Old Hollywood in downtown Singapore

20 03 2012

Im turning 30 this year. It’s scary

Actually, Im turning 30 in two days. It’s scarier!

And after a mini-crisis at approaching 25 (oh, how i wish to be approaching 25 again) I wasnt sure how I’d handle the big Three-Oh. Still, instead of running and hiding I decided to grab it by the horns and step up to not only face, but embrace it.

Fact of the matter is that at 30 you have a much better grip on who you are and what you want. I have surrounded myself with people I choose to surround myself with , I have bought a little flat, I have lived across three continents, I am more confident in my work and feel comfortable in my (admittedly stretched, but slowly recovering!) skin. It is a better mentality than the confused early- and mid-twenties so it feels like a good beginning to a new decade.

also – I totally went to a psychic and it sounds like even better things are just around the corner – so I’m sure part of the serenity comes from that!

Part of my ‘grabbing 30 by the horns’ is making sure I usher it in with the important people in my life – and this means Celebrations of INTERNATIONAL PROPORTIONS!!  Beginning with an ‘Old Hollywood’ themed party in Singapore…

The venue was the very beautiful Divine Wine Bar in Singapore.  Its an incredibly art-deco themed triple height space which is so decadent and beautiful. It sits within Parkview Square – or what most people know as the ‘Gotham Building’ because it looks just like a set from the Tim Burton Batman films. Funny how many of my guests remarked that they had never been inside considering how iconic the building itself is.

Bizarrely despite being one of the most beautiful spaces in Singapore it is near empty on a Saturday night – last time I was there we counted about 12 people (including us) and on the night of my party there were maybe 15 people other than my group of friends. What a waste. I am assured that weeknights are busier with the local office crowd and a band that plays. Having said that, the customer service is not of the highest standard – even if they do ‘fly’ angels up to retrive wine from the 3 storey wine cellar – alike so:

Flying up to retrieve wine from the 3 storey wine cellar

The management are difficult to deal with too – telling me to “just order from the menu” when I asked if we could do a better price on some bottles of champagne  and food platters despite tripling their clientele for the night.  (although when I looked at the menu two-thirds were not in stock despite knowing they were expecting a large booking who wanted food…!? so fried chicken bits and somosas all round…!)

Anyway, for a casual drink in Singapore its a pretty sweet spot and I recommend dropping in some time.

Aside from earlier frustrations with management – the night was so lovely and I so appreciated everyone’s effort. I was so pleased that my friends who joined me bought into the ‘Old Hollywood’ theme. The costumes were great and completely in keeping with the surroundings – I couldn’t have been more pleased. My friend Hannah baked and decorated a themed cake too! Yum! The easiest way to summarise the night would be just to share a whole load of photos taken by my friend Xin – apologies to anyone not captured in this photo set, send me your pics so I can add them too!

Enjoy the glamour!

…and Melbourne? You’re next.

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Merry Christmas!

26 12 2011

Hope you all had a happy, safe and enjoyable Christmas, filled with good food, good wine and good company.

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I had four days of too much to eat and drink and some really good times. Special thanks to Alma, Kate, Owen, Mardi, Key, Ben, Suan Wee, Alyssa and Patrick for their company and hospitality – you all made Christmas very special.

Now – who else is on the healthy eating and exercise again with me tomorrow?? x





Love in lorong 42

19 12 2011

Let me tell you about our favorite Singaporean aunty.

She works at the Vietnamese shop near our condo. And she looks after me and alma and the daily operating hours of 4pm-4am works with our hours of consciousness.

When I broke my wrist I had to eat something before I took one of the prescribed pain killers. Megan and I stopped in on the way back from hospital and of course I ordered the easiest meal to eat single handed – beef noodle soup. Aunty brought it over and proceeded to stir in the sauces and other ingredients for me, telling me about how it is good for my bone healing as the broth is made with bones and marrow stock.

I’ve never asked her name, and she doesn’t know our names either. But she knows were both coke zeros, I’m a Pho Bo and Alma is a stewed beef vermicelli. We know that she is worried about business now that the government aren’t renewing the leases on the Girly bars in the area and the police are doing raids – her Vietnamese working girls and their customers aren’t getting late nights suppers anymore.

