Sunday, February 27, 2005
Getting it Right
So, this afternoon, dark clouds blew in, the winds were swirling the blinds, the door slammed- not on its own accord, the fan blades spun. There was rumbling, there was thunder, there were even some drops of rain.
If only "they" could get the storm
bit in thunderstorm
That would have been good.
It was nice to hope though.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:18
Friday, February 25, 2005
First Day Back
Gosh I feel wobbly. Had 5 classes today and managed to not lose my voice but I'm so exhausted it hurts to be sitting up. On top of that, I felt the need to re-establish social ties with my colleagues and actually agreed to go to a movie with them. I think it would have been alright if it was a lighthearted movie but this one was depressing.
There was sex, lies, betrayal, hurt, jealousy, anger, anguish, desperation in all combinations. A tight script meant to make you feel the full roller coaster of emotions that is the 2 couples who struggle to get closer to one or the other, but in the end do they really?
So, whatever energy I had after school has been sapped by the movie. Note to self, just like you don't run 5 km after a long break, next time, pick a lighter movie to start with.
...puddle of me...
Ondine tossed this thought in at 18:50
Thursday, February 24, 2005
I can SMELL!!!! Hello Dove showercream! Hello Minty shampoo! Hello Mango hand soap!!! How I've missed you!
Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:54
There is sound! When I try to talk today, there are squeaks. Some semblance of sound! As opposed to yesterday where there was only heavy breathing that could be so badly misconstrued.
Feeling all sorts of guilt for ditching school. In all fairness, I did try to go in yesterday but got chased home. A teacher without a voice is no teacher at all. I finally decided to go see the doctor and it was pleasant for a change. The doctor was my mom's friend's son that I had met at 15. He was in university then and at that point in time, I was very taken by him. I mean how many uni students, a med student from some royal surgeon college place, would take time out and talk to a 15 year old kid. And I was pleased to discover he was still a nice guy and took the time to talk to both Dan and I about how our jobs are indeed stressful and the constant falling ill is indicative of doing too much. No shit. But it was nice to hear a doctor reconfirm it and to be reassured that it wasn't just plain whining on our part.
I am stupidly eager to get back into things though. I feel totally contrite for leaving my classes for 3 weeks and counting. I'm supposed to only go back on Monday but I'm not sure. I might head in tomorrow. It's not too long a day and I can threaten them with their booty of chocolates hang in delicate balance. Just looking at the schedule for the rest of the semester is slightly mindboggling. In April, I'm off again for a week! Argh! To do MORE planning. The most horrid thing about going away for any amount of time is the amount of forward planning necessary.
Anyway, it's time to go in search of food, medication and some respite for my clogged up nose.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:56
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
45 degree Change
That's been the turnabout temperature change from Calgary to Singapore. It doesn't feel all that bad though. Perhaps due to the fact that I haven't really been out of the house much. I did attempt to go to school this morning. Physically anyway. Vocally, not there at all. I've lost my voice. Totally. Nothing's left. As in I can't even answer the phone when it rings because no one would be able to hear me on the other side. They'd just hear random croaking sounds.
But it does feel good to be home. The flight back wasn't as traumatic as it could have been. I think I counted only one crying baby and that was sporadic. Maybe the mother got wise and put some vodka into the milk.
I completed the last of my essay marking, I watched Legally Blonde
on the flight, enough times to notice that Reese Witherspoon- Elle Woods's makeup in LB 1 was totally Clinique
and in LB 2 which I didn't watch on the plane but had seen before was all Stila
. Yes, yes. How very ditz of me to notice. But I also did notice, although it would take a very dumb person not to, that Cellular
was totally Nokia
. Also another fun movie to watch. My favourite line from the movie and the most telling about the current generation is
Bad Guy No 1: Do you see the guy?
Bad Guy No 2: I don't know what he looks like.
