I’m participating in the 25km Ride for Heart on June 2nd to raise money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. We all know someone who has been affected by heart disease or stroke. Whether it’s an immediate family, someone we are close with, or a distant friend or relative, it’s never pleasant to hear the news of someone suffering or passing from this disease.
This year, I’m riding in honour of several people, one of them my dad. Why my dad? 20 years ago, my dad was on his death bed from a kidney failure. When I say death bed, it’s literal. He died for a split moment. Today, if you knew my dad, you would never think that there’s anything wrong with him. Well, except for the days when his blood vessels pop, which could be anywhere on his body from his leg to his eyes. When this happens, it ain’t a pleasant sight.
Even though my dad only has 1 functioning kidney that originally belonged to his older sister and has to take 11+ medications daily, he’s a very upbeat, positive guy. A true inspiration to me. Over the years, his health condition continuous to deteriorate. He now has insulin-dependent diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and most dangerously in my opinion, angina. He has been in an out of the hospital countless times because of his angina.
My dad is actually 100% dependent on a pace maker. That’s right, not 80%, not 95%, but 100%. This means that should his pace maker ever stop working, so will his ability to live. Several years ago, his pace maker ran out of juice. He was rushed to the hospital and they had to do an emergency switch. After the new pace maker was put in, he got an infection, so they had to take it out and planned to put it in on the opposite side. After taking it out, they couldn’t do another operation right away as they needed at least 1 full day to let the wounds heal. He was put on an external pace maker. That night, his pace maker got unplugged and he flat-lined once again. They managed to revive him with a defibrillator.
I’m so thankful every day that he’s with us today. He gave up a lot, including status and financial wealth, both of which cannot replace his health and the fact that we still have a dad.
So this Ride event is a very important one for me, for my family. If you are reading this, I’m asking for your kind support to please support me by donating to this very worthy cause.
Here’s the link to donate: http://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1024199&supId=359039249
Thank you for your support!
Weekly Photo Challenge
Here’s a photo that depicts change for me. We got Puzzle when she was 7 weeks old. She is now 2 years old. Time flies and many events, good and bad, have taken place since. But the one constant is the love Puzzle and I have for each other. Puzzle brought me so much happiness and mended my broken heart of having lost our cat, Patches, to lung cancer. It’s ironic. If we had not lost Patches we probably would not have found Puzzle. We have a feeling she may have been born the day Patches died.
She not only helped me, but she also brought life back to Patches’ brother, Alize, who became depressed from having lost his sister. Sadly, Alize missed Patches so much that he too, ended up dying of lung cancer over a year later.
Puzzle is no longer a kitten but still very much acts like one. She can never get enough of playing and she truly fills my heart with love.
Friday is the day I’ve dedicated for grocery shopping. As soon as I leave work I scoot over to Food Basics. In order to get a cart I have to put a quarter in. Sometimes all goes smoothly. How hard can it be to put a quarter in and pull the cart out anyway? Well, sometimes this process is frustrating. I put the quarter in and it jams and won’t go in. So I try another cart. Or I put it in and it’s fine, but I can’t pull the chain out because it’s stuck. Or sometimes I put the quarter in, pull the chain out but the cart won’t budge. Argghhh. All I want is a cart damn it!
Some days I don’t mind grocery shopping at all. On those days, I enjoy taking my time looking at ingredients outside of my grocery list. I imagine that I’m an awesome cook who loves being in the kitchen. I get giddy at the possibilities of creating all these different, wonderful meals.
Ooh, what’s that? Lamb chops. I can make lamb chops. What about this kale thing? I can make some kind of dish with this. But aside from it being a vegetable, I’m not even sure what kind it is or what it tastes like. I keep seeing people’s posts and pictures of ‘kale this’, ‘kale that’. What the heck is it though? I mean, look at this thing. Okay forget it, there’s no way I can make kale. Hmm…maybe I’ll try this tempura batter. Hubby would love that!
I can go on and on, mouth salivating every time I think of a crazy meal I “think” I can make. That’s the thing about grocery shopping after work. I’m usually starving and thinking about food. Then I snap out of it and realize that I’m no domestic diva. So I end up looking at frozen food options instead because I’m still so damn hungry. Maybe I’ll get this huge bag of chicken fries. And sausage rolls. Ooh ooh and dim sum! I go around picking up food, planning when we’re going to eat all this. We can make sausage rolls for snacks tomorrow (Saturday) and I’ll leave the chicken fries for Sunday dinner. My mouth is salivating and my stomach is screaming at me to feed it.
