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Gratitude exercise: Write & remember affirmations of gratitude

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I am grateful that I am alive.
I appreciate that I have an attitude of gratitude.
I am thankful that I see the blessing on the flip side of the challenging issues.
I appreciate that I love myself through the hard times.

I am grateful that my health is better than yesterday.
I am grateful that my health is better than last week.
I am grateful that my health is better than last month.
I am grateful that my health is better than last year.

I appreciate opportunities to learn different, useful things.
I appreciate that my ability to understand things effortlessly is improving everyday.
I appreciate opportunities to enjoy greenery, sunrise, sunset.

I am thankful for my parents, my husband, my baby.
I am thankful for my siblings.
I am thankful for my friends and acquaintances.
I am thankful for my job and my source of livelihood.

Written by blueroselady

May 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Posted in family, lifestyle

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Decluttering in autumn 2013

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I love to remove clutters (declutter),
it cleans my physical, spiritual, and emotional life.

Decluttering allows us to realize that life is full of delightful treasures, if we take a moment to look around.

Cool stuff:
# DNA-based computers. Leonard Adleman.
# Self-tracking / health-tracking devices. Up wristband.
# portfolio career.
# What heals the soul, heals the mind and body as well.

Interesting quotes:
# Time is most definitely a thief.
Questions: What is the longest yet the shortest? What is the fastest yet the slowest?
Answer: TIME

Useful tips:
# Be careful! Over use of medication (e.g. paracetamol), either intentionally or accidentally, may damage liver.
# To fight pimples and minimize scar, I have used tea tree oil and aloe vera.
# Try to move after sitting for 45 minutes, e.g. while travelling on long-distance flight. In terms of radiation, 7 hour flight ~= an X-ray session.

Inspiring people:
# Bernie S. Siegel
# Christine Ong of UBS Wealth Management Singapore
# Reene Ho-Phang

Some random muses and reflections …

@~@ On life
An event that at first seem to be unfortunate / undesirable may actually provide surprising advantages, e.g. autumn 2007 (that affects the next 7 years).

@~@ On being unique
It is a great thing to be unique or different.
The grown ups often tell any kid (e.g. a 6 year old) that it is great to be yourself.
Be unique.
However, the goal of many grown-ups in life is to fit in.

@~@ On career
A career for life vs portfolio careers.

@~@ On gifts
Some people (e.g. KS) value expensive gifts. In case of KS, he acknowledged the hardship in his early life.
Some people (e.g. KF) value heartfelt letter of appreciation much more than expensive gifts. Possibly, people who are relatively richer than me in material wealth and assume leadership roles (e.g. my direct boss in 2013) have similar perspectives as KF does.

@~@ On travel destinations
Some destinations wow me and are perhaps best to be visited once over a short period of time (instead of residing there) in entire life, due to extreme weather conditions or high living expenses. For example, Cappadocia and Antarctica.

What’s next?
# Deal constructively with criticism. Give constructive criticism.
# What are you going to do for the rest of your life? (A question I wrote in a note taken in Switzerland)
# DO, don’t dream.

Written by blueroselady

November 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Simple pleasure of life

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Find the place that saw and see You many times through passing years:Son with laughter, tears,
Dad with no fears,
Grandpa pulled with loud cheers.
Turn time back, climb the wooden track.

Baby loves to see the dancing of leaves of the tree standing outside living room.

Cook dinner.
Savor the meal while listening to classical music.

Re-reading what I have written.
Re-learn and unlearn.
Dreaming. Dreaming BIG

Written by blueroselady

October 2, 2013 at 10:50 am

Posted in lifestyle, writing

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Smoke haze in Singapore. 14 tips on how to survive haze / severe air pollution. Her dream home needs to meet 6 criteria

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In summer 2013,
air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia’s Sumatra island has choked Singapore.
To make the condition worse, El Niño which tends to produce very dry weather conditions in the region, appears to intensify the effects of the fires in Indonesia.

PSI = Pollutant Standards Index.
PM 2.5 = A reading for airborne particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less – small enough to deeply penetrate the lungs.

PSI Value & Air Quality Descriptor according to NEA:
0 – 50 : Good
51 – 100 : Moderate
101 – 200 : Unhealthy
201 – 300 : Very unhealthy
Above 300 : Hazardous

On 20 Jun 2013 1 PM, the 3-hour PSI Reading was 371 in Singapore.

