Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Into Q2 of 2015

Time sure flies, whether you're having fun or not!

Sorry I've been busy and too exhausted to dust and vacuum the cobwebs off this blog. Every time I think there's a window of opportunity to rattle off a few words here, it disappears in a blink of an eye.

I want my old life back!!

Yet each time I yell out that phrase in my head, I feel guilty (for having such a thought) and tell myself that it's all good, blah blah blah, let's just make it work, it's all going to change soon.

*big sigh*

In a nutshell, I attend online classes once a week, have an assignment to submit every fortnight and an exam every 1.5 months. That's for 1 subject, and I have 3 more to go. (That is, if I do pass the 1st exam. Otherwise, I have to defer the last 2 subjects until I pass!)

It feels like I just sat for my 1st exam (for the 1st subject) last month and I have another one this month!

Oh hang on, it was just last month.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy studying as it is applicable to my current casual job, but I do wish that work wasn't that taxing, traveling time from home to work and vice versa wasn't so time consuming, and well, making sure that I have a 'balanced' life out of work and study is quite tough, too!

With not much time and energy for running, it's no wonder I'm looking like The Blerch's cousin sister at the moment. :(

Cranberry scones, anyone?

Someone said that I was merely making excuses (as above) for not signing up for races this year. 

Such unwarranted accusations piss me off big time.

I wanted to defend myself and argue my case but I didn't because reasoning with this person would not make any difference.

This is the same person who accused us (whether jokingly or not, I did not like it one bit) of being anti-social when we disappeared from the social running scene while my in-laws were here visiting for 2 months. We could not afford to spend 1 day of the weekend running with our friends as we were bringing the parents sightseeing - we had to make that our priority, as much as it was difficult for us to miss out on the fun of running with friends.

Hmmm, looks like I am keeping a grudge. :P

Used part of a mesh bag (from a bag of garlic) as a spice pouch for homemade beef pho. Pretty neat!

Anyway, I had tons of fun being back home with the family for Chinese New Year. It was tough to juggle time with family, running, studying, baking and babysitting my niece, and getting enough sleep.  The whole family was only together for dinner on the 2nd day as my youngest sister and husband flew in then, and we flew off the next day to spend the rest of the holidays with hub's family.

(I always knew that marrying someone from the same hometown would save you the hassle of spending Chinese New Year in two different cities! I did not, however, manage to find 'The One' from my hometown. :P)

A busy day at the office yesterday. Colleague's 1 year old rascal
preferred sitting on my lap and clacking away on the keyboard.
We couldn't get a lot of work done! :)

I am looking forward to the Easter weekend as we're having Good Friday and Easter Monday off! YAY!!! 4 day weekend, woohoo!!!!

It's going to involve studying, running, sleeping, studying, cooking, eating and catching up with some old friends. Oh, and some house chores and shopping, I hope.

Speaking of shopping, there isn't any time to go shopping at all! 
*pulls at hair*

Joined SCTR's #10 Night Run yesterday - we had a huge crowd!

We will be at Bright next weekend for the Buffalo Stampede. I'll just be crewing for the hubs and hang out with the rest of gang who'll be crewing for their partners as well. I am quite excited at the possibility of meeting some top trail runners!! Not sure if I'll recognise them but I'll try to grab some pictures with them, anyway.

I can't believe it's been a year since I ran Buffalo Stampede ... holy smokes!
I sure hope that there'll be some improvement from last year's event - re: the finish chute and time clock!!!

Can't keep my eyes open anymore ...

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...)