Archive for March, 2010


Yesterday, I went to meet my colleague who just gave birth to her baby girl on March 18th. Her baby girl was exactly one week old. And I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was so tiny, and precious!

As I watched the precious girl, I felt a pang within me, as I suddenly long to hold my own little Ethan in my arms, to coo to him, and to just gaze at him. The way my colleague gazed lovingly at her newborn daughter. πŸ™‚

Ethan, it looks like both mommy and daddy really want to meet you soon. πŸ™‚ We may pride ourselves being very patient people, but we long to hold and hug you, to see your lovely baby face, to kiss your tiny baby cheeks, and to continue the lifelong connection and bonding that has started among us even before you were conceived.

Don’t forget to be on time for our date this weekend, my dear son! πŸ˜‰

Mommy will try her utmost best to greet you with grace, strength and courage. See you soon, my little Ethan!

With much love and passion from us to you!


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Today, I read a most interesting article in Reader’s Digest while in the waiting room of my ophthalmologist’s office.

β€œWe can all be rich” by Austin Hill. Now, who can resist reading an article with such a catchy title? πŸ˜‰

I actually enjoyed reading the article. It has a different twist to it.

The article is not talking about your conventional wealth and riches in the monetary sense, but it talks about being rich in social capital!

Austin believes that in a world of abundance, it will be social capital (not money) that will matter most.

Now what is social capital, you may ask?

Wikipedia defines social capital as the connections within and between social networks. Social capital in the broadest sense is made up of reputation, goodwill, esteem, fellowship, social intercourse, and mutual sympathy among a group of individuals and families that makes up a social unit.

Social capital is what you accumulate as you interact with your peers, and as you participate in the activities in your chosen communities, either online or offline.

In the article, Austin talks about his website, like a kind of online game, akoha.com, where you engage in missions, and build up your credibility and reputation as you participate within that community.

This led me to thinking of the wonderful online community that I found and belong to, SmartCanucks.ca!

In the last 5 months, I have met, and grown to love some of the sweetest and kindest souls that can be found in this community. And the most amazing thing is that I’ve not even met most of them personally! πŸ™‚

I find an abundance of kindness, support, and generosity in this community.

Although I believe that the initial intent of the website is to advertise shopping deals and savings for its members, SmartCanucks has unconsciously grown into a community, filled with and visited by kind and generous people looking to connect with the world out there. It is living proof that our world is still filled with lots of good people. πŸ™‚

Sure, we do get the oddballs here and there, who are rude, negative, and nasty, but for the most part, the SCers (as we call ourselves) are fun-loving, sweet, kind and wonderful people, out to make this world a better place for ourselves, and for others in our own little ways. And we do this by sharing savings tips, by sharing our coupons, by doing random acts of kindness for one another, by lending a listening ear when someone feels down.

And in our own ways, the SCers are building reputation, goodwill, esteem and fellowship. accumulating our social capital, as we participate in the activities of the SmartCanucks community.

Hmm… some food for thought eh… πŸ™‚

Till the next time I muse.

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Random Musings

I’ve always told my friends and family that I am passionate about anything related to Personal Finance… Savings, Retirement planning, estate planning, taxes, debt management, investments etc. I love reading about these topics, discussing and learning about them.

Although I am not so into estate planning and insurance… I think it’s because they are the more “negative” aspects of personal finance, and learning about these 2 aspects means you have to face the reality of death and accidents! Yikes! But I know it doesn’t mean they are not important in my family’s financial portfolio.

My passion in Personal Finance started when I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2000. I moved to the States to join Wayne, and did not work for 4 years. I was a student, studying for my MBA, and a full-time housewife, relying on my husband to pay for my education and support our living. It was something I was not used to, but I adapted.

Wayne had been the most wonderful man. When I first arrived in Charlotte, the first thing he did was to open a joint bank account and moved his paychecks into that joint account. I had full access to the account! I remembered being so overwhelmed by his complete trust in me, and his willingness to share all he had with me, that I resolved to be fiscally responsible, learning all I can about the realm of Personal Finance, and to better our lives.

Funny how I fell into this passion of mine eh… πŸ™‚ Like I said, I am by nature an emotional person, and I have been so lucky that my lifepath has been guided by positive emotional triggers, resulting in the person I am today.

Sometimes, I do wonder what my lifepath would have been if I never met Wayne, and I never moved to North America.

No matter… I love my current life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! πŸ™‚

Okay… time for me to go book an airticket for my father-in-law using his Aeroplan miles! πŸ˜‰

I got to live up to my name of being the Chief Operating Officer of our household after all! πŸ˜‰

Till the next time I muse!

