2018 Week 3 Summary

It’s about now where some panic sets in.  Week 3.  I realise by labelling my blogs this way, I’ve inadvertently started counting the weeks that have passed and I’ll never get back.  Did I spend them wisely?!

My mild panic has indicated…. I don’t think so.

It’s been 3 weeks since 2018 started and there are still so many things I have left outstanding.  How did we get here already?

Paris & Rome

I need to spend more time with Paris.  Rome requires so much supervision with all his biting everything, that Paris just gets left to his own devices.  He doesn’t break or bite a thing.  He doesn’t even walk off his play area even though it’s unfenced.  He just behaves but this does mean he gets left unsupervised a LOT.

Tony doesn’t spend any time with him either because he’s scared of Tony and will often run and  hide.  I don’t want him feeling neglected so I’m going to spend more time with him in the evenings.  For the past 2 nights I’ve lay down in his area so he can come and say hello if he wants.   He’s a “I’m happy to  hang out with you in the same space but don’t touch me!” type of bunny.  For now I’ll just have to be happy with his whiskers tickling my face when he comes to sniff my head as I lie on the floor.

Paris on the couch

I’ve let Rome run around the bedroom again and he loves sleeping under the bed or between the wall and the bedhead and he hasn’t bitten the bed at all.  Phew!  Progress.

Rome in his play area looking for a new toy after demolishing his grass ball

Lastly, when I took them to the vet, they weighed in at almost 1.5kg each.  Vet said it was a healthy weight so I increased their pellets according to their weight (25g per kilo in body weight).  I’ve upped their feed from 25g to 37g each of pellets.

I don’t know but they’re now starting to look fat to me.  Rome’s got his double chin back but I’d rather that than feel his bones.  However, the other day, Tony saw Paris and said “OMG! He’s so FAT!!!”  So I guess it wasn’t just my perception.

So, I may have to watch them now.  There’s nothing worse than a fat rabbit… if they get too fat they can’t clean themselves properly which means I will have to clean their bums.  I’d rather put them on a diet.

I also want to get them partners.  They’ll do so much better psychologically if they were husbuns to their own honeybuns (see what I did there?  Somebunny is getting into her bunny parent terminology) but alas, we cannot.  Not until we get a bigger place. #goals

House Stuff

After our adventures with the broken washing machine, I’ve mostly caught up with the laundry.  You don’t understand what a feat this was.  It’s a very carefully organised number of washes per day, every day that I can do to balance out hanging space and length of time required for drying.

There are rabbits’ sheets and floor rugs as well as our sheets, Tony’s wet yoga gear (because as of now, I haven’t been to yoga for almost 3 months) and all our clothes plus all our holiday clothes and the filthy state in which we received the rabbit carriers.  There is limited hanging space and everything takes 1-2 days to dry.  It’s getting there.  By this weekend, I’ll be back on track.

Joy & Tones

We went to a friend’s birthday dinner at Jaimie’s Italian in Angel and I got to try a Karma Cola (sweetened with stevia, #drinknoevil).  I liked it but nobody else who tried it did.  They said it was like drinking flat Coke.  Tones doesn’t like the stevia aftertaste.   Never mind.

Dinner was better than expected (I kind of expect Jaimie’s restaurant food to taste like food you’d cook at home but this was better than that!), the service was good and we got to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in YEARS.

Fi’s Bday Dinner

I’ve started learning Chinese (Mandarin).  God help me.  Wo bu hui shuo Putonghua or any Chinese for that matter.  Although it’s in my blood, my tongue and ears don’t register and cannot produce the same sounds in the same tones.  I’ve done one lesson.  My brain hurts.

The rest of the week has been catching up with / connecting with friends and family online, eating Chinese takeaway and watching movies.  You know, really going sedentary so that I can give my body a real shock when I go back to yoga…. whenever that will be.  I know… it’s all or nothing with me!

Oh… and I made my own #organic #vegan #rawchocolate 🙂

I used equal portions of cacao butter, coconut oil and cacao powder, sweetened to taste with raw lavender honey.

My Handmade Raw Vegan Chocolate

Do hashtags actually work on blogs?  Who knows.  As promised, I’ve added pictures to my blog.  Hope they helped!!!

PS – It’s been 3 weeks since coming back… so here are a few pictures to prove we did actually go on holidays – we went to Philippines and Hong Kong.

This photo was taken from the top of Mt Tapyas which isn’t really a mountain…. at least it didn’t feel like one.  It was much easier to climb (it was just a lot of stairs) than the likes of Scafel Pike and Ben Nevis.

View from Mt Tapyas

It shows Coron, Palawan in the background.  The place where my grandfather spent much of his later life / time running a Shell petrol station which, in his day, was pretty much the only petrol station in all of Coron.

Before, I’d feel safe because I couldn’t get lost.  No matter where I was, all I had to say to anyone was “Shell Petrol Station” or my grandfather’s name and everyone would know a) to make sure they looked after me and b) exactly where I lived to take me home.

