Tuesday, February 26, 2008


It was wonderful that the awful humid weather broke last night with the storm of storms. I could hear the rain in my sleep and it is a comforting sound. I did, however, wake up to the reality of it which was the store room leaked and by virtue of my having the most pairs of shoes stored in there, my shoes soaked up the most water.

Now, I am sad. I haven't gotten over it enough to be angsty yet but I am right now, mourning my shoes. Shoes that I am fond of, have blogged about and would have photographed if I ever had the time.

And I'm very sure when I get to the point of being upset, it will go along the lines of this post. Till then, I'm mentally bidding farewell to the ones that are too water logged to be saved.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:11

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Friday I'm in love

I love that song by the Cure. Not only because it brings me back to a time when I actually liked the Cure but also because of the obvious. That Fridays are great.

And Mondays suck.

And you know today is Monday when I come to school without my phone and leave my water bottle in the car and have my breast pump but no bottle.

Only one word describes Mondays and it rhymes with "duck".

-- Update--

I also ended up spilling my entire mug of water flooding my desk, wetting everything from my mouse to my work to bits of my dress as I scrambled to mop it up. The only good thing, it drowned out some ants that have apparently been in residence at my desk longer than I have. Plus they seem to have wizened up to the concept of ant poison.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 07:59

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Saturday, February 23, 2008


We were at our niece's birthday party on Thursday when Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? came on. We marvelled at the depths that game shows had sunk to. We marvelled at how the Americans were either self deprecating enough or actually daft enough to take part in such a challenge that would more likely than not reinforce the perception of them being the Stupid American.

But then, we all agreed that if it was a game show in Singapore and the intellectually average or above average Singaporean was pitted against a Primary Sixer, there was no question who would win. Every year, the press picks up the story of how difficult that year's PSLE Math paper was and would feature some of the questions. We would always be suckers for punishment and attempt to do it, failing miserably when we had to solve it without using algebra and sometimes, even with algebra. And some of the better ability kids wouldn't bat an eyelid and very innocently ask "what's the big deal?"

Then yesterday, I thought that the eventual challenge should be against the P6-er. We could start with Are you Smarter than Primary 3 kid? And even at that point, I think I would fail. Reason? My nephew came home with a problem sum.

A dragonfly has 6 legs. A spider has 8 legs. In all, there are 20 bugs and 144 legs. How many dragonflies and spiders are there?

This stumped my mom, me, 2 colleagues, Packrat and my brother. I ended up asking Olie who very kindly explained and showed me how to do it sans algebra.

Then, there was the English.

Jenny walked unsteadily to the town. She could see that she was nearing it. The villagers took care of her and gave her a place to rest.

In the paragraph above, find which word meant "unconscious".

My mother said it was "the villagers" and we asked her why. Her explanation was so bizarre it was comedic. She claimed it was 'the villagers' because the last thing Jenny saw was that she was nearing the village and the next thing she knew, they were taking care of her. So she must have lost consciousness after the fullstop! Now, that's bizarre space time awareness for you. I think this one was a matter of a bad question but the Math one... I think I'm pretty dumb and some university saw it fit to confer top honours on me. I think maybe I should write to them and ask them to confer my nephew with something as well seeing that he figured it out eventually. As is, he's apparently on the Corridor of Excellence. I'm guessing that's a Primary school equivalent of being on the Dean's List.

But gee, we really are getting dumber and dumber and our kids are fast surpassing us. I wonder if we're going to be able to cope with Primary One work by the time the twins get to that point!

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:23

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

A gaggle of girls

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly rough to say the least. The work's become ridiculous and the juggling of all the balls has gotten to such a point that I want to say f&*k it all and just let all the balls hit the ground and I turn my back and walk away. The only time that Packrat and I seemed to have for one another is when we go out, after dinner to get work done. And because it's the first time in the day where I'm sitting down and my brain is given a chance to slow down, I inadvertently doze off. This means being unproductive and angsting about my being unproductive. One evening, when I dozed off on my scripts, Packrat, claiming it was an instinct thing, reached out and snapped his fingers in front of dozing me. This resulted in my jumping awake and giving him a stare that could melt steel, followed by a tirade about how tired I was and how annoyed I was at him for snapping his fingers at me as if I were one of his recalcitrant students.

Anyway, there's been general crankiness, unhappiness and being on constantly on the verge of tears. The only thing that's kept me from bursting into tears is how a bloody waste of time it would be and how many scripts I could have graded or how many minutes of sleep I could have stolen if I didn't break down into a puddle of tears. It's an awful yardstick to use but I can't help it!

In the midst of all this, my old friend from school flies back to Singapore. She's now happily ensconced in New South Wales and calls herself a Sydneysider. We have more in common now that we ever did because our children are 6 weeks apart. And even before that, having gone through our formative years together, we have never been short of things to say to one another. Like my brother asked very innocently "So what did you all gossip about?" and realised almost immediately that it was a question that required zero answer. He knew it too because he corrected himself and commented "what am I talking about. You're women, of course there's stuff to gossip about!"

