Thursday, November 30, 2006

Free Run with my Two Js!

I DID IT AGAIN! I gave Jojo and Jelly `authorised' freedom to run around the neighbourhood just now for about 20 minutes!

Unlike the only time I've done it one-and-a-half-year ago (which I also posted on it), this time I followed them all the way! Yes.. my dogs are more mature and more obedient compared to before, and guess what, they actually waited for me to catch up with them along the way. :)

You see, since we live in a gated community with very tight security, I feel very safe to walk around at this hour. Well, it poured in the evening and the weather was just so nice and cooling.. and at midnight, the neighbourhood is totally in slumberland at this time during a midweek. Except this owl of course. My two poor doggies not having their frequent walks outdoor (due to the weather as well as me being busy) looking at their cute longing faces, I suddenly had the urge just to give them some FREEDOM (yeah, like the urge i had in May last year!)

It was quite an epxerience - and it was such a pleasant surprise though for they both - especially Jojo the ring-leader (when it comes to outdoor) - wanted my company too! What happened was they would dash forward say 10-20 meters and then just stopped at the pavement to smell around and wait for me to catch up. Once I got near them, they ran again.. and sometimes even back-tracked to make sure I was close enough..

Awwww.. I felt moved and very happy.. Guess what, Jojo even allowed me to go near him and I could even `sit' and `stay' him on the road!

Dogs are such habitual creatures.. even without the leash, they both took the exact route as how dad and I would take them for walks! They didn't deviate! They were leading me but when we came to one point, I decided to take the shorter way (which sometimes we also took them) and led them back to our road1

I have seen how they both could run when given the freeway.. but this time, they didn't run far and stopped a lot of times because of me.

But, dogs being dogs, when we almost reached our house, the two Js wanted more time out and started running away... To lure them, I used their favourite toy to make squeky noise. As I kinda expected. It was my `little shadow' Jelly who was the more obedient one - she just came back into the house compound.

Jojo meanwhile, took another 3-4 minutes before he felt he had enough. But still I was quite pleased with them.. this would not have happened in the past.. I guess at that time, they were just kids and now they are young adults (dog years converted)

So yeah, as young adults, they should be given some `freedom' once in a while. Oh, and they are both quite fat now, especially Jelly. Some running will do them good ;)

Monday, November 27, 2006


Exactly a month ago (Oct 27) was my last day in full-time employement with a company I served for 12 years.

So a month passed and it had hardly been relaxing, but nonetheless quite fun.. Ended up doing some writing agian and still have a few deaadlines to clear before going off for my long awaited holiday next Monday!

But life has been good. Definitely my stress level had greatly diminished.. and have been enjoying pacing my time and doing things.

Just to summarise, here are some `activities' that had kept me quite occupied in the one month of jobless life (in no particular order)
  • working out at gym
  • church ministries and activities
  • driving around town - esp when sis and kids were around
  • freelance writing - including interviewing people
  • job seeking and informal interviews
  • time with Jojo and Jelly
  • groceries shopping - esp when parents are overseas
  • cooking and housework
  • talking to and assisting grandma
  • meeting friends
  • online chatting, surfing, blogging (this prob takes up most time!! :p)
Wow, looks like I did quite a lot compared to when employed!? Not really a `break' or time of relaxation..

Well, December is looming.. am looking forward to my 10 days holidays in Taiwan and Hong Kong.. and then it's back home to mark another year getting older, followed by Christmas and New Year! Will be quite a busy time at church and personal levels!

So yes, I've decided I won't take on any work (nor further job hunt) in December! As am still longing for that elusive real break!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Can you feel Christmas is near?

Guess what, it's just one month away from Christmas Day!

Yes, I know it's coming of course.. and I should have already felt its `presence' as I had seen it in the mall when I go to gym. But, it's only tonight when I was in Bukit Bintang to have dinner with a good old friend (not old in age but we've known each other for 25 years!) that it hit me the Christmas (read: commercial X'mas) atmosphere is well and alive, enveloping shopping malls in town!
Christmas carols were playing in the air.. and the mall was decked up in fancy Christmas`winter wonderland' type of decor, fancy Christmas trees were up. Yes, I could really feel it.. the Yuletide season is upon us no doubt!

