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元宵过了,新的一年正式开始。哈哈,人人的新年在阳历一月一日就开始了, 我的现在才开始。没办法啦,我这人总是慢半拍!

写了08回顾后,我拿了去年定下的新年愿望来看看,很惊讶也很高兴, 原来自己还真完成了好几项(除了第五项) 。虽不是每项都做足一百分,不过总算很努力。

今年的愿望和去年的很相似。

  • 第一 , 安康快乐。吃要吃得健康,继续煲汤,喝茶,学煮一手好菜给Ed (当然也给自己啦)。
  • 第二,修心养性,少发小姐脾气。
  • 第三,要更努力学好中医。回马时,继续向爸爸学习。希望今年好好研读《黄帝内经》和专注妇产科。
  • 第四,部落搬家。突然觉得这里的文章有点散乱,想搬家和整理一下。搬家时会通知大家。
  • 第五,这个嘛,要看我在哪个国家。基于种种原因,我正考虑着回澳十个月左右。如决定留在加拿大,要继续考药剂牌,还有好几张试卷。如回澳洲,要回大学读针灸学。这也是我一直想取得的学位。

五个够啦,不可太贪心。至于,去年没完成的第五项 (开一个中医知识部落格),再看吧。

Finally, the traditional 15-day long Chinese New Year is officially finished a few days ago. So, my ‘new year’ is officially started. Well, I know most people’s new years have started from 1st January.   But for me, who studied so hard for exam, I allow myself to start the new year later. Heehee…

To start a new year, I normally begin with a few new year determinations. Looking back at my 2007 new year resolutions, I am quite surprised and a little overwhelmed that I DID achieve most of them (except no.5) ! Although I can’t say I have achieved them 100% (those goals require continuous effort anyway), at least,  I have tried my best. For example, for someone so fussy like Ed, complimented on my cooking, I think I am doing ok 😉  .

To keep up with the flow and the continuity, this year resolutions are similar to last year.

  1. Oh happiness and health !  Continue my effort in becoming a better cook, eat more at home, drink more teas and boil more soups. All for Ed, of course, for myself too 😉
  2. Just wanna be a better person, so will start with whine less to my hubby !
  3. Continue to improve and deepen my knowledge and experiences in Chinese Medicine. It is my greatest treasure to have a dad who has more than 30 years of experience in Chinese Medicine, so learning from him is a must this year. Hope to focus my studies in Gynaecology and the thousands year-old classic <Yellow Emperor’s Canon Internal Medicine>.
  4. Move this blog to a new domain. I suddenly realised how messy this blog is, moving will help me to do some cleaning up. Will keep everyone in loop if I move.
  5. Ummm….this no.5 will depend on where I will be living this year. Due to a few reasons, I am considering moving back to Australia for 10 months. If I decide to stay in Canada, I will continue my journey to become a registered pharmacist here. If I go back to Australia, I may go back to university to pick another master degree. This time acupuncture, something I wish to do for a while.

Ok, five goals are enough. Don’t want to put too much on myself.

What about the no. 5 goal last year (start a new blog on Chinese Medicine) ? Ummm….shall see….

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With Family & friends in Malaysia (Jan & Jun)

马来西亚家人朋友 (1月 和 6月)

Dear English readers, please scroll down for English translation.

阳历年时忙考试,没回顾我在08年做了什么。
现在,试考了,农历年过了,回头看看,鼠年可真多姿多彩。

这两年来日子都很漂泊,去年可说是‘四海为家’的顶峰:-
在马来西亚和澳洲各住了三个月,其余的六个月则在加拿大。

Traveled with Ed in Malaysia (Feb)

和Ed在马旅游 (2月)

1月 – 大马
回马做家里的大小姐。
在爸爸店里帮忙和学习。
天天去巴刹,到处吃吃吃。

2月 – 大马
Ed第一次来马,第一次见家长。
我俩背包游新加坡,吉隆坡,槟城,马六甲和浮罗交怡。
Ed回加国工作,我回澳洲工作。

With friends in Australia ((Mar - May)

