Tuesday, December 25, 2007

HEY FOLKS! I'm back from EAST TIMOR! Scores of photos and i have a testimony!

I'll be back to share more when i have the strength to blog. Ha. For now, i'm pretty zonked out from the travelling.

But i just wanted to make known my appreciation to those of you who kept me and my team in prayer, those who came to see me off at the airport, those who welcomed me home through all means, and those er........ who recently gave me christmas (and birthday) presents! HAH!

*yawn* Ok, my body needs rest. Especially after it tried to wake up at 6am this morning... (in Timor, we had to wake up around that time everyday)

Good night everyone and stay tuned!

A Blessed Christmas to you, and may Father God speak softly and gently into your heart this season.

Friday, December 14, 2007

HIYA FOLKS!

The time has finally come... It's a special day today!

In 4 hours, i shall be off to Timor Leste. Oh, and it's also me birthday today. Whee~!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I got this in my email recently. I laughed out loud at this one! The glasses fit so perfectly! How on earth did the dogs not shake off the glasses in irritation?!
Er, unless photoshopped lah.

I'm sitting all alone at the front desk of the office and i'm bored. I haven't packed for my trip on friday!

Oh man. Shucks, i wonder if the bag i'm carrying is big enough. I'm going to need some packing advice from mom and Gem. Maybe more yabberings later if i am alive enough.

Friday, December 07, 2007

TestimoKnee

This is so interesting...

About one month ago, i sustained an injury on my left knee after running a 10km race (on sunday) and then attempting to squat on that fateful tuesday morning two days after the race. I was forced to stop running and hence stopped my training for my half marathon.

For weeks, the problem persisted. At first, i couldn't squat because if i tried, i was rewarded with a gloriously sharp pain shooting through my left leg. After 3 weeks, the internal swelling had decreased and the pain became close to minimal.

On a scale of 0 to 10, it was about 2-3. So one night, i attempted a walk home from holland village. To my dismay, i returned home to find that squatting had become painful again. That meant that the injury had been aggravated and that inflammation had occurred again.

After my exams, i visited the doctor and got some muscle stretching and strengthening advice from a physiotherapist. I spent 1 and 1/2 weeks doing what the physio told me to do, and even lapsed sometimes... ARGH, i was lazy, ok? All this while, i stayed off running.

The standard chartered half marathon came around and well... As you already know, i went for it without 100% approval from mom or doctor. I said i would walk which was fine with them, but i ran most of the way... Oh well.

But you know what?

Despite running with an almost recovered knee that may go back to being injured if i'm not careful and with no training in the last month, within 3-4 days, i am close to fine with no more sore knees (from the 1st day). And NOT ONLY THAT!

I was dreading to find out the truth... To find out that perhaps the inflammation was back. But, i eventually DID try out my left knee on tuesday or wednesday by squatting. And WOAHLAH, NO PAIN, NO INFLAMMATION! And this is despite the doctor having told me that if i ran too much, the body will produce fluid in the knee and thus the pain.

You tell me how awesome i feel now?! Ran 10km, kena knee injury. Ran 21km, no knee injury!

I know i had some physio done but i only had 1 and 1/2 weeks and i even lapsed in my exercises a few times. But everything turned out ok! PRAISE GOD FOR HIS MERCY AND GRACE!!!

PS: yes, i did pray and ask God to help me with my knees... I guess he knows the desires of my little heart lah. :-D To just run and be well... (which uh, sort of also translates to not being scolded by mom.)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Half Marathon (that's 21 kilometres, baby!) CONQUERED!

I want to tell you about the events on sunday, but i realized it's all a blur... Basically, because... i was functioning with half a brain. But here's the recollection, after taking some effort to think about it. This is more like my own record for keeps, so you might get bored reading through the whole loooooooong thing!
Here goes...:

Why the half brain, you ask? No, i didn't dye my hair blond. It was because i had only about 3 to 4 hours of sleep, and in addition, i didn't sleep well because of anxiety-excitement and an overactive brain. I think i kept awaking to half consciousness before falling back asleep.

After getting up at 4:20 am thanks to Gem who THANKFULLY gave me a morning call (my clock which was set at 4am didn't do the job of waking me up), i showered and took a cab down to clementi stadium to catch the chartered bus to Suntec City. I got a real grumpy cab driver with whom i had to give instructions to on how to get to clementi stadium, and who proceeded to scold the cabbie call center for taking 10 minutes to answer his direction query to the stadium.

"Eh, i tell you ah.. You all take TEN MINUTES to answer my call. TEN MINUTES. YOU ALL SLEEPING AH?! YOU ALL SLEEPING?! YOU ALL TAKE TEN MINUTES TO ANSWER MY CALL!"

Wa, fierce. high frequency of this kind of aggression and hostility can lead to heart disease you know.

Zipping through the highways in the wee hours of the morning with just one other guy passenger in the huge coach bus, we reached town in no time. I didn't know where to go but of course, there was the marathoning crowd to follow. Waited for Gem to come and we deposited our bags together and proceeded to the starting point.

Nothing much to report really, from here onwards...

Ok, this is where i did not discipline myself and suffered some consequences. I had promised myself that i would be walking all the way to avoid aggravating the knee condition, and if i did run, i'd only do 2km stretches each time. I managed to stick to the regime with Gem till the 8km mark. That's when the momentum of jogging kicked in and then i couldn't stop to walk. Shucks. We pretty much pushed on, jogging most of the way, and stopped to walk or to stretch our muscles when we felt any muscle tightness whenever we needed to.

Throughout the race, Gem was in superbly good spirits, cracking A LOT of lame (and actually funny, HAHA) jokes and i was guffawing away. I was pleased that i was able to keep up the running, the talking, laughing and even the smiles (which explains why a photographer took a shot of us. Tradeelala.).

Sadly, i cannot remember ALL of the nonsense we were talking about. Except this one about how cool it'd be that if God had completely healed my left knee, then i can put this text on the Adidas's "My reason for running" tag that you can pin to the back of your running top: "TestimoKnee. God healed my Knee." (private joke: hey den, jun and dom, that's a LEVEL 4 joke!)

It'll be an awesome testimony on the move, that people behind you can read!

Gem joked that we can set up another spin off under BACC, kinda like, "Being a Contagious Christian: Sports Edition." And then, the makers would come up with more cool suggestions and tools on how to reach the athletic lost.

We pushed on and finished in 3hours 20minutes, a timing that we had sort of aimed to reach.

Towards the finishing line, we gripped each other's hands and crossed the line together... Aw, i've ALWAYS wanted to do that! Ha, suffice to say, doing that was my idea lor, not as romantic if it was his idea instead. So anti-climax right. After we crossed the line, i'm not sure what happened, but either my blood pressure dropped suddenly, the heat was too much, or blood sugar was too low... Apparently, i began to feel a tightening feeling around my temples, and my vision was getting darker. I fought to keep conscious and tried to slow my walking so that i didn't exert myself to the point of fainting. Gem helped me find a spot and i sat down for a while with my head between my knees, letting blood go to my head. My hands were cold and man, i felt like i was on the verge of blacking out.

I felt better after a couple of minutes, and in the heat of the morning, we searched and found the 100plus and banana kiosk. Felt a whole lot better in the shade, and after a can of 100plus and some muscle stretching. But that was when my knee joints started complaining very loudly. But nothing prepared me for what was to come later on.

After some sun basking and photo taking by the friendly Adidas photographers, we ventured to Raffles City for lunch and then made our way back to my place to take a well deserved shower and afternoon nap. But i tell you, i've never been in so much pain after a run before in all my life. My left and right knees felt bruised inside, and the back of my right knee had some tendon and muscles problems. It was a struggle to even walk properly, let alone going up and down the stairs. Every step had me widening my eyes in shock, as well as gasping and whining in pain. I had to hold on to Gem and the railings for support as i limped about.

Aw shucks... but my Gem is the best, ok. He was patient and caring throughout the ordeal, never an unkind word for my plight and he was considerate about the pain i felt and how much i had to walk. When we got back and showered, we made an ice pack and Gem secured it to my right knee to prevent inflammation as i lay down like an injured soldier. Gem also dried my washed hair for me (without me asking!!!) so that i wouldn't get a headache (i get headaches when i sleep on my wet hair). :-DDDDDD This kind of boyfriend where to find?!?!

