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I was having lunch at the Elmwood Spa on Thursday, leafing through the More magazine when an interview with Michael Buble caught my interest.

I’ve heard his name many times, but have never felt the urge to check out his music, so it’s interesting that I would stop short, and actually gave the interview my attention.

It’s his answer to the question “Why do you write from the heart?” that had called to my subconscious. 😉

“Every song I’ve written is because of something I’ve gone through – whether I’ve been in love or felt terrible, or I’ve hurt someone or someone has destroyed me. I can’t write unless I’m feeling something extreme. When you do that (writing from the heart), you allow people listening to your music to also become emotionally attached. You hit a chord somewhere – you make them feel something.”

And that connected me to him.

I have never met Michael, and likely never will. But the chord he has struck in my heart with his heartfelt answer will stay with me for a long time, and I will now make a point to check out his music. 🙂

Writing from the heart requires a lot of courage, and effort. It depletes the writer, as the writer pours his heart and soul into the endeavour to create something of beauty. And it exposes him to the critics of this world, some who may be very unkind.

For that bravery to bare all to the world, I salute all the writers out there, past, present and future.

Thank you all for your wonderful insights and revelations, and helping this little muser gain that much more understanding into the mysteries of the human psyche.

Till the next time I muse.

Today, as I was getting my massage, I was silently thinking to myself how the RMT performing my therapy today is not very good.

And I found myself comparing today’s massage to previous experiences, justifying why today’s experience just was not as good, when a sudden stream of thoughts struck me.

Perhaps, it wasn’t the RMT’s technique, but rather the fact that I have been getting used to regular massages that has deaden my senses to what should have been a relaxing and luxurious experience.

Now isn’t this so typical of us humans? 😛

Slowly, but surely, we always fall into the trap of classical conditioning!

This leads me to thinking about the experiences I’ve had with the posts of a few blogs that I have been frequenting.

Now I’m an avid reader/lurker of numerous blogs, and forums. Most recently, I started becoming active in FlyerTalk and MilePoint.

And what struck me as I was voraciously soaking up the posts in the forums, was that there were quite a few posts complaining about how service is not up to par on the readers’ award first class flights! To be fair, this phenomenon is more apparent in FlyerTalk, than in MilePoint.

Here we have… likely the 0.1% of the world’s population lucky enough to get themselves first class flights to destinations of their choice, no doubt through clever strategizing of airlines’ frequent flyer loyalty program, and then we have some of them starting to insist and demand on what they believe are their entitlements, and starting to complain just how disappointed they are with the first class cabin service they are travelling with.

How sad is life when we have come to a point that we have been so inundated with luxury that it no longer feels luxurious and great, but has become the norm that is expected. And when we don’t get it, we start throwing tantrums like my soon to be 2 year old Ethan. Some food for thought eh! 🙂

In the end, I concluded that my massage experience today was not that bad. I focused on how the tension on my body was slowly dissipating away under her skilful hands, and consciously chose to not compare her technique to my previous RMT.

And guess what, it really did turn out to be a great experience. 🙂

I hope to always remember the lesson I learnt today, and to not be jaded by the lovely and wonderful offerings this world has for us.

I will be travelling in style and luxury on Cathay Pacific again in December when I go back to Singapore with Ethan. And this time round, I will be sure to appreciate and thank all the staff who work hard to make inflight experiences awesome.

And now for another promise that I want to make to my dear son.

Ethan, Mommy will do the best I can to make sure that you will grow up, revelling in luxury, but never jaded by it. 🙂 Mommy will not only make sure you always have a grand luxurious time, but that you will also always appreciate and be grateful for the experiences!

There you go, my dear son. My promise to you, with the world as my witness. 🙂

Till the next time I muse.

In 2 weeks’ time, I will be flying solo with Ethan to Singapore, transitting in Hong Kong for an hour in between. All I can say now is… EEK!

Part of me is very excited, because I am going to be travelling again! Flying CX premium class, no less. But the other part of me is groaning at the thought of being with Ethan 24/7 for 17 days! Can I say EEK! again? 😉

On a serious note, I have my reservations about this trip back to Singapore. The last time I left Singapore, I left broken hearted, with an unresolved fight with my mom… And I’ll be honest… I am afraid of a repeat incident. *sigh*

It took me 6 months to recover from that awful fight with my mom… 6 months before we spoke to each other again… And 6 months of seeing a shrink every 2 weeks… That was quite a journey…

I am trying very hard not to think negatively, but I have moments when I panick, and wondered what the hell I have gotten myself into… again… Will Denise ever learn?

