Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Anyone for a game of Old Maid?

It was supposed to be a leisurely, relaxing game of Old Maid to while away the time while we let our stomach juices digest out terribly huge dinner at Shogun. The pack of cards had only cost Sam and Aisha 90 sen at MPH. 90 sen! For those who have forgotten this childhood game of cards, the objective of the game is to find and match the pair of characters by picking a card at random from the player next to you. This goes on until the last person remains with the Old Maid, whose identical partner is sitting in the box.

In the first round, Rizal wins. Sam holds on to the Old Maid until the eleventh hour, passing it on to Aisha and sis. Sis ends up with the short end of the stick: the Old Maid.

For kicks and to make the game more unpredictable, the veritable Game Master (in other words, Rizal, who on a regular basis, runs his own fantasy RPGs, complete with background music, maps and miniatures) decides that we should put the pair of Old Maids back into the deck and take out a random card. We wouldn’t know which card is the actual “Old Maid”, so that would be more exciting.

We tag-team the effort: Chin Lai shuffles, Sam picks a card at random and Aisha shoves it back into the box. As the game moves along, Rizal wins yet again. He insists that it’s because he keeps pairing his squirrel card and yells out the tagline on the card: I love nuts. Then I finish my hand. Chin Lai soon has all his pairs on the table and finally, Sam. We’re down to our last two again: Aisha and sis. And still the Old Maid had not surfaced. Cue opening theme for Twilight Zone.

Sis finally picks the Old Maid from Aisha’s hand. The Old Maid!! Suddenly the hairs on my neck were standing up. There’s a palpable tension in the air. We look at each other and I could tell everyone was thinking the same thing: how the hell did we end up with the Old Maid again?

To see whether it was just coincidence we decide to randomly pick a card again. Rizal takes the deck this time. He shuffles and offers it to Sam to cut. The big bear of a wuss refuses, “I’m not going to touch that deck!” So I cut the deck, Rizal picks out a card and stuffs it into the empty box. And we start another round. Halfway through someone mutters the obvious, “The Old Maid is still not surfacing yet.” Cue Twilight Zone theme again. The hairs on my neck are standing at full attention now. This time, the last pair is down to sis and Rizal. And the loser with the last card is … Rizal! With the … Old Maid!!

Mayhem breaks lose. Everyone starts shouting at the same time. “I’m not taking that pack of cards home!!” shouts Aisha. “Ooooh maaaaan!! What are the blurdy odds of that happening?” I add. “This is so freaky!” exclaims Sam. “Thank gawd I didn’t end up with the Old Maid for the THIRD time!!” goes my sis. Everyone is incredulous and slightly, if not extremely, freaked out by the occurrence.

The Old Maid twice in a row. At random. Picked out by different people.

Cue Twilight Zone theme from background into the foreground.

Sam insists it’s the power of the mind. Everyone was probably thinking about the Old Maid, therefore she was picked. I disagree. I don’t know about the rest of the group but I was not thinking about the Old Maid at all. But how do you explain the Old Maid showing up again and again? Our odds can’t have been that good. We are still spooked but it’s time to go home. Starbucks closes at 10.30pm on weekdays.

Sam decides that he will take the deck home with him even though we had thought of leaving the “tainted” deck at Starbucks for the next unlucky players. We leave Starbucks still shaking our heads and with the lingering feeling of incredulity.

Anyone for a round of Old Maid? At Sam’s place?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

My cats can tell time

I am convinced my brown cows can tell time. Well, at the very least they can tell when the weekend comes rolling around and it’s time for me to let them out into the back garden for a frolic or two. Seriously, I never thought cats could tell the different days in the week. Today however, I am inclined to think differently.

Instead of hollering and yowling for their food in the morning as they are wont to do most mornings, today they yowled to go out. I know this only because they did not even bother to look at their kibble when I poured it into their bowls. Only Meg was hungry enough to eat. That, and because she’s not hard-up on heading out to catch some sun, unlike the two brown cows.

Today the brown cows rushed down the stairs, stopped at the carpet and didn’t even bother to follow me to their food. They just hovered around the edge of the carpet, waiting for me to head into the kitchen. Which I did, of course, for a drink of water. When they saw that I wasn’t heading toward the kitchen door, they started up a racket again. Well, mostly the girl anyway. “Yowl, meowr, reowr!” said she, a furball of whines. When it became clear that I wasn’t budging, even the boy started joining in the ruckus.

They did not attempt to leave the kitchen. They hovered and hung around, willing me by their extreme cuteness and adorableness to let them out the kitchen door. I was still too sleep-deprived to pay any attention to them. I had bigger things to worry about: how to jolt myself awake to get into work without tripping over my feet.