Fast forward to after our nap and dinner at Ghim Moh... (we had YUMMY BLACK PEPPER CRAB, thai sauce chicken and mixed veg by the way! Awesome man...)

Back home, while sitting through another ice pack treatment for my left knee, i fell asleep on the couch in the living room. Gem watched a movie (Underworld Evolution. HAHA.) while waiting for me to awake so that i could go back to my room to sleep. But i didn't, so he brought out my blanket and covered me with it. And that was around 1+ to 2am, mind you. He waited THAT long!

When i awoke on monday morning, i noticed that the ice pack was gone and that i was snuggled under my smelly (smells like Jed) blanket, and altogether feeling quite well taken care of. I felt like Gem knew my every need and responded exactly the way i would've needed him to. While i got up to get ready for work, Gem made both of us a scrambled egg sandwich each and made me a cup of milo for breakfast.

God, i thank you for this wonderful guy who knows how to take good care of me! I was and still am feeling really blessed by him. Honestly, i think he might've done more than what i've described here, but my memory of sunday and monday is really hazy so this is about as much as i can recall.

I still can't get over the fact that i'm done with a half marathon. The most i've ever run in my life is 11.5 to 12km. And that's around the time i injured my left knee and ceased running for 1 month. And then here i am, a finisher of 21km. My physiotherapist friend told me that what i did wasn't exactly a good idea, which i agree with. But, ok, i'm stubborn when it comes this kind of thing. It's funny how during the last part of the run, 90% of pain present was muted prolly due to natural pain killers or some remarkable brain ability, but the minute you finish, the pain comes like a sledgehammer.

When i did my first 5km, i thought, "why would anyone want to run 10km?" But then, after completing the Shape Run 5km, the Standard Chartered 10km seemed doable. When i was training for my 10km, i thought, "i'd never want to endure 21 km! I don't see myself ever running 21km." But then, i decided to go for the challenge and did my first 21km last sunday. Before my 21km, i was thinking, "42km? NUTS! I'd never do that, i'd kill my knees! Look at all those people suffering, man!" But now... i'm beginning to feel my mentailty slowly changing... Oh boy. What have i gotten myself into! I think i've inevitably set myself up for 42km already.

Oh my GAWSH.

PS: I'll never forget the pain i went through after this run. i've learnt that training for a run is not all about endurance and running your legs off. Training up and strengthening (weight and resistance training) the muscles is just as important so that you don't bonk during and after the race!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Yesterday, YN and i finally got to go for our much talked about spa trip. Armed with our Citispa vouchers obtained from our Shape Run, we met up at the Suntec City branch. Well... I can't say much about their service, and i don't really know what to attribute their rather lacklustre service to (if what i experienced WAS lacklustre).

When we entered the place, the ambience was dark and welcoming, quite nice and peaceful. The counter girl however, was nice to an extent, but presented herself as rather bo chup in executing her professional duties of telling us what we were in for and what we were suppose to do and what we were suppose to expect.

I was dumped into a private room with a steam bath thing, and after 30 minutes of choking on heat and 100% humidity in the steam bath, i got out and waited behind the locked doors of my room for someone to tell me that i could go for my massage. Apparently, no one came, and i had to gingerly open the door every now and then to peek and see if YN would come knocking on my door for her turn in the steam bath.

Instead, on my final attempt at opening the sliding door, i caught the attention of one of the staff and she asked me what was happening, so i told her i was done. She then told me nicely to follow her. Argh. So, i grabbed all my barang, wrapped myself in the towel they provided and scampered after her... Well, not exactly. She did not wait for me to come out of the room before disappearing around the corner into the recesses of the spa. So, I was left panicking a bit and scuttling after her with my bag and slippers in hand, in my two piece swimwear, holding on to the towel for dear dignity. $%%$#^%$^%$&%#$#$

I felt darn vulnerable walking around the spa like that with other people around lor! !$$%#$^%&^%*^

Eventually, i saw her and YN in a bigger room and i breathed a sigh of relief and tip toed in. She spoke to me in mandarin, most of which i could hardly understand... After some guessing and gesturing, i figured that she wanted me to lie down on the bed with my face placed into the hole.
The massage went reasonably well............. But if you thought that i fell into a deep blissful slumber, you cannot be more mistaken!!! Her hands worked fast and furiously on my back and upper butt (yes, butt!) and my brain was cussing away in pain and sometimes, i'd be giggling uncontrollably because she hit ticklish spots now and then. When my back creaked and cracked she exclaimed: "AIYO! You very tired issit? When you very tired, it is like that." Oh. Kay.

After feeling like someone put my back through a pounding machine, my massager (?) left the room without further instructions except for: "Don't drink too much water after 8pm. Drink only in small sips." And left. YN then came out from the jacuzzi in the same room and we talked for a bit, wondering what we were suppose to do. And she offered me one of her home-and-self made chocolate cookies! Yum! :-D

Only after like say, 15-20 minutes, one of the staff came along and told us to get changed while she'll get us some tea. So we did just that and ventured out from the room. By right, i was suppose to have my jacuzzi bath as well, but i was already getting a bit impatient with their lack of organization and personalized care that i decided to forego the jacuzzi.

We came out and wondered where we were suppose to have our tea. We assumed it was one of the rooms that had a tray of tea waiting, but we decided to ask the women at the reception area. The girl was nice and led us back to the said room, and so we sat down to drink. After the obligatory attempt by one of the staff to get us to buy a package (which she was not pushy about, so i give her credit for not being annoying), which of course we declined nicely, we paid and left.

I don't think i'll be going back any time soon. Nuh uh. I'm not sure why they kept leaving us to our own devices. From what i gather, it's either because they took us for regular customers who know what to do, OR, spa goers are generally given as much time as they need to relax and hang around hence they are not hurried. But still! I felt so lost. Bleah.

YN and i parted ways soon after cos i had to return home for dinner. While walking through the suntec towers, naturally, i cannot not go into Nike Bird and Royal Sporting House... Anyway... For those of you wondering what joline likes.... you can never ever go wrong with sportswear. *hhhinnntt*

Ok, i fell in love with this maroon running top (there were two that i liked, but i picked this one to try) and this pair of gold and black running shorts from Nike (but, but!!! The pink and grey one, as well as the purple and pink combinations were nice too!). But then, i went to Royal Sporting House and spotted another pair of running shorts from Reebok and it was equally nice. I'm thinking of getting either one, or two... or three items... Hmm...

I decided not to buy anything yet, but to return home to handle my budget first. Aren't i a good girl. :-) And what muscley legs i have!









Anyway, i shall end my post here now. Tomorrow'll be a long day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

YARRRRRKKKKKKKKKK!

Jo prints out set of songs for BACC.

Jo notices that text is all smudged out on the first page. Jo notices that there is black and red smeared all over paper.

Jo also notices something long and black that is twitching on its own on the piece of paper.

Jo assesses long twitching thing.

Jo realizes with horror that it is a SEVERED LIZARD TAIL SOAKED WITH BLACK INK twitching on her paper.

JO IS $$#^%&^%&% HORRIFIED.

Jo turns second piece of paper around and finds the MANGLED, TORN AND DISTORTED BODY LUMP OF THE LIZARD STUCK BEHIND THE SHEET OF PAPER, PRINTED WITH BLACK STREAKS BY THE PRINTER.

Jo's hand was dangerously near the mangled, torn and distorted lizard body lump.

JO IS SO GROSSED OUT SHE HURRIEDLY CRUSHES UP PAPERS AND TOSSES THEM INTO A PLASTIC BAG.

JO WOULD'VE TAKEN PICTURES TO GROSS YOU OUT TOO IF SHE WASN'T THAT GROSSED OUT HERSELF.

Printer exploration gone wrong for Mr Lizard.