A friend of mine mentioned that the city looks apocalyptic.

In Beijing in January 2013, the PSI reached the range of 470-490.
Lung cancers are soaring in Beijing.
A friend who works in China shared that many people, if they can afford it, want to get out of China, due to the environmental hazard : pollution.

The U.S. AQI only goes up to 500.

The 19th century London was notoriously known as the foggy city.
The hazy / bleak / fog everywhere London was too distant for me to recall of London.
In my lifetime (the 21st century), my memory of London has been positive (but I do not live there long enough).

Here are tips on how to survive living with haze:

1. Spend less time outdoors.

2. If you have to go out, wear N95 mask, wear hat / carry umbrella, carry a bottle of water.
When you feel a tingle in the throat or start coughing, a drink of water can be helpful.

3. Before you go out, close all your windows and ventilation outlets.

4. Wash your face, rinse your mouth, and clean your nasal cavity, shower when getting indoors.
Blow your nose in a piece of tissue, you will see black particles in it.

5. Children & older adults should remain indoors and keep activity levels low.

6. Close your windows when the condition is severe.

7. If you use air-conditioner, make sure your apartment has enough oxygen.

8. Keep plants with broad leaves at home to absorb dusts. Place a wet mat beneath your doors.

9. Use air purifiers with HEPA filter.

10. Smoke less. Avoid smokers.

11. Eat more fruits, vegetables. If necessary, take vitamin C.

12. Drink more water, milk (especially if you suffer from dry throat). Stay hydrated. Drink at least 2 litres of water a day.

13. Avoid / minimize alcohol / coffee.

14. Go somewhere unaffected for holiday. My husband’s friend D has brought his family for a holiday in Bali.

15. If the haze / air pollution is a constant problem, consider migrating.
A friend who was born in Indonesia,
S shared with me about the criteria for her dream home which I found interesting.
S wants to move to places like New Zealand, Australia, or Canada,
where the air quality (and presumably the living conditions are better).
She told me that once when she was in Toa Payoh, a Hong Kong expatriate shared that Hong Kong people who migrated to US / Canada are relatively richer than those who migrated to Australia / NZ due to higher fund required for the former.

Here are S’ criteria for her desired home:

1. 2nd floor and above, but not too high floor (she was concerned about earthquake & window safety for her children).

2. Why not ground floor?
Bungalows often consist of only ground floor (if not 2-storey high).
S shared with me her experience living in a ground floor house where she suffered annually from the flood (and the risk of electricity through water).

3. Her home must have a bomb shelter, based on her experience living in Singapore, where flats have a bomb shelter that also serves as a store room. An alternative is to have multi-storey with an underground / basement.

4. Entire flat must be well-equipped with air-conditioner, although she mentioned that she would not switch them on daily, as she is aware of the consequences of air-conditioner on our protective ozone layer. The air-conditioner fixtures are meant to survive for severe haze episodes.

5. To have fridge & freezer in her room (so that she can have access to her food).
Perhaps, a well equipped studio apartment (not too spacious) will be easier for her to manage.

6. Yes, but S also wants to rent her rooms for additional income, so she needs a spacious home, unless it is hard to get tenants.

Related:
http://donghuan.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/my-first-day-back-in-china-and-tips-on-how-to-survive-beijings-dirty-air/
http://spotlightxoxo.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/skin-care-tips-during-the-haze/

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Written by blueroselady

June 20, 2013 at 9:47 am

8 Life lessons from dog

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Dear my beloved readers,

Are you a dog lover?
Do you have a lovely, cute, or naughty puppy or dog as your pet?
Personally, I have lived with a lovely yet naughty dog (she was only 1~2 years old when we began our relationship).
I walked her sometimes,
we played and jumped at a trampoline,
and she would always rushed down stairs when I returned from work at almost midnight.
She would look at me and pant with happiness (just for my returning home).
Her action was very heartwarming,
especially at the chilling night after a long day of work.

Or have you had a bad experience with dog?
I heard a story that in a developing country,
where the social gap is relatively wide,
a beautiful girl was bitten by a dog of a rich family.
Consequently, she suffered serious fever and died few days later.
Such a precious life had gone just like that.
Although I could not ascertain if this story was true,
it serves a reminder to us that not all dogs are good to us.