It's kinda ironic to think of it. Our church is preparing for Christmas service and programs, and I've been planning our peer group's Christmas celebration on Dec 22. But somehow it still didn't feel like Christmas yet.. after all we're not in December. However, the minute I stepped into a shopping mall, I feel I'm in the Christmas mood' already!

I remember since young, Christmas has always been my favourite festive holiday (no, it's not Chinese New Year though i love geting angpows ;)) . Somehow Christmas has that `romantic' feel - it's a season of joy, giving and receiving; and then there were Santa, snow (fake here), Christmas trees, presents, Christmas carols, turkey etc.. etc.. and the `story' of a babe in the manger - with animals, wisemen, shepherds and angels... So yeah, it was more exotic and beautiful than the noisy, bustling and busy time of CNY - lion dance, fire-cracker, busy family reunion, visiting relatives etc etc..

Decades later and a believer in Christ, I still love Christmas and more so.. because the birth of Christ really means something so dear and precious to me. True, Christmas can be considered a `Pagan celebration' for the date was man made.. Jesus was not born on Dec 25. However, it's great to have a day dedicated to the Lord's birth where all the world knows of.

Still, I must admit that while I lament on how commerical Christmas celebration in the world has become, consciously or unconsciously I still get sucked into it.. I'm sure I'm not alone. Who doesn't enjoy listening to carollers in malls, looking and admiring the beautiful Christmas decorations and lightings, put up a Christmas tree or throw a nice Christmas gathering? and then it's a time of SPENDING - Christians or even many non-Christians still `succumb' to the tradition of buying gifts for love ones!

So.. tell me, how do you draw the line?

Looking beyond all the frills and thrills though, i think Christmas is generally seen as a time of giving and sharing.. which is a good thing. Only how I wish that the world will know and commemmorate Christmas as the day when God became man, rather than a time to party and have fun!

However, just by looking at the malls in the city.. you know what Christmas is made out to be...

Fitness for Life

Just over a month ago, I made a decision to be serious in getting fit and signed up for personal training at my gym.

So far, I have already gone for 8 sessions of training.. they're pretty strenuous and tough.. after the firs few times, my muscles ached badly. But I felt good and fitter as I had never pushed myself that far when doing gym on my own..
Then today.. (or rather yesterday evening) I did another major decision - I have converted my current Platinum membership (RM134 per month) to a lifetime membership they call `Infinity'!

To be honest, when I was told about the lifetime membership in the past, I thought I won't bother to consider.. firstly I don't know how long I might stick with this gym, secondly I think although in long run it is cost-saving, the lump sum you have to pay is just too hefty for me..

But funny how things changed and turned out. Just say in the last couple of weeks I have received quite a large sum - call it a parting`gift' from my ex-company (which include my salaries, allowances, bonus and back-dated sums)
So, with this disposable `income' in the bank - and knowing I should be going back to employment in 3 months time or so, when I found out about a new and better rate deal (tie in with certain credit cards), I was very `tempted'. I took my long shower and changing time to think (and even prayed over) and I was convicted.

Am I serious to stay on with the gym? Well, I c
ould see the improvement ever since it was set up early last year taking over the premise of another gym. I was already the member of that old gym and I liked the location and the club premise itself.. so I stayed on. But there were times I had even contemplated changing gym as at one point, it was so crowded even when renovation was not completely done! Very frustrating for someone who was used to a spacious and exclusive feel of the gym..

But in the last few months, and esp. since signing up with P.T., I am really enjoying myself at the club. The woes had minimised. Parking is cheap (during weekdays), I can do other things at the mall before and after.. and it's strategically located from PJ, KL and even where I live - if smooth traffic its only a mere 15 mins drive. To cut a long story short.. yes, since when I jo
ined P.T., I have decided I will stick with the gym..

Yes, the conversion to `Infinity' means if comparing to what I'm paying now monthly, I just need to go on for three years and after that, it practically works out to be FREE for life!!
Ok.. maybe not free.. the deal is, a lump sum - payable in one year instalment, and from year 2 onwards, its just RM88 PER YEAR. I decide to pay all - RM5.5K (at a slight discount compared to instalments). I don't want to have close to RM500 debited from my credit card each month, as I have the P.T. and a few other instalments to pay off already!

