Grateful

Due to the bad flu which I had for the past couple of days, there wasn’t much I could do except take plenty of naps and rest. In a way, I’m glad for this ME time.
I had time to rest, read, declutter my emails.
I had time to think.
I had time to look back at 2007 and all the experiences it brought me.
I had a fabulous time in 2007. Yes, I am talking about it as if it is over when today is the last day of the year.
In fact, 2007 was better than 2006.

Read moreGrateful

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I can’t believe I’m blogging on Christmas day but that’s what I’m doing.
And it’s precisely because I’m sick!
How horrible to be sick on a public holiday. (Actually I have a bad cold and a scratchy throat and don’t feel like eating at all. So there goes all the Christmas visiting!)
But each time I am sick, I become even more grateful for good health. Really. It’s rather strange. Although I don’t like being sick, I know that sickness is one of those things which happen. It’s not forever. It’s a temporary setback.
And this temporary setback allows me to think how fantastic it is to be well and healthy and be able to do all the things I want to do (like eat!).
And yes, I did do my last minute Christmas shopping last night at Jusco Bukit Raja. (*sheepish grin*). I think it’s more of “not knowing” what to buy for my loved ones than procrastination.
Anyway, have a good holiday season and rest well.

Have a Good One

I’m now blogging from Banting, Selangor. Drove all the way from Penang with my sis (in her new Viva) and came here on Thursday.
On the way coming down south, I was glad I was NOT on my way north-bound as roadworks on the highway caused a massive jam after Tapah.
Anyway, the drive was long and uneventful. It was very warm as we had started our journey around 10 am and the sun was shining away.
However when we reached Lembah Beringin, the sky turned dark and rain came down in bucketloads! Luckily we stopped at the Sungai Buloh rest stop to have our lunch and soon the rain subsided and we were able to go back to usual speed.
Since I’ve been back, my main intention is to eat the foods I’ve missed such as Banting’s scrumptious bak kut teh, Banting’s Pak Musa nasi lemak and of course, Banting satay! I have yet to eat any of them – but I did go to Carey Island and have some seafood.
I’m off to the Watsons Warehouse Sale later today – that’s the beauty of being in Selangor. Tonnes of warehouse sales and stuff which means lots of nice shopping to be done with the excuse that it’s Christmas and the season for giving.
Today’s also the Winter Solstice Festival and I have had my 34 glutinous rice balls already! Yes, that shows I am that old. This is the first time I made ‘tang yuen’ with my mom and sis – we made them last night at 1am. All through the years, I’ve been in Penang this time of the year and usually eat tang yuen that my grandma makes. (We must eat the tang yuen according to how old we are. So we did roll a lot of tang yuen – in yellow, red, white and green – and we are supposed to finish them all!)
I hope to put up some photos but am a bit too lazy to download them since my sister’s Maxis Broadband here is slow and irksome. I might drive myself nuts when I upload the photos here so I best not do that on this excruciatingly slow internet line. Apparently she says the internet connectivity is affected by rain! Like Astro, it seems.
We managed to put up a Christmas tree and some twinkling lights once we arrived home. My nephew and niece are excited at the amount of presents underneath the tree. 😉
Hope you are having a good break this Xmas season! Merry Christmas!

