Pieces of a puzzle…

This is going to be a relatively random post, due to the fact that I’m a bit random and scatterbrained today.

It was a really foggy day this morning, and it stayed foggy until about 11.00am! I love foggy days – back in Malaysia, we only used to experience fog when we were in a hillside place like Genting Highlands, Fraser’s Hill or Cameron Highlands. Sadly, it’s more likely for Malaysians to experience haze than fog (which looks similar in pictures, but feels a lot different).

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The highlight of the day would have been breakfast out at Inglewood Inn. It’s set in a lovely hillside location, not too far out of the suburbs (only about 20 minutes from our home) and they serve a delicious breakfast! I also had a lovely banana milkshake (and I think they use Tweed milk, which is extra creamy). I can’t believe I finished everything on this plate:

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Yes, I took a picture of my breakfast – even after reading this article: http://eater.com/archives/2013/05/09/expert-photographing-food-may-be-sign-of-mental-illness.php
Please don’t judge me…

Here are a few random things I pondered through the course of the day:

1. Our dog is a Labrador x Staffy, and I was just trying to analyse habits of these sort of dogs. I know Labs are really loveable and have food on their high priority list, but I don’t know too much about Staffies.

So I googled up some Staffy trivia to share: http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/Splendid-Staffies-349290.html

I’ve also heard that they are quite vocal dogs and make funny sounds, but generally don’t bark unless they’re mimicking another dog. I wish this were the case with Skittles – she’s not a really huge dog, but she has a huge bark that she must have learned from another dog. She’s quite dominating when she plays, and when she’s not dominating, she’s just plain annoying. I have no idea where she gets her energy either – she can run around non-stop for hours and still not be tired by the end of the day. And she also makes strange supersonic dolphin-like sounds.

Oh well – I love her exactly the way she is (except I wish she would STOP barking at possums and jumping the fence). Also, I do wish that she could be this size again:

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2. I may have mentioned in a previous post that I’ll be attending a Star Wars party sometime soon. I hope my costume serves me well, but I think it’s this one that will win the best dressed award:

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If you were going to a Star Wars party, what would you dress as?
I think next time round, I’ll go as this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GJOVPjhXMY

3. We were watching the Formula 1 GP and eating popcorn, which made me ponder about the origins of popcorn… Who first figured out that corn would pop? Was it just a lucky accident?

I read a few links saying that popcorn was first discovered in the Bat Cave of west central New Mexico in the 50s. How this found popcorn was preserved, I honestly don’t know but it does make sense since corn is to the Mexicans as rice is to Asians. Apparently, it was used in religious ceremonies for the Aztec Indians, who made popcorn headdresses, necklaces and ornaments for their gods.

I don’t think we hold popcorn with such high regard nowadays – though there are people who profess themselves to Jediism or become part of the Universe People, hence the world is still full of possibilities.

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On an ending note, this is a picture of my husband as a baby. Boy, I’d like our baby to look like that but I doubt my Asian genes can be overridden. Til next time…

TGIS instead of TGIF…

I love Saturdays for many reasons.

The main one is due to my faith – I’m a Seventh Day Adventist and we observe the Sabbath day being a day of rest and faithful reverence. It reminds me that I need to slow down (which is something I’m not good at doing) and focus on the important things in my life…

Also, obviously, it’s a day that I’m able to recover from a crazy week. There are little incentives that add to my quality of life, like getting to wake up a bit later or making the breakfast I want (today I made chocolate pancakes with strawberries and honey).

I also enjoy the fact that we still get post on Saturday, and most of the time, that’s when my parcels arrive. Today, we received a lovely (unexpected) parcel from my cousin and his wife, full of goodies for our baby. I’m so blessed with such lovely, thoughtful relatives.

Here’s a picture of some of the lovely toys we received!

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I was standing on a chair while taking the toy photo, and my dog Skittles is quite concerned that I’ve got a vantage point over her.

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I think Skittles loves Saturdays just as much as I do, because that’s when she gets to go on a nice walk with us at our nearby reserve. Today we organised for someone to bring her dog over for a playdate, and the dogs got on like a house on fire.

