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Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Curry Leaf Trees

They say money don't grow on trees but these curry leaf trees sure save me a lot of money!

Ever since we moved to our condo 25 years ago, I had been unsuccessful in my many sad attempts to grow the curry leaf plant on my balcony. 

Eventually, I gave up.

Whenever a recipe called for a sprig or two of the curry leaves, I would have to dash out to the grocer in my neck of the woods to get them. Sometimes, they were not available. 

Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this curry leaf plant in an obscure area of the condo grounds!

There are two more curry leaf trees farther down the road!

I am doing the happy dance!

I was told that a resident of the condo turned to gardening during the lockdown and the curry leaf trees are the fruits of her labour.


The tantalizing aroma that is released when a fistful of curry leaves is tossed in hot oil is really quite out of this world! You can smell it a block away!

An amazing Indian recipe to share. The curry leaf is the star of this dish.


Prawn Varuval


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Flowers In My Garden

Spring?

Nah, it was summer the last time I checked, still is and forever will be in my equatorial corner of the world!

Sharing these captures of the perennial flowers that grow in the common garden of the condo where we live.

Bougainvillea

Ixora

Woodland Sunflower

Hibiscus

Bird Of Paradise

Spider Lilies

Fun Fact
Malaysia ranks among the world’s most biodiverse countries, housing an estimated 15,500 species of flowers, plants and trees.

Happy Easter, pallies!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Cheryl

My son's girlfriend, H , was inconsolable when Cheryl, her fur baby, shuffled off to dog heaven.

We felt that a gift of a pet portrait would express our condolence more than a thousand words.

We were certain that it would bring healing and comfort to her hurting heart.

An artist friend was commissioned to paint Cheryl.

Cheryl captured in her glorious goofy beauty

H had the biggest smile on her face when she saw the painting and absolutely loved it!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Hello!

I thought I would do a different kind of post today.

You see, I sometimes confuse one blogger for another blogger especially when they are new to my blog.

I only realized today that a blogger buddy whom I had been interacting with for some time is actually another blogger with the same name and from a totally different country! One is from Poland and the other from Belgium!

I thought they were both one and the same person!

This has actually happened a couple of times, particularly namesake bloggers with similar blog templates.

So, what I would love for you to do for me today is to just say "Hello" in your language and tell me which country you are from in the comments.

And if you are from the US, it would be cool if you could mention your state too.

To start the ball rolling ...

Apa Khabar?  I am from Malaysia.

Well, it appears from many of the comments I received that some of you thought  I was American and lived in the US!




In case you are wondering where Malaysia is...

image credit - http://ontheworldmap.com/

Terima Kasih, semua!

Saturday, March 13, 2021

The Garlic Vine

Whenever I think of Mom, I always picture her in her oversized straw hat. 

I see her out in the garden, pruning, weeding, talking to her beloved plants and feeding the birds.

This is the image I will always have of her.

My mom had a super green thumb.

Every corner in her garden brimmed with colour and life.

A devoted gardener, she spent many happy hours pottering around her garden before she became lost in the fog of her own mind when dementia got her.

With Mom's deteriorating condition and my dad's lack of interest in gardening, the flowers slowly languished one by one and her once beautiful garden became no more than a neat, simple yard.

Some days, in moments when she is lucid, Mom almost always asks me where all her flowers have gone.

I distract her and she forgets her question.

In March 2020, our government imposed an interstate travel ban in response to Covid-19 and I couldn't visit my elderly parents for several months.

Imagine my surprise when we were greeted by a dazzling burst of purple from Mom's garden as we were approaching the house on our first visit home since the lockdown.


Dad has no idea who planted the flowers in their garden and we concur that the Garlic Vine grew from seeds that were dispersed by Mother Nature and  most probably birds.



Most days, Mom sits in her favourite spot by the window and stares blankly at the Garlic Vine. 

Some days, she notices the beauteous violet blooms and repeatedly exclaims in pure joy how pretty they are.

And I can tell by the look in her eyes that she is once again in her beautiful garden, tending to the flowers and enjoying the company of the visiting birds and other wildlife.

I'd like to believe that the Garlic Vine is a gift from the birds for Mom.


Fun Fact

The Garlic Vine is so named because when parts of this plant are crushed, they emit the fresh smell of garlic!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Laundry Day


Fortunately, I do not live next door!

This is an old photo someone shared on social media awhile ago.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

CNY Bouquet

I received this lovely Chinese New Year gift from my son's girlfriend.

What a sweet gesture!


Red (roses) for good luck and *Caishen (white pompom chrysanthemum) for prosperity.

* Caishen aka The God of Prosperity is characterized by his winged hat.

You can read about  Caishen here and the symbolism of the color red here.


From the archives.
Me and a mascot of The God Of Prosperity (2018)


Would you have guessed that these roses were made of soap?

Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Year Of The Ox

Whew!  Finally, that dastardly rat (sorry, rat pallies!) is gone and the earnest ox now rules the new year as the 2nd animal on the 12-year cycle Chinese zodiac calendar.

In case you are wondering what I'm rambling about, you can read about the 12 animals here. I've also explained why the cat doesn't have a spot in the calendar.

According to feng shui masters, the Year Of The Ox is generally a better year for all.  

In the past, I would say "bull!" to all this but I am desperate! I want to believe that 2021 is going to be a brighter year for everyone.

It has to be.

The pandemic has dragged on too long — too many lives and livelihoods have been destroyed and we are all fatigued.

I want to travel again ...

Attend Sunday Mass ...

Attend my son's graduation ceremony which has been postponed indefinitely ...

Have a big family get together ...

Watch a movie in the cinema ...

