Mar 29, 2010

Pussy lounge

The cats hanging out. how many cats do you see?

The search is over..for Kinder Eggs!

Yesterday me and my hubby were at the Tampines One Mall ogling at food. We first had a nice meal at Manpuku. Had our favorite Shoyu Cha shu Ramen and Gyoza then we started looking for desserts. We bought a bunch of Bread at Yamazaki (which turned out great by the way) and then we looked around cold storage for more treats.

And yes in one lonely section with other mashed chocolates (literally some were poked and squashed) we found the kinder egg we have been looking for for months.

I wrote an entry months ago about it expressing my despair and "sadness"for not finding the real kinder egg.

We did find some at the airport a few months back but I couldnt really afford to buy the whole box. So I just pretended I didnt see it..sniff sniff.

Oh well time to rejoice now ! They are selling it by the piece at Cold Storage. I wouldnt say its cheap but at least for those who havent tried it yet, you can get one. If you find it nice then you can get an entire box at Changi. I forgot how much it costs but its a bit cheaper of course when you buy it in bulk.

Cant wait to check out the toy!=)

Mar 28, 2010

Daily thoughts - on 10k

I have been consistently running for the past 3 months and yeah so far so good! It is really a great way to unwind after a tough day at work and yes ive shed a few pounds along the way. The compliments from friends and families have been generous and although that was not my main objective, it still comes as a wonderful incentive. All because Im doing something Ive loved for a long time.
Last December I wrote an entry on going back to running. I did run a couple of times that month but I also got lazy after a few days.Still, the desire was there and I just needed some nudge in the right direction.

Im proud to say that for the past 3 months, I have been jogging at least 3 x a week. The pace is getting better and Im able to run longer without getting too exhausted. Also, me and my hubby recently took part in a fund raising event where we did fairly okay on our time. It was not a race but like I said in that entry, I still want to get my own personal best.

5k is great. Its not too short a distance for a beginner, but its not as challenging for the seasoned semi masochist runner. Im yet to experience the real euphoric high I long for and I think the 10k would do give me that. Yes, its time for me to prepare for the near "mythical" 10k (as self magazine puts it). The last time I ran for 10k was way way back in college. It was actually a 10mile run that was "required" by our coach in our track team to register in. It was the farthest Ive ever ran in my life. After graduation from my University, I also stopped running on a regularl basis. Id still go running sometimes but usually once or 3x the most in an entire month.

I just havent ran a real race in more than 10 years.

And now although Ive been back for just a couple of months, I have made that decision that as long as I can, I will always run. Just for the love and sheer joy of it.

10k is therefore among my plans for the year and Im gonna work on my schedule to make it happen. I dont believe one is too old or busy to constantly be up for this kind of challenge. If the passion and commitment is there, I know anything is achievable. Of course there are still goals that seem frivolous, but running a 10K or marathon just isnt one of those. It can be done only if one wants it that bad. I do want it and its not because of any accolades that comes with it. Because I know that after all these years, I will always be a runner. My happy place is out there on the pavement.

Also there are so many people out there that are just so inspiring that I get ashamed of feeling sorry for myself sometimes. I just came across a runner who is old enough to be my mom and yet can run faster than me. Then of course there is the amazing story of Team Hoyt that has both made make me cry and feel good at the same time.

The marathon, is not the ultimate goal. It is just one of the things I would like to do on a yearly basis starting this year. the 10k is the preparation for that. The ultimate goal is to never stop running until my legs or my health fail me. But for now, Im going to enjoy and relish this life as a runner.

Here is the scheduled workout before I join my 10k run for April or early May.

Courtesy of Runner's World Smart Coach:

Mar 26, 2010

Run 350

Last March 20 we headed to Pulau Ubin for the Run 350 Event. It was drizzling for almost the entire day but the scheduled run was not postponed. We received follow up messages via sms and also there was a regular update on the event's facebook account.

They provided this link which shows the weather forecast for the day (if you click the link now it will show today's forecast though).

We left the house around 2PM and hopped on the train to Tampines. At Tampines we looked around for the Bus 29. The instructions on the Run 350 website were clear and simple. When we got on the bus, we were amused to see numerous people donning the same tee!



The bus was also packed. We also noticed that most of the runners brought very little as possible (as instructed by the organizers). We were told that there wouldnt be any baggage depository (which kinda sucked). Anyway that really didnt spoil the mood for me and my hubby. We were excited but a little annoyed because of the non stop rain.

The bus ride was longer than expected. I think it took us about 40 minutes to get to Changi Village from Tampines. From Changi Village we followed the other passengers wearing the same shirt and we found the assembly point for the runners.

