Thursday, January 28, 2010

Déjà Vu

It was probably 17-18 years ago. I was a small kid. I didn't speak nor understand English then. I remember on one morning, my Mother played a song in her old Sony cassette player in our old house's living room. She was cleaning something, if not she was sweeping the floor or wiping the table there.

I picked up the melody of the song she played that morning. I did not know why but that song somehow caught my ears and heart. I remembered a little bit of the melody of particular song and could blurry hum the first line of what the lady sung in that song. "Why does the Sun go on shining...?" All this time, I thought it was one of her favorites Beatles' hit songs. When I discovered that the Beatles consisted of all male singers, I was still in a good faith that this song still could have been their hits. It might have been re-sung by a female singer or something. After years of searching the old Beatles songs, I could not find it.

Last week, I heard the same melody that reminded me of my in-quest childhood melody was played in my boyfriend's car. I asked him what song was that. He found the title and the song for me. There you go. My search for the longest years finally ended.

Turned out it was a song called 'The End of the World' sung by Skeeter Davis. When I digested her whole 'broken-hearted' lyrics, I was literally brokenhearted too. I found it really sad. The sadness expressed in that song was kind of real, honest and biting.

The End of the World
Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don't they know it's the end of the world,
'Cause you don't love me anymore.

Why do the birds go on shining?
Why do the stars glow above?
Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye.

I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything the same as it was.
I can't understand. No, I can't understand.
How life goes on the way it does.

Why does my heart go on beating?
Why do these eyes of mine cry?

Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye.

Che Il Bel Giorno

On the days when I was in my primary school, Betamax Video was in its heyday and Laser Disc or CD were still nonexistent, during school holidays my Dad would take my siblings and I to the regular Video Rental shop called 'Tiga Bintang' in our town. Then, he borrowed us every latest Disney Classics cartoons available at that rental shop. We had our cartoon videos frenzy for hours there. From Donald Duck, Chip & Dale, Tom & Jerry to Aladdin.

I remember the Disney cartoon that touched my heart from the day my Dad brought the video home until this very moment was and is still 'The Little Mermaid". It was some time in my primary school's 2nd grade and seventeen years later, I'm still mesmerised by the love story, the songs and all the heavenly beautiful creatures under the sea.

Under the Sea - Sebastian.

Part of Your World - Ariel.

Speaking of Betamax Video, I recall once upon a time, I watched a lovely two dogs' love story cartoon in my Dad's Betamax Video Player. A dirty street male hound and an uptown female pooch, who fall in love. I remember they ate spaghetti at night and accidentally kissed for the very first time.

I tried to tell the title of this Disney's old pooch love story cartoon to my boyfriend last week when we watched his Disney's Peter Pan but failed to do so until tonight. I finally found the title name from Wikipedia which is called "Lady and the Tramp" and the video of their sweet unforgettable 'spaghetti' night date.

Lady and Tramp's Bella Notte.

Bella Notte

Oh this is the night, it's a beautiful night
And we call it bella notte
Look at the skies, they have stars in their eyes
On this lovely bella notte.
Side by side with your loved one,
You'll find enchantment there.
The night will weave its magic spell,
When the one you love is near!
Oh this is the night, and the heavens are right!
On this lovely bella notte!

Sweet, Sweet Baby Tomatoes

Two days ago, after contemplating for a couple of days, I finally plucked the three red tomatoes hanging on my plants. What a waste if these red dots just stayed there for the sake of decorating the green stems then rotted there, I thought. Or worse, they'd be stolen without me even having a chance to enjoy them. One of my housemates actually told me that during the previous Christmas holiday, some of my tomatoes were stolen by random people wandering in my unit level.

My second or third tomatoes harvest

Harvested on 26 January 2010

That evening I offered my housemate to try some of the fruits of my patience. At first, she refused and said that she'd tried eating this tomato before and it was tasteless. After I ate one myself and told her that what I just ate actually had a sweet taste, she finally ate one too.

"Hmm... This one is not bad", she said.

