Saturday, 29 January 2011

My Grief, My God

By Pandora Poikilos

Grief is a small word that carries with it extensive emotions we are all familiar with. If we have not been introduced to grief then we haven't yet grown. The past two days have been a little rough, staying positive and keeping my mind occupied with daily tasks has been intruded with a little lump on my back. It bothers me that the lump comes as though it is in a straight invisible line from the surgical wound (from my VP shunt) that I have on my chest and it bothers me even more that it hurts, a lot. It has reintroduced some of the pain I used to feel just after surgery and yet, after such a major surgery, it is a waiting game to see when and how the lump can be removed. Yes, where is all that positive thinking when you need it the most?

A small part of me feels like grief is trying to slide itself through my window again, no matter how tightly I have shut it. That, this lump may mean something bigger and my biggest fear of having a second shunt surgery may materialise. Then, there's this other bit inside me that insists on having faith in God and in the belief that everything will be fine. How can it can get any worse from having brain surgery? A cartwheel of emotions indeed.

Am I fearful of grief? A little. I've had one too many long walks with it to know grief walks hand in hand with loss. It leads you on a path of self-discovery and it builds your character but with so much that has happened, I fear that I may not be able to handle anymore. I met grief at a very young age. At the age of three, I lost one parent to a bad heart and another to indifference. I grew up being repeatedly told that I was never good enough, that I would never amount to anything more than a street sweeper, that the mistakes I made were so grievous, I wasn't worth standing up for. Everybody else was worth listening to, I wasn't. On more than one occasion, I've been forgotten from a piano class or after school activity and this often meant waiting alone, hoping that I wasn't that invisible. So, yes, grief was a regular bedside companion the many nights I cried myself to sleep thinking one day, all this will be just a dream, that I too, would have a Daddy Warbucks somewhere out there.

When I was six, grief had me very confused. If anything, grief taught me grown ups make mistakes too and nobody, and I mean nobody is perfect. I had something precious taken from me. Something that a million dollars would never be able to restore. I would feel guilt, shame and blame for a long time before realising that the sexual impropriety I had experienced was not my fault. It would make me more aware of people who think they can make you feel small just so they can gloat in the sensation of awe they have, for themselves. And it would teach me that self-pity is a dish best served with stupidity because you will never move yourself forward emotionally and mentally.

Grief came and sat by my side when at the brink of receiving a much awaited internship, I was diagnosed with a rare and incurable condition, Pseudotumor Cerebri. Half of it seemed like a joke. And the other half, was a mental and emotional state I could not cope with. My first lumbar puncture. My first sense of losing control. There were days when I would rather sit still just so I wouldn't have to show people that I couldn't see from my right eye. The days when my memory would get so mixed up, I have had to accustom myself to writing things down. The excruciating seven years of lumbar punctures that had me thinking, if this is what it meant to move forward in medicine, somebody, somewhere must be slacking off their research. Grief enveloped me when my first, real four year relationship ended because the condition was too difficult for him. Talk about transference.

Holding the pieces together and trying to put up a strong front often meant more pieces falling apart and grief being a full time companion. Grief lingered through the betrayals of friends who stayed to gain for their benefit and left when the benefits wore out. It was a much needed wake up call I do not wish on anyone but hope that each of us will learn, it is true, the best of friends will stay when the rest of the world walks out. Grief was a constant bystander in so many situations when I've tried to explain my medical condition and was instead greeted with, "it's your brain, so you must be crazy."

Even as I prayed for a non-eventful VP Shunt surgery, grief held my hand ever so tightly when I thought about how monstrous I must look and how I wished I hadn't taken so many little things in my life for granted. A very close friend once told me, that if I've had to deal with all this, there must be some grand reward tucked away somewhere. That God can't allow so much to happen and not bless me with anything good.

It took me awhile but I realised the reward wasn't tucked away anywhere. It was right in front of me. My blessings are outnumbered, in the few people that are living proof that there is such a thing as unconditional love. In the fact, that my writing journey is far from over and in the simple knowledge of knowing, there are more blessings to come.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Singapore, Round 2 – Changi Prison Museum

By Rough Guy’d
2nd of June and I went to see something that I had heard a lot about. During the Second World War, the atrocities that were performed by the Nazis were well documented afterwards and many of us know how truly horrific those acts were but right up until now, I had heard nothing much about anything that happened in the Pacific area of the war. I had had a general idea how the war was fought but as to the atrocities committed, the only inkling I ever had was a simmering bitterness towards Japanese that I had experienced from my mum. Changi Prison Museum would soon change that.
Arriving at the museum, you could feel the solemnity of the place. While there were no signs that said to be quiet or to not take photos like at other museums, the mood of the place stopped you from doing either of those and for once, every fell in line and obeyed. 
The museum was very good at doing what it was trying to do and I could feel my heart being pulled out of my chest as I looked at more and more of the exhibits. The number of atrocities that they committed here shocked me as they explicitly said many things but also left much unsaid and hinted that Singapore might not have been the worst hit of the captured countries. It took me some time to fully understand why the Japanese behaved as they did and while I can’t look at Japan of the modern times as being the culprits as my mother is prone to do at times (she was from Malaysia so she experienced firsthand the occupation by Japan though she’s never told me anything), I can’t fully forgive them either as they try vehemently to forget about the past and what they did to other people, even going so far as to say that they didn’t do anything wrong.
From what I could tell, and this is only this humble author’s opinion, is that the main reason why the Japanese behaved as they did is the same thing that many people look up to them for, Bushido. The ideals of Bushido is not something I will go into depth in here but one of the main things about it is the ideal of honour and this is something that they take very seriously including in many instances the act of Seppuku. Seppuku is an act of voluntary suicide in which soldiers did this rather than be taken captive by their enemies. 
While not all soldiers did this, the idea of being taken captive alive and well was still seen by many as a grave loss of faith and they considered themselves to be no more than walking dead, which is exactly how they treated prisoners and countries that they captured. If you fell to the enemy, you were no better than a shamed honourless person, worse in fact because you didn’t commit Seppuku, never mind that you don’t follow the Japanese way of thinking. This invariably led to much unnecessarily rough treatment by the Japanese and is still a sore point between them and the rest of Asia due to their continued stance of saying they did nothing wrong.
At the museum, it highlighted many of the things that the Japanese did here in Singapore and how they converted the prison to a POW camp and while not one of my happy memories, was still a very important part of my trip. Sadly as I was to learn later, this barely scratched the surface of the ice...

Hows That Again? (Part 2)

4 More Mind Boggling Issues (At The Moment)
By Pandora Poikilos

When I first used this title back in October 2010, I had no intentions at all of it becoming a series but here we are, with more issues that have me wondering if I've knocked my head very hard somewhere on opened my eyes into a different dimension.

Life Be Damned
In recent weeks, we've met a great group of people on Facebook. Some through the Pledge of Responsible Social Media Users and some through groups such as Bloggers Network and Blogging Lovers. It's great when you meet someone, have a peep into what their mind can produce and realise how easy Social Media makes this effort. Then, outside this great group people come another breed.

