Friday, March 31, 2006

Phew!

If I had the power to stop time, today will be one of them. After months of :

  • hair-tearing planning meetings with different committees with diverse needs across the country;
  • negotiating with very business focused commercial partners who expect their very last cent accounted for;
  • teeth-bitting tender submissions to MNCs;
  • dealing with individuals who are rather high maintainence with diplomacy and always sporting a smile on my face;
  • lobbying local governments and preparing educational submissions for 2009;
  • completed master run-downs of 58 events for the year;
  • participate on 60 committees
  • conference planning of national conference where 900 school leaders from Aust and NZ will assemble in Brisbane;
  • conference planning meetings for 2007;
  • drafting of endless media releases for the various advocacy projects and conferences;
  • creating opportunities across the state to keep my commercial partners happy;
  • manage state wide campaign to raise at least $20million for schools affected by Cyclone Harry;

For it to come together so clearly today couldn't be better timing esp. when all of the high priority tasks are completed.

This happening on a Friday is just perfect. It has already lifted much pressure off my shoulders for the weekend and hopefully my poor finger nails will start growing back to its former glory. Second, I will be off to Singapore next Friday so this is fantastic, being able to get the BIG STUFF get out of the way!

If not for the supportive networks provided by the company, my wonderful husband and a few close friends, I would not be a coherant person, to say the least.

They always remind me to stop & take stock and support me in my pursuit for work/life balance. This is so crucial. That is also why, I never take work home. Never.

Here's to us women, who are able to multi-task efficiently!

If I can do this, maybe I can have a baby too?!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Smell the tulips

When was the last time you stopped and smelt the roses or in my case, tulips? When was the last time you stopped what you were doing, picked up the phone and rang a friend, just to say hello? When was the last time you stopped and did something for someone else without them asking? When was the last time you stopped feeling sorry for yourself?

When was the last time you stopped, took a deep breathe and walked away with a smile?

It is so important to take stock of what we have, and truely appreciate it for all its worth.

When you find yourself chasing after your tail and not stopping for a moment to think clearly, just stop what you are doing for a moment. Leave the room for awhile, to gain some new perspective and to give yourself time to breathe.

In relationships and life...some people eat the menu and miss the meal! This happens so often, sometimes several times in a day. Why? Because we did not stop and instead give permission to the everyday "responsibilities" to overwhelm us. To control our being.

Is it as simple as changing one's attitude? Yes. It is just that. If you wake up each morning with a positive attitude and do not give permission to negativity, it is amazing how others will see you and most importantly, how you will begin to see you from within.

You are now looking at the only person responsible for your own happiness.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

10 more days...

Feeling rather accomplished of late despite being on the uphill of learning while batttling a head cold for a week. Two events down and 58 more to go (i am serious). Yee-Haa!

A well deserved break is definitely in the works. To be exact, in about 10 days time I will be on an aeroplane bound for Singapore. It has been four years since I've been back - can't quite get my mind around the lapse (has it been that long already?).

It is certainly true that as what we get older, time seems to vanish without much effort! Cold blind me!

The agenda for Singapore besides the shoe shopping and stock up on beauty products at duty free are catching up with family (both sides as my mother-in-law now works as a teacher in S'pore), hanging out with friends, exploring new places (e.g. esplanade theatres on the bay), go on a cruise with both sets of parents, etc. By the end of the "holiday", we would be on post holiday mode. That's why, we have another 5 days at home just resting and getting my bodies and brains back to Brisbane mode. Back to reality.

Singapore. Here I come!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Category 5 creates Havoc...another on the way


North Queensland was battered by Cyclone Larry on Monday morning, is bracing for more wild weather this week. Larry crossed the coast on Monday as a category 5 storm -the strongest on the intensity scale-with winds up to 180 miles per hour (290km/per hr). The tempest tore the roofs off buildings and left about 120,000 people without power.

Strong winds are still whipping across the region, but storm is expected to dissipate completely before it reaches the Northern Territory border. Meanwhile, Cyclone Wati has been steadily moving towards the Queensland Coast, and an upper-level storm moving into the region is complicating predictions of the cyclone's path.


Here are some pics of the devastation to towns from Innisfail to Cairns.



While running water could be restored within days, power and sewerage could take longer to re-establish after the 290km/per hr fury of the category 5 cyclone wreaked havoc in Innisfail and surrounding towns.

Late yesterday thousands of homes were still without power as Ergon Energy field staff worked in 12 hour shifts in a bid to restore service to Cairns, the Tablelands and Babinda.

About 400 soldiers have been sent from Townsville and 6000 meals were delivered along with fresh water supplies.

Early estimates have put the damage bill at close to $1 billion , with more than 1400 insurance claims already lodged.

