Sunday, 31 July 2011

Colours

So I spent some time playing with Photoshop yesterday afternoon, resulting in this new look for mf-ism! :) I've also changed the size of the text so that I don't have to enlarge it in every single post - used to do that as the polka dot theme I chose years ago came with very small, un-adjustable fonts, and I didn't want to squint. So all the posts before 1 Jul 2011 now have especially big fonts! :p

While pink works for my wardrobe, it just doesn't work for mf-ism, which is about everything, happy and sad, good and bad. If I write only about cute things, girly stuff, beauty tips, then pink is perfect.

Green, on the other hand, is pretty neutral. It's pleasing to the eye without being too in your face. It can be happy or sad, good or bad. It matches all my moods. That's why I went for a green theme when I left the polka dots behind. But that dusty green isn't really my favourite shade of green hence this most recent change.

I also like yellow. Bright yellow is super chirpy and cheers me up no end. Light yellow is like green - it can be anything.

Oh, I also have a decent collection of greens and yellow in my wardrobe but in Singapore. I miss my clothes!

Somehow, blue is not my colour. I feel strange wearing blue. Blue things neither attract nor repel. But I love blue skies. From the blue of bright clear days to the blue of clear nights.

Red is another favourite colour but it can be too intense sometimes. Unlike green or yellow, there's no light red - that's just pink right?! But National Day is coming soon and I WILL WEAR RED!! :) I like white too and it will be fun to wear red AND white on National Day! Let's see what I can do...

And today, I went for lunch in a light purple top and a low side ponytail with a maroon flower clip. I felt so cheerful, so summery! :) I'll go back to being boring when the cold descends upon us since everything will be hidden underneath a coat and hat *.*

Friday, 29 July 2011

Pet peeves in language

This article on "Americanisms: 50 of your most noted examples" is hilarious!

Some of the top 50 are commonly found in work environments - reach out, touch base, heads up. I don't find them grammatically wrong. And I'm for jargon, if that's what they are :p

Some are just practical - saying "24/7" is so much easier than saying "24 hours, seven days a week", unless you want to emphasise on the round-the-clock nature?

And these may not all be "Americanism". It could have been dropped from common use or become less popular in the UK such that Brits, quite simply, don't like them. It's a good thing, this evolution of language. I mean, I'm reading "Sense and Sensibility" now and the old English is driving me crazy!

Or it's just how people of different places like to call certain things, such as carts vs. trolleys. Went shopping with JY for BBQ stuff and she gave no recognition (more like giving me a blank look!) when I said I was going to get a trolley *.*

I didn't manage to get through all the 1000+ comments on the article but I'm sure someone must have added "different than" to the list! Seriously, that's neither slang nor jargon, which I can accept; that's just plain wrong!

I have other pet peeves of "Americanism" too, with the grammatical atrocity above topping my list:

2) awesome - overused! Fine, I just don't like it..

3) like - it's appearing, like, everywhere! (Oops, I'm guilty!)

4) *ize - "organize", "realise".. It's "organise" and "realise"! Call me snobbish!

5) can't - how the Americans differentiate "can" from "can't" eludes me.... Ok, so I'm a Singaporean prone to dropping terminal consonants... But hey, I like my life a little easier...

Oh, how about a similar list for good old Singlish? :)

1) ever - not your typical Singlish but I've only heard this from Singaporeans.. I'm so disgusted by its misuse that it has its own post.

Um, I think that's it leh... Singlish itself does not irritate me unless it is used excessively. Exclamations like "la" can inject "feel" but please don't give me a whole string of Singlish such as this appalling line I found on wiki "Dis guy Singrish si beh powerful sia"! I'm even ok with "issit" when "is it?" just doesn't cut it! :p But at work or if I'm not with Singaporeans, I'll avoid such a response altogether and use "really?" or something suitable.

And of course, we are plagued by some "Americanism", especially the ubiquitous "like". What to do? The borders aren't clear-cut anymore.. At the same time, I have witnessed or heard of non-Singaporeans using Singlish too, more commonly just adding an exclamation at the end of a sentence, la - yes, with a comma *.*

And while I'm at it, let's do Chinese too!

1) 撞 - while it's easy to use this word correctly in writing, people (like my husband!) tend to pronounce it wrongly as chuang4 instead of zhuang4

2) 好彩 - or however you write that! I know this is Yan's pet peeve too.. Correct answer? 幸亏!

3) 吃, 喝 - what's so difficult about these two words? It's the pronunciation again.. It bugs me to hear chi4 and he4 instead of chi1 and he1..

4) 先 - it should be used before the verb, not after or - god forbids - before AND after!

Anyway, I kind of like how we Singaporeans can code-switch easily between English, Singlish, CMT and even foreign languages - who doesn't know what kawaii means? :p - AND still understand one another.

PS: Writing this gave me a lot of nerdy joy! :)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

An unpleasant housework discovery

I was trying to hoover the apartment after dinner and found that I could hardly push the machine across the carpet. It seemed that the carpet was...damp?! Even the kitchen floor felt clammy when I stepped in barefooted!

Utterly horrified, I shut the window and put both aircon (aircons? KIV next post!) to work! Imagine what gross and bad little things could be festering on a damp carpet!!

Now the carpet still feels a little damp in the living room where the window was open, but it's fine in the bedroom already.

So, we humans can take the summer humidity better than the carpet!

Update an hour later

The bedroom smells of Sito cos I didn't have pure alcohol so I sprayed a lot of his perfume on an ink stain on a shirt before washing and drying it in the room! The pleasant part of (unwanted) housework? :)

Good news!

Just saw Doc's message and my lab report - I've got the all clear for my latest PAP smear! The April procedure took out the bad stuff. What a relief! :)

I think I'm all recovered now. And I've been good to myself in the past few months too. Ginger tea, red bean soup, lots of greens, and today I'm making chicken soup, although that's more for Sito cos he's been working so hard. But his project is ending this week so we're heading out for dinner in town tomorrow :)

All signs point to an amazing weekend :)

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Vain pot Wednesday

I really really love smooth legs :)

miso: Doesn't Sito have hairy legs?

