Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Fine Day For Walking

After weeks of stressing and worrying, I decided to start this week by going for a walk on The Tan yesterday. This time I chose to walk in the opposite direction and it is a tad more difficult because the uphill part is longer. I enjoyed the challenge though. When I got to the corner where I was bitten by a wasp/bee, I made sure that I walked closer to the road just in case the wasp survived; it and its mates might be waiting for revenge. LOL. The weather was pleasant. It was sunny but the cool breeze made the whole walk all the more enjoyable. The best thing was that there was no need for me to perform any ‘civic duty’ throughout the whole walk yesterday. I too like to be left to do my own thing just like everyone else.
Note: The picture was taken last month.

Just a Quick Report

I promise to try my very best to not whinge. After two weeks of brief stays at the hospital to monitor various things, my father had his first knee replacement surgery a week ago (24/03). It was originally scheduled for the 21st of March but was postponed. The first week of recovery was interesting to put it mildly. Among other things, my dad experienced shortness of breath and was feverish for a day or so. Yesterday my poor dad was told off for not sitting up. Was I whingeing for revealing that? Oh, dear! I spoke to my mum at least once a day for the last few weeks. A lot of the things I heard made me realise the importance of looking after one’s health and the need for everyone to understand the workings of the human body. Being a crappy daughter who didn’t offer her dad access to 1st class health care, I wish him a speedy recovery. The physiotherapist finally turned up yesterday. (Yes, yes I am grateful.) Hopefully this means that my dad will be up and about soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Toy Cars for 2 ‘Big Kids’

M got wind that the Ferrari drivers will appear at the City Square this morning about a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go at the start of the week because I was worried about my dad’s operation. (He was operated on Tuesday and will blog about it in another post.) I was up for it when we got up this morning but we took our sweet time getting there. That’s partly because I thought the info M received was dodgy. That was until I saw the growing crowd gathering at the City Square. By the time we got there we were too late for the best spots.

Here are some photos:

Here is Vince Colosimo welcoming the drivers: Kimi and Felipe

Kimi Raikkonen was awake and spoke quite a few words!

This is probably last year’s car.

When we got to the City Square, a small group of International Students suddenly cut in front of us from out of nowhere. They were super excited. A girl was clutching two toy cars while two guys around her tried to grab it off her. M began looking around to see where the student got the cars. I was dreading that because I didn’t want to spend money on Grand Prix merchandise. We were looking for a good vantage point when we came upon a tent where two ladies were giving away toy cars. M received one before I arrived and when I approached, one of the ladies gave me one as well. So, we got two. Despite being a year apart, M and I do not look like a couple and we sometimes play that game to confuse people. The toy cars are not those fancy, pricey metal die-cast vehicles. These are just basic plastic ones.

By the way, I wish to declare to everyone who reads this blog that we are NOT Ferrari fans. I am definitely not very fond of Kimi Raikkonen.

Flying Tadpoles

I am BACK!!! I never left but was too stressed out to blog.

When I was little, I went through a phase of being totally fascinated by the life cycles of frogs. My Dad built a fountain in the front yard when my brother was little. By the time I came along, he had a type of metal guard installed to prevent me from falling into the water. My parents even grew some water plants with long stems to further block my access to the water. I think I was about six when a boy next door showed me what this frothy stuff (spawn) was at the edge of the fountain. I didn't believe him of course. I even thought that the frothy stuff were some kind of dirt and had to be disposed of to keep our fountain clean. After days of observing the frothy stuff that I can't reach to throw away, I began to witness with my own eyes the miracle called "Complete Metamorphosis". I was totally captivated by what was unfolding. The boy next door taught me how to make a simple net to trap some tadpoles for a closer look. I held some in my hand and I remember thinking that they felt like 'Grass Jelly' (Asian/Chinese food). Quite a few must have died due to my careless handling and overt affection.

Around the same time when I first discovered the tadpoles, my Dad took me and a few cousins to the beach to watch some kind of 'air show'. The first flying machines I saw that day were helicopters. I told everyone that the helicopters looked like tadpoles flying in the sky. Ever since then, helicopters remind me of tadpoles even though there are others who think that they look more like dragonflies.