澳洲的朋友 (3月 - 5月)

3月 – 澳洲
上班。和一位好朋友住。
放工回家就和朋友追港剧。
很高兴和很多朋友相聚。
喝我爱喝的意大利咖啡和比利时热巧克力,
吃我爱吃的eggs benedict早餐。

4月 – 澳洲
继续上班。
搬进一间有三房,却只有一张床和一张椅子的公寓。
没有网络。看了很多英文小说。

Lonely apartment in Australia (May)

寂寞的公寓 (澳洲)

5月 – 澳洲
如4月。

6月 – 大马
回马。如1月。

Toronto (July - Dec)

多伦多 (7月 - 12月)

7 月 – 加国
回加国。见到Ed给他一个大拥抱 :“亲爱的,好久没见”。
享受我在加国的第一夏天。

8月 – 加国
阳光继续普照。每个周末尽情欢享。
Ed告诉我,我煲的汤和煮的东西已可以见人。Yay !
我这大小姐开始认真做好家务。

Toronto (2) (July - Dec)

多伦多 (7月 - 12月)

9月 – 加国
啊!结婚吧!

10月 – 加国
开始发闷。不如去学喝茶和学泡茶吧。

Gonna have fun in summer (Canada)

Hey 先生,来个胜利手势吧 ! (多伦多)

11月 – 加国
好冷。
决定参加考试,

12月 – 加国
好冷。
拼命苦读。
圣诞和新年快乐!

Toronto (3) (July - Dec)

多伦多 (7月 - 12月)

1月 – 加国
试考了,年过了。
2009 牛年要做什么好呢 ? ……

With Family & friends in Malaysia (Jan & Jun)

With Family & friends in Malaysia (Jan & Jun)

I was very busy with exam during the New Year, did not get the chance to review my 2008 year. Exam is finally over and (Chinese) New Years came and gone, finally, I have the time to sit down, to reflect on my 2008 year. Looking back, it was indeed a great and interesting year.

For the past two years, I have been dividing my times between Malaysia, Australia and Canada, and last year was my most traveled and drifting year. I lived 3 months each in Malaysia and Australia, the rest of the six months in Canada.

Traveled with Ed in Malaysia (Feb)

Traveled with Ed in Malaysia (Feb)

Jan – Malaysia
Went back to Malaysia and be pampered like a princess at home by my lovely family.
Learned from my father and helped out in his shop.
Went to pasar often and fully enjoyed the famous delicious street food !

Feb – Malaysia
Ed visited Malaysia for the first time and met my parents for the first time.
We traveled in Singapore, KL, Penang, Malacca and Langkawi.
Ed headed back to Canada, while I went back to Australia.

With friends in Australia ((Mar - May)

With friends in Australia ((Mar - May)

Mar – Australia
Went back to work. Stayed with a good friend.
Hong Kong TV series was our favourite passtime together after work.
So happy to catch up with many good friends in Oz.
Drunk my favourite Italian coffee and Belgium hot chocolate;
ate my favourite eggs benedict breakfast.

Apr – Australia

Continued to work.
Moved into a huge 3 bedroom condominium, however,
you won’t believe I only lived with a folding bed and a chair in the condo.
No Internet. Read many novels.

Lonely apartment in Australia (May)

Lonely apartment

May – Australia
Same as April.

Jun – Malaysia
Went back to Malaysia.
Same as January.

Toronto (July - Dec)

Toronto (July - Dec)

Jul – Canada
Went back to Canada.
Gave Ed a big hug, ‘Darling, long time no see! ‘
Enjoyed my first summer in Canada.

Aug – Canada
Went to nearly all summer street festivals and events.
Surprisingly, Ed started to praise my cooking ! Yay!
Finally, I had been better with housework.

Toronto (2) (July - Dec)

Toronto (2) (July - Dec)

Sep – Canada
Let’s get married dear !

