Monday, July 31, 2006

13 Differences between Women and Men

I received the following via an email and thought it best shared on this space:

1. NAMES:
If Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara go out for lunch, they will call each other Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara.

If Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut Head and Scrappy.

2. EATING OUT:
When the bill arrives, Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom will each throw in a $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want the change back.

When the women get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

3. MONEY:
A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale.

4. BATHROOMS:
A man has five items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from the Marriott.

The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify most of these items.

5. ARGUMENTS:
A woman has the last word in any argument.

Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

6. CATS:
Women love cats.

Men say they love cats, but when women aren't looking, men kick cats.

7. FUTURE:
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

8. SUCCESS:
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.

A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

9. MARRIAGE:
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change and she does.

10. DRESSING UP:
A woman will dress up to go 4 shopping, to water the plants, empty the garbage, answer the phone, read a book, and read the mail.

A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

11. NATURAL:
Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.

Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

12. OFFSPRING:
Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favourite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.

A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

13. FINAL THOUGHT:
Any married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same
thing.

Beautiful North Queensland

I spent 3 days in Townsville (North Queensland, about 2 hours flight from Brisbane) managing a conference and had a most relaxing time.

The conference, delegates and sponsors had a great time. We had great speakers - all came away a little more enlightened. Overall, it was good.

I have only been to Townsville twice and I have to say, it is an enchanting place. It is growing very rapidly - there is construction everywhere, the people are so relaxed and the coast known as "The Strand" is most breathe-taking. That is the view from my hotel room overlooking the strand and the mountains in the background is Magnetic Island; about 40 minutes by "cat" (high speed water vessel), yes people do call that island home.

At the conclusion of the conference each day, I would put on my jogging shoes and go for a run-walk along The Strand. It replenished what that air-con had zapped out of me!

Thank you for your hospitality, Townsville!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On the right track

What an incredible week it has been!

Yesterday evening, I was invited to a Sofitel Soiree (gathering with the largest chain of French 5 star hotels & resorts in Australia, Pacific and Polynesia) by the Chairman himself. There was only 60 of us (including the senior executives of the Sofitel group) and it was a most enchanting evening to thank "high rollers"!

There was free flow Moet champagne, various "stations" of impeccable food and dessert! I had two succulent pacific scallops cooked with butter and a splash of fresh champagne - WOW! The burst of fresh flavours was magical. Then I moved onto the Fresh Oyster station - WOW! I couldn't stop myself, I had 12 fresh oysters and they were "opened" right in front of me - it was so fresh, so very intoxicating! Next station was Dessert - I passed on the caramel soaked crepes with fresh cream and berries because it wouldn't do my health no favours. Instead, I had a 20g chocolate souffle, 1 small piece of chocolate (the size of my pinkie) and 1 small coconut and date cake (the size of my thumb). The food, service and attention to detail was incredible, to say the least. What a great night!


On the topic of health, I have kept up with my elliptical cross-trainer, kept to my food plan, etc. The result? I have lost 3 kgs to date! That equates to 1kg per week! It has been very easy - I am never hungry and what is 30 minutes of cardio-vascular when there is 24 hours in a day?!

I am off to Townsville tomorrow (2 hours flight north of Brisbane) for another event. I love regional events - they are more relaxed and intimate! North Queensland, here I come!

Yes I will be packing my running shoes with me this time...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Everything happens for a reason

To me, balance is not so much about the mechanics of what I do each day or how I divide my time, it is about how I ensure that I'm at my best so that I am able to handle all of my responsibilities. I have always had one constant belief in my life, and that is everything happens for a reason; things will always turn out the way they are meant to, and will happen at the time they are meant to - and my role is simply to stay focussed, make the most of life and enjoy the ride.

I love my life and achieve my sense of work/life balance by following nine simple rules:

RULE #1 - Honor and cherish yourself
I know that if I feel better, I am abke to be a better person and therefore a better daughter, wife, aunty, daughter-in-law, friend and businesswoman. To honor ourselves is also about acknowledging our basic needs as human beings. Key to my sense of balance is knowing that I need, deserve and should strive for: Love, Physical wellbeing, finance abundance, emotional and spiritual balance, an understanding of my life's mission and purpose, realisation of my potentialand the opportunity to inspire others to work towards theirs and continual growth through learning.

I recognise these as needs, rather than desires, then I don't feel guilty for pursuing them. As basic needs, I simply must make time for them, no excuses.

RULE #2 - Accept that there is no perfect balance
Accepting that there is never an ideal wor/life balance has made my life so much easier and helpe me to shift my focus to learning how to deal with any challenges that arise.

RULE #3 - Family
At the heart of everything. Wthout so much as a blink, when my family needs me everything stops. Nothing is more important to me. No matter what else I achieve in life, it pales into insignificance in comparison to failing my loved ones.

