Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Singapore Adventure: Worried

Last week, I received a good news in my inbox.  My application for a Long Term Visit Pass here in Singapore has been approved by the ICA.  And so to complete the requirements, I need to get a medical examination done.  It comprises of a chest x-ray and a routine blood test for HIV.

I did this stuff on Monday at the Silvercross Marsiling clinic we used to frequent when we were still staying at Woodlands.  I was told by the nurse that the results should be out by Wednesday and may be collected from the clinic after 2:00 pm.

So this morning, I gave the clinic a ring to check if I can pop over in the afternoon to collect my results and hopefully I can complete the ICA formalities before the week ends.  But to my surprise, only my chest x-ray results are ready, my blood test has not come back from the laboratory.  I instructed the nurse to give me a call back when the results are ready.  A few minutes later I got a call from the clinic.  Initially I thought it was the nurse, but it was Dr. Suren at the end of the line.  He was the doctor who took my blood for the test.

He told me that the blood test result won't be ready for a week since it has to be sent to the Singapore General Hospital for further tests.  Then he asked me if I had any conditions that I know of.  I told him as far as I know I don't have any conditions apart from the high cholesterol findings in my CBC more than a year ago.   Hmmm... that call got me really worried.  It's just supposed to be a routine HIV test.  Are they checking my blood for something else?  I doubt it since it's just supposed to be for a dang routine HIV screening!!!

I gave Hubby Cookie a call, and then I started to breakdown out of worry.  What could it be?  Thanks to him somehow I was able to compose myself.  Then a few minutes later, he forwarded me a link to a Channel News Asia article on Private lab sees increase in requests for HIV testing published in December 2010.  This somehow calmed my nerves. 

Then I realised, it sounds plausible.  After all, I just did an antibiotic cycle, and a few months back had a tetanus shot.  So yes, maybe there were some unexpected reactions in my blood test. 

In the meantime, I can't help but be worried.  And the results won't be avaible for another week.  Sheesh...  I hope whatever they found in my blood sample doesn't kill me until then.

I am crossing my fingers.  Please cross your fingers for me, too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Singapore Adventure: Another Round

After completing my Erythromycin antibiotic cycle, I am again doing another course of meds.  It seems that the first set didn't really get to the core of my phlegm issue.  And so now I say hello to Fedac Tablet and Fluimucil.

When I went to see the doctor the first time, I told him about the pain in my ears when I swallow.  He had a look but dismissed it saying that there was nothing wrong with my ears.  Yesterday, when I went to see the doctor at our old place in Woodlands to have a medical exam done for my Visit Pass application, I also consulted him about the "swallowing pain".  He had a look in my ears, and said I had mucus in my ears.  So there, another round of meds for me to take over the course of 1.5 weeks.

Well, I don't think this round has antibiotics.  Both meds are just for managing phlegm.  The Fedac Tablets I need to take 3 times a day.  And it makes me really drowsy.  The Fluimucil effervescent tab needs to be dissolved in a glass of water and taken in the morning.  And boy, that is one gruelling drink of water for me.  The tab about the size of a one Singapore dollar coin fizzes when it hits the water.  It tastes like bland soda water.  Eww... 

But then again if this is supposed to get me better, I'll take them diligently.  Hopefully this time we'll finally get rid of the nasty phlegm.

Friday, April 22, 2011

LO Project: New Cards with Paper Piecings

Remember my paper pieced hot-air balloon project? 

I have finally used it on a Bon Voyage themed card.  Here it goes. :)

And for the paper-pieced sofa, here is what I came up with.  A New Home themed card.

LO Project: Paper Pieced Sofa

Here's another paper piecing project I worked on recently - a sofa.  It can be used for a "New Home" card, or as an embellishment on a scrapbook page.

1 - It starts off as a sketch which I grabbed from a crafting magazine.  I printed out 2 copies of the image on a white cardstock which will become my templates.  I prefer printing them out on cardstock so I can store and reuse them in other projects later on.

2 - Cut out the essential components from the printed out image.  For this project, I just need the body of the sofa, one circle, and one rectangle with the rounded corners. 

3 - Trace the template cutouts on the back of a patterned paper. For this project, I used a page from Prima's Reflections Paper Stack set. Trace out two circles and three of the rectangles. Cut out the pieces.  Ink the edges of each piece.

4 - Put the cut out parts together as in the original sketch.  I used foam tape to adhere the pieces to the sofa body to achieve a 3-D effect.

Presenting, the finished product! :)

     Sofa sketch from the Paper Crafts Inspiration magazine February 2011 issue

Kitchen Adventure: Peeling and Deveining Shrimp, MasterChef Style

For Catholics, the Lenten season comes with the customary seafood diet.  And for the Cookies, this is the only time I can coerce Hubby Cookie to have seafood instead of the usual meat dishes prepared in our kitchen.

