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Books : My 2020 Book Challenge

My goal is 33 books but I finished 50 books instead !

I'm still on Scribd this year and I've been listening/reading to digital books like in the previous years. I don't buy physical books anymore (except for Murakami's Killing Commandatore this year and books for Sofi). 


Here is the list of books that I enjoyed this year :

  1. Breast and Eggs by Mieko Kawakamo
  2. The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd (I cried and laughed listening to this - it is very relatable in this phase)
  3. Kintsugi Wellness by Candice Kumai
  4. Kim Jiyoung Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo
  5. Severance by Ling Ma
  6. This was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews
  7. The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni 
  8. How to Fail by Elizabeth Day
There are some notes about this reading challenge that I want to point out (for me to remember in the future) :

  • In the first half of 2020 I didn't read that much and most books that I listened to were boring (that was why I was a bit demotivated), I think I started listening and reading again after July. 
  • Listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka's Stories by Heather Morris made me open my eyes to the brutality of war and how human is just so, disappointing.. I am grateful to be living in such comfort and having things just enough, but knowing that there are places that still in war makes me reminding myself over and over that this lockdown and Covid situation is near to nothing compared to what they are dealing with at this moment. 
  • I enjoyed The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell so I started listening to Robert Dugoni's Tracy Crosswhite's series (added 7 more books in the list - can't remember the last time I read a long series) - I enjoyed this experience so much because I feel like I've been with Tracy Crosswhite along the way while she was growing up (and now she's in her middle age - her series is still continuing, I haven't read the latest one). 
  • I think this year I am focused on finding myself in between motherhood and career. So I've been reading several fictions and non-fictions related to that. Breast and Eggs, Kim Jiyoung Born 1982 and even A Lover's Discourse and more mother/parenthood-related books. Being a mother put me in an odd place that I'm still adapting so I'm trying to figure out what I'm feeling and where I am in this situation. These books have been an eye-opening experience. 
  • Severance by Ling Ma is a reminder on how bad the post-apocalyptic world can be. It's a satire, dark humour. It felt like a real life (considering we are in the middle of a pandemic and that doesn't mean there's zombies needed in a fiction to make it valid as post-apocalyptic world). Good read during a pandemic.  
  • Note : I love first person narration. I think it is the best way to analyze or observe human's emotion or feelings. Even though it might be fiction, but it still came from a person and I love being connected in such intimate way with the writer. We can't exactly know how people feel based on just looking at their outer presentation, but in writings, it's just there like an open book and ready to be consumed. 

The book list that I read/listened to this year is here. There are books that I didn't enjoyed or finished as well (the ones that I didn't finished are not in the list though). 


If you are like me and currently in the phase of searching for yourself since you've become a mother, you can read these books :

  1. Breast and Eggs by Mieko Kawakamo
  2. The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd
  3. Kim Jiyoung Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo
  4. How to Fail by Elizabeth Day
  5. Finding Chika by Mitch Albom
It doesn't help you 'find' the meaning or anything significant, it is just various stories shared by parents - as parents, we all know that it is hard and maybe we don't really say it aloud in fear of looking like we are ungrateful being. But it is hard, and yes, we will always need help to understand that we aren't alone in this. 

Let's hope I finish as many books (or more) next year !

Little Things 245 - After Midnight

Remember my previous curated playlist on Spotify called Wandering Soul

Well I made a new one since Sofi and I called it After Midnight. 

I used this picture I found by @michellisphoto , so it is not mine, all credit to her :


There is a phase that started post-pregnancy while I was still heavily hormonal and mildly depressed perhaps due to post-partum depression, stress and recovery. So the playlist started with a song that I listened-to while I was having a wild contraction in the middle of the night. The night that we didn't sleep and I was in constant pain. 

It was a wild night. 

It was a start of a new phase in my life, and I always come back to that night, the night that changed me.