We’re trying to entertain her more because she’s been a bit naughty lately and has been getting out of the yard quite often – we haven’t figured out exactly where she gets out but I know she can climb the fence quite well. We probably have to resort to using an electric dog fence – and no, not like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8fwtkC5UJU

We want to get the invisible electric fence where the dog gets a little, non-harmful shock when it crosses the boundary. I think it’s just crucial so she doesn’t get out into the big bad world where she could get into a fight or get run over. Does anyone have any other suggestions on how to train dogs to stay within their boundaries (other than building the walls up 10m high)?

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And just in terms of my pregnancy, every Saturday, a new pregnancy week ticks over and I receive updates from my pregnancy apps reminding me how many weeks pregnant I am. Today, I’m officially 32 weeks pregnant and my baby is the size of a large jicama and is the weight of a coconut. I love how they always compare my baby to a fruit or vegetable.

I hope all of you had a lovely Saturday as well!

So tired I can’t think of a title…

Out of all the weeks of this year, this has been one of the busiest in my life… especially today. I find it funny that humans have a nature of procrastination where they’ll leave things right to the last minute despite having weeks (sometimes months) of notice.

I’m planning to do a more detailed post over the weekend, but just wanted to share two articles that I found rather interesting (and relevant):

http://au.sports.yahoo.com/news/article/-/17787718/kayaker-beats-world-champ-ae-in-final-month-of-pregnancy/

This first one is about a kayaker beating the world champion while being almost full term into the pregnancy. Now, I don’t know about other pregnant women, but my balance is pretty off now that I’m pregnant, and I can see myself capsizing in a kayak before even hitting the rapids. So, kudos to you, Emily Jackson!

Mind you, we had a staff party the other day and I won in team bowling for my team (though it was because one person hadn’t ever bowled before and another was throwing the ball backwards between her legs).

http://au.news.yahoo.com/vic/latest/a/-/newshome/17788207/baby-born-on-gp-race-track/

This is another interesting one, though not nearly as desirable on my behalf. I imagine myself having the baby in a nice comfy bed or a warm bath in the hospital, not in a car. And certainly not in my own car, unless I get a free voucher to have it given the full wash, wax and steam clean.

Anyway, good night to all. 🙂

Moons…

It’s been a good weekend despite little annoyances in my life like sore hips (more like sore bum) and a whole lot of ironing. I do admit that housework is not a skill that comes naturally.

I learned how to iron rather late in life. When I was at National Service (which is a 3 month military training stint we have to do in Malaysia, though it was really more like a summer camp with bad maintenance), we had to iron our uniform and wear it out for assembly. I remember having to do push-ups as punishment for “not ironing my shirt” despite hogging the communal iron for over 20 minutes. My dorm mates had to convince the authorities that I did indeed iron it to the best of my ability (despite making it look worse than when I first started out).

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That’s me packing up to go home after National Service (with a nicely pressed uniform – I’m sure a friend must have helped me iron it!)…

Years later, I do admit that I am a bit better at ironing. My brother (sort-of brother, he’s Thai and not blood related but he may as well be) teased me in his speech at my wedding about my lack of housework skills – it went something like this:

One day, Lianne asked me to come out shopping with her for men’s shirts for Daniel. I asked her if Daniel didn’t have enough shirts, and she said no, he had heaps but she couldn’t be bothered ironing them so just bought him new ones.

Yes, I admit I did that last week as well (though people commented on how lovely the colour of his new shirt was!). To cut a long story short, I struggle with housework but I do my best to make do for my shortcomings. Let’s hope that one fine day, it’ll be a skill I master too.

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On a happier note, my husband and I are going to have a babymoon soon. Theoretically, we already had one a few months ago in Glenelg (where we stayed in a lovely hotel by the beach), but this one will be special for the following reasons:

1. We’re going back to Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, which also happens to be the place we spent our wedding night (refer to picture above). In honest truth, I’ve been to greater hotels/resorts (although there are only so many good hotels in Adelaide) but it has some redeeming factors like its beautiful backdrop against the wine-growing hills, the delicious buffet breakfast and the peaceful privacy it offers.

2. It’ll mark the end of my work life for a while – I’m still debating about whether this is a good thing or not, but I’m sure I’ll find so much more meaning in parenthood than ever could be found at a workplace.

