publish it anyway! Grove’ll never be able to tell.
Alexie: (laughs) Oh no no no, it was completely terrible.
Eisenberg: Sell it! Just don’t say that part!
Alexie: One of them was actually called “Disco Inferno” and was filled with Dante-esque references.
Eisenberg: Sell it to me. I’ll publish it
Alexie: Yeah, right, under Eisenberg books
Eisenberg: Eisenberg book. Just the one book. The book cover will be a picture of me naked with a disco ball above my head.
Alexie: OK, I’ll bequeath it to you in my will, you’re still young, you can do anything you like with it after I’m dead.
***

From the Risalum Listserv that recently revived, I just found out that Julie Orringer used to stay in Risley! I LOVE her books. She is a fantastically deep writer with an excellent grasp of human emotion. I think I always kind of knew that she went to Cornell, but I didn’t know she stayed in the same dorm! I haven’t read all their emails (there are a LOT of them, just like the listserv when I stayed in Risley) but the few that I have have been hugely informative about the lovely little castle I used to call home for two years.

Annunci

Missing Snow

Saw this link on fb and it had really pretty pics of cornell in the snow:

Is it the Kremlin? #Москва or #Cornell? 😀

A post shared by Nathan Shirley (@nathanshirley) on

No winter maintenance and loving it @cornelluniversity #cornell #westcampus #theslope #ithaca

A post shared by slatersgood (@slatersgood) on


Remember slip sliding down these stairs of doom while on my way back to Risley.

#cornell #snow #ithaca #westcampus #thisarchthingistotesfromrivendell

A post shared by Deirdre Rieutort-Louis (@deirdre.rl) on

some nice composition although the photos are pretty grainy sometimes. Don’t people have proper camera phones?

Perfect study view #urislibrary #cornell #snow @cornelluniversity

A post shared by Deirdre Rieutort-Louis (@deirdre.rl) on

#Cornell now: Sliding across Bailey Hall plaza.

A post shared by Amy (@aimlessny) on

#Cornell now: The quiet before morning classes.

A post shared by Amy (@aimlessny) on

The next few are by the same person:

#VSCOcam #ithaca #cornell #whatsajuno #newyork @barakbar7

A post shared by Anthony Fairall (@afairall) on

Not Migrating South I Hope // #VSCOcam #geese #upstateny #vsco @barakbar7 #newyork

A post shared by Anthony Fairall (@afairall) on

@foreviper this one is for you // #nosnow #ithaca #cornell #VSCOcam #newyork

A post shared by Anthony Fairall (@afairall) on

Whoever said west coast best coast surely does not know what he’s talking about.

In other news, the New Yorker finally covered Yitang Zhang; the article was both on my fb feed and posted by the math chair here, with a note saying “It gets off to an unfortunate start, with the author confessing his lack of ability in math, but if you get past that, you may enjoy it.” And that piqued my interest because it was so judgy, exactly my style :P So I had a look and agree completely. That author is so narcissistic. If you’re going to be publishing an article on a math genius nobody, I repeat, nobody, in the math world is interested in how much you suck at math. People would read it because of Yitang Zhang, and nobody wants to/should have to sit through one entire paragraph detailing how bad you are at math and how you would likely not even appreciate his accomplishments despite the totally lofty title “The Pursuit of Beauty”, a beauty which I’m sure is lost on you. Journalists need to get a grip.

I was going to upload some posts on our trip to Alaska, (I kept a pen and paper journal while we were there) but since school has started there has been no rest for the wicked. I am greatly looking forward to Friday though where we will head down to the Microsoft campus and sneak in to use their laser cutter to cut out some trivets and coasters. One of our own is having a birthday party on Saturday and we are going to cut a fibonacci spiral trivet for him. Will post the end product here, if I remember to. We went downtown to the Greg Kucera gallery last friday to look at an exhibit featuring aquatint prints of the work of ten famous/noteworthy mathematicians and physicists condensed into a single equation or diagram drawn on a whiteboard.

