Archive for September 2007


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29 September 2007

From Made It

Now… I don’t know how RIGHT it is… for me to make my sons wear brooches… but these beauties are just TOO CUTE!

I stumbled across, an online community where you can buy and sell independent designer goods, plus join a thriving community of Australian independent designers. Great stuff!

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Sean’s Eczema Story

28 September 2007

SeanOver the years, I have received lots of emails from people with suggestions, stories, questions and friendly advice about kids and eczema. If you’re one of them, thanks!

I thought I’d write out the whole story in one post, so it all reads in chronological order.

But I must state – that overall – Sean’s eczema is not all THAT BAD. The little guy is happy and healthy, so I ain’t complaining!

Ever since Sean was a little baby, he always had rashes on his face, back, body, neck and legs.

They started off as dry patches of flaky skin, but when he got stressed or too hot, they would itch. He would scratch them into red scabs, bubbly with swelling and blood. And usually they were concentrated in the folds of his skin, behind knees, and behind ears.

First we tried regular moisturising. And quickly realised NOT to use stuff with perfumes, colour or harsh chemicals.

We also stopped using baby soaps and baby bubble baths, which were too harsh for his skin.

I read that I should avoid using anything with SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) a harsh detergent that usually leads to skin irritation. My goodness, SLS was in EVERYTHING at the supermarket.

I did some research, read lots of arguments for and against – and decided I may as well stick with organic products. So I tried a number of different organic baby herbal soaps and lotions.

I took Sean to my GP, who gave us some steroid cream, to use sparingly. Apparently it thins the skin after a while. Then we tried another prescription cream. And another.

I started to look for a more long term solution. I was still breast feeding at this stage and thought he might be allergic to something I was eating?

So when Sean was 6 months old, I took him to see an allergy specialist in Perth.

It turned out that he was allergic to our cat!

So after all that, his rashes calmed down a fair bit.

But his eczema flares up :

  • In winter – when we rug him up to sleep, or put too many layers on him after a hot bath.
  • When he is sick – his body heats up and his skin gets really dry and sensitive.
  • And when he’s having a bad day!

At the moment, I use Ego QV Skin Lotion. It smells a bit bleh, but it’s affordable and it seems to keep him happy. And Papaw Ointment.

We’ve learnt to dress him in lighter clothes, put cream on him 4 times a day, and manage his temperature. And I have a feeling that he’ll be managing eczema his whole life!

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Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival

26 September 2007


Growing up as an Asian person in a Western society, I am the first to admit that I have very little understanding about Chinese traditions.

The mid-autumn festival is the one that boggles me the most.

Apparently our Chinese ancestors gathered family and friends together and celebrated the plentiful summer’s harvest by eating lots of food, eating mooncakes, and carrying lanterns.

For me, it’s just a nice way to theme a dinner party – a few families, a potluck dinner, glowing paper lanterns in the backyard, mooncakes for dessert, then a video for the kids, while the adults chat.

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Sean’s Aussie Accent

25 September 2007

My 2.5yo has been going through a rather peculiar development in his language. He has somehow picked up a broad Australian accent. Which is hilarious, because no one talks like that around here.

“Hey look at the skoy, it’s noight toime!”

“OI loike Choinese food!”

“Whoy is moy loight off?”

I’ve been told that all kids go through this stage where they just experiment with the sound of words.

I just break out into giggles. I try to join in, but I can’t stand myself sounding like Kath and Kim (colourful icons of an Australian TV series).

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I LOVE My Palettes

24 September 2007

As much as I DREAM of disappearing into my bathroom – surrounding myself with unspeakably expensive coloured makeup powders, shadows, primers and brushes; individually opening up every single eye shadow pot; spending HOURS mixing, blending, sweeping, sprinkling, sashaying to my heart’s content –

I face the reality of my life – I’m a mother and there are children banging on the door.

However, it’s not an excuse to turn up to an event looking crap!

These are my favourite of favourites makeup colour palettes –

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown Velvet Plum Metallics

MAC Smoking

MAC Smoking Eyes : Shadow X 4


Revlon ColorStay Quads – Nude Elements


Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Duo

Fresh Bloom Allover Colour

Shu Uemura

Shu Uemura Golden Summer Pressed Eye Shadow Palette

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Interviewed by Integricty

23 September 2007

The friendly folk at Integricity (Malaysia) emailed me out of the blue and completely charmed the socks off me. If I was a girl standing at a bar, I’d so invite the party back to my place. Heh.

Anyway, I agreed to do a short and snappy interview for them! Thanks guys – if I’m ever in Malaysia, I’ll certainly look you guys up for a round of drinks!