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I was inspired by Laura, a lady that I got to know from SmartCanucks forum, to try making my own smoothies at home, specifically the Green Monster smoothie.

The Green Monster is a smoothie that contains a significant amount of spinach (2 cups worth), plus any other ingredients you might be inclined to try. I know it might sound gross to some people, but being a person who likes spinach to begin with, I had no qualms about giving it a try.

So, last weekend, I began my Green Monster journey by first going to WalMart to buy myself a handheld blender, and it only costs $7.77 plus tax!! πŸ™‚

And I made my Green Monster!

Boy, oh, boy! Is it ever yummy!!!! I could not taste the spinach in my Green Monster at all! I found a substitute drink for St. Patrick’s Day! Yay!

The ingredients in my Green Monster are as follows:
– 1 banana
– 1 kiwi
– 1 cup of Natura Organic Soy Milk
– A dash of cranberry juice
– and of course, 2 cups of spinach!

And it takes me less than 5 mins to make this drink, and clean up my handheld blender. Joy for this lazy person here! πŸ™‚

There is apparently a Green Monster movement too. Check out the website for more Green Monster receipes, or just have fun experimenting with the different types of fruits! Just remember the spinach! πŸ˜‰

I never knew making my own smoothies can be this much fun! πŸ˜‰

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My new full time job! =P

It’s been a week since I stopped work, and I am just as busy! Ack! But this new busyness is a different kind of busy! A happy, contented, anticipatory kind of busy.

Yup… I think I am starting to get into the nesting mode, spring cleaning the house, with lots of laundry. Though I am taking it slow and easy, with lots of naps and rest time in between. πŸ™‚

Today, I went for my prenatal appointment, and the nurse asked me if I am excited. I just smiled and said… ummm… and she was all ready to give me a whack on my head! Hahaha!

I then told her that I can’t wait to hold my baby in my arms, and she gave me this widest smile I’ve ever seen from her! πŸ™‚

Yes, I really can’t wait to hold my dear child in my arms. We have had 38 wonderful weeks together, with some downs, and lots of ups. But I think the time has come when I should share him with all the people who are waiting to love him in their own ways, especially his daddy. πŸ™‚

I know Wayne is patiently looking forward to finally being able to hold his son in his arms. Just thinking about him holding Ethan finally is bringing tears to my eyes already! I sure hope I don’t turn into a weeping mess in the delivery room! πŸ˜‰

Okay… Time for me to start working on Ethan’s nursery again.

This boy is not even here yet, but he has already taken over such a big part of our lives. πŸ™‚ Unbelievable!

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I had a blast yesterday as I accidentally stumbled upon a folder in my email box which contains all the emails that I wrote to Wayne when we were just friends who were attracted to each other. πŸ™‚ He was in Halifax while I was in Singapore.

For 6 months between June 1999 to December 1999, we exchanged emails almost every day, and of course, yours truly here was ever the rambler.

I laugh now, because I am simply amazed by Wayne’s patience with me in the emails. I always thought guys don’t care much for philosophical (and girlie) chit chat, but boy, was I ever wrong about Wayne! Part of me wondered if he stayed on, because he really enjoyed it, or if he was just simply intrigued by this silly muser here. πŸ˜‰

As I took the walk down memory lane, I saw how we argued, bantered, exchanged viewpoints, and how we fell in love with each other through our daily exchange. Through the short 6 months, Wayne became my best friend. And he was, is, and will always be my best friend.

As I read one of the emails to him last night, both of us could not help but marvel at how I am still the same girl, with the same beliefs, who fell in love with him 11 years ago.

Here’s a little snippet of what goes on in the mind of 24 year old me. I hope you enjoy it! πŸ˜‰

Till the next time I muse.

Friday, July 30, 1999

Hi, Wayne.

You mentioned that throughout the ages, man has taken on a religion or
a spiritual path to look for truth and moral support and he did not find the
answers, right. Well, I beg to differ. I would prefer to think that man has
actually found the answers but he could not face the truth, the truth is too
harsh for him to take, too much sacrifices to be made…. therefore, he
focus energy on something which is easier to stomach, something that can
satisfy the human flesh, in your words, materialism.

The truth is like you said, Wayne, Buddha hit the jackpot when he said that
all the sufferings in this world stem from our human desires. But how many
of us actually has the courage to face that? I believe a lot of us are
really earnest in our desires to seek spiritual fulfillment, the truth and
maybe even enlightenment. But when confronted with the painful decision
to give up the pleasures of the flesh, a lot of us sadly just turn and
leave…. the door is there, we opened it, we saw what was inside and beyond
the door, and we leave. The truth is: the truth and answers are always
there… it is just that man chose to turn away from the truth and the
answers…. And this is probably another fact that many of us cannot
stomach… Tell me, how many of us are willing to admit that we are very
cardinal and we choose to turn away from the truth and the answers?

