An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Mama Chronicles: 6 things I’ve learnt about being pregnant

1. My body is no longer mine

Other than the fact that it’s changing shape, growing a human does strange things to your physiology. For me, the scariest is how my pancreas started shutting down or stopped working like it should. I became insulin-deficient and also suffer from hypoglycemic shock – the kind where I start shaking, start becoming incoherent and require chewing of glucose tablets. If I faint or blackout, I not only risk physically hurting myself if I hit something but oxygen to my foetus would be cut off. I’ve been told it’s the pregnancy hormones that take over and things can get crazier as the pregnancy progresses.

I have also willingly become a human pin-cushion and at one point, was going in and out of clinics several times a week (for several weeks in a row) to get my blood drawn for tests. I now stick needles in myself 6-8 times daily. Forget about the pregnancy glow and how pregnant mamas should eat everything they crave because they’re eating for two. I struggle on a daily basis to eat and live properly on a very basic level. This blog used to be frivolous and I really enjoyed being all about “hey! This is what I’m wearing today” but you know, when you’re obsessed about just getting medication inside you at appropriate intervals several times a day, that’s the last thing on your mind.

These days, I look like I have black inky fingers all the time, but they’re actually bruises from the needles. Bruises also appear alongside red welts around my belly when I hit some capillaries by accident when giving myself a shot. T’s a sweetie pie but also a pragmatist and not exactly the smoothest guy around. He would sing to me while trying to coax me to stick the needles in BUT he would also tell me straight up “if you don’t, our baby will die. You just have to do it.” And while I still struggle to, I do it. Because my body is no longer mine.

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2. Wonky emotions, alert!!

More than ever, my emotions run amok. Mood swings, irrational crying episodes. You name it, I’ve got it. Before we got married, T already knew I cry so well. But each time I get pregnant, he braces himself for the craziness that ensues. Our dog is so cute – cry. Why did I fall off the stationary bike – angry. This food is so delicious – cry. Why am I eating toilet paper – cry… angry… cry… It’s true. I ate toilet paper (but that was the last pregnancy) and I couldn’t stop myself even though I knew it’s crazy, so I just kept crying and got really furious with myself all at once. It’s nuts but a story for another time. Maybe.

With a history of depression, my perinatologist has advised that I should seek help if I feel like I need it. Despite what you might think, doctors feel that in general the benefits of psych meds outweigh the harm in this case. I’m lucky that T works from home so he’s around me all the time. For some unexplained reason (pregnancy hormones obviously), I refused to get out of the car for our OBGYN appointment last week. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the fear that they will give us bad news again and our baby is dead. I remember telling T that maybe if I don’t get out, we’ll never know. Like Schrodinger’s cat, I said. I would rather carry around a dead foetus than have to digest another tragedy. It was irrational. I can see that after the episode was over but my judgement was so clouded at that moment, it was rather frightening.

Also I’ve had friends with postpartum depression and I know how real it gets. So even if we manage to survive the pregnancy, post-delivery is another battle that might await us.

3. Pregnancy Brains is REAL

T read somewhere that pregnant women’s brains shrink. Have no idea if that is true but in general, I feel like my body is being overworked so resources are spread thin. Did you watch that episode of How I Met Your Mother where Lily found a melted ice cube tray in her handbag? I lose concentration very easily and my short term memory is fuzzy. Just 2 weeks ago, I came home and hunted for 4 bottles of hand soap I distinctively purchased. Checked the receipt and it was there. I remember being handed all my groceries and sundries, walking to the car, unloading everything from the supermarket trolley… and everything was a blur after that. I seriously don’t even remember driving home.

4. The Bane of Bowel movements

Okay, not just bowel movements but in general, excretion of waste. I pee every 15 minutes or so but I rarely poop. One night, T heard me go into the loo and he fell asleep while I was halfway through my pee. When he regained consciousness, I was still peeing the same pee. And upon my return to bed, he remarked “Wow! That was a super long one!”. Yup! They tend to be.

