Friday, 4 January 2013

Quarter 4 summary, 2012 reflection and hopes and aspiration of New Year 2013

Christmas smile from me to you
Hahaha... when I put up 'Quarter 4', I bet it sounds so much like talking about the last quarter of the fiscal year 2012. Yes, I was talking about the last quarter of the year but I'm not going to discuss in financial terms. That stays in the office. LOL! I'm just going to summarize my activities for the last 3 months of the year 2012 for record, a reminder of what I've done during that period.

October recap: 

  • Hanging out with the cousins(Gideon, Beatrice) and niece(Vanessa) around KL and visiting Rimbun Dahan(lead by Ashly). 
  • Attending Nawal's wedding (mini USM, esp Amaniax reunion).
  • Labuan chapter: Gladys' birthday
  • Larian Maksak (won women's invitational category)
  • K08 Aman Damai reunion - catching up with Maisara Ahmad and Vijieshwary Malon at The Gardens
  • Melaka meeting and rendezvous with cousin Umang.
  • Parliament session  - B. & P.27 Budget 2013
  • World Walking day with Shahrill Ramli and Diana Kamal and bump into other friends as well. 

November highlights: 
With Coach Awi & Coach Jeg at Kayu Nasi Kandar
  • Jaclyn Oyo's visit
  • Arthur's day with Melissa Escaraga
  • Penang chapter: Foodilicious, Ipoh mali for a day, catching up with Coach Fahlawi and Coach Jega, Raj, Calvin, and many more, and of course running my first ever 42.195km Penang Bridge International Marathon with Marysia. 
  • Visiting (more like 'spot-check') JKR KL Workshop area - one of KL's historical venues.
December in brief:
  • Joined the Evensong choir group. 
  • Baby O'se born to Sly and Jenn
  • Rendezvous ma cherie Diana who flew in to KL before her runaway bride solo honeymoon to Bali and Flores.
  • Returning to the motherland with ma cherie: back to Kuching for Christmas. 
  • Visiting the rice fields at Kpg Plaie.
  • Karok with my buddies Duay and Azlizan and their friend Michael. 
  • Dinner for the birthday girls Diana and Mummy. 
  • Christmas open house & catching up with childhood friends and school mates. 
  • Back to KL & work.
  • Sudden nightmare - hip dislocation.
Fooling around at Pullman with Azlizan & Duay
Bligh me! If it had not been for blogging, I wouldn't realize how many activities I've covered within the span of just 3 months. And of course there were more if I were to really go into detail. However, for this purpose, I decided to just condense everything so that I can recall in the future of my pass goings on. 

The highlight of October was Nawal's wedding. Nawal is one of the great cheerleaders of Aman Damai. What I meant in that sense was that she is a go-getter, highly spirited and motivated person, always cheering MOTIVATION for her fellow Aman Damai citizens or Amaniax, always up to the challenge kinda girl. I love her spirit and energy. Her journey to finally being Vito's wife is also one interesting one too. Everybody loves a good love story. I'm so  happy for her. May their marriage be blessed bountifully. 

Finally I can call myself a marathoner!
November's main highlight for me was running the PBIM. I enrolled myself for the marathon. It was my first time running 42.195km. just before the race, I was already somewhat injured but I was in denial because my spirits were high and I was very determined that I want to finish this race so badly, I would do it and swallow my pain. I may not be able to finish up my race within 5-5 & half hours but even with legs that needed crutches or wheelchair, I managed to sloth myself to the finishing line within the time frame given. 6 & half hours later, towards the finishing line, I felt a sense of relief and it felt as if I won a race. The race taught me a lot about life. I dedicated the race to God for he had given me so much especially through running. Running is a significant part of my life ever since I discovered it. I used that time to reflect on my life, I tested my spirit and push my body with determination. Running the marathon was very symbolic to me and I cherished it. Although I wasn't in tip top condition, I am glad to say that I've tasted the waters and since I've had such experience, I am looking forward to running another marathon, that is by God's grace if He allows me to run the next one this November. Why I choose PBIM as my marathon platform? Penang is very dear to my heart, the birth of my love for running, a place I call my second home, and a place where I can meet up with old friends who have grown with me throughout my young adult years. 

