Oiling the Rusty Hands

I have abandoned writing for so long. My last post was I was back. And then I was gone again. LOL!

All I know now is to write work emails, memos, letters, policy…… With the pandemic, I must say I am so bloody good at writing policy and setting up SOPs. LOL. Not that I wasn’t good at it, but now I am extremely good. Okay, enough of the self-praise. Hahaha.

Not just writing, all that I read now is mostly news, policy, SOPs, webinars and articles on how to add value to myself and my job. Picked up Stephen King new book, Outsider, early this year. Guess what, I’m only half way through.

This is the 3rd week I’m working from home after returning to office for a month. Was working from home for 3 good months since March. Was so happy that we got to go back to work in September. And the 3rd wave of outbreak came. Sigh. Just hope that things would get better.

5 years into my current job. And I’m already 40. At this age, you realised a lot of things.

I do not waste so much of energy pleasing everyone.

I do not waste my breath arguing with idiots anymore.

I do not care so much about who like/dislike me.

I do not even care if someone hates me.

Time is precious. No point wasting it on unimportant things and people. Can’t believe that it took me so long to realise this. I’m still learning, 70% there I think.

So, it’s time to pick up the “pen”, give these rusty hands and mind some good oiling and practice. Reading and writing, still my passion.

Got to continue with my painting too.

Painted this during the lockdown.

Hello World, Again

Oh my gosh, it’s been 2 and a half years since I last blogged!

A lot has happened and I hardly have time for blogging now.

I quit my 9-year job back in 2015. Office was relocating to somewhere that would be too far for me to travel to. I thought it was right timing, I wanted to become a stay-at-home-mom and start some home-based business. However, things didn’t go as planned. I was depressed for a while as I couldn’t find a way out. The great support and encouragement from Andrew made this optimist picked up her spirit again and moved on.

Gotten a new job in a month’s time. New job, new challenges, I seriously do not have the extra time and energy to blog. Work late almost everyday. If Lucy hasn’t slept by the time I reach home, I will put her to bed. Usually after dinner, it would be 10pm or 11pm. I hardly have time for myself, let alone blog.

I’m with the new company for 2 years plus, but it feels like I’ve been here for 10 years. Doing my best to build my legacy here. I hope when I leave, people will still remember the efforts that I’ve made, the blood that I’ve shed (ok ok… exaggerating a bit lah).

Lucy is 3 now. Started half-day nursery few weeks ago. Tough job. Everyday told me that she doesn’t want to go to school, cries everyday except on second day (what an angel we thought). Every time the teacher peels her away from us makes me wonder if this would leave her feeling traumatic and later in life she may develop some trauma childhood syndrome and then she will fail at everything in life and then……. Alright, mommy thinks too much. I just wish she would enjoy school and have fun.

Anyway, I’m back. What prompted me to blog again? A great candidate I met in an interview. Reading her blog sparked that little fire in me again. I thought “what happened to me? How could I abandon that one thing that I love doing? Isn’t writing therapeutic to me?” So, here I am.

My writing gets so rusty now. Other than the boring corporate messages that I’ve to write almost everyday, I’ve forgotten creative writing and how to structure my thoughts. No wonder recently I found myself talking longer than usual to get my points across.

This is Ashley. You are reading my blog. Welcome and thank you.

My Baby Teaches Me To Be Patient

I have a short temper. My temper comes very fast, but it goes very fast too. That also means I am impatient.

I can take your crap, but not for long before I start saying something that will really piss you off. When I say piss you off means it “burns”. LOL!

Before becoming a parent, my biggest fear was I couldn’t give my child the best, financially.

After becoming a parent, my now biggest fear is my temper will have a negative impact on my child.

When Lucy was a few weeks old, one night, I shouted at her when she refused to sleep. She startled and looked at me wide-eyed, not able to comprehend my loud voice and emotion. Immediately I felt the guilt and I said sorry to her.

There was another time I hugged her tightly in an attempt to calm her down (after 45 minutes of rocking and walking and singing), then I realised I was feeling angry and I let go of my grip. She did calm down, and gave me the brightest smile. Again, I felt guilty and told her I will not do that again.

