Shame on Me…

For neglecting my blogs for so long! I do have good reasons for doing so, but they would seem more like excuses now that I think of it.

Has it been more than half a year that I have NOT blogged? Well I have been on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so those of you who are following me on those platforms would have gotten updates on my life and goings-on.

To be fair, the first three months of the year are super busy ones for me, what with all my kids celebrating their birthdays then. I will get to more detail on the birthdays in the upcoming posts in my kids’ blog… Now that my kids read my blog, they would periodically ask if I have updated the blog with this event or that happening.

Shame on me for letting the end of year holidays pass without so much as a whisper on the blog front.

I am sorry.

The new year came and I was totally engulfed in family matters and business affairs too. I have made a conscious decision to spread the love in health awareness and I’m steering my ship in a new exciting direction this year, and that, honestly, had taken up much of my time too. Adjusting sails and gathering resources is no mean feat. Heh.

Unfortunately, I recently allowed myself to be stressed out again and fell really ill. Had a bad dyshidrotic eczema infection on my hands and the doctor prescribed an antibiotic course. However it turns out I was severely allergic to that antibiotic and my whole neck and both arms up to the armpits broke out in horrible itchy red rashes. So bad they were, I was unable to move my arms or turn my head without screaming in pain.

I am allowing myself some time to heal now, to take a few steps back and try to relax as best as I can. Healing is still taking place, and it will take some time, definitely.

soblessedPhoto Credit: Peter Kasprzyk

Filling my life with happy thoughts and positive vibes so that the healing process is a wholesome one: healing the body and the mind.

First things first….. I need to get back into the blogging groove. I recently made an acquaintance with a blog reader whom I found out has been following me since my first child was born! I was so engulfed in guilt because I had not been updating my blog and here she was saying that I really helped her with all that I wrote… about breastfeeding, about bringing up kids and about parenting. Once again, I am so touched that in my own way, I had touched lives without realizing it and this further affirms my life saving mission now to spread knowledge, love and healing to everyone everywhere as best as I can.

Thank you everyone who has stood by me thus far. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m still here… not as regularly blogging as I once did, but rest assured still around.

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The Eat Clean & Keep Healthy Challenge: Easier Than I Thought

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Photo Credit: Katie Smith

A couple of weeks ago, I took on the Eat Clean & Keep Healthy Challenge, together with several of my friends.  Taking part in this challenge meant there were several ground rules we had to follow:

  • Eat lots of vegetable and fruits in all the colors of the rainbow every day.  The more colors, the better.
  • Drink lots of water
  • No processed food
  • No carbs in the form of simple sugars, e.g. anything white like flour, rice, pasta, bread, cakes etc.
  • No sugar (or at least limited)
  • No dairy (or at least limited)
  • Regular exercise: at least 3x a week for at least 30 minutes each time
  • For added vanity, we agreed to apply an IZUMIO mask on our face each night before bed.
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I am Innocent, but I Paid the Price

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Today, I drove myself to the City Council payment collection center near the Esplanade in Penang and paid a parking compound of RM30.  There is always a discount of 50% if payment is made within 14 days, but I had to pay the full fee of RM30 because I had no choice.

Now this is so unlike me to pay for something which I am not a fault with, but if you would just bear with me for a few minutes, I would like to share my story.

About 2 years ago, my family and I parked our car at Rangoon Road in Penang, and had a nice lunch at one of our favorite restaurants there.  We must have been really hungry that day, because we forgot to place our shaded parking ticket on display (Penang implements the parking payment via shading of parking payment coupons/tickets).  After we had filled our tummies with our white curry noodles and chicken rice, to our dismay, we found a parking compound ticket issued and placed on the windscreen.  The fine was RM30 but if settled within 14 days, there would be a 50% discount on the fine.  We accepted our mistake but I would just like to point out that ironically, we noticed that there were other cars parked around us, which were NOT parked in proper parking spaces (along yellow lines for example), and were NOT issued compound tickets.  I just find it incredibly unjustifiable that we were penalised just because we didn’t pay the parking fee ALTHOUGH we were parked in a proper parking space, but those that were NOT in a proper space without paying, could get away scott-free!

Anyway, I digress.

I paid the parking compound well within the 14-day timeframe.  RM15 paid, after driving more than 30 minutes to the payment collection center at the Esplanade and then another 30 minutes back to my house.

I thought that that was the end of it.

However, in March this year, I received a letter from the City Council – Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP) stating that I have an UNPAID compound ticket, and the letter also attached the compound ticket that was issued.

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I was shocked beyond words, but I very confidently retrieved my duly paid compound ticket and receipt in August 2014, and made a call to the MBPP.  Upon further investigation, I noticed that the UNPAID compound ticket that I was deemed to have not paid, was on the SAME DATE, within a few minutes apart from the one I had paid, and issued by a different officer.  The location of the ticket was the same.  The one I had paid had a timestamp of 2:13pm on August 16 2014 and the one unpaid had a timestamp of 1:46pm on the same date.

