Friday, September 30, 2011

The Surprise Parties

I've been planning my revenge for months now *evil cackle* ever since YB threw a surprise birthday get together for me this year. [For the record, I demand a re-party, because the cake was bleurgh.]

Anyway, the night before we were going off to Redang, I got the guys to gather in YK's place on the pretext that we were needed to help him finish up some mooncakes.

I reminded him again, when he got home but he said no, he wanted to RUN. What, I freaked out in mind. Run??

I asked, surely we could just drop by before our run. He said no, he was adamant that we had to complete our run FIRST before dropping by to eat mooncakes.

Crappity crap, I thought.

His conference call to the States took forever. The guys were already starving but eventually they started with the satay.

That was 930pm.

Come 1030pm, his conference call was finally over. YB immediately prepared for our run.

Before he could even put on his socks, I heard the rain.

I rejoiced in my head, woohoo!

So I cajoled him into going down to YK's place instead for food. I warned the guys via whatsapp, to get ready.

Not caught on camera: YK, KFC, satay and pistachio ice cream. We were starving from the waiting!

Everyone was so happy to finally be able dig in. I was especially happy to be able to eat KFC after so long.

Later on, I asked him if he was surprised. He said he was. Are you sure, I asked. He said yes, he didn't expect the guys to pull something like this off.

He clearly doesn't know who the mastermind behind it all!

The following day was our trip to Redang. Firstly, however, we got our 10km run out of the way. Then it was prepping up for our road trip with the rest of the boys.

Joanna was in touch with me all the way, discussing what cake to get for YB. Since she bought it the night before we arrived at Redang, I figured we would have to celebrate his birthday, once again, early.

Everyone was knackered by dinner time and we still had to wait til 9pm for the surprise party. WK decided to retire early, despite AC reminding him we had to meet up for a briefing at 9pm.

WK told us to go ahead without us. AC had to whatsapp him to remind him, hellooooo, it's going to be YB's surprise birthday party!

We trudged to Coral Redang Island Resort where our dive instructors were staying. The guys nursed a glass of beer while YB proceeded to sit down and dozed off.

Joanna and I had the cake laid out in front of him before I prodded him awake. We sang Happy Birthday as enthusiastically as we could, in our tired state, but it was pretty lacklustre. =P

Gotcha! The birthday boy awoke from his slumber.

It was probably one of the most sombre birthday party I've ever attended. =P It was a quick gobble of a slice of the birthday cake (YB and I shared a slice) before everyone retired. The cake was surprisingly good!

Make a wish, make a wish!

As you should know by now, YB's birthday wish was to see the whale shark during one of our dives. We were told that some divers recently spotted it somewhere around the area.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blondies & Brownies

Last Thursday morning, I decided to bake some coffee muffins. I laid out all the ingredients on the table the night before so I would save some time.

Looks alright, eh?

The recipe needs to be tweaked just a little. Another teaspoon of coffee and a cup of chopped walnuts, the muffins would be awesome!

That evening, I tried 2 other recipes, Chocolate Chip Blondies and Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies.

What I didn't know was that it was the cake version of brownies. Which, you know, didn't gather much enthusiasm with everyone. =(

Despite the cakey texture, this was a hit among the colleagues as it wasn't too sweet. They liked the burst of chocolate chips.

This however, was a disaster. Apparently it was too sweet. And what is WITH the freaking cakey texture?

OK, I imagined that was what went through their minds. =P

p.s. I zapped a few pieces of the peanut butter nutella brownies and they turned out crispier, like biscuits. Tasted much better that way.

So Many Things To Do But

So little time and always so tired.

I crawled into the couch at 9pm just for a quick shut eye but when I opened my eyes to YB nudging me, it was 1130pm.

There went my Tuesday evening.

Gawdammit, I have to concede defeat.

Another unproductive evening. I've been wanting to edit some pictures and blog about so many things and reply some emails but noooo there is no time no energy left to do so much.

G'night or good morning.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

AOW - Sorted!

(written yesterday)

We finally got our Advanced Open Water licence, just to allow us to dive down to a maximum depth of 40m. *all smiles*

I must say it was a tiring holiday and we definitely need another holiday to recover from this one.

My head is still woozy and I feel as if my brains are rocking to and fro, as if its still on board the speed boat. Oww.

Just like a hangover.

