Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hot weather and poor customer service

Just a few posts ago I was complaining about the wet weather. I think the skies heard me and now they've responded with vengeance. It's suddenly become hot since last week. Really hot and dry that Caitlin's sensitive nose has been feeling the effects. We normally sleep without the air condition but last night, we felt like we were in an oven so the aircon came on.

It's good on one hand that I don't have to worry about going in and out with umbrellas and raincoats, driving in the blinding rain and stepping into puddles. It's bad on the other hand that I have to make sure we, especially Caitlin, are well hydrated with lots of drinking water, wear cooler materials and stay out of the sun.

Sure sounds like I've nothing more interesting to talk about other than the weather right? I guess it must be the weather getting me down, lazy, sleepy, tired....and irritable.

I've one grouse about customer service in Malaysia generally...or rather the lack of it. Three weeks ago, before the Hari Raya break, I requested for a cost estimate from one so-called renowned kitchen cabinet makers in the country. The guy sold his product and service very impressively but as they say, talk is cheap. He promised to get back to me within three days but took two weeks instead. And even then, I had to call his boss to complain after not being able to get him on his mobile several times.

His boss was not that great with being nice too. His first words when I told him I'd like to make a complaint was "Why?!" and in a rather antagonistic and defensive way. Their 'signature' kitchen designs are nice and they boast of quality materials but I believe other kitchen designers are equally good if not better.

The cost estimate finally came via email but only provided a total sum for my two kitchens (wet and dry). I spent another frustrating phone call requesting for a breakdown of the cost to get a better picture of where and how my money will be spent. It's almost two weeks now and still no phone call or email from them. I've not been holding my breath as I've moved on to other kitchen planners, but it just sickens me when people lack the courtesy to follow-up on their word. That goes not only for customer service people or professionals but even so-called friends I've encountered. Where is the integrity and sincerity?

For the price I'm to pay for their product, they'd well be giving impeccable service but no siree, not these people. Or maybe in their eyes, we don't look like the type who are seriously looking or can afford to purchase? No one even approached us when we visited their showroom in one of the largest malls in town prior to me calling for a meeting with the kitchen planner.

I wonder why they spend so much on branding themselves and paying exorbitant airtime rates for their typically-Malaysian-overly-exaggerated radio ads shouting out their customer service number if all I get is lousy service which they claim is second to none as one of their USPs? Little do they realise that the attitude and behaviour of just one staff can spoil their entire image and impact their business. More so with the power of word-of-mouth, SMS and the Internet these days. Or maybe they just don't care as they are arrogant and confident that their image and product can supercede their lousy people?

I guess I shall stop my rant here before I cross the line in bad-mouthing them further and naming these guys directly (though it doesn't mean I haven't done so indirectly...). Suffice to say that I won't be using these guys for my new kitchen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


What does the word "tattoo" conjure up in your mind? Military tattoo and marching bands? Not so common I think. It'd most likely be LA, London, Miami Ink? Gangsterism? Triads? Significant personal events, memories, relationships that have impacted your life? Positive or negative? Needles and pain? Traditional, cultural, current fad? Permanent or temporary? Dyes, henna or stickers?

If you were to get a tattoo, what would the reason be? What design? Children play with the sticker and washable paint types mainly for fun. Adults use henna, dyes and stickers for fun, cosmetic and other known or unknown reasons. If I were to get a permanent one, it would be of personal significance, not for body decoration unless it's a temporary one simply for fun or for a crazy party.

No, I'm not thinking of getting a tattoo. It's just that in my lifetime, I've known of people and friends who have got themselves one or more, for various reasons. And just a few days ago, I found out another friend plans to get one. Good and glad for him!

Autograph books

Never did I imagine that six-year-old kids would have autograph books to remember their classmates by. I guess I've been out of touch with friendship 'practices' among schoolkids in this century! My friends and I started collecting autographs only when we were in primary school around 7 or 8 years of age those days. Hmm, I'm tempted to dig them up from my boxes of old treasures to read them and have a good laugh....

School will be out for the year next Friday, 14 November. Come January, when the Malaysian school year begins, Caitlin and her kindergarten friends will no longer be together as they'll all go to different primary schools of their parents' choice.

One day last week, she came home with an autograph book of one of her classmates. That got the ball rolling. Thereafter, she has come home with a few more, all requesting her to pen a few words, provide her contact details and a photograph. I'm glad this century has given us digital photo and home printing technology. Otherwise, I'd soon be running out of photographs of Caitlin to supply to her friends!

