Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009
Woodbury Common here we come – again! This trip with my parents reminded us of our last trip. Last Thanksgiving, we decided to “try out” shopping in Woodbury in the middle of the night aka at 12 am. Black Friday started mighty early for us. All was good until we got pass Exit 15, the last exit on Interstate 87 before tolls, then we saw a string of break lights. That was midnight. By the time we got to the next exit, Exit 16 – OUR exit, it was FOUR AM. We literally sat in a 2-mile jam for 4 hours trying to get to Woodbury Common. We wanted to turn back so many times, but there were no outlets. We sat through the jam, cursing the bloody Asian people and their extreme need to shop for branded goods in the middle of the night.
Thank goodness we were lucky to have found a parking spot almost immediately after pulling into the lot. That day, we shopped till we dropped. Cheh and I bought Coach bags like they were free. Hubs got suede Puma shoes that were very stylish. By the time we got home, at 8 am, we were totally beat. What recession?! Asian people keep money under their beds in tin cans and somehow it grows, like the much sought after backyard money-bearing-tree.
Lucky for us, there was no such mad rush and the need to buy this time around. Yet, there was still a little congestion going in. Mommy had to go to the toilet right away. Cheh calls it the, “pundi kencing tak berguna” – bladder that doesn’t work. We split for an hour before meeting for lunch. During that hour, I got intructions from my younger sister to find a “better attire” for my mom for the wedding. Trying to outfit my mom with new clothes is like trying to dress the king. Everything was either too tight, too long, too in-fashion, too old-fashioned, too bright, too expensive or just not what she wants. I even got an earful from her about why her own “dress” was good enough for the wedding. On top of that, I still had to look for my top for the wedding, one of the reason for going to the outlet in the first place.
At the end of the day, no gold or burgundy top for me. Cheh had to scour ebay for me upon reaching home.
No new attire for mommy. She will be trying on other dresses that my younger sister bought earlier.
A Movado watch and dresses for cheh and two tees for daddy, one of which was “like a clown” according to daddy.
A pair of Pumas for daddy.
An Oakley shirt and Ray Bans for hubs. The old pair got “lost” in the car – Our car. What a fruitful day!
Then we got caught in a jam coming OUT of the outlet. Sigh! You just can’t win. So, we decided to have dinner before going home.
We ended up having Chinese in Ramsey. For the first time, mommy was actually happy with the food. We had grilled crispy ribs, boneless and skinless sea bass with ginger, scallions and soy sauce drizzled over it, bbq-ed prawns, ginger fried crabs, peking duck, juicy scallops and ultra green broccoli. Daddy even had fresh raw oysters, tuna and salmon sashimi with extra helpings of wasabi in a tinge of soy sauce.
Daddy thought it was like high tea in KL where you sit for hours on end and nibble on your food. I told him that 1.5 hours was plenty for buffet.
We were stuffed from the food and tired from the shopping. But I’ve never seen mommy happier.
Sunday, Sept. 6, 2009
Supposed to be in the city today. Change of plans. Instead, we sat at home and had left-over pizza for lunch – at 10 am.
Ended up going to Target to pick up two photos and got $2 off pumpkin coffee in Starbucks. Thought it would be awful but it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. In fact, we brought the coffee back for mommy to drink (who insisted on staying home to “look after the house” – like it was going to sprout legs and run away), who wrinkled her nose and faulted it for being too sweet after one sip.
Mommy then spent the entire afternoon prepping dinner. She boiled lotus root, red dates, peanuts and pork ribs soup, which required the root to be scrapped and then sliced, dates that had to be unseeded and ribs that were stripped off even the slightest hint of fat. Apart from the soup, we were going to have nasi lemak, which required the making of sambal ikan bilis. Before she sliced the red onions, I shared with her a “no-cry remedy.” Boil water and the flames will burn up the fumes from the onions. I set a kettle on the stove and walked away while she started the menacing task. A minute later, I heard sniffles coming from the kitchen. I went in to check and realized that she had turn off the fire.
“It’s ok. I’m almost done.”
Waste of saliva.
Then she fried the ikan bilis (dried anchovies) in the microwave. Some serious skills – mine always turn out soggy in the nuker.
She asked if we wanted eggs. We said yes and I proceeded to share with her the “perfect way of cooking hard-boiled eggs.” Put the eggs in a pot, and start the fire. The moment the water boils, turn off the flame and let the eggs sit in it. No wastage of gas and the eggs are cooked perfectly. When I checked on the eggs before dinner, I found them sitting in a barely half-filled pot of water. I forgot to mention that the eggs needed to be immersed in water.
After she was done prepping the sambal, I took over the kitchen and started cutting up the veges for the week. I also started a pot for my “souped-up chicken porridge” in the slow cooker for tomorrow. There were pre-skinned drumsticks, celery, onions, ginger, thyme, oregano and a can of mushroom soup. After the chicken soup boiled (3 hours later in the ULTRA SLOW slow cooker), I threw in peppers, mushroom and tomatoes. An hour later, the rice went in. Finally at 1 am, the corn went in.
My mother, after tasting it, proclaimed that, “It tastes better than it looks!”
Dinner was lotus root and peanut soup, nasi lemak with ikan bilis sambal, eggs and burpless cucumbers (which mommy has never tried before) and brinjal with tomatoes. After dinner, we quickly cleared the table after daddy suggested that we played gin rummy. This card game has always been my family’s traditional Chinese New Year game. Loser paid for dinner.