"Now you know", I said at heart.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It Isn't Normal Anymore

Last Friday morning, I had a very bad stomach cramps accompanied by spasm. In my entire life, I never had such a bad and frightening medical experience like this. I kept on tossing on my bed because the cramps in my stomach bit me so hard until I could not breath. I could not move my hands and fingers. My face was stiff and so did my tongue. I could not pronounce properly. For quite some time, I knew what stroke sufferers would feel when they can't move some part of their bodies.

I was very worried with the spasm and in terrible abdominal pain. From my room, I finally cried for my house mate's name who was luckily still in the kitchen having her breakfast. I cried for her names many times but my voice was too soft and I could not call her name properly. My upper body felt like frozen. Finally after trying to shout her name again and again for about ten times, she could hear me and came over to see me.

She was frantic seeing my condition then tried to call few doctors to come over to our house. However, some doctors in the neighborhood do not provide this service and if they do, they'd charge $150 for checking patients at their premises. My housemate tried to persuade me to walk to the clinic across our block. I refused her in the beginning as I really had a hard time moving my body and my cramps were still killing me.

After I felt slightly better, she finally walked me down to the clinic. It was a rainy morning. I saw the look of the doctor when he saw me again that morning. I just checked myself in that clinic earlier this month due to prolonged sore throat and flu. He asked me what happened and put his stethoscope on my lower stomach.

In the end, his verdict was severe menstrual cramps and anxiety attack. I was too panic that morning, breathed too fast, ran out of oxygen and hence I had spasm attacks too. He gave me pain killers and pills for my muscle pain post spasm then told me not to think too much.

I had to take MC again. My housemate was worried and came to work late. And I had to spend $60 extra this month for this unexpected expense. My colleagues expressed their concerns about me that Friday via SMS. My superior called me into his office this morning to check what is going on with me. I have made several close people worried about me.

After giving this phenomena a little further thought, firstly I am only 25 years old and already diagnosed with anxiety attack. I saw doctor about three months ago for prolonged headache which turned to be a stress headache. Before this spasm episode, roughly two weeks ago I experienced the same headache for about one week. Obviously, taking vitamin B complex as prescribed earlier can't help me much this time around. What's wrong with me?

Earlier today, I did some legwork in the internet about anxiety disorder. Turned out, anxiety is caused by constant worries and fears that may not be real which cause my disability to relax. I read all the symptoms and to my horror, I realized I have most of them.

Reading at the possible anxiety symptoms stated in the internet, I am quite positive that I am now suffering from it. My worry and fearful mind now has taken its physical toll on me. I am tensed most of the time for no real reason. I can't relax anymore. Sometimes I do have body, head and muscle aches. I close my eyes at night but can't really sleep, therefore generally still feel tired in the following morning. I think I sleep but I don't rest. I get tired pretty fast. I dread over work and some other personal things. I worry constantly over something which does not really happen just yet. I felt restless. My head just keeps on thinking. And as long as I could remember, I think I've been experiencing these for months already.

My biggest worry about my anxiety now is that this may and will affect other people around me too. Somehow, my dear ones would get the impact and have to deal with my anxiety as well. I really don't want this.

I think I've figured out the root of my constant worry and fear and I do really want my normal life back. I want to be happy and cannot afford this for too long anymore. I want my mind, body and soul back to me. God and Darling, please help me!

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient today as for the day is its own trouble."
Matthew 6: 25-27

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cross Stitching: A Blast from the Past

After living in Singapore for more than two years, half of the time I feel that weekends in Singapore can be very boring, especially if you live alone (with no close family around). My normal weekend activities in Singapore usually consist of chilling at home, housekeeping, eating out with friends, having some retail therapy or just catching movies. Apparently this boredom does not apply to me alone. Although my boyfriend is not based in Singapore, he also feels that Singapore is a pretty boring place to live. Quite often, we both feel that Singapore is very small and we can't really explore much. Whilst he is in town to visit me, mostly we just end up eating out at the nearby hawker centers, doing some window shopping or catching movies at the nearest mall.

