It’s Monday (August 3)

It’s August already! And the kids will be back in school at the end of the month. How the summer has flown by. Of course, if we weren’t in a pandemic, we would still be vacationing in Singapore, eating all that yummy food, sweating in the heat and humidity, spending time with family we haven’t seen since last year…oh well…

Nasi Lemak

Perhaps to make up for that, we decided to try out a new-to-us Malaysian eatery. Well it’s not entirely new to us, but an “express” version of the sit-down Malaysian restaurant we’ve been to a few times. This branch only has a few meal choices, rice dishes and noodle dishes, not the big dishes served family-style that the sit-down restaurant has.

We went with:

Hainanese chicken rice, Nasi Lemak (coconut rice with beef rendang or a stewed beef with spices), Seafood Kari Mee (a spicy coconut milk broth with noodles, seafood, vegetables). 

Unfortunately, the chicken rice wasn’t very good. The rice wasn’t flavourful enough, and it was too wet. Disappointing! The Seafood Kari Mee was chockfull of ingredients but needed more coconut milk. The Nasi Lemak was probably the most tasty and authentic. 

Cocaine chicken bowl – a bit messy since I slid it from the takeout box into my bowl

Another new place we tried sells rice bowls and wraps but with a Korean twist – not the bulgogi taco route but they had things like meatloaf wraps served with either egg fried rice or kimchi fried rice and macaroni salad (all inside the wrap). 

I especially liked their “cocaine chicken bowl” which reminded me a bit of sweet and sour pork, full of little crispy nuggets of chicken that are coated in a spicy sauce.

Lovely and empty. Also cold.

Other than all this eating, we took a day trip to the beach, for a change of scenery, a chance to take a breather and do something different.

It’s about an hour plus drive to Pescadero beach, the tide was high, the pelicans flying, the wind gusting at us. The beach, this being Northern California after all, had lots of kelp and mussel shells. The seagulls kept pecking at things in the sand as the waves pulled back from the shore. 

We enjoyed some homemade sushi by the beach. 

It was cold and gusty in the morning, but as we drove further south to Davenport and Santa Cruz, the sun was out – NorCal microclimates! – the sea was a glorious azure, sparkling in the sun.

And there was Shark Fin Cove, the beach requiring quite a hike down a steep path, but from where we were we could see quite a few people in this small beach… not ideal…luckily the kids had had their beach fun earlier (on the cold Pescadero coast), digging in the sand and finding shells and stones, that they were fine not going down to this busy beach.

In these strange times, we wore masks when there were people around (some parts of the beach were empty, thankfully), made sure to bring a small bottle of soap and some water to wash our hands with (the beaches have vault toilets – ie no running water). 

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

Umbrella Academy. 

Listening:

Eating:

I had homemade walnut bread for breakfast

Drinking:

Tea with milk

Cooking:

We still have some hotpot soup leftover from Saturday. 

I was thinking of cooking gyudon, a Japanese-style beef bowl

Last week:

I read:

Ghosts of Greenglass House – Kate Milford

Shuri Vol 1 – Nnedi Okorafor

Beach Read – Emily Henry

I posted:

Library Loot (July 20 to August 4)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (July 27)

We had a busy Pokemon Go weekend as it was Go Fest, which is usually held in a particular city and thus would require airfare/hotel etc. But this year, because of the pandemic, Niantic decided it would be a so-called global event, one you could play from home.

I had no idea one sunflower plant could have so many flowers!

A new-to-me plant – San Marzano tomato. I’ve usually planted cherry tomatoes.

The photo below is of hyssop anise.

We hit a couple of parks over the weekend and this one was nice and empty. We were a bit uncomfortable at the main park, which is pretty and has a huge lake to walk around, as there were quite a few people there didn’t wear masks. And also there was one family who had their masks around their chins. I mean what’s the point of that? There are signs around the park that say face coverings are required. We have mainly been sticking to walks around our neighborhood and to our nearest two parks (one walkable, the other bikeable) and there, most of the people wear masks.

Finally made some masks for the husband and myself. I had made some for the kids earlier too.

Currently…

Reading:

Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga #1) – Lois McMaster Bujold

Watching:

The Umbrella Academy Season 1

Listening:

On the Come Up – Angie Thomas

Eating:

Drinking:

Coffee – I woke up before 5 this morning…

Cooking:

Last week:

I read:

Ghosts of Greenglass House – Kate Milford

Frost Burned – Patricia Briggs

I posted:

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (July 20, 2020)

I feel like we are speeding through July!

