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Mango rash

This is something I learn about mangoes. It is delicious. It is toxic as well. I didn’t know it until two weeks ago when my friend and I went for a mango-plucking spree.

We had a great time plucking mangoes from the tree right in front of his house, taking turns plucking with a rod and catching the falling mangoes with a basket.

While catching mangoes, some of the sap dripped on my arms. Initially it felt like some kind of burning sensation. The sap was sticky so I washed it off with soap after having feeling satisfied with our catch, three bagful of mangoes.

The following day, rashes started to appear. It was itchy. Thinking it was just a normal rash, I apply some hydrocortisone cream whenever I feel the itch. Things started to get better it seems.

After a week or so, not only did the red patches not resolve, it spreads and become intolerable – redness, hives and itchiness… So itchy I could hardly get a good night sleep. I am allergic to mango sap!

Thanks to my cousin doctor, I am now on prednisone (a corticosteroid for anti-inflammation) and dermovate ointment to get rid of the allergy.

Not so glorious pictures of my left hand and my right hand on day two of treatment/medication.

Things are getting a little better. It is still itchy but not to the point of scratching them, learning to tame myself.

What probably most of us urban guys don’t know is that the stem which holds the mango contains urushiol in its sap (oil). When you break the stem, the mango become a chemical weapon that when in contact with your skin can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

For my case, the reaction happened after 12 hours and got worse after two weeks. There you go, always be careful with mango sap.

I love eating mango still. 🍋 🍋🍋

Let nothing trouble

Yesterday, the three of us went hiking at a nearby hill. I’ve been to this hill not more than ten times but I am rather sure I recognize the entrance and the favourite trail – one that leads to a suspension bridge and valley. Being adventurous we decided to take a different trail, this time tailing behind some other hikers. Somehow too carried away with talking, we ended up arriving at a junction with several paths diverging into the woods.

Panic we were not. Took the right most path, it led to the other end of the hill. We could turn back, but we won’t. We waited. A loving couple, probably in their fifties, came up from behind and stopped for a drink. We asked if they are familiar with the trails, to our delight the pakcik (uncle in Malay) answered, “Bagus macam tu, kalao tak tahu, tanya. Pakcik tunjukkan jalan.”

We chatted with the couple along the hike until we parted our ways. Said our goodbye, not knowing whether will we be crossing path again.

After our hike, we went to the old folks home where my friend is a visiting doctor there. While he was attending to his clinic, I volunteered to feed the occupants there. The nun assigned me to feed a French priest who is bed ridden. As I was feeding him, I stared hard at his face, the face of Jesus, the face of a man who sacrificed his life for the church.

I found myself asking, “God, why God? Has not this man served you for his whole life, and why does he deserve all this? Bed ridden, unable to feed and clean himself?”

I found myself asking, “Will I ever get to have children? And if I do have children, will I ever end up like the rest of the folks here when I cannot feed and clean myself one day?”

Here I am again, at a crossroad of my life, taking a hard look at what lies ahead. Troubled. Maybe I will find an answer to this. Maybe I will meet someone who will show me the way.

Coincidence or not, I know not, but at times like this I find some solace. This morning as I was driving to work, the song Nada Te Turbe sung by the Taize community  was playing from the podcast. The song, translated to English means:

Let nothing trouble you or make you afraid. Those who have God will lack nothing, God alone is enough.

Discerning

I’m going for a retreat in Penang. Need to rethink and readjust my life. Things cropped up, I just received a letter of transfer. But I am happy with the new posting, it’s a new breath of life after spending a good six years in the design office doing engineering analysis and design.

Uncertainties are fogging my mind, there are so many questions in life I have to set straight – career advancement/change, relationship, marriage vocation.

In His time. All will be revealed.

May with the help of Fr. Ignatius, the retreat master, it will be a fruitful discernment.