My lady love
What is not to love about December? Christmas month it is! The highlight centres around the Christmas season itself. There was my outing with Diana Alui in and around KL. Whenever we girls meet up, this was even way back when we were younger, we would centre ourselves around food. We'd be talking away, cracking jokes, laughing away like nobody's business and just simply having a great time in each other's company. For all the tough times babe, I just want to know that I'll be there for you. What more to say for the happy times; I'll double it for you. As they say, a burden shared is halved, happiness shared is doubled. I'm glad that I was able to lift up your spirits and at least make your day even when we hadn't got much time together. Thank you sister for the many wonderful years of friendship and the good Lord bless us with many more, God willing, years to come. I love you! Anyways, back to Christmas. After Diana returned from her Bali trip, we both flew back to Kuching and we celebrated her birthday alongside Mummy's. We had a superb dinner at Pinoy Pinoy, located at Padungan area. It was all lovely, the setting, the ambience, the company - Mummy, Papa, Boy, Unyang and Diana. Food was great, we had hearty laughs over conversations and simply put, it was just a splendid birthday bash. Moving on, Christmas day open house: We had quite a lot of people turning up, Mummy's friends esp in the morning, Hui Ling & her family, Auntie Yoo Loong and Auntie Alice. I received Cynthia Bangan and her brood that morning. How unfortunate the whole family had red eyes but thank God, I did not catch it. It was nice to see her, even if it's once a year - Christmas it is. Later it in the evening, Celestea came for ulam dinner, shortly after were Juliana Lu, her brother David and her lil man Raquel. Then there was the artist himself, Mr. Cuzario David of Relent or 1a.m. The closing guests were Diana and her bunch - her cousins Jonathan, Rikan, Ruran, Achang and her nephew Laja. Laja was very entertaining that night. I reckon someday he could be a really good stand up comedian.
Happy birthday Mummy & Diana. With Papa, myself and Unyang

Christmas was short lived and so the next day, after much hassle in the immigration office for hastening my passport production, I flew back to KL and went to work the next day. I only worked for 3 days and then I was given 5 days MC when one fine Saturday morning, as I was driving out of my parking lot, leaving for my choir practice, I felt pain when I tried to press the petrol gauge. I only went one round and I returned to my parking lot. I called Mr. Ramesh to inform him I couldn't make it for choir, called Olivia but her mom picked up the phone, called Sheila and called Mama Thong. Olivia's mum massage me that afternoon and Sheila continued on that night and stayed overnight to accompany me. On Sunday, Britto drove me to Selayang Hospital to seek treatment. Mama Thong came over to see me Selayang hospital alongside her husband. I'm so touched. The next few days, I went for interval acupuncture treatment, got my situation diagnosed right (apparent hip bone displacement/dislocation of femur) Even in unfortunate situations, there are blessings in disguise. I felt that I was blessed. Blessed to have neighbours and friends who cared. Blessed that in such disparity, God showed me that there's still kindness in the people of KL. For that I'm very grateful. 

2012 - what can I say about it? I only started blogging towards the end of the year so most of my journalling were through facebook - through the pictures and statuses that I posted. I've had my share of happiness and fun as well as betrayals in the friendship department. Sometimes such things happen and it will tell you who your true friends are, who to trust. It also, unfortunately or fortunately makes you create a layer of protection around you. At the same time, one becomes personally vulnerable and go into self isolation. But whatever it is, as they say, life goes on. Time waits for no man. Perhaps someday I will find courage and strength to finally come face to face and explain the reason for my isolation. Sorry friends, for now, I need my space. Hmm... I should highlight all the good things that happened in 2012 but I guess there were too many to sum up. I think those last 3 months pretty much says a lot for what the whole of 2012 was like. However, I'm glad I had my old friends who love me, who know and accept me for who I am and stood by me for all the hard times. You people made me feel loved. 

