Friday, February 28, 2014

The end of February and a few more days of 100 Happy Days Challenge!! :) :) :) Days 22 - 31!! :) :)

So February’s come to a close … It’s already 2 months into 2014 and I get this feeling that this year is flying by so fast! :) :)

And my Happy Days Challenge is drawing short breaths and trying its level best to stay alive… It’s doing slightly better (only slightly though!) in the Instagram space… At least I am posting random pictures there on and off, in spite of not writing anything here…

Can you believe this?

In a span of 2 months (maybe a few days less), I have only posted for 21 days…

Very bad. Very bad.  I know! :) But you know what I realized..

One – it’s very very difficult to be happy every day.

Two – it’s very very difficult to find and figure out if and what makes you happy every day.

This is ongoing. Some days are awesome and you find that you wake up with a smile on your face, a song in your heart and a lilt to your step … and on others you wake up looking like something the cat dragged in, all weary and tired and even if you have slept fitfully the entire night, the very thought of shuffling your feet to work and enduring a long day makes you want to go back to bed and curl up and just lie there… no motivation… no mojo… no nothing!

But then I am going to give this another shot. Famous last words, yes I know! But also, a personal effort to try and keep this up, thanks to some feedback I have been getting. And trust me; they make me feel really nice! Just the fact that there are a few people out there, who follow this space and read whatever junk I spew out, I am glad... And thankful... Also very very grateful to all those who have reached out to me asking me about this challenge… I OWE YOU GUYS BIG TIME! You make me want to write and that is a BIG THING! :)

So yes! February! Short month, quick month and a mixed one at that! :)

Lots happening on the work front (looks like people tend to work a lot after Chinese New Year!!), a dance performance for the local Chingay event, some great evenings with friends, and some cringe-worthy days as well…

So this is my mish-mash for the Happy Days Challenge for whatever happened in Feb!! :)

Disclaimer: This is going to be a picture intensive post!

Day 22  - Quotes like these!!!

Quotes like these make me go all 100-watt smiles beaming like a Cheshire cat! :)

This year is also going to be about spreading the love for dance – that’s a note to self as well!!

Day 23 – 28 – Dance Baby Dance! :)

The practice sessions with the ladies. The synchronization efforts. The fun. The laughter. The dress try-outs. The dress rehearsals. The thrill of being up on stage. That feeling of a 100 butterflies in the tummy. The first beat of the song. The qualms disappearing.

Being up on the stage that I call my second home. My Mothership! :)

A bit of Dandiya. A bit of Garba. A whole lot of happiness.

Day 29 – Full Moon in all her glory! :)

Her. Shining in the starlit sky. Like a big old lantern in the space. 

I had gone for a walk that evening, getting some milk, talking to my folks, when I noticed her. In all her glory. Caught a glimpse through some trees. Tried to take a few dozen snaps. I am simply lousy at night photography. Not that I am great shakes at day shots. But you get the drift. So then after a few tries, I gave up when I saw this okay-okay shot I got! :) Good enough for me!

Day 30 – Jaago Re!

TATA TEA LIFE – My most favorite of all tea brands! It has all those spices and stuff mixed into the tea powder – Brahmi, Cardamom, Tulsi, and Ginger etc. And has a slightly bitter taste (just perfect for me!) if you add just a tad too much tea to the boiling water. I grabbed this packet from the shop counter, as soon as I saw it, without even checking to see if someone else had kept it there… The shopkeeper must have thought I was weird. I was checking the basket to see if it was still there, on and off.

Ok! I know what you are thinking... What a nutcase!! Right! But then, I can’t find this damn brand anywhere these days and I have been craving for this for a while now. Yes! I know! I am a certified loony!! Go ahead say it, I don’t care! I have a packet of TATA TEA LIFE for the next couple of months! :D :D

Day 31 – Twinkle twinkle all the way!

Twinkle Twinkle little stars… Pretty pretty lights...  Up in the ceiling…

They kept changing the colors :D  and it was so so so good to just look up and keep watching them.

I am so gonna have one of these in my home whenever that is! :)

I am a chump for these kinds of things. :) I have no idea why… but small things like these fill me with these little bubbles of grins.

Same goes for fireworks! But another post is dedicated specially to them! :)

That’s it for Feb my dearies...

Dance. Sing. Live.

Lots of love, lots of peace and a whole lot of hope, fingers crossed, rabbit’s foot and horses’ shoe to keep the challenge going! :) :) 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Gong Xi Fa Cai" for the Year of the Horse - Day 21 of the 100 Happy Days Challenge!!

Today’s happiness quota was fulfilled by attending this Chinese lunch at the Crystal Jade restaurant with the office colleagues. Singapore, as you all know, is a healthy mix of diverse cultures and just recently celebrated the Lunar New Year with all gung-ho. This year is the Year of the Horse and all around the place; you could see cutouts and miniature red and gold horses in a galloping frenzy, especially around the Chinatown area here. You can read more about the Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year here.

Coming back to the topic of today’s lunch – before the lunch, we started out by commending the New Year with the “traditional Lo Hei”, also known as “Prosperity Toss.” Yusheng (same thing in Chinese) is often served as part of a multi-dish dinner, usually as the appetizer due to its symbolism of "good luck" for the New Year.

These are the ingredients used and this is the meaning of the usage of each ingredient – directly and blatantly copied from Wikipedia.

