Would you believe I've only bought 3 selfish things since I touched down? A $35 bag from Charles & Keith, a poof skirt and a pair of white ah lian booties. I wore all 3 out one day and felt like Beverly Hills ah lian. That can be my next blog title.

*pats me on the back*

After days of furtive internet using, I finally get to enjoy uninterrupted web surfing. Even though it's only for a night. WOO HOO!
The whole time I'm here, I have never made Chinese soups. Despite the awesome culinary credentials of my family, I'm the black sheep. But life is such a comedy that my mum's exhortations of "How are you going to cook for your husband if you never learn?" and my excuse of "We can eat out at hawker centers." has only proven her right. What else?

And so thanks to the Internet, I have 'learnt'. By that, I mean look up a recipe online and follow instructions. I'm proud to say that in the last 365 days, I have conjured up a different dish for 300 days. Multiply 2 for lunch and dinner, I have made 600 new dishes. Which also means I haven't memorise any. Why bother when there are so many yummy dishes?

Sorry for meandering. I made Chinese prime stock (上汤) today. It is damn good but such a waste of meat. I used 1/2 lb pork, 1/2lb chicken and 3/4lb chinese ham just to make one bowl of stock. After that the meat has to be tossed out cos all the flavour has seeped into the soup. Such a waste. But I am looking forward to making Hong Kong style wanton soup with the stock tomorrow. My mum would be proud.

June and me outside a Chinese supermarket in Arcadia.

The husbands and us.
Suddenly there's a shadow over my joy of homecoming.

Maybe, just maybe, things will lighten up when I'm back?

He just crawled into Kelly's suitcase and plonked himself down.

All tucked in.
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I was reading about the rescue of a US captain kidnapped by pirates.
1. The ship was carrying food aid bound for Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda.
2. The captain told his crew to hide while he sacrificed himself as a hostage.

As negotiations grew tense, one pirate pointed an AK-47 at the Captain's back, prompting US Navy to shoot the pirates dead. This is what other pirates had to say about the incident.

Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding the Greek ship anchored in the Somali town of Gaan, said: "Every country will be treated the way it treats us. In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying," he told The Associated Press. "We will retaliate (for) the killings of our men."
Killing of your men? How about you stop attacking, kidnapping, robbing and killing the rest of us? Currently pirates hold more than a dozen ships with about 230 foreign sailors. By their principles, that gives countries of kidnapped sailors the right to rescue, defend and kill. If you don't want your men to be killed, stop pirating.

Jamac Habeb, a 30-year-old self-proclaimed pirate, told the AP from one of Somalia's piracy hubs, Eyl, that: "From now on, if we capture foreign ships and their respective countries try to attack us, we will kill them (the hostages). Now they became our number one enemy," Habeb said of U.S. forces.
Self-proclaimed pirate? Meaning he hasn't robbed a ship yet. All very good except he is trying to get a job with an established pirate here.

People are just so screwed.

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How is it that age bestows one with the assumption that they know it all?
How is it that habit provides one with the excuse to do the very same thing told not to do?

Age does not equal Experience does not equal Complete Knowledge.
Habit does not equal Blind Routine does not equal Inflexible Action.

The only way to handle change is with grace and consideration.
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No, I didn't get scammed again.

Kelly's friend was celebrating his 30th birthday with a superhero kickball match. Kelly convinced me that no one would dress up. -_-

I was actually very enthusiastic about looking for a costume which is unusual since I hate dressing up during Halloween. Of course when you think superheroine, the first who comes to mind is Wonder Woman. But I didn't have confidence to show so much skin. So I really admire this lady.

Off to save the world again!

Do I see Incredible Hulk? (at first, I thought he was Ninja Turtle...)

The superhero summit. Discussing strategy for kickball? btw, Kickball is played like baseball except you kick instead of bat.

Lots of capes were flapping in the wind.

We even have a German barmaid, perfect for a hot day.

Who says you can't play ball in a wedding dress?

He ran so much his boxers dropped! Erm, good thing he's wearing a long skirt after all...

