Archive for December 2008

We Are Family

December 31, 2008

My Mum and I have lived with my unmarried aunt and my grandmother since my parents split up. Years ago, my younger cousin wondered why I have two mothers, and erm, no father? It’s a rather interesting perspective and I suppose come to think of it, our family structure is kinda unusual.

My mother is naturally very and somewhat over protective of me, and my aunt loves me by supporting what I do as long as I am happy. Sometimes I can’t help but feel my aunt is almost behaving like a father.

Here’s why. When I first planned to introduce R to the family, I went to my aunt first for advice. We then worked together to “tackle” my mother. And when I phoned home a few days ago, I asked my Mum what we were going to have for our reunion dinner. She told me that they had booked a restaurant and asked if “R (that ang moh) would be coming to Singapore with me or what?!”

I said, “Yes Mum of course he would be coming to Singapore with me, I told you that ages ago.” And then I heard my aunt in the background, urging my Mum to tell me nicely that they have saved him a seat at the table and would gladly invite him to join in. And then my Mum said, “Oh ok ok, WE extend our invitation to him. We’ve already counted him in.”

And so I wouldn’t know what to do without my aunt really, she’s the only one who refers to him by his name and takes effort to make him feel included and accepted. And I do hope she will come to our rescue when we are all sat around the table in the restaurant in awkward silence, all eyes on that ang moh.

2009: Project B

December 30, 2008

boy2

You know you have officially fallen into the category of ‘sensible grown-ups’ when you look around and see your peers getting hitched and producing babies faster than you can say “is she married?!”

Though none of my closest friends have taken the plunge or procreated, plenty of others I know have this year. Honestly, it does feels kinda scary when I log on to Facebook and see how it has become an exhibition board for friends to display their wedding and baby photos, announce their married statuses and discuss child-rearing tips.

It’s especially strange when you reunite with long lost school mates through these social networking sites. I find it hard to picture what they used to be – pimply, flat-chested and geeky teenagers back in the 90s –  now as glowing, breast-feeding Mums. What happened to all those years in between?

And recently, I too have been starting to feel increasingly broody and overwhelmed by a desire to settle down. It’s the sudden interest in pregnancy magazines and expectant mothers, it’s the lengthy discussions on baby names and disciplining techniques, it’s the stuffing a pillow under my top to see if I look good with a baby bump.

And though I FEEL ready, I have no idea if I AM ready. On Boxing Day when I visited R’s sister’s place for a mini gathering, she plonked her 6-month old grandson on me without warning when she had to see to something urgently. And I just sat there, holding this gurgling bundle like it’s a bomb about to go off.

When I came home and told R, he said, “Hmm… you are not very maternal, are you?” No, I’m probably not, yet. It will be a whole new difficult ball game I have to learn from scratch. And it frightens me terribly. That aside, I have other worries – What if we can’t conceive? Or what if it isn’t healthy?

I suppose you’d never find out until you get down to it. And so come 2009, I hope we will give Project B a shot. But of course, being a semi-decent girl, I’m not going to get creative before Project W.

Christmas sucks for the Elf

December 28, 2008

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R told me that since he had bought me my SQ ticket back home for CNY, he wouldn’t be getting me a Christmas present. But oooh… imagine my joy when I saw this huge red box underneath the tree and my name on it when I woke on Christmas morning.

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When everyone gathered at our place to exchange presents, R made me read his card to me out loud before opening the red box. Oh dear, the gift sucks, what the hell?

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So,  it turns out, after months of moaning from me that we should get a smaller and lighter vacuum cleaner for our house, R goes out and buy ME, not US, a vacuum cleaner! What’s that supposed to mean? I have to do all the hoovering?!

While other women receive pretty trinkets, sexy lingerie, shiny jewels, pampering spa treats on Christmas, I get a Tesco Bagless Vacuum Cleaner.

Christmas sucks, literally!

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Random festive updates

December 24, 2008

>> Thank you fefe, tsl and emily for your Christmas cards! They all arrived on the same day. Lots of heartfelt messages and encouragement for me, been reading them again and again!

>> A little robin flew to the kitchen window and stayed for a brief moment to say hi while I was doing the dishes. He was beautiful with an orange chest.

>> Unfortunately R and I fell into the category of  “panicky last minute Christmas shoppers” this year and had to hit the city centre on Monday evening to push, dodge, shove, run and get our Christmas shopping done. Not a very pleasant experience, will do better next year.

>> Presents have been piling up under the tree and I had such satisfaction wrapping them up. Can’t wait to see all the faces when they rip the parcels open!

>> I am officially off till the new year and I am going to bake some cookies and muffins for everyone.

>> I’m been hoping and praying but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a white Christmas this year. Temperatures have been quite mild at 7C. Argh! Wheres’ the snow when we want it?!

>> K invited us to her place for some Finnish Glögg (mulled wine), gingerbread, cheese and snacks. We dined with candle lights and festive songs while constantly having to elbow her dog who loved to poke her head in and steal food from the table.

>> I have had about 8 mince pies since November.

>> With flu heading for a nine-year high in the UK, everyone I know has been or are sick and  I’ve been coughed and sneezed at a lot. Last evening I felt feverish and had a tickly throat but I’m hoping I won’t come down with anything – not over the holidays!

