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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bye Bye 2013. Hello 2014.

December has been such a busy month full of nothing but preparation for the festive season and meeting up with many good people. I almost wished that 2013 would not come to an end.

For once, work has taken a back seat in this more cheerful month of December. Although I wasn't on long leave like many others, being in the office in December was a lot more relaxing than all the hectic months before that. In fact, I was glad to be busy being happy. 2014 would be a very challenging year for our whole department, organizing a major national event and many more tasks to come. On a personal scale, there would also be challenging tasks ahead. I'm hoping to catch a little more rest before the year ends (yeah... like in a few hour's time).

I would most probably spend New Year's Eve counting down in my sleep. I've been lacking quite a lot of sleep during the pre-Christmas season up till now. Today's NYE half day was spent walking part of the Southern Ridges with some people in my department, followed by a farewell lunch for a colleague.

As I'm typing this, my headache is getting worse. Moreover, the hubz is down with a bad virus after his overseas work trip and he is raging a high fever now. My heart breaks to see him so sick and I guess I would join him to sleep our NYE away. Our bodies are probably protesting about the way we treat them.

I hope to wake up to a cheery 2014 tomorrow. I would need some me-time cooping myself at home coz the past week had been full of going out and meeting up with friends. Hopefully, I would be able to start a blog post chronicling on the whole festive season.

On the last day of 2013, I would like to say this:

Thanks to those who hated me, they made me a stronger person.
Thanks to those who loved me, they made my heart bigger.
Thanks to those who were worried about me, they let me know that they actually cared.
Thanks to those who left me, they made me realize that nothing lasts forever.
Thanks to those who entered my life, they made me who I am today.
Just want to thank all of you for being here in my life!

As we usher in the year 2014, let us all be wiser, and be grateful for our blessings.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Chronicles of the Injured Pinky

DISCLAIMER: Pictures contain wound and blood. Not for the faint-hearted. You've been warned.

I hurt my left little finger last Sunday. The story of how it happened sounds quite silly and all who heard of it either grimaced or laughed, or grimaced and laughed.

I cut my pinky with my hubby's shaver. Now, that's one of the silliest thing ever right? My hubby always puts his shaver in a travel pouch hung on the glass shower door. It has been like placed like this routinely for years.

Then came the questions of:

"Didn't he face the shaver inwards?"

"Didn't he cap the shaver?"

Yes, kh always faces his shaver inwards and no the shaver doesn't have a cap. Due to the looseness of the pocket of the travel pouch where the shaver was placed, it was facing in a slight upward angle that morning.

When I was drying myself with a towel, I flicked my arm and somehow my whole hand went down hard onto the shaver. I felt a sharp pain in my finger and instantaneously, it went hot, then cold, then numb. As I brought my finger in sight, I was greeted with horror. A small piece of flesh near the fingertip was gone! In place was oozing blood in deep red. The picture below shows the blood flow after the second washing under running water. And then some of my friends commented that I was really bimbotic/ funny to take a picture of my injury instead of doing something useful. So hear me out now...

Before that (immediately after the cut), the blood would not stop pouring forth. I was a little stunned seeing so much blood flow from a shaver's cut that I opened the door and squeaked out to kh what just happened. He thought I was being whiny but when he saw the amount of blood flowing, he immediately ceased playing his WoW (World of Warcraft) and came to my side. I didn't dare to put my finger under running water for fear of the pain but he firmly told me that it was absolutely necessary. The cold running water felt like frost bite; I had to purse my lips hard to bear with the pain. It was fortunate that he did not force me to stop the blood flow by pressing something onto the wound coz I reckon that would hurt a lot more.

After the washing, the finger continued bleeding profusely and kh instructed me to apply pressure to stop the flow while he scrambled out of the room to search for antiseptic and gauze. I waited by the basin for a while and did not heed his instruction of pressing onto the wound. In fact, I got so bored waiting that I saw my iPhone nearby and reached out for it to take a picture. (Yes, that picture above.)

You know the phrase "black out" to mean faint? Instead of black out, I usually white out when I feel faint. As I was trying to focus on the picture, I felt nauseous and was on the verge of passing out. My vision was slowly overtaken by whiteness and my legs went wobbly. Instead of feeling pain in my pinky, I felt intense cramping pain in my tummy. I wonder if that was the result of too much loss of blood.

The cramps persisted and by then I felt the surroundings spinning amidst the whiteness. Saliva was fast gathering in my mouth and I knew I was going to vomit very soon. Rather than to let myself stand over the basin to vomit when my vision was already disappearing and my jelly-like legs being unable to support myself, I tore lots of toilet paper to absorb the bleeding and shot to the bed.

As I lay on the bed with eyes closed, the nausea slowly dissipated though the cramps were 10 times more intense by then. When kh came up, he was shocked to see me in that state and forced me to open my eyes. There was another after-effect (of blood loss I suppose) that occurred after that but I shan't type it out on the Internet. All I could say is I really hate it when kh doesn't let me sleep in peace whenever I feel faint. For the 3 times in my life I white out, kh would continue talking to me, tapping me and asking me to open my eyes. Yes, I know it's only right to get a fainting person to respond but I just wanted to sleep in peace at that time coz it felt really good to sleep the nausea and whiteness away.