It was really rather elegant and beautiful; I might recreate them in my house. But with equations of my choosing of course. Since we were downtown we also headed to a wood shop (Woodcraft) and picked up some 1/4″ thick plywood ($6.25), teak colored wood stain ($5), butcher’s block conditioner ($7) (containing beeswax and carnauba wax), two planks of really beautiful 1/8″ thick walnut (~$25), and a sanding sponge at grit level 180 ($2.95) in order to undertake our trivet projects. This whole thing started when we thought of ways to try to hack this beautiful wood trivet

midcentury modern trivet
on food52 that cost $50. Does that sound unreasonable to you? Actually while scoping out the wood shop we found out that solid, dark wood is ridiculously expensive, so it’s not all that surprising that it costs that much. I just.. am not willing to pay that amount :P

so with the skill of seasoned pirates (as only the chinese can be) we created an svg file that looked exactly like the original so as to cut our own trivets with the MS laser cutter.


This was a sample Z’s cousin cut for us out of MDF with the vectorized file we sent him. I stained it with our teak wood stain and then glued it onto Z’s door. Now our apartment feels so “countryside cottage”.. I love it!

5th Day in Ithaca (6th Mar)

This was the final day we would be spending here for awhile, but we promised everyone we would be back in August or September to pick up some stuff from Chris’ place before school begins.


We had another round of burrata in the morning, and Rich even tried a little. He said “That’s a big mushroom!” Cause I had poured some balsamic vinegar onto it and ground some black pepper over the cheese. I don’t know if he liked it but he certainly took a mouthful!

Then we invited him to trek with us at Sapsucker woods, which was too much socializing for him :P So we brought Buster instead.

Sapsucker woods was cold! But the sun was out that day, so we had lots of good sunlight for photos and blue skies.


[Telephone pole cutting through the woods]

Lots of the birds were hibernating, apart from the woodpeckers. We managed to catch 2 cardinals, all majestic and stark against the wintry landscape. One wonders how they survive/escape predators with their bright scarlet coloring. They must not be very good to eat!


[Squirrel nest in the trees]


[Woodpecker holes]

Chris pointed out rabbit burrows and woodpecker holes in the trees and squirrel nests and all sorts of animal footprints. It was a lovely romp, apart from the fact that my ears and toes were frozen by the end of it.


[Me and my Ithaca-mom]

We spent most of the time hopping from patch to patch of sunlight, running through the shadowy parts to get to the warmth of the sun -> certainly something one would never contemplate in Singapore.

We also paid a visit to the ornithology lab viewing gallery and the giftshop – the geese sitting on the frozen lake were so still that chris mistook them to be decoys – until they all moved :P


[Sitting ducks]

I bought a red cardinal finger puppet from the gift shop and LZ got a rabbit finger puppet to accompany it. We also got a gift card for Chris for opening her beautiful home to us – she seemed rather interested in a few of the hummingbird feeders in the shop.


[Boardwalk in Sapsucker woods]

Did you know that sapsuckers are a kind of bird? I guess it should be obvious (given the location of the ornithology lab) but we’d never thought about it before. Chris knows it because she was supposed to think of a bird name for her group when she was in Sunday school years and years ago, and of course she couldn’t choose something as normal and boring as “robin”, or “wren”, like the other groups did. She actually looked up a bird book and arrived at the longest name she could find: “Yellow-bellied sapsucker”. Lol.


[A yellow bellied sapsucker]


Most of the trees looked like this.


This one was still bright green! Chris says it’s hemlock.

After sapsucker woods we headed to BJs to refuel the tank (Chris has a group discount) – we managed to get the fuel to be exactly $10! Never happened before. Then we went to Friendly’s for lunch. The one in Pyramid mall has closed – Chris says it hasn’t been doing too well these days :( She got the all American burger,

we had a clam chowder,

and I had my typical honey BBQ chicken melt with waffle fries.

It was awesome but a bit too much (despite us only ordering 2 mains) Chris gets a senior discount (maybe 40% off? That is Friendly’s largest customer base I think) and a free scoop of ice cream, so I opted for the forbidden chocolate and cotton candy flavours. (She didn’t like the cotton candy).

After lunch we drove down Cayuga Heights Road to Sunset Park – it’s not directly on the roadside (Cayuga Heights Road) but rather amazingly I remembered which turning of Wyckoff the park was! All this driving around really helps us to color in bits of the Ithaca road map in our heads. I’d forgotten lots of things, such as how you can’t go straight down State St to the Commons, you have to turn right onto Green (or is it Seneca), and I couldn’t really navigate to Zaza’s smoothly from church. I’d even forgotten which road Kilpatricks was on!


