Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sam's new knee

I mentioned in my last post that Sam underwent a TPLO operation on his knee. Our vet had previously determined that he had torn the cruciate ligaments in both his right and left knees, but it seemed that the right one was in worse condition. And so it was that on Feb 13th we had him booked in for an operation by a specialist in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta. That's a two-hour drive for us to get there from our home in Wollongong. I took time out from school that weekend and flew home after classes the day before.

Sam was left overnight at the surgery, and later in the evening we received a call letting us know that he made it through with no problems whatsoever and that we could go pick him up the next morning.

The nurse was kind enough to show us the x-rays taken after the metal plate and screws were put in place.

He seemed to have gotten over the anaesthetic when we arrived to pick him up, and was keen to get home as quickly as he could. So we bundled him into the back of the car and off we went.

Rosie semeed quite happy to see him, I think she was fretting overnight while Sam was away having his operation done. She followed us all over the house and wouldn't let us out of her sight the entire time. Still, the reunion was to be rather short-lived.

Our instructions were to keep Sam quiet as much as possible in the first couple of days, and then his bandages were to be removed. Having Rosie around meant that she would try to get him to play with her and she might try to lick the wound/stitches on his leg. Really could not afford to have Sam over-exert himself or get his wound infected from having it licked.

So Rosie's been bundled off to a friend's place (thanks, Ann-Marie!!) where she's staying for the next 3 weeks or so. That's the time Sam's stitches come off and the risk of infection from licking goes away. Ann-Marie's got a lovely home with a beautiful backyard and a pool; and most importantly another lab called Willow to keep Rosie company. Here's a pic taken the last time Sam and Rosie went to visit. Willow's on the left in the foreground.

Meanwhile, Sam's at home with a HUGE bucket on his head to stop him from licking his stitches.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fast forward - Melbourne Business School

Blink your eyes and 3 years go past. As I am writing this, I am sitting in Syndicate Room 15 at Melbourne Business School undertaking a full-time MBA program for a year and a half!

Noon, Sam and Rosie are still back in Wollongong, a whole state away. Hard to believe that I have left my family and former life behind so completely isn't it? It wasn't an easy decision though, not by any stretch of the imagination. Noon and I had to come to terms with the idea that we would be separated temporarily while I pursued my education in a city more than 1,000kms away while she continues working in order to support our family (she's the Facility Manager of the Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at the University of Wollongong - you can tell I'm proud of her!).

Oh, and by "our family" I mean us and our two kids - Sam and Rosie. No children of the two-legged variety just yet!

Just to catch you up on recent events...

Sam and Rosie are doing fine. Rosie's her usual self, through the years she's developed quite an obsession with her toys and loves nothing more than to play fetch with the tennis ball or whatever you care to throw for her.

Sam, however, had torn his cruciate ligaments in his knees. Yes, both knees. I had to fly home to Wollongong from Melbourne last weekend for his first TPLO surgery to repair the damage. Didn't get to stay long as I had to then get back to classes on Monday. Noon tells me that he's doing fine and is starting to slowly walk on the leg, exactly what the surgeon ordered given that he needs to build up muscle mass again to speed up the recovery process.

Noon, in the meantime, is having her hands full looking after Sam (Rosie's staying with a good friend of ours while Sam is recovering at home, she stirs him up way too much!) and tending to matters a work. Since the last time this blog was updated, Noon's graduated with her PhD in Chemistry (she even made the Dean's Merit List!). I guess we will now need to call her Dr. Noon! Much easier that than her full name... try saying "Dr. Thitima Urathamakul" in a hurry! **sorry honey :)**. A couple of months after finishing her PhD she applied for, and got, the position of Facility Manager at the Mass Spectromety Laboratory.

Finally to myself. Noon and I started looking into furthering my education now that she had finished hers. The MBA was my top choice given my growing disillusionment at the managerial practices at my (now previous) workplace. I took out Australian Citizenship in March 2008 in preparation for this, studied for and sat my GMAT exam, and began the application process to the top business schools in Australia. Applied to both the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) and Melbourne Business School (MBS). I won't go into the details with this post, but Noon and I made the decision to go with MBS despite the fact that it is in Melbourne, as opposed to AGSM which was in Sydney. I'll write an entry on that at a later date. So in December 2008, I tendered my resignation and packed my bags. January came around and I kissed the wife and kids goodbye and boarded the plane.

...And here I am in sunny/rainy/cold/hot/wet/dry Melbourne!

Friday, April 28, 2006

We're alive!!

It’s been a while since I last updated this blog, more than a month, actually. Probably lost quite a few readers, can’t blame anyone but myself – most would have thought that this blog had died off like so many others.

But… I’m here to tell you that it hasn’t!! :)

So! What’s been happening with us? Well quite a bit and not a lot, actually! There’s been lots to do at work for me, am settled in quite well by now and getting along with my new colleagues – they’re a great bunch, am learning heaps but still able to contribute in some areas, and will soon be starting on some of the bigger projects. Work-related business dominates my time these days, but I mean this in a good way. My stress levels are down, I’m eating more and no longer losing weight like I was last year.