So yeah, I'm now a proud `Infinity' member of California Fitness - which has affliliation clubs in many countries esp Hong Kong and Singapore (which i probably visit more often). And we are considered the `premium' members entitled to the best benefits.. and some nice free gifts thrown in for me today. ;)

A pix of my temporary card

To think of it, just three or four years ago, I w
as the most sendentary person - someone who could go without any exercise for the whole year.. maybe just a couple of times in the pool and not really swimming much too! I used to get D, or E for physical education in secondary school. It took me 25 mins to run 2.4km cross country when I was 15 or so. Now, on the treadmill machine, I can cover 2.4km in 18 minutes.. but allowing warm up time even. And I'm more than 20 years older!

No, I'm NOT publicising my gym. For selfish reason, I hope they will have less new mem
bers so the place will be less crowded! But I just want to say how happy and good I feel now with exercise.. and the motivation and interest has come from the gym. Maybe others enjoy other forms of exercises and games. But to me, I would go to a gym to exercise anytime because (just a few reasons though i could go on) :
  • You don't need to find another person to exercise with.
  • You can go anytime you like - it's open 365 days in the year from early morning to midnight.
  • You don't have to worry about the weather
  • It's safer than outdoor exercise eg. jogging, running
  • There are so many varieties of workout to do - cardio machines, weight training, GroupX classes etc.. (within each, there are many more machines and a host of classes to try out)
  • A condusive environment with everyone around you exercising spur you on.
No, i don't go there to socialise with my friends nor to be seen..

Since I'm doing P.T., I plan to go to the gym in Hong Kong at least once when I'm on holiday.. (so not to slack..) But my trainer urged me to go at least twice! hmm.... a bit hard but will see.

I see it as an investment into fitness for life.. more worthwhile than a lot of things I've splashed my money on in the past.
Oh, the good news is, I think at least I've managed to achieve one of my long-term resolutions now! :D

Monday, November 20, 2006

What Type of Blogger am I?

You scored as The Photographer. You don�t care about words. The function of your blog is basically, a photo displayer. A little more than an album, because by posting photos in your blog you KNOW that others will see them. You take photos of yourself, of your pets, of everything. Everytime you go out you must take a camera with you, and you certainly have more than one photo album since one cannot hold them all!

The Photographer


The Shouter


The Journalist


The Philosopher


The Addict


The Paparazzi


The Copy-Cat


The Writer


The Lover


Which type of Xangan/Blogger are you?
created with

It's a long time since I posted a quiz (result) on my blog. I chanced upon this rather interesting one from Sivin Kit's Garden. Well, I don't know how it determined that I'm the `Photographer' for I scored equally as a `Shouter'(?!) and a `Journalist' - the latter my profession. Anyway, I would say that overall it's quite accurate! Try it for yourself! :)

Sleepy-Smiley Jelly

These photos were taken the night after she was sent for grooming last month... aint she cute? my little (fat) Jelly..! ;)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Being at Home...

The week has been busy (again!) and I haven't had much inspirations to blog.. Dad and mom left for Australia for a 2-week holiday and I'm now left `in charge' of the house! Well, it's not exactly freedom, as I have the responsibility to keep an eye on grandma - who is immobile. Our maid Wati has to both take care of her as well as do her housework - and since Ronah left, the new maid STILL has not arrived.. Indonesia seems to be having a LONG holiday since Hari Raya!?

Before parents left, I've been repeatedly told to be at home at most time.. To be honest, I don't have plans to go on a rendevous but there are just days and times I need to go out - ie church commitments, personal training. and then the necessary shopping (groceries esp), running errands etc... Well, I'm trying to keep a balance as best as I can.. but must admit I really hadn't spent that much time home in the last three days mainly due to pre-scheduled commitment in church! In fact, tonight is the first evening I'm eating at home since last Tuesday.. :p

Coming week I'll try to be a home-body as much as I can.. primarily to fulfill the promise I gave to dad and mom and also, I do have work to do - will conducting phone interviews from home. Thank God for the Internet too!

Besides grandma, I also want to spend more time with my two Js. Dogs are very sensitive creatures.. I could tell that both Jojo and Jelly are missing dad and mom respectively! Jojo would keep dad company every morning while he (dad, not Jojo) reads his newspaper in the garden and also for the occasional walks. Jelly meanwhile would sneak into mom's room in the evening when I'm not around and mom would always feed her meats from the soup etc..