For our five Adventure dives, we did the following:
Underwater Navigation, Deep Dive, Drift Dive, Night Dive and Wreck Dive.

To tell you the honest truth, I didn't enjoy the night dive. The light from the torchlight was limited and not widely angled (can't complain much about a rented torch, ya?), and my mask kept fogging, which was pretty annoying. I kept bumping into the rocks, and then there was a part where I became to buoyant and floated up.

I was stuck. I couldn't descend anymore. I waved my torch from left to right several times (that is the distress signal, by the way) but no one saw me! They were busy watching a squid approaching a fish for noms. Sheesh.

It was a very uneventful dive for me. I struggled with my ever so foggy mask and buoyancy in the dark. Sure I saw a flounder, some crabs, puffer fishes, a sleeping parrot fish ... hmmm, that's about it, I guess.

On the last evening at Redang, we took park in a some beach games with another group of people which consisted of a large number of snorkelers and only 3 divers.

Divided into 3 teams of 6, YB and I joined 4 others to form a team. We won both games!

Every evening, the beach is filled with people and the house reef with snorkelers. We sat by the beach and watched the people, while 2 of our friends went snorkeling.

We witnessed a girl trying to force her toy poodle into the water. She tugged her dog's leash but the dog resisted. She carried the dog into the water and the dog struggled out of her arms, wanting to get her feet back onto the shore.

We were blessed with clear sunny skies, did you know? We heard that it was always raining in KL during the evenings.

I wouldn't mind another holiday, you know.

Diving was pretty good.
Food was OK.
The company was great. ;)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kedai Kopi Hai Peng

I knew of this coffee shop from some blog reviews and when we were on our way to Redang last year, we made our first visit.

I didn't think we'd have a chance during our trip this time but the minute I saw it, I knew I HAD to drop by.

The bread oh I enjoyed the bread! I can't describe it, besides the fact that its texture reminds me of English muffin, but YB says it reminds him of crumpets. (I don't fancy crumpets ;P)

This time, I tried the cham (coffee + tea) instead of coffee as it was late evening. I didn't want to end up awake for the night. ;)

I guess the coffee was 'that' strong because my friend tossed and turned the whole night!

If you have the time, do stop by Chukai / Kemaman and visit Kedai Kopi Hai Peng.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cranberry Scones

Two weeks ago, I flipped through my printed recipes (I've been collected recipes for months now, but have yet to try them all!) and decided that it was time for scones.

The recipe is from Joy of I also wanted to make cream to go with them, but resorted to making cream cheese frosting instead.

I made small pieces instead of 8 triangles, as I thought it would be easier for my guinea pigs to consume. I didn't want them to be forced to finish a bigger piece if they turned out blah.

Best served warm and with cream. Sadly, cream cheese frosting had to do.

My grief:
The scones had a citrus-y scent as mixed peels was added to the batter. The next time, however, I'll probably have to chop the mixed peels into smaller pieces.

They were kinda hard. =( I need to make them more moist, but YB wanted them hard. Hmmfh.

p.s. Did I tell you that my dad really liked my pumpkin carrot cake? =))

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dutamas Runners: The Porklings

Lynn & Bin make up two thirds (2/3) of 'The Porklings', with myself being the 3rd lil piggy. We made our debut at the Pacemakers' 7th Anniversary Relay held at Kepong Metropolitan Park on August 14th, 2011. Did you see our curly green tails?

1. You have just completed your first team relay event! Was it hard?
Lynn: It was definitely more stressful than running my first marathon. The pressure! The last minute attempts at hill-training and speed work!

Bin: it was certainly no walk in the park! ..... geddit?? coz we were running weren't we.. funny huh, that's me. but yea.. dam hard trying to run fast & maintain poise for camera towards the end

2. How long have you been running?
Lynn: Running is a bit of an overstatement. I think “jogger” or “brisk walker” are better word choices. I was never particularly sporty but would run in school sports day and cross country when forced. I also used to go to the gym with my mother when I was in my teens and she used to scold me for being lackadaisical on the treadmill with “Is this how you study for exams? How will you succeed in life!”. An auspicious start! My first real run was the half marathon in the 2009 KL Standard Chartered Marathon. I was very busy at work and did not manage to do much training, and some friends from outstation were in town so I ended up spending the night before having a couple of drinks at Sky Bar. I finished in 2:46 (I think) in so much pain, you wouldn’t believe it.