One night, I was crying with Lucy in my arms when she refused to sleep. I was so tired and this little human refused to sleep. I was stunned by what happened next. She reached up and touched my face with her hand. When I looked at her, she was all calm and cool, her eyes were like asking me “what happened mommy”. That moment, I finally realised, that she can sense my mood.

From that day onwards, I always tell myself, be calm because if I wasn’t calm, Lucy wouldn’t be calm too.

Guess what, she can now fall asleep faster and better.

Occasionally when she does not want to sleep (due to over-stimulated, over-excited or after a long nap in the evening), I don’t stress about it anymore. I’ll just play with her until she’s tired. Of course there are still times I would raise my voice, but just to show her that I am not happy with her not sleeping.

It’s very tiring. Especially lately she’s been waking up in the middle of the night asking for milk. She used to sleep through the night, but now she’s waking up twice, once in the middle of the night, once in the very early morning. I just keep telling myself that it is just a stage and things will get better when she starts solid food later. True enough, lately she’s slowly adjusting herself to sleep through the night. I guess it was just her growth spurt back then.

She’s generally a happy baby.

Lucy is teaching mommy how to be patient. No one can be a better teacher than her.

P.S.: You have no idea what a child can do to test your patience.

Is It Going To Get Better?!

I’ve blogged about the Shitty Memory after given birth. Now I wonder if it will get better. -___-

The recent incident got more ridiculous……

Was having lunch with Andrew in a Japanese restaurant. When we were done:

Me: Let’s go. *Grabbed my bag and ready to go*

Andrew: Okay. *Grabbed a piece of paper on the table*

I happily walked out the restaurant, waiting for Andrew to catch up. 5 seconds later and I didn’t see him by my side. I thought, “why this fella today walk so slow”. I continued with my people watching at the entrance of the restaurant while waiting for Andrew to come out. Another few seconds went pass and I was like “WTF…… What is this fella doing inside, still not coming out!” I turned and looked inside the restaurant to look for him. There, found him standing at the cashier. I finally realised, “shit…… we’ve not paid for our lunch!” LMAO!!!!!!!!

I ran back in laughing and saw this bugger was laughing too.

Andrew: I knew you must have forgotten that we’ve not paid! Saw you walking out selamber je (means relax).

Me: Luckily I came with you, or else people would have thought I wanted to eat free! Wuahahahahahahaha.

Oh gosh…… Something is eating away my memory slowly.

This is not just it. Many times I went shopping alone, I went to the wrong floor or place. Not because I did not know the location, it was all because I forgot where I was walking to!

I have so many things on my mind that sometimes I forgot that I was walking. When I suddenly came to my senses, I found that I was at the wrong place.

Many times, I would ask someone if I’ve told them something because I can’t remember if I have. :(

Blame it on the recent events that took place, worsen my already poor memory.

Are You Okay?

Two months ago, received some bad news at work. Since I had to work out the schedule and costs for the bosses, and keep it confidential, I did not have time to think about how it affects ME.

Days went by, weeks went by, I was so bogged down with the work. The reality and feelings had no chance to sink in. I know it would affect me for certain, and that’s it. I did not know what will hit me though.

Until few weeks ago, the ball finally started rolling. I finally had the time to take a breather, and everything came tumbling down on me.

Sitting down, looking at the letter that I drafted, written, typed, printed, folded, I was overwhelmed by feelings and emotions. Happy that I finally get the push to start planning for a different future, sad that my journey with the company would be cut short, fear of the uncertainty of the future, doubt the decisions that I would be making……

The events that unfold in the following week, got me heartbroken, sad, worried, confused, angry…… All the plans I had in mind have to hold, my dreams will have to wait again.

My feelings were so overwhelmed that I couldn’t find a way to let them all out. I sort of swallowed all of them instead of pouring them out. I did talk to Andrew, but I thought I was matured enough to handle my feelings well. The feelings never went away. In fact, they built up so quickly that I wasn’t even aware that I was at the brink of a breakdown. Until one particular night, I got so angry with Andrew during the dinner over something very small. I snapped and cried my heart out in the bathroom, alone.

Later that night, Andrew asked me one question and that was when I couldn’t hold it anymore.

“Hey, are you okay?” He asked.

He must have sensed something. That one simple question was enough to trigger every emotions. I shook my head, that I’m not okay and cried for another 15 minutes.

I didn’t realise I was so tensed and stressed. I didn’t take time to really think about all of it and I brushed it off when it was actually bothering me.

