Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Happy 3rd Anniversary !!!

Yes. Its been 3 years Yeesin & I have been married! It was today 3 years ago, that we said our vows during our Garden Wedding at the Overland Park Arboretum with our friends and family. I'd like to take a moment here to put down some thoughts on what these 3 years mean to me...

Our first year we found that sometimes love needs to be put to the test when I was diagnosed with Lymphoma barely 6 months after we were married. We had a rough time that year, but the help of friends and family, we made it! Our second year had me blessed with health, and gave us time to reflect the on more important things in life.
I don't believe that there's anything cooler in the world than silently lifting off hand-in-hand in a Hot Air Balloon on a crisp Sunday morning in Napa Valley! For this third year, we hope to carry on the great time that we have had, but not to forget the hard-times so that we can keep our lives in perspective...

So thanks my love, for:
(1) For being my hard-drive, helping me match names to faces, so that I don't mistakenly call my opposite neighbor Justin - by Steve, or Kevin, or Bob.
(2) For putting up with me leaving the clothes on the floor, leaving the cabinet doors open, forgetting to lift the toilet bowl lid, etc... (Basically living like a suburban barbarian)
(3) For being the voice of reason. She's why I don't blow 5k on a Plasma TV, or change a new car every year! Without her, we'd be broke. ;)
(4) For being my best friend & the love of my Life. For always hearing my opinions, sharing our secrets, my best friend to spend lazy summer evenings snuggling on our hammock in the backyard; For holding my hand, telling me that everything is going to be alright, my pillar of strengh when I needed someone the most.

You're still stuck with me... ;)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Birthday @ Niagara Falls

Drove back from Niagara-On-the-Lake to the Canadian side of the Falls the next day. The Canadian Govt was nice enough to declare Victoria day on the same day as my birthday, so as part of my "present" we had to fight lots of traffic as well around the Falls area! Checked into the Ramada @ Konica/Minolta Tower at around lunch, and managed to SCORE the highest floor on that hotel, and Check out this spectacular view from our room of both the American Falls & the Canadian one! Its a really small hotel, shaped like a dixie-cup on top of a cylinder with about 30 rooms in the "cup".

We also booked a tour of the Falls area with another tour company. AND, just like the B&B, we were the only 2 people too! Gotta tell you, we felt like VIP's being shuttled around with almost empty tour van, with our guide Shirley right by us, talking up the points of interests! Nothing beats a personal driver+van on an EXTREMELY busy holiday weekend, especially when YOU don't have to worry about parking! Here's a shot of the obligatory Maid-of-the-Mist ride, a huge ferry that brings you close enough to Horseshoe Falls (the Canadian side) to even get a free shower! BTW, that's why we have the really snazzy raincoats on too!

At night, we went up to the Pinacle dining room at our tower, for an excellent dinner with the falls in the background. This picture of the view before sunset doesn't do it justice I think. Its alot more impressive when you're dining and the lights come on at night! Can't believe a huge hole in the ground with water running over it can be so mesmirizing! At the end, I think Yeesin managed to mention to the server that it was my Birthday! So, I got a very nice ice-cream cake with a single candle (to hide my real age).

Somehow she even convinced the Canadian Govt to put on a firework show for me too! (Probably she probably arranged for this Victoria Day to fall on my birthday too!) Actually, our Wedding Anniversary is next week, so I'd argue that the Fireworks was MY idea... so that we could have a romantic dining experience!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Left for Buffalo, NY bright and early last Saturday morning at 5am in the morning for a weekend in NY State and Ontario. Got to Buffalo by lunch to hang out with our High School Buddies. Yes, both our buddies, Chee Ming is from Penang, and William is from Klang! How cool/weird is that, to have high school buddies in the same area 10,000 miles from Malaysia!

Spent that evening at the American side of the Niagara Falls waiting for Fireworks. Alas, no fireworks, and the mist around the around combined with the 40 degree weather didn't help either... At least we had great company to keep us warm though! Did get some nice night shots of the Falls, which were "spotlighted" from over the Canadian side.

Next morning, our first conversation we had with the Canadian Border Patrol was err.. weird.

Me: (Happy/Chipper, holding out our travel documents)... Hi!
Canadian BP : (Monotone) Country of Citizenship....
Me: Malaysian
CBP : (Monotone) Status in the United States...
Me: Permanent Resident
CDP: Where are you going in Canada?
Me: (Rambling cheerfully) Oh, the first day, we are going to Ontario-By-the Lake to see wineries, then we are going to stay overnight at a B&B, then the second night we are (*Suddenly cut off by CBP.*)
CBP : (Not impressed, abit pissed & impatient) . How many days?
Me : Err... 2 nights, we are driving back through here 2 days from now, then leaving (*cut off again*)
CBP: (Still pissed & tired) GO...

Felt a little cheated actually, to have almost no hassle going over to Canada, especially after being used to the process coming into America... I guess the Canadians do it slightly differently!

When we got to the B&B, we were informed that we were the only people that booked it for the night, we had the whole 4 bedroom cottage to ourselves! (Really handy for the me, the ah-pek to walk down in my underwear to microwave leftovers in the wee-hours of the morning!) Also a great reason to be messy BTW. :) Anyway, moving along... Our Wine tour guide picked us up from the B&B at about 1pm that day, and off we went! 1/2 hour later, we were bundled into the SUV with 2 other Canadian couples, off to the wineries.

