Trick or Treat 2012

31 Oct 2012 – Happy Bdays Adeline in SIN & Mark in Chicago/USA

Tue: Sandy’s impact and trail of devastation with app 8mil people out power in 15 US states and at least 33 people have died in the US. These superimposed pix (Trick in this case) show the power of Mother Nature,  a situation not within anyone’s control. A touch of humour with the other pix might be the Treat.

Will not post any of the real pix as it is disturbing and sad enough to know of the havoc Sandy has caused. Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Sandy, a very devasting storm

Family & friends who were in Sandy’s path are safe and sound except for some minor inconveniences. Here in CAE/SC there are more winds than usual, but nothing to write home about. Thus not hanging the paper pumpkin lanterns outside but having them indoors. Sharing this pix of a beautiful day yesterday when I was so blessed to observe Ellie’s math class.

The class was divided into groups and they counted app 400 seeds after weighing and measuring a pumpkin. What a creative and constructive way to conduct a math class. Would have probably love math if this was the way to learn in the 1950s. To Mrs Cain/Irmo Elementary, thank you for being Ellie’s teacher.

And so life goes on for the rest of the world. Happy Halloween to those celebrating and to my grandchildren who really have little understanding for the real world yet. Someday, they too will have to grow up. In the meanwhile, let them be at their life’s journey path, in this case carving pumpkin with their dad. Tomorrow will be the only night in the year where they are allowed to knock on doors saying Trick or Treat to their neighbours and receiving candies. 

Trick or Treat pix will be posted in next posting. In the meanwhile will get this posting for last day of Oct out as my laptop is set on SIN time! For those who are young at heart to remember the Peanuts…

It’s the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown – Charles Schulz.

World’s Largest Fire Hydrant!

29 Oct 2012 – Happy Bdays Cousin Lock and Grand-niece Kiera

Prayers and thoughts go out to those who are in Sandy’s way. Special greetings to Kiera, whose mom posted this in FB: Last year on Kiera’s birthday it snowed (one of about three days of snow in the entire year). This year it’s Hurricane Sandy. She is convinced that Mother Nature does not like her birthday… Poor Kiera who is turning 9 today!

According to the CNN – Coast Guard official: Hurricane Sandy ‘could be bad, or it could be devastation’. Pelting rains, whipping winds, mass evacuations: There is no doubt that Hurricane Sandy, by Sunday, had already made a mammoth impact on the U.S. East Coast…

Sat: Linn & I had a ladies day outing in town. A fire hydrant, at almost 40ft and five tons, this tilted-by-design public sculpture is not intended to provide a single drop to fight fires. But it’s the largest of three contenders for the largest hydrant title.

There are no tunnels in SC but  this painting on a building by a car-park might be convincing enough that it could be possible! A small charming Farmer’s Market has recently found its place near Main St. Shopping and lunched in town@Blue Marlin Restaurant****an interesting building which was a Seaboard Air-Line Passenger Depot in 1904 and has been in the Register of Historic places since 1983.  Wanted to try this place since a year ago…

Sun: after a so-so sermon took the kids to lunch @China Max in Richland Mall and the only eatery open at the Food Court. This is the first experience in a dead mall but was warned about it by Linn. More important the kids enjoyed the indoor play ground, the food OK but best of all no problems parking and no crowds.

Sophie’s pre-school at Union United Methodist Church in Irmo arranges a pre-Halloween Trunk or Treat. Last year we were there for John and now we are again here for Sophie. A fun evening for the kids on sugar-high and even higher for the real Trick or Treat on Halloween night 🙂

Hurricane Alert

27 Oct 2012 – and Sandy is her name…

Fri: in spite of delays Jeff arrived safely home and that is most important. Made a salmon and Irish creamed potatoes dinner  (a combination of Irish + Norwegian!) for the family. Wishing all muslims Selamat Hari Raya Haji, a safe long weekend to those who are traveling and Happy Bday to my childrens’ Norwegian grandmother Ellen for Sat.