Prime Minister Howard has unvelied a multi-million dollar aid package to the victims of Cyclone Larry, offering $10,000 tax-free grants for each small business affected by the disaster. In addition, the Commonwealth and Queensland governments will make available concessional loans of up to $200,000.

While North Queensland is still recovering from Cyclone Harry, Cyclone Wati has intensified and could be upgraded to a category four cyclone within 24 hours. It is currently 500km off the Queensland Coast, east - northeast of Mackay.

Check out the path of the cyclones http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/swf/larry22.html

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Annual Pilgrimage to...

The vet, of course!

This is one "outing" all three of us dread because as with most cats, she hates traveling in the car. To express her fear and utter dislike, she meows in a most heart-wrenching manner at the top of her lungs for the agnosing drive. Have you ever wondered why big cats have little meows and small cats have huge ones? Well, we do. We reckon it has to do with size, or the lack of, so the small ones are "given" bigger and louder meows!

Thank goodness, there is a vet just a mere 5 minutes drive from us. In fact, it is a 24 hour animal hospital too. Very handy, not that we ever want anything awful to happen to her.


Hubby sits by Tanzetta and trys soothing her with his calm voice

The appointment was for 6:45pm and 5 minutes later, the receptionist ushered us to a weighing room as part of the procedure.

The moment of truth: She's 2.8kg minus the weight of "cat bag"

We were then directed back to the reception area where we waited for another 15 minutes before we were seen. Into a consultation room we went, took Tanzetta out of the "cat bag", the vet did the usual checks and proclaims her a clean bill of health! Well, she'd better considering she only eats dried cat food made in Paris (no joke), we tried mixing the expensive stuff with Whiskas brand and she actually eats all the expensive ones and leaves the supermarket variety in her bowl! She also gets 2 tbsps of tuna in fresh water out of a tin (yes, this is the human consumption variety) when we come home from work each day as a treat and on the weekends, she gets 1/2 tsp of condensed milk from hubby when he makes coffee.

In the room, we spotted a rather interesting poster which depicts a scale showing how old one's cat/dog is in human years blah blah blah...and since Tanzetta turns 4 in October, she will in fact be of the same age as me! My dear cat is as "young" as I am - COLD BLIND ME!

"Please be gentle with me"

Finally, "the procedure" we came for - the needle. Vaccination F4, to be exact. I had to turn away while hubby took this pic. Just breaks my heart. We are very proud of Tanzetta, she didn't whimper and was happy to be cuddled right away.

She spent last night curled up next to us in bed, she is still a little drowsy from the shot and she's probably back in our bed. Better enjoy the peace and quiet, while it lasts. For us, not her!

Can't keep up!

So much happening. So many people to please. So very frustrating.
So little time. So very helpless. So how?
This week has been one of those weeks where the head is constantly spinning around, the eyes darting in every known and unknown place, desperately trying to meet endless deadlines, demanding expectations from everyone else but my 11 bosses!, ensuring that equal time is shared between two sets of parents while in Singapore, etc etc...AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH can't keep up, no more!


Monday, March 13, 2006

10 ingredients for a wonderful weekend

Ingredient 1 - Commence weekend at 4pm on Friday
Need I say more?!

Ingredient 2 - Beauty Sleep
This is the bare essential for a wonderful weekend. Catch up on beauty sleep and not worry about catching that express train!


Ingredient 3 - Leisurely Breakfast
The energy needed to start the "engine" from within. Scrambled eggs on toast was on the menu for us.

Ingredient 4 - Weekly food shopping
I rather do one big shop for the week and know that we have enough food in the home to last us. Hate dropping into the supermarket on the way home from work.

Ingredient 5 - Leisurely Lunch @ favourite eatery
For us, it would have to be Golden BBQ in Chinatown run by two industrious chinese couple in their 60s. Their little shop only has only 10 tables but the food, service and price is FANTASTIC! This time, I had bbq pork, bbq chicken and bbq duck with noodles while hubby had what I had last time which was Wan Tan noodles with bbq pork, On top of that, every meal comes with free flow complimentary chinese soup! Yummy. We are never thirsty after eating there.

Ingredient 6 - Browse at Car yard
We only do this every three years when hubby is due for a new car. We had a look at the brand new Mitsubishi 380 VRX

Ingredient 7 - Iced Cold Beer@ a Brisbane Icon
The Brekfast Creek Hotel or known fondly as The Brekkie Creek has been a Brisbane tradition since 1889. There aren't many in this fair city that haven't attended the hallowed halls of the "Brekkie Creek" for an afternoon of perfect steak, fine wine and an iced cold beer.