We went 25 rounds before calling it a night at 1 am. During that 5 hours, we had red wine, almonds, stories and shuffled music from my laptop. When “Touch My Body” from Mariah Carey came on, we started giggling uncontrollably. Mommy and daddy wanted to know what was so hilarious, and I pulled up this You Tube entry – of a Korean Ah Kuah imitating Mariah and butchering the song.
That left my parents rolling and tearing in laughter!
Monday, Sept. 7, 2009
Played dress-up with mommy this morning, trying out the clothes for the “big day.” Finally put on my bridesmaid’s get-up to see if the skirt still fits and if the barely there top would be too risqué. Mommy says it’s OK. So – OK it is then.
After that, we headed to the Liberty State Park in Jersey City. What a gorgeous day to be out!
Daddy wanted to “run a little” after declaring that he gained 2 lbs from all the food he ate. I handed him Jessie’s leash and she took off with him in tow! Mommy dissolved in laughter upon seeing this. Jessie would run off in a different directions, but always came back to us – the laggers. When she came running back, we would all dote on her while laughing at daddy’s winded expression.
We got home in time for lunch – a little tired, and had chicken porridge from the night before. Right after that, I crawled straight back into bed. The late night, early start and the romp in the park left all of us a little worn out.
Woke up to the smell of fried onions and dried prawns – for dinner. We had yam rice sprinkled with fried onions and dried prawns and a spinach side-dish for dinner. While watching Red Cliff 赤壁, we had mango ice cream.
That was the end of our delectable, fun-filled Labor Day Weekend extravaganza.
Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009
Woke up before the alarm clock rang, although this happens everyday. I don’t think I slept a wink. This will teach me to take a 4-hour nap in the middle of the day.
It’s going to be a blistering work week.
Had Siamese Chicken (from the week before) and broccoli for dinner. Mommy, as usual, only had two FLAT tablespoons of rice and a spoonful of chicken. If you didn’t know better, you would think that I were abusing my mom and not feeding her. But that is her usual intake of food at one seating. She really does eat like a bird but in multiple intervals throughout the day.
It’s a waste to spend money on high tea or buffets with my mom. Upon reaching home, she would always have coffee and crackers thereafter.
Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009
Talking about birds, I made my parents eat foul fowl today. 😦
The drumsticks were purchased last week. It wasn’t marinated until this week. My mom put it out to bake for dinner tonight. Three weeks later, with plenty of spices, marinade and sauces, it smelled funny. After waiting till my mom was about to faint from hunger, I finally pulled out the chicken from the oven. DINNER! …not really.
I gingerly took the first bite. Mommy and daddy proceeded and said it tasted weird. We ended up throwing the batch of chicken away and had green beans with leftover yam rice and sambal ikan bilis for dinner. Thank goodness for leftovers.
On a brighter note, mommy enjoyed the jell-o that hubs made. Glee premiered on Fox.
I think my stomach is churning now.
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009
You didn’t think my mom would actually let me off the hook after the chicken fiasco? I heard it bright and early at 6 am. (Trust me when I say this will be ammo from now on)
“You can’t keep food for that long. You have to clear out your food.”
BUT, “I’ll make dinner tonight and you can keep the chicken porridge that you made on Sunday for later this week.”
It’s do as I say and not as I do. Malaysian-ism.
I called them during lunch. And over the phone, I heard mommy talking to Jessie, my cocker spaniel – as if she understands.
“Good girl. Come. Lie down. Go potty…”
Then she said to me, “Yeah, Jessie was shivering and didn’t want to go out to pee. Your daddy asked me to calm her down.”
“Good girl,” my mom coos to my dog. “Turn over, Jessie. Over. GOOD girl!” My dad must be putting on shoes for Jessie before taking her out for her afternoon walk. “Tie hair now, Jessie.”
So I asked my mom what they had for lunch.
“We had chicken porridge. We boiled chicken and before your daddy put salt and the rice in, we pulled out two pieces of chicken breast for Jessie for her dinner tonight.”
AWWWWWW! They act like they don’t like Jessie, but in fact, they do care!
“Oh yes, and mommy boiled Jessie’s rice for her already.”
Thanks mommy! Jessie is lucky to have grandparents like you guys. I’m very fortunate to have parents like you.
By the time we got home from work, after 8pm, dinner was already waiting for us. Mommy made spicy chicken with tofu (because I don’t eat pork, or beef) in fermented beans sauce and fried vermicelli with lettuce and dried prawns. I’m going to have to import my parents over.
Friday, Sept. 11, 2009
It’s a day of rest and remembrance. Eight years ago today, like any other early September morning, we were walking to work on 5th avenue just passing Empire State building. Then we saw smoke billowing from downtown and people rushing towards the gray clouds. By the time we got to work, we realized that planes had crashed into the Twin Towers. The story quickly unfolded that it was a suicide terrorist attack. People in the city were told to return home, as they didn’t know when or where the next assault would be. Slowly, even the tunnels and bridges into New Jersey were closed. My younger sister, who occasionally headed towards Wall Street because of her client, was unreachable (as the cell towers were fallen). I finally got a hold of her. She was going to go home soon.
Our company kept us at work. The entire day. We had to walk home.
Luckily, as we were leaving, we heard news that a ferry operator was shuttling commuters intermittently over the river. We took the chance and headed towards the pier. Fortunately, the ferries were running when we reached the pier. The NY Waterway was even running free bus shuttles for people in the surrounding area.
On this gloomy, rainy day today, let us all remember the innocent lives that were lost for someone else’s twisted ideology.
On a brighter note, we are off today – not because it is 9/11, but because my company is moving.
Spent the entire day doing free work (again), packing for the trip to Toronto and wrapping presents.