CNN: China blocks New York Times website after story on leader’s family wealthhave always said, show me a country with no corruption and will call that country home! But then news like this are not of priority when Mother Nature is demonstrating her fury. North eastern USA  is under hurricane warnings with all kinds of forecast churning round. Am watching and tracking it closely –

Hurricane Sandy, storm of a lifetime has been predicted to hit somewhere on the north-eastern US coast sometime next week. Let’s hope and pray that Mother nature will be kinder to the US than to  Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica (so far 40 deaths and unfortunately the figure will be more). Family, friends and everyone concerned in those areas, plx take precautions, ie do not taunt with Mother Nature. Above 2 pix downloaded from various sites.

According to a FB friend of friend in FL: Hollywood lost power for a few hours which also is rare since that doesn’t happen through many direct hits. This is not even near any direct hit, image the impact when Sandy finally hits land before weakening… 

Anyone who says they’re not afraid at the time of a hurricane is either a fool or a liar, or a little bit of both – Anderson Cooper

SIN Street Food

24 Oct 2012 – Happy UN Day

From my birth-town where food is a passion for many of us!  Much of the local cuisine is an acquired taste, especially durian!! Had to copy and paste this now incase the link gets taken down! Die die must try all these dishes at the given locations and rate them when back in SIN. Thus this post will be edited with ratings and comments from Dec 2012 – May 2013…,6

The street food scene in Singapore is now less “street food” and more “food court.” Regulated out of existence years ago, street food vendors moved into government-sanctioned “hawker centers” where they still sell the same dishes. While this may undermine the cuisine’s credibility as street food, it offers those with delicate stomachs the opportunity to partake — strict safety and hygiene regulations make Singapore’s hawker food some of the safest “street food” around.

Hawker centers offer a blend of inexpensive Malaysian, Indian and Chinese cuisines, which combine to offer a uniquely Singaporean eating experience. A strong food culture also means that Singaporeans feel passionately about their hawker centers and the dishes found there, keeping standards of tastiness and authenticity high.

The sloppiest delicacy you’ll ever crave

1. Chili crab: one of Singapore’s signature dishes, chili crab was invented in the 1950s when a Singaporean chef steamed crabs in chili and tomato sauce. Since then it’s become the go-to dish for tourists, but locals flock to it as well. Toasted buns called mantou are often eaten with chili crab to sop up the sweet tomato gravy, although it’s virtually guaranteed that you’ll end up with at least some on your shirt. Chili crab has become so popular in the last half century that it’s widely considered the Singapore national dish.

Try it at: Mattar Road BBQ Seafood, Old Airport Road Food Center, Block 51 Old Airport Road, Singapore

Can’t live on bread alone? Add coconut, pandan and coffee

2. Kaya toast: often called Singapore’s national breakfast dish, kaya toast is thinly sliced, crisply toasted bread served with a spread made of eggs, sugar and coconut milk that has been flavored with pandan leaves. Hinting at a colonial influence, kaya toast is usually enjoyed with tea or strong coffee (called kopi) and soft-boiled eggs.

Try it at: Hylam Brothers, Amoy Food Center, 7 Maxwell Road, Singapore

Simple, not simplistic

3. Chicken rice: Another contender for Singapore’s national dish, this is sometimes called Hainanese chicken rice due to its Chinese roots. Chicken is steamed or boiled until it is just cooked and still a little bit pink near the bone. It’s served with oily rice that’s made with chicken broth and slices of cucumber on the side. Chicken rice’s simplicity belies its deliciousness, especially when eaten with chili sauce.

Try it at: Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, Maxwell Food Center, Corner South Bridge Road and Maxwell Road, Singapore

Fishy feast

4. Barbecue stingray sambal: a dish with Malaysian roots, stingray (sometimes called skate in the United States) is coated in sambal, a sauce made from fresh chilies, garlic, tamarind, shallots and belacan, a mild fermented fish paste, then wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled. The resulting dish, also called ikan pari bakar in Malay, is spicy and aromatic.