Also about 2 months ago, I had to do this test where I was required to collect 24hrs worth of all the pee that came out of me – the clinic gave me a gallon jug and a collection trough, I had so much pee within the 24-hr period that I had to throw the last few away because the jug was full before the 24 hours were up. Obvious conclusion: I pee more than a gallon worth a day.

On the flip side, pregnancy hormones slows down your digestive system and everything becomes super sluggish. What this means is, while my IBS meant that diarrhoea was commonplace in my life previously, I now barely move my bowels even with a fibre supplement, mild laxative AND stool softener. I do a happy jig and proudly announce to my poor husband whenever I get to poop (which is once every 3-4 days) AND I get insanely jealous when he gets to go while I don’t.

5. Pregnant women get Electrocuted Vagina (or Lightning crotch)

When I first experienced it, I yelped and screamed for T. I thought I was dying. Actually, a lot of pregnancy symptoms made me think I was having a stroke or dying. I described it as electric shocks in my lady parts and looked it up. Other people call it lightning crotch. IT IS A THING!! OH MY GOD! If you’ve had laser hair removal, you’ll know the stinging sensation and it is SO ANNOYINGLY UNCOMFORTABLE in a super sensitive area! I started experiencing this towards the end of my 1st trimester – which apparently is unusual, so I thought it was something else until the doctor said it’s normal.

So I’ve learnt that lighting crotch is related to your nerves being pinched and at a later stage, it’s the baby lying at some weird angle. I started feeling something like popcorn popping inside me about 2 weeks ago and I thought it was bad gas initially. The ultrasound however confirmed that we’ve got a super active baby. We’ve had 3 ultrasounds now and in the last 2, he was kicking and flipping and squirming – he looked like he was headbanging and doing sit-ups (I swear that’s what it looks like). I can only imagine that lightning crotch is going to get worse for me as he gets bigger.

6. It should be called All Day Sickness 

Forget the misnomer Morning Sickness. With all my pregnancies, I was throwing up all day and I typically lose about 5kgs in the first trimester. I carry those free doggie poop bags I collect from the streets and they are always in my pockets, handbag, the car, night stand etc. Somewhere in the middle of January, it got so bad that I actually lost my voice. The bile scratched up my throat so much that I was hoarse and could barely speak. I’m further along in my pregnancy than I’ve ever been now, and it appears to have stopped. “They” whoever they are, say that it usually ends in the 1st trimester. It took me a few weeks longer than that but I haven’t had an episode for a while now. Fingers crossed. Dry heaving maybe once or twice but no actual purging.

This post was actually called “10 things” but I have forgotten what I want to say (see point 3: Pregnancy Brains). Hahaha!

With all of that said, I want people to rest assured that I’m definitely not alone in experiencing these challenges and pregnancy is not a breeze in general.  I’m not complaining and it is, what it is. I’ve learnt that all pregnant women go through a combination of different issues and even if you think you’re so special and unique, you’re most probably not, so don’t be afraid to seek a support group for help – unless you’re like Daffyd Thomas in Little Britain and enjoy it that way.


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Mama Chronicles: So I’m 5 months pregnant 

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You might have figured out by now since I’ve been exhibiting extra mass around the abdomen and have taken on the appearance of a seahorse. I’m pregnant!

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T and I are expecting our rainbow baby in early August. Rainbow babies are those born after previous losses – like the rainbow that comes after a storm. I’ve been very nervous this entire time and have kept things on the downlow until recently. I know some people were offended that I didn’t tell them as soon as I found out but if you understood that I haven’t exactly been in a celebratory mood with all the uncertainties, you’d know why it wasn’t worth sharing yet.

IMG_0978Since January, I not only have my regular OBGYN but also the care of a perinatologist at the High Risk Pregnancy Center. While I’ve been closely monitored over the last few months, I don’t think I’ll stop being scared until the day finally comes and I get to hold our son (with all digits intact and a strong loud wail from his lungs), then will I sigh a huge relief and stop being on tenterhooks. With that said, I’m posting this now because we’ve done many rounds of testing and the doctors are confident this one will survive to full term and appears healthy where they can tell.