3. It’s pretty much free with a membership card I have (had to pay to upgrade though, cos they’re out of standard rooms, but I can’t complain).

By the way, speaking about moons – has anyone seen the moon tonight? I took a peek and it doesn’t look WAY out of the ordinary, but then again, it’s directly above our house (so it may just be the wrong angle for it)

Do check it out sometime anyway: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-23/supermoon-to-appear-in-australian-skies-tonight/4774320

Anyway, all for tonight – another busy yet rewarding week ahead of me. Have a great week everyone!

In time…

Time is something I often struggle with.

Sometimes it feels like you’re in a Judo match against an opponent twice your weight, and he sits on you (yes, I know this feeling literally from my Judo classes up in Mossman QLD).

Sometimes it feels like that moment when you’re trying to squeeze that last bit of toothpaste from the tube and it’s just not budging. 

Sometimes it feels like trying to pour a liquid from a saucepan into a bottle without a funnel – as hard as you try to control the flow, it spills all over the place.

Sometimes it feels like the constant ringing of a siren that can’t be turned off, or the dripping of a tap which stubbornly refuses to be tightened.

And sometimes, it feels like the surface of the lake on a clear day when the wind doesn’t blow and the land stands still. It’s times like these that make time so worthwhile.

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The sea enthralls me – above is a picture from Tasmania (I believe it was down near Port Arthur). If given the choice, I would love to have time every day to just sit and watch the waves crash upon the rocks.

I was watching Vikings the other day (my new replacement to Game of Thrones, though I still think it can’t compare – but will reserve my judgement until I have watched more episodes) and the Christian monk brought up these lines that really remind me of the beauty of time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted,
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

Haven’t we all seen these times in our life? As much as I wrestle with time, I really am blessed with an abundance of opportunities. I shouldn’t sulk about all the things lost, but hold on to the things gained.

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Thank you for all the moments in time that make life worthwhile.

The daily grump…

It’s just one of those Mondays and the first thing that came to mind was my favourite Grumpy Cat. Yes, Grumpy Cat knows exactly how I feel…

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I think that I’m feeling the Monday blues more than anyone because of the following:

1. A crazy work backlog. Not that I’ve been procrastinating or anything, but today was just one of those days where I couldn’t check things off the to-do list fast enough – heck, I didn’t even have enough time to make up a to-do list today!

2. Heartburn, grrr. I found that what settles me (for at least a few hours anyway) is a yummy bubble tea! Okay, I know that those pearls are not good for me so I’ve switched to grass jelly. My current favourite is Chatime’s Oolong Milk Tea with pearls grass jelly, 50% sugar and no ice.

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3. No more Game of Thrones episodes to look forward to. I can’t believe we have to wait til 2014 to find out what happens next! I suppose I could read the books, but then again, I hardly have time to vacuum my floor (and we know which is more important).

Even if Mondays are a low point, it just gets better from there (I hope, anyway!)

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On an ending note, I can still fit into my size 8 dress (though I might have stretched it a bit). Yes, I have a lot of post-pregnancy work to do. Have a great week!

Costumes and other crises…

Another busy weekend… sometimes I feel that weekends should be commitment free, but then I think I’d feel terribly bored and unproductive.

Anyway, this weekend was spent painting the youth room at our little countryside church – the walls have been lime green for longer than I’ve been alive, so we decided we’d give it a fresh coat of neutral cream paint (hey, anything’s better than lime green!).

I didn’t manage to take a picture, more so because I wasn’t allowed into the room much – paint fumes can be harmful to an unborn baby. I still would like some involvement in painting our baby’s room though – we’ve decided on cream with a green feature wall.

I’m also shopping around on Ebay for some baby wall decor. I do like these ones quite a bit:

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I just really love green, don’t I? Anyway, I’ll definitely take a good picture of the baby’s nursery once my husband and I have figured out what to do with it.

Anyway, my crisis of the week is to get a costume together for my brother-in-law’s party. He’s having a Star Wars themed party and I have the following issues:

1. I’ve never actually watched Star Wars before, at least not all the way through. I know who R2D2 is and I’ve heard of Jedis but that’s about it.

