Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Christmas Day

Christmas Day landed on a Thursday this year which is convenient as this gives us an extended long weekend of 4 days off from work. The boys have long outgrown Santa, but they had a lot of fun exchanging gifts with each other. Lately, they had been obsessed with the "" website where people post Asian Products with badly translated English. They always get a kick out of reading the product labels. In keeping with that, they felt compelled to write bad engrish notes to each other, along with their gifts.

We are a family of Japanophiles. We all take an interest in and pretty much love all things Japanese. As a family, we have already visited Japan three times. Since we hadn't been there in over a year now, we had to find a way to get that fix by visiting Asian Markets which carry Japanese, as well as Korean and other Asian goods to use as stocking stuffers. In general, we don't snack a whole lot, so we figured Christmas was as good time as any to indulge in some offbeat snacking foods. The snacking chips with all the unpronouncable ingredients were interesting, and I'm sure are not at all healthy for us. Sometimes, its not just the engrish which makes us giggle, but the cute pictures depicted on their products which makes us laugh out loud. I'm not quite sure how healthy some of the 12-grain snack bars are, but since the one ingredient listed did not include anything resembling a chemical, we think it should pass as a healthy snack.

That evening, we visited my favourite niece, Patricia, for Christmas Dinner. We brough along some Rumaki (Bite size Chicken Liver & Water Chestnut Bacon Wraps) as appetizers. But after the Big feast we had on Christmas Eve and the continuous snacking and testing of our appetizers, we really didn't have much room for another big Christmas dinner. Regardless, I did my best to consume all the good food that Patricia's mom had prepared for us. I'm not sure how I did it, but I somehow managed to squeeze in a small piece of the homemade Blueberry Cheesecake that Patricia had lovingly made for us. I'm so glad that we have one day of rest before we go out for another eatingfest at our good friends, the Nakamotos, this coming Saturday.

After all this non-stop eating, I seriously will have to go on some sort of Butt-reducing exercise regiment.

Christmas morning has arrived

The boys' gift notes to each other (You can click on it for a larger view).

Colin had a little more to say on the back

This was featured on because they "Promise the Best"

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese Omelet

When you eat this, your vegetable family will become Karate fighting poataoes?

This is suppose to taste like a bowl of curry

These taters are jumping for joy because they get to be curry flavoured

Tomato wavy chips....

with a delicious tomato taste

Cuttlefish wav chips...

hot spicy pepper. Tastes just like from a grilled cart street vendor

Healthy Japanese snack

ABC (Already Been Chewed?) healthy snack rolls

Classic Engrish

This is one long ingredient. It's good for one year, if only we can find the Best Before Date

Christmas Dinner at Patricia's place with the girls.

Brother-in-law Wayne and my guys

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Seto Christmas

The Seto Clan celebrated the Annual Seto Christmas Party on Christmas Eve at May-Goo (that's chinese for Auntie May) and Uncle Jim's house this year.

Their doggie, Rex was the official greeter. He is soooo cute!!! Every time the door bell rang, Rex would scamper over to the door and barked loudly to greet each and every arrival. Then he would scamper over to retreive his favourite toy, (a Toy Stuffed Bone) and scamper back as to proudly show off his toy to us. I wish I had taken a picture of him with the toy bone in his mouth, but he was so excited greeting the guests and kept on moving around, that it was impossible for me to get a good shot of him.

May-Goo and Uncle Jim were absoutely amazing! They had just returned home from a vacation in Mexico. They made it back home at around 3AM in the morning of December 24. Uncle Jim had a few hours of sleep and then went in to work for 4 hours and returned home to help May-Goo set up for the party. By 6:30PM that night, they had the whole spread laid out, with lots of appetizers, a special Philipino style Christmas Ham, Christmas Goose, veggies and assorted desserts. Everyone else brought their home-cooked/store bought food to add to the spread and needless to say, we were all STUFFED by the end of the night.

For entertainment, the older cousins mostly enjoyed playing the PS3 Rockband on the big Screen TV, while the younger cousins enjoyed their hand-held Nintendo DS games. The adults had a great time catching up with each other by socializing the old-fashioned way (that would be face-to-face conversations sans electronics). Is the art of conversation dying? or is it evolving from being face-to-face to virtual interacting by machine? Dick speculates that in the future, we will still socialize in the same room, but instead of talking to each other face-to-face, we will be chatting through hand-held devices (in the same room!!!). I, for one hope that we will continue to connect as people without having to resort to some hand-held device, otherwise, we will become part human, part machine. Hmmmmm... makes you think what Christmas get-togethers will be like five years from now.

Thanks May-Goo and family. As always, we had a wonderful wonderful time!

Rex greeting all the visitors in his Festive Attire

Our gracious hostess, Auntie May

Younger cousins enjoying their Nintendo DS's

Older cousins enjoying PS3 Rockband

Adam & Colin join in

Rockband was the party favourite for these cousins

They rocked!!!

Malay-Goo & Uncle Norman

May-Goo & Debbie prepares the Dessert Table

Malay-Goo is the first to dig in.