At our last ultrasound a few days ago, we saw his spine, counted all 10 fingers and toes on 4 limbs, saw 4 valves in his heart and were reassured that his palate was fused properly. We have another appointment in about 4 weeks for another ultrasound and by then he would have doubled in size for us to see his organs clearly.

IMG_0979Up till a few days ago, T was holding on to a glimmer of hope that we might have a daughter coming to us. We have known for over a month now through chromosomal testing (MaterniT21) that it’s a boy but since there is supposed to be a 2% margin of error, he wanted to wait to see its anatomy before resigning to the fate that his first born would be a boy. His dreams were shattered when the OBGYN confirmed the gender was as accurate as they are and at the ultrasound, we saw his little “pee pee”. Hahahahhaa…

As for me, I have no gender preference. I just hope my child doesn’t turn out to be an asshole. Knowing how difficult I was growing up, I’m also glad that we are having a boy. The idea of inflicting the terror that I was upon myself, is too painful. *koffkoff* Also, it’ll be wonderful if our son will be a copy of T. According to his mom, he was a super quiet and calm child – was super studious, has never gotten into trouble and took several advanced placement classes in high school. He is really smart and went to college to become a Physicist before changing majors to Computer Science because it was more fun – who does that? How is Comp Sci considered easy or fun?! But while one can wish, you can’t plan for these things so… Who knows what our child will be like?

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Anyway, if everything that is supposed to happen happens, then 2015 will be a big year for us. Maybe this is the time when the Universe decides we’ve been put though enough and give us a break. With T’s game coming out in 3 days and my pregnancy thus far, it’ll be a challenging and exciting year!

For now, I have my fingers crossed and am doing my best to follow all the 10,000 things I’ve been instructed to do to grow T’s spawn in me. My pregnancies have been difficult but I’m very motivated to succeed. If you’re religious, please keep us in your prayers…

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Fat-shionista #602

I’ve been covering my legs very often because the weather has been cold. I rotate between leggings and jeans but I suspect shorts would be thrown into the mix soon since the weather is warming up. Spring is so lovely here in Vegas!  

 

What I’m wearing today:

Top: Blue tanktop from OLD NAVY

Outwear: Grey hoodie from OLD NAVY

Accessories: Plastic airplanes necklace (gift from Tamares)

Bottom: Grey & White printed leggings from OLD NAVY

Footwear: Pink glitter sneakers from CONVERSE 

 


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Fat-shionista #601

I’ve been trying out this new look without the eyeliner and if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’d probably have seen it. I ran out of my favourite Maybelline eyeliner and they don’t sell it in the US! I’ve tried similar ones – fine, felt tip and black, but it’s just not the same so I’m just trying to do without it until my new supply comes in when my family comes and visit next…   

What I’m wearing today:

Outerwear: Red plaid shirt from H&M

Top: Crimson tank top from OLD NAVY

Accessories: Crochet rocket pop brooch from TWINKIECHAN; Set of 4 acrylic bangles from PRIMARK

Leggings: Grey/Black geometric print leggings from OLD NAVY

Footwear: Brown bow-tie ballet flats from OLD NAVY


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GDC Mix & PAX East 2015

There’s no turning back now! The game’s launching in a week! EEEKS! Exciting times… and to think it all started when I moved here in 2013. The first time T ever attended a conference or tradeshow for Axiom Verge was Indiecade (September 2013) in Culver City, California. It was something he’s never dared to do because he was afraid. I went with him to that very first one to pitch to different companies and we’ve never looked back since! 2 weeks ago, we returned from touring the game and have been quite exhausted till now. I think we’re picking up wind from the launch of the game being so close too.

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So we left our house in our Jeep – exhibition gear, clothes and our dog, Max. We drove almost 6 hours to Arizona where my FIL lived and spent the night there. From Phoenix airport, we flew out to San Francisco (and left Max with my in-laws). We spent a few days there and got some sight-seeing done on top of the multiple interviews and our showing at a press event called GDC Mix. We didn’t attend the main event – GDC (Game Developers’ Conference) but instead conserved most of our money and energy for the next event. I enjoyed seeing San Francisco. It’s like Seattle but less wet and beautifully green this time of year. Also, we got to hang out with T’s sister when we stayed at her guest cottage. His niece Sophia was the sweetest, most perfect child.