She’s great. She’s sporting the same haircut as Alma at the moment so was only too happy to pose for a photo.

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The closest I could find to a twin was one of the Vietnamese waitresses – although her colour is closer to my first attempt at going blonde in Singapore.

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Anyway, it’s a great restaurant, the food us fabulous and cheap. The staff are lovely and it’s one if geylang’s hidden treasures. I hope it survives.

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We had sone food and a catch up there tonight. Started with phil and i, then alma joined us aching from yoga

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Martjin came down and bernie arrived for a quick coconut juice too.

Theres only one night til martjin leaves us fie Europe for good – will be sad without him here. I didnt see him very often, but wen i did he always had a story to tell and his company always made for a good night.

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To-do list for Xmas

18 12 2011

We’re just week out from Christmas now and things are ramping up for travel home to family, big Xmas day celebrations, present buying and giving, etc. The kid next door is even practicing “we wish you a merry Christmas” on his piano while I lie here typing this (repeatedly, and the same bung note each time…)

Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Well, it is everywhere but here at singapore’s casa del Bañuelos e davis. I’m not feeling christmassy at all. I think the main thing is that this year I dropped home to have a week with my family earlier in December, so as to fit in to the annual leave schedule (left booking time off too late and there were too many people away – the office here doesn’t shut down for the Xmas week, so we need people here). This isn’t so bad, it was great to see everyone, do an early gift exchange, and eat, drink and be generally merry ahead of time. It does make me feel like I’ve “done” Christmas now though.

The other factor may be weather. Of course in Singapore it is reliably 34 degrees with 70-80% humidity like every other day of the year. I know I’m
Australian and used to hot christmasses, but I think now I’ve experienced two uk christmasses I realize whats meant by “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. I never realized how stupid and nonsensical it was to eat a full meal of roast turkey and ham, with veggies and gravy followed by a generous serving of steaming hot plum pudding swimming in a bowl of freshly microwaved custard IN FORTY DEGREE HEAT! that meal makes soo much more sense in the northern hemisphere winters, with snow and german Christmas markets and the smell of mulled wine in the air. Again, not that I’m complaining, it’s just that my view on southern hemisphere Xmas has adjusted in the last few years.

The other thing that is possibly adding to my non-christmas feeling is I’m not actually doing anything – previously if I wasnt home I was setting off on some exotic adventure, to Egypt or around europe, so Christmas excitement was replaced with pre-holiday excitement which equates roughly to the same thing. I guess even planning to host/contribute to a christmas lunch or dinner would bring that excitement with it. All the feelings you get – excitement, stress, last minute buying, packing, wrapping, getting to that stage where you think “this is too hard, I can’t even be bothered doing this anymore”, and then getting to the day and enjoying it all.

When I say I’m not doing anything, please don’t break out the violins – I am doing something with sone friends – we are heading off to the ritz for lunch with free-flow champagne!! But going somewhere takes away that anticipation and preparedness and stress and excitement. That’s more the point I was trying to make!

Anyway.

There are a couple of long weekends over the holiday season with christmas and new years day. Also, with people away I have the feeling that both work and upcoming social life is going to be quiet for a week or two. So, what’s my solution to filling my ‘need for human contact void’? HOBBIES!!! Who needs love when theres southern comfort and who needs mankind when you have hobbies??

So these are my two holiday projects:

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A mad men style retro dress which butterick classify as ‘easy’ in pale yellow and baby blues with a skull pattern. Cost me $95 in materials and I am aware that for $95 I could probably have bought quite a nice summer dress without all the effort of making one, but I think that would be missing the point. Plus about $45 of that expense was buying proper scissors, dressmaking pins, pattern etc. It’s like when you bake a cake in your new place for the first time – you go the the shops to buy the ingredients and walk away having spent $50 because you had to buy things like vanilla essence and cake tins and cooling racks and wooden spoons, etc. The cakes after will be cheaper, hopefully so too will the dresses.