Bad Guy No 1 (exasperated): He's the one on the cell phone
Bad Guy No 2 (from his elevated perch looking down at the crowded Santa Monica pier): They are all on cell phones
Yup. That's us. The cell phone generation. We're in Calgary and one of the kids is never without his cell phone. He's either texting his girlfriend or fielding calls from his parents. When we want a ride back to the hotel instead of trudging in the snow for 10 minutes back to the hotel, out comes the trusty cell phone to the concierge. Never mind that it's autoroaming and will cost some money. Even in the army, the reserves are all expected to have their cell phones with them and all rendezvous is arranged via the trusty cell. Ah.. what was life without the cell phone? I cannot remember.
Anyhow, I'm off to see the doctor. Wonder how I'm going to explain why I've had to see him 3 times in the last 3 months for the same thing. This will get worrying if next month, I fall ill. Again.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 17:24
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Worlds 2005 has come to an end. The gala dinner was 5 hours long with looooooong speeches that were the equivalent of the patting of one another's back and self congratulation. It became a round of speeches by oil barons and industry people, totally disregarding the fact that the event is actually about DEBATERS and this dinner was to celebrate their efforts.
Oh well. So that's 5 hours of my life I'm never getting back.
On a separate but unsurprising note, I'm sick. Again. Same thing happened in Stuttgart. Massive amounts of strain and exhaustion and the getting sick during the championship itself being out of the question often gives way to me falling ill the first opportunity it gets. In this case, it was yesterday, after we failed to break into the quarter finals.
I'm going to be up in four hours, so I should get to bed, but I figured I should blog one last time before I leave this snow covered province.
I don't really know what Calgary looks like. Right now, it's just white everywhere. Some of it's quite nice and it's not as red neck as I was led to believe it was.
Highlight of trip
Hard to pin down. There are so many.
- Seeing snow all around especially in Banff.
- Watching the kids tear apart a finals team from last year.
Most meaningful bit of the trip.
- Going to a First Nations reserve and feeling indignant at how,despite what the Canadian government says, they are still not given all their rights. They may be a nation alright, but where's the sovereignty?
Suckiest moment of the trip
- Seeing the kids defeated at the octo-finals when we all know they had it in them to go all the way.
All in all, Calgary, infinitely more fun than Stuttgart. Perhaps because everyone speaks English. I really couldn't put a finger on it.
I do know this. Tomorrow morning, I will start a 3 sector flight back to Singapore. I just hope this cold doesn't get any worse.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 15:46
Friday, February 18, 2005
The Dance of the Snowflake
Introduction with 4 counts of snow
The first tentative steps
Embracing the snow in a broad and inviting port de bras
Embracing the music of the snowfall
Salutation to the skies
Ondine- Principal Snowflake.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:23
Things to Do
Having been away for 3 weeks, there are obviously things that I'm anxious to go back to and things that I'm not so keen to go back to.
Top on my list of things to do
1. Hug and snuggle up to Dan.
2. Go to the spa (my face is in dire need of some pampering after this extraordinarily dry climate)
a. fishballs (apparently my staple)
c. japanese food
d. chicken wings (apparently my comfort food)
4. Watch some movies sans pop corn. Yesterday, in the school we were at, someone nuked pop corn with butter for lunch and the smell was so rancidly awful, the lasagne I picked at for lunch was looking to engage in some projectile vomitting activity.
5. Stay at home and catch up on all the Alias, Desperate Housewives and CSI that I have yet to watch
6. Make up for missing Valentine's Day yet again.
Top on my list of things I don't want to do
1. Go back to school- obviously
2. Complete incomplete marking
3. Face the escalated demand and pressure put upon us to provide grandbabies since it was the second Chinese New Year where everyone was still not cooperating with the baby hungry parentals.
4. Face the apparent heat wave that is setting fire to everything in sight and we aren't even living in the Australian Bush.
5. 3 weeks worth of laundry.
Ok, that's it. I'm hungry now so I shall go in search of cup-a-soups.