Oh, but who am I kidding? I live in a 700 sq. ft. condo with a condo-size fridge and even smaller freezer. Where am I going to store all of these? Plus, we’re supposed to be eating healthy. So I go around and put every thing back, trying not to be too disappointed.
Finally, when the items in my cart look more realistic, I proceed to the check out counter. This is the part I hate the most. Checking out. No no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I have to pay for all of these items. That’s the least of my worries. What do I dread the most? Bagging groceries! What happened to the days when the cashier also did the bagging? Or the days when they had separate grocery baggers?
First, I put all my stuff on the conveyor belt (is that what it’s called?) as the person behind me in line is impatiently inching her way towards me, bumping my cart with her cart. I look back and give her a cut-eye. Then she backs away. When my cart is empty, I push my cart forward so I can now go behind my cart. Because there’s not enough room for me to go beside my cart, which I think would make more sense.
The cashier starts scanning my items and putting them on the other side of her, on another conveyor type belt. I push my cart further out so I can start bagging my stuff as she continues to scan. But I’m not fast enough. I’m not good at bagging groceries. I can type fast, I can write, I can create posters, I can use photoshop. But I can’t bag groceries.
The cashier finishes scanning before I can even get half of the items in my recycable bags. So I stop bagging, dig into my purse for my wallet and give her some cash. I start bagging again and the cashier has moved on to the lady in line behind me. She’s going fast and omygod talk about pressure. If I’m really unlucky, the lady behind me only has a few items so she’s done paying before I’m done bagging. This time, she pushes me with her cart. I look over apologetically (no cut-eye this time) and frantically start to stuff every thing in my bags. Who cares if I don’t do it right, if they’re not neatly placed in the bags to maximize the space? I have to get out of this lady’s way before she bruises me with her cart.
She’s not patient so she squeezes between me and the bar dividing our lane from the next. If she’s thin and can get through easily, no problem with me. But hey man, if you squeeze through and you end up squashing me against the belt, well now, I won’t be very happy and you’re damn right I’ll give you another cut-eye!
Do I hate bagging because I’m just lazy like what this picture depicts? No, not at all. It has nothing to do with being lazy (or being a teenager because I’m not one, I’m a grown adult) and has every thing to do with the entire anxiety-causing process. Who knew bagging groceries could be so stressful. Those grocery baggers back in the day deserved good compensation. Definitely not an easy job.
Finally I finish bagging and load them into the cart. By this point, I’m overly stressed out but relieved that I’m finally getting out of here. I put my groceries in the trunk and put away the cart because you know, I want my quarter back. For next time. But is putting the cart back as easy as it theoretically is? I mean, all I have to do is push the cart into the cart in front, stick the chain thing into the coin thing, and voila, my quarter comes out. But no, some days this is not the case. Either I try to push my cart in and it won’t go in, or I push it in but the chain thing refuses to go into the coin thing (I know I say “thing” alot but I really don’t know what they’re called). Or I push the cart in, the chain goes in but the quarter is stuck. Waaahhh. I just want my quarter back!
So there you have it. Now you know why I dread grocery-shopping-Fridays.
Today was one of those days. I found myself bitching unnecessarily loud that people close by could easily pick up on my ranting, for something so irrelevant. At the time I thought it was relevant of course. But as soon as I opened my mouth, I regretted it.
I find myself becoming this way more often that I would like. I’ve always been a reserved person, especially at work, never really open about how I feel inside. I always believe in keeping work separate from my personal life. I’ve always been careful not to let others at work see if I’m upset, unhappy or bothered about something. I’ve always been careful to control my emotions. There’s an actual term for this – Emotional Intelligence.
I remember when I quit my job once upon a time, not because I hated the job or the people I worked with, but because the CEO was an evil fire-breathing dragon who instilled fear in all the staff. My job, I felt, being in the position that I was in, was to protect the employees from her wrath. I took the beating for them, so to speak, whenever possible. I was not happy and have never in my life felt that way about work. I eventually broke and knew I had to quit when I found myself crying everyday in the subway on my way to work. And trust me, I’m not a crier. When I quit and went around to say my goodbyes, the employees were surprised. “You didn’t seem unhappy,” they told me. “You were always so cheerful.” Of course I felt bad for leaving, for now I was no longer the shield for them.