These days, there is no Shell petrol station and there are many petrol stations competing for business and the town proper is bustling with tourists who are looking to do island hopping and scuba diving.

There are now a number of restaurants and hotels.  Even the dirt road from airport to town is concrete and instead of riding in on a jeepney, there are air-conditioned minivans!  It has changed a lot since my visits in the past.  Nothing was recognisable, not even the petrol station.

It’s been 17 years since my grandfather passed away and 11 years since my last visit.    This time around, I was just another tourist.

Oh…. and every time I’ve visited in the past, the water is blue and so is the sky but it doesn’t look that way in the picture because this day was in-between typhoons.  One just ended the day before and another was on its way.  Plus Tones and I had just emerged from 3 days bedridden with fever.  We felt we needed to get out since it stopped raining and it was our last day in Coron!

This next picture is from Maquinit Hot Springs.  I visited Coron when these Hot Springs were nothing but hot water bubbling from the ground and a few rocks were planted on the sand to form a basic pool.  The hot water would over flow into the sand and into the sea.  The water was HOT!!!!  Plus, there was only us there.  It was like having your own private Jacuzzi.

Now there are several pools, walkways, ramps, toilets, change rooms and of course, ENTRY FEE and a tonne of tourists.  The water was a little warmer than lukewarm.  I suspect it’s because the big pool is no longer close to source and you would need to sit in the smaller pools for that.  Except…. there were too many people!

We managed to find a nook where none (people/tourists) could be seen on camera.  There was a young couple and someone else’s kids running around, only half a meter away.  The photo looks much more peaceful and intimate than that right?

I actually love that I got to know Coron without all the hoo-hah and have those memories of it too.   You see a glimpse of what that was like here.  It’s still a lot of grey clouds but at least you get the hint of blue 🙂

View from Maquinit Hot Springs

Lastly, proof we were in Hong Kong.  We arrived there Christmas eve.  So Tony sent this photo to many when he wished them a Merry Christmas.  We stayed at the YMCA which was recommended by a friend.  Loved the view.  It was perfect.

Unfortunately we were  never around or in our room to see the Christmas light show which happened every evening we were in Hong Kong!  Can you imagine?  They closed the streets (from cars) for this.  People would travel and crowd up along the harbour side to see this.  We had comfy , unimpeded seats/views from our hotel room and we weren’t there!!

That’s like having a front on view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during New Years and not being there for the fireworks.  Ridiculous….

Anyway… we spent time with family which was more important.

Until next week….

View from YMCA, Hong Kong

 

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2018 Week 2 Summary

Another eventful week.

Paris & Rome

The boys got their vaccination from a new vet who we thought was very professional.  They now weigh just under 1.5kg each and are very healthy.

When we got Rome back from the sitter, he was really skinny and I could feel his spine and hip  bones.  Panicking I fed him as  much as he’d eat.  I was glad to see that it worked and by the time he saw the vet, he was a good, healthy weight again.

She said he might have lost weight because of the stress of being with a new person/environment.  I also got her to check their teeth and both are very healthy.

They both are still a bit stroppy.  Neither will come when called by name anymore.  In fact, they make it a point NOT to come when called.  Both are still wary about our movements.  They will run if they think at any point we are going to pick them  up.  Their behaviour has changed since getting them back from the sitter and I’m not happy about it.

I don’t know what happened to them at the sitter’s but the experience was enough for them both to mistrust and become wary and they seem disinterested or distracted.

So it’s back to the drawing board with developing trust and routine with us.  Although rabbits have long memories, I’m hoping they remember all the good we’ve done for them rather than any inadvertent pain and suffering (whether physical or emotional) they may have gone through.

House Stuff

The washing machine got fixed.  Actually the machine was fine.  We had a blockage in the pipe which when viewed, looked like clay mixed with oil plugging the entire tube.

The guy who came to fix it said that it was most likely a whole lot of oil and food that backed up from the waste pipe if we ever had blockages further down the pipe (which has happened a number of times).  How GROSS.  Anyway.  It’s all cleared up and I’ve been able to catch up on all the laundry.  You don’t understand how happy and excited I was to be able to wash clothes again.

The only other thing now is that we actually have to cut holes into our floor boards because otherwise, nobody will ever be able to get the washing machine out.  It’s easier to push in but harder to get the angle to lift out without cutting into the floor boards to make room.  Joy of joys.  Just add that to the ongoing list of house maintenance.

Oh and yes, when the machine started pumping water out again, our kitchen sink started filling up with water which indicated that we had a blockage further down the pipe (inside the wall).  Perfect, another thing to add to the list along with getting our windows fixed.

Seriously, whoever said that owning a house was the best thing you could ever do did not mention what kind of house you needed to own.  I will say this.  Do NOT own an old house unless you have set aside a big budget for constant repairs.  We live in a flat that exists within an old Victorian house (meaning the house was built between 1837 and 1901) that was converted into 3 flats.  There is ALWAYS something going wrong.  If it’s not us, it’s downstairs, otherwise, it’s upstairs or, next door.

