Swissotel Vertical Marathon 2013 30 November, 2013Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Sports & Health.
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Unbelievable, we really did it! Up 73 storeys, 1,336 steps, and in 22 minutes (only)! Really? I asked, unable to believe this when we reached the top. In the week leading to the climb, my thighs already feel tired when we barely reached storey 4 (and we are talking about climbing to storey 8, ONE training every day). And when I used to climb 10 storeys to home back in my twenties, I was always already cursing when I reached home. So being able to really achieve 73 storeys was really a miracle for me!
- 3 Sundays when Baby1 was at her 45min ballet class, Dear1 and I quickly popped over to the nearby HDB block and did maximum 3 x 13 storeys
- 1 week before the actual race, we climbed the stairs to fetch Baby1 everyday. That was 8 storeys
- 1 week before actual race, Dear1 took the stairs daily to his office on level 3
- A couple of weeks before actual race, I take the stairs up to the MRT platform every morning. Becomes a daily habit for me now.
We deposited both Baby1 and Baby2 at the grandparents around 9am, and proceeded to Raffles City. Phew, luckily there were plenty of parking lots, unlike that time when we wanted to park here during the Cold Storage Kids Run. Reporting time was 10.25am, and flag off was 11am. We went to join the queue on the dot, and were surprised to be one of the first teams to flag off.
Feeling very very nervous, I kept thinking that it’s mission impossible. Dear1 has better physiques and thighs, so this could be at best a little challenge for him. For me, stairs was really never my forte, and I just kept feeling very very nervous. 73 storey!!!
5, 4, 3, 2, 1! And off we went with 2 other couple in the Buddies and Besties Challenge. I decided to take this slow and easy. Completion. I just need to reach the top. Climbing is unlike running. If you are tired in a run, you walk, and you still get nearer to the end. But when your legs turn jelly in a vertical marathon, you just remain where you are, no movement. Some people say you can pull yourself up using the hand rails, but yikes, imagine all the sweaty palms pulling themselves on the rails. I’d rather not pull, thanks.
Up, up, up, we trailed before the second couple steadily. Apparently the female is very much like me. Her male counterpart kept looking back for her and encouraging her.
Storey 10. We reached the first rest point (I told Dear1 that every 10 storeys is our rest point). Still feeling great, so we continued the steady climb.
Storey 13. Hey, we reached Set1 of our usual HDB training where we’ll usually be panting and sweating hard by now. So far okay! Not much pant nor much sweat!
Storey 30. Hey, almost halfway there le. Our female pace-setter was showing signs of being more physically inferior now, so I decided to over take her.
Up, up, up. I hear loud cheers, and heavy pants. Oh, the Everest team. Being very laden with additional weights and face mask for their Mount Everest training, they are kind of a noisy distraction here. Over take, quick! So I fasten my pace and out paced them in few strides.
40, 50. We stopped at both rest points to catch our breaths. Already more than halfway, way surpassing all our training. And we are still going okay. Checked – no Everest Team. Checked – Let the over taking teams go first cos I don’t want to block their way, and we pushed on ahead.
53, 54, 55. Ermm, not feeling good, I can feel myself losing focus. But next stop is 60. One more stop at 70, and we’re almost there. How can give up!? 56, 57….. 60! Cannot, I’m gonna faint. Gotta sit down rest……….
63, 64, 65… 70. Eh, how come the sensor is here? And the windings of the stairs is different now, there isn’t a convenient nook to rest. All the way. 71, 72, 73, and we’re there.
Though the sun is not very bright, and people say you have to enjoy the scenery when you are finally up here, I can’t open my eyes. Got Dear1 to take a picture for momento’s sake, and I asked Dear1 to bring me down. Damn, there isn’t a lift on the roof top, you need to walk DOWN to storey 70 to take the lift down. Everyone only told me about the satisfaction when you reach the top. Why did no one ever mention that you need to be able to walk down the stairs with jelly legs too.
Back to ground floor, I took nearly 30 minutes to recuperate before regaining my senses.
Amazing. Really mission impossible becomes mission possible. Like Dear1 says, before you do a vertical marathon yourself, you’d think that it’s mission impossible. Having achieved this ourselves, we know it’s really mission possible. Would we do this next year? Nah, since we now know it’s possible. See you at Standard Chartered Full Marathon 2014. :p
Moving on to my new job 26 November, 2013Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear1, Slice of Life.
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I joined my previous company after graduation because of my senior. He had just started a new project and I had just graduated, it was ideal for both of us.