My answer to Sim was on a very basic level. I told him to ignore all those
lies, white lies and immorality because they are the results of actions from
people who interpreted life in their own ways. We all choose the way to fuel
the operations of our lives. So, choose wisely… πŸ™‚

I believe very strongly in choice. We choose a lot of things in our
lives…. True, we may not be able to choose which family to be born into,
where and when we are born, but when we are out here in the world, we have
been given this privilege called choice and the freedom to exercise this
privilege. (Of course, there are extreme cases where this privilege has been
taken away from people, but that’s with out the realm of this discussion…

Oops, there I go again, going on and on…. You know what, all these
discussions on the philosophies of life are adding white hairs on me… πŸ™‚
But I really and certainly do enjoy them…. actually, I have been pretty
deprived in this area… very few of my friends are interested in discussing
about such topics… so, it is really a nice and refreshing change… πŸ™‚

Alright, me and my 2 cents’ worth of opinions…. Hope they didn’t bore you
too much…. Hey, I was reading the Economist last night and there seems to
be this big hoo-ha about this new theory called the new economy… heard of
that… read through the whole article and still don’t know what it was
really talking about…. all about IT revolution and stuff like that…
maybe you would like to enlighten this confused “poor little quail”. Okay, talk to you later.


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Oh… I feel so blessed now! πŸ™‚

Wayne and I had a very interesting experience this morning at the Landlord and Tenant Board! We didn’t even go through the hearing, and we reached a solution that we had wanted in the first place and more! We went through the mediation process, and an agreement was reached that was acceptable to both us and the tenant!

The whole experience was not as bad as I had imagined! It actually went very civilly, rationally, and logically! No name calling, no screaming and shouting matches, and no lost tempers! Wow! Suffice to say, I am amazed! πŸ™‚

Of course, our tenant had his legal aid, and she started the process saying that she would really like us all to sit down with a LTB mediator, and see if we can work out an agreeable solution. At that point, there is really no harm or loss to us in going through the process to see what we could learn and gain out of it, so we agreed.

I have to admit that my blood was boiling a little when I saw my tenant again. I wanted to rant and rave, and call him all sorts of unimaginable names, and it took utmost self-control to control that bitchy urge! Aargh! But I’m glad I didn’t. That wouldn’t have reflected too well on me eh.

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, we have agreed to give our tenant the next 6 months, with a specific schedule as to when he is to pay his instalments, to pay off all his rent arrears, which amount to a little over $5,000. He is also not to default on the ongoing monthly rent as they come due.

In return, the LTB will be issuing an order that is good for 6 months dated Mar 31, 2010, that we can use to go to the Sheriff’s office immediately the day after he fails to make any payments, and have him evicted.

Wayne, being the kind soul he always is, has even offered to knock off about $400 in utilities and heating arrears, in exchange for the tenant’s agreement to stop smoking inside the apartment. Reason being that a new tenant of ours, who will be moving in on March 15th, is pregnant, and we want the house to be smoke free for the baby to grow healthy. Oh… I am so lucky to have such a wonderful thoughtful husband! πŸ™‚

The mediator and the legal aid were amazed by his generosity and his thoughtfulness as a landlord, and the legal aid even asked if we intend to have more properties. They expressed that the City needs more landlords like us, which was a very nice compliment. πŸ™‚

Actually, even my tenant sheepishly agreed to everyone that both Wayne and I are very good landlords.

So, in the end, we got what we wanted, which is the ability to evict our tenant quickly if he defaults again, and more, which is an agreement with a payment schedule of all the rent arrears!

If we had been harsh and refused to mediate, we will still have won the case too, with my tenant having to move out in 11 days, and we might even have to call in the Sherrif to throw him out. But if we had gone that route, we’ll also likely be unable to recover our money.

By going through the mediation process, and being reasonable, we now even have an agreement with an agreed upon payment schedule, and my tenant also has a peace of mind that he has a place to stay as long as he abides by the agreement, and work on his art. It is a win-win situation for us.

All else said, Wayne and I have seen my tenant’s art, and he does have talent. For someone to be able to produce beauty, he has to have goodness in him somewhere.

Now I will pray for my tenant that he will have more luck in being successful in his art business, as he mentioned he has some contracts coming up in the next month. If he is successful, we will also be successful!

Alright, it’s been an exciting day. I will now have to evaluate on how I can pay this positive outcome forward! πŸ™‚

Till the next time I muse.

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