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Thoughts on Parenting

21 September 2007

This is a list of my Thoughts on Parenting :

Thoughts on Parenting : Crafting New Experiences

Thoughts on Parenting : Children’s Characters

Thoughts on Parenting : Raising Boys

Thoughts on Parenting : Working vs Not Working

Thoughts on Parenting : Two vs Three

Parenting Is…

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Thoughts on Parenting : Crafting New Experiences

20 September 2007

One of the best things about being a stay at home mother, is that you get to see and shape most of your child’s first experiences.

You introduce them to a football, you show them how you kick it, then you stand back and let them have a try.

You see them struggle or triumph, persist or give up, fill with excitement or frustration, joy or anger. You see what their strengths and weaknesses are. What they like and don’t like.

You encourage them, praise them, help them, have fun with them, and you get to teach them other things like skills, rules, the bigger picture of life.

Basically, you help them become the person they are.

And it happens in front of your eyes. Every day. It’s very cool.

I guess crafting new experiences for your child is all part of nurturing their character.

On the flip side, you don’t want to under-estimate your child’s potential, or be a pushy parent, or be one with deluded expectations. You don’t want to smother your child, hold them back or keep them wrapped up in cotton wool.

There’s a nice fine balance of keeping an open mind, knowing when to push and when to stand back.

There’s wisdom in knowing when to let go.

And in the process of crafting new experiences, there are the parts where :

They just astound you with their capabilities.

They teach YOU that they are stronger than you think.

Smarter than you think.

More capable of complex thinking than you think.

More emotionally sensitive than you think.

They teach you how to look beyond the present and have a bit of faith.

That they can adapt to new situations.

And that you just have to loosen up a bit, because life goes on.

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Exhibition Cold Feet

19 September 2007


I wish I could say I was oozing confidence towards my upcoming exhibition.

I’m overwhelmed with a mixture of excitement, exhilaration, courage, amazement, but most of all I’M SO NERVOUS!

There’s a small anxious twitch that I can’t shake off – who’s coming? what will they think? what if people don’t like it? What if they hate it! What if they turn their noses up at my so called art?!

Each of my paintings have been a such a personal pleasure to paint. The whole process of painting, and sharing my visual stories with others fills me with passion, inspiration, and satisfaction.

It’s very personal and intimate.

And in a way, I’m not worried if others don’t get it, or like it.

Got to keep things in perspective! I’m doing it for my own enjoyment!

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The Video Game Moment

18 September 2007

Callum on the WiiMy husband and I have done, what I think, is a peculiar thing in our household – my children have never seen, or even know what a video or computer game is.

I’m not ANTI video games. I am a strong believer in “everything in moderation”. I know that video games will inevitably be a part of my children’s lives (like TV). But video games are just one more thing I DON’T want the stress of regulating – LIKE TV. For now anyway.

So the other day, my sister came over for dinner and brought her wii.

I thought it might be interesting to see both Callum and Sean be COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY by something they have never seen before. So I let the kids stay up to join in the fun.

I told Callum we were going to play tennis on the television.

He went still and his eyes grew as large as plates. I could see what he was thinking – my mother has completely lost her mind.

And he chose his words carefully, full of authority and kindness, “Mum. If we hit a tennis ball at the TV, we’ll break it. We shouldn’t be hitting balls in the house.”

The kids sat and watched us play tennis and bowling. I wondered what they were thinking as we dance around the living room, swinging our arms around like lunatics.

Then it was their turn.

I showed Callum how to do the bowling actions, press buttons, coordinate and time movements. I didn’t actually think he’d GET IT. I thought he’d stamp his feet in frustration and send the handset flying through the television.

But he had about 3 turns, and suddenly he was played like he was BORN WITH THE HANDSET STRAPPED TO HIS WRIST. It was scary and it was astonishing.

I was the one who was blown away.

I enjoyed this site, A site full of images of smashed televisions, windows, lamps, ceiling fans and animals! An oldie but a goodie!

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Early Mornings

17 September 2007

130 Usually when our boys have a sleepover, my husband and I indulge in SLEEPING IN. It’s such an opulent luxury. Not just because we get extra sleep.

It’s because we get to wake up AT OUR OWN TIME to the quiet of the morning. We make a simple breakfast, sit in the backyard, listen to the birds sing, and get our heads ready for the day. Ok. I lie. Most times it’s just about getting more sleep.

But on Saturday morning, we thought we’d try something different. We woke up at 6:30am and headed out for a really early breakfast. We sat in our favourite cafe. Cup of tea. Eggs on toast.

My husband is always so brainy and awake in the mornings. Me. I’m an incoherent aching zombie with puffy eyes.

