Saturday, July 29, 2017

21: Exhibition of watercolours… Spillo and his human

Volcana the event at Forte San Briccio came and went. 12 of my watercolours were put up there. There are were a whole lot of artists whose works were shown, ranging from paintings, installations and, even etchings and drypoint. Etchings and drypoint are really nostalgic because I use to make those in school. For 2 years of my life I had been grumpily churning out prints. Ahhh my teenage angst period ^^;; There was a great community spirit going on with the organising and that transmitted into the event itself. Thank you. Go to their fb page Volcana for more on the 3day event For letting this interloper put up her works. I had a great spot too… at the bar. The works were small (around 16x 24cm) so they had to be viewed up close.

It was way too early to be exhibition since I started painting seriously in June but I couldn't missed out on this opportunity. And I'm glad I jumped in. Well that was a great motivation! I found another to put up my works in another place.

Quite the perfect location… our dog sitter Micaela's place. But this time only 5 paintings due to space constraints. I'm so glad she agreed. We dropped the paintings off yesterday. In 2 weeks I will change the exhibits with new works.

In case you missed it, I will post the watercolour paintings on my instagram acc @juunta bit by bit. I'm hoping to find a gallery for my works online soon. Keep you updated when I do. The watercolour paintings are for sale, if you are interested contact me on my email:

Here is where we found Micaela our super dogsitter > Dogbuddy If you are looking for a dogsitter in Verona or Italy…

For more future events at the fort search for "Forte San Briccio Verona" on facebook.

#sliceoflife #ForteSanBriccio #Verona #Volcana #watercolourspaintings #exhibition #opportunity #dogsitter

Thursday, June 15, 2017

020: parting the red sea

painting tools

I took some time to draw again. So I'm still gonna update my blog and write but less frequently. The thing I struggled with most is not the actual drawing. But where am i going to find the time to do it. Finding time to do my own thing is a big challenge. Why don't you do this?… Oh you can reach your audience this way and that way… blar blar blar… Ideas are cheap. How to make it a reality is the million dollar question.

In all the time when I was at the old apartment I prioritised finishing the chores and cooking before do my own thing which was sewing and drawing. I got sucked into it. At night I was so tired I couldn't do anything.

A lot of people women or housewives have done it so why not me? The blog was a start. I ignored the housework for an hour or 2 hours. I'm going to try for more, without upsetting our domestic balance. It's an experiment.

It's like Moses parting the red sea. The sea for me is the housework. LOL Or something which my sewing teacher did a long time ago while teaching drafting. She had a tiny table which she did everything on. So the table was crammed full of things. When drafting clothing on a paper you need a certain amount of space to teach. So she pushed so everything fell off the table. LOL So that's how she made room.

That's how you create physical space. Now to extend it on a mental level. Clearing your head of junk, chores and everything you "need" to do. I imagine a white dot growing into a huge white circle, completely blank inside. This mental training works a bit. I cut down the time I on fb and twitter time.

I just want to say how much the story of people struggling to put food on the table inspired to push on. There are millions of people less fortunate than me making things possible. So no more excuses for me.

For updates on my drawings go to my instagram account @juunta

#draw #sliceoflife #blog #paintingtools #challenge #ideasarecheap #ignoredthehousework #domesticbalance #partingtheredsea #maderoom #createphysicalspace #mentallevel #mentaltraining

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

019: writing

Spillo in the dog park

I enjoy reading recipes and watching videos on how to make this and that, not necessarily making anything. Just for reference. Then an article about bad coffee caught my eye. It was so well written. I loved the style of writing; where the author/writer recounts something that happens to them in the first person. Very relatable. I didn't start right away.

It reminded me of another thing I done in Italian class in Milan when I first started. As a practice we would recount the events of the previous day in Italian. It sounds simple enough and everybody does that here not just Italian language students, in a very passionate way. Why am I puzzled? What's out of place? I don't recalled having to do that when I was a student in Singapore. It's not a Singaporean habit. We don't stop to talk about what happened yesterday everyday. Nobody notices and nobody cares anyway.

Here in Italy grannies teach toddlers to describe the world around them. It's a really amazing way of connecting with the physical space, processing it in the mind and then verbalising it. In this way writing is just putting down in words what you are already describing as it happens. Writing is just an extra. Whether it is written is not important.

In writing this blogpost I'm working my brain the most underused part of body in a proactive way. It's not just reading some post on facebook or twitter and laughing about it. I have to choose the words and remember what happen (which is not easy for me at all). Now all it takes is a little willpower and you have to tell yourself to take a little time off not to browse through facebook or laze about because the weather is just right for lazing. All weather is right for lazing. When it's raining, who wants to get wet. When it's sunny, it's too hot. etc...

#sliceoflife #readingrecipes #relatable #italianclass #recount #Italian #Singapore #yesterday #nobodynotices #grannies #toddlers #describe #physicalspace #processingit #verbalisingit #asithappens #underused #choosethewords #willpower #lazing

Sunday, May 21, 2017

018: Ordinary special ...2

Our wedding anniversary celebration sweets & prosecco yesterday

20th May… that's our wedding Anniversary. It was a bit difficult going off for dinner with Spillo around. We already went out on the 11th when I had a medical check-up and Spillo was at the dog sitter so it was fine. So instead we got sweets and prosecco to wash it down. The day went on in the most ordinary fashion. Roby at his usual time ie. very very late.

The weather was sunny with lots of dark clouds. We went off to the dog park which we discovered the day before. It's turns out the dog park was private property but was open to public. It was 3times larger than the one near our place so we were happy. It also a huge turnover of dogs. Never the same in the period of time that we were there. Also there was a farm next to it, with goats, geese, chickens and also a lot of peacocks.