[You can see most of Ithaca from Sunset Park]

We headed back home after Sunset Park and I rather ungratefully fell asleep while Chris made gingerbread cookies for Olympians. I think I said I would help but all the hiking in Sapsucker woods made us really tired. She woke me at around 4pm to remind us to head to the Schoenfeldts, since we had promised to visit the kids and we didn’t want to disappoint them.


I and K have been really into the making of rubber band bracelets, they both have looms and a ton of colored rubber bands, and K was really impressive! I was also a perfect elder brother, constantly complimenting her indirectly, saying she was the best in the class, that she was even better than the instructor. I didn’t really see any signs of oppositional disorder.


This is Lily the cat.

We had to leave for the clock tower at 5-ish, so we gave everyone hugs and promised to be back in August. The intake batch of compets were having their first briefing so I got to see Keith and Jen!!! Only didn’t get to meet up with Gretchen/Marisa on this trip. Bryan and I zipped through the passacaglia and HK came up too and we got to duet Fuzzy Blue Lights. I think as someone coming back to the chimes after a long hiatus, playing the higher note bells are easier; I was really clumsy as a secondo. There was also a new propped piece by some random guy who I hear was not from Cornell, but arranges pretty nice music. It is one of my favourite songs and so apt for my last concert for some time – ‘I’ll be seeing you’. I think it made Chris cry, the arrangement was so pretty, although I kinda squiffed around the middle part. The Schoenfeldt kids came up the tower, and so did Sandy! I was so proud of her. They had to rush off to Olympians, but I could stick around and take some final shots of the view, some of me and BHC and HK, and then we headed off to Zaza’s for dinner.

We left Brooktondale around 3:30am in the morning to catch our 5:30am flight from Elmira to Chicago and then to Denver, but US Airways cancelled the flight because “the pilot/crew had not had enough sleep or something”. Seriously? They redistributed everybody to other planes (I guess they can just do that since there were so few of us) but our “new” flight into Denver was about 5 hours after our original ETA, which also meant that we would miss most of the grad day at Boulder. Gah!

So we got on a Delta plane to Detroit and set about trying to get on an earlier flight (via Delta), but the Delta service desk wouldn’t/couldn’t help us, because our tickets were booked under US airways. About 5 million calls later we finally got on an 8am flight at Detroit to reach Denver at 10:10am (earlier than our original ETA). I think the reason the Delta guy at Elmira didn’t get me on the 8am flight (instead booking us on a 12pm flight.) was that the 8am flight only had economy plus seats. How can US Airways not pay for economy plus seats when they already screwed up our original flight? Even though we finally FINALLY got seats (after some rather irate calls, which I am ace at making) on the earlier flight, our baggage didn’t make it on the plane (thanks to airline bureaucracy that made it too late for the counter people to track our bags and get it on the correct plane), so it went to Denver on the later plane and the Delta people delivered it to the Boulder University Inn for us, and it was in turn received by the concierge. We didn’t so much as have to lift a finger, except to give the Delta Baggage Services our information at DIA. Delta’s service was impeccable throughout (apart for the ****** at Elmira).

Other than this little hiccup, our time spent in Ithaca was simply perfect and I was super happy to be able to spend all that time with people I’ve missed dearly for the past two years.

Day 4 in Ithaca (Mar 5th, cont’d)

It’s my parents’ anniversary today! We are bringing them to Rakuichi for lunch on saturday.

This page on Quora has been keeping me entertained while I am on MC from work because of a bout of flu. That, and compiling a spreadsheet comparing the 5 hotels I am looking at for our wedding dinner.
***

After finding my professors in Malott, I went to the math library to look for Lz but he was still talking to KD or CM, so I went to the copy room to pop off an engagement announcement, the semi-old-fashioned way, to Ron because his email address is still stored in the Malott copier! Heehee. I finally found LZ in Muscalu’s office and we we went for a short school tour because the car was parked at Noyes language center across the foot bridge.

We started walking in the garden next to the Big Red Barn, where Strichartz holds fort in his little gnome chair every spring.


Still no winter maintenance. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve slipped and fallen here while walking home in the winter.


Cornell is always so pretty after snow. Another hazardous flight of stairs.


The miniature waterfall in the Ruth Uris garden all frozen over, but with water running underneath. Not a single crocus in sight!


LZ kept bugging me to take pictures of the running water.


In case you miss the campus too. Here’s the path to Rockefeller from Uris.


The main road through campus was closed!

