Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Christmas came and went. So did the day the world was supposed to end.

Now the New year is around the corner. 2012 sure flew by fast.

It was a bitter sweet year for me.

Bitter due to the number of deaths of people I knew, plus illness inflicting those near and dear (myself included). My mother-in-law predicted at the start of the year that 2012 was going to be a bad year. She holds the belief that any Chinese calendar that had a double month was usually one that was filled with misfortunes. Not sure if that is true. She has her beliefs, I have my own. 2012 was one such year. Co-incidental? I am not sure but the number of funerals in my church was like 20% above most years. I am just glad 2012 is coming to a close (just in case her beliefs are true)!

The Sweetness during the year came from the successes achieved by my kids, and hubs from their hard work, the good times had with family and friends, (this was an especially good year in terms of meet ups with friends), going the extra mile for others in terms of committing my time to help out or lending a helping hand or ear to others who needed it, and of course money. Good family bonding time also upped that sweetness level.

The new year is less than 12 hours away. I have decided I will not come up with a list of resolutions. No point having a list of things I want to achieve and mourn over not achieving it at the year end. I will just take it as it comes and try to do good as and when I can, both for myself and others.

There will be no big party or celebrations to ring in the new year at my end. Just quiet time with the family.

May your New Year be blessed with good health, love, joy, peace and lots of fun family time! Happy New Year!!

And thanks for following my blog! To another good year of blogging!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Aunty Killer

An aunty killer usually refers to a guy who is able to charm women much older than him.

The aunty killer that I met at the Christmas eve party last year struck again this year. And I tell you, he is no flash in the pan.

At last year's party, he offered to make my kueh pie tee for me, even though he could have just helped himself and left me to make my own. He stood there filling all those little cups with vegetables, and garnishing for everyone who came by. He can hold a proper conversation with almost anyone, but especially so with the auntys!!

This year, this aunty killer chose to play with 2 little girls age 3 and 5. For a young man of 16, he could have chosen to play TV games with the other teenage boys but he chose instead to entertain the little ones. I sat around observing him. He spoke to them in the sweetest voice you can expect from a 16 year-old boy. He was very patient with them, explaining and even demonstrating to them how to play the game even before starting the game. He had no problems in letting them win the game.

I tell you, this young man would be most sought after by most mums with daughters. And I am sure he will again charm me when I next meet him!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tis the season ...

... to meet up with friends!! And of course to be jolly!!

I dont know about you, but every time December comes along, I rush to meet up with friends. I just feel the need to. Before the year ends. It's like: must do it or a year would have ended without that last meeting. Not that its THAT final. There's still next year. But its good to tick off another item on the list of to do things for the year.

Even if these are friends that I meet up with during the year. Hehheh. More reason to be jolly.

December is traditionally a month of celebrations. Especially with 2 birthdays in the family, an anniversary, Christmas, and many friends' birthdays. Couple that with the school hols ... it sure makes everyone around here more relaxed.

Talking about friends. I basically have 2 groups of good friends who I meet up with more than the rest.

The first group being my close pals from school days. However, our gatherings nowadays tend to have a more sombre mood. We are at that age where are parents are getting old. So during our gatherings we tend to discuss our parents and their ailments and how to deal with them. And of course we talk about our own ailments. Aching limbs, gall stone problems, weak knees and legs, stiff backs, thyriod, you name it, one of us or our spouses would have it!! Sigh. But it's still fun to touch base and connect.And EAT!

My other group of good friends are the mums from my youngest's kindy class. We meet fairly often for our morning walks, breakfasts, Mum's night out, and occasionally we include the husbands as well. For this group, our conversation definitely centers around our kids (who were classmates at one point in time). But we also discuss our husbands, our in-laws, cooking, baking, hair styling, plants, health issues- AND FOOD!! Yeah, we love to eat! And we will always have laughter, lots of it!! Too much laughter sometimes that we get stares from others around us. Actually I am totally amazed that we click so well as a group, for we range in age from 36 to 49!!

Well, the year is coming to a close soon. I hope you take some time out to meet up with good friends, close friends, as many friends as you can. For tis the season to be really jolly!! Cheers!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

What goes around comes around

Some time near the start of this year, I met my best friend from primary school.

The first comment she made to me was: You are looking good! You havent changed much.

My reply to her was: You are looking good too! Only that you have grown a little.

My kids who were with me chided me for being mean. You see, my friend has put on A LOT of weight. MY kids said: she paid you a compliment and you were nasty.

Was I really? Well, she having been my best friend then, I couldnt lie to her, I felt. I hadnt seen her in 30 years and was so happy to bump into her. She did look good, only probably 50lbs heavier.

Well, last friday, I met an ex-colleague whom I had not seen for >25 years. She is the one some years back whom I had corresponded with her when she was living in the UK. I had heard that she had breast cancer and was feeling really down from a common friend and had decided to write to her to try to give her some support. You can read about it here. She was looking really good for someone who had recovered from breast cancer. She too had grown heavier. But this time I was careful with my words. I told her that she looked good. But do you know what she said: What happened to you? I wasnt even sure if it was you or your auntie!

Gosh!! I had better improve my image. Do I really look that auntie? Or is it a case of what goes around, comes aroun? I better watch what I say from now on!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has come and gone.

I did give thanks. For my husband, my kids, and my family. For my friends and for all the blessings that have been bestowed on me by God. I pray that he will continue to bless me, my family, and of course, my friends.

Frequently, I notice my kids dont seem to appreciate what they have got.

Just a few days ago, D complained: I only got to play one wii game since we got home from vacation.

And this was how the conversation went ~

Me: How lucky you are!!

D: Lucky? You must be joking. Kor Kor and Jie Jie has played so many games, and I only played one game.

(That's because she has all these make-up classes for when we were away. 3 music classes in that week alone!!)

Me: Well, at least you got to play a game. I didnt. And think of all those children who dont even have a wii machine at home. They have never even played on the wii before.

Well, that shut her up for a bit.

Then she asked me: What did you play with when you were small?

Me: 5 stones, or I drew in the sand with a branch from the tree, or hopscotch.

Me: Be happy and thankful for all that you have been blessed.

D then smiled sheepishly.

Well, my kids are lucky to have been born into a life of abundance and yet they aren't very good at being thankful for that. We try very hard to teach them. They tend to think that most things are must haves. Much as we can afford to give them all that they need and want, I feel that we have to deny them some of these.

It is easy to enjoy the good life. That doesnt need to be learnt at all. But to learn to live without some of the necessities - that will be difficult. That's why I hold the view that if we deny them things, they can easily learn to live with luxury later, if they can afford it on their own later in life. Instead of the other way around. Or they will end up being miserable. Suffer now enjoy later, I feel is the way to go for the young ones. And then they will be really grateful for what they are blessed with.

And if you are interested, here's a link on how to raise a grateful child. The best way is definitely by example.

Have you given thanks today??

And on a lighter note:

Monday, November 12, 2012

All my bags are ...

...not packed!!

Yikes! I leave on vacation in two days, and I havent even started thinking about packing!

I used to one that will plan up to two weeks before travelling all the things I will need. Then I will start putting aside those things , going to buy those which I dont have, making sure chargers for the camera, video, are all properly charged like a day or two before the trip. Making sure I have the correct adapters for where we are travelling to, checking the 2 week weather forecasts to be sure that we are adequately prepared for what may come our way.

But for my lst trip (in June), I only started packing 3 days before travel.Finishing the packing only like half an hour before we left for the airport. Now it's two days, and I have absolutely not even started thinking of what to pack!! I can even do my online check in now!! What am I doing here instead of packing??

Either I am now more organised, more relax, less highly strung, or just ??