Try it at: Leng Heng Seafood BBQ, East Coast Lagoon Food Center, East Coast Lagoon Road, Singapore

Slurp, smile, repeat

5. Katong laksa: named for an area of Singapore near the seafront, Katong laksa is the Singaporean take on curry laksa. With a base of fresh coconut milk and spices ground into a paste, Katong laksa features rice noodles and shrimp and is served with a scoop of sambal and slivers of laksa leaves. Katong laksa noodles are cut into bite-sized pieces, allowing those who enjoy it to ditch the chopsticks and eat the entire dish with a spoon.

Try it at: 328 Katong Laksa, 216 East Coast Road, Singapore

It’s bread that goes down like butter

6. Roti prata: it’s not unique to or even from Singapore, but that doesn’t stopped the locals from scarfing roti prata whenever possible. Roti prata has its roots in Southern India, but you’ll find it being eaten all over the city here. One of the joys of eating this richly textured flatbread is watching it being prepared — flipped repeatedly in the air until tissue thin, then folded over and grilled until it’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Try it at: Prata Saga Sambal Berlada, 665 Buffalo Rd, Tekka Center, Singapore

Tastes much better than it translates

7. Otah: it’s called Otak-Otak in Malaysian, which means brains, but don’t let the mushy consistency scare you. Otah is a fish paste made from mackerel, chilies and spices, then put into either a coconut or banana leaf and grilled over hot coals. The result, though it may be slightly disgusting looking, is a salty, spicy treat.

Try it at: Lee Wee Brothers, Blk 51 Old Airport Road, Old Airport Road Food Center, #01-79, Singapore

Need an excuse to eat pure lard? Right here

8. Hokkien mee: Hokkien mee is a dish you’ll find all over Malaysia, but the Singapore version is distinctly different from its Penang and KL counterparts. Singaporean hokkien mee includes both egg and rice noodles that are stir-fried and served dry (as opposed to in a soup) with prawns and sambal paste. What makes Singapore’s hokkien mee so delicious is the healthy helping of lard that’s used to prepare every plate.

Try it at: Tiong Bahru Hokkien Prawn Mee, 30 Seng Poh Rd, Tiong Bahru Market & Food Center, #02-50, Singapore

Peanuts turned delicacy

9. Satay: one of the first street foods in Singapore — back when street food was still legal — satay can be enjoyed across Southeast Asia and at hawker stands all over Singapore. Satay consists of marinated skewers of meat, grilled and served with a peanut sauce. Chicken is most common, but you’ll also find beef, mutton and tripe. It’s best to order 10 at a time, because you won’t be able to eat just one.

Try it at: East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 1220 East Coast Parkway, Singapore

When is a carrot cake not a carrot cake?

10. Chai tao kway: no, it’s not a dessert, and no, there are no carrots in it, but chai tao kway, also known as carrot cake, is nevertheless one of the tastiest dishes that Singapore’s hawkers offer. A mixture of shredded white radish (daikon) and rice flour is stir-fried with egg, garlic and green onions. You can order it white or black — the black version is darker because it includes sweet soy sauce.

Try it at: Heng Carrot Cake, #01-28 Newton Food Center, 500 Clemenceau Ave, Singapore

SIN Then & Now

23 Oct 2012 – After a Century+

SIN has all the reasons to be proud for what it has achieved in just over a century. But like everything and anywhere, there is no Utopia or a perfect system; again subjective and objective actions, thoughts and words are flying around in the recent controversy issue. Sometimes these actions, thoughts and words can have constructive consequences but unfortunately they are the seldom times…

Being born and having lived in SIN the first 15yrs of life might have helped to understand a subjective tiny bit of the situation, does not mean that one has to agree! Being aware with open mind and thoughts are more important as one perhaps may learn to see things more objectively… eg the pros and cons of any culture and society and learning to respect the differences, ie no better or worse.