The Seto Women

Our Hostess & Hosts (May-Goo, Rex & Uncle Jim) enjoying a relaxing moment

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Connie pays a visit/Sweet Treats & Other Goodies

This past Friday, Connie braved the first real snowstorm of the year for the GTA to come visit her friends in Reorg. She did not come empty-handed. She put together pinwheel cookie packages and hand-drawn personalized Holiday Cards for everyone. It took her over 2 hours to make it through the height of the snowstorm which dumped nearly 20 cm of snow on the ground. It normally takes her less than half an hour for this trip. Undeterred, Connie made it.

Why did she choose this day to come visit? Well, she had just finished completing all kinds of assignments and writing exams and then right away got to work baking treats and creating about a dozen homemade cards before making her trek and she had to do it by Friday because that was Angie's last day with us. She's so thoughtful!

Connie made different and unique cards for everyone, including a belated birthday card for Kelly. Knowing that I have taken an interest in trying to be environmentally friendly, the card Connie made for me was of an environmental beaver discreetly unplugging the Christmas Lights. I actually enjoy Christmas Lights, but like the beaver, we only keep the lights on for brief periods, like when I'm wrapping presents and preparing stocking stuffers. The Christmas Lights do bring on a kind of magic and spirit to the season. The talented Connie even created her own signature Beaver Stamp for the envelopes. So now, even her envelopes will be keepsakes.

During this holiday season, I also received baked goodies from other fellow bakers like Shalini and Patricia. Shalini made some melt-in-your mouth shortbread, as did Patricia, whose shortbread cookies included craisins. All those goodies were so good with a nice Cuppa Joe. Thank you girls!

This is the envelope with Connie's Beaver Stamp

Connie knows me too well in my baby step attempts to save the environment

Cookie treats from Shalini, Connie & Patricia

They all hit the spot with a cuppa joe.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Farewell to Angie/Christmas Staff Party

So, another staff member has left our Dept. We celebrated with Angie twice in one day before she got to leave us. Angie is an extremely popular girl. In the year she has been with us, she has made a lot of really close friends. You can't help but love her. She is always making everyone laugh. Every day is like one big party when she is around. We will all miss her dearly. I'm sure she will miss us too as she became teary-eyed upon receiving a giant card, cake and assorted gifts from us.

After the big send-off at the office, we all celebrated again at a Christmas Staff Party at the Duke of Devon where we all had a Jolly Good Time. There were a lot of people there with good food & drinks. It was nice chatting it up with a bunch of folks from some other Departments that I hadn't seen in a long while. Of course the Reorg Gang had a wild time as usual. Our Dept didn't win as many door prizes as last year. We did get one winner though. Lisa was delighted to have won some fine booze. This Christmas Party brought back good memories of last year's party when good ole Jonathan was with us, back when he was the life of the party. Here's to you, Jonathan. I hope you are ripping it up over there in Taiwan!

Lisa made a decadent Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake for Angie's send-off

Angie gets teary-eyed. She misses us already

Angie and the Reorg gang

Lisa won some booze

Me, Kelly & Anastasia

Shalini, me & Ataun

For old times sake, here's a shot of me, Ataun and goofy Joanthan from last year's shindig.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Dick

Dick and I celebrated his birthday yesterday by watching the movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still" on opening day, same day as his birthday. Coincidentally, Dick found the 1950's version being televised the night before, so we had a chance to watch both old and new versions for a good comparison. I enjoyed both versions as they both conveyed a much needed message to the people on Earth. The premise of the movie is that a spaceman and his robot lands on Earth to warn us humans to either clean up our act or else the Earth, along with the human race will perish. The spaceman in the older version was a friendlier being while the spaceman in the newer version was much more serious. His mission was to save Earth and its other lifeforms from the human beings' destructive ways and he had no trouble wiping out the entire human race in order to do so. His stark message was: If Human Beings continue with their destructive ways, then Earth dies and Human Beings will die. If Human Beings die, then Earth lives.

So is that what it will take to make us all realize how very destructive we are to each other and to this Earth,(our one and only Home)? Or will we all as a whole, come to our senses and do what it takes to continue on with our great civilization, without intervention or threat from an ExtraTerrestrial Force? IT'S REALLY ALL UP TO US, ISN'T IT? CAN WE GET OUT OF THIS MESS WE ARE IN? I'll save this thought for another post.

Anyways, Dick's parents dropped by mid-week to celebrate his birthday. Dick's mom as usual prepared a scrumpdelicious feast which lasted us for the next couple of days. She even baked a simple but yummy orange cake to mark the occasion.

On Thursday night, Colin & Derek volunteered to make a chocolate cake from scratch for their dad. It turned out really well and I decorated it to look like a Flat Screen TV. That is as close as Dick is gonna get to owning one in the near or far future.

For his Birthday dinner, Dick wanted to order a party size Sushi & Sashimi Platter from our friendly neighbourhood Sushi & Sashimi take-out. We love this place because the sushi chefs are so friendly and fast and as a bonus, we always get treated to a couple of complimentary Handrolls while we wait. There aren't too many dining venues which provide such great service.

Well, I hope you enjoyed your Birthday, Dick! Another year older, another year wiser???

Dick's parents dropped by mid week to celebrate his birthday

Colin & Derek making chocolate cake for their Dad

Even though it looks more like a computer screen, this is a suppose to be a Flat Screen TV

Happy Birthday Dick

Our favourite Sushi & Sashimi take-out joint

They are friendly and fast here

Dick enjoying his complimentary Hand Roll

Dick's Birthday Sushi & Sashimi Platter