Bin: long time lor.. just wasn't any good only ma. haha.. i guess this is about running competitively - joining events etc.. in which case first event same as Lynn 2009 SCKLM, but our running prep for that was seriously funny la looking back.. and how we nearly died during our 10k run. great memories...

3. You run because …
Lynn: … I am very vain and I would like to eat all my favourite foods without getting so fat that I have to be airlifted out of my apartment!

Bin: ... I married my agent! :D i'd be happily playing my racket sports oblivious to the running world if it wasn't for vonsy teo.. having said that no regrets now that i've started running, my stamina has improved dramatically due to running & it is helping me in my other sports & running has certainly brought us fantastic new friends.

4. Why did you call yourselves ‘The Porklings’?
Lynn: I don’t know how it came about. As far as I can remember Yvonne was chatting online with me about potential names while signing up for PAR 7 and throwing suggestions at a distracted Bin- she’s a multi-tasker, that one is. A mutual lifelong undying passion for all foods porky really helped.

Bin: i guess we're not exactly 'The Gazelles' are we :P + we definitely belong more to the cute & lazy & annoying & cuddly type gwa + our love for bakuteh + i guess it sounded more sophisticated than 'The Suckling Pigs'?

[YT: The other name we had in mind was "The Porky Pies".]

5. What is the best and worst thing about running?
Lynn: The best is being able to eat anything while training for the FM without putting on an ounce. Why are all my answers food-centric? Try again- The best is hanging out with all the cool people of Dutamas Runners, checking out the cute super fast running guys on the BA-Hartamas-BA route, the natural high after every run, amassing a huge running skirt collection, the fantastic bak kut teh and kau yoke mai fun everyone bribed me with (food again!), and feeling strong! The worst was when my toenails fell out after doing the half marathon in the 2010 Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon and my feet and toes got so ugly that they could ward off would-be rapists. The nails have only just grown back and I have just had my first pedicure of 2011!

Bin: BEST thing is what running is bringing us - weight control ahem, maybe i should write 'what running should be bringing us' :D + the new found wonderful friends & the overall social scene, it really is a great sport. We can now watch marathon or track & field events on sports channel & truly appreciate what the runners are going through...! WORST thing is showing up for a race/event very ill-prepared - and suffering at the final few km to show for it! and i guess all the related injuries - the sore muscles, the joints start to ache etc.

6. Do you have any running goals?
Lynn: Refer to above- I would like to stay slim enough not to have to be airlifted out of my apartment.

Bin: already attaining the mini short-term ones - eg. clocking new PBs etc.& i guess ultimate goal is to be able to stay strong & fit & run with vonsy teo for a very long time more, i've got a FB running memoirs album to upkeep!

7. What is your favourite pre-race carbo loading food?
Lynn: Once upon a time, I would have said KFC but I have been advised that KFC does not qualify as a carbohydrate and is actually mostly fat and protein. I am also partial to a good banana leaf rice.

Bin: don't have leh... but for some reason i can't stop thinking about double GCB right now donno why

8. Your next running event would be …
Lynn: Yellow Ribbon Prison Run in Singapore with Yvonne’s cousin Jeannie, and Penang Bridge International Marathon with the the Porklings and my little sister. I am eagerly anticipating the asam laksa and char kueh teow already!

[YT: Er ... we MAY be running in another theme for PBIM!]

Bin: should be river jungle marathon. unless agent booked something earlier.

9. Will you run as ‘The Porklings’ again?
Lynn: For sure! As Captain (Khoo Yit Kiat of Dutamas Runners) told me (in jest) – “Gaya mesti ada, kalah tidak apa”. And the Porklings are definitely gaya!

Bin: once a porkling, forever a porkling.

10. You completed your first FM this year. what was it like?
Lynn: I turn 30 at the end of this year. The FM was a way to show myself that I may be hitting the big three oh but I can darn well run 42km! A slightly premature mid-life crisis of sorts. It was a great experience, fantastic fun, I trained with 2 other FMV’s Melvin and Kenny. That said, the next time I have a mid-life crisis, I am buying a sportscar and getting myself a 21 year old toyboy. Much less painful!

Bin: NA. ask me again after September!

There you go. If you see someone running by with a crocheted green curly tail on his or her behind, it could probably be one of us!