Yes… the houses are terraced so you share both walls on the sides with other people too so when they do things to their flat/house, it affects you.  As it is, our windows which were once perfectly sealed have cracks on all the walls around them and have moved ever so slightly but it means they no longer close properly to create a seal and let drafts in.  Our floors which we made sure were levelled before putting in now squeak.  Our windows and floor were all affected just because downstairs renovated.

All houses require maintenance but I think the older they are, the worse it is.

Joy & Tones

Tones went to watch the football at Wembley (at least I think it was Wembley) with a friend and afterwards we had hot pot at their place.  Hot Pot is the best when it’s cold outside!!!

I got my cervical screening (aka pap smear) and await my results.  This normally isn’t something I’d bother mentioning but given the bleeding between periods over the last year and only when I did exercise/yoga and the fact that my last smear caused me to bleed for 2 days and came back with an inconclusive result, followed by multiple letters asking me to return for another smear, the result of this screening is important.

We bought replacement air and water filters along with some magnetic massaging tools to reduce stress and back pain.

Considering I’ve not gone to yoga for so long, we thought this would be good for my mobility.  And, Tony seems to hurt himself a lot in yoga so we thought this would be good for his recovery.

Only a few days in and it’s affected my sleep a lot.  I have been dreaming multiple, lengthy, vivid dreams each and every  night so I’m waking up more tired than when I go to sleep.   I can’t say if it’s good or bad just yet.  I would say definitely that it’s different.  As for mobility, I can’t yet tell if it’s changed anything.  It has only been 3 days so, it’s too early to tell.

We also went to a 1 hour introduction to meditation.  We didn’t learn to meditate.  We just learned about what it is and how it works.  Basically, the intro was to tell you that you have to pay for a course to teach you how to do it.   So now the choice is ours.  Pay to have someone teach you or, work it out for yourself.

We also tried some buttered softshell crab yesterday.  It was really good. I have no idea why but it was fried with cornflakes, chilli, garlic and lemongrass.  Cornflakes for extra crunch I guess.

2 weeks back and we still haven’t even reviewed our photos of our holiday.  Sorry, too much other stuff going on 😉

I’m thinking now that we just have to post everything as it happens or it will never get posted.  I will attempt to put more photos into my blogs too 🙂

See you next week xx

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More detailed thoughts on Paris & Rome – if you’re interested

I suspect the sitter picked them up a lot.  She said she does it with ALL her rabbits.  I thought it would get the boys used to it but I think what happened is, Paris is great at rejecting and if you bug him enough he will bite, on purpose.  So, I reckon, he rejected her one too many times and so she left him to his own devices meaning, she stopped picking him up.  He would have loved that and it would also mean a lot less stress for him.

Rome however, is curious and he’s quick to forgive and will continue to approach you, even if you’ve scared him or done something to him he doesn’t like.  The result is, this could easily be seen as an invitation for hugs, meaning being picked up and patted all the time.  I could see this stressing the bejesus out of Rome and the stress would definitely make him lose fur and weight.

The only other thing is, he can and will drive you up the wall because he likes to chew on everything.  If he destroyed her things because she wasn’t watching him, she could have gotten angry at him and any yelling or hitting would have definitely stressed him out.

When we got him back, he really didn’t look like himself.  He was so scruffy, constantly losing fur (even though he’d already done a moult when we first took him to the sitter) and he was skinny and completely scatty.  I am grateful we got him back in time to stop any further decline.

The other thing is, when we brought the bunnies to the sitter, she wasn’t ready for them and so we had to leave them in their carriers so she could set them up.  We suspected that by leaving the carriers, she would use them (rather than putting them aside until we arrived to pick up the bunnies) and were ready mentally to receive the carriers, not in their brand new conditions (we keep, maintain and respect all our belongings so they stay looking new for a long time).

When we got them back, she’d thrown the quilt I put into Rome’s carrier saying that “He’d scratched it all up and messed it all up and so it couldn’t be cleaned anymore and so I threw it.”  She instead replaced the quilt with newspaper and hay.

I wondered how the hell Rome could do that when he’s never destroyed any quilt we’ve given him in his life.  Also the bunnies are toilet trained so they actually have never pooed in their carriers EVER no matter how long you keep them there (and they’ve managed 3 hours).  They have managed to pee but that was before they were neutered so it was a territory thing but definitely no pee since being neutered.

But we gave her the benefit of the doubt….  until we threw out the newspaper and hay and found shit underneath it all at the bottom of the carrier.

It wasn’t rabbit poo.  It smelt like stinky, leaked-out-of-a-nappy baby poo… ie cat or dog pasty, soft but solid enough to make a clump diahorrea.  We had to clean that and we were insulted that this is what she gave us back.  No I know why she threw the quilt.  Rome was sitting in that the entire time going home!  We were not impressed.

That smelly disgusting shit we had to clean from Rome’s carrier definitely made up our minds about not using this sitter again.  We don’t know what animal it was but whatever it was chewed up and broke all the inside of the carrier too.  If it was a rabbit, it was very sick and irresponsible that the sitter would expose our rabbit to that disgustingness.

