November 25, 2010

Back to Fighting the Flab

Yesterday morning while we were having the group activity for the research showcase thing, Kata asked me why I haven't been to the gym. I told her I was too busy with my thesis, kids and house chores that there was no time to do anything else. You know, the usual blah blah blah I tell people. As soon as I said that, I felt soooo....I don't know...slugish? Unproductive? Lazy? I felt like I have given up on exercising and let myself go.

I do not want to be slugish and unproductive and lazy anymore.

So. I have decided that no matter how busy I am, I shall attend at least one session per week. I made up my mind and told Kata "I think I'm going to join you as soon as I come back from Melbourne". She squealed with delight and said "Yay! Come on Tuesday's. It's the best!"

So Tuesday it is. There's a new class called Zumba which I'm quite excited about. I've heard a lot of good reviews about it. If I have the energy and will-power, I might even go thrice a week. But we'll see how it goes. 

I can't wait to see J Lo's Butt and Anorexic Girl though. Hope they're still around :)

November 24, 2010

Rojak Week

We have successfully moved to a new suburb in Christchurch, which is only 1km away from where we used to live. Our new shack is smaller and a wee bit older in comparison but we get to save a lot on rental. This is one of the few reasons why we decided to move.

The old place was perfect but we needed to downsize to make up for the kids’ school expenses. The sudden increase in child care fees last October really hit us like a tornado. Alva’s fee alone has increased from $20.00 a day (1/2 day) to $24.00. I am only sending her for the morning session cos a whole-day fee would cost a whopping $38.00. Since she is booked from Monday to Thursday, the total amount per week is quite massive. How much do we pay in a week? Too much.

That’s our rationale for moving.

Anyway, move we did and there is no looking back now. Having said that, I think I am going to miss this cute, elderly man called Reg. He is our former neighbor, whose house is one of the neatest in the neighborhood. He did all our gardening while we were away in KK and he even helped us with the weeding. He is simply one of the most wonderful human beings on earth. I’m planning to get him a nice  Christmas gift but I haven’t got a clue what to buy. Any idea what I should get for a 70-year-old man? Please do not say Viagra.

We have settled in quite nicely at the new place and although I don't really fancy our new surroundings, I like the big sunny garden at the back. There is a small shed to put our stuff and a long washing line to dry our clothes. Yay! The previous flat only had a metre-long clothing line with four pathetic cords. Truly a work of an idiot. I'll try posting some photos of the new house later on.

I'm in such a swell mood today that I feel like telling you everything :)
First up. I presented my first ever poster presentation this morning! No. I'm not talking about those pin-up posters we put on our bedroom wall and dream about at night. It's more like a research poster with a visual representation of what I am doing in my study. It was really Yoda's idea for me to present and although I hated the idea, I said YES anyway. I'm glad I did cos the crowd was very informal and the whole setting was very low-keyed. What I'm most happy about is when two seasoned lecturers gave me some useful insights on my study. Something about how L1 interference in second language writing differs across culture and background. Bla bla bla. I know it's boring so I'll move on.
Oh! Have I told you that I'm flying to Melbourne this Sunday? Yep. I'm presenting my poster at the AARE 2010 International Conference and I'm so anxious about the whole thing. Hubby and the kids are coming too  so we'll probably go sightseeing in the city while we're there. That part is exciting. The other part? Not so exciting. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and listening to other people's work but naturally I'm a bit nervous about my presentation. Whatever la. The next time I talk about this, everything will be in the past tense :)
I guess that is all I got to say for this entry. It's 6.30 pm now. If I hurry, I can still get one lottery ticket at Countdown. Which reminds me. You know, a few weeks ago, I asked for a $6 LUCKY PICK from the cashier at the Lotto counter. Didn't think that I was using the wrong term until she said "You mean a $6 LUCKY DICK?" And I said sternly "NO. A lucky pick". And then barulah we both realised what she has said. Hehehe. I laughed and laughed. Her expression was priceless!
The correct term was LUCKY DIP.
Wish me luck! 

November 20, 2010

It's In the Bag!

* A tag from Chegu Carol "What's in your bag?"

A diamond is said to be a woman's best friend. But that's not entirely true. A woman's true best friend is her handbag; the one that sticks with her through the good and the bad. The one that keeps all her dark secrets.

At the moment, this is my bestfriend.

It is big and I get to store lots of stuff in it.

There's ample room for more stuff

What's inside? The usual. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Let me list them down.

