Monday, February 27, 2006

Here's the latest tag...

lenglui tagged me then apologised wor. No need to apologise lor. Quite fun lah, this tag.

fatt hou meme: the tag: “You are in an alternate universe. You are a single person not involved in any relationship, and you have just published a New York Times bestseller. A movie studio has invited you to Hollywood to talk about a movie deal for three days, and as part of the wooing process, they offer to host a one-on-one dinner each night with the celebrity of your choice. Who would you pick? It could be a star you want to have a shot at ‘hooking up’ with, or it could just be someone you admire.”

The movie studio wants to talk about making a movie. I would want the experts to be there. Someone who will make me look good and make the movie look good. I'll first seek the advise from The Queer Guys.
OK, they specialises in sorting out the straight guys but this straight woman need help too. I'll bring along PT so they can sort out this straight guy, if that'll make them feel better. PT will come out looking better too :D

Photo from Queer Eye For The Straight Guy site

Now that we know the set will look absolutely stunning. I will definitely look stunning (in preparation for walking the red carpet at the Oscars). Now to meet with the director who will make the movie, which my best seller is based, absolutely wonderful.

Penny Marshall has directed some of the movies which I really like, Big with Tom Hanks, Jumping Jack Flash with Whoopi Goldberg and Riding In Cars With Boys with Drew Barrymore. Also, she was my favourite of the two in Laverne & Shirley. I think Penny Marshall will be the director who will be able to bring out the best in the New York bestseller I wrote.
Photo from IMDb


On the third night, I want to meet with Hugh Jackman *drool* I do not like men with facial hair but I'll make an exception for Hugh Jackman. So deliciously sexy! I can't remember a single thing about the X-Men movies. Got too distracted looking at Hugh *drool*

What will my bestseller be? It will be a biography of a charismatic man who rises against all odds to be the best that he can be. He saw beyond his own shortcomings, having contracted polio at a young age, which didn't stop him from excelling in everything he had set out to do. He is a man who is sexy, charming, very intelligent and very controversial. Famous for daring to question and calling a spade a spade. The bestseller will see the non-public side of this wonderful man, who is often misunderstood. With Penny Marshall's direction, the movie will portray him as a person who is strong yet sentimental, a new age man who can be an MCP sometimes, a caring husband, a loving father. What will be the title of this book? "NIAMAH!"

Err... now must tag someone is it? Let me think who first.

I've been tagged.... again!

I'm now responding to a tag by Lian in January. Err... No, I do not have any good excuse why I didn't respond earlier. Now that I've been tagged again, this time by the lenglui, I thought I'd better get cracking.

This was what Lian tagged me:

The Rules: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom spot.


1. All About Zara/Mom2ashley
2. Allyfeel
3. Essence of Love
4. Mamas Bag Of Tricks
5. Min

Then you select five people to pass the love on to. I'm going to stop this tag here 'coz it's long overdue.


1. What were you doing ten years ago?
Stopped working my 9-5 job to try doing multi-level marketing full time. Not enough self-motivation and loss of interest ended that. Became full-time tai-tai and was able to travel quite a bit without being restricted to 14-day annual leave.

2. What were you doing 1 year ago?
Was trying to balance work and being a mom. Wish I was home when at work and felt I've not given my all to work when at home. What a mess! Also was planning a holiday to Minnesota to visit some friends.

3. Five super fatty and high cholesterol snacks you enjoy:
1. Carrot cake with cream cheese topping (homemade and I have a fabulous recipe!)
2. Curry mee without cockles (still dreaming of the one which used to be in TTDI)
3. Ice Kacang (the first stall at SS2 Glutton Square. Loyal customer since 1987)
4. Picnic bar
5. Rocky Road ice-cream

4. Five songs to which you know all the lyrics off your head right now:
1. The Living Years by Mike & The Mechanic (reminds me of my father)
2. The entire Wizard of Oz soundtrack (CD in the car)
3. Lots of kids nursery rhymes and songs
4. Last Christmas by Wham
5. Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler (the Divine Miss M!)

