Friday, February 27, 2009

Learning from a dog

It has been raining a lot everyday this week, either in the mornings or afternoons/evenings or both. And usually they are heavy with loud thunder and strong, howling winds. Going out without an umbrella is risky. On one hand I'm glad it's raining so much. That means I don't need to go to the new house everyday to water the grass we've planted. They almost dried up two weeks ago when we forgot to water it for just one day after planting them when the weather was still scorching hot.

On the other hand, it's troublesome sending and fetching Caitlin to and from school when it rains, and my balcony gets soaking wet which translates to Rusty stomping around with wet paws if he goes out to the balcony for meals or toilet break. Mopping the floor is a daily affair now with Rusty around. I hope to re-train him to be more independent outside the house when we move to the new place. I wonder if that's possible as he is a very clingy dog, must always have someone within sight or feel. He's been like this ever since we brought him home the very first day. We had tried to keep him outside the first few nights but he was crying most times and would only stop if he saw us. So Eugene and I took turns to babysit him and slept out in the living room where he could see us. Then we gave up and let him in. Now he sleeps outside our bedroom doors and sometimes under my bed.

During the day, he'd follow me around the house most times, even when I make a short 30-second trip between the toilet and the bedroom, he has to get up and follow. He's now lying down across the corridor watching me blog. Sometimes, he'd sit under my chair. When I'm in the kitchen, he wedges himself between my legs and the stove, making me stand and cook in a very weird position.

He will be four months old in a few days time. He's grown very rapidly given his good appetite, happy and playful nature and contented life. His visit last month to the vet for vaccination recorded his weight of 3.2kg and one month later a few days ago, he weighed 5.4 kg. He needs a haircut soon. We're thinking of getting a trimmer and groom him ourselves as it is cheaper in the long run. Otherwise, visits to the dog groomer at least bi-monthly would set us back between RM60 to RM80 per visit if I'm not mistaken. Caring for a dog is not cheap, if you love the dog enough to keep him healthy - proper dog food, paraphernalia for his personal hygiene like brush/comb, nail clipper, shampoo/conditioner, fur trimmer, vaccinations, deworming, vet visits if he gets sick, grooming fees if he needs it, vitamins or other tablets (e.g. for heartworm), chewing toys if he's a puppy, ......and replacing or repairing stuff he's bitten or broken (I hope we don't get into situations ala Marley & Me)

The battery operated fur trimmer the vet recommended costs between RM180 and RM230 depending on which model we take. I think a guy's electric shaver doesn't even cost that much!

A few evenings ago, we left Rusty alone at home when we went out for dinner. He had kept himself busy and had fun while we were out by the looks of it when we got home. He had dragged several floor mats and probably tussled with them, leaving them in heaps on the floor. His food bowl was inside the house, upside down (I always thought those bowls were designed such that they couldn't grip and carry it around...) He had ransacked a lower open shelf in the kitchen on which I didn't realise I had stored some of his treats. An empty, obviously bitten and torn open packet of chewy, chicken-flavoured milk bone treats was evidence of the crime. He had eaten up the whole packet but was smart enough not to eat the wrapper and the keep-fresh preservation sachet. His abdomen looked full and fat. Naughty boy.


Isn't the life a dog like Rusty's great? When he's not following me around, sleeping, eating or pooping, he's running around like a mad dog chasing his rolly toys, jumping at you excitedly asking to play catch...what a life.

I'm reminded that we humans should sometimes live more simply like dogs - as long as our basic needs are met and we are reasonably comfortable, we should just be happy and contented, enjoy the company of people you love, play and have fun more, sleep when we feel like it without worrying that there's still work to be done.


Life is just too short to waste it on keeping the house as clean as a hospital and nagging over small stuff, finding more money to buy things we don't really need or to keep up with the Joneses. It is not a must to give our child everything she asks for, it is not necessary to send her to every child enrichment class available in town, it is not necessary to spend thousands of dollars on a branded handbag. We and our children need to be self-confident and balanced in a competitive world where you are judged by your looks and first impressions, where everyone shouts to be heard and shows off to impress and feed their egos. We forget that we are all made the same, and as ashes and dust we shall return to our Maker.

Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent leading towards Good Friday and Easter.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wild West vs Bollywood

Compare the Best Original Song in the Academy Awards of 1953



and this year's

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

As Time Goes By

Revisiting Old Blue Eyes.

This is a romantic one.



Another one:That's Life.

That's life, that's what all the people say.
You're riding high in April,
Shot down in May
But I know I'm gonna change that tune,
When I'm back on top, back on top in June.

I said that's life, and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks,
Stompin' on a dream
But I don't let it, let it get me down,
'Cause this fine ol' world it keeps spinning around

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I've been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself, flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race.

That's life
I tell ya, I can't deny it,
I thought of quitting baby,
But my heart just ain't gonna buy it.
And if I didn't think it was worth one single try,
I'd jump right on a big bird and then I'd fly

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I've been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself laying flat on my face,
I just pick myself up and get back in the race

That's life
That's life and I can't deny it
Many times I thought of cutting out
But my heart won't buy it
But if there's nothing shakin' come this here july
I'm gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die
My, My

Monday, February 23, 2009

Garbage enzyme

The garbage enzyme Caitlin made at her holiday camp is now ready to use after its three-month fermentation period.

What is garbage enzyme? You can get all the info you need from this site.

According to the site, "Garbage enzyme is a complex solution produced by fermentation of fresh kitchen waste (fruits and vegetables dregs), sugar (brown sugar, jaggery or molasses sugar) and water. It is dark brown and has a strong sweet sour fermented scent. Garbage enzyme is a multipurpose liquid and its applications covers household, agriculture, animal husbandry etc. Garbage enzyme is the solution to recover our ozone layer and lower the global temperature.

From day one you start making garbage enzyme, its catalyses process will release ozone gas (O3). O3 can reduce carbon dioxide (C02) in the atmosphere and heavy metal that traps heat in the cloud. Hence heat can be released from the Earth,reducing greenhouse and global warming effects. Enzyme convert ammonia to nitrate (NO3), a natural hormone and nutrient for plants. Meanwhile it converts carbon dioxide to carbonate (C03) which is beneficial to sea plants and marine life."


This is a good way to save the earth and also save money. Your kitchen waste will not be wasted, you do your part in preventing global warming, and you are not at risk from exposing yourself to the harmful chemicals in the daily cleaning products you usually use.

Garbage enzyme can be used as natural household cleaner; air purifier; deodoriser; insecticide; detergent; body care; car care: organic fertiliser, etc

It removes odour, dissolves toxic air released from smoking, car exhaust, chemical residues from household products, etc.

It aslo purifies underground water: enzyme that flows underground will eventually purify the river and the sea.

Natural pesticides: Reduce mosquitoes, flies, rats or cockroaches etc.

Anti-bacterial and virus: Natural antiseptic for your home.

Prevent drainpipe blockage: Release residues accumulated in the pipe of basins or toilet bowls.


I've just used it to mop my sticky floor. I think it's a good substitute for floor cleaning detergents. Helps me save money, save the environment, prevent my skin from getting rashes and long-term bad effects of using and inhaling chemical-based cleaning agents.

Next,I will use the enzyme to wash toilets, dishes, clean vegetables, and bathe Rusty with it.

You should give it a try. Chemical and soap-based solutions should be out of our homes if possible.

Other links for info are here, here and here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weekend

Where did the weekend go? We've been busy, busy, busy with stuff for the new house. No time to blog or ponder on thought-provoking things to write about. Most likely we are moving on the weekend of 7th March because it's a long weekend with Monday being a public holiday.

I think moving soon will help us get the small stuff settled in the new house because once we're living in it, it's easier to get them done instead of having to drive there every weekend and get them fixed bit by bit. But it looks like we'll have to live in make-do fashion first after we move in until we get everything in its place.

