Monthly Bucket List August 2014:
1. Make a new friend.
August brought me a new friend in the form of a fellow animal rescuer, Vedra, who I connected with when I saw her appeal for funds to pay the vet bills of a badly abused and injured dog.
(Vedra and the rescued dog. Photo from Facebook used without permission. Kindly do not copy or use without the express permission of the individual in the photo.)
2. Help a stranger.
As mentioned above, I made a cash donation to Vedra for the injured dog she was helping. I wish I had more to give but Aravind and I have enough vet bills to deal with considering the number of TNR cases and injured and ill cats we have been picking up this month.
Project Second Chance had 5 new beneficiaries this month:
This is a pair of formerly stray colourpoint kittens, Sierra and Sienna, who I bathed, cleaned up and treated with Frontline and ear mite solution and put up for adoption with the help of the SPCA (both were rehomed within a week, hurrah!)
Sierra and Sienna: Vaccinated, dewormed and rehomed, hurrah! They will be neutered once they are of age.
In the final week of August, we picked up Chiquita, a stray mama cat, who we have since brought in for spaying and vaccination, and her 2 kittens, Darwin and Belle, who I have also bathed and given the usual Frontline and ear mite solution treatment. All of them are currently for adoption at the SPCA following an agreement I have with the vets.
For spaying and release: Chiquita
For adoption: Belle
For adoption: Darwin
I started volunteering with the Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Society on Tuesday evenings at their community recycling centre this month, and am loving the work and the company.
Sorting recyclable items at the community recycling centre on Tuesday nights.
All sweaty and grimy after spending close to 3 hours sorting and bagging up recyclables with the other volunteers at the community centre.
I also accepted the "Plant A Tree for Groot" challenge and planted these fruit trees from seed, which I will transplant at the Kota Damansara Community Forest and the neighbourhood community edible garden if the seeds do sprout. I will keep sowing as many seeds as I can.
Aravind and I donated blood at the National Blood Bank on National Day, and although I have done this many times before, I believe blood donation always counts as "helping a stranger" because we may never know who the beneficiaries are or will be.
3. Eat something/at someplace new to me.
I ate at 3 new-to-me restaurants this month:
- Old Fuzhou Restaurant in Damansara Kim;
(Brief review: Not a vegetarian restaurant, but a Chinese restaurant with reasonably-priced fare and good service. The staff were happy to oblige when I requested a vegetarian version of a standard dish, and the food, while not exceptional, was tasty and wholesome).
Vegetarian fried vermicelli.
- Appu Uncle Curry House in Petaling Jaya;
(Brief review: This restaurant reopened after several months of closure due to renovations. I have heard many good things about their food and I have to agree with all of them. Service was efficient and the food was delicious. The ambiance was enhanced by the whimsical curry-themed posters.)
The folk-artsy mural outside the shop.
Scrumptious banana leaf meal with fragrant, delicious curries that will haunt your dreams at night.
Witty and charming curry-themed posters.
I parked across the road in front of this succulent bush festooned with crab shells, courtesy of the Chinese seafood restaurant next door. From afar, I had thought it was the oddest plant I have ever seen.
- Acha Curry House, also in Petaling Jaya.
(Brief review: Recommended by my colleague, Vidya. Food was average and there was not much variety for vegetarians and vegans. But maybe this is because we arrived after 2 p.m. and they had run out of most of their vegetable dishes by then. I was rather disappointed both by the lack of variety and the exorbitant bill. For the same amount, we could feast like kings at Appu Uncle or Usha's).
I also tried 2 foods new to me this month:
- Chuppa Rustam at Radhey's Restaurant (Spicy green veggie cutlets with a mint dip);
- and fresh figs from my best friend Nicole.
My Mid-Autumn Festival themed bento with fresh figs.
4. Go someplace I've never been.
No travelling done this month, but I did visit and volunteer at Taman Rimba Riang, Section 9, Kota Damansara, a public park I had previously never been to, as well as the nearby jungle trail.
Also had the opportunity to stop by the new Spotlight store in Ampang Point. The variety of fabrics, home decor items and craft items was pretty amazing. I had to keep reminding myself to think of Mother Earth so that I would not buy things on impulse.
The first Spotlight store in Malaysia, on the 3rd Floor of Ampang Point. Open until 10 p.m. daily.
The tastefully decorated displays entice shoppers to purchase and consume more.
An assortment of Star Wars-themed fabric at Spotlight.
Craft items galore at Spotlight.
5. Learn something new.
This may not seem like much, but I learned how to roll up curbs in skateboarding.
Also, during kickboxing, I learned that you can make your jabs explosive by angling your fist at the point of impact, in a motion we refer to as "pouring the beer". This makes one's punch much stronger than the average straight jab.
6. Declutter and cull 100 items.
I have been decluttering 2 spots in the house each week and removing over 25 items each week for disposal and recycling. In August alone, I cleaned out 6 storage boxes and crates and managed to dispose of, donate or recycle most of the contents of the said boxes. My decluttering initiative is therefore well on track.
7. Give up something for a month.
For all of August, I resolved not to eat after 9 p.m. This is more difficult that it sounds because I work late and go to bed late, and so if I eat at 8 p.m., there is a good chance that I will be hungry again by midnight. However, I notice that when I eat after 9 p.m. I tend to choose less healthy options such as carbohydrate-rich and high-sodium snacks. I decided to cease eating after 9 p.m. to see if it could help me manage my weight.
I did relapse on 4 occasions when I was too hungry to concentrate on work, but I made a conscious effort to choose healthier snack options such as oatmilk beverage and raw vegetable sandwiches, rather than go to the nearest 24-hour food court. My weight has so far remained the same, but I feel less sluggish when I go to bed or wake in the mornings compared to when I snacked on unhealthy food late at night.
This Monthly Bucket List initiative has helped me break out of routines and improve the quality of my life incrementally in ways I never expected it to.