Anyway, someone asked me last week: Do you pack for the kids and your husband does his own packing?

Actually, No, my kids do their own packing, I just do a cursory check to make sure they didnt forget anything important (like undies!!), and I do my husband's packing for him!! "Lucky man!" was the reply I got, "what a dutiful wife." Am I?

Who does the packing in your home when going on vacation?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Time to draw the line








We have always taught our kids to share, and to help others.

It has been said that its better to give than to receive, and yes, I definitely agree with that.

But when one is taken advantage of, then it's time to draw the line, and put a stop to it.

Anyway, that's what I think.

This is how the story goes:

School was having a mini-carnival.

Gave the little one money to spend: $10

She spent $4 buying nachos to share with her classmates.

One friend (T) wasnt given any money by her mum.

Little one gave her $2, coz T wanted to buy candy floss.

Ate it all up by herself, and went back to little one for more money, coz she (T) wanted more candy floss. Little one gave her another $2. Same thing happened. Went back again to little one for more money. And D gave her AGAIN!!

I dont have a problem with her giving the first $2. But to keep giving?

I tried to explain to the little one that it was fine initially, but not when she kept coming back. She had to learn to tell her "NO".

Lil one had planned to go to the henna booth to get her hand henna'd. I had also suggested to her before school that day to get one of those pretty balloon flowers which she could wear on her wrist, and she was so excited about it.

But when she came out of school that day with nothing in her hands except for a cup of pop-corn I was a bit surprised.

Upon questioning, I found out what had transpired.

And when I found out that the pop-corn was given to her by another friend, I was upset. Firstly, I dont like her taking things from others. I have always told her: It's ok to share. Eat what is offered, BUT dont take any home. Apparently this girl (R) felt sorry for D (coz D didnt get to buy anything, coz her money was spent by someone else) and hence gave her what was left of her pop-corn!! Bless R!!

I have told her that parents do not give for a reason. These are kids from rich and well-to-do families. If the parent refuses to give, there must be a reason for it: either the child is not supposed to have whatever (for medical or other reasons) or the child is being punished to be denied a treat.

I pointed out to her: what would you do if T's mum didnt want her to buy candy floss because she had an allergic reaction to it. And you gave her the money to buy it and she had a bad reaction as a result?

She understood but I think she didnt really understand, coz at the end of the day she told me: Mum, I actually didnt give her money. I only gave her coupons!! @.@


So at the end of all this, my question is:

Am I teaching my child the wrong thing? (To be generous but not TOO generous?)

Should there be a limit to generosity?


On a lighter note:
A pastor explained to his congregation that the church was in need of some extra money, so he asked them to consider being more than generous. He offered that whoever gave the most would be able to pick three hymns. After the offering plates were passed about the church, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had graciously offered a $100 bill. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he'd like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate. A very quiet, elderly, saintly lady in the back of the church shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front, so she slowly she made her way towards him. The pastor told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much, and in thanks he asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation. She pointed to the three most handsome men in the church and said, "I'll take him and him and him."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Moving on ...

Today marks the "graduation" of my oldest from Secondary school.

It seemed like it wasn't so long ago when I was preparing her for Primary 1, walking her through the school and canteen before the first day of school, teaching her how to use the public phone with a phone card, just in case she needed to contact me, and where to wait for me after school on the first day, because I wasn't going to be like the other parents hanging around school waiting for her.

When she moved to Primary 4, we went through that whole process again because she changed schools. That year there was much less to prep her, only the pick up arrangement, which to my horror was a nightmare!! 3 years flew by quickly, and before we knew it, we were invited to attend her graduation ceremony from primary school. (You can read about that here.)

Not long after that, we were queuing again to buy uniforms, books, etc. My girl was joining the school chosen by many top students in Singapore. We felt so proud, until her grades started to come in. We agonised over whether to get her external help, which she so strongly resisted. We wondered if we had made the correct decision of putting our little fish in that big pond. The tiger mum in me wanted to take over immediately and call in the external help, and not give her a say in the decision. But the man in the house was totally against it. Finally, I had to give in to the 2 of them, believing that she knew herself better. Her long school days, numerous assignments and projects, CCA commitments, late nights, her growth spurts and pimples all marked the last 4 years.

Yesterday, we were at her school, being the proud parents, sharing in her joy when she was conferred her school's colours awards for Outstanding Leadership and Outstanding Performance.

Today's graduation ceremony is unfortunately an event which parents are not invited to. And immediately after this morning's ceremony she will be going to her JC. The timing for the briefing by the JC couldnt be more timely!!

My girl is moving on to another phase of life. One where there it will be marked by even longer hours (we are told). More stress, having to settle into a new environment,having to make new friends, adapt to a different teaching style, and having to prepare for the another major exam in 2 short years. AND HORMONAL BOYS!!

Guess it's time for me to take out that chastity belt. But we would still be supporting her the whole journey.

Looks like our lil girl has grown up.

Love you S!! Be the best that you can be!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ready to give it all up

Yes, I am.

But what?

My collection.

My collection of rings.

Yes, all kinds, with precious as well as semi-precious stones.

Done in various designs.

From the "wow! ones" to the simple designs.

Accumulated over a period of 10 years.

I dont know why I started on it. Maybe it was a sense of insecurity. Needing to have control.

I even went to the extent of buying my kids birthstones as well. All set for them, but with Mum wearing them first. *shakes head*

And now, when my "collection" is close to completion, I feel that I have no need for them at all.

In fact, nowadays I hardly wear them on a daily basis. I used to wear one everyday, that would match what I was wearing.

Now, I will wear one when I go out to dinner. Usually my favourite one.

What on earth do I need so many for?? I asked myself the other day. At any one time, I can only wear one.

The money would have been better spent else where. Like investing in stocks and shares.

Guess my girls would benefit from it one day.

Meanwhile, they sit in "cold storage". I hope I do not get tempted into this "impulse" buying again.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Early Exams

Secondary schools in Singapore generally close for the year end hols much earlier than the primary schools. This is because they have to prepare the school for the GCE 'O' Level exams which start towards the end of October, and these older children do not go to school once the exams start so as not to cause any distractions (noise?) to those taking those exams.

Exams for most primary schools are usually at the end of October going into early November, except for those from full schools (offering both primary and secondary education as they too will close early together with the secondary school children).

Having children in both primary and secondary schools usually causes some friction in the family, as the secondary children are all ready to play and have fun, whilst their younger siblings are busy preparing for their year-end exam.

This is true in my home as well. Not so much with my oldest, who is quite an introvert and generally very considerate. But with the son, when he wants to play, he wants to P.L.A.Y, not withstanding his younger sister needing to study.

But this year, it is different. My youngest's school have held their year-end exams early, as a part of the school is about to be demolished for re-development.

So it was a great for me as all 3 had exams at about the same time and finished at almost the same time.

So we could really take advantage of the post-exam period and allow the kids to do as they wish.

Why cant the ministry of education do something about it and have all schools have their year-end exams at about the same time. It would make things easier for all concerned especially parents! And maybe then parents may consider having more kids to counter the low birth rate here. (ok that's a wild shot, but haha!! just maybe!!)

So, it's just 4 more weeks to the end of the school year, and the year-end hols. It's a no stress 4 weeks for me. For those still preparing for final exams, Jia you!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I chewed her up

A friend posted on her FB wall that

" It took a 5 year old little girl to remind me that when a kid is shouted at by an adult their heart beats faster, it hurts their feelings and they get scared."

And a few hours after her posting, I did exactly what she was trying to warn us against doing. I hang my head in shame.

Let me tell you what ate me.