It threatened to rain and we went off to get the tarts and bignes. Back home we toasted, finished off most of the tarts and off we went doing our respective chores/work. Roby at his desk, researching and me putting out the bread dough on the baking sheet to rise the second time. Spillo settling down, bored shitless like always.

For dinner we had pasticcio (aka lasagna) for dinner. We watched Netflix/ Better call Saul. After that I had to make Spillo's food, it's normally last for about 10 days so that was a lot of food.

We are celebrating that nothing much happen. LOL It's great sometimes when it's uneventful :D

#sliceoflife #weddinganniversary #sweets #prosecco #ordinaryfashion #dogpark #farm #goats #peacocks #tarts&bignes #breaddough #pasticcio #lasagna #uneventful

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

017: Animated blood is not blood

I find myself not thinking about anything in particular. This is right after looking through facebook or twitter. Or after being forced to watch an episode of Dawson's Creek. Roby is the thick of nostalgia for his youth with 6 seasons of Dawson's Creek, there is no escape because the living room is also the kitchen; clearing the dirty dishes after dinner.

How did I end up like that. In fact TV watching after has been a tradition even back when I was in Singapore. Is there no alternative? (We don't have a TV. We have a projector with AppleTV connected. Which is more or less the same thing.) Nowadays I prefer watching anime which is 24mins per episode. I don't binge watch so only one at a time and then I'm off doing the housework. If we watch a film after dinner, then I nod off on the sofa after 1/2 an hour. Following in the great tradition of my parents' after dinner routine.

The plots of the soaps are formula with a bit of variation on the theme. I don't exactly know why we don't choose more exciting forms of entertainment. Also I can't escape this trap that I find myself in. I already know that the more you watch the less you live. Simple. You can be doing more than 1 thing at a time. With the exception of my ex-colleague's father, who has the tv on, read the newspaper and the radio on for toto results. 2 tvs on, reading the paper and talking to his kids. That's amazing multitasking for you!

Maybe in experiencing the same type of stories over and over again, give you a certain comfort and nostalgia, that warm cosy feeling. Nothing too shocking. Nothing out of the ordinary. We don't want to think or to be troubled by what we see. It like your favourite food being having the same taste as the last time you ordered it. No changes can be an improvement. LOL

At least plots in anime works has a more darwinian approach. There are a lot of stories being written. Out of these, there are really some really good plots; plots that put new ideas some very strange. Provided you can put up the really bad shows and like the animate form, these great stories are not going to reach you. It remains niche. Roby just don't like animation in general because he can't feel the connection between him and the story; doesn't feel real enough. Animated blood is not blood. He is more a Dawson's Creek kind of person. But blood in the soap opera is fake as well. I guess he feels closer to the character if they are filmed in a real setting.

A lot of my friends can't take the animation too. It's something that they take their kids to. Part of childhood, so as adults and as parent they put themselves on the other side. They would pick a predictable plot over anime anyday.

Anime has for me replaced the films I use to watch in film festival days. I no longer have the patience to sit through 2 hour long film. 24mins is just perfect.

Here are 2 thought provoking bloody anime recommendations with links to descriptions:

Subete ga F ni naru: The Perfect Insider This is a mystery series. I had a good time guessing what happened and how it happened.

Parasyte A lot of blacked out scenes because it got too bloody. Not my usual genre. It made me question our dependence on another species of animals for food. The general arrogance and disrespect toward another species of being. How we ignore the fact that death is involved on a daily basis over lunch or dinner (except for you vegetarians)

#sliceoflife #DawsonsCreek #nostalgia #noescape #TVwatching #projector #bingewatch #nodoff #afterdinnerroutine #formula #entertainment #multitasking #darwinianapproach #niche #connection #realsetting #partofchildhood #animerecommendations #SubetegaFniNaru #ThePerfectInsider #Parasyte

Monday, May 8, 2017

016: 2 steps forward 1 step back

Training Spillo is problematic. Just when we thought everything was going smoothly Spillo lunged and barked at a jogger and an old lady with a kid in 2 separate incidents. I'm taking this seriously. I've taken a step back in the training. In other words I keep a minimum distance of 2meters away from everyone we walk by. I treat as usual for not barking at people. Also I ask for a trick every 3/5mins of our walks. Everything is under control.

Of course it's not as stressful as a few months ago. I look like a suspicious person on our walks. lol I look left, right, back and front. When there is someone, I make a big arch to avoid the person. Like there was a person sweeping the doorway of her house a few days ago, we crossed to the other side of the road to avoid her altogether. Seems like an over reaction on my part, but it takes just a second for something to happen.

A jogger came from behind silently, no reaction from Spillo *phew … why? I asked for "dietro" aka heel about a 1 minute ago, so that help because he was waiting for the next command and ignoring the passing jogger. One mini victory for me.

A friend of mine wanted to bring a child to visit us, but later postponed it to next year. How we going to train him to not bark at kids? If there was a steady stream of kids coming in and out of the house, we would have plenty of opportunities. As it is now,  nobody wants to risk their kids being barked at right? So it's a catch 22 situation.

It takes willpower to create these kind of "training props". With our work schedules as they are it's going to be slow and it will take a long time before we see results. We have seen that in repeating a situation over, he becomes less reactive after many repeats. Well, our lives shouldn't stop for Spillo. Ideally we would like to bring him out like to a restaurant or out and about in town doing things. But as it stands now we can't.