Its interesting how people get friendlier the more alchohol we consume! We rode in silence to the 1st winery, but by the 2nd one, we were sharing crackers, by the 3rd one we were stealing crackers! By the last one, we were engaged in deep political conversations about Canadian healthcare without any prior knowledge! Here's a shot of Yeesin playing around with the Oak barrels in one of the wine cellars! Did we have fun? Yep. Well, when we were dropped off about 5 hrs later at the B&B, with about 7 bottles of wine boxed up! Didn't have any concerns of how to bring them up to the plane until much later!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Break out the Cycles

Saturday morning was pretty chilly, but with Elaine's Beau being out of town in Houston this weekend, we though that we'd do something together in town with her. Don't know how cycling came up, but we woke up early (10ish - REALLY EARLY for us) to find a local jogging/riding trail near Elaine's place, and just go biking... I loaded up the MDX with both our bikes at 11am, and off we went!

Fast forward about 1/2 later... We are deep into the trail, about 5 miles in, and I'm trying to take a picture of us with my camera phone while cycling at the same time! I defintely have lost my cycling license (Defined by the ability to cycle hands-free) since my high-school days! So the best I could do was to hang back and take a shot from a slighly "different" angle... 5 more miles later, we are tired and hungry, and slightly cold from the chilly wind.

Cycling is really fun until you get tired, your crotch hurts, and you are hungry for lunch. Then after that you wonder why you didn't slap an a motor on the bicyle and just cruise around the trail, asking those slowpokes who stand in between our lunch to get out of the way!!... But maybe then again, it defeats the purpose of the exercise... EVERYONE knows that exercise is so that we can EAT MORE!!! :)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco De Mayo! For CDM, we hung out with Elaine and Kyle in Downtown KC! It just happened to be First Friday's in KC (First Fridays is where the Art Galleries in the downtown Arts District open up to the public and some of them have complementary drinks too!). It takes a lot of motivation to drive from Suburbia 30 minutes to Downtown so what we learnt is that liquor art is it! 15 more minutes spent parking, and reminding me why I don't like driving in downtown later, we were stolling along the streets looking for galleries...
In 2nd Gallery we struck paydirt! The ladies got themselves Chardonnay & Shiraz while Kyle and myself got Coronas in cememoration of CDM! Apparently they felt wronged that we got entire Corona bottles worth of drinks, while they had trendy half-filled styrofoam cups with wine... So much for quality over quantity... Oh yeah, the gallery had very nice art too. Actually, the more we drank, the better the pieces looked! Klye even took the time to bid on a painting, a very cool looking crayola piece.
There were also lots of nice looking lofts overlooking the galleries, and a very artsy atmosphere with tons of people strolling around on the streets below... nice to be able to afford a place like this to stay in on the weekends! BTW, how much does urban bohemian living cost? To find out we explored a couple of loft units in downtown as well...They run from the 100's to the upper 700's. Yep, thats in thousands, and not counting home owners association dues that may cost up to $600-$800 more a month. Now, that's a chuck of change!!!
At about 9'ish the galleries were closed, and we were dry. We capped off the night at our favorite Spanish restaurant downtown - La Bodega! Its in the Spanish section of downtown, with some nice tables on the sidewalk overlooking the street. 2 pitchers of White and Red Sangrias + about 9 orders of tapas later...Here's a couple of pictures of us at that place. The weather was a bit nippy, but overall it was dry, so we sat outside and hung out till about midnight... Who would have thought Art would be so much fun!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Olathe Chilli Crab Night!

Woohoo! Crabs are back at the Neighborhood Loatian grocery store in the "hood" of Olathe! Actually, John (the owner) has been selling crabs for a while already, its just that its been awhile since we made the 10 minute drive to his store to pick them up. So yesterday we picked up about six of some angry fighting crabs to "invite" for a nice dinner. 15 minutes after coming home, I was in the backyard introducing them to my Chinese Cleaver & chopping board. There's no better way of guaranteeing freshness than that!

In no time, our "little buddies" were settled comfortably on our dining table with spiced with Yeesin's special homemade Chilli Crab recipe! Cholestorol levels aside, we had a blast! Here's a quick before/after shot. It sure makes weekdays easier to go through when you have GREAT food to look forward to!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I'll make you banana pancakes

Taking inspiration from Jack Johnson's Banana Pancake song, I decided that a rainy Saturday morning was the best occasion to play cook for the morning, and *drumroll*... make Banana Pancakes! It was a serene but wet morning, with the pitter-patter of raindrops on my lawn. Benji kept me company in the kitchen, happily licking up my Banana mix splatters off the floor.

For the people that know me, I'm not the best cook in the world. Knowing that, I'm taking baby steps via using Target's Banana Pancake mix instead of trying to make pancakes from scratch. Perhaps as a sign that things to come, our 3 year old hand blender died a smoky death moments after I added all the mix into the mixing bowl. So needless to say, my first attempt at pancakes didn't turn out..*um* too spectacular... as the picture to the right will attest to.

Halfway through making the first batch, Yeesin decides to wake up and come down in her robes and see whats going on. So the bleary eyed master cook takes over the situation and does some damage control. 10 minutes later, 5 nice Banana Pancake medallions emerge from baking mix. Mmmmmm... They were as good as we imagined them. What happened to the first batch? I ate some of it, and Benj helped us finish the rest!