I blogged about some planes flying over our pigeon hole earlier this month. The planes flew over that whole week to promote the air show at Avalon. Then last Monday (16/03), military helicopters in 3's or 4's began to fly over our pigeon hole. They flew over many times on the 23/03 and 24/03, even at night. I wondered what they were up to. When they did fly really low, the whole pigeon hole shook like whenever the Qantas Jumbo Jet flies over on Australia Day or AFL Grand Final Day. I wish someone can tell me what those helicopters were practising for. Do you think they have something to do with Grand Prix on Sunday?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blogging Less

I will be blogging less pretty much for the rest of the month. There are heaps of things that I wish to blog about but I am taking a break - too worried to sit still to write/type.

My dad spent a few days in the hospital last week. He went for a series of blood tests and they also X-rayed him in preparation for his Knee Replacement Surgery. He was discharged last Friday and spent the weekend at home. On Monday, he was readmitted for more tests. The surgery was originally scheduled for this Saturday but it has now been postponed to Monday. My dad was allowed to return home last night and will be readmitted on Friday. I am somewhat glad that the surgery has been postponed because I was more than a bit worried after learning that the surgeon is scheduled to operate on other patients in another town on the Friday. Exhausted people tend to be more accident prone.

Meanwhile, I will be spending more time reading up on Montessori to ease my mind. That's going to be hard too because I can't seem to shake this headache I got since I woke up yesterday morning! Is this a stress related headache or is it brought on by the new fish oil capsules I started taking since Monday evening?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mummy Plane & Baby Planes

Planes were flying over our pigeon hole at around lunch time today. This is a snap of three. They were others as well but I was too busy cooking to take photos of the others. Today is a public holiday in Melbourne.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Finished Reading Somaly Mam’s Book

We visited the City Library last Saturday and I borrowed a book called “The Road of Lost Innocence”. The book was originally written in French (Silence de I’ innocence) but the edition I borrowed is the English version. As printed on the book’s jacket, it says that this is a riveting, raw and beautiful memoir of tragedy and hope. Every bit of that is true. Once I got started, I found it hard to put it down. It is an easy to read book and it took me only a few hours to read from cover to cover.

Somaly Mam is only a few years older than me. As I read about her horrific experiences, I realised that my problems when I was growing up were nothing to compare to what she and thousands of other girls endured and continue to endure. She is courageous not just because she gets on with life despite a poor start. I absolutely admire her bravery in rescuing other girls caught up in sexual slavery in South East Asia. I believe that very few females in Asia would want to fight this war. The possible repercussions are just far too great. I have been a quiet observant of such issues for years and despite living in Australia for years, I still find it hard to discuss them even in my own blog!

Just recently, one of my brother’s workers was threatened by a 14 year old. The kid who hasn’t quite hit puberty said, “If you don’t do as I said, I will rape you. Just you watch it. I will rape you. Do you want that?” My brother’s worker is in her 30’s. After hearing what happened, my mum immediately reported the incident to the kid’s principal and he was promptly given a stern lecture. I asked my mum, “What good is that going to do?” Quoting from Somaly Mam’s book: “Men have the power. Not all the time; in front of their parents, they keep quiet. With the powerful, they must also stay silent and perhaps prostrate themselves. But once these encounters are over, they go home to assume the upper hand and give orders. If their wife resists, they hit her.” Now, the author may be referring to Cambodian men but I think the quote is applicable to many men from various parts of the world. So, this kid (almost a man) may stand silently at the principal’s office, are we entirely sure that the kid is changed after just one lecture? Rape is a heinous and hateful act. People with intent or threaten to carry it out will not back away simply because they have been told off. It is quite possible that the principal’s lecture may have driven the problem ‘underground’.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Guinea Pig Remembered

I always write a piece about my Guinea Pig on the 7th of each month and today marks 10 months since he left us. An ‘earthquake’ shook Melbourne CBD last night. It measured 4.6 on the Richter scale. I was on the couch and felt a bump first. I called out to M but he didn’t seem bothered by it at all. Then I felt like the couch lifted me to the right before returning to its original position. That’s when we panicked a little. We ran out to the balcony to see if anyone else is reacting to the shakes. A few households did but others continued to party on or stared at their plasmas. While others are happy to use the clouds as a doona if the sky falls on top of them, I reacted by packing my backpack. LOL. I put on my shoes (have you seen people caught up in an emergency with no shoes on?) and then pack our essentials into the backpack. Our Guinea Pig’s urn (supposedly containing its ashes) and photo book were packed first. There was even room for our mascot. LOL. The packed bag stayed by our bed overnight just in case we have to flee our pigeon hole. Since I am still here blogging away, it is obvious that nothing else happened after those two tremors. Thank goodness. This morning, one of our neighbours and the caretaker asked us to check and see if there are any leaks. I promptly check under the kitchen sink, the water heater, the laundry and the shower area to make sure that we are not getting another flood.