I really really love MY smooth legs. I was nothing but fuzz since January; my last wax was in December in Singapore. No shaver here. Tried plucking but I'm too furry *.*

With the sun out (almost) all the time now, I MUST do something about it. So I rediscovered hair removal cream.

I tried that many years ago as a teenager but it didn't work well. Perhaps my hair was too coarse back then. This time, however, the hair just melted away, leaving me with silky smooth legs.. Ahhh... Bliss :)

The same - silky smooth - couldn't be said for the hair on my head though.. It's like grass *.*

I can't use conditioner every day because I tend to get residue from it. I just use leave-in conditioner when I go out. That smoothens it a bit but doesn't keep my hair in place. I only use hair wax for special occasions as it is difficult to wash off. Can't wait for rebonding next summer in Singapore!

In the mean time, I'm thinking of layering my hair as it's getting thick as it grows. But I'm ditching the pink hair idea - I figure I'll look strange with pink hair and stark black eyebrows *.* Um, pink eyebrows will be plain weird!

And I've been trying to keep to my routine of weekly foot scrubs. Did that yesterday after forgetting to do it last week. Also filed off the sharp corners of my toenails and trimmed the cuticles. And since last week, I've been applying moisturiser on my legs in the morning since I don't like to sleep with clammy legs. Now I'm having the best legs and feet since baby years woohoo! I'm also trying to keep my fingernails longer than usual - I'll see if I get used to it.

My perennial (and worldwide!) chapped lips are also getting better after I religiously apply lip balm. I think I may look like I haven't wiped my mouth after a particularly greasy burger... But I don't care. I just want my lips to not crack and bleed all the time.

And I was thinking of going to the gym. I went twice in the past few weeks since I stopped working. Pathetic! So the other day, I decided to do some exercises at home. I stretched and I pulled in my leg muscles to balance on tiptoe, all the while pulling in my abs the pilates way. But I didn't feel a thing after that. And yesterday, I had a clever stupid idea of doing kickboxing while watching TV. It didn't take more than a few hours to feel the muscles in my arms, legs and back complaining...

Muscles: mf, what have you done? Even if you don't feel old, WE feel old! *creak and ache*

But I like the ache haha! Think I'm going to do that again today, while watching The Shawshank Redemption.

Update 6.48 pm

It's about 24 hours since my mini kickboxing workout... I can hardly bend my arms *.* But the TV is on, the show is about to start, and I WILL HAVE ANOTHER MINI WORKOUT!

Monday, 25 July 2011

It's ALL your fault! .. Really?

I'm supposed to be doing a case on negotiations but the excel is driving me mad - the result of not having been thinking for a while *.*

So I was distracted by a link on Facebook with the following extract:

"What the Prime Minister seem to have overlooked is that it is very difficult to relax when our public transportation system is as such, as it contributes directly to greater stresses at place of work, detrimental to our quality of life, and could also be a cause for Singapore’s falling birth-rate."

I don't know if I should laugh, cry or look constipated.

The birth rate is low because people cannot have kids or don't want kids. If they cannot, it's sad and may or may not be helped. If they don't want, empty trains can help meh??

Before we started living together, I used to think if you want kids, you would do anything to get there. I still think that, but with one caveat - there is a physical limit.

After a long day at work, I could hardly stay awake!

Yup, I was the limitation back in Singapore as Sito was then quite ok, being on a development course at work before Kellogg. But the short window of opportunity to make babies might not coincide with a gap in my work schedule! Now the reverse is happening, with Sito being (a lot) busier than me. But it's better when he's a full-time student - I know his school timetable - and not an intern - he's still at work at this hour :(

So the evil is actually time, or the lack of it due to work. CY was telling me about a woman who said in an interview with ST that the work culture in Singapore was poisoned; people saw her as a clock-watcher when she left on time. But well, work-life balance is a story for another day...

Anyway, my original idea was just to give my first impression upon reading the above extract, that when you don't like something, it's easy to blame every other bad thing in life on it! But obviously my ex-job hazard took over...

Alright! I must sleep now.. The case will have to wait for tomorrow!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

My highest ever!!

Yeah!! :p



Well, I've seen people scoring more than a million but this is still my best record so far and I'm proud of it ok!

Now, I should something more constructive now... Sleep? :p

Dealing with broodiness

》.《

That's me, constipated from being unable to express myself in words just how I feel when I see something or someone cute!

(Um, no thanks, I have no wish to video myself - suffice to say I can become rather happily agitated.)

These days, there are so many baby McSquirrels and baby McBunnies in the McManus lawn. Super cute and furry. I swoon.

...

我也要一粒!人啦,not 松鼠 or 兔子.. And yes, my 量词 for babies is "粒"! :p

I think I've never been this drawn to soft, cuddly and cute things in my life. If this is not broodiness, I may be quite disgusted with myself *.*

Was with J at TJ Maxx the other day. I was browsing randomly when I thought I saw Zo-san and rushed over!


But it wasn't Zo-san =(


Zo-san is cuter :)

Went out with J again on Friday - she needed baby stuff and we needed groceries! As I was walking through the racks of baby clothes in Babies"R"Us, I said out loud to Baby - if you were still around, you would be wearing these soon! :)

Sometimes I would say things like that. Especially when I'm alone at home. And I would also talk to Zo-san and Kappa-chan who is now Zo-san's neighbour on the chest of drawers in the room.

"Zo-san, Kappa-chan, Sito is coming home today! Weee!"

"(to Zo-san) 可爱!(to Kappa-chan) 你屁股圆圆的,也很可爱!"

"你们是好朋友哦!"