And throughout the playlist I just added to the playlist, whatever songs that I found that were nice to listen to after midnight. Honestly I no longer sleep late, I'm in my 30s now, I don't do midnights anymore. But it is always nice to remember those life we left behind :)

My soul still speaks in written words and mellow melodies, so I can't help myself, even though I am turning 34 soon, I still enjoy songs and make playlist. It's the best reminder of the phases in my life. Af doesn't share the likings in music as I do, he doesn't hear lyrics or melodies, he doesn't put memories in songs, he doesn't even hum or let alone sings :F I's hard to explain to him, so I think I just write this down for me. 

Review : Bookxcess Book Haul (Dec 2020)

Right after I got my payment this month I made an online order from Bookxcess !

I ordered more picture books for Sofi since she started another phase of flipping-through all her picture books all day (especially before sleep at night). She flips-through it all repeatedly, even though she hasn't started talking yet (she is now 1 yr 4 mo). But she always push the books in my face so I could act / sing / read out for her - repeatedly as well. I would try to enjoy this repetition as much and as patient as I can before she starts to read them all by herself ok :F


These are all the books from the latest order :

These are all her worn-out books since the last book haul :


About the order :

It only took around 12 hours for the books to arrive, I was a bit surprised by how fast it was for the order to be processed and arrived. I fully recommend buying from Bookxcessonline. 

So their latest offer (for Dec 2020) is free shipping with the minimum purchase of RM 80, and you can get a lot of picture books from Bookxcess with RM 80 :D I bought 5 books : 

  • 4 picture books (Rm 15 - RM 18 each) - these are hard cover, fully coloured, picture books
  • 1 non-fiction (RM 19.90) - Achtung Baby by Sara Zaske


All the books from Bookxcess :


How to choose books for baby/toddler (below 2 yrs old) :
  • Start with picture books
  • Books related to their familiar nursery rhymes 
  • Hard cover with hard-cardboard / fabric pages (no papers yet)
  • Easy to relate - animals, normal items in the house, transportation

Sofi loves nursery rhymes : Itsy Bitsy Spider, Row Your Boat, Old McDonald. 

So even if you have picture books with animals in it (and not nursery rhymes), you can point to the animals and sing the nursery rhymes yourself (like pointing to the monkey for "5 little jumping monkeys", ducks for "5 little ducks", cows for "Old McDonald", shark for "Baby Shark" etc. She expects me to sing whenever she points something to me.

I'm surprised by her interest in books - I thought it would be much complicated compared to toys. 

PS : I started reading to her when she was 3 months old, and she started showing interest in the books by herself by 9 months - but no more reading to her, she got no patience for that, only songs and sounds nowadays.

Little Story 230 : Another Case of Muscle Strain and Stiff Neck

I tried Panadol Extend twice, I don't think it worked or maybe it did, but the pain didn't subside. I wore the neck brace when I can, but mostly not because it gives me rashes. I tried some light stretches, tried to loosen up, but I'm still in so much pain so I had to check my blog to see how I'd handled this situation before because I know this is not the first time, nor the second or the third.

In my previous post about the same situation (I wrote this post in 2015), I went to see a doctor and I got pain killers and muscle relaxer. I stopped writing about it after the 4th day, so I'm not sure how long it lasted. Probably almost a week based on my old posts. 

Today is the fourth day.

I'm still in so much pain.


This happens a lot of time, I think by far I've had 3-5 incidents and I can't even remember if Af had any of these at all. My body is really fragile, my muscles, my bones, my teeth, I'm just physically fragile and for someone that have a strong will on life and love to work, this can be a bit annoying. 

I had to rest and do nothing. 


Update for my future reference:

  • Day 5 : The pain is still as bad as the first 4 days, but it gets worst only after physical activities : like eating, or sitting. Some muscles were loosen up, I can now move my hands up and do stretches, I can yawn as well.
  • Day 6 : The worst pain subsided, left with only sharp pain on some points alongside my head and neck. I can now look to the left and right slowly. I think my body needs another day of rest to heal (but it's work day). I started drinking coffee again. I'm also started working again on the 6th day, so I need to remind myself to do stretches every 1/2 hour instead of get carried away on work.
  • Day 7 : The pain is almost gone, only sore muscles alongside the neck and shoulder. I'm glad this is over.  