So I roused hubby from his slumber and told him my amazing discover, that the kitties could tell when the weekend was. He just mumbled, “Really?” and went back to sleep.

I left for work still amazed that my brown cows are actually quite smart. I wonder what they will do next? Start to speak to me maybe? Then I’d REALLY freak out.

Friday, March 24, 2006

You'd think I'd have learned by now

I've gone and done it again. I've locked myself in the office without my keys. Or rather, someone locked the grill downstairs so I'm stuck because my office keys are in my car. My spare set of keys are in my room and I've locked my the door to my room too.

Somebody please smack me upside on the head.

To compound matters, my marketing person exec is just as scatterbrained as me when it comes to keys. She's finishing up on work but has left HER set of keys in her car as well.

This must be the nth time that this has happened to me. It's gotten so bad that I've got one set of keys in my drawer and two sets of keys in my car. I think I need to disperse said sets of keys more widely. I must put a set in my bag as well. Soon I'm going to have to hang a set on my neck too. And if that fails, I'll have to figure out a way to accessorize with my keys and try them on as bangles and anklets.

Another year older, not necessarily wiser

What I discovered on my birthday:

  1. Too exhausted to celebrate as it was a working day and by the end of the day with the last client visit, all I wanted to do was crash.

  2. Quite a number of people actually remembered! One of my closest friends from college had set a reminder on her Outlook but needed and SMS and a phone call from another friend to remind her again on the same day before she finally called me. But it’s OK as I had already made allowances for her forgetfulness.

  3. Some friends can’t be relied upon.

  4. Receiving birthday messages (SMS) from acquaintances does not push my buttons.

  5. As the years go on, birthdays become less and less of an event.

  6. The hubby will remain incorrigibly hopeless.

And the final, most fascinating discovery made:

  1. Another friend shares the exact same birthday!! Except that he’s a horse and I’m a tiger. WOW!!


Sis gave me RM200 worth of Kino book vouchers!! Wooohoooo!! Time to go berserk!!

P.S. An indignant Chin Lai was not credited with said book vouchers. He contributed 50% to them. So...THANK YOU, CHIN LAI!!

Heheh, no am not being sarcastic. I didn't want to go assuming. But then again, I should have. Since sis has been going around wailing that she's broke. Don't think she would have put in so much for my b'day present, hahahahah!!

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I had freshly made kimchi with my Korean instant noodles – two nights in a row!! It was FANTASTIC!! DELICIOUS!! MOUTH-WATERING!! I was sweating pools while eating at home but it was worth it. Following Merv’s lead, I had bought 1 container. By the time I was done with my second round, there was only half left. If I wasn’t heading out to dinner tonight, I’d be having another round of Kimchi Noodle soup. I blame it all on Merv.


You can never get too much of...bags!

I was in the loo when the hubby stealthily left my present for me on the bed last night. It was in a Tiffany blue box but since the box was about a 1’ x 1.5’ x 6” or so in size, I dismissed it as a gift from Tiffany’s right away.

I read the card first. Since he said that he’d got me something that I collect, I guessed right away it was a bag. So I pulled off the ribbon and opened the box. The present inside was wrapped in Naf Naf paper. I tore it away to find … the white bag I had bought myself two weeks ago. I could have sworn the hubby had seen the bag in the Naf Naf paperbag that he carried for me when we were shopping for Aisha’s present. Well, apparently he hadn’t.

I was quite dumbfounded, really. I hollered for hubby. He came bounding up the stairs. And then I told him. Should have seen the shock on his face. “Oh noooo!” he yelled. I just laughed some more. “I didn’t know you bought the bag!! I didn’t see you buy it!” “Well, it’s been sitting in the bag in front of the wardrobe all this while in plain view. Plus, you helped me carry the bag the other day.” “Oh noooo!!”

Hahahah, so I told him that he should be able to exchange the bag with another and helpfully told him that he could exchange it for a different bag which I had thought of getting.

And to think that his first choice for me was a Celine bag that was going for RM4K. He even thought of Coach.

Great man, my hubby.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Not Flea Markets, Fleece Markets

Something about the flea markets in KL strike me as odd. I found several definitions of flea market on Dictionary.com:

flea marketn.
A market, usually held outdoors, where antiques, used household goods, and curios are sold.

flea market
n : an open-air street market for inexpensive or secondhand articles

Why is it then that the flea markets here usually do not carry the characteristics of flea markets around the world? From Tokyo to London to USA flea markets all over feature used, antique or inexpensive goods. Even the regular markets in other Southeast Asian countries stock inexpensive goods.