Partly it's the stress of the upcoming exams.
Partly it was because she lost marks where she shouldn't have at all.
Partly its because the school streams the children based on their results.
Partly it's her nonchalant attitude.
Partly it's because the hubs said the marks wasn't that bad.

I think every parent feels the stress when the exams are coming, some more than others, and I am in the latter. What do you expect? As a SAHM that's my KPI!! can you blame me?

This child of mine lost marks where she shouldn't have at all. When answering comprehension questions, she couldn't even get the child's name correct. And the name appeared in the paper. Is it so difficult to copy the name correctly, I asked her. She said she couldn't see the word proper;y properly. That resulted in a different set of fears arising in me. Has the effect of her medical condition started rearing its ugly head?? (Poor eyesight leading to blindness - I hope not, and I refuse to believe it has. I rather think it's just her "tidak apa" attitude. Or am I like an ostrich trying to stick my head in the sand. I don't know, and I don't want to know!!) The fault too lies with the school. Why cant they let the main character in the passage have a name like 小明, instead they had a name which had like 20 strokes in it (which I couldn't even read, but then again I don't read chinese).

There's been a lot of talk about upcoming changes to the education system in Singapore recently. I cant wait for the changes. But the schools must walk the talk, and parents must follow suit. In my child's school, they haven't had any examinations at all for the the primary 1s and 2s since they started school. Only small bite-sized topical tests. And now at the end of P2, they are giving them a "major exam" and they will be streamed to classes based on this exam. And in this school, the best children get the best teachers. Hence the stress, => to get your child into the best class!!

(This exercise scares the shit out of me as I had a bad experience with my oldest child when she was in P1. She was diagnosed as a child needing learning support within 3 weeks of starting school. The problem was : she just wasn't used to doing exam papers as she had never done one before that big test they gave her unannounced. She had attended a kindergarten that emphasized play. Luckily hubs and I took the stand that we didn't want her self esteem affected by attending those learning support classes. AND she proved her teachers wrong by topping her whole cohort for 3 years running {after mastering how to do exam papers} with perfect scores for all her exams!!

This child of mine always tells me: "It's ok mum!" when she sees me all worked up about the mistakes she makes or when I tell her she needs to learn certain things. OK, I can be quite anal about it, but her attitude really affects me. She keeps making the same mistakes!! Many like her for her attitude, BUT a type A character JUST CANT TAKE IT!!

And the hubs just looked at the scores and said the scores looked alright to him. I cant believe it. He didn't even look thru the paper to see how she lost her marks and he said it was OK!! It's not about the absolute marks. It's the relative marks. Just like the PSLE. It's based on the bell curve. If you are scoring 75 when everyone else is getting 95, you are not going to get into one of the good classes. If you are losing marks unnecessarily, it's not OK. And when the comprehension passage says the lady lost her purse, it's not OK to say she lost her wallet!! She got 2 questions wrong because she changed the purse to a wallet!!

AND it really didn't help me when her two siblings told me that I over-reacted, and little sister's marks weren't that bad!! OK, looking back I may have over-reacted (ok I did). After all those mistakes were in the Mock test. BUT I had to make a point to the little one so that she doesn't make those same mistakes again. NOT in the ACTUAL exam next week.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Sugar?

How do you like your coffee or tea?

Black or with 1 or 2 sugar cubes?

As many of us know by now, our cells depend on sugar to grow. Our body needs sugar for the energy. Many mistakenly believe that sugar causes diabetes. Sugar doesn't cause diabetes. But candy and other sugary foods contribute plenty of calories, which can lead to weight gain, and being overweight greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Hence,w e should again try to limit our sugar intake if at risk of diabetes.

Similarly with cancer. How many times have we heard it mentioned that sugar causes cancer, that cancer patients should avoid sugar, or that sugar is the favorite food of cancer cells? The truth is, this goes beyond mere hearsay or traditional knowledge; there is actually a large volume of scientific evidence available which shows the link between sugar and increased cancer risk. You can read all about it here. In short: it is true that some cancer cells do grow at a faster rate if fed with sugar. Hence limited sugar consumption is recommended for cancer patients.

Studies have shown that refined sugar is devoid of important nutrients, causes obesity and cavities, and also increases cancer risk.

I have a sweet tooth. I love pastries, cakes, candies, soda, in fact anything sweet. But with the recent developments in the health of family members, I have been trying to cut out my sugar intake.

I find it hard to resist cakes and pastries, BUT when I bake my own, I cut down on the amount of sugar as indicated in the recipe. Also, instead of refined sugar, I try to use raw brown sugar or, if the recipe can take it, honey instead. Baby steps in that area!

As for drinks, such as tea, I used to be a 2 sugar person. But I have been slowly cutting down in that area, first to one and now to half. But for other drinks like soya bean milk, I am now able to have it sugar-less. It was difficult at the start, but where there's a will, there's a way.

So, how do you like your drink?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What did you say?

This just happened.

Somebody said: Sh*t!

Someone replied: Did you say you need to go to the toilet?
(Hmmm, I wonder who she learnt that from?!??)

Me: No, he was just scolding his iPad

Someone: Why?

Me: Because he doesn't like the numbers it is showing him.

Someone: Oh! I thought he said he wanted to sh*t!

Somebody: Someone's trying to be funny here!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mid-Autumn Festival

You know the festival is around the corner when every shopping mall you go to has a huge bazaar at their concourse with stalls from all the top hotels selling mooncakes there.

The Mid-autumn festival is also called the moon-cake festival or the lantern festival.

There are many stories surrounding the festival and you can read about them here

During the mid-autumn festival, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, chinese families will eat mooncakes, steamed sweet potato and yam (of the small variety) and drink chinese tea whilst the children will parade around with their lanterns. Of course, most will also look up at the moon and comment about how bright it looks that night, hoping to catch a glimpse of Chang Er, or the Jade rabbit.

This year, the festival falls on September 30th 2012.

It's more than a week to the festival, and mooncakes are already presented as gifts to business associates.

Mooncakes come in various varieties. Traditionally they are baked with a lotus paste filling and with salted egg yolks in them. Now we see them with red bean paste, nuts, with green tea and other flavoured lotus paste, with durian and other fruit fillings, and even with a chocolate truffle filling,and can come baked or chilled with a snow skin. It is just the enterprising ways of businesses trying to capture a bigger size of the market share.

Traditional baked mooncakes

Champagne truffle mooncakes

And the boxes of mooncakes even come with a plastic knife and forks included in the packaging.

Lanterns carried in the past were either made of paper or colourful cellophane, and were lighted with a candle placed in it. Nowadays there are even battery operated ones in plastic material, for the younger children, for safety reason. Previously all the battery operated ones played garish music.

At the recent mid-autumn festival at school, we were advised to bring lanterns for the children that were battery operated. My first thought was - "What?!! I dont want one of those with that loud music!!"

Fortunately when I went to the shop I found that they now sell a LED light which you could fix onto any lantern.

LED light

The coloured cellophane lantern with the LED light fixed.

Looks like we are all ready for the festival. Are you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Old habits die hard




Everyone loves seeing big pots of yummy food. My late paternal grandmother used to do that. Up to 10 extra people can come for dinner unannounced, and there will be no shortage of food.

My mother-in-law is just like my late grandmother. She loves cooking loads. Huge pots of yummilicious food, especially on Saturday evenings when her daughter and the family comes back for dinner and on special occasions.




BUT I hate it!!
Saturdays or not, special occasions or not!

Why? I hate excessiveness!!

For me I like it just right. ok, maybe a bit of left-overs.

You see, MIL's habits die hard. She cooks these huge quantities even on normal days.