#sliceoflife #trainingSpillo #jogger #minimumdistance #notbarking #undercontrol #suspiciousperson #walks #overreaction #ignoring #victory #kids #risk #catch22 #trainingprops #workschedules

Friday, May 5, 2017

015: Jack of all trades

Yorozuya… Gin chan's & friends' odd jobs shop 

I've had a lot of jobs in the past. I know how to do a lot of things. Unfortunately a lot of them are not marketable. Sewing, cooking, drawing. At this point I'm trying out writing. When I was in Singapore I was lucky, a lot of factors help me land a job. I had a false impression that that could lead to something.

Just because I have a couple of ideas when I was younger doesn't the whole world is going to fall at your feet. Ideas are cheap, making them real is hard part.

I take cue from Yorozuya the shop Gin-chan and friends set up in the anime Gintama. The odd jobs crew! This is the state of my life now. I can't afford to specialise in one thing so I have to try more things. Blogging gave me the opportunity to reflect on my current situation. It's not so rosy but definitely more "real" than my life in my parents' place in Singapore a decade ago. (I thank my parents for taking care of me so far)

There was a huge question mark …"something is missing in my life but I don't know what." A terrible state of unease. A comfortable life and yet terribly off. Now my troubles have not passed in fact they have increased, but certainly my uneasiness has passed a bit.

So still continuing to sew. I will re-train myself to draw again. Of course I'm blogging. If anyone has any small writing jobs, please let me know. There are also Roby's projects in the works which I maybe helping out. Currently he is conducting a workshop on RaspberryPi programming for amateurs. This course is in Italian, but if there are enough people wanting to participate, it he will create an English version too. A related video is also planned on his youtube channel.

The future will be more exciting if you make it.

#sliceoflife #alotofjobs #notmarketable #lucky #sewing #cooking #drawing #ideas #ideasarecheap #Yorozuya #oddjobs #blogging #notsorosy #real #uneasiness #Robysprojects #intheworks #RaspberryPiforamateurs #Italian #Englishversion

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

014: He doesn't care

Spillo in the yellow raincoat we bought him

He doesn't care if it's rain or shine, as long as he is out of the door. This is Spillo we are talking about. I heard of other dogs out not being able to step out when it's pouring outside. Sensible dogs! Not Spillo. He can sit on a wet puddle, no problem. We bought a raincoat. He is indifferent to that. He doesn't give a damn about it. On or off, as long as he gets to go out. We get a kick from looking at him in a raincoat. Cutest overload! He looks at us looking at him and thinks "huh? what?" Some dogs gets embarrassed when being seen dressed walks back inside, or won't even let themselves get dressed. He doesn't care either way.

Part of the highlight of the daily walk for him is sniffing dog poop, dog pee and cat poop. He pulls hard so he get to put his nose to where the dog peed the last time. He works hard sniffing. Never use your human standards to judge a dog. Why are you so excited over pee. "Andiamo, andiamo!" (Let's go) Then he chooses a spot to pee for the next dog to sniff and we continue again.

Eating off the ground. Why? When I give him good home cooked food. He loves these fruits from a particular tree in our morning walks towards the cemetery. Not the freshly fallen ones, but the ones that are flattened and browned probably from passing cars. Also some dried up bits of fallen gelato. Why does he not get sick from that? Must be the famed beneficial bacteria he picked up as a stray.

Oh well… ヽ(´ー`)┌

#sliceoflife #Spillo #wetpuddle #raincoat #cutestoverload #goout #embarrassed #sniffing #humanstandards #fruits #flattened #beneficialbacteria

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Post script2

One of my favourite books is Kieslowski on Kieslowski, biography on Krzysztof Kieslowski. (My favourite film of his is The Double Life of Veronique). There is a particular part that I remember clearly where he recounts about how entered the Lodz film school. He describe in minute detail of the toilet bowl flushing, in deliberate minute detail. So that's how he believe he got in. lol

I decide I should do the same as a writing exercise. Fingers crossed hope i come up with something good.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Post script: Writing what you want to read

It's easy to write anything you want these days and publish it. I'm really grateful for that. There is a lot of people that I know from my ani-twitter group that's into fan-fics. I've read a few too. Not all of them are fantastic but what they lack in skill they more than make up for it in spirit. With time they do improve. Same goes for fan artist.

I'm part of this movement too, which is nice. I started not long ago, but lately I'm not really happy with the way the writing is going. Feels like an old lady nagging lol. Obviously it's a work in progress. I'm going to change my approach. Try out a few different things.

Ultimately I want to write what I want to read. No endless emotional ranting. What's the point? Maybe I should pick up drawing? Who knows? I love that there are no limits on what can be done.

I hope friends also pick up this habit and that I get to read what they write.

#postscript #anitwitter #fanfics #skill #spirit #nagging #noranting #limits

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

013: Ordinary special

flowers from someone's garden when we out on a walk last week

Everybody wants that special day to be memorable in a nice way. That kind of propaganda you are fed with. On birthdays, a birthday cake with candles, a birthday song surrounded by family and friends who love you to death, tons of presents. On Valentine's day, a bouquet of roses for the girl, a night at fancy restaurant, girl all dressed up and the guy in a suit, the candlelight dinner.

Most of the time those things don't happen to me. A birthday cake with candles; I've done that. I'm no happier than before the cake and candles blown out. Yeah ok… I'm older, thanks for the reminder, let's move on, shall we. I've had a ex-roommate for her, the birthday was EVERYTHING. She had to have the friends, the cake, people wishing on the right day (not the day before… an italian superstition). She was shocked that Roby didn't come to celebrate with me in Milan and I was not upset about it.

On past valentine's days I only remembered expecting something and being completely let down. I spent alone waiting for my then boyfriend to come. A lot of bad memories there. On special days supermarkets here in Verona don't do their usual hours and only open in the morning. Which is inconvenient.