The Soup Simmers

My blog(s) surprise me at the oddest moments.
Like two Saturdays ago. I was invited to a talk which was organised by Jo and her friends at the Hardwicke House – the speaker was someone I didn’t know but I felt the topic resonated with me so at the last minute, I decided to attend and learn something.
“Boundaries” was the talk’s name. Jenna Donovan, an expat, was going to talk about how to set boundaries in our personal lives, know when to say no and more importantly, how to respect ourselves, nurture ourselves and still respect others!
I mean, wouldn’t YOU go if you heard the gist of the talk like that?
As I walked into the upstairs room (which was gaily decorated for the Christmas season), a petite lady with glasses took one look at me and said, “Soup Queen!”
Errr…. it was a Saturday morning. My brain was fogged in some ways.
“I read your SoupQueen blog! You don’t remember me?”
I hate it when my brains leave me in the morning. I’m good at recognising faces and I did recognise hers but no name came to my lips. Thank god for the name tags.
Luckily she grinned and we started talking. She said she’d come across my soup blog when she was looking for soup recipes. She’d seen my photo on the blog but wasn’t sure if I was who she thought I was. Though we’d met twice at Mensa gatherings!
No wonder she looked so familiar! Both of us tag along when our husbands attend Mensa activities (they’re the Mensans, the brainy ones, or the logical ones in the family anyway) and I’d seen her at the Mensa AGM and Mensa durian party a few months ago but we had never spoken.
Until she stumbled upon my soup blog. Until we met at the talk two Saturdays ago.
Instantly we clicked and really started talking like old friends. She started telling me about trying Bazhentang (or Eight Precious Tonic) that she’s taking now that she stopped breastfeeding her son.
A reader of my soup blog said that I should be monetizing my blog. Another emailed me a kidney tonic recipe and told me how expensive cordyceps were in Australia!
I started that SoupQueen blog not to get famous or anything. I have always been interested in soups since young. While my sisters ran off whenever Mom made tonics for us, I’d be happily sipping away!
I’ve drunk concoctions made with pig’s brains (you must pre-order from the butcher; it’s very high in cholesterol but that was supposed to make us smart and score A’s in our exams) and drunk concoctions which would make us all grow tall (see, I am tall now. Maybe those peanut root soups worked!). I’ve drunk a lot of Bazhentang too (Chinese women swear by this) and Dang gui tonics and drunk a bloody soup made with chopped, raw liver and ginger. I’ll take anything if it makes me healthy and smart.
And I’ve loved stepping into medical halls with their strange smells. I still enjoy my trips to Veng Tatt Soon, the herb shop down in Campbell Street and looking at the herbs and teas. In fact I was just there last Saturday and bought many packets of herbs for my Mom since I’ll be going home later this week.
I’m still a novice where soups are concerned. I’m still learning about traditional chinese herbs and how to combine each one to get the best efficacy. But I love sharing my finds in my Soup Queen blog – and I gain new friends from all over the world.
Simmering soups and making friends. Good combination huh!
boundaries talk
But back to the talk – we worked on a questionnaire before the talk started. The questionnaire was a reflection of the type of person we are. We also filled it for a person close to us, either a parent or a child, if we had children. I realised I was the avoidance-compliant type!
There were 4 types one could be:
The Compliant (can’t say no, feels guilty and/or controlled by others, can’t set boundaries)
The Nonresponseive (can’t say yes, sets boundaries against responsibility to give love, superbusy, lack time to make them emotionally unavailable)
The Controller (can’t hear no, aggressively or manipulatively violates boundaries of others)
The Avoidant (can’t hear yes, sets boundaries against responsibility to receive love)
boundaries talk
And ta-da, since I am Compliant-Avoidant, I am a “difficult combination” where I can’t say no to the bad and can’t say yes to the good. Oh dear.
So how to say yes or how to say no?
That’s where setting Boundaries come into the picture. We must set boundaries with our spouse, children, parents, friends, siblings, boss, workmates etc, even ourselves! We must hear our own “no” if we are to avoid over-addiction, overwork, over obssesive actions.
The key is to grow up and understand where we end and where others begin. And that we cannot change other people. We are solely responsible for our feelings, attitudes, behaviours, choices, values, limits, talents, thoughts, desires, love, hearts, bodies and spirits.
And to grow up means we should genuinely love and nurture ourselves so we can care and nurture others.
jenna donovan
Yet Jenna cautioned that saying no does not mean saying no all the time. It is giving ourselves permission to say no when a no is most needed. It is not about being assertive and saying no every time.
The one piece of advice I liked most was “say no and then move on.” Don’t keep agonising over it. Once you’ve said no, move on and don’t feel guilty. Decide who you are and what your life is about.
boundaries talk
Jenna’s talk is based on the book of the same name “Boundaries” written by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend. Proceeds of her talk went to KAWAN, a centre for the poor and homeless along Love Lane.
It was an apt talk as 2007 is coming to a close and I often need to contemplate how my life is going and how I want it to be.