There used to be 16 living under my in-laws roof, but now there are only 8 left. Sometime there is only 1 who is really eating all that food me!! Why? She usually cooks different dishes for the kids, and the kids dont eat that much after all. Also, she puts FIL, BIL and herself on a D.I.E.T. She says they are all too fat, and will restrict what they eat. MY hubs doesnt eat much either at dinner. So the only one that eats a normal sized dinner is ME! But she still cooks these huge amounts, like there are 16 huge healthy appetite adults eating!

And you know what happens? I can end up eating the same stuff as left-overs for days on hand. And I think I need something different sometimes!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hongkong

Hongkong is famed for its shopping and dining.

Well, I was hoping to make a trip to Hongkong this coming year-end vacation, since my husband has a free ticket there. I was thinking that it would make a great family vacation destination since there are activities for all. There is Hongkong Disneyland and Ocean Park for the kids, and food for me and the husband. There are also friends to meet up with, and the winter is comparable mild (8C to 26C). I have also heard that December is one of the better months to do shopping in Hongkong due to the holiday season sales. And we have not been to HK since 1998!!

BUT the kids do not want to go!!

Why? Good question. They have their own reasons.

For the oldest, this home-body would rather stay home, sleep in late than go on vacation. Beyond my comprehension!!

As for my son, it's because he doesnt like chinese food. Dont ask me why. He feeds well when we eat at Chinese restaurant, but he is always against going to a chinese restaurant.

As for the youngest, she is all set to go, as it is on her list of things to do .. she wants to visit all the Disneylands in the world!!

So, with two "nays", I am not sure if the trip will materialise.

Sad, isnt it?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sick? I am going shopping!

Ever been sick and tried self prescribing and didnt recover for a long, long time. And the day you visit the doctor is the day you fully recover?

Well, I notice that happens to my kids all the time.

They can be running a fever for a few days, and all the paracetamol I give them just dont help at all. Or they could be coughing for weeks, just like D now. It's been two weeks since she started this cough that wont go away. I have tried giving her dhasedyl, which was prescribed by her doctor, and he has always told me to buy by the bottle and give it to her if she comes down with a cough. But the cough just doesnt seem to be wanting to stop.

Well, my Mother-in-law has this theory that we just need to make that "donation" to the doc's coffers and the illness will go away. And that seems to have come true for many, many times already. She believes that money that has to be spent must be spent. If not, it will just have to go out of the pocket in other ways. And it usually comes in the form of illnesses where we will have no choice but to spend it and get back our good health. I guess, that is one expenditure many do not mind to spend on.

Well, I told her if that is really true, I am going shopping every month, no make that week, to spend my money to my family's good health! And all doctors will be jobless.

*Another old housewife's belief. Disclaimer: Recovery not guaranteed.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Have you counted your blessings today?

I was groaning yesterday as the last school term of the year starts today. After a week of vacationing, though we didnt do anything much except chill, the thought of having to go back to my rush here, there and everywhere schedule is definitely not something I look forward to.

In addition this last term is usually a stressful one. The little one D, who hasnt really had any school exams for the last year and a half will be having her first real exams in 5 weeks time!! Also, year end exams are just too stressful for all concerned!!

But a friend reminded me that I should deal one day at a time, and enjoy everything that comes along.

True! True! I said. Why groan about tomorrow, when we have so much to rejoice for today.

So I told myself: I will cross the bridge when I come to it. Meanwhile, count my blessings and enjoy each little joy each day brings.

And there is much to be thankful for. If we should count our blessings each day, and we will all end up a little happier.

It's only 9am and I am counting my little blessings for today:
* The kids awoke with little fuss.
* There was no jam on the way to school.
* I am able to enjoy my "me time" alone by myself before the afternoon busy schedule starts.

Have you counted your blessing for today yet?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

PepeNero

The hubs was invited out to dinner one evening. He enjoyed it so much he insisted that we had to go. The restaurant is on Stanley Street, a street parallel to Cecil Street, right in the heart of the business district.

It was a Saturday evening, and the restaurant was full. Thank goodness he made a reservation. This is what we had:


Rolled Wagyu Beef Carpaccio Cannellone Filled with Burrata Cheese, Wild Rocket and Mixed Pickled Mushrooms

Millefoglie of Organic Eggplant with Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese
with "San Marzano" Tomato Sauce
This dish was done to perfection.


Home Made Ravioli Filled with 8-Hours Braised Duck Leg with Meat Jus and Shaved Smoked Ricotta Cheese
Little parcels of delight, would be how I describe this dish.

Roasted Octopus and squid with Vegetables
The octopus and squid were cooked just right.


Mushroom risotto with truffles.
One of the best risottos I have eaten with a very generous serve of truffles.

Baked Pineapple with sorbet and biscotti.





Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lunch at Enmaru at Ion Orchard


Last Saturday we ventured to Ion Orchard for lunch, and this is what we feasted on: Japanese cuisine

Tamago - Basically its egg, but the Japanese serve them sweet, and its custard like.

Salmon Onigiri - this is a japanese rice ball with shredded salmon wrapped within

Unagi - eel, a food which the Japanese eat during the summer as its supposed to be good for the body given the warm weather.

California Temaki - a handroll with crabstick, egg, avocado, cucumber and tobiko (flying fish roe) wrapped in rice and seaweed


Enmaru Set - this set is a good deal ($24.80). The enmaru roll, is actually a futomaki (rice with pickles in it) covered with slices of salmon, prawn, tuna, tamago, scallop, unagi and crabstick. The set also includes a salad, prawn tempura and a salmon with mozarella tempura, a chawan mushi (egg custard), a stewed dish (of chicken, potato and radish)and miso soup.

I would say their lunch specials are good value!

Friday, August 31, 2012

How much is expensive?

My husband was invited to a dinner a few weeks ago. At that (home-cooked) dinner, he was served some tomatoes, which he thought was the tastiest tomato that he had ever eaten. He found out where the host had bought it, and then last weekend went to this gourmet food shop to purchase it. The family was treated to these super sweet and firm tomatoes!

When I went to the markets yesterday, I chanced upon the same tomatoes. So I went ahead and chose some.


When I asked the stall holder how much it was, he responded: $1.80 for the 3 tomatoes.

He went on to say: These are really expensive, but they are really sweet and tasty. Compared to those, (he pointed to the local tomatoes), you can get a whole big bag of it for the same price! But those have a sourish tinge which these do not. It's worth the expensive price. (I guess he was expecting me to protest about the price).

I smiled, paid for it and went on my way.

So were those tomatoes really that expensive? Not compared to what my husband paid. He coincidentally bought 3 tomatoes as well. He paid a whopping $10.60 for them!!

Guess, how much expensive is really relative!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Envious? Maybe not!

What is envy?

It is as defined as:
"A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another". Source: thefreedictionary.com

Well, I have always felt envious of my friends who are able to travel with their other friends at the drop of a hat.

My friends are all planning to get away together in the year we turn 50. I dont know why, but many ladies I know love the idea of going away with their girlfriends when they turn half a century old. I know many that have done it or will be doing it.

At a recent gathering with some ex-classmates, one of the husbands kept telling mine about how envious I was of his wife's recent shopping/eating/relaxing trip with some of her friends to the region. And she together with some others are planning another get-a-away again some time soon.

Oh yes, I did mention it to her once that I was envious of her trip. But it was just mentioned in passing and never revisited. So I was quite surprised when the hubs told me that it was mentioned a couple of times during the recent get-together.

I have already told them that I would not be able to join them for the trip. My kids are still young, and I dont think logistically I will be able to swing it at all. They in turn bugged the hubs to let me join them.

Well, the hubs did think about it, and said that I could join them if I wanted.

BUT, I really am not interested. Why? I really dont know.

