August 2019: Longer than I expected

Welcome to August

Edited: Yes, I understand that I am now posting this in October, which means this is two months late, but eh, I’m just happy I got this done. Haven’t been feeling this in a while.

Queen Bae
August… feels like a fever.

A fever that’s still happening in September, but that is a story for another day. I’m still not completely back to normal, and considering what happened in July, that’s kind of understandable. Money wise though, things are fairly stable, which is a blessing in disguise. Overall, things seem to have settled into a much more predictable tempo, which is nice.

Letter to self

Favourite pens

One of the things I have been trying to push myself to do is to play with the stationery I’ve been accumulating over the last few months. My favourite pens in August were the Pentel Dual Hybrid Metallics, along with the black notebook I bought from Popular not too long ago. There’s something mesmerising about watching the ink turn from red to shiny green or blue to gold while writing.

I have also been trying to push myself to use the arsenal I have been accumulating since I started this journey. The gorgeous tape here is from a series called Sword which Neko helped me get from this year’s Doujima in Singapore. It’s gorgeous and there’s so much of it, but it is so very pretty! Unlike a lot of washi tape though, it’s actually a bit fragile, so I use it for things I am pretty sure I don’t want to move.

Fountain pen cleaning

Stepping into inks

Thanks to Kakei’s suggestions, I began investigating a way to reuse my fountain pen cartridges while being able to play with inks from ink bottles (which, as we all know, is a deep rabbit hole). This journey made me realise a few things:

  • Sharp needles are very hard to find
    I was looking for syringes and online people were recommending mainly pharmacies (only if you are US-based or in a country where self-medication and injection is not looked down upon as it is here). Turns out Guardian and Watsons, the two biggest chains in Malaysia, don’t stock both the needles and the barrel. If they do, it’s only the barrel, which is more for feeding kids/pets.

    The bear and I suspected this could be because Malaysia had a war on drugs years ago, and having easy access to those needles was probably a bad idea. In the end I found what I wanted in Daiso, of all places. They have a variety of blunt needles that fit my needs, plus made me feel safer.

  • A little bit goes a long way
    Everything in perspective, but a little bit of fountain pen ink can go a long way. I think my cartridges all need less than 2ml (and I think even that is grossly overestimating their capacity) BUT they last me for weeks, even with daily writing. To be fair, I do tend to switch between different pens because of ink colours, but they don’t dry out (which was my biggest worry).
  • Stickerrific sells sample sizes
    Of a number of inks. I got two of them and now I am planning to get the full size of the Kyo-Iro ink: No 3, Flaming Red of Fushimi. This ink was a bit thin when I was using it in the Monami Olika, but when I switched over to the Kakuno it performed admirably.

    Kyo-Iro inks in Monami Olika

    The Soft Snow of Ohara is a very calming greyish-blue, but it’s not quite to my taste. A bit of research reveals that actually reveals that the Flaming Red of Fushimi is kinda dry, while Soft Snow of Ohara is a bit wet, both of which would explain their behaviour in the Olikas.

Enlightenment Ceremony

Family outings

The husband’s family attended Nirvana’s Enlightenment Day, which is similar (if not the same, I can’t tell because it’s all very Chinese-speaking/writing based) to the Buddhist holiday “Ulambana.” It is a day to pray for your family’s ancestors to gain enlightenment and reach Nirvana (so like the Catholic version of escaping Purgatory, as I understand it).

The festival coincides with the Hungry Ghost Month, so as usual, the practices may seem to have blended into each other. Which also means it’s…

Casa Hana mooncake

Mooncake season!

This year it kind of snuck up on me and the husband unawares. I was asking our respective moms if they wanted us to buy mooncakes, but both of them were “no, no need, no one will eat it.” Mooncakes are delicious, but they can also get very cloying very fast, and the husband and me don’t usually take more than one.

Mooncake packaging on the other hand, as you can see, was absolutely beautiful. If I could get just the packaging without the mooncake why yes I would.

Hi Bitna!

I got myself a new phone! There were several reasons for this, part of it being I needed a new one (not urgently, but it was getting to be from a “nice to have” to a “I should start looking at replacement features I want” and then they announced the Note 10 with plenty of features.

I was actually planning to wait but when the husband and I saw the pre-orders we thought it was worth it. Mainly because unlike the previous pre-orders, I would actually use the majority of the items. If you pre-ordered the Note 10, you get a wireless charging battery and the Galaxy buds.