The search is on again for a new sitter.

As for the vet, I spent a day researching for a new vet because our old / original one was attached to the pet store we bought the boys from and it was quite far from us.  It involved 10 mins to walk to the station,  20-30 min train ride,  and 20-30min walk from the station along a freeway, to the vet and then the trip back.

After we did this once we realised it was too stressful for the boys and so each time we went, we’d have to hire a car, making each vet visit quite expensive.

I found one “closer”.  It involves a 2 min walk to the bus stop, a 30-40min bus ride and a 2 min walk from the bus stop to the vet.  Again, we thought this might be too stressful for the boys.  I didn’t realise how many sick people ride the bus and just how bumpy it was!!!  So we caught an Uber back which still took 30mins but at least it was much quieter and cheaper than renting a car.

The other reason for changing vets was because we weren’t confident in our old vet’s knowledge about rabbits.

The last time we took them for a vaccination, she broke the needle in the middle of injecting Rome with vaccine.  You should have seen his eyes.  They don’t make noise when they’re hurt.. but you can see it in their face.  😦

She was also the same vet that advised us to keep the boys together during puberty and refused to neuter them after she inspected their testicles saying they were too small.  The extended testosterone-filled time together resulted in their bond breaking and us now having to keep the bunnies separated for life.

Actually, rabbits have the ability to pull their testicles in (like Sumo wrestlers) to avoid them getting hurt when they run and jump through thorny bushes and things.  So of course it’s going to feel small – when she starts poking around there, they’d definitely pull it all in.  Anyway, she was about to turn us away again after the 2nd time I called to ask again for neutering, (2.5 months later mind you!!) because “they were still too small” until you see the lightbulb turn on in her head when she realises… but of course!!!   If she had realised this the first time, oh how different our lives would be, but it’s too late now.  The damage has been done.

So this time, I  made sure to get a vet that was recommended by the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund).  Vets have to apply to get onto the RWAF Rabbit Friendly List, they are also surveyed before approval onto the list and then given a silver or gold rating (or not at all).  We have many vets much closer to us but none of them were on the list, hence my choice to go a bit farther.

This visit was actually more pleasant.  I don’t think the bunnies were comfortable with being poked and prodded but at least she didn’t cause any extra pain or fear than necessary (injections are always scary – I hate them!) and she knew what she was doing.

Good news for the boys is, all things going well, they shouldn’t need to go to the vet again until next year for vaccinations.

2018 Week 1 Summary

It’s been non-stop since we got back from our holiday.

Paris & Rome
Jetlagged, we had to pick up the bunnies from the sitter, get all their areas set up and ensure they were settling down ok.  I thank God that I ordered food and hay before we left for hols.

The only problem was Rome was particularly skinny and both bunnies were very stressed.  Paris settled down within 24 hours and was jumping around and happy.  Rome however decided to give me a 3 day strop.  I suppose it’s to teach me a lesson for leaving him.

I should have known he would be like this.  He is, after all, the one that nips you on the ankles if you decide to pat Paris before him.  Except I didn’t know and I couldn’t tell if his behaviour and weight loss was due to anger and stress or if he was actually sick.

He was eating and drinking lots of water though so I just fed him extra to fatten him up, watched him closely and by the 3rd day, he’d returned to his normal happy self.

How do I know he was angry and not sick?  Because he completely tore apart a grass ball he’s only occasionally played with since getting it in March 2017.  Within 3 days he turned it from a ball into a few bits of tangled grass.  He bit and dug at it with fervour.

The nail in the coffin was when he jumped onto my head via my face while I was lying down on the floor.  He has always been mindful and respectful of our heads and faces and has never put his claws near them, opting instead to jump on our backs, tummies, legs, shoulders etc.  As soon as his claws dug into my face and scalp when he could have just walked around, I knew there was something wrong.  He went back to normal after that which is how I knew he did it out of anger.

How else would a non-verbal animal show you how much you hurt and upset them?  As soon as he saw how much it hurt me, the anger stopped and he returned to normal.  Cheeky little bugger.

I’ve also spent a  whole day researching vets and trying to find one that is
a)  close to us and easier to get to (our original vet required a very long walk from the train station or hiring a car every time we needed to take them)
b)  rabbit friendly/savvy – rabbits, although the 3rd most kept pets (after dogs and cats), are still considered exotic and unfortunately not many vets know anything about them.
c) competent – after looking up reviews on google and facebook I’ve realised now that there are many vets who misdiagnose or will only diagnose after you’ve agreed to very expensive blood tests etc.   Money before welfare?  Take in a patient even though you don’t know how to deal with them?  Doesn’t fly with me.

I’ve found a new vet.  Fingers crossed they’re good.  They were recommended by the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) and booked both bunnies in for vaccination tomorrow.  I wasn’t expecting them to be available at such short notice.  Our old vets said they didn’t have availability until next week (Sat).  Being able to register and book them in within 24 hrs is a  good sign.