I spoke to my parents on the phone on Wednesday. I was upset and teary because I was worried about them. It is not easy to live so far away from them. My dad is booked into the hospital this Monday for 12 days of ‘observation’ before a knee replacement surgery on the 21st. They keep telling me not to worry but it breaks my heart for not being there physically. In a bid to try to cheer me up, my mum asked about the Guinea Pig. We never told my side of the family about my Guinea Pig’s passing. I didn’t think they would understand my affection for my little friend and I definitely didn’t want to ‘deal’ with their reaction and questions if I told them about my Guinea Pig’s supposedly ‘botched up’ cremation. Her question upset me even further. After I told her that he passed away nearly 10 months ago, she was shocked and asked what happened. I told her that I didn’t wish to talk about it and luckily she respected that. She did query as to why I thought she wouldn’t understand. I could tell that she soon realised that she hadn’t asked about our Guinea Pig for a while. I think the last time we talked about him was in April last year. Our Guinea Pig used to disrupt my phone conversations by joining in. He would squeak away from his cage probably thinking that I was talking to him when I was actually on the phone. LOL

Years of living away from home and years of adopting a new way of life in another country have brought a lot of changes into our lives. Of course we welcome and celebrate the good changes but I tend to bottle up all the negative ones. Gradually, there is an ever increasing amount of ‘stuff’ that my family do not know about me. Not expressing oneself / whingeing is probably why the suicide rate is climbing.

Before I start to cry for the rest of the day, I am off to wash dishes and clean the bathroom.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It Was Like a Penicillin Shot

I went walking on the Tan Track on Monday. I did it all by myself and am very proud of my mini achievement. I wasn’t bothered by any weirdos and I didn’t suddenly need to use the loo. Although I was hoping that I didn’t have to perform my ‘civic duty’ at a place like the Tan Track, I unexpectedly was subjected to it once today. That’s ok. Once is better than multiple times in just one visit to a busy shopping centre.

There was however a minor hiccough. As I was walking towards the Yarra, opposite MGGS, I took my hat off to air my sweaty hair. I was still unhappy that I was subjected to one ‘civic duty’ that had taken place just minutes before. Less than a metre after I turned left, a bug flew into my long black hair and got stuck. Its buzzing sounded angry as it tried to get out. I tried to help and it landed on my left cheek and promptly stung me before moving back into my hair. The pain was like being given a Penicillin shot on the face! So, I tried to frantically get the little devil out of my hair using my hat but was unsuccessful. The sight must have been comical because a couple of drivers actually slowed down to watch. Runners and joggers going past also slowed down. LOL. Luckily, this gentleman stopped to assist when I requested his help. He was unable to find it at first and asked if I was sure that there was a bug. LOL. I told him that I could hear the buzzing noise. Crazy people can hear lots of stuff too, I later thought. LOL. Eventually he found it. It took three attempts to get the little bugger off the left side of my head before it flew straight back to attack the right side. This time the gentleman managed to get it out in just one attempt. He even tried to step on the nasty bug as he explained that it could be a Wasp or a Bee. I thanked him and continued walking.

On my way home, I desperately wanted a mirror to see if I had reacted to the sting. Most of the pain subsided after about 5 minutes but I still wanted to see if I had turned into a monster. The people running past me didn’t seem to react but may be the kind of people that run on the track weren’t the type who would react to physical disfigurements. Where were ‘those’ people when I needed them to ‘criticize’ me? As soon as I got into our pigeon hole, I dashed to the bathroom to inspect my cheek. Except for a dot, there was absolutely nothing. My face is not one bit uglier than when I left home. Nevertheless, I iced the area and applied a liberal amount of Tea Tree Cream just to be sure. This antiseptic cream is like a cure-all for us. LOL. Growing up in an ‘outpost’ situated at the edge of rainforests might have built up my resistance towards insect bites.

I suspected that M would react to my account by saying, “That’s it. You are not going there on your own again.” He didn’t though. He also didn’t ask me to cut my hair. It turned out that he found the whole thing hilarious. I think I will tie my hair before putting my hat on next time. Investing in some bug spray might also be a good idea. Tuesday is going to be another super hot day with gale force winds arriving tonight. So, it’s best for me to stay home. Thursday is likely to be my second walk at the track this week.