After staying in this present home for 10 years, there's lots of stuff to clear, pack and move.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My day

You're an internet 'junkie' when you feel

1. unproductive
2. edgy
3. moody
4. fidgety
5. uneasy
6. irritable
7. lost
8. frustrated

when you are not able to surf, check email, blog, search, log in to Facebook or other networking sites, work using the computer etc.

The internet service provider's server was down for two days (usually happens after a big storm I notice) and it's only this afternoon that it's back.

So this morning, instead of doing all the abovementioned, I managed to catch up on two recent episodes of House Season 5 and one episode of Life Season 2. (Yup, I was 'sick' of not having access to the internet and rebelled by not doing any other pending work like cook or clean or pack things for moving...). That's one advantage of working from home I guess!

Would you risk your career and doctor's licence for not following protocol in a medicine trial you are conducting, in the hope that you could help your girlfriend who is enrolled in the trial? Would you tell your friend you are in love with his father's fiancee? Would you sleep with your boss? Would you give your all to a baby in your care whom the authorities have yet to approve your wish to adopt? All these were some of the situations in the three episodes of House and Life I watched between 7am and 10am this morning.

I also read this somewhere in between watching the episodes: "In C. S. Lewis' tales of Narnia, Mr Tumnus complains that in Narnia it is "always winter and never Christmas." But for those of us who know the God who made the seasons, it is always Christmas in our hearts..." i.e. winter could be cold, dark and dreary if not for Christmas, Christ's birth, that gives hope and strength. Christmas goes beyond decorations, gifts and parties I'm reminded.

After all that, some guilt set in so I started packing, cooking and cleaning...Even if I didn't want to clean, Rusty made me because he pee-d inside the house (again, sign of rebellion for not getting enough attention from me). So mopping was in the list of work that required immediate attention. Then it was ironing, otherwise Caitlin would not have her school T-shirt ready for PE tomorrow. And then cooking unless we fast and go to bed tonight minus dinner...

A mum is so very important isn't it? I have a fridge magnet that says, "Moms are like buttons. They hold things together."

Milk teeth

I do not remember having to go to the dentist, ever.., to have my milk teeth extracted. I remember shaking them in and out until they became very loose and even tied thread around it to yank them out. Looking back, I think I was a rather brave and daring girl.... ha ha.

As for Caitlin, her first loose tooth had to be extracted by a dentist. That happened two days ago when it was rather loose and the permanent tooth was already sprouting. She asked me to pull it out for her (it was causing some discomfort/pain and also because she wants to experience the 'tooth fairy' leaving something for her when she puts the tooth under her pillow!). I tried but it wasn't loose enough. It was hurting her gums when she chewed food so she asked to go to the dentist (she likes visiting the dentist).

Her dentist commented lightheartedly, "Wow, she's gone through all the various treatments already - filling, root canal (although it was just a two-visit treatment) and now extraction...and she's only six years old!"

That's our dear Caitlin. Very good at getting 'treatments' and making us spend money, at the paediatrician, dentist, shopping mall, book shop,.....

Anyway, the money spent was/is necessary for our peace of mind for a healthy and growing child....

She 'knows' we are the tooth fairy so when going to bed, she said she was going to put the tooth under her pillow and hinted to Eugene that instead of shiny coins, she hopes the 'tooth fairy' will leave a sweet (candy) instead! Talk about being cunning!

Before

After

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Adult height

I came across this before where you can actually calculate how tall your child will be when he or she is an adult. It's quite interesting to be able to imagine how tall your child will be, what he'll actually look like when he's an adult. For Caitlin, if this calculation is accurate, she will be of an average Asian female's height since Eugene and I are of average Asian height.

