Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Happy January 2015!

Happy new year, everyone!

I hope everyone has had a pretty good new year so far! It has taken me this long to dust the cobwebs off this blog to let you know that I am pretty much alive, just barely, but yeah, I'll survive. 

Since we moved to a new place in November, we've not had internet access at home. We've had to struggle with a temporary mobile plan but coverage was so poor that I just didn't want to bother going online at all. There was a bit of a kerfuffle with the initial provider we wanted to go with, but due to lack of access or coverage, we had to go with an alternative, hence the delay.

We are crossing our fingers that we will have internet access today! *prays hard*

Be that as it may, I can't seem to find the time nor energy to spend too much time online. There's just so much to do!

Once we arrive home, we have to tend to the gardening, the laundry, cooking dinner and tomorrow's lunch, and oh gawd, a new one for me - studying.

I am stuck in the deep end here. 
Work is extremely challenging with the boss telling me to do this and that, that and this, and most of the time I'm running around like a headless chicken or I can't seem to work fast enough. By the time I arrive home, I just want to sleep.

But no. I have to force myself to do a bit of studying, and by a bit, I do mean a bit. 

And it isn't enough.

Just over the long weekend (Australia Day was on Monday, 26th January 2015), I struggled to finish up a poorly written assignment due on Monday. I was freaking out! I have sworn that I will not leave my assignments to the last minute anymore otherwise I will surely definitely 100% fail.

So I took the initiative to print out the next assignment's question to plan my written answer, only to find that heck, I'll need to read up on the relevant chapters first.


No prizes for guessing how I spend my evenings at home these days. :( 

Chilli seeds are growing! *excited*

On top of all that, my uncle had his open heart surgery last week and I had to make time to pop into the Royal Melbourne Hospital to visit him at least twice a day.

He was in the ICU for a few days and I have to say that his nurses have been pretty easy on the eyes - particularly one of them. My friends and I think she's the sweetest of them all. :)

The good news is that he's recovering well and he should be discharged from the hospital either tomorrow or the day after. He's going nuts without his laptop or mobile phone, as he conveniently left them at home prior to the operation. Thank goodness for a spare laptop and prepaid WiFi modem thingy which I brought over for him this morning, he now has access to the world again.

Using crates as a flower bed. Here, we have spring onion and sweet basil.

I finally went out running again yesterday evening, even if it was a short one. It was great to be out again, and it's going to be hard to regain the fitness I used to have. I had a terrible chesty cough last month and it took me almost a month to recover. 

I don't like being unfit!

One of the best activities to de-stress is weeding. I hate weeds! With a filthy vengeance. The sight of them pisses me off big time so I am more than happy to yank them out as soon as possible. 

We are pretty excited to return to Malaysia for the Chinese New Year, splitting between KK and Ipoh. A shame we won't be able to spend time in KL but being far apart from my family has made me realise that I really must prioritise my family first. My mum is definitely excited to have the entire family together again, but I hope she won't give me too many chores because I just want to bake cookies for the family as well as play with my niece. I can't wait!

Okay then, I've taken up too much of work time to write you this update. It's good to write again but I'm not sure how coherent I am - it's been a while!

Happy Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Great Ocean Road and Wildlife Retreat

The 31st of October (Friday) saw to beautiful blue skies, a very warm day and a very long drive from Melbourne to Great Ocean Road. There were a lot of toilet breaks and scenic stops, including the Lorne Pier.

It was very windy and we had to hang on to our hats!

Along the way, we tried spotting koalas in trees and it is only when we see people standing by the roadside and taking pictures, pointing at something up in the trees, do we follow suit. :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Runner Profile: Yan Leng

I first met Yan Leng during the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) running clinic sessions early 2013. We have never raced together at an event before, save for the rather disastrous Salomon Jamboree Trail Run in July 2013. Since then, she has been running and running, improving in leaps and bounds, and recently completed her first ultra event, the inaugural Starlight Ultra 84km held in Penang, Malaysia on 23rd - 24th August 2014. She has graciously agreed to spare me a few minutes (after I virtually twisted her arm) for this interview.

At the recent BHPetrol Orange Run.
Photo credit:

1) How long have you been running?
I started running about 2 years ago, since September 2012. My first official race/run was Nike KL Run 10KM. I joined it with my few colleagues and since then I fell in love with running.

2) What does your family think about you and running?
My family never expected that I will love running so much. However, they always support me. I also ensure that my running plans do not interfere with my family time. Normally, I will run in the early mornings during the weekends so that I still have time with my family after that.

