Mommy Moments - Before And After

Friday, October 29, 2010
mommy momentsThis could be the greatest weight loss story of all time. I could learn a thing or two from this lady...

She was secretly nicknamed "Fatty, Boom, Boom" and now she's showing those who called her so......

Her BEFORE and AFTER pictures.....


Of course, it also helped that she was growing at the time and stretching tall (as tall as she could go anyway, lol).

My entry for this week's Mommy Moments.

P.S. These photos are published on this post with her stamp of approval (wink, wink). See blog about her being conscious of her blog presence.

Facing The Sun And Letting The Warmth In

Thursday, October 28, 2010
I am a ray of sunshine. I am a beam of light.

Everybody who knows me will tell you that I am an eternal optimist.

I have never been one to believe in negativity. I think too much pessimism actually drags a person down to oblivion. Much like positivity breeds itself, negativity does as well.

I will admit that life is not always rosy. But I’ve learnt early on to never surround myself with too much doom and gloom that it can swallow me whole….while I’m still alive. Of course, I am not saying that it has never happened to me. I have had my fair share of setbacks. There was even one time recently when my optimism had been truly tested.

It was a work situation and the year was the year of the recession. Jobs were scarce and times were hard. I will not go into deeper detail (because

(a) I think just blog-thinking about it already brings a certain dark cloud on my post and

(b) I will just sound like a disgruntled ex-employee, of which I am not and

(c) this blog is my washline and I don’t wanna be airing their dirty laundry here),

Suffice it to say that it is hard to positiv-ise (yo, new word) people when they are trying their darnedest to stay negative about their situations. And what was astonishing and scary was how easy it was for me to empathise and start feeling the same way. My energy was constantly zapped!

In the end, I accepted that I no longer fit into the greater scheme of things. And short of overhauling my core being, the only solution was for me to remove myself from the undermining situation. Hence, I became the ex-employee…the better-off, much relieved, healthier ex-employee.

Some will probably say that it is a coward’s way out. But I believe that your priority is to be what you truly are. It’s hard to be anything else. The decision I’ve made is not for everyone else. That was my leap of faith and so I believed in it….and took it.

What I liked is that the experience taught me a lesson.

What I didn’t like was that the experience changed me. A lot.

People failed me, you see. And that is the sad thing. The blind faith can never be reclaimed.

It has been over a year now and I can feel that surrounding myself with all things plus (+), plus (+), plus (+) has done me extremely well. I am attracting what I want to have in my life - +++ :-)

I am still a ray of sunshine. I am still a beam of light. Everybody who knows me well enough will tell you that I am an eternal optimist….most of the time.

Mama's Losin' ItThis positively-charged post was empowered by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, prompt #5: “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow” – Helen Keller. In what ways are you able to stay positive about something that sometimes brings you down?

Girls Talk - All Time Favourite

Seriously, only one all-time favourite book?

This is a hard task. It is almost impossible for me to choose. Usually when I love a certain author, I'd read his/her range of books over and over again. But if I must choose, okay then.

Hmm....the best recollection I have of the most reads I've had of one book is - The Pelican Brief by John Grisham.

I don't know how many times I've read this story. I've lost count after the first five times. And I don't even own a copy of this book. The story is just so compelling and stays vivid in my mind. It probably also doesn't help that I've watched the movie a couple of times and so everything is made unforgettable, firmly imprinted in my thoughts.

The gist of the story, as borrowed from Grisham's official site:

"In suburban Georgetown a killer’s Reeboks whisper on the front floor of a posh home… In a seedy D.C. porno house a patron is swiftly garroted to death… The next day America learns that two of its Supreme Court justices have been assassinated. And in New Orleans, a young law student prepares a legal brief… To Darby Shaw it was no more than a legal shot in the dark, a brilliant guess. To the Washington establishment it was political dynamite. Suddenly Darby is witness to a murder — a murder intended for her. Going underground, she finds there is only one person she can trust — an ambitious reporter after a newsbreak hotter than Watergate — to help her piece together the deadly puzzle. Somewhere between the bayous of Louisiana and the White House’s inner sanctums, a violent cover-up is being engineered. For someone has read Darby’s brief. Someone who will stop at nothing to destroy the evidence of an unthinkable crime."

