Rain On Me


As I was finishing my coffee, it started to rain. I decided to wait a little while until it stops before I go out the door to catch the bus to university.

After a good 10 minutes, it looked like it’s not going to stop anytime soon. So I put on my shoes and made my way to the bus stop. Without my umbrella. It broke weeks ago and I have yet to buy a new one. I shouldn’t have procrastinated. Ahh well.

Instead of the usual 800-meter and otherwise pleasant walk to the bus stop, I decided to take a detour to cut the distance in half. I made my way to another closer bus stop so that I didn’t have to stay in the rain so much. I’ll have to pay slightly more in bus fare but I’ve expected to do that on rainy days.

By the time I reached the bus stop, my toes were soaked in cold water, my jacket smeared with rain and my face numb from braving the cold wind. What a way to start the week.

The only consolation was the bus came in less than 2 minutes. Just as I was getting settled on the bus, it stopped raining. Not only that, it was very sunny. “Perfect” timing.

As the bus approached my stop, it started raining again! It’s like it was waiting to rain on me.

Anyhow, I thought I should really get that umbrella now. So I walked towards a shop in the university. In the rain.

After paying the cashier, I walked out the shop with my new umbrella to a bright and sunny day. Just to rub it in one last time.

Happy Monday to everyone else!

Maple


About a week ago, my mom decided to call me all the way from Malaysia with some special news.

She was in love. And out of impulse, she is now with child. 6 weeks old. I was speechless, shocked beyond comprehension. She wants me to think of a name. My mind was blank. 

It’s a girl. Blonde….4-legged.

She got another puppy. What were you thinking? ;)

Say hi to Maple!

Such a poser!

 

So now good ‘ol Alfie has a new baby sister. Apparently he was not too impressed. After being the apple of everyone’s eyes for nearly 9 years, suddenly there’s a new kid on the block. Mom says he gets very restless when she attends to Maple. However, being the ever gentle big brother, he is also very excited about the new addition to the family at the same time.

 

Aaawwww.......

 

Mom says Maple jumps on Alfie, pulls his ears and chases him around the house! Poor boy! Unlike Alfie who almost never barked all his life, and is scared of cats, little Maple is hyperactive and chirpy. Mom’s already got her hands full now.

As if telling me how adorable Maple is wasn’t enough, mom decided to e-mail me photos of her. Then my sister decided to post pictures of her playing with Maple on Facebook to torture me. Aaaargh! Maple’s too cute!

Maple the bully

Look at Alfie's "tortured" face haha!

Nope, Maple won't stop

That should do it....

Apparently not.....

My sister showing off

One last shot....

What’s A Girl To Do?


Any food made with pasta, cheese and/or potatoes in it makes me happy. So does cakes, ice-cream or any desert with either cream and/or chocolate. Then there’s rice, butter and lard too.

Enter a frequently good appetite, the love of food and bingeing habits, you get a chubby Tien. Throw in a super efficient digestion system (i.e. everything ingested is absolutely and thoroughly absorbed and stored efficiently, no wastage!) into the equation, what do you get? More weight gain!

The cold winter chill makes dieting out of the question. I am always hungry!

Excercise is good but it’s also hard work. Yoga is definitely a no-go! An expired gym membership just makes it that much harder to keep with the exercise regime.

It does not help at all that Terry has a really high metabolism rate. He eats and eats but never gains weight! Worse, I think he is shrinking too. This is the part I don’t understand, he eats more than me and never exercises, how did it happen? So unfair. If this goes on, I am going to look bigger than him in no time. Wait, I think I am looking slightly bigger than him now. The horror!

A scene from "Shallow Hal"

What’s a girl to do?

This is where the theory of relativity comes into play. If dieting and exercising to lose weight is too hard, then I shall focus my energy to make him fatter instead. I get to eat my food and look smaller in relative. Genius! ;)

Terry loves his rice. I know if I make the chinese pork stew or my granny’s sambal paste or Hainanese chicken rice, he can eat up to 5 bowls of rice instead of the usual 1 or 2.  I shall attempt to up his rice intake by making his favourite dishes more frequently. Of course I will make sure he takes his oats for breakfast daily so that his cholesterol is under control.