The stress created by expectations far outweighs the enjoyment of that day. Let's take Chinese New Year. Back in the day, it was celebrated in a big way. My grandma would make a ton of food. She would get an asthma attack as a result. Of course extra yelling for not showing up on time at 11am for lunch. Granted I do remember most of it fondly. But I still don't like Chinese New Year.

There was once when I was in Oslo for a friend's Christmas celebration. It was quite nice as an outsider. But in the end, it was their version of the Chinese New Year, with different decorations. Family get together, then the usual questioning happens. Do you have a job? Are you making enough money? Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend? etc. Nice in some sense when family gather, but stressful in other ways too.

I'm not saying don't celebrate birthdays, christmas or chinese new year. My point is the other 364 days could be as special if you make it so. Ordinary days have their own value. Not that everyday is a sunday. We know that. We all have our responsibilities; school work, work, chores. There are moments in day that is just perfect. It happens to all of us ALL of the time. You have open your eye and recognise it.

Easter monday, Roby woke up way too late for easter brunch. We decided to go a sagra (a local food festival; just another excuse to eat). Spillo freaked out at the crowd and started barking at kids. It was high tension until some time after we found a seat. That was stressful.

Last sunday was a no occasion sunday. The sun was up in the morning and flooded the kitchen with light. Roby woke up by himself (thank you) and took spillo for spin on bicycle. Finally so finally some peace at home by myself to do the housework. Yes that was a perfect day when nothing special happened.

#sliceoflife #memorable #propaganda #abirthdaycake #Valentinesday #abouquetofroses #candlelightdinner #Milan #expectations #badmemories #ChineseNewYear #fondly #Verona #Christmas #differentdecorations #ordinarydays #sagra #barkingatkids #stressful #nooccasionsunday #nothingspecialhappened

Friday, April 21, 2017

012: A walk in the park

"I'm so bored"

It's been a few months since we adopted Spillo. I never imagine it would be this difficult. I thought we solved the problem of barking at people. It's definitely not a 100%. orz He just barked at someone yesterday. Probably my fault for stopping when the 2 old ladies approached. That same night i understood what went on. Last night as we were on the couch, there was a stinky fishy scent coming from Spillo.

Then it became clear, why he was so irritated during the day. There was a built up of fluids in the anal glands before excretion, so he became very irritated and will snap at anything. There's no indication of this, except that he is more anxious than usual.

It's normal to have the results yo-yoing. Everytime this happens me and Roby keep having to re-examine what we have done or what we have done wrong. Walking Spillo is quite difficult. Already there is a huge improvement from before when he used to pull like crazy on walks. We went through a period of feeding him treats when he is in the right position while walking. At that stage he was barking everyone coming close. That was extremely stressful for us and the poor person taking a stroll. Because there's too many things expected of him. He didn't know if the treat was for not barking or for walking properly; it was too confusing for him. So we stopped "walking nicely" treats and treated only for not barking at people. We used only biscuits which is different from the cut meat pieces. That worked very well. Roby bought a video from this site which we are using at the moment. It's a program for reactive dogs. It's a long term investment in terms of time but well worth it.

I walk him fast; brisk walking. We do the morning walks together. It helps us exercise more than if we walk slowly. Spillo doesn't have much chance to exercise when he gets home. He doesn't sniff very often like this and our pace matches. Let's say if we were we doing a 5-legged race we will be winning. The down side is with the increase heart rate he also gets agitated easily. Maybe I have make stops in between. I would have a looser leash with him a bit further away from me. Roby walks him slow. He normally makes a trip to the dog park (it's fenced) and let him run around off leash. If there are dogs around Spillo normally plays with them if he can. Not all dogs like playing; some are hostile. Ahhh dog politics! Don't question. Just mediated when necessary. Spillo is also not friendly to all dogs only to some. He picks his friends and bully the ones he doesn't like. What a personality!

Spillo is quite territorial and guards us quite a lot. Roby is careful not to bring out the treat bag or toys in the dog park when there are other dogs around or there will be chaos.

The challenge of living with a rescued dog continues.

We use these youtube channel reference on positive training and counter-conditioning dog training: kikopup; zak george.

#sliceoflife #verona #italy #Spillo #barkingatpeople #analglands #irritated #anxious #reexamine #walkingnicelytreats #5leggedrace #looserleash #picksfriends #bully #territorial

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

011: Squalor

current state of mess in my room

I watched a youtube video on Erik Satie the composer's life. (I can't find the link, sorry) Gymnopedies is a favourite of mine. Right after his death, his friends entered his apartment. What they found was chaos and squalor in that apartment. There were 2 grand pianos one stacked on top the other. The top piano used as storage space for his compositions. A collection of umbrellas. Compositions stuffed in coat pockets. I did the most natural thing googled for a photo & got nothing significant. lol He did die in 1925 so I wouldn't expect anyone to take a snapshot and post it on instagram.

I've been struggling with the accumulation of junk for a long time. I have hoarding habits. My grandfather was a hoarder, some of my relatives are hoarders. If I ever was a music composer, the scene above could very well have happen to me. My one great fear in life.

When my grandpa was still around, this was happened at one point in his HDB flat (Please google HDB Singapore for meaning) Unusual for a HDB flat it had a high ceiling. Suspended 2 meters above was a queen sized mattress and stacked on top of that was some chairs I think. He loves fixing things. The apartment was filled with weird contraptions. Like the fan that would switch on when you switch on the lights in the toilet. Wooden extensions he made to the sofa. We hardly exchanged words neither me nor with the rest of the family. He never explained why. He would bring home things he found outside, things people throw out. My grandma would bitch about it non-stop when she was alive. It's actually quite organised for a hoarder, due to my grandma's nagging. She kept him in check.