Ingredient 8 - Retail Therapy: Make Dream Come True for Hubby
Hubby seldom buys anything for himself but when he does decide to "invest" in something...needless to say, they often burn a small hole in the pocket. Our sub-woofer decided to die on us about a fortnight ago and since then, we have been missing the boom boom element in our music and movies. To cut the long story short, he knew exactly what he wanted-the same model as our brand new sound system. He secured it for $200 less than the retail price (I can now breathe easier) all thanks to extensive research!


Ingredient 9 - Company of good friends
Our good friend L recently moved in with his beautiful girlfriend J. They invited us over for a wonderful evening of yes - food, drinks, dessert and most importantly, their wonderful company.

Ingredient 10 - Relax with a big smile on our faces
In the company of her two beloved "parents", Tanzetta shows us the act of relaxation. On her back and stretched out!



Friday, March 10, 2006

Down the River I go...

The Brisbane River and I have had a wonderful relationship since I first step foot here back in 1999.

When I needed to get away from the demands of University assignments, I would jump into the city cat and allow the breeze to blow my hair wild, the water to replenish my tired spirit and the blue skies to put a smile on my face. When I wanted to show off the city to family and friends, I would take them on the City Cat, allow the natural elements to calm them down, to see a different perspective of the city and set the pace for their holiday. When I desperately needed to clear my head before making the tough decisions, the river was once again there for me.

Eversince the office moved its operations to the city, on the Brisbane River to be specific - I have been fantasizing about the possibility of one day taking the city cat to my favourite cinema in Hawthorne to catch a movie. Wouldn't that be a treat?

Well, this fantasy will be fulfilled this evening.

We'll be watching the movie "Walk the Line" at Balmoral Cinemas which is about 8 ferry stops away from my work. Brilliant! This will be my 1st City Cat ride for the year!

I am so looking forward to watching this movie. Friends and family have been raving about it! We are no country western fan and have no idea who Johnny Cash is. However, according to our friends and family - it is a must-see movie. It is entertaining, thought-provoking and aboveall, a love story. I can think of no better way to kick start the weekend!

About this Movie
A choronical of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recordered alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

To shopping...to shopping

Yesterday was "one of those days" at work. Brains bursting at the seams, eyes running dry, every punctuation mark and comment out of my mouth was foul (no one was in the office), etc etc. You get the point.

I reached the point of no return at 3pm. A few more foul words out my mouth, I threw my hands up in the air, shut down my computer and left work, without turning back once.


Just one block away from work is Queen St Mall - the shopping mecca of Brisbane. I sashayed my way towards it with determination that "I will pamper myself!"

So I walked into one of my favourite boutiques and guess what? Everything was 50% off because of post renovation! Is that MEANT TO BE or is that MEANT TO BE? I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and me leaving work early was so meant to be!!!

I walked in with a BIG SMILE and picked out three items - 2 skirts and 1 top. Would you believe it? They all fit too! How much did they cost? Only $58 and that includes 10% GST! It is so meant to happen!

With a big shopping bag in hand, I spotted Body Shop from across the Mall and thought it's about time I pampered myself further. In there, I bought a cactus scrub (you scrub with this thing before you jump into the shower - meant to increase circulation so less cellulite and rid dry skin), mango body scrub (to get rid of more dead skin, I want my skin to glow!) and mango body wash (to smell like a tropical fruit). Why Mango? because I have the mango moisturiser at home!

No guesses what I did last night all by myself....PAMPER of course!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

International Women's Day: 8 March 2006

The very first IWD was held on 19th March 1911 in Germany, Austria, Denmark and further European countries. German women selected this date because in 1848 the Prussian King had promise the vote for women. Subsequently, over one million leaflets calling for action on the right to vote were distributed throughout Germany before IWD in 1911.

IWD is the story of ordinary women as makers of history. It is a day where we women, reflecton the progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in this history of women's rights.

Get together with a few girlfriends and let's celebrate our being.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

How to enjoy a rainy day...

What better excuse does one need on a rainy day to have friends over for lunch? None, of course! That was exactly what we did. It was a lovely cool temperature of 20C and everyone was in a happy mood because (a) it is the weekend (b) it is cool and (c) gathering of good mates.

It's been 4 months since we last caught up with J & K. They have been on yet another vacation and we are very envious. As usual, they came bearing gifts of delicious dessert, twin packs of Tim Tams, soft drink, white wine & red wine and their wonderful personalities. Absolutely fantastic!

Hubby and I enjoy entertaining at home as we don't have to rake our brains about what to wear, where to go, etc etc. The original plan was to have a bbq in the backyard and of course, who wants to sit out in the rain except for children who enjoy making mud pies.

Last minute change and a change that was embraced by everyone. Roast Lunch. To be specific, roast lamb and roast vegetables.