This is my book entry to Girls Talk this week.

For others, join us.

Here You Go, Ma'am, I'm At Your Service....Not!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Just in case you think you've come to the wrong place, you have not. Just in case you think this is not the normal theme of my blog, this is it for today. I am still smarting as I write this post and so I stray from the normal sweetness and light-heartedness of my blog.

First time that I am gonna talk about something that irritated the heck out of me in the last few days.

Not since my glory days of teenage-dom when I used to call my BFF (best friend forever) have I ever stayed on the phone for over two hours. I remember we used to talk about anything and everything those days. But I am rambling. This post is not about my dear friend so I shall continue along.

I came home the one night to find out that we have reached our bandwidth cap on our internet usage. Basically, once you've reached this cap, you are no longer permitted to access any internet website. I quickly checked our usage reports and ascertained that there was something seriously wrong. I phoned my internet service provider (ISP) and the toll-free technician tried to assist me to no avail. Two hours later, I am no nearer to a solution to a problem except for an acknowledgement on her side that there was a system error but that she is unable to fix it. Let me get your number ma'am, we'll call you as soon as it's fixed. Here's your call reference number and try again tomorrow, it might be fixed.

Phoned again the next day and spoke to another toll-free technician to follow up on the progress of the problem. Imagine my surprise, when I tried to give my call reference number to be told that it didn't really matter and that I must just tell her the problem.....again. Are you mad? Must I spend another 2 hours of explanation and exasperated waiting? So what is the use of giving out reference numbers if they are of no use anyway? Some explanations later (luckily not as long as two hours), she quickly admits that she can do nothing about it and apologises for the inconvenience but please try again tomorrow, it might be fixed. Would you like a reference number for this call? Are you for real? A resounding NO followed.

Third day comes. Still no word. I decided that morning to research about changing over to a rival ISP. Phoned my ISP again but this time, I became the irate customer that I normally ain't. I demanded to cancel my data line so I could switch over to my new provider. Since nobody has bothered to help, there seems to be no point in me continuing to pay for a service that is not there. Surprise, surprise. The toll free technician tells me that their system is down and that he could not cancel my subscription just yet. Almost felt like deja vu when I heard him say please try again tomorrow, it might be fixed.

Got home from work that night and my family gives me the news that the internet has been fixed and we are online again.

I am still waiting for my service provider to call to tell me that it's been fixed.

A Case Of Cooking Misguidance

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
My eldest decided to try and cook corn soup one night. This was her first time cooking it without my hubby’s guidance.

A bit later, she asked me to have a look at the pot. She thinks she’s put too much water. And indeed she has. I suggested she put more corn flour in the mixture to make it thicker.

Now I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before. But I am pretty useless when it comes to the kitchen. I should actually come with a disclaimer that any advice you get from me about cooking is a no-no, if you know what’s good for you.

But being my child, she does not know this. And because mommy is a know-it-all, she obediently takes my advice.

A few minutes later, the corn soup is cooked. She offers us servings.

We get our bowls and like a scene from Oliver Twist, it went Plock! Plock!

OMG! We have invented the hot corn gelatin! (Wasn’t able to take a photo, eldest was too embarrassed with the jelly-like outcome.)

It was yummy though. Tasted like real corn soup. No complaints all round.

Note to self: What were you thinking? Giving such bad cooking advice. Luckily the soup did not turn into hard stone. LOL.

Tooth Fairy Comes To Town

Monday, October 25, 2010
I’ve booked her to go to the dentist this week but it looks like I may be a tad too late.

My youngest is so happy! Her first baby tooth finally came off!

She went on to tell me that she needed to keep the tooth. She has to put it under her pillow. So that when she sleeps, the tooth fairy will come during the night.