About two weeks ago, I had a lazy Sunday afternoon stroll at Bishan's Junction 8 with my boyfriend.  After lunch, we spotted this Popular Special Sale in the mall. It was more to a stationery and children books kind of sale.

When he was busy choosing animal stickers for his nephews at home, my eyes caught a section which sold DIY handicrafts. What drew my interest most was the fact that the DIY stuff sold a this sale reminded me of one of my favorite childhood activities. It was taught during my 4th grade of primary school and personally practiced during my leisure time too at home with the help of my Mom. Cross stitching. The X-shaped stitches in a tiled pattern cloth to form a picture.

I remember that one of the school projects for art class that year was making a cross stitched table cover with a group of class mates. Those days, my Mom also often made cross stitched pillow sheets decorated with any pictures that my siblings and me chose from her cross stitch design books.

After browsing the cute designs and found out that the price for each 'project' was only $1, I went crazy. That afternoon, I was suddenly excited to find a long lost hobby. I was instantly busy selecting cute cross stitch pattern without even thinking the level of the difficulty of the project and the fact that I have abandoned cross stitching for almost ten years by now. I simply bought the packages because it was super cheap and cute plus I had a strong belief that anyhow I still got the skill.

As a Virgo, I have tendency of being indecisive or very slow in making decision or choice. I just think too much and really take time to weigh all the facts before buying. Since that day I was experiencing this episode for quite some time, my boyfriend finally saved me from this torture. He took whatever I held in my hand at that point of time and paid them in the cashier. He bought me two keychain materials with Virgo and Scorpio designs and two materials for mini pouches. Scorpio picture in the key chain represents his zodiac and Virgo represents mine.

S$1 Key Chain Kits.

Zodiac cross stitch design and work instruction for key chain.

When I reached home, I could not wait to start my cross stitching frenzy. I started making the Scorpio key chain first for my boyfriend. Turned out the pattern cloth was unbelievably tiny and required the cross stitching style to be very small and a little bit complicated than I thought. I needed full concentration to count the thread in each direction to follow the picture in the design paper, change the thread and put the thread in and out the cloth. 

I must say that cross stitching was a very fun activity to do as you'd always get the anxious feeling to see the end result from the pattern example into the real embroidery. I could not stop doing it but my eyes and head started to feel pain after full concentration on a very small object for 5-6 hours to complete one key chain picture.

The Scorpio design paper.

The key chain holder with Virgo pattern inside.

The cross stitch cloth: Turned out to be a very small size.

Considering that I am a very impatient person, when I want something, I usually want to have it almost immediately. Same thing happened with doing my cross stitch, I wanted to see the end result the soonest possible. I kept on stitching despite the fact that my eyes and brain were already exhausted.

That night, I managed to finish the Scorpio embroidery for one side of the key chain and completed the Virgo one in the following night after work. I have passed the first completed keychain to my boyfriend with Scorpio embroidery on one side and Virgo embroidery on the other side. 

The end result for Scorpio key chain.

The end result of Virgo key chain.

After one keychain was complete, I decided to give the mini pouch a try. The stitching cloth for mini pouch was relatively bigger than the one for the key chain. Hence, by right it should not hurt eyes as much as key chain's. After two days of continuous cross stitching, my eyes and head could not take too much of concentration on too small object any longer. I got very dizzy when I pushed myself to finish the cross stitch and the dizziness lasted until the following morning and affected my performance at work.

My pending work: The cross stitch materials for the mini pouches.

The cross stitch pattern and work instruction for mini pouch.

In the end, I plan to slowly work on the pattern for the mini pouch. It is indeed a S$1 hobby and perfect activity to kill the time but my eyes and head worth so much more. Although I really want to see my own cross stitched mini pouch done, I shall only complete it when I have the time and mood with no pressure. I need to give my eyes and brain a break before doing it again.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Digging Some Old Pieces

When a topic on writing and being a writer stumbled upon my conversation with my boyfriend the other night, I told him that once upon a time I wanted to be a writer. To a certain degree, I must say that I enjoy writing. I am comfortable with arranging words into some meaningful lines but I still need further learning and practice. I tried to write a novel in English when I was in my junior high school with my first computer but now the file has for sure gone missing together with the PC.