Be it from lack of understanding, lack of interacting with people or just plain ignorance, they use these spots as a constant avenue to market their not so sensible products. These days, most bloggers (me included) would love it when their blog gives back some monetary value. After all, a lot of time and effort has been put into it. Here's where it goes wrong. One blogger posted link to a site that claimed to be an online public pharmacy and had a link for next day delivery of Tramadol. Irrelevant of your condition, location or obviously age.

The site was filled with bikini clad women who had breasts that could shame Pamela Anderson promoting Tramadol. What do scantily clad women, breasts and Tramadol have in common, I really don't know. I've had Pseudotumor Cerebri for seven years, two years out of that was spent taking Tramadol until there were discussions about banning it. Now, here's what bothered me. There are people around us who have no idea of what they sell, accept no consequence for their actions and consider selling pharmaceuticals as affiliate marketing. If it's this easy to buy drugs (with a guarantee of next day delivery) what are we saying, life be damned? Benefit of the doubt, the blogger who posted the link might have been a pharmacist who was aware of what he was doing but at the same time I am rather certain no self-respecting pharmacists would associate Neurology drugs with scantily clad women, big breasts and be sending out links to random people.

I'm confused
Networked Blogs is a very cushy tool for a lot of bloggers around the world. Not only can you link your blog so it posts your feed directly to your Facebook profile and groups you manage, it even provides a forum where you can talk about your blog, link it, invite others to read it and so on. One of the more common discussion threads is 'you follow me and I'll follow you' and then of course there's loads of other links to recently updated blogs, interesting reads and so on.

The service boasts more than 1.6 million monthly users. All this gives you an idea of how much is actually said in one day on this forum. When someone asks me, if I'd like them to follow my blog, my answer is simple, if you read it and you like, follow it. If it's not your cup of tea, then so be it. We're all different and there's no changing that fact. Why would I expect someone to blindly follow a blog they might later find is a contradiction to what they think or feel?

This answer that I so often give, actually got someone offended. The blogger replied that it was very confusing. Some people want readers, some people want followers, some people want comments. It was on the tip of my tongue (well, fingers) to say, do as you wish. Why keep following? Why keep imitating and not having a voice of your own? We are different to create unique unity. Good things that makes us work together and yet some people insists on making simple things complicated.

You follow me and I'll follow you
This isn't the first time this issue has had me raising an eyebrow. When I first started Peace from Pieces way back in May 2010 and started actively posting in July, I tried this concept. Does it really work? And is it really that simple? Are people so equal that they will do to you as you have done to them? No. Not everyone is. You have some amazing people who reach out and keep coming back to your blog giving you ample encouragement to keep going and then you have those who are so stuck on being followed, they forget that at some point, we also need to be followers, all of us.

I could provide you with a very statistical debate on whether this concept works but I'll provide you with an even simpler example. The Blog-A-Licious Basic list is now way beyond 200. I started it because I wanted to have my own system of reading blogs, commenting on them, promoting them. Then from that, since we have reached out to so many people, we recently launched Blog-A-Licious Premium. It's worked out great. More than great and I am very thankful. But here's a thought, with more than 200 listings, all done for free, there are far less thank you(s) and even less reciprocals.

Pledge of the Responsible Social Media Users
If ever there was a time I wanted to walk away from something I cared about very much, this would have to be one of it. As I went about creating the group in Facebook and creating even further awareness, I received loads of negative feedback. That it was stupid. That it wasn't worth it. That I was bothering people with such a trivial matter. That I should not group people together. That I was screaming fire when there was none.

As my mind twisted into quitting mode, a fellow blogger I confided in asked me a simple question, do you stand by what you say? If you do, go on, no one else can stop you. And I realised that was the best advice I had got in a long time. I'm not backing down from telling people that Social Media is an awesome tool but like everything else in life, needs to be handled with care. Would we drive around crashing our cars into trees? I don't think so.

There are far worse things on the Internet and this is something trying to warn people about it. If something needs to be added on, sure it can be tweaked to be made better. Change is a constant factor for everyone and Social Media is no different. Changes come even faster and a lot of keeping up needs to be done. If someone is going to stand by the side of me and ensure I have pebbles in my shoe as I walk on this journey, then so be it.

People seem to have gotten so used to telling someone else what they are doing isn't working right, when we could all zip up our comments, work together, improve it and see what comes out of it. Am I giving up on the pledge? No way. At the time of writing this, 99 people who have taken the pledge, people bold enough to lend their voice to this cause. Here's to 99 more. What say you?

Waking Up

By Pandora Poikilos

This is part of the ongoing journey from Daisy Lemmas Riff

She wakes up. Her body jolting, almost like it has been electrocuted. Same unexplained dream. Same revolting fear. That voice in her head. Maybe she is crazy after all.

Who goes to sleep and dreams about dark spaces and voids. Maybe she was losing it, the unseen thread of sanity snapping away, one by one. IT had done so much to her. IT had taken so much from her. And the voice was right. All she wanted to do was to exist, in peace.

She sits up at the edge of the bed and takes a long, slow deep breath. As she exhales, she glances at the time and knows it's too late to crawl back into bed and yet too early to step out and face the world. She stands up, glances at the mirror and thinks, before IT came into her life, this was not how she looked.

And yet look at her now, sleeping in a cheap motel, hiding from the light, wondering about life, necessities and how it will all end in the end. Will it ever end? Will IT never come back?

She gets dressed, and steps out talking slow steps to the nearby diner. Coffee, that will do it. And then she'll have to get back to the motel and wait. Wait for her next step, her next thought but definitely not her next dream.

And the story goes on, the journey explored a little further by, Kriti Mukherjee

Welcome to the Void!

By Roy Durham

This is part of the ongoing journey from Daisy Lemmas Riff

Time has no place, there are no dimensions, and this is your first step in to the unknown. Tron cannot help you! You are going on a great adventure. There is great wealth to be found the knowledge of many things, you may be here but you were there and now you are where, there is a mystery to be solved.

Treasure to be found; where you are bound? There is no stop, no up, no down, and no back just next. Your mission is to find your way back here. You can’t stay here, you must seek the future.

I cannot tell you the future as you have not been there. There is no past no present and no future. There is no time here. I am the void. You are a traveler a follower you must follow the path and bring back time and space.

Join and follow the followers back here. I need depth and width. I have no dimension. I am dark energy I have escaped a black hole. If you stay I will consume you with the madness of the void. There are three doorways out of here choose one and travel to time and space. I can see a window where you can leave a message on face book.

Here are the doorways one is lost in the archives look for things happen. There is another it can be found if look around for the black hole. Oh! There are two black holes. Please help me, I am moving towards the black holes you can escape threw one or not. Choose a doorway and come back and save me, I want to exist!!!

And the story goes on, the journey explored a little further by Pandora Poikilos

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Blog-A-Licious Wednesdays - Weeks 13 & 14

Yes, it's a day early but since it's ready to go, here's to yet another exciting Blog-A-Licious week! And once again, another a collection of amazing blogs to be read and passed around. More to come in the coming weeks!