What are my hopes and aspirations for 2013? If there's one thing I'd like to do, I'd like to run the marathon again but this time in the best of form or at least, injury free. However, the start of 2013 had a good feeling, despite my right leg being a handicap. I'll just smile and dance along with the song... :) . Hope is what keeps man alive. What shall I hope for? Kaizen in every or at least some aspect perhaps... personal growth, spirituality, relationship with friends and family, improve in job performance, many more. Putting them out here is somewhat a sign that I pledge to do so and therefore at the end of the day, be accountable for the happenings at the end of the year when I open up the jar of list of good happenings/blessings. 

And so, I end this with my own little hope and prayer.

Dear Lord Jesus, 

Colgate moment with my favourite ice cream. 
I am grateful for where I am today. You brought me here and my journey hasn't stop till you take me away from this earth. I can't do anything with my own strength, so I hope that Lord Jesus, remind me that you have my hands, you will walk me through the green pastures as well as the valley of the shadow of death. May I venture it without fear or fervor in my heart, trusting that You will lead the way, wherever Your destiny for me lies. I may not be perfect but Your love transcends everything. Despite my irregularities, my downfalls, You were always faithful. I ain't no saint, I hope You will help me out here... Thank you Lord for listening to my prayers. I know You will answer them all, it's either YES, NO, MAYBE or in Your time. Praise You Lord. In Jesus' most precious name I pray and ask all this.     


Hope against hope, as hope is what keeps man alive, may 2013 be a better year for all. Toodles & Happy New Year!!!


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Running inspiration

Running has been a very useful tool and friend to me. I discovered it slightly more than a decade ago when I was in uni. Actually, I did run a bit during my school days but it was just for fun; school sports day, and there was this one instance that I happen to win the school's jogathon when I was in my 5th form. Always the underdog... Just as it was today when I came in jogging attire surrounded by professional looking runners everywhere at the MAKSAK run at Putrajaya. I was registered under the Women's Invitation category, an 8 kilometre race. It was a pleasant surprise to come up out of nowhere and to clinch 1st placing, especially when I was beaten by a veteran lady runner name Vicky of DBKL who is in her 50s. Malu, malu... hehehe... 

Running taught me a lot of things, especially about myself. It is a tool to siphon out my stress during those brain clogging days at work, my confidante when I needed space to reason out my troubled mind, my solace when I am faced with adversities in life, as well as my friend to keep myself healthy, mind body and soul.

I'm a thinker and at times I think a lot. Running helps me with my thinking. It can make me think creatively, come up with ideas and at times, experience that light-bulb moment. If I feel like clearing my head, running is a good avenue too. There's so much benefit I get from running. Today's entry somehow concentrates more on the mental part of it. Apart from that, it helps with good intestinal tract system, gives you healthier glowing skin, makes you feel good as it releases the feel good hormone endorphin and many more things.  

Today's run meant a lot to me somehow. It was a time I used to reason out with the adversities I faced, the struggles and the torment that runs through my head. The questionings of "what if"s and "if I didn't..." or "if I did...". As I ran today, when my feet felt like letting go, I had to psyche myself to stay focus, don't stop, keep running, just as how it was during my running days when I had my coaches telling me from the side of the track while running a race... now I no longer have that luxury. I am my own cheerleader. I have to tell myself I can do it. I have to tell myself I can overcome the odds. I have to tell myself that I am strong. Nobody's going to run my race for me, I have to run it myself. Finishing a race is one thing. Running a race is a whole other thing. Everybody can reach the finishing line. However, it is how you get to there that matters, just like how things work in life. 

Sazaly, yours truly and Mizi with our respective rewards.
I just want to praise God Almighty, Jehovah Jireh ~ He provided me the strength to run... I thank God for this ability, it means so much to me. There are times when I run, I will be talking to Him. It's the best quiet time I can get. A run gives me great joy. It's a way to feel that you're alive, breathing the air, feeling the ground, sweat coming out of your skin ~ a good way to appreciate your life. I would like to dedicate all my runs; my training, my competition to the good Lord for He has blessed me much through it. 

