Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Animals and lack of music practice

I grew up with many dogs thanks to my dad who also loves dogs and other animals. I was surrounded by dogs, fish, tortoises, turtles, birds, chick(en)s, geese,
duck(ling)s, a kid (the goat version!), a monkey...and a big fat python, at various times of my childhood. My father lived and worked in rubber/oil palm plantations and the houses we lived in in various parts of southern Peninsular Malaysia came with vast open gardens which allowed us hobbies of keeping pets, planting flowering and fruiting trees and plants (another of dad's interest).

So it could probably be 'in the genes' that Caitlin also loves animals, especially dogs, and flowers. She has been pestering for a dog for a long time and we've told her to be patient as condominium living in this country prohibits animals, especially dogs. She keeps asking when we are moving to our house so that we could get a dog. She's also asked if we could plant roses in the garden, so that it could attract caterpillars which can turn into butterflies....

She can talk till the cows come home (Ha! Pretty appropriate phrase to use!) and ask loads of questions about dogs or other animals which she has thought of, read about or seen on television.

I showed her some old photos of our dogs once and she had questions of their breed, names, age, what they were doing in the photo, etc.

A few of our dogs

with my younger bro



and the little kid

She says when she grows up she wants to be a veterinarian. And most times, when she plays with her toy animals, they end up being sick, needing plasters and bandages, and hospitalisation. Sometimes we have to be her (the vet) nurse to assist in medical examination or surgery while other times it's vice versa. She even created a contraption once on her own to give the patient an intravenous drip and the resemblance to the real thing was near perfect.

Sigh, I sometimes wish this kid of mine could have such deep focus on other interests of hers, for e.g., playing the piano and drums. She loves them (she had asked for them herself in the first place) and dreams of being a great performer and in her own words, a 'diva', when she grows up (besides being a vet). But...'practice' is not in her vocab.

Oh well, I guess I shouldn't expect or pressure her too much. She is still very young after all and still enjoys playing with her toys and reading her storybooks.

Now, I wonder what her teacher will say this evening when she is not able to play the piece she was to have practised the past week....

SocialSpark

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A thrilling weekend for Caitlin

Caitlin had been wondering what Genting Highlands is like for some time already. I don't remember how she came to know about this place but I remember telling her it is up in the mountains and cold. She asked once if it has snow. Coincidentally, I had some points from my credit card to redeem and had enough for a one-night stay in a hotel there.

I received the voucher last month and two weeks ago, I found some time to get online to make a reservation. For one week, after I mentioned that we were going, Caitlin had been eagerly anticipating her trip to Genting. So off we drove up the slightly windy-but-good road up to the highlands. I haven't been there for more than 10 years. And the last time Eugene was up there, it was for work in 2002. He had to rush down sometime after midnight after receiving a call that I was at the hospital going into labour!

As we were ascending higher, the cool mist was visible and getting thicker. Caitlin was thrilled at the sight of the tropical rainforest mountains covered in mist. "Wow, my breath is taken away. It's so exciting" were her exact words. I was surprised she knows the phrase "breath taken away"!

As we arrived too early for check-in, we headed straight to the indoor theme park to get our all-day, all-park tickets. Genting Highlands has two indoor theme parks and one outdoor park. Caitlin had a full-day of fun going on all the rides she qualified for i.e. the ones that she was not too short or too tall for. It rained a bit later in the afternoon after we managed to get on a few outdoor thrill rides, the most exhilarating for Caitlin being the Fire Dragon mini rollercoaster. We took the opportunity to head back to the hotel to check in and Caitlin recharged with a nap.


Caitlin feeding the carps at the outdoor park.




She woke just in time for us to get a few more rides indoors and visit the Snow House before getting dinner. Yes, she finally got a chance to experience snow (although it was in a simulated environment!) and was highly excited. I was freezing despite the winter wear they provided.

Genting Highlands has changed quite a bit since I last visited. There are a lot more rides, a few more hotels, complete with a big mall with lots of retail shops and eateries. Food wise, there are plenty of choices. Price wise however, they are exorbitant and nothing to shout about taste wise.











Eugene with a reluctant Caitlin (Let's not waste time with the camera... I want more rides....)

We also went on the cable car for a view of the tops of the rainforest canopy after checking out of the room. Caitlin was reluctant to leave as she wanted to ride the Pirate Train again. To make up for it, we allowed her to play a few arcade games before grabbing lunch and getting into the car to head home.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A blogging father

Many mothers have taken to blogging for various reasons. Some blog to earn a living from home, to keep friends and family updated about their family and life, or they just simply love to write and establish an online presence. What about fathers?

In my one year's exposure to the blogging world, I have come across fewer men compared to women who blog in much detail about their kids and family. I think it's generally a 'male' thing. Men prefer to talk about work, men's stuff like cars, DIY projects, golf, football or politics. So when I do come across a site by a guy who writes about stuff like what infant formula his newborn prefers, and shows beautiful pictures of his kids and what they are doing, I stop in my tracks for a moment.

Eaglehawk is one such guy. In his 'about' section, he says by day, he fights spammers and by night he is Eaglehawk! He is 27, married with two beautiful girls. He currently lives in Cypress, Texas and has a site that shares interesting trivia, stories about his life as a daddy, his family and kids.

Most of his posts are easy to read, just short enough for a quick read while providing you with some info to get you interested to find out more. Take for example one of his posts titled 'I Do Not Feel This Old', which lets you find out what generation you belong in. He provides the link to a short five-question survey.