To participate in Blog-A-Licious Wednesdays, please leave your link at

And if you missed Week 13, here's another look.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Dora’s Essentials - For 10 Ways To Stop Panic Attacks

Simple Techniques To Keep Your Panic Attacks From Getting The Best Of You
By Pandora Poikilos

Table Of Contents
Take A Deep Breath
One Step At A Time
Smell Of Calm
Change Of Environment
Laughter Is The Best Medicine
Music Heals The Soul
Chew It Away
Talk, To Yourself
Positive Thinking Is A Must
Be Prepared, Always

How would you even know that you are having a panic attack? For most people, the first thought at the onset of a panic attack is that they are having a heart attack or are about to pass out. Symptoms such as very rapid heart beat, shortness of breath, heavy or labored breathing, cold sweat, hot flushes, nausea, lump in the throat, muscle knots, dizziness and even stabbing pains in certain areas of the body will be felt by the person suffering the panic attack.

However, when checked by a doctor, these symptoms would not have left any physical trace. For instance, heart functions will be normal or there won't be any physical marks where the stabbing pains occurred. Those prone to having panic attacks on a regular basis will know that these attacks can be very scary and in the long run make the sufferer feel incapable of going out or mixing with other people for fear of being embarrassed or just not being able to stop the panic attack in a public space. Here are a few techniques that you can practice on yourself or on someone close to you who have panic attacks which will function to calm them down indoors or outdoors.

Buy the book @ Smashwords
About The Writer
Pandora Poikilos has been writing for more than 10 years for various media which include newspapers, radio, television and various websites. A social media enthusiast who is passionate about blogging and finding her way around the virtual world, she wills away time in the real world by reading, writing and people watching. More about Pandora Poikilos.

For more information regarding this e-publication and upcoming publications, please email the writer -

Dora’s Essentials - To Natural Treatments For Panic Attacks

The Less Addictive Road To Curing Panic Attacks
By Pandora Poikilos

Table Of Contents
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Yoga & Meditation
Exploring The 5 Senses
Self-Help Programmes

Panic attacks may seem like nothing other than a person lacking the ability to step up and face a particular challenge or even a person who is regarded as mentally weak, and in some cases these factors may be accurate. However, panic attacks and the symptoms it brings with, when left unattended for a long duration, can result in more adverse and permanent effects such as insomnia, the sufferer being unable to leave home, lack of communication or severe eating disorders.

Some people also see the onset of a single panic attack as a sign of severe stress and are encouraged to take a break from work or to go on a holiday which usually brings them back relaxed and panic attack free. Panic attacks may occur rarely or even be a one-off incident for a selected few but for many who experience panic attacks, they are prone to it on a regular basis and is usually related to more than just lack of courage.

While having panic attacks is an immediate pointer that the sufferer may be undergoing mental disturbances or is having psychological issues and needs professional help, is true to a large extent, this does not mean that the person needs to be loaded with prescription pills or expensive medicinal treatments that will leave their wallets empty. Pills, medication and the host of other available treatments might be able to treat a panic attack rather effectively but cannot fully eliminate a panic attack, which is the more important issue at hand.

Also, pills in the form of anti-depressants and sleeping medication can bring out worse side effects such as hallucinations, mood swings, rapid weight loss or weight gain and a level of dependency on the medication. This would mean, that the person will eventually feel that without these very strong drugs in their system, they are not able to work or live their daily lives as effectively. Different people suffer from the scary experience of panic attacks and are affected differently, therefore before seeking out pills to deal with the issue, one should try to explore the various natural treatments that are available and which can assist in eliminating panic attacks once and for all.

Exploring The 5 Senses
Making full use of all your 5 senses - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell - and exploring these senses one at a time, are another sure way to providing yourself a sure method of treating your panic attacks on a long term basis. However, when using this method, you will need to do some research or speak with others who have applied the same tools to find out what is comfortable for you and is able to produce effective results without making your panic attacks any worse than they already are.

Where sight is concerned, photographs of loved ones or happier times can be identified as strong calming devices when you feel a panic attack coming on. Especially when the person is a parent or a spouse that we love dearly, viewing the person's picture and thinking of the person's reactions towards yourself can be a very calming effect.

Smell and sound can mostly work hand in hand as a calming device. Creating a spa-like ambiance within your home or work area helps to keep yourself calm and stress free by using scents such as vanilla, chamomile or lavender accompanied by the sound of water or very soft music. Where your senses are concerned, don't be afraid of making a mistake when trying to find out which type of scent or sound suits you best, everyone is different, and the most important thing is being able to effectively treat your panic attacks. Touch can be explored in several ways which include being around a loved one who is able to hug or hold you when having a panic attack or through massage which allows your body to relax.

Lastly, taste is a crucial factor as you will need to make sure that the food you are eating is not contributing to your panic attacks and that your diet includes a well-balanced meal of vegetables and fruits. Having a proper diet keeps your body chemicals in check which in turn is able to keep your emotions and moods in check.

About The Writer
Pandora Poikilos has been writing for more than 10 years for various media which include newspapers, radio, television and various websites. A social media enthusiast who is passionate about blogging and finding her way around the virtual world, she wills away time in the real world by reading, writing and people watching. More about Pandora Poikilos.

For more information regarding this e-publication and upcoming publications, please email the writer -

Dora’s Essentials - For Examining Anxiety ... What's Normal, What's Not

Are You Really Having An Anxiety Disorder?
By Pandora Poikilos

Table Of Contents
Thinking Straight
Losing Control
Broken Relationships
Suicidal Thoughts

Needless to say, all of us worry about something or other during our daily routines. We worry about how well we've finished the report at work, we worry about whether we'll be able to get home in time even if there is a really bad traffic jam, we worry about loved ones who are in cars or other forms transportation and we even worry if we'll really be able to make payment on all our bills, worrying even more that no other expense will pop up to stretch us any thinner. Yes, we all have our own set of daily worries that come and go.

For some people, they find these sentiments of worry as a motivation to work harder and to ensure that all is in order financially which also means that they are fully capable of taking negative energy and turning it into positive results. Then, there are those who worry and nothing comes of it. They think a lot about a particular matter today which doesn't happen in the days to come and they are eventually able to laugh the incident away. This too is, normal.

However, when our worries become so pressing that they start to display physical, mental, behavioural and emotional changes alongside a series of stress related symptoms over an extended period of time, then we know these worries have escalated to a much more serious condition and would need to be dealt with the assistance of professional medical help or alternative stress management treatments. One of the more obvious symptoms that anxiety has got the better of a person is when they start having anxiety attacks that display symptoms such profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat, nausea, dizziness and the feeling of going to be faint or be in such severe pain even though physical contact has not ensued. Anxiety attacks are very scary experiences and when left unattended can result in detrimental results for the sufferer and the people around them. Here are some tips to point out how worry needs more attention that it is being given.