Jamie, Piew, Yan Leng, Nick, Gan and Yee Hoo before Starlight Ultra.
Photo credit: Jamie.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Still Alive

I'm still here, if you're wondering.
If you're not, well, I'm still here, anyway. :)

It's been an exhausting 3 weeks since the arrival of my parents-in-law AND a new beginning - I have a job!

It's not much (of a job) at the moment, but I still have to get my ass out of bed by 7.20 am at the latest, and be in at the office by 9 am. I now have to make sure that my face is decked with war paint, otherwise I look completely washed out and deserve to hide out at home, like what I have been doing for the last year and a half.

I return home to home-cooked food and the urge to crawl into bed immediately. After-work runs have not exceeded 10km at most as we have to rush home for dinner.

I am just so knackered by the end of the day that I don't feel like doing anything after dinner. I can't even bear to sit in front of the laptop for too long!

Now that I work in the city, it feels cool to be part of the city crowd again. I need some new work clothes, that's for sure, but until I receive my first paycheck, I can't afford to go shopping!

Wearing a pair of trainers is so much more comfy.

The lobby area of the office building has mirrored walls that I can't help but to check myself out all the time, just to be sure that I'm looking prim and proper. Yeah, I take a lot of selfies, too. *vain*

I think my parents are relieved that I am employed again. They have been bugging me to get my ass back into the corporate world for so long, or at least be an employee somewhere, that a good friend told me the only way to counter their nagging is to get pregnant immediately. :P

My work requires me to converse in Mandarin a lot as most of the clients are from China. It irks me to be forced into this position where I fumble with my words, hoping that I'm making sense to the client and in return, the client would stare at me, hoping I'd make more sense by just staring hard at me.* 

The first week was rather scary as I don't like being thrown into the deep end and expected to swim to save myself. Being thrown instructions which I don't really understand and expected to deliver something immediately is not enjoyable at all. I have been on the verge of losing my temper and beseeching to the boss to make some sense to me, FFS!

My colleagues are friendly (so far) and we get along just fine. The office suite is filled with laughs and giggles on a daily basis, which suits me just fine. One of the bosses have bought me (and the colleagues as well) cups of coffee several times now. Yay to free coffee!

I had my first cup of strong latte last week and I couldn't sleep that night!

I've soon found out that a cup of strong latte has 3 shots of espresso so I've resorted to having a cappucino instead. :)

I am rambling.

I can't keep my eyes open any longer so goodnight, folks.
Have a great weekend, all.
I miss you.
I don't even know what's happening with everyone right now.

*my Mandarin is rather poor.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

So Much Eating And So Little Running

With the in-laws in town and with the weather a bit crazy every now and then, I haven't been running as much as I would have liked. I'm sure there is a way we can get around it and hopefully we'll get that started next week!

We drove up to Silvan last Saturday to check out the Tesselaar Tulip Festival. AT AUD$22 per entry, I thought it was very steep. I offered for the hubs and I to wait in the car while the in-laws went in but the MIL insisted everyone went in.

Thank goodness we had brought a picnic basket, otherwise we'd have to spend more money on food inside!

I made sure the PILs were right behind me. Heehee!

With rows and rows of brightly coloured tulips, the first one to capture my interest was the 'Queen of the Night'. So dark in colour and looking black at first glance, they are really just a deep shade of maroon.

My other favourite is the Rosalie, which is a pretty shade of purple.

The place was crowded and no one hesitated to pay the entrance fee (except us*). With temperature as high as 27'C, I suppose it was a beautiful day not to be wasted indoors.

*I offered for both the hubs and I to wait in the car while they went in to explore. :D

We spent two hours inside and eventually left the place, only to find ourselves at the National Rhododendron Garden where no entrance fee was required! We didn't manage to walk right to the end of the park as we turned back halfway through. 

The place was equally crowded and its parking area was filled with cars.

(I'm not much of a flower person but I now know what rhododendron and Chinese cedar are!)

Despite protests from the FIL not to stop by for pie, we did find drop by Pie in the Sky anyway. After driving so far, surely we had to stop at tourist traps spots to cross something off the list!

We ordered the Beef Curry, which was dry and lacked the spicy aroma one would expect from curry. It was instead rather salty and its meat wasn't tender. An extremely forgettable choice.

My favourite is definitely the Korma Chicken, and MIL thought it was nice as well. The minute I cut through the pie, its gravy oozed out, making it extremely inviting to dig in. I suspect its filling is almost creamy that makes it a delicious pie. It's a multiple gold award winner!