Somehow the concept seems to be lost on Malaysians. As hubby said, “The markets here are not flea markets, they are small-time retailers.” The only market that can be considered a true flea market is the one on weekends at Amcorp Mall. Only there can you find used or antique goods at dirt-cheap prices.

All this came about as I made the rounds at the weekend market at The Curve. I have not been to the ones in Mont Kiara nor Bangsar Shopping Centre in a while, but I know they are similar to the one at The Curve.

The items on display are mostly clothes, accessories, jewellery or household items brought in from other Southeast Asian countries. Not only are they not used, they are pricey!! A dressy top in jersey can go for as much as RM69!! No doubt, you can bargain however, don’t expect to knock off prices by anything more than 15%. And then the proprietor will whisper conspiratorially that they will be having a sale next week, but for you only, she will give a discount this week.

Bags go for as much as RM40-50. Earrings, which are unimaginatively also imported from one of the SE Asian countries are sold at normal shop prices of RM10 for 3 pairs. Or pricier. There will be stalls upon stalls selling clothes and accessories from other SE Asian countries; after a brief walk you wonder what’s the differentiation. Almost everything looks the same. The stalls where handmade crafts are sold are few. I count baked goods as one of them and found only one of these rare gems at The Curve.

I really might as well fly AirAsia to Bangkok and head to Jatujak Market or Suan Lum Market.

Everyone, it seems, thinks that they can fly out to another country, bring in the goods and sell them at a margin for profit. For a person who is well traveled enough, why would you pay RM40 for a pair of slippers you know costs only RM10 or RM15 in Bangkok? Far from being entrepreneurial, I think these people think they can make a quick buck from the layman. I always walk away from these fairs feeling like the stall operators are out to con me. And when I do end up buying something other than food that is homemade, I end up asking myself why I was so stupid to buy the stuff when it’s not anything I can’t find in the stores.

Hubby said we should start our own flea market where we fix a ceiling rate for all products sold. I doubt if we could get stall operators to be interested since they want to see sizeable returns on their goods.

It’s a good thing these weekend retailers are operating here in Malaysia. They’d die a fast and instant death anywhere else in Southeast Asia.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Not very productive

I have been staring at the screen for more than a few minutes. No fodder. No thoughts. No words. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. So I'm gonna leave it at that.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

As if being depressed isn't enough, I go and wreck my feet and knees too

My neck is sore. My feet are sore. My mental state is sore. The theme for this week, as you would have surmised, is SORE.

First the physical: I think I should have stretched prior to the Merengue workshop on Tuesday. One of the moves involved “dropping” and had to do with my neck whipping back. I also danced in my new heels after a very, very long time of abandoning my old heels for jazz shoes. So not only did I have a sore neck, my feet were in a sorry state after class.

Yesterday was Spins Techniques. I had misgivings because my balance is short of perfect and when Sam told me I had to wear heels for this class, it was a double-whammy: the feet already hurt, but with spinning, the heels would exacerbate and accelerate problems with my bad knee. True enough, less than 20 minutes into the class, after “spotting” and prep spins, the knees started to go too. The usual pain in the left knee flared up and the right knee, which is usually quite well behaved decided to keep its partner company. No choice for it, feet straining in the front of the shoes because of the heels, knees throbbing, ankles starting to feel wobbly, I gritted my teeth and focused on finding my (sweet) spot for the prep spins. I almost gave up: I could not, for the life of me, manage a left prep spin (who spins to the left anyway?!).

My mental state for that drill was: “grit teeth, concentrate, *ouch!* focus, focus, get that right leg angled out, *ouch* spin!”

It all paid off as quite a while later, Sam came around, inspected my spin and told me, “You found the spot!” Sweet music!!

Pivots were a blast after that. Still suffering from jolts of pain, we flew across one corner to the other of Studio 3. Surprisingly, pivoting on (or is it to?) the left came easier to me.

By the time it came time to end class, my sore knees, feet and neck pushed the sore mental state to the recesses of my mind. There is only so much capacity for dealing with soreness. The knees and feet were too painful to ignore, the mental state could take a hike for now.

But as I left for home and arrived to greet the kitties, I could feel the blurdy state trying to wheedle itself back into the forefront. Ah heck it! The best way to cure a depressive mood (other than drink, being busy or being out with friends) is to hit the sack. And so I did.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Why do they impose those RIDICULOUS speed limits on the highway?