I am a little worried about the idea of me learning to sew though. Everyone who knows me knows I have a very strong inner drag queen and this is kept under control mainly by me only being able to buy what is available in shops which means someone has already deemed it alright for day to day use. If I’m in control of fabric selections, cut choices, trim, sequins, feathers and bedazzling then things could take a turn for the FABULOUS (it’s Lacroix sweetie…) although possible a large step away from the corporate chic I should be striving for.

The other project is working on a classical piece of music on piano – specifically beethovens piano sonata in c minor, second movement, adagio cantabile. I’m going to try and do it on my own to improve my reading, plus there are a few keyboard view renditions of this on YouTube that I can use for fingering ideas (minds out of the gutter, all of you) and to listen to in order to hear the dynamics, tempo, etc. This guy does a beautiful version of it, but his facial expressions are so bad and distracting that I kept wiring for the joke like it was a skit from the fast show.

I first fell in live with this piece when dad and I were preparing music for my grandpa’s funeral, which sounds very morbid. But aside from the very simple but beautiful melody I guess it accompanied all that period of pulling together photos of our family on dads side.

We were always close to all of our family, but see mums side more as they tend to travel in packs and be a lot more outgoing and social! If we were heading to the shopping centre or the beach or the cinema it was likely that nan and pa and/or an aunty, uncle, cousin would also be meeting us there. It’s always great fun to catch up with them, but I guess it tended to be something that happened more often.

Dads side were always a bit more reserved, a bit more for the special occasions – Christmas, their birthdays, our birthdays. Dads parents were older than mums, but aside from the age difference there was definitely also a personality difference. While they were quieter and more easily overwhelmed when the Davis tribe arrived, they were still always genuinely interested in what we were doing, would be happy to see us, proud of us. Shannons toilet roll pirate stayed on display in the living room, michaels paintings/drawings were still on the walls, aunty gils paintings and leadlights were right through the house. They held on to the toys we loved like the old yogurt containers with pegs and those itchy wigs – all of them probably untouched for a good 12 years, but were there just in case. They used to put up with our love of their musical doorbell too, me insisting that we had to press the button until the “happy birthday” tune played if we were visiting for such an occasion. My favorite bit was grandpa’s back room – his haven of serenity. ABC classic fm would always be on quietly, his books were all arranged on the bookshelf in height order, a 3 volume series which made up a picture of a silhouette of a sneaking mam was my favorite. He had a keyboard down there with all the different voices and rhythms and backing tracks and I used to go down and bash out some songs on it and even drag grandpa down to listen to my ‘performance’. He was always very encouraging despite my lack of training or more importantly talent. I remember trying to play along with a cassette on his stereo and informing him that his tape deck was running too fast because the song is playing back a semitone higher than it should be, he investigated and I was right, but there was no way to change the speed setting – I don’t think he listened to tapes again through that stereo.

Anyway, I guess listening to that piece of music now is bittersweet because it was used on a sad day, but also it was the background music to reflecting on happy memories and a special person. I find myself missing grandpa a lot these days, probably more because I’ve found myself interested in many things that he was passionate about – photography, musical theatre, piano. Would have been great to mine his wealth of knowledge and share these things with him as I discover them. Of course I miss grandma too, but it’s grandpa I think of most often.

Ok, personal reflections over, it’s a nice piece of music and sounds pretty easy for the most part. Although I suspect that it may be deceptive and actually quite difficult, it’s a grade 3 piano piece apparently – and considering I havent done any formal formal piano training I might be biting off more than I can chew. It’s worth a shot though, right…?

One thing I might struggle with is not humming along with my playing – Beethoven hates that, DON’T HUM!





Save your eugoogily

18 09 2011

Alma, Mandy and I ran the 10km run in aid of the yellow ribbon foundation this morning. The run wound it’s way from changi village, up towards the airport and the last few km’s were through the changi prison facility. Which really looks more like a set of hdb flats with a big fence than a prison

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Alma and I left for the race at 6.45, a full hour before the start, all we had to do was go the few mrt stops and grab a shuttle bus. Easy, and that part went fine, the bus ride was another story. The bus got stuck in traffic resulting from all the road closures due to the run. The race start time came and went as we entertained ourselves on the bus…

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We got to the start line and off we went. It was a really hot day, no clouds, no breeze, so the run was a real challenge. I started strong with a good run/walk strategy and the first 2km were past before I even knew it, even getting to the drink station at 6km was quite alright. But at the station I really needed to pee, this overwhelming need, like I was going to wet myself! The line took forever and when I finally got to the tiny portaloo there was hardly anything, other runners – is this typical? Have you experienced this before? It happened again at the finish line too. Weird.

