New me

In the late 1980s I discovered my paternal grandfather had changed our surname prior to marrying, at the insistence of his future wife, she did not want the hypenated surname. It may also have been related to his being disinherited as he was marrying a catholic where he was I assume Church of England.

Upon learning of this I really wanted to restore our surname to its original, though it did eventually take me another four years before I did so legally. During those years I would use it unofficially and also considered whether I wanted to keep my first name, something I associated negatively with all the bullying I’d endured throughout school.

When in 1993 I formally changed my name I had wanted to change my name to Corin but I faced such opposition within the family just with changing the surname that I ended up retaining the first name but modifying middle names to feature what I wanted. The result never was what I wanted and having all those middle names I felt kind of embarrassed, I would avoid telling people about or how they came to be.

After my little brother took his life in April I couldn’t help but cast a lens over my life and examine what I too wasn’t happy with. For me it was obvious, for 24 years I had lived with those names as middle names that I had wanted to make my new name, it was time to seize the day, carpe diem. At the end of May I began using Corin as a preferred name, I had some interesting reactions:

  • Some friends expressed liking my original name but supported my change;
  • Many expressed liking the new name;
  • Some were curious to understand the name’s meaning – it is Celtic with Roman origins to their god Mars; it means Spear thrower;
  • I got asked by one person at work whether anything else was changing. This made me laugh so much, but I confirmed was solely a change of name, happy with gender and sexuality!

I submitted the paperwork to change name formally in August and a month later, or thereabouts, an email advised I had to send my old birth certificate and change of name certificate to them to be destroyed. I had a quiet chuckle here as mum had covered the birth certificate in contact film in the 80s, good luck shredder! I was forced to delay sending due to a holiday to Singapore in October, I knew I’d not get documentation and a passport quickly enough.

Finally, on my little brother’s birthday, the approved change of name came through and I am now officially Corin. I felt quite elated for about ten or so minutes, almost as though floating. I’ve since been arranging new identification and updating name with banks and government etc, this has been a lot quicker than I thought it might have been with 75% completed in 2 days.

I think I need a holiday!

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Joining the X Club

After last week’s disappointment with Telstra’s refusal to grant a discount on the plan I had hoped to sign up to I stewed on my plans for a few days before ultimately walking into Vodafone after work Tuesday and porting across. The process these days is relatively  simple and far quicker than when I first ported many years ago, back then it took me up to 24 hours to get moved from one telco to the other, in this instance it was mere minutes.

I ended up signing up to Vodafone’s Red Global plan $60/mth (discounted by $1.5/mth) and handset repayments over 36 months at $50.80 for a total $109.30. My new plan worked out just $0.30 per month extra, provided 4 times the data (6 times my original data as Telstra only upped it a few months ago) and I also get the flexibility of changing my plan at any time. One thing I really like is if I decided to leave Vodafone at anytime during my 36 months I don’t have to pay exit fees on the plan, only handset repayment costs.

Having been on the network for a few days now I will say it isn’t as fast as was Telstra’s, and coverage in my area isn’t as strong, though they’ve got network upgrades within 3 months scheduled, so I can hope for improvement.

At this stage sadly I don’t have my iPhone X, it only has a holder date for shipping on 28 December, which everyone seems to get when they order then dates I read seem to improve from there. I can but hope my phone arrives much sooner than this, especially as I was billed for a month’s access after only 6 hours on the network, disappointing to say the least.

I’ve already ordered my case, a Urban Armour Gear (UAG) case as I have had with my iPhone 6s Plus. This case has protected my current phone from a few minor drops with zero damage to the phone, plus they looks very cool. The current case is orange/grey, so I’ve gone with a cool lime green this time. Today via Amazon.com I ordered a Qi-based charger that I’ll install in my car, it’s nice and compact with anti-slip, always a good thing when you’re driving, and will make charging my phone whilst blaring the music from it so much easier.

Can’t wait for it to arrive, though it would be nice to know when the heck that is o.O

Decisions, decisions, perhaps a move

I love new things, especially tech things (oh and clothing). With the release of the iPhone 8 and X this year I really had to debate which one with my mobile contract coming up for renewal. I’ve been with Australia’s largest telco Telstra now for a number of years, but this does come at a price.

With the iPhone X being a first generation device I did debate whether I might want to upgrade to this phone, or did I want to play it safe and remain with a button-based phone for another generation, albeit a slightly different one to that I have on my iPhone 6s Plus. I went into one of the local stores and had a quick play with the iPhone 8 Plus, other than the obvious camera improvement I didn’t really notice enough to make me want to jump onboard. Had I been tied to keeping a home button I think this device would have been an easy sell, but I didn’t like the haptic-based button, although I think it an improvement (slight) over the physical button.

Yesterday I was in the city and dropped by with mum into a Vodafone store where I got to have a quick play with the iPhone X. The phone was a little smaller than I had expected, but generally it looked lovely, the screen wonderfully bright and rich. I will say the only thing I did not like about this phone was the metallic sides, it actually looked like that cheap plastic metal film; it definitely harks back to the original iPhone design. I definitely want to upgrade.