And of course, Caitlin also asked to do the same. So yesterday, while she was napping, Eugene and I painstakingly did a homemade, custom-made autograph 'book' with personalised pages for each of her classmates and selected teachers to put in their two cents' worth. We had bought some fancy paper with Disney Princess characters earlier and printed a short request note at the top with a small photo of herself. She distributed the personalised sheets to her friends today.

When she gets them back, we'll compile them into a book. This way, chances of her getting autographs from all her friends are more or less assured, compared to passing one book around. Even if each child takes the book home for just one day to write something, we'll not be able to get everyone's autograph since there are 13 schooling days left from today, and 18 kids plus two teachers to cover.

Sigh, I sometimes am amazed at the lengths Eugene and I, and other parents too, go for our kids.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Birth Story

Six years ago today, A&E became ACE! Caitlin was born at 8.31 a.m. on a Sunday in 2002. Last night at dinner, we recounted bits of the birth story to her while she listened with interest and what looked like a prideful smirk on that cute cheeky face. Generally confident and sometimes full of herself, Caitlin takes after Eugene mostly in her looks (the nose especially), her food choices (pasta and cookies), and inability to delay gratification and vanity. Ha ha, this says some, (although I could make it lots if I want to) about Eugene right?! But bashing the dear hubby is not allowed here, not in this post anyway.

Sometime shortly after 11pm on 26 October 2002, a gentle but rather distinct 'pop' was felt in some part of my lower body as I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep. It was puzzling. E was away in Genting Highlands for a company event. I wondered if I had passed gas or something, ha ha. The idea that C could be signalling her arrival crossed my mind but I thought to myself that she wasn't supposed to be due until some two weeks later. I continued wondering since nothing else happened after the 'pop'. No dramatic sudden tummy aches, groans of pain or whatsoever like what happens in TV shows (in case those uninitiated think that's what normally happens when one is about to give birth). I wasn't expecting that anyway since we'd been well-informed by books and pre-natal classes.

I thought I'd complete my half-packed hospital bag since I couldn't go to sleep somehow. As I was packing, I decided to call the hospital maternity ward to get their advice if the 'pop' was anything I should take note of. Following their advice, I decide to go there for a check. If my water had broken, I should have felt a slight gush when I stood up but that didn't take place... My brother and his girlfriend (now my sis in law) who were living with us then, drove me there. We arrived around midnight. After a check by one of the maternity nurses, it was confirmed that my water had broken. A call to Eugene sent him fleeing the highlands, arriving some two hours later. I was surprisingly cool about the whole thing so far, up to the very end when Caitlin arrived in fact! No moans, groans, tears of fear or pain or complaints as far as I remember, but who knows, maybe Eugene thinks otherwise!

Contraction pains started soon after. Since I had decided on using painkillers, I asked if I could get some. They jabbed me and told me to rest. The jab didn't work and they came again to check on me and told me to sleep. But how to sleep with some kid trying to stab her way out of me? So epidural please, I said, and that was a great help. No regrets on my decision to avoid pain so that I have energy for the greatest job I had to do in my entire life! I slept like a baby only to be awakened from my peaceful slumber just before 8.00am the next morning to be told that it's time to push.

The greatest job was very much like a tug-of-war in terms of the determined shouts from the midwife, coaching me on when to breathe, when to push, how to push....with the unsure husband holding my hand, not daring to be anywhere else other than beside me! Hee hee, the typical male who can't stand seeing or listening to 'gory' stuff!

Within half an hour, the obstetrician held up our slimy, purplish, scrunched-up face child who let out a cry. I think I would have been like that too if I had been upside down for some time and forced to leave my snug cocoon! It was a moment of mixed feelings and comically to me now as I reminisce, my first words directed at the doctor was "Why is she so purplish?". Ha ha! "They're all like that" she said. Phew....

A few hours later, we were handed a little papoose, cleaned and swaddled like a doll, her full head of hair nicely washed and combed with a side parting!

Hello Caitlin, tiny as a kitten, fragile as a flower. Her name is Caitlin Sophia. Caitlin means 'pure', Sophia is 'wisdom'. 

Six years later today, Happy Birthday Caitlin, grown as a young, schoolgoing child, strong-minded, cheeky and mischievous, vain as her father, stubborn and short-tempered like her mother, lover of books, animals and all things fun, loved by all in the family.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tainted food, this time in Japan

Tainted sausage, pizza
Sun, Oct 26, 2008

TOKYO - JAPAN'S second largest meat processor Itoham Foods Inc has begun recalling more than two million packs of sausage and pizza products possibly containing toxic chemicals, a company spokesman said on Sunday.