Oct – Canada
Started to feel bored and restless. So attended Tea Sommelier classes.

Gonna have fun in summer (Canada)

Hey dude, you gonna have fun in summer ! (Canada)

Nov – Canada
So cold !
Decided to sit for exam.

Dec – Canada
So cold !!
Studied unbelievably hard for the exam.
Happy Christmas and New Year !

Jan – Canada
Exam is over, new years came and gone.
What am I going to do in 2009 ? …..

Toronto (3) (July - Dec)

Toronto (3) (July - Dec)

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Ok, I heard about this, however, it is just so sad to hear it again during this so-called ‘once-in-a-century’ economic downturn, while many (many) others are worrying if they would still have their jobs tomorrow, while pensioners are losing most of their money for retirement, while some people might not be able to pay their food and shelter bills tomorrow, while many people working their fingers to their bones for their CEOs….

During a dinner, a friend told me, after the new year, he received an order from the boss to go back to office to fire 10 workers. At that time, I felt that the economic problem is really hitting home, but I forget it probably never hits the top CEOs’ homes ! Or time will prove this….

X     X     X     X     X

From Yahoo! Finance News

“TORONTO – As many Canadians nurse their post-New Year’s Eve hangovers and ponder what further economic storms await, Canada’s top corporate executives can take some comfort in knowing they have already earned as much as the average worker will earn in all of 2009.

A new analysis by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives concludes the country’s richest corporate executives will have pocketed an average of $40,237 by 9:04 a.m. Friday morning.

“By the time your computer has finished booting up on your first day back after the New Year’s holiday, the average CEO would have already banked what took the average Canadian worker an entire year’s worth of work to earn,” the report states.

“Many of the top 100 include Canada’s big bank CEOs, who recently received billions in federal government bailout money to purchase mortgage loans.”

Prepared by economist Hugh Mackenzie, the report finds the top 100 CEOs of publicly traded corporations averaged more than $10 million in pay apiece in 2007, the last full year for which figures are available.

……..

To read the full story, click here.

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圣诞娃娃

圣诞娃娃

昨晚,我一边包圣诞礼物,一边在自言自语....

记得,约十年前,我药剂行的澳洲洋人老板问我,“你是华人,不庆祝圣诞的,对吗?你是佛教徒,不庆祝圣诞的,对吗?那你在圣诞当天上班一定没问题吧?"这哪是问我,简直是要我内疚,要我上班 (注:我是那间药剂行唯一的亚裔药剂师。那间药剂行365天都开足13个小时)。

我心里算一算,“哗!十三个小时,双倍工钱,即可赚二十六小时的工钱。划算划算。” 那时,我刚大学毕业,穷,又要学人储钱旅行,傻。我假装推迟一下,就答应下来了。反正,我是真的不庆祝圣诞的。接下来的五,六年,我的圣诞都是在店铺里过,从早上七点到晚上十点。我一点都不在意,顾客很少,很空闲,不难挨过。

一直到四年前,圣诞还是与我无关。没想到,现在,圣诞突然变得这么重要 -圣诞树, 礼物,卡片,火鸡,团圆,假期,派对,还有白雪飘飘。

人生一个转弯,有些重要的好像变得不重要了,不重要的好像开始重要起来....

今早起来,我忘了昨晚思考的问题,匆匆赶去预定两个蛋糕 – 一个要带去明晚朋友家的派对,一个要带去圣诞晚Ed大家族的团圆晚餐。今天不预定,明天一定卖清光!26日晚,和Ed父母吃饭要带的已准备....

愿祝大家圣诞快乐!

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner

Last night, I was talking to myself while I was wrapping Christmas presents….

I still remember vividly how my boss asked me to work on Christmas Day. It was about 10 years ago, ‘Shirley, you are a Chinese, Chinese doesn’t celebrate Christmas, right? You are a Buddhist, Buddhist does not celebrate Christmas, right? So, I think you are the best person to work on Christmas Day !’ Since I was the only Asian in the pharmacy, and he was right about a Chinese Buddhist (plus as a immigrant whose family is in Malaysia) does not celebrate Christmas.