We gave our tickets to the organizers and we were instructed to board the jetty (12 pax/boat) by batches.

inside the jetty

Off we go!
The boat ride was only 10-15 minutes long. But it was neat. I havent been on a boat for awhile. The last time I took a boat was more than a decade ago.

We were welcomed by another group of volunteers as we got off the jetty. We took some photos on the dock. Pulau Ubin is a stark contrast to the very commercialized mainland. It felt more comfortable and "at home" to me.

We got to the island an hour before our 4:50PM run so we wandered around a bit. The runners for the 10k route have assembled at the starting point. Their event was at 3:50PM. I didnt get to see them take off because me and my hubby were too busy checking out the hawkers scouting for a cold drink.

We walked and saw some old looking houses that you most probably would never see in other areas of Singapore. The place reminded me so much of the provincial areas back home. It is the simplicity of Pulau Ubin that makes it beautiful. It is laid back yet interesting.

After walking around and checking out some of the trails and houses, we got back to the assembly point just in time for our run. I had to make a mad dash to the toilet 1ominutes before the run though. I had 300ml of orange juice an hour ago and i just had to pee.

Here is a screenshot of the 5k route:

A 5k run can normally be finished in 30-35 minutes tops. Seasoned runners usually finish it 22 minutes or less. But the event is not really a race. Most of the people I did see though look like professional runners, especially those on the 10k event.

The 5k run was more of a fun run. Some people even took their kids with them. As for me and my hubby, we wanted to run for the cause and get a personal best.

Ive been running regularly at least 3-5 miles on a daily interval of at least one day rest. I wouldnt say 5k is easy especially on a humid day. But it is manageable if youve been running for at least 2 months. I have actually been running on and off for several years. I have recently been doing it consistently for the past 3 months though. So the run was okay. I didnt feel like I was gonna die when I finished.

Running is just a great way to stay healthy, lose weight and clear my head from stress caused by work. If you've tried going at it for an hour, you'd even get euphoric highs. Try it, its amazing=)

The run route was good. Although it rained the entire day, the roads werent really slippery. We were also instructed to stay by the left side of the road in case a passing vehicle came by. There were volunteers at selected points. Some told us where to go, some would cheer us on, others handed us water and also some took photos.

I distributed my energy and reserved the faster pace at the latter part of the run. I didnt expect that the hilly part would be that rough though. I literally had to stop and walk that part. Even those sporty looking ones obviously shared my sentiment. One girl wearing a jacket (although it was very humid) ran past me and the rest though.

Me and my hubby clocked in at a little below 35 minutes when we reached the finish line. It was a relief and I was really very exhausted. We didnt stay too long to stick around the island. There were a thousand people who participated and we were pretty sure that there will be a long line of sweaty sticky people like us if we didnt board the jetty soon.

Overall, it was quite an experience. I look forward also to joining another running event soon. Also I wouldnt mind going back to Pulau Ubin just to check out the sights, trails and food.

The Young Ntuc Organizers did a really good job! Everyone seemed to have had a good time.

Channels News Asia also featured the event in one of their segments:

This is the link for the related news.

Mar 25, 2010

Daily thoughts on things to be grateful for

Last monday my dad was wheeled in to the ICU. He was suffering from edema on his entire body including his face and he had a hard time breathing. My Dad has a condition called CHF (Congestive Heart Failure). I admit it was a touch and go moment. I was frantic and could not focus at work. My faith was tested. . I was so worried and guilty because I was too far away and couldnt do much but pray. Apart from that problem, my financial issues is making it difficult for me to get a ticket to go home next week. Its a public holiday on April 2 and I was hoping to use that long weekend to see my dad. But all my hopes have been crushed by the prices of the ticket even by budget airlines like jetstar and tiger airways. Sending the money seem more practical at this point. I love my Dad but I know the bills arent going to be cheap too. I wouldnt want my Mom to take the toll on all this. She has retired and times are hard back home.

So I did some quiet time and prayed. I also told good friends to pray for my Dad. I heard from my brother today that my Dad is being moved to the Private ward and that his swollen face has subsided. He is still having labored breathing but he was out of danger. It made my day.

Today was a little bumpy. Work was a bit stressful, cats are out of food, Im almost out of cash. But there are plenty of reasons to smile. God is and has always been gracious. When things are about to hit rock bottom, it never does. He always answers my prayers.

Im truly happy to have a wonderful family. This experience has brought us even closer and it made us realize the essence of being a family especially in crucial moments as such.

Thank you Lord for a wonderful day and blessed week =) You never fail me.

Mar 20, 2010

early but late - thoughts about the MRT last 18.03.10

I got to the train station at quarter to 12 PM last Thursday. My shift is 12PM. I was late at work. Why?

