Sunday, 19 February 2017

Brain Numbing, Back Breaking Work

It's a woman's job. I'm sure some men do it. But it seems that among everybody that I know, it is always the job of the wife or girlfriend to plan the itinerary. This post happened becoz I'm taking a well deserved break from working on our itinerary for Japan for over 3 hours, since 6 am. My back between the shoulder blades are aching terribly & my brain all fogged up from going through so many places of interest.

It usually takes me many hours over several days to properly plan the itinerary for a 3 days camping trip. I can't imagine how long it'll take me to plan a 12 days (excluding the 2 days of flying), 3 cities (potentially more, depending on my findings) trip in Japan. To make the most of your time (& money of course), you need to execute a thoroughly planned itinerary. Hub's friend & his family visited Perth 2 years ago with, in my opinion, a terrible itinerary. 1 day they were in Pinnacles. The next day, they drove down to Margaret River. The 3rd day, they drove back up north for something else before going back down south on the 4th day. Too much time & fuel wasted travelling up & down for no reason at all. They should have asked us to have a look at their itinerary. But by the time they visited us, they were on their 2nd last day of the tour when most of the tour had already been completed.

The 1st step is always deciding where & when to go. After I've confirmed my leave, I will book the air tickets. That alone is quite a headache as there are so many airlines, so many different prices, so many different layover time. Once I've confirmed the date & time of arrival, it's time to start looking at the places of interest in that city. I will go through all of them, going into their individual websites & shortlisting the ones I'm interested in visiting. Useful information like opening hours, how to get there, whether they close on certain days go into my Word Document. These locations get cross referenced against Google Maps then gets plotted out so I travel in a circle rather than erratically. Places of interest that are near 1 another gets grouped together for the same day. Then, I will book my accommodation based on my itinerary. It sounds simple enough but it really is not. I know. I'm being overly thorough & perfectionistic.

Break over. Time to get back to my itinerary planning. Why I won't let hubs help? 1st, he won't have the patience like I do. 2nd, it won't get started till perhaps 2 days before the trip & it'll end up being a shoddy job. 3rd, major logistics will be missed. Perhaps most couples I know are like us. Perhaps that's why I only know of women who plan itineraries.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

It's Pay Back Time!

We arrived back in Perth on Tuesday night. I spent Wed morning for Konga at the gym, followed by stocking up the fridge, unpacking our luggage, portioning out the dogs' foods for freezing & watching Arrow on Netflix. Full on work on Thursday, didn't get home till 7.30 pm. Half day work on Friday, Body Combat in the evening.

It's such a small world. We have a new Combat instructor for Fridays now which I only found out when I attended it yesterday. Turned out that he's 1 of the youth leaders cum photographer for SGIA Perth. Being extremely bad with faces, I recognised him but couldn't figure out where I've seen him & I've been attending meetings for almost 3 years now. Major oops. Hubs was the 1 who made him out. With the lady instructor, we have time between tracks to get a drink of water. With him, he pushed on without breaks in between. I haven't been doing this for 2.5 weeks so I ached a bit after.

This morning, I pushed myself to do Body Combat followed by Body Pump. I've not done Pump before & the instructor advised me to use the lightest weights. My poor arms & quads... My legs quivered as I descended the stairs to exit the gym. Lifting my arms up requires much effort. My hair was totally drenched as if I had just came out from a shower. But, I've never felt better. Totally hooked.

I love my life here in Perth. I know hubs do too. He just finds it hard to let go. He said that he grew up in Sg. I told him that he's gonna grow old here now. Lol.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Sin-ing CNY

I'm not sure if we'll break the tradition next year but we kept to our tradition of going back to Sg for CNY this year. Every return visit leaves me in the red in the annual leave department, with me owing 30 hours of leave this time. It is especially hard when the 2 weeks Christmas break leave is compulsory & CNY is always just round the corner. We're approaching our 3 year mark in Perth. While I never fail to feel sad when the visit comes to an end, I feel glad to be back on Aussie soil. Perhaps I'm just identifying less & less about Sg being home.