The props for The Porklings include snouts, green tails, moustaches and a bright yellow crown. The snouts were store bought (via Ebay!) and the rest were crocheted by me.

Thanks for the pictures I nicked from our friends. =)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fish Farm Thai Restaurant

During the 3 day holiday, YB and I went to the Fish Farm for dinner with some friends.

We were told that we need not reserve a table but lo and behold, when we arrived there at 7pm (some of them were there early while the rest of us arrived 30 minutes later), the place was full to the brim!

That made us worry about their service for the night.

Ooh grilled crabs greeted us near the entrance!

There's about 65 tables.

Some of the dishes arrived first without the rice. So YB and OK went off to get the rice bucket themselves and proceeded to serve us.

There was a temporary blackout but it didn't stop the rice from coming. ;D

The crabs were RM55 for 2 pieces, so we had 4 crabs in two types of gravy.

The fish and the prawns were the last to arrive. Check out the prawns! It was basically one per person.

Sure the food was tasty but the portion did not justify the price for it. They were pretty small, when in fact we requested for a large portion.

The desserts were actually ordered first while our friends were waiting for us to arrive. But they were served only AFTER our meal.

Perhaps you needed to inform them whether you wanted them served before or after a meal? I don't know.

The bill came up to RM304 for 9 pax.

Would we go back there again? I don't know. I'm sure there's some place else with the same price but with bigger servings!

Other reviews:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cakes To Bake

Too many ideas and too many recipes to try!

I really want to attempt the following:

Carrot cake
Coffee flavoured cake
Fruit cocktail cake
Red Velvet
cake - ooooh, ambitious!
Pineapple rolls - ambitious, indeed!
Tsk tsk. I have yet to master the art of making perfect butter cake, to be honest.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tui Na Massage

Oh. My. Goodness.

I could have screeched at the top of my lungs but I bore the agony of it all. 60mins of pure torture on the top of my back and 30mins of calm (lower back and legs).

For a steal at RM99.50.

You see, I've never heard of "tui na" before until Lynn mentioned it (I honestly thought she was speaking gibberish or she was just too poncy with all these fancy schmancy massage names). And since YB and I were looking around for places to go for deep tissue massage, we settled with the tui na massage as the rest of the places couldn't accommodate the both of us.

Check out "tui na" on the Internet and you'll find that they describe it in such soothing and flowing terms, like this, "Tui Na uses rhythmic compression along energy channels of the body, as well as a variety of technique that manipulate and lubricate the joints." (source)


And then I asked Lynn whether it hurt and she immediately replied, "Like a bitch."


So I was warned, but we went ahead anyway.

Never again!

We wanted more focus on the lower back and the legs (our legs were tired from hill training on Wednesday and a 12km run yesterday morning) but sadly this was not the case. We should have mentioned it, I supposed.

Today, both my legs and the top of my back are sore - for different reasons.

Please, can anyone recommend us a place for good massage (for sore muscles, like deep tissue massage) and a good price, where the therapist/masseuse will focus on where you tell them to?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Picnic at Sg Kanching Waterfalls

Sunday - 7th August, 2011.

We decided to take a break from running that weekend and hence planned for a picnic with our partners to join us for the event. I'm sure some of them have been wondering about the people behind Dutamas Runners' who have been taking up so much of their partner's time.

Sungai Kanching is accessible from Jalan Kuching - Jalan Ipoh - Rawang Highway and is located after Templer's Park.

We were there early at 8am and true enough, it was quiet with only a few couple of people here and there.

We made our way up to Level 7, only to decide that perhaps we'd stay at Level 5. Some of us had opined that the picnic are at Level 7 wasn't wide enough to accommodate all of us.

Everyone brought some food to share. From baby burgers (Kenny), to quiche (Yin Yin), to fried chicken nuggets (Alicia, Paul & Michelle), to canned food and bread (Captain, MY, Geoff & Joyce), to hotdogs, bread, junk food and others (YB and myself), bottles of Revive (Andrew) and bags of pistachio (OKT), there was simply too much food for everyone!

YB brought his mini cooking camping set to grill the dogs AND boil some water for cups of tea all around. That probably kept everyone happy in anticipation of warm food and drinks!

We were also surrounded by macaques (monkeys) which were clearly eyeing our food and bags. Paul was our guardian for that day.

All in all, it was a fun getaway and looks like there's more to come!

Our next proposed outing will be to Skytrex in November.