I was cruising leisurely along the KESAS highway at 110km/hr. Actually trying not to go past the speed limit is more like it, since I was running dangerously late for a client appointment.

So there I was “cruising” along in the middle lane and as I was nearing the overhead bridge, I noticed the traffic cop. Yikes. You know where they normally sit under the bridge with the camera pointing at the road? Well he was there. And it wasn’t till I passed him that I realized I could have been speeding at my “leisurely” 110km/hr.

I slowed down (too late!) and then started looking for those speed limit signs. Sure enough, soon I came upon that round sign that said “90km TAMAT”. Shit! And there I was, thinking I was being a pretty good law-abiding citizen, keeping to the speed limit. Who drives at 90km/hr on the blurdy highway??!! I suppose I will be receiving something in the mail pretty soon. Either that or I can go online and check, but who in their right minds would? Not me.

Anyone knows how much it is for a speeding fine?

Monday, March 13, 2006

I thought it was something special

A strange phenomenon has been presenting itself to me during my drive to work most mornings. The roads are smoother, albeit just barely and there seem to be less cars jostling for space and cutting lanes. This is especially true for most Mondays. And today! Wow!! The roads were a breeze! Are people taking longer weekend breaks? Using up their annual leave before it gets forfeited? Or has 30 sen the petrol hike sent people scrambling for scant public transportation?

Then I realized the date today: 13th March. Dang! My wonderment and joy fizzled out like a blown light bulb; it’s the school holidays. We only get this one week of bliss on the roads. Come March 20th, the parents will be rushing their kids in their beemers and s-classes to their schools and school buses will be once again vying for a piece of the road.

Someone should maybe advocate home schooling. I would not only get an additional 20 minutes of sleep in the mornings, we would all be less grumpy and stressed getting into the workplace.

Bartholomew's Keepers

"You know, it's difficult changing Bartholomew's water and keeping him happy."

"We did this once and we found him blubbing around with his mouth like this."

"And then there was this one time when we did something wrong and he was floating around listlessly with this expression on his face."

"Finally we hit on a winning formula!"

"And now all three of us are happy!!"

Sunday, March 12, 2006

What would life be without my cats?

Meg in her usual state: asleep.

The Fatty, for once looking quite dashing instead of just fat.

Staring at the sun...

Spot the cat.

What's in a Sandwich?

Two slices of white bread with two tablespoons each of peanut butter and grape jelly would break down to the following nutritional quotient:

Total Fat: 18 grams
Saturated Fat: 3.5 grams
Sodium: 490 mg
Carbohydrates: 58 grams
Protein: 12 grams
Total Calories: 403

I had five slices of bread with PB&J today.

For a child who would consume about 2000 calories per day, these are the recommended amount of nutrients found on the US FDA's list:

Fat: 66 grams
Saturated Fat: 20 grams
Sodium: 2500 mg
Carbohydrates: 350 grams
Protein: 53 grams

Note that the recommended portions are for a child's. I would imagine that an adult would need less fat or carbohydrates.

My brunch and tea alone would be bringing me to near max of my daily US FDA food nutrient allowance.

Now, I wonder what I can scrounge up from the kitchen cabinets or my fridge later for dinner?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

My Left Ear Is Ringing So Bad I Think I May Be Going Deaf

I’ve run out of antibiotics and the ringing in my left ear is not only not getting better, it’s getting worse. Maybe it’s psychological, but I think my right ear is going too. I have to turn my head to the side just to try to catch a conversation proper. I can hear myself breathe much louder than anything else that happens around me. And that constant ringing!

I went to the doctor, again.

I’d set my phone to go off at 7:15 but at 7:51 I jerked awake to bright sunlight. Shit! I heard hubby in the bathroom having his shower. Great, the medical centre opens at 9:00 and I’d hoped to get in before that so that I wouldn’t have to sit and rot there till my turn came along. I had no appointment, I was late and I’d have to chance it.

Feeling an otherworldly weariness (how is it that I get so tired in the morning?), I drag myself out of bed and get ready. The cats are yowling their heads off, well Trixie at least, and prancing around the bed whining to be fed. Hubby was ready to head off, so I shrugged off that task to him as I got ready.

My head is heavy like a bowling ball and my eyelids feel like they’re glued shut with superglue. I manage to brush my teeth, get my morning supplementary drink and check Catster for any new updates on kitties’ lists before I head to the shower. Still feeling like lead, I dress and head out the door.