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Now tell me: How is it possible the same ONE car be issued a compound ticket for the SAME OFFENCE at the SAME PLACE at around the same time on the SAME DATE? I asked the MBPP if it was common practice for its enforcement officers to place another compound over one that had already been issued, and I was told NO.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that evidently, the initial compound ticket must have flown away or someone had taken it, and then in a short span of time (oh yes, they are that efficient), another officer came around and issued another compound ticket!  If you look at the ticket I was deemed to have NOT PAID, the No. Petak (Parking space ID) is even blank!  The officer didn’t even know the ID of the parking space, how can he/she issue a compound in such a case?!

It’s not like I want to evade paying the compound either.  I had already paid it, and now they are asking me to pay another RM30 for this “OFFENCE” which I have already clearly paid for.

I called and emailed and wrote in explaining the situation and was informed that my case had been escalated to a different department, after my insistence and persistence.

Months went by and I received another letter in early June this year, stating that the offence still holds, and I was instructed to pay the RM30 immediately, otherwise MBPP would press court charges against me.

I made some calls again, each time explaining the situation and then I was instructed to lodge yet another complaint, this time via the e-aduan route to MBPP. After about 2 weeks, I received a text message stating that they have investigated my case, and the offence still holds.  The reason given is that “OFFENCE” is punishable, following the laws of car park in council areas.

BUT I HAD ALREADY PAID FOR THAT OFFENCE AND THIS IS A DOUBLE CHARGE!!!

I don’t understand why MBPP cannot use their common sense to see it!

I called up the enforcement officer in charge again, and he told me there was nothing he could do now and I could only wait for MBPP to summon me to the court to handle the case.

After deliberating and debating though, I decided to just pay the compound of RM30.  Looking at the way this issue has been dragging and dragging and not amounting to any sense, I didn’t have any confidence that going to court would solve the problem in my favour.  In any case, it would mean the hassle of presenting myself in court at the appointed time and date (I don’t know – I have never been to court before, let alone being summoned, so I wouldn’t know what it entails), and then by the looks of the situation, I may be slapped with an additional fine amounting to the hundreds!

Paying RM30 is not a sign of defeat.  It is my choice to make not to have to go through this ridiculous goose chase of which nobody seems to see my point of view.  I have sacrificed RM30 (which is equivalent to 2 packets IZUMIO, by the way) but it is a win for convenience and a win for the relief that there is no UNPAID status ticket hanging over my head.

(Penangites or perhaps anyone who has parked in Penang before: if you want to check if you have mysterious or unknown compound tickets from MBPP, you can click here)

I hope to NEVER have to deal with this problem again.

(Photo at the top Credit to: Clem Onojeghuo)

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Fresh-made Pesto from Scratch!

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Yes, it definitely tastes better than it looks!

I’ve always wanted to make my own pesto… even more so when my homegrown Genovese basil started sprouting and blossoming.  The biggest plant I had, which used to have the freshest looking leaves, starting becoming yellow and I was disappointed for a few weeks, but then 2 other plants started to grow (from flyaway basil seeds, no doubt!), and so I was able to harvest a whole basket full of fresh fragrant basil.

I had a very willing assistant and sous chef, of course…

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This was our very favorable yield for the day:

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We then plucked the basil leaves out from the stems and washed them clean.  Toasted some pine nuts and several cloves of garlic.

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Pulsed the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and some olive oil in the blender till more or less smooth, and then added some parmesan cheese and salt to taste.

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In less than half an hour, I had made my virgin batch of pesto, and it sure smelled heavenly!

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Lunch  was a simple pesto pasta for the kids, and I have half a jar of pesto left, hopefully enough to make us some chicken pesto dish thingy next week.

#mybasilrocks

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Breakfast Omelette Cups: Easy, Breezy, Yummy!

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I made these breakfast omelette cups last week for my son to bring along for breakfast at his day camp in church.  It was something easy and nutritious for the kids, and I knew I could whip up like 20-30 cups within the hour.  This is important because I wanted something that could be served warm, yet had to be fast and easy to make.  Oh yeah, and I also don’t like oily and fried stuff, so these breakfast cups fit the bill!

I had them baked and ready in about 20 minutes and they could be served with tomato ketchup or mayo, or whatever suits your fancy.

Also, the ingredients I used can be modified in any way you wish…basically your favorite ingredients for a yummy omelette.  I would try with chopped mushrooms, scallions or (yums) bacon too!

Try these and let me know if your family likes it as much as mine does!

Breakfast Omelette Cups

Ingredients

  • Eggs (1 egg to 2 medium-sized cupcake cups)
  • Milk (about 3 tbsp to 1 egg)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Baking powder (about 1/2 tsp to 1 egg)
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Chopped bell pepper
  • Chopped chicken ham

Directions

  1. Place chopped bell pepper and chicken ham into each cupcake cup.
  2. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top
  3. Whip eggs, milk, salt, pepper and baking powder together.
  4. Pour egg mixture into cups up to about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 170°C for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Serve warm.
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