Whatever it is, I guess height is just a physical attribute that is secondary to the child becoming a healthy, intelligent, positive and useful member of society, unless you have dreams of her becoming a supermodel!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nina Simone

I find the 'old' singers - their voices and songs - can be revisited over and over again without feeling like I ate too much. Nina Simone and her deep yet soulful voice is one of them. She's a great pianist too. In fact, she was a pianist first before she started singing, and plays the piano herself in her concerts. I got my first Nina Simone CD in Singapore when I met up with a friend and we went shopping in 1994 or 1995.

Here's a sample.




Listen to her piano playing in this one! Wish I could play like this!

Clever way with words

Caitlin tends to forget to drink water, or doesn't drink enough when left on her own. Everyday we remind her to drink lots of water, empty her water bottle if possible while at school. Yesterday, she drank barely one cup's equivalent between 7.30am and 3pm. So at dinner Eugene asked her why.

Her reply: I drank, but the bottle is too tall! (i.e. bigger than necessary and makes it look like she didn't drink enough...)

Before that, she showed me one of her exercise books with a slightly torn cover. I asked what happen.

Her reply: I was in a hurry to leave the classroom at dismissal so I was not careful in keeping the book inside the bag. (Sounds right because the inside of her bag was a real mess when I checked it!) She continued: I was thinking, "Pooooor mummy, waiting outside for me, sooo hot...", that's why lah....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nine-year-old writes hit iPhone app

This kid is a genius! I read this on Yahoo:

Nine-year-old writes hit iPhone app
Programming for the under-tens
By Mike Smith
You might think you're pretty hot stuff because you've figured out how to change your Facebook status from your iPhone, but you've got nothing on nine-year-old Lim Ding Wen.

This young prodigy from Singapore is fluent in six programming languages, according to a BBC report this week, and his newest creation, an iPhone drawing game called Doodle Kids, has racked up over 4,000 downloads in just two weeks. He wrote it for his younger sisters, who love to draw.


Read the whole article here.

Stories of ACER?

Now that we've an addition to our family, it suddenly crossed my mind if I should include Rusty's initial in my blog title and change 'ACE' to 'ACER'. After a quick consideration, I decided not to because ACE sounds nicer and what if we have more dogs or pets in future?

And since Caitlin's five goldfish by the name of Mickey, Minnie, Flippy and... I forget the other two (shows how long Caitlin has ignored them and stopped feeding and talking to them!) have not been included, I shall stick with ACE. Ha ha!

More Rusty rebellion

We think Rusty shows his rebellious side everytime we ignore him when we leave him alone. That's how he gets to our stuff and chews them. But that's quite normal of a 3+ months old puppy actually. It's when he leaves puddles and clumpsat places that are out of the usual spots in the house that gets to me when I return from outside. Other times when we're home, he is a good boy, relieving himself outside on or near the newspaper spot. But somehow, when we're not home, he will sometimes decide to do it anywhere he pleases.....

When he hears me unlocking the door, he rushes to the door and greets me enthusiastically, wagging his stumpy tail, jumping up and down, beckoning me to play catch. But when I see what he had done, he gets a scolding. Somehow he knows he's being scolded. He retreats and pouts. Dogs are such intelligent creatures.

This is a picture taken of him just after I scolded him. See what I mean about his pouting?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rusty's favourite pastime

These pictures are proof that Rusty knows how to keep himself occupied when we're all asleep at night or when we leave him alone at home.







This is the naughty boy looking innocent

Into Yesterday

This is Caitlin's morning going-to-school song which she listens and sings along to in the car with Eugene everyday without fail.

I'll do it my way

Sometimes I get the feeling that some people think I don't do anything else except look after Caitlin and be her driver. And to them, that leaves me with plenty of 'leisure' time since Caitlin is now in primary school and not a baby that needs to be looked after and attended to full-time. I agree on the latter part but plenty of leisure time? No, that I don't have.

They'll compare that they have more kids (I only have one...) thus more 'work' but forget that they have a maid to pick up after them and do everything from sweeping/vacuuming/mopping/washing bathrooms,wash/fold/iron laundry, cooking, feeding and bathing the kids, tidying up the house, doing the dishes, taking the garbage out, feeding and walking the dog, washing the car, watering the plants.