On a totally unrelated note, there are apparently many drunken underaged kids in the lobby of the hotel pawing at one another in the most unattractive of ways.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:06
It is impossible to shop with 5 kids and a reluctant male. That is the conclusion that I have come to today. We hauled the kids out of the hotel after getting them to finally change out of their pjs
, got them onto the c-train (a cross between the MRT and a tram) and took them downtown. Well, first, we had to buy a suitcase for boy lost suitcase was lost by Air Canada
. His mother was on my back, all the way from Singapore about me not having taken him out to replace his lost items. She emphasised 5 times that I should get everything he wants and she'll reimburse me and that Money was NOT an issue.
So, said boy goes to the mall and picks up what any 18 year old would consider expensive and good clothes. Levis, Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Ralph are very happy people today. But the 18 year old's ability to shop ended there and the others were becoming a restless rabble.
Question: What to do then with 5 of the brightest minds in the nation and their techno-book-geek (No offence W!) who think malls are overrated?
Answer: Park them at a bookstore till I'm done with my browsing and shopping around.
Which I did. But shopping isn't all that great. Kate Spade
was a disappointment with only 15 different bags and no sale. Patagonia
did not have the bag that Mark wanted. Banana Republic
was far too costly for work clothes. Only good buys were at Gap
. But I did manage to get a bunch of DVDs, chick flick stuff since Dan usually gets the main stuff, plus he's better at scoping out DVDs than I am.
So there. My 2 hours of shopping before I went back to claim the brood from a very nice independent book store with plush arm chairs.
Tomorrow's our last day in Calgary. The kids are hoping it'll snow again. Me too actually. I like the snow. It's still a novelty and seeing that it's going to be a while before I return to a climate where 4 degrees is considered a warm day and 8 degrees is a heat wave, I'd like very much for a last snow. As long as it doesn't delay the flight.
Yes, I always like things done on my conditions.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 12:24
Question: What do you get when you have a bunch of highly driven people who suddenly realise that for the first time in a long while, they really have absolutely nothing to do?
Answer: A bunch of scruffy kids in their pyjamas still at 11 in the morning watching McGyver and not wanting to get out of bed.
So endeth our run at the championships yesterday. We went down against the English and it was heartbreaking. I'm terribly proud of them though. When they started, they were all individuals overconfident in their debating abilities and not too open to guidance or advice. But they've grown and they've gelled and they learnt a heck of a lot. It's still a pity that they got thwarted by the Brits, but at least it was an honourable defeat and they went down fighting. Something they wouldn't have done 3 months ago. So I'm proud, regardless of the results and I can now safely start worrying about the 2 1/2 piles of marking yet undone.
But not before I herd the lot out of the hotel. The screaming has risen yet another decible and from my last peek out, they are STILL in their pjs.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 01:51
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Much as I dislike being cold, I like it when I'm dressed warm and the cold's all around me. Generally, I hate walking. I ran in the formative, pubescent years of my life and came to the conclusion, why walk when running will take you there faster. Also, being flat footed made it much harder to walk long distances.
I find though, that it's not so bad when I'm in a temperate climate and the weather out is 2 below freezing. I can walk. And much more, I enjoy the walk. It's hard to talk because your lips are numb for the cold, but it's still nice, to be able to walk and not feel the distance or the heat. I think it's reason enough, not that he needs more reason, for Dan to want to move overseas. He loves walking as much as I love running and he hates running as much as I hate walking. I complain a great deal when I need to walk any distance. So, if we moved to somewhere temperate and had temperatures 10degrees less than back home, I'd be far more willing to indulge in the walking.
And with snow, all the better to traipse in. There's a certain joy to stomping through fresh, powdery snow and there's a certain squish to it that adds to the joy. Of course, when the cold permeates the shoe into the sock onto the toe, it's a totally different matter.
For now, I shall enjoy the rest of it before I leave on Friday and return to what I'm told is extremely hot Singapore. It will be a while's yet before I return to a snow blanketed country.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:28
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
For the first and possibly the last time in my life, I visited a First Nations Reserve
. It is by far the most surreal of experiences in my life. But I shall blog about that another time, when I haven't
1. Been out the whole day
2. Sat through two debates that basically caused me to have no nails left
3. Been on a bus for four hours back and forth where people from Slovenia, England, South Africa caterwauling all the way.