I usually try to avoid drugs, so here's some things that can help with sore muscles and inflammation :
  • Chamomile / green tea
  • Turmeric (I take 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder every morning) , ginger powder also can !
  • Banana / watermelon
  • Cocoa ! (But need a good recipe for this one, it's really bitter)
  • Protein-based foods
  • Ice pack on the first 2 days to reduce inflammation, hot pack on the later days to heal faster
  • Rest, rest really helps

Tooth Story - the Root Canal Treatment & the New Crown

When I'm started writing this, I already finished my third root canal treatment. 
All these happened in around 6 weeks, the treatment was once a week. 

I came to the clinic in May 2020 for a consultation at a private dental clinic, right after they changed PKP to PKPB. If money is a big issue (since the MCO), then why did I went to a private clinic? It was because my right molar was broken, it was a huge one, it was broken before Sofi was even here, I was heavily pregnant during that time and having a major dental treatment wasn't advisable. So I waited for almost a year to deal with this. Even the old crown was now missing. So I needed a new one, and I needed one fast because my gum became sensitive and it felt more and more uncomfortable. But thank God I was never in pain.  

I knew if I went to KK, the doctor will just remove the molar completely because it was too big, the molar was problematic since I was in school and it was broken for the third time (if I'm not mistaken). It wasn't even a hole anymore, just a huge remaining to put a crown on. So the option at KK would be : remove the molar or a root canal treatment (scheduled probably next year). I couldn't wait that long anymore. 


The Root Canal Treatment fees :
  • Consultation - RM 50
  • 1st treatment - RM 300
  • 2n treatment - RM 300
  • 3rd treatment - RM 300 + RM 100 (for small molar filling next to the broken molar)

The new crown :
  • RM 800 (payment divided into 2 sessions)

The pain :
During the treatment I was shot with a mild anaesthetic that numb my right jaw, so I hardly feel pain. Maybe only once or twice during the treatment when the doctor put some chemical to kill the nerve (?) because it was a strong one, or during the shot itself when he started the treatment. Most of the time I felt uncomfortable, closing my eyes helped me avoid the unnecessary pain of imagination. Holding something also helped calming me down.

After the first treatment, later that evening when the anaesthetic wore off, I did feel pain. It was hard to eat, I made porridge and even that was hard to eat. But it was still mild to moderate level of pain. They gave me pain killer but I didn't need it because it was manageable. The next two treatments was not painful at all. 


The Duration :
  • Root canal treatment : The first treatment was the longest one, probably around 30-40 minutes, the 2nd treatment was around 10-15 minutes and the third one was around 20-30 minutes.  
  • Putting on a new crown : Just uncomfortable, the first session was to make a mould of my new fake molar, it took awhile (maybe around 20 minutes ?), and the doctor put a temporary filling so it won't be exposed for a week - I had to use my left side to chew and avoid the right side. The next session is when the doctor put the new crown (also around 20 minutes). 
  • That's it

A lot of things happened during the treatment, it was scary to be the one lying down for sure. But the pain level were mild, it was mostly uncomfortable. So if you need one, just go and deal with it because the longer you wait, the worse treatment you'll be needing.

I think having a filling done to the next molar was more painful than the whole root canal treatment itself because the nerve is still viable. The doctor mentioned that I have a start of a new small holes that needed fillings on my left molars and wisdom tooth. He reminded me to get them done soon =.= 

I felt disappointed. I've been taking a good care of my dental hygiene since I was in school (meaning that I brush my teeth twice - never missed, I floss, and I use mouthwash). Sure they are all straight and even all my wisdom teeth came out at the right places but my teeth are so weak. This keep on happening =.= Now all 5 out of 6 of my lower molars got fillings and 1 crown. 


By the time I finished writing this, several months passed after the treatments.
I still feel uncomfortable with the new molar, I'm not sure what. It is not pain, just a tingling feeling inside the root (different than before). The doctor said that the nerve is no longer functioning so I shouldn't feel pain or anything, I'm not sure what this feeling is. 

Well, I survived a root canal treatment in 2020 and it wasn't that bad.