The tooth fairy will replace her tooth with some pennies (Ka-ching! Ka-ching!).

The next day when she wakes up, she will find the pennies the tooth fairy left……..on her bunny slippers?!?

Hmmm, somehow I think she’s getting mixed up between the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. But that's how her story goes.

So this morning, she woke up extra early and excited. To her dismay, she frowns and tells me "My tooth is still under my bed! The tooth fairy didn't come."

She leaves her bed and then suddenly excitedly pointed out to me: "The tooth fairy was here!"

This was what she saw:

My eldest, hearing this, then turns to me and asks, "How come I never got any pennies for my teeth?"

Mommy Moments - Kissing Scene

Friday, October 22, 2010
mommy momentsWhen kids are young and innocent, kisses are free and readily available. I can prompt one from my youngest with such ease and affection. And here I am getting the most ready……and free kiss and hug!

But getting one kiss from a teenager is another story. I don’t know what it is about being a teen but there’s just something about kissing one’s parents that is a little bit….well, embarrassing. It’s almost like extracting a tooth. And although my eldest is loving in her own way (she doesn’t mind hugging me), she reserves her kisses for special occasions. Like when she wants me to buy her something like a new top or bikini. :-(

Here's hoping that I don't go broke in the future so I can get my kisses :-o

My share of kisses for Mommy Moments.

Embrace The Camera - Playing With The Phone Camera Again

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Whilst waiting for hubby to get some take-aways one night, youngest and me played with my HTC Wildfire's camera in the car. Or rather, I was playing with the camera and youngest was happily chowing down her McDonalds' fries and gulping down her Coke. Oooooh, and for somebody who is watching her weight at the moment, this was just crucifyingly (is there such a word?) pure temptation! What agony! The aroma just filled the whole car and I had to do something with my hands or risk eating a cow. So I grabbed my HTC and started snapping away. (If you Follow mjsiychuan on Twitter, I think I even tweeted about it sometime last week? LOL).

See me holding myself back :-)
Just a quickie shot for Embrace The Camera this week....

Novice Blogging - Note #9 (Some Kind Of Special)

Mama's Losin' ItToday's Novice Blogging Note is some kind of special. Why you may ask?
Did you notice that it came out on a Thursday (when it's usually on a Wednesday)? There's a reason for that. Today's Novice Blogging Note is actually brought to you by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, who prompted me to write a post all about ME!

Well, okay, (hope I don't twist my tongue saying this) the prompt was about an ABOUT ME PAGE, not just all about me. But hey, any chance to talk about oneself is a good thing right? That's why we bloggers do what we bloggers do......

The About page was actually one of the first pages I did when I first started this blog not too long ago. And let me tell you, it was definitely one subject that was difficult to shut up about. It just went on a never-ending mode.....'cause you just know so much about yourself, don't you?

In the end, I decided to do some chopping....and more chopping. Chop! Hack! Slice! And voila! Check out the work-in-progress here....

The About page is very important to all blogs as it lets the readers:
- get to know you, the blogger, a bit better
- get to know what your blog is all about (duh!)
- get hold of you when they need to strangle you (lol!)

It has been more than 2 months since my About page has been published (far too long already if you ask me). Maybe it's time to spruce it up a bit. I wrote it when my blog was still unsure about its path or direction. Maybe I can add a section for my kids and hubby as blog experimental subjects or something. What do you think?

Any suggestions?

Girls Talk - Who Dun It?!?!

Finally! My kind of books!!!! I can surround myself with plenty of these and never grow tired. These are the books I seek out when I have my day at the library. I can even remember spending hours and hours there just selecting books to borrow.

So out of all that I have read, to choose one ultimate whodunit would be kinda difficult. Really difficult. But I will try. My choice would be......(drum rolls please!)....Crooked House by the queen of suspense herself, Ms. Agatha Christie.

I chose this book because I like guessing and being surprised. And it did not disappoint. I guessed (incorrectly, by the way) and guessed (incorrectly again)...and was taken aback by the outcome. I feel this was truly one of Ms. Christie's masterpieces.