I think this will work. Who’s with me? *Evil grinnnn*

A Little Bit Wonderful Everyday


I know very well how the ideal man should be. At least for me.

And as with any other things that are ideal, they don’t exist. Sad but true.

The perfect man doesn’t need to be the most succesful man or the richest man. He doesn’t even need to look like Brad Pitt. Or Colin Farrell. Or Mark Wahlberg. Or Hugh Jackman. Or….okay, now you get the picture of the kind of men I adore :)

I think he just needs to be genuinely nice and honest. That pretty much sums it all. Right, ladies?

This Whitcoulls TV commercial says it all. I love this commerical ever since it first aired in New Zealand more than a year ago. I love its concept too – A Little Bit Wonderful Everyday!

The husband’s goofy but sooooo schweet don’t you think?

What Would You Like On Your Eggs?


Sometime ago, I read this e-mail forwarded by a friend about a “mishap” which occurred live on a local Malaysian Radio show. The show was hosted by one of my favourites - Yasmin Yusuff, who was also crowned Miss Malaysia/Universe back in 1973.

I have always loved listening to her voice and wit on radio. This story is so good that it got stuck in my head until today, and possibly forever. Not too sure how true it is though. However, it never failed to make friends laugh when I tell it to them. So today, I am telling it to you :)

Yasmin was hosting her show as usual one morning and she posted a trivia live, prompting listeners to call her in with the answer. The first caller to answer correctly will win a prize. Her question that morning was:

“What is the common name for Sodium Chloride?”

In case you didn’t know the answer, it is simply Salt. About a minute later, this lady got through and attempted to answer the question.

Not knowing the answer, she asked Yasmin for a clue. Yasmin kindly responded, “This is something that you put on your husband’s eggs every morning.”.

Almost immediately after she heard the clue, the lady shouted excitedly on live radio, “TALCUM POWDER!!”

Yasmin went off air for commercial break for at least 10 minutes after that. Perhaps she should have said “This is something you put on your husband’s BREAKFAST eggs every morning!”

The Power Of Branding


While checking my e-mail this morning, it got me thinking about branding and how it programs our minds to link certain consumer products or services to businesses associated with them.

Old-fashioned sales and marketing strategies focused entirely at spreading the word about a product through advertisements hoping it will reach more buyers. Branding on the other hand, aims specifically at reminding consumers of a certain brand name or icon when they think of a product, without even looking at a single advertisement.

A quick search in google revealed that the most successful brands in the world include Coca Cola, Disney, Microsoft and many more.

As I glanced through the list, the fact that I could almost immediately pair up each brand with a product or service just shows how successful those brands are. For example, when I think of fizzy drinks, I think of Coca Cola. When I think of cartoons, I think of Disney. The same way how my mind automatically associates hamburgers with McDonald’s and fried chicken with KFC.

In Malaysia, baby diapers are referred to as Pampers, and instant noodles are called Maggie noodles.

Amazing isn’t it? The power of branding and how it controls the way we think without us even knowing! It’s almost like hypnosis.

However, when I think of The Blue Pill (Viagra), my mind quickly gets reminded of spam e-mails. Not “magic cure” or “happier men” but spam e-mails. Branding success story gone wrong…..?

The Thing With Silk


Back in the 1990′s, primary schools in New Zealand offer a home skills course which was compulsory for all students to take, including boys. The syllabus was designed as such so that little boys and girls get to learn  firsthand how to cook, sew, do woodwork, plumbing and other practical skills.

One day, 10-year-old Eric came home from school to his father and asked for $30. It was for his mini sewing project at school, he said. Since $30 was not a small amount in New Zealand during those days, his father asked what this mini project was exactly about.

“Mrs. Grant told us that we are each going to sew a pair of silk boxers. So everyone in class needs to pay $30 for the silk which she will then buy for us”, Eric chirped.

“$30 for silk? That is ridiculous!” his father exclaimed.

“But its compulsory to pass the course, dad!”