And when Sito is home, I'll swoon at his cute actions, like rubbing his face with his fist - Doraemon?! :p - or giving me the blur baby look. Ya, we're crazy and we love it :)

Then yesterday, when I was doing laundry, it suddenly hit me that it has been almost five months since Baby left us. It felt like it had only been a couple of months..

Well, there's still going to be a new baby in September, just that it's not ours - J is popping soon and I've promised to be on call in case her baby decides to greet the world before her husband comes back from his internship!

Sito and I were just saying how we still felt like we were in our 20s. Then I read this article on WSJ, My Fertility Crisis, while sipping my mid afternoon red raspberry leaf tea. What the author said wasn't new to me. After all, I once researched on fertility treatment for my work. But at this point in my life, after Baby, I could feel her fear despite being 10 years younger. Guess this is probably the only aspect of my life where I feel my age, where I actually fear ageing.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Office, the mf version

Dug up quite a number of photos so...

2004

I took part in MCDS Idol!! (And MCDS became MCYS later that year..) With Joyce Darling who were in the finals with me. We didn't win but it was quite an experience - I sang 张惠妹的《解脱》and went off-key at one point hoho!!


That was part of the corporate retreat so our whole division was there too


Later in the year, Ma'am left the office to become, well, Ma'am. This was taken during her farewell. That period of time was really fun. We used to play scrabbles during lunch!


2005

Division retreat at Ubin - this must be my team? :p


2006

I was seconded from MCYS to NPS from July, but we were still squatting in MCYS! So we joined in at the MCYS Sports Day - a mix of MCYS and NPS people!


My very first cubicle! Which was actually my second as they rearranged the cubicles shortly after I arrived. My very very first seat was near the window, premium leh..


Sat there for almost three years before moving to another cubicle in the SLF building as they were renovating the MCYS building. There, we squatted for some three months before the NPS office was ready..

Me at my new cubicle! I must be looking horrid that day :p


2007

We had our first COS. Our boardroom became our ops room. We ate and worked there from noon to late at night every day during that period. We even celebrated LY's birthday there! The most memorable time was when we marched out together just past midnight of the actual day, happy with our work :)


And we had our first retreat! This was the teambuilding exercise at Sentosa, just nice when we had a crop of new recruits :)


As we planned to grow more than originally expected, we had to rearrange the cubicles a little and shuffled some people around. So I moved away from outside LH's room to a new - but corner, premium! - spot late 2007.. This photo was actually taken in 2009 after I moved away.. But that box was mine, I think *.*


Salsa again at our year-end party.. Yes, that's me! Dancing with a 高手 ok..


2008

The PMO D&D! We gamely showed up in our retro gear for the theme!


2009

I was promoted and redesignated in 2008 but owing to a lack of space, I didn't have a room until July 2009.


2010

More cluttered a year on! I only worked in the room for about a year but it felt like forever *.*


2011

Now I don't have a cube or a room. I have upgraded - my work space is the entire apartment :) While I stay at the dining table for written work like school and blog etc, it's everywhere for houseWORK! *.*

Thursday, 21 July 2011

A walk with Grams

I was clearing out my emails last night when I saw a note I wrote to myself on 9 Mar 2010 in the office. Think that was after I visited Grams during lunch that day.

看到阿嬷好象很辛苦
大舅扯起她的右眼皮,叫她"放心",告诉她有很多人来探望她, 明白的话就捏一下他的手。
我们看到阿嬷的手动了。
她一直在踢动右脚
阿嬷昨天下午被发现躺在床上叫不起,又好象呼吸困难。
入院后被证实右脑中风,三分之二的脑已经阻塞,就算度过这两天过渡期,终生都只能象现在这样。
我还记得我们还没来得及带阿嬷去Beng Thin
有遗憾,有难过
但最难过的还是看着阿嬷躺在那里
我和阿姨都哭了
我带了一朵橘色的花,附带一张卡片,上面写着"阿嬷加油 :)"
可是现在我只希望她不要辛苦,不要担心,不要害怕

Maybe because that was just before bedtime, I dreamt of Grams. She didn't look very well but she was walking with me to the bus stop because I was late for school! I seem to remember her speaking with me but I'm not sure. Could just be that I still remember her voice..

Such a familiar feeling in the dream even though Grams had never accompanied me to school before. But she did sit by me while I did my Further Maths stuff during JC :) And it was a "familiar" bus stop too - it appeared in at least one previous dream, a bus stop near Bukit Timah or MacRitchie Reservoir that had a few buses to NJ.

My cousins, are you still hanging out at Grams' place? Miss doing that, although it's never quite the same again..

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A list of random things

First of all, thanks to SX for brightening up my evening with this URL! There are other versions on youtube but I prefer this rendition.
Life is like coffee

This morning, I took a 35-min walk to Dominick's (daily exercise quota - reached!) and bought a lot of minced beef - cheaper in bulk! Froze half and made 18 mini meatloaves with the other half. So now I have one big ziplock bag of meatloaves in the fridge :) Oh, I took a bus home. Too hot to walk, especially with the food.

Chopped a cob of corn for the first time in my life! I had some water from boiling pork ribs so I made corn soup.. I saved a bowl for Sito to drink tonight. The pork was baked with a yummy home-made sauce to make char siew. Or some variation of char siew. Also in the fridge for Sito another day.

I was very peckish yesterday after a pasta lunch. I would have been eating through the afternoon if not for my negotiations class from 3.15 pm.. But today, I didn't feel peckish at all with an egg sandwish! I'm sticking to sandwiches.

Just happened to check yahoo mail halfway through writing this (easily distracted!) and found a complete new look! I was also informed a while back that I have been using yahoo for 11 years - a third of my life!

The Mac is making super weird noises and the battery compartment is bulging... With Lion and the new MacBook Air out today, I'm doing some serious online shopping! :)

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Disturbed by a dream

This morning, I woke up feeling rested. But after Sito left for work, I could hardly focus on my magazine so I went to bed.