Binge on an all-you-can-eat buffet in a fancy restaurant ...

I just want to push the play button of life that covid-19 has paused.

And oh,  if you have had a bad start to 2021, here's your chance for a do-over — a fresh start.

Have an ox-picious 2021, pallies!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Three Wise Men

Image credit - https://www.instagram.com/reggietoons/?hl=en

Haha! This cartoon of the Chinese *Three Wise Men practicing social distancing and wearing masks puts a smile on my face. 

For the uninitiated, the Chinese New Year is just round the corner and the trio is one of the most auspicious symbols of the lunar new year.

On a sombre note, the cartoon is pretty sad actually.

It means that Chinese New Year 2021 is essentially cancelled for some of us.

We are lockdowned for the second time (MCO 2).

I can't visit my parents, in-laws, relatives and friends in my hometown as interstate travel is banned.

It means there will be ....

No reunion dinner...

No cookie exchange...

No ang-pow exchange...

Fu, Lu, Shou

* The Three Wise Men (Fu, Lu, Shou) are used in Chinese culture to denote the three attributes of the ultimate good life.

Fu for prosperity, Lu for ambition/career and Shou for longevity.

According to legend, Shou was carried in his mother's womb for ten years before he was born, and already an old man when delivered!

Traditionally, the three statues are arranged close together from right to left, just as Chinese characters are traditionally written from right to left.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Rubbernecking

Stuck in a bad traffic jam...


Waze reports a collision between a car and motorcycle 780 metres ahead.

Waze screenshot

Crawling impatiently ahead...

Inch by inch...

Finally, the scene of the accident...

BUT ...

The crash is on the OTHER SIDE of the highway!

The reason for the standstill on our side of the road? 

Rubbernecking!

You don't want to look. 

You shouldn't but there is this need to turn your head.

It's like trying hard to not scratch an itch or let out a fart.

You hold back until the last minute.

Then you turn your head and stare...

Are you guilting of *rubbernecking?

*Rubbernecking — a phenomenon when people slow down to gawk at an accident scene

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Mr. Pery

Almost everyone I know already has and loves their air fryers.

But countertop space is prime real estate in my closet-size kitchen.

I have to think long and hard before I acquire a new appliance.

And more often than not, they were relegated to cabinets and drawers when the novelty ran out, occupying valuable storage space, gathering dust and getting in the way.

I think I had used my juicer a grand total of only 3 times before I bumped it into storage.

Naturally, I wasn't thrilled when I was gifted a bulky Pery Smith air fryer that squandered my precious countertop space.

I chalked the fangled appliance up to a glorified mini convection oven.


Anyways, I decided to give Mr. Pery a chance  a new gadget to play with, a new adventure in my uneventful life. 

It has been 3 months since Mr. Pery came to us.

My boys and I use him just about every day now, even if it’s just to reheat leftovers or frozen foods.

Super crispy pizza straight from freezer to air fryer in 7 mins!

WHY I LOVE MR. PERY

1. He's easy to use and SO, SO simple to clean!

2. It's so easy to check if your food is cooked  simply pull out the fry basket, eyeball the doneness and push the fry basket back in to cook longer if needed.

3. It’s like deep frying with very little or no oil.
Crispy outside, moist inside

No more oil splatters! Ever experienced hot oil spitting, sputtering and exploding from your stovetop like fireworks on the Fourth of July?  Ouch! Not fun!

4. Cooking time is faster with Mr. Pery than a convectional oven.

I made ultra crispy pork crackling in under 3 hours that would otherwise require a whole bunch of steps  with a convectional oven. No overnight refrigeration, salt crusting or long roasting time! No vinegar or baking soda needed!  Plus, you don't have to line the sides of the meat with aluminum foil. Mr. Pery made it way too easy to do.

Thick pork chops cooked to perfection in under 10 mins on each side!

DOWNSIDE

1. Things fly around in an air fryer. Think AIR FLYER! I once placed a McD burger inside the fryer with  extra slices of cheddar in between the buns, expecting a perfectly molten cheese burger. Instead,  Mr. Pery disassembled the burger! The cheese came off the patty and melted into an icky mess and stuck to the fry basket! Later, I learned that securing the burger with a toothpick does the trick. 

2. Wet, battered and loosely seasoned foods are a NO-NO!

So, is the air fryer just a load of hot air? Does the tiny fry-basket justify the space it takes on the counter??

Mr. Pery has really blown me away! Now, I can't imagine life without him.

An amazing air fryer recipe to share.

Did you hear that crunch?

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Hair Dryer?

 My son Rodney pranked me with this Christmas gift.

I thought it was a cordless hair dryer!


Turned out , it was a gag gift  a big-ass airpod!

He had me there! 


I used it to boom up and play on repeat my playlist of whiny, mopey, achy-breaky songs that I listened to when my heart was shattered by my first major crush at the tender age of 17. 

Haha! The songs drove Rodney crazy!  "D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-N-G!" he groaned !

Guys 'n' Dolls - How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
 
Guys 'n' Dolls lead singer Dominic Grant died  of abdominal aortic aneurysm at the age of 71 in November 2020.

Skeeter Davis - My Last Date With You
Skeeter Davis  died of breast cancer on September 19, 2004, aged 72.

Anne Murray - Broken Hearted Me
Retired from singing, Anne Murray, 75, now settles into Nova Scotia life.

Linda Ronstadt - Long, Long Time
Ronstadt, now 73, prematurely retired from her singing career. Parkinson's disease has silenced her emotive voice.

Oh, the hauntingly beautiful vocals and lyrics...

Lyrics that rhymed so perfectly...

 The nostalgia... 

What were your breakup songs for wallowing when you were a teen?