Saturday, October 28, 2006


Before this blog completely goes to the dogs, here's a cat pix. The two dogs were tearing around in a post-bath frenzy and then I noticed a sudden silence -- which made me go all suspicious -- and found the two of them standing at the floor-length window, looking intently out. And this was what they were looking at: the semi-feral cat that hangs about the flat downstairs and one of her kittens. Queeni's treed one of the kittens before, at the far end of the field. I think she was so in shock that they were suntanning directly downstairs that she quite forgot to bark.


According to a wire report, more than two million people -- ie half of Singapore's population -- have trooped through VivoCity, Singapore's largest shopping mall at HarbourFront (what used to be the World Trade Centre down by Keppel) since it opened on Oct 7.

This means that the opening of a shopping mall was a bigger deal than the recent IMF/World Bank meetings. How very Singaporean.

Obviously, I am not one of the two million who went shopping at VivoCity recently. Clearly, I'm not a normal Singaporean. Or maybe I'm just out of touch. No wait, not really. I knew about the hype of the megamall opening. I'm just not curious enough to go and check it out. It'll only be more Ferragamo, Gucci and Chanel. Although it also has GAP store, the first in Asia. But it still ain't a draw for me. I'll be lucky to make it there by Christmas, and I'm talking next Christmas, not the coming one.

Which is coming too fast. It's only October and the Deepavali and Hari Raya lights are still up but are rapidly being converted into Christmas decor by the major downtown retailers.

Yesterday, for some relief at the end of a very long six-day week, made much longer by coming on the tail of a two-week slack-off periods, L and I decided to leave the dogs home (Rupert's become a little more reliable now) and go out for a meal that we did not have to cook and wash up after. And then do some grocery shopping so we wouldn't have to jostle with the weekend crowds at the supermarket. Now that's the shopping that I do. It involves Jeypine and pee pads and not GAP.

We went to one of those Japanese chains that have sushi going round in a conveyor belt. I always order a menu item because I want something hot and freshly prepared. If I want something that I know is going round on the belt, I'll include it since I'm ordering anyway
L thinks the kitchen will make it fresh along with the rest of your order but I say they just pick up something that's already on the belt. I only pick up something from the belt when it looks tempting and I need instant gratification.

Which turned out to be a grave mistake yesterday. What I took to be a croquette turned out to be a rolled maki (with crabstick, that faux stuff that I just can't stand) that was dipped in breadcrumbs and deep fried. You can deep fry anything and make it tasty, even Mars bars, but deep fried maki is an aberration. For all I know, that maki had been going round the conveyor belt for two days and had dried up and deep frying was a way of recycling it. Eww.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Back to work

I started the day relatively early today, I must've been primed still from the 7am starts of the past fortnight. 11am is not early by ordinary standards but I've been known to sleep till 1pm since I don't leave for work till past 3.30pm.

Which meant that there was time to enjoy a leisurely lunch of sausage (leftover from yesterday's all-day breakfast) and fresh crusty bread still warm from the oven (from frozen Delifrance dough -- I had time but not that much time to make bread from scratch. Anyway, L was the cook today).

That was when it occurred to me -- last week's enjoyment of leisurely home-cooked dinners wasn't so much the home-cooking. On a work day, my dinners are home-cooked anyway. I bring dinner in to work as I tend to eat late, after the canteen closes at 8pm. There are a few kopi tiams (coffee shops -- not the Starbucks type but the Singaporean type which is more like a mini food court but minus the airconditioned mall setting) within walking distance from the office but I don't always have the time to pop out for a bite by that time of the night when the work starts coming in fast and furious. Nope, what made dinner at home so enjoyable that past fortnight was that it was eaten not at a desk but at a table, off a pretty Noritake plate with proper cutlery. As opposed to from a Tupperware with a disposable plastic spoon. One of my colleagues keeps a microwavable Corningware plate and a set of stainless steel cutlery in his drawer. Perhaps I should do the same. At least there would be some semblance of a "proper" dinner.

I may turn out to be a foodie yet. I'm now reading Bill Buford's Heat, on the heels of the new Anthony Bourdain and Ruth Reichl. There must be a reason why I'm stuck in the food genre at the moment.