Early Christmas Lunch

It wasn’t so much about the food or the prizes of the lucky draw. It was about bringing two events together – our WomenBizSENSE Christmas lunch for members and our fundraiser for Persatuan SLE Malaysia.
We decided to use our Christmas lunch affair to do something meaningful for Persatuan SLE Malaysia.
Nancy, one of our members, is helping them launch the Penang chapter for lupus patients and we had a brainwave – why not raise funds for the Penang chapter while we’re having a good time capping the year?
And so, we did. We raised (tadaaaaa) a princely sum of RM750 last Friday!
It’s amazing what a group of ladies can do if we put our minds to it. We chose Persatuan SLE because lupus affects women mostly and it’s a very low profile disease. In fact, some 90% lupus patients are women.
As a women’s group, Jo and I felt that it was the right thing to do. We had all of 1 month to plan it and out went the SMSes and emails and of course, me and my blog.
Not bad considering it was such a touch-and-go idea!
Thanks to everyone who contributed from the heart, especially to 2 of my “angels” in KL. Alison, grateful thanks for your donation. And Rona, thank you dear for your contribution – your handmade jewellery set will be a delight to any woman who wears them! I heard that a friend of Nancy’s won your jewellery set!
We had more than 30 items for our lucky draw last week and everyone went home with an item or two. We had carolling too, midway through our lunch. Pam cheerfully took up her guitar and led us all to sing a number of Christmas carols to set the mood for the holiday season.
I am grateful to everyone who attended, from our new members to our regular members. Even those who could not attend bought the lucky draw tickets and supported us in so many ways.
Thank you to all and may you all be doubly blessed! And now, enjoy the photos of our little ladies’ lunch – and see if you can spot me!

What a Week

I’ve had a terribly eventful week last week and that’s why I wasn’t around to blog. Yes, sometimes the blogger in me just has too much on the plate or have run around too much!
I had a lovely 3-hour dinner with Vern last week and I made her blog about the scrumptious pork ribs we had while Nic was away on a business trip to Langkawi. (Yes, yes, sometimes we gals need to have some TIME OUT. I recommend this heartily to all married women out there.)
And I even loaned her my trusty Canon point-and-shoot. I told her I wasn’t going to blog about it again (in case you missed out on my pork rib adventures, you can re-read it here.)
It’s amazing how our friendship has turned out, all thanks to blogging. We met as blogging pals but we’re more face-to-face pals these days. We loan each other books, she loans me her eclectic CDs and we like to suss out eating nooks. Ah, perfect friendship right?
The yummy ending to our nice little gals’ night out was that Vern’s mom gave me some truly delicious cakes – homemade of course. So I pigged out (OK lah, I waited for Nic to come home on Friday evening) with Nic on the baked goodies.
Also, before Vern and I went out for dinner, we had actually met about 5 days earlier (which was last Saturday during the Penang Island Jazz Festival at the Bayview Beach Resort). As I said, I was busy with emceeing the Mensa Penang’s scholarship talk so I really had no time to go get the tickets for the jazz festival.
Fortunately I have Vern! Yes, the lifesaver that she is, she called me up on Saturday morning and told me she’d get the tix. All she and u-jean needed was a ride to the venue. I must say we had a rocking good time – it gave us a chance to talk and laugh and count stars! We were mesmerized by Nah Youn Sun’s scatting, we were a bit puzzled by Co co Zhao and his Posicabilities group but we were up and dancing by the time Bangkok Connection came on around 11-ish.
You can read a truly hilarious post of the jazz fest here (aiyah, u-jean did a great job so why re-invent the wheel yah?). And u-jean is rather cool because she was in the midst of her STPM when she joined us for the jazz fest. I figured she must be really confident and have very confident parents too.
And to cap the whole week, I had my lovely early Xmas lunch with my WomenBizSENSE ladies last Friday. That I think I will keep as a separate blog post for sometime this week. It comes with photos and even a video of some ladies carolling and we raised quite a tidy sum for Persatuan SLE Malaysia.
During this lunch, I realised that I involve myself in a number of things for the sheer heck of it. Sheer pleasure. Organising lunches and lucky draws aren’t everyone’s favourite things to do but I actually enjoyed them. I enjoyed being a hostess (with the mostest haha) and I enjoy putting events together for others.
Hmmm, food for thought really isn’t it?