How I removed candle wax from my car seat

Some times I can be really careless and forgetful, from leaving behind my wallet to forgetting to bring my glasses. To my greatest horror, this morning I realised my biggest yet carelessness – leaving the Easter candle on my car seat. Having parked my car under the hot sun yesterday, the entire candle stick melted onto the car seat which is made of fabric. It covers almost the entire right seat.

1_Wax Stain

I freaked out! Being an OCD, I can’t just stand to see a huge blot of oily wax stain on my brand new car seat. Minutes after making a post on Facebook, Victor and Alicia suggested that I use the ‘iron method’ to remove the wax. So I tried what they recommended:

Step 1: Scrap of excess wax

I used the blunt side of the butter knife to scrap off the wax, this is so not to damage the fabric and to prevent the wax from melting further onto the fabric during the ironing stage.

2_Scrap off wax

Step 2: Remove scraps

Next, I took out the vacuum cleaner and suck away all the wax scrapings since it is almost impossible to use a brush or by hand.

3_Discard scraps

Step 3: Place paper towel/serviette

After making sure there’s no wax scrapings left on the cushion, I place the serviette on the affected areas. You’ll need a lot of serviettes for this purpose.

4_Serviette

Step 4: Iron

Instead of using brown paper, I make do with the newletter paper. I laid it over the serviette and started ironing on it, this allows the wax to melt again and be absorbed into the serviette. I  repeated the process a number of times in the same area to heat all the wax into the serviette. The iron was set to medium heat.

5_Iron

Step 6: Clean with dishwasher

Most candles are made from waste cooking oil. Even though most of the wax could be melted and absorbed by the serviette, there was still oil residue on the cushion. Not able to take out the cushion cover, I mixed a few drops of dishwasher in the warm water and blot on the area gently with a sponge to remove the residue. Then I dabbed with warm water to remove the dishwasher.

6_Dishwasher

Hola! After one hour of cleaning this is how my car seat looks like. Almost as good as new but the white oil mark is still quite noticeable. I’m still not very satisfied with my work, will get some dry cleaning solvent to clean off the faint white marks or probably send it for a cushion wash.

7_After

Instead of sending my car for an expensive treatment, I spent less than 20 bucks and one hour to remove the wax. Bought an extension cord (RM12.90), a packet of serviette (RM1.10) and new sponge (RM3.00).

Seven Churches Visitation

The seven churches visitation also known as Visita Iglesia is a pilgrimage practice originated in Rome by St. Philip Neri, where the faithful visited the seven Roman basilicas: St. John Lateran, St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major, St. Paul-outside-the-walls, St. Sebastian, Santa Croce-in-Jerusalem and St. Lawrence-outside-the-walls. It is a tradition reaching back to the 16th century, according to Catholic News Herald the visitation to seven churches on Holy Thursday gives Catholics the opportunity to recall the seven stops of our Blessed Lord along the Via Dolorosa.

This year’s Holy Week, I learned a lot about church tradition and rites from my friend. Mark was the one who suggested doing the seven churches visitation pilgrimage since it was a tradition back in his hometown, where as me being a Kuching native has never heard of this before.

Being the engineer, I charted out the route for the visitation, mainly covering KL & PJ churches (with improvisation along the way). Since I was singing for the church choir on Holy Thursday, our first church was St. Francis Xavier Church. After mass we spent some time in prayer at the altar of repose before departing silently.

We then hopped into Tim’s car and rode from one church to another, covering the nearby churches in PJ – Assumption Church and St. Ignatius Church, then churches in KL – Chapel of Kristus Aman, Church of Our Lady of Fatima, St. Anthony Church and finally the Cathedral of St. John just before midnight struck.

The altars of repose were carefully prepared with abundance of flowers and plants, burning candles and subdued electric lighting, creating an ambiance of silence and meditation. The faithful kept watch as Holy Thursday moved into Good Friday.

The Altar of Repose

Here’s the route which I charted:

 

Perhaps next year, I will chart out a different route for the churches in Puchong, Subang and Klang.

Blessed Easter Monday!

Daniel

© 2015 daniel thinks. All rights reserved.

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