Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bonitochico is one of my favourite blogshops to shop at, but oftentimes, i cannot get what i want soon after a release of a collection because the pieces sell out within minutes! So, by the time i decide on what i want (what colour?? which piece??) or when i get home from school/practicum/errands, i have to wait for the backorder.

From the time of ordering from a backorder (a timeframe for people who missed the initial release to make their orders) to the time the clothes arrive at my home, i have to wait a whole month or more. Which is generally not fun.

So, this time. I waited. When the clock struck 5pm, I refreshed the page, looked rabidly through all the clothes and decided with lightning speed what i wanted and shot my comment and email address to the sellers in record time.

I still think i'm not fast enough yet though. I took... 12-17 minutes? We'll see if i get my invoice by tonight. If i don't, then woah seh. I need more training. Muah hahaha. *silly grin*

I've joined the ranks of the other rabid online shoppers!!!!!! *ROAR!*HAHAHAHHA!*

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We're all so STOKED because the project is taking off, and seems to have started on a good note!

It's not our project. It's God's project. And I must not forget that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"weighty" issues

As you can see. Huge long list of sports events for this year on the right. :) I shall pick and choose the ones i think are do-able for me. Ragh, i can't help it but rest assured that i will pick the ones my body can handle. I want to do my sport(s) for life and not kill my body too soon and have it cut short.

Since last year, i've been toying with the idea of doing duathlons and mini triathlons to branch out from just plain running, but getting a bike is too expensive for me at the moment and keeping it in good condition requires time to maintain (from observing my sister who's into triathlons). We'll see how it'll work out.

Speaking about health and sports. Recently, my weight has been something of a topic for people who've not seen me in a while. Actually, even those who've been seeing me relatively often have noticed that i've shrunk somewhat. Some people said i looked "gaunt", some said i looked "nice what", some said i looked like "skin and bones" (haha... you know who you are! :P), some said i looked "unhealthy".

I don't really know how to respond to their surprised questions and comments, except to cursorily name one of the few reasons that explain what they see. It got me thinking about what started this whole continuous weight loss. Though i can assure you that i am not anorexic or bulimic, because i love food too much to be! Long story ahead...

It all began when i developed mild IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) during my undergraduate days. My doc said there is no distinct cause for it, though it is most likely due to my lifestyle. At that time, i was stressed most of the time from school and stress is apparently one of the lifestyle related causes for IBS.

Since there was no specific cause, he could only treat the symptoms. So he got me started on establishing good toilet habits. I learnt that i had to avoid certain foods as well because they made me bloat up. I underwent treatment with medication, fibre supplements and even laxatives. Within the few months of treatment, my doc said i had lost a bit of weight. (Ragh, because carbohydrates was one of the things i had to avoid due to bloating)

Things definitely got better in about 4-5 months, with less bloating. But not without being extra careful about my diet. Back then, my concerns were what i put into my mouth. Today, it has developed into a careful monitoring of what i eat, when i eat (time of the day), HOW i eat (i realized that taking more time to eat slowly and chewing my food thoroughly before swallowing eases the job of my digestive tract, less bloatedness), even.

As a zealot-runner, i took part in regular running events. But it was this one sports expo that i went to when i went to collect my Standard Chartered race pack that knocked some reality into me. I stopped by a Cali Fitness booth and did a body composition test, just for the fun of it. And to my ultimate shock, i was informed that at my size at that time (i had always considered myself healthy and even slim-ish!) i was close to being overweight.

My fat content was apparently quite high, which i didn't expect at all. I can't remember which year it was when i found out. But together with that bit of info, plus in 2007 when i put on 3kg SUDDENLY for NO apparent reason after my 21km Standard Chart race (weight ballooned to 58.5kg), i decided that i really needed to lose the weight.

So one day when i stepped on the scales, i prayed. I asked God, "God, i need to lose the weight to get to my ideal weight of 50-51kg. Can you help me, can you partner with me on this? We'll do this together."