5. Five things you would do if you were a millionaire (a millionaire doesn't mean having only 1 mil..but millions...)
1. Build my dream home; 5-bedroom single storey house sitting on a large piece of land surrounded by greenery. My work/sewing room has a panoramic window overlooking a stream. My children's room with glass ceiling which overlooks the sky and a telescope set up for stargazing. The whole house with high ceiling and lots of airholes for ventilation, so environmentally friendly (no need to rely on air cond). Interior to be designed by Thom Felicia!
2. Invite the whole Chan clan for yearly reunion at my home (including those who are away in the US). No need to crack our head to think of where to fit in 50+ people, aged 1 - 70's!
3. Hire personal trainer to get PT and myself into shape in our personal gym.
4. Set up a centre to provide training in all sorts of skills (carpentry, sewing, art, theatre sets, costumes, make-up, etc) to whoever is interested, giving priority to those who are underpriviledged.
5. Travel, travel, travel!.

6. Five bad habits:
1. Daydream too much
2. Procastination
3. Bad memory for names and faces
4. Spending too much time in front of pc and not doing stuff
5. Bad time management

7. Five things you like doing:
1. Swimming with the kids
2. Bowling
3. Sewing and handicraft
4. Trips with family
5. Daydream

8.Five things you would never wear, buy, or get new again
1. Anything with polka dots
2. Bare back top (unless I lose 15kg!)
3. Fishing rod
4. Flouncy skirts with gathered waistband
5. Gym membership

9. Five favorite toys
1. My sewing machine
2. Adam's Thomas The Tank Engine cards
3. Yahtzee electronic game
4. Monopoly board game
5. My handphone


Playschool and Kindie

In my previous post I mentioned life in playschool. Some of my most vivid memories of childhood have been the year I was at Methodist Kindergarten in PJ. My parents spoke Hokkien with my brothers and I, so when I first attended school I didn't understand a word of English. That didn't stop me from making friends and enjoying school very much from the very start. I remember very vividly my teacher, Mrs Goh and the principal, Mrs Violet Goh-Lim. I remember learning lots of songs in school such as Wheels on the bus, I am a satay man, If you're happy, The alphabet song. I remember doing this really amazing puzzle. Each one of us got a puzzle which we put together by answering questions. If we get all the answers right, we can flip over the puzzle and be rewarded with a picture on the other side. If any questions were answered wrongly, the picture would come out wrong.

One of the activities to learn to count was to sit out on the kindergarten lawn to count the cars passing by us on the Federal Highway. Imagine that! Counting the number of cars on the Federal Highway. We're going back 30+ years, so there weren't as many cars on the Federal Highway then. During the one year I was in kindie, a nurse was invited to give a talk to my class about being a nurse. We all got a cardboard hat which we needed to fold and staple. Then we all pretended to be nurses.

Near the entrance to my class was a playhouse (indoors) where my best friend, Patricia Chan, and I used to play. I even remember fighting with the boys who wanted to play house too.

Each Monday, we brought a handkerchief with a loop sewn onto one of the corners. The hanky was to be hung on the rack in front of the class to be used at break time. We all lined up to go to the washroom to wash our hands and then use the hanky to wipe our hands dry. Then we all sat down and said/sang Grace before we eat. It wasn't an issue if we were non-Christians and I enjoyed singing Grace. After our snack, we all lined up again, this time with our cup in our hand to wash the cup and wash our hands.

I remember singing a lot, running outside and I learnt to hold a pencil to draw, read the alphabets, washed cups and playing in kindie. It was fun!

I wonder if Methodist Kindergarten is still this much fun. Too bad it is too far away from my home now or I will definitely consider sending Adam there.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Start reading from what age?

I spotted an ad in the newspaper:

It is possible to teach your baby to read
The proven success!
  • 8 month old babies recognising words
  • 2 1/2 year old children reading in three languages - English, Bahasa & Mandarin
And the ad encouraged parents to call them for a seat in their seminar which is FREE for now. My question is.... What's the hurry? I've also seen a banner near my home advertising Mandarin classes for 3-6 year olds. "Recognise 1000 words by age 3!" the banner shouts. What's the point of recognising those words if the child doesn't understand what those words are?

Children are very observant. By spending time with them through play and singing, they are like sponges, picking up things when you didn't even know they were listening. I believe in exposing children to the world, pointing out what is around them. Teach them colour by pointing out how leaves are green, the sky is blue and flowers come in different shapes and colours. Listen to the sound of birds and insect. How the kettle whistle when the water is boiling. I believe in expanding a child's world and not start limiting them to what is in front of their faces, just looking at books and computer. How about feeling pebbles under our toes when we're dipping our feet in the stream? Children learn that the stream water is cool and milo poured out from a flask is hot and it warms their tummy. The grass feels squishy under our feet and the best ground to fall on is on the grass and not on concrete.