And I had a not-so-nice dream. At first, it was simple and pleasant. XY and I agreed to meet at the local community centre to discuss some recipes or stuff. Then I went to sleep - in my dream. Then it suddenly occurred to me that XY could not have made the trip at short notice because she was in San Francisco and the community centre was in Tomato Town in Singapore! And why was I in Singapore??

As with dreams, there was some disjoint in this dream, and suddenly a noise shook me.

Now I know there's always some noise in this apartment - in real life! Like drips on the aircon unit, strange sounds from the fridge, noise from the corridor etc. But I didn't know whether it was real or in my dream when I heard the noise! I was concerned and wanted to get up to have a look but I could hardly open my eyes! When I tried to open my eyes, I had to squint against bright white light. I felt like I was sleeping in my old shared room in Tomato Town. I tried to wake a few times but couldn't. I only saw the clock in our apartment saying it was 9.33 am. But was that real?

Anyway, I must have gone back to sleep cos the next thing I heard was my alarm clock at 10.15 am.

I woke up feeling quite disturbed about the part of me trying to get up but couldn't. It was not like I felt that I could not move, which happened before one night in my second year when I was quite sure it wasn't a dream! Anyway, this morning, I could move my body but I just couldn't open my eyes. It didn't help that it felt very real.

Perhaps it's got to do with the rash on my right eyelid that cracked and bled yesterday? The new eye cream I bought yesterday seems to be working well. Hope my eyelid recovers soon.. And hope I don't dream that again..

Monday, 18 July 2011

Dumbified

Last night, we watched a little bit of "Idiocracy", which depicted a future world of stupid people. Coincidentally, the morning show today carried a report on whether people were becoming stupid because of the internet.

I think the internet doesn't make people stupid. No, not its own anyway. In fact, I learn stuff from the internet. I wouldn't understand half of complex analysis if not for Wolfram MathWorld, for instance! That was my BA at stake... And while Wiki isn't strictly research (really, it's not), it still feeds me enough information about random trivials and various health conditions, etc. And what I eat actually come from a variety of food blogs.

What does make us stupid, is the extent of our reliance on technology. Instead of doing mental sums for tips at restaurants, I resort to the convenient calculator in my phone. Instead of mastering how to cook a dish, I save the recipe to keep referring to it. Instead of remembering appointments, I rely on Google calendar and its timely reminders. Instead of reading good stuff from the library or even our filled bookshelf, I'm doing random stuff and watching movies and dramas on my Mac.

Yet, I'm still here. On my Mac. Online. Writing mundane stuff. The only benefit of what I'm doing now is keeping in contact - albeit one-sided - with my friends whom I don't hang out with anymore because we're 3,000 miles apart!! (It's actually 9,364 miles or 15,069 km, as a search reveals...)

But hey, even before I got my first smart phone, I was scheduling myself silly because I couldn't remember dates and stuff! I'll much rather have some order in my life than brains - guess I'm more OCD than smarts! So, technology, give me all you've got!

AppleInsider: Yes, ma'am. You'll have the Lion OS soon!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Happy day! Again! :)

Sito is free to spend time with me today :)

I was supposed to wake him at 11 am but a fire alarm woke him at 10.30 am!! So we went out earlier - yay for the 30 extra minutes! (PS: There was no fire found.)

So we went to the bank to apply for a credit card (finally!) and had a lovely lunch at Lulu's - it was pad thai for me (again) and ramen for him, and we shared yummy chicken wings! But I was so full after three wings and an egg from his ramen that I couldn't eat more than a fifth of my pad thai! It's now sitting in the fridge, ready for the microwave on Monday...

Came back to do laundry. I kept forgetting stuff from the bathroom! So while Sito was in there with his new comic book, I had to knock twice to get first the detergent, then the bath mat! I pretended I didn't see (or smell) anything :p Reminded me of that time some years ago when I accidentally barged into the toilet while he was on the throne - in his house! The toilet was next to his room and the doors all looked the same so... *.* Anyways....

After laundry, we headed out for a walk. The walk first brought us to Noyes St where we shared a lovely horchata cupcake :)


We then walked towards the beach. When we hit the lake, we saw colourful rocks! Actually graffiti la :p


And as we walked past the beach, we saw pasar malam!!! Haha! It was actually an ethnic arts festival, complete with stalls, food and concert.


And Sito found the Singapore flag!


After 90 minutes of walking, we could feel our poor old legs complaining all the way home.. No need to go to the gym today, no, not even after our curry chicken noodle dinner!

(Thanks to Prima Taste :p)

Ended our day with drinks with two friends. Despite the dinner, I was kind of gawking at their quesadillas... Made a note to have that next time! Yes, I'm very greedy!

And just remember that Na is getting married! Like, about right now! Congrats, yeah! :)

There goes the magic...

Last night, we watched the last Harry Potter movie. The last! So sad that it's over =(

I really like the magic of Hogwarts.

I got hooked with the first movie back in 2001. Being in Oxford at that time, I felt so close to the magic! Scenes from the movie were not too different from what I saw around me - I didn't even need to walk over to Christ Church; every other college had that old mystic feel!

And, look at the first picture here!

Later, I managed to read all the books before the movies. Generally, I prefer the books with all their details, but the movies can give a nice twist to things. For example, I like the funny stuff they added to this movie, like Prof McGonagall saying gleefully she was wishing she could use the spell to summon the stone figures, and, um, the kiss :p The last part was pretty different but I thought it was ok, made the ending more dramatic for a movie, with Nagini dying just as Harry was duelling with Voldemort. The crowd last night was quite funny too, clapping when Neville killed Nagini!

Anyway, I really enjoy fantasy novels. My first was The Belgariad by David Eddings. Must have started on his books in secondary or JC. But I couldn't get enough of it! Strangely, I've never read LOTR - couldn't get past the first two pages *.* Maybe I'll read that now that I have time. And Wheel of Time - Sito recommends that and since the series is coming to an end, I'll probably start on it. What else to do with a library right next to me? :)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Zoo!