During art school I accumulated a large collection of art material for art works. Ahhh that brings back memories. Mostly failed art experiments that produced a pile in my corner of the room in the Goodman Road campus. A pile of objects 1m depth x2m width x2m height …that was the rough volume of things I collected in that 1 year of art course. I couldn't deal with it anymore. Also I kept seeing art pieces being made and being thrown out casually. Our students room was around 5m from the schools dumping area. I definitely developed a complex because of that. Art one day rubbish the next. I threw everything out including my career in art. A bit silly looking back but I was a "child" then, so it felt right at that point.

My next hoarding trauma is actually not caused by me directly. I am responsible for it because I didn't stop it from happening. My ex boyfriend had a habit of collecting a lot of things. CD, books, little objects. He spends time and money on these things. That's well and fine. Only he didn't have a room of his own. That's how they all ended up in my room. Those objects and books did give me joy at some point just like how my ex gave me joy once. After 9 1/2 years the things only occupied space. Finally I had enough, everything went (my ex include). After much tears and packing I cleared my room of 21 very heavy boxes of things. I sent them to his mom's place.

After that hurdle everything was easy to deal with even my move to Italy. Hoarding & messiness comes very natural to me. I've developed a talent of finding an object in complete chaos. So a messy table is not stressful. The trick to throwing out things is to ask yourself what place or value an object has offer in your life. If an object no longer has a purpose in your life then out it goes. The problem is when an object holds too much value and too much memory. And you have a lot of those objects then you are done for.

Of course it feels good after being liberated of the boxes of things. It's like you've mentally carried those objects, holding on to those memories. Getting rid of those things also means letting go and finding another way of remembering without those objects. This is an ongoing struggle.

#sliceoflife #Italy #Singapore #ErikSatie #gymnopedie #2grandpianos #grandfather #hoarder #grandmasnagging #HDB #GoodmanRoadcampus #pileofobjects #artpieces #dumping #trauma #collecting #joy #hurdle #messiness #talent #purposeinyourlife #memories #lettinggo

Saturday, April 15, 2017

010: The great iron adventure

sprouted mung beans a few years ago when i was in the middle of my sprouting craze

This began in a camper holiday I had with Roby before we were married. It was in the middle of winter. We stopped at Moderna and went to a restaurant. After a very full meal we were paying the bill when i suddenly passed out. I remembered gaining consciousness and laughing out of embarrassment, with Roby worried sick. I felt a bit light headed for some time after moving to Italy. Probably because of the change in diet.

So I had to do something about it. A few months later I had my blood test & it showed I had an iron deficiency. So I took iron supplements which did not work as it gave me an upset stomach and the iron just passed right out. I did not feel any better. So I moved on.

My mom would be make me pig liver broth years ago. It's a traditional tonic given to menstruating women to ease the anemia that comes with it. So I bought of lot of liver, made the broth for 1 or 2 weeks, freeze them in tiny cups. I had to take a dose daily, avoiding coffee before and after taking it. I felt slightly better, less lethargic. After I moved to Montorio/Verona, I took up jogging which also helped.

The worst part about this diet is the prep. Handling liver is no fun. It got to a stage where i was ordering a whole liver from the butcher's and making a whole lot of broth. It was a major operation from the cutting, boiling down the broth. On the day I would make the broth the whole house would smell of pork. orz

Then the thought that I had to make that for the rest of my life, got me thinking that I had to find another solution.

Solution no3 would be Floradix. This is an iron supplement in syrup form. This works quite well at first. Then for some reason, it stop working the longer you take this. This also gave me an upset stomach. I have issues with acidic food/liquid. So 1 or 2 I stopped. The improvements being less lethargic.

I felt the broth worked much better than the syrup. It had a stronger effect compared to the syrup in terms of energy level. I dread the cutting liver again so I had to find another solution.

The alkaline diet. That didn't directly affect my iron consumption. It did improve my health in terms of the acidity levels in my body. Very difficult to go 100% on this diet as with all diets. At best I was at 50%. I tried dragging Roby into this but it's hard. (¬ ‿ ¬) (¬ ‿ ¬) (¬ ‿ ¬) his attachment to cheese is incredible. Fatty cheese like gorgonzola which is his favourite is highly acidic.

I learned that nearly all our food is acidic with the exception of spinaci, kai lan & other leafy greens. orz Even the white rice is acidic... almost all carbs that we consume are acidic. The way out of this is sprouting. Something miraculous happens when you sprout grains, they become alkaline. It's on it's way to becoming a plant! I do this with beans as well like chickpeas and lentils.

The sprouted beans/grains tastes the same as they would before. For recipes just replace the sprouted beans/grain with the normal non-sprouted version.

If you boil them without soaking they are acidic. But if you soak them overnight, then you reduce the acidity. If you sprout even better. I recommend this site the Sprout People. A really detailed site on sprouting, even if you don't buy anything from them.

I used to suffer from very frequent heartburns. This diet really help. Although my iron deficiency is still not solved yet. The next step the nutritional value chart. With that I found the amount of iron in my diet. This is an eye opener. What I thought had high iron value was pretty average. For example beef. Compared to chickpeas. Lentils has even higher iron values than chickpeas. Shellfish is super high in iron and prawns too. This site is great. A bit of math and you can calculate how much iron (or any other mineral) you consume a day.

I didn't do any weird scientific experiments. This is based on what I consumed and how it affected my daily life. Back to the beef. Digesting food uses up a lot of energy, some more than others. After a finishing a steak or a burger, I feel so sleepy I need a nap. I'm effectively out of action after that. Although I benefit from the iron consume, napping or feeling sleepy means I can't do much else. The benefits are nullified.