A Pleasant Surprise

I logged online briefly on Sunday evening to write about a dream starring my Guinea Pig from around a week ago. After I logged onto blogger, I noticed that I had 3 comments waiting for me to publish. Wow, 3! I think the last time I received a comment was back in August last year. Suddenly there were 3 from the same person. When I first saw the 3 comments, I didn’t read them. I didn’t even look to see who left them. I just took off to look for M accusing him of playing a prank on me. I suspected him because he knew how badly I wish that someone will read my blog and stay long enough to leave me a comment before I bore him or her to death with my dreadful writing. He denied doing anything and I dashed back to the computer to read them properly. I was over the moon to learn that they were left by an Aussie blogger living in Japan. I think I have mentioned that I am absolutely hooked on reading blogs belonging to people living in their spouse’s homeland. Anyway, I really enjoy this Aussie blogger’s writings. They are funny. If she can make M laugh, she has got to be funny. It’s interesting to read about life in Japan and sometimes people describe it very differently to what text books offer. The lady also mentioned that she has placed me on her blog list. This got me thinking about adding a list of blogs that I like too. May be I should also ‘renovate’ my blog a bit.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Still Having Trouble Sleeping

I experience sleeping difficulties almost every fortnight but I do not take medications for it. I was tossing and turning all night on Monday. I was already expecting the worse by the time I got myself ready for bed on Tuesday. The second night after a sleepless night is usually worse. I wasn’t just tossing and turning but I was also getting up every two hours or so. To make matters worse, I had different dreams each time I managed to fall asleep. Anyone experiencing my kind of dreams will know how exhausting some of them can be.

At 4:50ish on Wednesday morning I got up and sat on the bed trying to decide whether to go back to sleep or just stay up to read. I looked out of the window and saw a Taxi downstairs and a half drunken bloke staggering out. After going to the loo, I sat to look at the front cover of my Guinea Pig’s photo book. Seeing him is calming. I did try to read a book after that but found it hard to keep my eyes open for long and was fast asleep within minutes. This time though, I was accompanied by a wonderful dream starring none other than my beloved Guinea Pig, of course. M played a minor role as well.

Here I am again describing another dream featuring our dear friend. In the dream, I lowered the Guinea Pig’s cage to the floor and told M to let him out for a little run. The Guinea Pig had been pretty restless, running around in his cage. I attempted to pick him up and he ran away from me to hide under the hay. When I tried to pick him up again, I noticed another pair of eyes looking at me. This second Guinea Pig was smaller, looked scruffier and shared the same colours as my little friend. M saw the shock on my face and asked, “What? Have you forgotten that you insisted on buying another Guinea Pig last week?” I looked at him, suddenly remembering that I apparently bought a little Guinea Pig from a pet shop at Melbourne Central. LOL. Suddenly I could see that M was secretly wondering if I had been neglecting the newbie.

Seeing that I failed to pick either Guinea Pig up, M came over to help. He let them both run wild in the living room. (In reality, our dear little Guinea Pig played within a fenced up area.) Coincidentally, as mentioned in a previous dream, the balcony doors were left wide open. Soon we had trouble monitoring both of them because they didn’t stay together. M tried to pick up the newbie and it bit him on the finger and darted away. He was then seen running down the hallway, towards the spare room before we were briefly interrupted by a neighbour at the door asking for some foam to make artificial flowers. (Well, I think I did reveal recently that my dreams can be quite weird.) Meanwhile, our original Guinea Pig was already rummaging through all the junk in the spare room. As soon as the neighbour left, we took action to spoil the little cheeky piggies’ fun. The newbie was chewing the vacuum cleaner cord but M went for our Guinea Pig who was chewing on some paper first. After returning him to the cage, he came back for the newbie who had then found something else to chew in the almost inaccessible room. The dream ended when both piggies were safely returned to the cage.

That new piggy seemed quite a handful! Luckily we are not in a hurry to get ourselves another Guinea Pig. I am still trying to get over the loss of our first furry friend. We will definitely keep Guinea Pigs again one day but it will not happen until we get ourselves a property where pets can be lovingly buried upon their deaths. To us, pets are like family members. They are loved in life and should be treated with dignity when they pass away. Although I will never know if my beloved Guinea Pig’s ashes are really in the urn, I am content to see him popping up in my dreams from time to time.