Being together for a dinner or even a day is very different from being stuck together for a whole week!! Much as I know these girls for more than 30 years, BUT do I really know them?? (like I do my family?) NO!

Much as I enjoy my friends' company, I am also spooked by the many stories I have heard of people going away on vacation as friends and coming back as enemies.

And I dont think I want to vacation without my family. I think I will probably be sobbing away and missing them the minute I board the plane, even before the trip has begun ... and in the process, spoiling everyone's trip in the process.

Hubs and I have recently started going out more often without the kids. And what do we talk about when we are out? The kids!

So perhaps the feeling I feel of my friends' trips is not envy! Cant think of the word to describe it.

So,the question is: When I turn 50, dont I want to travel with my best friends? Well, yes, I do! But with only my "bestest" friend of more than 30 years - my husband. Erm, maybe we can try to do it without the kids.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Majulah Singapura




Our Nation celebrates its 47th birthday tomorrow.

And the gift it received from its citizens (albeit new ones) is the 2 Olympic bronze medals, one for the women's individual table tennis, and the other for the women's team event also in table tennis.

What a wonderful gift for the nation.

To all the naysayers critising the foreign talent, try topping that gift to the country.

Well done ladies!


And indeed. Majulah Singapura!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ding dong

Ding dong commonly refers to the sound of the bell, but there are also other slang terms for it.

My head is going ding dong, coz some people just cant make up their minds.

Their decisions swinging from east to west, and back and forth, pretty much like the little ringer inside a hand-bell.

So what are we supposed to do? Allow them to ding dong away, and give us that headache, or take action into our own hands and not allow them to annoy us with their indecisiveness? Yup, I think that would be best.

No more ringing bells for me PLEASE!!!




Tho I must say I love listening to the hand-bell choir.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Time flies

Yes, the month of July flew by especially fast.

They say that time flies fastest when you are having fun.

So, did I have fun in July?

You bet I did.

I joined fatsmumslim's photo-a-day challenge in July. I managed to get my creative juices flowing, and put some practice into photo taking. Must say that my photo taking skills are still not quite there. I am not good at framing my shots. So i guess, I must Practice, Practice, Practice by continuing with the challenge in August, and hopefully, my skills will improve :P

Here are some of the shots i posted:
13. Open

18. Plate

July also saw me turning a year older, and hopefully, a year wiser. The day was spent with my best pals who came over for tea. Dinner was spent with the hubs. Celebration with the children was the weekend before.

July being the month of the summer vacation in the US as well as the UK also saw many friends visiting, and lots of catch-up gatherings.

So that pretty sums up my July. Hope yours was as fun as mine.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Japlish?

TGIF, so it's time for a laugh.

Be prepared to be baffled by the signs the next time you visit Japan. Here's to prepare you for what to expect:

They construct water in Japan?? Some countries should learn from them!!

The magazines there are quite unusual. They put them in fridges and they dont come with pages!

Prices for many things in Japan are already expensive, at least they warn you in advance!

I couldnt make out what they were trying to tell us. I guess, that's what happens when smoke gets in your eyes too!

Have a great weekend ahead!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July


4th of July brings to my mind the fireworks in New York. I used to live in Battery Park City, which was by the Hudson river. Come 4th of July, there was a magnificent fireworks display near the statue of Liberty.

It was a day of celebration in the US as it marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. On that day many people would have parties, BBQs, and then enjoy the fireworks. As "aliens" in that country, we were no different and joined in the celebrations as well.

Tho' I now no longer live in the US, we still remember the celebrations associated with it :)

Happy 4th of July to all Americans reading this post.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Socks, Socks


This post is the result of 2 sock incidents this morning.

The children's socks are put on their chairs every morning, so that they can put it on after breakfast, and then leave for school.

The youngest came this morning to her seat, put her socks on the table, and started on her breakfast.

"Socks should NEVER be on the dining table," I told her.

She removed it from the table and continued with her breakfast.

After finishing her breakfast, she went: "Where are my socks?" and proceed to look for them under the table, and all around.

They were on her feet!!

Looks like you dont have to be old to be absentminded.

My son then came to the table, and whist eating his breakfast started stretching his socks. Stretch left, Stretch right, Stretch, Stretch, Stretch. Something which he does everyday before putting on his socks.

You see his school socks are super tight, as in they stick to his feet and ankles. I think it is because of the material used by the school. And despite all that washing, its elasticity has not been lost in any way unlike the other socks that I buy.

I then told him: why dont you go to the school co-op to get a bigger size.

"No way! It will be really weird if me the small guy goes and buys the large socks!!" Not sure if the sizing of the socks are wrong, but his socks are really tight, and he wears a medium, and yes! he is still quite small in size.

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 2012

A bitter sweet month, with no posts until this one.

My Mum was diagnosed with Breast cancer and had to do a mastectomy. A little hard for a lady to accept, but if its the best course of action, what can we do or say? Timing was bad, as the diagnosis was just before I left for my vacation. So the vacation was had with a heavy cloud hanging over my head.

A day before my mum was due to go in for her op, the dad of a good friend had a massive heart attack. Until now, he is still not out of the woods. Just heard that he caught pneumonia, and could pass on as a result of it :(

A friend's child (little Brave Heart) went in for her 3rd (and hopefully final) heart op. Still in ICU as of today.

I have friends visiting from New York, they come every year. But this year, they come too with a heavy heart. Because, I just heard that their Mum (she's in her 80s ) is also battling cancer, stage 3.

Prayer warriors out there - you have to work twice as hard. I know I did, and still am.

Looking on the bright side: I am now less stressed, what has to be done has now been done.

We had quite an enjoyable break in Japan! The weather was beautiful, food was good, and Tokyo was considerably less crowded compared to my previous trips there.

My husband was told he would be promoted, come 1 July. Looks like all that hard work and long hours have paid off.

We managed to catch Voyage De La Vie , a theatrical rock circus, before it closes in a few weeks time, and the best part - the tickets were complimentary!!

And yesterday, I finally baked. I have not baked for more than a month. Not with all the going on in and around the home, I just couldnt get myself to do something so indulgent. But, looks like I am back!! Hehheh!

Similarly my personal exercise regime of taichi and walks has been on the backburner for the same period of time. And this morning I got around to doing my taichi again. Hopefully next week I will get back to walking too!

I think I have had enough of bad news for the year. And with this post, I hope I have sunny days ahead. And may you too!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Angels




When I first started blogging, my husband was so totally against it. Why are you writing things for all to read? He felt that I could have been exposing too much. I know he must have been thinking: what if people know who you are? where you live? know who your kids are? and as a result takes advantage of the information to put the family at risk.

But I continued blogging coz I felt I needed an outlet. Much to his chagrin.

But you know,I have made some of my current very good friends from here. Tho they may be miles away, they are always around to cheer me up, comfort me, encourage me, distract me, celebrate with me.

These people are real angels. Sent by God because he knows we relate better to other people, then to him sometimes. Coz when we ask and pray and do not get what we want, we wonder why? We do not realise that God does things in his time, and our timeline may be completely different from his. And he just leaves us to wait. Some times we wonder if he hadnt listen or if he is ignoring us.

But these good friends, they will respond almost immediately. May not be what we want to hear, but we still get an immediate response.

So I think he planted them in my life to keep me company, comfort and distract me whilst I await his response and action.

Thanks ladies, you know who you are, and I really appreciate it. *HUGS* Thanks for being here for me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Crabby Crab

I was born under the zodiac sign of Cancer. So that makes me a crab, tough on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside.

This crab has been feeling really crabby, and wants to crawl into its very own crab hole and shut the rest of the world out.

This crab doesnt know what to do, what questions to ask, what course of action to recommend, how to evaluate the best course of action to take, not what to say.

