July 24, 2007

When it rains, it pours

The saying "When it rains, it pours" so aptly describes the situation I'm in right now. I've been handling a new product since November last year and my company is due to launch it this weekend with a road show in Kuching, Penang, KL and JB. Immediately after the road show, I'll have to conduct product training for the sales force. What makes things worse is that we are also in the midst of our long range planning period, the most dreaded period for any marketer. And to top it all off, the regional folks just have to organize the regional marketing meeting this week for three days.

There are so many things to follow-up for the road show and launch training, and I just couldn't afford to be away for three days. After much haggling, my boss and I managed to squeeze our way out from the regional meeting, not completely, but at least we needed only to attend the first day. Which is why I'm writing this from Intercontinental Hotel, Singapore.

I took a late flight, 9.45pm and due to bad weather conditions, the plane had to circle a bit before it was cleared for landing. By the time I reached the hotel and checked in, it was already past midnight. As I had several urgent things still not settled, I had to continue working from the hotel. By the time I finished what I needed to complete, it's already almost 4am so here I am contemplating whether I should catch some sleep at the risk of not being able to wake up for the 8am meeting.

Anyhow, I'm glad I'm going home after the meeting today. It's hubby's birthday but I won't get home till about 9pm so we'll probably just grab a quick dinner near our house. Maybe we'll have a proper celebration tomorrow. And I hope I'll be able to find something for him at Changi Airport on the way home.

July 23, 2007


Reading Kittycat's post that she's relocating prompted me to write this. I had my tertiary education in Malaysia and never had the experience of living and studying in a foreign country. I had always wished that someday, I'd have a chance to live and work abroad, perhaps not permanently but I would relish short stints of months to years.

Two years ago, an opportunity came knocking. There was an opening for a marketing associate in the global marketing team based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, USA and I was offered the position. The position was mainly in a supportive capacity, and meant for marketers in the subsidiaries to understand the global marketing function. I had to take a massive pay cut and hubby certainly wasn't happy that I'd be away for one year, not when we were just married for less than a year. But I knew that was an opportunity that was too good to let it pass me by and I was on the verge of accepting it. But one can only plan, and I found out the weekend before I was due to let them know my decision, that I was pregnant. Hubby was ecstatic, coz obviously I can't be accepting the offer, he also finally got his wish of having a baby. So there goes my stint in the USA.

A few months later, again an opportunity came knocking as there was a vacancy in Hong Kong. Having worked with the managing director of Hong Kong while he was in a regional marketing position, he asked if I would like to relocate to Hong Kong. I was still pregnant then, but I figured since Hong Kong is a Chinese country, it would probably be easier to assimilate. Hubby had a lot of reservations as to whether he could find a job in Hong Kong, and he certainly wasn't keen on the idea of being a SAHD. So there goes another opportunity yet again!

I wonder if I'll ever have an opportunity to live and/or work abroad. Quite certainly I won't have a chance like Kittycat as it's highly unlikely that hubby will get relocated. And if another opportunity lands on my lap, would hubby still be resistant to the idea?

July 20, 2007

Being a SAHM, if I only could…

Kittycat has finally realised her dream for being a SAHM. She'll be relocating, following her hubby and therefore will be a SAHM mum to Lucas for at least three years. I feel so happy and excited for her. Why? Because being a SAHM, WAHM or PTWM has been on my mind for the past few months.

Since I started to be a little bit more active in blog hopping, I can't help but feel so inadequate being a mum. I read with envy how SAHMs and WAHMs like Montessori Mum and Mumsgather spend so much time nurturing their children with various mind stimulating activities. And how allthingspurple plan with military precision and toil in the kitchen ensuring her little ones have nutritious and healthy food everyday. Me? I am not even doing 10% of what these super moms are doing.

Work has been extremely crazy since the beginning of the year and most days, I don't get home till at least 9pm. Luckily for me though, Yiu Yiu is such an energizer bunny and she doesn't sleep till much later. At least I still get to spend a little time with her before she goes to bed. And after that, out comes my notebook again. That's the only time I get to update my blog (which is so infrequent) and catch up on blog reading. And sometimes, I work till the wee hours in the morning trying to complete numerous proposals.

Increasingly I find myself evaluating my options to see if I could afford to quit my current job and each time I do that, I just end up feeling depressed and disappointed as there doesn't seem to be a way out. We certainly can't get by just with hubby's income, not with a house, two cars and several insurance policies to be paid every month. I don't mind taking a pay cut and work part time, say 3 days a week but in my line of work, it's not possible, at least not in Malaysia. I know some colleagues in the US who have job sharing arrangements – two persons share the same job and each work only 2-3 days a week. That really sounds like the ideal arrangement for me. If only that option is available…

I know the best time to nurture and shape a child personality is during childhood, as the Malay saying goes, "Melentur buluh biarlah dari pucuk". Once they are older and have a mind of their own, it's more difficult to steer them onto the right path. And therein lies the dilemma. Given a few more years, we can probably pay off the house and cars and I could possibly opt to become a SAHM but by then, would it be too late?