In the same newspaper were features and ads for music schools, child development classes, tutorial for languages, speech and drama school, mental arithmetics, language centre, etc. So many places for parents to spend money! With going to school, doing homework and going for all these activities, is there anytime left for parents and children to spend time together? A vicious cycle is formed: Both parents work to provide their children with the best by sending their children to dance classes, speech and drama classes, tutorials, tae kwando, soccer clinics, child development classes, kiddies gym. These courses/classes cost a bomb, so they work more to make more money. With less time to spend with their kids, they send their kids for more classes. Aiyo...

I'm looking for a playschool so Adam can make some friends and have fun. Frankly, after looking at several playschools, I'm not in a hurry to send him to school. Most of these schools are already talking about teaching barely-3-year-olds to write and read. At Adam's age, their motor skills are not developed enough to handle writing yet. I will be quite happy if Adam drew me a circle and calls it a car, 'coz in his mind it is a car he had drawn. I am looking for a school where Adam will be able to dance, play games and sing the whole time he is there. Maybe build some blocks, learn to button, string beads and more singing and dancing.

One school we went to started talking about maths and science. For their 3-year-old class?? If she had told me that this term they're learning all about transportation, that they'll sing songs about cars, trains and buses, make crafts to do with transportation, pretend to be aeroplanes and zoom around the class, I would have signed him up straight away. No such luck!

I guess the solution may be to form a regular playgroup with other family with children of similar age to Adam. Anyone game to join me? Let's meet twice a week, for 3 hours (with snack break). We'll start with transportation for 2 months (March-April).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Light at the end of the tunnel

There is hope for me as treatment is available. I'm not keen on taking medication or druges, so was glad to see that The Mayo Clinic has listed out the complementary and alternative medicine for PMS.

Feeling the blah!

Bleaaargh!!! That's how I've been feeling the past few days. Nothing seems to be going right. I've been feeling rather low and irritable. The slightest thing set me off on a rampage, even as trivial as the kids asking too many questions. They are 5+ and 2+, of course they ask a lot of questions. Adam is going through the "Why?" stage. Every question starts with a "Why?" Laura likes to act silly and sometimes, she does it to make me feel better but I feel irritated instead and I shout at her. I start thinking that PT is not doing enough to show me he cares. That man loves me to bits and I know it deep inside but these past few days, I've felt like shit. I've felt like such a selfish bitch! Then I realise that these feelings are recurring on a monthly basis. Blardy hell! I have PMS!

From the USdoctor.com site:

PMS is a disorder characterized by a set of hormonal changes that trigger disruptive symptoms in a significant number of women for up to two weeks prior to menstruation. Of the estimated 40 million suffers, more than 5 million require medical treatment for marked mood and behavioral changes. Often symptoms tend to taper off with menstruation and women remain symptom-free until the two weeks or so prior to the next menstrual period. These regularly recurring symptoms from ovulation until menses typify PMS, premenstrual syndrome.

From the Mayo Clinic site:

Signs and symptoms

For many women the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are an uncomfortable and unwelcome part of their monthly menstrual cycle. The most common physical and emotional signs and symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome include:

  • Weight gain from fluid retention
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Tension or anxiety
  • Depressed mood
  • Crying spells
  • Mood swings and irritability or anger
  • Appetite changes and food cravings
  • Trouble falling asleep (insomnia)
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Although the list of potential signs and symptoms is long, most women with premenstrual syndrome experience only a few of these problems.

For some women, the physical pain and emotional stress are severe enough to affect their daily routines and activities. For most of these women, symptoms disappear as the menstrual period begins.

But for some women with premenstrual syndrome, symptoms are so severe they're considered disabling. This form of PMS has its own psychiatric designation — premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome with symptoms including severe depression, feelings of hopelessness, anger, anxiety, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, irritability and tension. A number of women with severe PMS may have an underlying psychiatric disorder.

Of the 12 symptoms listed above, I have 7 of them! Reading the symptoms of PMDD, I do have "feelings of hopelessness, anger, anxiety, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, irritability and tension" close to the time of the month too.

SHIT!

Calif. Woman, 62, Gives Birth to Baby Boy

This headline grabbed my attention on Yahoo! News. A 62-year-old woman in Calirornia had given birth to her 12th child. "She is also a grandmother of 20 and a great-grandmother of three" the news reports. Her 11th child is 3 1/2 years old. Both her youngest children were inpregnated through in vitro fertilization.