My point is, I try to stay positive and not let negativity get to me. But lately, I find myself being sucked into the negative side more and more, for there is just so much of it. I’m surrounded by people who bitch and complain all day and eventually that affects me whether I welcome it or not. I have to admit, it feels good to bitch. I mean, everyone needs an outlet to vent once in a while and I certainly have vented in more than one occasion to my hubby and friends. But there’s a big difference between venting and bitching.
So today is one of those days when I hate myself. For being bitchy, for being negative, for letting my bad side come out. The thing is, I have (self-diagnosed) anxiety. And when I feel bad, when I feel regret, my anxiety is fed and grows bigger. The only way to get rid of it is either to not think about it or to justify it. The latter is not an option.
The good thing is I’m aware of all of this, and just writing about it to a whole bunch of strangers who probably don’t give a craps ass makes me feel better. Because I’m admitting that I was wrong, that I’m not perfect, that I’m a beatch sometimes and that I’m embarrassed for the way I acted.
I know, what a silly thing to write about. Especially when there are worse problems out there than feeling bad about my reaction. And so out of sync with what I usually write in my blog. But you know what, I had to get it out of my chest. I should be better than that. I should be a better person.
When my cousin from Indonesia and his wife visited us last August, my sister and I were looking for something different and fun to do. We came across a Groupon or Wagjag deal for a Treetop Trekking adventure at Horsehoe Valley. I checked out the website and although it wasn’t clear to me what treetop trekking entailed, we decided to purchase vouchers anyway to check it out.
We went on a Friday afternoon. Treetop Trekking is, as it turned out, basically going through five levels of aerial courses ranging from beginner to extreme. These aerial courses consist of various obstacles fom walking across from one tree to another on a monkey wire to climbing nets to walking across a suspension bridge to zip lining across or down.
It seemed a bit cheesy at first, considering they weren’t very high off the ground. Having walked on a suspension bridge 4,600 ft. above sea level in Costa Rica, I thought this experience would be easy peasy. Surprisingly, it was harder than I had expected. Like a lot harder. The zip lines were the easiest and the ones I looked forward to the most. The obstacles got longer, higher and harder with each level up.
We went all the way to level four when our time was up. A part of me was disappointed we didn’t get to try the most difficult level, and a part of me was relief. I think it was 30/70 actually. I was exhausted and had run out of juice. Not sure I could have made it through another level.
We ended the day by going down the “big zip”. It’s called the big zip because it was long, although I can’t remember how long. Maybe 100 ft.? However, since I’ve zip lined a couple of times including going down ten lines in Costa Rica with the longest being about 2500 ft. long and the highest 500 ft., this was more relaxing than thrilling in comparison. But it was the best way to end our treetop trekking adventure.
The best part was that this was practically in our own backyard with it being two hours away from home. We didn’t have to travel across the world to have some adventurous fun and most importantly, my cousin and his wife had a blast!
It’s funny how we tend to think that in order to have some real fun and adventure we’d have to go to some exotic place. This experience was an eye opener. It’s nice to know that something like treetop trekking is available so close to home. I wouldn’t have known about it if it wasn’t for Groupon or Wagjag. It was good times for sure!
Have you ever discovered something you didn’t expect to be available so close to home? If so, what was it?
Today, I asked someone to help me ship a couple of fragile items out. She said she didn’t know how to do that, so I explained it to her.
“Put them them in a box and tape it up using packing tape. Make sure you wrap them with bubble wrap first because they’re glass and are breakable,” I explained.
She replied, “Okay, sure. But I put them in a box first and then bubble wrap them, right?”
“Huh?!” I didn’t quite understand her question. “What do you mean put them in a box first?”
“I mean, put them in the box, and then bubble wrap the box.”
You’re kidding, right? Who does that? I was speechless for a few seconds because I thought she was pulling my leg. “No,” I replied after determining that she was indeed serious. “You wrap them with bubble wrap first, and then you put them in the box.”
She was quite persistent. “No, I think I should pack them in the box and bubble wrap the box after. That’s what I did when I shipped out the mug last time.”