As I feel that I would not give justice to this topic if I do not mention them, here is my favourite list of suspense novelists and their yarns (in no particular order of excellence really):

Agatha Christie - All Hercule Poirot novels and then some
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - the infamous Sherlock Holmes
Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody and Vicky Bliss novels
Erle Stanley Gardner - Perry Mason novels
John Grisham - all novels prior to him becoming a drama writer, what the?
Mary Higgins Clark
Rex Stout - All Nero Wolfe novels
Wilbur Smith (loved Seventh Scroll and River God immensely)

This is my entry for this week's Girls Talk.

The Seasons According To The Miss

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Here, ma! Here’s the four seasons, all summed up for you….with pictures.

Winter is for snowmen and snow.

Summer is for the sun and the rain.

Spring is for the blooming apples of the trees.

And almost forgot, fall is when the leaves brown themselves and fall off.

User's Review on the HTC Wildfire

Monday, October 18, 2010
I might have mentioned previously that I got a new cellphone with my contract. (See blog Embrace The Camera - ETC Goes HTC).

It was really such a toss-up between getting the Blackberry Bold 9700 and the HTC Wildfire, but in the end, I could not get the Blackberry into a cellphone package that I and my pocket both liked so I went on with my other choice, the HTC Wildfire.

Having said this, the HTC Wildfire is not second best by any standards. From what I heard, it is the offspring of the HTC Desire. And if the reviews for the HTC Desire are anything to go by, the HTC Wildfire should also prove to be a great phone with all the right functionalities.

The HTC Wildfire is an Android phone with touch screen, 3G connection and a 5MP camera. Can’t tell you much about the other stuff but I’m sure they are pretty standard with all the other phones (i.e. Calendars, Contacts, Settings, etc. etc.). Oh, and it has a Friends Stream screen where you can get updates from your Twitter and Facebook friends. Not to mention, update your status without computer access. This is serious serial stuff for social network junkies like me.

It is suggested that you get a Google account so it is easier to access other functionalities within the phone. Google Mail is immediately connected. Other stuff like chats (i.e. Yahoo messenger, MSN messenger, MXIT, etc.) can be obtained as free widgets through the Android Market. But this is where you’ll need your Google account the most as it requires registration to use the Market.

My complaints are minimal. I would just like to have received a thicker manual to understand the phone better. I couldn’t Bluetooth my contacts and music out of my old HTC to my new one, which is turning out to be a time-consuming exercise. (But I think this has more to do with the old phone than the new one). The touch screen is a bit sensitive and keeps going into camera mode (the camera button is at the bottom right corner of the phone). I suppose all touch screens are like that (I just don’t know how to touch it right?).

I have had my phone for over a month now and am still enjoying exploring. I do not always connect my phone to 3G as I do not want to run up my cellphone bill. I prefer connecting via wi-fi when at home and at work for cheaper options. I must admit that in the family, I am the only one not using a touch screen phone and so, this is all new to me. It is starting to feel like a heavenly experience (almost like devouring a chocolate). You just hover your finger above the phone, and the letter (that you want, or that it thinks you want) jumps out to the fore, like ESP! Lol. (Just make sure the phone doesn’t read your mind too much as it might send SMSes to people you don’t want it to :-) )

The downsides I mentioned previously are inconsequential to this otherwise really excellent phone. I love it! So if you are in the market for a new phone and budget is a bit tight, I highly recommended this!

Disclaimer: If you have reached this line, you must just know that I was not forced in any way by HTC to say any of the things above. Nor was I paid to say nice things. The comments are based on my personal experience with my own HTC Wildfire. And so should be taken as such.

Mommy Moments - Blowing Bubbles

Friday, October 15, 2010
mommy momentsOur choice of weapon for today's Mommy Moments is the bubble gum :-). Yes, you heard me right. Not the bubble gun....the bubble GUM. Or in popular terms here in South Africa, we call them chappies.