I don't have access to good seafood so the shellfish option is also out. Food poisoning is not really worth it.

My current diet is accidentally vegan/vegetarian for lunch. For dinner is "normal". Italian or Chinese not a lot of pasta, not a lot of meats. Fish. We are still evolving our diet. Roby is currently obsessed with the ideas of a italian nutritionists he found on youtube. So expect more changes to our diet. I have experienced a marked improvement in my movement/speed, I think faster too. It's so freaky when most of my life I have been sluggish.

It's not really a disease but it might have just been. If I have discovered this earlier in life maybe I would have did better in school, or maybe I would have done better at work. Who knows.

#sliceoflife #Italy #Moderna #bloodtest #passedout #pigliverbroth #irondeficiency #ironsupplements #upsetstomach #traditionaltonic #butcher #floradix #alkalinediet #acidic #leafygreens #sprouts #chickpeas #lentils #recipes #noweirdscientificexperiments #sleepy #benefitsnullified #vegan #vegetarian

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

009: Time of fairies and giants

A particular story of a manga Nanatsu no Taizai struck me. One where Diane the giant was playing with King the fairy. Just a game of tag or as we call in Singapore "catching". They had a lot of fun. A few days passed and they went back to village of humans encountering an old man they thought had met a few days ago. Thanking him for his help with the medicine he gave Diane. The man was a bit puzzled as this was the first time meeting the pair. Then he realise they were referring to his grandfather which often talked about a fairy and a giant he met a long time ago.

What was moments for fairies and giants was 1 or 2 hundred years. Relatable. It's has been more 10years since I moved to Italy. Almost 10years since I met Roby my husband. It all seem like yesterday. Memories of the past seem to compress itself.

I'm not sure if i have changed much. Certainly I don't feel any different mentally. After all this time I'm still trying to find my way, at least that hasn't change. The biggest change is accepting my limits and working within those limits. Repetition and time taught me that.

#sliceoflife #NanatsuNoTaizai #Diane #King #fairies #giants #catching #tag #human #repetition #time #limits

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

008: Lost childhood

In the final fight scene Reigen san tells Mob to run away. I know a lot of you are not anime fans so you might have missed this very important scene. Reigen san is a con man and uses Mob to exorcise spirits and the like, make a lot of money in the process. Mob is a gifted child with super psychic powers therefore is often forced into a situation where he has to deal unpleasantness. As you know a lot of this "fighting" animes ends off with a big show down with the final boss. This is a bit different.

Reigen san doesn't have any psychic ability. He's only talent is persuasion. Run away and let the adult handle this. That was his message. So Reigen san fought on his behalf… Go watch watch the series if you want to know what happened before and after. lol I love this scene.

Indeed this is rare in most of the anime the gifted child always ends up having to do the un-childlike thing of fighting horrible evil monsters/ people/ situations. What's the worst is a lot of real children in real situations like this. (I speak of the situation in Singapore when I am most familiar with.) Child suicides are not rare. My friend SP was recounting of an article in the papers of a primary 5 child. Even if the parents are not ambitious or loving, the pressure to perform in school is immense. The friend's daughter who is doing her PSLE this year typically has ballet, piano and violin lesson outside of the school curriculum. Her daughter chooses all the extras not her mom. If I was her I personally wouldn't.

I tried a math question posted by another friend in another whatsapp group in this article about Singapore in the top 3 countries for math education. Needless to say it was too difficult for me. Pretty challenging being a parent in Singapore. It's hard for adults/parents to hold their own in the school syllabus.

A common mentality is to push the child to the limit especially if they show some promise. Studying is not fun, not in my time and certainly in it's current form in Singapore from what I gather. As a student you HAVE to study if not you will no future. It's still haunting after all this while. I'm not very smart, I tried really hard but results didn't reflect that. My mom didn't really push me at all.

This kind of competitive spirit at a young age just cause a kind of burnout in me. So I'm glad I'm not in their position. This is probably the cause of my laidback attitude.

So it surprises me that here in Italy the attitude towards learning is completely different. My nephew on Roby's side of the family speaks perfectly formed sentences at age3. If you have tackled Italian verbs and words it's no walk in the park. His parents decided not to push him too much so he won't lose interest when enrols in school. They let him play as he likes so he could discover his own interest. Discovering his personality through play. School work & future is a small part of this.

Yeah it's strange for me. Work is overrides everything when I was growing up in Singapore and still the case today. When my parent were away for work it was ok, because it was important. When kids study without any breaks, it's for their future, so it was accepted. So the present gets ignored for the sake of the future. Childhood gets sacrificed for the future. The precious time don't ever come back.

I don't think it's right to ignore the future career opportunities. The children shouldn't have to feel that they have to deal with everything by themselves, just because their parents are too busy working. Be a hero to your child. And good luck.

(ps. This issue has been bothering me for some time now. It's not really my expertise but I feel I have to get if off my chest so I'm writing it in this post.)

#Singapore #sliceoflife #PyschoMob100 #Reigen #exorcisespirits #psychicability #unchildlikething #unpleasantness #PSLE #top3math #schoolcurriculum #laidback #burnout #Italianverbs #future #play #childhood #futurecareeropportunities #everythingbythemselves

007: Coming of age

1 of many lakes at the Botanic Gardens

One morning while I going about my chores I passed the bathroom mirror and spotted a blood on my right eye. I went into a panic. There was no pain or discomfort, just a blotch where the blood had spread. I went for an eye checked later in the week. After going through a very thorough test they did not find anything abnormal. My blood pressure was normal too. The doctor surmised that there was a point when the blood pressure shot up that that broke 1 of the blood vessels. It would be a problem if it was repeated.