This crab would like to be able to pinch with its pincer and chase the enemy away. But it cant and doesnt know how!

But it still has to be strong, and put up a brave front. It's a role reversal now.

This crab is feeling this way because of that dreaded C.
(no, I do not have that dreaded C)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Secret Party



I believe she had been planning it for a while behind my back.

She only informed me the day her exams ended. In fact immediately after school, she couldnt wait to tell me that her friends "forced" her to host a party for them.

I was like: hmmm ... tell me more.

That she couldnt wait to do!

Her group of friends were going to come over to play this Sunday. And for those whose parents couldnt send them, I was to go pick them. And that's 2 of them. One at Upper Bulit Timah, and the other, I was to call her friend's mum for instructions on how to get to their place.

And why cant their parents send them. Because they live too far!!

And then she passed me a note from her friend with her address and phone number, including instructions on how to get to her home, and a map to boot!!


How could that have been planned in school after their last exam paper?

And then I had parents messaging me to ask if the "play date" was confirmed?

I was like: NO way!! I had to apologise to the parents that we were not able to host this weekend.

I really cant. We have had a long week, with Grandma's passing and funeral.

In addition, D herself has a performance this saturday evening, my two other children have open houses at their schools this saturday which they would be busy helping out, a dental appointment for teeth molds to be made for my son (he needs braces!!), on saturday too, and we are doing registration for cathecism next year at church this weekend for which I am helping out (since I couldnt help out last week due to Grandma's death),... and we all would like some do nothing except bump around time!!

AND, she also added that there was a friend who couldnt make it on Sunday, and so was coming the next day!!

Well, this morning when I dropped her off at school, I told her to tell all her friends that there was no party today, nor this weekend. We would let them know when we are organising one, and I would be the one that decides the day and time! No planning behind my back and without my knowledge.

Looks like this little one is going to be a handful when she grows older.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Living to a ripe old age

Both my grandmothers lived to a ripe old age ... beyond 90, and I was lucky to have had time with them. My grandfathers on the other hand both passed on before I was even born.


Just this past week, my husband lost his maternal grandmother. She had no major health issues except for her partial blindness cause by glaucoma, and weak knees. She led a healthy life, with simple food and prayer, not having seen a doctor for any health problems for more than 10 years (apart from the eye doctor). She was unfortunate to have caught the flu bug from her helper, which we believe may have caused her demise.


When we tried getting a doctor to come see her, as she was nursing a fever, most said they did not make house calls. Others said they only did house calls for their regular patients. Fortunately I remembered that an old school friend of mine had a husband who is a doctor. So I tried my luck. He came by to see her, only because of friendship sake. Looks like something really needs to be done to our healthcare system, especially with our aging population. It proves that if you have always been healthy, and have no need for a regular doctor, it will be very difficult to get one when you finally need one.


Due to her age, nothing much could be done, apart from treating her fever, which seemed reluctant to go away despite the medication. After 2 days, our uncles and aunties felt it was best to send her to the hospital. Surprisingly, she did not resist. She left for the hospital at around 5pm and that very night, at just past 11, she moved on to join her late husband.


A life of 97 years, with children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren!! No major illness, and passed on peacefully in her sleep. What more can anyone ask for? Much as we are sad to have her leave us, I believe we should be celebrating the wonderful life that she lived!


When its my turn to meet my maker, I would truly like to do it her way!


Rest in peace, Grandma! Eternal Rest grant unto her O Lord!




Friday, May 11, 2012

Dont fight!

That is something we frequently tell our kids.

Coz it breaks a Mum's heart when she sees her kids fighting!!

Just this morning, I reminded my little one to put on her watch before going to school. Her answer to me was: Why must I?

Had me scratching my head, coz everytime she forgets to put on her watch, she will moan and grumble about forgetting it. On top of that she has an exam today. SO I told her that it would help her tell the time and she would be able to pace herself for her exam.

She retorted: The classroom has a clock!

I have a feeling she got out on the wrong side of bed and was spoiling for a fight with me!! Dont you think?

Many recent cases of teens and young adults fighting over here in the little red dot. When they are unhappy with anything, they fight. Deaths have resulted. Young lives lost. More than one, coz one gets killed, and those that did it lose their life too (death sentence). So, fighting does no one any good.

So what I would recommend is: Go punch a sack, go run a mile (or two or even ten), go listen to some music, go shut yourself up in the room (clamp up), go eat some dessert,go scrub the toilet, mop the floor, iron some clothes, just go do something else. Just dont fight!! These are all better alternatives to fighting!!

And I also remind my son you dont have to fight to be a man. Real men are sensitive, compassionate, kind and thoughtful!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Talk, talk, talk

A favourite past-time of many. Some take it too far and gossip!

When we were young, we talked to our friends about toys, books, parents, siblings.

Then when we became teenagers and young adults, the talk moved on to music,teachers, members of the opposite sex, work.

After matrriage, it was about kids, holidays, and more about your kids.

Now I am at the age that I talk to my friends about our health ... or rather our ailments!

As we age more and more body parts and organs seem to break down. We hear of people having diabetes, heart problems, blood pressure problems, knee problems, hearing problems, eye problems, etc. I guess it is with use and abuse that we get inflicted with some of these ailments. Sometimes when it hits us at a younger age. We could have been born with it, or just the luck of the draw, we are the lucky/unlucky ones to have it. I have also noticed that those that have drawn the short straw, seem to have more than one problem. Could it be that all are organs/body parts are somehow connected, that when one breaks down there is a domino effect?

I dont know. But I noticed the following:
My brother-in-law - allergic to grass and dirt, appendix removed due to inflammation, hepatitis carrier, eye problem, now with gallstones.

My sister - tonsils removed, fibroids, gallstones.

Well, good health is currently not on my side either. I had ovarian cyst removed some years back. Breast lumps which has to be monitored due to family history of breast cancer. High cholesterol. Now gallstones.

What should I do? Remove my gallbladder? The gastroenterologist I see suggests : no, because there are other effects as a result. When I suggested removing the stones but not the gallbladder, she mentioned that the stones will come back. I then asked about medication that can dissolve the stones. She mentioned that the effect of that can be quite painful and she doesnt recommend it. She said to change my diet, and adopt a wait and see. If inflammation occurs, then surgery is a must. So she mentioned, remove it only if I really have to. That decision I am quite happy with.

I have spoken to friends, and I think removing the gallbladder isnt a cure-all. Some experience a in-out effect with food, and I dont think I can live with that. How do we travel and lead an active life with that? Some others have recommended some home-remedies to flush out those stones. But upon further research, I have read that the diet for flushing it out could also have other effects. Especially if the stones are big, they could be stuck in the bile duct in the flushing process. And that will definitely result in certain surgery.

But when I mentioned it to the doctor taking care of those lumps in my breast he recommended instant removal. He used to do surgery for gallbladders and mentioned that once you have symptoms you should remove it, coz chances of it flaring up is high, and you do not want to be caught with an infection when you least expect it. He does have a point there. He thinks that I should really go back and talk to my gastroenterologist about it.

So because of speaking to more than one doctor, I am now in a dilemma: to remove or not to remove? The thought of having to remove it send shivers down my spine. I dont want other problems as a result of removing it. I read somewhere that sometimes, after removal of the gallbladder, diabetes can result!


After all that has transpired I have come to the conclusion that a little knowledge can prove dangerous!! It affects our decisions, and it strikes fear (warranted or not) in our hearts. And this chicken heart cant take it.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Electronic Distractions

Shame on me! I havent been reading much this past 6 months.

I was clearing my mail basket looking for some documents when I came across all my copies of my Readers Digest. They were unopened. These magazines have always followed me everywhere I go. They used to be my constant companion. Anytime I had a couple of minutes to spare, I would read an article or two.