I remember only two, at most three, trips to the zoo when I was a kid. Actually, I only remember the school trip in primary school. I might have visited the zoo in secondary school, not sure... The first one I "remember", however, was when I was too young, but Mother told me a stranger took me away when she wasn't looking!! Luckily she spotted me in time AND luckily the stranger ran off without me!

Anyway, the zoo.. I've been to the zoo more often in my adult years - fun trip with Sito, family day at work, and just yesterday, excursion with S to the Lincoln Park Zoo!

It is a free zoo but the parking isn't cheap - $17 for 30 min to three hours! In the end, WY dropped us and tried to find street parking and failed so he waited in the car while S and I went around with Baby S :p

mf with Baby S :)


The cats were pacing too fast for good pictures.. Anyway, I found them pretty scary, the way they were pacing, even though they were safely in cages...

It was really hot and the gorillas were lazing around! This one decided to make himself comfortable on paper..


This one decided to perch himself up high.. I waved hard at him but he barely glanced at me and turned back to his daydreaming - bah!


This one was prancing about outside. The moment I saw it, I thought, wa, so 庄严, like Kel!


We also checked out the barn but we didn't go elsewhere as we had been out for quite a while - picnic in a park before the zoo! - and Baby S was tired and looking grumpy :p

But it's ok, I'm going to bring Sito here when he's free. Think we'll have so much fun! Love the zoo :)

Anyway, we girls didn't stop there.. After dropping Baby S at home, we went shopping! So envious, S is staying in town and a few steps from all the shops! But she's leaving soon, going back to Sg, sighs..

When I got home, I found that Sito had asked me to go for an bowling event organised by his office - it was just five blocks away from where we were shopping! Missed it.. Perhaps it's time to add credits to my phone so that he could text me instead...

Anyway, I cleaned the apartment this morning and ran some errands. Thinking of heading for the beach after lunch.. Or just talk a walk somewhere.. Let's hope I don't end up watching drama at home again! :p

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A little crazy today..

So I tied my hair into two kiddish ponytails, rubbed on pink blush and posed!

This is just silly me, not crazed, no, not at all.



This is still not crazy. Just a little....too close to the camera?



Since these are close-ups, I put them through Photoshop - no spots! =D

And while I'm at it, let me dig out more photos of lovely me...

Taken recently at our nice dinner before our anniversary this year - I was actually very hungry but I must pose demurely :p



This was me at 29 years and 11 months, with a lot of makeup that somehow didn't show, argh! But the eyes look bigger right? Thanks for fake eyelashes!



And I was younger here, 27 years and 11 months, at the Christmas party in office. Yup, this Santarina loves satay :p



And this is really old! When I was 24, I made a mistake - I permed my hair!!



I've been going through my picture folder lately to sort things out for the great migration to a new laptop some time soon... Be posting more pictures later!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Aim - be pretty every day!

I love to read and - yes! - smell fashion magazines! I may not spend on fashion buys. I may not even like the styles of the season. But they are such a great inspiration for me to dress up!

Now that I'm mostly at home and it's usually the supermarket when I go out, I've been really lazy so I'm ugly and frumpy. At this moment, I'm wearing this horrid pink tights with an old Hard Rock Cafe blouse.

But I picked up a copy of Glamour from the lobby (plenty of free mags during summer!) and I'm oh-so-inspired! This afternoon, when I go for class, I WILL DRESS UP :)

I've picked out my outfit. I'll have to think about my hair. I still can't have eye makeup but with sunglasses on anyway, just some blush and a look gloss will do fine. Oh, I'll probably whip out my new sandals too!

Akan datang :)

Sunday, 10 July 2011

4Rs

Woke up happy today but I read this. Now I'm sad :(

I mean, I eat meat. I love meat. I've even had whale meat before! And I use plastic, a lot. But this, whales dying from ingesting plastic dumped into the ocean? It shouldn't have happened. Who would throw plastic into the sea anyway?!

Actually, I used to be quite environmentally conscious. Perhaps it stemmed from hearing about the instability of our water supply etc since I was a kid. So I was careful about not wasting water. That kind of extended to other areas, especially the use of plastic, when I started working and found that after a meeting, people threw mineral water bottles away because there was no recycling plan for them. The worse part was that many of these were barely half drunk! When reusable bags became popular, I was quite frustrated too because I found them to be another form of waste - earlier thoughts here.

But in the past couple of years, I haven't been doing my part. Especially last year when Sito and I used to buy mixed rice from downstairs for dinner - styrofoam, plastic spoons, plastic bags! Tsk tsk..

Time to do my part! I'll use fewer ziplock bags to freeze marinated meat, cover food with a plate instead of cling film, turn off the TV when I'm not watching, reject plastic utensils when buying takeouts..

And I want to share an article C wrote for the local green movement in May, "Plastic pollution and daily solutions". Refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle!

And of course, throw rubbish where it belongs!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Childhood scars

These days, because the poor old Mac tends to shut down on me without so much of a courtesy notice, I haven't been online as much as before. In fact yesterday, I was reading newspapers and magazines and running errands all day long until after dinner when I decided to sort out the stuff on the Mac to get ready for a new Mac - I think I already have an idea of what I want so it's now a matter of discussing with Sito when he comes home TODAY :)

Anyway, so I was reading the news this morning and came across The Divorce Generation, which brought back memories of my parents' divorce and triggered some thoughts.

I was already 19 when it happened. I even went to court with Mother and heard things I never wanted to hear. I think it was just to ascertain the reason for divorce. Custody and maintenance were settled literally outside the courtroom.

Custody was not an issue. He said he wanted only YQ and of course she didn't allow and he didn't even fight against that. Maintenance was a problem. He suggested $200 a month for all of us and even his lawyer said that wouldn't be enough. Decided on $500 in the end but he was always defaulting in the seven years before YQ turned 21 anyway...