There must be a horde of sick people in this city; the parking lot to the medical centre is just about 90% full and after a few rounds of circling, I shove the beemer into a spot. The sun is glaring down at me as if it’s incensed I should be even the least bit tired because it’s a bright, sunny and extremely hot day out. And I’m wearing my hoodie because I know that it is going to be arctic cold in the waiting room at the medical centre. Argh! Go sun yourself and I mentally show the sky my middle digit.

I managed to trudge all the way to the waiting room and shove my card and guarantee letter to the receptionist, mumbling, “Dr Soni”. Then I head to the washroom. I take a cursory look around the waiting area and notice with glee and surprise that there is only one other person sitting in the chair waiting. When I come out of the washroom, it’s a different story. There are two other people sitting expectantly waiting. As I separate the Saturday paper into its various sections (I absolutely hate how The Star comes in so many parts and is so thick that handling the paper is like trying to fold a giant origami menagerie), I can feel more people settling in around me or looking for an empty spot to park their butts as they wait. When I look up a few minutes later, the waiting area is full. It took all but 10 minutes for it to fill up. Inwardly, I thanked my lucky stars.

I didn’t have to wait long, arriving early has its benefits. Twenty minutes into waiting, my name is called. When I walk across the threshold of the corridor to the doctor’s office, I catch him sending off an SMS on his mobile. I think, “This is the third time I’m here, he’s got to think I’m a hypochondriac. Either that or I must like his company.” As usual, he asks me how I’m doing. And as usual, I tell him, “Not good.” (He should know by now that I if I was doing good, I wouldn’t be here to see him, but nevermind.)

As I plunk myself into the patient’s seat, I tell him my ear is still blocked, it’s ringing and it may be psychological but my right ear also feels like it’s going. He looks at me somewhat perplexed and asks if there is still pain. I have to think a bit. I tell him there is much less pain, in fact hardly. He asks me to get into the examining chair.

I clamber up onto the chair and he sticks the microscope thing into my left ear. He confirms that the infection is gone and that the tube isn’t reddish anymore. He then proceeds to wad a ball of cotton, places it on my shoulder and says he’s “cleaning up” my ear for me. I glance down and see the wad, he chuckles a bit and I ask, “Wah, it’s that bad?” He chuckles some more.

There’s some major suction action going on in my ear when he inserts some sort of suction tube to siphon out whatever wax or fluid he can get to. It doesn’t hurt but is slightly uncomfortable. I feel my feet starting to tense and lift up, a sure sign that my tears are going to start. I haven’t had my ear fiddled with and suctioned since two years ago at Harnam’s. It is not a nice feeling. It is loud and you feel as is something is trying to get at your brains. Like a mini-hoover hovering at the edges or your middle ear.

He does what he can but we both know that the blockage and the fluid is where he can’t reach it: in the middle ear. After he’s done, he swivels me back to face him. I detect a hint of exasperation on his face. I suspect he feels that way every time I see him. I think so because he has told me more than once that my problem frequently occurs in young children, implying that my earlier surgery had hampered the normal development and function of my Eustachian tube so that what should have been happening to me as a kid is now happening to me in my adult years. But the exasperation is quickly replaced by a sympathetic demeanor. I ask him what the best course of action would be from here on.

He explains, “It’s quite normal after an infection that there is fluid in the middle ear. What’s happened here is that your tube is constricted and there is not enough ventilation.”

I ask, “How long does it take for the fluid to clear out?”

“It depends on the individual. Sometimes it takes one to two weeks, sometimes longer.”

I take a moment to recall, “I think it’s been about two weeks since I last saw you. What should I do now?” I’m thinking to myself, willing that he will suggest surgery but knowing in my gut he will only suggest it as a last resort.

He decides to do a test. He takes a metal tuning fork that ENTs use for testing hearing. He taps it on his hand and holds it up to my right ear as it vibrates with a dull clang. I can hear it. Then he touches it to my neck. I can still hear it but it sounds as if it’s vibrating from inside my left ear. He repeats the test on my left side and the results are the same, the sound is louder in my left ear. He gives it a final tap and places the flat of the tuning fork on my forehead. “It’s louder in my left ear,” I tell him. "Feels like it's vibrating in the middle ear."

“The fluid acts as a conductor,” he explains. So the test is a confirmation that fluid is still in the middle ear on my left.

I look at him expectantly. He knows I want him to tell me what to do. “Any chewing action,” he starts making chomping and chewing motions, “and gently trying to pop your ears like this,” he holds his nostrils closed and blows his nose softly, “helps to ease constriction of the tube. That would help to ventilate the tube and extricate the liquid buildup.”

“If all that fails, and you feel that the ringing is really irritating you, we’ll normally fastrack the process by performing surgery. We’ll insert the grommet (“Eureka!”) and it will help drain out the fluid.”