I'm serious! I prayed to Father God to help me lose weight. I'm sure He does care about that too to help me! So, guys and girls, you now know what to do if you need help in this area ok.

So of course then came the decision to start making changes to live healthier. CY calls me a health freak in mock disgust though he's one himself! Hur. Well, what did healthier living mean for me? I lived and still live by these mantras:

1) Always pick food that will give NUTRITION. Meaning, i MUST get my fix of proteins, fibre and carbohydrates in my meal (try as far as possible though it's hard when you're eating out). Don't get things that give you calories but yet does not give you nutrition. For instance, potato chips, certain biscuits, doughnuts, etc. These are empty calories.

2) Avoid processed food as far as possible. Eg. i avoid cakes, soft/can drinks, biscuits that i think do not contribute to my health. But... (see point 3)

3) Yet, if something is really good (even if processed AND unhealthy), i WOULD eat it. Hence, I use my daily calorie intake only on food that is worth eating (i learnt this important lesson from a doctor who writes the famous local food blog: ieatishootipost.blogspot.com). Meaning, if the food i'm eating is yucky and/or unhealthy, i won't force myself to eat/buy it just so that i will have something to eat. If something is not worth eating, don't. So yes, i do eat stuff like fried pork lard. Heh. YUMMEH. Because it tastes good to me and it's something i won't regret eating. Which brings me to point 4...

4) Diet is a huge portion of what makes you physically. Hence, "you are what you eat". But like me, if you've eaten stuff you KNOW don't quite score well (PORK LARD!) in the health department, then you need to work it off.

5) When i eat, i don't gobble. When you eat slowly, you'll realize how little food you really need in order to feel full. If you gobble a lot in a short time, you'll realize later on how full you made yourself to be. Whereas when you take a longer time to eat (and hence eat less), your body has enough time to tell the brain that you are full. Less food eaten = less excess calories.

6) Fullness: I eat till i'm just about right or slightly less than just about right. I used to think this was torment! I mean, hello, i LOVE food so if i did this, i would be eating so little!!! But when i didn't heed this, i suffered a lot of bloating which over time i realized was very uncomfortable, so i've learnt to listen to my body and just practice this. I'm now benefiting from this, thankfully.

I realized when i followed these points, it all came together to help me manage my diet, weight and health (IBS) overall. Of course, i was also accountable to God in that i wanted to take care of His temple (my body) and to make sure that i didn't go overboard with the weight loss and have it turn into something pathological. Honestly, there were times when losing the weight was so important that i would do and think really stupid things. So i would have to refocus and remember that i was doing this for my overall health and not to achieve a number on the scale.

There are other things, like stress from school (NIE ah... tsk tsk) and personal life, my busy schedule that sometimes forces me to eat only light meals, my "shrunken stomach" (i feel full with just a bit of food... quite annoying and also amusing lor cos i love to eat at mega buffets like the one called The Carousel), that have also contributed.

Anyway. This has been a rather long post after allowing myself to recollect the whole journey. So after 4-5 years of living this way, i've slowly lost the weight and i'm now at a healthy average of 51-52kg.

Come to think of it, losing 6-7 kg in 2 years (from 2008 when weight was 58.5kg after the 21km run) is actually a long and gradual process (think: it's losing a tiny 67grams a week *chuckle*). Which i guess is healthy weight loss. I'm hoping that the changes to my physical body is deep (cardiovascular improvement, better metabolic rate, etc), rather than on the surface like how it is with crash diets.

This post was pretty much about the eating and food part of living healthily. Maybe i'll talk about my sports regime some other time. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I know i said that i was going to give my knees a break... (Cutting down on running events, running less, etc)

And i AM, honest! I tried to stick to walking only but as usual, i cannot stray long from running. So when i do, i do it in short durations/distances only. Plus, i don't run on pavements/tarmac anymore, or rarely. I jog/walk on the treadmill (yawwwwnnn) or do the elliptical machine (double yawn, but boy, it pushes my heart harder than jogging man). To balance everything out, i've added strength training to my exercise regime, i do some light weights now.