Amicable divorce? I don't think so. There was lots of yelling in the year preceding the divorce - my "A" level year! - when a catalyst sparked things off. She even took flight for a couple of days and stayed with a relative. But the divorce wasn't unexpected since they had not spoken for years before that. Perhaps Mother considered us so she didn't think of a divorce until it got real bad. But recalling an argument with her, I don't know if she realised how their failed marriage affected her and ultimately us.

I actually think their divorce did her good, did us good too. What was bad was the kind of family we had to grow up in. I was about nine at the first outburst. I could hear the yelling as I wasn't asleep yet. Grandma was siding with her son and added to the quarrel. Things healed when he got into an accident. I remember being happy seeing them talk to each other again. But that didn't last for more than a year. And all those years, I would hear stories of his misdeeds and betrayal on top of witnessing everything else. Once, a neighbour had to intervene. Before he left, he told the 12-year-old me that I, as the eldest child, had to think for the family since no one else seemed to be doing that.

When I first truly understood the meaning of "family", I realised I actually had no family. The place I was living in was not a home. I totally hated that so-called family. I turned to my friends. Thank goodness I've always had decent friends! Otherwise, I might perhaps have fitted right into the stereotype of a child from a dysfunctional family. But I also refused to turn stupidly rebellious like YQ (who blatantly denied smoking) or weird like MZ (who spent too much time at home) - I wanted to carve out a new path for myself and I did. Obviously, these events of my childhood had left their marks, but in a positive light, they were my motivation growing up and moulded me somewhat in my thoughts and actions, as seen in some of my notes in this blog...

A friend once commented that if I wasn't close to my family then, it would be difficult to have a close family next time, perhaps because I wouldn't know how to. I think the exact opposite. Because I wasn't close to my family, all the more I want to ensure I foster a close-knit family when I have one. Marriage is only the beginning, and it takes effort to keep it tight. Having children is another beginning in life and a milestone in a marriage, and it takes effort too to raise a family - self, spouse and children.

Ok, enough of the heavy stuff on such a beautiful Saturday afternoon! I just baked some muffins while writing (multi-tasker mf!) and gave a few to J. I'm heading out to do some quick shopping and when I'm back, I'll prepare dinner and wait for Sito to come home! :)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

mf's diet stories

So I was at tea with C and R the other day. They were both on a diet to lose weight - reduce carbs, no sugar, no cream etc.. C's husband was on it too and he said he could write a book on his one week of dieting!

Well, I thought, I could too! Not a book but a (long) note!

Past diets

I have been on a number of slimming diets before. Which super confident girl hasn't? *excuse*

Going by my childhood photos, I first ballooned when I was 9. My primary 3 class photo showed a chubby mf with short hair which emphasised on my chubby face, all bunched up and squinting against the sun. That year, I sat on the old green scales in my grandpa's provision shop, which they probably used to weigh sacks of rice. The scales literally tipped at 47 kg - I was heavier than my eldest uncle!

This was a later photo - I had that same horrible hairstyle but had lost some weight...


Being tall didn't help. Wearing a super long pinafore in secondary school didn't help. Compared to the other girls, I always felt bigger. But it wasn't until JC that I somehow learnt about dieting. I would ask for less rice when I ordered mixed rice at lunch. The funny thing was that WX would ask for more rice, and she was - and still is - probably half my size *.* Eventually, I went back to a normal portion of rice when I heard from an aunt that if I didn't have enough rice, I would just be hungry for other dishes, probably swimming in fats!

I remember weighing 52 kg when I was 18, a mere 5 kg increase after nine years hoho!! But 10 months out of school, I put on some 5 kg before Oxford. I ballooned more in the first year at Oxford - had to buy new clothes kind of ballooning *.*

After the first year, I went for the 21-day OBS right.. I took a liking to the muesli bars I had during the course, and after it ended, I continued eating muesli bars but for brunch. Didn't think it helped though..

Anyway, after the first year, I had access to a kitchen and could make my own meals. Had fewer kababs :p Things didn't get better but at least they didn't get worse!

When I went back to Singapore to work, the change in my meal choices - specifically, the lack of mobile kabab vans! - made me lose weight without doing much. I did join a gym at one point but I never thought it helped! When I started working late, I stopped having a full dinner. Instead, I munched on cashews and yogurt. Didn't think that helped too! And that was the last time I tried to slim down by changing eating habits.

The next time I ballooned was after getting together with Sito - he introduced me to zi char!! We ate so much in the first year and got fat together! Then with less zi char, we shrank a little.. But I grew again in 2008 during the time when I had dinner at work and then supper on the way home. After the project ended, I had to do something - I knew I couldn't control my food very well so I joined another gym. This time, it helped, I think, mainly because it was a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

So, that was my entire dieting story. I didn't try to lose weight for my wedding in 2009. I even stopped going to the gym cos I had no time!

And now...

Well, I felt something strange when I squatted for the rubbish under our coffee table one day. Something was resting against my thighs... Something soft....

It was my tummy *.*

But I don't want to go on a slimming diet! Seriously, how can I give up rice? Or noodles? Or pasta? Or bread? Or chocolate?! And I cannot have only a spoonful of those either. I need a normal serving. Bigger is good. So the traditional low/no-carb slimming diets are not for me.

Go to the gym? Um, I do pilates and *try* to go to the gym to walk but the latter requires a lot more motivation :p And with my pilates sessions coming to an end today (cos I can't afford it without a salary), I'll need to focus on doing that on my own! No more motivation left for the gym!

When I was 18, a friend told me I could never be thin - my frame wouldn't allow it. I didn't buy it then but now, at 31, I think he was right. I believe that there is an equilibrium for me. I now weigh about the same as when I was 19. So I do have some flab now from a lack of exercise and the winter. But if I eat healthily and do some pilates, I should be able to maintain my equilibrium and improve my form right?