FOR the seventh year running, Singapore has been ranked the easiest place to do business in the world, according to a new World Bank report. By Magdalen Ng for ST

Believe it or not, this movie is banned not for the SEX but according to CNN’s reporter: Singapore has banned a film by local director, calling it racially offensive: CNN’s Liz Neisloss.

A valid comment from Francis Wong in FB: Could it be a PR stunt by the Sing Govt to promote the country as a creative hub? Now the whole world is looking for this movie? Reply: My thoughts too 🙂 and trying to promote an island-state country like SIN is just like any other good marketing strategy!

A couple of days ago, SC Yeo in FB shared this link where SIN is ranked #2 with healthy food. Now this is nearer to my heart and in SIN and some of our neighbouring countries, we are blessed with fresh produce from world-wide to choose healthy diet as part of our life-style. Thus what is best for you might not be best for others…

The food scene in SIN at the link below is well worth checking out. It provides 10 different street food with 10 various locations. This informative link also has info for 9 other Asian cities besides SIN. As George Bernard Shaw so eloquently said – There is no love more sincere than the love of food…,6

Pix credits to: facebook, ST, NLB & travelvivi

Voices from Florida Days

21 Oct 2012 – James and The Giant Red Dot

Fri: another beautiful day and morning shopping with James at Target and World Market after delivering the car for service. James saw these concrete red circular objects and happily exclaimed B-A-L-L. Had to let him feel them. Fri night special, Little Ceasars Pizza with Crazy Bread and a Blockbuster movie Happy Feet***

Sat: visit from Sandra, Erik and families. The Korkowskis (Nancy & Sigfrido) had their holiday condo which I was keeping an eye on at Carmel by the Lake during our FL years. The kids then (Karin, Sandra & Erik ) hung with Linn & May during their visits from NY. Today Sandra (Linn’s age) and Erik+families live in Charlotte/NC which is only 1+hr drive from Columbia/SC.

Such fun to meet up with them and their families. Sandra’s children are the age when I first met her in FL in the early 1980s. Now she has 3 beautiful daughters. Pity her husband Tsuyoshi had to work today, will have to make time to his Sushi, AZN Restaurant to meet him and try the sushi there.

Erik was then the annoying little brother :-)to Karin (at present living in Mexico with her husband and their son) & Sandra. Erik has grown into a fine father of two married to charming Laura. How delightful to be able to catch up after all these years and to see that parents are doing a good job raising their children!

Tomorrow will be another church day at Shandon Baptist. After helping Linn to get the 5 kids into their respective rooms, will stay outside for a few minutes before attending the sermon. Do not wish to have my ears blast out like last week, but do want to hear what their senior pastor Dick Lincoln has to say!

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips – Oliver Goldsmith

Physical Bravery

19 Oct 2012 – vs Moral Bravery

John & James in their new PJs and they even glow in the dark. Tested it with John and he sure is ready for Halloween. Wished Old Navy made those for adults 🙂

Thu: early-release from school (once a month) and had an additional 4 more kids, total of 9 kids. Thank goodness for decent weather, the gang could eat their cupcakes and play in the backyard. An afternoon at the movies for the 4 older grandchildren to calm them down after all that excitement before a home-made Taco dinner by Linn.

Brave***Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor. Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land. In this case Scotland!

This movie got me thinking about the recent incident: Girl’s courage, Taliban’s cowardice when Malala Yousafzai, a 15yrs old girl from Pakistan’s Swat Valley was shot a week ago. She is now a hospital in the UK for intensive rehabilitation

Being a mother of 2 daughters and a grandmother of 3 grand-daughters, one needs to let them be aware of the gender derogatory and the negative actions, thoughts and words which are related in these issues!

The extra treat today, Olai was on Skype. Seemed like all 6 grandchildren are with me today even for just a couple of minutes. Feeling blessed and thankful…


Linn has got me into this personalized gift ideas with Snapfish and the images just pop in. Coincidently a FB friend just posted this shoe sign and while in Blowing Rock took the pix of another sign about Your Husband Called… just the perfect fit for Jessica Leigh and Kenneth Monkee’s clothes and shoes boutique 🙂

Physical bravery is an animal instinct; moral bravery is much higher and truer courage – Wendell Phillips

Jeff to Africa

16 Oct 2012 – Linn to her morning coffee

Mon: Linn had her morning coffee with her girlfriends at Atlanta Bread Co while I managed to mail a little Halloween package to Olai.