My body is starting to fail me…nooooo. Health wise I'm lucky not to have a lot of problems. People of my age, back ache, insomnia. I'm 3 years short of 50. The more serious ones are stroke, cancer. 2 of my contemporaries have passed on because of cancer. Both of them are Singaporeans.

This is the future. Not very rosy. Not bright and shining. When I see an older person, I see the future. Not the sleek architecture, not the new born baby. They try desperately to sell me this idea, but I'm not buying it. The future is when your body and mind fails you. The future is when you fight back. You start to pick a new diet. Maybe less salt. You go organic. Low cholesterol foods. You pick up jogging or a new sport maybe.

In my last trip to Singapore, out of boredom I decided to go to Botanic Gardens in the morning. I did this for week. 6am in morning I took the MRT 2 stops to the Botanic gardens. It was all dark but there people working at BG. It was the magic hour. The whole place was alive. There wasn't the scorching sun. Nor the noisy groups of family. Nor tourists. Just groups of senior citizens doing exercises with the radio on. People doing aerobics or qigong. Joggers. Maids walking the dogs. Small groups of walking mostly older people. A lot of workers sweeping the endless amount of leaves. Wow.

After an hour of walking I was dazed and confused. I'm at my limit. Google maps showed me to exit. Around 8.30am the scene changes. The groups of senior citizens done with their morning exercises, pack up and stop to have a chat. Then a steady stream of commuters, students walking to and from the exit, some with packed breakfast and others eating.

This is the senior citizen lifestyle. I was always so prejudiced against this before. I mean waking up at 6am out of your own free will. Are you out of your mind? That's what I thought. It was an eye opener. The place was the same but it was transformed.

It doesn't mean your problems would go away. But if you keep your mind open, new experiences do come your way even if you grow old.

#sliceoflife #bloodinmyeye #bloodpressure #panic #health #future #notrosy #Singapore #BotanicGardens #stroke #cancer #passedon #olderperson #organic #lowcholesterol #jogging #MRT #dark #workerssweeping #dazedandconfused #GoogleMaps #anopenmind #newexperiences

Friday, April 7, 2017

006: Romance and Plumbing

wild flowers from our garden

Roby is a big fan of Netflix. Dinner involves switching on the projector, AppleTv and watching a series. A few days ago was 13 reasons why a story that revolves around a suicide of a teenage girl. (Spoiler alert; cover your eyes for until the end of the paragraph) Near the end of series, she dies in the bathtub, leaving the water on for dramatic effect. The water overflows spilling on the floor.

Roby turns to me (in Italian but for convenience I wrote it in English) "Why do they do it all the time?" Referring to the water overflowing and not the actual death. "At least turn off the water… she gonna be discovered in no time" jeezz…

We recently suffered that exact problem some months when we first moved in. We had a blocked drainage pipe in the shower. Everytime we shower there was a risk of flooding the bathroom and wetting the bed. Which happened once. The standard Italian bathrooms unlike Singaporean ones are not fitted with drainage on the floor outside. Therefore it can cope with a situation like flooding. Asian toilets are typical scrubbed down by spraying water liberally with a hose (back in the day). Italian style of cleaning is like cleaning the rest of the house with a mop or something similar.

Re-wind a few weeks back in another film in another woman dying (The Fountain). Another bathtub overflowing. This was when the Hugh Jackman character got into the tub to join his wife at the start of the love scene. "He's doing it because he doesn't have to clean up the toilet himself. Some poor intern probably mop up the mess he created." Then I added "There's no drainage in the toilet. That's the problem! All toilets need drainage system to avoid this problem in the future."

This is our romance after almost 7 years of marriage. Leave your stereotypical idea of romance at the door. This is us in the present.

#afterdinnerroutine #sliceoflife #Netflix #AppleTv #tvseries #suicideofteenagegirl #bathtub #leavingthewateron #floodingthetoilet #drainage #italianbathrooms #TheFountain #marriage #romance #present

005: Roby's & Spillo's couch politics

We got ourselves a 2seater couch that with an automatic extendable footrest (¬ ¬) last october. How did we survive all these years of marriage without one?! Well this is more Roby’s idea. I’m more of a stool person probably because of my Asian habits… maybe… Back at my parents’ place that’s where i spend my time in front of the coffee table snacking on fruits and watching Korean drama.

Anyway both Roby and Spillo spend more time on the couch than I do! No surprise of course. I’ll in charge of clearing up the kitchen and nearly all the chores.

A normal after dinner routine would be: Spillo would park himself on the left seat which Roby’s side before we finish eating. He wouldn’t budge when Roby takes a seat, so than he sits on my side. When I’m done eating I drop a treat on his bowl and he slowly gets up to eat that. Then we would take our respective places Spillo in the middle, normally head on Roby’s lap. lol

When I was away in Singapore Spillo would sleep on the 1st floor. The kitchen/ living room is on the 2nd floor and Roby’s studio/office on the ground floor. After work at night Roby would go to the couch in the living room. The moment Roby gets up from his chair. Spillo would race up to the couch before him to take the left seat. Spillo would look up at Roby when he steps in the kitchen “oh what are you waiting for”

#sliceoflife #verona #italy #couchpolitics #spillo #Roby #chores #leftseat #footrest #stoolperson #Asianhabits #snacking #Koreandrama #afterdinnerroutine

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

004: Dog training applied to humans

treats for not barking at people lol

We started dog training ever since we had Spillo last december. It’s a pretty intense session that we are still undergoing. This started me thinking if this could be applied to humans as well. Think about that annoying person in the workplace, how do you make them nicer or behaving in the way that you want.

Nobody likes to be told what to do, how they should do it or they should behave. Yet we (human beings in general) freely offer their “advice” to one another and in this case another species …dog your so-called best friend. I see this as man’s arrogance towards another being other than himself.