1. A black purse.
2. A little brown bag for my external hard disk.
3. A make-up bag for my make up.
4. A smaller make-up bag for pendrives.
5. A little hanky.
6. A pen.
7. Alden's toys.
8. Alva's head band.
9. A scrunchy.
10. Car key, house keys and office keys.
11. A rosary.
12. Papers/ Receipts/ Reload card
13. A hair roller..which should be kept in the make up bag.
14. Wet tissue.
15. Cell phone

Inside the make-up bag

A list of 20 items:
1. Pressed-powder
2. Blusher
3. Blusher brush
4. Lip gloss
5. Lip balm
6. Lip mask
7. Two lipsticks
8. Eye shadow
9. A scrunchy
10. Shower scrub?!
11. Eyebrow pencil
12. Eyeliner
13. Mascara
14. Lipliner
15. Nail clipper
16. Panty liner
17. A bra strap
18. A comb
19. Velcro hair roller
20. Palmer's cocoa butter

The stapler is out of context but I don't know where else to put it. And that shower scrub just happens to be in there.

Inside the smaller make-up bag

All my handy drives and a scapular
My friends think it's kinda weird when I just whip out a hair roller from my handbag sometimes. But I can't help it. I have a sideswept bang which doesn't always go sideways. So having a hair roller in my bag is very handy. After all, don't we all have hair rollers in our bag? No? Whatever. As I was saying, when my bang decides to go the other way, all I need to do is take out one roller, put it in my hair and wait for 15 minutes. While waiting, I can multitask: answer calls, read, go to the loo and even blog. It works everytime! :)


Having all my essentials in one big bag gives me a great sense of security cos I know that whenever something goes wrong, I might find the solution inside. A handbag is after all, a woman's  greatest ally. Wouldn't you agree?

November 11, 2010

One Man's Junk is Another Man's Treasure

Have you seen Hoarders? It’s one of Discovery Channel's documentary programmes which chronicles the lives of compulsive hoarders in America. I could relate to the show cos these hoarders and my mom have one thing in common: they love to collect stuff. I mean loads and loads of stuff.

My sister would rather use the term junk cos most of the things my mom collects can't be used. Like, who would keep two sacks of waste cloth pieces with the hope that one day someone could make a quilt out of them? My mom would.  Who would keep a book written  in a foreign language? I mean, one that is in Russian? My mom would. And who would keep a sack of old kapok for  more more than 10 years? You guessed it! My mom would! Like I said, mom's an avid collector and this is what keeps her from throwing things away. It drives my sister nuts. 

Unrelated:  Did you know that kapok is also kapok in English? I didn't know that until today.
In an effort to not turn into my mom, I recently had a garage sale to declutter our home. It wasn’t only because of that. We are downsizing to a one-bedroom house very very soon so there'll be no space for junks or big furniture or bulky fitness equipment like this one.

I almost went hysterical when hubby told me he bought this hideous thing online. My concerns were: 1. I didn't think he'd use it (and I was right!) and 2. It takes up a lot of space. But for the sake of our marriage, I kept my mouth shut. Well, it doesn't matter now. He's going to sell it on Trade Me. End of story.

Now, about the sale. You know that feeling when you're all hyped about something and all you want to do is share that excitement with the whole world? That's how I felt after I had my first garage sale. I just couldn't wait to tell everyone how fast and easy it was for me to sell Alva's baby stuff. That was two weeks ago and now some of the excitement has fizzled out.

But I'll talk about it anyway. 

The sale was supposed to start at 9.00 but some people who obviously couldn't read came as early as 8.20. There were ten people waiting in front of the garage and when hubby saw this, he got worried and told me to start the sale immediately. I was like WTH???!!! Are you kidding me? I haven't had my breakfast yet, my hair's a mess, I have no lipstick on and I need to slap on some sunblock! Why can't they just wait??

Like it or not, we had to start early. Hubby opened the garage at 8.30 and let them through. Like scavengers, they rushed in and started searching for items they fancy. Within three hours, we managed to sell tons of stuff from mattresses to sofa bed to portacot to handbags to laundry basket to baby clothes to winter clothes and scarves. I got excited and was eager to sell all of my old clothes so I started getting more and more stuff from my wardrobe.

Each time I saw someone flipping through my outfits on the rack, I'd start talking about the material, how fine it was, how many times I've worn it and where I bought it. I would then coax the buyer into trying it so she could see how it would fit her. "Try it on! Try it on!" Some hated my VIP treatment but I couldn't help it.  I was like a woman possessed. When a buyer walks away, I'd try to stop her by making an offer she can't refuse.