A good friend was once complaining about his neighbor’s dog.
It barked suddenly and shocked his father who has heart medical condition.
It barked fiercely at delivery men, babies and children, including those of neighbors.

In my current conclusion, dogs can be our friends (to some people dogs are their best friend) or foes.

According to BBC reports by Jonathan Amos, dog has actually evolved from wolf ‘on the waste dump’.
After knowing about this finding,
would you want to keep a wolf as a pet?
What come to your mind when you think of the word ‘word’?
Dracula.
The Red Riding Hood.
Wolves have not been positively portrayed.
On the other hand,
when we think of our pet dogs,
they are so docile and appear to be permanently stuck in a kind of innocent puppyhood.

What make (some) dogs so lovely as compared to wolves?

1. LOVE is powerful.
Dogs love unconditionally.
Once the dog wins over the love of the master, the master is willing to sacrifice / spend for / to serve the dog.
For example,
Roy Chong was helping an expatriate to look for a bungalow to rent in Singapore.
The comfortable monthly price range of the tenancy that the tenant looked for was SGD25,000 (paid by his company), and the tenant had only a request.
He wanted a pool to be available for his Golden Retriever dog to swim around.
Most landlords rejected his request, except a landlord who asked for SGD27,000.
The tenant happily spent the extra SGD2,000 so that his dog can swim / play at his home.

2. LOYALTY
Some wolves had evolved into our best friend: our dogs that protect our home from the most dangerous animal in the whole world and that is human.
For my experience, S always faithfully welcomed me when I just returned home.

3. NATURE heals. Go outdoor, walk / stroll at the park / garden, breathe in fresh air, let the tree and birds cheer us up!
To quote Threesia Goff, a little fresh air goes a long way to brighten your day.
Note : exception exists. If you live in a heavily polluted city or when haze affects your city, perhaps staying indoor combined with a weekend getaway is an option.

4. TIME is the best gift we can give to others, because even money cannot buy back the lost time.
Always make time for the people in your life.
There is a saying that you choose your friends but not your family.
So where do colleagues fit in?
Many of us who are employed spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our family or friends yet we cannot choose who our colleagues are.
In my humble opinion,
there are situations where we cannot choose who our associates are.
If our colleagues are good, we try our best to maintain harmonious fellowship, learn from them, and emulate their strengths.
If our colleagues are bad, we also try our best to maintain harmonious fellowship (not to turn anyone into a foe).

Some people said that we do not choose our parents.
I also heard that before we were conceived,
God asked us which (biological) parents we want to choose, just that when we arrived as a newborn, we forgot everything.
However, we can choose who our Godparents are.

5. be PRESENT.
Dogs live in the moment and don’t hold grudges.
Christina Villa suggests us to slow down and notice the sights, sounds, and smells of our everyday life,
as inspired by our dogs which stop to smell the roses and little children.
Although planning is important, sometimes over planning may lead to unnecessary worry. I once read from the National Geographic "Don’t worry so much. Worry is praying for what you don’t want.".
Here is some suggestions / reflections on how not to worry.

6. PERSEVERANCE : never give up!
Ever see a dog try to chase a squirrel up a tree? They jump, claw at the tree, and bark their heads off.
Personally, I have had some challenges sometimes while walking S (a golden retriever),
when we just left the gate,
she would half running half jumping instead of walking.
Once a guy remarked,
"It seems like your dog walk you instead of you walk your dog!"
S also loves to chase ducks and pursue them until S fell into a dirty drain,
and we had to spend an evening completely bathing her.

7. KNOW YOURSELF
Don’t go out without your tag. Always remember who you are, where you come from, and the name and number of someone to call if you get lost.
At minimum requirement, know how to return home after running out from your home.

8. Be genuinely INTERESTED in other people.
Being interested in other people here refers to being caring, not interrogating.
Story 1:
Z was sharing with me once she met a President’s Scholar, who interrogated her (at their first encounter) on a train.
Story 2:
When my friends visited me, S would stand on her 2 legs against my friends to welcome them.