About The Writer
Pandora Poikilos has been writing for more than 10 years for various media which include newspapers, radio, television and various websites. A social media enthusiast who is passionate about blogging and finding her way around the virtual world, she wills away time in the real world by reading, writing and people watching. More about Pandora Poikilos.

For more information regarding this e-publication and upcoming publications, please email the writer -

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Water Of Life

Author Unknown

It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through. Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields.

Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn't see some rain soon...we would lose everything. It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes.

I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort...trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house.

I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods. This activity went on for over an hour: walking carefully to the woods, then running back to the house. Finally, my curiosity got the best of me. I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be he was obviously doing something important and didn't need his Mommy checking-up on him).

He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked; being very careful not to spill the water he held in them...maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked closer as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much greater purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them.

I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him...he didn't even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy's hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree.

I followed him back to the house; to a spigot that we had shut off the water to. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle of water began to creep out. He knelt there, letting each drip of water slowly fill up his makeshift "cup," as the sun beat down on his little back. It was just last week he was punished for playing with the garden hose, and received a stern lecture on the importance of not wasting water. So, I'm sure that is why he didn't ask me to help him.

It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears. "I'm not wasting," was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him...with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save a life.

As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops...and more drops...and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, Himself, was weeping with pride. Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. That miracles don't really happen. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can't argue with that... I'm not even going to try.

All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm...just like the actions of one little boy saved a life. This story is to honor the memory of my beautiful Billy, who was taken from me much too soon....but not before he showed me the true face of God; in a little sunburned body."

Blog-A-Licious Wednesdays - Weeks 12 & 13

Here's to yet another exciting Blog-A-Licious week! And once again, another a collection of amazing blogs to be read and passed around. More to come in the coming weeks!

To participate in Blog-A-Licious Wednesdays, please leave your link at

And if you missed Week Twelve, here's another look.

Singapore, Round 2 – Board Games & Borders

By Rough Guy’d
Thursday, 28th of May and I was to learn a little more about the differences between Singapore and home. I went with my cousin today to buy some classic board games. Though these games are normal for many of the people here, I had barely even heard of them back home, so I took a keen interest in learning more about the games and then having a go at trying them out.
The first of these games was known as Chinese Chess. Though many of us in the western world are familiar with the game of chess, Chinese chess is played just as vigorously here. The game is similar enough to normal chess for a beginner to pick up and learn but there are various differences that make it an interesting alternative and is something that I hope to learn in greater detail at a later stage. The biggest difference that I noticed is the use of the cannon, a piece that captures by leapfrogging over another piece and capturing the second piece in the path. The piece that was jumped is not removed and as such can be either a friendly piece or an enemy piece.
The second game is known as Go and though we didn’t have enough time to play (the game apparently takes hours and is a lot deeper than at first glance), it is similar to Othello but on a much larger scale. As well, when you place pieces you don’t have to flip pieces with every move, making the strategy more about setting up your pieces. The other major difference is that not every spot on the board need be filled and that most games are already decided before the board is close to full.
By Sunday, I had decided to visit Johor Bahru (commonly referred to as JB) in Malaysia. Though my visa for staying in Singapore was not due to expire for quite some time, I had to stay in Singapore for a while longer to avoid running out of time when in Malaysia. Also it was a chance to join my cousin and his friends for another long-time Singapore tradition. The trip to JB is one that many Singaporeans take. It is conveniently close to Singapore, has a very good bus system servicing it and is another shopping option. As I quickly learned about Singaporeans, most of their leisure activities seem to revolve around eating and shopping (each stop on their MTR is supported by an impressive shopping mall nearby and there are additional shopping malls everywhere else catering to all sorts of budgets).
Unfortunately, as with almost anytime with a largish group, there were delays as one of our number forgot their passport and by the time we crossed the border, there was only enough time to muck around a bit, do a bit of light shopping and then head back, though the bus service proved more than adequate to do the job and meant the cost of crossing the border was the same as crossing to the other side of the island.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Friday, 14 January 2011

Shining Imperfections

By Pandora Poikilos

Someone recently asked if everything was going okay between Peas and I because I hadn't updated "I Love You Because..." in quite awhile. When I said, we haven't fought, I've just been busy with the other things on the blog, she wanted to know how to keep a relationship free from fights or more appropriately 'misunderstandings'. Honestly, and I speak for myself, you can't. If someone else has this figured out differently, do tell?

See, brain surgery or not, Peas and I have our moments too, Just yesterday, Stubbly and I had him saying, "Babe, you have me banging my head again." What had happened was, I had gone off for a nap because Stubbly was intent on acting up and then woke up with an even further intent of being in a really bad (okay, foul) mood and taking it out on guess who?

It's easy to think your pain encompasses the whole world and to go sit in a corner, whimpering like a wounded puppy. It's one thing when someone doesn't understand what you are going through or when someone keeps going at you like they want to win the next Constant Critic Of The Year Award but it's a whole different thing when you visibly see and feel a person reaching out to you and for you. You see, there's just not many of them around and when you cannot put your pain aside and see this amazing person in front of you, you're dragging yourself down even further. Yes, they'll drive you up the wall, sometimes.

Peas has some episodes of "be back in a bit" and that means a good 5 hours (or more) with the guys without calling to say he'll be late but guess what, I have my share of constant episodes too. I sometimes dwell on issues that don't need dwelling on, I get so far ahead of myself that I can't remember what the starting point was and I can a be a horrible listener.

Being in recovery for whatever surgery doesn't mean lie down and behave like the world is on your shoulders, I have found it's dotted with little opportunities to do other things like find a new hobby, clean up things you were previously putting off, remembering that your body can and will tell your mind to slow down, getting your priorities in order and most of all, about appreciating the ones who are with us in this constant fight of bad days.

When I first came home after surgery, I couldn't make it through reading, writing and talking for more than an hour. Everything hurt. He was one of the first to spot the difference but never pointed it out in any way that would bring me down. Someone I'm very close to, an aunt, Tin) also noticed the way my right hand had severe problems gripping things like a mug or jar but nobody laughed and said, "Look! Baldie's dropping things again." You don't need to be a genius to know that some people can be very hurtful.

My imperfections were shining bright and yet these are some of the very few people who had their arms open wide for me. It's been less than six months and I have come a long way since then, but I'd be lying to the myself if I said I did it on my own. I was anything but by myself.

We are so accustomed to the comforts of "I cannot", "I don't want to" and "It's too difficult" that we forget in realising when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we're not achieving greatness. We've made ourselves weak. Most of all, we are taking the best out of the people we love and using them for things they are not meant to be doing.

So, there will be a few hiccups. A loud word or two and some very hard stares. But in the words of Sam Keen - You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly. There's very few, too few of people like these around, hold on to them and love them back. Sometimes, that's all there is to it.

I wish you, arms to hold you for when you too have moments of shining imperfections.

Are You Feeling Cold?

By Arwa Damon, CNN

Kabul (CNN) - Five-year-old Marjan sniffles from the cold as she struggles under her load. Hoisted on her back is a bag almost as big as she is.