Retarded Lizard!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Have you ever experienced times when you hear your mind/God?/heart telling you to do something, but you brush it aside, by rationalizing away, or, because you were too distracted, or thought maybe it wasn't too important, or that things would not change even if you obeyed? (amongst other things)

In the last 3 days, i had one or two of these promptings which i didn't obey. And mind you, regret is not a nice feeling.

And i think one of the main reasons why i failed to obey (i used to do so all the time because i didn't want to leave anything to chance) was because i was not receiving tangible feedback that what i had done had any impact on anyone or anything.

That's not a good reason to stop of course, but i guess as humans, we need a little encouragement that we have made a contribution somehow. Ah, part of Keyes and Magyar-Moe's social well being theory... "Social Contribution: the assessment of whether one is of value in society".

Knowing that we have made an impact keeps us going, it eggs us on by giving us hope that in doing what we are doing, it will fulfill a purpose, even if we cannot see it immediately.

Of course, rewards can either come quickly, or after a long, tedious process. Both of which we can't really control to begin with. All we can do is to be the trigger, the starter. The important thing is to just do the right thing even in the face of emptiness or bleakness.

If all the tiny millions of neurons in our brains (sitting high on our bodies in the main control centre that is The Head) went on strike and chose not to pass on their electrical and chemical messages through one another, we'd not be able to function at all. Similarly, if i went on strike and chose not to to the right thing, God cannot use me to move and change situations.

As for those on the receiving end... Hey, if someone has made an impact in your life today, or if you know someone who needs a little credit for their deed(s), why not be open to them about it. You never know how you can be that trigger in their lives as well.

So... Encourage someone today! Give out those free power gels (carbohydrate loaded food used by athletes)! Run beside a fellow friend/enemy in their hard and hot race of life and offer your towel (for enemies, maybe you can take the opportunity to pour water over their heads instead. Heh.)! Sms or call someone to check on them! Observe and give praise!

Why not?
And besides, you don't need a prompting before you do something good for someone.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Knee How Mah?

Ok, this'll be a update about the knee injury. The when, and whats. A big big thanks to those of you who've shown your concern... I really appreciate it. It's like, it's my injury, either you don't even meet me, OR, you can't see the problem even when i'm around, but yet you still enquire about how i'm doing... So i'm touched. :-)

It started two days after my New Balance real run. I finished the run well, and i was perfectly fine after and during the race. Monday passed by uneventfully, and then on tuesday morning, all i did was squat, and that was when i felt the sharp pain around the knee cap and stood up immediately. I noticed a lump formation as well and i was pretty frightened because i've never felt anything like it before.

For days, i could not squat fully because it'd hurt. After 3 weeks, things got a lot better. It hurt less, but i still felt that the lump and pain, though it was minimal. I thought i was doing well, so i took a walk home with Jun one saturday night, and to my disappointment when i got home, the lump and pain flared up and squatting was painful again. The next day though, it was slightly better.

All of this was puzzling me, so... i finally got to see the doc.

According to the orthopedic doctor, he said:
"Nothing serious... Just some wear and tear in the knee joint, some arthritis here (taps the x-ray image)... Nothing serious. Your knee cap is rough from the wear and tear. So, when you overdo, the knee cap rubbed against a weak part of the knee and that area produced fluid, which is causing the swelling. So, every time you overuse the knee, it'll produce the fluid and therefore, the pain."

Suffice to say, my heart and spirit was crushed. It might not sound that serious, but to me, the implications were... So, does that mean that my running days are over? Does that mean that i'll always get this pain when i run? Since running uses the knee a lot.

It did not help that though he is sort of nice, he wasn't answering my questions properly when i proposed my concerns to him, and he didn't seem very sympathetic about how i obviously felt.

He recommended that i go for physiotherapy, which i did for the first time in my life on wednesday. I LOVED IT. Well, i got a therapist who educated me on the knee physiology and told me what exactly was going on. Apparently, this problem is a common one, seen mostly among school athletes and NS men.

I learnt about the position of the patella, the outer and inner thigh muscles and how my knee cap was moving sideways because my outer thigh muscles were stronger than the inner ones, therefore resulting in the misaligned movement. She also taught me some exercises to do on my own everyday. The inner thigh muscles need a good workout.

She gave me one good knee massage (wa seh, darn PAIN but darn SHIOK) and then hooked me up to two machines. The first one was an ultrasound machine that was suppose to help with the cell healing, and the second machine was to help reduce the swelling. All i had to do was lie still and enjoy the prodding and massaging. Hee.

It's much better these couple of days. I guess the physio session and exercises really do help. It's not completely well, but i'm just trusting for healing and recovery. In the meantime... I'm swimming. Haha, ok, so it's hard to keep me off my sports.

So yep, this is the whole story. Other than the fact that i've decided to go for the standard chartered half marathon. And... i'll be walkin'. Yeah baby, YEEHAH!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

So my exams are over... And things have gotten a little... busy (most of it is busy-ness in my head) in such a short span of time.
It's 2:30am now, and d'you know how wonderful it is to spend some quiet time alone in my room? I've been so caught up with non recreational stuff lately that having time to deliberately sit still, to hear myself think, is a luxury. Yeah lah. My brain works at pentium 1 speed, so i need more time to process my thoughts. I'm not the most intellectual person around here.

The peace is just... Wow. Having the LEGAL opportunity (when school's in, blogging with reckless abandon feels like a crime) to engage in non academic work in the wee hours of the morning is liberating. In the stillness of the night, in the quietness and privacy of my room, with the door closed to keep noise away from my family, i feel safe and free. I can feel my eyes getting puffy and tired now, but i'm reluctant to hit the sack. :-D

(joline's 5 second blond moment: gah, exam stress gave me big pimples!)

So... Updates.

First things first, i'm preparing to have to retake one of my papers. Nasty stuff, but at times like this, you just need to face reality and plan for the future. It's not about being pessimistic. It's just that, i'm not living in denial. I trust God, yes, but what if He does allow me to fail this paper for reasons that are beyond me? Trusting God isn't always about believing that he WILL give you what you ask for. I trust Him, despite, whatever the outcome is.

Secondly, i thought my knee was getting better, on the road to recovery. After two weeks or so, i'm able to squat again. But i'm still not able to do what i used to do normally, ie, put pressure on my knee, crawl around (while playing with Jed lah! You think for what.), and spring up from a squating position. BUT then, despite the improvements... I came home from a walk with Jun from Holland Village, and discovered... To my horror, that i cannot squat without experiencing the same (now elevated) pain, and the lump now feels enlarged again. I'm quite miserable about this whole injury, really. I love my sports, i love my exercise. And i cannot imagine my life without rigorous sporting activity.
I have NO clue as to what is causing the lump and pain. I've gotten an appointment with a specialist this coming wednesday, and I'm hoping that he'll be able to help me out. :-( And my Standard Chartered half marathon is in TWO WEEKS!!! I am feeling miserable about it, yes.

Thirdly, i am feeling emotional pain. Not my own though. I'm not feeling LADEN with weight, what i mean is, i am feeling the pain that others are feeling. I mean, i had the privilege of being able to listen to some of my friends and though i don't fully comprehend what they are going through, i can sense the struggle and pain. There's only so much one can say and do to solve a problem. We can help the person with or through the negative emotions, but problems don't and can't disappear in an instant. It takes courage on our part to tackle the issues, some time to bear through the process, to tear up the problem and then mend things back again. We get scars, but we come out wiser.

Fourthly. Planning for Bintan and Timor trip. Hm. Hm. Hm. Every person who finds out that Timor is my first mission trip destination go like this: "OH REELEEE????!!!! HOHOHOHOHO!!!!"
I found out the reason for their enigmatic behaviour: It's because in terms of technological advancements, Timor is the most backward in this region.
Ha! I listened to their explanation with a mixture of wonder and... terror. Ah well. But really, i'm game for it. Seriously.

People usually say that the children there are wonderful. Honestly, i'm not a lover of little humans. In fact, i'm afraid of children, and because of past experiences as a child, i don't particular like children. And i'm told that there are LOADS of children and that they will come flocking to your home and you, and talk to you. Ok... Uhm. Uh. Hmm... Well. I guess it's a time for God to mould me, to be a more expressive, fearless and loving person.