So in actual fact, they are the ones who are only minding the kids' activities and being the driver (some even hire drivers so they don't even have to do that, maybe just ride in the car), and have the time to go shopping (and I mean shopping as a shopaholic and not grocery shopping)and check out the latest sales, read, take naps, have tea be it alone or with friends, chat on the phone, play mahjong or computer games. They know when the next holidays are and make plans on taking their kids to the latest five-star resort in some exotic place. Nothing wrong with that and maybe I'm envious but hey, I don't think they should tell me whether I should be having more time, and assuming that I don't know what I should or should not be doing.

It's easy to make comments when they don't truly put themselves in the other person's shoes. Probably it's not that they don't but they can't, because they really have no inkling and all they know is the life they have lead, one of ease and comfort. They'll advise you to make more time for yourself, indulge yourself because you deserve it and in a seemingly subtle and sweet way tell you how you should live your life. I agree we should not be slaves to our chosen vocation and should pamper ourselves once in a while but we should also respect others and trust that they are intelligent enough to know and do that, in their own way, their own time.

Yes, I'm irritated. For now. Honey-coated words laced with i-don't-know-what that are pretty self-righteous at times. If we don't do their 'bidding', they take it personally. They tell you on the pretext of sharing info and making conversation but they're actually trying to tell you what you missed or will be missing if you didn't do what they said, offered or requested. They really want what we Asians or Chinese refer to as 'face'. If we comment about them in return and not even with spiteful intention, they brush it off and turn away, giving you the cold shoulder. Well, I guess for some people, only their own opinion matters and must be respected and agreed to.

I'm merely ranting but have no ill feeling towards these people. I continue to be as sincere, courteous and respectful of them as fellow humans as well as I can. I share my opinions honestly and openly. I try not to be a hypocrite. I'll let them do things their way whether or not they let me be myself and do things my way.

Finally, this blog is my personal space despite it being an 'open' journal, so I reserve the right to speak my mind so long as I don't write anything against God, King and country (what's being done with the ISA ah?!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

No end

There seems no end to things I need to do. Got the lights and fans fixed in the new place on Friday but the guy couldn't complete it in one day so it dragged on to yesterday with some hitches. Some light fixtures we got were faulty while one fan point did not have power supply to it and two bedroom doors could not close and lock...So another round of rushing to the light shop to get them exchanged in time for the guy to install them before I pay him and he leaves. If he were to return another day, it would mean extra cost.

The next opportunity I have, I'll have to submit a fresh 'defects' form to the developer to get the newly-discovered defects fixed, in addition to chasing the guy to replace the faulty water pump and touch up a crack and some stains on the ceiling.

Then we'll need to install air-conds and water heaters, clean up the place further, get the curtain man to install our curtains, put in some blinds and mosquito netting, get a plumber to install a sink, (I'm sure there's more...), pack more things and move. Our moving date has been 'moving' a few times so much so that we're not setting dates anymore. We'll just move in when we're ready.

And there's also no end to my futile attempt to meet some self-imposed deadlines.

Caitlin and I attended a birthday party this afternoon. Eugene was not able to join us as he had just returned on the first flight (7am) after a sleepless night in Johor Baru for work. So he slept. It was the first birthday of a good friend's son. I've known this friend since we were five, living two doors away from each other in Melaka and we were classmates from Standard 1 to Form 5. Also met up with another friend we were classmates with between Std 2 and Form 5. It's amazing how some friendships last! We all turned 40 last year and it felt like only yesterday we were playing 'hantu galah', talking about boys and getting together at each other's house.

