January 2011

(Please read from bottom to top.)

Nighty night.
5 seconds ago

I need to get some sleep.
10 seconds ago

I need to write a proper blog post.
20 seconds ago

I need to wash my hair.
30 seconds ago

I keep seeing lizards around the house. This makes me very nervous. Lizards are not my friends.
40 seconds ago

I am getting bigger and heavier every day. If you don’t believe me, just ask my pelvis.
50 seconds ago

I have not done any exercise for at least two three four weeks. This cannot be good for my diabetes.
55 seconds ago

My back up purple glasses make me look like Dame Edna.
1 minute ago

I broke my most favourite, bestest pair of glasses. Again, I’m not aware how I managed to do this. I am very ‘sad face’ about this too.
2 minutes ago

I’ve lost a toe nail. Don’t ask me how. I am not happy about this.
2 minutes ago

From shock to scrapbooking

What does one do while one recovers from the shock of one’s spouse being in a shocking car accident?

One does scrapbooking of course.

Here are the 427 miniature photos that I finished cutting today for Pete’s ‘first year’ journal.

It was a brainless task which my brain was very happy for me to be doing. It’s great when my brain and I agree. It happens once in a while.

Though my fingers are a little sore, there’s no time to rest.

All 427 photos need to be stuck down and I need to come up with somewhat meaningful and funny comments to go with each photo. Hopefully my brain will co-operate, having had a break for most of the day.

And for those who are wondering: The big car has been officially written off.

But my husband is alive. Thank God my husband is alive.

Our big car is no more…

Our big car is no more.

On its way to Dubbo yesterday, it swerved into a ditch (to avoid a semi) and rolled. Thankfully, Rick and his mate both escaped with only cuts and grazes.

I am still in shock. Rick is still in shock. Angus is walking around the house saying, “Daddy no big car.”

I managed to hold it together until Rick got home last night. Since then, I’ve been a little bit of a bubbling mess.

I had had a bad feeling about the trip – but I had decided I was being paranoid and that the guys would be okay. I just can’t get out of my head how close Rick came to being seriously injured in the accident – or worse.

Plus I honestly can’t believe our new big car is gone. Our garage seems so empty without the monster of a car that took up almost all the room in it.

Even though we only had the Discovery for two or so months, I’d really grown to love it – which is weird, because I never knew you could actually ‘love’ a car. But it really had become a part of our family and family life in a very short time: we went on so many road trips in it, the boys absolutely loved it and even I didn’t mind having to jump in and out of the driver’s seat whilst being seven months pregnant.

But now it’s back to square one with finding a ‘big car’ before James arrives in two months’ time.

Anyone know anyone who’s selling a Land Rover Discovery (Platinum) with seven seats, automatic transmission and something under 170,000 kms?

If so, let me know. For now, it’s back to therapy for me.

There’s news, and then there’s news.

In our news this week, we threw out Angus’ dummy. Actually, Rick convinced Angus to throw it out himself. I was so sure that getting-rid-of-the-dummy would deteriorate into some nuclear meltdown situation. Yet, somehow, Rick just calmly told Angus one afternoon before his nap time that he was a big boy now, and that he didn’t need the dummy. And then, somehow, he got Angus to throw it down the hallway. And then, somehow, he got Angus to lie down in his bed without even so much as a cry or protest, much less the screaming that I had envisioned and predicted. I was utterly impressed by them both.

I also went and got a haircut today. And I’m happy with it. Really happy with it. And that’s saying a lot, because I frequently have awful hairdressing experiences like this one.

So far, so good.

A couple of days ago, I listened to a voicemail message from my obstetrician telling me that I have gestational diabetes again. I had this with Cameron and Angus, but not with Pete. I had been desperately hoping that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t get it again with James. But I did, and so I’m officially diabetic.

Which really isn’t that catastrophic in the big scheme of things. But it’s just that it brings back all the memories of how it went utterly and terribly wrong with Cameron and now I’m anxious about James’ health and safety in a way that I wasn’t before. I know that we can manage it well, as we did with Angus’ pregnancy. But the worry remains nonetheless. Also, there’s so much going on in our family and personal lives at the moment as it is – I really didn’t need to have endocrinologist visits, finger pricks and insulin jabs added to the mix.

What is truly catastrophic is the flooding in Toowoomba and Queensland. I can’t even begin to comprehend the devastation. It feels so wrong to be sitting at my computer, writing a blog post in a peaceful and calm environment, listening to my two boys play cheerfully with their nan on the back patio, when people are losing lives, families and homes in Queensland.

Anyway, I’m reading this at the moment and will be donating here. Can I ask you to consider doing the same?

As I said: there’s news, and then there’s news.

Big head, meet your new hat

My head is big. You know that, right? Surely I’ve gone on about it before. No?

Okay, I have a big head.

I don’t know where I get it from. Neither of my parents’ head seems all that big.

Somehow I ended up with the extra large cranium in the Chan family.