The train in platform A and B is not for boarding

Then how??

The next train came around 1205PM. WTH!

Run for the Trees

Tomorrow we will be running for the trees! Run 350 is an event organized by Young NTUC in an effort to generate some funds to plant trees at Pulau Ubin.

More tomorrow after the event!

Our personal mascot for our run. Marmie!=)

Mar 19, 2010

A taste of Home - Tapa King in Singapore!

I was in a hurry to go to work today and was running late. Usually when someone hands me a flier as I get off the MRT I just take it, give it a quick scan and toss it the nearest garbage bin. Like any other week day, there was some guy handing out fliers. However this time this flier really caught my eye.

It said Tapa King in Singapore. It got me excited!

I was about to be disappointed when I saw it was in Lau Pa Sat. But then of course I wondered why there were handing it out in Tampines. True enough there is a branch at the Century Square too!!

Tapsilog is the main entree of this food joint as aptly suggested by the name. This dish is very popular in the Philippines.

It is so ubiquitous in the Manila area and even in the provinces.My brother has a small restaurant serving Tapsilog too. His modest restaurant which started only last year is located near our high school and our housing subdivision. The dish is a hit especially for students on a budget. Back home a tapsilog meal with soup would cost probably around 2-4 SGD at popular restaurants. At my brother's snack shack I think its only 45 pesos or 1.50 SGD and it sometimes comes with a drink or some chicken soup.

Tapsilog is one of my favorite meals because it is delicious and cheap. I wouldnt say the same for the price here in Singapore. The meal I had was $6.50 which is more than the usual going rate Im willing to pay. But Im not really complaining. I understand that the Tapa King owners probably have to bear a lot of overhead costs. In short it will be difficult for them to offer it at a price at par with most hawker food. I just hope they are here to stay!

Here are some photos I took while waiting for my order (sorry camera phone, poor resolution)

You can see from the photo that there was quite a line. It was like that at lunch time and when I went back there around 7PM after my shift.

When I was in college I would go to Tapa King weekly because there is an outlet near my university. I like their food so much that sometimes I would eat there every day during school days. The price is good and the food is great.

Im really happy that Tapa King is finally here in Singapore. Im not really disappointed of the seeming steep price. I find it reasonable. Also after that lunch I had today, all I can think about is payday! I cant wait to go back next week!

Oh I had take away for my hubby too and he loved it!=)

Mar 15, 2010

Once again he makes us proud - mabuhay Manny Pacquiao

To those who werent able to watch the latest Pacquiao - Clottey Match, this link shows pretty much what transpired on that glorious day!
Im no expert on making reviews on boxing so Ill leave that to the pros. But again, all the fans are happy and proud. The pambansang (national) kamao (fist) does it again!

We are Proud of you Pacman!!!

Reviewing for my final exam

A few months ago I wrote a post about an exam I was about to take. Luckily I passed that exam and a few more after that. I am required to get 5 certification exams and Im about to take the last and final one this coming April. I tried to force myself to study for the last 4 tests but I found myself cramming at the last minute. Most of it I studied for a maximum of 4-5 days. The most recent one I had last January took me 2 sleepless nights to study. It worked but I felt like shit the next day. And alas as always I promise myself that I will study the next time around. Until now Im down to the last and most difficult one. This book has 400 plus pages and gazillions of computations. I had the book 15 days ago but as usual I havent gotten around to even opening it yet. After days of putting it off again and again, I have made a decision to get started tonight. All this dilly dallying is not doing me any good besides its just prolonging my agony. So tonight I will get started before I head out the door to go running.

I also came across an interesting article about the art of cramming. Ill try to incorporate that to my battle plan because I know Ill be taking shortcuts again. We will see how this one goes. Wish me luck!

Mar 14, 2010

Disappointing GP experience @ Pasir Ris, Singapore Polyclinic.

I have an aversion for staying home and calling in sick on a work day. I dont like missing work simply because it affects my productivity and it is a little costly. A few months ago I had a flu. No matter how much I wanted to still go and show up for work, I couldnt. There was the flu scare that time and everyone just freaks out if they hear some sneezing or hacking at work. So I stayed at home and visited a GP nearby. It was not really a pleasant experience because I was sick but the whole system of getting the MC (medical certificate) and my medicine was not taxing. It was in fact so efficient that I wrote an entry about it.

This time I had to do it all again.I have been sick for over a week and my friends at work were starting to get concerned about it. I told them its so difficult to part with my money because I know that if I go to a polyclinic, they will just hand me a bag of medicines and send me home. I told them I could take care of myself. I didnt have any medicines at home though so I was wrong when I thought I could handle it.
After being stubborn for a week, I woke up one morning with a congested nose, sore throat and a fever.