Removing censored chunks of the story, Kh bandaged my finger in this way. I fell into a deep sleep after that and woke up for Christmas shopping thereafter. My mood was really good and the only pain I felt on my finger was the bearable kind of pain.

I saw my friend's photo of her student with her fingertip gone during an accident in school. It was really terrible. Hence, I told kh and basically all who asked that my cut wasn't serious at all. To which kh replied, "Not serious? Did you see the piece of meat you left on my shaver?" For the rest of the day, he kept laughing at my pathetic bandaged finger and wondered how stupid I could be getting my meat sliced off that way.

When I got home, I wasn't ready to remove the gauze yet. I had been wondering for the whole day how to shower with my bandaged finger. I managed to wash my hands many times that day without wetting the gauze... But shower? How on earth was I going to allow shower foam, shampoo and strands of hair to rub against the raw wound? The hubby got sick of my whole-day wondering and did this.

This was how the wound looked like after removing the gauze. Before the below picture was taken, I had to wash the dried blood away. Apparently, kh bandaged my finger without cleaning the blood off. I even had to cut my nails and slowly scraped those dried blood under my nails. It really isn't that serious as having a whole fingertip sliced off yet serious enough for it not to be merely a razor cut. Some of you might just be scoffing at my disclaimer at the top of this post.

When I saw my finger, the only thing that came to my mind was that I might not have fingerprint on that part of the finger any more. Kh thought that was the most bimbotic thing I could think about. I had wanted to air the wound instead of putting a plaster but the raw flesh felt really tingling when brushed against anything including air.

For the next few days, I would take pictures of my finger after showering.

Day 2. Plasters always makes a wound look wetter and deeper than it should have been.

Day 3. I tried to sleep without a plaster that night.

Day 4. Taken the next morning... The wound was healing a lot faster without the plaster. But I had to continue having a plaster on in the day coz I was constantly brushing stuff against the wound and gritting my teeth.

Day 4. Taken in the night. The wound appeared deeper after a whole day of having plaster on.

Day 6. Went without plaster for the the whole day. The wound was healing fast once more.

Day 7. So folks, always air a wound that isn't that serious coz airing allows faster healing.

Today! Hard skin continues to form over the wound. I could even paint glitters on my nails for the bling party earlier on in the evening.

And that's the chronicles of my injured pinky. I hope I haven't scared or bored anyone. Now for the ultimate question: Do you think I would have fingerprints on that part of the wound after everything heals?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

London Throwback: A Walk in the Park

It's December. The last month of the year.

I've still got lots of photo backlog to clear and one of them would be my London and Paris trip during the winter of 2011--2012. I wrote about my Italy trip in July this year and was so smug about being current... and then I stopped after the second city when I got busy with major work events. Well, at least I'm pretty current for my 2013 updates.

When my hubby saw the Italy photos on Facebook, he was reminded that he hadn't seen the first Europe trip (London-Paris)  photos yet.

Kh: "Where are the Europe photos?"
Me: "That's coz I haven't edited the photos, blogged about it and uploaded on Facebook yet."

Occasionally, my good friends and I would chat and mention about our trips.

Them: "Eh? I don't remember seeing all your Europe photos."
Me: "That's coz I haven't edited the photos, blogged about it and uploaded on Facebook yet."

A while back, a few of my colleagues went to different parts of Europe separately and we were talking about our Europe experience.

Them: "I will go to your Facebook to see the photos."
Me: "Oh, I didn't upload them."
Them: "Why?"

Yup, you get the drift.

Most of you already know about my grouches on the Asus Zenbook's overly warm tone and how it affected the colours of the pictures I see and the eventual editing of my photos. I hope that whatever I see on my screen doesn't deviate much in colour tones as what others see on their screens.

Here's Day 1 of my Europe trip. Many of the pictures taken in the park have not been edited as the beautiful sunshine lent a hand in creating natural splendid tones.

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Day 1: A Walk in the Park (18 December)

When we landed at Heathrow Airport, we wondered at our good fortune. It was winter and to us at that time, London was not as cold and grey as what many often opine... or so we thought. We did not have to take our winter coats out from the luggage and walked to the metro station with only our jackets.

Our first ride on London's metro system-- the London Underground (also known as the Tube or simply the Underground).

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While we were on the Tube, we witnessed our first sunrise in London. All throughout the ride, I thought of how I would not be able to take a sunrise photo on our first day in London.

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The sky that greeted us when we emerged from the station was breathtaking!

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By the time I wrote about this, I forgot if this was taken outside Bayswater or Queensway Station as these were the 2 stations we often walked to depending on which line we wanted to take.

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Our hotel during the first leg of London-- Blakemore Hyde Park Hotel.

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I asked kh to block the unsightly Cleaning in Progress sign. The picture looked so much better without the sign! I'm not too sure about the difference in colour tone. I did not edit them except for the usual resizing, adding of borders and watermarking.

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It was 8 plus when we reached the hotel and we could not check in yet. Kh checked the map and decided that we could take a walk in the park while waiting for our room. Hence, we left our luggage at the concierge and headed out, not before I finished my snickers.