Anyway, it wasn't so hard going back to work today after two weeks of slacking off. It's always quite pleasant to work on a Sunday -- even if it is a Sunday. The workload is less and you get to call it a night by 11pm when most nights you're kept busy till past midnight, even 12.30am on a busy mid-week night. Today, I processed my last copy shortly after 9.30pm. It seemed churlish to leave at 10pm so I started surfing at my desk till 11pm -- when the first staff transport of the night starts running.

I'm trying to console myself that this week will be a doozie, despite it being a Sunday to Friday six-day week because there're a couple of holidays in it. Yesterday (Saturday) was Deepavali and a press holiday, Tuesday will be another holiday -- Hari Raya Puasa -- so most companies are enjoying a long weekend especially as many people are taking Monday off. That means less advertising and less pagination. Not good for the marketing department but great for editorial, a thinner paper means less work for us. Ad dollars be damned, I just want to go home to the furkids.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sleeping beauties

Pix were taken by a proud papa who couldn't resist. He captions the second one as: Strawberry sundae of sleep with a Schnauzer topping.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Back to normal programming

I've been on course the past two weeks -- which was really rather nice. No work responsibilities. And you get to slack off at the back of the room, and in between you're fed fried snacks at morning and afternoon breaks (breakfast and tea) and get let off for long lunch breaks that stretch up to almost two hours.

Actually, lunch was also provided but there was a poor response on the first and second days and we asked HR to dispense with it entirely. They ordered food from the Malay stall in the canteen and it came cold and greasy and we didn't think we could stomach two weeks of it. I think HR automatically ordered halal food so as to cover all grounds but this is fasting month and nobody who needs to eat halal would be eating lunch. The course convenor requested for the lunch budget to go towards a bigger tea time budget, for pastries and baked goods from Spinelli's instead of the cheap fried pastries we'd been getting but HR said they couldn't/wouldn't make any exceptions. Fine if we didn't want lunch but we're not getting any extras. And not a word of thanks for the money we saved them -- which probably wasn't much, someone said their lunch budget was $1 a head. Eww. That explains the bad food. The first day, we had cold, greasy mee goreng and the protein item was fish cake. No real meat and processed food. I'm not a fussy eater but I couldn't put that down my throat. The second day, they'd already known that it was to be the final lunch, we got something slightly better -- nasi lemak with all the condiments including freshly fried crispy ikan bilis. After that, we were let loose on our own for lunch -- which I preferred. I'd rather not be forced to eat lunch with strangers on the course. As it is, the lunch idea was probably to get us to network but two weeks would have been too much to force a group of people to eat together. I don't know why people need to go for lunch/dinner breaks with other people. I actually enjoyed being alone and on some of the longer breaks, managed to go shopping at Toa Payoh and Bishan.

It was such a nice change from being chained to my desk and gulping a packed dinner there. I go back to all this tomorrow and shall miss being on course. I don't know why people complain about going on course. It was like a mini-holiday to me. Oh yeah, you have to sit and listen to someone and in between, they throw worksheet exercises at you but that's not real work.

I thought I'd have a problem with getting up in the morning. Well, it was punishing for someone who's been working nights but I was quite surprised that I was rather good at getting up. In fact, most mornings, I woke up before the alarm went off. Getting up was not the problem. It was staying awake later in the day.

Still, I was home most days by 5.30pm, which meant I had long, leisurely evenings to enjoy home-cooked dinners, walk poopy dogs and watch prime-time TV. And tomorrow, life goes back to "normal" -- dinner out of a microwavable container at my desk, home past midnight when the only thing on TV are reruns. But the dogs would still be poopy, I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.
~ Woodrow Wilson

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Family reunion

M found an al fresco wine bar at a newly opened development along the river that has eateries downstairs and posh apartments upstairs. The wine bar welcomes dogs to the extent of setting out water bowls for them, and for food, you could order from the neighbouring restaurants, some of which we had eaten at before. Perfect place for getting all the dogs and their people together.

L and I had a rocky start getting there in the first place. We weren't going to drive, not if we're going to be drinking, so decided to take a taxi. Instead of using the automated booking where the cabby will not be informed of any special requirements such as two dogs, we decided to book through the operator, who will key in the dog information so that anyone who didn't want dogs in their cabs wouldn't pick up the call. We've had cabbies who responded, only to refuse to take us when they saw a dog. At that time, it was one dog. Now, its two. Not surprisingly, we couldn't get a cab. The two dogs addendum must have scared them all. The operator said there just wasn't any cabs in our area for a driver to respond. Which I knew was bullshyt because there's always a rank of cabs at the mall just two minutes away. After half an hour, L lost patience and used the automated booking system. Bingo! We got a cab in two minutes. I'm sorry this cabby responded without knowing that we have two dogs with us but I had run out of patience with the system and with trying to be honest. Anyway, the guy didn't mind the dogs.

