Sunday, January 31, 2010

a cause for being faithful

Well, I didn't get the job I wanted. Was feeling rather down but thankfully, a kind contact told me it was a 'blessing in disguise'. He's a headhunter who knows that the position doesn't pay well. If we work, of course it's not for the money, but if I was stuck in a dead-end position, I think it's definitely not a good path to take. I did pray for 'open doors', perhaps now I need golden open doors. The headhunter offered me a position sometime in the middle of the year. This job would pay twice what I'm currently getting/asking. It definitely sounds delicious and I will consider it seriously if it is still open to me later on. Meanwhile, I shall continue looking.

There's been a lot of discussion about staying faithful in a marriage, and recently Pastor said that increasing number of married couples are not able to pass the 3-5 year mark. He referred to a well-known couple in our midst where one party was proven unfaithful and it resulted in a divorce. As a celebrity couple, definitely all eyes are on the remaining person. Will he suffer depression? He had a bout, of 6 months which I think is normal for anyone in that situation. Rumours abound. Some say the lady's lover is from The Church. Some say she has more than 1 lover! True or not, what causes anyone to be led astray, according to Pastor, is the lack of a firm foundation and intimate walk with God. TheBoyfriend and I were discussing this matter because he knows the lady and I, the husband. Since it's so easy for leaders to fall, and even some pastors... what more mere members like us? For one, I sympathize being the husband. All his memories, not just the 3-5 years but much more, are entwined with her. Removing photo evidence of their being together is probably like swiping off almost all data in his memory bank. Sure, he is still youngish, but that's not the point. Being a leader, you have many time constraints too. Take my friends in the youth ministry. They have to serve in committees, chair prayer meetings, attend leadership meetings, general meetings, meetings with pastor, meetings with members, core group meetings and not forgetting their work and social life. It's no wonder most of them are single or break up. Sure, the godly message that would be told us is that God will give us the strength to do this and more... but when you're so exhausted and hardly any time for your family, it does not really put you in a romantic mood. I've been there, done that, and I can say there is really no mood... in fact, I was thankful for not having to juggle a relationship in the midst of all that jazz. I'm not saying we shouldn't be leaders but we have to see everything as it really is. There are rewards to serving faithfully for sure.

For this couple, a fault could be placed on this area perhaps. What's the next step for someone who has lost all his past happy memories, to be replaced with sad ones... maybe it's to build faith in something that will last. Life is tough... but looking at our asian counterparts, we can be happy in the fact that we are so much more blessed than them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Books that change, or do they?

Some people write books because they want to change lives, or share an idea, or prove something, or let others get interested in their hobby. Unfortunately for me, because I read so much, books are like...fair-weather friends. When I'm into them, it's non-stop interaction. I have to sit and read and finish reading. But when I'm done, away they pop back into the bookshelf and I rarely ever notice them again, or feel the way they have made me feel when I was with them for the first time. Ahh, like the smell of a new car, the smell of a new book does enthrall me.

I'm back to my pre-boyfriend weight now, just half a kg less and I can be back to my... secondary school days' weight! Being at home I just eat lesser - since I wake up later, I'm awake for lesser hours, and hence, eating lesser. I do eat more junk, like tao kae noi, ruffles, sinful choc biscuits, etc... but lesser on the whole. Being in a new relationship, I guess we will tend to eat out more at restaurants, nice restaurants with nice food. And tend to want to share some sides which adds up in the waistline and on the bill. Because he doesn't have a sweet tooth and I have a huge one, we tend to share cakes and I'm eating 70% of it... gah. So I've put on about 2.5 kg. Half of it from Bangkok and 1 kg-ish from Melaka christmas weekend. It sounds like it isn't much, but think about it: If I, or any woman, puts on 2 kg each year, 10 years later, that would be an aunty-ish 20 kg. So no thanks for me. I'm going to stay as stick thin as possible. Or at least maintaining my weight. It's not good for weight to fluctuate up and down either. Ok, back to books...

Ortberg is my all time fave author in Christendom authorship, I just wonder why not many bookstores stock his stuff. They only have one or two of his popular ones. I spied this and bought it... Kie wanted to buy it for me for christmas but I couldn't remember the name of the last of his books which I haven't actually read. It's smart, witty, and actually brings you closer to God, to thinking about God, which... sadly not all christendom books do.