Instead of going to school, Marjan scavenges for hours with her 10-year-old aunt collecting trash. It is a heavy burden for such a small child but a necessary one. The trash she collects is what her family uses as fuel for cooking and, more importantly, to fend off Kabul's bitter winter.

It is a matter of life and death for someone so young. Last winter, Marjan's baby brother died from the cold.

"It was dark and cold, and the baby died," she says softly, wiping her running nose. "I saw him dead and I was very sad, and I cried."

"I don't blame myself," Marjan's mother, Zarkharida, says. "We don't have firewood. I set fire to the garbage but it went out and my baby died."

Zarkharida's husband was killed in a family feud over land. She was forced to move in with relatives, already struggling to make ends meet. She built a one-room mud hut on a small piece of land.

"I wasn't able to properly cover the roof, this is why when the cold weather came my son died," she says.

Plastic tarp covers the roof, windows and doorway. She stitched a blanket from scraps of clothes given to her as charity. It is all she has to keep her family warm.

But Zarkharida fears this winter will claim another one of her children.

"Of course I am worried about my children's health," she says. "I am afraid they will get sick."

UNICEF, the UN children's agency, says that Afghanistan is the worst place in the world to be a child. One in five children do not live past the age of five. Afghanistan is second only to Sierra Leone when it comes to child mortality. Most of those deaths are caused by curable childhood diseases and malnutrition, compounded by the security situation, which means that parents are unable to access proper health care.

"It is very hard to put a hard and fast figure to the number of children dying from hypothermia alone on Kabul's streets as there would undoubtedly be other reasons that would make them sick or vulnerable in the first place," UNICEF regional communications chief Sarah Crowe wrote in an e-mail. "Extreme poverty, having lost a parent, being trafficked or displaced, or many other reasons may have forced them on to the streets where they would be deprived of their most basic needs (decent food, health, immunization, protection) and exposed to the extreme cold of Afghan winters."

Marjan is constantly blowing warm air on her hands, which are grimy and cracked from the cold. She kicks off her plastic, torn shoes and tries to warm her feet on the trash fire blazing under the kettle. But it is never enough.

A meal is scraps of bread and weak tea.

Even though she has never set foot in a classroom, Marjan dreams of being a teacher. She also loves to play with dolls. But in one of the world's poorest countries, she is, instead, responsible for her family's survival.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Diary Reader

This is another exciting chapter from Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

Remember, the story of Rumpelstiltskin? There's the bit where the queen cannot bear the thought of giving up her new born child to the manikin that has helped her to her throne. She hires a messenger to search all ends of the country and when he spies on a little man dancing round the fire, repeating his name, the messenger takes this back to the queen, who of course, guesses correctly, keeps her baby and lives happily ever after.

The Diary Reader is a person who has probably spent their entire life inspired by this story believing that if you sneak up on a person and find out something about them (which is unknown to others) you're able to prevent a worse disaster from happening. Seriously?

The Diary Reader is someone who will never understand that diaries are never really a solid expression or judging ground of the person writing it. For most of us, diaries function as a brick wall that can take anything thrown against it, it even functions as the rubbish bin that we want to throw our unwanted thoughts and emotions into.

In my case, I use diaries (or any piece of paper I can get my hands on) to write out descriptive pieces of characters and scenarios of fictional pieces that pop into my head. I want to do this to keep, to reflect on, to eventually build a story or to one day just glance back and (hopefully) say, my writing style has gotten better.

Now, imagine what a joke it would be for someone to sneakily go through my stuff, read these entries and blab about them or confront me on something that well, never was. Given the state of the way things are, no, if I had a 12 year old, I wouldn't allow private access to a computer or to the Internet. There will be questions and there will shared passwords but there's that big word - shared.

It's not about telling a child "I don't trust you" it's about saying the Internet is not so safe and we need to use it together. Just like crossing a road, you wouldn't let any child cross it alone. It'll always be "hold my hand tight" not "go run across the road and see if you make it across".

More importantly, saying it's shared also means I can and I will look at it when I can or when I want. This is a completely different scenario when knowing something has been kept privately to go dig for it or to open it knowing full well the person's not around.

But oh yes, there's that "We're having a bad patch. I don't understand her. I need to know what's going on." Trust me, what you can't recover in a relationship from talking face to face or with a good old fashioned hug and an "I'm sorry", you're not going to gain anything but more confusion, anger and unnecessary assumptions when you sneakily snatch a few glances at someone else's diary.

To read other thoughts, memories and lessons from Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped out please click here.

Blog-A-Licious Wednesdays - Weeks 11 & 12

Here's to yet another exciting Blog-A-Licious week! And once again, another a collection of amazing blogs to be read and passed around. More to come in the coming weeks!

To participate in Blog-A-Licious Wednesdays, please leave your link at

And if you missed Week Eleven, here's another look.

Singapore, Round 2 – Parks, Bikes & Birds

By Rough Guy’d
With the weekend upon me again, I ended up doing another thing that very few non-Singaporeans would do. One thing I will point out now is that I ended up spending a lot of time in Singapore. While you might find this a bit strange like many of my friends that I made during my travels later, there is a certain charm to the city that I really enjoyed. 
Having family to stay with meant that I didn’t have to worry about the primary reason why most travellers don’t stay this long, namely the cost of accommodation, and because of this, I was able to stay as long as I want and I managed to see many different sides of the city not normally seen. In this case, it was the Singapore park connector.
Singapore has been trying to sell itself as the garden city for quite some time. As most people on the island live in massive apartment complexes with little chance of ever owning their own lawn, the government made it a priority to make sure that everyone has access to public parks. 
While this has been a success, the parks are invariably scattered all over the city and it was the government’s intention that there be a way to move from park to park without having to worry about vehicles and as a result, they came up with the idea of the park connector. Upon completion, this would give a place for people to cycle or walk all over Singapore, connecting the various parks around the place in a vehicle-free environment.
The concept was interesting as the idea of a safe area all over the city for everyone to ride or jog was appealing. So my cousin and I went riding a pair of bikes late at night (less traffic, less heat) and we met up with some other friends for a midnight bike ride. While the ride was overall quite enjoyable, the one thing I discovered about a midnight bike ride and especially on a park connector that wasn’t completed everywhere, is that it is very easy to miss something, such as a tree root. 
While this wasn’t a particularly vicious fall (or my last one during this trip), it was still none too pleasant but luckily the only thing that was hurt from me was my pride. The bike didn’t fare as well with the chain constantly coming off and cutting our trip short.
By Wednesday, I had decided to go to the Jurong Bird Park and I have to say, it was much more impressive than I expected. While you think that a zoo that only focuses on birds might have too limited a scope, it didn’t prove to be the case. The entire park was broken down into different areas such as rainforest and temperate lake, but the true highlight of the park is the feeding times when the keepers make it into a show, teaching you many facts about the birds and in some cases, letting you feed the birds yourself. 
As well as this, they also had shows as well so that you can see falcons hunting. The rainforest that was mentioned was also a walk-in one so that you can see the birds in a more natural environment. All of this went a lot way to making this park the most enjoyable of the three that I had been to.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

One Wee Voice - Child Poverty

Sourced from Life - Inspired By The Wee Man
We affectionately dubbed it The Crack Shack, and I wish I could tell you that it was out of clever creativity that we came up with this name. Before we moved in it was actually a drug house. Hell, while we lived there, the guy in the apartment across the hall nearly burnt the entire building down with his grow show. But we figured marijuana was pretty minor (at least in Vancouver it is), and the surveillance team that watched our every move for several weeks after the “bust” was comical. Overall, we had a pretty good sense of humour about our time at The Crack Shack, after all, it always gave us something to talk about.