Ok, this's all for now. I don't exactly know who reads all my junk other than the usual suspects that i get comments from (heehee, i REALLY appreciate you ok! Without you, this blog would be pretty lifeless). Some of you don't let me know of your presence (hi CHERYL, yes, YOU! MUAH HAHAHA.)!!! But still, thanks for dropping by to read up on my ordinary life (care to share what brings you here?). So i'm not yabbering into a black hole. :-D

(jo's 2nd 5 second blond moment: if i don't sleep soon... worsened eye bags!)

Toodles. joline out~.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I had my first paper yesterday.

It was a Royal Fiasco.

I've handed it up to the good people to mark it. I cannot do anything about it anymore.

So i've submitted it to God. Because God can do something (if He deems fit).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hello world! Your friendly blogger is still alive, longs to blog but is up for exams this week. So, am here just to say HI ALL! *wave* and that it is infinitely crappy to have a knee injury just 1 month shy of my half marathon, and that i'm seeing the end of the tunnel that wasn't all that dark to begin with, and oh, my cell group/church mates has created a blog!

It's new, so there aren't many posts yet... But it shall fill up in time. We're at www.ntucell.blogspot.com Come visit us some time!

EXAMS? BRING IT ON!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hi folks. Yes, i've been MIA-ing in the last week or so... Because i've been mugging for my upcoming exams (MY LAST EVER IN SCHOOL... UNLESS I FAIL!) and also, anything interesting to post would involve pictures and i don't have the luxury of time right now to wait for it to load.

Anyway, over the weekend, only one thing struck me and i feel compelled to tell you about it. We had the privilege of hearing from a pastor who shared with us her experience of God telling her to pray for something very important.

She said:

"During the prayer (she was at a prayer event), i postrated before God and i was praying in tongues and interceding. But i did not know what i was praying for... So i asked the Lord to show me what I was interceding for. And he showed me a vision...

I saw MULTITUDES of young people... Walking together... And they looked completely LIFELESS. (she adds, addressing the congregation: i see some of you here, some looking bored, some sleeping, but at least you are still alive...) But the youths looked SO LIFELESS!

Then i saw them walk to the very end... I think a place where they could not walk any further anymore... And i saw them jumping. Jumping over a cliff, and no one came back up again. Then i saw where they were jumping into... Fire. And i knew, the Lord was showing me the Lake of Fire (in Hell)."

Friday, October 19, 2007

this is for you Vicki! :-D


This would be my pig of a dog, sprawling himself on my mom's tummy, looking hungrily at her piece of watermelon. Yup, Jed LOVES fruits and veges. I think the way his face and body looks here closely resembles the proportions of how he was like as a pup. Ah, those days... When he was MURDEROUSLY cute.












"Mommy. I want that piece of watermelon! Pretty please?"



















Ok, this would be the first time i'm making use of Blogger's post-up-a-video function. I had to wait AGES for it to load. You'll see a vicious Jed in action, a flash of my sister, and hear my voice in the background muttering something to Jed and sister. Also, at the end, you'll see Jed's ultra cute muzzle-on/against-paw look.

(oh, uh, i said "simi taichi, man", if you couldn't catch that poor attempt at hokkien for "what's the problem?")

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Love(s) is/are...


Meet my new pink nike cap!

Jo: Hey, see? I bought this today, the colour is nice right? They say must wear cap in Timor cos the children got lice and you don't wanna get them.
Jiejie: (inspects cap and see the holes on the top that is meant to keep your head cool) GOT HOLES! LICE CAN GET THROUGH!!!
Jo: ................. *thinks "sheesh"*










Still, i love it.


















I don't camwhore ok. It's the cap that's camwhoring.


















My boyfriend and i are sort-of flower people. :-) He got me this, just because.













And he bought me this on our 2nd year anniversary. I cannot begin to tell you how strong its fragrance is when it blooms and how vibrant the colours are. They bloom as quickly as they die, but still, worth the watch every single day.

Trivia: On our very first (serious) date in 2005, he bought me white lilies.











Jun bought me this out of the blue, and i tell you, the message she sent me to tell me about it was hilariously cute and oh so innocently gleeful. She also wrote such a heartmelt type of message on the reverse side of the card there... Which explains the whole fridge magnet's message: Girls Rule.
Amen.
Thank You Jun... *squishhug*





And this.... I've been flaunting! The boy MADE this for me. The story goes like this:

Jo: Eh, there's this belt online i saw, it's SO PRETTY! Got rainbow.... I love....... but it's 15 US dollars. Adds up to about 30+ sg bucks. I want to buy leh.
WR: Aiya, i can design it for you and even add a pony!
Jo: (doesn't take him seriously)

Lo and Behold, one friday he whips out a collection of designs for me to choose from and tadah! He bought a canvas belt, stuck the printed design on the buckle, and covered the design with a kind of gel which took two days to harden. And woahlahlah! I am so pleased. Thank you, Dear. (perks of having a designer boyfriend. muah hahaa. So talented right? right???)

of ibs, po*p and soundbites

Yesterday i visited my doc about the ibs issue, and he's taken me off the meds and keeping me on the laxatives and supplementary fibre. The best part? If all goes well, NO MORE visits! If not, i'll have to pop by again. The condition has improved SO much since the first time i went to visit him about the problem, and i really thank God that my body has reacted well to the training. I didn't think it was possible (i was really upset about how chronic it has been), but i guess i underestimated what professional knowledge and my body could do.

I'm not 100% back to normal. I wish i could be, because then i wouldn't have to care too much about how i'm treating my body. But i think that having this condition helps me, in a way, to keep tabs on my diet and lifestyle. Having to consciously eat more vegs and fruits and to remember to destress. Yeah, stress apparently is a contributing factor. -.-"

Was very very amused at how while mr doctor was about to take my blood pressure, he commanded in a doctorly, rapid fire way to me, "So, have you been eatinglotsofvegetablesandfruitsanddrinkinglotsofwaterandexercisinglikemad? You look like you've lost weight." I giggled (was guffawing in my head) and just said "yeah". Giggle.

Anyway, he was pleased with my blood pressure reading. "Good", he chirped in a pleased manner, as he released the pressure on my arm and removed the stethoscope from his ears.

***

Before heading to school yesterday, i had some dinner that mom had lovingly prepared. Out of all the food she had freshly made and was about to heat up, i grabbed a small bowl with a meagre amount of rice and said that i'd be pleased with just the veg and mushrooms for sides.

Not only does she say that the amount of rice i eat is like a refugee's...

She said, "You eat so little ah, later your s*it small, small (she adds hand gestures for effect and indication) like goat s*it".
I wanted to laugh like a maniac in reply but somehow my frontal lobe suppressed that reaction to her comment.

GOAT POOP?! WHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I totally bruised my stomach tonight, having had a Hog's Breath dinner with my lovely coconuts. Ok, i don't know why i called them my coconuts, but, isn't coconut a cute word? Co-Co-NUH-T! Ok, i mean, my NTU cell darlings. Pictures coming up later... It's about 1:35am now and i should be hitting the sack soon cos i'm going to run my second ever 10km (in my life) since last december's standard chartered run.

GEM TREATED US ALL K, ALL ELEVEN OF US! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! *appreciative grin*

Also, i just wanted to say Praise God, because despite such a heavy dinner, although i did get a little bloated from the food considering it was quite a bit, i didn't get the ultra uncomfortable, backache inducing kind of bloatedness that i get from having mild IBS. SO... TATA IBS, SO LONG, FARE WELL, I WANT MY BODY TO CONTINUE REJECTING IBS! THANK GOD!

NB: IBS = irritable bowel syndrome

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's amusing how the "ah bengs" at our usual zhup fan (economy rice) stall always charges my mom more than me though we buy the same stuff. We know this because we bought the same thing on separate occasions and the price differed by 10 to 20 cents.

They like my pwetty youthful face? *hawhawhaw*

Monday, October 08, 2007

Love me, for me. For who i am now. Love me for the real me.

Don't love an idea of me. Don't fool yourself into thinking you love me. An idea is all it is. An idea. And if you love an idea that does not come to pass, then you would've wasted your whole life on someone you did not love.