Bought this at booksactually, the cover looks frilly and fun girly, but it's not. It's like a thesis with notations and almost scientific explanations. Definitely explains all you need to know and more. I am reading this very slowly and when I can't fall asleep.

TheBoyfriend's book which I finished over a weekend. Good stuff, written in the way you feel he is speaking aloud to you, much like my Dad would, or some police officer/lawyer speaking to you. It's droll humour in some parts and laugh out loud moments at others. I wanted to read this after seeing a lady read it in the train with bemused expressions. I have to say Subhas' first book is making waves for TheBoyfriend to buy it. Because his bookshelf has barely 10 books not counting accounting books. Lol.

Stumbled upon this book while surfing Amazon and finally found it at PageOne. Despite it being a NY bestseller, found it was not really publicized here. A business biography, it is interesting because this is a CEO of KPMG who only had 3 months left to live. Not many people have a written account of what they'd like to do before they die, so it's a mesmerising read, and because he's a top executive, there is much to learn about the business aspects as well.
So that sums up my bookshelf picks. I'm also reading 'girl meets god' by Lauren Winters.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

spring cleaning and lantern making

Oh, how I wish I could say I was bumming around.
But in reality, I'm keeping busy. Some part of me feels guilty if I become a couch potato for weeks on end.

Having the notion of doing something worthwhile and 'craft-inspired' with my time, I bought a set of angpaos and accessories from a craft shop in AMK, hoping to make a series of lantern-angpao art. Although I have a degree in art... ... I almost gave up on those angpaos... I think I don't have a craft-side to me, unless it involves scrapbooking which I can do quite well, or painting... (Sorry Clone, I gave up on the kasut manek...)
First step: folding the angpao into a conical shape. Staple with red staples, 5 of these to form a flower.
This is half of the lantern ball I completed in the shop - completing ONE lantern ball (already done the conical-single angpao at home)... takes 2 hours in the shop! My hands were trembling from all that stapling. One lantern needs 5 of those flower formations x 12 = 60 angpaos per lantern. And the tiring part was the secret piece of plastic I had to slip in each lantern and superglue the fold opening... Well, just hope TheBoyfriend's mom appreciates it. I also bought the template for 'fish' which is much more complicated.... starting to regret.

A tired looking me holding up the completed works of art. I like the yellow sequin flowers...
Today I did a little spring cleaning...small redecoration.

Spring cleaning BEFORE: my drawer-top, random small bottles of lotions, accessories I never wear, a clock, some arty stuff, a card TheBoyfriend gave on our first monthniversary, hellokitty coinbank from japan, kewpie baby from hongkong, clock from kenny, tree of accessories and statue of liberty. Yes, the statue we should all worship if we were to worship one.
Framed up the card from TheBoyfriend, rearranged stuff under the tree of accessories. Yes, I have black photoframes from Ikea lying around.

The white frame bought from bangkok about 10 bucks.Used my new magiclean duster... it is soooo useful, I feel like buying one for everyone! Decided to put those stuff I bring out in bags, like ishuffle, lip glosses and hairpins in the clear compartments. Used a black soap dish I bought from Daiso some time back for a place to put my keys and hp. Also used the owl keychain - just blu tacked the key ring to side of soapdish.

Ta-dah! All my things look neat now, I am in half a mind to throw out all the necklaces and bangles I bought because it was pretty but never actually wearing them. To make the wall seem less empty, I put up postcards from different places around the world, from my collection. One of vietnam given by Mel. I also put some of my daily used perfumes so I can remember to squirt them on. They are Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker, it's a unique and light scent, apple martini flavor. The Juicy one seems to be commonplace now although I was assured it was rare when I bought it, oh well. I'm eyeing either Hermes Kelly Caleche or Marc Jacobs scent for my next parfum buy. Next up for spring cleaning would be my bags shelf.

juicy news and kind hearts

I was pleased this week to catch up with some girl friends I haven't caught up for quite a while. One lady who serves God faithfully, is always busy with ministry stuffs, we managed to meet up. I've always liked her company, but rarely have the chance to exchange ideas with her. She reminded me inadvertently to do my '101 things' resolution, something I said I would but haven't got round to doing it... and was deeply appreciative of my posted christmas card. It's friends like these we all like to have around.