“But this measure is only temporary; the tube will fall out by itself after six months,” he is quick to add, reminding me that he has no intention whatsoever of leaving the tube in there indefinitely for two decades or more like my other specialist did.

“So it’s not the T-tube then?”

“No, the T-Tube is permanent.”

“And you suggest I wait?”

“Yes, preferably.”

“So I should start chewing gum?”


We walk back to his consultation table. I look at him and give a little shrug. I’m feeling a little weird because I have not known a Western-trained doctor that does not advocate surgery. I’ve had doctors suggest surgery for my knee and ankle and have had surgeries done on me for this exact problem when I was a kid. I am wondering if he’s not suggesting surgery for me because I’m on a medical plan or if because he really does not think surgery is necessary and is too invasive. I’m at a loss. I’m still hoping he’ll suggest surgery because I’m not sure how much more of the ringing sound I can take.

“You definitely don’t need antibiotics anymore. What I’ll do is put you on antihistamines to help clear out the fluid.”

“And I should chew gum?”

He smiles, “Yes.”

I shrug again and ask, “When should I come back in to see you?”

He checks my file and points to the date I first came to see him with this problem. “You came in to see me on March 6th. Let’s say, in a month’s time?”

“OK, early April then,” I say. “Thanks.”

He nods, “We’ll see you then,” and starts scribbling on my file.

I walk out in a daze, not quite sure if I’d gotten what I’d come here for. I was so sure he’d prescribe surgery that I feel somewhat cheated that he didn’t.

I sit down and wait for the nurse to bring me to the prescription counter. The bundle of newspapers is irritating. It’s so big and bulky, I’m having trouble balancing my book on it. When it almost slips off my hands, I grab frantically at it only to end up kicking off my slipper. It slides off my foot and lands a metre away on the floor. How embarrassing.

The nurse comes towards me and asks me to follow her. She is all brisk and asks me when the doctor asked me to see him again. “Early April,” I say. She adds, “He asked you to come two weeks from now, right?” and scribbles the note on my card without waiting for me to answer. “Make sure you make an appointment at the counter up front after you collect your medication.”

She points me to the waiting chair as she grabs a number for me and hands me my card together with it. I play Text Twist while I wait for my number to be called. After I pick up my antihistamines, I head out to the front counter to do as the nurse had instructed me. She takes my card and notes that the other nurse wants me to see the doctor two weeks from now. She suggests a date, 25th or March. I ask, “How about April 1,” remembering that the good doctor said to see him in early April. “Doctor’s on leave then.” “Oh, in that case, April 8?” “That’s too late! You’re supposed to come two weeks after this appointment!” I thought I heard the doctor telling me to come back around April 6th. “Err…OK. March 25th.”

And it isn’t till now that I’m writing this that I realize I didn’t tell her what time I’d be there to see the doctor. It looks like another early morning for me on the 25th then.

And so I’m off to get stocked up on chewing gum. I wonder if cows have superior middle ear function since they seem to chew cud 24/7?

Friday, March 10, 2006


March so far has been a blowout month. By that I mean that I’ve been steadily blowing my budget by binge and compulsive shopping. Only one item has been deliberated over and that is only because it was a present for a friend.

I’ve come to the conclusion why hubby can never find gifts for me: I don’t wait for people to buy me things. I just buy it myself. I can’t bring myself to wait and ponder over the reasons why I would need or want that particular item. If I like it and I think I can afford it, I will purchase it on the spot. The only time I would deliberate over purchasing an item for myself would be if it cost me around or more than RM1,000. Items that cost anywhere within the range of RM200, I will think about for oh, probably 30 minutes or so before I decide to buy. So you can imagine the amount of clothes, shoes, knick-knacks, accessories and what-not I have strewn all over the house. You can find my bracelets chucked into a shoebox here, some CDs tucked into the bookshelf together with my horde of books, my long forgotten scarf hidden in an old handbag, an earring forlorn without its partner squeezed into my makeup bag, cash in a concealed pocket of a once favourite sling bag. I should hold a treasure hunt featuring items I can’t find. Just to illustrate the amount of junk I have which I’ve collected over time.

I’ve justified and consoled myself over this month’s purchases by telling myself that I’ve held out the first two months of the year. I’ve been good. It’s my birthday month; I’ve got a sizeable commission coming in sometime end March or early April. I should go ahead and splurge. But I can’t kick that niggling feeling at the back of my head. It keeps telling me, “You really should not spend on all these frivolities; what happens if you need the cash suddenly?” Yet I continue with the binge.