I was at the edge. Not knowing what to do next.

That one question, pulled me back to the situation now and gave me a chance to release it all.

I managed to sort out my thoughts after that. The future is still uncertain, but at least I know what my options are. I still have fear, but knowing that there will still be a future is at least comforting.

If you have friends or family going through a difficult time, please take time to show that you care. Put your hands around their shoulders and ask them with your heart, “are you okay”. Be a good listener, give them a hug and assure them that you’ll be there for them no matter what.

Sometimes, all we need is just a shoulder to cry on.

Fish Avenue Back On WordPress Domain (UPDATED July 2015)

Dear readers, I am not using my domain name ashwoo.com anymore.

My blog is back on fishavenue.wordpress.com. Please change your bookmark (ala… as if I got a lot of readers who bookmarked my blog. LOL!) and link and whatever accordingly.

I am keeping my domain name for some other purposes, which I will reveal in the future. Hopefully soon.

Also, it is so darn expensive now to map domain name, our RM currency is RM3.75 to USD1!!!

AND, I may be out of job soon. Have to watch every penny I spend now.

That’s all for now. :)

Update 31 July 2015: Fish Avenue is once again back on ashwoo.com. Exchange rate is at RM3.81 now, but since I won’t be using the domain for other purposes for the time being, might as well just continue mapping it to Fish Avenue.

My Rainbow

Do you know that a child born after a miscarriage is called a rainbow baby?

Lucy is my special rainbow baby, after 2 miscarriages.

Just when I was about to move on with my life of not having a baby, rainbow happened.

After the second miscarriage in late 2013, I was heartbroken. I was not desperately for a baby, my heart broke because it’s another live gone. My body and mental just couldn’t take the disappointment again.

I went for my long overdue pap-smear in early May 2014, wanted to move on. I even had plans to go Tibet and Mount Everest base camp with Andrew in 2015. We both decided it’s time to stop thinking about the baby and focus on ourselves. My gynae even suggested to me to take the Hepatitis B injections since I stopped planning for baby. I told him I needed some time to think about the injections (not cheap ok). It was a blessing in disguise that I did not take the first injection that day.

Early of June 2014, I found out I was pregnant and I was both shocked and disappointed. I have so many plans and all of a sudden they went down the drain.

Took me quite a while to accept the reality. And took me a long time to stop worrying about miscarriage.

Everyone would ask me why I named her Lucy. I can’t tell you exactly why. The name appeared few months into the pregnancy, even before we know the gender. I told Andrew if it’s a girl I would want to name her Lucy, and I had a strong feeling that it was going to be a girl.

I got curious why would the name appear out of no where and I felt so strongly to it. I went Google the meaning of the name, partly also I want to make sure it doesn’t mean something negative. Wikipedia says:

Lucy is an English and French feminine given name derived from Latin masculine given name Lucius with the meaning as of light (born at dawn or daylight, maybe also shiny, or of light complexion). Alternative spellings are Luci, Luce, Lucie. Lucy is also an American, Australian, Canadian, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and French surname.

LIGHT! How apt. She was the light at the end of the tunnel, just when I thought all hopes were gone. There she came, brighten up our life.

Lucy, truly my light, my rainbow.

I’m Sorry I Gave Up Breastfeeding

I planned to breastfeed my baby even before I got pregnant. It is only natural wanting to breastfeed your own child and the benefits of breastfeeding outweighs everything else. I told Andrew you better pray hard that I can breastfeed successfully because it is going to save us a lot of money from buying formula milk. I guess he did not pray hard enough.

I know breastfeeding is not going to be easy. However, neither did I think it would be so tough. I guess I overestimated myself. Being confident is one thing, being over-confident is another. I also blame it on the non-breastfeeding friendly hospital. They did not offer me good breastfeeding advice, I will say they didn’t even teach me.

The first night after I gave birth, the nurse just came and shove baby’s mouth to my breast. She did not teach me the correct position, the correct latch, how it looks like, how it should feel. When baby took my breast, I felt the suckle and milk did flow and that’s it. I thought that was it.

Second night after I went home, I continued to breastfeed. However, later that night, baby kept crying. Andrew and his mom said that baby did not have enough milk and they wanted to top up formula. Andrew went out to buy formula milk. I was so sad because I know I had milk and baby was crying not because of milk, they just didn’t trust my mother instinct.