Anyway, gross anatomical things aside, after my pee-break I found it really hard to get back into the previous rhythm/excitement and from the 7km mark til about the 8.5km mark I was really starting to struggle. I dont know if it was the stop or if it was just that this section was pretty exposed to the blazing sun. From 8.5km onward the run was inside the existing changi prison compound and I think shade coupled with the view of the finish line spurred me on, but that last little bit was not too bad. I even managed to run for the last 500m to cross the finish line.

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So now, I’m sunburnt, I’m tired, but I’m pretty happy to have made it through!





The streets run red with runners

3 07 2011

Despite all the uncertainty in the days leading up to the run, it was race day which would be the decider of fates!

I tentatively decided to test my body on a run yesterday with Mandy. And I was pretty terrible. But – importantly, I covered the distance and my lungs didn’t collapse and I didn’t vomit or pass out (although I did manage to strain my Achilles) So I made the decision. 8.15am at the great eastern women 10km, I was going to run in the 5km event I had signed up for.

We got to the start point around 6.50am so that Alma could start the 10km run at 7.30. We both had some weird nervous energy going and I was still so impressed that she was going to make 10km! When she had gone I had about 45min to start building up some real nervousness. I didn’t really know how to stretch, but it seemed the right thing to do, so I copied what other runners were doing. Ida turned up and I think she was feeling bit nervous too which made me feel better, so we channelled the nervous energy into pre-run photography.

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Mandy joined us eventually and wasn’t nervous at all. She’s always so cool.

I had a game plan of run, walk, run, walk, run for each of the five 1km intervals. When the run started though, it all went out the window.

I got quite a good amount of running in in the first part, good pace and constant. By the time I came around by the singapore flyer I had to switch to walking though. I was tired and the sun was searing down. Running is hard at the best of times, but throw in 35degree heat and 90% humidity and its a real killer. The unshaded sections of the route were hard going.

There were two big bottlenecks along the route, one as we came off the bridge and into MBS, and one coming up from the merlion. I imagine these would have been very frustrating for people trying to make a certain time, but for me the slowing was a help. Got a chance to catch my breath and build some enthusiasm up for breaking back into run when I was past the holdup. For the most part I was using audio markers to switch between running and walking. I would run for a song then walk for a song. Seemed an ok system. If I had have been in full health I might have been able to do two songs on, one off. Ah well, next run.

Near customs house I saw ida’s merry ponytail bobbing away in front of me. I don’t know if she had come from behind and run past me or if I had caught up to her, but I increased the speed and caught up with her. We had just under 2km to go, so decided we would run the last km together. The plan was foiled by the merlion bottleneck, but we did do the last 500m together running (except for like a 10 second break when my song finished and I lost rhythm). We ran across the line at around 48mins.

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I thought we’d be faster than that cos I’ve walked 5km in 54mins before, so a 6min saving seems hardly worth the extra effort of running. But, as dad said, perhaps I had too much energy in the vertical and not enough longitudinal. Could be right, with so many runners it was hard to get a good rhythm/stride. Maybe I’ll run the route again on my own one day and see if I do any better.

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Still, we all made it. Mandy did her 5km in 42min, Alma did her 10km in 1hr 22min. Very very impressive.

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The pressure is on now for a 10km one in september. After making it through today it’s something I’ll consider. I’m not even going to entertain Alma’s other suggestion of the half marathon in December. 21km is probably still a bit beyond this little black duck.

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Assuming the recovery position

1 07 2011

So Friday is here and it’s the first day I’ve felt somewhere near my normal self. Despite working on Monday afternoon and wednesday, I think today is the first day I am actually useful and recovering properly.