Goodnight y'all. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The illy experience :: coffee appreciation

On Saturday, I got a PM from Melissa Escarraga via FB asking me if I were interested in joining her for a coffee making class on Sunday morning between ten till noon. I thought to myself, "I'm not much of a coffee lover, I do like my cuppa." Well, it does sound peculiar. Why would I want to go to a coffee making class? I thought all you had to do was dump in all the necessary ingredients, add boiling water and voila! there's your cuppa! Reluctantly, I said yes, thinking that I would be enjoying Mel's brew so I thought, "yeah, why not?". Just tag along and have free coffee instead. 

illy coffee cup
And so, this morning, I got up early, got myself ready, went to St. Mary's and as soon as I was done with the communion, I took the prayer book and bible, put it back at the counter and dash to the car and left for Phileo Damansara. Met up with Mel and went up to the 9th floor. As soon as we got there, I did not take notice of the detailed surroundings as I went there half-heartedly but I knew somehow, it was going to be somewhat interesting, this peculiar subject - the art of coffee making. As soon as we were all settled at our respective seats (there were 4 of us, Mel and I and a couple of lovebirds), Irene started off with the introduction. It didn't take long enough for them to grab my attention. Suddenly the subject of coffee got interesting. It was evident when I rummaged through my handbag and got my pen and paper and immediately write away. We were introduced to various types of coffee in the world and the highlight of the first lecture was the difference between the top two coffees consumed in the world - Arabica vs. Robusta (click to read about the interesting facts of these two types of coffee beans; exactly the same facts told during our lecture). We were told that the Italians take their coffees seriously that if their favourite barista goes on leave, they wouldn't want the other barista to make them a cuppa. They are just simply attached to their barista.  Another interesting fact given was that 10gm of coffee killed a man before. So yes, coffee CAN KILL. Don't try this, ok? 

Once Irene was done, Francesco, an Italian world champion Barista took over and continued on with the types of coffee, a brief theory on how to create good coffee with detailed information of the right gauge of pressure (9bars/PSi), right milk froth temperature (65 deg Celcius), 2 second rule (let go once it's hot - at 65 deg C), the right amount of milk, the best milk - fresh milk - no other milk, hygiene, and how mood can affect the outcome of your coffee making. Next, Mr Enrico takes the class on a practical journey. He started off with making us espresso shots. We had three different shots - the first one was done the right way, the next: underdone, the last: overdone. The best one tasted somewhat bitter but had a sour aftertaste. Enrico told us that is how a good espresso should taste like. The other two were either really black plain and bitter coffee or oily black one - just like the P. Ramlee story, Nujum Pak Belalang whereby P. Ramlee's character in that story, instructed his son Belalang to prepare coffee out of the burnt debris bottom of the wok. I'm sure you can imagine the taste; a bit oily (oil from the coffee powder - too much powder) and really bitter. Yuck!!! 

After the much unpopular espresso (just not popular with us in the class), we moved onto the cappuccino, which coincidentally happens to be my usual order at any premium coffee joint (Starbucks, Coffee Beans, San Francisco, just to name a few) most of the time. This one was really interesting. This is where the art of coffee making really stands out. Not enough milk, you won't get enough to create the cappuccino taste, too much milk, it'll turn into cafe latte. Too hot, froth is separated from the milk. Not warm enough, the taste is a bit out. Right temperature is 65 deg C at 9 bars and a release of coffee within 25s. We were taught how to press the extracted coffee powder (which we twisted the lever twice to dispense about 2 spoons [flat, not mountainous] of coffee powder) in that thing-a-ma-jiggy (coffee press I guess), stamp lightly to initially flatten it out in the coffee press, then knock the side to let the powder settle. Next, press the stamper by adding pressure from your shoulder down to your hand and the stamp. Once it is settled, clear the sides of the coffee press, just before you fix it to its designated place, drain out the water from the dispenser. Only then, fix the coffee to the machine. Prepare your cups, then press the button, put down the cups. Oh yeah, before you do the coffee though, you should prepare your milk. There's this special pitcher they have for cappuccino. How to measure? put in milk right up till just one finger away from below the groove. Clean the milk steamer by releasing the steam to clean it and wipe with a towel. 