But sometimes the stories weren't so funny. Read More

Monday, 10 January 2011

Product Review - T-Shirt Printing

By Pandora Poikilos

General Info More than 20 years in the business (UK Based)

Mission "take pride in offering an honest, easy to understand way of doing business. We believe that you, our customer, are searching for someone to fulfil your printing needs without stress and with your satisfaction being our main aim."

Print Designs Several options available.

T-shirt design Several options available, definitely worth looking at.

T-shirt type Several options available. *What we got was cotton, stretchable and doesn't shrink after the first wash.

Sizes Available S to XL

Printing method Silk screen-printing method. This makes the design / print on your t-shirt durable and chances are the colours will stay the same for a long time to come.

Maintenance – Varies based on material but would be advisable to tumble dry medium.

Price Varies based on quantity, type, print etc.

Web Presence Available (Website only / No online shop / No online order form)
User friendly Very

Overall rating 3.5/5
Price 3/5
Delivery 3/5
Customer Support 3.5/5

Sunday, 9 January 2011


By Laura Jeanne Allen

My grandparents were married for over half a century, and played their own special game from the time they had met each other. The goal of their game was to write the word "shmily" in a surprise place for the other to find.

They took turns leaving "shmily" around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more. They dragged "shmily" with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows over looking the patio where my grandma always fed us warm, homemade pudding with blue food coloring.

"Shmily" was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. At one point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave "shmily" on the very last sheet. There was no end to the places "shmily" would pop up.

Little notes with "shmily" scribbled hurriedly were found on dashboards and car seats, or taped to steering wheels. The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows. "Shmily" was written in the dust upon the mantel and traced in the ashes of the fireplace. This mysterious word was as much a part of my grandparents' house as the furniture. It took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate my grandparents' game.

Skepticism has kept me from believing in true love - one that is pure and enduring. However, I never doubted my grandparents' relationship. They had love down pat. It was more than their flirtatious little games; it was a way of life. Their relationship was based on a devotion and passionate affection which not everyone is lucky enough to experience.

Grandma and Grandpa held hands every chance they could. They stole kisses as they bumped into each other in their tiny kitchen. They finished each other's sentences and shared the daily crossword puzzle and word jumble. My grandma whispered to me about how cute my grandpa was, how handsome and old he had grown to be. She claimed that she really knew "how to pick 'em."

Before every meal they bowed their heads and gave thanks, marveling at their blessings: a wonderful family, good fortune, and each other. But there was a dark cloud in my grandparents' life: my grandmother had breast cancer. The disease had first appeared ten years earlier. As always, Grandpa was with her every step of the way. He comforted her in their yellow room, painted that way so that she could always be surrounded by sunshine, even when she was too sick to go out side.

Now the cancer was again attacking her body. With the help of a cane and my grandfather's steady hand, they went to church every morning. But my grandmother grew steadily weaker until, finally, she could not leave the house anymore.

For a while, Grandpa would go to church alone, praying to God to watch over his wife. Then one day, what we all dreaded finally happened. Grandma was gone. "Shmily." It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother's funeral bouquet.

As the crowd thinned and the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members came forward and gathered around Grandma one last time. Grandpa stepped up to my grandmother's casket and, taking a shaky breath, he began to sing to her. Through his tears and grief, the song came, a deep and throaty lullaby. Shaking with my own sorrow, I will never forget that moment.

For I knew that, although I couldn't begin to fathom the depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched beauty. S-h-m-i-l-y: See How Much I Love You.

Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, for letting me see.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Gossip Queen

This is another exciting chapter from Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

We've all gossiped at one point or another. Whether its about that cute girl you saw your friend's husband with or that gorgeous newly refurbished neighbour's house, we've all done it. But, and this is a very big B-U-T, there are some people who can wear a throne for how they do it. Meet, gossip queen. You'll see her at every festival, every funeral, every church event and if possible every other weekend in someone else's house. She'll know the daily routines of people around you right up to those who live in Timbaktu. When you bump into her at the grocer's, she'll ask you how you are and then tell you news about yourself that even you didn't know about.

Yes, this is the person who doesn't need Facebook, Twitter and Stumble Upon. She's a whole social network all by herself. What is her goal you ask? Well, she'll tell you it's concern. That she's looking out for your best interest. Right, so does every other politician. See, it is one thing to pass on information that is accurate, true and objective (oh wait, that is what journalism is supposed to be), but it's a completely different thing to pass on inaccuracies and assumptions. This is the person who even when she is fully aware that she has offered an inaccuracy, will not in anyway offer a retraction or apology. She'll simply shrug her shoulders and move on to the next juicy bit of gossip.

This is not the person who asks how are you and waits for an answer, she asks it so she can ask you her next question which would probably be something like, "so you've got a new job, how much are you getting paid?" She'll want to know what you've cooked for lunch and what you'll be preparing for dinner while at the same time telling you that one of your neighbour's will be celebrating their child's birthday next week at the restaurant down the road. This is also the person who'll take a step into your house question your decision about that lovely earth toned rug you have because it looks ugly / expensive / cheap and go on to tell you about the rug in yet another friend's house.

She'll marry off people who don't even know each other and transfer the local councilman. The polite words she offers to you are just a means of getting those biting rumours she'll soon be passing on. Sound familiar? Ah yes, take a slow, deep breath, There's one or more of this person everywhere you go, there's no hiding but there is avoiding. When you avoid, be prepared to have even wilder stories passed around about you but think about it, real friends wouldn't care and the ones who do aren't real friends. And if you ever came across the opportunity to share in gossip, think of this - When you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of U and ME. What do you think?

To read other thoughts, memories and lessons from Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped out please click here.

Mommy's Boy

This is another exciting chapter from Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

Now, ladies, I would like to say that at some point men grow up, let go of their mother's apron strings and make their own life altering decisions. This is true, well for some men, at least. Others will probably be 45 years old and asking mommy if they can take their wife shopping on a Sunday afternoon. This is a guy who'll invite you home to his very tastefully decorated parent's house when nobody is home. And no, he's not inviting you over for more decorating tips. He's obviously got some other plans which because you like him, you'll go along with. This goes on, for months. You live together, shop together, share a bed together and then one day you'll send him to the airport. He says he's going to meet his parents .

