Dim Sum Diaries
Oy, been awhile since I've posted. Just getting over a cold and work has been busy (always a good thing). Celebrated birthday by giving myself a spa day (massage) and getting my hair done. Hair is now a fiery Irish red (goodbye 3 white hairs)! Okay, its just highlights, but its still cool. Also bought myself these shoes (see inset) based on Alex's recommendation. The older we get, the more girly...hmmm

Also, I've been trying to think of any recipes that I could post to the blog. Mother-in-Law recently shared this one with me, and it turned out rather well! So I'm sharing it with my dear readers. Its very hearty and easy to make. The kids even ate most of it (after some motherly persuasion)!

Moz's Easy Peasy Corned Beef (Hash) and Cabbage:

1 head of cabbage, coarsely chopped into bits
1 can of tomato soup
10.75 oz of water (I just fill soup can full of water after I empty soup contents)
1-2 cans of corned beef hash (depending on how much you want to use, mother-in-law used 2 cans, I used 1 can of the reduced fat/sodium one)
Few dashes Worchester sauce

Large sauteeing pot/pan thingy (I used my Le Creuset pot)

You pretty much put everything into pot at once, mix it all up and simmer on low until the cabbage cooks down (about 30 minutes), stirring periodically. It goes well w/ a baguette or any type of bread you want to use and was a hit w/ Hubby and the kids.

BTW, did I mention I was skydiving on April 15? I will blog more about that later...



Vicar of Dibley Finale Part 1 (2006 Christmas Special!):

One of Six

Two of Six

Three of Six

Four of Six

Five of Six

Six of Six

Vicar of Dibley Finale Part 2 (2007 New Years Special):

One of Six

Two of Six

Three of Six

Four of Six

Five of Six

Six of Six

Wife Swap:

Wife Swap
Spent last night at the San Diego Wild Animal Park's Roar & Snore, and a nice time was had by la familie. Did some walking around, checked into our luxury tent, had a nice dinner and did some camp-zoo related activities. A very pleasant way to spend the evening. Though our tent was a step up from the spartan basic nylons ones (wood floor, queen futon, bedding provided, heater, lamp, mini-fridge, rug and free gift basket which included a notebook made from elephant poo poo), I had a difficult time falling asleep. First of all, because Hubby is a bloody heater so I had to alternate between sleeping in and out of the sleeping bag. Then Son (of which this is first camping trip and use of a sleeping bag) decides to spend the next two hours NOT SLEEPING. Instead, he decides how long he can

SWISH SWISH SWISH SWISH (his legs on the sleeping bag)

followed by

ZIP UNZIP ZIP UNZIP ZIP UNZIP ZIP UNZIP (apparently quite fascinated with the sleeping bag zipper).


Despite repeated threats to throw him to the lions. *sigh

I was not in the best of moods the next morning, so after breakfast and another walking tour, we decided to leave the park a little earlier then we would've liked (both Hubby and I were pretty tired).

"Yeah so," I told Hubby on the drive home. "We're SOOO not going to Death Valley. Camping is rough."

"You think that is roughing it?" he asked incredulously.


Told Mom the sad news later that I wouldn't be going to DV with her, all she said was, "I had the feeling you'd not go." Hmph.

Since I was too tired to drive, I took the Metrolink from SD to LA. It was nice having not to drive and the peoplewatching is fun. Will blog more about the Roar & Snore and train trip later, with pics. Even though I was a total noob and initially almost boarded an Amtrak train that I later found was bound for like Louisiana (luckily did not get on that one), it was very interesting experience.

Spent a nice evening with my Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother-in-Law (Bimpina). Bimpina was lamenting the fact that he was having trouble getting along with his brother's wife.

"Aren't you glad that I'm the nice sister in-law?" I asked him while he lounged on the edge of an armchair, balancing himself precariously.

"Why yes..."

I then poked him on the forehead gently with my finger, startling him, which caused him to fall onto the seat of the chair.

I know, I'm so mean but it was funny.

* * *

In other news, I've been trying to think a feature I can regularly write on DSD that I'm fairly good at. I thought about recipes (but I don't cook). Politics? Nah. How about book reviews? That's a possibility. So look for more book reviews in the future, dear readers.

I think i'm probably rambling now. A friend, White Barbarian, went to Taiwan and I am posting a few of his pics (ok just one for now). Yummy!