So, because she's back for only 2 weeks. I declared a short moratorium on the grading. The papers will always be there but my friend was only in town for a fortnight. We've met up for dinner, with yet another friend who has been with us all through the years and we've sat and chatted and laughed till our sides hurt. I met her again yesterday and will do so another time before she flies off. The both times that I was with them, I returned home realising that there was a lightness to my step and to my heart and I was actually happy.

And that was the strange thing, it felt like a strange sensation. Have I really been that unhappy that happiness feels like a strange fit? Or have I just been drifting along, not thinking, not feeling just struggling to keep my head above water? I said to someone recently, in a moment of unabashed truthfulness, that I was tired of keeping trying to do everything and keep at everything and for the first time in my life, I was ready to say something's gotta give. And that's a big admission for me, Little Ms Control Freak and Little Ms Overachiever. We're in the midst of trying to figure out what can give because I seem to still qualify everything I would like to give up with a "but I can't because..."

For now, I'm just going to enjoy the sojourns out with the girls and giggle, laugh, have tea and shop. Forgetting that I am married with two kids, have all the work I have sitting at my desk, the desperate need to either get more than four hours of sleep a night or a night of uninterrupted and constantly feel a mild sense of panic and anxiety wrapping round my throat when I let myself think about it.

I think that's as good a stop gap measure as any till I find the time to regroup and pick up some of the marbles that have been lost and are rolling around in some dark corner of the room.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:37

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Reason #762 to buy a house

I cannot believe I live in a house that has this in its larder.

Shark's Fin!!!

Evidently, not having it at our wedding dinner wasn't statement enough. Neither has all the fuss I make at every Chinese family dinner and the big show I make by refusing to eat my bowl of shark's fin and guilting Packrat and his brother while they eat theirs.

Perhaps I need to go Greenpeace on them and barricade the stove when they decide to cook it.

Maybe now I can move out, citing irreconcilable differences.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:01

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When I wish upon a star

While feeling somewhat morose about my lot in life today, I came up with a list of things I'd do if I had 11 million dollars. Don't ask where I got the figure. I think some condo apartment went en bloc for that amount and the figure's stuck in my head since.

Anyway, here are the things, in no particular order.

1. Buy a house and skeddadle out of In-law's Ville.

2. Quit teaching- it's been long overdue but I guess, it's one of those things.

3. Buy a membership with Marriott Vacation Club- we went for the talk yesterday and as attractive as it sounded, I wasn't going to part with USD$60 000 plus USD$1500 per year thereafter. We did however get a nice hotel stay voucher out of it.

4. Become a pilates instructor (So that I can still get some sort of income after quitting the day job)- a dream job because I get to stay fit while working on a flexi schedule.

5. Take up ballet again- there is a great desire to reclaim my tummy muscles. All those ones that got stretched out by the pregnancy and there is no better way than ballet.

6. Make flash cards for my children. It's my current Mommy obsession.

7. Go shopping, buy more clothes, shoes and make up! Make up's always so tempting. And clothes shopping always makes me feel pretty.

8. Write a book about motherhood. Not one of those how to books but something that has a lot of tongue in a lot of cheek. I've been wanting to do this since before we got pregnant but we just got busier and busier. And my Mommy-Porridge brain has led me to forget a great many things already.

So maybe if I wished hard enough, all these things and more would come true.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:58

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Wedding bells on the new year

Traditionally, I hate the Lunar New Year and the first few days of this new year were no different. In fact, the stresses were much worse because of the children and worrying about whether they were ok, whether they needed to nap, dealing with their cantankerous-ness that came about from being overstimulated coupled with the lack of sleep. On top of that, there's always the stress of having to be at 2 different places at the same time. It constantly makes me feel like I'm part of a divorced family and both sides are fighting over custody over my time and presence. Except, it isn't really custody but it is true that both families are fighting to gain dominion over that strangely treasured lunchtime slot on the first day of the Lunar New Year. This results in either pissing off one side of the family or rushing back and forth across the freeway to be at both lunches. That's when I get cantankerous and poor Packrat suffers the brunt of it.

Thankfully, that was over after the first day. Day 2 was relatively easy because it was spent with my closest non-family family. These were people I actually wanted to see and were actually extremely fond of, rather than people whom I am related to but cannot for the life of them get my name right. Day 2 was also spent grading papers. We were astounded at the number of people at MacDonalds and Cold Storage until I realised that Cold Storage was probably one of the few supermarkets open on Day 2 and MacDonalds...well, when people tire of Chinese food, any non Chinese food would do and Macs is about as abundant as they come.