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After a few days in San Francisco, we flew to frigid Boston. There, T’s cousin Patty picked us up from the airport and we were really fortunate that they could house us because we couldn’t get a hotel except for 2 nights. Her son Drew gave up his room for us and bunked in with his sisters for the nights we were there.

T also had his very first 2 Uber experiences there! HAHA!

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PAX East was really well-attended. Because of budget constraints, we almost didn’t show there. T applied for the Indie Mega Booth but for some reason wasn’t selected (maybe they thought 1 guy making an entire game wasn’t indie enough *koffkoff*). At the very last minute though, Phedran tweeted T about the possibility of sharing a space with the Cooler Master guys and it turned out to be even better! We had lines almost all the time even though we had 3 different machines set up – we even went out to Walmart to buy a TV on set-up day to ensure we had enough stations. Very last minute but so necessary.  It was a great experience overall and money well spent, even if we all agree it shouldn’t be held in this frigid weather. Apparently last year’s event was held in April, so I don’t understand why they had to move it. It also overlapped with GDC (another reason why we didn’t do the main event there). But it’s over now and if we have to do another show in snow, I think we might skip the event. Hahaha…

Oh yes, Axiom Verge also won Destructoid’s Best of PAX Editor’s Choice! w00t!

I must say another big Thank You to Dan who made sure there was lots of press coverage and his tireless energy for 3 back to back promotional events (he even went to SXSW Interactive in Austin for us a few days after PAX East ended).

I’m sure I’m missing out on a lot of details from the 12 days we were away from home and moving from state to state but it’s all good, right? With each event, I learn to up my logistical game so T really just has to concentrate on making the game and showing it. I not only pack t-shirts for sale (we accept cash and credit/debit cards using SQUARE) and stickers or buttons for giveaway but we now also have 4 different printed banners as well as an acrylic sign. I also pack extra business cards, 2 extension cables, disinfectant wipes and extra headphones. My key learning lesson from this trip is to pack a chair (and I went out to buy a foldable camping chair when I got home). There weren’t enough chairs to go around so Tom and Dan ended up sitting on the floor whenever they got tired.

But that’s it for now and our next adventure is going to be in Los Angeles, mid-June. We’re planning to head to E3! Hopefully it all works out!


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Support my husband’s game – Axiom Verge

It’s official! Details of the first release of T’s much-awaited game Axiom Verge was announced a few days ago via the Playstation blog. The PS4 version will be out 31st March 2015 for the Americas and 1st April 2015 for Europe.

And just today, they also announced that PS PLUS members get a discount during launch week!

If you know anyone who owns a PS4 or loves metroidvanias or retro-style video games, please alert them to it! It will also be coming out at a later date for PS VITA. T is currently working on a PC release so anyone with a PC around the world can purchase a download from Steam very soon!

As I’ve previously mentioned, video games hold no weight in my life – perhaps a little unfortunate for someone who is married to a game developer. I am happy watching from the sidelines.

In the last few days, I have been following comments on both the US blog post as well as the one for Europe. I then made the mistake of going to NeoGAF to read more. While there are many who are genuinely stoked for the game, there are also countless who argue that USD20 is too much for an indie game. Some assumed indie equated to poor quality when compared with games produced by big studios, some mentioned investment value, some others are just too cheap to pay anything more than a pittance. I don’t know about video games but I have never seen people argue the price down for an album from an indie band. How weird is that?

If you like the game, buy it. If you can’t afford it, don’t.

It made me sad to see people questioning the production value of something I’ve seen being slaved over by one extremely lonesome man for 5 years. If he wasn’t spending all his free time working on it while holding down a full-time job, he worked 12hr days for 7 days a week when he finally went indie full-time.

T is precise and meticulous while at work. He is friendly and considerate to those around him though incredibly shy and introverted. He never set out to create a game just for profit. He really truly loves what he does.

On many a night, he would bring his sketch book to bed – yes, he hand draws the scary stuff you see in the game. On others, he would get up at 2am (hours after we’ve gone to bed) and excuse himself (yes, he’s very gentlemanly that way) to go back up to his office to work, often till daybreak.