My doc in Sg recommends a vegetarian lifestyle - he calls himself a 6.5-day vegetarian, i.e. only one meat dish a week. I'm less extreme. I like meat :) With Sito at work now, I have reduced my meat intake from twice a day to once a day.

I'm also a sucker for online health tips. So one says that if I get all the nutrients I need at a moderate amount, I should feel full. Which rings true for me, comparing a bowl of chocolate (!) and a bowl of oatmeal, for example..

These days, I wake early with Sito and have my oatmeal breakfast early, at around 7.15 am. By mid morning, I need something to sustain me before lunch time. Instead of chocolate or crisps, I turn to my old friend, nuts! Instead of bringing the pack of nuts to my desk, which could mean non-stop snacking, I grab a handful and that's it. And these are almonds or cashews, healthy nuts recommended in other health tips :p

I try to have sandwiches for lunch - just two slices of bread. Will show pictures later.. It's a significantly smaller meal than my usual when I eat with Sito. But I have found that it doesn't mean I always get hungry mid afternoon. If I do, well, I have Milo, tea or more nuts! I also learn that most of the caffeine comes out in the first min of brewing my Lipton so I'll dump that first brew. Less caffeine for me, yay!

Dinner has lots of vegetables to keep me full. But as I usually sleep around midnight, I tend to get hungry again before I sleep. Sometimes I would have a bite from Sito's instant noodles supper...... But I try to have just half a cup of warm milk - yummy and filling :) Or I try to sleep early.

So I'll see if the tummy flab goes away on its own after a while. If it doesn't, well, I guess I'll have motivation for the gym!!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Ramblings and a bit on work

Just re-read my last post - my Chinese is really getting worse =(

Anyway... Sito left on Monday night and I was looking forward to hearing from him yesterday morning. But the first word from him was bad news - I forgot to pack a belt for him!! =( Second time already! The last time was when we were staying at River Valley and he realised he had no belt the night before an event the next morning! Luckily it was Christmas season and a mall nearby was still open.. This time, he had time to go get a belt as he took the earlier flight to arrive at London in the morning instead of the night, phew!

After I came back from class, we had a chat on Skype while he was preparing to sleep and I was preparing dinner. It was like old times, before we got married :)

I'm just thinking about what I should do today. So yesterday I spent a long time preparing for my negotiations class - I had the outcome I wanted so it was good enough. Today would probably be less productive. It's too early to start preparing for the class next week. Guess I'll settle some admin - seek reimbursement for the BBQ at McManus, mend a seam - and prepare dinner right after lunch so that I wouldn't be running about cooking when Sito Skypes me :) Need to continue archiving my work this afternoon *.*

And talking about work, my swan song has been published! I interviewed the founder and the bloggers of "Eat Shop Play Love". Check out "Of love and life – Singaporean women overseas unite! - Part 1 and Part 2.

Monday, 4 July 2011

2011年7月4日

今天是美国的国庆日。下午刚在楼下举办了一场烧烤会。现在,窗外的天空满是五颜六色的烟花,空中传来劈里啪啦的炮声。很漂亮,很响亮。身后的电视也在播放某处的烟花,不过只有画面,炮声被流行音乐取代。不时,眼前的烟花暴到了高潮,数千枚烟花在短短几秒钟暴开,从天而降,然后很突然的静止了。窗外的天空恢复了原来的黑。

我坐在窗前,独自(因为老公应该正在机舱里等起飞吧)享受这一切。通常看烟花的时候都有人陪。跟老公是浪漫,就象上次在北海道一样,靠着他静静的看烟花。跟CY是两个女生的玩乐,一起笑,一起尖叫。

这应该是我第一次自己看烟花。没想到,才看了没多久,就觉得有点难过。就不过是个化学作用,却让人忍不住仰着头、张着嘴欣赏。吸引人的到底是烟花的璀璨,还是它美丽而短暂的生命?

无解。

Sunday, 3 July 2011

デート!デート!

We had a lovely Saturday, just the two of us, on an excursion and a date ♥

And I drove J's car! With Sito instead of instructor next to me! We were very proud of me :)


It was a 45min drive to...

Penang Malaysian Cuisine at Arlington Heights!


We ordered a lot of food...

First, we had chicken and beef satay - gone in two minutes!


Then came the hokkien mee - the noodles were of a different shape but the taste was so familiar!


And char kway teow, because we love carbs...


The teppan tofu wasn't the egg tofu tube we used to have back home. It was better! It isn't visible in the picture but it was like the homemade tofu found at good zi char places :) Oh, and it came with rice - yes, we love carbs but we couldn't eat that much! *.*


We also had one of the specials of the day (or week, who knows?!) - sambal stingray!! My, we haven't had this dish for YEARS - probably since that time at Chomp Chomp with XY before she left for the US after getting married! And now she has two kids! The stingray somehow came in a much thicker size...


And the vegetables just had to be sambal kangkong :)


See, Sito was so happy!


Damage: $80!!!

But we brought back a lot of leftovers. We had char kway teow and kangkong for dinner last night; our microwave still smells of the sambal this morning.. We will have tofu and kangkong with rice for lunch today, and stingray with other stuff from our fridge for lunch tomorrow :)

So after lunch, we were so full we decided to take a walk in Mitsuwa, less than five minutes away. We felt so at home, specifically Liang Court basement!

Sent Sito to the train station when we got back to Evanston as he had to go to the office to collect some stuff. I was then driving without a v-comm! Woah, exciting :p

I remembered going to two petrol stations with C in January so I drove down the same road. I passed by Shell to get to the further but cheaper one. Then I couldn't remove the cap covering the hole for the nozzle! And there were no attendants present, unlike good old Singapore.. But the station guy was very kind. He came out to help me and taught me how to remove the cap (with brute force!), how to pay and how to start the pump.