Here’s what we did last week…

I made Lemon Bliss Cake and chocolate chip doughnuts

The kids had a playdate with friends in the neighbouring park. It’s how birthdays are celebrated these days! A few hours spent outdoors, masks on, scootering, biking, snacking, climbing trees, playing with frisbees and stomp rockets

Currently…

Reading:

I feel like I’m reading more again!

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Heart Berries – Terese Marie Mailhot

Watching:

J-Style Trip on Netflix – Taiwanese singer Jay Chou and his magician buddies travel the world. The kids love watching this, surprisingly, despite it all being in Mandarin.

Listening:

onthecomeup

I just downloaded the audiobook of On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Eating:

For lunch, leftover paneer masala pizza!

Drinking:

Coffee

Cooking:

Maybe some Mac and cheese because we could all use some comfort food.

Claypot rice too!

Last week:

I read:

noughts&crosses

Fence Vol 1, 2, 3 – C.S. Pacat

The Old Guard Book 1 – Greg Rucka

Noughts and Crosses – Marjorie Blackman

I posted:

Library Loot (July 15 to 21)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (July 13, 2020)

It was my birthday this past weekend!

Well, with the situation as it is, we kept it simple, but did go a bit further to pick up lunch and the cake the husband had ordered. We went into Mountain View, where one of the main roads has been closed to traffic and turned into a large outdoor dining area. We didn’t eat there but took the food home to eat, as we are still being extra cautious about being out.

We had lunch from Doppio Zero:

  • squid ink pasta with seafood
  • oxtail rigatoni
  • pizza with rapini, burrata, Calabrian chili
  • pizza with burrata, arugula, prosciutto
  • fried calamari and shrimp

Also, this cake from Alexander’s Patisserie which may look familiar if you’ve followed this blog for a while, as the husband has ordered it three years in a row for my birthday. It’s that good – and that sinful, so only a small slice for each of us.

For dinner, we had delicious Malaysian/Singaporean food, as well as Burmese food.

What a delightful birthday!

Currently…

Reading:

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Watching:

Old Guard on Netflix

Eating:

A bagel for breakfast

Drinking:

Coffee

Cooking:

For dinner tonight, spinach and meatball pasta

Last week:

I read:

Beyond Magenta – Susan Kuklin

Braised Pork – An Yu

I posted:

Library Loot (July 8 to 14)

Most-Read Authors #TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (July 6, 2020)

It was a long weekend for the husband, whose office was closed from Thursday, to celebrate Independence Day. Usually my city has a parade down the Main Street, featuring motorbikes, gymnasts, school bands, wushu performances, floats and more. But this year, of course, that could not take place! The flyby still did happen though, and the kids loved watching the propeller planes go by in formation – three times!

For July 4th, we did a backyard barbecue with ribeye steak, sausages, asparagus, mini peppers, potatoes, and corn. And I had made my first ever lemon meringue pie! 

 

 

 

Other things this past week – tired of waiting for the masks we ordered to arrive (they don’t seem to have shipped still!), I pulled out some old clothes, that small sewing kit tucked away for mending, and checked out a Youtube video for making face masks without a sewing machine 

 

 

 

 

Currently…

Reading:

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik

Watching:

Crazy Delicious on Netflix – love the fun set and the way the contestants get to “forage” for the ingredients instead of that silly race to the pantry that most cooking competitions have.

Listening:

Crime and Punishment – yes, still

Eating:

I had toast for breakfast. And we will have dim sum leftovers for lunch. Char siew bao, here I come.

 

Drinking:

Strawberry and clementine water. That is, I chopped some fruits up, and popped into a glass jug filled with cold water. It sat there overnight. And is nice and refreshing.

Cooking:

I have lots of vegetables to cook up – broccoli in the oven, perhaps, if it’s not too hot.

I was considering making some lemon bars or my favourite lemon bliss cake 

Last week:

I read:

A Taste of Sage – Yaffa S. Santos

Just Mercy- Bryan Stevenson

I posted:

Library Loot (July 1 to 7)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (June 29, 2020)

Monday again huh. The weekend sure passed us by quick. And just like that, it’s the end of June!

