Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life Lessons from a Silly, Ole Bear

If wisdom comes with age, then we've got a lot to learn from A.A Milne's 'tubby little cubby all stuffed in fluff'. For the times when his head is not stuck in a jar of honey, Winnie-the-Pooh has taught me about loyalty, love, friendship and the (non-)importance of being sensible.

On Friendship

"If you live to be 100, I hope I will live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you."

"It is so much more friendly with two."

On Love

"Some people care too much, I think it's called Love."

"If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart. I'll stay there forever."

On Patience

"If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small fluff in his ear."

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."

On the (Non-)Importance of Sensibility

"People who don't think probably don't have brains; rather, they have grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake."

"Those who are clever, who have a Brain, never understand anything."

On Doing Nothing

"Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."

On Exercise

"A Bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise."

And possibly my favourite quote from the lovable Bear:

"If ever there is a tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

10 Awesome Things so far

#1000: Coming home to your sleeping partner and when you wiggle into bed next to him, he puts his arms around you like it's the most natural thing.

#999: When you change into unsightly, hole-y but super comfortable pj's after being in jeans the whole day.

The boyfriend calls them 'unattractive' but I love the warmth they envelope my legs with! Especially in this cold winter.

#998: When you come home after work and you smell dinner cooking on the stove.

Today, I came home hungry and was almost willing to devour anything that was in front of me. There was a wonderful smell in the air and when my housemate greeted me at the door, I asked if that was her cooking. She laughed and answered, 'Oh no, that's your boyfriend cooking!' And it just makes dinner all the more awesome. :)

#997: When you discover really old pictures and realise how much you've changed

Yesterday I took out my old Nokia N73 and started looking through the gallery of photos and videos. Most of them were of my sister, Jade and I, others with Kai and some were random. I laughed at many of them and they just reminded me of how long a way I've come! From the girl who could only wish to get to where she is right now to the lady I am today.

#996: When suddenly you realise the steep hill you've been climbing for months doesn't leave you quite as out-of-breath anymore.

It just goes to show that any exercise novice can get to where they want to be. And soon enough, all the sweat and pain (literally) will feel worth it! :) I used to be the worst runner - my limit was a sad 5 minutes. But today, I run 6km at my best! And 4km almost once every two days. All you need is determination and a whole lot of (small) rewards after!

#995: When you pull the stiff nose strip off and you see the little mounds of dirt stuck on.

It is so gross, but at the same time almost relieving when you see how much dirt you've managed to remove with a single pore strip! And sometimes, you almost can't wait for the next three days so you can put one more right back on! :D

#994: Getting a two-in-one deal!

I wanted a world map for quite a while, and just found out that a friend got his for $300! I didn't have $300 to spare but a pleasant surprise came in the form of this month's frankie magazine! For in between two of its beautiful pages, I found a colourful map of the world by Barcelona-based illustrator, Judy Kaufmann! And better still, this July/August issue is all about Awesome Things! Its pages are filled with amazing life lessons that I would quote right here if I didn't think it was more worth it to go out and get your own copy!

#993: Looking at the sky and spotting random shapes

I spotted a rubber duck-shaped cloud yesterday and couldn't help but smile. Picture here! :)

#992: The feeling you get after a great big s t r e t c h ! to soothe tired & sore muscles.

#991: Having a Korean housemate who cooks awesome kimchi fried rice. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

1000 Awesome Things Project

Inspired by 1000AwesomeThings, I will be aiming to countdown 1000 awesome things of my own! Because life's too short to dwell on the less awesome things.

On some days, life feels a bit overwhelming. On some days, it feels like there is nothing to look forward to or that you're wishing with all your heart that you're somewhere (or someone) else. And although there has been a lot of focus on living in the present and counting your blessings and being happy with what you have, how many of us truly appreciate the little things in life? To smile at a budding flower? To look out of a window with the sun's warmth shining upon your face? To celebrate all our successes - big and small?