And knowing that one of our mates was feeling in the doldrums, I was recruited along to make up a hamper of goodies that we knew would bless her heart. At that instance, I truly felt that we were not just friends, but - family. Truly, sisters in Christ. Ones you know you can share anything and it will be kept confidential and not blabbed out to the other party maliciously. Ones you knowwho have your best interest in mind, and asking 'how's your day' not for the sake of killing time but really, wanting to know.

After choosing the goodies, I wanted to pay for my share, but one sister just waived it off, knowing I'm currently jobless. I felt super touched at that gesture. Though it may be a small sum and I still can afford it, this act is truly a kind and sincere act from the heart. I cherish it! It saddens and astounds (or should the cynical me expect it?) that some people have spread false demeaning words about her.

Maybe it's a matter of opinion, surely, everyone is entitled to their opinion about other people... Myself included, I tend to dislike strongly some characters who rub me the wrong way, and don't mind telling others exactly what I think, too, in a sense I pride myself for being blase and unhypocritical... But the word that she was called, 'desperate', is honestly, mean, and uncalled for, and to probe, there is no supporting evidence to support this name-calling. Is there anything in her actions that warrant such an insinuation? From a neutral perspective, outsider point of view, I would say none of her actions describe that in the least.

We have our speculations on the perpetrator, and despite what may be her/his best intentions (I really cannot think of any), insulting someone does not do him/her any favors with anyone. Plus, even if what you say was supposed to be treated in strictest confidence, too bad, it's already out... So, it's either the case of the pot calling the kettle black(she is more desperate!!!), the person has some selfish agenda(tearing down people's reputation), or is just a tiresome-nature kind of person. Whatever the case, I do not want to speculate further. Hopefully this person will change her/his tune and his heart as well.

My favor tends to smile on those 'siwun' looking guys, wearing specs, mostly engineers somehow, clean cut and no loud colors, dependable guys. In fact, many of them are my lifetime friends and buddies. I tend to appreciate their straightforward view on life and their kind heart as a friend. But not all 'siwun' guys can be trusted.

I mentioned about 2 years back, one ex-auditor from XXXX co, whom I got acquainted as a biz contact, through a church friend. Not knowing him well, (he was about to marry her ex-classmate and cellmate) she thought the introduction would be beneficial for me. But I was taken for a ride, in a sense - he leveraged on my contacts, I found a contract staff for him, my friend, to work, and he did not pay her, eventually delaying a month's payment by 3 weeks'. This may be commonplace you might think in the biz world. I came to know of other people almost being cheated by him, or at the very least being made use of. His modus operandi: depending on his churchy links to link people to him, and his 'siwun' 'nature' to make people want to help him.

And this guy is now a leader in The Church, shocking isn't it? I can tell of more than one instance that some guys with skeletons in their closets or even psychological problems are made leaders, I just wonder how far they can go. Another 'siwun' guy in our midst, recently set tongues wagging with his insistence of asking a young girl out for dinners and communicating with her almost everyday. This might be hearsay and knowing the guy, it baffles me how he can do this, having just gotten attached to another 'siwun' girl. Some guys need to share their hearts with young girls? I can say that thankfully on the young girl's part, she is naturally hesitant and so far, have not gone out with him. BUT... for the guy's character, what light does it cast on him? These sms-es have made her feel harassed enough to share with one friend, thereby causing others to have a bad opinion of him. Does his girlfriend know? And... sorry to be skeptical, but I'm sure, it has happened or will happen to more than one girl. Knowing guys' nature all too well.

So hearing about these instances in the last few days, I really think that we should not think the best of everyone and share your secrets with them, getting labelled as 'desperate', or worse. And for girls who have been cheated or made use of by 'siwun' guys, hope you don't marry one such fellow... I'm glad that TheBoyfriend does not have the tendency to call young girls out for a chat, I should know, I've been meeting him every day... ... =)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

hair regime

I tried the 'pore minimizer' mask from Faceshop, recommended by Clone (she uses seaweed kind, this one is new), and it does work!!! I feel less oily for at least the next half day after using it at night. As I have more time at home now, I should try to at least maintain an optimal state of skin- and hair- care. My facialist said that my pores are getting smaller after months (years) of her fantastic machine, and using the (expensive) serum of hers does make my skin, silky smooth. No wonder women are willing to pay for such products... While most skincare products have varied results on me - some causing breakouts or skin peeling (eeks!) some not 'cleansing' enough, others just don't work for me to continue buying bottle after bottle.