It was freezing cold, so we crossed the road to Goldwin Smith, took a few photos in the Hollis auditorium (which smells the same)

I don’t really remember having a class here. Oh! I guess sociology 101 is here. Occasionally Cru.


The bright green blackboards in Goldwin Smith where we had many a first year writing seminar.


The arts quad in the snow

Then we crossed over to Lincoln to find their copy of Cafe Music in the library to scan – I had lost my copy (in fact when I performed it at Cornell with Graeme and Ted I believe I played from the original). It remains my favourite piece of trio music, but it was checked out. Next time! Or perhaps I’ll just buy the original for myself.


I always thought the music building had one of the poshest interiors in the whole school.


Never had any classes in here that I can remember, but I have walked into it mistaking it for Morrill, which is where a lot of my Italian classes were.


Publicity for Dragon Day going up

Onwards we went o’er hill and under vale, past Sibley to the Thurston bridge. And the fences are gone!

Now they have nets.


I’ve never hiked down to the gorge, something I still regret I suppose. There’s time yet, I’ll probably be back to visit one Summer! And stay to be a summer chimesmaster and everything.


blurry picture of the other side of Thurston bridge


We found the car at Noyes and drove to RPCC for…

a F’real!


Wish they had the chocolate ones though. And f’reals were not really appropriate for the freezing weather but it’s just one of those things you gotta do when you’re back at RPCC. Wouldn’t have minded ordering teriyaki wings or something but Chris was making Southern fried chicken tonight ~


Nasties smells exactly the same. The same orange cream muffins I used to get from Trillium, the same old cheesy smell, and the same old Cornell dairy chocolate milk! It’s waaay chocolatier than the Wegman’s one, although my hands down favourite chocolate milk in Ithaca of all time is Byrne Dairy’s. I don’t mean to be a snob, but there it is.


We finally headed back to Bald Hill Road and were greeted by a beautiful sunset. Lz let me out of the car to take pictures :)

So it turned out that Chris had outdone herself again and created an absolute feast in the time we were gallivanting!


She knows her deviled eggs are my favourite, so she always makes them when she’s cooking a special meal :)


A beautiful mini asparagus salad. I think this one was from the P&C


She even got out the good lace tablecloth and the no drip candlesticks for me.


Mashed potatoes I whipped with a 148ml can of carnation milk (removed from the box of Carnation’s Lemon bread mix so I wouldn’t have to carry evaporated milk back to singapore with me when we can get it here). I generally prefer carnation milk to sour cream as a mashed potato creamer.


Some random bits of bok choy she stir fried just to have the bok choy roses as garnish :P


And she’d stopped by the liquor store! To get something bubbly to celebrate our engagement.


Unfortunately both rich and I have the tastebuds of children and prefer coke and orange cream soda to champagne :P


Here’s the ultimate chocolate cake she bought from Wegman’s, so I needn’t have gone to Sarah’s Patisserie after all!


Saved the best for last – her southern fried chicken was amazing. I can’t remember what breading she used, but it was very good. I’ve never really had this fresh and not from a fast food store too.

Remind me again why we only celebrate birthdays once a year?
Rich accosted me as I was setting his table and asked to see my hand. “Is this the ring?” he said, and then he grinned and patted my back and said “Congratulations” in that lovely fatherly lilt he has and I loved him so much in that instant. He’s like the father I never had, and I really take after him too! Antisocial, self-effacing, quiet, needs a lot of notice before doing something social, likes pepperoni pizza over all the other pizza flavours, and would rather have a cold can of coke than a glass of champagne… He even brought out his secret stash of chocolate ice cream for us to eat with the chocolate cake.

I’ve never had anyone prepare a whole meal in my honour before, and such an elaborate one at that! Champagne, cake, the good lace table linen, no drip candles, people I love dearly sitting with me – it was, as Lou Reed puts it, just a perfect day.

Meeting Ed and JHH

He told me about his twins – a boy, Sam, and a girl, whose name I can’t remember. They were born spring last year about 2 months premature! The doctors managed to keep them alive and healthy, BUT, at the hospital in Elmira; the one in Ithaca couldn’t do much/didn’t have the requisite technology for incubation etc., which meant that he had to schlep out to Elmira every day last spring – thank goodness the winter last year was mild! Their mum, somewhat unsurprisingly, is MAH, and they are not married but Ed says they may decide to get married one day, no one knows. I will be thrilled when that happens, but I am already thrilled at the idea of him and twins in addition to his ferrets. I wonder if the ferrets are still there and how they are taking to the babies!