Whenever Rick and I take our so-called ‘self portraits’ using our mobile phones, I’m forever trying to position myself further away from the camera in an effort to make my head appear smaller (and Rick’s bigger).

Very rarely do I truly succeed: my head almost always remains slightly larger than Rick’s – if I’m very lucky, we might end up about the same size but almost never does mine ever appear smaller than his.

One of practical down sides of having a grande head (apart from the fact that it’s pretty heavy to cart around every day) is that it’s hard (read impossible) to find a hat that fits.

But half a year ago, during our little adventure at the Four Seasons, we wandered into Strand Hatters at the Strand Arcade on the Saturday and I found the perfect, classic hat that came in a size that actually fit me.

It was the International by Akubra, and it was perfect: classic, crushable, foldable, shower proof (ie. able to be rained on)… and, oh, did I mention that it fit me?

Today we finally returned to the store to claim the hat that shall crown my head for the next ten to twenty years (as long as my head doesn’t keep getting bigger).

When the lady was trying to work out which size it was that fit me, I kindly suggested that it was probably the biggest size they had. As it turned out: nope, it wasn’t the 59cm one (which I think was already a pretty large size), but it was indeed the 60cm one – the largest they had in stock.

Afterwards, we celebrated my new hat (which incidentally came with this beautiful red feather) with ridiculously expensive chocolate milkshakes at Sheraton on the Park – but that’s another story.

For now, my big head rests.

Edit: Rick just read my post and said (word for word), “I think it’s wide rather than big.”

After my fortnightly torture session otherwise known as physiotherapy at the shops yesterday, I made use of the child-free time to look for sandals. I had been meaning to get sandals for all of 2010 but somehow I ran out of time. Probably because I was too busy climbing my Mount Everest.

I found three pairs at Wittner that I liked – one in black, one in camel and one in khaki. Two of them were on sale, one pair had these amazingly convenient zippers at the back, another made me feel like I was walking on soft, fluffy cushions and I could see all three pairs lasting me for the next five years (at least). So I bought all three.

A triumphant trifecta, if you ask me.

But of course, when you buy three new pairs of shoes, you need extra storage space.

Or do you? (Cue dramatic murder mystery type music please.)

If you don’t actually have the extra storage space like me, then there’s only one solution.

Throw out something old to make way for the newbies.

That shouldn’t be too hard. If you’re in the market for buying new shoes, chances are there are ones you stopped wearing years ago, hiding somewhere and just waiting to be given away.

When we moved at the beginning of last year, I had been quite brutal in my shoe culling. My goal was to have all my shoes fit in the shoe cupboard by the front door. I was not going to store any in our wardrobe or ‘archived’ away in storage boxes anymore. Basically, I forced myself to admit that if I had shoes ‘archived’ away like that, I had too many pairs of shoes.

Determined to stick to my ‘shoe cupboard must accommodate all’ policy, I managed to choose four pairs of shoes to ditch yesterday (from left to right above):

1) The first pair cost me AUD$16 from Hong Kong. Fake leather, of course. While it used to be one of my favourite pairs, I had stopped wearing them about two years ago when the inner sole kept coming off, even after endless repairs. I still loved the aqua and orange colour palette, but it wasn’t an ‘essential’ part of my footwear repertoire. So bye bye first pair.

2) My mum bought me the second pair from Singapore (she’s got good taste, that woman). Real leather and very good quality. Wore them heaps while I was working in the fancy schmancy corporate world of accounting and auditing. Haven’t worn them once in the last five years. Bye bye second pair.

3) I bought the second pair from my uncle’s shoe store in Hong Kong back in 2001. Made from very soft (and real) suede. Very comfortable, especially with those small kitten heels. Again, I gave them a good run for the money during my stint with the big accounting firms. Lovely dusty pink colour that went with a lovely dusty pink shirt that I had back then. Shirt stopped fitting me about five years ago. Haven’t worn the shoes since either. Bye bye third pair.

4) The fourth pair were the strappy high heels I wore to my Year 12 formal some thirteen years ago. They had been very cheap to buy and were of very average quality. I couldn’t believe they were still in my shoe collection (those sneaky things), taking up valuable cupboard space. Bye bye fourth pair.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here (and there is one, I think) is that – in deciding what to purge – it’s not about how much I paid for the shoes originally, how much they’re worth or even whether they’re of good or bad quality. The crucial deciding factor is whether I’ve worn the shoes in the last year or two, and whether I’m likely to (ever) wear them again.

(Though having said that, there was one pair of boots I added to the mix after taking the photo, which, though I’ve worn it in the last year, actually doesn’t fit well and my feet end up slipping everywhere whenever I try to walk. I’ve decided to give them up as well, because with little kids to run after, it’s really not worth wearing improper footwear even if I like the style. So I guess you could say that ‘being sensible’ – or at the very least, a feeble attempt to be – is another factor.)

What are your thoughts on this? Do you find it hard to part with old, beloved shoes? Does your shoe collection just seem to keep growing and growing?

