Thursday, August 23, 2012

Killing 2 birds with one stone

For the last 2 years, on my birthday or a couple of weeks after that, without intending to, I bought myself non-related craft things which I feel have been quite worth it and a really good investment.

Last year, I bought myself Sam, my Samsung Tab. Bought it in July, and since I haven't bought myself a BD gift, I considered Sam as a BD gift to myself.

This year, with my knee problem, I bought a recumbent bike so that I can go cycling every day and any time I feel like it, instead of having to go to the gym as I find going to the gym a chore - the driving to and fro, the parking, etc.

I bought the bike in late July, and consider that too as a BD to myself when I realised I have not bought myself anything yet. *grin*

I think since having the bike, I cycle almost daily with a few missed days, at an average of about 20 - 30 minutes a day.

In the previous years, during the fasting month, despite not eating much, I struggle to lose even a single gram (no kidding!).

This fasting month, having gone 'cycling' on my recumbent bike for 20 minutes every nite after my maghrib prayers, in an effort to improve the strength around my knee area, I have also finally managed to lose 4 kgs!!! That's about 1kg a week!

Nothing much yet, I know, but it is a start!

I hope to lose another 14kgs so that I can get back to my weight when I first got married, or an additional 3 kgs (17kgs total) to get to my weight before I got married!! Of course, spread over 14 - 17 weeks! *grin*

That's about 3 - 5 months. By rough calculations, I should set to reach my target by January of next year!

Hmm..OK. If I do achieve that target, insyaAllah, it would be a good start to the new year, God willing! :)

I know! I know! I am being very ambitious, but I am going to do it slowly and steadily so that I don't lose the momentum.

I have my hubby, who is an exercise freak, cheering me on! LOL!

I know that if I keep at it (cycling), not only the area around my knees will get strengthened, but I will also lose weight in the process! Gain 2 things from performing 1 form of excercise! Now that's what I call COOL! LOL!

Cheer me on, OK, guys? *wink*

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How things have changed.....

Last Saturday, 11 August 2012, after buying the baking things at Bake with Yen in Puchong in preparation to bake cakes for the coming Raya, I dropped by Epal, the shop cum sewing class where I bought my 2 sewing machines and learned to make so many bags, quilts, and clothes, just to see what’s new.

A lot have changed since the last time I dropped by there. For one, all the teachers who taught me sewing have all left and gone to greener pastures, or, gotten married, gotten pregnant, and left to concentrate in raising a family. Only the Branch Manager is still around, but when I dropped by there that day, she was on leave. She had gone back to Sabah to see her grandmother who was ill. So everyone at the center that day was unfamiliar to me. *sad*

As I walked into the shop, I was greeted by this huge stand right in front of the shop which hung many new bag designs. I inquired if I could buy some of the patterns for the bags, but was told that they don’t sell the patterns, but instead, I would have to buy the fabrics from them, and they would give me the patterns when I come in for classes to learn how to make the bags. I can’t just buy the fabric and the patterns.

Now when can I find the time to come in for classes?

4 years ago when I bought my first sewing machine from them, I was given a year of free classes to come and learn any or all of the 24 projects offered for that year. I managed to learn 11 projects for that first year by coming in on Saturday afternoons after Aiman finishes his Art classes at Bangsar Village I and on Sunday afternoons, after the weekly maid leaves, and lunch is done with. I would come on Sundays with Aiman in tow. He would bring a toy, his PSP and his workbooks, and he would sit beside me as I take my lessons. My hubby would go to the gym.

On certain Sundays, my hubby would take Aiman with him shopping so that I may stay in class longer, as sometimes, Aiman can get restless and would want to go home early.

There were days too that I would take a few days off in a month from work just so that I can come in for classes. During those days, I would come in at 10.00am and leave by 2.30 pm, in time for me to pick up Aiman from school, bring him home, or take him shopping. We would spend the rest of the evening reading, watching TV or Aiman would be doing his homework and I would work on my crafts. On most of those evenings, I would also cook dinner.

But now, I can’t do that anymore. I have become so busy, extremely busy!  

How did I become so busy?

Our weekends now are filled up to the rim with Aiman’s activities – sending him for his football practice and to his tuition, making sure he does his home work, making sure he does his cat chores and washes his shoes, etc.; doing the household chores, supervising the weekly maid and many other commitments which we don’t know how we got ourselves into, or, we now have more family commitments, not just with Aiman, but also our other family members, our parents especially.

As I left the shop that day, driving back home, my tears flowed. I suddenly realised how we have changed, how our lifestyles have changed, and most importantly, how much time I have missed and lost seeing Aiman growing up.

