Friday, January 20, 2012

The Dragon Year

A few days more to the new year - a hop, skip and jump from the bunny's tail and onto the head of the dragon.

A few life events expected this year for friends and family - a new little dragon baby girl for J and Y at the end of this month.
Beginnings for cousin D, friends V and A - congratulations for tying the knot. Well it should be a very 'Ong' year being the dragon - which is my sis' animal zodiac. Being a dragon girl, I can say she's definitely making big changes this year.
As for me, the Horse, I've decided to keep running with another marathon, this time in the autumn in Frankfurt. I've had 3 spring marathons and would like to try out one at the latter part of the year. Training after work would be ideal with longer summer days. Signed up for a few halfs as well as milestone markers. With the Olympics happening in London, 2012 will also be a big sporting year.

The Chinese New Year atmosphere is of course very staid in London - they've put up the lanterns in Chinatown. My colleagues are all English so no one's aware of it but I couldn't resist the mention. The punting and betting houses in London have all put up ads and banners welcoming the New Year which is pretty funny (suggesting the patrons of these are Chinese).

K is not into celebrating CNY but fortunately I have some friends who do. There'll be another round of eating and get-togethers even while recovering from Christmas.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Toilet Troubles

Now I know why a plumber make so much money.

Note; Narration of a non-plumbing person follow.

The toilet bowl collapsed a little last week so K had to break down the partition covering the cistern to investigate. It was not a pretty sight (nor smell). Firstly, we discovered that the partition needn't have been broken because it was just a matter of adjusting the bolts holding the wc up (this is a suspended toilet with a foot-high bracket, bolted to the floor)

However suspicious stains on the bottom tiles suggested that the pan-connector connected to the main sewage pipe was leaking so K decided to replace it with a new one from B&Q .

Well that was the easy part.

Not necessarily knowing what was the easiest or right way to dismantle and assemble a toilet, the operation became a 4 hour job messing about with the toilet, inhaling noxious gases, wading around toxic water. Has anyone heard of leptospirosis?

Wasn't really sure how the pan connectors were initially set up because we dismantled it in a hurry - Lesson No.1 - if you're an amateur take photos before dismantling.

Job of an amateur:

- Guaranteed to make a pong you'll never forget

How it should look like:

- Rotation+pressure is key

The worst was trying to connect the L-shaped connector to the cistern and the bowl, while holding the bowl - one end rotates one way, but the other rotates another.

So feeling fairly confident with the set-up, K flushed the toilet and this happened:
(see video - not own video but similar situation)

Anyway we managed to have a functional toilet now and a little more appreciation for the plumber's rates.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

6 more hours for the old year to end (GMT time) and the new one to start.

To start the end of the new year, had some good friends come over. Its been some time since I've caught up with everyone and had a proper gathering. It's always worth while to meet up, eat a lot and I hope everyone had a good time yesterday. Had an impromptu cooking lesson on sambal from Masterchef N and also on buttermilk churning from J (we still had a good cake out of it though). Thanks to everyone for having a good laugh over food with friends and enjoying yourself.

Guess I'll have to cough up some resolutions for the new year .....which I think would be WIP (work in progress) of the old year's resolutions. Health and weight as usual making an appearance, some other concerning career and self development, another one for family and relationships and not forgetting one for money as well.

All in all, 2011 was a good year for me. Have to be thankful for all the graces God has given that we all have our health. Also a good partner and family to support me .

Fitness-wise, I clocked 6088mins of cardio exercise (which is about 2 hours a week)...a slowing down compared to my previous years even with marathon training included. Speaking of which, pleased to say that I've completed my marathon in Paris after a 4 year hiatus - one resolution successfully resolved.

In terms of work and career, haven't really achieved much due to laziness or complacency - or maybe it's slipped off my priority list. Will have to review....

Nevertheless, financial circumstances have improved - had an adjusted increment and started only to subscribe to a pension fund in June this year. However as inflation have also crept up, (2nd half expenses 50% higher than 1st half), not sure if this increment will make much difference to my expendable income.

Well looking forward to 2012 which should be an exciting year with the London Olympics!