But since I got hooked on my ipad and the games on it, namely Draw Something, Unblock, Lets Tans and Smuf, just to name a few, I have not been reading, (apart from the daily newspapers).

So here we go nagging the kids about spending too much time on electronic devices, and here we ar4e setting a  BAD, BAD example. I must admit, those games are addictive.

So I resolve to spend less time on that gadget and get back to my reading.

Can I do it?
Like I always tell my kids, there's no such thing as Cannot.
I can, I will and I must.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Milestone

When your kids are the age of mine (16, 12+, 7+), you stop clocking milestones.

But this is one that I would like to keep on record!

My son made his own way home on public transport. Yippee!!

Well, many parents in this little red dot would chauffeur their kids to and from school (if time and availability permits) when they are in the primary school. Otherwise, they would put them on the school bus. Once they move on to secondary school, the children would usually then progress on to the public bus.

My son started secondary school this year, and this week, for the first time, took a bus home from school by himself!

Due to a cancellation of CCA after school, and a clash of timings with the other kids, I wasnt able to pick him at dismissal. He kindly volunteered to go on the bus. Grandpa was visibly nervous that morning when he found out. He offered to pick the youngest, as he wasnt familiar with my son's school. But as his offer came only after my son had left for school, I decided against it,  as we had already prepped him for the ride, and he was looking forward to it.

The journey was an hour long, and he stood all the way in the bus.

The next day, he again insisted on coming home on his own, despite the rainy weather and my offer to pick him up, as I could fit it into my schedule. He tried a bus that went by a different route from that he had taken the previous day. When he got home, he declared that he preferred the route that went thru Orchard Road, as it offered him more interesting sights on his ride.

I guess, this is like a coming of age thing for him. To ride on his own on the bus, and he even made his own snack after he got home . So proud of him!!

Now to convince that 16 year old that she has to do it too!
(BTW, the one and only time we told her to take a bus home, she took a cab instead!)

Friday, March 30, 2012

You gotta make your own sunshine

The weather here has been horrible lately!! We have been getting rain, rain, rain and more rain.

And over here we do not have the 4 seasons at all. Its supposed to be sunny all year round.

Over in the northern hemispere, where you are in Spring, showers are expected this time of the year, as the saying goes: April showers bring May flowers.

Down in the Southern hemisphere, you are already into Autumn, and I guess the days are getting shorter, and it can get gloomy especially when it gets dark early.

So, what should we do: Make our own sunshine!

Similarly in life, we have to make our own sunshine.

When life hands us lemons, make lemonade. We have to make the best of what we have on hand. Cheer ourselves up! Buy ourselves flowers, if that will light up our day. Cook for ourselves that special dish we enjoy. Bake that cake. Call that friend. Watch that movie. Go for that walk, or massage.

Anything that will light up our life.
So, go on: Make your own Sunshine!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Interface

Yes, I have just moved to the new blogger interface.

I tried it when they first launched it and I didnt like it at all. And I still dont. Why? Because the line breaks dont appear, everything comes out as one paragraph, one long paragraph. And then I cant find the link to share a you tube video. And even though I gave feedback, I see that they still havent fixed it or done anything to help people like me. I realise that it could be because I am not tech savvy enough to know what to do. The problem could be me and not the new format :P

Well ,we have to make do and embrace what we have so I went looking for what I like about the new interface. And under this new interface, I just realised that they provide us bloggers with lots of info, especially with regards to traffic.

I had always assumed that my readers were mainly from the region as the comments come mainly from those living in Asia. But when I looked at my traffic, I noticed that a lot of my readers are Americans and Australians.

So to all my American, Australian and other readers - A warm welcome!

I feel a part of both your countries as I have lived in them both. I was working in Perth, Australia from 1988 to 1990, and embraced Australian life. I wish I was now living there with my kids.

I was living in New York, USA, in 1992 and 1993, when my husband was posted there on a work assignment. I must say, that one year there was one of the best years in my life, as we were then without kids. It gave us the opportunity to travel and explore, which we did. And the USA is a really really rich country in terms of experiences - from history to art and culture. as we move on in life with the changes that come with it, I am also moving on with this new interface.

Whether we like it or not, blogger is changing it with effect from April. So might as well get used to it. So I hope to be writing more, and I will bear in mind my audience and not use too much "local speak"!

Catch you later!!

UPDATE: looks like I found out how to solve one of my problems: to view under normal, and my line breaks appear!!  Now to find out how to post that you tube video. If you could teach me, I would be most grateful.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cant help but feel cheated

When D did her BMD (bone mineral density) test last year, the results had shown such improvement from the previous borderline one that we celebrated over it.
At that time I asked the Prof who was monitoring her if she would still have to do it on an annual basis. His reply then was that because it was so good, we could afford to wait a little longer before the next test.

At our last appointment he decided that he wanted her to do it again this year, exactly 12 months after her last one. I cant help but feel SOOOOO cheated. It's not the cost of doing it that matters,(though it would be good if it could be subsidised) but I feel that he is just not keeping to his word of being able to wait a longer while before the having to do it again ... and that he is just ordering it done to compile his statistics.

Guess, he doesnt realise the anxiety everyone in the family faces every time a test is due. What will the result be like? What will happen if it is below or is at the borderline level? Will she be forced to undergo pamidronate infusions? Missing school to get the test done is another bugbear!

Another professor had told me previously that BMD levels can fluctuate from time to time. And what if the test is done at a time when its at its lower than her average. Would it not then result in a course of action that may not be necessary?

Well, that time is near again. So you know how I am feeling ....

Friday, March 9, 2012

Nan Bei Xing

I have not been well since the start of Chinese New Year. Too much goodies eaten before the big day. As a result, through out the whole of CNY, I didnt have ANY goodies this year.

It started off as a cough, and then it became a cold AND a cough. And it has been going on for more than a month. I havent been to the doctors and have been trying home remedies and self prescriptions like ginger tea, vicks on the sole of the feet, no cold drinks,over-the-counter cold medicine like decolgen and cough mixture.

So, I havent been exercising at all for more than a month except for taichi classes.

2 weeks ago, the taichi instructor messaged me a TCM (traditional chinese medicine) remedy for my cough. But I just thanked him for it and did nothing else as I couldnt read what I had to put in and how to do it. It was all in Chinese!!

Well, at Taichi class yesterday again he mentioned that remedy he recommended, as I was still sniffing and coughing and my other taichi mates felt that it had gone on for too long and it was time for me to go to the docs for some antibiotics! Good thing mother-in-law was there. She said: oh! I have those at home.

She made me two cups of that brew, and hey presto! Today my cold is gone and my cough has about disappeared. I have requested her to brew it for me one more time today and I should be as good as new tomorrow!!

In case you are wondering, here's the recipe:
Chuan Bei, Nan Xing, Bei Xing, Rock Sugar(optional) boil with water and drink.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Life is Unpredictable

I was seated next to a couple at a wedding last year (on 12 March to be precise). I didnt know them, but the wife and I had many things to talk about. During the dinner, her daughter, who was seated at another table came by.

She was a young girl of 17, and I was really capticated by her beauty.

Yesterday I read in the papers that this same young girl had succumbed to brain cancer. You can read it here

They only discovered it in October 2011 and for 10 months she tried to fight her illness but with no success. A young life snubbed out so quickly.

Life is unpredictable. You never know what will hit you when. The worst thing a parent has to do is to bury their child. I can just imagine the pain the parents must be going through. My prayers go out for them. To carry them thru this phase in their life. To lighten the pain, to lessen the hurt, to dry the tears.

Sorry, I got to go hug my children now.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Invisible Mother ...