Anyhow, I am not going to dwell too much on the shadows of the past, and instead, forge ahead towards the light… I am not going to let my mom and who she is affect me this time round.

This trip back, I am a much stronger Denise… I have climbed out of the abyss of post partum depression, and I am a whole lot wiser.

It’s going to be a great trip, with mommy here finally bringing Ethan out to experience the fun sights Asia has to offer.

I can’t wait to go on the Singapore Flyer with Ethan, to visit the SkyPark, and lie by the Infinity Pool at the Marina Bay Sands hotel, to ride the Hippo cruise with him, to visit the Singapore Zoo, Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, the Petronas Tower in KL, etc.

It’s going to be a great experience, taking in all these wonderful and familiar sights with the new, but not so new guy in my life. 😉

Oh, Ethan… Mommy and you are going to have so much fun… Mommy is finally going to show you a little of the wondrous sights this world has to offer! 🙂

And now Mommy is off to do more planning for our rendezvous halfway around the world!

Till the next time I muse!

I am feeling a little smug now from an unplanned shopping trip to Shoppers’ Drugmart!

Given that I am now on a low carb diet again, I find that I have not been eating enough, and I needed to get some snacks to get me through the day.

I went to the Shoppers at Yonge and Dundas, and they were having a double promotion! Spend $50, and get a $10 SDM giftcard, AND 20X bonus points.

And when I went to the health food section, all the Atkins products were on sale! And lucky me, I brought my coupon bag with me! I foraged my coupon bag and found 12 x $3 off Atkins products coupons.

In short, I bought the following products for $52 plus tax.
– 3 x box of 5 Atkins bars
– 4 x carton of 4 Atkins shakes
– 1 Russell Stower’s sugar free chocolate
– 1 box of Russel Stower’s sugar free blueberry breakfast bars (5 bars)

Every item was on sale, and the savings from the sale was $18.80. On top of that, I used 7 x $3 ($21) off Atkins coupon.

So, all in all, I saved $39.80 over the original price of the items, plus I get a $10 SDM giftcard, and 14,600 Optimums points (which works out to be worth $29.20 on bonus redemption days.

Not bad considering I haven’t been couponing since I went back to work! So, I am feeling rather pleased with myself now. Hehe! 😀

This is definitely inspiring me to get back into couponing again!

Overwhelmed By Life!

I have been feeling overwhelmed by everything that is going on in my life for a while, and up till now, I still have not really figured out how I can stop feeling so overwhelmed.

Boy, just finally admitting and declaring that I am feeling overwhelmed feels good! I guess I have been trying to avoid facing this uncomfortable feeling for the last little while, and it is slowly eating into my psyche.

I have always thought that our lives are pretty simple. We don’t ask for much, we don’t take on too many commitments, and we consciously choose a lifestyle that is less stressful. So, how can I possibly be overwhelmed?

The time to take a step back, and go back to the drawing board, and address this feeling is here, and I am going to do it now.

First things first, I have to recognize that “Our lives are pretty simple” was a statement that was true until Ethan came along! Ta-da! What a revelation! 😛

With Ethan being the center of our lives now, we now have a lot more responsibilities, and a lot of our time is now spent with him. That leaves scant little time for other stuff.

And with Ethan being in our lives, we now also have a live-out nanny who is an integral part of our lives. Though minor, I still have a certain responsibility towards my nanny, making sure she is paid on time, and she has everything she needs to provide the best care for Ethan.

In addition, we have a rental property, with 3 units inhabited by 3 different families, and we have the responsibility to ensure that everything runs well for that property. There’s the monthly responsibility of collecting rent, writing out receipts for the tenants, and attending to the maintenance requests as they come.

Then there’s my in-laws, who still turn to me for help on a lot of administrative stuff, like faxing an application to cut down a tree on their property to the Markham government to writing a letter in to the courts asking for a postpone in court appearance dates.

And not forgetting that Wayne has been working very hard the past 3 months, spending a lot of his after-work hours developing a software application that he wants to release by end of October, which effectively means that everything else in the household falls onto my shoulders. And he is also asking me to help him with his venture where I can.

Of course, there is all the paperwork for his consultancy business. And my day-job at the bank.

No wonder I am feeling overwhelmed! What was I thinking when I said that our lives are pretty simple? 😛

And I have not even added in my mom, dad and sister who are in Singapore, and my responsibilities to them as daughter and sister! Ack!

Okay, okay… breathe in and breathe out deeply, Denise. Do not panic… I’ve been going about all these day to day responsibilities on auto-pilot, just taking them on as they come along, with no formal strategy and plan on how to perform everything efficiently.