July 14, 2007

Free calorie counter

After I gave birth to Yiu Yiu, I was carrying an excess baggage of close to 8kg. I knew I didn't want to go back to work a bigger person that before I was pregnant so I resolved to at least lose half that weight in the 2.5 months maternity leave. After my 6-week postnatal check-up and my gynae gave me the all clear, I started waking up earlier for morning walks, followed by some abdominal exercise, in the hope of reducing the flab around my tummy. I also started to diligently keep track of my daily food intake. I surfed the Net to find out the caloric content of a variety of foods and I managed to compile quite an extensive list. I began using an Excel spreadsheet to keep a food diary – what I ate, how much calorie was in it, how much my morning walk offset the caloric intake, how much calorie I needed to reduce in order to achieve the targeted weight loss, etc.

Back then, I didn't know about MyFitnessPal. It is a website that offers a free calorie counter that is fast and easy to use. You will also learn about the nutritional contents of what you are eating and how to make better food choices. And best of all, the site is 100% free.

At the end of my maternity leave, I did manage to lose that 4kg that I targeted. I continued keeping the journal for a few more months till I lost almost all my pregnancy weight. But I've since stopped keeping track of my food intake and the weight is slowly but surely creeping up again. Maybe it's time to sign up with MyFitnessPal.


Hubby brought home four durians the other night. I like durians, but not to the extent of being crazy over them. I was happy nonetheless as I had not have durians for a long time. We had two fruits that very night after dinner, and they were so good. Sweet, with a tinge of bitterness, and slightly moist – just the way I like my durians. I don't quite fancy cross bred fruits such as D24, raja kucing, etc as I find them lacking the authentic durian fragrance; instead, all you get is plain sweetness.

We introduced durian to Yiu Yiu for the first time. She held a piece of the fruit and without hesitation, sunk her teeth into the creamy flesh. She took her time to savour each bite, just like a true durian connoisseur. I was surprised as I thought children would not take too well to the strong smell and taste of this king of fruits but my little girl, she just lapped it all up.

July 09, 2007

20-month old

I missed updating Yiu Yiu's 19-month progress last month so even though this post is a week late, it's better than missing another month. So here's a summry of her progress over the last two months.
Physical: We visited the paed about a month ago for her MMR booster jab and she weighs in at a mere 8.3kg. Height wise, she was only 74 cm when I measured her against the height chart in the clinic but looking through my posting when she was 18-month, I noted that she was 77 cm when I measured her lying down on my own. Measured her again last night and this time, I got 80 cm. I hope she'll grow a bit more over the next four months coz the paed told me that multiplying her height at 24-month by two is predictive of her eventual height as an adult. And I certainly hope she would not end up a shorty like mummy. Overall she is very petite for her age and the paed kept saying that it's fine as long as she's healthy. So yeah…I'll take healthy. She has four teeth each on her upper and lower gums, and four molars. She loves brushing her teeth, coz she has an excuse to play with water.
Mobility: She can walk up the stairs steadily, sometimes even without assistance. But we have not let her try walking down on her own just yet. And since we installed the stairs gate, she no longer have the freedom to climb up and down the stairs as she wishes.
Motor Skills: She has taken an interest in her shape sorter toys and is trying to figure out which object goes into which opening. She can drink from a cup unassisted without much spillage. I'm quite pleased that she has learnt to control the flow of liquid into her mouth.
Language & Comprehension: She understands almost everything we ask or tell her but she has yet to start stringing words together to form simple sentences. I read somewhere that if a child is spoken to in multiple languages, the child will tend to start to speak later but once the child starts, he/she will be able to converse in all the languages. I certainly hope this holds true, coz we have been speaking to her in three languages. She can now tell us her body parts both in English and Mandarin. I bought the "Sunrise Little Book of…"series during one of MPH warehouse sales and she can identify a lot of objects/animals in the books.