Oh these bunnies are gonna love me.  Not even a week home and already we’re taking them to get injections!!  I wonder if Rome will decide to jump on my head again.  :/

House Stuff
No time for resolutions because our boiler wasn’t working as soon as we arrived and coming from the Philippines (which was 30’C) and Hong Kong (which was 20’C) to freezing cold (-5’C – 0’C) London was a shock to the system.  Can you imagine 0’C and we had no hot water or heating?

I actually turned on the oven and started boiling water on the stove so we could wash dishes (no fun washing dishes in icy cold water) and to warm up the lounge a bit.  We both went to bed without having a shower.

We actually both curled up under the covers while wearing our thermals and socks.  I was still wearing my down feather jacket.  All I could think was this is what a homeless person trying to keep warm in a nook with a cardboard box would feel like.  It just wasn’t happening – you just can’t get warm!!!

After a whole day of being cold and jetlagged, I pretty much got angry and told Tones to work it out and sort it.  He finally got it sorted and we had heating and hot water again after a day.  If that didn’t work I would have called a gas engineer.

The only reason why I didn’t call one straight away was because we knew it was a simple fix.  Re-pressurising a boiler is something everyone can do, it’s just the method that usually worked, wasn’t working and it took me getting really angry and telling him to look it up and sort it for Tones to do anything about it.  Why didn’t I do it?  Because even on the ladder, I can’t actually reach the filling loop – yes, I’m too short.

To top this off, our washing machine pump stopped working just before we left for holiday which meant clothes we used and were unable to wash before the holiday were still dirty and we had to add to it a pile of dirty holiday clothes.

Tones and I spent some time trying to work out how to clean out the pump, remove water from the machine etc. etc. but nothing we did fixed it and I had to call someone to come and sort it.

However, nobody can turn up until next week meaning our washing is just piling up like crazy.  I have now been attempting to do the laundry using the machine but manually (as in, catching water with a bucket and pouring it into the sink) emptying it out every time it’s required, which is about 3-4 times per wash cycle, approx. 3 buckets each time.  I know, laborious.

It’s taking me 3 hrs to do a wash that would normally take 1.5hrs but I feel this is easier than carrying a whole bunch of washing 10-15 mins walk away, sitting there and waiting for the whole wash cycle to finish and then carrying all those wet clothes back.  Come to think of it, it would take the same amount of time but at least I don’t have to carry it all.  I’ve done it before.  Wet clothes are really heavy!

At least, I’m still slowly getting through the huge pile of dirty clothes.  Clean socks and undies are important!!  Anyway, next time you so casually do a load of laundry like it ain’t no thang… spare a thought for me.  I tell you, I appreciate washing machines a hell of a lot more these days!

Joy & Tones
Tones is back to the daily grind and has been stroppy because he’s been tired.   He’s been tired due to lack of sleep.  He’s not sleeping well because the neighbours are noisy sometimes and I’ve been snoring.  I’m still sick from holidays.  Other than that, he’s been well.

I’ve reopened the online store and had to deal with so many enquiries including someone who kept saying they didn’t receive their item until I sent them a screenshot of the tracking to say that not only was it delivered but that they signed for it.  I’ve been waiting for a response and got none.  Seriously…. if there’s one thing I hate, it’s people wasting my time.

I’ve also had to book in a cervical screening for myself.  I’ve already done one last year but it came back inconclusive and they’ve requested I do another one.  This isn’t the best news.   Normally it’s just straight out positive or negative.

This hazy area could mean there’s something else wrong with me but it could explain why I’ve been getting sick a lot in the past year, feeling lethargic and why I’ve had to give up going to yoga too.  I was bleeding after every yoga class, to the same degree as the intensity of the class.  The more intense the class, the more I’d bleed, so I stopped going altogether and low and behold, the bleeding stopped too.  Still…. moment of truth this one…. cervical screening is next week.  I just hope the time out did the trick.

In other news, I’m working out how to eliminate mammals from my diet.  I’ve been yo-yoing around this issue of meat-eating out of habit and my own pleasure vs the life-long suffering and long, drawn-out and painful deaths of animals, for years.  It’s an internal struggle.  My love for food vs my love for animals.  There’s much more to be said but I’ll leave it for another time.

I’d tell you about our holiday but this blog is already very long.  So it’ll have to wait until next time  too 🙂

See you next week x

New year’s Resolution for 2018

I don’t make new year’s resolutions. Tony and I stopped making them a while ago.

I remember distinctly making vision boards and we even decorated an arrow that we had written our intentions on, as part of an exercise we did during one of the many personal development seminars we went to.

I remember just as distinctly looking at my life and seeing that none of the things on the vision boards or decorated intentions had come to fruition, not even after years and years of staring at them on our wall.

I remember making goals and just not accomplishing them, for one reason or another.

I remember feeling completely disillusioned with myself and my lack of results, tearing down my vision board, breaking my arrow and throwing it all in the bin. If I could set it all on fire I would have. I also remember declaring that from that day forward I would never waste money on personal development, rah rah seminars and goal setting type events ever again because they just didn’t work. That was around 2010.