Baby liked to sleep, partly because she had jaundice. No matter what we did (seriously we tried everything) to wake her up, she would stay asleep. I’ve never seen such a sleepy baby! Without baby suckling, I started to have engorgement. I resorted to breast pump to help empty the milk. I did not know that the flange of the breast pump was too small for me and it caused me to have sore nipples.

The following days, I always felt pain whenever baby suckle. On the 6th day, baby got admitted to hospital because of her jaundice and needed photo-therapy. That day, she wanted to be fed every 1 to 2 hour! That night, it was so painful that I cried when she suckled and Andrew told me to stop. I went back to pumping again.

I felt the pain constantly. I have friends came to visit me to see if I got the right latch, we even went to see a lactation consultant and they all said it’s the right latch. But I still felt the pain! Some said the pain was normal, some said it was not. I was so confused and frustrated and sad. There were nights the pain was constant and I couldn’t sleep. It was like someone who scrape your nipples with broken glasses!

The breast pump couldn’t empty my breasts efficiently, I ended up in hand-expressing. I managed to feed my baby breast milk through bottle. But I wasn’t contented. I wanted the bonding of direct latching. Some days I would try latching her again and she refused, some days she would take it but the pain was still unbearable. My sore nipples never healed. It is a mystery to this day why they did not heal even after I stopped direct latching.

Finally, I developed early signs of mastitis. Fever, shiver, cold, aches…… A kind friend who is also a lactation consultant offered help. She said I had blocked ducts and she could help me cleared them and I could breastfeed again. I went. I was happy and confident that I could breastfeed again. However, the pain never went away. My friend told me I just had to bear with it. Later that night, it was so painful that I was crying out loud while baby suckled. I went through it only to find out the nipple cracked and the pain was so intense. That night, Andrew told me it’s time to give up and he didn’t want to see me suffer anymore. He said I wasn’t happy for the past one month, and if I fell sick, how am I supposed to take care of the baby? I’ve been struggling with the whole breastfeeding experience for more than a month.

I listened to him and I stopped.

I regret my decision. But I can’t blame him because I know he hates to see his wife suffers.

All I could blame is I did not get as much help as I could. And the timing. If I wasn’t going back to Johor that week, I would have stayed with my friend for a few days and probably, just probably, that I would be able to breastfeed till today.

Until today, I still can’t help but feel guilty. I will comfort myself that at least she has gotten 1 and a half months of breast milk, better than nothing. But I know I could have given her more.

All the articles on the internet promoting breastfeeding aren’t helping with my guilt. Sometimes I got so pissed at these people, have they not thought of people who really can’t breastfeed? There are people who really can’t breastfeed due to medical reason and physical constraint. What are they going to do if not offering formula milk? Oh yes, you will say almond milk and so many other alternatives. But they’re not easily available.

Anyway, I am happy to see Lucy is thriving.

Now I just have to focus on taking good care of her, make sure she’s happy. Happy baby, happy mommy.

P.S.: I lost that breastfeeding bond, I make sure I bond with her more in other ways. I cradle her to sleep, I sing to her whenever possible, I talk to her, I carry her whenever I like, I massage her…… I don’t care if people are telling me that I’m spoiling her. I am spoiling her, with my love. If you have an issue with that, talk to my palm, go raise your own children.

When I Become A Parent

I used to get annoyed with baby’s crying.
When I become a parent,
My baby’s cries don’t sound as annoying anymore.

I used to feel disgusting when I see baby’s poo.
When I become a parent,
I examine the poo just to make sure she’s healthy.

I used to jump and stay as far as possible when baby poops.
When I become a parent,
I used my hand to catch the poo (as there was nothing nearby I could use to prevent it from spraying across the room!).

I used to think getting angry with the baby was stupid.
When I become a parent,
I understand even the newborn could drive you up the walls and it’s not stupid to feel angry.

I used to think “poor mommy” when the baby cries hysterically in the shopping mall.
When I become a parent,
I don’t give a f*** what you think, my baby needs to EAT/SLEEP/CHANGE DIAPER!

I used to say “I will never feed my child in an open shaded area under the hot sun”.
When I become a parent,
I realised it is inevitable that you have to feed anywhere, any time, rain or shine.