So, I accepted the offer. Well, who won’t? The shop opened on Christmas Day for 13 hours, and I got paid double. In fact, being a poor newly graduate who dreamed of saving for travel, I felt grateful to have the shift ! Since then, my boss never failed to give me the Christmas shift and all my Christmas for the following 5 or 6 years were spent in the pharmacy from 7am to 10pm. Frankly, I did not mind at all. The pharmacy was normally quiet on Christmas Day and it was not a difficult shift.

It was not until 4 years ago, I stopped working on Christmas Day. Prior to that, Christmas was just another day for me. I am surprised to realise that it has suddenly become important in my life – the Christmas tree, Christmas presents, the turkey, Christmas parties, family gathering, holiday, Christmas cards,  and the previously unthinkable White Christmas. I have them all now.

Life is interesting, just a small twist and turn, previously important things are no longer important, and what never appeared important has suddenly play an important role in my life….

Woke up this morning, totally forgot what I was pondering last night, I rushed to Loblaws to order two cakes – one for tomorrow night Christmas Eve dinner with friends, one for Christmas Day dinner with Ed’s extended family.  I know if I don’t order today, I will have trouble getting the cakes I want tomorrow. And we have already prepared what we want to bring for 26th dinner with Ed’s parents….


Merry Christmas to you all !!!

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winter wear in Canada

winter wear in Canada

Bryan left the following message in my previous post :

I am going to Harbin end of this year. I believe it will be minus 15 Degree during the day.Since I am not living in Subzero Climate for long period, I just bought a Winter Jacket, not those ultra warm type though, but for active sports, where we partially keep ourselves warm while exercising in the cold weather. I think it might not be enough to fend off the cold there.

How many layers of clothing you wear to protect yourself from the cold?

My idea:
1st Under Thermal (Long John shirt and pants)
2nd Long Sleeve T-Shirt
3rd Wool Sweater
4th Thin Down Jacket
5th Wind & Waterproof outer jacket

Ear Warmer
Gloves
Head Warmer?

Wish me luck! ”

Hey Bryan,

I went online to check the weather in Harbin, yup, it is already around minus 5 to 15 degree during the day !! And currently, the wind gust is around 4-15 mph (6-23 km/h), which is quite strong if you are walking on the streets, especially in wind tunnel (like between tall buildings). So, you have to be quite prepared, especially people like us, who are brought up in tropical weather.

Looking at your 5 layers clothing sandwich, I think you will be fine for the minus 15. However, it depends on the quality of your down jacket and the water/windproof  jacket. It makes all the difference !

windproof jacket with face cover

windproof jacket with chin flaps

Not sure what kind of quality you will get in Malaysia. So, whatever you buy, check the quality properly, or buy trusted brands.  There are hell lots of things to consider for good down or windproof jackets. I am not going to go to the details here and you only go there for a short trip. Just some simple things you should look for. For example, for down jacket, check exactly what the down filling is (make sure is not synthetic) and its fill power (how dense they pack the down/feather); for water/windproof jacket, check the construction of the jacket (how well the jacket is ‘sealed’), fabric lining etc.

I have a windproof jacket that have two ‘flaps’ on my face area (left picture), so when the wind blow fiercely, I can cover half my face, and only leave the eyes out. But I rarely wear it because I think it is very ugly ! Haahaa….do I scare you though? I hope you don’t need those things anyway ! It depends if you are a person who afraid of cold. I need those because I can’t stand cool weather !

Ok, now let’s talk about other accessories.

(1) Gloves – yup, you need a good pair of gloves ! Best is wool or windproof gloves.

(2) Hat/Head Warmer – you definitely need a very good hat/head warmer. Generally, about 30% of body heat lose through our heads, it is quite a significant amount. If you cover your head (especially forehead) properly, you surely will feel warmer. Tips : Don’t buy knit hat, because wind can blow through it easily. Buy wool one,. If you like knit, buy those have an inner (wool) layer.