I think it's great for men to share their take about parenting, stories about their little kids and daily things in their lives as fathers. Looking at things from the male's perspective could be quite refreshing at times.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

STRESS!

Ever since becoming a SAHM, I find that my stress levels have been bordering on the high side more consistently and frequently compared to my days in the corporate world. As an employee, I've had my share of stress but they came in bursts and lasted maybe a week or two. As a wife and mother, stressful moments are almost a daily affair.

This article, 'An Overview of How Stress Kills and How to Develop Your StresSkills' by Cindie Leonard is quite informative. The author has a Master's degree in Psychology and specializes in research.

She gives an overview of stress and outlines the mind-body connection.

The Mind/Body Connection

One of the key principles in psychoneuroimmunology (mind/body medicine) is the interrelatedness of the mind and the body. It used to be believed that the mind and body were separate entities, but current research is proving otherwise. I need to keep emphasizing this fact, because when you allow stress to affect your life, you are allowing it to influence every organ, every cell of your body. That is a high price to pay.

"The mind steadfastly refuses to behave locally, as contemporary scientific evidence is beginning to show. We now know, for example, that brain-like tissue is found throughout the body... So, even from the conservative perspective of modern neurochemistry, it is difficult if not impossible to follow a strictly local view of the brain." - Larry Dossey, M.D.

The following experiment is phenomenal. In 1993, under the direction of the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), scientists conducted an experiment that demonstrated that our cells, even outside of our body, will still respond to our emotions. "White blood cells (leukocytes) scraped from the mouth of a volunteer were centrifuged and placed in a test tube. A probe from a recording polygraph –- a lie (or emotion) detector -– was then inserted into the tube. The donor of the cheek cells was seated in a room separate from his donated cells and shown a television program with many violent scenes. Then the volunteer watched scenes of fighting and killing. The probe from the polygraph detected extreme excitation in the mouth cells even though they were in a room down the hall. Subsequent repeats of this test experiment with donor and cells separated up to fifty miles and up to two days after donation of the cells showed the same results. The donated cells remained energetically and non-locally connected with their donor and seemed to 'remember' where they came from."

Paul Pearsall, Ph.D, author of The Heart's Code: The Findings About Cellular Memories and Their Role in the Mind/Body/Spirit Connection.

Dr. Pearsall's brilliant book explores and illuminates the fascinating and clinically documented stories of transplant patients. For example, one eight-year-old girl received the heart of a ten-year-old girl who was murdered. The girl who received the heart had dreams about the murderer, so vivid that she was able to describe the murderer to police. The time, weapon, clothes he wore, and place were so accurate, the man was convicted upon her testimony.

I site these studies because they demonstrate that our emotions are not just in our mind, they are in every cell of our bodies. Therefore, we must monitor the stress in our lives and honor our innate abilities to heal ourselves. If the heart thinks, the cells remember. The power of your thoughts on your health is profound.



It also says that research has shown that prolonged stress can produce actual tissue changes and organ dysfunction. With the new MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) techniques, scientists are able to prove visibly that chronic stress can shrink an area in the brain called the hypothalamus. Researchers have found that the brains of war veterans, as well as women who have been victims of childhood sexual abuse, have a marked reduction in the size of their hypothalamus.

Stress also affects your brain by releasing powerful chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine (also called adrenaline). The hypothalamic/pituitary-adrenal portion of your brain releases steroid hormones, including the primary stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol affects systems throughout your body, including an increased heart rate.
Your heart, lungs, and circulatory system are influenced by the increased heart rate. Blood flow may increase 300 to 400 percent. Blood pressure increases and breathing becomes rapid. Your mouth and throat may become dry. Skin may become cool and clammy because blood flow is diverted away so it can support the heart and muscle tissues. Even digestive activity shuts down.

Once again, occasional stress is normal. Once you've handled the situation, the stress goes away and you heal from the episode. But, if stressors accumulate over time, eventually the body becomes inefficient at handling even the least amount of stress. The brain, heart, lungs, vessels, and muscles become so chronically over or under activated that they become damaged. It is this sort of stress which may trigger or worsen heart disease, strokes, susceptibility to infection, sleep disturbances, sexual and reproductive dysfunction, memory and learning dysfunction, digestive problems, weight problems, diabetes, pain, and skin disorders.

"Extensive multidisciplinary studies have presented unequivocal evidence that our psychological responses to stress and our perceptions of stress to a considerable extent affect our susceptibility to disease. In active relationship, the immune, neuroendocrine, and nervous systems respond to the brain and psyche. Virtually all illnesses, from the flu to cancer, are influenced for good or bad by our thoughts and feelings." - R. Lloyd, 1990 Healing Brain: A Scientific Reader

Depression, fear, anger, hostility, and other negative emotions depress the immune system. The immune system is our first line of defense against infections, germs, and bacteria. The neurotransmitters that help to protect our immune system are inhibited by stress.