“Here’s $2 for cotton instead”, his father handed him the money.

“Dad, but the teacher said silk,” Eric tried to plea.

“Look Eric, your dad here have been wearing boxers for more than 20 years and let me tell you….”

Eric’s dad continued to explain why cotton would do the trick and how silk is not suitable anyway. The little boy was convinced.

The next day at school, all his friends lined up in class to pay up $30 to Mrs. Grant. When it was Eric’s turn, he handed his two dollars.

“Eric, this is not enough. Did you tell your mom or dad that you need $30?” Mrs. Grant asked.

“My dad says $2 would be enough for cotton,” Eric answered.

“Eric, I thought I told everyone in class that we are buying silk, not cotton!” Mrs. Grant said, a little annoyed.

Eric then explained, quoting his father’s words, “Yes I know Mrs. Grant. But my dad said cotton would be better because its airy. Silk boxers stick to your balls…!”

And so, Eric was the only one in class who paid $2 and sewed a pair of cotton boxers instead. He passed.

Inspired by a true story as told by a good friend about her (now adult) son and  (still humorous) husband. All names have been changed.

I Am Plastic


I am plastic. No, not the cosmetic surgery kind of plastic, I meant the non-flexible (or rather non-elastic?) kind. I was reminded (painfully) how plastic my body actually is during a yoga class session in the university gym last Friday.

When I first joined a yoga class more than 3 years ago, I realised that I am extremely unflexible and yoga was really, I mean really difficult and painful for me. I was the only student with her knees sticking upwards when doing the simplest almost un-yoga sitting pose. While doing the forward bend, my finger tips were almost 2 inches away from my toes no matter how hard I try to painfully stretch further. Other students, including aunties were touching their toes with the centre of their palms or grasping their feet with elbows touching the ground.

Yes I was that bad. However, I was stubborn and continued to attend classes 3 times a week to improve my flexibility. After about 6 strenuous weeks, my fingers were about an inch from my toes instead of two. Yup, still not touching and but it was slowly getting easier! It’s a shame I had to stop the sessions after 6 weeks.

I must acknowledge that yoga indeed increased my overall body strength and helped a lot with relaxation which in turn helped me sleep better at night. That was why when I found out that the university gym is offering yoga classes, I was eager to join. It somehow slipped my mind that it has been 3 yoga-less years and that I should have considered the age factor. Last Friday’s 90-minute yoga session felt like a year of torture…!

Again, I was the only one with the knees sticking out during warm up and I felt like my ham-strings were going to be torn while doing the forward bend. I was in too much pain to notice how many inches away I was from my toes. By the end of the warm up section, I was already panting. Then the instructor wanted us to do this:

With my head upside down and my ankles refusing to touch the floor, the instructor came up behind me and pulled my hips to towards herself to help me. Holy-moly I felt like my legs were going to snap at that very moment. The pull on my calves was so strong and no matter how hard she tried, my ankles stayed up! She had to give up in the end.

Moving on to the next one, no matter how hard I try to pull myself, my body wouldn’t bend one bit during the bow pose (below). It just wouldn’t budge. It was as if my chest and thighs were glued to the floor.

Several other stretchy and twisty beginner poses later left me weak and ready to give up. My limbs were faint and I could hardly even hold the cobra pose properly (below). My arms were literally shaking. As the instructor went “Be aware of your body, concentrate and breathe”, all I could think was “Let me die, let me die now please!”

Alas, the only pose I was able to perform accurately and effortlessly towards the end of the session was…..the corpse pose. (Hahahaha….!!)

After 10 minutes of relaxation in the corpse pose, the session ended. Finally….! As I pulled my body up, I could already feel the strain I had put my body through the last 90 minutes. To be fair, I slept like a baby that night. I think it was due more to exhaustion than yoga itself. No more yoga for me (a shame I know). I am too old and plastic to do it all over again!

Do you practise yoga or are you a plastic like me?