2. There aren’t that many female characters in Star Wars – I envision there’ll be like 10 Princess Leah’s at the party.

3. I’m not going to fit (well) into any of the costumes I buy/rent because of this baby bump.

I’ve learned that there is indeed a pregnant character, Padmé Amidala, so this could be my chance at not looking too out of character. I really love this costume but I doubt I’ll be able to find one, and I’m hopeless at making costumes:

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However, I do have some things I could put together to make this costume (without showing my belly, of course).

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I hope that’s not being overly ambitious here – my legs will never look like Natalie Portman’s, though I have a post-pregnancy plan…

Anyway, I promise that my next post will be more mentally stimulating. I apologise but I’m practically brain-dead now and probably require a lot more sleep.

Just to prove to you that I do have the ability to write, I just wanted to share the JOM Magazine’s latest issue: http://issuu.com/jommagazine/docs/jom05

My articles in particular are on pages 50, 56 and 57 of the magazine, and they’re generally about homemaking 101. I honestly don’t know if I’m the right person to give that sort of advice at the moment – I can’t find my sole pair of maternity work pants because it’s buried somewhere under the unfolded sheets, spare bedding and the Christmas tree.

Finally, before I go, I rediscovered the joys of having a bath! I thought that pregnant women weren’t allowed to have baths, but apparently it’s just hot spas and saunas we should avoid because they’re simply too hot. Warm baths are okay…

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Correction, warm baths are divine (especially with a bath bomb)…

Have a great week everybody!

Short sluggish snippets

I was looking to write a nice long blog post tonight but simply ran out of time (and steam). It’s a shame how little free time I seem to have to myself during the week.

Work takes up about 40 hours, 50 if you add commuting time. Meal prep, probably an additional 10 hours. Eating, maybe another 10 if not more… Church and community related activities, maybe 5+ hours. Housework, add about 0 hours… just kidding, maybe add 5 (I’m working on it!). What have I missed out? Oh yeah, sleep…

People say I shouldn’t be so busy while I’m pregnant, that I should take a step back and get more sleep. And I would love to honour that request if only I could reset my body clock – I’m still fairly nocturnal and, if given a choice, would rather sleep from midnight to whatever time my body decides to wake up.

But anyway, I digressed from the main point (though I never even mentioned the main point) which probably points out how tired I am…

Let me recapture my thoughts by posting a picture of my wonderful dog, who despite her destructiveness and hyperactivity, loves everybody unconditionally (especially when she’s soaking wet). Here she is devouring her Kong Wubba – note to buyers of Kong Wubba, this is in no way indestructible. Took her about 2 days (of supervised play, mind you)…

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I was going to share the article I wrote on multiculturalism in Australia. I do admit that the article can’t quite do the subject justice, as there’s really so many things that can be said about the matter.

We have to face that fact that multiculturalism is everywhere – in our countries, in our homes. And regardless of how we try to ignore it, we do acknowledge it in many ways, be it positive or negative.

For a little background on myself, I’m a Malaysian who’s 1/2 Chinese, 1/8 Scottish, 1/8 Welsh, 1/8 Thai and 1/8 Malay. In Malaysia, where we still have to state our race on all official documentation, I’m considered “Others” as I don’t fall into the default Malay, Chinese or Indian categories. I strove to stand out and be proud of the fact that I was Eurasian, and perhaps hoped it gave me a different set of qualities that would make me different from other Malaysians.

And then I came to Australia, where I fall under the category of Asian. Forget the Scottish surname (which is Ritchie, by the way) – this girl grew up in Asia and has rather slitty eyes, so she’s Asian. Point blank. And I just live it with now, because I realise that in all honesty, there’s no point denying the truth and there’s honestly nothing wrong with being Asian.

I just don’t know how to explain to my kid(s) their ethnic make-up, taking into consideration my 1/2 English, 1/2 German (but born and bred in Australia) husband…

Just putting it out there – how do you feel about your own ethnicity? Are you comfortable with your cultural background, even if you aren’t living in the country you grew up in? Do you feel that you had to change parts of you that you didn’t necessarily want to change?

You can read the actual article here:
http://jommagazine.com.au/living-the-multicultural-life-in-australia-stories-from-different-ethnicities/

Anyway, speaking about change, I bought lunch today from a Korean BBQ type place in a food court (which is delicious by the way). I gave the lady some money and she said “Here you go, three dollar changes!” 