Within the first few weeks at that position, I knew that I was going to face some challenges, the main one being the fact that I was a minority – I was the only Singaporean in the team, the rest being from China and India. Yes, my senior is from China. I’m not saying they are bad people, in fact, they are good colleagues. However, communication can be a barrier. Explaining engineering terms in Mandarin is no joke.
Several months in, another Singaporean joined the team, hurray. Not. It turned out that he had a stubborn personality and I couldn’t work with him at all. He wouldn’t accept my suggestions and would insist on doing things his way. In fact, in our professional capacity, I work much better with the other Chinese colleagues.
I stopped joining my colleagues for lunch after a few months. I quickly got tired of listening to Chinese history and translating local Singaporean terms to Mandarin over lunch. It was torturous lunching with them. Luckily, I found refuge with another group of Singaporean friends from another company within the same building. Coincidentally, my new lunch group was also into board gaming and we would regularly play board games after a quick lunch. Occasionally, we also played on Friday evenings.
Eventually, the “fellowship” split. One went on her post-doc. One stopped playing. One went on to a new job. One went to do her masters degree. And one went to do his second PhD. I was the last to leave. I was offered a 2 year contract extension with the company but I turned it down.
I left the company just 2 weeks ago, after serving for 3 years and 3 months. It was a well times departure. The project that I was employed to work in had just ended that very week. My senior had been promoted to Program Manager and I was very much his unofficial second-in-charge. I had just enough time to organize a project ending workshop and prepare the admin required for project closure before I left.
In terms of professional development, I felt that the time spent at the company wasn’t fruitful. I didn’t feel that I had picked up sufficient technical skills during my stay there. There wasn’t much guidance. However, I was glad to have exposure to some aspects of project management that was delegated to me. On the social and personal front, it was dismal. Let me put it this way, I made no friends that I would want to add to my Facebook. The only exception being the board gaming group from the other company.
One thing that I appreciated greatly from my previous company was work autonomy and work life balance. As evident from this post, I was able to take leave nearly any time I needed to. And I nearly never had to work any overtime during my stay there, except for a few Sundays when urgent reports and proposals were required.
Currently, 2 weeks into my new job, I already feel a big improvement over my previous job. I really enjoyed working in a Singaporean majority environment. It is so much easier to crack jokes and just talk cock. Technical development is also much more fulfilling as I am learning a relatively new field of work. However, it is still too early to say if this will be a place where I can stay and develop my career. Let’s give it another 3 years and we’ll see again.
One more thing, I didn’t get the 10-20% incremental that people talk about when changing jobs, I only got around 3-4%. Maybe it was because I wasn’t head-hunted. Maybe it was because my new job scope isn’t really related to my previous job scope. I also realized that changing job meant that either the AWS or PB would be reduced for that year due to the transition, so it may not be a good idea to keep hopping unless the opportunity cost can somehow to negotiated into the new remuneration package.
Feeling satisfied so far. Let’s hope to keep it this way on the professional front.
P.S. I stayed home today to take care of Baby1 who had a fever. This is my second week at my new work. I hope this is an indicator of the work life balance at my new company.
P.S.S. I had not been writing for such a long time. I am so rusty. My train of thought wanders frequently and my paragraphs are not coherent. Grammar is also out the window. I am not fulfilling my new year resolution. Must write more!
3D2N Phuket @ Anantara Vacation Club 18 October, 2013Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Slice of Life, Travel & Discovery.
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Dear1 received an offer from Anantara Vacation Club and off we went on a 3D2N ‘secret’ getaway to Phuket, all on our own!
The deal first. We only have to pay $95 for the hotel taxes, plus sit through a 90 minute presentation, and we get to stay in a 1-bedroom suite in Anantara Vacation Club, Mai Khao for 3 days. Hotel transfers and breakfast are included too. Sounds good!
On Day 1, we took a 2hr MRT ride to Changi Airport, and a 1hr 50min Jetstar flight to Phuket international Airport. Ride to hotel was only 15 min away. Upon check in, we quickly searched online for the menu from Kindee Restaurant and called them up for ordering. The food came promptly within an hour. After dinner, we walked over to Turtle Village which was right across the road from AVC. Swenson’s, Coffee Club, Bill Bentley restaurant, a supermart and some other shops, Turtle Village seems to really only serve the residents in these 3 resorts, namely AVC, Anantara Villa and Marriot. Contrary to what some forumers say, not everything in the supermart is over priced. The beer is 20 baht cheaper than the ones we got at the airport (80 baht each), and the Magnum is 1 baht cheaper too ( we got at 60 baht at the airport). Since the night was still young, Dear1 and I had a drink each in Coffee Club where we experienced a power blackout halfway through. The lights were quickly restored, phew.