Dad and mom had only left for three days and it felt kinda long.. I was telling dad that I'm so used to having them around now that I do miss them quite a lot when they go on holiday! Home feels different.. And this is coming from an independant person who has been in borading school since 11 plus and then lived three years in England (only coming home once a year!) It feels quite funny and ironic. But no, I know I'm not less independent - my work has trained me to go around by myself and I really don't mind at all.. I enjoy doing things on my own most of hte time - including shopping, eating, and even going to movies... I basically like my own company...

But on the other hand, I have been having the luxury of living with my parents that it'll take quite an adjustment to live on my own. There are pros and cons to stay with your parents but I'm lucky that they do not interfere with my personal freedom...and I always have someone to talk to at home.. But I constantly remind myself not to take things for granted. I do feel very blessed when i had to work late and when I return home, the food is already on the table and I just need to microwave it.. after eating, I mostly don't even wash up but just put the dishes in the sink..

But like a Chinese saying roughly translated as `when the horse dies, you walk by foot'.. meaning that I know I CAN survive by myself shall the situation requires... So now I'm telling myself to do as much as I can to contribute to the household and helping Wati especially I'm not working now..

I've not been spending much time at home when I was working.. it's time to try to be a home body again..

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Chef for an evening...

I just had to blog about a `culinary experience' again.. as it felt like a great achievement! I know, many people cook daily so what's the big deal? But for me, it's more like a `once in a blue moon' affair.

Yap, I chose to cook Western again. Somehow.. it just seems more interesting, not necessarily easier. As I decided to cook dinner for my family tonite, I had gone through a few of my recipe book (mainly for quick and simple meals) and found what I wanted to cook.

1. Grilled vegetable and Balsamic salad.
2. Cream of mushroom soup
3. Rump steak in Whisky
4. Roasted baby potatoes

And they required some particular ingredients so I went shopping at Village Grocer after lunch and ended up spending a bomb - on other things too!

I spent like a hour plus in the supermarket and got almost everything the recipes required.. However, I couldn't find fresh rump steak so I got rib-eye steak an it's actually more tender I believe.

With my maid as my assistant, I started at 4:45pm with the mushroom soup, which I did once before to rave reviews! Alas, this time I put too much chicken stock and it was too salty! So I had to add more mushrooms and cream and water.. (not as successful as last time)

I also think I've put too much garlic as the marinate for the steak.. Actually I'm still confused as to what a clove of garlic mean? Is it the whole round garlic (consists of many smaller segment of garlic)?

Half way through, I realised we ran out of aluminium foil! And almost all my dishes needed to be in the oven for grilling! thankfully dad was kind enough to go out to get it for me..

I think the most `successful' dish was the salad.. And I like it too although I think the quantity was a bit too much. The baby potatoes took ages to cook, and the waiting time caused the steak to go cold.. And I think I've over-cooked the steak.. it was almost weldone! :(

Finally, everything was ready and we ate almost three hours after I first started cooking - there were much preparation to do for some.. washing and cutting etc..

The verdict? It wasn't that great nor was it that bad.. and it was a nice change from the normal Chinese food we eat daily. Dad and mom enjoyed it (I think) and finished everything on their plate! even grandma said it tasted good - don't know whether it was just to make me happy.

I felt pretty exhausted! It was not an easy feat but as I managed to accomplish what I set out to do, I felt quite happy...:)

So, of course I had to take pix (again) of what I cooked.. but I think the pix look a bit better than they actually tasted.. :p

Fresh and grilled vegetable to go with balsamic dressing

Mushroom soup that was still a tad bit salty

Grilled rib-eye steak in Whiskey sauce with roasted baby potatoes

Not forgetting the wine that accompanied the dinner..

Friday, November 10, 2006

Jobless Joy

Time flies.. it's the end of the 2nd week of `jobless-ness'! :p

And i'm having fun.. not that my days are idled away or anything.. In fact, i've been pretty busy this week and I can see for the next week to come too!

Quite happy that I've completed an article tonite. A nice editor friend from another paper has asked me to do a couple of beauty-related stories - more stories to come too! Besides the money factor, I think it's important to keep writing - (no, blog excluded as I tend to ramble here.. :p) - so that I won't be rusty. And I do enjoy interviewing people and on top of that, got some freebies too! hehe

Called up the salary department to check on my final payment this afternoon. And was told he just banked it in and it should be in my bank account by tomorrow.. AND the amount was quite a lot more than I've expected! I think it must be due to the backdated new collective agreement.. Cool! So I have more to spend.. hahaha.. (ok, i know i have to be careful)

Anyway, I have a few more freelance jobs in the pipeline as well.. but don't really want to over burden myself with too much work. This period is supposed to be a rest/travelling/pondering-future-direction period.. and also, I want to try to spend more time at home with grandma and the two Js!