I slowly warmed up. Breakfast was lovely. Chatting to the husband was great.
And most of all, it was amazing to feel alive at 7:30am.

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Parenting is

16 September 2007

Scary is
When you see your son shout at his friends,
in the same way you shout at him,
in the same way your mother used to shout at you.

Beautiful is
When you see the warm soft sparkle in your child’s eye
As he talks about his most favourite thing in the WHOLE WORLD,

Mind-numbing torture is
When you spend all day saying, please don’t touch that, please don’t do that, please don’t say that, please don’t stand on that, please just stop that, please try eating this, please take another bite, please say thank you, PLEASE SAY PLEASE…

Magical is
When your 4 year old son tells you a joke, and it’s actually funny.
As you laugh, he tells another one, and another one,
until you are both rolling on the floor, crying from laughter.

Bleakness is
When, for days, you try and try and try and try AND TRY your very best with a positive heart, to battle with your children’s naughtiness, disobedience, stubbornness, temper, anger, disrespect and appalling behaviour… and absolutely nothing seems to change.

Tender is
When you kneel down, look your son in the eye and
say how sorry you are for being in a bad mood this morning,
and he says “Aww mum, that’s ok. I still love you. Let’s just be happy ok?”

Precious is
When your son throws his arms around you, and you both roll onto the floor, tickling, giggling, laughing, poking, bumping, hooting, bouncing, cuddling, cackling, twirling, and you just know deep inside you, that in another 4 years, this all might be “NOT A COOL THING TO DO”.

Panic is
When you wake up in the dead of night, to screams, cries, vomit, raging temperature, shouts, a soaking bed, blood… and you have no idea what to do.

Painful is
After waking up 8 times in the night and a trip to emergency hospital, you still have to get out of bed in the morning, make breakfast, pack lunches, send one child to school, entertain the other child, keep appointments, buy groceries, make dinner, pick up child from school, hang around for after school activities, bath children, feed children and bed children.

Pride is
When you hear your son telling his friends that “Ants are the strongest creatures in the world. If they were big like humans, they could carry a bulldozer! Yeah! My mum told me that!”

Wisdom is
When you try to explain genetics and recessive traits to a 4 year old and he just laughs at you.

Mind boggling is
When you watch your kids play and are struck with utter amazement – They are funny, friendly, unique, sociable, active, open, confident, smart, happy and healthy AND YOU MADE THEM!

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Spring Flowers From The Garden

14 September 2007


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Signing A Painting

13 September 2007

Signed Painting

I had a real emotional problem when signing my paintings for the exhibition.

I’ve never signed a painting before. Most of my past work, I considered them as “painting exercises” or “a canvas that I smeared paint on” . I’ve never actually made a FINISHED PIECE OF ART.

And certainly, nothing says IT IS FINISHED, than a signature on a painting. I was a bit freaked out.

How should I sign my name? Where should I sign it? What colour should I use?

I decided that I had no problem being traditional : Bottom corner, in a subtle colour.

As to what name to sign :

Karen – Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh, who just signed his paintings with “VINCENT”. Now that’s absolute rock star confidence – I like it – but I’m not ready for that.

Karen Cheng – A bit long and overwhelming… maybe.

Karen C – Made me sound like a Spice Girl.

K.C. – Bit too obscure.

KCheng – As you can tell from the photo above, I decided to go with this.

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Designer Boutiques on William St

12 September 2007

On WilliamI hit the city today for a funky art + fashion exhibition event at some of my favourite little designer boutiques on William Street.

Entitled Windows on William, the exhibition teamed up local artists and retail stores – to promote the new vibe on the street. I loved it! The shops were spilling out with people, designer bits and pieces, cool designer vintage clothes, art and accessories.

I thought I’d give my favourite shops a plug :

Harry Highpants
259 William Street
Northbridge, WA
(08) 9328 2635
Blog :

Keith and Lottie
276 William Street
Northbridge, WA
(08) 9328 8082
Online Shop :

411 William Street
Northbridge, WA
Online Shop :

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Upcoming Art Exhibition

11 September 2007

I’m working towards a group art exhibition of oil paintings entitled “Journeys”.

Here is the official invite (designed by me) :

Journeys Exhibition Invitation

And here is the official blurb :

“Journeys” is an exploration of form and colour from four different artists.

Jane Kos is an established and well respected artist who has exhibited regularly over the past 15 years. She has taken the unusual step of holding her latest exhibition with three previously unexhibited artists; Marnie Beissel, Wendy Tweedie and Karen Cheng.