So I went to the polyclinic near our place. I waited for almost 30minutes before it my was turn to be checked by the GP (General Practitioner). It was unbelievable (in an annoying way). The GP took less than a minute to look at me and prescribe me some medicine and send me off home. I got one day MC which seemed reasonable but his contradicting instructions and the one minute throat check was all he did to "know" what I had. He prescribed medicines that would induce drowsiness but says I can go back to work. He said take the medicine 3 x a day.

So how is that? Do I take it 3x after I get home? every 8 hours is not possible if I get home at 6PM and I have to be up by 7AM the next day.

I was honestly disgusted at the unprofessional and ignorant way he did his check up. It was like he was afraid of catching whatever I had so he had to hurry up and shoo me out so he can look at the next patient.

I went to medical school too. I dont have a license yet though but coming from a third world country, we did our check up on patients a bit meticulous compared to what I went through here. It shocked me at how detached and mechanical the doctor here was. I dont want to generalize all of them but I apparently wasted my money and time at that clinic.

But because we are required to submit a document to prove we are sick, we have to get ourselves checked and diagnosed by a medically certified physician that we are "unfit" to work for that particular day.

So I went to see a doctor who looked at me for less than a minute and tell me something I already know. It was disheartening and very insulting. The doctor could have at least asked me how long Ive had my cough and if it was accompanied by fever or any other discomfort.

The truth is, going to that clinic was more of a pain in the ass than the cough I had.

This gripe I have is shared by someone I live with too. The apartment Im staying at has an Indonesian help. She had a boil a month ago and she went to the Doctor only to be given a handful of antibiotics and quick inspection of her boil. I was shocked. I mean you pay 50 SGD for the service hoping at least the person tells you what to do with your gigantic pustule. This doctor however did nothing for my friend. She had to drain the boil herself. She said if she had her way she wouldnt want to see the doctor again. But she had to because our landlady told her to get herself checked.

She told me, the doctor told her the same thing I told her that she had to take antibiotics. But, the doctor didnt even advise her what to do with her boil. So, was she was expecting that the antibiotic would just make it go away???

What the hell. Even online information tells you that you have to drain a boil. In fact I remember that when I was a 4th year in Medical school, I assisted a doctor to drain the abscess on one patient. Even my grandmother who is not a doctor knows how to treat a boil.

Disappointed. Thats how I feel about the GP service @ Pasir Ris Polyclinic.

If you want to be a doctor, you should be accepting of the fact that sick people will always come to see you. Foreigner or local, we deserve the same amount of time and fair service. Besides we are not asking you to look at us for free!

I wonder what training these GP had that makes them automatically know in an instant what you have without doing any Physical examinations or history taking.

Im not impressed. Clerks (4th year medical student)at my university can handle patients a lot better.

Mini Marble is finally home

Last Sunday I went to the void deck near White Sands to give Mini Marble her daily treats. The next day March 8, she was gone. I came back that night with some goodies but I still could'nt find her. A week passed by and we have almost lost hope of finding her. It was heartbreaking for me and my husband who have both grown really fond of her. Not just that, the new friends we have who also share the same love and affection for our precious cat, also felt the same way.
My friend Lisa's mom and the caregiver Florence looked around for Marmie. They couldnt find her though.

I was contemplating on adopting her last month but I havent raised the money to pay for her shots so I put it off till this month. Then she just disappeared.
The whole week I felt guilty for not having picked her up when I had the chance. My husband felt terrible too for dissuading me to bring her home last Sunday. But still it wasnt really our fault. Finances are tight now and although we have the best of intentions we feel that its not a good idea to just drastically decide withouth thinking it over.

We did agree however this week that if by some miracle she ever comes back, we will seize that opportunity and never let her out of our sight again.

And just like that this evening when I checked my facebook, my friend Lisa's sister sent me a message telling me that Marmie is back!

Me and my husband didnt think of the dwindling funds. We know it will arrive soon and God will help us with that. For now we knew that Marmie was back and we just had to take her home with us=)

Mar 7, 2010

daily thoughts - on being busy and running

I havent updated my posts lately. Been terribly busy but havent neglected doing my workouts each week. Right now Im coming down with a bad cold but I still managed to go running last night for an hour. Yeah thats the first one hour run after more than 2 years. Not easy but it felt great afterwards.

I am not following any specific schedule now. Its just the usual one day alternate. Maybe Ill start on the marathon workout by May. For now Im just enjoying the runs and increasing the mileage and slowly establishing my endurance.