RULE #4 - Perspective
Unless you keep a perspective on what you are doing and why, you end up living to work. I need to be well-organised, and I do mean painfully well-organised down to what we will be eating for breakfast, morning tea, lunch and dinner for the week. As important as it is to plan, it is just as important to be realistic with your time. Every night I do my 'to do' list for the following day, and the first thing I do when I'm finished, is halve it. Then, I look at each task and ask myself if it is in my best interests to do it, and how much it will cost me and ask whether I'd be better off delegating the work to someone else.

The balance to all this organisation and planning is in being able to tune out and just enjoy the simple things.

RULE #5 - Laughter
Keep a sense of humour and remember the power of laughter. I laugh everday, not just a giggle, but a strong belly laugh.

RULE #6 - Gratitude
I send out gratitude every day because living with gratitude creates more in my lige to give gratitude for. This is my favourite part of balance. I have a gratitude diary in which I try to write something that I am grateful for every day, it might be the beautiful weather or even when I get to the train station on time. I know that eevern those days I wish I hadn't gotten out of bed (when everything goes disastrously wrong) are still says that someone somewhere would aspire to have.

RULE #7 - Friends
I love, respect and value all my friends. They each have different attributes that I have learnt from. By keeping the company of cheerful and energetic friends, we can feed and motivate each other.

RULE #8 - Multi-task
As the traditional 'gatherers', multi-tasking is something that women can do that drive men insane because they perceive it as chaos. This is a key feature of balance that brings it all together for me and makes everything work.

RULE #9 - Let go of guilt
It is plain obvious. I know that I cannot create the life I want while I am holding onto the past or avoiding facing my dears. With everything that happens, we can choose to take either a positive or negative approach to it. I could have easily chosen to hold onto the past, but I choose to focus instead on the positive, on that fact that my life has been blessed with so many magical experiences. I have also learnt to be grateful for all the negative things that happen by placing them in a positive light. This is the only way to truly let go of the past.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What are your values and rules for yourself?

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Happiest Places in the World, really?

A blog entry on M's site got me thinking about the happiest places in the world. The first place that came to my mind is Disneyland but it did not make the list! Neither did the countries that have Disneyland! Perhaps, Disney should look at changing its slogan.

Well, the official results are in and they are tabled as follows and I have also included my first impressions on those places (bearing in mind I have never visited them before):

  1. Vanuatu
    A pacific island not far from Australia where many honeymooners go to and kids stay for free, according to the tv ads
  2. Colombia
    A place where drug lords roam free
  3. Costa Rica
    A vibrant place where women are dressed up in colourful dresses, big dangling earrings and spend their days dancing away, drinking pina colada!
  4. Dominica
    Nestled in the Carribbean where Pirates of the Carribbean 2 was filmed
  5. Panama
    The Panama Canal, government corruption, cocaine transshipment point

Hmmnn...what are your impressions on these so called "happiest places in the world"?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Best place for Breakfast...

...is Ikea.

This is our second time there for breakfast this year. It is incredibly affordable, yummy and heart-warming. For A$3.95, one gets 4 choices and endless re-fills of coffee & tea. We often pick our favourites of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages and hashbrown. That is a great deal!

We only go to Ikea to buy tea light candles. Yes I am one of those candle freaks! Well, at least we are never left dark in the lurch whenever there is a blackout! After our breakfast, we strolled around Ikea for a few hours and picked up a few more items such as a new plastic bin for the study, etc.

Next thing, we heard a lunch announcement over the PA (lunch has started)!!! Yoo Hoo!!! We love their Swedish meatballs with Lingonberry Jam. No surprises, we joined the queue and tucked into a plate each. It was scrumptious!

Yes, we worked hard in the afternoon in the home gym.

So if you are ever looking for good food at great prices - go to your local IKEA!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Second Week of Health overhaul

"Must not let it become white elephant,
must not let it become white elephant, must not let it become white elephant..."

Yes, chanting that mantra does work! This is my second week in my journey of health overhaul. Why the desire to get healthy? Well, why not?

For the last three years, I have been organising events in the area of work/life balance and you would think I would have been inspired many times fold and implemented those tips from keynote addresses and workshops to my personal life, by now. But no, I am one of those that cannot be "forced" into doing anything. I am what you would call a free spirit. My mother would label me as being rebellious and lazy.

If you have been following my blog, you would be aware that we are now proud owners of an elliptical trainer. We have even converted our double sized guest room into the home gym! YES, we never do things half-hearted. I sure hope this is not a phase we are going through...time to chant that mantra "must not let it become white elephant..."

I have been working out 6 days a week and eating well 80% of the time for the second week running and I feel great. In fact, I itch to move and feel frustrated confine to my desk at work. I have made little changes to my life because I don't want it to be a fad, I want it to become a lifestyle. Changes are implemented in 10% increments or reductions (depending on what it is) on a weekly basis so that it is not a shock to my system. Here are some of the things I have implemented:
  • Last week, I worked 20 minutes on the elliptical 6 days a week. 5km in 20 minutes. This week, I am working 10% more which equates to 22 minutes 6 days a week. 6.2km in 22 minutes.
  • Last week, I drank 2 x 750ml of water each day (6 glasses of water). This week, I am drinking 3 x 750ml water each day (9 glasses of water).
  • Last week, I took the train to Jared's office and we go home together in the car. This week, I take the bus home and walk 15 minutes from the bus-st0p to home
  • I now keep a food and activity diary and a nutritionist looking at it (she is one of my company's sponsor)!
  • I now cook with an olive oil spray as opposed to pouring olive oil straight from the bottle
  • I now have 5 smallers meals so that my blood sugar level remains constant. It has stopped the afternoon salty or sweet treats!
  • I now have brown rice as opposed to white rice

There you go. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

"New" Look

Following my one haircut per financial year, here's presenting my new look. Gone are the brown dye & almost blonde highlights and "tarzen" long hair from the lack of hair salon mainteinance.