Upon returning home, I gave Rusty a good bath. Caitlin agreed to help when we were on the way home in the car but as soon as she got home, her toys were more important... and we're talking about "her" dog! So Rusty's fur inside his ears got tweezed out (poor thing...) before I could clean out the wax from inside. Then came the water and shampoo. Just after I decided in my mind that he'd got a good rinse, he slipped out of my clutches and ran out of the bathroom, shaking off all the water and 'flooding' the corridor! Eugene came to the rescue with the towel and wiped him off. We chained him to a door while Eugene vacuumed and mopped the corridor, living and dining area while I combed his fur and trimmed a little of his furry brows and muzzle. Meanwhile, Caitlin continued in her merry imaginary world with her My Little Pony community.

In an hour's time, we'll be out again, for what is probably our last Chinese New Year dinner for the year with some of Eugene's cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, nephews, nieces and parents. There goes the weekend.

Tomorrow is the last day (15th day) of Chinese New Year. It happens to be a holiday, a replacement for today's public holiday of Thaipusam, a Hindu festival. There'll be more errands to run for sure.

Friday, February 6, 2009

You get more of what you give

Thank you Aunt SY, for a good chuckle for me to start the morning with this! Be careful then, men, and also other women with regards to the last part!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Doggy dreams

When you are young, your dreams are never impossible to achieve. Caitlin has tons of wishes and hopes of being this or that, doing this or that, going here or there...Never a day goes by without us hearing about her dreams and wishes and requests to do or be something or go somewhere.

She's a kid who plunges really deep into a subject matter once she's hooked. The opposite is also true when she's not interested in something....

She loves animals, almost anything and everything about them, the wild ones, the domesticated ones, you name it, she'd probably have a few interesting facts to tell you about it. Her kindy teacher referred to her as the 'walking encyclopaedia on animals'. Sigh, I wish the teacher didn't do that. Well, at least she's not in kindy anymore.

And dogs, they reign supreme among her favourite animals next to tigers. Her fave character in Kung Fu Panda is not Po but Tigress...also because Tigress is female (she is very pro-female).

Since age 4, she's been dreaming of having pet dogs. She kept harping about how wonderful it'd be etc etc etc and was (still is) always thrilled to see stray dogs, other people's pet dogs, pictures of dogs, movies and documentaries about dogs....and feeding and walking Copper, grandpa's dog, whenever we visit my in-laws.

She had pre-named her dream dogs Rusty and Mermaid Girl and even determined their breeds and gender. Rusty is a male schnauzer and Mermaid Girl a female dachsund. She drew pictures of her dream dogs and included a nice house and garden in the picture. It doesn't stop there. After smaller breed dogs, she wants larger breeds along with us moving into a bungalow with a large compound for the dogs to roam around....

Since mid-Jan, half of the first part of her dream has been realised, makes you wonder if the much hyped about "Law of Attraction" truly, truly works (hmmm, a bungalow...). We didn't consciously seek out Rusty the male schnauzer but he 'appeared' at the right time when we had planned to move to a house (i.e. can own a pet dog vs cannot have dog in apartment). We have yet to move in to the house so Rusty is now ruling the apartment and our lives!


Caitlin did her homework with Rusty on her lap this afternoon...

Caitlin is also currently into the videos of Balto (mixed husky-wolf) plus its sequels, and Snow Buddies (golden retrievers). Most nights, she requests for bedtime stories about these dogs and their adventures which we have to make up as we go along. Prior to this, it was Eight Below (huskies) and Underdog (beagle). Animal Planet and ASPCA shows compete with Playhouse Disney Channel.

Her craze about huskies has also gotten her interested in dog sledding and racing and Alaska. "When we visit America, I want to go to Alaska and go dog-sledding..." A couple of hours ago, her Alaskan dream escalated to "Mum, when I'm a teenager, I want to race in the Iditarod..."

Nothing gets in the way of your dreams when you are a child.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Still



A song Caitlin shared with me today.

Hide me now
Under your wings
Cover me
within your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know his power
In quietness and trust

Girl and 'lovingly tortured' dog


"I'm outta here before I get tortured some more"


"No, I don't wanna wave...."


"No, I don't wanna smile..."


"Hey, I can keep my head up myself"


"Aargh, gimme a break will ya?"