But I shall say this. First Nations tribespeople, especially the girls are beautiful. And I got to eat buffalo today.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:09
Sunday, February 13, 2005
The mice have come out to play
and I found out that our respective spouses were at the Teo's
till wee hours of this morning playing mahjong. This is after Dan tells me he's really tired. So, we're both feeling a tad left out of things especially when the sun rises and sets on us nagging at kids, feeding kids, holding their hands when they're anxious, forcing them to take lozenges when they cough and going around with dripping wet towels to alleviate the extremely dry air that is taking a toll on their very fragile constitutions at this point in time.
I've even had to "book" time on my own lap top because they've basically taken possession of it. I don't mind, because they're working and they're good kids, but apart from one another, we haven't really had much adult interaction. Conversation topics with the kids revolve around
1. Food- Krispy Kreme, Geese thighs, Meat, Jerky, more meat, lamenting lack of meat for our Muslim coach. Canadians have no concept of Halal or Muslim (A school principal asked him WHY he was Muslim?- In dire need of some racial/religious harmony education that we do so well at home)
2. Good looking guys and girls from other teams
3. Swarthy, dangerious men from other teams
4. Bruce Lee films (W and the guys)
5. Debate stuff
For me, there has been no one to of shopping, exercise or in general bitch to about the numerous things that go through my head that require "bitch air time".
For Wahj, there's no one to talk to about games, war gaming, tarot cards, photographs...
So sufficed to say, both of us are looking forward to leaving here although we're still trying to prepare ourselves for the awful awful flight back to home. After that, I'm going to go on holiday.
Many out there have told me how fortunate it is to go away on government payroll. Seriously, if they wanted to, they can have this. Babysitting 24/7 is not a holiday. If not for the fact that we need to debate now, we would have lost all sense of time. Everyday, we ask one another what day it is, because weekends don't matter, neither does day and night. The division is more of sleep and work and work is very easily three quarters of the day. If only we could claim off in lieu.
But for now, the kids are flocking back in so I'm having to give up my place at the computer.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:45
Friday, February 11, 2005
Pounding the Roads
An excerpt from my friend's email. It's not just me that has strange dreams.
I dreamt you were PREGNANT and both of us were starting to get ready to start the BOSTON MARATHON. But then it started to rain heavily so the marathon was cancelled
and you went into labour. You still looked the same (all skinny) but
you had a HUGE tummy (really huge)...
Cool... I wouldn't mind being pregnant, skinny and still able to run a marathon.
On a less surreal note, we spent 5 hours at Banff National Park
today. Our live 1 degree north of the equator, never seen snow kids had such a field day with snow all around and having huge major snowball fights. Fun to watch, especially when the guys fireman lifted the girls and dumped them face first into the snow. Only problem, despite Thinsulate
and water proof boots, socks and tights are all wet and cold. Quite gross and miserable, our 2 hour ride back to the hotel was.
Ok, have to rush off for a coaches' meeting now. It was 2 degrees today though and was quite nice when the sun came out. Also, discovered mulled cranberry drink
Ondine tossed this thought in at 12:38
Thursday, February 10, 2005
The Best Defence Against the Cold
Inspired by Buffy Season 4 "Beer Bad"
Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:12
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Cold Fact #3
Regardless of the amount of moisturiser you slap on your legs, a rash develops from the dry air and it gets extremely itchy!
Once again, another 5 hour sleep night. I really need to sleep more but I'm guessing it'll be unlikely seeing that the championships start tomorrow. The kids are having cup noodles and Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast. Me, I'm refraining.
It's Chinese New Year in Singapore. My parents were tempting me with piping hot steam boat and Dan was going to his parents for dinner as well. Feels weird not to be around for CNY, but then again, last year, I did get tremendously homesick because I was with Dan at his family's and there was much roasted dead carcass served.