I recall one of my writing mentors in IPA, Irena Josoeb, once told me that I needed to read more to improve my writing skill. I need to gather more vocabularies. See how other people play with words. Explore their various styles of writing. Do not cut or stop your reading habit. Start reading 'good' books. Read magazines and learn how they write they sales or marketing gimmicks. Read 'heavier' materials such as business magazines or newspapers and observe how people write articles. These are nothing else but true.

After I shared one of my childhood passions to my boyfriend, I mentioned to him that I wrote two articles or more to contributing event coverages for my association during my active days with them. I gave him the links and told him to check. He said they were O.K. and from reading my writings he said he could actually learn something.

I remember it was indeed a task to contribute writings to my association but I always felt this distinctive satisfaction when my writing has successfully gone through my editors and finally saw my writings were uploaded in the association's official website with my name below the writing's title. It was kind of addictive. When I found the links again and re-read what I contributed to them during my heyday with IPA, I almost forgot that I had ever written such things to IPA.

Our Most Proud Association

Thanks to my even coverage's editor that time, Megawati Wijaya, my event coverages for IPA during IPA's Wine Appreciation Event and IPA's Treetop Adventure were indeed something to reminiscence. I had totally forgotten about all the wine varieties or how to appreciate wines by now. Now I am happy to find my writings again so I could remember about wines and most importantly now I could remember about what I did with IPA before, how I grew together with IPA, how many new friends I got from IPA, how much I learned with IPA, how much IPA changed me as an individual, how much fun I had with IPA and so on.

 Friday the 13th Dinner in Chinatown with US Ambassador for Indonesia, Mr. Cameron Hume

It's certainly been a long time since IPA's period. Time has changed. IPA has changed. All the committee structures and IPA activities have changed but somehow my feeling and connection towards IPA are still pretty strong. It has become part of me to some extent.

I kind of miss IPA's time though. And oh, I still owe Mega an article for her Indonesian Thinking columns she manages. I've been giving these empty promises to her since last year or even maybe two years ago. My apologies, Mega, for my 'NATO' on this matter...

Yes... This is Love, Baby!

Can you feel the profound love between them? I always melt every time I see these sweet photos.

She loves the baby.

The baby loves her back.

The baby kisses her.

She kisses her back.

Yes, that's the love that my Mom shares with Baby Obama. She may not be her true flesh and blood but she loves her with her whole heart. She has fallen in love, so deep! The baby also feels her love and she can't stand being away from her for too long. She treats her with tenderness and the baby craves for that.

During her happy, sick, playing, chilling and practically almost every time, Baby Obama is always glued to my Mom.

Happy 1st Anniversary, Jennifer!

5th of January is Baby Obama's birthday. I planned to stay at home and celebrated her first birthday earlier this year when I first visited her last May. Yet, it was just a mere thinking, a talk with no action. I ended leaving Indonesia before even New Year and missed celebrating her first birthday with my family. I celebrated her birthday from afar, from my virtual world.

All I got were the stories of her birthday and photos uploaded on Facebook. Sad but I felt good enough to be kept in the loop with every possible development of Baby Obama.

Jennifer's Pre-Order Birthday Cake from Holland Bakery.

Take 1: Princess Jennifer in her first birthday dress bought by my sister, Lidya.

4 Generations Photo: My Mom, Baby Obama, my Grandma and my Auntie (Jen's Grandma).

Take 2: Jen posing in second birthday dress with my Dad.

Take 3: Jen posing in red cheongsam with her Aunt Ding-Ding.

Pastel Tutup: The birthday's giveaways from my Aunt, distributed to close relatives. 

If you notice, somehow Baby Jennifer understood that very day was her birthday. She could not stop sharing her best smiles with people around her that day and her smiles were different. They were honest and ecstatic.