The general feedback i get from my therapists friends is that i probably cannot go on at the same intensity that i used to, but i MUST still keep active by doing other things. Having knee problems is not a reason to stop exercise (not that i can totally, anyways. i DO get lazy, but exercise to me is like a mild addiction. stop, and the urge will definitely return.). That being said, i was told that i should do exercises that are low in intensity but work my way upwards so that as my body takes the time to adjust, it also has time to rebuild... and maybe in time, i can go back to running like i used to and with a stronger ("more prepared") body. Something like that. I was also told to do strengthening exercises to support the weakened areas.

Points all taken, my friends. Hence my effort to scale down at this point in time.

So to get to my original point. Recently my classmate, who's also a good friend in my masters class asked me excitedly, "Hey! You wanna go run the Adidas Sundown? We go run the 10km one lar..."

Being a sucker for running events despite my knee issues, you can easily guess what my gong gong answer was.

(Hey at least she said we'll walk and run, no need to run all the way. So, that sounded good to me!)


Some time last year, i asked God: "What topic should i do for my dissertation?"
And i felt God say: "Fatherhood".

My initial reaction was: "Ok, duh, God, that was a no brainer... So typical!" But i decided to believe that that was what God wanted me to do, so i've kept it in mind to look out for anything to do with fatherhood so that i could use the resources. And also... hopefully yo find a place that would allow me to carry out my data collection.

Strangely enough in the months that came, i began to see posters/email notices related to events that are trying to bring fathers together with their children, an article in the newspaper about father-children relationships, societies and groups stepping up to make fathers more aware of their roles in the family, their importance in their children's' lives. I even saw an MCYS grant being offered for people interested to carry out studies on family related issues.

Recently, when my classmate found out that i was not doing my dissertation this semester and would therefore not graduate at the same time as him, he tried to persuade me otherwise. I was told that i could just take it easy, don't take on a topic too big for myself, just do something simple and it can easily be done. A part of me wanted to give in, to maybe change my mind and take up his advice. But somehow, i felt that firstly, i don't think i will be able to handle the dissertation and i did after all make this decision to prolong for another semester for good reason, and secondly, i felt that since God wanted me to DO this, then i will NOT be swayed.

As if to drive in His divine point... On watch night service (church service on the 31st of december 2009), our senior pastor focused all our prayers on something that he felt weighed very strongly on his heart, and it was PRAYING FOR FAMILIES and for FATHERS/MEN TO RISE UP. My heart kind of skipped a few beats. And to make it even more blatant, our adult services have begun the new year with a series of sermon teachings on the importance of the role of the father.

I'm completely blown away. Every sermon that i've sat in so far has been difficult for me to listen to, given the family saga that i've been through recently involving my father. I know first hand the kind of raw pain that a father can inflict on his children, and i knew exactly what my pastor was saying and i was nodding in agreement.

Week after week, my jaw drops again at how applicable the sermons are to my dissertation topic and at how more resources for my topic are being made known to me (which i really need as a student needing contacts and resources). Our senior pastor believes that fatherlessness is a big root problem in society today, giving rise to many social problems. That it is time that the hearts of fathers should turn towards their children, and vice versa.

I'm like, "WOW GOD! This cannot be coincidental... this whole slew of stuff coming my way and how my dissertation lands itself at such a time as this. Really helpful for me! Thanks Father God. :)"

I feel like i'm going to be a part of a movement, even if it's just a small part. I'm just wowed at how all this is coming together.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hiak hiak.

Apple Invasion has begun in this residence. This entry is being typed on the tiny little white wireless keyboard, and my right hand rests every now and then on a sleek, smooooth, creamy piece of apple heaven, called the magic mouse. :) and my eyes behold my blog entry on a hubungous display screen.

listening to matt maher on the imac, sitting by the window where the cool wind easily reaches in to bring the scent of fresh air, having Jed nearby. Bliss.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt

I remember coming across this when i was in secondary school juggling the concept of what it meant to be "deep" or mature. I must say the quote is quite crude (and reeks of snobbishness, unless i've misinterpreted the intention) but hey, it seems to hold a brutal grain of truth in some ways. Of course we can't be categorized cleanly like that. It's too broad a statement. Like i said, pretty crude but kind of self reflective, really. Up to you to wonder about the validity of such a statement.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Dog Run Part 2

Jed looking up at the treat my sister is holding.