We might do something for the kids tonight. We'll see. Mayhaps tiny red packets, since we are near a big ass Asian supermarket. Perhaps gold chocolate coins in it. Heh.
Anyway, the kids are more or less done by their make shift breakfast so it's time to start my day.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 01:57
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Cold Fact #2
No matter how white and fluffy the snow is, MUST NOT EAT.
This was the stern warning we sent out to our "sua-teng"*
debaters this afternoon when they had first day light contact with the snow and were amazed at its powdery form and dazzled (quite literally, tomorrow, they're not leaving the hotel without shades) by its whiteness. Quote one of them "Now, I know why Mary's lamb was as white as snow
We're currently on hold with Air Canada because one of the pieces of luggage did not seem to find its way to Calgary. We think it's sitting on the tarmac in Vancouver wondering why it got left behind. Furthermore, the handle is broken, so the luggage tag might have fallen off, causing it to be even more untraceable. According to the front desk, Air Canada has a penchant for losing luggage. So, no one was actually that surprised. And talk about global outsourcing. We were joking when we said the call centre might be in India and that's why they take so long to get back to us. And lo and behold after 20 minutes on hold, a thick Indian accent said good morning to us, indicating time difference since it was 7 in the evening here.
We had a good day today. We sparred in the morning with the American team and suddenly understood how global the American accent was. Usually, when speakers start their verbal assaults, it's close to impossible to hear, let alone comprehend them. But with the Americans, no such problem, despite the fact that they were speaking at a speed that would have made me blue in the face had I tried to emulate it. Thereafter, we went for lunch at a local mall that made one of our debaters thrilled to bits. He found Krispy Kreme
there. I must admit that the 22 gm of fat makes for good eating. The donut is light and melts in your mouth, it just dissolves. Thank God I don't live here or I'd be hooked and good bye size 4. On the bright side, mayhaps I wouldn't freeze anymore. That's the consensus going around blog world, that I should eat so that I'm not so cold.
Ok, off now. Debaters are laying claim on my lap top... even though it's mine and not theirs. :)
*literally translated- top of the mountain...but has come to mean country bumpkin like..
Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:56
Cold Fact #1
It can actually be too cold to sleep.
I couldn't figure how to work the heater in my room and decided to just jump under the fleece covers and hope for the best. Apparently, the best wasn't good enough because I developed a hyperawareness of the cold in my sleep. I dreamt of being cold, dreamt that everyone in the dream was cold. I also dreamt we were all travelling. I think that latter part came from the great amount of travelling we've been doing the last week or so.
So, I didn't sleep because it was too cold. Got up at 6 in the morning, got the heater turned up, grabbed the fleece blanket from the other bed and sandwiched myself between them. Then I got proper sleep for about 3 hours before I had to get up.
It's slightly warmer now that sun's out. It's only -15 degrees celsius.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 01:51
Monday, February 07, 2005
The Winter of Discontent
Temperature -16 degrees Celsius
Wind 11km/h SE
Plight of us warmer climate people- Miserable.
I wish I had my Mashi Maro slippers. My feet are cold and I don't want to waste socks.
It's so cold, the kids were alternating between swearing and whining.
It's so cold, everything you see from the plane is white.
It's so cold that when your glasses fog up, they don't de fog.
It's so cold that the hotel's garden is white.
It's so cold that an inadvertent snow ball fight began between the kids.
It's so cold after two snow angels, pants were wet and kids were scurrying back into the relative warmth of the hotel.
We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. A true sign of globalisation when you come all the way to Alberta to have Chinese food and experience an Indian wedding in the same restaurant where the bride, in her ceremonial sari looked slightly hypothermic. Saris were not meant for 17 below weather.
It's 4.45 pm Singapore time and 1.45 am Canadian time so I think I should go to bed.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:35
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Our Best and Brightest
This trip has been one where we've been exposed to the best and the brightest of our land. Well, sort of anyway. But I've discovered that no matter how bright they are, they're still kids and kids do the darndest things.