I used to snort at parents when they used a long harness to prevent their children from running too far away.
When I become a parent,
I know I have to do everything I could to protect my child.

I used to feel agitated when children banging the dishes/cutlery/table in a restaurant.
When I become a parent,
I figure anything that can keep my baby calm and occupied, I will do it.

I used to say I will not bring my child to certain places just so that I can enjoy peaceful moments.
When I become a parent,
I want to bring my baby anywhere I go because I want to be with her.

I used to wonder why my friends are always late.
When I become a parent,
I have to get ready 2 hours before I leave the house and I will still be late.

When I become a parent, I learned one thing.
You will do all the things that every parent will do. Hahahahaha.

There is no bad parent in the world, we are all the same somehow. :)

Marriage Is An Act

Yes, marriage is an act because it is something that we have to constantly WORK on. It is not just a piece of paper with our beautiful signatures (my signature on my marriage certificate is ugly though, LOL) on it, nor is it a status that merely says you are now not available to date other guys/girls. The WORK doesn’t end the day you tie the knot. In fact, the WORK starts the day you say “till death do us part”.

I’m not an expert in marriage and I don’t give advice on relationship. I am just expressing my views.

Recently, I’ve read this piece of article written by some columnist, “5 reasons we can’t handle marriage anymore“. It has gone viral. There are people who praised the author for being spot on and of course, there are people who slammed the author for writing such a sh**y stuff since he failed his own marriage.

I’m not here to argue or support his points, I just think that there are more than 5 reasons that we can’t handle marriage anymore (well, some of us still can).

Sex, finances, social media aren’t good reasons that marriages don’t work. Yes, sex is important, but it’s not everything. Just like money, it is of course important, but money can’t buy everything. I’m pretty sure a couple will be able to work things out when the finances are tough. However, if one is unwilling to compromise and work it out, even the smallest stuff can cripple a marriage.

I’m not perfect, Andrew is not perfect (although he is close enough in my eyes :) ). There are times that we get so frustrated with each other but, we still respect each other. He is still the person I go to when I need advices, he still listens to my crappy stories, he still asks me to go movie with him and he still wants to spend time with me. If one of us doesn’t make the effort, this marriage won’t work (seeing that I got my temper and he’s got his own temper).

We are not rich, we earn enough to make ends meet. Now with a new family member (or I should say 3 since his parents are staying with us too :P), we have to work out how to spread the expenses. So, no, finances can’t be the reason that marriage doesn’t work. As husband and wife, sharing the load is essential. Unless you have a husband or wife that is rich enough to pay for all the expenses alone, sharing is definitely CARING. I can’t imagine if Andrew wouldn’t want to share the load, that would mean that he doesn’t care.

Social media is not a good reason that marriage don’t work. Yes, Andrew and I do spend time on our handphones browsing Facebook and stuff. However, we will tell each other if one finds the other person is doing it excessively. I will tell him I don’t like it when he spends too much time on his laptop, and he will tell me the same too when I am glued to my handphone all day. Communication is the key. If you don’t communicate, social media is the least you should worry about. In fact, technology helps us get closer. He would text me during the day, before this without WhatsApp, we didn’t “talk” to each other when we’re at work, until we finally met after work.

To me, the keys to maintain a marriage have never changed. It is our attitude to marriage that has changed. People now are more susceptible to temptations and having low tolerance to stress, when they hit an obstacle, they simply give up or give in instead of finding ways to make things work.

Andrew and I too experience ups and downs of a marriage. We too will argue and fight, but we will try to tell each other what we dislike before it becomes a fight later on. Years ago some incident happened, it is something I did not share with anyone. I did not even blog about it, but it is some thing I will never forget, a constant reminder. We worked it out fortunately. That’s because our love for each other is strong and we could not give up on the other person. I cannot imagine if he gave up.

So, to handle marriage and to make it work, requires a lot of work and effort. It is an everyday’s work. Nobody says marriage is easy. We can’t put the blame on the external factors for our failed marriages. We can only blame ourselves for not trying harder. Social media? Not getting enough sex? No money? Technology? They’re all excuses. As long as both parties are willing, things will work out. When one party fails, the whole marriage fails too.

I set my parents as an example. I will want to be like them, grow old together with my other half through thick and thin.