Don't claim to love me for who i am if you've brainwashed yourself. Stop telling yourself your lies so many times that it has become your 'truth'. Because one day, the truth will emerge, and when the repercussions of that arise, you'll wish you had never lived.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Whenever i take a break from essaying or work, i go over to Youtube and do a search on jazz or blues keyboard... And man, would i be utterly inspired! I learnt to play classical music in primary school and stopped in primary 6 at grade 1. Since i didn't call my old piano teacher back (who is now coincidentally in the same church as me! i only found out this year.), i pretty much became a recreational pianist who loved new age music. I then took up chord music lessons at believermusic and have stuck with chords every since because it's sooooo easy. And besides, playing with chords is found in pop music too. Which is a little more enjoyable and less torturous than classical piano. :-P

But i've grown a little tired of my same old emo chord progressions and "churchy" chords that i feel like it's time to pursue different sounds and techniques. Yeah, so YEEHAH!

I just wish that my piano would magically tune itself back to concert pitch, or that i could go right out and get a digital piano. The tuner guy who came to my place the other time was horrified at how flat my piano is. So flat that he didn't dare to tune it back completely for fear of destroying the strings inside. Too much tension = *PIAK*

Listening to classical music on youtube has made me realize that i enjoy it a lot more by watching the people who make the music a reality. Whether it's piano music or orchestral.

Oh and GUESS WHAT? I discovered.... a VEGETABLE ORCHESTRA! The first one is kind of like an introduction to how and what they do... They look like they're really having a carrot/cabbage/pumpkin/tomato of a time! Take a look see:



Cool BEANS, huh?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

my life's reality



Perhaps after you've watched the video, just close your eyes and listen to the lyrics of the song. The song just reminded me of the reality of what Jesus did for me and for all of us, whether or not we acknowledge him or not. If ever you feel like God is far away from you, just think of what he did and let the love of his actions tell you what you mean to him.

"Why" by Nicole Nordeman

We rode into town the other day
Just me and my daddy
He said I'd finally reached that age
And I could ride next to him on a horse
That of course was not quite as wide

We heard a crowd of people shouting
And so we stopped to find out why
And there was that man that my dad said he loved
But today there was fear in his eyes

So I said daddy why are they screaming
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why is he dressed in that bright purple robe?
I'll bet that crown hurts him more then he shows
Daddy please can't you do something?
He looks as though he's gonna cry
You said he was stronger then all of those guys
Daddy please tell me why?
Why does everyone want him to die?

Later that day the sky grew cloudy
And daddy said I should go inside
Somehow he knew things would get stormy
Boy was he right
But I could not keep from wondering
If there was something he had to hide
So after he left I had to find out
I was not afraid of getting lost
So I followed the crowds
To a hill where I knew men had been killed
And I heard a voice come from the cross

And it said father why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why are they casting their lots for my robe?
This crown of thorns hurts me more then it shows
Father please can't you do something?
I know that you must hear my cry
I thought I could handle a cross of this size
Father remind me why
Why does everyone want me to die?
When will I understand why?

My precious son
I hear them screaming
I'm watching the face of the enemy beaming
But soon I will clothe you in robes of my own
Jesus this hurts me much more then you know
But this dark hour
I must do nothing
Though I've heard your unbearable cry
The power in your blood
Destroys all of the lies

Soon you'll see past their unmerciful eyes
Look there below
See the child
Trembling by her father's side
Now I can tell you why
She is why you must die


(video images and lyrics aren't running in parallel in terms of context, but it helps to let you picture the scene)

there are rosy and not so rosy times

Long ago and not too long ago, every time she raises her voice, begins to sound unreasonable, or has a tinge of accusation/highstrung-ness in her voice, or gets annoying in any way, i respond just as hot temperedly like a knee jerk reaction. I had no patience to tolerate what i perceived as nonsense. I would rise to challenge her and an argument would ensue.

These days, whenever she gets into one of those moments, i feel like my world suddenly slows down, my heart beat slows down, my breath gets even. It's not that my brain does not begin shooting out lots of lines to retort back. It does. But i feel my decision making (temporal lobe?) kicking in. And my response? I either dismiss it silently and keep quiet, or, answer what needs to be answered in an even or an emotionless tone.

Life is a lot more peaceful when you choose your battles.

But for him, it's different. It might not be the case on his side, but to me, he always seems to be challenging me. Always being critical, quick to judge. Finding loopholes, rarely encouraging. He makes me feel ignorant, stupid, and youthful in a bad way (as in, "you young people don't know much").

And it hurts. This time, things can swing in two directions. We either have a debate, albeit slightly heated, or, we'd have an argument. These days, the debate happens more often because i try really hard to control my nerves before the situation escalates.

As a kid, i used to marvel at how patient he would be... How he takes a while before he gets agitated, and i always felt safe having him like that. In the recent years though, things have changed. He gets irritated more easily and shows it. I didn't used to be as scared/cautious around him as i am now. He's no monster of course. It's just a change in the dynamics that i've noticed.

Monday, October 01, 2007

this confirms (everyone's suspicions and my own) that i am weird

i was perusing through 2 beautiful wedding websites of two couples i know personally from church.

instead of feeling the fuzzy longing of wanting to be get married too like most girls...

i suddenly feel like i don't want to get married.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's confirmed.

I'm going to East Timor!

No... not for a holiday per se, but for a short term mission trip. The reality of it hasn't quite settled in yet for some weird reason. I don't even feel like i'm looking forward to it. It's like, i have no expectations whatsoever. But this is my FIRST mission trip EVER, and i hear it's a tough place to begin at. Taking J's experience for advice, i'll set my expectations really low, with respect to the level of creature comforts. I'm pretty sure that i can mentally deal with the conditions, all I just hope for is that my physical body doesn't break down.

I wonder if i should give myself a graduation present in december... A nice and good camera. Hrrmmm. My current powershot G2 is only 4megapix (bad for taking quality videos), and the exilim... has konked out. I don't like the exilim much, except for its conveniently slim body and fast startup. I'm dreaming of an SLR. :-X Highly unlikely that i'll get one around this time anyway, though. Wishful thinking by a mile!

I think i'm going to keep a journal (have got loads of empty diaries to spare) to document this last semester that i never thought would get this busy. School work, workplace work, mission trip prep, marathon and other race preps, other church commitments, and trying to figure out what to do with my life after i'm done with school. I think i'd like to read, and think back upon my experiences because i think i'm going to be and am in the process of being taught a few lessons.

Does anyone have any great ideas on how to pack light and pack smart for a 10 day trip to timor?

***

I'm in need of new CDs. New types of sounds, new genres, new tunes! It's amazing how much money you spend on CDs. You don't feel it because it's a gradual purchasing process. But if you just pick up that CD wallet and assume that each CD is worth around 20bucks... That wallet is worth quite a few hundred dollehs, or near a thousand.

10 CDs = $200
25 CDs = $500
50 CDS = $1000

Scare-ree.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happiness is when you receive a call at night from a family member who's not home yet, asking if you want some treats (that s/he can get on the way home). Like maybe, fries, drinks, chicken wings...

Simple pleasures. It always brings a smile to my face. And it just tells me that the person is thinking of us, the home, and loving us in the way they know how to.

On a less romantic note...

From when i was a wee kid, to the 20 something year old that i am, i've many fears. One of which is that if a family member isn't home by a certain time, the next phone call that pierces the quiet night will be one from a police officer bearing bad news. I'm serious. I tend to be paranoid over certain things. I guess this is why they say that everyone has a psychological disorder, just to some extent. Nothing clinical, just that we may show some mild behavioural signs.

***

Although i don't have a FYP in my final sem, the load i'm carrying this sem sure feels like i've got one. School readings and assignments, workplace work, exam prep, mission trip prep, half marathon prep, church commitments. *Glug* Am i drowning?

***

For some WEIRD reason, my home has been receiving multiple calls from these people who are trying to sell a food supplement, some royal jelly thing. I do not know HOW they got our number, and they just keep calling every other day. They're usually kind of polite, all of them have strong indian accents (i don't know why! beats me...), a bit pushy, but if you are firm they'll let you off the hook. My phone caller ID registers the calls as "out of area", meaning not within Singapore (or do they not want you to know where they are calling from even if it's within Singapore?), which makes it all the more puzzling to me.