Marnie’s paintings work to capture those moments of quiet solitude that rejuvenate the sense of joy in life, inspired by her love of the raw natural beauty of the Australian coastline. Each image is an exercise in meditation, enabling the viewer to lose themselves in the study of form, colour and atmosphere.

Wendy Tweedie having been inspired by her time living in Europe, Asia and Australia, has created a mixture of traditional and abstract pieces. These rich and earthy images also reflect her journey as an artist over time.

Growing up on Christmas Island, Karen Cheng has enchanting memories of swimming in crystal waters, playing in lush jungles, chasing red crabs, and exploring the flourishing corners of the tropical island. For this exhibition, she explores the images and visual sensations of her magical childhood, bringing together vibrant colours and exquisite textures to capture a sense of playful wonder.

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This Weekend…

9 September 2007

Washing machine

The superheros were out of action.

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My Boys Baptised

8 September 2007

BoysThis weekend my boys were baptised during my church’s anniversary celebrations.

We sat on the front pew. Sang some hymns. The boys were pretty fidgety. I could tell they wanted to join in with the singing, but they didn’t know the words.

The baptism started. They were called up one by one. They looked so big and brave on the stage. Yet so small. A bit of water was sprinkled onto their heads. A prayer was said. It was very beautiful and touching. They were so well behaved.

The baptism bit ended. More hymns. And we quickly dragged the boys out to the Kid’s Room before they broke out into a joint rendition of Elton John and AC/DC.

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My Organic Red Stew

7 September 2007

Red Stew

Every winter, I crave meaty stews. I make it once a week. Usually I just throw some meat and whatever vegetables I have lying around into a pot, and magic happens. So yummy.

Today I thought I’d make a stew with a colour theme. I’ve always been a strong believer in eating coloured vegetables – especially the RED / PURPLE ones, for a good dose of phytochemicals and antioxidants.

I decided to go all the way and make it completely organic – that way, I could feel extra happy that it wasn’t laced with bug spray.

Red Stew Recipe 

2 medium red onions, diced
1 large red capsicum, diced
1 medium egg plant, diced
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of vegetable stock
400g of lean beef, diced
400g can of red kidney beans
salt and pepper

I threw everything into a pressure cooker for 15 minutes, and damn it tasted SO GOOD with rice.

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Sean – 30 months

6 September 2007

Sean 30 monthsLately Sean’s favourite thing to say is, “Oh sorry! I didn’t realise that I hurt your feelings!”

His is – noisy, playful, talkative, comical, reckless, copies his big brother in mostly everything.

Sean adores Bob the Builder and Buzz Lightyear.

He’s very keen on the idea of going to school.

We put cream on his body 4 times a day because of his eczema.

He loves to sing and dance. He seems to have a natural rhythm which usually turns into an air guitar performance and rock and roll shouting.

He is toilet trained for the whole day, except when he sleeps.

He has a 1 hour nap during the day around 12noon. And sleeps around 7:30pm til 7am the next morning.

He is 85cms and weighs 11kgs.

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Oil Painting Process for “Watching Waves”

5 September 2007


For my upcoming group art exhibition, we’re exploring the theme of “Journeys”.

My main sources of inspiration are my childhood memories of Christmas Island – playing in the tropical jungle, swimming at the beach, sitting in a small fishing boat over the deep blue ocean.

Many times, my parents would take us rock fishing off the coast. The rocks were dark, shards of volcanic rock. I remember the way they pushed sharply into the bottom of our thongs as we walked over them.

I remember the crashing waves. The sea spray. The unrelenting energy of the water smashing and sweeping through the rocks.

I was terrified. Terrified of breaking my head on the rocks. Terrified of being swept out to sea.

I was soothed. The roaring crash, the sighing withdraw. The rhythmic tide of an ocean so immeasurable and wet.

I never fished. I would always sit and watch.

The Painting Process

1. The Undercoat

I started by giving my canvas two coats of watered-down gesso. Then I dripped and flicked the gesso onto the canvas at different heights, and splooshed it around with a palatte knife.

After that dried, I thinned some Burnt Sienna oil paint with some lean medium and applied it liberally. I let it pool and collect around the various lump and bumps of the canvas. Then left it to dry.

I chose to work with a dark background, because I wanted some of the burnt sienna to show though. Sienna is often a colour associated with aged photographs and historical images.

I wanted the shadowy brown to peek through the vibrant blues to create a mysterious, peculiar look about it.

Watching Waves Undercoat

2. The First Layer

I painted a blue sky background with minimal strokes. Working dark to light. It felt like I was doing calligraphy – where each stroke is carefully planned, placed and radiates spirit.

It was quite stressful, but very satisfying. I wanted to capture movement, exhilaration and the volatile energy of the atmosphere.