I was bewildered. I had hoped she was kidding, but she wasn’t. What a conversation to have on a Thursday afternoon. It was my amusement for the day.
Once upon a time when I worked in HR, we introduced online pay statement, where employees could choose to have both their pay stubs and T4 online, or just their pay stubs. At the end of that first year, an employee asked me where her T4 was. I checked the system and as it turned out, she had chosen to have it available online, which meant she wouldn’t get a printed copy. I explained this to her and off she went to print it off.
She came to me that same afternoon, freaking out. She explained that she had printed it, and because we didn’t have a secure printer at work at the time, her T4 came out, free for viewing by whoever was at the printer. Luckily she went to the printer immediately so I don’t think anyone got to her T4 before she did. But she was fuming. She asked why the T4 was printed just like that, and why it wasn’t in a sealed envelope.
This was another “huh” moment for me. I had to explain to her that the printer can’t possible pick up her printed T4, stuff it in an envelope and seal it.
Seriously guys? Did you leave your common sense behind somewhere?
Have you ever come across a similar situation? If so, please share it as I can never get enough laughter in a day .
Some kids like soft, cuddly blankets or huggable stuffed teddy bears. I liked my baby bolsters, or “guling” as we Indonesians call this cylindrical pillow. My grandma made two for me when I was a baby. She took some leftover fabric and stuffed them with cotton. I absolutely loved them and could not, or rather refused, to sleep without them.
The bolsters eventually flattened and in an attempt to salvage them, I asked my grandma to re-stuff them for me, but one at a time. Because god knows I couldn’t sleep with both of them gone. Sadly, the cotton inside had sort of “melted” into the fabric and it was such a mess that my grandma decided to get rid of it and made me a brand new one out of brand new fabric. She thought this would make me happy but it did the opposite. I was heart broken. My beloved bolster was gone. So I decided to keep the other one flat and begged her and my parents to leave it alone and to never touch it.
So now I have my fluffy bolster that still looks like a bolster, and my flat one that just looks like a piece of fabric. And kid you not, I still have both of them and still sleep with them in my grown up, king size tempurepedic bed. My flat bolster brings me comfort and for some unexplainable reason, I sleep better with it.
My friends used to make fun of me, and if they find out (which they will through this blog post) that I still have this “piece of cloth” as they called it, I’m sure they would laugh in my face. It’s okay though, because if my friends can’t make fun of me, then who can, right? I’m just thrilled that I’ve managed to keep my flat bolster around for so long. It brings me so much comfort, maybe because as a baby it used to soothe me or made me feel safe. Not really sure since I don’t have memories as a baby. I mean, who does anyway? And why does it matter? All I know is this flat bolster is the one prize possession I will never ever let go.
First thought that popped into my head when we arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia was….”culture shock”.
I know, strange for me to think so considering I was born in Jakarta and lived the first 10 years of my live in Jakarta, Bengkulu and Banjarmasin. That’s three different Indonesian islands I lived in, each with its own dialect and twist on food.
But growing up in the Westernized culture of Canada, it was easy to forget what life was like back in Indonesia. During our trip, I saw things that made me go, “huh?” Only in Indonesia!
I was fast asleep in the car from major jet lag when the car stopped at a railroad track. What hubby saw blew his mind away that he nudged me while at the same time taking the camera out from his cargo pocket, “Astrid, wake up! You’ve gotta see this. Holy shit this is crazy!”
I opened my eyes. Annoyed at having my much needed sleep interrupted, I turned to him and gave him a silent “this better be good” look. And boy was it ever good.
There were people – lots of them – standing and sitting on top of the train. That’s right, not inside but on top. My cousin explained that these people can’t afford to take the train so they jump on the train to catch a free ride. Unbelievable. Only in Indonesia.
The traffic is absolutely insane. It’s 100x worse than Toronto traffic and no one follows the rules of the roads. It was so chaotic that I cringed every time a motorcycle or a car or a bus zoomed past us. And trust me, that happened often. Like every second we were on the road. I thought for sure we’d get into an accident. But the amazing thing is, I did not see even one single accident. Due to the insane traffic, the fastest way to get around is by motorcycle. Everyone rides them – kids, adults, men, women, professionals, maids. If you’re in a motorcycle you can zig zag in between the cars. Again, not something we’re used to seeing in Canada. We might see two or three at a time in the summer but in Indonesia, there were at least 20 of them at any given time. Only in Indonesia.
