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Showing posts from 2015

Go Bananas!

I was going bananas with this one. I had tried and tried to sketch a banana but after each attempt, it wasn't just working out. Who would have thought that making a banana to look like one would be so hard?! But it was. So I had to deviate from my original plan of having scattered bananas in its various states and forms covering 3/4 of the frame to having just one. The "go bananas' text was to be below all those randomly hovering bananas.

The idea popped up after an evening of Genmaicha overdose. Roasted brown rice green tea has never affected me badly before because of its much lower caffeine content than a regular green tea. That day however, it was a different story. I don't know why, maybe I was just too tired, it was easier to OD from it. I had suffered all night long until I gained some semblance of calmness, having consumed a couple of bananas. My body was going bananas with caffeine and it took some bananas to bring me to normalcy. 

Once done away with the multi…

Be Love and Something Blue

IT'S September and I'm still fat. Slowing metabolism is one of the hardest things to handle, mentally more than anything, as we age. I'm trying to keep up with the long walks and the light to moderate weight-training in the gym but boy, it seems like this life is hell-bound on giving me tests, one after another. The bootcamp had to be stopped five weeks ago, as my Chronic Extertional Compartment Syndrome had been causing me more pain and numbness with increased, very visible muscle herniations on the lower limbs. Next week, I'm back at a sports injury hospital here for a run test, to see if the pain which had gone up to the pelvic area from the lower leg is more than just CECS. 

On the bright side, I'm keeping busy with projects that demand my full attention and concentration. I'm loving the embroidery stitching works that I've been doing. At the moment, I'm collecting small pieces of designs, inspired by the things and issues that are going on in the wo…

Of Tampons, Hair Colour and the Unknown

I was trapped in another horrid dream this morning. It had something to do with my brother, suicidal thoughts and fear of death (of a loved one) all at the same time. Very disturbing. Then I woke up to a message from a panicking friend. Apparently, her tampon in use had gone 'missing'. After an exchange of messages, she took off to the hospital. The doctor's only advice after inspecting her was to check the bed, bedside and bathroom for any signs of it. Surely an used tampon wouldn't be lying discreet on the bed, I told her. It probably got flushed down the toilet during one of those dozy midnight bathroom breaks. Not speaking from experience but oddly enough, I just happened to have a few tales of tampon/ sanitary pad mishap, firsthand from people I know. 

Lately, I've been itching to colour my hair. Two years ago, I told myself that I'd do everything in my power to stay away from any chemical treatment that may cause dry hair or for it to lose its sheen. Also,…

Of Potions, Lotions and Creams

AS I'm typing out this post, I'm drenched in a luxurious concoction of premium east-african shea butter, rosehip oil and glycerin, scented with drops of ylang ylang and lavender essential oils. My skin is gleaming, reflecting the light from the window, and the scent, oh so intoxicating. The potion is soft and stable at room temperature but melts like butter on a hot bun when it hits the skin. I smell like the sweet offerings for the god of the skies, maybe also like an ancient temple or an Indian bride on her wedding night. Whatever, I smell awesome right now. Ylang ylang, on its own puts me off but with lavender, it's mild and mysterious. It's been deeply satisfying making my own lotions, creams and balms.

Last night, I attempted a whipped body and hair cream. Unrefined shea and organic cocoa butters as the base with a teaspoon of glycerin, rosehip and coconut oils, bound by the humble rosemary and lavender essential oils. I had so much fun melting, mixing and beating …

Vivid Dreams

In a couple of days, I complete and begin another year of my life, officially gravitating towards the late 30s. I don't know what to feel about it. Mostly, I'm not too happy about how time is just eating up my life. In no time, I'll be 40 and then comes the 50s. Not sure what's beyond that if I'm still around! Maybe it's the nightmare I had last night where a swamp of wasp or wasp-like insects washed over me. They didn't sting but they were kind of evil, like they had meant to harm me and they actually did. Soon, I was panicking. My legs swelled up, my face bloated with visible blisters. Mom was rushing my brother to send me to the hospital but he just stood there in his usual lackadaisical way, maybe even taking comfort with what he saw as I became frantic. And then, I woke up. 
I have vivid dreams every night and I remember them in detail. During deep sleep, I know that I'm in a dream and some days, the dreams are a continuation of something I've h…

Little Asian In The Sun

I've been a little unwell recently. I guess I've just been tired and being outdoors in the sandy atmosphere has taken a toll on me. The indoors, however, drives me mad especially in these past two weeks when I've had lesser work to do. Meaning, nothing much to focus on. I don't really like watching TV during the day, I can only read so much and cooking for two doesn't take forever. In short, my movements are restricted indoors. I suppose for me, moving about, is key to sanity. 