I’ve added several items to my collection which I wonder if I should have at all:

  1. Naf Naf bag

  2. Tribeca bag

  3. Bead bracelets from Tribeca

  4. Two tops from Zara (Same style, different colour. I got the additional after I wore the first to work and decided it was not only suitable but comfy)

  5. Earrings from Moripin (3 pairs!!)

  6. Revlon lipstick

  7. Books from Kinokuniya

What I have on my wish list is currently a Nikon D70S, a digital SLR. It costs around RM4,000 (probably less, depending on which dealer I get it from). Being more than RM1,000 this explains the deliberation. And it is a heavy investment because it means I will not only have to fork over the moolah for this item, I’d also have to invest in time and effort to make sure it is put to full and good use.
I am not the most patient person in the world. In fact I have the shortest attention span of any sane adult I know. I could very well buy the DSLR, use it diligently for a few months, fiddle around with all the features and try to learn up as much as I can. But knowing how my fickle mind works, once it gets tough or if it involves too much learning and referencing, it will kick into, “gawd, this is so tough!” mode. It goes downhill from there where I once took it everywhere with me, to specific outings only until the DSLR will one day end up in the farthest corner of my wardrobe, behind my old underwear and worn out socks.

At the start of the year, I told myself that I’d give myself until March to decide. March has come and is happily strolling along now. Very soon, it’d have morphed into April. I am dragging my feet but the more I go into Flickr, the more I feel I should make this purchase and make the effort to be good at this. When I was having drinks and lamb stew with a certain friend from the advertising industry, he dangled a very fat carrot in front of my face by telling me, “Actually, you have an eye but you lack the skill.” I put a fair amount of weight to what he says because well, he’s in the industry and I like what he’s done with some of his portfolios. Now if what he said isn’t motivation to take that “eye” to further, higher levels, I don’t know what is.

Who knows, maybe one day, I’ll be able to get people to pay for my prints!

A girl can still dream. In the meantime, the blow-out month continues…

Thursday, March 09, 2006


My worry mode is starting to kick itself up a notch. My left ear is still deaf and very much stuck. I've got four more days of antibiotics and steroids left. When I left the specialist's I asked him a couple of times if my ear would definitely clear after the round of medication. He assured me it would. I don't think it will clear.

I'm booking an appointment to see him on Monday.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006



My ear aches
At night it leaks

My ear aches
It is also stuck

My ear aches
I can’t hear

My ear aches
Bloody steroid and
antibiotic cocktail
Doesn’t work.

Monday, March 06, 2006


And I’m still deaf in my left ear.


I’m being pumped with steroids.

And I’m not even participating in competitive sports. No Commonwealth Games 2006 or Winter Olypmics for me. I’m on a second round of antibiotics and a prescription of steroids all because of a leaky ear.

It’s a long story, so I shall not divulge the gory facts save for the bit that my right ear is infected and the middle ear is spewing discharge when I sleep. It started after my first course of antibiotics ran out on Friday. By Saturday my ear started getting clogged up. Right in the middle of a friend’s wedding ceremony in church. Ever had your ear clog up on you before? It’s quite startling and disturbing really. Your hearing is fine, then gradually, you feel that your ear is closing up and that it’s filling up with liquid. Your breathing becomes louder (you can hear yourself much clearer) whilst the sounds around you seem to fade into the background. You feel as if there’s discharge creeping out and while you long to stick a tissue in your ear, you can’t very well do that in front of everyone. Especially not at church.

So I bore with it.

Saturday night I went to sleep with a wad of tissue in my ear. I had to change that wad twice in the night because it had gotten entirely soaked with discharge.

I dragged myself to the specialist today. He pronounced my ear infected (why didn’t he see it last Friday?). So it’s another course of antibiotics for me, plus he threw in some steroids for good measure.

Apparently ear infections of the kind that I’m experiencing are common to children (what does that say about my ear?). The 20 plus years that the T-tubes were in there didn’t give my Eustacian tubes very much chance to function on their own I suppose?

In short, I may have grown up, but my ears never saw fit to.

So now I’m on a daily dose of nasal spray (also steroid-laced) to help manage my acute rhinitis (medical speak for sinus) and hopefully after two months, the whole ENT thing with my body is more sorted out.

If not, gawd help me should I get the flu again.

New Site

If you haven't noticed already, I've added a new site to my list. It's my Flickr site and it's still a new baby but will grow, I assure you. The photos on this site are mostly my digital pix taken over a span of a few years. Never got around to putting them up and displaying them so here's my chance!