But thankfully for my mane of hair (which is growing longer), almost all products seem to work quite well - I don't have to buy a plethora that is hardly used. I'm going to leave my hair long enough for a nice perm hopefully in 3 months' time, so must take care of it, now. I never realised how much care long hair needs, especially since I dye it frequently.

Here's my hair care regime:

Shampoo: Tressemme. MsBestFriend loves the serum, I bought the shampoo which was good, and later the conditioner. Rm 19.90 at Jusco, so far not sure if Singapore stocks it.

Spotted these haircurlers at a cheap 'PinkBeauty' shop in AMK. It works very well! Better than those other pink haircurlers which always comes undone. Why are haircurlers always pink?

It's $6.90. I leave it in my dry hair for an hour or so and voila! Natural looking curls. To get nice curls, it's best NOT to wash hair for a couple of days. Butthen, I can't stand it...feel (maybe psychologically) that my scalp is itchy...

Bought the New York streets products from Sephora because they were on sale and I needed a hairspray. The 'liquid shine' turned out gorgeous, it tames those hair that sticks out in weird places like along your hairline and makes it look glossy, and also soft. Yay! Will definitely get another bottle when it finishes.
The hairspray is mild and I must say one of the best I've used. Cape from Japan another good one (only found in Japanese pharmacies.) A lot of people don't like using hairspray but the good point of it is that it keeps the curls and is more natural than wax or clay - too hard and solid looking. This hairspray smells nice too, and this range is the most inexpensive hair product range found in Sephora. And I'm also into the tin-boxes packaging.

I've always liked Redken products, their (red) shampoo is good too though a bit pricey for me. So I splurged on this 'velvet whip' for my hair ends that were looking like chicken backside feathers after trips to sunny places in December. Applied it only before bedtime and had instanteous results. Also found at Pink Beauty (Man I love that place.)

I've never been a girly-girl who applies moisturiser religiously or has to... blow her hair before stepping outta the house, but now that I have time to organize my wardrobe, actually FOLDED ALL my home clothes as well, and keep up a hair-and skin- regime, I must say the results are quite pleasing and fulfilling. TheBoyfriend commented he liked my hair with curls, in fact, when I went to TheChurch with curls, many guys commented they liked it as well! Surprise surprise, I always thought most guys liked rebonded long straight hair, or maybe it's just that curls suits me. I like it too and it isn't too much work for my hair to look tousled and messy, haha. So yes, new look! Best part is that curls make you look good in dresses. I don't know how to explain it but yes, Blake Lively, Leighton Messer, Rachel Bilson all those girls look good in curls and dresses...compared to straight hair.

Now it's just a waiting game of having it grow somewhat longer. Grow grow grow...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Time to kill time

Read this today, in 'Girl Meets God' by Lauren Winner, a book I've gotten from Kie for my christmas present:

To read, when one does so of one's own free will, is to make a volitional statement, to cast a vote, it is to posit an elsewhere and set off toward it. And like any traveling, reading is at once a movement and a comment of sorts about the place one has left. To open a book voluntarily is at some level to remark the insufficiency either of one's life or of one's orientation toward it.
- Sven Birkerts.

I've been praying lots more now, perhaps when our busy life becomes a simpler life, we have more time to pray. Maybe simplicity is good. I find that when I'm with myself I'm not a worrywart, or a busy-bee person. I'm just someone who lives in the present and enjoys the moment and enjoy my own company, perhaps far too much. I've allocated at least an hour to cleaning out my cupboards, I seem to have numerous cupboards... and folding clothes. I've achieved a bagful more of clothes (very 'home clothes') I will throw away/recycle, after going through my wardrobe again. And surprisingly, I feel the peace of God. Despite incessant worries that my bank account is going to dry up if I am jobless for more than a few months, and what if I don't get my dream job... I feel the peace. It's in the little things I am aware of, that I have experienced this year.