I had spent the last ten days, walking. With a small bag pack carrying water, towel, bananas, an extra pair of pants and a note book, I left home around 3pm, walked through the city for about 2-3 hours before going to my evening bootcamp sessions. I had also kept my RunKeeper app turned on so I could track my distance, time and route.  

Well, I didn't see much on my routes except for a dead kitten and a bird but I did notice the amount of roadworks that's been taking place. It's ev…

Keria (Sweet Potato Doughnut)

I'VE had an extraordinary childhood: have definitely experienced a way of life which may have even been unfamiliar to my peers then. A part of it includes food. From growing it, getting our supply from growers in the neighbourhood and to cooking, there was plenty of good food around. A common crop in the house garden was the tapioca or cassava. We had planted like 50 of those all year round, back to back. Till now, I still couldn't figure why we did that because after harvesting what's needed for us, some neighbours and friends, we still had extras. My dad and grandma (maternal) were crazy about this root. Their sentiment, I think, wasn't something that stemmed from its lovely flavours. Rather, it was more deep-rooted than that. Both dad and grandma had lived through the dreadful Japanese occupation era in Malaya (Dec 1941 to Aug 1945) during which time, food supply was scarce. Staple rice was out of the question. People's lives depended mainly on tapioca because i…

South Africa: Where I Could Live

BEFORE we left for Africa, we were bombarded with crime alerts from concerned friends and family. In fact, safety was the only thing that got mentioned when we announced our dream holiday plans to them. By the time we left, we were quite bothered by all those alerts. And then, we landed in Johannesburg. 

We took a cab and went out that very night when I realised what I was doing: I was looking at every person on the street and judging them indiscriminately. And I was very ashamed of myself for that. That night, I changed my tarnished mindset about the whole safety issue. Would I go out alone on foot or even in a car to some places in my own country? No! Why, I don't even have the peace of mind to walk in some areas during the day in Bangsar (Kuala Lumpur)! Crime risks are anywhere and everywhere, we just have to be street smart. I could have been pick-pocketed in Paris or robbed at gunpoint in New York too. When I was able to release that mindset, I saw the people in a new, differe…

South Africa: Where Dreams Come True

OF all my travels, I had the best one last week in South Africa. Africa is officially my favourite continent in the world and I vow to travel parts of it in the years to come. Our trip began with a brief stay at Johannesberg for the night before we were whisked off to Northeast where we stayed three, wonderful nights at a game lodge. It has always been my dream to experience an African safari so the main agenda of this trip was the Kruger National Park. 

What can I say. It has been the most interesting few days of my life among the lives I've only used to read about, watch in documentaries and imagine in my head. Over the days, I've had a frog half the size of my pinky jump out of my hair, suffered various insect bites on my face, avoided bee stings (although I've been stung half a dozen times before), walked about after dark to my room so fearful thinking that I may be in the way of the hippos in the lake outside my room and watched a man shiver right next to me due to a s…

Grey Weather

IT'S like a scene from a horror movie outside. The weather department did warn us of the storm but at this intensity, it's something I've never experienced before. At 65kmph, the wind is howling angry. The air is thick with dust that I can't see my neighbour's house. I could taste sand particles in my mouth and nose when I was at the balcony earlier. Why, I'm on the sofa now and still get a strange smell in the air. 

Times like this, I really don't mind a thunderstorm instead. Visibility is off, the roads are equally messed up, it's not safe to be out and there're flood possibilities. But at least, during and after a thunderstorm, the air is clean and everything looks new and hopeful again. I walked into the bathroom and ran my finger along the bathtub. There is already a layer of dust. The hub had just washed it earlier. I could see a coat of grey matter on the brown TV cabinet from where I am now. This is just in the city, inside of an almost sound…

Time

And it's April. 

