51/365 Feb. 22: If Only This were Scent-O-Rama

We’ve had three glorious rain storms today.  At one point a lovely cool breeze wafted the rain scent into the living room and Kapas sat in the doorway to the balcony with her head raised sniffing the scents.  

I know I’ve sent my friends too many versions of this exact same scene, but since the rain has me cosy at home, and since I haven’t captured it on this blog, here it is again.


49-50/365 Feb. 20: The Guest Room

When we moved to Singapore and were looking for a place to live, one of our requirements was a guest room in the hopes that people would visit us.  I hoped this room would be big enough to serve as a yoga and workout room as well, since I feel silly doing either in the living room in front of Kent.  He never does anything to make me feel silly, but I do anyhow.

I was delighted that the condo we decided upon has two guest rooms.  The smaller of them is usually buried in clutter, but the larger is my workout room when we don’t have guests.  When we moved here I brought my bicycle thinking I could ride, but between the heat and the danger from cars, I hate riding so much that I don’t do it.  I have quite a few friends who get up in the wee hours of the morning to bike, which is cooler and safer, but I haven’t been tempted to join them.  Instead I purchased a thingie that turns my road bike into a stationary bike.  I did a lot of research and this Kinetics model has worked out really well.  The back tire of the bike is held up by clamps and the back edge of the tire pushes against a fluid-filled axel-like thing.  The result is smooth increases and decreases of speed,  not the knee-damaging ride you get from devices that grab the wheel.  

When I ride it, I have the air con in front of me and a fan blowing from behind. I have my ipod on a speaker so I can listed to an audiobook, and I have my iphone strapped to the handlebars chiming out the intervals of maximum effort and rest strokes.  It works well and all without a trip to the gym.


This is my old bicycle, the one I purchased back in 1992 in preparation for my first Ride Across Minnesota to raise money to fight Multiple Sclerosis.  By todays standards, it is a heavy bike but that doesn’t matter on a stand, and the wonderful aerobars give me a huge variety of grips.  I wish this type were still available.

See the wall decorations?  The framed rubbing on the wall is from Angkor Wat in Cambodia.  I think the weaving is from Indonesia.  Almost out of sight is a painting from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.


On the opposite wall are the pictures Kent hung last Friday before the Greens arrived. They are actually embroideries from Vietnam.  Two are scenes from Hoam Kiem Lake, and the other is Uncle Ho’s jungle home.  When guests are here the bed is centered beneath the pictures. When this is my workout room, I push the bed against the wall to give me more room. 


It is a very comfortable bed.  I’ve slept on it when sick and not wanting to keep Kent awake with my coughs and sneezes.  



One wall has two large windows.  This probably isn’t the best photo to show you that.



Here’s hoping this guest room will provide comfort to many more friends and hopefully a few family members as well.


48/365 Feb. 19 Gong Xi Fa Chi!

I missed taking a photo on February 18, but on the 19th I headed across the street to grab a few groceries. I was surprised to see the grocery store still decorated for the new year.  Maybe they are keeping the decorations up in hopes of selling the last of their holiday food.


In addition to the swag at the entrance, the entire front of the store where the checkouts are had swags and fans.  Christmas and Chinese New Year seem to be the holidays for which they decorate the most.  Too bad this is photo instead of video. You can’t here the holiday carols blaring out their perky tunes… Gong Xi, Gong Xi, Gong Xi Ni!





47/365 Feb. 17


One of the things I love about living in the tropics is the orchids.  Huge pots of orchids sit outside our school office and outside the PTA office.  This a tall variety, at least two feet tall.  They seem to come in pink, purple, yellow and white. All are lovely.

The orchid is in front of the great mural  which is outside of our office.  The art teachers created in last year or the year before. They had students carve a picture and then glaze it.  I love the way it changed the breezeways from functional to welcoming.




46/365 Feb. 16 Another Spiral

(No picture taken on the 16th so this is a make-up photo.)

The past two weeks I haven’t found much time to knit.  Working late and running errands have gotten in the way.  However, this week I was able to knit in a meeting, and then knit at the hair cutters so the blanket continues to grow. As it grows, I continue to be disappointed that the yarn has so much blue.  I keep cutting the yarn and starting at a different point on the skein, but even so, too often the same color is right next to itself. 

On top of that, since I struggled so at the start, the inner most rectangle isn’t a perfect rectangle so the blanket will never be rectangular.  The yarn is wool and nylon, so I should be able to block it when I am done, but since the yarn is sticky like mohair, I wonder if it has much memory for blocking.  We will see.    


 I was thinking that it was looking too bad to actually be given as a gift, but now that I have photographed it, while I admit that it is rustic, it is worthy a being a gift to welcome a newborn.    It is appropriate that the parents are teachers.  Maybe they will appreciate it more when I tell them I learned a bunch knitting it.


44/365 Feb. 14, 2010

After another lazy start followed by tennis, swimming or walking, we headed down to Marina Bay to check out the River Hong Bao event, a Chinese New Year tradition according to the website.

When we first arrived, we spent some time enjoying the view of the harbor.  Near the middle of this picture is the famous Merlion fountain which is an iconic image here.  Behind it is the grand Fullerton Hotel, a gem of an old hotel, full of lovely woodwork.  


Across the harbor is Sentosa Island. Here you can see the new Sands Integrated Resort which will house a casino at the top.  Yes, they are building a boat on top of the three hotel towers.  Our friend Faizul left SAS to go be a lead systems engineer there.  The resort looks to be about six months from opening.


The River Hang Bao event was small. Not much going on. It appeared that everything there lit up at night so that is probably when most people go. The handicraft booths were empty at this time of day.

Of all the displays, the giant inflated God of Good Fortune was the tallest.  


Since this is the Year of the Tiger there was a big tiger display which also appeared to light up.  Behind it is the Esplanade where I saw the opera a week or so ago.



And here was something I’d never seen before, a sculpture made of ceramic spoons.  One side had a peacock and the other side had a dragon.  It came all the way from Chengdu, China, brought as part of an exhibit from the Chengdu Tourism Board.



Here is an exhibit that would also be illuminated at night.  It shows Chengdu girls dancing with peacocks. 


There was also a display for each of the twelve zodiac signs of the Chinese Lunar Calendar.  Kent and Thom were both born in the Year of the Dog so I snapped their photos in front of that exhibit. 




Even the street outside of the Marina Bay area was decked out for the holiday.



As we walked over to Boat Quay and the Clarke Quay I snapped this shot of the Esplanade and the Singapore Flyer.


On that walk we bought a real ice cream sandwich to split. The man cut off a slab of Wall’s ice cream and then nestled it between two crispy wafers. We went with chocolate ice cream but since there was only one knife, Ginny had a bit of durian ice cream on her bit.   They were sold out of corn ice cream.  Instead of wafers, you could have two slices of white bread instead. That was actually a more popular option than the wafers, based on our observations of the crowd.

Nearby was a group of Falun Gong devotees meditating and distributing literature. We had never seen that before in Singapore.

We had drinks at Clarke Quay, then struggled to find a taxi to take us to the Singapore Botanical Gardens. The gardens were as lovely as ever.  From there we hiked up to Dempsey Hill and ate dinner at the Red Dot Brewery.  Since it was Valentine’s Day we received heart-shaped balloons. When we reached home, it was our good fortune to see two very little girls sitting on the bench waiting for their dad who was talking with the guards.  The tiny girls were delighted to receive the balloons. Our last glimpse of them was with huge smiles on their faces as they admired their new toys.  It was a nice ending to a fun but very sweaty day.