On the first day of the year, at about 530ish to 6 am, TheBoyfriend and I were travelling home from a couples games night... his car battery went flat. In short, we couldn't possibly find anyone to help tow at that unearthly hour plus we HAD to get out of my residence's narrow carpark (but it was impossible to push it all the way out to the main road, those who have been to my carpark would know.) While getting quite irate at standing there and not knowing what to do, I suddenly had the idea of getting into the car and praying like a religious nut, 'laying hands on the dashboard' and hoping by some miracle the car would sputter to life. So we did that. And turned the key, hoping to hear the engine roar instead of a dying man's cough, which the dead battery sounded like... and we heard... the dying man's cough. Sigh. We got out of the car only to be approached by, 2 men, DRESSED IN WHITE, asking if we needed help to restart and before we could nod, they took out the cables and drove their orange car nearer and voila! Problem solved. Now here I must say that in Singapore, not many people 1.are knowledgeable about how to restart a car battery using their own battery, and 2. possessing the cable needed. Even my dad's car would not have such a cable (that is why I did not wake him up.) So in short, God really provided us with what we needed at the right time too. The next day the car battery was replaced in the afternoon. We just felt... at that time that we were so blessed to really have this unique experience, so very blessed.

And then, last week, TheBoyfriend's Mom, all by herself (invited by her hospital's boss) went to church!

She looked happy and here is my vague translation of dinner table talk(being 'poor' in Mandarin I did not say a word), eating the famous chicken rice at Queenstown area...

Uncle James: So you went to church today? Your son's church?
TBF Mom: No, went to one in Jalan Besar, they have buses, etc...
Uncle James: You should go 'xi li' (baptize), Go 'xi li' la...
Me: !!!
Uncle James went on to talk about some relative who baptized and the whole topic...ended up with him saying: Who knows (what may happen in the future), I might be an 'alleluia alleluia'!
Aunt Sally: You will, meh? Don't bluff. You got all those 'fo' (little buddha idols) hanging around.
Uncle James: Actually I am not the kind of devout believer, I have those because I felt it's nice to buy them, but I am not devout at all. So you never know one day.

Seems they are quite open to Christ.

She later said someone in the church gave her a Bible because she had a spare, and we all could see she was utterly touched by that gesture! Here I have to say that if you feel compelled to give someone a Bible, please do so, even if you feel the person won't read it, somehow, this will make the person feel very blessed and it's a small step pointing them towards Jesus.

And I am blessed because for this year 2010, I believe too God will bless my career. It may take me 5 more years or so to reach where I'd ideally like to be, but throughout God will lead me through.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Perfect Moment

Dear God, I need a job.

Am getting a bit panicky. Especially since the job I so want seems so close but seems that the door might be shutting on it. Sure there are other opportunities around. But I want this so much, for once, a job that I feel is designed, for me. I like EVERYTHING about the job scope and I can do well in the everything which I like... which is more than what I can say for other jobs. Before finding this job I prayed that if it's for me, let the door be open. So there were open doors, first interview, and second interview (a month later! Isn't it long?) and now I am dying with the excruciating wait. I've prayed and called everyone to pray. I've gotten a bit of a corporate wardrobe (2 pants 4 skirts 1 coat and some blouses)...Dear God!


Watched 'Invictus' with TheBoyfriend. A must-watch. Clint Eastwood shows has that luminous propensity to it that makes you laugh and cry, identify with the characters, all the characters in some way that makes them endear themselves to you, even the little black boy listening in to the police car's radio transmission. And while you watch this show you are faced with the questions you don't dare question yourself about, like a deep seated apartheid mentality.Of couse maybe we are born with the right skin tone, thankfully we are not 'darker', but are we discriminatory unjustifiably? I love the way the movie is being filmed and it's not easy to film sports scenes, trust me.


Reading 'Chasing Daylight' by Eugene O Kelly, he was the CEO (US) of KPMG when he had to step down, diagnosed with only 3 months to live. In the book he describes 'a perfect moment', the time you have with a friend, or saw something magnificent, and everything then was perfect. I hope to count such perfect moments in 2010. A beautiful sunset (or rise, if I can make it) that God created just for me. A landscape to view which you can only view by trekking for some hours or driving some hundred miles.

And I've started to enjoy the Perfect Moments.

-Playing couple game night : Rummytub and Blokus whiling away the first hours of the year. Also since we were at McDonald's, I was one of the first to buy the Doraemon 'rabbit' toy, which was later sold out during the week, which added increasingly to my glee.