"Severe emotions impair the immune system, while release from panic or despair frequently increase interleukins, vital substances in the immune system that help activate cancer-killing immune cells." - Norman Cousins, 1990


I like the way the writer ended her article:
Last, but definitely not least, health is much more than the absence of illness. Live in an unselfish way that promotes a feeling of belonging, loving kindness, and forgiveness. Living like this promotes a state of spiritual bliss that truly helps to prevent illness. Wellness is trusting in the ability and desire of your bodymind to heal and improve itself given half a chance. Take responsibility for your own health -- and illness. Delete phrases like, "My doctor won't let me..." or, "My doctor says I have (name of condition), and there is really nothing I can do" from your speech and thought patterns. Avoid unscientific beliefs about your need for medications and operations."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Caitlin's version of personal hygiene


What prompted me to write about this is a short conversation between Caitlin and me about a half hour ago when we had just stepped out of the house for Mandarin class. It went like this:

Me: Oops, we forgot to wipe your mouth after lunch.
Caitlin: Never mind, I'll just lick it.

This is not the only time for such incidences. We make a conscious effort since she was born to ensure she is as clean as possible at all times, and that she learns some personal hygiene. Somehow, adherence to such rules and instructions has eluded her attention. Other such incidences include:

To clean sticky or wet hands - wipe on mummy's shirt or shorts
To clean dirty mouth - wipe on t-shirt front or sleeve or wrist
When food (especially fave one) drops on floor - pick up and eat
When having toys or anything in hand (especially when watching TV) - put into mouth, bite
When feeling 'helpful' at home or at other people's home - lie on the floor/carpet and start 'mopping'

Please tell me my kid is not the only one doing such things!

On the brighter side, I'm glad she knows how to brush her teeth, wash her hands after using the toilet, and blow her nose with a tissue when it is runny....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day


Every year, 22 April marks Earth Day. Our planet, our home, is now very vulnerable with the years of abuse Man has wreaked in the name of development. The media has been bombarding me with bits and pieces of news and information related to Earth Day that I can't help but give some thought to what I am doing in the name of conservation, in saving Earth for the next generation.

One particular channel on TV kept highlighting a must-watch documentary tonight at 9pm. It's none other than 'An Inconvenient Truth'. The newspapers today have dedicated some pages for Earth Day. The radio I listen to in my car has also been blaring away about today. Even Caitlin's school has provided an awareness piece in the 'communication book' to parents.

As we were on our way to Mandarin class, we saw two men burning joss paper (gold/silver-laced paper burnt by the Chinese for worship) by the roadside. Caitlin said, "Mummy, that's not good, because of the smoke..." and I agreed. Although it is a religious practice, I think it would be good if we could avoid burning anything.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation mentioned that:
The disposal of household trash in inefficient, low-temperature combustion typical of open burning may release excessively high amounts of dangerous toxic pollutants.

A study by the EPA, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and DEC measured the types and amounts of many chemicals in the smoke from burn barrels. Burning about 10 pounds of trash in a household burn barrel may produce as much air pollution as a modern, well-controlled incinerator burning 400,000 pounds of trash. The EPA/DOH/DEC study showed that smoke from burning trash in a barrel may contain particulate matter, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, benzene, styrene, formaldehyde, arsenic, lead, chromium, benzo(a)pyrene, dioxins, furans, and PCBs.

Exposure to smoke from open burning may have immediate and long-term health effects, including coughing, nausea, headaches, dizziness, asthma attacks, increased risk of cancer, and aggravation of respiratory symptoms, especially in people with heart or lung disease. Not only can open fires have adverse health effects, they also can become dangerous wildfires.

A place for busy mums

Since joining SocialSpark recently, I've had the opportunity to meet quite a number of mummy bloggers. Their blogs are all so unique, funny, insightful, and helpful. It's a comfort to read them because it reminds me that there are other mums all over the world like me who have to contend with the ups and downs of life as a mum, first and foremost, and as everything else that comes with that title, such as chef, chauffeur, cleaner, tutor, doctor, storyteller, etc.

Busy Mommy shares this sentiment and its tagline "Surviving Motherhood One Mess At A Time" just says it all. This is a website geared towards busy stay-at-home, work-at-home, and working mothers.

It provides useful information and resources, and shares personal experiences of life as a mummy. So if you're not too busy screaming at your kid who is scrawling on your wall while breastfeeding and trying to cook dinner at the same time, maybe some 'therapy' can be found by visiting Busy Mommy!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Marinated baked pork chops


While I am trying to be more pro-vegetarian for health purposes, the foodie in me still cannot resist tasty meat dishes. I subscribe to a daily recipe update from AllRecipes.com and today, this recipe for marinated baked pork chops arrived in my Inbox.

The picture makes the dish look tempting! I have saved the recipe in my recipes folder and if I feel 'carnivorous' one day, I'll probably try it out!

The Pursuit of Happyness

I was surfing channels last night and came to this Will Smith movie which had just started (I normally won't watch any movie that's midway through). I had heard about it before so I decided to watch it. It's titled 'The Pursuit of Happyness'. For background info and also why 'happiness' is spelt with a 'y', see here.

Without analysing the movie too much, my take-away when the end credits started rolling was yet another reminder that with faith, love and determination, we can achieve our dreams. It is based on a true story of Chris Gardner, his wife and son who faced financial problems, eviction, homelessness, broken relationship...in short life had dealt him blow after blow of hardship. Chris's wife left him and with no home, no income or savings, he trudged on, working as an intern (no salary) while trying hard to make some money as a salesman, dragging his son along, sleeping in trains, buses, public toilets, and shelters for the homeless. It was very heartbreaking to see a father and his five-year-old son struggling that way, the sacrifices a parent would make for his child.