Flying with Scoot, we always arrive in Sg just shy of 12 mn. Like previous times, we got home close to 2 am after spending time clearing the automated customs & waiting for our luggage on the carousel. (It seems that our luggage is always the last to be unloaded.) It took the taxi uncle only 35 mins to travel West from the East, mostly becoz he was driving at 130 km/hr on the 90km/hr expressway. Hubs held my hand the entire way. I'm not 1 who finds speed exhilarating. Lol.

The horror set in the next day. It never was this crowded (people) & this congested (vehicles). Even the feeder bus experienced a jam travelling to the town center. I could only looked on in dismay. This wasn't the Singapore I remembered & I haven't been away that long. Hubs must then go through his mandatory allergic reaction to whatever it is in Sg air which I remedied by getting Zyrtec from the pharmacy. He had to have 1 every single day to keep the hay fever at bay.

It poured for the 1st few days we were back, granting us temporary reprieve from the heat. I was really happy to see everybody again. It was the only thing I looked forward to. By the end of the 1st week, I was already feeling very "sian". I can't explain it nor can I describe it. For 2.5 weeks, we overate, overslept, over everything. Although hubs kept telling me that he doesn't know where home is, he appeared to breathe a sigh of relief upon reaching home here. The 1st thing he said was, "It's good to be home."

Friday, 6 January 2017

1st Day Back At Work

It was hard. Over 2 weeks, I've slept late, woke up late & napped plenty. I didn't sleep well as I felt really hot despite the temperature being in the 20s. I was awakened at 1 am by the hot mattress on my back. I couldn't get comfortable no matter how I flipped. Work wasn't too hard, a nice way to ease back into work. I did some cleaning, traced the lenses for all the way up to Wed & ordered the ones we didn't have. Job done.

There's a 5.15 pm Body Combat that I wanted to get to. I went to take a nap (oops) without setting an alarm, thinking that I would wake up way before 5 pm. Obviously I was wrong & I missed the class. I must say that Body Combat is really powerful. I went for the Tuesday evening class & I ached the worst I've ever been in my life the day. Probably didn't help that I attended Konga on Wed morning either. I literally ached from my shoulders all the way down to my lower back & my arms as well. I had difficulty putting on & taking clothes off. Walking & changing positions hurt. By Thursday it had subsided plenty & there's just a tinge left in between my shoulder blades today. I was looking forward to another session of torture but silly me missed it. Work will be full on next week. I better enjoy the weekend while I can.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Goals To Work Towards In 2017

I dreamt again. Zombie apocalypse. I know, I watched too many such shows on Netflix. Although I was trying to escape in my dream, I was helping others do the same, trying to keep them safe. It is a far cry compared to my dreams from when I was younger. I was always afraid, always running. While there's still the element of fear in my dreams now, I'm either fighting to protect others or trying the best of my ability to help others. I'll like to think that it signifies a shift in my subconsciousness or perhaps a strengthening of my character. The dream ended with me successfully helping the group escape to the aid of an army group deployed to kill the zombies.

Hubs went back to work today. I don't start work till Friday which hardly counts as work. We're just supposed to do some cleaning & for my part, check & order lenses for the cases on Monday. It'll probably take about half a day. Home alone, I attended the 9.15 am session of Body Balance at the gym. We have to sign in & collect a tag for the respective class. This lady was trying to see the class roster underneath the sign in clipboard & she said, "Sorry, dog." I could have taken it as an insult but it would speak more of me if I chose to take offense. We always talk about kosen rufu in our Buddhist studies. Kosen rufu means world peace. For world peace to prevail, it has to start from me. I brushed it off as her strong character which was later very evident in the class. I do the same with my manager as well. Besides, dogs are very endearing. :)

I thought Body Balance would be easy for me since I've been doing yoga for over a year. Granted, we did stop yoga session for over a month now which we will pick up again this weekend. But I didn't expect it to be so hard. I had to stop & rest several times during the class. I kept up better with Konga which was much more fast paced. It did bring up my weak spots, namely, balancing (all the 1 legged poses) & quads strength (all the warriors & holding of lunges). At the end of the class, I verbalised that to the instructor & she told me to keep at it & I'll get better at it. Through conversation with her, I also found out that she teaches Body Combat as well, which is what I'm planning to get to this evening. Sometimes gym work (jogging on the treadmill & weights) can get repetitive. Going to such classes mixes things up & work on different sets of muscles. I truly find them very enjoyable even if I can't keep up.