This is what I do not understand. Why would a woman in her 60's want to give birth again? If the female body was meant to continue bearing children past 50, she would have continued ovulating and not go through menopause right? I do understand that Janise Wulf may have wanted children with her 3rd husband. Now she has a 3 1/2-year-old son and a newborn son to take care of. I find it difficult keeping up with my children and I'm in my 30's!

The same piece of news also listed other women who had given birth in their 60's.

"The oldest woman on record to give birth is a 66-year-old Adriana Iliescu of Romania, who had a Caesarean section Jan. 15, 2005."

I do think it is very selfish in the part of the women who chose to go through artificial insemination to have these children. They are in their 60's. Unless they expect to live until they are in their 90's and work until then, how are they going to support these children? OK, perhaps they are filthy rich. How are these women going to provide the kind of emotional support their children need? Gosh, their moms are older than some of their friends' grandparents!

An honour!

I've been attacked by the insomnia bug again. However, tonight I got a pleasant surprise from my niece (by marriage), Lisa.

Thank you, Lisa. You've made my day!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Morbid curiosity?

I couldn't sleep last night so I watched some TV. "New Detectives" was on on Discovery Channel. I've always liked this programme and other similar programmes like the "FBI Files". I remember having read somewhere that these programmes are really popular. They must be as there are so many different shows with similar theme, even several TV series "Medical Investigations" and "CSI".

What is it about programmes like these which make people tune in week after week? Why do I find these programmes so interesting? Then I thought of the way Malaysians (and I've been told people from other parts of the world do the same) slow down whenever there is an road accident. What do people hope to see? Blood? Body parts on the road? Crushed heads? Why do the vernacular newspaper publish gory photos of shoot-outs and crime scenes? Obviously they sell more paper when there are such pictures. More sale means lots of people want to see photos like those. They feel disgusted but at the same time feel curious enough to buy the papers. Is it this reason I watch shows like "New Detectives"? Not really.

The fact based shows ALWAYS end with the police getting the murderer(s). Evidence gathered from the crime scene enable the police to get the bad guys. I think that's why I watch these programmes. Perhaps that feel-good factor, that "crime doesn't pay", is what I like about the programmes. Reading news about little girls being raped and murdered, body stuffed into a TV box and dumped by the road side and a young man with a bright future killed in a brawl always make me sad. I guess watching TV shows about criminals being brought to justice make me think that this world isn't all bad.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Good friends

Today, I met up with some more old friends. These are friends whom I've known since school. Ya, more of those :D I think I'm very blessed to have friends whom I've known since we were giggly school girls and have kept in touch through the years. These are friends who have seen me in my best and my worst. Friends whom I've helped and who've helped me in return.

We were reminiscing about our "younger" and more carefree days. Our first crush, first love, first break-up, first job, etc. One of the friends who were there went through a bad first marriage. Her husband was constantly jealous of the attention she got from guys. She's quite a looker, so of course men would look. He accused her of having an affair with her tennis coach, her boss and every guy she was in contact with. He even forbade her to meet with her girl friends because he was convinced her friends were bad influence. She finally couldn't take it anymore, so planned her "escape" from her marriage. Friends who knew her ex-husband knew what bad news he was, so helped her in her moving. She is now happily re-married.

I used to drive a 1975 Mazda Capella which was my father's car. By the time I took over the car, it was an old jalopy. We're talking about the late 80's now. A friend of mine was studying nursing in Singapore. She used to escape from the stress of studying by taking a bus on Friday evening after her last class to visit me, stayed until Sunday evening and took a train back to Singapore in time for her first class on Monday morning. One Sunday evening, I took her on my old boneshaker to our former primary school to visit. There wasn't anyone there but we were quite happy to visit from the outside. We walked around outside the school compound to see the big tree where we used to play "house". This is an old tree with big roots which in our childlike mind formed rooms. We used ice-lolly sticks to clean away the leaves and sand, pretended to keep house. We used to pretend we were a family. That was also where we ate our snack at recess. After reminiscing with each other, I drove my friend to KTM to catch her train. Now, I didn't know the exact way to the train station. I'd lived all my life in PJ and KL was a foreign land to me.

We followed signs to get into KL to the KTM station. On Jalan Sungei Besi, the speed limit used to be 50km/hour. It wasn't a highway then. I was driving next to a brand new Honda Accord and I overtook it with my old jalopy! Woo hoo! Then I saw why the Honda had slowed down. A police flagged me to the side. I didn't see the police roadblock!