>> I managed to buy a live wreath but not mistletoe. Heading out to town this afternoon and hope I’d be able to get one. Did not know how one looked like till this year.

>> I had a nice Christmas meal in a pub with everyone I work with last Friday. We pulled crackers, drank wine, ate too much and I really had a good time getting to know people better. We didn’t really talk about work and I think that was fantastic self-control on our part!

>> My mum rang me after she got home from Beijing last Sunday and told me “I got a Beijing mug for ‘that ang moh’, didn’t buy anything for you though”. I told R and we are both quite apprehensive about whatever that means!

>> My colleague told me, “R’s best Christmas present would be when he wakes up on Christmas morning and sees you next to him.” I told R and he said hehehe. Last night I asked him to say something romantic and he came up to whisper to me, “Honey, I’d do the dishes.”

>> Happy Christmas.

Winter fun

December 22, 2008

We finally found some time last week to unwrap the 1.2m high live Christmas tree and place it in the corner of the living room. Then R went to the garage to dig out all his (dusty) Christmas baubles and we had a go at decorating the tree.

To ensure the tree looked elegant, I wanted to follow a colour scheme but he wanted to hang baubles of all shapes, sizes and colours. Needless to say, he got his way but I was really quite surprised that it did not turn out to be too tacky and horrible. We also put up icicle lights on our fireplace.

The living room now looks really cosy and festive in the evenings when I put the lights and candles on. But it’s a real pity I haven’t managed to get a new camera and can’t put up any photos.

After organising the ministerial launch of the new website I’m working on for young people on Wednesday, I took a day off and we went ice-skating at the outdoor rink. Before I went, people kept telling me how dangerous it was and rattling off names of people whom they know have broken bones or sustained injuries.

It was my first attempt at ice-skating and I started off clinging onto the rail for dear life, wondering why would anyone think sticking blades under shoes and walking on ice was a good idea. When R managed to wrench me off the rail, I held onto him while he kept telling me to look forward, bend my knees and take small steps.

In the end, I can’t say we had fun because we were really just hobbling around the rink with the better skaters whizzing past us. Still it was definitely an interesting experience for me and I think I’d feel more confident and at ease with more practice.

This year, R finally has the 25th off and we can have Christmas dinner together. Sadly we haven’t gotten ready any firewood or a fire guard to get  a real fire going. But I think it’d be a special year for both of us to be able to finally celebrate together.

Another death in the garden

December 15, 2008

Despite desperately convincing myself with encyclopedia facts that the lethargic fishes’ behaviour was normal in winter, my worrying instincts proved right. They were unwell somehow or another. It could be the cold, but it was more likely due to an imbalance in the pond eco-system.

In recent months, the pond has become murky with the water smelling like sewage. I thought that it was due to the fallen leaves decomposing in the water and it would sort itself out, but it just didn’t. R noticed that the normally fresh pond weed was dying as well.

Yesterday we found Wally dead, floating on the surface of the pond. R buried him under a small carpet of grass. This morning, I went to the pond expecting to see Phantom’s body but I didn’t and I decided that if he is alive, I had to do something immediately to prevent his death. He would have otherwise ended up like Wally, asphyxiated in the polluted water.

After almost emptying the pond and pinching out noses as we drained the water, we found a very weak Phantom. Luckily we had half a bucket of rain water outside so we quickly put him in there. He swam around in the fresh water and we decided that we would release him into a small stream nearby. The pond needed serious fixing which we could not do till the weather gets warmer in Spring and Phantom couldn’t possibly live in a bucket for so long.

“He would have a better chance of surviving if we put him in the stream. It would be oxygenated and there would be plenty of food. Also, being dark coloured, he would be well camouflaged. If he stayed in the pond, he would most definitely have died,” R said.

So despite me not really wanting to let Phantom go, I had to think of his best interests. He may not survive in the stream, but there is that possibility that he could live. With that, we tipped him into a watering can and headed for the stream.

R found a spot with a less rocky riverbed and let him go. We saw how he struggled against the current, a pond fish unused to swimming in the stream. Hopefully he will be brought to a deeper end where the water would be calmer and he can slowly get better.

I’m sorry about Wally’s death, but at least I know we have done our best for Phantom. We’d get new plants and new fishes in Spring, and I’d make sure we do better at keeping them healthy.

冬天的早晨

December 13, 2008

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粉蓝天空晴
晨光亮如金

秃树一棵棵
逼鸟寻新巢

呼气阵阵白
烟囱炭烟飘

草地一片灰
是霜不是雪

2008年12月10日,坐火车上班途中,冬天的太阳8点刚升起,那一幕和周围的景物突然给了我灵感,随手写下了这首诗。

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Winter

Clear powder blue skies
Golden rays from the morning sun

Bald trees aplenty
Urging birds to seek new homes

Every breath is white
Coal smoke billowing from the chimneys

Fields are grey
With frost and not snow

12 December, 2008, on my way to work on the train, the winter sun has just risen at 8am. Inspired by the morning sun and the surrounding scenery, I penned this poem.