Checking one another out.

Jed is trying to show who is boss. Sigh.

Shot of the dog run while the sun sets. Dogs playing in the mud. Huge black dog checking Jed out. Jed doesn't stray very far from us, so he trots back every now and then to hang around us.

Very pretty Corgi.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Cute Jed moments

Cute Jed moment No.1

Cute Jed moment No.2
He's doing this usual begging tricks... My mom is eating a nice juicy mango and he ingratiates himself with her, as you can see, spreading his doggy self on my mom's stomach and resting his little doggy head on her chest and staring longingly at the mango. Look at those eyes... Aiyo.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Edit: woah, i'm thinking of catching the show again and/or buying the DVD. if there were non-pill versions of addictive drugs placed in movies to keep people watching, i think James Cameron stuffed this one full of it and it's working for me and loads of other (unsuspecting)people and critics! (same for his other movie isn't it, the Titanic? There were people who watched it 100 times or more!)

For the first time ever, we double dated. Well, sort of. Haha. It was the first time the folks went out to watch a movie on a weekday night either in a looooooooooong time, or if ever.

Last week, i told mum that i was going to watch Avatar with Gem and she promptly asked dad if he wanted to go as well. So this evening, two couples went to the Lido Cineplex for the 7:30pm show.


I will be eating, sleeping, thinking, DREAMING, Avatar, man.

The story is simple. Man wants resources from the land belonging to a difference race (the Na'vi) and push their agenda by force. The Na'vi retaliate, the hero who served Man at first moved his allegiances from Man to the Na'vi when he learns about their way of life and when he falls in love with one of the Na'vi. Full on battle, Na'vi wins, and hero becomes a real member of the Na'vi.

But more than that, there were quite a handful of messages! It subtly or otherwise raises issues and familiar political topics like the the war in Iraq, Afganistan, the destroying of the Amazon forest by heavy industry, genocide of Native Americans (read from an online article), that nature will eventually "fight" back when the balance between nature and human activity (extraction of resources, etc) has been upset (global warming anyone?). I was amused and appalled that they even threw in the term "shock and awe", a concept (from the Nation Defense University of the USA) referred to as "rapid dominance" (wikipedia: "spectacular displays of force to paralyze an adversary's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight").

After the show, it even got my folks discussing the content. As a bonus, my mom didn't get motion sickness. I was a bit worried that she might and wouldn't enjoy the 166 minutes in the cineplex because we watched it in 3D and there was quite a lot of action. Haha. Everyone liked the show, and i was glad it was moolah well spent.

In the first part of the show, there was a lot of "romancing" going on between the movie goer and movie. My church mate likened it to watching Jurassic Park, when you get to experience the vastness and lushness of the flora and fauna and the sheer monstrosity of the lifelike dinosaurs. In my opinion, the purpose was to allow the viewer to appreciate and sink into the beauty of a different world, to come to value the culture, creatures and livelihood of a people different but yet not so different from ourselves.

So when the destruction kicks in, you pretty much may feel some degree of pain and grief that the Na'vi must've felt when they saw their beloved forest (their whole lives, basically) and loved ones being murdered. My mom commented that when she was watching the war take place, she "felt disturbed". She could feel the chaos. For some people like myself, i didn't feel sad at all when a human being took a hit because all our sympathies were with the Na'vi.

Honestly, i walked away with one thing resonating most strongly in my mind and soul. And that is that what i saw really isn't very different from what's happening today in our world. The tribes of indigenous people being harmed today due to the destruction of their forest homes for the resources present there aren't from another planet, they're just on the other side of OUR planet. Even if the extraction of resources isn't the main issue, there has been and probably still is the senseless discrimination of such people.

