Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New word.

Jess K (the inventor of the word "short-scooping") coined another amazing word last week, "procrastibaking". Get it out there, even if you don't normally bake, you should, so that you can use this word.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It looks worse than it is.

This is only a normal amount of sliced colby. I call this proof that melted cheese looks much unhealthier than cold sliced cheese. Delicious cheese lava.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Getting real about flowers.

There were two photos from young women on Facebook this morning, of spontaneous flowers from their young husbands. CUTE! But I think I can do better.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rejoice, eaters!

The announcement you have been waiting for!

The new jelssie Eat Street Challenge will commence this Friday night, 25 May. We have decided to eat the cheap half of Dixon Street, i.e. the north side, so it's outside of the really Chinatown bit. There is quite a diverse range of cuisine there, and it is mostly in a Person of Slender Means price range. We shall keep the same time and see how it works, 6.30pm. The first challenge will be at 1 Dixon Street, Arisun, which is Korean food. They seem to do fried chicken pretty famously.

Special invitation to anyone who has never been to Kingsford KESC, to join us in the central CBD location, handy to all and local to none of us. Here is a map. Hope to see you on Friday!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Don't "Ni Hao" me

It's a pet peeve of mine when strangers greet me with "Ni Hao", the Mandarin greeting for hello. Yes, I am Chinese, but no, I am not Mandarin Chinese, so your greeting doesn't win me over. I detest it when strangers do it to get attention. Yeah, I'm really impressed that you can say hello in Mandarin (<- detect the sarcasm), but actually, Cantonese is my Chinese tongue, so try again.

Ok, to be fair, I can speak some Mandarin, but seriously, just because you're Chinese doesn't mean you speak Mandarin. There's bazillion different types of Chinese out there.

That is all.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Winter mornings: difficult.

My morning functionality has dropped to about 15% since I got back from holidays. I'm TRYING to make it as easy as possible for myself: I am choosing my clothes the night before, putting them on the end of my bed before I get in at night, so that when I wake up in the morning I can pull them under the doona and warm them up before I get dressed. Sometimes I get dressed under the doona too, camp dorm style, to minimise exposure to the shock of the cold.

I also have a fridge stocked with salad ingredients in it, to make a sandwich or a salad for lunch. Today I looked in the fridge at my chickpeas and baby spinach and thought "I might buy lunch, just this once" but then overcame temptation, because how pathetic, I'm going to waste money on a salad sandwich in the city when I have the ingredients and the time but I just can't cope with putting stuff in a container.

And last night I resolved to scoot to work this morning, got my shoes and backpack and everything ready, but in the morning I was paralysed with indecision and stayed in bed wondering if I was fit enough, until it was too late to scoot, and I had to catch a nice, warm bus instead.

I used to think I was a winter person, a cold weather person, but I think that was just because I like the clothes, how everyone looks better dressed with long pants and a scarf, or stockings or whatever. I like the appearance of winter, but not, I have now realised, the cold. I do not like the cold.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Being new

Being new at church is hard, even for an extrovert like me, who loves meeting people. It's hard rocking up to a new church on your own and potentially not knowing anyone, especially if you thought church started at 9:30am, not 9:45am, and you sit there like a nigel while people are running after kids or running like headless chooks in order to get ready for church, and it's 20 minutes before someone talks to you. You start to feel strong pangs in your heart as you miss the people and the familiarity of your old church. I can see how people might lapse from being part of a church family if they had to change churches.

Forming new relationships is a two way street. The people there have to be willing to welcome you and talk to you, but you have to be willing to get involved, introduce yourself and make an effort. If you can put up with the initial discomfort of being new, get involved and just hang in there, your new church family will soon be familiar and start to feel like family. That's my strategy anyway.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Multiple punctuation marks

I used to be a person who would use punctuation marks sparingly. One's enough, thank you very much. Then I met someone who would punctuate his emails with multiple exclamation marks!!! And question marks, too??? And then I was converted to using multiple punctuation marks if they were exclamation or question marks!!! I think it just conveys the excitement I would have if I were normally talking to you!!! Don't you think so, too??? Sometimes, I stick to two!!