Telstra’s plans for the 256GB phone are far from cheap, though the phone is certainly a factor here. I wish I could stick with a 64GB phone, but my existing phone only has 20GB remaining and that’s due to my offloading duplicate pics, redundant apps, etc. As photography on my phone has become an increasing focus I do want that extra space. In talking with my telco I was facing an additional $30-55 per month to upgrade, I really wasn’t wanting to pay quite so much to do so.

For the first time in about 8 years I have decided to look elsewhere for my mobile service, to Vodafone. I had previously been with Vodafone, however back then they’d had major problems with their network through underinvestment, something they’ve worked hard to fix since then. A good reason to look at this network is their introduction of 3-year plans over 2-year plans with the other telcos, if the phone had a physical button I’d possibly reconsider, but with a (home)buttonless design I think it has a likely improved life over older design phones.

Vodafone offers whopping big data plans, the one I’ll be looking at is 32GB, I’m not even sure I can use that much on a mobile to be honest as my current Telstra plan is just 7.5GB and I don’t use that. It will likely see my costs increase for the 3-year contract by 30 cents, I’m not quite sure how I might fund the extra.

The pain point, having to wait 6-8 weeks for arrival of the phone, according to the website.

High blood sugars > Blurred vision

You take your sight for granted, until one day you put your glasses on and suddenly things aren’t sharp any longer. I only had new lenses fitted earlier this year, they are weird ones with graduated change between reading and distance so you don’t notice the change, thus I shouldn’t expect my prescription to change just yet.

After I returned from a 4 day birthday stay in Singapore I started to have problems with my diabetes, though levels had been playing up for a while and I’d be trying to correct and failing. Just before I went away my doctor had increased the strength of a medication I take to help, but after returning I started to experience strong feelings of nausea, headaches, and still highly elevated blood glucose. Then just before returning to work my vision started to blur slightly, though only to the point of not being as sharp as before (I am mildly short sighted – just in vision you understand lol).

Having returned to work the doctor has insisted I go on a strict no carbohydrate diet to try contain the blood sugars, so has been very much a ‘hello salad and protein’ diet since. Trying to go out with a friend over the weekend was an experience, attempting to find somewhere that doesn’t serve pretty much a carbohydrate-laden meal is quite an effort, even the Brotzeit venue I selected wasn’t great, I thought the meal I’d chosen had scrambled eggs, though they did look strangely pale, it ended up being some weird pasta and cheese creamy concoction that was rather vomitous.

I have looked into how long I may face this visual impairment now I’ve managed to lower the blood sugars a fair bit, webMD was suggesting it could be anywhere from 1-3 months. I just hope this doesn’t get any worse, it is already so frustrating not being able to clearly see my screens at work.

F#%k diabetes!

I was diagnosed type 2 diabetic back in 2009, I don’t think I knew back then just what a bitch of a disease it truly is to deal with. For the first 4 years all went quite well, I was just diet controlled and my blood sugars were quite normal. My sweet tooth would come to bit me in the arse in March 2013, suddenly I went from fine to blood sugars at 19 and regular visits to the toilet. A trip to new doctors, now my regular practice, would see me directed to the hospital emergency department to receive treatment with saline and insulin.

After my visit to emergency I went from being able to walk 12-17 kilometres to not being able to walk a suburban block; it would take six weeks before I could even get close to walking a block, and three months before I could achieve the 4 km morning walk, albeit 30 minutes slower than normal.

For three months post-emergency I would need to inject insulin and take two diabetes medications. I still take the medications to this day and had been going well until recently when all of a sudden my levels have shot up once again, for what reason I’m am at a loss to explain. With walking and a strict doctor-ordered no carbohydrate diet the levels have dropped a somewhat, but still remain elevated. What is concerning for me is my eyesight has become affected for the first time, blurring slightly – so scary.

I see the doctor again later in the week, there’s the distinct possibility I’ll again be on insulin to stabilise me once more. I’m over this disease, yet it’s journey has only just begun I fear. Ugh!

A few days in Singas

I’m just back yesterday from four days in Singapore to celebrate my birthday. It was a great trip, though dealing with the humidity was certainly difficult.

On arriving on Tuesday I hit the ground running, taking off to the Asian Civilisations Museum. I was fortunate enough to arrive just-in-time for a tour of the museum which was fantastic, the guide provided great insight into a shipwreck around 960AD carrying significant stoneware goods to the Middle East. She told us that Europeans wouldn’t learn how to create stoneware for another 700-800 years. Unfortunately I had become a tad dehydrated and needed to head off for something to drink and eat, so I never did finish my visit here, I guess when you’re not from a humid country you need to ensure you’re suitably hydrated when heading out, and carrying water on your person. Having been up since 3am I ended up having an early night.