Aiman is 12 this year, and had just gotten his IC, another major milestone in his life. I realised how much I have missed a major portion of his growing up years as I focus on work and my career

I can’t take leave from work as easily as I use to be able to. Even when I do get a chance to take leave, I end up having to cancel some of the leave at the very last minute. This year alone, I have had to cancel my leave 7 times already, not to mention the number of times too that when I am on MC, but would still have to come in for work to settle urgent matters.

On most days that I am on leave too, I would be on the phone for most part of the morning with someone from the office to settle urgent matters.

Why can’t I delegate my work? I do delegate my work where possible, but there are certain tasks or assignments that cannot be delegated. It’s hard for anyone to understand. Most people would say that I am bad at managing because I want to do everything myself. I am a perfectionist, and when a task cannot be done properly, and I end up having to correct the task delegated to someone else, I might as well do it myself.

I have 3 reliable senior officers, and they have already taken a big load off my shoulders, but, like I said, there are still some tasks that simply cannot be delegated. I take all of my work seriously and with passion, and though I may sometimes sound like I am complaining, I am actually enjoying my work, but it’s the stress of trying to meet datelines, trying to pacify angry clients, and crisis at the work place that sometimes take a toll on me.

During these times, I pray to God to help me and give me guidance on what to do and to give me strength to face the hardest and most difficult hurdle. Praying calms me down as I know that Allah is listening and will help me do the right thing.

I could no longer get back the time I have lost seeing Aiman grow up. I will just have to console myself in the hope that I will still be able to at least still be here for him, God willing, when he is all grown up, gone to college, get married and have kids and have a great career.

I am glad that at least his grandmother and grandfather were able to be there with him when we could not. I am glad that my MIL insisted that we send Aiman to her house everyday instead of to a nursery even when we had a maid so that she could supervise him and the maid. At least a family member is always there for him during those early crucial years. I have a lot to thank both my in-laws for.

Thanks, Mak and Ayah!

I hope to be there for him as he steps into another major milestone in his life when he starts secondary school next year, insyaAllah.

I may have changed in a lot of ways, but hopefully for the better, and hopefully wiser and more matured. I am thankful for all that God has given me. I am blessed, and I hope that my family and I will always be safe under God’s guidance. Amin.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rest in Peace, dear Feline Friend

Two days before Raya, I had to make a very hard and painful decision. It was a decision I hope I will never have to make again.

One of our kittens, Jill, had contracted a disease known as sporotrichosis, and we were told that it is a disease which is not curable, but controllable.

I googled it to understand better what it is and here is an abstract from the PetMd website...

“Sporothrix schenckii is a fungus that has the potential to infect the skin, respiratory system, bones and sometimes the brain, causing a diseased state called sporotrichosis. Infection is caused by the virtually ubiquitous dimorphic (mold and yeast) fungus, S. schenckii, which typically infects via direct inoculation - that is, through abrasions of the skin or by inhalation. The origin of the fungus is environmental; it is naturally found in soil, plants and sphagnum moss, but it can be communicated zoonotically between different animal species, and between animals and humans.

Cats tend to experience a severe form of cutaneous sporotrichosis, making them an even greater risk for transmitting the infection to other animals and people. In cats, intact male cats that roam outdoors and fight are predisposed to puncture wounds, which then offer an advantageous route for S. schenckii to enter the body. The infection may also be spread by other cats, often through scratches to the skin.”

We were told by our vet that because it can be transmitted to humans, it can sometimes be fatal. The Vet had asked us to make a decision whether to keep on giving her medication but to be extra careful when administering the medication so as to avoid any transmission of the disease to us or to put her down.

She will eventually die when the disease is at an advanced stage. I have already seen two stray cats that had come to our backyard looking for food covered with lesions and open wounds with blood trailing, but had thought that they had gotten into a fight.

There is another stray cat that is also starting to show signs of having the same thing, and again, I had thought that she had gotten into a fight. Now I know that all 3 had contracted sporotrichosis.

As far as I can remember, we had never come in direct contact with any of them. Even when we did, we would wash our hands thoroughly.

My only worry is my son who is not as fastidious as his dad when it comes to personal hygiene, but I pray to Allah that he will be safe from the disease, insyaAllah.

We have cared for Jill since birth and it breaks my heart to have to put her down, but letting her live might not necessarily be a responsible decision as not only could her disease be transmitted any other cats that she comes in contact with, but to humans as well.

We have 2 more cats to take care of. Sacrifice one for the sake of the other 2 and many other cats and humans or keep her and end up losing all 3 cats and the risk of the disease being transmitted to us.

For 2 days, I was in turmoil, not knowing what was the best decision to make.

Hubby suggested that I seek advice from Idah, his cousin who is also a cat lover.

When I posted my dilemma on Facebook, Shanny came to share her experience of having to put down her dog too many moons ago and Diane offered some advice by quoting a phrase on Star Trek that said that the good of the many outweighs the good of the one.