It was a great night out. The children hadn't met Rupert and Colin before and were delighted with them. Rupert spent the whole night on one child's lap after another or was carried by them in turn. And these are the kids who have babysat Toby and Vivi and I thought they'd want to play with them.

G missed Rupert and I think the only thing that made him feel better was when, at the end of the evening, he saw Rupert curled up asleep on L's lap. His boy was happy, that was the main thing. C had a few babytalk moments with Rupert and I couldn't help hearing what he was calling him -- Roopy-Poopy. Very apt.

Every one along the stretch of eateries stared when we began to arrive. You see the occasional dog at a table now and then, but no group has ever met with five dogs before. What got worse was once the band of five got started, they began to bark at every single dog that went past. Vivi would start and then every one would chime in, even the normally quiet ones and Queeni would insist on the last parting bark. And everytime that happened, the whole street would be staring at us. The group with the badly behaved dogs.

Queeni and Rupert (to a certain extent) slept in this morning, and are knocked out again after lunch. Sleeping pups pee and poop less, right?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Book ends

And when they're good, they're very, very good...
Adventures of multiple dogs and diarrhoea -- and in rhyme!
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din

Friday, October 13, 2006

Peace on earth

.. or as close as it can get. That is to say, as close as Queeni will get to Rupert. That boy will be the death of me. He's mostly OK in the day, particularly as L has been home the past days to take him out for frequent potty breaks. Then, the minute I get home, he loses everything. He goes on the floor -- repeatedly, within minutes, even if he's just had a potty break outside. All over the house, even though in the course of the day, he had gone quite nicely on the pee pads. I don't know what he's up to. That happened yesterday and today. L says it's me, the minute I come home, he gets thrown out of whack. So now it's my fault.

I've been working "normal" hours this week and next because I'm on course. It wasn't so difficult getting up at 7am because I'd be up to take Rupert out anyway. Only now, I can't go back to sleep for a few more hours and must start the day straightaway. The course starts at 10am -- which really is very reasonable -- but after years of working nights, I'm just not used to morning kickstarts. This morning, as soon as I sat down in the bus, went to sleep until it was my stop at the office. At lunch break, I went to the library to have a nap on one easy chairs in the reading corner. When I got home at 5.30pm (and that was an early release), I had to have a lie-down -- that was when L discovered (and cleaned up) Rupert's nefarious acts all over the house, which did not take place until I came home. Apparently, he is as good as gold when I'm not home and turns into Devil Dog when I am. Strangely, G is having the exact same problem with Rupert's litter-mate, Colin. Colin is an angel all day with C but becomes badly behaved when G comes home.

Just now, tired of cleaning up pee in the computer room, I unfolded the ex pen so that Rupert could step into the room with a two-foot square space but can't go into the rest of the room. HRH was on my lap as I typed at the desk. I swear she was smirking at him. Rupert got up on his hind legs but realised he couldn't get past the ex pen. So he turned around. And peed. He was on the pee pad but he had to squat and aim outside the pad. Another clean up job. Aargh.

And then now Rupert is lying on my lap as I write. I left him sleeping on the sofa but he woke up, dashed into the computer room in search of me, wanted up on my lap and now he's sound asleep and twitching away. How is this endearing snuggler the same devil who committed all the housetraining crimes a few hours ago?

Monday, October 09, 2006

I know it like the back of his head

When Rupert first arrived, it struck me that the back of his head looks so much like Spock's, with the tan (only it was black in Spock's case) from the ears meeting a white triangle at the back of the head. When Spock was a puppy, this was all I saw of him. When he was awake, there was no stop button. He was constantly on the go. I could only spend time with him when he was asleep, and he'd sleep on my lap, all curled up like this and all I could see of him was the white triangle of fur at the back of his head. I hardly saw his face, it was always running away from me when he was awake. And when I walked him on leash, again, I would only see that white triangle at the back of his head.

Rupert however, has more snuggle moments. In between the peeing and pooping, that is.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Better than WWE

Welcome to WWDog -- we've got more thrills and spills! And all this action comes without the benefit of steroids!