Do any of you get these calls too?

The next time one of them calls, i think i might try a couple of things instead of cutting them off to tell them that i am not interested:

1. asking them where they are calling from, where they got my contact, ask why i get so many calls
2. mention... the police? (hurhur)
3. after the most recent call, i had a sudden thought. why not attempt to share the gospel instead? hurhur.

***

The few most enduring mild swear words in Singapore are, "wa lao (eh)", "shit (or crap)"

***

Ran 8.1 km today. I'm surprised at myself, since the last time i ran was last tuesday and i only hit 6.6 - 6.8km. I felt my leg joints getting wary by the time i hit about 5+km, but i knew i had to discipline myself to keep going. If at any time i lag for a week, or fall sick from now till december, it'll be extremely tough to tackle the half marathon lah. Especially since i'm not really a running person.

But it's so painfully boring though... Thank God for mp3 players. I used to run without any kind of distraction. You know, just me and the road. But after trying it once after much persuasion from gem, i think i see why he's so insistent. I don't want to be reliant on it, but it seems that i'm en route to just that!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Our 2nd year anniversary is today!

No fireworks or great plans. But just a loving boyfriend who despite feeling flu-ish, plugged up his nose and journeyed to the west (he lives on the other end of the island) to come see the busy me who has been stuck at home essaying with a sort-of-writer's-block.

He brought me 3 stalks of purple lilies and they're awfully PRETTY.

He came despite being all prepared to leave after just a few minutes. I thought that was silly and told him that he's welcome to stay around longer. So, we pretty much had a nice (porridge) dinner with my family in front of the telly and then spent a quiet hour or so in my room with each of us doing our own stuff.

Nice and simple day, for which i have gem to thank for for taking the trouble to come all the way. Otherwise, we would have spent our 2nd year doing nothing again! HA. Thanks dear. =D

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A meaningful dinner.

I had dinner with two of my youth pastors the other day, and boy, did i upload a lot of information from them. Rats, and if only i could remember everything they said! I'm not going to go into detail, or get emo, but this is all i can remember and probably all i should (try to) remember.

1. "Enjoy the moment":
I will never have the experience or know-how that an older person/professional has. So stop putting so much pressure on yourself to gain man's assurance. The best you can do, is to do your best. "If you are satisfied with what you accomplished for the day before you go to bed, sleep. If not, get up and pray". I'm young. So what? God already said, to never look down on the youth. He doesn't! So, which is more powerful? Man putting their trust in you, or God putting His trust in you?

2. "We reflect the realm/reality that we are most aware of":
If we are living in the reality of the world, then our thoughts and actions reflect what the world calls for. But if we live in the reality of the spiritual realm, we are brought to a different level where we see that spiritual workings are cranking in situations around us. And when we look up to God, our thoughts and actions will reflect the heart of God. And that is how we should live as Christians.

3. "Don't try to be someone you are not":
All too true. You were meant to be who you are, and you have your own special area of expertise.

4. "You don't need to take the responsibility to make a conversation work":
Self explanatory.

5. "Some things can be learnt":
You can hone a skill, and sometimes your circumstances, like your job, can help you do that.

This's all i can squeeze out for now!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The boy cooked lunch for me! (backdated post from 11th Aug '07)

The raw pacific dory fish to be seared to perfection!











He bought me one of my favourite mushrooms.... Portabellos. Ooooohhh, yum. :-D








The Cook









The Cooking Cook










Fish and mushrooms are almost ready! Joline was salivating by then. Deliciously tasty, soft, juicy, boneless fish fillet. Oooh man!







Taken by the window for natural lighting. And yes, he bought me roses. :-D Cheesy grin and all. Teehee.










On the plate: fish, bread with olive oil, romane lettuce, mushrooms. On the side: Oreo choc with wafer, choc cake and grape juice (not wine). Absolutely scrumptious!






I am sooooooo fortunate. :-D

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hey people!

Man, it feels good a day after a run at MacRitchie Reservoir. Gem and i took a took slow run through Prunus and Petai Trail (two and maybe one quarter times = 6+ km) yesterday afternoon. A mix of trail through the jungle and then the boardwalk along the perimeter of the jungle which was uber shiok.

It was a good change from running along my usual park connectors. Smelling rich earthy fragrances, feeling sticky and sweaty in the humid jungle, feeling my shoes crunch and grip onto the pebbles and stones, being careful not to twist an ankle and hurt the knees, seeing monkeys and one little baby monkey, lizards, people feeding the fishes, going uphill and downhill, hearing the jungle sounds and feeling the cool breeze along the boardwalk portion of the route, gazing across the vast reservoir in the evening... Beautiful. =D

Much thanks to Gem for just being there with me and killing the boredom while running (he suggested strapping a DVD player to his back next time so that i can watch along the way), keeping to my pace and staying behind me, (which can be difficult for a guy, cos i run very slowly. teehee.) being our camel by carrying a waist pouch with Pocari Sweat in it, and tolerating my very unpredictable moods that varied with how irritated i was with my mp3 player headphones that kept dropping out from my ears, as well as whenever i was feeling the burn (when speed is too fast or when going upslope). *sheepish* He's a very good partner. :-D

I had a big reward after our run! He whipped out kinder bueno (LOVE!) while walking to the bus stop, and we got to eat the famous prawn noodles at Adam Road, the fruit juice special as well, and we got to try the Serene Centre Creme Brulee (at some French "restaurant". It wasn't really a restaurant, more like a kitchen. Yeah, a French Kitchen.). Rather pathetic in serving size though, this creme brulee, but in a way, i didn't care because i've been having a creme brulee craving for yonkity donks.

I can't wait for the new balance real run! Whoopee!

OHOH OH...

Who wants to go rock climbing?
And blading? (Alina has asked me for the 2nd time already!)
And night riding (bicycle) ? (i understand that parents may not like the idea of this one though)

AHHH!

***

For some reason, i dreamt that i was running through Marina Square, for the fun of it as well as looking for something... And then. As dreams are queer, another scene i had was that i was going to begin a sprint on the 100m stretch on a 400m track with a few friends. One of whom was Chen Qing, an old secondary mate who is a SUPER fast runner. If he had been talent scouted, he'd make good in a 4 x 100m sprint team for sure!

I don't understand why i keep having dreams of people whom i hardly associated with at the moment.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's so hard to fight through challenges while knowing and accepting that at this tender age you do not yet have much knowledge or experience. There are expectations to be met and you feel as if there is no choice but to pressure yourself into producing something "out of your league", even though it sounds impossible.

But if i did something less than expected, though within my capability, would people be forgiving and understanding enough to see the realities?

***

I think, i *think*, i know for a fact that my heart lies in the social work/counselling arena. It is about one of the very few things that have been a constant beam of light in my life and that makes my heart and mind tick. I guess... this would be my passion and where i shall head towards after all the schooling is over.

So, have i FINALLY narrowed down my choices? To clinical psych or counselling psych? Looks like it. I'll take one final look at my range of choices and start on my applications. God, please lead me.
Thanks to KL for helping us take our post race smiles!








On the way to the benches to prep...
Issy: Hey, what's your number? (takes out number tag)
Jo: (takes tag out, flaps it open...)
Issy: EH!
Jo: EH!
Jo and Issy both stare at our number tags and burst into girly giggles. HAHA! Well, we did sign up for it together, at the same time after all. But still... Cool beans!


The run was really "energising"<-- i quote Yeanni, and i am UBER PROUD OF THEM FOR FINISHING THE RACE IN GOOD TIME AND GOOD SPIRIT! WELL DONE! The run was surprisingly easy! I think the main reason for this was that i started out real nice and comfortable, for around 2.5km. Which i did not realize, primed by body well for the 2km or so dash to the finish line. Ok, i'm going to need a pacer for my next run, a person to keep me running SLOWLY! I tend to start off too fast (which is relative to my subjective meaning of "fast". guys, i am NOT a fast runner hor) and end up feeling the burn too early than i would like.