Fast forward to 2018 and as per the title of this blog, I’ve changed my mind and am  going to make my first resolution in years.

That resolution is to live my truth.

To me, that means speaking the truth to myself (and others, even if it hurts) and honouring whatever that is.

It will involve learning to discern between the truth,  a lie, an excuse, an opinion, an ill formed belief, or a mask that hides the truth.

It will involve knowing my self and giving that self permission to be.

It will involve trust and listening to intuition.

It will involve taking action on things I might not usually do.

It will involve knowing what is important for the self (including failure, challenges and working through problems that feel unsolvable).

It will involve thinking of others,  of family, of society and the impact of my decisions on all of those. 

It’s a big resolution but one I feel I’m ready for.

The goal is to be integrous and congruent.  The goal is to evolve. The goal is to be my best self and to help others do the same. 

Alright 2018. Let’s do this.

 

 

Merry Christmas (Plus our Christmas Letter) To You!

I’ve received Christmas letters each year for about 3 years now and as each year passes, I receive more and more Christmas letters.  I love them!!!

This totally inspired me to write one of our own but in my non-traditional way, I’m writing it on this blog and sending it to you electronically.

What is a Christmas letter for those of you who have never seen or received one?  It’s a one page letter that’s often enclosed within a Christmas card, telling you of all the highlights for the year, in the lives of the sender and the members of their family – a general update for the year.

It’s such a nice way to catch people up with what you’ve been up to, especially your nearest and dearest and the ones you don’t see often as you’re living far away from each other.

My only problem now is how to succinctly write it so it all fits in just one page.  Let’s see how I do!!  😉

And so without further ado, here is our Christmas letter to you:

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Dear family member / friend (or enter your name here),

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from London!  Wherever you are in the world, we send with our message lots of love, hugs and warm wishes to keep your hearts filled for the coming year and beyond.

2017 has zoomed by very quickly for us and the whole year was one of many transitions, lots of healing and family.

Paris & Rome
We started the new year welcoming home our new furbabies, whom we named Paris and Rome.  We went from being childless to being parents to two beautiful, naughty and cheeky rabbits, overnight.

The transition was enormous and difficult.  All the additional chores, vets appointments, toilet training, feeding, cleaning, personalities and just having to constantly think of the wellbeing of two beings other than ourselves, who are dependent on ourselves, was a huge learning curve but being able to share in their joyfulness and zest for life has been very rewarding.

They’re also very therapeutic for Tony.  He comes home and sits, pats and chills out with them every day, perfect after a hard day’s work.

They’re now neutered, toilet trained, well behaved for the most part and will come when called by name (if in the mood) and they’re both trained to stand on 2 legs when you say “up”, take two steps forward while standing when you say “walk” and they spin around (on 4 legs)when you say “spin”!!  Paris also hops inside his hutch when you say “bed time” and when you say “are you ready to go to bed Rome Rome?  Come on then!” he’ll run to his litter so we can pick him up and put him back in the hutch.

❤  Argh!  They’re too cute!

Tony
After changes within management at the beginning of the year, Tony’s love for his job diminished to it becoming unbearable.  So, Tony quit his job at the end of May and we spent the next 3 or so months vegetating on the couch watching every season of every TV series known to man.  We also did multiple movie marathons to the point where I don’t know what any of the movies were called and they’ve all merged into each other!  Some we even watched twice because I could no longer recall if we’d watched them or not.

We definitely both regressed to our previous university student selves during that time but at least we got to enjoy lazing about on hot summer days and even enjoying a picnic now and then.

The long break also got Tony to refocus, get clarity of mind and search for something he really wanted to do and by the end of August, he found a job that he really enjoys with competent, intelligent and friendly people, challenges he likes taking on and pay he’s happy to get up for every morning.  For the detailed people out there – he’s now leading a project implementing a financial system worldwide, for a commercial installations and fittings company.

Me
I reduced my time on my online retail business to a half hour a day and focussed more on keeping the bunnies feeling safe, happy and healthy in their new home and Tony sane and upbeat during a time of uncertainty.  I also transitioned us from using a lot of chemical products to all natural.  I now make all our personal care and household cleaning products and even our perfumes.   We’re about 90% of the way to being all natural and chemical free!

Cutting down my focus on my online retail business was also a decision I made after a horrific customer ordeal where I was threatened with all sorts of defamation and prosecution over a period of time.  All unfounded but nevertheless stressful to deal with.

This event got me to re-evaluate where my time and energy are better spent and the rest of the year has been introspection, restrategising and personal development for me.  More so than usual!