Wednesday I headed out to the Singapore National Museum, the entrance cost for all galleries was SG$26 and well worth the cost. I started with the history gallery which was brilliant, taking you from Singapore’s early history through various colonisations by Europeans, occupation by the Japanese during World War II and effects on the population, transition to nationhood in 1965 and building of the modern Singapore. Other exhibits focussed on childhood toys and periods in Singapore’s history, including further depth of Japanese WWII occupation. I very much enjoyed my visit here, it is so  worth paying to see all exhibits, they’ve done such a good job of making an interesting story. Sadly I didn’t have time for the basement exhibits as I had to return to the hotel for my River Safari tour.

In 2016 I visited the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, both were great experiences, especially the Night Safari which I would happily again. I didn’t do the River Safari, my sister and husband done this on their honeymoon and enjoyed, so I wanted to check it out upon my return to Singapore. I took a tour to visit the River Safari, thus I had 2 hours once there to experience it, including the Amazon boat ride. Of the three zoo experiences I would have to say it was my least favourite, though it was still enjoyable. I did enjoy the pandas exhibit, but the boat ride was a tad quick and so speedy that you really didn’t get much chance to see the animals and photograph them (or the sunlight blocked your ability to do so).

This evening I headed off to Little India to partake in Diwali festivities, it appeared so too did everyone else, there was so many people here that evening. I had dropped by the Mustafa Centre on the recommendation of a friend, lordy that was a mistake, I could barely breathe whilst trying for find ‘Nutmeg Balm’ for my step-mother, and I never did find any. I headed across the road for an Indian meal, ordering Chicken Biriyani, Garlic Naan and Onion Prate (not sure of spelling). The meal was so delicious, it could only have been improved by seconds.

Thursday I had planned to head off to the Botanic Gardens again, all plans got thrown out and instead I headed off to the Chinese and Japanese Gardens near Jurong East. The heat and humidity on this day was so oppressive I only lasted there about 1.5 hours, I might have done better if there’d been an airconditioned restaurant / facility to cool down in for a bit, but sadly no. The gardens I did manage to visit were fantastic, they’ve done a wonderful job, I can’t believe there’s no charge to visit. I loved the bonsai trees.

That evening I headed off to Chinatown for dinner and perhaps a bit of shopping. I did manage to find my step-mother’s Nutmeg Balm here before heading into a Sichuan restaurant for dinner. Dinner was lovely, a spicy ribs-based meal, dumplings and greens, I was so full I could have burst.

Friday arrived all too quick, another year older, though somehow I am still 21. I had decided again to change plans and headed off to Starbucks for breakfast and a venti Frappuccino. Afterwards I headed off for some shopping at Suntec City, took forever to walk there and it was an utter waste of time, I arrived for 10am, the advertised opening time, yet it seemed all the stores had forgotten and almost nothing was open. I discovered another Starbucks and had another Frap, a few more stores had open after I’d finished yet still most were closed. I gave up and left. I never did end up buying myself a present whilst in Singapore, I think that will shock everyone.

For lunch I headed off to Lau Pa Sat, originally was going for dinner but I discovered they were open for lunch. I hunted for the famed Satay, seems that’s only a 7pm onwards treat, utterly gutted. I ended up ordering lemon chicken, I swear I came so close to chipping a tooth it was so hard and horrid, has turned me off ever returning to this venue.

I concluded my day by returning to Gardens by the Bay. I do love this attraction, at SG$1 Billion it was a bloody good investment, the domes are just fantastic, especially the Cloud Forrest Dome. After visiting both domes I headed off to the Supertree Grove to go up the walkway before heading back to the hotel. The queues were long, but eventually I got up there, and just 1 minute later the 15 minute light show commenced, it made the 30 minute wait (and sweating the Nile river) so worth it.

Back at my hotel this evening I ordered the chicken satay I’d missed out on at Lau Pa Sat, spring rolls and cheesecake, all was amazing.

Had a great time in Singapore, sweat a million buckets, but enjoyable experiences.

Dehydrating Singapore

I love Singapore, this from a person who loathes heat and humidity, and Singapore bountifully provides both.

I first visited here in April 2016 and really appreciated how this island nation did things a little different. As I was driven to my tours I noticed the metal barriers we all see in the middle of our roadways were covered in greenery here, what a wonderful idea to hide and yet beautify and eyesore.

Safety is also paramount here; you can leave a suitcase unattended I’m told, no one will touch it, instead police will be called to remove it – where else in the world might that occur?

Today, day one of my return journey here I am reminded the importance of carrying a bottle of water with you. I was just over an hour on the island and at my first venue, the Asian Civilisations Museum, when my Apple Watch kept going off. Strange I thought, why is it insisting I breathe or whatever so much? I relented and looked, it was a heart warning to say despite inactivity my heart rate was high. I was dehydrated, I could tell something was going on as I wasn’t feeling too well.

When I’d arrived at the museum I had been stressed by the heat and humidity and stupidly didn’t get a drink, a mistake in these conditions. Now back at the hotel I’m resting up and gulping the H2O, all helping thankfully. Is making me reconsider walking around over the coming days now.