Rather than resolutions which I consider "must get there no matter what", I'll go with goals to work towards. It's a bit more lenient & allows a bit more leeway should I fall short.

Physical Health/Fitness

  1. I shall aim not to give up going to the gym that easily. It's ok not to see results. Just focus on how good I feel after each session. 
  2. I will like to master at least 1 inversion by the end of the year, starting with head stand.
  3. I shall eat well & stop deprivation diet becoz it just doesn't work.
  4. Instead of a weight goal, I shall aim to build more muscles & lose more fats. 
Mental Health
  1. I shall sing more to my dogs. Singing is 1 of my favourite past times. I sing during the journey to work & back home everday. Hopefully they'll enjoy it.
  2. Cut the self doubt. Whether I can or not, as long as I've tried my best.
  3. Cut the self degrading talk. I'm as good as the next person. 
Spiritual Health
  1. Human revolution is a life long work in progress. I shall continue to polish myself so that I will shine even brighter.
  2. I shall contribute a little bit more to kosen rufu than I did last year even if it's something very small.
  3. I shall aim to further apply the Buddhist principles I've learnt in my life. 
  4. Finally, never stop doing the 3 pillars of faith, practice & study.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

1st Post of 2017

Is it a bad omen to be having a nightmare on New Year's Day? It's supposed to be a start to the new year with new determinations. But I woke up dreaming that Wang Wang has passed away after he "生了一场大病" & refused to eat. Naturally, I demanded to know from my dad if he brought Wang Wang to the vet since he didn't do so for Puggy. But before I got the answer, I woke up. Perhaps even my subconscious self is afraid of the answer. 

As per tradition, we went for the New Year meeting at the centre in Osborne Park. The encouragement given was that a new year is the time we make new resolutions & reaffirm our goals. Life will always be full of ups & downs. The Gosho says that nobody, not even sages or worthies can avoid problems. So let us all strengthen our efforts to overcome & transform the negativity in our life.

After the meeting, hubs drove us to Northbridge where we had dim sum at Dragon Palace. There's a lot of hype around this dim sum restaurant but we both felt that the food was average. I think our goal is to try all the restaurants offering dim sum to find the best of the best. Lol. Hubs felt Silver Seas in Morley (if you don't like queuing as Wang's is always super busy) is best while I felt Springs in Beechboro is best (but unfortunately they stopped selling dim sum a year ago when their dim sum chef went back to Malaysia). The times we ate dim sum here in Perth way way way exceeds the times we had dim sum in Sg.

Whenever I'm not working, I'll take an afternoon nap. Which means I've been napping for the past 1 week. 🙊🙊🙊 This time in my dream, I opened the sliding door at the back of the house. Instead of our tiny paved yard that leads to the garage, the back of the house was just a vast area of sand. Like unconstructed land. I turned back to hubs & said, "Hey, maybe we can expand the house outwards." Then I looked to the sky & there was a triple rainbow in the sky! It was an amazing sight.

In real life, I've ever only seen a double rainbow & it was here in Perth. A triple rainbow perhaps signify hope & the promise of better days. It's a good dream to end the 1st day of the new year with.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Final Post of 2016

It may be NYE, but like all previous years, we have no plans to celebrate it. We were initially invited over to W&Y's place for barbie but Y fell sick yesterday & hence had to cancel. 

1 week of my 2 weeks Christmas shut down gone. But we've kept ourselves busy. Hubs took 2 days leave on the 27th & 28th to spend time with me for my birthday which translated to 6 non working days for him. The thing with me is that if something costs a lot, I need to get it on impulse. If I allow myself to think it over, it never happens. So on impulse, I went to Power Fitness on the 23rd & grabbed 2 sign up forms. (I've long discontinued my work place gym & have extra flabs to show for it.) I thought I would have a hard time convincing hubs to sign up due to ongoing costs. But surprisingly, he didn't protest. Perhaps it was becoz I told him, "This is something I want you to do with me & you can't say no." We headed down the next day to submit our forms, have our photo taken, orientation done & access card given to us. I signed myself up for gym plus unlimited classes & hubs for gym only since I don't think he'll be interested in classes.