This is the 'Pursuit of Happiness' bit of my blog. And I hope in the long run, I will be able to truly embrace the little wonders in my life. :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

I picked up this book randomly in Mid Valley's MPH Bookstore January this year but thought nothing much of it. Only I liked how the cover looks like: A colourful childlike writing in crayon against a white background. So much for not judging a book by its cover.

I brought it over to Australia, one of the few books that I collected so I don't buy any more when I'm here. Harhar, did that work out well! I thought I was done with reading for at least another month after having to read four (difficult) books for English this semester. But now that it's the Winter holidays, there's not much more that I want to do than to curl up in bed with my quilt around me with something to pass the time.

Yesterday, the boy and I spent the entire day in bed, reading. Him with his book about assassins and I'm not quite sure what else, me and my Room. And let's just say that the book is true to Boston Globe's praise on the front cover - 'Impossible to put down ... A riveting, powerful novel ... Room is, hands down, one of the best books of the year.'

This gripping story, told by 5-year-old Jack is horrific but through the innocence and naivety of a child, made somewhat bearable. To Jack, Room is where he was born, the only space he has ever known but for his Ma, it is her eleven-by-eleven-foot prison where she has been held captive by Old Nick for seven years. Jack has never been Outside, his whole life was built in this square shed with his Ma. The only view of Outside is through Skylight which lets in sunlight ('God's face') in the mornings and moonlight in the nighttime.

One day, when Jack is five and two days, his Ma tells him something: That Outside exists and there are millions and millions of people and things that he cannot imagine are real, like ice-cream. Jack has only lived his life with his Ma as company and TV to pass the time, and for this little boy, he finds it hard to grasp the fact that there are other people besides just the two of them (And Old Nick, but he might be 'half-TV') and things outside of Room.

That becomes the beginning of a wild adventure for the pair. Jack's curiosity and questions about the Outside and everything in it leaves you feeling different about the world. We see the furious love of a mother who would do anything to protect her child, and we see a child who has been trapped for so long that strangeness becomes his normal (Like sleeping in Wardrobe). Having to adjust to a world suddenly too big and 'with so many rules', this story is about little Prince JackerJack and Ma starting all over again.

Here is a trailer that you MUST watch! It sums the story perfectly and already makes me want to cry:

Read other reviews here!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

And this is the path that I chose

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It's gonna take awhile. It's normal to take awhile. You've just gotta fight your way through".

Ira Glass

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Happy Duanwu Festival!

I have never been a very traditional Chinese, not celebrating many Chinese festivals and only unknowingly participating in eating the foods prepared during these times. Although, I've got a feeling that having a housemate from China will change that! ;P

Today is the Duanwu festival, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival and according to Wikipedia, it is a public holiday in mainland China. Laura, my dear housemate from China very excitedly attempted to make bak-zhang (this is in Hokkien. In Mandarin, it's zong. My pronunciation for any word in any Chinese dialect is flawed. Best ask my housemate, Laura!), a traditional Chinese glutinous rice dumpling with fillings such as pork or chicken, boiled peanuts, and Chinese mushrooms, slow cooked in boiling water while wrapped in bamboo leaves. According to Laura, she usually makes the sweet ones which (according to Wiki, yet again) is the Northern style of cooking zong.

The first attempt wasn't successful (although it tasted quite nice, it didn't exactly taste like real zong) and today we decided to try again. Kai cooked and prepared most of the ingredients while Laura and I helped wrap them up!

This time round, the zong tasted AMAZING! Almost exactly like the ones that we usually have in Malaysia! :D But of course, the recipe cannot be credited to ourselves, it was taken from here!

I strongly recommend this recipe to anyone who wants to try making this. The blogger comes from Malaysia if I'm not mistaken and that is possibly why the recipe ended up tasting very much like home. :)

If you managed to make your own zong, share it with me! :) Happy Duanwu Festival, everybuddeh!

Note: Dragon brush used on the photos is from here.