Prior to them arriving, we had the following prepared:
(1)Place setting and since there was heaps of rosemary in our meal, we incorporated sprigs of rosemary into the napkin (2) pierced our leg of lamb with fresh garlic and fresh sprigs of rosemary, of course! (3) Cut and seasoned the pumpkin and sweet potatoes, wrapped the sebago potatoes up in foil and set the french beans aside.

Everything that needed roasting were placed in disposable aluminum foil dishes specifically for roasting because yours truely or rather, hubby is absolutely "sick and tired" of scrubbing the proper roasting dishes and I don't blame him.

Here's the final product.




Cheers to a rainy day of smiles and good company!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

'Tis the Season for Snuggling and Cooking

All it takes is a change in season and two of my favourite past-times are now firmly back in the family.

It has been overcast for the last 4 days and the temps are a nice 20C. Pretty cool considering we have been battling with an average of 34C for the last 3 months or so.

I went to the shops on Friday, saw a polar fleece blanket just for cats and couldn't resist not getting it for our beloved Tanzetta. It didn't take her very long before she took a liking to it even hubby was "fighting" her for it! So I went back to the shops today and got a polar fleece blanket for humans and guess who has taken a liking to it?

















This cool weather has also inspired me to spend more time in the kitchen experimenting and cooking. Today I made lasagne (for next week plus a few lunches for work) and ox-tail stew (for dinner tonight)!





Life is all about making the best out of it!



Friday, March 03, 2006

Finally..."the wheels are in motion"

I want this year to be a year of many firsts and also a year which I will be diligent in recording down the special moments so that they don't just become a distant (faded) memory.

There are a few things I would like to accomplish this year and one of them is travel.

One of those travels must include Singapore. I haven't been back for 4 years and in my opinion, far too long. There has been quite a number of developments in the friends & family department and to my knowledge - quite a few new places to explore too. Back in Jan, the plan was to do Singapore and New Zealand from end Sept - Early October (4 weeks off work). I received a few quotes from different travel companies and the prices were exhorbitant so it was left on the back burner until this week.

I was having one of those "I want to escape" days at work as I was feeling particularly overwhelmed so I took 30 minutes off work time and scoured through the Internet checking on airfares, holiday plans, etc etc. Whilst on this "journey", I chanced upon an airfare from SQ which I could hardly believe! $811 plus taxes return from Brisbane to Singapore in April (For those who don't live here - this is absolutely fantastic esp when it is direct. Direct flights are usually $1,200 plus taxes return). Immediately, I put on my "negotiation" cap and rang a nation wide travel agent to find out if they would beat the price and as expected, they came to the party by beating the price by $20 making the fare component $791! Today, I went to the agent and booked hubby & myself on that plane! It is so meant to happen :)

As if booking the flight to Singapore wasn't enough, I went futher by getting the agent to quote my on fares to New Zealand's North and South Island in the month of August for Ski season. You won't believe this - Garunda has a special deal flying direct from Brisbane to Auckland on the "Twin Special" only $260 plus taxes! This is so meant to happen. The return leg from Auckland to Queenstown is only $164 plus taxes! On top of that, the ski fields packages were released this week so I have 4 travelogues to devour my eyes on! WOW...is this meant to happen or IS THIS MEANT TO HAPPEN or what?!


The little blessings in life

It has been so dry for the last 12 months resulting in Brisbane being on Level 2 water restrictions. There is much talk about Level 3 being introduced next month which means a total ban on watering of the yard and no usage of hoses.

As soon as Summer was farewelled, the vast skies opened and out came the rain! It has been raining for 3 days now. All of us are grateful for it and hope that much of the rain has gone into the dam (we are sitting at 30% at the mo'). Water is an invaluable resource esp for such a dry continent like Australia. What a fantastic way to welcome the change in season and I hope the rain will also bring much relief to our farmers who toil on the land all year round.

When I migrated to this country on my own merits 4 years ago, I told myself that I will embrace the country, its values, its people and its weather (however dry it is)...I have never looked back. In return, this country has given me more than I can possibly return in kind.

I have never been unemployed because I never stop trying, never compromise on my integrity, push myself beyond my comfort zone and firmly believe that my accent and/or skin colour has nothing to do with the job application rejections.

I have been blessed with a small network of friends who have shown themselves to be friends for life and continue to inspire/amuse me.

I have been blessed with a spouse who has shown me what life is like when someone accepts me for who I am and stands by me (in public) even when I am wrong.

I have been blessed with the priviledge of experiencing 4 seasons in a year - yes, summers are unbearable but I wouldn't appreciate winter THIS MUCH if I hadn't experienced a scorching hot season and have a wardrobe to show off!

There are so many little blessings in all our lives and it is quite easy to point them out. For me, I choose to focus on 5 blessings a day so that when I am tempted to whinge - I whinge with a sense of humour and not allow myself to turn into a cranky person.

I choose to have a great life because I only have one life and I might as well enjoy it!