(3) Ear warmer – If you have a hat that also can cover your ears, I don’t think you need ear warmer.

(4) Sock – Your feet and toes !! You don’t want to have cool feet and toes when you are outside, especially if you have to walk on the snow. Also, most time I dress my body properly, but forget my legs. So,  your under thermal pants will be very helpful. Tips : alternatively, buy very good wool knee length socks. They help me heaps when I don’t feel like wearing my old-lady-like thermal pants 😉

(5) Boot – Very important especially when snowing heavily and have snow/ice accumulation on the ground. A good pair of boot prevent slips.  My boot is knee length, with fur inside, strong rubber sole with deep treads. Of course, it depends how much walking you have to do, otherwise, normal boot should be ok. Tips : Walk on snow-muddy ground, instead of the ‘shiny’ icy ground, which is extremely slippery, unless you like to roller skating 😉

(6) Scarf – Depend on the design of your jacket or if you have turtle neck top. I feel much warmer when my neck is warm, and it prevents cool wind slips inside your body through the neck opening. Tips : When I don’t wear my ugly windproof jacket with the ‘flaps’, I like to wear very large thick scarf. So, I not only use it to cover my neck, I use it to cover half my face when I have to walk against wind gust.

multiples layers and a down jacket

multiple layers and a down jacket

For this photo, I think it was taken on a day of around minus 5-8 degree or so. With the hat, an under thermal, a turtle neck (white), a 200 fleece (blue), and a medium fill power down jacket ( filling : 50% down/50% feathers), I was able to pose for photo with a smile 😉

I hope the above information helps. Shoot me more questions if you still not sure.

Haahaaa… I have too much fun here. I better go back to study for my exam !!! 😦

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Though I am studying, I still can’t resist to read my 2 + 2 daily ‘newspapers’ online.

One is – The Globe and Mail, for Canada news.

One is – The Age, for Melbourne, Australia news.

Sometimes, when things get interesting across the boarder, I read New York Times.

Sometimes, I read Sin Chew Chinese newspapers or Malaysiakini online, for Malaysia news.

The world is currenly going through an interesting and trying time, I feel that to be a responsible world citizen, I need to be informed. Or is it because of my experiences in the above different countries that make me want to know more, and care for more? I think that plays an important part too.

Thanks to the internet. Otherwise, I would not know the world simply by a click away.

Sometimes, I think : will news online eventually replace newspapers completely? Maybe?

Do I still read ‘real’ newspapers ? Only once every 2 week, I think, except when I am back home in Malaysia.

I still love the ideas of holding the newspapers in the sofa or bed, read them with a cup of coffee or tea. And there are more articles in the printed edition. However, to save the papers, and to know the world better and faster, I have gone to the internet…

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几个星期前,我提到和DM夫妇到Sandbank 省公园露营。Sankbank 座落在Prince Edward County (爱德华王子县), 离多伦多市约两个半小时车程。

上个周末,我们和DM夫妇又到爱德华王子县一趟。这次是为了一个叫Taste! 的Food and Wine Show (美食加美酒展)。

很多当地的餐馆,厨师,农夫和葡萄酒酿造厂等都踊跃参与。没想到的是,那天的天气又冷又阴云满布,像我们这种来吃喝的人竟也出乎意料的多,很多档摊前都有长长的人龙。

Buddha Dog Caravan (Buddha Dog 的大篷车)

Buddha Dog Caravan (Buddha Dog 的大篷车)

我们不敢怠慢,马上去Buddha Dog的大篷车前排队(如图)。Buddha Dog是个卖‘高级‘热狗的小餐厅 (不像多伦多街边的热狗)。他们要将爱德华王子县内最好的一面呈现给顾客。所以,做热狗用的所有材料都是县内最好的。这次,他们为人们带来了用火鸡肉做的热狗。用火鸡肉是要像征感恩节,因为上几届的Taste! 都是在感恩节周末举办,今年除外。

拿了我们的热狗,配上推荐的苹果酒,真的是我尝试过最好吃的热狗!