Note 10 Preorder

I have not regretted my decision. There’s a ton of small features within the Note 10 that makes it quite worthwhile to upgrade from my Note FE, including colourful off-screen memo (it used to be only in white on black), to better camera features and upgrades, and a speedier processor. Battery life is also superior to my FE and it seems that the fingerprint sensor, even though it is now under glass instead of a dedicated button, is much more reliable than the FE’s.

Testing Note 10 camera

The stylus upgrades were also quite fun, especially with the selfie function. I just need to remember to press the button to trigger the Air Gestures, otherwise I’d keep thinking it was faulty. :p Overall I think if you’re coming from Note 8 and below, it’s a worthwhile upgrade.

Cats on roof

Now that I’ve written all that, it seems that August wasn’t as empty as I felt it was. And I left out the bit about reorganising my desk, but that’s something I think I’ll write about in the next entry. Onwards to September!

July 2019 update

Leia from Stickerrific

So July was a very eventful month for me. Somewhat. The biggest event of the month led to me getting very little done, work-wise, but I am still here, and I am still able to write, so for that, I am grateful.

Hospitalised

The small mango

For those who aren’t following me on Twitter, Insta or the like, well, I was hospitalised in July. What had begun as stomach pain was actually a huge fibroid. This fibroid had grown to the size of a small mango (my words, not the doc’s), and was pressing down on my other organs, leading to epic pain and helplessness.

I have another entry lined up about the full details about that, but suffice to say, thanks to the small mango, I now have an inkling of what menopause holds for me in a few decades.

Thank you for those who came to visit me while I was warded and those who followed up. I love you all.

Platinum Night Haul

Stationery!

I paid a few visits to Stickerrific for various reasons, including cat therapy. Just taking their photos alone makes me happy. There’s a certain charm and patience about them.

Also I bought new pens. And attended the Platinum Fountain Pen night, which celebrated their 25th anniversary. I ended up getting two Preppys and replacement cartridges at a massive discount (thanks guys!).

Chewie from Stickerrific

Getting up to speed

I still feel like I am moving very slowly. There were a lot of things that happened at work as well – projects coming to fruition, colleagues going on leave, and other things.

I’m just glad that July is over. And yes I know I am posting this end of August but I should have something new coming up soon hahaha.

June 2019 update

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This is one of those updates that are late, simply because life literally got in my way.

Or rather, my “small” mango, but that is an update for another day.

Today however, as late as it is, I want to recap what happened in June.

A reason for this is so that I have a memory of what happened in June, because otherwise I could forget unless a stray photo reminds me. For another, I have not had the inkling nor desire to journal for some time, so this is not a bad way for me to chronicle my month.

Image of pens in pencil case

June was kicked off in a big way by the Popular Bookfest. I went there to check stationery out, not intending to buy more than perhaps a pen or two if I saw something interesting, but as it turns out there were more deals than I expected.

Among the things I got were fineliners I had been eyeing, a Kokuyo pencil case for travel, new editions of the Duo Tone Pentel Gel ink, stickers (but of course) and some unexpectedly cute but super thick washi tape (which I instantly regretted in a “I should have realised it was this big” kind of way).

I had a ridiculous flu (which, in hindsight, makes me wonder if it was a sign of things to come) in the second week of June, but that didn’t stop me from taking my colleague to Stickerrific. Raya Hols are wonderful when traffic is clear (from Jaya One to Bukit Bintang in less than 40 minutes and this is with me getting lost is incredible timing!).

Stationery supplies

I also went to the Bookfest for the second time that same week to pick up the main deal and reason why I wanted to go there in the first place – Kokuyo’s large washi tape cutters were on sale at RM10 per piece. When the original is around RM18 – RM20 it’s definitely a good buy. I also picked up Tombows which I had been meaning to play around with, along with some really gorgeous and nice to use Juice Up pens.

The following week was me clearing my room, followed by celebrating my birthday. This year felt quite chillax compared to the years before, and I appreciated the husband taking me out to lunch and trying Xin Fu Tang with me. On another note, the bubble tea trend which started beginning of June shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. People do need to feed their sugar addiction I suppose (says the sugar addict herself).

Food collage
Actually looking through my photos for June, if there was one word to describe it, the word would be indulge. I took the opportunity to indulge and treat myself, from hanging out with friends to buying things for myself.

Remember I said I went wild with the stationery? I also bought a pair of Xiaomi Airdots (NOT the Redmi, those are black, mine are in white), which is a really nice pair of wireless earbuds. Reason I got them was because the ones I got back in September died. One side of the earbuds went kaput and the seller wasn’t willing to honour the warranty, insisting that if I wanted them to honour it I would need to pay for shipping back to China, so in the end I decided to blacklist them and just get a proper brand name that I would at least recognise.