The game was the centre of his life – until I moved in and we got married. As a singleton, he worked on Axiom Verge every day after work and on weekends. I was determined to entertain myself despite having no friends here, just so he would still have lots of time to do that. If you know me, that required all the self-control I could muster.

About 6 months ago, he left his day job and dived into the development of the game full time – thankfully, with the aid of Sony’s Pub Fund. But without the security of a regular income or health insurance, we had to be more aware financially. I think we have done pretty decently by being thrifty. My grocery budget for food has been about USD35 a week for the both of us. I cook almost every meal we eat except for the occasional meal out with friends or family. And as you know, I’m now a super bargain hunter – despite how much I love clothes, shoes, accessories and cosmetics I haven’t bought anything full priced since I left my job. I obviously can’t afford it anymore. Also, for the first few months after he left his job, we actually went without health insurance and even had to ration the remaining bit of our medications as well as rescheduled appointments until early this year.

I’ve been poorly of late and I’m breaking the small kitty we have with all my medical bills. My dizzy spells and hypoglycemia induced delirium keeps T on his toes.  On top of that, he had to take me to my countless doctors’ appointments and lab work several times a week while trying to finish the last leg of his game so he could launch it. But life is an on-going challenge for everyone – some unpredictable things happen, some as a result of the choices we make. I’m sure we’re not the only ones struggling and it definitely could be alot worse.

My husband is a man who is not motivated by money. He sold his Corvette in a heartbeat to raise funds to treat our dog when he had cancer. Everyone thought he was crazy and told me to talk him out of it. But that’s the man I married. When he loves something or someone, he does it with everything he’s got. We actually talked about selling our house and moving into an apartment if it needs be. I even took pictures of our furniture for online listing! And you know, I’ve told him that if this game doesn’t sell well and takes him to the poor house, I’m going along for the ride.

The game will do whatever it will do. I haven’t a clue on the gaming industry and have absolutely no insight to this genre at all. The fact that it’s completed and he did it entirely by himself is already a feather in his cap. His education, experience and skills shines through the final product. If it doesn’t translate to real dollars, so be it. I married a man who dared to dream and has put everything on the line to see it materialize. And I would like to reaffirm that his conviction to his craft is not for nought.

There is something super attractive about a man so passionate for his work. I love seeing the joy in his eyes when he is drawing, animating and programming. And I want him to be able to do it for as long as he can. We can always go back to Singapore and I will return to work so that he can stay home to work on his next game while helping to raise our offspring. *Koffkoff*

Anyway, what I understand of the game is that, while reminiscent of the art style in Metroid (also didn’t know what this was until he showed me a few months ago), it controls like Contra (this I know) and is influenced by a whole slew of features in other retro games – ultimately boyhood fantasies from the 80s almagamated.

So anyway, long rambly post over. Please support my husband’s game – Axiom Verge because

  1. This is a game that will entertain you for hours – days and days if you are super thorough.
  2. It is at most only USD20.
  3. T is a sweetie pie.
  4. We’re crowdfunding for diapers!
  5. You are curious to see what I have given up my wonderful life in Singapore for.


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Fat-shionista #600

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Today’s lab work was easy. We were in and out of the clinic within an hour. It was really crowded when we got there and all the seats in the waiting room were taken, so I was really surprised it got to my turn so quickly. I was also glad the nurse taking my blood samples was quick too! 1 needle and 3 vials. No retry needed. Very often, I have to give both inner elbows and also the back of one of my hands. Been told repeatedly how fine my veins are. Also I’ve had blood spurt out from a vein, only then to stop flowing completely. So with the luck I got today, I’m very thankful and it put me in a good mood. The little things count when times are dreary, you know?

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What I’m wearing today:

Top: Black & white striped tank from OLD NAVY

Outerwear: Mint green cardigan from OLD NAVY

Leggings: Grey leggings from OLD NAVY

Accessories: Pink frosted sugar cookie brooch from TWINKIE CHAN

Footwear: Dark Taupe moto boots from MADDEN GIRL

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