The idea that faith, love and determination can help overcome life's trials has been 'sold' so much in inspirational/motivational material that it had became rather cliched to me... until this movie came along last night; mainly because it's a true story.

Instead of complaining of my lot, I should count my blessings. And ironically, this other cliched saying came to mind: when life gives you lemons,... (you know what to do)....or do I really? How about you?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What's a Mother's Work Worth?

I was surfing and came across a site, TopBabyPages.com, which contains a collection of poems and stories for mothers. Here's a few which I find interesting.

What's a Mother's Work Worth?

A Whopping $641,900 annually, according to the 2001 Mother's Day Study conducted by Edelman Financial Services. Last year mother's earned a $64,800 raise, say Ric Edelman, study designer, financial and author of Discover the Wealth Within You (HarperCollins). The pay scale is derived by totaling the average salaries of 17 occupations that a multi-tasking mother performs during the course of a year, including executive chef ($64,800) child-care worker ($15,400) psychologist
(47,000), housekeeper ($14,600) and management analyst($56,500) and animal caretaker ($17,200). How does mom's salary measure up against other well-known head of the house-The White House, that is? The President of the United States earns $400,000 per year-less than the projected salary for mothers. Then again, the president probably doesn't have to cook or take care of the pets.
- by Margaret Jawo


Wow, if only I can be paid this much!

Before I was a Mom

"Before I was a mom, I made and ate hot meals, wore unstained clothes and had quiet conversations on the phone.

Before I was a mom, I never worried about how late I went to bed because I could sleep in as long as I wanted.

Before I was a mom, I washed my face and brushed my teeth everyday.

Before I was a mom, I enjoyed a leisurely cup of coffee while reading the
morning newspaper on a Saturday morning.

Before I was a mom, I slept the whole night through.

Before I was a mom, my house was clean everyday and I didn't worry about whether or not my plants were poisonous.

Before I was a mom, I had never been puked on, pooped on, peed on, chewed on or pinched by little fingers.

Before I was a mom, I had complete control of my mind, thoughts and body.

Before I was a mom, I never held down a screaming child while doctors and nurses did tests or gave shots. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces because I couldn't stop the hurt.

Before I was a mom, I never looked into teary eyes and cried.

Before I was a mom, I never got gloriously happy over a toothless grin.

Before I was a mom, I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down. I never was up in the wee hours of the night just watching a baby while it slept. I never knew that something so small couldn't effect my life so tremendously.

Before I was a mom, I never knew I could love someone so unconditionally and completely.

Before I was a mom, I never knew how satisfying it is to feed a hungry
child. I never knew how fulfilling it is to soothe a baby's cries.

Before I was a mom, I loved my mom, but didn't understand her.

Before I was a mom, I never knew the warmth, the joy, the heartache, the
wonderment, or the fulfillment of being a mom.

Before I was a mom, I never knew I would love being a mom."

- Sharon L. Twitchell

Friday, April 18, 2008

Paranoid or normal?


I had a short conversation with a close friend recently and we were comparing notes about our daughters. Hers is just a year younger than Caitlin and both of them seem to be pretty active girls. We find them lacking in focus at times and do not pay attention when we talk to them or give them instructions. We both feel guilty like bad mums when we lose our patience and start yelling, scolding and labelling them.

We have wondered before if our kids are hyperactive or have ADHD. We know that pre-school kids tend to be active, imaginative and have short attention span, but how do we know if they are the 'normal' version or the 'disorder' version? Are we just paranoid or is this concern normal for parents like us who have kids who can't sit still, who love to do just about anything and everything and get on our nerves all the time?

I guess the answer is for us to get educated about such conditions before we start becoming doctors and diagnosing our kids and freak out unnecessarily.

Here are some links I came across:

ADHD
ADHD in children
Hyperactivity

Another problem that some children may have could be Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). I had only learnt about it after another close friend shared that her son had been diagnosed with it a couple of years ago. Thankfully, he is doing well and all I can say is that she is amazingly capable in managing her family of four kids together with her husband.

She shared in an email that "Sensory processing disorder now affects 5% of children -that is one in 20 children. This is a lot! It shows up in many other learning disabilities and disorders eg in 70% of children with autism (by the way autism incidence is now 1 in 104 boys - an explosion in the past decade). Unfortunately , most of the behaviours/symptoms that show up in children with SPD are written off as misbehaviour, ADHD, hyperactivity,etc. The most common behaviour - unexplained and uncontrollable tantrums (due to fear and overload of the nervous system to sensory input) when the child is in crowded, new places or in transitions... Somehow the brains of the children are not wired to make sense of the sensory information they receive (eg visual, hearing, touch, pressure, sense of space and balance etc) and it interferes with their daily activities, learning and social interactions. If you know of a child who has SPD, the most important thing is to start intervention early. That is the key for a good outcome."

She also recommended this site for more information.

Or you can Google to find out more about any of these disorders. There are lots of websites and forums you can check out. However, if we are seriously concerned, the best thing would be to consult a doctor.

A mummy blogger


I made a new friend today in the blogosphere. She is a stay-at-home mum of two kids and author of six blogs and websites! I take my hat off to her for her achievement. One of her blogs, Parenting Times has many useful suggestions and links for kids activities, kids sites and kids crafts.

This is one site I would certainly add to my list of favourite blogs.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fashionista


This picture was taken on Monday, just before Caitlin went for her drum lesson. The lei is a souvenir she got from the Disney on Ice show we went to a few weeks ago. She got her dream 'high heel' slippers after a 'tussle' with me in a departmental store last month.