Of course, I could never do that professionally, but personally, multiple punctuation marks are zany?!?!!

And what's with the dot dot dots...why can't I just stick to one sometimes...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Armed force.

A First Lady
While on holidays a thing that irked me was that my brother walked 3 to 5 steps in front of me. He just couldn't see a reason to slow down and match my pace when I was tired, although neither did he hare off into the distance. He kept pace, just a few meters in front of me. Unless I physically grabbed his arm Austen-style, which actually worked very well. Slowed him down and took some weight off my feet. Those old-fashioned ladies had a clue.

Living in the single moment.

A rare singleness post. Not that there is anything wrong with talking or blogging about singleness, it's just another thing, like sickness or having babies or going grey or being a cyclist. But personally I find that the less I worry about it, the less I worry about it, so I enjoy worrying about other things instead, like culling my facebook friends. (I was overwhelmed by the relief in fb comments of the unculled!) Anyway...

I was looking through the layout for the upcoming Briefing, and skimmed Valerie Ting's article on The 'S' Word. I think this statement near the end sums up how I try to approach life:
"God gives us grace and faith enough for each step—he gives us each day our daily bread, not bread for the rest of our lives. I am not called to envision a lifetime of singleness and force myself to look forward to that, but rather to rejoice in this season of singleness, however long it lasts, and trust God to provide for all my needs."
I know I have a very rich life and I have a lot I can thank God for today, and that's all I need to know. It's a relief to know that I don't have to have ALL my contentment sorted out now, whenever I ponder the rest of my life. Yay, back to not worrying about it!

Monday, May 14, 2012


I've come back from holidays with the realisation that there is a lot going on in my life in Sydney that I don't need. Too many clothes, too many TV shows, that sort of thing. I did not hear any news from Australia while away, and I seem to have missed nothing, for example. Therefore, I am going to black out the news from now on.

Today I culled my Facebook friends. I got rid of a hundred people who were either inactive, had nothing to do with me, or I don't really like them, etc. I know I could just hide them and keep them all without being annoyed or reminded, but why do I need a fake high number of friends I completely ignore? Just get rid of them and have a true number of people I want to be friends with or remember in any kind of active online way.

I also had a big inbox when I got back, but basically none of it was actually work. That was an hour of deleting. So I unsubscribed from all the stuff I like but don't really need to get news about several times a week.

This is like decluttering but of time and mental space, not mess and physical space!

Tender and tough

I've moved away from the east and I'm keen to make connections locally, so I've started going along to my local church. They run a course for newbies to get to the know the pastor and understand what the church is on about, in order for you to work out whether this church is for you.

One thing the pastor talked about, regarding what they wanted to achieve at church, was tender love in encouragement and tough love in confrontation*.

In my experience, when you receive tender love in encouragement at the right time, it is such a balm to the soul. When you receive tough love in confrontation, but at the wrong time, it is crushing to the spirit and you feel so misunderstood and unsupported. When you receive it at the right time, yes, it's a little painful, but you know that person has your best interests at heart, you would do well to heed their words and it is spoken out of love.

It takes wisdom and discernment to know which to use: spending time in the other person's shoes, understanding their lives and the situation they're in, and then making the call. Knowing which love to give at what time is one of the most helpful things you can ever give to a person.

*John Piper uses the same language in The Meaning of Membership and Church Accountability.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

No tv

My tv viewing habits have been highly influenced by the people I've lived with. I've never owned a tv, but there's always been one in whatever household I've lived in. I've watched tv shows with housemates and gotten into Masterchef, Biggest Loser, Dr Who etc etc, but now, in my current household, my housemate doesn't have a tv and I don't think I should buy one because my spare time will soon be filled with study.

I do miss it a little. There are some shows I would like to watch e.g. The Voice (but only because everyone talks about it), Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and Community.

TV can be a great tool for unwinding and entertaining as well, but I've found not having one is a good excuse to invite myself over to people's places to watch it :) I haven't actually done that yet, but I am slowly compiling a list of people who've agreed to have me over for tv, which might be a nice way to hang out with introverted friends.

My dad offered to buy me a tv and I asked for a smartphone instead. He said, "No, tv only." So you see, if I had a choice, I'd receive a smartphone over a tv, but if I had to pay for a tv out of my own pocket, I'd get a tv over a smartphone because I would buy a cheap tv!