He told me that some Indian guys were looking at the exact same sort of thing I was studying at Cornell, but they did it for infinite dimensions and also got published in JCT Series A! Bah. You can find the article for free on arvicks, as one of Lz’s colleagues call it :P
He still likes green (there were a tremendous number of girls walking into his math class at Cornell wearing green pullovers – perhaps he released some extra credit dress code?

I gave him the pandan cake I made, which he kept in the mini fridge. I’ve never really seen him eat anything I’ve made but he’s usually pretty excited about the chocolate desserts.

He told me UWashington (or Udub, as they call it – first time I found out it was called that) had a good program, and told me about all the people he knew there and asked me where else I was visiting. I told him I was going to Colorado and he told me the story about how once upon a time, when the school had just started, it had one of the best football programs in the country; then there was a scandal (them violating the rules about high school student recruitment – Ed says there are long and tortuous rules about what is allowed/disallowed in recruitment practices for high school seniors – like obviously you cannot just give them money to go to your school, but various alumni had found various ways around it – like giving talented athletes cars, paying their rent, all “off the record” since they were alumni and whatever they choose to give is somewhat out of the school’s jurisdiction. So CUBoulder had a scandal w.r.t recruitment and the football program never really recovered from that – Ed told me that at the heights of their success though, there is a well known joke that the football team manager/coach had said to the physics department head (they are just opposite each other on campus) that he hoped that the physics program would one day be as successful as the football program. Ha! The CU Boulder physics program has 4 nobel prize winners now, and Rags is going to be working with one of them!

Ed left at about 4:15pm to go back to his babies – he actually lives walking distance from campus – about a 15-30 minute walk, but I’ve never seen him walking home before. Probably up by Forest home or Cayuga Heights?

And then I asked him if JHH was at Cornell this semester or in Provence, and he said the last time he’d seen him was at the faculty meeting last December lol. So I decided to try my luck on the 4th floor, and he was in! In fact he was meeting another grad student. When he finally noticed me (I was skulking by the door so as not to interrupt his train of thought) he immediately stopped whatever he was doing to talk to me. (The graduate student didn’t mind one bit) I asked him if he would like me to obtain my company’s corporate pass to the River Safari and he very proudly said he’s been to the zoo and the Bird park but not to the River Safari (neither have I for that matter). His daughter, her husband, her son, and a domestic helper are all living in the Western bit of Singapore right now because she’s a professor at NTU. He then showed me stop motion vimeo clips his daughter filmed in Nepal (his graduate student was trying very hard not to eavesdrop :P). The weather here really is too hot and muggy for a spring break! Plus he is going to talk at the colloquium at NTU :S Hopefully they paid for his plane ticket or something :P

Day 4 in Ithaca (5th Mar)

We got up late (finally over jet lag perhaps?). Chris and Rich surprised me in my room with a card and a present (a Terry’s dark chocolate orange!) and a birthday song, sung in parts! Rich is actually a pretty good bass! It’s a birthday tradition for them to call up the birthday person in question and sing them the birthday song, which is such a sweet, old-couply thing to do.

We had breakfast with them- english muffins with almond butter and homemade blueberry jam – she should really open a B&B. LZ and I finished the remnants of the cheese steak from Louie’s the night before and I also prepared some burrata with campari tomatoes (not really breakfast food but we’re on vacation so anything goes!) – obviously we didn’t have space for lunch afterward.

After breakfast we lazed about the house for a bit (no more snow for the rest of our time in Ithaca, so no more shovelling!) before Ze and I left for the chimes tower to try to crash IK’s concert. Turns out silent auditions were on the same day! (I’m glad I’m not competing this year :P) so I couldn’t go up to practice. Wound up waiting on the guestbook level with Barrett – no idea what BHS was doing there – I thought he was crashing the concert too but KKC/IK/WC had already agreed to play the trio – can’t wait for the day when we actually have to specify which trio and the trio will lose its meaning. Anyway that day was possibly the first time a Cornell Daily Sun reporter came up for a concert I was playing, and so I got featured on the CU facebook page!

chimes

For the first and only time haha but it was still pretty cool. Have to thank WC for allowing me to sub her in the trio :P It was really nice to have everyone around and to hear chimes gossip lol. Apparently XX tried out again after getting rejected the previous year… and got rejected again. Yikes! I’m glad I never had the job of rejecting people! Also glad I’ve never been rejected from super major things, like by boys, or by grad schools, or by the chimes..zzz

Anyway after the concert Lz and I went up to the belfry and… he proposed! It was quite a sweetly worded proposal with a silver sailor’s knot ring hidden in a boxology box. He actually wanted Chris to be there but she was pottering around the belfry remarking on the view and the bells and the cold – he couldn’t catch a break to get his speech out until she went downstairs to get warm lol! I guess she was never one to be quiet.