Here’s what we did last week…

Ate some Cambodian noodles. That pork bone broth is so heavenly! So light and refreshing and not porky at all (I don’t know about you, but some pork broths can be too much for me).

Met up with some friends to go cycling in a neighbourhood park – masks included, although sometimes after they got hot, the kids took theirs off….making me wonder, how will they be able to keep it on for the whole day if school reopens??

It was Dragonboat Festival the other day – I had forgotten all about it, but my neighbour kindly gave us some dumplings. There is glutinous rice and pork inside.

The kids took a free creativity online class last week, and one of the things they did was painting. I kind of like this pineapple the 7yo did.

Currently…

Reading:

Braised Pork by An Yu

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Watching:

The kids started watching Floor is Lava

Listening:

More of Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Eating:

For breakfast, I had toast.

Drinking:

Tea

Cooking:

Maybe I’ll try making oyako don 

How about some pizza balls?

Last week:

I read:

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel

DNF : My Summer of Love and Misfortune by Lindsay Wong (ugh what an annoying main character, and then she gets thrown into the arms of rich relatives in China? Really?)

I posted:

Strawberry milk, Gula Melaka chiffon cake #WeekendCooking

Library Loot (June 24 to 30)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (June 22, 2020)

Whee! Week one of summer break is done with…nine (I think) weeks to go!

How have we filled our days? With some baking and cooking, some chores, lots of reading and screen time (the boys are into Minecraft, Pokemon Go, they also like to do some coding games, and I get to work on some educational websites like Brainpop and IXL).

We actually met up with classmates at a park. It was very proper, we kept it to under 12 people (4 families), wore masks, stay outdoors, tried to keep our distance (at least the adults managed, it was a bit harder for the kids. The 9-year-olds joked about how they could play 6 feet tag or get the parents to tag the kids. The 7-year-olds were off doing their own thing under the trees, trying to climb trees, running around, tiring themselves out). It was nice to have them spend a couple of hours with their friends, and also for me to hang out with the parents (we all have two kids in the same grades, and in the same Mandarin immersion programme, of which there are only two classes in each grade, so it’s a close-knit community).

This week, the kids are doing a free virtual art camp. Hope they’ll find it fun.

Meanwhile, last week…

 

One thing we’ve been doing every day (or almost every day) is taking a walk together.

 

One of their friends had a Minecraft birthday party. The kids played Minecraft together for 2+ hours while also on Zoom. They had a blast!

 

 

Saturday night sushi

 

 

Picked up some beauties from the farmers market.

 

 

 

 

Currently…

Reading:

The Glass Hotel – Emily St John Mandel

Watching:

upload

Upload on Amazon Video.

After seeing the trailer a few times (Amazon likes to put them in front of other shows you’re watching), I decided to watch the first episode and I was surprised to discover that I really liked it. It’s an interesting concept – when people die, they get “uploaded” to a virtual community, kinda like a retirement village of sorts. The main character is a woman working as an “angel” or customer service rep for the company, helping out the various uploads in the community. Her latest client is a young guy who died mysteriously in a self-driving-car crash. The new tech is all relatively relatable, something I could easily see in our nearish future although the show is set in 2033 and I doubt a lot of it will be available by then! The show is admittedly a bit bleak (since it’s full of characters that are essentially dead), but then again I was a fan of things like Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies (featuring reapers, a guy with the ability to revive dead things – including people). 

Listening:

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I’m really enjoying this audiobook, narrated by Anthony Heald who delivers it very much like a stage play.

Eating: 

Homemade pandan cake

Drinking:

Tea with milk

Last week:

I read:

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy – Alyssa Cole
Mooncakes – Suzanne Walker

I posted:

Library Loot (June 17 to 23)

Books on my summer TBR #TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

It’s Monday (June 15)

Hello and it’s Monday again!

News from the Bay Area – we are gradually opening up. Childcare, summer camps, social bubbles! Essentially, childcare is now available for everyone, not just essential workers, of course centres have to abide by lots of rules. Same for summer camps. And social bubbles are a group of 12 or fewer people from different households, maintained for at least 3 weeks eg 3 different families of four can meet up. I think restaurants will be allowed to start outdoor dining this week, along with retail, but with limited crowd sizes.

But so far, my family has not done things any different from the past few months. Our county has over 4,000 cases and I’m still not sure about how things are, since testing is still limited. Also, following news in Asia and reading about how lockdown measures have returned to Beijing,  I don’t feel comfortable yet about going about and doing all these things.