While visiting my grandma’s brother, we drove by a house. It was an ordinary house except for the monkey that was chained outside of the gate, sitting on a small covered platform. The monkey is used as some sort of alarm. Only in Indonesia.
Since we’re on the topic of monkeys, the cruelest thing we saw were monkeys on the side of the street. Not only were these monkeys on a leash, they had on clothing and a mask. Their owners use these monkeys as a tourist attraction to make money. Similar to what you would see in an all inclusive resort, where locals walk around with a monkey, parrot or snake for tourists to take pictures with. But imagine this – it’s 40 degrees Celsius outside and the monkeys are dressed in a costume of some sort wearing a face mask! Yes, I do have pictures but I’ve decided not to post them due to the wrongness of it. Only in Indonesia.
At the end of our first week, we were off to Manila, Philippines for the weekend to visit friends who just moved there. Then from Manila we went straight to Bali for 5 days, which was too short in my opinion. Only in Bali would you see two monkeys sleeping and cuddling with each other at a restaurant out in the open! No cage, no special room. Just in the restaurant. Only in Indonesia.
Bali is known for its monkeys though, so I guess that’s pretty normal there. When we went to Ulu Watu temple, we saw more monkeys of course. They roamed on the streets just like stray cats. Only in Indonesia.
Ahh, I love reminiscing about our trip to Indonesia. This is why I love traveling. It makes me see how life is like in other parts of the world and how different it is from Canada. What a refreshing way to view the world.
You’ve been exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?
When I saw this question I thought it would be an easy one to answer, but as I started to make my list it got longer and longer. Do I choose indulgence food or nutritious food? How long am I going to be stuck on the island for? Do I ask for chips and chocolates? How about water?
Finally, I narrowed it down by each food group. The only food group that didn’t make the list is dairy. I can live without dairy products and I’d rather have more protein if I’m going to be stuck on an island. I was going to add some type of veggie on the list, but I assume an island will have a lot of leafy plants, some of which I hope are edible. The first thing that popped into my head was rice, so that made the first on the list. Humans need water to live, but I figured watermelon has a lot of water content so I can get my vitamins and water in one shot. Sadly, as much as I would’ve liked to ask for chocolates, that did not make the list. Maybe I can sneak some in?
- Rice for carbs
- Eggs for protein
- Steak for protein
- Lobster for protein and omega-3
- Watermelon for vitamins and hydration
So that’s my request. The decision wasn’t as easy as I had thought, but I made up my mind. I can’t believe I didn’t include chocolates though! Arghh should I scrap the eggs or rice for chocolates?
What do you think? What would you do if you were in my shoes?
My cat, Puzzle, had been digging for gold again (aka toy mice) and this is what I woke up to on Tuesday:
It’s so sad, really. When we’re ready to leave the condo, she sits in front of the front door stopping us from going. We have to throw one of her toys away from the door and she goes running for it. Then we quickly sneak out before she figures out what’s going on. It’s heart breaking.
Last Tuesday, I met up with a friend for lunch at Union Social. This place gets so crazy packed that we could never get a seat. So this time I was smart and made a reservation. Not sure why we never thought to do that before. Duh. Here’s what I had and man am I glad I finally got to eat here.
I love food but I’m not much of a cook. But on Wednesday I felt like being creative and so I made tacos for dinner. Not just any ordinary tacos though. I browned the ground pork with taco seasoning, hoisin sauce, Korean dipping sauce and cilantro. Instead of salad and diced tomatoes, I made a concoction of Asian pears and cabbage mixed with fish sauce and sriracha hot sauce. Then I mixed broccoli slaw with sesame seeds and sesame oil. And voila – Korean tacos!
At night, I wind down by watching tv and hanging out with hubby, Puzzle and my princess Nikki. Nik is 14 years old and just wants to spend her time snuggling with us. Puzzle, on the other hand, won’t leave Nikki alone. She constantly tries to play with her which annoys Nikki. So I spend some time in the evening paying with Puzzle, allowing her to let her pent up energy out. Otherwise she will jump on the tv in an effort to get our attention.
What’s your day like? I would love to hear about it, so please share away