Day 2, we woke up at 7+. The day was already bright, and we had a leisure breakfast before heading to the Preview Centre for the presentation. Having experienced for ourselves the resort, the timeshare idea does seem very cool. Pay SGD 500+ every month for 10 years, and you get to enjoy a week every year in such relaxing resorts for 27 years. Very cool, but very expensive. The first presenter finally let us off after failing to close the deal on the spot, and led us to a survey which turns out to be another deal trying to sell you their trial package. This one only has to pay SGD 100+ for 1 year, and you get to go for 1 trip. Very cool, but again, we are not prepared to spend this kind of money.
Had a quick lunch from our last evening’s leftover phad thai and pineapple rice (warmed up in the microwave oven), and off we went to Patong Beach via the Shuttle Bus. Gosh, it was really a 1 hr’s ride away. Had a relaxing Thai Massage in 5 Star Massage, got tickets to the Simon Cabaret show through a local agency booth (we got them at 550 baht per tix for VIP seats; it’ll be 800 baht if you get them directly at the sales office) and we walked along the main street down to the venue. The show was entertaining except for the Chinese opera and Barbie segments (yawnz and urghhhhhhhhhh). We had dinner across Simon, tiger prawns that didn’t taste fresh at all, but nonetheless, still edible, and finally took a cab back to AVC.
Day 3, we had an early breakfast because we wanted to do the gym session at the fitness centre at 9am. But it was all but empty, so we decided to do the stationery bicycles instead. 25min just passed by unknowingly as Dear1 and I surfed the web and watched videos on the machines, wow cool. Went for a swim, and borrowed the complimentary bicycles where we rode out to Mai Khao beach for a quick 30min massage in the pavilion by the sea. By 2pm, we checkout and went to Bill Bentley for lunch, and finally off to the Airport for our flight home.
The total budget for our trip was $430 (last minute tickets for 2 by Jetstar) + $95 (Anantara Vacation Club 1 bedroom suite for 2 nights including breakfast and airport transfer) + $31.85 (travel insurance) + $316 (spendings) = $872.85.
It was a truly relaxing getaway for Dear1 and me. No kids, relaxing, it was indeed a much needed chance for us to connect and indulge in each other’s company. It had been 4 years since Dear1 and I went on a trip by ourselves. Having our 2 lovely kids are great, but holidaying with kids is seriously more tiring than not holidaying. With kids, you’ll have to go for the family oriented type of vacations, like a cruise next year? :p
September 2013 30 September, 2013Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Leisure & Games, Slice of Life, Sports & Health.
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What an eventful September!
As if Baby2’s birthday and the much anticipated Mid Autumn Festival during this month are not enough, it had been a busy busy month this past month.
The August festive mood spilled over to September. Had the first ever chalet with my cousins over the National Day and Hari Raya long weekend, and after that Baby1 started to fall sick and mummy and her had to sleep in the study room to isolate away from Baby2. Slept on the sofa bed all the way past the lunar seventh month, and we entered September with no signs of her recovery.
Early September, Baby1’s childcare centre was closed for 2 days for staff retreat so we brought her ice skating on the first day and baked muffins on the second day. Then Mummy fell terribly sick the next week, and was down for the next 2 days. Down, really down, did nothing at all except to get well. And alas, Baby2 caught the germs too and fell sick too. Mummy lost count of the number of times that she, Baby1 and Baby2 visited the doctor just this month alone. And better forget about the medical bills incurred too, urgh!!!!!! Anti-biotics x2 for mummy, flu + fever medicine for Baby2 x?, (flu + cough + fever + stomach flu + constipation + nebuliser) x??? for Baby1. It was a horrible horrible month.
19 September was mid autumn festival, and we had wanted to bring the kids for some lantern experience. But with everyone’s sick, the full moon came and passed. And 20 September was Dear1 and Dear2’s wedding anniversary, but we ended up sleeping the day away cos Dear1 falling sick too. Haiz.
Finally it was the eventful weekend during the last weekend. Supposed to have a staycation in MBS, but last minute we decided to revise it to a day trip instead. Mummy woke up at 5.50am to bake Baby2’s banana birthday cake. By 12 noon, set off to MBS and Baby1 had her afternoon nap in the room while mummy and papa took the chance to explore the place pushing Baby2 along to make her nap. Finally went up to the skygarden cum pool, and on schedule walked over the Gardens and Satay by the Bay for dinner and cake cutting. Everyone finally slept at 10pm and mummy legs were so super tired.
On Sunday, went to a wedding lunch, and back to Jurong for ballet class and Pioneer Road Run race pack collection. Baby1 got super bloated from her 3 glasses of Coke and milk combination. Ruyi Oil and lots of farting saved the day for her, poor Baby1.