Third trimester fun has officially commenced, namely (in no particular order):


Just ask Rick.

In fact, there’s this joke I recently read that rings a little too closely to the truth:

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she’s borderline irrational.
A: So what’s your question?

Shrunken bladder

Enough said. Surely one of life’s worst enemies especially when you’re stuck in traffic with two tired and unhappy kids in the back.

Pelvic pain

Think sharp stabs of pain that renders you immobile. And you guys, I’m already receiving really good physio treatment. Of course, it would help if I actually did the exercises that my physiotherapist tells me to do, but it’s just so hard to find those extra five minutes in the day – you know what I mean, right?

Inability to sleep

…despite endless pillow configurations. Trust me, I’ve tried them all. Rick now only has access to about 25% of the surface area on our bed because I need the rest of the space to build entire cities and civilisations out of pillows and blankets in order to have any hope of getting actual sleep at night.

I know I will have to move to the couch soon. But I’m not ready to give in. Yet.

Walking and bumping into things

Otherwise known as clumsiness, which is further exacerbated by the fact that I can’t see past my belly. It doesn’t help that I’m usually unco-ordinated anyway, even when I’m not pregnant. Anyway, if you should see me in the next couple of months, be sure to check out the impressive showcase of bruises on my right leg. (The left side of my brain must be more spatially aware.)


I used to think this was a pregnancy myth, but these last three to four years have proven that I take to waddling like a duck to water (pun totally intended).

Rick once told me that I never actually stopped waddling after the first pregnancy. Such are the sweet nothings that he whispers in my ear.

Nightmares about giving birth again

Most recently, I dreamt that I gave birth in a room full of people. They didn’t seem at all bothered. Perhaps they were all obstetricians, I don’t know. I was just glad (in the dream) that the birth had been painless. I woke up thinking that maybe birth the fourth time round won’t be so bad after all…

Good ole Braxton Hicks contractions

What can I say – this must be God reminding me that birth is painful and will be painful so as I don’t go into a rude shock when the baby begins to crown.

Generally feeling big and round and big again

In fact, every time I look in the mirror, I freak out because I know I’ve still got an entire trimester to go and yet I’m already carting around what looks to be a basketball (I mean, just look at the photo above!). What will I be like towards the end of term?

(At this point, Rick always helpfully points out that I usually reach double the size I am now. He even throws in a finger gesture for extra measure. He specifically likes to say, “You get to about here.” whilst pointing at the invisible air about 15 centimetres off the ‘bulgiest’ part of my belly. Ahem, thanks darling.)

p.s. Incidentally, please people, don’t tell my mum I took a photo of my belly. She will freak out. I’m not savvy as to what the exact Chinese superstition belief is, but she’ll probably worry that James is going to be born with a camera in his hand or something un-crazy like that.

My Mount Everest

My husband is so sweet. A couple of weeks ago, he cleaned out and tidied our garage because I asked him to. He didn’t even complain about it and seemed to enjoy the process (or so I tell myself). Anyway, I used the excuse that since we now have a much bigger car in the garage, there was less room and space for unnecessary clutter (namely, cardboard boxes of a multitude of sizes that he likes to hoard keep “just in case” – just in case what, exactly?)

This last week I have been frantically trying to ‘complete’ my two year long ‘Aperture migration’ project. I am proud to announce that as of two nights ago, the 30,000 photo files that we accumulated between 2003 and December 31st 2010 have been imported, re-named, filed, tagged, rated and sorted into projects, folders, albums and smart albums. I have climbed my Mount Everest, my friends. Yes, I have.

Honestly, in my opinion, Aperture is a must-have application for all people. It’s file management capabilities are just amazing, especially with all the improvements they made in the upgrade from Aperture 2 to Aperture 3 (one of my favourite is that you can now even organise your movies in Aperture – an essential feature of any media management application if you ask me).

No, it’s not free and at about two hundred dollars, it probably seems an unnecessary investment by most, but with the increasing proliferation of photos and videos created conveniently by camera phones, it provides an efficient way to organise, file and manage all your media that is both sustainable and expandable and manageable.

Seriously, I don’t think programs like Aperture are just for the professional photographers or the tech geeks. Any household will benefit. I’m not saying that it’s a necessity. But if you’re looking for a way to manage your seemingly insurmountable database of photos and other media files then this, my friends, is it.

(And yes, that’s a basket of laundry in the background. You can see I’ve got my priorities all straight and proper.)

Driving into the new year

Ever since the purchase of our second big car, our family has taken to going on short road trips. It combines a few of our loves:

1) Rick loves the Land Rover.
2) Angus loves the Land Rover.
3) Angus and Pete love Play School (which they now get to watch in the Land Rover).
4) And I love air conditioning and sitting for extended periods of time (ie. not having to move).

I also love to snap photos of pretty places, and the Land Rover allows me to do this up high from the comfort of my passenger seat.

Basically, everyone wins.

So today, we celebrated the new year by going on a short road trip up north, and this was one of my favourite shots.

Happy new year everyone!