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Say hello to my Chi Cats. I call them Chi Chi. You would see them at various significant landmarks for the trip. Chi Chi have since become my travelling buddies as they are small and easy to carry about. Even if I did not bring my bag out, I could easily slip Chi Chi in the pocket of my winter coat.

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We started walking in Hyde Park and slowly made our way to Kensington Gardens. We covered quite a vast area that morning and by the time we reached Kensington Garden, my sinus was acting up really bad.

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Even the hubby was cold.

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At the beginning of the walk, I was mesmerized by the beautiful sunlit park. Although it was freezing, there were some joggers clad in shorts.

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I recently read an article-- 25 Everyday Things You Never Knew Had Names. From there, I learnt that these are called crepuscular rays which are rays of sunlight coming from a certain point in the sky. I always call them God's rays.

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I never knew the sun during winter in London could bathe the surroundings in such golden hues.

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Could you spot any anomaly in this picture? I didn't do a very good job at this but the picture still looks fine if I do not show you the original.

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This is the original picture. I remember liking this photo a lot and when I posted it on FB 2 years ago, one of my friends commented that it was a good shot except for the jogger in the background. I'm pretty thrilled by the smorgasbord of features added to the latest Photoscape software, one of which is the cloning tool. I cloned the jogger away by copying part of the grass and hiding him. It's just a very basic cloning tool with 3 brush sizes. For a free photo editing software, my amateur skills and the difficulty in cloning due to the shadows on the grass, I'm pleased with the result.

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"Deardear, look! Got cartoon bears hugging each other. I thought it should be cupid or naked people?"

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After uttering something so comical, kh started to act cool for a chao poser shot.

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And another chao poser shot.

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I like it when my camera accidentally captures lens flare. Hexagon shape to boot! I thought those were only done by editing.

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Who is Jenner? Edward Anthony Jenner was an English physician and scientist who was the pioneer of smallpox vaccine. Often called "the father of immunology", his work is known to have saved Mankind when smallpox was finally eradicated in 1980.

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"There deardear! Fountains should be like this and not cartoon bears."

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One of my favourite thing to do at huge open spaces with birds...

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... is to walk amongst them. Scaring not included. You can't really do this in Singpore coz the cunning birds here fly too quickly. Birds in other countries usually have people feeding bread to them and hence, they are not wary of humans.

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See, birds outta Singapore don't fly away easily and we could simply get close to them.

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Besides pigeons, there were seagulls everywhere too.

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They were compliant. They stood in a row and did not fly when I told them to.

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Then, along came a little dog.

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A curious little dog.

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A pretty curious little dog.

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Trying out a silhouette shot.

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Frost on the leaves.

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We reached Kensington Gardens and still had a long distance to cover.

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These 4 dogs belonged to the same owner. I wonder how the couple coped with rearing 4 big dogs.

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The Royal Albert Hall.

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The Albert Memorial was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband, Prince Albert who died of typhoid in 1861. At the corners were four groups representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America, each continent-group including several ethnographic figures and a large animal. (A camel for Africa, a bison for the Americas, an elephant for Asia and a bull for Europe.)

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By the time we reached one edge of the park, my sinus was acting up really badly. I could feel the numbing cold from the ground through my boots. You know, we should never get our feet chilly. That's a sure recipe for catching a cold.

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Kh thought I looked like Rudolph and with the hood on, Kenny from South Park.

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Along came another dog. Its ball rolled to our feet and the owner said, "Feel free to play with him." The ball was slimy with saliva. Hahaha... After that, we knew why the owner had a stick with a suction cup to pick up the ball.

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What??? What did it mean by "Kensington Palace is being transformed"?

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The gates were closed! Nooooooooooooooo!

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What a contradiction!

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The banner lied. Kh was doing the Italian WTF gesture and as for me, I would not take no for an answer.

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We were clearly not part of its future.

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We headed towards the Round Pond. The Round Pond is an ornamental lake in front of Kensington Palace.The pond was created in 1730 by George II. It is approximately 200m by 150m and up to 5m deep. Despite its name, it is not circular, but rectangular with stepped and rounded corners. There were people feeding the swans and the greedy fat pigeons so we decided to sneak into the crowd of birds without any bread of our own.

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When the people dispersed, so did the fowl.

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On the first day in London, Kh, Chi Chi and I conquered Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

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Who could resist those red phone booths in London?

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The red phone box is often seen as an iconic British symbol throughout the world. Click here for a history of the red phone box.

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We walked from morning till afternoon and by then, we were really famished that we decided to simply eat anywhere along the way back to the hotel. Bite Way looked like a great respite from the cold.

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Bite Way served what seemed like Mediterranean cuisine. We had wraps and chicken, hot coffee and chocolate. The last picture shows the water from the hotel's tap after boiling. London's tap water is supposed to be safe to drink. I guess it contains too much mineral particles. After allowing the water to settle, it became clear. We popped Redoxen Vitamin C effervescence tablet to drink hoping to keep the cold away.

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I will end this post with a video tour of our hotel room.


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