This girl is five going on six later this year but already 16 since last year. I can't dictate what she wears or doesn't wear, how her hair is tied and what accessories she puts on her hair and body. She sometimes chases me out of the room and closes the door to do her 'stuff'. Ten or 15 minutes later, she emerges all dolled up.

She refuses to wear shorts and baggy t-shirts, only skirts and fitting t-shirts/blouses, dresses and certain long pants at times.

I hope this is just a passing phase....I doubt I'll be able to deal with tattoos, heavy make-up, body piercing, outrageous clothes, hairdo or jewellery when she really turns 16. Or do they start much younger at maybe 12 these days??

Finding a balance between allowing freedom of choice/decision/independence/creativity, and maintaining some level of control/discipline in bringing up our kids is not an easy task. Where do you draw the line, when do you put your foot down and say 'no', when do you restrict and when do you let go?

Increasing food price

There has been loads of news coverage lately on the global food crisis - increasing food prices, shortage of food like rice - and consumers have started to feel the pinch. Food riots have broken out in some countries.


Today, I bought a loaf of bread which costs RM3. Yesterday, it cost RM2.70. Last year, the same loaf of bread cost RM2.40.

A bowl of noodles from a hawker stall nearby cost RM3 last year. Early this year, it went up to RM3.50. Yesterday, it increased another 30 sen, costing me RM3.80. Everything is costing more now....

In Malaysia, employees' wages have not increased much over the years to keep up with the increasing prices of basic necessities like fuel and food.

How will the low-income families with eight mouths to feed survive? How will one-income families who are average earners cope with the demands of a growing family?

Those who still can live comfortably in such times ought to count their blessings and be more giving to help those in need.

As for ACE, it's a time of contemplation on how to save and/or increase our income. It's a challenge when we are currently living on one fixed income with a growing child with so much developmental needs and wants, and a new home we'd like to move into later this year....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I love a capella music

A very good friend of mine pointed me to The King's Singers, a premiere a capella group comprising six singers. Listen and watch, and you'll be well entertained with their talent.

Amazing sound

The combination of the choral voices, pipe organ and acoustics from the architecture of the famous Westminster Abbey transports you to an 'ethereal' land.

Only Time


Who can say
Where the road goes
Where the day flows
- Only time

Who can say why your heart sighs
as your love flies
-Only time

And who can say why your heart cries
when your love lies
-Only time

Who can say when the roads meet
that love might be
in your heart

And who can say
when the day sleeps
if the night keeps
all your heart

Night keeps all your heart

Who can say if your love grows
as your heart shows
-Only time

And who can say
Where the road goes
Where the day flows,
-Only time

Who knows-only time
Who knows-only time.....

-Enya-

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mid life crisis?

Lately, I've been feeling bored with the routine I'm in with the tendency to daydream and having bouts of nostalgia. Hence, some of the recent posts! I wonder if it's mid life crisis.

Wikipedia defines it as "a period of dramatic self-doubt that is typically felt in the 'middle years' of life, as people sense the passing of youth and the imminence of old age." Ahh, I think I should be approaching or maybe I have approached my 'middle years'.

Wiki also said "for the approximately 10% of middle aged adults who go through an age-related midlife crisis, the condition is most common ranging from the ages of 35-50 (a large study in the 1990s found that the average age at onset of a self-described 'mid-life crisis' was 46). Mid life crises last about 3-10 years in men and 2-5 years in women."

Average age of self-described mid life crisis was 46 it said, but I'm not 46 yet... It lasts two to five years in women it also said. I sure am hoping I'm not having mid life crisis and it won't last that long if I do!

Ha ha, in my younger days, mid life crisis was something like an 'enigma' to me. It seemed like something only people in books or movies experience.

Carcinogenic food from microwave

Microwave Ovens: The Curse of Convenience
by Christopher Gussa


Throughout the ages there has always been a natural need to make things a little easier. From as far back as first having a fire to warm us, we learned to contain it in stones that radiated the heat leading to what most of us love and still call “The Fire Place”. Then, when workable metal came into existence (a very convenient invention in itself) we learned to fashion wood burning stoves. Heating with metal stoves was becoming a modern convenience and soon it was in almost all homes.

The old saying always held true, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. This concept was healthy, inspiring, good for the economy, and led to so many great things. (The industrial age of the 1890s to around 1950 was absolutely amazing!)

The basic necessities of life were always transportation, heating and cooling, storing food and water, and shelter from the weather. When we see such fine examples as automobiles, central heating and cooling, modern refrigerators, modern plumbing, and the beautiful and comfortable homes of today, it’s easy to say, “Convenience is not a curse at all but a blessing”; and we would be right!

It is fairly safe to say that today the necessities of life are well covered to where we can grasp any of them with ease. However, there is quite a difference between something that makes a necessity more convenient and something that makes the convenience itself, such as the ease of preparing a meal on a nice modern stove, become unnecessary.

How lazy are we going to allow ourselves to get? Or even worse, how much of this wonderful life that we were created to enjoy (which includes using our brain and muscles once in a while) are we willing and wanting to give up? If this is not self-destruction, I don’t know what is. We are trapped in a whorl-wind moving faster and faster away from the life our bodies, souls and spirits were created to live in and the average person can’t even see it!