Highlights
We finally got to visit the Archbishop of Canterbury’s gardens and library (Lambeth Palace Gardens) which are open to the public once a month (on a weekday) over the summer.  The palace and gardens included a 400 year old fig tree and tiny doors made for small people like me!!  That’s because people were as small as hobbits back then.  I would be considered tall for a woman in the 1800’s 🙂

We  did Hip Hop classes for a few months.  They were actually very fun and the first dance classes Tony has attended where he actually wanted to go back over and over.  They were challenging but a really fun way to do exercise and a great way to improve hand-eye coordination and cross-brain activity.   Plus we got to bounce along to some funky tunes.  I did feel my age though because the only song I knew was a Luther Vandross tune that one the teachers called “OLD Old School.”  Did he really have to say old twice?!  😛

Tony’s cousin and her children also graced us with their presence, visiting us from Hong Kong, during their school holidays and we enjoyed spending time with them including a lovely day in Cambridge, punting on the river, eating ice cream and getting a personal guided tour inside one of the colleges at Cambridge University.

I reconnected with my brother and we have spent once a week, every week, chatting and focussing on small changes on ourselves, to improve our emotional well being.  In healing modality terms, we spend each week clearing at least one thing.  The result has been subtle if you are looking from the outside but astronomical feeling it from the inside.

This year we’ve had friends move away (Simon & Ange) but we’ve had new ones arrive (Simon & Emily) and in more recent months we’ve had a visit from friends from Australia and we had lots of fun connecting and eating with them, rekindling old friendships and making new ones (Yuana, Jamie, Zarah).

Christmas & New Year
The bunnies are going to stay at a 5 star bunny hotel.  Crossed fingers the bunny sitter is everything she advertises to be.

Tony and I are off to the Philippines and Hong Kong.  Our first holiday in a year (if you don’t count the 3 month hiatus).

My Lola (how you say Grandma in Filipino) just passed this year and so I will visit her grave at the place where she raised me from age 6 months -4 yo.  I will also spend time with both sides of the family including my only living grandparent left,  my Ama (how you say Paternal Grandma in Chinese/Fukien), a strong, flamboyant woman whom I share a birthday with!  None of my extended family have ever met Tony and he’s never been to the Philippines so we have new adventures awaiting!

We are spending Christmas in Hong Kong with Tony’s grandmother who is 98/99 years young.  It will also be the first time in about 20 years where Tony and his other 3 male cousins who are of similar ages, will be together at the same place, at the same time.  They’ve all grown up in different continents but have somehow maintained a close bond with each other and their grandma.  To top this off, their spouses, siblings, all their children and their parents have also made the trip.  There will be a few family members who haven’t been able to make the trip but in any case, this will be a very special reunion.  A 4-generation family Christmas.

New Year’s will be spent reuniting with our furbabies in London, celebrating the 1 year anniversary of us all becoming a family.

And there it is – my very first (of many, I hope) Christmas letter.

Hope it finds you and your loved ones happy and healthy.

Wishing you a wonderful year ahead full of love, evolution, healing and wonderful memories in the making.

With lots of love,

Tony & Joy xox

Considering Travel Vlogging Again

Back in 2010 Tones and I documented by video, our trip to Tenerife.  It was our first travel vlog.

We had a lot of fun doing it but it took up so much time to edit and put together videos and pictures in a way that made sense for us, finding music that wasn’t copyrighted but appropriate, making sure place names were correct, ensuring the video was a decent time (try compacting 24 hours into 3 mins),  etc. etc. etc.

Also it was with 2010 technology and neither of us were really up to speed on any kind of complicated video and photo editing (nothing’s changed except maybe the technology now has made it much simpler).

When we went to LA at the end of that same year, we videoed a LOT of it thinking we could do it all again as per Tenerife but it just didn’t happen.  Tones and I started arguing over what to include and how to put it together.

We got one video done and it was all over.  We also got a little overambitious because we also wanted to vlog on outings we’d done like when we went out to Bray to eat at Heston’s pub (The Hind’s Head), other restaurants we went to and all sorts.

With each passing day / week, we became inundated with so much video footage it just became all too overwhelming.  Besides all that, as each week passed, our memories of the events became foggier and foggier.

We hardly ever fight but this video editing thing was making both of us really frustrated.  It was a whole lot of added work to everything we were already doing.  Then if I wanted to put things together one way and he wanted to do it another, we’d both start snapping at each other, loudly, and with lots of swearing.  Fun times.

We’d be spending hours on one video and then trying to get it into a format that would upload on YouTube properly.

There were times where we’d both be happy that we completed a video, go to upload it and the sounds disappeared or the sound quality would just be awful or somehow the sound and picture would be off timing.  Super frustrating.

And so we stopped.  Just like that.  Stopping was good for our marriage.

But you know what?  I still remember that Tenerife trip which we took over 7 years ago and if I don’t, I just have to look back at the videos we put together and it jogs many memories even when those moments weren’t on the video.

I don’t however, remember all the other holidays we’ve taken since then, in as much detail and you know what?  We never actually look back on any photos we’ve taken.  We barely post any up either.

So, now I’m thinking maybe we should try again.  Photos, videos, vlogs and blogs.  Let’s face it, the older we get, the more and more memories we have to hold in our brains.  Perhaps it’s not that we have bad memories but just so much stuff to sift through, that recall takes longer.

I’ve also become wary of how accurate my memory is.  Before it was like photographic and autographic, play by play, second by second recall.