Was working the rest of the day to get the Kool Kid Food picture books ready to take advantage of the 60% off at Snapfish.  Not good for the eyes staring on the laptop screen for hours, but Christmas presents are done for Linn & May! Still have another 7 presents to complete; will end up blind at this rate 🙁

Tue: Jeff left for Tanzania for 10 days, safe journeys to him. Flying Columbia-Atlanta-Amsterdam-Dar Es Salaam-Mbeya where he set up a Global Health Fellowship for USC’s Dept of Family Medicine over there. He will be going over to supervise/check up on his former resident. JohnW had a field trip at the zoo and Linn was with the class.

Trying to book tickets back to SIN via NYC for Dec. Frustrating with how to get the best deals searching online but looking forward to meeting up with grandniece Devon Yiher Lam-Tribbe, born 23 Jun and the youngest addition to the family tree for now!

Was feeling kind of tried until this pix appeared while working online. The ironies of life with all the sayings and teachings where one is supposed to have your feet firmly on the ground. LOL! This pix and quote managed to put a smile on today’s aging droopy eyes, that too shall pass and tomorrow will be a new day… 🙂

Sunshine & SC State Fair

15 Oct 2012 – to Backyard Fires!

Sat: these lucky grandkids had a blast at the SC State Fair with their cousin Abigail, daddy and grandma Cindy. Mormor and their mom stayed home with the youngest. It will not be long when James will be joining in all these events but for now, he is happy taking a 3hr nap to make up for all these interrupted ones! 

Backyard roasting marshmallow with daddy’s night-time storytelling. What a perfect ending to a perfect day, fresh home-made cookies for the 4 eldest grandchildren with their cousin visiting from FL…

Sun: a chance to get a family pix for the Snapfish project! Linn & family is at another church located in the center of Columbia, Shandon Baptist. With a congregation that size, a traffic police was hired to direct the traffic! It was a good service but no fan to loud music and crowds! Explains why young people are hard at hearing and so many of the elderly people need hearing aids! Would have turned off my hearing-aid if I had one but have been blessed so far with good hearing and all the senses in tact 🙂

Great to have caught up with Cindy and nice to meet one of the grandchildrens’ American cousin.  Safe drive back to FL to them. Next week is another new week and another challenging one. Jeff will be off to Africa and he will be missed by all here…

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often – Winston Churchill

Kool Kids Food…

.13 Oct 2012 – and Other Ideas

Have been searching for pix to put together an album for parents to tempt choosy young eaters. Easy with sweets or desserts, so concentrating on healthy foods. Would appreciate any contributions. Tkx.

Wed: too tired to even unpack, but a necessary trip to the DMW. Got me a SC driver’s licence after having to give up the FL licence (had that since the 1980s). It is the year of driving liences’ renewal, just did that in Norway too! Such it is to be legal driving around the world.

Thu: working with pix and it is taking forever!! Snapfish has wonderful ideas for creating personalized gifts, thus taking the opportunity to do so while still in the US. Burning the mid-night lamp to get these creations started when the mood and the lightbulb is working. Past midnight and overheard these gagging sounds from the kitchen. Poor Gator was throwing up.

Fri: Linn decided to do some subbing at school since it was 4yrs ago she last subbed. Quite a challenge to have Sophie and James on my own and they are as good as gold! Wished I had the energy they have, but alas that is not the case. Do not like to have to wake James twice to strap him to his car-seat first to drive and pick Sophie at pre-school and then to pick the rest at the elementary school.

Cindy, Jeff’s mom and one of her other grandchildren from Kristy (Jeff’s sister) will be visiting for the weekend.

Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art – Ansel Adams