The police asked if I was aware that I was driving faster than 50km/hour. He asked what our professions were and we replied students. When he heard students, he proceeded to give us a lecture about speeding and how dangerous it can be. That we should think about our elderly parents because they depend on us in their old age. Then he told us that the fine for speeding was RM300. The police looked at my car window and asked why I didn't open it. I should describe my dad's Mazda. The window on the driver's side remained 3/4 open at all times. I carried a plastic sheet with me so I could put it over the window to prevent rain from getting in. On the passenger side, the window had to be propped when winding up or the window wouldn't shut properly. The floor of the car had erroded so much, there was a hole about the size of a 50 sen coin. Whenever I drove over a puddle, water gushed into the car. The air-con hadn't worked for about 2 years and the radio had been silent for even longer. The petrol gauge was showing E at the time. It was getting late and my friend had to catch her train back to Singapore. I was prepared for the police to issue me a summon although where I was going to get RM300 to pay it, I didn't know. The police did suggest that we settle with him. It has never been my policy to pay bribe and it never will be. The police was also reluctant to push the issue after he had a chance to look at my car properly. I just told him I will pay the fine but if he could please help us by just giving us a warning and let us off. I showed him that my petrol tank was running empty. He took pity on us and let us go.

We rushed to the train station with 15 minutes to spare but I noticed that the train station was rather empty. My friend had gotten the time wrong. The train left 15 minutes ago! My friend needed to get on that train or she would miss her morning class. She didn't have any money to take a taxi back to Singapore. The counter staff looked at us and we could see thoughts churning in his head. He then told us if we hurried to Seremban, we would be able to catch the train as it made a stop there. I don't know what got over me but I told my friend I would drive her to Seremban. We filled up on petrol and we were off.

The drive to Seremban was interesting as it was my first time driving "out of town". My friend and I had a nice chat while driving down, keeping in mind we had to hurry. As we approached Seremban town, I asked aloud "Where do you think the train station is?" My friend freaked out! "You mean you don't know where the train station is? I'm going to miss my train!" I calmed her down and told her we would go into Seremban town to get directions. Getting into town was the easy part. Just a few days before we got there, Seremban had just changed their roads to one-way system. We asked 5 people for directions and all 5 pointed us to 5 different ways to get to the train station! Finally, we drove to the edge of town to look out for railway tracks which should lead us to the train station. We finally found it! When we arrived at the entrance of the railway station, I told my friend to run in with her bag while I parked my car. When I'd parked the car, I went into the train station hoping I wouldn't see her. She had just made it onto the train as it was about to leave! The station master confirmed she had gotten onto the train. The counter staff in KL had called the Seremban station to inform that a passenger was rushing from KL to catch the train in Seremban. The train waited for my friend and was about to leave without her when we arrived!

My journey home seemed to take longer than the drive to Seremban. It was already about midnight by the time I dropped my friend off at the Seremban station. The car air-con didn't work and I didn't have a radio to keep me entertained, so I drove all the way home with the wind blowing on my face, singing loudly throughout the drive. This is something I've never told my mother. She would have killed me!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Busy weekend

Adam the Cat and Laura the Bunny! Testing out the "costumes" on Saturday before party on Sunday. The theme for Kate-Lyn's (Laura's classmate) birthday party, was "Animals". Knowing that Adam wasn't keen on getting his face painted, I rummaged through the kids' dress-up box and found a tiger/cat mask for him Laura was looking forward to getting her face painted and dressing up for the party.Late morning, we noticed that Laura's left eye was a little puffy and red. She also had a lot of dried up muck (can't think what it's actually called) on her eyelashes. Does she have conjunctivitis??! If she does, then she won't be able attend the birthday party. When Laura heard that she may not be able to go to the party, she put on a brave front but we all knew she was devastated. She quietly went into her room. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore and started crying softly. PT rushed to the pharmacy to get an eye drop for her. By the evening, her left eye wasn't red anymore and not puffy. One more dose of eyedrop and she was sent to bed early.