The company admitted on late Saturday that a total of 2.67 million packs produced and sold last month in the country could be tainted with toxic cyanogen compounds exceeding the government's health safety standards.

At a news conference, Itoham senior managing director Shinichi Yamada apologised for the possible contamination and a delay in its announcement of the case.

'Our crisis management was insufficient. We would like to deeply apologise to our customers,' Mr Yamada said, adding that the company, however, has so far received no reports of health problems.

Mr Itoham found the toxic substances in water from wells at its factory in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo. It used the water for production of the packs.

Japan has been on alert after a series of health scares involving food, mostly made in China.

Earlier this month a woman fell sick after eating frozen green beans imported from China, which were found to contain thousands of times the permissible level of pesticide residue.

On Friday, Japan's Nissin Food Products Co said it was recalling half a million cups of instant noodles over fears of insecticide contamination in the latest food safety scare to rock the country's consumers. -- AFP

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Long weekend

This weekend will be a three-day one as Malaysian Hindus will be celebrating the Festival of Lights known as Diwali or Deepavali on Monday. Malaysia, being a multiracial country observes public holidays for major festivals for the different ethnic groups. So what will ACE be up to?

Today: Mandarin replacement class for C because she missed yesterday's when she decided to take an afternoon nap, A and E meeting contractor and kitchen cabinet guy, collect Kung Fu Panda Tigress cake this evening

Tomorrow: Caitlin's birthday lunch with both sides of the family. I still wonder how I've survived six years with my mischievous monkey! Coincidentally, she's playing catch with E in her birthday suit while changing out of her pajamas....aiyo...

Next Monday: Extended drum lesson for C because she missed Monday's class due to fever. Visit an old friend as C wants to see her limping dog.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Invisible Mother

I received this forwarded mail from my aunt today, written by someone unknown, and it is a good one. This is dedicated to all moms, especially those who have exchanged their degrees and careers for diapers and dishes, choosing to stay at home to build their 'cathedral'.

Invisible Mother......

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 me a question. 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.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ..

Janice 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 Janice 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:

'To Charlotte, 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:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story 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, Charlotte. 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, 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.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

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 three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or 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, to add, '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 women.

Great Job, MOM!
Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know...I just did.

Hope this encourages you when the going gets tough as it sometimes does.
We never know what our finished products will turn out to be because of our perseverance.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

P.S. I Love You

Cecelia Ahern's books have been hitting the bestseller's list for some time now so on my recent trip to the bookstore I decided to take a closer look at them. Her books have caught my attention for some time already but I was not sure if that genre was something I really wanted to read.

Her debut novel, however, has been made into a movie starring Hilary Swank with Gerard Butler (and Harry Connick Jr.), and it's stories like these (those that have been made into movies) that pique my interest. I would not care for those that are the other way around, i.e. movies that have been made into books.

P.S. I Love You is not a hardcore romance novel although the title suggests it. It is about an Irish girl, Holly, who is devastated by the loss of her beloved husband Gerry to a brain tumour. Months later, she discovers that Gerry had left her a collection of notes, one for every month, guiding her through a new life without him, each signed 'PS, I love you.' She finds support from her close friends and family through her bouts of tears, sadness, laughter. It's definitely a girly-type story/movie that could move you to tears.

It's probably a story with a simple life message that could touch your soul but does not require you to be a brain surgeon unlike some stories with deep, abstract ideas. I say 'probably' because I've yet to finish the book. To the point where I've read, it appears that life is beginning to work out slowly but surely for her. It'll quite definitely have a happy ending. I'll just have to keep reading till the end to find out and then decide if I should also watch the movie.

A check with Wikipedia says that although it got bestseller status and the movie had high box office numbers, they both did not get great reviews.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kung Fu Panda revisited

Watching the Kung Fu Panda DVD again after getting distracted by other movies (Balto, Snow Buddies, Wall-E) for some months reignited Caitlin's kung fu craze. She had earlier requested for a Powerpuff Girls birthday cake but now she wants one with ALL the Kung Fu Panda characters on it.

So a tug-of-war ensued with me telling her that the baker will probably not be able to have the right-coloured icing to make the picture look good and all the characters will probably not be able to fit onto the cake. So she has settled for the picture of Tigress, her fave character, mainly because she's female. Caitlin is very pro-female. All her pets and future pets must be female, she prefers female friends etc etc. It was easy finding a bakery that does Powerpuff Girls cakes but a Kung Fu Panda one? I've used one cake decorator who caters to almost all whims and fancies in the past years but this year we're saving cost so I was relieved when she requested for Powerpuff Girls. But now... I'll have to go back to the shop to ask if they can copy a printout of Tigress Eugene found from the Internet.