How are things where you are?

Meanwhile, some things from last week..

The kids and I made pizza for Friday dinner.

Our usual Pakistani-Indian takeout – mixed veg curry, lamb curry, saag dal, saag paneer. Also tandoori fish and tandoori chicken leg. And garlic and plain naan.

We picked up some Beyond Burgers from Costco – not bad! We’ve also tried the Impossible Burger (at a burger joint), and burgers from The Meatless Farm (bought at Whole Foods). The Beyond Burgers were not too bad!

 

img_1962.jpg

 

It was the last day of third grade and first grade last Wednesday. Both classes had virtual class parties. The third graders had each done a home diary video, highlighting some things they had done over the past few months’ Shelter-in-Place. They spent the time watching everyone’s videos together, then at the end they each had a “surprise” treat (prepared by the parents that is), sang a Chinese song together (it’s a Mandarin immersion program in a public school), and then blew out the candle. It was both a sweet and sad ending to this unusual school year.

 

Currently…

Reading:

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy – Alyssa Cole

Watching:

The latest season of Queer Eye

Listening:

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Eating:

Homemade tangzhong raisin bread

Drinking:

Tea

Last week:

I read:
Stepping Stones – Lucy Knisley
This is Paradise – Kristiana Kahakauwila

 

I posted:

Library Loot (June 10 to 16)

Now why are these books on my TBR? #TopTenTuesday

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (June 8, 2020)

Hello and happy Monday, or well, as happy as we can make it to be, all considering! I hope you are healthy and doing ok. I haven’t been posting my usual Monday posts these past couple of weeks.

But it’s the first day of summer vacation for the kids! And I’m still at a bit of a loss of what to do with the kids for all these many weeks! For this week at least, we will take it easy, get fresh air and sunshine, lots of reading time, TV time, some video games. I’ll figure out some cooking and baking plans, and maybe dabble in some arts and crafts. We won’t be traveling to Singapore this year (of course!), although our tickets had already been booked before all this happened.

 

 

 

 

Currently…

Reading:

Rodham – Curtis Sittenfeld

Watching:

Private Practice – I started watching the first few episodes some years ago but never continued and oh well, I guess I needed something that’s kinda soapy

Listening:

Eating:

 

I made a big batch of waffles yesterday so we have lots of leftovers.

Drinking:

Coffee.

Cooking:

Thinking of making some okonomiyaki , maybe with bacon, cabbage, corn. I’ll try one with kimchi which I reckon would be like the Korean-style pancake.

Last week:

I read:

(So this is more than just the past week, but the past three weeks!)


Going into Town – Roz Chast
Click – Kayla Miller
The Bridegroom was a dog – Yoko Tawada
The Three Body Problem – Liu Cixin
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World – Debbie Tung

I posted:

Recent reads – magic, urban fantasy, Chinese sci-fi.

Library Loot (May 27 to June 2)

Pork floss buns #weekendcooking

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

It’s Monday (May 18, 2020)

 

Last week we marked 60 days of school closure. It sounds really long but somehow it hasn’t felt like that. It’s strange to think that we have been sheltering-in-place since before both my kids had their birthdays, since before spring break, and now we are in the last month or so of school. I’ve been reading that some places (like the city’s programmes) are planning summer camps (of course there have also been other news like a major summer camp company cancelling all their camps completely – and not giving refunds!).

I had been waiting and trying to decide and had not signed the boys up for summer camps in the Before. So now I’m glad I had waited because who knows what will be happening in the next few months. At this point, I’m still not comfortable with them going to be in a camp with strangers. And so I will have to figure out some summer fun of our own.

What about you? Do you have summer plans?

Some things we did last week…

Currently…

 

Reading:

The Three Body Problem – Liu Cixin

The Bridegroom was a dog – Yoko Tawada

 

 

Watching:

Dead to Me Season 2

 

Listening:

I just finished Frankly in Love yesterday so have not figured out my next audiobook.

 

Eating:

Homemade scones

Drinking:

Tea

Cooking:

Lots of vegetables! I had a big order from an online Asian grocer and I have a big bag of broccoli and another of bok choy.

Last week:

I read:


Frankly in Love – David Yoon
The Fall – Tracy Townsend

I posted:

The Nine by Tracy Townsend #review

Library Loot (May 13 to 19)

Recent DNF books #TopTenTuesday

 

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date