I was going to ask her “Three dollar changes into what? Is this a magic trick?” but I’m never that impolite (unless provoked). But yes, how simple life would be if changes could be bought. I suppose some can, but a lot of them come at a price that money can’t buy.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough and really should get some more sleep. Good night world, and may tomorrow be a wonderful day full of new opportunities.

My first baby shower!

This is my first relatively personal post (and hence will explain what’s been keeping me so busy the last few days!)… my baby shower!

I’ve read that normally baby showers are held when the mother is about 8 months pregnant, but I reckon it’s good I had it a bit earlier (I’m about 29 weeks) as I felt more energetic and mobile.

Also, it was good to have enough energy to clean the house before the guests arrived – I do admit that I can get quite slack at cleaning the house, and only pull myself together when under pressure (i.e. started cleaning at 10.00am for a 2.00pm party!) But, at long last, the house was in order (and nobody discovered my “junk” room).

The theme was yellow and green (as we haven’t found out our baby’s gender yet). It was after looking at the napkins that I bought that I realised it was quite a patriotic “Australian” theme – but the balloons softened the effect.

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It’s funny how most of my friends are Asian – now, don’t take it as being biased. I know lots of Caucasian Aussies (and people of other ethnic groups, for that matter) that are really awesome people. It boils down to three factors:

1. When I was at Uni, my course was quite a highly exclusive one where Australians would only pay for it if they were granted scholarships (otherwise, it would be way more than they would need to pay to do a similar course at a local institution). There were only 4 Australians in my graduating class of 100+.

2. At church, my husband grew up with a group of Caucasian Australian & NZ guys, and guess what – majority of them married Asian girls! In the pic above, all of us girls who have partners have Caucasian partners.

3. At work, I’m at an Australian based company but the founders are Singaporean and for some reason, our team is highly multicultural – not to mention, lots of employees LOVE the Asian culture (or at least, love to put on an Asian accent).

But anyway, Asian or not Asian, I love my girls heaps and want to thank them so much for always being there for me!

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And with lots of variety with the guests comes a variety of food! We had lots of yummy things to eat (and drink) – on the top right is one of my party favourites (though it’s hard to take to people’s houses due to spillage, so more of a party at home food). It’s called Honeydew Sago, though I did mine with rockmelon as well. And below is a treat my father-in-law made, called cream lillies! He’s truly a Masterchef – he also does some mean cheesecakes, which you may see in the course of my future posts too.

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And what is a baby shower without games?

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1. Mum-to-be crossword puzzle – it’s so easy to make crossword puzzles online and I had real fun making it. I put in questions like “How much weight did I gain?” (8kg), “What’s my biggest craving?” (KFC) and “What’s my baby’s Chinese zodiac sign?” (Snake).

2. Diaper Derby – the two bottom photos might explain the gist. A group wraps one person up in a ‘diaper’ made from toilet paper – and the person who can catwalk around the room without it falling will be the winner. My niece Esther was the cutest model (and she’s probably used to being in diapers too!)

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3. Guess the price – My mum-in-law bought a whole lot of baby items and we had to rank them from the lowest priced to the most expensive. It was actually pretty tricky – I don’t think any of us got all correct!

4. Guess the mum’s measurements – Basically, I cut a string measuring the actual length around my belly (probably around the bellybutton is best) and then the guests cut a piece that they estimate. Most of them got it way too long! It’s really quite deceptive…

5. Decorate a jumpsuit – All you need is a few plain jumpsuits, some fabric paints, permanent markers and ribbons for a fun decoration session! It’s funny how nobody used any ribbons as majority think my baby’s going to be a boy…
Which one would be your winner out of these?

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6. Catch the what? – At weddings, people catch the bouquet so I thought it was fitting that at a baby shower, guests can catch a diaper and will potentially become the next mum-to-be? Lots of cheering and laughter to follow…

7. Baby names – I also put up posters on the wall for baby names. I love my friends & family – they have such creative ideas!

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And finally, I would love to thank everyone for their thoughtful and gorgeous presents! I really am so blessed!

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