[the ring with Chris’ parking coupon]

I was very happy he chose the top of the tower to do so, since that was also where he asked me to be his girlfriend on a cold winter’s night 4 years ago after some musical in the Schwartz. Soliloquys? Or something like that. So I got engaged on my birthday! Actually I had some premonition it was going to happen because while leaving Chris’ house I looked in the car’s arm rest to look for the bottled water and I saw the Kate Spade box and he was crestfallen cause it was too late to stop me haha what a noob.

Anyway after it happened we called Chris and she pulled over to the side of the road while driving home and was really excited and happy. ANd then we didn’t bother telling anyone else and went to shop at 15 steps in the commons :D I bought so many pieces of pottery and a memo pad with New Yorker cartoons.


[this Irish patterned sugar bowl was half off!]


[this one I couldn’t resist :P]

I’ve missed the Commons so much, and 15 steps is such an old person’s shop but I somehow can’t help myself from buying everything when I’m there. Most college students haven’t even heard of it. We also headed to Sarah’s Patisserie (which seems quite new) to kaypoh since I’d never been in before. We got a bunch of truffles and macarons and a chocolate dome for dessert, in case Chris didn’t have time to do dessert (she was making Southern fried chicken for my birthday!)

Because of the humongous breakfast, we didn’t have much space for lunch and took away two cups of soup from Kilpatrick’s – their Guiness stew and tomato bisque with cheddar, which is amazing btw. Warms you right up. I ate in the car while LZ drove me to Malott to find Ed, just like old times :)

Day 3 in Ithaca (4th March 2014)


We spent the entire morning pottering around the kitchen! Woke up bright and early, went to the basement to get my hired help up, and I’d started stripping chicken thigh meat of the bone by about 7am.


I did about 3 thighs before LZ had finished his first one :P, and then Chris joined in the fray.

About 3-4 thighs were slated to be marinated with satay marinade, 1 thigh was earmarked to make chicken yakitori, and one thigh for the claypot rice, which we had somewhat unwisely chosen to start off in a crockpot. Switched a small amount of it to a rice cooker in the end since I’d finished grilling the satay/yakitori and Ze had finished stir frying the bok choy and still the rice had not finished cooking.

(Here’s the satay. Forgot to soak the bamboo skewers, so some of them caught on fire :P. You can see them getting a little charred near the edges of the pan)


And the yakitori with little bok choy flowers :)

I threw about 5 wieners (actually rather averse to the taste of lup cheong) and a packet of rehydrated sliced shiitake as well as several fresh button mushrooms into the claypot rice – american style I suppose. The claypot seasoning (I think from Asian Gourmet House) was not as good as I remember it to be.


Ze diced a cucumber and sliced up a red onion for dipping in the satay peanut sauce – I brought the prima pack version as well as another version that was just the peanut sauce, no marinade. The peanut sauce turned out to be slightly spicy, but no more so than the red onion, which got all of us!


Chris gave us enormous mounds of claypot rice each and Rich very little (for fear he wouldn’t like it) but he asked for seconds and there was none to be had! I didn’t know she had already distributed all the claypot rice that was made in the little rice cooker (that she’d inherited from us) or I would never have finished my portion. She forgot that he actually eats claypot rice – in fact she once told me it’s the only rice he eats, which was why I brought the sauce packets over. He did get to finish the satay though, and Buster never got any :P

I also baked a pandan chiffon cake in the morning –

It rose beautifully but the mixing bowl of the KitchenAid was too small to froth up the 8 egg whites I put into it to their full potential. The texture of the egg white was rather significantly different (creamier) than what I normally get in Singapore, not sure why.