Kelly between 2 hot girls.

A running start!

Even heroes need a break.

One day I woke up to find a bee buzzing above my head. A few days later, there were 2 bees. Soon I was killing 8 bees a day. That was when I realised something was very wrong.

I called the bee removal guy to assess the situation. The day before he came, it got worse. A few hundred bees were swarming in front of our door. So I joked to Kelly that the bees were having a moving in party.

Not far from the truth. The bee removal guy confirmed that the bees had build their home in the eaves. Good thing he was free to deal with it the same day. This is him jumping on our bed to scotch tape a gap in the ceiling.

Bee guy suiting up. You know Colony Collapse Disorder? We would prefer if the bees could be removed live. Unfortunately, there is no way to get to where the hive is so we had to seal up the area and fumigate it. Meaning the bees inside are gassed to death. :(

Good thing most of the bees were out. Hopefully they get adopted into other hives.

We were hiding behind the door while bee guy sealed up the gaps leading to the eaves.

Gassing the bees...

The bees out in the day came home in the evening but they couldn't enter their house. For a week, they just clustered around the entrance. I don't know if they are just confused or grieving for the dead bees inside.


It's only been 2 days into the week and I've received 3 pieces of good news. 2 friends are engaged and 1 is preggers. Wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Kelly's parents were vacationing in Hawaii and decided to send us their local fruit. It actually cost $15 to send a coconut from Hawaii to Los Angeles!

Pork floss bagel would be more accurate since that is the only bread I have in the house. You know that transparent mayo thing in the bun? That's not really mayo!

There is no exact name for it so I shall call it glue. Got the recipe here and it's good for slatering 20 buns at least.

Converted to US Measurements:

Ingredient A
7/8 Cup or 14 Tbsp Fine Sugar
4 Tsp Salt (Still tweaking)
3.5 Tbsp Butter
2 Cups Water

Ingredient B
1 3/4 Cup Fine Sugar
6.5 Tbsp Corn Starch (Still tweaking)
0.8 Cup or 13.5 Tbsp Water

1. Combine Ingredient A into a big bowl and cook in a pot over low heat. Stir constantly until suger and butter is integrated completely.

2. Combine Ingredient B in a bowl. When mixture A starts to boil, pour Ingredient B into the pot. Continue to cook over low heat. Mixture will thicken and get transparent.

3. Cool before using glue.
Each time Chinese New Year rolls around, my cravings for pineapple tarts and bak kua will reach fever pitch. Alas, the LA Chinatown is no help. It wasn't until very very recently I found out that one can order Bak Kua online! Freshly made from New York somemore.

At the same time, I discovered a Bak Kua recipe and decided to try it out.

Step 1: Pour seasoning onto minced pork.

Step 2: Mix minced pork thoroughly with seasoning.

Step 3: Keep stirring until meat mixture becomes gluey.

Step 4: Spread the meat mixture onto a parchment-lined tray.

Step 5: Pop tray into oven.

Step 6: Half way there! Flip over to ensure even baking.

Step 7: Done!

Step 8: Tasting.

Oh my gawd! It really is the real deal! The charred flavour is lacking since I'm baking instead of grilling over a charcoal stove. Other than that, it's the hometown taste.

Which looks more appetizing? The one from the Asian supermarket or mine? One day I will order from the online store to compare taste and texture. But I''m sure nothing beats hot Bak Kua fresh from the oven!
Roger from Customer Service: May I have your order number please?

Roger: May I have your name please?
Me: (Infinitesimal pause)

Roger: Do you know your name?
Me: Yes. Ilane.

Roger: Nice name, Ilane.
Me: Thank you.

Why is it that customer service is always in the extremes? Of course I very much appreciate it when they praise my name. But I can't help feeling like every exchange with customer service, even the nice ones, feels like speaking with a robot. I know they have a training guide which tells them to ask questions 1, 2, 3 etc. But why doesn't the guide include a note on being warm and human?

On the occasion that customer service was very human, I was insulted with "Oh i see, YOU ARE VERY POOR!" and she hung up on me. Sigh.