I Find Out About Things Months Afterwards, But Here It Is

Awhile ago I oohed and ahhed over Andrew X. Pham's book Catfish and Mandela. I think one reason his writing resonates with me so strongly is that if one has close Vietnamese friends, and you want to find out more about the who's, what's and why's about their culture and THEM, its a book you simply must read.

So anyways, his website is quite outdated and I wanted to find out more about what he is doing, what he is writing, etc. Quite stalkerish, eh? Finally, after googling his name countless times, some news pops up. I find this article (via) about what he's been up to, though it seems to be at least a year old I think. But happy day, apparently he is helping to translate a new book called Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram. NPR did a story on it back last year.

Tram writes about her experiences during the Vietnam war as a doctor (in the Northern Army, if that is the correct term for it). But its how she wrote it that strikes a chord in the heart of those who read it...here's a sample:

April 8, 1968: Today I did an appendectomy without enough medicine, just a few tubes of Novocain. But the wounded young soldier never cried out or yelled. He just kept smiling, to encourage me. I felt so sorry for him, because his stomach is infected. I would like to tell him, 'Patients like you, who I cannot cure, cause me the most sorrow.'

Another poignant excerpt:

June 20, 1970: "Until today no one has returned. It has been almost 10 days since they left and promised to come back. Why haven't they returned? Is there a problem? We didn't think anyone would leave us like this. I am not a child. I am grown up, and already strong in the face of hardships. But at this minute, why do I want so much a mother's hand to care for me? Or the hand of a close friend? Please come to me and hold my hand when I am so lonely. Love me and give me strength to travel the hard sections of the road ahead."

Tram was killed in a firefight on June 22, 1970. Her diary found its way into the hands of an American soldier who kept it for years, but eventually donated it to the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University for translation. Somehow someone from the Center managed to place the diary into the hands of Tram's MOTHER while looking for volunteers to help with translation. Go figure. The book is a huge hit in Vietnam, and the U.S. edition is out 9/11/07.

I look forward to reading it.


It is less then two weeks until I attain dear, old dotty thing status (birthday). Quite depressing, hopefully with time and help (therapy, drugs, massive shopping binge, etc) I will become used to it.

Found a neat Chicken & Mushroom Pie recipe from Pewari's site. Tried it last night and it came out very well! Pretty easy to make and the kids really liked it. I am shamelessly republishing it here (thanks Pewari!).

Chicken and Mushroom Pie


295g can of condensed mushroom soup
½ of the above emptied can full of milk
3 chicken breasts, diced
150g closed cup mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp olive oil
a sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
a bit more milk to brush on the top


1. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F Gas Mark 7)

2. Fry the diced chicken in a pan with the olive oil for around 5 minutes then add the mushrooms and fry for 5 minutes more.

3. Add the soup and the milk, stir in well and heat for a couple of minutes.

4. Pour contents into a 1.2L (2 pint) pie dish.

5. Stick pastry on top, cut around edges so that it matches the shape of the pie dish and either chuck away the spare or use it to create pretty patterns on the top if you’re feeling flush with time and creativity. Put a little hole in the top, press edges with a fork to seal and brush with milk.

5. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

6. Serve with new or mashed potatoes and lots of veg.

Serves: 4.

I used Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Mustroom soup. For the shrooms, I got a fresh portabello mushroom (just one since kids aren't that big on mushrooms) and diced into tiny bits. Also sauteed diced garlic and onion until it was carmelized so it had a nice flavor to it. Still working on the "making the puff pastry pretty" bit, but it overall it came out well.

I was trying to think of recipes I could post to the blog as well...but we're a take out family. I don't cook that often anymore, sadly.

* * *

So went to local bookstore to get my copy of Music and Lyrics soundtrack. Whilst there, also got the latest Hello magazine to check out the exclusive pics of Elizabeth Hurley's wedding. And luckily I did...because guess what I saw???? Another awesome movie which premieres in the UK first...

Becoming Jane, a movie that chronicles Jane Austen's life is not coming out in the U.S. till August 7, 2007. Beautiful glorious trailer that makes me cry with happiness:

*le sigh
So the upcoming months of March and April shall be packed with communing with Nature related activities.

Next Friday we'll be headed for a Roar & Snore at the Wild Animal Park, in which we rough it outside with tents and sleeping bags amongst the animals. Sounds rustic, till I added my own personal touch of upgrading to the luxe package. Sleeping bags are provided, mini-bar and fridge, heater, captains chairs and a premium view of the park.