(I really hope I can try making it one day!)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

7-Day Project Gratitude

20th September 2014.
I was hoping I wouldn't get tagged but haha, trust an ol' buddy to tag me on Facebook!

Instead of boring everyone with a daily status update, I thought I'd chuck it here, somewhere private, where only those who accidentally stumble across this blog have the misfortune to read my mundane ramblings. :)

I'm not sure how it works - do I come up with something new to be grateful for on a daily basis or can they be the same thing over and over? Do I need to elaborate or shall I just leave them in point form?


Day 1 - 21st September 2014.

1. To be alive and well!
2. For a loving family, both immediate and extended. 
No wars or rifts at the moment! Well, not that I know of ... but anyway, I miss being a kid all over again so that I can be at home with the family. That's just my indirect way of saying that I really miss my family. And to be able to watch my munchkin of a niece grow up! :)
3. To still be able to walk and run. 
Why not? I'm always thankful that my legs are still holding up pretty well. Having said that, the DOMS I suffered from Saturday's hill reps are torture! I thought by running our usual undulating 11k route on Monday would eliminate the DOMS but hahaha, they returned as a result of Monday's run. How ironic!

Day 2 - 22nd September 2014.

1. To be able to devour my chick lit novels. 
I love that the library is just within walking distance! I really enjoy spending time with novels. Seriously. It's a childhood pastime, just reading and reading and not having a care about the rest of the world. A shame that I have terrible memory and a week later I won't remember what I actually read!
2. To be able to hug my husband on a daily basis.
3. For good friends whom I know I will be able to count on when I need them. 
There are friends who would hesitate and mull over whether to assist you or not, before giving you an answer. There are others who'd agree to help without any hesitation at all. :)

Knew of the movie before I spotted the book at the library. A good read.

Day 3 - 23rd September 2014.

1. I still have hair! 
Despite the grey roots, I still have hair.
2. I still have teeth! 
I had a nightmare back in high school once about my teeth going all flappy like flap doors for pets to enter the house. It was horrible. I couldn't speak properly in my dream and my teeth would just flap!
3. Bargain $1 bags. 
Bought a bag of loose longan and another bag of french beans - what a steal! I love a great bargain!

Day 4 - 24th September 2014.

1. A smartphone. 
Although the screen has cracked and I've taped it, it still works. Whatsapp chats with friends are awesome.
2. For Skype! 
Otherwise I won't be able to watch my niece's antics and my parents won't see how fat I am. Haha! It's the only way to have decent chat with everyone, although the niece is always demanding for attention. Argh, she's growing up too fast for me!
3. For ol' friends. 
So happy that Marie will be helping me buy and bring some stuff for me - she'll be here next month to visit her adorable chubby niece who is turning 1! (Whoever plans to do their shopping in Australia when they're here, think again. Nothing here is cheap, NOTHING. Except for McDonald's soft cone ice-cream...)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From Wombat to Surf Coast Century

The weekend after Tan Ultra was spent in Wombat land, trudging about and doing my best not to grimace in pain. I thought I had recovered OK as I was walking fine 2 days after, but a bit of climbing (500m elevation gain) was enough to smash my quads!

With Skye and Erin.
I slowed down considerably, much to my annoyance. I didn't want to be so far behind from the crazy peeps but Isaac threw in a curveball and took us down a 'not recommended' track which I thought was a shortcut.

We ended up on the riverbank, probably 1km away from Link Track (the usual track we would take). It's always cool to have a bit of an adventure but I think I was not in good shape to enjoy it that day!

It was such a relief to find even ground again, and I made a better effort on moving. It's the 2km stretch which I really dislike as it's straight and boring. 

Rock climbing Kiwi sheeps and Aussie mountain goats.
Photo credit: Bin.

Anthony and Erin were still waiting for us at the car park, which cheered me up. I offered them some of my mooncake biscuits, and I was pleasantly surprised that they liked them. 

Anyway, it's my fault for putting my legs through the torture. Robbo did ask me how I was feeling when we arrived early that morning but he went on to answer his own question, "You should be fine if you're here today!" 

Funny how they made me sound like a hero and an idiot at the same time ...

Besides, how could I resist hanging out with crazy people who said that they were TAPERING for Surf Coast Century??

Bloody hell. 

Anglesea Beach.

Last Saturday was Surf Coast Century weekend over at Anglesea, a 2-hour drive for us. We arrived before 3pm and hung around at the finish area before deciding on a spot to ambush our friends.