Preparation of the milk froth should coincide with the pressing of coffee liquid into the cups. While preparing your milk, make sure the steamer sits at the surface for a good while then once the machine stops, bring the nozzle all the way down for it to froth the milk and feel it with your palms to check on the temperature. The best way to gauge what 65 deg C feels like is when you can hold your pitcher for more than 2 seconds. Once that is achieved, remove your milk from the steamer. Before you fill up your coffee with the milk froth, make sure you stir the milk froth well. If there is a presence of big bubbles, tab your pitcher on the table and shake well till your froth turns shiny. Once that is achieved, start pouring into the cup, starting high, right in the middle, then towards the end, bring down the pitcher and let go to the front slowly - depending on the pattern you wish to create. If you'd like to make the pattern interesting, you could add cocoa powder or cocoa syrup and toy around to create the shape of your choice. 

And finally, the last person to show off his coffee making skill was Mr. Goh. This is the outcome. Simply simple and beautiful. :) 

Cappuccino Art

Here, I leave you the link to illy's website for you to discover about real good coffee. Thanks illy coffee! Or shall I say, Universita Del Cafe? Goodnight! 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Feline Friend

"Ooohhh... mamau..." that's how I'd speak to Fatty, my cat (pic). I just loooove cats. I grew up with cats and dogs but somehow I have a more special affection with cats. I guess I like them cats because they are adorable in their own ways, manja,  independent, demure, soft and furry. Oh... I miss my Fatty...

Whenever I return to Kuching, when I go to bed at night, Fatty would meow away from right outside my window, begging me to let her into my room. When I've horizontally placed myself on bed, she would crept up to my feet and sit on it. LOL! She's heavy alright but I like her warmth. However, of late, Fatty no longer sleeps with me anymore. Last I return to Kuching, my mom made me sleep in my sister's room. During the previous trips before that, I still sleep in my room. However, there was an incident whereby in the middle of the night, Fatty had her seizure and bit my finger, that was when I had to not let her enter my room any longer.

Fatty has epileptic fit. It started off when she kept sleeping on the Astro decoder box. I have the impression that perhaps it was caused by the electricity or some kind of wavelength that messed up with her neurons. It's just a guess, I can't say, I only assume. Besides Fatty, I have 2 other orange cats. Her sister Mamau and an older cat name Kinky. Mamau usually sleeps with my brother whose room happens to be next to mine. I'll have Fatty over. Kinky has been the custodian of our family "kebun" house in Samarahan for quite a long time. At one time, Kinky grew big, long, and fat. But now that she has grown old and a lil more cranky, she has shrunk somewhat, a shadow of her former glory. She's a lot more grumpy than she used to be.

I remember as a child, I had a lot of black and white or shall I say, cow patterned cats. LOL! The mother cat was called Mimiey, I thing there was Mimiau too... one of my cats was called Kitty even. However, at the end of the day, you just call out "Meow, meow, meow, meow", they would all rush to your side. Again, it was my brother and I who grew up with the cow cats. But that batch didn't last and for a good number of years, we were cat-less until Kinky came along. Aunty Alice was our so-called cat supplier. Hui Ling has a cow cat at home. Oh yeah, not forgetting another cat lover, Jojo. hehe...

Living in a condo doesn't really give me the privilege to have a cat. Yeah sure, boleh curi-curi simpan kucing tapi kalau travelling nanti siapa nak jaga? I know they have pet hotels. Hmm... I would love to have pets but only if I stay in a landed property. Rumah awangan ni susah sikit. Ah well, someday I guess...