While the kids were in bed, PT and I were out with friends. I'd met up with my former schoolmates for dinner. Six of us have been friends for many years, some going as far back as primary school. Last night was Hazel's birthday celebration. We went to a restaurant in Sect 19, PJ for dinner. This place served buffet style steamboat-Korean BBQ-teppanyaki. Yup, all three in one. Interesting concept, I thought. However, as soon as I stepped into the place, I felt uneasy. I thought the place could have been cleaner but hoped I was wrong as my friend recommended the place. When everyone arrived, we requested for the stove in the middle of the table to be started up. The staff came, flipped over the plate inside the stove and viola, we had a hot plate for BBQ and four short spikes in the middle to hold the bowl for steamboat. Teppanyaki was to be ordered from a counter at the end of the room. We all went to get our food at the buffet in anticipation of enjoying some steamboat and BBQ. There was quite a varied range of food but I noticed also that most of the food was highly processed. Crab stick, sushi-shaped seafood rolls, fish shaped fish cakes, lobster shapped shrimp cakes, fishballs, fish cakes, etc, etc. The BBQ food was marinated and ready. Just put them onto a plate, bring the food back to the table for cooking. By this point, I was getting annoyed with a fly which had been buzzing about near our table and then at the buffet line. At the back of my mind, I was concerned about getting a tummy upset from the food. Not wanting to offend my friend who chose the place, I continued taking the food. I consoled myself by thinking we're going to boil the food anyway, so hopefully we'll be safe from food poisoning.

When the waitress arrived with our "pot" for steamboat, our jaws dropped. The size of the "pot" was about as big as a soup bowl! Seriously! Needless to say, we very carefully put in the food stuff to cook, making sure we didn't cause the bowl to overflow.

Since we met up to celebrate Hazel's birthday, I'd made her a cake. Instead of one cake, I made some cupcakes which would be decorated and assembled to resemble a flower. As can be seen from the photo, the cakes were decorated by Laura and Adam.

I must say the dinner was a disappointment but company was good. It was a chance for us to catch up with each other. Halfway through dinner, my friend realised she'd booked the wrong restaurant! Aiya!!

While I was at dinner with my friends, PT was at Kurt and Andy's for dinner. Kurt had prepared baby back ribs for dinner. Fortunately, there were some left for me when I arrived later. Yummm! Nothing like homecooked food and Kurt is the king of the grill. I enjoyed more great company. We finally got home at 4am.

I woke up early to check Laura's eyes. Laura had resigned to herself that she wouldn't be attending the birthday party so she left us to sleep in. PT woke up with a start to tell me it was almost 11am, the time the party was scheduled to start! Laura woke him up earlier and he saw her eyes wasn't red anymore. Checking her eyes while still sleepy was a mistake 'coz I couldn't see properly, assumed that her eye was still red. So we all rushed to get ready to go out. I put on Laura's face paint in record time!

Laura's classmate, She Jia Xin, dressed up as an elephant.

The birthday girl, Kate-Lyn, next to Laura.

Laura enjoyed herself tremendously at the party. Adam was afraid of the entertainer who was in a gorilla suit so stayed outside the whole time the party was on. He finally went into the room when he saw the gorilla-clad entertainer get into the lift!

Seeing that the children hadn't eaten properly and it was lunch time, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. Also, we knew that Richard, the balloon sculptor would be there. He is quite familiar with us as we'd gone to HRC a few times on Sunday. Richard is there every Sunday to make balloon scupture for kids of all ages. Here he is with a poodle with chicken pox, I mean a "dalmation". The kids believed him when he said it was a dalmation, so there! Laura and Adam came home with lots of balloons.

When we were there, a group of kids arrived for a birthday part at the HRC. A set of twin girls were celebrating their 5th birthday. Their birthday cakes were two Barbie cakes with the dress being the cake. Laura looked at the cakes for a long time, then turned to me, "Mama, you won't be able to make that cake for my birthday ya? Too difficult ya?" Now that's a challenge I'm prepared to accept. Some time soon I will try to make the Barbie cake to see if I will be able to make one for Laura's birthday in June.

Then I got an sms from Kat, who reminded me about performances at the Great Eastern Mall today to celebrate Chap Goh Meh. The children and I went over just in time to miss the world-class tournament winning lion dance team. Fortunately, there were other performances on. We saw some acrobatic acts like juggling and unicycle performer. Then we saw the lion dance troupe go into the mall again. They were going to go around the mall to the various outlets. Laura and her friend Hui Yi ran after the lions to watch them perform. The two girls must have followed the lion to at least 4 outlets before they gave up. Lion dance groupie? :D


In the meantime, Adam was in the Choo Choo Train shop to play with the Thomas the Tank Engine display. He played with the set for a long time. I was beginning to feel quite embarrassed with how long he was in the shop and I hadn't purchased a single item from there. I wanted to get Adam something from the Thomas the Tank Engine range but GASP! the price of the items almost knocked me out. At least now I know what cake to make for Adam's birthday.