You ask him no questions because obviously, you trust him but then, that slow, sneaky feeling starts washing you over. There's no word from him, when you do call his mobile, he's not contactable. You have no return date. So, maybe he isn't coming back at all. But no, that's not quite it. Out of the blue, four days of no news, he calls to say he is on the late night flight home. Never mind that the flight arrives at an unearthly hour of 7am and you literally have to drag yourself out of bed and have an ongoing battle with rush hour traffic to get there, you're ecstatic to see him!

He seems to react in the same way and when you both get into bed for a much awaited snuggle, you'll feel like everything is normal again, well almost. See, he'll wait till after he has sex with you to break the news, "Mommy got me engaged over the weekend." Cue, thunderstorms and lightning sound effects. See, there you'll be considering the options that he's making a bad joke or that this really is the worst morning of your life but he'll continue and even tell you that all he could think about during the engagement ceremonies was (cue drumroll please), you.

Once this happens do not for even a fraction of a second think that you can change his mind. If he could go through the entire weekend dancing around mommy's wishes and promising another girl, a happily ever after (as difficult as it is) accept this one fact, it is over. You can ask yourself why, you can ask him why but don't expect any answers, immediate or in the next century. He has clearly chosen the women that matters most in his life, and it's not you (or his future wife, for that matter.) Learn to deal with the fact that you are not a perfect person but you are a person that deserves respect and honesty. If he can't be honest with you, guess who's going to be having a wonderful marriage?

To read other thoughts, memories and lessons from Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped out please click here.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Blog-A-Licious Wednesdays - Weeks 10 & 11

Here's to yet another exciting Blog-A-Licious week! And once again, another a collection of amazing blogs to be read and passed around. More to come in the coming weeks!

To participate in Blog-A-Licious Wednesdays, please leave your link at

And if you missed Week Ten, here's another look.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Has A Publisher Rejected Your Work?

By Pandora Poikilos

"We felt that your work wouldn't be quite right for our list of publications, which is currently very full."

"We wish you every success in placing your work with another publishing house."

Sound familiar? Any 'trying to make it' writer would know these lines like the back of their hands.

After numerous rejections from publishers, rewrites and more rejections, I found out why, us budding writers have our work rejected, sometimes constantly or writing jobs become so hard to find. Stellar publishers like Simon & Schuster are just way too busy devoting time, energy and money on books like this.

The writer author has now joined the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Stephen King. I repeat that to make it very clear, Snooki is now a published author. This from the girl who once said she's read only two books in her life: Twilight and Dear John.

Excerpts from the book include
"Gia danced around a little, shaking her peaches for show. She shook it hard. Too hard. In the middle of a shimmy, her stomach cramped. A fart slipped out. A loud one. And stinky."

"Yum. Johnny Hulk tasted like fresh gorilla," she writes. "Any juicehead will get some nut shrinkage. And bacne. They fly into a 'roid rage, it is a 'road' 'roid rage."

"He had an okay body. Not fat at all. And naturally toned abs. She could pour a shot of tequila down his belly and slurp it out of his navel without getting splashed in the face."

"I love food. I love drinking, boys, dancing until my feet swell. I love my family, my friends, my job, my boss. And I love my body, especially the badonk."

So, if you're a writer trying very hard to become an author or looking to make a decent living from your writing and you feel as though you just can't take anymore rejections. Chin up and trudge on. Now, you know why you're being rejected.

Recipe For A Happy New Year

Author Unknown

Take twelve whole months,
Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate, and jealousy,
Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.

Now cut each month into twenty-eight, thirty, or
thirty-one different parts,
but don't make up the whole batch at once.
Prepare it one day at a time out of these ingredients.

Mix well into each day one part of faith,
one part of patience, one part of courage,
and one part of work.

Add to each day one part of hope,
faithfulness, generosity, and kindness.
Blend with one part prayer,
one part meditation, and one good deed.
Season the whole with a dash of good spirits,
a sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play,
and a cupful of good humor.

Pour all of this into a vessel of love.
Cook thoroughly over radiant joy,
garnish with a smile,
and serve with quietness, unselfishness,
and cheerfulness.

You're bound to have a happy new year.

Monday, 3 January 2011

But I Have To ...

5 Choices You Choose To Make
By Pandora Poikilos

If I had a dime for every time I heard, "but I have to do this and I have to do that", I'd be so rich, I'd probably be Richard Branson's neighbour on that island of his. When we simmer it down to the hard cold facts, truth is, none of us "have to" do anything. We don't have to get out of bed in the morning because our kids or spouse needs breakfast, we choose to do it. We don't have to go slog at a job we sometimes hate, we choose to do that too. Yes, it is a choice. Don't get out of bed, don't go to work, can you live with the results of what happens? See, essentially that's the issue. Most of us are so caught up with what other people think we lose sight in what we want to do and in what actually needs to be done.

For instance, two Stanford students didn't have to put in extra effort on their research project but Larry Page and Sergey Brin did, and we got Google. A man fired from the company he started who went on to create an animation company, didn't have to face the world again but he did. Steve Jobs rejoined Apple after starting Pixar and so we have the iPhone (not to mention Toy Story, Finding Nemo and the rest of that troop) and of course, no adult had to create a cartoon character but Walt Disney did after losing the rights to Oswald The Lucky Rabbit and so since 18 November 1928, Mickey Mouse has been common ground to children all around the world. All of these people and more are given the same number of hours as you and I, what makes them different?

There is no time
Here's a laugh. Ideally, we need eight hours of sleep and three main meals a day. All in, this would give us a balance of say, 14 hours a day. So, let's say there's work for another eight hours so that gives us a balance of six hours. Plus, minus the commuting, traffic and over time, we may end up with three hours. What can we do in three hours? It takes about two minutes to say, "I'm thinking of you" or "I love you", it takes say 10 minutes (with the slowest of internet connections) to send out a birthday or greeting card for loved ones and it takes even less, to pick up the phone and wish the person or just say, "hello". Should we be supporting a charity or working at a cause, this will maybe take another hour to get more support, to do a bit more reaching out so that still gives us another hour, brimming with 60 minutes. What then?

Let's do it tomorrow
Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters. We're always telling ourselves we want to be ahead, we want to be ready for what comes our way. But come a favourite tv show or a gossip filled phone call from a friend, all urges to forge ahead go flying out the window. Very dramatic I know but unfortunately that just how it is for most people. We're all guilty of it at some point. But the more you put off something the more it'll roll itself into a ball and appear as an avalanche heading straight for you and by then, there's no escaping the disastrous effects it will bring. We chide ourselves by saying the diversions we entertained was what we "had to" do. But seriously, why does anyone "have to" spend at least 20 minutes talking about what the neighbour's friend's daughter wore to a dinner.

It's polite
For most of the mistakes I've made in life, this is probably my biggest and most repeated. I have made myself accustomed to being the "yes" person, to being split and ready to help all five or more people who come to me seeking assistance, until I realised in the end, the person I was helping the least was myself. Saying "yes" every single time is not being polite, it's being overly accommodating and allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. There is no rule book that says you "have to" help or "have to say yes" to everyone that comes your way. You do this because you want to, even if you do not admit it to yourself. Be it from a cultural perspective, social outlook or traditional upbringing, you do this because you think you want to be on the right side of things. But if you can't please yourself, you'll never please anyone.