As I was waiting to be served, I browsed the many hair magazines for inspiration both for my benefit and that of my hairdresser. I found myself favouring the bob look, didn't want it to too short, didn't want it too funky (for the sake of my career), want a different colour and a "fresh" look, etc.

I conveyed all that to her and she came back with the suggestion of red which would suit my skin colour and get rid of any hint of brown and blonde bits. Then she looked at my record and realised to her horror that I only check in with her once every financial year and she realised that I am not about the change this habit anytime soon so her suggestion was to cut my hair a little shorter this time since I will not be paying her a visit till 2nd week of January 2007 (one week before I head back into work after the december holidays).

Jared has complimented no end saying it makes me look younger and fresher. Between you and me, I bet it is due to the fact that this time, he can actually see the difference! The previous three times were disastrous for him - I'd come home and he wouldn't notice any changes, to say the least, I gave him "hell".

It took 48 hours getting used to the length and colour. Yes, the neck actually feels colder but hey, it only takes 3 minutes to dry my hair now!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Oh Yes!

It was the moment the Origin crown came back to Queensland. The Maroon miracle men overcame a series of controversial calls to snatch a magnificant victory in the dying stages of last night's State of Origin series decider in Melbourne.

Video referee Graeme West had been the most hated man in Queensland whom a series of botched decisions apprear to cost the Maroons any chance of State of Origin redemption.

It was a thrilling struggle through to the final moments, with Queensland dominating the first half before doing hard battle in the second.

There were a few colourful moments resulting from the transplant of league's showpiece game to Victoria - especially when the AFL Legend and Channel Nine commentator Dermott Brereton introduced the match as "Brisbane" vs NSW.

But in the end it didn't matter. Queensland ruled again.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bi-annual pilgrimage to the Hair Salon!

The day has finally arrived and I cannot tolerate it no longer. This has been the longest period on record for not getting my hair done. My last trip was during the first week of January 2006 before I went back to work after a month long holiday, so you do the math .

My hair is shapeless. I have gone from pony tails to hair bands now, in the effort to keep it neat and professional looking. With a few more events coming up, I better get it done now for the sake of my own sanity because before I know it, it will be christmas!

As we all know, going to the Hair Salon is not an affordable exercise in itself. My cut and colour sets me back in the vicinty of $200! I know that is not bad a price considering I actually get three colours put in and there is a fair bit of hair cutting involved too! But to me, that is downright daylight robbery! I reckon there must be a conspiracy in the industry - the prices they charge are ridiculous. However, I have also fallen victim into thinking and believing that cheap hair cuts will only result in disaster!

My consolation is that I only get it done twice a year. For you accountants out there doing the math, that equates one hair pampering session per financial year.

Snip, Snip...



Sunday, July 02, 2006

Get Fit or Die Trying

Last week, Jared and I thought, enough is enough! It's time to get off our butts and get fit. If you know us, we are not too fat and too flabby but rather couch potatoes who love to watch DVD movies, sports and all those lifestyle programs where people do stuff that we should in fact be doing, but don't. We went to a few fitness retail outlets and decided on an elliptical trainer. We spent the next week doing our research on price - lo and behold! we got another $100 off the price quoted to us.

Off we went on Saturday and bought ourselves the elliptical trainer. Hero Jared nearly broke his back in putting the damn heavy box in the car and taking it out again when we got home. He was also given the priviledge of assembling the blasted thing.

An hour later, he had the machine up and running! We gave it a good go for a few minutes. Needless to say, the computer screen told us that we are most unfit. We were both given an evaulation score of 6! 1 being super fit and 6 being the laziest slobs on earth!

After that was over, I then gave Jared another project. To put a cable feed run from our antenna on the roof to the gym room! The gym room has a fan, a reverse cycle air-con (blows hot air in winter and cold in summer) and two huge windows to let fresh air in. It is only natural that I want to have tv and stero in as well! If one is going to do it right, might as well go all the way! And yes, he got it all working this afternoon!

This morning, I jumped on the trainer the moment I woke up and worked up a sweat in the middle of winter for 30 minutes. Gee...it felt great and my methabolism must be working over-time because I am constantly hungry! What was Jared doing? In bed with the electric blanket up to his neck and watching VHS record of last night's football and guess what? It went overtime and the blasted VHS did not record the penatly kick off!!!

Tried uploading a pic of our "gym" - but to no avail. Blasted blogspot!