Today, HRH Boss meets Rupert the Squirt in a Grudge Match for the Sofa. Boss is a seasoned campaigner but Squirt has youth and energy on his side. And he moves fast -- very, very fast while Boss is a little lumpier, stockier and slower.

Squirt goes for Boss first, rolling her over, straddling her and nibbles her ears. Boss flips over, allowing Squirt to win the first round. An easy victory. And we all think he wins! But the crafty old bitch flips back, hooks two paws round Squirt's hips, hauls herself up, and mounts him -- all in a smooth move.

They tussle, all the way down the length of the sofa and back up again. Along the way, they thoughtfully stopped to replace the fur that the vacuum removed only this morning.

Squirt flips her back and now he's on top! Boss rolls over and pants. The countdown begins... she is older and tires faster... will she get up? And just as the countdown hits 9... she flips right back!

This old Boss isn't going to take anything lying down. It's all a ploy. As soon as Squirt is caught off guard, she makes her move. One carefully-placed headbutt and Squirt is sent sprawlling off the sofa.

HRH Boss wins again!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

In the pink of things

JW is wrong, there is such a thing as too much pink. I bought this set of fitted sheet, duvet cover and pillow covers yesterday -- couldn't resist, it was discounted at 30 per cent.

Only the design looked much better on the picture in the package. Now that we've got it out of the package and on to the bed, the hearts look too big, the curlicues unnecessary, the pink too well, pink and the whole thing tacky and over the top. L insisted I take a picture for the blog. HRH of course had to model. So that I won't get away with not posting a dog-related entry.

Full moon madness

Now that we have the poo situation under control, Rupert has backslided on the pee bit. I walked him about an hour before Les got up and we fed the dogs together. So I figured he didn't need to go. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Of course he did. Even if he hadn't had any water. A puppy can make pee out of thin air.

And so he went all over the floor. This was my fault. I should have known better than to disregard the always take the puppy out immediately after meals mantra. So I took him out while Les mopped up. He didn't go. I guess there was nothing left after the giant puddle. But he obligingly did a little (solid) nugget poop since he was out. Such a good boy, I thought.

Then we came back upstairs and less than five minutes, he turned air into pee again and went on the floor. Again. Sigh.

Maybe it's the full moon that's driving him wonky.

And this is a clever stitch to the Mid-Autumn Festival. What, you think I only blog about puppy waste products?

It's the full moon Mid-Autumn Festival tonight but you can't even see the moon -- we're blanketed by haze from the Indonesian forest fires. Still, judging from the candle wax and the spent sparklers on the playground downstairs, some kids must've been out with their lanterns, determined to make a go out of it.

I'd rather stay indoors and tuck into mooncakes. I still like the traditional lotus paste and egg yolk version best despite the new-fangled flavours the hotels conjure up -- I've had chocolate (you can't go wrong with chocolate but even so, I say let the mooncakes be mooncakes), mango and green tea fillings. In Singapore, you get into the mooncake act even if you're a Belgian chef. Emanuel Stroobant's new Archangel deli offered snowskin mooncakes with East meets West fillings: red wine and pandan; truffle and chesnut; basill and white lotus; foie gras and red bean. The last combination intrigues me. Liver mooncakes! I guess maybe the dogs would like that.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Blog spot

And here's where I talk to my friends. When the children let me do so, that is.

HRH has trained L to drag her big cushion into the room when I'm on the computer so that she doesn't need to lie on cold, hard floor. The computer room has now become the Little Squirt's room. He stays in the ex pen when nobody's home. But when I'm in here and on the computer, he expects to sit on my lap -- that was how we bonded in the early days, in the mornings when HRH was still in bed. But no lap for him when HRH is in the room. Mummy is hers and nobody else's.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sharing space

I wouldn't say they're doing it nicely (and HRH Boss is the culprit here), but they're starting to share some space.

Still here

I had taken a lovely picture of L on the sofa bookended by the two dogs. And then I promptly lost the picture because I thought I'd downloaded it with the previous pictures and deleted everything. Oh well, I'm sure there'll be lots more opportunities for pictures later.

I had to refrain from posting any of the ones taken in the past two days though. They look like dog porn. HRH Boss has been humping the Young Upstart to let him know who rules. He's accepted that. But one of these days, she's going to realise that he's going to be much bigger than her. It'll be interesting then, I'm sure.