J heard from the previous owner that it should cost about $20 to top up but it was $45! Wow, big appetite, car... But it's always good to have fuel in case of an emergency la..

My stomach felt funny so I had some antacid and laid horizontally on the couch for an amazing five minutes - food was good :)

While Sito was away, I met JY to buy supplies for the BBQ on Monday. Was surprised that she was driving a manual car!

By the time I came back, Sito was home and we were ready to head out for Transformers! Didn't manage to go on Friday cos we were too tired by 10.30 pm.. And we like the movie!! Some of the machines are made from dreams of boys... But I just like the story :)

We topped off the wonderful day with some ice cream. Then I remembered we bought a green tea daifuku with red bean filling from Mitsuwa! Gone in four bites!


We are still very happy today :)

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Crunchy vs. Soggy

Came across this blog a while back when surfing for mumsy stuff. There's this interesting column that captures the everyday:

Capture the Everyday from Adventuroo

I've had no inspiration until this week when the theme is "Favorite Crunchy Thing to Eat".

Because CY and I don't like crunchy food!!

We like to dip our fries into mashed potatoes. We like to leave our cookies out in the open until they lose their crunch. What is the antonym of crunchy? Soggy? Anyway... We are crazy and we are besties :)


(Old photo from CY's very fun 26th birthday celebration!)

Oh, and I once suffered a bad infection after some crunchy nachos cut my gums so...

But recently, I found one thing that just must be crunchy...



NUTS!

Because I read that "eating more fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and yogurt correlated with slight weight loss over four years", I chose nuts for my mid morning snack.

I love nuts, especially cashews. That is, until I opened this particular pack... Not crunchy at all! So I'm going to cook them instead. And it will just be almonds for me until I get my hand on crunchy cashews :)

Friday, 1 July 2011

Oh!

I just remembered - my no-pay leave starts today! Woohoo!

Well, so it's time I hit my to-do list. I've already started on some tasks since a couple of weeks ago. To signal my dedication, I have added a new section on the right column, highlighting my entire to-do list!

KIV review in a few months' time...

Ok, I'm feeling sleepy.. Going to perk myself up so that I can head out for Transformers at 11 pm... デート :p

TGIF!

Cos it's the end of the work week for Sito! :) But actually he's off today :)

I had my third driving lesson this afternoon. Sito sat in my car for the first time and he felt sleepy - instructor said that was good, yay! So we went onto the highway. It wasn't as scary as I thought. In fact, it was easier cos I didn't have to keep stopping. Just kept my senses alert to the road conditions and the vehicles around me. But I must remember to floor it harder when entering the highway...

And the girls had tea! I was holding a cup of strawberry green tea :)

Source: C

It has been a busy week. And I was so tired that I slept at 10.30 pm last night and didn't wake up early to prepare Sito's breakfast =( But I woke in time to feed him his vitamins, which he would not take otherwise - naughty!

So it all started with me going to the Baha'i temple with M last Friday. I want to go again and explore more stuff as I didn't do much since M had been before and I preferred to be more sociable than to plaster my face to the exhibits.. In the meantime, here's us!



And one of many baby bunnies I saw on the way home :)



J made a comment on Saturday that a bunny on a lawn full of green green grass was like a person in...a bed of chicken wings!! Haha! That was on our way out to the art fair in the heart of Evanston. Saw this really cute picture of a giraffe :)



And the three of us were supposed to take a picture against the band performing on stage but we obliviated the entire stage instead *.*



Had pho with M Monday. So I bought some groceries on the way :) I didn't know what else I did but I just felt very busy! And Tuesday, I saw a doctor for a rash on my eyelids but he had to refer me to a dermatologist. I also attended my first negotiations class on Tuesday! Thankfully, there was another JV there so we could practise together. We were not sure what to do so we sat around and chatted while the students went on to do their negotiations. But we decided we would do the exercises for next week so we asked the prof and she agreed! Now I have to read my stuff...

And Wednesday was shopping day! Went with J and her mum to TJ Maxx in Evanston as I wanted to get some new clothes. But this store was better for home goods than fashion so I ended up with some muffin cups, an apron and a set of bikini! On the bus back home, C asked me to accompany her to Old Orchard Mall so I hurriedly had a peanut butter sandwich before going out again. I didn't get anything but I drooled at all the stuff at the Mac shop, which was the most crowded shop at the mall :p

My new bikini!


Back to my rash. I managed to make an appointment with the dermatologist on Thursday morning. The receptionist was such a cute old lady! I made a follow-up appointment and smiled to say bye, and she went, "Oh, dimples!"

*blush*

Anyway, got to dump all my eye make-up =(

Had a yummy lunch at Del Seoul - kalbi and shrimp tacos and kimchi fries with S! Pretty interesting and surprisingly filling since the tacos were small.

Went to her place after that to see Baby S - succulent cheeks! *slurp* And after a period of observing this strange auntie, she started to smile and laugh toothlessly! They took a video of her smiling - hope my fat legs were out of the way...

I barely got back in time to change for pilates - the last exercise was so anti-intuitive it took me three tries before I could do something close to what the instructor did. My abs are not hurting though, sighs... I like to feel the soreness :p

Then I had a meeting with JY to discuss the logistics for the BBQ on Monday - it's our Fourth of July & Welcome BBQ! It's jointly hosted by McManus and the JV club so I kind of represent both sides... Things like this make me feel good about being involved in the student community :)

Oh, and I finished my first tour of duty as a summer student director this morning - no major incidents unlike JY who had to deal with raw sewage and a 4am false fire alarm! But I had these two chaps calling me at 3am one night saying they were locked out. I opened the main door for them only to find that they didn't live in McManus! They claimed to be students - I found at least one guy familiar - and were only here to use the lounge. At fucking 3am?! Which part of "If you urgently need assistance, call xxx" did they not understand?!

miso: "urgently"

Bah...
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