She's also re-bugging me about letting her take kung fu classes. It's worse immediately after she watches the movie. She'll start kicking and punching around with all the 'heeyak, heeyak' kung fu noises and brags that she knows all about kung fu and wants to be a kung fu master.

When she's into something, that'll be all she thinks about most times, even in her daydreams or night-time dreams. She smiles to herself while staring out into space or laughs aloud in her sleep, recalling or dreaming about some humorous scenes of the movie.

And in the car to some place on Saturday evening, she started this conversation with Eugene.

Caitlin: Dad, why are you boss to nine people?
Eugene: Because I have more experience and more knowledge about some things at work.

Curious about why she asked, I chipped in: So would you like to be a boss when you grow up?

A quick and confident 'No' came her reply.

Even more curious, I asked: Why?

Caitlin, in a matter-of-fact and confident way: I want to be a kung fu master!

Eugene dropped his head, speechless, while I sighed and rolled my eyes.

Aah, if things and Caitlin remain as they are 20 years from now, I truly wonder what Caitlin will be doing. It will quite surely be anything but boring.

So far she's mentioned astronaut, veterinarian, rock drummer, diva, SPCA officer, and now kung fu master.

The weather and under it

It's been a number of days since I put some words here. I'll start off with boring news i.e. the weather. Lately, it's been very predictable and annoying. I wake up to bright sunshine which turns into a scorching early afternoon. And almost like clockwork, when I'm just about to step out to fetch Caitlin from school, the sky suddenly turns dark with thick dark clouds. Then it pours cats and dogs and I'm forced to use my raincoat/umbrella. It lasts probably half an hour at most so by the time Caitlin and I are home, it's stopped.

After lunch at home minus rain, we're about to step out again for Caitlin's Mandarin class and there we go again, pitter patter and more cats and dogs, probably for another half hour. Later in the evening, when office workers are beginning their drive home, it pours again, sometimes till quite late at night. Low-lying areas are hit by flash floods and Penang is one state that's quite badly affected. Eugene sometimes chooses to stay in his office till the traffic clears and the roads are no longer parking lots before he calls it a day. That's the typical office worker's life in our capital city. We boast of the Twin Towers, etc etc etc but our road and public transportation system is not the best, that's putting it very mildly. Not to mention other major grouses that have hit headlines locally and worldwide.

Last Friday, Caitlin came down with some virus. Today's the third day she is having fever and complained of a sore throat a couple of hours ago. Being the paranoid mum, I took her to her favourite beloved paediatrician much to her delight. Besides the fever, she looked well enough to him and he couldn't detect any redness in her throat or any other problem. I guess it's better to be assured that it's something that should pass in the next few days which does not require antibiotics instead of dengue, hand-foot-mouth etc that's more worrying.

As with all specialists, their consultation fee is double the general practitioner's so it felt like the five-minute consultation cost a bomb. But then again, should I put a price to peace of mind that my child will recover soon? When it comes to the health of any young child, one must not take things for granted, better be paranoid than over-confident. And better for the child to see a doctor she loves.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Children's Bible in a Nutshell

I received this funny piece in an email and I think it's worth sharing. It's really funny but more importantly like what the sender said, we sometimes take for granted that children fully understand everything we tell them.

A child was asked to write a book report on the entire Bible. This is amazing and brought tears of laughter to my eyes. I wonder how often we take for granted that children understand what we are teaching???

Through the eyes of a child:
The Children's Bible in a Nutshell

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says,'The Lord thy God is one, but I think He must be a lot older than that. Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did. Then God made the world. He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they
weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden. Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Mathusalah, who lived to be like a million or something. One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat. Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable. God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's stuff. Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.

One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town. After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me. After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess
we don't have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?' It would be nice to say, 'As a matter of fact, I was.') During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him. Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Republicans and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution

Save the turtles

This is Caitlin's advice on why we need to stop using plastic bags. Bear with her fidgeting and "so..." and "so then..."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lazy to write

I never thought I'd ever be lazy or not in the 'mood' to update my blogs since I started blogging early last year. Lately I have just been. The frequency of my posts have reduced as you can tell.