We were home after dinner. The children (mine and Kat's) still wanted to play on but we could see they were very tired. Sure enough, both Laura and Adam knocked out for the night soon after we got home and washed them up.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thinking of home

I was watching our helper, Dita, pack a box to be sent home to the Philippines earlier. A courier company in KL offers Filipinos a courier service to send things home by volume and not by weight. They charge a flat rate according to the size of the box. The box Dita packed measures 18" x 24" x 20". What it means is Dita can pack anything of any weight into this box. As long as the things fit within the box, she pays only RM185. A smaller box is RM120. To Manila it's even cheaper. Her parcel will arrive at her home in the Philippines in less than a month.

I've seen Dita pack her parcels home before and it amazes me how much she can pack into these boxes. Tonight, she had packed cans and cans of condensed milk, economy (aka jumbo) packs of Nescafe, washing detergent, economy packs of Milo, shoes and clothes for her grandchildren and sons, plastic plates which she picked up from a jumble sale, toys for her grandchildren, gifts for her sons, daughters-in-law and elderly parents. I hope her family appreciates what she has been sending to them. The grocery in that box is to be distributed to her elderly parents, her sons and her brother and sister-in-law who help her raise her sons.

Our helper, Dita, has been with the Teoh family for many years having left the Philippines to work in Singapore when her younger son was only 3 years old. Her younger son will be a father in a few months. That's how long she's been away from home. Packing essentials for them and sending them pre-loved clothes is her way of showing her love. I've asked Dita before if she sends letters to her sons and cards on their birthday. Her reply was, "What for? They never send back to me".

I've noticed that whenever one of her sons call, it is when he needs money for one thing or another. The roof need fixing, the older son needs a bike, the younger son wants to be a motorcyle taxi so he needs a bike, older son need money for wedding, younger son getting married, etc. Dita managed to save up enough money to buy a piece of land for her husband to farm on. Unfortunately, bad money management had caused him to pawn the land. A few years ago, Dita's husband was murdered over some misunderstanding. That added to Dita's headache 'coz the lawyers told them they need to pay them a retainer to keep the murderer in jail. The best thing to happen to Dita and her family in the murder case was the murderer dying of a heart attack recently. Cruel but true.

We have persuaded Dita not to send all her money back to her sons as they are grown men with their own family now. How long more do they expect her to take care of them? I guess Dita finds it difficult to say "No" after having been away from them since they were young. Guilt money? Definitely! So to help her save some money, Dita holds two accounts. One holds her salary to send back to the Philippines and also for her whenever she takes the day off. Another account is a joint account which needs two signatures to withdraw money. I have given her permission to be the bitch who will not let her withdraw all her money, so she has an excuse to say "No" to her sons who seems to think she's landed herself in a cushy job with neverending funds. Once, when I was having a chat with Dita about saving some money for her old age, I was encouraging her by saying she shouldn't rely on her children to take care of her when she retires. If they do, then that's a bonus. I asked her what is going to happen if her sons do not take care of her? Laura chipped in, "Don't worry, Dita. I will take care of you".

6 days to Valentine's Day

Today, I was at the florist to order some flowers to be sent to my friends who are in the production of Puteri Gunung Ledang - The Musical. When at the florist, a steady stream of men came into the shop to order flowers for Valentine's Day. Some wanted to get better value for their money by sending the roses before Valentine's Day. The florists have caught on to that now and they are charging for roses progressively more as it gets closer to Valentine's Day. Seeing these men who are obviously out to impress (or prevent blow-ups) with their girlfriends made me think about the meaning of Valentine's Day. I know many newspaper articles have written and mamak sessions have been held to discuss this topic before but here's my thoughts...

A hand bouquet with a dozen of roses costs RM150 on Valentine's Day. Florists save up the roses for that day, so not all the roses sent on that day will be fresh so they do not last as long as if you buy them on other days. I was just chatting with Rizal and he mentioned going up to Cameron Highlands before Valentine's Day to get the roses so they're cheaper. Hmm... Does professing love has to be with flowers? Personally, I love the beauty of flowers but to spend so much and to put in so much effort just to send someone flowers is something else. Sure, I'll appreciate the thoughts and also the effort but can be more original or not?

Then I started thinking about how far the RM150 can stretch with a bit of imagination. It was also then that I passed by a Lancome promotion at the concourse of the KLCC. Pay RM150 and sign up with Lancome to receive a make-over, photography with an A4 size photograph and redeem RM130 worth of Lancome products. If the photograph is with your loved one, aan enter contest to win more prizes some more. Now, isn't that better than a dozen of roses?