Watching Waves First Layer

2. The Second Layer

For the rocks, I used a mixture of raw umber, black, blue and white. I also used a bit of magenta to add some contrast against the blue background. Again I worked quickly, yet purposefully, careful not to over-work certain areas. Stressful, but so rewarding!

Later I painted the surging blue ocean and splattered white all over the place. I finished it off with lovely drips and dribbles. I’m really happy with it.

This is my second Watching Waves piece.

(Unfortunately I’m not going to post up my finished artwork until after my exhibition! Watch this space!)

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An Ode To Teenage Fantasies

4 September 2007

Age 7 : Astroboy

Age 8 : The Red Guy from Voltron – Defender of the Universe

Age 10 : Joey from New Kids on the Block

Age 11 : Johnny Depp from 21 Jump Street

Age 12 : Jason Priestley from Beverly Hills, 90210

Age 13 : Keanu Reeves from Point Break

Age 14 : Tom Cruise, Far and Away

Age 15 : David Duchovny from The X Files

So who are your childhood TV crushes?
I tag everyone!

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I love you David. Kind of.

3 September 2007

DDEverybody who knows me well… knows that I have lusted shamefully after David Duchovny since the X Files first aired on Australian TV in 1993. I think even my mother knew, which was kind of embarrassing, for a 15 year old.

I was never the kind of fan who squealed and fainted, screamed and flapped. I always liked to think that I was a bit more cool about it, “Oh you mean that X Files guy? Yeah, he’s not bad…”

But believe me, I watched that show RELIGIOUSLY. Every Wednesday night. In the dark. He was the sexiest, yummiest, mysterious, electrifying, and most exhilarating guy to watch on TV. I was hooked, bad.

Once or twice, I’ve tried to be a hardcore fan. I tried to watch a few of his earlier movies. I tried to read some books. I tried to delve into the strange world of fan sites. But I couldn’t do it. Fan sites are so wrong, on so many different levels. I was never a real fan.

But 13 years on. I confess that the fire still burns within. Yes indeed.

Do I admire him as an actor? Not really.
Do I adore his deadpan humour? Nah.
What about his intelligent, dry wit? Nope.
Is this all quite sad, completely superficial and reeking with 15 year old shallowness? Absolutely!

I lick my lips with delicious anticipation of his new TV series, Californication. It’s not great tv, but hey, me and the eye candy go way back.

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Post Holiday Celebrations at the Grapeskin

2 September 2007

Grapeskin Wine BarTwo weeks on a camping road trip is certain to make you enjoy the simple pleasures of a noisy wine bar.

Good food. Good wine. Good to be OUT SOCIALISING.

We met up with some friends for some wine tasting at The Grapeskin Wine Bar – an old favourite of mine.

It’s definitely one of the nicer and trendier places to sit in Northbridge. Particularly if you like people watching and checking out cute bar men.

Anyway, this is how much wine there is in a taster glass. And this, my friends, is how much it takes to get me completely smashed.

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One Extreme Holiday To The Next

1 September 2007

After living in wild and feral abandonment for 2 days, the NO SHOWER THING bothered me the most. Ok, we bathed in the ocean. But the salt water didn’t seem to penetrate through the built up layers of sun cream, moisturiser, dirt, grime, sweat and salt. It was……. SO GROSS!

Caravan Park at Coral Bay

The next day we arrived at Coral Bay. It was quite a shock to our system. We came away from the coastal wilderness to a holiday theme park. There were hundreds of caravans lined up, bumper to bumper, as far as the eye could see. Everything was manicured and immaculate. It was all strangely perfect.

Beach and Kids

The beach was amazing. It was PERFECT for small children. The boys had such a good time – paddling, splashing, building sand castles, digging rivers and just lying on the sand.

Later we waded out through the warm, knee-deep water of the bay. We saw schools of little colourful fish and huge dinner-plate sized fish, all swimming happily between our legs.

Glass Bottom Boat

We took the glass bottom boat tour and cruised around the bay, over the Ningaloo Reef. Being a scuba diver, I’ve already seen coral, but it was really nice to share it with the kids. It was cool to hear my 4 year old say stuff like, “Hey that coral looks like lettuce!”

Karen and Callum That evening, we returned to the beach. We skipped over rock pools and rolled down the sand dunes as we watched the sun go down over the sparkling waters.

A part of me has accepted that my kids will probably never remember all these holiday moments. That their memories will only exist as photographs in dust covered albums or some silly snaps stuck on the fridge. I guess you need a certain kind of faith as a parent – to believe that what you’re doing now will bear some fruit in the future.