When putting the yu sheng on the table New Year greetings are offered. “Gong Xi Fa Cai” meaning “Congratulations for your wealth” or “Wan Shi Ru Yi” meaning “May all your wishes be fulfilled”.
The fish is added, symbolizing abundance and excess through the year. “Nian Nian You Yu” meaning “Abundance through the year”, as the word "fish" in Mandarin also sounds like "Abundance".
The pomelo or lime is added to the fish, adding luck and auspicious value. “Da Ji Da Li” meaning “Good luck and smooth sailing”
Pepper is then dashed over in the hope of attracting more money and valuables. “Zhao Cai Jin Bao” meaning “Attract wealth and treasures”
Then oil is poured out, circling the ingredients and encouraging money to flow in from all directions. “Yi Ben Wan Li” meaning “Make 10,000 times of profit with your capital” or “Cai Yuan Guang Jin” meaning “Numerous sources of wealth”
Carrots are added indicating blessings of good luck. “Hong Yun Dang Tou” meaning “Good luck is approaching”. Carrot is used as the first character also sound like the Chinese character for red.
Then the shredded green radish is placed symbolizing eternal youth. “Qing Chun Chang Zhu” meaning “Forever young”. Green radish is used as the first character also sound like the Chinese character for green.
After which the shredded white radish is added - prosperity in business and promotion at work. “Feng Sheng Shui Qi” meaning “Progress at a fast pace” or “Bu Bu Gao Sheng” meaning “Reaching higher level with each step”
The condiments are finally added.
First, peanut crumbs are dusted on the dish, symbolizing a household filled with gold and silver. “Jin Yin Man Wu” meaning “Household filled with gold and silver”
Sesame seeds quickly follow symbolizing a flourishing business. “Sheng Yi Xing Long” meaning “Prosperity for the business”
Yu Sheng sauce, usually plum sauce, is generously drizzled over everything. “Tian Tian Mi Mi” Meaning “May life always be sweet”
Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows are then added with wishes that literally the whole floor would be filled with gold. “Man Di Huang Jin” meaning “Floor full of gold”…
Everyone then tosses the salad an auspicious seven times with loud shouts of Lo Hei and other auspicious New Year wishes. The ingredients are mixed by pushing them toward the center, an encouragement to push on the good luck of all at the table.

Interesting eh?  :-) So that’s what we did today.

It was my second time participating in this (the first time was around 2 years back at Citibank)… This one was fun :-) :-) really enjoyed the tossing of the ingredients… hopefully, luck will favor me better than last year! :-)

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Year of the Horse is upon us…  

So…. Saddle up, Canter on and Gallop towards a year filled with Happiness, Peace and Prosperity ….

“Gong Xi Fa Cai” all you lovely people…

Monday, February 3, 2014

Getaway Weekend - Day 18, 19 and 20 of the 100 Happy Days Challenge :) :)


15 days since my last post on the 100 happy days challenge!

If you count today as well too!! But then I am going to post today (as you can well see) so that means that effectively its only 14 days.

And I am going to post about the last 3 days which is Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Jan 31, Feb 1 and Feb 2) which means I only missed the last 11 days!! And since I am posting for the last 3 days today and there will be no post for today... It means I missed 12 days.. Or not? :-/ 

Did you get my math? You didn’t? Never mind neither did I!!! I got confused myself... Oh well! I never was any good at math!!! :D :D

So let’s just say, I missed the last 2 weeks, and I am re-kick starting (if that’s a word!!) the challenge again!!

Attempt number 2!! Bring it on!!

Before you ask me why I missed the last few days… I can cite any number of reasons… laziness, bad mood, lots of work, lack of time, no energy, etc etc… but it all boils down to the one thing that I didn’t feel the mojo to write anything. Not that I wasn’t happy any of those days I missed… but that somehow, the effort to put the happiness down into words was lacking. And now after a super duper getaway, I have found the mojo again (or so I hope!!) … and this time I am going to relentlessly stick onto this and see how far it’s going to take me. :D :D

So yes.. Last 3 days.. It was a long weekend here, and off we went to Bintan in Indonesia.

And what did I do these 3 days…
  • I slept. A lot. Like a log.
  • I started a new book. The book thief by Markus Zusak. Of course didn’t make too much progress but I still did read about a 100 pages. :-)
  • I ate. Properly and to my hearts’ content.
  • I sat by the beach with the rest of the others, soaking in the deep salty air and enjoying the wind playing havoc with my hair.
  • I did archery. For the first time. And got a bruise to show for it as well. :-) :-)
  • I rode an ATV. Another first. That’s an All-Terrain-Vehicle. Something that I came to know of in this trip. And can I tell you that it is really hard for midgets and weaklings like me. Phew!! But it was still fun!!
  • Got a traditional Balinese massage done. Idyllic. And so very relaxing. :-) :-)
  • And the finale was the experience on the jet-ski. This wasn’t my first on a Jet Ski but it was the first in terms of a very thrilling ride ;-) :-P quite enjoyable if you ask me… ;-)

And in all this time here, I clicked just the one pic that you see below.

This was my most favorite spot of the entire time there. We didn't exactly stay here though we spent most of the time the last three days around here. 

The waves. The wind. The color of the sea. The blue skies. And the company. :-)

That’s what is called a perfect vacation. :-) :-)

Here’s to many more of those this year! :-) :-) Cheers… 

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