Well, Hubby Cookie's aversion to seafood is not due to an allergy (which he claims to be so).  He's just too lazy peeling them and dealing with the nasty bones.  So whenever we go out for Chili Crabs, I crack the shells and get the flesh out for him.  I am not complaining, but as someone who loves seafood like me, it's just so frustrating to be shelling more than eating them.

So I made a win-win deal with Hubby Cookie.  I am making Garlic Butter Shrimps but with peeled shrimps.  And he gives his nod. :)

Since I am already going out of my way peeling the raw shrimps, I might as well go all the way and devein them as well - MasterChef style! :)  Here's the page from my MasterChef cookbook on how to do it.

At first, I though about leaving the tail for aesthetic effect, but I scrapped that, I might get scolded for leaving a bit of shell on the shrimp.  So, here's my peeled and deveined shrimps.

Peeled and Deveined Shrimps

And here's my Garlic Butter Shrimp!  Dinner was served and Hubby Cookie loved it! He actually went for seconds.  Heeee.. :D

Garlic Butter Shrimps ala Wifey Cookie

There's really no formal recipe for how I do it.  It's just a "cook-by-taste"  technique.  So it's basically coarsely chopped garlic and onion, butter, red chili flakes, and the star of the dish, the shrimps.  A pinch of sugar and salt, and a twist of pepper for some seasoning.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

LO Project: Tying the Perfect Bow

I am working on a practice project using the Stampendous Hey There, Cupcake set.  As I was finishing up the layout, I thought that a bow would be a really nice accent.  So, I decided to make a small bow with a bit of leftover ribbon I had in my stack.  And it was quite hard to tie it into a perfect bow.

I moved from my craft station to the computer and brought up YouTube on the browser.  Then I found this amazing video on how to tie a perfect small bow.

Now, this is what my bow looks like using this technique.  And the finished product.

The denim is not part of the project, it's our sofa's cover. :P

It's just a practice piece.  I will try to come up with a better one in the next few days.  I am still trying to get the hang of stamping. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Singapore Adventure: Leaving the Comfort Zone

A few days ago as I was browsing through online job advertisements, I came across one job post and it hit me that I know somebody who fits the bill spot on.  So I forwarded it on hoping that it would spark the same interest in her as it did me for her.

After receiving my message, she immediately expressed anxiety over it but she did say it was an interesting opportunity.  I told her to look it over, fill out the application form and just let it "brew".

Yesterday, I received another response, and by my disappointment, she has decided not to submit the application anymore.  She has her reasons and I deem them valid.  I understand where she was coming from.  Personally, I had the same doubts when I was initially discerning applying for a job outside the Philippines.  Leaving home for the first time, living on your own away from family and friends, starting over career-wise, stepping out of your comfort zone, it's like overhauling your life and that's scary.

When I decided to take a job here in Singapore 4 years ago, I was contented with the life I have.  I had a job that pays enough.  Great friends who keep me grounded.  A loving family living within our means enjoy some comforts.  The love of my life who doubles all the joys I had going on.  It was all working out for me.  Anybody in their right mind would not risk it.  But at the back of my mind, there's always that memory of my Papa, telling me there's all but good in wanting to explore whatever else is out there.  So I did it.  It's a sacrifice I was willing to make because I owe it to myself to make it happen.  And I want to show my Papa who's watching over me from heaven that I did it because I know he wanted me to do it.

The 3 years plus I have been here in Singapore was a great learning experience.  I've learned to be independent.  I've learned to be self-reliant.  I've matured in ways I am sure I could never have had I stayed home.  And that's what I wanted for my cousin when I sent her that job opportunity.  It is what I want for my siblings.  I won't be a hypocrite and say it's just about being independent, of course the money is good, and money is a great motivator.  But for me, at the time, it was not just all about the money. 

05 May 2011 marks my 4th anniversary living here in Singapore.  The tables have turned.  I am jobless.  I am far away from home.  Nothing in Singapore excites me anymore.  I am thinking maybe it's time to move on.  Or probably come back home.  But then again, this is my life now and I have built it here with my Hubby Cookie.  This is now my comfort zone and I feel afraid to step out of it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Singapore Adventure: One Sick Cookie

I blame the weather!  Very hot and humid in the morning, then in the afternoon, the heavy rains come.  I may not be very fit, but I know I am no weakling.  But this crazy hot and cold weather is just throwing my immune system off.

My bestfriend - Erythromycin
So this week, Erythromycin is my bestfriend. 

Imagine your schedule being limited by the "2 to be taken 4 times daily".  And prior to that you need to sit down for a meal before taking the tabs.  \

Well, the pink color of the tabs somehow makes it easier to swallow.   Hahaha...  But still, I just couldn't bear the idea of taking another round of antibiotics.  Last time I did a cycle was for my unfortunate scissor accident about 3 months ago. 