Feeding: She takes two solid meals a day, mostly rice, at the babysitter's place. She loves drinking soup and meat cooked with herbs such as herbal chicken and bak kut teh. She's still breastfeeding, only at night and during weekends when I'm around. Other times, she's on formula. She has mastered the art of self feeding quite well and doesn't quite make big messes nowadays. In fact, several weeks ago, since both hubby and I had to attend different functions, I brought her along and she sat quietly feeding herself and enjoying the selection I picked out for her from the buffet line. My colleagues kept complimenting her for being such a good girl at the table.
Social: She's really showing signs of terrible two. When she doesn’t get her way, she'll start throwing tantrums and sometimes even hit mummy and papa. Whenever she does this, I'll smack her hands and explain why she can't hit people but it doesn't seem to be working. On the flip side, she can also be very affectionate and sometimes while we lie in bed, she’ll stroke my face. On days when hubby sends her to the babysitter, she'll insist on giving me a kiss before leaving, even if I'm still sleeping.
This & That: She has gone fully diaperless during the day at babysitter's place. We still put her on diapers during weekends as we don't quite have a routine and it's difficult to time her pee and poo. However, she doesn't like having the diapers on, so hopefully we can soon go sans diapers during the weekends too. She knows how to tell us when her diaper is full and due for a change.

July 02, 2007

Adios, New York

Saturday, March 10

I would be leaving NYC tonight and since my flight doesn’t leave till about 2200 at night, I practically have the whole day for more sightseeing. My first destination was the Grand Central Station. This Beaux Arts building, built between 1903 and 1913, is a magnificent train station where approximately 500,000 commuters and subway riders pass through daily. The vast majestic main concourse is a must-see, with its high windows that allows sunlight into the area, providing a glint to the brass clock tower and chandeliers. The ceiling is decorated with constellations of the winter sky.

Just outside the train station, I could see Chrysler Building, one of NYC's finest office buildings. Built as Chrysler Corporation headquarters in 1930, it was designed as a tribute to the booming automotive industry. It was the world's tallest skyscraper at the time, until the Empire State Building claimed the spot just months later.

I then made my way to the New York Public Library. The famous library is home of the larger-than-life lion sculptures – Patience on the left and and Fortitude on the right. Open since 1911, the library is stunningly beautiful inside and out. With a public library as magnificent as this, one can just spend hours relaxing in the grandeur, reading newspapers and surfing the net.

Next, I headed to the Rockefeller Centre by walking down the famous Fifth Avenue. Home to the city's most high-profile haute shopping, I walked pass big name stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Hermes and the NBA Store. The Rockefeller Centre is the world's largest privately owned business and entertainment centre, with 18 buildings on 21 acres. It houses hundreds of offices, a number of NBC studios including Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and NBC's Today. From the entrance at Fifth Avenue, the Channel Gardens slope gently to the Promenade, graced by the gilded bronze statue of Prometheus. There are a number of tours available including the NBC Studio Tour and Stage Door Tour but I skipped those as I wanted more time to explore Central Park. Walking further along Fifth Avenue heading towards Central Park, the recognizable Trump Tower from the popular Apprentice TV series came into view. I couldn't resist going in for a peek and boy, the building was so crowded. I couldn't figure out if all those people work there, or simply busy bodies like me.

Grand Central Station and Rockefeller Centre (left) and Chrysler Building (right)

New York Public Library (top) and 5th Avenue (bottom)

Central Park spans 843 acres and was the first urban landscaped park in the United States. Originally conceived in the salons of wealthy New Yorkers in the early 1850s, the park project spanned more than a decade and cost the city ten million dollars. This natural retreat amidst the concrete jungle of NYC is a favourite with New Yorkers and visitors alike. Among the many attractions of the park are the Mall, a long formal walkway lined with elms shading benches and sculptures, leading to the focal point of Central Park, the Bethesda Fountain. Unfortunately, the fountain was closed for maintenance works while I was there. I also managed to squeeze in some time to visit The Belvedere Castle and the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.

The Mall (top), carousel and Alice in Wonderland Statue (bottom)

Strawberry Fields is a gorgeous garden centered around an Italian mosaic bearing the title John Lennon's most famous solo song, and his lifelong message, Imagine. It is a memorial to the Beatle great, who was murdered across the street at the Dakota apartment building. His widow, Yoko Ono, still lives here at the 1884-built apartment building.

Belvedere Castle and lake (top), Strawberry Fields and the Dakota (bottom)

I had also wanted to visit the American Museum of Natural History, which is just across the road from Central Park. This is one of the must see museum, hosting the space show Are We Alone? and Cosmic Collisions, about the violent beginning of the universe, Big Bang Theater, Hall of the Universe and Hall of Planet Earth. However, I only had one more hour so there wouldn't be enough time to explore the museum. I decided to take a leisurely stroll back to the hotel and stopped by Stage Deli, for a taste of their corned beef sandwich. The sandwich was of a mammoth size, to say the least. I collected my luggage from the concierge and headed to the airport at 1830, bringing back fond memories of my short sojourn in the Big Apple.