The Power of Positive Thinking

It seems whenever we are faced with uncertainties, such as a troubling or challenging situation, or anticipating the fate or result of something, we find ourselves mentally convincing ourselves that “everything is going to be alright”... “it will turn out fine”. This is the inherent power of positive or optimistic thinking – the mental attitude that expects good and favourable results. We hear about it and read about it because it is a concept that has a very high view of human nature and ability.

If you believe that our circumstances and conditions are not dictated by the world outside, then you know that you have the innate ability to create or alter reality to your choosing. This is done by creating positive thoughts, which in turn creates and focusses energy into reality.

Being or becoming an optimist is by choice. For one thing, no one is really a natural pessimist. We choose what we want to think about so our attitude is 100% changeable.

Positive thinking is an important life tool and it can be extremely beneficial for anyone who is hoping to achieve their goals. Here are 11 simple steps to help you get into the habit of having a positive state of mind:

Question it – Is it really your problem? Could you be taking responsibility for something that is not yours?

Talk it out – Share it with someone else. Friends, family, colleagues, etc.

Write it down then throw it out – Put your worries down on paper and then throw it away.

Breathe it away – Inhale... exhale. Do some breathing exercises for a few minutes a day.

Hold it – Say “Stop”, pause and steady your thoughts. Sometimes just doing this consciously will help bring back the positive thinking!
Work it off – Do something physical to give your stress and tension an outlet.

Distance it – Imagine your problem a few years from now. How much will it matter to you then?

Balance it – Find a good side, not just a bad. What can you possibly learn from this situation? Perhaps you have strength you never imagined!

Exaggerate it – Picture the worst that can really happen. How likely is it?
Shrug it off – Raise your shoulders, and then drop them. Repeat. Relax your whole body. Guided relaxation tapes are a good habit to get into, to help your body know how to feel relaxed.

Laugh it off – Look for some humour in the situation and have a good laugh!

One week

It's been a week since my last post here. We were off school and work for a total of 10 days which included three days of public holidays (two for Chinese New Year and one for Federal Territory Day). We gathered with family in Klang and Seremban, ate, ate, ate, exchanged CNY red packets, shopped for new house stuff, moved a number of boxes and now, the 10 days are over... :( So quickly, we're now back to our daily routine of school, work, errands and household chores.

Caitlin and Eugene have left for school and work, while I'm trying to get myself motivated to work from home and tend to errands....checking on email, reading online news and blogging right now are actually not helping!

Looking at Rusty spread out comfortably napping with his rawhide bone in his mouth makes me envious, just like how a baby is sleeping with his pacifier in the mouth. Hmmm, the life of a pet dog in a loving family is great. Who cares if countries are at war, world weather is in chaos, local politicians continue their comedy, people get kidnapped and murdered, detainees die from police brutality, world economy is in the pits .... I'll sleep and play as I like, get fed when it's time and have others picking up my shit, literally or otherwise. What a dog's life!


Rusty in his favourite sleeping position beneath my computer chair

The human whose feet the privileged dog is lying beneath has a long list of "to-do" items... Write, write, write (not easy when you have trouble focusing, hmmm, do I have ADHD?), tidy up house, pack stuff, call the plumber, electrician, cleaners, furniture shop, defects rectification guy for the house, shop for more light fixtures, aircons, water heaters, cook dinner, do laundry, fold laundry, pick up dry cleaning, feed the dog and fish, collect some online purchase item from their local office, pay bills online, go to the bank, fetch Caitlin from school, do homework with her, practise drum and piano with her (more like pulling teeth despite her interest), catch up on six months' filing of documents, bills, etc (this one I loathe as you can tell from the procrastination), and shop for a birthday present. Oh, and should I attend Caitlin's school PTA AGM this Saturday? What a human's life!

Okay human, take a deep breath and count your blessings. The journey of a thousand miles begins when you have a good idea of where you are heading, why you are heading there and how you intend to get there....