This post is and will be a good start. Now that I’ve taken stock of all the big things that are going on in my life, I can start prioritizing the important stuff, and identify things that can be eliminated from my life.

And though I should really continue this process now, seeing how I have gained some momentum, I think the technicalities of prioritizing and identifying the stuff to be eliminated in my life will be for the next post.

Till the next time I muse! 🙂

Just to put some context to this blog post.

In the past 2 days, Wayne and I have been trying to deal with Enbridge gas distribution to have them turn on natural gas service at our rental property, so that our tenants can have their hot water back.

And Enbridge has just been jerking us around. Below is an email I wrote to the Enbridge Ombudsman today.

Now it’s a wait and see what and how they are going to respond.

*************************************************************
The past 2 days, I have truly seen what awful customer service Enbridge has.

Yesterday morning, Enbridge turned off the natural gas at my rental property, citing a leak, and did not turn it back on, because they could not access the property.

My husband called Enbridge, and made an appointment for a technician to visit the property between 6 pm to 10 pm. Guess what, no one showed up. And when he called Enbridge, the reason we get is: Emergency.

Today, I called Enbridge to set up another appointment, and was given the time frame of 10 am to 2 pm. And what do we know… no one showed up! And the response again, Emergency.

I have 6 tenants living in that property, of which one is a 13 month old baby. They are asking for their hot water, and relying on us to provide them basic necessities. And we have failed them because of Enbridge. But that’s not the only point.

The main point is, Enbridge wasted 8 hours of my time and my husband’s time, and all the response we get is: technician is responding to Emergency. I find it unbelievable that a company as big as Enbridge would have ALL their technicians responding to emergencies in 2 straight days.

And the biggest insult is… it is not okay for me to pay my bill late… I get nickeled and dimed when I am one day late in paying my bills… But it is okay for Enbridge to give me 4 freaking hour service window time frame, and not show up.

If I do not get a response to this complain, I will take this up to your CEO, and I will attempt to get this spread through social media, and even write to media.

This is getting beyond ridiculous. What Enbridge is doing now is holding their customers hostage. And this is UNACCEPTABLE.

I am currently reading a book titled “The Way of The Small” by Michael Gellert. And so much of what the author expressed in the book struck the chords in my heart.

I have been taking my time to read through this book, trying to fully savour the writing in its entirety. And today, I came across this passage, by existential psychologist, Clark Moustakas, which brought tears to my eyes.

“The lonely sufferer helps himself to a fuller realization of self, not by reducing his sense of pain and isolation, but by bringing its full extent and magnitude to consciousness. Great loneliness and suffering are met creatively, as potential growth experiences, only by surrendering to them, fully and completely. Salvation, self-growth, lies in giving full assent to loneliness and suffering, accepting what is, not fighting or resisting, not rationalizing or appealing to external helps, not demanding to know why one has been singled out for so much pain, but submitting one’s self to the experience in total surrender.”

Deep down in me, I instinctively know that what Clark Moustakas wrote is the truth. Loneliness, soulful pain, and suffering is as essential as spiritual joy, happiness, and blessings. One spectrum cannot exist without the other. And it is the existence of one that enhanced the appreciation of the other opposite.

All our lives, we have been brought up to always shun the negative aspects of life, to be shameful of those feelings of loneliness, of desolation, to do things to avoid them. It is no wonder we have slowly driven ourselves towards a society filled with unbalanced, depressed people, not knowing how to manage the unavoidable negative aspects of life.

In the past year, as I journeyed through the dark valleys of post partum depression, I have cried, cursed and railed against nature, against God, against the universe. I have asked time and again for the removal of all my emotions, for they are the bane of my suffering.

I really only snapped out of my insanity when Ethan fell seriously ill.

And even as I thought I had recovered from my depression, a small part of me is always searching… searching for an answer to my experience of depression… Why? Why me?

Perhaps, this is the answer… Perhaps, I needed to go through that darkness to be able to see the light in its full glory, to appreciate the beauty of my son. Perhaps, that experience is what I needed to humble the secretly proud person that I am.

So many thoughts, all triggered by the reading of one little book. Incidentally, I picked up this non-descript book from a second hand store while visiting Halifax. Who knew such an unplanned act of spontaneously taking a break from my husband and son, driving by myself to Bayers Lake, to the Value Village to window shop, would ultimately lead me to uncover the answer to my depression experience?

Is it mere conincidence? Or is it the consequence of a series of random spontaenous events?

Or perhaps, it is time for this little grasshopper to stop questioning, stop rationalizing, and just fully immerse myself in the beauty and mystery of this journey called Life.

Till the next time I muse.