My eldest decided to teach my youngest to blow a bubble out of it. Sadly at the age of 6, she has not learnt to do this.

So they tried. And tried.

Close to tears out of frustration. Patience indeed is a virtue.

In the end, I just told them to enjoy the gum.

For other bubbling entries, go over to Mommy Moments.

Life Is Like A.....Container Of Sour Gums

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I am a sour gum.

I am soft, I admit it. There are many times that people take advantage of this and push me around. But I am not brittle. I am just tough enough when the going gets hard.

I have jelly-like flexibility. I can be pulled in many different directions and still keep it together.

I am sweet and sour at the same time. I’ve got my eyes wide open. I have sweetness to tell me that there are a lot of small wonderful things in life that need appreciating. And I have sourness to remind me otherwise.

Versatility is a must trait and so I come in a variety.

I am often misunderstood. I do not look like much (other than another branch of the sweets family) but I often surprise people when they get to know me better.

I’d like to think that everybody likes me but the truth is I’m an acquired taste. I learnt early in life that I cannot turn into a chocolate just because everybody wants one. I can only be the sour gum that I am.

A sour gum. Indeed.

This is my first entry to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop for the prompt: "Share a photo that represents how you see yourself".

Mama's Losin' It

Girls Talk - HaHa Hah! Books

Another week where I scratch my head and think....when did I last have those?

The only funny reads that I lay my hands on are my Archie comic books...and I have a ton of them.

There are 3 more boxes like this in our house....full of comic books
I don't know what it is with this redheaded boy and his gang that has addicted me throughout my adolescent life and well into my twenties. I rarely missed an issue during those times. My husband was even jealous because I was spending too much time with Mr. Andrews and Mr. Jones and their antics.

I actually only stopped buying the comic books because they became too expensive (they are imported into South Africa, you see, and the import duties are hell). And I guess I realised I was growing old to be hanging out with 17-year-olds.... :-(

So I have passed on my museum collection of comic books to my daughters. And hope they enjoy the Archie gang as much as I did.

Don't know if comic books count but this is my entry for this week's Girls Talk.

A Rodriguez Girls' Day Out

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
And it would have extended to a girls’ night out as well if it was up to me but I’m sure hubby would have had something to say about it.

You see, hubby was naughty and so we decided to be naughtier. Hubby ventured on a day off of his own and so the naughty Rodriguez girls sneaked out as well.

Girls’ day out with a big emphasis on girls – 2 girls by age and me by (in)sanity.

We started our celebration with a very late lunch at around 2pm. I was sooooo hungry. My eldest kept me waiting for almost an hour while she beautified herself. I had to resort to washing dishes whilst waiting. Anyway, once at the restaurant (Texamo Spur at The Glen), we quickly made our orders. My eldest was unimpressed that she was given the same menu as my youngest – the one for 12 years and younger. Ppffft!

Eldest with sirloin steak

Youngest with calamari rings and strawberry shake

Mummy with fish and calamari rings
After we finished eating, we went to buy our movie tickets at the counter. We decided before leaving the house that today was the day we meet Aang, the last airbender (see blog Moviegoer's Review on The Last Airbender). We get to the counter and proceeded to buy the tickets. We were asked to choose our seats. My eldest tells me that the best seats in the house are the ones where when you sit back, you don’t see the black edges on the side (Really warped? Is this even my child?). Unfortunately, those “best” seats were already taken. So we chose the seats behind them. Almost missed it but it was another moment where my eldest was trying to teach me to be “uber cool”....again. (Missed the first time? See blog ETC Goes HTC)

We had an hour and a half to kill after that so we decided to explore the mall more. We shopped….with our eyes.

Went into the movies (if you haven’t, see blog Moviegoer's Review on The Last Airbender. Ain’t repeating it here now, LOL).

It was 7pm when we left the cinema. Twas definitely a good excursion of 5 hours.

Got home and woke hubby up to tell him what he missed. Bleh!