For special interest: sis should check out the cute kitties I shot (with the Coolpix, not a gun or slingshot). Anyone with an interest in Japan should check it out as well. The pix of Japan covers my stay there from Oct-Nov '03.

All right.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Leaks & cracks

Here're a few reasons to chase the fountain of youth or a cure for anything other than cancer:

1. my left knee hurts
2. my lower back hurts
3. my left ear is leaking and I'm partially deaf

I'm neither delusional of demented, but am given to bouts of wackiness. Someone please save me from physical hurt/harm. If only there was a cure all...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Thing with Medicine

I drove around with a mission on Tuesday night. I trawled Taman Tun (both sections), Sunway Damansara and Mutiara Damansara for clinics yesterday. I needed to find a “family” clinic that operates 24/7 near my area. SS3 is too far from my place where emergencies are concerned. When you’re sick, you don’t want to have to drive too far: it takes up too much energy.

These two weeks have been filled with visits to doctors. First I landed in bed with the flu, then came the lingering cough and now that cough has got my throat all worked up and my ears are wonky because of the after-effects of the flu and the lingering cough. My right eye is also suspiciously red and a bit uncomfortable. I’ve been to the clinic three times in two weeks. For each visit, I’ve ended up with cough mixture and antibiotics. Yesterday I was at the ENT specialist and went home with a tab of Telfast (antihistamine) and two bottles of Nasacort (nasal spray).

Life is one big visit to the doctor’s.

My body feels disrupted and is protesting at ingesting the amount of antibiotics that I’ve been feeding it. I feel like puking after each swallow of antibiotics. It’s the most severe reaction I’ve ever got from taking antibiotics.

The cough isn’t helping either. If a bout of coughing fit lasts too long, it makes me feel like throwing up my insides out. I have two days’ worth of antibiotics left. It still takes me a bit of time to settle in to sleep at night because of the cough.

The doctors at the clinics nowadays don’t tell you what’s wrong with you, like hubby says. They just treat the symptoms. That’s why I like to go to the Chinese doctors. Both for herbal medicine as well as for alternative therapies. They will at least ask you pertinent questions like what have you been eating, what were you doing before this happened, what you are to eat/not to eat, what you should do/shouldn’t do. They don’t just treat you with medicine (they don’t have any!), they take a little bit more time to find out the cause and give you a blueprint to getting better. At the clinic, the doctors don’t ask you for information if you don’t offer it to them.

If I go for my massage treatment, in between my yowls of pain and the doctor painfully pressing my pressure points, I’ll ask him for health advice or tips and he’ll check with me for more details on my health.

I prefer to see the doctors at the clinic late in the night. That’s why I target the 24/7 clinics. True, the ones on duty at night are probably the young interns or someone of that caliber. But at least they have more time to inquire into your general wellbeing. That doesn’t mean that they do. They just have less people seeing them at 2am and hopefully if they are not too sleepy will be more interested in your health.

The best doctor I’ve had so far must be my gynaecologist. He is not only pleasant but he takes the time to explain a whole lot of things that I never think of. Or I can pound him with the same questions over and over again rephrased differently and he will patiently explain it to me as many times over. He doesn’t brush me off as just another patient. When I go in for a consultation, I come out feeling as if my concerns have really been catered to. Or at least he’s given me the opportunity to whine and then given me a solution if I’ve got a problem.

We need more doctors like him. In our society of hurried lives and harried world, our healthcare professionals need to uncover the causes, not just treat illnesses.  

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sleeping Arrangements

For the third night in the row, I was going to sleep on the couch. Not because hubby and I had a row, but because I’d break into major hacking fits when I lied down. It was costing me precious sleep. Sunday night was bad. I had to surrender to the couch. Monday the cough had not subsided, but I tried sleeping in my bed. Again, I had to give up. Tuesday I told myself I’d just make the couch my bed.

Hubby was home after midnight and was a dear. I was curled up on the couch. He said he’d sleep on the carpet if I slept on the couch. I said, “Nolah! It’s OK. I should be able to manage the bed tonight.” He kept me company on the couch until he decided he’d had enough TV then we adjourned up to bed.

I didn’t cough. As much as the first two nights anyway.

Medal for a Stalwart

I’m such a lousy spouse. I hereby apologise to hubby for being so … insensitive? Is that the word? I think so. Must be lah.


I should award hubby with medal for putting up with all my crap. And he’s right: he doesn’t whine. Actually, I do most of the whining around the house, hahahah!! I do enough whining for the both of us. Maybe I just got used to my own whining. Hahahah!

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