I had a false start on Wednesday when the fever broke at 6am. I was convinced that because I was no longer feverish I was healthy. So showered and dressed I trotted off to work. By lunchtime I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I bought up the shelf of cold and flu panadol at the drugstore and steeled myself to keep going. I refused to be sick for a moment longer. I made it eventually and was even feeling ok enough to use my ticket to the Kylie concert. I met up with Alma’s sports hub colleagues who had got all the tickets and immediately started to struggle. They were very social and talkative. I was using every ounce of energy to stay vertical without swaying or falling. Thankfully we got to go into the stadium and find our seats soon after my arrival.

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I took another couple of panadol cold and flu (here is where Kirsten, Bec and Jodi will hear alarm bells. They remember our cruise holiday where I got sick, took one panadine and slept without waking for 36 hours – I don’t really do medicine) as the dj started to rev up the crowd. The show was great, I think, I was so doped up. I sat the whole time and tunelessly sung along to the ones i knew – I remember complaining to the girl next to me that if I didn’t get some “indie Kylie” (I.e. Circa impossible princess album) I was outta there in a flash. Based on my lethargy up until that point im guessing she knew damn well I was going nowhere at any speed with or without indie Kylie. Luckily Kylie did pull out the ol’ “confide in me” and I even sang along loudly until my vocal chords gave out about 3/4 of the way through. I found myself watching the jumbo screen a lot though. Partly from my drug haze, but also something I find myself doing heaps at these big scale shows. Seems so stupid. There is the performer in person, singing and dancing their heart out and I’m completely ignoring them in order to watch the image on the big tv. I wonder what others do at these shows? Is it ok to pay the dollars and sit and watch the screens or would I have been better off waiting for the tour to come out on DVD?

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Anyway. I walked home from the indoor stadium and had to stop at about halfway because I couldn’t breathe. My lungs had seized up and were killing me. I had to rest, have a massive coughing fit, rest again and then journey home. Bit scary for a while, but made it back ok.

All of wednesday night I kept waking to cough, until my throat and lungs were raw and stinging. I woke on Thursday morning with a temperature again and a deep hot ache in my face, throat and chest. I couldn’t get in to work and instead just sat and sobbed at being defeated by this illness. I cried and coughed and cried more. I just wanted to be well and do all things I had planned to do in the week. I was disappointed at how much further back that set my running plans. I was upset I couldn’t do the work I needed to and was letting people down. And I was just so sick of being sick. Eventually I gave up on relying on the power of my own immune system and decided to see a doctor. I made it all the way to the clinic near my work only to be told there were no doctors in for the rest of the day, so off instead to the 24hour clinic at the hospital. About halfway through the 1.5hr wait in reception I realized I was actually feeling much brighter. The cough was no longer so persistent, my throat wasn’t as swollen and I hardly had a temperature at all. That’s right, after 4.5 dats of illness, my body had discovered it’s defenses mere minutes before being viewed by a medical professional, and now I was going to have to pretend to be sicker than I now was just so it didn’t look like I was wasting the doctors time. Bared on the fact the doctor sent me away with some anti-histamines, a bottle of kids cough syrup and a bottle of a ‘herbal extract’ instead of actual medicine I’m guessing I hadn’t pulled off the act. How annoying.

So today I was back at work. And it was nice. Got some stuff done, made some phone calls and was so happy to be out of the house. I even tried to join in the end of month office drinks, but 3 minutes proved my breaking point and I was too overwhelmed.

So I got my nails done instead.

Mandy and Jen came for dinner with me in orchard and we had a very civilized and quiet night.

Although calorie filled. While I’ve been sick I have taken a very relaxed approach towards food. If I was craving a tub of ice cream I got it. Considering I hardly ate at all and that I was feeling so crap I thought I’d let it slide. And I did still come out the end another kg lighter. But I have lost my discipline a bit now, so back on to http://www.myfitnesspal.com after each meal, and no more coffee and cake stops. I’m healthy now so time to get back to working on being healthier. Speaking of which, anyone up for giving ‘dry July’ a go with me?

…now, to run or not to run. That’s the next question. You’ll know of decision after sunday morning.