1. They do not know how to work hot water showers in sub 10 degree temperatures. Some deal with it by squatting in a jacuzzi tub using the tap and another chooses to holler till I come running to help.
2. Mommies do shopping and packing for them and as a result, they only realise here, that paper underwear, bought by mommy is too small and we go on an island (Vancouver island) wide search for underwear. I threaten to buy said debater Granny panties.
3. Toiletries bags and spectacles are meant to be left behind in the b and b
because it's so beautiful, you have to go back for a second look.
4. It doesn't take much to get drunk on a flight when you don't move at all and alcohol goes straight to your head and you start spelling Tokyo as Tokoyo.
5. Boiling frozen vegetables on a stove in a plastic container because it was the biggest container around- never mind the fact that plastic melts.
6. Losing things every other second, papers, books, key cards, clothes (!), specs, contact lens container covers.
7. Leaving clothes everywhere (perhaps that's why they keep losing them), having toilets totally wet and not knowing how to lay floor mats provided on the floor.
8. Eating $156 worth of groceries in 3 meals between the 5 of them. It's amazing how much food they can polish off.
9. Exclaiming on top of his debater sized lungs when stepping off the bus into the cold "My Nipples are Damn Cold!"
10. Calling the girls Xena and Conan because they 'owned' the floor yesterday and eliciting screams that can be heard from down the corridor.
11. Spending copious amounts of time whispering sweet "I miss you"s into the phone..I discovered my dad in me when I wanted to tell him that money didn't grow on trees- So I quickly suppressed it.
12. Obsessing over Krispy Creme
donuts that have 20 gm of fat PER donut in front of fellow team mates who insist on making oiless eggs illiciting yet more screams.
13. Trying to iron a shirt and wondering why the shirt doesn't crease out because the iron ISN'T on..
And yesterday, while taking the girls to buy make up for their competition, I was told that the Passion Preserved
shade of lipstick suited me because it was very earthly and motherly, like ME!!!!! When I shot them a dirty and incredulous look, the debaters in them took over and they tried to defend themselves and said being motherly was different from being auntie
. Apparently, being motherly is good because it means you're caring and stuff and being auntie
means you're naggy and smothering. So, motherly is good and auntie
But in my book, both are bad. Me? Motherly... oh dear... me with my faux
fur jacket (it's named faux faux by the way), MAC
boots being motherly
Oh dear...Kids really do say the darndest things.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:51
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Land of the Rising Sun
I've got about 2 hours to nap before I have to get up again and get myself ready for the airport. There are still things to be done, but can't be done till later like repacking my boots that I decided at 1 am required another coat of protective spray so that the snow and the wet wouldn't seep in.
It's been such a headache packing. Winter clothes weigh a ton! All sorts of medication for 8 people weigh a ton. Marking weighs a damn big ton but I really need to bring that because I can't afford to be behind when I get back. I've commented more than half jokingly to many people that if my bags were overweight and something had to go, it really would be the marking, tossed out the window of the plane. Figuratively speaking of course. But then, the islands of Japan and the pacific that we are crossing would wonder why so much bad English was raining down on them.
I was resetting my vacation message which was last used, last year for Stuttgart. I looked at the dates. I left much later and was gone for a shorter period of time. Sigh. Part of me's excited because well, I have a bit of a travel bug and I am genuinely excited about how this team will do.
But at the same time, I wish Dan were coming too. It's hard travelling without him. I survived Stuttgart, but I remember, toward the end of it, I was trying to scheme for him to come this time round. And it's this time round, and realistically, I know it's quite impossible. So, all I can do is try to get as much Dan time as I can now, before I leave. Problem is I've spent the whole night packing and unpacking and I sent him off to bed 2 hours ago and I have about 2 hours before I go. That really isn't enough Dan time to get me through a day, let alone 18 days or so.
So, to cut my losses, I'm headed to bed to snuggle up to Dan and store up as much snuggliness I can.
I'm a big girl. I can do this by myself.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 01:58
" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"