Now, if the New Year ended at that point, I'd have been pretty pleased because it would have given me some time to get some much needed rest. But that was not to be so, the aforementioned non-family family was going to take up the rest of the weekend because Plentyfish (whose blog no longer is active so I shan't link him) was going to get married on Day 3. The run up to this wedding has been filled with exasperated exclamations on my part that went along the lines of "Who in their right mind gets married during CNY????" We knew it was going to be a challenge organising and ensure a smooth wedding on Day 3. What we didn't know was how big a challenge it was going to be.

I got woken up by a frantic SMS from my mother at 6 in the morning. Actually, I was already up but when I heard my phone go off, I knew it could not be a good thing. And it wasn't. SMS read "The petals of ALL the roses have fallen off. Trying to call florist. Not sure if open on Day 3! Bride may not have bouquet!" My poor mother! She had told me how, pre-CNY, she had scoured the island for the freshest roses that hopefully would be able to keep through the holiday (There were no flowers in from the eve of CNY onwards and none of the wholesalers were open through the holiday. This was made worse by the fact that the blizzards in China had caused fewer fresh roses to be available in Singapore). When she managed to snag what she thought were the freshest ones, she kept them cool and wet and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, the paper that held the roses together led her to believe we were actually going to be able to win this one. The truth only came out when she unwrapped the roses that morning and all the roses were good for was confetti.

That's when I took a deep breath, rang her and assured her that we would go look for a wholesaler that was open and buy whatever roses were available. And that was how our day got started, running at full speed, all over the island. I even had a 24 hour florist on speeddial in case we needed to get a bouquet. At that point, I was ready to throw money at anyone who could provide a guaranteed bouquet for the bride. I only found out later that my mom, being the dear that she was, was sick as a dog but kept at it like a trooper. I got a lot of flak for it which of course raised my heckles and sent my voice into decibels that only dogs could hear.

Anyway, all turned out good and the bouquet was as beautiful as could be. It brought back memories of my bouquet because my mom used the same orchids. Cymbidiums- I learnt, was the name.

And the bride, being the scatterbrain that she was, appeared at the end of the aisle looking the picture perfect glowing bride save for one thing. She'd forgotten the bouquet! This, of course, let me to halt the procession before it got started, sprint up to the bridesmaid, grab her bouquet and thrust it into the bride's hands with the most 'teacher' of looks. As Packrat aptly put it, it wouldn't have been her wedding if she had remembered the bouquet. Of course, all this was backstage and Plentyfish was blissfully unaware of any of this that had transpired.

The rest of the wedding went off without a hitch, sunset, by the ocean, with a nice breeze, with people milling around and tourists gawking and snapping photographs. The only other hiccup that sent the bestman, who was probably as wound up as we were, almost scurrying and burrowing into the sand was when the pastor dropped the slightest and finest of wedding bands onto the sand.

As payback for the stress and the raised blood pressure Plentyfish and Mrs Plentyfish had subjected us to, we decided to invade their room while they were taking photos at the dinner. First, we carted in 2 tanks of helium in a suitcase, making us look extremely suspect. Then, we proceeded to fill 200 balloons with helium and let it loose in their room. This created a beautiful boudoir effect in the room although it was going to be a bitch for them to sleep with ribbons dangling in front of their noses not to mention bopping balloons when the helium seeps out. And you can't see it from the photo but under what looks like the most innocuous and harmless of bedding was actually 2000 little tinsel hearts, generously sprinkled from top to bottom. For the blurry eyed couple at 3am in the morning when they were finally rid of us.

It's Tuesday now and I don't think I've recovered from the exhaustion and the adrenaline of the day. It was great fun though and extremely touching for me as I watched one of my best and oldest friends finally make an honourable woman out of his long suffering mate. I thought I would cry but I think I was filled with nostalgia and pride more than anything else. And now that it's over, I kinda miss it a little bit. I think I kinda miss them too. And oh! I'm filled with envy too because they're off to NZ for an entire month. A whole month, without work! And it brings back great memories of my own honeymoon.

Unfortunately, it's also made me feel a little bit bummed because I think back to then and I realise how much life has changed for Packrat and myself in the last 5 years and it's true, you do lose a little bit of that carefree, wide eyed joy. Ah, now to attempt to recapture that.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:33

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Splat goes the brain

My Facebook says it all.

Ondine is reeling from a headache that feels like an aneurysm is about to happen.

I tell my brother. I tell him the pain moves in a wave from inside to outside. I tell him when I change planes from standing to sitting, from lying to sitting up causes the pain to ripple out and lash the hull that is my skull. I tell him I am nauseous. That my teeth hurt. I tell him my shoulder blades and nostrils hurt.

He tells me to lie down. He tells me that I might be coming down with something. I ask him what it could be. He replies that if I faint or have my vision go blurry or am dizzy that I'm to go to the ER. I ask why. He says that it might be an aneurysm.

Now, that's a self-fulfilling prophecy I don't wish to have occur.


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Ondine tossed this thought in at 18:04

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"