Christmas Eve. We went to the gym for the 1st time. When we got home at 7+ pm, I noticed something was wrong with Basil. He wasn't as energetic, he was shaking, he wasn't very interested in his food which never happens. I was concerned & in the end, I made the decision to bring him to a 24 hour vet which cost me $200+. His lower back was tender upon palpation & the vet thought he may have hurt his back. He was given a painkiller injection which made him very woozy. Half an hour later, she felt that he was still responding to palpation & wanted to do some scans & hospitalised him but I chose to bring him home. Otherwise it would have cost us more than $200. I made a good call though for he was back to his usual self the next morning. Sometimes we have to remember that they're a business & we as dog owners do know our dogs better.

We were in Yanchep for a Christmas BBQ lunch organised by my group leader. I learnt it the hard way not to buy Mascarpone on Christmas Eve. It was sold out everywhere. Apparently, tiramisu is a very popular dessert during Christmas time. I was forced to use cream cheese instead which was less than ideal as it taste completely different. I had 3 cocktails & 2 glasses of champagne over the lunch & possibly dinner party. When we finally left at 5+ pm, I've had some barbie items, a fair bit of the various salads & heaps of desserts. Not exactly the best way to start the gym journey. Lol. Well, to our credit, we got home, rested a bit & worked out at the gym. I thought we were very "on", gym-ing at 9 pm on Christmas Day & that the gym would be deserted as everybody's partying away. Hah! There were many others at the gym working out too!

26th. Hubs was asked by his colleague to help feed his fish while he's back in his hometown for 4 weeks. He asked hubs to feed the fish 1, 3 & 5. Hubs questioned the fish not being fed on Sat & Sun but he was told that it was alright. This was Monday on week 2. When we got there, 4 out of 5 fish were belly up. I know nothing about fish other than they're very fragile. Did they die becoz they weren't fed on Sat & Sun? Was it water ph or temperature or lack of oxygen? We didn't know what to do & hubs just scooped out the dead fish. Sorry, I think dogs will fare better with me than fish. Since we were already all the way down south, we went to Cockburn Gateway to buy me my birthday present. I wanted an IPL machine & I just told him to pay for it. When you've been together for so long, presents get increasingly hard to choose. I had $85 (was initially $120 but I spent some of it) birthday money from my colleagues & he just topped up the balance. 

I think it's very true that if you leave it to a man to plan something, it is always left for the last minute & in the end, you have to make do with what's available. I see it in other couples, even more so for hubs. He didn't make any reservations for dinner till 1 week before my birthday only to find that it's all booked out everywhere. (For his birthdays, all plans were already in place 2 months before the actual day.) In the end, Nobu was the only restaurant with availability on 27th at 8.45 pm. We were given a table overlooking the pool. You'd think that it being fine dining, the noise level would be low. We could hardly hear each other talk & despite the waitress attempting to speak really loudly, I still missed chunks of what she said. Dinner came up to almost $300 but it was so good I didn't mind the price. Not that I was paying anyway. Haha.

28th, my birthday. Started the morning with Konga at the gym. It was hard but I did manage to keep up majority of the time. Drove back home & found hubs just waking up. We had lunch at Bullcreek Hawker as recommended by 1 of my colleague. We loved their salt & pepper squid tentacles. It being Wed, we headed down to feed the remaining fish only to find that it had died. Hubs then said that he will return on Friday to drain the tank. It was gym in the evening & though I managed to finish my routine, I struggled badly most likely becoz of the exertion from Konga in the morning. I didn't feel older but I did feel that I really need to stick to a regular exercise regime. I'm not working at the moment which makes going to the gym easy. It is when I restart work that the challenge really begins.

So, we've come to the end of 2016. I've put in good effort at work, which, of course, I'll continue in 2017. I shall make a firmer resolve to take better care of my health & increase my fitness level. Health & peace to all.