Happy 1st Birthday, Jennifer! Please always remember that we are so blessed to have you. Since the first day you came to our lives until this very moment, you've been giving us immeasurable laughter, pure joy, melting love, indescribable cheers, warmth and affection. God has indeed sent you to us for reasons: to feel a very genuine love from you, be loved and to always love you.

We love you beyond words, Baby Jennifer. Always be a happy, healthy, loving and sweet little darling.

** Photo credits by Lidya A. T.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Second Meeting with Baby Obama

One of my really big 'motivation' to came home last Christmas was to see Baby Obama. All this while, since I last saw her in May, I only followed her developments from the photos that my sister constantly uploads on Facebook.

I really missed her. Although, by right I am not that close to her but seeing her photos and hearing any developments or stories about her from my family have always been my deepest joy and amusement.

When I saw her again in December, she obviously did not know me or recognize me at all. She turned her head away when I saw her. She screamed when I touched her. She cried when I tried to hold her. Basically, she rejected me. This happened for almost a week. I only managed to start holding her or playing with her without any significant refusal from her one or two days before my departure to KL on the 30th of December, almost one week after my first meeting again with Baby Obama.

 Baby Obama is so glued to my Mom.

My sister, Baby Obama and me. See how she did not even bother to give me a face.

Baby Obama's brunch: Baby banana.

Finally I could hug her.

I just love her smile. This photo was taken on the night before I left Malang at her house.

My very last hug for Baby Obama before I went to the Airport in Surabaya.

How is Baby Obama doing now?
  • She can eat rice with soup
  • She takes Dancow milk instead of baby formula now
  • She is even more glued to my Mom these days
  • She cries when my Mom does not hold her or unable to take care of her during her busy time
  • She always has bad mood if she has not visited my house or sees my parents in one day
  • She sleeps at 6pm or 7pm
  • She wakes up at 4am to 6am
  • She screams when her wish is not granted
  • She babbles a lot
  • She sweats very fast
  • She is still unable to walk on her own
  • She can crawls up to five steps then sits down and rests
  • She can mimics people's facial expressions and behavior
  • She can recognize people by now
  • She is very choosy to people who want to hug or carry her
  • She likes to play with stacks of pillow in my parents' bed
  • She loves messing a stack of ironed clothes on bed
  • She likes her 'cow head' doll very much
  • She loves to eat, I mean loves to eat any solid food by now
  • She has grown few rabbit teeth
  • She is just a very naughty and spoiled cute baby now
Oh God, I miss her so much!

    Hortensias are finally here!

    I finally spread the Hortensia seeds few weeks ago as I was quite bored with my current 'four' plants.

    My Money Tree or Pachira, 13 January 2010

    My other plants, the two on the right are sort of given by my Landlord

    I needed more challenges and entertainment. Hence, I tore the seed packaging and spread the seeds to the big pot with one single big green plant in the middle from my landlord.

    Hortensia seeds bought in Marketplace, City Hall

    After few weeks, here's what happened:

    Small green spots (if you can see)

    Finally Hortensia seedlings! Ready to be moved to bigger pots soon.

    All the seedlings came out!

    Grow, grow, grow big and fast, my dear plants! I can't wait to see you all grown up and blooming.

    Baby Tomatoes in December 2009

    After long delayed blogging mood and in total 7-months of longing and indescribable patience and determination, finally my baby tomato plants produced real baby tomatoes!

    2 December 2009: My very first tomatoes.

    23 December 2009: My first red baby tomato.

    23 December 2009: Green tomatoes.

    I was pretty happy with my planting results. One morning when I was taking care of my plants, my neighbor stopped by and started talking to me about my plants. We only talked once before when I bumped into her early in the morning before I headed to the airport last May. This time around, she was complementing me about my plants, especially my tomatoes. She did not expect that they were tomato plants and she said it was nice to see some colors in the plants. For a moment, I was a happy and successful planter. I was most proud with my tomatoes, despite the fact that the shape and look of the tomato plants themselves (without fruits) did not appear to be that pretty for eye consumption.