Both advice from Shanny and Diane gave me strength that I needed to make a decision. Idah, in agreeing with Shanny and Diane, added on to say that Jill is suffering and furthermore, since there is a possible danger to the other cats as well as humans, there should be no hesitation in making the decision to put her down.

My sister posted that it is better to send Jill to a better place right now.

My hubby and I, together with Aiman, sat down to discuss what was the best thing to do. When we finally decided that putting her down would be the best decision for everyone, I prayed to Allah to give me strength.

I cried as I looked at her as she calmly sits waiting for what's next as the other cats looked at me with curiosity.

I slept little the night before, thinking of Jill.

That morning, before we were to put her down, I sat in front of her again and looked at her, wondering if she knows.

There she was, just sitting quietly, staring at me while her siblings meowed away in another cage, and my heart breaks.

It was painful looking at her, and my tears would not stop flowing again...

I thought that we had made the right decision, yet it felt so wrong. I prayed to Allah to help us go through this.

Idah was right. Once we have decided, we shouldn’t delay because it gets more difficult with time. Even at the vet, my tears would not stop flowing.....

Jill is now in a better place. Rest in Peace, dear feline friend.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A day to be remembered

3 weeks ago my mum and all her children got an invitation to an opening of a gallery at GPMS (Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjun) by the former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Badawi, or fondly known as Pak Lah.

My late father was an active member of GPMS. He had served on the Board of Advisers for as far as I can remember during my growing up years. He is well remembered by those who have worked with him.

It’s nice and touching to know that that are still people who remembers my late dad and his work, even though he has passed on 16 years ago this coming October.

So, it was truly an honour to be invited to the opening ceremony of the gallery showcasing all the works thus far achieved by GPMS. I felt so much pride upon seeing my dad’s name listed among the Board of Advisers of GPMS for so many years.

Seen here is Aiman showing where my dad’s name is listed.

As there were so many, I could not snap photos of all of them, but here are just a few of what I managed to get.

Aiman was excited of the possibility of meeting up with Pak Lah, and the opportunity to shake hands with him. That opportunity came when Pak Lah went around to see the activities organised by GPMS.

Pak Lah was kind enough to stop for a few minutes for us to take a photo with the whole family.

“Cool!” was what Aiman said , with a big grin on his face, after the quick photo session. LOL!

When Aiman finally got the opportunity to actually salam Pak Lah as Pak Lah was about to leave the function after the iftar, his reaction was one of, “Yes!”, with his fist held up against his body, if you know what I mean. *grin*

For Aiman, this memory of meeting up with Pak Lah wil remain with him for a very long time, if not forever.

I am glad that we all managed to get the opportunity to meet up, get a photo with him and salam him too, our former Prime Minister! A day to be remembered forever for all of us!

Monday, August 06, 2012

An unintended pincushion

Is there actually an unintended pincushion? LOL!

Well, what I am trying to say is that today I made a pincushion which was unplanned and not intended to be a pincushion the way it actually turned out, not that I am complaining.

Sometimes, the unplanned plan always turns out better than the planned plan. OK, I think I am repeating myself. LOL!

Anyway, back to my unplanned unintended pincushion, today, I wanted to recycle a cylindrical cardboard that came with Sally’s pincushion to me for the recent NNC Pincushion Exchange which held my wrist pincushion in place.

When I saw the cylindrical cardboard, I thought I could make a pincushion from it by cutting out a circular cloth, stuffing it with batting and gluing it onto the cylindrical cardboard which I intended to wrap with some cloth.

However, I had cut the cylindrical cloth a little too small and so became useless for what I had intended it to be. Then, I had an idea. I looked around my living room and found this very cute container which I got from the many weddings that I had attended.

I tried putting the stuffed circular cloth and it fitted the container perfectly! So, the next thing I knew, I was busy gluing down the lace and the stuffed circular cloth onto the container.

I added a ribbon and a tiny rose to give it more umph, and I think it’s cute, and it’s PINK! LOL!

Actually, even the pink wasn’t intended. It was just a piece of scrap leftover from the Sunbonnet Sue Blocks I was working on. It was just lying around and it caught my eyes when I was looking for a piece of fabric to make the actual intended pincushion.

BTW, here’s the wrist pincushion I received my Sally, my partner for the NNC Pincushion Exchange 2012.

It came in this so cute box!

I just love this kanzashi flower. It was only last month that I was asking at the NNC board on how to make this lovely flower, and Sally must have heard me asking! Thanks, Sally! *smile*

The pincushion did not come alone. It arrived with a lovely fat quarter piece, and 2 pieces of charms! I just love them all!

Thanks, Sally! I have never had a wrist pincushion before and this is just great!

I can’t show you yet the pincushion I made as my partner has yet to receive hers. I just hope that it will arrive safely as it has quite a distance to travel. Hint! Hint!