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Written by blueroselady

June 15, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Posted in experience, lifestyle

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Family friendly malls in Singapore

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Desirable criteria:
diaper-changing stations
kids’s urinals
hot water dispenser
nursing rooms (where mothers can breastfeed)
resting seats
power points (if need to use breast pump)

Additional desirable criteria:
groceries (Giant / NTUC Fairprice / Cold Storage)
baby shops (Kiddy Palace)
libraries

@~@ Causeway Point

@~@ City Square Mall
easily accessible from Farrer Park MRT Station (NE line).
offers compliment use of kiddy cabs and baby prams (ask from customer service).

@~@ Nex
rooftop water playground
small Serangoon Public Library in the mall

@~@ Plaza Singapura
Dhobby Ghaut MRT

@~@ Tangs

@~@ United Square
complimentary diapers, milk sachets, magazines are provided.
can loan pram.
Novena MRT

@~@ VivoCity

Below are ok lah …
@~@ Junction 8

@~@ Northpoint

Written by blueroselady

March 6, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Posted in lifestyle

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Monk fruit to prevent heat stroke

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In the 2nd week of January 2013, I felt so hot.
I drank home-cooked luo han guo on Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
They were cheap $2 for 6 large pieces (very cheap indeed!) and a piece of it can make a big pot of luo han guo drinks (I think I can make profits selling it).

However, things taken excessively are not good to us.
It is time to put a break.

Benefits:
to balance heat built-up caused by internal conditions, life-forces, or external heat / to prevent heat stroke.
expectorant and antitussive to treat lung congestion, cough, other respiratory ailments, and sore throat.
for constipation and chronic enteritis.
natural sweeeteners, perhaps better than sugar.
contains vitamin C.
for longevity (perhaps due to its anti-oxidant / anti-cancer properties).

More:
www.drugs.com/npp/luo-han-guo.html

Written by blueroselady

January 11, 2013 at 5:13 am

First Monday of 2013

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Breakfast:
Cadburry chocolate milk. I added fresh milk.
strawberry yoghurt.
home-cooked luo han guo drink : a healthier substitute of sugar.
steamed egg with anchovies.

Brunch: chicken essence.

Lunch:
Fish&co
Grilled cod with black pepper sauce (I thought I was getting rice with vegetables as advertised, but I got mash potatoes)
Mushroom soup.
Orange juice.
Ice cream.
Listening to voice notes from my inspiring mentor NH on how to overcome fear.

Tea break:
Char Siew bread.
Shiroi Koibito / White Lover.
Walnut drink.
Steamed vegetable with olive oil.

Dinner:
Home-cooked dinner by Mom.

How to spend less $?
Dining at lunch time.
Dining on weekdays instead of weekend.
Beware that some promotional items may be less than the normal.

Activities:
@~@ Revised my notes from reading over 100 books in 2012.
@~@ Did shopping at Popular and Daiso. Less crowd means less stress.
@~@ Talked to Dad and Moms.

Very HOT. 35 degree C.
I put my hat off to those who work outdoor e.g. Construction workers. They risk sunburn and dehydration. Thank you!

Written by blueroselady

January 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm

My simple yet meaningful weekend activities

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In the 3rd weekend of the last month of 2012, I
@~@ woke up at 9 am (I was so tired from the night before, we went to Ikea to buy some stuff for our baby and kitchen).
@~@ read a couple of New York Times articles.
@~@ listened to my daily prayer for our baby.
@~@ listened to classical music.
@~@ paid bills, recorded my expenditure.
@~@ updated LinkedIn, added new contacts. Took a lot of time to personalize my message! However, with an investment of few hundred $, I want to ensure that I am connected with the inspiring people I met recently.
@~@ washed dishes. Honestly, I dislike doing this, but my mentor TNH told me to be mindful while washing dishes, as a form of meditation for enlightenment.
@~@ planned for our next dwelling by listing the essential attributes. Main criteria for me: no smokers nearby please!
@~@ hugged my lover. Men who receive kisses and hugs live longer.
@~@ sourced for photographic inspirations for our babies.
@~@ worked through remote connection to my work computer. This is to ensure that my jobs are continuously running even though I am sleeping.
@~@ had a cold shower. So refreshing! When people are deprived of shower, even a simple shower can be so pleasurable!
@~@ cooked steamed double cheese broccoli. 15 minutes to prepare.
@~@ cooked pork rib soup with red dates and wolf berries.
@~@ did yoga cum listened to a lecture from a popular Harvard course. Yes, I am a geek. Listening to the course helped me to do yoga for at least 15 minutes.
@~@ read our wedding wish cards. "Love isn’t finding a perfect person. It’s seeing an imperfect person perfectly." – Sam Keen, American author & philosopher
@~@ made personalized greeting cards for my friends.
@~@ went to church.
@~@ fell in love with the apricot & almond cookies box of Forever Friends vintage. I kept the image of the box as an inspiration.
@~@ ate Baskin-Robbins ice cream of the following flavors: pomegranate vanila, Rocky Road (chocolate with mini marshmallow), with the topping of hot fudge. We thought that the fudge was too sweet for us.
@~@ appreciated starry night (we saw Orion) while strolling at the next door park.