However, if I start reacting like this after a while, I may get a tv:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Singing in Africa not quite what I expected.

I played the piano at church in Africa this morning, it was quite difficult. Its not a strongly musical church, only one fellow who plays the keyboard and sings, so was very keen to have a tiny break while I played. It was a good experience but jolly hard work:  I couldn't hear myself too well. The only buttons i could press on the keyboard are the keys, so everytime I went to play i had to get the chap to turn it back on for me, or get off the string sound. My regular fills and intros confused people so after the first song I dropped fills in favour of a short pause and played simple tune intros. The sustain pedal actually did the opposite, ie, the keyboard naturally sustained and the pedal cut the sustain when I pressed it. And there was no song leader, other than the service leader who was as soft as me. I've never appreciated a song leader so much as I do now. The congregation literally hijacked the tempo because of a few loud slow singers who slowed everyone down and I had to slow down to play with them. God bless all you song leaders.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

No smartphone...yet

Jess and I do not own smartphones. We just use your run of the mill old-school Nokia phones. On prepaid. I've had mine since Feb/Mar 2008.

I'm not against smartphones. They're great devices: I'd enjoy having a camera phone and being able to share images from my day. They're handy and fun. I'm sure one day, I'll get around to owning one. If someone gave me a smartphone, or if I found a suitable plan, I'd probably jump ship immediately. However, I'm not getting one for the time being, and here are the reasons why.
  • Cost: it's hard to find a smartphone on a good value plan. Call rates will always be more expensive than my cheap, cheap prepaid rate. That's all I essentially need my phone to do: make and receive calls and texts. Anything else is a bonus. Also, plans package the illusion of giving you lots of calls, but the call rates are inevitably significantly more expensive. This mobile and data phone plan looks good though, I just need a smartphone to go with it.
  • Commitment: I really dislike the idea of being locked into a two year contract, because two years is a long time for technology and over that time, prices will drop and even better deals will come out. I dislike the idea of being tied to a carrier at a paticular price rate. I want the freedom to move to a better service provider. I know if you take that argument to the nth degree, it'd mean you'd never buy technology, but I just feel at this point in time, it's not worth making the switch. Even worse if they lock the handset to the network. My other option is buying a handset outright, which is $460+ if you're looking to buy a Samsung or iPhone, and I don't want to pay that much right now.
  • Fragility: I have seen so many cracked smartphone screens. Every time I've dropped my Nokia, I've been able to put it back together again, no problems.
  • Time: this one is related to the cost one. Doing your research (e.g. finding a good value plan, picking a model etc) is time and energy consuming and I can't be bothered. 
  • Charging time: I only charge my phone once or twice a week. People at work charge their phones everyday at work because it otherwise wouldn't last the day. That would be a small annoyance, having to carry a charger with you everywhere you go, charging whenever you get the chance.
  • Engagment: knowing what I'm like, I reckon I would spend too much time on my phone surfing the net and checking social media. Instead of engaging with the world I'm presently in, I would just spend time playing with my phone. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing people over-engage with their phone, rather than with people around them.
  • Smart phones are big. I know, I know, I know by nature they have to be, due to their functionality, but hey, they're still big. 
  • iPod touch: I have an iPod touch and it fills in the smartphone gaps, somewhat. Nowhere near as convenient or as advanced as an iPhone, but it fills in the gaps.
  • And the final reason, to show you the extent of my paranoia: no-one's ever gonna mug me for my Nokia :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dropping in.

Cathy has shared some interesting thoughts about an interesting thing: the simple act of "dropping in". It's something I find quite hard to do, it crosses a boundary I feel shy about crossing, but maybe a little bit of boundary crossing goes a long way. So it's worth reading.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Libraries are for minimalists

Libraries are so awesome, especially for a wannabe minimalist like me. You get to enjoy stuff without keeping it! Woo! Libraries are such a vital part of the community, I'd happily pay an annual fee to join one. If I were building a community, I'd make sure there was a well-stocked library, alongside an playground/exercise park and meeting halls (for church and stuff).