(to Gem: i think that with the length of your stride, you'll be strolling beside me man... for all our trainings and during the 7km leg of the NB real run)

I think the trainings at the good ole park connector strengthened me mentally, while the sheares bridge run (which was a little punishing, running part of the way with two guys) was a physical kick in the butt to get me ready for the 5km. Running that 2 km park connector length is SO BORING, and as Issy puts it "it seems never ending". So when you get to run throughout town with the changing and not-too-familiar scenery, you get to really see the distance you've covered and how far you've actually ran.

Muah hahhaa, i am slowly psychoing the ntu cell girls into going for runs with me! *rubs palms with glee*

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Shape Run's happening tomorrow morning....! Planning to reach the esplanade between 6:55 to 7am. This year, i'm going to have 2 friends with me so i won't be as lonely as i was last year! I remember thinking to myself how sadly-amusing it was to walk through citylink alone, while all the other girls around were waiting for friends, or were walking in groups or at least pairs.

Hopefully i'll have some pictures from the event. Yowza!

Mm, got to get ready my tag number and race attire.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The little toddler took one step too far, not negotiating the depth of the next step on the cement stairs. He toppled, head over heels over his little feet onto the ground, pampers and all, head just slightly grazing the next step after the one he walked off.

I advanced forward with a stricken look on my face, thinking in a frenzy: AH! AH! AH! Pick him off the ground!

But before i could even touch him, a lady who just finished her exercise with her husband at the nearby canal rushed forward to lift the child back unto his feet. I didn't stop to gawk so i went on my way, but not without observing for a moment and listening in wonder and awe...

The lady had propped the little boy back onto his wobby legs and with a firm voice full of strength, assurance, safety and loving authority, she placed her right palm against his tiny chest, looked at him straight in the eye and said, "You're ok. You are fine. You. Are. Ok.". And i saw his look of confusion, shock and pain slowly ease away from his face, and sure enough, he didn't burst out wailing.

The boy wasn't even her son but you could sense that there was such a respect for other people's young and a "dutiful" love for serving someone else. You've just got to love maternal instincts. Wow.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

How Could You?

How Could You? by Jim Willis

A man in Grand Rapids, Michigan took out a full page ad in the paper to present the following essay to the people of our community. It really touched my heart and i hope it will touch yours too.

"When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend.

Whenever I was"bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?"-but then you'd relent, and roll me over for a bellyrub.My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams,and I believed that life could not be any more perfect.

We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a "dog person"- still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch-because your touch was now so infrequent-and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me.These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her."They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers." You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home.They shook their heads and asked "How could you?" They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you- that you had changed your mind-that this was all a bad dream ... or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room.She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her.The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek.

I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?" Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself-a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place.

And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

By Jim Willis 2001

A note from the author:If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly owned pets who die each year in American and Canadian animal shelters.

Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly attributed with the copyright notice.

Please use it to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious.

Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage adoption.

***

Needless to say... i ran over to Jed, cried and told him i wouldn't ever do that to him. :-S

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

just to share a thought and opinion. mostly for the girls.

I used to be very affected by what i saw in magazines. Toned and slim women, with long limbs and glowing skin. No thanks to the 6 months subscription to Shape magazine. But after a while, i began to see that i can NEVER be like what i see in magazines because i am basically just not biologically born to have what they have! Simple as that. The best that i can do for myself, is to simply take care of my body, and just work it out to the best that it can be. And i've to accept that it will not be "perfect", still.

But you know what? Although i said that i've come to understand that i can only reach the best of what my natural body can offer, it does not mean that i must/will(all the time) attempt to do so.

Why? I am aware of the dangers of following trends and pleasing people. Because of my stand of what is truly important to me, I screen my motivations for wanting to have "the best that my body can be". Am i working my body so that i can meet the standards of what beauty is in society? Or am i working out to feel better about myself? Or am i doing it for my health? etc.

My point simply is this: Chase after what is truly beneficial. Don't chase after things that are temporal and superficial. And even if you do, somewhere, somehow, you will still need to find that peace within yourself, ABOUT yourself and your identity.
Do not hanker after impossibilities that will only leave you disappointed with yourself. Know reality and know where you stand.

Nobody said that i must follow and live up to what the world deems as attractive. I refuse to allow such standards to seep into my head to make me feel insecure.

Think about this:
In the past, fat women were considered erotic. Today, slim and less voluptuous women have taken over the stage. As you can see, the image and what constitutes beauty changes with time and social context.
So, what if one day, the fashion trend of being fat comes back again. Are you going to follow that trend? (think about your health)
Likewise, if the benchmark for skinny-is-beautiful skyrockets, shall we all become anorexic? (mind your health!)

My point is: Is it sensible to follow everything the world tells you to do?

If my values are not rooted in the world's, then the world cannot really hurt me too much with all its demands.

Which is why i do not purposefully or take it to heart that i MUST reach the best that i can. Because i know that in time, if i let superficiality sink into my mind and reason for my goals, i know that when the day comes when i can no longer upkeep what i desire or if i feel challenged by others around me, i will sink into pointless depression. Now, we don't want that, do we?

This can also apply to other areas in life. As long as a building is constructed on foundations of sand, it will crumble like a stack of cards the minute a storm comes.

So what/who/where is your firm foundation where you can ground all your beliefs, opinions, values and principles?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Grarrrff. No pictures from our sheares bridge run yesterday. Hey, i was out there with two strapping young men who'll think i'm a nut/crazy bimbo if i whipped out my camera to snap pictures. I didn't want to super pai seh myself in front of them, ok?

My conclusion from yesterday's 6km: I NEED MORE TRAINING. Not so much as to get a better timing, or to fulfil any expectations/requirements... But mostly to GET INTO SHAPE FIRST! The timing and all that can come later. I've been doing my weekly walks and little runs but no full fledged training, due to my schedule and other committments. But as a result of that, my knee started to hurt halfway and my right calf began to experience the beginnings of an ache that felt like it might've gone into a cramp if i exerted myself more. I don't really know what it was since it didn't get worse, but i slowed my pace and made sure i moved to the left of the road to anticipate the chance that i may have to stop. Despite being able to jog all the way, I've NEVER had such ailments during my runs before! This goes to show that i was ill prepared.

Running long distances is not my passion. I prefer sprinting, like for 100m, which is my pet distance. ;-> Running long distances is something i do out of necessity for my health, and for the challenge and because in general, i like sports. While there's an element of "for fun" in running, it's not really my idea of fun (fun would be something like archery, shooting...). I run, well, also because logistically it is simple and it doesn't require me to bug anyone.

In preparation for a potentially punishing ordeal, a.k.a new balance real run (read: real torture), i'm going to plan out a schedule where i'll train at East Coast: on road and on sand. I've got to. As for trail training, i guess Bukit Timah Hill will be it. There go my sundays and maybe some saturdays. Strangely, i think the part i'm already hating most as i write this isn't the training but the travelling hassle to my destinations. Teehee. Where're the teleportation stations?!

I don't know how i'm going to do this, but i can foresee that my self discipline is going to be stretched beyond the norm. Now, to plan my training.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ok, i really don't know what i landed myself in.... but. I signed up for the new balance real run already. I think i'm runner number 5454 (wot a pretty number), so i think places are running (pun not intended) out really fast since the registration opened on wednesday.

Sian... I think i will be one of the few beginners going for it. Going to be really pai seh i think.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Anyone for the New Balance Real Run?

7km OR 12km on Road
1km on Trail
1km on Sand
1km on Runway

I'm keen. Ambrose is keen. Are you? We're thinking of doing the 10km one.

***

Island Shop:
- bracelet, U.P.: $19. Joline got it for $1.90 instead.
- slipper thing, U.P.: $69. She scored, picking it up for $13.
- tops (3 of them), U.P.: $79, $79, $23. Again she picked them all at $9, $23 and $6.90 respectively.

G2000 blu jacket, U.P.: $69. Snagged it at $29.

POST Great Singapore Sale, i lub'chiew. And ok, i'm a cheapo ***t. As my good friend Xiao calls me.