I don't know what i can do to stop it, and my heart grieves.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

face off with a deadly predator? really? watch to find out. :)

Fascination at granny's house.
I've always wanted to snap pictures of her home appliances because they would be considered antiques! It's so easy to get used to all the modern stuff I have at home and overlook the old ones thinking they're passe and ugly. But something just made me stop and allow wonder to take over one saturday morning.
Who would've heard of the brand Cromptom Parkinson in this day and age???

These are actually the ceiling fan controllers.
The light switches... They are all still functioning fine and dandy, by the way. And ok... this is my place of solace when we come back from our morning hot drink at AMK market... *ahem* Seriously! It's quiet, serene, peaceful, clean, dry, i hear birds and sometimes the buzzing of insects, the tapping of tree branches on the roof as they sway lightly in the wind, and i feel right at home immediately. Life seems to stop for just a while, while i uh, answer nature's call. Just give me my morning saturday papers or a good book and i'm set. :D Probably the first generation of window grill design when the house was first built? I'm not too sure.

Old rubber slippers with the old fashioned jade green and light green tiles.
The stairway leading downstairs.

More photos later! Need to get some readings done.

Monday, January 04, 2010

All i did was ask her a simple question: does too high or too low a pillow cause backaches? cos i woke up this morning with a backache.

and then she unleashes a whole barrage of stuff on me, saying that i don't take care of myself, i don't respect my body, it's cumulative, my body is retaliating. Basically, she was throwing back at me the point that i asked for it, that it was MY fault that i hurt, that i am to BLAME. I was so sick and tired of it all that i retorted to her to stop nagging and stop finding fault with me for every little thing.

a part of me, if i heard hard enough, underneath all that blabbering, i would've heard that she was really saying that i should take care of myself.

but by george, it's SO hard to hear the concern under all that acid.

good grief, and then i was so angry that when she brought up another issue within less than 5 minutes, i was utterly rude back to her. i just freaking had enough of her ability to find all sorts of reasons to say something negative.

i left the room in a big huff yelling that her expectations are too high, that no matter how good i am, i'll never be good enough. that I just wasn't good enough.

the same thing happened yesterday when i was driving when she made a totally unnecessary remark that triggered me off and i raised my voice at her, in front of him. i didn't care if i was going to get scolded for being rude because i have had enough of the nonsense. i needed to prove that what she was doing wasn't helpful.

i don't normally react in such a big diva way. it's my patience for her constant nagging over some fault she finds in me that is wearing so thin that i can no longer hold in my bitterness and i lash back out.

a part of me is saying that i'm an adult, so stop acting like an impulsive angsty teenager. another part of me is saying that i will not take unreasonable behaviour lying down. the injustice of being told off when i didn't do anything wrong pisses me off BIG time and if i don't voice it out, it'll eat me inside.

whatever. needed to rant.

recent snaps (oh, and it's my 1000th post on thevacuum!)


As promised, some random photos. And more to come...

Ex-cell leader's wedding dinner at The Amara Sanctuary Resort, Sentosa.
Beautiful (deco), simple (procedures) and clean of "frills" (like the whole yam seng thing). I likey. This was taken at my spot at the long banquet like table while waiting for people to come.

There was this mood lighting thing going on, so the colours changed every few seconds bathing everything in its hue. So this was red.Then blue.
And neutral.

Dessert at Mykii, Holland Village.
This was the green tea ice cream with espresso, i think.

The green tea cake... which did not taste like green tea at all. If you told me it was a new york cheesecake, i would have also believed you. It was bland. The tastiest part of the cake was the whipped cream on top of it.

At my classmate's home baking cookies!
It's her special recipe for cranberry almond cookies. There's crushed cereal, chopped almonds, quaker oats and cranberries in there. As healthy as butter cookies go, i guess. :) Getting ready to be baked.Baked and displayed on the plate to cool.