For example the issue of barking. Dogs barks. That’s the most natural doggy behaviour. He is expressing himself, when he is scared he barks. When he doesn’t like something he barks. When he is angry he barks. When he playful he barks. Unfortunately this behaviour is not acceptable on your daily walks.

Spillo used to bark at people, especially old folks with walking sticks, kids, negro women and joggers. You can’t get any more politically incorrect than that. I can’t tell you how times he nearly gave old folks a heart attack barking at them out of the blue. Or kids crying when he lunge at them. 

After months of positive reinforcement Spillo has come to associate people with biscuits. Every time we pass someone on the street, he turns to look at me as if to say “well… where’s my biscuit? …well come on… hurry up and give me my biscuit”

I don’t know how it could be applied to people. Food doesn’t work on all people (but it works on me). If you could apply the techniques to make people behave the way that you want to that would be nice. What I have learned from dog training is more than Spillo. I would love to elaborate on this in future post.

#dogtraining #humantraining #scared #barking #walks #oldpeople #joggers #kids #anotherspecies #advice

Monday, April 3, 2017

003: Cat with many masters

Since a few years ago I reconnected with an old friend D. She’s quite the sociable type, unlike me, it’s impossible to keep track of the people she knew. Then I remembered a theory I had of her. I called her a food magnet ie. she seem to be receiving food from various random people.

This was years ago. She would buy lunch consisting of rice with a few dishes. Often they would give her enough for dinner. Sometimes even some snacks on the side without extra charge. The best story was the free ice cream. Once she was given all flavours of ice cream to taste from an ice cream shop. Free of course. So much that she wanted to puke at the end of it but kept smiling despite of that. What envy! I mean who is not a fan of free food.

I’ve received free food too. In the 90’s the gallery openings (in singapore) had refreshments with a lot of wine to go around. That was a lot of fun. It was different because it was free to everyone. 

No fair! Why her and not me. Just the other day it happened again. We was at a coffee shop and she arrived before us. Free toast. No charge. It’s like magic.

Then I finally put this mystery to rest after 20 over years.

This situation is not new. We see it in another context. There was a fat stray cat Mozzarella outside the old apartment where we used to stay. He ate whatever food you gave it. He meows when necessary. But he was really antisocial with me and Roby. Around dinner time he would appear at the usual spot. At other times he is probably fed somewhere else by someone else. There’s the neighbour that brings food to him every evening. Sometimes it would be half eaten. Mozzarella is a fat cat. I’m certain he has other masters around the neighbourhood.

This is pretty normal with cats. Even some house cats do that. My friend D is just like that. Random people offering her food. Each not knowing the existence of the other. But why? That happens before the food is offered. She’s charming and talks to them about things. There is an exchange… conversation. In return and in appreciation of this act of humanness they give her food. Simple!

Simple for her, not simple for me. Let’s try harder for free grub ٩(`^´

 #sliceoflife #verona #italy #singapore #freefood #cats #catwithmanymasters #friend #straycats #humanness #antisocialcat #nocharge

002: Politeness

We were talking about how women are judged about being emotional and bitchy when we state our point strongly. That was a discussion on the whatsapp group yesterday. Then our resident beng (please google “ah beng singapore meaning” for its definition lol).

Stating your point strongly in the Singaporean context is considered a bit rude. We are a peace loving lot. Even if your point makes sense. Better not to stand out too much. Be a wallflower, live peacefully with your neighbour. Even if it means having grumble about it with your partner, wife or husband at home, your twitter friends or whatsapp group friends.

Put this in the perspective from where i am living at the moment. In Italy people speak their mind normally. So often in fact they don’t need to raise their voice. Plus it’s a 2 way thing. They often ask your opinion on certain issues. Could something trivial, anything. They normally speak in depth about things in general. And expect you to do the same. They would encourage and probe your opinion. They don’t like people who hold back their opinion. Politeness is equated with suspicion. It put distance between people.

Coming back to me being in a situation like that. My Singaporean politeness holds me back in the interaction with people. I already have an introverted personality. So you can see where this is leading. Habits are hard to break. I have not Italised that much after 10 years. My input in any conversation seem a superficial. It’s hard for me to vocalise my thoughts in Italian. I’m still working on this. I get by with a lot of smiling. LOL Spillo my dog is helping break the ice though.

Spillo taking a break from suntanning

#politeness #sliceoflife #verona #italy #singapore #rude #conversation #distancebetweenpeople #introverted #2017002

001: My desk doesn't feel like it's mine

With much difficulty I start my writing experiment. All the obstacles include housework, lack of willpower & lack of time. After my annual Singapore trip, I feel a little bit more refreshed & decided dig my heels into it. To make this happen, i’ve ignored the piles of dishes in the kitchen sink, clean dishes in the dishwasher, and put aside around an hour daily to write.

I spent the 1st 2 days cleaning my table. My personal space has been dying of neglect ever since we moved to our new house. At the moment I can actually see my table top (¬ ¬)
… and yes it doesn’t feel like it’s my own.

Probably I will be posting this on my blog. I will write freely. My thoughts are abrupt, short and jumpy; my (mildly) dyslexic brain talking. Each post will probably be brief. I’m dying to insert emojis everywhere, I try control myself but fail. (¬ ¬)

It’s also a timing thing. My anime viewing and ‘life’ on twitter is getting boring. Eventually everything becomes boring and you need to move on. Boredom does lead to good things. I have re-connected to real life friends which is also a good thing. This also leads me thinking about how I should approach this life.

#desk #cleaning #blogpost #sliceoflife #willpower #obstacles #2017001