*All images from http://www.yogajournal.com

The Unfortunate Encounter With Orange Oil


Last Sunday evening I was washing some dishes after dinner as usual. As there was nobody else in the kitchen or lounge, I silently “let one out” while finishing up with the last plate. It felt peculiarly warm but I never gave it another thought and proceeded to take a seat at the dining table and read a random page on the paper. Then I noticed this horrible stench. I looked around disgusted. Was it me…? Feeling uneasy, I rushed to the toilet to check.

To my dismay, I discovered in the toilet that some orange-coloured liquid had come out of me  from …um…down under. You know where all your food eventually comes out from. I’m going to try to be as less visual as possible here so as to not affect your appetite….let’s just say I had to throw that pair of panties away and use sanitary napkins for the next few days! I was sure it was oil and that I did not soil myself  instead because it smears like oil on tissue paper and it floats on water as little blobs. And the stench oh my gosh! It reminded me of that horrible white fish oil syrup that my mother forced me to take everyday when I was a kid – Scott’s Cod Liver Oil Emulsion. Only 10 times stronger and nastier!! Eughh…..!

Anyhow, it was that stench that gave me my first clue on why this was happening – fish. Rewind to the day before, I had purchased a large piece of fresh fish steak on special in the supermarket. It was an inch thick Oilfish steak the size of my face (another clue, OIL-fish). Knowing that Terry doesn’t like fish, I asked the fish seller to cut the steak into half lengthwise so that I could eat half for dinner that day and kept the other half in the freezer for later. I microwaved half the steak covered until cooked, drained and drizzled it with some garlic oil and soy sauce. It was delicious – silky, buttery and flavourful. I walloped the whole thing by myself happily.

Then this unfortunate encounter with orange oil the next day.  There was no nausea, vomiting, fever or stomachache. Only very mild bowel movement and gas. And of course the stinky orange oil. I was actually thinking if the Oilfish had somehow hindered my body from absorbing fat thus discharging it as orange oil through my digestive system. Somewhat like the drug Xenical. Or was it draining excessive oil from my body? Maybe I should eat Oilfish more often to lose weight. Yes, I am vain like that. However it still didn’t seem right.

I considered going to the doctor’s but decided to do a little research on Google first. So I typed in the search bar – “orange oil discharge from butt” (don’t laugh!). Lots of forums popped up discussing about this same problem. Some answers suggest that it may be consumption of too much oily food, some say it’s liver damage! Another even claimed that his doctor wouldn’t believe it was oil until he collected a sample to show as proof! I was getting concerned but yet couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to my condition. Very puzzling.

Frozen Oilfish steaks*

Then I found Bob Lonsberry’s online column about his own unfortunate encounter with  the same mysterious orange oil in year 2007. He wrote a hilarious and very visual piece detailing his experience, which was very very similar to mine. And so, being puzzled about his condition and unable to find an answer, he shared his experience on his own radio show hoping someone would enlighten him. I know, talking about this on radio was so bizarre, you’ve GOT TO read his article it’s so funny. Anyway, a caller told him the most likely cause – Escolar fish.

More googling revealed that Escolar is of similar species with Oilfish.

A-haa…..!!!!

Bob continued to explain that Escolar is very high in a type of wax content that cannot be processed by the human digestive system. Therefore, it is discharged as really smelly orange coloured oil. It is also why Escolar is so buttery and flavourful; because it’s very high in fat content. Apparently it is banned in Japan and Australia while the FDA (Food and Drug Administration of America) advised against consuming this fish more than 6 ounces at a time.  Otherwise, it won’t agree with your body. Read: orange oil  will be discharged from the butt! To think I walloped about 350grams at one go, that’s about 12 ounces! Ironically, most doctors are not aware of this therefore are unable to diagnose the real problem.

Escolar and Oilfish steaks look very similar to cod as you can see in the picture. It is sometimes marketed as seabass, butterfish or white tuna. So be very careful when you see these fish on sale, it might actually be Escolar or Oilfish. I thought I should share this  information as consumption of too much Escolar or Oilfish is detrimental to health. Now I am wondering what I should do with the other half of my Oilfish steak sitting in the freezer. :(

More information about Oilfish and Escolar here and here.

*Image from: http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/113917742/Frozen_Oil_fish_Steaks.html