We cut a piece for Buster:

I was too full from lunch to eat any of the pandan cake but I did package a box for Ed and a box for Raghu (since Ed likes green stuff and well, I’m willing to bet Raghu hasn’t seen pandan cake in a long time!) It wasn’t as good as my typical results in Singapore, but wasn’t bad at all. I think actually Singapore’s humidity keeps cakes moisturized – I don’t mean moist, like a pound cake, or a butter cake, but moisturized, like the difference between dry skin and supple skin. Our chiffon cakes actually get more tender because of the intrinsic water content in our air.


The roses I gave her still adorning the table.


I lazed about the house taking pictures of things (like the crystal fob I gave her from the German christmas market a few winters ago) and editing photos until it was 5pm and we finally left the house to take a look at all the prettily painted traffic light control boxes.

Chris says the town council recently hired painters/recruited volunteers from IC or IHS to paint the traffic light control boxes at every intersection (near the commons anyway) with flowers and buildings and things – whatever struck their fancy really.


We left just as the light was waning and while I did get lots of photos, I didn’t have time to pick up the cookies-by-weight at Wegman’s for the bell choir. So after Chris dropped us off at Tab (Ze was meeting Dave for dinner at Chili’s while I was filling in for Rachel at bell choir practice) she went to Wegmans and helped me pick out a box of cookies for the bell choir.

Being back at bell choir on a Tuesday night was like picking life right up where I left off. Everyone remembered me and it was wondreful being able to play the handbells again – their Easter songs are so pretty! And, I got to meet Yuna, who is one of the new girls Chris is discipling. When Dave introduced us on the front steps she pointed at me and yelled “Chris Scriber!!!” haha.

After bell choir we hung around to chat – Chris had helped to buy (and deliver :P) the lemon and raspberry jam filled cookies and several chocolate chip cookies (which were the most popular). I managed to try one lemon flavoured cookie en route from Elmira to Denver and it was…interesting. The bell choir people loved it though, which is what’s important.

Dave sort of arm-twisted me into visiting with him and Eileen up at his house at Asbury Drive with his sad eyes and sneaky words, so after he and Ze came back to Tab, after bell choir (I was tired out and ready to go home), I wound up grabbing a bite at Louie’s (my typical order) and eating in the car while LZ drove up.

(Grilled ham and cheese on white)

I was sort of mad at LZ for not just telling Dave that I was tired and had to go back. Bah!

Visiting with Dave wasn’t bad at all though, Eileen was tucked into a rocking chair doing the crossword, the paragon of elderly contentment. I should like to retire as cosily.

He showed us his bottle collection, model car collection, clock collection, and we visited with each other for awhile clustered around the kerosene heater they have in the middle of the living room. Scenes like this remind me of Mansfield’s Camomile Tea.

After visiting Dave we went on a late night ice cream spree at Wegman’s! Rich drove us out to Purity during the traffic light control box tour but it was closed due to construction! D: It was an incredibly sweet gesture though (and about the pinnacle of his sociability, so one has to grab on to it and appreciate it!) We felt just like kids whom he was bringing out for ice creams, just like how Lz’s mum wanted to bring us for ice creams after service at Bethel one sunday before we left, but the ice cream parlor was closed :/ I felt pretty badly for her about that, and also pretty badly for Rich because Purity was closed just when he wanted to bring us there for ice creams. Anyway we decided to pick up some ice cream at Wegman’s after visiting with Dave because Rich didn’t get his Purity fix earlier – I also managed to stroll around Wegman’s a bit more to pick up 2 papyrus cards – one with Hokusai’s wave for LZ’s dad, and a pretty pink one with flowers. We got 3 pints of ice cream:
– Wegman’s premium dark chocolate – my typical order
– Haagen Daz’s cappucino gelato
– Haagen Daz’s green tea (for Chris to try)

When we got home there was great rejoicing in the household – it’s a pity I didn’t get any pictures of our midnight ice cream party :)

Chris said Rich probably wouldn’t try the green tea when I said I would scoop all 3 flavours into the 4 bowls put out, but when he got his bowl he asked “where’s the green one?” So I gave him some in the end :P I’m not sure he cared for it, but the flavour of Haagen Dazs’ matcha ice cream is too mild for anyone to not like it. It gets totally overwhelmed by the chocolate though.

I guess this is how the Happy Endings Sundae got its name!

p.s. Wegman’s dark chocolate ice cream (only $2.99!) tastes as good as ever.