To all the Invisible Mums out there, and I am sure there are many reading here.

This was shared with me by a dear dear friend ....



It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! 'Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock? Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature --but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.

It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.
I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read --- no, devour the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it ' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does'.

'No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last- minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand- bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there ....'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know ... I just did.

The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

To all the wonderful mothers out there!!

May God give you:
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cross the bridge only when you come to it

You all know the control freak I am.

I must know my schedule ahead of time, and I will always plan out my day, and even route and timing for the days ahead.

Many a times when I drive, I seem to be on auto-pilot, my sub-conscious takes over my driving. But sometimes, I may be going to my eldest's school, but because I drive more frequently to the youngest's, I could end up missing my exit on the expressway.

Why? Because I am distracted planning my schedule for another day. A moment of distraction and I have to make a long detour.

Dont know why I seem to need to think so many days ahead especially when I am told there is a change of schedule. Then I would be thinking of that changed day for so many days - working out the logistics, routes and timing for that change!! Always trying to work out something that work will best for all kids and not affecting their other timings by too much at the same time not stressing myself out by having to make extra runs.

I should learn to cross my bridge when I come to it. Plan only a day ahead. Coz their schedules can be so fluid, with last minute changes, and I dont want to miss any more exits on the expressway!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

When you give your kid's friends a ride ...

... you cannot catch up with what's happening in their life.

... you cannot ask too many questions, like you do everyday after school.

... you cannot ask their friends any "sensitive" questions.

... you must pretend you are not eavesdropping on their conversation.

... you cannot sing to the song on the radio.

... you cannot swear at the next driver.


You must just try to ACT like their driver ... especially if they are TEENAGERS!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

History repeating itself?

When my son was in Primary school, he was selected to be in the schools prep squad for badminton in P1. He was, so called "talent spotted" as one of those with the potential to make it to school team and was invited to train with the team under China coaches. The training was grueling and he came back with sore muscles every week after training.

At the end of P2, he was asked this time to train with the school team for track and field and was also invited to join the school's soccer team.

Soccer, being a passion of his, he opted to do it. So he gave up his spot in track and field (which on hindsight was something which he should have made him pursue instead).

That same year, I had the teachers in charge of Calligraphy and Chinese dance also calling me up telling me to enrol my son for those CCAs as having had those lessons as part of school curriculum, he was identified as one of the few with potential to go far for those. Unfortunately we had to turn them all down as we felt he was already too involved in his chess, as he was training with the National Junior Squad, something that he had been doing since he was 6, and with soccer training twice a week, there was no way he could do all that well and excel in his studies at the same time.

And of course, there was also his flower arrangements. He had done well, and the teacher was surprised that he did not take part in the flower arrangement competition, and to take it as a CCA as well.

Actually I find it hard to believe that he is good in so many things. I think it could be because he is good at taking instructions, having had this domineering mother telling him to do many things the way SHE wants it for so many years!! Heh!heh!

well, this week he came home from school and told me that he was selected to represent his house in 2 track events. Last week, he had his PE teacher in school asking him why he wasnt doing soccer as a CCA. Like I said, soccer is his passion. He wished he could do it. But unfortunately, having DSA'd into secondary school, he has no choice but to do "that" CCA.

So, here I go wondering again. Is he really that good? Maybe, now I have to believe it. May he really is a Jack of all trades, and master of all?? NO! I will have to tell him to explain to those teachers why he is not in a position to do it all.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The strong willed child

I am sure many of us have encountered one.

I have one at home. Stubborn would be what some of us will call them.

They do what they want, never mind what you the parent have to say or think.

Would you give up what you really love to eat?

Well, she did. I picked her up after school one day, and had brought along a chocolate bar for her to snack on. She, at first, went : Yippee!

Then she told me she was going to leave it for her younger siblings, which had me puzzled.

When I queried her, she informed me that they were shown a National Geographic documentary in school which showed very young children being exploited (paid meagre sums of money) in the harvesting of cocoa. And she thinks that because that is not right, she was going to boycott chocolate products!

I tried to reason with her that cost of living over there may be super low, and what the children are paid may not be as low as depicted in the documentary, and sometimes lobbyists will do certain things to push what they want or to score political points. And I told her, maybe its better for these kids to be paid the small sums to work in the fields, earning an honest living, then to hang around street corners and be lured by drugs or even worse, into prostitution.

Nothing I said could convince her to have that chocolate bar.

I guess having a strong-willed child has its pros and cons. They are not easily influenced by friends or what others think and do. But they can be so stubborn, that even logical reasoning may not sway them.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Never Judge a Book by its Cover



The chinese aliken two people who cant understand each other when talking as a chicken and a duck.

You never know who you will encounter when and you never know when your paths will cross again.

About 6 years ago, I was at school waiting to pick my kids when this gruff old man squeezed his car in between my car and another, though the space in between was really small. In the process, he bumped into my car. When I got out to inspect, he went "Moh see! moh see!" which means "Nothings wrong!" in cantonese. Of course I was a little pissed, but seeing no dent on my car, I just let it pass, and was always weary whenever I saw this gruff old man's car whenever it approached.

Fast forward 6 years and this same old man, who still comes to school pick his grandchildren has become a "friend". He is a little hard of hearing, speaks no english, a smattering of mandarin, and hardly any hokkien has been telling me his life story!! As some of you may know, I speak no cantonese and understand only basic mandarin. So when we communicate its like a chicken talking to a duck.

You see, I go quite early to school on most days just to ensure a decent parking lot which would enable me to get out of the school zone as quickly as possible. And being early, I talk to some of the other grandparents and parents who go early too. This old man, is friends to some of the others whom I talk too, and naturally, we just hang around and make small talk.

One day, he shared with me his life story, with my MIL helping to interpret some of the parts I couldnt understand.

His mum died when he was 9, and he was left to fend for himself, as his dad was a seaman, whom he only saw no more then twice a year. As such he was forced to leave school. With no food on the table at home, and no one to watch over him and his siblings, he was forced to find his own food. He went out to work just for food.

Being small and scrawny, many laughed at him. He was lucky that where he stayed, there were lots of samsui women, who took pity on him and shared their food with him. He did any work that came along and in time managed to earn his keep.

He now owns a condo apartment in district 10, a prime district in Singapore, which he bought paying in cash ... which resulted in him being fined for tax evasion! You see, all along, doing odd jobs, he just kept what he was paid, paying no tax.
He is a father of 4 kids and 12 grandchildren, and a doting parent and grandparent to boot. This man is a heart of gold. He wakes up at 4am every morning to do the laundry, and single-handedly cooks and ferries all his grandchildren to and from school.

This past December, he braved the cold, and language barrier and made a trip to Japan just to check on his daughter. He had told me that his daughter had not come home for some 4 years and was again not coming home this year. Married to a Singaporean working in Japan, he wanted to make sure that everything was in order for his daughter, and that she wasnt facing any problems with spouse or anything else, so he made the trip just to check on her wellbeing! (When he told me this, it brought a tear to my eye, coz it really shows his love for his child!!)

This is one man that will help anyone if within his ability. One day another parent had a tyre puncture, but was unwilling to get it replaced as she was going to change her car in another 3 months. Instead she had it patched. He had inspected it, and thought that the patching wasnt going to last her the 3 months. The next day, this man had used his contacts and came with a spare tyre just for her. And whenever anyone has any problems with their cars, he would always assist by checking it out as he had worked at one stage in his life as a car mechanic.

For someone who has never gone to school, and had such a hard beginning he has really done well. A man with a heart of gold. I now have new-found respect for him, tho' I still can barely understand him when he tries to share with me more of his life stories! AND I am still weary when he parks near my car.