Although I've encountered some thought-provoking situations and people, I've just not gotten around to putting them into words here. There's this issue about Malaysian parents and their throught process, reasoning and decision-making on what type of school (national i.e. government, private or international), and medium of instruction (Bahasa, Mandarin or English) they should send their children to that has been churning in my mind but they've just been rather jumbled up that I don't know where to start!

My thoughts have also been revolving around how and when we can get the new home ready so that we can move in before the year ends. Caitlin finishes her pre-school education in mid-November and will move on to primary school come January. It felt like just yesterday when she was born and I held her teeny tiny fingers and on Saturday night, there she was on stage dancing and singing in her school concert/graduation. She was just a little longer than my forearm when I carried her out of the hospital to greet the world in October 2002 and now she's at my chest level in height, having a mind of her own and talking back like a teenager!

2009 sure holds lots of new things for us as a family.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Finding and being found

It's amazing how you can find people through the most popular social networking site. I bet you know which one I'm referring to. I've found friends from near and far and from long, long ago -- those whom I've not been in contact with for 20 years or more's quite nice to see their faces in their profile sections, find out what they are doing now (and everyday!) and take a peek in their photo albums. Most of them still look the same despite having grown older.

And it's amazing too how people can find me using this site. I've made friends out of strangers and just today, a headhunter contacted me about a position available. These are the benefits of technology, innovation and creative ideas. Who would have thought 20 years ago that such a thing as social networking sites could be created? All I had then were my school yearbooks and autograph books to remember my friends by.

I'm glad for such innovations. The world has become smaller and its people less distant.

(We must however be on the lookout for those who abuse such benefits. While we can find and be found so easily, remember that not everyone or everything you read out there could be right, fair, true, sincere, real....)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Song practice

This video is more for the grandparents, aunties and uncles who would enjoy Caitlin's singing (I hope!). She is practising some of the few songs she'll be singing in her school concert this coming Saturday.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A happy ending...or so I thought (see earlier post below)

Overheard in the bathroom.

Caitlin in a grumbling tone: I think I'm going to have a nightmare tonight. All the yes-no, yes-no, yes-no argument just now. Nobody to guard me...

So I asked why. Not answering my question, the grumbling continued: I imagine a bad guy come into the house and kidnap me.

Me: Why do you think that? Because Tigress is not with you tonight? (Tigress is outside on the clothes line...)

Caitlin continues sulking and proceeds to brush her teeth....

Tigress gets a bath...finally!

I tried getting Caitlin's consent to put Tigress in the washing machine again today. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Caitlin, can I wash Tigress in the washing machine?

Caitlin: Noooo, she will get dizzy and vomit all over the clothes!!

Me: No, she won't. She's just a fake dog, not real, not alive, she won't vomit!

Caitlin: Yes, she will! Imagine if YOU go into the washing machine. You will get dizzy and vomit! She's MY dog, I found her when she was a puppy.

Caitlin storms off with a grumpy face to the kitchen and started drawing on my mini 'white board' on the fridge. She sometimes expresses her feelings through spontaneous art.

Her 'No Mummy' sign

Me (about to give up): Okay, how about a normal bath then?

Caitlin (smiling eagerly and nodding): Yes, let's do it now!

A happy ending...

The past week

The highlight of the past week was the long weekend coinciding with the Hari Raya holidays. The public holidays fell on Wednesday and Thursday and Eugene's company required all employees to take Friday off to allow everyone a 5-day weekend. So we took the opportunity to scour shops around town for household stuff to fit our new home. Some were open and some weren't but we managed nevertheless to get some things. It helped that Caitlin wanted to have a 'sleepover' at Kung Kung and Por Por's place one hour away. But it meant us driving her there and fetching her home after she was satisfied 'terrorising' her grandparents with her demands of having fun at the mall and visiting a new pet shop there.

We are just at the tip of the iceberg of all that needs to be done for the house. Equipping a brand new home takes time to shop around, weigh ideas and alternatives, call contractors and consider their many details. It looks like we'll be busier than usual the next two months. It also looks like our bank account will be hugely depleted!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Pleeease let me out....

No one's looking so I'm biting my way out of here!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


One of Caitlin's favourite stuffed toy dogs badly needs a wash. It is machine washable and all morning, I've been checking with her if Tigress (that's what Caitlin named it) is ready for her 'bath'. She's been putting it off and the last I checked, here's what she said: "No, Tigress cannot have a bath in the washing machine. She'll get dizzy and then vomit all over the clothes inside. She needs a normal bath...."

Poem of the Day

No Time To Hate

I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.
Nor had I time to love, but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.

- Emily Dickinson -