In four days, my mom turns 59. We celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary on the 5th and on the next day, the husband inches closer to 40. At this phase in life, time is something I have plenty of yet I'm losing it at a pace I cannot justify.  

Today, I'm missing my mom and dad pretty bad. I don't think I've spent much time being with them even when I was with them. There was always school or they were working. But we lived together, ate dinner at the table every day and spent Sunday evenings as a family. I measured time by school year and every year seemed like a lot of time then. It felt like I owned forever. It felt like the dame old tree was old while I bounced in eternal youth. It felt like I was going to school my whole life and eating dinner together at home. 

But the years never missed a minute and still caught up with me: it was time to leave home. My parents wished me well and sent me off with pride. I wasn't living with them but I was les…

Healing With Essential Oils

OILS and I go a long way. My mom used a lot of oil on me, growing up. As a teenager, baby oil was my go-to daily face moisturiser. I didn't know then what I know now about synthetic oils but it worked for me. In my early 20s, I fell in love with pure essential oils. I was introduced to the world of Culpeper during work. Then, I was gifted a 50ml bottle of jojoba base oil with two precious bottles of 10ml rose and geranium essentials oils courtesy of Culpeper. I was set for life and I've never looked back ever since. 

Over the years, I have depended on and dwelled solely in beauty oils. Recently, I've started learning about healing through essential oils. It's been a huge eye-opener for me. Essential oils are just not skin deep, they're simply so much more than that. The potent substances extracted through steam distillation from various shrubs, flowers, roots, skin and seeds could have incredible healing powers when used with sensitivity, respect and knowledge. It i…

Berries and Petals

I baked a cake for a friend's birthday party today. More than the baking, I enjoyed icing this cake. It's a simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. The idea for decoration comes from a cake Chef Lorraine Pascale made. It's a white cake with little flowers constructed from raspberries and almond flakes. So pretty and whimsical, just the kind of cake that'd make me happy if it was presented to me on my birthday. 

I had so much fun decorating and re-decorating the cake while munching on berries, almonds and cream. I used red berries for raspberries as I found them to be more delicate for the flower effect. Red on white is one of my all time favourite combinations and not just at Christmas. 

I started off with a scale-like design along the side. Since I had some extra buttercream, I decided to continue a row on the top too. With the space left on the face, I constructed a few flowers. When done, I stood back and didn't like what I saw. Too messy. Too much going on …

Milk Of Amnesia

FLIPPING through some food sites, I came across an interesting recipe for an alcoholic beverage. The writer calls it the Milk of Amnesia. At first, I thought I had read it wrong but there it was again. Milk of Amnesia. The article soon broke into a series of pictures of how it's done. Fresh milk is used with sugar, vodka, oranges and lemon. The combination is left to ferment for 10 days after which it's filtered and ready to go. So, the pictures went from a milky, gross concoction of floating citrus to an end product of something that represented a clear, golden liquid much like a fine icewine. Elegant and sophisticated. I was curious and drawn to it. 

Lab coat on and ready to experiment. That night, I cut some oranges and a lemon, threw them into a jar and dumped in sugar, milk and when it came to the vodka, I realised I didn't have any. I went through my little closet bar a few times but all I had were bottles of various vile-flavoured vodka, not the ordinary one that I n…

Paddling In Doha

TWO weeks ago, we took part in a dragonboat festival: Qatar's First Dragonboat Festival. Our training had started two weeks before that,and I felt fabulous for many reasons. One, I was able to enjoy and take part in sporting activities despite my ear and hearing issues. Two, it's a water sport. It's a team, water sport in the pristine waters of the Qatari coastline. Thirdly, I've been in an international dragonboat festival in 2011 and therefore, to be part of a second event in a different country is an exciting prospect. 

First week training was excellent. I was made the front pacer along with our team captain. Our job was to set the pace for our team of 20 paddlers. Paddling came naturally to me although when spelling it out on a paper, it always came out as peddling. I think people just went with it because they didn't want to embarrass the writer. 
In the second week, we were trained harder by a new coach. The wind and waves doubled the intensity of our training.…