Nintendo Switch

I was also “encouraged” by the husband to get a Nintendo Switch, which I did after coming across several good deals. Several days later I was told that another acquaintance could have scored me a cheaper one but eh too late.

Collection of cute animal postcards

June was spent in a haze of playing games, good food and hanging out with friends. Work was getting intense though, so I brought along some “friends” to work to make me smile.

As to my small mango well… that’s coming soon!

May Update (very late)

It completely slipped my mind till today, 4 June 2019, that I haven’t done my May write up. If you have me on Instagram or Twitter you may already know that part of this is because…

JENG JENG JENG

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I GOT MARRIED!

Yeah, so when I mentioned that April was a bit hectic, this was one of the reasons why. The story is slightly anti-climatic; we originally wanted to get registered before a certain date to claim Selangor’s Marriage Allowance but we found out the project had been terminated as of November 2018, so it didn’t really matter when we registered.

However, since he was going to be travelling for quite a bit and we have sort of stabilised ourselves with our new routines and such, we decided we might as well get it done now. So we applied to get married in April and selected a nice date in May. Note, this is only the civil registration.

For those who don’t know, Malaysia has a pretty unique (or so I am told) marriage registration system for non-Muslims. It’s a part of a two-step process actually – the first (almost always) is the civil registration.

This is when you go to a National Registration Department (NRD) that can do weddings to register your marriage. Weddings/Registrations held here will always be on a weekday. Alternately, you can also do it at selected Chinese temples, which would allow you to have the event on a weekend. The only thing is you need to bring your birth certificate, just so they are clear that at least one of you is a follower of that religion.

So in April we stopped by NRD, filed some paperwork, and then took that paperwork over to the Temple to register. The temple provided their own Registrar but they needed us to do the initial legwork. Once we booked our date then that was all there is. We just needed to get a pair of rings and done… more or less.

The second half of the wedding is usually the actual cultural ritual. This may be a church wedding, a temple event or the famous Chinese tea-serving ceremony. It doesn’t have to be done on the same day of the civil registration, and in fact most couples opt to do it long after to both minimise costs and wedding chaos.

Registration prep

Took up a lot of time and a lot of space on my mind. I am glad it is over now though. The hardest part was finding rings we liked at a price point we were happy with, because it was either a nice design but really pricey or nice price but old fashioned design.

In the end we found what ticked both boxes at Wah Chan – we have also learnt that yes, you do need to walk into different jewellery shops (even if they are the same franchise!) to find your rings because they all vary.

Journalling high

I… bought quite a few things because there were various sales happening. One of the things I am most glad was buying this huge digital gadget bag with portable dividers for my stationery. Made it easy to carry them around.

** Friends may laugh at me because in June I ended up buying another pencil case to keep my mushrooming collection of pens, but that is an entry for next month.

I also began experimenting with layouts and sticking various things in my journal. There was also very serious considerations of getting a printer, but I think I probably will not unless they go sub RM200 or something for an ink tank model (yes I know this is not going to happen anytime soon).

Having a lot of pens actually made me think of restarting my podcast again. I stopped it due to time considerations (and editing, but holy crap am I lazy at editing despite being a part time voice actress shhhh) but I feel like these pens don’t get enough love and yes, I do really enjoy working with them.

This also means that in the last few journal entries, I have been focused more on writing rather than layout and design, though I have dabbled with a bit of art now and then. Writing is still the most therapeutic form for me, though simple doodles and colouring have also played equal parts, to the point where I actually just draw random stuff in my journal instead of actually writing.

My journal my rules lol.

Junior went missing

In the last week of May, Junior, our family dog, went missing. He was out for his regular walk and never came back. Someone said they’d found him but let him go due to space constraints, and we’ve been scouring the neighbourhood for him since. ;_;

As of today, it’s been approximately 27 days since he went missing. And yes, we did the whole social media and posting of posters thing. Still no sound after the initial message from the person who found him that first night. The other leads did not pan out. 🙁

Actual date this entry is posted?

Yes, probably towards the end of June. Things have been super hectic as I fell sick quite a bit in June and work ramped up to insane levels. There’s organised chaos, and there’s organised chaos. For once I think I will be glad to see June’s out. It was, like most Gemini things, a month of chaos, but May was just the hint of the storm to come.