And the camping thing at Joshua Tree? Has been changed to camping at Death Valley. DEATH VALLEY??? But have already committed myself and family to endeavor, so too late to back out now. As Hubby and I took a walk through the city park after brunch this morning, we discussed this latest development.

"I suppose we can't back out of camping now, can we? And why did Aunt G book at Death Valley? Because it was empty and JT was full! Nobody wants to camp at Death Valley," I grumbled.

"Joshua Tree is booked full because of the rock climbers," Hubby replied equably.

"There is a reason why Psalm 23 has that verse: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.... I'm pretty sure they were talking about DEATH VALLEY. Ooh look...organic food store! Let's go take a looksy!"

After shopping for awhile, we return to the park to continue the stroll.

"We'll have to bring a lot of water, remind me to go to Costco to get a few flats," Hubby said. "Hiking is hard work."

"Hiking? Nay, I will be under my huge umbrella and floppy hat, thinking about the meaning of life and writing in my notebook."

He snorted. "What could be more glorious then conquering nature? Standing on top of a mountain you've just climbed, arms spread and shouting to the heavens, "LIGHTNING IS THE FUNDAMENTAL FORCE OF THE UNIVERSE!!""

"And on that note," I said, pointedly ignoring him, "We should get home, I need to finish the laundry."

"I thought we were here to hike and get some exercise," Hubby protested.

"Your organic Scharffenberger chocolate is going to melt if we stay here much longer."

There was a tiny pause, then, "CHILDREN, ITS TIME TO GO!!" Hubby yelled.

You're Camejo-Perot!

As Peter Camejo, you have strong convictions that you take with you wherever you go. You believe in peace, justice, and a very un-American way that challenges big business and the status quo. You want to shake things to their very core, but can never seem to quite get a foothold in your endeavors and often fall a little short. In spite of all your egalitarianism, you live in a rather spoiled suburban environment.

You select H. Ross Perot as your running mate to pillage his personal fortune for your campaign.

Take the 2008 Presidential Ticket Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

*note--dammit I was hoping to be Hillary...

Happy Birthday J! I love you!
Hubby and I went to see the Saturday matinee performance of The Farnsworth Invention at the La Jolla Playhouse.

Though we left an hour prior, traffic was heavy on the way to the theater.

"God, its gonna be like from Spiderman 2 when Peter Parker gets to the theater and Bruce Campbell won't let him into see Mary Jane cuz he's late," Hubby muttered.

I gave Hubby a dirty look. "BRUCE CAMPBELL is sooo bloody not gonna stop me from seeing my man AARON in action!"

Hubby only rolled his eyes as I continued driving like a madwoman. We did make it on time and I sprinted to the ticket booth to pick up my tickets (Hubby didn't run he walked). We were ushered to our seats in record time. It was a packed house and the play was excellent, full of Sorkin's snappy banter and humor about how television was invented.

At one point, I was tapping on Hubby's shoulder. "Oh my god, that part is straight out of The West Wing from that Galileo episode when Sam says the same thing about why we should go to Mars. I do believe the exact quote is:"

'Cause it's next. 'Cause we came out of the cave and we looked over the hill and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the West and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is what's next.

Okay I didn't really repeat the quote verbatim. However, the play resonated strongly with Hubby because he is a fellow scientist engaged in the inventive process and familiar with how big corporations effect it etc etc etc. I was in raptures over the play because well, its by Aaron Sorkin. Did I mention I like Aaron Sorkin?

In other news, I resolve to slip into as many conversations as I can the fact that I am 34 years old. Because in exactly 18 days, I will turn fucking 35. Am a bit panicked over this day of impending doom by going on a book buying binge (just bought 5 last week, will buy a few more this week) the likes which have not seen for many years. Also seemed to have developed a strange fascination over the musical stylings of James Taylor (can listen to You've Got A Friend over and over, oddly enough).

* * *

My sister N called me today.

"Do you want to go camping at Joshua Tree?" she asked. "Or what I mean is do you want your kids to go with us?"

"I am capable of going camping, N."

"You? Camping?"

"Yes!" I declared. "It'll be fun! Are we staying at a hotel?"

"No. We're camping in tents."


"Duh. Are you sure you want to go?"

"Fuck yes. I'm jiggy w/ it. Sign me up."

So ma familie is going camping. I'm sure father-in-law has all that camping gear shit as he is keen on camping. Though I still don't know what is wrong with staying at a luxury hotel at night (preferably with a day spa) and dipping my toe into the pool of Mother Nature's goodness during the day.

This will be quite an interesting experience.