-When TheBoyfriend gives me a massage : Unlike most guys, TheBoyfriend enjoys wearing couple tees, and giving massages and is actually quite good at it. And very willingly wants to serve me in this area, heh heh. He even bought a Bodyshop moisturiser for my pleasure, heh heh! I am very blessed indeed.

-I wanted to buy a pair of shoes, corporate shoes in black or brown, like a court shoe, but not so boring. And comfortable. You can imagine it's hard to find! I went to Naturalizer where the shoes are so comfy but rather ex ($150 and up) but I don't mind for a shoe I would wear almost everyday in a corporate setting. However, all the designs I liked did not have my size and I grudgingly walked out. Later, in that same shopping mall, in a shoe shop I would have never set foot in but somehow I did (Everbest), I found the perfect pair. And it was on 20% discount which made it about 1/3 the price of the former, AND the shop assisted affixed it with additional comfort pads for the sole, as the shoe was slightly large for me (it was their smallest size... are my feet really that small?!) It was a Perfect Moment when I spied and tried the shoe, and later walked out. I think the satisfaction beats buying 10 shoes you don't really love.

The author of the book also writes about unwinding relationships, friends he had to catch up with for one last time. And throughout the course of this 2010, I also want to catch more of the people I would like to spend time with, and make the reverse also true. Without meaning to sound mean, there are some people I hang out with (and you will agree with me on this) just because they are more proactive in meeting us, or they happen to live or work nearby. But if you think about it sincerely, they aren't the people you would most like to spend time with. (This ideology also applies to holidays or where we spend our weekends, the most often-gone place may not be the place we ideally want to spend time at).

And spending time with those means that we neglect to spend time with the ones we care about more. He writes that in the last decade of his work, he only found time to have weekday lunch with his wife.... TWICE. In the last decade. And he reminisces that if he had lived the way he did for the next decade, things would be exactly the same, until he found out that he had 3 months to live, and so his upcoming death changed his life. For me, I innerly lament that some people whom I'd love to meet more often, I meet seldom-ly in the last year. So, I'm going to make an effort this year.

It's a good book which we all should read before it gets too late - oh, and especially hard to find. Despite it being a NY bestseller, I think I only saw it at Pageone Vivocity.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

cleaning out my clutter

RIGHT Now is the no-man's land after Christmas and New Year, where the mind ambles on to a dreamlike state of being utterly complacent and, overloaded by shopping, heavy eating, and the mingling with the phalanx of friends, some you only see on the last season's few days, for better or worse; we start to think about how to dispose our unwanted gifts, and how to better our over-gorged bodies. The gung-ho amongst us are trawling the malls as I write for post-season sales, all the better and cheaper, if only we had the mood to shop and the money to spend. Somehow at the beginning of the year, everyone becomes a bit more frugal. Maybe it's a stark reminder of how we can make wiser purchases this year, as opposed to last year. So those with January birthdays don't get really big presents.

I'm in the midst of cleaning out my cupboards of which I seem to have numerous... and sorting out my stuff. The urgency of doing this is coupled with the fact that I need more space to store my new stuff, mostly buys from Bangkok and an array of toys, art and stationery I brought back from my office space (yes, no job = no money = more love from my honey). I've already packed one 'china bag' full of unwanted but still wearable clothes -Mom doesn't let me throw any clothes away, and now it's in TheBoyfriend's storeroom (from storeroom to storeroom...) awaiting new owners in the form of his lovely cousins or perhaps, it will languish there till the end of time.

I've found two belts (you shall see me wearing belts every day now), 3 scissors (I shall donate them to somewhere), books and more books I forgot I had read, old cards, old bags. Looking at your old things brings out a sense of nostalgia although, you have forgotten about them, and although I am, unlike my mother, rather vicious about throwing out things, a part of me wants to keep them for some reason I can't understand. I probably would not carry some of those bags again but it's just for some godforsaken sentimental reason that we can't throw them out. And I suspect, also the reason for some of my childhood clothes to be in a bag somewhere in my parents' room... ....

I've cleared out a drawer and three cupboards, I'm left with 8 more places to clear up/out. Hopefully I can get it done! It's quite exhausting...