God, I am so grateful and happy, for my simple yet meaningful lifestyle.

How to cook and use the remaining for beauty?

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Today, I attended a demo on how to cook mushroom alfredo fettuccine and water melon salad.

Though I do not plan to prepare those 2 dishes (because the preparation steps are too many for me), I learned useful tips.

To prevent the lost of nutrients, cook using small heat.
Do not use big heat or high pressure.

Olive oil is best not cooked, because upon cooking, the anti-oxidant property of olive oil will be lost.
Extra virgin olive oil can also be applied on the navel of little children if they suffer from stomachache.

Mushrooms
Do not wash them upon buying.
Wash them only immediately before cooking.

Garlic and chopped onion
Instead of heating oil then adding garlic into the pan (which may result in the release of water from garlic), we can add garlic to a bowl containing olive oil and incubate them for a while before stir-frying.
Do not over cook garlic as it will lose its anti-oxidant property.

The more you stir, the longer it takes to cook our food because cold air will go in.
Do not stir garlic too much while cooking.
Do not over stir.

Before cooking rice, soak the rice grain in water for 10 min.
This step will let the rice grain to elongate and the rice will be fluffier.

How to remember which vitamins are anti-oxidant?
vitamin A
vitamin C
vitamin E
ACE as of the ACE in the poker card.

If possible, do not use salt and sugar in cooking.

Lemon
To get lemon juice, rub 1st before cutting.
To squeeze, penetrate a fork into a half-cut lemon, move up and down. This will prevent you from muscle ache. No need to spend money on orange squeezer.
Lemon may not be good for facial because it makes our skin becomes more absorptive to UV sunlight, so increases pigmentation.

Blanching is a cooking process wherein the food substance, usually a vegetable or fruit, is plunged into boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water (shocked) to halt the cooking process.

The secret of Hong Kong soup:
Instead of putting all ingredients into a pot of water and bring all to boil,
1. blanch vegetables, meat.
2. put them into a pot of boiling water, then brew.

You can also blanch in bicarbonate of soda.
Bicarbonate will soften the outer skin of vegetables, and it is the secret of getting crunchy prawn.
Use the remaining soda on your hand to get smooth skin, e.g. to scrub the elbow skin to improve the flow of Qi.

How to prepare salad leaves?
Do not cut with knife as you may tear the chlorophyll.
Instead, use hand to tear e.g. lettuce.

Pomegranate
How to buy pomegranate? choose the one with 6 cuttings.
How to open pomegranate? soak it in a bowl of iced water (to prevent the oxidation of vitamin C), the fruit skin will float on top and be easy to throw.
How to wash pomegranate-stained apron? use vinegar and salt water.

While you are boiling water, you can steam your face (do facial). Do not forget to apply moisturizer after that.

Cooking can be a relaxing activity.
For me, the most satisfying parts are when I can decorate my food, take photos of them, and when Darling and I are happily eating them.
Honestly, I dislike washing dishes and find preparation takes time, e.g. washing, cutting.
I have tried to outsource washing to my spouse or our cleaning lady.
I have also tried to ask more home-cooked food from my mother in-law.
I am grateful.

In the country where I am living now, there is a high prevalence of colon cancer, so I must include more fiber into the diet of our family.

I am grateful for a free lunch today with blackcurrant drink. I ate many cereal prawns!

Written by blueroselady

November 15, 2012 at 7:09 am