Well, on that moment of hope and delight in humanity, my wife just told me about a TV survey that she saw on “Good Morning America”: When asked what was most important in deciding “what to do for dinner” such as price, taste, nutrition, or convenience, an overwhelming 70% said convenience. The survey did not say but I suspect to most people that means popped in the microwave or a trip through a fast food place.

Now surely popping something in the microwave at home couldn’t hurt you even if there was no nutrition left in it, right? Wouldn’t they warn us or ban microwave ovens if eating food cooked in them was a major health threat? Well, the data may shock you but here are the facts...

This data has confirmed just about all my suspicions. I believe that the general obesity in this country, the lack of energy, and increased cancer along with all the new “designer diseases” i.e. Erectile Dysfunction etc. can be traced in part to our habit of using microwave ovens as the 'lazy man's way out of a little extra work'.

It turns out it was the Nazis who actually invented these ovens. They were used in their mobile support calling them the “radiomissor”. These ovens were to be used for the invasion of Russia. By using electronic equipment for preparation of meals on a mass scale, the logistical problem of cooking fuels would have been eliminated, as well as the convenience of producing edible products in a greatly reduced time-factor.

After the war, the Allies discovered medical research done by the Germans on microwave ovens. These documents, along with some working microwave ovens, were transferred to the United States War Department and classified for reference and "further scientific investigation". The Russians had also retrieved some microwave ovens and now have thorough research on their biological effects. As a result, their use was outlawed in the Soviet Union (for a year or two). The Soviets issued an international warning on the health hazards, both biological and environmental, of microwave ovens and similar frequency electronic devices.

After the war, Dr. Percy Spencer, a self-taught engineer with the Raytheon Corporation, claimed to have “invented” the microwave oven in 1946. The Raytheon Corporation did actually file the first U.S. patent on one. The first ones were called Radar Ranges in 1954. Thank You Raytheon, but I like your missiles much better!

The following is a summary of the Russian investigations published by the Atlantis Rising Educational Center in Portland, Oregon.

Carcinogens were formed in virtually all foods tested. No test food was subjected to more microwaving than necessary to accomplish the purpose, i.e., cooking, thawing, or heating to ensure sanitary ingestion.

Here's a summary of some of the results:

* Microwaving prepared meats sufficiently to ensure sanitary ingestion caused formation of d-Nitrosodiethanolamines, a well-known carcinogen.

* Microwaving milk and cereal grains converted some of their amino acids into carcinogens.

* Thawing frozen fruits converted their glucoside and galactoside containing fractions into carcinogenic substances.

* Extremely short exposure of raw, cooked or frozen vegetables converted their plant alkaloids into carcinogens.

* Carcinogenic free radicals were formed in microwaved plants, especially root vegetables.

How Microwave Ovens Work:

All microwave ovens contain a magnetron which is a tube in which electrons are affected by magnetic and electric fields. They produce micro wavelength radiation at about 2450 Mega Hertz (MHz) or 2.45 Giga Hertz (GHz). This microwave radiation interacts with the molecules in food. The wave energy inside the oven changes polarity from positive to negative with each cycle of the wave. These changes of polarity happen millions of times every second. Food molecules (especially the molecules of water) have a positive and negative end just like a magnet has a north and a south polarity.

As these microwaves generated from the magnetron bombard the food, they cause the polar molecules to rotate at the same frequency millions of times a second. This is major agitation. (Much less agitation is used in pharmaceutical drug labs to separate or isolate molecules in the making of just about any thing they want). This agitation creates the molecular friction, which heats up the food. The friction also causes substantial damage to the surrounding molecules, often tearing them apart or forcefully deforming them. The scientific name for this deformation is "structural isomerism".

In Comparative Study of Food Prepared Conventionally and in the Microwave Oven, published by Raum & Zelt in 1992, it states:

"Production of unnatural molecules is inevitable. Naturally occurring amino acids have been observed to undergo isomeric changes (changes in shape morphing) as well as transformation into toxic forms, under the impact of microwaves produced in ovens. One short-term study found significant and disturbing changes in the blood of individuals consuming microwaved milk and vegetables. Eight volunteers ate various combinations of the same foods cooked different ways. All foods that were processed through the microwave ovens caused changes in the blood of the volunteers. Hemoglobin levels decreased and overall white cell levels and cholesterol levels increased. Lymphocytes decreased. Luminescent (light-emitting) bacteria were employed to detect energetic changes in the blood. Significant increases were found in the luminescence of these bacteria when exposed to blood serum obtained after the consumption of microwaved food."

In Dr. Lita Lee's book, Health Effects of Microwave Radiation - Microwave Ovens, and in the March and September 1991 issues of Earthletter, she stated that every microwave oven leaks electromagnetic radiation, harms food, and converts substances cooked in it to dangerous organ-toxic and carcinogenic products. Further research summarized in this article reveal that microwave ovens are far more harmful than previously imagined.

It makes absolutely no sense to me that our FDA is “looking out for us” and yet has not banned perhaps the worst cancer producing machines in history.


About the author
Christopher Gussa, is a TCM practitioner and Certified Master / Clinical Herbalist for 25 years. He is certified in both Western Herbal Therapy and Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine with over 20 years experience. Chris founded Plant Cures Inc. which handcrafts over 150 Serious Herbal Medicine Products for Specific Disorders all created through clinical application. Their products are for Serious Disease and also Powerful Tonic Health. Please visit Plant Cures at WWW.PLANTCURES.COM or call them at 1-800 979 2027

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wouldn't it be nice...


to have some uninterrupted sleep,
to go on a foodie adventure and eat, eat, eat,
to travel around the world without a care,
to lie on the beach with the breeze in your hair....