Noon’s started on her thesis. Her paper’s on the subject of Mass Spectrometry (I think) and she’s working hard to have it completed by August. The kind of stuff she writes about is way over my head, but I try to help out where I can – this involves providing her with a properly set up computer and instant IT support when any problems arise, occasionally cooking our meals, cleaning the house and generally taking care of any household chores that need doing when she’s busy. She gets rather stressed at times, but it’s in her character to perform well under pressure so I’m not too worried.

Sam and Rosie are well. Rosie’s still her usual playful self, she grabs her toy every time she sees us coming out into the backyard hoping we will play fetch with her. About a month ago, Noon noticed that Rosie had broken her lower left canine tooth. Snapped it clean off! We’ve caught her in the past digging up rocks and chewing on them, must have been munching on something really hard to break it. We brought her to the vet to have it looked at and the vet was shocked at how she could have broken such a strong tooth. Fortunately there was no infection, and the point in which the break occurred was just above the nerve canal. For now, if the enamel doesn’t wear down any further, she should not be in pain. Rosie does have a lop-sided bite now, when she carries her toy in her mouth it hangs off the right side where she’s got her unbroken teeth.

Sam’s just his usual self, had a case of ear mites a couple of months ago and we had to use eardrops to clear it out. Nothing major there except for the fact that we initially tried a new brand of the stuff and found after two weeks that it wasn’t having any effect. Switched back to the old brand and it worked a treat.

Hmmm…. What else?

Oh yes, Noon and I have booked a holiday in September. Noon’s got a conference to attend in Prague in late August, after which we will meet up in London for a few days. Will be staying with my sister while we’re in London. Then we’re off for a 12-day tour of Europe with Trafalgar Tours. The tour will conclude back in London and from there we’ll fly off to Thailand for a week in Noon’s hometown of Udonthani. And since we’re already in Thailand, we’ve decided to have another couple of nights in Phuket before coming back to Australia. Have five weeks of annual leave booked for this trip, can’t wait!!

Sam and Rosie will be staying at Mark and Joanne’s again for the time we’re away, and I’m sure they will be well looked-after. Would have loved to have been able to bring them along though :)

Well, that’s it for now. Until next time, take care all of you!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Cooking for the troops

For the past week, I’d taken to having my lunch at my desk at work. First it was spaghetti and meatballs, homecooked of course, and then the next day it was eggplant from our garden braised in sweet soy and also stirfried with mince, chillies and basil on steamed rice. Was rather inconsiderate of me, I think… the aroma permeated the air and got a few of my colleagues sniffing around. One even asked if I would take orders for Noon to cook some extra to bring in for her :)

I passed on the compliment to Noon, and we both decided that we’d take time out on the weekend to cook something up for my colleagues at work… to make up for the past week. Decided on Hokkien Noodles Noon-style!

First, 6 eggs in the wok scrambled lightly with soy seasoning and ground black pepper. Once cooked, set aside.

That’s Noon hard at work… and Sam and Rosie supervising.

We like putting lots of stuff into our noodles – seafood extender, fish balls, eggs and honey soy marinated chicken thigh pieces (works better than chicken breast because it’s more succulent and lends itself better to stirfrying).

Let’s not forget shiitake mushrooms and garlic. The shot on the right shows the sauces that Noon uses to season the noodles (not including the big tin of olive oil at the back – that’s not used for this particular dish).

So, after the eggs are cooked and removed from the pan, in goes the sliced onions. Season with a little bit of salt and let it sweat for a little bit before adding the finely chopped garlic. Adding the garlic too early will cause it to brown and possibly even burn.

Next, the marinated chicken pieces get added and left to cook through. We did this on high heat to let the meat sear and the sauce caramelise.

When the chicken is just about done, in go the shiitake mushrooms.

Left to cook for a little bit, the whole mixture reaches a darker colour. When this happens, it’s ready for the noodles.

And here are the noodles! In they go, along with all the sauces from before. Mixing it all up was a rather frenzied affair, Noon worked really quickly while I did the mixing for her. If I remember correctly, there was chilli sauce, fish sauce, dried chilli flakes, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and ground black pepper.

The final product! All in all we cooked 3kgs of noodles, filled up an entire lobster pot of it, ready to bring in to work with me tomorrow morning. Noon held back on the chilli sauce and dried chilli flakes for this batch, she and I normally prefer ours a fair bit spicier. And so we cooked a separate batch for ourselves (and Alex – who said he was up to the challenge).

Took us slightly over an hour to prepare and cook the entire batch of noodles, 3kgs worth of the non-spicy variety, and a further 1kg of the hot stuff for ourselves. 4kgs of noodles, with lotsa meat, fish balls, and seafood extender – cooked in 3 woks. Yum! Hope it goes down well tomorrow. If my colleagues at work like it they might even post their comments :)