The money is good
Given half a choice, I would love to be outside working in an office with people to meet and deadlines to keep but I've had the biggest surgery of my life and I don't have to stay at home and look for work online but I want to. Why? Well, I could risk it all and put my nose to the grindstone (I was after all recently offered a job I wanted) but then what, if it's too soon and I have rushed into it, my shunt malfunctions and I get another? We work because of money, we need money because we need food and other necessities. How much food and how good are the quality of our necessities depends on what you want to work as not what you have to work as. Some of us get lucky, we end up happy with our choices and some of us, we realise our choices aren't what we thought, that doesn't make our decision any less of a choice.

One day, I'll use it
Some people use memories as an excuse for the way they clutter their lives. "I have to keep this because it belonged to .." What if the item is a big, moldy cupboard which is susceptible to termites? Would you keep it then? Keep what you need. Use what you keep. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sentimentalist as well but there's a big difference between keeping a piece of your history to cluttering your house with things you don't even know exist in the first place. To look at it from a different viewpoint, if you really are that noble, think of the people you can help by giving them the things you don't need or even better, think of the much you can raise by selling these items?

So, think of it, every time you keep telling yourself you "have to" do something, you're not coaching yourself to do better, you're just weighing yourself down with choices that you can change or make better. Better still, remember these three things - Apple, Google, Mickey Mouse. There. Three things that didn't have to be.

Blog-A-Licious Blogs W to Z

Started On Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Updated On Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A list of blogs that I describe in three words - Awesomeness, Interesting, Pass-It-On (alright, that's not one word, but you get the idea).

Aside from this list you will also find 'picture buttons' scattered throughout Peace from Pieces, go ahead have a click, and discover more blog-a-licious people.

For some Blog-A-Licious tools to help you grow your blog readership, head on over to Free Web Traffic, The Blog Frog, The Blog Farm and Link Share Forums.

The Blog-A-Licious list is updated every Wednesday. To participate or be included, please submit a comment at the Blog-A-Licious page

Read more about
Weight, Loss, Detox
What The Graham
Working Pastor
World Of Thought

Writing Womb, The
Written Under The Influence
Yogi's Playground
You Have A Kid
Zephyr. Tinkling Bells

Blog-A-Licious Blogs T to V

Started On Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Updated On Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A list of blogs that I describe in three words - Awesomeness, Interesting, Pass-It-On (alright, that's not one word, but you get the idea).

Aside from this list you will also find 'picture buttons' scattered throughout Peace from Pieces, go ahead have a click, and discover more blog-a-licious people.

For some Blog-A-Licious tools to help you grow your blog readership, head on over to Free Web Traffic, The Blog Frog, The Blog Farm and Link Share Forums.

The Blog-A-Licious list is updated every Wednesday. To participate or be included, please submit a comment at the Blog-A-Licious page

Read more about
Taking Belize
Tantrum, Troubles & Treasures
Tech Impressions
Things My Mother Taught Me
Toward Aznzar

Tour Guide
Trailing After God
Travel & Living
Uniquely Different Fashion
Unveiled - Used, Abused

Vanessa's Soda Fountain
Viva La Fashion

Blog-A-Licious Blogs P to S

Started On Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Updated On Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A list of blogs that I describe in three words - Awesomeness, Interesting, Pass-It-On (alright, that's not one word, but you get the idea).

Aside from this list you will also find 'picture buttons' scattered throughout Peace from Pieces, go ahead have a click, and discover more blog-a-licious people.

For some Blog-A-Licious tools to help you grow your blog readership, head on over to Free Web Traffic, The Blog Frog, The Blog Farm and Link Share Forums.

The Blog-A-Licious list is updated every Wednesday. To participate or be included, please submit a comment at the Blog-A-Licious page

Read more about
Pamanner's Blog
Pashofa Quilter

Passionate Wellbeing Seeker
Peppy Pants
Perfect Male Blog
Pillow Talk
Pinay Scribbles

Pinoy Channel TV
Play With Food
Poem Tree
Quake Fitness - Fitness & Health
Rain In Spain, The

Ray Of Hope
Reading, Writing & Waiting
Rhyme Me A Smile
Rigzin's Blog

Rock The Kasbah
Roofer On Fire
Ruthie's Greetings
Sanguine Musings
Seven Cups Of Rice

Shannon's Shanonigins
Share Your Dinner
Simon Hunter Rhymes
Size 6 After 30
SK Saini

Skipper By Jeremy Billadeau
Snack Explorer
Soldier's Heart
Soo How
Spirit Seeker

Spooning With A Schoolboy
Star Smoothy

Blog-A-Licious Blogs M to O

Started On Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Updated On Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A list of blogs that I describe in three words - Awesomeness, Interesting, Pass-It-On (alright, that's not one word, but you get the idea).

Aside from this list you will also find 'picture buttons' scattered throughout Peace from Pieces, go ahead have a click, and discover more blog-a-licious people.

For some Blog-A-Licious tools to help you grow your blog readership, head on over to Free Web Traffic, The Blog Frog, The Blog Farm and Link Share Forums.

The Blog-A-Licious list is updated every Wednesday. To participate or be included, please submit a comment at the Blog-A-Licious page

Read more about
Making A Happy Home
Malaysia Open House 2 U
Male Extravaganza
Maria's Musings
Messages From The Muellers

Michal Marie Cake Designer
Mind Press 
Morocco Deserts

Mothers On Mission
Moto Buzz Cars
My Christian Journey
My Journey Through The Pages
My Life. My Words.

My Life - Really
My Life - Through Pain & Smiles
My Marathi Stuff
My Piece Of Litterateur
My Snaps

My Travelling Adventures
New Songs Of Praise
Now We Talkin'
On Writing

Oooooh Shiny!
One Inspired Hand
Overcoming Diabetes

Blog-A-Licious Blogs J to L

Started On Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Updated On Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A list of blogs that I describe in three words - Awesomeness, Interesting, Pass-It-On (alright, that's not one word, but you get the idea).

Aside from this list you will also find 'picture buttons' scattered throughout Peace from Pieces, go ahead have a click, and discover more blog-a-licious people.

For some Blog-A-Licious tools to help you grow your blog readership, head on over to Free Web Traffic, The Blog Frog, The Blog Farm and Link Share Forums.

The Blog-A-Licious list is updated every Wednesday. To participate or be included, please submit a comment at the Blog-A-Licious page

Read more about
John & Deb In Love
Johnson's Journey
Karlota Blogs
Kickin' It In Kiwi Land
Kihon Wasa

King Rex Reviews
Konrad - An Unapologetic MoHo
Krazy Kraft Lady
Langham Fat Farm
Life As I Know It

Life - Inspired By The Wee Man
Life, Love & What I Wore
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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom



Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife


My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo



Powered by

Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun


Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

Powered by

Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max

Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry


My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

Book Blogs Community

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