Friday, April 11, 2008

Amy Grant



That's what love is for
(Amy Grant)

Sometimes we make it harder than it is
Well take a perfect night
And fill it up with words we dont mean
Dark sides best unseen
And we wonder why were feeling this way.

Sometimes I wonder if we really feel the same
Why we can be unkind
Questioning the strongest of hearts
Thats when we must start
Believing in the one thing that has gotten us this far.

Thats what love is for
To help us through it
Thats what love is for
Nothing else can do it.

Melt our defenses
Bring us back to our senses
Give us strength to try once more
Baby, thats what love is for.

Sometimes I see you
And you dont know I am there
And Im washed away by emotions
I hold deep down inside
Getting stronger with time
Its living through the fire
And holding on we find

Thats what love is for
To help us through it
Thats what love is for
Nothing else can do it.

Melt our defenses
Bring us back to our senses
Give us strength to try once more
Baby, thats what love is for.

Believing in the one thing
That has gotten us this far
Thats what love is for
To help us through it
Thats what love is for
Nothing else can do it.

Round off the edges
Talk us down from the ledges
Give us strength to try once more
Baby, thats what love is for
Thats what love is for.

Thats what love is for
Melt our defenses
Bring us back to our senses
Give us strength to try once more
Baby, that's what love is for.
Thats what love is for.
Thats what love is for.
Thats what love is for.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Parenting frustrations

My five-going-on-six year old daughter still uses the potty at times. Most times, it happens when she cannot bear to leave an exciting show on TV and sneaks to use it in front of the TV when I'm not looking. She just did it but this time, the tissue that she used to wipe herself did not come out in one piece. The pieces in that pack somehow could not detach themselves properly and she ended up leaving a big (and I mean huge) heap of tissues in the potty, much to my @#$*!!

Now my toilet bowl is a little clogged and cannot flush properly. I had to pick up the tissues out of the bowl and dump them in the dustbin...

I'm banning the potty from now on. Gotta go look for a good place to hide it now. Grrrr.....

Life's certainly like this sometimes if you are a parent.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Harry Connick Jr.

Regardless of what some jazz purists, critics or Michael Buble fans may say, I think Harry Connick Jr. is one superb entertainer. If I were a teenager right now, my dream would be to marry this guy!!

Listening to his songs and even better, watching him on YouTube just makes my day. It just rained and it's gloomy again but his songs, especially the lively ones, bring back the sunshine.



And Eugene, this is for 10 November 2001, the first song in church that fateful day:

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ken Lee!

For those of you who have yet to watch this, here it is. It's been circulating in Facebook and email accounts. Have a real good laugh!

The Prayer

This song is one of my favourites. I'm not exactly a great fan of Celine but I love most of her songs, her voice is good and the lyrics too. Incidentally, she'll be performing live in KL this weeked. It would be a treat to go watch her actually, now that I think about it...

Perspective


ACE went for a swim yesterday after returning from an enjoyable time at the Disney on Ice show and a dim sum lunch. In between playing and 'racing' with Caitlin, I floated on my back for a couple of minutes, closed my eyes, relaxed and cleared my mind. When I opened my eyes, I saw the vast blue sky above me, dotted with big white clouds. I felt so small and these were my thoughts:

No matter who you are, you are only a little speck in the universe. Whether you are a ruler of a country, a successful entrepreneur, an accomplished singer or hold a string of paper qualifications, who are you in the eyes of God, or the universe? From what perspective do we see ourselves and others? Should we compare ourselves with others? Should we be prideful or self-righteous when we think we are better than others? Should we feel depressed and bemoan our misfortune when we think others are happier?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Girlfriends (part 2)

Those were the days, my girlfriends!






The rain and girlfriends

It's been raining every afternoon this week at around this time. The sky grows dark, the wind becomes cool and strong, then the heavens pour down like it's the last time it will ever pour. Visibility out of my windows and balcony is probably only 10 feet. The lakes in the golf course across fill to the brim and the sand bunkers become mini ponds.

Caitlin decides to play by herself, dancing, singing, reading...I guess she is relishing in her own private time since the heavy rain is excuse for not going to Mandarin class. So I'm left alone just at a time when I thought cuddling up in bed with her and an entertaining book to hopefully get her to nap would be nice.

I decide to check email and found I received a nice one celebrating friendship among girls. The gloomy weather and the email evokes some nostalgia of the good times I had in my YFS (young, free, single) school and early working life with my girlfriends. Here's what the email said:

TO THE GIRLS!!!

What's so poignant about this picture? Well, it shows a line of little girls holding hands facing the immensity of ocean waves. Alone they might be washed away, but together they stand strong.

Thank you each for holding my hand somewhere along the way when I was facing a wave of my own.
I hope you will reach for my hand when your own wave threatens.

All of us girls..
Old and young...
Near and far...
Hold special memories of good times we've shared.
We've had our share of hard times when our friends were there to make us feel better.
We've shared...
our hearts
our time
our secrets
our fears
our hopes
and our dreams.
Let us never break the chain of friends!

If you get this twice or more, you are lucky to have more than one girlfriend.