30 September. Baby2’s birthday. Last year mummy delivered her via C-section, and was so relieved to have her out. She’s now a growing toddler, getting fussier and more demanding to get what she wants. Mummy and Papa are so tired handling 2 naughty girls, but we loved them nonetheless.
Hoping that everyone recovers and germs to stay away from us. It’s gonna be the last quarter of the year, time for reflections, or consolidations, or ambitions, or maybe even just a breather from the past month’s hectic, and to bask in the year end festive mood again.
The Facebook Trap 3 September, 2013Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Internet & Blog, Slice of Life.
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~ 11 month old walking along the kitchen cabinets~
~ 3.5 year old doing splits before her ballet class~
~ Chicken mayo sandwich for him, and chicken mayo salad for her. Their lunch bento for the day~
These are the pictures that I posted on Facebook recently, because I feel proud that my little Baby2 is already trying to walk when she’s barely 11 month old, and I am proud that my 3.5 year old Baby1 can do splits so naturally. And for that bento photo, I wanted to show my friends that I can prepare a nice packed lunch for Dear1 to bring to work, and I had a healthy salad spread for myself. “What a loving and creative wife”, I hoped they will think.
Though few and far in between such posts, I am already beginning to feel like a super show-off. Relatives wowed at Baby1’s ability, and colleagues got worried that their 1yo is not even standing yet.
If I am such a show off, then what about all the numerous Facebook posts that you see every day?
Who and who went to blah blah blah country for holidays, I want to go too, how envy!
So and so received so many presents for his birthday/Christmas/farewell, how popular, I want to be like that too!
Wow, so delicious looking food. What a nice restaurant/ how she can cook! Salivates, slurps!
Such lovely family/ group/ individual photos. What exciting things that they do!
OMG, he has the full collection of the cats, I want them too!
Innocent looking/ sounding, I’m sure many of these posts are merely people’s way of expressing their delight, but to the reader, 10 holiday vacations posted by 10 different friends surely makes it seem like we’re missing out on something. Or when you see 20 of your friends’ studio style family portraits, you start to consider seriously if you should go have one taken too. And oh, all of their nursery rooms are so filled with toys, maybe our 2 big boxful of toys is not really enough after all…
Beware! Facebook can be very entertaining, but it does make us sad frequently too, when we compare our lack with other people’s what-have-nots. They say we are living in an information-overloaded world now, I say we live in a world where I know “what you ate and what you bought and where you went and what you did and what you think”. I even know “what you want to eat and what you want to buy and where you want to go and what you want to do and what you want to think”! Information super overload, but all redundant ones, don’t you agree!?
Beware of the Facebook trap! But anyway I’m still going to continue this daily entertaining reads, and post my show-off photos. :p
Our uAngel 7 August, 2013Posted by dear1dear2 in Around the House, Dear2, Dollars & Cents, Shop till you drop, Sports & Health.
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I think everybody likes a good massage, and we all know how money draining it is to go to the massage parlour for a rub. Minimum $40 per hour depending on whether is it a foot rub, or shoulders, or back, or whole body massage, oh how extravagant!
So when we saw the promotional package for the uRelax and uCoxy at just slightly over $300 back in 2011, it was a good buy. Product guarantee for 1 year, it is about $1 per day if you use every day. Or 10 sessions as compared to going to the parlour. And since there’s 2 items, both Dear1 and Dear2 can use them simultaneously. Dear1 will sit on the uRelax in his study chair, while I’ll use the uCozy to massage that knotted spot on the shoulder, and we can have a relaxing chat on Friday nights. Perfect.
Did anyone ever tell you how goods can malfunction miraculously at the one year mark? Let me tell you this, it really happens! The uRelax just dropped dead when the one year warranty is over. And there goes our relaxing Friday nights.
Dear1 was depressed for a while. He didn’t really like the uCozy as it doesn’t give a good rub to his aching lower back. I was okay without the uRelax since it was a good-to-have anyway, and the uCozy comes in handy when I need the deep press on the knot on the shoulder.
Then Osim launched their uAngel. Before that, Dear1 was cooing over the uSoffa. “Super comfy”, he says. “No way, we don’t have the space for it”, I say. We can consider that when we upgrade our 3 room flat, but god knows when that will be. So even if we dare to splurge, the space constraints makes it a firm No No. uDivine was an even bigger definite No No – no space and no money for it. 5, 6 thousand!?!?