    Before I left to Malang on the 24th of December morning, I purposely brought my one and only red tomato home. I wanted to show off to my family (especially my Mom) and boyfriend that I have successfully grown tomatoes domestically, right here in Singapore. As a seasoned planter and gardener, my Mom took the news in her distinguished cool way. After she saw my tomato, she said "Oh, me too. I also have tomatoes from the garden at home." And I only found out her baby tomatoes were 'fatter' than mine.

    Anyway, I actually brought the red tomato all the way to Malang for my boyfriend to taste it when we met up in Malang. It was sweet.

    My baby tomato's model.

    Ready to eat Friday's breakfast!

    Yummy!! Happy now?

    After I came home from end of year holiday, I was again quite demoralized and disappointed to see my plants after 2 weeks. Seemed like my housemates did not water them enough. My baby tomato plants were yellow and tilted. Almost half-dead with some blooming flowers and fruits gone. Pretty sad.

    The next morning I took out all the yellowish stem and leaves. My tomato plants were practically almost half-trimmed. Luckily, in the end they were fine again after my 'therapy' and now I am expecting more red fruits to blow my mind away.

    10 January 2010: 'Tomatoes' taken by Yau Kee.

    13 January 2010: Bunch of Tomatoes.

    I am looking forward for a healthy Spring!

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    My 2009 Christmas Gifts

    I received a box of dark chocolate and a book for my Christmas gifts 2009 from my significant other. He gave me these surprises when he visited my hometown last Christmas. He promises he would give me a chocolate box every time I finish my chocolates, which for me, this effort may take months to do it alone.

    Initially, he wanted to buy me the latest Mitch Albom's book called 'Have A Little Faith' for my Christmas gift but seemed that he could not find the new book just yet. As a person who does not really include reading as a hobby, he chose a book called "Blink" in the airport before his departure to Malang. He said he didn't know what good book to buy for me so he just chose a book with many testimonials on it. Smart!

    My sweet 2009 Christmas Gifts from My Darling.

    I always have no heart to eat the chocolates from my darling but last night I finally opened the chocolate box simply because once upon a time he told me he would not give me chocolates again if I don't quickly finish the current one and my PMS has given me incredible uncontrollable appetite this month. These days I am always hungry like a bear.

    Last night, my mouth was suddenly so 'itchy' again. Rojak and Nasi Lemak could not satisfy me enough this month. My eyes kept on wandering around my room, searching for something edible at 11pm. The Ferrero Rondnoir which has been sitting on my desk nicely since last Christmas could not escape from me anymore. I finally had to open it... and officially popped the dark choc in my mouth. What a sweet nocturnal pleasure!

     Extra Soft Chocolate Box.

     Description behind the box.

    My Ferrero Rondnoir - Finally opened!

    As advised, chocolate balls were moved to a plastic container to keep them crunchy longer.

    This is what the chocolate's center looks like.

    Speaking of Christmas gifts, last year there was a Christmas celebration again in my office. We had the usual Christmas lunch, gifts exchange and photo sessions.
    Before the Christmas celebration which was held about a week before the Christmas day, each of us was instructed to find a gift with price around S$ 15. I finally found something cute, presentable and within budget  in Junction 8 for the gifts exchange session.

    Since my company highly concerns about costs hence the 'party organizers' chose set meals from Canadian Pizza for the lunch Christmas menu. I heard that Canadian Pizza had 'Buy 1, Get 1 Free' promotion too that time, so it's impossible if my company missed the yearly good deals like this.

    Anyway, this is what I gave away for the gifts exchange session:

    A cute (I think) 'mouse' piggy bank/desk decoration.

    And this is what I got in return:

     A pair of navy blue Tupperware lunch boxes.

    I could not stop laughing at what I got after the Christmas celebration. My other peer production colleagues also found my case was quite hilarious. I personally didn't think they were really proper presents to give away to people especially since the one who got them was a person who never brings lunch or food from home to office. How ironic. However, if I think over it again, looking at the brighter side, these Tupperware might somehow be useful in the future and I heard Tupperware has a lifetime guarantee too.

    Oh well... What a memorable Christmas here in ABF!