Okay, 70% discount! Seven dollars! Just take the jacket for seven dollars!   SOLD!!!

Yep. That's how I managed to sell most of my stuff. I find it very very effective.

Not much left
  At 1.00 pm we called it a day. Some old items like the king size mattress and baby clothes were give-aways so these went by very quickly. However, there were two free items which nobody wanted.

The evil washing machines! Both are broken btw. Hubby said he's going to put them up for sale as spare parts on Trade Me (something like But if no one wants them, we'll bury them in our own back yard. I think that's better than renting a trailer for $50 to dispose two bulky machines. 

Hosting a garage sale can be a pain cos it's a lot work.  Some weirdos will drive you nuts, asking you 25 questions about a mattress that cost $5. Hagglers will try to haggle over every single thing you're selling, even for items that cost $2. And some agressive people will just take what they want and give you half of the amount you're asking for.  It's annoying but if you're serious about decluttering your home, then just let it go. After all, that's what a garage sale is all about.

November 6, 2010

I Hate Febrile Seizures!

Since last week, I've been wanting to blog about my first garage sale but unfortunately something way more serious needed my attention. Alden had been unwell all week and last Sunday, he had another febrile convulsion. The fact that it was his fifth didn’t make it easy for me at all. I was still as panicky as I was the first time it happened and consumed by the feeling of helplessness. It was heartbreaking seeing him like that cos there was nothing I could do to stop the seizure. Thank goodness this time the convulsion only lasted for a few seconds. That was last week. He is so much better now and he's back to being his usual cheeky self.

To be honest with you, I hate telling people that my son has had five seizures in the last 18 months cos some may think that I hadn’t done enough to prevent them. Like when I told my friend N about it, her response was “OMG liz!! Macam mana juga dia buli kena tu? Kamu nda jaga dia punya demam ka? Mau jaga betul betul tu. Kalau dorang c XXX demam kan, sia nda tidur sampai siang.” Bla bla bla.

This kind of remark doesn’t help at all. Of course I monitor his fever. In fact, I did everything by the book. Kept him cool, took his temperature regularly, put cold packs on his forehead, gave paracetamol every 4 hours etc. Despite all that, he still had a fit. It just happened.

I might sound a tad defensive here but that’s not my intention at all. I’m writing this to assure myself and possibly other moms out there that a febrile convulsion is a common medical condition. And if you have done everything you possibly could to contain the fever, then you do not need to feel guilty about your kid having a fit. You can’t prevent it from happening. Even regular paracetamol will not prevent febrile convulsions.

- A febrile seizure is a convulsion in young children caused by a sudden spike in body temperature, often from an infection.
- A seizure triggered by a sudden fever is usually harmless and typically doesn't indicate a long-term or ongoing problem.
- Often, a febrile seizure occurs before parents even realize that their child is ill.
- Febrile seizures affect 2 percent to 4 percent of children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.

Taken from Mayo

When your kid has a fever, you can try control it by giving him paracetamol. That's what the paediatrician told us to do. But if there is a sudden rise in his temperature, he may still get a febrile convulsion. Some kids like Alden, who belong in the 2-4% category, are prone to getting a seizure whenever they have fever. That's why febrile convulsions are sometimes called fever-fits. It sucks for me but it is something I must live with. Having said that, it is not all that bad. From what I've read, these seizures do not have a long term physical effect and most kids will grow out of it when they turn six.

I'm trying to be positive about this febrile thingy cos everytime it happens, my whole world crumbles and I get so sick inside. I start blaming myself and people around me and saying silly stuff like Oh no! we should've seen it coming or Shit! we should've given him paracetamol earlier or Itulah! we shouldn't have sent him to school today. It's a pain.

I think I just need to be more calm and less panicky when something like this happens again. I pray that it won't, but no one can guarantee that. I hate not knowing when it'll happen again or whether it will happen again. All I know is, it will go away someday. For now, we'll just have to live with should I put it? Temporary inconvenience? Yep. That's right.

I can't wait for Alden to turn six.

Now that I have got that off my chest, can I finally talk about my garage sale?

So last Saturday, I had this small garage sale at home, in my garage. I mean of course it’s in my garage. It’s a garage sale right? So anyway, lots of people came to my garage, I mean garage sale, young and old and..…Okay, this isn’t working at all. This whole new paragraph I mean. The sudden change of topic is a bit awkward and it is making this whole entry sound incoherent.

What I’m going to do is wrap up this post and start a new one so I can tell you more about my garage sale and the aftershocks in Christchurch okay? Cheers.