But the uAngel is so small! It’s really just an armchair’s space, and we’ll really just have to adjust a few furniture items in our house. Bravo! We gave away 1 study table and 1 coffee table, we kept and fold up Baby2’s cot (as she was climbing out of it too), we moved the kids’ rocking horse and walker to the grandparents’ house, and we placed the play yard in the bedroom (so that Baby2 gets to sleep in the bedroom with us too). Bingo, there’s effectively a space in the study room that is large enough for the uAngel (opps, it’s really just an armchair space needed, when it’s folded, but we forgot to cater for the space behind and in front of it when it extends). Ermm, so actually still a small massage chair size.
Dear1 persuaded me to test try the chair in the showroom. Hmm, surprisingly it’s really quite powerful. The back rollars can cover the whole back, and the foot massage is almost quite equivalent to the uPhoria’s strength. I really was still skeptical about getting it, but considering that Dear1 has HPB and he really needs to relax to lower it (the nights up coaxing Baby2 just makes it worse), I decided to get it as a Mother’s Day present to him (paid using our Joint Account, of course). At $1998, we got a free uMist and a Pillow too, plus 2.3% rebate when we paid with the CapitalMall Card at IMM.
For now, I’ll imagine the rollers loosening those tense back muscles, and improving the legs’ blood circulation, and perhaps helping to ease away pockets of gas trapped in the system. It must be more than just giving a ‘massage feeling’ right!? Loving it <3
(As for the uRelax, we got it repaired for around $50 and gave it to Dear1′s parents to use.)
I Need Exercise! 6 August, 2013Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Slice of Life, Sports & Health.
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53kg. Lighter than my pre-Baby2 weight. I should be happy. But I’m still not satisfied. The dress that I’m wearing is an L. Maybe it feels slightly loose on me, but still it means that I’m still a mid way between M and L. When I used to be S/M. I need to slim further!!
The tummy. That’s the biggest problem. I need to wake up 30min earlier everyday to do hula hoop. But only for Mondays to Fridays, not including Public Holidays and Leave Days, and those mornings when I need to prepare lunch bento or fold the laundry or wash the clothes or do other household chore in the morning before work. That makes about 4 hula days in a week only. Weak.
The arms. Another problem area that I’ve always had. The time needed is lesser, probably about 10 min every day will do, so let’s do this if I don’t have that 30 min to do hula.
Planks. Supposedly the most effective workout. Needs only 1 min every day, maybe 2, 3 4 min when you get better. Indeed, very effective, my abdominal muscles are leaner now, but conversely making the tummy more pronounced, making me look more and more like 4 months preggy. And oh that exertion during this 1 min. Just the thought of it makes me shudder. I think I’d rather wake up at 6am to do the hoops.
Flabs. I feel flabby all over, and I look flabby all over too. Think I need some jogging. Jogging is a good way to make the overall look toner and better. I yearn for that toned look, back in 2007 when we did the marathon/ half marathon. But when will I have the chance to jog, who will look after my 2 kids!?
I desperately need exercise. Maybe in 2 years time when Baby2 is 3yo and the grandparents can look after both the kids during weekends while I go jog it out. 2 years…..
Not Who I want Myself to Be 5 August, 2013Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Slice of Life.
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I am so depressed, because I have yet to be Who-I-Want-Myself-To-Be.
At 32 years old, I am supposed to be三十而立, standing firm at thirty (or probably we have 8 more years until before 40 to achieve this? Hmm…)
Mother of 2: I think I’m okay as a mummy to my 2 girls, except for the occasional (er actually more than that) anger-venting on them when one or both of them makes too much noise, or after a hectic day
Loving Wife: I think I suck at this. Wanting to receive more than I can/ want to give.
Great friend: Nah, my kids and family has always ranked higher on my priority list. My closest friends only get to see/ hear me during group gatherings. Closest friends….? Hmm…..
Good sister/ cousin/ acquaintance/ colleague/ woman-in-the-street: Haiz, dun count on me for anything, I am very task-oriented and I do not have the empathy to socialize. I’ve just got too many things on my mind, and too many things to do!
I want to be a great person, or at least a good person. I want to look great, be sociable, have a great career, be a wife and mummy that my husband and kids can be proud of, be a good cook/ handyman/ sportsperson, be a good person who my mum and dad and siblings and cousins and their kids and my children’s friends, likes and enjoys being around with.
I want to be a happy person, or at least a joyful and positive person where my friends and colleagues and acquaintances and even people who do not know me would like to interact with me because I exert radiance from within and brightens their day.
Life is not perfect, and we are all not perfect (who can be?). We can only do the best we can, be the best that we can be, everyday (er, maybe after my Leave Day so that I can recharge first).
Hmm… what should I do with my hair….?