Recently I realised that I no longer have a memory like an elephant.

Recently, I’ve even made up memories in my head like that time when I met someone… that I’d never actually met before and that time where I’d erased all memory of meeting someone who told me that I’d had multiple conversations with her many years ago.  OMG!!!

At least the video won’t lie about such things!!!

If we summarise it all and take the highlights of each trip, we can always just look back on the best bits without relying on our fading memories.  This is the modern day scrap book I guess.

Anyway, that’s my thought process on the vlogging… I do realise, it’s just adding to all the other digital rubbish out there for people to waste their times on… you know, the black hole that is Facebook and the Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole that is YouTube?  Where did the time go?  How did I get here?

But it’s not for them, it’s for us and our memories.

Hopefully, hopefully whatever we share will inspire others to
a) have fun
b) go travel
c) try new things
d) stay connected with us – it’s like a virtual catch up.
e) share experiences – like hey! I did that too when I was there!
f) inspire people to go and have the experience themselves – eg. that looks like fun, I’m going to go there next.

I wonder if Tones and I will start fighting again during the video editing.  I’m hoping 2017-18 technology would make it easier for us.

If we start vlogging and suddenly stop… you’ll know that we chose a calm marriage over editing our digital memories!

Think I’ll talk it over with him and see if he’d be keen to start this again.  There are many benefits even with all the frustrations.

Unfortunately, it’s not something I’m confident in doing on my own.  I’ve turned into my parents when they used to hand over all technology to my kid brother so he could program the VHS to tape their TV program.

Maybe it can be a new challenge for me to take in 2018!  Although I don’t really want to add anything else since I already told myself (and now I’m telling you) that I was going to learn to speak Chinese.

Well, advice on vlogging, which programs to use for video editing, recording equipment etc are all very welcome!!  I know things are quite expensive so I’m going to stick to our old digital camera for now and just aim for improving the technology over time.

Let’s see where this new adventure takes us hey?

Developing Trust

I wish that I could take a picture of him but every time I move, he sits up and opens his eyes to see what I am doing.

I attempted with the camera but when he hears the zoom sound, he sits up and checks what’s going on.  I tried with the phone but zooming on the phone camera is shite and results in a pixelated “WTF is that?” kind of picture.

One day, one day, I will get a good photo of him sleeping and I will show you.  It is the most sweetest thing ever!

It is an honour and a privilege to witness Paris Bunny sleeping because:
a) He is moody.  Sometimes he’ll let you touch him, sometimes he won’t.  Most times he won’t even let you look at him and he sneaks from box to box to keep his “out in the open” time minimal.
b) He is overly cautious.  If you place anything new in his area he will stare at it for ages and then creep up to it halfway and then run away.  He does this process over and over, getting closer and closer until he finally gets close enough and familiar enough with whatever it is to realise it’s not going to hurt him.
c) He is skittish.  Lots of times he’ll run away at the tiniest sound and hide in his box (which is in his hutch) aka his panic room.  In this box, he can’t see you, you can’t see him.  Best of all, you can’t touch him.  The box is small and dark and for him, safe and he stays in there a lot.  It’s his favourite to sleep.
d) Being a prey animal, bunnies tend to sleep with their eyes open so they can see danger coming.
e) To help them escape quickly and run if danger comes, they tend to sleep with all 4 feet firmly planted on the ground
f) They tend to keep their vulnerable parts protected (tummy to ground so you only ever see their back, head close to body so their neck isn’t too exposed).

So… when I glance over to see Paris lying down completely on his side, on his blanket, feet stretched out, exposing his white belly, gently breathing, laying in his hutch (outside of his box), there is an automatic “awwwwwww” that comes out of my heart and a real sense that “We’re doing something right.”

Afterall, a skittish, scaredy-cat bunny doesn’t end up that relaxed just ’cause.

Today, I witnessed him in a deep sleep.  His ears twitched and so did his legs (like a dog shakes its leg when presumably running in their dream).  His eyes were completely shut and then he started tilting his head back and moving his mouth around like he was mumbling or grinding his teeth.

If he tilted back any more he would have ended up rolling onto his back.  Of course, as soon as I moved to attempt a picture he lifted his head and opened his eyes.

Not wanting to disturb him to the point of making him get up and hide, I just sat there in silence and watched him.  Eventually, he closed his eyes again and put his head back down to sleep.  His sleeping position looks so much like that of a human baby on its side!

This is one picture I’ll have to patiently wait to capture.

Meanwhile, I am chuffed with being able to watch him.  He’s basically shown me that he feels safe enough to allow himself to be that vulnerable, in my presence.

He’s not quite like Rome who flops right by my feet if I’m sitting in his area or by my head when I lie down on the floor.  Paris still keeps a distance which is why I’m having so much trouble with zooming the camera!

But to allow himself a deep and blissful sleep even when I’m around does make me a proud furbaby parent.   We are developing trust.  He is happy, healthy, feels safe and relaxed.  That’s all I could want for my furbaby!

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