***

It's great to be confident enough about my looks to be able to walk around town without a single molecule of make-up on my face, with minimal accessories and in a tee, shorts and slippers.

Thank God for whatever i've been given even though i know that i'm nowhere near perfect. It's not that i don't have my insecurities. Oh please, i do. I've got thunder thighs and calves, stretch marks, tree trunk upper arms, small eyes, stubby fingers and such. I know that there is only a certain level (if you want to compare with the "ideal" image of beauty) that i can reach with what i've been born with. Those, i have to accept.

Yet, while i can still go to great lengths to doll myself up and "look good", i choose not to and i'm still perfectly at ease with how i look without all the effort. Oh, you can also add that i'm at ease, AND lazy. :-)

I'd rather not complicate matters too much (i do go for the occasional facial just to indulge) because i don't exactly fancy destroyed skin when i've aged. Too much make up and other chemicals will ruin your skin. Yes, i concede i'm vain in what way. But hey, i'm thinking long term!

But of course, who wouldn't want to be the envy of other girls, or snag a handsome hunk? I guess while being in a world like this, we all have fantasies at the back of our minds (ok, for some, they are at the front) but to me, "looking gorgeous" according to the world's standards is not important to me. I know where my value is found and values lie, and i know who i am important to. That is what matters to me most.

***

I just ate a really swell apple. A pretty light rosy pink, with a firm crunch when you bite into it with a sweet, fragrant flavour. Cold too. And from China. I thought to myself, "I'm sure they'll NEVER be able to artificially replicate an apple..." But then, they made fake eggs and sold them. Now i'm not too sure.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

about dads: in heaven and earth

I'm baacckk. After a week of hiatus. I didn't quite have anything interesting to say, and for obvious reasons, i didn't think i could move on with a clear state of mind what with some issues bugging me. While i'm ok now, i know that my heart and mind need to heal slowly. But nothing too tragic that i cannot handle... With God of course. God has been revealing a lot of things to me about myself recently, good thing i wrote them all down. I strongly believe that as i clear the obstacles, i'll be able to better live out the "abundant life" that Christ really means for us to enjoy in Him. :-)

Ok, i've not been running as intensely and as often as i like these days despite having a run coming up this sunday. I'll be running with my brot.... er, i mean, sister, Ambrose! Time for a cliche: we'll be "running this race together" just as we will run the race of life as siblings in Christ.

Singapore Bay Run, here we come!

***

The other day, i had a bad bout of bloating because of this IBS thingy (that's "irritable bowel syndrome" for you) and i was so visibly upset that when my mom asked me what was wrong, i cried as i told her how frustrated i was since i thought i was getting much better already. And i was (still am) taking such expensive medicines.

And so it is within a family that news passes around as quickly as Jed eats food. Mom asked if i wanted someone to pray for me, and i said yes... So she told my dad about it and as i was lying on my bed, feeling bloated and all, dishevelled-after-shower-wet-hair, tear stained face plastered to and half hiding behind my thick bolster, my dad walked into my room to talk to me.

He said that sometimes, we get afflicted with problems in life. Not everyone can be in perfect health... And being a christian, we are not exempted from it either. It just teaches us to rely and trust in God. We can pray and ask for healing, and if God heals us, great!, but if he doesn't, praise and thank him anyway. Believing in God is not about the good times only, but also in the bad.

We don't stop praising or thanking him when we go through tough times (God is God, and he alone is worthy of praise, so it's not how we feel, what he does for us, or what we go through that is an indicator of how intensely we should be worshipping him).These are the very words that i tell myself and other people all the time. It's as if the test for me to believe in these very words is here. Dad spoke to me in a logical, kind of disciplining, yet very gentle way. I wonder what he thought about his daughter at that point in time as he looked at me in that rather pathetic looking predicament.

I could only nod my head slightly every time i agreed with him, sniff, blink my swollen eyes and utter "Mm." at intervals.

So after he spoke to me, we closed our eyes and he prayed for me. It was simple, sincere, love-and-wisdom filled. I felt like crying some more, not because of what was being said in his prayer, but because my daddy had placed his hand gently on my belly and that he was praying for me! My daddy was praying for me!

It's not that my dad would not do something like this for me if i had asked at other times. But it was just how he doesn't always show his love in such a tender and loving way, and how he is always the critical man he is during conversations and has always something to say for everything that i do. I was just touched that here i am, having some personal time with my dad (or dads? you know, the one in heaven) when i was feeling vulnerable and in need.

So yeah, i don't quite know how to end this post except to tell you that i am in tears now again just thinking about that experience and that there's nothing like knowing that there ARE people who care for and love you.

PS: The other night, over dinner, dad said: "Don't eat too much chilli ah, it'll give you gas." In my usual stubborness, i just nodded and smiled slightly (i like chilli ok!) and didn't really say "yes ok". But i took heed of his advice, and though i usually hear warnings as irritating nagging, in my heart i heard very loudly the "I love you" that my dad had just said to me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's weird and sad, that there was once a fierce intent to make things right as quickly as possible at all costs during a disagreement. But now, there is no such thing as eager pursuance anymore.

Is this what time does? Does it make people take things for granted, with much less passion and careful concern for the other.

It makes me sad, disappointed and disillusioned.

***

All of us are psychotic in some way. I'd be the first to admit that i am.

Monday, August 13, 2007

"Guys. Martians. Equate."

I was going through an old diary from 2002 when i saw this and laughed out loud. It's not exactly profound or anything, but it just reminded me about my past thoughts and how i would say the things that confirmed my then-hatred for men and how i would in saying such things help myself get over the poison inside. It was just one of the more light hearted things i indulged in, in my writings while trying to survive through junior college and a bad break-up.

***

I am SO pissed with my client and the whole working strategy. !@#$$@#%%$^^&%^$*

Saturday, August 11, 2007

the boy

On my way to meet the birthday boy... I snapped this while walking across the road and didn't look at how i was going to compose it. Still, i think it turned out pretty arty farty. Teehee.









Just a snapshot of the grass by the bus stop. I liked how the the sunlight was caught and reflecting off the blades of green grass. Full of life and clarity.










A snapshot of a old block of buildings just next to the new La Selle SIA school building.











This was taken after our chosen movie, "The Simpsons"! at the cathay. 30 min of nonsense extended into a 1 hour plus movie lah. HAHA. But i don't regret watching it one bit. Now i've got the Spiderpig ring tone in my phone.





Ok, our classic-obligatory-must-publish-screwed-up-faces.










Best boyflen ever. :-)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lately...

Other then expanding my adipose tissue this hols...

Gem and i went on a trip to Sentosa! (via cable chair and we also tried the skylift thingy that took us from the beach back up to the cablecar station, WOOT!)

To Sentosa... It's been years since my first cable car ride.









Lazing on the beach. :-D











Some fictitious dragon bones. Heh. Encountered on our way down to the beach.







Attempted to take a photo. I look odd cos the glare of the sunlight was hurting me eyes. *squint*







This male peacock was quite a headturner. :-) So pretty. The combination of feathers spells vibrant colours, textures and patterns all rolled into one!





***


Puppy visiting at Jun's place. Many a heads were bursting at the cuteness of 4 chihuahua pups, and one pretty mommy chihuahua. Featured here is the only female pup and her brother, Patch.





***
NTU cell goes to Pulau Ubin! This was taken while on a really bumpy boat ride. The sky was threatening, the sea was choppy and the wind was gusty... and NTU cell chose to sit OUTSIDE (muah haha). It felt like at any moment, one of us could've gone overboard. We were thrown from side to side, with cold and salty sea water spraying and splattering furiously all over our faces and bodies. It was hilarious! Every time we got hit, a series of shrieks and screams would entail. Thank God none of us got sick after that.





A rather rabid looking person. Wonder who it is.










Chek Jawa!












Jun's muddy shoes and my muddy feet










"NTU Cell was here", at Noordin Beach.












Gem and Mr Sea-Disgusting-Slug











Ta-ta Noordin Beach! And we left for mainland soon after. :-)










***
Were a lot more people photos, but as usual, i'm bounded by privacy rules. Had great fun! Back to my readings. *skips off*