This evening, PT and I went to see Puteri Gunung Ledang - The Musical at the Istana Budaya. Stunning production! I love the energy of the ensemble cast and the way the production looked. The storyline is similar to the movie but the treatment was very different. Tiara Jacqueline was very good in this but I would say AC Mizal as Gusti Adipati stole the show. Ticket prices RM30, RM70, RM100 and RM150. Now, if one has only a budget of RM150 (equivalent to a dozen roses), how about spending it on two RM70 tickets and still have money left to buy a programme? What better way to spend Valentine's Day then to watch a stunning musical about undying love?

With RM150, one could easily pack a picnic with some grapes or strawberries, good cheese, some crackers and a nice bottle of wine and head to the nearest beach or park. Or arrange for a babysitter and spend the evening at home without the kids and just spend time with each other. I like the idea of my kids preparing for me breakfast in bed! Unfortunately, they're too small to do it themselves. Now, if that's not a broad hint I don't know what it is! :D

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Another birthday party!

Laura has been invited to her classmate's birthday party which will be on this Sunday. Guests are encouraged to dress up in animal costume. When Laura first received the invitation, she wanted to go as a lion, then she changed her mind and wanted to be a tiger. Now she wants to go as a bunny. This is how she looks like for the trial run. I think Laura makes a cute bunny. Now I need to figure out how to make the bunny ears.

Laura has been playing pretend for some time now. Her latest: She is mom to her doll, Samantha. Today is Samantha's 1st birthday and Laura wanted to throw a birthday party for her. We had some unfrosted cupcakes and some frosting left over from decorating Shin Yee's Elmo cake, so we had some fun decorating the cupcakes with the frosting and some candy stars and hundreds and thousands. We all sang the birthday song and took some photos.



Err... Adam wanted a clown face at first but changed his mind after a short attempt to apply a base on his face. It's not bedak sejuk on his face :D

Sunday, February 05, 2006

MTV

My brother and cousin tuned into MTV this afternoon so I watched a little bit of it. I could not relate to what was on. How to relate to a show which show a group of people kicking someone who was on the floor? How to relate to a guy looking for a suitcase big enough to fit him and then his friend throws him down a flight of stairs? A good joke is a half naked fat guy eating cheeseburger in Tianeman Square?

Out of curiosity, I tuned into MTV again this evening. "Room Raiders" was on. The show is rather interesting. Three guys are "kidnapped" by the Room Raiders team. A girl goes to each of their room to check the rooms out and she chooses who she wants to date based on his room. Interesting but I can't help thinking it's evasion privacy too.

Watching what was on actually made me afraid, very afraid. In 5 years time, Laura will be a pre-teen. She will be interested in MTV and Channel V. What sort of influence are these channels going to give her? Even the Disney channel makes me uncomfortable and I'm far from a prude. Lizzie McGuire and Raven are such ditzy characters. Ditzy and bubbleheadedness is in? Whatever happened to intelligent programming?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Laura cheering

Here's what the Captain of the Adam Teoh Fan Club cheerleading squad has to say:



For a smoother link of the video

Adam bowling

Thanks to Lian who introduced me to YouTube, here is a another video of Adam. This time he is bowling!



For smoother viewing, here's the link

To download Adam yodeling video

Here's the link to download the video

Adam yodels!

Click on the video to see Adam the Singing Cowboy!


Friday, February 03, 2006

Shin Yee turns 2!

Little Miss Natacia Shin-Yee Roach will be 2 today!





Shhh.... Don't tell her Mama Min has made her an Elmo cake for her birthday. I know Elmo is supposed to be red. I'd used red food dye but came out pink with the frosting!

It's been a great start!

On the first day of CNY, we visited my Jee Kor. On the 2nd day, our plans was to visit the in-laws. Here is Adam and Laura are all dressed up and ready to go visiting.

We found out why one of PT's son-in-law doesn't get impressed easily with restaurant food. His mother and his aunts's cooking is out of this world!


The lion dance arrived after lunch. Adam stayed past his nap time to watch the lion dance. This is the first time the little man will be up close and personal with a lion dance. He got spooked by the noise and chose to play in one of the rooms. He had to come out of the room because he needed to wee which was just as good. Adam found out that the lion dance isn't so loud or scary as he thought. Laura enjoyed every minute of the lion dance.



That evening, PT's family and sons-in-law came over. Their friends who have become our good friends as well also came by and we celebrated Kurt's birthday.

We've been very fortunate to be able to experience a traditional Chinese New Year complete with lion dance. We've also been reminded how blessed we are to have a loving family and fabulous friends.