Talking about cats just make me feel like a little girl again. I know I sound childish but cats always make me feel excited. I love them. Feel like hugging them. Playing around with them. For now, I just look at their pictures online. Sometimes, I feel like I'm like a lil Kitty too. I guess I can relate with cats. I see some of my traits are like that of a cat. LOL. Wishful thinking... goodnight peeps!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The truth shall set you free

 People hunt for the truth. They say the truth will set you free. Some say, truth hurts. Truth makes the path straight. Jesus says He is the Truth. I'm not here to preach. Na'a... I'm not qualified to do so. I'm just discussing this subject called truth.

Have you ever been in a situation that demands the truth that it becomes a dilemma to convey or express it? I think many of us have been in such situation. We struggle with our inner self, our morals and standards as well as believes on how to react to such situations that beckons just that, the truth. I like how Paolo Coelho puts it: "Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile."

The truth has made my heart sank, put a smile on my face, at times - made me angry, made me somewhat just non responsive, at times bewildered. Welcoming truth in an unexpected way, in-your-face or a rude shock... well, it may not be in the nicest of manner, but the spirit of it is that it was all about the truth. It can be just as painful to tell the truth as much as it is to receive the truth. Sometimes, we have the perception that, people may not be able to handle the truth so we lie. We lie to protect them. That is what we thought. However, when we lie, we might expose them to danger, to the fake believe that all is alright. Even in a situation with regards to black news like a death of someone, the news needs to be conveyed but the art of conveying needs to be tread delicately. Still, truth is important. It needs to be heard.

I can go on and on about truth, but it will just go around the bush. It's still the same story, same message. Do a kind thing, be truthful. Being truthful irons out the crease. Goodnight world.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Project overdue :: (Re-)starting a blog

Hello, hello!!!

Aaaaahh!!! So relieved that I have finally decided to create a blog again. I've been mourning my old blog and much ado about nothing about it for quite a while... until... after some observation and personal reflection on electronic social media, I've decided to open up an account and start blogging... again.

blog background: Northampton's pink rose
Yeah, you read that twice alright. AGAIN. I used to have an account with Friendster during my uni days. Kitty K8's Bloggie (yeah, lame...). It was a whole bunch of memories that obliterated into thin air when Friendster decided to turn into a gaming space. How sad. My blog used to concentrate more on my passion for my beloved sports - running. In between, I had recipes - yes I love cooking and still do love cooking; personal reflections, ... can't really remember much, but for most of the part, it was about my track and field experience, how I've come a long way and why I love that sports so much.

Times a-changing, It's been 5 yrs since I left uni and entered the working field. My writing style or gist will probably differ from what I used to write during my uni days as my experience in life has grown. I will post some of my previous postings from my previous blog (if I can still find the drafts) from time to time to keep the memories alive.

Muka excited kunun...
After dragging my feet (or rather, finger) to do it, I finally made it happen!!! Haha... yes I sound excited alright. Very the VERY!!! My initial thought of creating this blog is to put out my thoughts and expressions where I can feel that there's more privacy and that there are things that I can just blurt out and not care a rat's ass about what other's might think or perceive of my views. Hey, this is my space. You don't like it? F*ck off!! Not my problem, it's yours. (ops... cool, cool... time to calm down)

So, yeah. That's the initial (or rather long) introduction, or, if you must call it, "welcome speech" to you readers. Welcome to the canvas of my mind, where I shall paint myriads of pictures of my thoughts for you to "read" me and understand me as a person better. I must firstly put it out that, hell yeah, I'm not perfect, pardonez moi if I do spell wrongly, go grammatically wrong or just don't sound SANE at times to you -  like I said, my entry are my personal thoughts.  

So... there you have it, and may I conclude in French : Bienvenue sur la blog de Mlle. Petite Chat (Welcome to Miss Kitty Kate's Blog!). A bientot et bonne nuit, mes amis!!!