I plan to start work again only in March next year.. because I was told to wait for three months at least from an editor who offers me a job (can't divulge too much yet as also nothing in black&white at the moment). So I thought might as well delay another month for Chinese New Year! Hopefully things will turn out well..

Oh, oh.. I will be FINALLY going to Bali!! I have been wanting and pining to go for two years or more now.. Even bought a guidebook quite some time back already. Have initiated and planned a few times but somehow some potential travel companions have let me down.. but now that i've the time.. I told myself I had to go before I start work again.. and even contemplated to travel alone..

But.. I'm glad that I found two fellow-journos friends who are quite flexible with their leaves. I did all the research and bookings - somethink I like to do anyway. Booked this nice hotel in Kuta and since there are three of us, it's pretty affordable. The whole 4-nite trip costs less than RM800 for flights and acoomodation!

I just hope my expectation of Bali is not so high that what I see and experience will be a slight let down.. .

Anyway.. I am going to Taipei and Hong Kong first in December! :)

Yey, it's so so happy to have the time for yourself to do the things you like!! (ok ok, I shall not keep gloating cos many of you reading are actually slogging at work.. sorry.. :p)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My elephant `massage' and Edgar's close encounters with orang-hutan

A whole week has passed since I left work. And what a busy week it has been... with many outings right till yesterday - when my sis and the kids went back to Hong Kong.

The highlight of the week was no doubt Friday - when we went to A-Famosa Safari Park. All the three kids love animals.. it was a fun and fruitful outing as we covered most of the areas and watched FOUR animal shows - well, the first was a Wild Wild West show, followed by multi-animal show, bird show and culminating the elephant show which ended up a torture for me!

What happened was, after seeing the elephants performing stunts like painting, playing basketball and shooting soccer goals, they asked for two volunteers - a man and a woman. A man volunteered himself but they still needed a woman. My sis asked me to go for it as indeed I am not afraid of the animal.. so after giving it a short thought I raised my hands.

What I was supposed to do was to lie down on my stomach on a mat to receive an elephant `massage'! But HELP!! I got wacked on the bum (never mind that) and then on my upper back by his/her trunk and it was SO painful. The trunk was hitting onto my head too and I had to use my hand to cover it... i think it lasted probably less than a minute but it felt too long and after that the elephang massage my back with his/her foot - that wasn't too bad...

I felt my head still throbbing a bit in pain.. and it was kinda embarrasing (well, I decided to be sporting and show the pix no less!) Oh, but if you think I had it bad, the poor man after me had it worst! He was asked to lie on his back and the elephant proceeded to `massage' his lower abdomen area! and even stepped on it..! :0

Another highlight of the visit was orang hutan's affinity for my eldest nephew Edgar, who is practically fearless of any of the animals! We came across a female orang hutan sitting on a bench and when Edgar went near to her, she couldn't stop touching him and holding his hands not letting go. So yeah, you can say that both of them had a close encounter.

Later when we went to Monkey Islang, Edgar also made friend with another orang hutan (a male on this time) who appearead a little tired. He was on the same `raft' on the way back with us and Edgar sat right next to him!

Indeed Edgar, 8, was really taken to the animal while younger nehpew Sean, 4, was not so daring.. but it must be quite a fascinating encounter for the kids as even for me, this was the first time I got upclose with an orang hutan and indeed their antics were very much like humans!

We also went onboard a tram, secured with grills all over to take us into the `safari area' of the park and saw some wild animlas including lions and tigers but they looked pretty scrawny and thin.

Then there were the tamer animals which were all over..

And the boys and my sis went on an elephant ride

We were blessed by good weather generally and it was not very crowded at all which made the trip more pleasent. But of course, with three young kids around, the adults also got quite tired!

We all had fun.. although it's not a place i would go by myself to visit but I too enjoyed myself - despite that torturous ordeal which in a way is an experience - but hey, who can claim to be massaged by an elephant? :p

for more pix on the A-Famosa trip, go to my Flickr pix via the badge on the right