其实,什么食物配什么酒是一门艺术,也是一门学问。配对了,食物能带出酒的‘深度‘,酒能带出食物的美味。所以,在这个美食展上,每一种食物都会推荐一个相配的酒,把我们带到享受食物的‘最高境界‘。

DM夫妇是‘好食‘之人,也是美食专家。我就是从他们身上慢慢学会吃出食物配对酒时的不同。(参阅法国大餐)。所以,在这个难得学习的机会中,我当然每吃一种食物都坚持要有相配的酒。哈哈! 还好,每杯酒的份量都不多,我没喝醉 😉

我们接着吃了依下的:

Elk Goulash Poutine with 5 year old Black River Cider

Elk Goulash Poutine with 5 year old Black River Cider

这个是一个加拿大魁北克特有的法国小吃 – Poutine。其他国家是吃不到的。最普通的作法是,炸马铃薯条配上颗粒型干酪和肉汁。而在Taste! 上,多伦多著名的厨师,Jamie Kennedy, 竟配上了糜鹿肉!效果是好好吃!

我啊,可是第一次吃糜鹿肉。你们知道什么是糜鹿吗?看看下图。

Elk 糜鹿

Elk 糜鹿

待续.....

A few weeks ago, I mentioned our camping trip in Sandbank Provincial Park. Sandbank located in Prince Edward County, about 2.5 hours drive from Toronto.

Last weekend, we went to Prince Edward County again, but for a completely different reason – for Taste!, a food and wine show, to celebrate the regional cuisine.

Many of the local restaurants, chefs, farmers and wineries participated this event. Though the weather of that day was cool and gloomy, surprisingly, it did not stop people from coming for this event. When we arrived at 11ish, there were already many people and most booths had a long line up.

Buddha Dog Caravan (Buddha Dog 的大篷车)

Buddha Dog Caravan (Buddha Dog 的大篷车)

Without any delay, we first ‘attacked’ the Buddha Dog caravan. Buddha Dog is a small boutique restaurant in Prince Edward County that sells gourmet hotdog (of course, not the street hotdog I mentioned before). AIm to feature the best of Prince Edward County, Buddha Dog sources the best of everything (bun, meat, cheese, vegetables etc) within the region itself. And this time, they brought us the Thanksgiving Turkey Dog. Traditionally, Taste! was held during the Thanksgiving weekend, but this year is an exception, hence the turkey.

With the lovely mini dog in our mouths, paired with the recommended County Cider, I had the best hotdog I ever had in my life, so far 🙂

I guess, most of you familar with fine cuisine, are aware of the act of food pairing with wine, to bring out the best tastes of both food and wine. In this event, of course, there is a suggestion of a pairing wine for each dish, aim to take us to the ‘highest state’ of tasting.

As for me, an Asian, who did not know about this art till I met DM and LM, who are serious foodies. Learning from them, and slowly, I think I can notice the slight differences in taste when food pairs with a right wine. Hence, for learning purpose, during this event, I insisted to drink the right wine for every dish I tried. Haahaa….don’t worry, I was not drunk because each glass of wine was only of little amount.

From Buddha Dog, we moved on to other booths, as followed :

Elk Goulash Poutine with 5 year old Black River Cider

Elk Goulash Poutine with 5 year old Black River Cider

This is a special French dish originated from Quebec. You can’t find it anywhere in the world except Canada. We called it ‘poutine‘ here. In fact, it is a simple dish, a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy and sometimes additional ingredients. Jamie Kennedy, one of the most famous chefs in Toronto, had prensented us a poutine with Elk Goulash ! The result was fantastic !

Elk 糜鹿

Elk 糜鹿

Well, this is my first time to taste elk meat! I was shock to realise later what is elk ;) See the picture.

to be continued….

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