Someone will always be prettier.
Someone will always be smarter.
Their house will be bigger.
They will drive a better car.
Their children will do better in school.
And their husband will fix more things around the house.
So let it go, Be Happy!
And love yourself and your circumstances.
Think about it.
The prettiest woman in the world can have trouble in her heart.
And the most highly favoured woman on your job may be unable to have children.
And the richest woman you know, she's got the car, the house, the clothes....might be lonely.
And the Word says if 'I have not Love, I have nothing.'

So, again, love you.
Love who you are.
Look in the mirror in the morning and smile and say
'I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed!'
I like that!
'Winners make things happen.
Losers let things happen'
Be blessed ladies and pass this on to encourage another woman.
'To the world you might be one person,
But to one person you just might be the world'.
HERE'S TO YOU MY FRIENDS.


My thoughts stray to a popular sitcom called Friends. I enjoyed watching it although I wasn't a crazy fan. The theme song by The Rembrandts says:



So no one told you life was going to be this way.
Your job's a joke, you're broke, you're love life's DOA.
It's like you're always stuck in second gear,
Well, it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

But, I'll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I'll be there for you, like I've been there before.
I'll be there for you, cause you're there for me too.

You're still in bed at ten, the work began at eight.
You've burned your breakfast, so far, things are going great.
Your mother warned you there'd be days like these,
But she didn't tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees.

That, I'll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I'll be there for you, like I've been there before.
I'll be there for you, cause you're there for me too.

No one could ever know me, no one could ever see me.
Seems like you're the only one who knows what it's like to be me.
Someone to face the day with, make it through all the rest with,
Someone I'll always laugh with, even at my worst, I'm best with you.

It's like you're always stuck in second gear,
Well, it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

But, I'll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I'll be there for you, like I've been there before.
I'll be there for you, cause you're there for me too.


Pretty appropriate for a time like this when I'm missing old friends and watching the rain.

Sleep, or rather, lack of it

It is 3.45am right now. I was woken up by some music coming from one of Caitlin's toy boxes. I guess in the weekly cleaning yesterday, the toys in the music instruments box got jolted and one of it could have pressed against another that has buttons to make music. I could not go back to sleep after getting up to restore the quiet in this cool morning. My two 'kids' are sprawled comfortably in bed, one big 'log' and one smaller one, oblivious to the world at this wee hour....

I am a light sleeper. I am also an 'uneasy' sleeper. I don't fall asleep easily anywhere, anytime even if I'm sleepy unlike some people who can just nod off and start snoring on the couch, in the car, while travelling....

I can't remember when was the last time I actually slept through the whole night without waking up at all. I think it must have been over five years ago before I had Caitlin. Those days, my sleep was pretty regular, going to bed by 11pm and waking at 6.30 or 7.00am to get ready for work.

When Caitlin arrived, it was night feeds, diaper changes (breastfed babies tend to poop more, anytime of day), night wakings for attention in the early years. Now, I wake up at least once every night, either to turn off the fan if we forget to put its timer on, to check on Caitlin (while asleep, she has this uncanny habit of lifting up her PJs, exposing her abdomen)or to get a drink of water. Sometimes it's hard to get back to sleep because I have an active mind. Thoughts about things, events, people, ideas, start creeping in and my brains start cranking up its gears....

My foot reflexologist tells me every single time when I visit him that I do not sleep well. Based on his reflexology knowledge and experience, he can tell because it's a certain spot on the sole that hurts each time he rubs it.

Now my tummy is feeling empty. I guess I'll go foraging....

Check out this picture gallery of people sleeping. It's very interesting.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Electro-smog: The Invisible Intruder


While the evolution of technology has provided us with amazing gadgets for our convenience, are you aware, (and if you are, are you taking it seriously?) that electronic gadgets emit electromagnetic fields (EMF) that could pose a danger to your health with frequent and prolonged use?

For some of us, owning several latest state-of-the-art mobile phones, hanging out at some coffee joint with WiFi and laptops on our laps or on the table (at level with our vital organs like kidneys, reproductive organs, heart!), cooking and re-heating food with microwave ovens, seem to be the 'coolest' things to do.

There have been tons of email circulating information and warnings about excessive usage of these things and how they can harm you. Some are true and some could be hoaxes (One must know how to tell the difference these days with online info being so widely used and abused).

But it is true that EMF (or plainly known as e-smog)poses a health risk. This article here provides some facts and tips on how to reduce your exposure to e-smog.

The article states: In September 2007, the EU's European Environment Agency (EEA)and the country of Germany both issued warnings to their citizens advising them to avoid the use of WiFi and cell phones until further long term studies are conducted, citing fears that the ubiquitous use of wireless technology has the potential to become the next public health disaster on the level of tobacco smoking, asbestos, and lead in automobile gas.

It also cites a real case of someone who has been affected: Hayley (pseudonym) spent many years in front of a computer and is now so electrically sensitive she cannot be around microwaves, air conditioners, cell phones, or airports without experiencing distressful cardiac and neurological symptoms.

Having witnessed several demonstrations on how a scalar energy device reduces e-smog emitted from mobile phones, I would advise that you do not hang your phone around your neck, put it in your front or back pants pocket, or anywhere near your body for too long. There are of course many other factors that contribute to ill health but does that mean we should allow another, e-smog in particular, to join these 'bad boys'?

As they say, prevention is better than cure. You could be at risk more than you realise it.