Hopefully I get better real soon because being sick just sucks! 

In the meantime, I will enjoy the big pot of sopas (Milky Chicken Macaroni Soup) which is actually all I can eat since yesterday.  It's just so difficult to swallow with this sore throat.   

Sopas for Wifey Cookie

And yeah, meet my other bestfriend - Strepsils.

Strepsils with Honey & Lemon

Friday, April 15, 2011

Singapore Adventure: Milk Chocolate Spoons

Yesterday, I had a little sweet treats shopping with Hazel while waiting on the guys to join us for a Japanese dinner at Shokudo, Raffles Shopping Centre.  We went to the Cocoa Trees shop.  And surprisingly I had a nice find - Chocolate Spoons! :)

Choc O' Time Milk Chocolate Spoons
Cocoa Trees

These uniquely designed chocolate spoons may be consumed as a regular chocolate or used as a stirrer for milk, chocolate, or tea (if you're that bold).

I gave it a try.  I made myself a cup of hot coffee and attempted to use it as a stirrer.  Unfortunately, the chocolate does not really hold up well to the heat.  As I was handling it, it started to melt in my fingers.  Well, I know I had warm hands, but that piece of chocolate is just so quick to melt!

As for the taste, it's chocolatey enough, like any other milk chocolate bar.  Nothing special or extraordinary apart from the shape.

It retails at 5.00 SGD for a box of 8 spoons at Cocoa Trees.

Singapore Adventure: Cramming

After being out of work for 6 months, I am resuming job hunting.  Today at 2:30pm I will be having a phone interview for a contract position with a high profile client of my agent.  And damn am I tensed! :D

Not having done interviews of a technical nature for a while it definitely is nerve-wracking for me.  The last technical interview I did to land a job is more than three years ago for my last job.  And coming into this new interview I feel like an entry level candidate.  Hahaha...

Now, I am cramming and I officially suck at it!  So I need all the luck I can get.  But knowing that I have my Hubby Cookie's full support and confidence, it makes it a little better.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Singapore Adventure: Baby Talk

Isn't it funny when all your single life you conciously make an effort not to get preggers, then when you finally want to, it's actually not that easy!  Sheesh... Irony much!

The Cookies are trying to be pregnant.  Well, it's just about time.  I am 31 and if we postpone it further, it might just make it more difficult.  As the cliche goes, the (body) clock is ticking...

So yeah, we are now taking measures to make it happen.  Over the weekend, by a friend's recommendation, we purchased the Clearblue Easy Digital Ovulation Test.  I must say it is effective as their little girl has just turned one. :)

Crossing fingers.  Let's do this!

Singapore Adventure: Sunny Yellow

This is a lovely photo of the Cookies with Dylan.  What a coincidence that Dylan was also in a yellow shirt.  So cute, right?

April had a little party for her little girl Keyla.  And they happened to have the same birthday - 09 April!  Too bad we were not able to take a photo with the birthday girls. :)  But it was really nice catching  up with my girlfriends even just for a few hours.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Singapore Adventure: MasterChef Cookie

Just when I thought all the birthday air has cleared after March, there is still room for one last birthday surprise from my Hubby Cookie after all. :)

Hubby Cookie knows how much of a fan I am of Gordon Ramsay and the show MasterChef.  So, he got me this...

MasterChef Cookbook
The Contestants and Judges of MasterChef and JoAnn Cianciulli

What a great finale to a fabulous series of birthday surprises! :)

I haven't started reading the book yet, but I have done a bit of peeking inside.  There are pages of photos from the MasterChef US show.  The recipes cooked up by the contestants can also be found inside grouped in chapters under Breakfast, Soups, Salads & Starters, Pasta, Poultry, Seafood, Meat, and Desserts.  I also saw pages on basic cooking techniques like chopping an onion (which was done as a challenge on the show's first few episodes), filleting salmon (which could have been helpful to Sharone Hakman during the wedding party episode), and poaching an egg (which show winner Whitney Miller did fantastically in one episode). 

At this point, I am so psyched to see if I can try one of the recipes in the book.  I'd probably give the pasta recipes a go.  Will post my attempts here so keep posted. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

LO Project: A Birthday Keepsake

My friend April's little girl is turning one this weekend.  And I made her a present - a birthday keepsake. :)

Photo Frame Side
Name Banner Side

I used a sturdy cardstock for it and printed a royal purple colored paper from a digital scrapbooking minikit I had saved. 

It can hold the birthday greeting cards, "hong bao" envelopes, as well as gift tags for keeping after the celebration.  And it also doubles as a photo frame for a 2" x 3" photo of cute Keyla I grabbed from April's Facebook album.

Happy First Birthday, Dearest Keyla! :)